ART QA Magazine AUTUMN 2015

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Art QA Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion may be reproduced in part or in full by any means without prior written consent from Art QA.





ART is inspirational. Art is insightful. Art is motivational. This is our first Autumn issue of ART QA magazine. We wanted to go a little bigger this time and we did. We hope you enjoy this issue and even find something new that you connect with and like. ART QA Magazine is a new art publication located in Brooklyn, New York and run by a small group of art professionals, architects, commercial photographers, writers and art lovers. Our aim is simply to cultivate, foster and encourage broader conversations to and between those viewing, working with and making art. In this way we wish that our publication supports the art community both locally and internationally. We thank you for checking out ART QA. - D. MANCINI




I saw one of Le’s light works about a year ago and thought her use of the light as form and symbol merged into a single work which went beyond many of the artists working with such mediums. Let’s get more insight into her play with light.

THE INTERVIEW AQA: Were you born in Vietnam?
 LE: I actually wasn’t born in Vietnam. I was born in the United States as soon as my parents arrived. They came to America after escaping Vietnam on a small boat and spending three months at a refugee camp in Thailand. AQA: What was that like for you as a kid? LE: At times it felt lonely and tumultuous. There was a lot of shifting and moving around. I struggled to find my identity for a long time. I was trying to figure out my place in the world. AQA: What did your parents do for a living? LE: My dad was an engineer and my mom did clerical work. AQA: When did you move to the USA? LE: I was born and raised here. I’m American. AQA: When did you start making art? LE: I started making my own art when I was around 15 years old. At that time not many of my peers had computers. My dad would bring home these old computers and I would make computer graphics on them and make digital art pixel by pixel. I then started making desktop backgrounds. After a few years of that, I eventually found an online community where others and I could share our work. We would collaborate, critique and comment on each other’s works online. I probably still have that art somewhere on floppy disks in my house. It didn’t get serious until about four years ago. I wanted to get away from the digital side of things and wanted to do something more tactile. I began to paint, it was the first thing I could do that would allow me to express immediately and I started making small paintings. When I did this, I felt I had rediscovered myself and I went mad creating all these small paintings in my apartment before getting a studio.


AQA: How has your early life experience effected or influenced your art?
 LE: In my early life experience I was probably absorbing my parents’ transition to living in the United States. It wasn’t an easy time for us so I spent some time alone. I used to draw on the walls and I spent a lot of time imagining fantastical worlds that I would live in and different versions of my self. I repressed a lot of emotion and I believe that emotion is coming out in full force now in my life and in my work. AQA: When did you move to NYC? LE: I moved to NYC about 10 years ago because I felt a huge pull towards the city. When I got to NYC it felt like home. I knew I was in the right place. I didn’t move here for art or school, but I moved here for the huge concentration of creative energy and people. AQA: Did you like New York? LE: I knew it was the right city for me immediately. Although knowing that is one thing and living it is another. It was extremely difficult when I first moved here. I barely had any friends and I felt insecure and lost. It took me about a good four to five years to feel settled, find my ground and make a real life for myself here. It was a lonely time in the beginning for sure. But now I’m in a good place. AQA: Your studio is in Brooklyn now. When did you move to Brooklyn? LE: I’ve lived in Brooklyn the whole time I’ve been here. We (my husband and I) moved to Williamsburg before all the development started. Now my studio is in Bushwick. AQA: Do you like Brooklyn and NYC in general?
 LE: I absolutely love Brooklyn and NYC. Say what you will about it, complain all you want, but it’s amazing and a privilege to live here and I’m grateful to be here every single day. There is so much culture and something new to observe and learn. I meet the most inspirational, smart, creative and incredibly interesting people on a daily basis. AQA: What about art do you love the most? LE: Art in general, whether it be bad art, good art or fine art. It’s pure expression and everyone can participate. It’s visual, and it’s a different form of language. That’s what I like the most about it. It’s another way of accessing the internal or external without using defined words.



AQA: What interest you about painting? I guess I’m asking why painting and not something else? LE:. I figure why not try to paint? I was terrible with words and writing, and always good with visual communication, so painting seemed the like natural evolution. Painting was also another way for me to get some inner dialogue out and address it. AQA: Your paintings seem visually pretty different from each other, but is that the case from your perspective? LE: like the paintings with “X” painted across them and yet other paintings have a such a different structure or look. The paintings right now differ in styles because they are coming from a different mindset, place and time. The “X” paintings were done at a time when I was angry and I felt like going against everything. I took a giant acrylic marker and made the X’s in two strong swoosh motions. I title them “Against.” X series. AQA: What interests you about abstraction, abstract paintings? LE: I like the open-endedness of abstract work. I feel that I can convey myself better and more naturally through abstraction. It’s not something that I can put into words or do in a representational way. AQA: Do you find that women making abstract art are overlooked? LE: Personally, I’ve never experienced this. Maybe it’s naïve but when I interact with people, I never think about if my race or gender affects how people perceive me. I just do the work and only care about the work. However that’s not to say it isn’t happening out there.


Annesta Le INTERVIEW AQA: Do you feel that female artists are given equal respect in the art world? LE: There’s overwhelming evidence that women are not given equal respect in the art world. However for me personally, I haven’t experienced this. I don’t really think about this too much because when I make my work it’s not about gender for me. AQA: In your work are you working out something from within yourself? LE: Yes, always. It’s a necessity for me. AQA: You’ve done sculptures with neon lights, what made you want to do them? LE: I’m fascinated with creating environments with light and sound. I took a class to learn to make a neon sign and then I became obsessed with the medium. I couldn’t stop with the neon and it’s taken off ever since. It’s about light and illumination, it’s about coming out of a dark place, a feeling. AQA: Regarding your neon light works, were you influenced by any other artists? LE: I’m influenced by abstract painters. Usually the neon you see is very literal, words, beer signs, cowboys, casinos and arrows. Mine is a large contrast from that and tries to make neon less representational. AQA: What do you think or believe the role of art is? LE: I don’t want to define what the role of art is, but art should be freedom of expression. Art shouldn’t be censored. Art shouldn’t be a ‘certain way’ for anyone. AQA: Let’s talk mediums. What are your favorite mediums, like oil paint, acrylic or wax? LE: Right now I’m obsessed with neon and the variety of gasses you can use inside the glass to create different colors. There’s neon, argon, krypton and Xenon. Due to this obsession, I’m constantly playing around with a variety of electrical components, tube supports, plexiglass and certain types of wiring to create a specific aesthetic. AQA: What about those mediums do you like? LE: I love the glow and light you get from neon. It’s also extremely hard to replicate that type of lighting and glow without actually using neon itself. People try to do it all the time, you’ll see ‘fake neon’ signs and it doesn’t even come close to the real thing. AQA: How has the NYC art scene changed since you’ve been involved? LE: I go out to openings and interact with people but I don’t really involve myself with the art scene too deeply. I feel it’s constantly in flux, something’s always coming or going. People tend to complain quite a bit about one thing or another. I think people need to get over themselves and make shit happen. 10


AQA: Who are your favorite artists? LE: There’s too many to list, but Yayoi Kusama and Louise Bourgeois come to mind. Their work is infused with psychological content and I identify with that. De Kooning is also another favorite for his abstraction work. AQA: Who are artists who have influenced you over the years? LE: There was a time before I had a studio, did art or had any shows. I was struggling with my own identity and what to do with my life. I just knew that the way I was going wasn’t working for me. I had the hardest time expressing myself. I could barely even speak about myself out loud. I remember vividly one night meeting this one artist. I saw how he lived and his studio and how he was able to work things out through his sketches, drawings and paintings. It moved me to the core. It activated something in me and opened a door. That was probably the one biggest influence I had over the years. AQA: Have you done a show in NYC? LE: I had my first solo show in Brooklyn last November. AQA: How long does it take for you to complete a painting? LE: Some paintings take a day or a week, others can be months. AQA: How long did it take you to do the neon works? LE: I find that conceptualizing the piece as a whole takes the longest. After the idea and vision is in place, I start to plan the aesthetics, the color and the electrical wiring. Once that is all set out, it’s usually fast to create the work. It could take from a week to a few months depending on size. AQA: Does sexuality play a role in your work? LE: I think creativity and sexuality are definitely intertwined. In terms of it playing a role in my work, not so much. AQA: Are you interested in collaborations with other artists? LE: I’m open to collaborations with other artists. It’s always interesting to mix it up.

- D. Mancini



Artwork by Annesta Le. Images provided by the artist. 12



RACISM IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING IN THE ART WORLD As I was looking around the Brooklyn Museum, I was reminded that racism in the ‘art world’ is still very present. One may see that artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kehinde Wiley are showing in the museum and think, things are getting better and the art world isn’t so racist anymore. However, if one looks closer it is evident that racism is still just as present. The majority of art in museums or galleries from artists that happen to have a darker skin color is almost always about race, slavery, cultural heritage, or suffering, etc. The problem is not that these subjects are being used in the artists’ work; the problem is there is a lack of balance. Other types of work by artists with darker shades of skin are excluded. What about the other types of art such strictly abstract art, art about the mundane, landscapes, etc.? ‘White’ males can do pretty much whatever and be recognized, while anyone else such as ‘African American’ or ‘Latino’ artists will most likely be labeled, pigeon holed, or left out. It’s like the mainstream art world and art market is saying to the rest of the artists, ‘Oh we’ll include you,


but only in a certain way. If you talk about your race or historical suffering and pain, then that is acceptable.’ Or, ‘You can be included but only if you are labeled and made separate.’ So, let’s not pretend like the art world is being all-inclusive now. It is doing what is trendy now, the goal is not to show us a well-rounded and fair view of art and art history or else we would see more variety in this mainstream art world. For example, artists dealing in mainly abstraction such as Felrath Hines, Alma Thomas, and Romare Bearden, and Shinique Smith, and Angel Otero are hardly known. People are beginning to include artists such as these in museums but it is sad that we are still in a state where they have to be included with a label of Black or African-American or Latino, Puerto Rican, etc. For example, the artists listed above were recently featured in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston under the exhibition “Black in the Abstract”. Some may say, ‘Wait, what about Basquiat’s work?

SOAPBOX His work is included.’ Luckily, we are viewing his work in museums along with the rest of the artists, but he is one of the exceptions and his work does still use his diverse cultural heritage and race as top topics in his many sources of inspiration, so check mark, he still fits the pigeon-holed profile. It’s obvious that racism in this art world that we know in America has been an ongoing problem for a long time, and perhaps since its inception. Many have addressed this issue and attempted to do something about it. The term “post-black” art emerged because it was realized that racism continued to be a problem in the art world. And although this ‘post-black’ movement was an attempt at broadening the conversation and changing how ‘black’ (as people call them) artists work was seen, the rise of this movement hasn’t done anything to alleviate us of the institutional racism problem. In 2001 Thelma Golden defined the phrase “post-black art” in detail in the exhibition catalogue for The Studio Museum In Harlem’s exhibition entitled "Freestyle”. She defined post-black art as that which includes artists who are “adamant about not being labeled Black artists though their work was steeped, in fact deeply interested, in redefining complex notions of blackness.” In the exhibition catalogue, Golden proclaims, “PostBlack was the new Black.” That last comment shows the problem; the new label just perpetuates the problem, if post-black is the new black then it’s the same thing. Keeping a label, keeping the art separate and about ‘blackness’ only keeps the racism continuing. The problem continues under another name, and this ‘post’

black name poses another problem. This term makes it sound like things are getting better, like we’re postracism, when really things are not better. We are not post labels. We have traded labels. This so-called ‘post’ word does not make it any better and does not mean we are past the racism. The label “Post-Black” is a still a wolf, it’s only in sheep’s clothing now. To this day, most of all of the well-known, shown artists that happen to have a darker shade of skin are artists like Rashid Johnson, Kara Walker, and Mark Bradford, who continue to mainly talk about race. As I mentioned before, artists talking about race in their work is not the problem, but having that being all that is talked about or the majority of what is talked about is the problem. One on the outside looking in may think that an art world would be open and would share a wide variety of types of art from a wide variety of people and be about something like sharing art to promote a more just society or something like that, but it is clear this is not the case. Whoever is responsible for perpetuating what we see in the top museums and galleries is making this art world a world of bigotry. Knowing this makes me disgusted that the art and artists are almost always categorized as African-American, or Black, or Post-Black, or Latino, or what have you. I really dislike hearing the labels “African-American artist”, “Hispanic artist”, or “woman artist”. You never hear “Caucasian artist” or “male artist”. So having these labels come first, hints that these artists are considered less than or other than, and insulting. These labels based on race need to be dropped all together.


SOAPBOX This mainstream art world is all about money and art as a raw commodity, so let’s not confuse it with being about what art is about. Reading Warhol’s explanation of how to be a successful artist in POPism makes it clear what the art world is about. “To be successful as an artist, you have to have your work shown by a good gallery for the same reason, say, that Dior never sold his originals from a counter in Woolworth's. …. No matter how good you are, if you are not promoted right, you won't be one of those remembered names." This quote reminds us that this art world is about money. If we want an art world that is open like art is, well, a new type of art world will have to be created. How the art is represented in the art world affects how the general public view art and art history. Altering people’s view by favoring one group of people over others twists our perception of what art is out there. This causes serious consequences that we may not be aware of right now. This ‘art world’ as we know it is racist just like this ‘real world’ that we know. Who knows what artists would be shown in the mainstream art world if this wasn’t the case and if it wasn’t for these obstacles placed on so many artists. How would bringing this un-seen art to the light affect us? How would it affect artists? How would it affect our world?


(Disclaimer-I don’t like using the terms ‘black’ artists, people of color, etc. We all have color just darker or lighter shades of color. Plus, black people do not even have black skin usually, they usually have brown skin nor do white people have white skin. These terms perpetuate separation, illusion, and racism. I did use these labels in terms of what many people say to give clarity to the content I’m sharing.)



Above: The Formula #1 (the derivative), 78.5 x 57.5 inches, Oil, acrylic on canvas, 2014.


Energetic, intense, and intelligent is what I encountered when seeing several of Gabriel Asoka’s (The Mazeking) paintings and photo works. A few days later when I met the artist, I found him to have the same energy, focus and intelligence as his work. I’ve met many artists and he’s one of the most interesting I’ve ever come across. If you haven’t seen his work in person, you should, because otherwise you’re missing something well worth your time.

THE INTERVIEW AQA: You live in New York City? MAZEKING: Yes, in Brooklyn. I love New York. AQA: What do you love about living in New York City? MAZEKING: Energy, I love the energy, the food, and the parks. There’s just so much to do here that it gets me up early and outside to the cafes, museums, restaurants, book stores, it’s a great city. AQA: Do you prefer digital or traditional film cameras? MAZEKING: Either. It depends solely upon what I’m doing and how I want something to look and feel. 22


AQA: So you don’t have a thing about digital or film, like one is better than the other? MAZEKING: No I don’t, that’s rather silly to me. I’ve heard that from some people, it’s stupid. These are simply tools for making, creating things, and sometimes one does better than the other. I think it’s good to be open to using new tools and see what they offer to the process or actual work. AQA: Your Procession paintings judging from the titles, seem to point to history or time, is that what they are about? How do you make these works? MAZEKING: Yes. Those works are about history and time. They’re about the order of things and the chaos of things, that’s the abstraction, the abstract nature which I think we live in. I think abstract artworks are more about this time in our world, life. It’s all rather crazy and abstracted. I wanted them to have a depth and energy, but tied to a structure. All my work is about life, history or time or something like that. AQA: Do you feel that you achieved that with them? MAZEKING: Yes I believe so, but the viewer has to come to their own interpretation and expereience. AQA: Tell me about the Opus paintings. Why the name, Opus? MAZEKING: I grew up around classical and jazz music and the name came out of that. But it also worked well with the theme of the work, which is an abstracting of cities and man-made spaces, like a maze one travels through. AQA: What is a foto-painting, like the Blur or Peekaboo series? Are they, photographs or paintings? MAZEKING: Both. They are paintings and photographs. I combine the two into one. It came out of my desire to explore a process that was both digital and analog in some way and that also fit with my visual sense, so after some time thinking about it I did the first of these and liked it. My process is pretty simple. I take the photos, get the models, locations, clothing and whatever else and then after that I make a painting on canvas or whatever surface I pick; that’s the analog. Then I put the two together in a digital process, sort of post-production. The finished piece is a chromogenic print on special metallic paper. AQA: You have several Blur series. What is it about the blurred images that attracts you? MAZEKING: I think a photograph is abstract by its nature. We don’t see with our eyes as a single lens camera does. A blurred image is more abstract, but in that way, it frees the viewer more, offering a visual experience beyond a given subject, in a way allowing them to see more than otherwise. AQA: How long have you been making photographs? MAZEKING: I started doing still photographs when I was about 11 years old. I had a Pentax camera which I loved.



Opus #6 - Monday Afternoon in Montmartre, Acrylic on canvas, 22.3 x 28 inches, 2015.

“But it also worked well with the theme of the work, which is an abstracting of cities and man-made spaces, like a maze one travels through.�



Amour de Contact, Chromogenic print, 20 x 30 inches.

“I really love cinematography and it’s rather abstract in a way, but my interest is more about a single moment in time. That offers us the chance to fill in the story.”



AQA: You’ve been asked a lot about your Happiness Here art, so I won’t go into that much, but I do have one question, which I am curious about. Did you think about the placement of the artwork? MAZEKING: Good question and yes, that was part of the work. I thought about the position of the work as it relates to people’s walking behavior, because I wanted them to be able to see it and have a space and moment to think, get in or not, or take more notice or not. But I also gave thought to their placement when it came to what else was near them, the juxtaposition, spacial relationship and meanings or ideas which came out of that. AQA: Why did you stop painting the Layer paintings? I like them and I believe they were your first series of paintings an I’m correct? MAZEKING: You are right, they were my first painting series. I stopped making them in 2003, because at that time I needed to play with some other ideas. You know, what came out of those paintings was the Procession works. They came right out of those works. But to your first point, in the past year or so I’ve made a few of them, one for my own collection. AQA: Ah, I kind of thought there was some sort of connection between those works. But what is the connection? Is it formal? MAZEKING: It’s order. In the Layer paintings I had order, order and structure in space. Time was the depth part of those works. In the Procession paintings it’s still order and time there, but in disarray or seemingly so. So I guess what I did was to take the order of Layers and turn it into a question with the Procession paintings. AQA: It seems that you’ve thrown away the idea of one style, thrown away following of one format. Is that how you see it? MAZEKING: Yes. I have no style, if you mean making only blue paintings or something like that. I do have a style, in the form of my gesture or theme and mood of my work. I think that’s a form of style. But, I just have no real interest in making the same thing over and over again, just to do so. I do like the idea and energy of repetition. Beyond that, I find that idea very limited creatively, plus the creative flow or energy doesn’t work that way. It comes out as it is and that’s its nature. When someone moves into a new or different direction it’s a risk. But, not the risk of failure, but risk in asking new questions, or finding a new answer or even finding a new way of making the work. AQA: Like what? What are the questions? MAZEKING: Why we are here? What is life about? I’m exploring life and that includes everything, history, sex, science and love, everything.




The Mazeking, The Procession - The History of Joy from 2500 B.C to 3 A.D,


Acrylic, oil, oil pastel, gesso on paper, 85 x 51 inches ( 216 x 130 cm), 2015.



AQA: So you have an interest in science and history? MAZEKING: Yes of course. Doesn’t everyone in one way or another? I do, yes. I have more than an interest, I guess. I love history and science, space and so on. I get really excited when I have time to think or read or talk about those things.. I love talking and thinking about the universe and how we got here, what me and others tick. My work is about that, it’s meant for contemplation not just looking, but entering into a different space or mindset, our hidden self, that’s where the answers are or at least seem to be. That’s where the magic takes place. I like to re-work ideas of time space and history, not just take what is given, but re-arrange the story of time and meaning into a visual experience, offering something to viewer that take more time than 20 seconds to get, or understand. I believe that part of our heritage and path is to know who we are, to know what we are and what that means, and what to do with that information. Happiness Here Art Installation, 2014

AQA: Do you prefer large artworks, more than smaller ones? MAZEKING: No, not at all. I enjoy and love to make all sizes. The size is dictated to me by the work itself. I have an idea in my mind and then I go about making it and it’s at that moment, that brief moment that the size comes into being. AQA: I think your photographic works are very interesting and beautiful. When I look at them they make me think of films, they have a cinematic quality and mood. Is that something you’re aware of? MAZEKING: Yes. The cinema has always been an influence for me. I really love cinematography and it’s rather abstract in a way, but my interest is about a single moment in time that offers us the chance to fill in the story. The look sets a mood and tells the story visually. There are some films where the cinematography is not just beautiful, but meaningful and makes the film work, which without, the film would not work, or at least not be the same experience.



Blur II Noir #6, foto-painting series, 2015, Chromogenic Print 24 x 24 inches.

“A blurred image is more abstract, but in that way, it frees the viewer more, offering a visual experience beyond a given subject, in a way allowing them to see more than otherwise.�



Layers #11, Oil on canvas, 24 x 48 inches, 1999. AQA: What films do you find have that visual quality? MAZEKING: Okay, yes. Well Chinatown is one, the close ups are so moving and powerful. That was done in anamorphic, which is a the type of camera system used. Anyway, that movie would be completely different if it was not shot that way, the images tell the story in a way that words can’t. There are many others, like one of my favorites, The Conformist, shot by Vittorio Storaro. If you haven’t seen it you should. The photography is great. AQA: I’ve noticed that you seem to work with the same models over and over again. Why is that? MAZEKING: Yes, that’s true. There are four models that I work with for the most part. I simply liked the way they come across in the images. When I started out, I had in mind working with only two models for all my work, something interested me about that. Since then, I’ve worked with many different models, but my favorite models like Candice Lam, Genevieve, Senna and Kelsey each convey a certain presence and mood in the images which I like and they always laugh during the shooting. AQA: I saw one of your new pieces, which is a diptych. Did you take all the photographs yourself? MAZEKING: Yes, I made all the images so far, but recently I’ve been interested in mixing my own work with other found images or something like that. A re-making of them, playing with their look and mood, until it becomes something new.



Créature de la vie nocturne, diptych series, Chromogenic Print, 2014.

AQA: When looking at your work, I get the idea that your work has a narrative. Is that something you intended? MAZEKING: Yes, narratives are part of our lives. In my foto work and even in my paintings, I always have a story or some sort of line-of-thought prior and while making the works, like making a little film or timeline from life. So the stories are there at some level. AQA: What makes you so interested in diptychs ? MAZEKING: Well it’s a new interest of mine. I guess for the past three years for some reason I’ve been wanting to do them. and about a year ago I made the first two. It’s the story, the possibility of the story or meaning options, as well as simply the visual itself and structure. I’ve always been interested in the structure of images.



AQA: Many of your new foto-paintings are square shape. Is there a particular reason for that? MAZEKING: Yes. I wanted the eye to move differently. AQA: Really? What do you mean? MAZEKING: Well this goes into my interest in science and the brain or mind. The eye moves through an image differently depending on the shape and structure of the piece and one day I was thinking I’d like the eye to move in a circle and that’s when I choose to go with the square format. AQA: Do you prefer any medium over another? MAZEKING: That’s hard to say, I love them all, but if I had to pick one I’d pick paints, because I love to use the paint and the colors. AQA: I find your work to have a great amount of energy and movement and depth. MAZEKING: Thanks. I love to look at something which gets me thinking or moves me in some way. I’d like to think that my work does that for other people as well. I think energy or what we perceive as energy or movement does that. It’s all instinct and gesture on my part when making the artwork. When I’m near the end of a piece there’s a moment that I have to make the choice of how much or little of each to keep or take away. It’s simply a natural process. AQA: Do you have or follow a philosophy with regards to your work or process? MAZEKING: Ah, Yes. I make all my art from instinct. I just do what comes to me and move forward. I also like or sort of prefer a balance of idea and form, or color with my work. But that also is informed by my gut, my instinct, rather than thinking about it. You know, I can simply look at the way light hits a wall and get something useful from it or an idea of some sort. AQA: Have you been influenced by other artists, like Pollock, de Kooning or anyone else that somehow has informed your work? MAZEKING: Yes to Pollock, it’s nature. His work came from a particular view of nature. That’s something which is in my work. But it’s not only artists who have influenced me. For example, Sir Francis Crick, the scientist who found DNA, his ideas on DNA, and DNA itself, and the idea of randomness or not, and the questions that arise, have played a role in my art. AQA: So from what I gather, everything influences or inspires you in some way? MAZEKING: Yes, of course. A bowl of rice, a pair of high-heel shoes or simply a color in the sky. We all are moved in one way or another by everything we encounter. In that way I guess we can say that life is constantly inspirational.


-P. Newsone


The Procession #17 - The Procession of History in 1971, Oil, acrylic on canvas, 42 x 35 inches. 2015.






The Role of Fine Art in Feng Shui BY SUNNY FULLER

You’re an art connoisseur. If not only in your own mind, then perhaps as evidenced by that eye-popping gouache you just purchased in Chelsea. Or, maybe your draw towards art is totally utilitarian. Because although you know nothing of color theory, you do know that the bare walls in your new 2000-square-foot apartment are shrieking for more attention than the hungry newborn next door. Either way, you have an innate realization of the power of art in built spaces. You understand how art can influence our attitudes, emotions, moods, and psychology, when present in our environment. There’s a name for this broader practice of creatively and intentionally shaping a space to enhance our overall well-being. It’s called Feng Shui. As a Classical Feng Shui consultant, I love sharing the principles of Feng Shui with those who want to positively shift their lives by shifting elements in their space. Art can have a profound effect on us, so here we’ll discuss how art fits into the greater equation of Feng Shui. But first, let me explain more precisely what Feng Shui is. Over 3,000 years old and rooted in Chinese culture, Feng Shui is an ancient system used to harmonize the energy in our environment. It is based on the observation that we as human beings flourish in settings that support us energetically, psychologically, and emotionally, and that when this support is maximized, it can positively influence our relationships, careers, creativity, and health. The practice of Feng Shui ranges from the ostensibly simple to the highly complex. The Form School of Feng Shui examines how objects in our environment create specific patterns of energy flow and promote either human anxiety or human ease. The Compass School of Feng Shui assesses the energy of a space by using calculations that factor in time and direction, and corrects any energetic imbalances using the five natural elements of fire, earth, metal, water, and wood (live plants). 37


Together, the Form School and Compass School make up what’s known as Traditional or Classical Feng Shui. For centuries, Feng Shui was recognized as being so powerful that it was kept secret by Chinese royalty. Fine art is an important influencer within the context of Feng Shui. From the perspective of the Form School, art brings color, light, shape, and imagery that can have a strong impact on our psychological responses and, in the case of shape, can affect energy flow. From the perspective of the Compass School, art constructed from any of the five natural elements, or pigmented by colors associated with these elements, can be used to correct energy imbalances. For your home, condo, or office, here are some of the ways in which art can enhance the Feng Shui of your space: 1. Art can promote a high emotional vibration. Art can be used in your space to evoke only your most positive feelings and responses. You should never settle on art that that makes you feel ‘so so’, just for the sake of having art around. If you do, then the one feature of a piece that doesn’t feel ‘quite right’ will often become what you focus on when you look at it. This will lower your vibration. If you simply feel neutral about a piece, it’s better to delay any purchase until you find something that truly inspires you. If you’ve searched high and low with no luck, stop searching. As cliché as it may sound, go with the flow of life and, eventually, the right piece will find you. 2. Art can help you focus on your life’s vision. Images are extremely powerful, so ask yourself: “What do the images that surround me communicate to me on a daily basis?” If those images are in alignment with your goals, then perfect. If not, then it’s time to make some changes. For example, if you’re single and want a romantic partner, display art that portrays couples and pairings, (especially in the bedroom), as opposed to people and scenes that are solitary. If you’re looking to increase your financial status, choose office art that communicates wealth and abundance, even if in the abstract. In personal quarters, as long as you understand the meaning that a piece of art has for you, that’s what counts. 38

SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR Although a piece may have critical acclaim, it still may not stand up to the test of whether or not to display it prominently. A visually stunning and riveting photograph that captures a devastating or sorrowful moment, for example, might be best referred to from the pages of a photo book, unless that’s the dominant energy you want in your space. 3. Art can help ‘set the tone’ for your space. Placing a great, appropriate piece of art at your entrance is an effective way to ‘set the stage’ for what you want yourself and others to experience in the space. People will immediately know what conversation they’re entering into when they step across the threshold of your home or business. Is your conversation elegance and class? Fun and creativity? Innovation and forward thinking? You make the call. New energy finds its way into your space via the entrance. Take every opportunity to influence that energy, (including the energy of your guests, clients, or patrons), towards what you want it to be! 4. Art can balance excess ‘Yin’ or ‘Yang’ energy. ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’ refer to the two primary and polar opposite energies in nature that, when balanced, result in harmony. ‘Yin’ is passive, dark, and cold, while ‘Yang’ is active, bright, and hot. Yin/Yang theory is an important underlying principle in Feng Shui. When considering what art to bring into a space, take note as to whether the space already feels too ‘Yin’ or too ‘Yang’. Then, use art to help offset any imbalances. For example, if a space feels too small, use landscape paintings or photography with great depth to help it feel extended. If a space is too dark, consider displaying sculpture or 3-D art that has light reflective surfaces. If a room displays lots of smooth surfaces, opt for art that boasts texture. If the furniture in a space has busy patterns, integrate art with more solid patterns. You get the idea. 5. Art can enhance the function of a room. Every space has a purpose, and art can be used to promote this purpose. If relaxation is the goal, such as with a bedroom, incorporate art with relaxing imagery, curves and soft lines (as opposed to sharp angles), and colors that are neutral or subdued. If your goal for a space is to entertain and be festive, incorporate pieces with more saturated colors, sharper line movement or abstract shapes. 39

SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR In the bedroom, be sure the imagery isn’t a deterrent to intimacy; art depicting individual family members, a family group, or religious themes are best reserved for other areas of the home. 6. Art can promote visual grounding and visual balance. We feel most comfortable in spaces where our eyes know where to rest. Art can be used to visually ground a space by creating an interesting focal point. If a great focal point is already present, such as a beautiful fireplace or standout piece of furniture, then fine art can be placed above or around the focal point to enhance it. When hanging art, be sure to mount it such that the center is at eye level for a person of average height. (If people are usually seated in the space, such as with a dining room, lower the center of the piece to seated eye level.) When considering the best size for art intended to hang above a piece of furniture, choose art that is about two-thirds the width of the furniture. 7. Art can weave the five Feng Shui elements into your space. This is where more detailed knowledge of Feng Shui must be applied. As a Classical Feng Shui consultant, I can map the energy of a space and advise on where to specifically place elements to balance the energy. The great thing about Feng Shui is that you can integrate the five elements, (or colors representing these elements), into your environment in almost any way you wish, including through art. For example, if you needed the earth element in the southeast portion of your home, you could use a terracotta sculpture. If you needed the metal element at your entrance, a copper wire sculpture on a small side table could do the trick. The water element could be introduced via an oil painting with brilliant blues and blacks, or even via an artistic water installation. The fire element could occur in the form of a wall sized photograph with a striking red tint, and a watercolor with luscious greens could tie in the wood element where needed. Regardless of your artistic tastes, the options are many. Using art to promote good Feng Shui is an art in itself. You’ve already been practicing your own form of Feng Shui simply by bringing art into your space! Remember that our surroundings affect us in so many ways, so go ahead and make yours remarkable. Special Contributor Sunny Fuller owner of WWW.SPACESBYSUNNY.COM 40

Shingo Francis INTERVIEW





After seeing Shingo’s work in his studio some time ago, a friend said to me, “His work is not only colorful, but it breaths some life into the space it’s in.” You may also find that to be true if you’re able to see one in person. Until then, hear a little more about the artist behind the work.

THE INTERVIEW AQA:How long have you lived in New York City? FRANCIS: Let me see... I moved here in 2003, so that makes it 12 years. That was quick and a full cycle in the Chinese Zodiac calendar. AQA: Have you always lived in Brooklyn since you moved here? FRANCIS: No, I have moved my studio around a lot except for a bedroom I have always rented from artist Shelly Silver in Chinatown. AQA: Do you like NYC and the art scene here? FRANCIS: I love the city because it offers a concentration of culture from Museums to Theatre, sound art venues, poetry readings, and symposiums of people from around the world. The art scene is vast and I have some complicated feelings. It's unique in that you meet artists, curators, writers, from all over the world in the NY art scene. The commercial market obviously is important for most artists, but it can consciously or unconsciously distract your studio practice by its strong presence in New York. I think it's important to keep a perspective while working as an artist here.


Shingo Francis INTERVIEW

AQA: How long have you been making art? FRANCIS: 25 years! AQA: When did you sell your first artwork? FRANCIS: I sold my first artwork about 5 years out of undergrad. It was an enormous thrill to experience someone so interested in what I am doing that they wanted to pay real money (not barter) for a painting, it gave a different kind of self-esteem and confidence. AQA: What did you start off making first? Paintings, sculptures or something else? FRANCIS: After undergrad, painting. AQA: Lets talk about your paintings. I’ve noticed that all of your work, paintings, have titles that seem to imply light and dark, or space. Am I right about that? FRANCIS: Yes, you are right about that. The meaning comes from my exploration of these entities- light, darkness, space and color. Taken separately, each are abstract. Just as early abstraction with such artists as Kandinsky, Mondrian and even Picasso with cubism, isolating these elements individually are building blocks for a visual vocabulary. In my paintings as with any painting, I consider tone, color, space, light and transparency in creating a painting and the titles reflect the use of these elements. AQA: Do you have a favorite medium, like oil or acrylic? FRANCIS: I like both oil, acrylic and watercolors depending on how I use them. For example, oil colors are brilliant when layered multiple times with small adjustments in tone giving the surface depth. Acrylics when used with mediums give you beautiful translucent layers and can be manipulated with dynamic effect. It took me time to understand the uniqueness of each medium and how they work best in getting the specific results you are looking for. AQA: Do you have a gallery here in NYC? FRANCIS: I work with ArtHelix in Brooklyn which is run by Peter Hopkins. AQA:Do you have a show coming up soon? FRANCIS: Yes, I have a solo show this August in Yokohama, Japan and a two person show in San Francisco in October.


Shingo Francis INTERVIEW

AQA: You did installation pieces in 2007, what was that like? What I mean is, does that work have the same meaning or perspective as your other work such as paintings? FRANCIS: I wanted to create an environment where you can walk into the painting or image. Yes, my installation series "Bound for eternity" relate to my paintings, yet by nature of its scale encompasses not only the image but the environment in which it is installed. The work is on paper with a horizontal composition that is suspended in a semicircle from the ceiling, and as an installation I look at the entire space as one piece. In an ideal situation, the ceiling and walls are painted white and the floor soft hue that relates to the colors in the image. The experience is an immersive one in which when you step inside the semicircle you have to move around to see the entire work. AQA: How long does it take for you to complete a piece of work, such as a painting? FRANCIS: It depends on the medium. An Monochromatic oil painting from the "Veil" series takes around 3-5 months because of drying time. An acrylic usually takes several weeks to a month. There is also a lot of time experimenting and wondering, which is hard to quantify.


Shingo Francis INTERVIEW

AQA: What do you think about the state of the art world today? FRANCIS: I see a lot of young people making initiatives with art spaces or collectives getting out there and doing what they want to do. This isn't new, but I think it’s happening perhaps because there is a support network, people who are interested, which gives energy. The internet has been a good platform to get information out fast and it is easier to know what is happening, therefore raising attendance and interest for self initiatives. Brooklyn is a good example of how this dynamic works. I have also noticed the emphasis on art fairs in the last 10 years. I hear a lot that a gallery can't make it without going to fairs because that is where sales happen. I feel that puts pressure on everyone including the artists because it effects your rhythm and takes your work out of context from the body of work it was created in. I see it more as a social event than a serious place to experience art. AQA: What or who inspires you? FRANCIS: Who inspires me are so many- Most recently, I was inspired by the young people in Japan protesting the government’s attempt to change Japan's war renouncing constitution in front of the capital building in Tokyo. Looking at nature inspires me, especially when I am in the ocean surfing and watching the light and colors changing all around. Fundamentally, art history inspires me- Giotto all the way to Reinhardt. AQA: Have you ever curated a exhibition? FRANCIS: Curating is something I enjoy. A friend and I created an ad hoc group to curate exhibitions when I was residing in Japan. We got funding from the City of Yokohama and various embassies and cultural institutions. It was an invaluable experience to be on the side of organizing exhibitions because you appreciate how much goes into creating a show. Working with other artists and their aesthetic outlook and practice broadened my understanding in presentation and layout. It took me out of my own perception on installing work and forced me to see things from another's perspective.

- D. Mancini




What films to see? THIS ISSUE WE HAVE TWO PICKS FOR YOU. How about this cinema work by Wong Kar-wai.

Above: Still from Chung King Express. (1996)



How about this cinema work by Stanley Kubrick.

Above: Still from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)





It’s sometimes hard to be open to artwork you see when walking down the street, but that’s what happened here. On a mid-afternoon walk I encountered Henry Minata’s work and instead of just passing by, I had to stop because somehow and for some reason it grabbed my attention. Minata’s futuristic, surreal-like worlds are fresh with green grass and smooth, shape-filled blue skies. It’s playful and worth a look. So I asked if he’d do an interview, so more people can see his work. He said, YES!

THE INTERVIEW AQA: Where do you come from, where did you grow up? MINATA: I am born and raised in Indonesia and I grew up there as well. AQA:: How long have you lived in NYC? MINATA: I moved to NYC in 2008 and live here since. AQA: What part of NYC? MINATA: Queens. AQA: Do you like NYC and the art scene here? MINATA: I like it here and I think my knowledge in art is getting better since I live here, thanks to the NYC art scenes. AQA: When did you start making art? MINATA: Honestly, I can't remember. But my mom told me that when the first time my hands touch pencil and paper that was the first time I made art. Those days are too old for me to remember.


Henry Minata INTERVIEW

AQA: Why did you start making art? MINATA: As long as I remembered, the reason why I make art is the same reason why the bird flying in the sky: "to be free". AQA: Where can people go to buy your art? MINATA: Mainly from exhibitions ( no gallery involved ) and partly from social media. AQA: I love your " Remember When We Were Young and Free "Is that inspired by movie etc...? MINATA: "Remember When We Were Young and Free" was inspired by my own childhood. The world seems so magical and free back then. The technique was inspired by Sumi-e art. AQA: Why do you make art? MINATA: Well, the reality is a prison, the imagination is the key to freedom. That’s exactly why I keep making art. AQA: Is your art about sci-fi, dreams? MINATA: I do inspired by sci-fi and dreams, however they are only the tools. My art is retro-future surrealism. AQA: When did you sell your first artwork? MINATA: I sold my first artwork in 2008 on the street, and I was like "Hmm, maybe I can actually make money doing it”. AQA: Have you had any art shows in NYC? MINATA: My first solo show was in January 2011 and the most recent show was in June 2015, I am represented by Resobox Gallery in LIC. I also re-exhibit for New York Comic Con since 2010 till now. Other than that were some art night shows in Lower East Side. AQA: Do you have a website? MINATA: I used to, now I'm more active in Facebook ( that's the place where I interact with my clients ) and I recently on Instagram as well. AQA: Do you have a exhibit coming up soon? MINATA: Winter Con, December, in Casino Resort.


Henry Minata INTERVIEW AQA: What and who inspires you? MINATA: My childhood and Hieronimus Bosch. AQA: What are your paintings about? Meaning or theme? MINATA: Meaning doesn't really mean much in my painting, nor theme. What is left is an expression of imagination. Only the art critics trying so hard to create meaning in my paintings . AQA: Do you have favorite medium? MINATA: I love acrylic for its strength, flexibility, and the quickness to dry, it also lasts longer than oil and watercolor. AQA: What do you think about the state of the art today? MINATA: I think state of the art is never been better or worse, it always changing and adapt with the circumstances of time. Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionism, Modern Art and now Post Contemporary, all of them compliment and need each other to make the whole state of the art, and all is equal and perfect. AQA: What do you think about the high price in art today? MINATA:Â Art Market will always be high, that cannot be helped since the art corporates control the marketing in art. As an artist I don't have much concern about it. AQA: Have you ever curated a show? MINATA: Not yet though I do have plans in the future to do it with my artist fellows.

-P. Newsone 53


ART QA will offer 4 free full color and full page advertisements for fine artists in each issue of our magazine. This way, artists everywhere can have a little more exposure for their artwork and readers have the opportunity to see more artists and artworks.

If you are interested in placing an ad, simply email your contact information and a link to your website to Space is limited, so get your ad in early because once we have the four free artist ads for each issue thats it. We will not accept or publish the overflow. However, you can request that we consider your ad for the next issue of the magazine.




OUR PICK THIS ISSUE IS THE YOUNG WRITER AND POET TATE JORDAN JOHNSON An Open Letter to Mommom I know you would have a semi- approving look on your face. Just like the ones you'd give me, walking through the cream white painted walls of the home that had been built by mortar and bricks, but sustained by the love so deeply embedded in your heart. I know you would have shaken your head at the seam creeping up my caramel colored legs as though lace was your favorite, I'm sure it was opposite of the revealing kind, but kind you were. Kind enough to feed me soup at the darkest hours of the night when not only did the moon fall victim to the restlessness of the night, but so did you. Though yours words may have become sparse, the fire that was lit in your eyes never grew dim and the language of human connection never seems to be untranslatable. You carried the beauty of a thousands queens and the class of the royal family with a grace that surpassed even Queen Elizabeth herself. But you've been so much more than that. You've been a grandmother with the brightest of pearls, not only around your neck but concealed within the words of wisdom you gave to each of your grandchildren. You've been a mother who loved fiercely and fully, cradling her children with not just the lullabies you sang them at night, but the lasting ability to create their own future and carry on a name that must be held with honor. You were a wife, a best friend, and a half of two whole people that are some of the best the world has witnessed. You chose a man who ended up being better than a Clyde to your Bonnie, but rather an everlasting voice of laughter, and an echoing whistle that I know never grew dim to your ears. Today, Mommom, Gwella, Mother, Connie, and Constance. You've manifested your beauty into a legacy that will linger through the air like the thickest of fogs and the rainiest of storms. And although the storm will pass, the rainbow, your rainbow, your magnificent translucence of a being, will never cease to be. I love you dearly.


REVIEWS GROUP SHOW: WILD Thanks to gallery nine 5, East Village denizens and visitors were treated this summer to a “semi-conceptual art garden.” Though not a garden in the actual sense, “Wild” is a group show of interactively arranged work by eight artists focused on various interpretations of flora and fauna. Within the overall theme is a range of literalness concerning the depictions of natural forms, and the range is quite wide. If there had been fewer artists, I might have wondered why anyone would think to pair one or two of them in the same show, but that wasn’t the case here - for me, the variety in mediums, forms and styles were the balancing factor, leading me from one piece to the next and back again. Even the placement of pieces throughout the space of the gallery, displayed more in relation to its neighbors rather than dryly grouped in sections by artist, added to the organic, garden-like quality of the show. If you want a reason to go see a grouping of well-crafted artwork exhibiting a wide range of aesthetic and concept within the realm of botany or nature, this would be a good place to come.

IMAGES from WILD Group Exhibit at Gallery Nine 5 at 24 Spring St, NY, NY

- Jack Ender



Josh Jefferson at Turn Gallery, 37 East 1st Street, NY, NY

This probably won’t come as a shock to most: the streets of New York City are not exactly known for their leisurely pace. Within the span of a few seconds, you might encounter a number of different faces just long enough to register a few pertinent details in your awareness as you keep moving. In our rush to get where we’re going, there’s often too little time to concern ourselves with the humanness in those faces, the personalities behind them. Attending Josh Jefferson’s ‘Head First’ show at the Turn Gallery in New York, I was reminded of how habitual it can become to ‘switch off’ after enough of that sort of encounter. Jefferson composes abstracted portraits using a variety of geometric shapes arranged within basic structures that read recognizably as faces and heads. Viewed on the surface (rarely a good strategy, in art or in person), they might appear loose, broad, overly simplified. Like the hurried stereotyping of passers-by after cursory glances, as conceptualizations these might easily be dismissed as cartoons. But spend a little time, and Josh Jefferson just might remind you of the difference between a face and a mere mask. Like the revealing of a stranger’s personality as they become a new acquaintance, there is evidence of a more sophisticated perception beyond simple caricature that develops in Jefferson’s faces. Perhaps these are not mere parodies, but depictions - ones that engage the viewer with expressions of uniquely recognizable identities, enabled by the abstraction to bypass snap judgements. The face is a universally recognized structure, and these take advantage of the tendency to look for familiar patterns when encountering the unfamiliar. The many faces in the show are varied - significantly less-clearly human in structure at times - but infused within them are clues to more authentic human expression, waiting to reveal themselves after engaging with them.

- Jack Ender



As Structure or Continuation

"Line As Structure or Continuation" is Causey Contemporary's summer exhibition featuring four painters in a survey of their use of line. Curator and owner, Tracy Causey-Jeffrey, cleverly directed the focus of the show to a simple element, building upon it to split the focus “between architectural line or line that indicates a structure and line that serves as a continuation of a thought form.” That’s an interesting, albeit fairly wide, net to cast. But on the upside, that much broadness creates enough latitude to fit a variety of styles into the show, as is the case here. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that “line” is merely an element of art and not the art itself, and I found the work by all four artists to be aesthetically engaging and pleasing overall. Nancy Berlin’s layered, angular and geometrical abstractions have a somewhat cerebral feel, which is appropriate given her theme of exploring brain imagery and memory development. Alyssa Dennis’ 2D renderings of modular 3D spaces infused with organic forms offers an alternative perspective to fixed architecture. Emily Moore uses lines and patterns

Line As Structure or Continuation exhibit at Causey Contemporary, NYC.

to mix natural environments with man-made structures, creating abstractions of almost-familiar vignetted scenes. Amelie Ducommun, the only one of the four to virtually forsake straight lines entirely, mixes flowing lines with fields of color to produce contemplative, ethereal compositions.

- Jack Ender














For two weekends in mid-September, take in photo exhibitions, talks, installations and more at NYC’s premier photo destination built from repurposed shipping containers. Brooklyn Bridge Park, September 11-20, 2015.

Elaine de Kooning made both abstract and figurative paintings and drawings during the height of Abstract Expressionism. View her much admired portraits of friends and family on exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C. Now through January 10, 2016. photoville-2

HEMINGWAY: Between Two Wars

FRIDA KAHLO: Art. Garden. Life.

Hemingway gets his first ever major museum exhibition, including early short stories, notebooks, heavily revised manuscripts, correspondences and more. September 25, 2015 through January 31, 2016 at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

Examine the influences of plants and wildlife in Kahlo’s work at the New York Botanical Garden, featuring a dozen paintings and works on paper as well as a reimagining of her famed garden and studio, Casa Azul in Mexico City. Now Through November 1, 2015.














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