Meet the Red Bubble Guy!

You are invited to the next hive melbourne event with Peter Styles from RedBubble.com on July 14th. go to the site and see the details, it’s free and usually a great event! bookings ESSENTIAL!

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=95134963722 (that’s for details and to RSVP on facebook)

http://www.thehive.org.au/
Scroll down when you get to the site, to the melb event with Peter… Smile

Daniel Sanger – Artist

Daniel Sanger from Melbourne paints in oils and shows at Pivotal Galleries he has had shows over the past 5 years in galleries – He says he has always been making art for as long as he can remember. Daniel has also entered the Archibald prize with his portrait of Santo Cilauro

Daniel’s Website is www.danielsanger.com and his blog is http://danielsanger.blogspot.com/

me

Daniel’s works explore contemporary subjects and themes. They are predominantly figurative with much emphasis on mood and feeling. Daniel strives to forge strong connections between work and viewer, allowing the viewer to invest their emotion within his art.

He achieves this with such devices as the subtlety of a subject’s gaze, body language and lighting. Daniel studied Graphic Design at Charles Sturt University and has a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design. Daniel has also studied at Melbourne School of Art and Swinburne University.

Does your work have social, political, cultural and or personal messages?
Nothing social, though it has have a strong Japanese influence.

What are you currently working on?
Have just finished works for group show at Pivotal – so am about to start a body of work for a Pivotal solo.

daniel_sanger_choices_2008

What fascinates you?
The face. I always seem to spend most of my time painting the face first, leaving the rest of the painting until much later. To get the face to a stage where it begins to pop and come to life is always such a thrill. The eyes are always the make or break in my works. Once the eyes are successful I know everything else will fall into place. I have worked like this ever since I was a child, constantly copying faces from photographs etc..

Now give us a more descriptive outline on your current works.
They are of a Pop Surrealist nature with Japanese influences. I was very inspired by Joe Sorren and Mark Ryden. So much so I was in regular correspondence with Joe Sorren in regard to current style via email, obtaining valuable feedback and validation.

daniel_sanger_decisions_2008

Why are you an artist?
It’s just something that is there and has always been there ever since I can remember. In a weird way I feel I owe it to the 10 year old me who wanted desperately to grow up and become a professional artist. It gives me great satisfaction and define who I am.

How did you get into art?
Obsession with drawing form very young age.

daniel_sanger_the_long_train_ride_home_2008

How important is art for you?
It defines who I am.

What is it about Visual Art you find compelling?
That it’s just paint on a canvas, though it comes together to be so much more.

flights_of_fancy_daniel_sanger_oil_92x92cm

Was your education helpful, or a hindrance?
helpful

Have you always been interested in art?
Yes.

santo_the_magnificent_juggles_eight_different_fruits_90x120

What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
Graphic Designer.

Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?
Getting in the paper is always nice :)

unexpected_arrival_80x80_oil

What is your earliest memory of art?
Drawing trees in prep.

Was art a “thing” that was encouraged in your family?
My dad was an excellent drawer – so was always pushing me and developing my skill.

Was there a big turning point in your art journey that caused you to think that “it’s all worthwhile”, or “oh yeah I get it…”?
First show where I sold quite a few and received many compliments. Helped validate what I was doing.

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
I have used many mediums, though oil is by far the best. It works how I think basically.

You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…
You get recognition.

What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?
I am more fastidious in my planning than a few years back and feel I have a clearer direction than I once did.

Does the “creative process” happen easily for you?
The ideas come quickly and easily, though I have such a clear picture of what I want the work to be, that I am incredibly fussy and obsessive when putting the idea on canvas.

How important is the clarity of concept to you, prior to starting an artwork?
Very important. Like a map really.

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
It always starts out such an exciting and positive experience. Though toward the end I am totally in panic mode, constantly questioning my work.

Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?
I guess life creeps in and one must pay the bills. Though I’m sure when circumstances allow them to, they will pick up the brush again.

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts etc?
After numerous sketches etc I carefully get the basic outline completed on canvas before jumping in. I am quite slow and fastidious, being my own worst critic.

What has been a turning point in your career thus far and why?
Getting into Pivotal Galleries was a great thrill, giving me a great sense of validation. It really made me feel like I was on the right path.

If you could have any piece of artwork in your personal collection, what would it be and why?
I would actually like an intricate landscape drawing my father did when was 12 years old. I remember always looking at as a child, though it has since gone missing.

Can you name a favourite artist or three… and why?
Joe Sorren. I find his works so gentle and dream like. I’m always exploring his works, finding something new each time I look at them.

Have you had any “big breaks” in your career?
I think my 08 Archibald entry opened some doors for me.

All artists seem to have struggles, tell us about any you have had?
Being my own worst enemy – always only seeing errors in final work.

What sort of research and or reference material do you do for current works and has that changed over time?
Take ref photos, photoshop manipulation and sketching. Years back I would just jump in without a net.

Musical influences?
I love many types of music. Though always find I play fast and loud tunes when beginning a work, and then slow ambient music while fussing over detail. I do love The Panics, Pixies, The Smiths, The Black Keys, the Shins – list goes on…

How important is it to you that your work communicates something to the viewer?
All I hope for at the least is an emotional connection.

What can you say about your work that might not be evident to the viewer?
It took a bloody time to do! LOL Some don’t pick up on the Japanese themes.

What can you tell us about your creative development process?
It’s a very long process that gives me a clear direction of what the painting will be – a blue print if you will. Sketches, ref photos, photoshop are all involved to give me visual references that will dictate the work.

Respond to the notion “Art is a device for exploring the human condition”…
Art consciously or unconsciously tells us more about ourselves than we know or care to admit.

Do you connect with other Artists?
Connecting to other artists online has had a major influence to my art. Friendships and bonds with other artists has given much direction and opportunity.

If you stopped doing art right now would you miss it?
Hell yes.

What discourages you from doing art?
I can only paint when happy. Unlike most artists, I find I produce poor work when flat or down.

Is motivation to work an issue for you and how do you overcome it?
No, always motivated to paint when an idea hits.

Do you have a challenge knowing when a work is finished?
Yes. I would never finish a work if I wasn’t for deadlines.

Your first “decent” gallery representation, how did it come about?
Another artist saw my work and approached her gallery to represent me.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
I find it quite easy and enjoyable due to my graphic design/marketng background.

What is the most unexpected response you’ve received from a viewer of your work?
I find the disapproval of the nudity from a very small number quite perplexing.

Tell us about getting caught in a creative “slump” and how you got out of it?
I find I must take a long break to recharge batteries if a slump occurs. A week off can make all the difference – time to clear the head.

If someone says to you “Oh your work is decorative and lacks any meaning…” your response would be…?
Passive – though inside Grrrrrrrrrrr

Tell us about your studio environment (too big, too small, enough storage or not, the light, the position, how you found it etc)?
Too small, too dark and not enough ventilation.

What would you say are the top three things, which make you successful as an artist?
Motivation, persistence and attention to detail.

What moves you most in life, either to inspire or upset you, which might be connected to your art?
Day to day life experiences. Positive experiences lead to happiness and motivation.

Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?
I like a balance. Too smooth can be sterile and lifeless. I like a bit of expressive brush work to help evoke emotion.

How important is society, culture and or history to your work?
I am very much influenced by current exhibitions I see day to day. The right work will spark an idea immediately.

How do you think art can change people or their perceptions? It can trigger memories and connections that were once forgotten.

Technology (websites and social networking sites to name a few) has become an important marketing tool for many industries and individuals, what are your thoughts from a “You Inc” perspective and your art sensibility.
I wouldn’t be where I am without the internet. It has opened many doors, allowing easy contact with many artists and galleries.

Do you work from life, or from photographs or from imagination or some other method?
Photographs and imagination.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
If you love it, don’t give up.

How many artworks do you produce in a year?
40 or more..

How long do our works they usually take to complete?
Depends on size and deadline. can be 3 months to 3 weeks.

How did you approach your first gallery?
Via email.

What did your prices start off at?
Too cheap to mention.

Can you respond to this quote “Anyone who is half assed about art should get out.” (Janet Fish).
Totally agree. It should be an obsession.

Do you have ideas turning over in your head all the time or…
All the time! Always day dreaming.

Want to see more Artist Interviews the day they are posted? Subscribe and we automatically send you the latest post via email, it’s easy click here to subscribe.

Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58

Reko Rennie Gets Grant.

Reko Rennie, Paris Residency, well done!

rennie_cite1

exhibition –

Barry Gillard and Miriam Innes, Metropolis Gallery Geelong

gillard_innes

Art-Stuff…

There is a “sister” site to the Art-Resource site you are currently viewing, it has a range of different resources but is still Visual Arts based. The aim is to have more practical resources over there and interviews and views over here.

I  hope you enjoy both, and remember to bookmark them for later reference and or subscribe to the RSS  or email links…

http://artstuff.net.au

Kaye Green – More images please

A recent interview with Kaye Green Tasmanian Printmaker, saw a flurry of interest and people asking for “more images PLEASE!” Well I managed to encourage her to pass on some more of her work to share with the world. The first one is interesting and of it, she said,  “I finished A tree with my thoughts‘ last week.  I printed sheets and sheets of lino… Layers and layers of different greens mainly, cut up leaf shapes and then glued them down to create the tree,  6 glue sticks and 30 hours later I had my tree! “

a-tree-with-my-thoughts-relief-print-collage-2

contemplative-birds-lithograph-2

dark-sky-moon-cloud-sky-moon-lithograph-2

floating-islands-dreaming-drawing-2

girraween-tree-woodcut-2

illuminated-island-lithograph-2

leaf-drawing-2

moon-messenger-iii-relief-print-2

moon-messenger-vi-relief-print

muse-drawing-2

my-thoughts-like-the-mood-of-the-tree-ii-drawing-2

my-thoughts-like-the-mood-of-the-tree-v-drawing-2

my-words-make-soft-the-earth-drawing-detail-2

rocky-cove-under-active-sky-relief-print-2

sky-messengers-ii-relief-print-2

the-tree-in-time-and-light-relief-print-detail-2

tree-shadow-lithograph-chine-colle-2

trees-in-a-slow-murmuring-dream-lithograph-2

trees-with-leaves-and-birds-in-the-mind-lithograph-2

trying-to-stay-ever-and-ever-lithograph-2

weeping-at-the-grave-creates-the-song-relief-print-2

with-a-tree-upon-it-and-filling-our-eyes-with-air-lithograph-2

words-in-the-ground-drawing-2

That’s it folks, I hope you enjoyed the views!


Ilona Nelson – Artist

Ilona Nelson is a photographic Artist in West Melbourne who has been making art “seemingly forever” and realised “Photography was for me when I was 10”. Her website is http://www.illyphotography.com

Ilona’s work is an exploration of self identity continually assessing her placement in contemporary culture, with a glint of humour in her eye.

Ilona completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree, major in photography, with distinction in 1998 and has been exhibiting regularly since then. Nelson grew up in country Victoria and now resides in Melbourne (Australia) with her husband, son, and Barkly the boxer.

Her work is described as narrative with social, political, cultural and or personal messages

nelson_ilona_wistfullyyours

Wistfully Yours
Photograph and oil on cotton rag paper
61 x 85 cms

What are you currently working on?
Quite a few things at the moment – a solo show in July at the Town Hall gallery with an artist talk, a group show at Obscura gallery in August and I’m also in the Cancer Council Art Awards during July and August.

Solo show ‘The Family Mould’ 8th July – 2nd August

Opening Thurs 9th 6-8pm

Town Hall Gallery, 358 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

www.townhallgallery.blogspot.com

‘In Conversation’ Sat 18th July 2pm

Join artist Ilona Nelson and Curator Mardi Nowak to discuss how family

history leads to the exploration of identity in the exhibition The Family Mould.

Cancer Council Art Awards 19th July – 7th August

Opening Sunday 19th July 3pm

120 Collins St, Melbourne

Group show at Obscura gallery – dates TBC

Opening Sun 26th July

Beller House, Suite 11

285 Carlisle Street, St Kilda

http://www.obscuragallery.com/

What fascinates you?
Human behaviour/nature, pop culture – I’m like a moth to the glossy mag flame

Now give us a more descriptive outline on your current works…
The Family Mould continues photographer Ilona Nelson’s current exploration of self-identity. Prompted by the birth of her first child, Nelson uses her artistic practice to focus on her family history, demonstrating that the deeply personal is in many cases the universal.  Her selectively hand coloured photographs reinterpret images from her family album by rephotographing them in a contemporary context.

The exhibition also incorporates a short film focusing on times and places that have been significant in the artist’s personal growth. This new work of Nelson’s invites the audience to examine how their own family experiences have shaped both their lives and themselves.??In The Family Mould, Nelson offers her audience a fascinating exploration of the parallels and contrasts between the present day and that of previous generations. She presents us with the idea that, underneath the lace and finery, we are not so different to those who came before.

Why are you an artist?
It’s just the way my brain works, it’s how I process and see my thoughts

nelson_ilona_thegardner

The Gardener
Cotton rag paper, framed with dirt
85 x 61 cms

Was art a “thing” that was encouraged in your family?
Despite my parents not being from a creative background they’ve always been completely supportive and have never discouraged me from it. I’m so lucky and appreciative of this.

What was life like for you as you were growing up?
Fun! I grew up in the country and was always outdoors with my boundless energy.

nelson_ilona_labourday

Labour Day
Photograph and gouache on cotton rag paper
85 x 61 cms

Your art education was…?
BVA photography major with distinction, La Trobe University, Bendigo. I was enrolled to do honours but stayed overseas for another year instead.

You mentioned going overseas after your BVA, is travel something that has been important for your career?
Travel gives you a lot of perspective as you’re reminded loud and clear that your comfort box is only a teeny tiny speck of the world!

nelson_ilona_afternoon

Afternoon
Photograph and gouache on cotton rag paper
85 x 61 cms

Can you tell us a bit more about that first trip – where you went, whether it impacted you as an artist or your work… anything you would like to share about your travels?
I traveled around Eastern Europe and Turkey and Greece, then I ended up living in Edinburgh for almost two years. I’ve just sorted through my travel negs recently (more than 10 years after I got home), I can’t wait to scan them in and see what’s there! Maybe my next series will incorporate some of these images..

Has your work changed much since your early efforts?
Elements such as self as other, text and layering have been constants in the imagery, but as a student I distorted the images and added text in the printing process now I add layers when shooting and with a little tweaking in photoshop.

Your work is largely autobiographical or self referential with self-portraits being a dominant theme. Is that deliberate or more a case of a cheap accessible model?
I started using myself as the model in my work in high school as my best friend got sick of posing for me. Obviously accessibility is a plus as I can shoot whenever I have an idea, even more so now being a mum working around my son’s sleeping patterns. And strangely, I sometimes forget that it’s me in my work and I get surprised when someone recognises me from the images.

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
I think I had romantic notions of being a painter but all my ideas were photography based so I didn’t have a choice. I’ve started experimenting with film, I think it’s a natural progression from stills to moving images, and I’d like to get back into life drawing, just because I enjoy it.

Are you a purist with your art materials or willing to mix things about?
Mix it up! The works for ‘The Family Mould’ series are a new direction for me as I’m drawing on the surface of the photographs with ink, oil, pastels and gouache. I’m even knitting a steak to be attached to one of them.

How important is society, culture and or history to your work?
Very. Often inspirations for my work comes from observing what is happening socially, accidentally listening in to train conversations, referencing pop culture. My current series refers to photographs from my family’s family album, rephotographing them in today’s society so there is the element of history as well as contemporary culture.

Do you get to other artists exhibitions, openings etc?
Exhibitions yes, but I don’t get to openings very regularly these days as they’re often at night time. There’s always so much happening in Melbourne and unfortunately I don’t get time to go see everything I’d like to.

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
It is, I seem to go through a routine of loving the planning, then procrastinating, doing the work then hating it as I’ve been staring at it forever, hanging it and thinking it’s ok, getting bored and start planning the next series before the current exhibition ends!

Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?
I totally disagree, I don’t think you can separate an artist from themselves. They just are. You’re constantly evolving and growing as a person and an artist

What has been a turning point in your career thus far and why?
When I started being completely honest with myself. It’s fantastic when you give yourself that freedom.

You know you are successful in Visual Arts when…
You represent Australia at the Venice Biennale!! But seriously… it’s relative to the artist, everyone has their own bench marks.

Is motivation to work an issue for you and how do you overcome it?
Sometimes I think fear holds me back which makes me procrastinate but I overcome it pretty quickly now as I want to be a good role model for my son.

Do you have a challenge knowing when a work is finished?
No, I work instinctively and my eyes tell me when it’s done.

Do you aim to break the rules of basic composition, layout etc or do you ignore the “rules” and just create?
Break the rules of course! I just follow my instincts when I’m working, I hope I’m not predictable..

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?
I like coming up with titles, I twist the words around so it looks like they don’t correspond with the works.. but they do.

How important is it to you that your work communicates something to the viewer?
Art is a form of communication so I think it’s very important, it’s a great feeling when the audience connects with your work.

About significant moments in your life, the sort of things that changed things for you forever… perhaps altered your Art… Who how why what and where…?
Having my son, definitely. Time is limited and precious so I try to make everything count.

Do you have much contact with other artists?
I do, and it’s fantastic having that support and understanding

Can you name a favourite artist or three… and why?
Christian Boltanski and Starn brothers for their use of mixed media, Richard Long – I love the presence of time in his work, and I like a sense of humour in art like Van Sowerwine’s film of dolls in a big chase scene, escaping on jet skis and a barbie boat!!

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?
I keep a visual journal that I write words and sentences in, which spring to mind, I sketch down photo ideas and keep images I’m inspired by amongst all the scribblings. I often have ideas just before I go to sleep; it’s a good idea if it’s still there in the morning.

Do you hope the viewer will “get” what you are trying to communicate or do you feel compelled to spell it out to them?
Even though my works are self portraits they have cultural themes which I hope people can relate to, but I like the audience to discover their own meaning from the work.

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
It is a lot of work up keeping websites, doing all the admin and there are so many places to upload your work to. It feels like you spend more time on that than actually creating sometimes.

Tell us about your studio environment (too big, too small, enough storage or not, the light, the position, how you found it etc)?
I share a room, aka The Dungeon, with my husband and his music gear. I would LOVE my very own studio space to play in one day!

What is one thing you need to have in your studio before you work?
Probably chocolate? Electricity.

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?
I probably sway to isolation being Little Miss Independent, but when I discuss ideas with my friends I usually end up answering my own questions.

Do the seasons affect your work or work habits?
I’d like to say no, but it takes more motivation for night photography in the chilly months.

Are there times of the day when you prefer to do your work?
After the little one’s gone to bed so I can work for a few hours without distractions.

People around you (family friends etc.) what would they say about the way you work, the moods you have, your life as an artist etc?
I’m not sure.. but I do get very absorbed and forget to look up from time to time.

Art as a therapeutic device; do you think it is useful for this purpose and is your work in this category somehow?
Yes and yes. Art keeps me sane…ish.

Is your work process fast or slow?
Both. Sometimes things flow well, sometimes not and you have to push through that horrible barrier.

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a persons attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?
I’ve never set out with that intention but it’s great when the audience spends the time looking into your work, not just taking it at face value.

Are you the sort of artist that seeks out promotional opportunities or one that shuns the limelight?
I’m a typical photographer that hates her photo being taken, I’m not very good at saying cheese.

What do you love/hate about being an artist?
Love the feeling of being completely consumed by it but hate not having the luxury of being able to work when I get an urge.

How do you cope with any low points?
Going to see exhibitions, hanging out with my friends and having a belly laugh.. but you can’t force yourself to come out of these times, I think it has to happen organically

Does some of your current work reflect your earlier works?
There is a continuation of themes but I hope I’m growing as an artist

Do you have ideas turning over in your head all the time or…
Pretty much, I like to keep busy and always have projects on the go. I definitely work better with deadlines.

And often when I’m out and about I see a split second that would make a great photo. It’s then I regret not carrying my camera with me all the time, but I don’t know if those tiny magic moments could be captured anyway.

How did you manage to survive financially at the beginning of your art career?
Working crappy retail jobs. I’ve sworn to myself that I’ll never work retail again!

Was there a point where you decided: OK I can live off of my art?
I do some commercial photography, mostly weddings, which help me to continue my personal work while still practising my art.

Any upcoming or completely new projects you want to talk about?
Aside form the upcoming solo and group shows I already mentioned, I’ve got an idea for an installation for an arts festival in Melbourne’s West later this year which focuses on text and photography and it’ll be a little bit guerrilla, the works won’t be seen in a gallery space.

Want to see more Artist Interviews the day they are posted? Subscribe and we automatically send you the latest post via email, it’s easy click here to subscribe.

Compiled and edited by Amanda van Gils © 2009+

Juan Lopezdabdoub – Artist

Juan Lopezdabdoub lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and is currently represented in New York by Agora Gallery. His web address is http://juanlopezdabdoub.com here is a link to a recent Exhibition (June 2009) and another interview.

Juan’s works are predominantly oil painting on canvas. His body of work, however, is quite varied in both media and scale, ranging from ceramics and wrought iron sculptures to watercolors and engravings.

apples-copy

Artist’s statement:
I like to think of my paintings as socio-political, philosophical and psychological visual essays. I use symbols and make references to mythology and culture to engage the viewer in conversations about the most basic meanings of life, and to enrich and deepen our understanding of the human condition.

I come from an environment of dramatic contrasts and opposites: wealth and poverty; care and neglect; love and hate; sanity and madness. My old world was a site where shades of grey were almost nonexistent: “You are in, or you are out; either you see what I show you, or you are blind; if you are not my friend, you are my enemy”. Between black and white there was only emptiness. We were either at the right or at the left, never in between.

My colors and forms are part of, and at the same time react against, that cultural baggage, heritage and perspective. The images I recreate on the canvas are connected to that place, a place, which now, can be this or any other place, a sometimes warm and nurturing world, and at other times a furiously violent and destructive one seemingly in need of a stronger means of expression instead of words.

Because of this world so full of delirium, delusion, obsession and fanaticism, I feel a need to make sense of senselessness and rescue life from decay. I love the act of scavenging, transforming and making the un-workable work.

But while it is true my artwork is a reflection of what can be considered my personal unconscious, it should be examined for its collective content, not for its private meaning. I encourage the viewer to see my work for what it brings to him or her. I want the audience of my canvases to sit in front of them and say, “let’s talk.”

How did you get into art?

When I was in sixth grade, my teacher realized I had a talent for drawing. At the time in El Salvador, teachers didn’t have the resources they have now. Part of their job was to draw illustrations for science, geography and other subjects on the blackboard. My teacher was not good at drawing. One day he asked me to come to the blackboard and help him with the rendition of a particular plant. I did a very good job and from then on I became the official artist of my class. I really enjoyed my job of making drawings on the blackboard and didn’t mind at all staying in the classroom while the rest of the kids went to play outside during recess.

My reputation as an artist at school grew to a point where other teachers came to “borrow” me to make illustrations for them. I was a kind of celebrity. Everybody admired my skills and saw me as somebody special. When it was time to go to high school I tried to enter the art academy of Valero Lecha, a reputed painter from Spain responsible for forming many of the now most accomplished and famous painters of El Salvador. Unfortunately, the academy required full-time attendance and was dedicated exclusively to painting.

Although I loved art and liked the idea of being an artist, I had always dreamed of being a surgeon. So I decided to enter a vocational school where, in addition to academics, I could also learn art. At the end of the second year, however, a family friend got me a position at an advertising agency with the idea of helping me to get some money during the summer break.

The break lasted many years as I ended up making a long and successful career as art director for advertising companies and later as a free-lance photographer. In 1991, due to the civil war in El Salvador, I immigrated to Canada with my family. After initial frustrated attempts to obtain a position in my field due to the notoriously required “Canadian experience”, I entered the School of Art at the University of Manitoba where upon graduation I was awarded two Gold Medals for highest achievement in Fine Arts.

birds-copy

Was your education in Fine Arts helpful, or a hindrance?
It was very helpful, particularly because I had the opportunity to explore media I had never explored before. The only aspect I feel strongly critical about is the program doesn’t help students realize the complexities of art as a career.

I believe they should offer a subject called “Art Practice” where students would learn the pragmatics of writing proposals for exhibitions and for grants, where they would learn the intricacies of the art gallery culture and also the mechanics of self-promotion, just to name a few things.

At the University there is an absolute silence about these and many more issues we confront after graduation. Students leave school with the wrong idea that for an artist it is enough to concentrate on producing art and wait until somebody comes along and discovers us so we can start selling our work.

The crude reality for the artist is you need to put the same amount of time, energy and effort at writing and promoting yourself than you do at producing art. It is a very difficult and sometimes frustrating job. It is a small wonder the career of many artists after graduation lasts generally only four or five years.

blue-boy-copy

What or who inspires your art?
My existential experience, which is a universal human experience, regardless of gender, age, or social class. All of us want to be accepted, recognized and loved. We want to have a meaningful life and enjoy the fruits of our labor. We fear death, poverty and old age. We want to be free, to be understood. We want to know if there is a God and whether we can count on Him or Her. We want to be happy. We all have anxieties.

Has your work changed much since your early efforts?
Very much. When I was in El Salvador, I was very interested in urban landscapes. I was fascinated at how very poor people, within the misery in which they live, still care for the aesthetics of their homes. They build their houses out of cardboard, tin sheets and plastic, but they try to make them look nice.

Beauty, I observed, is a basic need. When I moved to Canada, the cultural shock and all the personal difficulties I encountered made me dive into my own internal landscape and my work became more of a catharsis, impregnated with socio-political, psychological and philosophical commentaries.

grayhound-express-copy

Do you hope the viewer will “get” what you are trying to communicate or do you feel compelled to spell it out to them?
My paintings always say something. There is always a story put together by the use of symbols and visual references. Most of the time, though, the story is not clear, not even to me. When I start painting I may have a feeling of what I want to say, but as the work progresses, it takes a life of its own and starts to “ask” for changes, additions and modifications.

I just follow my intuition and keep attentive to what is happening on the canvas. As a result, what I had initially planned to say turns into a different discourse. The story then becomes a “feeling” instead of something that you can spell out with words. For that reason, people sometimes feel intimidated by the complexity of the image and feel shy to even attempt to say what they perceive.

Instead of trying to express their reaction to the work, they end up asking me, “What does it mean?” Most of the time I feel tempted to offer my own interpretation, but then I feel guilty of betraying my own philosophy of letting people create their own stories.

How important is it to you that your work communicates something to the viewer?
Communication is the whole purpose of my work. I am an introvert and I don’t speak much but my mind is always busy making comments. I create art because I need to express my feelings, my thoughts and my beliefs. I do not paint to decorate rooms but to say something, to promote conversations.

Generally, though, I do not worry whether people pick up what I am saying in the painting, because the reading of a work of art is something very personal. People should construct their own interpretations. However, in my socio-political pieces, my intention is, at a certain extent, to be clear in my statements. I would like all of us to take action and do something to change the status quo.

hombre_luna-1

Do you work from life, from photographs, from imagination or some other method?
Many times an image that I see in the newspaper or some publication triggers an emotional response in me. I use the image as a springboard to research other images either from nature, from other publications or from my imagination. In the end, what I produce becomes a juxtaposition of disparate images in concert with each other, tell a story and make a statement.

Some time ago, I saw a photograph in the paper showing a group of people in the National Gallery in London looking at a painting by Velázquez. The image made me think about the act of passive observation, of looking at something without doing anything, just sitting and seeing, mentally engaged, perhaps, but physically immobile. I thought about our lack of active engagement to what happens in the world.

We read the news and we get enraged about injustice, abuse of power and the suffering of other people and the misery in which they live, but we do nothing about it. I saw the gallery as a plutocratic global theater in which we sit in silence observing with our arms crossed what others have done. We comment, we agree or disagree. We like it or dislike it. We make our own stories according to our own experiences.

We conclude something and when we get tired of sitting and seeing, we get up, go home and keep on living our own existence as if nothing has happened. What else can we do? “Lounging on the Grass” is a painting that came alive out of my experience with that photograph. The 5’ x 8’ oil painting on wood parodies Edouard Manet’s bucolic midday snack on the grass into an act of relaxation and sensual pleasures against a backdrop of death. The lounging scene is a painting within a painting.

On the gallery floor, American superheroes, Superman and Wonder Woman, both old, wasted and decrepit, their bodies and faces a clear sign of defeat and resignation, observe absent-mindedly in the company of other gallery visitors, how former U.S. president George W. Bush and his British counterpart, Tony Blair, lunch and wine on and idyllic space in the company of a naked woman while at their back the whole world explodes into flames. A child poops on the floor, and Wonder Woman gets annoyed.

If you stopped doing art right now would you miss it?
I would miss it very much to the point of feeling as if I were walking on another person’s shoes or wearing another person’s head. I don’t think I could ever stop doing art. Art is something a person does because he or she has a particular personality, a particular mindset.

I stopped painting when I started my Spanish academy in 2001. I didn’t do any painting for almost six years, but during this time I wrote a novel, which filled my craving for expressing myself through art. The story is full of metaphors and visual images as if it were a huge canvas with all kinds of magical and realistic characters jumping out of the page. If I were not painting, sculpting or writing, I would be playing an instrument. I also wanted to be a musician.

lounging-on-the-grass-1

Can you name a favorite artist and why?
My all time-favorite artist is Picasso. I admire his prolific career, his creativity, his imagination, his capacity for synthesis and abstraction, his speed and his great skill at drawing. I marvel at how during the same period of time he created so many different styles. I don’t see the point in some artists sticking to one formula, repeating and repeating the same technique and style over and over.

Life is great when we have variety. I love to be surprised and to run into the unexpected. Some people advise artists to stick to one style. The reasoning seems to be once the artist sells one work, the sale proves his or her style and technique is commercially successful. The implication is if one work has been sold, more with the same formula can be sold. I don’t like the idea of “tailoring” works of art using the same pattern. The role of art, I believe, is to explore and try different approaches, to invent.

For me, the content is first. The style of the painting emerges out of the subject matter. It is the vocabulary used to express a particular idea. Both of them come together as a whole entity, as a whole expression. My works look very different from each other because my practice is very dynamic, but all my paintings speak the same language with the same voice.

Technology has become an important marketing tool for many industries and individuals, what are your thoughts from a “You Inc” perspective and your art sensibility.
Social networking is a must if somebody wants to succeed in any field. I created www.juanlopezdabdoub.com about three or four years ago. It took me a huge amount of time to learn the tools and put together the site, but I am very glad I invested the energy. It has proved a great promotional investment. Still, how to get the website to attract the attention of art galleries, curators, art consultants, collectors and the general public requires careful strategy and planning. Don’t ask me how. I’m still trying to figure it out.

What about the role of titles with your work, some hate them others revel in them, what about you?
I cannot tell you enough how much I love the act of naming my works. For me, it has the effect of baptizing the child after delivery. When I was a teenager, I used to lock myself in my room to write poetry. I still have some of those early poems in a shoebox. I read them now and blush at how “cheesy” they are, but they are just innocent pieces of writings, the product of a very insecure and vulnerable boy in love. One day I wrote a story made exclusively out of titles of films. So you can realize why I love to title my paintings. I love long and fictional titles, like “The schizophrenic experience of a Madonna in the asylum corridor” or “The technological era of dysfunctional machines that make people fly”.

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?
It is a destructive term. It works to the benefit of the market and in detriment of the artist. It is very unfortunate that some artists believe in it and propagate its use. There are starving people in all professions, but nobody talks about starving architects or starving lawyers. In Canada, among the immigrant community, there are thousands of medical doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers, architects, scientists, etc., whose professions are not recognized and who have to do menial jobs in order to survive.

Does the gallery make the artist famous or does the artist make the gallery famous?
The pyramid of the art world has museums, art galleries, curators and art collectors at the very top. Emerging artists are not even at the very bottom but under, either drowning or making their way to the surface. Established artists are in some area between top and bottom, according to their signatures. I like to argue that art curators make the artists famous and consequently, the art gallery becomes famous.

There is no doubt that MoMA has amazing pieces in its collection. But it is in MoMA’s benefit, at the same time, that the pieces in its collection be famous. Some artists get lucky that a reputed art curator picks them up from the pile. Sometimes the artist has a real talent. Other times it is just a matter of luck.

A very impressive and complex review or curatorial criticism is enough to send an artist into the stratosphere of the art scene. I guess it is also a matter of being in the right place, at the right moment and surrounded by the right people.

Do you aim to make “masterpieces” with the aim of being seen in the future as an artist that really made their mark in art history?
I think all of us dream about leaving some mark and being remembered as someone who made a difference. I love my work as an artist and I want my paintings to be “alive” when I am gone. I strive for quality, and every time I begin a painting I want it to be a masterpiece.

Want to see more Artist Interviews the day they are posted? Subscribe and we automatically send you the latest post via email, it’s easy click here to subscribe.

Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58

Siobhan Kelley – Artist

Siobhan Kelley lives on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and is currently engrossed in Maps as an artistic device, Amanda van Gills caught up with her recently to explore her world… You can see some more of her work here.

artist-and-paintings

How long have you been making art?
Since high school I suppose. My awareness of art was aroused when I was in year 10 through the brash bold world of advertising. I used to go to university open days to look at the graphic design courses. I intended a career in the highly creative industry.

Interests you have other than art you feel are important to mention?
Yes, I love cooking and eating and exercising, not necessarily in that order.

What are the main mediums you work in?
Acrylic on linen.

hobsons-bay

Hobsons Bay 2009 100x100cm.

Artist’s statement…
I consider my map paintings as landscapes in that they depict the land, albeit in a graphic form and from an aerial perspective. Landscape painting is generally understood from a horizontal point of view and often bears some resemblance to the land itself. A long tradition of artists have taken their canvases out into the land to observe nature and paint en plein air in order to capture the nuances of the light, the moment, the spirit, the energy and emotion, the very essence of the land.

Maps however reduce geographic and man-made features to a graphic form that bears no resemblance to the land. A cartographic landscape is edited and simplified according to the specific purpose for which it was created. A tourist map marks significant points of interest, whilst ignoring features less interesting such as office buildings. A shipping chart defines what is below the water and therefore provides crucial information for navigation such as water depths, beacons, wrecks, marine parks and obscured hazards with less regard for geographical land features.

Maps speak about a transient existence, of travel and destination. They speak of place. While a map does not resemble landscape in a traditional sense it does define a landscape and allows a physical relationship with land in a way that a painting cannot.

One word or statement to describe your current works?
Maps

How did you get into art?
After high school I studied graphic design at TAFE. By the end of first year I realised, as did my lecturers, that I was not a graphic artist, but rather a fine artist. The following year I swapped to second year fine art.

It was the start of the 90’s and computers were essentially word processors so everything produced was by hand. Paint had to be flat and even, presentation boards had to be ruled up with symmetrical borders. Typeface and fonts were all done with the aid of French curves and everything had to be CLEAN. All I wanted to do was make a large mess. I also think I was not so good at following a brief.

As it happens the graphics training has come to fruition as all of those things I use to be dreadful at I now employ in my painting practice.

How important is art for you?
It has become an all-consuming obsession. When my daughter was three months old I moved my easel in to the lounge room so I could paint and keep an eye on her while she slept. She’s now two and a half and the easel remains in the lounge room.

city-walk

City Walk 2009 100x100cm This painting was short listed for the 2009 Albany Art Prize.

What is it about visual art you find compelling?
I have an attraction to art works that are visually striking, asethically pleasing and whimsical or witty.

What caused you to choose the medium you currently work in?
Pregnancy. Until I became pregnant I worked in oils. I changed for two reasons, primarily because I was concerned of the effects of prolonged exposure to various varnishes and oil mediums, but also because the smell made me feel ill – as do most smells in the early weeks of pregnancy. I was reluctant to switch to acrylic because I felt they had a certain stigma about them, that oil was regarded more highly. I always believed I would return to oil but I am hooked on acrylic. The fact that it’s quick drying and has a plasticy finish has won me. Oh and you don’t require a medium to thin the paint down. It took some time for me to adapt, to understand the difference between the two products, like how much water is required to achieve the right consistency and how many time you can repaint the work before you have to allow all the layers to dry.

Has your work changed much since your early efforts?
The subject matter certainly has. My first paintings at TAFE were an extension of the work I was doing in high school. They consisted of photocopied images pasted on canvas and then worked over in bright bold colour. Over time the work became more personal and connected more to my emotions, and finally I began working with photographs of landscapes that I sewed, pasted or painted on to the canvas. Eventually the photos disappeared and the landscape remained. Even then I was interested in the horizon line, particularly how colour meets at the horizon. When I returned to study post graduate some ten years later, that went on to become what breaks a horizon line, e.g. buildings, trees. I became interested in distance and space. This in turn lead me to plein air painting – which I hated, and then to painting objects I had found and collected, which I began combining with weather maps and shipping charts. Once again, the object disappeared and the landscape remained.

Have your artistic influences altered over time?
Pop and Dada were my first influences in high school. At uni I looked more closely at the work of Kurt Schwitters, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist and Larry Rivers. My landscapes were largely influenced by Rothko and later by Australian painters such as Fred Williams and Arthur Boyd. Rosalie Gasgoine has also been a perennial favourite. My most recent hero is John Wolseley. In particular his expansive landscapes that are both vistas and intricate details of the plants and insects that inhabit the land.

What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years.
The planning process has become integral to the finished artwork. I specifically chose locations to relate to the towns or suburbs in which the paintings will hang in. I then photocopy and cut and paste the chosen maps in order to establish a firm idea in mind of what I want the work to say. Over the years I have found it important that people be able to identify with a location on a map, and whereas I once obscured it I am now not afraid to be more obvious. Once I have dissected the photocopied image and have reached a resolution, I then make several larger photocopy versions and colour them in pencil.

When I come to painting the image I know exactly what I want it to say, how it will look and the colour scheme I will employ. Of course the scale plays a large role in the finished painting. Often problems present themselves that require further resolution. I have only begun working this way for the last six months. Prior to that I simply photocopied parts of maps I liked on to acetate, dissected them as I drew them directly onto the canvas and painted them with no idea how the completed image would resolve itself. I find the way I work now more efficient. Rather than blindly trying resolving each painting on the canvas as I am going, I now confidently produce paintings that I feel are resolved both conceptually and aesthetically.

Do you keep an Art Journal or Visual Diary of some kind?
I have kept a written diary for 20 years. I took it everywhere with me and would write obsessively about everything in it. When I first began writing I was in yr 11 at high school so my earlier diaries consisted of issues to do with growing up: boys, peers, drugs, parties. In uni I took it with me to galleries and would write reviews of shows, scribble song lyrics and make pen drawings. Eventually I began using the back of the diary to as a reference for ideas or to make quick sketches for paintings, write shopping lists, recipes, phone numbers. I have kept all of my diaries and occasionally look back over them for a specific occasion, usually to find my first impressions of people. My writing has turned more to my painting over the years.

Now I’m married and don’t have to work through relationship issues. I also find I leave it on my bedside table and write in it at night just before I go to bed. I find it invaluable to stop the constant babble in my head, especially when I can’t sleep. In addition to the written diary I keep a visual diary of all the ideas I have when working on ideas for a new painting. It contains sketches for paintings, artists’ statements I have written, photographs of previous paintings, images that I find in magazines, song lyrics. I have found it an invaluable reference tool.

What sort of research and or reference material do you do for current works and has that changed over time?
I work directly from maps that I have collected, and am constantly scouring the pages of street directories and map books. I try to find maps that relate specifically to a location where the painting will hang. I am currently working on a four-wheel drive map painting of the Flinders Ranges for the Whyalla Art Prize. When I first began painting maps, I was referencing shipping charts. It was the graphic nature of charts that I was interested in with the title of the painting as the only reference point.

I have since thought about what it is that intrigues people about maps. Usually it is familiarity of place so I have begun painting a variety of maps, mostly tourist and street directories that directly reference suburbs, street names or place names that are instantly recognisable. In the future I would like to include maps in foreign languages and historical maps.

Want to see more Artist Interviews the day they are posted? Subscribe and we automatically send you the latest post via email, it’s easy click here to subscribe.

Compiled and edited by Amanda van Gils © 2009+

Rosie Leventon – Artist

Rosie Leventon is from London and is represented by the Nettie Horn Gallery, in Bethnal Green, London. She has been making Art for about 25 years and her web site is at. www.rosieleventon.com.

Rosie has an exhibition on entitled UNFOLD at the Nettie Horn Gallery, london June 9th 2009  until Aug 2nd .(Wed – Sun 12 – 6) and another one UK-Japanese Group Exhibition at the LENNOX Gallery, London 23rd – 28th June. 11 – 6.30 Mon – Fri. Sun 11 – 4

Rosie is also interested in, Archaeology, prehistory and green Issues. Her main mediums are, Sculpture , Installation, Landart and drawing. Materials range from stone, water and wood to Romantic Novels, Human hair and central heating pipes… yes heating pipes!

For Rosie, art is everything to her, her messages are both personal and political, Metaphoric and symbolic. Her current works are installations “I often seem to be making work that appears in one way on the surface. But which may be something different if you look beyond. I also like the way works have changed over the years as I try and experiment with new materials, and this is just one aspect to the Art struggle.

Specifically, I make sculptural installations and drawings, some of which are permanent and some ephemeral. I often rework familiar domestic objects and architectural features – such as a doormat, a telephone, some suitcases, a corridor, some staircases and floors.

My work is often interactive and may contain paradoxes and surprises. Some work involves looking through and behind the surfaces of modern day living to find something lost or hidden beneath.” Rosie said.  Most of her work embodies green principles and environmental awareness. She often uses local and recycled materials and labour. Some pieces made for a forest and a disused stone quarry provide water for animals and birds, and encourage biodiversity and regeneration.

a-long-way

What are you currently working on?
Am just finishing a new paperback books piece. It’s a bit like a tower and is called “ Somewhere a door slammed… “

What fascinates you?
The way we live our lives today, – contemporary culture – and trying to see how ancient cultures and archaeology may still reverberate into the present, whether in a physical or psychological way.

al-hayat

What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
I did a lot of ordinary jobs, selling door to door, waitress, cleaning, Gallery Assistant. Then I did a course in Chinese language and Archaeology at London Uni. Before going to Art College.

Is there any one thing that has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?
Probably being able to show a big piece at the Serpentine Gallery in London, as well as having 5 drawings bought by the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. Also being commissioned by the national maritime Museum in Greenwich.

Rosie Leveton's B52 Kings Wood - Stour Valley Arts Project UK

Have you had any “big breaks” in your career?
Being commissioned by the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to make a glass piece for their new dome. ( Now in the Queen’s House at the Museum,) Also being selected by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona to make a water Installation for a show called “MIRADES SOBRE EL MUSEU”

Do you have a personal philosophy that underpins your work?
Life is what you make it!

coomb

Do you aim to break the rules of basic composition, layout etc or do you ignore the “rules” and just create?
I break most rules.

Do you hope the viewer will “get” what you are trying to communicate or do you feel compelled to spell it out to them?
I hope the viewer might get something from the work even if this is not the same is what I get. All, our life experiences are so different I cannot expect people to respond in a predictable way.

drip-1

About significant moments in your life, the sort of things that changed things for you forever… perhaps altered your Art… Who how why what and where…?
There is a lot of ‘stuff’’ that happened in my background which is too terrible to talk about here. But part of what I try to do is to turn this huge negative in to a positive.

If you stopped doing art right now would you miss it?
Couldn’t live.

dwg-with-doors-s

The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
I hate this side of it!

Do you have a connectedness to other art forms?
Possibly to architecture..

dwgwith-planes

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?
To be part of a group is a constructive thing I think.

Have you won any awards?
Yes I won the Rouse Kent Award for Public Art for a water piece I made for King’sWood in Kent. Also got an Arts council Award recently. I won the Mark Tanner award for Sculpture a few years ago. And British Council Travelling awards. The Elephant trust and Portland Clifftop Sculpture park, a major award.

false-floor-2

Have you had any critical reviews and were they good, bad or indifferent?
Yes a file full, mostly good but 2 or 3 bad I try and take note!

How long do your works usually take to complete?
From several months to a year or so.

light-sleeper

How many artworks do you work on at the same time?
Not more than 2 or 3 at the most.

Do you think art school nurtured you or somehow crushed you?
For me it was incredibly empowering!

ng2-1

How did you manage to survive financially at the beginning of your art career?
Had to do a lot of fairly horrible jobs!

How did your first solo show go?
It was at LYC Museum and Art gallery in Cumbria, and was a lovely event with a real feeling of openness to everyone. Also it was in a very beautiful converted farmhouse in wonderful countryside. It also offered me a whole room to build in my first water installation!

ring

Do you have difficulties getting into galleries?
Yes, a bit because my Installation work is not always very commercial being a bit on the large side. The drawings are Ok though/.

How do you think people learn about you?
From my website, or from the shows I do or have done.

undercurrent

Do you have ideas turning over in your head all the time or?
Yes at any one time I always have several ideas running of pieces I want to make.

Delicate and subtle, strong and bold?
A combination of both might be the ideal?

Critics are important because?
They can help to throw light on a particular artist, but the viewer should ultimately decide having seen the work IN THE FLESH!

Want to see more Artist Interviews the day they are posted? Subscribe and we automatically send you the latest post via email, it’s easy click here to subscribe.

Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58

Salon Des Refuses – Melbourne

Ursula Theinert has been successful in getting into the Salon des Refuses again this year with her portrait of Leonie Ryan, Installation artist.

ethereal-transitions-leonie-ryan-acrylic-on-canvas-150-x-150cm

They are always interesting exhibitions and worth a look. The exhibition has 49 portraits by Victorian artists submitted for the 2009 Archibald Prize, but not chosen for the ‘Official Prize’ exhibition.

There are portraits of Frank Woodley, Wil Anderson, Bud Tingwell, Karen Martini, Ben Mendelshohn and many more…


The Hidden Faces of the Archibald will be open to the public on:-

17th of June to 12th of July 2009

Tuesday – Sunday 11-5

SMART artZ Gallery

2 Alfred Place, South Melbourne

www.smartartzgallery.com.au

Here’s a link to some more info.

Admission Free

Inside the big apple

Kerrie Warren is in New York and has gratiously agreed to share some of her art experiences from there. Thanks Kerrie keep on reporting!

New York is huge, a mixture of everything like every big city…and lot’s of it.  Including noise and pollution.

On arriving I was really on the look out for galleries and walked up and down the streets of Manhattan’s Murray Hill district where I’m staying, but alas there are none! Not that I can see.

kerrie-in-soho-09

I was so naive just a week ago, I expected ‘Art’ to be everywhere here but have since discovered that it has designated ‘areas’.  This is one reason why it reminds me of Shanghai.  That and the young men pulling Rickshaws!

In one week I feel that I have learnt alot, but where do I start?

The ‘opening’ at Agora Gallery last Thursday night was just terrific. I really didn’t know what to expect, but approx 150 people turned up and during the night I discovered through chatting that many were artists and artist supporters (just like at home).

A diverse mixture of work that is professionally positioned and presented in individual areas.  The exhibition has been advertised as promised and features in the Gallery Guide, in Chelsea’s ARTisSpectum Magazine and other publications.

Here is a link to the photos taken by the gallery on the night

http://www.agora-gallery.com/Exhibitions/ReceptionPhotoAlbum.aspx?exhibitionDate=6/2/2009

I noticed that there were no sales, not for any artist.

Agora Gallery are in the Chelsea district, a whole district that is being re-developed into galleries, art spaces and cafes.  (previously a meat packers district).  The industrial buildings are being gutted and I’m sure are now worth a small fortune.

Construction teams are everywhere.  Agora Gallery is in a newly developed section surrounded by approximately 500 other galleries! It is overwhelming and last Tuesday we walked through the streets and popped in and out of a number of them, suprised to see that only a handful of other people were doing the same.

It was very quiet, especially after the noisy streets of central Manhattan! Maybe a ‘Tuesday’ is an unfair indication of the usual traffic; the art lovers, the lookers, the buyers…where were they?

After a few hours I felt truly overwhelmed by this environment.  My initial feelings were that it was ‘false’, very man made (of course it is) and I honestly felt confused by it.

We will be heading back down on Saturday to see what it is like on a weekend.  The galleries are generally closed on Sundays.

***

Today we walked to the older and better known ‘Soho’ district.  I had high expectations!

Again we wandered on foot to get a real ‘feel’ of things and discovered a few more established spaces…one top end gallery that did not want to acknowledge us, a very contemporary and grungy style space ‘Spencer Brownstone Gallery’ that reminded me of Gertrude Contemporary Art Space
and a handful of other ‘print galleries’.

The big old buildings are grey from the years of pollution, the streets are very busy but again we were alone in the galleries. Basically the area is grungy and I felt grotty.

Apparently many of the original galleries in Soho have moved over to the new Chelsea District or are in the process of doing so. For me, Soho wasn’t ‘SO’ Ho..

It was a terrific experience because it is a complete contrast to Chelsea and I walked away from Soho thinking how much I liked the Chelsea district. I can understand why the galleries are making the move and I now feel more excited about going back to Chelsea for another look from a different perspective.

There is so much to take in.  As you know, New York is in a recession right now and I’m not sure how the galleries are surviving.  Red dots are Rare, but ‘Art’ is not about sales.

I now have more of an appreciation for the galleries that require a fee for representation, how do they survive these times otherwise?

While I’ve been here I’ve also embraced the opportunity to visit MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) AMAZING, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and even took a bus to Long Island to visit the Pollock Krasner property.  That was the best day ever, I still can’t believe that I have paced the floor of Jackson’s studio!  A DREAM COME TRUE!

I feel more inspired than ever!

Kerrie Warren
KW Abstract Art, Australia
www.kerriewarren.com.au

Early June 09

I managed to get in quite a few galleries on Saturday and saw a few really amazing things, some items a bit so so, but in the main a good day out.

Some of the names escape me, but here are a few who stood out.
Peter BlizzardAutralian Galleries – Fantastic sculptures!

Joshua YelandScott Liveseys Gallery – Carved 2D paintings Brilliant! (I stood for a fair while looking at these…)

Rose NolanAnna Schwartz Melbourne – Very STRONG installation.

Jee Young ParkFlinders Lane Gallery - A walk through sheer plastic curtains, truly fascinating, a decidedly intriguing journey, from somewhere to nowhere and across to somewhere else.

There was more a lot more, but this is the best of the best, (my view!) :)

Lang Leav – Artist

Lang Leav, Contemporary Artist from Sydney, Australia, provides us with an insight into her fascinating world, you can check out her website here…  www.akina.com.au 
 

langy_art_1


Are you currently represented by a gallery?
I am represented by StupidKrap, a collective of some of the best underground artists in Australia. They run some very cool projects to promote underground art in our industry. Check it out! http://www.stupidkrap.com/
 
How long have you been making art?
I can’t remember a definite point where I began making art. It has always been an extension of myself. 

goose-girl_1


 
What are the main medium/s you work in?
I mainly work with ink and pastels but lately I have been working with charcoal. My hands are constantly blackened and I have this habit of pushing my hair from my face, so by the end of the day I look like I’ve been sweeping chimneys.
 
How do you describe your work, realistic, stylised, abstract, narrative, symbolic, other?
My work has a very strong narrative quality. I frequently use fairytale, folk and nursery rhyme references in my work. Storytelling is an intrinsic part of everything I do. My newer pieces (which I am yet to release) carry a much more mature tone. It isn’t something I planned but the characters in my artworks seem to be ‘growing up’ as I do. 

little-red_1


 
What are you currently working on?
My main project is a collaboration with music composer Cyrus Meurant. We met through the Churchill Fellowship Award and immediately had a mutual respect for each other’s work. It is uncanny how much the music he has written for the project encapsulates the feeling, which has inspired my artworks. We are hosting a concert event that will be a cross pollination of art, music and theatre. I think it will be quite magical.  
 
What fascinates you?
Love, romance, adventure, destruction and creation. I think all these things are created by words. My head is often filled with snippets from books, movies, song lyrics and those conversations I’ve had that were the defining moments of my life.  

mary_contrary


 
How important is art for you?
Art is a compulsion. It feeds my soul. Most things for me require effort. But art is effortless. That’s the best way I know how to describe it. 
 
Was art a “thing” that was encouraged in your family?
I grew up in an area where art was discouraged. My parents are very traditional and insisted I study law or medicine. To convince them otherwise I said, ‘Mum and Dad, I promise you, if I can’t make a living as an artist, I will marry a lawyer or a doctor’. So now I am free to marry whomever I please!

mary_lamb


 
Have you had any “big breaks” in your career?
My biggest break was winning the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award. I won the Fashion prize and was a runner up in the pictures category. This brought me to the attention of industry heavyweights such as Peter Morrissey and Elizabeth Ann Mcgregor (Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art). The following year, I was awarded a $25,000 Churchill Fellowship to study the underground subcultures in Tokyo. This was such an incredible opportunity and I got to meet some very influential people in the Japanese creative industry. You can read all about my adventures here:http://www.akina.com.au/cosplaying_lolita_ds.pdf
 
Do you hope the viewer will “get” what you are trying to communicate or do you feel compelled to spell it out to them?
I have always created art from a need to express myself rather than to cater to a particular audience. My artworks are my love letters. Even if I were to explain them, there is only one person in the world who is able to truly know the depth of what each line, each stroke represents. 

match-girl_1


 
Has being involved in the arts proven to be a millstone or a point of elation?
I really can’t convey what an amazing thing it is to be able to do what I love and to have the recognition and means to keep doing it. I know I am incredibly lucky and remind myself of this constantly. 
 
Is art about entertainment, experimentation, inventiveness or shock for you?
I appreciate all forms of art and I think anyone’s motive for creating art is noble. Personally I want to create work that has real substance and depth. I don’t want to rely on ‘tactics’ in order to draw attention to my work. 

mermaid-art_1


 
The business or marketing side of Art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
For most artists, the idea of business and marketing can be quite daunting. As a result, so many talented artists lack the know how to promote themselves or to make their passion viable. I’ve been working with David Soul who is prolific in the technology industry to find solutions on how to bridge the gap between art and business in order to encourage more collaborative work between both parties. The potential there is absolutely mind-boggling!     

Is your art, “art for art sake…” or a matter of “art for commercial viability?”
I try to create art that has integrity but am also conscious that I do need to make a living. I create a balance by designing my own unique products to feature my artworks. The most popular have been my limited edition hand made books. Recently I sold ninety-nine books through my online fan-base. Creating them is such a joy and I pinch myself that people part with their hard earned money for them! 

thumbelina_art


 
Do the seasons affect your work or work habits?
Actually yes. I usually spend most of winter creating. It is my hibernation period. I block out the rest of the world and have this really intensive period where I just draw and write. In the warmer months, I will do my shows and go out exploring. 
 
Are you the sort of artist that seeks out promotional opportunities or one that shuns the limelight?
I am very grateful for any exposure because it helps to make what I do viable. I am able to play the P.R. role because it is one I was thrown into very early on in my career and something I have learnt to manage. However, the limelight is not something I actively seek and is just a means to an end. 
  
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Never compromise who you are. If you create from within, your work will always find an audience to connect with. 
 
Logic and clarity or creative and messy?
I have absolutely no sense of logic, time, history, geography or direction. I do however, have a great sense of humour. 

Small and intimate or large and bold?
This reminds me of a line from The Great Gatsby: ‘I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy’. 
 
Security or insecurity?
Perhaps it is something to do with getting older but in my career and as a person I have never felt more sure of myself and of my place in this world. 

 

Want to see more Artist Interviews the day they are posted? Subscribe and we automatically send you the latest post via email, it’s easy click here to subscribe.

Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58

Bud Tingwell a tribute.

Iconic Australian Actor Bud Tingwell passed away in May 2009, many of you will know Peter Biram painted his portrait for the Archibald Prize this year and wrote about it exclusively right here. It’s fitting I give Peter a chance to say a few words in his memory.

Remembering my mate Bud

When I heard of Bud’s passing I was greatly saddened, the magic about Bud, was he made everyone feel so welcome and special. He made me feel like I’d known him for a very long time. I feel sadness at his loss because of the things, which could have been.

There has been renewed interest in the painting, and it will be in the Victorian Salon De Refuses (for Victorian Artists works which did not make it into the Archibald prize final selection.) Which will be at the Smart artZ Gallery, 2 Alfred Place, South Melbourne, June 17 – July 12.

Peter Biram with Bud and the portrait.

bud-and-pete

Here is another link to more info.

Vin Ryan – Artist

Vin Ryan is a Contemporary Visual Artist from Sunshine Victoria and has been making Art for about About 15 years, you can check out his web details at www.vinryan.com.au 

 vin

What are you currently working on?
I’m doing a very large drawing of a nature strip tree in my neighbourhood. It’s part of a series of drawings called Tree Game, which I’ve been doing for about 4 years. The tree drawings continue a long held interest in beginning a drawing or a series of drawings with some sort of unintended/ arbitrary social gesture. In the case of the Tree Game drawings, the arbitrary gesture is made by a council arborist who prunes the top out of the tree to accommodate the overhanging electricity wires.

I like the fact that when I begin one of these drawings, a certain amount of intervention has already begun. As an artist, I’m orchestrating some sort of unintended collaboration and the slow, detailed rendering of these trees that I do is meant to throw these initial arbitrary acts into stark relief.

I like the idea that within the shapes I render in these drawings, there might be some unintended, absurdist or subconscious intent – topiary of the collective unconscious perhaps.

 atefact

Did the place where you grew up have an influence?
For the first few years of my life I lived in small country towns. Then we moved to Dandenong in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. My dad didn’t want to move there really. He hated the suburbs. This has always made a big impression on me. Without realising it I was always encouraged to think of the environment I lived in as being without value.

We had Heidleberg prints of the bush all over our house. We had anthologies of bush poets like Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson. We had biscuit tins and place mats with Pro Hart landscapes on them. My dad created a beautiful but bizarre native garden with a seven foot high fence at the front to block out the traffic noise. When I showed an interest in drawing and painting, my dad starting giving me photographs of landscapes to copy. He was trying to encourage me but I secretly hated doing them without really knowing why.

I still remember the shock of seeing a reproduction of a Jeffery Smart painting when I was about 14. It had never occurred to me that you could make art about suburbia.  I’d always loved the environment around where I lived but I didn’t know you were allowed to make art about it. 

Do you have a personal description of “Art”?
Thoughts plus emotion. That’s the best I can do.

blue_tree

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
Solo shows certainly are. There’s a lot of stress and planning involved but also a lot of physical work and effort. The making of the work isn’t as much of a stress nowadays but I still find it difficult to coordinate all the other stuff – transporting the work, marketing etc.

All artists seem to have struggles, tell us about any you have had.
I have Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. This sometimes makes art making more difficult because of pain or energy levels. On the other hand, I think the adaptations I’ve had to make to my working practice over the years has actually made my work more interesting and more contemporary.

newaustdrwng_050

Do you hope the viewer will “get” what you are trying to communicate or do you feel compelled to spell it out to them?
I love the fact that once your work leaves your studio you no longer own it in a sense. The artist statement next to a work is of limited value in my opinion. It can give the work a bit of context, but it shouldn’t direct the viewer too much. You don’t expect to see an artist statement if you go to see a band or a film and I don’t think Visual Art is any different.

Respond to the notion “Art is a device for exploring the human condition”… The human condition? I never know what that term means. I’m much more comfortable focusing on specific things or situations and then stepping back and trying to see a broader meaning or context. I think ‘the human condition’ is just one of those terms, which is thrown around a lot and I suspect nobody really knows what it means.

ocular

What is the most unexpected response you’ve received from a viewer of your work?
I was standing in front of a work of mine once and a guy came up to me and said “wouldn’t you love to meet the c#^t who did this and just smash his face in?”

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?
I used to love locking myself away in my studio but as I’ve gotten older, my studio practice isn’t enough. I’ve had days in the last 5 years where the studio has seemed like quite a depressing and lonely place. When I feel like this, I tend to go outside and go for a walk. A lot of my ideas for art works come when I’m walking. I like the fact part of my work happens whilst I’m out in the world, not couped up in my studio all the time.

At different times I’ve really enjoyed collaborating and bouncing ideas of other artist. For a couple of years I was a board member at Conical Gallery in Fitzroy.  You can’t put a value on that sort of experience. You’d get to see the way that an artist exhibits their work from their initial written application right through to opening night. Sometimes you’d have lengthy conversations with the artist whilst they were setting their show up.  You felt as though you were part of their creative process.

I’ve also been involved in a few collaborative pieces. I don’t like doing it too often, but collaborating can really take you out of your comfort zone and give you the opportunity to do some things you’d never do otherwise. For instance, I did what was supposed to be a drawing collaborative piece with the artist Richard Lewer at Ocular Lab Gallery. When we got there Richard suddenly decided he wanted me to sing some songs based on the text in his wall drawing. I found myself composing some songs and then performing them to a room full of people.

opening8vryan

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
I think I wasted quite a few years when I was starting out as an artist because I didn’t take myself seriously enough and I didn’t exhibit my work.  As soon as I started to exhibit regularly my whole focus shifted. When you show your work all the things you don’t like about what you’ve done seem to be magnified. They’re right there in your face and you’re forced to do something about them. Showing also forces you to become less of a perfectionist and accept the perceived flaws in your work.

I think it’s easy, particularly as an art student, to tell yourself ‘what I’m doing now is finding my feet, experimenting. At some point in the future, I’ll start doing my real stuff, my exhibition standard stuff’.

It took me a long time to ignore this voice and tell myself ‘what I’m working on now could be the best thing I ever do and I plan to exhibit it this year’. If I had my time over I’d listen to this voice right from the very beginning, whilst I was still an art student.

Can you respond to this quote “Anyone who is half assed about art should get out.” (Janet Fish).
I sort of know what she means but I don’t like those kind of heroic platitudes. The way that I do yoga is a bit half assed but it doesn’t mean I should stop doing it. If you want to make a career out of being an artist you probably can’t afford to be half assed about it, but that applies to almost everything. Some of the best work I’ve seen has a laid back, almost lazy quality to it. Does that make it half assed?

 It’s funny, I love some of Janet Fish’s early paintings but I find her later work a bit conceptually ‘half assed’. She’d probably think the same way about aspects (or all) of my work if she ever saw it. I’m not sure what that proves.

red_tree

Your artistic practice is quite diverse, from installations based on fragments of notepaper pages to large detailed drawings of trees. Can you tell us a bit more about this diversity?
Working in a variety of media and a variety of different ways just seems to make sense.

At any given time I usually have one main thing I’m working on. It might be a large drawing or a table sculpture. In the background, there’s a whole lot of other ‘things’ that I do everyday. They’re things so imbedded in my everyday routine they don’t really even feel like art most of the time. Some examples are: for about ten years I’ve been looking for and collecting hand written notes I find on the ground whenever I walk somewhere; when I’m walking in the city I buy notes from people who are asking for money; every day when I read the newspaper I collect photos of people yelling or people covering their faces with their jackets; for the last four years I’ve collected all of my chewed fingernails; I take photographs of suburban nature strip trees, which have had the tops of them cut out to accommodate electricity wires; I make videos of my son eating lunch; I take photos of some of my empty plates after I’ve finished eating.

I’ve always done these sorts of things and often they’d just be sitting somewhere in my studio. I thought of them as a way of keeping momentum going. At some point I noticed some people who came to my studio would be more interested in this stuff than whatever it was I was working on at the time and so I had a bit of a rethink. Over a long period of time these ‘other’ things have become an integral starting point to just about everything I do and at times they become the main focus of my work.

There’s probably a school of thought, which says, if you want to get noticed you should limit your options, that you have to create consistent signature style – or brand even – in one main media. I’ve always been drawn to Artists who don’t do this. Artist like Johnathon Barovsky who does just about everything or Robert Rooney who will spend a decade painting, and then go off and just take photos for a few years or become an art critic for a while.

One of the things I like about this way of working is that I feel as though I’m doing something art wise every day. One day I might spend 6 hours drawing, another I might have just chewed my nails. It’s a way of keeping me immersed in art without feeling suffocated by it. 

vin-ryan_06_cmyk

As well as an artist you have taught art in various settings. Do you find that the experience of teaching art impacts your own practise in any way?
I’ve found teaching quite useful on a social level. It’s a nice counterpoint to the isolation of studio practice to find yourself in front of twenty or thirty people a couple of times a week, talking about art. Nowadays I teach drawing and art history. The art history subject has been quite a useful way of forcing me to keep up my art reading and keep me thinking outside my own practice.

It’s important for me not to really think of myself as a teacher or at least not to sound like a teacher when I’m teaching. I always tell my students not to think of themselves as students and not to think of me as a teacher. I think you learn more at art school if you think of everyone there as your contemporaries. The ones getting paid have more experience and you might choose to take notice of some of the things that they say but you also learn a lot of stuff from other students.

You completed studies at Monash University and followed up with Post Grad and Master studies at the Victoria College of the Arts. Looking back how do you believe those experiences have helped shape your artistic direction
My undergraduate study at Monash was a major disappointment. Most of the lecturers where very, very conservative and we were never pushed to show our work or even go to see exhibitions. By contrast, when I did my post grad and masters at the Victorian College of the Arts I was immediately struck by the diversity of work being made and the fact there was a real focus on exhibiting.

Only a few months into the course I saw first year students beginning to put their work up in the student galleries. Occasionally impromptu group shows would just appear on a spare bit of wall in the studios. That was a real revelation for me and a good kick in the pants. I realised what a great thing it is to be in an environment where everyone just assumes you’re working towards a show. 

I also had a couple of really valuable lecturers there, particularly Neil Malone and Lou Hubbard. They got me to ask better questions about my work. I started to focus less on how I wanted the work to look and focus more on what I was thinking and feeling and let the work conform to that.

 

Many thanks to Amanda Van Gils “ace cub reporter” for doing the research, asking for the interview  and grilling Vin for answers.

Want to see more Artist Interviews the day they are posted? Subscribe and we automatically send you the latest post via email, it’s easy click here to subscribe.

Compiled and edited by Amanda Van Gils © 2009+

Maria Paterson – Artist

Maria Paterson hails from the north coast of NSW and is represented by Gallery 82, Adelaide. You can check out more details on her website www.mariapaterson.com

acrobatstructure

Maria, how long have you been making art?
I started studying and making art when I was 17, So Im coming up for 30 years now

What are the main medium/s you work in?
My main mediums are oils and dry pastels, I also make ceramic sculptures when the mood hits me.

catpearls1

How do you describe your work, realistic, stylised, abstract, narrative, symbolic, other?
My work can be described as realistic, though stylised, with hints of the narrative and containing symbolic meanings.

What are you currently working on?
I have been working on a series based on the children’s circus my daughter attends, the expressive quality of the figures and theatre of the performances gives me many opportunities to create interesting pieces. The parallels of human existence interests me.

friends

What fascinates you?
The visual fascinates me, I am constantly seeing frames as you would with a camera of life around me.

How did you get into art?
I was always interested in drawing as a kid, and that just grew as I got older, I remember hassling my parents when I was 15 to do a correspondence course in graphic design to no avail, it wasn’t till I completed a course in secretarial studies, which I was totally unsuited to, and ended up working in a shop, that I gained financial independence and enrolled at Tafe to do the Arts certificate course at night.

That set me on my course till the present time.

How important is art for you?
Being able to create art will is an amazing experience, it will always be there and even when you get older it will still be there..

girlinpinkdress

What is it about Visual Art you find compelling?
The amazing things people create and the reponse that triggers in the viewer.

Your art education was?
I started with the arts certificate course, then later on I completed by B.A visual arts and a diploma in education.

The craziest thing you did at art school was…
Creating a baby half way through.

little-bee

Do you remember your first painting or artwork?
I remember talking my parents into letting me paint the back of my bedroom door, it was a forest scene looking out into a clearing with a deer in the background, I was always searching for nature.

Was art a “thing” that was encouraged in your family?
It was admired but not as an occupation.

Did the place where you grew up have an influence?
We migrated to Australia from Scotland, and ended up in the outer western suburbs, which I couldn’t find much inspiration in. I was always searching for that in nature. In a way it probably helped me by having to develop my imagination more. I headed for the hills as soon as I was old enough.

What or who inspires your art?
There are a lot of artists you come across that will click with you and that changes as you change.

Artists like Jeffery Smart, Margaret Olley, Degas, artists that go the long hall, interest me.

Has your work changed much since your early efforts? (e.g. as a student).
One of the great rewards of seeing your work develop over time, and how your perception changes, should be embraced, it’s the discoveries you make along the way.

Have your artistic influences altered over time (e.g. artists.) Every year I find a new artist that interests me, it just adds to your library of knowledge.

What can you tell us about your planning and making process for making art, and has that altered over the years?
I’ve been through many different phases in my art making. When working with my interiors and still life, it was integrated into my domestic life. I would set up objects and paint from life, I would also photograph images such as backgrounds or views to incorporate into these. I was interested in the relationships of the objects themselves and what sort of narrative they could tell. This is where my interest in structures and using them to integrate the work began. This could be patterns or edges of rooms, furniture etc..

My latest work is more of the game of chance in the work. I will take hundreds of digital photos of the night performances of the circus, then go through to find possible images I can work from, sometimes I can use the accidents that can occur. When planning the work I am as interested in the lighting and structures behind the subject as much as the subject itself.

Does the “creative process” happen easily for you?
Yes I am lucky in that way, I always have more ideas than I can realise, which can make it hard to knuckle down on one project, I always want to deviate onto something else, such as at the moment, I am doing a portrait of two family members, I like to take on a challenge.

How important is the clarity of concept to you, prior to starting an artwork?
I have never started my art from a conceptual attitude, I much prefer intuition and that instant recognition of a visual moment that inspires you to paint or create something, I think about the work later on and try to make sense out of what they mean. Im enjoying that process more these days as its like opening a Christmas present and discovering whats inside. Back to front different to how they teach art these days!

Have you had any commissions? Any of note etc…
In the early nineties I produced a lot of commissions for the corporate art world, which allowed me to work on large pieces, such as a painting for Okinawa resort in Japan, paintings for the Marriott in surfers paradise, Green Island resort, and private homes.

How important do you think craftsmanship is to artistic creation?
I believe craftsmanship is your tools, a fundamental skill for me is drawing and I still practice this skill through life drawing. Every medium you use has different qualities to learn about. Experimenting is an important part of this process.

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
I don’t go about it from that angle, Im always working on something, and when I start to accumulate the start of a series, I then think about exhibiting. It has to come naturally or I don’t think you can produce your best work, the pressure of exhibiting can stress this process.

Some say the lifespan of many “artists” post educationally is about five years, any thoughts on that?
That is very understandable, the life of an artist is not easy, you are usually doing two jobs, one to support you while you keep your art going, and add family responsibilities if you choose to have one. There is a lot of pressure and expectation on you. You are usually left with the hard core that have the will to keep going. Its important not to drive yourself too hard, so you can keep in for the long hall, its not an instant gratification occupation, its part of your life and you have to learn to balance it successfully.

Tell us about your connection to your subject matter, way of working, concepts etc?
An older artist gave me some advice when I was young and I didn’t know what I was doing. She said do what is closest to you. It was too simple, I was off on another tangent, then I started realising how true that was. So I never discount the obvious or what’s right under your nose, its what you have the most feeling for and knowledge of.

Some say a measure of an artwork is the ability for it to hold a persons attention or cause the viewer to come back after an initial glance and become captivated by the work, is that so for your works or an intention of yours?
Because I am a visual person, when I see art it has to convey something to me visually, I will read about it after it has said something to me. This is how I like to make my art, I am always striving for the work to have something that will communicate to the viewer in this way.

Do you have a connectedness to other art forms?
I love sculpture, that tactile feeling you get when you handle a piece of clay or feel a piece of stone.

Some artists are more “at home” isolated in their creative process, while others revel in being part of a group to bounce “ideas off” how about you?
I’m very much into working in my own space, though I recognise the value of interacting with other artists and the stimulation this brings.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
I like to give equal weight to the subject and the execution of it. I will finish a painting to a particular point but I will also consider the subject and the expression of this, which requires more feeling than finishing.

I don’t compromise my technique but use it to express gesture in my work. It’s a fine balancing act.

Are you the sort of artist that seeks out promotional opportunities or one that shuns the limelight?
I’m pretty hopeless at promotional stuff, its better if I’m not in the equation, and left to others.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Be true to yourself, and you will create your best art.

Want to see more Artist Interviews the day they are posted? Subscribe and we automatically send you the latest post via email, it’s easy click here to subscribe.

Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58

Pedno

image003

My name is PEDNÒ. I am a Visual Artist from Montréal who is represented by Agora Gallery in New York City. My work will be on display in Agora Gallery’s Unbound Perspectives exhibition, June 2 to June 23 2009.

I studied art 25 years ago, and then became a hairstylist, channeling my creativity in this art form for over 15 years. Four years ago, I began to seriously to paint again using acrylics.

My website is WWW.ART-PEDNO.COM

My statement is that art brings you to a level of lucidity about yourself, about your emotions, to a point where you have to get rid of the negative energy around you or in you to go forward. You have to surpass yourself and believe in what you do. It’s a kind of therapy that’s all about emotions.

My work is a mix of realism, illustration, pop and glamour. There is a soul underneath, look into their eyes, feel their mood and you will see more than beautiful faces.

My work is about the emotions and depth of the human soul.

What fascinates you?
I am an aesthete; I am fascinated by the power of beauty, in all its forms. It’s not only in the shape or the outline, but also in the vibration of color; the softness or hardness of the texture, the movement, and most importantly, the light!

Why are you an artist?
I am an introspective individual; it’s easier for me to put my thoughts in imagery than in words.

bronze-and-gold-24x48_2

How important art is for you?
Since childhood, I expressed myself through some form of art to release my emotions. Whether painting or creating a new look for someone, I am a creative individual.

What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
I have been hairstylist for 22 years and have seen thousands of people in front of me improving their image. It seems logical now for me to paint faces, creating an image that draws on all those years of improving people’s self-esteem.

Does the creative process happen easily for you?
No. It’s painful sometimes to push myself beyond my limits. I am perfectionist and want to improve with each painting. I’m not in my comfort zone when I do this. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever be, but the satisfaction I get when I complete a painting makes it worth it.

fuschia-lips-18x24_2

What happens to works that don’t work out?
I am lucky; I don’t have many pieces that are left. I think that timing is important. Sometimes those that don’t sell immediately become more valuable later.

The business or marketing side of art can be a challenge to some, what are your thoughts?
All I can say is that we don’t hear the best singers on the radio, we don’t see the best painters and sculptors in the gallery, or the best designers in boutiques. What is difficult for many is that they don’t know anyone in the artistic middle, they don’t have the resources. Many get disappointed and loose the sacred fire. My advice is to keep focusing, never loose faith in yourself, and if you’re good, time will prove you right.

img_3533

If someone says to you, “oh your work is decorative and lacks any meaning…” your response would be?
I would say, “It has nothing to say to you, but to the person next to you it does.”

What or how do you respond to the term “Starving Artist”?
We don’t have to starve to be taken seriously these days. There is a myth among some artists who think that if they want to be taken seriously, they have to create art that is not commercial which only a few purists will like. Come on, we have to eat and pay the rent as well.  My art is commercial and I’m happy with that. It comes alive when someone loves it and with pride, buys it to cherish and show to others. Otherwise, it is in my studio waiting. Not only do I not have a problem letting go, I am grateful.

img_3534

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
Both. To me it is unfinished if the painting is smooth. For me, it has to have a physical presence as much as a visual. That’s where textures comes in. I use a lot of glitter to catch and accentuate the points of light, I use thick paint to do the hair or to emphasize some part of the painting, but it has to be calculated. I don’t like the skin to be sandy or rough, I like it smooth. For the rest I use movement and textures. I recreate the real texture of clothing by using the accent or applying the paint with a spatula. It’s like sculpting with colours.

How long did it take to develop your own style?
It took me four intense years. I had admiration for some artists when I started and they served as my inspiration. I never copied, but rather tried to understand their perception of light and the technique they were using.

Trial and error brought me to an understanding of light and the way movement influences the subject. I’m not a master yet, but I’m getting better. I now know what I’m looking for, I want to paint the light.  It is light that gives volume, life and humanity to an inanimate subject. My goal is to transmit my perception of light. I use beautiful faces or bodies to demonstrate this, intensifying the subject, emotions and movement.

Of course, I have developed my drawing style as well. I have my colour palette and reflect about the harmony of it all. My style is this beautiful subject, with intensity, emotion and texture that is done in a glamourous style. Maybe 5-10 years from now I will paint other subjects, but I will keep in mind my goal and technique.

img_4007

What do you love/hate about being an artist?
I love the satisfaction of creating something from nothing. I love when someone is touched or in admiration of my work.  I also love the evolution of my work, the challenge of surpassing myself.

What I hate is the mood swings that comes with it and I don’t like to be the victim of bad critics, or living in the eyes of others. I don’t like to feel that I have reached my limit and need to reflect, or being in doubt of my work. I am more in peace accepting the negative side, and rather than nourish it, I transform it into colour.


Did you intend to become a professional artist?
Not at first. I started to paint again after a 15-year break for fun, in a therapeutic way. I did 15 paintings that were hiding in my living room, and one day I found the courage to show them to the owner of a restaurant. This person was exposing local artists by displaying their works in his business.  He proposed I display mine, but I was so shy and afraid. However, I knew I had to do something with the paintings so I held an opening and displayed them for a month, and to my surprise, I sold everything.

That was the beginning. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and step-by-step, I acquired the skills and the confidence. I sold art to three important art collectors in Montreal. They have Matisse, Gauguin and Riopelle to name a few. I think this is a form of recognition. I am at the beginning of my career and already I feel fortunate!

img_4082

Did you have an inspirational teacher, and how did that affect you?
I had a teacher that believed in me, she herself had been a model for Picasso, she knew the man, and she saw something in me that I couldn’t see. She wrote a letter to introduce me at L’ Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris, she intervened on my behalf to get me a scholarship, but it was my punk years and I was rebellious. During this period I met my boyfriend, left school to study hairstyling and nothing could have changed my mind. This teacher and another one tried to convince me, but my path was different from their expectations. Life is strange sometimes since it brought me back to painting.

moonshine-36x24_2

What can you say about your work that might not be evident to the viewer?
Don’t look through the pulpy lips or the intense glimpse for someone you know, these persons are the fruits of my imagination combined with a certain reality. Classic portraits limit my creativity with technical constraint; I’ve done many portraits, but have more fantasy and freedom this way.

pedno-copy-2

Want to see more Artist Interviews the day they are posted? Subscribe and we automatically send you the latest post via email, it’s easy click here to subscribe.

Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/stevegray58