South Florida based artist, Danielle Biglin, has been painting since the early 90’s. Her work started in watercolor landscapes and has evolved into little gouache paintings and drawings of found objects, household items, and sardines...she loves their dopey faces. Danielle finds inspiration from and brings life to the ordinary and mundane. Her work has been shown at the A.E. Backus House in Fort Pierce, Florida and Second House in Montauk, New York.
We have an exciting Studio Sunday interview this week with Curtis Anthony Bozif! He is a Chicago based artist who has a solo exhibition of new works currently on view at the Evanston Art Center. The show opened on August 17th and will run through September 22nd.
We are pleased to have featured you in one of our previous issues, but you've got some new things going on now to share. How has your work developed in the last few years? What are you creating now?
I think my work has undergone a kind of distilling since last we spoke. A simple observation would be that the paintings have become more monochromatic and less compositional; more textured and less graphic. I’m focused on building surfaces and less concerned with what I’d call picture making. To this end, I’ve been using a lot of metallic and iridescent colors. They have a sheen to them that accentuates the texture and surface of a painting; its physicality. Metallic and iridescent colors shimmer. This causes the appearance of a painting to change relative to where you’re standing when you look at it. As you move around, the angle at which the surface absorbs or reflects light changes; the color shifts. A certain part of a painting may be obscured by a bright reflection while another part may appear to fall into shadow. In a sense, this kind of painting is hard to see. It’s hard to know.
What kind of studio space are you working in? What is important for you to have in it?
My wife and I recently moved into a new place here in Chicago. I now have a whole room dedicated to my studio. Definitely the most important thing for me to have in it is space. Because I make relatively large paintings, I need to be able to step back and see the whole thing at once. I also need to be able to move around and see it from different distances and from different perspectives. When a painting gives me trouble, this has always proved helpful; looking at it from a different perspective. Sometimes the hardest way to see a painting is to look at it head on.
Another thing that’s important is light. For me, this has always been the most frustrating part about setting up a new working environment. Balancing natural light with artificial, the temperature of the light, the intensity, and where to position the lights to reduce glare, I still haven’t figured it out. I‘ve never be completely happy with the light in any of my studios.
One last thing I’ll mention is my old CD player. It’s a simple stereo boombox I got when I was in high school. I’ve had it with me in all my studios. At the Kansas City Art Institute, Northwestern, and the string of different places I’ve had since then. I think music is important to a lot of painters because painting is a solitary activity that requires a lot of time and attention. Having something to listen to can help prevent loneliness, help you pass the time, and help you to focus. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Steve Reich, Ingram Marshall, Third Coast Percussion, and the soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, composed and performed by Ernst Reijseger. I think of the repetition and layering that is so characteristic of this kind of music as analogues to the repetitive mark-making and layering in my paintings. This has helped me to think about my process in some interesting new ways.
How do you maintain a consistent schedule with your creative practice? Do you have certain habits or routines that you follow?
The first thing to mention is I have a nine-to-five job. Any consistent schedule, unfortunately, has to be worked around that. In his book, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, David Lynch recounts Bushnell Keeler’s expression: “If you want to get one hour of good painting in you have to have four hours of uninterrupted time.” Like Lynch, I agree with this statement, but the exact times, one or four hours, doesn’t really matter. The point is that excess time is essential. It’s essential for play and for accident and for chance, but sadly, uninterrupted time is very difficult to make happen.
So weekends are precious to me; I’m usually up by seven. I’ll make a pot of coffee and read for an hour or two before I start painting. Research has always been an important aspect to my studio practice and reading is a big part of that. For instance, I just completed a series of paintings inspired by the Great Lakes. Over the course of making this work I read dozens of books on the subject. In my research I discovered an author named Jerry Dennis. He’s based out of Traverse City, Michigan and has written extensively about the Great Lakes. I found I had a strong affinity for the way he often approached the lakes, which is to say, on a geological time scale. I was so taken by his writing that I reached out to him and we developed a correspondence and that’s been really rewarding. In a way that’s not easy to describe, I’ve always thought of painting as a way of thinking; a way of knowing, but so too is poetry, music, history, and science. Learning how people who work in other disciplines approach—and ultimately come to know—the same things you’re dealing with in your own work can help to develop a more complete and nuanced understanding of those very things and, of course, your work.
Coffee and reading wake me up and help me to focus, after that, I’m ready to paint. I try and make this a quick and painless transition. It’s important to me to be able to walk into my studio, grab my tools, and immediately get to work. Here, I’d like to quote Lynch again. In the same book as before he writes: “It’s crucial to have a setup. [...] So that at any given moment when you get an idea that you have the place and the tools to make it happen. If you don’t have a setup there are many times when you get the inspiration, the idea, but you have no tools, no place to put it together and the idea just sits there and festers. Over time it will go away. You didn’t fulfil it and that’s just a heartache.” Today, there are so many distractions vying for our attention, there’s so much noise, to have the time and space to dedicate to your work and where you can focus, and what Lynch calls a “setup”, is so important.
What is one piece of creative or business advice that you would give to your younger self? Is there a quote or mantra that is especially meaningful to you right now?
I would tell my younger self to ignore, or mostly ignore, his grad school professors. It’s important that what you’re doing is enjoyable. I’m talking about the physical act of making art. What you do with your hands and eyes when you make art, is it enjoyable? What you do with your body, do you like doing that? It’s something that rarely gets discussed in art school. For example, when I was at Northwestern, I started making video art and my professors responded positively to it, but looking at the world through a camera, staring at a screen, and clicking a mouse all day made me really depressed. I ultimately stopped making art.
Similarly, I’d tell my younger self to think hard about the sustainability of his studio practice. By that I mean: is what you’re doing, are the ideas you’re engaging with, are they generative? Do they foster a healthy curiosity? Or, are you backing yourself into an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual deadend? If making the art you’re making is no longer enjoyable, or healthy, if it’s just paralysis, dread, and boredom that you feel upon entering your studio, then you should probably be doing something else.
Finally, you have a show coming up - can you tell us about the details and any other events you have lined up for the rest of 2019?
My solo show, Great Lakes, at the Evanston Art Center, runs from August 17th to September 22nd. As I alluded to earlier, this work is the culmination of a year long effort—through research and careful observation—to engage with the Great Lakes and to translate these experiences into the paintings.
One way I’ve tried to do this is by thinking about the lakes in terms of their scale. By scale I mean their size relative to the human body; their time relative to human time. People often try and describe the Great Lakes by listing a bunch of figures like: they contain one fifth of the surface liquid freshwater on the planet. This sounds like a lot, but of all the water on the planet, only two and a half percent is freshwater. So what does one fifth of two and a half percent mean? It means that the freshwater in the Great Lakes, as a natural resource, is both abundant and exceedingly rare. Similarly, we think of the Great Lakes as being very old; melt water from the end of the last ice age, but this melt occurred just 12,500 years ago, while the last ice age lasted almost a 100,000 years and the earth, it’s over 4.5 billion years old. On a geological time scale, the Great Lakes, like human beings, just appeared. Reconciling these time scales is impossible. If painting is a way of knowing, these paintings have been a way for me to know the Great Lakes, but to know the Great Lakes can often times feel like an exercise in abstract thinking.
One of the ways I’ve tried to translate the irreconcilability of these scales is by making relatively large paintings built of dense layers of minutely-sized, seemingly random marks across their entire surface. It’s my hope that this kind of scale and intensity suggests a vast, infinite space, and unknowable depth. As I mentioned the last time we spoke, I’ll often employ sticks in lieu of paint brushes when I’m working. This technique, along with embedding different materials like sand and iron filings into my paints, creates a highly textured surface that can often times feel more natural than human made; like the surface of a rock face. Layers of thin glazes and metallic and iridescent paints enhance these textures by catching the light, they shimmer, obscuring the image, and for this reason these paintings can be hard to see. I’m interested in the tension between the depth created by these layers and the flatness that’s emphasized by the sheen of the iridescent surface. You have to negotiate the way the light is interacting with the surface in order to see past it, to go deeper. It’s not unlike looking at water.
We often get questions from our community from people who are interested in art, but are wondering how to get started. Whether you are a practicing studio artist, a passionate hobbyist, or even if you’ve never picked up a brush, we always love to recommend looking into free online resources to take your creative skills to the next level. To this end, Create! Magazine is excited to share a series of art tutorials on the YouTube channel, RijksCreative, an initiative from the Rijksmuseum, a renowned art museum in the heart of Amsterdam.
As part of an initiative that brings both greater awareness and appreciation of the vast collection of masterpieces exhibited at the Rijksmuseum, the RijksCreative YouTube channel allows you to delve deeper into the style of prominent figures throughout art history. On RijksCreative you’ll find how-to videos in which art teachers from the museum demonstrate the steps to creating compositions like Rembrandt or painting self portraits like Van Gogh. Each video explains one art technique in detail so that even beginners can follow along!
Check out the RijksCreative channel here.
One recent video from this series is the ‘How to create a Van Gogh self portrait’ lesson from Ruud Lanfermeijer. Make sure to read the video notes for a materials list and you’ll be ready to start!
About the Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is the Dutch national museum dedicated to the arts and history. It is located in the museum square close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw. The building was designed by Pierre Cuypers and opened in 1885. The Rijksmuseum has on display over 8,000 objects and a total collection of over 1 million. A walk through the galleries is a journey through 800 years of art and history. Some of the museum’s masterpieces include works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. The Rijksmuseum is the largest museum in the Netherlands and welcomes over 2.5 million visitors each year.
For more information about the museum please visit their website.
We always love hearing about women who are creative entrepreneurs and especially enjoy those who also work in indie publishing! I was excited to have the opportunity recently to interview Pamela Rounis of SAD Mag, an independent Vancouver based publication that focuses on art and design. Read on for real talk on changing career paths early on, prioritizing work commitments, and the future of SAD Magazine as well as the podcast she hosts, called the SADCAST!
How did you get involved with SAD Mag? What is your role within the magazine? Can you give our readers a brief overview of SAD Mag’s mission?
SAD Mag is an independent Vancouver publication featuring stories, art, and design. Founded in 2009, we publish local contemporary and emerging artists and writers with a focus on inclusivity of voices and views. We are a non-profit and volunteer run. Our main mission is to elevate the creative scene here in Vancouver and give emerging creatives a place to get published and noticed. I started doing design for SAD around 2012 and eventually became creative director and co-publisher. When Katie Stewart (co-publisher) asked me to join SAD it seemed like mostly everyone there was a writer or photographer and none of these folks’ primary interest was design so it was a real opportunity for me to be able to change everything from the logo to the size of the magazine itself. This July, after nearly ten years, Katie, Michelle Cyca, and I stepped down as co-publishers to give a new generation the reigns. We will all remain on the board of directors, however, and I will continue to host our podcast, SADCAST. Syd Danger has taken over for me as the new creative director and co-publisher along with Madeline Barber as editor and co-publisher.
What has been the most exciting aspect of working with SAD Mag? What are some of the challenges?
The most exciting aspect is working with the artists, illustrators, and photographers on the creative for the magazine. It’s a lot of fun reading the pieces and matching them with the right person and briefing them on how to bring the piece to life. Each issue is themed which also brings a unique challenge, finding ways to stretch that theme across an entire issue in a way that keeps a reader’s interest. Our biggest challenge is the same as any magazine, gaining and retaining subscribers. It’s funny how many people will come to our parties and spend $30 on drinks, but don’t buy the magazine! We do have many loyal subscribers though it’s always a challenge to get the word out, especially since we’re volunteer run and sales are no one’s passion project.
How do you balance your various commitments considering that in addition to working with SAD Mag and hosting SADCAST, you also have a full-time role as an Associate Creative Director at an agency?
It’s been challenging to balance everything which is what led me to the ultimate decision to step down from most of my duties at SAD after 7 years. I think there was a lot of sacrifice that went into my being able to do everything. Certainly my husband thinks I’m a workaholic and I work most weekends. It’s not a lifestyle I would recommend and I think that’s the harsh truth about a lot of successful people. This past year I had my first panic attack and I said to myself that something needs to give, I can’t do it all even though I want to. Being promoted to ACD at Rethink came with a lot of new responsibilities also, so it just became overwhelming. I think for a lot of the time my motto was "better done than perfect". And that's really the only way things kept rolling.
Are there any exciting things coming up with the magazine or with personal projects for the rest of the year that you'd like to share?
I am very excited to see what Syd and Maddy do with the magazine. The next issue, their first as co-pubs, is appropriately themed Future and it’s definitely one to watch out for. Meanwhile, I’m going to try to make the SADCAST better than ever, and take it a bit easier, haha!
By Alicia Puig
Portrait by Lauren D Zbarsky.
Michele Melcher is an artist living in Carversville, a historic area of Southeastern Pennsylvania. She attended The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, receiving a BFA in Illustration in 1997. For the past 15 years, she has worked as a freelance illustrator specializing in advertising, editorial, and portraiture. All the while she has participated in gallery shows working in several different mediums including watercolor, pen and ink, graphite and most recently, oil.
Her latest paintings pay homage to the decadence of 18th and 19th-century portrait masters as well as her interest in vanitas and memento mori art.
The series,“Dead Masters”, pays homage to my interest in 18th and 19th century portraiture as well as vanitas and memento mori art. My background in illustration includes a lot of editorial work, a large percentage of that being portraiture. Much of that is straight to the point, representational digital portraiture and at times, dry. While transitioning mediums and teaching myself oils I was delighted by the pure decadence with which some of the aforementioned painters represented their subjects. I love the larger-than-life hairstyles, lavish clothing and opulent accessories. In regard to vanitas and memento mori art: it’s fascinating to learn about the images and symbolism of these two sometimes misunderstood genres as well as the pure scientific aspect of studying and drawing the workings of the human skeleton.
Atefeh Baradaran is an Iranian Canadian artist based in Vancouver, Canada. She holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (2016). Throughout her practice, she has explored various disciplines, including painting, drawing, sculpture, and ceramics and her work remains continually informed by the mall. Atefeh has an inclination towards hard-edged geometric patterns and process-oriented work. Shedraws inspiration from intentional and accidental compositions present in her surroundings. Her abstract work often presents methodically produced designs that are playfully combined with unexpected elements of disruption.
Time and time again, I find myself attracted to exploring the tension in dualities, transitional states, and binary opposites within art. Painting, in particular, becomes fascinating when we acknowledge its conflicting attributes. The use of paint to portray depth on a two dimensional (and traditionally rectangular) surface has been the subject of both praise and criticism throughout history; Techniques practiced by academic painters to create 'realistic' imagery have been abandoned by modernist painters who viewed illusion as dishonest to the flatness of the surface and the materiality of paint. While the discourse itself remains unresolved, incidentally this serves to maintain relevance in informing much of today's art practice.
In my recent body of work, the focus is placed upon the tension created by combining visual depth and the flat surface together. I aim to activate the physical, visual and conceptual spaces that inherently exist within a painting: the space confined by the frame, the surface plane, and the illusionistic space of the image. In doing so, I allow these elements to break out of their conventional roles and find their own unique voice—a liberation. This tectonic play with the structure places the work in an ambivalent state between painting and sculpture.
It is the last week of our show ‘Pilot’ with PxP Contemporary so this Studio Sunday highlights one of our invited artists, Michelle Lee Rigell. She is a contemporary realist painter who is based in St. Louis and we have featured two works from her ‘1,000 Crane Project’ in the exhibition. Read on to learn more about her creative practice, studio space, and exhibitions for the rest of the year!
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Michelle Lee Rigell is a St. Louis-based contemporary realism artist who works in acrylics. Since 2015, Rigell has shown her work in several locations in the Greater St. Louis area including SOHA Gallery, Art Saint Louis and fundraising art events such as Wall Ball for Artscope and Art of PAWS for St. Louis Effort for AIDS. Rigell also volunteers as an instructor and is the assistant director of Arts As Healing Foundation, a nonprofit organization that brings the therapeutic benefits of art to cancer patients and those with chronic illnesses.
I tend to gravitate toward subjects that evoke nostalgia and whimsy. I am currently working on a project called the "1000 Crane Project" because of my childhood love for origami. When I wasn't drawing or painting, I was constantly folding origami. My goal is to capture the beauty and precision of origami while incorporating the flawed nature of wrinkled papers and used wrappers and labels of some of my favorite childhood American products.
Cranes are also a symbol of good fortune and longevity in Korean culture. They have been an apt subject matter in my life because rediscovering my passion for painting began as a way to cope with my miscarriages and difficulties with infertility. I am a firm believer that art can provide healing, and I want to be able to help others heal by providing a sense of sentimentality and humor through my art process and experiences.
How did you first become interested in art and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today?
I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember. As a child I wanted to be an animator and graphics designer like my uncle, the other artist in our family, but in high school, I focused on getting into medical school. I was convinced by the adults in my life that this was a more practical career path, but ultimately I chose not to pursue a career in medicine after graduating from college.
After moving to St. Louis for my husband’s medical training, my mother-in-law encouraged me to take art classes. When I signed up, it never crossed my mind to pursue a career in art because I didn’t have any formal education in art and I had lost a lot of confidence in myself. Around the same time, I had a miscarriage and my second not too long after, so it was a period filled with a lot of hurt. Fortunately through the classes, I met my mentor and began volunteering for the Arts As Healing Foundation, reigniting my passion for art and opening new possibilities for me. I went on a long and roundabout journey back to an art career, but now I am sharing my love for art to others who need it and love it with more appreciation and passion than when I was younger.
We love that your work is so fun and whimsical with hints of nostalgia. Can you tell us about what inspires you and the story behind your series of origami cranes specifically?
A few years ago for Christmas, my mentor gifted me a glass jar with the Chinese character for happiness and good fortune on it. Along with art, I also loved origami growing up, so I decided to fill it up with cranes, which then led to an even better idea of painting them.
Before my “1000 Crane Project”, I was already painting nostalgic subjects like record players, musicians, vintage signs using earthy, dark tones; I grew up listening to a lot of Oldies music. But as I gained more confidence in myself and my work, I wanted to experiment with bolder compositions and colors. I had found the perfect subject that was not only iconic and symbolic but had been a big part of my childhood as well. Instead of using crisp, new sheets of paper, I thought it would be more interesting and challenging to make cranes with wrinkled, brightly colored candy wrappers that are sometimes more plastic and wax than paper. It would give me more opportunities to play with lights and darks to create all the tears and odd folds. And who doesn’t love candy? As long as I can bring a smile to the viewers’ faces, I know I’ve done a good job.
What is your process like? Do you do a lot of sketching or make work more intuitively?
I fold all the cranes I paint first. Occasionally I’ll go on a folding spree and fold whatever piece of paper or candy wrapper that catches my eye, so that later if I need inspiration or a new idea I can go through ones I’ve already folded. Sometimes I have to do a little cutting and taping supplemented with thumbnail sketches especially with the candy wrappers, so I can get the right labels and patterns to show through. I prefer to paint from my still-life set up, but I also take photos to refer back to because the cranes are tiny.
Describe your current studio or creative space. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your work area?
Currently my studio is in our guest bedroom. I’ve tried almost every other room in our house before settling into where I am now. The guest bedroom has the best lighting as it faces north with lots of windows. I try to take advantage of the natural lighting as much as I can, so my colors don’t shift. For me, lots of sunshine leads to lots of motivation and productivity. I would eventually like a space where I can make larger paintings and move more freely, but I also like being comfortable and having everything I need at home.
What is your favorite thing about being an artist?
One of my favorite things about being an artist is being able to express myself but also being able to have a safe place for me to tune everything out. The other is that I never stop learning as an artist. I’m continuously finding ways to improve my technique and to challenge myself to elevate my artwork.
Do you have any big collaborations, projects, exhibitions, etc going on during the rest of the year that you'd like to share?
I recently finished a piece that will be up for silent auction on August 3rd at this great fundraiser, Art of PAWS by St. Louis Effort for AIDS. The proceeds help patients care for their furry companions so they can focus financially on their healthcare. I will also be in a four-man exhibition at the Angad Arts Hotel in downtown St. Louis from August 2nd to October 26th.
For our first-ever women’s issue this past spring (which is still available for purchase here) I profiled four young and entrepreneurial women working in the arts to highlight those not only creating work, but also those who are supporting artists as curators, gallerists, educators, writers, and more! I’ve kept this series going on our blog and am excited to share this interview with gallery manager and art influencer Marie-Odile, or @imagine_moi on Instagram.
My name is Marie-Odile (it’s a peculiar name, I admit!) and I was born after 1990 in France. It feels like I’ve always been passionate about art. After a few years away from what I believe is my path, I dropped out of HEC Montréal Business School to go study art history and earn a master’s degree at la Sorbonne in Paris. Now, I am a gallery manager in Paris with the background of an art historian.
I am half French and half Brazilian so ethnic mix and hybridization run through my veins. During my time at la Sorbonne, I saw the opportunity to study the history of Brazil through an art historical lens. I wrote two theses related to Brazilian art history and contemporary art. My first essay focused on the study of religious syncretism present in the art of Thiago Martins de Melo. My second one was a critique of the itinerant exhibition Imagine Brazil. I consider art to be a window to important matters such as feminism, history, the LGBTQI+ rights movements, inclusivity, and even geopolitics!
Choose one woman in the arts from history or who is working today and tell us about why she inspires you or has had an impact on you.
I was always amazed by Peggy Guggenheim and the fact that she had a significant role in art history. Everywhere she went, she left something to be remembered. She built strong friendships that encouraged her to open her horizons. Peggy started an art gallery at 39! She supported Surrealism and Abstraction and took part in the writing of American art history with the Abstract Expressionist movement. For her, collecting artworks was both a way to support artists and to share them with the world. Her ambition to open a museum was realized with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, which was later donated to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in the late 70’s. She had the guts and the desire to share her passion for the arts and to take part in its modern history.
I would love to hear a bit more about your Instagram account too. When did you start it and was it always focused on art?
By the end of 2017, I started to think about my own “personal branding” and how I could carve out a place for myself in the art world. I had no contacts to begin with, only my personality and passion, so I decided that Instagram appeared to be the perfect social media channel with which I could connect to art lovers around the world. I imagined what I could do with my profile and then I worked to create the account and grow it to what is now.
No, it wasn't focused on art first because it took me a little while to understand how it works. I go to exhibitions, museums, and galleries on a regular basis. This is a habit I kept from my art history student years, when I had moved to Paris and got struck by the possibility of seeing art anywhere all the time. I started to share my experiences through my stories and I received messages like: "Thank you, I can visit and see art through your Instagram" from people far away. It kind of moved me. So then I started to read every article I could to understand Instagram algorithms and how to hashtag, for example.
What kind of content do you feature?
On @imagine_moi you will see pictures of my museum, gallery, and sometimes art fair visits, enlivened by funny art selfies. I curate little imaginary collections of artworks, mixing styles and periods according to a theme. Among the art pictures, you will encounter some selfies and casual life moments too. I am a woman and so not choosing between strictly posting art culture or casual selfies and life moments is kind of a feminist committed position of mine. I think it’s important for me to stop thinking that I have to chose in order to avoid being discredited.
My goal is not to show off with culture and knowledge. Not at all. Instead, I want to spread a desire for and curiosity about art. I’d like to see interest in art blossom in people’s minds, even more for those who think it’s not for them. I love thinking that I made someone want to go see an art show, visit a museum, or see art anytime, anywhere. Very often, in museums, I hear people saying “ Well, I could have done that”... and I think, hmm, in reality no. Before saying this, one must think about what the mainstream art of that period was like. If you were told the context of creation for the Malevich’s Black Square painting, maybe you wouldn’t think he is a con artist!
What do you love about the platform or dislike?
What I love about this platform is that I can use it to interact with people from across the world. I even started a discussion group with women from Cologne, London, San Diego, and Milan who work in the arts as well. We share art every day and it allows me to have a sneak peek into what they see at art fairs and biennales when I can't go because, let's be honest, it wouldn't really be environmentally friendly nor cheap to go to all those events. I love the idea of spotting artists that are not yet in galleries or very well known. I sometimes buy artworks from them to start my own collection. It's my way of being supportive.
I have to admit that I find it sad when people come to exhibitions only to have an artwork as a proper Instagrammable background. A lot of people do not credit the artists nor the location of the museum or gallery because it gives a ‘cool vibe’ to be arty. It's great to see more visitors, but it's very disappointing to use an artist's work only to make people believe you are interested and part of an art intelligentsia when you are only looking to be perceived in a certain way or gain likes and followers.
Also, we’re interested to hear what are your plans for your profile going forward?
In March 2019, the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report by Clare McAndrews revealed that 10% of the more than 3,000 galleries surveyed did not represent any women artists. Among these galleries, 48% have only a quarter or less of women on their rosters. Last but not least, regarding auctions, 96% of the works sold are by male artists. I mention it because we write art history every day and I would not like to see a new article like Linda Nochlin’s 1971 piece “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” with twists like black artists instead of women, published a decade from now.
@imagine_moi is imagining all these little things I can do and everything that we can do today that will have a positive impact on tomorrow’s art world. Moving forward, I would love to serve as an ambassador or as an art influencer for museums and art fairs. We have to keep in mind that the young people of today are already buying art and will be the art collectors of tomorrow!
Article by Alicia Puig
Born in Marseille (France) in 1992 and trained at the Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London, Emma Vidal works and lives between France and the USA. She is currently a resident at the Intersect Arts Center in St. Louis, MO.
Vidal has been exhibiting in prestigious institutions including Volta Art Basel, the Victoria and Albert Museum London, the Wellcome Collection Museum London, Museum Blue in St. Louis and the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol. Her ceramic and mixed media sculptures, as well as her monochromic large charcoal pieces, are included in collections worldwide.
Nourished by in-depth research and largely influenced by religious anthropology, Vidal explores a hybrid myth focusing on the beginning of collective human history and the future of societies.
Taking the form of charcoal drawings and sculptures, her practice re-imagines a future world as a place whose inhabitants consist only of feral children and where Mother Nature is claiming back her territory. The "Fetish sculptures" or totemic three-dimensional works reference a range of historical, cultural and visual objects, from primitive art with their shamanic and ancestral aspects to contemporary shiny fetishes. Mixing styles from disparate places and periods, the series embodies new symbols of belief.
We are pleased to announce the release of Create! Magazine Issue 16! Take advantage of the special pre-order price until August 20, 2019.
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Our Studio Sunday interview is with LA based artist Brooke Sauer. She creates unique cyanotype paintings inspired by a deep connection with the natural world and how humans interact within it. We are pleased to be presenting two of her works with PxP Contemporary so if you enjoy this feature, we invite you to check out her work on our site! Make sure to view our inaugural show ‘Pilot’ soon as it will be closing on August 15th.
Brooke Sauer holds a BFA in Painting from Otis College of Art & Design, and an MFA from Art Center College of Design.
Brooke is a Los Angeles based artist inspired by her innate connection to nature. With her art, she strives to connect more deeply with the natural world by exploring and learning about it first-hand and reflecting on our symbiotic relationships to it. The intimate and sometimes whimsical moments portrayed in her work suggest that just as nature surrounds us, it is also within us. Her unique cyanotype illustrations are created by combining a very old photographic printing process (cyanotype), with her background in painting and her love of botany, using the natural sunlight and water available to her to produce each unique and unpredictable piece. Her prints are made from pressed plants that she collects while hiking and exploring. Brooke refers to her botanical collection as her, “nostalgic herbarium”, as they all hold a memory and a story of a wonderful feeling, a place, and the people she was with when she collected them. This nostalgia peeks out from time to time in her works in the form of a longing or introspectiveness on the part of the figures captured within, or perhaps a yearning for a new adventure.
When did you first become interested in art?
Growing up, I was always drawing and painting, making things and making music. I took a few formal painting classes as a little kid, but it was frustrating for me. I think I was happier just making whatever came to mind. One time I opened up a "greeting card store" in my bedroom with all the cards I designed. It was more conceptual, not like anyone was really going to come in our house and buy anything, but I liked seeing all the designs that I drew together like that. I was also an avid reader and wrote and illustrated my own detective novel. I was always creative, but I don't think I consciously thought I was creating Art until I was a teenager. I didn't have any formal art classes again until I was in my early 20's when I went to art school.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your work and what your creative process is like.
I am inspired by my relationship to nature, which has been growing along with me my whole life. Growing up, we moved to a lot of different places with different kinds of landscapes, plants, and animals, and I had a lot of freedom to, say, roam the woods behind our house by myself. When I was 12, my Dad & I , and often some friends started doing a lot of hiking, camping, and going on some pretty epic backpacking trips to some amazing places. This helped me to feel confident in my abilities and comfortable being out in the middle of nowhere and knowing I would be ok, and that this was actually natural, like how people used to live. The longer you're out there, the more natural it begins to feel, and you truly become one with your surroundings. That feeling of being a part of something in nature, which is vast, and it being a part of me, is what inspires my work. My work starts with a feeling, maybe a memory, or even an experience that I want to have, and then i try to translate that into a simple line drawing. From there I create my final piece, which has many layers.
First, I paint a picture using a UV sensitive fluid under non UV lighting. When it dries, I take wild plants and flowers that I have collected on my hikes and pressed, and arrange them on top of my painting. Next, I expose it to the sun for a certain amount of time depending on the weather, then I remove the plant parts and rinse off the painting and let it dry. The plants and flowers have been photographically printed into the painting, becoming the negative space that creates such a stark contrast against the rich cyan blue. This is actually how some of the very first photographs were made, as well as blueprints, which came much later.
What do you hope your viewers take away from seeing your paintings?
I hope my viewers take away a feeling of being connected to one's surroundings in a way that is poetic and thought provoking. Of being a part of something and having it equally be a part of you.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
To be confident in my abilities and my creative voice at any given time, even when it is always changing and evolving, because that can spark doubt, but it's really just a part of nature. In fact, I think that's just advice I would give to myself, or any other artist, at any time of life!
How do you overcome creative blocks?
I just force myself to do something - like I'll play a game where I have to draw any object that is in front of me in the room, or on the table, but in drawing it I have to transform it into something magical or mysterious. Those exercises don't usually turn into final works, but they do get me into a more creative headspace which is where I want to be.
Good advice! Are there any exciting exhibitions, projects, or collaborations going on this year that you’re currently working on or will be soon?
I have a solo show in April 2020, around Earth Day, at the College of The Canyons in Santa Clarita California. I am expanding my studio practice in a way that will allow me to work on a much larger scale to create a new body of work for this show. I will also be including a soundscape element and possibly some 3-dimensional applications of my process as well. This will be a big push for me to see what I can do with this medium and the context of my work.
Erin is a contemporary figurative artist working and living in Toronto, CA. Her work looks into the human imagination as it is expressed visually. She is particularly intrigued by the ways in which the mind can conjure and create worlds by piecing together memory, experience, and the ability of the mind’s eye to render a non-reality. She draws on the genre of portraiture as a foundation for these explorations, but chooses to depict not a person or sitter, but an atmosphere or sensation expressed inside the formal qualities of human shapes.
Her work has been exhibited extensively throughout Canada and the US as well as England, Australia, Scotland, Switzerland, and Sweden. She is currently working towards two upcoming solo shows in Seattle and Geneva in 2019.
Select features include: Nylon Magazine, House and Home Magazine, ShopBop, Its Nice That, Domino, Cultured Magazine, The Jealous Curator.
Select clients/projects include: Nike, Anthropologie, The Drake Hotel, Portia De Rossi’s "General Public Art", Hulu’s “The Handmaids Tale”, Saatchi Limited.
Landscape artist, Sarah Winkler, sums up our spiritual need for the wilderness in Making Art’s newly released film, ‘Moment.’
“We need the experience of being romantically and poetically lost in the wilderness, and being found again”
I recently interviewed emerging Philadelphia-based designer and digital artist, Jeff Manning, who told me that his advice to his younger self would have been to focus more on competing against himself rather than his peers. This idea really connected with me and got me thinking to the bigger idea of how often we compare ourselves to others - today, in so many more aspects of our lives than our careers. It can be detrimental when taken to the extreme, but sometimes, it can actually be not only useful, but important to do so. When it seems like everyone else is making more sales, having bigger exhibitions, or getting better exposure, it feels difficult to not unfairly or unnecessarily judge ourselves against others and even more significantly, to not let self-doubt or jealousy get the best of us. So instead, let’s take a moment to identify the productive ways we can use comparison to keep us moving forward!
Perhaps you’ve already read Kat’s article about how to price artwork. If so, you’ll remember that looking at other artists who are in the same stage as you and making similar work (in terms of size, materials, and time spent per piece) is a great way to estimate what you can be selling your art for. Pricing has been kept such a mystery in our industry for so long, a trend fostered by perceived competition and scarcity between galleries and artists. But luckily, attitudes on this are finally beginning to shift. Whereas collectors of the past might have been intimidated to make an inquiry at a traditional gallery, today, potential buyers can see prices listed online or even contact artists directly via their websites and social media channels. I encourage you to not only be aware of how your peers are pricing their work, but to also be open to sharing this with other artists if they reach out to you and finally, of keeping tabs on larger trends in the industry.
Along the same lines, if you are working in the arts either in a full-time role or in addition to your studio practice, get to know your what your colleagues are being paid. Hopefully, you saw the recent salary spreadsheet that was initiated by a curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (yay Philly!). It went viral online, with thousands of people who work in museum, gallery, arts administration, and education positions adding their wages to list. Knowing what others make will help you better negotiate your pay and ensure that you are being compensated fairly within your company. This can, of course, be an awkward conversation at first, but again, the more transparent we all are with each other the better off everyone will be in the long run.
Are you looking to start working with a gallery? I talk more in depth about this in my article “The Do’s and Don’ts of Applying to Galleries”, but one of the tips that I discuss is that part of your research should always include checking out the artists who are already represented by a gallery you’re interested in. Don’t skimp on this one! Compare notes on their resumes and websites to make sure that you’re really a strong fit. It can actually come in handy when it comes time to putting together your application. Through this research, you may notice similarities between the gallery artists and you that you can then mention as evidence to support you joining their roster.
Let’s say that things have been going well for a while. You’re making sales and showing in quality exhibitions and now you’re wondering what to do in order to take the next step in your career. You might be thinking: ‘How do I show in museums and art fairs? Is an artist residency right for me? What can I do to successfully apply for grant funding? or What’s next?’ This is another time when checking in with other artists is a good idea. It is likely that you may already follow or know someone at the next level and can simply ask, but if you don’t, there are lots of additional resources to tap into like podcasts, books, blogs, workshops, and more. A little bit of networking at the next gallery opening or art event also might help you meet artists who can provide this type of advice.
Finally, comparing can be a simple way to learn something new to add to your art practice. Whether it is a new technique, medium, scale, or material, if something in another artist’s work caught your attention in a way that made you wonder ‘How did they do that?’ it’s probably worth trying to figure it out (or asking them)! It could really bring an interesting perspective or value to your work. Even if it isn’t directly related to what you are making, I’d still encourage you to pursue it as creative experimentation. When you let yourself explore freely, it can spark your imagination in different ways and that could lead to new ideas for your work.
The same holds true with business or marketing as an artist. Don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel. If you see another artist’s resume or website that is formatted nicely and looks professional, definitely use that as a template. This is especially useful when you’re starting out on social media. We’ve spoken before about how followers really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. They can help, yes, depending on the kind of work you make and what your goals are as an artist. However, what is more important is honing your voice online, showing great images of your art, and being consistent with your posts. Find some examples of artists who you think are doing this well so that you can use them as a model for your own profiles. Please note that none of the above is recommending that you copy anyone directly! Borrowing from Austin Kleon, who I recently interviewed for Issue 15, you can and should ‘steal like an artist’ but when you use others’ ideas always turn them into something that is your own and give credit where it is due.
I hope that these tips will help you recognize when comparison can be a beneficial tool, but if you ever find yourself getting negatively affected by looking at what others are doing then please stop. Unfollow or mute those on social media that aren’t serving you or take a break from it completely. Step back from relationships in person that may be putting added stress or pressure on you. Sometimes we don’t realize how profoundly we are being affected and it can grow into unhealthy feelings of anxiety that are hard to manage. Try to spot the signs early and proactively separate yourself from what is causing it. Don’t let anyone else dictate where you should be or make you feel bad about where you currently are in your journey. Always remember that it is exactly that, a journey. Something that takes time, effort, and consistent work!
I have definitely gotten sucked into these ideas on occasion, thinking that I should be further along in my career than I am, earning a higher salary, or doing more. But then I remember - what is the rush? I think of those who found success later in life, like Jerry Saltz and Lisa Congdon, and realize that I’m exactly where I need to be. I wholeheartedly agree with the artist who I interviewed that I’m the only person that I should be comparing myself to in that regard and if I’ve grown or progressed or learned something new since last year, last month, or even last week then I’m definitely on the right track. If you’re in this creative life for the long haul (like Kat talked about in a recent Art & Cocktails episode!), this is the type of mindset to maintain in order to ensure that you’ll remain focused on your own path for years to come.
This Sunday’s feature gives you a behind the scenes peek into the studio practice of one of our PxP Contemporary invited artists, Samantha Boni. Based in Italy, she creates stunning landscapes and is inspired by nature and the freedom associated with being an artist. Learn more in her interview below and then check out her two affordable paintings available with our gallery through our first exhibition Pilot. The show is only up for a few more weeks so don’t miss out on the chance to collect her work or one of the many other incredible artists we curated for this inaugural show!
Samantha Boni was born in Modena, Italy. After studying languages at school, she took painting lessons from Italian maestro Alberto Cavallari and then attended the antiques restoration school, La Bottega del Restauro, in Modena for four years. At the same time, she started her career as a professional painter.
When did you first become interested in art?
I have always been interested in art. I started painting when I was a child and developed this passion through my teen years. Then I discovered restoration and studied al fresco techniques for years.
Tell us about what inspires you creatively.
I am inspired by nature and its light, what hits my eyes and gives me feelings or emotions.
What is your process like?
I am working on a series of abstract paintings about water and its energy. I use palette techniques and I feel that there’s something therapeutic about it - strength, energy, anger, fury, happiness and sadness all together.
Describe your current studio space. What is most important about it or one thing that you can’t live without in your work area?
My studio is a well lit room with sketches everywhere. When I work I really need silence, like being closed in my favorite bubble.
What is one piece of advice that has stuck with you or a quote that you think is especially meaningful?
Art is freedom. Try, try, try and try again.
Are there any exciting exhibitions, projects, or collaborations going on this year that you’re currently working on or will be soon?
I’ve been focusing on my series of abstract landscapes. It’s a new mission to me. At the moment, I also have an exhibition in Italy at the Villa the Moll and I’m really proud to be part of your project PxP Cpntemporary.