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Once again welcome to Toxique Magazine! After an amazing reception of the first issue of Toxique Magazine you may now finally enjoy the follow-up second issue with three new talented and varied artists. To all who have supported me during the difficult start-up phase of the magazine, I thank all of you sincerely - and to all artists who have contacted me after reading the first issue of Toxique I am incredibly grateful. The response has been overwhelming! Without the first four artists who transferred me pictures to use in the first issue and answered long and laborious interviews, the first issue of the magazine would never had become a reality. Before publishing the first issue I had no hope that the magazine could gain support among several established art magazines, and furthermore no special experience in dealing with designing a magazine, but I had - and still have - a fervent belief that I, in collaboration with artists from around the world, can create a different magazine - an artistic platform for both established and upcoming artists like myself, a brief refuge for art lovers in a hectic life. Because of these believes, I wanted the magazine to be free, and additionally I chose to select a digital platform in order to create a both sustaniable and everlasting magazine with a life on its own. In this second issue, I’m proud and honored to feature art of the beautiful artist, poet, model, social debater and provocateur Anna Utopia Giordano. Moreover, you are able to enjoy a personal interview with one of Britain’s most interesting and regonized artists whose soft paintings capture the sensitivity of the female vulnerability, fragility and unique beauty. Finally, Toxique brings focus on an unreal and surreal photographic manipulated universe created by the master in Photoshop and digital artist Michael V. Manalo.

Editor and contemporary digital fine art photographer, Marie Wengler www.mariewengler.com

Toxique Magazine

Caught In Eternity Artist Marie Wengler

Marie Wengler


Quote of the month The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do? - Pablo Picasso


Conversations Anna Utopia Giordano Mark Demsteader Michael V Manalo

p. 8 - 51 p. 52 - 86 p. 89 - 136


from the series of images PopBottles

Dear Anna, I know you live in Naples and Milan at this moment, that you have graduated with honors and attends Epistemology and Philosophy of Logic at the University of Milan simultaneously you are a poet, performer, model and extremely creative - and quite provocative towards society. From the series of images ‘Venus’ Botticelli ‘La nascita di Venere’ Orginal (left), New version (right)

A VisuAl Philosopher But I’m curious to know more about your background and moreover how, when and why you started creating art, writing poetry, performing as an actress and working as a (beautiful) model?

I started writing poems when I was 12 years old. At the same age I wrote my first screenplay, which was chosen from hundreds as the plot for the school play. I approached very early in high school in magic, esotericism, mythology and folklore tales. But I always loved computer, physics, chemistry and mathematics ... I have a deep scientific background that often collides with the “magic”. My mother is a sociologist, my attitude to “read” the society we live in certainly comes from her. My father has a more scientific mind. However, both have an artistic streak: my mother is also a painter and my father is also a photographer... but they are totally unrelated to the artistic circuit, they are both persons who like to live for the most “out of this world”. I’ve always been very shy. As a child I did not tolerate people, when friends of my parents came to visit I hid under the bed! I began to write on papers and notebook .. I remember my first self-produced poetry collection entitled “The essential essence of being human beings - The unknown’s revelation”. There is only one copy, written and bound by hand when I was 14-15 years approximately ...

Since 2004 I wrote both my poetry and my thoughts on my blog using it as a “notebook” always accessible. Then something happened: a few years ago, in 2008, I was at a cultural event and one of my closest friends, (b) ananartista recited 3 words from my poem while he was performing live, the words were “ORISHA - FLOSGENICO - ECPIROSI”... the public’s reaction to these words, cryptic and hermetic, was interesting. So I started to read my poems at concerts, exhibitions and cultural events. It was something totally unexpected: I never thought I’d be able to stand on stage. Regarding art: people have started calling me “artist” but I’m not so sure of it. I am more a visual philosopher. I began to pose as a model for a pure causality and I did it to move my energy, concentrated mostly in the upper body, even in the rest of my body. When you pose for a photograph you have to control the whole body, you must decide what position you want to give to the body and hold it for several seconds or even minutes. You must also be able to reproduce a pose. Modeling, for me, it’s almost like doing yoga! By the way I often take care of the whole project (makeup, styling and concept and also post-production): I love to choose and mix the elements and coordinate a team.v

From the series of images ‘Venus’ Alexandre Cabanel, ‘The Birth of Venus’ Orginal (left), New version (right)

Are you self-taught or have you completed specific courses/educational schools as regards art and poetry? Totally self-taught. When I am interested in a subject I want to know it in every details, (un)fortunately. There are very delicate issues, like the ones I am facing in this period, which give me very strong anxiety and nausea. The human mind is as beautiful as complex.

Furthermore, are your creativity influenced/affected by your choice of educational studies? If yes, how? In reality it is the choice of my educational studies to have been influenced by my interests & creativity ďżź I would like to follow some courses (and finish university) but I am in strong economic difficulty, as most of the artists, so it is not possible for now.

From the series of images ‘Venus’ William-Adolphe Bouguereau ‘The Birth of Venus’ Orginal (left), New version (right)

What or who inspires you when creating art and poetry? Are there other artists you relate to or consult with in your creative process when you experiment with new artistic ideas? Most ideas come unexpectedly while I’m sleeping or I’m doing something completely different. I rarely stop to think about a specific topic with the aim of producing a new series of works: there are some research topics to which I think a lot, my mind incorporates data and then mix them together without my control.. then, when I least expect it, the idea comes into my head. I have an active dialogue with some people (my mother, some artist friends) but it is not strictly tied to creative projects.

Model: Anna Utopia Giordano Photographic credit: Elia Vaccaro / Mua Annamaria Sarpone

What is your creative workflow when creating a piece (or a poem)? There is no standard workflow!

Do you use any kind of software or special equipment when being creative? Regarding the work done digitally, I use photo-editing, video and graphic software (gimp, photoshop and others). Since I do not have a flourishing economic situation I have learned to fend for. Some projects are on stand-by because I want to have a very high image quality and I can not afford to buy a camera at the moment. Canon? If you can hear me please help me: I guarantee a lot of publicity!

Model: Anna Utopia Giordano Photographic credit: Paolo Puopolo

How much time do you spend creating a series of images or a poem in average? When and how do you know that a picture, an artistic project or a poem is finished? It depends I can take 5 minutes or a month. How do I know if a poem is finished? I don’t know how to explain.. i read it and simply it works! ￟

Model: Anna Utopia Giordano Photographic credit: Paolo Puopolo

From the series of images ‘Venus’ Hayez ‘Venere’ Orginal (left), New version (right)

What has been the biggest challenge and best experience in your artistic career so far? The last expo at the Museum Het Valkhof! I hold a conference about the project Venus and body perception... it was a really interesting experience. I am also satisfied with the last project “Land of Eden� at Edenlandia, the historical theme park in Naples. I am the creative director and model and I coordinated a team of excellent and creative. The project supports Edenlandia (website + blog) and ZooWall.

Do you have a favourite personal art piece? I’m most of all deeply tied with my poems. Has just been published the e-poetry collection “Fotogrammi - Depictions Ideas” (Ed. Siska) in collaboration with Enrico Santus Aversano and the photographers Milo Alterio, Lorenzo Brusadelli, Francesca Cao, Daniele Carfora, Paolo Liggeri, Alessandro D’Onofrio, Vincenzo Pagliuca, Nicola Serra, Un Artista Minimalista e Marco Ventimiglia.

From the series of images ‘Venus’ Artemisia Gentileschi ‘The Sleeping Venus’ Orginal (left), New version (right)

SELECTED rhapsodies BY ANNA UTOPIA GIORDANO | lapse | benumbed sloughs canker vermeils while chirping rasped quaveries twangs (sibilance) seep abstracted & flexed through AmenhotepĂ­s grave. dilation

+ silence

leans intermitted waiting for eruption deserts rugged entities, univocal shells, and close to the chime claws the gouts

eventide phantasy docosahexaenoic rondures, elicited from airy melt, soar against swirly flued charnels maundering mildly fleetting scraped disruption

From the series of images ‘Venus’ Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres ‘Venus Anadyomäne’ Orginal (left), New version (right)

m the series of ges ‘Venus’ azquez nere e Cupido’ inal (left), w version (right)

Which art piece has been the most difficult for you to create? Maybe the next. I’m going through a difficult phase of research but I do not know if it will come or not a new project. I think not being able to withstand the topics on which I’m reasoning. I believe that this time I will be compelled to put everything in standby.

Do you have a new artistic projects in mind for the future? I’m working on an interesting music project with the artist IABO and some other collaborations. Regarding my own projects, as I said, they come unexpected .. I do not know when and if I will be producing a new series.

Glimpse Dear Anna, I know you are the founder of the e-zine Glimpse. Do you want to give a brief description of the concept behind this e-zine? Glimpse is an e-zine that collects visions, shades and flashes of words & images. It was born in August 2010, the first 10 issues present a journey through the nuances of color. The next issue number 8 is related to Brown.

How long time have you been working with the magazine? I’m the founder and creative director, Glimpse was born from my head during a warm summer afternoon!

What is your goals with this e-zine? To give visibility to artists and poets without asking anything in return. Appearing in Glimpse is absolutely free and always will be, clearly there is a selection among the many materials received and we can not guarantee to publish all. Normally we publish 10 artists for each issue.

From the series of images ‘Venus’ Westal Richard ‘The Power of Venus’ Orginal (left), New version (right)

Do you work on the e-zine by yourself or do you collaborate with others? I collaborate with some artists and together we decide who and what to publish.

Thanateros I understand that you are involved in the project Thanateros in collaboration with Luca Catellani and Andrea Ropes, composing Rhapsodies. Can you tell me more about this project? Thanateros is a project related to the esoteric, the passion, the instinct and chaos magic. Thanateros is a project born in collaboration with Luca Catellani: the photographs are shot by him, I wrote the Rhapsodies. During the exhibitions I often write and play the performances, along with Andrea Ropes. The performances are a mix of poetry, theater and shibari and are based on the context in which we exhibit. I have been a diva of the 50’s, a vampire, a goddess...

Have you tried to participate in other collaborative projects focusing on images as an artistic way to express yourself as an artist? I collaborated with several artists for video and photographic work, those that I remember with most love are certainly IABO, (b)ananartista, Un Artista Minimalista.

Scelsi di respirare pulsazioni - corde - schegge de vuoti porosi gluoni schizzi impressioni assordanti

fragili e feriti, filamenti su occhi entimemici nihil novi metessi sfigmica e fogli di sileni irritati nabissano martelli illesi

sorride i suoi bottoni septici fiaccolano, leccando sorgenti omofone di silenzio scissile onde tattili, puntiformi

from the series of images POPbottles

I know you have had many exhibitions. What memorable responses have you had to your work at the exhibitions? What has the publics reaction to your work been? During one of my rhapsodomancy performances a girl burst in tears! Definitely one of the most emotional reactions. Rhapsodomancy is a form of divination through poetry: I present to the public hundreds of keychain (or other objects like a clothes peg) on which I write a single different verse for each keychan taken from my Rapsodies (the way I name my poems). I usually ask to all who are present during the performance to formulate a question in their minds, close the eyes and choose only one keychain from the hundreds then they have to interpret the sentence (the answer to their question) written on it. It’s interesting because I use complicated language (technical terms of mathematics, physics, biology .. or the names of ancient deities unfamiliar) and people are initially quite embarrassed .. so I exhort them to look on the internet or open encyclopedias.

Have you ever experimented with other forms of artistic genres before working with images and poetry as artistic expressions? My first approach to the “creativity stuff� was through colored gel pens: I drew a lot. At a certain point I eliminated the colors preferring only black, so I started to use ink. My drawings are very abstract and are composed of curved lines only and I am very precise then complete a single drawing is a long process... I heard that someone has tattooed on his back one of my drawings too! The same time I also started to write poems. So as I filed the drawing (removing the colors, sharpening the line, choosing to give forms to my creative flow) I have also begun to erode the words .. my poetic style has evolved a lot over the years. Initially it was a more direct stream of consciousness then it has become extremely tight and it is currently changing again.

from the series of images PopBottels

from the series of images POPbottles

I know you have created three awareness-rising (and quite provocative) projects called ‘My Social Generation’, ‘Venus’ and ‘PopBottles’. They are all projects that relates to and question tendencies in society today. Personally, I think all of your projects are brilliant! In ‘My Social Generation’ you bring focus on the way today’s teens use social networks to experiment with themselves and their own identities. The series of images ‘Venus’ challenges our idea of the ideal of feminine beauty, strongly affected by digital technologies today. In this interview the series of images ‘POPbottles’ will especially be in focus. I’ll therefore ask you more closely about this project in particular.

First of all, I wonder how you came up with the ideas to all three of your artistic projects - especially regarding ‘POPbottles’? POPbottles comes from a dream I had on the night between 26 and 27 July 2011. I awoke the next morning and I worked on this project for a week. My Social Generation is a project born attending social networks and helping my cousins with their homework. I had a long and distressing research on how population range between 11 and 16 years use the internet and their own bodies. Venus was born spontaneously while I was doing some graphics work. I have not premeditated none of these projects and I do not even “suffered” in search of the “best way” to express the concepts .. I just did it.

from the series of images POPbottles

Which topics do you try to bring focus on in the artistic project ‘POPbottles’ and why? Why do you use the slogan ‘Parents, please feed your kids responsibly?’ in connection with ‘POPbottles’? POPbottles is related first of all to consumerism: we live in a society where everything is sold, even emotions and feelings. Parents have a fundamental role in the growth of the child but they are too often replaced by toys, television, internet. I think that this dynamic creates a deep emotional gap responsible for how kids manage their own bodies and their choices in adolescence. I believe that among the causes there is certainly an affective emptiness. Using the slogan “please parents feed you kids responsibly”, I mean exactly that. Give birth to a baby is a huge responsibility, human beings are not toys. Clearly, the project also speaks of the other side of the coin that is the increasing abuse of alcohol in adolescence due, perhaps, also to the lack of parental figures in the growth phase. I’m not judging our society, I’m not interested in it, I just think it appropriate to reflect on some issues that often remain “below the surface” and with my visual work I hope to do this.

Anna, you have chosen to use bottles with brands that are all very famous as a kind of universal symbolism that almost everyone at a certain age can relate to. Your POPbottles combine childish innocence and adult seriousness though the use of these different brands and logos. But I wonder how you have been able to judicially use the logos and brands for your artistic project? Ah! This is a very good question. The truth? I was never authorized to use logos and brands. It is a non-profit creative project, there is no commercial intent: I compared with my lawyer and other artists and they assured me that you can use logos and trademarks when the artistic purpose is stated and evident. The newspapers around the world have stated - with my big surprise - that the project is, indeed, art.. so everything went well. Honestly, I was also contacted by one of the alcohol brands and I had an interesting exchange of emails with their legal department: it’s all finished well, fortunately.

from the series of images POPbottles

from the series of images POPbottles

I have a very special feeling when looking at your series of images ‘POPbottles’, because I really feel that I can relate to some of messages in this artistic project due to the fact that my own generation in Denmark - unfortunately - has the world record in consuming alcohol (binge drinking). Even though the pictures are quite minimalistic in their expression, the message is very strong and unmistakable - and more relevant than ever. But how have the responses to ‘POPbottles’ been? How do people react on your indirect criticism and moralisation? I have read hundreds of threads on forums and blogs on Internet and the public has responded very well: they all understood my provocation although, in truth, some reactions have been staggering. I received lots of mail to buy the bottles (as mentioned above are not for sale: original sculptures will be used for an upcoming show) and a few have been terrifying, said: “Hello, I’d be glad to buy your Vodka-barbie feedbottles to use it for my son just born .. they are fantastic!”. I initially thought it was a joke! Instead I have received some other emails in which parents wanted to buy POPbottles for a gift to their children! I’m still shocked. However I’m not interested in saying what is right or what is wrong, I do not care to impose my point of view: I simply show some dynamics to stimulate dialogue.

Anna, you live in both Naples and Milan, Italy - for me that sounds incredible fascinating because I love Southern Europe. How is the art scene in Italy (especially in the main city)?

from the series of images POPbottles

Art scene. And Italy ? In Italy the art scene is very difficult. I can tell you my experience: Italian journalists were the last to contact me. I had requests for interviews from America, all around Europe, India, China and the rest of the world and only after 2 months finally I was contacted by someone from my country. Italy is very tied to art history, hardly a gallery owner invests in young people as art collectors usually ask for paintings by well-known and established artists. Buy and promote art for collectors and galleries is also an investment: in this period of severe economic crisis maybe they prefer not to risk.

from the series of images POPbottles

How will you describe the political incitement for supporting artists - established as well as upcoming - in Italia? Personally, I have experienced that my own images have been analysed in very different ways depending on viewer - and a few times the analysis of my images do not correspond with the ideas I originally had with the pictures. Have you ever experienced an analysis of your art that you couldn’t relate to - and do you even care about the various interpretations of your art? Even ourselves are interpreted in a different way from others. Everyone sees us in his own way, we fit into his vision. Obviously this happens also with creative works. I am not surprised and I have no problem: I often want to confuse deliberately the public by offering multifaceted works.

I can not describe it because, as far as I know, does not exist. If you know anything about that, please let me know!

I could not imagine a life without music because it can evoke various and contrasting emotions, and I therefore always listen to music when I’m creating a new piece of art. Are you too inspired by and listening to music when you are creative? If yes, what type of music are you listening to? Actually I’m in a period in which the sounds annoy me. I need silence and a few stimulus. My favorite band is The Doors, but I listen to all genres of music from rock to pop, from heavy metal to EBM, from classical music (I play the piano since I was a child) to rap.

Model: Anna Utopia Giordano Photograhpic credit: Franky

20. How do Italian culture, politics, social environment, religion, etc. affect your art, if they do? I am not only influenced by Italian culture but by the entire world society and history and more than “how” I can tell you “how much”: totally... because I’m a human being and when I was born I have been overwhelmed by the whole history of humanity.

How do your family and close friends relate to your choice of career as an artist and to your art in general? I never chose to be or not to be an artist, I’m just following a path. Parents and friends do not judge me, they let me do. I do not exclude the possibility that someday will close my website, I will stop writing and I will dedicate myself to something else. It can happen.

What role does an artist and art in general have in society according to you? They do not have a specific role... maybe they all have the ability to capture the spirit of the time (in one or more contexts) and express it in different forms.

Dear Anna, where do you hope to see yourself in the future? In the near future: alone on a beach stopping the thoughts for at least 7 days.

Any words of advice for aspiring artists? I’m not the best person to give advice, I can tell you what I always say to myself: be yourself.



Erin in blue, Oil on canvas 39ins x 52ins. ÂŁ22000

Dear Mark, I know that you are born in Manchester in 1963 and has accompanied your father in a family butchery and meat-packing business during your childhood and later as a teenager, after finishing two artistic foundation courses in Oldham and Rochdale Colleges of Art. How has the work at the butchery - where you have learned how to deal with flesh, bones and structures of sinew - influenced on your creativity, if it has had any influence? I did go into the family business from school but always wanted to do art, so i left and did a foundation course in Oldham and one in Rochdale. I was then going to do a degree but had no means to support this so ended up back in the meat market. The work was very tough and we started at 4am and worked right through until about 2pm.

How, when and why did you start creating art - as a completely contrast to the hard work at the butchery and the meat marked in Manchester? Have you always been drawing/painting? At the time all i wanted to do was get out of there so i went to life drawing classes every week to keep my interest in art up and also to keep sane.

Furthermore, how come you had to return to the butchery as a teenager after finishing artistic foundation courses in Oldham and Rochdale Colleges of Art instead of continuing pursuing your career as a (very talented) artist? Is it perhaps because of tendencies in art during this historical period or because of the contents of the artistic educations? On reflection I think it was probably this experience which helped more than any degree, as i made me realise I had to do it myself if I wanted to become an artist, it also made me realise that a degree or other qualification wasn`t as important as determination.

Colour study I, Oil on board, 22ins x 14ins. ÂŁ4500

Shadowlands no2, Oil on canvas, 46ins x 32ins. ÂŁ12000

Shadowlands no1, Oil on canvas, 46ins x 32ins. ÂŁ12000

In Denmark, many galleries bankrupt at this moment and are cheating their artists. This situation creates insecurity and instability for the artists who are therefore anxious about tying themselves to a specific gallery. Have you ever had negative experiences with galleries and how is the situation with the survival of the galleries in the UK at this moment?

I have read in an article by The Daily Telegraph, that you are considered to be one of Britian’s best selling figurative painters today. Are you therefore able to live solely from your art or do you have a profession besides being an artist?

I have had exhibitions with galleries who suddenly go bankrupt, and it`s a tough job to get any money back as its usually all gone before they let you know, unfortunately that`s how things go sometimes, but it`s useful to remember a gallery is usually just a rented room with nothing in it, so when they do get into difficulties there is usually nothing left.

I have been a full time artist for around 12 years now and make my living at it.

And has the financial crisis affected the sale of art in the UK (both as regards your art works and art in general)? I think the financial situation is now starting to bite a lot of artists and collectors, there isn`t the confidence around for people to spend money on art.

Colour study II, Oil on board, 22ins x 14ins ÂŁ4500

Mark, in the 1990s your life changed. Can you describe to me what happened? After 15 years of toil in the meat markets and also doing the life classes, the meat business finally closed. I then got a job as an art technition in a school, basically cleaning the art room setting out paints etc. This allowed me time to get my portfolio of life drawings together and I then went down to London and walked around the galleries asking if they were interested in looking at my work.

When, how and by whom where you ‘discovered’ as an artist and included in a gallery? I finally got a gallery to put some work in a show after about 3 years of trying.

Standing study 1, Oil on board, 36ins x 22ins. £8000 2

At this point I’m completely self-taught as an artist myself, and I’m therefore very impressed and inspired by your life story as a brilliant self-taught artist. But I’m curious to know whether it has been difficult for you to gain respect in the artistic world in the beginning of your relatively self-taught career as an artist? Furthermore, why did you choose largely to remain self-taught rather than pursuing further educational studies? I think being self taught has it`s advantages. I found art school to be very formulaic and they weren`t interested in what i wanted to do, but more interested in what they wanted me to do.

Dear Mark, you have had many solo and group exhibitions. What memorable responses have you had to your work at these exhibitions? What has the publics reaction to your work been? The reactions to my shows have been very encouraging although you can`t please everyone it`s always helps to get a good response.

You became a founder member of the Neomodern Art Group in the late 90s. Can you maybe explain more detailed what the goal of this art group was and what impact the membership has had on you? I was  contacted by Guy Denning about it many years ago, it was refreshing to see that a figurative based group were getting tired of the constant emptiness of conceptualism.

Have you ever experimented with other forms of artistic genres before drawing and painting or have you always been confidence with your artistic expression? I have tried every genre there is, i am constantly experimenting with things but I remain figuratively based as it`s my vehicle for expressing.

What has been the biggest challenge and best experience in your artistic career so far? The biggest challenge is to keep going, and the best experience is to get up each day with the thought this might be the day you do something special.

Amy standing, Pastel & collage, 32ins x 46ins. ÂŁ4500

Study for siren, Pastel & collage, 32ins x 46ins ÂŁ4500

Will you reveal what picturesque equipment you normally use when creating art? I have done many demonstrations in schools and my equipment is fairly basic. (it fits in my shoulder bag)

What or who inspires you when creating art? Are there other artists you relate to or consult with in your creative process when you experiment with new artistic ideas? I am influenced by many artists alive and from art history, I think that it`s more about constant experimenting with materials which is where I usually find my answers. I work alone and don`t have any other artists around me.

What is your creative workflow when creating a piece? Do you carefully plan each painting/ drawing or do you have a general idea from which you work from? I just fire away and don`t give too much thought, the drawings are mainly studies for lighting and poses, and the painting develop once I start, so I don`t have a fixed finishing point but stop when I think it`s done.

Ciprana head study 1, Pastel & collage, 32ins x 46ins. ÂŁ4500

How much time do you spend creating an art piece in average? When and how do you know that a picture is finished? I work on numerous pieces at once, so i will usually have about 10 drawings on the go and the same amount of paintings, it stops me overworking any particular one.

How do you select models for your paintings/drawings? Are you using the same models repeatedly and do you know your models in advance? Why are you only using young girls/women? Moreover, how do you make your models perform the positions that you have in mind? My friend is a photographer and was the only person I knew who hired models, so I asked if any would sit for me and that`s how I started. I have also used many male figures as well but in the paintings I find the female form more subtle and I can also incorporate the dress and other elements in there.

Ciprana head study 2, Pastel & collage, 32ins x 46ins. ÂŁ4500

Dear Mark, when I look at your stunning art I get an association to major artists such as Egon Schiele, Degas and Rembrandt. I feel that your works emphasizes the feelings of loneliness, vulnerability and fragility. Your works seem timeless and sometimes a bit sombre. But Mark, do you have certain themes and ideas that you pursue in your art? Which emotions or moods do you try to bring out in your pieces? I do seem to return to the same themes through my work and there is an element of isolation in them, don`t really know why but i suppose like most people it`s always there.

Personally, I have experience that my own images have been analyzed in very different ways depending on the viewer - and a few times the analysis of my images do not correspond with the ideas I originally had with the pictures. Have you ever experienced an analysis of your works that you couldn’t relate to - and do you even care about the various interpretations of your art?

I do find people have there own ideas of what i do, I don`t really mind what they say, but occasionally they may take what someone else has written and critcise me for something I haven`t said - but that`s life.

Study for flow, Pastel & collage. 32ins x 46ins. ÂŁ4500

You have created a series of beautiful paintings of the actress Emma Watson. How did you get in contact with miss Watson? How has it been to work with the actress and paint her? Did miss Watson had any influence on the expression in the paintings? How has miss Watson’s reaction to the paintings been? Why did you choose specific to use this actress as a model?

Emma was interested in buying a piece for herself and I asked her if she would sit for an exhibition of works. I wanted to try and draw her as a person rather than a celebrity so that was what I was aiming for. I think she liked the work and we also raised a good amount of money for the charity Camfed which helps educate young girls in Africa.

Natalie looking down no2, Pastel & collage, 32ins x 46ins. ÂŁ4500

Do you have a favorite personal art piece? I don`t have a favourite art piece.

Which art piece has been the most difficult for you to create? The most difficult piece to do is always the next one.

Do you have new art pieces in mind for the future? Yes i`m currently working on some new ideas based on classical imagery, it`s currently whirling around inside my head and when the times right i`ll get it down on canvas.

Hav you ever tried to work together with other artists and create a collaborative art project? No, never worked with other artists...

Natalie seated 2, Pastel & collage, 32ins x 46ins. ÂŁ4500

Mark, you live in the UK. How would you describe the art scene and the political incitement for supporting artists - established as well as upcoming - in the UK? The UK Â is pretty poor at any support structure for artist`s, art is seen as something as either a hobby or so way out it becomes irrelevant. Unfortunately they tend to miss out the fact that it is about human expression and if youngsters could express themselves through art/ music/ film we may be better off.

In Denmark, where I live, I often find that galleries and art institutions only want to exhibit the already established artists or artists with the right CV. How is this situation in the UK? Galleries are there primarily to make money, a lot of good young artist`s get overlooked as they scramble to get the big names, although i think in the future artists putting on their own shows will be the way to go.

Natalie seated 1, Pastel & collage, 32ins x 46ins. ÂŁ4500

How has your family and close friends related to your choice of career as an artist and to your art in general? It just seems to be what I do and we don`t mention it much, I tend not to walk around with a floppy hat and walking stick, but prefer to go to the pub like everyone else.

Which interests do you have besides art? I like music and play guitar, i played in a lot of bands in Manchester in the 80`s when it was buzzing, Mani from the stone roses is an old friend and we played in a few bands together.

What role does an artist and art in general have in society according to you? It`s very hard to make a role out for artists as it`s deemed largely unnecessary by politicians and the education system. I try to go into schools whenever I can and do workshops which is great as the kids get really enthused by it. The main problem is that conceptual fine art has become the establishment, and it would be difficult for anyone to make a case for it`s importance. Having said that art has many forms so music / film/ fashion / design / photography etc, the list is endless, but in this world of multi media and visual imagery it is fast becoming an important subject again.

Moorland no2, Oil on canvas, 46ins x 32ins. ÂŁ12000

Dear Mark, where do you hope to see yourself in the future? Hopefully still alive, and painting!

Any words of advice for aspiring artists? The only advice for young aspiring artists is to work hard, there is no other way. Also don`t take rejection as a negative but use it as a tool for getting angry and pushing yourself on even harder.

Into the river, Oil on canvas, 39ins x 51ins ÂŁ22,000

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Memories from a Nightmare

Dear Michael. I know that you are a talented self taught digital mixed media artist, but I’m curious to get to know more about your background, and moreover how, when and why you started creating art - in specific digital photographic manipulated art? I was born in Manila in 1986. I’m of a mixed heritage – American, Filipino and Spanish. My family, they are artists, from my mother who is a singer, a talented dancer, my sister who is a ballerina and my brother who is a 3d animator at Weta Digital in New Zealand. I used to make a lot of drawings when I was younger, I was very inspired by medieval fantasy especially wizards, nightmarish creatures to magical animals. When I got my first guitar when I was 17, I became addicted to creating music. I formed a band and we used to make punk covers and sometimes we made our own music. I got my first DSLR when I was 21. I was very excited about this because a year before this happened, I wished so bad to buy a DSLR but I never had the money! I got it as a gift and since then I’ve been trying to learn and educate myself in photography. A few months later, I saw for the first-time, a photo-manipulation on the internet. I got so inspired that I decided to learn this so, I looked up some tutorials on the internet and practiced and practiced. Back then, I used to have a 9-5 job English teaching job and when I get home I made some photo-manipulations every night and I started applying to open calls from around the world and then I started sending applications to galleries to my country. I gave up my job and focused my time on marketing myself and applying to open calls and also on finding freelance jobs.

The Earth room

Are you able to live solely from your art or do you have a profession besides being an artist? For the past 2 years, I’ve been living solely from my art. I freelance as a graphic designer; I usually do album covers and book covers and sometimes I write Photoshop tutorials.

Dear Mael, you have had many solo and group exhibitions. Are you therefore assigned to a specific gallery at this moment or do you participate in different exhibitions at various galleries without an assignment to only one gallery? I participate in different exhibitions at various galleries, with this, I get more exposure!

Furthermore, what memorable responses have you had to your work at the exhibitions? What has the publics reaction to your work been? The best so far was at the my recent at the Museum of Fine Arts in Tbilisi, Georgia, there were several students and people who came to me and whispered that my art is the best from the rest of the other works.

In Accommodating Parallel Cultures

The Unending Harbor of the Spiritualist

You have experimented with other forms of artistic genres before using the photographic medium to express yourself artistically. Has your artistic expression always been the same regardless of the artistic medium used, or has your artistic expression and style changed too over the years as part of your experimental process? Marie, I think that my artistic expression has been circling around similar themes for the past few years but when it comes to my style, especially in photo-manipulation, I believe that it has changed dramatically since I started; I constantly try to evolve and be better in my medium.

A Time Traveler’s Dream

There are a lot of digital art on the market these days. Therefore, what do you do in order to differentiate yours from the rest? Yes, there are so much amazing digital art out there, and some just leaves me mind-blown! So, in order to differentiate my works from the rest, I stick to my own style by expressing the emotions, and thoughts that I really want to express.

The Antennas to Heaven

What has been the biggest challenge and best experience in your artistic career so far? The biggest challenge I had to undergo in my artistic career is getting funds for travelling to the various artist residences and major exhibitions that I have attended. The best experience so far is to be actually in the artist-in-residences and to the exhibitions and get much praise and warmth from people around the world.

When using Photoshop, what are your favorite features in the program and which version of Photoshop do you use? Well, I love the Lasso Tools and the Lighting Effects Render Tool.

Which photographic equipment do you use? For 2 years, I used the Canon EOS 300d, but now I upgraded to a Canon EOS 500d, because I want to make finer pictures, I want it to be easier and I wanted to start making video art as well. I also have an RC for the 500d, a tripod, and a Nissin flash.

In Understanding the Relevance II

Intimate Delusions

Do you solely use your own images in your creative process or do you also use stock pictures bought from the Internet - or perhaps a combination? Marie, I use a combination, the reason why is, for example, a client wants me to use a beautiful blonde Caucasian woman for their image and I am staying in Manila, so I think it is impossible to find this kind of woman. :P So, I resort to stock images for this situation, but most of the time I use combination.

While you were smiling

What or who inspires you when creating art? Are there other artists you relate to or consult with in your creative process when you experiment with new artistic ideas? My main inspiration in making art is emotions; music also plays a big role because the emotions differ from each track I listen to. I usually bounce ideas and ask criticisms on my art from a good friend of mine – Izabela Oldak.

What is your creative workflow when creating a piece? (do you make any kind of research, sketches, drawings, etc. before creating your art? Do you carefully plan each image before a photo shoot/start working in Photoshop with an image or do you have a general idea that you work from?) I have made images by doing some research, and then sketch some ideas but sometimes I just sit in front of my computer after a good meal and start making art from my own and the stock photos in my computer. Most of the time, I have music on.use combination.

I could not imagine a life without music because it can evoke various and contrasting emotions, and I therefore always listen to music when I’m creating a new piece of art. I already know that you are very inspired by emotional differences in life - but are you too inspired by and listening to music when you are creative? If yes, what type of music? Aha! Yes, indeed Marie! I listen to a lot of types of music; I would listen to genres from trip-hop to indie, post-rock to world music, house to lounge to dark techno.

How long time do you spend to create an art piece in average? It varies sometimes it takes like 6 hours sometimes it would take days.

The Dream Walker

Your works are very surreal and remind me of an unreal dream. Sometimes your pictures are very simple - almost minimalistic - in their composition, other times they contains several details. Some of your art works emphasize the feeling of obscurity, loneliness and eternity, while others give associations to happiness and carelessness. Your pictures vary immensely which therefore makes them even more interesting for the viewer to study closely. But Michael, do you have certain themes and ideas that you pursue in your art? Do your art works contain specific symbols (I have noticed that specific objects are used repeatedly in your works)? What is your goal when creating art? Yes, I have certain themes that I repeatedly pursue and that is the search of happiness, freedom as well as the dilemmas we have to go through in the journey. Most of the objects I use repeatedly are representations of the emotions and sentiments I feel. I may seem like a very melancholic person but I’m different in real, I think. I make these artworks because I love the feeling of melancholy and sentimental emotions. It feels good. My goal is simply to create something thought provoking, mind bending and something that once you stare at, it will remain in your head for some time. The Boy Who Flew in a Boat

The Architect and the Engineer

The Fish Tales

How do you select models, animals and objects for your images? Hmm, how do I explain this? I select them depending on the image quality, the pose of the model (object or animal), and also sometimes the lighting on the image.

Are you using the same models repeatedly and do you know your models in advance before a photo shoot? Sometimes, I repeat the same models; I do try to talk to them first before doing a shoot.

Do you maybe even use yourself as a model in your images - if yes, why? I have never done that before, but I think I would like to try it someday to use myself as the model.

Furthermore, how do you get your models to perform the positions that you have in mind? I make sketches of what I want to see in my image and then from there I demonstrate the pose to them.

The Machinations of the Perturbed One

The First Day

Personally, I have experience that my own images have been analyzed in very different ways depending on viewer - and a few times the analysis of my images do not correspond with the ideas I originally had with the pictures. Have you ever experienced an analysis in an art review of your pictures that you couldn’t relate to - and do you even care about the various interpretations of your art? Yes, I have a lot of these experiences as well and I get surprised sometimes that they had such views and analysis on my images. I respect it though and I try to study my images according to their views and yes I think sometimes I see their point.

Have you ever tried to work together with other artists and create collaborative art projects? Yes, I have tried this before but most of the artists I want to collaborate with are not near my country and it has always been difficult.

Do you have a new series of images in mind for the future? There’s none at the moment because at present, I’m trying to put time in studying portrait photography and street photography which has been a huge interest for me lately.

Do you have a favorite personal art piece? If the question means, a favorite piece from my portfolio then I would say “The Story Teller�.

The Story Teller II

Which art piece has been the most difficult for you to create? I had difficulty in making the “In Undermining the Rising City� image.

Michael, you live in Tbilisi, Georgia - for me that sounds incredible fascinating because I have never been there myself. How is the art scene in Georgia (especially in the main city)? How will you describe the political incitement for supporting artists - established as well as upcoming - in Georgia? I have been here for only a month and a half and I’ve learned from a Georgian artist that most of the organizations that give funds/or support to the arts are much more likely to give funds to foreign artists collaborating with a Georgian artist. If a Georgian artist tries to get funds for himself, it would be quite difficult. I think the government focuses mainly in promoting tourism in Georgia. Most of the smaller galleries that I have been to, shows amazing Georgian art (paintings in general) but when it comes to digital art, I believe that their first International Digital Art exhibition surfaced last year. The big galleries and museums have been showing international artists and the past month, there was a great interest in photography in most big galleries and museums.

The Premonition

Dear Michael, I know you have established an artist-in-residence program in March 2012 called Ang Bahay ng Sining or The House of Art for both national and international artists (lasting one month), based in Quezon City as the premier arts, culture, music and design hub in Metro Manila.

How did you come up with the idea to this artist-in-residence program? I came up with this last August 2011 at my friend’s house in Poland. I was thinking then of making an artist-in-residence in the Philippines but then it was just a thought and there were some talks but it didn’t really materialize. I came back to the Philippines, met some old friends and talked about the same thing while on a picnic. After that, it then became serious because, my other friend and I wanted to make some sort of movement since art isn’t that much appreciated in today’s society. So, I decided to make my flat an artist-in-residence. A couple of weeks of advertising and I learned that the owner of my flat wants to sell it, so there was panic and dread that the Bahay ng Sining would not be happening, I tried however to ask some of my friends if they could house some artists in exchange for international art, then it was like a miracle. One of my good friends said yes and since then, they have been very supportive! In a month’s time, the first artists for Bahay ng Sining would be coming. You can check out the facebook page and website for Bahay ng Sining to get to know who our amazing artists would be!

What is your future goal with Ang Bahay ng Sining? The main reason why I created this was to foster a movement in the Philippines where art will become integrated with society. I intend to bring art closer to the Filipino masses by introducing the different mediums in the arts to develop appreciation and further the connectedness of Filipinos towards traditional and contemporary art and music. There is this connotation in the Philippines where art is only for the rich and the wealthy, so Bahay ng Sining also aims to remove that.

The Wailing Calls of the Night Companions

What do you hope that each artist will be able to gain from the artist-in-residence? My vision is that the artists will have great opportunities in creating high quality artworks, professional exchanges and exploration of a culture different from their own. Aside from that, I believe that they will have a lot of fun, smiles and great moments in the residence as well in the city.

What are the criteria when applying as an artist to the artist-in-residence program in Ang Bahay ng Sining? How do you select the artists to the program? The criteria are as follows: Emerging to mid-career and established artists must be active in the field of contemporary art with an interest in exploration and production of collaborative work during the residency period. It is expected that the artists will be active in engaging with the dynamic environment of the city and use the opportunity to help inspire and contribute to the growth of the local art scene. Basically, we select the artists depending on the quality of their artwork and their proposal. The proposal should be in line with our vision – community art.

How many artists can participate in the artists-in-residence program? At present, we can only accept two – four artists both in Bahay ng Sining and Balay Kalamragan.

How has the response to Ang Bahay ng Sining been so far? So far, we’ve had many applications from emerging to established artists and just a few days ago we have already picked our two artists for our program on September.

You describe on your website how one of your goals with Ang Bahay ng Sining is to remove the local popular connotation that art is only for the wealthy how do you intend to do this in reality and why do you think this connotation of wealth and art has emerged in the first place? My plan is like this: an Art Festival in the heart of my city every weekend, where artists, musicians and performance artists can either show or sell their work to the general public. With this, I believe that many minds and hearts will be opened, they will also somehow be used to the fact that there is a weekly showing of artistic talent in the center of the city, I tell you this can change the way people think, just put in some good food and drinks and art will pave its way to the people’s minds and hearts. I have proposed a project like this to the local government and in our city and it is currently in the works! Aside from that, the artist-in-residencies I have created will also help by introducing international contemporary art to the public through workshops, lectures which involves the community art. By taking art to the streets and showing it in public places, we then could slowly remove the connotation that art is only for the rich.

Besides the Ang Bahay ng Sining residence you also have the Balay Kalamragan (House of Enlightenment) as a special artist-in-residence program in San Miguel, lasting 6 weeks from 1st of October to 15th of November. What is special about this artist-in-residence program? How far is the geometric distance from Ang Bahay ng Sining and how many artists can live in this residence at the same time? It is special because it is only for traditional artists and it is nestled in a deep lush region where a small community of farmers and their families live. The Balay Kalamragan is also very near a waterfall which makes it almost like a spiritual dwelling place, hence the name for it which means Enlightenment. Artists can make anything from paintings to land art, from sculptures to community based art. The distance from Bahay ng Sining to Balay Kalamragan is 535.1 miles. You can get here by plane which only takes an hour and from the airport, you can rent a car which is a 2 hour drive from the airport. 2-4 artists can live here at the same time.

The Wreathed Nomad

The Irregularites of Discernment

How do Filipino culture, politics, social environment, religion, etc. affect your art, if they do? I try to express an existing emotion within me at a given time; the experiences I have from my culture, the unsatisfactory thoughts of how the government runs the country, the social environment I grew up with and the present environment that affects me plays a major role in the art that I make. Most of what I do is universal in itself and the images that I make tend to have emotions that everyone can relate to.

How do your family and close friends relate to your choice of career as an artist and to your art in general? I must say that they are proud of me and they have supported me all the way in my career; there was no discouragement at all! I’m really happy I have my family.

What role does an artist and art in general have in society according to you? I think artists and art play a major role in society because it allows the stimulation of thoughts, experiences and emotions of each individual which then creates an atmosphere of excitement and wonder. As one artist said, “Arts play a central role in the life of every vibrant city�.

Dear Michael, where do you hope to see yourself in the future? I hope to see myself living near a wide and picturesque lake with a great wife and nice kids. This lake will not be too far from a city because I like cities too.

The Secrets of Freemasonry

Any words of advice for aspiring artists? Find yourself, be yourself, express yourself, don’t stop dreaming, don’t stop doing what you love to do and don’t stop even if you’ve succeeded.


Art explained impressionism 1867-1886 The impressionism was an art movement which stated in France in the 19th century. The word impressionism was coined in 1874 after a hostile critic had looked at a picture entitled Impression: Sunrise by Claude Monet (1840-1926). Even though the art movement was not well regarded within society at that time, the impressionism marked a momentous break from tradition in European painting. The break occurred as a result of a change in methodology. The impressionists applied paint in small touches of pure colour rater than broader strokes compared to painters form previous art movements. They studied the difference in colours of the shadows closely and in some cases used the photograph (which had just been invented) as a kind of assistive‘sketch’ in order to capture a specific moment. The development of the photographic technology helped to remove the painting from the naturalistic idiom since the photographers took over one of the picturesque artist’s most important tasks: the accurate recording of reality. The painter was therefore able to experiment more freely with the picturesque idiom. In general, politics and society were not important themes in the impressionistic paintings since the main purpose of the paintings were to capture a particular fleeting impression of colour, light and mood, whereby the impressionists often where painting out doors. The images therefore often portrayed outdoor scenes such as landscapes, the everyday life, parks, theaters, music halls, spas, etc. The motifs in themselves were not essentials, but instead the motives’ colors, light and atmosphere determined the artis’s choice of motifs. The movement and changeability were essential. Moreover, by choosing to paint the mentioned motives the Impressionists once again broke with the previous traditional rules for choosing subjects and motives for paintings. Furthermore, the intent to capture the unique moment in a painting led to the fact, that the pictures during this historical period were considered as unfinished badly painted sketches rather than actual finished works. But the relatively vague outline of the motives and visible brush strokes were exactly the factors creating a dynamic and vibrant expression which today characterise the paintings form the impressionistic area. Their pictures were very bright and vibrant. The artists liked to capture their images without detail but with bold colors. Some of the greatest impressionist artists were Edouard Manet, Camille Pissaro, Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot and Pierre Auguste Renoir. While the term Impressionist covers much of the art of this time, there were smaller movements within it, such as Pointillism, Art Noveau and Fauvism.

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Toxique Magazine vol. 2  

Toxique Magazine is a free online art e-magazine featuring both established and upcoming artists from all over the world. This is the second...

Toxique Magazine vol. 2  

Toxique Magazine is a free online art e-magazine featuring both established and upcoming artists from all over the world. This is the second...