ARTIST TALK MAGAZINE
January 2018 www.artisttalkmagazine.com
DISCOVER YOUR P E R F EC T COM B INAT ION THOMASCLIPPER.COM/UNITE
FEATURED ARTISTS ROBERT FRY
4-9 JULIAN VADAS
10-15 ACHRAF BAZNANI
16-21 PATRICIA VOLK
ARTIST TALK MAGAZINE Welcome to the third edition of Artist Talk Magazine. It has been an exciting time in the art world since the last edition, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece Salvator Mundi achieved $450,312,500. Also the National Portrait Gallery has had and exhibit showcasing Paul Cézanne portraits, which was a personal favourite of mine to visit. Once again I am pleased to showcase more incredible artists from around the globe. All of the artists featured within this issue have given interesting in-depth honest accounts about themselves, their work, views and ideas. In addition to the amazing images of the work they produce, which I know you the reader, will enjoy and be inspired by. We have lots of incredible talent
within this issue with a wide range of subject matter for you to explore. The cover of this issue is by the artist Gina Love. Gina’s work is a way to escape, rebel and express herself. The fascinating mark making allows the processing of all thinking patterns. You can tell this is a way for Gina to communicate purely through colour and texture. Discover more about Gina and all the other incredible artists within this issue. I would like to thank you for reading and being a part of Artist Talk.
artisttalkmagazine ArtistTalkMag artisttalkmagazine
34-39 REVOLVER DOLLS
46-51 RICHARD SHIPLEY
52-57 GIORGOS KAPSALAKIS
58-63 CLARE THATCHER
64-69 DISCOVER MORE www.artisttalkmagazine.com
his protagonists’ personalities whilst effacing his artistry — it is a denial of the possibility of mental autonomy, a message written out explicitly in the stream of letters ‘FREEMNDNOCHANCEFREE MINDNOCHANCE…’ that repeat and repeat themselves in bands that fill the bottom of the canvas.
PARTNERS STUDY 5
Robert Fry: A Purple Patch. Article by Gair Burton A man and a woman stand before the viewer in Robert Fry’s painting Purple Study (Purple study 9) (2009). Naked and archetypal, they are side by side holding hands, their figures described through shape rather than modulated form, in graceful outline or densely blocked colour against a backdrop of vivid purple. It’s an arresting image, radical in its stark delineation of coupledom, its life-size confrontation of the viewer with bodies that could be anybody’s. That she is drawn in a fiery red that begins as the solid description of her legs and loosens into an unravelling scrawl at her shoulders, and that he lacks substance at all apart from an unruly liquid intimation of leg matter and a hot/cold confluence of red and green at his groin, adds to its symbolic expressiveness. Sexual characteristics have been daubed onto the figures with a grafitti-esque disregard for accuracy, but by far the most striking feature of these figures is that the artist has chosen to cover their faces with crude rectangles of black gloss paint that drip down the canvas and blankly refuse all niceties of character and understanding. An act of extreme self-vandalism — annihilating
If couples suggest a loss of freedom, a surrendering of the self, in this painting, across the whole of Fry’s work they are shown to be the normative state of being in the world. It is a theme that he has explored unswervingly through an extraordinary diversity of media and modes of expression. Two other canvases form the Purple Studies series (all made this year) see the heterosexual pairing substituted by same-sex partnerships, whilst others are much abstracted spatial schematisations of the relationships between two persons. His earlier sequence of paintings Drawing Room Studies from 2008 likewise always depict two figures, their bodies locked in sympathetic symmetry with one another as though cocooned by their relationship from the rest of the world. These grew out of a series of etchings the artist made in 2005, crisp linear descriptions of the artist and model in a sitting room setting, appraising and taking from each other like a psychiatric patient and their shrink. Even when Fry depicts himself as a solitary figure, such as in Self Etching (2005) a form of doubling is at work. Unclothed and vulnerable on a spindly chair, he stares intently out, not at the viewer but at the mirrored image of himself from which he works, a multiplication through reflection that is played out also in the double of the plate and the image, the one an inversion of the other. In Untitled I (also 2005), the single figure, by now ceremonious in an armchair, has become a kind
of mixed-sex monster, two persons in one with sexy stilettoed legs and heavy jowls. Behind the figures in these two etchings the words ‘DAYS’ has been written hundreds of times over in a chain of tiny letters. This obsessive backdrop — all the more time-consuming for having been scratched in reverse into metal plate — depicts a kind of Faustian pact on the part of the artist, a transubstantiation of life into art and the uneasy recognition that the price is a high one. Messages abound in Fry’s intensely self-reflexive practice. Objects such as the armchairs, brogues and intricately inscribed patterns that scintillate in his earlier etchings become abstracted in his paintings to form a highly personal iconography of shapes and signs. Whilst his 2005 etchings throb with magic narrative — the designs of rugs resemble starry night skies and continue through Fry’s figures, keys tumble from laptops and space misbehaves as though the scene were being looked at through a fractured mirror — in the Drawing Room paintings many of these elements return, assuming a more sensuous air. Armchairs seen from above still provide the spatial armature of the images, yet the neat chintz of their fabric has morphed into languid blue and white stripes and they now cosset female nudes whose Picasso-esque curves are echoed in voluptuous scribbles and figures of eight — a symbol of infinity — which replace the tightly wrought text of the earlier works. Fry still includes verbal passages that indicate torments that prey on the mind — ‘HEADFUCKER’ is written repeatedly across the head of one protagonist; OCD the legend of another — yet his forms recall Bonnard’s depictions of Marthe bathing and the graphic assurance of Matisse, their palette of blues, golds and purples and painterly gestures conjuring the largesse of the South of France.
In these highly symmetrical works and with the etchings that prefigured them, the artist adopts a meta-position, investigating the shape of relationships as though mapping them from above, applying to the lessens of Cubism emotional expression. Mind and body are shackled together in Fry’s output, the former impossible without the latter, but do not necessarily get on. Thoughts swell and spiral, always ready to swoop off into the distance, impatient at the body’s obedience to the snags and tendrils of the here and now. In the new works, all Purple Studies, all made in the past year,
the psychological investigation that has long been central to Fry’s practice undergoes an elemental reckoning. These large canvases are meeting grounds for a plethora of media: acrylic, oil, enamel gloss, oil stick, felt-tip pen and pencil have all been used by the artist, drawn, painted and written onto the picture surface so that the resulting images are dictated by their various properties. Compositions and shapes familiar from his earlier works have been dramatically simplified and set loose in works such as Purple Study 3 so that the signifying elements of bodies — nipples, genitalia and faces — have become
almost entirely abstract. Identity dissolves in these paintings, unable to support itself. Purple Study 5 features the face of a man whose features drip down the canvas so that he becomes only a blurry and imperfect circle. Other oval forms house felt-tip scribbles and the words ‘MINDFUCK’ written over and over. Elsewhere similar forms have been painted over so that only their texture showing through the purple is visible. Bodies become amorphous cell-like entities that float as protean and mysterious as sperm and ova. These paintings are brave and uncompromising. With them Fry completely leaves behind the drawing room, that place of retreat and bourgeois refinement, forgoing its artefacts, trappings and comforts, leaving momentarily too the observation-based practice that the room’s name entails to face something dark and threatening, submitting the psyche to the primordial, represented here as a life-enabling, self-subsuming sea of purple. DISCOVER MORE www.robertfrystudio.com Social Media - @robertfrystudio
SQUARE PAINTING 6
CLIFF EDGE GARDEN PATH
My name is Julian Vadas. I am a 32 year old American visual artist, musician and yogi. I was born in New Mexico and grew up in Ohio. I completed a BFA in painting from the State University of New YorkPotsdam in 2009. I’ve been based in India since the end of 2014, although I spend 3-4 months in the US yearly to exhibit, work and travel. I also continue to work and travel extensively throughout Southeast Asia since I’ve shifted my base studio to India. I have been working towards completion on a remote, seasonal studio space in Southern Colorado for the past 4 summers while returning to the US. I’m also positioning myself to include Northern California as a seasonal base where I’ve been exhibiting and spending time for several years consecutively now. Extensive international travel, long periods of immersion in a variety of remote settings and alternative lifestyle approaches have been integral to my art making process, perspective, vision, aesthetic and creative aims for a solid 10 years at this point. I have completed Artist in Residence programs in Botopasi, Suriname; Tissardmine, Morocco; Naranjo, Costa Rica; Istanbul, Turkey and I am the founder of Rishikesh Creative Confluence, an AiR program that will host it’s inaugural group of artists in late 2018 (website pending). I have created and exhibited my work in dozens of countries spanning 5 continents and I have work in private collections in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Russia, Turkey, India, Thailand, and Australia. I create elaborate organic abstractions in a variety of media. This includes oil, acrylic, water colour and gouache. Primarily I paint on wood, hardboard panel and paper. Stylistically my work is rather dissimilar from anything otherwise being undertaken in contemporary painting. Disregard for overt intellectual tendencies
ENCOUNTERING VASTNESS NO. 3
in contemporary art, leaves my practice lacking in the manufactured, context-dependent conceptual structure that plagues much of the art world today. My work neither embraces nor eschews the dense feedback loop of insubstantial self-commentary that has been so pervasive in contemporary art. I do believe that fortunately this trend is waning. Without concerning myself with the pressures of this paradigmfor or against, I instead focus on the distillation and refinement of authentic creative impetus and the effective execution thereof. I hold authenticity of endeavour to be of paramount importance in the conveyance of meaningful artistic expression.
I am concerned with experiential efficacy in my work. I remain unconcerned with its intellectual efficacy. Conceptually I move to evoke the very quality of consciousness beyond personal identity. With the phrase “consciousness beyond personal identity,” I mean to describe that domain of conscious experience that is neither formatted by nor reached through the mechanics of a static, identity-based perspective. Body, mind, intellect, habit, memory, emotion, expectation, culture, context, etc... would constitute the mechanics of this static personal identity. In simpler terms I can say that my work is non-analytic.It is truly abstract in the essential definition of the concept. In the gaze of decisive analysis, it will not yield any conclusion. 11
NOMAD NO. 7
This is it’s function, to befuddle one’s reflex to analyse experience, to make apparent the dense network of conditioning which one projects upon any perceptible phenomena, ultimately obscuring the very nature of the phenomena itself. It is abstract in that it does not depict, it merely offers a perceptual experience. Abstraction is transcendence. That which is truly abstract occupies a mode and method of experience which is not tethered to circumstance, context, medium, technique or clarity of subject matter. The means by which a work is produced remains unclear, for obvious hints as to process and motivation would draw attention to the art making procedure instead of the experience of the artwork. As I
said before, there is no conclusion. There is only experience. As far as my work approach goes, I do not work consistently in a way that juggles the art making process itself, with the other responsibilities inherent to an artist’s career. Instead I work in alternating cycles of focused, creative engagement and attention to externally based tasks. This manifests in periods of absolute absorption in my craft, followed by periods devoid of art making itself but devoted to exhibiting, networking, logistics, marketing, etc... This pattern is reflected clearly in the migrational patterns that my lifestyle has adopted and it also extends to the very nature of the different locations where I spend different parts of my year.
For the most part I have sought out Artist in Residence opportunities and long term studio arrangements that accommodate intensive periods of art making where in it is possible to completely remove myself from time- based structure. I allow myself to slip into an intuitive rhythm of creative output that easily affords the abstraction in my experiential routine. By this I mean that I manage to largely disconnect from internet and phone, from non-essential responsibilities, from social obligations, etc... I will easily lose track of the date and I will be unable, if not unwilling, to in anyway keep track of the time of day other than the obvious indications offered by the sun. This abstraction of personal experience lends itself sublimely to the execution of effective abstraction in painting. The removal from these artificial experiential inputs also allows my awareness to rest upon more wide reaching natural rhythms inherent in the sun, moon, earth, and my own body and consciousness. This is a
surefire recipe for prolific creative output and creative output that is progressive, engaging, and ever self- refining. Seldom does a painting begin with a developed vision for its final appearance. Instead I begin with a colour pallet and perhaps a single form which for some reason would appeal to me at that moment. I aim to maintain a piercing mindfulness of my own subtle process of perception and response in regards to the image before me, as it evolves. This means that instead of following a certain momentum or pre-determined direction (which is quite easy to do if due attention is not paid) I aim to develop a clarity of awareness, by which I am responding afresh to each consecutive iteration of the composition as it emerges. The function of this is twofold. Firstly, it retains a genuine authenticity to the art making process as a prolonged manifestation of the fundamental creative impulse in its essence. Secondly, it is a potent form of meditation in its own right. The very distillation of the experience of the rendering of an abstraction by way of focused and impersonal observation of unhindered and unconditioned creative flow reveals much. Eventually it reveals ever more refined nuances in the understanding of self. One becomes necessarily unsure as to whether the seat of perspective resting in the act of creation itself or the seat of perspective resting, in the actual observation of this process is the perspective that is ultimately inhabited by the self. This dissolution carries on until there is no discernible boundary between perception, process and product. DISCOVER MORE www.julianvadas.com
SUBTLE STATES NO. 6
The wild world of Achraf Baznani Achraf Baznani is known worldwide as a surrealist photographer, that uses everyday scenes to transport viewers to a different world. His art makes you question your own reality, wondering why things are the way they are and what other meaning aspects of our lives can hold. It taps into your unconscious and exploits it to curate a specific idea or belief. Baznani isn’t of the stereotypical variety. He’s incredibly talented at what he does and completely unique in his ideas. His art is about exploration.
INTO THE ABYSS
Perhaps what’s most interesting about Achraf Baznani’s art, is his choice in subject. While most surrealist photographers and other artists set forth to challenge people on their conceived ideas about the world, this effect from Baznani’s photography and composites is merely a second benefit. His work mainly features himself. This style is indicative of a man trying to find and understand himself and he does this by looking through a literal lens. By making himself a subject, he also is able to contribute to political and social commentary by expressing the idea instead of being a staunch example of it. He believes that taking his art seriously and using himself as a tool to do that, has been instrumental in his success.
FACE OF BATTLE
Throughout his photography career, this Moroccan artist has intrigued the world. Starting with only a modest Kodak Ektra 250 camera and some self-teaching, he was the first in the Arab world to publish a surreal photography photo-book, called Through My Lens and published another called Inside My Dreams. Despite being a photographer, Baznani spends most of his time behind a computer screen creating beautiful, surreal composites of multiple images. His concepts derive from experimentation and toying with new ideas. He’s been doing this since he was young, starting first with drawing before receiving the Kodak camera as a birthday gift. Becoming hooked on photography after that, Baznani began experimenting with films and documentaries. He has released multiple, most of which are award winning. His directorship has been renowned across the world for skilful portrayal of his subjects. Despite finding success however, in the film industry, his heart was still stuck with photography.
MY SMALL WORLD
With his photography, he uses people as his inspiration. By meeting new people and learning from strangers, he’s better able to keep inspiration alive and continually grow from it. He also credits other famous photographers, such as Robert Capa from Hungary known for “The Falling Soldier” photograph, for being of inspirational value to his work. He uses his inspirations to create photographs that the human mind can’t believe in, or trust, stating his reasoning for choosing surrealism as “I believe we need a break from reality”. Our mind takes a break from the world by dreaming. Baznani’s photographs transport the viewer to a dream-like world where anything is possible. He’s a magician without a wand. DISCOVER MORE www.baznani.com 18
HAND OF FATE
Patricia Volk was recently made a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, confirming her position as an outstanding visual artist working in painted fired clay. It is a term she much prefers to “ceramics”: in fact, it was only in learning about artists such as Kenneth Price who used the term to distinguish their work from craft, that she realised an entire modern movement pre-dated the practice she had evolved for herself. Now, her sculptures – strikingly colourful forms – grace the collections of the likes of bestselling author Anthony Horowitz, former BAFTA chairman Simon Relph CBE, Lord Carrington and the television presenter Mary Portas. She has also been distinguished by having her work chosen as a Southern Arts Prize and been exhibited in solo and mixed exhibitions all over the UK as well as abroad. Born in Belfast, Volk studied art at Middlesex Polytechnic and Bath. As a child she’d always dreamt of going to art school, but considered the possibility totally remote for people like her, not only having extreme dyslexia, but in a school where the very idea of studying art was laughed at. She nevertheless came to England with the idea of getting in somewhere to train in art, but as a one parent family her main preoccupation was getting enough money to live on. Then, one night after not painting or drawing for fifteen years, she lifted up a pencil and started to draw. After building up a portfolio and applying to Art College, she got in as a mature student in her thirties which she says was the most exciting time of her life, though, ultimately, she felt like a square peg in a round hole. It was only in setting up her own studio on the border of Wiltshire and Somerset did she find her unique voice and begin to thrive. RELIQUARY (4)
Having been brought up in Northern Ireland surrounded by Catholic imagery (though from a Protestant background), such cultural influences provided the springboard for her interest in making what she called modern icons. Pieces that reflect on religious and mythic archetypes. At this time, being obsessed by creating an ongoing series of sculptural heads, she learned to let the material dictate, to a large extent and became fascinated by the fact that a difference of a millimetre can make a huge change to the emotional impact and the elegance of a piece. She then took the bold step, after ten years, of abandoning any figurative or representational element and focusing on “pure form”. “What excites me, I discovered,” she says, “is the abstraction rather than trying to create a piece that represents or illustrates an idea you have beforehand. Really, working in clay is like play, and being dyslexic, I have trouble expressing ideas in words, so I chose a medium where words aren’t necessary. Or, you could say, it chose me.”
As with many painters she admires, it is for her purely about finding an instinctive juxtaposition that works in the heart rather than the brain. “You just put one colour against the other in a way that is satisfying or dynamic. It’s purely visual and non-intellectual. If there is a deeper meaning I like to think that is brought by the viewer: I don’t like to limit their experience by giving a sculpture a set explanation or description, if I can help it – if I do, I keep it as loose as possible,
just a hint or pointer. Sometimes (only sometimes!) I know what is going on in my head, but more often I let my hands do the ‘thinking’. That doesn’t mean it’s easy – far from it, because I take a very long time to consider the exact colours and weigh them up. Some might watch my activity and indecision and quite honestly think it’s the total obsessiveness of a mad person. But that’s okay! I’m an artist. And nobody said this was an exact science. It’s nothing
if not completely subjective and completely immersive.” The decisions though, she admits, are complex to articulate. “There are so many influences, sometimes imagining a beautiful line, or using as a start point a curve which I’ve used in the past. I like the thought that the pieces look light and float – a contradiction to the obvious physical weight of clay. I like
the idea of uplift. I’m adamant they should be viewed at eye level, by walking around and looking at them from different angles. The surface texture can work to make the flatness of colour more nuanced and less machine-manufactured looking, adding a natural edginess on a vivid unnatural blue, for instance. I always work on a series of pieces at the same time because of the nature of the material (you cannot rush it), but the finished product is defined by the time it is modelled, which can be affected by all sorts of things: weather, temperature, my mood and so on. If you pushed me to say, I would like the combination of non-figurative form and colour combination to set off a series of ideas in the viewer’s mind – tranquillity, elegance, power, sadness, rest, action, conflict, a sense of movement… all these things triggering human emotions of some kind.” The idea of clay work routinely being deemed ‘craft’ is a contentious issue for Volk, and something of a bête noir. “I think a sculptor can have craft and imagination and be creative but there’s also craftspeople who are superb at what they do, but do not have the creative level of input. There are artists who are highly creative who do not have craft skills – they can literally phone somebody to make what they want and that’s fine: in that case, the craftsman is at the service of an artist. It’s all about understanding your individual role and not being arrogant, not having a pretence to intellectual depth if it isn’t genuine or honest. It’s no good called a piece Baudelaire just so that it sounds super-important. That is nonsense. It’s the finished artwork that defines itself and either has quality or it doesn’t.” We might recognise an aspect of African or Egyptian art in her work, or the modern art of the Memphis
group, or even Australian aborigine designs, but Volk doesn’t wish to be limited by such direct reference points. As might be expected, her influences are wide-ranging from contemporary big names to artists from the history of art or even the ancient world. Not excluding the shapes or colours she sees around her in everyday life – a clipping from a magazine, or the colours of pebbles on a beach in Scotland. “Modigliani and Giacometti influenced me a lot when I was doing heads, as did the sculptors of the Renaissance. I think now there are an awful lot of abstract painters who are having a huge impact on me, simply because of the pared down nature of their work and sometimes it takes my breath away. The Agnes Martin exhibition at Tate Modern blew me away and the stillness and rigour of her work was incredibly inspiring. I love Jun Kaneko. Enormous big things with spots on them, so they really appeal to me. I understand them and make a connection, although I could never begin to analyse that connection in words. It’s a soul-tosoul connection if anything. As if art bypasses the conscious mind completely.”
“I clearly remember the very first drawing I did when I was in junior school and a teacher calling another teacher in to show her what I’d done and I felt enormously proud. It caused such a lot of interest from the teachers and in a way, I may be trying to recapture that feeling of wellbeing and pleasure in myself and in others.” To Volk, her pieces also reflect the fragile relationships of human beings, informed as they are by issues of strength and weakness, power and fragility. “One of my dreams is to do a series of shapes like the ribs of an animal, so that you would have them in a line in a room and you would look through them. Each one would curve this way then that way, until you see a big wall piece at the end. I haven’t however, quite worked that out yet!” DISCOVER MORE www.patriciavolk.org
Her recent sculptures have been quite different in both scale and content. The methodology being to make a number of components for several pieces, without knowing at all how they are going to go together. These are small by comparison to earlier work, but in many ways could be seen as maquettes for potentially huge pieces many times human height. It’s in such inventive, assertive ideas that Volk’s abstraction ascends to a level of unalloyed joy and it’s not unusual to see people smile when they first encounter her work, moved by the sheer liberation and dramatic gusto they exhibit in capturing the human spirit. But where does that impulse come from? DERVISH
AWAYTOMARS COLLECTION 718
AWAYTOMARS: Redirecting the Future of the Fashion Industry Aiming to make the fashion industry more inclusive, the ever-expanding universe of AWAYTOMARS has already become the biggest Fashion Collective in the World, comprising 10,000 registered designers from more than 90 countries. Not only is AWAYTOMARS the world’s first 100% user-created fashion brand, it has also provided the means to change fashion’s entire production chain, from sketch to sale, proving that there is still room for innovation in the industry. Founded in 2015, AWAYTOMARS has been wildly successful in its mission to build an international community of creative talents. Collaboration, profit share and transparency have been some of the key words which guarantee the constant development of this revolutionary way of making fashion where new voices can be heard. The online platform is available for a constant exchange of ideas and the
possibilities for contributions to the creative industry are endless. For Collection 718, AWAYTOMARS have partnered with renowned photographer Gleeson Paulino to show his vision of the world. Sometimes it can be difficult to feel a sense of belonging to a single country, when there is so much to experience out there. Through the sharing of experiences, creativity flourishes. It is an essential process of diversification of ideas, as well as a way to feel a sense of wholeness, connecting people from all parts of the world. This is what this collection is all about.
and opinions, working together to develop the 70 items that make up the collection. Gleeson selected some pictures that reflect this diversification through his lenses and, alongside our in-house creative team and the designers involved, combined some images with designated pieces. DISCOVER MORE www.awaytomars.com
Gleeson Paulino is a citizen of the world. A nomad. He travels the planet and expresses his vision of humanity through his photographs. Collection 718 relates to this diversification, celebrating co-creation beyond “just” the Fashion Industry and showing that creativity flourishes when people work together. 718 designers from 85 different countries have shared their ideas
TAILORED SILK JACKET FIRE SKY SKY OF SEAS OPEN SILK TOP SKY OF SEAS SILK TROUSERS
We’re all aware of the stereotype of a tortured artists and I definitely embody this spirit. I developed this mind-set from a young age after being bullied throughout school. I’m not sure if it is due to being bullied or just my psychological make up, but I would say that for most of my life I have never felt like I fitted in. In fact, I would say I have quite an odd perspective on the world. This and the constant struggle against society’s ‘norm’ is at the core of my practice. I have a preoccupation with exploring notions of beauty and superficial aesthetics and how the environments we occupy can disturb us. This goes back to how I was treated at school; I was always told I was ugly. I can clearly remember being 11 years old and walking down the corridor to line up to go into class and being told ‘we voted you the ugliest girl in the year’ and all the ‘popular’ girls and boys just laughing at me. Unfortunately this was just the beginning and things became nastier throughout the 5 years of secondary school. Their is nothing like the daily fear of getting on the bus or having people threatening you to instil the outsider complex. I became depressed, isolated, had panic attacks and had stopped eating. But I was always drawing.
I DONT WANT TO TREAD ON YOUR TOES BUT I WILL
By the time I was studying for my A Levels; I was in the grips of a severe eating disorder, I had stopped doing anything creative and I had also discovered alcohol. I think part of the problem was that I had been discouraged from studying anything creative and that I had been encouraged to give up art for A Level. I was always told ‘You can always do art in your spare time’. Life lesson number 1 - don’t ever let your child give up art, if they are good at it and enjoy it.
Literature which, together with the brit pop movement became a guiding light and comfort, but life remained bumpy. After college I decided in the heat of the moment to go to my local university. Life lesson number 2 - don’t make important decisions based on what you think society wants you to do. I made some lifelong friends at my first university, but my eating disorder had gotten even worse and eventually I had to drop out, as I felt like I was having a complete breakdown.
They say in the darkest of times, you have moments of clarity and I discovered the poetry of Sylvia Plath while studying English
I have learned that people don’t know what to do when someone is not ok. I’ve heard ‘she’ll grow out of it’, ‘she’ will get over it’,
‘she’s just laying it on’, ‘she’s just moaning’. I remember feeling particularly hopeless and turning to my doctor, only for him to be dismissive and say ‘oh just get a hobby, Go for a walk’.
My dad was sent to boarding school at the age of 4 and due to the fact he isn’t good with emotions he couldn’t deal with my meltdowns. My mum didn’t seem to know what to do with me either but one day she suggested I go and do an art foundation course. I then discovered a collection of artists I could relate to. I had an epiphany moment with Georgia O’Keefe, ‘I found I could say things with colours that I couldn’t say in any other way – things that I had no words for’. A research trip to the Turner Prize and Emin’s work opened my eyes to a whole new level of self-expression and I never looked back. I realised that I had found a way to escape the obsessive thoughts of my eating disorder and that I could express myself through art. I went onto study Fine Art Painting at University. My course encouraged full time studio practice, but I found that I couldn’t restrain my creative energy. Like any mad artist knows, inspiration can come to you at any time. I used to steal wood from the back of railway stations, set fire to it and paint on the imperfect surface.
instagram. I was pretty resistant at first, as I didn’t understand it or the hashtags but really everything happened for me from there. The community of artists I discovered through Instagram have been so supportive and have given me the confidence to show my artwork to the world. I sometimes wonder where I would be if we’d had Instagram 15 years ago when I was at university but I am where I am.
different artist’s each day. In April 2017 I even started working with Gallerique in Chicago who had discovered my work on instagram. I have also organised exhibitions in my hometown of Bristol and become involved with Studio 44ad Artspace in Bath, who selected me for their ‘48 hours project’ where artists were asked to respond to a theme and the resulting pieces were shown 48 hours later.
I continue to be amazed by the opportunities which have been opened up since I started putting my work online. My paintings first got picked up by Brick Lane Gallery, which then lead to a 7 month residency at Le Dame Gallery, followed by a solo exhibition in the Cotswolds. I was selected to paint at Upfest street art festival, Bristol and was one of 20 artists involved in the UK launch of Tunisian collaborative painting. In December 2016, I was one of 25 artists selected to appear as part of Artvent at Hix Gallery; an advent calendar featuring
I often get asked how a painting begins. The mentality behind my studio process has evolved since I first started; I used to start with what can be described as a brain dump. I would just do free flow drawing, take inspiration from specific memory, be inspired by photos, or just paint intuitively. I would have a colour in my mind and so I would just grab it and start applying paint with my hands. These days as I have learnt more about paint and textures, my studio is full of different tools and I mix my own paint, use plaster, create triptychs and feel that
When I graduated, I moved to London and quickly learnt to resent the abyss of artist vs the real world. I found the graduate existence horrendous and was incredibly disillusioned. Employers at the time considered me less qualified as I had ‘only studied art’ so I ended up in a succession of awful, badly paid office jobs. Feeling like my brain was going to explode amongst the sound of photocopiers and corporate nonsense, I decide to escape to France for a while. After France, I went back to temping but wasn’t getting on well; being passed over for promotions and pay rises. I took some time to gather my thoughts and decided I needed to focus on my artwork. My sister suggested I join
paintings have become almost sculptural. The pieces I produce allow me to represent the complex environment I have in my head. I cherish my time in the studio. It is normally messy; in complete disorder but hours can go by allowing me to find calm painting. I don’t have a preconceived idea of the end result and if I ever do, the end piece usually doesn’t work out the way I wanted it to I still go through obsessive phases with colour and mark making. I use so many materials now; acrylic,
oils, spray paint, household paint, pastels, pens. I apply paint quite quickly and thickly. Alongside a variety of brushes and pallet knives, you’ll often find me using hairbrushes, cutlery, credit cards, combs, coat hangers and branches of wood to add texture and to scratch through layers of colour. I enjoy taking an object and giving it another purpose. The process of developing an image can be hyperactive, obsessive and meticulous but it is always therapeutic. I normally work on more than one piece at a time,
partly to pacify the need for perfection in one painting, but also because mark making can become more intense and stretch beyond the size of one canvas. I don’t always want my paintings to be easy to look at so I might spend 3 hours applying paint neatly in colour blocks and then decide to get a fork/comb/knife and then grab a stick and scratch through it all to mess up the perfect surface. It is here I enjoy the loss of control and liberation and dash of chance. Will I ruin it, will it change it for the better. The names of my paintings are reflective of the thought processes that influence the evolution of the piece. I want to send the viewer to another place with my work, I want to evoke curiosity and I want people to study the texture of my work and want to touch it. I want to represent the depths of my imagination.
LOVE WISHING I WAS LUCKY
Being an artist is a way of life and all-consuming at times and I definitely need painting to function on a daily basis. I’ve seen a few write ups recently it being financially hard to be an artist. It is a concept I struggle with as making art isn’t about money for me. It’s always been about pure necessity and self-expression. There isn’t anything better than losing yourself in the throes of creativity and I hope I can do this for years to come. My grandparents all lived until their mid 90’s, so I hopefully have a lot of mad painting time to look forward to and share with the world. Lots of exciting things are happening behind the scenes so look out for my artwork in 2018! DISCOVER MORE www.ginaloveart.com
YOU BURNT THE BRIDGES
My name is Juliana Rodriguez. I’m a visual artist and cinema director, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 1984. Three years ago I left my home in Argentina in pursuit of a better place to work, live and exhibit my art. The search led me to Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Sadly, it was hard to live in Argentina, there was a lot of delinquency in the streets, political corruption, unemployment and there was a dead point about art. Although I expect more from Raleigh’s art scene since there’s so much room to explore, I’m disappointed with the lack of view coming from different styles that exist here. It’s very conservative. Raleigh is far from being New York. Loving artists who are provocative in their own way has always fascinated me. Growing up Scott Weiland, who was part of a rock band called “Velvet Revolver” was my biggest idol. I named my first cinema production company after them. Since I had a low budget I began to create art with my own
dolls. Combining the two together, I came up with the name Revolver Dolls. I really think that art doesn’t need to be a copy of reality; I think art needs to do its own dimension and this is my bigger inspiration. Since 2009 I’ve been working on the digital art project “Revolver Dolls”. Revolver Dolls is a mixed visual project with final photographic format, where I approach systematically various topics using dolls (mostly Barbies) as protagonists. I choose a compositional method as a film set, where locations are scenographically made, cameras prepared, lights, space available as a stage and the correlation of the sequences is projected in shots. This method is familiar to me, as I was trained as a filmmaker and this allows me to explore the use of Barbies instead of actors or models. Working with dolls in condition of characters which assume several roles, ended up having its own entity and visual language.
As a working method in the first instance, I prepare a story board and then a camera set for putting the dolls in space and any element that accompanies the scene. Sometimes I photograph some dolls alone on a green background (Chroma key) and finally on scene, but set as simple as possible to allow me to work those photos later, isolated on depth post production. This way I can edit an aesthetic close to a dream, the unreal and the many possibilities arising from a free basis set with multiple creative changes. I used real scenes rarely seeking greater naturalism but rather an artificial stage set, that allows a surreal air can cause feeling of dislocation, confusion or alienation to achieve a more visually powerful and extreme aesthetics. One of my main goals is to provide life to dolls, closer to the human from poses and behaviours portrayed, leading identification by the viewer, without unintentionally defacing the entire boundary between the plastic and reality. Dolls are a great source to explore infinite possibilities, playing with the idea of giving life to something lifeless. I started collecting Barbie dolls when I was seven years old. I wanted Barbie not for her perfect figure; I wanted her because she was, for me, the closest representation of an adult human being. It was fascinating playing with ‘an adult me’; it was the sensation, for a moment, to be in the shoes of God.
JULIANA RODRIGUEZ AT HER ARTIST STUDIO IN RALEIGH, MAY 2016
As a child I was a sort of a collector and had begun to design dresses for my dolls and write them scripts to represent. I saw them as an endless universe for creation. But even then something disturbed me: the more real they looked they were never really going to have life. Hence arises a kind of goal, “to give them a soul” through art. Here is the paradox
of immortality, one of the mains thematic of this project, beyond their particular changing stories in each series. Each session shares with some other key issues, such as social hypocrisy, depersonalise, rootlessness and identity. But the theme that articulates and moves Revolver Dolls, is the thin line between the dead and the living, the finiteness of the actual human figure facing the immortality of a doll. The doll that imitates an everyday-life character, is a fragment of one’s existence as a parody, it is not really alive but transcend any of us after death. I often like to take this statement as a kind of joke, although there is no joke in the dispute of the finitude of human existence and the meaning of things. It’s not difficult to see how much people are terrified in front of each one of my works, even with the most ‘soft’ ones. It happened to me in Argentina before moving to U.S. and is happening here still. Death and art are universal issues. Everything that I can portray about different subjects or aesthetic starts from there. Choosing the doll also became a decision with a rebellious sense. When I started making the first photographic sketches and saw the disgust and condemnation this caused to my fellow filmmakers, it became almost a vital need to continue, to expose their prejudices and hypocrisy of the matter. Why should it be considered more artistic, a photo showing the same stage and with the lens, a model of meat and bones other than portraying a doll? I think the doll can be bearer and projection of the most profound emotions. I hold the theory that their portrayed image has more power than any person, if such power is strongly worked the effect is inexhaustible. It also reflects more pure and close my own imagination. Maybe
that’s when I get far more from photographic concepts. The high contrast and the colour intensity, the frequent use of textures on a quest to materialise a final artwork closer to the pictorial vision than photographic ways. The serial organisation comes from my profession of film director, more specifically from the assemblage technique, where a scene is composed of various shots, the order and juxtaposition can completely alter the meaning of what is shown. While a photograph or a painting tries to encompass all the elements to one final point in a work, I pursue two objectives: the one that emerges from the fusion of all images as total work and the other that is clear from that image removed, isolated from the series whose meaning changes completely . I stopped filming when I found that without a real budget it was practically impossible to continue. Dealing with actors, technicians, makeup artists, etc., supplies, everything was pretty expensive and eventually awful situations appeared. I was getting used to dealing with these difficulties, but not with a low final artistic result that doesn’t achieved my expectations. Too much effort and money to obtain an artistic result, very far away from my goals. So when I almost accidently decided to replace the actors for dolls and I changed a rented location for a scene made of paperboard, suddenly I found myself almost without the necessity of money in a sustainable project, with a very satisfactory artistic result. Each series starts with a doll I found in a flea market, I dress her up and after that I start to imagine what the clothes design inspires. Then I have the story or the idea, I make the scenes with paperboard, acrylic and the surfaces of the floors with materials used for cake decorations. I photograph the doll in a green background (suit
for Chroma key) so I can have her separate from the location and finally I assemble the different layers of photographs, like a big collage in the computer. I then keep working over them mostly painting digitally, trying to obtain an image closer to painting than photography. After each series, I recycle some part of the scenes and even the dolls working in new clothes, so I can use them again in a new plot. I start working in an analogous manner and I finish the process working in a digital way. My creativity process has changed since the project’s inception. Initially, I scripted scenes, created original clothing and scenery, photographed and then colour corrected the images. These days I work almost exclusively in the digital format and layers in details over basic images of posed dolls. I think I moved from being a cinema director, playing to the likings of a visual artist, to being a visual artist, playing to a cinema director. The necessity to create an individual language for each of my works has become stronger with time. I describe my work as surrealist and cite influences like Irving Penn, René Magritte, Frida Kahlo, Francis Bacon, James Ensor, Herb Ritts, and Andy Warhol. For the past three years as my process has evolved I have spent long months in front of the computer. I can tell my musical influences have become even more important than visual influences. Some include Morrissey, Alex Turner, Scott Weiland, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Lana Del Rey, Elliott Smith, Russell and Ron Mael. I’m swimming a little bit more each time into digital creation and the funny thing is I’m not using dolls almost at all anymore. DISCOVER MORE www.revolverdolls.com
SLATE 2+ & IPAD
THE SLATE CONCEPT
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isknâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mission is to combine the natural experience of tangible tools with the power of digital technology. The company was founded in February 2014 by a multidisciplinary team specialized in embedded systems and user experience. As a result of five years of R&D in collaboration with CEA-Leti, the company develops and markets an innovative drawing pad called the Slate, which allows users to digitize and enhance their pen-and- paper creations. With 22 patents, this technology will soon be integrated into many new related products with multiple applications.
With the Slate, draw with your own pencils on real paper and your drawings come to life instantly on your screen like magic.
Illustrators, professional artists, art lovers and designers have all adopted the Slate according to their needs whether for their work or their passion.
The Slate is destined to all creative types who wish to keep the natural sensations of drawing on paper while benefitting from the endless possibilities of digital. Thanks to the iskn Ring, you can associate the natural use of pencil to the power of digital. Take your favorite pen, slide the ring onto it and let the magic happen. From your very first pencil stroke, your artwork is instantly digitized and
Pack includes: The Slate 2+ / 1 Black pen / 1 pencil with a Ring (size S) / 2 clips / 1 sketchpad.
IMAGINK APP, THE DEDICATED APPLICATION Both intuitive and realistic, the drawing app Imagink was developed for the Slate. Its drawing tools and unique rendering, including pencil, felt tip or marker among others, will faithfully reproduce the expression of your drawings while keeping the emotion of your brush strokes Export formats: JPEG, PNG, BMP, SVG, PSD, MP4. SLATE ACCESSORIES Following the success of the first edition, iskn is unveiling a brand new version of the Sleeve. Still displaying an elegant design to join you in your day urban adventures, it will keep your slate tablets safe at all occasions.
SLEEVE OPENED SLEEVE
This fall also marks the arrival of the Pencil case. inks designed the ideal artist kit by using the felt and leather material of the sleeve. Designed to accommodate all drawing tools and iskn accessories (rings, pen, pencil), it will delight all creatives who love their pencils. The Tip is the stylus specially designed for all users who wish to turn their Slate 2+ into a graphic tablet. Inspired by the iskn Pen developed for the Slate 2+, the Tip offers the authentic feel of pencil gliding over paper in terms of sensations. DISCOVER MORE www.iskn.co EXPLORATEURS ESPACE
DEAN LANE BRISTOL
Born in 1973, Richard hails originally from the Historic City of York, North Yorkshire, where he became a prolific graffiti artist after being introduced to the book Subway Art. In the mid 80’s artists such as Part2ism & Seph were painting the City regularly with amazing spray-painted murals. This had a big influence on Richard and he began sketching different lettering styles. It was in the summer of 1987 he began painting under the pseudonym, CageOne. He would meet up with other artists most weekends and paint either local walls or travel further afield to cities such as Manchester, Nottingham or Newcastle. His early work consisted of graffiti style lettering, heavily influenced by Scandinavian graffiti artists such as ‘Bates’ and the bottom- heavy typeface, Bottleneck.
After years of painting his pseudonym on walls and trains all over the North of England, he began painting large-scale murals, moving on from the traditions of graffiti lettering, to create portrait work. By now legal wall spaces had emerged in nearly all the major cities, this meant the artists could spend the time perfecting their craft rather than looking over their shoulders, also he was a little older now so the thrill of the chase had died off and he was more interested in the art its self. Richard used photoshop to manipulate images of people, warping them, before painting
it on to a wall. Over time they became so abstracted they were no longer recognisable, this led to a more experimental style of working. Richard soon became fascinated by the Abstract art movement of the 1960’s. This then developed into the purely nonrepresentational style he paints today. His work became looser and portrayed emotion rather than physical objects. The work is built up of several layers, often using different materials to create depth and movement to the piece. speed to capture the moment. Richard can produce several paintings in one The process is an intuitive one, letting the unconscious make the decisions. The work is done at day but maybe keep only one, due to the accidental nature not every painting will make the grade. Working in this way can produce some very interesting results, the kind of results that cannot be achieved by planning and overthinking each painting. He likes to use a wide range of mediums, going through phases. At the moment he uses mainly oil paint with either charcoal or printing ink, experimenting with printing using found objects such as pieces of cardboard, plastic or mesh. Aerosols always play a part in Richard’s work, as this is the medium he learnt to paint with back in 1987.
Richards work is heavily influenced by the work of L.S. Lowry. As a child he would visit the Art Gallery in York to see the Lowry paintings it housed. Local scenes that Lowry was commissioned to paint by the galley in 1952. What captured Richards imagination was how Lowry achieved great depth to the work by having almost ghost like forms in the distance. This is a method Richard has adopted for the series The Silence Between Us, muting the compositions to create a tranquil atmosphere. Richard will often visit the Lowry Museum in Salford, Manchester and spend all day looking through the work and gathering inspiration. In the Summer of 2008, Richard took part in an exhibition in The Hague, curated by The Red Cross. The work from the show was auctioned by Christies (Amsterdam). Richards work entitled Children of War, from a small series of work that looked at the effects our troops have on the children when invading their countries. The painting was bought by the United Nations and is now on display in their headquarters in Geneva. In 2012 he was awarded an Artaq Urban Art Award for a series of non-objective style murals, loosely based on architecture and decay. This lead to exhibitions in Paris and Angers. Now residing in the South West of England, Richard concentrates on painting in the Studio. The move from wall to canvas saw deeper meaning brought to his work. In the series Forgotten, he stripped back the painting to its bare essentials, creating a raw minimal abstract style, this was to illustrate the loneliness and frustration experienced by amnesia sufferers. The work delves deep into the mind of the amnesia sufferer, as they take their fragmented memories trying to piece it all together and make sense of what’s in front of them. Richard suffered memory loss when recovering from a
diabetic hypo, he did not recognise his Family nor could he remember their names. This soon passed as he regained consciousness and his memory returned, but the impression this left stayed in Richard’s mind and the forgotten series was created. The work is created using charcoal, a medium that can be easily erased and reapplied, this seemed like the perfect material to work with. The images themselves comprise of fragmented abstract forms created by applying charcoal dust fingerprints to the paper, representing shattered memories. The challenge of stripping the painting back to a bare minimum is something Richard enjoyed. After decades of creating full compositions, this was a completely different approach. Richard decided to continue with the minimalist abstract style in his latest series of paintings entitled ‘The silence be- tween us’, which looks at silence through spirituality. Most religions practice silence, either through prayer or meditation. In this work, Richard looks at the power silence has on the senses and the feeling of balance and completion it can
create. It can be difficult in finding silence in a world bursting with mechanical noise, the endless drone of engines, music, tv’s capturing our attention. Practicing silent prayer/meditation, training the mind to block out all the back ground noise can recharge the senses, uplifting your energy. The paintings are composed of 2 layers. The first layer represents the everyday noise, created using oil paint or charcoal, this layer is very energetic. Richard listens to the sounds around him and paints accordingly. The second layer represents the silent prayer/ meditation lifting the spirit and is created with a wash of white oil paint, muting the previous layer to create a harmonious and peaceful composition. Through the work, Richard would like to inspire people to find silence in their lives even if just for a few minutes a day and find the power it holds. Richard is currently working on a collection of hand painted ceramics which will be released early 2018. DISCOVER MORE www.theartofrichardshipley.com
THE SILENCE BETWEEN US STUDY 12
with photography and video recording/ editing.
Giorgos Kapsalakis, is a young artist based in Athens (Greece). In 2017 he graduated in Mixed Media Fine Arts from the VSA under Professor A. Pistonis. Last year he became a member of Shair Art Gallery in Braga, Portugal. He has taken part in numerous exhibitions in Greece and other countries. Here is what he has to interestingly say about himself and the intrinsic world of art. I’ve been studying 3D Animation along with developing a strong passion for photography, together with being interested in cinema work. One minute I was behind a screen and the next behind a camera being director, producing storyboard art, backstage photography for many short films, commercials and music videos. I have also directed two of my own films. When I completed my 3D Animation Studies, I began a BA in Mixed Media Fine Arts. I have been drawing for 3 years and I found that experimenting with photography and cinema
helped me get a better sense of composition and so it went from there.
At first I took very few photos, maybe a roll every three or four months. However, I began to like film photography so much that I started shooting increasingly more. Now I couldn’t imagine not recording moments of my life on film. I am a self-taught photographer but there have been some people that I have met who really helped me to understand film photography. One of them is the owner of the film shop that I regularly use to renew my supplies. He is a catalytic figure in my life, not only as a friend but also as a mentor. His shop is named Photodigital Web. This man, taught me that talent, practice and skill is not that important, as long as you feel things and try your best to express them through what you shoot, then skill does not matter. I honestly don’t have any skills in photography, I just happen to know the basics but that’s it.
Photography taught me how to observe little things, to be more compassionate and the most important to be patient. I recently discovered Dolores Marat, who I really like and respect but on the whole, I do not really know many photographers. I’ve always been more influenced by cinematographers: Wong Kar Wai, Jim Jarmusch etc. I use mainly film which is something that came by accident into my life 3 years ago, when I found a Zenit 122. I started to shoot street photography in the central of Athens. My analog equipment is a Canon AE1 and an Olympus XA2 on 35mm. When I started shooting with my Zenit, I used to point and shoot and hope a decent picture came out. I don’t have huge technical knowledge, so it’s mainly guesswork and because I shoot on film, it’s normally a long wait to see if the photo has worked. Nowadays I work professionally
I love street photography and candid shots of strangers going about their business. People’s expressions are fascinating when they don’t know they’re being photographed. Although that type of covert spur-of-the- moment shooting is very difficult with film, manual focusing of 50mm lens is more adaptable. I’ve recently been working with models more and am adjusting to the more deliberate, considered framing and lighting that is required. I like to keep trying new and challenging artistic things. Recently I finished a project called “Kenopsia”. Kenopsia is a forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet. I used to shoot streets, passages and shops for about two years. My main influences are painting, cinema and music. I know I just have to feel something to shoot and music helps me a lot. I have music on 6 to 8 hours a day and I can never get enough, sometimes
it’s the words, sometimes the melody, I get vision from the feelings and shoot. I have tried many times to play music but I have failed, so I just enjoy listening to it. My last project was based on a song by Tom Waits, it was called Downtown train and the model that posed for that project was a friend of mine. I tried to capture the sincerity in her gaze and the moments of laughter and thoughtfulness . Even when there is a little bit of staging, it is always to capture something that is already there, an authentic feeling or look. What fascinates me about portrait photography is its ability to let me see something new and real about the people I photograph, so keeping everything as authentic as possible this is one of my main goals. There always has to be sincerity even when I ask my models (which are always also my friends) to pose. Photography is to me a way to un-mask myself, the
world and hopefully the models. I’d say that it is at the same time a way to capture a moment, to tell a story and to experience intimacy with someone. It’s the simplest and most effective way I know how to express my feelings. Above all, it’s a way to expose or give form to things that are usually hidden or unseen. Everything about a person can be read upon their face, squint of eyes, turn of lips or raised eye brows, immediately open up one’s feelings like an open book.
DOWNTOWN TRAIN (PORTRAIT OF NEFELI)
The underlying link between all my work is people. I have experimented in all types of photography, which is an important thing to do if you want to find out what speaks true to you. It was during this process that I discovered shooting musicians to be the most fulfilling. I think it’s because I can relate to a musician on a certain creative level; there are a lot of parallels between photography and music. Photography helped me find myself. It gets you on adventures, it makes you meet new people, it just makes you live as you should have always been. Another thing I really like about shooting is that I make memories with my own vision. It really is true to what I felt at a certain moment and later I can
look at photos and feel the same way again. For me, photography is a tool that serves to represent everything that exists and what doesn’t exist, but despite being consistent is what has motivated artistic creation to the present day, has been the representation of ourselves.
express feelings or tell stories. There are some moments of my life or some ways in which the world appears to me which I feel need to be photographed, looked at again and remembered. All the photos I take, even those I don’t publish are a way to give form to my feelings.
Photography allows me to communicate with the outer world and with my future self. The message doesn’t need to be clear to the viewer. I want some of my images to look mysterious or surreal but they always portray life as I see it. Being an introvert, I feel like some emotions can only be portrayed through film, photography or poetry. Not very skilled in the latter, I think that photography is the best way I can
The project that I am working on called Endless Roads takes place in Bratislava. When I first traveled two years ago I never believed that I would start a huge project like this one. I have been to Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia 7 times and I will present a print project by February 2018. DISCOVER MORE Instagram (@kapsalakis_g)
Clare is a Contemporary British Artist based in Bristol, UK with a passion for painting. She attended the University of West of England 2011-2014 graduating with a First Class BA Honours Degree in Drawing & Applied Arts and Bath Spa University 2014-2015 gaining a MA Fine Art. Clare recently showcased her work in Kofi Space, PMX, Hasselt, Belgium and has exhibited in London, Nottingham, Bristol and Bath. She was awarded ‘The Drawing Lab Workshop’ a collaborative residency at Aalto University, Helsinki between artists from the UK and Finland in 2013. Clare is an artist network member at the Royal West of England Academy Bristol. She took the opportunity to open an art space near her home in 2015, where she has her studio and sublets studio space to other artists in the community. Clare is a painter who uses drawing as a primary means of expression. Drawing underpins her practice. It is the way she approaches a subject, acting as a direct response, a key element for unlocking ideas. A way and means to translate thought into a visual, spilling her thoughts out onto the page. This then leads to new ideas and in Clare’s experience it makes the transition from drawing to painting more fluent. Drawing before
starting to paint, helps her to get to know her subject and to resolve her paintings. Clare continues to draw in situ making observational drawings, she draws to truly understand what is in front of her. Clare also draws from memory or her imagination, using line or tone with charcoal, chalk or pencil. Confronted with a vast landscape she selects what is important, what speaks to her and what has a profound effect on her. Clare’s paintings are inspired by a drawing or drawings and her feelings of a place or places, translated or transposed onto the painted surface. Clare experiences making quick sketches complements her paintings in the studio. Clare’s paintings take on a personality of their own, representing a non verbal approach to all her senses when in the landscape.
OBSERVATIONAL DRAWING, PENCIL ON PAPER
Clare says ‘First and foremost it is the work that is important to me, from me and of me, deeply rooted in a sense of place’ her work takes influence from the idea of liminal space in landscape. She enjoys walking in the landscape, absorbing place through all her senses. Once she has discovered what it is about, it may not have to continue to be a specific location but one place that could lead to another, where she discovers the same or similar qualities. Clare is interested in how we seek a deep meaning and an emotional response, through allusion to our subject rather than making work that attempts to look like it, creating a sense of place. She combines a translation of reality with perceptions of her
own experiences. With an attempt to find a visual language for things that are both visible and invisible. Clare’s interest is in the land and tidal waters, where the land meets the water as a liminal space, a place of transition, consequences of perpetual flux. Occupying a position at or on both sides of a boundary or threshold, where order, disorder and chaos can be found. Clare is fascinated by the erosion of rock and cliff formation, working on locations such as the Avon Gorge, Bristol, the Severn Estuary, The Isle of Skye & Cornwall. She is also interested in the transitional space between the very light and the very dark on entering and exiting caves. Caves are an extraordinary place like nowhere else. One of the things her MA taught her was to adopt a questioning approach to her practice. To ask questions of herself and her work. Who am I as an artist? What is my voice? What do I have to say? Why keep going back to these places? Maybe because I don’t quite get it. When Clare is working elements sometimes naturally occur, this is what makes painting exciting, an idea sparks off another, surprises can happen.
TRANSITION OF PLACE II (INSTALLATION VIEW)
Clare says experiencing new landscapes makes her work different as she is responding to new sounds, colours and smells, resulting in making work of different size, shape and colour. The large square format was very successful, as it allows room for the image to expand and emulates the enormity of place. Clare loves working on this scale as it totally immerses and engulfs you in it. Seeing and experiencing the powerful collective works of Rothko, Clyfford Still, William de Kooning and Barnett Newman in 2016 at the Abstract expressionism exhibition, Royal Academy, London, had a huge impact on her and how she would like to work. Clyfford Still has been a constant reference to Clare’s work and to see his works for the first time took scale to new levels. The locations Clare chooses and the focus of her attention is highly selective, personal and resonant of individual landscape features that command a presence and have a profound effect on her associated thoughts, emotions and reflections.
The emphasis is upon the sense of contemplation within place. She enjoys the qualities of space, allowing sounds to resinate within her. Clare’s work aims to reference transition and consequences of perpetual flux within her oil paintings. Her search for the exact colour and sensation of place remains central to the development of her practice. Clare uses pure natural materials to make her own paint and surfaces, creating original, one off pieces of work. The chosen ground or support becomes very much part of the work as the surface and format determines the outcome of the work. She sees herself as an organic painter, enjoying the stuff of paint, the process of making paint from pigment with only the use of a binder, using a muller & mixing slab. In Clare’s experience the use of oil paint provides colour, luminosity and a richness to the work. Surface and colour has become an important part of her practice.
Clare is interested in the language of colour, the practice of paint, to understand all the different personalities and behaviours of the colours with their differing materials. The investigation of paint and colour has become an important part of her work. Through colour Clare discovers other qualities, moods and atmospheres. Adding colour injects emotion into an image. She thinks you need to enter colour to experience it. The build up of pure pigment is as relevant as the subtle shift of tonal qualities. The Impact of a colour varies as to what colour lies next to it and beneath it. Clare selects a limited palette that captures the precise mood, impact and depth of what she is aiming at. Clare has been researching Patrick Heron colour and natural forms, colour shapes and their relations being a central concern. Referencing The book by Mel Gooding on the progress of his career as an artist. As Patrick Heron said ‘Colour is a form of expression’. Asking the viewer to take time to look, to gaze,
to feel and sense the intangible spirit of place. Clare puts a lot of herself into her paintings. Each painting has a new life, its own quality, creating an ever developing and evolving body of work. Clare enjoys working in series as it helps to expand the conversation with a sense of rhythm, poetry and music, a non verbal approach to all her senses when in the landscape. A direct reference for her Natural Form series was the exhibition of Paul Nash’s works at Tate Britain in 2016. In particular his surrealist ideas of infusing his approach to landscape with the idea of object personages, influencing his series of works depicting the fallen trees of Monster Field. Clare continues to investigate the use of materials mainly with
oil and pigment on a variety of surfaces including, metal, paper, plywood, linen and burlap. Playing and experimenting is always important but knowing when to put that to one side and to focus on resolving or finishing work is just as important. Painting on paper remains an important part of her work, as it holds a place, adding another quality. Clare’s visit to the Anslem Kiefer exhibition at the Royal Academy, London, in 2015 proved a really good reference for the use of materials and scale. It provided her with new ideas and possibilities that had a direct impact on her work, by developing and combining materials she had never thought of using together, on a variety of surfaces, giving surprising and exciting results. Clare says ‘How
you begin is very important as it can determine the outcome. Taking into consideration size, format, colour and composition’. Clare says practicing as an artist has opened her eyes to seeing the world differently, changing her as a person. She experiences being an artist as rewarding, exciting, exhilarating, interesting and challenging, meeting lots of really interesting people. Clare enjoys the freedom to express herself through the colour, composition and form. DISCOVER MORE www.clarethatcher.org Social media, instagram clare_artist Twitter ClareThatcher2 Facebook Clare Thatcher
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