Art Reveal Magazine no. 52

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Paintings | Installation | Performance LSAD graduate whose live performances draw attention to the difficulties presented by ‘mind-body duality’

Michal Lubinski


































I am fascinated by the state of being connected with each other in a city like New York. I imagine the ways in which people, nature, and objects can interact with one another to form more or less complex compositions that operate as a map of our emotions or feelings. By painting abstract images of spiritual or moral dilemmas about ethical reasoning, values & choices in life, I dedicate my work to reveal these interwoven systems of humans & urbanity. Philippe Halaburda More at pages: 54-59 On the cover: “Pannkinmarr 1�, USA, 2018; Philippe Halaburda


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Paintings | Installation | Performance by Branko Franceschi Historical avant-gardes and especially their successors during the period after World War II, aimed with their radical strategies to eradicate the traditional visual arts disciplines and concept of art object. Simultaneously, they fostered active participation of the artists and arts in shaping everyday life and society, and thus they finally formed the contemporary visual culture and its creative paradigm. In this constellation once dominant artistic discipline of painting lost its exclusive status of medium which throughout the history most clearly reflected the perception of reality and the world as it was defined by the mankind. After a period of oblivion or even the death of painting – as the aspiring theoreticians who believed in supremacy of technology and methods of then-new media art and practice in general proclaimed at the turn of the millennium – the period of its strong revival and particularly of its figurative version followed. However, paintings by the referential painters of current generation are more inspired by film, TV or photography regarding the imagery and by the insights of post-conceptual artists in terms of conception and methodology, than the legacy of their own art discipline. This is most evident in their attitude towards the abstract painting which, after its triumph in the previous century, for majority of young artists seems to be out of sight and interest. Of course, this is only a summary of global trends, without considering the specifics of their reflections in the inexhaustible field of artistic subjectivity on which art production is ultimately based and which often achieves public attention only after the culmination of its vital contribution to the general scheme of things has inevitably already been surpassed. Spartak Dulić’s oeuvre is the ideal example of the above mentioned statements. He is an artist whose practice in relation to the objective potential of its social and communicative possibilities developed in the self-induced autistic vacuum, despite his professional participation in the mainstream cultural system – even if only in such a marginalised district such Subotica is today. It is a trait which we, thanks to the last remaining echoes of Romanticism, still like to consider as a glimmer of genuine artistic nature. Dulić’s participation in the field of public cultural practices is marked by contradictions. His art practice as a whole is shaped in accordance with contemporary multidisciplinary artistic standards, including its spillover into the curatorial field, but due to his luck (or, maybe, his disadvantage) his aesthetic discourse and personal poetics are developed outside of any trendy formulation. Simply, Dulić has created a unique formula that combines various procedures and concepts that marked the art of the modern epoch. 4

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To start with, Dulić belongs to the generation artistically formed in the Nineties, at the moment when multi-media art was already established as the mainstream format of the moment to which multiple and varied artistic disciplines and procedures of post-conceptual art practice converged. Although he graduated from the class of professor Ante Kuduz at the Department of Graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Dulić’s oeuvre from the early days included art installations and performances. After experimenting with sound and text (Spartak was the founder of a post-punk, hip-hop group Lepak / The Glue), and aesthetics of comics and street graffiti, Dulić became a true representative of the generation that regarded avant-garde strategy of blending academic with popular culture as self-understandable and practiced it spontaneously. This extensive creative discourse Dulić will most distinctively consolidate in the conceptual, performative and material aspects of his painting oeuvre. Selection of paintings shown at this exhibition represent the cycle executed after 2008, although their peculiar performing method Dulić has been developing during the previous years, what includes very indicative collages, small


in size and composed as three-dimensional structures of superimposed coloured papers. The compositions of his large paintings essentially represent two-dimensional painted reductions of these spatial collages, and therefore Dulić considers them derivates of Cubist’s solution of the real space representation in two-dimensional painting medium. This is where begins Dulić’s characteristic accumulation of various painting methods chosen according to the key of their suitability to his own artistic idiom. Thus his painting method involves more historically validated procedures, which in the end essentially make it a compendium of better part of the 20th century painting. According to the chronology, the implementation of the appropriation of surrealist automatism method followed, aiming at mental catharsis and realisation of trans-rational balance of painted compositions. Dulić’s painting process includes also a performative method of painting by circling around the canvas positioned on the floor. It is the method introduced by Jackson Pollock, the founder of Abstract Expressionism, from which art of performance emerged from and which, as we recall, also represents a part of Dulić’s extensive creative repertoire. After this procedure, the final orientation of the painting is determined by Dulić’s assessment during the final stages of painting and is subsequently fixed by positioning of his signature and date. References to historical painting methods are complemented by the unorthodox choice of the painting material that, following the Neo-avantgarde poetics of the Sixties, includes a wide variety of working materials such as façade paints, enamels, spray paints and markers, and which significantly affect the final look of the image. The last in this series of recognisable appropriated procedures is the so called street art practice i.e. wall paintings, graffiti

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reminds of living organisms as well as machines, or rather on their futuristic bionic amalgam. Because of the described specificity of his artistic expression, I consider Dulić’s paintings a serious contribution to the rich tradition of Organic Abstraction, style with which the great revolution of abstract art begun and which remained one of its enduring characteristics to this day. If we return to the initial thesis, Dulić’s painting oeuvre confirms the predictable fate of a genuine artist placed in cultural province where his artistic personality already at the time of its realisation is condemned at marginalisation within the value systems at the national and international level. In the context of painting as a selected discipline, we can generally conclude that despite the discipline’s turbulent recent history and largely thanks to the pragmatism of the art market, painting proved to be indestructible and irreplaceable in spite of relentless tide of new technologies of visual expression. Dulić’s position within these two extremes may remind us of the proverbial local metaphor of watchtower neither in heaven, nor on earth. No matter how cruel to the artist’s ambitions and subsistence or romantic, given the pragmatic functioning of the cultural system it may seem, isn’t it in the end exactly what by nature and our expectations the artist’s position should be?

and murals, already contaminated by the strong tradition of comic art. Taking them back to the studio, alongside the sporadic paintings on walls in public spaces, Dulić has integrated them into his eclectic painting procedures. Analysis of his composite painting method nicely illustrates how deep – and for our times atypical – is Dulić’s inveterateness in the genesis of visual arts of the modern epoch. It is recognisable in the rich visual vocabulary of his compositions and even more in their meticulously painted details. What we see at the exhibition as a consistent result of Dulić’s synthetic capabilities are displays of complex, intertwined and seemingly endless systems of forms that fully meet formats of canvases. In accordance with the selected painting materials, Dulić is not interested in variations of colour tones and hues, and their sporadic modulations are the result of spraying techniques. He mainly paints with the primary colours of the spectrum, straight from the containers, which adds to the intensity of his paintings akin to printing techniques. This visual reminiscence of the world of comics has been further strengthened by the black line drawings with which Dulić articulates coloured fields in tangled, meandering forms. For those who like visual metaphors or cannot do without them, Dulić’s paintings open views into the dynamic interior with density that strongly

Branko Franceschi, director-curator Museum of Fine Art, Split 21 000, Croatia 7

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SMOKE= ((brain-lungs):(space+path length) nonverbal communication (box+simultaneous movement):(thought- air)) Âąâˆž The performance was realized in the form of non-verbal communication, whereas the audience participates in the energy, intervening into the controlled and determined movement of the body of an artist, creating a new dynamism of pulsation, influencing the mental and physical state of the performer. In the isolated and hermetic social space surrounding the artist’s head, in which the whole body is reduced to an interactive installation, the subject looses its autonomy of perceiving the real space, due to the injected new thoughts materialized in smoke. A hypnotic, restart-articulation in the interactive relation, takes the whole performance into the unknown; bypassing a safe and predictable institutionalized form. Besides the fact that the situation is perceived from the outside as a willing passivity on the side of the artist, with the increase of communication and hallucination he searches for the moment of emergence of the group responsibility, the ethics of the social organism that he provokes and questions. Spartak Dulich


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In his performance, Spartak Dulic runs on a treadmill wearing on his head a specially designed airproof box with tubes attached to it. During the performance the audience is provided with hashish and to breathe out the smoke through the tubes. Aside from the very act of consuming and being in possession of soft drugs, which is illegal in most countries, another important element of this performance is the artist’s putting himself at the mercy of his audience. Despite the fact that he is the one who has thought up and directed the event, it is finally the audience who decides when it is over. The end result in both Zagreb and Ljubljana was the artist’s utmost exhaustion bordering on dizziness, because, instead of oxygen, he had been inhaling CO2 with hallucinogenic properties. This performance is yet another proof that today’s art is not a safe place. Enveloped by a cloud of smoke, head trapped inside the quadrangular helmet with tubes, the artist is a machine controlled by the audience. The Box is a happening in which the performance is turned into a state of gradual exchange. During the event, certain

induced changes take place in individuals and in the relations between participants. By exhaling smoke through the tubes the audience supplies the artist with hashish, which radically alters his mental and physical condition. He relinquishes control as his physical activity (running) incites the opiate effect which disrupts his movements. The exchange is direct and physical, but for the artist primarily nonverbal: the audience provides him with the fuel for breaking social norms while likewise being affected by the drug. The climax of the participants-performer exchange gradually leads up to a radical point at which both sides become united in an altered state of consciousness. There is an exchange – of opiate substance and of state of mind. Drug consumption precipitates the varying dynamics of the established relationships, the moments of coming closer together and drifting apart. The question is will the audience overplay the artist or the other way round? Who will be the first to „ate up“ or relax completely, or will the tension be kept up throughout the performance? Will the rush erupt or die out? It is an experiment in tolerance, responsability and transgressing boundaries in which everyone’s an equal and constantly on the verge of losing control. The duration and dynamic of the performance depends as much on the artist as on the audience. Art institutions are seldom eager to endorse alternative ways of stimulating consciousness, especially if an element of illegality is involved. The fragile space of Spartak’s social situation is not interested in provoking the institutions but in stimulating consciousness and becoming conscious of unstable relationships which are not predictable and predetermined. Suncica Ostoic 2009 9

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LSAD graduate whose live performances draw attention to the difficulties presented by ‘mind-body duality’

Michal Lubinski

Born in Krakow, Poland, historically it is a city that attracts artists from around the world. Indeed, its beautiful architectural objects, interiors of churches, and palaces, remain a source of inspiration for modern artistic creations. In 2007, after graduating from primary school (the Holy Family School in Krakow), I moved to Ireland with my family for economic reasons. I then started my secondary education at St Clements College in Limerick. In 2013, I started third level studies at the Institute of Technology in Limerick, in Lens-based media) pursuing my dreams and improving my work skills. 12

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An artist by nature from an early age, I played parts in numerous school theatrical performances, using body skills and voice techniques. Today, I am a performance artist who uses body movements, facial expressions, and gestures, to trigger emotions in viewers. In fact, live performance is the only field in the arts that does not leave any trace, is elusive, and has both a beginning and an end. Using modern media technologies we can augment such performances. For example, by using video installations that build tension and interact with the bigger message that the artist wishes to explore with the audience. As a result, I view my own body as a medium and material subject of expression during live shows. My live performances try and raise awareness of sexual dysfunction, involving a discrepancy between a psychological sense of gender and bodily structures. What is often termed ‘transsexualism’ is frequently accompanied by persistent psychological discomfort for the individual due to sexual characteristics presented, which are perceived as being inappropriate. The person may experience only a limited sexual functioning, often accompanied by a permanent and determined desire to change one’s external physical image up to and including one’s gender.


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Through my artistic work I want to make audiences more aware that transsexuality is a serious psychological conflict with many dramatic effects. For example, inability to find oneself in life because of your own mindbody duality, a poor sense of self, and a lack of sexual fulfilment. All of which may cause of depressive and delusional events, self-injury and suicidal thoughts. Performances and exhibitions thus give me a chance of self-fulfilment through making contact with the public and thereby increasing my sense of confidence. One should think about what tolerance really is namely; the encyclopaedic definition speaks of an attitude that respects the views, behavior and characteristics of other people. It has nothing to do with acceptance; on the contrary, we talk about tolerance when we respect someone’s views, although we do not like them. We live in a world of democracy, where respect for others should be in the first place on the list of the most important values. It turns out, however, that it is not always and not so for everyone, because if this were observed, people would not argue and act aggressively. From the earliest times, humankind has displayed a predisposition to engage in conflict with others about their beliefs. Tolerance is a much needed value in a human being. It is the recognition of the other person’s right to differentiate with another human being. It is the ability to survive in adverse conditions. It means that regardless of individual dignity, everyone has the right to own views, beliefs and behaviors. It is waiting for respect for someone’s right and beliefs to differ from others. However, there is little tolerance around the world today. Lack of tolerance is felt by poor people, other nations, addicts, patients, with different views. In my opinion, understanding tolerance is about conducting conversations rather than fighting. The lack of a compromise between radical groups is a negation of tolerance. People must learn to agree or disagree with violence; they must be able to show different views without hatred or hostility. 14

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In my opinion, art is a variety of artistic creation, and what the artist wants to create. Thus, it is a reflection of the author’s thoughts and emotions, and arises from the influence of the stimuli he experiences. It is a manifestation of all expression that is, throwing out feelings and exposing them. An artist is anyone who looks at the world through the prism of emotions, and then he tries to show this observed reality in his own way. He transforms reality by expressing his subjective point of view in his works. The artist creates the world. It adapts it to your own imaginations and imaginary visions. Creating helps to understand the artist himself. It’s easy to hurt an artist, because he often feels unintelligible by society and the environment, which leads to many complexes and lack of self-acceptance. This state of mind is often the foundation for the next poem, painting or photography. Without the art and artists who create it, the world would not make sense. For example, it is very important for people to pay attention to different truths and allow us to identify many sorts of emotions. Art is not a way to make a living money in today’s economic environment. Earning money in a more casual time is very difficult, in my opinion, if an artist thinks by doing art only for money, it does not make sense.Earning money through Live performance art is very difficult, I am currently not doing a live performance for money, the only earnings I have are from performances at exhibitions. In the near future I intend to try my strength as an actor, because I got a job offer in Poland, being an actor is certainly not the same as Live performance art, but this is what I would like to try at this moment in time.


Jamie Azevedo Savannah, GA, USA

I am constantly thinking about the human condition, the world we inhabit, and how we think we exist. Are there boundaries between here and there, us and them, or then and now? I believe deeply in the interconnectedness of all things. This philosophy along with mood and emotions inform my work. My art is about gifting the viewer with a disparate perspective on the human predicament we are experiencing. Jamie Azevedo was raised in rural North Carolina and was blessed to grow up in an extended family of charismatic yarnspinners who knew how to tell a great tale. It was a delight to hear about the ghost who lived with her aunt and the wild adventures of her great grandmother as she entered her second childhood. Her relatives, sensitivity, and sense of wonder about the world she inhabited all motivated her to want to be a storyteller. While living in Manhattan and pursuing an acting career, she met her future husband who introduced her to the world of two-dimensional art. He loaned her his ancient Minolta camera, and she was hooked. Transitioning from the stage to two-dimensional work allowed her to have complete creative control. While much of her art examines what it feels like to inhabit the female form, she also deeply explores themes such as interconnectedness and mutuality. She is inspired by the metaphysical world, history, mind-bending conversations, the game of “what if,� old movies, quirky humans, and the ludicrous yet jubilant journey called life that we are all on together. Jamie lives in Savannah, Georgia. Her work has been shown in galleries throughout the United States.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? The theme of interconnectedness is always present in my art. Even as a small child, I understood how deeply we can affect others. Our behaviors, attitudes, and even our presence can alter the dynamic among others as well as physical spaces. While my work may examine other ideas or question different concepts, interconnectedness is always there. Through using a slow shutter speed on the camera, most pieces have a ghostly or ethereal quality to them. This is my attempt to show how our energy rubs off on the people, places, and things we encounter. It’s one technique I use to show that we are indeed all connected. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? For several years, I was an actress. I adored the collaborative process of being just one part of a whole in someone else’s project. The words and choreography were completed for me. All I needed to do was put on the costume and become the character someone else had already created. When I transitioned to the visual arts, I noticed a struggle in working by myself. There is a loneliness I experience and oftentimes I miss collaborating with others on an artistic endeavor. Creative partnerships have always been alluring to me. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? It has been said that it is the artist’s job to hold a mirror up to society. I believe this is especially true today. Sometimes that reflection is ugly and at other times delightful, but always needed. I strongly believe in creating work which considers the times in which we exist. I regard the importance of producing work which asks thoughtful questions and allows the viewer to see that we are much more similar than different. We are all experiencing the human condition, which can be merciless and miraculous. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Recently, I moved to Savannah, Georgia and am thoroughly enjoying discovering the art scene here. The beauty of the city with its live oaks and Spanish moss, historical homes, and cobblestone streets lends itself to be the subject of many landscape pieces. One cannot walk downtown without seeing a Plein Air Artist capturing our city’s charm. Savannah is also home to the Telfair Museums which are the oldest museums in the southeast. It’s a remarkable organization which offers local artists the opportunity to exhibit their work through their #art912 project. The Savannah College of Art and Design which is also located in the city, hosts annual art and film festivals, and runs two museums dedicated to fashion and art. For a small city, Savannah offers artists many opportunities to show their work, and the culture and inspiration are endless.

Photographer Sally Mann is another artist I appreciate for her brutal honesty. Her series “Body Farm” examines the decomposing human form and while the subject matter is terrifying to me personally, I cannot think of a more compelling series. What are your future plans?

Name three artists you admire.

Currently, I’m completing a photography series entitled “Anchoresses” which explores they ways in which we wall ourselves and others in psychologically, by choice or not. In addition, I’ve started working on another body of work titled “Paper Dolls”. These photographs will incorporate mixed media elements such as collage and layering of images. My hope is to have these exhibits shown in galleries throughout the United States and abroad.

My most admired artist is photographer Francesca Woodman. Her work embodies a strength in vulnerability that I find bewitching and honest. 17th century painter Artemisia Gentileschi is an artist I admire greatly not only for her skillful artistry but her compelling personal story. Her grit is a quality I have long appreciated. 21

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Giorgio Bormida Savona, Italy

In Giorgio Bormida’s works, the photographic approach fades in favour of an extremely poetic use of the image, which somehow recalls painting, as it leads the viewer’s eye right to the heart of a complex imagination, densely embedded with suggestions and experiences. The author highlights the sense of humanly daily events, which are likely to touch upon anybody’s existence and experience. Anybody can catch on signs and hints of something that keeps on outliving time in their soul, in their memory. Giorgio Bormida, in fact, does not make do with taking pictures, with enclosing a freeze-frame of life, but, like painters on their canvas, he works with veilings, quietly, one step after the other. So every frame opens like a scenic window, a painting that becomes a stage (as the author himself claims) where, layer after layer, veiling after veiling, reality becomes clear and turns into pure suggestion.

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

The English gothic genre, loaded as it is with evocations, turned up to be a real treasure trove of prompts, starting from “Frankenstein” by M. Shelley, up to “The Castle of Otranto” by H. Walpole and all E. A. Poe’s dark tales, just to quote a few. I tried to find its equivalent in painting, with Fuseli’s works, which look like oniric visions, connected to the sounder of the subconscious. Moreover, during my research path, I came across the Italian gothic cinema, in particular “La maschera del demonio” (“Black Sunday”) directed by Mario Bava, and by the epigones of this genre. Even now my references and stimuli, which have remained constant with the passing of time, mainly come to me

My teachers at the School of Fine Arts of Verona undoubtedly offered me the stimuli to approach my works with a scenographic attitude. In fact, my thesis analysed the work of stage designer Gianfranco Padovani, between theatre and television. Roberto Sanesi, a man who is globally known as an expert of theatre and literature, an Italian poet and essayist, expert of Anglo-Saxon culture, encouraged me to explore graphic research, in particular the use of black and white, which, in his opinion, was a more congenial expressive tool to me. Consequently, I started investigating some of William Blake’s prophetic books. 26

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by images that I photograph or that I retrieve from my past. I re-elaborate accounts of my past experiences, of my origins, of the places where I live or that I visited, swarming with other presences: human, naturalistic, environmental. I try to direct my gaze to the heart of a complex imaginary which is densely embedded with evocations and experiences, highlighting the meaning of daily matters, which are part of anybody’s life. Anybody can grasp the hints, the signs of something that continues to survive time in our souls and in our memories. My research is not based on a mere snapshot that freezes a moment of daily life, but, just as a painter does on canvas, I develop my work through glazing, with slow passages, step by step, looking for what lies behind an image, behind a gaze, behind a shadow. I especially focus on the light that illuminates the details of my works, in order to offer a key to their interpretation. It is indeed the use of black and white that contributes to creating an impalpable atmosphere, which is the opposite of a “traditional” photographic freeze frame. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? Engaging yourself in a continuous challenge, never giving anything for granted, so that the image and the inner contents that you want to express are realized and immediately get to the audience.

The current trends usually use technical expedients which aim at an extreme aesthetism, and bridle the image itself by adapting it to trendy stylisms and formalisms. When the artist becomes aware of such risks, they should distance themselves from these potential conditioning factors and transfer their inner world into their works. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? In our era, every means that can be used to communicate has been legitimized. The commuincative purpose must prevail and attention must be focused on the contents expressed and on the modality with which they are expressed. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The scene offered by digital photography is immense and its boundaries are not easy to be defined, due to the great possibilities that it offers in the manipulation of images. I am attracted by an area, maybe a marginal one, where the digital material is loaded with a strong pictorial evocation. Name three artists you admire. Edoardo Tresoldi, Caravaggio.




I admire Tresoldi’s ability to create majestic architectures, which, at the same time, are so leightweight, and fit perfectly in their context, which, however, is never even slightly altered, but, on the contrary, is highlighted in a magical and oniric dimension. Matsui possesses and masters an amazing pictorial technique, both in her drawing and in her painting. I am enthralled by her “worlds”, by her “ghosts”, by her female figures. Caravaggio is the search for the light. What are your future plans? I am currently finishing a new series of pictures manipulated on the face of the Roman emperor Publius Helvius Pertinax. To date, there are no certainties related to his face in the Roman statuary, the only visual representation of the Emperor that we have is given by the coins that had been forged during his extremely short reign (87 days). With the “Nombril Project” [http://www.] we are planning the installation for the performance video clip “Muêë”, a 10-minute clip of visual evocations which are deeply sensorial and have a deep emotional impact. I will keep on combining the ancient and the contemporary, creating that optical illusion that lies at the boundary between painting and photography.

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Sara Camus Ottawa, ON, Canada

The Puddle Portrait studies capture undisturbed puddles while simultaneously disguising them. The audience’s attention is shifted to the highlighted architecture, infrastructure, and people of downtown Ottawa while distracted by ripples and debris. This suite of photographs utilizes the puddle as a tool, employing its reflective qualities to duplicate its surroundings. The flipping of the image distorts the puddle, encouraging the audience to contemplate this designation.

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

helped us to clarify our artistic expression with our audience. As artists, we can be very protective of our work, and being in an environment of open communication broke down a lot of those inhibitions. Outside of class, we were encouraged to attend the exhibits of our professors and fellow students. Overall, the experience was incredibly supportive and allowed us to feel comfortable with the vulnerability of sharing our artwork.

Partway through my undergraduate degree at Mount Allison University, I decided to change my degree path. Mount Allison is a liberal arts university with small class sizes whose very dedicated Fine Arts professors are practicing artists themselves. My professors consistently challenged my understanding of art, which changed mypractice many times throughout my degree.

Early on in my degree, I took my first film photography course. We were instructed to take our cameras everywhere, allowing us to respond authentically to our surroundings. One day last

Within our classes, we were motivated to collaboratively share feedback. Discussing our ideas and problem-solving together 32

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What is the most challenging part of being an artist?

June, I went out for a run. There had been a storm that had passed quickly, and the sun had emerged. I was distracted during my run by how vivid the blue reflection of the sky appeared in the puddles as I passed them. I could view and capture my surroundings within the puddles. As I was reviewing the photos afterwards, I was excited by the clarity of the building that had been captured through the puddle. Instinctively, I flipped the image. I felt incredibly energized by the result - all because I engaged so directly with my surroundings through the puddle. Lessons such as these are the ones that I treat cumulatively as I continue to grow my presence as an artist.

The two main challenges I face are investment and consistency - essentially, how to make a living as an artist. As an emerging artist, I invest in materials whenever I can to push my art career forward. However, an attitude that my professors consistently expressed was that you always have more tools than you think, and you can create art with very little. Sketchbooks. Your smartphone. Items found on the ground. An artist doesn’t need the highest quality materials to clearly 33

express a thought or feeling. I bring a pocket sketchbook with me and to set aside at least ten minutes a day to draw. This is where I find many of my ideas blossoming. My sketchbooks also serve as an idea journal for projects that require an investment that I can return to later. We are fortunate to have a Canadian government that invests in the arts, so use what you have to develop an idea and follow it up with applications for grants to help fund your idea. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? The first word that comes to mind is accessibility. Looking back at the different art periods, art was inaccessible for most socio-economic classes. I thank so many artists that have challenged the role that art plays in our society. Artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Meret Oppenheim, and Judy Chicago used contrarian, and even perverse, strategies to challenge art norms. Today, there are so many ways to expose oneself to art and to find artists that resonate with you. Art can be found at home, in galleries, and in public spaces. We have the ability to connect with artists online, especially through social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. I have come across people who want to engage with art but feel uncomfortable going to galleries or participating in art culture because they haven’t had exposure to art history or language. One of my principles as an artist is to encourage open engagement and to welcome a dialogue. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I feel fortunate to have the opportunities and resources that Ottawa provides. While Ottawa is centred between the Canadian culture centres of Toronto and Montreal, it has a lot to offer artists and aesthetes, between galleries, community events, and public art. Ottawa is known as the City of Festivals; there are many community events to participate in, including exhibits, art and craft fairs, and art battles. Over the last few years, Ottawa’s public art and mural presence has greatly increased, especially within the Byward Market, the Glebe, and Hintonburg. We have many gallery options, including the National Gallery of Canada (NGC), the Ottawa Art Gallery, and local privately-owned galleries. It is so special to me that the NGC is within walking distance, because it has so many pieces that I believed I would only see on Powerpoint presentations in lecture halls, such as Dan Flavin’s “the nominal three”, Brian Jungen’s “Vienna”, and of course Louise Bourgeois’s “Maman”. Canada’s capital provides so many opportunities for local artists to exhibit and connect with one another. Name three artists you admire. Tracie Cheng Christina Troufa Francis Alÿs What are your future plans? I am pursuing a couple goals at the moment - I’d like to grow Puddle Portraits and return to school. More school for me means completing a Bachelor of Education to teach art to young people in my community. In high school, I was accepted to an Integrated Arts program to study visual arts. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to practice art from an early age and am excited about the prospect of being a part of similar opportunities for children and teenagers, especially those that face barriers to accessing art education. Secondly, my first Puddle Portrait series is focused on featuring downtown Ottawa. This project doesn’t necessitate an end date. I intend to grow Puddle Portraits by creating a series in various locations and exhibiting in gallery spaces. Books and prints are now available at

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Douglas Caplan Langley, BC, Canada I am an artist born in Montreal and currently based in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. My passion for photography started in 1993 with a Nikon 35mm camera. My work focuses on architecture and urban environments. Rather than showing my work in random arrangements, I prefer to present my art in thematic sequences. The flow of thought is an important element in my work as viewers move from one image to another. Each image is a single part of the whole sequence and work together to form a single thought. This project explores the colorful world of Japanese vending machines. Japan has 5.52 million vending machines spread across the country. With a population of 127 million people, that is 23 people for each vending machine. Each year 6.95 trillion yen (US$65 billion) is spent on vending machine purchases in Japan. Japanese vending machines sell almost everything imaginable. I started documenting Japanese vending machines about 3 years ago. I find Japanese vending machines elegant and I try to capture them with their natural urban environment surrounding them. This is an ongoing project currently consisting of 55 images with the goal of 100 images that I want to publish in a photo book in the next 2 to 3 years. All images can be viewed on my website.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I think the years spent in the darkroom have had a lasting influence on my work. I started attending Ampro Photo Workshops in Vancouver in 1993 to learn all I could about the art and science of photography. I custom built a darkroom so I could develop my own black and white film and produce my own monochromatic prints. Crafting my own prints forced me to develop pre-visualization skills and grasp how shadows, contrast and luminosity/tonality worked together to produce an image. Although most of my photography is in color these days, I still use these technical aspects to produce my images in the digital environment. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? The most challenging part of being an artist is to just let go and allow creativity to flow. It may be difficult to accept, but there is no built-in meaning to anything. We apply “filters� given to us by others to determine what is good or bad. Once I gave myself permission to create without expectation and removed the need for validation, I found that creativity flowed more freely. In my opinion, many artists put too much value in how others view their work. There is no right or wrong, good or bad. There is only an expression that exists. In your opinion, what does art mean in a contemporary culture? Art is simply self-expression of an idea or thought. Contemporary culture collectively decides on the polarity of the expression, giving validity to the consensus, not the self. Since art is shared self-expression, it has limited meaning in the eyes of contemporary culture, or any culture for that matter, unless it resonates on some level. To be viewed as authentic, art should flow from the inner-self outward; inner-self creates ideas and then the ideas move outward to be shared or expressed. My belief is that the purpose of art is to express ideas or thoughts, not to seek cultural validation. 38

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How would you describe the art scene in your area? I’m not connected to the local art scene. I was very active in the local art scene in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s with numerous exhibitions etc., but I took a few years hiatus when my daughter was born in 2004. During that time off I shed my black and white photographic style and developed my interest in architecture and the urban environment; I rebooted my photography and started from a blank slate. My work regularly gets published in Canada and abroad, so I consider this as my “local” art scene. Name three artists you admire? I admire all artists, but the three artists I admire most are Ansel Adams, Paul Caponigro and Michael Wolf, all photographers. Ansel Adams influenced my early black and white photography. I had the opportunity to attend an Ansel Adams exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, Japan about 20 years ago and I have to say that was an amazing experience, but it was the work of Paul Caponigro that inspired me in a way that Adam’s work was not able to. Adam’s work was technically superior to anything available at the time, but Caponigro’s work had a depth and spirituality to it that spoke to me. It wasn’t until later in my artistic journey that I was truly able to appreciate Caponigro’s work at a different level (e.g. Apple, New York City, 1964). Both Ansel Adams and Paul Caponigro worked mainly in the landscape genre. Although I explored landscape photography for several years, it just didn’t provide a suitable method for me to express myself. Architecture and urban environments was something that just “clicked” with me. Michael Wolf’s work is similar to mine in some ways. Wolf’s work explores the nature of life in larger crowded cities, particularly Hong Kong. Sadly, Michael Wolf recently passed away. Hopefully one day I will have the opportunity to view his work in person. It was Michael Wolf’s work that inspired me to photograph my Hong Kong series “Hong Kong Brutal Compressions” & “Hong Kong Slope”. What are your future plans? My future plans are to continue exploring architecture and urban environments. There are infinite possibilities to explore with this subject. I frequently visit Japan (my wife is Japanese). Tokyo is my favorite destination. I recently spent time in Tokyo to work on my Japanese Vending Machine project. I will be back in Japan shortly to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka and many hidden spots. I also plan to go back to Hong Kong later this year. My goal is to accumulate 100 Japanese Vending Machine images and publish them in a book; I’m about halfway there. I plan to sell my work in small editions of 10 to 15 starting in 2021. 39

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Zoran Crncevic Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnian artist Zoran Crncevic started his studies at the Faculty of Arts in Pristina, Kosovo. Because of the war that broke out in Kosovo, he moved to the UK, where he graduated from the Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, London in June 2003. During his studies, Zoran was receiving support from members of the Royal Society of Sculptors. His work forms a part of the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance art collection, and a collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In October 2006, KulturKontakt Austria awarded Zoran a three months long art residency in Vienna, and in 2015 his artwork was featured in Kulturkontakt Art Magazine. A number of individual collectors in the UK, Italy, Ireland, and Bosnia and Herzegovina highly value Zoran’s work.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? There are many influences, but I could say that the long-lasting influence is related to my childhood experience of playing with mud, water, and colours, and more recently, it is physics and an idea that our minds, our consciousness, come from quantum processes. British mathematical physicist Roger Penrose shed more light on this concept. He claims that human consciousness is a direct result of quantum processes occurring in tiny microtubules inside of our brain’s neurons. It is a very interesting thought, and my work revolves around an idea that, through art, we can somehow tune into each other’s minds, being like radio transmitters and receivers made from the live tissue. I believe that we are all connected on the conscious or subconscious level. For example, when we listen to a piece of music or see a piece of art,

we sometimes feel like we understand and sense artist’s thoughts and feelings, while some other piece of work from the same artist doesn’t affect us so much. I believe that this idea that whole of humanity is linked together and represents a single living organism is very important for us as a race. It means that communication between parts is crucial for the survival of the totality. This has been proven on many levels, that communities with better communication develop and prosper, while conflicts and a lack of mutual respect and understanding can destroy whole societies. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? The most obvious answer would be finding finances to create art and finding places to show the art, but I don’t think that those are the most challenging parts of being an artist. I find that the most


valuable resource is time, and the most challenging part of being an artist is to understand yourself and to communicate your ideas to the audience. It is about that fine-tuning. All messages are in essence cryptographic and unreadable if people are unable to decode and read them. Even when the people come from the same culture, and speak the same language, using only words as a tool for communication is very limiting, and artists are challenged to enrich this exchange with rhythm, form, and colour. Even writers are not in the business of writing words. The message comes from the rhythm and selection of the words. You can rewrite Shakespeare with different words and it will be nothing like the original. Getting rid of the clutter and distilling ideas into the precise code is what I find the most challenging. How to create a piece of artwork with a clear voice, so spectators can tune into that frequency and, so to speak,

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feel the work. The most exciting thing in doing art is seeing that people actually respond to it. Seeing their reactions. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? A role of art in culture hasn’t changed much through history. Artists and art have always been at the forefront of social development, and they are very much present at the centre of contemporary culture now. Artists are in a slightly better position today than before in terms of their liberty not to bow down to oppressive regimes, but they are still vulnerable and required to conform to social norms, and in some countries, they risk their lives for speaking their minds. Since it is partially based on science and facts, and part on intuition, art has an opportunity to lead society into philosophically and scientifically uncharted territories. Without artistic imagina-

tion, social and natural sciences would have a much more difficult job to know what they should be searching for. For example, science fiction books and movies inspired the development of technologies that didn’t exist at the time when the books and movies were created. Art helps us to understand each other better, regardless of our cultural upbringing, education, age or gender. I see it as a universal language. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is rapidly developing with respect to the visual arts, but the literary scene is also burgeoning. In the last couple of years, writers from Banja Luka have won several prestigious literary awards. Visual artists from Banja Luka are also very active in the region and beyond, but more should be done with respect to the


funding on the city and state level. I guess finances have always been an issue in the art world. Name three artists you admire. Joseph Beuys, Sarah Lucas, and Marina Abramovic. All three of them have a very strong visual presence, but effective communication with the audience dominates their work. I admire them for having honesty and courage to confront their struggles and produce the work that can be seen and understood by others. What are your future plans? I make only short-term plans, so it is difficult to talk long term planning apart from the one to keep making art. There are some of the pieces that I’ve done years ago that I still like, but in general, I can see the progress with every new piece of work I make.

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Ronald Gonzalez Johnson City, NY, USA

The found objects I work with are from yesterdays. They speak of past events and personal experiences in their embodied histories. Time is a magic that allows past, present, and future to coexist. The artist is a mediator between these temporal worlds. The past is a memory and what I seek and what I find is never the same thing. Objects are of our own making. I am drawn to their degraded rare status that coalesces into poetry. My desire is to make something human from them through intimate forms and an emotional charge that transforms their identities. The head in sculpture is the central symbolic part of the body and focal point of human consciousness most prone to persona and the imaginary. My concern is for a thing portrayed, a fusing together of animate and inanimate elements captured as human expression born out of this moment.

Ronald Gonzalez is a contemporary figurative artist based in upstate New York. Since the mid seventies the artist has created elegiac sculptures and installations that are embodiments of death and loss infused with grotesque narrative, and pathos. Gonzalez works primarily in a series with steel armatures and macabre collections of time worn objects, and detritus from his surroundings. The work is then further eroded with metal filings, burned wax, glue, wire, and black soot creating a dramatic tonal range that both obscures and reveals anthropomorphic heads, torsos and figures that appear as charred fetishistic mementos possessing a visceral quality imbued with a sense of primal energy and distress that permeates his work.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I would say, my empathy for objects and their aesthetic properties. Collecting and assembling has been a constant. I started collecting things to play with as a child from the streets. I was always looking down; so finding things at my feet was a daily ritual. These were mostly things run over by cars or swept to the curb, a piece of flattened metal, pieces of tires, broken glass, bottle caps that I sailed like ships on mud -puddles and hammered onto the bottom of my shoe heals to dance the flamingo I saw on television. The abandoned things I rescued and saved were always small, things I could hold in my hand and keep safe in my pocket or hide in my treasure box of relics. These days in my studio, I am covered with the dust and dirt from things that have survived the test of time. Bins of old leather scraps, shelves of forgotten objects that have become heaps of rubble piled high, weighed down with the residue of time and memory. In collecting one is longing for some unknown thing out of necessity to fill the void with projects that can never be filled. I do know what I am searching for; it’s all in the finding of an object at a certain time in what is our mutual, ongoing process of aging. As a sculptor working through a medium of debris, everything is in a rush to disintegrate as it radiates energy. The magic of the imagination is that it is capable of breathing life into the deepest recess of any and all inanimate things by investing them with feelings. Objects exist for me as ‘potentialities, “in that they are suspended in a space not yet pieced together as a psychic and physical reality of being and then become empathies”, a composite of disparate parts fused together evoking pathos and the pain of nostalgic return. We all feel incomplete; the found objects become parts of myself that will help me to put myself back together again. Something each one of us does every day as we put the pieces back together. The past is buried inside and is deeply rooted and felt in the things I work with. One feels for them and into them as parts of my present, past, and future. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? There is always the challenge of making a living and making art is always expensive with very little income return. If you were operating a business

you would close the doors since you are often just pouring money out and never taking any in. There are also significant overhead costs of owning or renting a studio, materials are an addiction, and there is transportation of works, site visits, packing, promotion, websites, and dreaded storage. As a sculptor, you are always faced with saving or destroying work because of the pitfalls of storage space and an ever-growing inventory. There are also practical challenges. If I do not go to work or deal with ones daily responsibilities everything would fall apart, but if I do not go into my studio nothing changes, this takes a big toll psychologically and emotionally 51

since work is a lifeline to being a artist. An artist must have a work discipline and make that constant decision to follow a process of working in order for something to happen from the momentum of time and insights that create works of art. Work is an issue of survival, an artist must go on being an artist that’s the eternal challenge, and it is a path of no return. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? The borders between art and life are inseparable and artists are in close contact with both. Artists are the eyes of a culture

of Eros and Thanthos driving us as we gravitate toward one over another. For artists, creation and destruction are two faces of the same coin and necessary parts in creating a whole. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Binghamton University is recognized as one of the elite public Universities in the nation with a University Art museum that brings world-class musicians, art exhibitions, and events to the region. Binghamton, New York is a small city with a rich local culture inspired by its past history and tradition of classical music and opera. There are several public art and science museums and several contemporary art galleries that host first Friday arts walks, and an annual popular public 3D lights show along with many talented artists spread throughout the region. Name three artists you admire.

and are weaving together various branches of knowledge and experience into very profound expressions of human ambition and meaning, raising demanding and fundamental questions about how we see ourselves in a fractured world around us. Works of art are also being made by young students and artists starting out restating the serious questions about what art is and what it means to be an artist today as they define art in new and fresh ways. What we call culture is more than the epidemic of the noise of division, or fashion, having your name up in lights, or perfume in designer bottles. It is a reflection of the everyday common experience of people experiencing and shaping the world. Every culture is part of a complex mixture of biological, social, and linguistic structures that we cannot help but interact with and impact. Art making is personal, but can be globally influenced and a ceaseless drive to push the boundaries of ideas and materials into new realms. Art is risk taking and provoking in ways that allows for multiple meaning and perspectives to emerge. Art can also be a radical intervention into culture and challenge to fixed ideological positions and assumptions about sanctified subjects and moral responses to beauty, ethics, and taste. It seems to me what is most important is the inherent ability of art to transform and communicate the power of the imagination as a source for offering up our human condition and a potential for healing. When you see people staring up in amazement at Michelangelo’s David or from beneath one of Louise Bourgeois gigantic spiders you are seeing a shared consciousness and psychology at work uniquely articulating our need for heighted awareness and spiritual awe in our lives. Human beings both destroy and preserve as a way of leaving a mark. There are these forces

I would have to put several zeros in front of the number three to answer historically, To start I admire the unknown artists who created the masterpieces from Paleolithic art and the sculptors who carved the medieval gargoyles from the once Notre-Dame cathedral. The sheer numbers of unknown invisible artists alone is a staggering thought. The first three artists that come to mind are Auguste Rodin, Germaine Richier, and Picasso. I think of Rodin’s’ small study of a female torso from the gates of hell with a skeletal hand across the woman’s stomach. It is a wondrous truncated fragment of flesh and bone and juxtaposition of life and death. There is Richier’s tense and drawn “Storm man” that I admire that combines forms from far off places and is in communion with nature’s mysterious night mind. Picassos little “little girl skipping rope” is an astonishing miracle of invented anatomy, who would think of making a little girl skipping rope in the round combing the weight of sculpture and her clumsy shoes with the lightness of the act. What is your future plans? I plan on continuing work on an ongoing series of life-size heads I started three years ago. The head in sculpture has old historical associations with portraiture and is a precedent sculptural form in the figurative tradition that I have become absorbed with. The head as a basic motif has become a central personal form for me in exploring what has been a hybrid realm of confrontation between objects and human beings. The Head is a more concentrated distillation of the figure without the dominating armature I have used to assemble and build freestanding life-size figures. The head has a detached, isolated, and self-contained formal identity. It is withdrawn into itself as a presence when not bound to the rest of the body. Its incompleteness gives it its power and intimacy. Sometimes, I use an object as a stand in for the essence of the face that involves resemblance and recall and as a point of focus that defines its symbolic meaning and narrative with the title. Other heads are built up in layers using leather scraps as charred patina skin with found objects that create individual personalities and meanings through the arrangement of features volumes and surfaces. Even when a head is made with the most humble of materials there is a prestige and dignity of being in the scrap accumulations. I can conceive of endless future caricatures, distortions, composites, and grotesques made from formed things spirited to life.

Philippe Halaburda Brooklyn, NY, USA

I was born in France in 1972. I graduated from EDTA SORNAS Graphic School, Paris, France with a Bachelor of Visual Communications degree (Graphic Design Major) in 1993. My career began in 1995 with my first solo exhibition in Paris and I am considering myself as a self-taught artist. I lived from 1996 until 2000 in Switzerland where I painted and exhibited too. At this time, my style was more figurative. I moved to Aix-en-Provence, France in 2000 to acquire new evolution in my work. It started to become more and more abstract years after years. My colors palette became clearer and more colorful influenced by the light of this part of France. In 2012, I started to transform my work from figurative to a total abstract style. My art has been exhibited throughout Europe (France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium) & Australia but my first solo exhibition was in an art gallery in the US - the Peyton Wright gallery in Santa Fe, NM in 2013. I have been represented one year by this gallery and since this show, I decided to be a full time artist and developed my career to USA. I attended an art residency in New York In April 2015. The purpose was to develop my new main theme: emotional landscapes inspired by unconscious relations between humankind & environment on various mediums, such as painting, digital art & iPhone snapshot. I have participated in many collective and solo shows in USA since 2015. I am now represented by several American art galleries and my work is in private collections throughout the United States, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, The Netherlands and China. I am living and working in New York, USA since November 2016.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? It’s mainly more the location I am living in. I know that I am very sensitive to my environment and unconsciously to a larger one. The blurry boundary between perception and experience always inspires me. I started my career more than 25 years ago and the influence has always been

important and the more I engage my art with the audience, the more the impact of my environment is precious and rich of new information to share. It affects my palette, my colors and probably my style too or at least, brings me to go in a specific artistic direction. In Paris first, with more grey and dark colors, in Switzerland than with blue colors and now in the South of France with a light and shiny palette. When I did my first painting in Aix-en-Provence, 56

I naturally started to use pink as the main color for example. I am reacting face tot he light on my surroundings. The light is South of France is incredible, I can understand why so many painters came here. As I am interested in the randomness of emotion by imaging abstract visuals based on the subconscious, I need to renew my environment or to feel it very changing. My work engages with humankind and

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places, and New York is for the moment the perfect location where I can experiment that daily. I felt the same visual impact of the city happening into my art practice days after days. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? Being an artist means staying free face to the inspiration, the creative process or

being able to constantly renew me. This last point is the most important to me. I am more attached to the psychological state of mind than the material one. I want to show and share this freedom and the limits of my freedom as an artist also as a human being. I believe that every artist reaches his boundaries and have to go over them to be able to create an authentic sincerity and truth. Children are very clever and surprising 57

about that: they can easility reach a certain truth in their drawings. Make art helps me to live in this world and to make it more bearable too. I can easily imagine that the audience needs to do the same. A feeling or an emotion does not last, that can explain why I try to fix them through art. I can say it is like a work about memory that I share with other people. Maybe, this is why my art got this universal and common aspect that I do not control.

I want to invite the viewer to join me, take time to look at it for himself too. The audience has to feel his personal freedom connected to his intimate collective background. My pesonal approach condenses refined and rigorous research to freedom of expression. It accomplishes the difficult task of walking the audience into the liminal area in which imagination and observation, lucidity and frenzy find an unexpected point of convergence. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? For me, art opens a dialogue that concerns intimacy such as identity, psychology, emotions or larger contextual frameworks such as community or humanity. This dialog is, of course, cultural but affects all the social domains of our lives. I sense the world spiritually and intellectually as an artist and I can share it and give it to the audience. Contemporary culture is like pop-culture. It’s dynamic, changing all the time. I explore the expressive potential of abstract texture to inquire into the great universal themes of love, art, beauty, and death. Culture is our identity, what and who we are today. I am like a transmitter that connect in time with the moving world. I trigger both memory and imagination, to speak of emotions and a variety of feelings, creating a compelling narrative. I still believe art is more than a huge business but still a pleasant and challenging way to engage with the other and the world. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I am in New York since 2016 and I am still figuring the art scene here: what is the one which can fit my expectations as artist. There is much more to the New York City art scene than the mass of galleries found in Chelsea, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each borough has its unique vibes, artist communities, and a culture unique to each.

The art industry based in the city is the most influent that makes it very active and full of art events. It’s also very socially and politically engaged. And it’s certainly also one of the world’s most competitive cities. Name three artists you admire. The first artist I discovered and who gave me a new way to make art is Jean Michel Basquiat. To see him painting has been for me a relief and a revelation. I see his paintings as a tool for introspection. The way he was making art is a real source of freedom and uninhibited approach as artist. And as an artist, he also gave me some keys on how to focus on inner versus outer experience. The second one is Pierre Soulages for his non-representational forms in his art. How he influences the Abstract Expressionist movement and how he was able to go further with the thick black brushstrokes “outrenoir”. I like also the Russian artist, typographer, and architect El Lissitzky. I discovered his work quite recently, to be honest, and notice how close we are aesthetical y and graphically. He was one of the major figures in Constructivism. I think I share with him the same sense of composition and constant research of balance and imbalance. What are your future plans? I am more aware of my process and my artistic themes about the representation of emotion in abstract maps. Even if I am a painter, I am in the process to renew my art tool: the brush is going to be replaced by color tape. Because of that, it permits to do more conceptual creations on different media, not only paper or canvas or flat files, but volume and objects. I also want to be more minimalist, by expressing many more things with few colors, lines or shapes. And the big plan is to imagine and draw a new topography of our inner or outer world.

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Jamie Hawkins Norfolk, United Kingdom

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It’s your second time in our magazine. What changes since the 45th issue? ‘Progress’, is probably how I’d sum it up in one word. I’ve continued to move forwards and upwards in all aspects of my career since I first appeared in issue 45. Since we last spoke, I’ve had my first solo exhibition, my creative process has continued to evolve and I’m able to articulate more and more every time I paint. I’ve also had a lot more wider interest in my story and my art from a media perspective. And from a commercial point of view, I’ve seen the value of my work and the number of sales increase significantly. Pretty much in every way you can measure, I’ve seen big progress. Which is obviously important to an artist from both a motivation and validation point of view. I came into the art world with literally no background in art whatsoever, and so to see my career progress in the way it has (especially given the reasons behind my taking up art in the first place) is something I’m tremendously happy about and grateful for. What is your creative process like? I get asked this question a lot. And it always feels kind of like telling a trade secret when I do! Ha! Ha! Emotionally and physically, I give my self over completely when I paint. I’ll pretty much always have a fully formed idea of what I want to produce before I begin, but at the same time allowing the painting to go in a different direction if it feels right in the moment. My agent (Bam Douglas, founder of art agency; is always reminding me to paint my ‘truth’ and not to be swayed by previous feedback on my work, or what style of pieces have sold well in the past. For him, and myself, everything has to be 100% the truth with no fears over what others may think. It can usually take weeks to produce a single piece and I’m more often than not bed-ridden by the end of it. I have to go somewhere deep inside my myself to produce my work. And the place that I go to isn’t always particularly positive or nice. I have to re-live some pretty horrific moments and deliberately drag up memories that I’d much sooner forget. But the artists I admire, all drew from pain to produce their work and I find comfort in that. My agent and agency are thankfully incredibly supportive and understanding of this and never put pressure on me to produce work, or go in a certain direction that I don’t want to. In your opinion, what does art mean in contemporary culture? For me personally; art is increasingly important as an ‘analogue’ experience. To truly appreciate art, you have to get up, leave the house and go visit a physical space and look at a physical creation. With the ever increasing influence of social media and switch to ’online’ experiences; I feel passionately about arts role in reminding us to also enjoy real life moments, and not just rely on virtual ones. At the end of the day; art, for me, remains the ultimate form of human self-expression. The first thing we did as a species when the need for food, water and shelter was fully met was to paint on cave walls. Then music and dance followed. But our FIRST instinct was to express ourselves visually. There’s a purity to art that we must fight hard not to lose as contemporary culture goes 63

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Can you tell us about your last exhibition?

further and further down the rabbit hole of social media and virtual experiences.

My last exhibition was my debut solo show, which I was incredibly nervous about! Almost to the point where I had to keep reminding myself to actually try and enjoy it! The reality is, there are commercial factors when it’s your career. And as much as I stay totally outside of that stuff and let my agent deal with it, I also knew that in order for it to be deemed a ‘success’ I’d have to sell work. Thankfully, I managed to sell work pre-show, on the launch night and also during the two week run, which the gallery owner was over the moon about. It was also a massive relief for me personally. It was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been about anything!

Art must, in my opinion, remain the ultimate example of all that’s best about us as citizens of this planet. And in contemporary culture, art mustn’t just feature in our lives when we read sensational headlines over astronomical sale prices, or bananas taped to a wall! Tell us more about your recent paintings. What are you working on right now? I’ve certainly opened up my vocabulary as an artist in my recent paintings and It’s something I’m massively excited to expand upon even more in the future. There’s definitely been a more detailed and nuanced story told with my latest works. And feedback from collectors and gallery owners has reflected that. At the moment I’m working on a large piece to go on public display at the Underground Gallery in Norwich, which is the capital city of Norfolk. It’s a pedestrian underpass that has works from multiple artists on display and a space I’ve wanted to produce a piece for pretty much since I first started painting. I love when art is free to view and on show outside of a gallery setting and so this is a project I’m absolutely loving! After that, I have a large scale installation piece to produce in a collectors home and I also have my second solo show coming up in Easter, which will be even bigger than my first. And so a busy 2020 for me already!

The motto of my agency is; “Art. Done Differently” and they work incredibly hard to put on shows that are completely devoid of snobbery, or pretentiousness and that helped massively also. It was actually quite funny. People were coming up to me during the launch event and saying; “I’ve been to hundreds of these things, but I’m actually enjoying this one!”. Neither my agent or myself are snobby people and so it’s important to us both to put on shows that WE would actually feel welcome at. And it’s important to me that people come away from one of my shows feeling like they’ve had a great experience seeing my work in person and that the gallery environment was warm and welcoming. It’s a very different approach, I know. But again; it’s about being truthful to yourself as an artist and producing and giving something that you proudly and unapologetically stand by. 64

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Ana Junko Santander, Spain

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is much more important that the technical training photographic. For me other artistic media have a great influence on my vision of the photo , I refer especially to the drawing and painting that I explored at the same time as photography . I have as much artistic influence or even greater, of painters as of photographers. It captivates me painting exhibitions, I have spent hundreds of hours in museums, have traveled to other countries sometimes only for a sample in a museum. This study facilitates and provides very valuable tools that enrich the creative process for the creation of images that support my personal discourse, that serve as an expression of my inner world , of symbols, metaphors. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? The most difficult part for me to be an artist is to get through a personal style, create images that express what the author wants to convey and that the viewer can perceive that attempt at communication. Actually what is depicted in the picture is not the most important, the images do not speak of what is shown in them, but they speak of oneself. A photograph begins long before shooting into the camera, is a synthesis of a creative process of visual ideas of the author, the powers of observation and narrative of the photographer, all with the extremely complicated purpose of communication with the viewer. This creative process tries to reach the deeper level of creative communication and more difficult to achieve, that the emotional level. Artistic images of any kind, must have a certain narrative depth, we are talking about communication, about telling things to the viewer. However, the effect of s images can produce in the viewer should never condition the creative decisions, content and photographic narrative think it should be built from the absolute freedom of the creative process. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art culture has always been influenced by the society in which it has developed . Nowadays , there is a trend towards globalization, new visual media that influence artistic productions and that will pave the way for the future mode of artistic expression. I think there should be a balance between the artistic creation and contemporary marketing. The sale of works of art logically is very important for both the artist and the gallery owner, but being a financial product should not be the ultimate goal of art. How would you describe the art scene in your area? What or who has a lasting influence on your art practice? My beginnings in photography continue to have a powerful influence on my images. It was during my studies at the art school where I started in artistic photography (black and white) , using pinhole cameras and revealing with chemicals in the dark room , that fascinated me. Is unforgettable, for me, the magical moment when the image appears on the photo paper in the developing tray and the texture of photographic papers. All of this determined my concept of the photographic image and the kind of photography I wanted to take. It’s for this reasons, although I currently work with digital media, in an unconscious way, my images have a certain nostalgic analog appearance. I think art education is essential for a photographer, even

The cultural and artistic landscape, with its great fluctuations, does configure a solid culture. Even as í there is still a long way to go in supporting the creation of independent proposals. Here we are excellent hosts of cultural events, but institutions, galleries, museums, etc. I think they should develop more exhibitions of international advocacy to promote creation independent art. Name three artists you admire Is very difficult to say only 3 names!!! I admire many artists of different things to each of them, I´m going to say 3 names of photographers totally different, but I could tell you hundreds... The first of them is Gustave Le Gray, when his work is contemplated and see the dates on which they were made you realize that there are real visionaries, ahead of his time, I was fascinated by his seascapes, there is made in the year 1847 that I attracted 68

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particular, this work was carried out or using two different negatives at that time , when some people today still disapprove photo manipulation, incredible. Le Gray  had his study in what would later be the famous study of Nadar, another of my beloved photographers, I think one of the personalities most exciting in the photo world. Another of my favorite photo authors is AndrÊ KertÊsz , for me one of the great teachers. The treatment of the shadows in his compositions for me unique, and a poetic look make his work have to me an special magnetism. I deeply admire also the work of Alfred Stieglitz, photography would not be the same without the contribution of this passionate photo for your enthusiasm to experience, his vision of life, art, another ahead of his time, a personality impressive, contradictory another essential. Future plans I want to continue doing, as like today, photographic images from absolute creative freedom. Is my intention to carry out successful exhibitions and projects, that have provided and the many ideas I have in my mind. I would like to continue enjoying this passion, exploring new media and new techniques.


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Art Reveal Magazine


Thu Nguyen Waimea, HI , USA I was born in Saigon, Vietnam. Being very shy, I spent much of my childhood hiding away upstairs painting, instead of playing with other children. My first brush with success was a Best of Show prize at the 1974 children’s exhibition in Saigon sponsored by UNICEF. In 1975 Saigon fell and in the resulting confusion I was separated from my parents. I ended up in a refuge camp near Hong Kong for a year prior to immigrating to the United States as an orphan. After one very snowy and cold winter in Pennsylvania, I went to Los Angeles to stay with some relatives. During my high school years, I earned extra money doing fashion modeling work in the garment district and upon graduation started on the pre-med program in college. During this time I fell in love with art again and changed my major to art. While in college I had an acting stint in Hollywood on the side (I got a part in Oliver Stone’s ‘Heaven and Earth’ and followed with a lead role in Elizabeth Hong Yang’s ‘Touch Within’ in China). After getting my art degree, I have since settled down to pursue my art career in Los Angeles, later Seattle and finally Hawaii with the big excitement being adopting my first daughter from China and my second daughter from Vietnam.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? When I was little in Vietnam, I used to watch my uncle paint and wish to become a painter when I grew up. I starting to paint way back then. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? The most challenging thing to be an artist to me is the problems of selling my work. It is easy to get into shows, but hard to sell. I accumulated a lot of paintings in my studio. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? most people do not like or understand conceptual art because the art is so far off in the left field. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live in Hawaii and most artists out here cater to touristy art. They cater their work for this particular market and not paint from their heart. In other words, they do not paint what their heart sings. Name three artists you admire. Bo Barlett, Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, and Hung Liu. What are your future plans? Continuing to paint what my heart sings!


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Art Reveal Magazine


Art Reveal Magazine


Adrian Penu

London, United Kingdom

Born in 1987, Transylvania, I showed proclivity towards drawing from a young age, copying Rembrandt sketches from a book my grandmother bought me from an antiquarium. At that time painting didn’t interest me, it seemed too messy and permanent. I don’t mind the mess anymore, I make plenty of it in my South London studio and the permanence of my work is what drives me to improve my painting skills, so my grandmother would be proud of me. The idea of underlying tension in artworks is my main interest and I try to develop the notion in my recent artworks. The pieces I propose for your consideration are part of my recent paintings which I have completed in the last year. The subjects are portraits of contemporary and historical figures which contributed to changing the world (for better or worse), a still life and paintings that were made from movie stills (a 1966 Japanese cult movie). I have a fascination with capturing the essence of a story and zooming in only on what is essential to the viewer. Most paintings were done in one sitting in order to capture the urgency of the events and the impatience of time with the painter.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? There are those brief moments in life when one enjoys a feeling of serenity and understanding. At that point one is able to sense all the harmony and beauty of life, placing one into a higher state of being, even for a short while. Dostoevsky describes this sensation in ‘The Idiot’ and also Pink Floyd mentions it as the wonderment and bliss we lose as we transition from childhood to adulthood. Our minds become busy and preoccupied and our hearts closed in order to avoid disappointments. Gerhard Richter said that the actual process of painting is when an idea flourishes in the artist’s mind and that the physical painting is a depiction of that emotion translated onto canvas. The practice of making art requires sacrifices, patience and dedication but it’s a small price to pay for a glimpse of supreme understanding of the self. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? The most challenging part of being an artist is being an artist. This occupation has to be the strangest, most unmanageable and unquantifiable out there. I can’t think of anything more subjective and unpredictable than being an artist in our times and that’s the greatest challenge. It takes a different kind of intelligence and attention to appreciate and consume art, the kind that is high in openness and low in neuroticism and that is a rare trait in 2020. Without public appreciation and criticism the artist is no different than an isolated caveman doing petroglyphs and that’s why having exposure is vital in making art. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I’m not sure what contemporary culture is but it has something to do with consumption. In a world where value is dictated by financial markets, art becomes a commodity and art galleries brokerage firms. Artists who are considered lucky are under contractual agreement with a gallery that secures them an opportunity to be exhibited in exchange of half of the revenue and exclusivity. The artist has to produce work that sells and is suitable for the clientele’s demands. When Adrian Ghenie called the ‘art-world’ pornographic he was probably more literal than many of us would like to think. Painting in particular is in desperate need of a reform, it should offer a new perspective and the opportunity for the viewer to have a moment away from the mundane and familiar; an open possibility of interpreting the artwork through the viewer’s personal experiences rather than just being in tone with the aesthetical requirements of the art galleries. There are many contemporary artists whose work achieves that but they are faded out by ‘ future return on investment’ type phrases.


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How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live and work in South East London which used to be an industrial area and shipping district due to its proximity to RiverThames. What once was a conservative blue collar neighborhood is now a rebuilt post-gentrified area, clean, safe, and sterile. This trajectory also includes the ‘artist studios in a dilapidated factory’ phase, an omen of gentrification. There are a few good gallery spaces where local artists can exhibit and exchange ideas. Whilst the art scene in my area is more underground, it’s also close to East London and Bermondsey St, where more established artists work and exhibit. Name three artists you admire. I find great solace in amazing art and the backstory to an artwork is important to me because it gives substance over style. I pay attention to the brushwork, the movement of the paint on the canvas and the ‘the technical narrative’ as Vincent Desiderio calls it. Since the rebirth of figurative painting through the use of photography and film in the 60s, as part of the creative process and tools for rendering an image, there haven’t been many painters more influential then Gerhard Richter. After I first saw a painting by him it took me three years to recover from the impression it had on me. I’ve never seen anything more bleak and hopeless before. Even though he claims not to have a style, he puts all his sorrow and anxieties onto the canvas with surgical precision. Many tried to copy him including myself, the technique can be mastered but the vision of Richter cannot. Another figurative painter that inspires me is Luc Tuymans. The idea of ‘less is more’ is perfectly depicted in his work: muted palette, zoomed in images, complete disregard to details. A constant sinister, sardonic mood is present in his art through the use of working after over-exposed, filtered photographs that lend a heavy atmosphere once painted on canvas. Tuymans uses a classic medium like oil in an unconventional manner by finishing a painting in a day and transferring the urgency and tension to what seem silent and still images. I find a lot of inspiration for my work from abstract paintings. The boldness, ambiguity and spontaneity of Jim Threapleton’s abstract art is what I try to capture in my representational work. It’s raw, visceral and rich in expression and a few brushstrokes away from becoming representational. His artworks seem abstract allegories on classical baroque and late-renaissance art, deriving from it the dynamic movement and use of chiaroscuro against dark background. What are your future plans? I plan to finish my series of paintings that investigate how technology shaped the last century and what can we expect from the future. I also want to propose the question of human relevance in the age of AI and increasing nuclear threat. I also plan to organize a group exhibition with a few UK based artists. We propose approaching questions about our role as spectators in the aftermath of mass manipulation through divisive content, in the forms of advertisement, news and entertainment. The collaboration will consist of abstract and figurative artworks exhibited alongside each other with the intention of creating a synergy between the different styles of art. Our collaborative project is based on the idea that coexistence and unity can be achieved if there is a common ground on which diversity and different points of view can be externalized in an equal manner for unbiased investigation. 82

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Ludwika Pilat Zurich, Switzerland

Ludwika was always good at following reason while confusing what she wants with what she thinks she should want. She needed a way to better show her emotions in art. She’s learnt to listen to herself and slowly unlock that heavy duty container where her feelings were kept. She rediscovered and incorporated collage elements in some of her acrylic paintings and with them she wants to provoke thoughts and questions. She’s not striving for perfection anymore. She’s expressing something more important with textures, colours and ambiguous words.

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Art Reveal Magazine

Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? My architectural background influenced a lot my sense of composition, proportions and balance of colours and that all led me to abstract - after a period of being committed to more technical, figurative representations when I was showing what I see more than what I feel. It was a process to understand that art isn’t accurate and perfect. Now my it is driven by my thoughts and emotions, which are influenced by life events, travels and people I talk to. I’m inspired by nature and science. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? Getting through the noise and reaching those that we want to hear us. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I think these days it’s becoming a way to escape from the modern lifestyle and express feelings and variety in a world where everyone pretends to be perfect. That’s why, in contrast to col-

lecting famous artworks as an investment, also living artists are starting to be appreciated for what they want to express. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I’m new to the Swiss art scene and still trying to figure it out. However I noticed artists from my home country are better recognized here than in Poland. A great example is what happened last year with the works of Natalia LL - they were removed from the National Museum in Warsaw for being too controversial, while at the same time they were enjoyed in the Polish-owned museum in a small Swiss village Susch. Name three artists you admire. Keith Negley, Peter Brown, Emilia Dziubak What are your future plans? When it comes to my art, I would like to focus more on textures and to work on bigger scale paintings. I would also like to explore what I can achieve with collage.


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Art Reveal Magazine 89

Kobi Walsh

Brooklyn, NY, USA

Kobi Walsh (b. 1995) is a Brooklyn-based photographer whose work focuses on highlighting the subjectivity of our perspective. He captures intricate impressionistic fragments of light and time in order to parallel the fragile nature of our individual reality. Not relying on digital manipulation, Kobi’s work explores themes of authenticity and the transience of the present moment. Kobi received a B.S. in Cognitive and Brain Sciences from Tufts University, incorporating an understanding of the neurological foundations of perception to play with the expectations of visual observation. Kobi’s work has been exhibited internationally with upcoming exhibitions at the Museo Diocesano di Terni in Italy, Laval Virtual in France, and at The Other Art Fair Brooklyn in New York. He has won 33 awards for his photography from organizations such as PX3 Prix de La Photographie Paris, the International Photography Awards, Moscow International Foto Awards, and Photographers Forum. Kobi’s work has been published 11 times in international publications such as Inside Artists UK and Art Reveal Magazine. My work aims to reconstruct how we perceive visual subjects by breaking objects into delicate surface refractions of light and color. My pieces target the inherently subjective nature of our experience, as a theme for exploring the evolution of individual realities. For me, all subjects exist as a fluid, their surface ever-changing by way of variations in light, time, or perspective. Beyond each piece I aim to highlight the unique combination of these factors that gives life and soul to the surrounding atmosphere. I find the value and beauty of a subject lies in the transience of its surface. Beginning with the empirical and analytical observation of color and light, my pieces remove indicators and expectations of depth by highlighting the materiality of various surfaces. In dissolving these visual cues, I am attempting to disconnect the identity of visual subject, instead focusing on the unseen subject, a momentary feeling produced by changes in light or time. Detached from digital manipulation, my work is less abstraction, instead aiming to preserve the fidelity of the surrounding atmosphere. My photography draws inspiration from the impressionist movement, specifically Monet and the method of painting en plein air (spontaneous renderings of nature as an amalgam of light), and the enveloppe (the unifying atmospheric light encompassing all things).

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? For me, the impact of light and time on natural color has had the most profound and lasting influence on my work. My artistic process revolves around an analytical, meditative method of observation that looks to highlight delicate fragments of light and time without digital manipulation. By focusing on these brief moments, my photography aims to display the fragile nature of our perspective. Our individual realities have been shaped by a unique set of experiences, no two being exactly alike. I define individual realities as a combination of our beliefs, fears, desires, and needs that has been shaped by personal experience, which dictates our understanding and perception of the world. Each piece represents a fragment of my own experience that can never be recreated or replicated. At the core of my work I hope to promote a recognition of the differences in our subjective realities as a new framework for understanding the core of empathy. I believe that true empathy is

derived from accepting the variance in our realities and understanding how someone’s individual reality has been shaped by their experience. What is the most challenging part of being an artist? I would say that for me the most challenging part about being an artist is twofold. The first is allowing yourself to tone out the constant flood of societal expectation that frowns upon stepping off the “expected” route. There is a remarkable degree of pressure to conform to structures that seek common definitions of success, yet for many of us those definitions don’t align with our own perception of fulfillment. We end up trying and trying to fit into a mold that was never meant for us. You will be doubted, shamed, ridiculed, yet at the end of the day it’s essential to recognize that art was never a choice, but an inescapable and fundamental part of your soul. For me, I had to sift through the noise to find the truth that without art my soul would never feel complete. The second, finding your authentic self.


Being truly honest with yourself and accepting all sides of your inner-being, both the good and more importantly the uncomfortable parts of your identity that you hope to improve. Learning how to love all aspects of yourself is fundamental to finding the truth in your own artistic practice. I believe the core of all artistic practice revolves around authenticity and feeling. When there is a disconnect between your authentic self and your work, art becomes a veneer that loses its power to make people feel. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I believe that art in contemporary culture means a platform for questioning familiar structures of societal behavior. Art represents a unique opportunity to actively observe and critique the frameworks that have built our society. Art means being unafraid to step off the beaten path and explore new unfamiliar or uncomfortable ideas. Art is not following trends or looking to please; I believe art is an authentic visual representation of your inner being.

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How would you describe the art scene in your area? Vibrant, welcoming, and fearless. Being based in Brooklyn, I’m constantly surrounded by an abundance of worldclass art and some of the most brilliant artistic minds in the world. New York is filled with artists who are pushing boundaries, challenging expectations, and following their dreams, which continues to inspire me every day. Name three artists you admire. Claude Monet. A lot of my work has been influenced by the impressionist movement and more specifically Monet. His use of color to capture the feeling and atmospheric light of a moment is unparalleled and no artist’s work has made me feel to quite the same degree as Monet. His work is the level of feeling that I aspire to instill into my work. Takashi Murakami. I truly admire Murakami’s ability to create a sustainable, scalable artistic practice while at the same time pushing the boundaries of painting as a medium and maintaining the integrity and quality of his own body of work. Hayao Miyazaki. I believe that Miyazaki is one of the most prolific visual storytellers. His fanatical attention to detail in every frame of his films is awe-inspiring and his use of color to tell a story and instill a feeling is second to none. What are your future plans? I have a couple exciting international exhibitions coming up in the next couple months. March 7th – 15th I will be exhibiting in the show “Arte e Donna” at the Museo Diocesano di Terni, in Italy, after that April 14th – 24th I have another piece that will be showing in an exhibition at Laval Virtual in France, then April 30th – May 3rd I’m exhibiting at The Other Art Fair in Brooklyn, with much more to come! 93

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Art Reveal Magazine


Art Reveal Magazine