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CREATIVPAPER Magazine

Vol 002

Issue 008


When CreativPaper was founded a few years ago, Jimmy Outhwaite wanted to create a platform for creatives both new and seasoned to showcase their work. We would never in our wildest dreams imagine that this would culminate into an active online community and seven digital issues. For our first print issue, we wanted to feature a selection of artists that have been an inspiration to us over the last year and new ones we have discovered along the way. In this issue, we have featured a wide range of artists ranging from Jason Clarke, Ronald Ownbey and Ziba Moasser to name a few. Each one challenging their creative energy into the work through a multitude of mediums. We would like to thank everyone who has believed in us and shared our vision. We hope you enjoy our latest labour of love. Thank you! Jimmy Outhwaite and Jefferson Pires

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Healthy forests help absorb greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions that are casued by human civilization and contribute to global climate change. Without trees, more carbon and greenhouse gasses enter the atmosphere. To make matters worse, trees actually become carbon sources when they are cut, burned, or otherwise removed.

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08 KIM YOUDAN 18 HENRY HU 26 SHANG MA 30 LAWRENCE LEE 38 CHERYL JOAN 46 ALICE SHERIDAN 56 SHARON GRIMES 62 MARIE HINES COWAN

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72 MARIE ANINE MØLLER 80 MARIA APARICI 88 LISA KRULASIK 96 ALEX BRISSENDEN 104 REBECCA MILLER 112 CHIE ARAKI 118 MANNS AVAL 124 CAYCE HANALEI

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COVER ARTIST

/KIM YOUDAN Travelling can be beneficial on multiple levels. You don’t have to buy an expensive plane ticket halfway across the world to make the best of it. Even a bus or train to a neighbouring town can be an eye-opener. New customs, cultures, traditions, food and art can have a lasting impact. I am also a strong believer in the fact that travelling merely makes us realise that there is so much that we do not know about the world and each trip is an opportunity to learn something new. Artist Kim Youdan uses the pictures she takes during her travels as a foundation for her artwork. Her mixed-media techniques not only add more emotion and meaning to her photography but fuel her wanderlust for adventure. Your work blurs the lines between photography and painting, was that always the case? The current work I am creating is a technique I’ve been developing for about 18 months. Since I graduated with a photography degree, I have always travelled and worked using the skills I learnt at university. At the time I was living in Perth, Western Australia, doing photography part time and giving corporate life the chance to inspire

me...it didn’t *shock horror*. Before I put paint onto pictures, I’d been a photographer for ten years, and I was trying all sorts of creative outlets, sculpture, acrylics, even craft. I started experimenting with existing personal photography from past travels, and I developed the mixed media technique. Strong colour and monochrome imagery have always caught my eye, why not combine the two! 08


Above: Okavango Canoe 1

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Some of the first photography art I created was with images from Africa. This continent continues to inspire me; I love the people, the landscape and the colour, I’d jump at the chance to go back. I began looking into colour culture and the effect of simple combinations with the black and white photography. Fast forward to the present day and the photographs I take are with specific work in mind, I construct images and compose the photograph with a vision of high contrast imagery to be the foundation of my work.

style but I do appreciate the skill involved. It’s another development in the long history of photography and with fairly a short history of photography being accepted as an art form it’s another avenue people are exploring. As with everything in life technology is playing a bigger part every day, it’s the same within the art world, and people are finding new ways to be creative. As long as we know what we are looking at and informed about how work is made, I think it’s brilliant.

In my case I use post-production The secondary process, once I have on all my images as I tend to shoot printed the image, is focussed on in full colour, using software to creating an impactful yet balanced then crop the image, strip back composition by adding abstract the colour and increase contrast. I colour. rarely shoot in black and white as I like to pull back the colour and What are your thoughts on the reveal the details in monochrome. future of post-production in A photograph can look so different photography? when processed in this way. Since I graduated, digital techniques have developed leaps Alongside the practical and bounds, the new software painting in my work, I’ll also available and skills that people continue to experiment and showcase are unbelievable develop the post-production literally! process in my work, and it’s great to have different software and new Some of the work being created techniques available to use. is incredible, not necessarily my 10


Have you always been an avid traveller? In a word YES, it’s the best education I’ve ever had! In some respects, the routine of ‘normal’ life is appealing, but it’s not long before I want to get away and explore. Not necessarily always overseas, there is still so much of Britain that I’d love to visit, photograph and be inspired by.

Last year was probably been too much travel (if there is ever such a thing) and it’s not sustainable, this year I’m slowing the pace a little, focusing on soaking up the atmosphere of a place rather than passing through.

Are there any upcoming trips you are excited about? Yes! I always have something planned to look forward to and something to work towards. The I’m patriotic and love our British Americas are fairly unexplored nuances, our British history and territories for me, but in our British culture. I love to travel, January I’ll be off to Mexico for a but I equally get very excited about few months…after an English coming back home. We have winter I’ll be ready for some beautiful scenery and beautiful sunshine! That’s twice I’ve cities within the UK, shame about mentioned the weather (typical the weather! Brit). My first trip flying solo was to Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania when I was 18. East Africa was eye-opening in many ways, and since that trip, I’ve been hooked on travel. Switzerland was the most recent venture which was country 52. There are places I’d like to return to, but I try and experience new places whenever possible.

For me it’s important to have something in the pipeline, I try not to get too excited and stay present while enjoying each day but sometimes it’s great to daydream, look forward and plan the next trip. Is it true that you prefer to use local, traditional paper for your work? Could you tell us a bit more about that? I love to use local materials in my work. It’s not only great to support

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Above: Purple Patience

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crafts people, but I also believe it brings more context to my work. My Japanese series from earlier this year has been created using various types of traditional washi paper (Japanese rice paper), some handmade and some machine made.

would say it was liberating.

The decision to live nomadically was a complete change in lifestyle and with that change came some tough decisions. To consider all your possessions inevitably makes you think really hard about what you need, what it’s for and where I also had some of the foundation it came from…sell it? Keep it? imagery printed in Japan, the Donate it? Throw it away? language barrier was a challenge, As an artist I’m an avid collector, I but it was a great process and really used to keep anything that caught worthwhile. Artwork not just my eye and bought lots of Japanese in inspiration and subject, unnecessary “stuff ”. Nowadays I but also made from beautiful use online platforms and Japanese materials which reflect photography to collect inspirations, their culture. so handy as it’s completely accessible when travelling. Next on my list is some lovely handmade mulberry and bamboo As a keen traveller, I would always paper from Thailand which I’m take home souvenirs and unusual excited to work with. items. Now I don’t have a home, as such, and I see much more value Has your constant nomadic in buying experiences rather than lifestyle made you re-evaluate ‘things’. I still pick up small your possessions or are you a functional items that I can travel collector? with and have a habit of collecting Great question and something that postcards and beer mats - there’s a I have considered so much in this project in there somewhere! past year. Since becoming nomadic in March, I have really embraced I have really enjoyed the minimalism. To rid my world of minimalism journey and although unnecessary things was pretty I let my mind wander off and difficult to start with but it became daydream about buying household much easier and, in the end, I items and clothes, I really do value 13


Above: Process NZ

the fact that I don’t have many possessions and most of my income goes on travel and art supplies.

researching colour culture and meanings throughout the history of the country in question. Referring again to the Japanese series of work which I completed last year, I have based the colour combinations on traditional kimono design. Using seasonal colour palettes for each set of work and drawing on many aspects of their culture.

We love your choice of colours, what inspires the palette for each image? Thank you so much! In the past, I have dabbled using many colours within one piece, but I find the simple colour palettes compliment the monochrome image much A different example would be the better when creating compositions. New Zealand Photography Art I am currently working on. I have researched the history of colour I spend a lot of time during the development of ideas and the Maori culture, 14


Above: October Kimono

but in this instance, I have pulled much more inspiration from the natural environment. Glacial blues, stone greys and yellows from wild gorse have been great to work with. I have also started to use a colour block technique in this series which is a new approach for me. I know I know - I’m such a rebel!

time to spend on developing new ideas, new work and being creative is the best part of my job. The two elements of my work really compliment each other and give me two outlets to be creative: out-and-about shooting photography and time in the studio.

What is the favourite part of your job? That’s hard to say…I love to travel and see new places, booking flights is very exciting, but the best part is working on my craft. Having the 15


Above: Okavango Canoe 2

As all artists know there is a lot involved running as a one-man band, marketing, accounts, sales.. but if I could just do one part? I’d spend my time being creative, which is the whole reason for quitting the 9-5 in the first place, hallelujah! One place in the world that Kim can’t get enough of? Just one? Come on Jefferson I could never choose just one! O.K. let’s think... I’d love to spend more time in Zanzibar which I mentioned earlier, I was 18, it was before I went to art collage, before I had a camera, before Facebook can you imagine!

I would also love to spend more time in the Caribbean, I hopped onto a few different islands when I was working as a photographer on the cruise ships (such a great job to have in my early twenties), but we couldn’t stay too long in any one place. The opportunity to see snippets of lots of places was a luxury, and I’ve been itching to explore more of those islands for a long time. Maybe that’s where I’ll be headed after Mexico, who knows! www.kimyoudan.com

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Above: Okavango Canoe 3

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INTERVIEW

/HENRY HU Based in Sydney, Australia, artist Henry Hu’s artworks are personal, variable and with a distinct focus on storytelling. Born in Hong Kong. Henry moved to Australia at a young age and eventually to Sydney to attend university. In our interview with Henry, he talks about his body of work titled “base(s)(d)” and what he is trying to convey through his work. Your creations often consist of multiple pieces working in unison, how do you make sure the story you are trying to tell stays consistent with them? This is going to sound a bit contradictory. For me the order of the pieces within a series is important, thoughts are put into sequencing, picking the right piece as the first one or how the series should end, etc. The thing is I never particularly pressure myself into making sure all the pieces fit perfectly, consistently in a series. The sequencing process has always been intuitive, organic, free-flowing, I give myself the full 18

freedom to explore, or just to experiment with whatever that is clicking at the time, the ideas sort of evolves mentally. That being said, I do have a clear vision whenever approaching a new series as to what I was after visually and thematically. With the artworks I have worked on so far, ostensibly I was doing them out of enjoyment. As long as I am personally satisfied with the finals, then that’s that - I suppose in this case, there aren’t any music labels or movie studios that I need to answer to, I have the full creative control, so fundamentally whatever works for me is really all it matters.


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Things are different from series to series, and I tend to scrap a lot of materials when finalising them. In the end, if possible, I do try to ensure each series to be a cohesive, fluid body of work instead of strings of related visuals.

factored in as an influence. The thing I realise about memories is, once in awhile, we don’t exactly recall what went down in the past, and when we do romanticise about these memories, they will fade swiftly into fantasies. At times I accept that there is only a thin line We believe you were born in Hong between fantasies and memories, Kong, could you tell us a bit about the past must be remembered and the time you spent there? then forgotten. I was born in Hong Kong, grew up there as well, although my family But I am torn with the idea that did spend a few years in Australia how we remember the past isn’t when I was young. the point, we can willingly choose to acknowledge all the lucidity and How did that influence you isolate everything else. Still, things artistically? probably won’t work out in the In a way, it didn’t, but perhaps it ways we visioned it - lucidity can did in a more subtle, indirect form. be a form of relief or even I left Hong Kong after my second salvation, but it isn’t really the end year of high school for a boarding solution. school in Australia so I can’t necessarily say growing up there It might even loosen, dissolve any had any direct impact on my reasons for the existence of a scale artworks. of values, finding ourselves at a greater loss. We all cycle through I do draw a lot from my memories these so-called positive highs and when working on stuff, sometimes negative lows in life, but inevitably these memories are used as bases they are the same thing. for new series and I just kind of built on or built off them. I have It doesn’t matter if the person is a very fond, soothing memories from pessimistic or optimistic, we just Hong Kong, so they have been a got to learn how to shift through joy for me to play with, to explore, these cycles more gracefully, which I would say in a sense can be leaving no memories siloed. 20


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Could you tell us a bit more about your body of work titled “base(s) (d)”? base(s)(d) is a gleaming dive into Do you think more artists should maximalism. The series peers into the fragility of an individual’s incorporate digital tools into memory and examines the idea their work like yourself? that certain future events are No, not at all. I believe all artists somewhat predictable. The result deserve to choose their own platforms, tools or whatnot. There is an expansive series, in terms of the number of pieces, the variety of is no correlation at all between using a certain tool and achieving a visual styles. ‘masterpiece’ whatever that means. The series is a natural progression and extension of my So for me, the tools are available, they are for everyone, it really is up previous works. Divided into three to the artists to decide what type of segments, base(s)(d) invites a art they want to make, and what is meditating journey through memories, realities and the best way for them to make it. imaginations. Eventually, we will probably be better off without our limited standard of normalcy.

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What message are you trying to convey through your work? There is no doubt artists mostly just talk about the subjects that interest them personally the most For the most part, the artworks can through their works, despite whatever the artform is. be vertiginous yet isolating considering how memories are That is the case for me as well. I perceived and how we perceive them. The driving forces behind always knew that ultimately I wanted to make films, obviously, I base(s)(d) are the colours; love visual arts, and I started with it departing from the calm that carried in some of my earlier because in my case it was the most convenient artform that was works. It is exciting to work with available at the time. I am something a bit more delighted that I have been able to unconventional, and I suppose futuristic - if not a glimpse into the work on artworks in my own way, and have produced subjectively future, then it is hopefully a satisfying results. gracious look at the present. The pieces build and progress off one another, enriching the texture, aiding the general flow of the series.

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Recently I started on gathering a lot of the scattered ideas, lingering around that I have for film scripts, very slowly trying to put things into perspective. For me this is going to take as long as it takes at first, making sure what I have to say this time around is worth saying. Throughout history, artists have already done and answered in a way basically everything, the only reason we could offer something new is because we lived, are living in a different life and time. After all it really just comes down to our personal experience which will add that little spark to the things that have already been done countless times. Essentially what I found is I tend to invest myself largely in philosophical topics, getting into subjects like existentialism, theology or just the higher power in general; I am also very open to the more spiritual side of things reincarnation, life after death, past lives, all that stuff. So surely, however, things turn out, my work will address, distil these ideas in one way or another. I have always been huge with the cinema, and right now I am fairly certain as

to how I could utilise films as an artform thanks to a great deal of works by filmmakers that I absolutely adored over the years. The stuff they have done will inevitably interact and impact what I do in the future. I am a big admirer of the New French Wave especially with guys like Eric Rohmer and Francois Truffaut. Also, filmmakers like Michelangelo Antonioni, Luis Bunuel and Woody Allen are some of my favourites. In my opinion, it is incredible that they have such a consistent body of work throughout their careers, maybe some misses at times, but I just generally get very captivated, enthralled in the intimacy of their works. www.henryhhu.com

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INTERVIEW

/SHANG MA The human body is an absolute marvel of evolution if you think about it. Actions that we take for granted and that seem instantaneous require millions of calculations in our brain and the coordination of our muscles. We might look different, but fundamentally we all have the same structure. Artist Shang Ma focusses his work on the human body, showcasing its beauty combined with abstraction. Born and raised in Hangzhou, China, he currently lives in San Francisco where he practices his art. Through life experiences, he found his unique artistic language and style. Your paintings often combine crude emotion and abstraction, how do you balance the two in your art? The main subject of my work is about a human figure; the figure is a carrier of the emotion, some of my works are more abstraction, and some of them are more figurative. The abstract elements depends on the accumulation of emotions for each different period. Objectively, in the part of abstraction, which is more like an unplanned improvisation, everything follows

my feelings and emotions. Figure painting is always my favourite, it not only carries and expresses my emotions but it makes a connection with my painting to people. I did not deliberately control this balance, everything just naturally happened. What are your experiences of being an artist in San Francisco? I’ve lived in San Francisco for seven years since 2010. San Francisco is a diverse city, and also it is a city that focuses on culture and artistic development. For an artist, living in SF is like living in several 26


Above: Existence #9 27


Above: Existence #43 28


different countries at the same time. Also, those many different cultures and artistic lifestyles impact artists’ thinking at the same time, I think this is unique and an interesting situation only present in San Francisco.

Eastern culture and Western culture impacted me at same time.

What does your family think of you as an artist and your work? My family is always very proud of my art career; they supported me to finish my MFA degree in the US, What attracted you to making art they also help me to promote my in the first place? work in China and share my I fell in love with art when I was artworks to all of their friends, I very young. There were no special love my family so much! events or opportunities that led me to be an artist; everything People often try to find a deeper happened naturally. Perhaps, the meaning for their existence, how only thing I would say thanks is important is this quest for you? to my family, they guided me and The “Existence” as my main title supported me to learn art. for my artwork series, which is not only expressing my understanding What are your three biggest of “Existence” but also its relation sources of inspiration? to life. In my opinion, life is Life experience, the life thinking of impermanent. Buddhism and the art masters of expressionism figurative art. It is changing at any time. In the theory of Buddhism, we always Could you tell us a bit about your refer to the word “Impermanence”, time growing up in Hangzhou, it inspired me to think of life’s China? existence. I can say, the Buddhist For me, the happiest memories I faith gives inspiration to me, and have is the time when I lived in “existence” is like a path, that helps Hangzhou, China. I learnt me to know more about life, and basic art skill in Hangzhou; It is the experience “Impermanent”. place where my dreams began. My hometown is not only an ancient www.shangmaart.com Chinese city but also it is very open city. In the process of my growth, 29


INTERVIEW

/LAWRENCE LEE Beautiful and haunting, those are the first emotions that came to our mind when we laid our eyes on artwork by Lawrence Lee. There’s no denying that Lawrence definitely has an eye and skill that makes him stand out from the crowd. This Tucson native is known for his symbolic Native American images, many of which are a reflection of his own personal battles with depression. A professional artist for over 40 years Lawrence recently collaborated with Ballet Tucson, an experience he talks about in detail in our interview. As a professional artist for over 40 years, what has been the highlight of this year for you? I’ve been involved in two projects in the past twelve months that really stand out for me. The first was my eleven-month collaboration with Ballet Tucson in the production of “Spirit Garden,” a new ballet choreographed by Chieko Imada that is based on the images, traditions, and concepts surrounding the celebration of Dia de Los Muertos--a time when the living honor the dead by bringing gifts of food and other worldly pleasures to the graves of

the departed, who are said to rise and party until dawn. Celebrations of the period roughly corresponding to the Western traditions of All Hallow’s Eve--have grown from its Aztec roots into a multicultural, multi-national event throughout the Americas. My work consisted of the development of the broad visual character of the work through projected images, set and costume design and construction, and other elements used to unify the work.

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Above: Black Feather Shaman 31


Before opening night, I had created over 300 digital renderings, two 8’x3’ sculptural panels that were “flown in” during a scene between a skeletal bride and groom, an ofrenda complete with gifts for the dead, and a huge feather headpiece for a scene featuring an Aztec god.

calls for compromise, I found it to be liberating. The result of this experience is that I am now working on projects with local theatre groups and another fairly large collaboration with Ballet Tucson.

The second highlight of the year was a painting demonstration I did I worked on the project so long and for some 150-grade school with such intensity that I came to students. I was put on a stage with fall in love with the ballet as though a wireless mic and worked on a it were a beautiful woman who I 48”x48” canvas--large enough so was only just getting to know when that everyone could see. And the production ended after it’s because painting can be a all-too-short three-performance fairly slow process, I chose to paint run. something that might at least stand a chance of keeping the kids So I’ve started calling that interested: Wonder Woman. collaboration a “gateway drug.” I want more. My work on “Spirit I had covered her iconic headband Garden” revealed to me how the with a separate piece of canvas I creative and design sensibilities I had painted to look like a red have developed in pursuit of one bandana and had two of the narrow focus as a painter could students join me onstage to help serve as launch pads for ideas and remove the disguise a few minutes works in other media and with before the demonstration was to other goals. end… much to the delight of all present, complete with cheers and The collaborative process helped much applause. me to push past self-imposed boundaries and preconceived I then took the painting back to my notions of what I could and studio for another couple of days couldn’t do, so even though work. The completed painting was collaboration by its very nature given to the school and hangs 32


in the school technology lab where it can be seen by all the students on a daily basis. This may be the only elementary school in the country that has a large original work by a professional artist on permanent display. I spent way more time on this project than I should have, probably, but it was a hugely gratifying experience--one I’ll gladly repeat if given a chance. You talk about “unearned memories,” fictional landscapes that come to life when you paint. Where do you think these originate from? At first, my ability to create these imaginary landscapes seemed almost magical. But I think they spring from simple attentiveness. I’ve lived most of my life in Arizona, which has an astonishing geographic variability from the Grand Canyon and high desert plateaus and pine forests in the north to the broad expanses of the Sonoran desert in the south.

rain have conspired to erode different types of stone in different ways to create a characteristic curve and slope to a mountain’s shoulders. I’ve noticed the length and colour of the tall grasses and chaparral. And all of that attention to detail seems to have left a mark on me and created a virtual library of shapes and colours that inform each landscape I paint. So as I paint, I combine those details in ways that ring true even though my vision is now internal rather than external. But this only works because I have also paid attention to the process of painting over the tens of thousands of hours I’ve spent doing it. I’ve spent so much time painting that I know well the techniques and tools I need to use externalise these “visions of mind.”

What are you currently working on at the moment? And as I have travelled through I’m working on paintings for my these areas time and again next solo show, of course, and a throughout the years, I have paid complete redesign of my attention to the details that abide website. But what’s keeping me as morning becomes midday and awake at night is the 8’x16’ then afternoon and on into sculptural, white-on-white human twilight. I’ve noticed how wind and eye I have to design and build out 33


of foam-core, corrugated cardboard and paper for my latest collaboration. Help!!! What was the inspiration behind the “Meta One and Two” paintings? Only twice in my life have I dreamed a painting into existence. The first time, I didn’t dream a painting, really, but I had an astonishingly vivid dream in which I saw a large beetle with iridescent markings.

in the dream painting apparently doing what I do every day: battling the forces that seem to conspire against my creativity. I knew that in the dream painting I was doing battle with sleep, though I could not see clearly its form.

But everything else was there and exquisitely clear. I was in my current studio surrounded by workbench and easel and taboret, and behind me, I could see three large windows. The image consisted solely of lines, but lines The vision was so powerful that I that seemed defined by negative kept replaying it after I woke, and space: edge known only by variable once I got into my studio, I thought density in a 3D world. And all of that I should try to paint what I this seemed to float above a had seen. I managed to come up landscape. with a close approximation, though it, of course, paled in comparison Arriving at my studio later that to my mental image. morning, I quickly discovered A year or so later, I dreamed a that I had available only square painting into existence. It was stretched canvases, but I was so again a nocturnal vision without intent on transcribing my dream apparent cause, but I that I chose to proceed anyway. remember quite well that my My first task was to find my dream-self was fully aware that it nemesis, and a quick web image was seeing a painting rather than search led me right to it: a 1771 some odd mashup of the previous painting by Jean-Bernard Restout day’s events. depicting his personification of Sleep [Morpheus, the Roman God I had been battling insomnia for of Dreams]. All that remained for many months, so it was no me to do was to paint what I had surprise to me that I saw myself seen. 34


Above: JD’ Dad Shaman

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I was so interested in the layering of meaning developed in “Meta One” that I envisioned a series of six paintings based on the same idea. The second in the series, “Meta Two,” is a nod to The Spanish painter Diego Velázquez painting “Las Meninas” (1656), which depicts the artist in his studio at work on a painting of the royal family. In the background, one can see a mirror in which the King and Queen are reflected. Large mirrors along one wall in my studio seemed to offer similar potential, but in my case the reflected image became one of me painting one of my imaginary shamans. Is it true that you actively hold studio visits? What kind of individuals do you have visiting? My studio is generally open by appointment only. I don’t fear a loss of walk-in traffic because my paintings are typically not priced for impulse purchases. But I’ve made it very easy for people to feel special by making an appointment for a studio visit through my website and an

inexpensive service that handles the calendar and scheduling and reminders and such. And I’ve had many different kinds of people take advantage of the visits. One wanted to meet me because she was taking classes from one of my contemporaries who sometimes used my work as examples. She had no interest in making a purchase but was treated with the same respect and enthusiasm that I try to give all my visitors. Another was a couple who owned several of my shamanistic paintings and now wanted to own some of my landscapes. They ended up buying four small and two large paintings. Art lovers tend to love the idea of the process of making art as well,.. and are genuinely fascinated by what a working art studio looks and feels like. And the stories they take away and tell their friends have become an important part of my long-term marketing strategy. www.lawrenceleeart.com

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Above: North Pasture

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INTERVIEW

/CHERYL JOAN Making the best of the environment we live in is something we know we should do but often struggle with. But or artist Cheryl Joan, this is something that comes naturally. Based in Jackson, Wyoming Cheryl spends her time outdoors when she is not in the studio, barrelling through the snow or rapids depending on the season. Her dreamlike work combines contorted perspectives and surreal scenery. In our interview with Cheryl, we talk about the effect of society on our artistic aesthetic and her body of work “The Ecology of Memories” to name a few. What made you move from your hometown of Chicago to Jackson, Wyoming? I spent my teenage and college years running around Chicago’s local art and music scene. When I graduated from Columbia College in 2007, I wanted to get a fresh perspective and ended up in San Francisco for a bit. Then spent some years on the east coast in Connecticut and Vermont. Last year, Jackson, Wyoming offered new opportunities and a chance to live with friends in one of America’s most beautiful

landscapes.There’s a solid art community in Jackson, including an impressive Center for the Arts where I occasionally teach painting courses. For a little mountain town, the music scene is also busy, with local and national artists playing nearly every day of the week. There is a lot of inspiration in the region, and the beauty of the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park certainly contribute.

Opposite: Firetower 38


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Could you tell us a bit more about your body of work titled The Ecology of Memories, how have your paintings evolved since you started them? The Ecology of Memories is an intimate recollection of real places that I have been, layered and faded together in much the same way that they flow through my mind. The first painting of the series, Vertigo, began during a very tenuous time in my life. The painting depicts a hallway and staircase, the two different perspectives almost giving the viewer a sense of falling or losing balance. It was a direct expression of where I was in my life at the time. I had just left a long relationship and moved to a new state with only my painting supplies, a bicycle and a cat.

work became a mechanism for processing all these new experiences I was having, particularly all the new places I found myself in. Ecology is the study of how an organism interacts with its surroundings. This body of work is a direct expression of my personal interactions with my surroundings. These are places I’ve been that have captivated my memories. Layering details of these places together got me thinking about how our ecology defines us. We are connected with the spaces and places we occupy; they influence how we move through our lives and impact who we are. The Ecology of Memories is a body of work that will continue to evolve with me throughout my life.

Currently, my work has Firetower came next, inspired by expanded into a kinesthetic one of my first experiences of experiment for me, partly out of freedom in the new life I had necessity, and partly out of begun. The painting looks both curiosity. The necessity comes from downwards at the ground’s new not having a studio at home right growth, and upward at the now. I prefer to have my easel in abandoned tower. my living space so that a paintbrush is in my hand all the I was really enjoying layering time. The Art Association of multiple perspectives, and the body Jackson Hole is so generous in of work evolved from there. This allowing me space to work there, 40


but it does limit the amount of time I spend in front of a canvas. Flow, my newer body of work, developed from my curiosity about oil paint as a material. Glazing layers of paint is genuinely one of my favourite pleasures, and I’ve always been a fan of Helen Frankenthaler’s colour field works. I was curious about playing with glazes outside of any representational imagery, just getting into my materials and colours. I started thinning my paint to pour on the canvas, using a hair-dryer to flow the paint around until it becomes a thin, translucent glaze. The layers of colours that can be achieved are only limited by the amount of material the canvas can hold before it becomes too thick with paint.

You seem to spend a lot of time enjoying the outdoors which is fantastic, How has this influenced your art? Growing up in a city, I considered wilderness to be the grassy field beneath power lines in our neighbourhood. I didn’t see the mountains or ocean until college, but then I took off running, literally - I began running marathons, mountain biking, skiing, everything that I could to enjoy being outside. It puts me in the same sort of mental zone as painting does - distraction-free, totally in the present moment.

As an artist, the details, textures, colours and compositions all around me captivate my attention, even in the keenest moment of skiing or kayaking. I’ve made the Most recently, I’m developing ideas deliberate choice as an adult to for a body of work that balances only live in beautiful places, my colour work with my love of because there is so much to be drawing, inspired by what’s around inspired from, in both art and the me. Living in a region flooded with sports I do. western art and landscape painting, it is a unique challenge for me to What does art mean to you pay homage to the beauty around personally? me in Wyoming while keeping a Lifelong growth. I always joke that fresh perspective. I’m looking I can’t wait to see how good I am at forward to carrying out these new painting when I’m in my eighties. ideas in the coming months. The ability to translate what I see, hear, feel, and touch into a 41


Above: Futility

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different form through the use of my hands, body and my mind that is what is truly liberating about art as a lifelong practice. The same can be said of any work that allows you to experience yourself in the present moment. The more time you put into it, the more you grow.

Institute of Chicago, which is still my favourite place to go when I visit the city.

It is the “looking into” that I remember the most, and what I try to recreate with my work. My personal artistic aesthetic is driven by my desire to get lost in a Do you believe that each composition, imagining myself generation should have its artistic inside the work of art. I know I’ve aesthetic? been successful when my eyes float Certainly, we are all influenced by over the canvas again and again, the undercurrent of the society and it’s what I look for in artwork we are participating in. An artist’s from other artists as well. work does directly or indirectly reference those conditions, Could you tell us a bit about your especially when communities of dog? like minds and similar experiences He’s a Treeing Walker Coonhound, form. bred in Tennessee to hunt racoons, black bears, and foxes. My husband But I think that art-making breaks rescued him as a puppy from a down the human condition to a humane society in Vermont. deeper level than a generational aesthetic. Art to me is truly so Harley, the dog, is an old guy now, individual; it is how you translate nearly ten years, but he’s a great your experiences into an companion who goes everywhere expression that others can with us, and despite his age will still experience. hunt occasionally. Having an older dog is a grounding experience. It How would you describe yours? certainly makes you appreciate the When I was a child, I remember routine of a good meal and a long spending hours staring into walk. paintings, whether it was from a book, or the artwork in my grandparents’ homes, or at the Art 43


What advice do you have for those artists who have never taken part in an art-fair before? Every opportunity for getting your art seen by the public is a positive one. There is a huge audience out there, and galleries only offer one type of exposure. Art fairs allow you to interact with many different types of art appreciators. Fairs bring together a wide variety of artists too, which is great for networking and finding new inspiration or collaboration. What was it like growing up as a young artist in Chicago? Was it something you were always interested in? Art was something I began intrinsically doing at a very young age. Dancing, singing, poetry, all forms of expression, but especially drawing and painting. I was lucky to have artists in my family to encourage me. I have one uncle who is a bronze sculptor, another a jazz musician, and an aunt who made pottery when I was a child. Chicago is such a culturally diverse city too, offering a huge variety of art to see, which I did as often as I could. I started to take my painting seriously as a teenager, experimenting with large sheets of watercolour

paper before falling in love with oil paint. What is Cheryl’s favourite outdoor activity? “Favourite” changes with the season, the region and the companions! Skiing and whitewater kayaking are two sports I find endlessly challenging and exhilarating. Both play right on that edge of fear and adrenaline, and there is a certain surrender that you have to give yourself. You have to let go and allow your muscle memory to take you where you need to be. It’s just like making art. www.cheryljoan.net

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Above: Momentum

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INTERVIEW

/ALICE SHERIDAN Every artist has their own unique style when it comes to painting. Some work with bold, impulsive strokes and splashes of paint while others take a more nuanced approach. Artist Alice Sheridan starts off her pieces intuitively, letting the artwork guide her through the latter stages, following the cues that it gives her. Based in London, England, her hometown, Alice constantly finds inspiration in the energy of the city. You’ve talked about how during the process of painting the artwork itself directs you. What are your thoughts on this change of roles? It sounds like I’m opting out; as though I take a side step and don’t have a role to play, but that’s not really how it works. When I first started painting again I thought I had to know all the answers; to be an expert in charge of my materials and a 100% mastery of my process. Of course, in art, there is no such thing. For it to stay alive and vibrant, there must always be a process of discovery. If I know in advance the exact painting I’m

about to make, then there is no excitement or interest for me as a maker. When I began to understand this and to allow experimental and unpredictable ways of using the paint and playing with form and composition, my work changed. It’s a pendulum between this free state and a more conscious reflection on what is happening. Ultimately I’m still the director, but I see it as being ready to ‘catch’ the ideas which come out from the painting. It’s all about bringing a more heightened awareness and each painting being a new experience. 46


Above: Thread of Revelation

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As humans, we are constantly bombarded with stimuli in the environment, both natural man-made. As an artist, what elements grab your attention the most? I’ve always lived in London; it can be overwhelming as well as visually refreshing. I enjoy the crossover between man-made and natural elements. I think my attention is pulled between close up details - the colour of lichen on a rock, or the patterns of a crumbling wall in an underground station and the feeling of freedom which wider expanses of open spaces give me.

against another, and creating small fragments of strong bright colours which appear through subsequent layers is just an endless joy. Do you think we are ever in control of our lives? I think we make decisions without knowing the consequences. How can we? Life often throws us a curve ball, and we have to adapt and react.

I had a long period of depression after my second child was born prematurely and part of recovering from that was being open to new ways of thinking. Many of the good things in life come through taking I gather dirty and damaged printed risks and being prepared to paper, tiny elements found commit to something which is new underfoot. There is something and unpredictable. So it’s not so about the clean graphic print being much about being in control of our disrupted by time which is lives as being aware what decisions endlessly interesting. I haven’t yet we are making and where they found a way to include this is the might lead. paintings on a large scale, but the visual sense is there. In some areas, my family would call me a control freak - certain Ultimately it comes back to colour. things I like to have ‘just so’ and I spent a while doing having control over some of the printmaking, including a series endless and varied tasks which with papers found on the come with being a parent and underground, but I missed the running a home are essential if play with colour. Making an ‘ugly’ there is to be any clear thinking colour look beautiful by pairing it space. Otherwise, 48


Above: Wave of Moonlight

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Above: Axial

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Is it true that you work with wood panels? What led you to choose them as a medium? You’ve increased the scale of your I’ve always enjoyed drawing with paintings over the last 12 months, a simple line across the white of a has this brought about a new set sheet of paper. I suppose I wanted of creative challenges? to bring that feeling of flow and When you work big, the mistakes mark into painting, but I wasn’t are more obvious! If the sure how to do it. My first composition is ‘off ’, then nothing paintings were very small, and works, but that can also make it I used coloured pencil drawn easier to see and correct. In through the wet paint (oil at that practical terms, I need a lot more time). I found that smooth board paint, and that has taken some just worked better than canvas adjusting to; simply mixing enough because there was no base texture colour to work freely. to distract or interrupt the marks I wanted to make. I work in acrylic because I need the layers, but that also presents The solid surface of the wood just challenges because working larger feels more direct - like the drawn means I need to work more marks make more of a difference, quickly. Sometimes there is less more immediate somehow. It allowance for random play, and I allows me to be more brutal. I can find I spend more time be more destructive with contemplating and visualising sandpaper and scratch marks or alternative directions before I move scrape the paint away. I use lots of in for the kill with a loaded brush. tools found in the DIY store rather That part has to be done with a than an art shop - maybe the wood sense of determination. makes me feel less precious? A canvas is so obviously an ‘artwork’, I still work in a variety of sizes and but wood is just wood. find that the smaller work can trigger ideas or just give me an The larger panels are made to alternative scale. It’s good to have order, and they definitely have a the choice. presence - they feel more solid. Of course, they are heavier, and I’m we spend all our time chasing our tail!

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experimenting with some new pieces on canvas so never say never! You recently exhibited at the Windsor Contemporary Art Fair, what was that experience and response like? This was my second time at Windsor, so it was lovely to have visitors come back to see how the work has changed over a year.

stages are usually more considered as each painting finds its way. This stage can need some more gentle coaxing and reflection.

I constantly need to re-introduce that early element of risk to keep the painting feeling alive and moving. This means I may decide to cover or destroy a detailed or complex area which is beautiful in itself but doesn’t help the whole painting. It could be easy to see this Working in the studio can be as a loss, but each painting contains isolating, which is one of the its own history of marks which all reasons I enjoy Instagram so much, contribute, even if they become but when you take finished hidden. pieces out to display them in a new content, it gives them a fresh How important is tactile art in an perspective for me too. The increasingly digital space? response this year was terrific, and Humans are rough work in it was wonderful to see some of the progress, always learning. I can larger pieces, in particular, go off to admire art that is polished in its new homes with excited owners. perfection, but emotionally I find it harder to respond to. Your pieces convey a sense of energy, do you find yourself There is a sense of reality, and maintaining a certain energy level human connection in a painting during the process? which you can see has been made Each group of paintings takes with dirty hands and expressive around three months to complete. movements. I think that directness Inevitably during that time the comes through and is often what energy level ebbs and flows; at the people respond to most when they beginning its usually pretty high; stand in front of my paintings. the stakes are low, and it’s easy to be bold and expressive. The middle 52


Above: Canopy

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Above: A Sequence in Time

In our world where we increasingly connect through the barrier of a glass screen, that human-ness is something essential to hold on to, both for the creativity of our community as a whole and for the sake of our mental well being. It feels very satisfying to accept and simply enjoy the wilder imperfections.

using clever computer programming.

How does Alice let her hair down? Rollercoasters would be my thrill of choice, but not easy to fit into my life! Dancing to the radio in the morning to embarrass my children might be on the list. Now I find it’s more about time to switch off and relax to allow ideas to flow rather than going wild, so reading and People often peer closely and wonder how all the layers and parts walking always does the trick. have come together. This sense of www.alicesheridan.com curiosity and intrigue I find very important, especially with something handmade, rather than 54


Above: Circus Lake

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INTERVIEW

/SHARON GRIMES Drawing inspiration from nature and the universe is artist Sharon Grimes. A resident of Longview, Texas, Sharon, a self-taught abstract contemporary artist does not shy away from vivid colours and energy in her work. Art captured her attention from an early age where her subject matter consisted of people, animals and her surroundings. A year living in Europe during her twenties only fuelled her passion as she frequented galleries and museums in the British capital. She has also studied with renowned artist Xianng Zhang, William Kalwick and Jane E Jones to name a few. You’ve mentioned that you are inspired by, amongst many things, nature and the universe, what is it about the universe that fascinates you the most? Yes, I’m continually inspired by nature, specifically the colours, and the universe! When I was a child, I would look for recognisable shapes in the clouds. I think all children do, but I still do it! I’m fascinated by how the light looks just before it appears at the edge of an object. Trying to capture that tends to give my work a softness.

Could you tell us a bit more about your town of Longview, Texas? What is it like living there as an artist? Longview, TX is a town of about 75,000 people situated near the Louisiana border. We are surrounded by Pine trees and lakes, so it’s not the image most people have of Texas. We have a beautiful museum, Longview Museum of Fine Arts, and a vibrant art community. Through the museum, we are exposed to a variety of art and get some notable exhibits. 56


Above: Mystical Shoreline 57


Above: Written in the Stars III 58


The majority of art that I see outside of the museum tends to be more representational than abstract or nonobjective. We have some extremely talented artists here, but we only have one gallery, P’s Gallery, which represents me and about five others. Most depend on festivals and art walks to show their work.

Do you remember the first time you were introduced to art as a concept? Yes, I was introduced to art as a concept in Europe. It was the first time I had seen abstraction or even political art.

Who was your favourite artist growing up and why? Growing up, we had no art in our You lived abroad for a year in home. I don’t know why. The art your early twenties, how did this that I was exposed to was in books. impact you artistically and The first purchase that I made as a emotionally? young adult was a piece of art. My The year that I lived abroad favourite artist, based on my changed my worldview completely. limited exposure, was Norman I had rarely been out of East Texas, Rockwell. which is a very conservative community. My eyes were opened In 2014, you were a finalist for the to a diversity of people and a way Hunting Art Prize, could you tell of being in the world that was us a bit more about that? much more expressive. It was a rich Hunting Oil is a Houston based experience that shaped who I am oil service supply company. The today. Hunting Art Prize originated in the United Kingdom and was moved to I believe that all of those Texas in 2006. The first place prize experiences awakened something money was around $50,000.00 if in me that needed to be expressed. my memory serves me correctly. I was also exposed to a calibre of As a result, the response was art in Europe that I didn’t know always huge. There were more than existed. The feelings of wonder a thousand entries the year that I brought on by the museums are made it to the finals. with me still. They chose 100 finalists and then changed jurors. I was so honoured 59


to be chosen to advance because the competition is stiff. Last year they made the decision to suspend it because the price of oil was down. You created a collage for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sierra Leone, Africa. Would you say that was a deeply emotional undertaking? The collage that I created was definitely an emotional undertaking. At that time we were learning about the vast number of amputees there and trying to find ways to help women earn a living. I heard so many stories that were heartbreaking. For me, my work is a way to communicate what I have no words for.

experimental artist, so I am constantly trying new things. It keeps it fun as well as interesting. Lastly and I think most importantly remember that the artist’s primary responsibility is to their process. Don’t create art according to the desires of others. You will do your best work painting for yourself. In today’s hectic, instant-gratification driven world, how important is meditation in your opinion? Meditation is very important! Having said that, I’m not very good at intentional, sitting meditation. That doesn’t keep me from trying, even if it’s just a few minutes a day.

I seem to do a little better with What in your opinion is the short sessions a couple of times a recipe for success? day. Research says that it creates My recipe for success starts with new pathways in the brain, which painting almost every day, whether is crucial for an artist. As anyone you are inspired or not. Sometimes who has tried meditation can tell I just go to my studio and clean you, staying in the present moment or organise and usually I end up is extremely hard! Truly, the only working a little. time that I’m comfortably in that place is when I’m involved in the Get your work in front of as many creative process. people as you can. I spent several years applying to museums and www.sharongrimesart.com finding other opportunities to get Opposite: Written in the Stars IV my work seen. I am an 60


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INTERVIEW

/MARIE HINES COWAN New York City has always been a melting pot of cultures and people. Millions move there from the United States and globally to make their mark and grab a slice of the American dream. As a result, the artistic and cultural richness the city has can seem unparalleled. Artist Marie Hines Cowan is using its inhabitants as the spotlight of her latest project titled “NY Muse”, In this interview, she tells us more about this project and her about her fascination with Greek Mythology and Philosophy. If you had to pick a favourite Neoteric Poet, who would it be and why? Probably Callimachus. Beyond the actual poetry itself, though, my interest lies in the philosophical underpinnings of the work. The premise of my paintings is informed by my understanding of these principles, coupled with my observations about modern life.

echoing the tone of Homer. You describe your work as “Popteric”, could you tell us a bit more about that? In addition to being an artist, I am a classicist and have been reading, studying and loving Greek mythology for just about as long as I’ve been practising art.

On a fundamental level, my I am drawn to the Neoterics paintings reflect these twin principally because of the short and interests, focusing on mythological narratives but with a colloquial playful quality of their work and the allusions to traditional stories twist. I use references from modern culture mixed with the classics to but in a modern vernacular, not 62


Above: Athena in the Studio 63


create an interplay between these two threads - the ancient and the modern, the mythological and the everyday. This mélange of references is what I mean by “Popteric.” The paintings are playful and allude to ancient and traditional tales while also being anchored firmly in the modern world. I consider the paintings to be specific and narrative and rather like the works denoted by the Greek term “epyllion” (fr. Encyclopedia Britannica: a brief narrative poem, usually dealing with mythological and romantic themes. It is characterised by lively description, miniaturistic attitude, scholarly allusion.)

others): A Public Works Project, the doomed Edie Sedgwick (an Andy Warhol associate), Dr Seuss, a Vogue Magazine photo spread, Jimi Hendricks, punk music and the New York Public Library lions. As usual, I am also bringing in references to Greek myth and the classics to add layers, with the hope that the work can be enjoyed on multiple levels at once. Central to NY Muse is the idea that the modern and the ancient are firmly linked through archetypes and their expression in the universal stories human beings have been telling one another since the first inklings of civilisation.

Here again, the interplay between Could you tell us a bit about your the ancient and the modern is current project “NY Muse”? relevant: The people I paint are The inspiration for NY Muse lies in modern beings but also ancient the people that populate New York archetypes and anthropomorCity and the intellectual culture phised ideas; the stories I tell are that characterises life in one of the new and personal but have been richest and most diverse cultural echoed for millennia. Using two zones in the world. forms of art, the visual and the verbal, I am attempting to create a In an effort to explain the contours modern representation of what the of this environment I use diverse Greeks called “ekphrasis” (picture objects, figures and events as phrase). jumping off points. They are myriad and include (among 64


All of the mythological creatures in these works are New Yorkers. Gods are made in the image of their worshipers, after all, and are flexible in their composition, changing as they bump up against new cultures and times, ever in flux. In my mind, New York City is subject to similar forces of friction, change and mutation. Therefore, my Athena is a South African expatriate who lives in Bed- Stuy; my Nike is a tall, thin Asian woman who never seems quite heavy enough to touch the ground; my Sphinx is rejuvenated as a black woman who kicks one of those masculine lions off its pedestal in front of the Fifth Avenue public library. NY Muse is composed of four mediums: Painting, sculpture, literature and audio. The paintings are large, each one depicting a nearly life-size figure. When it comes to installation, I find myself arranging oil paintings and sculptured text in a very site-specific manner. Like the paintings, the text is bold and large, each letter measuring about three to six inches and extruding from the wall up to two inches. I see the finished result as akin to a sort of large-scale graphic novel complete

with soundtrack. The accompanying audio is ephemeral a looped recording plays throughout the exhibit - and is a combination of my stories spoken aloud and sounds that influenced the work, moving from the baroque to the New York punk scene to Greek pop music. The paintings are static yet in flux, with words shifting in both meaning and appearance. The stories remain more or less the same, but the placement and positioning of elements is subject to change. This is meant to reflect the oral tradition in which the structures and ordering of stories were subject to the storyteller and their historical/geographical context. In addition to meaningful text, the installation dictates that my words also become objects - they project outward from the wall and become three-dimensional, pictorial designs. They morph into images, and they coalesce into sound. This project is comprised of numerous small stories, like Ovid’s Metamorphosis. The narratives are reworkings of original myths as well as newly created myths

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Above: The Erinyes

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involving the Greek deities and mythological personae against the backdrop of New York City. To date, I have written sixteen stories for the NY Muse/Popteric Stories project.

They are, nonetheless, formidable. They represent what I see around me in New York City, my preferred subject matter. They are, in other words, the product of a metaphorical melting pot - that most undying New York City trope.

In our social media and celebrity obsessed society do you What is the longest time you have think famous personalities are the spent on a commission? new Greek Gods? I don’t do too many commissioned works. I mainly create work I’m In my work at least, the Greek gods inspired by and then endeavour to - my muses - are representative of sell that. something more populist than that. Rather than idols to be Having said that, a single painting worshipped, they are used as from priming to finish can take symbols of empowerment of the anywhere from 3 months to a year everywoman and everyman that to complete. However, if we trace one might meet on the subway or the work back to the first in their office. blossoming of an idea in my head, we can add anywhere from 3 Going back to my point about the months to 20 years to that time! I Gods as a reflection of do a lot of thinking before I touch contemporary culture, I view the the canvas because I like my Greek deities as reflections of the paintings fresh and serendipitous. many varying peoples that I don’t even do much preparatory worshipped and therefore sketching. moulded and changed them. My protagonists are not perfect You exhibited your work first Hollywood versions of people. in 1979, How has the exhibition space changed since then in your They wear glasses or are opinion? overweight, they are not I was 13 in 1979 and exhibited that perpetually young, and they come first piece under the aegis of my from many races and ethnicities. teacher. Being a pre-teen, I didn’t 67


pay much attention to what the exhibition space was like back then. Funny though that I seem to have maintained that 13-year old’s rebellious spirit into the late 80’s/90’s because I still wasn’t much concerned with what was going on in traditional gallery spaces. I organised a lot of group pop-up exhibitions (before pop-up was even a thing) in bars and nightclubs like New York’s Tunnel and Webster Hall.

being both young and an artist!). I think my friend was partly referring to the fact that I tend toward representationalism and not conceptualism, which was and is still so much in vogue.

Could you talk us through some of the artists that have had a profound influence on your work growing up? Gosh, there are so many. First, there are many teachers and personal contacts that had an I showed in cafes in the New York enormous impact on my practice. metro area, at poetry readings and I think first of Alice Sweeney, a once (very profitably) in a neighbour and artist whom my high-end department store in parents sent me to study with at the Germany. Looking back on it now I age of 12. guess you could say that the formerly non-traditional spaces She taught me always to use the have in a sense become traditional. biggest brush possible and to paint with an eye toward the whole How about the art scene? canvas instead of getting bogged I have always felt a little divorced down in details. FIT Professors from the art scene, frankly. I am were also very important to my a solitary person and have always development. preferred time alone in my studio or with a good book to the rush of My mentor there, Karen Santry, a crowded gallery. Despite being a helped me take my work to the painter of people, I am not a people next level and infuse the canvas person, per se. with drama using theatrical qualities. Prof. Ishakawa helped me At one point in my 20’s, I can recall truly “see” in the artist’s sense, and being told by a friend that I wasn’t Prof. Kaish planted the word part of the young art scene (despite serendipity in my brain, teaching 68


Above: Rosy-Fingered Dawn

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Above: The Death of Actaeon.

Parmagiano, Michelangelo, Vermeer, Gustav Klimt, Oscar Kochoscar, Lord Leighton, and Leyendecker (who, when he was alive, lived in a house that is around the block from my current Then there are the historical figures home). Mucha, both his that are so important to my life and commercial work and his incredible Slavic murals. Velasquez. art. The mural artists of ancient Crete and Thera in Greece and the Caravaggio. archaic and classical period Greek When is Marie the happiest? sculptors. My mother was very interested in history, so we had all I am happiest in the studio with sorts of encyclopedias and history the muses at my back inspiring me, reference books, including a set of midway through a painting, 70’s books on ancient art. and 80’s punk rock or alternative music blaring out of the stereo. I practically wore out the books on Greece. Others include www.mariehinescowan.com me to allow for happy mistakes and the unplanned, which are sometimes the most important and foundational parts of an engaging finished product.

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Above: Sphinx.

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INTERVIEW

/MARIE ANINE MØLLER We are nomadic as a species, our survival has often relied on vast movements of people to find better opportunities with regards to work, food, shelter and meaning. Early civilisations were merely nomadic tribes, moving with the change of seasons and contingency. If you think about it that way, far little has changed. We are currently facing a vast exodus of mankind, the likes of which we have not seen before. Artist Marie Anine Møller, who is originally from Copenhagen moved to Glasgow, Scotland to study Fine Art Photography at the Glasgow School of Art. She believes in creating a picture of nostalgia placed in what is not her home but where she grew up. In our interview with her, she talks about her degree show “Buffet” and her experience of moving back to Copenhagen. We believe you graduated earlier this year from the Glasgow School of Art, could you tell us a bit more about your degree show “Buffet”? Yes, I graduated from GSA this summer with my degree show “Buffet”, which incorporated both objects, poems, photography and installation. The project is based on my always returning subjects concerning poles of contradictions and truth. 72

I’m fascinated by how we understand and interpret our world so differently, but still, as individuals believe our own truth to be the correct one. This philosophical play on defining truth or paradoxes has become a crucial part of my work - To somehow express the fact, that truth can be many different things, while at the same time truth is such a defining polarity, so how can it,


in fact, be many different things? The subject matter in my work insinuates what I define as a “polarity of truth” which I portray through visual fragmentation, presenting suggestions of constructed realities that I come across. I mostly visualise a quite abstract subject matter, which I hope generates an open understanding of what the viewer is actually looking at.

When you are out shooting with your camera, do you have a concept in mind or do you let the subject matter direct your creativity? It’s a little bit of both, but I guess intuition and sight will always be a part of my subject matter. If I walk by something where I instantly see a picture, I take it no matter how well it fits into the project. How far in the process I also play a role.

If at the beginning of a project I haven’t developed my idea all These abstract realities have a meta through, I let what comes my way expression to them as they are determine the subject matter. But pictures of already made pictures, the further I get into the project like wallpapers or symbolic and begin recognising my own suggestions of things looking like patterns, the more I start seeking something they are not, like the subject matters that are lacking plastic flowers. to tell my story. With this approach, I want to generate a discussion about truth and how we look or value things, which I hope help people open up their minds and see the world as full of polarities. I want to loosen up fixed states by constructing and pairing fragments of contradictions and through that create yet another possibility of truth.

You have exhibited your work extensively leading up to your degree show, what has been the most challenging aspect of the entire process? I think the beginning of the process always is the hardest for me. When I only have my raw ideas but no concrete material to define these ideas. Once I pin down my essentials I can start widening my ways of expression, and the build-up begins shaping my

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thoughts and the use of materials. I travelled around Eastern Europe for my degree show project and the further I got into the process of taking home new photos the more defined the search for the pictures became. I exhibited “Buffet” extensively before my degree show to investigate new angles and methods to my expression, and I think trying out so many different possibilities made the work stronger in the end.

Because my subject matter often is quite fragmented the pictures talk their own language, but I like to play with mixing materials, text and installation to expose yet another possible truth or meaning, that doesn’t necessarily come across when the picture stands alone.

Your work often focuses on paradoxes and contradiction, in a world that’s currently obsessed with highlighting differences as a negative trait. Do you think art can play a role to celebrate what How do you find a balance makes us unique? between aesthetics and meaning I’m happy you ask this question in your work? because I think the world today Depending on the work the focuses on differences as a balance always changes. Sometimes negative trait and I believe we all the aesthetic in one work balance have a responsibility, in each our out the meaning, but lack of way, to shed light on the positive. aesthetic, in another. When looking at art, different feelings occur depending on who’s By pairing images, they together looking, and as an artist or create a language where the one expressionist, I find it essential to only define something through the expose the many differences or other. I’m of the persuasion that truths out there. also aesthetics by itself bring different feelings to the viewer, Art can be experienced by dependent on who’s looking, which everybody despite differences, and again generates its own meaning. it has the ability to talk its own When I exhibit my work, it’s in the universal language. This is a strong mix of the installation and the pic- instrument, and it should be taken ture you can find a context. seriously. 77


In my practice I try to find the balance between play and substance, highlighting my awareness of differences in my subject matter or my texts. For instance, when it comes to religion I can be quite direct, in such a way that maybe steps on someone’s toes, because we do not all think alike.

Back home in Copenhagen I spend my day at Kulturgeneratoren – translates as The Culture Generator - A culture house in Copenhagen where I’m doing an internship curating exhibitions and helping sculpting the amazing old house into being something unique for the city. This is new and interesting for me, but I would also like to take a Master at some point, But I do it anyway because I think preferably in New York, which has it’s crucial for an artist to take these always been a dream. themes and expose them from different angles, to not end up with I guess to function I have to be a one-sided approaches to life, which bit of a lone wolf and never really I believe ultimately diverts and know what to expect of the future. narrows, rather than embraces and I just take it day by day and see widens. I believe It’s crucial for the where I end up. world, to embrace differences in order for people to better What does Marie love for understand each other and through breakfast? that acknowledge that only through Soft boiled eggs and coffee. differences we find similarities. www.marieaninemoller.com What are your future plans, both personally and professionally? With me the personal and the professional walk hand in hand, as I often have to travel to create my work. I’m currently in Atlanta, Georgia and going to Haiti to work on a project. I hope to keep developing myself further working on projects around the world. 78


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INTERVIEW

/MARIA APARICI Portraiture can be traced far back to the time of the Ancient Egyptians and around 1000 BC in China, although none survive from the latter. The Egyptian portraits were highly stylised, often in profile. It’s only at the time of the Greeks that lifelike portraiture showcasing the likeness of it’s subject took form and has been progressing since. These images give tantalising glimpses into the lives of people during the time and also give us valuable information about the social and often economic status of these individuals. Artist María Aparici Vives taps into this rich history with her own portraits. Visceral and full of emotion her pieces feature contemporary figures. In our interview with her, she talks about her time in the countryside, where she lives, looking after 1000 trees and her newfound obsession with Pokémon. How important is it for you as an artist to continuously push the envelope of your creativity? Someone has to criticise the permanent failings of society, in this very small world full of contradictions, domestic atrocities, political greed, abuse of women and animals, superstitious rituals, illiteracy, violence etc.

came from birth, good eye, sensibility. Depending on my emotional state, I express myself with cute innocent, funny works, between my ironically painted imagery I do false child-like simplicity work too, without any pessimistic intention.

Dedicating my life to pursuing creative output is something that

Opposite: My Pets and I, O/C 80 x 106 cm 80


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Where in the world are you currently based and why? Unfortunately, in an inhospitable village full of disgusting very Spanish traditions. Why? Because I cannot afford a studio either in London or New York. You’ve also painted a few portraits, is there a particular series of traits you look for in your subjects? I look for something deep and incontrovertible, a different and special class of truth, the eyes as a personal affront are the most important feature, my eyes are alarming. Who can stand the drilling fixity of a gaze? A portrait always can be exuberant, playful, humorous, ironic, silly, revealing fragments of oneself. The narcissism of an icon ought to be awesome, charismatic, free the spirit, it is not mindless copying of a photograph that has no sense of movement, no sense of self, no gesture, no expression. People interest me, faces more.

Would you say that your work is a validation of your presence on the planet? Painting is a ridiculous activity which interests few, but with it, I prove that I’m alive. It’s my life projected on a white canvas; my sad moments, my happy ones, the challenges I’ve faced above all. Painting, like life, is difficult and is written with images. The emotion on canvas depicting stupor doesn´t sell; my work is an outgrowth of the anger I feel about the human condition. I paint vibrant, strong works with a sense of harmony, with dynamism and spontaneity which seems to project right from the core. And.. This is it. As in everything in life, there are probably people who like it, and others who can’t stand it.

It is clear to us that the act of painting is a visceral, emotive time for you. How long do these sessions usually last? Painting is hard work, you have to feel fit, in shape and strong, I paint My portraits are masters of modern from 09:00 am to 02:00 pm daily documentary; they are impersonal when I am in my studio, minimum portraits out of this world. of five days in a row. Although painting is a long procedure that cannot be pushed. 82


Above: Cala Blanca O/C 92 x 65 cm 83


Above: Saint Paul de Vence O/C 100 x 65 cm 84


My immune system is very weak, so I have to take advantage of the good days. I can work on three paintings at the same time, but because I paint without preliminary sketches, taking risks permanently, I change the whole picture several times. I start with a face, and I end up with a dog, but whatever the ending is, a halo of uniqueness, unity and aura has to emanate from the work, no matter your anxieties drawn within it.

game of virtual reality which I have not tried but am very curious to explore further this new phenomenon of a digital world, without, of course, having a bad fall.

I have been periodically reinventing myself, developing a new style but always taking something from the past, recombining elements, altering but not rupturing. Becoming schematic and increasingly abstract.

If you could describe the act of you painting as a force of nature, what would it be? In my linking tightly surfaces and forms, gesture and scratching and erasing, my work is an ongoing process of observation, negation and discovery that will be the roots of a pine tree.

I look for the openness and freedom, lines and colour, movement, shades and light, closeness and transformation and change. Sharing and overlapping Are there any other contemporary sequences of gestures, creating artists that you are following at several temporary orders, colour the moment? and movement produce pictorial I like the feeling of chaos through light, that will be the branches. the usage of darkly violent images that reflect the state of mind The final work is a big tree of faces, of both the artist and society which can be destroyed by the within the work of Adrian Ghenie. human hand at any moment. I have just discovered the whole PokĂŠmon family. I think that they are excellent works, full of emotional messages. The city landscape for the PokĂŠmons, a

Apart from art, what do you enjoy doing? I am very concerned about ecological and social issues, we artists need to have a new vision

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of the role of humanity while creating we need to have the courage to fight irregularities to achieve our dreams. A balance between thinking globally and acting independently.

Lately, I travel by train with a good book to read. Paul Auster is one of my favourites. Looking through the window at the landscape is such a wonderful inspiration for artists, and I will always be coming back from the city.

I love nature; I take care of 1,000 trees, I live almost the whole year in the country, that’s the only thing that retains me in this village. I had to face whatever came from a very hostile narrow-minded environment whose social structures, representing moral and ethical concerns, are represented by an unethical mayor.

I love the country and nature; my house is surrounded by trees. What makes Maria smile in the morning? Meaning for my art, a new idea, something to share, a new event, a new challenge, a new risk, or if I don’t paint just a cup of coffee under one of my trees, surrounded by my friends, the dogs.

Let´s learn to recycle and reutilise while creating; we are converting the world into a big garbage deposit, I dared say in a public meeting of the city council. The only garbage here are you, they replied. Leave! Alone with the power that nature gives me, you have to confront whatever comes in life. I have been a very adventurous woman, My first husband was Spanish, my second is German, and my children are American. I love to travel there since I can always discover new things in new cultures.

And then if I have time a new painting which will be a chain of traces, decisions and events taken, maybe a violent composition as a form of vengeance, all recorded in one single work. But always trying to be simple because as Engels said: “ any increase in quantity necessitates a decrease in quality”.

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www.mariaaparici.com


Above: Flower O/ C 116 x 89 cm

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INTERVIEW

/LISA KRULASIK Lisa Krulasik, is a talented jeweler and designer based in New York City, after honing her craft at Pratt Institute, she graduated with a BFA majoring in jewelry and is currently studying gemology at Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in New York City. Lisa was awarded the 2015 Saul Bell Design Award and received first place in the emerging jewellery artist category. Her BFA Jewellery Thesis Collection embodies her passion for Jewellery and reptiles. We took time out to speak with Lisa about her collection, her incredible collection of exotic pets and the creative processes involved behind her latest collection Wzór. You seem to have a gorgeous collection of exotic pets, could you tell us a bit more about them? The original inspiration for my reptile collection was my first bearded dragon, Marley who passed away recently. Currently, I own three ball pythons (Piper, Beverly, & Lola), one Mexican Black King Snake (Onyx) and three bearded dragons (Mai, Dino & Meep). Along with my boyfriend, Matthew Leo Clark’s, Chinese water dragon (Ari). They

are all housed in their respective tanks in our brand new reptile room! Piper, Beverly and Lola are different morphs of ball pythons, all with very different personalities. Piper is the first ball python I adopted. She is the sweetest and most curious out of the three. She will put her nose against yours when you open the tank, and if she trusts you, she will let you rub the 88


top of her head, which is unique compared to the others. Piper loves to sit on your shoulders and inspect everything around her. She especially loves to climb on objects like her tree branch and our antique wall clock.

mischievous and will almost certainly try to get into trouble when he is roaming freely. You can never take your eye off of him because he will quietly find his way into the printer or behind your heaviest, tallest furniture.

Beverly is also very sweet but prefers to do her own thing. She loves to be around her sisters and hates it when I have to help her finish shedding. Lola is more feisty and skittish. She is also the youngest of the ball pythons and has warmed up a lot since she first joined the group. All the pythons love to be outside of their tank and explore the house. When it’s time to go back to their tank, they will quickly grasp onto anything in an attempt to delay the process.

My adult bearded dragon, Mai, used to remind me of Marley when she was a juvenile. She was feisty and fearless but now behaves similarly to the fully matured version of Marley; calm and curious. Though she definitely has not lost her fearlessness, as she loves to jump off the couch and explore everything the world around her has to offer and when she is finished she will find a nice nook to take a nap in.

Onyx is the first snake I adopted. Before getting him, like many people, I was very unsure and afraid. Since he is jet black and has a particular predatory look to him, you would think Onyx is the meanest snake in the bunch. On the contrary, he is quite loving. He can be an aggressive eater, but he is naturally very gentle and calm when he is being held. He loves to dig and is very quick. Out of all of our reptiles, he is the most

Dino and Meep are the newest additions. They were rescued from their original home where they were kept with too many of their siblings, and unfortunately, they both lost their front left hands. Dino is growing much faster than Meep and is very protective. She acts tough while Meep is very quiet and reserved. I am very excited to see them both grow and develop. 90


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We love your choice of organic materials in your new collection, is there one you particularly enjoy working with? In the past two years, the material I have been drawn towards more than anything else has been domestic and exotic woods. In this new collection, Wzรณr, I have been enjoying the Fiji wood that has been bonded with coloured resin in particular. It carves like butter, has pleasant colour combinations, and I feel as if the ideas and possibilities are endless.

Are you ever fascinated by the rarity of some of the materials you work with? Truthfully, I treat all of the materials I work with equally, whether it is an ingot of silver, a gem quality diamond, a sheet of acrylic, or a chunk of maple. Working with rare materials can be a bit more exciting, but it does not determine the greatness of a piece or the amount of attention I give it.

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What’s it like to be a born and bred New Yorker in a city that’s the epitome of the American dream? Growing up I never thought about how amazing it was to be a New Yorker that has lived in the same neighborhood for her whole life. As I have gotten older, I take pride in being a born and bred New Yorker. Sure, I would love to move out into the woods and own a few acres maybe have some chickens and horses, but I love the feeling I get when I walk out of the subway and look around the hustle and

bustle. It encourages me to stay busy, inspired, and creative. Your current colour palette definitely has a sense of nostalgia in it from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Was this a subconscious choice? It was very much my own decision to select the colors for the pieces but it was by chance that I stumbled upon the material. The vinyl in the pieces are tile samples my father, Marek Krulasik, had in his office from the early 1990’s that we rediscovered while we were cleaning. 93


As for the wood and wood bonded with resin, the moment I saw these color combinations and their uniqueness I just had to have them. Once I started working with the materials and putting the elements together I realized that I was bringing forward colors and shapes from my childhood. Do your pets inspire your collections? They were the center of my first collection, Istota, but have not inspired another collection just yet. What I decided to carry on from the last collection is that the format of the pieces are brooches and their pin catches are smaller corresponding pieces of wood. What element frustrates you the most about being an artist? “Artist block” is the most frustrating, especially when you know you want to make something but you do not know what it is or where to begin. Before I started working on Wzór, I knew since I graduated from Pratt that I wanted to make something new. It wasn’t until I started collecting different materials that things started to piece together in my mind.

Not everyone can say they have morning cuddles with their pythons, could you tell us something else about Lisa? Besides reptiles, Matthew and I have a ten-year-old black and white cat named Joey, and a two-yearold white rat named Peeki. We also recently adopted a two-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier named Blue Cheese back in April. Until recently, Matthew and I had six pet rats at one time! The emotional impact those amazing little creatures made on our lives was so profound that I decided to get a tattoo of my first rat, Lady, to remember her and her sisters forever. As of October 12th, I have been studying to become a Graduate Gemologist at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in the diamond district in New York City and will be graduating in May of 2018. www.lisakrulasik.com

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INTERVIEW

/ALEX BRISSENDEN Having lived in the United Kingdom for a long time, we can safely say that the South-Western part of the country has to be our favourite. From the surf towns of Cornwall to the quaint seaside villages it’s a beautiful corner of the world. One that illustrator Alex Brissenden or Illus Bee as she is known calls home. After graduating from Plymouth University, she decided to settle in the same town. Her work showcases her skills, both as an illustrator and designer. Colourful and captivating, each piece tells a story. How did you come up with your name Illus Bee? Basically, my surname is somewhat complicated, one of those that you will often have to spell out when talking to somebody. For as long as I can remember I have always shortened it to ‘B’ to save trouble.

Apparently, I have a knack for abbreviating things, and so naturally, it was something that stuck in my head. Put those two words together, and you’ve got a name that seemed to suit the naive and colourful world I’ve been working to create for a little while now.

‘Illus’ came from the name I labelled the hard drive that looked after anything and everything surrounding my illustration work. 96


You live on the South-West coast of England, a beautiful part of the country to say the least. How has it had an impact on your work? I will agree with you that there are beautiful parts of the South-West; Dartmoor, the open sea, Plymbridge woods and the rivers that run through it are the most note-worthy areas for me. I feel like I show off a nice variety of distant horizons, open spaces and cosy nooks in my work that could have easily been inspired by any one of those places. I’ve lived here my whole life so far, so it is easy to take what you have around you for granted. For the longest time, I wasn’t overly impressed by the busy city area, so I tried to look outwards as best as possible. However, I am growing to like the city more and more. My studio window continues to look out slightly over the rooftops of other houses, and this makes the city look quieter, calmer and cosier when there’s more focus on the sky.

prominent. However, I do love the warmth of indoors and the comforts of home, so I like to make simple scenes and concepts look whimsical, and this includes even just appreciating the simple passing of time from day to night. We love the bold colours and organic forms in your work, has that always been the case? I started getting into illustration by reading comics, graphic novels and manga - the ones in particular that I remember were very angular as well as black and white, so I adopted this art style at first. It was a very simple way to get what was in my brain onto paper.

Studying art (eventually illustration) all the way from school through to university introduced me to a lot of technicalities that I couldn’t help but pay attention to in my work - composition and the use of colour especially. It seemed natural for me to try and lead the eye around my illustrations in the way that I wanted through the use What are you trying to of simple, organic shapes which communicate through your work? were more flexible. Again, taking inspiration from those distant horizons, themes of Elements of nature and plant life adventure, the outdoors and travel are a big feature in my work, so this are something that I try to make seemed to go hand-in-hand nicely. 98


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The bold and limited colour palettes are influenced by traditional screen printing methods. I like to be as eye-catching as possible, so I’ve avoided using black for the worry that it will push things into the background and I’ve managed to keep that up just out of habit. Tell us a bit about your time growing up in Plymouth? I lived in a quiet yet comfortable household with two very busy parents and two beloved cats. However, I mostly remember spending time with my grandparents in their old house out in the country, next to the cow fields or on their sailboat which would have been moored next to the Plymouth Barbican: both of these places are no longer accessible to me, so I remember them fondly. My grandparents liked to paint, and they had a fairly large room of their house mostly dedicated to storing their work as well as excess paint and paper, this was a pretty cool thing for me to have access to when I was young. If I was hanging around my own house, then I was more than happy to stay

in and watch cartoons or read comics which of course led to me gaining a passion for drawing. Going to secondary school and being exposed to so much socialisation was a challenge and I wasn’t a fan of the experience overall, I kept to myself a lot but still managed to have a small handful of friends. Every lunchtime I would make an effort to escape to the music rooms or the art rooms which of course just led to me practising and honing my skills a little more every day while I was there. What frustrates you the most about being an artist? The fact that I am never satisfied with what I have produced. It is never quite what I visualised in my head even if the piece was an overall success. I can have confidence issues with my work but on the other hand, if I look at what I have done and think that it’s ‘not right’ in any way then it just gives me a reason to try even harder the next time.

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You recently developed a concept and roughs for a children’s book, could you tell us a bit more about that? Firstly, I should mention that the initial inspiration came from researching how morals were conveyed through storytelling and how it affects society, which was fascinating.

underwhelming!

When you paint, what plays an important role? The aesthetics or the underlying story and morals? I think both aspects are really important: the underlying story and morals will probably dictate how a piece looks and feels but just the aesthetics alone have been a main focal point for me most This made me passionate to try and recently whilst I’ve been produce a story of my own. I experimenting with ways in which wanted an opportunity to draw to convey what I am imagining and something fun and imaginative, get it onto paper. so I’ve based this book around a magic pencil that can bring to life I was also interested in building a whatever is drawn - instantly there somewhat distinctive look and style were a lot of possibilities for how by starting with simple shapes, and the story could play out. now that feel I have reached a point where I am comfortable with my Using the prompt,” Think global act process, I would like to put more local. “, I’ve been playing around emphasis on conveying emotion with how I could intertwine this and world-building as well as story with an environmental message, and characters. and it has been challenging so far, I don’t want to look or sound like I’m www.illus-bee.com lecturing the reader and lose the fun. I have produced roughs, but it is still a big work in progress because I feel like a few things could be done better. It is something I care about greatly, and it would be a shame to see it unfinished or

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INTERVIEW

/REBECCA MILLER With her work spanning photography and art, artist Rebecca Miller captures change and her unique perspective of the world we all inhabit. In our conversation, Rebecca talks about why she is still drawn to film over digital and the discipline it involves. Her work centres around nature, architecture and the current turbulent political atmosphere in the world. A big body of her work comprises of working with gelatin silver prints, something she talks about in detail in our conversation with her. She also touches on her “Making Lemonade” series and what she is listening to at the moment. Your “Making Lemonade” series highlights the absurdity and accessibility of hate speech, both online and offline. How important is it in your opinion for tech companies to take responsibility for the content on their platforms? Living in the United States, the first amendment of our constitution gives citizens the right to free speech, so I certainly am a big supporter of people being able to voice their opinions. The Internet has opened up so many possibilities to communicate

with others and learn new things, but unfortunately, it has also become a stage for all sorts of vicious behaviours that are elevated due to the anonymity and virtual bubble of cyberspace. It is worrisome that people will abandon critical thinking skills and believe what they read online if it reinforces their views, regardless of the factual accuracy of the information; so in that sense I would hope tech companies would take some responsibility for the content on their sites and remove items that are illegal, plagiaristic,

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Above: Broken Strand, oil on gelatin silver print, 2017 (based on 2016 U.S. presidential campaign posters) 105


Above: Transformation, litho crayon on gelatin silver print, 2004

or constitute defamation of character. But censoring someone for their ideas, however absurd or ignorant they may be, prohibits conversation and sometimes gives the author, even more, attention than they deserve. Is it true that most of your work comprises of mixed media on top of gelatin silver prints? Has that always been the case? About 50% of my work is created by drawing or painting on top of my gelatin silver prints, while the other 50% comprises un-manipulated silver gelatin and digital prints.

I’ve been working with mixed media in photography for the past 25 years, so it is definitely an integral part of my artistic voice. While I love straight photography, the imperfection of the human touch added to the mechanical creation of the photograph has always been intriguing and challenging to me. With the concepts behind my works, I strive to achieve a “realness� through the photographic image while incorporating an expressionistic addition to the work by painting, drawing, etching or layering through collage within the photographic image. 106


Above: Transformation (I’ll Be Seeing You), oil and oil bar on canvas, 2010 (from Dr. Tiller protest piece)

How did art land up becoming your primary profession? I graduated with my BFA from art school when I was 21 years old and felt lost as to how to pursue a career in the arts, so I ended up working at a real estate title company for three years after graduation.

While I was competent at that work, I wasn’t passionate about it. At the time I was also teaching Shotokan karate, and my parents were so supportive of my art that my father helped me build a darkroom on the side of our house so I could continue making work.

I also turned half of my bedroom into a studio so I could keep experimenting and working with mixed media on top of the prints. I’d work my job during the day and then go home and make art. I felt really secluded from any sort of art community at that time, no longer being in school to converse with others who shared my artistic interests. To remedy this feeling, I began entering exhibitions. After one of my pieces was juried into a show by Donald Kuspit, I got the confidence I needed to apply to graduate school to work towards my goal of pursuing a career in the

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Above: The Infinity of Dirty Politics, oil and litho crayon on gelatin silver print, 2015 (based on 2012 U.S. presidential campaign posters)

Above: Self-Portrait in my studio with 2016 U.S. presidential campaign items, 2017 108


arts and education. It took some time, but I was extremely fortunate to find a full-time position as a professor at an awesome liberal arts university, Drury University, where I am able to work with new artistic voices through teaching and directing our galleries. Working as an educator also affords me the time, freedom, and facilities to continue to create my works. Apart from being an artist, what do you enjoy doing? I love being on the water and particularly enjoy fishing. I also enjoy cooking, travelling, binge-watching television series, and consuming wine or beer while hanging out with friends. I’ve also become quite a homebody in the last few years and really enjoy projects around the house like turning a creepy tornado shelter into a wine cellar and re-building my deck.

health clinic in Wichita, which was one of three in America that performed late-term abortions. A friend of mine who knew Dr. Tiller went to Wichita the next day to help comfort family, friends, and co-workers and saw a woman protesting outside the clinic with a sign that read “Murderer Not Martyr”. After the protestor left the sign outside the clinic, my friend took it and then gave it to me asking if I could transform it into something positive. It took me more than six months before I even began to work on it because the act of assassinating a physician who helped so many was preposterous enough, but then to have yet another person protesting his life’s work, the day after his murder, was incomprehensible to me.

After I completed that work and the 2012 U.S. presidential How did the “Making Lemonade” campaigns began I was seeing so series of work start? many negative campaign materials On May 31, 2009, a man walked that I wanted to attempt to do the into a church in Wichita, Kansas same thing I did with that protest and killed another man who was piece, which was to turn negative serving as an usher by shooting campaign propaganda materials him in the head. The murdered into something positive or just as man, Dr. George Tiller, was the absurd as the original item. medical director of a women’s 109


In your “World Leader Series” you bring to light the disposable nature of public figures, what are your thoughts about the current leadership in your country? What leadership? To me, an effective leader leads by example and I find that the person currently occupying the highest office of our nation is vacuous in regards to what the office should represent to its citizens and other nations: integrity, sanity, compassion, intelligence, maturity, and humanity. What excites you the most about art? The possibilities. I love seeing new art that challenges my perceptions about life and aesthetics. As for my art, the process of creating something from the thoughts or the questions I have is the most exciting to me. Translating what is in my head to a physical object can be energising, demanding, sometimes annoying, and ultimately fulfilling. Do you think it’s hard to stand out as an artist today? Yes and no. Artists who stand out to me make work that is true to themselves regardless of the marketability of their images. Not

being redundant or regurgitating another artist’s concepts or style can be difficult because there are so many images already out in the world. For me standing out from others usually comes down to each artist’s personal views of the world around them: how they conceptualise, interpret, and visually communicate their ideas can draw upon shared human experiences that are then expressed in their unique ways. What fascinates you on a daily basis? Life. What is Rebecca listening to these days? Buddy Guy, Herovillains, One Republic, The Shandies, and Coldplay. To see the appropriated political images that were used to create the Making Lemonade works please visit: www.millerebecca.com

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Above: World Leader Series, oil on gelatin silver print, 2017

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INTERVIEW

/CHIE ARAKI With a background in graphic design, artist Chie Araki was heavily influenced by design from the 1970’s like Japan’s homegrown Kawai culture along with Animism, Bauhaus and Swiss Design to name a few. This is reflected in her body of work revolving around what she has coined ‘Bearomixx’. In this interview Chie talks to us about how the chemical content in paint has made her rethink her artistic approach and what she loves about living in New York City. You’ve had to look at new materials and techniques to combat your recently diagnosed allergies to paints and other chemicals, how is that going? Actually, this is very interesting. I’m wearing latex and vinyl gloves when I paint or draw every time after I get allergies, and I love it because I cannot control details.

feelings. However, I often had a bad habit to control everything too much, and it made my work less dynamic, less powerful, and not playful. When I wear gloves, I feel awkward when I’m using charcoals and pastels. But this awkwardness makes new interesting lines that I’ve never seen in my work, so I enjoy meeting new expressions from this unfortunate situation.

Before I got diagnosed with the allergies, I loved to put all the material on my hands and used them to draw and paint. I thought it was easy to express my 112


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Did it make you think about the toxicity of the materials we use as artists? Yes. I started to think of it seriously. A few years ago, my professor warned me when I used spray cans. I always use them a lot. Her friend lost his health because of spray cans. At that time, it was like a story from another planet to me. Now, it is my story.

themes. So, if I continue to put same symbols in all works, I thought that people would realise very soon when they see my work. Secondly, I simply like my bears. It is fun to let my bears transform others. So, I continue to use this symbol. I recognise bears are my logo and the main motif.

What are you trying to communicate through your work? Also, I knew that almost all brushes I am really glad if my works can be had nickels. I developed an allergy a trigger of somebody’s to metal so I could not touch them happiness. A few years ago, I was directly anymore. I want to contin- really depressed and walked. ue creating, but this is something I However, I suddenly felt better have to overcome. when I saw a neon sign, “believe.” Of course, my situation had not Is there a reason the bears in your changed, but I thought everything paintings lack expressions? would be great when I saw it. I have two reasons to use bears in my works. First, I think the bears I don’t know why but I think it is are my logo. This idea came up really fun if people have similar because I was (am) a graphic experiences when they see my designer. I like works of art where works. Also, I believe that changing the artist is instantly recognisable. ways of thinking a little bit Almost all artists express their something get better. So, I personalities by their painting continue to create. touches, consistent materials or constant themes. What does art mean to you? Art is my ordinary work. Not However, I get bored easily if I stick special. It is the same with to the same thing over time and breathing, eating and sleeping. like to use as many materials, totally different expressions and 115


You have cited the 70’s as a source of inspiration for you, do you have any other sources that you frequent? Video games and music. I love video games a lot since I was a child, especially Nintendo games. They have given me many inspirations and new ideas.

design work, I listen to girl bands or pop music. I don’t know why. Anyway, when I’m listening to music and painting, I feel like I’m playing music, too.

Where are you currently based and why? New York. I have been here for a long time, and I started my career My parents had worked since I was from this city. Also, I think NY is a child, and my old sister came the center of the art market. There back her school at late afternoon, are many galleries and museums so so I spent time alone until all there are many chances to show my families returned home. I works to the world more than often played with my friends, but other cities. So, I stay here. I played games when I didn’t meet them. What do you enjoy more? Painting in the studio or outside? At that time, the very first I love to stay inside to make Nintendo just came up, and it something. It’s something I enjoy. I made my world dramatically can stay in my studio any number changed. Of course, the system was of hours. However, I always go very interesting, but I really loved outside when I was stuck for a graphics more than games. Bitmap while to get inspired. characters with super minimum colours had an amazing impact on www.happycstudio.com me. I think this childhood experiences with retro games probably important sources to me. Also, music is very important to me. When I draw or paint a large piece, I always listen to Japanese punk music, and when I work on smaller pieces or my graphic

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INTERVIEW

/MANSS AVAL People are always in a rush these days. To get to work, pick up the kids, to the supermarket, back home. There’s so much that can be lost in this process, not to mention the cognitive benefits of slowing down. Artist Manss Aval, through his work, strives to represent our environment in a more intimate, detailed perspective. Based in San Diego, California, he is inspired by natures patterns and textures and transforms inanimate objects into faces, designs and complete figures through his work. In our conversation with him, Manss talks about his personal goals, the obstacles he faces as an artist and living in sunny California. What are your thoughts on the fact that individuals are getting desensitised with regards to acts of terror, discrimination and violence? I am unsure if people are getting “desensitised”; perhaps some feel helpless or are overwhelmed to some extend I would say. However, I feel it is good that issues, such as racial and sexual discrimination are prominent now. There has been too much of a tendency to gloss over them and to pretend that these are problems

of the past. As a result, many who were never directly subjected to such discriminations may have ignored or tolerated incidences of this type. We need a clean break from such feudal culture, and that cannot occur quietly in the background. It is high time for these abusive attitudes in the workplace and society to be abolished no matter where they still occur. This is certainly everyone’s responsibility. Opposite: Nippon Carnival 118


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Could you tell us a bit more about your project “Symétrie de guerre”? For this series, I used Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. The impact of the fan-shaped, endless rows of regularly spaced, white headstones is quite overwhelming.

march into harm’s way. For a student of history something to think about anyway! It is, unfortunately, an ongoing issue.

In your body of work titled “Essence”, the eyes are the point of focus, how important is that area of a person’s face to their identity in your opinion? Each represents human beings who It depends on a bit on the were robbed of their lives. Many of personality. Extrovert, amiable, the headstones are several decades caring, mischievous, highly old, and the inscriptions are energetic, emotional or thoroughly sometimes barely legible. In this sincere individuals, for example, setting, they seem to be relegated to seem to very clearly reflect their merely constitute a point in a vast, personalities with their eyes. solemn symmetric pattern. The eyes are their visiting cards. Fort Rosecrans National The essence of complex, guarded or Cemetery is one of many military reclusive individuals is often more graveyards: nationwide there are difficult to capture with just their 135 and abroad at least another 22. eyes. Of course, this is also a And that is just for United States reflection of their personality. The soldiers. The civilian victims on all eyes are really a treasure trope. sides were not honoured with such organised resting places for the Where or who do you draw most part. The overall losses inspiration from for your work? represent unimaginable scales of For photography often Nature, for devastation, with whole nations paintings many different things, being decimated. shapes, lines, patterns and anything that is striking and unusual. Overlay this scene with the soundtrack of the historic slogans I carry many visual images in my that rang out in different head. Some pop up from time to languages to induce soldiers to time and beg attention. 120


Above: SymĂŠtrie de guerre #10

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Is there a personal goal you would like to achieve apart from your art? To write some successful movie scripts. We love your abstract piece “Forbidden Fruit�, what was the creative process for that like? Thanks! I was visualising warm, tropical forests, exotic trees full of fruit and for some reason, Tahiti scenery from Paul Gauguin. I gave free reign to my fantasies, and it just came together like this. Could you highlight some of the obstacles that you face as an artist? With the disappearance of the middle class, the art business is increasingly turning into the exclusive domain of the super-rich and a select few artists. This poses a serious challenge for most artists who want to earn a living. What are your thoughts on Social Media as a promotional tool for artists? It is of increasing and critical importance to raise one’s profile, but not equally valid for all artists. Some artists have large social media followings which do not necessarily translate into actual sales.

What does Manss love about living in California? Having previously lived in Boston and Chicago: the weather, the ocean, the beaches, year-round sun and flowers, the informality and, did I mention the weather? What makes Manss happy? When I complete work that meets or exceeds my expectations, it is very satisfying. Equally important is when viewers respond positively to it. I am often surprised how even minute details do not escape their attention. I feel I have accomplished my mission. www.manssaval.com

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Above: Yin Yang

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INTERVIEW

/CAYCE HANALEI After receiving her fine arts degree in 2013, artist Cayce Hanalei resides in Bonita, California. Portraits make up a large body of her work, but she is known to experiment with different mediums and subject matter. Her work has been featured in many National and International exhibitions. Cayce currently works out of La Bodega Gallery in Barrio Logan where her studio is based. We had a brief chat with Cayce where we touched on various topics such as her thoughts on the scapegoating of immigrants around the world and her upcoming project on human trafficking. Immigrants all around the world seem to be getting a bad reputation these days, often by power-hungry politicians, when more than often their reasons to migrate are just to have a better life, what are your thoughts on that as an artist? The bad reputation of being an immigrant, whether it comes from politics, the media, or uninformed colleagues and friends, is simply just that, a reputation. In the end, your reputation is not who you are. On a personal and artistic level, I have found my friends, family, and

surroundings from different cultures just inspire me more. And living in a major city, you get so many different influences. It would be boring if everyone had the same name, background, language, and hometown. This is America after all, this huge melting pot of different cultures and immigrants from all over the globe. As a portrait artist, my job is to seek the beauty and uniqueness in everyone, and if you’re someone from a completely different culture then I am?

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Above: Love Thy Nature as Thyself

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Well, that just makes my job easier and honestly more fun.

peacefulness that I’m used to with the conveyance of a major city.

Aren’t we all migrants in one way or another? It’s safe to say that most of the USA population has immigrant ancestors or are immigrants themselves. My family is mostly Hungarian on my dad’s side, but I’m basically a beautiful mutt (haha).

There are so many things to do and so many opportunities as an artist. This is where I started my art career, and it only keeps getting better. The art community here is lively, and there are so many different little subcommunities for different artists with different interests.

I have traces of English, Native American, and even South African in my blood. So for me to have a negative view of immigrants would be hypocritical. As an artist, I am drawn to things that inspire and excite me, and anything or anyone different then me is usually another thing to learn about and is essentially another artistic stone to unturn.

With regards to your portraits, do you find yourself drawn to a particular type of individual? I typically look for someone that I have a connection with and has a unique look that I want to capture. With any portrait, I like there to be a strong sense of meaning behind it whether it be for a specific show, a commission or something for my own growth. Yes, there can be art existing for art’s own sake, but I like to dig deeper than that and connect with my audience on a more personal level.

Could you tell us a bit about Bonita, California where you currently reside? I am originally from Lisle, NY. Which is a little town in upstate New York. I moved here to Bonita in 2013 after I received my degree. Much like my hometown, Bonita is quiet compared to San Diego city which is only a few miles away. Here I get the

What does a typical day in the studio look like for you? I am a very fast painter, and I get impatient easily (something I’m working on). So, if I’m in my home studio or studio in Barrio Logan I typically only paint a few hours at a

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Above: Withered Beauty

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Above: Island Paradise 128


Could you tell us about your upcoming project on Human Trafficking? I was in a show a few months ago called “Invisible y Resistencia”, curated by my friend Yvette Is there an artist who has had a Roman, which focused on social profound influence on your work? topics that are not normally talked I take a lot of influence from an about. I chose a topic that I am array of widely known artists and passionate about, human the artists that are around me. I’m trafficking. I ended up painting my most drawn to artists who share piece “Be careful little hearts” for my style of painting who are mostly the show, and it made a huge impressionistic in discipline. impression on the audience. It inspired me to take it farther and I love seeing how an artist can start brainstorming ideas of how make a scene or a portrait using I can use my gift to make a bigger only blocks of colour and not as impact on this issue. much detail as the “realism” artists. I think my favourite portraits are My idea would be to paint a series done by Renoir out of the famous of portraits inspired by the stories artistic masters, but I have also of the victims of human learned a lot from my fellow artists trafficking in our city and and their styles. throughout the world. When the series was done, it could have an It took me awhile to find my own opening at a local gallery which style of painting which I like to call would dual as an awareness “Impressionistic Realism” which rally for a local ministry working to is loose in terms of the waves of eradicate Human trafficking. If the colours I use but detailed enough opening was well received, and it where if you stand back looks like a did well, I would also like to picture. I love painting in this style, consider turning the series into a but I’m always learning more from book to further its impact. other artists and developing as I go. time one piece at a time until I’m satisfied. A typical piece only takes me a few hours because my style is somewhat loose and I put in the details at the very end.

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Honestly, the project is in its beginning stages right now. I have met with a few ministries and have talked about partnering up but as you can imagine there are a lot of limitations to what I can do and who I can talk to legally because the survivors are protected (for a good reason). I know that eventually, I will find a way to get my project off the ground, even if I have to start a nonprofit myself. I am so excited about the feedback I have already received, and I can’t wait to get started.

afternoon. The constant temperature is always 75 and sunny, and people just seem generally happier in California. Another reason I don’t want to move is, of course, the art culture here. There is so much room to grow in this art community, and it would be hard to leave. www.hanaleiartworks.com

By the way, if there’s anyone reading this interview that would like to help out or share their story, please do not hesitate to contact me. What do you love the most about living in California? The culture and variety we have here in San Diego is amazing. My husband and I had considered moving out of the state, but I think ultimately, we will decide to stay here. The weather and the options cannot be matched no matter where you go. You could go to the beach in the morning and then to the desert or mountains in the

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Above: Through Orange Coloured Glasses

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CreativPaper Issue No. 008 Vol 2  

Featuring: Cover Artist; Kim Youdan, Henry Hu, Shang Ma, Lawrence Lee, Cheryl Joan, Alice Sheridan, Sharon Grimes, Marie Hines Cowan, Marie...

CreativPaper Issue No. 008 Vol 2  

Featuring: Cover Artist; Kim Youdan, Henry Hu, Shang Ma, Lawrence Lee, Cheryl Joan, Alice Sheridan, Sharon Grimes, Marie Hines Cowan, Marie...

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