HELEN BIRNBAUM | RIZZA BOO | KRISTY CAMPBELL | JENNIFER CROPPER EVGENIA EMETS | ROBYN HEPBURN | ZOE SUA KAY | ALÃ&#x2039;NA OLASYUK ALEKSANDRA SIDOR | THODORIS TRAMPAS | REIS TURNBULL WEI TAN A.K.A TATAWA | ANETT UDUD | YIDAN XIE
Through installation and performance work Evgenia creates experiences which question and push the boundaries of perception. She has worked across genres of photography, video, laser, holographic projection and sound, using them as tools to immerse participant into the artwork. Participants may have a direct experience of intricate layers of reality, observing their own physical, psychic and emotional responses.
More about Evgenia Emets at pages 28-33
On the cover: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Form of formsâ&#x20AC;? Installation, Evgenia Emets
FEATURED ARTIST: EVGENIA EMETS 2 HELEN BIRNBAUM 4 RIZZA BOO 10 KRISTY CAMPBELL 16 JENNIFER CROPPER 22 EVGENIA EMETS 28 ROBYN HEPBURN 34 ZOE SUA KAY 40
ALÃ&#x2039;NA OLASYUK 46 ALEKSANDRA SIDOR 52 THODORIS TRAMPAS 58 REIS TURNBULL 64 WEI TAN A.K.A TATAWA 70 ANETT UDUD 76 YIDAN XIE 86
Helen Birnbaum Skelmersdale, England, UK
The influence of 1960â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s design is clear in my ceramic sculptures based on microscopic images of plants and viruses, curious people and animals. I have exhibited this thought provoking and humorous work throughout the UK. In 2014 I was selected as ceramic artist in residence at Liverpool Hope University after graduating with an MA in Ceramic Art & Design from the University of Central Lancashire. My thesis on pubic art is displayed in both the National Gallery and the National Library of Australia. I am a Director of a community arts centre and gallery in Skelmersdale and am an Advocate for FACT Liverpool.
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When, how and why started your art practice?
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?
I grew up with a very romantic notion about my artistic heritage. My mother had been an artist in London in the 1950’s and, after giving birth to me, left the country to paint in Paris. This drove me to create; painting, designing and sewing endlessly to satisfy this dream. But, exams arrived and I was discouraged from pursuing an artistic career by my adoptive parents. I clearly remember the day I was told I must give up art and my rage as I put my painting materials away. But I ended up studying English Literature, quite happily I’ll admit, and had a successful career as a project manager. But it was not until I had my own daughter that this relationship with art was rekindled. A friend suggested that I try ceramics at my local adult education college and as soon as I touched clay I knew that I had come home. After a few years I received a Distinction for my BTEC Ceramic Design course, and then took the Masters Ceramic course at the University of Central Lancashire. I then became Ceramic Artist in Residence at Liverpool Hope University. I have always grabbed every opportunity that has come my way and have ended up producing distinctive narrative ceramics with that reflect this eventful life.
I am a strong believer in the social function of art, particularly in a time when the digital society creates a sense of isolation compounded by the loss of community felt in vast new housing estates. In my MA thesis ‘Art for New Town’s Sake, 2012’ I considered the role of public art to create a sense of community and stability. Housing developments, often built on land vacated by industry, with an enormous infrastructure of factories, housing, roads and roundabouts can be at odds with the landscape. In this environment art can be used to create a sense of place, a shared community focus and identity and can make the built environment more successful. Communities looking to attract powerful partners; steady economic growth; the ability to attract and maintain employment; strong leaders and high calibre staff must create an appealing environment first. In turn the strong public image created by an attractive environment and lively arts infrastructure will encourage people to live and work in a town, and in doing so, create the factors to enable investment and growth. In 2012 I applauded the positive role of arts both in the development of Skelmersdale New Town, and its continuing positive influence, but in 2016 the potter Grayson Perry was less complimentary about Skelmersdale in his TV series ‘All Man’ and local residents were angry with his critical attitude for a very long time after.
Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? “When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair.” Sol LeWitt, ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art’ If we accept LeWitt’s characterisation then I would not describe myself as a conceptual artist and, if we look at how I conceived of, designed and constructed my ‘OUTBREAK Games’ you will see why. The initial impetus for the work came from seeing a huge steel air vent outside offices in Liverpool. The shocking news about Ebola had just emerged and I stood transfixed shuddering to think of the viruses emerging from the steel shaft. Before I knew it I was creating a huge ceramic chess set using viral forms as pieces in this game of strategy and chance. So whilst my initial shocked response created the need to make the work it was the making – the execution in LeWitt’s words – that became the most important way of transmitting my message. Ceramic is a material that needs considerable energy to realise the artist’s message, and definitely not a perfunctory affair. So I would definitely say that I am not a conceptual artist. How has your art practice changed over the last years? I am constantly experimenting with ceramic hand building, throwing and glaze making in order to develop my own particular style. I wouldn’t say that my practice has changed other than I continue to refine and develop it. But my visual influences remain a constant and these are the strong geometric lines and repeating patterns of Modernist architecture, offset by the Pop Art colours of red, yellow, black and white. Whilst my visual influences tend to remain constant the ideas that shape my work are constantly changing as the modern world. How would you describe the art scene in your area? West Lancashire is provides an odd mix of old mill towns, stark New Town development and beautiful countryside, and art opportunities are not immediately apparent – unless you look carefully. I have found that my artistic life has exploded in the years since moving here from London. So many different ways for me to learn new skills, develop my ceramics and communicate with other artists appear all the time. Skelmersdale New Town, where I live, looks rather static, but in fact is full of creative people of all sorts including artists, film makers and musicians. I am Director of Treehouse, a new community art centre and gallery, which is proving to be a very successful artistic space and social centre. The big cities of the North West, Liverpool and Manchester in particular, also provide exciting art opportunities, exhibitions and events of all sorts.
What is the best book you’ve recently read? I am developing a work called Clay Zoo, a group of unusual and thought- provoking creatures. I have already made a trio of transgender creatures as a commentary on our modern obsession with all shades of sexuality. To prepare myself for expanding the zoo I am starting to read ‘Aesop’s Fables.’ Whilst this is an ancient text a modern slant can be put on many of the stories providing me with rich source material. I originally studied English Literature before becoming a ceramic artist, and literature continues to provide me with many varied and colourful ideas. I have recently been reading Aesop’s ‘Dog and the Shadow.’ The moral of this delightful story is don’t endanger what you already have in your possession by chasing after insubstantial shadows. This story conjures up some exciting visual possibilities which might even result in a new piece for my ‘Clay Zoo’. What are your future plans? Having developed an exciting exhibition proposal for ‘The OUTBREAK Games’ I will continue to market this to science museums and galleries. I am also developing a new series ‘Clay Zoo’ and have started working with another artist to produce mixed metal and ceramic pieces. This is a particularly exciting development for 2018 and beyond.
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Rizza Boo São Paulo, Brazil
Owner of a great artistic feeling, Rizza Boo instinctively dived in the photography universe. Her technical development brought her to the decision of building up a permanent structure, leading her to the aperture of RZZ Creative Studio in São Paulo, Brazil, where she immerses herself in authorial work, portraits and editorials. New.On came up in a very unexpected way. Initially the idea was to create a series of portraits together with the contemporary dancer Will Jazz and make up artist Cacá Zech. I began exploring lights and textures and the result came out in a spontaneous hide and seek way. The creation process began to come together, and its reveal these unpredictable images. The series have just been exhibited by The Brick Lane Gallery in London, UK.
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Briefly describe the work you do.
What are you working on right now?
My work is a reflection of who I am, of my beliefs. I’m always experimenting with lights, textures and shapes. Creatively and free, I arouse curiosity and discover unpredictable results with images that often don’t fully reveal how they’re produced. Using little or no post-production effects I seek to explore the endless possibilities of artistic photography, bluring the lines between photography and painting.
At the moment I’m working on my own art in my studio. Until the end of 2017 I’ll take part in two exhibitions, one in Rome and the other in Miami. In parallel, I’m producing a photographic project that involves characters and artists from the underground culture of São Paulo.
Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I search for influences in various areas of art, such as painting, performance and artistic makeup. I’m always looking for references that catch my eyes in some way, whether through images, personal experiences or even the environment I live in. Much of my inspiration comes from the mixture of all these influences. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? I prefer not to attach myself to any concept or title, I like to work freely and the result often appears without any previous definition. For now I want to experiment, give space to the unexpected without following rules. I believe it’s too early to consider myself as a conceptual artist. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art provides us with the opportunity to question about contemporary society, the issues relevant to ourselves and the world around us. It’s part of a cultural dialogue that concerns larger contextual frameworks and expresses externally what we live personally, such as cultural identity, family, community, nationality and values.
What do you like/dislike about the art world? Freedom is doubtlessly the highlight! Being able to express my essence and being somehow understood, or able to trigger some sort of questioning or feeling in the observer. On the other hand it is a difficult universe to break through and make yourself noticed. It demands a lot of persistence in order to listen to all kinds of opinions and keep on with your work believing in your art. Name three artists you admire. I try not to be directly influenced by any artist. I believe it might interfere with my creative process in some way. Often my admiration is aesthetically oriented. It’s about the feeling the work gives me, not about its author. It wasn’t easy to name it, but here are three names I feel visual affinity for: David Lachapelle, Tim Walker and Osborne Macharia. What are your future plans? I am currently focused on producing my photobook, personal projects and authorial works for exhibitions.
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Kristy Campbell Norwich, UK
This practice aims to convey a visual language that demonstrates the fluid ambiguity of meaning, hence of reading; through discourse, design, and changing contexts. This study of semiotics challenges linguistic traditions, methods of curation, and medium, but more intensively it confronts the connotation forced and attached to particular words. Deconstruction and Deconstructivism theory fuel this. They intend to tilt, to fragment, and to stylize forming a dysfunctional and seemingly misguided structure, making way for an accessible alternative freedom within language.
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Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist?
When, how and why started your art practice? My artist practice is built on foundations that can be traced back to 1995, where a young version of myself can be spotted working hard at an easel with poster paints and sugar paper, aged 3. I was painting thick applications of bright colours to paper that crinkled when liquid came in to contact with it, nonetheless, I was very fond of producing portraits and realistic narratives until I was able to write satisfactorily. As a child, cursive writing seemed mesmerising. I’d pick up a pen and rush my hand up and down a sheet of paper thinking it would produce something legible, or a form that might somehow resemble my parent’s script. I didn’t like reading. The words would rush about the page and I’d scramble after them whilst losing the plot. As I got older, Art came to me in the form of a platform for projecting an incomprehensive teenage angst. The work I was producing at school was very emotive, touching on unread queer theory. I recall scale being a fundamental part of my practice; constructing a visual statement that spoke for itself, masking where language had failed me. During 2010 – 2014 I completed a BFA & MFA at Norwich University of the Arts, UK. Here I was able to develop a stable concept that I could delve further in to with the support of mentors and fellow peers in critiques. The journey of this practice has evolved enormously to date, where it began looking more broadly at the general
complexities associated with language, I now find myself reading/translating the effect on space post-language. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Minimalism, Geometry, and Linguistics as a collection of Artistic scaffolds have had a long lasting influence on my practice. I take great pleasure in examining the possibility of a form. For example: meaning/text/letter/symbol/line. Reading on these subjects enhances the desire to compose, to curate, and to attempt to translate the infinite possibility of meanings in new contexts, using new media. Lawrence Weiner uses language as Art, whereby the clarity of the type married with the description of the material makes for a sculptural assemblage. The ways in which Weiner applies writing to a surface (using paint and vinyl) corresponds with the semantics of the work, subtly. Looking more closely at reading and receivership, he incorporates the surface/wall in to his works, calling for the spectator’s perspective to establish how the artwork functions, as gesture or representation. In 2016 I visited the Mona Hatoum exhibition at the Tate Modern, London. I had researched her artwork prior to my visit, and had found much arousal in the visuals cast by her installations. ‘Light Sentence, 1992’ swept over me like a hypnotic lukewarm embrace, and I loved every second.
I often think of myself as a conceptual artist because I situate myself amongst like-minded people that are encouraging of discourse on my areas of interest. As the physicality of my work progresses and the visual aspects alternate between an obvious conglomeration of forms and more abstract configurations, I am still able to trace the current process back to the groundwork. There is an element of flexibility in this practice whereby I am able to tailor pieces to particular themes; this fluidity is owed to the spectator and how they determine my written justification. The theory bound to the work opens up avenues of dialogue, moreover the aesthetic value situates itself at the fore offering itself up to a limitless audience. ‘This practice aims to convey a visual language that demonstrates the fluid ambiguity of meaning, hence of reading; through discourse, design, and changing contexts. This study of semiotics challenges linguistic traditions, methods of curation, and medium, but more intensively it confronts the connotation forced and attached to particular words. Deconstruction and Deconstructivism theory fuel this. They intend to tilt, to fragment, and to stylize forming a dysfunctional and seemingly misguided structure, making way for an accessible alternative freedom within language.’ How has your art practice changed over the last years? In 2013 I was pondering the complexity of language in a much broader sense; looking at grammar, language use, dialects, sociolects, the physical form that language takes – the sheer magnitude of ingredients that make up a ‘language’. It was a complex time, with a vast body of work. Following this, studying for an MFA (2014) saw a brutal clamp down on specific areas of inquiry; I termed this ‘complexity simplified’ : Reading vs. Seeing. For the next year I focused categorically on space/place/negotiated territories, the changing definitions of language in newly applied contexts, and text as object. While I was searching essentially for a non-existent line/space that made Reading and Seeing two separate acts, I began thinking about how the text present was translated in different spaces, and how this could evolve : introducing the ‘infinity mirror’. The concept of ‘infinity’ came to be in my reading on Deconstruction (J. Derrida) in 2016, making way for an unforeseen
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transcendent abstract style to materialise. While I considered myself a sculptor indefinitely during my time at art school, the past eight months of practicing in 2017 has made for a mixed-media artist, one able to refine and appropriate design in the form of a tangible object. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The Art Scene in my area (Norwich, UK) is predominantly built on community collaborations, is ‘collective’ orientated, and while there is a crossover of different media, Illustration appears to be on a pedestal. Norwich University of the Arts produces countless creatives every year, some of who travel with their talent, and others that indulge in the scene in this ‘city of Literature’. Galleries including The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Anteros Arts Foundation, Nunns Yard, Outpost, Dove Street, and so many more, offer exhibition opportunities, residencies, and studios for local artists. Collaboration and critique has proven integral to the sustaining of both concept development and networking, ie. sourcing new platforms for presenting work and connecting with contemporaries.
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art in contemporary culture means discussion on Politics, Gender, Finance, and Opinion; it is freedom of speech. It is a means for portraying particular subjects through an accessible transparent language, representing theory as form on a platform fueled with explanation and perspective, and contemporary ways of understanding the misunderstood. Art in contemporary culture is a podium for expression. It is a room with a view and you have all the time to contemplate. What is the best book you’ve recently read? I ride a lot of trains, so consequently I read a lot of books. I read for the love of reading, and for the love of the physical book. I read about reading and about writers that love to read or love to write. I have a collection of books in my house now, and many more stored at my parent’s home, some of which I have purchased for the simple pleasure of owning them, some are pending reads for a future train journey, some are half
read, and others are covered in sticky tabs and margin scribbles. I don’t have a ‘best book’, but I can list my top five (in no particular order). To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee (1960) The Pleasure of the Text – Roland Barthes (1973) A Voice and Nothing More – Mladan Dollar (2006) Minimal Art – Daniel Marzona (2004) How to Read Proust – Alain De Botton (2006) What are your future plans? My plans for the future are only half written. I am employed as an Art Technician at a high school in Norwich (UK). During the day I work with students assisting the with development of their unrestricted creative minds and realisations of their imaginations, and in every other ounce of my time I engage with other artists, writers, and poets, I construct new artworks and exhibit in new places. I look to solidify and strengthen my style in the coming years, continuing to be open to collaborations, new opportunities, and to seek out new faces to uphold challenging and thought-provoking discourse with.
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Corpus Christi, TX, USA
Jennifer believes that Picasso was right when he said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” She has discovered the best way to retain that childlike courage to be creative is to paint with her children. She is a mother to many. In addition to her four natural children, she served as a surrogate for twins. She and her husband also care for four foster children. Her work is free flowing and organic. It’s a delicate play of light and color, line and shadow. Jennifer’s canvases depict a calm center in the midst of life’s chaos, a serene soul shining through adversity. Life is too joyful, too sad, too wonderful not to be captured in the prism of an artist’s imagination. She is a self-taught painter, and in her professional life she is a project manager and an administrator. Painting has always been a passion for hers and you can brightly see that shine through her pieces. She has her artwork displayed on several different mediums,from mural, tables, canvas, and furnature. She enjoys working with acrylics, oils and watercolors.
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Briefly describe the work you do. My work is free flowing and organic. It’s a delicate play of light and color, line and shadow. My canvases depict a calm center in the midst of life’s chaos, a serene soul shining through adversity. Life is too joyful, too sad, too wonderful not to be captured in the prism of an artist’s imagination. I am a self-taught painter, in my professional life I am a project manager and an administrator. Painting has always been a passion for me and you can brightly see that shining through my pieces. I have my artwork displayed on several different mediums, from murals, tables, canvas, and furniture. My pieces are featured in corporate offices, several galleries, and in private collections. I enjoy working with acrylics, oils and watercolors. When, how and why started your art practice? My husband has been my biggest supporter he has always encouraged me to pursue my artistic abilities. I have always had a passion and appreciation for art. I would like to someday open a studio for underprivileged children.”. I believe that Picasso was right when he said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” I have discovered the best way to retain that childlike courage to be creative is to paint with children. I am an accomplished artist and a mother to many. In addition to my four natural children, I served as a surrogate for twins. My husband and I also care for four foster children. Through art we have exploited its healing benefits which allows these neglected children to heal, express themselves and grow. We would like to bring this to our community as a resource to serve this selected group of our population and raise awareness. We would like to be able to lease spaces to individual artists, place consignment pieces for sale in the gallery, hold art classes, and host special events by leasing to corporations and community groups. From these resources it would enable us to display the children’s artwork and
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sell it commision free so the children can benefit completely from their accomplishments. What is the most important item in your studio? There isn’t just one important item in my studio. Instead it is my children that bring inspiration and creativity. Art can happen anywhere and on any medium. In my earlier years when I didn’t have enough money to buy a canvas I would paint on other items. I have painted on cardboard boxes, furniture and walls. It is the feelings and emotions that flow through your paint and onto your canvas that makes it special. How do you know when the art is finished? In the moments prior to completion there is a pause, a breath taken, a glance to allow the entirety of the piece to come to life. It is at that moment you see your creation and you know that it is complete. What you had envisioned, the mental images have now taken shape. The colors flow to your will, your design, vibrant, and beautiful and are now ready to be displayed. The emotions I was trying to convey is now complete. Name three artists you admire. Georgia O’keeffe, Jackson Pollock and Claude Monet What was the best book you’ve recently read? “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” What are you working on right now? I am currently working on becoming a full time artist and opening an art studio to serve our community. I have applied for grants, and my artwork is available for sale on Poem Studio as well as contacting me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org Concerning my artwork I am working on several consignment pieces for individual collectors. I am honored and thankful to be in Art Reveal Magazine. I sincerely hope you enjoy my art collection.
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Evgenia Emets London, UK Evgenia was born in 1979 in Poltava (Ukraine). She graduated with an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art, London in 2008. She is based in London. She worked in Russia with Stella Art Foundation throughout 2005-2008, exhibiting internationally with projects 108, Europe, The Elements of Light. She moved to London in 2007 launching experimental new media work. Her projects were commissioned by Market Estate Project, 2010, the House of the Nobleman in 2011, Roundhouse, 2016. She is Artistic Director and founder of the Analema Group, with a signature project KIMA recently presented at the Roundhouse London. Her recently self-published book “Do we have a common language?” was presented in 2016 in King’s College. Evgenia is a poet and artist. Sound, word, poetry, drawing are the primary elements of her current work. Through installations and performances she creates experiences, which invite the audience to question the boundaries of perception. Her visual artworks are most often created in a contemplative manner, to invite self-reflection. Whether they are exact geometric creations constructed over a period of a few months time or intuitive expressive drawings, created in one single breath, they draw upon the idea of arts practice as an ever evolving internal discipline. The latter is always the reflection of one’s mind. Evgenia’s sonic explorations are focused on working with voice as the primary tool. It is always accessible, always available to us. She aims to reclaim voice as means of communicating through and beyond language, through pure sound. She actively works with languages, drawing inspiration from possible hidden relationships and common roots between distant families. She often de-constructs language exploring original meaning through sonic means. A specific element of Evgenia’s work is audience participation. In some of her performances she challenges perception of humans as separate from each other, inviting her audience to become participants - into an immersive and often ritualistic space. She removes the abyss between the figure of a professional musician and audience member, blurring and shifting these roles.
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When, how and why started your art practice? For me art is about two things: deep introspection and finding a language to express spiritual experiences. I have always been drawn to the creative process and tested myself in many different disciplines. I have an urge to learn and explore connecting the dots of disparate personal experiences into something I can share with people. I have always written poetry as a personal practice. My conscious art practice began with photography and I studied basics with two teachers in Russia. This was in the late 1990s before any contemporary art education in Russia. After that I was hungry for experiment and kept exhibiting whilst trying various techniques, materials. I quickly realised I think space, not surface. I decided to look at everything I do from two perspectives: light and space. Urge for experiment and being part of dynamic art world brought me to London in 2007 joining Masters in Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins. And then I was hit by sound working on my new installation Manta Ray. Since that time sound has become integral to my practice. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Hmmm, let me think about this. Certainly Tibetan teachings have been a great impact on my relationship with the world and continue affecting my art practice. In Dzogchen
tradition a great deal of attention is on perception and senses, how their continuous interplay forms the phenomenal world. Dzogchen teaches how to develop vision, which includes all senses, but also how to look beyond sensory realm. For example we like certain sounds and do not like others, we distinguish pleasant sounds and noise, but Dzogchen teaches you that the world as it appears to the senses is illusory, therefore our judgement of it is always conditioned by our perception. I have been inspired to work with the senses in my art, to explore sound and vision from pure sensory point of view, always remembering that they are tools to perceive the world but also tools to allow us to see behind the veil. Huge inspiration have been artists who transform spaces through magical kind of experiences: James Turrell, Olafur Eliasson, Anthony McCall. I am aware of and inspired by the developments in Sound Art and Performance practices related to voice specifically like Meredith Monk and Pauline Oliveros, as well as earlier sound and music experiments in the art of 60-s, with Stockhausen, Xenakis, and many others - this is my ‘ocean of sound’ which offers me endless emotional and mental resonances. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? I think I do… Conceptual Art means not just that the idea is primary, and execution
is secondary, but also that the artwork can take any form depending on which form is most relevant to express this idea. Generally I work like this, I work with ideas, but they only become tangible through form. In my case it can be performance, objects (both sonic and visual), large-scale installation works, participatory work, where audience is central and the work has more ‘open’ character. At the same time I continue finessing my craftsmanship in calligraphy and drawing with great dedication. This allows me to explore different approaches and embrace writing poetry, drawing poetry and ultimately sounding poetry. There are moments when things happen and concept arrives later to explain and connect pieces into a single project. How has your art practice changed over the last years? I have done a lot of experiments in media arts, with light based, immersive and interactive technologies leading to the creation of Analema Group art collective, with its core project KIMA, exploring relationship between sound and vision. I have been drawn to sound art, studied sound therapy specifically as I wanted to understand how sound affects us, and embraced continuous sound practice as part of my every day rituals but also as part of my performance practice. And finally I have brought my poetry into the center of my art practice and started working actively with voice all this has changed my work immensely. I have recently published my first artist’s book of poetry - “Do we have a common language? “ and got new passion for making unique books and editions. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I have lived in London for the past 10 years, I moved around a lot, living in many different neighbourhoods this gave me a real sense of the diverse and vibrant nature of the arts across the city. As London changes and areas get gentrified, artists and younger galleries move quickly continuously discovering new places. I love how one can always find hidden gems in London. I recently stayed with a friend in South East London and found myself suddenly immersed into South London scene which is quite different in character and the social background against which artists are working. This variety is incredibly inspirational and enriching.
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In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? There is a lot of confusion what art is and what role artists should play in society, now that most relationships in our life and arts have become commercialised. How can an artist meaningfully contribute to culture? Art has always been political in a broad sense, but become very politicized on the one hand and on the other it is gradually becoming absorbed into the material and entertainment consumption machine. In these circumstances what is left to art? What is art in the face of these tendencies? What I would like to see is more artists asking bigger questions. Perhaps working closer with researchers, innovators, scientists, dreamers who are engaged in creating alternative systems which will ultimately change society. I have been part of these groups and participated in discussions and there are plenty of creative people who are shaping our culture. However these new movements often lack artists, who can make their voices heard by the majority. In principle art is the perception apparatus of humanity, the eyes, the ears, it has ability to sense the need for
changes. But art is of course also the voice of the new and its role is to reinvent, find appropriate language to express new ideas and help materialise them. What is the best book you’ve recently read? ‘How to stop time’ by Matt Haig. At the moment I am researching time, its perception in our culture nowadays and throughout history. I am fascinated by how time is intangible as a mental construct but can be experienced through our senses in a highly subjective way. I only read an occasional fiction book my reading is usually around specific research subjects. This novel made me question further our human nature, shifts in culture, the story behind history and our attitudes to things we cannot fully grasp. Our relationship with time, aging, losing loved ones, the fragility of human life in the light of political and social changes on large scale. What struck me in the book is how the idea of intolerance towards things we cannot fully understand is woven into the story. How little we learn from history and how history keeps repeating itself offering us new opportunity to learn the lessons.
What are your future plans? Continue deepening my practice, which integrates various aspects into a coherent body of work. I am also working towards fluidity of my practice, which on the one hand means multiplicity of disciplines and on the other - uninterrupted flow, which I achieve by establishing routines and rituals. I am planning to establish a studio in Portugal and will be based between Portugal and UK. I am working on improving the financial sustainability of my art practice, looking for a gallery to represent my work and support my artistic development. With my husband we are in the process of creating a village in Portugal, which will be organized on the principle of a community of like-minded people. I see my role within this entity as founder of a ‘Cultural Centre’ grown from grassroots. Culture is where we are, culture is us, it is not something that is put away in museums, art galleries, theatres. I believe that the real source of culture is within every human being and community I see there is need in identifying new centres of art and culture which could be physically located in alternative places to big cities.
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Robyn Hepburn Street, UK
I am South African, studied Fine Art & Design in Belfast, and now live in Somerset. Since leaving university I started SweetSilver, my jewellery brand, selling from craft galleries and fairs. Not content with just making jewellery that consumers will buy, I have recently been seeking to blur the boundaries between jewellery, silversmithing, and art. Thus looking for opportunities to display my artwork in more exciting exhibitions. The appreciation of nature and humanity’s place in it, my long-enjoyed addiction to children’s literature, and a minute observation of people I never meet, inspire my work. My jewellery, cutlery, and sculptures tell snippets of stories and comment on humanity, identity, and community. The playfulness and humour in the work semi-conceal undertones of loneliness and depression. Each piece is made using hand-tools and traditional methods - no machines or computers!
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Briefly describe the work you do. My work spans the realms of the practical: silversmithing and jewellery, and the conceptual: art and sculpture. Applied art meets fine art. Each piece begins with a concept or message that I wish to convey, then the designing begins. When the design is clear, that’s when I get my hands dirty: using hand-tools and traditional making-techniques I create unique items: jewellery, sculptures, spoons etc. Machines and computers are not involved. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Everyone and everything. Or just about. My family, culture, experiences, beliefs, teachers: they all have their influence on my work. My practice is very personal, in that I put myself - faith, pain, humour, everything - into my creations from the conception of the idea to the finished piece. That’s probably why I find myself so attached to them when they’re complete. How would you describe the art scene in your area? A little sparse. There are many artists and craftspeople in Somerset, but we’re spread out. Events such as Somerset Art Weeks brings them to the surface a little and gives recognition. But there’s little to no largescale enthusiasm: the buzz and bustle of the art scene that one experiences in cities such as Belfast, where I studied, is missing out here in the country. But I am grateful for what there is, and that there is a lovely array of talented artist-craftspeople in the South-West pushing the boundaries of art and craft. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art has expanded in definition over the last few centuries and I think the borders are now very blurry. In the middle, clearly defined, is Fine Art, but branching out from this comes applied art, photography, craft, performance, graffiti…you name it, it’ll be in there somewhere. This has made art more accessible to the masses and more easily available in mainstream media. My own definition of art (an ever-changing one) is that art should have meaning, show skill, provoke thought, and interact with though not necessarily agree with - current opinions and assumptions.
What is the best book you’ve recently read? Just one? May I name a few? “Imagine” by Steve Turner - a book I turn to over and over again; “Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl” by N. D. Wilson - read this if you want your whole perspective on the world to change; And “Again!” by Emily Gravett - I don’t think children’s books are just for children. Name three artists you admire. That’s a difficult question. I don’t think there are any artists (that I have yet come across) who’s lives or lifestyles I particularly admire, but work, well that’s a different story. I cannot get enough of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings, Marcel Duchamp’s work is wonderfully playful, and the movement and beauty of the fingers and toes in the sculptures of F. E. McWilliams is endlessly admirable. What do you like/dislike about the art world? First, I dislike the snobbery that is associated with it, the hierarchy of the different arts, and the widely held belief that art is only for the rich. I dislike the ignorance shown by most people, their desire for skill or shock but not depth and meaning, the unwillingness to be challenged. I dislike that I find myself looking down on some disciplines and labelling them inferior or superior. But I like the freedom, the vast opportunities for play, the way I can express myself without words, through works. I like that the art world is indeed a world: a place unlike the ‘real world,’ a place of escape and madness (the good kind). I like the enormous array of art that exists and the incredible potential for more great art in the future. What are your future plans? Ah, the future, that ties in nicely. I’m currently moving house while over-due to have a baby, so my immediate future involves giving birth, DIY work on the house, breastfeeding, unpacking, and sleepless nights. But then…well, I plan to make astonishing art. Not necessarily to astonish others, but art that astonishes me: I want to go beyond the limits I have set for myself and make work filled to the brim with meaning and skill, overflowing with creativity and fun, and most of all addressing and challenging those current opinions and assumptions I mentioned earlier.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Zoe Sua Kay New York, NY, USA
Born in Lisbon, Portugal, I currently live in New York City with my studio based in Jersey City. My paintings are large scale, hyperrealistic renditions of microscopic sections of human skin, which serve as an investigation of emotional and psychological landscapes translated through the visual analysis of flesh. Through â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;close upsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; of skin, I explore the endless fluctuations and subtle intonations of color and temperature found within flesh that are in many ways reflective of the breadth and fragility of human emotion. I am particularly interested in how the magnification of flesh can induce an alternating sense of claustrophobia and desire. Largeness of scale plays a key part in generating a sense of being surrounded by the overbearing presence of another human form.
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Briefly describe the work you do. My paintings are large scale, hyperrealistic renditions of microscopic sections of human skin, which serve as an investigation of emotional and psychological landscapes translated through the visual analysis of flesh. Through ‘close ups’ of skin, I explore the endless fluctuations and subtle intonations of color and temperature found within flesh that are in many ways reflective of the breadth and fragility of human emotion. I am particularly interested in how the magnification of flesh can induce an alternating sense of claustrophobia and desire. Largeness of scale plays a key part in generating a feeling of being surrounded by the overbearing presence of another human form. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? This is really difficult question to answer, as I really don’t feel there is any particular thing that I can point to that has been a recurring influence to my work. I find that my methodology and ideas outdate themselves pretty quickly with each painting I complete. I don’t like looking outside of myself to find inspiration. I believe
in a kind of purity of ‘thought trajectory’, by which i mean that I like how one idea in my mind develops into another by building upon itself, with minimal challenge from outside influences. That’s not to say I’m not influenced by the things I see. However, I guess you could the thing I have pursued the most consistently is sincerity of intention. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? Yes. I am not an expressionistic artist, and while my background is in figurative and representational painting and my work is highly analytical, once I felt that I had mastered sufficient technical skill, this became the tool with which I could pursue ideas that I had about painting skin, using paintings of skin to create experiences beyond the visual. I’m extremely interested in the area of art in which highly refined craft can be the conduit for concept. I think a lot about how to create a haptic experience for the viewer, which in my case can only really be accomplished through very well executed painting. I think of my paintings more like installations and I think a lot about how they
should be presented in a space, either as a unit or individually. My work is very much about our encounters with ourselves, our human carnality and how observation of space has so much influence upon these relationships, i.e, being solitary in a small room with an enormous painting of sticky human skin can be an intensely intimate experience. Almost like being in bed with a stranger. How has your art practice changed over the years? I began my career as a figurative painter. For a long time I worked with a specific model, and my paintings were largely about him and his experiences as a homosexual man who was passed his sexual prime and who was trying to hold onto some kind of ownership over his fading desirability. However when I moved to New York, I no longer had access to him as a model, and I found it difficult to find subjects whose story I wanted to explore, but I still loved painting skin. After a few miserable attempts at continuing with full figure paintings, I began focusing on the nature of skin, on how a painting of skin is a kind of portrait in itself.
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develop a relationship with the discomfort of not knowing or understanding. Everything in art is a question without an answer. For most people that can be a really uncomfortable place to be in. But it can also be revelatory. Our natural human inclination is to find reason in everything, but in art you can forego reason and find some kind of liberation in the suspension of logical reasoning. There is freedom in that. What is the best book you’ve recently read?
How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live in New York and have a studio at a large arts facility in Jersey City with dozens of other artists, so I am fortunate to exist in an extremely vibrant art scene. Having said that I do feel that it can sometimes be an overload. I find myself ducking and dodging a lot of what goes on around me so I don’t drown in other people’s work and develop insecurities about my own. Art is something that demands so much of people, and your encounters with it should never be lackadaisical. But at a certain point I do feel like I have to keep my blinders on so I can stay focused on my own trajectory. I am very lucky to be able to switch in and out at my own leisure. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? Art demands investigation into the intangible, and in that sense it is vital to contemporary culture. It brings to the fore all the shades of life we would not normally encounter in our daily lives. It promotes alternative ways of thinking, seeing and experiencing the world. It also demands that you
It’s not quite a book, but an essay within a series of essays, written by a surgeon called Richard Selzer. The essay is almost a love poem to skin, and in it Selzer talks so beautifully and with such an acute sense of humor about how skin bears the history of a person. Skin as autobiography of a person’s life. His words are the stem of some of the titles of my paintings, as I can not find such perfect analogies myself. Name three artists you admire. I was recently introduced to an artist called Byron Kim and I’m really interested in what he’s doing with his explorations of skin. I also have an ongoing love affair with the work of Jenny Saville, although I’m not sure on how she plans to move forward with her paintings without re-hashing the same painterly tropes she’s developed. The third is a friend of mine whose work, in my opinion, really epitomizes the perfect symbiosis of skill, concept and atmosphere, which is extremely difficult to do. His name is Shanghai Kevin Yu. What are your future plans? My future plans are to continue producing work and exhibiting them. I’m still very much in the beginning stages of my career, so I’m working towards finding my audience and platform.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
I was born in Russia, grew up in Ukraine and now call China home. I graduated from professional college in Khmelnitsky, Ukraine (major “fine art “) in 2007, and from from Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, China (major “fashion media”), in 2014. I have been living and developing as an artist in Beijing for the last eight years. My major exhibitions took place both in China and in Ukraine, and my artworks belong to numerous private collections in China, Ukraine, France, UK, Italy, USA, Russia etc. My art is greatly inspired by Buddhism as philosophy and religion, as well as by Western minimalism. Through my art, I explore complexity and simplicity, chaos and balance, movement and tranquility, transiency and infinity. One of my projects, DYWWA, consists in bringing ancient printing technique of woodcut closer to contemporary public. On the other hand, my core art process consists in meditative drawing in Chinese ink, which permits me to learn endlessly rich possibilities of the medium and simultaniously build my conceptual reflection.
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Art Reveal Magazine
Briefly describe the work you do. My everyday passion is minimalist art. I create drawings in Chinese ink on paper and woodcut prints on textile. I dedicate lots of time to experimenting with techniques, as I’m constantly looking for the most suitable ways to express my ideas. I am greatly inspired by Buddhism and consider my art practice as my personal meditation. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Kazemir Malevich, he has been my inspiration for a long time, but recently his influence became even more deeper and stronger. Long time ago,even before my art path has started, I was greatly inspired by Salvador Dali, whos way of doing art, understanding or art and art business and that significant self-confidence, were really inspiring for me. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? I think if one takes art more seriously and doesn’t treat it as a hobby, than he or she is a conceptual artist. My art is conceptual indeed. How has your art practice changed over the years? My art is changing all the time, as I constantly exploree Chinese ink and its possibilities. And even thought medium of my art hasn’t change much, my style and aesthetic are changing continuously. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I’m based in Beijing, and art scene here is very wide and very messy. One can find here whatever art he or she wants, as there are thousands and thousands of different galleries in the city. Curators often bring exhibitions from all over the world, so Chinese art here is mixed with art all over the world. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? For me, art is a way of communication and exploration of different topics, and, in case of abstract art, - emotions. To tell you the truth, I believe that the meaning of art has never really changed over time… What is the best book you’ve recently read? I can’t say that there are best books among those that I’ve recently read. But I’ve been recently listening to 10 hours or so of amazing and very interesting lectures about religions, by Leonig Macih. I would really recommend them. Name three artists you admire. Malevich, Pierre Soulages, Rothko What are your future plans? My everyday plan is to develop myself continually, in my artwork and in my personal understanding of art.
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Art Reveal Magazine
My project is called ‘Mutual Humanity’. I named it after the expression from the analyses of Hannah Arendt’s approach towards Adolf Eichmann in her famous Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report On The Banality Of Evil. It’s a report from trial of a nazi where, firstly - she’d tried to understand his motives, life, personality and then she made a statement that he has to die, mostly, in the name of the general public order and the obligation to worldly - community. Her work raised some controversies. I believe that there is no perfect way or environment to present issues that deal with sensitivity and empathy but it is important to talk about it. ‘Mutual Humanity’ is also a name of my first artwork from this series - it is a social experiment. By conducting it, I try to expose some information about humanity. The idea is to ask people (with a use of online survey) that are sharing everyday location for an anonymous psychological description of their life stories. As a result, people could read all the contributions on a separate website. My next artwork is called ‘Regarding the pain of others’ and is a sonic response to a book written by Susan Sontag. It’s 1min 17 sec long recording of war noises. Made during recent conflicts, in past couple years. During that barely recognisable sound, people have been killed and tortured. It is an artwork about our perceptions of mourning in culture. Next artwork from that series named ‘Body language’ is an abstract painting of bodies. It is harder for our eye to identify bodies when they are mixed with a bodies of other people. This artwork relates to the question behind my ‘Mutual humanity’ experiment. Photograph ‘Crimeophobic homophobic and symbolic’ is a response to crimes committed in Chechnya. The sculpture ‘Lover’ depicts an undeveloped emotional relation.
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Briefly describe the work you do. I’m working across media in text, sound, sculpture, photography and painting. I try to explore themes of empathy, sensitivity and equality. My abstract photographs are usually combined with narrative but all my works are characterised by an emphasised work with light, transparency and unusual composition which leads to increase of ambiguity. My two recent projects are called ‘Mutual humanity’ and ‘Tools’. With the project ‘Tools’ I was photographing sculptures of torture tools from different time periods. The shapes of those objects were complicated and geometrically interesting. A person can not really tell without additional knowledge that those objects are used for torture and that the motives behind this creation are ‘inhuman’. I chose deliberately unsuspicious, organic images to comment on this specific form of creativity. I was deeply inspired by theories by Laura Mulvey and Julia Kristeva at that time but I’m planning to develop my research in the future. I think I like to surprise myself by the work I’m creating. I found it very challenging to work across media but I’m convinced it may contribute to some more objective solutions in terms of the pieces that I’m making. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I value the most my curiosity about life. Due to that fact I’m gathering information from life situations as something essential to my work. I remember being moved by controversy that surrounded Lars Von Trier during the Cannes Film Festival when he was banned from Cannes after his jokes about Nazis or the scandal that surrounded Hannah Arendt when she published Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. It gave me an idea of my main experiment that I conducted this year at Arts Bournemouth University which required an anonymous psychological confession from stuff and students in a form of a survey. After completing it they were able to see their confessions and the confessions of other people on a separate website. They could see what kind of experiences people have. People that they know or they don’t but they exist in the same location. Somewhere next to the person that wrote the confession. I found it really powerful. I wrote my own 500 words life story in that experiment too and it gave me some new insight into my perception of my own life in that particular moment. Politics and recent wars in Ukraine and Syria made me want to focus on a concept of how war can be seen by me and my peers and I thought that maybe there are some ways of working on empathy, however individual the concept of empathy is. It seemed like a field that hasn’t been explored enough and
is impossible to work on or to measure. I might be naive but I like to think that we can keep trying to explore it. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I moved to Bournemouth almost 2 years ago now but it feels like I’m still new in this area. I’m more familiar with Polish institutions. In Bournemouth I met a lot of courageous and open minded artists and saw a lot of good work in the making so I’m convinced that the future generations of artists will definitely continue to challenge the art world. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I don’t think that the idea of art in culture drastically changed in this century. It can be seen as many things as a source of information, wisdom, entertainment or aesthetic pleasure. There is always going to be a need for a creativity. What is the best book you’ve recently read? Poems by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Three artists you admire. My most vivid memory with realising that I want to continue to work as an artist was discovering the works of Luc Tuymans. The process of investigation that I found there and the way he approaches his subjects reminded me of the journalistic aspirations that I had as a young girl. After discovering his work art appeared to me as something that can help me to sustain the liveliness of curiosity. Then I discovered Sophie Calle. The way she works helped me to deal with trauma. In those works I found something priceless. An awareness of life. It is obvious to me that art may convey some truths that are unspeakable. I’m also an admirer of paintings by Victor Man, there is something very timeless and personal about his works. What are your future plans? I’m excited to develop my own practice, it seems like there are so many fields that I have to explore. This time my plans are closer to creating some films and music which is something completely new to me. I’m also working on rediscovering painting once again but I have never felt that I’m in a rush. I’m usually satisfied with couple of paintings out of hundreds that I’m creating. I have two upcoming exhibitions that I’m working on. Hopefully, I go back to working on my past projects ‘Mutual Humanity’ and ‘Tools’. Creating those felt like a start of something new.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Photography by Stefanos Tsakiris
Thodoris Trampas Athens, Greece
Thodoris Trampas was born in 1991 in Devonport, Australia and he comes from Serres. In 2010 he was admitted in the School of Fine Arts in Athens where he studied painting under distinguished professors like Giannis Psychopaidis. He graduated with honors in 2015. He completed cycles of workshops such as courses on video art-multimedia, photography, design and engraving, as well as a three-year performance seminar by Emilia Βouriti. He is a scholarship holder of the Master program: “Education Sciences-Special Education” of the University of Nicosia. He cooperated with MAI (Marina Abramovic Institute) and NEON (Culture and Development Organization) for the Long Duration Performance in Greece at the Benaki Museum. Thodoris Trampas is a visual artist who has been working with performance art and installation in space. He searches the limits inside and outside the body; while it moves, it generates some pace which affects its relation to space, and makes natural sounds which sometimes interrupt and sometimes connect the constant flow. He also uses modern life items and materials such as trash bags and nylon, together with organic materials such as soil and water. He changes the properties of the said materials to give them certain meanings, related mostly to the concerns of the human and of today’s society in general. Through improvisation and free movement he lets respiration get into every cell, recall memories, awaken existence. Through experiential reality, he aims to highlight the human condition as an endless effort to balance within an “area” which is constantly changing in space and time.
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Photography by Panos Kokkinias
When, how and why started your art practice? Everything started when I realized I am only interested in painting. I remember when I was a little kid my parents used to encourage and support me, even until I made my first steps as an artist. I would like to thank them! Then, in 2010, I began my studies in Athens School of Fine Arts with specialization in painting. During the period 2012-2013, while a third-year student, I discovered performance, through a workshop conducted by the School, which I attended for four subsequent years, until the end of my studies. From then, I am mostly occupied with it, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seem to exist without performance and I cannot imagine my life without it. I found what I really am, a way to express my deepest feelings in front of people, to sense the moment of creation with their participation. (http://thodoristrampas.com/biography/) How would you describe the art scene in your area? I would rather say that it is a good period for art, despite the difficulties Greece faces at the moment at a social and political-economic level. In Athens, new platforms for new artists emerge for the promotion of contemporary art. However, there is a lack
of financial support to artistic works and the absence of national institutions and organizations open to new proposals. What is the most challenging part about working with installation and performance? The most difficult part that takes the best of me is to keep the spontaneity of the first moment, during the performance process. I do not give up the unconscious and maybe asynchronous motion of the body in favor of the concept over a thought or stimulus. In essence, installations emerge either from action or from the material I use and are there from the beginning to support it. Installation and performance function as a set. Most of the times, the installation I create is like an imprint of the performance that stays behind to remind of the uniqueness of the moment. If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why? I really love and spend most of my time for my art. I would say my art is my life, so I cannot imagine myself in anything else. Hence,
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Photography by Stefanos Tsakiris
I could engage in cooking and pastry, maybe because they involve both the element of creation, fantasy and occupation with various materials. What is your creative process like? The most important stage of my creative process is observation. I observe what happens around me, I filter those events through emotion and I feel what they leave inside me. I then proceed to the artistic process; this is the source of the creation of the artistic work. In this initial feeling I begin to go deep down, going as deep as it gets, which is very painful sometimes, and in essence the personal experience, which I am engaged with and with which I continue is hidden there. Then, in a mysterious way materials find me or I find them, which is an integral part of some performances. After some testing and experimenting, the project emerges and as I already mentioned above, at this point I pay attention not to lose the spontaneous feeling in the beginning of the creation. If I feel that in the middle of the creation this feeling is taken aside or becomes unrealistic, I stop. Because what I love in performance is its originality and that everything begins and ends at the same moment.
What are you working on right now? Nowadays I present my new work entitled “Indestructible” (Aftharto) in the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in the context of the Inspire Project 2017 festival. This work is a modular performance which consists of three performances on the same subject concerning soul and death. I quote from Plato (Phaidon 10E) “Then when death comes to a man, his mortal part, it seems, dies, but the immortal part goes away unharmed and undestroyed, withdrawing from death”. The work will continue to be presented as a video installation until 17th September. What are your future plans as an artist? One of my direct future plans is the completion of the Long-durational performance documentary, which is eventually being completed after a year of live presentation for the audience. For its completion a kickstarter campaign was created and at this point I would like to thank you warmly for the republication on the website of your magazine.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Photography by Stefanos Tsakiris
Reis Turnbull Belfast, UK
Reis was born in Belfast, UK. She lives and works in Bangor. Reis has recently earned a BA in Fine Art Printmaking from The Ulster University. She seeks to find the point at which science becomes art or when art in fact becomes a science. Using petri dishes as her canvas she experiments with solutions to create patterns and movements with magnets which then evaporate overtime leaving the stains and residue on the surface of the dishes, a result of accident leading to something unexpected. She continues to research new ideas through experimentation and materials. Reis exhibits her work internationally including The United Kingdom, Washington and Finland. Reis uses the tools and techniques of science in her creative process to make art informed by science. The artwork explores the relationship between art and science, specifically observation, experimentation, method and calibration. She is driven by the curiosity of how scientific process can be used to produce artwork that emphasizes creative aspects of the disciplines working together. Further to this she seeks to find the point at which science becomes art or when art in fact becomes a science. This began with the use of bacterial cultures and food dyes which developed further as an inspiration for mirroring the natural process and manipulating it to achieve desired outcomes. Through trial and error the process has been refined, using various methods to produce an effect that pays homage to the natural processes initially experimented with. This technique has led to the use of gelatine, ferro fluid, toner inks and selective exposure to produce a range of textures and colours.
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Art Reveal Magazine
the art scene in the city is fast developing with numerous art platforms and arts funding. In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I think art serves as a measure of the times and in our current era the sheer diversity of art forms reflects our progression to able to express ourselves in so many different ways and in this way, reflects the diversity of our modern society. Name three artists you admire Three Artists that inspire me are Laura Katherine McMillan, Lisa Payton and Marc Quinn. What are your future plans? Having recently graduated I feel I am at the beginning of my career. I am currently working towards an upcoming exhibition in Seacourt print workshop as well as exploring my options for further exhibitions. I plan on experimenting further with new printing techniques along with exploring Interactive Installation based art to diversify my practice to create new perspective for the viewer.
Briefly describe the work you do Using petri dishes as my canvas I create the subjects of my print work. I mostly do this by mixing ferrofluid, toner inks and gelatine then exposing the mixture to different temperatures and air conditions to produce random images based on the varying viscosity of the mixtures. I aim to produce unique images with each mixture as the process mirrors experimentation which is one of my major influences. The elements I use and how they interact with each other is an important role for the final outcome of my image. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice I was first inspired by germs of all things. I began my first forays into my current artwork by creating my own bacterial cultures to produce various images under various conditions. This further developed into my current method which is to use my own â&#x20AC;&#x153;experimentationâ&#x20AC;? to produce my work.
Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? To a certain extent the whole nature of my work is a balance between my aim to create an art piece which is produced by my own methods to evoke scientific experimentation but also the random outcome of the processes I use to create it. Sometimes the concept is left far behind due to the nature of the print making process but generally I feel I convey my concept, whether in my prints or in my installation pieces. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Originally I am from Bangor, in Northern Ireland, where every year there is a craft month celebrating local talent with fairs, open studios and art demonstrations in all types of art and craft shops and local opportunities. The print studio I am based out of, Seacourt Print Workshop, is also located in Bangor and attracts many local artists. Having Studied in the Belfast Art College
Wei Tan a.k.a.
Tatawa Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tatawa (Wei Tan, b. Malaysia, 1991) is a mixed-media abstract artist. With a background in music composition, she completed her Master’s degree in Music Technology at New York University. In summer 2015, while developing work on image-based experimental sound art, Tatawa started exploring the world of abstract painting – first collaborating with her teacher Gina Bonati and then experimenting on her own, drawing inspirations from the great Abstract Expressionists to today’s cross-disciplinary, multimedia artists. Since then she has become a full-time artist and has exhibited in New York, London, Florence, and Berlin. Tatawa’s art is an act of self-revelation through improvisation. Each artwork is a journal entry where outer influences are purged and inner responses are confessed. Like making soup, materials are thrown onto the canvas and mixed together through spontaneous gesture. Often a period of mindless doodling is carried out before the painting emerges with an unexpected coherence. Influences of sight and sound are exposed: the colour of a coffee mug, the shape of a distant hill, the meow of a cat, the piano playing next door. The process of improvisation allows each layer of influence to be shredded until the limitation of habit is revealed. This limitation is then challenged so that each painting is a set of broken habits. Tatawa’s commitment to authenticity results in an inconsistency in style. Each day a new character emerges and the old one disappears like shredding skin. The only constant is the desire to truthfully express the fluctuation of current states.
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When, how and why you started your art practice? In the last year of my Master’s in Music Technology in New York, I started to experiment with image-based sound work. I programmed an instrument called “Palette” - it detects live painting movements with a camera and translates them into aspects of sound. It was very primitive but it satisfied my urge to “paint sound”. At that time I was also taking a sound therapy course - and for my final project I designed a group therapy that allows people to draw on a large sheet of paper while listening to music I composed. It turned out to be a very cathartic therapy. Soon I noticed that I was doing all these things that
are related to art, when what I really wanted was to make art itself! I looked for abstract painting lessons online and found this amazing teacher, Gina Bonati, whom I then began to have lessons with at her beautiful East Village apartment. Our lessons grew into a duet project, and over the course of two months we made over 10 large collaborative paintings. When Gina had to leave New York to pursue her dance studies, she gave me permission to use her apartment as a studio. That was when I officially started being a solo artist I made a large number of small works on paper. Then I moved to London, Berlin, and Kuala Lumpur and continued to paint and exhibit.
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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice?
Name three artists you admire.
My teacher Gina still is a large influence on my artistic style. She taught me improvisation, variation of gesture, and true spontaneity. Gina herself is a multidisciplinary artist - a painter, dancer, singer, and actor. Despite our large cultural and age gap we have similar tastes in art - for example we both love Abstract Expressionism. Sometimes when I find myself stuck in the middle of a painting, I still ask myself “what would Gina do?” Music is also a lasting influence on my art. I often listen to music while I paint to induce movement. As a music composer I find myself composing artworks in a similar fashion, looking for tension and release, disruption and harmony, contrast and homogeneity.
Cy Twombly for how he makes his scribbles so natural and atmospheric, Helen Frankenthaler for her “relaxed” formations and exhalations of colour, and Egon Schiele for how he creates such powerful intensity in his minimalistic portraits. I like paintings that are loose and tensed at the same time.
How do you know when the art is finished? I know my art is finished when I see something that surprises me - something that I wouldn’t expect to have come from me, something that I don’t recognise. This is because I am constantly trying to discover new expressions of myself. I feel a great sense of satisfaction and achievement when I see a new composition, gesture, form or colour. I also aim for a sense of naturalness and effortlessness - which is quite difficult to produce deliberately. It usually takes a temporary loss of control and a bit of luck to make a great finishing touch to a painting. What is the most important item in your studio? I don’t think there is a most important item in my studio. I work quite haphazardly with materials so I like to use whatever is available to me at the moment. For example this depends on what material is available in the local store, what the artist residency provides, or what the art school provides. I also like exchanging materials with other people (studio mates, teachers, artists-in-residence etc.) - in this way I get to vary my artwork in a way that I am unable to by just using my own material. So I would say that the most important item in my studio is the one that is not mine.
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? I think art in contemporary culture means questioning our perception of what is beautiful and ugly. It is about understanding why we like what we like, and why we don’t like what we don’t like. By doing so we will not only develop a deeper connection with things and people, but also cultivate a more authentic expression in our work and in life. Our perceptions are so governed by our upbringing and culture - what we see growing up dictates what we make now. I think it is important to shred these habits and never stop shredding them. Only by doing so will we grow constantly as an artist and allow new things to come in. As soon as we stop questioning ourselves, we start repeating ourselves. What is the best book you’ve recently read? The best book I’ve recently read was Charles Saatchi’s “Be the Worst You Can Be: Life’s Too Long for Patience and Virtue”. It is a collection of questions and answers with Charles Saatchi. Saatchi’s satirical tone and quirky answers are both entertaining and thought-provoking. The topics range from criticisms of today’s art world to commentaries on life and relationships. What are your future plans? I am currently applying for an artist visa for Berlin. Hopefully by the end of this year I will start working there. I will be focusing on developing my abstract paintings while experimenting with sculpture on the side. In the far future I hope to be travelling and working between Asia and Europe, as I would like to maintain a connection with both cultures.
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Anett Udud Dublin, Ireland
Art has always been one of the most important things in my life. I have been drawing and painting since I can remember, and three years ago I started experimenting with a camera and Photoshop as well, as I was looking for other, more effective ways to express myself. In my opinion my work can be described as conceptual fine art photography. In my free time, I like reading, so my images are often influenced by books I have read, mainly fairy tales and stories about fantasy and reality. I often look at paintings as well, to find inspiration, while creating my own pictures. I believe, looking at my work, the impact of this medium is apparent: my pictures are very “painterly”, the overall colour tone of them is highly manipulated, there are no real blacks or whites, the mid-tones are very dominant. I often add fog to my pictures in post-production, which helps me create a dream-like scene as most of the time I visualise ideas from my imagination. I think, in my case, in order to create a strong and effective image, post-production is vital. I believe, my photographic work is coherent, mainly because of the look of my images and the themes I use, namely: dreams, fairy tales, death, re-birth, depression, self-expression, loneliness and identity. Also, my images are always staged because I want to be in control of how my image will look like. I always use a model (or myself), but as I want people to be able to relate to my work, I often cover the face in some ways, indicating that the model is not as important as the message I want to convey. One of the most common theme in my work is depression. Very close friends of mine are fighting with this illness and I have decided to create images based on their experiences. I feel like mental illnesses and depression is sort of “romanticized” on social media to the point where it is almost a positive, interesting, desirable thing to have which I don’t think is right at all. The reason I often use mental illness as a theme in my work is that I would like to show how serious it is, and to encourage people not to be afraid asking for help. Another theme I often go back to is loneliness. I have moved from Hungary to Ireland four years ago, and at the beginning I was incredibly lonely. However it was probably the hardest period of my life, I believe my experiences helped me became the person who I am now. As a photographer I learned to find inspiration in every aspects of my life. I often take self-portraits. I have always been fascinated by the human being, and how much a portrait can say without words. I knew I wanted to express myself through portraiture but when I started photography, I was too self-conscious to ask anyone to be my model. At the beginning photographing myself was rather for a practical reason, but it quickly became my “diary”, a very strong part of my work. I am enjoying taking self-portraits, mostly because I get inspiration for my images from my own experiences. Through my images, I want to show feelings which are very hard to define, so I feel like the picture can only be “real” if I am the model.
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When, how and why started your art practice? Art has always been one of the most important things in my life. I have been drawing and painting since I can remember; I think the inspiration came from my grandmothers. Both of my grannies are very good at drawing and handicraft, their passion about art was a real encouragement to me to start drawing when I was little and it became a huge part of my life (without even realising it). I got more serious about drawing and painting in primary school, mainly because I had an amazing art teacher, who gave me all the help I needed to further develop my skills. Friday was my favourite day in primary school, because I attended an extra-curricular art group with my best friend every week. We usually stayed after classes for hours until late afternoon, because the atmosphere was great (we all became friends very quickly), our teacher was very helpful and gave us all the help and support we needed, and last but not least we were provided with all the art equipments, and we had the chance to try them, which (for me as a child) was amazing and very encouraging. This was the first time I tried to push my boundaries and learnt how important it is to try new things and be creative. I am very grateful for those sessions, because that was the first step towards my future as an artist, even though
I didn’t know that back then. During my eight years in primary school I regularly entered art competitions and I usually went home with an award. It was an amazing experience, mainly because it gave me confidence in myself and my work. I also had the chance to travel around Hungary (where I lived) and attend the award ceremonies, where I could meet with other artists and art curators, which was an amazing experience at such a young age (I was only 10-13 at the time). I went to secondary school when I was 14 and, as I got very busy with my studies I didn’t have much time to focus on art anymore. Another factor was that I wasn’t enjoying my art classes very much. The curriculum was much stricter, we were told what we had to draw and we had one or two hours to complete the given task. Most of my assignments were still-life, which I never enjoyed doing. Art remained my passion during my years in secondary school all the same, I was practicing at home, whenever I had time to do so. Photography became my other passion during these years as well. I never liked parties and club music, but I loved concerts and live music where I could actually see my favourite artists on stage. I got a job so I could save money and attend concerts in Europe. I felt like the world opened up for me, I saw how huge it is with all the possibilities around me. I wanted to document my trips so I took pictures of the places
I visited. It was just a hobby back then, I didn’t even think about it as something I could do in the future. My life has changed completely in 2013, when I decided to move from Hungary to Ireland. Previously I visited this country a lot and I have fallen in love with it. Although it was the biggest adventure of my life (and now I can say probably the best decision I have ever made), the first few months were extremely hard and emotional. That was when I decided to go back to photography as I felt like I needed a tool to express my feelings so it will be easier to deal with them. I got my first professional camera and started experimenting with it. From the start I felt like taking pictures of things which were literally in front of me and creating “realistic” pictures are not what I was looking for. I was never satisfied with the finished work. I had loads of ideas mainly from my imagination I wanted to create, but I felt like I can’t turn these pictures in my head into reality just with the camera. I was looking for more effective ways to express myself, so I started using Photoshop to edit my images. I have fallen in love with the programme immediately. I knew, as soon as I started using Photoshop, I will be able to express myself the way I always wanted to, so I watched hundreds of videos and tutorials almost every day for a year to learn how to use the tools effectively. I was experimenting every day, made mistakes,
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started it all over again and made more mistakes. It was a very exciting journey, I enjoyed every minute of it, as I was doing something I was passionate about and learnt something from every mistakes I made during this time. After a year of learning and experimenting, I felt confident enough to finally start working on my ideas and turn them into reality. Every time a picture-idea came to my mind just closed my eyes for a minute, got a piece of paper and drew a picture of it, so by the time I started photographing I had a whole book full of sketches. In the “centre” of all of my pictures there is a model. I have always been fascinated by the human being, and how much a portrait can say without words. I knew from the start of my art practise that I wanted to express myself through portraiture but when I started photography, I was too self-conscious to ask anyone to be my model. As I mentioned before I moved from Hungary to Ireland and I had a hard time making friends at the beginning, so basically I had no one I could have asked to be my model. The other reason was that I wasn’t confident enough in my skills as I was still learning, and I felt like I wouldn’t have been able to work free from pressure if I asked someone to be my model. I thought the person would have wanted to see the finished work and I didn’t want to feel like I had to please someone. I wanted to create my own vision so I started taking self-portraits.
It was very handy because I could take the pictures any time I wanted and it was much easier to create the picture in my head as I knew exactly what kind of mood I wanted to show, so I could position myself and change the facial expressions accordingly. At the beginning photographing myself was rather for a practical reason, but it quickly became my “diary”, a very strong part of my work. For now I can say I am confident enough to ask other people to be my models and I am very much enjoying these shoots. I sort of know when an idea comes to my mind if it will be a self-portrait or I want someone else to be my model. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? One of my hobbies is reading, so my images are often influenced by books I have read. I have loved reading since I was little, I am that kind of person who can read for hours and can get lost in a book completely. One of the most prominent books from my childhood were definitely the Harry Potter-series. I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when I was 11 and it had a huge influence on me. I am a big fan of the books ever since, as I have basically grown up with the characters of the story, and reading these books I experienced at the first time, what it is like when you simply can’t put a book down.
I remember when I was reading the Harry Potter-series at the first time, I didn’t want to do anything until I finished them and I stayed up all night reading every time a new one came out. These books showed me how amazing reading is, and how much you can learn from a story. I feel like the Harry Potter-series sort of defined what kind of books I enjoy the most; I read many other books in the genre of science fiction and fantasy and, although I am 24 years old now, they are still my favourite. I love fairy tales as well, because in my mind they are pictures painted with words and they gave me loads of inspiration for my photography practise. I believe, looking at my images influence of books and fairy tales can be seen. I always go back to the theme of fantasy and reality, and through my images, I like to play with the idea of things as they actually are and can be seen and experienced, and things which exist in only our imagination. (Reading also helped me improved my English a lot, as I have been reading books in English only since I was 16. First it was only because I wanted to learn the language, but for now I feel like the story loses something from its magic if it is translated to another language.) My very first photo series, Lost in a Dream based on the novel, Alice in Wonderland by Carroll Lewis. When I was a little girl, my mam read this book for me and it absolutely
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freaked me out. Falling into another, strange world not knowing anyone, not even knowing where Alice is, terrified me. Since then I have re-read the story and a part of me, that little girl inside, still finds it scary. My memories, more like feelings, came back reading the story many years later. It was so inspiring, I wanted to embrace and express these feelings and visualise this strange world the way I imagined it. Through my images I show the story from a completely different point of view: What would it be like to be lost in a dream? Is it real or is it just in your head? This was the first time I asked someone else to be my model. When the idea came to my mind I knew straight away I wanted my sister to be my model. I felt like it is very important, because although my sister is a grown up woman now, she will always be my little sister and represent the innocence in this world. I think passion about reading and books gave me a perspective for my work as well. As I mentioned before I always use a model for my pictures, who can be identified as “the main character of my story”. I want to show my vision through my character’s eyes, the same way when reading a book and “experience” everything through the lead character. I often look at paintings as well to find inspiration, while creating my pictures or even before I start a project, to define how I will achieve a certain look and create a mood through my image. I believe, looking at my work, the impact of this medium is apparent: my pictures are very “painterly”, the overall colour tone of them is highly manipulated, there are no real blacks or whites, the mid-tones are very dominant. I often add fog to my pictures in post-production, which helps me create a dream-like scene as most of the time I visualise ideas from my imagination. I believe I decided to do fine art and work with Photoshop a lot, because of my passion about painting. When I started using the programme I was surprised how similar it is to physically painting with brushes and actual paint. The idea of mixing the two media by editing my raw pictures in Photoshop gave me endless possibilities as an artist. Another very important influence on my photos are my own feelings and experiences. I often talk to my family and friends and use their experiences to get inspiration for new projects as well. Very close friends of mine are fighting with depression and I have decided to create the series, Bubblewrap based on their experiences. I feel like mental illnesses and depression is sort of “romanticized” on social media to the point where it is almost a positive, interesting, desirable thing to have which I don’t think is right at all. I know it is a subject people tend to ignore even without knowing much about it, so I would like to show how serious it is, and encourage people not to be afraid asking for help. It is very important for me to create my pictures based on things I can completely relate to, because I feel like, as my images are
conceptual, the story behind them is extremely important, and this is the only way I can create something “real”. Photography is not only my tool to express myself, it is a sort of therapy for me, a way I deal with bad things. As my images are very dark people often describe them as “odd” and “creepy”, thinking I must be sad, which is not true at all. Even though looking at my images at the first time could give people the impression of sadness and loneliness, the message I want to convey is always positive.
How would you describe the art scene in your area? Is this possible to compare somehow Hungary and Ireland? I would say I am not the right person to give an opinion or compare the art scenes in Hungary and Ireland, as I studied Art and History of Art in primary and secondary school in Hungary, and did my photography studies in college in Ireland. I started doing photography as something more than just a hobby in Ireland and had my first group exhibition in this country. I have to say I definitely got a chance to have more exposure in Ireland and other European countries (for example one of my images was part of a group exhibition in Rome last month, and two of my pictures will be display on a three days exhibition in London, organized by Sweet ‘Art in September), than in Hungary. I feel like fine art, photo manipulation and other, rather artistic aspects of photography is something quite new in Hungary, so it takes time for people to accept it as a form of art, therefore I think at the moment, as a fine art photographer, I don’t have many opportunities to show my work in Hungary. In my opinion, based on my personal experiences, education with more opportunities
for self-expression should be given to students (starting from a young age). The curriculum should be a little bit more open-minded, so it would be enjoyable to students and would give them the chance to try different things and decide what they are interested in. As I mentioned it before I had a great experience in primary school, mainly because I had a great art teacher and I attended an art group every week. As far as I know the same session was held with another teacher on a different day every week. Students attended that session didn’t enjoy it as much as we did, because they had to create what their teacher told them to, so I believe making a difference, guide students and give them the chance to express themselves highly depends on the teachers, and I think this statement is true everywhere, not just in Hungary. My success in art competitions and all the positive feedback I got in primary school gave me confidence in myself and I didn’t only loved art but I felt like I had the chance to be a successful painter. When my teachers asked me what I wanted to do after finishing school I told everyone I wanted to be a painter. Most of the time I got a discouraging answer, saying I would never be successful as a painter and I should be thinking about going into another direction and do art as a hobby. I know they only kept my interest in mind and tried to help me, but I do think teachers should encourage students to be whatever they want to be. There might be certain career fields where you have to try much harder to be successful and earn money, but I believe everything is possible if you believe in yourself and don’t give up on your dreams. I had a chance to go to exhibitions and talk to other photographers in Ireland, when I started college last year. Although, as I send my work to galleries and magazines online, I don’t really see the advantages and disadvantages of my location as such, but I do feel like for me as an artist this country is the perfect place to be, because it gives me loads of opportunities to get exposure and recognition in the art world. I also got loads of help and advice from my lecturers, which I am very grateful for, because as a new artist their experience was something I needed, especially when I started promoting my work. I felt like even if they gave me negative feedback on my projects sometimes, they always offered help to overcome the problems, and they pushed me to become a better artist this way. All in all I have to say, I get opportunities for exhibitions and publications from Ireland and others countries rather than Hungary. I think fine art photography is still something very new in the art world and many people still don’t accept it as a form of photography. I believe I have a unique style and my work is different from general photographic work as such. I got more recognition and exposure in areas where this kind of art is accepted and I think it is just a matter of finding the right place and platform for my art work.
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In your opinion what does photography mean in contemporary culture? I think photography definitely means the opportunity of self-expression more than anything else in contemporary culture. Although the question is always relevant: is photography art or just a tool for documentation? As a fine art photographer I am very happy about how much photography as an art form improved and developed in the last decade. I think, considering how rapidly technology improving nowadays, more and more people will see the opportunity of creativity and uniqueness in photography as such. Although in my experience in certain areas conceptual photography and photo manipulation is still not widely accepted and practiced. I do think that most of the time the fact that an image is Photoshopped is associated with bad photography. I personally was never criticized for my images being highly manipulated, but I saw people commenting on other photographer’s work, saying the photographer should learn how to take pictures so they wouldn’t need to manipulate the image so much in post-production. Although generally speaking my work might be closer to some kind of visual art than photography, the reason I use Photoshop is not the lack of my technical skills. The reason is that I feel like by editing my pictures I can visualize my ideas in my head and turn them into reality and fully express myself, and I am sure many other people feel the same way. I remember when I was growing up, in my family, photography was for documenting the most important moments of our lives, to remember them the way we experienced them. It was simply a tool to record what was in front of us. I am glad that in the last few years photography became something more, and I hope it will keep improving as an art form. What is the best book you’ve recently read? The best book I have recently read is definitely A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, which I just finished two days ago, although this wasn’t the first time I have read it. I bought this book 6-7 years ago, when I was in secondary school. I started reading it in the morning and couldn’t put it down until I finished it in one sitting. It remained one of my favourite books ever since and I have re-read it since then several times. The book is about a boy, Connor whose mother is fighting with cancer. A monster visits him one night to tell him three stories, and after its stories Conor has to tell his own. The monster slowly reveals the truth about how the boy feels, even though he is trying to hide the truth even from himself. The story is very dark and mysterious, Patrick Ness created a unique, sort of unsettling atmosphere through the whole book, which makes it unputdownable. At the end (without saying too much, and ruin it for those who have not read it, but who are intend to do
so) Conor has to confront his nightmare and admit the truth to himself in order to be able to deal with it and carry on with his life, without letting the unchangeable events break him completely. I think it is needless to say that the ending is heart breaking and leaves me in tears every time. One of the main reasons this is one of my favourite books (beside the amazing writing, and compelling and unique story) is that the monster is a metaphore. Basically the whole story was created by Connor, because he had to face certain situations and feelings he had never experienced before. I believe my photographic work is very similar to this approach as I often use negative experiences to create a piece. I could say photography is my ‘monster’ I create every time I have to face a hard situation, in order to deal with it. For me it is very important that people can relate to my pictures. I often cover the face of the person I am photographing in some way, indicating that the model is not as important as the message I want to convey. I have always loved fantasy books, where the writer has the possibility to create a whole new world without the limits of the real world. The endless possibilities and the mystical, dark atmosphere in these books have always amazed me. I believe photography gives me the possibility to create the same mood by building and capturing my own fantasy world without having to say or write a word. My art is often associated with death and sadness, because of my style of photography. I certainly want to create a sense of loneliness and darkness thorough my images to make people think about the story behind the image in front of them, but I also want to show that bad experiences and feelings are unavoidable and necessary to develop, grow and shape as a human being. These things make us humans, make us who we are. I think A Monster Calls is the perfect example of that and shows
that darkness and strange are not necessary bad things. This book gave me an idea for my final college project as well. I had to present a project called “Possessions” at the end of my college year, and I was struggling to find the right idea to start with. I was very happy when I was given the task because it was completely up to me how to approach it. It was the first time during completing my studies I felt like I could do what I really liked and put my personal style and ideas into my project. I definitely wanted to stay “true to myself” and instead of shooting actual objects, physical possessions, I would have liked to create something rather metaphorical. A Monster Calls gave me the idea of Letting go Possessions. Through my project I showed that exact moment when people realise that something or someone is gone and never going to come back, either because they have no other choice or willingly let go of something because they know that it is for the best. The first thing I had to determine before I even started shooting was what the possession is in my project. My “possession” was the human being, the human mind, how experiences, memories make the person who they are. I approached the subject from a different point of view: possessions are important because of sentimental reasons, they are more than just objects: they are memories, experiences, symbols of friendship, love, loss, success. In the centre of each image there was a simple object, a possession as such, but they were representing the reason what makes an object so important: the experience or the memory behind it. As I definitely wanted to shoot these metaphorical scenes it was very hard to keep the consistency throughout completing the project. At the end I decided to use actual paint and paint a line running over each of my images. At the end of the year we all presented our project and I got many positive feedback and comments which I was very grateful for. All in all I feel like A Monster Calls inspired not just this project but keeps inspiring me all the time. It is one of my all time favourites, because it is very similar to my style as a photographer in terms of mood and representation of feelings and fears. Name three artists you admire. To be honest I don’t really follow any photographer’s career very closely. On one hand, especially when I started my art practice, sometimes looking at more experienced artists’ work was a bit discouraging, because I thought I was never going to be as good at shooting or editing as they are. On the other hand, I love looking at other people’s work, I think it’s amazing what can people create using their imagination and technical skills. During my first year of college we watched a video every week of a famous contemporary
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photographer, to see how they shoot and edit their pictures and get to know a bit about where they get the inspiration from. That is when I was introduced to David Lachapelle’s work and he immediately became one of my favourite photographers. I like the way he creates a sense of craziness by using vivid colours, which don’t match, by positioning his models in a way it gives the image a sense of movement. I feel like, looking at his pictures, somehow nothing makes sense and that is exactly what makes his work fantastic. I am a huge fan of his celebrity portraits. I believe an artist always have to come up with new ideas and regularly provide their audience with fresh and unique content. David Lachapelle’s celebrity shots show the personality of the model rather than showing them in front of a generic background, photoshopped into perfection (just like thousands of other celebrity portraits we all see every day in magazines or on social media). I was watching the first season of Master of Photography on Sky Art this year, where David Lachapelle was one of the mentors of the contestants. I think the way he was talking to the photographers showed how amazing he is as an artist and as a person as well. He gave the contestants advice on every problem they had, helped them improve their images, also he encouraged them by pointing out every aspects of the images he liked, which is I think very important for new artists. I got to know Gregory Crewdson’s photographic work in college as well, while I was doing a research for one of my projects. Similarly to David Lachapelle’s work I immediately fell in love with his images as well. I watched many videos of the actual shooting, because I wanted to know how he creates his amazing images. I love the way he plans every single aspects, every little detail of his photographs before the shooting, and I think it is amazing how much preparation is needed for his photoshoots. A set could be built for weeks for only one image, not to mention the fact, that a whole street can be closed for hours, so he has the chance to create the perfect scene for his picture, exactly the way he imagined it. Another reason I admire his work is the fact that he is using a large format camera, so the details of each image are absolutely amazing. A few months ago I had the chance to try and shoot with a medium format camera at the first time. Although it was an amazing experience, it is definitely not something I would do, shooting with my digital camera is my real passion, but I love to see other photographer’s work, using different types of equipments. I admire Gregory Crewdson, because he has outstanding skills and he is definitely one of the best in the field of manual photography. I definitely have to mention Alex Stoddard, as an artist I admire. I saw his pictures maybe three years ago, when I started experimenting with my first DSLR camera and Photoshop. I was amazed by his talent and creativity. Looking at his images was very inspiring
back then, as I only started learning photography and how to work with Photoshop, and it made me realize if I work hard enough I can turn all my ideas into reality. The other reason I like his work is because in most his images he uses himself as his own model. The majority of my work is self-portraits as well, so it was very interesting to see how he created his images as at the beginning of my art practise sometimes I found it very hard in certain situations to “jump into the picture” instead of using a model. There are so many things I have to pay attention to when I am shooting: focus, lighting, composition, etc. It is obviously much easier when my model is in front of me and I can give them instructions and change the settings on my camera before I take the shot. Even now, taking self-portraits are much harder, but a few years ago, when I started using myself as a model, it was very frustrating, because I didn’t know how to overcome certain problems. His work helped me a lot and I learnt many small, but very useful things from the videos of his photoshoots. What do you like/dislike about the art world? I think the first thing I have to mention in relation to the art world which I don’t agree with is that, in my opinion new artists don’t get enough recognition. I feel like I am very lucky because since I have started promoting my work I got many positive feedback, my images were chosen to be featured in magazines and I had the chance to be part of exhibitions in Europe and America. Even though there are organizations and magazines dedicated to help new artist to gain recognitions (they just have to find the right platform to promote their work), I do think there should be more magazines like Art Reveal Magazine for example. When I got to the point when I was ready
to promote my work I was advised to send my images to open calls to gain recognition and build up my CV in order to become more desirable as a photographer, then I could start sending my portfolio and Biography to galleries. Unfortunately in my experience most of the open calls are the same: artists have to pay when they are submitting their work. The first few competitions I entered was like that, I had to pay in advance and most of the time I got an e-mail that my work didn’t get selected or I didn’t even hear anything back at all. I know that’s how galleries operate as they use the submission fee for organizing the event, but I think this kind of rejection can be very discouraging for artists, not to mention that an artist’s budget at the beginning of their career is most likely to be limited. Fortunately there are magazines like Art Reveal Magazine, which work a different way and artists only have to pay a fee once their work has been selected to be featured in the magazines. I definitely believe there should be more magazines and art organisations like that, dedicated to new artists because I found that the hardest thing was to find a platform for my work. There is another thing I feel like I should mention, although it is not necessary something I dislike about the art world, it is just something I experienced as a fine art photographer. I think if you are a photographer working in a certain genre (in my case fine art), it is much harder to get exposure for your work. Just to refer back to art competition, before I enter a contest I usually check the previous winners (if it’s available on the website), and most of the time I decide not to enter because the winners are all from the same genre and I think I don’t even have a chance to succeed. I believe people might not accept certain kinds of photography, because they are still very new to the art world. The last thing I would like to highlight is in relation to social media. My personal opinion is that nowadays it almost doesn’t matter how good someone’s work is as long as they are active on social media. If someone follows thousands of people, they are going to gain thousands of followers back. A few months ago I created my first social media account dedicated to my photography on Flickr. I think Flickr is a great site to promote my work and get feedback on what I should improve and what people think about my work in general. As I said it is just my personal opinion, but I noticed that artists with amazing portfolios only have a few followers, and people who obviously need more practise on their photography or editing skills in some cases has many followers just because they follow loads of people. I really like social media sites, where I can engage with other artists and look at other people’s work. If I have a few minutes during the day I always spend it on Flickr, but I simply don’t have time to spend hours commenting other people’s work and follow them just to get followers. Even if I had more
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free time I rather spend it on working on my pictures, creating something new. I had so many positive experience since I have started my art practice, it is impossible to list them all. One of the things I like about the art world is that art really connects people. As I said social media sites are great platforms for promoting art and to be in touch with the audience. It is just amazing when people I don’t even know say that they like my work, that they take the time to look at my images, give me feedback and advices on how I can improve as a photographer. It is great that there are magazines and organizations to help artists start their careers, giving them opportunities to show their work and get recognition. What are your future plans? First of all I would like to say I am honoured to be selected for this interview and be part of Art Reveal Magazine alongside with many amazing artist. I am very excited to see the next issue next month. The London based art gallery, Sweet ‘Art selected two of my photographs to be part of their upcoming show, Femfest. The exhibition will be held in London next month, and in addition to the exhibition, it will include a film night, live art performance, workshop and library. I am very excited to be part of this show, it is a great opportunity for me to show my work to a wide range of audience visiting the three days event. Two of my photographs have been selected to be featured in the August Edition of A5 Zine Magazine and the August Edition of Average Art Magazine. The magazines’ goals are to draw attention to self-representing artists and will also be sent to a number of different art organisations. I am delighted that my work has been accepted to be part of these portfolio magazines many times in the last few months. I felt like it was time to put my work out there, so a few weeks ago I created my own social media sites dedicated to my photography. I am grateful for all the comments, feedback and advices I get every day and I am happy that I can engage with people who like my work; it is a great experience. FB: https://www.facebook.com/AnettUdud Twitter: https://twitter.com/anettudud Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/anettudud/ I have completed my Certificate in Photography at Griffith College, Dublin in May, and I will graduate later this year, which means I will become a professional photographer. In the future I definitely want to keep working on my ideas and turn them into reality. I feel like I am very inspired and have many ideas I would like to work on, but it takes time and work to shape these concepts into something physical. I feel like the possibilities are endless and I feel very excited because I have definitely found my way as a photographer and I can’t wait for what the future holds for me.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Yidan Xie Rockville, MD, USA
I am the multimedia artist who focuses on Dynamic Imaging. My works are various including video, animation, illustration, and Sound. In my works, a mysterious and fantastic visual experience are presented. Meanwhile, I have being discovered the possibility of space narrative and explores the relationship among the women, nature, and mythology. Although most of my artworks are related to viewing and hearing, the inspiration always comes from the text such as poem and novel. Through reading those texts, the fragments of the image will spring out in my brain. After grabbing then drawing them, the narrative and big frame of work will be constructed gradually. Therefore, the names of my works are same or similar to the book like “The Street of Crocodile” , “Innisfreee” and “ The Classic of Mountain and Seas”. For me, I really enjoy the process of transition from text to image or sound, which also becomes my personal method of creation. For sound work, I am trying to discover the sound narrative. I think sound can build the independent story or narrative instead of catering the images. My sound works especially the Luanyang Summer Note, have the strong narrative background which drivers from the novel and fiction. My sound works represented the narrative, but they are not the drama. I hope when hearing the sound, the audience can not only feel the story but also build their own narrative by imagination.
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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? For the visual expression, some eastern painting works affect me a lot, which could be found easily in my artworks — a kind of visual experience with eastern aesthetics. Meanwhile, in my artwork, I try and discover many new forms basing on the interesting concept of eastern painting, such as “white space”, “ freehand style”and “water and ink”. For example, there are many black and empty spaces in my most video work, The idea of leaving black space comes form the “white space”, a special concept in the Eastern painting. The eastern artists believe that the white space left consciously will provide the huge space of imagination. so I adopt this concept in my animation and use the sound to fill in those black space without the image. Meanwhile, I draw the unique background with the different visual aesthetic for each creature for distinguishing the front and back, which generates another space layer. For the concept, the ancient book including myth and folklore as the theme of mythical creatures inspired me very much. I am very interested in this theme all the time and my latest work The Classic of Mountains and Seas is also a discovery of mythical creatures. The Classic of Mountains and Seas is an independent and experimental animation, the inspiration of The Classic of Mountains and Seas comes from the Chinese ancient book with the same name. In this book, a huge number of mythical creates and fantastic landscape are described carefully. After reading,
I summary the method of mythical creatures construction and utilize this method to create and draw my own mythical beasts. How would you describe the art scene in your area? As a young artist who read out the art area, I can’t say I am familiar with the art market, but personally, my attitude toward the art area is very positive. Like many junior artists, I submit my artwork to some open call to obtain the feature or publishing chance so that the artwork could be viewed by more audience. Indeed, I get some good feedback, I think, for the young artist without too much experience, it is a nice beginning. I very appreciate those art website and magazine which provide those platform for new artwork and artist. In your opinion what does video art mean in contemporary culture? Definitely, video art is a popular form in contemporary culture, comparing with still images, dynamic one with sound can grab audience attention easier and delivery more information. Because of the technology development, people (even they are not video artists or artists) can use their smartphone to shoot instead of holding the professional and heavy camera. Under this low shooting limitation, the content and the form of expression become the more important part that should be considered as the video artist. Sometimes, video art is not only a personal voice or feeling but also can combine or reaches out other fields such as music, science, and politics.
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Name three artists you admire.
What do you like/dislike about the art world?
1. Stephen Vitello: A very outstanding sound artist, and my professor during my MFA study. He is a very nice man and helps me a lot. I love his sound works very much also admire his character.
During the progress of submission, occasionally, the editor of website or magazine will say that he/she don’t like the certain element in my artwork and if I can fix it, the artwork could be more suitable for publishing. In that case, I always explain why I add this part and the special meaning it has. I know there are many new visual presentations which are abnormal and risky in my work, some people will not accept them. But artists always keep their personal understanding, it is hard for them to change their original concept to catering to requirement.
Before I become his student, I have no idea about sound art, in that time, the background music and sound effect in my video art are all free versions and everyone can download them from online. So the sound part does not match the images very well which is a big problem I always worry about. When I hear Stephen’s sound work, I am affected by his unique style, I never know the sound can be created as a kind of experimental method. That is to say, Stephen is my torchbearer in my sound art creation. 2. Gustav Klimt: an Austrian symbolist painter. mysterious and symbolic, those keywords are often described his work. I am so infatuated to the visual representation, therefore, the similar feeling is also showed in my work. Although my works have strong Eastern aesthetics visually, which is hard to connect with the Europian painting in the 18 century, the Gustav Klimt’s work indeed give me inspiration in the mental impression. 3. Andrei Tarkovsky: a Soviet filmmaker, he is the first artist when I reach out the dynamic image. The concept of poetic film showing in his film arouses my thinking about video language.
What are your future plans? Introducing some element from other fields into my video work. I would like to create a video work with interactivity. I hope the video is not only a kind of presentation of dynamic images but also can build up the relationship between audience and work itself instead of being viewed by the audience. This idea is similar to produce the video game, but I do not want to create it as a video game to consider many questions in the game field, if that, I will become a video game producer rather than a video artist. Actually, I hope I can keep balance with video game and video art when I create this work, or create a video work with interactivity, although it is a feature of the video game.
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine