Art Reveal Magazine no. 61

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Francesca Alaimo Brigitte Amarger Kathleen Frank Luisa Freitas Michelle Gallagher Helen Grundy

Paul Hartley Sam Haynes Lucy Hopkinson Dale Lodge Judith Ornstein Pauline Schulze

Parker Shatkin Gordon Skalleberg Susa Solero Shahar Tuchner Alan Ward Elizabeth Yoffe

MICAELA DE VIVERO issue 61 / September 2021


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FEATURED ARTIST: MICAELA DE VIVERO

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FRANCESCA ALAIMO

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BRIGITTE AMARGER

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KATHLEEN FRANK

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LUISA FREITAS

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MICHELLE GALLAGHER

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HELEN GRUNDY

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PAUL HARTLEY

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SAM HAYNES

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LUCY HOPKINSON

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DALE LODGE

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JUDITH ORNSTEIN

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PAULINE SCHULZE

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PARKER SHATKIN

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GORDON SKALLEBERG

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SUSA SOLERO

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SHAHAR TUCHNER

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ALAN WARD

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MICAELA DE VIVERO

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ELIZABETH YOFFE

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FEATURED A R T I S T

MICAELA DE VIVERO I am a sculptor and work creating objects that have a seductive quality. The objects I create are empty, light, translucent forms that resemble my search for looking beyond what is obvious. My work is a commentary on the obscenity or total visibility of the world we live today, reflected in the media, politics, advertising and sometimes even art. I create surfaces, membranes, screens, borders, skins and wrappings that talk about boundaries, differences and similarities.

More at pages: 106-111

On the cover: “Limbs”, Micaela de Vivero, copper wire


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Francesca Alaimo London UK

I am a self-taught mixed media artist based in London. I create interventions on paper through manipulation and transformation of materials and images, using prints, water based oils, acrylics and wax. I explore visibility, vulnerability and courage within the context of gender, sex, sexuality and identity politics. Part of my artistic practice is to undo what I have painted, mirroring the act of deconstructing our certainties and exposing our inconsistencies. In my art I explore the struggle to be seen for who we are. My subjects challenge others to see, feel and want the essence of what is rather than what appears to be. They have accepted that they are not meant to fit in but to stand out, and provocatively reveal the emotional layers of their cores to those who dare to look closely. They have arrived at that irreversible point where an individual needs to take the world on and reveal their truth. My art enables them to transcend those difficult conversations and express their thoughts and emotions with a visual meta-language that the recipients can understand, internalise and expand on.

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Who or what has lasting influence on your art practice?

What is the most challenging of being an artist?

I was born in Italy. My father was a painter and my mother was an historian who loved the arts and introduced me to them at a very early age. Growing up in Europe gave me the opportunity to access not ony the remains of ancient cultures but also the fulcrums of contemporary art around the world. The exposure to such a variety of artistic approaches, witnessing so many different aspects of humanity, as well as the inspiring conversations I have had with my family at the dinner table, are a solid influence to my artistic narrative. As a young artist I was very lucky to meet an incredible Colombian artist, German Arrubla, who is now a good friend and still has a lasting influence on my art practice. For years we have been having invaluable conversations on how we communicate art, what choices we make to express our ideas, what forms we use, what materials we experiment with and what we unearth when we push further.

I find the dissonance between my natural creative pace and the expectations of today’s audience one of the challenges of being an artist. In contemporary culture there seems to be a sense of urgency and acceleration that I don’t recall experiencing as a young artist. Creating has always been, for me, a slow process. My thoughts and feelings would revolve around a theme for weeks like a whirpool, eventually culminating in an art piece, which would then come together fairly quickly. The whole process took some time to come to life. Nowadays I feel a need to be quicker and more productive, for example Instagram is a reminder that we must post at least once a day to mantain our followers. We also know how important social media platforms have become for any artist who tries to get exposure and recognition. It is sometimes hard to reconcile how we would normally make art with how we know we should operate to be seen and promoted in the art world. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture Contemporary art represents a unique opportunity to build unity amongst people in the world because it helps find a dialogue on who we were, are and can be in the future. I make art because I want to communicate my thoughts and feelings to others in a way that could stimulate their own. It is like a ripple effect, in that what we intend to communicate in a piece of art becomes a separate entity giving rise to endless meanings and stimuli when interacting with people. Art can feel liberating as it enables us to transcend difficult conversations and express ourselves through a visual meta-language that the recipients can sense, internalise, respond to and expand on. Since last year, as we navigated the pandemic, we have realised that what kept us sane and connected to others during the lockdown months was Art, because it answers that particular human need of resilience when coping with existential crisis. We have seen people offering art courses online, people creating their own artwoks for the first time and sharing it on social media, which then sparked intimate and supportive conversations about grief and our deepest fears. It has become apparent that art has a vital role in society as it’s key for our mental health, and it should be prioritised in every country when budgeting and law making.

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How would you describe the art scene in your area? In London the art scene is evolving towards promoting more contemporary narratives, sush as gender identity, women’s rights, trans rights, Black Renaissance. However, this mostly happens through artist-get-together pop up exhibitions, art collectives and smaller more politicised galleries while mainstream art spaces remain traditionally oriented and unwelcoming of artists who present a strong political discourse. Perhaps due to the UK drastic turn to the right and the rise in police brutality, feminicide, transphobia, homophobia, racism, there is something new in the air, a sense of desesperation and desire for art activism to break through and bring the “Unspoken” to the surface.

I use prints, water based oils, acrylics and wax. Part of my artistic practice is to undo what I have painted, making my interventions messy and brutal. The act of undoing mimics the act of deconstructing our certainties and exposing who we are, fragmented and inconsistent yet desperate to feel whole and grounded. I explore visibility, vulnerability and courage within the context

What do you like / dislike about the art world? I love that we can create dialogues on different levels, reflect on our personal subjects but also on the world we live in. I love that more narratives are gaining a platform and creating necessary discussions on social and political issues that have too long remained in the shadow. However, I am concerned that art is still quite elitist, in that it relies on gallery representation and critics’ approval to become accessible to a wider audience. There is still a lot of great art that remains unseen, many voices still unheard as it isn’t easy to navigate the dos and don’ts of the current art world. Tell us more about your painting I create interventions on paper through manipulation and transformation of materials and images.

of gender, sex, sexuality and identity politics. Mostly autobiographical, my paintings revolve around the idea that the body is a situation, not just something we get assigned to at birth. My subjects challenge others to see, feel and want the essence of what is rather than what appears to be. They have arrived at that irreversible point where an individual needs to take the world on and reveal their truth unapologetically. My works explore the struggle to be seen for who we are when we challenge societal expectations and the strength, pain and determination

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we invest in that struggle. They also explore fragility and the burden of confinement; we build armours to survive the fear and shame of not fitting in until we accept that we are meant to stand out. It takes acts of courage and vulnerability to disclose our hidden selves to the world, being open about how we want to be seen. It is, however, necessary if we want to start a dialogue towards (self)acceptance, visibility and self-affirmation. Even though my work is about a specific narrative, it is not paramount to me what narrative the viewers elaborate. I believe art is a form of communication that transcends its subject matter, a meta-communication, even when it comes to the artists themselves! Sometimes, as I’m working on a painting, my initial idea can change and become a completely new one. It’s a very fluid process and my approach needs to be always flexible. I particularly like this because it reflects the idea that results are just an outcome of which we can’t always be in control. Whichever path we choose we don’t always find what we expect. One might say the significance lies |in the path we take, in the journey we make rather than the end, and the connection with others lives through the imaginary and the yearning. What are your future plans? I have a vision of an ensemble of artists coming together and setting up an exciting, interactive, experimental, subversive exhibition in the style of immersive theatre. It will probably be a pop-up show in London next year where I would exhibit some of my works and invite selected artists to participate. I will keep you all posted on Instagram!


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Brigitte Amarger

Seine Port, France

Since 2008 I have been working predominantly with medical imagery and new technologies, in lifesize scale murals and sculptural works that unquestionably fashions a reflection about human, its place in the society, the universe and its future. Through various textile techniques, I seam together medical imagery, and, by cutting, transplanting and reconstructing the body, I am exploring the relationship between a surgeon and textile artist with needlework suggestive of incisions and scars implying surgical intervention. Paper, threads and textile represent the fragility of humanity and nature, the consequent interdependence of the two and questions about that body that expresses our complexity, mystery and fears, now and for the future. I also question dramatic topics and invite us to rethink and to reflect on an environment in distress, our role and relationship with nature. The diversion of materials, and more particularly of the support of medical imagery for artistic purposes and memory ends, is currently, essential for me. Sensitive to ecological issues, I find in my artistic practice a double direction, highly symbolic: to create artworks by recycling discarded materials Owing to new technologies, smart, reflective and luminescent textiles and also traditional materials, I am working on the aesthetic factors of transparency, reflection and luminescence, and the transparent and ghostly transparency of X Rays allows me to play differently with the light and blur the boundaries between reality and imagination.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I am not someone who can really be influenced by one person and my inspiration comes to me mainly from the inside. I am fortunate to have a multitude of ideas that nourish my creation every day, as creating is for me a daily vital need and food. I have worked on writing for a long time. It was at the same time an outlet, a private diary, deliberately illegible, because it was put in the form of palimpsests, and, at the same time, as a reflection on writing. This continues to hold an important place.

Photography holds a primordial place. It was, along with drawing, at the root of my art practice. It remains the common thread of my creations, upstream and downstream, because it allows me to play with light, to keep the memory of this passing time, through nature, individuals and objects, my favourite themes. Light also plays an essential role in my creations which question nature, animating and recreating shapes and materials, through games of transparency, translucency, luminescence and reflection. The use of, retro-reflective and luminescent textiles and lace threads

of hot glue, contribute to the expression of a poetic and singular plastic language. With black light installations I change the reading of my works and reveal a second skin and reading, doomed to evanescence. Nature remains my eternal source of inspiration. Its diversity, its beauty, its strength always fascinate me, but, despite its power of rebirth, we know it to be so fragile... Long before art really started talking about ecology like now, many of my works were a warning signal seeking to draw attention, a commitment to preserve our environment. My series of works, “Take care of Mother Nature” and “Black series” on fires, deforestation and oil spills, were messages of warnings. Over time, with my encounter with X-rays material, more and more sensitive to ecological and human questions, my practice has evolved, taking a symbolic double direction: creating works of art by diverting, reinventing, recycling discarded materials, tackling serious subjects but transporting to a sensory, poetic and memorial elsewhere. For 15 years, my work has undoubtedly shaped a reflection on humans, their place in society, the traces they leave, memory, the fragility of humanity and nature, and the consequent interdependence of the two. I have also always had a deep interest in the scientific and medical world and I wonder about this body that expresses our complexity, our mystery and our fears, now and for the future. Tell us more about your installations. My studies led me to work in largescale wall art, then to stage sculptural tapestries that I had made. The desire to make installations came gradually, from this need to play with space, staying on the border between sculpture and architecture, in a kind of spatial theatricalization that dialogues with the environment, confronting myself with on another scale and, of course, playing with light. Working like in a laboratory with successive challenges and researches,

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one idea leading to another, the same concept has led me to many variations, owing to laser cutting. Faced with my large production, the need to create other presentations came to me. The elements in twigs, porcelain, X-ray, paper, reflective and luminescent textiles, were thus assembled, accumulated, and suspended, as things progress, on nylon threads, barely visible. Some interior installations with luminescent pebbles, twigs, branches, butterflies, visible under natural light but also under black light, offer another atmosphere, more intimate and poetic. While some are or appear to be purely aesthetic, they can also question serious societal issues. A pretty flower garden, like “Le jardin des supplices” is an angry cry against female excision. During a personal exhibition “D’ âme Nature”, in an art centre, I designed a specific installation, in relation to the architectural space of the place for which it was intended, consisting of laser cut paper and plastic flowerbeds. This work on nature, done with the idea of recycling ​​ discarded plastic to give them new life was also a real questioning of the future of nature and waste. Many of my installations present always the same human silhouettes in x-rays, 2m15 high. “Humanoïds” offers an anatomy of the impossible, “Osmosis”, a man who is one with nature, “Homo Algorithmus”, a reflection on artificial intelligence and the questioning of identity. This year, I gave a second wind to various heaps of sampling tests carried out for the manufacture of a fabric, recovered, transformed and associated with x-rays, engraved in transparency with their anatomical and dermatological traces: “H360 Autopsy”, “The fabric of the skin H154”, “State of emergency: moult/mutation” and “Chairs textiles’’. What is the most challenging of working interdisciplinary? I don’t have a feeling of challenge but of necessity, of need and of pleasure.

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I think it’s part of my way of being, a rich and open creativity, an attitude of mind made of curiosity, a sense of experimentation and adventure, the need to challenge and overcome them. I don’t really like being put in such and such a category. I prefer the coexistence of the elements and I borrow various complementary forms of expression that fertilize the central idea. The result is a protean work, which, around essential leitmotifs, retains coherence in unity. I claim “a dialogue of the arts”, the fact of being able to express myself in different fields, with various techniques and materials, which provoke interactions, resonate together, interpenetrate without imposing themselves, and allow me to journeys into the unknown, discoveries and sometimes unforeseen combinations. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Just as culture gives man a capacity for expression and reflection on himself, art represents a form of human expression, a kind of universal language, a way to project and build itself, to challenge and to resist. Arts and culture are linked through history and they are markers of societies, engines of civilization. We are fortunate to be part of a society where artists have the privilege of being able to express themselves freely, to testify and to share points of view through their art. I also appreciate the fact that our school system allows new generations, from an early age, to access an arts education. The program put in place, of systematic visits to exhibitions, brings them culture, development of the aesthetic sense and imagination, education of the gaze, exchanges with teachers and artists, followed, after their visit, by a creative expression during workshops. The pandemic has shown new virtual approaches and set up broadcast tactics to overcome the feeling of lack of art and culture to all mankind. In these uncertain times, I still want to believe that art can always help bringing a note of hope and aesthetic pleasure, provoke curiosity and reflection, open our eyes and hearts, shape our perceptions and influence a bit our values. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I am fortunate to live near Paris, which offers a varied perspective on the world of contemporary art, in a historically rich context. But the city is generally swarming, noisy and tiring. This is why, for a very long time, I chose to live in the countryside, in a small village. Even though there are only a few small exhibitions in this one, the cities around and closer to Paris offer magnificent contemporary art spaces to see beautiful exhibitions and also exhibit there. My natural environment is idyllic, favourable to creation, imprint of serenity and I can work in a nice studio.

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What do you like/dislike about the art world? The Internet has undoubtedly facilitated the sharing of art outside the traditional cultural way: visits to museums, galleries, contemporary art centres, and so on. The pandemic has allowed a more intense development of online galleries, social media and platforms. This is at least a positive aspect in the dramatic situation it has created. However, I find the hold of this virtual world a bit confusing, forcing artists to communicate more and more through it. I don’t like this pressure that forces you to be visible all over on social media. I think that a website is sufficient to communicate the essentials and to let

time for an artistic practice. Personally, I work so much that I already have trouble updating mine. How can we spend so much time communicating our artistic work on the networks and have the one to create?

the work and the artist, at the risk of losing the real sensitive and authentic approach from a pure aesthete or a simple art lover.

To finish on the world of the Web and that of Art, I would like to say that I am against the commodification of art. The “art market” is a word I don’t like and it seems to take on an even more disturbing and unsettling face with the emergence of the NFT. It seems that collectors are snatching them up, or should we now only speak of speculators? I wonder about this dangerous perspective, which tends to reduce the existence of artworks in digital one, the real physical contact with them, the sharing of the public with

I will continue to work on my anatomical and dermatological researches, on the “Textile skins”, that I have started this year, from recovered fabric samples and x-rays. Two installations, “The Fall” and “Weightlessness”, designed in tandem with a physicist for an exhibition on the theme of imbalance, linking science and the arts will be made in November. An exhibition on insects, at the end of the year in Paris and several others in France and internationally, the USA, China, Germany, Italy, Slovakia and Poland, scheduled for 2022.

What are your future plans?

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Kathleen Frank Santa Fe, USA

Having been an art teacher, woodcarver and a printmaker in my formative years, I emerged as a painter, joyously overwhelmed by color and searching for pattern. Color and pattern are everywhere, but the seeing and interpretation of them are different for each of us. Pattern in nature is primal to me – which fuels my desire to find a glimmer of logic in vastly complicated, confusing and tumbled landscapes. I do also seek out the vibrant hues in landscapes. My oil paintings begin with a saturated red orange backdrop. This is overlaid with the main imagery, applied with distinct brushstrokes of brilliant color. Hints of the red background peek through like a woodcut, creating subtle impact without drawing attention away from the primary subjects. Several times a year I travel throughout the Southwest, hiking and photographing vistas for future paintings. The goal is to catch the light and design in these scenes in all its strangeness and beauty. It is a lofty goal, but I find when the quest is shepherded with paint and brush it is a delightfully daunting adventure.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? My entry into the art world was through a few back doors. My parents were teachers who exposed me to the lives of several California artists and, in our travels, to art around the world. I was an art teacher by training and came slowly to the idea of allowing myself to think of myself, and calling myself, an artist. I was influenced by the passion of Van Gogh, the everyday gaiety of Bonnard, the longevity of Matisse and the persistence of Emily Carr, who tore down her garden fence to frame and crate her paintings for shipment to Eastern Canada for an exhibition with the Canadian Seven. Tell us more about your paintings. My paintings are 99.9% American because this is the land I love. My work is not plein air; I have no interest in painting outside with bugs and wind and changing light. (One of my first attempts at a plein air painting in a college class was of the Golden Gate Bridge from the headlands, with the fog rolling in and out all day). I have hiked hundreds of miles to photograph the Southwestern and Western land around me, capturing images of the brilliance and vivaciousness of the natural world that beg to be painted. I am willing to go to any length to reach the magnificent vistas and the precise vantage point of what I want to depict. It may take some serious, long-distance hiking, up, down and over rocky outcroppings, a plunge down an arroyo or a sprawl in sage bushes to capture exactly what I want, but I am never timid about climbing and trudging and scrambling to reach the sought-after sweep or bird’s-eye view of the landscapes. I then compose with my camera, print the photo and work from that in the studio. I love using oil paints - the smell feels like creativity itself. The first layer of paint is a saturated red-orange backdrop. I use broad single brushstrokes of color for the overlaid imagery with hints of the background peeking through like a woodcut. With that ground poking through - what feels more joyful than red? The composition is then set, but the colors and textures get sorted, expanded and enhanced, according to what the painting needs to make it sing. I am irresistibly drawn to vibrant color. I like dramatic skies. I try to catch light and design in all its strangeness and beauty. I am not averse to making repeat patterns rather than showing every distinctive bit of landscape. The overall essence of the image dictates what matters, and which peripheral details are not relevant. What is the most challenging of being an artist? At this point in my life, the challenge is to paint enough to keep up with my galleries and resist the temptation to produce just to satisfy their demands. I am always looking for the next shiny thing that will grab me and get me excited. I will simultaneously be finishing one painting and prepping the next. It is a bit compulsive, but I am never at a loss for something to engage my active mind. I can dream to the next valley and into the clouds. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Historically, there has always been social commentary through art. Today is no exception and it is indeed necessary and robust. People are scared, and with good reason. Disease and climate change are affecting everything and everyone in ways seen and unseen. Landscape paintings, which have always been the most popular, are like windows into nature that act as a salve for our busy, modern lifestyles. They can

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remind of us our connection to the natural world and of the awesome strength and sheer power of things outside ourselves and beyond our control. As lakes dry up and forests are charred, I feel I cannot paint them fast enough. I did one painting called LAST YEARS BURN and this sort of subject matter will be seen more often as change becomes more and more obvious. From my limited experience, I can say that art in contemporary culture is often not about buying art as just an investment - at least almost all the collectors that I hear from are not confessing to that. I make a set of cards of each painting and send them as a thank you with a note from me and ask for pictures of the paintings in their homes. I get lovely notes in return that say how much they love the paintings and how much joy they bring to their homes. My collectors have made an investment and they have fallen in love. That is the best reason to buy art. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Santa Fe is an art mecca. People flock here to see and buy art. It was the first UNESCO Creative City. There are over 250 art galleries, 10 museums, an International Folk Art Festival, Indian Markets and Contemporary, as well as Classical, Spanish Markets. It is the home of the original and innovative Meow Wolf, which has spread its creativity to Denver and Las Vegas. 1 in 10 people do work related to the arts. There is an art history here that I feel a part of. I do envy the early Santa Fe artists who all knew each other, paved the way for the first museum and all participated in that first exhibition. They are all dead now and still in that museum. There are many more of us now and we are all competing for notice and for the framer’s time. But, still, we are here living in the magic and buying supplies from the same store where Georgia O’Keefe bought hers. What do you like/dislike about the art world? What I love about the art world is connecting with people who appreciate what I have to offer and being able to work at something that brings me joy. One of my earliest memories is being at an easel with a fat paint brush and a huge piece of paper making marks. My brushes have gotten smaller, my eyes have aged, and I have to squint, but I am still that kid having fun. There is a very encouraging, open-hearted


generosity in the admiration and enjoyment that people show for creativity and originality. It gives me a sense of freedom and keeps me going. Name three artists you admire. I fell hard for the Group of Seven. I was introduced to their work on canoe camping trips in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada. My favorite of that group is Tom Thomson, whose untimely death left many questions, but a great body of work. His intrepid love of the outdoors, the landscape and friendship with fellow artists was inspiring. There is Gustave Baumann - one of the famed 20th century Santa Fe artists. He was a woodcut artist and a puppet master. He entertained the town with his handmade puppets. Our museum still puts on puppet shows with his original puppets and painted backdrops. His prints are absolutely lovely, and he was a wonderful man and a beloved part of the community. Nikolai Astrup is a Norwegian painter that I discovered in Oslo. He was a contemporary of the Canadian Seven and may have been influenced by their exhibition in Oslo. His landscapes are full of the daily life of the people in the countryside. I love them and want to step inside to be a part of the mid-summer celebration. What are your future plans? My work depends on travel, which of late has been in short supply. I am looking forward to some road trips around the Northwestern US. My husband and I will be staying in Crested Butte, Colorado in September and I should get some great photos of the fall aspens in the mountains. I am also contemplating the idea of taking more panoramic images for diptych or triptych paintings. The last pair of diptych paintings that I did were stolen right off the wall in Telluride, Colorado where they were on display. From now on they are going to be large enough that they will be difficult to pinch.


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Luisa Freitas Coventry, UK

I am a Visual Artist working mostly in Illustration and 2d/3D Animation. Due to my roots in Traditional Art and higher education in Digital Art my practice is very eclectic, with works ranging from digital animation to traditional painting, merging and bringing together various art mediums in order to create a unique composition that best fits the concept that is being explored. I believe that there is no separation between art mediums, and that they reach their highest potential when working with each other, complementing one another. I am passionate about exploring as many aesthetic possibilities as possible and creating works that culminate into eclectic pieces that celebrate colour and shape. Another key feature of my works is prioritizing the theme and overall concepts from which the visuals are then generated. Art is the primordial form of communication and storytelling, and so the question I pose myself, before doing any artwork is: “What do I want to talk about?”. From this basis I can best use my skills propose a topic to the audience and make use of the varied art mediums that will best support the message while simultaneously reaching out to the public. The artworks presented here are an example of this, as each series of works is part of its own unique project. The first three drawings are self-portraits reflecting on the theme of Trichotillomania, a mental disorder characterised by the compulsive urge to pull one’s hair, falling into the category of Body Focused Repetitive Behaviour (BFRB) disorders. (see: thisislis.com/stayconnectedve3/) The two small scale pencil drawings are works created for ‘In Memoriam’ an initiative curated by Artcore Gallery, where artists from the West Midlands region were invited to create postcard-size artworks related to the personal experiences with loss cause by the Covid-19 pandemic. The profits of the artworks sales were donated to the families most affected by the pandemic. (see: thisislis.com/inmemoriam2021/) The ‘Equitable Coffee’ project is a 2D Animation commission by Tales from Coventry Tables for a presentation on equitable coffee farming, presented by the Zimbabwean coffee business Coffee by Kings with sponsorship from Coventry City of Culture 2021. This animation is an educational short on the ethical coffee production and consumption. (see: thisislis.com/coffeebykingsanimation/) And finally the last two images are from a 3D Modelling project for a fictional art installation in a public plaza. Where a series of murals reflecting on the theme of child homelessness are placed in a public area as a means to raise awareness on the issue. This work is a mix of 3D modelling, 2D drawing and is presented in the format of 3D animation. (see: thisislis.com/canalhaanimation/)

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? The creative process of my artwork doesn’t originate from one particular influence or inspiration, but rather various micro obsessions that I gather along the years, that then I work on for a period of time before jumping onto the next entirely different thing. In the beginning of my art career I was very much creating only watercolour compositions of nature scenes and landscapes, before moving onto portraiture and human anatomy drawing and painting, with the latter lasting around three years which was the longest an obsession has lasted for me. More recently, however, my focus has taken a sharp turn from producing personal artworks and projects to Social Art and working with the audience, as well as various creatives in the Art Industry in an effort to bring awareness to important issues that impact our communities. As a creative I look forward to using my skills to help promote and improve communities, and work with people and organisations as a means to bring positive change. Tell us more about your recent artworks. Piggybacking off the previous question, my most recent artworks have a social focus, with the best examples being ‘Canalha’ a 3D Modelling project for a fictional art installation in a public plaza. Where a series of murals reflecting on the theme of child homelessness are placed in a public area as a means to raise awareness on the issue. This work is a mix of 3D modelling, 2D drawing and is presented in the format of 3D animation. The 2D Animation “Equitable Coffee” I made for a project on equitable coffee farming with the companies Coffee By Kings and Tales from Coventry Tables, sponsored by Coventry City of Culture 2021. This animation is an educational presentation raising awareness to the subject of exploitation of farmers whilst promoting equitable coffee farming and trade to aid the small-scale farmers in the Eastern Highlands District of Zimbabwe in receiving fair payment for their production. And lastly, the ‘In Memoriam’ 2021 initiative curated by Artcore Gallery, where artists from the West Midlands region were invited to create postcard-size artworks related to the personal experiences with loss caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,to honour those whose lives have been lost. My artworks alongside others, were later exhibited in Feb 22nd 2021 in an online art exhibition and auction, as a fundraiser for the contributing artists and the families that were most affected by the pandemic. What has been the most touching moment you’ve experienced as an artist? The most touching moment I experienced in my art practice was while I was working on the ‘Welcome To Coventry’ sign project with my colleague Charis Kibble, along with the Creative Giants (on behalf of coventry city Council) and in partnership with Avanti West Coast for the creation of a new sign ‘welcome’ sign for the new railway station in the city of Coventry.

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Just for a bit of context, in this project Charis and I produced a community textile piece where we worked alongside the local residents and asked each of them to create an embroidery design that represented who they were as a person. These designs were then placed onto the sign to represent the city of Coventry through their citizens. To accomplish this we conducted various online art workshops with the residents to teach and inspire them to create their designs.The only catch was that the project started running during the Covid-19 Lockdown and we had to run all our workshops entirely online, as well as shipping the art materials to people’s addresses.

of community and social contact that they had been craving for almost a year at that stage. For some of them, those workshops provided them with the longest conversations they’ve had in months and diminished their loneliness. They also thanked us for the opportunity to actively contribute to a public art installation and for giving them something positive to look forward to during these challenging times. Our participants’ feedbacks were incredibly moving and humbling, and made me realise just how important art can be as a tool to bring the community together and to bring a positive impact in someone’s life.

Despite our challenges we successfully accomplished all our goals and had most of our volunteering participants get back to us and thank us for our workshops, and tell us that these gave them a positive activity to keep them busy during Lockdown and provided them with the sense

The new sign will be visible when the new railway station opens, until then if you are interested in seeing everyone’s contributions to the sign check out our instagram page: @welcometocoventrysign

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How would you describe the art scene in your area?

Are you glad you became a full-time artist?

The Arts Scene in the city of Coventry is at an all time high, being that we are the UK’s City of Culture 2021. The cultural landscape is flourishing with a diverse calendar of productions, from musicals and plays to contemporary art exhibitions, public installations and outdoor performances, and I am very happy to be part of the ride. Which not only makes it a very exciting year for all residents and tourists alike, but it also opens more opportunities for the local Art Practitioners to create new projects, promote their work and join long-term art programs with galleries and other cultural institutions. Due to all the attention and funding the city is receiving, it is now possible to improve the quality of services provided to the audience and create new and more permanent Arts and Culture services, as well as promoting the lesser known arts. The most exciting thing about City of Culture is seeing the general audience taking an active participation in various art practices and in some instances also being involved in the creation process. Hopefully this year will encourage both public and creatives to maintain their relationship with the local Cultural scene and work with eachother more closely.

I’m afraid my contribution to this question will be very unoriginal, as my absolute favourite thing about being an artist, especially freelance, is what everyone will tell you: Yes, I love being an artist because I have the incredible opportunity to create my own schedule and have the privilege to decide which projects to work on. The best thing about working professionally in an area that used to be my hobby is that no matter how tiring the work gets it is always inspiring and fuels me to keep going. Not to mention that I get to meet wonderful creators from various art practices that I admire and who push me to do better and pursue my dream projects even if they seem to be unreachable. What particularly works for me as a professional in the Art Industry is that there are no stagnant moments or long term routines, which is ideal for someone like me who can’t stand doing repetitive work in the same place for long periods of time. Every few months I am approached by new commissioners or companies to work on a new exciting project and I get to contribute with my creativity to bring their vision forth. It is a very satisfying and I wouldn’t trade it for any other job.

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What are you working on right now?

particular day. This project was featured on the Metro UK Lifestyle that you can see here: metro.co.uk/2020/11/23/ trichotillomania-sufferers-have-been-struggling-in-lockdown-13640002/ I’ve also done a series of large scale self-portraits about my hair pulling and its psychological impact on me. These artworks were exhibited in the international VR online gallery and exhibition ‘Stay Connected’ (See: thisislis.com/stayconnectedve3/) with another feature on the ‘Refresh Art Award’ 2021 the Biannual International Art online exhibition. This was my very first time coming forward publicly about my mental condition and also my first time creating artworks about it, which made me very nervous but it was also very liberating to not have to hide it anymore and just be myself. Hopefully my artworks will inspire people with the same condition to not have as much shame and to be free to be themselves.

Currently, I am exploring the theme of mental wellbeing and in particular Trichotillomania, a mental disorder characterised by the compulsive urge to pull one’s hair which falls into the category of Body Focused Repetitive Behaviour (BFRB) disorders. As someone who struggled with this condition my whole life, I aim towards raising awareness on these “invisible conditions” that go by unnoticed by the public and reach out to those suffering with Trich to let them know they are not alone. Under this theme I have done a “Trichotillomania Lockdown Calendar”, a calendar with personal diary-like entries exploring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent Lockdown on my mental wellbeing, focusing on its effects on my Trichotillomania condition. For each day with an entry there’s also a tuff of synthetic hair representing how much hair I pulled on that

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Art Reveal Magazine

Michelle Gallagher Duisburg Rahm, Germany My multidisciplinary work encompasses sculpture, drawing, photography and print exploring the feminine in everyday life. My motivation stems from observations in my own life and the lives of women in my family and society at large. With irony, humor and double meanings I convey ideas about women’s invisible labor and female drudgery.

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

traditional role placed upon women.

Nature and culture are endless sources of inspiration.

What is the most challenging about working multidisciplinary?

Tell us more about your artworks? My work aims to show the representation of gender in society, specifically the female gender. My current body of work takes generic ‘masculine’ objects and changes their traditional narrative, through adornment with a feminine style. The work aims to disrupt the rhythm through ‘girl bombing’, invoking a balance in the social structure and the

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I don’t see it as a challenge, but as part of my practice. Concepts form along with materials to realize them. I really enjoy working with different materials as each medium brings its own challenge. Being multidisciplinary helps me focus and stay exploring within my art practice, I keep experimenting. For example clay needs time to dry, firing etc. often when waiting for ceramic work to dry or fire before


Art Reveal Magazine

moving to the next stage in the process I will work in other areas like photography, drawing, or printing. Multidisciplinary is just creating, making the work..history is filled with artists who have spanned many disciplines. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? The world would be a very quiet place with out art or the arts. The diversity of cultures with their stories, traditions, food, art etc. these are what make the world an interesting vibrant place. We saw how society turned to the arts during the pandemic. Art is contemporary culture, through globalization and technological development the distinct lines we associated with a particular culture have become blurred or have merged with other cultures, I feel in some ways the art world has developed a global culture, I don’t see division and contrasts of culture, it’s the amalgamation of diversity and contrast amongst all cultures.

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No matter the cultural differences between us we can connect through emotions and the expression of those feelings… through the human experience. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I really like the open studio visits (Kunstpunkte) that are organized in Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Essen, Cologne and the surrounding areas. It’s a great way to connect with the artists and get a chance to chat and view work where it is created. There is a gallery in Düsseldorf called ‘Part 2 Gallery’ they have run alternative art events called ‘Nachtbrötchen’, with music, food, art, performance art, opera singers etc.. I loved this atmosphere..a fun, relaxing way of taking art out of the ‘White Cube’…But honestly, the last year I feel like I have had the opportunity to interacted all over the world via online, which in someways has been fantastic as I have attended artists talks, participated in discussions and exhibitions without any travel costs. I do miss the interaction with real time art events, but feel this online world also opens up possibilities. Maybe we can continue this tandem world as there are benefits. What do you like /dislike about the art world? I dislike the gender and racial distinctions put on artist, we need balance and equal opportunity. I love the variety of art, the ideas, creativity, the mediums, the integration with technology, the traditional techniques… the continuous reinventing. Name three artists you admire? I have chosen three contemporary artists. Lauren Mc Laughlin founder of Spilt Milk Gallery in Scotland. American artist Simone Leigh focus on “Black female subjectivity” and Danielle Krysa AKA “The Jealous Curator” for her championing of contemporary artist working in all genres. What are your future plans? “Mythical Mother” a group exhibition with Spilt Milk Gallery, Edinburgh is showing until the end of September. I’m looking forward to the opening event as there are discussions with Lucy Soutter art critic, art historian and photographer. This is an online event as the artists involved are located around the globe. https://www.spiltmilkgallery.com I have a few commissions that I’m currently working on. Naturally, I am open to collaborations and exhibitions.

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Helen Grundy Birmingham,UK

I am a contemporary fine artist based in Birmingham, UK. I make unusual objects, intentional collages and drawings. My work centres on the relationship between humans and animals, the environment and the body. My works have a strong narrative quality, have surreal imagery and I like to use humour in my work. I am interested in how I can make my practice as environmentally sustainable as possible so for me collage is the perfect art form as it has recycling at its core. My project FEARMAIL blends my job, working with homeless men with my practice. I exhibit both nationally and internationally, have been funded by The Arts Council. I would like to add, my website is about to have a major update.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I think one of the most enduring elements of my practice is humour. I am drawn to art that makes me smile and laugh. I like to be amused. I love the absurdities of life, the little and big things that happen to all of us, those moments when we catch ourselves feeling frustrated or shocked and instead of crying or shouting we end up laughing. I think my job, working in a hostel with homeless men, has

finely tuned my sense of humour. There are often difficult times and humour is a way of getting through and having resilience. I often address serious subjects with humour, for me humour is a way to engage an audience. If you can make someone laugh, delight them, then they are more likely to look closer and see what else is being communicated. There is a lot of truth in humour and it is a very effective way to represent issues such as intensive farming, climate change and feminism. I have just created

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a new piece of work called The War On Hunger and this has been inspired by the late Bill Hicks and one of his routines where he discusses how military hardware could be used for the benefit of people, instead of delivering bombs and misery. What is most challenging thing about being an artist? Right now, my biggest issue is having enough time to make art. I identify as a working-class artist and I have


Art Reveal Magazine

not everyone feels included. Art can be considered complicated and confusing and nobody wants to feel they cannot understand something. I think that is why I like to reference popular culture in my work as people feel there is a familiarity there and a way in. For me, art is very exciting but even I prefer to make it than to look at it. During covid with galleries being closed I did feel the loss of going to look at art. I think some galleries have realised that their audience is too narrow and that galleries should be more inclusive places and that local artists need to supported more by national galleries. How would you describe the art scene in your area? In the West Midlands there is a good art scene and there are a lot of artists. I have received a lot of support from New Art Gallery Walsall as well at The Asylum Gallery in Wolverhampton. The Ikon recently had a show with local artists and I took part in that. Eastside Projects is another art space and this has an associate membership scheme that I sometimes engage with. It is a supportive space but they often have great events scheduled during the day when I am at work. I think they should be aware that most artists have to work. I used to be part of a collective and I still collaborate with other artists but my practice now is mainly solo work and I exhibit mainly in London now. What do you dislike/like about the art world

a full-time job. I work a shift pattern so I work longer hours but have more days free each week. My job and my art practice have some connections but mostly they are separate. I think like most artists who have jobs I find it hard to talk about my practice with my work colleagues, not because they aren’t interested but because its often hard to explain why I spend do much of my free time making art. I have just applied to The Arts Council for Develop Your Creative Practice grant and if successful I will take a sabbat-

ical from work to make art full time for 6 months. What does art mean in contemporary culture? I think that is a hard question to answer. I think art is only meaningful to people if they decide to go and look at it. Many people live their lives with no real exposure to contemporary art unless they see some public art or they read something about The Turner Prize. Galleries are still spaces that

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I like being around other artists, as I generally find artists to be very good company and I feel that they are my tribe. I love that artists make art even if nobody sees it, I love that passion and I am so grateful I have an art practice that gives me so many positive challenges and satisfaction. What I dislike is how unfair the art world is for working class artists. Being working class is a definite barrier to success and progression as you cannot afford unpaid internships and I think there is a feeling that you don’t fully belong. I remember being amazed at how privileged some people at art school were. I also dislike what I call, boring art. I think


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its frustrating how artists can spend many years as an ‘emerging’ artist and seem to just get stuck at that stage.

ciplinary area of research into pollution, waste colonialism etc which encompasses both society and culture. I want to make work that isn’t afraid to address difficult issues and I want to engage audiences, make people think about the effects we are having on the natural world. I want to make more work with discarded objects and paper ephemera and I am currently working on a new project called The Discarded Pantry, a series of collage installations inside discarded packaging and tins. I want to tell stories about where we are now with climate change and how we must try and become good ancestors to future human beings. I am hoping I get my Arts Council funding to dedicate more time to this, but I will make the pieces whatever happens. I am delighted to be part of the exhibition Twenty Twenty at New Art Gallery Walsall at the end of the year and very happy that they have acquired one of my pieces ‘Giving A Hand’ ( one of my used envelope works from my FEARMAIL series) for their permanent collection.

Name artists you admire. I admire many artists. Currently I love the work of Miss. Printed, an artist that lives in Norway who blends collage with street art and has created ‘Locative Collage’ which I find very exciting. I am also a fan of the collage artist Cold War Steve who is also from Birmingham and love how he blends collage with political satire and comment. I still have huge respect for Louise Bourgeois and love her dedication to her practice and her recognition later in life. What are your future plans? My future plans are to keep making art. I have become very interested in discard studies, which is a new multidis-

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Paul Hartley Hampshire UK My work developed from a passion for drawing, printmaking and painting which has become more minimal and monochrome. Initially the mark making was abstract in nature, inspired by artists such as Cy Twombly and Tapies, but now relates to the fact that I wear glasses. I am a multi media artist. As well as various series of mixed media drawings and paintings I have made installations and sculptural pieces. Recently during lockdown I experimented with videos that use elements of these installations and depict the act of seeing and focusing in a fluid way. Blur Move2 is part of an ongoing series. As well as video I have continued to explore drawing and painting. I have used art to help me cope with the stress and anxiety of the lockdown. The imagery can be considered as an abstract response to the crisis. The marks on paper invite the viewer to untangle them. (Lookin, Lookon, Lookup). I am greatly inspired to continue to approach art in a multi media way and to produce more 2D work to sit alongside installations.


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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? My work developed from a passion for drawing, printmaking and painting which has become more minimal and monochrome. Initially the mark making was abstract in nature and I was very inspired by abstract expressionists such as Cy Twombly, Robert Motherwell and Tapies. Despite producing many drawings and paintings that were representational in nature, including still life, landscape and life drawing, I was encouraged to be more experimental while at art college and have since continued with this idea. A few years ago I enjoyed the large exhibition of American Abstract Expressionism show at the Royal Academy which still resonates with me and continues to inspire my work. While at college I decided to take a more autobiographical approach. As I am short sighted and wear glasses I fixed upon the motive of ‘spectacles’ or a rough version of them. I am a multi media artist. As well as various series of mixed media drawings and paintings I have made installations and sculptural pieces. Recently during lockdown I experimented with videos that use elements of these installations and depict the act of seeing and focusing in a fluid way. As well as video I have always continued to explore drawing and painting. I have used art to help me cope with the stress and anxiety of the lockdown. The 2D projects (Lookink, Lookon, Lookup etc.) consist of mixed media drawings made with graphite, collage and sometimes paint on paper, are created quickly to refine and simplify the mark making, while also creating original effects. The imagery can be considered as an abstract response to the complexity of the world and as a way of depicting the act of seeing and focusing. The marks on paper invite the viewer to untangle them. What is the most challenging of being an artist? There are thousands of artist in the world and every year many more students are studying art, so that means that there is a great deal of competition. Artists need to be very resilient and determined simply to keep on producing work and there is a constant striving to be original and different. Many artists find it difficult to show work in galleries, since there seem to be less venues available to provide exhibitions, and selling art is also quite hard. I have never been able to make a living from my art so I have had to spend much of my time working in areas completely unrelated to art. This means that in some ways although I describe myself as an artist (certainly a very creative person) I sometimes feel that it is ‘ just a hobby’ and feel quite guilty that I am not working on art projects every day. The other issue is art funding, or lack of it. Governments regularly underestimate the importance of all creative art forms and hence funding is not seen as a priority. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art is incredibly important in contemporary culture. Since my teens I have been a regular visitor to art galleries. Whenever I travel I generally gravitate to art galleries and enjoy the cool, calming atmosphere of the spaces, even if the art is dramatic. It always gives me a buzz to be able to look at work in the flesh, to look up close at a painting to see the

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texture and technique, and to stand back and take in the intensity of a large work. Contemplation of an art work can be a very powerful experience, calming or energising. As an artist I always come away with inspiration and a determination to make more work. There is really nothing better than seeing a famous work of art in a gallery rather than a photographic version of it. Also I enjoy being in the company of like minded people. Art is often seen as elitist and many people do not feel that they know how to appreciate it or study it. However, it is encouraging to see how many people now visit galleries. Booking for art galleries never used to happen, but now I am regularly amazed at how difficult it can sometimes be to obtain a ticket to see a popular show, which indicates how much art is valued nowadays. As mentioned before governments don’t really appreciate this and funding has been cut over the years. As bad as this may be it does seem to have always been the case, which means that those of us who want to make art have to be ever more determined. This hopefully means that a high quality of work is maintained. In the past I have been involved with several Art Therapy workshops. These experiences have shown me how powerful and transformative art can be. Many people are more able to express themselves through art than by talking and this is something that should be encouraged. Mental health issues are very evident now and I have personally benefited from making art as a way of reducing stress.

During the pandemic I used the time to produce as much work as possible, as I was at home and unable to work for over a year. It was a very enjoying experience and I am happy with my recent work development. The idea of creating something unique always gives me a great boost. It does not matter what it is, the point is that you can often make something out of a random handful of materials, with often surprising results. I certainly feel that something is missing in my life if I don’t make art for a long period of time. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Since graduating with an MA in Fine Art in 1998 (Winchester and Barcelona) I have continued to produce work. I have been lucky enough to exhibit my work in the UK and beyond, including Bath, Brighton, Portsmouth, London, Barcelona, Germany and Copenhagen. I live and work in Hampshire and would say that the art scene is not very good, which is not surprising since I do not live in a city where creative projects tend to be more concentrated. However, things are slowly improving, with new galleries opening and more opportunities for exhibiting, online or in gallery spaces. I have also shown work in shop windows and art trails, which is a relatively new idea and is something that can happen even in a small town, particularly in view of the fact that many shops continue to be empty.

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Generally I have had more luck with galleries internationally or in larger UK regional cities. I am optimistic that things will improve.

that artists on low incomes miss out on opportunities. Exhibition ticket prices are now regularly over £20. This is a result of market forces and many people do seem able to pay this. The relatively limited run that many shows have can lead to booking difficulties and very overcrowded exhibitions. The problem with this is that many people who feel that they don’t know much about art are put off from visiting galleries. Elitism has always been an accusation levelled at the world and these increasing costs do not help to change this.

What do you like/dislike about the art world? Likes: Art is a great way to boost confidence and inspire a sense of achievement. I love the possibility of starting off with a blank piece of paper and a pencil and creating something unique, and the satisfaction that this brings. Art can help with stress and emotional problems. Art Therapy is very valuable tool. Art can inspire people and enable them to enjoy life. Visiting Galleries provides a lot of enjoyment for many people. I like the fact that art is more popular than ever. The Tate Modern in London has record numbers of visitors each year which is a positive outcome, despite occasional overcrowding. Dislikes: Lack of funding and opportunities for creative people. Unless you can regularly sell work it is very hard to make a living from art. I spend a lot of money trying to show my work in galleries. There are a lot of open competitions, however, many require entry payments even if the work is not chosen (between £10-£40 per work). Usually this is to help with funding the exhibition, but there are also some profit making scams so it is a gamble knowing what to apply for. More funding would improve this situation. Many galleries now offer their space for rent, which means

Name three artists you admire. JMW Turner, Cy Twombly, Antoni Tapies. When I first went to the Tate Gallery in London I was always inspired by Turner. His landscapes and seascapes were always colourful and dramatic. The rough seas and maritime scenes could arguably lead him to be described as the father of abstraction. Abstract Expressionism has always been inspiring for me. Many artists use landscape elements as a starting point for more abstract work. It could be said that all art is representational, as artists often use reality to create abstract art works. If you look at the skies and seas in Turner paintings they can be seen as abstract, due to the looseness and relaxed style. Cy Twombly is one of several artists that inspired me while I was at art college. I love the minimalism of his work,

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What are your future plans?

using pencil scribbles, text and vivid colours. He created huge dramatic canvases that contain elements of representation, such as flowers as in the Four Seasons series. I really like the combination and contrast of thick textural paint, graphite and crayon. Much of my work echoes this approach. I was also amazed by the audacity of the minimal prints that he made sometimes just featuring a single word, bearing in mind the effort and time that is required to draw and ink up a plate, polish and print it. Antoni Tapies is another abstract artist who inspired me greatly. I really like the simplicity and boldness of the mark making, using graphite ink and paint, often black and white. Again he used several mediums including lithography and printing, and created mixed media paintings and collages including sand and sack cloth, often using frames and canvas in unusual ways. He was very influential and is now much imitated. I went to Barcelona to study Fine Art and realised that Tapies clearly used the walls and doors of the old city as a starting point for his abstract paintings. In some cases he literally attempted to recreate the textures and graffiti marks.

I am very keen to continue to use my education and experience to continue to explore my artistic ideas. I am a multi media artist, producing mixed media drawings and paintings, installations and sculptural pieces. Recently during lockdown I experimented with videos that use elements of my installations and depict the act of seeing and focussing in a fluid way. So far I have used my mobile phone to make these videos but would really like to purchase an up to date camera and editing software to fully realise my potential in this area. I have been quite successful at finding galleries and, more recently, online exhibitions for my work. I have spent a lot of time and money over the years applying for exhibitions and will continue marketing my work in this way. Any help with funding would be greatly appreciated, however modest, so I will continue to apply for as many funding opportunities as possible. I am also interested in Art Residencies, which can offer a great way to spend time concentrating on my art.

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Sam Haynes London, UK

I am a mid-career visual artist based in London. I started my practice over twenty five years ago creating site specific public art installations, engaging local communities with the belief that art has the power to bridge divides within society. The creative process is still all about making connections for me, within my practice as an artist facilitator, as well as a collaborator and sculptor. Accessibility lies at the heart of my work, incorporating found objects and materials, using low tech methods of construction to create abstract assemblages that reference domestic and architectural space. My mixed media work combines a rhythmical, systematic design and geometric structure with softer, flexible elements that take shape more organically. I am led primarily by an intuitive response to these contrasting or opposing materials, leading to often unexpected outcomes. These playful interactions, surprising and yet familiar, seek to create a sense of balance and tension, building dynamic connections between materials and the surrounding space, animated through the use of colour, light and shadow. Previous projects have included commissions for Amnesty International, Conran Restaurants and the deaf blind charity, Sense, exhibiting interactive sculpture at the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, and collaborative, site specific artwork at the Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall.



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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? My artwork is rooted within interdisciplinary arts practice, studying performance art and installation before focusing predominantly on sculpture. I went on do an ‘Art in Architecture’ MA, and was always very interested in an audience’s physical experience, as they interact with an artwork sited within a public space. While my more recent smaller scale work may not be specifically kinetic, sound making or performative, it retains a playful character, conveying a dynamism that, at times, suggests both movement and music. There is certainly some sense of drama in the geometric, finely balanced repeated forms and photographic use of light and shadow.My work as an artist facilitator has also greatly influenced my practice, reaching out and making connections to a wide and diverse community through an exploratory and accessible creative process. A resourceful approach to materials has always been important within my engagement practice and I now enjoy seeking out found objects to provide a starting point for each assemblage. My work with the London charity Action Space, and the learning disabled artists, Linda Bell and Nnena Kalu has also been important to the development of my work. Their abstract, process-led installations and sculptures show an honest and direct response to materials, free from conventional constrictions. My experience of working with people living with a dementia has also highlighted the importance of ‘living in the moment’, leading me to adopt an increasingly intuitive method of approach. Tell us more about your artwork While I tentatively returned to creating my own sculptures in 2018, in more recent years having managed and led a number of temporary public art installations and events, it wasn’t until lockdown 2020 that I truly focused on developing this new body of work. These abstract, geometric, mixed media assemblages use a rhythmical and systematic design that combines hard edged materials with more flexible forms, creating a sense of balance and

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tension. I am led primarily by an intuitive and playful response to the contrasting materials, building dynamic connections with the surrounding space that are animated through the use of colour, light and shadow. I am passionate about abstract art, allowing the artwork to reveal itself to me as the process develops, rather than forcing it in any one specific direction. I tend to avoid any narrative although I find naming artworks can be an interesting process in its own right. Standing back and bringing some conceptual rationality to what was a subconscious and instinctive process, can be revealing and gives the work an added playful dimension, providing the

audience with an accessible ‘way in’. I started my professional career as an artist designing large scale, metalwork installations, working alongside a team of specialist fabricators, responding to a site specific brief. While I always enjoyed the challenge and opportunity for collaboration, the process I now use is probably the polar opposite, working independently at an entirely different scale using low tech methods of assembly and non traditional, low cost, found materials. The geometric sensibility remains, referencing domestic and architectural space, but I am able to enjoy a freedom that relies on no one other than myself. This is not to say that I won’t return

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What is the most challenging part of being an artist?

to creating larger scale permanent or temporary installations, but at a moment in time, coming out of the collective trauma of lockdown, I have been incredibly lucky that the working situation has suited me so well.

I feel very lucky to have the freedom and ability to think and act as an artist. It is a resource and compulsion that can be drawn upon and that stands beside you throughout life’s challenges. It is liberating and enriching and yet it, of course, brings its own challenges - paying the rent (probably number one challenge), making space (physical, emotional and temporal), finding the right voice at the right time. I think that belief and patience are the only answers to get you through - challenges and perceived barriers are never insurmountable if you hold strong and true. It is surely a far greater challenge not to have art in our lives I think.

These assemblages are now presented in 2D format, as photographic imagery printed directly onto aluminium, giving the lightest areas a shine and 3D effect as you move in front of the image. This enables me to play with scale, presenting what may be a very small assemblage in a much larger format, raising the perceived status of the materials used. I am also able to direct the viewers perspective and control the lighting, creating a certain poise and sense of drama that brings the work to life.

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In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?

to a greater breadth of opportunity for artists of all ages and backgrounds.

For me, art is a way of challenging the everyday perceived and accepted ‘normalities’ of life - it can broaden the way we process the world around us, it can connect us across cultural and physical boundaries, it can speak to our inner selves. The idea that art can be just for arts sake challenges the pervasive economic driving forces within society. The artist has to be driven by belief, conviction or a passion that draws upon both the conscious and subconscious mind, connecting our inner and outer lives.

Yet I do fear for future generations, what we might gain with this ‘bounce back’ effect, may be lost with an underfunding and a non prioritising of arts education at grass roots level. For such a flourishing art scene to survive and grow, government investment in the creative arts within schools and higher education needs to become far more of a priority. What do you like/dislike about the art world?

As an artist facilitator working with a range of different charities and marginalised communities, art’s capacity to enhance our well being is at the forefront of my practice, especially important as we emerge from such challenging times. ‘Connect’, ‘be active’, ‘take notice’, ‘learn’ and ‘give’ are the five identified ‘ways to wellbeing’. For me this is what art should mean in contemporary culture if we are to build a healthy and cohesive society. It should not just be a passive experience but an inclusive process. As communication and culture bombards us with imagery every day - art gives us time to reflect and connect, a space to breath and take back control in an ever crowded world vying for our attention.

The art world can be a hierarchical, inaccessible place, believing in its own self importance. I despise anything that makes people look down their noses at anyone else, intellectual snobbery is definitely ignorance. The idea of exclusivity rather than inclusivity is what a large part of the art market is based upon. For a long time this made me think that the art world was not for me. And then I listen to and meet artists - largely grounded, passionate and committed to searching for some kind of truth. I think that the art world is changing, maybe more slowly than it could, but we are at long last starting to see a more diverse representation, with ‘outsider’, self taught artists now being exhibited within blue chip galleries. This certainly gives me hope for the future.

How would you describe the art scene in your area?

Name three artists you admire.

Thriving, constantly evolving, sometimes overwhelming! Being based in central London, there are so many different art communities on my doorstep, from studio groups to larger collectives, with thousands of emerging artists as well as seasoned professionals pushing to be noticed by curators, galleries and collectors. The Covid era, while economically challenging, has provided many of these groups with a chance to take stock and change direction or re-align themselves, looking at new ways to support artists. While online exhibitions have been a life saver, it feels like we appreciate that ‘in person’ experience just a little more these days. Let’s hope this feeling of freedom leads

You have to admire those women that established themselves at a time when opportunities and recognition were so heavily weighted against them. The American artist Agnes Martin (b. 1912), now known as ‘a pioneer of abstract painting’, with a background in teaching, overcame many challenges in her life to create such timeless, insightful and brave work, influencing so many artists today. The British sculptor Phyllida Barlow may have started working much later but she undoubtably also came up against the narrow minded sexism

of the 60’s and 70’s. With a family of five children and a forty year career as a lecturer, she has broken though in later life, challenging both ageist and sexist attitudes. I love her playful forms and use of colour and very much relate to her use and reuse of found objects and materials. Somehow it feels like her work is putting two fingers up to the conventions of sculpture - it has a feeling of rebelliousness that I find incredibly inviting. I also very much admire Jeremy Deller’s public practice for connecting so effectively with people outside the gallery, socially aware and just downright clever. His grounded humility and inclusive approach engages a much wider audience, reflecting on our recent history in what feels like such a relevant and democratic way. What are your future plans? This year I’ve begun working with the arts consultancy ‘Artiste Culture’, making contact with a number of UK and international galleries, identifying some exciting opportunities that I look forward to realising over the coming months. I will also be exhibiting at the FLUX exhibition from 4th - 27th November this year, in London’s Design District in Greenwich, which promises to be a really exciting event. In the future I am looking to develop my installation work, both site specific and gallery based, drawing upon my public art experience while applying a more intuitive method of approach. I have also very much enjoyed collaborating with other creatives over the years, including writers and musicians as well as artists and would love to work collectively on a multi disciplinary show. Community has always been very important to me, working as a team can be both inspiring and empowering, and I very much look forward to building creative partnerships, reaching out to new audiences with a shared commitment to making arts accessible to all.

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Lucy Hopkinson Leeds, UK In light of the current times, the work pays attention to the restriction that the world has been under. Looking at particular attention to how our physical and mental states have been enclosed within homes. The work highlights how the brutalist formation of architecture that we are confined to has disrupted us in many ways and has limited our natural reaction to move like we would in nature. The paintings demonstrate that over time in these conditions we begin to repeat ourselves and in turn we begin a cycle of chaos, physically and mentally. The idea of dehumanising figures and shapes throughout the paintings brings together the concept of lost identity, and the feeling that we are being engulfed by the four walls we call home.

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

lery space is beginning to change. A time where we would go in and socialise with other artists has now turned into an online media appearance. With the popularity of Instagram we now find that it becomes easier to see the work in the square format and share it. In the process we lose the conversations that can happen in between those shared spaces of the gallery. We see the evidence of this in the growing desire for online exhibitions.

There is a submissive absence within society. We walk around not knowing the presence of others as we are engulfed within our phones. The presence that technology holds has created a divide between ourselves and the physical properties of the world. The acceptance of new technology is becoming easier for us, with advanced phones booming and the concept of self-driving cars – we are no longer shocked by new discoveries as they become new attachments to the human body. Creating an easier lifestyle for communication and transport we begin to lose sight of what we were like before.

The understanding of the metamorphosis human feels like a future dream, however we become closer and closer to this figure everyday. Daniela Yaneve, who explores the idea of metamorphism, wrote about Project Down House 2099. It presented the design of the future, architecture that posessed its own set of organs. An environment that can adapt and change to our technological needs. I believe that our egos within society will forever move forward with technology, and I find it interesting to look at how our surroundings will cope with this change. We always look at the surrounding space in comparison to our growing population but we never stop to think that the spaces that we build might have to be adapted themselves for future generations. Contemporary art gives the perfect platform to explore these possibilities, within digital art and video, nevertheless I find that the properties of paint also bring these ideas to life. When looking at our fast-moving environments I feel comfort in processing these ideas through a medium that has been around for so long. The ideas that I find myself stuck between with modern-day life and the future can be presented through the medium of paint, creating a hybrid of ideas using materials.

The Berlin DADA artists were drawn to the concept of revolutionary technology since the Second World War. Their perception that new inventions made our everyday lives at work easier was a ‘ feminine’ approach to labour – the thought of staying home and making money seemed unbelievable. We have been conscious of these cyborg lifestyles for a very long time, nevertheless we accept the change. However, how long can we go on accepting until we find that there is nothing human left about our everyday lives that we live? Our time over the past year of the pandemic has felt like a dream for most people. Our living style has changed dramatically, jobs and education have been altered in ways that we thought wouldn’t happen for another 20 years. We have seen an advancement within the last year that shows us how fast we can move as a society and create change. It asks the question how fast we could move with technology if we were not confined to our houses. Placing this into the art world we can see that the gal-

Painters like Francis Bacon used the figure in such a frightening way, often within the confines of a room.

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In my opinion his paintings pull together the evolving idea that our egos will change and our architecture can either grow with us or confine us. Bacon’s work especially draws into the fear that confinement can have whether through corruption or progression it can cause disturbances within ourselves and society. The pandemic has shown us that the four walls we call home don’t support our needs when it comes to a year-long confinement, and in the end we feel like the portraits from Bacon’s work: trapped. I find that the works of Bacon can be very insightful to look at when you think about the confinement of architecture. They present a clear image of isolation and showcase the struggle between the figure and its surroundings. I find within the context of the current times, the cage that Bacon puts his subjects in to be much more interesting than the figures that he places them in. His frames act like scaffoldings that hold in the emotions of the figure. They are seen through but they feel sound-proof. For us to move forward in society with stability we need to have a stable ego. Freud’s idea of the Ego shows us that we need a stable environment to render a stable Ego within society. With our ever-changing society can we ever have a stable Ego? Younger generations are attached to the new technology, feeling heavier pressure to succeed and falling deeper into depression. Could the new cyborg be an unstable Ego finding its way in a world? If so will our world start a transition where we begin to feel the absence of human qualities? What is the most challenging part of being an artist? During the past year we have been confined to our homes due to the pandemic, creating a divide between people. Especially for those within the art community who rely on galleries and events for a place of sharing and connections. The pandemic has made it difficult for creatives to discover new ways to take their work with the help from others. The space for criticism has gone and so the drive for improvement has been difficult. The pandemic has caused a lot of problems for artists, however one that stayed the same throughout these times was the perception of the art world from the perspective of an aspiring artist. The view from the bottom runs up to the gallery, and the journey that has to be taken. Competition within the art world has stayed the same, we aspire to create something new and shocking, something that has never been done before. However with the help of Duchamp and the idea that anything can be art, it makes it quite difficult to be shocking and new. I find

that that can be one of the most challenging things about being an artist, finding what to do when there is so much you can do. This also comes from the world of booming technology. Everyone has seen everything without actually leaving their sofa, making it difficult for young artists to impress those galleries that hold their future in their hands. I feel that it’s important as an artist to accept that imitation is inevitable. You may have a similar style to another artist, however your context and approach to the work will be different. There will forever be paintings made of architecture and portraits, but it’s how you move the context from what the painting is visually to what it can be conceptually. Context can be one of the hardest things as an artist to get right. You believe that you are pushing something through your work only to find out that others don’t perceive it the way you intended them to. When creating the work it can be difficult for artists to find the materials and the subject matter that communicates the message clearly, once it is found it is executed perfectly.

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In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Contemporary art within the 21st century opens up more possibilities than ever before, we enter a period where anything can be art and art can be about anything. Our society seems to feel deeper than ever before. We have so much power at our fingertips when it comes to learning about mental health and culture, and the importance of people’s sexuality. All these lessons about equality are learned at such a young age, we have a greater understanding and so we are able to express all these emotions through any medium. Contemporary art has a power to help people find a personal voice, and helps to answer the question of ‘who am I’ within society. There are no rules. Art students can find new ways of expressing their concerns about society through any means. And as a result of this there comes a feeling of self-worth and satisfaction within oneself. Society is changing faster than it ever has before, we are in a period where we are growing and our morals are changing. As a result we find that the art we make changes and the way we see art changes. Our personal views give us a new impression each time we look at a painting or a video. The reaction we have to art gives us the consumer a form of therapy as well as the artist. The artist is able to put society’s emotions into a piece of work, and the consumer is able to sit in front of the work and break down the context that they are living in. In my opinion I find semiotics within contemporary culture important. For us to understand the context of the work we need to be able to put it in context. Nevertheless I also find that you don’t need to understand the context of contemporary art to enjoy it. Being able to sit in front of a Mark Rothko and undertake all the emotions without completely understanding the context of his work is what makes art enjoyable. You can learn everything you can about a piece of work but at the end of the day your

emotions can override the logic and you can feel something completely different. Contemporary culture also means the acceptance of technology, not only within mediums such as performance and video art but also in the way we share art. With technology more mediums are being used within contemporary art, we no longer only see paintings and sculpture in the gallery. In addition to this we are seeing the spread of these works, making artwork more accessible. The use of social media makes the life of an aspiring artist much more joyful. You are able to share work with the click of a button and get it in front of those who need to see it. You can target your audience and feel like you can communicate exactly what you want to say. The use of the internet helps art to become more playful and more political. All this makes the aesthetic and theme of art in contemporary culture wider, there is more space for art and so more art gets made. How would you describe the art scene in your area? As an art student in Leeds I find that it’s one of the best areas to study and enter the art world. Leeds has a number of galleries, including the Henry Moore, and Yorkshire Sculpture park. I find that Leeds is a great area for artists who are starting out. It is the kind of place where you can curate your own show out of your very own living room. You may only get a few people to join but at least you grow your community. Leeds holds a lot of small communities that encourage the use of their spaces and invites young artists to work with them on projects. Spaces such as Serf and 130 Vicar Lane not only allow the public to come in and admire the art but bring in other artists to curate their own shows and rent the spaces out. Many places like this around Leeds also offer the space to artists to use to create work. Like every city there are places such as independent coffee shops that col-

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laborate with artists to help brighten up spaces. These types of projects that require collaboration can be great to work on when trying to put your foot into a new community. I’m starting to see that opportunities are all over the country for the arts and not just isolated to your city, with a lot of online services that can help you to apply for commissions and open calls. And the regeneration of mail art that has happened over the past year helps bring artists together all over the world. What do you like/dislike about the art world? Looking at the art world from the perspective of a student is daunting. There is a feeling that you have to create something new and upcoming. In addition to this idea that you won’t be accepted into the art world if you’re not shocking enough or liked as a professional artist. A lot of these feelings stem from the power that the gallery holds and from those dealers that can make or break a career. The idea that an art dealer or gallery may not like a particular type of art can be very nerve wracking when starting out, nevertheless I believe that no artist should change their practice to fit the masses. With the help of social media there is more opportunity than ever before for artists to speak to their own audience, leading to the spreading of communication to those who want to listen. Name three artists you admire? In relation to my work I always love to look back on the work of the surrealists, especially the work of Kay Sage. The paintings hold such beauty, but they also have a sinister feeling that pulls you in, and it’s at this point that you can stop and begin to pull the painting apart and start to recognise things within. I also love the works of George Condo and Kristina Schulot. Paintings that hold character and a story interest me. I find the emotions that you get from sitting in front of these types of work to be very different to others – more comical and passionate sometimes. I especially admire some of George Condos’ larger pieces that hold so much texture and layers within the figures.


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Dale from

the Mernpunk Collective Lincolnshire, UK All of Mernpunk’s quirky art and design pieces are made using discarded items that would otherwise have been destined for landfill. The drive behind Mernpunk’s art is to see something that could so easily have ended up poluting the planet turned into something beautiful and functional for the home. One of our areas of speciality is our one of a kind mannequin art lamps and homewares. These pieces are made by reusing former shop mannequins which are no longer in a condition to be useful in retail. Each and every shop mannequin is either made from fibreglass or plastic, which makes them very hard to dispose of at the end of their lifetime. This is one of the many reason we have chosen to recycle them into art pieces and eyecatching homewares – what better way to give them a new use in life and save them from landfill?!

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I started dabbling with art in around 2017, but it wasn’t until the first lockdown that it became a massive part of my life. I’ve struggled with anxiety since my teenage years, but the restrictions that suddenly came out of nowhere had a really negative affect on me. Due to ‘socialising’ being something that could only be done online, I found myself spending more time on social media. The fakery and falseness of it started to have an even worse affect on my mental health.

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I’d recently acquired my first batch of damaged shop mannequins, so I took one of them out into the garden and began doodling words and phrases on it about how I was feeling. This piece started to take shape, and this idea began to grow for an art installation piece. The idea grew and grew until it turned into a whole exhibition to raise awareness of mental health, which will be taking place in October. Alongside myself, there will be 15 other artists taking part, displaying works which depict their own struggles with mental health.


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The exhibition is called Unhooked: The Exhibition, and will be held at Yellow Edge Gallery, Stoke Road, Gosport, Hampshire from October 8th - 17th 2021. All monies raised from this exhibition will go to the Solent branch of Mind charity, with an aim of raising £5,000. I was invited to curate this exhibition which was an amazing honour! So I guess I’d say my mental health struggles have had the most prolific influence. In addition to this, myself and my partner Matt share a passion for recycling and eco-reuse. Beginning with repairing and upcycling furniture, our focus soon moved into lighting and art, inspired by a chance meeting with the owner of a mannequin recycling business. All of Mernpunk’s quirky art and design pieces are made using discarded items that would otherwise have been destined for landfill. The drive behind Mernpunk’s art is to see something that could so easily have ended up poluting the planet turned into something beautiful and functional for the home. One of our areas of speciality is our one of a kind mannequin art lamps and homewares. These pieces are made by reusing former shop mannequins which are no longer in a condition to be useful in retail. Each and every shop mannequin is either made from fibreglass or plastic, which makes them very hard to dispose of at the end of their lifetime. This is one of the many reason we have chosen to recycle them into art pieces and eyecatching homewares – what better way to give them a new use in life and save them from landfill?! Another challenge I find I have to overcome with my art, especially with the female busts, is trying to get people to see beyond the female form to the artwork. Sadly, many people still see the female body as something to be objectified, and I’ve had people complain about my pieces appearing in galleries due to them being ‘sexual’. As you can see from the photographs, they are absolutely not! Facebook will not let me sell them in my Facebook shop as they are deemed ‘adult products’. I find it incredible that in 2021, a rudimentary female body shape is still considered taboo or worse still, offensive. In terms of artists that inspire me, I am a huge fan of Da Vinci – not so much for his paintings but for his trailblazing attitude in a time where that would have been frowned upon. I love the works of Czech sculptor David Cerny, and english artist James Cauty. I like to see a bit of rebellion and free expression. Tell us more about your recent artworks The main artworks I have been focusing on recently are my pieces for Unhooked: The Exhibition. The centrepiece of this is my Four Influencers of the Apocalypse display. The piece consists of Famine, War, Pestilence and Death but with a modern day social media spin. In my take, the ‘plagues’ they are spreading are the mental health conditions they contribute to causing via their internet ‘influence’.

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How would you describe the art scene in your area?

Famine’s plague is eating disorders. Pestilence brings fear and anxiety. Death spreads poor self-image/self-confidence and War brings depression, division and self-doubt.

Honestly, it’s a bit non existent! Where there is art, it’s a bit closed minded and really only focuses on safe, conservative pictures of landscapes or military aircraft. Any kind of statement art or the slightest hint of controversy hits an immediate brick wall.

In addition to this, I have recently started working with two new art galleries, attempting to bring my mannequin art pieces to a more mainstream art collecting audience. The aim is to show how something unwanted and ugly can be transformed into something beautiful and unrecognisable as ‘waste’. It isn’t easy though – most people still view them as ‘boobs’ – which in turn they consider ‘rude’. I just want to show people that they are art just like any other piece – I simply use the mannequin as a canvas.

I have recently become part of a committee to try and improve the art scene in our area, and fingers crossed that might help! It’s strange because there are many creatives around here, but many still feel they have to fit in a box and not stand out. And to me this is a real shame because art is all about self expression. If you lose that, you lose the entire meaning.

What has been the most touching moment you’ve experienced as an artist?

I can be quite disheartening at times, as it can leave you feeling like there’s something wrong with you for wanting to paint and create those things! You have to remind yourself that the simple issue is that people are not used to that, and the only way they will become more used to it is to show them! It can be a mental battle but I’m hoping that with time and effort, things can change.

I was recently voted as one of three winners of an art award on Instagram for my piece Wasteland Aphrodite. This involved me going to the gallery in London and meeting lots of people who wanted to know more about my art. It was an incredible feeling to chat to people about my art, realising as I did that I had been accepted as an ‘artist’ and that it doesn’t matter that I haven’t been formally trained. People seemed really interested in my eco reuse/ upcycled art approach which was lovely to hear.

Are you glad you became a full-time artist? Most of the time! It’s far from an easy life as you’re not only dealing with all the issues I’ve mentioned above but also the age old issue of creative block. I don’t want to compromise my artistic integrity but churning out things I’m not happy with or by repeating designs. I pride myself on always coming up with new ideas, but this adds a whole new level of pressure. That said, my art keeps me sane and gives me an outlet that I desperately need to keep my mental health in balance. So looking at it from that point of view, I couldn’t be without it now. What are you working on right now? Right now it’s all hands on deck for the Unhooked exhibition. As well as participating, I am also planning it, doing all of the publicity and media contact, taking part in interviews such as this one! I really want to make this a huge step in the right direction for ‘normalising’ mental health, as well as to show the huge benefits of art as therapy. Anything else you’d like to mention that I didn’t ask? If anyone would like to donate to our GoFundMe for Solent Mind, they can do so here: https://gofund.me/3eeda830. Also please have a look at the website for the event http://unhookedtheexhibition.org/ Every penny we raise will go to the charity, who on average are approached by 26,000 people a year in need of mental health support.

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Judith Ornstein Brooklyn, NY, USA

My current work uses the detritus materials of the ‘Amazon Generation,’ giving three-dimensional life to an abstract artwork. I use various kinds of honeycomb, fluted and flat corrugate. Corrugate is the perfect modern material for its raw elegance and easy manipulation. Mundane objects are tools, shapeshifters for our creative use. My wall sculptures are imbued with the conflict of permanence and impermanence. They reside in a liminal space between solidity and fragility, hovering between 2 and 3 dimensions. The throw away quality of cardboard reflects an almost organic life span from development thru deterioration. Without a color pallet the simple abstract, irregular shapes in various textures are combined and morph into a language dependent on position, shape and surface. Made of materials not used for sculpture they bring up issues of what gives art value. They are intended to be thoughtful, quirky and fun. My wall sculptures reflect an irrepressible joy and optimism in a time of isolation.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your practice?

ing with teaching and grants. This allowed me some time to work and attempt to be a part of the art world (that’s a career in itself). As I had a family, time became more precious. I have a wonderful partner who worked to allow me time in the studio. I was an artist/mother/working spouse/home maker. That was one slash too many and I did not find a way to maintain my connections to the art world. I never stopped making art but I left showing behind. By the time I got back to it, the art world changed tremendously. It’s a difficult nut to crack. Who you know means a lot in that world and I’m basically a recluse.

Eva Hesse has always been a primary influence on my work. She struggled with anxiety and self-doubt and yet her work is fearless and inventive. She had courage fused with a dogged work ethic. She embraced absurdity and I celebrate all those qualities. I studied with Al Held at Yale and Rea Morton at Philadelphia College of Art. Although I don’t follow their aesthetics, our conversations have had a lasting impact on me. I also love mid-20th century art including Arp, Miro, Calder and Brancusi. I love their humor and brevity. What is the most challenging of being an artist?

In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?

The challenges have changed through the years but they mostly relate to time itself. Early in my career I was making a liv-

It is mostly about how we value things as a measure of how we value life. Experiences occupy our memories. We create

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meaning of the world around us through objects and our memory of them. Experiences, like a work of art and our thoughts are the most treasured and educational of encounters. A work of art is a monument that can create an everlasting idea and helps us understand our humanity. One image or object can haunt us our entire life. Art reaches a part of our brain that other things cannot. The universe around us is hidden in plain sight and art can reveal a good part of it. It is an invaluable part of being human.

take the next step in their evolution. Living in an area like NY with lots of galleries is an enriching experience. Name three artists you admire. Eva Hesse, Sarah Sze, Elizabeth Murray What are your future plans? Making art is a working process, every day, that engulfs your whole being. The work itself takes you places, suddenly and without reason. It is a process that overwhelms your thinking and instinctive reasoning. You dream about your work, you think about it. Every once in a while I take a step back and look at what you’re doing in a new way. This inspires international change. Then the cycle begins again with the work itself taking me places. Currently, I am trying to add new elements including clay pieces and found objects to work with the cardboard. I’m not sure yet what will work and what won’t. But I continue to refine and expand on subjects I have explored for years while exploring new terrain. I delight in things I do not plan. I am also in a show in October at the Brooklyn Navy Yard called ‘Exchanging Visions’. It’s all women, curated by Alexandra Jamieson, a woman. I am very excited about the show.

How would you describe the art scene in your area? That’s very complicated. There are the ‘big’ galleries, Gagosian, Hauser Wirth, Pace, etc. Then there are the smaller galleries, the coop galleries and the non-profits. This makes for a very complex art world. I think it all comes down to who you know. It’s a confusing world even for those greatly immersed in it. What do you like/dislike about the art world? I’m not one for politics… and there is a great deal of that in the art world. There are also aesthetic leanings that a curator might have, that taints everything they look at. And there seems to be the everlasting cry of ‘can I sell this’ from galleries/curators. I love being able to go to galleries and see new work or see artists

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Pauline Schulze Bonn, Germany

Through my works I analyze the sensations that our brain processes starting from the observation of reality and explores ways to minimize waste pollution and the ephemerality of fashion. My work is characterised by the use of different materials decontextualizing and transforming objects from fashion and interior design. It comments on the common practice of major fashion houses destroying unsold clothes at the end of a season and points out the significance of shredded materials in the fashion industry. This message is reinforced by incorporating reused and repurposed remnants, leftovers and waste that can be found in fashion production creating positiv and aesthetic artworks and giving new life and meaning to the intial materials. I describe my style as ‘constructed’, and I like constructed shapes and objects. The term ‘constructed fashion’ refers to pieces with a difficult cut. When I work with raw cotton fabric, I paint it, then construct and place it in different shapes on the canvas. I literally dress my canvases and make them design pieces, with the aim of conveying to the observers my own questions and helping them to find the answers. In some works I insert sequins and drapes with bright colors, in others the combination of painting and fabric is more marked and evident: but in each of them lies a careful aesthetic and philosophical research. Each piece has its own history and reveals an intimate piece of me as an artist who, through them, undertakes different dialogues with her observers. I strive to create art that is both abstract and can be interpreted in different ways by different people, but it has to be deeply personal to me.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I have found and run my own independent fashion brand. It was these years working in fashion that set the foundation for my art which is inspired by fashion, colours, materials, surfaces, shapes, and process of creation. The strong connection of two dimensions: fashion and art are at the core of my art practice.

Tell us more about your paintings. My work is characterised using different materials decontextualizing and transforming objects from fashion and interior design. Through reuse and repurposing I give a new life to remnants, leftovers and waste that can be found in fashion production creating positive and aesthetic artworks. It comments on the common practice of major fashion houses destroying unsold clothes at the end of a season and points out the significance of shredded materials in the fashion industry.

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I seek the truth that is hidden deep inside. My own truth and the truth of things. My process consists of creating, deconstructing, and then putting together seemingly not belonging parts and pieces that do not belong together. There is freedom and limitation at the same time. The freedom to use the pieces and parts arbitrarily different and thus create the variability and the new. I describe my style as ‘constructed’, and I like constructed shapes and objects. The term ‘constructed fashion’ refers to pieces with a difficult cut. When I work with raw cotton fabric,

I paint it, then construct and place it in different shapes on the canvas. It is like in life with the experiences, memories about how it was or happened, which float in the free in the mind. And they must be rearranged to be able to be used again for the further life. Each piece has its own history and reveals an intimate piece of the artist who, through them, undertakes different dialogues with her observers, free to let themselves be guided and to interpret the message in their own way.

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In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Nowadays art is a reflection on the issues that surround us. The observers of the art are encouraged to interpret themselves what they see and find out more about themselves. It is a journey to the self, to escape and to deep dive to the other world which is inside of us. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene in my area is reach and full of talented artists. There are modern and young spaces for exhibition as also significant museums that have interesting and inspiring exhibitions which I love to visit every month. What do you like/dislike about the art world? I like that the art world is now changing and especially in the pandemic times switching to more online projects giving the artists the opportunity to be seen and to share their visions. Name three artists you admire. I admire the work and visions of René Magritte and Pablo Picasso who were thinker and created their artworks as a whole concept. I also love work and the colour concepts of Steven Parrino. What are your future plans? I would like to create more inspiring artworks that could give meaning to the obvious things showing their specialty and excitement. I would also like to collaborate with independent fashion brands using their waste materials to share their outstanding labour when creating new collections.

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Parker Shatkin Fort Collins, CO, USA

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My work is an effort to probe the liminal space which mediates the known and unknown. This space, a discordant reality existing alongside and roughly parallel to ours, has moments of intersection — moments of feeling that something is slightly off, operating at a slightly different frequency. I work to induce this sense of unease, force people to experience and live with it. Exposing these moments of unease as an aspect of everyday life forces us to accept uncertainty about the things we see, allowing us to better synthesize the parallel worlds of internal and external sensation; we can then come to understand that the world we live in is not necessarily ordered in the controlled way of the physical. Questioning the physical actions and spaces that give us comfort and stability allows us to analyze our daily rituals and routines as arbitrary and absurd. By accepting this absurdity, accepting unease, and accepting the intersection of the strata that make up our physical world and our internal world, we can conceive of a more comprehensive depiction of the real. Fundamentally, my work is a documentation of reality, although it is not the reality in which we most often find ourselves. The function of my work, therefore, is twofold: First, to create a distortion of our physical world – an unreality. Second, to document or record this distorted reality through photography or videography, media that, importantly, traditionally replicate — and often duplicate — reality. The documentation aspect is crucial — by photographing, taping, or otherwise recording these unrealities I make them real, I bring them into our reality where they remain, in physical documentation and in our memory of it. Giving these unrealities shape allows them to have a presence that can then affect the way we perceive and interact with reality; their substance enables us to peer into the void, to survey the zone that separates understanding from dread, rather than fold into the diversion of ritual and custom.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? My work is based primarily on feelings of slight discomfort, uncanniness, moments when you have a gut feeling that something is off but can’t explain why. Surrealist art is definitely an influence, but primarily my work is motivated by these moments and others that produce similar sensations; Eastern European post-punk music, brutalist architecture, alternate reality games, urban myths, folklore, and driving through the American Midwest are all fundamental influences on my work. Tell us more about your photography. Recording is a crucial aspect of my work. As I’m primarily interested in synthesising internal and external sensations and bringing them into existence in our physical reality, this act of recording takes sensations that are often experienced purely internally and gives them visual dimension. Fundamentally, my work is a documentation of reality, just not the purely physical reality that we often trap ourselves in. This act of recording has most recently been photography-based, as photography has traditionally been used to replicate (or duplicate) things we see and experience. Although I have focused on photography for the last few years, I am really interested in any form of recording that gives me the ability to physically recreate these sensations of discomfort and allows them to have a presence that can then affect the way we perceive and interact with reality. I’m currently working on a project that involves recording viewers’ reactions with a visual piece through a QR code/Google form, for example, and would love to work with videography and sound in the future. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? Absolutely — I try not to pigeon-hole myself into a particular medium and prefer the concept to determine the best way to visualise a particular work. I do not make art to paint pretty pictures. My work is an effort to probe the liminal space which mediates the known and unknown, to understand that the world we live in is not necessarily ordered in the controlled way of the physical, to survey the zone that separates understanding from dread, rather than fold into the diversion of ritual and custom. By accepting these moments of discomfort, questioning the material actions and spaces that give us comfort and stability, we can come to analyse our daily rituals and routines as arbitrary and absurd, which is one of the ultimate goals of my work. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I think of art as a form of research that can tell us just as much about ourselves and the world as scientific research can, albeit in a different way. I think (or hope) that we’ve moved past art for art’s sake and that people have begun to realise that art has power beyond “something that looks nice.”

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How would you describe the art scene in your area?

tunately, art has become something cliquey and elitist, which prevents others from being exposed to good art.

I grew up in NYC but have spent the last five years living mostly in small towns in Ohio and Colorado, both of which have art scenes that are very different from what I’m used to. The art scene where I currently live is predominantly artisans, crafters, and retirees learning to paint. I don’t plan to stick around out here too much longer and hope to find somewhere to live with a stronger, younger art scene and people who think more about their work.

Name three artists you admire. Francis Bacon, Uldus Bakhtiozina, Alisa Gorshenina What are your future plans?

What do you like/dislike about the art world?

Currently I’m planning to go back to school for an MFA and hopefully get away from the US for some time. Artistically, I’m planning to rely less on photography and branch out into more immersive and interactive works.

I dislike the corporate-ness of the art world and how sterile the white box galleries and museums often are. Unfor-

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Gordon Skalleberg Santa Fe, USA Why do I paint faces and eyes, or sometimes only sections of a face? I guess I am trying to see beyond the surface. Subconsciously we can recognize joy and sadness, maybe even a subtle lie – but are we really aware of what we are seeing? Often, I paint from old photographs of people unknown to me. This facilitates freedom in my depictions because I am not trying to capture what I know about the individual, but rather what I see. Some of my paintings inspire the viewers to create their own stories, their own perspectives. This thrills me. A recent relocation to Santa Fe, New Mexico, with its desert landscapes and open skies, has inspired new imagery in a semi-abstract landscape-style that draws on the quintessential Southwestern features. My faces and landscapes are painted in oil on untreated plywood and other types of wood. The unique wood grains become a part of each painting – often in serendipitous ways. Every painting is truly a work in progress to the end - I never quite know what the colors, the material and the picture will communicate until I am done. The process and the result often surprise me, and I like to surprise the viewer as well. Imperfection is often found in my pictures – a crack in the plywood, trickles, scratches, roughness – and I welcome this aspect.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? There is probably not anyone or anything in particular that has influenced my work. When I started teaching myself to paint, I would study paintings up close and try to figure out how the artist had done the work. I was inspired by the rough brush strokes of Edvard Munch and I like how Andy Warhol used colors. I always keep my eyes open and observe what other artists have done and I might pick up a color or a detail that may influence me to do something I have never done before. When I go to museums and galleries I am mostly inspired to get back home and work. I am very much driven by my own desire to create and to challenge myself. Tell us more about your recent artworks. When I started painting I was mostly motivated to paint eyes, parts of faces and people. I did not consider myself a landscape painter as I did not believe I could do it. But gradually I have been painting more and more landscapes – my way – and lately I have also been fascinated by horizons – just water and skies and sometimes a cloud. That has evolved to what I call Abstract Horizons. Fairly minimalistic work in small or even larger format. What has been the most touching moment you’ve experienced as an artist?’’ I am generally touched when children are intrigued by my work. One moment that stands out was when a couple came during a studio tour. I noticed that the woman was telling the man what she saw and I realized he was visually impaired, so I asked him

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to come with me. I led him around and let him touch and explore my paintings. He was thrilled to be allowed to touch the work and I was touched by how he enjoyed exploring my paintings with his sensitive fingers. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I am fortunate to be a part of two very different areas: Santa Fe in New Mexico and a very dynamic and creative area in the southwest of Sweden. Both areas have a lot in common as they have been attracting creative people for a long time. Santa Fe has a long tradition of being an area where artist and writers and collectors can come and work and be inspired by each other. As it is a relatively small town it is dependent on visitors who are interested in art. Southwest Sweden is interesting because there are millions of people living in cities like Malmö, Landskrona, Helsingborg and many smaller towns and communities. Denmark, with Copenhagen and Helsingör, is just across the straight. The proximity to jobs and culture, as well as the ocean and beautiful landscapes, has made the area attractive to people, and the interest in food, art and culture is generally great. As a result, there is always a lot going on. Are you glad you became a full-time artist? Absolutely! Becoming an artist was a very hard


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transition from working in a successful family business with expectations from my family and staff. I worked in the business for 21 years, but I always felt like I had an artistic talent that I wanted to explore before I got too old. It is not easy, but I love what I do and I do it all the time! What are you working on right now? I recently got in touch with a gallery in Helsingborg that has been around for about 30 years and they are very interested in my minimalistic horizons. They are talking about introducing me and my art at an art show in Madrid in the fall and want to have some larger work to show there. So I am trying to use the time while we are in Sweden to make some work for them before we go back to New Mexico and Santa Fe.

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Susa Solero Gründau, Germany

I take photos of pretty much everything, but nature is always a source of inspiration. Now nature cannot actually be imitated 1:1, and it’s almost impossible to capture its beauty. At the beginning of digital photography, I was completely hostile to it. If I took photos, it was usually slides. I loved sitting down and choosing, cutting and framing them and then showing them huge on the canvas. I’m pretty old school on a lot of things and for a long time didn’t want to have anything to do with all the newfangled frills. It wasn’t until I bought a smartphone that I found access and became enthusiastic about the possibilities of digital processing of images. And so my way of working on my smartphone developed relatively quickly. The editing takes place on the smartphone and basically I only use the preinstalled app from Samsung and another app called Snapseed. What I love is to edit the pictures in such a way that you cannot always be sure whether they are not naturally that way or that they look a bit like an expressive painting. The images show the many different interests I have, although nature certainly plays the biggest role. This is sometimes a problem because artists are always expected to concentrate and focus on little. As if the world consisted of only a few topics and then only certain ones. You HAVE to take a stand for environmentalism, discrimination, animal welfare, etc., otherwise it’s not art. But I often ask myself, when I see pictures of old masters, today famous artists, if they always painted (e.g.), because they wanted to position themselves, or if they didn’t just do it out of an inner urge and simply had a sense for aesthetics in the broadest sense. I love change, and I love working on - mostly inconsequential - images and wringing something beautiful or interesting or funny out of them. It usually doesn’t take much effort on my part. It rarely takes me long to work on an image and I tend to be guided by intuition, even though I often have an idea beforehand. When a picture is finished, I think about the title. Sometimes it comes to me during the process or - like the sunday’s delight pictures - it fits into an already existing series. Language is very important to me and I cannot deal with titles that are without any connection to the image. Which, so to speak, only reveal themselves to the artist. Very few titles - at least this is the feedback I get - are not comprehensible to

the viewer. The images can stand on their own, but for me they are immovably linked to the titles. So photography to me is like painting and telling a story with each picture.

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

Bauhaus and Art Brut with the same enthusiasm as I do Baroque churches, frescoes by Michel Angelo or paintings by Jackson Pollock. About a year ago I discovered the photographer Gilbert Garcin. His simple black-and-white photographic montages inspire me, Peter Lindbergh’s iconic fashion images no less. And in music, I listen to jazz and classical and pop. I love Al Jarreau, I like salsa and reggae, and I can lose myself in Rachmaninoff and Schumann and Bach. Whether all that is reflected in my pictures - I don’t know. When I photograph, when I edit, I don’t get anything. I immerse myself like a child and simply am.

Tough question. My problem has always been that everything interests me, or at least can interest me. I still haven’t figured out what it is that triggers me. And I can say that for different art forms as well as styles. In school I drew and painted a lot and had art and crafts as major subjects. Then I became interested in fashion design, architecture, film making, interior design... I watch documentaries about art all the time and find it fascinating to learn about different arts and artists. I look at Jugendstil,

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Tell us more about your photography.

biggest challenge for me is not to be inundated by all the options that life offers. To focus on one thing and bring it to a good end and not to start 100 other things again in between.

My pictures arise from the moment. Sometimes there are ideas in advance, but mostly I just let myself be guided by what comes. The raw images are mostly meaningless. The challenge for me is to develop something exciting out of it. When I get excited I know I’m on the right path.

In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?

What is the most challenging of being an artist?

An ambivalent affair. For some, it’s something that has nothing to do with them, because in their opinion art is overrated, far too much money is spent and nonsensical

To make money. ;-) I can only speak for myself and the

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things are created. For the others it is a status symbol and an investment (which somehow confirms the first group). And then there are those for whom art is simply an important, exciting part of life. Some are artists themselves, some are just enthusiastic about it. I don’t think the meaning of art is very different today from what it was in the past.

know Tamara de Lempicka when I visited the small adorable gallery of Bob Johnson in Healdsburg, California, where one of my brothers live. He had a picture there and some books about her and I fell in love with her exceptional style. Gilbert Garcin I found watching a documentary about him. He became an artist after retiring and created all his pictures in a tiny little studio using photos of himself and his wife in different positions. They impress with their simplicity. About Jean-Michel Frank I also never heard before until I watched a documentary just a couple days ago. I love art nouveau and art deco and was curious to see what he had made. I didn’t know that he basically made art deco world-famous with his work, in that the style can still be found in our modern furniture today. And he did crazy things.

How would you describe the art scene in your area? The question is what is meant by “my area.” I live in the countryside. As a rule, there is a lot of small art at different levels. The nearest big cities like Frankfurt and Fulda, for example, offer a broad spectrum, which is in the nature of things or the size of the cities. But THE scene does not exist here, as far as I know or at least I’m not involved, so I can’t describe it either. I tend towards hermitism because I enjoy being alone very much.

What are your future plans?

Name three artists you admire.

Learning everything about my “real cameras”, working on my shop to make a living, realizing some projects like “Oh, mein Papa!” – a personal project about my father in his young age around world war II and trying lots of new things.

I have a hard time naming three because then it looks like they stand out to me, but that’s not the case. I’ll name three that I’ve discovered in the last two years: Tamara de Lempicka, Gilbert Garcin and Jean-Michel Frank. I got to

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Shahar Tuchner Herzliya, Israel In my art, mostly revolving around video-art, installation, sculpture and photography. I often deal with social issues that are on the global agenda such as consumerism, multiculturalism and representations of reality through the media. My video-art works attempt to examine the relations between image, movement and music and the cultural baggage each of these elements contain. In my sculptures and installations I frequently use readymade materials as a means to explore the tension between the common nature of various everyday objects, and their potential to become part of a work of art. Many of my works deal with the cultural weight various foods hold, and use food and its cooking and consumption methods as a symbol for cultures associated with it, while referring to the unique social context of each dish. An example for this is the use of popcorn as a symbol for American culture and values, in such works as the video installation “Kiss Me Popcorn!” and the painting “Popcorn Making Instructions”. In much the same way, the seeds in the installation “Seeded Floor” represent the connection between the Israeli culture and its Eastern roots, while in the photo set “Hot Cream”, ice cream and a tabun oven represent Western and Eastern cultures respectively. As part of my artistic process, I use the vast realms of the Internet as a virtual field where I gather my readymade video and audio materials, that come from different times, places and genres (documentary, commercial, etc.). The cultural mixture I create in this way becomes a post modern tapestry of East and West, high and low, and various post modern formalistic contrasts such as sound and image. I work in a freestyle manner and the technique I use for each work is determined in the process of creation, often altered and adapted to best suit the idea behind the piece. My work process is born from a concept that becomes matter or from matter that becomes a concept, but both of these aspects always retain an unexpected relationship and attempt to remain fresh and expand the boundaries of the artistic object’s role.


Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? My daily life and events I go through clearly affects my art, either directly or subconsciously. It is also easy for me to say that, very clearly, I’m affected by the Media. If via the computer I use to create art, or the news I regularly consume. My most significant influence is my mother. She is the most important character in my life, and I would not be where I am without her. She is my inspiration and muse. We are both very opinionated and critical about current events and social issues, to the point that we tend to think differently from most people. For example, we share the view that there is too much stimulation in the different media outlets today, where in the past things were more simple and easy to understand. The overwhelming fast flow of information today causes people to quickly browse through new information, be less patient about topics they already understand and, as a consequence, be less tolerant towards each other on social networks and eventually also in real life. Or, when something breaks down around the house, people just decide to throw it away rather than thinking how to fix it or reuse them. Being disrespectful to your belongings can translate to being disrespectful to other people, particularly to those who are different, with a disability or facing a personal challenge. They may act in the same regard to these people, asking to literally throw them away and replace them. Tell us more about your artworks. As a multidisciplinary artist, I create in different mediums: painting, sculpture, video, installation, ceramics, photography. I have an inner drive to create art in various ways, although nowadays I focus on painting. I find it important for my works to be conceptual while remaining visually aesthetic. I incorporate a lot of humor in my work, so viewers can more easily take in my ideas without feeling alienated by the common distance some feel when viewing conceptual art. I usually address issues such as multiculturalism, modern representation through the Media and consumerism. I use readymades in all my works, in videos, painting and sculpture. In my videos, for example, I fold the audio into the visuals to create a powerful statement. In other works I use ready-made


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materials that enhance the original objects, like in my work “Nike” where I added red nike shoes to a dark, heavy wooden sculpture of a travelling man. It can work the other way around, like in my work “American Bonfire” made of three heavy blue ceramic cylinders decorated with light fluffy marshmallows I lay on top. I include images in my work, some of them iconic, and through different methods of painting and using a variety of materials, I compliment and emphasize the part of that image that should stand out, in a composition that is pleasant to the eye. What is the most challenging part of working interdisciplinary? What is most challenging for me is not necessarily a specific medium, but rather my aspiration to completely master any method I use separately or in parallel, when I combine different materials together to a high quality work of art. I wouldn’t like to generalize, but if I had to point out a few similarities between art mediums, they all require technique and an understanding of the materials used, their limitations, which one is the best to work on a specific concept and an ability to envision how they would look in a gallery setting. Therefore in addition to a technical understanding and adequate skill in a medium, it is important to have an initial background to realise which medium should be used before the creative process even begins. Sometimes during work I stop and take time to re-evaluate and get a wider perspective, to see if there is anything that needs to change. I reassess the artistic practice entirely, to see if the work is perceived in the right way, and if it still works in a display setting in the same way I imagined it. I consider changing the medium, adding materials, altering the concept or creating an edge necessary to understand the work. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? The significance of art today is immense. The role of art and culture is to place a mirror in front of society, so it may reflect our current reality and the ideas that shape it. Through art, we are able to listen to marginalized voices, get alternative perspectives and hear opinions that may be different from our own. Art can represent values or ideas, but it also raises questions that make us better as a society or as individuals with a broader sense of awareness and understanding of others. All artworks have a purpose, even if it is unintentional, naive, abstract or expressive. It still will indicate and hold an essence of our current time and way of life. Even having “no meaning” is a strong statement. Contemporary art is founded on pillars that reach long back into our history, which otherwise we would not be talking here today. Since the dawn of man art was used to establish communication within communities through mutual use of symbols, up until today through the use of computers, smartphones and social media that serve that same purpose on a much broader scale. If we forget or neglect art and culture, we practically lose our basic means of existence. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene I am part of is extremely intense. It is not easy to create art and be an artist in the reality I live in. There is not enough investment in art and culture, and much of the funding that should have been directed towards art is diverted elsewhere for unjustified political reasons. Cur-

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I especially resent individuals that knowingly exploit young artists, promising exposure in exchange for money, with no real value whatsoever. The entire concept of “showing work at all costs” should completely be done away with. Those individuals, galleries and institutions I perceive as absolute con-men and criminals who take advantage of artists that only want to show their work and to be recognized for what they do. One can categorize them as ‘light’ deceivers, some that are a bit more sophisticated, professionals that exploit artists as a way of making a living and finally the masters of their trade, which are a sad and unbelievable fenomananoe. I like trustworthy people, fairness, honesty and directness in the art world specifically and in general. What are your future plans?

rent events take over the news on a daily basis, there is not a dull moment. I live in a dynamic region that can be wonderful one moment and then instantly the complete opposite. On the one hand, this situation is great creative material but on the other hand I would prefer a more relaxed reality, where inspiration and motivation would come naturally with no external assistance. What do you like/dislike about the art world? I love the great freedom that art gives me, and that in art there are almost no boundaries beyond your imagination. You can take your ideas and travel to distant lands in your mind with no restrictions. Creating art that began with an idea in your head just feels like magic. When I studied art I felt as if I’m in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter books. Everyone is creating and making magic. There were groups of students that focused on a certain medium, like ceramics, painting etc. And every artist who specifies in a particular medium, shares some characteristics with the material they use, just like the different houses in Hogwarts. For example, the ceramics students were pleasant, delicate and warm people, just like the clay they were using for their art.

I’ve been working for quite some time on new works, some of which are a continuation of previous work like my floor installation “Seed Floor”. Some of my new work is not related to other works. There is always a visual relation between my works, especially that now I am doing more paintings and developing a style that I had envisioned for many years. It is derived from the pop imagery technique I usually use, combining color and substance and placing them on the canvas. You will be able to see these works in the near future. I am in contact with a few galleries that would like to work with me and present my work, in addition to some museums around the world that I am in touch with. I’m finalizing the details and am very excited to show my work.

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Alan Ward Manchester, UK


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Alan Ward has been a book designer for artists, galleries and art-house publishers since moving to Manchester 29 years ago. During this period he has quietly continued to make his own photographic works, but in 2013 made the conscious decision to develop his artistic practice using photography to respond to the ideas of ‘place’ and ‘collective cultural heritage’ in our surroundings. This has also led to developing commissions and projects through other mediums, including video, text and public art.

stitutional, have become a significant driving force for my practice. Inevitably this includes reading critical writing about ‘place studies’ that embraces the idea that the memory of places is fundamental to a sense of self. When working on the Citizen Manchester commission at Manchester’s Central Library in 2014, I was introduced to Sebald’s writing by an archivist, and a particular quote he sent me became a bit of a mantra for my practice and the Photographs from Another Place project (PFAP).

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

‘…the darkness does not lift but becomes yet heavier as I think how little we can hold in mind, how everything is constantly lapsing into oblivion with every extinguished life, how the world is, as it were, draining itself, in that the history of countless places and

Most of my commissions have been informed by research and engagement, whether that is historical or community led. Archives, both personal and in-

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objects which themselves have no power or memory is never heard, never described or passed on.’ W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz His writings became even more pertinent when I then read Rings of Saturn, which inhabits the edges of the Norfolk landscape I was also revisiting in PFAP. Tell us more about your photographic projects. Both of those bodies of work just mentioned were an exploration of particular places and locations, and what they meant to the people who inhabited them, or were touched by through association. My photographic works, as a series, build on this very essence and invite the viewer to consider or


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reconsider their environment and surroundings, often by looking at small overlooked details, the things we take for granted. This is the concept George Perec called infra-ordinaire – it is a request to slow down, to pause and reflect on the importance and the beauty of the everyday that surrounds us. Citizen Manchester, completed with fellow-artist Dan Dubowitz, was a poetic encounter with civic space and what it meant to the City’s citizens. It resulted in an exhibition of 36 site specific interventions in the Central Library and nearby Manchester Art Gallery, and included an accompanying Manchester University Press publication. Whilst completing that commission I purchased on impulse, from eBay, a collection of early 1900s glass negatives. Through a few clues offered up in the images, I began to piece together the beginnings of a substantial family history around the images. Discovering parallel semi-autobiographical connections invited me to revisit my family biographies as well. I managed to track down living relatives of the photographer Sydney J Gearing, and discovered, unbeknown to them that they still had the original camera. To understand the photographer and his photographs, I took that camera back to places it had originally visited on the Wirral, sharing the stories the negatives revealed with people I encountered. This, plus my large format colour photography, led to my first Arts Council funded solo exhibition across 3 galleries at the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum. This was a place the original photographer visited in the 1920s and ’30s, it felt important to return him there as part of the process. That purchase was the first of a new taxonomic process, I love old negatives and I buy seemingly random items, waiting for an appropriate moment for them to become relevant through identification or classification. During lockdown, when everything stopped, 1 begin to explore a small set of seven WWI images I’d acquired. These were from an unnamed German officer and show a slightly dada-esque view of rest and relaxation behind the frontline. After considerable on-line research, I finally matched a vintage postcard to a viewpoint in one the negatives.

Research like this sends you down miriad rabbit holes and I discovered that it was possible to buy postcards of the same town sent home by soldiers to families in Germany. I started collecting these, and now have nearly 60 period postcard representations of Grandpré. I’ve become fascinated by their representations of this liminal, in-between landscape and the everyday messages that are written on the reverse. Unable to travel due to COVID restrictions and begin making new work, I have been scanning the postcards, 102

outputting them and using white acrylic on to the surface, reflecting the physical interventions that occurred at that moment of occupation, transforming them to explore the lost spaces yet to occur in the town’s future timeline. It is a way of getting to know a place remotely. To look at these dissonant landscapes, has been quite an artistic deviation for me, therapeutically slow and considered, it has been a process of highlighting or removing elements of anonymous photographers’ representations, but also appreciating the minutiae in variation between apparently duplicate card reproductions.


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Translating the old Sütterlin German handwriting on their reverses is an ongoing challenge, and I am working with translators who can decipher it. These messages allow a conversation to occur, oblique references teased out, that magnify the ordinary in content against the extraordinary context of the landscapes and the surreal original negatives. I’ve also begun undertaking a dialogue with current residents of this small rural French town through Facebook and Messenger, discussing various facets of the project and their

surroundings. All of this is in preparation for a visit in 2022, when I will begin to spend some time there, meeting the town’s inhabitants and immersing myself in the landscape. This reciprocity of engagement often reveals hidden stuff that bubbles to the surface and adds significant value to a project. The project has a working title of La Vojo Returne (the Esperanto title for ‘The Way Back’), taken from a first edition translation of the German novel by Erich Maria Remarque. It is widely regarded as the sequel to ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ and is a post war study of social malaise. At a mo103

ment when we need to quietly reflect on what it is to be human, especially during these times of a collective post pandemic and political introspection, a common language both visual and written seems increasingly important. What is the most challenging aspect of being an artist? For me personally the pandemic has meant lost opportunities to build on the success of the Williamson show, and the inevitable delay to the second touring venue at Norwich Cathedral. It has clearly been a challenging time


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for lots of artists, some have responded to the moment and made work around that. It has felt like the art world became a little self-absorbed by this and all work needed to reflect it. I wasn’t remotely interested in doing this, although I now realise La Vojo does touch slightly on post pandemic environments. When you start a new long-term project you can easily disappear off the radar and with lockdown exhibitions going on-line, it’s been difficult to remain visible and make connections. I have just presented Photographs from Another Place to the Archives & Records Association annual conference, showing the value of what is entrusted to them and how it can inform artistic practice, and the positive feedback was a much needed validation of my process. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The North West and Manchester regional art scene is I’d say fairly

buoyant. There are of course the large public institutions with important collections and eclectic temporary programmes, which are a wonderful resource and reference, but there is a wide range of indie galleries and collectives producing and curating interesting stuff. I think the region struggles to support a gallery representing artist scene and The Contemporary Art Society tried to run a collectors’ scheme which only lasted for a few years. What do you like/dislike about the art world? A question that opens up a whole can of worms, that includes all aspects of inclusivity, accessibility, viability, status quos, insularity and elitism… a bit like life, there is good and bad, and it’s a very challenging environment at the best of times. Name three artists you admire. Within the wider art world there are a number of artists I admire. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with

Mark Dion, during his Bureau of the Centre for the Study of Surrealism… commission at Manchester Museum. Through the process of working closely with him on the book, I gained a real understanding of his methodology, which has certainly been an influence. I particularly enjoy his approach to institutional engagement and his ability to make connections within collections. Susanne Lecy is an artist who makes extraordinary work within communities - often around very challenging themes - and I particularly admire the way that performance, socially engaged and public practice, can then be drawn out in gallery installations extending their reach and life beyond just the powerful moment of the making. Neither of these really reflect my love of the photographic image as a medium, so I’ll finish with what might be considered a slightly left-field selection for my third artist. Ursula Schulz-Dornberg’s photographs often reference cultural shifts and explore the terrain of landscapes that have experienced trauma, and this is something that is now at the forefront of my thoughts as I develop La Vojo Returne. Her framing of time and decay wrought on topographies through human intervention, are simply beautiful. What are your future plans? As this article goes to press, I’m beginning a commission over the next six months with Touchstones Gallery in Rochdale, which is focussed around a community engagement, connecting art and football, and will be running in parallel to the Football Art Prize. I’m collaborating with fellow artist Neville Gabie again (see Cambridge Rules public art commission on my website). We have just begun research on this, looking at the Town’s Museum collection, Rochdale’s Co-Operative roots, and how these might fit together with football. I’m excited about this commission’s potential. I’m also working with Mark Devereau Projects, reflecting on my practice as part of a programme called Studiobook - this will allow me to look critically at my approach to making work and how a deeper engagement with institutional partners and gallery curators will benefit and inform it.

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Micaela de Vivero

Quito, Ecuador/Newark, Ohio, USA A critical idea in my installation work involves the conceptualization of installations as associations between viewers and space. An installation entails many relationships: between the viewer and the art, between structure and movement, and between space and circulation. In my own practice, I think while making. I make through lines, volumes, colors and space, which are my tools. I create relationships between my work and the spaces it inhabits. I make artwork out of soft, malleable, porous materials, which many times are suspended and take their shape through the relationships with other elements that form the work. In my work, through these relationships, I privilege empty space over mass, lightness over weight, movement, precariousness, fragility, ephemerality and instability over stability. The pieces I create become large-scale sculptures or multi-object installations in which the viewer must move and participate with their presence. I approach my installations as compositions in space in which I create an opening for the viewer to circulate through the installation, experiencing it physically, emotionally and visually. I create environments that are larger than human-sized. I want them to be monumental in scale, making the viewers feel small in relation, and questioning their own sense of self. The audience’s experience while circulating my installations, is of extreme importance to me. The act of circulating the installations I create, is a journey of introspection and discovery, which leads ultimately to establish connections between the viewer and the art. I have been engaged in producing artwork that has ambiguity, eloquence and challenges established formats. For this I consider political and social issues that are part of feminist and post-colonial concerns. I make art from where I come from, from my lived experiences as a woman of color in the United States of America and from my position as a first-generation immigrant with mixed Latin American background. As such I’m interested in responding to the associations as well as the misunderstandings that unbalanced relationships between hegemonic and historically oppressed cultures generate. My contribution to the field is to create strong statements with apparently delicate materials and in that way to destabilize power relations.



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making, which was a very different environment than in Ecuador. There also was the possibility of seeing contemporary art and an array of artist firsthand through short excursions and programming from the University. I am currently settled in Ohio, USA, but I not only travel frequently within the USA—which is a fascinatingly diverse place—but also abroad. I have had amazing experiences during artist residencies in places such as: Dublin, Ireland; Stein am Rhein, Switzerland; Koli, Finland; Graz, Austria; Yerevan, Armenia; Frankfurt, Germany; Marnay-sur-Seine, France; Aix-en-Provence, France; Covilhã, Portugal; Rota, Spain; and Kavala, Greece. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? The world. Getting a critical perspective on the world and my position within the world is the biggest influence in my art practice. I like to visit places, learn about those places and the people who live there. I grew up in Ecuador, a country which has its modern history determined by its colonial past. The experience of growing up in a country labeled as part of the global south informs the decisions I take at the time of acquiring a perspective on the world and making art. I enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone, in order to strip myself of previously gained or perceived privileges.

Power relations and how those have been set up historically are part of what I reflect on. I try to set myself up in such a way that I can learn more about the world. I finished my undergraduate studies at Universidad San Francisco de Quito, in Ecuador. After that, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do my graduate education at Alfred University in Alfred, New York, USA. I had only been in the USA one previous time, as part of a trip organized by Universidad San Francisco de Quito. For me, the experience of being in graduate school in a foreign country was totally mind-blowing. In this new context, I had complete availability of everything in relation to art-

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Tell us more about your installations. For me, making an installation is like creating a world—it becomes an experience for the viewer to encounter. This world I create has references to already known shapes, colors, dimensions, and relationships, but the overall experience is a new one. I want my viewers to have a unique experience while circulating my work, an experience of awareness of their body in that particular created space and the relationships with other elements encountered in this experience. A critical idea in my installation work involves the conceptualization of installations as associations between viewers and space.


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In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? It can mean many different things. Art can be in popular media as moving images (films, shows, music videos), advertising, urban/interior/landscape/ product design, etc. In my view, art can be embedded in and part of contemporary culture. On the other hand, Art with a capital A has the downfall of at times being too isolated in its own universe and having become too specific for a specialized audience. Then again, Art’s incredible potential is that it can reach large audiences and it can quickly communicate on various levels, such as intellectual and emotional. Another way for art to live in our contemporary culture is through our gaze towards the past in history. It is in those moments that I feel very humbled, realizing what the reach and the potential of art can be when we understand art as a product of human production in a specific time and place. Art from the past is a tangible document of how humanity has lived throughout the times. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I am a university professor and as such, my daily life is surrounded by young people who many times start looking at Art seriously for the first time. It is inspiring to see their dedication and passion towards Art, as Art takes a central role in their lives, and they decide to pursue and discover how an art practice fits into their overall life. I moved from Ecuador to the USA in my early 30s. At that time, Ecuador had a small but very vibrant art scene, as many young artists looked at the potential for art production in a global context through travel opportunities in the form of educational experiences and artist residencies. At that same time, young artists in Ecuador focused on local issues utilizing art’s potential to disrupt or put issues into question. The USA is different in that there are many more people dedicated to art than in Ecuador, and there are many more ways of making art or having an art practice. I specifically live in Ohio, but I have a hard time defining Ohio as my area. I feel that I am globally connected through art residencies, and those are opportunities that have a lot of potential for both the artists participating in these programs as well as for the communities who host these artists. In that sense, the art scene in my area is a globally connected art scene, where visions and interests are shared. What do you like/dislike about the artworld? I love the way Art can point towards issues in the world and help me realize things I didn’t know before through an artistic language. I am very passionate about Art, making Art, and also looking at other artist’s work. I am particularly impressed when Art can

share affects in addition to concepts and ideas. The artworld is a different thing, and I appreciate the way it can make Art accessible to a public through exhibitions and other programming, though sometimes its accessibility could be improved if it were to function in a different way. The art object as a commodity fuels the artworld which is a difficult issue. It definitely provides livelihoods for many people, but there are times when it could function more efficiently by being more inclusive. Name three artists you admire. I am constantly looking at other artists. There are so many brilliant artists who make and have made amazing art. Currently, I am very engaged with the work of Tania Bruguera, who at this moment is in Havana, Cuba, being part of the cry for change that is being requested by many Cubans. Where does the line get drawn between art and politics, or does there need to be a line? Another great inspiration is Brazilian artist Lygia Clark, who in the ’60s declared her abandonment of art, which actually became a proposal for reinventing art. I also feel inspired by artists who fight their own personal fights more privately. Artists as Judith Scott, an American fiber sculptor born deaf and with Down Syndrome, who has produced amazing art which certainly pushes traditional boundaries. What are your future plans? To continue learning about the world through making art and sharing it with an audience.

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Elizabeth Yoffe Cambridge, MA , USA

As a child I was enchanted by the changing shape of morning sunlight on my bedroom walls. These were luminous stories and within them was a primal mystery about what it meant to be alive, to be embodied, to be here. I am still enthralled by light. It communicates to me through pattern and wavelength. I not only see light - I feel it in my body through kinesthetic synesthesia. Just one of the various unusual ways I perceive the world - thus my chosen moniker: Emboddity. Photography (from Greek root words meaning ‘drawing with light’) is the ideal medium to explore my love of illumination. Most of my images are created using the sun as the light source which infuses them with a radiant quality that often catches me by surprise. Printing the images on metal captures their luminescence, resulting in pieces that are intended to bridge the liminal space between abstraction and Modern Sacred Art.

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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Light is what influences my art practice. I have always been fascinated by patterns of light and the different hues that infuse light throughout the day and evening. Curiosity leads me to observe the creativity inherent in the world and through my art practice I seek to participate in this everchanging dance of beauty all around us. Tell us more about your photography. As a child I was enchanted by the changing shape of morning sunlight on my bedroom walls. These were luminous stories and within them was a primal mystery about what it meant to be alive, to be embodied, to be human, to be here. ​ I am still enthralled by light. It communicates to me through pattern and wavelength. I not only see light - I feel it in my body through kinesthetic synesthesia. Just one of the various unusual ways I perceive the world - thus my chosen moniker: Emboddity. ​ Photography (from Greek root words meaning ‘drawing with light’) is the ideal medium to explore my love of illumination. Most of my images are created using the sun as the light source which infuses them with a radiant quality that often catches me by surprise. A pattern of light will catch my eye and I’ll capture it. I make adjustments in color, contrast, brightness and vibrance based on what the image evokes within me. Printing on metal retains the luminescence of the image resulting in pieces that are intended to bridge the liminal space between abstraction and Modern Sacred Art.

of the chase after “likes”, “ followers” and social media exposure. On the other hand I am grateful that so many of us can show our work directly to those who might appreciate it without having to please traditional gatekeepers. I also think art helps create worldwide bonds and community. It connects us to each other in ways that opens our minds and hearts. What do you like/dislike about the art world? I love the energy, camaraderie and ever-evolving creative potential of the art world. So many amazing, brilliant, innovative and talented beings sharing their inner visions with us through the outer expression of their work. It’s thrilling. Not so thrilling is the age old need to create financial viability which is so often elusive for many fantastic artists. Name three artists you admire. Hilma af Klint, Paul Klee, Yayoi Kusama What are your future plans? To follow the light wherever it leads me.

What is the most challenging of being an artist? Balancing the creative impulse and joy of making art with the vicissitudes of making this work sustainable in a worldly sense. The financial challenges of being an artist can diminish to joy of the creation if I allow that to happen. I try to focus primarily on putting my work into the world in a practical way and being patient about how that body of work may be received over time. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art - and creative expression in all its manifestations heightens our experience of being human in the best sense of the word. I think that the commodification of art and creativity has always been with us, but in contemporary culture there is a real danger of the erosion of quality because

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