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FEATURED ARTIST: J. HOWARD 5 MANSS AVAL 6 IRENA AZOVSKY 12 PAOLA BAZZ 18 KENNETH BORG 24 DANIEL DELUNA 30 JAMIE DENBURG HABIE 36 CHELSIE DYSART 42 CHRISTIAN GASTALDI 48 NAT GIRSBERGER 54 LAUREN GOLDIE 60

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MICHELLE HOLD 66 J. HOWARD 72 JILL JOHNSTON 78 ALI KELLER 84 FRANCOIS KNOETZE 90 LOUDWIG VAN LUDENS 96 JACQUELINE LUNG 102 MARIE ANINE MØLLER 108 MARLEEN PENNINGS 114 MATILDE PIAZZI 120 STEVEN SANGAPORE 126 MOIPONE TLALE 132 JACOB WEEKS 138


J. Howard has always been an artist. Her artistic journey began when she was a child in Houston, Texas, showing an early talent for drawing and painting. In junior high and high school, she studied art privately and became an art undergraduate at the University of Houston. In graduate school she studied animated art and the mechanics of visually aided learning while working in the graphics and film industries. She is acclaimed for her vitality of colors, strength of composition and variety of subject matter. She creates vivid animated characteristics in every subject matter. Her talent expands into painting colorful landscapes, vibrant still life, life-like portraits with an amazing understanding of storytelling. Recently, she has come full circle, returning to her love for drawing in soft pastels that have won her honors. J. Howard was recently selected as permanent member of the Southern Artist Group, a unique group of diverse talent representing the southern states of the U.S. She was selected to be one of 10 women chosen for a national show at the Custom House Museum in Clarksville, TN entitled “Women Painting Women”. She is the recipient of numerous top awards, including Hunting Art Prize Finalist where she was the sole soft pastelist. Her solo exhibitions in galleries and museums include a one-person retrospective of “A Texas View” in pastel paintings at the Saulsbury Gallery in 2017 and a retrospective of graphic expression in pastels at the Custom House Museum in 2020. Widely published in books and magazines nationally and internationally, which include Art Ascent, Art Quench and Pastel Art, J. Howard originals are also represented in many corporate and private collections. Her work ranges in size from small 6×6”to 36x 50”.

More about J.Howard at pages 72-77

FEATURED ARITST

J. HOWARD “When I am inspired to represent an emotion or a thought process, I find it important to do so with the proper color scheme within the image. In this piece, the colors are that of warmth and solitude. There are no eyes shown in the this piece because the emotion is to be experienced uniquely by the viewer. Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”

J. Howard ,For Faith in Dreams; 24x24 organic soft pastels on canvas


Manss Aval San Diego, CA, USA

According to the Greeks, the gods were forever doing geometry. It has always occupied the human mind and dictated the environment we have created for ourselves. Manss grew up in the West, but is intimately familiar and fascinated with Eastern cultures where for centuries artistic expressions were limited to calligraphy and geometric shapes. His latest painting and photography series originated from photographs of high rise buildings, metal spirals and other real objects and explore the concept of how these rigid, well‐defined and nominally inorganic shapes, can morph into moving, transforming, three‐dimensional constructs. When ordinary circles can assume dynamic, doughnut‐shaped faces and rectangles in perceptually transition to hexagons, octagons… as elements of a twisting, flexible and growing multigonal boundary of abundant complexity and depth, the viewer’s eyes begin a journey to wherever it leads them, often returning to the origin to depart for a different destiny. Complexity in deceiving simplicity.

Manss grew up and attended college in Hamburg, Germany. He then left for Vancouver, Canada, and eventually moved to San Diego, California. He studied at the University of Hamburg and the University of British Columbia and has a broad set of skills with backgrounds in media, communications and the sciences (including a Ph.D.). He is a fashion designer, curator and visual artist engaged in painting, photography, sculptures and videography. His art has been showcased at over 85 international venues and received critical acclaim at home and abroad.


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When, how and why started your art practice? I have been drawing and photographing since I was a teen, but started pursuing my work more seriously about ten years ago. It was mainly due to the unwavering encouragement of a fellow artist. I was also immensely inspired by the work of several outstanding landscape photographers, such as Galen Rowell and David Muench. Engaging in Nature photography also gave me a much deeper appreciation of my environment. I began to pay more attention to details and the nominally mundane around me: I started to smell the roses! I have been painting for a few years and doing sculptures more recently. How has your work changed in the past years? I started out in landscape and wildlife photography, then went on to do abstracts, fine art and street photography and portraits. I then moved to other media including paintings, video and sculptures. My work is generally assuming more depth and direction and I am more fully exploring the boundaries of my themes. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Compared to neighboring Los Angeles, the San Diego art scene is very small and offers only very limited opportunities for artists to present their work and interact with the community. Over the last decade a large number of well-established local galleries have closed here. Several “art districts” have atrophied or virtually disappeared. There are a few art walks and similar events, but I believe the city could do much more to foster art venues for local artists. Art could be major factor for attracting more tourists. Few would consider San Diego as an art city. As a result, the art scene is less vibrant and artists have to make a greater effort to gain exposure. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art is the backbone of any society. It is history, the presence and the future.

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I am glad that art is increasingly playing a more prominent role as an instrument of change in a political and social context. Name three artists you admire. I admire, of course, more than just three artists, but to name a few: among the painters are Talieh Kesh, Francis Bacon, M.C. Escher, Victor Vasarely and several other op art representatives. Among my favorite photographers are Abbas Kiarostami and Henri Cartier-Bresson. I am specially drawn to geometry and minimalism. Much of what is now considered trendy does not speak to me at all. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? It really depends on the artist’s ambitions and where they want to go in their career. Apart from the usual net-working, I think the most critical factor is to always seek to improve your work in content and quality and to explore new avenues. If an artist’s work does not evolve and improve with time, I believe it is going to be very difficult to succeed. If you are thinking of selling your work to make a living, make sure you keep your day job for a while, but more importantly: your work has to be absolutely unique and ground breaking. What are your future plans? I am planning on devoting greater emphasis on three-dimensional works, including using 3-D printing. I am also very interested in fashion design, film and videography.


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www.mansssaval.com


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Irena Azovsky Los Angeles, CA, USA

Through nine inch by nine inch collages, I create and layer contrasting patterns by cutting and shredding images which document our society and pop culture. We are confronted with an endless stream of imagery on a daily basis and I try to reinterpret that concept in a visual and controlled way. Through the process of cutting out thin lines, then layering and intertwining them, I create a hypnotic pattern that is a jumbled collage of various visual information. The optical quality of the collage is meant to create disorientation and confusion. I use a variety of materials, primarily images from books and magazines that document or reflect American culture. I choose the imagery based on my own aesthetic and combine contrasting colors and other materials that bring dimension into the work. Drawing inspiration from linear constructivist art as well as New Wave Art from the 1980’s, I engage the cutouts in a manner that creates a dialogue within the content of the images.The pieces consist of nostalgic interpretation of culture.


When, how and why started your art practice? I started out with creating mixed media books in High School by repurposing a hardbound book and gluing new materials over the pages or drawing over the already existing images. This gave me something to work with and build on, all within the confinement of that one book. I would work on each page until the book because a 180 degree accordion, so full of life and quirky images. I also explored other mixed media collages, such as gluing images over CDs/ vinyl, etc. When I got to college, I started to experiment with all the other media, such as screen printing, painting, sculpture, as necessary to do during your freshman year

in order to fulfill the credit requirements. Never really felt super attached to other mediums, and continues exploring collage by making little random pieces here and there on my own time and working it into assignments for other classes. However, senior year I started collaging again full force, which is how my series came about and was actually my thesis project. I haven’t stopped since! How has your work changed in the past years? My work has always been consistent in terms of the types of materials I use and the aesthetic qualities, but I definitely feel

that there was a shift in terms of the quality and craft. I can do things with paper now that I have never imagined doing before, back when I used to make simple types of cut and paste collages. But I can also see it changing drastically in the future, because with trial and error in my current practice I learn new techniques that I aspire to apply to future collages. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Los Angeles has an amazing art scene. There are so many talented people doing so many interesting things all at once, there is constant inspiration flow. Los Angeles is so


big, that there is no limit to where art can go. There is art on the streets, in commerical galleries, DIY spaces and of course all around us via timeless installations and performances - its pretty epic! In your opinion what does painting mean in contemporary culture? (not sure if this question applies to me, since I make collage - but here is the answer anyways, just in case!) I see painting as a form of expression via colors and texture. I feel that painting is no longer limited with a brush and a canvas. There are so many ways to paint a picture, that the word itself becomes subjective. Visually, painting has to resonate with the

viewer, whether its a message or a feeling that is delivered its still a new experience that leaves a mark. Name three artists you admire. There are many many artists that I admire, so its pretty difficult to select a few, but if I had to narrow it down I would say Robert Rauschenberg, El Lissitzky, and Mike Kelley. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? I would mainly suggest to just keep creating as much work as possible at all times and

also to make sure that you put your work out there. Although I’m not a fan of social media, I still try to have at least one outlet where I post my work up for the world to see (which for me happens to be Instagram). People are interested in artists that are constantly working and putting out new work, and its also great to take advantage of the momentum to grow and create new work by building on ideas. What are your future plans? I plan to continue working on my collage series and push it to the greatest extent to challenge the concept of collage, beyond the simplicity of “cut and paste�.


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www.parallelattractions.com


Paola Bazz Manchester, UK

Our society is characterized by a kaleidoscope of constant and rapid changes in which nothing keeps its shape and where both humans and things are disposable. Our identity, that defines how we see ourselves and how other people see us, is in a permanent state of flux, constantly changing. Nothing is truly necessary, nothing is born to live long, nothing is really certain. My work explores the constant change of our identity, its destruction and re-construction, through portraiture, using, as a medium, discarded materials such as printed-paper, recycled from magazines, newspapers, leaflets and catalogues. Identity is the way we perceive ourselves. Factors that every person is born with, such as ethnic heritage or sex, often play a role in perceiving one’s identity and contribute in defining boundaries between human beings. I’ve always been fascinated by printed-paper and by the power of communication contained within it. Printed-paper, bursting with information, is witness of the time passing by, offering fragmented insights of society. It represents our frantic every-day life giving us vivid and constantly updated records. By manipulating, transforming, selecting, cutting and folding printed-paper, I create small or large concertinas that result in big pixels with a squared base. Placing these big pixels within a rigid grid and glueing them onto a cardboard base, I create complex 3D collages. Portraits of people created by putting all together an aggregate of fragments, half-finished sentences, faces, images and letters, in a sort of jigsaw puzzle. I like playing with the idea that all these fragments are records of different stories and all together they contribute to tell a new story. This way, the viewer establishes a continuous cross-reference between the messages contained in the paper of individual “concertinas” and the overall image. In a world where everything is in a permanent state of flux, the images that are generated in my fragmented 3D portraits are readable or very distorted, depending on your point of view. From afar they look like a pixelated image of a person, but a closer look reveals thousands of fragments, words, faces and colours that create a complex abstract image. My aim is double: to investigate the boundary between abstract and figurative. On the other hand, I intend to analyse the extent to which the human mind is able to rebuild an image, which is processed to such an extent that it almost becomes an abstract composition. Like our identities, my portraits are fluid and mobile, constantly changeable as soon as the viewer moves, full of fragmented memories and stories. They become abstract compositions, although the original image is always recognizable forcing the viewer to engage with matters beyond what is immediately visible and encouraging different ways to look at things. Using an everyday objects such as printed-paper, whose use-value is ritualistic, emotional and consumerist, I also want people to investigate into our connection to the environment, presenting new ways of looking at the world around us.


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When, how and why started your art practice?

How would you describe the art scene in your area?

Since I was a child art and creativity were the only things that truly made me get out of bed in the morning. As an only child, I had to spend long periods of time alone and being creative became essential. I had the luck to be born in a very ingenious family. My grandmother and my mother taught me how to transform everyday objects into something new; my father conveyed me the joy of manual work, while my grandfather the love for drawing and painting.

I’ve been living in Manchester (UK) for the past five years. Before I lived in Brussels and of course in Italy where I was born. Manchester’s art scene has really improved in the last years with the award-winning redevelopment of The Whitworth, HOME, the MIF (Manchester International Festival), which all contribute to the city’s reputation as a cultural hub within the North West. But what has really opened my eyes and enlightens the art I make today, has been the travelling, the living in different cities and the fascinating mix of cultures that I have experienced. For me, the focus isn’t on any one particular culture, as in my work I like collecting disparate fragments and fusing them together.

When I grew up, I studied painting and drawing, alongside my degree in Architecture at University IUAV in Venice which I completed in 1991. In 2008, I began the production of works using paper recycled from magazines, newspapers and catalogues. I was attracted by the expressive potential and versatility of this medium. Printed-paper is a witness of time passing by. It offers us fragmented insights of society and gives us vivid and constantly updated records. How has your work changed in the past years? Portraiture has always been my favorite topic. It is a way to examine our identity and the way it changes. Depicting faces gives us an account about where we have been and who we are. During the past years I have been experimenting with different techniques from painting and drawing to collaging, having portrait as a theme. In the last years I have started creating 3D collages. My aim is to give new dimension to the portrait, investigating the boundary between abstract and figurative. It is fascinating to explore the extent to which the human mind is able to rebuild an image, which is processed to such an extent that it almost becomes an abstract composition. I’ve been using different methods where paper is selected, cut out, layered or folded. The result is complex 3D fragmented portraits, which are fluid, mobile and constantly changeable as soon as the viewer moves. They become abstract compositions, although the original image is always recognizable, forcing the viewer to engage with matters beyond what is immediately visible and encouraging different ways of looking at things.

In your opinion what does painting mean in contemporary culture? I think painting and more generally contemporary art is a mirror of contemporary culture and society. It gives us a way through which to examine new ideas as well as to rethink the familiar. Through contemporary art we can observe the varied and changing cultural landscape of identities, values, and beliefs challenging traditional boundaries. Name three artists you admire. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Chuck Close and Jean-Pierre Yvaral. The use of words as an integral part of Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings. The largescale Chuck Close portraits. And finally, the studies on aspects related to optical and psychiatric perception in Jean-Pierre Yvaral work. These artists did important and interesting research and have deeply influenced my art. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Be always very curious and humble. What are your future plans? I have a lot of new plans, but I prefer not to talk about them. They are all at an early stage.


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www.paolabazz.com


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Kenneth Borg Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

My photography is an attempt at exposing unperceivable realities, abrasive as much as they are assuaging, lurking within the faceless subconscious of an image. The images aim to scratch the surface, disclose what lies beneath or simply present another veracity hidden and obscured from everything else. They do not intend to reveal eternal secrets but simply to unveil elements which passed unnoticed and which yet we see every day and choose to ignore or simply erase from our immediate memories. Through this endeavour, I aim to provoke my unconscious experiences, whilst giving rise to a restless interaction between the seen and the unseen. It consists in another voyage through the “unphotographable� reality, fuelled by various tonalities of exposures. I intend to give an oracular dimension to my works which, like oracles, go beyond, insinuate further than the discreet phenomena they present.


When, how and why started your art practice? It is hard to pinpoint when photography captured my attention. My imagination was never still and I would always try to visually reproduce an idea in what I see and vice versa, even before I was aware enough of its existence. It is something in-built, mostly fuelled by a deep sense of sensitivity, curiosity and reflection, in no particular order. I found myself becoming more self-disciplined and readily available to put myself through new photographic attempts and probing new, raw and familiar situations even when I had to brush myself against mainstream ideologies. How has your work changed in the past years? As with most art disciplines, and if one is really serious about developing one’s output, the first step includes getting the right technique. Initially, I mostly worked with

familiar elements and contexts such as landscapes, seascapes, portraits. In time I felt I needed to uncover that which is unseen and provoke the senses. I started to delve deeper and adding more layers to my photography which included moving away from clichÊ subjects, or invert that which is already known and addressing photography from different angles and facets in search for the true essence of an image. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I have lived the best part of my life in Malta and I can say that during the past decade there was a considerable boost in contemporary art, thanks to a number of grants and funds offered by the government as well as individual initiatives. Additionally, Valletta, Malta’s capital city, is currently gearing towards the European Capital of Culture in 2018 and art, in all its forms, is heavily encouraged and made accessible to locals and foreigners alike. However when

it comes to photography, the pace in Malta is still a timid one and the photographers who follow current and innovative photographic trends are few and sparse. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I believe that, in contemporary culture, which is heavily influenced by the alienation of the masses, art has a very important role. Art is uniquely positioned to move people by inspiring them, inciting new questions and provoking curiosity, excitement, and outrage whilst bringing meaning and purpose to humanity. Artists can strengthen the will of and push people to act. Artists do not think like policymakers or academics, they are better future-thinkers. Art manages to conceptualise revolutionary and visionary ideas. This is why artists are able to move people to action, thus creating significant cultural and political contributions making art powerful. A lot of what art does is forge concepts, tell


stories, help us make sense of the world, society, while broadening our experience and understanding. It enables us to imagine the unimaginable, and to connect us to the past, the present, and the future, sometimes simultaneously. Name three artists you admire. Three artists whom I admire are Edvard Munch, Vivian Maier and Brassaï. Unfortunately, much of Munch’s work is eclipsed by one single painting, “The Scream” however he also created archetypical images of the twentieth century which collective memory can summon up at any moment. At the same time, I am always in awe how he managed to develop images out of his own biographical experiences of pain, loss and fear. To a great extent, his works are a self-representation, self-investigation and attempts to explain life and its meaning, as he himself explained in his letters. Furthermore, unlike some of

his contemporaries, Munch didn’t go for modern flatness. In many of his paintings, long roads unwind behind a central figure, and tiny figures in the distance hint at unresolved dramas. Despite people remembering Vivian Maier as stern, serious and eccentric, with few friends, her work is characterised and illuminated by a tender and quirky humanity. She managed to capture fleeting moments, the in-betweens, unexamined places and turned them into something extraordinary such as a man riding an absurdly large horse, suburban dead-ends or simply empty restaurant tables. All this was carried out quietly, secretly, completely outside of the limelight while working as a nanny in Chicago, which was probably key in enabling her alertness to capture what humanity is all about. The third artist whose work I admire is Brassaï (real name: Gyula Halász). The vast majority of his works were shot at night-time and because of this, he not only portrays the

beauty of the nocturnal city streets but the surreal and bizarre people that brandish those ominous hours. He made reality into a stage set, then waited and waited until his subject’s attention wandered back to their café concerns, their nightlife personas. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Be curious, develop your sensitivity towards that which surrounds you, explore and don’t be fearful of going that extra mile. It may be intimidating, it could be fun, exciting and exhilarating and thought provoking. What are your future plans? I will definitely keep searching to photograph the “unphotographable”, refine my work, expose it, challenge it and expose myself to different realities, truths and humanities.


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Daniel DeLuna Rochester, NY, USA

My work consisting of paintings, drawings, digital video and stills, engages with the language of abstraction. Superimposed intervals of horizontal or vertical lines generate a rhythmic structure with accents and beats that become the field for the foreground elements that often hold, or become surrogates for, figural associations. The work takes a nod at the history of traditional abstraction as filtered through and informed by the pervasive influence of technology on contemporary culture. Digital tools are used extensively in the creation of the work as I employ both common software as well as highly specialized high-end 3d animation applications. The gestural impulses, including erasures, as contrasted against the geometric, reflect my deeply ambivalent relationship with technology. I am searching for how to create meaningful aesthetic experiences in a culture where the visual is increasing debased by the image glut caused by our interaction with the digital realm. Themes from art history that frequently organize style and approach in into broad categories defined by binary oppositions, such as the romantic versus the classical, are important, as I attempt to synthesize these seemingly contradictory ideas. I want the works to be emotionally resonant, they do not make up a singular emotional statement but instead have a connection to the flows, forces, textures, rhythms and complex relationships we experience in everyday life.


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When, how and why did you start your art practice? I have made drawings and paintings since I was a child. When I was younger my work was representational and I had a facility for it. I would copy photos as well as draw from life but halfway through my college years working realistically lost it’s appeal for me. When I was around 20 I began working abstractly and that has been my focus for over twenty years. It sounds cliché, but I can’t not make work. I am a highly visual person that is compelled to make images. How has your work changed in the past years? Painting is a long game, I couldn’t have done the work I am doing now even ten years ago. I remember I used to say in college that I was trying to merge abstract expressionism with minimalism but I think what I really meant was using a geometric structure with a painterly facture, which still holds true today. The work has changed in the past few years by increasing in complexity aided by the use of a computer and a die-cut machine to make stencils. Sometimes people think my work incorporates collage but it doesn’t, it’s meticulously masked out paint. The stencils are all placed by hand which is an extremely laborious process. Back in the 90s I experimented with using silkscreens and I have recently considered bringing them back into the process. In your opinion what does painting mean in contemporary culture? Inevitably, painting reflects the time in which it is made, but for me it also holds a particular type of magic. I’ve done experimental video work, even animated gifs, but there is something special about the experience of an actual physical image rendered in paint. Painting is only as meaningful as you allow it to be and in this hyper-digitalized culture that we live in it can be a tough sell. Paintings require sustained looking, you must spend time with them which many people aren’t willing to do. To try to capture the viewer I make work that has a strong graphic impact initially that upon further contemplation reveals a more subtle and nuanced paint handling. I use a computer every day of my life, but ironically, my work reflects

my deep ambivalence towards the digital. I see the computer as a tool so it is very important to me that its use does not become an end unto itself. There has to be some human component to the work. Name three artists you admire. I met David Reed over twenty years ago and his work became a model in that it taught me that abstract painting can be intelligent and contemporary while tapping into the historical without being nostalgic. Jacqueline Humphries is a fearless painter and often one show to the next is radically different, yet the work forms a continuum that makes perfect sense. Both of these artists deal with digital culture to some extent in their work. Cy Twombly has been an enormous influence on me even though our work obviously is very different. I find it fascinating that his work can be so brutal while simultaneously being breathtakingly beautiful. I attempt to do the same with my work. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? A life in the arts can be challenging. For every Julian Schnabel, there are thousands of other artists toiling in obscurity. It comes with the territory. Define for yourself how you want to live and make a plan for how to make that happen. When I lived in NYC I painted apartments, did mindless data entry in an office and then worked as a designer. I feel extremely fortunate that I now have a tenured teaching position that allows me support myself and my family and allows me time to work. Aside from financial survival, just work. Work every day. I’ve seen so many talented artists quit. It can be difficult to maintain a practice but I wholeheartedly agree with Richard Serra’s dictum, “Work comes from work”. What are your future plans? After a twenty year hiatus I am currently doing series of prints using traditional printmaking techniques. So far I have done some woodcuts where the blocks have been made using a laser cutter and I have created some intaglio plates using my die-cut machine to incise the ground. Certainly these prints will inform the paintings and vice-versa. Work comes from work.


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Jamie Denburg Habie Antigua, Guatemala / Berkley, CA, USA

My work falls between the discovered and the constructed. I categorize the discovered as “Happenstance”, an ongoing series of unedited photographs and video that explore the function of photography as life digitizes and floods with images from surveillance, satellite technology, social media, advertisement and entertainment. Within the overflow, how is meaning construed? I study this question by finding moments, real or virtual, that feel different like little universes with singular rules. I record anything that draws attention not because it is spectacular or shocking, but because it stands quietly apart. In this sense, Happenstance is an experiment in spiritual digitalism--a study of how meaning degrades or persists in the receding space between reality and virtuality. Like in “Happenstance”, my constructed work often references virtuality as the quasi-spiritual glue that holds the world together. Rather than focus on specific themes or materials, my work explores a range of relationships across disciplines and fields. I am interested in aesthetic experiences at the unexpected, non-linear and often absurd cross-sections of culture, science and mythology. The art object is the resulting convergence of these unlikely relationships made visible. Ongoing projects include: exploring archetypal architecture across time and cultures; weaving textiles out of commercial materials such as dental floss and gauze; creating highly digitized images of skyscapes, cosmological phenomenon, and natural processes to mimic entropy digitally; searching for digital readymades across apps and programs; memorializing internet-age nostalgia for new things quickly outmoded; etc. Inspired by these intersections, I grapple with the internet as a kind of oracle that discovers (or perhaps creates) relationships between seemingly disparate peoples, times, events, things and places.


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When, how and why did you start your art practice? I was 18 when my art practice became a necessary part of my life. I started with photography and branched out. At first I was just playing and experimenting, taking surreal images that mirrored a lot of my mother’s work. She had passed away a few years prior and early on my practice felt more like a way to process her death than to make art. As a result, everything I made then was a spiritual struggle more than an aesthetic one. To this day, making art feels first and foremost like an exercise in extracting meaning. The art is almost a consequence. How has your work changed in the past years? I tend to work in series, so often one project will continue for years. This creates a continuity that I can trace to my first piec-

es, but more importantly allows space for something I crave in the internet age: sustained and focused attention. That said, my early work was surreal and dream-oriented. Traces of the real world appeared unintentionally and despite my efforts. Now, I focus on the tiny traces of reality that at one point slipped through the cracks. I’m more interested in daily life—both real and digital—as the place where art is found. Some work can be interpreted through an art historical lens. I’m particularly influenced by utopian art before the first nuclear bomb dropped. There was so much optimism. It turns out that no matter how far we travel, we take ourselves with us. I find this paradox sad and perfect, and recently I think about the digital age as a messianic force. Like any hero, it has its tragic flaw. While these issues relate to history and philosophy, mostly my work is nonacademic. It’s more of an intuitive reaction to the magic and tragedy of real and digital life.

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How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene in Guatemala is inspiring because the artists are not afraid to take risks. There’s a lot of art that deals with violence, suffering, war, racism, nihilism. That’s the important work though, and I appreciate it because it is necessary. Perhaps there is less pressure to make a certain kind of work. Yet there are also fewer opportunities for artists in Guatemala. Art is not really considered essential, like it is in Mexico. And yet people are resourceful and there are many artists, galleries and organizations that are creating space for art. In your opinion what does photography mean in contemporary culture? Photography is an extension of language, maybe one day it will replace it. As the world floods with images from surveillance, social media, news, etc, our relationship


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to images necessarily changes. Now there’s nothing precious about a photo and everyone is a photographer. That’s a good thing. In this sense, it is both the most challenging and exciting time to be a photographer. We have to rethink how we use photography to make art. That process will be different for everyone. For me, it means making work that is driven by concepts, not aesthetics. Name three artists you admire. My mother, Lissie Habie, for applying discipline to her practice. I believe that she saw art as Stoics see philosophy—as the only way to cultivate your mind and be present for your life. I hope to cultivate my mind in that way. In a different direction, I admire Regina José Galindo. Her performances are almost impossible to watch, which is the point. And yet, she doesn’t use shock value as a cheap trick. Her actions are entrenched in the Guatemalan experience, where “shocking” is a dull word. When you hear about violence often, somehow it becomes commonplace, expected. This is destructive, this passivity, and Regina knows how to break it. Finally, I admire the sculptor and painter Rachi Farrow, who uses her art as a weapon fine tuned for humor and activism. Rachi has created all these personalities through which to speak. As a result, she doesn’t just create art; she creates characters with their own agendas. Her posts on Instagram as the Face Lady represent the best type of political commentary—sensibly, just as absurd as reality. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? I feel like I am still starting out, so my advice comes from a humble place as someone who is in the early phase of art-making in it for the long run. These are the tips I try to follow: ask difficult questions. Don’t be afraid of discomfort or failure. Keep your eyes open. Have strong opinions but hold them loosely. What are your future plans? In a practical sense I have so many projects I want to finish. It feels like I’m slaying a hydra—every time I finish a project two more emerge. I’m thankful for that. Perhaps in a more meaningful sense, my plans are to continue expanding the efforts of the organization I work with, New Roots Foundation, to support art in Guatemala by providing residencies and a new center with workshops, studios, residences and exhibition spaces for local and visiting artists. 


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www.jamiedenburg.com

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Chelsie

Dysart Alloa, Scotland, UK

My artwork varies from one project to another however my Art is always inspired by something I’ve felt and by something I’ve observed. Primarily a main interest of mine is modern day society and the way we as a individuals react within different situations. I am interested in human behavior an how small aspects can change the way we behave. I feel that by creating my artwork around something I’ve experienced an by a feeling I’ve had it allows me to connect with my artwork and the message I am trying to communicate to it in a deeper sense which works very successfully with the overall outcome.


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When, how and why started your art practice? The moment I can truly say I decided that I wanted to be an artist and I wanted to devote my life to making art was shortly after leaving school. This was down to me as a person as I was indeed a very shy and hidden individual who struggled to express myself due to the fear of using my voice. I was extremely reserved with a large lack in confidence within myself. I turned to art to visually explore and express those of experiences, which I have had, and things of which I feel strongly over. Today, I honestly believe art has made me a stronger and extremely more confident person and I no longer feel afraid to use my voice through my artwork. This is why I started my practice as an artist and why I continue to do so today. How has your work changed in the past years? Over the years I have been continuingly pushing the boundaries of my observational

drawings and the way I look at modern day society. My approach has always explored my observational drawings captured by observing modern day living however throughout the years I have pushed the boundaries of ways to reflect my concepts back into society by exploring various methods. At the moment, my interest is currently within setting the environment and placing an audience within the experience I was in or of which I observed by returning to my line drawings and also combing video and sound of the experiences/observations. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene in my local area is quite exciting although it is quite small. Here there are local communities of artist that work together to bring creative workshops to the public or to even just allow some artists to have a space to actually work. The work the

local artist community does is very exciting and they are always very open minded to any ideas anyone within the community may suggest to them which allows the community to continue growing. There is a lot of artistic opportunities locally due to this community of artists and without them, I would consider the art scene within my local area would be even smaller than it already is or non-existent which is very sad. In your opinion, what does painting mean in contemporary culture? You hear it a lot; whispers saying that painting is dead and digital are taking over. I personally do not believe this. Although digital art is becoming more popular and is an interesting art form in its own right, it does not override painting. They are two different areas of art. I mean it is rare for sculpture and paint-


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ing to be compared so why should digital and panting? I see the two as two different art forms. Painting in contemporary culture has changed however. Painting today is extremely expressive. Each brush stroke and mark made in the paint with various tools all counts for something and expresses various emotions. You can make quick and fast strokes to emphasis on discomfort and uneasiness however these strokes can also bring a sense of liveliness to an artwork. The limitations are endless to how you can experiment today! Contemporary culture is all about pushing the boundaries of something the world already knows to find something new. Name three artists you admire. Richard Hamilton, Linder and Lucien Freud.

What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? For those starting out within the arts, my advice to you is to don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. You can do anything. As long as you have a passion for the arts then there is nothing you cannot do. My advice is that you draw everything, draw your breakfast, draw your partner whilst they sleep, draw your dog, draw your cat, draw whatever you can see from the view outside your window, even draw the people you see on the bus. Draw everything and capture every moment within a few lines. Practice and experiment, some things will work and others won’t however if you don’t work through the failed experiments then you can’t find your niche. When you feel comfortable within your art then also don’t keep it to yourself, post it online. Post your art on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Send your artwork to art

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magazines, apply to open calls for exhibitions, apply to competitions and even organize your own exhibitions. Do whatever you can to get your artwork out there and have your work seen by an audience. To be an artist, that is the largest aspect and most gratifying part. What are your future plans? I intend to carry on building my way up through education. I plan to move on to gain my Masters and hopefully even my PhD in Art so that I can continue learning new skills, new processes and learning by doing something I have such a passion for. My future plans also intend for me to continue practising as an artist by producing new work and to continue having my voice heard and my experiences felt by others through publications of my work, exhibitions and of course the most popular modern day platform – social media.


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www.facebook.com/chelsiedysartart


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Christian

Gastaldi Paris, France

I conceive my creations as a painter, even though I hardly use paint ! I conceive my creations as a poet, even though I destruct the words ! My preferred materials are those that can be found in the streets, having suffered the passing of time or those, whose mundane functions do not spontaneously elect them as arty material. An artistic redemption ! I develop my work in series according to the places of collection which have given to the material its specificities. But whatever the material, the work on spatial and chromatic organizations is the cornerstone of the creation.


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When, how and why started your art practice? It just happened that I first needed to live another life before I could go into Art. Then, after I had exhausted the curiosity of living/working abroad and the aesthetics of practicing sports, the time came for Art. it materialized as an irrepressible call, an absolute necessity. A transcending thing making life worthwhile living. How has your work changed in the past years? I started with figurative works. I wanted to confront myself with ‘classical’ subjects but using, in contrast, only mundane materials. Since 2010, I mostly work from distressed posters. I particularly like the textures and the ‘humanity’ of this material which encapsulate the ‘spirit’ of the place and of the people living there. I further destroy by hand the collected elements to recompose abstract works where rhythm and structure are essential. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I am a self-taught artist who has spent most of his time abroad and who has still another job. As such I am not well connected to the local scene. My time is spent creating. In your opinion what does painting mean in contemporary culture? Creation is an essential part of culture. Painting is one variant of it. It is for me a critical and vital activity, as many other useless things that make up a civilized human society. Name three artists you admire. I like many artists. They vary through time and I am delighted to know that there are many more, yet unknown to me, that I will enjoy discovering in the future. Speaking of admiration, the personality of the artist is as important as the art produced. I have lately enjoyed very much the work and artist’s vision of Saul Leiter, Rosalie Gascoigne and Ousmane Sow. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Work. Be modest yourself but ambitious for your art. Dare, again and again… and don’t listen to advice! What are your future plans? Say Yes to a gallery that will propose me to come and work in NY!


christiangastaldi.webgarden.com


Nat Girsberger Brooklyn, NY, USA


Nat Girsberger is a Swiss visual artist based in Brooklyn since 2011, a graduate from NYU film and visual communication. Having worked in a range of positions from art director to photographer in the visual arts, Nat’s recent project is the short film hue, an exploration of relationships through synesthesia, her color perception condition. Personal work also includes mixed media. Her most recent work has been focused on production design for film and TV. Nat recently production designed HORRORTIME (produced by James Franco) THE HOLDOUTS (produced by Kevin Corrigan), UP NORTH (produced by Michael Baumgarten). Other work include videography and photography backstage and runway at New York Fashion Week, Bridal Market and work at ELLE Magazine. Recent exhibits and festivals include Wallplay, and several film festivals. She is currently also working on a solo show taking place in Manhattan in April. With her color sensitivity, Swiss aesthetic and work ethic mixed with years of New York expression and resourcefulness, and love for meaningful contradictions of the psyche, her art blends risk and delicacy.


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When, how and why started your art practice? It’s not something I consciously decided to start, as a basic creative practice was a part of me for as long as I can recall. I took a child’s painting class when I was 3 years old in Switzerland, and my parents were very supportive in letting me express myself with wide-scale crafts, paints etc., we had a whole crafts room where I grew up. I was getting on everyone’s case about making every room I moved into look perfect when I was young because I just didn’t feel comfortable if my personal environment didn’t visually represent how I felt, wanted to feel, or saw the world. A big part of that and me was and is my synesthesia, a condition of color sensitivity. The walls had to be painted, I needed to get very specific furniture, the lack of which led me to make it myself once I got older. In school I was always assigned to design layouts, event spaces etc., but I didn’t really think anything of it. I spent my years in high school focussing on playing the piano and singing classical music yet I always felt more naturally drawn to the visual arts, which I didn’t want to

admit or did not understand for a while. I knew, however, that I liked the psychology of performing. My other passion was understanding the depths of the human psyche, which I found I could access through performance. I felt that I could, by trying to understand characters that weren’t me, I could understand myself better. I moved to New York by myself when I was 18, and that’s when I really started consciously integrating an art practice. I think the psychological intensity of such a change of scenery and language led me to need to work artistically. It was a way of processing the rapidly changing things in my environment. I gradually moved from performing being that outlet to recording and capturing performance, in film and photography. It felt like I had more control over what aspects of the psyche I was interested in this way, and found it helpful that I understood performance. I just also felt so inspired by the visuals of this incredible place that is New York, and my visual ventures went from finding vintage gems to reuse, photographing everything, altering furniture pieces I found and being very ex-

tensive about interior designing the many, many different apartments I had (6 in only the first three years). I lived in some very small places that were in desperate need of renovating. As a very sensitive person, I still could not stay anywhere I didn’t make my own visually. At the same time, a close family member of mine became mentally ill. This led me to write my first feature length script, an adaptation of the myth of Narcissus and Echo to modern times with a focus on mental illness. I never ended up making that script into a moving reality, but it incited my work in film. After that and a class at college (NYU Tisch) that was all about filmmaking, I was all in. NYU helped me form my artistic endeavors into a focused, marketable skill set. At the same time, I also got hired as a photographer for fashion week, as well as a freelance product photographer , which accelerated the learning curve and practice in my visual medium. And eventually I learned that the visual control freak and crafty person inside of me was often best fed when doing production design, making films, and creating my own photoshoots. Fast forward, I now have an art studio where I work on personal as well as work


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projects. Having a space, especially as a person so concerned with spaces in general, makes all the difference in producing work. Whenever I’m on a project now, it’s a 24/7 process. Everything influences it, and films for example are quite literally this much amount of work when production designing. So my life has almost become a constant creative practice. How has your work changed in the past years? The boring part of my answer is that of course I have gotten better technically in my craft. I’m learning so much every time I’m on set, from gaining skills in carpentry to getting to know how to shoot with lights I haven’t used before, to how to better give directions to models or my art crew, and I love that. Having been given more and more control on jobs, I was forced to learn, and I’ve loved every second of it. I’ve gotten much faster at translating psychological sensitivities into visual ideas (in production design, photography, etc. etc.). I also think that my art grows with me, and its concerns have matured. At the same time, I have gained more trust over the last years and learned how to tune in more after a very painful personal time. My daily yoga practice has helped with that and let my visual art grow. I think I’ve become more focused visually as I am learning more and as I am getting to know my personal sensitivities. How would you describe the art scene in your area? It’s so incredibly creative. I live in Bushwick, Brooklyn, which is a total hub for young artists. New York is harsh, quirky and almost forces you to be creative, and Bushwick is a space where that creativity is welcomed by us gentrifiers. There are gallery openings, concerts, tons of art studios everywhere here, and everyone seems to be working in the creative industries. Yet this meets the culture that has been here for much longer, which is wonderful in itself and incites thoughtfulness and awareness of our identity. I am very happy that I found a space where I can create and have an art studio now, and it is a very practical spot when I create - there are so many resources. These range from dollar stores and super stores to hip thrift shops, which come in so handy when I design or make a film as well as for any photography projects.

In your opinion what does painting mean in contemporary culture? I think painting is no longer limited to a brush and canvas. Painting has so many new dimensions and faces - as a visual artist my medium ranges from painting with light, to heavy duty furniture / wall painting, to making a painting of our society and deep routed humanity through art. I could say I see all art as painting in this way, and I think I always see art as crucial to society’s growth. I enjoy learning about psychologists like Freud and Jung both having their individual (yet not as different as they may have liked to think) theories on how art advances society or one’s self by translating the unconscious of the artist/time and touching on an audience’s unconscious in the same way. Having studied this I believe it absolutely does both, back in the day and now. Something happens when the unconsciousness of a crew work together to create a film, for example, and something happens when we use our own unconscious to make a painting. It brings out what is needed. Art of certain periods resembles itself across the board, and I think we can say that the unconscious processes involved in creating within a certain period are responsible. We are, as a collective and as individuals, internally concerned with certain things happening externally and we try to internally process those by creating externally. This means that we have the power to use raw unconscious energy to address issues and advance society through our respective painting mediums. I think art is therapeutic for the artist as well as society, and it, now and back then, advances our culture and will continue to do so. I am very optimistic about painting yesterday, today and tomorrow. Name three artists you admire. There are so many, but as a feminist I’d like to name women here. Patti Smith, Pippilotti Rist, Yoko Ono. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? I think for me Rainer Maria Rilke, in the very first pages of the book ‘Letters to a Young Poet’ puts it in beautiful, brilliant words. He speaks of art only worth indulging in if it is a necessity. Get into it if you find that you must create and if

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there’s no alternative. That’s a bit intimidating and I think we all need a creative outlet even if it’s not our whole life, but if you really mean to dedicate your life to creativity, Rainer Maria Rilke’s letters are generally an amazing thing to read when you start your art practice. It addresses hardships that come with it like solitude, touches on embracing the struggle, and encourages us to reflect on the worlds we carry within ourselves through art. For the practice of art my personal advice is the same advice that I would give when a friend needs love advice or really any life advice. Be patient and kind, listen to yourself and trust yourself. Play and explore, laugh and cry, and live. And always make it a priority. That’s the abstract part. Regarding succeeding from a business perspective and actually being able to work in the field you love, it is so important to know what you’re getting into, do your research, and be interested in what other people do. You have to be willing to learn. It’s crucial to work hard and be self-reliant, and to not let a critic ruin your practice for you. Another great book to aid your art practice would be ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron - it’s like a workbook for artists and encourages daily creative activities. What are your future plans? I’d like to be involved in making meaningful projects and I want to keep sustaining myself with art. I have a bunch of heartwarming projects lined up that I’m excited about. I think one of my biggest purposes is to have a meaningful existence and that’s why I keep doing art. I want to explore my inner and external world through art and just get wiser and better along the way and help other people to get wiser and better. I want to travel and create and learn. I do definitely want to direct a feature at one point in my life, and there’s a list of people I’d love to work with. I would enjoy creating a community of artists and like-minded individuals around me that creates as a collective. These are all ideas, but I also trust that the future holds exactly what I need it to.


www.natgirsberger.com


Lauren Goldie Cambridge, UK

My work attempts to understand sculptural production, the properties of degenerative materials and the boundaries between Artist contribution and the natural evolution of an artwork during display. Recent sculptures focus on the narrative of negative space, the complexity of the missing object and it’s impact on the remaining structure.


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When, how and what started your art practice? I grew up in an artistic household where my own need to be creative seemed instinctive. I studied Fine Art at Winchester School of Art, specialising in Sculpture and Printmaking. By the second year I had focused on creating process-driven, self-referential work, alternating between mediums. Usually the work was constructed from fragile Microcrystalline and Glass Wax for a unique filtration of projected light. Object and projection were temporal, each dramatically altered by their environment and rate of deterioration. A few years on, the work continues to focus on the narrative of negative space and the complex impact of a missing object on the structure that remains. How has your work changed in the past year? During 2016, I exhibited in two solo shows in the window space directly opposite

Whitechapel Gallery. The intention of the project was to use the space as a catalyst for artistic and curatorial production. Using the unique location and exposure to a passing audience to influence the work, I created a multi-faceted dome of pyramids, mapping light projection in digitally printed triangles. The undulating structure used only the photographic trace of the missing object to recreate the immersive sensation of light in space; momentary projections made tangible and persistent to the viewer. What does sculpture mean to comtemporary culture? Sculpture as an art form can be powerful. It can be interactive, immersive and incorporate all other mediums. I believe one of the greatest examples was Carsten Höller’s exhibition, Decision at Hayward Gallery. Full of thoughtful, interactive works with optical activities that experiment with split, distorted visions and alternate realties. Once inside the Hayward Gallery, participants were ushered into a pitch-black metal tunnel, and invited to navigate with their hands along twists and turns. Every sound that emerged from various angles within the tunnel created suspense. At the end of the journey, the visitors were greeted by a brightly lit white walled space, with a podium in the centre of room with revolving red and white mushrooms; an alternate surreal world. Name three artists you admire? I attended a talk at the Tate Modern on New Materialisms, questioning how much we actually understand about our material surroundings. They discussed Elizabeth

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Mayo’s Lessons on Objects displayed at the V&A Museum of Childhood. The work consists of a box of materials, with an accompanying book listing the objects they were designed for and how they should be interacted with. They also talked about the ramification of reconstructing deteriorating works by artists such as Eva Hesse, with the latex in Expanded Expansion and Robert Morris’s mirror glass in his Untitled cubes at the Tate Modern. I admire the work of these Artists in particular because the work translates to my own theory of practise. They have caused me to question how an artwork can provide an audience with evidence of its own making. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Art in Cambridgeshire is a social activity. I have had the opportunity to meet many talented artists in the area and am continually impressed by the cities growing print community. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out? Art can and should be intuitive. Be patient. Embrace technology. Have some online presence, and try not to edit your content too much. You will submit proposals for work over and over again without success. Keep trying; it’s about making the most of every opportunity however small. What are your future plans? A sculpture submission of my work has been selected by the Broomhill National Sculpture Park and will be available to view from June 2017 until Spring 2018. Last year, work was donated to the Re:Imagined exhibition at the GX Gallery in London, where I volunteered as an Artist and Creative Assistant to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson’s UK. A second exhibition will take place at Store Street Gallery in London from the 26th June to the 1st July.


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www.laurengoldie.com


Michelle Hold Milano, Italy

My work is based on capturing the essence of feelings, emotions and the invisible, eternal energy that pervades in the universe, focusing on beauty and it’s scarcity in current time. I am inspired by nature and new science that meets spirituality. Creating from a place of no time , no space no body. Like an architect I love to construct the images with multiple layering, but at the same time leaving space for surprise, for something unexpected to happen, where my dance like gestures encounter the vibrations of color. Color is vital to convey my message of harmony and wellbeing and I am interested in the perception of space and emotion through the equilibrated use of color, which I have trained while working in textile design. I aim to offer the spectators a view into special moments of time where all is possible and like my creations to enchant, add to wellbeing and open the mind.


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When, how and why started your art practice? I believe that an artistic mind is something you are born with, so there is no escape, from child age on I have always been creating. Making doll’s, ceramics, designing dresses, bags and scarfs, carpets, you name it. How has your work changed in the past years? The more you work the more you learn

and develop. In the past years I have concentrated on big abstract paintings, on exploring space,movement and freedom, finding my very own technique combined with my past knowledge about color that I gained working in textile design. I also work more concentrated on a theme, do research and discovered that I love to accompany my paintings with special words, that become a key for the viewer to enter my artistic mind.

How would you describe the art scene in your area? Since 20 years I have been living in beautiful Piedmont, which is a sleepy region, close to Milan and Turin, but very provincial. Italy is a beautiful country, every corner is filled with art, food, inventive people, color, light, a dream to live in. A pity that institutions have gotten less and less resources for exhibitions, and in my mind cultural activities are moving backwards.


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In your opinion what does painting mean in contemporary culture? Painting is seeing something through the eyes of a select gifted person. Images are important in our society. Painting is a way to feel freedom and liberation from daily life, to escape the brutality and keep dreaming. When practiced Painting means connecting to the source, to the real me, the inner body and I think viewers sense this special gift artists have developed.

Name three artists you admire I admire all artists because they pursue their love and passion regardless of the outcome. I love the works of Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Always believe in what you do, your art, always be ready for creation, work, work and try

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not to depend on success, as it comes and goes and really is not that important to creation. What are your future plans? To continue to do what I love, paint, create, research and invigorate, astonish my art lovers. This year I am developing the theme of ‘Dreamers’ inspired by John Lennon’s words ‘I am a dreamer but I am not the only one’, working with a group of artists, ArtMoleto, which I started here in Piedmont. Exhibitions starting in july.


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www.michellehold.com


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J. Howard Alvin, TX, USA


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It’s your second time in our magazine, what changes since 15th issue? I could take the time to tell you how far I have come and what I have come from. I could share with you my journey as a mental health physician and how art has healed many through its use. But what I would like to share with you is how I identify myself, not just with my art but in it and through it. That my purpose is to reach individuals on a deep and spiritual level. To share not just a visual but an emotional experience. I am not a young artist by age or training. But I am emerging and my message is as well. Since first appearing in Art Reveal Magazine’s Issue 15, my life as an artist has taken off in ways I never imagined. I have received international recognition awards; was chosen as a finalist for Artist of the Year on a national level; and received a solo show at The Foundry as a 2017 Emerging Artist of the Year. To speak of the abundance of awards would lack humility (in my mind), so I will just mention that it has been quite a year. I have also appeared in other art publications and was awarded a cover from Art Quench, a national publication who has recently requested another cover submission for a future issue. But what is most exciting is becoming a resident and featured artist at a prominent local gallery affording me an interview and feature in the city’s magazine entitled Galveston Monthly. Professionally, what’s your goal? My goal continues to remain the same as my talents are truly God given and so I strive to share the inspiration I receive from the beauty around us. I am working to establish my own gallery that will allow me to highlight emerging artists by providing exhibits for them to share their talents on a greater scale. Such is life and how it should be lived. My art is my voice with a message I would like to continue to share in a very big way. How has your work changed in the past years? My work has become more passionate; vibrantly engaging the viewer to see the story that each piece tells. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? There are three people very close to me that have most recently had the largest impact

on my art. First, I must always give credit to God for the blessings he has richly given. Without the natural talent I possess, things would be much more difficult. But then I must also give mention of those three people, for without their enthusiasm, passion, encouragement, generosity, support, harsh words and dedication, I would not have come this far in such a short time. Thank you to my loving husband, my incredible best friend, and my top notch business guru partner. What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media? Though it is not easy to break into the art world in the current economy, it is important to push myself to explore and step out of the box in order for the public to take notice of my work. In our media-saturated world, I must push the envelope so that my message is heard. Working with a traditional form like soft pastels to convey and support nontraditional messages is something that has been difficult. From the perspective of other pastel artists, what I am doing is not possible. So the most challenging part of what I am doing is acceptance in the art world. What is your creative process like? Sometimes, a piece is thoughtfully derived from a collaboration within a trip of inspiration with a friend. Other times a designated photo shoot is needed to develop images as an inspiration for artist interpretation. Sometimes, it is necessary to visit the internet to find inspiration and realistic reference; being careful to insure integrity. At other times, an emotionally driven idea takes form on a blank canvas. After considerable strategic planning, a direction is established and a blank canvas is hung on the board. Each piece is executed through hand application of organic natural pastels. And although I am perplexed at how often a viewer will fail to stop and enjoy the artistic license used to convey an idea,emotion or experience; the photorealistic quality of many of my pieces is a quality that I strive for. What are you working on right now? Currently I am working on writing proposals to be sent to art galleries who have published “artist calls” for exhibition. I am developing a new collection to be on exhibit at The Foundry in Saint Charles, Missouri in August and September of this year. And last but certainly not least, I am preparing to open my own gallery in May.


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www.organicpastels.com


Jill Johnston Fredonia, NY, USA

My artwork explores the narrative format through animation, drawing, painting, filmmaking, and photography. Concepts previously explored relate to the relationships of ecological systems of self-sustainment, the often bizarre interactions found in nature and proposed in literature and theory (folklore and the origins of fairytales), Jungian theory on synchronicity, personal myth making, animal welfare, and biotechnology or a “biology of the strange�. Jill Johnston grew up in Ontario, Canada and is currently an artist from New York State. She received her Masters of Fine Art in Cinematography from the University of South Florida in Tampa with a Minor in Photography. Her artwork explores the narrative format through animation, drawing, painting, filmmaking, and photography. A recipient of a Finishing Funds Grant from the New York Arts Council, a Maryland Area Media Arts Fellowship, several SUNY grants, and animation awards, her work has been included in international exhibitions in Australia, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Korea, Turkey, and New Zealand, as well as numerous national exhibitions.


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When, how and why you started your art practice? As an undergrad in the 80’s, I became interested in experimental narratives (16 mm. film), photography and film animation. While I was in graduate school at the University of South Florida, our department brought in Amiga computers and I started using them, mostly for soundtracks, since I wanted to use analog materials for film animation. I created a couple of short animations using the line drawn process and painted cutouts. My animation work started to travel with various festivals, a state grant when I lived in Maryland allowed me to purchase a 15” Cintiq (1990’s) and I fell in love with Corel Painter (Photoshop’s brushes didn’t compare at that time). How has your work changed in the past years? I returned to analog practices and started mixing painted, inked images with digital composites. Additionally, I fell in love with illustration and started focusing on narrative series 2D works, along with the animation work. I always thought my animations were more like moving illustrations anyway. I have also experimented with stop motion puppets, Zbrush models and limited 3D animation. Computers have been around for so long now and it seems like people are finally realizing that they are just another tool. I may complete either a painting or animation entirely with digital tools, but primarily I prefer to mix things up or use the computer for final manipulation/compositing or creating prints. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I have taught at a state university for the past few years in an art department that is very “old school”, traditional. Half of the professors in that department don’t really acknowledge animation, time based media or either digital or inked illustrations. It’s frustrating and I try to open students’ minds up to the possibilities of all the media available, experimentation, and looking at work outside of our school environment. We are lucky that we are in New York State and some of the students come from New York City. We also are close to Buffalo, NY, which is an affordable city for artists and has a vibrant local scene. Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center is a Buffalo landmark, created in 1974 by Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo, and several other artists. It began as a local art venue, then progressed as an art exchange (interdisciplinary in nature). The current Hallwalls houses an art gallery, media center, and Annie DeFranco’s Babeville recording center. There are other venues as well such as the Squeaky Wheel Media Center, which offers international art residencies, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Burchfield


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Penney Art Gallery and several galleries, many of which are run by artists. There are many opportunities for local artists to show contemporary work. The art scene is very energetic in general, but not so great for animators and time based artists. Because of the Internet, there are several collaborative options available though. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Sometimes it mirrors cultural events, although it can also be more personal and operate as a response to feelings or events that occur within artists’ psyches. It informs the entertainment field and is generally nourishing for the soul (both the artist/s and the viewer/s). Unfortunately there is not enough support for it in the United States, and currently with the present administration, which is really sad. It often provides commentary on culture, although that may not be realized until after the fact or until later events. Art is an important for expressing ideology. Through an animation Facebook group, I heard about a group of art/animation volunteers who are partnering with writers/activists, etc. to create visually interesting pieces in order to take a stand against the Trump era’s lack of ethics. A few years ago I participated in a TED-Ed collaborative project where they partnered me with a writer to convey his thoughts on the carbon cycle. That was client-based, but I think art can provide a channel for cultural analysis. Name three artists you admire. That’s a hard one, there are so many. Jan Svankmajer, Edward Gorey, Richard A. Kirk. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Be open to experimentation and media, go to as many exhibits, festivals, etc. that you can, not only to view work but to meet other like-minded individuals or learn of new opportunities.. Don’t give up. Don’t copy the prevalent style/s, try to find your authentic voice. It’s often difficult when you start out. You have to get used to rejections, critiques, art is subjective. Continue to submit work to opportunities and eventually you will find an audience. What are your future plans? I am collaborating with a group of animators on a rotojam collective project. It is the 2nd project in which I have participated and it’s inspiring to see the work and different styles of the contributing animators. I also have a series of drawings/paintings that I am currently working on that embrace imaginary characters; however, I itch to begin a new animation project called Darling Tenderloins.

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Ali Keller Manchester, NH, USA

I’ve been constructing paintings out of memories (some more specific than others). I think about the way the ocean smells, or else, I ask myself the difference between the color of the sky on the Shrewsbury River versus it’s color from my parents’ kitchen window. I’ve been thinking about property and the ownership of land. For a long time I thought about the house versus the home, and the meaning given to the structure, the power of it. I still think about that, actually. I think about fragments: of memories, of sentences. Sometimes fragmentation results in the loss of meaning, but I’ve found that it also can clarify. Fragments are ideas reduced to something more concentrated. I work with fragments of colors that build upon each other through thick and thin applications. I also work with phrases and one-liners written directly into the painting. In this way I hope to inform the viewer so they can look at these fragments & memories and relate.


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When, how and why started your art practice? During high school I waited tables at a breakfast joint; a co-worker there gave me my first contemporary art magazine. I think it was a 2008 issue of Juxtapoz and Jeremy Fish was the cover artist. I started reading the interviews inside and remember that as the moment when it actually occurred to me that people do this seriously: making art, showing art; from then on I started taking myself seriously and really tried to develop my drawing skills. How has your work changed in the past years? I’d say the most dramatic shift in my work occurred in 2012 or so when I started working with printmaking. I became so intrigued by each process, and was so hungry to learn as much as I could. Lithography and intaglio were especially influential processes, and I started applying that type of thinking towards my paintings: working in layers, scraping away, pushing my value ranges, and incising and carving through my paintings. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I’ve lived in Manchester, NH for the past six years or so, and the culture is certainly evolving. There is the New Hampshire Institute of Art (where I graduated from in 2014), a small, yet respectable art museum, and a very underground scene that is essentially young artists in shared studio spaces hosting events and having shows for themselves and their friends (Like The Gal_lery which focuses on creating a space for marginalized people). The art and music scene is very closely intertwined, and I feel like most of the people here know each other (or at least know each other’s work), and there’s a great sense of support. In your opinion what does painting mean in contemporary culture? It feels like it’s a weirdly important time for painting. With the internet and digital media and all sorts of video and new media works happening, it really speaks to the timelessness of paint as a medium. Painting has always been a way for artists to reflect and digest the world around them. With so much going on


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today (especially, here in the USA with the political nightmare we are going through) and the type of rapid-fire information we have access to, I feel that painting our way through all this is an important way to slow down and to process how we feel and what we think. Name three artists you admire. I love the works of Julie Mehretu, the intricacy and the layering, and the attention to the ideas of space and time are all things I focus on in my own work and I feel like she really knows how to encapsulate a moment abstractly. Roberto Matta is another all-time favorite. I saw a show of his works at Pace in NYC towards the end of 2015, and had never felt so entirely consumed by a painting; a few were at least 6 feet tall, and some up to 15 feet long, with these dark, dark depths and then these forms churning out in beautifully acidic yellows, reds, and greens. It was so radical! Then finally there’s Hedda Sterne, whose paintings range from surreal to AbEx; her work is so simple and strangely mechanical - some of them look like diagrams of impossible machines. She certainly hasn’t gotten the attention she was deserving of. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Keep doing what you’re driven to; if it’s not something you find yourself thinking about every single day, then you might have to come to terms with the idea of art just being a hobby for you - that’s not a bad thing, but it is a truth a lot of folks just starting out don’t think about at first. Making art is consuming; it costs time, money, and energy, and you probably won’t see much reward right away in terms of sales or response. But if it is something you’re passionate about, then making work will hopefully be rewarding enough to keep you going. What are your future plans? I plan on starting my own printshop; after graduating with my BFA, I lost access to a lot of equipment and materials. I would love to have my own press and to be able to welcome other artists to my shop and give them access to resources and machinery they wouldn’t have otherwise. I love seeing people create work without limitations.


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Francois Knoetze Cape Town, South Africa

My work seeks to reconcile the fate of things by inserting myself into the circuitry - the fable - of the object-becoming-abject-becoming-object again. This process is ongoing, with the knowledge that there can be no resolution to the narrative of consumption and waste. Instead, what we encounter in our daily lives is the rapid contraction of a thing’s useful/uselessness, the steadily shortening distance between the fragrance of novelty and the odour of the rubbish bin. It is this cycle of the ‘eternal return’ – mirrored in the cycle of consumption and waste – which reminds us that nothing – no thing – exists singularly; that all things possess plural lives. All things are haunted by the ghost of their past and the spectre of their future, and all things are destined to return. Consumption and waste are not different phases in the gestation of a consumer product but a continuum of complex networks, meshes, chains, and engagements which result from human dependence. I am interested in site-specific work where I scavenge local trash dumps, recycling plants and flea-markets for sculptural materials to be performed in. The sculptural suits I create are at once mythological, fictitious agents of power, and instruments for revealing the constructedness of power.


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When, how and why started your art practice? I knew I wanted to become an artist very early on in life. Some of my parents’ friends are artists, and I remember visiting their studios and being completely captivated by all the wild and strange stuff I saw. Growing up, I spent hours playing with toys, clothes, computers and any object I could get my hands on. Entering an imaginative and immersive state of play was a big part of my childhood. I liked to figure out how objects worked, and use them for purposes completely different from what they were intended for. This sense of fascination with play and materi-

als shaped my art-making process today. As a child I watched my grandfather trawl small-town auctions, buying junky stuff and bringing it home to his garage to repair. His refusal to relegate objects to the trash heap too soon formed a large part of how I see art and the world today. I’m also inspired by the internet, politics and interesting materials. How has your work changed in the past years? My process is constantly adapting to my surroundings and the materials I come across. I recently acquired about 200 kilograms of industrial plastic sheets in a

range of different colours. It has led me to re-explore the medium as a type of painterly material in terms of the various textures one can produce when heating the plastic with a heat gun and layering colours to create patters and accents. I also find that I alternate sporadically between utopian and dystopian imaginings of the future, and I think this comes through in the work I make. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I would describe Cape Town’s art scene as at once fractured and insular. I think that while the city’s colossal tourism in-


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dustry creates a market for local art that supports essentialised, superficial notions of the space and its people, there are also a lot of people creating work locally which is redefining the boundaries of the contemporary. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I think art is something that can be used to capture flashes or reflections of the here and now, as something which is forever shifting and evading neat ordering. Samuel Beckett’s sentiment that it is the artist’s task “to find a form that accommodates the mess” resonates with me.

Name three artists you admire. Maurice Mbikayi, Buhlebezwe Siwani and Nick Cave. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Play as often and as long as possible. Don’t be precious about what you make. Work fast and inexhaustibly. Copy aspects of work that inspires you (it’ll come out looking different anyway).   What are your future plans? I have a pretty busy and exciting year

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lined up. In May this year I will be returning to Grahamstown (where I spent much of my childhood and school years) for a month to work on my third solo exhibition, ‘Virtual Frontiers’, for the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. I will then travel to the USA to attend an artist residency at the Omi International Art Center in June/July. In August/September I will be in Kimberley working on a collaborative project with librettist, Mkhululi Mabija, and anthropologist, Carina Truyts, which will explore counter narratives to the history as presented by local diamond mining industry.


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Loudwig van Ludens Berlin, Germany

I am an anamorphic mirror. My art is an equalizer for the sound of the universe. My goal is the visual recreation of the Newtonian deterministic reality into a metaphysical reality. I question the achievements of the Homo Faber from an anthropological, socio-cultural and spiritual perspective.


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When, how and why started your art practice? I began as a teenager, with the creation of my own world as a way out of the tristesse of a middle-German small town where I grew up as a child of immigrants. The society and the school system resembled the analogy from Plato’s cave, with the difference that people were not chained to rocks. They were able to move freely and the delusions flickered instead on cave walls on TV and cinema screens. Art was for me a kind of mental survival, and to stay physically intact I trained Tae-Kwon-Do. That helped me to communicate with my peers of whom many accepted no arguments except fists and football. In the understanding of many, art was for girls, gays, and dreamers. I did everything I could to get away, and I managed to do so at the age of sixteen. My father could no longer master my rebellion and sent me back to the ‘homeland‘. I was entrusted to a perverse retired army officer. His mission was to convince me that art is only a phantasm and I should do what men do… he failed. Then I was sent to a boarding school from which I fled after three months. I lived with friends in Belgrade and finally got to know life in a big city. The totalitarian system, at that time, had the majority of the people in the stranglehold like any other system just with other ideologies than in the ‘West’, but with the same tools: media manipulation, duality, struggle for survival-equals fear. This constant pressure aroused a stronger resistance in a awaken minority, their desire for freedom, their thirst for knowledge, their creativity and their vivacity seemed irrepressible. This was also the case with the culture, the one made their own art in here and now at illegal places, the others did what the state apparatus wanted to see, read and listen to. The adapted artists had made it easier in life, but they lost their naturalness. A popular quote was: „Are you a howling wolf or have you become a begging dog?“ It was liberating, I have met the greatest people in Belgrade, Sarajevo, Dubrovnik, Pula, Ljubljana and other cities of the country. At the age of nineteen, I was drafted into the army. After this memorable experience, I was ready for a new chapter in ‘La Comédie Humaine’ I recognized the world as a crazy adventure playground. I was experimenting with all techniques and materials that I could grab. I worked as a painter in oil, mixed media, a sculptor in stone, metal, glass, wood, performer, photographer, DJ, designed interiors, Lingerie, stained glass, figures and adult toys of Murano glass… I lived in Venice, Vienna, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam where I intended to study. Living in that great cities I’ve met a lot of open minded people from all around the world. After endless discussions at artist studios and parties, I understood that universities are institutes for the preparatory formatting of the


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students to serve a system and obey its rules. I also realized that there are Morlocks and Eloi* everywhere and that I did not belong to those species. I named myself Ludens** and continued to play as in the beginning of my artistic activity. How has your work changed in the past years? My art has become more playful and at the same time more complex. I have developed several techniques and work with multimedia, mirror installations, light, video, experimental music, and use all the necessary techniques and materials in the works I have experienced since the beginning of my career. During my time in the United States, I’ve realized that the art market is a sort of a rat race, In which I did not want to run. I lived, worked and exhibited in New York in 2002 and 2003. The rhythm was breathtaking, Manhattan is a weird man-eating Moloch. The art scene is an aquarium with lots of colorful fish and greedy sharks in it, and the city is just a huge crowded reservoir and not the open ocean I thought I could find there. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it to the fullest, met great people, refined my technique of anamorphic photographs and videos as well as the light membranes. Then I said goodbye to a Myth of my youth and the land of unlimited opportunities. I returned to Europe where freedom is not just another empty political phrase. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Meanwhile, I am living in Berlin, a cosmopolitan melting pot. The art scene is fresh like a playground with a „horde of children without supervision“***. The attitude of the locals could be perhaps described with the lyrics of the songs: ‚Come as you are‘ of Kurt Cobain and ‚Passenger‘ by Iggy Pop. Well, there are also some old diehards sneaking around in shallow waters, but no one really cares about them. I love to live in Berlin, one of the few urban oases for free thinking people. Compared to other art metropolises, it is far better than its PR. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art is a culture-creating element. Not only since the first cave paintings, art has been a human need to conceive the world through representation and interpretation. Today art is a counterbalance to the entertainment industry that driven by profit greed has trashed culture and sacrificed human dignity. Art is a mirror and an important catalyst in the socalled global culture, www.culture or throwaway culture. Without art, culture would become a swamp of social media saturated with

selfies, infotainment and propaganda mixed with, super-egos addicted to attention, talent shows with dancers who pretend as if they could even sing simultaneously and other absurdities like FB-post-like-dislike-emoji-hashtag-omg-lol-culture :( Name three artists you admire. Frank Zappa, Peter Greenaway, Banksy... What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Hm, advice from someone who does not accept any advice? Ok, one advice for the human being - Find out who you are, embrace that and be yourself. Two for the artist - Do not wait for circumstances, make your own. Love it or let it be.

What are your future plans? I am shooting the films “Is that you?” and “Why?”with my anamorphic mirror installation technique. “Is that you?” Deals with the subject of self-reflection. Chapter 1. The human being in his body. Chapter 2. The human being as a person personified by Information, Chapter 3. The human being consisting of ego, consciousness, subconsciousness and spirit. The anamorphic film ‚Why?‘ poses the questions of perception and interpretation. I am also preparing the second edition of my festival “Friction Art Berlin“ * Morlocks and Eloi are fictional species created by H.G.Wells for his novel ‚The Time Machine‘ **1990 - Ludens-Latin-Homo Ludens -Thus who plays. ***Quote from the song ‚City Monkey‘ (‚Stadtaffe‘ by Peter Fox from Berlin)


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Jacqueline Lung San Francisco, CA, USA

Steel, concrete, and duct tape are the building materials of our world. As a structural material, steel is no doubt a symbol for technology and modernity in the 20th century. Since its reemergence in the late 19th century, concrete has become perhaps the most widely used building material around the globe, thanks to its flexibility and compliant nature. From Zaha Hadid’s London Olympics Aquatics Centre to the low cost buildings in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, it is the material that we live in. In comparison to the two architectural materials, duct tape seems to stick out as a sore thumb, as a cheap material people find in aisle 15 at Home Depot when they need to tape up their broken car window. Unbeknownst to most, during the Apollo 17 mission, duct tape became a savior to the astronauts when they desperately tried to repair a broken fender on their moonbuggy. The last time man walked on the Moon also happened to be duct tape’s most glorious moment. I explore the materiality of these accessible and democratic, yet powerful, industrial ready-mades through manipulation of their physicality and their recontextualization. Jacqueline Lung was born in New York, lived in Hong Kong and New Jersey, and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. She recently graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with a BFA in Jewelry + Metalsmithing and a concentration in European Studies. She had previously studied at the Högskolan för design och konsthantverk (HDK) in Gothenburg, Sweden, and SLEM Waalwijk in the Netherlands. Her work has been shown in national and international exhibitions and publications.


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When, how and why started your art practice? It’s hard to pinpoint a specific moment. Although I had been taking art classes since I was four, growing up it was always just something I was good at but never thought about pursuing. In high school I went through a phase where I wanted to get into game design or character design, which is when I decided to apply to RISD. I got into RISD thinking I would major in illustration, but I ended up taking a jewelry class and fell in love with working with metal and the body. The nature of the materials and the ingrained attention to detail in jewelry were perfect for my personality. Working with the body is also much more exciting than working with a two-dimensional medium for me. I would say that’s when I really started my art practice, and it just kind of happened by chance. How has your work changed in the past years? When I first started out, it was hard to

situate my work and I would find myself fluctuating a lot between formal experimentations, conceptual exploration, and design driven pieces between each piece. There was always architectural influences and a focus on materials in my work, but they have become more integrated into my own voice. Nowadays I have found a footing between fine art and design, where my investigations in the materiality and anthropomorphic qualities of industrial readymades are manifested into designs driven by functionality. My biggest qualm with the contemporary jewelry field is that it is quite small and isolated; sometimes it is even self-referential. I am glad my work has been able to breach that boundary and appeal to people different backgrounds: architects, industrial designers, eyewear enthusiasts and more. How would you describe the art scene in your area? While I am not very active in the art scene here, San Francisco Bay Area is definitely a very fertile area with a bustling art scene. It is one of the most diverse areas

in the US, and its history of being a community that celebrates different ways of thinking attracts people from all over the world. It’s also great to have numerous museums in close vicinity to each other (SFMoma, De Young, Legion of Honor, Yerba Buena, and many more), so even those who are not involved in the art scene usually have an appreciation for it. Every week there is some opening or party going on. I am working in retail now and several of my coworkers happen to be artists and photographers. I think I am very lucky to live in an area that has such an active art scene. In your opinion what does painting mean in contemporary culture? Honestly not too familiar with contemporary painting, but I think it has been around forever and will continue to stick around forever. Right now I think it’s going through a phase where it’s trying to reconcile the digital and the historical, where past styles are being sampled and reinterpreted in today’s context, kind of like sampling music. I’m excited to see where


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painting would go next, especially when more and more artists start to embrace coding and other new methods of creating images. Name three artists you admire. Gijs Bakker - one of the pioneers of Dutch Design and the field of what we now consider as contemporary jewelry. He was responsible for introducing unconventional modern materials into jewelry and revolutionizing jewelry design in the 60’s. Throughout his long (and ongoing) career, he is constantly experimenting with different materials and challenging the format of jewelry. Without him, a lot of conversations in contemporary jewelry would not be the same. Agnes Martin - I love how even though her work is minimal and repetitive, every piece is different and somehow anthropomorphic. The intricacy, precision, and subtlety in her work is something that resonate strongly with me. Mies van der Rohe - He is hands down my favorite architect. His approach to architecture - the admiration for his materials, attention for details, stripping buildings down to their simplest forms, and using architecture to almost personify the industrial age - influences my work greatly. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? I would give out the same advice that a teacher once gave me, “stop selling yourself short by comparing your work to someone else’s.” For the longest time I felt very self conscious that I was not as artsy as my classmates, because of that I would often compare my work to my friends’ and subconsciously tried to make work like theirs. My teacher sat me down and made me realize that I was not making someone else’s work, but my work. My work deserves my attention and I needed to be confident in what I was doing, even if it was different from what other people were doing. What are your future plans? Eventually I would like to start my own brand of jewelry and eyewear. I am hoping to gain more experience as a product developer and designer with an established brand while working on some personal work on the side, before devoting all my time to my work.

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www.jacquelinelung.com


Marie Anine

Møller Copenhagen, Denmark / Glasgow, Scotland, UK I work with poles of contradiction and the idea that one doesn’t exist without the other. To really understand what things are, they need to not be that at some level. It is constructed or found fragments of contradictions in life or contradictions of understanding in general that is put together in a new way in order to create yet another possibility of truth.

I live in another country and find solace in creating the picture of nostalgia placed in what is not my home but where I grew up. A child of another family than the one I have now. It doesn’t make a difference because it is already there. It’s present. But what we had was travel. I used to dream that I was from another family, that I had a story. A story so interesting that without realising I already read it, it was. As with my story. It started when I was young. Hazy but there. Sounding sleepy. Almost as was time over before it begun. But that’s another story. Your story begins at the time when things started to grow, as was a garden present. It wasn’t but still it feels nice to know that it could have. It was like with rain. It rains a lot here. another rain, lighter. Or maybe it’s my movement. It lacks wheels and mixed worlds on walls.


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When, how and why started your art practice? As a child I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up and spend many years trying out different approaches to a possible expression, but after a friend of my mother’s gave me his old analogue canon camera I started taking more and more pictures and found out that it was the medium of expression that kept coming back to me and which came naturally to me. How has your work changed in the past years? The progress in learning and finding your own voice in your work I find comes with time and when you start recognising your own patterns. What I experience is that my work evolve around the same thematics, I tend to return to subjects and ideas concerning contradictions, layers, truth and constructed realities, what cahange is the wrapping of these thematics. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I am based in Glasgow and have my home in Copenhagen so I have the privilege of engaging with the art scenes of both cities. Glasgow is much more ahead when it comes to art photography, both concerning professional galleries and the art school scene, which I believe has a lot to offer. The field oozes with driven people and artistic entrepreneurs putting up shows and opening galleries. This is an energy I would like to bring back home with me. Copenhagen is also evolving on the art photography scene, but I believe the city can benefit a lot from artists returning with new perspectives in their bag. In your opinion what does photography mean in contemporary culture? photography posses direct contradiction in its fundamentals because it has the ability to question truth, which is something that appeals to me. For me it’s a tool to uncover those small possible truths in our surroundings. The photograph has the ability to freeze what I call “the second before something else” and I find it important in our world today to show my own idea of another possible world than the one we are currently living in. I use photography to show contradictions in our surroundings by portraying the qualities in what things are not, but which creates the possibility of what they can be.

Name three artists you admire. Cindy Sherman: My first meeting with art photography. Being quite shy when it comes to photographing people I started up doing a lot of conceptual self-portraiture. It was easier to use yourself as subject, which is something I still do, only now my direct role in the works are often expressed through my texts. Martin Parr: King of Kitsch. he is a big influence when it comes to flash in sunlight and collecting obscure kitsch items. beautiful colours. Wes Anderson: He is a master of constructed realities and worlds, which is something I like to do with my work as well. to construct your own version of how the world could look. I think we have a lot of similarities in our aesthetics and choice of materials. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? I think the most important thing is to believe in

yourself and your ideas, and don’t compromise when it comes to your expression. There are a lot of different opinions in the art world and people can have a tendency to try putting you in boxes that fit their own understanding. Not to say one shouldn’t listen to criticism but most good art comes from thinking differently and not from trying to fit in. I think that in order to change something or merely contribute to something it’s important that you express your own side of the story you are telling and then hope it has the affect on people to continue that story as they wish. What are your future plans? When moving to Glasgow for my undergraduate, the plan was always to try get into a masters program in New York. I still want to take my masters but the location is not as important anymore. I want to work towards creating a platform for my own and other’s art and I play with the idea of opening a gallery or some kind of workspace that develops and celebrates art photography.


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Marleen Pennings Crailsheim, Germany

Marleen Pennings graduated in Fashion Design and Illustration with honors from the Academy of Fashion Design in 2002. After graduation she began to work in Fashion Design. She has also worked in commission as a stylist and illustrator. Out of curiosity she began to paint and liked it so much that she quit her job and concentrated fully on developing her painting skills and techniques since then. Her work is a subtile translation of a mix of city and nature, time and colour. Especially colour has an important role in the decision-making during the proces of her work. In her recent work, she mainly uses acrylic paint, spray paint and pastels to create abstract images with a never-the-same-perspective.


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When, how and why started your art practice? I studied Fashion Design & Fashion Illustration in Rotterdam. I was really drawn, and still am, to fabrics and colours. I wanted to design a collection and see it on a catwalk. But during the process of designing my collection and graduation, I noticed that I found designing and styling the concept of the collection much more exciting than the actual making of the pieces. After I graduated I started working in Fashion Design and, on the side, Illustration and Styling. But Fashion Design didn’t turn out to be what I wanted to be doing. So I quit my job and founded my studio ‘Stroke a Bird’. Out of curiousity I began painting one day. I liked it so much, the process, the mixing of the colours, the layering. I think it’s kind of a mysterious process and I wanted to get closer and get to know it. Now it feels like a part of me and I can’t stop. How has your work changed in the past years? When I first started painting, I painted mostly portraits. I really wanted to learn how to mix colours, how to paint different structures, like skin and fabric and hair.

Everything. I have always been drawn to abstract painting. I experimented, but it felt like it was too soon, I didn’t know how to begin such a process. There’s so much in it. I started with abstract painting a few years ago. I like the confrontation in abstract work. It’s a good change of focus for me. I like both, very different, processes and techniques. I can get lost in both just as easy. At the moment I’m more focused on abstract work, because I want to learn more about it and explore my process, it inspires me to not really know where a painting is going. I usually work on a few pieces at the same time. That way the paint can dry, I can apply more layers and I can experiment more. Colour has an important role in the decision-making and also when I start new pieces, which are often a follow-up to the previous works. Sometimes it’s like I’m painting one big abstract work, on multiple canvases and over a long time period. This way a ‘never-thesame’ perspective creates a depth and an off-balance in the story of the images. Because I love the process, creating the layers and depths, I don’t plan very much ahead. It can go anywhere anytime. Which can be inhibitory too. When I produce lots of ‘nogoods’, and when it gets really frustrating, I have to keep telling myself it’s part of the process.

that’s great for visiting the bigger museums and shows. Before I moved to Germany, I lived in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. That was really different from where I live now. Rotterdam is a great, dynamic city with a big harbour and lots of possibilities. I love it, but there is a thin line between love and hate. The art scene there is ofcourse bigger and there’s always something going on, but sometimes the city really got to me, and I could feel lost easy.

What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts?

How would you describe the art scene in your area?

Perfection is a killer, just get started and hang in there.

Currently I live and work in a small city in the south of Germany. We live close to a big forest. Nature is more part of my everyday life here. I have a lot of space to work here, which was one of the reasons to move here. For a small city there’s a lot going on in the cultural scene. Music, festivals, exhibitions, collaborations. I like that. I’m teaching painting classes on the side and collaborate with the museum here. I live close to Stuttgart, Münich and Nürnberg and

What are your future plans?

In your opinion what does painting mean in contemporary culture? I think people sometimes tend to think of it as an old fashioned and time-consuming tool. In this modern time, with all the social media, apps and inventions to make everything bigger, easier and faster, a pressure has grown. You can’t fail. There are so much possibilities, you’re to blame when it doesn’t work out. There’s a certain pace and we think we have to keep up with that. Good things are created under pressure, but not everything has to be faster or easier. Older or well-known techniques like painting may lose attention, but never grow old. Painting, in my opinion, suits every mood, place and time. ‘Art holds out the promise of inner wholeness [...] Like other tools, art has the power to extend our capacities beyond those that nature has originally endowed us with. Art compensates us for certain inborn weaknesses, in this case of the mind rather than the body, weaknesses that we can refer to as psychological frailties.’ - from ‘Art as Therapy’ by Alain De Botton & John Armstrong Name three artists you admire. I have much more.. it’s difficult to name just three. Depending on mood and process, but for now: John Baldessari, David Shrigley and Fabian Treiber.

A great part of my work is with Gas Gallery, London. They’ll be showing at different locations around the world, for example, the Affordable Artfairs in London and New York earlier this year. Later this year I’m having a solo-exhibition in Amsterdam. So, I have to get busy. Paint, paint! In between I’m gonna teach some more, and I have plans to travel.


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Matilde Piazzi Bologna, Italy

I see my work as a movie making process. I work at my pictures as if I had to find their inner nature. I think there are always million images in one image; images that we have already seen or that we have only dreamed about. Every image is a movement-image. In order to work within this anarchic mass I try to find my vision through juxtapositions; the juxtapositions of cinema. Thanks to this creative process there is not only the moment of the idea, the shooting and the selection procedure, there is also the mounting moment that always creates new ideas and questions. Pictures are just rough material and the task of the photographer is to find the mechanic underneath it, shaping it.


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When, how and why started your art practice? Although my interest in art has older roots, my professional journey into visual arts started four years ago. I graduated in History of Contemporary Art at Bologna University in 2012, and the following year I attended Photography at Central Saint Martin London College of Arts. How has your work changed in the past years? My personal vision became clearer through practice and experience. My love for Archives and research became the essential focus of my work: I start to shoot on visual material only after an accurate historiographical and bibliographical research like I did with STARS: firstly I saw thousand of pictures contained in the old San Servolo mental asylum Archive then I studied that issue from medical to aesthetic point of view in order to find the fairer way to talk about female interned patients. Over the past two years my main working perspective has certainly been political: my aim is to create new narratives capable to overcome fake ones, like I did in my last work on Ethiopian War “Teste nere”. it is an attempt to bring back to attention the horrors of Italian occupation war; a war that is still a Tabù in our country. For that reason I am not interested in Art that speaks of the artist’s private life, because I find those stories fruitless and sterile. I believe that an Artist should have a political role, and

that Art must respond to a public need of truth. I have always used Photography as a chance to work on reality by going out of his boundaries. The final format is often a photobook because it gives me the opportunity to play with juxtaposition, almost like the movie editing process does but at a slower pace. How would you describe the art scene in your area? In Italy there are many young talented artists and Bologna is a privileged environment for those who are interested in Art and culture. Luther Blisset (the Art collective) was born here in the nineties and it was the first artistic movement who denounced the superficiality of mass-media and the art business through performances, pranks and demonstrations. Nowadays we live in a more fragmented world, but Bologna is still an incredibly rich cultural centre, constantly nurturing ideas and innovation. In your opinion what does painting mean in contemporary culture? I am not interested in painting. I believe that every age has its expressive techniques, and this is the Cinema Era. Cinema is the only media which can keep thousands of people tuned for more than two hours, people that go there to be changed permanently. I believe that nowadays nothing is more powerful. Great cinema has a revolutionary potential that no other Art has ever had.

Name three artists you admire. The only contemporary artists that I worship as masters are all film directors. Michael Haneke, because of his elegant vision and the sadistic cruelty with which he makes the viewer feel the horror of the world; Nanni Moretti for how he painted an ironic and brilliant fresco of his gener-


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ation and Lars Von Trier because as in Greek tragedy his films are among the few to be cathartic.

tellectual tools not just if you are an Artist but also a citizen, or a social individual.

What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts?

What are your future plans?

I don’t want to sound paternalist but I think that the only advice I could give is to be curious. Curiosity is the only way to increase our knowledge and our critical thinking, which are useful in-

My future plans are to continue with my work, exploring the issues that I care about, surrounded by people that I respect. I don’t have particular ambitions, except the one to find always new starting points.


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Steven Sangapore Boston, MA, USA It is the duty of the 21st century artist not to represent the world as mankind already sees it, but rather how we feel and think about it. Instead of directly representing life, it is the painter’s obligation to represent what a setting or object subjectively feels like in that moment. In the digital age of science, technology and reason, I can think of no grander creative subject than exploring the nature of reality and conscious experience. I dub my work as Sci-Surrealism; a contemporary take on the surrealist approach while fusing themes in science and philosophy. The mysterious and inherent duality between consciousness and matter is the direct subject of my latest work. Using metaphor to convey relationships between identifiable objects and forms, I illustrate a sense of universal oneness: connectivity between matter and the conscious experience in contexts of micro and macroscopic spaces. Using a hard-edged and illustrative style, these dense themes demand a disciplined technique and great attention to detail. Each painting connects the tangible impermanence of matter with transcendental, spiritual unity through shape, depth, texture and arrangement. As a result, the works will rouse the audience to unearth and illuminate mankind’s indelible state of unknowing and curiosity for what we experience as life and reality.


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ing knowledge and experience in life. I refer to my current style of work as Sci-Surrealism: a contemporary take on the surrealist approach while fusing themes in science and philosophy. I have always been drawn to surrealism for the aesthetic value, but also for its use of metaphor. Unlike many styles of abstraction, upon viewing a piece in the surrealist style, one is obligated to create relationships between known forms that the artist has chosen within the image. I very much enjoy this kind of riddle-making and the personal, subjective concepts people create when looking at a piece. Aesthetically, my work has changed drastically over the past few years. I am always finding new ways of delivering a message as well as new ways of executing the paint onto canvas. I recently started experimenting with creating three-dimensional, sculpture-like canvases using various smaller, often oddly-shaped components. I feel as though this is lending itself very nicely to my style. I have also payed increasing attention to detail. I want my images to have a very “high-resolution” feel that pulls the viewer in as they move closer to a piece. Because of these newly adopted methods and techniques, I am now producing work far less frequently throughout an average year, but, to my standard, of much deeper quality. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene is Boston is vibrant. Individuals of all ages are actively involved across all art disciplines through the multitude of art organizations in the area. There are many colleges with strong art programs in the Boston area which provide a constant surge of young interest and creativity. There are also several art events, organizations and galleries friendly to emerging artists in the region, which often provide solid platforms to nourish young creativity. Name three artists you admire. M.C. Escher, Joel Rea, Alex Grey What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? When, how and why did you start your art practice? I have always been interested in making art throughout my life. I started heavily pursuing painting exclusively while studying in college. I have always felt deeply driven and, to a degree, obligated to voice and express my observations and inner-most thoughts regarding some of life’s deepest and most profound questions. In order to express these ideas, I needed to decide on a creative platform in which they could be conveyed. Over the past few years, it has become abundantly obvious to me that this medium had to be art, particularly painting. In a very strong sense, this method of expression chose me rather than the other way around. Though there are many mediums in which the creative mind can express an idea, I was not only innately inclined to paint, I also felt that it was best suited for the subjects I work with. How has your work changed in the past years? The evolution of one’s work as well as their relationship to it, is dynamic and always developing. Though I may be satisfied with the aesthetic result of a piece, there are always new and more refined ways of conveying a message. These new ways of expressing an idea manifest themselves though artistic practice as well as one’s grow-

I would give the two best pieces of advice which I received from one of my studio art professors in college: Have a thick skin, and be prepared to be involved in creating art for many years before you attain any “success”, however you are measuring it. What are your future plans? My plan at the moment is to continue developing my current series of paintings. I intend to show and market the work vigorously with the same enthusiasm as I have when creating it. In your opinion, what does painting mean in contemporary culture? I believe that the spirit of painting has remained virtually the same since the time of the 40,800-year-old cave paintings in northern Spain. The urge for painting and creativity stems from our innate desire for understanding, purpose and community. Expressing ourselves creatively and sharing our points of view socially, has always and will always remain a cornerstone of the human spirit. Though new mediums, styles and subjects will grow and develop through time (and at a particularly rapid pace in the digital age), our core drive for creation remains as primitive as our ability to lift an eye to the heavens, conscious of our fleeting time here.


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Moipone Tlale

Johannesburg, South Africa Moipone Tlale is a young artist and designer currently studying toward her architecture degree. Entirely enthusiastic about history and philosophy, she has grown into an artist who is not afraid to question the idealogies that inform issues such as identity and culture. Being brought up in Lesotho and daily crossing the border to attend school in South Africa, she has always grown up exposed to the many diversities and challenges of borders that are invisible to the eye. Recognizing and exploring her interests and abilities from an early age has exposed her interests and abilities from an early age has exposed Moipone to many different forms of visual art. Moipone has completed experimental projects looking into idealogies and identity through various media, believeing choice of medium to be an extension of a concept and not the bases; as form follows function. Like any aspiring designer her work seeks to solve a problem or point one out, each individual piece a labour of love and unrellenting passion.

“TOKOLOSHE STOLE MY SEX” – Daily Sun The dynamism expressed ever-snowballs in this pieces we not only regard the black/white paradigm but also its far more intricate and menacing cousin classism. Centred around blakc culture and it’s vastness, this piece aims to highlight our current black media plight, not enough stories about all things black told by people and institutions that are all black. This art work is, in its likening, much like taking two random verses out of the bible; and trying to draw total understanding of the ancient text from them – poor perspective. Black stories, black culture. It’s a lot. It’s meant to be a lot. It is a lot. The A2 perspex sheet speaks to the white minority controlling the larger narrative, and how this has led to black stories being grossly misinterpreted and retold. This is aimed at shaping the mind and guiding the thoughts, inviting those of colour to meditate on the posed issue and see themselves in the stories, see themselves as the solution to these stories. In doing so, the absurdity is thus removed, the individual titles absolved of their ludicrousness. Blowing the narrative up, forcing people to read, scrutinize and engage the above mentioned underlying themes will hopefully hen give birth to context, putting in place what has always been grossly displaced and marginalized, what has always been black.


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When, how and why started your art practice? I have always made art from a young age. Growing up in Lesotho I did not have a great variety of leisure activities at my disposal, so when I was 11 I started shadowing a local painter and screen printer to keep busy. In High School I studied art and photography formally, but it wasn’t really until I enrolled at University, studying Architecture, that I found the space to really explore. Studying Architecture, you are groomed to solve problems by using design as a tool, as an art. It really just comes from the desire to relate my analysis of human experiences through creative research in visual art, and allow people to reflect on themselves, both present and future. How has your work changed in the past years? My work has become more purpose driven, more intentional and more of social commentary, It draws largely on issues that are impersonal and personal, looking at the subjective objectively. It has leaned more towards trying to spark conversation around key topics and visual forms of literature; a merger of both internal and external triggers and experiences, articulated in the artworks. The pieces also take much longer to make, the work beginning long before I even touch the chosen medium of expression. The work begins with a conversation and intentionally ends as one too. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Because I want to use this platform to speak to those who would most benefit from my insights, I would like to answer this question with the answer directed at emerging artists. With that said, the art scene is in a place of juxtaposition. On the one end, it is far more accessible and broad, but on the other hand it is saturated with familiar names, and breaking into this tight-knit circle is a challenge. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? That’s a difficult question because how do you really define the contemporary cul-

ture? Art has become such a broad term, we live in a time where everyone consumes and produces art of all sorts of medium, every day. More than ever art can be anything, and the digital space is affording us the opportunity to continually break the mould. Expressions has become democratized, more so now than ever. These resources created by contemporary culture shall help us break the boundaries that keep art niche, awakening greater critical awareness of the masses. Name three artists you admire. Ntate Santu Mofokeng Andy Warhola Nontsikelelo Mutiti

What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Be prepared for the emotional rollercoaster. Don’t be too precious with your work. Be patient with yourself, don’t compare yourself with peers. Be honest, that’s when the gems are harvested. Don’t stop making. Evolve. What are your future plans? I’m working on probably what should be the most important project I’ll complete. This year actually marks the 5th year of this haunting me, that being the publication of my first book on identity and the “black self” in the 21st century. Also, I plan to go deeper into self, where the concept of self-discovery becomes the art and the final product just the frame.


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BLEACH What is essentially a timeline, BLEACH is a quilted work of Seshoeshoe fabric panels. Seshoeshoe is a printed, dyed cotton fabric widely used for traditional Sotho (South Africa & Lesotho) clothing. As interpreted for this piece, the fabric timeline begins as very bold and gathers at its end in a pool of bleached material. The other part of the work is Lithoko tsa liboko tsa Basotho – a compilation of praise poems (odes) of Basotho clans. These have been stenciled on the different sehoeshoe, and even though the material fades as the generation go by, the praise poems remain vivid, uninhibited and unrellenting. BLEACH tells the story of how a black, diverse Africa (Seshoeshoe) has been molded and influenced. As the timeline depicts, history has shown culture to morph and distill according to desired characteristics, characteristics which are deemed relevant and subsequently passed on throughout generations. The phenomenon of history and culture lies in the idea that the further back you look at it, the more monolithic/compressed it appears. Over time culture distinctions between similar communities blur and become monolithic: Just as the further you move away from an object the smaller and less distinguishable it becomes. BLEACH is a lamentation of the pressing need for Africans to start working towards self-sufficiency in all spectrums, not just financial liberation. The solution to this lies too in the same body of work - the encouragement and urge to start the journey of renewal and self–definition, reviewing seriously our history, and ultimately, like the Liboko, standing vivid, uninhibited and unrellenting. Golden as the poems themselves are.

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Jacob Weeks London, UK

Who we are? Where we are going? And why? In our culture we do not like to discuss issues relating to death or even mention it even though the one thing that we all have in common is that one-day we will all die. As humans we are fearful of death and do not want to face it, in juxtaposition to this, we are also fascinated with death and like Freud agrees; we all have an ‘unconscious desire to die.’ This is a personal project and journey investigating what happens after we die? These series are exploring the journey of the body through cremations and the uncanny spaces of the chapels of rest. This project will bring us all closer and together and open up the taboo surrounding death with my photography, and push the viewer into spaces where they wouldn’t ideally choose to be.


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When, how and why started your art practice? There is a video of me when I was 3 years old asking for a camera for Christmas. I don’t remember actually getting a camera so I think subconsciously this has always been in the back of my mind. I started my art practise when I first went to Art College back in 2006 and I fell in love with photography. I was memorized of how simple a camera can be and that all you need to make an image is light. My Father lent me his 35mm SLR and for those early years in college and I couldn’t put it down. My practise started to develop during my Degree and I realised the importance of what I was a taking photographs of. How has your work changed in the past years? My photography has developed through the years and I started off as a street photographer capturing daily ‘ decisive’ moments. It excited me because anything could be around the corner and the thought of not knowing. But I struggled to conceptually understand my work and I started to ask myself why was I taking these photographs. This changed my whole perspective on image making and I started to explore different ideas. I had a sudden urge to understand what happens to our bodies when we die and the different paths we can take. I was interested in this because in our culture we don’t like to discuss these issues and confront what is inevitable. I want to take the viewer to a place they wouldn’t ideally choose to be. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene in the village where I live is non-existent because I live in the countryside. It is a very picturesque place where I like to go on long walks. But with fantastic galleries on the coast and easy links to London these offer me a creative escape. Being a photography lecturer as well as an artist keeps me aware of the local art scene in the area. There are a lot of small pop-up galleries starting to exhibit our students’ work and this is really exciting to see.

In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I think art has the power to change people’s opinions and get them to reflect on the world. It can challenge and force the viewer to engage with contemporary issues. Art is a positive way to get across a meaning that can be interpreted in different ways all over the world. Art can move people on a daily basis and be one of the most powerful tools. The local major galleries where I live are free and accessible to any one and are becoming a culture hub for local towns. They bring regeneration to these places and add real value. In this uncertain political time, Art can give us hope in the world. Name three artists you admire. Joel Sternfeld is one of my favourite photographers and his work is so beautifully taken. He can make a mundane landscape speak volumes. My favourite piece of work by Joel is a book called “On This Site”. At first glance the landscapes seem absent of anything, but read over the page and you get an explanation of something that has happened in the scene. My mind explodes into visions that I am projecting on to

the landscape. Candia Höfer’’s work took my breath away when I first saw it. The size of the prints and the amount of detail is incredible. You almost feel that you are there in the photograph. The retrospective of Damien Hirst’s work still sits fresh in my mind and was one of the best exhibitions I have been to. The juxtaposition between life and death is truly beautiful in his work. I look up to him for challenging the notion of what art can be. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? ‘You only live once’, never be discouraged to pursue a career in the arts. I remember my Biology teacher telling my parents that I am making the worst mistake to pursue the arts. Just keep at it and be as active in the arts as possible. What are your future plans? I am currently working on a new series of work and I will be involved in a group show in a few months. So keep checking on my website/social media for updates. I want to have a solo show in the next year to showcase the full potential of my work. I hope to continue to inspire students and to continue to evolve my practice.


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Art Reveal Magazine no. 26  

Artists: Manss Aval, Irena Azovsky, Paola Bazz, Kenneth Borg, Daniel DeLuna, Jamie Denburg Habie, Chelsie Dysart, Christian Gastaldi, Nat Gi...

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