FLESH & BONE
in the pursuit of artistic passion
CHRISTINA MROZIK - GRACE KIM - ANN MARIE COOLICK - DEB HUDSON
FLESH & BONE M A G A Z I N E
V O L . 2 8
Fl es h & Bo n e M a g a z i n e i s a b i - m o n th ly c rea ti v e a r ts p u b l i c a t i o n p ro d u c e d b y a r tists w ho a re c o n st a n t l y i n sp i re d b y o t h e r a r t ists. O ur g o a l i s to s h a re a n d i n t ro d u c e oth e r pe o pl e w h o a re i n te re s te d i n a r t o r i n th e pu r s u i t o f a r t to o t h e r c re a t i ve i n d i vi d uals. Ea c h i s s u e h i g h l i g h t s a r t i st s o f a n y a r t istic me di u m, w h o t h e y a re , wh a t t h e y d o , an d th e i r v i ew poi n t s o n t h e c o n s i s te n t l y g ro win g a r ti s ti c mo ve m e n t . _____________________________________________ FOUNDER & EDITOR
BRANDYNN L POPE
DESIGN & LAYOUT
BRANDYNN L POPE
ASHLEY ATLUS DONALD KIMBER JAMES LIAM WARD
ASHLEY ATLUS BRANDYNN L POPE BRITTNEY TAMBEAU
W W W. F L E S H B O N E M A G A Z I N E . C O M Al l ri ghts rese r v e d. No pa r ts o f th i s pu bl i c a ti o n m a y be rep roduce d i n wh o l e o r i n pa r t wi th o u t pe r m i s s i o n from the pub l i sh e r. T h e v i e ws ex pre sse d i n t h i s pub l i cati on do n o t re f l e c t F l e sh & B o n e a n d i t â€™s s t a f f but retai n to th e i r re spe c ti v e c o n tr i bu to r s.
F I N D U S ON
Fa c e b o o k f a c e b o o k . c o m / f l e s h a n d b o n e m a g a z i n e Tw i t te r t w i t te r. c o m / f l e s h a n d b o n e m a g I n s t a g ra m @ f l e s h b o n e m a g a z i n e
SU BMI SSI ON S & AD VE RTI SI N G
As the world gets busier and evolves around me, as does this magazine. Sharing the work of these amazing artists means the world to me. My passion is photography and being able to share other artist’s passions is one of my top priorities. That being said, I have noticed how much this magzine flexes around the seasons. After this release, Flesh & Bone will be moving it’s volumes into a quarterly release. This means that there will be four releases in physical copies a year. It is my goal to have thicker features on our volumes as well as some great features on our website. Much like our show reviews and galleries, we will have more interviews available on the website throughout. I believe in the strength in these hand-held mediums and want to keep that while also making something more accesable. I’m so excited for things to move forward as I think it will benefit both the magazine, our readers, as well as the dynamic of what happens here with our very intimate staff. Best of luck to everyone in the New Year and I cannot wait to show you what we have prepare for you on March 12th of 2018! BRANDYNN LP
I______________ N T H I S I S SU E
42 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR WRT JAMES LIAM WARD
47 ALBUMS IN REVIEW WRT JAMES LIAM WARD
V ISUA L ______________ 06 Deb Hudson
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12 Alisha Huskin WRT
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16 Ann Marie Coolick WRT
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22 Grace Kim WRT
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28 Humayrah Poppins WRT
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34 Christina Mrozik WRT
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DEB HUDSON debhudson.com
“My name is Deb Hudson and I’m from a beach side suburb in Melbourne, Australia. I grew up on an isolated property in dairy country. One of six kids. Ever since I can remember I’ve loved spending time alone drawing and creating. I now spend every spare moment sketching and colouring. I have three school aged children so it’s a bit of a juggle. My children love to draw too so we often have drawing sessions together. ”
What drove you to find formal education in the arts? What were some of the key things that you took from your experience? I studied teaching after high school in the hope I’d have a ‘real job’ to support my creative passion. When I turned 30 I felt I hadn’t found my groove and I wasn’t satisfied. I applied to do a Bachelor of Fine Arts and I was one of 70 of 3000 that was accepted. It was the best decision, I finally felt I was on the right path. That was a few years ago now and since having my children I’ve been dabbling in online courses to keep up with the creative world and community.
What is it about the floral and bird structures that you are so attracted to illustrating? I find drawing birds and flowers very relaxing, even energising. I like to get lost in decorating them with intricate details and patterns. There are so many lovely shapes and colours in flowers and birds to explore, it’s really endless.
Your work is very vivid and colourful. What is it about this stylistic choice that you are so drawn to? I’ve always liked bold colours and bright contrasts, they remind me of summer and tropical places. Pure blues and warm reds are my favourites at the moment. I tend to add a touch of pink to everything too. Colour just makes me feel warm, like a big cuddle.
Typically how much time does it take for you to work on a particular project? What is your process when you are approaching something new? I can spend a few hours to many days on a project. It depends on whether the creativity juices are flowing. It’s wonderful when they are, but sometimes I can sit there all day and end up with a blank page. Thankfully this doesn’t happen too often, and if I can’t find the flow I’ll go do something else to empty my mind. A good break can be the best.
When you are working with paints rather than your pencils, how do you tend to approach your work? What do you find that you enjoy painting more than when using other materials? I need a lot of space and time when I get out my paints. I like to use big canvases and big brushes and get my whole body moving with my favourite music playing. I have recently painted rippling water and underwater scenes. These paintings were an array of blues and I’m looking forward to getting lots of colour on my next pieces over the summer.
Do you feel that you will remain in the traditional coloured pencil practice over digital? How much time do you spend hand-drawing versus using digital materials (if at all)?
How are you hoping your illustrations will grow in the future? Is there somewhere you would like to have them seen within the next year?
I have recently purchased some digital technology and I’m very impressed with its ease of use, but nothing beats traditional media. Digital processes can’t replicate my love for blending my coloured pencils on paper. I generally draw on paper first and then digitally tidy and arrange my finished pieces.
I have recently been completing some commission work for a clothing label which I’m looking forward to sharing, I’m hoping to do more work like this. I will also be reopening my Etsy shop and selling original work and participating in more art & craft markets.
How do you go about creating a narrative for your different illustrative characters? What are certain subjects and themes you like to explore the most within your illustrations? My narrative work mostly comes from prompts from online art courses, but generally I like to draw happy joy filled scenes of love and friendship to uplift my audience.
ALISHA HUSKIN scoobtoobins.bigcartel.com
“ I’ve been creating illustrations since I was a child. My family is very artistic and always encouraged any creativity towards it. The only education in illustration, I’ve ever had, was in high school. I never pursued it any further than that. I never thought I would ever have a career in the arts, but I’m very grateful that I do. ”
What do you find that you are most attracted to creating in terms of themes? Is there a specific topic that always finds its way into your artwork? Most of my themes come from how Iâ€™m feeling when I create. I used to just create to create, but Iâ€™ve found that creating pieces of my emotions, for the day or at that moment, help to get a lot off my chest. I have good days and bad days, as many do. Most of my pieces are of the sad variety.
A lot of your work involves a similar colour pallet, black and shades of red. What has attracted you to this selection of colour? For many years I made pieces that were loaded with different colours. I wanted to create pieces that were cleaner in colour pallet. After making my first piece with those colours, I had decided to just mainly work with those.
What sort of materials do you find yourself using? When I first got back into illustration I used to only use watercolours. After a while I began using Prismacolor markers, Micron pens for lining, and later Pentel brush pens. I usually work on smooth Bristol paper and sometimes very good card.
What are some of the illustrations that you are happiest with? What is it about this (or these) pieces that makes you most satisfied? This year I wanted to push myself during October, Inktober. I wanted to create a theme that I always looked into or thought about, while making pieces that were more detailed and that I spent a lot of time on. I unfortunately underestimated my time, since I was traveling a lot, and didnâ€™t complete all 31 pieces I had planned on. But all the pieces I have made for Inktober are one of my favourite pieces I have ever made.
Are there any other themes that you are interested in venturing into? What do you find are some of your greatest influences when exploring your ideas? I am always interested in working on more nature pieces, such as landscapes. I’m always floored when I see beautiful work in watercolour or brush pen work. It makes me want to be more creative and to make more loosely drawn pieces.
How do you approach the work that you do on your own versus commission work? How do you find the routine differs? When I create pieces for myself, it usually comes to me while I’m having a smoke, or listening to music. Something will trigger an idea and the piece will come to life on paper. When getting a commission, most of the time, it’s something personal to the person and very specific. I do get commissions from people that give me an idea, but free reign on how I create the piece. It’s pretty amazing the trust people will give you when they really like your work.
Where would you like to see your work being used in the future? For my future, I’m really going to work towards tattooing. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a small child. I had a chance to apprentice a few years back, but I wasn’t happy or confident in my illustrations. I’m hoping the time will come next year for me to begin working towards that goal of creating on flesh.
ANN MARIE COOLICK annmariecoolick.com
“ My name is Ann Marie Coolick and I’m an impasto painter focusing on hyper-textural paintings using only palette knives. I slather frosting-like paint layer upon layer onto the canvas with paint running off the edges, resulting in a sculptural, three-dimensional appearance. My work has always had the common elements of texture and color, with a broad range of subject matter from confetti-like abstractions to buttery florals to rolling waves. I graduated from Virginia Tech with a BA in Studio Art (Painting) in 2002 and a BS in Marketing Management in 2003. The following year I was awarded a residency at the newly renovated Arlington Arts Center, where I maintained a studio from 2004 to 2009. I have since exhibited across the mid-Atlantic including solos at the Glen Allen Arts Center, the Center for the Arts in Manassas, and the Hylton Center. My work has been featured in Creative Digest UK, L’Officiel Australia, Arlington Magazine, and Home Goods. I currently reside with my husband and three young boys just a few miles from the Pentagon in South Arlington while working from my home studio. ”
What were a lot of your main focuses while working in Residency at the Arlington Arts Center? What did you find that you had benefitted most from by the end of it? The residency was my first introduction to the real world of working artists and the operations of a gallery space. I shared a large studio with three mid- to late-career artists. Being part of a shared space enabled me to watch and learn from the other artists while also receiving critical and timely feedback. The residency also required volunteer hours so I gallery sat and worked with the curator to assist with hanging exhibitions. I saw first-hand the workings of a gallery and was able to build relationships with fellow artists. The end of my residency also coincided with the birth of my first son, so I began working from my home studio. While I have enjoyed being able to work immediately when inspired, I have missed the bond from working with other artists. This gave me an idea to start up the East Coast Art Collective. We are a group of 25 artists from across the US East Coast (with the majority of us in the DC area), who are joined together primarily through social media to support one another and host joint studio sales on our Instagram feed. We rotate curatorial responsibilities for our group shows while also promoting each otherâ€™s work and providing a close network to ask questions and share opportunities.
Tell us a little bit about your most recent exhibit with the McLean Project for the Arts. What did you feel was important to display there? The McLean Project of the Arts hosts a great one-day art festival just outside of DC every fall. It draws a large number of seasoned collectors along with young families looking to expose their children to the arts and start their collections. To prepare for this show I wanted to share my newest work while also giving the audience a survey of my styles. The show was a great way to meet other artists, collectors, budding artists, and interior designers. During the show, I quickly stepped away for lunch and a young girl was in my tent when I returned. She had apparently been in there the whole time I was gone, studying every detail. Her parents noticed how she was inspired by my work and allowed her to pick out a piece for their family room. She looked like it was Christmas morning! I was so honored that she felt a connection with my work and so thankful that her parents granted her that opportunity.
Though your work is very textural, you also use the texture on top of a smoother painting at times. How did you come to decide to layer these two things? Lately I’ve been exploring the deconstruction of color and texture and many of those pieces have a thinner underpainting. My latest series entitled Polka Daubs is an exploration of color and texture into their simplest forms. I wanted to focus on what is most important to me, color and texture, without the distraction or necessity of a traditional subject. I began the series by painting thick, single-color daubs on a pregridded canvas first painted with bright titanium white. I have explored all sorts of variations on this theme, with my last two pieces marrying two very distinct yet dissimilar styles of mine: Polka Daubs and impressionist landscapes. I had a series of older landscape paintings in my studio that I still enjoyed but they had never sold, so I decided to conserve the paintings while adding a layer of the Polka Daubs to each piece. I titled these pieces Vintage Polka Daubs as a nod to the history and evolution of my style while also celebrating the current path of my work. While I have often painted over work because it became bothersome to me, or I have given “makeovers” to paintings, I was so happy to pull out these pieces from the land of lost paintings and give them new life. It’s also a testament to my belief that we shouldn’t paint over anything solely because it doesn’t quickly sell.
How much of your work would you say borders What attracted you to textural work and on the landscape rather than the more abstract? working with a knife in order to build the How do you approach these different sorts of paint? imagery differently? About half of my work is abstract while about half is more traditional subject matter including florals, seascapes, and foliage. I used to work a great deal from photographs, but now I believe my more traditional subject matter is fresher when painted from memory or simply from an idea. Each piece is about the flow of paint and the speed and manner that the knife hits the canvas, rather than a deliberate planned outcome.
A very long time ago, I thought that all great artists had to be realists, so I painstakingly tried to make each piece as lifelike as possible. While in high school, I labored over each still life or portrait for days. I was amazed at what I could create when I took hours upon hours on a small section. During my last week of high school, my art teacher pulled out a small set of oil paints and gave me the opportunity to experiment. It was like the door opened to a whole new world. I was amazed by the buttery texture of oils that was so different than anything I had ever experienced. While in college, I continued painting with texture, but mostly with brushes. When I began working in the shared studio space, I transitioned to mostly knives because I could build up texture much heavier and the clean up was much faster. Iâ€™ve been painting exclusively with knives for over a decade now.
You have a very distinct cool and bright colour pallet. What is it about these kinds of colours that make you consistently return to it? I really enjoy working with crisp colors. Every time I mix a palette and apply a color to the canvas, I completely clean off my knife with a paper towel. This ensures that the color never turns muddy, is never overmixed, and is always clean and pure. I love that the colors I use make people feel happy. They are cheerful and bold yet relatable.
Do you find that there are specific themes or feelings that you want to evoke to the viewer of your worker? Do you find that there is a specific feeling that you have when you are building these paintings? I want my viewers to feel the happiness I feel when I create a piece of art. Painting brings a huge sense of calm to me, especially as a mom of three young boys. I am a spiritual person, and every week I ask that my work makes people feel happy and that it helps support my family. I paint every day while my three young boys are at school. I listen to jazz and completely find myself in another world that is more quiet and relaxed.
Where are you hoping to see your work being used in the future? Is there anything you havenâ€™t ventured into that you are hoping to in the near future? When I first graduated from art school, my life goal was to have one show in a gallery! This year my goal was to be able to officially leave my part-time job by making a decision based on my financial position rather than my emotional position. My goal next year is to step out of my comfort zone a bit more. I want to paint live at the Tidal Basin in DC during peak bloom of cherry blossom season (which I tried last year but was weathered out). I would also like to start a Skillshare class for all the young artists who are interested in trying palette knives. Lastly, I would like to work towards a solo show outside of the mid-Atlantic region.
GRACE KIM graceheejungkim.com
“ My name is Grace Heejung Kim. I was born and raised in Seoul, and I moved to the US for school. I am currently freelancing as an illustrator in my home studio in Brooklyn. I like to illustrate with a fairly limited color palette in color pencils and acrylics. I feel very fortunate to have worked with The New York Times, The Atlantic Magazine, BuzzFeed, Deepr, and more. In my spare time, I like to go see exhibitions, read books, and hang out with my friends’ dogs. ”
Although you are currently located in Brooklyn, you were raised in Seoul. Do you find that what you grew up seeing in Seoul still has a great influence on what you product? To what extent does it affect your imagery? As a child, I always was fascinated by myths, legends and folktales. There were a series of comic books about Greek and Roman Mythology, which were super popular amongst children my age then. That got me interested in myths, old tales, and legends. I find myself constantly referencing imageries from the stories I’ve read in my illustrations.
When you first started your journey with illustration, how did you anticipate that it would evolve? What were some of the key things that lead you into taking it up as a career? I actually wanted to be a painter and I didn’t know what illustration was before entering Pratt Institute, my alma mater. During my freshman year, one of my instructors advised me to look into majoring in illustration. I decided to give it a shot since I didn’t know what it was. I loved the idea of visualizing text in a way that gives the reader a question mark or an exclamation mark before approaching the text. The more work I do, I realize that I love encountering different problems/challenges and solving them in my own way. That’s the reason why I decided to be a freelance illustrator.
How did amazing awards such as the Penguin Book Design come to be? What are some other accomplishments of yours that you are particularly proud of ? As you can assume by now, I love stories and storytelling. So I wanted to experience real cover design briefs. The subtitle for the Freakonomics caught my eyes right away â€“A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. An image as simple as a guy unveiling the seemingly benign object says everything what Freakonomics is about â€“trying to discover what is hidden underneath what we assume as truth in our everyday lives. The most memorable one has to be a 3x3 International Illustration Show Annual because it was my first illustration award and the first time I saw my illustration printed on a physically published book.
You have really distinct colour pallets in your work. What is it about these tones that you are so attracted to? My choice of color is more like an emotional response to the theme. But I just simply enjoy playing with the balance between soft pastels and bright technicolors.
What materials do you find that you end up using the most? Would you say you are more of a hands on “artist’s touch” illustrator or are you more involved with working digitally?
What are some themes of yours that you find you explore more than others? What are some other ideas that you are hoping to expand on in the future?
I use color pencils and acrylics the most. I usually draw and/or paint the elements, then arrange and edit digitally after scanning them. I enjoy the process of being hands-on with my images, but Photoshop is convenient in future revisions. So I would say I’m a bit of the both.
I definitely have explored mythologies and folktales of the world a lot since I’ve always been intrigued by them. I’ve been assigned to illustrate about gender equality and feminism and have learned so much ever since. I hope to raise awareness for gender equality and feminism back home in a perspective of a woman who experienced both cultures. I would mean a lot if my work could give courage to women to speak up and educate people about the issue.
When being approached for commission work, how do you find that it differs from the work that you do in your spare time? I do more abstract works and compositional studies in my spare time. Iâ€™ve been working on series of travel drawings, where I abstract the composition of the site that I found interesting while travelling. I exhibited one of the series for an environmental charity show couple of months ago.
What should people be anticipating from you in the coming year? Since I enjoy finding diverse ways to tell a story, I hope to get into creating book covers in the near future.
HUMAYRAH POPPINS etsy.com/uk/shop/TheOldeSewingRoom
“ Whilst studying Fashion at University, I realised it wasn’t for me. The over competitive nature of the industry discouraged me and I was then blessed with the opportunity to study Hand Embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework. In my two years at Hampton Court Palace, I developed my skills in traditional hand embroidery techniques and it was here that my love and appreciation for exquisite craftsmanship blossomed. Since graduating from The Royal School of Needlework, I proceeded to create an Etsy store (The Olde Sewing Room) displaying age old techniques amalgamated with my growing penchant for Entomology and the natural world. I strive to create pieces that speak figuratively and literally of the colours and textures of trees, plants, beetles, bees, roots, twigs and other creatures that frequent my world. By incorporating natural influences into my embroideries, I feel that a part of me has been embedded into my work. It is this part of me that I like to share with others. ”
How long have you been working with embroidery? What techniques are you particularly keen on using? I began embroidering at the age of 14 after seeing my grandma lovingly make crocheted gifts for friends and family. I have fond memories of spending my school holidays in her home, the duck egg blue walls, hand-dyed silk saris that neatly lined her wardrobe, even the soft floral scent of her saris are still fresh in my mind. It was here that my heart became entwined in needlework and all things handmade.
Light is an integral element of my handwork hence the materials I use reflect this. Soft gold leathers, vintage silks, antique gold cords, iridescent metal wires all call out to me and are woven into my pieces. A harmonious composition in my opinion, must always include some kind of reflective element. Goldwork embroidery is perfect for this.
Your materials extend further than thread and needle. How do you come up with the ideas for the different objects and pieces that end up being woven into your work? Do you have a collection of different trinkets that you reserve for when the opportunity strikes? Iâ€™ve always loved discovering beautiful things. Many of the treasures youâ€™ll find in The Old Sewing Room have a special story behind them. I often wander through the woods near my home, where I gather leaves, twigs, feathers and other things I can find to bring back home and preserve. I also like to incorporate the treasures I find into my embroideries and with each piece I feel that a part of me has been embedded into my work.
A lot of your embroideries have the smaller creatures of the world as the subject. What is it about insects that you have such a fascination with? The intricacy, geometry, texture and pattern you find in nature is unmatched and an inspiration to many including myself. Embroidery for attire and adornments does not differ much from my hangings
How often does a project or commission typically take you? Embroideries take me between 10-80 hours to complete from conception to execution.
Beyond the images that you bring together you also use your embroidery on things such as attire. How do these differ from the other? Embroidery for attire and adornments does not differ much from my hanging.
What is your personal favourite thing to needle together? Butterflies and florals are some of my favourite things to embroider.
Along side some of your images on instagram you include poetry or words of focus. How do these factor in with your work? Are these often a part of your inspiration? I am a ‘word collector’. Unusual words with wondrous meanings fascinate me. My favourite word at the moment is Sonder (n.) The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own— populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk. - The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig. Often, the correlation between embroidery and words is not apparent to anyone but me. I feel there is a spiritual mystery hidden in the folds of language and it’s important to hem these extraordinary blessings with thankfulness
What else do you venture into artistically other than your embroidery? Having fervent conversations on the complexities if life with my cat and meditation are some of the things I like to do other than Embroidery. Reading, baking and organising are also favourite pastimes of mine.
What kinds of objects do you like to keep near you to remain inspired for your work? Do you have a specific studio set up for yourself ? My grandparent’s belongings, lost, old objects, letters from loved ones, leaves and twigs I stumble across on evening walks, all touch me. They probably are of no monetary value but knowing that some items once belonged to my grandparents and that they had once touched them, inspires me. The chiffon scarves my grandma used to crochet for me, her Kohl applicator, her laces and trims, her rusty, steel scissors are all very dear to me. I am able to find poetry wherever I look. Ordinary bundles of almost empty, wooden bobbins with handwritten notes attached call to me and evoke sparks of inspiration. Over the years I have collected many textiles and haberdasheries from local souks and flea markets. I purchase them thinking that I will use them ‘soon’ but cherish them for years in their pristine, untouched packaging without using them. Years later I will find a use for it and try to unearth it amongst all the other bits and pieces in my sewing room. I somehow disagree with collecting just for the sake of collecting, but I strive to transform old things and make them live and be loved again
In the future, how would you like to see some of your embroideries used? Is there anything else that you are hoping to extend within your work or try out? As an artisan, I believe I have a long road ahead and I am still exploring different mediums to enhance and revive hand embroidery. One medium which I have taken full advantage of, despite my technophobia, is Instagram. I believe in storytelling through imagery, the comforting effect cloth, fibre or photograph may have on people. I think of all the incredibly talented makers that I’m blessed to know through Instagram and how they pour their soul into creating. Those who see my work speak of the comforting effect it has on their own spirit, of the deep spiritual energy that it emits. This pleases me; I want my stitches to tell stories of peace and calmness.
CHRISTINA MROZIK christinamrozik.com
“ I’m in pursuit of liminal spaces, listening, patience and quiet. I believe the body has profound knowledge to share, that love is powerful, that hearts are hungry and need to be fed. I feel the complication writhing within myself and know it must also be writhing within others. I think it’s possible if two people each have a little grace, it’s possible to find common ground with the most unlikely of souls. I think art speaks in ways that words cannot and there is power in both metaphor and image; that there are vague but intense places of emotion and intention that need more room and less definition so that we can exist as the overflowing, messy beings that we are. That we all carry frustrating truths and fears and it’s better to untangle and look at them head on rather than deny them for the sake of false stability. There are infinite ways to do this, but art is how I parse the world and these are the things I hope my work could even begin to hold in it’s subtle, quiet metaphors.”
Do you have any formal education in fine arts? I went to a liberal arts school in Michigan and got a BFA with an emphasis in illustration. When I first left college I was making children’s illustration, and slowly as my life changed my process of making changed as well. Going to a liberal arts school was very important for me because I wasn’t only studying art, but was immersed in science, feminist philosophy, sociology, writing, and literature. It gave me a myriad of lenses with which to learn from the world; informing me about how minds process information, the importance of history, how to hold opposing viewpoints and how to listen. It taught me how to think rather than what to think (my utmost important tool for art making).
A lot of your work has a lot of complexities, especially with the different elements that are embedded into it. How do you decide which elements will construct your images? Do you find that most of these are based on the theme that you are pursuing per illustration? Most every element in my work has a very specific meaning I’ve attached to it. Grass for example is something I used to spend hours laying in as a child and I remember always being mesmerized by it’s capacity to continue growing no matter how many times it was cut all the way down to it’s root. Any other plant would perish. This for me was and is a powerful metaphor about resilience, and when I draw grass I’m nodding to this notion of regrowth after trauma. I believe the work of an art maker is to look at the world around them and interpret what they see with the clarity of their unique “voice” that’s been crafted through time, experience and research. I spend a lot of time creating this visual language and exploring the why behind whatever elements intrigue me.
What sort of themes do you find that you are most attached to with your work? Is there something that you have been finding focus with most recently than you had previously? Most my work explores the inner workings of the human body and the more complicated/ less easily namable emotions. I’m interested in the truths our bodies hold and all they have to teach us about how to move through the world. Being someone who struggles with a variety of health problems and pain, my body has been a great teacher to me about grace, discomfort, unfurling, healing and growth. I try and use my drawing time as a space of listening and revealing what’s happening beneath the surface. The focus of my work has remained fairly consistent over the years, but I certainly have noticed ways in which my internal growth has altered the way I share information. In recent years there has been so much more heart movement around healing and self acceptance and I feel like that’s come out in the work, where things are blossoming rather than decomposing, still in a state of disaster but with an upward motion of renewal.
How do you like to consider the construction of your imagery? When you are first starting on a project where do you begin and how does everything come together to eventually be finished and how long do you find that the planning process is before you feel comfortable with the figure being finalized? My process is very mood and feel oriented. I love to sit down at a piece of paper and ask it what it wants to be, or recede into my body and ask what wants to come out. I know it sounds a little woo, but drawing is a less pragmatic space for me and a more intuitive one. I’ll sit and sketch a bit and see how the image transforms on paper in real time and what ideas/subconscious thoughts get pulled to the surface. Once this feels a bit more concrete, I’ll follow it with research and writing to really flush out both the scientific specifics of the drawing (what species of flower, bird, or skeleton) and what is the intention of the feeling I’m after (mood and nuance). Time wise, this can take anywhere from ten minutes to a year- some drawings just have a way of falling out of you, while other’s hang on the wall for months and reveal themselves slowly, changing as you change. A lot of my process is sort of sitting with something until it feels ready. Once the bones of the drawing are down, and I’ve sorted through the feel I’m after it’s really just a matter of hours and hours of cautiously filling it in keeping that mental space I’m hoping to evoke.
With your various interests including things like bones, rugs, and bugs (to name a few) what do you find that you surround yourself with at home or in a studio setting? Do you feel that these objects feed a lot to your inspiration? My home is such an important space to me. I find I’m incredibly sensitive to my surroundings and take a lot of time and care in selecting the things that will be a part of my daily routine. I’m drawn to objects that have a history to them and I love antiques, handmade goods, and elements from the natural world. My home is full of beautifully patterned rugs, bones from travels, letters from my beloved friends, prints and pieces from artists I admire—pieces that stir me. I have a whole window full of plants and it is my favorite place to sit and think. I don’t know if the objects directly inspire me as much as they create a space that invites inspiration to come and play, setting a scene that will attract certain kinds of ideas: a nest of sorts for the internal to meet the cerebral.
Recently you have ventured into building your work in 3D rather than in 2D. How have you found this venture? Do you think that this is something that you will explore this further? How would you like to merge this further with your paintings and illustrations? What do you find are the main differences with how you have to consider the approach to your work? I’ve loved the process of converting my drawings and ideas into three dimensions, it actually feels almost more natural to me and I often find myself curious if that should be my main way of making. Usually the scope of my practice is based on whatever limitations I have, so painting and drawing have been something I can do in my living room or bedroom, whereas sculpture needs more space and tools. But I am very excited about the beginning of this endeavor and the ways it opens my work up. I love getting to actually feel the form out and manipulate the composition in real time and space, moving the clay until it takes the shape that looks right; it’s less about preplanning and more about play. I also don’t have to worry about creating an accurate shadow or light source, so I can spend more energy on composition and It’s interaction with the environment within which it will exist.
How often do you find yourself wandering out on walks or other adventures just to create drawing studies? Walking creates a stunning in-between space, where the body is in motion but the mind is allowed to be still. I go for some sort of walk, short or long, alone or with friends almost every day, and find it incredibly helpful to open my mind. I don’t really create drawing studies, but I think walking allows me to find a space in which my heart can settle enough for ideas to emerge. Maybe I’m creating more of an emotional study where the mental visuals have some freedom to move and rearrange themselves. I love travel, and when I’m healthy enough I’m the first to be game for an adventure to some giant trees or desolate rocks. Getting out into the thick of beauty is transformative to the soul and it truly effects every aspect of my life. To be steeped in wonder, what could be better?
Do you think that you will ever transfer your love for traditional use of materials or digital drawings? What do you find you are most infatuated with when it comes to using ink or pencils? I’ll always consider trying new mediums as I enjoy learning and stretching the possibility of how to make, but I can’t imagine digital work ever replacing the more traditional mediums. Part of what I love about drawing is the actual feel of the pencil on the paper and in my hand, the soft rolling sound and vibration, the delicate variation. It’s a very meditative process and my whole body is involved.
Which projects of yours do you find that you have the most attachment to? When itâ€™s late and the world is asleep, I often find that the deepest, truest parts of me show up and if I can find the mental space and clarity to sit down in front of a piece of paper, a diary entry will fall out sharing the more intimate parts of my spirit. The honest pieces that describe the honest complications of how to move through this world are always the ones I feel most attached to.
How would you like to see your work being used and viewed in the future? Is there something that you have always wanted to see be done with your artistic ventures? My hope is that my drawings will help me be a better student of the world, learning how to look at the things in front of me with the detail and clarity they deserve, how to move slowly and create with patience and intention. I spend a lot of time thinking about how the process of making effects my relationships to others, myself and my landscape. If both my work and how I make my work could act as a tiny access point for others to feel the same permission to exist as their truest, current self, that would be my success.
ALBUMS OF THE
2017 was an incredible year for music and I drove myself half mad trying to pick just ten albums to talk about here. Before we get into the list I want to shout out the upcoming records from N.E.R.D. and Brockhampton, the latter of whom will be dropping their third great album of this year.
Run For Cover 25.08.17
The blissful vibe of Turnover’s third LP is irresistible. The band really focused on writing catchy, sing-along hooks over uncompromisingly pleasant, dreamy instrumentation. The lush reverbs that soak the guitars and vocals add a ton of color and personality to the record, while the groove-driven drums and bass remain crisp and resonant. Whenever I throw on this record, it feels like I’m wandering through a happy cartoon jungle full of animals that smell like strawberries and want to cuddle me. Good Nature refuses to stray from the heavenly vibe established on “Super Natural” which makes the record a static yet authentic listen. ESSENTIALS: What Got In The Way, Pure Devotion, Bonnie (Rhythm & Melody)
Southern Logic 24.02.17
The pummeling drums, crushing riffs and high-energy performances on Power Trip’s Nightmare Logic made it my go-to workout album. I was unsure if I could still enjoy a traditional thrash album after listening to boundary pushing bands like Vektor, but it was the impeccable song writing on Nightmare Logic that really won me over. “Swing of the Axe (Executioner’s Tax)” is such a fantastically simple, yet effective thrash banger, and I still think the riffs on the self-titled track are still some of the gnarliest I have heard all year. The wailing guitar leads and cavernous reverb on Riley Gale’s vocals make it sound like the band is playing in one of the deepest pita of Hell to a bunch of wasted, moshing demons. Nightmare Logic is barnburner from front to back and the most fun I have had with a metal record this year. ESSENTIALS: Swing of the Axe, Firing Squad, Nightmare Logic
This Old Dog
Captured Tracks 05.05.17
Canadian singer/songwriter Mac Demarco is great at writing catchy, mellow songs, but I always found his albums lacked a sense of unity and cohesion. Sharply contrasting his previous works, This Old Dog takes a more introspective and mature approach to lyricism, over a series of well-crafted songs that build upon one another as the album progresses. Mac also indulges in significantly more drum-machines and synthesizers on this record, adding an extra layer of texture to his typically sleepy and skeletal vibe. Overall, I found This Old Dog to be an improvement on all fronts to Mac Demarco’s sound, and I hope he continues to pursue this more detailed and mature direction. ESSENTIALS: For The First Time, Still Beating, One More Love Song
ROC Nation LLC 30.06.17
Jay-Z’s thirteenth studio album is an intimate, low-key, ten-track affair that delves into the mind of a hip-hop legend while simultaneously shunning every trend in the current rap mainstream. There are no trap bangers, no triplet flows and very few refrains; the focus of the album is Jay, and his reflections on society, his personal life and the rap game. No ID produced all of the sparse, minimalistic beats on 4:44, with a majority of the sounds coming from chopped soul samples and angelic choir vocals. The instrumental palate of this album is incredibly focused but the passionate highs of “Smile” compared to Jay-Z’s heartbreaking apology on “4:44” make this a lyrically and emotionally diverse project ESSENTIALS: Kill Jay-Z, The Story of O.J., Smile, 4:44, Moonlight, Marcy Me
Young Turks 03.02.17
As soon as I heard Process front to back, I knew it was going to make my top ten list. Sampha Sisay has the voice of an angel, and his forward thinking approach to songwriting and production makes his debut studio album a unique and futuristic take on R&B and neo-soul music. Every single sound on this album is beautifully crafted and arranged; I love how detailed the instrumentation can be on Process, yet tracks like “No One Knows Me Like The Piano” are equally as impactful and present only Sampha and his keys. There is so much tension in the warping looped verses of “Reverse Faults” and the soulful swing of “Timmy’s Prayer” has made it one of my favorite songs of the year. ESSENTIALS: Plastic 100°C, Blood On Me, Kora Sings, No-One Knows Me Like The Piano, Reverse Faults, Timmy’s Prayer
RUN THE JEWELS
Run The Jewels 3
Run The Jewels Inc. 24.12.17
“You’re getting used to me doing no wrong” says El-P on Run The Jewel’s hit single “Legend Has It”, and he’s right; Every Run The Jewels album is heavier, better produced, and more consistent than what came before. Run The Jewels 3 feels like the duo’s magnum opus, as it is by far the group’s longest and most conceptual album to date. The sobering “Thursday In The Danger Room” and anthemic “2100” bring more subdued beats and an emotional potency that I haven’t heard from the duo before. El-P has really come into his own as a producer, and his style has become as unique and instantly recognizable as Run The Jewel’s recurring disembodied hands. I am aware the album dropped in the last week of 2016, but my list for that year was already written and published, and since I have listened to Run The Jewels 3 consistently throughout 2017, I am including it on this year’s list. ESSENTIALS: Legend Has It, Hey Kids (Bumaye), Stay Gold, Everybody Stay Calm, Oh Mama, Thursday In The Danger Room
Prop Era 07.04.17
“Devastated” was the lead single off of East Coast Rapper Joey Bada$$’ second studio album, and saw a surprising change in sound for the artist. Joey’s typical boom-bap sound had been replaced with a more modern trap flavor, and while I do enjoy the track, I’m thankful that the rest of the album has a more organic and traditional feel. There are plenty of beautiful horns, gorgeous, jazzy guitars and crisp percussion all over this album, and Joey comes through with some surprisingly great singing on summery tracks like “Temptation” and “For My People”. Joey’s lyrics are incredibly thoughtful throughout this album and primarily revolve around the lives and state of African-Americans currently living in the United States. Joey’s lyrical concept on All Amerikkkan Badass is cleverly explored on “Y U Don’t Love Me?” and comes to a climactic conclusion on the final track. This album is just great song after great song and the progressive, energetic track “Rockabye Baby” with ScHoolboy Q is absolutely one of my favorite bangers of the year. ESSENTIALS: For My People, Temptation, Land of the Free, Devastated, Y U Don’t Love Me?, Rockabye Baby, Babylon, Amerikkkan Idol
TYLER THE CREATOR
Columbia / Odd Future 21.07.17
My infatuation with Tyler, The Creator’s fourth studio album Scum Fuck Flower Boy was one of my biggest musical surprises this year. I can typically pull a few decent tracks from every Tyler project, but Flower Boy is the first album that I can enjoy from front to back. This is because Tyler, The Creator has evolved as both an artist and a producer, resulting in his most lyrically mature and elegantly arranged album yet. Flower Boy is veritable garden brimming with gorgeous singing, sticky hooks, and clever verses, as well as the best bangers Tyler has ever put to tape. I could go on praising this album forever, but the point is I was blown away by this dramatic increase in quality, and I hope Tyler follows up with an album equally as essential. ESSENTIALS: Foreward, Where This Flower Blooms, See You Again, Who Dat Boy, Garden Shed, Boredom, I Ain’t Got Time!, 911/Mr. Lonely
I have been waiting a few years for a new Alvvays record since their solid and succinct self-titled debut, but I was not expecting such a dramatic improvement on all fronts from the band. The focus of Antisocialites is great songs; there isn’t a single dud on this album and the level of vocal and instrumental detail put into each track proves this. I would typically gravitate towards Alvvays’ tender, more melancholic ballads and while there are plenty of songs with this nature on Antisocialites, the new album features so many fantastic, high-energy songs like “Plimsoll Punks” and “Your Type” as well. I enjoyed lead singer Molly Rankin’s performances on Alvvay’s debut, but her melodies and tone are so much more refined on this album; she has blossomed as a vocalist and delivers so many great refrains that are consistently stuck in my head. Antisocialites has a similar blissful, summery vibe that I loved so much about Turnover’s Good Nature, but there is so much more detail, experimentation, variety and texture on this album. ESSENTIALS: Dreams Tonite, Plimsoll Punks, Your Type, Not My Baby, Already Gone, Saved By A Waif, Forget About Life
Nonsuch Records 16.06.17
The third studio album from contemporary folk outfit Fleet Foxes is an incredibly dense, challenging and ultimately rewarding listen; full of detailed and textured songs with progressive, experimental structures. Every album that this band releases is more ambitious, colorful and impressive than the last. The instrumental palate of Crack-Up is immense, and sees the band experimenting with beautiful, organic sounding electronics for the first time. It is admirable that the band is able to work more futuristic sounds into their music without sacrificing the very organic, rustic feel that Fleet Foxes consistently delivers. I love the fluttering electronics on “Cassius, -“ that make me feel like I’m diving into an underwater world, or the grandiose self titled track whose ending sounds like it was recorded in an abandoned lighthouse. The lead single “Third of May/Ōdaigahara” is my favorite song of this year and begins as a magnificent anthem full of soaring vocals and majestic string sections that eventually dissolves into an intoxicating ambient soundscape. I waited years for the return of Fleet Foxes and could not be happier with the album that they delivered. Crack-Up is another fantastic entry into a near perfect discography. ESSENTIALS: Cassius, - Naiads, Cassadies, Kept Woman, Third of May/Ōdaigahara, On Another Ocean (January/June), Fool’s Errand, Crack-Up
Albums In Review ________________
THE BODY & FULL OF HELL also love how the track ends with only
Ascending A Mountain of Heavy Light
Thrill Jockey 17.11.17
The Body & Full of Hell have reunited once again to throw me into a relentless and painful pit of despair on their latest collaborative record Ascending A Mountain of Heavy Light. The two bands now have even more chemistry together, playing off of each other’s strengths and coming into a sound that is unique as it is hellish. Ascending A Mountain of Heavy Light sees The Body & Full of Hell exploring more industrial production with nightmarish, noisy loops and crisp, synthesized percussion. I appreciate the reprisal of certain ideas from their previous collaboration however, such as the haunting, cultish female vocals laced throughout the opening track, or the sudden stops that build tension in the penultimate “Farewell, Man”. The lead single “Earth is a Cage” begins with an aggressive ‘four-on-the-floor’ bass kick and explodes into a flurry of heavily distorted guitars and drums. This track has an insane, throttling momentum, and I love the way both vocalists trade off on this track. The freakish loops and layers of noise coupled with The Body’s horrifying vocals makes “The King Laid Bare” fearsome enough, but when Full of Hell eventually brings their contribution of suffocating guitars, blast beat drums and throat shredding vocals the track becomes truly frightening. I
percussion, allowing a brief moment of sonic respite before the monolithic “Didn’t The Night End”. This blood pumping, industrial torture chamber sounds as though its foundation is crumbling and disintegrating from its own heaviness. A lot of the raw energy and percussion on these tracks, particularly the twittering hi-hats almost make me think that The Body’s production is trap influenced, which makes the previously mentioned track all the more of a banger. “Our Love Conducted with Shields Aloft” is full of harsh, droning noise and rumbling, echoing, frantic drums. It sounds disgusting, but is ironically one of the more meditative tracks on the record. The driving drums on “Master’s Story” eventually transition into a drearier passage filled with doomy, melodic guitars. The primal percussion patterns from the beginning of the track are eventually layered into the passage as well, but I don’t find this song to be one the more exciting tracks on Heavy Light. The closer on this album solid, but it isn’t anywhere near as soul crushing as “The Little Death”; the final track from The Body and Full of Hell’s previous collaboration. Ascending A Mountain of Heavy Light is horrifyingly extreme and abrasive, but I find elegance in the intricately layered, textured production from The Body, and how Full of Hell adds a chaotic momentum that takes this album in a truly gruesome direction.
BEST TRACK: “Didn’t the Night End” WORST TRACK: “Master’s Story”
The Dusk In Us
Epitaph / Deathwish 03.11.17
as “Wildlife”, and the level of tightness achieved by the band on blistering tracks like “Broken By Light” is God-tier. With the exception of a few underwhelming ballads I think Converge has come through with another banger record; definitely one of my favorites in their discography and I sincerely hope it isn’t another half decade wait for their next studio album.
Converge have returned after five BEST TRACK: “A Single Tear” years of studio silence to deliver The WORST TRACK: “Thousands of Miles Dusk In Us, yet another dynamic and Between Us” powerful album from the Massachusetts metalcore masterminds. The band’s ninth studio album opens with “A Single Tear” an explosive introduction full of intricate, melodic riffs and a crushingly heavy refrain. I would even say this opener tops the incredible and equally melodious “Aimless Arrow” from Converge’s last record. The Dusk In Us and All We Love We Leave Behind also share similarities in their diverse array of instrumentals. The hypnotic groove of “Under Duress” is a stark contrast to the frantic flurries of guitars and drums on the following track “Arkhipov Calm”, and the title track sounds more like an alt-metal ballad than anything from the band’s discography. I understand that dynamics and experimentation are important for a Converge this deep into their career, but unfortunately the drawn out title track kills the momentum of the album for me. This is particularly because the preceding track “I Can Tell You About Pain” resolves with one of the most insane, skull-crushing breakdowns I have heard all year. I also find the penultimate “Thousands of Miles Between us” to be so uneventful that the passionate vocals on the song’s climax does little to redeem the track. Despite the heavy and abrasive sound of The Dusk In Us, a lot of these songs are incredibly well written, detailed and catchy. I can never praise Kurt Ballou’s lightning fast, angular guitar work enough, particularly on songs such
7.2 I THE MIGHTY Where The Mind Wants To Go / Where You Let It Go
Equal Vision 20.10.17
I The Mighty is an American rock band that I have been following since the release of their fantastic EP, Karma Never Sleeps. Five years later we have Where the Mind Wants to Go / Where You Let it Go, the third studio album I The Mighty has released on Equal Vision Records. I have always been a fan of the band’s tight, well-performed arrangements, and Brent Walsh’s creative yet accessible vocals; I figured it was only a matter of time until I The Mighty attempted a poppier direction. The beginning of Where the Mind Wants to Go / Where You Let it Go
confirmed this direction of accessibility and unfortunately results in some of the blandest tracks I’ve heard from the band. “Degenerates” has good dynamics but “Pet Names” sounds like I The Mighty was trying to cover a bad PVRIS track, and while “Chaos In Motion” is slightly more interesting, the band trying to write a radio hit doesn’t result in any gratifying tunes. After a rocky start, the album thankfully picks up and hits a fantastic streak of songs beginning with the energetic “Where the Mind Wants To Go”; The momentum and energy is fantastic, and I believe this is the first time I The Mighty has laid down screams on a track as well. The beautiful and sensual harmonized tapping leads on “Symphony of Skin” lead into the absolute best chorus on the record, and the streak continues with the melancholic guitar work and explosive refrain on “Sleepwalker”. The inconsistency and subsequent consistency on the first half of this record are like night and day. As the record progresses I find myself gravitating towards the lyrical narratives more so than the instrumentation, like on the carefree “Escapism” and particularly the spooky tale behind “111 Winchester” which has a surprisingly grim conclusion. “The Sound of Breathing” is the token ballad of the album, and contains one of the strongest vocal performances on the record. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Tillian’s vocal feature on the lead single “Silver Tongues”. The huge, spacey bridge coupled with the soaring vocals would have made for a more effective closer considering how forgettable the final track is. In my opinion, this is I The Mighty’s most inconsistent project to date, but some of the best songs I’ve heard from them in years land on this album. I only hope the band continues to write clever, intricate compositions while still maintaining their excellent pop sensibility, instead of following either direction too far. BEST TRACK: “Symphony Of Skin” WORST TRACK: “Pet Names”
SAVAGE, OFFSET & METRO BOOMIN
Epic Records 31.10.17
Without Warning is an aptly named surprise album from Atlanta producer Metro Boomin and features frequent collaborator 21 Savage as well as Offset, a member from the rap trio Migos. The project was released on Halloween and features a suitably dark, eerie and atmospheric throughout the thirty-minute runtime. In my opinion, 21 Savage would normally be the weakest link on this bill, but to my surprise some of his best songs ever land on this project. Metro Boomin’s production is intricately detailed and elegantly arranged on tracks like “Ghostface Killers”, and I love that he manages to work in some spooky samples on “Nightmare” that really add to the atmosphere of this tape. The spookiness is only enhanced
by 21 Savage’s numerous references to 80’s slasher villains on the previous cut. Offset’s presence on Without Warning complements 21 Savage nicely as he is able to cut up the monotony with a higher energy and tighter, more complex flows. Offset’s vigor and sheer catchiness on the bouncy “Ric Flair Drip” results in perhaps my favorite track on the mixtape and proves that Offset can hold his own quite easily without the Migos. Unfortunately Without Warning isn’t all fireworks, and because of 21 Savage’s monotone delivery, I always find myself tuning out in the middle of “Rap Saved Me” until Quavo brings the track back to life in the last minute. The final track also proves that everyone was beginning to run out of ideas for this project, as there is nothing on “Darth Vader” that wasn’t done better on previous cuts. This is déjà vu to Metro Boomin’s recent collaboration with Gucci Mane, and leads me to believe that Metro should cut his projects to nine tracks a piece and maintain a higher level of quality. BEST TRACK: “Ric Flair Drip” WORST TRACK: “Darth Vader”
DECEMBER CHARTS TOP ALBUM PICKS
TOP SONG PICKS
Converge – The Dusk In Us Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper Without Warning – 21 Savage, Offset & Metro Boomin Thantifaxath – Void Masquerading As Matter Björk – Utopia
Joji – Demons Pinegrove – Intrepid Rich Chigga – Crisis Tame Impala – List of People (To Try and Forget About) Tribulation – The Lament
FLESH & BONE in the pursuit of artistic passion
Published on Dec 12, 2017