January 16, 2014

Above images: Esther Ruiz’s studio, 2013.  New Stone Age, Hydraulic Cement, Neon, Blue Marble, Plexiglas, 10” x 12” x 12”. 2012                                

Name: Esther Ruiz

Studio Location: Brooklyn Fireproof #311, Brooklyn, New York

Practice: Sculpture & Digital Collage and Drawing

Website: www.estherruiz.com

Please give a brief bio. (Where are you from? How did you start? Is your background in art?)

There are basically two ways I work. I will either start out with some sort of rough sketch, a really basic form and build the mold from there. When they involve neon I spend a lot of time planning the mold structure and dead space for the transformers and wiring. The second way I work is began by fiddling with pieces of glass, plexiglas, rocks and neon I have lying around in my studio and pair up pieces I think go together.  Once I’ve done all of the figuring, I build the molds out of forming tubes, wood scraps, Plexiglas or anything else I have in the studio. I usually work on the floor, and I’m quite messy. It’s a furious process once the concrete is poured because the working time is so short. Once it is poured though, I place the objects and wait. 

Who/ what motivates and influences your work and why?

            Sometimes you really just have to motivate yourself. I’m my biggest critic, always pushing myself to make something more neat, more precise, more perfect than the way I imagined the thing to exist in my mind. It’s a battle really. Everything influences me. I just take things in and let them exit through the things I make.

Real life situations that inspire you?

            Walking around, watching commercials, looking at rocks, hearing other artists talk about their work.

How do you think/ want people to respond to your work?

            Well, I want it to make them think. About how it works, what it’s made of and what they think it’s supposed to do; either literally or mentally. I really have no set parameters for what I want the work to evoke in people. I’m happy to hear how others respond to them. What it makes them think of, and for the most part, people are right on with what I’m thinking about. I usually hear, “It reminds me of a scene from a sci-fi movie” and I really dig that!

What was the last show you saw that knocked your socks off?

            XSTRACTION and Holton Rower at The Hole, and Lucio Fontana at Gagosian Gallery a couple of years ago has stuck in my mind distinctly.

Current adventures/ future plans? What’s next?

            I’m in a group show at Heiner Contemporary in D.C. right now so that’s really exciting. And I’ve just finished a busy fall season with many shows in the northeast. I’ve got a couple of shows planned for March and I’m thinking about grad school and residencies abroad.

Any advice to other artists? What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

            When I read the letter that Sol LeWitt wrote to Eva Hesse in 1965, I felt SO good. It’s the best thing I’ve EVER read and I re-read it all the time. I suggest any artist read it, print it and post it in their studio. It gives freedom.

            Trust you instincts, self doubt only gets worse with age so, learn to deal with it and don’t let it take over your practice. Trust your instincts and leave the bullshit at the studio door.

http://jwvpk.wordpress.com/2009/03/10/letter-from-sol-lewitt-to-eva-hesse/

How much of “you” is present in your work?

            I struggle with this concept a lot. And I’m constantly asking other artists this question too. I want to eliminate myself from my work so that ideas are clear and untarnished by my personal life. But I think an artist is inherently in their work from conception to creation. 

Esther’s work can be found at her website,  www.estherruiz.com, and is available to purchase at www.theartmint.com.

 

 

 

May 29, 2013

Name: Samuel Jablon

Studio Location: Brooklyn, NY

Practice: Poet/Artist

Website: www.SamuelJablon.com

 

Please give a brief bio. (Where are you from? How did you start? Is your background in art?)

I was born in Binghamton, NY running around my mom’s 2000 square foot studio, in a converted factory. Most of my childhood was spent studying with this wild composer, Eric Ross. So…yes…art…has always been an aspect of my life.

I left Binghamton when I was 18, searching for something different. I found Naropa University, a school founded by Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, John Cage, and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (a monk), in Boulder, Colorado. I majored in Interdisciplinary Studies, and Writing and literature. I wanted something different. I found it. It was different.

Since Boulder, I have traveled, and been based in Brooklyn, NY, where I write, exhibit, curate, perform, and work in the studio. My last two years have been spent completing an MFA in Studio Art, at Brooklyn College.

What continues to inspire you and keep you motivated in the studio?


I find motivation and inspiration first in the studio, and second from conversations with other artists and people. I like when ideas collide, conflict, and reinforce a dialogue.

I interview artists because it creates a platform for this kind of dialogue.

What is your medium/media of choice? Why?

Words are important to me. I started to use language because I know how to play with words. Language is tricky, words carry weight, and they are definitive and elusive. I use them because I understand how to define them, it is an aspect of my work that I sink into, believe in, and hold on to. There is visual language, oral language, and written language, and I use all three (not always at the same time).

I am a poet and there is a need to use language. I am an artist and there is a need to make.


How has your practice evolved over the years?       

It used to be poetry and art. Now the two have merged into one.


Tell us about your creative and conceptual process. Where do your ideas come from/relate to?

My creative and conceptual ideas start with writing. I will write down an idea, and that will become the beginning of a piece. The idea then turns into the text for the piece.  In a recent piece titled, Gimme The Loot, the text came first.

American Dreams

gimme the loot

pass it flex it form it

swipe it spend it

delicious

i’m lovin it 

I then decide if it should be a poem, performance, or object. This one became an object.

Other times I’ll just start working, and see what happens.

Who/ what motivates and influences your work and why?

Poetry is a huge influence, and I look at old walls. I like the history of what they have gone through. There are 1000s of obliterated stories in them.


Real life situations that inspire you?

When someone is walking by you on the subway and you overhear a portion of their conversation, but only a snippet, and they disappear. I like those partial narratives, and the random intimacy of a passerby. 

Current adventures/ future plans? What’s next?

I keep asking myself that. “What’s next?”

Currently I am moving studios, and planning a performance for the Howl Festival. There are group shows in Germany and in China, a performance at the NYC Poetry Festival, and a few writing projects coming up.

Basically I am excited to set up shop in my new studio, and get to work.


Any advice to other artists? What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

The best advice I was given was from an artist that no one has ever heard of. It was…Why try? Just do.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

February 12, 2013

Name: Nick Naber

Studio Location: Staten Island, NY

Practice: Drawing & Painting, occasionally other media

Website: nicknaber.com

Please give a breif bio. (Where are you from? How did you start? Is your background in art?)

I grew up in Wisconsin, about 40 miles from Milwaukee.  I was always drawing and painting the things around me as a child.  It was a way for me to be independent, a way of creating my own world through art making.

When I went to college, I first thought I wanted to be an architect because of my love of architecture.  When I took one studio course, I instantly knew that it wasn’t for me.  I was more interested in the fantasy than making things stand upright.  I went on to get my BFA in Painting and Drawing at The Peck School of the Arts, and later my MFA in Painting and Drawing from the Pratt Institute. 

What continues to inspire you and keep you motivated in the studio?

Since moving from BedStuy to Staten Island, I find myself drawn more and more towards shipping buildings, industrial equipment, and the boats peppering the harbor.  I’ve started finding the oddities while exploring my neighborhood.

Exhibitions continually inspire me.  Even if I don’t find certain work especially compelling, it always works its way into my psyche on a subconscious level.  Seeing exhibitions motivates me to work in my studio, even if I’m stuck.

How do you work physically?

I tend to start off with sketching or photographing things that catch my eye.  I take tons of notes.  I will then draw multiple preliminary drawings, sometimes detailed, or sometimes just larger sketches, usually on bristol paper.  Eventually I move to a finer paper, with my drafting tools and drafting table.  They aid in capturing the allusions to architecture I want to evoke, and the exactness of architectural drafting.  My drawings are not perfect, and that’s important for me.  I enjoy the overdrawn, heavy, and erased lines that build on the surface of the work.  Like a palimpsest, they show its history.

My paintings begin the same way. With the paintings, however, I work on the ground, with the canvas on my lap.  I like to be very close to it to have a lot of control over the paint and brush.  These works look straight edged from a distance, but my hand is evidenced when you get closer.  Once that physicality is seen, the illusion of taped, pristine lines dissolves.

What do you find frustrating/ enjoy about your process?

I work in an ordered way.  It becomes a sort of system.  At times this is great, because I can create a large body of work while working in the system and innovating within my sets of rules for each.  But, at the same time, It can be incredibly frustrating when the work begins to change, because I am used to a certain way of working.  That’s when I think it’s good to loosen up and change medias, subject matter, or even just draw a still life to get my head in the right space.

What is your medium/ media of choice? Why?

I have mostly identified myself as a drawer.  I do paint, but I would never call myself a master of that craft.  I love drawing because of its infinite possibilities.  Drawing allows me to be freer in my expression than painting, photography, installation or video.  It is also a medium that I have been using since I was a kid.  It is a meditative, transformative experience to draw.

How has your practice evolved over the years?

In many ways, much of my practice is the same as it was 6 years ago.  I tend to latch onto a specific place or idea and work from it.  That being said, I make a lot more work that I ever did.  Earlier on I was always worried about having a “finished” piece when I was done with a work.  I thought that it had to be perfect every time.  I am much more at ease now.  I make a lot of drawings I would consider a failure, a lot of bad paintings, too.  I have finally gotten to a point where I learn from each of these failures.  I think through this failure comes the better idea, the more confident stroke, or the precise line.

I have also become less agitated when I’m not in my studio making work. I now think of my time outside of my studio as studio time.  In this way that I am constantly observing and digesting visual information around me, and putting it to use in my work later.

Tell us about your creative and conceptual process. Where do your ideas come from/relate to?

My creative process starts when I am attracted to something — in most instances, architecture.  I have this fascination with physical habitable space.  I wonder what the inside of each building looks like, the things the structure has witnessed, and the lives that have come and gone. 

Who/ what motivates and influences your work and why?

Conceptually, I am interested in ideas or feelings that have a direct link to our built environment: gentrification, power structures, ideas of homosexuality, prison planning, and loneliness.  I build out of these ideas and observations though drawing.  It can be a long process before the visual and the conceptual come together and form a cohesive work.

How do you think/ want people to respond to your work?

I would like people to respond to my work in a way that keeps the work open.  I don’t want one response to it, because I think it is more interesting when people take their time with the work and think about how their own life and experience influences how they see the work.  It is my job to make them see those things.

What was the last show you saw that knocked your socks off?

Picasso Black & White at the Guggenheim Museum.  I don’t usually find myself in awe of Picasso because I already know his greatness.  This exhibition, however, really drove home the fact that he is an absolute master of his craft.  Even if it is a “bad” Picasso, the work is still amazing in its skill and execution.

Daniel Buren at Bortolami was a confounding exhibition.  I don’t know how vertical stripes in various colors and lights has stuck with me for so long, but it has.  I think it’s the way he implies architecture without the traditional “form” of architecture.  I don’t necessarily love it, but is seeping into my consciousness. 

Current adventures/ future plans? What’s next?

My current adventure is making a new body of work. I have been making tons of bad drawings lately and loving every minute of it.  I am working through a bloc in the studio, which is frustrating but necessary.  It’s important to fail, because it means something new and better is on the horizon. 

Any advice to other artists? What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

The best advice I was ever given was not to let the little voice in your head tell you that you can’t do something. Just do it and see where it leads you.

October 26, 2012

Name: Mark Parsons

Studio Location:  Brooklyn, NY

Practice:  Art

Website:  ThatArtist.com


Please give a brief bio. (Where are you from? How did you start? Is your background in art?)

Art was unavoidable.

There was a small church between my back yard and the playground beyond that.  I’d cut through the bushes, and see the priest walk through an unceremonious door in his street clothes.  On the other side he’d emerge wrapped in purple vestments, wielding bronze implements of worship, smelling like incense.

By 7th grade I was learning about whaling, because New Bedford was the local city, and because everyone had some connection with the sea.  Moby Dick was practically a religious text.  In the winter on my bike, a morning paper route had me coasting silently underneath the dusty red and blue arcs of ship’s hulls.  Everything was beautiful.  Everything had a shape that was connected to a purpose.  Every purpose was connected to a history.  

I ended up being a carpenter in a town that didn’t build new houses, because we wanted to respectfully take apart the old ones.  I’d find things hidden in the walls – insulation made from hundred year old newspapers, a whale bone tooth brush, nother carpenter’s chisel.

The first thing I thought I’d be was a priest.  Then a doctor.  Then an artist.


What continues to inspire you and keep you motivated in the studio?

Small, seeming insignificant moments of everyday life are always tugging to declare their meaning.   I want to collect it, piece it together, layer it, until that meaning is available.


How do you work physically?

There’s a time to think, and there’s a time to work.  If I think too much – something I am prone to do – the only way out is to work, because it helps shut out the noise. Even if it’s not loud, I often wear hearing protection - to avoid being distracted by sounds that have nothing to do with anything.  I see better when I can’t hear.  The complex visuals of my prints and drawings want to address that.  We’re all surrounded by noise.  The prints are maps, and charts. I’ve learned to allow myself to be lost.

What do you find frustrating/ enjoy about your process?

The opposite of everything I just said.

What is your medium/ media of choice? Why?

I don’t have a preferred medium any longer because I want to go outside the concerns of “sculpture” or “printmaking” as narrower disciplines within the rubric of Art…  If I am making marks - be it with a pencil, a piece of steel, or ink - it is always about registering information collected from a physical or intellectual environment.  It doesn’t matter if it is a reflection on a piece of glass, or a brick pattern, an MRI, or an architectural plan: it is part of a map, and it tells a story.


How has your practice evolved over the years?

Sculpture moved to drawing, moved to printmaking, back to sculpture.  During that progression I moved from strictly controlling every surface, every shape - to allowing for a more stochastic element in the process.  If I make up the rules, and then play the game alone – the outcome can be contrived.  So there is something brutally honest about bringing other people into the work with collaborative moments, and then I get to respond to that in a way I couldn’t anticipate.


Tell us about your creative and conceptual process. Where do your ideas come from/relate to?

“The lines that make up maps” have played out their importance to me on two scales:  

Macro:  After a hurricane I spent a year rebuilding a boat, and named it Lazarus.  I sailed Lazarus around the world for 3 years. Literally around, and back home.  …So on that scale, my life was literally dependent upon maps, reading maps, understanding maps.  Maps connected one point to the next, one culture to the next, one language to the next, one history to the next.  Connecting these points created a context.

Micro: On the scale of looking inside my own body to measure things.  We have tools of science and medicine that allow us to probe inside and to make assessments about whether things are in proper relationConnecting these points creates questions.


Who/ what motivates and influences your work and why? You do. Real life situations that inspire you?

Objects and spaces as much as people.  One time I climbed up on a very, very large stone that had been part of a wall, a Greek battlement on what is now the Turkish shoreline.  That giant rock had been there for thousands of years, and when I sat on it, it moved.  
That inspired me.


How do you think/ want people to respond to your work?

I used to care more about what people think.  I still do, but it’s less.


What was the last show you saw that knocked your socks off?

Alighiero Boetti at MOMA - is incredibly honest, personal, searching work.  He was so disciplined and so willing to risk and walk edges and be fresh and never seemed to lose his playfulness even in the labored canvasses.  Did you see the wicker chair drawing?  That is when I cried.


Current adventures/ future plans? What’s next?

I just finished a large sculpture titled Red Line that is made from a ton of recycled cotton pulp.  It is about the transition of “idea” to “drawing” to “object” - and back again.   Red Line is developed from collaborative drawings that were done while I was an Artist in Residence at Grounds for Sculpture:  I gave people a piece of paper and asked them to draw the homes they grew up in.  A piece of paper at the table is a private surface, however once they were finished I asked them all to re-draw on a shared piece of paper that was 8 1/2 by 11 feet.  All the personal drawings and memories were woven together through this process, and the resulting “map” became the basis for me to develop the sculpture. 

Red Line will be on exhibition for 5 months at Grounds for Sculpture before it is installed outside.  Once it’s outside, parts of it will fall away.  It will transition from a drawing to a sculpture, or from a sculpture to a drawing - depending on how you want to understand it.


Any advice to other artists?

If everything declares its own importance, the most important thing to know about anything, is what is not important.  That’s the part that you must ignore when you’re making your map.


Have a favorite quote?

Round the world! 
There is much in that sound to inspire proud feelings; 
but whereto does all that circumnavigation conduct? 
Only through numberless perils to the very point whence we started, where those that we left behind secure, 
were all the time before us.

From Moby Dick-

By Herman Melville


July 26, 2012

Name: Erik Patton

Studio Location: New York, NY

Practice: Mixed Media work (show at Amos Eno Gallery in Dumbo, Brooklyn)

Website: www.erikpattonstudio.com

Please give a breif bio. (Where are you from? How did you start? Is your background in art?)

I grew up in Southern California and have been interested in object-making from an early age. I graduated from Harvard College in 2003, having completed coursework in Art History and Visual and Environmental Studies. In 2009, I began taking post-baccalaureate classes in Visual Studies at Hunter College. I have been showing at Amos Eno gallery in DUMBO, Brooklyn since 2010. 

What continues to inspire you and keep you motivated in the studio?

The objects I make explore the construction and deconstruction of gender and sex, and as I continue to witness the stifling effects associated with gender and sexual identity biases, my art-making practice becomes more relevant and immediate – my aim is to create meta-sexuals whose identity is not constrained by contemporary gender or sexual identity preconceptions.

How do you work physically? 

My process is multi-layered and includes many processes and media (performance, photography, painting, drawing, and elements of collaging), so as to hint at the multi-faceted layering of identity. I construct 3D collages, consisting of projecting images (from my meta-sexual image database) onto friends, and then I photograph the 3D collage. The resulting images (the photographs of the 3D collages) are meant to challenge traditional notions of femininity and masculinity in a playful (and almost dress-up like) manner. During the construction of these 3D collages, my friends, because they can see themselves in a mirrored reflection, are very active in posturing and posing, as if they are actually trying on genders. In some cases I use the final images as canvas for my paintings, drawings and collage work, where I highlight and deconstruct elements of 3D collage with acrylic paint, tape, and pastels.

What do you find frustrating/ enjoy about your process?

I want to find new meaning in histories and reconsider our present through the manipulation of past identities, and this process allows for the exploration of these new identities by finding new meaning in this gendered and sexually imbued material (the meta-sexual image database). This process further allows me to subvert layers – the multi-layers begin to magnify ideas of gender as certain meta ideas of gender and sex are multi-dimensional, and in most cases, defy easy categorization. So, this exploration of the de-construction and re-construction layer by layer at least hints at the difficulties of easy categorization and highlights the need for intense investigation.

How has your practice evolved over the years?

My practice has always been strongly rooted in exploring identity (I have an identical twin brother who’s straight; I’m gay), but only recently, as in the last 8 years, has my practice been centered around creating objects that look for productive ways of moving beyond traditional and contemporary biases associated with gender.

Who/ what motivates and influences your work and why?

Images within my meta-sexual database are culled from artists whose practice has been to celebrate or subvert gender and sexual identity: Kenneth Anger, Genesis Breyer P’Orridge, AK Burns, James Franco, Joe Gage, Kalup Linzy, Glenn Ligon, Mathew Lipps, John Cameron Mitchell, Alyssa Milano, Mark Morrisroe, Catherine Opie, Elizabeth Peyton, Cindy Sherman, Patti Smith, SSION (Cody Critcheloe), AL Steiner, Linder Sterling, Paul Thek, Ryan Trecartin, voguers in Paris Is Burning, and Jack Wrangler and among my meta-sexual superstars.

Real life situations that inspire you? 

House of Xtravaganza’s 30th anniversary celebration in July (voguing competition), A.L. Steiner and A.K. Burn’s A Community Action Center, Andrian Piper’s “Close to Home”, Mx. Justin Vivian’s Bond’s 2011 Performa performance (“Full Moon Tranifestation Circle with Justin Vivian Bond and Friends”) at Participant Inc., the coverage of  “A Silence Hangs Over Gay CEOs” in the Wall Street Journal on July 25, Vaginal Davis’ Jabberjaw… the list is endless.

How do you think/ want people to respond to your work?

I leave it open for interpretation, but I give a few visual guides that hopefully help shape how my work is received: explosive and seductive colors are meant to grab the viewer’s attention and lure him/her in, and my works are life-sized, so perhaps the objects might register as mirrored reflections.

What was the last show you saw that knocked your socks off?

“Carlos Motta: We Who Feel Differently” at the New Museum’s Museum as Hub and accompanying Thursday night summer program.

Current adventures/ future plans? What’s next?

I have a group show that opens at the end of August at Amos Eno (in DUMBO) and I’ll be one of five artists featured at Houston Fine Arts Fair with New Emerging Artists in September. And shows at Invisible Exports, Ramiken Crucible, OnStellarRays, and Reena Spaulings to be announced shortly.

Any advice to other artists? What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

Make work, make work, make work. And access the dialogue: visit galleries, museums, and performance art venues, read ArtForum and Art in America and other art journals, and find immersive creative communities.


July 23, 2012

Name: Mila Matveeva

Studio Location: Astoria, NY / Brewster, NY

Practice: Photography, Printmaking

Website: www.milamatveeva.com

Please give a brief bio. (Where are you from? How did you start? Is your background in art?)

I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, but was mostly raised in southern Brooklyn, until I moved up to the rural suburbs of Brewster, NY in high school. I think it would be impossible for these places to not have influenced me tremendously. My family encouraged me to draw from an early age, but there was equal emphasis on math and science as much as the arts. (I can go down the rabbit-hole thinking about how my work process is equal parts all of these binaries, though I probably tread in between.) My grandfather gave me his Soviet film camera that weighs a million pounds, but shoots like a sniper at an early age, really emphasizing the difference between film and digital to me (though I embrace both). While attending Hunter College, I really fell for film after seeing Dario Argento’s giallo horror “Suspiria” and have been working in production since then.

What continues to inspire you and keep you motivated in the studio?

Living life outside my work and then equally going through periods of obsession with it. I think music is the most direct influence—watching performers and listening to them. There’s this moment that happens when viewing or participating in art that I can only describe as everything making sense. I’m chasing that most of the time.

How do you work physically? 

I like being in total control of the medium I am working in (or maybe just allowing myself to think that), but at some point having to let go and open to the unexpected—good and bad. When I am working on film prints or etchings, the most exciting/challenging/scary part is when I allow my work to change.

On a different level, the physicality of art, especially performance, has become very appealing. Something about its immediacy and ability to constantly be a different thing.

What do you find frustrating/ enjoy about your process?

Finding the time to get lost in your work can be challenging and it takes extra effort living in New York City to seclude yourself from the hundreds of things going on. You might not produce a single brush stroke, but I do think that spending eight hours having a single train of thought is very productive.

What is your medium/ media of choice? Why?

I’ve dabbled in so much over the years and now have accepted making art as just a fluid process, content that I can flow between different media to express whatever it is I want to express at a given time. Ultimately though, I am drawn to photography (still and video) most, as well as etching, though that’s been on the backburner.

Now that I think about it, both mediums have elements of formulaic order, but a necessity for the unknown to interfere. I’ve always found comfort in control and satisfaction in extremely detailed work, but have started to enjoy building up that tension and letting it go. Keith Haring talks about your work not being precious because it’s all part of one body of work that continues on until you are gone and I feel similarly.

How has your practice evolved over the years?

I’ve lost so many rolls of film over the years, had some work stolen and lost all the footage to my thesis film once—after all that, it was very simple to let go of holding onto my work as some sort of perfect milestone, at least in the physical sense. I now see it as something that needs to get out. Once it’s out there, it’s not mine anymore. If it’s really that great, I will continue to expand on it. Tom Sachs recently had a show at the Armory and talked about how as a sculptor he used to pride himself on making this perfect object until one day he realized he was just erasing all of his work by smoothing it over. In that sense, process that become more important to me.

Tell us about your creative and conceptual process.  Where do your ideas come from/relate to?

I’m not really sure. Something just feels or looks right or you see or hear something. Any of these things combine in some magical way and it pushes you into inexplicable urgency. It’s a spark that you’re constantly chasing. I imagine trying to trap the golden, fleeting sunlight in a jar, as if it were a lightening bug.

Who/ what motivates and influences your work and why?

People that I know and the desire to capture something about them that reveals something else or, more probably, raising a question that may not have been asked before. It’s a hard task to know anybody, let alone yourself. Images say what we don’t have words to articulate, so I think that’s what I’m chasing.

Real life situations that inspire you?

Live music above all else. When I first read about K Records and Dischord and the No Wave movement in NY in the 70s, it really transformed how I approached everything in my life. That DIY aesthetic of wanting to do something, not molding yourself into established rules and just doing it was and still is the single most motivating ideal that I try to remember as often as I can. Art is a lifestyle and not just aesthetics.

How do you think/ want people to respond to your work?

In any way. It’s out of my hands once pen hits paper. When people connect to something you made, it’s pretty clear and how is personally interesting, but not important.

What was the last show you saw that knocked your socks off?

My friend Jaimie and I went to the Kitchen last month for ”An Evening with Cinema 16”. There were four experimental super 16mm shorts screened to a score composed and performed live by Matteah Baim, curated by Molly Surno. It was totally inspiring , particularly as a curator interested in incorporating more multimedia, to see how simple and swift the whole thing was. It was the perfect amount of time and the score led you by the hand through these surreal images. 

Current adventures/ future plans? What’s next?

Kate & Bear is an art organization that I run with my partner Darya Golubina where we put on pop-up art shows and connect artists in our community. We’re always planning the next ones and aiming to do them more frequently. In the meantime, I am picking up a portrait series called “Young Americans” that I started two years ago again. I was really interested in the power dynamic that exists between the photographer and subject and I would like to continue to explore that, adding models that I’ve never met to the mix of friends and acquaintances. I am also continuing to do more concert photography and am beginning preproduction on a documentary on an old music venue I used to haunt as a pre-teen. All in a day’s work.

Any advice to other artists? What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

My nine-year old brother told me “if you want to be happy, be happy.” Also, let go of the idea of perfection. In college I took screenwriting with Ramin Bahrani and he taught me more in that class about humility than anything or anyone else. I learned how to fail miserably and how that feeds the progress of your work. Absolutely grueling and incredibly rewarding having to face yourself in front of an audience.


July 23, 2012

Name: Darya Golubina (Kate & Bear)

Studio Location: Brooklyn, NY

Practice: Oil painting

Website: www.darya.carbonmade.com

Please give a brief bio. (Where are you from? How did you start? Is your background in art?)

I was born in Kiev, Ukraine. Very shy and often ill as a child I preferred a sketchpad to doodle on to playing with the neighborhood kids.  My family of 4 immigrated to the US when I was 7 and the language barrier drove me and my colored pencils even closer together. Thanks to a very attentive second grade teacher I was allowed extended art class time during lunch with simultaneous English lessons.  My friend art and I were able to pick up a few creative partners in crime along the way (Mila, the other half of Kate & Bear) and stuck together all the way to our college graduation from SVA. I earned a degree in Fine Arts and went on to assist photo-realist painter Steve Smulka while working full time in the interior design industry.

What continues to inspire you and keep you motivated in the studio?

I am continuously inspired by my peers, my friends and the tireless efforts of the community I work within.  I’ve realized that for me often putting the time in, just showing up and working builds the inspiration I may have “lost” momentarily. I feel as though physically creating exposes questions and problems that I am then motivated to solve for myself through my work. Sometimes when I feel the heavy onset of doubt or a wave of laziness building I find myself turning to thoughts of my parents. Their sacrifices, their unwavering support, simple truths that drive me when all else fails, that and maybe a lengthy break for a trip to the Metropolitan Museum. 

How do you work physically? 

I usually start with photographs. Capturing an idea in my mind. My work is mostly figurative and my subjects and models are never complete strangers.  I use sketches to develop my ideas and then take straight to painting. Once I start I often paint 10-12 hours straight stopping only for bathroom, water and back pain breaks. Always as though attempting to complete as much as possible on a single breath.

What do you find frustrating/ enjoy about your process?

What I enjoy most about my process is that it allows me to meet and get to know people in a way that I would be uncomfortable with and most likely incapable of had I encountered them in a typical, social situation. The subject, the person in the painting is an integral part of the process, as is their interaction with me.

What is your medium/ media of choice? Why?

I work predominately with oil on canvas. The forgiving quality of oil paint and the blending capabilities drew me in initially. It allowed me to add weight or achieve the most subtle of nuisances.  I fell in love with the idea that each piece is comprised of unique hand motions and strokes individual to the artist.  One of a kind, even if replicated. There is character in every touch of color. I enjoy the way the paint responds to the hand that applies it. I find it the most functional way for me to be able to interpret life while integrating it with my thoughts and concepts.

How has your practice evolved over the years?

I’ve noticed myself letting go of my criticism of technique and instead understanding its place and importance.  Focusing less on the intricacy of preliminary sketches and more on my initial response or interpretation of an idea. Holding onto and treasuring that first pang of inspiration. More trusting my gut. I noticed the most significant change in my work after studying and painting a replica of Francisco De Goya’s “Saturn devouring his son” for a friend. 

Tell us about your creative and conceptual process.  Where do your ideas come from/relate to?

My creative and conceptual process varies tremendously from to piece to piece. I can get an idea from studying the work of a master of the renaissance or people watching on the train, sometimes a sentence in a book, but mostly a lot of staring at people. However different the process may be, I’ve noticed the finished work most often than not deals with finding something below the surface of the person I am painting, something hidden, something to be felt, not said or seen but learned.

Who/ what motivates and influences your work and why?

Though my motivations and influences vary and evolve I am currently paying very close attention to the interpretation of interaction.

Real life situations that inspire you?

The situations that require us to patiently explain ourselves to ourselves.  Moments  that can takes years, even lifetimes or maybe just seconds, when we are pushed to grow more of a desire to work with or on our seemingly innate, instinctive, or shittier qualities.

How do you think/ want people to respond to your work?

I want people to be able to feel a part of themselves understood or at the very least discussed in my work.

What was the last show you saw that knocked your socks off?

Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketches displayed at the Met. I’ve seen the Mona Lisa in France and I can honestly say I usually forget, however his sketches, doodles and inventions are absolutely amazing

Current adventures/ future plans? What’s next?

I am working as one half of Kate & Bear (http://www.kateandbear.com) , an organization dedicated to promoting and showcasing artists, curating pop-up art shows and interactive events in lofts, galleries and other spaces. As well as completing paintings for my upcoming show with fellow painter Steve D’Arbenzio.

Any advice to other artists? What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

 Trust yourself in your choices.

July 2, 2012

Jan Brandt

Jan Brandt Gallery

1106 East Bell Street

Bloomington, IL  61701

Printmaking, Painting, and Curating

janbrandt.carbonmade.com

website under construction JanBrandtGallery.com

Please give a breif bio. (Where are you from? How did you start? Is your background in art?)  

I am from Bloomington, IL located about two hours south of Chicago. Drawing, reading, and exploring the out of doors were my favorite activities.  Much of my childhood was spent on a farm and I was fascinated with flowers and plants, rocks glistening in streams, and the effects of shadows and light playing across the pasture.  I believe this early exposure to nature trained me to find compositional interest in unexpected places and forms. My first degree was a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from Illinois State University in Normal, IL and my second degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Concentration in Printmaking, also from Illinois State University.

What continues to inspire you and keep you motivated in the studio?

I know when I have to be in the studio creating because I develop a stifling sense of ennui that only dissipates when I am back at work with printmaking or painting.  It is hard to explain the motivation, I just know I am unhappy if I’m not producing work.

How do you work physically? 

I go back and forth between printmaking and painting. I have arthritis and it is a good idea to use different motions to give my joints a break now and then. 

What do you find frustrating/ enjoy about your process?

It would be easier for me and I would use less supplies if I could plan out my work ahead of time and stick to that plan.  It NEVER works that way, though! I change my mind or want to cover something up.  But I think that is the way my work has to evolve.

 What is your medium/ media of choice? Why?

I don’t like to be fenced in by choosing a specific medium.  I enjoy looking around and imagining what I can do with materials, even if they aren’t considered standard artist’s media.  In Printmaking, I love transparent base and the way it allows colors to blend.  Over the last year I have been using dried house paint as a sculptural component in paintings and I enjoy the texture that offers.

How has your practice evolved over the years?

I try to evolve by revisiting former work and seeing what strikes me as working or not working.  Sometimes it is a muddy color, sometimes it is a line that could be more gestural.  I believe if an artist works hard in the studio, and stays abreast of what other artists are doing,  an evolution will naturally take place over the years-how evolved depends on how hard one works and keeping an open mind.

Tell us about your creative and conceptual process.  Where do your ideas come from/relate to?

I find over the years that certain subject matter and styles interest me and I decide to work on maybe one or two concepts during a length of time. Studies or interpretations of nature, especially the concept of macro to micro and the repetition of design and order throughout the universe fascinate me. Especially in printmaking I rely on a birds eye view and scale changes to suggest an insight into ongoing natural  processes.  I also interpret natural forms through dried paint in a nod to old botanical drawings.  It seems dichotomous, but I also am interested in figurative work, especially with the subject matter of women, children, and perhaps inexplicably, circus or theatre performers. Another influence is textile design, especially the geometric designs of quilts such as the beautiful Gee’s Bend works.

Who/ what motivates and influences your work and why?

First of all, I must give major thanks to some of my professors at ISU.  Their work and studio practices are quite impressive and their encouragement made all the difference in the world to me. Kudos to my BFA mentors Sarah Smelser,  and Tony Crowley, also to my former professors Michael Wille, Gary Justis, Benjamin Gardner, and Tyler Lotz .  Look up their work!  James Mai is an expert color theorist and I learned so much from his teaching.  ISU has great art faculty.  Also, Normal Editions Workshop is located in the printmaking area at ISU, and Professor Emeritus James Butler, Richard Finch, and Veda Rives set a very high bar for printmaking excellence.  Barry Blinderman runs the University Galleries and he and his staff  Kendra Paitz, Tony Preston-Schreck, and Gabe Johnson do a great job of bringing in visiting artists and shows that push the envelope and keep our art community current.  I especially have learned and grown through the talents and advice of the Printmaking graduate students Julia Goos Pence, Lea Friesen, Eleanor Jensen, Mitch Mitchell, Jenny Hansen, Jared Wittenmeyer, Nicholas Satinover, Megan Stroech, Lisa Lofgren, and Alyssa Tauber. 

Real life situations that inspire you?

Real life situations certainly affect me.  Life can be tough and wonderful at the same time.  Just like anybody, there have been successes and tragedies in my life and I believe these events push me to keep creating as a lifeline.

How do you think/ want people to respond to your work?

My hope is A. they take the time to look at it, B. Wonder a bit about what it may mean to the artist, and C.  take a little bit longer and allow themselves to consider what the work brings to them individually. I cannot ask for more than time and an open mind.

What was the last show you saw that knocked your socks off?

Mary Laube’s MFA show “Practical Joy” at the University of Iowa, 2012.  She received her BFA from Illinois State University. She is amazing.

Current adventures/ future plans? What’s next?

My biggest adventure is my new art gallery, which had it’s opening June 23, 2012.  We had about 200 people for the opening. I love the space, it’s in a former Coca-Cola bottling factory with high ceilings.  It’s my dream come true.  I also am actively pursuing shows in other locales and have one coming up in Chicago, IL during the River North Art Walk on August 3, 2012. I’m involved in a couple of traveling exhibits which will be shown in Austin, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, Anchorage, Alaska, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Canada, Iowa City, IA, and Chicago, IL.

Any advice to other artists? What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

My advice would be to push aside shyness or nervousness and just try to get your work shown. I believe every time you show you get a better handle on your own art and it forces you to get in there and do the work.  If having an active studio practice is what you want, get in there and work hard for it.  Listen to advice but learn how to filter it so it helps and doesn’t discourage you.  Find a few people you trust to bounce ideas off of, but learn to trust yourself too.

Jan Brandt was chosen by Ground Arts guest curator, Margaret Coleman, as the Ground Arts “Artist of the Month”.

May 21, 2012

Name: Rebecca Rose
Studio Location: Lady Diana Studios: Orlando, FL
Practice: Sculpture & Metalsmithing
Website: www.sculpturings.com


Please give a brief bio. (Where are you from? How did you start? Is your background in art?)
In college at NAU, I saw similarities in both my Sculpture Foundry classes and my Jewelry/Metalsmithing classes. In both cases we started with an idea, and transformed that idea from concept to reality out of wax and burnable objects. In both cases we plaster coated the original, kiln fired it, melted metal, and poured it into the negative space. I saw that sculpture and jewelry were the same, interchangeable. The only difference between the two is that one form of art was heavier, more apt to be immobile and decorative, and that the other form was smaller, and more apt to be mobile and functional. What was missing was a way to bridge the two. I created my first Sculpturing in 1999 and have been plowing away since.
What continues to inspire you and keep you motivated in the studio?
I’ve kept motivated by systematically removing distractions around me. Ten years ago my focus was too broad, and I was being pulled in too many directions; television, work, painting, sculpture, printmaking, life-size installations, building lego cities, I was everywhere. And because of it, I found didn’t have a solid body of work, one over the other. Over the past five years, I removed everything out of my studio except my sculptures and sculpture related items, and it helped. Out of sight, out of mind. When I enter my studio I see only my Sculpturings, and don’t feel pulled away from them anymore. 
How do you work physically? 
Hunched over my trusty JH Rosberg bench from 1901, sporting chemistry class goggles to shield from flying wax, plastic, and metal shards. A pair of strong prescription contacts and a mounted magnifying glass help me create works on a miniature scale. My fingers have plenty of small scars from Dremel drills catching skin, and I used to feel like Johnny Tremain working with my wax injector, my arms and hands getting sprinkled with boiling wax. I’m much more cautious and aware of safety now, the lost wax casting process can be a dangerous one when not exercising great caution.
What do you find frustrating/ enjoy about your process?
It usually takes two or three casting attempts before a piece casts perfectly. For each finished piece, it might have been waxed multiple times to correct air pockets, carved again, re-invested with plaster, kiln fired, and cast all over again. The amount of detail put into the works embrace minutia, undercuts, lots of negative space, drastic thin to think areas, all kinds of variables that put the piece at risk for missing heads, arms, insect legs, wings, etc. Thankfully I have met experienced casters along the way who have helped and often send the most frustrating pieces to them for advice. When it casts perfectly, I tool into the metal, clean up sprue bumps, throw it in the tumbler for polishing and extract a brilliant, shiny new Sculpturing, my enjoyment for the process surfaces. 
What is your medium/ media of choice? Why?
I enjoy the idea of sculpture being so small and mobile that you can take it with you, and share it with others as it moves with it’s owner.I use precious metals to help guarantee collectors that the work will financially appreciate over time. Removing the guesswork and worry of investing releases the monetary focus on the work so more focus is on the themes, skill, compositions and messages themselves.
How has your practice evolved over the years? 
Earlier in my career I would solely make unique, one of a kind pieces. I primarily still do, but I’ve also begun to widen my approach and equate it with two dimensional artists, in that the unique sterling silver Sculpturing is like an original painting, as an edition of Bronze Sculpturings are to limited edition prints of the same painting. Some Sculpturings are still unique, and during the concept and design phase the uniqueness is taken into consideration, while some are intentionally designed as limited edition pieces. 
The presentation and display of the work has also evolved, growing from a tiny, velvet lined box to a hand blown, museum quality glass cloche dome and base, elevating the piece with an armature to have it float in mid air. Magnifying glasses near the pieces not only help guests and collectors see the detail clearly, but makes the experience between the art and the viewer more interactive and intimate.
Tell us about your creative and conceptual process. Where do your ideas come from/relate to?
Each piece begins with a philosophy/way of life that describes a current event, and I pair it with words that contain the word “ring”, usually as a suffix. As an example, “Puppeteering”, is about the Occupy Movements of last fall: 
The three figures on the left, ranging in age and gender, represent the majority view throughout the summer and fall of 2011. They band together, pointing the finger of blame, responsibility, and caution to the government’s puppeteering of our future. Government is represented by the soldier who rides the back of a big baby, representing our future which, at times, our nation’s future can seem like a big bumbling baby that needs to be led around. The pitchfork and hand trap the baby to symbolize the fine line between the evil actions of politics and the hasty actions of the public.
Who/ what motivates and influences your work and why? 
The greatest motivation is that this work is so much a part of me, I have no choice but to pursue it. I think about it daily, and look forward to seeing and working on it. There’s a true love affair between myself and the series. 
The body of work is also a nod to eccentric collectors of silver sculpture like Sam Wagstaff, whom desired to bring an artistic spotlight on silver sculpture as he did with photography, but died before having the chance.
Real life situations that inspire you?
Our world is too funny not to capture it in art. That’s how we cope, right? Real life situations inspire and shape my work daily, the long-term viability and relevance is built into the original concept. While emphasis on design is present, sculptural form and substance of message definitely takes priority, whether politically, allegorically, or satirically driven. World events, celebrations, and challenges evolve with each passing year, and my work will reflect the changes of our real time world along with classic ideas and hopes of people.
How do you think/ want people to respond to your work?
This is a tricky subject for sure, some see it as jewelry and only that, and some deem it craft instead of fine art. Thankfully, those with a broad vision and broad understanding of art see it as sculpture as well as a piece of art that can be worn, and those same minds have encouraged me to continue because of this clever, fresh approach they haven’t seen before. I call the work Sculpturings to give equal and due credit to the genres, not deeming it one genre more than the other. 
That’s how I hope people will respond, that the body of work bridges the gap between the two genres: Sculpture can be mobile instead of commonly viewed as heavy and immovable, and that jewelry can be accepted as fine art and a conduit of substance, meaning, and message.
What was the last show you saw that knocked your socks off?
I attended the Miami Basel this December connecting mostly to Freidrich Kunath’s isolated sculptures and sketched paintings on larger than life notebook paper, something we all relate to as kids, doodling on lined sheets of paper in school. At Scope NYC this March I found some true gems nestled on the walls of Red Truck Gallery, as a fan of miniatures, Jason D’Aquino’s tiny graphites on found objects fed my eyes full. Thinkspace Gallery’s selection at the LA Art Show in January was strong, knocking the socks off my feet and onto the ceiling, their roster of represented artists and the works produced are undoubtedly shaping today’s movements, much due respect to them.
Some upcoming shows that have stirred anticipation and I hope to view: Botanica at Genome Gallery this summer, as well as XL Gallery’s Faces show in Orlando near the end of June- upon hearing the announcement I had flutters of excitement in my gut the entire day, really anticipating that one.
Current adventures/ future plans? What’s next?
Some new works inspired by ideas of perseverance, tolerance, decadence, and acceptance. I’m very excited about the new grouping of works, and obsess about them daily, so I think it’s a good sign! I also unveiled a Bronze Collection in Los Angeles last month and some Sterling Silver Sculpturings are currently showing at Maximillian Gallery in West Hollywood. 
Any advice to other artists? What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Any advice I can give? Hmm.. 
Don’t depend on luck, depend on strategy, dedication, and research.
Advice I’ve been given: Alan Bamberger from Artbusiness.com said to me the other day: 
Be open to opportunity and when something unusual happens, make the most of it, and don’t limit yourself with imaginary cognitive constraints.
Rebecca Rose is Ground Arts Organization’s Artist of the Month.

May 8, 2012

PAPER:WORK Exhibition Catalogue PART II.

at Ground Arts Organization with Interviews by Studio Spoken.

Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »