Intro Welcome back! A lot has happened since our last issue. New world leaders unleashing their tyranny upon the masses, prejudice, misogyny, racism and hate seem to be on the rise. It feels like all the progress we have made over the decades is being stripped away in the name of “preservation”, surely love, acceptance and inclusion and virtues that need to be safeguarded too. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. It is in our darkest hours that the ever resilient power of light breaks through. Around the world, we have seen protests, fellow human beings taking a stand for what’s right. Artists documenting, collaborating and creating more than ever before, as a way of expressing their inner feelings. This is what we need, not war, intolerance and destruction. The artists featured in our latest issue have all felt this change just like the rest of us. It might be an old cliche but when you hit rock bottom the only way to go is up. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did putting it together. Jimmy Outhwaite and Jefferson Pires Founder | Creative Director
Left: Photo Edit by Jefferson Pires
REBECCA MILLER MIROSLAV TRUBAC
/HUGH SCHOCK With an avid fascination for animation from a young age, Southern Californian native Hugh Schock began drawing his own characters and creatures. His medium of choice ranges from acrylic paint, collage and pen resulting in detailed black line work and fantastic use of colour blocking. His protagonists look like theyâ€™ve come out of another dimension, especially in the pieces where Hugh incorporates old magazine clippings. The characters mentioned above have a simplicity about them yet they offer plenty of depth and detail conveying deeper emotions than their light heartedness may depict. www.hschock.wixsite.com/works
Opposite: Covered girl
Below: Webber Opposite: Spiritual Cramp
/JORGE MANSILLA There’s no denying that technology is changing at an unprecedented rate, effecting our lives in ways that we could have never imagined. Born in Mexico and currently living in Australia, artist Jorge Mansilla has seen this change result in the rise of our cyber world and identities. His art strives to gives the intangible a tactile presence. In the interview Jorge talks about consumerism, his travels and incorporating technology in his work. Could you tell us a bit more about your series of sculptures titled “Wake up and smell the plastic”? Firstly, I called them sculptures only because I have not found a better category or term for them, when I think of all the sculptors out there, a lot of them seem to have in common this spatial approach to the medium, a focus on the positive and the negative space and its relation to the object.
shop, so I came to terms with the idea that they were sculptures. In the beginning, I was folding and moulding paper. I also tried to apply the building principles of piñatas but was not convinced with the results. Then in one of those days that the state of the world is crushing you, and its problems just seem infinite and unsolvable, it hit me - this whole idea was a new territory, so it needed a new material, and if it there was something that I wanted to create figures, was everywhere it was plastic, from characters, representations of people. that day I started accumulating disI wanted to explore and try to make carded homeware, tools and toys collages that were not bi-dimenand started learning how to manipsional. Unfortunately “3D collages” ulate these discarded plastics - the sounds like a product from a novelty result was that series of sculptures.
Above: Do I Stand A Chance
Do you think that technology and our obsession with the internet are changing us as a species on a fundamental level? I think so. It has changed forever how we exist and how others perceive us, and it has changed our concepts of intimacy forever and being present. This year would mark ten years since the release of the first iPhone. It is crazy to think that 10 years ago our lives were so different and while texting was already taking over calling, ourselves were still very much based offline, some people had a MySpace profile or a Webpage full of animated GIFS, but it was still something to look at while your landline was not being used. I think now is when it will start to get interesting, already you can see how some of the young people are more careful with what they share or do with the internet, they are fully aware of the Forever Copy/ Paste aspect of it, yes they do love the InstaFame, Snapchat, and Facetime but also dread the Hackers and/or Trolls. So it is clear that we have experimented and been scarred enough by it, we are aware of how amazing it is but also how horrific it can be. We also are beginning to understand how
lonely it can feel to be everywhere, yet nowhere, for example. Who knows where will we end, I still find it bizarre how we are now accustomed to that strange dynamic of some people to have 2 minutes of real conversation and then 2 minutes of scrolling on their devices in silence in front of each other, again everywhere and nowhere, beside each other, only partially engaged, barely present. We believe you are currently based in Australia? What brought you there? From 2006 I started working in Art Direction for Music Videos, Films and TV ads, it was a busy time of my life, I wanted to take a Masters in the field and return to Mexico to continue on this path, so interesting Masters options were in Canada, the USA or Australia. Since they were all high level, super interesting and in an English speaking country, I had to start considering other factors to make my decision, being pragmatic. For me, being raised 20 minutes away from the desert it was hard to imagine my life in the snow, so Canada was out of the equation.
Also I had already been to so many cities in the US that the sense of excitement was gone, Australia, on the other hand, was wild and remote, at the same time I had a wave of Australian-ness happening: like the artist Stelark came to my hometown for a conference, and that was amazing; the contemporary art museum exhibited Ron Mueck’s sculptures; and The Presets played for free in some downtown nightclub. I started to notice that a lot of the music I had been listening to was from Australia, this made me intrigued on what was happening down there, so I enrolled at the University of Technology Sydney, and eight years later I am a permanent resident. Do you go back to your home country of Mexico often? Yes, not as often as I would like to, but yes every 1 - 2 years roughly, I’m going back this year to spend time learning from some amazing artisans in the South of Mexico, I cannot wait! What are your three best sources of inspiration? Hmm the best ones eh?, I would say nature, the streets and music.
In your series of collages titled “Before the collapse” you tackle the over stimulation of the consumerism era that we live in, Surely there has to be a breaking point? Of course! We are only mammals, only insecure primates on a pedestal with advanced technology. We obviously were not going to be able to keep up with the speed at which the internet grew, so more than a breaking point, I think it is much like a choking point, we stopped processing things, and therefore a majority of the media and content became homogenised; easy to digest, hollow. I believe this Homogenisation is dangerous, because if we are interested and only sharing the same things, where are the new ideas and different points of view will come from? More importantly, there is so much meaningless nonsense content out there, that allows mediocrity to become the norm and that for me it is so damaging.
Out of all the places in the world that you have lived in which has been the most memorable? Spain is intense, funny and beautiful. I had an incredible time in my 20’s living in Barcelona, but then again I never let myself forget that Mexico is where the meteorite hit the Earth, that place has something, underneath the Tacos and the piñatas, away from the Sombrero and Zarape outfits that Westerners wear to act “crazy and fun”, and way past the Coronas and the Cocaine, there is an ancient sense that something big lives there. I would not be surprised if, in fact, the Olmecs and Maya had been in contact with Aliens.
What does Mr Mansilla do to relax? Watch cartoons hahaha. I went and rewatched the whole 1990’s X-Men animated series, that was such a thrill, now I am rewinding the Challenge of the Super Friends and a 90s series of animated folktales from Japan. Obviously, I am only one of the many people who is anxiously and desperately waiting for the new Rick and Morty season to be finished and released. Also recently I was given an iPad and if I have 20 minutes to spare I play games there, my favourite right now (this is embarrassing because it’s a kids’ game) it’s called “Where’s my water”, and you have to move around water so Swampy the crocodile can get a shower hahaha. How old am I? I am 37 years young!
We believe you are working on incorporating robotics into your sculptures? When can we see them? Last year I made two sculptures www.jorgemansilla.net with plastic and robotic skeletons, Mother Nature and Father Nature, I can get you pics, but of course they are better on a video because they do a little dance. Unfortunately, I have not had the time to shoot proper videos of them, but will soon.
Above: Is There Still Going To Be An Enlightened Millennium
/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. She also has pointers for artists starting out, getting their work out there and dealing with rejection, a vital part of an artist’s evolution. Could you talk us through your creative process? I usually start with the concept – what questions do I want to visually answer or what ideas do I want to communicate to the viewer. That will then lead me to the type of medium I use to make the image, be it a straight photograph or mixed media work.
there is still something quite valuable about using film and working in the darkroom when creating works. While digital photography can give you an immediacy and manipulation that is not possible with film, the film has a physical presence and a completely different working method that forces you to slow down when creating the image. As for my process with straight The tactile qualities of a gelatin photographs, considering first the silver print and the discipline it base concept of the work leads me takes to print also separates to what type camera I’ll use - be it analogue and digital technology large format film, medium format from one another. I enjoy all types film, DSLR, or camera-less of photography though and work darkroom images. Digital with whatever photographic technology has opened up so many technique communicates my ideas possibilities to photographers, but in the best possible way.
Previous Page: East West #20 Above: Freedom
With that said, I have always loved photography as an art form, but a lot of the time it feels to me too separate from the human touch, too mechanical. That lack of humanism is what has drawn me to the use of mixed media on top of the photograph within many of my works. Expression of an emotional state, either mine or my subjectâ€™s, is one of the underlying themes with a lot of my works and mixing the photograph with other materials to create a singular image is usually how I translate expression. With my mixed media images I
generally start by shooting film, print the negative, manipulate the print in some way such as drawing, painting, or collaging it, re-photograph the manipulated print, enlarge the new film image in the darkroom onto resin coated paper, and then dra=w and paint on top of the enlarged photograph. Visual layering, both physically and conceptually, relates to different levels of meaning within the works. You have exhibited extensively throughout your career, what advice would you give an artist who is just about to exhibit their work for the first time?
Above: Big Bang
Get your work out there as much as possible while doing it in a professional manner. Whether you have your first show at a cafĂŠ or gallery, present your works and yourself in a way that puts your best foot forward. Excellent works that are displayed poorly can distract the viewer from the work; put the time and money into finishing works with frames or other methods that refine or present the object in a complete manner. Be flexible and creative when it comes to installing your works and donâ€™t be a prima donna; high maintenance attitudes
wonâ€™t advance your career if no one wants to work with you. Learn how to document your work. Poor documentation that does not represent your work in an accurate manner can prevent you from being given exhibition opportunities. Network. Although I love to think that great art will be valued by all just by being seen, usually it takes a lot of time and effort to get noticed beyond the exhibition setting.
What elements draw you towards a photographer that you land up collaborating with? Is there something specific that you look for? For me, a shared curiosity and aesthetic vision are the foundations of successful collaborative projects. The abilities for the give and take of ideas and approaches to the creative process are also crucial.
Quite frequently we spend a large amount of time just moving objects around and discussing the compositions we want to create before we even take the photo paper out. Patience, trust, respect, curiosity and a good sense of humour are all qualities that I specifically look for when collaborating with another artist.
What are your thoughts on the I’ve been working in collaboration current political climate in the with another artist, Tom Russo, for U.S? Are you working on any several years now to create political pieces to express that like large-scale photograms. Half of the you “Making Lemonade” series? fun is just discussing our ideas, and Divisive, superficial, angry, we have a great deal of respect for passionate, frustrating, and one another’s concepts. polarising are how I would describe the current political We’ve created a wide variety of climate in the U.S. images from some objects – be it musical instruments to live I began the Making Lemonade animals. One of us will say ‘why series in 2012 because that don’t we make an image that is presidential campaign’s about X?’ or ‘let’s try using object propaganda materials (from the Y’ because we are interested in how Internet and non-official campaign (or if) it will translate to a sources) seemed so slanted towards photogram. Sometimes we have blatant racism and xenophobia. I no idea how the finished piece will wanted to take objects of hate that look, and we don’t dwell on that were so readily available and because it is more about the neutralise their acidity. process of creating, solving problems, and the discoveries we It was unsettling to me as to what make along the way. kinds of negative materials were circulating about candidates who
Opposite: Protest America Final Photo: Equivalence #2
were running for the highest public office in our country; and the materials I collected were disturbing, especially knowing some Americans believed the completely fabricated rhetoric of hate with those items. When the 2016 election began to ramp up, I figured the fear people feel towards the economy and terrorism would transform to new types of defamation, which this time around translated mostly to materials based on sexism and ageism mixed with sophomoric to repulsive attacks on physical appearance. What surprised me though this past election was what materials were available on the official website of one of the candidate’s, in addition to the items I collected from other non-official sources, and how vile some items were when it came to sexism. I’ve acquired a lot of materials over the past year and will slowly start to transform them into something else that either is as absurd as the appropriated item or an abstraction beyond recognition of the original image. Those transformations are a laborious process, so in the meantime, I’ve begun a spin-off to
Making Lemonade, which is called Dirty Laundry and is a series of large format black-and-white photographs of clothing items collected during the 2016 presidential campaign. The goal is to show the contradictions with both candidates such as how Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan of “Stronger Together” fell flat when she called Donald Trump supporters “deplorable” – a group whom she should have been trying to sway to her side instead of insulting and ultimately energising against her. How Trump was relentlessly touting his “Make America Great Again” hat while having a documented history of sexist and anything but “great” comments about a variety of human beings. With this past election, it seemed that any legitimate ideas for forwarding thinking of important issues such as equality, economy, education, or foreign policy were lost in the superficial noise of sound bites.
It is still my hope though that the American people and our elected officials will put their differences aside and work together so that decency, humanity, equality, and common sense will help us move forward. 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.
photographing cloud formations. I never made the connection until I was on a road trip travelling through a particularly curvy and hilly section of northern Arkansas. The sky was bizarre – filled with bulbous and ominous clouds, which was proving to be a major distraction to driving. I was so mesmerised by these clouds and finally came across a section of road at the top of a hill where I was able to pull off and photograph the sky. At that moment I thought ‘what would Alfred think about these crazy clouds?’ From that point, I began the series Dear Alfred, which is an imaginary correspondence with Stieglitz exchanging images and discussions about his concept of equivalence in photography as a medium.
Could you talk us through your series of photographs called “Dear Alfred”? As an educator, I show Alfred www.millerebecca.com Stieglitz’s (1864-1946) Equivalents series to help my students understand abstraction in photography and how Stieglitz strove to give the viewer an emotional response over an intellectual analysis of the subject matter with those images. Perhaps it’s been a subconscious influence by his work, but I’ve always enjoyed
/LALIE PASCUAL Using a plethora of techniques and materials Lalie S Pascual’s work forces you to look at the bigger picture. What may initially come across as chaotic quickly reveals complex layers and details that capture the viewer’s imagination. With countless exhibitions under her belt Lalie is no stranger to the world of art. When did you take your first steps into art? Following a scientific and technology academic background (Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a Master of Science in Management) I started working as a system engineer in Cambridge, MA.
You spent a considerable amount of time in London as a student, how did this shape you as an artist? Studying at the MA Fine Art program of Central Saint Martins was one of my most challenging and exciting experiences. I was struggling with my painting techniques until one day my I was curious to discover new professor told me that there are technologies, and loved working in no ‘two Lalies’, that is, one who is a dynamic and a fast changing an engineer and another who is environment. But I also found it an artist. I need to find a way to rigid. I searched for new ways of bring my different backgrounds expressing ideas and started taking into a single coherent art practice. art classes with the Massachusetts He suggested to incorporate my College of Art. knowledge in technology into the artistic process itself.
Seasons of Time #15
It was then that I began to explore scientific ideas through digital media. It took me a few years to develop this practice which I still continue to explore.
I started working in my nearby environment taking photos and video clips over different moments of the day different seasons of the year. Back at the studio I digitally broke down my imagery into small Could you talk us through your units that were recombined and light box series of paintings? How recomposed into new states and did that come about? compositions. I was looking to I was looking to create an art work create a fragile world where the that explores a non universal, non past meets the present and the linear, imaginary concept of time. futuristic, and were beginnings and But how can we engage with such endings blur off into Endless an abstract concept, that we possibilities. cannot touch or see, and that does not exists in our dimension?
Seasons of Time #18
Thereâ€™s certainly elements of nature at a biological level in your art, how important is that to you? The process of breaking down and recomposing my digital imagery is inspired by the original primeval soup, which is believed to constitute some sort of ocean dating from three to four thousand millions years ago. In this soup, early organic substances were randomly combined into larger molecules, progressively creating complicated structures and â€˜primitive life formsâ€™.
When recomposing the digital imagery, I often use animation with hazard scripts. The element of hazard is essential to my work because it is one of the fundamental principles of life. It is by chance that physicists explain the beginning of the world as well as evolution. By chance molecules collide and merge, by chance two shapes meet, and by chance new composition arises.
Seasons of Time #23
What frustrates you most as an artist? I do like working with a group, but most of the time it is just myself in the studio. What are you currently working on? I recently met a contemporary dancer during a science-art filmmaking hackathon. We are exploring the combination of her dance with my animation. I am very excited about it because it introduces new encounters between her movement and the
movement that is generated by my own animation. It also introduces emotions which are like a new dimension to my work. What was your favourite breakfast cereal growing up and why? All of them. I loved mixing them up. www.lalies.net
/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 tells us more about her goals for the year and the concepts and a materials that she experimented with that led to her current art form. Could you tell us a bit more about Bearomixx? Bearömixx is the generic name of my artistic style, form and my world. I made this word because I could not apply any existing art styles when people asked me what kind of art I am making.
As for the form; Recently, I am working on a series, called “Made In NY By Bearömixx”. In this project, I have experimented what happens if I bearnify (personify) NYC as bears. So, I can say that Bearömixx is to bearnify (personify) objects.
As for the style; I have expressed a little in my statement, I am trying to put a bear’s face in my art when I create new work. The bear face is also my logo, and it is occasionally used for the main subjects, and at another time it is just put into works as accents.
As for my world; I have created many characters who have the same bears faces,which you can view from my website. Bearömixx is also the name of their kingdom.
BEROMIXX Mail Box
You cite design influences from the 70’s as one of your primary references, what would you say in unique about that decade from a design perspective? Shapes of objects and colour schemes are unique.
designs in 70’s. I think it relates with the historical background. People might be able to have enough rooms to enjoy their daily lives finally in 70’s.
You use a multitude of media in your works, has that always been Shapes; I think that the design the case? started to be recognised as “design” It depends on of the works but yes by people from 70’s. Before 70’s, it for almost all works. had been composed and created by realistic shapes, so these were more What are your goals for this year? emotional, confusing and chaos; Unfortunately, I found however, it became sophisticated several allergies at the end of last because of simplifying and cleaning year (2016). Almost all mediums up these shapes. Patterns of and tools are dangerous to my flowers, fruits and animals are allergies of course I will continue to really good samples to see these make the previous series I have to movements. As a result of look over my ways and materials to simplifying of shapes, the design make arts very soon. of 70’s started to have something charming atmosphere. Now, I am very interested in using my graphic design skills to make Colour; I feel that colour arts, So I will probably develop that combinations in 70’s have aspect. But I will continue to make something prospective, the previous series, too at the same outgoing and happy. Almost all time. designs are composed of vitamin colours. From the previous design What advice would you give a movement of psychedelia in 60’s, I new artist who is trying different feel that people’s unstable mediums and may be struggling mentalities, depressive frustrations to find their niche? and anxiety about their lives and Don’t be afraid, don’t listen to future, but these negative others, and follow your passion. impressions are gone from Trust and enjoy yourself.
The Sun Rises Over and Over Again
Look Up! A Happy Rainbow In The Sky
/DEREK CRACCO With influences ranging from astronomy to particle physics you just know that artist Derek Cracco’s work is going to encapsulate celestial characteristics. Its repetitive nature along with the seamless transition from micro to macro has the power to captivate you for hours. Through his work Derek touches on subjects such as Catholic guilt, relationships and also talks about the impact that renowned French post-impressionist painter Georges Pierre-Seurat had on him. Could you tell us a bit about your series from 2004 titled “Heartlands”? “Heartlands” is a reaction to circumstances that happened at the same time. The first being all the commotion about sexual deviance within the Catholic Church. The other is a demonstration I witnessed in New Orleans at a festival called Southern Decadence, an annual gay pride festival. While there, I witnessed a series of protests by a very agitated group of Christians just behind the St. Louis Cathedral. During this openly angry demonstration against gay culture, two lesbian women began hugging in front of
the protesters. This scene made me question. Why are these protesters so angry? What was it about their mythology that caused such an aggressive reaction? I believe it’s the flaws in Catholic Iconography that create this aggression. If Jesus is supposed to be the symbol for all men and Mary, the symbol for all women, then they are incomplete icons. Neither fully expresses what it is to be human. Both icons within Catholic iconography ignore human sexuality. And out of the two, Mary is the most incomplete, because you can’t be a mother and still be a virgin.
Because of these imperfections, a split occurs, and a new archetype is created. Jesus being all light and pure, he casts a shadow, and it is the antichrist, and for the Virgin Mary, it is the whore. This split signifies the polarised view of women that is promoted by Catholicism.
always been blown away by his use of colour and, because of this, I can spend hours staring at his paintings. I’m fascinated by the way he pared down his brushstrokes and mark making to a single dot. It is this simplification of the mark that allows the viewer to focuses on what is most important, colour. My works “Madonna Whore” highlights this contemporary One cannot help but see the parexample. The work appropriates an allels between some of your pieces image of Marilyn Chambers and a and astronomy, especially in your box of Ivory Snow. Miss Chambers “Love Songs” body of work. How became well known as a star of the important is astronomy not just adult film industry with her role from a scientific but an interperin “Behind the Green Door” and, sonal aspect? in fact, she was also the model for As a child, I was always interested the mother on the Ivory Snow box. in astronomy. I remember waiting That image of a popular brand of anxiously with my father for soap helped to boost ticket sales Cosmos to come on PBS. to over $50 million, making her the poster child for the Madonna/ Also, I remember lying on the whore complex. ground at night with a pair of binoculars, staring at the moon. Georges Pierre-Seurat is a source The understanding of the size and of inspiration for many artists scale of the universe made me feel that we have come across through so small and insignificant I had to CreativPaper. What elements of stare in wonder at the limitless his work resonate with you as an potential for exploration. artist? That is easy; it’s his use of colour. This childhood obsession went as I have never been interested in the far as me obsessively re-creating subject matter of Impressionism. the Milky Way with phosphoresNevertheless, when I walk into a cent stickers on my bedroom gallery of impressionist works, I’ve ceiling.
I’ve carried this interest of space and space exploration into my artwork today. My star clusters and celestial skyscapes are abstracted to represent the macro view of how society expects relationships to be, while abstractions of particles or atoms represent a more micro or personal perspective. Thus, creating constellations that act as metaphors for the forces that attract or repel couples.
body of work, I began to think more broadly about what was defined as love, and in 2005 Hurricane Katrina happened. Being born and raised in New Orleans, this had a direct effect on my family.
Driving to New Orleans one morning to begin the process of clean-up and reconstruction, I heard on Christian radio that Hurricane Katrina was punishment What are you trying to for New Orleans’ Sodom and communicate through your work? Gomorrah sins. My work is a reaction to images. Since 2003 I’ve been creating work The first thought that popped into based on the dictionary definition my head was that if God was of the word ‘love’. For such a small punishing anyone, he punished the word, it has a myriad of poor, the extremely young, and the connotations. I love my extremely old. mother. I love my child. I love my dog, and I love hamburgers. One The statistics prove this. That event of the most interesting definitions sparked several works which were is the love of God for man and the critical of the idea of the adoration of man for God. vengeful God. Currently, I’m working on large-paneled I’ve been slowly and methodicalacrylic abstract paintings of ly working through the meaning, scientific and astronomical creating bodies of works that I feel discoveries. The working title for define and highlight those the upcoming exhibition is “The connotations. As you mentioned Light The Truth,” which is going to in the previous question, in 2004, be a subtle critique of the flat earth I began working on Heartlands, movement in the U.S. which focused on religion and sexuality specifically. From that
Falling in Love Again (I Can’t Help It)
In your 2012 body of work “Love Songs” you talk about society’s portrayal of stereotypes of men and women. Is this something that is changing in your opinion or are we putting people in boxes more than ever? That’s a really interesting question. Women, now more than ever before, have opportunities.
science, and business, and the wage gap is slowly closing.
However, because of reality TV, the entertainment industry, and people like Kim Kardashian and Ariana Grande, to name a few, young girls are told that first and foremost they must be pretty and vapid. There is still a problem with the objectification of women that is promoted Doors are opening, and women are by the entertainment industry, and holding a position in government, until that changes, it will always
be an uphill battle.
the Zuckerman Museum of Art, SCAD Atlanta, and Georgia State What attracted you to making art University. In my studio, I’m in the first place? working on a new series based off a previous body of works, for my I have dyslexia, and because of this, next exhibition at Beta Pictoris school was always a challenge for Gallery. The working title is “The me. I spent most of my time dooLight The Truth”. dling and sketching in my notebooks during class. The images I These works will focus on detailed, was creating in my journals began pointillist-style paintings that to get a lot of attention. My classexplore fields of flashes, stars and mates would often toss me their light. My influences range from notebooks in class so that I could astronomy to particle physics. The decorate the covers. It was this pos- ideas that I’m interested in now itive affirmation that made me real- are images that are evidence of the ise that I might have a shot at being expansion of our knowledge: think an artist. I honestly think that if galactic clusters, supernovas, deep I didn’t have dyslexia, I probably field astronomical photographs, would not be an artist. Art was my and other scientific discoveries. sanctuary. I would sit and draw and just get lost in the process. Because On an aesthetic level, the works of this passion for drawing, being shift and oscillate between the an artist was one of the only career macro and the micro, between the avenues I could see for myself. If illusions of light in the works and there had been an escape route, I the visual disruptions the probably would have taken it. Now, images produce when viewed at I could not see myself doing anyclose range. thing else. I guess you could say my life revolves around art—and I www.derekcracco.com would not have it any other way. What does Derek Cracco have in store for 2017? In 2017, I will also have works included in group exhibitions at
Jealouse Again, Black Flag
Listen To My Heart, Ramones.
/MILES LEWIS Creation and education are core values that Los Angeles-based artist Miles Lewis lives by. He believes that it is just as important to pass skills, knowledge and empower future generations with regards to art as it is to create. This San Fernando Valley native works primarily with India ink to replicate his daily observations, with portraiture being a constant theme. Miles took the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few of our questions below. You teach art alongside practising it, how has this interaction with your students moulded your art? Often, teaching students feels more directly purposeful than making art. I often feel like I am making artwork, exercising my imagination, and refining techniques to be a better teacher. In this way, my interaction with students has given my work an immediate field for experimentation and review, in the form of emotionally and intellectually involved communication. You have exhibited extensively both in the U.S and abroad. What
advice would you give to an artist currently looking to exhibit their work? To exhibit work, I’d suggest taking a page from the actor’s book: keep auditioning. Submit work to shows, especially those that you can attend. Also, find many different ways that you can create a personal connection with other artists that you admire and who work similarly to you. From there, you’ll have a platform to collaborate, co-exhibit, or at least be in the working memory of the creative professionals who are generating and engaging new professional opportunities, day to day.
How important is it for an artist to have their signature aesthetic? I think that in commercial terms, it is important to have a signature style. Itâ€™s frankly hard to say what the importance is in regards to specifically personal and overall social effect. I think that for many artists, the particular importance of artwork is in its ability to change style as it guides or reflects them through their psychic development. Sometimes, the artistâ€™s style is actually in the form of their
presentation or approach to s tylistic variety. Itâ€™s best not to get too hung up on it and simply find a way to liquidate the part of your work that people have an enthusiastic reaction to it. What excites you the most about portraiture? Portraiture can be a profoundly human and shareable kind of picture-making. It allows you to slow down and closely study another person, regarding both expression and construction.
In The Car
The advancement and variety of this experience are what I look for in portraits and when I see it it’s one of the most moving aesthetic experiences. Have you always lived in Los Angeles? I’ve lived in LA my entire life, except for a 9-month school stint in New York City, when I was 19. What do you love about your job? I love that I can work with a stream of new people and regulars who are excited to meet me for the special
product or experience that I’ve prepared for them. Is there an album that you are listening to on repeat at the moment? Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love.” www.mileslewisstudio.com
Opposite: Gay Uncle Touches Pregnant Belly
Kangaroo Court Detail 1
/NICK CANDELA With his work ranging from silhouettes to narratives and video, artist Nicholas Candela certainly does not limit himself to one medium or style. His recent body of work combines advertisement, entertainment and idiosyncratic self-portraiture with aplomb. Images that are scrolled past, both literally and figuratively, are given a new lease on life through their layered replication as drawn and painted montages. This layering of elements makes its way into other aspects of Nicholasâ€™s work. Born in Wyandotte, Michigan in 1980, Nicholas received his BA in Art Education from Michigan State University in 2002. His varied body of work has also been showcased in several states throughout the country. He currently teaches high school art in Northern Virginia where he also resides. www.nickcandela.com
All And Sundry
Above: Take The High Road. Opposite: Cutting Ties.
/SALI MULLER Luxemburg-based artist Sali Muller focusses her creative energy on conceptual approaches to reflective surfaces. This takes the form of video, light and sound installations giving the viewer a tangible, visceral experience. She tackles topics such an environmental pollution, loss of identity, interpersonal communication and consumerist culture.
In today’s hyper-shared world how important do you think the issue of personal identity is? It’s very important to show the uniqueness of uncompromising individualism in the face of the levelling effect of Internet anonymity.
deconstruction, endless replication and loss of identity to the other. I’m taking apart the relationship between identity, space and time, to explore what it means to retain one’s individuality in a world of boundless repetitions.
Does it bother you that we have In my works, I explore issues like grown accustomed to living in a the loss of identity and the loss of ‘Big Brother’ society? interpersonal communication by Yes, it does. Mass surveillance is ofmixing different media and placing ten claimed to be necessary to fight the materiality of the work in sharp terrorism, to prevent social unrest, contrast with its subject. Those to protect national security, but works manipulate our perception also criticised as a violation of priand place the viewers in a confron- vacy rights. There is growing fear tational relationship with themthat increasing mass surveillance selves, raising questions on their will ultimately lead to a totalitarian perception of self by the game of state. But as we live in a world of
growing indistinctiveness where the trivialization of surveillance and the terrifying anonymity of today’s society are in order, no one gives a (or cares about) that we are under constant surveillance by the authorities. Sooner or later we will be controlled wherever we walk; every move will be recorded not only in public spaces but also in private ones. Talk us through your piece “Wiping History”?
instead of toxic substances is a redeeming act that resonates with the cleansing effect of water to wash away and erase all the sins of the world. What led you to found 21Artstreet? Is it true that it used to be an old mechanic’s garage? You mean the name. Well, we were looking for a domain name that was still available and free of charge.
After months of good ideas that “Wiping History” explores the were all taken, we remembered tension between the devastating an old TV series that we saw in effects of war, violence and extreme the nineties. So 21Artstreet came pollution and our desire to sanitise out, “21” standing for the artworks and wipe away all traces of their made in the 21st century and existence. “Artstreet” regrouping all existing artistic mediums. By using pictures from the media of industrial landscapes, political Yes, it is. After my studies, I rented repression, environmental an old mechanic’s garage on the disasters, I’m wiping their surfaces outskirts of Luxembourg City and with clean water until the images transformed it into a co-working & attain an otherworldly effect which exhibition space for artists that can plays on the idiom of rose-tinted be used for short-term exhibition glasses. The resulting effect opportunities or on a weekly basis criticises society’s pervading in order to create artworks on site. attitude of indifference towards the horrors of the past and present, and the desire to wipe away all traces from our conscience and memory. The act of cleaning with clear water
Who is your favourite contemporary artist and why? When I saw Troika’s work ‘Dark Matter’ at Unlimited, Art Basel, I was really impressed by how they manipulated our perception while turning around the artwork.
Environmental pollution is an issue that needs to be taken seriously, but not a lot of countries do, why do you think that is the case? The lack of economic interest of giving up the polluting modes of producing traditional energy This experience paved my way for demonstrates the irony and future projects where I tried to duplicity behind current discourses place the viewers in a confrontaon green energy. The irresponsible tional relationship with themselves, energy use of an inexorably raising questions on their hypocritical society, the wasting perception of self while blurring and uncontrolled exploitation of the boundaries between subject natural resources and endless and subjectivity. energy use are in order,
from industrial production to data processing, robotics, global mobility and commercial advertising decorating city buildings. So saving energy is an empty promise. Renewable energy is the key word of our times for saving the planet. Surely, the COP 21 agreement is an important step in a self-destructing world where living in joy and luxury at the expense of native populations who are suffering the deprivation of their own natural resources seems to be relevant.
What is Sali Muller listening to these days? Sonos Radio Streaming. www.salimuller.com
/BANGKOK, THAILAND. FEBRUARY 2017.
/WILLOW BANKS Northern California certainly has its share of beautiful landscape, from its mountain ranges to the rugged yet captivating coastline there’s plenty to be inspired by. Painter and printmaker Willow Banks draws inspiration from mother nature around her, channeling its beauty through her work. In our conversation with this California native, we touch on the landscape, her inspiration growing up and the internal struggle one faces as an artist.
What is it about the natural beauty of Northern California that makes it a unique place to live? Not just as an artist? There are still open expanses of land that you can escape into. I grew up here, and I have a natural affinity for these layers of hills folding into themselves, the distant tree lines and glimpses of the ocean. The coast is very rugged and raw, and the surf and beaches—with their riptides and sneaker waves - are often dangerous.
Who was your favourite artist growing up and why? I loved, and will always love, Nicolas de Staël—his palate, the way he applied paint. Many years ago, I was visiting a friend in Paris and was fortunate to see a De Staël exhibit at The Centres Georges Pompidou, I think I stayed there all day moving from one painting to the next and back again.
What I truly love about De Staël’s work is how I feel his landscapes— the sea, sky and coastline—before I see them, they enter first through But on cold, windswept days when my heart, not my head. Robert the fog is in, it’s a particularly soul- Motherwell and Helen Frankenful place to be. thaler were also two of my early favourites.
Waves Before Storm
Across The Divide
When you come across a natural feature, what elements inspire you to paint it? I like the intersection of things, the way the hills and tree lines converge, creating distinct, almost geometrical shapes. We get a lot of fog here, and that creates another layered element, with bits of trees and escarpment seen through the whitewash… I’m inspired to capture the feel of a place, the light and texture, rather than an exact image. What is your favourite part about being an artist? I like when I’m working, and everything is flowing and time just falls away and new things emerge that I think might be good. This unfortunately, doesn’t happen a lot. Usually I have to fight my way into creativity. It helps if there’s some part of the canvas that I think is working, which inspires me to continue, to keep at it. What led you to choose your favourite media? I like being able to layer paint, to move from thick to thin—and because I’m impatient, and because acrylic dries fast, it seems like a good fit for me.
Also, less expensive than oils, which is a good thing. Are there any other artists from Northern California whose work you admire? I greatly admire and have long been inspired by Richard Diebenkorn, especially during his time in Albuquerque when his palate and paintings became informed and shaped by that south-west landscape. I like all the Bay Area figurative artists: David Park, Elmer Bischoff, Joan Brown. If you could summarise Willow Banks the person in 3 words what would they be? This is a tough question; I’m afraid my answer might change from day to day…but, if I had to go with broad brushstrokes, I’d say: independent, unconventional, wistful. www.wbanksportfolio.com
/NANCY GIFFORD â€œI paint because I cannot sing, painting is the refuge of the failed poet.â€? says Nancy Gifford. This former model and actress was inspired by her time spent in all the great art galleries and museums of Europe. Seeing first-hand what her friends back home read about in textbooks. Her body of work comprises of inner-reflections, life experiences and politics. We talk about the current political atmosphere in her home country and how this has ignited her political and environmental narrative.
Could you tell us a bit more about the time you spent in Europe and Morocco? Did it have any impact on you as an artist? I left university in the late sixties to model and travel. It was my ticket off the Ohio farm.
which pointed a direction for my life to take in the arts.
How has technology changed the tools that an artist has the disposal to in your opinion? Technology has changed everything. It is impossible for me I was fortunate to be able to visit all to say where I think it is all the great museums and galleries of heading. I do feel a sense of Europe and see in-person what my nostalgia for craftsmanship though classmates were reading about. It I see in my work a moving away changed my life and focus. from all my handy skills into more technology and computer I met renowned film-makers, generated creations. I cannot resist musicians, artists and writers the internet.
Your long-term project “Not My Mothers Quilt”, is certainly taking on a bit of scale. When do you think this project will be completed? And are you documenting the process? I grew up on a farm in Ohio. Our house was in the middle of acres of grain fields spreading in all directions so my first 18 years were spent inside a visual grid and row pattern which changed colour and shape with the seasons. It has infected my artistic expression, and I am always on a quest for “breaking through the grid” What was the inspiration behind that project? My “Quilt” series began as an ode to my mother and auntie who taught me to sew when I was just five years old, the great winter quilting projects for our l ittle church fundraisers. I must have cut thousands of squares for their projects. My “quilts” are a contemporary version set into CD covers and attached with fibreglass which gives them a flexibility so they can be folded and shipped in smaller containers. That series now has morphed into my new “accretion” work. LAMENT was my first major
accretion, 32 feet long by 10 feet tall, which is a layering of objects and images upon each other instead of the strict grids of the quilts. So the series has already moved beyond the quilts though I have a fondness and nostalgia for them. There’s a certain three-dimensionality with some of your pieces, would you classify them as paintings or sculptures? Much of my work has a 3-dimensional quality. I spent ten years in Los Angeles working on wood constructions that mostly hung on the walls but were sculptural. I did all of my own building at the time. I can no longer work around the saw dust and fumes so my work changes with my physical stamina. I worked with a chemist at Golden Paints and now use some Acrylic Resin products that we developed to create Sculptural Paintings. With reference to your piece “ State of the Union”, how do you feel about the political changes in the United States? I am devastated by the tone that is developing in my country. t is very difficult for me and my artist friends to comprehend what is
Previous Page: Fun For Boys. Above: Biomorphic Reflection.
is happening. We are becoming activated. I have often had a political or environmental narrative in my work in the past. It is now resurfacing. It will be impossible to constrain for we are brimming with angst about the future of our country and the planet. I am reviving two old projects that still have relevance; The War Room and Nasty Women. In today’s world of instant fame, people often glorify the world of modeling and acting, yet the real life experience is far from it.
What are your thoughts on that? For me modeling was a one-way ticket off the farm and propelled me into worlds I could never have entered. But the downside is that it is not very satisfactory being in a room just based on your looks. So it takes a lot of energy to develop other qualities that people often do not want to acknowledge because they can be “blinded by the light” so to speak. After a decade I was exhausted and became determined to develop other talents.
I was so burned out that for a year I did not look in a mirror and stopped wearing makeup etc. I locked myself in a garage and worked on my first major series called “The Downwind Series” in 1980. The series went on to be included in many museum shows, garnered a review in the LA Times and kick-started my trajectory. It was useful since I was coming late to the game having spent a decade travelling and did not have the coveted art degrees which are now indispensable to success. Also, I was fortunate to have a renowned curator in Los Angeles, Henry T. Hopkins, who championed my work in the early days and included me in many museum shows. He was instrumental in my progress. What are your goals for this year? I usually work in several directions at once to keep myself interested. I have started a broad series titled Crazy Times. It will be a diverse array of styles and subjects from White Collar Crime, the Debt Ceiling, the banking industry Follow the Money and the Drought and other such concerns. I am
doing a series on Graphite that I am producing for an exhibition in June. I am just finishing a large accretion commission titled” Conjuring Clouds... which luckily brought us some big rains in California the last month. I am also working on some “reverse accretions” which I am calling “Heaps of Trouble.” Looking f orward to those. I also want to create some “beautiful” pieces... we will need some beauty in the coming year. www.nancygifford.com
Revisiting The Circle
Above The Law
Made In The USA
/TROY DUGAS As a race, most of us are driven by consumerism to one degree or another, this act by its very nature is a driving force for many an economy. Unfortunately, it is also responsible for waste and pollution, the unsavoury byproduct of our need for more, often at lower prices. Artist Troy Dugas is making amends in his own way by creating masterpieces out of recycled packaging, which has its own artistic essence. Troy talked us through his creative process, sustainability and art from the 1970’s amongst other topics. How do you source the materials you use for your art? You certainly have a knack for finding some great raw material? I’ve always been a scavenger. Going to garage sales, the salvation army, and flea markets was what I did when I was a teenager.
time, but it wasn’t until 2002 when I moved back to Louisiana that I began making pieces completely out of the material itself. Now, through eBay, I have found many antique dealers who specifically handle this kind of stuff.
What comes first? The raw I was very much into repurposing material or the concept? clothes at the time. I came across a It is a battle. Sometimes the huge paper bag of thousands of materials really “speak” to me and cigar bands at the Chelsea Flea guide my decisions. They give Market in New York about 20 meaning to otherwise meaningless years ago. I experimented with it designs. Other times I try to quiet in paintings and installations at the them by painting over them or
You were born in 1970, where they any artists from that era that had a profound influence on you as an artist? It’s clear that recycling and So many different things were sustainability are topics that need happening in the 70’s coming more focus that they get, how out of the 60’s including concepdo you think we can make more tual art, photo-realism, land art, people aware of their importance performance art, visual art, and with regards to our ever post-minimalism. dwindling resources? As a teacher, I always feel my first I’m going to have to go with obligation is to be a good example. post-minimalism and say, Eva I’m such a passive person; I don’t Hesse. She used similar themes as usually try to convince anyone of minimal art like grids and systems, anything. I think small actions go but it was more about the process a long way and good work speaks and the hand-made. Minimal art volumes. was industrial and cold. shredding them, so they are unidentifiable. We have a working relationship.
The scale of some of your pieces is enormous, what is the longest you have ever spent on a project? I try not to let anything take up more than two months, but I usually have multiple things going on, so there are pieces at different stages of completion. What led you to choose your favourite media? It began at a very young age having a grandmother who was an obsessive crafter. She could transform bubble gum wrappers into magical chalices with a few folds and twists. That simple act opened something up in my mind
that I can’t seem to shut off. Can I post a youtube link here? I made this video in 2001: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=0nb6y10MKQs Is there packaging from a particular era that you are drawn to? There is a local company called Evangeline Maid Bread that is a major part of my local community. I grew up with it, my grandfather worked for them in the 40’s or 50’s, and the plant is still there operating just blocks away from where I live now.
I was fortunate enough to have someone see my work in a show, find a huge roll of vintage Evangeline Maid Bread wrappers (probably from the 70’s) in a dumpster, and leave it at my doorstep. There is so much material; I could wrap a large building with it.
who raises birds in five aviaries in our backyard under a canopy of tropical plants, and oak and pecan trees.
There are over 100 birds (currently Bourque parakeets and finches) and probably more now that it is spring. Beastie is a great, big, black cat that comes in and out for What are you trying to communi- dining. cate through your work? It had taken a very long time Mr Fox is a new foster, mixed before I understood that I was try- breed dog who Ralph has fallen in ing to communicate anything at all. love with, and I’m sure will become I just made things out of a really a permanent resident. Mabel and strong drive to do so. Belzie are Chihuahuas who keep us laughing, and one of them lets me Now that I’ve reached people and hold her like a baby. The other one have been showing with galleries, is jealous beyond belief. At the I think more about an audience. beginning of 2016, we lost our When I’m making something, I feel dearest Dachshund Sally and at the like it’s for someone very specific end of 2016, our tiniest who is out there waiting to connect Chihuahua, never weighing over a to it. Each piece has an intention. pound and half her entire 14 years That intention develops into an of life, passed away. image. That image emerges through a process. That process www.troy-dugas.squarespace.com describes a practice. Tell us about your pets? They certainly seem to have a prominent role in your life? There are a lot of animals in my life. My partner is a Master Gardner and an all around nature lover
/UBUD, BALI, INDONESIA. FEBRUARY 2017.
/LILIANE AVALOS Whether it’s creating art using henna, teaching someone to perfect their Ashtanga Yoga asana or putting the finishing touches on her art commission, Liliane Avalos has it all covered. Since a very young age Liliane, as always been creative she attended South Texas College and received her Associates of Fine Arts in 2010. In our recent interview with her, Liliane talks about how she got into teaching yoga, her Spotify playlists and her introduction to the art of Henna.
When did you start working with Henna? I ordered my first mehndi cones in the summer of 2016, two weeks before leaving to Austin for my yoga teacher training in July.
her hands. I was beyond intrigued, but for as much as I was a tom-girl I was shy, too shy to ask her more about what it was or how she got it. I overheard bits and pieces of lecturing from teachers and staff telling her “it was not appropriate Henna is still a new medium that for a little girl to have tattoos”. I I’m learning but at the same time, it remember seeing her cry and all feels very familiar. I’ll never scrubbing to wash it off, thinking forget the first time I ever about it even now brings a knot to my throat. Although she and I encountered the word henna, I never became close friends, I can was in third grade, and a foreign still feel her sadness. She did not exchange student from India had end that school year with us, and I elaborate designs in both palms of never had the opportunity to
learn her name. That day I did learn the distress that may be caused by others due to lack of cultural sensitivity. Growing up in a predominantly Hispanic community I understood the ideology surrounding tattoos, yet I found no justification. In middle school, I was often scolded for drawing all over my friend’s hands and arms with pens and Sharpie markers during class time and recess, at the request of my friends, of course, haha! Rebellion persisted until I took to paints and canvas in high school and had long forgotten about henna until this past year. Now that I’m older I reflect upon my upbringing and experiences and how they’ve shaped me. I meditate on how am I going to use art to give light to world cultures and themes that may be pushed aside due to political and or socio-economic beliefs. As a Mexican-American artist, I use henna as a way of softly challenging problematic views of the world while simultaneously offering appreciation for other beauty practices and traditions from the Middle East, Northern Africa, & Southern Asia.
Is there much of an art scene in Austin, Texas? There is a creative energy that flows through the city and is encouraged by Austinites. The city does its best at fulfilling the cities motto of “Keep it Weird”. There has been a lot more murals in public spaces that have gone up in the last three years by local and out of state artists. During SXSW there’s lots of promo pop-up type work for music, alcohol, and other big sponsors. It’s cool when you’re out and about on foot or bike and come across stencil work on the sidewalk or hyperrealist murals in alleyways. As far as “professional” art galleries you have some out on West 6th Street and a few scattered throughout the city. But, in my opinion, the most fun scenes are at art house parties. Friends and Local Zines inviting friends and public into their homes a total haul takes place. Backyards turn into all out art installation and music venue with artwork mounted on movable walls, in living rooms, kitchen, garage, and bathroom. Some of best art parties/ venues I’ve attended and have happily been apart of were those
A Composition For Kandinsky
As She Sat The Music Blared
What type of yoga do you teach and do you have any advice for Could you tell us a bit about someone who has never tried it YOGA + HENNA LION and how before? that idea come about? I am a 200 RYT in Ashtanga Yoga Going into my yoga teacher certified through black swan yoga training, I began with the full in Austin, Texas. Although I am intention of teaching yoga in my certified as an Ashtangi, I hometown Weslaco, Texas. concentrate on offering Hatha & Vinyasa power classes. “Hatha” is But I was still contemplating on essentially a classical approach to how or if I was even going to merge yogic breathing exercises and my art with yoga. One morning I postures. “Vinyasa” or “flow” was scrolling through Instagram classes don’t stick to the same and came across a henna artist who sequence of poses each time like had all these hashtags related to Ashtanga. This flexibility allows the henna & one, in particular, caught teacher to tailor the sequences to my eye, #yoga. Just like that, the their philosophy. Yoga is still a new light bulb switched on! concept and is slowly being introduced in South Texas. This artist didn’t post any photos about yoga nor ever Most people who have never mention that she practised, other experienced a yoga practice before than that unique niche hashtag. naturally have a lot of questions, and approach it with scepticism Perhaps I was overthinking the and even fear. To those who are whole processes at the beginning. nervous to hop on to a mat, I tell But in that single moment, my them this… If you can breathe, you passions became aligned, art & can do yoga. Your practice is your asana. I wanted to create a brand own, and it is about embracing the name that was direct in the services journey. No matter what level or I offered; the Lion comes in from phase you may be at in your my astrological sign, Leo. practice or life come to class with a kind heart & brave spirit, and you’ll be just fine. hosted by RAW PAW ATX.
Drink From Both Sides of The River
You are also a fine art figure model, is this something you have been doing for a while? I began figure modelling right after I graduated from Texas State University of San Marcos in 2012. I became a freelance model to generate some side income and kept at it as it allowed me to stay active in the art community.
my work was a visual regurgitation of everything I found amusing. Having been born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley I spoke “Tex-Mex” often in conversation, and when I began my schooling at Texas State, I made friends of various cultural backgrounds that I found beautiful and knew little about.
It’s always fun to watch others process and choice of the color palette in creating a portrait. I sometimes treat my modelling sessions as opportunities for meditation, focusing on my breathing, the muscles within my face, testing my endurance of “stillness” in body & thought. It has been approximately a year now that I’ve stood in for a painting session, but I’m planning on regaining that momentum sometime next year. This year I am focused on producing work for my first solo show in November at the Weslaco Bicultural Museum.
So in that beauty of cultural diversity, we shared our childhood and personal lives through the art we made. Slowly toward the end of 2012, I became more nostalgic upon memories of my upbringing and created a small series of Idiomas, “Things we say back Home”.
Could you talk us through the various sources of inspiration in your paintings? What themes do you pursue? I have always created work upon emotional impulse. During my time in college, I feel that a lot of
Since then I’ve continued to investigate into my emotional past, present, and hopeful future. I find excitement and happiness in the unknown and my curiosity to explore grows stronger toward cultural anthropology, shapes of religion in contemporary society, and spiritual aspects of death and dying. I treat my art practice as a visual diary where I can communicate my nonlinear conscious and life experiences.
It has only been more recent that my work has taken a political shift due to the USA’s new electorally adopted president. I will refer to him as “agent Hate” because I refuse to acknowledge him as president. Reoccurring themes have become more apparent to me after I’ve taken a step back from my work. Cul-
tural diversity, spiritual geometry, portraits of those closest to my heart, and subliminal thoughts of death, war and peace will continue to be a major part of my life’s thesis. www.lilianeavalos.com
/RONALD OWNBEY Here at CreativPaper, we deal with different artist’s on a daily basis, each with their own stories of triumph, despair, love and heartbreak. But ever so often we come across artists that inspire you to the core. Born in West Hollywood, California in 1938 Ronald Ownbey is one of these individuals. His varied career, ranging from his time serving in the U.S Military to returning home to be a student, teacher and artist is inspirational, to say the least.
You have a rich and varied career, ranging from serving in the armed forces to teaching at Mt. San Antonio College, California. We all have moments of confusion as far as our passion in life is concerned. When did you find yours? Growing up during the 40’s & 50’s, my brother and I would spend each summer on my grandparent’s fruit ranch, high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California not far from the town of Bishop. It was here at the age of 14 that I first discovered that I like to draw and
paint, especially the surrounding rugged landscapes that were abundant at the ranch and in the nearby Mammoth Lakes area. Around this time I also went to an exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History where I saw the paintings of Renoir (LA back then did not have a separate art museum). I knew at that point that I had a passion for art but was not sure if I had any real ability or how I might be able to make a living creating art.
When I was stationed with the US Army in Germany during the late 50’s, I was able to go on leave to Paris and London and the art I saw in their museums knocked me out, and I knew that when I returned to the States I wanted to pursue studies in studio art, especially drawing and painting.
of artistic quality and ability. One must be well prepared to be free.
Could you tell us a bit about your time at Otis Art Institute? The four years that I spent at Otis Art Institute were an amazing journey for me, where I learned so much and expanded my creative artistic vision with the help How important is the evolution of of many faculties, especially skill as an artist? professors Joe Mugnaini, Wayne Extremely important. As Long, and Richard Haines. It was Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Horace) great being in a place where once said “No man ever reached everyone was involved with to excellence in any one art or creating art both day and night. profession without having passed through the slow and painful During the early 60’s there were process of study and preparation.” only a few dozen art galleries in Los Angeles (as opposed to Knowing the historical narrative hundreds now) and the once a of what has proceeded one, the month evening gallery art walks on development of materials and tech- La Cienega Blvd were a must visit niques, the infinite number of ways for my classmates and me. of composing the elements and principles of art into a visual It was here that we experienced the statement, frees one to explore first west coast showing off a not their natural form of expression. I so well known east coast painter see so much art that is sadly named William De Kooning. The deficient in quality, content, and Ferus Gallery had the first showing individual expression. It’s great to of the then unknown Andy Warsee many people expressing hol with his small Campbells Soup themselves through art, but while Can paintings: they were $200.00 there are “no rules” and anything apiece, and I almost bought one “is possible”, there is a continuum
Above: Body Dwellers. Below: Interwinning Structures
(little did I know what would happen). During that show at Ferus, I had arranged for Andy to come and talk with us at Otis, but instead, he sent a double, so I asked for our money back.
canvas is usually the diary where I work out all of the details.
What has been the greatest cultural influence on your work as an artist? Ancient Egyptian art and Norman Rockwell spent a week contemporary Surrealism hold a with us in our drawing class with very special place in my artistic Joe Mugnaini, and numerous other development and psyche. Symbolic art celebrities would visit us from shapes are often used in depicting time-to-time. It was exciting, hard ideas from myths and other perwork and long hours, a lot was sonal tales in my art. happening, and in May of 1965, twenty-two of us finally graduated Modern masters that have with our MFAâ€™s. Then, reality set in: influenced my work include Miro, how were we going to make a livGorky, Dubuffet, DeKooning, ing? Pollock, Matta, Francis, and Gerzso, among others. Some c You define your work as personal ontemporary artists that have reflections and interpretations, inspired me include Lee Bontecou, do you make a note of these Mark Bradford, Ingrid Calame, before you start working on a Mark Grotjahn, Elliott Hundley, piece or is the canvas your diary? and Matthew Ritchie. Through all Almost everything I do in my work of this influence, I hope that my relates to something that I have art retains my voice, expression experienced or has happened to and style, and the process of doing me or my family or something that it is where I live and am alive as a I have observed or discovered in unique individual. Being true to nature. oneâ€™s own vision is the most important thing, regardless of what The art might also be related to is going on in the current visual art what is going on in the world or world. ideas that stem from my dreams. I might do some preliminary sketching of these visions or ideas, but the
Your work throughout your professional career is deeply varied yet is consistently layered, could you talk us through your creative process? In my work I tend to use biomorphic and structural shapes, linear movements, patterns and systems to visualise ideas from my dreams, past and current happenings, myths, and images of nature and the human environment. I am drawn to ideas that reflect the inner and outer functions, reactions and rhythms of things growing and changing. When the idea has formulated in my mind, I sometimes will do some quick general compositional studies or search for photographs that relate to the idea. For example, the source material for the painting â€œBody Dwellersâ€? was a series of photos of body mites and microbes that our bodies need for good health and function. I first did a few sketches of these tiny living organisms and then went directly to the canvas. The canvas is usually the battleground where I struggle with the colour and composition and work out all of the details of the painting. Until the
painting is finished, any part of it can be changed or modified at any moment, including the initial idea. The whole process has to be fluid for me, not pre-set before I start. You had a 60 year retrospective of your work in 2014 which we must say is quite an accomplishment, What was it like for you seeing your journey as an artist in one room? Overwhelming, and a bit frightening. I could see the development and progress that I had made in my personal vision over the 60-year period. Looking at earlier work, I realised that I probably could no longer create it in that same manner, and it was hard for me to believe that I had ever done it in the first place. It was strange. My life experiences have changed the way I now tend to perceive things. How has the pace of technological advancement influenced you as an artist? When I first started teaching at Mt San Antonio College in the mid 60â€™s, I taught Drawing and 2-D Design.
In the late 80â€™s, and as Department Chair, I realised that our students would need to know how to do art on the computer if they were going to have any chance of a career in graphic design, so I s tarted the program in computer graphics. I taught that program for a little over ten years until I retired from teaching in 2000. I did very little drawing and painting during that period, concentrating instead on using Photoshop as a painting program for my images and printing them in very small editions. I still do that, and often in the process, I will come up with new ideas for my paintings.
Valley, ten miles below the ranch. There were 6-grade levels, one teacher, and about 20 kids in the school including three Piute Indian kids. In early spring each year I would watch the cowboys herding the cattle from the ranches in Round Valley, past our ranch road as they took the cattle to upper Sierra pastures for the summer months.
When my immediate family no longer lived on the ranch, my brother and I would still spend each summer on the ranch with my grandparents. My grandfather would hire the Piute Indian women to come up and pick the gooseberries and currents that he raised, and they would bring their Could you tell us a bit about your kids and make an encampment time spent in the Sierra Nevada in the willows and stay for several mountains as a child? weeks as they picked the berries. In growing up, I was fortunate that My brother and I had great times my great grand and grandparents each summer playing with the had a large fruit ranch high in the Indian kids. It was during these Sierra Nevada Mountains in summer stays on the ranch that I California, 20-mile north-west of started to draw and paint. the town of Bishop in the Owens Valley. www.ronownbeyartist.com My family lived on the ranch for a few years when I was in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades, and I went to a one-room schoolhouse in Round
Previous Page: Falling. Above: Alfred
/SHO TSUNODA As the cities we live in grow larger, expanding to accommodate the increasing population our identity seems to diminish into the masses, a speck in a sea of workers all rushing to get to their daily destinations. Japanese artist, Sho Tsunoda’s body of work, focusses on the importance of maintaining this identity and how the material richness of society can be a double-edged sword. How important a role does art play as an international language? It is extremely important. When it comes to explaining about myself, there is nothing more effective than showing my art. It can talk more fluently and quickly than words can. I often felt words weren’t enough to show who I really was. I then realised the ability of art to instantly reveal my personality and philosophy. Art is a way to enable communication with people from any country. Although we live in an international world, there are more languages than I could possibly
learn in my life time. Communication through art can remove this boundary. Art is so deeply rooted in humanity and wherever I go, there will be art and communication through it. Individuality is more important than ever in our constant evolving world, what are your thoughts on this? Art is a celebration of individuality so I think it’s a good change. I believe that everyone has a different role in this world. For everyone to achieve the best outcome for their unique roles, individuality is necessary.
Previous Page: Each Heartbeat. Above: Minscape
It promotes advancement and growth in multi directions and makes our society more solid.
U.S. for fifteen years and just returned last year.
Could you talk us through your Individuality is what enables us to painting ‘Space Expo’? come up with new ideas. To come From living and visiting other up with something nobody ever countries, I learned the importance has, the way of thinking nobody of seeing the world. It always gave ever had is necessary. Individme a broader perspective. The uality also gives us the purpose experience taught me the and meaning. Because we are all importance of seeing the bigger unique, we are irreplaceable. I hope picture. My interest naturally grew to contribute in building a world from the world to space. where individuality is even more appreciated. This piece is my attempt to see the bigger picture, to think about the Where are you currently based? unknown, to imagine outside of Osaka, Japan. I have lived in the infinity and outside of it and so on.
Whatever I paint, the material is made of parts of this planet, so it made sense to me to paint stars. It is one of my few acrylic pieces. To achieve shininess of stars, metallic, iridescent and fluorescent colours of acrylic paint were most suitable. They shine differently when seen from different angles. I believe there is so much more room to be explored in these colours.
are more lonely, How do you feel about that? One of my themes in my art is to express the feeling of how one’s sense of self as as individual seems lost in this society.
I believe we live in an era where we are to utilise our loneliness. Time alone allows people to do different things than others and to do things they are truly interested in instead of things their peers are mutually interested in. For me, both being We live in a time of great advance- alone and feeling lonely can be ment in terms of communication productive forces to make art. and technology yet at the same time research has revealed that we
You spent some time at the Osaka Orchid Society, what was that like and how did it influence your work moving forward? At first I was interested in their colours and forms without knowing why. They were simply beautiful or interesting and I immediately realised the psychological effects colours and forms can have on human minds. Later, I realised each colour and form have a reason and a specific purpose and I have been trying to achieve this in my art. Each part of orchids shows the history of species and their ways of survival. I realised the harshness of nature and how we find beauty in enduring and overcoming it. I was also intrigued by their variety. I found it very interesting to know that there are so many different ways of thriving. Orchids also taught me very different species can have similar sense of aesthetics. Although they are insect-pollinated flowers, they attract humans so much. Learning that fact made me want to make art that equally attract human and other species.
How important is a balance between aesthetics and meaning for you in your work? I think they can coexist. In my opinion, authentic aesthetics contain meaning. I am always in pursuit of meaning to achieve aesthetics. Do you have any exhibitions coming up? Yes, I am planning a solo exhibition in April in Osaka. There will be another exhibition in a sake bar called Hana sake bar in Osaka from mid May to mid June. I will also be in ATIM Top 60 Masters Exhibition in Florence, Italy From May 27th to 29th. www.shotsunoda.com
Open Eyes Bare Hands and Naked Mind
/MARIE BUKOWSKI Creating art in its multitude of forms requires a degree of patience, passion and obsession. The latter playing a pivotal role. One can spend hours and days on a piece, making corrections, watching it come together only to start all over again. Artist Marie Bukowski identifies with these traits too well. Inspired by mathematics her work comprises of geometric shapes, grids and motifs. We spoke to Marie about her work, the relationship between the objects she paints and exhibiting her work. Youâ€™ve mentioned Mathematics as one of your key inspirations, what about this subject fascinates and drives you as an artist? To me, mathematics and art are two sides of the same coin. They are both visual languages that express beauty in the world around us.
offer a means of visual expression through patterning that challenges me to think differently.
I am interested in making art where I am doing more than simply guiding a viewer across an aesthetic surface, but rather thinking about the intellectual ideas that occupy my head and Mathematics is a part of art and arranging the ideas in a way that informs art that goes all the way can lead to a more intellectual back to the Renaissance. Consider- discourse. There is such ing the integral part math plays in sophistication within basic and art-making, itâ€™s easy for me to find complex mathematical theories ways to incorporate it into artwork that create beauty. on many levels. Art and math both
I revel in the challenges that this produces, as it turns the art-making process into solving a mathematical problem.
them out of context, and placing them in a completely new context with something else, giving them new meaning.
You’ve exhibited your work on countless occasions, do you still get nervous before an exhibition even after all these years? Always. No matter what the exhibition, or what work I am exhibiting, I always question the quality and validity of it at the last minute, even if I have every confidence in the work prior to an exhibition.
The “landscape” then becomes a metaphor for something deeper and more complex than it seems at first glance. I use these individual entities or symbols as a means to search for an order, but not order with specific systems and constraints. I want no measurable point related to these forms, but rather for them to indicate constant flux, creating an entire symbiotic experience.
The public viewing always changes my perception of the work and doubt sets in, even if that perception is completely irrational. Would you say that the objects in your paintings have a symbiotic relationship or are they all individual entities? While I consider the individual entities in my work as separate, I try to juxtapose them in a way where they are placed in direct conversation with one another, thereby, forming a symbiotic relationship. I am attracted to the idea of using seemingly disparate images or ideas, taking
What advice would you give an artist just starting off their career professionally? Talent isn’t the most important thing. Hard work will get you further. You get out of an experience what you put into it. Anything worth doing is worth giving 110% of yourself to it. Be honest through your artwork. Don’t make work that you think others want to see. Make the artwork that you feel is right and true to yourself. And be persistent; don’t ever give up on what you want to do with your art.
Are there any contemporary artists skills and knowledge obsolete. It is that inspire you? an important part of understanding the society in which we live. The Iâ€™ve been inspired by the work of importance of providing Hanne Darboven for years. I enjoy educational experiences and the simplicity in her installations programs that blend multiple that consist of handwritten tables disciplines allows diverse groups of and numbers. I enjoy the obsesstudents to work together and use sion of counting in her work. Sol their integrated skills in ways that Lewitt has been an inspiration create a better world. through his 2- and 3-dimensional work of structures in the form of I started teaching art at the towers, pyramids, geometric forms, university level in 2000. I knew, and progressions. His work is a when I taught my very first class, clear depiction of the influence of that the classroom was the place mathematics through art. It is rem- I wanted to be. Teaching art is iniscent of Euclidâ€™s work in math, about more than just teaching art. which I also find inspiring. It teaches people to become better citizens in society. How important is education from an artistic point of view? When Teaching art offers people a new did you start teaching art and way of seeing things, where artists why? become catalysts for change, where I believe that an education is the they can improve communities and most important thing for an artist. transform lives. I enjoy It is important to be educated in stressing creativity in the the arts, but also in a broad sense. classroom, where students can Art is an ever-evolving practice, become better thinkers, utilising continually redefining itself. Artists design thinking, which can result must be able to explore and in entrepreneurial opportunities. develop with traditional and The arts are at the core of critical contemporary tools to create new thinking to make global change. ideas. These values are becoming increasingly important for people to adapt to a changing world where technology may render certain
We live in an extremely vocal age, both online in the age of ubiquitous social media and in real life. But how important is the role of following those statements through in the form of action to you personally and as an artist? The role of social media doesnâ€™t seem to have much of an impact on me on a personal level. However, itâ€™s role as an artist is significant.
advertise work in a way that couldnâ€™t be done years ago beyond a traditional gallery or museum setting. It is pervasive, and its tentacles can reach out further than traditional forms of viewing art, communicating about art, and sharing work with the public. It has become a powerful tool for artists that complements the traditional means that take place in real life. I think artists are at a better place today because of these multiple platforms.
So much interaction, inspiration, and critical dialogue among artists and art lovers take place through social media. It has become a platform almost as important as a gallery exhibition, where artists can www.mariebukowski.com share their work, gain feedback, and sell art. It is a means to
/MIROSLAV TRUBAC The medium we pick as artists often define us for years to come. Some people gain a reputation behind the lens of a camera, while others were holding a brush in their hand. Slovakian-born Miroslav Trubac uses sculpture as his medium, etching on memories that vary from the paradoxical to the absurd and insoluble. His references are also ultra-contemporary. Highlighting the social pandemic we are facing. Loneliness, isolation and neglect. A true paradox if you consider how connected we are as a race. You work primarily comprises of sculptures, what is it about this medium that you feel stands out from the rest? My fascination with sculpture began at the Public Art School I attended as a child. I really enjoyed modelling in clay and working with different materials, and this has not changed. I like working with any materials and exploring the possibilities of expressing my ideas. Space is very important for me as each space has its own specific features and I love the process of reflecting on the
treatment of space and its expression in my work. Could you tell us a bit more about Trnava, Slovakia? Is this where you grew up? Yes, Trnava is the city where I was born and grew up. Trnava is one of the oldest historic towns in Slovakia. The first reference to Trnava dates back to the 13th century. Trnava is one of the most important centres of the Roman Catholic Church in Slovakia, and as the city has numerous churches, it is called â€œLittle Romeâ€?.
Above: Adam and Eve
Below: Personal Jesus
Above: Dead Game. Opposite Page: Atlas
How did that affect you as an artist? The spiritual message of the sculptor Jรกn Koniarek (1878 1952) who lived and worked in The local art gallery is called after Trnava had a big influence on the Jรกn Koniarek, the founder of Slovak development of my artistic modern sculpture. personality. Trnava has deep cultural roots represented in a deep interest in theatre, the alternative music scene and visual art.
The Koniarek Gallery is associated with the Trnava Poster Triennial, founded here 21 years ago. This local event has grown into a major international event.
Koniarek was unique in that he was able to transfer energy to materials and thereby express the atmosphere of the times. You can feel this energy even today when you touch his sculptures.
Was there an artist that you looked up to as a child? My encounter with the work of Jozef Jankovič (1937) was essential. Jankovič’s monumental sculpture Victims Warn (1969), which is a memorial to the horrors of the Second World War, is part of a unique building of the Museum of the Slovak National Uprising in Banská Bystrica. As a little boy I was standing in front of it in awe, admiring each centimetre of its formal structure.
something what we live and feel, not something what we share, comment on and like – we are fed on the Internet. What was the best compliment you were ever given? I cannot remember anything specific, but I am always pleased about every favourable review of my work. Ironically, however, my work receives more attention from people abroad rather than home. www.works.io/miroslav-trubac
I learned that Jozef Jankovič was a teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts, and I really wanted to get acquainted with him and become his student, and I finally succeeded. Do you think we will ever acknowledge the epidemic that is internet addiction and social media and the fact that we are becoming more isolated as a race? Personally, I think this is just a bubble. It’s a phenomenon fuelled by the boom of technology and it is up to each of us how much we allow ourselves to be absorbed. People should always be able to maintain distance and detachment, and not to panic, because life is
Opposite Page: Icarus
Above: The Little Prince
/ROYA AMIGH You almost feel like you are getting a glimpse into Roya Amigh’s dreams when you look at her work. Layered and interwoven, her art has roots deeply engrained into her Persian heritage and storytelling, something that has had a profound influence on her artistry. We are immediately drawn to the fragility and lucid dream-like quality of her work. Roya took some time out to talk to us about Persian mythology, her medium of choice and her influence growing up amongst other topics. Could you please tell us a bit more about Persian mythology, we feel like there’s certainly a void when it comes to knowledge about it? The earliest information about Persian mythology comes from Zoroastrianism’s sacred book, Avesta. Also, the central theme of Persian mythology was the battle between good and evil.
one person to another. The line of narration can go on and on, from person to person and recounting to recounting, inevitably creating stories within stories and fictions within fictions. In my works, I explore how imagination and memory filter and resurrect the past.
In recreating imagery that pieces together elements of different I grew up with Persian mythology legends depicted in Persian heard in stories told by my Miniature, I can question the uncle. Persian storytelling does not complexities in the stories of follow a linear structure, and it is Iranian women’s. typically told by narration from
I employ mythical figures taken from the writing of Persian poets Ferdowsi, Rumi, and Hafez.
vellum, I rip them open and attacks them with scissors and sharp knives.
There’s an almost dream-like feel to all the layers in your work, could you talk us through the creation of one of your pieces? The work “Coerced Contact” numbers of small drawings, created by glueing thread onto paper, are then assembled in fragile structures that reflect the ephemeral quality of memory suspended in space.
I nail coloured strings from wall to wall and ties together skeletal forms of hoops and sprung rods from which ruffles of cloth and paper flutter in space.
After glueing, peeling, and re-gluing sheets of cotton, lace and
Being suspended in corners, my fabrication stirs feelings of dissociation and disorientation.
If you could name an artist that influenced your formative years, who would that be and why? Judy Pfaff, Joan Jonas, Doris Salcedo, Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra, Julie Mehretu, Sarah Sze, Goya; all very successful at breaking down the traditional ways of mark making.
influenced your art? I compose fragmented narratives of “works within works” reminiscent of the traditional “stories within stories” I heard passed down in my family.
I import reflections and imagery from my personal diaries and Persian miniature, making gestural I am very interested in how they line drawings reminiscent of the are making a balance between their Persian miniatures, into my works. improvisational and thoughtful moments. www.royaamigh.com Could you tell us a bit more about your descent and how that has
/ROBYN MARSHALL Love or loathe them tattoo’s have been around for millennia. From traditional tribes to modern ones we have been tattooing ourselves in one way or another to promote a sense of belonging. Whether you are a member of an isolated tribe in the remote canopy of the Amazon rainforest or a hipster sipping a cup of coffee in New York, tattoos help us identify with a certain group. The profession of being a tattooist doesn’t just require a steady hand, they require a knowledge of the arts and skill to transform a blank human canvas into a moving art installation. Canadian tattoo artist Robyn Marshall was fascinated with the human anatomy as a young child and dreamed of illustrating medical textbooks using her father’s old anatomy books as a point of reference. This eventually progressed to Robyn opening her first tattoo studio in 2016. Her goal as an artist is to bring beauty to the misconceived and unnoticed. www.artistrobynmarshall.wordpress.com
Above: Back of Skull
Above: Peony Heart Tattoo
Above: Under Skull. Below: Scapula
/VASSI VASEVSKI Born in Bulgaria, Vassilen Vasevski discovered art like most of us at a young age as a medium of leisure and expression. As he grew older, this activity resonated deeper, as a path to the meaning of things. A communication tool between his inner self and the external world. Vassi calls the style of his paintings “metaphysical romanticism”. Critics describe his art as tranquil, dreamlike and captivatingly fluid, a type of art that is of the gently beckoning, mesmeric, soul-whispering kind. It seeks to reconnect us with pure being, with the realm of radiant, self-aware consciousness where anything is possible - or in the artist’s own words, “the place inside ourselves where we once belonged.” Vassilen is currently an instructor at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, IL where he continues to inspire and educate. His goal is to stir up the very emotions that inspire him to paint amongst his viewers, have the profound connection that makes us unique as human beings. www.vassi-art.com
Above: End of Summer
Above: Rain of Memories
After A Dream