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CONTEMPORARY ART REVIEW Biennial Edition Installation • Painting • Mixed media • Drawing • Performance • Public Art • Drawing • Video art • Fine Art Photography

ZHANG FAN TSVETINA DANEVA MARK NESMITH BO COSFRANZ JO BETH WHARTON CECILIA MARTINEZ ELIZABETH MCCOY JENY BRILL VASILE GHIUTA Mona Lisa, Mixed Media2 0"x16" a work by Jeny Brill (USA)


CONTEMPORARY ART REVIEW

Be that as it may, this catalog or any portion ther eof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without express written permission from Peripheral ARTeries and featured artists.


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Contents 4 Vasile Ghiuta

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Lives and works in Toronto, Canada

Lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

lives and works in Berkeley, California, USA

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Lives and works in Jersey City, NJ, USA

Jeny Brill

Lives and works in Sacramento, California, USA

68 Cecilia Martinez

Lives and works in London, United Kingdom

Lives and works in Beaumont, TX, USA

Lives and works in New York City, USA

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Tsvetina Daneva

Lives and works in Wuhan, China

Special thanks to: Michael Betancourt, Teresa Wells, Jared Schaffer, Jean-Claude Bise, Ashley Cassens, Hildy Maze, Karissa Hahn, Juliana Pepper, Jane Sheiko, Max Savold, Julia Ăœberreiter, Deborah Esses, Margaret Noble, Joseph Goddard, Nathalie Borowski, Marco Visch, Xavier Blondeau, J.D. Doria, Matthias Callay, Luiza Zimerman, Kristina Sereikaite, Scott D'Arcy, Kalli Kalde, Carla Forte, Mathieu Goussin, Evie Zimmer, Dorothee Zombronner, Olga Karyakina, Robert Hamilton, Isabel Becker, Clare Haxby, Carrie Alter, Jessica Bingham, Agnieszka Ewa Braun, Fabian Freese, Elodie Abergel, Ellen van der Schaaf, Courtney Henderson and Francine LeClercq

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Vasile Ghiuta A Romanian-born painter, Vasile Ghiuta is a self-taught abstract painting artist, living in Toronto, Canada. A university alumnus with a background in chemistry and physics, he has a keen eye for colours, angles and strata, making his artwork interesting, exciting and wondrous. His scientist background helped him understand the structural composition of the colours, and he tried to combine them in such a way to get the best and vibrant outcome. His abstract art works are inspired by human feelings, emotions and thoughts and represent a wealth of knowledge and experience that the artist has acquired over the years. As an avid reader and a passionate traveller, Vasile Ghiuta gained valuable information and guidance from his several trips to the most famous history museums, art museums and art galleries, spread in so many cities over the world: Toronto, Paris, New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Rome, Brussels, Istanbul, Amman, Petra, Jerusalem, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Each of these journeys enhanced his desire to express his own vision about humanity, and paint the colors of this world, as he sees it through his art. He believes that life is a sum of various experiences that carry a large amount of energy which could be transposed through the power of color and specific painting techniques into real life stories.His acrylic on canvas works aim to express this concept, inviting the viewer to take a step forward into the world of self-discovery and reflection.Each of his canvases tells a story, and every story needs to be shared. While Vasile is an abstract painting artist, the essence of his works is extracted from reality: real life, real people, and real emotions. Whether is about joy or sadness, happiness or dismay, victory or defeat, his work is for sure an expression of his vision that life is an amazing journey and only human beings can make it unforgettable. Vasile thinks that art in its diverse forms and shapes gives us the chance to use our creativity and imagination and bring to light the finest, most intricate threads woven together to make the very essence of our souls. It defines us to the tiniest particles of what we have become along this journey. One story can take us back in time, it could be a history lesson that helps understand our roots, remember our fathers and honour their sacrifice; another story could be inspired by the joy in a child’s eyes, making us look to future generations with respect, hope and optimism. From his point of view, as an artist, it is all about life experiences, emotions and evolution. It is all about feelings, thoughts and vibes translated into a language that uses colors to express an idea, to convey a message to humankind. Vasile Ghiuta’s paintings have been exhibited in North America, United Arab Emirates, Europe, Korea and China, by art galleries, museums and some paintings got acquired by private collectors. He got rewards at different international art competitions and also, his works have been featured in several art magazines, such as: “Artascent-International Art & Literature Journal”, Issue 28, December, 2017,California, USA; “Best International Creatives 2017 and 2019”, and “First Masters Edition”- Art Book, 2017 published by “ArtQuench Magazine”, San Francisco, USA; “Circle of Arts Foundation” art magazine “Circle spotlight no 5”, Lyon, France, 2018.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Vasile and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries.

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Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.vasileghiuta.ca in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview


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the changes that we saw happening during the chemical reactions. It was another process of learning for me, because I could understand not only the mechanism of how the chemical bonds within chemical compounds break down in order to form other compounds, but also it helped me develop my analytical skills, observing and interpreting the outcome of a lab work through the lenses of quantitative and qualitative applied chemistry. Probably, the most interesting moment was to see the process happening before my eyes, when often those chemical reactions were accompanied by a wonderful, amazing change of color. It was such a great experience! And so much fun!

with a couple of introductory questions. As a self-taught abstract painting artist, are there any experiences that did particularly influnce your evolution as an artist and help you to develop your attitude to experiment? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to the relationship between your European roots and your current life in Canada direct the trajectory of your current artistic research? Vasile Ghiuta: I was born and raised in Romania, a country with a very rich cultural heritage. I am very proud of the education that I got in my native country, and I am grateful to my teachers and my parents for guiding me throughout my childhood and adolescence.

After graduation, I worked as a research chemist, but I also dedicated more time to my passion for art. I started to pursue my dream, and I visited the best art museums in Romania and around the world. I read as much as I could the biographies of many famous artists and tried to learn from their struggle and their endeavours.

From early stages of my life, I was attracted by art in all its forms. I remember dearly the trips to the art museums, libraries and art galleries where I discovered a world that fascinated me deeply. The emotion generated by watching a beautiful painting was intriguing to me, making me wonder how the artist mixed the colors to obtain such wonderful visual effects? It was not only the feeling of being transported in the world that the painter wanted the viewer to immerse into, but also the colors he used to create a specific atmosphere, or to convey a specific message.

In this regard, I believe that Jackson Pollock influence me the most in my abstract painting efforts. I loved the flow of colors and the majesty of his paintings. In my works, I tried to add layers over layers, where every layer tells a part of a story. In the end, all those layers are like the chapters of a book, each chapter creates the premises to tell the story and all of them together make the entire book, giving it complexity, subtlety and unicity. I am always experimenting and always trying new techniques and different colors. My paintings are vibrant, composed of many

As a student at University of Bucharest, Faculty of Chemistry and Physics, I got the chance to work a lot on different projects; generally speaking, the organic and inorganic chemistry labs, and the analytical chemistry classes, in particular, were the ones where we had to combine different chemical substances, observe and interpret

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layers depending on the story I am trying to bring to light. Living the first 30 years of my life in Europe, could be a reason why I am so indebted to my heritage. Romania is a four season country, where every 3 months the scenery is different. No one would be bored with the breathtaking landscapes of my native country. This is another source of inspiration for me. I love to be amazed and I love to amaze others by the way I express myself through the means of my art works. When I moved to Canada, in 2003, I discovered another beautiful country, where energy and beauty are abundant. I met here many artists and I made lots of friends with similar interests as me. Living here added more substance to my personality. In Canada, I managed to find my artistic pathway and I am more than happy for this opportunity. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article has at once impressed us for the way you sapiently combined element from reality with captivating abstract sensitiveness, to provide the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience: when walking our readers through your usual workflow and process, we would like to ask you if you think that there is a central idea that connects all your works. Vasile Ghiuta: It is true. You noticed that all my paintings try to “provide the viewer with such a multilayered visual experience�. Even though my works are abstract, all of them are inspired from reality: real people, real events, real emotions. I try in my paintings to give a

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Resilience

visual, colourful expression of a feeling or an emotion. In my view, there is neither 100 % unhappiness nor 100% happiness, on the contrary, I believe that our emotions are a mix


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of feelings, with different degrees and shades of a specific sentiment. Therefore, one can find different layers in my paintings, trying to capture the complexity

and the variety of a particular feeling. Even though my paintings may look so different, at a closer look there is something that they have in common: a strong color in a

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Looking for gold

stratified background, exactly how the emotions are. The central idea connecting all my works is the joy: the joy to paint, to live, to be happy,

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to be merciful and to be hopeful. We like the wy Slices of life displays such a powerful combination between sense of

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spontaneity play in your work? Vasile Ghiuta: Indeed, “Slices of Life” is a very powerful painting. My attempt was to express the idea that life is a sum of events and emotions, sometimes positive emotions, while other times less positive, but in the end, this is how life is. And just in the everyday life, in my stories told on canvass, it’s not always black or white; it’s often the nuances that can bring clarity and lead my hand towards the final brushstroke. Inspiration is essential, but spontaneity is the key factor in my works. In “Slices of Life”, I was looking at the past events that had an impact on me, but in the same time, I was tempted to explore the future and dive into an ocean of possibilities and opportunities. Certainly, spontaneity is the surprising element and plays an important role in my paintings. Before I start a new piece of work, I have a general idea of what I want to paint, but during the process I discover new avenues for my approach and the outcome is always different than the starting point. I lose myself in the creative moment, guided by an unseen hand, feeling the energy, and in the end, I enjoy that emulating sensation of indescribable bliss knowing that I reached my goal for that particular painting. Being happy for one work, lays the foundation for the next one. I get excited, encouraged and rejuvenated by every work I do. That’s my fountain of youth, that’s my resource that keeps me going. As you have remarked once, your artistic credo is simple: “Life is the most exciting journey that everyone would love to remember”: how do you consider the role of memory playing within your artistic

geometry and unique aesthetics: do you conceive you works instinctively or do you methodically elaborate your pieces? In particular, how importance does

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Snowing in the city

research? And how does everyday life's experience fuel your creative process?

change. The past is the only history book that everyone knows it by heart because everyone is the main character in this book. Every living soul in this world is unique, and each and every one of us has something to remember about his or her life. The past is a

Vasile Ghiuta: This question requires a more elaborate answer. The past is the only thing that we cannot

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Playground

series of events that happened to us from birth to present day. A retrospective look into the past is often beneficial to each of us, because it keeps us grounded and in touch with reality. A big tree has strong roots. And so does any human being. We can learn from

the nature so many things, as we can also learn from each other, as well. What makes the difference though is the will power to go back to your past, and the ability to look back with a smile. Memories, whether they are good or bad, are snapshots of our

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A drop in the ocean

previous experiences. The good ones make us candid, sweet, kind and happy, of course. The bad ones are the ones that we should filter and review with more wisdom and lucidity. Because if we don’t, we will find ourselves hanging on the negative waves,

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hampering us from moving on. And that is what harms us the most in life: the inability of moving on, getting stuck in the past instead of continuing the journey. The emotional intelligence is a gift that we should not forget to take advantage of

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Stardust

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throughout our life. With so much uncertainty nowadays, at least one thing is clear and certain: our past. Everyone owns his past, but not everyone is aware of it. Every moment of joy or sadness, every success or failure, every good day or bad day in our life refines every individual, changes the personality, for better or for worse, depending on how that person reacts to everyday challenges.

decisions that will follow us like a shadow later in life. And in the end, what are we left with? A retrospective look at what we have done throughout this intriguing, unique journey. Memories become our best assets. Stories, people, me, you, trees, rivers, the ocean, the sky, stars, love, defeat, illness, death, cry, smile, laughter, gun, war, flowers, children, mom, wife, friends, enemies, peace. This is life. For many of us, this is the past, for others it is the future. No one knows how life unfolds from the beginning to the end, but everyone should keep one thing in mind: life is short, and you have to make the best of it. Give the world the best of you, so that you will enjoy this amazing journey that life is!

My philosophy in life is that if the world gives you nothing, then you have to make sure that you give back everything; the world does not control your life, you are solely the one in charge with how you live your life: what you do, what you say, what you think. That is your responsibility. And if you make your mission to create a better world starting within yourself, then half of the work is done. If your input is positive, generous and genuine then it is more likely that you are on the right track in life. If you remember every day to live gracefully, to keep your feet down on earth and your head cool, you will be fine. Paradoxically, simple things make life interesting. People have an absurd tendency to complicate life, but that is just a recipe for disaster. What comes naturally into your way, what happens effortlessly, and then this is what you should appreciate more and embrace with gratitude and with all your heart. It is true, sometimes we are pushed into the wrong direction, and we strive to accomplish a mission that is not ours. And that is when we struggle, madly driven by ambition, greed, impatience, frivolity, desire or rush. And that is when we stumble and lose balance in our life. That is the moment when we make the wrong

Now, all of this is reflected in my paintings. I tried to give a visual expression of whole panoply of energies that make people feel, think or react in a certain way in response to something that happened to them, or it happened in their micro-universe. Even though my works are abstract, my sources of inspiration are rooted in real life experiences. I have a keen eye for detail, for analysis and synthesis, and therefore, my interest in understanding the psychological impact that one event can have on people. I observe their reaction to it and then I try to my best ability to transpose those feelings onto canvass. It is not always easy to capture that exact feeling and release it in the most accurate way in my painting, but I am always consumed by this passion, and I never get tired of trying to reach the best of me for each of my artworks.

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Often marked out with vivacious tones, as the interesting Playground, you artworks also feature thoughtful nuances, and we really appreciate the way Snowing in the city shows that intense tones are not indespensable in order to create tension and dynamics: how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in a specific artwork in order to achieve such brilliant results? Vasile Ghiuta: Indeed, those two artworks of mine, “Playground” and “Snowing in the city” are so different in terms of artistic message, techniques and colors. “Playground” is a complex work, elaborated on two distinct structures: on one hand, it represents the joy of being a child. As a child, all what you want is to grow up and be an adult. At that age, we don’t realize the beauty and the innocence of childhood. On the other hand, it brings up to light the nostalgia that lingers in our souls as adults for all those years of boyhood, and the longing for a time when everything was easy, simple and fun. In order to express this dramatic effect, in “Playground”, I used strong colors, brushes and painting knife to obtain the most accurate visual effect on canvass which would reflect the candour and the purity of my own childhood. I remember myself as a happy child willing to play, but also eager to be a grown up, just like my mom and dad. This painting is related to memories very dear to me when I lived carefree, playing with my brother and my friends, and yet aspiring to grow up faster, and be a man, just like my dad. It is a story of a happy boy whose life revolves around his toys, but who is also curious about what it is like to be an adult.

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Childhood grove

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Field flowers

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By contrast, in “Snowing in the city”, I used pale colors, darker tones, so that I could capture the melancholic mood. It is a work made with a softer knife, because the message was totally different than in “Playground”. The message of “Snowing in the city” was to express the cleansing process from tired feelings or bad emotions. Snowing was like a purifying process. For the snow, I used shades of light gray, brushed not in a linear way, from top to bottom, but in circles with ups and downs, to show the intensity of this process. To recover after a bad experience in life you need the strength to reset yourself. But in order to be able to move on, you need to go through introspection, self-discovery and be resilient. The purging process is probably one of the hardest lessons we all have to understand in life, but it is worth of trying it because it may reveal details about ourselves, helping us understand who we really are and where are we heading to. Marked out with such unique visual identity, your artworks feature such an oniric atmosphere and deeply struck us for the way they incite the viewer to make new personal associations. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? Vasile Ghiuta: From my standpoint, as an artist, it is all about life experiences, emotions and evolution. My stories on canvass talk about feelings, thoughts and vibes translated

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into a language that uses colors to express an idea, to convey a message to the humankind. It is very important to me if the viewer can relate to my art. I want to spark his or her imagination, to create an emotion in everyone’s soul who comes to the gallery and looks at my artworks. I want him or her to be an active part of the artistic process. If the viewer does not make a connection with my painting, it means that I failed. That feedback plays a crucial role for my artistic endeavours, it is essential for me to have a reaction from my public. That’s what gives me strength, confidence and keeps me motivated. It doesn’t matter if the art lovers like or dislike my works, it is whether I made them feel an emotion, if I conveyed the message to them, or not. This is my only concern, and I try not to fail in accomplishing this artistic goal.

fine line that delineates the relationship between the real and the imagined life, as opposed to the “Playground”, which is a more sophisticated, abstract painting. In “Childhood grove”, on purpose, I tried to make everything simple, fluid, not layered, just to put emphasis on the real joy of being a kid, playing around, and having nothing to worry about. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artists' role differs depending on which sociopolitical system they are living in.' As an artist particularly interested in different cultures and ethnicities rather than the concept of mere beauty, do you think that your artistic research responds to a particular cultural moment? Moreover, how do you consider the role of artists in our media driven contemporary age?

The essence of your works is extracted from reality: real life, real people, and real emotions, and often relates to the realm of memory, as the interesting Childhood grove. We really appreciate the way your artistic production invites the viewers to explore the point of convergence between reality and abstraction, to challenge the viewers to explore realms of the imagination, how do you consider the relationship between the real and the imagined playing within your artistic research?

Vasile Ghiuta: In this regard, I consider myself very lucky because I have a big advantage. I live in Canada and I have a European cultural background, so for me it was easy to blend the two art streams in my works. There are differences between these two systems, in terms of concept and artistic expression. In the same time, we live in a global world, so we all have access to information and knowledge thanks to the new technology, so it is easier to stay current with what is happening in the world, at any given time. Just recently, I tackled new ideas, trying to incorporate in my art works some Arabic and Jewish elements. I have an open mind and an avid eye for reading and knowing what’s new in the art zone worldwide. There is no wonder why I spent a lot of time doing my research online, participating to different events and being involved in many ways in art projects. For instance, during my trips to

Vasile Ghiuta: Childhood grove” is another painting of mine that is very dear to me. Compared to “Playground”, this is a fluid painting; I used more of liquid acrylic paints to express the joy of playing games and all the fun of the childhood. It is an abstract painting, but its theme is based on the happy experiences lived long time ago, but still very vivid in my mind. In this painting, there is a

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Several layers of spring

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UAE, Israel, Jordan and Oman I got the chance to discover a new art which fascinates me. I have the “Childhood grove” painting on permanent exhibition at an art gallery in Dubai, and I keep in touch with many artists and art lovers from the Middle East region. That makes me feel that I belong to a much larger community where art has no borders. Art unites people from all the walks of life and with different cultural backgrounds. And the media makes nowadays everything to be easier and faster in terms of communications and staying in the know. It is a benefit that we all are grateful for.

both sides, the artists and the audience, as well. The more exposure you have as an artist, the better for your work. In my view, the online galleries will never replace the traditional ones. They should not be perceived as a threat to the “in house” art galleries. They just complement each other, and it is beneficial for everybody. Instagram, Facebook and other platforms bring together artists and their audience, promote and advertise new events, create the premises for a new art show, so, all in all, it is great to be able to address to a larger public. Speaking from my own experience, if I didn’t have this chance to have access to the online platforms, my works would still be unknown in countries like China or Korea.

Over the years your artworks have been exhibited in several countries, including North America, United Arab Emirates, Europe, Korea and China: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? Moreover, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm increases: how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere — and platforms as Instagram — in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience?

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Vasile. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? Vasile Ghiuta: I would like to thank you for the opportunity to present myself to the art lovers all over the world and for that I am very grateful to you.

Vasile Ghiuta: My relationship with my audience is a very honest one. When people come to the exhibitions to see me my art works, I ask them for a feedback. Their opinion is very important to me, whether is favourable or not. I like the praises of course, but I pay attention to criticism, and that’s how they become, without even knowing it, a part of my creative process. I love to have my paintings displayed in art galleries. Now, more and more exhibitions are online which is also extremely good for

Curently I am creating some artworks for diferent art shows in Toronto this summer, also i was aked to be part of jury for diferent competitions in Ontario. I am preparing some pieces for UAE and I hope I will deliver them personaly at the end of this year, and also I am working on a book about my art.

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Jeny Brill Lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

One of my earliest memories is making sculptures in the sand with plaster. I was very young and my neighbor was studying to be an art teacher. Where I grew up I was constantly surrounded by nature. The change of seasons were marked, in my mind, by the color of the sunlight, the hues of blue in the ocean, and the evolution of foliage. I have long been attracted to mixed media art. The use of materials out of context combined with textures and color are chosen to create an element of surprise. My studio is filled with containers of fabric, papers, wires, ribbons, sequins, jewels and broken pieces of toys, computers and jewelry. This is the pallet I pull from as I construct an environment. About 20 years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I was struck by an overwhelming “need” to make very feminine art. This is where my mermaids came from. I have never been attracted to the commercialized images of mermaids. Rather, I am drawn to those from different cultures and ethnicities where their uniqueness is more important than their beauty. From there I began to collect books on women role models. My work is an unique assortment of women who’s voices bare listening to. The composition, texture and colors of each environment is intended to not only define the woman but welcome the viewer into her space. The boxes that contain each environment define the limitation of each women’s influence. An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

get a wide idea about your artistic production, and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your B.S. in Fine Art from the Skidmore College, you nurtured your education with a MEd.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Jeny and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production and we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.jenybrill.com in order to

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that you receive from Xavier University: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does your cultural substratum as well as your early life in Cape Cod where you were constantly surrounded by nature, direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

imagination would create little rooms amongst the over grown cranberry bushes. The jetty on the beach became a whole house. Each rock’s shape would define what room it was. The colors in the sky on the Cape always attracted my attention. I was distinctly aware of the change in the color of the light as the months and seasons changed.

First of all thank you for the opportunity to be a part of Peripheral ARTeries I’m honored by your interest in my work.

I chose to attend Skidmore college because it had the best art program in a liberal arts school. Having grown up in a small town I wasn’t ready to go to a city and study at an art school. My freshman year I took an experimental painting class with David Miller. That was where I learned I was a painter. I was always moved by the abstract more than the classical art. I painted on large canvases that were bigger than me and I painted with my hands, brushes, rope, anything that would give me the texture that I was looking for. I also added texture in my painting with a variety of objects. This was the beginning of my exploration into mixed media. Texture and color have navigated my work from the beginning and I attribute that to having grown up in an environment that was filled with texture, color and the freedom to explore.

One of my earliest memories is making art on Cape Cod when I was 4 years old. My neighbor was studying to be an art teacher and took me under her wing. We went to the beach to make impressions in the sand and then poured plaster into them to create sculptures. We also did drawing and painting together. I was inspired by her work which was very detailed pen and ink drawings painted with water color. Over the years I also took several formal painting classes. All of this experience happened during my summers on the Cape up until I was nine years old so I never really thought about being anything other than an artist. Growing up on the Cape I was constantly outside exploring. My 27

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me very motivated to restore some sort of balance by thoughtfully examining the role that women have played in our past and present. Some of the subjects come to me right away. Some I researched. As I research each woman I begin to “feel” color and texture that relates to her essence. I think in color and so it is a very intuitive process.

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article has at once captured our attention for the way you sapiently combined figurative with abstract, to explore the theme of women's identity. We have particularly appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances that mark out your artworks, and we like the way they create tension and dynamics: how did you come about settling on your color palette? And how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in a specific artwork?

Your artworks often display such a coherent combination between sense of freedom and unique aesthetics. New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes? In particular, how importance does spontaneity play in your daily routine?

This recent work is extremely meaningful to me. I was raised by my mother and grandmother who were very intense, independent, strong women. My grandmother got me my first job, at a B&B, when I was nine and made me save every penny so that when I was in high school I could begin to travel. I studied Georgia O’Keeffe’s life and was inspired by her strength, passion and independence. Lady Diana was another woman who spoke to me as a strong and brave woman who didn’t need to raise her voice to be heard. So the current political climate makes

Using your language, spontaneity and instinct are the big players in my process. Once I have researched the woman I want to use in my work I look at many images of her for inspiration. I also look to find a “head shot” that reflects the energy I want to reflect in the space I create for her. Then I get to work in my studio. My studio is filled 31

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with papers, fabric, ribbons, and a lot of “stuff�.

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enable me to create that environment for her. This part of the process is instinctual. The part of the process where I find myself being spontaneous is when I get to a point where things almost click. I then pull away from the piece I’m working on and look around my studio. Sometimes it happens immediately that I spot a material or a paper that will make the piece click. Sometimes there are moments where I step back and reevaluate whether what I created matched my intention. Sometimes it takes days to find just the right thing. You often use materials out of context, that you sapiently combine with textures and color to create an element of surprise. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your studio is filled with containers of fabric, papers, wires, ribbons, sequins, jewels and broken pieces of toys, computers and jewelry. Photographer and sculptor Zoe Leonard once stated, "the objects that we leave behind hold the marks and the sign of our use: like archeological findings, they reveal so much about us". We’d love to ask you about the qualities of the materials that you include in your artworks: as an how do you select them and what does you direct to combine found materials? 35

I love using materials out of context! When I’m able to achieve the environment I’m looking for by using materials out of context it feels like a conquest. As if the menagerie of materials I have in my studio are challenging me to be successful. I am constantly saving pieces of things from computer or watch pieces to parts of old jewelry, packaging from fruit, and anything that glitters. There are random materials that I have kept for decades. Random objects draw me in to find their place in context with my art. For example, when I made the Michelle Obama piece I wanted her to have a watch but it didn’t feel right to paint it. So I looked around my studio. I have a little dish with dismembered computer pieces and found one small enough to work as a watch face. Mona Lisa has a shawl made from the plastic webbing the limes come in. It is sort of a mind set. In order to “use” materials out of context you need to be able to “see” materials out of context in every day living. Your mermaids come from your need to create very feminine art, that struck you when you were pregnant with your daughter. As one the most recognized pioneer of feminist art, Italian painter

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Artemisia Gentileschi, your characters not fall prey to the emotional prettification of a beloved subject. In this sense, your artistic production is a genuine tribute to the issue of women's identity in our globalised still patriarchal and male oriented societies. How do you consider the role of women artists in our age? Do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? I don’t see that art is an obligation to fulfill for the public. What bother’s me is that there are times when women’s art isn’t taken as seriously. Especially if it is art that might make you uncomfortable. Twenty years ago, when I started using mermaids in my art, they were not as popular as they are today. Yet the mermaids that are common today are almost always caucasian with big boobs and a tiny waist. They’re seen as a form of decoration. It makes me a little uncomfortable seeing how commercialized the image of a mermaid has become. I say this as I look at the wall in front of me and it is filled with mermaids from all over the world. They are made from resources that are common to their culture. Some represent the spiritual beliefs of their culture. None of them are made to be

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Marked out with such unique asthetics, your artworks deeply struck us for the way they incite the viewer to make new personal associations. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

pretty but all of them are beautiful. They have an intention that seems so honest to me and that is what motivates me to use the mermaid tales in my work. I want to honor these women and the mermaid tales represents the Goddess I believe all women have within them that makes them so strong. It's important to remark the allegorical quality of your artworks: more specifically, the boxes that contain each environment define the limitation of each women’s influence. How would you consider the role of symbols and metaphors playing within your artistic research?

Providing a space is what it is all about. My work asks the viewer to think and reflect which requires you to use your imagination. The quotes I include in each piece is to help the viewer appreciate the role each woman played in our world past or present.

The boxes that are used to create the environments play many roles. They define a limit but not an end. The box may contain a women role model but it only captures an essence of the person. As if you were looking at a photo. That’s why each environment has a quote from that person. There is also a frame within the box. The frames let us know what is important. Each box holds a voice inside that needs to be heard. There are many details within each environment that symbolize elements of the women depicted.

Any time you communicate there is a giving and receiving of information otherwise it is just telling someone. The viewer plays an essential role in the life of my work. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artists' role differs depending on which sociopolitical system they are living in.' As an artist particularly interested in different 39

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cultures and ethnicities rather than the

It is hard to not want to respond to the present sociopolitical culture in my country. That has been a catalyst and motivation for me. But I can’t just park myself there. The world is a big place and it is important to me to look beyond my culture for inspiration.

concept of mere beauty, do you think that your artistic research responds to a particular cultural moment? Moreover, how do you consider the role of artists in our media driven contemporary age?

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There are women all over the world, past and present, who have voices that need to be heard. I don’t just want to represent the ones that are well known. I also want to represent women that many don’t know like Mo’ne Davis and Temple Grandin. Art has an important role in

society especially in our media driven societies. Most of the media requires you to be passive and take it all in while art requires you to go to it. When you seek out art you are not being passive. Art asks you to question and

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contemplate, meditate and communicate across cultures, ethnicities, and political views.

the ability to access so much art I find it important to keep myself in check and not loose my focus. We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Jeny. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

How do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? And what do you hope your audience take away from your artworks? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms increases — as Instagram — how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

Thank you. I truly appreciate your interest. In addition to the women role models I have two other projects I am working on. One I call the Barbie Project. These are also in boxes but much smaller and I hope to be able to use in an installation that looks at women’s roles in the 60’s and women’s roles today. How have they changed and how have they stayed the same.

The hardest part of making art for me is how solitary it can be. I have always been around a lot of musicians and they perform their art to the public and get immediate feedback from their audience. Whereas, a studio artist makes art, hopes it gets seen, and maybe gets feedback. My art breathes when it has an audience. I have great respect for my audience because they are an important part of my art. Without an audience then I am only talking to myself. All that I ask from my audience is that you listen. Listen to my work with your eyes and think about it. Platforms, like Instagram, are amazing. I have connected with artists from all over the world. They enable me to immediately see what other artists are doing and communicate with them. That said, with

Sometimes I also just want to paint so I have begun a series of landscape paintings on wood. As many can relate there are more ideas than time. I am extremely grateful for the ability and opportunity to make art. An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

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Elizabeth McCoy Lives and works in Berkeley, California, USA Beth of Lenabethe Media & Design has spent the last 35 years exploring the disparate elements of design through various media and techniques. These have included painting, printmaking, collage, paper, photography, fabric, glass, ceramics, beads, sculpture, wood, food, and anything else that can be used or tried. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally. An avid photographer and traveler, textures, patterns and images from around the world are often a part of Beth’s creative process. Beth came to art quite naturally as a child and was constantly doing some sort of project in her room or at an art class. She never played with her doll house but rather constantly redesigned the walls and furniture arrangements. She frequently got art supplies as gifts and used them up quickly. Her room at home was like an art studio; there was always something in process in there. She was allowed to spread out and keep projects going for as long as she wanted. She was very lucky in that no one ever told her to clean up or put things away, so she was able to work and rework things until she was done with them, or they were done with her (which is closer to what typically happens). In middle and high school she designed and sold beaded jewelry at craft fairs and a local Berkeley shop called the “Artifactory”. Studying design in college was an obvious fit. While studying architecture and design in New York City at Barnard College, the basic design courses always started with the elements of design and the advanced ones always used those basic elements as a frame of reference. Every time Beth has explored a new medium or technique, she has always started with the basic elements of design as a way of exercising her design muscles in a new creative direction. It’s like warming up before you exercise. For Beth, art has often created an escape from the world, but also, as often, a vehicle for exploring feelings about the vast and sorrowful issues that plague the world. Beth served as a Peace Corps volunteer and came back frankly appalled at the amount of garbage we generate in the US. Beth has sought to incorporate junk yard reusables and everyday recyclables in her artwork, sometimes through a photograph of the objects or the things themselves. She has found using junk and thrift finds an escape from and a temporal solution to the vast throw away culture around her. An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid formal training and you studied Architecture and Design in New York City at Barnard College: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does the relationship between your cultural substratum due to your experience as a Peace

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Beth and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic and we would start this interview with a couple

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Pledges to an ailing planet

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Corps volunteer direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

beautiful and worthy of that second glance. I always root for the underdog when it comes to beauty and art.

Elizabeth McCoy: Having the formal art training was very important. I had done artwork weekly for my entire life at that point (excluding infancy). I was always an intuitive artist and dabbled in design only when it was needed. I enjoyed printmaking, metal working, leatherwork and bead work because the projects often required some forethought. The act of planning a project and following through from start to finish is very gratifying, as is the process, always, of changing and messing with the plan as you go.

You are a versatile artist and your process involves a variety of techniques including painting, printmaking, collage, paper, photography, fabric, glass, ceramics, beads, sculpture, wood, food. We have appreciated the way the results of your artistic inquiry convey such a coherent combination between emotional intuition and a rigorous aesthetics and we would like to invite our readers to visit https://lenabethe.wordpress.com in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production. How do you select an artistic discipline in order to explore a particular aspect of your artistic inquiry? Moreover, are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist and help you to develop your attitude to experiment with different media?

Overlaying the formal design training onto my already creative intuition allowed me the luxury of understanding the full design process and how to utilize it to make my own work better. A formal art education, with its very valuable critique process, allows you to see your work through many different eyes, and benefit from that ambient feedback. I loved studying design, working with other students, comparing projects, staying up all night and having the incredible privilege of being in New York City and studying with some of the movers and shakers in the art world at the time. I consider myself very lucky.

Elizabeth McCoy: I like to work through a technique until I feel done with it. Usually, the techniques overlap and start playing with each other. I love to travel to new places, try new foods, and try any art technique I have not tried before. I have never tried oil painting, however, or traveled to Hawaii. The “normal” things that other people may do or pursue are on my list of things to do at some point, but I never manage to pick them when I am picking a new direction for my art, travel, or culinary adventures. I will at some point, I know. I am often inspired by things that I see and do. Going to a museum like the Met in New York City, leaves my head spinning with ideas, literally. Luckily, I am able to scribble them all down, after the fact and tackle them one at a time. I go from floating in ideas to rolling up my sleeves and getting dirty with them. I take photographs all day. I always have two cameras with me, and fill up memory cards and my phone like there is no tomorrow. I horde art ideas like some people horde frequent flyer miles or magazines. I often view the world through my camera lens.

Going from New York City to a small town in rural Africa with no electricity or running water, where what was important was just daily living, was the perfect after-party or chaser to four years immersed in art and beauty. It allowed me to expand my concept of what constitutes beauty and how all is truly relative and based in context. The experience of redefining a narrow concept of beauty has deeply affected my art practice. I know that ugly things and ugly art pieces, that I often create and utilize on purpose, will be beautiful or meaningful to someone. Having to rethink my own narrow “American” concept of beauty absolutely made me a more confident and carefree artist. I create whatever my whims blow my way, and could care less what is in style or popular; those are fleeting and shallow concepts at best anyway. And I love turning a dirty, ordinary blanket or pile of garbage photographed on the street, into something

Perhaps, having been allowed to do artwork whenever I wanted as a child, gave me a sense of freedom and endless possibilities. In addition, I have

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taken so many art classes over the years, that I have been exposed to many different art forms and techniques within each of them. I do not see barriers among art forms. Trying them all independently or mixing them all together is equally fun. I will never have a uniform body of work that exemplifies my style or my “look�, or if I do, I will be the most surprised, as that is not my goal. I just want to do art, explore all of its endless possibilities, and continue to exploit the possibility of breaking boundaries. I particularly like trying things that other people say will not work. Just the process of trying to make it work and failing is gratifying. I never read reviews until after a movie or play, for the same reason. I would rather fail on my own, then dislike it because someone told me to. I think not being afraid of failure has been my biggest strength as an artist, and I cannot link that attitude to any one experience, other than that I had wonderful parents who taught me not to be afraid of failure in general. I see beauty in failure anyway, so what is there to fear anyway? The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article has at once captured our attention for the way they unveil the subtle convergences between the real and the imagined, providing the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience. The surface of your artworks is often meticulously refinished and we have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances that mark out your artworks, and we like the way they create tension and dynamics: how did you come about settling on your color palette? And how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in a specific artwork and in particular, how do you develop a texture? Elizabeth McCoy: I honestly think studying design taught me to create tension intentionally. Combining colors that clash, or old furniture with new, keeps things fresh and alive and challenges the viewer to accept a new concept of beauty. I often pick colors that relate somehow to the subject matter at hand. I love using analogous colors, as they are the most soothing to me, and nature uses them constantly, but

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Make America Kind Again

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regular people find them jarring and annoying. I used to really enjoy “dressing like a sofa”. This means I would use the classic interior design formula for my wardrobe and then add a twist. So I’d wear a blue and white Japanese print pair of pants, a French blue and white striped shirt, and an African blue and white batik jacket. Or I would wear floral, geometric and stripes in analogous colors. This gave some people I know a headache, but I need busy and eclectic or I die of boredom. My latest color trick, to keep myself from being predictable, is I have assigned 18 different colors a number, separated into 3 groups. I roll one die 3 times and pick the colors that come up in each group, and work with those 3. The absolute randomness of it, combined with forcing myself to work with combinations I do not love has really stretched my design brain. I do not mind creating something that is ugly – I am not seeking approval, but a pure art experience, which only comes from pushing boundaries and taking risks. I think, often, when I am trying to communicate a philosophical message, the “real and imagined” reflects my desire to shake someone into thought. Art can be so soothing and mood altering, or it can jar you into a new reality, or both. Art has such an important role in transforming the world and the way we, as humans, live in it and with each other. With its sapient combination between reminders to the reality and their powerful abstract evocative qualities, your Collage Studies seem to invite the viewers to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with wide freedom to realize their own perception. How important is for you to invite the viewers to elaborate personal meanings? And in particular, how open would you like your artworks to be understood? Elizabeth McCoy: I rarely think of the viewer when I am creating. I am typically so lost in the process, that the thinking part of my brain is not engaged. That said, I will sometimes plan a piece with a message or purpose, but even with those, once I am involved in the art part of it, I am just doing art. I really like layers of colors, textures, forms, etc., so the looking deeper is by design in terms of the art materials, and by

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intent by doing art at all. I feel art automatically invites the viewers to create their own meaning, in fact that is what I would expect. Maybe because viewing art is such a personal journey for me, in that I get swept away into my own mind space, whether I want to or not, my assumption has always been that a viewer has their own personal experience with a piece or exhibit; it is the right of the viewer to take away their own precious reaction or feeling. It is not for me, as an artist, to define the art experience for any one individual. As you underlined in your artist's statement, you sought to incorporate junkyard reusables and everyday recyclables in your artworks - sometimes through a photograph of the objects or the things themselves. American sculptor and photographer Zoe Leonard once stated, "the objects that we leave behind hold the marks and the sign of our use: like archeological findings, they reveal so much about us". We’d love to ask you about the qualities of the materials that you include in your artworks: how do you select them and how do you consider the relationship between their past life as objects and their new role in your artworks? Elizabeth McCoy: I take pictures of ordinary objects constantly - of parking lots, cars, junkyard and thrift store finds, etc. There is a certain temptation in taking the ordinary and leveraging it into a piece of art. It challenges the artist's, and thus, the viewer's, sense of verisimilitude and creates a cognitive dissonance between what is ordinary and what is not. By attempting to create art with what is inherently not considered art, or by creating ugly art, an elegant tension emerges which breaks through to the detached viewer, challenging them to “attach” and leaving, hopefully, a lasting impression on the viewer to act, react or, at least redefine the modern concepts of beauty. I often like to make the process and materials relevant to the subject itself. Like I used photographs of food clothing and shelter, to build the tents in my homeless encampments to emphasize those items of necessity almost over the tents themselves. One of my favorite art quotes, by the great Andy Warhol, is, “Art is

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anything you can get away with”. I interpret that to mean materials, techniques, images, etc. I do try to make all my materials archival if possible, so, for example I never use regular paper for my collage pieces, if they are going out to a show or any public venue, but I might use old photos I found at a junk yard. I think the nice thing about using objects or images of them, is that they have their own story. As artists, we only have to embellish them to make them shine. Another interesting project that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled “Basic Needs”, and it's a mixed media series highlighting those basic needs and the ironic nature of the liberal milieu of the bay area. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artists' role differs depending on which sociopolitical system they are living in.' how do you consider the role of artists in our media driven contemporary age? How do you consider the power of contemporary art to tackle sensitive social and political issues in order to trigger social change in our globalised societies? Elizabeth McCoy: I think artists have a role to present and interpret the reality that surrounds them. To that end, using every possible media can be a very powerful tool for exposing the different sides to the various realities out there. I think everyone experiences life from his or her personal “bubble” or through his or her own lens. Because art is about both seeing and playing with what is truly there, artists have the unique opportunity to break out of their focal point and see what others cannot; It is, then, the responsibility of those who can see, to lift the veil obscuring the view for those who cannot. I also think the artist’s role changes depending on what side of the sociopolitical system they are experiencing. A well-off and well-connected artist has access to many more opportunities than one who isn’t, so their role, at the risk of biting the hands that feed them, might be to peel away the layers of privilege and the ambient baggage related to having more. And the less-connected artists may choose to reveal the struggle to be authentic in a world that demands conformity and a traditional definition of success.

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I honestly think the only true voices are artists. The media are all owned by people with agendas, and politicians are all owned by their own agenda to maintain whatever status quo from which they benefit. Artists and possibly activists (if they can keep away from ego battles) are the only ones that truly see what is going on and can duly “report” on it. Art is the only vehicle through which social awareness can be inspired rather than required, realized rather than demanded and embraced rather than acquired for show. Once social awareness is embedded in a person’s psyche, social change, whether via small steps or large gestures follows naturally. Art inspires, creates realization and invites embrace in a subtle and profound way; that is why it has worked so well. There is no irony in why Shakespeare’s plays were so vastly popular among regular people. Those regular people were not experts in writing plays or in theatre critique; they were experts in their own personal experience. The plays blatantly, but also in their subtle way, exposed every foible and weakness in society at the time. I believe it is the art that is noticed for good or ill, is, by default, the most relevant. If you can create a piece that people respond to in any real way, you have committed the act of a social proselytizer. It's important to remark that the “Basic Needs” series was inspired by the rise in the local homeless population in Berkeley: : how does your everyday life's experience fuel your creative process? And how do you think your works respond to it in finding hidden, crystallised moments in the everyday? Elizabeth McCoy: My everyday life experience often involves driving by homeless encampments or giving homeless people money or food. I make sure I “see” them with a smile or kind comment, so they do not feel invisible. The basic needs series was particularly inspired by those brave people. Because I have 2 cameras with me at all times, I spend at least an hour everyday taking random pictures, often in 10 minute increments. It makes me feel connected to my art self, when I am running errands, or doing the necessary tasks of living a modern life. Much of my artwork is inspired by or developed from my photographs, so the hidden, crystallized moments

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are seeing the incredible cactus display outside of CVS, or the contrast between the bright orange and the white reflectors on a line of traffic cones. When nothing is off limits, everything is beautiful. I find just making sure I “see�, while I am doing regular things, keeps me aware of the magic and beauty in the everyday. Artist Lydia Dona once remarked that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making: are your works created gesturally, instinctively? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? Elizabeth McCoy: I agree with the need to understand and parce the conceptual language behind art making, since the goal of art is to go wherever the wind takes you at times and be deliberate at others. The act of breaking down the act of creating art, allows you to explore every step and, thereby, be more creative in the long run, as you artistically reconstruct each step with as many variations as you can. I do believe that to fully understand something, you have to take it apart and analyze all of the components. That said, I actually find being intuitive and meandering the most relaxing art process. If I can set things up, where all the thought is done first, if needed, and then let myself meander through the set up and knock it over periodically, I am happy to shed the intuitive process at times. I think being a woman gives me a special perspective, and a heightened empathy for the underdog, left out and oppressed, even if just in theory. I am also, as a woman, socialized and allowed to cry and feel, so that helps immensely, in terms of creating art that has feeling. I sometimes think that being a great artist requires a level of misery that I entirely lack. What I do not lack, however, is a sense of outrage over what is happening among people on the planet and in the US. So my passion and spirit come from a sense of external drama. Also, because I am an extreme extrovert, nothing is really an internal process for me;

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I always, somehow, involve the outside world and/or other people in my process. Over the years your artworks have been exhibited in several occasions, including your recent participation to the show WHAT CLIMATE, at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? And what do you hope your audience take away from your artworks? In particular, how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience? Elizabeth McCoy: The viewer can either experience a passive and private personal experience, or be provoked to a reaction or action. The German playwright Berthold Brecht introduced the concept of "verfremdungsmittel" or "alienation effect" with his plays, wherein the actors talked directly to the audience thus breaking the "third wall" barrier that often exists in theatre. This technique pulls the audience into the conversation as it were and does not allow them to remain a passive participant. I try to do that with my political art. I like to call the viewer to action, or to provoke a reaction that leaves an intellectual mark that the viewer takes away and hopefully perseverates on. Taking a peek behind what makes art "art" is part of my creative experience. If I can make a car engine, a pile of thrown away sinks or a shelf of used shoes into art, I feel like I have upended the concept of art, similar to the Figurative and Dada artists, who are my heroes. If we do not continually challenge the concept of "what is art" and sheepishly just accept another person's definition of art, can we truly call ourselves artists? I do not create beautiful artwork so it will sell. I create poignant, time relevant pieces that are often ugly and provocative, to get the viewer engaged and to create the elegant tension that is generated when you ask someone the question, "what is Art?" We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Beth. What projects are you currently working on, and

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what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? Elizabeth McCoy: I take photos every day, and translate those into something both ephemeral and meaningful. What I see through the camera lens is often the impetus to which I respond. The possibilities are limitless, which is both exhilarating and terrifying. I am always juggling the business of being an artist with actually doing art, so my list of techniques and themes I would like to explore seems to get longer rather than shorter on a regular basis. I would like to further explore the homeless crisis, climate change and the environment. I am currently working on a project about the act and products of recycling in general, and further honing my use of recycled materials while staying true to the goal of using archival materials that respect the long-term nature of creating art. And then I see a crack in the sidewalk that looks like a face, and have to stop and say “hi”. One of the most gratifying moments of my day is the purely visual process of choosing, editing and posting a random beautiful something on Instagram (@lenabethe). Sharing a beautiful moment makes me feel like an artist every single day, even if I then spend most of the day varnishing, wiring, labeling and dropping off or mailing art. It is the joyful and giddy feeling of knowing I have helped a little piece of beauty fly into the universe, that makes me feel as playful as a child. As for the future, I will see where inspiration takes me. I am brought to tears by the droplets of water on a leaf after a misty drizzle. I am also brought to tears when I hear or see rhetoric that diminishes another human being in any way. Often my own strong reaction to something inspires the artistic process as a response. While I have a list of themes I would like to explore, I prefer to wait until I am deeply moved by beauty, compassion or curiosity to act. It’s the moment when I am unable to keep myself from doing art, after a beautiful image, or exhibit or life experience, that I find I perform my best artistically. I thank you so much for featuring me in your journal and taking the time to find out the drum beat to which I march.

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Cecilia Martinez Lives and works in Jersey City, NJ, USA Cecilia Martinez has always had a love for the arts, especially the written word. She is an established and published writer and poet, with her work being recognized all over the world, from New York to the Philippines. But after a life changing event, she now creates stories through paintbrushes and pencils, canvases and crayons. After her father’s untimely death in what was later determined to be a homicide in September 2015, she became completely immersed in the visual arts as a therapeutic outlet and a form of self-expression to cope with his loss. Four years later, her art is still her medicine. She has evolved her style throughout the years to develop images often described as "quite unique," "exciting" and "beautifully composed." While still relatively new to the art scene, she has had her work exhibited in more than 40 venues since her first exhibit in October 2016. She has also been named a finalist in five international online juried art competitions, and her work has been featured in many prestigious media outlets – most notably on a segment of Al Jazeera TV, which reaches more than 30 million viewers around the world; and Art Reveal Magazine and Average Art Magazine, both UK based print art publications. Cecilia is currently working on a new series she calls "The Self Portraits," artwork that is a combination of mixed media/collages that all incorporate an image of herself within the works. Each piece depicts a different struggle Cecilia has dealt with while healing from her father's death, from mental illness, inner turmoil, isolation, personal conflicts and more. Cecilia hopes her art and story will inspire others the way art inspired her and, ultimately, saved her life.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.instagram.com/cecilia_mar tinez_jc in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. You hold a Bachelor of Arts in English/Journalism but you are a basically

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Cecilia and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we

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deserted island where only I exist, and I am the one who creates the world around me into whatever I want it to be.

self taught artist: are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as a visual artist and help you to develop your attitude to experiment? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your work as a reporter and editor direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

When I first began, I created what I called spiritual art. Artwork that reflected religion and angels and things I thought would lead me into healing. But as I kept on practicing, I found that this artwork really didn’t reflect my own sense of self. Something was missing from it that was me. So, as I kept practicing, I began experimenting with different techniques and styles. My work began to evolve. And I started to feel like I was getting closer to creating artwork that truly fulfilled me and reflected who I was as an individual. Soon, I began searching for a signature style. Mixed media collage is what I gravitated to. I felt it represented me well. My work is created with different pieces and techniques and mediums. And that’s what I am. I am not just one thing. I am pieces of many things that make up the whole of who I am as a being. That’s why this artistic method speaks so much to me. Because it is me.

Cecilia Martinez: My road to becoming a visual artist began in 2015. That year, my father, Rafael Martinez, passed away in what was later determined to be a homicide. I was an even that changed my life forever. I searched for a sense of peace through my writing, but I found that I could not – for whatever reason – put the intense emotional feelings I was holding inside of my heart because of this event down on paper. They simply would not come out. A few months after his death, still reeling from what I had experienced and mourning from the loss, I began searching for an outlet to alleviate all of the chaotic feelings inside of me. I turned to the visual arts as a therapeutic outlet. To be quite honest, art saved my life. It soothed my soul and for that I will be forever grateful. I really have no idea what led me to art as an outlet for my pain. It was something that kind of just manifested itself. Something just led me to it.

My experience has a reporter and editor helped with my evolution into becoming a visual artist in a very specific way. As a writer, I painted pictures with my stories. A blank page was my canvas, words were my colors, sentences my paintbrushes. I was able to produce art in one’s mind with my written compositions.

And I’m glad I followed, because it has led me to the richest experiences of my life and has helped me cope with the chaos. I haven’t completely found peace, but when I am creating art, it is the only thought in my mind. It encompasses my entire being and takes me into a world of creativity and imagination. It’s almost like an escape to a

Though my audience could not see these images physically with their eyes, they could see them with their thoughts, minds and imagination – thus composing their own representations of my thoughts and words into something that reflected as familiar to

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them. It was up to me to make this happen through language and structure, description and composition. This is very much the technique I use in my art for myself. My thoughts and what I speak to myself form my art. But instead of words, now I use artistic mediums to tell a story. It is a story I develop with my mind and imagination as I create a piece. I never know the ending. The story itself evolves as the piece evolves – as the story begins, comes to its climax, and eventual end. But it is my hope that my audience still forms their own narrative when viewing my work. That they use their own thoughts and imagination to find the meaning of it all. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article has at once impressed us for the way you sapiently combined element from reality with captivating abstract sensitiveness, to provide the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience: when walking our readers through your usual workflow and process, we would like to ask you if you think that there is a central idea that connects all your works. Cecilia Martinez: The central idea is that each piece I create tells a story about the human experience. And while I am telling my own personal story through each work I create, that is not what I want the viewer to see. I want them to see their own personal story in my work. Their own experiences, their own life, their own stories. I want to reach out to that one person in the crowd who looks at one of my

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works and thinks, “Yes, I’ve felt that before. I’ve been in that place.” To let them know they are not alone, as I have felt so many times. If I can accomplish that with my work, then I have succeeded with that piece. Because my story is not just mine alone. Millions of people I felt what I’ve felt, experienced what I’ve experienced. My work is part of me, but I also want it to be a part of many other people as well. I just don’t want it to be personal, I want my artwork to me a connection of the human spirit and network as a whole. It's important to remark that in all the artworks from your Portrait series you decided to incorporate an image of yourself, to depict a different struggle that you dealt with while healing from your father's death. Would you tell us how important was for you to make a personal film, about something you knew a lot? In particular, how do you consider the role of direct experience within your artistic research? Does everyday life fuel your creative process? Cecilia Martinez: For my “Self Portraits” series, I decided to use images of myself. I could have created a representation figure of myself, a made-up creation to incorporate into my works instead of my own selfimages. But if I had done so, it would not be real. It wouldn’t be real for me or for the story I was telling through my work. It was extremely important for me to put myself in these works to make them raw, gritty, and personal. To put a real live human face, in my case it being the artist, to the struggles and complex thoughts and feelings I was dealing with in my world. It’s my story, so I am the main character. So, in these works, you see

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the development of the protagonist as the story develops. You see my journey through the representation of my own self.

eventually pieced together into a piece of art. And that is therapeutic in its own way because I can take what is negative from those experiences, the garbage parts so to speak, and use them to create something beautiful.

Everyday life fuels my creative process because as human beings living in this world, we are subjected to so many things on a daily basis. Ups and downs, twists and turns. Good and bad. Heaven and hell. It is all a part of life – of living. My work portrays that part of being alive. My daily experiences, as well as my past and even my future trials, fuel the thoughts in my mind. Those thoughts are

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Your artistic research inquiries into the apparent dischotomy between chaos and controla and your artist statement reads: “Professional writer, poet and visual artist from Jersey City. Inspired by Shakespeare and the Sex Pistols.” So, of course, I love the

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duality of both chaos and control. Your artworks are marked with such a rigorous sense of geometry and symmetry to create such a coherent combination between sense of freedom and unique aesthetics: do you conceive you works instinctively or do you methodically elaborate your pieces? In particular, how importance does spontaneity play in your work?

complete 180 in the middle of the artistic process as different thoughts and ideas come into my head. It’s kind of like a metaphor for life. You know how it begins, but not necessarily how it ends. I like working in this way because it doesn’t pigeon-hold me into sticking with an idea until it’s finished. I just kind of let it flow out of me without restriction. I go with where the piece takes me. And not knowing what the final product will be is exciting in its own way because there are times when I surprise even myself with what I was able to create simply by going wherever the art leads me.

Cecilia Martinez: Spontaneity is the essential element to my work. I never know the ending of a piece. I start off with an idea, and that idea forms and transitions itself into something of its own as the work is developed. I may have an initial concept of what I want to make when I first begin a piece, but that concept can morph into a

Your artworks fetures such effective combination between figurative and captivating abstract feeling, whose

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background create such an oniric atmosphere: how would you consider the relationship between abstraction and figurative in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work?

subtle, and other times be very aggressive. But by mixing these two different forms, I find it to be more palatable to the audience. I always try to convey a deeper meaning with my work than what you are able to just view with the eye. Bringing a sense of familiarity with figurative annotations and inserting abstraction, I hope, brings out that meaning.

Cecilia Martinez: I use figurative depictions of images within my work to create a sense of reality withing this overall “dream world” that is often present in my work. Something familiar to the viewer – be it an place or object or figure – that is recognizable. This “reality” is what makes the work relatable, while balancing out the abstract symbolism I present in a piece.

We have really appreciated the vibrancy of the nuances of that mark out your artistic production: in particular, we like the way your artworks show that vivacious tones are not indespensable in order to create tension and dynamics: how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include

My abstraction in my work can sometimes be

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in a specific artwork in order to achieve such brilliant results?

empathetic, strong-willed and more. When all of these different parts of my mind come together, it’s like a whirlwind – especially when creating art. It’s almost like these different ideas, images and colors pop into my mind and I just follow them.

Cecilia Martinez: I’ve read many articles that discuss how mental health issues, such as depression, activate the creative part of one’s mind. If this is true, it would explain the brilliance of many artists, such as Van Gogh or Sylvia Plath. I am very open about my struggles with mental health, which became more of a burden after my father’s death. I have been diagnosed with major depression, severe anxiety and PTSD. But that is only part of my psychological make up.

Like there are all these puzzle pieces in my head that start to come together to form a full picture. I honestly don’t know where it comes from, but the brain is a marvelous thing. Marked out with a powerful narrative drive on the visual aspect, your artworks push the envelope of the expressive potential of the

I also consider myself to be intelligent,

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images and the symbols that you included: how importance do play symbolically charged images in your work? In particular, did you aim to provide your work with allegorical features?

of them. If so, I have succeeded in what I was trying to do, the feeling or thought I was trying to create. To me, that is one of the most satisfying parts of being an artist. When a person actually gets it. When they see beyond just the visual. That is what is truly amazing to me.

Cecilia Martinez: Being a writer and having taken many British and American literature courses in college, I know how powerful symbolism is to a piece of work. I guess that knowledge transitioned itself into my work when I began working on visual art. When I insert symbolism in my work, it means something to me. But I want to see if they viewer gets it too. If they understand the symbolic meaning of what I have out in front

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Your work could be considered a visual narrative, that seems to be intended to convey a combination between emotion and a specific message: in this sense, we daresay that your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own

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perception. How important is for you to invite the viewers to elaborate personal meanings? And in particular, how open would you like your artworks to be understood? Cecilia Martinez: Individual perception of my artwork is extremely important to what I do. I want my work to be accessible to everyone, in particular those who have been through similar experiences as I. A question I am sometimes asked about my artwork is “What is the meaning behind this piece?” Honestly, this questions make me cringe. I don’t want to tell someone what I was trying to convey with a particular piece. Rather, I’d love to hear what they have taken away from a work and what it means to them. That is more interesting to me. I want my work to be very very open to interpretation. I want it to create a discussion behind what can just be seen. You are an established artist and while still relatively new to the art scene, since your first show in late 2016 you have had your artworks internationally exhibited in more than 40 venues: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? In particular, how do you consider the role of emerging online platforms as Instagram, in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience?

for me. Platforms such as Instagram allow you to do just that. It puts your work in the forefront. More importantly, it’s accessible to a worldwide audience, so your able to reach more people to have them see your work. With my Instagram, I’ve been able to do that. I get messages and comments about my work in different languages that I have to translate to understand. That is incredible to me. The fact that I am able to touch with my artwork individuals from beyond the United States is very humbling. We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Cecilia. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? Cecilia Martinez: I’m still working on my “Self Portrait” series. I’d like to create many more pieces for that. I’d like to make some larger pieces for the series and hopefully one day have a full gallery show with just those works. And with the “Self Portrait” series, I’d like for it to continue to chronicle my life and feelings through the progression of time. I’d like for the pieces to depict how I am growing and evolving as a person, as well as with my art.

Cecilia Martinez: I would say the nature behind my relationship with my audience is similar to the Wizard in Oz. I’m just the man – or woman if you will – behind the curtain. My art is my mouthpiece. It’s what speaks

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Jo Beth Wharton Lives and works in Sacramento, California, USA

The history of art fascinates me. The paintings, sculptures, pottery, and mosaics of the past help to explain the cultural and societal values of the people who came before us. While studying art history I realized that the artworks of women were rarely featured in textbooks, and only a handful of well-known female artists were continuously discussed in academia. While studying in Florence, I remember looking around the Ufizzi portico at the busts of the famous men who helped to shape the Renaissance, and wondered, as many before me, ”where are the women?” In my art, I focus solely on women. By cutting out paper and images from magazines, I create images of females who are strong, independent, and autonomous. Many of the images of women that have been created in the past, were manufactured by the hands of men. Historical characters such as Eve and Mary have often be portrayed in certain biased lights. I know how many sides a woman has, how many feelings, ideas, joys, pains, and want to illustrate that through my collages. Each piece I create is done with the utmost thought and care, and each collage I do is one of a kind. Using a paper as a medium has allowed me to create pieces that are interesting to look at, while focusing on women who all deserve to be seen. Paper art has allowed me to express myself more fully than painting ever did. Women have always had something to say. I am fortunate to live in a time when people are finally listening.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

your evolution as an artist and help you to develop your attitude to experiment? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Jo Beth and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.jobethwharton.com in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence

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My first encounter with an artistic master was via a chain bookstore that I used to frequent in my West Texas hometown. As I was wandering down the “Visual Arts” aisle, my eye was immediately drawn to a coffee table book with the brightly colored image of figures dancing in front of a brilliant blue sky; the glamourous name, Matisse, was boldly written in red. The

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book was on sale, and I bought it. I loved how the artist incorporated colors, which sometimes didn’t entirely make sense, but harmonized so well on the page. Throughout the years, I would naively attempt to mimic some of Matisse’s paintings, such as La Blouse Romaine, and Femme au chapeau. My next love was Marc Chagall, who also experimented with colors, and mixed fantasy and reality.

that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article has at once impressed us for the way you sapiently combined your figurative stile with captivating abstract sensitiveness, that reminds to Cubism and that provides the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience: would tell us something about your usual workflow and process?

I decided to major in Art History in college, and that’s where I became acquainted with the beauty of Ancient Greek art, the cleverness of Renaissance art, and the rebelliousness of the Impressionist ouevre. I do not know why, but I have always been attracted to art that deals with figural representations. It’s not that I do not appreciate abstract art, or paintings of landscapes or still-lifes, I do, I just understand and relate to figural painting more.

My entire work process happens in my living room. I attempted to turn a spare bedroom into my designated studio, but feel more comfortable in the middle of my house. To begin a new piece, I scour fashion and beauty magazines for a close-up photo of a face. Sometimes, I have an idea at the inception of a piece of what I want to create, Other times, the meaning comes to me as the piece evolves. I sketch my ideas out minimally on my canvas. I prefer to let the process unfold as I go along.

I have always loved to draw and paint, and my subjects have consistently been women. Society expects women to be sexually attractive, yet modest, intelligent, but not bossy, independent, yet not too autonomous. Being female is to exist within unrealistic cultural dichotomies. Women are constantly being underestimated, and it is through their perpetual strength and perseverance that their true beauty shines through. In my art, I like to feature strong women who are not sitting meekly accepting the male gaze, but boldly confronting the viewer with their power. My decision to pursue paper as a medium was an accidental one. I have always loved magazines, and own quite a few. Becoming frustrated with acrylic, I began to cut out small pieces of paper and use the paper as my paint. I have only been doing paper art for about a year and a half, but it has really allowed my creativity to blossom and take new shapes.

When I determine my subject, I must find matching skin tones and hair color from the hundreds of magazines on my shelves. I cut many, many small pieces of the desired colors I need, and adhere the paper onto the canvas with Modge Podge and a paintbrush. It is crucial that I take my time, or the paper will appear crumpled, which takes from the aesthetic of the piece. I especially focus on the shading of the subject’s face, since I consider this an important element in my portraiture. It pleases me to know that elements of Cubism are seen in my art. It was not my intention for that aspect to be visible, but I am extremely glad to know that, to some of the audience at least, that my art comes across as “multilayered,” because it really is. Not only in theory, but also in practice. We have really appreciated the vibrancy of the nuances of that mark out your artistic

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries and

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and knew that I wanted to incorporate it into a piece. The type of woman I wanted to construct around the tattoo had to appear strong and confident while portraying a message that is really quite obvious, “don’t touch me without my permission.” It’s a message that shouldn’t have to be repeated, but sadly it still does, even in this day and age.

that they have attached to each woman. I find it really interesting.

Throughout art history, and history itself, women and nature have been linked. You can see examples of this in Berthe Morisot’s paintings such as Dans la Parc, or Frida Kahlo's Self-portrait With Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, or Ana Mendieta’s Siluetas series. This is a reason I wanted to place the woman in this piece in an organic setting, to play upon the life-giving power of women. I also like how the greens play against the woman’s skin. But, much like nature, women can appear soft and lush, but in actuality be an unrelenting and a force to be reckoned with.

The gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece, and all the crazy stories about their antics, really hold a special place in my imagination. I enjoy seeing their stories play out on ancient pottery and art. I really like the myth about Persephone and how she must spend half her days in the sun and the other with Hades in the Underworld. The whole tale plays upon the idea that women have two completely different sides; virgin and the whore, dark and light. The myth is also another example of how culture ties women and nature together. When Persephone is in the Underworld, the earth is cold, the plants die, and snow covers the ground. When the goddess is home on earth with her mother, the flowers bloom, the trees blossom, and the world in green once more. Little Women was a book that I loved growing up, and I’ve read several times. Having sisters was so foriegn to me, since I have a brother, and I loved reading about their different relationships. I wanted to pay homage to the sisters, and decided to capture a moment in The March Sisters right before Beth passes away. Her death was really heartbreaking for my younger self.

While making my pieces, I allow the pieces of paper to guide me as I try determined face shape and dimensions. I do not sketch out my final idea, because usually I don’t have one. My intention from the beginning is to create vibrant, proud women. I incorporate such bold colors because I believe they help to convey my message. Drawing from fiction — as for Persephone and The March Sisters — as well as from historical figures — as in your captivating Nefertiti in Spring — your artworks convey such a powerful narrative drive: are there any stories you try to convey in your collages or do you prefer the viewer to have his own interpretation?

I am fascinated by Egyptian history, and their art and culture holds so much mystery thousands of years later. Nertiti was the Egyptian queen who was the mother of King Tut, and the wife of Ahkenaten. Representations of her are highly stylized, and she is always shown with her royal head-dress on. I wanted to show her looking regal with her hair flowing. At one point in time, Nefertiti was the most powerful woman in Ancient Egypt, I am sure she attended some marvelous parties on the Nile where she let her hair down.

The reason I love art so much is because one work can illicit so many different interpretations regardless of the artist’s true intention. When I am in the process of making I piece, I have a specific idea in mind of who the woman is as what she represents, but when I’ve shown my work, people tell me a completely different story

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Moreover, how does your everyday life's experience fuel your creative process?

and mind stay busy even before I actually start the piece. I really enjoy the entire process of making my collages.

My life is hectic, and my art is really a way to focus on something I am passionate about, my meditation. Because I have to first look for a specific color of paper in my mountains of magazines, then cut out tiny pieces, my hands

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They do take me awhile to complete, but I always am proud when I finish each piece because I know I have put my everything into it and that each work of art is a complete original.

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You artworks are often inspired by iconic figures as Frida Kahlo and Sappho, and we have particularly appreciated the way your artworks conveys such a strong message about women's identity and their unique contribution in our globalized, still patriarchal societies. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, with each piece you cut you are hoping to send the message that women are the strongest creatures in existence: do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value?

Spontaneity is an extremely important aspect in my work. Part of the excitement to me, when it comes to my art, is that I am not sure what will end up on the canvas when I begin something new. Like a lot of people, when I am doing something I really love and enjoy, time goes by very quickly. It’s ironic that my pieces evoke a sense of geometry since I have always held such a disdain for anything mathematical. I am sure I am using math when I am figuring out how to space out my composition, but I have never attempted to create a piece using a grid system, a la Leonardo da Vinci. My mind just doesn’t work like that. What my brain focuses on are colors and how they fit next to each other to create shading and texture.

All of early history was written by men. There a million stories that will never be heard because they were those of females. This sentiment is even more true for women of color. I think everybody has their own little slice of the world they live in, physically and mentally, and everyone’s personal journey reflects heavily on their work. All I know is to be a woman, I have no other perspective to rely on. I can appreciate other point of views, but will never know exactly how it is to be something else. I just want to make art that shows the importance of women’s voices, and that illustrate that the stories of women from now and from the past are worth listening to.

I really enjoy searching for intricate details in the pages of magazines that will enhance the women I create. I love finding images of elaborate, and very expensive jewelry in fashion editorials and carefully cutting them out. I also search diligently for details that only a careful eye will spot. You are an established artist and over the years your artworks have been showcased in a number of exhibitions: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? What do you hope your audience take away from your artworks? In particular, how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere — and platforms as Instagram — in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience?

Your collages have a great number of fascinating details in them but at the same time they seem very homogenous. In particular, your collages are marked with such a rigorous sense of geometry, to create such a coherent combination between sense of freedom and unique aesthetics: do you conceive you works instinctively or do you methodically elaborate your pieces? In particular, how importance does spontaneity play in your work?

First of all, it pleases me immensely that people take the time to look at my art at all. When someone tells me my pieces move them, or they receive some sort of message from my art, my heart bursts. It is so confirming to

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know that some people do receive the message I was attempting to get across. Art is extremely personal to the artist, and when the audience appreciates your hard work, it is exciting. The impact of social media is ubiquitous, and artists have used platforms such as Instagram to their advantage. I think that relationships that are made on social media can be helpful to an artist’s career. Personally, it has allowed people to see my art that probably wouldn’t otherwise. On the other hand, when you look for affirmation from people that you hardly know, or have never met, you can end up with hurt feelings. I just have to remember that I create my art because it makes me happy. If I never sell another piece, I will be content. At least my walls will be covered in art that I like. We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Jo Beth. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? For some reason, I have been prolific when it comes to creating art in this medium. It’s almost as if I am compelled to collage! I am working on a piece now that is confounding me, but I know I will figure it out. It’s as if I am putting together a puzzle when I really don’t know how the finished product is supposed to look like. I aspire to create women of all different ethnicities, because I am inspired by strong women, and strong women come in all colors. I have found by looking through the contents of thousands of magazines that the faces of white women are far more prevalent than those of other skin tones, but I believe magazines are becoming more inclusive.

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Sappho

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Nyx (Goddess of the Night)

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Cocksure

I will continue to make art that celebrates women.

Thank you so much for allowing me to discuss my art with you! It has been a delight.

My dream collage to create would be of Cleopatra, but I haven’t found her face yet. Joan of Arc, is another woman I want to explore.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

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Bo Cosfranz Lives and works in London, United Kingdom

A London-based fine artist, working with acrylics, textile, print, and sculpture. I am exploring the concept of artificially imposing structure to organic elements through the extension of tangent lines. The organic parts of a painting may be shapes drawn from observation, or they may be created through the unstructured use of colour. I then impose a geometric framework onto the image by extending tangent lines out of the corners in the composition. Each piece of work thus results in a tension between the organic and the geometric parts. My motivation for this work is the idea of creation through constraint, by rules such as physical laws, internal thoughts, and societal regulations. I also apply these concepts to my process, by combining intuitive aspects with a strict set of unique rules for the creation of each piece.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

Growing up in London has definitely influenced my artistic practice. We have the benefit of free access to lots of great galleries, so as a teenager I used to spend my weekends walking through the city and looking at modern art. I think that you will be influenced by what you are exposed to. For me, the most inspiring were the art movements of the early 20th century, especially cubism, futurism, and vorticism. It felt like these artists were combining a scientific approach to art with a liberated style of image-making to try to solve new problems. This is the same approach I try to follow in my practice. However, since it is around a century later, the context and the questions I am trying to answer are quite different.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com Hello Bo and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would like to invite our readers to visit http://cosfranz.com in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production, and we will start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

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I also think that a fundamental aspect of being an artist is the part that you can’t explain. So although you will be influenced by your surroundings or by other artists, you probably aren’t aware of the origin of your unique way of seeing the world, or your drive to create. For me, it often feels like something I did not consciously choose; it has just always been there.

pathways to follow, but also because I feel that art is an exploration of what it means to be human. However, I do not consider this work to be portraiture, as the identity of the person is not as relevant as the ideas that the painting is trying to convey. I am more interested in making the viewers identify with a part of the image and see themselves somehow reflected in it.

Marked out with such unique visual identity, the body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries at once impressed us with the way you question the tension between the organic and the geometric, providing the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience: walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how you usually develop the initial ideas for your artworks?

The theme of extended tangent lines is a strict rule that prevails in all of your artworks and that provides your pieces with such a captivating sense of geometry: would you tell us something about this recurrent visual quality of your artistic production? This idea started with studying mathematics and art at the same time, and transferring some concepts from one practice to another. The concept that really stuck with me was that mathematically, a line never ends, but continues in both directions infinitely. So I embraced this idea and started carrying on the lines in my drawings to try to capture their true essence.

The main framework of ideas for my work and its development has largely been planned out since the start. I see each series of work as a chapter of a book, conveying a particular aspect of my concept. The images in the artworks become gradually more complex with each chapter as the story develops.

I continued to impose this rule on myself when creating new pieces, and in doing so, my work started to also become about rules. As a creative person, I have always struggled with following orders, always wanting to do things my own way. However, the rules I set for myself have often been stricter than the external ones I was rebelling against. So I feel that my work now is a response to my relationship with rules and a search for balance.

The parts that I need to fill in along the way are the specific details for each individual painting, like the subject matter, composition, colours, materials and scale, as well as the actual execution. My background in textile and printmaking has shaped the way that I see and draw, as with these techniques, it is useful to think about areas of colour and a reduced palette. I treat paintings in the same way, with discrete areas of colour and hard edged shapes. Because of this way of seeing, my initial inspiration for the composition of a new painting comes from observing and drawing interesting shapes.

Although rules can seem limiting, I realised that with the right balance they can actually be creative. We already experience this fact, as our whole world is created by the laws of physics. Aesthetically, I try to create this balance by contrasting the curves with the straight lines, as well as by extending the tangent lines to soften sharp corners and encourage your eye to keep moving around the composition. For my

Often I focus on shapes created by a human form, partly because creates interesting

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process, I try to find this balance by combining strict rules about the tangent lines with an intuitive approach for other aspects.

figurative in your practice? In particular, how do representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work?

New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: Which parts of your work are created gesturally, instinctively or methodically?

In my work, representation and abstraction are intrinsically linked. The figurative shapes that I draw first actually directly dictate the composition of the geometric shapes. This might be counterintuitive at first glance, as the straight lines seem abstract. However, these are the least free parts of the final image, as they are drawn as extensions from the figurative parts.

Visually, each painting includes an organic and a geometric dimension. The organic parts are usually shapes drawn from observation, but they might also be created through the unstructured use of colour, or by drawing an abstract shape in a loose manner. The geometric part is a linear framework imposed onto the image by extending the tangent lines out from the corners in the initial composition.

The tension between organic and geometric, and therefore, representation and abstraction, is crucial to my work. I like to use this tension to create a new way of seeing. When the figurative part is first drawn on the canvas, you mind fills in the gaps and the three dimensional form is quite clear. However, when the tangent lines are added, the figurative shape becomes visually flattened. Instead, a new, artificial depth is created by the geometric network.

The same idea is reflected in my process for creating the work, and the process is integral to the final image itself. The organic part of the process is the freedom I give myself to choose the subject matter and colour palette intuitively, without a conscious understanding of why I have done so. The imposed aspect is the conscious application of a strict set of unique rules for how to apply the network of tangent lines in each piece.

We have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances that mark out your artworks, and that provides them with a unique aesthetic identity: how did you come about settling on your color palette? How does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in a specific artwork and in particular?

It is interesting to observe myself working in this way. As I am a person and not a computer, I draw the tangent lines where they seem accurate to me. However, perhaps what I do is not actually accurate mathematically. So as much as I believe that I am acting methodically and following a strict process, there is still a human influence that makes the final result more intuitive than intended.

The colour choice is the most intuitive part of my process. I still use some rules in each piece, for example, about how the colours should become lighter or darker as the geometric areas overlap. But the general colour schemes for each piece are chosen based on what I visualise while planning the piece. The colours I am most drawn to are quite bright and even kitsch, probably because modern life is often lacking in colour. I am a big supporter of unusual art in people’s homes, and I hope that we will move towards a trend of more colourful home design, so I am trying to encourage this through

We like the way your artworks, such as your Lustres series, convey such a stimulating combination between figurative elements and captivating abstract feeling: how would you consider the relationship between abstraction and

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my colour schemes.

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, a central idea of your artistic research is the exploration of the concept of artificially imposing structure to organic elements. Should this aspect of your work be considered an allegory of the relationship between our organic nature of human beings and the constraints of our media driven and structured contemporary age? Does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment?

I feel that my use of colour contrasts with how I treat the composition, and stops the whole process from becoming too serious. Although I have an academic approach to the basic structure of a painting, I also want it to be fun. This supports the idea of creating balance through the work. In some ways, the images I have created can make a viewer feel uncomfortable because of the strong tension, but this can be countered through the use of energising colours, clean lines, and removing the sharpness of corners.

I think that people can feel many different constraints in modern life, and my work does try to explore that idea. In my experience, society gives people lots of mixed messages about how we are supposed to behave, which leads to a general feeling of confusion, especially if you don’t agree with the messages or if you want to follow a different path than the one that others expect of you. I feel that we also often put most of the pressure on ourselves. This is especially heightened in the media age, where the line between image and reality is increasingly blurred. I feel that this leads to a discord between how we act and how we feel. We become out of touch with our biology, and at the same time our biology acts as a constraint on our minds. Through my work I respond to these feelings by including both sides in a single image but trying to impose a sense of order at the same time.

With their powerful abstract evocative quality, your artworks seem to invite the viewers to look inside of what appears to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with wide freedom to realize their own perception. How important is for you to invite the viewers to elaborate personal meaning? And in particular, how open would you like your artworks to be understood? I have talked about how I see my work and what I understand it to mean, but that doesn’t mean that my interpretation is correct. Sometimes as an artist you feel like you are just a channel for your work, because you can’t always identify the logic that led you to create it. This means that the art exists as something separate from the artist, and this in turn means that there is always scope for others to have their own interpretation.

You recently participated to the group show Art Below Chelsea, and you are going to exhibit at the Roy's Art Fair: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? In particular, how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere — and platforms as Instagram — in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience?

I am happy to hear different reactions to my work, and I find it interesting that I can’t predict or dictate how others will feel about it. The work will resonate with some people but not others. People will also relate to different aspects of it, such as the colour, the geometry, or the execution. They might see similar themes to me, but respond to it in a unique way. For me this is a good thing, as seeing it from a different viewpoint it deepens the experience of the artwork.

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One of the best parts about creating art is seeing how others react to it, and gaining a new perspective about the work. Exhibiting, especially at art fairs, is a good way to have those conversations and to reach a wider audience. When a stranger really connects with the work,

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you feel like you are not alone in seeing the world in an unusual way and that connection can be quite valuable.

for keeping in touch with other artists. There is a risk of feeling discouraged as you see so many artists putting out great quality work, but I see it as more inspirational. You can support each other and see what everyone else is thinking, and that also

I have found tools like Instagram particularly useful

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allows new movements in art to emerge. It can be isolating to just be painting in your studio so I find it helpful to have an online community.

nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Bo. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the

We have really appreciated the multifaceted

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ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

to evolve, but I will probably still go back to the older concepts sporadically as I have new ideas of how to develop them. In particular, I have been working on small-scale paintings where I use different colour schemes for earlier geometric

Thank you for hosting me and for the thoughtprovoking questions! In the near future, my new paintings will continue

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designs. The problem is that I come up with new ideas faster than I can execute them!

journey from the really basic principles to the more

I’ve also recently started working on an art comic/book, which will take you on my creative

the final result to explain my ideas clearly with lots

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of images in one collection.

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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Mark Nesmith Lives and works in Beaumont, TX, USA

Pop music icon Madonna said it decades ago. We are living in a material world. Exacerbated by the internet and the dominance of social media as communication, our era has become the age of noise. Constantly bombarded by irrelevant but flashy details society increasingly values riches over relationships, “bling” and all that glitters over substance. Sound bites rule our political debates. Grade school gossip makes headlines. We expect rewards for little or no effort and fill minute by minute with the artificial glow of a smart phone screen and an insatiable yearning for more “stuff.” Addicted to our screen time we’ve become increasingly disconnected from the natural world around us, content to just exist. Entertainment replaces genuine experiences and triviality is the norm. My work addresses the superficiality of modern society and reflects my unease with mankind’s relationship to nature. My childhood days were spent outside roaming the woods, bayous, and beaches of Southeast Texas. This emotional attachment to the wilderness of my youth forms the foundation for my artwork. My reverence for the power and beauty of the landscape is only matched by my unease with mankind’s relationship to nature. Every day habitats get smaller, driving species from their natural homes. The more we’ve plugged in the more disconnected we’ve become, addicted to the glow of our smart phones and the latest fads. Tabloids, reality TV, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook – as long as we’re entertained everything is ok. Inspired by observations of people I meet in daily life and from my experiences as a public school teacher, my paintings are an amalgam of observation, memory, and imagination. Delivered with a dose of humor, my artwork critiques our culture in a whimsical manner. Populated by wildlife personifying human traits, these satirical narratives tackle subjects ranging from consumerism and our growing reliance on technology and media to fads, vanity, war, politics, and the environment. Working primarily in oil on canvas, expressionistic handling, heightened color, and rich textures are unifying traits throughout. Influenced by abstract expressionism, pop art, and impressionism, I remain steadfast in my devotion to the rich tradition of drawing and painting. Painting has the power to elevate and inspire the perception of the viewer, the power to still the endless stream of distractions that tug at us daily. Like Stravinsky, I believe that tradition is not simply the relic of a past age, but rather “a living force that animates and informs the present.” I strive to create paintings that are not just clever facsimiles of my subjects but are palpable things with a life of their own.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

your artistic production we would invite to our readers to visit http://marknesmith.com in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. You have a solid formal training and after having

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Mark and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about

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earned your BFA from Lamar University in Beaumont, TX, you nurtured your education in Painting and Drawing at the University of North Texas in Denton: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist and help you to develop your attitude to experiment? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your work as a musician direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

sometimes read like musical notes. My brushwork often takes the form of rhythmic stabs. I couldn’t separate these different aspects of my being if I tried. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article has at once impressed us for the way you provide the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience. In particular, we have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances that mark out your artworks, and we like the way they create tension and dynamics: how did you come about settling on your color palette? And how does your own psychological makeup determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in a specific artwork and in particular, how do you develop your textures?

I’m grateful for my years of study at Lamar University and UNT, and I strive to always expand my knowledge. The wonderful and most lasting effect of education is to push boundaries, to force you to embrace ideas and methods that you weren’t aware of or find discomforting. It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone in anything in life. Often it takes a push from outside to move us to grow. It seems like more and more of society takes offense at anything that’s different, as if being different is the same as being a threat. I want to keep growing. Part of that for me has been to study and develop other disciplines such as music. I’ve studied music for most of my life. I started on percussion in school and went on to learn guitar, bass, some piano, and to sing and write songs. It’s another outlet for the creative restlessness I have.

While I have worked in most mediums at one point or another and love working with charcoal and pastels, oil paints hold a special allure for me. I attribute much of the luminosity of my color palette to the nature of oils themselves. After years of experimenting with just about every possible technique in oils, from glazes and scumbles to thick impastos with a knife, I ultimately returned to the somewhat traditional methods I first learned from Larry Leach at Lamar University. I use a simple medium of stand oil cut with turpentine and a limited range of 8 – 10 tubes of paint. From these I mix everything else. Having a limited selection of paints lets me be intimately familiar with how they interact in mixtures together and allows me to let my brush and intuition take over as I paint. Much of the vibrancy of my colors comes from my habit of layering slightly different warm and cool versions of similar hues. This is something I learned from years of working with a limited range of pastel chalks. Though I dreamed of having the sets of hundreds of

Art and music are my anti-drugs. They’re what gave me focus and kept me out of trouble when I was a rebellious teen. To this day I’m kind of a bear if I’ve been away from the easel or my instruments too long. Music has long influenced the formal qualities of my work. From blues and jazz to favorite rock groups like the Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers to bluegrass and country, there’s always music jamming while I’m painting. At Lamar my sculpture and design professor Butch Jack was the first to point out the rhythmic elements that would reoccur in my work, particularly the patterns of verticals that

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different pastels to choose from, I could only afford the basic sets of a few dozen colors. I never cared for blending pastels too much, instead preferring the stroke against stroke effect seen in much of Degas’ work. Working in layers, I’d often spray fix the first layer or two to create a new surface to accept a top coat and learned that fixative often slightly deepens colors in pastel. You can layer the same color back on top without fixative and have two slightly different tones visible which creates depth and vibrancy. It’s similar to the slightly different hues color field painters like Mark Rothko would layer against each other making the canvas almost seem to vibrate. I’ve carried much of the approach I developed in pastels over to oils. I generally paint in layers leaving bits of slightly different colors showing through. I add to this my interest in the light of impressionism and my penchant for pushing the intensity to something slightly past “real.” There are some colors that I lean towards. I have a love of things like Flake White and Indian Yellow which are particular to oil paints. I don’t want to imagine a world without my cadmium red and yellow. There’s also a light mint green that somehow manages to pop up in just about everything I paint. Years ago my sister Marsie, who teaches high school art in Beaumont, pointed out that the interior of our family home was painted that same green so it suddenly made sense. My childhood and my family shaped so much of how I view the world. I love that this color has become part of almost everything I’ve painted. Your artworks often display such a coherent combination between sense of freedom and unique aesthetics. New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose

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Do You Feel Lucky Punk, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 48, 2018 geometric schemes? In particular, how importance does spontaneity play in your daily routine? I understand systems and rules of composition, but I’m an intuitive painter at the core. I often start


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paintings with a stick of charcoal, drawing, erasing, smudging, and combining ideas until I get the layout to feel right. While I use reference material ranging from photos to my own sketches for most paintings,

at some point the reference material goes away, intuition and spontaneity take over, and I try to let the paint and my brush lead where they will. I think of it like improvisation in music. I find having the structure of solid reference

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Planet Tan, Oil on Canvas, 30x48, 2017 underneath, just like the 12 bar form of blues beneath a solo, to be freeing.

Painting has the power to elevate and inspire the perception of the viewer: how do you consider the power of contemporary art to tackle sensitive social issues in order to trigger social change in our globalised societies?

It gives me something to play off of and against and acts as a springboard for creativity.

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have a chance to latch on to it and make sense of things. When you can scroll past hundreds of tweets or posts in a moment it takes something out of the ordinary to make someone stop and really take notice. It’s an even bigger leap to taking action. I think that’s where art can make a difference. I don’t know that anyone will see anything I’ve painted and instantly change their life or the world around them, but I hope it will open their eyes to seeing things a bit differently. Maybe we can awaken an awareness or make a new connection for the viewer that serves as kindling for a fire. Marked out with lyrical qualities and primarily figurative, your artworks feature such effective combination between reminders to reality and captivating abstract feeling, whose background create such an oniric atmosphere: how would you consider the tension between abstraction and figurative in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work? I’ve never been one to jump to the next big thing. I’ve been content to develop and follow the paths that I feel connected to personally. Some of those like landscape art have often seemed out of favor in the art world. Over the years I spent time developing skills in representational drawing and also spent a few years working in an abstract mode. What comes out now is the natural evolution and combination of everything I’ve learned and worked on throughout my life. I’ve reached a point where I’m not trying to do one thing or another. It’s simply a reflection of me at this point in my life. I don’t think I’d be here if I’d been so focused on the need to be new and different.

I think one of the biggest issues for affecting any social change is that people now are bombarded by an endless stream of media. Everything moves so quickly and there’s such an ocean of information it often comes and goes before you

I think it’s a hard thing to do as an artist these days, to allow yourself the time to follow different paths and invest years in developing

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Fidget, Oil on Canvas, 20 x 20,2017 technique. I think that’s a trap many of us fall

missteps. It’s led me to a place that feels very

into, trying to predict what will create a

genuine and honest as an artist.

sensation and desired success. I’ve been happy to take the long road full of twists and turns and

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As you have remarked in your artist's statement,

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Bayou Queen, Oil on Canvas, 6 x 6, 2017 your semi-surreal and allegorical landscapes are

between your artistic research? In particular, how do your memories and your everyday life's experience fuel your creative process?

an amalgam of observation, memory, and imagination: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination

Almost everything I paint or draw is connected to

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Crusade, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48, 2016


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memories of time spent with my family and friends. My family didn’t have much money growing up. Most of our vacations were spent at state parks or at the beach. I spent my childhood wandering the woods behind our home or hiking through the Big Thicket with my father on field trips with the YMCA summer camp he directed. I don’t feel much attachment to things. The places and the times I spent there with people I love are what remain with me over time. My overriding vision of the world is one of beauty. Everywhere I turn I see something that could inspire a painting. I think it’s unfortunate that many of us have lost that connection with nature. People are more interested in taking a selfie or sharing a snapchat in front of a sunset than just enjoying and experiencing the world. That’s where my imagination comes in. Most of my landscapes are unpeopled, kind of my idea of Eden before the fall. My critter narratives combine my love of nature with my distrust of the reliance on media and the disconnect I see more and more around me. It seems more and more people are addicted to their phones and screen time. Streets and yards are mostly empty of kids playing. People spend more time shut behind closed doors. It’s ironic to me that the more we’ve connected digitally the less genuine communication and interaction takes place. Your artistic research addresses the superficiality of modern society and reflects my unease with mankind’s relationship to nature. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artists' role differs depending on which sociopolitical system they are living in.' Do you think that your artistic research responds to a particular cultural moment? Moreover, how do you consider the role of artists in our media driven contemporary age? In that much of my artwork comments on current aspects of our culture and the distance we’ve put between ourselves and nature, you might say my

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Truce, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48, 2016

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Two's Company, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48, 2018

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paintings relate to a particular moment. I don’t necessarily see that I’m part of any one movement though. I’ve always been content to paint what interests me whether that relates to what anyone else is doing or not. There’s often a kind of snobbery in the art world. I remember being in a graduate level painting class at UNT and bringing in some of my landscape paintings and having the class argue and debate about why we would even be looking at such paintings. For some if it isn’t new and sensational it’s not important. For me one of the greatest things an artist can do in this media driven age is to remind us of our humanity. Beauty does that for me. I enjoy my smartphone and laptop too, but I view them as tools. For too many they’re becoming a way of life. So much miscommunication and so many problems start with a 140 character tweet. No one starts a war sitting on the beach watching the sunset over the water. Marked out with such unique seductive beauty on the surface, your artworks deeply struck us for the way they incite the viewer to make new personal associations. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? I love when someone makes connections with anything I’ve made. Everyone brings their own history with them that filters how they interpret things, and while my paintings are the result of my own personal life, they’re also inspired by the people and events I witness. As an artist, I think if we want viewers to be affected by our work they

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On Guard, Oil on Canvas, 24x36, 2016 (sold)


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God Moves on the Water, Oil on Canvas, 6 x 6, 2017

have to be free to interpret and make it real for themselves. I think the surface beauty you refer to is often the pathway in for my viewers,

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particularly with the narrative works. While some of my ideas have a very whimsical origin, many of them address serious issues like gun control, war,

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As Above So Below, Oil on Canvas, 20 x 20, 2018

consumerism, and sexuality. These are topics people are often defensive about and when we get defensive we close ourselves off to ideas. I’m

no exception. You can’t club someone over the head and expect them to smile and be happy about what you’re trying to say. As a teacher I’ve

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learned that it’s often best to come at difficult topics from a roundabout approach. You’ve got to find a way for people to be open and receptive. I guess beauty and whimsy are my ways in. You are an established artist and over the years your artworks have been shown widely in several occasions, including your recent solo Wild Things at Bisong Gallery in Houston, TX: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? And what do you hope your audience take away from your artworks? It’s still strange to me to think in terms of “my audience” even though I have a good exhibition history and long time collectors. I’m humbled that there are people interested in what I make. The truth is I’d be painting and creating whether or not anyone ever sees it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing feeling to see my work on a gallery wall. I get the same butterflies and electric feeling with every show. I’m honored that many viewers and buyers of my work have become friends. I now have artwork in half of the states of the USA. Obviously I haven’t met all of those people in person, but I often get messages and emails from someone years after a sale letting me know how much they enjoy their painting. Some send me pictures after seeing a picture in a different light or hanging it in a new spot. Many have added more paintings to their home over time. That’s the greatest wonder of all for me as an artist, to know that I’m somehow part of so many lives and homes. Above all, I hope people who see my work come away with a sense of the beauty of the world. I hope I’ve helped awaken some new awareness and curiosity. Direct relationship with the audience in a

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Beats, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 40, 2017

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The Struggle is Real, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48, 2018

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physical is definitely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm increases: how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience? Can you imagine what Leonardo could have done with internet access? Maybe Van Gogh wouldn’t have been such a starving artist if he’d had an instagram account. Not too long ago it was rare to be known outside of your hometown for anything. Today I’m talking with you via email from across the ocean. In this day and age there’s no reason for any artist to not have their work seen somewhere. I’m definitely a sucker for the physical form of artwork. That’s what keeps me coming back to oil paint. I just don’t get the same sensation from the surface of a digital print, but social media and technology used as a tool are invaluable. Most of my biggest commissions were handled through email, jpeg files, a few phone calls, and shipping companies for clients that were hundreds of miles away. That wouldn’t have been possible just a few decades ago. Through social media I’ve made a network of friends and contacts. There’s a market out there for pretty much any kind of work, and technology makes it possible to find and access that market from anywhere. I lived fifteen years in Dallas, but my career didn’t really take off until I moved back to my small hometown of Beaumont, TX. It was a photograph of my first show back in Beaumont at The Art Studio, Inc. that caught the attention of Boston Art, Inc. for a project they were working on with Grant Thorton. There was a Chicago based interior design firm involved as well. None of us had ever met in person. My work didn’t suddenly get better when I moved to Beaumont, but my business skills and use of the internet did.

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We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Mark. What projects are

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you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? Thank you for including me! It’s always a little


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surreal to me to think there are people out there wanting to know more about a painter from SE Texas. I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’ve had a pretty good run the last couple of years. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to share my

artwork in so many ways. Most recently I’ve entered into a licensing agreement with iCanvas. They’re offering prints of a few dozen of my paintings worldwide. Currently I’m working on scheduling a show with the Longview Museum of

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Wish You Were Here, Oil on Canvas, 15 x 30, 2017 Fine Arts here in Texas. I’m very excited about that and it looks like we’ll have the calendar lined out this summer for something in 2021 or 2022. I’m now represented by Dab Art in Ventura, CA and have some artwork in a group show currently on

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display with them at H Gallery. I’m always painting. I believe firmly in the “go to your studio and make stuff” idea. Work begets work. Right now I’m also tossing

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around the idea of bringing some of my critters to life as sculptures, maybe for the Longview show. I’m starting to experiment some in what form those sculptures would take, be it clay, plaster, paper mache, castings, or maybe even 3D prints. I

have this image in my head of a gallery filled with paintings while sculptured possums and gators wander around blindly staring at their phones. Who knows what will happen next? That’s the fun of it all, isn’t it?

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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Tsvetina Daneva Lives and works in New York City, USA I remember once, in primary school, we had to draw a person combining different objects for our arts class. All the kids except me drew robots made of simple shapes. I depicted a girl with an Indian dancer for a nose, swans for her eyes with clocks for her irises, a boat for her lips, trees for her hands, a mermaid for a necklace.. When I finally showed it to the teacher, he looked at it carefully and said 'I'm proud to have such students.' His words echoed in my head. He wanted to see the drawings in my sketchbook and asked me if I wanted to have an exhibition on my own. When I returned home, jumping with joy, my Mom said she wanted to see me so happy more often. From that moment on I finally had an answer to the question ‘So, what do you want to do when you grow up then?’ that I truly believed in. As I kept on delving deeper into visual arts, the endless possibilities of creating were becoming more and more appealing to me which made me strive to explore as many aspects of it as I could. I have had the chance to experiment a lot with my work especially when it comes to the use of materials and techniques, both traditional and digital. I enjoy taking risks, always challenging myself and researching and trying out a variety of ways of conveying my visual ideas. In spite of having a versatile portfolio, there is still a recurring theme in my practice and this is the art of cutting. There is something about the concept of cut outs that I find really intriguing and engaging and I like to apply it quite often in my work. What fascinates me the most about the art of cutting is the fact that it does not limit itself to any material, which I feel fits perfectly into my creative vision. I have had the chance to explore it through a variety of processes such as paper cutting, digital cut out effects and laser cutting. The art of cutting has many applications and variations and I am definitely willing to make the most of them. With the creation of my series 'Fairy Tales vs Global Issues', I had the chance to explore a new aspect of the art of cutting. All of the pieces are made of three layers of laser cut mdf, all carrying different details of an illustration and thus creating an effect of depth and engagement of light. The idea behind the illustrations is to present a variety of global issues in an engaging way for the viewer way and start a discussion that concerns all of us.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

elaborate about your artistic production and we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.instagram.com/danevart in order to get a wide idea about your

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Tsvetina and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to

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using two words, they would be diverse and experimental. I learned to be very flexible as a creative, I was encouraged to explore a variety of techniques, materials and ways to convey my visual ideas. I always strive to give unexpected solutions to creative problems, make pieces that are somehow curious and engaging. The international experience was highly beneficial for my professional development but I still find myself going back to and getting inspired by my favorite narratives from back home.

artistic production, and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid formal training and you hold a BA in Illustration and Graphics, that you received from the Coventry University: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research? Hello and thank you! I’m so delighted to be a part of your publication.

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Fairy Tales vs Global Issues, an interesting series that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. Marked out with unique visual identity, your artworks display such a rigorous sense of geometry and symmetry to create coherent combination between sense of freedom and unique aesthetics. New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes? In particular, how importance does spontaneity play in your daily routine?

Before enrolling to Coventry University, I had hardly any artistic knowledge and professional skills. All I had was my love for drawing and passion for everything creative, which led to my decision to do a Foundation course in Art and Design. I didn’t believe that I would even get accepted since I did not have enough previous training but I was lucky to receive help and guidance for my portfolio from Plamen Monev-one of the greatest Bulgarian artists, who unfortunately passed away. I could never thank him enough for his support and faith in me. After a very successful Foundation year, I proceeded to get my BA in Illustration and Graphics with Professional Enhancement. If I had to define the Illustration and Graphics course by 11

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the pieces encourages the viewers to take a closer look and really explore each layer in depth. I feel that our duty as creatives is to presentt works that show a different perspective and make you look twice.

I would say it is a mixture of both, but spontaneity plays a great role. More often than not, I will have a visual idea in my head that will completely transform in the process of working on it. And to me this is the beauty of creating. I always know that the final piece will be much different to the original idea and this makes its development even more exciting.

We have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances that mark out your artworks, and we like the way they create tension and dynamics: how did you come about settling on your color palette? And how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in a specific artwork and in particular, how do you develop your textures.

We daresay that your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface. Austrian historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the audience to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewer's imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

Since I am at my happiest when creating, I used to reflect on that by using light and vibrant colors. My perspective of art and design has changed a lot through the years but the excitement of creating has always stayed the same or maybe even gotten bigger. Although I still enjoy vibrant colours sometimes, my most recent works are very much deprived of colour and concentrate on the use of textures and graphic patterns. I have loved exploring wood textures as well as mixing traditional and digital tools to create my most recent illustrations and designs.

I have always wanted for my artworks to really engage the auidence and trigger their imagination.With the development of my series Fairy Tales vs Global Issues, my aim was to present a variety of issues through the lens of fairy tales and manage to spark a conversation that concerns people of all ages. The experimental and multilayered nature of

You are a versatile artist, and you have 13

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had the chance to explore the art of cutting through a variety of processes such as paper cutting, digital cut out effects and laser cutting. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, what fascinates you the most about the art of cutting is the fact that it does not limit itself to any material: how do you consider the role of digital technology playing within your artistic process?

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As the use of digital technology seems to be more and more inevitable nowadays, I also tend to use digital tools more often. I see them as a way to perfect some of my pieces, edit or give them finishing touches. I actually only recently did my very first series of illustrations, which were entirely 16


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digital. Illustrating and designing using digital tools is a skill that is required in this day and age but I always love going back to experimenting with materials.

in our globalised age? In particular, does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment?

Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "artists's role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues 17

I feel that many artists manage to raise awareness on topical issues. I am absolutely amazed by the value and ideas behind some of the pieces we see around the world and I am hoping I would be able to achieve such impact

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in a process of development and exploration.

one day. I wouldn’t say that my artistic research responds to a particular cultural moment. I see it as a mixture. I am very much inspired by artists from different cultural moments, but I do not feel that my artworks necessarily correspond to them or maybe not just yet. I think that I am still

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Marked out with primarily figurative qualities, your artworks feature such effective combination between reminders to reality and captivating abstract feeling, whose background create such an oniric atmosphere: how would you consider the tension between 18


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abstraction and figurative in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work?

hearing their insights and thoughts on what I have created. It’s amazing how many different perpectives you can get just from one piece and having this live interaction is very inspiring.

I have always been greatly influenced and attracted by abstraction. To me, the mixture of reality and abstraction is a recipe for impactful pieces. Finding the right balance could be very challenging at times, but if you do find it, you are prone to create engaging work.

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Tsvetina. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

You are a versatile artist and over the years your artworks have been showcased in a number of occasions: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? In particular, how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere — and platforms as Instagram — in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience?

I have so many ideas for personal projects that I haven’t had the time to execute lately, but I am very much determined to soon. I have some upcoming projects with the team of the multidisciplinary company de.MO Branding and Design, which I had the chance to be a part of and I am currently developing concepts for TEDx at TED Conferences which I am very excited about!

I think that platforms like Instagram are great for promoting and networking but nothing can compare to the excitement and fulfillment you feel from receiving live feedback from a versatile audience.

Thank you to the amazing Peripheral ARTeries, it has been an absolute pleasure!

I have had the pleasure of showcasing my work to a wider audience, talking and meeting people of all ages and

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

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Zhang Fan Lives and works in Wuhan, China

The air exudes an uncomfortable atmosphere, and my work is more concerned with the current state of existence and the meaning of life. One of the most important aspects of contemporary art is the criticism and reflection of real life. At least so far, I am indifferent to the so-called good things. These days have a lot of problems, everyone is born to die, I simply record and deconstruct this single deterministic fact in my own expressive language in a gamelike manner. The colour of dazzling; Alienation of wrinkles; the lack of organ; the imperfect teeth; Boring and prudish coat, symbolic images and daily scene on strange and meaningful combination, so not sure the meaning of entanglement in the body like an incurable disease and appeared again and again.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

affects my artistic creation. However, when I was studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in the mid-1990s, I liked to show relatively dark things. I didn't have any interest in so-called beautiful things. I didn't want to express them and I didn't know how to express them. At that time, I did some experimental works, including "Breathing Difficulties", "Passes" and so on. I think that the early contact with rebellious, cynical rock music and avant-garde art may have an impact on the experimental nature of my work. But in general, I think that the process of my artistic creation is to go with the flow and develop gradually.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Zhang and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist and help you to develop your attitude to experiment? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your Chinese roots direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

In my artworks, some shapes, colors, and treatments of clothes are influenced by traditional Chinese painting. In fact, Chinese culture has always influenced my artistic creation and research, but there are many things that may not be seen in the works, it is a

Zhang Fan: First of all, thanks to the interview of peripheral arteries. I am very happy to have a conversation with you! In fact, there is no special experience that

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These days-extrusion Oil on canvas 150x130cm 2018

deeper influence. Specific to the creation, the ideas and concepts of my artworks come from news photos, rock music, movies, tattoos, traditional culture and other things.

get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once impressed us of your artworks is the way you sapiently combined element from reality with captivating abstract sensitiveness, to provide the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience: when walking our readers through your usual workflow and process, we would like to ask

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected These days, an interesting series that our readers have already started to

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you if you think that there is a central idea that connects all your works. Zhang Fan: I feel that my art works always pay attention to the state of existence and the meaning of life. One of the most important aspects of contemporary art is the criticism and reflection of real life, even the challenge. At least

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so far, I am indifferent to the so-called beautiful things. The disturbing dark side, the reflection on life and some boring things may be what I have always shown in my work. We have really appreciated the vibrancy of the nuances of that mark out your artistic production: in particular, we like the way your


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These days - sleepy Oil on canvas 130x110cm 2018

artworks show that vivacious tones are not indespensable in order to create tension and dynamics: how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in a specific artwork in order to achieve such brilliant results?

dynamics and details of the painting are the most difficult. I think the change of color is relatively easy to handle, it depends more on my experience and feelings, and then I can achieve the effect I want through certain technical means.

Zhang Fan: In fact, for me, the tension,

Marked out with such a powerful narrative

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These days - huge crowds of people Oil on canvas 130x97cm 2011


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drive on the visual aspect, your artworks push the envelope of the expressive potential of the images and the symbols that you include: how importance do symbolically charged images play in your artistic research? In particular, did you aim to provide your work with allegorical features? Zhang Fan: Repetition is power, symbolic images and daily scene on strange and meaningful combination, so not sure the meaning of entanglement in the body like an incurable disease and appeared again and again. In fact, the images I created do have some symbolic meaning, all the expression languages in my works have changed. What has not changed is that the characters basically have no nose, for example: teeth from complete to defective; alienated wrinkles are now more For the sake of simplicity and so on. In my opinion, people are defective, both psychologically and physically. It may not be obvious psychologically, it is not easy to see, but there are also dark sides and missing things. These days have a lot of problems, and there are social problems as well as our own problems. But in any case, the flesh proves nothingness and existence, and only one thing in life is very certain, that is, the end of life is death, everyone is born to death, I simply record and deconstruct this single deterministic fact in my own expressive language in a gamelike manner. Your artworks feature such effective combination between figurative and captivating abstract feeling, whose backgrounds create such an oniric atmosphere: how would you consider the relationship between abstraction and figurative in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work? Zhang Fan: I think this is still an experience, feeling and technical problem. Artistic creation

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These days - bite Oil on canvas 100x80cm 2014

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needs to think and rely on certain techniques. Usually I will draw the draft first, and then consider the background part of the picture after determining the character and dynamics. Specific to the painting process, first I will paint the background, and finally finish the characters and details, but before the background is drawn, I will fully consider the color matching and technical processing. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your work is concerned with the current state of existence and the meaning of life. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artists' role differs depending on which sociopolitical system they are living in.' Do you think that your artistic research responds to a particular cultural moment? Moreover, how do you consider the role of artists in our media driven contemporary age? Zhang Fan: Some artists' works or themselves may have a lot to do with politics, but my artworks are not like this, I don't think my work is related to politics or political systems. The disturbing dark side or unpleasant scenes in my artwork are found in any country, under any political system. In such a networked and pluralism world, the role of artists in society is also pluralism. Marked out with such unique visual identity, your artworks feature such an oniric atmosphere and deeply struck us for the way they incite the viewer to make new personal associations. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

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These days - summer Oil on canvas 120x100 cm 2014

Zhang Fan: I think my artworks is relatively easy to interpret because it is basically real life. But the imagination of the audience will definitely be wider than the picture.

serious. If the audience feels ridiculous, witty, funny, disgusting, boring, uneasy and so on, I think it is normal. For example, “These days-come on� is ostensibly positive and healthy, but if the audience thinks more, they will find that this work actually represents the contest and struggle between people.

I think it is important to cause people's attention and thinking. Of course, it doesn't have to be so

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These days - can't see clearly Oil on canvas 130x110 cm 2017

How do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? And what do you hope your audience take away from your artworks? In particular, how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere — and platforms as Instagram — in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience?

Zhang Fan: What the audience can get in the artworks is any feeling. Now is the age of the Internet. Platforms such as Instagram are one of the hallmarks of the progress of the times. They will play a huge role in creating the connection between artists and global audiences, because convenience is impossible for organizations such

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These days - lower the head to fight Oil on canvas 120x100cm 2016 as traditional galleries, but it is a problem to not see the original work.

are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Zhang. What projects

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Zhang Fan: The "These Days" series will definitely continue, and I still have a lot of sketches that have been completed without painting. This series is the main clue to my

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These days - come on Oil on canvas 130x110cm 2015 artistic creation, and it lasts for the longest time, and the attention and thinking about the state of existence and the meaning of life (actually life may be meaningless) will not end.

and so on. If there are some good ideas, some conceptual works may be done in the future to expand some new possibilities.

At present, painting is my main artistic expression. In fact, in addition to "These Days", I have done a lot of other works, including "Traces", "Assiduously Study" and "Flesh" series

Finally, what I want to say is that I am very happy to have the opportunity to talk to you and wish Peripheral ARTeries better and better. Thank you very much!

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Peripheral ARTeries Art Review, Special Edition  

Peripheral ARTeries Art Review, Special Edition  

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