OLGA ALEXANDER 4 RICCARDO ATTANASIO MATLAKAS 10 CAROLE BAILLARGEON 16 TIMOLEON (TIMWNAS) BATSAOURAS 22 YUNA CHO 28 ALEXIS DUQUE 34 JO FABBRI 40 KATIA GOSSELIN 46
OMRI HARMELIN 52 DONATELLA IZZO 58 MEGGAN JOY TROBAUGH 64 JEAN M. JUDD 70 HILDY MAZE 76 SHECULTUREVULTURE 82 FLORINA TITZ 88 MARTIN WEBB 94
Olga Alexander New York, USA I am a abstract painter and installation artist from New York. I also design jewelry www.nodescollection.com I obtained my M.F.A. from the University of Tennessee and my undergraduate degree from University of CA. at Berkeley. My work is inspired by popular culture and its forays into science, architecture and art.
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Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I am a abstract conceptual and mixed media artist that is process oriented, so a lot of people have influenced me such as Jessica Stockholder, Rauchenberg, Warhol, Marlene Dumas. I also love jazz and try to always have music in the background when I am in the flow. It has taken me a long time to be comfortable with my method of working; I draw upon so many resources and enjoy mashing ideas up and seeing where they take me and then editing those so that I am left with a few pieces that make sense to me. What is the most challenging part about being an artist? It’s very challenging working alone in my studio which is also my apartment. I don’t have the feedback I did in grad school so I have to generate everything myself and then promote my pieces and work at a day job, neither of which pays very well but is very time consuming not to mention my space in very small! Some of my mix media work like my sculptures have led me to minituarize them (www.nodescollection.com) into sculptural necklaces for my Nodes Collection which means I have to brand myself, market the jewelry and manufacture them non-stop and paint, promote, repeat etc. What themes do you pursue? If I were to generalize about my work I would have to say that the widest overarching “theme” would have to be fragmentation. It is a theme that characterizes a lot of contemporary artists but also the time we live in. The Internet has exasperated this and although it promises connectivity the reality is that to get connected you have to search wider and deeper into other communities almost ad infinitum. I do this when I am making artwork; when I am researching something I will find myself down a rabbit hole I had not intended! Generally I like this, but it becomes overwhelming. I know fragmentation is too wide a subject
so I frame fragmentation as it pertains to our environment, landscape and our sense of place within it. These sub areas serve as categories that have infinite possibilities for my work; I find that I can play within these areas and mashup them up to the point that I can begin to imagine how my ideas play out in terms of some hybrid environment that I imagine existing in the future; hybrid environments and new industrial materials that lend themselves to manipulation, interests me very much! How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live in Manhattan so the art scene is all over the map and that’s what I love about it; you can do anything you want today at the same time it’s harder to have a stable community. Producing work is not a problem but getting recognized is; schools are turning out more M.F.A.’s but the jobs are not there. You gotta love art and the process of creating to do it long term! What do you like/dislike about the art world? High and low art exist side by side or overlap and the major players are few and male. Their art gets promoted by various art institutions while so many are left out. The good news is that with the internet artists can bypass traditional channels and form their own exhibitions. What are your future plans as an artist? Personally I hope to work collaboratively with the fashion world to promote my jewelry and my art work since they are more and more inter-related now and feed off of each other. I feel the art world and fashion world overlap and their individual contributions can only be enlarged as they begin to share their sensibilities about a world that is evermore fluid, varied and tech oriented which is why I try to get out of the studio more and soak up all I can about tech, wearables and 3d printing!
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SYNAPTIC INCUBATIONS OF ANOTHER KIND
Riccardo Attanasio Matlakas London, UK
My activity usually depends on the context where I create a certain art work, from performance to video and painting I like working studying the history and background of the places I go to and the cultural heritage of the people living in it. I like exploring some concepts that then manifests into a specific art work that is translated in my own Aesthetic language but mixed, after careful studies to the historical background of a specific context. I belief that an art work starts already from out imagination and the art is actually manifest an idea physically so that it can be seen by audience or directly being object of a participatory practice. My belief is that Imagination is something that everyone is capable of and that an art work is already existing in our minds independently. The issue of my art is then giving to imagination a concrete form. I have a poliedric background since I academically studied Sculpture, Conceptual art and have a dance training. I experimented so far many art forms that merged into each other and widen the possibilities I have at my disposal to deliver an artwork. I usually use the media more appropriate for the context I am in. The media I use are: Painting, Performance, Video art, dance (in some specific cases), Photography, Writing and still undefined ones yet to be discovered. I adapt myself quite easily to every project because the broad consciousness of media. I believe a specific research can lead to an unknown field. Each media I use correspond to a particular Idea; on my opinion all the media are there to serve to one purpose which is the deliver of a concept in a particular cultural context. The relationship with the media I use and the idea is very much related to the nature of the context. My work content can touch the field of human existence, politics, society, physics, biology, psychology all connected somehow by my theories about energies and universal structures that connects all living and not living existences on the planet. Finally My achievements when I create is to express as best and as deeply I can a certain concept that flourishes usually after a zealous and attentive research and grows then naturally into itâ€™s artistic form. So the use of media in my work is never an issue because through a specific idea I always learn new techniques that lead me to create something fresh every time. My main media are: performance, Video, Painting and installation.
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HAVE YOU SEEN THE SKY
When, how and why started you performance practice? I really can’t remember, Probably since I began thinking that I could change the already written future by changing a behavior which is expected in certain contexts. When I began breaking my own expectations and prejudice of how I should behave. I began performing in my head, when I was a small kid, I remember my bed floating in the universe and that vision of the universe in my mind is so vivid that seemed real. So every time I closed my eyes I was ready to be an active spectator of my consciousness. Later on I began breakdancing and roller skating. So I would say I began all my art forms within the hip hop culture which contains poetry, painting, dance, it was a great source of inspiration for me. Later on I studied different forms of dance and of course visual arts to then get deeper into my body and aesthetic taste. Getting in touch with my body was a way that was a way to reinforce my awareness of
how we function as a body and as a conscious being and how we are all connected, and that separation with body/soul/mind does not exist. When we are all one with ourselves, the audience, the nature, and when we are in that centre I understood that the magic of art comes into play. To be in that centre means to have an opportunity to grasp the meaning of everything. Becoming the king of my own kingdom does not mean to have disciples, because on that kingdom we are all queens and kings, there is no hierarchy. When Once I was pushing clay in the sculpture department I understood that act to be already a performance, because the energy emanating from that action and the engagement and full awareness of that attention brought magic that I would describe as art. The concept of the switching role, when Human becomes a sculpture is also a fascinating idea since sculpture was inspired by nature, after I understood that also nature can be interested in sculpture and that they are related to each other, there can be no way out the web! So I can-
not tell you when I began but you can get a sense of it. How I began… I just had to always accept my fears and find the truth in myself, this truth is in each of us as individuals. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist? I should say no if I look at the aesthetics of conceptual art but I do feel like a conceptual artist when I look at the etymology of the word: “Conceptual”. Although Conceptual art is a name given to identify a certain way of art making, I can’t get away from my own point of view about concept and idea. I see an idea as something that comes as a sparkle or as Aliens on earth coming to surprise us and it comes beyond our faculty and brain/heart realm. A concept for me is a much more rationalized way of dealing with reality and also emotions. It’s comparable to Euclidian Geometry, which is exact and its changes are often predictable. So I would say even now that I am expressing my thoughts about concept and idea, I am imprisoned
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by the present moment which belongs to my own consciousness limited to this particular time and space in connection to the reader’s perception of what I am saying. I dare to say I am sometimes also a conceptual artist, because an artist is fully an artist when in her/his own way of creating through a specific media contains all the forms of art, named and unnamed. What role does the artist have in society? Following our own truth so that everyone else can see that it’s possible to be honest with ourselves and that we are all capable of imagining, we all have this organic tool which is our body and that we can use it as we like, understanding what it’s here for, why are we incarnated is not important but what matters is that understanding where we flow is the most vital thing to live life fully. The role of art is to invent and to explore the unknown. The role of an artist is to save the planet, it’s to connect humanity to their higher selves and to understand that we ourselves are nature and the “creator” is in us, sometimes waiting to sing and dance on this planet or simply being silently enjoying the nature singing and dancing for us. The role of art is also to undercover lies, which unfortunately exist in our society. I feel also that on higher realms we are all artists. The role of an artist is to bring people together, emotionally or physically. To interconnect in a subtle or clear level each individual. The media of art an artist uses is not important, but rather the core of it is what matters. The role of the artist in society is changing, drastically. In my opinion every field, business, company, organization, educational building, all the jobs existing should include at least an artist in the role of who has no experience in that particular sector but that can bring a fresh input to it. The role of art is not merely a commercial role, in fact, I believe artists should be considered more as scientists collaborators because artists and scientists have a lot in common. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I have been travelling a lot as an artist and witnessed varied realities so my area is I would say “the globe”, yes, the art in my area is extraordinary!
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PHOTO BY SHIN DO WON AT GWANGJU BIENNALE KOREA 2014
Carole Baillargeon Deschambault, Canada My researches in sculpture, drawing and installation deal with the human element. Shapes covered associated with body, silhouette, clothing, are all strategies used to explore the human experience. The importance that I give to material and to the fabrication process is in keeping with the renewal of contemporary textile art and with mediology theory (Debray, R., 2000), which considers material as preceding idea. In this manner, I underline the importance of original gesture, its historical roots and its situation in the history of humanity. This becomes concrete in a hybrid artistic practice, mixing visual arts with traditional arts and crafmanship, using simple textile techniques requiring a patient and repetitive work of material. While the work patiently evolves, a meditative context settles in, which allows me to build up stories. True or fictive, they bring about idea associations that join imaginary, visual and temporal elements further transposed into assemblages of materials from everyday objects. The familiar themes that are clothing and cycle of time unite with common materials and customary techniques to physically translate facets of human experience. The human body is always around, clothing very often associates itself with it, identifies itself with it or becomes it. The human body materializes as fragmented or in a kind of absence, it is present in the absence. This singularity reveals a mnemonic game supported by the choice of materials, the process of achieving or the subject. Adaptation from a translation by Nicole Royer
VICTIMES DE COUPURE
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When, how and why started your art practice? It was love at first sight that I felt when discovering the materials and techniques of handmade paper in 1987. This impulse led me the same year to conduct a residency at the Banff Art Center and then access my first exhibition work at Walter Phillips Gallery. I approached the paper paste in my own way, through sculpture and installation, using inventive treatments to paint or alter the surfaces, a direct influence of my training in scenography. After ten years of working with all kinds of paper, I diversified my scope of practice by incorporating other materials and techniques, textiles of course but also wood, metal, concrete, etc. What is the most challenging part about working interdisciplinary? Challenges arise when I must get out of a comfort zone already established. Then I have to do research, experiment, find suppliers, collaborators. This process can sometimes be very long and insecure, however, it has a high potential for resourcing and innovating that enriches my career. Funding is always a challenge which I have to cope with. Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist?
VICTIMES DE COUPURE
My works incorporate concepts, yet they are not opposed to aesthetics. They carry emotions and show sometimes seductive appeal. I use this strategy because it matters to me to hold the viewer long enough so that beyond the appearance of works, he can establish relationships between materiality, realization process and concepts. In the four installations that make up Landscapes-Garments project, I suggest a stroll that promotes letting go, slowing down to observe the details and the whole. Through walking the loop path course a few times, one can immerse in the environment proposed and perceive many relationships between elements.
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VICTIMES DE COUPURE
VICTIMES DE COUPURE
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist. My first university training is scenography. These studies have fed my interest in clothes that I use both as subject and pattern in my artistic process. My approach to the use of space, my interest in light and the integration of a certain narrative also stem from this influence. It is tangible in the Landscapes-Garments project that merges scenography and sculpture, by equating two strong scenographyâ€™s entities, that is set design and costume. They are sometimes referred to by a fragment of landscape, sometimes by the absence of the body materialized by clothing. An other strong influence in my practice is my environment and workshop space. Therefore, I seek creative residencies opportunities, because they bring revival to my creation. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live in the province of Quebec in Canada, the only unilingual French speaking province immersed in an
English speaking sea. Our culture distinguishes us and its conservation is a major issue. This results in a relatively strong financial support for artists and for the maintenance of museums and an array of parallel diffusers (of the Artist-Run Centres type). However, competition is fierce, more opportunities being given for artists under 35 years old and for so called innovative practices integrating namely new technologies. The art market is rather low. But since a few years, a generation of dynamic young collectors share their passion for contemporary art. What are your future plans as an artist? After working for fifteen years to achieve Landscapes-Garments, I apply myself to artwork diffusion. A touring exhibition is currently underway in Quebec and I wish to show this exhibition abroad. A short film project on Landscapes-Garments is also being developed. The film medium can present both the performative part and the exhibition. At the studio, I work on the exhibition HĂŠcatombe, denouncing budget restrictions of our various levels of government.
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Timoleon Batsaouras a.k.a.
“dont destroy chaos with tenderness”
Art Reveal Magazine
Art Reveal Magazine
Briefly describe the work you do. I mainly do digital and analog collages, sometimes a mix of them. I like to use my own manipulated photos, old photos of my relatives and work under a specific theme like my series: Remained posters of decadence. Religion and sexuality are a big part of my work and always use symbols of strong meanings. What is your creative process like? There is not a certain way to proceed. Sometimes the work leads to a way you never thought about. Nothing is certain around us, even more here in Greece of crisis, so how can an artistic process be as well? Iâ€™m sure Certainty comes through Chaos. What is the best part about working with collage? The freedom to combine different things and the great impact it has .Itâ€™s also channeling that you can use images came from magazines for a reason and you can divert the meaning of them in the collage. For example Pope photo from a religious article can be transformed to a universal pornstar. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? The reason to start collages us El Lissitzky. Some of the artists that have impact on me are Witkin, Bacon, Rivera. I find inspiration in decay, people called trash, the punk scene and anything that opposes concervatism. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Donâ€™t be afraid to try even if its mean to throw a tone of paper. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Theres no art scene around here... What are you working on right now? I recently finished my Red Series collage, i continue working my illustrations with pencils and markers and soon i hope i will finish a series of oil paintings 70cmx1m size
Yuna Cho Seoul, South Korea
My name is Yuna Cho and I graduated from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) this June with a BFA in Painting. I am currently residing in South Korea working as an Art Education Researcher and a Portfolio Instructor. My works are gestural and experimental, actively responding to the medium I use. I explore observational drawing and painting through figures and selfportraits--they act as a medium for me to express my emotions and desires.
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Briefly describe the work you do. I am inspired by everyday moments and events that I want to remember, commemorate and memorialize through the process of material exploration working from photography to sculpture, and quick drawings of daily thoughts and impulses. Each of us has different daily routines that we follow, but there is a common feeling of monotonous mundanity in a list of what we go through every day. However, efficient or not, I believe that our daily activities we conduct carry some kind of a meaning that influence our lives. “Everyday” is a fragment of our innermost character; it is the most sincere and honest way of looking into oneself. The works ask to be identified without however providing much of a cue. Some consist of blurry shapes that are unrecognizable, but somehow they resonate with a sense of presence and believability, while others are more distinct and defined, yet you cannot recall who the person is or where the site takes place in. You might see an image of a person that appeared in your dreams. Maybe it was not even a person at all. In another instance, a strange view of unknown world unlocks in front of you, yet somehow it all feels strangely familiar. These images pop up inside your head and you still cannot recall if you have ever seen them before, or if they even exist. They are enigmatic, for they come from nowhere. They are difficult to apprehend, for anything that arises in the mind can be and become anything. Where does this imagery reside in you? How does it come to be?
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I was born in South Korea, and lived in Toronto, Canada from the age of 11. I graduated from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with a BFA degree in Painting last May. I don’t come from an artistic family, but I was always pretty much self-motivated to create, always drawing and doodling something. My experience at RISD heavily influenced my process of making today. The Foundation year consisted of broad exposure to all kinds of medium such as drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, graphic design, and more. It was a transitional period when I discovered distinctions between looking and seeing, and knowing and understanding, where I learned how to draw, to see for the first time. This disciplinary fluidity allowed me to open up to more options and flexibility as an artist. What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media? There definitely are some boundaries to working only with traditional media, in terms of opportunities that allow for discoveries of new techniques and methods in expressing ideas. I think it becomes important for me to always seek for something “new” whether it is a type of medium or method, because a lot of the times the newness of a medium’s materiality leads to building and bringing in a stronger context to the work, which is exciting! It was my senior year at RISD when I felt the need to try explor-
ing a dynamic combination of materials, methods, and concepts that challenges my comfort zone and traditional boundaries. There is an installation I did pretty recently called, “Welcome Home” with a series of minimalistic plaster sculptures referencing everyday domestic objects next to an interactive web html, where the ‘user’ has to select a type of room he likes, and drag images of the plaster sculptures into the selected room. We talk to ourselves through daily routines and objects we use— and unconsciously they shape our character and identity. We ask objects to speak for us in small ways, but they end up inadvertently making larger statements. The installation serves to preserve the everyday and give authority to the ordinary items and places: the site where everyday performance occurs reveals the person’s psyche—public or private. The public and private is not merely a space, but it is the embodiment of social and psychological mechanisms that frames its occupant. I was intrigued by the psychology engrained in the idea of authority and the privacy in an interior space. The installation becomes an intimate experience where the player’s internal is placed on a stage in the process of taking ownership of the objects inside his virtual ‘room’. This series of sculptures referencing an interior architectural space questions the participants’ interior and the psychology behind them: How and why does one make association with the object or image? Why does it feel familiar or unfamiliar? Comfortable or anxious? Safe or unsafe? My work gradually evolved to behave in a more interactive way over time, as a way of trying to understand the idea of self and the world surrounded.
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How would you describe the art scene in your area? Opportunities (residencies, grants, and jobs) for artists like painters and sculptors, especially for the young emerging ones are scarce in South Korea. We have trouble finding a decent part-time job, and even if you find one, it will most likely be underpaid. It is not only the visual artists that are disregarded, but it is also everyone in all areas of art that is being neglected financially. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Always trust your instincts and go for it. Do not let criticisms of others that involve personal attacks affect yourself and your work, because you are the only person in this world who understands you the most. It is necessary that you seek out for new thoughts and perspectives on your work from time to time, but the most important thing is to be honest with what your instincts tell you to do — and whatever it is, it will be great! THE GHOST’S FACE (SELF-PORTRAIT)
What are your future plans? Name three artists you’d like to be compared to. I used to make a lot of references to Marlene Dumas and her beautiful washes of portraits. I love the way she works with the human face, how she isn’t seduced only by the likeness. I say Beth Campbell is the #1 artist that I look up to nowadays. Her installations and videos explore interesting viewpoints on how everyday objects define one’s identity, and every purchase is an act of self-collage. Also William Leavitt is a great installation artist whose interest lies in interiors and their narrative potential.
I realized after graduation how difficult it is to continue practicing art, to provide myself a studio space, materials, and the time to focus on art while juggling with a part-time job as a Portfolio Instructor at the same time. Luckily I was able to find an amazing space, and now I am currently working on developing a new body of 3-4 medium-scaled (around 60 x 60 inches) color figural paintings on wood panel based on small drawings and sketches of myself and my family. For me, the act of making is about using the world around you — letting everything in. It is a way of proving my existence.
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GLIMPSE OF ONE’S MEMORY
Alexis Duque New York, USA Alexis Duque was born in Colombia, he currently lives and works in New York. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Antioquia, Colombia. His works rely on just a few colors. Notwithstanding the use of acrylic paint, he makes the influence of illustration apparent, equally attending to all of the aspects of the painted surface without leaving anything to chance. The Colombian artist introduces architectural features that are characteristic of the Western Civilization, from ancient Greece and Rome: columns, capitals, and niches. They are symbols of the bygone ruling culture and the aesthetic model of the European colonizers, now an integral part of daily life of the populations of Latin America. His work has been exhibited in numerous venues including: at El Museo del Barrio, The Drawing Center and Praxis International Gallery in New York; The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach, CA; Champion Contemporary, Austin, TX; The Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art, Midland, MI; RudolfV Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands and Galleri Oxholm in Copenhagen, Denmark. Duque’s work has been featured in several publications, including: “Imagine Architecture: Artistic Visions Of The Urban Realm”, “Caribbean: Together Apart Contemporary Artists from (part of) the Caribbean” Imago Mundi - Luciano Benetton, Blue Canvas Magazine, LandEscape Art review, Beautiful Decay, Artistaday, New American Paintings, Studio Visit Magazine, The East Hampton Star, The East Hampton Press and El Diario of New York. Duque has an upcoming 2015 Solo Show and Immersive Residency at The Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art phICA.
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Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist. I was born in Medellin, Colombia, I have a BFA from the University Of Antioquia. I have always been obsessed with drawing details and intricate compositions. I draw my ideas and inspiration from my native culture, the exuberance of the Tropics and the chaotic and Baroque sense of its unorganized architecture and culture. What is the most challenging part about being an artist? Maintaining originality and that personal â€œvoiceâ€? or language, in which your unique vision is also connected with the universal. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I live and work in New York City, where thereâ€™re plenty of art events, shows, museums and Galleries to see and discover every day, which I find very stimulating. What is the most challenging part about working nowadays with traditional media like drawing? I would say, to use the medium in a different way that is refreshing and relevant to our time. Drawing, to me, is an infinite Universe with multiple possibilities and potential variations to discover and explore. What are your future plans as an artist? To continue to make art until I am 100 years old! What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Trust your inner voice and let yourself not be discouraged by external opinions and non-validations. MOUNT
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PARADISE LOST 2
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Jo Fabbri Lugano, Switzerland Jo Fabbri is a young emerging Swiss-Italian artist. Born in 1985 she has been painting since she was 14. Since she began to explore the art world, Jo has been focusing on portraits of famous people and not, although recently she has begun to experiment new types of subjects and topics like politics, social issues and human relationships and roles. In the last years Joâ€™s work has moved toward a more conceptual art expression, transforming her technique from acrylic on canvas to acrylic on toilet paper, and installations also made with toilet paper, where the dialogue between paper prints and images painted over creates the meanings of each artwork.
KISSES ARE BULLETS
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When, how and why started your art practice? Since I was a kid I was obsessed with creativity and the arts. My parents always brought me to art museums and exhibitions, and surely they transmitted me their common passion for art and culture, and I had an innate need for creativity. I remember that during the summer I loved to spend my time drawing or cutting pages from fashion magazines to create my favorite collections. While growing I was always very interested in the art classes in school, until I went to high school where I chose to attend a 3 year art class for the diploma. During this course there was an assignment of an art project that should have taken 48 hours of work to be completed. I was about 15 at that time, and I decided to transform my portrait’s studies and sketches into a finished large artwork. That was the portrait of my father, I was so proud of the result that I started painting only portraits for years. During college I had the lucky opportunity to exhibit my works where surprisingly I sold all the pieces I displayed so I decided to go on with my passion for painting and started making portraits on commission. Then came the first exhibitions in galleries, more commissioned portraits, and I went on developing this passion. That was anyway a sort of an amazing game while I was in college studying economics, but when I graduated I realized I didn’t want to look for a job because I already had one. I understood I was an artist. I decided to dedicate myself completely to the development of myself as an artist, not having to work only at night or in spare time. For some time I went on following the path of portraits but I knew I was looking for a change, which came in 2013. In October 2013 I took part in a collective exhibition in Washington, I went earlier in order to have extra time for the set-up. Despite my early arrival, the paintings that were stuck at customs never arrived on time for the opening. I was so dejected. At the airport on my way back to Europe, I realized that I didn’t even buy a souvenir to bring home. So I bought a funny toilet paper roll with the White House printed on. A couple of months later I was at the Guggenheim in New York, my attention went to the description of the paintings’ technique, instead of the paintings themselves. I started thinking of alternative materials such as olive oil, engine oil, or oil on pasta. Back home the White House toilet paper roll was waiting for me. When I saw it I thought about the oil on paper at the Guggenheim, the idea was there: oil on toilet paper, or acrylic in my case. VALENTINE RED
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You create socially engaged art, do you think that art makes possible a social change? The meaning of my artworks is displayed by the dialogue between the printed toilet paper and the symbol I choose, it is usually a social, political, or human meaning, with an ironic reading key. I am not sure weather my art specifically may have a role in social change, what I see is that it makes the observer ask about the meaning, it makes you think about an issue that probably you wouldn’t think of. Instead of real change I would say it may bring awareness. Although I think art in general may surely promote change, as it is a great propaganda conductor. What role does the artist have in society? Artists are considered by other people with some stereotyped characteristics, which are some times matching with the single artist but many times they don’t. I never appreciated too much stereotypes, not for artists only, I don’t like standard roles and profiles in general. Although there might be the need for the artist stereotype, artists are a distraction for non-artists, they are an escape for people with routines jobs, and I think they need to experience the big difference between them and artists. Artists provide access to the irrational aspects of life, art is pleasure, that separates from the everyday routine. What do you like/dislike about the art world? The art world has its utopic image for some people, where there is beauty, culture, concepts, fantasy and passion. But the art world is a market too, it’s not just about beauty/taste, it is a huge complex world made by people, connections, marketing strategies, investments, advertising, and many other aspects that have positive and negative connotations. All that makes it more interesting and challenging probably, and that’s what makes the art world marvelous. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Live the magic of being an artist as much as you can, experiment with no fear of bad outputs, believe in what you are doing, if you love what you do it will be easier for others to love it as well. Always keep a foot on the ground, but you have to be a dreamer to build a dreamlike reality that can be beautiful.
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Katia Gosselin Montreal, Quebec, Canada Katia Gosselin lives and works in Montreal. Multidisciplinary artist, she is currently pursuing a major in photography at Concordia University (BFA in 2017). Her approach is based on the living spaces and human behaviour. The captured scenes are inherently performance and demonstrate the existence of sensitive areas and its occupants. Her main subject matters include: uncontrolled movements (Le bâillement, 2005-2006), prospective (Présence, 2007-2008); synchronicity (La concordance des fluides, 2008-2009); gestures of sign language (Sédiments, 2009 & Interpellations, 2010-2011); inertia (Approaching Stillness, 2012-2013); gratitude (Campement, 2013-2014) and living spaces (Encounter, 2014-2016). Katia Gosselin has shown her work across Canada since 2006. In 2008, she received a grant from the OQWBJ to participate in an international exhibition in Brussels and in 2010, she took part in the World Expo in Shanghai. In 2012 she received a research and creation grant from Canadian Counsel for the Arts, and in 2013 a travel grant from Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec to participate in an exhibit at La Maison des artistes visuels, an artist run center in Winnipeg. She is currently completing a BFA in photography at Concordia University. Her work has been broadcast around twenty exhibitions (solo, group) and is part of private collections in Canada and Belgium. Originally from Low Laurentians (Quebec’s suburban area), my creative world is inspired by the uniqueness of its spaces and its inhabitants. I bear particular attention to ways in which each hosts its immediate environment, with a preference for the most stunning aspects, the singularity of the Living space. The vernacular hides part of its mystery that continues to fascinate me. The quality of impenetrability of these places seems to be at the heart of their essence. As Mary Ellen Mark said: “There is nothing more extraordinary than reality”; by how reality catches us as much as by how it escapes us. The encounter lies at the center of my photographic approach as it involves taking risks, flirting with danger, in search of an elusive, yet indefinable space, that can be created and appropriated to infinity. I am tender and stoic before Real. I strive to draw stretches, lines, and gaps. A way to connect dots, discover valuable interstices. Meeting includes discomfort, quartering, but also joy and contemplation. It generates intervals, questions, and massive air pouches.
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When, how and why started you photographing? I got into photography in the early 2000s when I was in Oakland, California. At the beginning I took photos of my close friends, mostly musicians. I also took to the streets to shoot life around me, which was quite tricky because people weren’t very enthusiastic about a stranger taking their picture in such a rough area. I learned a lot on my own by reading books and through trial and error. Once I walked into a brothel thinking it was a regular social dance bar. You should have seen how the customers looked at me! I was sure I wasn’t getting out of there alive! Some time later, when I was back to Montreal, I decided to take this medium more seriously and signed up for vocational training. Then I went travelling and took piles of photos. It was a lot of time and work, but I found my own vision and approach. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I think that what inspired me and continues to inspire me in my work is contact with other artists and people. Creation can be very fleeting and you have to grab hold of it. I’m driven by discussing and sharing with others, and visiting exhibitions and artists’ studios. Various artists have been important to me through different periods of my life: Diane Arbus, Geert Goiris, Raymonde April, Maude Bernier Chabot, Robert Baylen, Eva Leitolf, Martin Parr, Hannah Collins, singers
Brigitte Fontaine and Laurie Anderson, and the painters Janet Werner and Christian Messier. All these individuals have had considerable influence on my work, my methods and my vision - which are somewhat inspired by the uncanny, and the contrast between soft and threat. What is the most challenging part about working with photography? I find the current discourse surrounding the photographic medium to be disheartening. Some players of the art world believe there are too many photographs, going so far as to say that it is useless to produce new ones. The theme of the last “Mois de la Photo de Montreal” was The Post-photographic Condition (curator J. Fontcuberta). I don’t agree with this cynical position. It denigrates creators and it discredits the art that results from this medium of expression. All media evolves with time, and there will always be a difference between amateurs and professionals. For me, evolution means continuum, not mortality. There’s no such thing as “post-photography”... Just photography! There will always be people that do painting by numbers or that copy Masters. That won’t prevent painters from creating beautiful works with this medium and transforming the experience that it procures. A good work in any medium will always speak to us, and I believe that photography is a medium of expression in its own right that is still very current. Photography is not dead!!!
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How would you describe the art scene in your area? Montreal is packed with talented artists! It’s a very inspiring city to live in. There are openings, lectures and concerts throughout the city every week. My neighbourhood, the Mile End, is famous for having the most artists per square metre in all of Canada! Montreal has tons of spaces that exhibit art, like the Contemporary Art Museum, the Belgo Building, and the area known as the “Pôle de Gaspé” where artist run centers such as Dazibao and Occurrence and my studio are located. There are also numerous events like the Montreal Biennale, Papier Art Fair, Mois de la photo de Montreal and many more, which help put art forward in the city and promote local and international artists. What do you like/dislike about the art world? I find that artists sometimes speak only to artists, historians, and art theorists, which makes their creations opaque and redundant. I also believe that museums do not show enough work produced by women artists. It’s a real problem. I will not get into the complete statistics on this unfortunate fact right now, but it only takes a bit of research to see what’s going on (guerrillagirls.com). Art has long been disseminated by white men to white men. It’s time for art community stakeholders to include women in their books, exhibitions, theories, and everything else. Did
you know that a recent scientific discovery proved that the Lascaux caves were painted by women? For example, in the province of Quebec only, 60% of visual artists are women*. How come they are not more represented? The entire history of art needs to be rewritten! Finally, art is part of life and I think it is important to educate people about the work of the creators of our time, and the importance they have in the making of our society. There are so many living artists that have something to say. Let’s celebrate them! Let’s buy new works that sustain us and make us see the world differently! What advice can you give to those who are just starting with arts? The advice I would give to artists starting out is to stay authentic and sincere with yourselves and with others. Also, keep working hard, relentlessly, and conscientiously, and have fun! For me, creating is great and joyful, and I’ll stop the day when that is no longer the case. Finally, I would say respect yourselves, and respect and defend your status as artists. Art has value, and it is imperative that everyone recognize that fact. Tell your accountant that you would like to pay her by advertising for her, by offering her exposure, then give her response to the next person who doesn’t want to pay you for your time and work! Ha! (smile) * Institut de la statistique du Québec [Online ressource] Available at: http://www.stat.gouv.qc.ca/statistiques/culture/arts-visuels/mono-arts-visuels.pdf
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Omri Harmelin New York, USA Omri Harmelin was born in 1984 in Pretoria, South Africa. In a young age he moved to Tel-Aviv, Israel where he grew up and attended the Midrasha School of Art (2007-2011). Currently Harmelin lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Where he received with honors his MFA from Pratt Institute (2013-2015). Harmelin’s work tackles familiar narratives and issues of visual culture, mass media and politics. The Visual domain, in all its manifold functions and issues is a main concern to him. Through their activation of both the images and presences drawn from both high and mass culture, he deal’s with the ambivalent qualities of modern myth and heroes (Mike Tyson, Pinocchio, Elvis). Harmelin claims “It is through those narratives of those that belong to stars and heroes of the hall of fame that we measure ourselves.” The moment when the viewer’s gaze in harmelin’s wok directed by inspecting “artistic content” is a great moment of ambivalence.
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When, how and why started your art practice? It is hard for me to pin point a specific moment that I can say I started my art practice. Since art practice for me is the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use. I think I started making art at a young age without knowing what I’m doing, then I started to make art under the frame of art making - which resulted in a search for those values. I know I started to search for a practice somewhere during my art training at the Midrasha School Of Art in Israel. I’m not sure if I found one or even if I want to. Committing to a method, belief or an idea (practice) seems to be a bit restricting to me. Though I have to admit that sometimes I’m jealous of artists that have a practice. Regarding why I started my art practice, which I will rephrase to why I started to make art? It is an inner impulse, which involves a lot of: fun, pain, joy, sorrow and I just can’t imagine doing something else.
heart of the video depicts a conversation between a viewer and Elvis as he appears in Andy Warhol’s painting Double Elvis (1963). The apparatus offers the real viewer a constructed environment where he or she can take a selfie in a film noir set. Venetian blinds, a film noir trademark, create shadows as the seductive element that invites the viewer to participate. The selfie itself is challenged since the viewer cannot take his own photo. The monitor which offers a stylistic frame (monochromatic, high contrast) is not in reach. The viewer is forced to work with a friend, resulting in an actor director dynamic. Both the video and the set are interrelated by visual and content. Contradictions arise between the will of the viewer to take a selfie (potentially upload it to social networks) and the components of the installation. The dialog in the video, the Hang Man game that presents the title of the video, and the gallows that hold the Venetian Blinds undermines the will of the viewer to take part in relation to the constructed environment he is in.
Tell us more about “Self popular” installation?
What art do you most identify with?
In the game Hang Man, the stick figure does not exist or appear in its fullness unless the guessing player is “dead”. This thought in a way carries the core of this installation. Self Popular is a video installation consisting a single channel video and an interactive apparatus. The
The type of art I most identify with is art that you can recognize that the idea is the main aspect of the work. There can be big emphasis on form and aesthetics but as a server for the concept. I would also add art that consider the viewer and direct him toward an experience as much as it can be controlled.
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Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
niche and there is still going to be an audience and space for it. In Tel - Aviv you may find yourself having more trouble with it. The Inability to compare the two is not indicative of the quality in my opinion. I really think that the art that is coming out of Israel is very high quality.
I’m not sure about compared in the sense of the themes these artists explore, the aesthetics and definitely not in successes, But I do think in terms of approach and to some degrees of believe systems, I want to say: Mark Leckey, Christian Jankowski and Pierre Huyghe. I think it is quite clear this answer of mine could have In your opinion, what does art mean in contempobeen the same for a question like: name three artists rary culture? you look up too. I want to believe that art in contemporary culture How would you describe the art scene in your doesn’t have one meaning. And I’m not sure that I can area? Is it possible to compare somehow Tel-Awiv identify the main characteristic of art in contemporary and New York? culture in order to answer this question. I wake up one day and my experience of contemporary culture One similarity that comes to my mind is that both Tel through art looks like a dark place that goes against - Aviv and NYC are cultural centers. Of curse not in what I believe is good art. And the next day I see a the same capacity. There is an allegation in Israel that show of an artist I like which gets a lot of attention and I hear from time to time, that this concentration of cul- I’m saying to my self “Great!”. ture in one city is problematic. Personally I find it nat- One of the many meanings of art in contemporary culural and not concerning as long as the art and culture ture that is important in my eyes is that artists are sentravels outside of Tel – Aviv, like theater shows, exhi- sitive to the time and place that they are living in and bitions etc. I’ve also never heard anyone complaining express it, which triggers the collective mind. about NYC being a cultural center by anyone living in Orlando or any other city. What are your future plans as an artist? Size would be the biggest difference in my opinion. In NYC there is a feeling that there is more space for art- My future plans, as an artist are to continue to create, ists (not only) as well as audiences. Art is a big um- learn and develop. A very big part of my practice today brella, which encompasses many forms and approach- is influenced by cinema and flirts with it. Thus writing es. In New York an artist can deal with a very specific and directing a feature film is definitely a future plan.
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www.omriharmelin.com SELF POPULAR
Donatella Izzo Milano, Italy The combination of the opposites, real and surreal, rational and sensory, but above all sacred and profane, is the center of my interest and narration. I use photography as favorite medium, although not the only one, to recreate a personal and intimistic universe bound to the deepest and submerged self. I donâ€™t like describing or interpreting, I prefer speaking through metaphors and symbologies, letting the spectator make the image their own, interpreting it according to diverse and personal levels of understanding. My primary interest is the sense of the image, not its aesthetic perfection, its own ability to stir emotions. Not narrating, but evoking, inducing the user to dig in their â€œmemoryâ€? to find moods or past, suffocated, abandoned atmospheres. MALACHITE
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When, how and why started your thing that I want, my form of happiart practice? ness (with my adorable little child). So I can say that what most influI attended the art school because enced my art is a passion without I had always been attracted by limits, without fatigue. materials and colors. I had my first exhibition at the age of 16 in a museum, where I was chosen after What art do you most identify winning a school contest about en- with? graving. I’ve been affected by people who saw on my artworks dur- The decadence with the exploration ing the opening. I was incredibly of the subconscious. pleased, It felt like making contact with something forbidden and dangerous, . It attracted me more than Name three artists you’d like to anything I’d known. Since then, be compared to. without even realizing it, with no rationality, only guided by instinct, “Compared to” is too big word. I’ve been looking for that feeling. But I just want to give the names of some of my favorite artists: David Lynch, Joseph Beusy, Maurizio Who or what has a lasting influ- Cattalan. I love their ability to be ence on your art practice? pioneers of style. Hard to say. Life is made of endless moments, different events, and meetings. They all affect our lives. I’d changed my thought many times before my everyday life and the artistic one coincided. Also in my art practise evolved. The only thing that is the same the whole time is the needs to make art. It’s so strong and persistent that it’s similar to a disease. It’s the only
But you need a great dose of energy and time!!! The bad thing that I see is glorification of art from all over the world and not discovering the art of Italian artists. In your opinion, what does art mean in contemporary culture? I feel very stupid these days. There are so many very serious problems in the world and also near my country that it’s impossibile to miss. It was like that before, but in countries far away. In my sea – the sea of Italy – children die in the search of a better future. I think that I could contribute better to this catastrophe instead of spending my time with art.
So I do the only thing I can do is How would you describe the art to lift the soul from body in personscene in your area? al search for a meaning of things through images. I live near Milan and the contemporary art has played primary role. The art is often mixed with design, What are your future plans as an architecture, fashion, sometimes artist? with food. It’s present everywhere and every evening there is a op- Always the same: carry on in spite portunity to see something, to meet of - often - disappointments of the people inside the system. system.
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SUA SANTITÀ È VOLATA VIA2
Meggan JoyTrobaugh Seattle, WA, USA â€œSHEâ€? The week of my wedding, an acquaintance dismissed me as a trophy wife. In a split second, I processed this information and returned it with an insinuating comment of my own about her. Five years later, this still irks me. Not so much the remarks against me, but my own low response, and how comfortable I was in saying it. SHE is a personal comment upon this. A series of six 11x14 pigment ink photographs, each image being a vivid representation of the self-defeating language casually used by some to vandalize an individual woman. These are words I have personally witnessed as well as participated in uttering myself. These six particular idioms are so often spoken that they lose their intensity, and, therefore, lose the intended sharpness. I decided to personify the phrases as literal interpretations to bring the inherent bite back. Each scene includes suggestions to contrasting narratives: depending on the viewerâ€™s history and beliefs, the images will either bring out your empathy or your distrust.
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When, how and why did you start photography? The romantic answer is that my grandmother had a magnifying glass that I pretended was a camera as young as the age of 4. The unexciting answer, however, is that I started shooting professionally in my early 20’s. I know it’s a terribly boring origin story, but the truth is, I’m pretty mediocre at everything except photography and being creative (sometimes) so this was my best bet to be successful and fulfilled in a meaningful way. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? I mentioned my grandmother previously, she always had a big crate in her living room that was constantly brimming with fresh art supplies. Every time I would come over, there would be new things inside for me to create with. Obviously, that type of support and creative freedom has a huge effect on a child growing up. Most kids don’t have that, and I am extremely fortunate for it. I was still young when she passed, so I don’t remember much else about her. However, a creative work ethic was instilled in me, and it’s a trait that has served me well so far. What is the most challenging part of working with photography? Logistics. I’m methodical (at best) and neurotic (at worst) when it comes to my craft. I prefer to be meticulous with my planning and designing of the image. Which means I have to scout the shoot location, make/find/alter the costumes/props, style the scene, keep the model(s) comfortable on set and also execute my ideas in a timely matter etc. I leave every shoot tired, hungry and overwhelmed. I’m a tad jealous of
the artists who can sequester themselves away and make something meaningful any time they want. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I’d say in a word; optimistic. Seattle is in an odd transition with massive growth following the economic recession, as such, a lot of residents are uneasy with the resulting rapid changes in the feel of the city. That uncomfortableness has leaked into everything, including the art scene. However, since I have been paying attention (which is fairly re-
cently) the art scene has been inviting - more so, it’s been valued, alive and inspiring. I personally sold a print within 30 mins of my first show downtown. So while I’ve heard that the art market here is not as robust as it was years ago, it’s foundations are still here and I’ve found success with in it. I’m confident you will always be able to find notable and collectible art in Seattle made by local artists. I’m humbled to be a small part of this community. What do you like/dislike about the art world? I used to be hyper focused on attending art school. I was once en-
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rolled in a prestigious program and had a competitive scholarship lined up. But life changed; I got happily married young and shortly later my brother died suddenly. After those considerable changes, art school just wasn’t a positive fit anymore. Consequently, I personally dislike that on occasion some reviewers only seem to see the lack of formal art education. Fortunately, those reviewers are few and far between.
What advice can you give to those who are just starting with the arts?
Try everything. I matured my vision by taking gigs that ranged from children’s fashion editorials to making photo essays of the Belizian jungle and everything in between. I used to be embarrassed by how much my subject matter jumped around, but I realize now how each of those experiments shaped what I currently make. So for at least the first few Also, in the same way, I like that not years, I’d advise fearlessly attemptchoosing school hasn’t affected my ing to tackle anything you can think vision or my ability to succeed. My of. Gift yourself that expanded founambition is still valid and my work dation of skills, you’ll always be can have just as much momentum as thankful for it. anyone else’s. That’s a pretty special thing that I try to not take for granted.
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Jean M. Judd Cushing, Wisconsin, USA Artist and author Jean M. Judd has been creating textile artworks since 1990. She creates work for individual collectors as well as for fine art exhibitions across the United States, Canada, and Europe. When asked, her medium is “thread on textile”. That can further be explained by whether the textile is a commercial textile, hand dyed textile, or an enhanced textile with rust pigmentation that was created in her studio. The common factor in all of her mixed media textile artwork is that cotton fabric is the canvas and thread is her brush. They are used to create a piece of fine art with visual as well as physical texture. The design starts with a hand dyed or dye painted fabric ground. It is eventually transformed over time into reality with the final hand quilting stitch in the artwork. Often the finished piece is nothing like the original inspiration which adds to the excitement and the potential for the next design. What started in the artist’s mind as a vague idea is transformed into a larger, complex, and more dramatic finished artwork than intended. Each piece is a journey filled with the artist’s emotions and life experience. The hand of the artist can be seen and felt in every inch of the artwork.
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When, how and why started you working with textile? I didn’t really “become” an artist; I have always been one working with some type of fiber starting with yarns used to create crocheted pieces early on, to the last 26 years working exclusively in textiles making wall art for commissions as well as exhibition. I find textiles to be physically as well as visually stimulating. The sense of touch is an intricate part of the creation process as well as the visual impact from color, line, and shape. Spending so much time handling the fabrics and threads during the creation process builds a deep connection between me and the physical artwork. It becomes a part of me and I become a part of it. This connection continues even after the artwork is completed and moved on to its next stage – exhibition or installation in a private or public art collection. I started making textile artwork on a part time basis, of my own design, in 1990. The third piece I made sold before I finished it. I continued to work full time in the book publishing business and made textile artworks on commission nights and weekends. Most were for wall display but there were a few initially made for presentation on a bed but they ended up on the wall instead. In 2004 I began submitting my work for juried exhibitions, some strictly craft related, but most were fine art exhibitions. I was accepted into six exhibits the first two years and won an award for workmanship. This seemed like an excellent way to get my work out of the studio and seen by collectors, gallery directors, and museum curators across the United States. In 2009 I became a full time textile artist as the recession hit the publishing business full force. This was a blessing for me artistically. I began selling my hand dyed fabrics overseas, grew my commission business, and started to submit more aggressively my personal work for exhibition in juried fine art exhibits.
My degree is in Accounting and I have not taken many art classes. I prefer to learn on my own, work in my own studio without distractions, and discover what works best for me. All of my artwork incorporates hand stitching to give it physical and visual texture. I have never machine stitched any of my artworks as I find the hand work the most satisfying as well as the most creative part of the creative process. The common factor in all my mixed media artworks is that fabric is my canvas and thread is used to create a piece of art with visual as well as physical texture. The design starts in the artist’s mind and is eventually transferred into reality over time with the final hand stitch in the artwork. When asked, my medium is thread on textile, which can be further explained by whether the textile is a commercial textile; hand dyed or painted textile, or an enhanced textile with rust pigmentation that I have created in my studio. Many times the original design is nothing like the finished piece but this just adds to the excitement and the design potential for the next design. What starts in the mind is often transformed into a bigger, better, and more dramatic finished artwork than I ever imagined. Tell us something about the technical equipment you use. My creation process starts from just about the beginning of the fabric production stage. I take unbleached prepared for dyeing fabric, which is similar to unbleached muslin, and create my own textile palette. I use fiber reactive dye pigments to dye and paint my own ground fabrics as the starting point for my raw materials. Quite often I then use either scientific iron filings or architectural ironwork to create additional design work on the dyed or painted fabrics. Some artworks are then constructed from cut sections of various fabrics including commercial textiles. The cutting and rejoining of pieces (sometimes using a sewing machine) to create the overall design can be an intermediary step. I use a rotary cutter, ruler, and in-
dustrial mat to cut the fabric into the necessary pieces to then construct the ground. The majority of my recent work is using what is termed “whole cloth” construction which is similar to a painter using a stretched canvas. My canvas is the dye painted (sometimes rust pigmented) textile piece that is then enhanced and brought to life by the designs created by the dense hand stitching applied to the artwork. Once the ground fabric has reached what I see as its completion level, it is combined with unbleached muslin and polyester batting for the longest part of the creation process: the hand stitching of the physical texture of the artwork. This is accomplished using a small hand needle and a pallet of thread colors specific to the piece. More detailed information and images of my materials and many specific processes can be seen easily on my website under the Studio heading and Process heading along with detailed information on every featured artwork in the Gallery sections or Commissions sections. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? There are several artists who have influenced my art practice even though most of them I never was able to meet in person. The artists that I am most drawn to are: Frank Lloyd Wright, Georgia O’Keefe, Claude Monet, M.C. Escher, Alfred Stieglitz, and Nancy Crow. All of them took their medium and talent and went off into a new direction. They were unfazed by what others thought and stuck with the inspiration that was inside of them. They each broke new ground in their own medium and worked extremely hard, setting new artistic standards that many are trying to attain today. They found success for themselves by putting in the time to hone their skills and develop their talent. Each of them helped support other artists to gain confidence, develop the necessary skills, and to work hard for many years to be successful. Another influence on my art practice actually came from my initial college education in accounting. It helped me
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CONTAMINATED WATER #7
to be structured with my time, every detail, even the smallest one, matters in the overall process. This education also helped me to deal with the business side of being an artist. I am one of the lucky few who is equally right brained as well as left brained, so I thrive easily in both the creative side as well as the business side of art. Finally, working in the publishing business for thirteen years during the 1990s and early 2000’s gave me a great working knowledge of photography and several different software packages (Adobe Photoshop and PageMaker) that I have used heavily in my art practice over the years. Without this background, I would have had a much steeper learning curve for producing images of my work, publishing books about my creative process, artist residencies, etc. How has your work changed in the past years? My process for creating my artwork changes with each piece I create. Sometimes I start with an inspiration
from something I have seen in nature or maybe something in an art museum exhibition. Other times it may be a piece of hand dyed cloth that just calls to me for further investigation and manipulation into a work of art. Other inspirations have come from seeing an old piece of ironwork at an architectural store or at a junk sale. I have several works in progress right now that were inspired by the simple shape of a square and a rectangle. Fractured ‘Gello #2 and Fractured ‘Gello #3: Autumn to Winter are just two examples of investigating a shape and creating an artwork exploring this universal shape. Both of these pieces are examples of work that started in the very center and then radiated outward as I worked out from that simple single square. From there, the design ebbed and flowed into the artwork that it needed to become. Unlike many artists, I do not start out with a drawing or sketch of what I am proposing to do. In the instance of the two artworks just referenced, I started
by pulling commericial textiles from my raw inventory of bolts and pieces of fabric. I had a color palette that I wanted to work with, so I strived to select a wide range of different color intensities. I then cut up these selected fabrics to create the building blocks that would eventually be sewn together to create the ground for the artwork. They grew into substantial pieces in the 50 inch to 70 inch range both in width and height during the creative process. For these specific works, these are the exact sizes they needed to be to achieve the scale and impact I was looking for. I am a perfectionist at heart so every technical aspect of my work has to be at the Master level. To produce inferior work for commissions or potential exhibit work just isn’t allowed in my studio. I have spent thousands of hours perfecting my expertise in machine assembly, hand assembly and hand stitching of my artwork. My work is all very labor intensive and even the smallest pieces in a 12
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inch by 12 inch size can take 40 hours or more to create. My large scale work can take anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 hours or more to complete from start to finish. This timeframe is why so many of my artworks have copyright dates that span several years. It can take several months up to a year alone for the hand stitching of one large scale artwork working 40 hours a week on just that one project. The Abstract Textures series which started in 2011 is focusing the heaviest on the dye painting aspect of my work. Four have been completed for exhibition and there are over 30 more grounds that have already been painted but are waiting for the lengthy hand stitching process. This exploration work ends up on the back burner quite often when commission work needs to be the priority. The Contaminated Water series combines the hand dyed fabrics with rust pigmentation exploration using scientific iron filings. There are further directions this series can continue in so will see how it continues to develop over time. Shadow of the Past and Flaming Grapes show the exploration of using architectural ironwork as well as old parts from antique vehicles and farm equipment. In your opinion: “What does art mean in contemporary culture”? We live in a wonderful time right now where the culture really is all about art and design. The creation of art is being heavily influenced by new technology – cellphones, 3-D printing, digital design and photography, and more. In some ways, the term “ART” is being watered down to where everything is called art, whether it is or not. Everyone in the population is able to experience art whether it is murals on the sides of buildings, on clothing and shoe designs, through Instagram on everyone’s phone. My hope is that contemporary culture will let artists have the necessary time to fully develop their talent, hone their
skills, and create their own voice. Fifteen minutes of fame doesn’t help anyone to create and sustain their practice, whatever that may be for the individual. The culture needs to slow down, be patient; let the creators of ART have the necessary time to devote to exploration of themselves as well as their medium. The great artistic masters of previous centuries had this opportunity to create work over a long period of time; most of it wasn’t completed in minutes or hours, but in months and years. The anticipation of waiting for the next completed artwork by an artist is part of the experience and culture of art. Contemporary culture wants everything now, immediately, if not yesterday already. Most art needs time to reach its full artistic expression. I hope that as we approached the next decade of the 21st century, life in general will allow for a reacceleration in everything, including art. If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why? This is an interesting question. As I said earlier in the conversation, I went to college for Accounting. I never actually practiced as an Accountant nor took the exam to be a CPA (Certified Public Accountant). When I was a teenager I wanted to be a writer and write the great American novel like the esteemed writer James Michener who always started at the beginning of time and brought each story forward to the present time. Neither of these occupations is going to happen because they are not what I am. I have been asked to teach quite often, but that is not me either and my process doesn’t lend itself to being taught as my process is never the same from artwork to artwork. I do not actually see another occupation that fits me as well as the one I am currently in: an artist who expresses her creativity through the medium of thread, dye, rust, and textiles. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Establishing an art career is different
for every artist and it takes time to craft what works for each of us. For the most part it is trial and error over quite a bit of time: years or even decades. Being an artist, you don’t have any one managing your time or projects. You get to decide what you will work on today. Be willing to put in the time to develop yourself and your medium. I would say be willing to experiment. Try anything and everything. If you are in college working on a Fine Art degree, find a mentor, ask to work as an artist apprentice to really see what being a working artist entails. Professional artists are the hardest working people I know. Rarely is there a 40 hour work week from 9 to 5. A short week for me is 50 to 60 hours. As an artist, you don’t have a regular paycheck, paid vacations, etc. You have to be able to keep yourself on schedule with projects (commissions, upcoming exhibitions) and be accountable for your own success and failures. Yes, there will be failures in artworks, rejections from galleries and juried exhibitions, snafus in sourcing materials, etc. The plus side is that all of the successes are YOU. You make your own success with getting your artwork into the places that you want it seen, using your own initiative. I live in a rural area far away from major metropolitan areas that have vibrant art scenes. I stay connected with artists, galleries, art collectors, and interior designers through LinkedIn and its various art and design groups. This is my networking venue of choice and I use it to keep myself connected with others as well as informed about new technologies, exhibition opportunities, etc. Above all, be willing to take risks with your creativity, work hard, and look to the future. The best is yet to come and your work ethic and creativity will get you to a future that you cannot even envision.
CONTAMINATED WATER #4
WITHOUT MAINTAINING SOLID GROUND
Hildy Maze East Hampton, NY, USA Investigating the mind is a rebellious endeavor My work is developed with the view that art has the capacity to infuse the experience of everyday life with awareness. Using my experience of passion, aggression and ignorance I delve into the discursive thought patterns and emotions that obscure the recognition of our basic nature of mind which is empty, lucid, all-accommodating space continuously awake and aware. I’m interested in persuading the viewer from the boundaries of the image, to engage with matters beyond what is immediately visible; to relate with who we are as deconstructed,uncreated, i.e. more expansive and gentle than our usual descriptions of ourselves and how the culture defines us. Everything begins as thought,then manifests as a physical reality. We are not going to fix our world without healing the patterns of thought that are driving the world into its present state. By delving beneath the turbulence of thoughts we can uncover in ourselves “something” that we begin to realize lies behind all the discursiveness, changes and deaths of the world. This is the most rebellious act of all imbued with social impact and non-conformism to actually glimpse,then realize the profound truth. Hildy Maze is an American artist with Turkish.Russian, Austrian heritage. Born in Brooklyn,NY she received a BFA from Pratt Institute. For many years Hildy lived and worked in her loft in Tribecca,NYC before moving to East Hampton L.I. NY where she currently works and lives. Her work is influenced by her 25 year study and practice of Tibetan Buddhist meditation with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Reflecting on the years with Trungpa Rinpoche and her ongoing meditation practice and study she absorbed and translated into her process and images what he transmitted, along with her personal experience of the recognition of the awakened nature of mind. Ms.Maze has exhibited her work throughout the U.S. including NYC,Long Island City, Brooklyn, California, Bejing, China, Cologne,Germany and the Eastern End of Long Island. She has won numerous awards and is in several private collections in the U.S, Europe and Asia.
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Briefly describe the work you do. My work is driven by a curiosity into the investigation of mind thru art. None of us can avoid thoughts, but through awareness of our pitfalls, beauty, strengths and weaknesses we can open windows into the mind. The core of my contemplative art practice is to Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. visually embody the blind spots as a result of our thoughts. I am interested in the study of how the mind works as a means of gaining insight, how we communicate, how we create identity through form, emotions and consciousness, and how we hide in that creation. Essentially this work is about all of us and the empty, clear and unconditional nature of mind we all have. When we know the nature of our mind we will know the nature of our world. My abstract contemplative work is developed with the view that art has the capacity to infuse the experience of everyday life with awareness. Using my experience of passion, aggression and ignorance I delve into the discursive thought patterns and emotions that obscure the recognition of our basic nature of mind which is empty, lucid, all-accommodating space continuously awake and aware. I’m interested in persuading the viewer from the boundaries of the image, to engage with matters beyond what is immediately visible; to relate with who we are as deconstructed, uncreated, i.e. more expansive and gentle than our usual descriptions of ourselves and how the culture defines us. Everything begins as thought, then manifests as a physical reality. We are not going to fix our world without healing the patterns of thought
STORIES WE TELL ABOUT OURSELVES
that are driving the world into its present state. By delving beneath the turbulence of thoughts we can uncover in ourselves “something” that we begin to realize lies behind all the discursiveness, changes and deaths of the world. This is the most rebellious act of all imbued with social impact and non-conformism to actually glimpse,then realize the profound truth.
What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media? Reflecting on our intimate connection to the environment, I chose to work with environmentally friendly paper and materials making drawings, paintings and collages using oil and powder pigment. The drawing implements are found branches, mostly hake brushes and any thing that creates a mark. I refer to instructions from Trungpa Rinpoche that said art arises from a deep connection between mind and heart, seeing from within. In other words, drawing from pure awareness without visually grasping - beginning from uncertainty, without reference point. I devised a technique which allowed the essential nature to be drawn freely without judgment, to be spontaneous and personal.
In 1978 I met the Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche who showed me the nature of mind. My path of making visual images became the inner structure of mind and how its patterns of confusion obscure recognition of this vast space of ceaseless energy. For 10 years I studied and practiced meditation with Trungpa Rinpoche until his death in1987. Since that time my work has gone through a process of increased familiarity with how mind works and I feel that paper is the most responhow to present that familiarity thru sive material to the investigation of mind thru art, relating with whatvisual images.
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ever happens to the paper during the process of making a piece. With the studio floor covered in pieces of painted paper, ripped, aged and often walked on for days or months in the process, the rhythm of art making comes alive with subconscious unpredictability. This process determines the piece with an active sense of design and circumstance, as well as accident and accumulation of everything discovered so far. Each piece pushes me towards a different way of sharing discovery. There is control without control, a puzzling together. The paper has an inherent living quality. Because of how I treat the paper it takes on added causes and conditions and accelerated impermanence. The paper will age, become fragile, be affected by light yet will remain as those things we search for and cherish possibly in the attic or basement, an archeological site or a memory, much like in our lives. Its ordinary insignificant quality becomes special. Touched in any way there’s a response; a fingerprint, wrinkle, rip, drip or tear, which then becomes texture and language. The images are also a continuation of looking at ourselves thru familiar signs & symbols, abstracted representation, and how we manifest and grasp our world. Both image and titles invite you to move beyond boundaries and into a space of speculation and one’s own mind.
become acquainted with your mind and your natural rhythm of being yourself. Decipher what honestly feels important to communicate in your unique way no matter what appears acceptable. Find the materials that visually and sincerely represent your vision. What are your future plans? I began this narrative saying “my work is driven by a life long curiosity relating to the investigation of mind thru art,” describing a pattern of evolutionary experience and deep inspiration as a sort of happening that embraces our shared human situation. That work continues.
What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Although using paper, brushes, oil and pigment is traditional, the way I relate with my tools and materials is rather untraditional and often meets with skepticism. However as far as how I envision what I want to communicate it works. My suggestion to anyone beginning to set foot on the path of making art is to
HOWEVER STRONG THE BATTERING WINDS
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CONTINUOUSLY EXISTING EXPERIENCE
Alexis Van Winkle Long Island City, New York, USA/France
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What is the most challenging part about being a mixed media artist? Mixed media art is taking over… and it can be easy to get lost. There’s a lot of pressure to incorporate more and more technology but my advice is to keep your concept in mind when considering new  media. I have chosen to maintain a some what traditional presentation and for right now that’s best for me. Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice? Culture has been the resonating inspiration for my work. I find human beliefs, social forms, and practices to be the most consuming interest in my life. I’m innately attracted to learning the lives of people in places foreign to me.  Not across the country but in the next county. What is your creative process like?
I hoard inspirational material. I think someone told me once that the human brain can only retain the memory of 24 colors. For example say a woman wants to match the new turquoise dress  she bought with the same color shoes. Chances are that if she buys the shoes without having the dress with her at the store she’ll arrive home to a dress two shades lighter than what she remembered. With that limitation in mind I tend to keep colors, compositions, and textures close at hand so my inspirations don’t
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get forgotten. What are your future plans as an artist? I’m currently an Art Specialist at the Harlem Children Zone promoting a creative space for middle school students to explore visual art. But I’m looking into retail spaces in Birmingham, Miami, and New Orleans for a potential gallery. I’m planning on opening a small exhibition space combining Hip Hop and female culture  with my own work. Think facemasks, sneakers, and prints! What do you like/dislike about the art world? I use social media  to connect with like-minded people who help perpetuate my brand but I don’t let my number of followers define me... It’s difficult for young artists to stay relevant and although the Internet has provided so many opportunities it has totally reduced 15 minutes of fame to almost nothing. New artists should hustle and grind with their vision in mind. Because it’s true “success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.” What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the mixed media arts? Find your aesthetic and stick with it.  Most of all make sure whatever you’re making pleases you.
KIM K AGAIN
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HAPPY FAMILY KARAOKE
Florina Titz New York, USA/Romania My name is Florina Titz. I was born in Romania. In 2008 I made a feature film ( TRIP) about the postcommunist queer youth generation of Romania. Iâ€™ve been working in film ever since. I earned an MFA in Film&Video Production from the University of Iowa in 2011. I taught filmmaking classes at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY from 2011 to 2014. I am editing my second feature film Caihong City a science fiction fairy tale.
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When, how and why started your art practice? I started making films in college. At the time I was getting a BA in English and French literature in my hometown (Constanta, Romania - this desolate but glorious city on the shore of the Black Sea) and I got this theater gig to work on some projection videos. There I got to watch this famous Romanian theater director (Radu Afrim) workshop through the scenes with his actors, I just sat through hours and hours of rehearsals and I thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen, just watching people act and create something that wasn’t there before. Somehow I always knew I wanted to make films, or that I would eventually end up making films. Then when I got to hang out with the local theater company it felt like the right time to start, or it felt like I couldn’t wait anymore. So I wrote TRIP which was my first feature film and asked these people to be in it, and also asked everyone of my friends to be a part of it since I was mostly hanging out with people that liked to make things. As to why I started making films,
I’ve no idea. I know though that I’ve tried most of the art forms one by one, but lost interest ultimately in each one. I studied music (piano), and then switched to visual arts (painting and graphic design) during highschool. I had a hip hop band alter-ego as well... Then I studied literature in college. I guess maybe film has a bit of all of my favorite things, which are sound and vision and text. What role does the artist have in society? It’s unclear to me what role the artist has, or should have, or is supposed to have etc. I assume this question is about social change and the role art has in revolutionizing ideas and change the course of history. I think it has the power to do that, I believe in all of that. But it also seems to me that some of the best works of art are rather... pointless. It’s the beauty of the gesture in itself. The details. There is this old essay by a Russian formalist that struck a chord with me when I first got to read it: it attempts at describing what art does, and how it alters our perception of the familiar. How it defamiliar-
izes us with reality by presenting it in a new way. It’s like art points at something and we look and sort of discover that object for the first time, and that’s pretty remarkable. I like this description of art. It makes sense to me. Tell us more about your feature film “Trip” TRIP is my first feature film, finished sometime in 2008-2009. We made TRIP at a time when I knew next to nothing about cinema, or about how to make a film. I learned filmmaking in the process of making this film. At the time I was also working on my dissertation for my Bachelor’s Degree in Literature. And since we didn’t have anything at the time in terms of resources, crew etc. we just focused on what we did have, which was these amazing actors (Lana Moscaliuc, Marian Adochitei, Mirela Ungureanu, Dragos Stefan, Dan Telehoi). We rehearsed a lot before starting to shoot, kind of like in the tradition of theater (which is what I was acquainted with). People in film know that rehearsing doesn’t really happen during a shoot. However, we rehearsed for about
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six months or so before starting. Mostly table readings in whatever bar or cafe we were hanging out, talking and creating the characters. I think the acting is one of the film’s strongest points, still. TRIP was about capturing the spirit of this lost generation, people surviving in the post-communist city robbed and stripped of its culture, and grabbing onto each other through this sort of pathological friendship. We had a great turn out every time we had screenings of the film and quite an amazing response from the public. Most people that I know in Romania have either heard of TRIP or seen it, and this happened without marketing, promotion, etc. I guess at the time when it came out, it was what one would call “controversial”. Accidentally it is the first queer Romanian film. How would you describe the art scene in your area? Is it possible to compare somehow USA and Romania? The last year when I lived in my hometown (2008), Constanta had become somewhat of a ghost town,
since this megalomaniac imbecile mayor took over the city and transformed it into a slightly grotesque playground for tourists and barbarians. There was a point when I lived there when all the cinemas had closed down. During college we would escape to Bucharest to get a taste of the art scene there, which was very different and thriving. Of course now I live in New York which is an art hub and blah blah so it would be cruel to compare, however there is no place where I’ve been more creative than back home in Constanta. I’ve always found myself inspired by places where there is no art, or I should say, art scene - the bareness and the void, since these environments are the ones that force you to look inward. Name three artists you’d like to be compared to. I’m a big fan of Chanwook Park and that kind of South Korean cinematic violence. People sometimes tell me my work reminds them of Gaspar Noe. I don’t mind people saying that since his cinema is also something I very much
appreciate. I like Enter the Void, Love and all that, Holy Motors (Leos Carax) - I fall for the spectacle, the experience. But mostly I am influenced by anime artists: people like Masaaki Yuasa and Makoto Shinkai and even Mamoru Oshii have always made me want to copy everything they do and apply it to film. So I guess if people compare my work to anime in any way, I would take that as the highest compliment. What are your future plans as an artist? Firstly, I’d like to keep being alive, which is no easy thing. I plan to finish my second feature film “Caihong City” - a science fiction fairytale that I’ve been working on since 2013. I’d also like to make a film in Romania that takes place in the early 90s, a nostalgic daydream reverie and an ode to those times. I have some music videos coming up, which is my new favorite genre since it’s a type of film that you can actually get done in a timely fashion. That’s very satisfying when you’ve been working on a feature film for a while.
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Martin Webb Albany, CA, USA My work comes from thoughts about people, places, and home; about age, time, and timelessness, permanence and impermanence; about movement, migration, and belonging. People and places are depicted in images and objects that combine simple representations, layered abstractions, and plain-spoken materials. REWARD
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Briefly describe the work you do. I’m primarily a painter, though I also make prints, sculptural installations, and public art. Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you. I’m originally from England and moved to the US in my 30’s. As an immigrant, I think I look at the landscape of the Western United States with a newcomer’s eye. I notice how wild it is compared to Europe, and how most human settlements are relatively new. Things are still being worked out here, and within a relatively short distance you can go from a modern urban center to a true wilderness, or visit one of the abandoned ghost towns where it all went wrong! Themes of migration, home, permanence and impermanence, are central to my work and very much come from my own experience. The painters I was exposed to in the UK are also still a huge influence – Ivon Hitchens, Howard Hodgkin, Frank Auerbach, Keith Vaughn. I notice that my recent work has echoes of the “St Ives School” - a group of artists working in the rural South West of England taking a modernist look at an older, more traditional way of life and landscape. Their work tended to be abstract and contemplative, but had a subtle social and environmental edge to it too, and their grasp of color and design was outstanding. What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media? To be honest, I don’t think about my process being either traditional or innovative. I paint with acrylics mixed with a cement compound and build the image by layering and sanding. It’s an unusual material, but has an old, familiar feel. Recently, I’ve been making digital paintings with a simple iPad app too, and they’re surprisingly similar to my regular paintings. I’m trying to make images that capture the emotional feel of a moment or place, and to do that successfully poses the same challenges regardless of the materials. Name three artists you’d like to be compared to. I’d love to paint figures with the economy of David Park; scenes that arrest your attention like Norbert Schwontkowski; and abstractions as uninhibited as Charlene von Heyl. How would you describe the art scene in your area? I’ve been incredibly lucky to live in an area with such a lively, creatively energetic scene. The Bay Area can be very competitive but it also has many exhibiting opportunities at all levels, and Oakland especially has a really diverse, supportive community. Having art-friends to give feedback, swap ideas, celebrate or commiserate with, is a very necessary counterbalance to being a studio-hermit. What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? Keep producing, and keep showing. Try not to get sucked into comparing your work to whatever’s new or hot – they will be old and cold soon enough, but whatever’s sincere and authentic will always have worth. Be open to new ways of working but always remember what it was that first interested you about making art, and find your way back to that place whenever you feel you’re losing direction. What are your future plans? I’m just started working on a large mural project so will be wrapped up in that for a month or so. I’ve been working on some new paintings that pick up from the recent cabin and houses pieces. They’re influenced by my experiments with digital painting too and are becoming increasingly abstract. I’m interested to see where they end up, and hopefully I can show them later in the year.
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ONE TIME AT SUNDOWN
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www.martinwebbart.com A COMMUNIQUE
Published on Apr 7, 2016
Artists: Olga Alexander, Riccardo Attanasio Matlaks, Carole Baillargeon, Timoleon (Timwnas) Batsaouras, Yuna Cho, Alexis Duque, Jo Fabbri, K...