J.W. COLE | JAMES GREEN | HAYLEY HADDAD | MAKOTO HOSHINA BENJAMIN
STRAIPH WILSON | HEIDI WONG | STÃ&#x2030;PHANE VEREECKEN | KUZMA VOSTRIKOV
Is There Time InLA? Interview with Old Bull Lee By Jessica Caveat
FEATURED ARTIST: KUZMA VOSTRIKOV 3 IS THERE TIME IN LA? 4 KATARINA BALUNOVA 6 EMILY BLACKMORE 12 ANGELIKI COCONI 18 J.W. COLE 24 JAMES GREEN 30
HAYLEY HADDAD 36 MAKOTO HOSHINA 42 BENJAMIN JONES 48 DOUGLAS A. KARSON 54 TAHMINA NEGMAT 60 STRAIPH WILSON 66 HEIDI WONG 72 STÃ&#x2030;PHANE VEREECKEN 78 KUZMA VOSTRIKOV 84
KUZMA VOSTRIKOV More at pages: 84-91
Kuzma Vostrikov was born in 1977 in New York. He started his art career as an editor and writer in 1996. Since 2007 he has been working as an producer and director in art cinematography field. In 2008 he founded an independent film company named Kuzmacinema: www.kuzmacinema.com Between 2008-2011 the company has produced four art movies that participated more than 50 film festivals around the world. Since 2011 Kuzma Vostrikov has been working in experimental photography, connected with social networks and psychology. His long-term art project called “One thousand photos in which I have never been” is studying social connections through aesthetics and mass media psychology on Facebook.
On the cover: “Breeze of New York. Portrait. Friendship” Kuzma Vostrikov
Since 2015 Vostrikov creates the second part of the orange project. In 2016 he has been working on the art project “Just to land in Tokyo”. It includes photography and a novel with the same title. Vostrikov lives and works in New York.
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Is There Time InLA? Interview with Old Bull Lee By Jessica Caveat
he first thing you notice about Lee Johnson, the designer behind the Los Angeles men’s clothing brand Old Bull Lee is that he is very calm. Calm, in that sort of tortoise vs. the hare kind of way, the part of the story where you already know and are comfortable with that despite all odds, the slow one crosses the finish line first. We sat down with him to hear him tell us his thoughts on why Los Angeles is a paradise and what makes it that way. Living in LA, any thoughts ? I grew up somewhere else, which perhaps gives me some objectivity, but I’ve been here for a long time, so maybe I sort of understand it. Obviously, everywhere is unique, but Los Angeles is a particularly rich target for characterizations. Some say it is an open minded paradise where people are allowed to reinvent themselves, others say it’s a hollow utopia held together by concrete and tanning salons. In my mind, one of the core ideas about what Los Angeles is and what gives it definition is temperature. We don’t have climate here, it’s pretty much 285 days of 73 & sunny. Seventy-three is an important number when it comes to temperature because it’s that comfort bullseye, there is no struggle, it is like there’s nothing there. It is a temperature that has no weight, moving through it is effortless.
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serves to tell the reader that things should be understood not for their surface value, but instead from a meaning that underlays the literal context. Here’s that meaningful part beneath the surface….
It gets deeper…. Temperature has a stronger influence on people’s happiness than they realize. In most places you usually have two ideal times of year, (late spring and Early fall) other than that it’s probably too hot or too cold. It is hard to be content when you are uncomfortable, your mind wanders. You end up (during the summer), wishing you were on a ski slope or (during the winter), wishing for a beach in the Caribbean. We as living creatures naturally seek contentment, so our mind ends up pushing out the uncomfortable present and replacing it with an idea that is more acceptable. Eventually your mind gets trained or starts to default to looking for a different time and place for happiness. But in Los Angeles the temperature is always ideal, that means you are much more likely to exist in the present, in the now. Being in the present, that is the very essence of existence. On a side note, there is a very obscure piece of old French punctuation that no one ever uses. It is essentially a backwards question mark and
Because the temperature in Los Angeles is always ideal, and there are no seasons, it’s one big idyllic constant, there is nothing larger to reference time with. But people need order and reference points to show us our place amongst things. So in LA, we unconsciously grab hold of personally large, but less traditional associations, things that we can benchmark time with. A car, a job, someone you dated and from there your mind builds a block around it and this block becomes a unit of time. But because it has no relationship to any traditional rigorous cycle, the unit blurs into something much larger than a year, that then in reflection is remembered as a year, but in actuality was a much longer piece of time. What it all boils down to is that our glorious climate slows down the beat of time and allows us to be very much located in the present. Our comfort struggles are few, which means we don’t end up mentally displacing ourselves and our minds end up in the same place as our bodies and it all just feels like a weekend. Sounds like a pretty good paradise to me.
Katarina Balunova Kosice, Slovakia
My works include a variety of different media such as paintings, photography, objects, installations, site specific or land art. The main theme in my work is city - architecture - dwelling, and how the urban structure affects the individuals and society.
I am often inspired by the city and the urban environment, which I see not only as a defined physical space, but also as a psychological projection. The city is a man-made object that goes beyond the individualsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; experience of a building, street, or district. I try to find a new perception to invisible layers of nowadays cities. It is possible to read various stories inside; I try not to represent reality, but to give the city structure a symbolic form that bears different meanings in its simplicity. The structure of cities of nowadays is subject to a strict geometry and it is in perennial expansion. We can see the constant changes in the urban form, pattern and structure. The geometric pattern is a typical feature presents in industrial society. Geometry is a key element to understand social and industrial development in the modern landscape. The use of geometric shapes and structures is becoming the testimony of the industrial society marked by an existential crisis.
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In this moment I am living and working mainly in Kosice, the second largest city in Slovakia, but still I am traveling a lot, which gives me the opportunity to compare. Kosice, despite being a relatively small city, have a rich cultural program, it was the European City of Culture in 2013. There are many young dynamic art galleries as Sopa Gallery or Kotolna Gallery along the traditional ones. Active group of young generation artists is concentrated in Tabacka, an old tobacco factory, where they have their studios. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I think many people underestimate the importance of art in contemporary culture. The problem starts in schools where they do not deal with art and culture very much and end in a politic field which donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t supports art enough. The result is the When, how and why started your art practice? In my case, there is not a specific date when I started my artistic activity, everything evolved gradually. I have been attending art schools since I was six years old, but the most important for me it was to be admitted to the Faculty of Fine Arts in Kosice, Slovakia. At that time it was not easy to get there, only 4 prospective students were chosen from 60 candidates for the Department of Painting. I studied there under the leadership of Doc. Adam Szentpetery. Currently, I continue my PhD studies under the supervision of Doc. Stefan Balazs at Academy of Arts in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia. For the question of why I started artistic activity is also not an unequivocal answer. It is mainly my inner, spiritual need, I think. Art is a kind of language and I feel there are things I want to say. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? I think the perseverance is the most challenging part of being an artist. Art is like going on a long track, you know your aim but at the same time you know that it is not easy and you always doubt about your abilities. Many give it up a few years after graduating when does not quickly get the expected success. Of course, there are many practical things to solve every day and so art is going often apart. For me art is too important to continue and there are also positive feedbacks that reinforce me on my art track.
What are you working on right now? At this time I am finishing paintings for ZS Art Galerie in Vienna and preparing works for my solo exhibition at Loffler Gallery in Kosice, which I will open at the end of May. In my work I deal with questions of site memories which transform technical geometric patterns: minimalistic floorplans and axonometric projections of architecture into the records of my experience and contemplation of the meaning of inhabiting and home. Formally, I use strong primary colours and basic geometric forms. At my recent residence in Art Hub in Arab Emirates, I began to work more with circular forms, which inspired me with local culture and Arabic patterns. In my new works, I am therefore partly returning to the theme of the circle, which I combine into geometric compositions. I am particularly interested in the relationship between the circle and the square, which has several symbolic meanings, in particular the interconnection of the universe with the human dimension. For me the demonstration of the human dimension is architecture and the city. Meanwhile Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m thinking about some new installations, the kind of expanded painting. I am interested in the relationship between surface and space, a two-dimensional painting that flow to the room. How would you describe the art scene in your area?
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decline of culture and the quantitative prevalence of so-called low culture above that high. We are living in an environment of low culture entertainment and commercial consumption. The art thereby create lasting values that give us a wider spiritual dimension. Significant works of art have greatly influenced not only the visual culture of today, but, what is more important, how we perceive the world. Of course this does not happen from day to day, but it takes time. It is time that is the most reliable measure of the contribution of an individual work of art. What do you like/dislike about the art world? Art world is a great platform for mutual communication, exchange of ideas, giving questions, mental challenges. Nowadays, this mutual communication is much more intense than in the past thanks to new
media and networks that link artists from all over the world. Despite the fact that the local scene still works, art is becoming increasingly global. Of course, there are many problems in the arts world, starting from the system of the official galleries to underestimating culture in general. Name three artists you admire. I admire the artist Carmen Herrera because of her highly sophisticated exploration of colour and form and because she is a very strong woman. As both a woman and an immigrant, Herrera faced significant discrimination in the art world; yet she persisted, and continued to paint for the decades. Anish Kapoor is important for me for his works in installation, adding to the cool, conceptual, and minimal approach lyricism, metaphor, and the heat of the primordial. The most I admire his sculptural
works with pigments. Mark Rothko is another of my favourite artists, especially his last works, black paintings in non-denominational chapel in Houston. I feel honored to have been selected to participate this September in the international symposium Mark Rothko 2017 at the Mark Rothko Art Centre, Daugavpils, Latvia, the artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s birthplace. What are your future plans as an artist? I would like to progress with my research in the area of geometric abstraction and expanded painting. I want to further develop and deepen the theme of the city, architecture and dwelling as a symbol of contemporary, industrialized society and investigate how the urban structure affects the individuals and community. I hope that I will continue to have opportunities to present my works in galleries in different countries.
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Emily Blackmore London, UK / USA
Emily Blackmore was born in Texas in 1987. She moved to London in 2016 to study at the University of East London’s MA Fine Art course. Emily has a BA in Communication from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and an MLS in Global Studies from Southern Methodist University. Both have informed her work with a sensitivity to message and a conceptual awareness of the human condition. Her work has been featured in a number of European exhibitions including: Open Exhibition at Lovely’s Gallery, Margate, UK; Stimulus at Greenhouse Berlin, Germany; The Many Faces of Barcelona at Jiwar Creation Society, Barcelona; 100% Abstract by Le Dame Gallery, London; 51% Remember Her by Elements Gallery, London; and Element by Trinity Buoy Wharf Residency, London. Emily is looking for opportunities to collaborate with other artists, organizations, or residencies. As an artist, Emily Blackmore explores why people do what they do, visually representing the complexities of the human condition in mixed media and sculpture. Her practice is characterized by mixed paint and drawing media and a celebration of diversity. Her continuous line series attempts to highlight the paradox of our shared humanity and our unrepeatable singularity. We all have basic needs; however, the way we experience life, the choices we make, and our own individual personalities make us unique. The series began with abstract mixed media painting and progressed to include continuous line portraits, 3D relief paintings, and wire sculpture. Emily’s most recent sculptures are abstract forms inspired by nature. She likes to combine non-traditional materials and often plays with the meaning of a piece by using humble and precious elements side-by-side.
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Briefly describe the work you do. As an artist, I like to explore different elements of the human condition and visually represent the complexities of life in mixed media and sculpture. My practice has transitioned from two-dimensional mixed media to primarily three-dimensional works. My most recent plaster based sculptures are abstract forms inspired by nature. I enjoy combining non-traditional materials and playing with the meaning of a piece by using humble and precious elements side-by-side. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Mom. My mom is an abstract painter with an inspiring sense of color and an art instructor who can pull out the best in her student regardless of their medium. I’ve been sitting in on her art classes since I was four years old. So, to say she’s had an influence on my art practice would be an understatement. She not only taught me the basics, she also influenced how I think about and appreciate art. Faith. My faith is a huge influencer on my practice. I believe that every artist has faith of one sort or another. Whether we believe in God or not, our faiths influence our art practice whether we mean it to or not. For me, faith influences why I make art and the messages my work contains. I try to illustrate the value of every person by highlighting the paradox of our shared humanity and unrepeatable singularity. We all have basic needs; however, our experiences, choices, and personalities make us unique. Hubs. My husband is perhaps the biggest influencer of my art, because he’s the reason I’m still practicing. On those occasions where I start doubting myself and my work, he’s always been there to encourage me. I know that I can count on him for his honest opinion. He has a background in Graphic Design, so he’s got a great eye for detail. When something’s not working, he’s the first person I go to. How would you describe the art scene in your area? London has a vibrant arts scene. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to live and work here. Not only are there dozens of galleries and openings nearly every week, there is an appreciation for art that you can see in the education system. It’s not uncommon to see groups of students walking the halls of the National Gallery with sketch-
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conclusion that every person (like the characters in Silence) is tempted to deny their beliefs at some level. The book strongly influenced decisions I made about the installation of my sculpture Golgotha in my master’s degree show. For better or worse, the book gave me the courage to stick with the arrangement of works that most clearly communicated the meaning of the works. Name three artists you admire. Pablo Picasso: Picasso was so immensely talented even at a young age. I love his Cubist work and the emotion that he conveys in the broken-down forms. Fahrelnissa Zeid: When I saw the kaleidoscopic paintings of Zeid for the first time, I felt like I instantly knew her. It was as if she had taken her mind and painted it on a canvas. I’ve never seen another work before that I related to so intensely. Interestingly, I had not seen Zeid’s work before I started my continuous line mixed media series. Rachel Whiteread: I love the sculptural work of Rachel Whiteread. I find her use of inverse space, everyday objects, and scale inspiring. There’s a great exhibition of her work on currently at the Tate Britain. What are your future plans?
books in hand. The approach to art here is highly analytical, so much so, that sometimes I think people get lost in the analysis and miss the simple pleasure of enjoying an artwork. Don’t get me wrong. There’s definitely a time and place for intellectualism in art. But, so much of art is about feeling that we miss the point if all we use to view a work is our brains and not our hearts. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I’ve had this discussion with several artist friends, and basically, we always came back to the conclusion that in our society “art” is something that was made with the intent to be “art”. The difficulty I see with this is if anything can be “art” then no skill is required to make art. This undermines the study and research that so many artists put into developing their practice. I’m not saying that art must look a certain way or is restricted in its form. I just think the waters have been muddied a little by calling anything art. It makes it even harder for the public to appreciate the difference between a conceptual work that an artist has put years into developing and painstakingly installing and someone who has thrown a bunch of random bits and bobs together and called it art. What is the best book you’ve recently read? Last summer I read Silence and Beauty by Makoto Fujimura. It was one of the most challenging reads I’ve had in a while. We all like to think we would react a certain way in tough situations, but this book really made me ask myself some hard questions. The book is the authors response to Silence by Japanese author Shūsaku Endō. The characters in the book are severely tested and undergo torture for their faith. Fujimura draws the
Right now, I have several residencies in the works. In November, I started a residency at the University of East London. I’m interning in the sculpture workshop under the very knowledgeable Mark Sowden. It’s already been an incredible experience, and I still have four months to go. I’m not only mastering techniques on plaster casting, metal work, and ceramics, but I also get to assist students on their projects. In March 2018, I will get the opportunity to complete an eightweek residency at Eastbury Manor, a National Trust property in London. The “place making” research of this residency will be focused on using period relevant materials to produce an outdoor sculpture that will be at home in the tranquil gardens of the Elizabethan brick-built gentry house.
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Athens, Greece /Florence, Italy I was born in Athens, Greece, which may be the dirtiest, messiest and most chaotic city in Europe. But at the same time, it is also the oldest, the most traditional as well as most open-minded, most organised in its chaos and respectful in the dirt that it has collected over all those centuries of its turbulent life. This, has led me to respect and admire a good old mess and dust gathering and connect it to creativity, passion for someoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s art and receive it as an almost philosophical statement regarding priorities in life. When I moved to Italy, this love for the old, dirty, smelly and highly creative was once more greatly satisfied, and somewhat re-energised. I started peeking through the keyholes of the little antique shops and forgotten bookstores, opting for the obscure alleyways and sitting at the uncoolest of cafes to enjoy my orange juice alongside toothless men. In one of those wandering early mornings, I stepped into the Calzolaio of Via dei Ginori - another dusty dimension, a place that hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been cleaned since the 60s, but where good old artistic creation and love for detailed work seems to be the only thing that matters. My work aims to shed light onto local artistry, little workshops and traditional artigianali corners that seem completely overshadowed by massive chains of mass-produced useless products that only attract buyers because of their low prices. Through my photography and documentary filmmaking, I am interested in showing all the warm, subtle, beautiful ways in which the little local shops should be where we invest our time, money and attention - not just for them to survive and provide us with a much more interesting place to live, but also for us and our artistic needs to stand a chance of finding platforms to shine, for our economy to make its way back to us and for our environment to be given the chance to heal.
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Briefly describe the work you do. I make documentaries - with everything that this entails; from tracking down unusual subjects, stalking them and pestering them until they let me see what they do, clinging on to sequences for way longer than any viewer would want or could handle, just because I, myself, am fascinated by what I see, enhancing the film’s comedy value through unfair editing and then finally doing very little with the films once finished. So yes, I make documentaries. The film I am working on at the moment, titled Dal Calzolaio, takes us inside a little shoe-repairing workshop in the centre of Florence that seems to have been the best-kept secret among locals. Overshadowed by massive shoe stores and neglected of course by the huge hordes of tourists walking past it several times a day, Gianni di Sario’s corner has kept a different rhythm from the rest of the city - yet, it was Florence’s original, authentic rhythm. Now, however, it feels like stepping into another dimension, for better or for worse. It’s the hottest, dustiest mess; and it’s also perhaps the most interesting shop to visit when in Florence. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Music, cities and cinema. In this exact order of importance. My main influence - in life in general - has been music. I’m listening to music now, as we speak, when I work, when I travel, read, eat, exercise; to fall asleep or to wake up.
Visiting and wandering around cities has also greatly influenced my writing, filmmaking and photography. It triggers ideas, sets the atmosphere, provides the theme and determines the colours and pace. And obviously film, fiction and non-fiction has affected everything I do, for obvious reasons. It has offered me the medium - which ends up being the meeting point of it all. It has also set and insurmountable precedent which is stimulating and discouraging at the same time. But I’m used to being out of my depth.
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Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? Yes, if we mean conceptual art in its traditional sense, i.e. art in which the central idea is all that really matters, then definitely. For the right and for the wrong reasons; because ideas do matter more to me than any other stage in the artistic process, but also because I am so limited in terms of resources and skills, that ideas are really all I have. However, if we mean conceptual art in its broader sense, and its obsession with overly abstract installations enclosing vague, pretentious messages, then most definitely not. I like a good balance, and to understand at least some of what I see, while others can I hope appreciate at least part of what I do. I like Ai Weiwei, but I don’t Tracy Emin - kind of thing.
good as it gets, really. At the same time, it is true that Florence has a one-track Renaissance mind, as well as an extreme tourist culture, both things that don’t permit for much contemporary art since the pride for the city’s most glorious past is unconquerable, and then people don’t stick around for long enough in order to create a scene. But I do live in the most beautiful city in the world, so I can’t complain. It might not be the voice of my generation, but it is the most stimulating environment for any artist to move around in.
elitist - something that only people who can afford not to have a day job can engage in and something difficult, if not impossible, to grasp by the uneducated masses. Needless to say, I stand with art’s first, original and traditional definition.
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?
If we are talking about artists in the traditional sense, then I’d have to go for the Holy Triad, aka Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. But if we are talking about artists I admire coming from all art forms, then Mick Jagger, Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick must surely occupy the top spots in my heart.
How would you describe the art scene in your area?
Well, art is generally thought of - and should be - as anything of human creation which evokes some kind of emotional reaction. In this sense, everything can be art, and as I said, ought to be art. Life is too difficult without art, because we have to experience it in its full pain and tediousness, without any distractions.
I live in Florence, Italy, so it may well be that the art scene in my area is as
But, in contemporary culture, art has come to signify something distant and
What is the best book you’ve recently read? Slavoj Zizek’s Trouble in Paradise. Sublime. Name three artists you admire.
What are your future plans? Just to stay alive and keep myself distracted from the big questions, really.
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J.W. Cole Vancouver, Canada
J.W. Cole is a Canadian filmmaker and storyteller. Having loved film from a young age, she has always been interested in producing and directing her own stories. Her work primarily explores her interest in the human mind and the psychological effects traumatic events can have on an individual. VISION is a multi-media project that explores how someone we love has the potential to destroy us. This experimental piece takes a look at a relationship between two women and how the trauma resulting from the destruction of their love forever alters the both of them. Even though trauma makes us yearn for the past, for a time when we were once happy, there is no way to completely repair the lasting effects of devastation and betrayal. I wanted to create a series of images that explored this topic in a non-conventional way, allowing the viewer to come to their own conclusions about what may have transpired between the two characters. There are two components to this project: still image and video. The video portion is a 150 second experimental short film that explores the relationship between the characters and how they affect each other. The still images take a look at the individual process of change and how one fleeting moment in our lives can forever alter us.
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Briefly describe the work you do. I am a photographer and filmmaker from Vancouver, BC, Canada. Whenever I create a film or photography project, I like to come up with a concrete concept that I twist into an abstract visual piece. I like my work to stand as metaphors for something deeper so as to make the viewer think and reflect on the complexity behind the work. I love art that has evidence of thought, that is more than just a nice photo or painting, and is instead a deeper comment on a more complex topic. My photography work typically involves nature, landscapes, or images that have been digitally combined and altered to create a surreal end product. My film projects are usually a little less experimental but are still on the non-conventional side of storytelling. Currently, all of my work (as well as some additional blog posts about film and art) can be found on my website, ECLECTIC47.com. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Learning how to properly format an essay is the most useful tool when it comes to my artistic process. Essays are works of art because just like films or photographs, they are expansions on simplistic concepts. The first thing I learned about writing an essay is that you need a strong thesis to act as the foundation for your ideas. Without a solid thesis, your writing will not be good, because there is no common idea to connect what is being created. My art is the same way; I don’t like creating just for the sake of creation, I like my art to stand as an expansion of an idea, as evidence that a particular statement or idea can be true. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The independent art scene in Vancouver is huge. It seems everyone, from your mom to your barista, has a creative project that they’re working on. On one hand, it makes the community competitive and oversaturated. Finding your own, unique voice can be hard when so many other people are trying to
do the same thing as you. However, it can also be incredibly uplifting to constantly be surrounded by other artists who see life the same way that you do. I find I am able to use other’s success as motivation for myself which makes Vancouver a great place for me to live. A lot of the art here is motivated by political topics and by the nature that surrounds the city. Vancouver artists are very enthusiastic about loving where they live but also desiring change in their environments. I love the passion behind the work that I see here, it is inspiring on a large scale and just goes to show how powerful art can be. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art is one of the few completely unmonitored forms of self expression that society has. There are no rules to art; you can create whatever you want and no one can say that it is wrong. As the world becomes increasingly politicized, art is a comforting solace, a safe space of expression and creation. It can be used as a voice, as an act of rebellion, or simply as a hobby. No other medium has that kind of potential. What is the best book you’ve recently read? I’ve been on a bit of an autobiography kick lately: Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody, William G. Baker’s Alcatraz #1259, and Cat Marnell’s How To Murder Your Life are the most recent books I’ve read all the way through and enjoyed. Anna Kendrick’s book was particularly inspiring as her story is very relatable to anyone who works in an artistic medium. It’s also comforting to know that even big name Hollywood actresses have difficulty finding motivation to keep themselves feeling creative, something I’m sure all artists struggle with. Name three artists you admire. This is a super tough question because I don’t typically find myself inspired by specific people, rather by their individual works
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That being said, “nothing” is a terrible and inaccurate answer, so here are three works of art that I find particularly moving: 1) Violent (a 2014 Canadian film directed by Andrew Huculiak) 2) The Visitors (a 2012 art installation by Ragnar Kjartansson) 3) Mother Night (a 1961 novel by Kurt Vonnegut) What are your future plans? I plan to expand ECLECTIC47 into a more notable brand name within my local art scene. I would love for my company to become more integrated within the Canadian art community so as to allow my work to reach a regular, interested audience. It feels great to complete a project and be proud of it, but it feels even better to know that other people also love what I’ve created!
of art. It’s rare that I follow an artist through everything that they create and derive inspiration from their overall collective work, rather I’ll see a single example of their work and allow that to influence me. Often, I will have no idea who has created something that I like, I just know that I like it. This is mainly due to the fact that I’m still very new to the independent art scene and am still exploring to see who I admire and derive inspiration from!
Specific goals of mine include expanding my photography portfolio and using the experience to define my visual aesthetic as an artist. Since I am just starting out, I don’t feel like I have a defined style to unite my work. This is something plan to discover and strengthen over the next year so that I can really begin to create my unique look. I also plan to start developing a feature length film - I’ve already started on a few script ideas with my business partner, Nick Meunier, and we plan to start moving into the wonderfully complex process of writing a script in the new year. Rest assured, whatever we create will be just as abstract and bizarre as everything else I’ve made so far!
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James Green London,UK
British artist living and working in London, Green showed a strong aptitude for drawing from a very young age. This was acknowledged throughout his early education and early group shows sparked local interest in his work – resulting in Green forming part of the small team commissioned to create ceiling paintings for The Ritz Hotel, London, aged 15. From a family with little creative background, it was much to their surprise that Green followed an artistic path from day one. Green studied Fine Art at Cardiff School of Art from 2007 – 2010, and following graduation, became the founding Partner of creative online studio and clothing brand, ‘Greenthorne’, aged 21. Still running to this day, Greenthorne is Green’s foremost online presence. Originally from Stroud (Gloucestershire), Green is currently based in London, where he works from his residential art studio, alongside a part-time position as a Postman in Greenwich - to which he credits his daily inspiration. His works can be found in cities across the globe – including Bristol, London, Barcelona and New York, among other places. Recent years has seen Green exhibit at internationally renowned Castle Gallery (Mayfair) and Jealous Gallery (Shoreditch), and featured in TimeOut magazine. He continues to paint at every opportunity and his most recent body of work sees him develop a style as unique as his creative process.
First and foremost a portrait artist, James Green draws inspiration from the everyday person – experimenting around their identity. In an attempt to force himself away from early realism, Green established a creative process that would add a looseness to his portraits, purposely minimising the likeness of his subjects. Green begins by sketching passers-by on the street – limiting the amount of time he has to capture his subjects to a matter of seconds. He then works inquisitively from these studies to form multiple representations of the original ‘sitter’; trying to capture the person and pose with reference to only a single line drawing, and memory alone. As a mixed-media artist with a welcomed lack of patience, Green paints with a hurriedness; resulting in intentional accidental marks, and an unintentional product. “I don’t actually want my portraits to look like the sitter. It’s about creating the everyday person (plural) through every portrait.” Ensuring he has all mediums to hand prior to painting begins, Green grabs whichever tool (and colour) feels right at that specific moment – purposely blocking out methodic thought, personal conversation and personal debate so that the resulting interpretation is personal to that moment alone and entirely a one-off – only satisfied when the outcome could never be replicated by himself, or anyone else.
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of spontaneous free-hand gestures. By ensuring I have all mediums to hand prior to painting begins, I grab whichever tool (and colour) feels right at that specific moment – purposely blocking out methodic thought, personal conversation and personal debate so that the resulting interpretation is personal to that moment alone and entirely a one-off – I’m only satisfied when the outcome could never be replicated by myself, or anyone else. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice?
Briefly describe the work you do Although I’m largely considered a contemporary portrait artist, I don’t really like being boxed into a category... My work’s about money, mainly, whilst visually exploring the ‘everyday person’ (including myself). I don’t see any positives in our current monetary dependent system. If money didn’t exist, it would be more possible for us to collectively work towards good causes as priority, rather than personal gain (and the knock-on effects of that). My current project is titled ‘SPOSE’ (self portrait of somebody else) and through that, I aim to create the everyday person through every portrait. I don’t actually want them
to look like any one person in particular - more my way of documenting our contemporary society and the concerns I have around existing in an over-complicated hierarchical system (motivated predominantly by money), with an overwhelming disconnect between work and real life. It’s my intention for each portrait to be viewed as both a self portrait and a portrait of the everyday person. My approach has to be relatively immediate where possible. The quicker I create things that I’m content with, the more accomplished I believe them to be. Fueled with authentic energy, I disguise my subjects within each composition by distorting an initial technical execution with a layered mask
People. I’m fascinated (and often baffled) by the majority individual within contemporary society - the ‘everyday person’. The decisions they make/the decisions they don’t. Take commuters for example... When do you see a commuter smiling? I often sit on a train scribbling these unhappy subjects; intrigued by the fact that 9.9/10 wish they were going anywhere else other than ‘work’. Work. I view ‘work’ as a crucial and fundamental aspect of our existence however I believe that its purpose is often distracted by a misguided version of value (typically monetary). Why is its’ purpose predominantly directed towards ‘making a living’ (and a killing for ‘the powers that be’), rather than towards positively contributing to society and caring for our beautiful planet, and the people and animals within it? Money/business. It’s my opinion that we’ve overcomplicated the world to the point that nothing is worth doing unless it offers financial gain. Money doesn’t need to exist for a person to survive; yet there are thousands of unfortunate individuals who sleep in gutters rain or shine. I question a system that favours, even celebrates, the fortunate and neglects the less-so. I wonder why ‘we commoners’ allow it to happen. 100 elephants are killed every single day for their tusks. Without money, that doesn’t happen. Madness! There has to be a better system out there. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I recently moved my studio from London back to my hometown, Stroud (Gloucestershire). Although it’s a relatively quirky town, the art-specific scene is pretty sparse - but that really doesn’t matter to me. A little while back, I consciously stopped spending time trying to get into ‘the scene’/looking at other artists work so that I could focus on creating art that comes entirely from myself. I simply need to express myself, and that comes from me alone. I’m more produc-
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tive now than ever and I believe my work’s becoming more and more unique as a result. Somewhat distancing myself from the work of other artists, I now primarily learn from my own (old and new) paintings in the studio - and images from the archives. This ensures that my work and style constantly evolves with nothing but an authentic and personal perspective - in terms of subject matter, mark making, colour palette, composition - and so on. That’s not to say that I’m not interested in the work of others (quite the contrary!) - more that I try to separate that from my own practice. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? It’s a global voice. It’s importance and significance is greatly underestimated in my opinion; and often swept aside by those with power (who unfortunately often happen to be people who aren’t qualified to make decisions around its cultural stake and value). For example, council leaders possess the decision as to what street art remains and which gets removed… Unfortunately art often ends up in the hands of those who don’t understand it. Rarely do you find a teenager strolling through a hostile gallery - leaving work in the outdoors as a key source for creative influence outside of school. I’m a big fan of street art due to its integrity in creation. Most street art is created purely out of passion; which can be incredibly inspiring - particularly for our younger generation. I believe that art in its truest form has the power to change the world (for the better). It can be used as a visual language to bring awareness to issues within society and offer a visual voice to which anyone can understand regardless of language. With unsettling social landscapes such as Brexit on the horizon, art can provide an alternative language that can help pull our colourful multicultural society together - rather than instigating a divide. Great Britain without art is pretty grey from my point of view. I’m sure there’s an opportunity for a more prosperous collaboration between art and business. If business collaborated with art in a more socially positive manner (besides an additional means of profit for private firms), it could be truly influential on a better version of the world of tomorrow - where love, health, and our environment prevail over ego, power and money. Artists are generally very inquisitive people who often spend their entire career (and body of work) examining and analysing (and imagining a world without) issues they
feel strongly about - e.g poverty. A society with less questions leaves less answers to these problems. I strongly believe that the world needs uncomplicating and art could prove instrumental in that - with power in the right place. As artists get pushed out of our cities to no doubt make way for a flood of capitalists, I’m afraid of a future with little or no imagination. What is the best book you’ve recently read? I wish I could reel off a long list however the truth is I generally struggle with anything non visual. I have Attention Deficit Disorder and unless it’s pretty immediate, I struggle to pick it up… There are so many books I’m keen to read (including ‘Frank Auerbach: Speaking and Painting’)... I’m completely absorbed by creating art right now and my mind’s pretty much always preoccupied and tied to that. There’s genuinely limited time for much else. Maybe one day. Name three artists you admire. Unfortunately they’re all dead! In this order, and all for the same reasons: Basquiat, Picasso, Bacon. They each ignored rules and challenged genres. What are your future plans? I may potentially be the most unplanned person on earth… I just know that for as long as I can, I’ll paint with, above all, a primary focus on challenging the contemporary rather than making money. I could start painting pretty landscapes tomorrow and probably triple my income - however I’d have to stop calling myself an artist straight away. It’s about the long-term game for me. I believe that I can achieve something much more important in the long run by continuing to create with integrity. As of recent, I’m now in the fortunate position of being one of few artists represented by Asylum Artist Management - who I believe are going to instrumental in my progression going forward. This essentially
means that I can now spend every minute in the studio painting rather than having my head in two different places having to focus on the business side of things etc. We’ve discussed upcoming shows (including my first solo) on an international scale heading into 2018. Only a month or so into this collab, I’m already beginning to see exciting developments within my current body of work - due to narrowed focus. From my point of view, it’s the best possible time for this venture to have popped up as I’m completely in the zone when it comes tocreating, and hugely excited about pushing boundaries around the canvas. Keep an eye on us! I hope to one day be able to use my work to do my bit towards fighting poverty - a social issue that really doesn’t need to exist. If I can use my work to help make a real positive difference - that would be the ultimate achievement for me. I have some exciting ideas around that in draft, which I’ll have to keep under wraps at the minute. I’m also really interested in how my work would translate into sculpture. I have at least a thousand drawings dotted around the studio and when looking over them from time to time, I always wonder how to bring them to life. I don’t think that contemporary artists should limit themselves to a canvas. I also think that the audience are much more open minded these days too and it’s our job to continue to challenge them.
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Hayley Haddad Memphis, TN, USA
Every place has a history, a continuous lexicon of experiences and occurrences archived in the landscape. History is merely representative of the past as it only constitutes recorded instants in time. In contrast, the past encompasses the totality of life that goes by unnoticed. Not all events of the past leave an evidentiary trace, and just as some locations evolve and transform as time progresses, others erode and fade, leaving only memories filtered by a range of perspectives to account for the array of life that happened there. In my drawings, I am exploring the concept of history as a synthesis of the past and present, in which multiple vantage points of numerous incidents are juxtaposed in a single visual expanse. The large scale drawings depict detailed environments overloaded with imagery embedded in the landscape. Multitudinous viewpoints are perceived as the viewer excavates the layers within the thematic montage of places, architecture, events, and culture. The result is a multifaceted ephemeral panorama that meanders through space, time and history. The collages are comprised of a combination of printed images and found photographs seamlessly melded with pen, ink wash, and transfer techniques. The images are compulsively superimposed, rendering dynamic scenes that traverse elements of the past, present and future. Hayley Haddad is a Memphis artist. She graduated cum Laude with a BFA in Fine Arts, concentration in drawing, and Art History Minor (2011.) Fueled by her interest in history, the artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recent work depicts imaginary, or even dreamlike cityscapes, that portray a dynamic continuance of time. The compulsive layering and building of the imagery and narrative within the scenes is what the artist finds most satisfying about her work. This highly involved process of construction, elimination and reconstruction allows for an almost meditative exploration of the materials within the drawing and creative process.
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Briefly describe the work you do: Fueled by my interest in history, my recent work depicts imaginary, or even dreamlike, cityscapes that portray a dynamic continuance of time. In this ongoing investigatory series, I am exploring the concept of history as a synthesis of the past and present, in which multiple vantage points of numerous instances are juxtaposed in a single visual expanse. The mixed media drawings depict detailed environments overloaded with imagery embedded in the landscape; multitudinous viewpoints are perceived as the viewer excavates the layers within the thematic montage of places, architecture, events and culture. The result is a mul-
tifaceted ephemeral panorama that meanders through space, time and history. The collages are comprised of a combination of printed images and found photographs seamlessly melded with pen, ink wash and transfer techniques. The images are superimposed, rendering scenes that traverse elements of the past, present and future. The compulsive layering and building of the narrative and imagery within the scenes is what I find most satisfying about the work. The highly involved process of construction, elimination and reconstruction allows for an almost meditative exploration of the materials within the drawings and the creative process.
Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice?: Three key people have shaped, encouraged and aided me to grow as an independent, self driven artist while greatly influencing my practice. My stepfather, Keith Johnson, talented artist and musician, is definitely the root and foundation to my artistic interest and endeavors. As a toddler, at age three, I was constantly watching him draw, analyzing the strokes that comprised his imaginative pen and ink drawings. I remember eagerly waiting for him to finish a sketch so that I may color (in) the intricate mythological characters he would create. That is where it all began.
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From that point on, I never stopped drawing, always striving for my own self improvement. Upon entering Memphis College of Art as an undergrad working towards my BFA in Fine Arts, Fred Burton (also, a talented painter and multidisciplinary artist) became my most influential professor and mentor. Burton instilled in me an independent work ethic rooted in intensive research and driven by a bottomless curiosity, which infinitely strengthened my desire as a young artist and, as a result, cemented my purpose in this broad, unpredictable field. To this day, I will never finalize a drawing without asking myself the same questions my professor would propose before final critique. He was able to effectively instruct while also encouraging one to not take oneself self too seriously; there is finesse in that. Lastly, Stephen Bledsoe, my fiancé and father to my two daughters (ages two and three,) has given me endless support in continuing the pursuit of my art practice. Let me tell you, it is not easy to “make art” with two toddlers in the midst of all other of life’s demands. Without his support and encouragement, I believe all of my current work would still be living in my sketchbooks. He is the rock in my corner that makes this opportunity possible, and he even enjoys critiquing and collaborating on certain ideas. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Memphis, TN has a wonderful support for the arts, rooted in, but not limited to, the historic and cultural Midtown sector. Here, we are lucky to have Memphis College of Art, situated directly behind The Brooks Museum of Art in Overton Square Park as a cornerstone of Memphis, as well as the Dixon and several other galleries throughout the city that offer residents numerous opportunities and settings to showcase their work. From the city’s art walks on Maine St to the Art District on Broad Ave, Memphis provides many avenues for artists and art lovers alike to participate and come together in an interesting and creative environment. Aside from simply what the city has to offer, there is nothing more interesting than the innate heritage that Memphis is known for.
What does art mean in contemporary culture? I believe (now) there is a dissonance when it comes to art and contemporary culture. As a discipline, trade or practice, the Arts appear to be widely undervalued or perhaps, even appreciated in the wrong context. Ironically, in this day and age and in this cultural climate, there is nothing more powerful than the voice of an image. I have seen some extremely compelling work come produced by my peers and recent fellow exhibition artists that address, emit and evoke. This is the essence, or the ‘stuff,’ that makes art relevant in contemporary culture. Besides, art makes life much less boring. What is the best book that you have read recently? My drawings originally began as a response to Dada poetry techniques. So, of course, the best book I have read recently is “A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe,” Selected Poems by Fernando Pessoa. Pessoa’s writing is a blossoming text of raw confessions that are eerily beautiful and autobiographical; his vision is confounding. I often write and create in intervals, simultaneously drawing inspiration from my readings. Poetry and the utterance within the text (coupled with my available materials) fuels the narrative within my work. in my process, the two have become analogous. My sketchbooks are brimming with studies and mini-drawings that are almost always accompanied by clippings and excerpts from poems or other forms of striking language. This method of research and comparison has become intrinsic to my artistic process. Side note, one of my favorite all time reads is Leonard Shlein’s “Art & Physics, Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light,” which compares theories of renowned scientists to the work of well known master artists. This book draws multifaceted parallels between the artists’ visions (in the their work) and the many similarities which loosely translate to the the scientific understanding of the world. This is a must read for any artist as it is very inspiring. Who are three artists you admire? Three artists that I admire would have to include Elliott Hundley, Fred Burton
and Ricky Allman. The unique infrastructures that make Hundley’s intricate installations come alive are all inspiring and representative, making his work readily identifiable. The structures have an intriguing narrative all their own. Secondly, Burton’s detailed paintings and Mandela’s are almost hypnotic, and no doubt monumental. His technique of building and forming the composition with the many layers of paint is captivating and halts the viewer, drawing you in and laying claim to your time (if only) for some moments. His works are culturally reminiscent and (seemingly) simultaneously autobiographical. I coincidentally stumbled upon one of these large paintings in person recently, and immediately knew, from across the expanse of the room, the creator of the resonating piece. Finally, there is no doubt that I draw inspiration from Ricky Allman’s colorful, yet unsettling, apocalyptic landscapes. Allman’s use of hue and perspective within his landscapes, as well as the unique perception and translation of the religious aspect of the artist’s recent lifestyle and experiences, makes him one of the most influential artists included in my research. What are your future plans? Now that my daughters are getting a little older, I have more time to refocus and dive back into my art. I have been transitioning from a student mindset to that of a professional working artist and have been intently producing, entering exhibitions and putting my work out there as much as possible. Thus far, the majority of the feedback has been positive, and I plan to continue pushing and evolving my work. Simultaneously, I’m working towards completing an application for grad school, here in Memphis, to obtain my MAT in Art Education. I’m extremely excited and eagerly looking forward to instructing and inspiring other creatives in their endeavors. I have always wanted to become an art professor, and I cannot imagine a more fulfilling occupation. After working under my mentor and most influential professor at Memphis College of Art, I believe I’m equipped with the insight imperative in aiding other art students in their field. My ideal long term goal is to devote my complete focus and time to my artwork, working out new concepts as my series evolve and traveling to art festivals with my family.
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Makoto Hoshina London, England, UK/ Japan
Makoto Hoshina is a painter who is based in London, who is completing MA programme in Painting at Royal College of Art. I am interested in the traditional technique of oil painting, how colour is created through prismatic layering of pigment, how careful brush strokes create such an magnificent illusion. In my work, amalgamation of my imagination and dreamscape is painted using traditional technique, trying to achieve the same level of gravitas the classical paintings has.
Briefly describe the work you do. My work focuses on dreamscape and multiverse. I believe that our dream is a gateway for us seeing other worlds, views of possibilities which were omitted in our world or so called reality. I make work using these imageries and combine them with my imagination and what I see in this world to create a whole new world, hoping that it will be an opportunity for people to think of the vast possibilities before them. Along side with this, my other intensions are to both elevate the imagery used in mass culture such as video games and movie to the realm of high art I try to do this by painting these imagery in very traditional medium. My use of oil paint is connected to my fascination with the different aspects which is seen within painting; The prismatic effect of colours reflected and refracted within the layers of pigments, the painterly stroke that makes line and shade, and every single choice and correction leaving
a residue. All these factors make me want to explore painting and to keep it as my main medium. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? The largest influence that I had in my life was seeing “Temptation of Saint Anthony” and “Metamorphosis of Narcissus” by Salvador Dali. As this lead me to paint according to my own desire rather than pleasing others. Another influence would be “Monk by the sea” by Casper David Friedrich, “the pool” by Ferdinand Keller, “Isle of Dead” by Arnold Bocklin and a lot of paintings by Zdzislaw Beksinski. When I saw their work, I to create a work that had subtle sense of hollowness and sadness. Along side with these, another thing that has strong influence on my work are my dreams. My dreams are sometime extremely vivid that I could actually feel pain. I also die in my dreams and see peculiar beings.
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It is a book comprised of extremely high self-esteem and calm observation here and there. Some of the things he writes is so absurd and ridiculous such as you should put a wasp in your medium if you want to achieve beautiful painted surface. (I will try this some day) But after his long speech about absolute weirdness, he ends with a paragraph, which is the factor that made me choose this book as the best book…. … But for you to know what the line was, you have to buy the book or do a Google search online! As I am not really sure if I am allowed to quote anything here! Name three artists you admire. There are many artists who I admire, most of them are unfortunately dead, but if I have to choose three it would be Salvador Dali, Francois Boucher and Rembrandt van Rijn. I chose Dali because, as I mentioned above, I started painting in a serious manner 3 years ago when I saw works by Dali. I chose Francois Boucher because I still remember the moment I saw his “birth of Venus” in my Art history class. I was shocked how a painting can be that luminous and beautiful. From that moment, I tried to make my paintings have vibrant colour and beauty. And I chose Rembrandt because his understanding of light is just magnificent. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I feel the art scene in London is very energetic and exciting, which is probably a synonym. You can find something; big or small, happening every night and every day. From what I hear, as I am not a person who goes to parties, the art scene in London is something like a Hydra; numerous heads with different goals trying to go every possible way. It is very chaotic which makes it fascinating. In your opinion what does painting mean in contemporary culture? I think painting means a lot in contemporary culture. It is probably the first thing people would think about when they hear the word “art”. I think when you ask people who is the first artist that pops in their head, 80% of the people would say a name of a painter, like Rembrandt or Leonardo Da Vinci. Painting still has constant popularity
amongst people who are thinking of becoming an artist, and it is the easiest type of art to purchase and display, as you just need a sturdy wall. I also think at the moment a lot of paintings are seen as an enigma by most of the population. Some paintings are far too enigmatic to be understood, there are a lot of paintings that I don’t understand at all! I hope I am not the only one that does not understand them… Therefore, I think for the contemporary culture, painting is a peculiar combination of Enigma and the obvious. It sounds weird, but I think it is, the weird amalgamation of two opposite things. What is the best book you’ve recently read? The best book I recently read would be “50 secrets of magic craftsmanship” by Salvador Dali. I think this was the best book because if you read through it, it will constantly tell you how he is great.
What are your future plans? My hope is to make paintings that are beautiful enough that drown viewers within them. My plan is to continue to make painting that I can love. I also intend to use computer graphics and sculpture. But in my future, I hope to be a somewhat successful artist. No, I have heard that if you are positive, there is a higher chance of that happening, so I will say, My plan is to BE a successful artist! My plan is to BE able to make a living through art! Although some might say I should not think of sustainability as I am an artist, I disagree because I need money to live and if I am a successful artist being able to sustain myself, then I will be able to devote my time into painting, which is something I love from the bottom of my heart. As some painters have said in the past, I paint, therefore I am!
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Benjamin Jones Bristol,UK
Benjamin Jones is a Bristol based artist working primarily with lens based media. He holds a BA from Bath School of Art and Design where he graduated from in 2016 and recently finished the Spike Island Graduate Fellowship. He has exhibited across the UK and been the recipient of a number of awards. I use photography to document found and constructed objects and spaces that probe the links between place, identity, objects and time. Contextually isolated from their surroundings, my works constrict available information to prioritise more fundamental relationships between personal and cumulative experiences. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m interested in the interactions these allude to between transience and permanence, the incidental and intended. Although in a sense diaristic, I aim to establish a distance from direct personal anchorage to explore the universality of the points of reference. Points thematically regarding ageing, science and faith which often also identify the indirect evidence of change in both a domestic and environmental setting, collectively addressing the interaction between two ends of the historical scale. How they mesh and the poetic links formed in many ways become a cathartic process of understanding ones place in history and culture.
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Briefly describe the work you do. I make photographs drawing from both life experiences and research into the sciences, philosophy, prose and poetic literature. My work also deals with the relationship photography has with painting and sculpture, primarily through the materials I use. I’m interested in making work which creates a sense of the outside world through staging in the studio, relying on photography’s abstracting capabilities. I most often make sets or constructions to photograph. These can be arrangements of pre-existing objects or made from paint, graphite, solvents and other materials. These creations exist rather unspectacularly independent of the images, however through photography are afforded an atmosphere due to lighting and primarily, enlargement. This process of manipulation extends into the printing process and the light/time/chemical sensitivity of photographic materials is something that is playing an ever greater part through experimentation in the darkroom, as I always work from film (just sometimes scanning it). I approach photography from the perspective of creating an object, and how that will work in and have a relationship to the space around it and a viewer. It’s shape, support, reflectivity, scale and physical index are always considerations and can create incredibly intriguing pieces using the right process. The materials also have this wonderful relationship to the conditions of their making, their proximity to an object
or environment. The work of Liz Deschenes comes to mind as a pertinent example. Most of the work pictured has been set largely within the domestic sphere and is part of a body of work titled Grounds For Cautious Optimism. It was a way of reacquainting with personal histories and the memories embedded in a familiar place. I was intrigued by objects such as in Cast and The Green Line (O2 Tube) which represent particular experiences in mine or a relatives past however transcend that singularity to talk about a collective or common experience. Our lives and emotional recollections can be memorialised through objects in a way which is both specifically personal while symbolic on a public scale, an incalculable number of individual memories recalled by a singular trigger. It’s these random relationships to memory and triggers of knowledge and imagination which made these so intriguing. The newest pieces have left the domestic space behind (that work came from the very particular circumstances) and are returning to images with greater elemental and architectural reference points. Certainly things beyond my own scale. How I can impart a sense of their process, whether through layering paper during printing or how chemicals are applied, is something I’m currently experimenting with. The idea being to create a surface which has multiple events recorded upon and feeding into it. The original image, and also that created through printing in the sense of a photogram. The image
can be fragmented and given a sense of physical space, a trace of its previous arrangement, again with a push pull of past and present, but with a trace of physical interaction on the print absent with a lot of the other work. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I befriended two painters at University at a time when I hadn’t even considered being an artist as an option. They introduced me to a great deal of work, chiefly Peter Doig, which completely changed the trajectory of what I wanted to make and do. I also did a residency in Porthleven, Cornwall which was run by some amazing tutors; Angela Cockayne, Robert Fearnes and Daniel Allen and led to a number of conversations which massively developed my understanding of what I was doing and art making in general. It seeded a completely new approach to the materials I worked with and ended up changing the way I approached making photographs completely. From there I went on to constructing objects in the studio as opposed to going out into the world looking for pictures. How would you describe the art scene in your area? It’s interesting as there’s a lot of really fantastic artists in the city but not a huge number of project spaces or galleries supporting as compared to somewhere like Newcastle. East Bristol Contemporary (ebc) however have been putting
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together some really interesting shows for over a year now while Antlers have also had some great projects. I very much get the impression it’s something that’s growing and needs more like ebc galvanise it. There’s Spike Island and Arnolfini on a institutional level and with the latter under new directorship it seems the types of artist and shows there are going to change, with the current Grayson Perry show setting a precedent? Spike have a great mix with a really interesting rotor of exhibitions, most recently Kim YongIk which was a cracker. Arnolfini also recently lost all their Arts Council funding so there is a big piñata of money hanging over the city which will hopefully provide some really interesting opportunities for spaces and stuff on a ground level. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? In many ways more than it ever has. It provides a view into historical as well as contemporary thinking and is a fascinating cultural mirror of our lived and learned experience. It has the potential to broaden our outlook on the world, publicly communicate specialist research and introduce us to cultural ideas and modes of thinking outside of our everyday remit.
What is the best book you’ve recently read?
and it’s definitely influenced the way I consider my own work.
The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. He’s a 20th Century American author and the novel tells, from birth, the story of three siblings from South Carolina who take distinctly different routes through life, narrated by one sibling recounting their upbringing to his sisters psychiatrist. It’s full of eloquent language and poetic descriptors while also being historically and culturally interesting. The psychology of its characters and their relationships continually deepen as the morality of their various decisions and responses challenge your own perceptions. How it deals with home and ideas of cultural inheritance and rejection provide the grounding of the story and it also deals with distinctly different notions and romanticisations of place.
Richard Learoyd - He makes fantastic, arresting pictures and goes to incredible lengths with analogue photographic processes to make the most incredible prints I’ve seen. Like Mariele, there’s a perfectionism which is acutely present in the quality of his work. The photographs are meditative and really stick with you.
Name three artists you admire. Mariele Neudecker - She’s got an incredibly diverse array of work which deals with landscape and our scientific/emotional relationship to it from a really unique position. What I admire is the way her work straddles scientific documentation and imagination, with nature and it’s processes playing a magisterial role. I’ve worked for her for over a year now
Tacita Dean - My introduction to Tacita was her video The Green Ray, apiece I think about a lot. Her work relates your own experience of time to that of the video in a way which involves you as more than a spectator. I also love her committment to the quality of projected celluloid film. It’s very easy to turn a blind eye to the unique qualities of analogue media for the sake of digital ease but like Richard she uses the medium to its fullest capacity and immersive effect. What are your future plans? I’ve just moved into a new studio so imminently keep making and experimenting with the new work, move to do an MFA in the not too distant future, read and write more, learn the piano and French. Maybe not both at once.
A. Karson Bristol, UK
Born Washington D.C. in 1984, Douglas moved to Little Rock, AR when he was 3 and grew up there till he was 16. After that he lived in 9 cities (Boston, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Japan, India) over the next 15 years before settling in Bristol, UK, in October 2016. He has always found creative outlets. As a child he was trained in classical guitar and later studied french pastry, but he didn’t really start painting seriously until he suffered a major neck injury playing rugby in 2005. Unable to play sports any more he turned to art and yoga and it has been a healing journey since. He is self taught, an avid reader and lover of art and literature, and a big believer that pushing our own limits of creativity is the only way to go forward. He met his British wife Natasha in New York in 2007 and came over to live in London after they were married in 2010. Recently, they celebrated the birth of their first son Theodore. Douglas’s output is prolific. He creates paintings, sketches, poems, cakes, songs, classes, teams, events and more. A Michelin-standard French pastry chef, a distinguished yoga and meditation instructor, an accomplished musician, and a published poet, Douglas has many feathers in his bow. His acute attention to detail is reflected in his passionate artistic process. He loves the physical sensation of creating; the feel and sound of ink being put onto paper, the physicality of applying paint, the touch of wood, metal, batter. This addiction to the physical sensation is what compels him to continue to create so prodigiously. He works primarily in two visual mediums: acrylic on canvas and ink on paper. Long term, he is keen to get involved in large scale sculptures and has been experimenting with wood, nails, wires, clay, screws and metal. The ink on paper pieces are more figurative, minimalist and spacious. Douglas calls these one-off prints. Each is handmade and unique. The subject matter is as varied as his interests; from still life to abstract, a diary of his life and thoughts. The acrylics are more varied but have shown a consistent progression and evolution through the years as Douglas continues to explore and push his craft; living by the motto “just keep making great work.” He has two major ongoing projects that are both big, bold, long term, and ambitious. He has so far completed 7 “The RULES” pieces with 10 more to make. These are based on balance, colour, chakras, and truth. They demand the highest quality canvas and paint. He also has an ongoing series, Portraits of Poets. These reflect his passionate relationship with the vibrant Bristol poetry scene.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Briefly describe the work you do. An avid maker, I pursue creativity passionately and compulsively. This drive manifests most frequently as detailed ink on paper drawings, bold and colourful paintings and poetry. My creative process is entirely analogue. The feel of a brush on canvas, watching colour manifest where there was none and take shape, the sound of pen scratching lines of meaning on paper, I am addicted to this. I love to draw and sometimes complete up to seven or eight drawings in a single sitting. These drawings are a diary of my true and innermost self. They come through as spacious and minimalist pieces with recurring ideas and imagery. I trust my hands to lead the way. As a Bristol based artist, I now work exclusively on 260GSM Bristol Board, which is a very heavy and beautifully smooth paper make in the UK. The ink works have some ongoing series. Right now two particular ones stand out. What I am calling the Trinity series is a set of works that has three shapes and words and they are simple, clear, and powerful works. Secondly are my Portraits of Poets which track all of my amazing poet friends who I have had the honour of sitting for me. Painting holds a special place in my heart and hands. The process of creating a piece of art is one of the the most mysterious and baffling sources of joy I have ever experienced. Making a piece of work has taken me anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 years. The ability to put a piece away until it feels right to paint on it is as baffling as it is magical. I work solely in acrylics and I adore them. I love the urgency of working with wet paints. You must work fast or else they will dry on you! This also allows a way of layering colour and getting depth that I absolutely adore. Often, especially with works like the RULES pieces, I will often do 4 or 5 coats of a single colour in order to get a depth, vibrancy and heaviness that acrylic is perfect for. Poetry and music are constant companions for me. All the creativity comes from the same source and these two keep me free and loose to keep the creative process joyful and full of wonder. I am constantly experimenting and pushing
the boundary of my creative ability. I have some works on wood made with tape, nails and wire. I have works that are boxes with secrets inside. I have videos that no one has seen yet. I have performance pieces waiting for the right time and I continue to grow and challenge myself living by the motto “just keep making great art”. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I see the world in lines and colour. Art is all around us all the time. My route to art is not what anyone would call a typical rise. I didn’t have that one teacher or that early exposure to visual art that I hear about from so many of my contemporaries. It wasn’t until I suffered a debilitating neck injury that shook my whole life to its core that art began to emerge as part of the healing process. At the age of 20 I was playing college rugby and preparing to go to law school when my neck broke during a game. I had nerve issues in my left hand and constant pain. Up till this time, my life was defined by my involvement in sport and plan to become a judge. That all changed. After college, I moved to New York and started working as a bartender. It was in this period that things began to emerge. I met a girl who was an artist and she encouraged me to start drawing and I immediately recognized two things. One, I love drawing and painting in a way that I never expected. Two, I was strangely good with paint. I began selling my works on the street and got a great response from the public and knew from then that there was no turning back. During this time, I also began doing yoga as I could not run not play sport. My mother is a teacher so I had some background in the practice. Yoga has been a massive influence on both my life and art work. As I have grown and explored art and the creative and healing process, I have dug into my past and subconscious which will always be a source. I had multiple traumatic incidents in my childhood which include loneliness, depression, molestation, bullying, personal injury, witnessing incredible violence and experiencing persona heartbreak. This
provide ample material and drive for my creative process. On top of this, I am an avid reader and deep lover of museums and art in the world. I go to as many art fairs, gallery openings and poetry readings as I can and always leave feeling refreshed. I also read book after book on art so that I know that what I do is different and special but also where it’s roots are and where it has come from. I am an outsider in the art world. I don’t have any connections and no formal training. I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and art education was fully cut from the curriculum of our schools because the administrators believe it serves no practical purpose. I didn’t go to art school and have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to marketing and selling. It wasn’t until I was much older and done with schooling entirely that I had the opportunity to learn what art can be. Since going down that road, I have never looked back and will continue till the day I die. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Bristol is an interesting and vibrant place to be an artist and make art. It is an epicentre of street art (home to the yearly Upfest, largest street art festival in the world!) and poetry. There are studios, galleries, and people make art all over the place. As such, it isn’t a great place to sell art and as a smaller city, it is relatively cliquey and difficult to be accepted (especially when your work in really different). There is a large culture of digital design and print making in Bristol but when I tell people that I don’t make prints, cards, nor T-Shirts, I often get funny looks and sometimes direct animosity. Slowly I’ve been making headway here but the British Art scene has traditionally been very traditional! I love it here though. There are enough artistic things going on that you always feel like there is something cool to do but not so much that you have constant FOMO (fear of missing out). My favourite nights are poetry readings. I sometimes participate and think there is something really beautiful and classic about standing in front of a room of people and telling stories. My studio space is in a big building called
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Hamilton House. It is full of all different types of creatives and more. It’s a small space but perfect for my needs.
the new so far that anything that has come since seems tame and leaves some people wondering “has it all been done before?”
The art scene here is super vibrant but because Bristol is a boom town for property, a lot of the studio spaces in the city are under direct economic threat. That’s just the way of things in the UK right now, artists come in and raise the value of the real estate and then get priced out. It’s been happening like that for a long time.
There are some who think digital art is the future but for me, introducing a machine into the process of making art is the same as having an unnecessary middle man who will inevitably affect the end result. There is purity to making things by hand that our modern view on art sometimes lacks or doesn’t see.
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?
Artists make 100 prints of images they know sell because they are cheap and easy but I don’t know when that became the ideal. Turning art into a business of repetition might work for some but for me, every piece is a snowflake; unique but similar.
I have to answer this honestly and say I don’t know and actually don’t care that much about art in culture as a whole. There are other artists who specialize in that. I have a compulsion to create that I can’t control and that is enough for me. I will venture some opinions and observations about society’s relationship to art. Up until the Great War of 1914, art was pretty strictly defined by classical education and standards and there was an overwhelming belief in progress and the ability of rationality and science to save humanity. There were some people like Turner who pushed the envelope but by and large it was pretty standardized. Then, all of a sudden there was this massive, illogical war and the arguments for rationality in art dissolved as Dada, the movement who believes that since the world is ridiculous so should art, became more and more strange and ludicrous. This continued right up to and after WWII with the abstract expressionists throwing away rationality entirely with their work. Then you had the 1980’s and one of the biggest financial booms the world has ever seen as for the first time in human history, we embraced debt instead of fearing it. Here we see the rise of Warhol and Basquiat who set the stage for everything since.
Throughout history, art has been an expensive pursuit. Materials are expensive, time is expensive and storage is expensive. Sometime in the last few year, the pervasive idea of art for everyone became the norm but this is just not the way it is. When the belief in the logic of art was thrown out the window the ability to apply logic to who gets successful and who doesn’t was also thrown out. It really frustrate people to see bad art get praise and success when it is much more about who that artists knows and how good they are on a computer at typing grant proposals. To me this is a shame. There has to been a balance between logic and feeling and right now there isn’t. Combine this with the rise of art that relies solely on repetition and you get a recipe for misunderstanding and anger. I believe to my core that there is still more to do, more to say, more to make that is unique and meaningful and will pursue this truth with all my being. What is the best book you’ve recently read?
Warhol recognized the power of repetition and used cutting edge technology to create masses of images that shook the art world to its foundations. He recognized that originality was in the presentation not the work itself.
As a foreigner in the UK, I have a deep fascination with British culture so read a lot of books that have that subject. One in particular has sat in my memory, called “Goodbye to All That” by Robert Graves. He was a poet who went and fought in the Great War and I pretty much cried my way through that entire book.
Basquiat was on the other side of the coin. His works pushed the envelope of
There is something so matter of fact with the way he deals with the trauma of seeing
so many friends die pointlessly. Also, I believe this was a very special time period in the development of the arts in the West. It was the same time period in which Dada emerged but this was the last time period when there was true classical education (Latin, Greek, etc…) so you had all these really classically educated people who made a decision based on massive trauma to do something different and new yet they had all the skills that classical education entails. But yeah, read that book. Name three artists you admire. Dead: Mark Rothko, J.M.W. Turner, Pablo Picasso - they might be classical and some might say boring but these three men have been the most influential on me and my creative process and vision. Alive: Banksy, Anish Kapoor, Kim Jong-Ik What are your future plans? I am always working on a few projects at a time with a few more in development.
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Drawing and painting will always be part of my practice and routine as these I find incredibly enjoyable. Immediately, I want to continue pursuing my two major visual series, the RULES and Portraits of Poets. The RULES are large scale, geometric works that deal with our reality and relationship to existence. They are bold, colourful, difficult and speak to the core of what abstract art is meant to do, expose truth. So far, I have completed 8 and have 10 more sketches to do. Each piece takes me roughly 6 weeks so that is at least a year long project. Portraits of Poets is an ongoing series I have been loving doing. Bristol is full of amazing poets and performers and I am in a lucky enough position to be able to meet and be friends with many of them. These amazing people have been coming and sitting with me in the studio while I draw them in different coloured inks. I love how these are coming out and have had a massively positive response from both myself and the general public (every time I post one online it sells right away!) I look forward to continuing these works and feel really blessed to get to spend such quality time with such quality people. For almost a year now I have been wanting to do a endurance based performance/video piece. This piece is dark, intense, scary, and powerful but the time isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t right yet. It speaks to the current state of the world and the thought of it scares me which is why I know I need to do it. I have a few other ongoing projects and ideas. I have been working on an epic poem for almost 7 years and continue to put in time on the prose. There is a character in development who is a series of drawings with stories named Professor Bunnington which I would like to make into a book. I have another character who I have written around 36 childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s poems including and my wife has illustrated 3 of these beautifully. Bits of found wood and metal are slowly accumulating on my balcony and just waiting for the inspiration that now is the time to put them together. Lastly, a lot of my work would lend itself well to scultures and someday I will create the opportunity to realize this potentiality.
Tahmina Negmat London, UK / Russia
Art Reveal Magazine
Briefly describe the work you do. My work derives from notions that are not normally popular to associate oneselves practice with which are failure and procrastination. However I outbreak those features into something positive that work as a catapult that puts me in a right state of being lost in the work . Every morning I wake up and I know I have no room for an old routine. In fact, I believe I have to invent a new one and that really excites me. The process of finding a new one should not be predetermined in the scarily clear conscious level, in fact it should be chaotically researched with an outsider kind of method, where one is not aware one is actually working. That’s why my work relies a lot on chance mechanism, automatic drawing and frottage. Almost every time I come into the studio I want to procrastinate, but in a productive way, sort of an act of chewing gum with a flavor and also knowing it’s a nicotine one. Instead of picking up brushes I pick up a broom and go on circular detours around my studio where I find cutouts or blobs of paint sitting on my desk. Some of it eventually end on my paintings. I work primarily on found materials - like my grandma’s embroidered bed throw, or a pile of rugs picked from the street, or paintings and installation props made by my friends and fellow artists that were either too big or too frustrating for them to keep. That allows me not to carry the weight of responsibility of starting the work from ‘the blank canvas’ stage. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? It’s normally the chain of different visual and cultural sources that help me to work something out in the studio. The more random this library of influences is the better. I recently wrote about my back pain and how it’s connected to the first 15 seconds of the interview on ‘Clockwork Orange’ with young Malcolm Mcdowell gracefully swallowing cigarette smoke in the most beautiful way I’ve ever seen (https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=4gJvliX8W70&t=14s) - and how that is linked to the Mayakovsky’s poem soon after which he committed suicide as a self-proclaimed communism created the form of extreme habit and ideological repression instead of worshiped by the poet futurism. I connected that with listening to ‘S-town’ podcast and thinking that what I admire about the main character John B. Mclemore is that “in his own misanthropic way, he’s crusading against one of the most
powerful insidious forces we face: resignation. The numb acceptance that we can’t change things. He’s trying to shake people out of their stupor, trying to convince them that it is possible to make their world a better place.” [Brian Reed, Chapter 2, S-Town] I ended the loop with Springsteen’s ‘Darkness on The Edge of Town’ album cover, where he is standing in this floraly decorated bedroom wearing his leather jacket and looking almost through you and having his whole life ahead of him. I guess all of these raw research material has a united context - which is a place of worshiping an ideological centre either through a songwriting, revealing a new stylistic movement in poetry or even something very detailed and meaningless, like wearing the right jacket and smoking a cigarette in a right way that just creates that iconic look. Such collection of personal heroes might look random, but together it knots a perfect plot of reasoning why I make paintings, how they should look and what aesthetical characteristic to carry. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I think figurative paintings is coming back. Naive art, Art Brut inspired, comic book inspired staff. I’m currently at the Art School so, I’ll give a very narrow specific view on the art scene situation. We, students obviously learn from one another as we inhabit in an inclined space bubble. So we go to shows and opening together, and feed of this collective interest in very painterly artists like Philip Guston, Rose Wylie, Lee Lozano, James Ensor, Chaïm Soutine, Peter Doig etc. But aside from painting, There is lots of fantastic things happening right now. Recently I’ve been at ‘Faust’ performance by Anne Imhof at the Biennale, German pavilion. There was the unity of the youth where gender played no role, where the spectators without any verbal orders would create whole mazes from their own bodies, cause the choreography of stillness and embodiment of nothingness was delivered so well by the dancers. The performers at some point were fighting but at the same time curressing each other. It was probably the best thing I’ve seen in months. In your opinion what does painting mean in contemporary culture? I can only speak for myself. My reason for painting is very simple - it validates my existence on everyday basis. Some people tell me I romanticize about it too much, but I do see
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
a great place of worship in painting and art making in general. I like the sensation of the breakthrough from the viscous stereotypical habitat in today’s time when we dressed in all that is humane and we rose above anything that is superhuman. So all of these preconstructed trivial hoarding values are suddenly put in danger once you pick up a brush instead of putting on the office suit and living comfortably.
and everything that surrounded it. For me it was a rare moment. I value these kind of moments.
When I went to ‘Abstract Expressionism’ show at the RA last year I’ve done quite a snobbish thing as I walked past all of these artists, room after room. I kept skipping the inheritance of the abstract expressionism ancestors, because I knew there was a late Guston painting in the last room. I stood before the painting, it really threw me. It was very quiet, modest looking painting. It wasn’t the most memorable one of his works. But I liked that it made me spend time with it, as it didn’t offer much information apart from the coherent line up of heart-shaped figures, that kind of looked like top of the human heads, kind of like horseshoes, kind of like meat, but in reality it was just a very concentrated assimilation of paint and forms within it. I even kind of liked that people were blocking the view to the work, they were weirdly merging into the pink landscape. It was a symbiotic state of exchange between the painting
Name three artists you admire.
What is the best book you’ve recently read? “Philip Guston. Collected writings, lectures and conversations”. Unsurprisingly!
Philip Guston, Anne Imhof, Vladimir Mayakovsky. What are your future plans? I’m not making any long term plans. At the moment I’m focused on working towards my Degree Show. After, I might go to Europe for a bit or stay in London and get a studio here. Some friends from Royal College and myself have been putting lots of shows together in London and Berlin. I’m sure there are many more ahead. I’m doing a residency in West Dean College this autumn. I’ll be working on the series of paintings based on the game “Exquisite corpse”.
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Straiph Wilson Rowardennan Loch Lomond, UK
I am a self-taught contemporary Scottish artist making art independently of the art world canon. My work remains relatively obscure but accessible. My practice is the reactive agitation from my long working career as a technician in the field of behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology; this encompasses the study of organic diversity, including its origins, dynamics, maintenance and consequences. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m forcibly blurring the boundaries between associations of ritual, power and speciation by accentuating mysticism and folklore as an extension and amplification of traditional religious views. My practice attempts to go beyond or behind customary established dogma in order to satisfy a need which certain individuals have to experience the intersection between science, religion and belief.
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When, how and why started your art practice? I started early; I can still recollect having a painting exhibited in Osaka Japan when I was only eight years old. The painting was called “Jack Frost.” This was back in 1980 when our family had moved from Scotland to Portsmouth in England as a result of my father’s profession as a soldier in the British army. Our school was encouraged to participate in an art exchange programme with Japanese schools with children of a similar age. I think the exchange was an attempt to bridge the cultural gap between two countries that had once been on the opposing sides of a war. After living in England for a number of years, we were posted to West Germany. Living in different places was the upshot of British soldier’s life of being stationed abroad after the 2nd world war to keep the peace or ward of the communists. From early age we, me and my brother, were very aware that we were part of a victorious force and therefore rightfully occupying a foreign territory. I still remember going to see the Berlin wall and seeing at first hand the divide between two groups who had previously been one nation. The sense of conflict was very powerful experience for me at that age. In my early teens, we were transferred back to Scotland we settled onto a rough council estate in the central belt. Here, yet again, me and my brother, we were yet again unwillingly forced into taking sides due to the religious divide that still persists in our
country. We had to decide hanging out with either the Catholics kids or the Protestant loyalists. The choice of siding with the Catholic side would have been problematic considering our father had participated in many military operations in Northern Ireland during the height of the conflict. Previously we had been taught that Germans were the enemy which was in some sense comprehensible since they were a foreign nation and therefore a more natural adversary. The protestant-catholic divide was completely alien to us and we were surprised to discover that such divide existed within our own nation. It is a great tragedy that this same bigoted divide still persists in certain parts of Scotland. In my despondent youth at the council estate, I discovered music as the new form of escapism from the dire conditions. It brought me solace within the concrete landscape. With my friends we formed a 3 piece underground band called “The Chthonians”. Our concept was based on the horror-fiction written by Brain Lumley. We took inspiration from his first short story “Cement Surroundings” in which he mentions the idea of “Chthonians” as fictional creatures in the Cthulhu Mythos. Looking back on that early artistic influence I believe our sound was unique at the time. It was a surreal chaos of sound, image and teenage attitude. In our naivety we were testing the boundaries and experimenting with dark and gothic sounds. This was against the backdrop of the crazy heroin epidemic, violence, desolation, unemployment and bigotry that were running rampant at the estate. Reading and interpreting other worldviews akin to Brain Lumley and HP Lovecraft I naturally directed my ethos towards a style the Scots call “Skew-Whiff ”. Its colloquial expression equates to” something crooked” or “askew” a saying that dates from eighteenth-century Scots. “Cement surroundings” became a concept artistically and as a barrier to overcome to grow as a band. As the singer in “The Chthonians” I rebelled by conceiving the words, a microphone to hand, writing them down, shouting them out as a mantra, ritually. Today my artistic practise still includes sound but sculpture is now my primary focus. A tumbling of time and ideas shaping my latest work emerging from mud, ceramics, are still influenced by the chthonic and other experiences of my youth. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? I knew from the outset that it was going to be tough gaining any recognition here in Scotland, especially if you have aspirations to be successful. As a Scottish artist making difficult work that explores challenging subjects I think people might ignore me rather than accept me. Scotland is the ancestral home of Scottish wholesomeness that reeks of whiskey, tartan and shortbread. I have never been a conformist and I feel I might not fit in. I’ve noticed others who have tried to be original in Scotland and but have eventually given up and headed to London instead. In the big capital, challenging and though provoking work is perceived as more acceptable, progressive and relevant. What are you working on right now? At any given moment I am usually working on several different pieces; each piece slightly provocative, stimulating and of course mildly satisfying. Currently I am working on and developing the ideas for pieces titled: “Hashish”, “Sin Eaters”, “Flat Earth”, , “Welcome to Scotland”, ”Nuclear”, “Broken Empires”, “Rendlesham UFO” and “Homology”. These will all be in ceramic apart from “IRA vs UVF” which will be a painting.
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Naturally these ideas all take time and money to complete so it’s a continuous process that’s evolving. Works that I am actively producing right now is “Hashish” and “Sin Eaters”. How would you describe the art scene in your area? As mentioned, Scottish art typically follows a well-trodden path. I live in semi-rural isolation on the East side of Loch Lomond, so I cannot describe the area in which I live as any kind of art Scene. There is however a sporran maker who has a workshop about three miles from my studio if that counts? Glasgow is about an hour’s drive away but I have no idea about that particular scene as I’ve purposely focused on a global view. I have recently joined a professional studio in Glasgow so I might get to know the Glasgow scene better in the future. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I’ve worked in science for 22 years the last 16 in behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology. A noticeable observation is that we have become more obsessed; obsessed with time, physical objects, resources and gains that include power, wealth and territory. I also believe we have become less concerned with the cause-and-effect
of the pursuit of the above mentioned gains. There is nothing contemporary about our culture apart for the actual word “Contemporary”. We are no longer really living in the present always rushing to future. At the same time our past is still very strongly with us in form of behavioural mechanisms that relate us to our early ancestral kith & kin. It’s difficult to answer on behalf of the modern culture given that I live in my own infinite world of isolation, self-styled methods, subject matter and diverse cultural concepts. I think art still provides a symbolic language that might reach people better than the conventional ways. What do you like/dislike about the art world? I like the possibility to experiment with various themes and mediums and how the unexplored can suddenly yield something outstanding and unexpected that can take you to new direction. I dislike how the art industry has been high-jacked by the elite. It’s become an impenetrable thicket where only the wealthy can became part of the clique. Name three artists you admire? I really admire a Finnish sculptor Tommi Toija. I was fortunate to visit Tommi at
his studio in Helsinki in 2016. I was really impressed how he can make clay come alive and how his work conveys a narrative without explanation. He also serves up the best coffee I’ve ever tasted! Mason Storm (London) is an artist who also deserves major appreciation. He’s really pushing the boundaries and creating controversial work with his extraordinaire command of paintbrush and canvas. His paintings are absolutely outstanding in every way possible and very relevant with a powerful message for all of us to decipher from his cryptic master pieces. Third artist I want to name is Kevin Blythe Sampson who is an American artist and a retired police officer living in Newark, New Jersey. Sampson uses discarded objects to make sculptures that act as memorials for various people who have died. What are your future plans as an artist? 2018 will be a big year for me. My brother has served twenty-four years in jail for murdering a man with an axe. I will be uniting up with him next year when he is released from prison. Over the years I have been covertly involving him in various art related projects so hopefully together we can produce some new even more exciting ideas.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Heidi Wong Hong Kong / New York City, USA
Heidi Wong is an artist and poet originally from Hong Kong. With art, Heidi specializes in palette knife paintings and monochromatic drawings. In October 2015, she collaborated with Phoenix New Media for their annual live charity art auction, and single handedly raised over 43,000 USD towards leukemia treatment for children in rural China. In addition, Heidi has been the winner of the National Art and Calligraphy Competition of China for six consecutive years. Being a synesthete, my art involves using strong colors and an expressionistic style to evoke emotion. Through my palette knife painting, gestural brushstrokes, and vibrant colors, I attempt to create works that not only serve as representations of myself, but also as commentaries of the world around me. Art is an integral part of my life, not only because of my synesthesia, but because I believe that art is one of the only tools capable of connecting the human experience. Thus, I hope that through art, I can explicate the emotions I experience as a third culture, synesthetic young artist in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s society.
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Briefly describe the work you do. I paint expressionistic knife paintings — many of my works tend to either reflect upon personal events or allude to the way in which I see the world as a synesthete. I first started my training in art school for realism drawing in Beijing from ages six to fifteen. Then, I quit in order to pursue expressionistic painting. I found that the kind of truth I wanted to portray didn’t lie in depicting exactly what I saw, but how I felt. Instead of suppressing my synesthesia in order to lead a “normal life,” I started
ten connect to his work and mind through the synesthesia I see in his art — more specifically, in the way that his colors move within the canvas. He was the first artist that allowed me to understand that I didn’t have to suppress my synesthesia — quite the opposite, if I could teach myself to channel and express it, it could be a tool for me to take my art to the next level. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Throughout the year, I live in Upstate New York, New York City, Beijing, and Hong Kong. The art scene in New York City, Beijing, and Hong Kong is incredible. I’m always stunned by the opportunities that are so readily available to me to see and experience art. It never ceases to amaze me when I see certain parts of a painting that makes it real—the lumps of uneven paint, the gesso peeking through the edges, the interwoven patterns of canvas. Especially in the modern age when we’re so used to seeing masters’ works through a screen, witnessing these details in real life reminds me that those artists were in our shoes at one point. Even our idols sat hunched over in front of a table drawing out their ideas, and got paint all over their hands and under their fingernails from the long hours in the studio. In Upstate New York, opportunities to connect my art education to works in real life can be harder to come by; however, I do consider myself lucky to be able to see the art I admire whenever possible. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?
trying to channel the colors I felt and depicting them on canvas. Since leaving art school, I’ve been a largely self taught expressionist. I’ve always been fascinated by knife painting. Different from painting with a brush, painting with a knife shows a kind of harsh, rough, expressive texture that I became hypnotized by. At fifteen, I began to work this technique into my paintings to create works that were painted with both paintbrushes and palette knives. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I’ve always felt drawn to Van Gogh’s paintings. As a synesthete, I feel like I can of-
Andy Warhol pioneered the incorporation of low and popular culture into high art. This not only played a significant role in the way modern society was exposed to art, but communicated the vital idea that art is and always will be everywhere. We live in art—from our iphones and our MoMA mugs, to our college textbooks and picture frames—our society is drenched in art. Whether or not we actively call ourselves “artists” and lock ourselves in studios to paint, the simple truth remains that art is inescapable and irreplaceable in contemporary culture. Not only this, but art is a way in which we connect with each other. Similar to poetry, we can see an artist’s life through their artwork and know that even though our experiences differ, the emotions we
go through as human beings interrelate with each other. Art is a language that disregards all differences we may have, and breaks us down to the core of who we are—as human beings in society who hurt, love, dream, live. What is the best book you’ve recently read? Some of my favorite books are Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion, Ariel by Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. Literature also plays a significant role in my life, as both art and literature are ways in which I can reveal and express my most vulnerable emotions without having to directly say them. Similar to my philosophy on art, I don’t think that being a writer is something you choose—it either chooses you or it doesn’t. You’re either born an artist or you’re not. Of course, there are artists who create art because it makes them happy. For me, that isn’t the case. Even if I tried to stop painting and writing, I wouldn’t be able to. Therefore, my identity as an artist wasn’t something I discovered, but was something that just was. I find myself drawing, painting, writing, on days I never intended to. The act of creating art from my life experiences isn’t something that makes me happy — if anything, it’s a painful process to dredge up the deepest part of why we feel the way we feel; however, it’s just what I must do. In other words, the two types of artists I’ve encountered are those who make art for their own happiness, and those who are meant to heal their wounds by constantly exposing them in the form of art. Name three artists you admire. Van Gogh, Oskar Kokoscha, Jenny Saville What are your future plans? After finishing my undergraduate studies at Hamilton College for Fine Arts and Creative Writing, I plan to pursue a double Masters for Fine Arts and English Literature. I’ve also found myself connecting more of my art and writing to social media, and may intend to investigate that aspect more. Regardless of where I will end up, I know that all types of art will continue to play a significant role in my identity and growth.
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Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
StĂŠphane Vereecken Brussels, Belgium
My classic studies in several academies of arts and in several artistic disciplines trained me in a multidisciplinary vision. Through my images of the Rabid Animals series, I explore the relationship between human beings and bestiality. A hybrid human and sexually androgynous. A universe of reality and also of surrealism. An image photographed and also painted and drawn. The drawings on the walls, the floor and the body show an unfinished project. The viewer will interpret my images according to his feelings. I do not impose anything, the interpretation is free.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Briefly describe the work you do
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture ?
I started working on my images with painting and photographic collages. It was in 1995. In 1997 i started painting with acrylics on Polaroids too. It is on this small square that I have over a year produced more than 200 polaroids and it is also with these Polaroids, when I was 25 years old, and that I started to make exhibitions in Brussels and in Belgium and France. For several years I photograph my models and my landscapes and then I draw a story on the walls and their bodies. I tell an unfinished story …
Art shows what you do not see every day. Art and the artist, with a free body and a free spirit, can move mountains and also dug very deeply. He can make the public aware of the invisible. Art can also bring to the surface everything you do not necessarily want to see, breathe, listen to ... The artist is like a jester of the King, he shows the indiscernible human who is deeply in us. The artist must keep his freedom of expression at all levels and all degrees of oppositions.
Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice ? The relationship between humans and nature. The relationship between the human and his future. His bodily future and his immaterial future inspires me a lot. If death is a mystery, birth is an even bigger mystery. I like to make new things happen.
It is a photographic work with several layers and layers of drawings drawn on the images. The drawings on the walls, the floor and the body show an unfinished project of life. The bodies sitting or standing in front of a white wall represent the work of art. The bodies are artwork simply represented with their unfinished story. My images propose projects of new lives.
How would you describe the art scene in your area ?
Name three artists you admire.
I described him as very militant. Too militant and not artistic enough … I am talking about the younger generation. The older generation of recognized artist in my environment is a return to the sources towards an ancestral cultural heritage. Like Michaël Borremans. Other artists play with humor. Like Pascal Bernier. And other artists play with the collective memory. Other artists too are working on the collective responsibility of nature and the environment, like many « artist collectives « in Belgium. All of this creates a polymorphic environment artistic.
David Lynch, Jerome Bosch and Arthur Tress
Tell us more about “White Wall” series.
What are your future plans ? I will work on volumes, sculptures. I will photograph them and show them in a harmless environment. My images will always be a new proposal of lives, but this time with a representation in volume in a landscape, a house or a chosen place. And this volume can also be a simple body, like a simple piece of cardboard.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Kuzma Vostrikov New York City, USA
Orange jacket comes to digital photography as a vaccine, as nostalgia for the enlarger and fixer. Orange jacketâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is a touch-up in the trillions of frames of identical megapixel cameras, bored of vapid postures. When grandpa Mao makes friends with a lovely Japanese woman sitting in a golden chair somewhere in the Kuril Islands, encouraged by Andy Warholâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s accompaniment, this means that all the characters are a little tired of the ideological rhetoric of the numerous revolutions: bloody, cultural, digital and others. Our heroes from the photographs came together to drink champagne and recall the good past with an old word. Maybe even embrace each other and cry together.
Art Reveal Magazine
When, how and why started your art practice? When. Practicing art is something akin to dentistry, the skill of pulling teeth. Or maybe the question is actually more like – when did you begin practicing impracticality? If we stick to the “space” of the question: I was born in the courtyard of an art school, where my parents taught city dwellers to paint. It couldn’t have been any other way. My eyes became a slow-motion retina with regard to the world, which I observed through my parents’ lifestyle.
How. These days everyone loves to speak about tolerance and takes pride in their administrative achievements in this sphere with respect to the papers that regulate our actions. And indeed, if we speak about the actual past and about freedom, then there is something to be proud of. When I was two years old, my mom would take me through the streets completely naked. My little pink bean would be warmed in the sun right on Main Street and it bothered absolutely no one. Try taking a child out onto the streets like that today and discussing morality. In those days, my mother was still a young girl, and knew nothing of the relativity
of time that Einstein prophesied for philosophical and corporate needs. My artistic mission is to, with time, convert the authenticity and details of these memories into one integrated artistic expression. You could say that that’s when it began. Why. 90% of the question “Why?” consists of “How?”, just like 90% of a cucumber is its taste. My father, a crazy alien with German roots, stole my mom away at 18 from her family of engineers. All night long and for days on end they drew, painted, cut, and crosshatched.
boots that will in the future smell of revolution is prestigious. Dying of thirst and injustice is the highest privilege. Being an artist is bathing daily in the happiness of not going into an office to warm chairs and print things on papers. A difficulty for an artist is running out of paint. Running out of film. When they begin charging royalties for the moonlight. When life whispers in your ear: ok, it’s time... What are you working on right now?
And then civilization presented us with the gift of a “world change”, with revolutions occurring in many countries at the end of the twentieth century. To be a war photographer, an involuntary witness to the bubbling up of apocalypses – is there really any other profession in our honorable times? But never fear – the artist is far removed from civilization, and sensitivity and quizzes about changing trends are alien to him. Symbolism and language are leagues away from interest in armchairs, ministries, borders, and empires.
Working title: 10 x 10 absolutely augmented reality. This is a big photography project together with Ajuan Song, dedicated to linking eras and submersion in the style of the twentieth century. A reflection on the irreversable onset of the digital era and AI. The shoots took place last autumn during two months in a hangar in Bushwick, shot on medium-format film, and were based on 100 sketches I made that summer. The photos include elements of surrealism, expressionism, and pop art. The pieces also contain “quotes” from the works of Magritte, Dali, Warhol, and Picasso. The project is permeated with nostalgia for “analog” and “representative” times, mixed on a photographer’s DJ turntable, with sentimentality, with irony, and even with abstractionism. Only real decorations were used: no photoshop or editing. We took 5000 shots. The pressure and intensity of the work was crazy. But that’s what New York demands. We also simultaneously made a documentary film to move the project into a format suitable for film festivals. We plan for the final version of the project to exist in the form of an archive, a “life capsule” (Andy Warhol’s concept).
What is the most challenging part of being an artist?
How would you describe the art scene in your area?
Being Che Guevara and carrying a banner is honorable. Getting blisters in army
Art moves about in the same membranes as other faiths: time affects all of them
Art Reveal Magazine
in the same way, no matter who might brag otherwise. Therefore art might bump into finance on the street and start up a chat. Politics may well start flirting with science. Literature may get offended by accountants, etc. – any unthinkable combination of coincidences. There are a plethora of animals in the zoo if you look at it through the perspective of your own wooly coat in the mirror: someone is experiencing frustration, someone euphoria, someone’s in love with himself, someone is hurriedly stuffing her pocket or washing machine with cash. Art has exactly the same biological peristalsis. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I’d like so much to fart loudly into the air like Salvador Dali in response: nothing. But that answer is already banal. It’s batted around by every yellow newspaper and every hoity-toity art critic. Every loser and every lucky dog toots that same rusty horn. I’ll try to find a more interesting answer. In contemporary culture, art concentrates oases of artists in run-down neighborhoods of New York, and then at just the right moment developers buy up the land there and build shops for beautiful ladies and apartments for world-weary gentlemen. And then it’s boring again. But let’s feel around for it. It’s hard to say where modern culture is. The artist is a dilettante. He has no thermometer. He is the set of tools in libraries, in information, and in context, and therefore the artist is a being with some form of communication disease. That’s why it sometimes seems that the cultural process has been transformed, possibly into technology, into smartphones and apps. The cultural process jumps around as nimbly as a louse – there’s no way you’ll ever catch it. What I see in New York: certain particularly brave types from the art world minister to corporate parties through ads, and they get sucked in like sand sucks in an ostrich, hoping, of course, to win the lottery. Money is an absolute value. We can talk about that topic in the following chapters of our meeting. I hope I answered your question? What do you like/dislike about the art world? Oh, you’ll never shut me up now. I’m getting ahead of myself with the answer already. It’s quite simple. What I love most about the art world is that our doom is fast approaching. The singularity will deprive both accountants and farmers of work. Immediately after that it will come to eat the artists, of course. The metallic fans ofphotoshop on microchips will
Art Reveal Magazine
erase the faces of the artists from the face of the Earth. It’s possible that we are the last generation that will be able to express ourselves on camera film, on white paper. We are still able to dirty up canvasses, and some people still even write poetry. 20 years ago, one friend of mine submitted his dissertation project for university, which consisted of a program that wrote poetry on its own, based on the work of the famous poet Joseph Brodsky. This was all quite humorous, but the poems really did seem like Brodsky’s. And now, just very recently, the chess algorithm Alpha Zero was able to beat not just all of the humans on the planet, but all of the other robots as well. For some reason no one’s laughing. The war of the machines has already begun. I think that it wouldn’t be the worst thing if the artists were eaten first – they don’t contribute very much to the GDP. And artists aren’t very brave either – they’ll soil their pants at the first sight of any robot. Name three artists you admire. Andrey Platonov, a 20th-century writer. When languages become accessible to the international intellect his name will be much more widely known. Andy Warhol. Wilhelm Shenrok. What are your future plans as an artist? I founded a company called Orange Art Corporation, whose primary mission is to combat robots and artificial intelligence. The sum total of the IQ of all of its employees does not exceed 100, otherwise we risk becoming robots ourselves. At night we read Don Quixote, cry into our pillows, and photograph it all with a Polaroid. Orange Art Corporation is a hedge fund. One of its investment areas is art.... seriously. My Orange Studio operates on its foundation, and we use its brand for our photo shoots. We plan to create a project that includes 1000 wide-format film photos. To accomplish this we will have to resolve many issues, both creative and organizational. As for plans further in the future, they include construction of a museum of contemporary art in New York, with the basis of the collection being my family archive and collection, including more than a thousand paintings and tens of thousands of photographic negatives from the last century, a video archive, artists’ diaries and essays, experimental projects, sketches, and poems.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine