Art Reveal Magazine no. 48

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Stacie McCormick & Nemo Nonnenmacher

“Onslaught Undone”

at Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop































GIOVANNI ARMENIO My creative process for this new art collection was to use all the remaining material and create every work as if it was the last. In my mind I had only one thought: “everything must end�. The colours, the materials and the inspiration will end, as well as this new production of abstract works that, perhaps, will be my last art collection.

More at pages: 10-15 On the cover: Youth, Giovanni Armenio


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Stacie McCormick & Nemo Nonnenmacher

“Onslaught Undone”

at Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop Tell us more about “Onslaught Undone” show. Stacie: OU was born out many conversations between Nemo and I and our mutual desire to investigate the contemporary condition of constantly being ‘assaulted’ by the online experience. We kept visiting the notion that its influence is unavoidable yet perhaps digestible and undoable. Interestingly we worked independently of one another and it was not until the installation that we really saw the synergy of the works and the parallels in the gestures as well as the scale of pieces allowing for space to enter. What is the most challenging part about working together? S: Launching a show of works of this scale is always has challenges, for me finding the right paper and material research was particularly challenging to scale my work up. The stress of preparing your own work is already high enough and facing the uncertainty of your collaborators work was additionally stressful and surprising. Personally, I am not so good

with up to the last minute installation, whereby it was my impression Nemo thrives in this condition and it motivates him, this contrast created tensions. Nemo: The most challenging is not to vanish into your own thoughts, as you would when working alone. It is easy to be swallowed by your work, your process and the rabbit hole it can open up. Working collaboratively requires you to foster a constant dialogue about the work, so that one can respond to each others decisions. It is interesting, as the cycle of ideas, making and reflection happens at times you wouldn’t normally anticipate. It is challenging and liberating at the same time. You automatically loose control and learn to trust the other’s decision making. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? S: Profound experiences in wilderness of the far open ocean and the deep forest - environments that overwhelm in terms of defining our size in the larger continuum - to be and made small by the sublime larger nature of things. Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, Etal Adnan, calligraphy/ink, James Turrell. Monastic life. N: I remember the excitement growing up with the hope of the new millennium and the utopia that came with the internet and social media. The outskirts of the wave of science fiction and fantasies up until the 90s that sewed what we harvest today. I am thinking about Neuromancer

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by William Gibson, Otherland by Tad Williams or Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. I don’t think these stories and the enthusiasm for new worlds will ever leave me, although I learned to question some of these ideas a bit more in the meantime. I always felt that there is so much in this world to explore, physically, spiritually and on the other side of the screen. This excitement stays with me, I hope, and I am thankful for the times I lived in so far. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? S: I grow more and more sure that the role of art in the contemporary condition a crucial link to ‘the real’ and to a certain truth in the authentic nature of rarity. Our disposable digital time has insisted a virtual way of living disconnected from the former ways of physically connecting through the village square. Art, studios, galleries have the capacity to connect people and conduct discourse. I am speaking of the non digital plastic arts that have a physical correlation to the individual and how this can not be achieved virtually. N: In a time where technology is manifesting its own language and the human becomes more and more absent, art has even more become a container that allows people to be fascinated with the making, the experience and



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the pursuit of a certain idea or a vision, contemplating the plurality of what it means to be human. It is a place that allows us to return to something small and precious, deep down within oneself. It can be personal, political or the mere fascination with the art object. It can also be the place for failure. It is still one of the few spaces in which everything is and should be allowed. I feel like I have to remind myself about that from time to time though.

What are your future plans?

How would you describe the art scene in your area?

N: I want to get to a place in my practice, where I can feel a strong undercurrent in my work, but where the seriousness and gravity of the subject matter doesn’t hinder the playfulness and experimentation within my practice. In my next projects I am going to collaborate more and see my work in conversation with others, as this has been the most rewarding and challenging experience in the last years. Onslaught Undone is starting to travel next year and I am excited to see how the work will evolve at every instance. Personally I want to get to a point where I can fully immerse in my practice for a longer period of time, working between my studio in London and a new place that is yet to be discovered.

S: I am based in West London which for a long time was the orphan child to the East End of Londons’ amazing art scene. The scene here is growing especially with the new development of the former BBC TV studios and the whole of White City. N: London is buzzing, hectic, beautiful, shallow and endless, huge and small at the same time. It swallows you and accelerates you, if you want it or not. It changes your life and how you see the rest of the world. Cold in the winter, rewarding and welcoming in the spring. The same applies to the art scene.

S: My future plans are to fulfil the next show commtiments, currently in two shows Venice, one in Geneva and a group show in Cumbria. I am working on new series of paintings. A documentary film of my practice has just been competed and I am keen to have this shown along side the works and I am keen to start to investigate my desire to work my gesture into sculpture.

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Stacie McCormick (b. 1962 in Los Angeles, California) is a multi-disciplinary artist based in London. McCormick’s painting practice follows the principal of discovery in manifesting the accident within the abstract gestural arena. Her works are often concerned with the unexpected sublime found and recorded in photography, poetry, video as well sound. Stacie holds an MA in Fine Art from City & Guilds of London Art School, London, UK. Nemo Nonnenmacher (b. 1988, Germany) uses photography and sculpture to imagine the relationship between human hand and virtual space. Nonnenmacher graduated from Royal College of Art in 2017 and has recently been artist in residence at Outset Contemporary Art Fund in London and at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. From 2012 to 2017 he was a fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, exhibiting in the UK and throughout Europe, including ‘Prototypen’ at the Schleuse Opelvillen in Rüsselsheim, Germany in 2017 and the Fondazione Fotografia in Modena, Italy in 2016. He lives and works in London. Images: Onslaught Undone, Stacie McCormick and Nemo Nonnenmacher at Unit 1 Gallery Workshop, London, 2018, Images Courtesy Unit 1 Gallery; Workshop


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Giovanni Armenio Rome, Italy


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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I’ve always loved art and I’ve been studying and doing art for almost 17 years now. I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and later I specialized with a master’s degree in Art History at the Department of Cultural Heritage in Lecce. As an artist, I admire everything that expresses art above all I admire foreign cultures that are very different from Italian, for example Asian ones, and I try to combine everything I like or attracts me with the Italian and European art style that belong to me. I listen to a lot of music, from classical to Asian music. Music inspires me especially in the realization of my abstract paintings. I love visiting exhibitions and museums. Often, the museums I visited have influenced my style and my art. Among these museums, the most influenced for me is The Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona which was fundamental to create this new collection of paintings. While the Ara Pacis Museum in Rome is among the Italian museums that I most prefer, I visit it often and I think this represents my philosophy of art very much. Moreover, after having studied art history and in particular contemporary art, I greatly admire the profession of art curator. There are many art curators that I follow on social networks and influence my style and way of seeing art. I think it’s a wonderful job and I would like to become a curator of art one day. It’s your second time in our magazine, what changes since the 2nd issue? A lot has changed since I was published in the 2nd issue. I believe I am a different person and artist now. First of all, in the 2nd issue I presented a digital art collection. At that time I was involved in graphic art and my works had a fantasy style often inspired by mythology and religions, in particular Christian, Jewish and Hindu. It was a more youthful collection that reflected my dreams of illustrator: a collection of a young artist in search of his artistic style. One year after being published in the 2nd issue, I stopped making art to specialize in art history studies. I spent a long time in Barcelona where the Picasso and Mirò museums fascinated me a lot. Thus, once back in Italy, I decided to start making art for a last and new collection. Now as artist, I think to be more mature. I am over 30 years old and made different experiences both artistic and life. My new collection consists of oil paintings in abstract style or abstract expressionism: these are representations of feelings, moods linked to the passing of time. The works “Another day”, “Youth”, “End of a day” and many others, are an expression of interior landscapes. These paintings represent my new way of looking at life, of perceiving the world and of observing the lives of others. Compared to the 2nd issue, I think I’m a very different person and to seem be almost another artist. Perhaps, if you compare my old

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works with the latter they don’t even seem to be the same author! But I really like this aspect because I love to change and evolve my lifestyle. For me, change is a positive sign of growth and is a way to experiment with new forms of art. What is your creative process like? When I returned to Italy from Barcelona, I decided to resume painting. I had not painted for many years but I still had a lot of artistic material dating back to when I attended the academy of fine arts: colours, brushes, canvases and above all cardboards. My creative process for this new art collection was to use all the remaining material and create every work as if it was the last. In my mind I had only one thought: “everything must end”. The colours, the materials and the inspiration will end, as well as this new production of abstract works that, perhaps, will be my last art collection. This is why each work has a specific meaning such as “Hours of my life” in which I tried to represent all the hours I spent painting, or “Youth” which is a metaphor for my youthful years. These are all works that celebrate my love for art and the importance of art in my life. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Now that I live in Rome, I follow many art events. In particular, I like the events organized by the various embassies present in Rome. I don’t have much time to organize exhibitions with my works, for this reason I use a lot internet and the social networks to propose my art internationally. At this regard, this year I won a photographic competition via the web that allowed me to I participate in an important and beautiful exhibition in New York at Agorà gallery with a series of photographs dedicated to my travels between Apulia and Rome entitled “A. To Rome”. In April, I also exhibited in South Korea with a video projection in digital art. It is a very special work for me to which I am fond because it represents the conclusion


of my old collection of digital art. It is titled “7 Ways. God in 7 days” and has a very intense meaning. Because of my commitments to studying and new work projects, I don’t have time to organize exhibitions at the moment for my new paintings. For this reason, I use my Instagram profile (@arme__g) as a personal gallery and I create digital walls where my works are exhibited and this is accessible to everyone from all over the world. What are you working on right now? This new collection of abstract paintings has almost come to end. I’m finishing the last paintings entitled “Stay” and “With me” that represent a separation feeling and, at the same time, something that will remain forever. I hope to post these last works on my Instagram profile as soon as possible. They are paintings with a special meaning for me that I love more than others perhaps because they could probably be my final art collection. Lately I’ve been working on new projects that would allow me to work in museums or become a professor of Italian language and culture to foreigners. Currently I’m attending a master’s degree in intercultural education at the University of Roma Tre and I am studying Asian languages in particular Chinese. I am also doing a training internship at a school as a professor and this is very pleasing to me. I don’t know if in my future there will still be a chance to make art, maybe in a few years I will make a new art collection, but currently I don’t think so. Many things end and new things start and change. I think this is the most beautiful side of life: the unexpected and the continuous evolution of events. So I am very happy to have created these new works and to be able to end my career as an artist in this way. Maybe this will be my long goodbye to the art.

AurĂŠlie Crisetig Vevey, Switzerland

Aurelie Crisetig (b. 1992, Vevey, Switzerland) is a Swiss photographer and visual artist. She uses photography as a tool to explore the alteration of human memory in a world overwhelmed by digital entities. Working both with film and digital photography, her works reflect on the constant use of mechanical recordings, especially in public and cultural places.


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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you.

multidimensional space of thoughts, feelings, argumentations and theories. It’s a thrilling, euphoric feeling.

I was 4 years old when I took my first picture with my mom’s old camera. I remember organising my dolls on the sofa very carefully and pressing the button without fully understanding my gesture. I kept the picture and I have it on my desk now, 23 years later, exhibiting it more like a proud trophy than a childhood souvenir. I received my first analogue camera at 11. It was a Minolta; I still have it. It was my loyal companion, even though I didn’t really understand the technique of film photography back then. For me, it was just a ludic, playful way to capture sceneries and moments, an extension of my arm and a way to express myself through my shyness.

A few years ago, I found a 10$ film camera in a charity shop in Switzerland but started to properly use film photography during my stay in London. I bought cheap, expired films on eBay as a way to experiment, a practice exercise without any expectations. However, after seeing the astonishing result of these faded, grainy images that were coming from the negatives, I immediately saw a potential hidden behind this unusual method and started to use them as my main canvas. Expired films are unpredictable, unstable and unreliable. It’s like jumping into an abyss of the unknown by capturing images that will be forever imprinted on a photographic material without knowing if the material itself is damaged, usable or corrupted. There is beauty in it, something thrilling and scary, frustrating yet satisfying. It’s a challenge that I have gladly accepted to defy.

Later on, I decided to study art history and film studies in order to have a solid background in art. In the end, I learned less than I wish I had, but I still managed to collect a wide imagery of visual inspirations and new influences to bring along with me. Being surrounded by books and writing essays helped me find my own path and develop my creativity. There is something powerful when your brain meets words in books, when they connect each other and start building an extraordinary,

What is the most challenging part of being an artist? Life as an artist is a great, powerful and difficult challenge. I think that the hardest struggle for me is self-confidence, belief in myself but also in my work, in my art. The lack of confidence

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generally leads to a lower motivation on creating new projects and it’s hard to overcome this feeling. Being confident in your work doesn’t mean to brag about it; it means to express your sincerity and passion through it. It’s not something you learn, it’s something you have. Surely, we all have moments of low self-esteem; we are humans before being artists. But I believe these temporary phases help grow our own critics regarding our works. We have to stay positive and strong. Life isn’t fair but can become less difficult if we see the brighter side of it. There is no darkness without light. I also think that one of the most frustrating situations for an artist is the loss of creativity. Feeling uninspired is truly difficult to manage while being overwhelmed with images is also hard to handle. I visited multiple art fairs when I was in Hong Kong. In a short amount of time, I saw more artworks that I could ever have dreamt of in my entire life. Despite the dreadful business-like feeling of the events, I was drowning in a flow of images, colours, shapes, textures, themes, subjects, media. I was so overwhelmed that I had to take a day off and isolated myself in nature in order to soothe my brain. It was just too much. In our contemporary society overloaded with images, it’s hard to make our own way through this saturated market.


In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Nowadays, everybody can become an ‘artist’, thanks to the easiness of communication offered by social media. Therefore, it’s difficult to make a breakthrough into the art world when art is everywhere, accessible to anyone who possesses a slight sense of creativity – or a good sense of business. I feel like we lost the primary essence of Art due to the excessive consumption of digital exposure. Social media platforms help artists to access environments in which they can be seen, however, the overwhelming number of individuals who wish to be recognised online reduce one’s chance to be acknowledged. It’s such a paradoxical situation. Tell us more about “If you don’t share, were you really there?” series. This project was created for my master’s degree in London but originally started in 2016 in New York. While walking into the Met Museum I realised how little attention some visitors were paying to the artworks; instead, they were all photographing the paintings without looking at it. From this emerged some question


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that initiate the project: What is the signification of taking pictures in a museum? Where do these images go once left the art institutions? Do they have a purpose of memory? Why? Therefore, “If you don’t share, were you really there?” questions the behaviour of visitors in art museums through their use of mobile phone photography. This project draws a parallel between the physical absence of the tangible artwork and the ephemeral life of a single image posted online. As we know in our current society, capturing and sharing a social media souvenir has become a priority for visitors, tourists and locals. This ‘ fast viewing’ generates an act of looking that prevents contemplation and is mostly encouraged by mass-consumptive tourism that offers visits to countries, cultural institutions or sightseeing attractions the quickest way possible. This series is a critic of our social impulse to capture everyday life without thinking about our own actions and behaviour. Name artists you’d like to be compared to. I don’t like comparisons. I somehow always associate it with the word ‘competition’. Every artist brings his/her own vision of art, a different way of perceiving emotions and facts, transformed into unique artworks. There is no qualitative comparison between artists, only influences and inspirations. Thus, I admire the works of Philippe Chancel, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Martin Parr, Thomas Struth, Simon Robert and Michael Wolf. Their photographs influence me considerably. And yes, I am a huge admirer of the Düsseldorf School of Photography. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I was born and raised in Vevey, a small city between Montreux and Lausanne, on the shore of Lake Geneva. Biannually the Vevey Festival Images takes place in my hometown for three weeks. Photographers gather from around the world to see their work exhibit indoor and outdoor, transforming the city into a free, open-air museum. It’s one of the most important photographic festivals in the world. However, I don’t feel like there is any future for me here, as the art scene is too small. Besides, I love big cities, I like the feeling of loneliness while being surrounding by a crowd, the anonymity and the endless visual possibilities that offered a capital inspires me. I feel alive when I’m lost in a city. What are your future plans as an artist? I find myself happy when I discover new places, so my plan is to merge my passion for travelling and my photographic art. I want to produce sincere artworks that emphasis on how I see the world and how viewers respond to my way of seeing the world. Photography is made by multiple layers of viewings, gazes, looks and interpretations. I used to worry a lot about not having a conventional job. What would society say about me? Such a free spirit is not allowed! Such independence is only for dreamers! I was afraid of other’s judgments until I turned 27. Suddenly, something clicked in my mind. I realise that I would rather spend my life listening to my heart and follow a path I have chosen than trying to fit into a world that isn’t mine. We only live once, you know? So, I pushed the negativity that floated around me and grew inside my head, and I started to love myself. I am still practising it every single day and I have never felt happier.

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Dominique Dève Le Havre, France


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What is the most challenging part of being an artist? For me, the most challenging part is the eye of the public. The artwork is a mediation. And this mediation is accomplished when a portrait gives a sentiment, a feeling to the visitor. From another point of view, I can talk about the status of the artist. I have the chance to practice my art as a free man, far from fashion and modes. But it is not always easy « de garder le cap» as French says. Being an artist is not being an artisan, risk must be taken. Of course, things gets harder when art is your only money source. Tell us more about your painting series 1st: Acrylic When I am at home, I use acrylic painting. I have tried oil but it is still difficult for me. I will return to oil (that I have already tested) later, I think. I like to work with small palettes. For example Zorn’s palette: black, white, cadmium red and Yellow Ochre. All my acrylic portraits are prepared with a charcoal sketch often on the background painting. About the backgrounds, I use different techniques: large paintbrush, acrylic mixed with water on a cloth,

paint roll... for various effects. I made a Chiaroscuro series with dark backgrounds and only light values for the rest. Recently, I have tried a glaze for à transparency effect. I use mostly 30x40cm format on paper and canvas. Sometimes bigger... But I want to try big formats! 2nd: Charcoal Charcoal is my favourite technique. I can say it is where I come from! So minimalist, I don’t say simple, a sheet of paper, a little charcoal and an eraser ... and some wonders can happen! My all-time favourite. 3rd: Ink I like the strength of ink that I use both with a paintbrush and with a knife. I have recently discovered the liquid acrylic and it’s also very nice (horse series) 4th: Mixed media I made last year a large series of mixed media portraits. On a sheet of coloured paper, I applied a large amount of Gesso with a knife and add some colour in some places. Later I used charcoal to cover the Gesso. Next, I remove the charcoal with the eraser to show the light zones of the portrait revealing the colours underneath. I have made also a series with an old book page sticked on the paper (Colored Shadows Series). 5th: Watercolor Watercolour portraits are a case apart in my work. I like to use wet paper and drawing gum. The model must be chosen according to new rules. Softness... 6th: Choice of the model I work from photos. When I choose a model I keep in mind two things, I like the expression and I think I can make it, and the media That I will use to have the best result. Name artists you’d like to be compared. My Influences: Gustave Courbet François Kupka Malcolm Liepke Anders Zorn Gyula Benczur Guy Dennings Jeremy Mann Mustafa Özel Travis Schlaht Hollis Dunlap How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live in Normandy, 2h from Paris. First, I can tell that graphic arts are better considered than music. I have exposed in many art exhibitions in Normandy. But my artworks, from a selling aspect, have a better impact in a foreign country as Australia, UK, United States... What are your future plans as an artist? This year, this fall, I will be in a big exhibition in Paris (Germain des Prés) and in Saumur for Art Cheval Exhibition. I am now searching for a gallery for a solo exhibition. I would like to arrange my workplace to make big acrylic formats. Sculpture may be the next step of my art adventures...?

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Michele Farinelli a.k.a.

FariNelly Ferrara, Italy


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It’s your second time in our magazine, what changes since the 32nd issue? In this time I have tried to bring the concepts of digital and analogue closer and closer, to obtain a final product that presents the uniqueness that can derive exclusively from the manual process, with all its imperfections and unpredictability. In practice, it is a path that starts from the digital with its exact reproducibility to arrive at the uniqueness of the monotype, also intended as a photographic print. What is the most challenging part of working with photography? Photography was my first experience of visual art when the cameras were exclusively analogue and the film was the only means of photographing. I had to go to the photographer to buy it, report it for development and wait for days before I can finally see my photographs, which were often disappointing! It was “slow” photography. I was 9 years old when I first entered the darkroom and it was immediately loved, for that magic of red semi-darkness and of the image that swaying, slowly

emerge on the paper in the developing bathroom. The magic that still captures me after more than 40 years. The most difficult part of photography is deciding what and how to photograph with the knowledge that what I “see” will occupy only a few centimetres of paper. What I “see” actually contains my whole world. What is your creative process like? As I said, my “seeing” is an inseparable part of my world, of my story, and it is like this for each of us. A shadow on the wall of the sun that filters from the window in the early hours of the morning, brings me back to breakfast with the family, to all the possibilities and occasions that that day, as it unfolds, brings with it. The photograph of that shadow brings this experience inside ... for the observer it can be, nothing. What’s the best art advice you’ve ever received? The last one is from a short time ago and it was, “Do what is important to you”. Absolutely the best advice is contained in a sentence by Roberto Assagioli (Italian psychiatrist, founder

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of psychosynthesis), which I adopted as a personal motto: “Everyone can and must make living material of his personality, no matter whether marble, clay or gold, an object of beauty, in which its transpersonal Self can adequately manifest itself ”. Tell us more about the Smartphone Display Fine Art project. This project was born, as usual, from apparently casual contacts between initially unknown artists. I needed to “get” my photos out of my smartphone, giving them that touch of art that completely excluded digital printing and I came to the Fine Art Smartphone. I built a rudimentary magnifier with recovered and recycled parts with which to project on the photo paper, the light of the smartphone display and then the photograph, without going through the classic negative. I want to clarify that it is not my invention, but my personal application of a method that already existed. The low quality of the material I used has led to a completely unexpected result, amazing me once again! I have obtained images that someone has defined charges of mystery and charm. What are you working on right now? I’m looking for a synergy between my various techniques, making them merge into one another so that there is a fusion between them, the union of a creative path. I am currently experimenting with the ancient technique of Cyanotype, invented by the English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel in 1842. A “slow” photography method that uses the sun as a source of exposure. This technique is based on some iron salts, namely potassium ferricyanide and ammoniacal ferric citrate. These two salts, mixed together, are very sensitive and react when placed in front of solar light. Placing a negative in contact between a sheet of paper on which the solution has been applied to ferric salts, and exposing it to the sun produces a photographic image that develops in common water. I really like using three-dimensional objects to place over the sensitized paper, to get almost radiographic images. This technique is also known as Rayografia, a name given by the Dadaist and Surrealist photographer and artist Man Ray to his frames.


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Nina Fraser St. Albans, Hertfordshire, UK

ina Fraser (1984) gained a first class degree hons BA Textile Art at Winchester College of Art, Hampshire, UK in 2006. It was from this material investigation that she eventually found herself working directly with paper. Multidisciplinary, Nina’s work draws influence from drawing, painting, collage and sculpture, often combining several processes in one work, connecting fragments to generate new ideas. Her work is polarized by that of self-reflection and exterior exploration, exploring the notions of appropriation, desire and attachment. In 2008 she co-founded The Art House Southampton, a not-for-profit community arts cafe, where she was co- director for seven years. She emigrated to Portugal in 2014, becoming a resident artist at MArt Artist Studios in Lisbon from 2015 – 2017. Since 2015 she has participated in international collective exhibitions (UK, Portugal, Italy, Berlin, Slovenia, New York, Dublin, and Savannah), and Solo exhibitions (UK, Portugal and Poland). She has works held in private collections in UK, Portugal, the United States, Germany, Australia, and Poland. Her collages have been featured in magazines and books in USA, Italy, UK, Spain and Portugal.

Š Photo by Alexandre Ramos - Nina Fraser - Transcendental White Smile


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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I studied Textile Art at Winchester College of Art, in Hampshire, UK, graduating in 2006. The focus of the degree was on exploring the limits of materials, process and concept, within a textile framework. It was challenging, but I discovered satisfaction in the materiality of paper, as well as utilizing a mixed media approach including sculpture and animation. After that time I went travelling to New Zealand and Australia for a year, volunteering and pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, and when I came back I had a different mindset of how I wanted to contribute to the world. In 2008, at the beginning of the recession, I co-founded a non-profit arts cafe in the UK. It started as a small organic veggie cafe - very DIY - and transformed into a multi-faceted arts platform over the years. It just kept growing! And so seven years later, I realised I was really missing my own artistic practice. Meeting my partner, who is Portuguese, was a catalyst for a lot of life change, and half a year later, in 2014, I moved to Lisbon, Portugal. To better understand the cultural scene I became a resident artist at MArt - a project space with studios, classes and exhibition opportunities - which gave me a lot of confidence to continue my artist journey in a new culture. At that point, I started to make a collage. It became a way of channelling the feeling of displacement as I was trying to piece together the fragments of my new life. It’s a very cathartic process, it helped me work through a lot of internal barriers. I also found that I could process my ideas quicker through collage, and soon I reached a point when I was making much bigger, more challen-ging work, and constructing three -dimensional pieces. What is the most challenging part of being an artist?

to date on the internet, social media, website etc. And lastly, as I made the decision to be in this full time, remembering to use my business experience to keep the bills paid!

Accepting when the day is done. Keeping a life and work balance, understanding oneself throughout the emotional process of making art, and not cutting off those around you when there is a desire to be overly introverted. Being able to switch between projects, managing to be both engrossed with something whilst also getting a distance from it when necessary. Taking ones work seriously but not taking oneself too seriously. Letting go of perfectionism. Keeping up

In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? A difficult question! Art means different things to different people. Sometimes cultural escape and sometimes cultural validation. A quest for something that resonates on an emotional level. It will continue to change its meaning as society changes. It’s expanding, with technology and communication the past and the present and the future are merging - I think one has to find one’s own place of observation. Name artists you’d like to be compared to. Every day I am discovering new and interesting artists that have inspiring work. But the ones that stick with me the most are those that open up their process, usually by

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writing a biography or sharing their practice in a practical and humble way. Within the art community, this isn’t always easy, so I admire artists who can share the mistakes as well as achievements. Recently I discovered the ‘paste-up’ work of Burgess Collins (aka Jess) whilst I was making a series of larger collages for an exhibition. Much later, after the show, someone saw the work and compared it to his! That was a nice surprise. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Vibrant, dense, a contradiction - a little humble and also fiercely proud! The artistic community is strong but takes a while to gain trust and break into it. I am very lucky to have my studio in a shared studio space


- Atelier Concorde - in central Lisbon, it is a great space to work with a lot of peer support, which takes the loneliness out of the process. What are your future plans as an artist? I have a few shows coming up this year, but after that, I am open to ideas. I like to remain close to the process of evolution, also to teach what I have learnt to others when I can, but mainly to keep pushing work and ideas to new levels. Travel is important for me but not to the point of distraction, it has to feel right on a number of levels. My family are all over Europe and I enjoy the challenge to find new exhibition opportunities where I already have connections. It is also important (but not always easy) to take a rest, let ideas sit, and after that something more challenging usually comes along. Always to grow organically, keeping grounded in the process.


Art Reveal Magazine

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Evagelia Hagikalfa Athens, Greece / Portsmouth, UK Evagelia Hagikalfa is a collage and assemblage installation artist from Athens, Greece, now living and working in Portsmouth, UK. She uses recycled materials to create intricate pieces with evocative visual messages. Her work focuses on the human condition through storytelling and the use of preowned material such as photography and vintage objects. Reusing objects, gives them a new life and purpose while they preserve parts of their own history. Evagelia often draws inspiration from her cultural background and more specifically mythology, philosophy and poetry. Her collage work is characterised by the synergy of word an image and the simplicity of composition. Contrary to the collages her installation work is complex and intimate. She creates 3-dimensional worlds with photographic slides, viewed only though magnifying and camera lenses, drawing attention to the detail and discovery as a symbolic process to introspection.


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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I was born and raised in Athens, Greece under the shadow of acropolis and a very hot sun. My mother was a talented painter but had not touched her brushes since she got married and had children. We had her paintings on the wall, which I used to observe often but never seen her paint. Art of any form was rarely entering my sphere until the age of 15, when I had the first proper art lesson in school with a qualified art teacher. Art lessons was a hit and miss in Greece; some schools had art

teachers, while others were using the time as a filler. This lesson changed my life for good for one simple reason, it was not about technique but about the visual language and purpose of art. I never knew such language existed and yet it was the only one I understood the most. Following the common belief that art is not a profession, I studied physiotherapy and spending 3 years drifting from job to job without purpose. Finally, 21 years ago I left my home country and came to UK for my second degree, this time in art. The need for some financial security led me to teaching and many more years not taking myself seriously. Nevertheless, slowly and

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steadily I developed my own language and work as well as the courage to become a practising artist. My cultural heritage and migration, are the main influences in what I try to convey through my work. Philosophy and mythology are starting points of inspiration, while identity and preservation of memory remains the underlying message that characterise it. At the moment I am not concerned with my personal experiences, rather I look at the commonalities among all of us; what do we do as humans and how do we perceive as world. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? In my experience the most challenging aspect is going against the grain. I have to constantly fight with the misconceptions about art and working as an artist. Perseverance, has become my favourite word the last few years. I have met some really talented artist that had given up or have not ever tried to pursue their passion, due to pressures of leading a ‘normal’ life. Having tried numerous times to con-

form, I know for a fact that is impossible to ignore or supress it. The need for expression becomes bigger than yourself eventually. Equally, individual expression can become challenging. Finding your own visual language and articulating your ideas effectively, can take years of experimenting and knowing who you are. It is very easy to fall into ‘trends’ or thinking that only certain mediums hold real value. I believe that ideas and forms of expressions have to stay, just like us, fluid and true to themselves. This can become difficult with a prevalent social media culture and the expectation to create popular work either by your audience or galleries. Personally, I struggled at first with the notion of belonging to a particular style or category. When I stopped concerning myself with the identity of my practice, I realised that it is irrelevant and stifling. Tell us more about your Lightboxes. The lightboxes started as an extension to my collage work and now have become an autonomous project and a great love


affair of mine. Collage elements and assemblage techniques are primarily used to compose each individual piece. Each composition consists of two or more layers of slides thematically arranged with attention to narrative. All materials used, such as the boxes and the lenses are found or discarded by their owners. Reusing these materials gives them a new life and purpose and a symbolic preservation of human memory and experience. The latest body of work, ‘Microcosmos’, consciously explores memory, perception and human identity. The concept is based on the philosophical idea of the Macro-Microcosm, presenting an alternative cosmos, that explores human understanding through 3 categories of perception: Spirit, Soul and Material. Using commercial souvenirs and tourists’ 35mm slides, ‘Microcosmos’ explores memory and documentation of human experience, similarly to looking through a microscope at bacteria colonies. The work portrays our environment as an ideal world. The subjective choices made through photography, represent the awe and wonder we experience when travelling and the memories we choose to collect.


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The symbolic use of camera lenses, allows access to the collective memory, as a story retold of extraordinary beauty, diversity and sensuous nostalgia. ‘Microcosmos’, is a homage to human culture as is perceived by all of us. Of course, as it often happens, I try to also raise questions about our behaviour through subtle contradictions. The very nature of the work and the way it is experienced, allows contemplation and personal response. Name artists you’d like to be compared to. I find very difficult to answer a question like this. As I explained previously, I believe in individuality both for the person and the

form of expression. While I have my personal heroes in the field of art, I would not wish to be compared against them. Comparison suggests some level of similarity, while the latter is not an active pursuit of mine. I am certain that others will be able to find commonalities and make comparisons on my behalf but I am unable to do so. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live in a seaside city, Portsmouth, about an hour away from London. The art scene here is almost non-existent, despite having a large number of very diverse and, in my opinion,

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extremely interesting artists living here. Nevertheless, while the overall cultural capital of the city is slowly developing, the artistic community has become more visible and it is growing. During the last few years, more attempts have been made to use spaces for exhibitions and most artists, have their studios in Portsmouth but still work and exhibit further afield. I believe the adversity the artists face locally has made the artistic community stronger and more determined.


What are your future plans as an artist? I try to leave the future in the future most of the time. I want to be able to continue creating and exhibiting my work both in UK and abroad, as it has been happening so far. Through my last few exhibitions in Europe, I have met some amazing artists, which has sparked great discussions, exchange and new ideas. I want to harness this energy and potentially make something new and exciting (at least for me), but it is too early on to be able to know where it will lead to. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to collaborate with other artists and travel further afield. Finally, I would like to continue with my academic studies and complete my Masters in Philosophy. This is a vital part of developing my thinking and articulation of my concepts.


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Art Reveal Magazine


Maria Letsiou Thessaloniki, Greece

Maria Letsiou (born in Greece in 1972) is a visual artist, educator, and researcher. Since 1992, Letsiou has taught art in several educational settings. This first stage of her teaching career provided her with a wealth of observations that nurtured questions that she later had the opportunity to research further. In 2010, she earned a Ph.D. degree in Art Education at the Athens School of Fine Arts (Department of Theory and History of Art), and she contributed to research about multiculturalism and artistic instructional practice in Greece. As a Fulbright visiting scholar (2015), hosted by Prof. Paul Duncum (UIUC’s School of Art and Design, USA), she researched video production and visual culture education. Since 2011, Letsiou has participated in several international research projects organized by InSEA. She is a member of the organizational committee of InSEA seminars in Thessaloniki, School of Early Childhood Education, Aristotle University, Greece (2018). As a visual artist she has participated in two biennials (Luleü Art Biennial, LAB11, Sweden, 2011, and 9th Biennale of Young Artists in Europe, Rome, Italy, 1999). Her artworks have been presented in several solo and group exhibitions, and her art research focuses on place, memory, popular visuality, and paradox. Currently, she is an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Early Childhood Education at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece.


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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I born in a small town of northern Greece and I constructed my identity in a social environment in which many ideological conflicts took place. The western ideals for a utopic democratic society were embodied in emerging consumerism society in Greece while the inequalities were still present but often carefully hidden. The particular social circumstances made me realize the societal bonds that create a responsibility for the individuals to contribute to a prospect change. I realized how important

is to build society through art. I was involved in socially engaged art projects from the beginning of my career. Since 1992 I have been teaching art and I was interested in involving and collaborating with young people in projects in which art as a medium of communication and exchange. Collaboration and participation was the main ingredient of art projects. My educational background is studio-oriented. I create paintings and the material I use lately is water-based paint (ink, watercolors, acrylic) though recently I incorporate other media such as digital photography, 3D models and decontextualized objects.

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Every era is characterized by its unique visuality that is consisted of all kind images (e.g. pop images, advertisement, objects, etc). All individuals connect with these images because their identity formation depends partly on visuality either consciously or unconsciously. The familiarity that people feel with particular images proves this influence. Considering this fact, I collect images and items from the past in which I detect a specific relationship with my personal story. Vintage family photographs, comics, and toys are some of the objects that inspire me. Lately, I incorporate images of Disney comics and then I extract any denotation, representation, and narration. I face those designs as natural forms that remind botanic iconography. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? I believe the creative process that takes place in the studio affects the person’s ability to understand the self and others. Thereafter, art practice is powerful device to respond to the challenging situation of life.


Artist Identity also is in flux. I believe that social circumstances alter the artist’s positioning and relationship with the world. As a consequence, as an artist, I feel deeply political being and my existence and my fate depend on the political, social and cultural circumstances. I challenge and critique visually this situation with images that connect with my personal story. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art, in my opinion, is a social and provocation act. Either studio-oriented or socially engaged art aim to heal the inequalities of our community. The challenge is art to affect social change and its importance stems out of the possibility to make people see reality form a renewed perspective. Sometimes it’s not necessary to define the practices as art because the unconscious participation and engagement of the public seem more important than the art world and its values. Name artists you’d like to be compared to. I adore and admire many contemporary artists. Some of them produce studio-based art and others coordinate events. Both choices establish a dialogue with the daily-based circumstances and reconnect art with people concerns and everyday life. Some of the artists I admire and influence me are Alexis Rochman, Gabriel Orozco, Damian Ortega, Paul Ramírez Jonas Suzanne Lacy, and Tania Bruguera. In the socially engaged art context always there is the anonymous creation and contribution that influence me because it reminds me of the important collective work. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene in Thessaloniki is characterized as interdisciplinary because many art projects that take place experiment with combining many different art forms and genres. The wider are of Balkan peninsula, as a peripheral area of Europe, currently face social challenges related to the diversity, poverty and identity formation. Many curatorial projects today aim to ask questions related to gender, ethnicity and marginalized communities.
 What are your future plans as an artist? I am planning a new show in which my studio practice will combine with an educational and curatorial project that aims to investigate issues of ecological concerns. I will foster a transformation in my studio practice that will incorporate the device of narrative in a more explicit way than that I use today. I plan to communicate this new work with a wider public in my country and abroad.


Art Reveal Magazine

Art Reveal Magazine


Cameron Lings Teesside, UK I was born and raised in a small industrial town named Scunthorpe, well known for its steel industry. Originally, i was to become an electrical/instrumentation engineer, however i decided to follow my own heart in pursuit of a career of an artist. Currently im study BA Fine Art at the MIMA School of Art - Teesside. This is where primarily as a fine artist and sculptor, i create works that relate our natural environment to that of our urban landscape; and how these comparisons mirror our social and psychological behavioral patterns. My site-specific practice questions how our environment, urban and natural, can mirror our individual mindset, behavior and human activity. Shape, form, texture and material choice are key elements of my work, these are equally considered in order to create a sculpture that is both visually and metaphorically suited to a space.


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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Contrasting, dividing and morphing environments are common influences behind my own practice. It is easy to notice around us, how contrasting elements within our surroundings are forever present, these can be subtle and complimentary, or distinctive and brutal; outcomes vary depending on human consideration, prior to an execution. I find the relationship between urban and natural worlds are of interest, the never-ending imbalance within both factors leads to elements of conflict. Both forever hold potential to affect the other, the way these outcomes differ, questions how both urbanisation and natural landscape have been considered through a process, and how the imbalance emerges more so, via the long-term outcomes. I believe this acknowledgement comes from my own background within an industrial-renowned environment. You tend to find that sites such as factories and refineries, are surrounded by a blooming natural environment. Upon inspection the contrast in visual setting and atmosphere is extremely distinctive. It becomes clear how industry and urbanisation create this imbalance within a natural space, and how this growth can lead to larger matters that I address through my work, revolving mostly around climate change alongside global warming. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? Funding an art practice is always to be a challenge, I have found it can act as a frustrating restraint on a developing idea and/ or process. However, it often aids my skills in overcoming challenges when creating an art piece. I believe that interesting variants of works can be produced, especially when challenging these encounters throughout a production. I find that ideas, developments and processes can become instinctive, rather than forced, when I am challenged in this way. When looking at the world in this light, an environment, shape or medium seems to hold so much more potential. Being a sculptor, in my opinion, always holds its own challenges when compared to other artistic ‘roles’. Availability of factors such as space, facilities, equipment and materials can all directly impact a sculpture; limitations within these fields can confine an idea, limiting its potential and outcomes. You find you have to make the

most of what you have to work with. Nevertheless, I believe these challenges can lead to unique qualities to an outcome and can spark a creative mind-set. It is key to keep in mind, a lot can be learned from overcoming challenges, whether it be financial, environmental or psychological. Any issue you can come across, will only lead to yourself being evermore so knowledgeable, and can only lead in a more constructive direction. In your opinion, what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art has always held significance throughout worldwide culture. Within the contemporary environment of today, art has influenced factors regarding politics, environment and social standings. I strongly believe that contemporary art can transform the way people can witness the world outside of a white-box gallery space. Art creates an innate influence on an audience, allowing them to question their own actions with regards to the matter at hand, in cultural development, this realisation and reflection are essential, in terms of learning and progressing through our daily lives. A power that art can hold within modern society, is allowing recognisable objects, patterns and shapes the opportunity to be recognised. I think that proving to an audience that hidden forms of beauty exist among us, allows a person to portray the world in a better, much more promising light. In this context, artwork in today’s culture beckons optimism and creativity, providing only a positive impact on each of us.

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How would you describe the art scene in your area? Currently I am based in Teesside, in my opinion, a hidden gem when referring to artistic culture within an area. A diverse range of cultures is accompanied by plentiful amounts of studios, galleries and events. MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) and The MIMA School of Art, are elements of the area that I have recognised to push the boundaries of visual arts within the area. Whilst MIMA is known for bringing international arts to the area, several proactive pop-up galleries co-exist alongside, allowing local talent to thrive. ‘Pineapple Black Gallery’, ‘RORO Studios’ and ‘Platform Arts’ are all local organisations that beckon new and existing talent to emerge within the grounds of Teesside. Artistic potential is massive here, in an area that is culturally blossoming. Name 3 artists you admire. Ian Randall: Ian Randall has many unique monumental works on permeant exhibition throughout the UK. I have known and worked alongside Ian for over two years. His industrialised, yet organic forms within his practice, have always been an inspiration for my works. With regards to understanding contemporary art, development of sculpture and the process of its construction, I have learned lessons that will last a lifetime, and I have always been extremely grateful for the ongoing experience. Henry Moore: I believe the modernist sculptures by Henry Moore will always deliver an impact on contemporary art. His abstraction of natural shape and the human form, have inspired me to question how I can dynamically portray a recognisable object, in order to present an idea from a more intriguing, alternate light. Joseph Hillier: Based in the North-East, Joseph’s abstracted figurative work has recently come to surface as ‘The Messenger’ sculpture in Plymouth. His practice often captures human movement, characteristics and behaviour, I found his artwork aesthetically fascinating to experience; as his portrayal of the body allows myself to think more ‘outside-the-box,’ when considering using a humanoid shape in an artwork. What are your future plans? Regardless of any circumstances my practice will develop. I would love to continue producing and exhibiting works across the UK, and eventually internationally - being the opportunities are there of course! I would love to take my work further in order to produce artworks on a larger scale, that can be exhibited within the public eye. I have always been known to be ambitious, so regardless of what the future holds for me, that for sure will never stop!



Art Reveal Magazine

Art Reveal Magazine


Art Reveal Magazine

Katie McGuire Manchester, UK

I am a sculptor working within the area of fibre/textiles. I experiment with traditional techniques of weaving, crocheting and knitting by using non-traditional contemporary material: Polystyrene Backer Rod, an industrial material used for insulation. My work is centred around ideas, thoughts and sensory reactions to notions of restriction and boundaries. I take an interest in the ways in which form, weight and tension, breaking points and boundaries can be explored through manipulation of my chosen materials. I choose to investigate, through the use of handmade sculpture, the points at which the materials can be restricted or pass through a physical boundary either created by myself or the environment which I am working within. The woven, pliable material organically alters and shifts, allowing my sculptures to remodel over time, a process that reacts to the physical positioning of the work and that suggests their determination of their own final outcome. I have chosen to introduce the element of wooden frames and found objects within works such as ‘Limbo’ and ‘Grow Up’, exploring the contrast between solid and malleable, contrasting organic sculptures against rigid frame work. These pieces experiment with the soft breaking through the hard containment of the wood, an opposing concept linking to explorations of weight, tension and boundaries.



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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I grew up in St Helens in a working class family. I have always been influenced by art and embraced creativity since I was young. However, I used to think that painting was one of the few options, since throughout school I felt that this is what I was primarily taught. It wasn’t really until college that I started to look at artists that weren’t just painters – I became aware of sculptors, textile and mixed media artists and printmakers, widening my boundaries for experimentation. It was really when I moved to Salford for University that my practice had the most influence. I began looking at my daily journeys, noticing the repetition within them. I could make the same journey every day, but no two journeys would be the same due to the varying boundaries and restrictions that I would face. This idea was then translated into my sculptures. For example, I could create two pieces of knitting, though due to restriction of human error, the two pieces of knitting would not be identical. So, I used this as influence to start investigating my new material – Backer Rod. Instead of investigating my own boundaries and restrictions, I began to experiment with the boundaries and restrictions of the material, focusing on the qualities of weight and tension, and how far the material could be manipulated through a handmade process. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? As a recent graduate/emerging artist, currently, the most challenging aspect for me is finding a balance for contribution towards the art world. I believe artists are extremely overstretched through the amount of activities which they must do to remain engaged within an art environment. I strongly believe that social engagement is crucial in helping your career, knowledge and skills set flourish. This is through attending preview nights, exhibitions, events and programmes. However, this is something which I find challenging because as soon as I get a second of free time I don’t want to be anywhere else but my studio where I can be experimental, release my stresses and express my ideas watching them come from imagination to reality. To me, it is ironic how we work so hard full time to be able to live and maintain a studio, though we work so much we limit our creativity time in the studio drastically, which is something I find especially difficult with not yet having a job within the arts sector. Along with working, creating and relationship building, we somehow have to find time to create proposals, search for opportunities, work to deadlines, promote ourselves and discover new areas for inspiration. I believe everything that I have mentioned is necessary in aiding to become a successful artist, though to try and balance these attributes is still something I find challenging, and something which I may always find challenging, as each week I find myself debating over what I should prioritise to benefit myself the most. I believe that with experience, this will become more familiar for me and something which I can work with more effectively. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? For me, art in contemporary culture is a chance to represent what is overlooked. It is a chance to express political, cultural and social views in a creative way for social engagement. Using art to express something is a different way of putting your views across, in a way which I feel is very clever. I believe that art means unity, and strives towards the ideas of collaboration and working together, creating collectives with the same views and strengthening each other on our journeys.

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How would you describe the art scene in your area? I would say that despite living in St Helens, with my studio being in Salford, I am much more connected to the Manchester art scene than I am St Helens. St Helens art scene is developing, making a lot of opportunity for social art engagement. Manchester’s art scene is effervescent! Spread across the city, there are so many places where you can go to engage with and appreciate art. It is the home of several artist studios and collectives, who support and interact with each other. There are many galleries exploring traditional and contemporary art. Manchester is home to events such as The Manchester Contemporary and Manifest, encouraging all to get involved with a weekend of celebration of the arts. The art scene is contemporary and constantly developing and expanding, where I feel that there are only bigger and better things to come. What are your future plans as an artist? Currently, I’m focusing more on researching a stronger connection with my practice. I work in a way where I constantly create work until I physically hit a wall. I then take time to evaluate the work, the process, the pros and cons and the meaning within each work and what I find effective and why. I’m currently in the evaluative stage, whilst additionally planning my next steps as an artist. Practice wise, for the future I plan to introduce new materials, focus more heavily on photography and explore the connections between my sculptures and a range of environments. I plan to work on a much larger scale, creating sculptural installations in the areas which my work connects best with. Career wise, I am hoping to begin working within an arts environment, expanding Name artists you’d like to be compared to. my contact list and working more intriI would like to be compared to artists that create large scale, statement-making cately with other artists – whether this be installations. There are several artists at the moment that I find extremely interesting, for exhibitions or starting new projects but the main ones which I would like to be compared to are artists such as Holly together. I am really interested in getting Hendry, Alicja Kwade and Mika Rottenberg. I adore the materiality and composition involved in social engagement projects as of the works of Hendry and Kwade. I am most interested in their connection between I feel this will build both my confidence the materials which they use, as this is something which is really important within my and skills set. I would like to start gaining practice. The scale and strong, contemporary sculptural qualities within their practice experience with curation, becoming more is something which I would very happily be compared to as it is a quality which I am involved in a gallery setting, improving currently developing. Additionally, I really enjoy Mika Rottenberg’s work and believe my proposal writing and finding more it has such a strong and developed meaning towards it, allowing it to be so successful. confidence to pursue these proposals, I also admire the mix of techniques which Rottenberg uses, a skill which I aim making them familiar with different galto develop in my own practice, making Mika Rottenberg an artist I would like to be leries. Wholly, I plan to become more engaged, educated and exploratory. compared to.


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Art Reveal Magazine


Laura Obon

Tenerife, Spain/ London, UK Laura Obon makes abstract collages out of paper. She is interested in the concept of seeing Art as a tool, described in the book written by Alined Botton and John Armstrong Art as Therapy. Obon recently participated in a group exhibition at Islington Art Factory, she was selected by Leyden Gallery to be part of the Platform for Emerging Arts 17 and was part of the Winter Salon Exhibition at Rye Creative Centre. She is currently part of the Art of Caring exhibition at St Pancras Hospital.


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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I am from Tenerife, Spain. I grew up surrounded by the sea, beautiful mountains and magical light. From a very young age, I enjoyed art and making things with my hands, it was something that came naturally and made me feel at home. The only Art lessons I had during my secondary school years was technical drawing, we were sitting in rows, in silence with a drawing compass in one hand a drawing pen in the other. I remember feeling frustrated and almost in tears trying to make endless drawings of complicated shapes that had to have exact measurements. I came to the UK at the age of 18, and I fell in love with a painter who introduced me to Abstract Art; it became my way of expression, it made feel free and able to create compositions without having the knowledge of art techniques that my classmates had after completing a GCSE in Art. I was one of the few painters in the Fine Art course at Sheffield Hallam University. Alongside painting, I used to spend hours making books cutting and sticking images, creating visual diaries. When I completed my BA, I continued making abstract paintings out of gloss paint on MDF. I moved to London to undertake an MA at Byam Shaw, Central Saint Martins. After battling with my loss of confidence, I moved from painting on MDF to paint on paper. I was encouraged by one of my tutors to make black and white paintings and to move away from using bright colours. A couple of years after I finished studying, I began making colourful collages as an exercise to loosen up my creativity. I connected to a part of myself in which I felt free to work intuitively, to create compositions driven by how colours made me feel, I began to draw with scissors. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? I don’t think it is easy to be able to survive as an artist in London. Although the city offers many opportunities, the cost of living is very high, and there are few affordable studios to rent. Artists need to invest a lot of money to promote their work, to apply for exhibitions and to buy art materials. On top of this, artists are required to be resilient to overcome rejections and to continue believing in their work and in the power of art regarding the difficulties they have to face. I work as a full-time Art Teacher as well as being

an artist. I believe the creative nature of my job enriches my practice as an artist. Observing children enjoying an art lesson is stimulating; their freedom, lack of inhibitions and openness is unique. At times I find it hard balancing both worlds as I am always on the move using my spare time to develop my practice, but when I complete a collage, I get an overwhelming feeling of total content which makes all the sacrifices worth it. Tell us more about your collage series. I make abstract collages out of paper. I am driven by the feeling colour creates in me, and by the act of creating a composition by cutting, sticking and overlapping shapes. Collages allow me to change direction quickly, or to add a new element to the composition, while the forms come to life in the making of it. I work intuitively, arranging all the cutout shapes in search of a particular kind of harmony, creating warm spaces with an element of tension. I am interested in the concept of seeing Art as a tool, described in the book written by Alain

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de Botton and John Armstrong Art as Therapy: “Art is a therapeutic medium that can help guide, exhort and console its viewers, enabling them to become better versions of themselves”. I became interested in this concept when I was a Fine Art student at Sheffield Hallam University. During this time, I was fascinated by the power of visualisation, how to visualise an image can help us to have a positive state of mind, reduce stress and reach our goals. I was also engrossed in the theory of abstraction and colour described in Kandinsky’s book Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Rotherham Hospital and the Northern General Hospital (Sheffield) commissioned me to create a series of paintings. I have also had the opportunity to exhibit my work at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, London and St Pancras Hospital, London. Last year, I completed a Foundation Course in Art Therapy. This has opened new avenues for me to explore the therapeutic effect of making art and being surrounded by it. I believe art helps to find creative solutions to improve our emotional and social worlds and I like to think that my collages can be part of such a fascinating process in which they become a useful tool. Name artists you’d like to be compared to. Carmen Herrera, a Cuban-American abstract and minimalist visual artist, is a painter I admire, and I find incredibly inspiring. Although she is highly trained in Fine Art and worked for the best part of a century as an artist, began to have recognition very late in life, selling her first day in her studio, and her oeuvre demonstrates a disciplined but highly sophisticated exploration of color and form. As she once stated, “I believe that I will always be in awe of the painting at the age of 89 and exhibiting her work at the Whitney Gallery in New York at the age of 101. As both a woman and an immigrant, Herrera faced significant discrimination in the art world; yet she persisted, and continued to paint for the next six decades, only rarely exhibiting her work publicly. Today, at the age of 101, Herrera continues to work almost every straight line; its beauty is what keeps me painting.” Exhibitions/CarmenHerrera I find Carmen Herrera’s life and work exemplary as it makes me think about the importance of reaching a place in which you create work to fulfil your self-exploration and love for art instead of trying to fit into the art world and the current trends. I think reaching that place is liberating and makes your artwork stronger and more meaningful. Louise Bourgeois is another artist I admire; I find her imaginative work full of emotion and a passion for life. She had a long career as an artist and was able to explore a variety of themes including domesticity and the family, sexuality and the body, as well as death and the subconscious. I remember watching a documentary in which she held art critiques in her house and thinking it was fascinating how she kept until her late years her passion for


art and for helping other artists to develop their practice. I would like to think that with time I could cultivate some of the qualities that these incredible women have. How would you describe the art scene in your area? For me, living in London is like being a child in a theme park. To be surrounded by so much culture is stimulating and makes me feel alive. I love the fact there are so many art galleries and museums to visit and take inspiration from. The area where I live, Hackney, is vibrant and full of artists. There is a significant number of small independent galleries and pop up exhibitions. I find creating links with art institutions, galleries and artists is not always easy because artists are almost expected to be confident entrepreneurs who love networking and talking about their work and I feel that selling myself is not my strong point. What are your future plans as an artist? I plan to continue developing my practice by exploring the therapeutic effect of making art and being surrounded by it as well as the connection between art and our mental and physical wellbeing.

Georgina Ottaway Stoke-by-Clare, UK

Portraiture is the substance of my practice. Incorporating memories and my family with found objects. Consisting of doors, scaffolding boards and slate which I use as my ‘canvas’. The ‘canvases’ usually have deeper meaning that link to the person within the piece. In 2017, I painted a portrait of my father onto an old door. The chipped paint and deterioration in the wood linked to my father’s scars on his chest from multiple heart operations. Through making the object and meaning behind the portrait being more significant than the portrait itself, this is seen as a piece of conceptual art1. The use of oil paints is dominant within my work as this is the way I create texture with palette knives applying thick layers within the painting allowing the paint to appear flesh-like. Colour in my paintings are mixed to create the skin tones, using blues and greens when needed to create cool shadows. My subjects within the portraits are members of my family as the importance of family and memories run throughout my practice. ‘Compared to photography, memory’s records are full of gaps’ (Kracauer, 1924, 45), my work mixes photography with memories with an outcome of portraits. A definition of conceptual art from Tom Godfrey’s book Conceptual Art, ‘Conceptual art in not about form or materials, but about ideas and meanings’. 1)


Art Reveal Magazine

Art Reveal Magazine


The confidence I gained from university allowed me to both create what makes me feel fulfilled and it also helped me to realise that I did not need to conform to what others had told me I should do. I stopped worrying about trying to ‘fit in’. Tell us more about your art series: ‘The Passing of Time’ & ‘A New Life’: ‘The Passing of Time’ was my final degree show piece that was exhibited in Insert Art Here, the Degree Show for University of Lincoln in 2018. The piece is the largest artwork I have completed so far, standing at 2 x 2.5 metres. This ambitious piece was a reflection of the reason I produce art using the people who are closest to me. The idea of family was very important whilst growing up. The subjects I chose to paint are my mother, father, brother and myself as we are now, but with ourselves as young children standing in the foreground. The collecting of old photographs was a nostalgic part of this piece as it meant we all looked through the photos and memories together. Looking through old photographs of family members at weddings and celebrations gave me the opportunity to find family trees including relatives that lived across the UK as well as the meanings of surnames within my family. Exploring my family history in this way has allowed me to seek my own identity amongst my family.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you: The close-knit village I grew up in and my family have influenced me throughout my life. My family and the challenges we have endured together have made me a much stronger individual. Being able to document the memories and special people in my life is important to me which I have done through my art. My brother and I have grown up with art surrounding us, as my father painted with oil paints when we were children. He showed me how to paint with oils when I was 10 years old, as I had already used watercolours and acrylic paint prior to this age. This early introduction to painting has been a significant influence in my life as it is something I have strived for from an early age. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? The most challenging part of being an artist I believe is trying to ‘fit in’ or accepting that you may not ‘fit in’ and that you can be your own person and create your own artwork. At the start of my Fine Art course at University of Lincoln, we were all given a question: ‘What do you want to accomplish on this degree?’ My answers were ‘To complete a large painting’ and ‘To gain confidence in myself and my artwork’. By the end of my degree, I had completed both, and the largest painting I had ever attempted hung in my degree show. Meanwhile, the challenge I personally faced during my degree was staying true to what the medium I wanted to use as I was persuaded to experiment with sculpture and video etc. Although I did try these art forms and enjoyed the processes, my heart was with painting leading to my final year’s work using my family as my subjects and paint as my medium.

‘A New Life’ is a two-part series using palette knives on old wooden doors. The subjects are my mother and father, showing the story of a heart transplant my father had in 2008. Having my father showing his chest allowed me to paint textured skin, including the scars from his many operations. The used doors signify the old becoming new, similar to my father’s new heart giving him a new life. The door my mother is painted on was to signify the support she, my brother and I gave to my father whilst going through his life-changing operation. The Papworth Hospital Charity t-shirt that my mother is wearing, along with the prescription bag represents her looking after my father when he was recovering, as well as supporting the hospital that gave him his new life. Using doors as my ‘canvas’ allowed me to hang the doors as almost installation pieces, giving them back their old purpose. The doors now hang in my studio, which is shared between my father, brother and myself, and the doors are fully functional. Name artists you’d like to be compared to: Lisa Murphy is an artist who creates oil paintings using her family as subjects. I would like to be compared to her as she places the subjects in her paintings in an unproportioned way, along with using white backgrounds to really highlight the people in the painting - something I do in my own work. Another artist I would like to be compared to is Paul Kingsley Squire. He uses a mixture of palette knives and brushes to achieve a unique texture within his paintings. I aim to create texture in my work through using palette knives either through layering the paint or through thickly applying one coat. The close-up images he creates for his portraits intrigue me as the subjects appear to stand out from the backgrounds. How would you describe the art scene in your area? As I live in a small village called Stoke-by-Clare, with a population of around 500, art is limited to being displayed in peoples’ homes. There has recently been an exhibition in our village church, which I displayed some of my paintings in, along with residents of the village. It attracted many people and I have already been commissioned for several pieces. Further afield in surrounding towns there are a few galleries which consist of a wide variety of artists’ work. In Suffolk there is an ‘Open


Art Reveal Magazine

Studios’ during the summer which attracts many people to look at art in Suffolk. An hour’s drive from me is Cambridge, which is thriving with art, including galleries, courses and beautiful scenery to inspire artwork. What are your future plans as an artist? I aim to try and help at local exhibitions, as well as submitting my work into galleries or competitions across the UK. This

will give me the feedback and critique that I can use to improve upon future pieces. I have an upcoming show in the ‘Surface Gallery’ in Nottingham, which a group of peers from my Fine Art course from university have organised. Having all graduated last year, we have arranged an exhibition that focuses on gender, race and sexuality, through the view of traditionally underrated groups: female and non-binary artists. As well as exhibitions, I am painting commissions which generally depict interesting family and pet portraits.

Art Reveal Magazine


Frank Vescio

Canada / Montreuil-Sous-Bois, France

Art Reveal Magazine

I came to France from Thunder Bay, Canada in January 1978 to study painting and drawing at the Ecole d’Arts Decoratifs in Nice but first needed to prepare for the entrance exam the following September. I was accepted that fall and completed my first year in Nice before moving to Paris to sit the entrance exam for the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts graduating in 1982. My studio is in the eastern Paris suburb of Montreuil, where I have lived since 1981. During my studies in Paris, I followed academic training in painting and drawing learning the classical techniques and working from life. My artwork was realistic in nature, ranging from landscapes to still lifes and portraiture. It took me roughly three years after graduation to break away from the concepts and styles I had been taught. My work became much more experimental mixing pure solid colours using acrylic mediums to finish with more naturalistic visuals using oils. I have always worked from raw materials. I am basically old school and have difficulty letting go of tradition.


Living as an artist in Paris is challenging and the competition is stiff. Galleries are closed unwilling to accept new artists and participating in group shows is the only available way to exhibit. To live purely from your artwork is for me extremely difficult hence my high school art teaching position in a private school.

I resisted using photographs as a reference until 1989 when I discovered the music and dance of the west African culture that is especially rich in the east of Paris and Montreuil. I would go to African music and dance festivals to photograph the artists and then paint the vibrant colours of the traditional “Wax” fabrics that contrast beautifully with their skin tones. This became an obsession in my work as using the pigments with acrylic and wax based mediums was ideal for expressing the beauty of the Mandinka people. Between 2000 and 2014 I explored other subject matters and also returned to a 7 year period of painting the Malians from the region of Yélimané after visiting the villages with my local municipal council in December 2007. I started drawing and sketching in the Paris metro and RER where I spend around three hours commuting to and from my teaching job for about a year in 2005 to 2006. The amazing thing about working in the metro is that the vibrations caused my lines to move in a very interesting way leading to a series of drawings I called “vibrations”. This was to be the determining influence that has shaped the drawings and paintings presented in this article. I finished painting the Malians in December 2014 and began producing abstractions based on the artworks by artists such as Miro, Kandinsky and Alechinsky as well as the organic forms present in the Art Nouveaux designs by Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. I also create imaginary calligraphy and experiment with incorporating asemic writing into my compositions using bamboo brushes and india ink. The terrible terrorist attacks against Charlie Hebdo in January 2015 deeply affected me, as it did so many others. I decided to create a-political artwork in response to the attacks as I felt the need to create images that concentrated on the formal aspects of art making. I wanted to produce paintings and artwork that would appease and add beauty to the world that is troubled by violence and horrific imagery that are regularly viewed across social media and television. The series of paintings and drawings presented here explores color, form, rhythm and composition using coloured pencils on paper as well as acrylic and wax based paint on canvas that is primed with a coloured ground created from pigments and acrylic binder.

The basic trend in Paris is still very conceptual. The works and themes tend to be quite political. Locally where I live, there is a vibrant artist’s community and a municipal gallery with an active artist’s in residency program but it seems very much a who you know and where you stand politically with the local council to have access to their excellent exhibition space. The trend and direction of the public galleries are difficult to really understand how they develop and organize their exhibitions. Street Art is still very popular in the Paris area with successful street artists obtaining commissions from local councils for massive murals. Commercial galleries tend to bring these same artists into their closed white walled exhibition spaces. I have participated and belonged to various artist’s groups in the past and continued to paint and create artwork while teaching to provide a regular income for my family. I plan to retire from teaching in 2020 and will be more active applying to various calls for artists and will have more time to market my artwork. I often say to friends and colleagues that while teaching I have always been on plan B and now I will be able to begin my plan A once I retire from my day job. I will continue to create and explore the visual image in spite of the constraints of the art market.


Art Reveal Magazine

Art Reveal Magazine



Art Reveal Magazine