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Rad(ical) An Introduction to the Conceptual Photographs of Reza Refiei Rad

By H. Michael Sanders





Emily Sladen is an experimental textile designer specialising in unique embroidery techniques. Working 30 miles offshore in her studio on the wild and remote island of St Agnes in the Isles of Scilly she is inspired by the raw beauty of the Atlantic ocean. Living in such a remote location plays a key part in her making process with no textile banks and it being so expensive and difficult to get rid of waste on the islands, she recycles yarns and fabrics from across the community to create eco-conscious and sustainable collections.So far her work has been recognized by Li Edelkoort in New York Textile Month, Mix Magazine and Embroidery Magazine among others.

More at pages: 66-71



SLADEN On the cover: “Atlantic Swell� by Emily Sladen

By H. Michael Sanders


An Introduction to the Conceptual Photographs of Reza Refiei Rad There is a tenacious expectation that photographs are descriptive, that they merely reflect the external visual reality situated in front of the camera’s lens at the time of the shutter’s release. However, photographic images are not simply “taken” from reality, but are instead extracted through a sort of alchemy involving both the play of light on physical objects and the imagination of the photographer enmeshed within his or her perceptual neural network. But this is only one of many photographic methodologies. Another equally profound approach to photography is evident in the constructed image, photographs that are created through an additive process akin to painting, drawing, or collage. In many instances, such photographs bear the clear stamp of concepts or ideas that have been preconceived and applied to the visual field through this systematic and exacting additive process.

Even straightforward “documentary” photographs are abstractions, organized in a two-dimensional plane from the morass of visual material occupying space in front of the lens through a rigorous subtractive process of composition. In this process, the photographer removes unneeded and unwanted content from the scene by careful and imaginative framing, placement, use of perspective, and lighting. This process is often referred to as a “decisive moment,” an appropriation of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s famous phrase, which is most elegantly stated in this quote from the preface of his book, The Decisive Moment: “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of form which give that event its proper expression.”1

The advent of digital processing tools, such as Photoshop, have greatly facilitated the growing sophistication of such imagery and, when wielded by an artist of both visionary power and poetic sensibility, the result can be constructed photographs that are lyrically powerful and emotionally disconcerting; in essence, a type of visual-conceptual poetry. Conceptual poetry may seem to be a paradox, but indeed that is precisely how the provocatively constructed photographs of Reza Refiei Rad function. He begins, quite literally, with a perfectly blank wall; a tabula rasa. He then proceeds to fill the visual field in front of that wall with ideas and concepts that are constructed through a process of collage or photomontage that suggest a virtual reality; a reality that exists only within the many galleries of his fertile, poetic mind. He is effectively able to drag troubling

aspects of the objective, external world into these conceptual labyrinths to poke at them with the sharpened sticks of his poetic metaphors. Reza Refiei Rad is an artist whose photographic works have demonstrated persistent and sensational focus on gender and feminist issues. In this current body of work Rad explores male encroachments on the personal sovereignty of women through the surprising and unsetting motifs of menstrual blood and sanitary napkins. The ironically poetic titles of these works reinforce and help clearly articulate the visual impact of the startling images. Combining religious iconography with the implied violence of gunshots, missiles, and spattered blood; these images thrust the reality of violence against women into a virtual space in which it cannot be ignored and in which we find ourselves implicated in our passivity as viewers. The provocative and unsettling use of surprisingly incongruent objects such as fish, airplanes, bombs and the ubiquitous sanitary napkins creates a series of jarring visual metaphors that operate in a Dadaistic fashion to force our recognition of this persistent use of force against women, as well as the cultural and physical violence through which acquiescence is systematically obtained. This body of work represents an appropriately radical use of poetic metaphor to express the need for change in the fundamental nature of our interactions with one another. )Cartier-Bresson Henri. Images Ă la Sauvette (Paris: TĂŠriade, 1952) and The Decisive Moment (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1952); Reprint edition, The Decisive Moment: Photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson (GĂśttingen, Germany: Steidl Verlag, 2014). 1

Reza Refiei Rad

David Ian Bickley Cork, Ireland

Anglo Irish artist, filmmaker and musician David Bickley (b. 1961) audio visual works/installations are abstracted, largely process led adventures mainly on themes of nature/landscape but also with points of reference to mythology and symbolism. They rely heavily on texture and mood and tend to sacrifice the topographical in an attempt to capture the spirit of the places depicted using memory or feeling. Other works are digitally manipulated landscapes designed to evoke a sense of animation and accelerated time-scale. His practice incorporates film, music, video, immersive environments and sound art. David graduated from WSCAD with a BA in film in 1983.


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Briefly describe the work you do. I am an intermedial artist working primarily with film, music and light My audio visual works/installations are abstracted, largely process led adventures mainly on themes of nature/landscape but also with points of reference to mythology and symbolism. They rely heavily on texture and mood and tend to sacrifice the topographical in an attempt to capture the spirit of the places depicted using memory or feeling. Other works are digitally manipulated landscapes designed to evoke a sense of animation and accelerated time-scale. This is a reflection of the sense of a living landscape, a landscape in motion (albeit a very slow motion). This landscape is overlaid with memories, real and imaginary that manifest in a kind of “hauntology”. I project my imagination into particular places that seem to resonate with this process and this allows me “inside” the sense of place. Once I have this “key”, I can then work with the physical materials. Often this process is initiated by creating the ambient soundtrack first, a bit like mixing the colours for the particular palette I intend to use. Once I have this palette then I can never get lost on the creative journey because I have set the tone of reference.

Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Up to the age of 17 I grew up on the margins of a variety of dramatic English landscapes; the Derbyshire Dales, the salt marshes of Dorset. My father and mother used to climb, pothole and sail, so I was constantly moving from a suburban existence into these evocative environments from an early age. When back within the “ordered” town these memories, accelerated by reading Alan Garner, would brood in my mind and inhabit my dreams. At the age of 17 my parents moved to a remote village right in the middle of Thomas Hardy’s Dorset and it was if when there all those frozen memories thawed and came cascading through my nervous system to instantly connect me with a distinct sense of place within the rolling hills and ancient woods. This time also coincided with both my discovery of electronic music and with my ability to paint. It was then that I started to formulate ideas about how to communicate this experience. I also spent a lot of time working with archeologists and museums on research and film projects (including filming a large dig at the Iron Age “Maiden Castle” in the mid 80’s) this also helped inform the development of these ideas in a more tangible manner.

I have lived and worked in West Cork since 1995. The region has also been central to my artistic practice, not only as inspiration and source material for my film and audio art, but also in terms of professional and financial support and the dissemination of my work. One of my recent work of film art, MATERIALS, was made on foot of an Arts Council project award. This is a landscape film that uses various cinematic techniques to play with time and space and create a psychological journey. Originally inspired by my time growing up in the English West Country, the production of this work within the West Cork framework changed both the approach to my art form and also my relationship with the landscape around me. My intended approach was to go back to the source, to Dorset, but it soon became apparent that this wasn’t possible; the film uses a lot of motion time-lapse, moving the camera very slowly over many hours. For this to work best, it is necessary to have the right light and weather and committing all my resources to the gamble of arriving at a remote spot, and finding these right conditions, was far too risky. I decided to limited my locations to within a one hour car ride. My visits were then frequent and many, allowing me to slowly build up the correct raw material. West Cork in this respect has

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been an immensely valuable resource, for within this boundary I could gather footage in a high glacial lake, a ferocious mountain stream, a lush verdant river, the wild Atlantic coast or a mysterious ancient grove. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live and work, as I suspect most artists do, in a state of selective isolation, connecting with individuals, events and organisations that resonate with my practice at a particular time. Besides the abundant landscape and robust arts infrastructure, the region also has an incredibly diverse range of resident creative practitioners. It has been said that lift any stone in West Cork and you’ll find a world class violinist, a best selling novelist or a revered fine artist, and this isn’t just a “pishogue”; when I first took part in the Schull film festival I was astounded at the profusion of eminent attendees, wondering how on earth they managed to attract such names, subsequently I found out that most of them live here. This cornucopia has enabled me to work with the likes of Colin Vearncombe, aka Black for both music and film projects, Fergus O’Farrell of Interference for several music projects, and photographer John Minihan, with whom I made the TV documentary, The Man Who Shot Beckett.

In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? As the future unfolds and as life becomes more virtual, there arises a need for a renewed connectivity with the unexperienced natural order in order to “complete the circle” and help us thrive as humans. Myths and folklore have always supplied this need by channeling the deep symbolic content of our innate subconscious understanding of this connectivity through a living narrative. So this is another technique of the artist working within digital to capture an event that is beyond the medium itself. In my own recent work I am producing a series of landscape films that embody an evocative sense of place something easy to do in a painting, in music and even on real film, but on digital it is extremely difficult, I have to balance timing, narrative flow, juxtaposition, and attitudes of composition in exactly the right way or it to elicit the right response. I don’t really know how I do this, but I do know it has to do with “stalking” and “intent” with a smattering of chance, and most of all it feels like I’m not really there when the collision is perfected and that in itself is a strategy of cunning. Carlos Castaneda talks about intent being everywhere as if it calls to the focus of the intender, rather than the artist creates it themselves.


This kind of light touch also reminds me of Blake: He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity’s sun rise. I think this is the model we should be aiming for where the design and the fabric of the artificial has a foundation in the real, in nature. I believe if we ignore the analogue and don’t develop tools that help connect our digital art with the aura of the original and the artist intent then we will end up with art that on the surface it looks like “real art” but dig a little below the surface and we easily perceive the artifice and thus the chain of artistic command is broken. What is the best book you’ve recently read? “The Horse’s Mouth” – Joyce Carey Name three artists you admire. Richard Long, Brian Eno, Millais What are your future plans? More landscape film art and ambient musical collaboration. [Special thanks to Ian Oliver CFCP Dublin]


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Emma Connolly Wivenhoe, Essex, UK

Emma Connolly is an artist and Fine Art and Art History teacher based in Wivenhoe, UK. Her work explores the theme of the internal body and the beauty of organic form. Working primarily in oil and watercolour paints, the oils give Connolly a depth of colour and an abstraction of form, whereas the watercolours give a fragility and delicacy to the work. Connolly’s work is influenced by scientific diagrams of the human skeleton, medical journals, the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci and other classical academic drawings and animal carcasses. The intricacies of the internal workings of a body form a jigsaw of shapes which can be manipulated into an abstracted plane. This then builds the compositions for Connolly’s work, creating something strangely familiar but yet unknown in its exact content. Connolly’s 2016/2017 series ‘Skin and Bone’ is a collection of oil paintings and watercolours of varying sizes which focus on skeletal structures and internal mapping of muscular networks . This work has evolved into other series such as ‘Organ Flowers’, looking at organic arrangements that have floral aesthetics and the ‘Evolution’ series, which further abstracts the complex assemblies of form, shape and colour. Connolly works closely with anatomical studies, life drawings and scientific animal dissections that directly inform her work academically as well as giving her visual reference material. Emma Connolly has exhibited internationally in USA, Russia, Greece and on numerous occasions in London, as well as across the UK. Her work as a Fine Art teacher has seen her qualify as a Specialist Leader of Education and is currently working on the Common Projects with the Tate. Connolly also lectures yearly for ISP, International Studies Programme for international art teachers. Emma is also an external advisor for Contemporary British Painting., and cofounder of PaintSchool, online platforms for young artists.


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Briefly describe the work you do. My work has been influenced by scientific diagrams and photographs from medical journals, classical academic drawings of anatomical structures and animal dissections. The intricacies of the internal workings of a body form a jigsaw of shapes which can be manipulated into an abstracted plane. This then builds the compositions for my work, creating something strangely familiar but yet unknown in its exact content. I am really interested in the functions of the body, human or animal, that we do not see on a daily basis, the unknown.

As an art educator, I spend every day teaching art and discussing what a student’s influence is, and often it can be difficult for them to articulate the ‘why’ for having done something and I often find myself unable to do the same, but when I compose a piece it just seems to feel right and make sense. I like playing with accurate, documented images but making them somehow unexplainable. We recognise the concept of muscles and ligaments and often organs but their placement is somewhat out of sync of what we know to be real. My series Skin and Bone is a collection of oil paintings and watercolours that focus on skeletal

structures and internal mappings of muscular networks, but this series has continued to evolve naturally beginning to look at the patterns of skin markings, further influenced by colour. The complexities of the form, shape, line and colour together continues to inspire my work. I have worked in oils and watercolour over the last two years building a variety of works from the series Skin and Bone to Evolution and now I am working on a new series of hand-embroidered cross stitched pieces. Translating my paintings into an even more intricate form and where I have to consider ever centimetre of the image. This again has given me a new insight into colour combinations, literally ‘knitting’ form together. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? For me, working with new young art students on a daily basis keeps my practice very fresh as I am always reflecting upon my own practice alongside them. I regularly visit galleries and am able to immerse myself in exhibitions where I make a lot of notes. Recently I visited the Africa after Dada exhibition at the Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris where I saw Sophie Taueber-Arp’s weaved pieces based on her abstract compositions which really sparked a new way of working for me. Also the Clyfford Still paintings from the RA’s Abstract Expressionism exhibition last year had a lasting impact on me. His use use of colour and simple form has been something I was very much attuned with but they encouraged me to look even closer, zoom in further and not over complicate the surface. It has only been the last two years where I have dedicated myself to working regularly, and this has had an incredibly empowering effect on my practice. After having children and teaching full time, I was absent from the studio for too long but actually making the decision to dedicate myself to my work has had the most positive impact on my practice as my brain has shifted to working daily on my own pieces and believing in my own ideas. Now regularly exhibiting nationally and internationally has further encouraged me to stay focused and to explore, experiment and play with ideas. A couple of years ago it was very hard to kick start work and now I do not find myself sat in front of a sketchbook or canvas forcing a creative spark, I am desperate to get started as I have a head full of ideas to try.

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a chance to express themselves and explore new ways of thinking, playing and working. This is a turbulent time for the arts with slimmed down school curriculums, budgets squeezes on materials and teaching staff and I can only see this will have a negative impact on the next generation coming through the education system. But, what I love is seeing my Art Foundation student’s excited about taking their next steps onto higher education to study what they love, what I love and that they fully believe in contemporary art and design. We live in a visual world, our thirst for images will never be overtaken by pure text, so there is hope that everything will go full circle. There does not seem to be the money for arts in the UK as there once was, the age of austerity has affirmed that, but there are other interested countries where art seems to be observed as a commodity. It all opens up an uncomfortable debate about art, money, wealth and status, but this is something that has always existed within the history of art and I guess we just continue to evolve like currencies, like countries, like humanity. What is the best book you’ve recently read? The last novel I read cover to cover was The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton last year. It was like being inside a Vermeer painting but slightly more sinister. I always wish I had more time to read but at the moment I am embroidering at least 3 hours a night after teaching all day, so I am asleep by the time my head hits the pillow! Name three artists you admire. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live in Wivenhoe in Essex which is a very creative small town full of artists, writers, university lecturers and creative people so there is always something happening. Also being just next to Colchester where Firstsite Gallery is that over the last couple of years has shown the work of Martin Parr, Andy Warhol and currently Grayson Perry’s tapestries, I am close to a very buoyant art scene. University of Essex is also on my doorstop where the Art Exchange has regular exhibitions from the history of tattoo art to their famous Latin American Art collection. I feel very lucky to have this all so close and to frequently attend private views giving me the opportunity to meet other academics and artists. I am also a member of the Colchester Arts Society that was founded in 1946 with one of its founding members being war artist John Nash. CAS regularly has lectures and exhibitions in established galleries such as Firstsite and The Minories. Matthew Collings and Emma Biggs gave an amazing lecture a few months ago on their work and how they collaborate to form their large scale abstract paintings. Living in such a compact, creative place definitely helps maintain a momentum within ones’ own work and also allows for opportunities that I may not find as easily in a larger city setting. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? As an artist and art educator I get to see the impact of art on multiple platforms. For me personally it means everything, its inclusive, it offers an opportunity to everyone of all ages

Sophie Taeuber-Arp, after seeing her work at the Musee de l’Orangerie first hand. It looks like it could have been made today, the colour and shape made me stand still, for a long time! Hannah Hoch’s photomontages have probably influenced the way I splice things up and re-compose them. There is a real effortless grace to her work, often the simpler the collage the greater impact it seems to have. I am a great lover of all things Dada, and for her to have been a female pushing through the ranks of what was a very masculine world at the time also makes me smile. For my third artist, I think I would have to say the Surrealists if that’s allowed? I studied their work at Post-graduate level under the world-renowned Surrealist expert Dawn Ades. The idea of the object and the unconscious has had a lasting effect on my work and my interest in most things. The uncomfortableness of the viewer or the figure in the image, or the notion behind the work that has been influenced from the unknown is all encompassing. We don’t really know what is happening most of the time, we just adjust our own reality to make it seem like we do. What are your future plans? I am currently applying for a PhD and plan to continue to exhibit nationally and internationally. I am moving into a new studio at the end of Feb so I hope to further develop my Skin and Bone series as well as continue to exploring other methods of working such as the embroidered abstracts. All I know is that I will not stop making work, all I need is an extra few hours in the day to get everything done that I want.


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Emma Donaldson Leicester, England, UK

I have only started painting over the last few months and have been profoundly affected by the impact that this has had on me and other people. Two whom I hold in very high esteem have assured me that they can see “faces and characters” in my work. I have wanted to be a Dadaist since I saw Barry Humpries with a wellington boot full of custard. With this in mind I wrote a surreal play in Spanish entitled “La Vida Local”. This is completely unintelligible to anyone particularly the Spanish. I would define myself as a “Textural Abstract Artist”. I have attended classes at “Attenborough Arts” in Leicester which gave me the confidence to exhibited paintings in “Cank Street Gallery” and “Ten2 Gallery” in Leicestershire. I am also a life model and it astonishes me constantly that people are able to capture such a true likeness of me.


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that concepts imply, the concept of self or a thing, be it a table, a chair or a mountain, is not substantiated when ongoing sensory and mental experience is examined closely. This philosophical training permeates all my work as an artist. I also worked as a landscape designer, where the notion of ongoing maintenance is completely taken for granted. Several of my works fully embrace the constantly changing nature of things to the extent that they need work and care to maintain them, for instance polishing shiny metal to retain a reflective surface when its natural inclination is to grow dull and rust. Natural processes such as rusting, reflecting, burning, and chemical changes in liquid over time: these are integral to my work. My first BA degree in painting continues to show even though my MFA (completed in 2014) was primarily about materials and therefore three-dimensional. I continue to emphasize surface texture, and surface reflection, without much attention to weight or volume. My primary interest is in the way the visual field keeps shifting and dancing. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist?

Briefly describe the work you do. I use glass, burnt wood, mild steel, paper and liquid – materials that are capable of dramatic transformation. The intention is to emphasize transience at the level of materials and objects as well as within the viewer’s direct experience. I repeat processes as well as objects to stress that no thing or experience can really be repeated, each is unique and utterly fleeting. Sometimes the same sculpture is repeated so that the viewer experiences it twice in differing contexts. The time lag between the two viewings places attention on unfolding experience rather than on the idea of an autonomous object. The differing contexts change the perception of the work as well as the way in which it is experienced. One, for example, might be walked on and barely noticed, like a grille on a doorstep, while its twin is placed on the wall and looked at, reminding us of modernist abstraction, and the way any object can be taken seriously in a gallery.
 Much of my work draws attention to unfolding transient experience, as well as emphasizing changeability at the level of basic materials: rusting steel continues to decay, glass reflects the changing light and complicates the visual field with its fluid mutability. Dyed water, poured into bottles, starts off the same dark red, but then fades unevenly over the weeks. A minimalist aesthetic helps to highlight subtle change and difference, while long lines help to exaggerate the changing perspectives of the viewer as they walk around the space. How has your background influenced you? I was a Buddhist nun for 11 years and most of the monastic training was about developing awareness of transience, transience of a thought, a smell, a mood, a sight. The ultimate aim of which was to bring about an understanding of non-self at a fundamental level, that is, the non-existence of anything permanent within experience. This is an understanding that things in the world, as well as selves, are ultimately concepts – tools for operating, not the reality of present-moment experience. The fixity

In a strange way my work uses concepts in an attempt to challenge the belief in the reality of concepts, or the permanence and fixity that concepts imply. For example the concept of an artwork that is on the wall of a gallery space is undermined by placing the same thing on the floor in a door threshold, so that the concept changes and it becomes a foot grille. The concept, or label, is completely dependent on the context. I’m interested in highlighting the fact that concepts are just tools, necessary tools to order the flux of experience, but tools nonetheless.

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I try to avoid representation – the material is the material and it is not there to represent anything else. In this sense, my work is not heavily conceptual. Of course different labels and associations will arise in the mind of the viewer, depending on their own experiences, but as far as possible I try to let the material do the talking, presenting it in a way that highlights its transient nature. This transience is the concept. Time is a concept, and transience is a concept too: they are inextricably linked. How has your work changed in the past years? I’ve moved away from making a single object. Instead I’ve been using the wall and the floor for one work, as well as two rooms to display one work. This allows the work to be experienced over time, it cannot all be seen or touched at once, it is something that unfolds; at one moment there are colours and shapes through the eyes, and at another moment, there are pressures in the feet; these separate sensory experiences are then given a label, a label that implies one fixed thing, as well as a solid reliable, objective world. In the work that is situated in two rooms, the perception changes as the context changes. Where the room is a gallery, close attention is given and the glass work is highlighted; in the room that is a corridor, the glass work looks similar to all the glass doors in that corridor and is barely registered. The same thing is never the same. How would you describe the art scene in your area? My area is London and Bath, I go between the two. Bath Spa University is incredibly dynamic and forward-looking, offering residencies and awards and generally supporting its alumni very well. London is of course London, exciting, stimulating, with an endless supply of contemporary art to see.

In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? The term is used to cover such a broad spectrum that anything might be called Art. For me, Marina Abramović uses it to increase attentiveness and Roni Horn uses it to question fixed identities and to underline transience and the ephemeral; I find both very inspiring. What exhibitions have you had since your MA and what are your future plans? Since I graduated with distinction in 2014, I’ve been working full-time as an artist, exhibiting widely across the UK with commissions in Cornwall and at Kew Gardens and exhibitions in London at Beaux Art Gallery, the Oxo Tower Gallery and the Nunnery Gallery, as well as galleries and a museum in the cities of Bath, Bristol and Oxford. I am currently working on a commission to commemorate the storm of 2014 in Porthleven as well as making paper and graphite works that break down the separation of drawing and sculpture.


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Fernando Holguin Cereceres London, England, UK

I work in painting and photograph as well as video and installations. Like most artists I just feel to express and depict what I witness through my life. I am interested in portraying the quotidian life in these socially challenging times. I like to use any media, so long the concept is achieved as I intended. The media is only to express my ideas. My works generally relate to topics exposing a relationship between human beings and society as a whole. I’m interested in creating work that provokes a dialog, rather than telling or asking. I’m very aware that once the artwork is out there, the viewer can have any interpretation outside the original intention, I believe it is a risk worth taking. At the end of the day, if we like something, we don’t necessarily have to fully understand it. So long we enjoy it.


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Briefly describe the work you do. I’m a visual artist portraying the quotidian life in these socially challenging times. My practice spans a broad range of media including painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, site specific, drawing, writing and performance. Like most artists I just feel to express and depict what I witness through my life. I will use any media, providing the concept is achieved as I intended. The media is only to express my ideas. Generally, my work relates to topics exposing a relationship between human beings and society as a whole. I’m interested in creating work that provokes a dialog, rather than telling or asking. I seek to separate the normal thinking, the assumed idea. And the subject, conceptual or otherwise, matters as a defining case. I’m very aware that once the artwork is in the public domain, the viewer can have any interpretation beyond the original intention, I believe it is a risk worth taking, that at the end of the day, if we like something, we don’t necessarily have to fully understand it. So long as we enjoy it.

Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice?

How would you describe the art scene in your area?

Since I was a teenager and have read about Van Gogh, I have been attracted to the Impressionist Movement. I think that when I draw any figurative image, deep down I am unconsciously discerning in form and structure in the sense of impressionism, even if the result bears no similarity. My general influence however, comes from life itself, my surrounding environment, the society I immerse into, and more recently the global media, not to mention the latest socio-political world affairs that provides artist with plenty of inspiration now a day. I focus on the entirely spectrum of everyday life, the routinely existence of ordinary individuals, and by ordinary, I mean those of us who are not with in the one percent of the world population in terms of economy. I like to decode the beauty in, and of everyday scenarios that can bring joy and pleasure to our lives that are so often very overlooked in our contemporary society which is largely driven by consumerism and materialistic views of happiness.

I’m fortunate enough to live in London, and can access the national gallery, view the original sunflowers painted by Van Gogh, or other world-leading artists showcasing their oeuvres at the Tate modern, and other great spaces. One can interact with contemporary and excellent works in venues like the Whitechapel gallery, or the White Cube gallery, or be invited to ‘pop-up’ exhibitions by outsider or self-organized artists group shows. One can meet most interesting people and develop a sense of global community in a city so cosmopolitan. Sometimes my practice can involve spending several hours in my studio and can prove the very lonely existence that most artist experience. Luckily for me, London has many groups where you can find shared spaces, have your own space within a group of other artists, and having likeminded individuals around you is just great. Last year I joined a peer-mentoring group

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and made many new friends as a result. The down-side of living in London is the inevitable lack of the studio space, very limited and very expensive. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Our contemporary culture plays a huge part in the influence and value of art today, shaping certain political attitudes, religious beliefs or ideologies that lead to trends and or social reforms. Art can globally influence our culturally diverse and technologically advancing world of today, and can take the role of expression beyond the norms or rules that otherwise might be fixed to a certain society. Simply put, as an artist, one just has to be brutally honest. Not so much in contemporary terms, as the real meaning of art is to bring joy and happiness to society or individuals, to enable us to escape our daily predicaments and give us something positive and new to think about.

What is the best book you’ve recently read? ‘The Supermale’ by Alfred Jarry Last year’s worldwide political turmoil reminded me of a character in Jerry’s play ‘Ubo roi’, and before I knew it I procured a paperback of ‘The Supermale’, Which proved very entertaining and crazy mad. Also, I keep a copy close by me of ‘Al que Quiere!’ by Williams Carlos Williams, and a supply of short stories by other different authors and philosophers. Name three artists you admire. Joseph Beuys John Baldessari Piero Manzoni Just as to mention three, when in reality, I have a very long list of past and present artists whom I really admire, including some of my peer friends.


What are your future plans? I am currently developing a concept to submit work in conjunction with another British artist for a competition organized by the Mexican embassy in London. I enjoy the collaborative process particularly, the brain storming of ideas. Plan to finish six large paintings of the ‘half being series’, and finish another six of the second part of the series ‘Cronicas del desafio’ by April this year, and to start a new series entitled ‘New morals’ of which one will be a large canvas. I will be working on another experimental short film depicting intimate human interaction with an artificial intelligent entity, exploring the boundaries of our perception in the subject, aiming to finish it by July. Hopefully I will finish the first draft of a work of fiction, a novel by the end of this year, and also to publish a small semi-illustrated book of short stories. I’m in a group of artists who came about last year and hope, as a group, we can put on another show in London, also by the end of this year.


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Tayo Jones Farnham, England, UK

My primary work revolves around film, food, animation and horror. I strive to create art that peaks the curiosity of the viewer, and keep them guessing. For me, anything can be made into art, even something like a thimble. I also like to express my love of film through my painting, usually by painting a specific visual from a film I have seen or haven’t seen, like the hat of Freddy kruger or bulging eyes of the alien from John Carpenter’s They Live! Primarily, my preferred medium is painting with acrylics, but I have also added drawing, photography, stencil printing and collage into my portfolio of work. When I feel it is necessary, I will experiment with different mediums, until I have achieved my desired result. I prefer to use bright and vivid colours in my work or at-least make it distinct enough to catch the eye of the viewer. Sometimes, I collect the dried pieces of paint and stack them all together, as a way to record all of the development that I have gone into my paintings.


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Briefly describe the work you do. My work consists of paintings of food, from burgers to chilli peppers and bananas and chocolate cookies. Currently, I am painting on juice and milk cartons, as they tie into my theme and because I wanted to explore different surfaces for paintings. In the past, I have also produced paintings referencing films, such as a Clockwork Orange and They Live, and paintings based on eyes. Basically, I paint whatever I am currently interested in, which makes my work slightly unpredictable.

Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Frank Auerbach. I first saw his artwork in an exhibition at the Tate Modern. Auerbach’s paintings really caught my eye. The way he uses the brushstrokes to mould his subjects and their surroundings was amazing, and I loved how his paintings force you to examine them and try to figure out what is happening on the canvas. It really showed me how powerful the medium of paintings can be, and inspired me to choose painting as my primary practice.

Overall, while I have many artists who have inspired me, I feel my work comes from my own desire to create art that feels organic to me. Yes, I will look at other artists for inspiration, but I feel like the execution of my work falls solely on me. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Quiet. Farnham is a very quiet and peaceful area, so not too many people know about the art scene. The only place where art gets the most attention in Farnham is at the University for the Creative Arts, where most of the exhibitions can be found in the Linear Gallery near reception at the entrance of the University. However, while the University has held many exhibitions in the past, they don’t have the name recognition as an exhibition at the Tate. The art scene is more prominent in London than anywhere else, with various art galleries all over the city, not to mention many art auctions and private views. The same goes for Oxford, which has only two prominent art galleries to my knowledge, the White Cube (Oxford) and the Modern Art Oxford. Both are exceptional art galler ies, but like the Linear galleries, don’t have the media coverage as the Tate Modern and Britain. However, I think this plays to their strengths. They are small, but feel more intimate, and allows you to enjoy the art when there aren’t too many people in the room. The Modern Art Oxford, doesn’t charge people to see a specific exhibition, unlike the Tate. This is a primary criticism against the Tate, as it charges the public entry into special exhibitions, and even the artists working on commission, and the prices are always high. My art group has held several exhibitions in London in the past, but I wouldn’t be surprised if most people went to the Tate, especially since the venues were rather obscure. Creatively, UCA is doing extremely well, and I have seen so many great pieces of art from my fellow art students. UCA has a very encouraging atmosphere, pushing us to experiment with as many different methods as possible before we find our preferred practice. This has helped me greatly in my work, as I want to get better and better.

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me to do. Recently, I attended a private view for the Binary Graffiti club, and the artist in charge of it, Stanza, gave me some much needed advice about my art. He told me to do what I want to, and encouraged me to continue to do what I love doing, and not let others tell me what to do. This inspired me to return to my food art, and expand on it. What is the best book you’ve recently read? The last book I read was Tony Robinson’s auto biography. It was a very insightful look into the life of the famous Blackadder actor, and it really captures the sophisticated and humbled side of Robinson. I have always liked autobiographies of wellknown actors and artists, especially those that focus on actors/ artists that I am currently interested in, like Tony Robinson, David Hockney and Akira Kurosawa (Japanese Director). They reveal unknown facts about their subjects, how they got started, what inspired them and what they’re future holds for them. Reading the great achievements of these creative minds inspires me more and more to continue my own work, and be the best I can be in my chosen practice.

In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Right now, it feels like art is being overshadowed by films, Netflix and other trends and staples of popular culture. The majority of the audience would rather watch explosions and superheroes fighting psychotic robots than see the latest exhibition by David Hockney. Financially, art is doing very well, but I wonder if it is for the right reasons? Every day, art is being sold in expensive auctions in London, and purchased by art collectors and celebrities, but are they buying the art for its artistic merit or simply because of its value. Yes, I know a painting by Vincent Van Gogh is highly valued, but I wouldn’t want to buy it just to own it. I want to buy it because I love the work of the artist, and I enjoyed looking at his work, and think about the themes he presents. Another thing I feel seems to be lost in art today is a sense of fun. As my Fine Art course progressed, I kept being told to reference certain contexts in my work, and connect everything to a specific theme. I am also in the midst of writing a dissertation, which has taken up my full attention, when I should be working on my artwork. I love to paint, I love to make art, yet for the last two years, I haven’t enjoyed art as much as when I started my course in 2014. Art needs to have a meaning or relate to a specific topic that is happening in the world today, and while these things are important, I feel like the fun aspect has been taken away. When I think about art, I think of it as creating something from anything. Anything can be made into art, you just need the ambition and the imagination to back it up. With art, I can create whatever I want, and I don’t have to do what others want

The best book I have read is Alice in Wonderland, because it is everything I love about a great story. Intriguing narrative, interesting characters and you don’t know how things are going to end. The characters are by far the best thing about the story, each one with their own distinct personalities, making all of them perfect foils for Alice. The grinning Cheshire Cat sums up the inhabitants of Wonderland perfectly with this line, ‘We’re all mad here’. The creativity from the story is very influential, and always draws me in. Name three artists you admire. There are so many artists that I admire for a variety of reasons. However, if I had to choose three, I would have to go with Frank Auerbach, Wayne Thiebaud and Peter Howson. Frank and Wayne are two of the oldest, living artists currently still working, and nothing seems to be slowing them down. I can’t help but admire and respect these two for still doing what they enjoy, regardless of their ages. As for Peter, I feel like I relate to him more, as we both have Asperger’s Syndrome, and we often struggle with our artwork and just want to lash out sometimes. All of his paintings reflect the anger he sees in the world, as well as the anger he feels in himself. What are your future plans? Right now, I am thinking about finding full-time work, and make enough money to buy my own art studio, but it will take time. I also have an art blog on WordPress, and I am always trying to get more people to look at it, and a LinkedIn account, which I just set up. I am in the process of forming contacts with people from UCA, and possibly other young artists who are interested in working with me on a joint art project. Before I leave University, I hope to get more recognition from the wider art community, and possibly attract the attention of curators who will help me set up my first, public exhibition. There are so many opportunities for me, and I want to make the most of them.


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Ewa Kawalec

& (left)

Paul McKendrick (right)

Bradford, UK

Paul and Ewa met in April 2016. When they looked at each other’s Instagram accounts (which they both started in August 2015) they found to their astonishment that they been taking exactly the same street shots, standing in exactly the same places although at different times of the year. When they looked at the period Aug 2015 up until April 2016 they found they had taken over 40 pictures that were virtually identical. Through the work they hope to show that gender, age and cultural background can be crossed through artistic expression. Paul is 61 years old and is a professional musician. He took up photography as a hobby and has been fortunate enough to appear in several local publications in the West Yorkshire area of England. Ewa is Polish,39 years old and is married with two children. Ewa and her family moved to England in 2013. Ewa does part-time work and attends English Language courses. Ewa has won several Polish and UK photography competitions (Matematyka w Obiektywie, Face Of Leeds, Leeds Through The Lens) and in 2017 one of her pictures was chosen for a Polish Tourist Guide calendar.


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Briefly describe the work you do. Ewa: I’m a street photographer. I try to catch day-to-day moments using the local scenery as a backdrop so that the viewer can make up their own story to the picture. I use a Samsung smartphone and a Nikon camera. Paul: I too am a street photographer, I only take pictures in black and white. I use an iPhone 5 and a Nikon. Like Ewa, I try to produce an image that will allow the viewer to invest their time emotions into the frame. I use the surroundings to place my ‘heroes’ in situ. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Ewa: I’m influenced by many ‘ad hoc’ street photographers, (too many to mention!), I follow numerous on Instagram. Seeing moments being captured inspires me to try and do the same. I’m not very interested in ‘staged’ photographs. Paul: Influences; people continue to amaze and surprise me so they are a huge factor in determining what pictures I want to take. Other photographers on Instagram and in social media make me aware of what is possible through their work too. I’m always learning. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Ewa and Paul: The local scene is vibrant. Amateur and professional. Whether it be ‘pop-up’ exhibitions in pubs, open spaces, art trails or the more formal settings of art galleries and institutions like the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the region has an abundance of art. It’s a fantastic part of the country. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Ewa: It’s difficult to imagine life without art. Art is all around us both physically and virtually. Art has always sought to challenge, to be provocative and

pro-active but also be contemplative and reactive, this continues to this day. Artists will always want to stimulate and be stimulated by contemporary issues whether in the commercial art of advertising or art on social media. Everyone has a camera now, everyone can capture the art around them. Paul: In as much as Ewa and I take the same black and white street pictures we also have similar thoughts on most things. Art is immersed in the contemporary. The ergonomics of a lampshade, the aesthetics of graffiti on a wall all are forms of communication from ‘creator’ to ‘user’. Music is a great demonstration of catching the currency of the current. Cave paintings do the same thing; ‘I was here and this is what I left for you’. What is the best book you’ve recently read? Ewa: ‘Wschod’ (meaning ‘East’) is a book documenting a region of my Poland (Galicia) through the eyes of young and old people by the author Andrzej Stasiuk. How things used to be and how they are now. Paul: ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Great storytelling; the three volumes in the series are so beautifully written and the translations are sympathetic to the original mood. Class!

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Name three artists you admire. Ewa: `Marta Frej (her ‘combative’ poster art directed at the Polish Patriarchal system), Martin Pirrman, an Instagrammer, he does fabulous street photography based in NYC. and finally the master that is Martin Parr. Paul: David Bowie, genius to the core. Is ability to evolve and his collaborations with the right people at the right time.

And I’ll mention two Instagrammers who define what art is to me: Suzanne Stein (gritty Skid Row, L.A. street shots and more) and Natalie Christensen (Minimalist street shots that turn into abstract art). Both do their relative genres to perfection. What are your future plans? Ewa: To continue to improve my street photography and to travel further afield to capture the vibes and emotions of foreign


countries. I would love to exhibit my work again and I am always looking for opportunities to do that. Art only ‘works’ when it is seen! Paul: I’m the same as Ewa, I want to keep training my brain to ‘see the shot’ and chase ‘That Shot’. I have had a few images published in local magazines so I would love to pursue that avenue too. Ewa and I have done a couple of shoots together but of course we end up wanting to stand in the same place!

Jeremy Knowles Recent graduate and emerging young artist Jeremy Knowles was born in Hertfordshire, in the South of England, in 1992. Having graduated with a degree in fine art photography from Camberwell College of Art (UAL) in 2015, his practice has developed into a playful photographic study of the everyday. At the heart of this investigation is Jeremy’s search for a sense of formal order within his subject matter. Whether it is within architecture, amongst people, or the bits and pieces he finds while walking the streets of Berlin, Jeremy’s images draw patterns and humor from the randomness and repetitive non-events that characterize the mundane within our lives – the overlooked and often unnoticed aspects of our existence that make us human. By bringing new prominence and visibility to the accidentally miraculous or comical, we are challenged by the artist to reconsider the weight of our daily connections and meditate on what happens when we think nothing is happening. Jeremy lives and works in Berlin.

Berlin, Germany


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Briefly describe the work you do. I’m a documentary photographer originally from the U.K. but now based in Berlin. My work is deeply influenced by my own personal encounters and I take a lot of inspiration from day to day observations in the city. I’m always on the lookout for patterns, repetitions, or little coincidences that make me smile – things that can go unnoticed but frequently characterize the mundane within our lives. I like to emphasize the range of things and people we might encounter within our waking hours, and so often my projects will be captured within the frame of a single day. I am also really driven by stories and accounts that explore the human experience by connecting person to place – it’s a strong theme within my work. I’m interested in exploring these connections and presenting different, quirky ways of living. Humour often, but not always, plays a significant role in my work. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Many of my projects have either stemmed from observations made along journeys or they are otherwise records of journeys in themselves. Many more stem from my 8am walks. My ongoing series 8am Walks is built upon one simple instruction: leave the house at 8am with my camera and walk. For me it is both the

beginning and end of a journey, and fulfills a major role within my study of the everyday. Mostly I use the walks as a creative tool to get my brain working and my eyes looking, but now and then it can become a project in itself. The series documents a critical time in the morning when we might be stirring in our beds or already making our way to work. The day lies ahead and all is fresh and possible. At the core of the series is a search for order and formality: whether in architecture, amongst people, or in the bits and pieces that are left behind from the previous day. By bringing greater prominence and visibility to the accidental, the miraculous and the comical, I am hoping that these images might challenge people to reconsider the weight of our daily interactions with things and people. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Berlin is a Mecca for galleries and artists – the city breeds them. You would be hard pressed to walk down any street in Berlin and not find a gallery of some description on the corner. You’d have a much harder time spotting the artists, actually, because they’re everywhere. Whenever someone asks me what I think is best thing about living in Berlin, I always say the cost of living. I know it sounds a little frivolous, but hear me out. Because the cost of living is so low in Berlin, it generally means that people who live here either end up working far less hours in the week


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in order to earn their rent and put food on the table, or they just don’t work at all (trust me, there’s more than one way to skin a cat). Berliners thus have much more time in their day-to-day lives to relax, enjoy the city, party, and of course express themselves creatively. The result is a city full of creatives who have the time they previously never had when working nine-to-five jobs, six days a week, in London or Paris or elsewhere just to pay the bills and get by. The creativity flows here in many forms. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art is any form of self-expression, right? But, at the end of the day, it’s all subjective. The work of an artist that I find resonates with me deeply might mean absolutely nothing to the next person, and that’s ok. We all have to find our own meanings within art, and sometimes this means accepting that we are all different and like different things. There’s far too much weight

put on the relevance of ‘good art’. It’s meaningless. ‘Good art’ is usually the art that sells best in the auction house. For me personally, if a work of art makes you feel, if it brings back a memory or makes you laugh, then it’s done something right. What is the best book you’ve recently read? There are a few. I’ve been reading Alain de Botton recently – Art as Therapy and also The Art of Travel. I love the way he sees the world. He has this very simple, almost childlike view of the everyday and how we can make sense of it. Art as Therapy is one that I dip in and out of. Because there is no narrative and also because de Botton addresses topics very methodically, it makes for good occasional reading – especially before going to a gallery. I’m also a big fan of Bill Bryson. I’ve just finished reading Neither Here Nor There, in which Bryson tells of his travels around mainland Europe in the early 90s. Part of what I find so lovely about reading this account now, besides Bryson himself in all his cranky American glory, is that it serves as a document of major European cities nearly thirty years ago before the big boom of technology hit the world. Dilemmas faced by Bryson (like queuing for hours at the Centraal train station in Amsterdam to use the only public telephone in order to book a hotel for the night) just don’t occur anymore. I’m currently reading Paul Evans’ Field Notes From The Edge, which is essentially a record of the writer’s many journeys through the hidden British wilderness and his reactions to history and the changing landscape. Name three artists you admire. Keith Arnatt, Michael Asher & Stephen Shore. Keith Arnatt is arguable the lesser known of my three artists, but has possibly influenced my work the most. Arnatt was a British conceptual artist known for making radical and sculptural land art in the 60s and then later shifting to photography. He was really amongst very few artists at the time fighting to ground photography as an art form in the U.K. and did much to secure it’s future. I think he was a hippy at heart. Series like ‘I Wonder if Cows Wonder’(photographs of cows peering over hedges after Arnatt noticed they had returned to the fields following the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001) and ‘Pictures from a Rubbish Tip’ (large format photographs of rubbish that become Flemish landscapes) were born out of the discoveries he made while rambling around in his home town of Tintern, on the River Wye, in Wales. I wish, more than anything, I had been able to meet the man before he died. Arnatt’s work should be a reminder to never overlook the overlooked. What are your future plans? At the moment I’m preparing to install work from my 8am Walks series in a solo show in Berlin, which will run throughout February in a little café along the canal in Neukölln. I’m trying the hit the ground running this year with projects and so it’s been a nice challenge to exhibit work this early on. I have lots of things I’d like to achieve over the next twelve months and travel is top of the list, as it plays such a significant role in my working process. Firstly, I’d like to find a way of going back to Iceland to pick up on one of my first documentary projects, where I explored the relationship in Iceland between the landscape and folklore. I also have two new research projects, which will take me to Slovenia and then back to the U.K.

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Daiane Medeiros London, England, UK As she outlines to the tunes of Frank Sinatra and colors to the swing of Michael Bublé, Brazilian made Daiane Medeiros incorporates body and soul into her work. To her, it’s not just about choosing random colors of acryclic paint, it’s about taking into consideration that which will full heartedly captivate those who take time to admire what she has painted. Daiane already knew her passion for the task at a mere ten years old. Instead of wanting to learn how to cook, or run around with the kids on her street, her desire was to draw, color, and create. Nothing has changed since then. One of the biggest inspirations for this special contributor to the artistic world is that there is actually never a dull day when it comes to her. A very sad thing that happens frequently is that we tend to accostum to that which surrounds us, simply because we’ve become habituated to it, or we just don’t pay attention. That’s not the case with Mrs. Medeiros. Everyday is a new day to see, to add to her “bucket” - a term she uses to indicate how satisfied she is - and to collect new ideas she can then transform into something more mesmerizing, in its own way. Daiane has been living and working in London for a considerable number of years. She lives with her husband and son, who are two of her biggest support systems and she never lacks to share with them all her aspirations and desires, starting at the complex details of her artwork and ending with the simple decision of what ice cream flavor she’s in the mood for. Creating art has never been a struggle for Daiane simply because of the fact that she notices the small things, and that is one of the factors that contributes to the astonishing productions this thirty eight year old survivor makes, straight from the heart.


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Briefly describe the work you do. I started painting and drawing when I was a little girl. I have always had a passion for abstract art, but I got discouraged when some people said I would not get anywhere as an artist. That was when I gave up on it. It was a really hard decision because I used to put a lot of effort and tried to synthesise all my feelings in every painting I created. This little mystery box called life had some other surprises for me though. A few years ago I found out I had a very serious health condition and if I didn’t fight it, it could cost my life. I started drawing again and was trying to express all my feelings in every line I drew. But unfortunately, due to the treatment I began to shake and I was not able to draw straight lines anymore. However, I did not give up because I knew that love and faith can work miracles, and all my love for my son and husband was the only thing that kept me going. So one day I was working on an abstract painting and as I usually do before I start creating my paintings, I wrote down everything I am grateful for in life, and to me it was like I had been made whole again as I felt I was alive on the inside and the outside. I tried to communicate everything I was feeling through the lines, shapes, and colours in the painting. All my paintings mean a lot to me because behind them lies the reason I am grateful for being alive. Some people keep saying I will get nowhere as an artist, that there is no value in what I create, and that my art is just a colourful mess. But for me it goes beyond all that, it is the reason I am alive, it is love in colours, it is passion translated into art, and above all, it is my life story. I am proud to say that love, faith and art have healed me, and I know they can heal anything. If someone asks me what kind of art I make, I will say it is the art of my soul. And that is why I call it Art Feeling and Connection. Because to make art you have to feel, you have to be connected with everything around you, not only on the inside but on the outside as well. Everything in life is art, everything in life is made of love and faith. And if you don’t love, don’t feel and don’t have faith you cannot be connected with art. So make your art the window to your soul. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice?* Without a doubt, my family and my friends, I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of the support I have received from them. There are a few friends I could list that contribute, but my son and my husband deserve a special recognition. My husband has always been at my side, through the good and the bad. My son, who recently started living with me because he stayed in Brazil for

a while after I left, is the one that keeps me on my feet ever day. These two are the ones that constantly annoy me, the ones that I would like to sometimes “kindly” ask to sleep outside, but I wouldn’t be anything without them. How would you describe the art scene in your area? London is a magical place. Unfortunately, I always notice people that don’t take their time to admire the beautiful art and great artists we have all around London, but in a way I’m glad that I have the opportunity to portray in my art something that a certain person may have not noticed while walking on a particular street. I am definitely delighted with all the eye popping scenes London has for us to take in. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art is a sense of communication. It allows everybody, all cultures, colors, races, shapes and sizes considered, to tune to the same station and interact in such a beautiful way. There has been so much disaster, so much discrimination and hate thoughout the world, and it pleases me to say that these things aren’t present in the artistic scenery because no one is better than anyone in this world, and art doesn’t let you think otherwise. What is the best book you’ve recently read? The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne. Her books never fail to intrigue me. Name three artists you admire. My two favorite artists are Graciela Harger and Dudu Rodrigues Graciela Harger is a close friend of mine, and a talented photographer. She is able to express all her soul in each shot she takes. My admiration for her is so much more than just being a fan of her work, but there’s something about how she strips down and opens herself to each photo that mesmerizes me. Dudu Rodrigues is a God blessed artist, who pours his heart into all his projects. He is always there to help with kind words, that you can tell are sincere and empathetic. His art englobes beautiful colors and a lot of love. Therefore, if you enjoy my art, keep in mind that these three kind souls have a major role in the process of each piece. What are your future plans? I have so many plans for the future that I don’t even know where to start. However, my number one plan at the moment its to be able to unite a great amount of artists in one area, so we’re able to share our art and our stories, from the bad to the good.

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Ian Wolter Saffron Walden, Essex, UK

I create kinetic sculpture, performance and films as a means to explore societal trends, possible futures. It can be overtly political though, at present, it’s a bit less so. I use a broad range of media and approaches,: Film, Kinetic Sculpture, Performance as well as a constant thread of figurative sculpture. This keeps my practice exciting and has led to some valuable collaborations. I want my art to be accessible and to foster debate, to be easily argued over. I’m fascinated by Jacques Rancière’s idea that the power of political art lies not in the tension between the art and its inherent politics but in the tension between it being simultaneously art and non-art: a hundred years after the idea that anything could be art, that art may be infected with non-art and become both more powerful and less valuable.


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Briefly describe the work you do. I work in very diverse media, so far with film, kinetic sculpture, performance and figurative sculpture but also Vaseline and engine oil. I can understand the fascination of exploring a single medium ever more deeply, but it’s not for me. I make work that’s political or has a societal theme, so I want to convey meaning in some way. I like the choice of medium to be a part of that, a carrier of meaning alongside the formal or artistic language. I’m fascinated in Jacques Ranciere’s idea that the power of political art isn’t in the tension between the art and its inherent politics but in the tension between it being simultaneously art and not-art. It’s art that reaches into the real world. One very graphic example of my work ‘reaching into the real world’ was a piece I made about climate change denial

which was described as a death threat (which it wasn’t) and threatened with both violence and legal action. It’s very interesting to me that art can elicit this sort of passionate reaction. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Being taken to see art as a child filled me with wonder and fascination (thanks Mum). I also had wonderful art teachers: Campbell Trottman and Himani Lall. And my wife, the author Clare Mulley, who will endlessly debate ideas and approaches with me and who often provides the final ‘sense check’ on my works. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live near Cambridge, a fast growing but still small city. There are contemporary

galleries: the Ruskin Gallery attached to the Cambridge School of Art, the Heong Gallery and newly re-opened Kettles Yard within Cambridge University. There’s an artist led space called Aid and Abet, run by Sarah Evans and David Kefford, and there’s Changing Spaces which creates pop-ups in vacant high street units, as well as Wysing Arts which is a residency centre/campus. However, all the grads from the Cambridge School of Art, with their newly minted student debts, can’t really stay in Cambridge and help build the art scene because property is so eye wateringly expensive. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I love the fact that art’s place, meaning and function in society can be endlessly debated. We live in a time of growing inequality, the refugee and migrant crisis,

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the erosion of democracy, news and truth, global warming and so on. While art is a broad church which fulfils many needs, for me its critical role is to explore these many challenges. The arts can help us to see things, and ourselves, in different ways. What is the best book you’ve recently read? Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari that explores the likely impact of AI including accelerating inequality and the potential to enhance some humans both mentally and physically. And one I got for Christmas: Beg, Steal and Borrow by Robert Shore, about why there’s really no such thing as originality. Name three artists you admire. Pierre Huyghe: I was stunned by his video installation Human Mask (2014) which is set in a restaurant near Fukushima partially devastated by a tsunami and in which the only ‘person’ is a trained macaque in an eerie human mask and wig. This is one of the works that makes me aim higher. Another is Valentina Zlatrova who makes exquisite figurative sculpture. And Les Monaghan who’s current project Relative Poverty is a photographic investigation, both documentary and collaborative, created with families defined as destitute in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. What are your future plans? I’m just finishing a big new sculptural piece called The Unaccompanied Children of Calais. It’s a life-sized sculpture of six contemporary British children in poses that echo The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin. I hope it’ll provoke debate about the morality of our response to the children caught up in the current refugee crisis. The first installation should be in May. One of my videos, The Knowledge, is about to be shown for the first time at Art Rooms in Rome and FLUX at the Chelsea College of Art in London. And then I’m back in my studio developing a new kinetic work with my brother, Carl, and then to France for collaboration with Emma Elliot in which we’re looking at men’s changing ideas about women’s sexual beauty.



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Quentin Puckette Milwaukee, WI, USA

I studied the fine arts at the University of Tennessee, where I participated in a dual enrollment programa\ t the University of Canberra and The Australian National University.I also studied a semester exchange program at the San Francisco Art Institute


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When, how and why started your art practice? I began my first Art projects making short narrative comics and selling them around the neighborhood and in downtown while my mother and sister shopped and had lunch at the coffee shops. I decided to get into the Art world shortly after I decided which High School I would attend. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? Being an Artist is emotionally challenging, because you never know what the reception to your work or your position may be. What are you working on right now? I’m exploring French Objectivism. A more pleasurable indulgence in the aesthetic experience. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I’m around the Third Ward area and the gallery nights. I’m observing and hovering. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? A means to validate mundane experiences What do you like/dislike about the art world? I haven’t developed an aesthetic towards the market; I’m open to the Art. What are your future plans as an artist? Now I’m exploring commercializing niche graffiti

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65 Art Reveal Magazine

Emily Sladen Isles of Scilly, England, UK

There is no real way to explain to someone else what it is like living on a small rock with only 80 other inhabitants and nothing except the raging Atlantic ocean between you and the three thousand something miles until the USA, and believe me it is not without its challenges. But for me this is why location and community play the biggest part in my work. One of our greatest challenges is simply getting rid of waste from the islands and I began by relieving people of old curtains and bed linen and fashioning them into cushions and children’s dresses but I wanted my pieces to be more than functional objects and get away from my sewing machine and back in to the ragged wild atmosphere surrounding me so I took to hand embroidery and now sit whatever the weather and stitch on a beach, coastal path or perched atop a carn. This allows each of my pieces to be linked intrinsically to a particular beach or cove incorporating shells and beach finds and is my way of sharing the wild rugged beauty of Scilly with the world.


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Briefly describe the work you do. I love to experiment with all sorts of materials but fundamentally always end up including elements of stitch if not completely plastering my work with embroidery. For me there is something very special about the textures and structures specifically created by hand embroidery. They are slow almost medetative and organic no two stitches are ever exactly identical. And I cannot help but be inspired by the stunning landscapes of my remote island home in the Isles of Scilly. I am constantly surrounded by idyllic turquoise waters, vibrant mustard yellow gorse flowers and on such a small island I am never more than that 5 minutes’ walk from a myriad of perfect white sandy beaches. The pace of life is slow and steady and there is always time to simply sit and admire the raw beauty of nature here. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I am fascinated by the social impact art can have on its micro and macro community one of my biggest drivers has always been and remains to be the reuse of waste. One of my first projects whilst still studying at University of Leeds was a lighting installation made from 1 years’ worth of Morrison’s (a British supermarket) plastic bags stitched together into an organic leaf like form in which the use of plastic as a material was unrecognisable. But the drive for reusing waste materials continues to influence my material design decisions almost completely today. I live on a tiny 2 mile long island 30 miles out into the Atlantic ocean, now as you can imagine waste disposal is quite a challenge with no recycling banks of any kind. Everything has to be shipped (expensively) back to the mainland UK so I have taken on recycling as much of the communities textile waste as I possibly can. I use everything from old sofa covers to baby grows ripping, manipulating and stitching each fabric until it is unrecognisable. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Living on an island of only 60 permanent inhabitants the immediate art scene is definitely very limited

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but I find it pushes you to think outside the box and expand your social circles and customer base to a much wider level. Why sell and market your work nationally when we are in such a rapidly growing global economy, I often find myself sending my pieces to all sorts of places from Belgium to Seattle. It can often take days especially in the winter to escape from the islands in bad weather and get off to the mainland and increasingly I am off the attitude that if I’ve made that much effort just to get to the mainland why not go further. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art allows us to challenge stigmas and stereo types for example that embroidery and felting are dated dying crafts irrelevant in the modern design forum. Art encourages innovation and is so important if we are to survive and develop as a community, a species and a planet. It reminds us that we are in control of our future and we really can make a difference by making bold statements and influencing others. What is the best book you’ve recently read? Whenever I am not trapped on my rugged remote island by stormy weather I love to explore and travel and I own an almost embarrassingly huge collection of travel books. I read them again and again from cover to cover and dream of the far flung corners of the globe. Wherever I go I always seek out the local textile styles and techniques, my favourite so far has been the extravagant all over satin stitch styles of the Lago Atitlan communities in Guatemala. Name three artists you admire. I truly admire Helen Storey with her pioneering catalytic dress, a garment which purifies the polluted air surrounding it. Her work challenges our ideas of what our everyday items can be capable of and what we can achieve if we collaborate across fields of study. I love how her forward looking work inspires and engages the community around her and reminds us that we can make a difference, we can save our beautiful planet but also that we really do need to innovate and act now. In a world where every day creative subjects are being axed in our schools and colleges she reminds us of the importance of art and creative thinking in our ever changing world. To many the idea of embroidery is something old fashioned, dated and simply well not considered an art and I am ashamed to say that until the age of 17 I too really believed in this stereotype as well. I had never really heard of, let alone tried any kind of embroidery, felting, or knitting, I mean at a push that’s what grannies do right? And this leads me nicely onto my next inspirational artist, Lou Gardiner. Her bright & bold embroidery was different to anything I had ever seen before full of studs and sparkles and a far cry from an immaculate initial on a handkerchief. She has helped inspire and revive the dying craft of hand embroidery and brought it into the modern art world. Now number three, ok now it may sound a bit cliché but it is undeniably true my last inspirational artist is my grandmother a milliner and fashion designer in the 60’s & 70’s. Growing up she always taught us to think outside the box and that ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, my favourite of her works was

her award winning dress made from all her old laddered tights, one of the most beautifully structured garments I think I have ever seen. For her it was never about saving the planet, recycling or being sustainable and green it was simply about making something beautiful from what appeared to be nothing at all. This is what I strive to do every day with my own designs and materials and I hope that like her I to can inspire others to do the same. What are your future plans? At the moment I keep finding myself out growing my tiny studio I am always wanting create bigger and bigger pieces of work so I think for my next project I would like to move my work out into the environment itself onto the beach or out on the downs and produce some kind of stitched outdoor installation piece.

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Art Reveal Magazine no. 37  
Art Reveal Magazine no. 37  

David Ian Bickley, Emma Connolly, Emma Donaldson, Fernando Holguin Cereceres, Tayo Jones, Ewa Kawalec, Paul McKendrick, Jeremy Knowles, Daia...