RABEE BAGHSHANI | JACQUELINE DIESING | IANTHE JACKSON | TUBA ÖZTEKIN KÖYMEN | TRINA MERRY | SABRINA PALAZZANI | MARGERY PEARL-GURNETT SCOTT ALLEN ROBERTS | MARKO TOMIC | KATERINA TSITSELA | RONIS VARLAAM ANNA VO | LUCAS WHITTAKER | ANNETTE WILSON | SOPHIE WYLE | NAN XU
MIGRANTS: Sasha Ilyukevich and
“The Highly Skilled Migrants”
interviewed by Zia Fernandez Ibarreche.
FEATURED ARTIST 3 MIGRANTS 4 RABEE BAGHSHANI 6 JACQUELINE DIESING 12 IANTHE JACKSON 18 TUBA ÖZTEKIN KÖYMEN 24 TRINA MERRY 30
SABRINA PALAZZANI 36 MARGERY PEARL-GURNETT 42 SCOTT ALLEN ROBERTS 48 MARKO TOMIC 54 KATERINA TSITSELA 60 RONIS VARLAAM 66 ANNA VO 72 LUCAS WHITTAKER 78 ANNETTE WILSON 84 SOPHIE WYLE 90 NAN XU 96
MARGERY FEATURED ARTIST
PEARL-GURNETT My 30+ year professional career has transitioned from working in hot glass to new work which I consider primarily in the realm of mixed media, with a focus of incorporating glass into solid, dioramalike wall pieces. Born and raised in New York City, my curiousity and passion was ignited as a young woman by the visual arts and glass in particular. I have been influenced by the well known glass artists, Bertil Vallien from Sweden and Dana Zamecnikova from Prague among other artists.
More at pages: 42-47
On the cover: The Dance by Margery Pearl-Gurnett; Mixed Media, 2017;
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MIGRANTS: Sasha Ilyukevich and
“The Highly Skilled Migrants”
interviewed by Zia Fernandez Ibarreche.
I met Sasha last week, on the streets of London, I was cycling in the morning on my way to work, when I saw a cyclist with a black jacket that had a white text written on the back “Highly skilled migrant”. I was very curious about this funny display of activism, so I decided to follow him to the next traffic lights, which luckily was in red. I approached him telling him that I liked his jacket, he smiled and replied; that it was the name of his band. I said to him that I am also a highly skilled migrant, we both laughed. In the end I told him that I might contact him to which he replied that his contact details were available on Facebook. The traffic lights turned green and we said goodbye. Today I am in London fields, interviewing Sasha Ilyukevich, his music is described as “An incomparable brew of post punk electric energy and topical lyricism, London-based Belarusian Troubadour Sasha Ilyukevich and his band ‘The Highly Skilled Migrants’ continue to challenge the boundaries of non-English contemporary music. Their forthcoming album ‘Minsk’, released in October 2018, is a rebellious and defiant comment on political and social order in the Post-Soviet era”. Zia Fernandez: How did you come up with the name of the band? Sasha Ilyukevich: It is part of my own history. I came to the UK on a student visa, then I had an opportunity to remain in this country with changing my status to a Highly Skilled Migrant. This Immigration Programme was introduced by the Home Office in early 2000. Later we, the band, were looking for the name for our group. One of my band members wanted to hear my story coming to London. I mentioned to him my Highly Skilled Migrant Rank. We thought that it would be a great name for our project. There is irony in the name, it reflects on my history, the history of this country and the world in general. Our project also addresses the current political and social issues that we are facing in Europe. ZF: What does migration mean to you? SI: To me it means simply living. Migration is part of life. We migrate everyday from one side to another side, from one place to another place, from one season to another season. This is how it works in the animal kingdom. This is how it works in the human kingdom. It is basic and essential part of our existence. ZF: In how many countries did you live? What made you establish yourself in the UK? SI: I was born in Belarus, it was part of the USSR until 1991. I continually lived there until the age of 21. When I was a student in 2001 I came to the UK to do seasonal work on a farm near Maidstone, in Kent. I spent 6 months there picking fruits. I used to visit London almost every weekend and fell in love with this city. I always wanted to live in large urban environment that offers cultural diversity. Later I went back to Belarus to continue with my studies at university. In May 2002 I went to the United States for 6 months, considering a possibility to stay there for even longer. However, America did not appeal to me as much as the United Kingdom. Plus, I always felt European. I decided to come back to London to get more experience and improve my English. After spending all this time abroad I concluded that my Motherland with its unchanging totalitarian regime will never offer to me the same opportunities that I found in London. I also wanted to avoid the compulsory military service in Belarus. So I made a plan how to stay here, in London. ZF: You have been creating music and performing for the last 10 years, where and how were your beginnings? SI: I started writing music and songs in my early teenage years. I never had an ambition to become a performer until I moved to London. Once, my friend Yo Zushi, who is also a musician, invited me to
play an acoustic set at one of his events. A person in the audience, Phil Brunner, saw me performing and later got in touch with me via Myspace offering to form a band. He became my drummer, and this is how it started. Gradually music took more significant role in my life and I have never stopped performing and creating music since then. ZF: Your songs often address political and social imbalances, particularly in the former USSR. Your first album “HA NUMA” was banned from Radio Stations in Belarus due to it perceived political subversion, tell us more about these events and the content in the lyrics. SI: My first album ‘Ha Numa’ was released in 2009. What happened is that one of my friends knew a DJ from a local Radio Station in Minsk. He liked a couple of songs from the album and included them in to his playlist. One of the songs is called “Son of the Motherland”, I believe became the troublesome one. Two songs were played regularly just before another presidential elections. “Son of the Motherland” has satirical lyrics, it is a fable. In this song I compare myself with a dog. Belarus is pretty much an agricultural country, in a way that many people in rural areas still live more or less self-sufficient. They grow their own fruit and vegetables, they keep cows and pigs. Animals have particular hierarchy and status in society. ZF: The Pecking order. SI: Precisely. In that song I am a dog. I am a straight dog. There is not much love for dogs in provincial areas of Belarus. Dogs are kept on a chain and often underfed. When you say something that people do not understand they always compare you to a barking dog, who makes no sense. This song is about me just making no sense, about me trying to reach to people but I fail. Nobody wants to listen to me; nobody wants to hear to my message. This is how I felt living in Belarus. Unfortunately, the majority of people either are scared or don’t want to challenge the establishment. At the end of the song I start
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doubting myself, questioning whether I should become a cow instead of a dog. Cows are always looked after and kept warm in a shelter. I would gain a different status being a cow. The finale of the song transposes into confusing animal languages where I compete with my two superegos – a dog and a cow, mooing and barking. ZF: Animal farm SI: It has a little bit of “Animal Farm” concept I suppose. I actually don’t think I read “Animal Farm” before I wrote this song. But then in Orwell’s classic the pigs are the main characters. Someone very intelligent had listened to the lyrics carefully and decided to ban both tunes from the radio station right before the election. In the West it sounds almost sensational: Wow! They banned your song! Unbelievable! But in Belarus it is a normal thing when your work is banned. Any artistic expression that opposes the government is not going to be supported by the press. ZF: Last year was the 100 years anniversary of the Red October Revolution. Did you attend any event in London or the Republic of Belarus? SI: We performed at various events dedicated to this topic last year. Most of them were held at Rich Mix Cinema, British Library and Latitude Festival and organized by the cultural organisation Dash Arts For Dash Arts it was the final year dedicated to the former Soviet states with the focus on both the February and October Revolutions. We also released the single ‘Revolution’ on the anniversary day – the 7th of November, following the new calendar. What I see in this revolution is another human tragedy, pure violence; it did not give us anything good. The enforced Communism caused so much blood, so much confusion and suffering. Great number of people, including my family, were adversely affected by this event. However, I know that some people in the Western World tend to romanticise the Red Revolution, but I personally see it as a catastrophe. ZF: Do you engage into Politics in the UK? What are your views on BREXIT? SI: I voted against BREXIT but I can also understand the complex situation around BREXIT. It is not just a mistake of this country, it is also a mistake of the European Union. I wouldn’t praise the EU as an unique or perfect form on how we should live. It all sounds good – free movement of people, open borders, free exchange and trade, etc. But when you carefully look inside the system, what is going on in Brussels, I think many regulations should be improved or even changed.
Photo: Anna Crockatt
In my opinion, what the government should have done instead of calling for referendum, they should have expressed their national concerns to the EU and proposed some changes within the EU Establishment. This was like a divorce between some husband and wife. Instead of trying to sort out their problems first, they decide to get divorced. At the same time, I do not think that we are competent enough to talk about the economic side, it is very complex, it covers a lot of aspects. The current UK government I don’t think knows how to deal with all these issues. To me it is about improving the functioning of the Union, challenging the corporate aspects of the establishment, but not leaving. ZF: Who inspired you? SI: On the musical level I am very much influenced by the Cultural Revolution of 60s and 70s – Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Kinks, Velvet Underground, David Bowie, the Clash, also Post-Punk music from Joy Division, The Breeders, Pixies, Sonic Youth. In addition, many Russian poets, such as Velimir Khlebnikov, Daniil Kharms , Joseph Brodsky, Vladimir Mayakovski, also had an impact on my songwriting and poetry. In my songs I combine Western and Eastern-Slavic sensibilities to bridge a historical divide and engage understanding between two cultures to reverse prejudice between East and West. ZF: I am a big fan of Mayakovski I found a book on a street, and then I bought two more of his books of poems. He is a great author and his story was very dramatic because he believed in the Soviet Union but with Stalin he killed himself. SI: We still don’t know what exactly happened. I would not be surprised that this suicide incident was an actual set up by the KGB or another state agency. The similar incidents happened to many public figures in the USSR. ZF: Do you have any project ahead? SI: The next show will be at Latitude Festival. Also, this autumn we are releasing a new album – “Minsk”. With this record we would like to raise more awareness of the political situation in Belarus, using Minsk as a prism to split the dislocated reality of the past, present, historical and social agenda of Belarus. More information can be found on my website – www.sashailyukevich.com ZF: Thank you very much Sasha. SI: Thank you, it was very nice talking to you.
Rabee Baghshani Mashhad, Iran Rabee Baghshani is the latest digital artist to enter the Iranian art landscape. She currently resides in Mashhad, Iran pursuing her art. Her digital renditions represent a hybrid of East and West where she bridges together her countryâ€™s cultural history with our present global pop culture. By placing the Qajari figures in a Western context, Rabee infuses a satirical playfulness in her artworks.
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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I was born in Iran and grew up an artist family. My parents were theatre artist, after the revolution of Iran they left their artisric career.My big sister is a successful artist..currently she has run handmade gallery. In spite of that I graduated and worked in management but I quitted my job and started to work in an art world. I’m going to say that an art is in my blood. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? The main challenge for every artist in every where around a world is a tough way for show and prove themselves and their art to others. Name artists you’d like to be compared to? I’d like compared with pop art artist, specially Andy Warhol. His artworks is really inspiration of for me. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Almost most of the time when I think about my country’s art just I can imagine fantastic, brilliant, fabulous things about that. Like our historical place as Chehel Soton in Ispehan or Eram Garden in Shiraz, Golestan Palace in Tehran and etc. Further more I can named Hafez, Rumi, Saadi Shirazi,Omar Khayam and as famouse artistic poet. Their poem remember you a beautiful painting. Every where in my country you could see a masterpieces. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? I received the best art tip when I hear impressive phrases about my artworks as well as I see the satisfaction smile of my family. What are your future plans as an artist? I intend to take part in several auctions and exhibitions also i’ll eastablish an art gallery in order to introduce and support of young unknown artists.My next step is that i enter into the fashion world someday as well as have a clothes collection with a new approach for women. At the last i would like to say that where there is a wish indeed there is a way for achieve it. Never give up.
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Chicago, IL, USA
After completing the Bachelor of Science in Architecture program at the University of Michigan in 2005, I moved to Chicago and began my professional career as an architect which continues to this day. Living in Chicago and being established in my career allowed me to rediscover and focus on my love of art. During frequent trips home to metro Detroit to visit family and friends, I would often pass by beautiful old buildings crumbling in on themselves and would imagine them restored to their former beauty. It was in these moments that the idea of capturing the buildings in their current state and surround them with life came to fruition. For me, there is beauty and a profound memory in the ruins. Juxtaposing them with vibrant, brilliant, energetic life gives hope for the present and future while honoring the past.
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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. As a kid, growing up in Metro-Detroit, I could always be found working on an art or craft project. In fact, I took as many extra-curricular art classes as my parents would let me (thanks, Mom and Dad!) and my love for design and creating ultimately led me to study architecture in college. It was a career I planned to pursue from the age of 8 and I completed the Bachelor of Science in Architecture program at the University of Michigan in 2005. I then moved to Chicago, established my professional career as an architect and in the process have rediscovered my love of art. I’ve found that it’s actually the true focus and passion of my life. During the frequent trips back to the Detroit area to visit family and friends, I pass beautiful old buildings crumbling in on themselves and I imagine them restored to their former glory. It was during one of these moments, that the idea of capturing the buildings in their current state and surrounding them with life first came to me. There is a devastating beauty and a profound memory in the ruins of these mansions. Juxtaposing them with vibrant, brilliant, energetic life gives hope for the present and future while honoring the past. In the engaging neighborhoods of Chicago, Illinois, where I work and live, it is easy to see that the city is an artists’ dream of culture. The city is always active with festivals and the enlivening touch of diverse people. The experiences I have gained in Chicago pair nicely with the community and experiences that shaped my early life growing up in the suburbs of Detroit: among neighborhoods of historic, elegant and refined homes. In awe of the surrounding architectural beauty, I was inspired to always be drawing and recreating their presence; it was also another reason I was drawn to the idea of studying architecture. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? Time. The frustrating, human construct of time is hands down the most challenging part of being an artist for me. Working full-time as an architect, it’s difficult to squeeze out free moments to draw and the bursts of creativity do not always align with the few open time slots at the end of a work day. But, I’ve found the best tactic is just to start drawing something when the opportunity arises, even if completing the piece means an end date in the unforeseen future. These exercises sometimes also result in the spark to lead me to my next piece.
a year in addition to being held in other cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. It has been a great place to connect with other makers and artists. Also, one of my favorite art blogs, Colossal, is based out of Chicago. There is always something going on in the art scene in this city. I definitely feel like I am in the right place to be an artist. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? A helpful tip I received once came after I told an architect/artist friend of mine that I did not think my art fell into the “gallery-worthy” category. He was shocked. He said that I needed to adjust the way I think about my work and throw my self-doubt out the window. That story leads me to the best art advice that I’ve received: keep producing art and putting it out there. Even in times of doubt, when you think the work is not your best, put it out there. Exposure and increasing potential connections with fellow artists is so important. On an equally important side note, the community of artists that I have met have been nothing but supportive. I’m lucky to be a part of such a great group of creative people! But I won’t lie, discouraging the nagging feelings of self-doubt is still a struggle. I would encourage every other artist to surround themselves with the right people to keep their artistic spirit going strong. What are your future plans as an artist?
Name artists you’d like to be compared to.
My immediate plan over the next couple of years is to participate in more gallery shows. At this point I have only been applying to shows for a little over a year but the application experience so far has taught me invaluable lessons regarding networking with gallery owners, as well as other artists - which I mentioned before. The long, or “longer,” game would involve expansion into the mediums of textiles and ceramics. The elegance of ceramics and the dimensions of textiles are intoxicating and I have loved experimenting in both of the mediums so far.
There are several collage, embroidery and textile artists, as well as painters, that I would love to be in league with. Here are a few: Hagar Vardimon (@happyredfish), Stephanie Kelly Clark (@artiststephaniekellyclark), Jaime Rovenstine (@jaimerovenstine), Judit Just (@_jujujust_) and Clare Celeste Börsch (@clarecelesteart). I am especially attracted at the moment to different mediums layered to create texture. (I view my own mixed media work as a collage of different forms of drawing assembled into one piece of art.) The artists I mentioned above accomplish the layering technique I admire. Plus, their success is not only well-deserved, but inspiring. It would be an amazing honor if one day my artwork would be considered alongside the work of any of these other artists. Once those steps are completed, my ultimate goal will then be closer at hand: to be able How would you describe the art scene in your area? to expand the artistic interpretations of my inspiration, scale my business and connect The art scene in Chicago is quite incredible. My neighborhood is filled with little with more people on different levels of artistic galleries and gift shops that sell local artists’ work. There is a great shop in my preferences. This would ideally be realized as neighborhood called Paperish Mess that gave me my first opportunity to sell in a commercial artist partnering with brands a retail setting. They feature the work of over 200 local artists and the owners are that have a mission to connect with local lovely people. I will be forever grateful to them. artists. But I would also never quit selling at the independent boutiques that would The variety of art fairs in this city also promotes additional ways to meet other be willing to have my art on their walls. artists and find inspiration. Renegade Craft Fair, which is one of the largest craft Big dreams of mine, but I am putting in the fairs in the USA, was also founded in Chicago. Renegade is held here several times hard word to have them come true!
Ianthe Jackson Brooklyn, NY, USA
Living in this contemporary life, I have transplanted myself over and over again. When I think of people who live in the place they are truly from for generations upon generations they must have a very different sensibility than someone such as myself who is far from ‘home’. There is always a retracing of family histories, listening to family stories and trying to pin down people, places, facts. There are multiple origins and piecemeal information that is hard to connect. In creating the sense of home when we have been transplanted through generations, we are connecting the dots of a past. A past learned through stories and visits, a tour of lives gone by. We are spread throughout the continents and so much goes unanswered. I was told if I ever go to Ireland everything will make sense, I will understand who I am and where I am from. I have yet to travel there. In making drawing, sculpture an animation I am delving into these ideas. The work contemplates our relationship with the natural world, landscape and manmade structures. It considers the relationship of structures and nature, land and land use, the creation of home, and belonging within these relationships and places. Ianthe Jackson lives and works as an artist in Brooklyn, New York. She attended School of Visual Art in Manhattan where she received her BFA in sculpture in 1998. From there she went on to continue making art, exhibit work and teach. She attended Sculpture Center Residency in Utica, NY in 2003. She was a fellowship recipient at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and received her MFA in Sculpture in 2005. From there she went on to exhibit work and attend residencies nationally and internationally. She attended Art Omi during the summer of 2005 and exhibited with Jack the Pelican Presents from 2005 – 2007.
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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I am originally from Buffalo NY and grew up around a lot of artists and children of artists. My father was a sculptor and an art teacher and he had a great influence on me artistically. Buffalo was a place with a thriving art and music scene. Hallwalls contemporary Art Center, Squeaky Wheel Media Arts Center and the Albright Knox Museum are there and there were always things to be involved with through these places and through the community. After living in Buffalo I traveled around a little, I lived in New Orleans, Kenya and in Texas. Having been to these places really changed my provincial Buffalo view of the world! I think so much so that it sent me to forever think about perception and experience in the artwork I make. After this I ended up in NYC where I still am today. I lived bare bones in NY for a long time and went to school for sculpture at School of Visual Arts night school while I worked in the day. I went to Philadelphia to go to school for my Masters in Sculpture at Tyler School of Art a few years after SVA and then came back to NYC and lived and worked as an artist since then. I find that coming from Buffalo and leaving, really changed my perception and how I see the world and still influences the content of my work. Once when I was in a residency in Nottingham England with about 20 other artists, most of who were English, I realized I had a very different experience from them. As far back as they could trace, they were English. Being American often means being from somewhere else or having some uprooted past along the generational line. A lot of the artwork I have made in recent years connects with this idea of a sense of place, a homeland. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? I just read somewhere that when artists get together they always talk about real estate. It made me laugh because that is completely true and I think it is the hardest part of being an artist. In NYC finding a place to live and having a studio can be difficult and expensive. It has a tremendous ripple effect because in order to afford this you need to have steady money and that requires doing other work, which of course interferes with the art practice at times. The option of working less can have a negative effect because you find yourself in DYI spaces which are insecure and sometimes you have to live in your workspace which can not be great for health
reasons. I remember a time there was a fire in the building where I was living and working a long time ago and the sprinkler system came on in the middle of the night. The water and mold destroyed most of my artwork and it was really sad. If I had been in a place that was maintained, and insured I may not have been in this situation and lost so much work.
I developed but it is the turning point where people are being priced out. The art scene and work being produced here is great because of all the developments. There are lots of things to get involved with and lots of work to see.
How would you describe the art scene in your area?
The best art tip I ever received is to just keep on making work no matter what is happening. One friend said, “Even if you only work a couple hours a week, after a year passes you will look back and have a whole lot of work you have accomplished.” Over the years there have been periods when I stepped back a bit for various reasons but I continued my practice and it always keeps me moving forward and develops my thinking and train of thought.
Living in NYC there are hundreds of art scenes. I currently live and work in Bushwick Brooklyn. The art scene here is the classic story of gentrification in NYC. Many years ago the neighborhood was dominantly a Dominican, Puerto Rican neighborhood. It was low income, on a train line with an industrial area and therefore affordable to artists. So over the years it began to attract artists and now it is already being developed faster than you can even keep up with. There were artist’s studios, galleries, and then ‘ArtsinBushwick.org has really centralized a lot of activity though the Bushwick Open Studios (BOS). BOS in now a massive weekend event drawing thousands of people and really has put Bushwick on the map. Whole areas are being torn down and rebuilt to attract people with money. Needless to say it is hard to maintain an art practice here. We found our studio space 12 years ago. It was a 4000 sq. ft. space at $1 per ft. We got a long lease and are now being asked to leave. After a good fight we have found new space in the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park. I will miss living so close to my studio and being in the place
What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received?
What are your future plans as an artist? Since we just got our new space in the Brooklyn Army Terminal we have been discussing plans for the space. Although my studio practice can be very solitary in itself it is great to have some people to partner with to build an art community. We would like to have some events and gatherings throughout the year to bring people in and make some connections. As my artwork develops I am continuing to expand my thinking. I am seeing writing and documenting process as ways to further develop ideas and build pathways. I am thinking about ways to make more connections to the things I am already doing, possibly collaborations, exploring more and developing my career as well.
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Tuba Öztekin Köymen Arlington, TX, USA If we think of the photograph as an extraction and abstraction from time and space, I am interested in creating a new space and time for the photographic image. I achieved the goal in my installations and am now exploring this problem with multimedia work. I layer the unmanipulated photograph with paint and other media that register many passages of time and construct a new environment for the image. I am merging traditional photography practices with printmaking and digital transformation. In this new body of work the photographs are all hand manipulated immediately after printing by using abrasives, inks, blushing or sprayed chemicals to create different surfaces such as blistering, cracking, or peeling. I am interested in challenging photography’s origins as a means of “fixing” the image by creating images that can read as unstable. The impression I want to create is of an image-world in flux. I also want to provoke the question-what is it? This question reflects the viewer’s attempts to understand the essential nature or quality of something, to establish what makes it different and distinct from other things. In short, what is its identity? This is the question I am asking in all my work.
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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I am an artist, educator and designer who lives and works in the Dallas, USA. I was born in Turkey and graduated in 1995 from the Department of Graphic Design with an emphasis in photography and video at Bilkent University. In 1999, I was awarded an MFA in Photography and Digital imaging by the Maryland Institute College of Art. I consider myself to be an experimental artist. Studying design helped me to learn to solve my creative problems and approach to the subject matter that I am interested in a functional way. I like to make my own pinhole camera , solve the technical issues, use combine different mediums such as drawing, painting, taking pictures to understand a subject matter that I am interested in. My work calls attention to human nature by offering candid scenes of everyday life through the media of photography and photo based installations. Working across the gamut of photographic processes — from alternative–mainly pinhole photography to digital —centers on issues arising from place, culture and social interaction. My perspective is humanistic and universalizing; regarding these issues to be common territory for all human beings. Pinhole photography has been very
effective for me for some projects. Making different pinhole cameras helped me to understand the vision of a light tight box. I find pinhole cameras like a human mind. It is a closed box that you do not know what will come out when you feed with some information. Every single shot is unique with a pinhole camera. This knowledge made me to treat every single shot carefully and respectfully. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? The most challenging part of being an artist is doubt, time and money. Art-making is often a solitary activity, requiring enough self-discipline to create and structure one’s own time. Money is necessary to buy that time. Name artists you’d like to be compared to. I have assisted in the organization of exhibitions at the 4th Istanbul Biennial in 1995. It was the best job I had. This outstanding experience helped me to meet with the artist whom I know from the art history books such as Nam June Paik, Sophie Calle, Shirin Neshat, etc. I was lucky enough to spend time and have many conversations with them. It was important for me to see their creative habits and commitment to their work in their crazy busy life. I respect them a lot as kind human beings
and brilliant artists who opens my mind and hearth each time I look their artwork. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I come from a place where is rapid and unpredictable social, cultural and political changes. This really effects my way of thinking. In the place where I live, people has different worries and troubles. There is a combination of creative and entrepreneurial spirit here with many possibilities and mega-wealth ready to do it all. I hope it will get more diverse and go beyond wealth, social authority and larger-thanlife personalities. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? I am in a residency at this moment, spending the summer of 2018 in Norway. It is a rural area that closest grocery store is in 14 km distance. I learned a great deal about a Norwegian author Jens Bjørneboe since I arrived here. His summer house is next to my studio. What a gift ! It is used as a museum that anyone can get the key from residents to see it. There is a tremendous natural beauty here; air so clean that oxygen get into every cell of yours. You can really focus, rest, think and produce as much as you need to in this given opportunity. I think this is one of the best gift or art trip that I gave myself.
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Art Reveal Magazine
New York City, NY, USA
Lust of Currency: How do we value art? Is it by a work’s historical significance, it’s popularity, or by how much someone is willing to pay for it? This series examines some of the most expensive works of art and are titled by how much, approximately, a collector paid for the work. Trina Merry has performed and exhibited at the Whitney Biennial, San Jose Museum of Art with Andy Goldsworthy, Attleboro Arts Museum, ESMoA, Museo De Bardini (Florence), Edward Hopper House, Red Dot Miami, Superfine! Art Fair, Satellite Art Show, WORKS San Jose & SOMArts alongside the Guerilla Girls. Her initial exhibition of “Lust of Currency” at the LES arts collective “Con Artist” sold out in only three days. She was a summer resident at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, apprentice to Skin Wars judge Craig Tracy and has a BFA in film.
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When, how and why did you start your career in art? When I was struck by lightning while driving through Los Angeles, it altered the course of my life. Everything turned white, and there was a loud buzzing sound as the lighting filled my car. The most incredible aching sensation shot through my bones. I began to suffer from a continuous ache in my bones whenever I was near power lines or any electrical wires, so I moved to Yosemite National Park to get away from those sensations. There, I spent a year painting by a little stream where I even made friends with a deer. It was around this time I shared a few glasses of absinthe with Amanda Palmer (the Dresden Dolls, TED Talks), who encouraged me to stand onstage and get body painted with their opening act - an Australian synesthesia art/rock band called “The Red Paintings.” While wearing a silver mask that shot laser beams out into the audience, I experienced complete strangers painting my body with brightly colored space toys. Something sparked: Art had a heartbeat. Art could be vulnerable. Art was… happening. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? In an age where every moment is cataloged on social media and the Internet, finding safe places to experiment and fail so you can learn is a difficult part of my practice. I think other mediums have an easier time finding those private spaces. When dealing with an interdisciplinary practice that involves performance, the works are on the street or in a gallery, collectively experienced by all. What I do is complicated to explain and simple to show and tell. I am comfortable telling people I’m an artist, but not so comfortable telling them what type of art I create. I feel like most of my thoughts and conversations are transitional and in process. Oftentimes, I’ll create something, and I don’t understand whyuntil later, or I’ll make a piece early that sets a cultural trend that people catch on after a few months or years. It’s challenging to make the work without self-judgment already,and the Internet provides far too many other people’s judgments. It’s hard to know whose opinion to trust about the success or failure of a work, and it’s essential to know who your “tribe” is and just focus on them. Sometimes, I think I made a piece and it failed, and then I’ll post it on social media and it gets an enormous reception. So, who really can judge success and failure by likes, sales or even personal nostalgic feelings about a work? I think the hardest part sometimes is to just make the work and let it go.
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What do you like/dislike about the art world? Freud said the goals of the artist are fame, money and beautiful lovers. While I certainly love experiencing all of those things, that’s not why I make the work or what I love about the art world. While I don’t often see art that interests me at exhibitions, I am finding some gems. I’m most excited to see art getting smaller rather than bigger, intimate rather than corporate, and ephemeral and conceptual rather than mass produced and perfectly resolved. Something I dislike about the art world is of course that women are largely still underrepresented in the art world and major art collections. How would you describe the art scene in your area? There is a cliché about New York that each generation thatlives here seems to believe that every previous generation was better off — cooler clubs, cheaper rent, more talented artists and thinkers. “If only I lived in the days of Warhol’s factory…” The contemporary art world is centered in New York, but has spread to nearly every country in the world. It perpetuates a “show business” atmosphere of the most glamorous art auctions and made them media extravaganzas where television cameras record every fall of the hammer. Art used to be communed with, studied and absorbed in quiet. However, the collection of David
and Peggy Rockefeller that was auctioned at Christie’s totaled nearly $833 million,and the event itself was a “happening.” Our most famous paintings are being used as commodities to be sold, bought or traded by a rarefied audience. Some of our greatest pieces of art are better known by their auction price, which is a telling sign that societal, political and economic forces have greatly impacted our culture. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? Noah Antieau, a respected art dealer, once said: “Take the job. Don’t be one of those cliché art school kids who considers himself above the idea of art as commodity. Take the commercial work. Take the design work. Do the band’s poster for $20 and a six-pack. Do whatever it takes to be able to call yourself a working artist. It’s a noble title, regardless of the particulars.” While I don’t take every job that comes my way, I have really grown from the ones I did take- whether personally, technically or even inspired a new series. What are your future plans as an artist? Well, in about an hour I’m going to go paint on a chair to prepare it for a video installation. I take things one moment at a time, and I am trying to challenge myself to grow a little more with each piece I make.
Sabrina Palazzani Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sabrina Palazzani was born in Buenos Aires in 1991. Started taking pictures with an inherited camera and she has not stopped since then. Took photography studies at the Faculty of Design and Urbanism. She is also a producer and director of television. And studied lighting and direction of cinematographic photography. She is currently a student of Arts at the University of Buenos Aires. I work with the chaos in the everyday life. The awful bliss that emerges when the sinister in the mundane becomes visible to the eye. An essay on how this phenomenon affects us and our private and social spaces. I am passionate about the disruptive elements, photography makes it possible to stop them, allows me to react in front of them. I understand it almost as a small personal training. Analogue and digital photography allow me to carry out this exercise. Collage is also a very useful tool to create and recreate the complicated puzzle of memory and nostalgia of awareness.
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or whatever I called it back then. I was also very curious to look; see photos, movies, find some kind of beauty there, in what other were doing. At the age of 16 I inherited my grandfather’s camera and I started photo classes, and also college, I studied film and lighting. Then I started thinking about images, what kind of photos I wanted to take, if I thought of a series I tried to work on it, until I get it done. I’m still on that path. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? The art world is not far from the world where all the other things happen. I guess the most challenging parts are common to any other activity that interests a person. The hardest thing is to fight with one’s qualities. The limitations, talent, constancy. But I do not think it has to do with art, not exclusively, at least. Is more related to the fact that there’s something that you enjoy doing and the demands that entails. In any case, I think the most important thing is to think about what you are interested in, your themes, the smallest questions that each one has, and always be attentive to the relationship between them, yourself and others. As an artist and as a human being it’s essential to look at the world and people in it with a certain degree of consciousness that allows you to be always attentive and awake, not only to create but to exist. What do you like/dislike about the art world?
When, how and why started your art practice? I started in a very instinctive and primitive way. Since I have internet I really liked sharing photos, feeling that they were cute, worthy of sharing with my virtual friends. I used to think that I had some care and judgment about that; I wanted to always like what I was going to share or upload. From that place I began to relate to the images and
with the idea that I not only wanted to take photographs, I also wanted someone to see them. Later, I started to realize that the photos also told something about how I felt, or some emotion or climate in particular and I realized that they were a powerful tool, as a technique, and that I was interested in it. At that point, it became more interesting and I felt a lot more curiosity about the “creation process”,
The most fun part is that it absorbs you in the best way. It is always nice to see how others live or feel the same world that we all habit. you start to see something and you continue, and you know more things, new names, forms, techniques. I am amused by how huge and multiple it is. Another thing that I love about the art world is that I live it in a very complete way. I like the practice, the results, let’s say, the art pieces, but I also like to study art theory. And it reassures me to know that it is a space where things never run out, I can see and read every day, all day and still I am calm because the production is always going on and things are done all the time by people who are trying to understand our world and offering their perspective.
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I think the less beautiful part is that of not being able to make a living from art, in my case it does not bother me too much because I also teach and I like that work. How would you describe the art scene in your area? It’s definitely not the one that has more opportunities and offers in the world, but it is quite plural and there are always things to see or to participate. In Buenos Aires there are people with a lot of intention to do, that sometimes infects me, in the best of the senses. I am more lazy than other when it comes to produce, it is my personal ghost that at this moment. But the will and energy of the place where I live and the people in it are the most beautiful things of being here.
What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? I do not remember these things very well. I’m sure several good advice I received, I had good teachers. I always fear to answer these questions with pure lies, because after a while the memory begins to invent, alter and suppress, and then anything I say can be a complete farce, like a vague memory of something that you think you dreamed of last night, but in the morning you can’t be quite sure. I remember the very first time I showed my photos at the end of a photography workshop, I was quite nervous and all the comments the teachers made seemed to make me laugh a little. It was the first time that someone I respected had something to say about what I was doing and that already
seemed important to me. Unfortunately, after ten years, I forgot the specific words they used to refer to my work. But at the end I think it doesn’t matter too much because I’m still taking pictures. So I guess whatever they told me, it worked. What are your future plans as an artist? In particular, I am working on an installation that talks -or wants to- about spatiality and light; It is an interactive project that I really want to show. I hope to finish it and exhibit at the beginning of 2019 in Buenos Aires. In general, my goal is to stay alive, make the photos I want to do, be constant, honest. I do not know if those values mean anything but they serve to sustain me, so I sustain them.
Pittsford, NY, USA
Early in my professional career, I was fortunate to receive, in 1968, first prize in the watercolor and graphic category of the North Shore Community Art Center Show in New York City. This award provided strong motivation and validation for my continuing studies to perfect my craft. I went on to win the distinguished Saint Gaudens Medal for fine Draftsmanship from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1970. 3 years were spent at the Arts Students League of New York, as well as time in San Miguel de Allende, at the Instituto Allende in Mexico. I completed my Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts at Carnegie-Mellon University in 1977. In 1986, I received my Masters Degree in glass at the School For American Craftsmen at the Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduation, I opened up my hot glass studio in an old baby food factory, and began receiving significant commissions from architectural firms to create site-specific work for hotels, universities, houses of worship and health care environments. An early commission for many of the Delta Crown Rooms throughout the U.S. and Canada established an early reputation for artistic quality and attention to deadlines and budgets. I have been honored to have my work in the collection of the White House in Washington, D.C., along with distinguished private residences and commercial spaces. My work has been exhibited in galleries and I am currently preparing for two solo shows in 2018. Bausch & Lomb, The Geisel Gallery in July and the Schweinfurth Art Museum in Auburn, NY. My work entitled “Talk To The Forest” was a recent first round winner for the Art Olympia Biennial, an International Open Art Competition in Japan, and was on display in Tokyo at the Government office at Toshima Center Square in June of 2017. I currently reside in a suburb of Rochester, New York with my husband and my dogs. When I was a child, my brother and I would venture outside in the wintertime and search for quickly formed thin ice sitting atop wet puddles from the night before. We called this “Milk-kee-way Ice” because of the swirls of white and clear, as it froze in an instant. I loved the feel of this ice as we crunched it with our feet, but mostly I loved this ice because it was almost invisible, and I loved its ability to capture in its frozenness, leaves and bugs and twigs. I imagined whole snow globe worlds in the still glassiness, a borrowed moment captured forever, recorded temporarily in the ice. Looking back, it does not surprise me that I was beguiled by the nature of glass and resin. The past four years I have transitioned from a long career working in hot glass, to new work, that I consider to be primarily mixed media. The work is best described as 3-D collage, with a focus of incorporating glass, resin and other materials into a solid glass-like wall piece. The work is both abstract and narrative. The 3-D, mixed media pieces consist of multiple layers of glass, both clear and tinted, into which I embed dreamlike imagery which adds a component of mystery to the work, defining the “story” for each piece. In these wall-mounted works, I incorporate, paint, paper, photographic processes, kiln cast glass, resins, glues, encaustics, fused glass, silk screened glass, fused fired decals, metal leaf, sandblasted glass and found objects. My desire and intent are to continue suspending and embedding inclusions and photographic images into liquid resins, which will freeze its’ moment in time and make the inserted materials appear to float in space like fast frozen ice. I am not limited to any particular imagery in making this work. While I take cues from real life experiences, I also often draw inspiration from my dreams, my imagination, music, the written word, and from the way things feel around me. The pieces I have been producing encompass the siren-like seductiveness of glass and the interplay of color along with form, light, images, depth and texture. Adding complete transparency as an aspect to the work allows light to penetrate the whole piece, casting shadows on the walls behind it, which makes the work more compelling and intricate; all in a parallax view, which is apparent when you view the work in person.
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Tell us a bit about your background and how that influences you. I consider it fortuitous to have grown up in New York, a city that is diverse with people and places, and has an underlying heartbeat which I always found palpable. Due to my budding enthusiasm in art, my family was supportive of my desire to immerse myself in the art world. I remember going to museums and art demonstrations with my mother. I was about 7 when I realized that I would be involved in the arts as a profession, and it chose me as much as I chose it. When I think about how I was raised, my experiences influenced my becoming an artist in profound ways. I grew up in a small family of story tellers and I learned to tell my stories through my art. What is the most challenging aspect of being an artist? As an adult, I realize how difficult all aspects of the profession are in reality. The art world is immense and competitive, and with the growth of the digital age, the world is accessible instantly. We are bombarded by images, and words and sounds. There are a multitude of disciplines for an individual creative entrepreneur to master. It never gets boring, but sometimes it is challenging to get it all done. There are so many aspects of running an art studio like a business, such as posting on social media, advertising, ordering materials teaching, shipping. Then there are more time consuming things such as entering competitions, applying for grants, looking for galleries, organizing inventory, photography, and determining which pieces will go to which shows. All this is in addition to producing artwork. Monetary issues are often challenging. Its difficult to budget when one doesnâ€™t have a steady reliable income, so I tend to be a saver instead of a spender, always planning for that rainy day. Name artists youâ€™d like to be compared to. I transitioned to my recent work from a long career working in hot glass to work which I consider primarily in the realm of mixed media with a focus of incorporating glass into solid, 3-D collages which are held together with clear resin. The work is constructed in layers which is reminiscent of 2 well known glass artists, Bertil Vallien, from Sweden, and Dana Zamecnikova from Prague. Vallien casts thick glass forms and then suspends inclusions into the forms freezing them in space. Zamecnikova uses layers
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of enameled sheet glass with imagery which one views through each other. In addition, my work has been compared to the work of Joseph Cornell, an American, who was a master at assemblage while creating boxes using found and created artifacts. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Rochester, New York has a vibrant art scene. While it is commonly true that opening an art gallery is risky business, our area in western New York doesn’t seem fazed by this. There is a resurgence of restoration in our buildings, and shops and galleries are moving in, along with new music venues. Restaurants, microbreweries and distilleries are popping up along with new lofts built specifically for working artists to work and live in. Rochester and its suburbs has a population of about one million people, and we have many well attended festivals for art and music during the summer months. There is a plethora of well priced spaces for artists studios. There are 2 older buildings, The Hungerford, and Anderson Alley which run First Fridays and Second Saturdays as artists open their studios to the public. We have Rochester Fine Arts Store, an amazing art supply company which carries everything. The George Eastman House, and The Eastman School of Music are world reknowned and the Rochester Institute of Technology has a wonderful Art & Design College which is what brought me to this city originally to do my M.F.A. I wouldn’t say that Rochester has the same heartbeat that New York City has…but it is moving in that direction. What is the best art tip you have ever received? The best “ funny” tip I have ever received was in graduate school. They said “If you can’t make it good…make it big. If you can’t make it big…make it red.” That reflects the state of the art when I was in school in the late 80’s. I don’t suscribe to that idea, however I thought that was amusing and wouldn’t life be simple if that were the only thing you had to do to attain success. The best tip I received as a younger artist is to follow your heart and find your true north and temper it with high ethics along with realistic, attainable dreams. Additionally, only put out work of the highest quality and price it accordingly. If you think of yourself as a successful creative entrepreneur instead of a starving artist… you will already be crafting your future vision.
What are your future plans as an artist? I am looking at what I call Act 3. I am at a crossroads. I have just had a super successful solo show at the Geisel Gallery in Rochester. A few days before the show was hung I made the difficult decision to move my studio, after 35 years, from the fourth floor of an old industrial building in an older part of town. Sounds like a no brainer, but I had years of accumulation so the task is daunting. I have found a wonderful space on a ground floor in a good neighborhood, which has everything that I could desire. It’s hard work packing up boxes of stuff. The days of kilns and hot furnaces are behind me. In making my load lighter… I find that my spirit seems lighter as well. Every item I pack up asks the question “Will I realistically ever use this?” The dumpster is getting filled quickly. What was I thinking? I want light and air. While deconstructing the studio, I can see glimmers of work about light and air. My mind is forever moving, creating, building, problem solving every second of every day. I am getting ready for another solo show at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, New York. After my beloved Grandmother passed away at 81, I found her calendars from the last 60 years. They were filled with French lessons, bowling, golf, bridge dates, movie clubs, travel, German lessons, and piano lessons among other things. Seeing this made me feel happy, knowing that she had a full life, filled with people and things she enjoyed and loved doing. I imagine that my “life calendar” will be filled up with people and things that excite me to my core that will appease my creative self. I imagine continuing to tell my stories visually until the last seconds of my life. It is a way that I give back and it’s the purest form of love I know.
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Scott Allen Roberts
New York, NY, USA
Scott Allen Roberts is a Los Angeles native living and practicing in New York. A fine art major from the University of Southern California and post graduate from Parsons the New School, Scotts’ observational landscapes explore cosmological, ontological, and phenomenological concepts surrounding the ideas of existentialism and the human condition. In the history of landscape art there have always been questions of how humanity fits into its environment. Having experienced close familial death early on in his life with the loss of his parents, themes of mortality both haunt and enlighten his work. The burning human questions of ‘Where do we go when we die?’, ‘Where did the world come from?’, or ‘What is the meaning of it all?’ were the first of many that Scott pondered in his youth and contemplated in observation of landscapes. Roberts’ landscapes borrow from many styles to create work that is bold, graphic and fantastical. His landscapes ask humanities questions of the unknown, enticing the viewer through vibrant color, larger scale formats, and hints of the decorative. The viewer is drawn into an allegory filled with metaphors. From a contemporary perspective, Roberts typically employs the use of reflections, cast shadows, and portals such as windows or doors as a question of where our actual and virtual lives intersect, and the illusions that accompany both sides. Scott continues to explore his personal journey through art and allows the viewer insight into not just his, but their own deeper feelings with the work. Scott is fresh on the New York art scene and having already sold to private collectors is ready to promote his work commercially.
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When, how and why you started your art practice? I have always made artwork, my most prominent childhood memories are getting so excited about my parents gifts of pencils, paints and drawing pads as well the subsequent classes. That said, my real dedicated practice began in the fall of 2016. I graduated with a fine art degree from the University of Southern California in downtown Los Angeles (2002) with an emphasis in Drawing and Painting. Like many artist at the foot of their career I not only created artwork, but also supplemented my income with jobs outside the art world. Working in this paradigm of creating art while balancing the need to pay bills I began to travel quite a bit internationally to gain a better understanding of the world and share in its many cultures. Traveling and living abroad for several years opened my mind to a new perspective of friends, ideas, and possibilities and provided one of the themes running through my work. The ‘ journey’ both physically and mentally to new horizons was an important step in my advancement as an artist and marks a pivotal moment in the narrative of my work. A narrative that asks questions about the unknown and bravely steps out into that unknown space seeking answers. In 2009 I moved to New York City to attend Parsons the New School to greater enhance my skill set. The rigors of going back to school were challenging. I was older and more serious about academics and getting my mind back into the essentials of color theory, composition, and inevitable peer critique was both revelatory and frightening. I realized it was the exciting combination of unease and inspiration that would become a driving feature of my art practice. This uncomfortable feeling of the unknown and exciting process of creating have become core values in my art making exploration. The journey that had started over years of travel, and the re-introduction of the feeling of going into the unknown prompted me to tackle answers to humanities biggest questions. This journey began much long before I attended any school to gain formal art training, and the aforementioned uneasiness shown itself to me in the form of close familial loss. ‘Why were we all here?’ and ‘Where were we all going afterwards?’. These big questions are part of a thread that runs through all of my work stemming from my childhood. As a child, these questions would fight to both haunt and enlighten both myself and my artwork. Typically
working in solace in view of a variety of landscapes it became apparent to me that humanity questions how it fits into the environment around it. Mother nature shows humanity a perfectly balanced plethora of landscapes complete with a rotation of birth and decay and all the emotions we can apply to that cycle. We are intrinsically connected to the nature around us and it is my aim to explore the limitless range of landscapes this world has to offer and document them whilst applying my core concepts. I explore the ontological questions that we have all asked throughout the ages and while considered ‘dark territory’, I question that unknown through bright, provocative, and compelling environments. In 2010 I discovered the Hudson Valley and all of its majestic natural surroundings. It is this immensity of nature that would become the backdrop for my pending practice. The natural beauty and grand landscapes of the Hudson Valley became a gravity that which I could not escape. In 2016 I established a small studio in the area and began to work full time on my first realized series The Dusk. The Twilight. The Eve. With a foundation in concepts built in my youth, a wealth of travel framing and reinforcing those concepts, and now a dedicated space and time to create, this inaugural series marks a milestone in my career. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? Artist face many challenges (mostly within our own heads!) but I would say on the front line is discipline flanked with constantly developing challenges of networking. One of the biggest redemptions in the journey of creating an artwork is that it is derived from one’s own discipline. There is no manager or boss tasking jobs to you and there is no corporate ladder to climb. The artist path while not directionless is perhaps more obscure than the typical career yet requires you to still take a path. I work on art everyday from coming up with concepts, making simple sketches, to painting large landscapes. There is not a single day that goes by that art is not a part of my thought process, even on days that I’m not ‘ feeling it’.
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A self-starter attitude is a must for any artist because no one else is going to provide for you a list of objectives, only yourself. I work from the early morning until the evening most days and have only myself to be the driving force for my efforts. While some would say that they would like the freedom and flexibility of this schedule, without the right self-discipline a career could lie unfulfilled. I flanked networking as a challenge because like many artist I simply wish to make art and talk casually about it with other artist, collectors, and friends. The objective of networking is not simply to have casual conversations though, it is also to communicate your narrative to a greater audience, promote through show submissions and publications, and hopefully be given the greatest compliment: that moment when someone pays for your work. Something I have learned quickly is that networking never ‘goes to sleep’. You must always be alert and ready to take any possible opportunity that arises. Tying this back to discipline, networking is an essential part of being an artist as the public doesn’t just buy your work, they are also interested in knowing you and purchasing a piece of your story as well. Networking should basically be happening every time you are not working on your art (or asleep!) What do you like/dislike about the art world? I think that much of what I like about the art world is also something to dislike at the same time. While there are many subjects to touch on there is one in particular that stands out. Art is subjective. What pleases one will certainly not always please another and yet the beauty of viewing art is that it can trigger in one a range and depth of emotions. I think this is one of the positive sides of the critique by one who has no background in how to educationally criticize art or rather the ‘man on the street’ need not know more than what he feels in the moment, a rush of emotions that prompts a real response of love or distaste. This genuine response is something that any artist should welcome. A real statement from someone who is actively taking the time to look at your art. This ‘man on the street’ drives the industry forward as more new purveyors of art attend art fairs to browse, educate themselves, and to buy art. On the negative end of this idea, everyone is a critic. I find myself wondering where this heightened sense of criticism coming from? Having studied art and art history it comes as no surprise I have been the subject of many critiques, some of which make you feel on top of the world and others that gut you to the core. A group of studied art peers would dissect an art piece not simply from the way it looks aesthetically, but its application to your body of work, composition, line, color and a variety of other principles in art and how they develop your concept. Oh yeah and theres that, the concept, its not just pretty pictures! While I both like and dislike the varying degrees of critique I think its important to balance what you say and hear during critique. I edge away when I feel myself becoming too academic and snooty, and certainly accept more of the genuine less verbose responses from a new purveyor of art. How would you describe the art scene in your area? New York in general has one of the best art scenes in the world. World class museums and galleries juxtaposed to new and emerging galleries showcasing great talent. This is known and expected. The area I work in the Hudson Valley located in upstate New York has an exciting dimension and caliber of work,
both unexpected and diverse. The scale of places like Stormking, Dia Beacon, or Maggazzino Italian art museums are epic and breathtaking. The natural environment alone lends itself to epic landscapes and grand spaces to preview world class art. I am fortunate to be surrounded by such inspirational institutions. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? A professor in school once told me to create something everyday, from a doodle, more detailed sketch, to full blown painting. It is advice that continues to aid in my on-going development today. The application of Ernest Hemingways approach to creating is something I tie into this, and it’s about dedicating yourself to your craft everyday at certain times. Hemingway worked every early morning and worked until the afternoon. Some days you might simply stare at the wall and procure hardly anything and other days it could be lightning in a bottle! It is the consistency that is key. What are your future plans as an artist? I will continue to sell to a growing private clientele and have plans for a private show in an exclusive location in New York City in the coming months. With new Commissions confirmed for the fall I will continue to work on these and develop my new dynamic series ‘A Civil Twilight’.
Marko Tomic Miami, USA
I am born in Belgrade, Serbia 1984 god. Born in artistic family, work, aimed success so it was inevitable that he become an artist and worker ant. On the age of 23 went to America, in Washington then Miami, and find your inner voice, role and mission through painting. Since 2009, totally dedicated to his art and to develop a new direction and style of painting called: Konnectivism. Marko image invisible and untouchable particles. This connection is permanent and durable. In this way he created around 1000 documented art so far. Mission and contributions that Marko has is to show people that invisible, intangible pervasive energy through painting and Konnectivism as a combination of Heaven and Earth. The best description of my art starts with intangible invisible source energy and my connecting to that feeling that knowing power, vortex, love, unnamed mother of all creations showing me telling me what to paint silent voice showing me picture on blank canvas. This is why I paint easy fast and always original new me. I saw angel on the sky after my father past away I know how this sounds but I know what I know, another opinion does not change me and my close experiences with all there is in all shapes, in I am that I am, and vibrational indicators or physical manifestations. I became a painter when voice told me too. When I was chosen and told about my mission and my roll. I know why I am here and why I paint.
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When, how and why started your art practice? 10 years ago life in me found a new mission for me, my role and play. How, I blurry remember my past, I am slowly losing memory but I know was a higher deity I had interactions with. Angel, God or Universe, I do not know, but I know what I was told to do, and I was told not to worry and not to have any doubts about my journey and success. After that awakening miracle experience I started painting the next day, and since then I haven’t stopped. I made in the first 10 years about 1050 paintings. Most challenging part of being an artist for me is realizing life, living life without names and titles, staying blissful and create like creation. Now money is just a paper with value, we make a living like an ant also does like own does, they don’t make a big deal about making a living. There is way much more here than that, and dimensions we cannot see, powers we cannot see, the energy we cannot see. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? Challenge is in us, every day, be yourself. and the challenge becomes a chance, opportunity, ability, and response. What do you like/dislike about the art world? The art world, hmm, I look at the flower or lizard and butterfly, sky or moon, that’s my art world. I like it all. Love it. Now with people in the art world, I think they wait and wait to see who can make it, who can be a new face, it’s an interesting game to me. I feel one day you are famous, one day not, it’s a magic. But for me being fertile, being so fertile it’s most important, a key to all dreams, I am always like a pregnant woman, ready to give life, so fertile, like best soil. Paintings are swimming out from me. Dislike is art festivals around the world, they invite me to exhibit everywhere, but the wall space goes from 5 to 10 thousands of dollars, it is a legal criminal steal. So bad, prevent stops us to showcase our work to all people in the world. and get more and give more. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live in Miami, but also I travel to see my family in Belgrade, Serbia. Here in Miami is all about Art Basel. December is the best time for art. Honestly is hit and miss. Culture is not about money, but here it is. in Serbia, there is an awareness of culture and separation from money, but there is not a lot of money for art. So every city has plus and minus, positives and negatives. The art scene is changing always. What are your future plans as an artist? My plan is to keep painting, keep giving keep dreaming and always creating. I can’t fit the world to my art studio but I can give my art to the world. My paintings are forever. My paintings are alive now this is my era my golden era I used to say I am new Picasso now I know I am Marko not bigger than Picasso not smaller just me.
Katerina Tsitsela Thessaloniki, Greece
I am an artist whose artistic research ranges from painting to engraving. My work delves into human perception of landscapes expressing specific mental situations. They are interpreted psychoanalytically as â€˜internal landscapes â€˜or landscapes of the human soul. My paintings manifest internal dark landscapes in which beams of light invade via them. Thus, they reveal the figures besetting with the present situation of existence through the beholderâ€™s eyes. My interest focuses on search of excessive truth which lies beyond our journey to material. The colour along with the turmoil caused by the tactile touch of the cement on the surface of the canvas witness the emotional state in which both the figures and landscapes are. The earthen colours and bold writing display my world showing a theme with rough and imposing touches integrating the surroundings either as internal or as abstract ones. My recent research regarding canvas comes from the sustained interest in the process of natural materials on a large scale especially for the specific position as executive act in which the work is a relic of working, gesture and movement. I am amazed by the ability of the cement when it is mixed with colour dust and oil. As regards the artistic body, an abstract time measurement is made. All in all, the body of work is a meditation close to the brevity of human existence.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you I was born in a poor family in the west of Thessaloniki. My parents were working in a factory of the city. The subject of my art shows people in poor environments where they stand alone. I create landscape that express certain mental states and psychoanalytically interpreted as “inner landscapes”, landscapes of the human soul. The paintings reveals dark interior landscapes in which light bundles invade, revealing to the viewer’s eyes the forms that are plagued by the existential situation of. Absorbed in thought, the figures, with earthy colors and strong lines, churning world of displaying a subject that with broad and impressive touches incorporated into the surrounding area. Either inside the room or space abstract inspire both contemplation. The feelings are usually agony, expectation, loneliness and sorrow. My last work shows people who are in prison and suppressed by the Nazists’s regime. The feelings of pain and sorrow were the catastrophical results of the Nazism. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? The most challenging part for me is that through my art I express my big interest in metaphysics. I am deeply interested in showing the spiritual world that exists in people’s life and held them face the difficulties of the world on this earth. The art scene of Thessaloniki is very poor. There are not chances for artists here to participate in art exhibitions. People in Thessaloniki are not interested in art and therefore the artists cannot survive via their art. Name artists you’d like to be compared to. The artists that I like most are Anselm Kiefer and the Russian Pioneers. The technique and style of Kiefer as well as the spirituality of the Russian Pioneers are elements that influence my art. The poetic art of Kiefer is identical to my aspect. My art form is geometric and therefore spiritual and I was influenced by Russian pioneers who were searching the spirituality through forms. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The Greek society became very poor in the last ten years. This fact has influenced the creation of works of art in a dramatic way. The Greek artists face severe problems to survive. Many of them have travelled to London and Berlin in order to have the opportunity to work with art galleries. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? Patience and hard work have helped me a lot to create the art works till today. Living also in a quiet environment is very important for an artist to work. What are your future plans as an artist? My future exhibitions will be held in Giannena, Athens, London, Thessaloniki and New York. In Giannena will be a group exhibition, in Athens will be a group exhibition for “artist’s books”, in London I will take part with other four artists in an exhibition in a library and in Thessaloniki I will have a solo exhibition and the same exhibition will be held in New York.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Ronis Varlaam London, England, UK
RONIS VARLAAM has studied filmmaking at the London Film School and has produced and directed several documentaries for television, mainly Channel 4. Gradually his interests moved to art in general and now his practice includes painting, photography and videos. He believes in the primacy of painting. The series entitled PAINTINGS is my latest series and I plan to continue with it in the foreseeable future. It is at the interface of opposites e.g. Abstract/Figurative, Subjective/Objective, Looking/Perceiving. Nos 10, 11, 17 and 19 represent a new way of looking at who we are, a new way of representing ourselves. All the paintings are in Oil, 60 X 60 cm except No 19 which is 60 X 90 cm.
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Tell us about your background and how that influences you. I am a Greek Cypriot artist. I was born in Nicosia, Cyprus in 1946 and came to London in 1963 to study Economics. I was not interested in art before I came to London. In fact I had been to see only one exhibition in Cyprus. This is because during my teenage years, Cyprus was in the middle of a guerrilla war to end the British rule. There were hardly any galleries or exhibitions. London offered so many different possibilities and I decided not to study Economics but to study Filmmaking at the London Film School. I finished the two year course and gained my Diploma. After that I worked as a freelance cameraman. But there were times that I had to get any temporary job, usually in acccounts, in order to survive. I decided to take an evening class in theatre design so as to broaden the type of work I could get. The teacher there asked us to buy a set of paints so as to colour the scaled model sets. Not knowing much about paints I bought a set of oil paints. The teacher said that there were not suitable for the purpose as oil takes so long to dry and that I should have bought watercolour or acrylic paints. So I had this set of oil paints lying around unused and one Saturday afternoon I remember I was bored and I started experimenting with them. I had already started going to galleries as London has some of the best galleries in the world and they are usually free. I gradually began to be interested in painting more and more. I also started my own film production company and produced and directed several documentaries for television, mostly for Channel 4, U.K. Eventually I closed the company and concentrated on painting. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? The most challenging part of being an artist on a practical level is to earn enough money to make a living from one’s art. As a painter the main problem of being an artist is that currently painting is out of fashion. It is not unusual in an open exhibition out of say 100 artworks only 10 to 20 to be paintings. But I believe in the primacy of painting. Another challenge is that galleries expect you to have just one style. I paint both figurative and abstract paintings and both are not just in one style. I see painting as a journey of discovery and though to me there are connections between the various styles I accept that an outsider might not see the similarities but only the differences. Anyway I would be very bored if I painted in just one style. Name artists you would like to be compared to. Every artist tries to find their own voice. Some artists find their style (sometimes quite early) and stay with it. Others search for it and the search becomes the art. I think I am
between the too. There are a lot of artists I would like to be compared to but I do not think I have the right. There are some artists I like a lot who are quite famous in the United Kingdom but perhaps less known internationally: Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, Euan Uglow, Vanessa Bell, Patrick Heron, Pauline Boty…Perhaps I like artists who push the art of painting forward. I work at the interface of opposites: Abstract/Figurative, Subjective/Objective, Looking/ Perceiving. My latest series is entitled simply ‘PAINTINGS’ and it combines abstract and figurative elements and is primarily concerned with questions of Vision. At this point I am going to state something very obvious (probably the most obvious fact of our existence) but at the same time I think quite surprising. We never see our faces. The most important part of our body perhaps what gives us our sense of I, of who we are, we never see. We can only see it in a mirror. And what is more ‘other’ than a mirror. Or we can, in a way, see it in the faces of others of how they react to us. Do they give us admiring glances, do they turn their faces away or do they just ignore us? Our sense of self, our identiry depends entirely on others. I have been trying to find a way of painting this fact. What is there? Instead of heads we have images and thoughts, memories and desires. PAINTINGS 10, 11, 17 and 19 represent, I feel, a new way of looking at ourselves of who we are. How would you describe the art scene in your area? How can one describe the art scene in London? I am trying to make a list of galleries in London and I have reached No 150. There are probably a lot more. There are the big institutions like the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the Royal Academy and few others. These usually have their permanent collections which are free to visit and temporary exhibitions for which one has to pay. The latter can be very important ‘once in a lifetime’ exhibitions. Then there are the private galleries. These range from experimental galleries sometimes organised by artists and usually located in East London to the exclusive galleries with very high prices mostly located around Mayfair. I say exclusive but any one can visit any gallery and of course they are free to visit and you are made welcome. Just do not mention that you are an artist. They immediately lose interest. I have been a full time artist for years and I have taken part in more than 30 group shows but I still do not quite understand how they operate. How they chose their artists, to whom they sell. So I am not going to attempt to explain the mysteries of the art world. What is the best art tip you’ve ever received? To have just one style. It is a tip I have never followed. What are your future plans? To carry on painting. To have a Solo show. To paint the perfect painting. At which point I will probably stop.
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Anna Vo Davis, CA, USA
My creativity is driven by the mundane scenes that many may overlook. My aspiration is to bring out the beauty in your everyday visions. Sub-human, a photography project, was inspired by the individual parts of the human form. By breaking the human subject apart, I wish to enhance the beauty of movement, physical contact, emotions, and other aspects that put together a person.
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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you My name is Anna, and I am an Asian female photographer/designer based in California. I studied Design and Managerial Economics at University of California â€“ Davis. To be completely honest, Iâ€™m not sure if my background really had that much of an impact on me as an artist. My art style changes over time, but it usually carries an eerie, mellow aura. This probably came from how I am as a person. Possibly the way I was raised and the obstacles I went through as a kid have shaped me into the person I am today. However, I am unable to pin point exactly what aspects or events have directly influenced me. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? I have been thinking a lot about who I create for. As an artist, I want my work to be influential. I want to be able to create an impact on society with my photography. On the other hand, my artwork is filled with my emotions. At times, it becomes my only way of expressing and existing. Instead of using my role as artist to reach out to society, it becomes the shell that hid me away from the rest of the world. Name artists youâ€™d like to be compared to. There are many artists who have inspired me, but there is none I would like to compare myself to. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I am currently based in San Jose, California, also known as the Silicon Valley. Due to the fact that is dominated by tech companies, the art scene becomes more and more commercial. However, being only an hour away from San Francisco, the art scene in my area definitely also carries some of that creative vibe. The areas of art practiced the most in San Jose would be fashion, photography, graphic design, and more urban types of art.
What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? I used to only photograph objects. My eyes were always drawn towards nature, lights and shadow, and the placement of things. However, I once got into an argument with another artist. They spoke about the beauty in human forms. At the time, I was against photographing people, because portraits always appeared somewhat boring to me. It just didn’t make sense to me how simply placing a person in front of the camera and make sure that they look pretty was considered as creative. However, I started observing the movement of human’s body parts. Slowly, I fell in love with veins on the arm, wrinkles on a smile, the nape of one’s neck. My recent project, “Sub-human”, shows a series of photographs taken to enhance
the human parts, emotions, and other aspects that put together a person. What are your future plans as an artist? My next project is about bringing vulnerabilities to light—literally. With this project, I want to focus on the insecurities, pain, and struggles of the photographed person. By capturing the deepest and most hidden part, I want to embrace the idea of acceptance. The project will also shine on my biggest vulnerability. I believe that if I am asking others to be comfortable with their fear and insecurities, then, I, myself, should also learn to appreciate my own flaws and damage.
Darien, CT, USA
I grew up in Toronto before I moved to Connecticut after being diagnozed with Leukemia. After battleing with cancer for close to four years and going through many treatments and surgeries I was able to return to school. I began to seriously start experiment with art and painting during my junior year of high school. After reciving a second place prize in the iCreate Art Exhibition at the Bruce Museum, I submerged myself in my paints and creating a series revolving around my experiences in hosptial as a child. After graduating from high school I am now studying at Rhode Island School of Design and pouring my body and mind into the work I create with the hope of creating a career. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote in “Letters to a Young Poet” “This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must”, then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.” Since reading this passage I have frequently asked myself this proposed question from Rilke. Must I paint? My answer is an immovable yes. These actions have become my breath and blood flow. I draw from my emotion, passion and life to have it become reality with my mediums. My work has become my own study of how I see my world and how my world effects me with each piece creating a snapshot of my life.
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What is the most challenging part of being an artist? Currently I am entering my Junior year as a painting major at RISD. Although I was prepared for the amount of work that was expected for my studios, nothing can ever prepare an artist for the mental strain that constant work brings. This constant work, the push from my professors for improvement and my own self criticism has all lead towards some of the most challenging hurtles of my artistic career. All of these influences constantly has me pushing myself for improvement and, as a result, I am never satisfied with my own work. The common idea that you are your own worst critique could not hit the nail on the head any more perfectly. Artists contribute to there own destruction by beating themselves to constantly create work and to punish themselves if they are not constantly working. This mental state is always with me and something I am constantly battling with, however it is because of this drive to work that I am always pushing myself and improving on my work. Name artists youâ€™d like to be compared to.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I first started drawing whilst I was in hospital under treatment to fight leukemia. The memories of being in treatment are some of my first with the majority of them revolving around the numerous waiting rooms and hospital beds. While encased in this cold yet caring environment, I would draw on the wax paper of the doctors room and the books that were kept by my bed. I never fully revisited the surreal environment that was early childhood until the senior year of my high school. Up to that point I had slowly been wrapping myself in art and the resources my school provided, experimenting with multiple mediums but always struggling to find a personal subject to portray. This mental barrier was broken with my enrollment in AP art and the development of my first concentration. I chose to focus on those earliest memories I had and to portray them as I remembered, an innocent and filtered view of my hospitalization. The completion of this concentration is, as I see it, the start of my artistic career. Finishing my high school with awards in fine arts and photography along with a placements in both Scholastics and the ICreate Award Show, I committed myself as an artist and was accepted into the Rhode Island School of Design.
One of the things that has helped me push my work in new directions has been my connection to the artists of the Dada and Surrealist movement. After hitting multipule walls during my second semester as a sophomore I felt a strong connection to the philosophy of those artists including Man Ray, Andre Breton, Rene Magritte, Marcel Duchamp and other artists of the movement. While I was entranced by there work what I connected to more was their mind set and how they viewed both art and its creation. Since bringing there ideas to life in my own work I have felt a strong connection to that movement. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I have grown used to constantly being with artists of a variety of backgrounds and talents. Frequently I am asking for advice and helping those around me with their own projects. Each artist in my school and area builds off of each other creating both a very commutative environment while having it also be welcoming. For example as a painting
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major my studio space is shared with my classmates, with every one working in one large studio throughout the year. Although we are always there to critique each others work and help, always being able to see the progress of other people encourages and challenges you to push your own work. Whatâ€™s the best art tip youâ€™ve ever received? The midst of my finals of first semester my sophomore year had me feeling more stress, frustration and emotionally down than in any memory I can conjure. Pushing myself to create numerous paintings, drawings and films all for separate classes left me feeling very purposeless in my art. This feeling kept with me for several months. My work became passionless and separated from who I was and what I was feeling. It was not until I confessed these feelings to one of my classmates during a late night session of painting that my feelings changed. My classmate instructed me to find and artist or artists that thought and manipulated their mediums under the same mind set as I did. This introduced me to both the Dadaist and Surrealist moments and their ideals. As simple as this sounds, the task of finding someone, be it author, painter or filmmaker, that connects with your own self, creates completely new avenues of creative thinking. Had it not been for this advice I might have still been struggling with my own connection to my art. What are your future plans as an artist? My plans for the future are hazy as they stand now. Although I donâ€™t know exactly what I want to be doing to an exact point, I am able to firmly say what I do not want to be doing. I refuse to be glued down to a single place. Traveling and finding new influences draws me towards corners of the world I have yet to see. I hope to take part in my schools european honors program and stay in Rome for a semester. I also aim to touch new mediums and to continue to grow as an artist and individual. Film interests me greatly and I hope to one day adapt a book into a movie with the help of one of my close friends. However my ultimate goal is to always create and to one day relay on my creative works and projects for a living.
Annette Wilson Salzburg, Austria
Annette Wilson is an Austria-based photographer, on a continual pursuit to find joy in the otherwise trite and/or trivial. Predominantly fixated on the documentation of human beings and the beauty of relatability, her work tends to dance along the line between a very honest recording of life as it is, and something higher- something other-wordly- something showing that for sure there is something more. Annette Wilson, daughter to a Swedish mother and a Maori father, was born and raised in a warm, loving, creative atmosphere alongside her five siblings in the sun of Sydney, Australia. Her camera became her chosen expressive form as a teenager and has yet to subside- with commissions since taking her laps around the world. Living in a mud hut in a highly remote village nestled in the Nepali mountains, cramped in a tiny shoebox apartment on the 8th floor of a Parisian apartment, camping in the blistering heat of the Utah desert- this all is just another day in the life of Annette and her thirst to document humanity in all its many forms.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. Born and raised in the cultural melting pot that is Sydney, Australia, to a Swedish mother and half-Maori father, cultural diversity has threaded its way through every aspect of my life for as long as I can remember. I’m a third-culture kid with multiple passports, a graduate of an Australian Fine Arts university consisting predominantly of international students, I’m a lover of Italian tesserae and Asian cuisine, Iranian textiles and Moroccan colour palettes, Icelandic soundscapes and Scandinavian seasonings. Alongside this, my parents did an astounding job to foster creativity in our home (of six children) and in our way of thinking. We were encouraged to explore and embrace creative and analytical skills on a continual basis- to formulate opinions and then
to express them unashamedly through creative forms. We were encouraged to play in the dirt, to mix together self-devised concoctions in the kitchen, to sleep under the stars, and to make decisions based on the joy they would bring us. My Grandpa was a painter, my Grandma a poet, my Aunt a mixed-media artist, my other Aunt a composer of musicals, my Uncle a nuclear astrophysicist, and the other a sculptor. To be a Wilson is to be a creator. My family, my colourful island home, my core religious beliefs, and the mixed blood running through my veins are the creative influences at the very root of my being. They’ve long been the inspirational sources for what I create, how I create, when I create (always)- and I can’t imagine that subsiding anytime soon.
What is the most challenging part of being an artist? Honestly, the greatest challenge would be a general lack of understanding from outside sources about my life decisions. Some with seemingly more ‘stable’ careers, and on-paper ‘secure’ lives (yet more muddled headspaces) find it difficult to fathom that a functional life can be solely supported by the compensation earned as a creator. While it is indeed a fair concern to have, having to justify one’s life over and over to others can at times be frustrating and can even be a little debilitating. That, and being told that I’m ‘living the dream’, being paid to ‘ just click a button’, ‘paid to travel’, ‘paid to be happy’- like the universe wrote me a permission slip and denied others the same privilege, and that my life is all just sunshine and rainbows. This ignorance makes my eye twitch
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at times, but I’ve learned to deem it as a simple a lack of understanding. Sometimes I need to speak up and patiently clarify that the rain pours on everyonethe ones living the life they want and the ones living otherwise- that there is a lot more to my profession than ‘clicking a button’, and that seemingly serendipitous opportunities do not just fall into my lap- rather that I work very, very hard, very consistently, very consciously, very proactively, and very strategically in order to create these opportunities for myself. And that many of the photographic projects I’m able to participate in- which come about as a result of largely my very own efforts- are wildly challenging on a number of levels- just as physically, mentally, and spiritually draining as they are rewarding. Both ends of the spectrum are as present as can be, always. Short answer- a lack of understanding from outside sources can take its toll at times, but in general, I’ve come up with solutions to navigate such situations without hurting myself or others, to educate when I feel is appropriate and to simply smile and shrug away any frustrations otherwise.
Name artists you’d like to be compared to. Compared in a sense that I’d love to be on a list just like this one for someone else someday, I draw these artists from a wide variety of mediums: Brandon Boyd, for his wildly insightful and entertaining sculpting of words on humanity. Egon Schiele, for the rich colour palette dancing across his landscape pieces- the same palette as my dreams. Matt Corby, for the shivers he showers down my spine every single time he opens his mouth. Oli Sansom, for his profound understanding of light and its play on every surface it touches. Elise Strydom, for the way she makes me feel when I see anything through her eyes. Justin Vernon, for the raw simplicity of his most basic and minimally-produced music which somehow is more multi-faceted and dimensional than anything I’ve ever heard. Vivian Maier, for the depth of her understanding of the human condition, and the subsequent precise and provocative portrayal of it. Roland Barthes, for his ability to articulate everything I’ve ever thought about imagery in simple, relatable terms. And Raghu Rai, for his mastery in seeing
patterns, light, warmth, and beauty in otherwise entirely bleak, cold and heart-wrenching situations. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Currently, I live in a tiny lakeside village in Austria, and to be quite frank, the art scene is a little outdated in my opinion. Kitsch and unoriginal. It’s interesting because Gustav Klimt spent many, many summers creating here, inspired by the magical landscape, painting colourful works of glory of the sparkling alpine water and its surrounding bursts of floral wonder. Mahler wrote his 2nd symphony on the shores of this lake. The famous artist alumni list is long here- creativity is- or a least, was- certainly in the air, but, innovation-wise, I feel it never truly moved beyond those works of the early 1900s. And I think a lack of community and collaboration is mostly to blame- people generally keep to themselves- themselves and their long-standing traditions and mindsets. In a month I’ll move to Berlin, a city thriving with creativity and innovation in the arts- which I believe can be attested to
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the sense of community and focus on collaboration abounding there. I’m excited for this breath of fresh creative air and a new injection of motivation to make. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? It wasn’t so much a tip as it was a profound statement that rung true to me almost 10 years ago and still rings just as true to me today. It was in the back of my high school visual arts process diary, filled in to present a concept for review for a yearlong artwork we were to undertake. I’d poured everything into it- all of me. Filled it with mood boards and concept essays, artists and works I couldn’t get out of my head, songs which summarised the mood I was aiming for in my piece. My stylish, classy, pointy-toe-shoed art teacher had given me full marks, and simply written: ‘In the words of Billy Holiday: God bless the child that’s got his own. Well done, Annette. You’ve got your own.’ To have my own is a permanent and forever pertinent goal of mine- being aware of but ultimately closing my eyes to trends, movements, and comparison
from outside sources. Feeling, understanding and living what’s my ‘own’ and having confidence in its uniqueness and strength, and, with that as my grounding - creating timeless, honest work that I can always stand behind and feel confident in signing with my name. What are your future plans as an artist? I’ve recently taken to mosaic and can’t wait to run with that as soon as my new studio space is set up in Berlin. It’s happenchance, ceramics as a medium, and the beautifying of otherwise trite and/or trivial spaces, all combined into one. Although the roots of mosaic stem way back into the third millennium BC, I love that mosaic is a largely untapped area of the modern art world- the creative and commercial market remaining entirely unsaturated. I’d love to assist significantly in its revival in our modern era, learning all there is to know about it and sharing this knowledge in classroom settings and otherwise. Or even perhaps with therapy clients- as I’ll be completing a post-graduate degree in Art Therapy in the near future, a shift in professional direction
I hope will bring together all the things I’ve learned in the past in a helpful-to-humanity kind of way. Alongside that, I have plans in place to continually expand my horizons and abilities as an artist- to improve my photography- in the sense of photographing more weighted subjects and events, and to turn even more towards analog mediums. To write more- and more often. I have a number of books drafted and ready to go. I’m releasing my very first in a number of days, which I hope will instill in me the confidence to continue using words of reflection and accompanying imagery to commentate on the status quo and hopefully feel it add value to the world surrounding us. To complete a course in floristry, and use those techniques in my art practice. And finally, to open up a collaborative art studio/school/creative space, where artists and non-artists alike can come together and experience one of the most satisfying, fulfilling, deeply rewarding experiences we can have as mortal beings - that being to take, as Dieter F. Uchtdorf once stated, ‘unorganised matter into our hands’ and ‘mold it into something of beauty’- to create.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Sophie Wyle Buckinghamshire, UK
Sophie Wyleâ€™s work explores an extended painting practice. Containing elements of both sculpture and photography. She derives line from the edges of buildings and shapes from abandoned factory architecture abstracting them into a reduced form. Outlining and composing collages of architectural shapes creates a basis for her linear metal sculptures. Wyle creates artworks with household emulsion paints, gloss varnish and powder-coated, spray painted steel. She uses primary colours and the raw surface of welded metal, interested in the application of paint to the surface. Creating work that contains industrial materials with a minimal approach, she changes usually recognisable images into abstract shapes. This forces the viewer to interact, to connect via a kinetic response.
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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I’m Sophie Wyle, a painter and sculptor based in Buckinghamshire and recent graduate from De Montfort University, Leicester. I grew up surrounded by countryside, in a little farmers house next to horse fields and the most stunning canal, I then took the leap away from the countryside to the bustling city of Leicester to study art. Leicester is an up and coming art scene. Leicester is a vibrant and multicultural city and I feel lucky to have studied there as it has grown. My practice in this time away has developed massively, with my work now mimicks the forms, angles and materials of the city’s architecture. Bright colours, bold, jagged shapes merged with industrial materials and pretty much any scrapped wood, plastic, glass or metal I can get my hands on is the
basis of my exploration. My father was a metal fabricator, when he passed, I gravitated towards metal as a material purely as it has a personal value to me. Using metal is pricey, and as a student it was easier and cheaper to search for scrap metal instead. Skip diving is an all-time favourite way of collecting materials to spray paint and collage onto. I’m really loving Ida Ekblad’s welded found metal sculptures currently, looking forward to seeing her group show, Use Your Illusion, in London soon. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? I feel like there are two answers to this question. Currently I’ve just finish university studying a BA in Fine Art, and right now I’m enjoying having some head space away from assessed artworks and critical thinking. Giving myself this little room to breathe
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and feel creative again is something that I feel we all need sometimes. Constantly working on something can get my head in a fizz. One thing I’ve realised from stepping back is that someone (to put it bluntly) will always be better than you. No matter how talented, how original, how interesting, whatever has been thought up in your mind, there is always going to be someone that little bit ‘more hip’. I try to overcome this by simply letting go and accepting it. Let my work and my thoughts drive me, a sprinkling of jealousy to keep me motivated always helps too.
my work with viewers. There are also two large universities in Leicester, making it a lively student city!
The second challenge would be to keep spirits up after a failed artwork. I like the quote by da Vinci that states “Art is never finished, only abandoned”, so even if something goes completely wrong, or I absolutely hate the finished piece, I try to learn from it, why’d I hate it so much, what would I change if I did it again, then just do it! Have a mini breakdown, feel rubbish for a few hours, read, make a smoothie and get creative juices running again.
What are your future plans as an artist?
Name artists you’d like to be compared to. I don’t want to be considered an extension from any previous movements or artists however my work takes inspiration from sculptor Anthony Caro, the cut paper collages of Henri Matisse and contemporary works by Brooklyn-based artist Carol Bove. I want my work to fit somewhere between the barrier of painting and sculpture, I feel like I can explore both directions without having to single my practice down to just one, because at the end of the day anything can be inspiring and anyone can be an artist (as long as you’re willing to work hard, cry and still push through your own barriers too). How would you describe the art scene in your area? Buckinghamshire, is a small suburban county with some beautiful national trust venues but only a galleries. Last month we had Bucks Art Weeks whereby over 500 artists and makers in over 200 working studios open their studios or homes into mini galleries to display their work. It’s completely free, and I feel is a perfect way to share the love for art within the community; next year I would like to take part myself. I’m only a short journey away from Leicester and London which are completely different art scenes. Leicester has some great galleries: Leicester Print Workshop, LCB Depot, New Walk Gallery, and Attenborough Art Centre, just to name a few. As students we put on numerous group shows at LCB Depot, working together to put on a show really opened my eyes to how to present works and talk about
What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? One of my tutors simply told me to, ‘spend more time making stuff, less time thinking about it’, which I think is really important for learning and growth. Without actually making artwork, how are you supposed to learn? Make as much art as you can with the same idea just slightly adapted, then lay them all out and decide which one works best and let that piece grow into something even more imaginative to spark new ideas. I feel that sometimes artworks can become too much of a drag when the idea is too overthought. There is an element of freedom in thinking less and letting your hands and eyes take over more.
After finishing university, I’ve just got a new studio! So right now, and in the near future I will be painting, collaging and sculpting away in there. Finding an artist residency is on the cards, would love to study abroad and absorb a new culture as well as have a local solo show. As said before Buckinghamshire isn’t as artistically thriving as the city of Leicester, so bringing some creativity (and a night of free wine) back home for an exhibition would be awesome. To keep things interesting is an important plan. I use reductionism and aspects of minimalism in my work, removing the sense of knowing what you’re looking at, I feel, keeps the viewer interested. Keep thinking about new ways to understand the work, to become somewhat interactive and respond spatially to artworks. With my metal paintings thinking of new constructions, new use of materials and new ways of applying paint to the surface of metal, keeps me intrigued to keep investigating deeper. At the end of the day, all artists love exploring with materials, we need that element to keep our hands busy and our minds flowing.
Nan Xu Brooklyn, NY, USA
I am interested in painting the landscape of both city view and nature view. I like to combine the sincere and vivid natural status of beings such as rocks and clouds with the discovery about the relationship between the seen world and the world inside myself. I like to use mix media of oil and pen and acrylic to create a language to describe the texture and space and light effect of materials to transfer both rational and romantic feeling of nature. The old masters of Hudson River school paintings give me influence on the light effect of landscape and the way they push the paintings into an ideal romantic world. My recent project is talking about the communication of the unknown energy between nature and human through the event of nature or civilization transformation in a magic-realistic world. Nan Xu was born in China. From a young age she developed a strong passion in both science and art. After she graduated from NYU with a master degree of Science she decided to be a professional artist. During the study in New York Academy of Art she started to paint imaginary landscape of both city view and nature view. After Graduation, she continues to work in New York.
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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I love both science and art when I was young. I want to understand this world from different perspectives. I graduated from NYU with a master in biotechnology. This experience of science study helps me develop the habit of observing the world rationally and makes me always respect nature. I will analyze the view I saw or image I want to create by different aspects such as space, light, air, materials, temperature, texture, the illusion of, etc. I want to create a space that is realistic so always being aware of following the science rules of how light interacts in the space with different materials is the way to do it. I would use different painting techniques to match the effect I want to achieve just like a different recipe for different dishes. Also because of the interest of science, I concern about the power of nature and how they influence human. As the civilization develop, we usually focus more on what we can get from nature, but we should think about what we should do to keep a healthy relationship with and respect nature. I want to use my art to send this message to people. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? The most challenging part of being an artist is to manage time, energy and money. As an artist, I need to make schedules of everything I need to do and keep myself discipline to follow them on a daily basis. Also, when I have a job, I need to balance
the time I spend in the studio and the time on other things. Also, as a full-time artist, it can be hard to have a stable income. So it would be helpful to make plans for the money you are going to spend on materials and other stuff. Also always pay attention to those fund opportunities which can be a significant support for artists. Working as a full-time artist is like a running business. Every aspect such as marking, producing, planning, etc. are all critical. It can be a significant challenge to balance the resource you have to all these parts of the business. Name artists youâ€™d like to be compared to. After I started to paint landscapes, I always go to museums to study from the old masters. Paintings by the artists of Hudson River School gave me a lot of inspirations. Fredric Edwin Church is one of my favorite artists. He was very good at painting the light and atmosphere. The technique he used opens my eyes to explore the connection between pigment and light. His idealized romantic and excruciatingly detailed style of presenting nature inspire me to combine the understanding of humanity in my painting by using a broader scale and details. Turner is another artist I love. His unique style inspires me to invite different materials to achieve the texture and effect I want not limited to brushes and oil paint. Also, his painting reflected a lot of the impact of industrial development on nature. He inspired me to observe the relationship between humanity and nature and be aware of the damage human has done to nature.
How would you describe the art scene in your area? New York is an ideal place for artists. The museums also be a precious resource for study and getting new inspirations. The paintings by the old masters are timeless, they keep reminding us to think about what is art and what is good art. Also, there are numerous galleries for artists to explore and show. They provide opportunities for the artist to express the latest ideas in their unique ways. There are artists from all over the world in New York. It is a good platform to communicate and learn from each other. Whatâ€™s the best art tip you have ever received? The best tip for art I got is to balance well the quality and quantity. To keep growing in art making, we need to think about we should focus on quality and quantity in a different stage of the study. Sometimes I feel afraid to make art because I have a high expectation to make a perfect piece before I start. It can be a lot of pressure, and it is not healthy for art development. At this stage, if I focus more on quantity, it may release the tension and allow my self to make mistakes and make bad pieces. It helps me to grow. On the other hand, If I find my self not increasing and stuck in a zone, I would encourage myself to slow down and focus on one piece. I allow myself to put a lot of energy and time on making one high-quality piece. In this way, I can learn a lot in the process and grow. This tip reminds me to know myself better and to get through struggles. Another tip I always think about with this tip together is that always compare with who you were yesterday not someone else today. What is your future plan as an artist? In the future, I want to go more into nature to get inspirations. I will do more plain air studies and use them for my bigger works in my studio. So I will travel to more places to explore and study the history of how human and nature influence each other. There is much damage we already made to the earth, and we did not realize. I want to make paintings about it and show them to people. I hope my painting can invoke the thinking of environment protection. Also, I hope my paintings can also be a record of humanity in history. Because we are in a special time of fast development, every year the scene and how people live can be different. I want to be an observer and I hope they can give people inspirations and be a reminder of how beautiful nature is.
Art Reveal Magazine