PAUL CROOK 4 LYNN DENNISON 10 ALDOBRANTI FOSCO FORNIO 16 GEORGIOS GREEKALOGERAKIS 22 NOEMI ROSWITA HANS 28 JOSH HAZELL 34 AILEEN KELLY 40 FRANCINE LECLERCQ 46
VALERIE MOLNAR & MATT SPAHR 52 ANKA MIRKIN 58 ALICE MONAGHAN 64 MARK POL 70 VAR SAHAKYAN 76 JOHN TEDSTONE 82 ANGELICA VERDAN 88 SHELLEY WHITING 94
Paul Crook Leamington Spa, England, UK
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Paul studied BA(hons) Fine Art at Falmouth School of Art followed by an MA in Fine Art at Birmingham Polytechnic. His studio is based in Warwickshire, where he works as a fine artist/painter and lecturer in Fine Art. His paintings have been exhibited widely, both in the UK and internationally. Recently he has been awarded two national art prizes and his work is included in a number of private collections. I’m interested in the language of painting; how it may be de- constructed and processed in order to interrogate my own thinking and curiosities. I am interested in the idealised, post-modernist architecture that can be found in simple domestic settings or in a much larger urban context. These places offered a promising, beautiful and perfect future; a place for shelter, escape and happiness. The paintings attempt to explore what remains of this optimistic new world. Solo Exhibition - Armagh Art Centre, N.Ireland Solo Exhibition – Sir Terry Frost Gallery, Worcester Solo Exhibition – Watford Art Gallery Solo Exhibition – Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax 1st prize winner Leamington Art Gallery Open 2013
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Tell us a little about your back- dominant colour and the way it ground and how that influences you is applied to construct an image. as an artist. The most recent paintings refer to a built, urban environment; often I have always found painting the places that I recognise from where most fascinating process of visual- I lived as child or that I have develising ideas. I think it’s the gradual oped a connection with. They recall appearance and construction of the idealised, post-modernist archiform in an essentially illusionary tecture that can be found in simple space that I find most appealing. domestic settings. These places There is something uniquely dra- offered a promising, beautiful and matic and magical about arranging perfect future; a place for shelter, and applying a set of colours into escape and happiness. The paintsome kind of given order to investi- ings attempt to explore what regate a variety of personal ideas and mains of this optimistic new world. concerns. I am very interested in the transformation process of paint- What is the most challenging part ing, in a world where things can be about being an artist? over regulated; painting allows me a form of play and the freedom to Working as an artist can be consistchallenge myself. ently challenging, both practically I have been fortunate enough to and financially. I have been lucky have been supported and encour- enough to support most of my pracage by a variety of excellent art tu- tice by working as a fine art lecturtors, from school through to fine art er. I make paintings to investigate a post graduate level. I soon realised number of highly personal subject that you can’t develop your work in contents and would like to think the isolation, a rigorous art school en- work is never compromised for any vironment is important; the young reason. To produce paintings that I artist needs to feed from the criti- feel go some way towards successcism and advice of established art- fully resolving my thinking demands ists and other students. This back- a substantial amount of studio acground gave me the confidence tivity. I have to allow time for the necessary to work independently as speculative and exploratory proan artist. It can be very challenging cess of painting that involves makto sustain working for long periods, ing the inevitable mistakes and the alone in the studio. I did benefit re-working of my ideas. To show my hugely from my own art education, work in challenging, gallery spaces this is one reason why alongside my on a fairly regular basis, I have to own practice as a painter I work dedicate some time organizing and as a fine art lecturer. My intention planning future exhibitions. in teaching is to give students the space and guidance that allows How would you describe the art them to find a genuine personal scene in your area? direction for their own study. I get a lot back from seeing art students I live in Warwickshire. Birmingham taking risks and developing their is the nearest city with a lively and understanding. growing contemporary art scene. I have a long established interest On a number of occasions I have in painting. Although the way I been involved in solo and mixed have worked has evolved through- exhibitions in some of the city’s out my career some aspects have most interesting galleries. Over remained more consistent. I have recent years there has been some had an on-going interest in strong, considerable development in good
quality exhibition space such the Eastside project and the new MAC Birmingham. Both places have already established a reputation for curating very interesting exhibition programmes. On a smaller scale there is a large community of artists living and working in the city with pop-up exhibitions and open studio events. The Fine Art degree course at Birmingham City University has an excellent alumni profile and many graduates stay and work within the Midlands art scene. What is the most challenging part about working nowadays with traditional media - like painting? Often serious contemporary painting can be over looked by some gallery curators who like to show more commercially safe painting. On the other hand, some exhibition spaces only work with very wellknown artists on large scale expensive art projects. I would like to see something much more in between this, such as more exhibition space available to many of the really exciting artists who don’t get much exposure. Painting does have a long, rich history and tradition. As a contemporary painter I fully embrace this extensive range of painting we can experience. I see it as a great pool of knowledge to enjoy and to learn from. I like the way that painting has developed, evolved and been consistently re-invented to explore the necessary concerns of the individual artist. If there’s a challenge it’s that the medium offers so many possibilities that the painter has to work hard to select what components of the painting language they would like to explore. It’s a fantastic time to be a painter, on a wider international level the painting language is being embraced and there are huge numbers of very interesting painters out there! With so many artists exploring so many
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ideas through painting it can only open up more possibilities for future painters. Painting remains one of the most popular areas of study on many fine art degree courses. Painting often appears to be fairly basic and approachable, it is only when you delve a bit deeper that you find it becomes more complex, difficult, and endlessly challenging. What are your future plans as an artist? I am at the early stages of a new series of paintings, exploring a number of possibilities through some small scale works. I tend to work on quite a few paintings at any one time and this approach often results in a series of related paintings. As this new body work comes together I will begin to consider the possibility of exhibitions. I have a solo show on at the moment called â€˜Common Landâ€™ at the Custom House Gallery, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland that runs until the 22nd November 2015. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? In my role as a fine art lecturer I encourage students to be open minded about their future. If a student follows a route they find enjoyable, intriguing and exciting they have every chance of going on to become a very interesting and successful artist themselves. If they want to work in the arts at a serious level I see it a crucial step to study art on a high quality art course at university. This will expose them to a wide range of possibilities and encourage them to find a position for themselves in what is a vast subject area. I feel itâ€™s important for the young artist to develop the confidence to be adaptable and flexible enough to get involved in visual art on both a collaborative and an individual level.
Lynn Dennison London, England, UK 2015 2015 2015 2014 2013
Sculpture Shock Winner in the Subterranean category ‘Sweet Thames, run softly while I end my song’ Installation at the Brunel Shaft, London, as winner of Sculpture Shock Subterranean Border Country exhibition of collages at De La Warr Pavillion Waterfall, Dear Serge, De La Warr Pavilion Residency and Exhibition at The Lookout, Aldeburgh, Suffolk
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In my videos and installations I explore our relationship with landscape; I am interested in the way we see and experience landscape and how important or unimportant it is to people; how we notice it, (or don’t notice it,) why certain landscapes resonate more strongly with us than others. I am particularly interested in the idea of a fear of the landscape, and the creation of an artwork that suggests the enormity of nature. Vito Acconci has said, ‘One reason architecture exists is because nature is dangerous’, and it is partly with this idea in mind that I have begun to invade buildings with images of the natural world. I have been working with the idea of layering images, in the projection of a film or video onto an architectural space as an installation. By combining elements of interiors and exteriors to create other worlds I am hoping to encourage the viewer to experience landscape in a different way. I am trying to draw attention to landscape by putting it in unexpected places; a cupboard that reveals an avenue tailing off into the distance or the ebb and flow of the sea projected onto stairs, for example. This often creates a situation where culture and nature collide.
As my work often combines elements of interiors and exteriors, I have been looking at Michel Foucault’s ideas of Heterotopias in relation to artworks in which two types of space collide. In a lecture given by him in 1967 entitled ‘Other spaces’, Foucault introduced the idea of heterotopias as places of otherness, where conflicting and divergent kinds of space meet and merge. ‘The heterotopia is capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are themselves incompatible.’ This seems to me to describe what I am trying to achieve with my site specific installations: I want to bring into question our relationship with the surrounding world by using the site as a place where different spaces, natural and urban, could converge. In my site specific practice, I am attempting to give equal importance to the location I am using as to the video I am projecting; the architecture and the artwork work together and would not exist in the same way without the other. The challenge of finding a tension between what is already there and what I am bringing to the space is what interests me.
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Aldobranti Fosco Fornio Petersfield, England, UK shortlisted Fotofilmic 2015 shortlisted Amsterdam Festival of Light 2015 shortlisted FORMAT EXPOSURE 2015 academic scholarship of ÂŁ3000 from U. Southampton, 2014
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THE NEW ARCADIANS
In previous lives Aldo has been a working mathematician, a Chartered Engineer, a collaborating partner on EU funded projects, IT consultant, a marketing director and a unicyclist. He returned to Art School for his MA as a change of career. He works almost exclusively in “wet” analogue processes and here for preference in large format in the indexical power of the film negative. Since 2010 the title of an exhibition at London’s V&A Museum, “Shadow Catchers”, has driven a study of the behaviour of Shadow, particularly when independent and separate of the Figure and hence that which must be pursued and caught to be studied. Like a naturalist, he stalks out these separate shadows or studies the places where they might fall. His more theoretical work explores the place of Shadow in a dialectic of Figure and Ground, the way in which Painting and Drawing must commonly depict Light as an absence of pigment bounded by Shadow. Here his work brushes up against a study of the Self and the Other with figures traced out by laser lines. If appearance is only enabled by Light, his large scale installations explore domains which are only known by their Shadows.
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How did you get into photography? As a teenager I wanted to be a chemist and had a basement laboratory of stinks and pops; I had a microscope and learnt to section and stain; I made radio transmitters and dismantled the first generation of computers to reclaim transistors; in short, a scientific world beckoned though the “boys’ toys” world of cameras was always slightly beyond my reach. A facility of working with solution concentration and weighing out small amounts of chemicals meant that I could save on developing costs to stretch my Saturday job income that little bit further. My first real camera: a 1937 Rolleicord 2A, now I am thrilled that I can buy a 50 year old Hasselblad for less than many DSLR models. Who can say though how long Hasselblad will hold parts ? And when it came to apply for my MA my back story of mark making was in the photographic. I had to persuade Winchester that I was not a camera geek and, as it pans out I am glad that I can see that there is more to the message than the medium. I can become clearer that I should try and make the performative [photographic] image. I like to say I am a conceptual photographic artist — I take photographs about things and not of things. My work often involves performance and the photography of the performance and the performance that is photography, particularly when working in large formats of film with my head under a cloth. What is the most challenging part about working in “wet” analogue processes? Perhaps the aspect of my practice in analogue photography that I come into least naturally is the need for an obsessive interest in quality control. I got through a great deal of life on a more “happygo-lucky”, “it’ll be all right on the night”, “we’ll get there somehow — we generally do”, sort of approach. When getting going for a field trip with a 7kg 10x8 Tachihara, a 3 kg tripod and a host of other bits and pieces I have had to develop a packing list in very thorough detail. And in the darkroom, my clumsiness may mean I drop a sheet of film and spend minutes scrabbling around and cursing the dust and scratches which I pick up. Other photographic artists I talk to agree that creation gave us first claim on OCD and general control freakiness — I am still not sure that I want this inheritance but I am learning to live with it!
Honesty means that I must own up to using ‘Shop; I could not have made the picture “An intervention after Poussin” without learning so much about digital work. I do not enjoy it, I would rather step away from the labyrinth of nested menus and pull down lists of Word and its kin. Where did you get the idea for the “Shadow Jump” series? In late 2010 I went to an exhibition “Shadow Catchers” of cameraless photography at London’s V&A Museum. These artists, include Susan Derges and Garry Fabian Miller were making lovely images directly on the print. But this was not for me and as I sat on the London Underground Circle line on my way home I found myself pondering the question: “how should I catch my shadow?” and thus indirectly “what would my shadow do if it could be free of me?”. At first I experimented with firing the shutter with a long wire release. I was repeatedly jumping from a low rock on the nearby beach when my assistant was approached with the question “is he all right?”. The reply “it’s OK—he’s an artist” seems to have been satisfactory. What I learnt was that carrying the camera myself on a longish exposure meant that my shadow remained reasonably well defined though the background blurred out, often resulting in a rather pleasing Petzval-like smear. With assistance from a very smart engineer, Stuart Smith, I got an electronically controlled valve to drive a shutter release from a camping gas cylinder and experimented with triggering it from a pressure pad, next a magnetic proximity switch and finally a digital accelerometer to more reliably detect my moment of free-fall. Those teenage years with a soldering iron paid off. Name three artists you’d like to be compared to. To be compared with other artists seems quite a stretch of the imagination: I’d aspire to make work as inventive or intelligent as many artists out there. I admire Anthony Gormley’s multifaceted but always focused attention to the human form. I am learning to strip away the layers of the human form that I press into my images. I should hope to be given the time that was given to Giorgio Morandi to explore the spaces between the objects of the material world
— I direct my work on Shadow to note that in the image the object is delineated by the change in lighting that comes in the shadows behind its edges. I assemble a third ideal from bits of Nicolas Poussin’s bistre-wash sketches without line, Oh! and his baby Bacchus (1626) for a real child not a cherub; I’d claim Francesca Woodman’s liberation of photography as a performance art; and, Humphrey Spender’s vision of beauty on a washline in a backstreet of Bolton. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? Make each artwork say one thing, only one thing and that succinctly. In one interim show in my MA year, I put up a line of prints, content from a live Twitter stream and a video image all on the same wall space. Talk about Busy. It was a matter of “Just Because You Can , It Doesn’t mean You Should”. But if I was to pass a tip on it would be to try to live the Beuysian gesamtkunstwerk, maybe not in felt and fur because it is only by believing in your art and becoming part of it that it will live on outside of you. What are your future plans? In the very near term I am finding my work is hampered by my lack of ease around the moving image: I routinely record a lot of the performance of my work on video but I am still learning about editing. So much of my work is research driven, I spend more time reading and writing than making work; I’d like to find a research group that shared some concerns and broadened my interest in others. It may be that painters are more suited to working on their own, their technical concerns and the market position of the painting are more central to their craft. Other artists, though not all, are in the permanent wash of ideas, the contemporary and we have to get out and understand it from day to day. So more and more learning, more and more thinking.
Georgios GreeKalogerakis London, England, UK TIAF (The Independent Artist Fair) London 2014, UK interview to the international Art Habens magazine (won the competition) distinction from the University of Westminster (Mixed Media Fine Art)
In my fine art practice, since 1999, I have used different materials and a mixture of techniques. Experimenting on sound and light has been a major part of my artistic development. The challenges of my early work(s) in oil and acrylic painting helped me realised that painting was not the medium I was interested to work with. As a result, I engaged with what I found fascinating in my surroundings, day-life materials. My work experience in metal construction and iron buildings was a major influence, leading to artworks where I combine a multitude of materials with construction chemicals and various techniques ‘Man and nature’ as well as ‘life and death’ were long-lasting topics of this experimental period of my life, which I named “11”. Ten years later, I decided to make a self-portrait, choosing to cut Gainsborough’s “blue boy” (c 1770) from an embroidery pattern and use it as my portrait behind a big, framed and chemically cleaned mirror. Despite the impressive result, something was missing from the painted background, with the boy standing in the middle and all behind the surface of the mirror! It took me a few months staring at it to realise that lighting was essential for completing my new creation. This realisation signaled the beginning of my artistic period called “6”. The use of sound, videos, small screens and any type of lighting extended my limits and opened the doors of my artistic imagination.
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What is the most challenging part about being a mixedmedia artist? Mixed media as an artistic expression began around 1912 with Picasso’s and Braque’s cubist collages and constructions. Since then it has become widespread as artists developed the technique and increasingly adopted new mediums in their practices. I have worked as a mixed media artist for more than a decade. In 2010 I added video, sound and lighting into my artworks. That moment onwards my art practice moved more into a multi media. Both mixed media and multi media practices describe the use of a range of materials in art production, with only exception that multi media defines an artwork that includes the use of electronic media, such as audio, video and computers. From 1980 onwards, the use of the internet and further development of computers, and more than that, the widespread technical implementation of special techniques has influenced most post-modern artists and developed artistic practice. This pluralism isself is the most challenging part for a mixed media and a multi media artist nowadays. You can do anything that intrigues you easily, not necessarily at a high cost. In my art practice I am challenging myself on a daily basis with new ideas inextricably linked to a new technologically produced material and/or a technique. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? My main influence comes from people, from you all. In my life I act as an observer. I behold on how people develop their needs,
their behavior as consumers, the way they celebrate, what type of decoration makes them happy, their clothing, their favorite foods, their taste in fresh art and design. I am a general observer, mixer and reproducer of people’s lives. As an observer I am visiting art shows and art fairs in order to comprehend what people like more, which parts or artistic expression impresses them more and how they perceive any newly presented materials and ideas. I would love to be able to explain the process of how I see, feel and elaborate all that information, but is impossible to do it even for myself. Tell us more about “Love Warriors” project. Love Warriors, my latest project and the next step of my fine art practice, is innovative not only because of the different type of the material I use. Love Warriors stand out mainly as my first metal pieces magnetized on the wall, rather than being hanged up. I am using a special super-magnetized magnet, on the back of each piece, in order to abut firmly each warrior to the wall. Magnetism is what couples feel in between them and possibly one of the basic dynamics that brings them together. The innovation of this project lies not only to the quality of my stainless steel which is switched to a magnetized stainless steel, but focuses more to the use of fewer layers with more figures mixed in each piece. Geometrical shapes are also a new added characteristic to express Love Warriors’ emotional, cerebral and sexual contact. The use of geometrical shapes appears already in my
newly designed furniture and lambs as I found their engagement to my artistic expression interesting and inseparable. What is your creative process like? The first and most important part of my creative process is the topic. Once I find something challenging and inspiring I starting designing. This part is indisputably the most time-consuming of all the following steps of my fine art practice. I am using computer programs to design each single piece up to its last detail and then mix all pieces insomuch the final linear design to express exactly the initial idea. The difficult part of this process is the ability to imagine and comprehend how the final piece will look like at the end. My large experience in metal building constructions has given me the ability to know realistically the outcome of each linear design beforehand. Once the design is finished and has been sent to laser cut, it is impossible to make any changes. I have to be sure about the size, the dimensions and the precise place of every single piece. The next part of my art practice is the technical part. Laser cutting, TIG welding and then special weld cleaning is the basic production process. As an artist I am supported by Reuter GmbH & Co. KG, a German company specializing in weld cleaning machines. With their great help I have reached the highest finishing quality in my stainless steel pieces. Finally, the last and most satisfactory step is to remove the protection plastic film from the steel, polish it and enjoy the integration of my inspiration.
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What do you like/dislike about the art world? The art world nowadays seems to be confused. I live in London for more than three years and had the chance to visit many diverse exhibitions, from the “classy” central exhibitions to the “alternative” east London shows. I have to admit that the majority of the individual galleries and art spaces here promote interesting artworks and talented artists. For me London was and still is the heart of modern and post-modern art in Europe. What made me feel a bit confused is my visit to well known massive international annual art fairs, where I saw same or similar techniques and pieces showed again and again, as if the international art world lacks interesting and fresh art production. Easily you can see established artists’ pieces to be presented and represented the next year rather in vain. It feels as if there is a status of entrepreneurs trying to maintain the fame of the artists they invented the past years, but unfortunately with nothing new to present from those artists today. My opinion as a man, moreover as an artist is to stay silent whenever you have to. I have personally enjoyed smaller art fairs and galleries in the last years, seeing people with artistic vision, innovative art practice and a true reason to express themselves. When looking back to my development as an artist, in particular the last years in London, I find no reason to complain about the acceptance I have received from the art world and the art market. On the other hand, I am convinced that the moment I will have nothing new to present or even something not that interesting to express via my art, the feedback will automat-
ically freeze me and put me into silence, up to the next inspiring project. Europe crossed the medieval ages in order to enjoy the renaissance. Professionally, goal?
My next step is an MA in arts. I would love to continue my studies and have already applied for the postgraduate course I am interested in. As for my fine art practice, I am working hard into a new project. I am designing and experimenting in the production of some artistic furniture and few decorative art pieces from stainless steel, associated always to my general fine art practice. A fresh idea and a new material impacted effectively my inspiration. Thus I am trying to enjoy this productive period which I presume will last long in order that I achieve the desired result. Another aim of this period is to find the right art dealers to work with in the UK and abroad. In the meantime three big shows are running for me the next two months in central London and I have to be ready and prepared to support the premier of my “Love Warriors”.
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Noemi Roswita Hans Florence, Italy 2014
Solo Exhibition – Behind Colors, Florence IT
Group Show in November, London UK
Group Show in October, at the Curious Duke Gallery, London UK
Winter Art Salon – National Art Gallery Delta, Arad RO
Group 21 Exhibition – National Art Gallery, Delta, Arad RO
My main interest as an artist lies in the human soul and all his elaborated shades. The resulting work is a synthesis of feelings, which have come in contact with the environment and the people around me. I let the canvas and the materials guide me subconsciously into the painting, transforming emotions into symbolic works of art. Although they show apparently identifiable objects or figures, they remain atmospheric and evocative, deliberately constructing mystery through what remains unseen. I use a very specific colour palette based on reds and blues, which I explore in a variety of different nuances. The resulting work is eerie and spiritual, with soft edges and airy emotions.
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When, how and why started you painting? As a child I loved to draw and paint and create from whatever materials I found but never considered doing art for real, it was more like a game. Nevertheless the creative dive remained in me for as long as I can remember. I started with design and gradually made my way into art. I don’t have a classic art background, in fact I consider myself a self-thought artist. My work draws inspiration from experiences which I call ‘present memories’ and the unconscious mind. I try to materialize the invisible and transform it into symbolic works of art. To materialize the memories I work very much with layers in my paintings, it’s almost like the layer from the back is a past memory and the layer from the front is the present moment. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? In my case it’s more a WHAT that fascinates me. I get inspired by people’s emotions and the way emotions stay in our memory. A ‘lasting sensation’ which I try to bring to life on canvas. It is interesting to observe how every one of us has a unique way of keeping a memory. Name three artists you’d like to be compared to. I don’t have any artist I’d like to be compared to, but I have artists that I admire for what they to and for how they found their voice in the art world. For example Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francis Bacon. How would you describe the art scene in your area? The perfect word which describes the art scene in my area is ‘Eclectic’. Florence art scene is a great playground for artists of any kind. In Florence you have the advantage to be surrounded by the Renaissance beauty and also contemporary art happenings around the city. What are your future plans as a painter? I plan to continue on my path as a painter but also I’d like to keep an eye open to other art forms related to visual arts, especially installations and video. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? One of the best tips was to just go with the flow and paint. It’s not important what you are creating, it’s important that you are creating. Once you reached the flow state of creating something the results are just flowing out of you and nothing can stop you anymore.
Josh Hazell Newcastle, England, UK Graduated BA Fine Art (2:1) - University of Worcester (2014) Selected for New Art West Midlands (2015) Group exhibition at the Herbert Museum & Arts Gallery, Coventry (2015)
My current work seeks to explore the ways in which a subject can be represented whilst simultaneously testing the limits of its own abstraction. It is my theory that each and every subjects maintains its own unique threshold between form and formlessness. It is this threshold, the state of liminality in which the subject begins to transition into ambiguity, that I am most interested in.
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When, how and why did you start painting?
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
It was during my third and final year studying BA Fine Art that I first turned my hand to painting. Prior to this, my specialisms had always been expressed through drawing, film and performance.
Much of my continued interest in the human condition is based around our capacity to act as civilized beings within a society. The event that first inspired this was as a result of what I saw during the 2011 London Riots. I was amazed at how, in an instant, all sense of order could descend into chaos whereby ordinary people could – when given the opportunity – group together into violent mobs intent on causing as much anarchy and destruction as possible. The event led me to question a lot about the darker side of human nature and how, in an instant, the foundations and infrastructure of a society built on law and order can be torn down and abused.
I remember the turning point in my practice occurred during a day-trip to London where my colleagues and I visited a number of contemporary solo exhibitions. I was so inspired by what I saw that I simply had to begin painting as soon as I returned to university. At the time I was privileged enough to have the support of two incredible lecturers/tutors who specialized as painters. With their guidance and expertise I was able to develop my practice into what it is today. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? My art practice is primarily influenced by the effects of degenerative physiological and psychological conditions and the experiences of those who suffer from them. The writings of John M. Hull’s ‘Touching the Rock’ and Oliver Sacks’ ‘The Mind’s Eye’ has had both a continuous and lasting influence on my creative process. As a practitioner, I am always looking to make connections between my work and what I observe within society, be it our increasing dependability upon communications technology or the darker side of human nature. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Thriving! The Newcastle area is always buzzing with new works and projects by artists in the region. I was recently part of the Juice Festival which involved a guest designer working with a group of secondary school students. The Baltic, the Laing and the Shipley galleries are but three examples of galleries in the North East regularly hosting internationally-renowned artists. The art scene in the area has more than enough inspiration for any aspiring artist.
What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? Prior to my time at university, I had become so conscious of the need to be neat and precise that I had all but forgotten how to take risks and allow things to happen naturally. The best tip that I ever received was essentially being told not to be so precious with my work. Although it was incredibly difficult at first, I found that by allowing myself to make “mistakes” and allow the process to dictate the outcome, I was able to try things without the fear of failure that inhibits natural creativity. Ultimately, this sense of freedom enabled me to find a style that was more personal and unique to me. What are your future plans as an artist? I intend to continue making, developing and exhibiting work both nationally and hopefully internationally. As well as developing my practice in the field, I also hope to further my academic studies through the completion of an MA and eventually a PHD.
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Aileen Kelly London, England, UK Creekside Open 2015 selected by Richard Deacon Write up in State Media Magazine (http://www.state-media.com/state/index.php?q=blog/aileenkelly) Spirit Of Womanhood, Oxo Tower, London Visible Art Supplement – 19 Artists For Today (http://www.state-media.com/state/library/magazine/14207984718808.pdf) Winner of ‘Perspective 99’ National Visual Art Award, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland
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I grew up on a small farm in a rural area of Mid Ulster in Northern Ireland. It is only on reflection that I recognize the influence that my surroundings have had on the development of my art practice. Rather than looking up and out to see the landscape, I tended to focus on the detail – the everyday ‘make do-ness’ that is seen in the construction of a temporary gate or the makeshift enclosure. While these hand - made items served their function, they always seemed provisional and exposed. Such themes of temporality and the fragile relationship between us and our environment have come to define my practice. The physical nature of my most recent work could be said to sit somewhere between sculpture and drawing, Recently I have begun to whittled form out of my work preferring to focus on line – I draw with stripes of pinstripe fabric to signify power and control and combine with other materials. I work between the wall and the floor creating sculptures that are open and free. I am drawn to this lack of information, I like its silence. In a society that is so firmly focused on the value of the object – I feel my impermanent sculptures act as a physical blue print that reminds me of the temporality observed in my early life.
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What is the most challenging part about being a mixed media artist? I work across different media and this offers opportunities to explore materials and ideas in various forms and could be defined as a process led artist. While this way of working enables me to move quickly from one media to the next and back again, it can be challenging at times. This way of working tends to offer more than one solution toward the completion of any piece. So – I am continually involved in a process of questioning, trail and error. The beauty of working in this way is the constant stream of ideas and renewal that can emerge through the process of production. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I grew up on a small family farm in a rural part of Northern Ireland. Throughout my childhood and teenage years I observed the daily creativity and ‘make do’ aptitude of life around the farm. My work is influenced by the hand-made and makeshift objects and structures that repaired a broken gate or provided a ‘stop gap’ solution to an unresolved problem. There was also a collectivity to the sheer hard work needed to maintain a sense of order. This notion of hardship, of sheer struggle is a major influence on my practice. Although I now live and work in London traces of these past observations constantly emerge through my work and influence the processes of making. What is your creative process like? I make lots of drawings in my sketch-book that become a part of an ongoing process that lead to the production of large-scale three dimensional drawings/sculptures in my studio space. My studio is full of the residue of these works that I constantly reuse to resolve a particular idea or problem. Therefore my processes are closely connected to the notion of reclamation. Using photography, digital scanning and photocopies these installations become a part of a cycle of production that proceeds to inform other outcomes. Presently I am working with a variety of materials including cloth, wood, paint and jesminite.
What are your future plans as an artist? My working practice is quite isolated therefore I would like to build collaborations with trades’ people skilled in the area of fabrication etc. I believe that such partnerships would bring great benefits to my work and enable an interesting relationship of mutual gain. Exhibiting offers process led artists such as myself to reach conclusions within a specific phase of work. I plan to maintain and develop my practice within this field but I recognize the need to make my own interventions that will enable such conclusions to occur – securing specific spaces to present the work as a collective. I would also like to develop a relationship with an international gallery or curator who would recognize the ‘non- monumental’ essence of my work and would feel passionate about representing the ephemerality of my work. What do you like/dislike about the art world? I am not sure what is meant by art world, however I do recognize that one exists! I see this world as represented by a glass ceiling that resets its position according some unknown criteria. This makes the art world increasingly difficult to access and negotiate. Most artists tend to base their career on hope rather than any definitive plan. That said I have now come to a point in my career where I can no longer wait for others to define my practice as worthy of recognition. It is the daily engagement with materials and ideas that is most important to me. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in arts? You will have many times when you will question the validity of your chosen path. Being an artist requires a lot of self-discipline, belief, perseverance and integrity. It is a lifestyle that can be extremely rewarding but also brings difficulty. Essentially the reward is in developing your practice and the difficulty is in accepting your position on the margins of everyday life.
Francine LeClercq New York, USA 2015
Soho20 Chelsea Gallery, New York NY, I am your labyrinth
Soho20 Chelsea Gallery, New York NY, Narcissus
Turku Cathedral, Turku-Finland, Francine LeClercq, Andy Wahrol, Pauno Pohjolainen:
Viimeinen Ehtoollinen/The Last Supper in Turku Cathedral,
Soho20 Chelsea Gallery, New York NY, [3:2]
Soho20 Chelsea Gallery, New York NY, Mise en [s]cène
“There is no white picture. And there is no old picture. It is always a question of current experience and current perception.” Rainer Borgemeister My work has found its ground in the process of painting and the “idea” of painting, with a deeper focus on a complementary dialogue between materiality, content, the exhibition space, and the encounter with the viewer. Displacement, sequences, viscosity, morphological and semantic registers, curatorial and historical elements are all elements with which I explore these notions.
THE LAST SUPPER
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When, how and why started your art practice? Since the age of eleven, I developed my drawing skills through intensive training at the Art School of Belfort in France, and started to successfully compete with older professional artists in local competitions. Soon after my graduation, I received a full scholarship for the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg/France from which I hold a degree In Interior Architecture as well as a master in Fine Arts. My thesis on the Barcelona Pavilion of Mies van der Rohe received the Rietleng Prize from the City Hall of Strasbourg and was published in the local newspaper Les Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace under the title “Between Art and Architecture”. Right after, I was invited by the architect and designer Gaetano Pesce to come to New York to work as his assistant. In his studio, from 1990 to 1992 I started to experiment with new materials such as resin and polyurethane while at night, I was producing large ink drawings. I met Ali Soltani who was working in Mr. Pesce’s Studio as the time, and we decided to work together in the pursuit of art and architecture. Our home became a battlefield of models, architectural competition boards, drawings, paintings, and books. It is still the same today. Subsequently, I produced a considerable body of works and earned a favorable decision on a juried competition and have been with the Soho20 Gallery in New York for the past19 years. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist?
I AM YOUR LABIRYNTH
Some of the elements in my works particularly those dealing with notions of tautology, paradox or nothingness are distinctly conceptual but not exclusively; the question is how do we arrive at a concept and why. Having said that, I
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I AM YOUR LABIRYNTH
am not aware of a concise definition of conceptual art, the term is both broad to arguably include the whole spectrum of art history into its domain, and yet limiting, in its exclusion of all traditional forms of art practice at large. As far as I am concerned, my work is founded on ontological grounds and the primacy of perception; in other words, in my installations I use the specificity of the site and medium as a tentative framework whereas in the presence of a viewer/s, a certain situation, a work, or you might say a concept emerges, which is entirely chance based since it is always pending a certain present tense; and although often enough I may start with a concept as a-priori to further develop a work , the aim is not to arrive at a predetermined static result, I am interested in the tactile dimension of a felt experience. In this respect, I find myself returning to painting again and again both as an idea or a model- and as practice since the ontological elements i.e. the stretcher, paint, and the canvas, are always self evident whether some other system, pictorial or other is laid upon it. In short, I would like to answer the question by saying: I am an artist.
I then met extaordinary people along the way who taught me not only to rely on my skills but to learn how to look, first In the School of Decorative Art with teachers like BenoĂŽt Decque and Roger Dale, then with Gaetano Pesce in New York to whom I owe self discipline. One day, I received an extraordinary giftâ€Ś Under a black velvet textile, pages of a book were carefully displayed on a wooden platform. I fell in love with the work of Walter Pichler and the person who made me discover his work. How would you describe the art scene in your area?
I would describe life in New York City as highly stimulating, Manhattan, where I live is a densely populated island layered with a rich history and home to some of the top auctioneers, museums and galleries; its extent of influence cannot be overstated. In recent history we only have to think of the diversity of the New York School to have an insight of the pivotal role it has had on the arts. Without doubt to live and work in such a place that has nurtured so many important Tell us a little about your background and how thinkers, writers, artists, is to say the least, inspirthat influences you as an artist. ing; it is a generous city if one cares to look. It is also a port city with a culture deeply rooted in trade I grew up in small french village near Ronchamp, that amongst other things exploits art when it can for hometown of my parents and grand parents. I spent its own end. Against this background, while I find the hours sketching there, fascinated by both the strik- art institutions crucial in shaping the cultural scene, ing white mass of the Chapelle de Ronchamp of Le I think the creative energy and the potential for new Corbusier and the blackness of the abandonned black art is rather derived from the concentration of ambivmine shafts down the hill. alent forces gathered in one place, which in New York is abundant. Everyone in my familly had some kind of craft and artistic skills, from crocheted lace, knitting, sewing, What are your future plans as an artist? embroidery, wood and metal working, to music so it didnâ€™t come as a surprise for no one when I starting to Future is not something I can predict, but I absolutely express my interest for drawing. intend to continue with my work.
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Valerie Molnar &
Matt Spahr Richmond, VA, USA
Skowhegan Residency (Valerie Molnar) VMFA Artist Fellowship (Valerie Molnar) Mountain Lake Residency (Matt Spahr & Valerie Molnar) Scope London, ADA Gallery, London, England (Matt Spahr) Salon No2 Marine, Santa Monica CA (Valerie Molnar)
Matt Spahr and Valerie Molnar, collaborative team since 2012, investigate the transfer of energy and the dynamic exchange within nature with color, form, and complex time based installation. Through plants, residual haunting, sculpture, and painting they experiment and debate on both real and romantic ideas of the inherent and potentially inherent attributes of naturally occurring phenomenon in our universe.
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Briefly describe the work you do.
and composed in an installation- the pieces worked together alongside one or two elements developed toWe investigate the transfer of energy and the dynamic gether. Then we would talk about ideas, mostly still exchange within nature with color, form, and com- working in our own ways but challenging each other plex time based installation. Through plants, residual to change something or respond to something. At this haunting, sculpture, and painting we experiment and point we fully work together, no this and that, but in debate on both real and romantic ideas of the inherent tandem making thinking and question asking and anand potentially inherent attributes of naturally occur- swering. We both came from using an aspect of plants ring phenomenon in our universe. in a conversation with other elements to focusing the conversation on the plants themselves. How has your style changed over the years? What is the most challenging part about working We became a collaborative in 2012. Before that time together? both of us worked with plants or the idea of plants. Matt was using plants as a dynamic element, some- Actually the most challenging part is putting into acthing the moves breathes and grows and has a specif- tion all of the ideas that we have. Since there are two ic history embedded in itâ€™s DNA, in sculpture which of us, a couple of things happen. Of course twice the led him to start thinking about the systems that sup- brainpower to think through ideas and problems. But port that life. Val used the idea of the growth and the most unexpected and magical part of our partnerlife of plants as imagery, borrowing their magic for ship is the positive affirmations. We no longer have to a snapshot of their narrative. Our first collabora- stew alone on an idea wondering if it is worth the time tive project was mostly our individual work curated or where to start. Most always we get excited about
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the other’s new offering and we easily work through their essence for all viewers to be able to experience the bumps of the idea together, figuring out why we in a more spiritual guttural way. would and how we would fit it in our practice. This has made our work develop at lightning speed in cu- What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? rious and often funny ways. Friends are the best. The journey from being a misHow would you describe the art scene in your informed youth, that artists live in abandoned warearea? houses, wear all black, only eat ramen, and make angsty splatter paintings with their bodily fluids alone, to We always talk about how lucky we are! Not only do what we have learned about how to be a part of this we get to work together as a team but we personally community as a productive member… friends are the have a rather large group of colleagues whose work biggest asset. Meeting and befriending others in the we admire, who we get to teach with, and have as our field then scattering about to solve the problem of life close friends. Aside from that, being a part of VCU, in all different ways - we work together from all these in Richmond we get to meet loads of transient artists different places to make things happen. They help coming in to be visiting artists, lecturers, graduate in all kinds of ways. From sharing opportunities, to students, and professors. The community is dynamic, having a drink with you to bitch about rejection letdiverse, energized, and exciting. ters, to give critiques and insights long after school has ended, to get dressed up and support each other’s’ What role does the artist have in society? social awkwardness at openings, to know that none of us are alone so that we can all work together towards An artist can have any number of roles depending on something good. what their goals are for their practice, who their projected audience is, and what part of the art histori- What are your future plans as a collective? cal conversation they are wanting to contribute to in our contemporary state. For us we want to engage More! Right now we are making an army of portable a community to rethink their surroundings in a more indoor sunset simulators for our houseplants to enjoy romantic way. To stop and reconsider the passive re- and utilize. As one aspect of their natural habitat that lationships with living elements, such as houseplant we imagine our plants to miss when they’re moved ingrowing in the home, as something that truly is alien, doors we are experimenting in different ways to bring fantastical and magic. We engage this through Mod- the artificial experience back to them. ernist aesthetics and systems, boiling things down to
Anka Mirkin Tel Aviv, Israel 2015 ‘Harmonic Distortion’ solo show at MFA Thesis Show, The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design 2015 Institute For Investigative Living A-Z West by Andrea Zittel, Joshua Tree, California, USA 2011 ‘Fox Tails On Fire’, group exhibition in Rotschild 12 Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
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The work process commences with references - documentary images, non- professional by nature, which I mostly find while searching Google images. Piles of asphalt, gravel, archaeological digs, aerial photographs, wetness stains, rooms under renovation with beige colored walls and additional internal architectural elements catch my eye. From these tangible elements - video segments, photographs and objects, I create a story outline which I use throughout the work process as metaphorical scaffolding. I use the story outline to create a fictional reality which stems from “our” reality. Within the fabricated narrative I create a new identity, opposite and completing characters, a problem and its solution, side by side. A reality in which exist both the character of a conspiracy seeking person as well as the detective investigating it exist (as seen in the exhibition presented in Rothschild 12 gallery), a homeless man feeding squirrels in park, and a person peeping from a kitchen window. Through the artistic process, I attempt to challenge the concepts of “truth” and “reality”, to conceive a new narrative out of elements embedded in the reality known to us. At the end of the work process, in the gallery’s space the fabricated narrative becomes alive. It is transformed into an actual object. Thus, in fact, the elements taken from reality are returned to it.
What is the most challenging part about being a mixed media artist?
Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice?
The biggest challenge choosing a medium to work with in a specific project. Having a broader choice is always more challenging, therefore there is a necessity of justification to use a certain medium. Another aspect is that one always should learn to work in different techniques with unfamiliar materials. This is time consuming and requires, in most cases, collaboration as well as the use of professional services (mostly meaning it is more costly).
My unrealized love (academically speaking) for architecture and architects has left me with a keen interest in domestic architecture and its elements. A B.A. in photography has left its mark in my attraction to the endless treasures Google Images offers, using it as a photographic base for my work. Another thing I take interest in is functional objects I like to see as dysfunctional, i.e. as a function of something else.
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There are a few artists as well that have had a lasting influence on me: Andrea Zittel, Gregor Schneider, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov (and The Moscow Conceptualist in general), Joseph Beuys, Walid Raad. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? Since I believe there is no such a thing as non-conceptual art, I think of myself as one. However, not every piece/object should be considered art. What is your creative process like? The process differs from project to project. Usually I start by collecting images (from Google Images) that catch my eye, and then selecting objects and elements I’d like to focus on. Simultaneously, I take into consideration the space where the work is going to manifest, and which manipulation should I make to the space. What are your future plans as an artist? In Ilya Kabakov’s book I have read about “total installation”; at some point I’d like to be a total artist.
I’m currently working on a video piece and, once again, find myself needing to learn new techniques in order to accomplish that. What do you like/dislike about the art world? I like the possibility of the art world opening to a parallel reality, another actuality, made by the same materials as life itself. This is the same thing I quite dislike about the art world - how disconnected the art world can be from what is happening in the concrete world. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? What often blocks me creatively the most is thinking everything already exists. Despite the truth of this fact, I try to not let this thought percolate and give me reason not to work. Overthinking is, in general, my worst enemy.
Alice Monaghan Gloucestershire, England, UK ‘Manifesto of the wall’ exhibition at the Bath fringe festival 2015 The international postcard show at The surface gallery in Nottingham 2015 ‘What came first?’ Free range show, The Truman brewery , London 2014 ‘New watches and bigger monsters’ 44AD artspace, bath 2014 ‘Blanked out’ Walcot chapel gallery , Bath 2014
The Absence Makes us look. My work often echoes archive material and documentation art. Dealing with the materials that eventually define our existence after death personal letters, photographs and documents. This is why my work rejects modern technology and deals with the original materials that are both intimate and delicate in remembering the past. The work is erased by aggressive mark making often done by burning, ink marks and paint. Each method and material is associated with the narrative behind each piece. “I cross out the words so you see them more” This act of cancellation to the words doesn’t permit the work to become any further its stopping time and offers incomplete narratives, the words still exist but they are hidden. The exploration begins the audience to think about what’s been hidden and why? Whether the act of erasure itself has more importance than the words beneath? Where the boundaries are between privacy and exposure? At the core of the work is the need to understand our existence with the world using words and the creative process. As well as asking if things are hidden from us and forgotten in order to reflect, protect us or cope with everyday existence.
SET UP DEGREE
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When, how and why started your art practice? I’ve always made art for as long as I can remember but for me when I saw a Jenny Holzer exhibition at the Tate back in sixth form I remember loosing all of my group because I was still in awe of her work and reading all the truisms, for something to do that to me it most of had a great effect and I remember thinking I want to make art like that (text art). I’ve always been drawn to lyrics, poems and words for me its a way to communicate quicker with my audience. With my recent work like anything it’s a process and through making work and critiquing whilst moving through different educational institutions I have found a conceptual idea that I constantly work with. That idea being the things we don’t see. That work is still growing and refining every day. For me art is a drive that is incomparable and unavoidable I’m one of those people that doesn’t just want to exist in the world and not ask questions about why we are here or what the purpose is, through the creative process and through language and words I feel I can ask these questions and begin to understand some of the answers. It’s a way to understand ones existence. What is the most challenging part about working interdisciplinary? Over thinking, for me especially I tend to over complicate the work and often less is more, you’re constantly thinking about different disciplines at once. There is so much to consider with art the concept the aesthetics, the materials, the space and what you want from your audience but in a way its really wonderful because artists rely purely on their ideas and imagination for endless creativity and that’s a brave thing to do. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? Yes, I am very interested in ideas and concepts behind art works the thing that drives people to the making. For me my art aims at establishing a dialogue with the viewer, which offers them to ask questions or bring a discussion to the work about why things have been hidden? Is the absence more important than the text itself? But also on a more political level what the government is hiding from us and how much of what they tell us is the truth.
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www.alicemonaghanart.com ABSENCE MAKES US LOOK
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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist. Well I was born here in Gloucestershire in 1992 and now live and work here. After school and sixth form here I studied a full year foundation course at the university of Gloucestershire specifically in sculpture moving on from this did my undergraduate degree in fine art at bath spa university this was a great time for me and the course extensively equipped me with the relevant teaching experience and knowledge needed to further my studies. After graduating I felt I had a strong idea about what my work was about and the concepts as an artist I was mainly interested in. My background in terms of race or culture childhood experiences etc hasn’t had much influence on my art except the obvious of course that it all relatively plays a part in the person you become later in life but really I was lucky to have a happy normal upbringing what I will say though is that there is a lot of people in my family that are artists or are arty in some way so its great to have that creative input and influence from other artists who are close to me. Name three artists you’d like to be compared to. Fiona banner and Jenny Holzer for their bravery as women to deal with subjects like the terror of war and politics something I aspire to also achieve. Of course for their use of text as art but getting us to consider different ways of seeing the work so it is more accessible to the viewer. Artist’s like Jenny Holzer deal with these issues I have the public and the private what is hidden from us, in her work she redacts documents to get us to consider the victims of war and the silence and invisibility of those victims as well as questions of morally who is to blame. Also for me Elena del Rivero is a great artist who I’d love to be compared to for me my fascination with her is through materials she often chooses very delicate materials such as paper letters, cloth or things sewn together. A lot of my work similarly deals with these materials that echo documentation art or archive material the materials are fragile, delicate and intimate usually the opposite of the text on top which is harsh and deals with war, politics, loss and is often black. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I was concerned about returning to Cheltenham after my undergraduate degree because in Bath and Bristol there is always so much great stuff going on for the art scene and obviously their cities so are much bigger. But I was wrong to be concerned and there are some great things going on here many festivals and events for the arts. When you are in a institution like university it is easier for you to find lots of art things going on and be surrounded by other artists as well as great facilities but you shouldn’t worry that without it you cant achieve that on you’re own because you can and as well as my masters here in Cheltenham I have reconnected ties with galleries in bath with hopefully a Christmas exhibition coming up and will have work in the international postcard show in Nottingham for the second year so its always about pushing yourself as an artist to find things elsewhere and get involved in things going on in you’re area. What are your future plans as an artist? I just want to advance my knowledge of art and my practice and regularly be part of exhibitions
Mark Pol Amsterdam, Netherlands Mark Pol, born in The Hague has found an early passion for painting. His interest in drawing and painting started in primary school. And later on he went to the Free Academy of Art in The Hague led by George Lampe the followed by Photo Academy in The Hague. The work of Mark Pol, also shown on his website (http://www.markpol.nl), is in essence inspired by daily human life, without losing its vulnerability and the animal unpredictability. Despite the timeframe the painting or drawing might seem to be in, humanity is key in his work. In the early stage of a painting, Mark Pol draws his thoughts and dreams with a pencil and then continues his vision with a basis of oil - or acryl paint on canvas. The expression of Mark Pol are often too much for the two dimensional canvas and the result is a three dimensional world, shown in different materials.
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When, how and why started your art practice? When I was six years old at primary school. Later on I followed Free Academy of Art and Photo Academy. What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media? Drawing and painting is a real challenge and to express your feelings and thoughts is rather difficult. I think it will be easier for me to make a picture and make photographs. At least I think so. What art do you most identify with? With surrealism or figurative abstract. I do not like to fit in a “box”. I want to make what I like and not the people think what I have to make… Describe a real-life situation that inspired you? It is always for me about dreams and fantasies. I draw every night a drawing which I use as a beginning of a painting or a new drawing. How would you describe the art scene in your area? In the Netherlands is about money and about displaying the artist in funny surroundings but not his work. Kind of ego-art…I do not why, but I see it more and also in the media. It is not what you make but what you are. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? Keep on fighting and keep with your own developed style, and work, work, work …… What are your future plans as an artist? Try to survive as an artist and hope I am not becoming a commercial monster and not an ego-art figure.:-)
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SURVIVING THE FUTURE
Var Sahakyan Paris, France 2011
Toys of the Idle Time, Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art Yerevan
15th Annual Festival of Alternative Art, Armenian Center for Contemporary Experi-
mental Art, Yerevan
Group Exhibition, Gallery Caleidoscope, Berlin
Art has been a long journey of coming home for me. In relation to the question of my presence in art and my relation to it, 2015 became a point of before and after. A sudden cancer diagnosis in late 2014 made me pause and face the ultimate question- “What do I do with my life?” The cancer turned out to be a curable one. However it helped me reconnect to my roots and to my purpose. Having grown up in the studios of my artist parents I went in and out of the orbit of art, travelling and studying various subjects including art. Cancer gave me a taste of the fragility of time and how for granted it can be taken and how worthless everything can be compared to the ultimate failure in this life- to not do what you knew you were here to do. If every man could pose to themselves on a light day the hypothetical question of “If I only had a bit of time left- what would I do?” – they might step into an answer that has always been in their face. My art thus stems from personal inner quests for liberation from inhibitions within and outside – it is the aesthetic materialisation of perceptions and reaction the problematics of our time and my reality. Therefore my works draws on a wide range of subject matter - from the human condition to the state of our environment and to art itself. I work without stylistic attachments and rather in a way of making connections within art as well as between art and everything else.
OCEANS AND MARKETS -AN ANECDOTE IN THREE ACTS
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BOX YOURSELF OUT
What is the most challenging part about being a mixed media artist? Mixed media presumes that you mix different media and the challenge with that comes in finding a sensibility for bringing foreign things together. However to whom it may be a challenge and to whom a source of freedom to unleash a flowing, intuitive and imaginative process of creation that resembles rain or waterfall: ideas fall off your head straight onto the working space. I like to feel that everything is possible when I look at a canvas. Therefore true artistic freedom for me implies being free to do whatever I wish. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? It is Freedom. When you have it then you create in a true voice. Once you lose it, your creation feels lost as well. Freedom is like a slippery fish you catch with bare hands and it then slips off and you catch
it again. It is not a guaranteed state, it is something you have to recreate constantly. A free individual has more room in their mental space to move around. On the contrary you can have a space clustered with ideas and constructs that are lying around, getting on the way. This unnecessary stuff are the prejudices and ideas that are foreign to your feelings and values, but which you still brought in and let them sit around. The more you collect those, the less you will own your field and the less room for your real ideas and feelings is left. So you become a guest in your own house, maybe even move to the basement. Thus, it takes a good shake off, a liberating earthquake to loosen up, and give the dust to the winds. What is your creative process like? I think of it like this - I donâ€™t paint with a brush, but with courage. When you start creating, putting things together, there comes a point somewhere not far from the beginning, when you start liking what you already have and you fall hostage to that and
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COP21 UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE
become afraid to ruin it. That to me is the greatest trap one can fall into. I have to battle with myself to not be afraid to ruin or loose what is good already to be able to make it even better. Because when you actually cut through it and go on, you realise that the initial perception of goodness was an illusion. So I try to be careful to not be too careful. What are your future plans as an artist? In the near future I am looking forward to creating more installations. Actually, I am trying something experimental this year. I put a collection of my future art project ideas on my website for potential curators or collaborators to see and get in touch. They can be found under the section Works -> For Curators at www.vartist.tv
What do you like/dislike about the art world? What I dislike about the art world? The world part perhaps. The art world needs art definitely. I am not sure how much art needs the art world however. I think when things become worlds, they become about people and create unnecessary barriers for you to jump, which are not linked to your true passion or ability of creating art. So, sometimes I have a feeling that to be able to show your work you have to be more of a pickup artist than an artist. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in arts? Do not take advice from those who are starting out in the arts.
John Tedstone @johntombstone Birmingham, England, UK John Tedstone is based in the West Midlands, who works predominately with acrylic on canvas and occasionally with charcoal on paper. His work has no particular social, cultural or political commentary, however they all play with the feelings of isolation and loneliness. Inspired by wildlife and nature, the characters are shown in a slight anthropomorphic way often in foreign settings. John`s inspirations are nature, history, the cosmos and alcohol.
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Art Reveal Magazine
When, how and why started you painting?
and murals. I know a lot of talented artists and musicians that grew up where I did and they are doing I have always created since I was a kid. There were really well in their fields, however a lot of them have always paints knocking around the house and I would sort of spread their wings and left to new pastures. have a go when I was bored. They were those awful powder paints that you add water to. I was often praised for my work by art teachers Describe a real-life situation that inspired you? and by the time I was in high school, I realised I was better at this than any other subject. This was around I don’t think there has been anything that dramatic or the time I started trying to make original works exper- memorable that has inspired me. Obviously, my work imenting with style and techniques. I played around is very influenced by nature and whilst some of my with various takes on style such as hot rod type stuff paintings symbolise feelings and emotions some have to macabre ink work. My work has gone through var- just been because I’ve had a brief encounter with an ious changes since high school then college, but in animal thats made me think. Whether thats catching a the last two years I am at a place where I am pretty magpie on my windowsill or crossing paths with a fox content with my work and this is where I’m at now. at three in the morning, its these little moments when I Nearly twenty seven years later. wonder what these creatures are thinking. Like at the moment I have got a little fascinated with birds so I’ve been making more work where birds have made an Who or what has a lasting influence on your art appearence. I think thats why I like painting animals, practice? its the fact they don’t give too much away and I am always trying to figure them out. For me, I really got interested in making my own work when I came across Alex Pardee’s cover art for The Used’s ‘In Love And Death’. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? I was instantly took with it and hadn’t seen anything like it before. I started to look at more of his work and Perseverance. I think that has been said by so many found more amazing artists working in that same sort people to me all those times things haven’t been workof scene. I realised for the first time that there were ing and I’ve been tempted to put a knife through the contemporary artists making a good living out of just canvas. I do believe that if you put your brush down, doing what they do without pandering to any particu- take a break and go back to it another day you see lar galleries or audience. In that I mean, these artists things in a new way and can alter all the things you have got there individual styles and strange oddities didn’t even realise was bugging you the day before. and probably aren’t classed as high brow yet they On the contrary, I have just thrown a painting away still get shown in major galleries and at large events. as there was no fixing that! Ha!. This was when I thought ‘I could have a go at that’ and started to make work in my free time and immerse myself in Art. Even though my style has changed over What are your future plans as an artist? the years, there are still some little techniques and subtle hints that I use back from when I was trying to I don’t know what the future will deal me, its tough beemulate Alex Pardee. cause I’ve had such a good year and I don’t want that to cloud my vision. In my characteristically pessimistic way I feel that next year might be a slow burner as How would you describe the art scene in your things tend to work in peaks and troughs. I just hope area? I continue to do what I do at the moment. Make work whilst constantly trying to get better and challenge Pretty non existent. I mean, there are artists working myself with the occasional chance to exhibit and sell in my hometown as there’s an art society that regu- my paintings. I guess I would eventually like to put larly exhibit work. As far as anything beyond that I on a solo show and it would be good to have artist think Birmingham is the closest place with any sort representation, but this is a long term goal. For now, of scene happening. Especially East of the city where as long as things are gradually moving in the right the buildings are covered in street art. There are old direction then that will get me through my day job and pubs and cafes covered in wheat pastings, stickers as long as I’m creating I’m happy.
Angelica Verdan Charlottesville, USA #nofilter, Solo Exhibition, Ruffin Gallery; Virginia, USA Aunspaugh Fellowship; Virginia, USA Digital Media Gallery Group Exhibition through the VA Film Festival, Second Street Gallery; Virginia, USA
CRY ME A RIVER
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
How and why did you start creating? Art has always been a significant part of my life. From playing the violin to playing video games, I was constantly surrounded by creative influences. Growing up, I wanted to be a cartoonist. I enjoyed drawing the world as I saw it and wanted to share that with others in a humorous way. The act of creating really changed for me once I came to college. At the time, I was planning on becoming a doctor. I had only taken a handful of studio art classes. As I learned more about myself and the world, my interests slowly shifted. Much of that transition was facilitated by my phenomenal professors and mentors. Led by faith instead of obligation, I stopped pursuing medicine. I realized my passion for the arts and sciences was always rooted in their pursuit of the truth. Tell us more about “Silenced Thoughts” work. “Silenced Thoughts” briefly explores the dynamic between minorities and majorities seen in the media. Issues existing in the physical world are translated into the digital world using recognizable icons and actions, allowing one to reexamine these situations in a new, yet familiar light. The video is appropriated from a CNN interview discussing a separate viral video about catcalling. The 30-second loop also appropriates some iconic lyrics from the chorus of “I Don’t F*** with You ft. E-40 (Explicit)” by Big Sean. The creation of the work was originally intended as a joke - a reaction to a terrible incident. As I put the video together, however, the work became part of a larger conversation. Soon, the video functioned as an entry point to understanding complex systemic injustices. What is the most challenging part about working with video? The technical preparation and setup involved to present digital art are the most challenging parts about working with video. I have to test and troubleshoot every piece of tech when showing my work. Cameras, memory cards, computers, external hard drives, projectors, monitors: you can’t trust any of it. Why is my external hard drive unreadable? What
cables does this TV monitor need? How do I synchronize two projectors? Don’t get me wrong, I love the convenience of technology, but sometimes the non-creative work can get in the way. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? I certainly resonate with elements of the conceptual art movement, but I have never described myself as a conceptual artist. I definitely place greater weight on the concepts behind my work over the aesthetics of my work. My video work also has undertones of social critique and anti-commodification (which may be more in line with Neo-conceptualism). I think many of the concerns of conceptual artists inherently come with being a contemporary artist. Name three artists you’d like to be compared to. Nam June Paik paved the way for video art, but his idea of an “information superhighway” was particularly influential for me in light of the rise of social media. Zachary Lieberman’s coining of the phrase “projection bombing” inspired me to go out and do my own micro projection work, using any surface as my medium without permission. Jesse McLean’s appropriation work about human relationships and connections have also informed my work. Though not specifically video artists, other notable creative influences include Shigeru Miyamoto, Christine Gambito, Brian Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. What are your future plans as an artist? Currently, I’m trying to maintain an active art practice outside the structure of school. That involves finishing a video series on home and transition as seen through smart phones. I’m also figuring out how to submit my work to the right galleries and festivals. I eventually plan on going to graduate school to get an MFA. I never had the traditional studio art education since I studied biochemistry for my undergraduate degree, so I would love to have that experience in the near future. Ultimately, I would love to teach at the college level.
THE BUFFOON, THE QUIET SERVANT, THE ENEMY
Shelley Whiting Phoenix, USA My art is influenced by caricature and mural art. When I was fifteen years old I realized that realism did not capture the emotion or essence of the human experience. So I took a sketch pad and started experimenting with methods of distorting faces. I remember being fascinated by the caricatures of celebrities in Entertainment Weekly. Some were Cubist-inspired and others were more illustrative. After a year of painting celebrity caricatures I started creating caricatures of everyday people, which is what I do today. My love of mural art began when my older brother (who is also an artist) asked me to help him paint a children’s mural twelve years ago. I realized while I was painting alongside him that my artistic expressions felt more natural when I worked larger. After that project I went to Home Depot and bought several boards and entrenched myself in the study of mural art. I became fascinated by the works of Rivera, Siquieros and Orozco. I cherished the book Community Murals-The People’s Art by Alan W Barnett. I remember being enamored of the artwork “Chicano Moratorium” by Gronk. I had never seen such horror and expression in an artwork before. I wanted to do artwork that had that level of impact. My current work consists of portraits, mostly representative of myself, but sometimes caricatures of other people and their inner lives. Lately I have been creating paintings that represent the roles that I play in my life. My recent paintings represent how I might be perceived by my peers coupled with the complicated nature how I view myself. I use my work as a means of defining my spiritual beliefs and my attempts at connecting with the spirituality and individuality of others. While I have struggled with mental health issues since a very young age, in the past decade I have begun to comprehend through professional help my dual-diagnosis of bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. That dual-diagnosis, on the other hand, does not fully explain what I feel and experience and I still struggle to choose what, if any labels define who I am. As of right now I use art as a form of catharsis. I pour my raw and vulnerable feelings into my work and really don’t care about the comfortability of my work to an audience. I hope the work will show my pain, and that the audience will sympathize with the often depressed and often silly nature of who I am. BIG FOOT SHAKE
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
When, how and why started you painting? I have been doing art since I was 12 years old. My brother is an artist and I wanted to emulate him. However I started painting when I was 15. During my teenage years I began to develop mental health problems. Painting was a positive way I could channel my pent-up energy. Painting sedated me and sent me to a magical place. It still does, which is why I will always paint no matter how much success I do or do not get. Art is my lifestyle and not just a career or hobby. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? It sounds corny but my family has been the lasting influence on my art practice. My mom was my cheerleader, supporting financially and emotionally with my art. My mom would give me a weekly allowance for supplies. My mom was a Mormon historical writer. She would take vacations by herself to study old Mormon journals at the BYU library. From her I realized the sacrifice and level of hard work and creative introversion art has. Her faith has always been a huge influence on me. I recently went back to religion later on in life. My mother had a blind faith that I still admire. She never wavered, she just knew God was real. My brother has been a huge influence on my art. He would give me tips when I was a beginner artist. My figures used to be darker. He told me not to mix my paints beforehand and apply the tube straight onto the canvas. It was a good tip. I respect the way he knows his resources. He was a a high school teacher and received grants to teach his students silkscreening and encaustics. Now he makes his living writing grants and doing murals with children. From his influence, I realize that you can survive financially off your art. Iâ€™m not there yet, but there is that possibility. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Phoenix tends to be a hodge podge of everything. I recently was invited to be part of an art show at Tieken Gallery of the 45 artists that encapsulate the Phoenix Arizona scene. It was a new gallery in Paradise Valley. Some were modernists. There was a realistic figurative artist and an installation artist APOTHEOSIS
Art Reveal Magazine
that made a piece with metal and hair. There were also artists like me who do more narrative figurative art. Besides that show there is also a street and Chicano influence in Phoenix as well. Luna Culture Lab captures that aspect of the scene. Describe a real-life situation that inspired you? My mom’s death was the biggest influence on my art. My mom died of breast cancer. Before my mom’s death I didn’t put my feelings in my art. But after mom’s death there was a cloud of sadness that pervaded my life. My bipolar illness was triggered by her death. For the next couple of years I was incredibly manic. My head moved so fast that I couldn’t concentrate. After I pulled out of the mess, however, my work had a lot more feeling and intensity. Without the sorrow in my life, my art wouldn’t be where it is today. What’s the best art tip you’ve ever received? I learned my best art tip in college. I was in an art class and the teacher called me out for never asking for help. Your art will never look its best without another set of eyes. Usually at art therapy I ask people about the background color. A lot of times I get suggestions I didn’t even think of. I have learned to cultivate connections with artists whether it be in Facebook or at local shows. No artist is an island; you have to be part of a community. What are your future plans as an artist? For right now I would like to continue exhibiting works in Phoenix galleries. Hopefully I can find a place to do a solo exhibit again. Solo exhibits are better for me because I can carry an idea better in thirty pieces than three. For one recent solo exhibit the walls were painted two colors to unify the pieces. For another, the walls were surrounded by circular paintings which were symbolic of the eye of God. I also would love to do more collaborative work and maybe have an opportunity to do installation art. I know that no matter what my work will expand and continue in unpredictable directions.
www.shellwhiting.blogspot.com SPAGHETTI TREES
Published on Dec 2, 2015
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