ISSUE 31 WWW.FOKUS.ORG/INSIGHT
Issue 31: Monsters and Fairies 02 03 04 06 08 24 28 34 38 39 40 46 50 54
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR COVER ART VENUS FLYTRAP WE ARE ONE TAG THE WORLD MUNSTAH FAMILY PORTRAIT IT IS ALWAYS DARKEST SO REAL PICK UP THE PHONE FAIRIES STILL EXIST COLLECTING THE DREAM TALES MEDICINE WOMAN'S PATH FLYING LESSONS
ARTICLES / INTERVIEWS
CHIEF CURATOR / LAYOUT & DESIGN: ATIBA T. EDWARDS
Atiba is a perpetual visionary that likes to do art in the dark since it is easier to see the true light.
CURATOR: ALLISON MARITZA LASKY
Allison believes that children are the best artistsâ€”they are individual universes of infinite creativity.
CURATOR: ANDREW MILENIUS
Andrew has always been on the fortunate side of the fence thinking about how the people on the other side of the fence feel, and he wants to break down that fence.
CURATOR: JOLILLIAN (JOZI) ZWERDLING
Since even you and I are made of dying stars, Jozi finds inspiration in those who understand timelessness and travel in alternate dimensions.
CONTRIBUTORS: Eleanor Bennett / Candice Danielle / Eli / Jordan Kifer / SpazeCraft One / Lori Henderson / Imia Holston / Rose Jaffe / Keaton / Nukuzu / Sophia Nahli / Alex Puryear / Stephanie Winbush www.fokus.org/insight Questions, comments and submission inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org INSIGHT magazine is published by FOKUS, Inc. All rights reserved on entire contents. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FOKUS, Inc. or INSIGHT.
FOKUS uses the arts to help people understand their innate creativity and develop their own talents to maximize their potential. INSIGHT magazine provides insight into the artists who are shaping our culture today. This magazine is based on the concept that Humankind often looks to art to define civilizations and cultures.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Issue 31
Growing up we are often taught a clear delineation between monsters and fairies. Monsters are usually males (when human), evil and generally grotesque in looks. Fairies are nice and friendly, generally provide some benefit or improvement to life and are generally beautiful. Every now and then you will find an outlier, such as Medusa (female monster that turns her victims to stone) or Goblins (generally male fairies). The truth is that we each embody both a monster and a fairy, dark and light, and we continuously work to keep the balance in check. This balance is mediated by the masks that we often carry around and wear depending on the situation and our own internal feeling. In this issue, "We Are One" by Sophia Nahli gives you a photo capturing this exact theme. This issue features a great mix of artists' interpretation of the theme Monsters and Fairies, ranging from the cover artist's "Shed Disguise" to poetry to a monster family series to fairies in real life and more. In this issue of INSIGHT, every artist has a personal story to tell that expands on what we consider when thinking about monsters and fairies. Enjoy INSIGHT magazine | Monsters and Fairies.
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SHED DISGUISE Cover Art
BY ELEANOR BENNETT
I made this image as a recreation of an image I took when I was 14. This image is the opposite of angelic and the models you see advertising everything. The person in the photo is disturbed by the world around them and their barrier to all of it is their mask. It is a self portrait taken with a Panasonic Lumix. I wanted to capture the moment before the first punch hits and moment you are thinking a do not disturb sign should be placed around the subject in questions neck! To view more of Eleanor's work, visit http://eleanorleonnebennett.zenfolio.com/
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VENUS FLYTRAP by Candice Danielle
As you prey close, with
It kind of tickled the first time you touched me
They trigger, engage, entrap
But this time, neither of us was playing Past the initial giggle, we’ve laughed Ourselves weak Lacking air to breath. What began as an innocent game, you lost Advantage, captured Now intertwined in my frame You fluttered Tested and inched Don’t know why you hovered
Slight graze sending rage through lobes,
Then SNAP! Now unable to let you turn back I have…consumed you. Devoured and absorbed into my being As you seep into pores You are beyond escape You are apart of me A touch so purposed, these unyielding urges surface Untamed
I don’t think…you want to do that.
But I guess I’m just that beautiful.
This beast…loves hungrily
Passion lining stomach
With wide-eyed glare you stare into this
Empty and bottomless
Flame Reaching as if it beckons your name
There is not enough of you
Yet while that calls for caution
There is not enough of me
You proceed, mesmerized by this glow.
to justify this bite yet
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You fight… At my walls…but they have already… begun To break you down, digesting your soul Moving [every bit] Finding its own corner to attach itself,
Mine and you are inside yet dancing in my rain coming down like monsoon you drenched in my welcome
and you’re so happy to be here adorning my doormat
How every part of your flesh latches and
with feet tracks that track your airborne
Melts into clefts I never knew could exist…
pilgrimage finally arriving on all fours
It tickles…so good…
panting wanting more, reveling in the taste
My explosive combustion of smile and cry confuse you
of your own blood on my tongue, sprung off
Whether to stop your scatter or continue I don’t think…you want to do that. Just allow yourself to sink Such an amusing struggle it is to feel yourself Decomposing willingly, Fall helplessly into my bloodstream as
the rush of your own thud to dust to dust to dawn. wake up, its beautiful bliss to open eyes in pleasant surprise I having ushered you into afterlife A sweet surrender Slumber near my heart I, positioned concave permanently Here you will stay forever Because You have died…inside…of me.
I gasp for air to help you flow In and throughout…everywhere you can Possibly go Rush but you can’t run from What you’ve become cause you are Candice Danielle is a 25-year-old creative writer and emerging teaching artist from the Midwest. She strives to step beyond walls of communal silence and engage in a life of independent thought and open conversation. Visit her website: iamcandicedanielle.tumblr.com INSIGHT | 5
WE ARE ONE
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Photo and Words by Sophia Nahli
I have covered myself in the purest silver for you, Removing my flesh to be one with you. I have flown, delicately in the night sky Past the darkest horizon, the burning sun, the mythical galaxies Spreading my wings …Ohh, what brilliant wings. I have searched, feverishly, for your taste. When did I fall from the heavens, When did you produce such velvety blood? When did my eyes go dull? My heart stop, my breath becoming warm and pungent. I believe Monsters and Fairies…we are one. There is beauty, residing in both, and darkness residing in both. My wings have crumbled to ash. We are one.
Sophia Nahli is a photographer and arts educator based in Chicago. Using photography and video as a method of educating and inspiring youth, she works as a teaching artist with Step Up Women’s Network, Marwen, and has worked with Street Level Youth Media. http://www.sophianahli.com INSIGHT | 7
TAG THE WORLD An interview by Jordan Kifer
Photos courtesy of Jordan Kifer (right) and graffitimundo (following pgs)
While heading up FOKUS in Flight: Buenos Aires, Argentina Chapter, Jordan Kifer came across graffitimundo, an organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the rich heritage and dynamic culture of Argentine street art. She chatted with Melissa Foss, the organization's art Guide and researcher, to provide insight into graffitimundo. Jordan Kifer: How did graffitimundo come to be? Melissa Foss: graffitimundo started really organically about 3 years ago. A couple of girls from England moved to Buenos Aires and were looking for a way to engage with the city and while they were getting to know the city, they were seeing street art everywhere. They were really inspired and they decided to go around and figure out who was behind it because coming from London they had not seen street art so elaborate and so prevalent; it was everywhere. So they wanted to know what it was and started to ask, and ended up finding the artists and it opened up this whole world to them. What they discovered was that there was a whole culture behind this. The stories about the artists and their answers to why and when and how were just as interesting as the artwork. They wanted to share this so the idea of a tour came up. Often, people don’t have time to go around and hunt down street artists or don’t know where to start, because it’s not art in a museum or a gallery, where it tells you who the person is and where to find them.There can be a big disconnect. They approached the artists with this idea and they were really supportive of the project, so they’ve been a part of everything we’ve done since. JK: We’ve gotten a similar reaction when we’ve asked people what ‘art is’ to them, because sometimes they’ve never thought about it in a formal way so when you formalize something it kind of changes the dynamics of it. MF: Exactly. JK: According to the graffitimundo website, “A key aim of the graffitimundo project is to document the origins of the graffiti and street art scenes in Buenos Aires, and record its evolution.” How do you think the street art scene has changed since graffitimundo started, even in those few short years? MF: In the past few years we’ve realized how important it is to document street art right now with photography and articles and interviews, because the scene is constantly changing and there are so many pieces that aren’t there anymore. Another part has been this investigation we’re doing to understand the roots of the modern movement. Activist art and political graffiti have a long tradition here in Argentina. At that point the documentation becomes more investigation;it’s collecting information and working with art historians to connect the dots between all these different movements. 8 | INSIGHT
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by Tec INSIGHT | 11
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by Dano INSIGHT | 13
by Ever (above)
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by Pelado (below)
by rundontwalk (above)
by Emy Mariani (below)
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by Blu 16 | INSIGHT
by Stencil Land INSIGHT | 17
Then there’s the modern part of it - understanding the transitions of all these different artists. At the beginning, right after the economic crisis in 2001, there was a huge movement of stencil art that was very political, that was very much making direct commentary about what was going on here. There was another movement of muñequismos, cartoon-style or doll-style art. These artists were mainly inspired by their studies in graphic design and animation and were creating these huge colorful cartoon characters to try and do something apolitical that would relate to everyone on a really pure, simple, positive level in a time when they thought people really needed that kind of interaction. So from these initial responses after the crisis there’s been a lot of evolution. JK: The next question goes with one aspect of the growth that has gone on. How do you see the culture of street art and the street art itself becoming more commercialized in these recent years? Where do you see graffitimundo fitting into the whole scheme of it? MF: What we hope to do is help people connect with the art, with the city and the culture. We’re helping to facilitate cultural bridges based on something real, because that’s what we’re all looking for but what’s hard to find sometimes. We also hope, and I think we’ve seen that it’s had a positive effect on the artists because after discovering this is their passion and not just a hobby, then comes the question of how to make a living at it instead of just working odd jobs to save up money for their next big mural. There are artists doing some commissioned works for individuals and others doing commercial work for businesses or brand names, so by helping them sell their work we’re making their art more accessible to people who want to support them. JK: What exactly are the legal parameters of graffiti and street art? MF: There is not a law against graffiti in and of itself, there’s a law against property damage. If someone calls saying their property is being damaged then something would be done about it. When that question doesn’t come up is when artists are painting in certain areas considered ‘public spaces,’ like parks and plazas. These are areas where you’ll find sort of a gray area. There are parts of the city where it’s become accepted that people paint there so it’s sort of understood that’s a place for people to express themselves. In the case of abandoned buildings, which you get a lot around the city, the owner isn’t there to say anything and the neighbors generally don’t say anything because the fact that the artist is putting some color into the place is more of a positive thing. In the case of private properties, the artists don’t paint there unless they get permission. If you have permission it’s legal. JK: graffitimundo is very involved in the larger Buenos Aires community with one of the events being Street Arte BA in 2010. Do you feel like these kinds of events are important in helping other people feel empowered to either see themselves as artists or to expand what they see as art? Why do you think it’s important to engage the larger community? MF: It’s very important because we work with a group of artists that will hopefully continue to grow as the scene continues to develop, and we just want to support the scene in general. 18 | INSIGHT
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by Jaz (top)
by Mart (bottom)
JK: Did graffitimundo sponsor it or help to promote? MF: We helped with the promotion and the callout for artists. The event in 2010 was in Puerto Madero, which is a neighborhood without a lot of street art, so Arte BA got permission to set up temporary walls all around a construction site in the neighborhood. They brought in some well-established urban artists and made about three quarters of the walls open call to anybody wanting to come and participate. It was great because you had all these people out creating together, meeting one another, and younger artists getting to see these more developed artists. JK: Looking ahead, where do you see the street art culture going? In a short amount of time, street art has gone from being out of the mainstream to somewhat of a tourist attraction. Do you feel like it’s going to grow on a lot of different levels or do you really see it going in one direction or the other? MF: There’s been a lot of growth on a local level in terms of recognition within Argentina, which is something that we are focusing more now as well. We’re doing free tours for Argentines because we realize a paid tour is going to naturally appeal more to people visiting. We’re really working on developing more local interest, because for the artists it’s great to have someone visiting buy their work and share that outside of Argentina, but it’s just as important (if not more important) to develop interest on a local level so Argentines feel proud of what’s going on here and want to be a part of it. JK: Complete our phrase, Art Is… MF: Art is finding the freedom to express yourself without worrying about how it’s going to be received by anybody else. And that’s what I see a lot of here; people creating just to create, not to please anybody else. They’ve been doing it in public spaces for years with their own investment of time and money just because it’s something they really love to do, and they’re not letting it be dictated by a gallery. So with that sort of foundation, it changes everything. I think it’s exciting for anybody to have that opportunity to create, unrestricted by expectations or by anyone else. Jordan Kifer is a 21-year old student at the University of Michigan. Shaping her world view is the belief that everyone is an artist and has something beautiful to share. Visit her blog at http://lavidaesuncarnaval.tumblr.com/
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MUNSTAH FAMILY PORTRAITS by SpazeCraft One Munstah FAMILY values (page 12) The CONNECTion (right) Ma-Duece-a n the MAADsquad (pronounced "MOD") (page 16) All drawings were created in 2012 and are water colors and ink on 100% Cotton archival acid-free paper.
Born & raised in NYC, wrote on the trains from 19831988, I still write on walls (with kids in my "WE DREAM" green mural project) & I tag on countless kids minds as an arts educator of 15 years. FOREVER addicted to MONSTERS & SMILES. To see more of his work visit http://sohnup.com
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IT IS ALWAYS DARKEST by Nukuzu Eve. Lost Paradise (page 18) Cleopatra (page 18) Black Gold (right) Cassilda Hope (page 22) Bad Karma(page 24) All images are Digital Art created in 2012.
Nukuzu is a German-based artist. Visit http://www.nukuzu.com to see more of his work.
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SO REAL by Alex Puryear A day of creation for starts, with a cup of coffee. As I approach my canvas I may sit there and look at it blank before I add and strokes or sprays to it. My tools consist of the following: oil paint, spray paint, ink, paint markers, and much more. Sometimes I may already have a vision in my head, or pre-vision in a sketch book, but most of the times its free hand, and evoked by many sources/muses such as music, friend and family, and everyday life. When I approach for that first stroke, its like a natural high for me, almost like laying the first stone on a building.
untitled, circa 2012. Oil paint, paint marker, and resin, 24 x 38 in. Fluid to organic movement, circa 2012. Oil paint, spraypaint, paint marker, and resin, 24 x 36 in. D&B Session, circa 2011. Oil paint, spray paint, and paint markers, 24 x 36 in.
Alex Puryear has always used art as an escape. “Painting is my own personal Never Land” the up-and-coming Chicago artist explains, “As a Surrealist stuck in reality, escape is my only option.” And Puryear’s work is nothing if not a fantastical break from a humdrum reality. Utilizing dazzling colors and bold strokes lines, Puryear’s paintings tend to focus on dream analyses and outlandish interpretations of his own thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
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PICK UP THE PHONE by Stephanie Winbush
scared of doing what I know is right in my heart,
Can see so clearly now it is like God speaks to my heart and knows what he wants to tell me,
Want to do more at church and am gonna do it,
God I hear you loud and clear for the first time in my life, I’m going to listen to you and pay attention to everything that you tell me, Think that you know that I’m making progress with different struggles in my life, Wow something you have been telling me all this time has come true,
I see the need and will answer the call and will serve unselfishly, Stop focusing so much on my problems and help serve others like I do at my job, Feeling different things at work but God is gonna work out that whole situation for myself because he has showed me already a good prospect nearby and I’m like God why you are so amazing and wonderful,
Crazy because never knew a love like yours,
You are so good to me in every way there are no words to describe all that you’ve done,
It can be so sweet even though I know I’ve been running from it and going through the motions,
It’s like is this thing on I can hear you loud and clear no matter who is talking to me,
You are continuously working it out in my favor and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything that you’ve done for me, Am finally seeing how I can be a blessing to others but have been afraid at times to talk to people because of everything that I’m going through, Stop being so selfish and do what I gotta do so that I can move on to the next phase of my life, Can’t nobody stop me I’m like hustle and flow with my poetry, My words just flow from my heart, Have been keeping and holding my spiritual gifts within not sure why though 38 | INSIGHT
It is like a cell phone call I’m picking up every time that I hear you call, I’m calling you every second of every day that I’m here on this earth, Feel like the devil is so busy after me thought he had me but you stepped in as always on time, You have surprised me in so many different ways. My name is Stephanie Winbush. I'm from Havelock, North Carolina. I love writing poetry and taking pictures.
FAIRIES STILL EXIST by Eli I am working for a kids' fashion company as a photographer and graphic designer. I was shooting an ad on Aprils fool day, and this is the result: Policemen like the fairy I live and work in Belgrade, Serbia. I am 35 years old and happily married. I work in kids' fashion company as a photographer and graphic designer. I am not good writing about myself. Ask me something and I will answer. Visit http://absinthfenix.deviantart.com/ to see more of Eli's work.
Allison Maritza Lasky is passionate about marrying children's imagination with the aging population through art.
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COLLECTING THE DREAM by Rose Jaffe We came upon the idea to document responses to the newly erected MLK Monument after witnessing an exchange between two strangers - one a black man, the other a white woman - who both felt strong connections to King and the Civil Rights Movement. They both lived in Alabama, not too far away from one another, and both remembered the riots that took place there. We found this connection between them to be profound and wished we could have somehow captured that moment. We also realized that the connection they felt wasnâ€™t something we could personally grasp. For us, two white females from the millennial generation, MLK doesnâ€™t resonate aside from the little we learn in schools or what we decide to research on our personal time. We began to wonder how we could bring the experiences of an entire generation to ours. This project seeks to explore the following: Collecting memories. We aim to seek out and give a platform for the sharing of experiences of those who lived through the Civil Rights Movement. (Larger scale) Making connections. Our goal is to bring these stories to our generation in an effort to create understanding. (Local effort) Community identity/context. Finding a place for dialogue and working towards bridging the gaps between the different communities within DC. Each piece represents a different theme and/or an iconic figure of the Civil Rights era. These pieces will be used as postcards to distribute; spreading awareness about the project, adding color and energy to the website, and as take away gifts for those who are kind enough to participate in "Collecting the Dream." The website will be up and running early this fall.
Fannie Lou, 2012. Watercolor, pen and ink, and digital editing, 5 x 7 in. Rose Jaffe is an illustrator and portrait artist born, raised and currently residing in Washington DC. She studied printmaking and drawing at the School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan. She works at a local gallery and teaches comic art and illustration, as well as taking freelance gigs across the country. 40 | INSIGHT
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Malcolm X, 2012. Watercolor, pen and ink, and digital editing, 5 x 7 in.
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Angela Davis, 2012. Watercolor, pen and ink, and digital editing, 5 x 7 in.
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Capital, 2012. Watercolor, pen and ink, and digital editing, 5 x 7 in.
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Mugshots. 2012. Watercolor, pen and ink, and digital editing, 5 x 7 in.
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by Keaton The Carnivorous Courtship, 2011. Sharpie and acrylic on canvas, 22 x 24 in. After many long nights hanging out with friends and going to clubs and bars, I began to notice a new type of woman emerging from the Wrigleyville and the Wicker Park neighborhood. This woman was not alone in her conquests. She ran with a pack and didn't abide by traditional gender roles where the man was the predatory figure. She became the dominate sex and she has her pack to encourage her advancements and make the desired male her prey. I was inspired by movie posters from the 1940s as well as the eerie and hilarious dark humored art and one liners from the "Tales from the crypt" series. Growing up on Chicago's northwest side I've been largely influenced by Afro-Hispanic culture and art because of the rich and vibrant color palette in addition to elements of Noir stylized horror films and the dark humor surrounding the "Tales from the crypt "series. 46 | INSIGHT
Meatsuit, 2010. Acrylic on canvas, 22 x 24 in. In 2009, my best friend passed away in a tragic car accident. It took a mutual friend of ours to help me realize that depression is a state of mind and that you canâ€™t continue to wallow in self pity, but you do have to keep their memory alive. If you allow yourself be consumed by loss youâ€™ll eventually sink deeper into it like quick sand until you drown. Within this image I wanted to emulate a snake shedding its skin. When a snake begins to shed its skin, its outer layer of skin loses its vibrancy and it begins to hide and become introverted and defensive while in this vulnerable position. When most reptiles go through the process of shedding, if the skin does not come off completely, it leaves permanent scaring. The pin-up is peeling away all of her flesh, except for the flesh from the neck up, because she essentially wants to keep the memory, while moving on. INSIGHT | 47
Wraith, 2012. Ink, pencil, sharpie and acrylic on Bristol, 18 x 20 in. The idea behind this piece came from the quote "monsters and ghost are real and sometimes they winâ€? and also one of my favorite childhood films, "Return to Oz"- the unofficial dark sequel to the "Wizard of Oz." Sometimes you get put in a situation where you have to deal with internal monsters and ghosts of your past. And because youâ€™re only human, you can easily fall victim to these demons but within each person there is a moment in time where you realize redemption is possible and you have to overcome those obstacles. 48 | INSIGHT
A Modest Meal Proposal, 2012. Acrylic, ink, Sharpie marker on Bristol, 22 x 24 in. Sometimes the best villains are the ones you’d never suspect would be capable of doing unspeakable crimes against man. I wanted to capture the climactic moment where these children, inspired by the Grimm fairy tale, “Hansel and Gretel” and the horrific satire from “A Modest Proposal,” are lost in this dark and scary forest but seem to be rescued a by a alluring ethereal character whose deceptive nature is revealed. The carving in the tree is written in Latin and intended to be warning about the present danger lurking: "Abandon all hope ye who enters here.” INSIGHT | 49
THE MEDICINE WOMAN'S PATH by Lori Henderson Each series have different insights: The White Ones are three dimensional forms sitting or flying, mostly pure white and lacking color externally. Colorlessness establishes a dream-like quality, suggesting notions of purity, dream-like unconsciousness and raw emotion. The Bird Series is a mixture of humor, movement and music which can be played or rattled. I started the series after I cared for my mother in Florida while recovering from an illness. Looking for joy in hard times, I found humor in aging and how we flock, slump and clump together. The Shaman Sculptures come from sitting with and learning from the Shaman of the high Andes of Peru. Learning remembering, innocence and wisdom. Each sculpture remembers this knowledge of munay prayed into each stitch.
Lori Henderson is a self trained artist. Lori has lived and traveled many places. Using her experiences of diverse social structures and her analytical and intuitive senses, she has created her mixed media sculptures.
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Family. Shaman Sculpture, 2006. Mixed media paper mache, fabric, paper clay, wire
Fire and Water . Egg Bird Series 2007 . Mixed Media. fabric, paper mache, wire, paper, paper clay
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Wrapped In Trust, 2009. Mixed media, wire, fabric, paper clay.
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Profound Surrender . White Series, 2007. Mixed Media wood, fabric, paper clay, wire
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by I M I A Alexandra Holston All photographs "Untitled" Imia Holston is a 24 year old resident of DC by way of Chicago Mayne. Visual communicator, loveexuder that brings all she sees with her, spends her best times with little homies by day. Hammertime by night. Laughter-fueled. Visit her website: http://Imiamour.tumblr.com 54 | INSIGHT
Firestart, 2011, Digital photograph, 8 x 10 in.
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Thank you to all of the contributing artists in this issue: Eleanor Bennett / Candice Danielle / Eli / Jordan Kifer / SpazeCraft One / Lori Henderson / Imia Holston / Rose Jaffe / Keaton / Nukuzu / Sophia Nahli / Alex Puryear / Stephanie Winbush Issue 31's theme was Monsters and Fairies. Monsters and fairies tend to be separated, with monsters being portrayed as mean or bad and fairies as nice or good. The truth is that both teams have malicious and benevolent members. For example- Team Monsters: Leviathans, Medusa, Pegasus, Sulley and Mike Wazowski, and The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Team Fairies: Tinkerbell, Monaciello, Tooth Fairy, Crysta, Pips and the FernGully crew, Banshees, Goblins. Next issue's theme: Ground/Water Submissions will be due by October 15, 2012.
www.fokus.org/insight Questions and comments can be directed to email@example.com Submission inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org INSIGHT magazine is published by FOKUS Inc. All rights reserved on entire contents. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FOKUS, Inc. or INSIGHT.