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FRANCESCO CENICOLA | REGGIE DAVIS | MICHELE FARINELLI | JULIO ORTA DIANA

PACELLI

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ANTHONY

RICHICHI

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EWELINA

SKOWRONSKA

AJUAN SONG | SHANZAY SUBZWARI | TAYLOR O. THOMAS | PETER ZWAAN

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“ I explore the fundamental values of imagery; colour form and texture and investigate how we respond to visual stimulus by abstracting recognisable of forms into my ambiguous compositions.“

Interview Ewelina Skowronska at pages 46-51

FEATURED ARTIST

EWELINA SKOWRONSKA

On the cover: “Drops” Ewelina Skowronska

Illustrator and an artist printmaker, born in Poland living and working between London and Tokyo. After having an accomplished career in advertising, Ewelina decided to fully dedicate herself to art in 2012. She retrained and specialised in illustration at University of The Arts London where she graduated with distinction in 2015. When she discovered screen – printing at UAL she decided to share her time between illustration and printmaking. Ewelina’s work has been exhibited in London during group exhibitions as well as in Tokyo during solo show organised by Polish Culture Institute.


FEATURED ARTIST: EWELINA SKOWRONSKA 2 IN BETWEEN FISH AND SKIN… PETER ZWAAN 5 FRANCESCO CENICOLA 10 REGGIE DAVIS 16 MICHELE FARINELLI 22 JULIO ORTA 28 DIANA PACELLI 34

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ANTHONY RICHICHI 40 EWELINA SKOWRONSKA 46 AJUAN SONG 52 SHANZAY SUBZWARI 58 TAYLOR O. THOMAS 64 SUCCESS FOR BONGIOVANNI 70


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IN BETWEEN FISH AND SKIN… A portrait of Peter Zwaan By Lula Valletta

H

ere I am standing in front of the Studio complex Het Pakhuis in The Hague, the Netherlands. Impatiently I wait till the clock strikes 5, then I ring the bell and moments later I am being greeted by Peter Zwaan, whose studio I come to visit. It’s been seven years since I first visited his studio on occasion of an ‘open day’ organized by the Studio complex. And for this issue of Art Reveal, I decided to go back and ask him what he has been up to lately and learn more about his world. He leads me up the stairs and through some tiny corridors to his studio. His studio is full of curiosities and it’s hard for me to focus on one part of the room. Everywhere I look I see amazing works of art, either finished or still in the making. I see boxes full of eyes and fins, a table full of fingers and one his latest works, a fish coming out of paper, is hanging on the wall.

Sawmermaid

Peter Zwaan (1968) studied painting at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, and only after graduating started experimenting working with sculpting. Since the work on his wall is so dominating it’s one of the first things I ask him about. Peter explains: “This specific piece just got back from the KunstRAI in Amsterdam, where I am represented by Contempo Gallery. The name of this work is Sea Bass Paper. It is part of a series of paperfish. It is a series of seven now, of which five are already finished. But I think there will be more. I still want to experiment with different ways how the fish could come out of the paper, or I might put a few fish together on one paper. This series creates a lot of new possibilities for me. Once I am working on a new paperfish I get many new ideas how to do something differently;

a fin here, a little wrinkle there, more colors… Mostly it takes months before I finish one of my paperfish since all the layers of polyester and glass fiber are applied separately to prevent the material to shrink or create other unwanted effects. Every layer has to dry so my creations take a long time to be finished. It gives me time to meanwhile work on other projects. It’s nice to sometimes take a distance from what you’re currently working on.“

It’s nice to sometimes take a distance from what you’re currently working on. Peter explains that he has been working with fish since over 15 years. It all started when he was working on his food still lives. His first fish works were the series of fish wrapped in newspaper. “I really like going to the fish market. It’s such an exciting sight to see all those fish lying on the ice. In the past when you bought fresh fish from the market it didn’t come wrapped in a fancy plastic foil. Instead they used to boldly wrap


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them in yesterday’s newspaper.” After the fish in paper, Peter started to artistically experiment with fish, gradually mutating his fish more and more. Besides the process of mutation he learned more about recreating fish; their eyes, their scales etc. “What I like about fish is that they have something abstract about them by nature.” His favorite kind of fish is the triglidae, commonly known as sea robins or gurnard. “Especially when you seem them lay at the fish market. Also rose fish, better known as the ocean perch is one of my favorites. I find them beautiful, with those big eyes. It was the kind of fish I used for one of my first fish mutations, called Umbrella Perch. The idea behind that work tends to the objet trouvé; I was searching around in my studio for things that I could use and found a red umbrella, which suited perfectly. This is also how my very first fish mutation came to happen. It is a combination of a piece of chicken and the head of a fish. I had molds of both lying around my studio since I was working a lot with food at that time and those two seemed to miraculously fit to the millimeter! Sort of like a 3D collage. This coincidence seemed much more interesting to me than the original ideas I had with those two objects.” Even though he has been working with fish for such a long time, Peter keeps discovering new and exhilarating dimensions about them.

Crumple zone

Peter works a lot with plastics, a discipline he taught himself. After his academic study at the Dutch Royal Academy of Arts, where he mainly focused on painting, he started cutting pieces out of paintings and assembling so-called show boxes. He was still painting but instead of canvas on MDF. “I also started to use more objects that I found in the streets. Sometimes I would use these objects directly, sometimes to create a mold and apply it to my paintings to create depth. This all evolved and the techniques I know now, I taught myself. I used to use thick acryl paste to fill up my molds but that took ages to dry and was very inconsistent in substance, so I decided to learn more about this. I started buying a lot of different materials and tried out a lot of different things. Luckily around that time Internet was just getting big and soon I was able to find helpful information through

websites and Youtube. That was very helpful for me. It’s great that you can get access to information so easily nowadays whereas in the past you had to travel to the library hoping there was a book about the specific subject you wanted to learn more about.” By now Peter is so experienced using different kinds of plastics, that often he has visits from students from the local art

This coincidence seemed much more interesting to me than the original ideas (...)

Umbrella perch

school, or from colleagues who struggle with a technical problems or want to create something using a new material. “For me this is very interesting, when people ask me questions and come to me with their technical problems. We brainstorm together, try different things and from that I also get new ideas. Also from


Peter Zwaan in his studio


Als iemand heilig is

other, more experienced artists, I have gained a lot of knowledge working with material that was new to me at that time.” From my earlier visit to Peter’s studio, I vividly remember a can made out of human skin. After I ask him about it, he brings me a little carton box, and look: there it is. Its title is Crumple Zone. Holding it in my hand I’m not sure if the can’s sight and texture repulses me or intrigues me. I decide to ask him more about this other fascination of his. “Actually I came to working with skin after creating one of my mutant fish that instead of scales had human skin. From there on it sort of developed further. Skin is a fascinating object on its own. I started to combine skin with very simple, recogni-

zable, everyday objects to see what effect that creates. Resulting were for example this can, but also there is a wall socket called Contact Point and an apple called Forbidden Fruit.”

But by executing the idea so realistically it turns into something more than that.

All of these works are very detailed. Even though some are editions, each one of them is different: very realistically painted skin completed with birthmarks, moles and hair. “I used my own hair for these works, either from my arms or legs. Hair from the head doesn’t work since, once cut, it looks too unnatural. When I work on such a small scale, these kinds of details are very important to me. On the one hand you can see the can as a joke; a funny object. But by executing the idea so realistically it turns into something more than that.”


Peter Zwaan then leads me to a darker corner in his studio, where some of his larger work is stored, safely packed in foil. He pulls out a big work, unwraps it and after carefully removing the fishpaper that was proudly decorating his wall, now hangs a very different and intriguing work titled Drawing. A wrinkled sheet of ‘paper’ with in the midst of it, slowly creating its own space: skin. “I think wrinkled paper looks fantastic, and the association between the paper wrinkles and the skin I found very interesting and somehow obvious. I wanted to see what happened if I would combine those two and that resulted in this series. From the middle the ‘paper’ slowly turns to live. What you see is not really paper. I made it from a combination of silicon and cotton fiber. The combination of those two gives it a very paper-like effect. I am still working on this

series; some of these works still miss some hairs. But I don’t want to add too much; I want to keep these works very subtle. There is already a lot happening, with the wrinkles and the structure of the skin, so that I will only add some hairs merely as a detail to give the audience the feeling it’s really human skin. This series is abstract but realistic; that these works look realistic is very important for me. It’s about combining things that are real and making them unreal. If I would do a sloppy job, these pieces could never work. I want to give the audience the idea they’re looking at real skin and give them almost a creepy feeling when they look at these works.” I ask Peter how he thinks most people react to his kind of work. “In most cases I think you either love it or you hate it. Some find it fantastic and

fascinating, others look at it for two seconds and think it’s gross and want to have nothing to do with it. Of course I rather have it that people look at my work for an hour, but either way I think it is a good thing that my work creates a strong reaction. I don’t want my audience to see a specific something in my work. But the feeling and reaction of the people to my work, whatever these reactions might be, are of course very pleasant for me as an artist. I don’t find it interesting when artists expect their audience to feel exactly that what the artist want them to feel.” Contempo Gallery in Rotterdam has been representing Peter Zwaan since 2007. He explains: “I was exhibiting some of my first fish sculptures at Pulchri Gallery in The Hague. That’s where I met artist Gurt Swanenberg,

I want to give the audience the idea they’re looking at real skin and give them almost a creepy feeling when they look at these works

who was represented by Contempo Gallery. We got to talk and I learned he was working on a series of insect mutations. Technically we were working differently; he with oil painting and me with sculpting but still our work had a lot in common. We decided to work together on a cabinet of curiousities; an own space within the gallery walls with a wooden floor, which showed both our works in this collaborate installation. Contempo Gallery presented this at the KunstRAI in Amsterdam, in 2007 and from then onward the gallery decided to represent me as well.” Like most artists will recognize, Peter has more ideas than time to realize them. He currently is working towards the PAN art fair in Amsterdam, which will take place in the fall of 2017. “I hope to show some of my new work from the fishpaper series. In any case I have a lot on my hands with my current projects as well as experimenting with new projects.”

www.peterzwaan.nl Forbidden fruit

Upcoming: PAN Amsterdam, 16-29 November 2017


Francesco Cenicola Ocean Grove, NJ, USA

Francesco Cenicola was born in 1991 and grew up in Red Bank, New Jersey. He comes from a family of photographers, his father is New York Times photographer Tony Cenicola and his grandfather was Richard Waldmann who was an assistant and platinum print maker to Irving Penn. Francesco began shooting at the age of 13. He studied photography as his major in the Red Bank Regional school which is known for its arts programs. After high school he moved to Beacon, New York where he became an assistant to the artists Doug and Mike Starn. During his time with the Starns he worked on producing pieces from their Structure of Thought series. Since then he has focused on his photography and kept a low profile. Francesco primarily shoots with a Nikon D5200 but also shoots in 35mm film and Fuji Instax.

Photography is my means of self-discovery. It forces my mind to slow down and absorb every ounce of information my senses

are receiving from my given surroundings. It is through this self-discovery that I begin to experience art from moment to moment in my everyday life. Shooting photographs is a very existential personal experience. The photographs I have after a shoot are merely the record of such experiences and a means to relate or at least communicate these experiences to other people. Art, to me, is ultimately a means by which to convey vague abstract concepts and experiences to other individuals where words would have failed.


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Briefly describe the work you do. I mainly work in digital photography but I also work in collage. I shoot everything, from nature to urban, from people to still life. I also work with light painting and long exposure. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? My father, Tony Cenicola, certainly has a lasting influence on my work. He is a New York Times photographer. Dad gave me my first camera at the age of 13 and I became obsessed ever since. My grandfather, Richard Waldmann, was also a great inspiration. He was an assistant/ platinum print maker for Irving Penn. The collage artist Ray Johnson has affected the approach that I bring to art, being distant and at times enigmatic. The photogra-

pher Bruce Davidson inspires my style and approach to portrait/documentary photography. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene in my area is thriving. I live on the shore in Ocean Grove, New Jersey which neighbours Asbury Park. Asbury Park has a very large music scene. You can see a live band play in at least five different venues on any given night in the summer. The visual art scene also plays a role in Asbury with galleries such as Parlor Gallery, Exhibit No. 9, Asbury Underground, and Black Glass gallery to name a few. A walk down the boardwalk would show you a plethora of murals. Performance artists can occasionally be witnessed roaming the streets.

In your opinion what does photography mean in contemporary culture? I would say that photography exists in a state of quantum flux in contemporary culture. What I mean by this is that it almost would appear to be dead and alive at the same time. There are more and more photographers out in the world these days due to technology making it easier to get involved. Their work floods the internet and Instagram. And some of it is really good. So now we have more photo work that can be viewed and enjoyed but I feel that we are now over saturated by photographers with poor eyes and no idea of what artistic photography is. It would appear to also be more difficult to get a well-paying job in photography for the skill has become underrated by modern technology and the fact that digital files are intangible seems to make it feel less valuable to a client in a commer-


Art Reveal Magazine

cial venue. My own work has been taken from Facebook and then published in online magazines and hard copy newspaper covers without any credit to me or any financial compensation and without my permission. And apparently, that sort of savagery is common place and no longer unthinkable. What are you working on right now? I am currently working on several different projects. None of which have hard deadlines so I sort of bounce between them as I feel the inspiration for them. My photo collage series, Divine Attributes, is ongoing. It involves taking photos of horizons, then warping the image by bending it in half with the Polar Coordinates filter on Photoshop. I then take the warped image and turn it ninety degrees, duplicate

the image, take the duplicate and flip it so it mirrors the original, creating a symmetrical image. The end result looks almost unrecognizable as a photograph and instead looks more like a psychedelic Rorschach test. I am also working on several books, one of them is a photo book of the lake on live on. Another called Nondescript Locations (working title) will be a photo book of unidentifiable places that could exist anywhere. My inspiration for this project is of an artistic style similar to the photographer William Eggleston. Another project is my collage work. I use clear plastic paint drop cloths instead canvas and paint/collage onto them. I strictly use my own photographs for these collages and their sizes are all roughly about the size of a door. They come across as very eclectic. I have been working on five of them for the past seven years adding more

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detail to it little by little, biding my time. And as always, I am shooting photographs of whatever I want, whenever I want, when the inspiration hits me. And when it hits me, it feels like a getting smacked by a train. What are your future plans as an artist? My approach to art is similar to that of the painter/photographer Saul Leiter, I enjoy making art and occasionally being involved in the art community but I lack the hard go getter ambition of some other artists. I enjoy reading books and drinking coffee on park benches on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I plan to continue making art at my own pace and when I feel like it. Others can enjoy my work at their own discretion without my needing to shove it down their throats or drive myself crazy for attention.


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Instagram: @francesco_cenicola


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Reggie Davis San Francisco, CA, USA

Born in 1961 in Berkeley, CA. I have always been looking for a way to combine my love for the esoteric arts with the visual arts and my work of 17 years as a clinical social worker. I posses degrees in the humanities, psychology and philosophy, and a masters degree in social welfare. My formal education has allowed me to study and work with art and other expressive therapies as a clinical social worker. My clients like myself, survivors of trauma, and addiction has found that by utilizing the creative process I was able to improve not only my clients mental, physical and emotional well-being but mine as well. But what motivates me most of all as a visual artist is the process of discovery the creative life provides.

■ Discovering the new inside the referential while maintaing its inherent history. ■ Discovering new visual languages in representational objects, images, figurative self-constructs and imaginative transitional designs. ■ Discovering and developing new conceptual strategies for the visual arts. ■ The intuitive, spiritual intimacy and transformative self-discovery that comes from the creative process.

As a self taught visual artist my interest has always been in the transformational and healing power of art, as a mind-body practice. Transformation is what someone, like myself who struggles with addiction seeks; a transformation that comes through a balancing of relationships, between contradictory emotions with sensory and somatic memories. My art serves as that balance. My primary medium is figurative sculpturing with reclaimed materials. They serve as testaments to the conservation of natural resources and as advocates for a sustainable environment by demonstrating the importance of conserving our limited natural resources. As well as advocates for a sustainable recovery from addiction through their engagement as a creative process and or therapeutic tool. Through my art I want to challenge the factuality of materiality by modifying the original utilitarian objects meaning and significance. Creating a new emotion, a new layer of significance by manipulating the objects perceived inherent value and mixing it with my intended meaning such that the viewer might take both meanings into account, finding similarities between the complementary opposites. Each figurative symbolizes an active return to the body - flesh off, showing the body as a framework analogous to the major skeleton. Frameworks like our bodies that provide structure and stability, containing the potential for emotional connection, containment and release. Each archetypal figurative, an open framework that the viewer activates by their story; to fill with their own personal iconography, emotional constructs, mental patterning to be transformed, dismantled, released, reconciled, or reconstructed into new possible paths forward.


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Briefly describe the work you do. I use glass, burnt wood, mild steel, paper and liquid – materials that are capable of dramatic transformation. The intention is to emphasize transience at the level of materials and objects as well as within the viewer’s direct experience. I repeat processes as well as objects to stress that no thing or experience can really be repeated, each is unique and utterly fleeting. Sometimes the same sculpture is repeated so that the viewer experiences it twice in differing contexts. The time lag between the two viewings places attention on unfolding experience rather than on the idea of an autonomous object. The differing contexts change the perception of the work as well as the way in which it is experienced. One, for example, might be walked on and barely noticed, like a grille on a doorstep, while its twin is placed on the wall and looked at, reminding us of modernist abstraction, and the way any object can be taken seriously in a gallery.
 Much of my work draws attention to unfolding transient experience, as well as emphasizing changeability at the level of basic materials: rusting steel continues to decay, glass reflects the changing light and complicates the visual field with its fluid mutability. Dyed water, poured into bottles, starts off the same dark red, but then fades unevenly over the weeks. A minimalist aesthetic helps to highlight subtle change and difference, while long lines help to exaggerate the changing perspectives of the viewer as they walk around the space. How has your background influenced you? I was a Buddhist nun for 11 years and most of the monastic training was about developing awareness of transience, transience of a thought, a smell, a mood, a sight. The ultimate aim of which was to bring about an understanding of non-self at a fundamental level, that is, the non-existence of anything permanent within experience. This is an understanding that things in the world, as well as selves, are ultimately concepts – tools for operating, not the reality of present-moment experience. The fixity that concepts imply, the concept of self or a thing, be it a table, a chair or a mountain, is not substantiated when ongoing sensory and mental experience is examined closely. This philosophical training permeates all my work as an artist. I also worked as a landscape designer, where the notion of ongoing maintenance


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is completely taken for granted. Several of my works fully embrace the constantly changing nature of things to the extent that they need work and care to maintain them, for instance polishing shiny metal to retain a reflective surface when its natural inclination is to grow dull and rust. Natural processes such as rusting, reflecting, burning, and chemical changes in liquid over time: these are integral to my work. My first BA degree in painting continues to show even though my MFA (completed in 2014) was primarily about materials and therefore three-dimensional. I continue to emphasize surface texture, and surface reflection, without much attention to weight or volume. My primary interest is in the way the visual field keeps shifting and dancing. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? In a strange way my work uses concepts in an attempt to challenge the belief in the reality of concepts, or the permanence and fixity that concepts imply. For example the concept of an artwork that is on the wall of a gallery space is undermined by placing the same thing on the floor in a door threshold, so that the concept changes and it becomes a foot grille. The concept, or label, is completely dependent on the context. I’m interested in highlighting the fact that concepts are just tools, necessary tools to order the flux of experience, but tools nonetheless. I try to avoid representation – the material is the material and it is not there to represent anything else. In this sense, my work is not heavily conceptual. Of course different labels and associations will arise in the mind of the viewer, depending on their own experiences, but as far as possible I try to let the material do the talking, presenting it in a way that highlights its transient nature. This transience is the concept. Time is a concept, and transience is a concept too: they are inextricably linked. How has your work changed in the past years? I’ve moved away from making a single object. Instead I’ve been using the wall and the floor for one work, as well as two rooms to display one work. This allows the work to be experienced over time, it cannot all be seen or touched at once, it is something that unfolds; at one moment there are colours and shapes through the eyes, and at another moment, there are pressures in the feet; these separate sensory experiences are then given a label, a label that implies one fixed thing, as well as a solid reliable, objective world. In the work that is situated in two rooms, the perception changes as the context changes. Where the room is a gallery, close attention is given and the glass work is highlighted; in the room that is a corridor, the glass work looks similar to all the glass doors in that corridor and is barely registered. The same thing is never the same. How would you describe the art scene in your area? My area is London and Bath, I go between the two. Bath Spa University is incredibly dynamic and forward-looking, offering residencies and awards and generally supporting its alumni very well. London is of course London, exciting, stimulating, with an endless supply of contemporary art to see.

In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? The term is used to cover such a broad spectrum that anything might be called Art. For me, Marina Abramović uses it to increase attentiveness and Roni Horn uses it to question fixed identities and to underline transience and the ephemeral; I find both very inspiring. What exhibitions have you had since your MA and what are your future plans? Since I graduated with distinction in 2014, I’ve been working fulltime as an artist, exhibiting widely across the UK with commissions in Cornwall and at Kew Gardens and exhibitions in London at Beaux Art Gallery, the Oxo Tower Gallery and the Nunnery Gallery, as well as galleries and a museum in the cities of Bath, Bristol and Oxford. I am currently working on a commission to commemorate the storm of 2014 in Porthleven as well as making paper and graphite works that break down the separation of drawing and sculpture.


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behance.net/rdavis65606a5b

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Michele Farinelli Ferrara, Italy

Artist and poet (Ferrara 1968). He lives in Italy, Everyday’s life is the root of his deep feeling through that esential simplicity that seems to be lost drowned out by the deafening noise that modernity imposes as an imperative to a false well being. Poetry, art printing, photography are the media he uses to shout out his silence. FariNelly is a mix between his family name and his mother’s name, Nelly. Abstractions of sensations, of interior states that do not draw from reality but they turn into by being transferred on paper. The deepest part comes out through a sign, taking out instead of adding. I’m taking out black from the ink to have that existing light become brighter. Black and white: decrese instead of decreasing. The lighting metaphor rising from the darkness, the Lotus born from the mud. That’s what I try to fix on my “mono – prints”.


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Briefly describe the work you do. I am fascinated by the daily life and the simplicity of the things that normally surrounds us and that we often do not give much importance. When I start with a particular work or technique, I always try to develop it with the tools I already have, the common objects that surround me. For photography, I use exclusively the smartphone, I also use the monotype technique, I transfer the prints by hand without the use of the press. I create my monotypes on a glass plate, spreading the chalcography ink (black or sepia). To subtract I use sticks, bird feathers, old credit cards, polystyrene and recycled cardboard, it is all to draw the picture. Once the artwork is finished, I put a sheet of cotton paper on the glass/matrix plate and rubbing it on the back with a wooden spoon, transferring the image. The process is about engraving, in the case of the monotype there is no reproducibility, the obtained print is unique. I really like the idea of non-reproducibility. When, how and why started your art practice? As a child, I used the camera and when I developed my first roll, somebody told me I had a good eye! Then one day I accidentally loaded a black and white roll and with great surprise, I found prints that I did not expect, there were no more colours but

only white, black and its shades. From that moment on, I chose black and white because it fascinates me, it excites me and reminds me of ancient times and brings me back to the essence and the humility of a few and simple technical means, which I seek in every of my artistic expressions. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? No doubts the shadows, but also nature in general, particularly the one that surrounds me, the one that I was raised in. I was lucky to grow in a small provincial countryside in the Po Valley, very close to the sea and the valleys, such combination of water and land has taught me respect for all nature, the cycle of seasons and living creatures. Without a doubt winters of my childhood scenery with its impenetrable fogs inspired me to use black and white. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Ferrara is a very important art city, historically illustrious characters have contributed to its good name, like Giorgio De Chirico, Dosso Dossi, Giovanni Boldini and Filippo De Pisis just to name a few. Even cinema has a lot to do in Ferrara, the homeland of Florestano Vancini, one of the greatest documentary directors in the area, and

Michelangelo Antonioni, who has become one of the most important directors in the world and least but not last Giorgio Bassani. Even nowadays art plays a very important role and its meaning is still growing. What do you mean in contemporary culture? In nowadays it is quite complicated, I think art is one of the best ways to try to get the emotions that sometimes you can not find in real life. Art is a “way” that translates the inner self and does so in many ways. I chose those that I feel most vibrate with my strings. I have made this statement by Roberto Assagioli, founder of Psychosynthesis: “Everyone can and have to make the living material of his personality, whether it is marble, clay or gold, a beautiful object in which his own transpersonal self can manifest itself” What are you doing right now? I’m working on a technique that lets me push my photographs on, giving them a further uniqueness by manually working on the final print, using products that are normally used to polish and handle wood. Then I transform a single photo in a non-reproducible work. I have chosen wood products because their aroma brings me back to the past times, and it reminds me of what my father used to do as a carpenter.


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www.farinelly.jimdo.com

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Julio Orta Los Angeles, CA, USA

Julio Orta was born in Monterrey, México in 1986. Currently living in Los Angeles, where he got his MFA at California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California (2016). Using a wide variety of media in his art, it’s conceptual: about everyday life woven together with the absurd and the playful. The environment is often a starting point for him with focus on the playful, all the way into the paradoxical. It ranges from the everyday human drama to the unseen absurdities of life that go unspoken. He was awarded a Residency in “Arteles”, Finland (2014) and “Side Street Studios” in Cape Town, South Africa (2015). He has shown in several group shows including; “The museum of the real and odd” at The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art,(USA) 2016.“Exit Interview” at Human Resources, L.A (U.S.A) 2016, “I am a forest dark” , The space between gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.“ Resolana” at University of California San Diego (USA 2014) and “ La Quema Del Tiempo” at La Decanatura (Bogota, Colombia, 2013) his videos have screened at festivals including “Crosstalk” ( Budapest, Hungary 2010) and “Cologne OFF” (Cologne, Germany 2009). His work was included in the official programming of the 56th Venice Biennale in the exhibition “The future is unwritten” in the Palazzo Cinni in 2015.

I use a wide variety of media to produce my works. My work is conceptual; it is everyday life woven together with the absurd and the playful. The environment is often a staring point for me with high focus on the playful all the way into the paradoxical, it ranges from the obvious poetry of human drama to the unseen absurdities of life that go unspoken for. In my work, I seek to exploit the aesthetics of balance while highlighting trivial moments that would otherwise go unnoticed in their original context. And then there are other facets of my work that come with an intense political charge; specifically dealing with the cancellation or the misplacement of a fixed identity “I” (historical or social), so that time and space converge in a spoken text and fictionalized story line that emerges little by little, but with a haunting crescendo that reaches for total awareness juxtapose self-awareness. The work is intended to challenge and invite introspection beyond one’s own subjective boundaries and is a residual invitation for one to destroy and rebuild the relationship between “I”, “the other”, “the entity”, “cannibal”, and “civilized”. Aesthetically, this is the cordial marriage of extremes, of seemingly incompatible worlds: the Avant-garde and the postcolonial theory or democratic movement from a left late, as a form of artistic resistance against the suppressive logic of capitalism. I will use materials that radiate cold and sometimes violent beauty that can perplex, challenge, and bewilder an audience. I choose mediums and disciplines that bring about an immediate aesthetic experience and a catharsis that can’t be put into words without deeper reflection and processing on various levels i.e. “the I” in either a historical or social context.


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When, how and why started your art practice? I think I started around 4 years old when, without any knowledge of art, I was doing loads of weird stuff. I would get easily bored by typical toys and video games, so I was trying to find fun in other activities. For example, my mom was taking me pretty often to this seafood place, and I always ordered frog legs. I would take the bones of the legs after I finished with them, cleaned them and glue them to a piece of wood. My parents thought, oh look at him, he wants to be a paleontologist. Also, I used to do collages with cutouts of gossip celebrity magazines like the Mexican version of the National Enquirer or The Globe. Between around 6-12 years old, I kept a notebook where I would draw scribbles of my life, then took comic drawing classes, but I am still terrible at it, so nothing came out of it. Since I was young until I was a teenager I wanted to become a plastic surgeon. I guess somehow it is the more relatable career on medicine to art. Then, after doing a year of business administration and not being happy with it, I wanted to become a cinema director, but there were no good film schools in my city, Monterrey in Mexico, so the closest thing to the field was visual arts. There is I started doing video art, and some pieces ended up in festivals in Europe, so I got a little push to keep doing it. I also started doing a lot of performance art that would usually end up in being recorded, and slowly started moving to other areas that didn’t involve video such as installation art and conceptual art. In the end, I’m glad I didn’t end up in Film school, I’m happy how things worked out.

It takes time and dedication to enter the art world system, and you have to be on the ball to access it and start working hard and very passionate from the very beginning of your career to be recognized. I think being an artist is like an obstacle race, while other professions have a clearer path. Sometimes marvelous artists go unrecognized.

tion of the internet, it is easier now, more than ever, to share our art with the world. You can be showing your work without the necessity of exposing it in a psychical space. At the beginning of my career, I found that my art was being distributed more in Europe than in my home country, due to the global circulation on the web.

There should be more funding for arts, but in a lot of government, the first thing they do is cut funding for the arts, because they see it as unnecessary spending.

What I dislike about it is the presence of a whole bunch of artists that do crappy work because they rely only on the statement of their art by just repeating stuff of the usual art school readings such as Deleuze, Foucault, etc… but their work doesn’t show any of that. So, they just end up talking about how much they read. That turns into making the art inaccessible to the general public; I don’t like art that tries too hard to show how smart is the person who did it because then it’s just art for the art world people. I find more exciting the art that tackles issues people didn’t know they existed or approaching common grounds. If you are going to just rely on theory, then you have to match it with the work to make the author’s arguments understandable to everyone. Don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot of people that they reference authors like these and make excellent art in the same time, it’s just that I find it awful when the art doesn’t make sense when confronted with the “intellectual” stuff the author quotes on their work.

Imagine how boring the world would be without artists. In the end, people remember eras mainly because of the arts, and not because of the billionaires or the successful lawyers making a million dollars a month. What do you like/dislike about the art world?

What is the most challenging part about being an artist? The artist life. It’s not easy because you are not selling a product or a service in a society based on capitalism. Some mediums are super exciting, like performance art, or some very conceptual art that’s hard to sell, or they don’t get the appropriate funding.

I like that in the art world there are no limits, it’s a spoiled child that does whatever he wants. Like the universe, there’s no end point on what someone could create. With new technologies being invented every day, the art world will be changing too, and new forms are going to be born, who knows how art is going to look like in the next millennium. Also, being an artist, I love the friendships I have created where being in the middle of fascinating people there’s always an interesting and relevant discussion going on. I love that anyone in the world can enjoy art; it doesn’t matter the nationality of the artist. It dissolves language into something everyone can appreciate. With the inven-

Tell us more about “MOCAM” project I created MOCAM – The Museum of Contemporary Art on the moon in response to the inevitable creation of human communities on the moon in the near future.


Art Reveal Magazine

Although governments and private entities are working on tourism and colonization of the moon, they seem to have no concern whatsoever for the arts, because they are not seen as a source of profit. MOCAM is dedicated in displaying the most interesting, cutting edge, relevant art from the world, moon habitants, or in the case of future encounters, any other form of intelligent life we may meet. The plot is located on 20 acres in the area D6, Quadrant Charlie, Lot Number 1/0581-0600, located 001 squares South and 001 squares East of the extreme NW corner of the recognized Lunar Chart. Approximate Latitude: 30-40 W. Longitude: 36-40 N. This property is located just South of craters Helicon and Leverrier. Registered as MOCAM, The Museum of Contemporary Art on the Moon (Julio Orta) Being an advocate for the dissemination of new discourses and ideas in contemporary art created after 1969— the year the first human ever walked on the moon— MOCAM is steadily looking for emerging

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artists, undaunted new works, and proposals from interesting curators. The inaugural show, Mystic Hyperstitians in the Heart of Empire, was curated by Joey Cannizzaro.

above its surface. The complex proposes a lunar architecture that honors its earthly origins, while at the same time adapting to the physical forces of our moon.

The shows are currently presented on the museum’s website (www.mocam. space) and they would be shown in the physical museum in the sequential order they are digitally presented. All MOCAM artists are asked to sign a document confirming that they will lend their work once the opening of MOCAM takes place; if the work is sold to a collector they are likewise bound to sign this legal document.

This museum is open to submissions from all over the world, we had 2 solo shows programmed in the future, and we are going to a convocation for a curator with a proposal of a group show of GIFS.

The museum architecture has been designed by Mauricio Mastropiero a Mexican architect who dedicated a lot of time to the design, considering the real possibilities of constructing a space like this on the moon. The architecture of the MOCAM was conceived as an extension of human life and our natural exploratory instincts. The museum has spaces that display our interaction with planet Earth through the use of landscape by going into and floating

It also serves to hack the system, since the most desired thing in artists’ CVs are Museums,sohavingashowinMOCAMhelps to build an artist’s CVs

It’s not only been published in art magazines and newspapers, but it has also been published in space exploration news sites, entrepreneurial and architectural magazines.

The museum is open for proposals, and there is no need of spending money to send the work right now (until it’s built). It has a huge audience because at the moment it is a digital exhibition so anyone in the world, at any time can access the shows.


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I have a talk at Redline Art Center in Denver for the 48 hours project on August 11th and August 12th, 2017 about it. How would you describe the art scene in your area? When I had to choose which city/country I wanted to do my MFA, I realized that LA is a very charming city. The art scene it’s no exception. There’s a good percentage of artist-run spaces that are showing very refreshing work because they are not commercial spaces, caring about sellable work. You can see a lot of interesting art. LA is a very mixed city due to all the number of different cultures around the city. To begin with, LA is where all the Chicano movement and Lowriders originated and has grown to the point that now there’s even a whole Chicano scene in Asia in Japan and Thailand carbon copying the Chicano aesthetics that were born in LA. Museums and big-name galleries are all around. Every day there’s an opening and some days they are so many that the main problem is to try to see them all since the traffic in LA is bad, and the galleries are far from each other. In other cities like NY all the galleries might be near each other, and if they aren’t, you just hop on the metro. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? If there is no path you have to create your own What are your plans as an artist? First of all, keep doing interesting work that resonates with everyone in the world. I have plans to start working with El Nopal Press, a limited edition fine art printing gallery in L.A that opened more than 15 years ago, on 3 projects during the next 3 years on lithographs on different styles. El Nopal founder, Francesco Siqueiros, an artist and master printer intimately familiar with the art worlds of both Los Angeles and Mexico City, brought these worlds together. He chose Los Angeles as the site of the intersection, and as his medium the organization of a seminal exhibition, in part sponsored by the City of Los Angeles. He is a very prominent figure in the limited fine art printing scene in the USA and Mexico. I’m also planning to start working on 3 exhibitions in different mediums with Visual Artist this place has the most heartwarming group of artists I have seen in L.A. This gallery for sure has one of the most genuine visions in this city. I am scheduling some residencies in various countries in Europe, as there are so many places with such an impressive art scene that I would like to keep a close relationship with. MOCAM is an ongoing project which I am always working on, and it will host new exhibitions every couple of months and, hopefully, when the time comes, I will have to worry about the actual creation of the Museum of Contemporary Art on the Moon.


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www.julio-orta.com www.mocam.space


The assumption from which Diana Pacelli’s work moves is that being reality the outcome of an exegetic process, photography cannot be other than a multiple layer of interpretation. Highest purpose of this interpretation is the pursuit of symbols that can tell human being lives in a unified, yet complex and multi-faceted, story. Her research attempts to touch and explore the tiny line between objective perception and interpretation, to bring back into photography the daily practice of compromise between self and world as understanding and selfunderstanding process, making this practice, generally automated and unconscious, a tangible object. With this purpose her latest research expands to the support to create a connection, a bond, between subject represented and the support itself, aimed to create a dialogue that can eventually generate, through this mutual reference, a new, unique object.


Diana Pacelli

Berlin, Germany


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When, how and why started your art practice? Painting and drawing, in particular, have always been part of my life. Though as a true beginning of my art practice I consider the discovery of the photographic language; only when I realised how intrinsically metaphorical it is, did I start developing an artistic intentionality.

in a variety of inputs, on the other one, emerging from this variety with your own work can be not an easy task. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?

Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist?

Art is a brand. To be sold not only to collectors, to museum visitors or to a generic public of art followers, but to the artists themselves. An increasing business that is touching and profiting from all categories of artists, regardless their actual success.

My works are impregnated by concepts. Without concepts, they would not exist.

What do I wish art could be? A guiding light through the many questions we are faced by the contemporary world.

But this statement can be read also in the other direction: without an aesthetic synthesis, my concepts could not find a way through to the perceivable world.

What is the most challenging part about working with new media?

What I mean is that concept and aesthetic realisation stay in a mutual, indissoluble relation, to which each of them participates equally. For this reasons, for as many different nuances the conceptual art can assume, I cannot fully embrace its definition. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Ever since I started my art practice, it can be described as a dialogue between my research on the perception of reality and the aesthetic representation. Or, even more, the necessity to visually express the outcomes of that research. So I can definitely identify the influence of the phenomenological approach to the human sciences, that consistently instigates my research curiosities. Aesthetically, I leave my senses freely floating among different experiences and grasp their fruits when it’s the right time. How would you describe the art scene in your area? It would be no surprise defining Berlin art scene as hypertrophic and displaced. Art is literally everywhere and, possibly, every second person you might meet has something to do with art. So, if on one hand you are constantly immersed

While I don’t think photography can be listed any longer under the category of new media, I believe the most challenging part of being a contemporary artist is to define the identity and peculiarity of what you do in relation to the constant introduction of new technologies. As soon as a new technology is introduced the existing ones undergo a process of redefinition of fields and categories – let’s just think what major changes triggered in painting the introduction of photography. So, is, for instance, Cartier-Bresson’s idea of photography still actual? I don’t think so. Unless we include smartphones among the institutionally allowed equipment, for example. Photographic language and its theory have to open to an unbiased research that will eventually embrace multi faceted usages, including new ‘new media’. At that point, the reproducibility and mass accessibility of digital photography will not represent a threat to the dignity of photographic language. What are you working on right now? At finding a new studio! I have some new projects on the relation among concept, photographic image and material support that are only waiting for a space to be realized!


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www.dianapacelli.com


Anthony Richichi Glens Falls, NY, USA

Anthony Richichi is an upstate NY artist who has been exhibited in many galleries throughout New York, including the famed Hyde Collection Museum where he is also the Artist-In-Residence and drawing instructor. In August 2016 he was showcased at the Hyde Collection during a Durer & Rembrandt exhibit for their annual “ART BATTLE: Face Off ” Live Painting event. He also holds illustrating positions at GrayHaven Comics, 1Die Games, The Observation Post, AJ Woodworks, Adirondack Theater Festival and Adirondack Film Festival where he is also the gallery curator. In the Live Art scene he is the Art Director and curator of music and art festival, GEMfest, and the visual Artist of the music group Lock 9. Creating Art has become a way of life because I find it challenging and it elicits a sense of purpose. It taps into not only my physical abilities to push the paint, but also the way I think. Finding ways to manipulate the human body and create surreal imagery is also something that entices me because it’s a way to physically create things that don’t exist in our realms of nature. Art is very much a give and take entity. You can easily lose yourself in a painting, song or story. So when Art challenges me as a creator, I like to challenge back. - Anthony Richichi


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Briefly describe the work you do. I’m always evolving as an Artist to find new ways to keep myself intrigued and excited as I create. The recurring theme I find most fun for me is recreating the human body, namely the face. I enjoy enticing viewers with something as relatable and inviting as a portrait, but also challenge them to think and explore the possibilities of reality. Melting human-like qualities into organic landscapes is also a nod to the beauty of Mother Nature. We are merely tiny organisms running around on this planet and its fun to tie that relation in with my artwork. Being true to yourself as you create is very important and that’s what I always try to do. When, how and why started your art practice? It all started as a child. I’d get such a rush watching things come to life from my hand at an early age and my parents were very supportive. By High School I had exhibited pieces in juried Art shows, but it wasn’t until 2013 that I felt confident enough to pursue it professionally. The right people came into my life and gave me the platform to show what I could do and I was able to capitalize. Once I saw the power I could harness in the right settings, I became addicted to it. I put on my blinders and never looked back. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? I don’t have much of a strategy when I approach a painting. I may start with a rough sketch from a notepad or have a model in mind, but I don’t initially map out my ideas, so I wouldn’t say I’m entirely conceptual. My paintings all tell stories, but they’re never blueprinted. I like being experimental and letting my subconscious flow while I work. If anything I’d say I’m a surrealist. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I fell in love with Salvador Dali’s surreal work a decade before I ever started painting. Years later when I finally sat down with a brush I already had

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this deep-seeded confidence that there weren’t any rules. Those walls were already kicked down and I was able to relax and paint whatever I wanted. Artists have to be selfish in that regard. Another profound influence was a piece of advice I received from the first curator I worked with, Matt Scellen. He simply told me to make my paintings “look worked”. From that night on my attention to detail turned on a dime as I began adding more layers and depth to my paintings, respecting every centimetre of the canvas. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Flourishing. I curate art exhibits for three different Art festivals in my hometown of Glens Falls, NY, including GEMfest where I stand as co-creator and Art Director. I have the honor of showcasing nearly 30 artists each year and there’s nothing I partake in that is more inspiring. The talent in upstate New York is incredible and we all seem to push each other and strive to better ourselves. It’s a remarkable environment to live in. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I see it as an easy way to have an extra voice in a changing world where there is a lot to say. Whether it’s visual art, music or written word, self-expression is a very important staple in any culture’s imaginative growth. As technology becomes more enveloping and more people are sucked into the abyss, it’s more important than ever for Artists to focus on their craft and express themselves. What are you working on right now? I’m currently working on a new series of surreal paintings that play with some horror themes and I’m always partial to ink & graphite portraits as inspiring people come into my life. I will also begin pushing my band Lock 9’s debut album “Conception”, where I’ve created a dozen page booklet of tale-telling artwork that coincides with each of the nine songs.


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www.zhibit.org/ajart


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Ewelina Skowronska Tokyo, Japan

I love the idea of the workshop household described by Mark Rosenthal and I believe in the importance of our interaction with materials. Through cut out marks, forms and shapes, the handmade object mixed with digital, all this creates layers of significance and forms that are part of personal narratives. My work taking inspiration form Japanese way of arranging flowers, continues to explore the interplay between screenprinted and digital, colour, mark cut out and then printed. In “Flower non-flower� series I explore the fundamental values of imagery; colour form and texture and investigate how we respond to visual stimulus by abstracting recognisable of forms into my ambiguous compositions. Merging familiar shapes with the purely abstract I would like to pushes the boundaries of images into creations far beyond their initial inspiration.


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When, how and why started your art practice?

How would you describe the art scene in your area?

What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media?

I think I always wanted to make art but didn`t know how to start. I was born in Poland during grey communist system. When I didn’t get accepted to Polish Fine Art School my parents convinced me to just study anything, as at that time in Poland none has heard about things like a gap year or time off to think about your life. So I have a master degree in Political Science. After that, I start working in advertising as a creative which was fun to some degree. However, after 7 years, I finally realised that actually what I really want to do is to draw, create, and make art. I applied for MA Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts London. I was lucky, as I got a full scholarship, and since then I feel I finally do what I really love even though sometimes is not so easy.

I live in Tokyo now and here art scene is totally different than in Europe. There is not so much of contemporary or abstract art around. There is also not that many underground art groups or feminist art, which I think tells a lot about Japan today. I also feel that in Tokyo, comparing to London or Berlin, so little happen for early careers artist. But definitely, you can admire here lots of amazing classical Asian or Japanese art. And also craft is very beautiful here. So from that respect, Japan is a place of contradictions.

I don`t work mainly with traditional media, as I always mix digital with traditional processes like a stencil, cut out and silk print. But I guess here is the answer to this question. For me, the challenge is to avoid fear about making mistakes that are hard to fix. But this is also the beauty of printmaking, the aspect of uncertainty that can bring lots of great surprises and different way of thinking.

In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?

What are you working on right now?

Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? I think there is a lot of bickering about what conceptual art is, who began it; who did it, who didn`t, what are the goals, what is the philosophy and politics behind it? And maybe because my roots are in illustration and graphic arts that have never had conceptual art label, I have never considered myself as a conceptual artist. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I guess I have many different influences from different moments of my life and art practice. It is natural that we change our fascination so then our influence changed as well. There was a moment when I was obsessed with David Hockney, and I read all of his books, watched movies and studied his paintings and printmaking and digital art – I even have installed the same drawing app as he uses. But if I need to have bigger pictures on all of my influences I can say that I feel fascinated by artists like - Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso. Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Carmen Herrera, John McLaughlin, Frederick Hammersley and probably many more. Recently I have started making ceramic sculptures so I am actually looking at some great sculpture artists like - J.B. Blunk, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore.

To me, the purpose of art is to show us that we are still alive. Through asking questions, showing different points of view, different aesthetics it force to reconsider status quo. It makes us feel, think, love and hate. Especially now in the political situation we currently have, looking at the event that is happening all over the world, I think art has an important role to play in the contemporary culture.

I am slowly starting preparing for my solo show that is planned for the beginning of the next year. So I am working on a new body of work – prints of course but this time I also would like to make more 3D objects. There is also few super exciting collaborative project I am involved in with artist from different disciplines like music or animation. Work is going very slow, but I hope soon I will be able to show you some results.


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www.ewelina.skowronska.com

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AJuan Song New York, NY, USA

AJuan Song is a multimedia artist whose work utilizes analog and digital photography and alternative processing to create abstract imagery. Her work has been exhibited internationally including the Museum of Russian Art, CICA Museum, and K&P Gallery. Selected work has been published through Art Yellow Book and Ignant. She has studied at International Centre of Photography and Pratt Institute and is a member at Penumbra Foundation and Manhattan Graphic Center. She was born in 1986 in China and is currently living and working in New York.

In Chinese mythology, yin and yang were born from chaos when the universe was created, and they are believed to exist in harmony at the center of the Earth. Yet the ever-changing imbalance between the two poles is the source of the constant flux of our lives. A chemigram, too, is formed from chaos: its lines, shapes, and tones fight, conform, and interact with one another. My passion for the medium grew from my need to break free of a childhood shaped by discipline and conformity. Making my images, I am Alice in the wonderland, exploring and discovering. The works are the projections of my dreamland. They represent the liberation of my mind and heart, a release from my silence. They are the philosophy in my soul that connects my inner world to the outside. The balance between freedom and control – yin and yang – is my ultimate goal, yet the challenge of reaching and maintaining this balance is what thrills me.


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Briefly describe the work you do. I unite analogue and digital photography and alternative processing to create abstract imagery. Sometimes it is chemigram: interacting with papers and chemicals; sometimes it is photogram, exposing subjects on paper in a darkroom; and sometimes it is a combination. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? My mom. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The art scene in New York is very eclectic because there are all kinds of people around you. You meet people from different cultural background, and there is always something to do. New York is a major centre of the global art market. People excited about its opportunities, at the same time, struggling because it is highly competitive. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art is no longer attractive as its original function hundreds of years ago. It has changed a lot. Now, Art is more about an idea, a concept. With the help of technology and the resource of unitizing people, theoretically, we can build up each kind of fantasy we want. It is exciting, but concerning too.

What is the most challenging part about working with new media? In general, new media has something to deal with technology. It matters because it is changing fast. The challenge is how to balance between time and money, and what to take and what not to. I like the aspect that new media is freer in a way we do art. What are you working on right now? I am finishing up an abstract self-portraits project. It is my first attempt to combine digital technology and analogue beauty. Also, I am working on a photo project with my art partner, artist Kuzma Vostrikov. It is big scale photo project devoted to the dialogue of fashion and art. What are your future plans as an artist? I am always eager to learn and excited about new ideas and new concepts. And it seems never to change. My future plans are keep learning and keep going. To do what I love, and present more works to the audience.


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www.ajuansong.com


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Shanzay Subzwari Karachi, Pakistan

Graduating with a BFA from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS), Karachi, in 2014, Shanzay Subzwari’s work combines elements from Mughal miniature paintings, currency notes and popular culture to comnt on politics, history, society and the human condition. She currently writes art reviews and articles for various publications, as well as catalogue essays for galleries. She lives and works in Karachi. With a teeming interest in the aspect of deception and its various nuances in large-scale worldly matters or on an individual level, the term, ‘what you see is not what you get’, resonates with me. Unknown parties, whether political or economy-based, make major world-decisions, and the media often feeds us information tailored and tweaked to satisfy personal motives. My work stems from an exploration of currency notes: pieces of paper overlooked in their daily use, yet paradoxically held dear for their purchasing power. In my pieces, the oft-seen overlapped or multiple images of political figures (extracted from these notes) are tools that denote the multiplicity and layers attached to situations, where reality, or the ‘truth’ lies hidden. Weaving together symbols from currency notes, Mughal miniature paintings and popular culture (Disney in this case), I aim to tell stories that make people reflect on the past, present and future of politics, history, society, the human condition, and how everything is linked in a strangely complex, yet fascinating way.


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Briefly describe the work you do. ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’, stated playwright and novelist, Edward Bulwer -Lytton. I agree; perhaps storytelling is the currency for human connection to buy the hearts and minds of those around us. We are thinking people, but under all those layers we are typically feeling people. Hence, when faced with conflict, people often turn to stories of myths and folklore, some of which endure millennia; the mythical tales of the ancient Greeks gods laced with moralities of those times are still referenced to date, for example.

My work is derived from Mughal miniature painting- a practice that began in the Royal Ateliers of the Mughals in the 16th and 17th centuries, and was then passed on from generation to generation in the Indian Subcontinent. It involves the use of gouache (opaque watercolour, originally created with natural pigments mixed with white opaque substance, sufaida) to create scenes that commemorate and document the lives of the Mughal Emperors. The colour-mixing is done in seashells and traditional, handmade squirrel-hair brushes are used to paint on handmade surfaces called wasli, while the sizes are traditionally small.

I was trained in this technique in art school, where we were encouraged to learn, reinvent and challenge the medium and its traditional imagery and characteristics. Today in my visual practice I decode, reimagine and retell stories found on currency notes, embellishing them with characters from popular culture. By referencing Mughal miniature elements as an ode to my training in this field, I comment on the human condition, and on politics, history and society; how everything in the past, present and future is linked in a strangely complex, yet fascinating way.


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When, how and why did you start your art practice? I was always inclined towards creating art as a child and was involved in it in some form or another. I started off with making birthday cards for family, by re-drawing Disney princesses and characters. When I was 10 years old I painted my first mural at a club in Karachi, an experience I found to be great fun. When I was 15, I created a comic series called ‘Teenlife’ for a children’s newspaper based on quirks and humorous incidents in the lives of preteens and teenagers. Onwards, I took up art in my O and A Levels and finally went to art school to study Fine Art. Initially, when I applied to Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (my alma mater) I sort of took a detour and applied for Interior Design. However, within the first two months of my Foundation Year, I realized that my true interest lay in Fine Art, and so I switched my department. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? Yes, absolutely. Each exhibition of mine has an idea behind it, and often each piece I create has an elaborate backstory. There are things I feel strongly about, or things that intrigue me, and those ideas often find their way into my work. I love to tell stories with my pieces. Who or what has had a lasting influence on your art practice? Some artists that I am inspired by, and a few mentors along the way have had an influence on how I work, and my work itself. Two teachers who have taught and/ or mentored me (and are brilliant artists

in their own right) are Muhammad Zeeshan and Irfan Hasan. Both are trained miniature painters and have inadvertently helped my work become what it is today. As far as inspiration is concerned, I often derive it from people not necessarily connected to the art circle. There are a few public figures whose interviews I often listen to, and draw inspiration from their dedication and determination, as well as how they have broken boundaries to be where they are today. It is their spirit of persistence that inspires me. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I think it’s thriving and interest in art is gradually growing with more people involved in acquiring and supporting art. Pakistani artists such as Shahzia Sikander, Rashid Rana, Waqas Khan, Imran Qureshi are making waves internationally. There is a crop of emerging artists every year who create meaningful, stunning works. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, there is little support for the arts by the government. Most galleries and art-related initiatives are owned or carried out privately. Through the personal efforts of concerned people and galleries, though, Pakistani artists are getting recognized locally and internationally. A successful artist is often the result of interplay between artists, curators, gallery owners, writers, collectors, teachers and mentors. It’s a back and forth exchange. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art has the ability to make us take a step back and evaluate our surroundings and

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experiences, and it presents a mirror to the society or world we live in. It also allows us to look within. i.e. ponder over existential queries and reflect upon our inner selves. It can evoke feelings of sentimentality and a desire of possession. It is often a status symbol, with people acquiring works worth millions- but this is often done for sentimental reasons. The myth of the ‘artistic genius’ lives on till today, where people ascribe deep meaning and value to those artworks that resonate with them. Even after years of practice, I can safely state that art is one of the most enigmatic things in the world- the way its value is determined and an artist’s career progresses is subject to so so many different factors. It’s an exciting, unpredictable profession to be in. Perhaps, Polish sculptor, Magdalena Abakanowicz best puts it this way, “Art will remain the most astonishing activity of mankind born out of a struggle between wisdom and madness, between dream and reality in our mind.” What are you working on right now? I’m working on an upcoming solo show in Lahore, a few commissioned works and am carrying out lots of experimentation. I’m also a freelance writer who reviews art exhibitions for a number of publications, so that is going on as well, apart from a few other projects in the pipeline. I am also working on a collaborative project with artist Abhishek Thapar where we are exploring the complex relationship between our nations (India and Pakistan). Also, as part of the multidisciplinary Mandarjazail Collective, we are in the process of brainstorming for our next show.


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www.behance.net/shanzaysubzwari

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Taylor O.Thomas Tampa, FL, USA

Taylor O. Thomas was born in Birmingham, AL and now works as a visual artist in Tampa, FL. Her abstract paintings have been exhibited in galleries and private collections in the U.S., China, and Italy. In 2012, Thomas graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College with a BA in Studio Art, and has since used painting as a means of investigating identity, spirituality, and human connection. Thomas is currently an MFA Candidate at the University of South Florida, with the University Graduate Fellowship. Her works are represented by The Road Gallery (NY), Rachel Nash Gallery (TX), and Nomad Collective (TN). My current abstractions involve the intertwining of painting, drawing, and “handwriting�: techniques that hinge upon gesture. Through a combination of acrylic and oil paints, pastel, and oil stick, I produce traces of physical and mental movements. An indexical performance of identity occurs as I sprawl these materials onto canvas and remove taped forms from beneath them. These acts of repeating gestures and selectively covering and extracting them with paint serve as an allusion to the way in which individuals construct, tweak, and mask their identities in our contemporary world. How many layers of images does it take to build oneself? How many reoccurring gestures are required to feel known? Alongside these questions of gesture-based identity, the works confront systems of control that are equally at play in shaping individuals. Cultural, spiritual, mental, and political frameworks impress upon definitions of self, much like tubed lines frame my canvases, rigid bars jut in front of strokes, or layers hide unraveling curves. These plastic methods toy with my human marks, either disrupting or coexisting with them. Ultimately, my paintings unearth a relentless attempt to establish and free the self amidst the influences that weight it: tensions beneath our expressions, structures behind our play, and bars through which we push.


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Art Reveal Magazine

When, how and why did you start your art practice?

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

How would you describe the art scene in your area?

My art practice emerged out of the decision to halt pre-medical studies in college and embrace drawing, sculpting, and painting instead. I came to the important realization that excelling at something doesn’t always mean you have to make it your life’s focus. For years, I had been studying things that involved formulas and answers, but art challenged me in a vitally different way. Creating nourished my spirit and mind because it forced me to confront the things I couldn’t answer with an A+B=C mentality. That small shift in college snowballed into an art career that is much less based on clear endpoints, and much more dependent on the continuous process of risking, failing, and growing.

As long as I can remember, I have been extremely introspective—questioning why I am the way that I am, what shapes me and other people, and how to balance self-acceptance versus self-development. These questions, winged by faith, have been the driving forces behind my art practice. I think my hope (and likewise my issue) with desiring to be better, not only as an artist but as a person, has and will always influence my work. I go to the studio because I want to unwind and understand the physical, spiritual, and mental facets of identity. Painting allows me to wrestle with human gesture and expression, tendency and limitation in ways that no other act can.

Tampa’s art scene is in a state of eager anticipation. In the past year, there have been a growing number of individuals and events propelling contemporary art discourse forward, and I think (and hope) it will continue to grow from here. Intriguing pockets of artists, curators, dealers, and collectors exist in this city and in surrounding communities like St. Petersburg and Sarasota. I think that the key is to keep providing opportunities for all those individuals to come together—not just for the sake of dialoguing among one other, but also for extending the conversation past the typical artistic network. Sometimes, offering inclusion and a hint of understanding is all it takes to excite and engage an otherwise uninterested viewer. Tampa is becoming a place where this can and will happen. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art is an outlet by which individuals express, share, and question the things within and around them. And in our contemporary culture, this function of art as a locus of dialogue and expression is as important as, if not more than, it ever has been. Every day seems to present a new severance in our country’s political, religious, economic, and cultural fabrics. It is precisely in these places of instability and pain that artistic voices have a real chance to project themselves loudly (and rightfully so). We have choices to put to use our personal statement making, to offer honesty through our works in a climate of dishonesty, and to find ways to support those who don’t have the visibility or audibility that they should. What are your future plans as an artist? I will earn my MFA degree at the University of South Florida in 2019, and until then I plan to absorb the most I can of that experience, learning from my peers and faculty, and making as much work as possible. My aim is to grow and to continue refining my artistic identity over the next few years, in the hopes that I can make my way to exhibiting in larger cities like New York, LA, and London. My sights are set high, so I have a lot of (good and bad) art making to do in the process.


Art Reveal Magazine

What are you working on right now? Right now I am experimenting with ways to transform my paintings into relief and three-dimensional forms. Scale, shape, physical presence, and mixed materials have been increasingly significant aspects of my works, so it seems like a natural next step to allow them to expand past the walls. I am still moving forward with traditionally hung paintings, but I want to see what it’s like for them to coexist with free-standing works. Creating in space, I anticipate, will only help me push my two-dimensional paintings forward as I bet-

ter understand what it feels like to isolate or to join certain shapes and surfaces. What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media? One challenge is to resist the temptation to settle merely on the attractive qualities that paint can produce. I have read in several interviews with contemporary painters lately that artists often have to destroy a “nice” painting in order to get to the one that actually does something. I agree with

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this sentiment; working with paint and pastels often leads me to phases in a piece that I really love aesthetically but that may have to be sacrificed to evoke something greater than visual attraction. Another challenge I continue to face is the tension between dipping into the traditional and still situating myself in the contemporary. There is no clear answer on how to straddle both worlds, but artists do it every day. I think it simply requires a continual effort not to rest on what you know, on what you’ve seen. Paint can be just as contemporary as 3-D printed plastic or a virtually simulated world.


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www.taylorothomas.com

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Art Reveal Magazine

Success for

BONGIOVANNI at the

57th Venice Biennale T

he latest Daniele Bongiovanni’s exhibition in Venice was defined as “An exciting return” by the Italian press. After an extended period of international exhibitions, Bongiovanni returned to his studios, where he conceives and creates his works between Italy and Switzerland. He there shaped a remarkable collection for the 57th edition of the Venice Biennale, grippingly titled: “Natura con Deus”, a homage to nature without contamination, made by landscapes which live thanks to an incursion of the “Deus”, a phenomenon that the artist defines as “unnoticeable, impalpable matter”, which places both art and life above the purely ordinary condition. Art critic Chiara Serri, in the “Speciale Biennale #97” edition of the well-known contemporary art magazine “Espoarte”, defined the work in its entirety “Landscape as echo of immutable beauty. Use of classic oil-based technique for lateral coatings and the introduction of new pigments - fluo and acrylic - which open themselves to contemporary styles. In Bongiovanni’s works, nature gradually emerges from painting, between real and dreamlike momentum”. Even the national newspaper “La Voce di Venezia” (The voice of Venice) made a detailed analysis of his work, defining it as something excellent, able to speak of both social and poetic themes. The leading topic, the “edge”, also leads to new messages, such as the need to look at the world through our primary senses and, above all, through emotional intelligence.


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Therefore, a fertile work, holding elements from the classic base technique, but drenched in a well-tidy experimentation. Various unusual pigments make up a particular iconography (the white sky and the gold that replace the most famous pigmentations of the landscape). Bongiovanni is thus on exhibition at the Venice Biennale with a series of captivating works, contextualized in two horizontal lines. The elements are thirty and form a large fragmented frame, about three meters wide. As an artist of the “La Marge” exhibition curated by Daniele Radini Tedeschi, he, together with other personalities, was called to exhibit in a scenario that is the “stage” of many cultures: the Maya symbologies of Guatemala with both figurative and informal Western Art. The artist was not only the protagonist of what is happening in Venice at Palazzo Albrizzi - Capello, but also in many other events internationally, such as the last Market Art + Design in Hamptons (New York), inside The Bridgehampton Museum, where Bongiovanni was the only Italian exhibiting artist. It is already known that he is working on both Art San Diego 2017, and a significant solo exhibition, alongside roman curator Claudio Strinati.

Daniele Bongiovanni ‘’Natura con Deus’’ 2016. Oil and mixed media on panel.


Art Reveal Magazine no. 32  

Francesco Cenicola, Reggie Davis, Michele Farinelli, Julio Orta, Diana Pacelli, Anthony Richichi, Ewelina Skowronska, Ajuan Song, Shanzay Su...

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