Posts in Issue XV
Mixed-Media Sculptures by Emma Vidal
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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.

Statement  

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.

 www.emmavidal.com

Erika Pajarillo Creates Vibrant Illustrations of Women in Their Environments
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Erika Pajarillo is an illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. Her illustrations feature lush drawn environments of women and nature, which stems from the world in her sketchbook. Working both digitally and traditionally, Erika’s illustrations extend to typographic design, surface and pattern design, and even embroidery.

www.erikapajarillo.com

Artist Daria Aksenova Uses Cut Paper to Create Stunning Narratives
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Daria Aksenova is best known for her pen and ink, suspended, cut paper narrative shadowboxes. The current focus of her work is the creation of cinematographic storytelling through constructed dynamism - arising from layering and complexity of composition - within a static media, inspired by her past experience with the fashion and film industries. 

Daria Aksenova uses ink as it is an unforgiving medium that precludes editing and demands precision. Individual elements are then hand-cut with a scalpel and suspended against each other until the desired depth is achieved. Her technique demands a steady hand and unfailing commitment, often requiring over a hundred hours of dedication and intimacy with each piece. 

The subject matter choice is driven by her interest in symbolism, often reflecting conflict inherent to the human condition, as echoed through mythology and folklore. The balance of playful storytelling coupled with deeper-seeded significance provides unique yet relatable work. Her pieces evoke a dreamscape-like narrative that pulls in both the eye and mind, presenting a space and opportunity for the imagination to wander into a deep narrative that can only be experienced first hand.

www.dariaaksenova.com

The Streets of San Jose: Interview with Costa Rica en la pared
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Before moving to Costa Rica, my knowledge of what the art scene here was going to be like was limited. I knew little beyond a few successful local artists, like contemporary abstract painter Federico Hererro, or the sculptor, Jimenez Deredia. However, one of the most exciting aspects of San Jose I have discovered so far is the vast amount of incredible street art. With architecture as likely to be white as it is to be a soft pastel yellow, burnt orange, or a saturated blue, the tags and murals blend in with the colorful structures but also stand out individually as high caliber works. Especially in hip neighborhoods like Barrio Escalante, the artworks painted on exterior walls seemingly equal or outnumber the ever growing amount of trendy restaurants, bars, and cafes. This led me to the questions: how, why, and most importantly, who are these artists? 

On Instagram, I found a virtual hub of the street art scene in the area, aptly named Costa Rica en la pared (Costa Rica on the wall). Founded and run by a charismatic young Tico (local slang for ‘a native Costa Rican’) named Mario Molina, the organization currently coordinates tours and events that showcase the city’s great talent in street art. I sat down with him recently to discuss his interest in urban art, the history of graffiti in the city, and what he aims to achieve by continuing to grow Costa Rica en la pared.

First, a bit of history. He explains that street art began in earnest in Costa Rica around the late 90’s. The roots of the artists working today can be traced back to two major graffiti writers from the US and one from Nicaragua who became integrated with skate culture here during this time. For many years, however, the style of the work being produced was restricted by the kinds of paints and materials that were available. Fast forward about ten to fifteen years and once better quality spray paints arrived, there was a noticeable shift in the color palette and in the complexity of the art being produced. Rather than just graffiti, more murals began popping up after 2010. Additionally, the new generation of urban artists have access to digital tools that help them create their works and that many also have backgrounds in graphic design or related fields. The combination of better tools and more experienced talent caused a proliferation of quality street art in the past several years - this was a significant part of the impetus for launching Costa Rica en la pared. 

Mario has always been interested in art and has a genuine love for the nature and street culture of the area where he grew up. Though he began in a different field of study, he eventually pivoted to pursue a degree in tourism at the Universidad Internacional de las Américas, which he will soon be completing. After working at a restaurant for some time as a barista, while developing an interest in photography on the side, he left to pursue his interest in urban art. He does create tags periodically that focus on themes of social justice, but the motivation behind starting Costa Rica en la pared wasn’t about promoting his own work. Instead, he wants to act as a medium through which the local community can connect with street art.

One would assume that such a strong presence of street art and graffiti must be funded, organized, or supported in other ways as is the case with Miami’s Wynwood Walls or Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Project. According to Mario, however, besides a few murals that were commissioned by brands, artists are largely producing these works by themselves. Even without explicit permission, most artists don’t encounter issues with the authorities and often tag their work with their social media handles. Nevertheless, passively accepting that urban art is being created in your neighborhood is not the same as actively supporting it. This is where Costa Rica en la pared comes in. 

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Mario founded his organization around three years ago and initially began reaching out to the artist names he would repeatedly see around the city. Recognizing their distinctive codes and tags, he would find them on Instagram and ask to hear about their stories. Most were open and very willing to speak with him. Based on these interactions, he started to share what he had learned via series of posts on his Instagram page (@costaricaenlapared). These stories shared alongside strong visuals and a catchy hashtag has drawn a lot of interest over the past few years and his handle has now reached over fourteen thousand followers. While an interest in marketing and an eye for photography have surely helped grow his audience, what is unique about Costa Rica en la pared is its well-honed voice. He places a clear emphasis on social impact and supporting local artists in a way that nobody else is at the moment, with the ultimate goal being to have tourists and locals alike better understand and appreciate the urban art all around them. 

His other main source of engagement in addition to social media are walking tours that he calls urban art safaris. As he and the tour participants navigate various neighborhoods throughout the city, Mario leads the group in a discussion that is equal parts art, history, and sociology. His love for what he does is evident as he lights up when I ask him who are a few of his favorite local street artists. He considers the question carefully and ultimately settles on three that he pulls up on Instagram to show me. The first is @ulillo, an abstract muralist who promises one public art project for every private one he completes. Then there’s MUSH @mushongo, who Mario respects for his “purist”, old school style of lettering done with spray cans and praises as one of the influential pioneers of the graffiti movement in Costa Rica. Finally, he tells me about @negus_artevida, a talented tattoo artist in addition to mural and graffiti artist, who Mario describes as someone who creates big productions with significance and is a supporter of the old school style like MUSH.

As our conversation winds down, I ask him to tell me about what else he has planned for the rest of the year. He will keep hosting tours and planning events and he recently began selling t-shirts to help raise funds to support more street art projects. The talent is there, but what’s missing is someone to manage the logistics of connecting potential sponsors with artists. With his passion, it’s clear that he’s the right person for this job. He will be adding additional members to his team shortly so that they can continue to expand their reach, build partnerships with local hotels and hostels, and complete their first fully funded mural in barrio Aranjuez. From there, he hopes to eventually move beyond the city to other towns across the country. After all, he says, it’s not San Jose en la pared, it’s Costa Rica en la pared. 

Article by Alicia Puig
Featured in Issue 15!

Emily White Uses Drawings to Reflect on the Human Relationship with Nature
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I am drawn to the relationship between the animal and its changing environment. The rise of industry and technology have altered our native landscapes and redefined the relationships forged between humans and animals. My paintings are paired with objects that are distinctly human, illustrating the bond of the animal’s life with our own. I invite audiences to reflect on the consequences of human industry and innovation on our natural world, and our relationship to it.  

Emily White is a sculptor, painter, and muralist from Brockton, MA.  She received her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston in 2011 with a focus in sculpture. White has received awards including the Wind Challenge (Fleisher Art Memorial), the Helen Blair Crosbie Sculpture Award (Massachusetts College of Art and Design), she was nominated for an Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award (International Sculpture Center) for two consecutive years, and she is a Visual Arts Fellowship Finalist (Center for Emerging Visual Artists).  Her artwork has been exhibited in public spaces such as the Philadelphia Zoo, the Entrance Garden of the Philadelphia Flower Show and in the Philadelphia International Airport.  White has had solo exhibitions at Hotbed (Philadelphia, PA), View Art Center (Old Forge, NY) and Penn State Altoona (Altoona, PA).  Her 2D and 3D work has been in group exhibitions in the US and abroad including shows at Harvard’s Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA), The Philadelphia Art Alliance, Fleisher Art Memorial, James Oliver Gallery, and The Royal Castle (Warsaw, Poland). Emily White lives in Philadelphia and works for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

www.emilyrwhite.com

Illustrator and Screen Printer Clint Reid
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Clint Tillman Reid is an illustrator, screen printer, and art educator living with his family in a small corner of Oklahoma.

His art comes from a desire to take moments, clusters of emotions, or specific points in time and give them a visual reference in an attempt to understand, and oftentimes reconcile, the relational ties between the story and the self.

www.tillmanproject.com

Dreamlike, Atmospheric Paintings by Chrys Roboras
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I love to place the human figure in vast, colorful semi-abstract landscapes. In some works, my figures are depicted outlines that have been filled in with various colors and shapes - as if the human form is a 'container' - of emotions, thoughts, and memories. In other works, there is a more realistic representation of the human form, yet a dreamlike atmosphere most often still pervades. The human condition - its isolated sense of being - is a central theme in my work, and stems from my own experience as a Diaspora Greek, in limbo between two cultures, always seeking a place to call home. "It is important to recognize the natural need of a human being to find a place to belong to; a place where one can find peace."

Chrys Roboras was born in Sydney, Australia. Coming to Athens she studied at Middlesex University, achieving a Bachelor of Fine Arts & Technology with First Class Honors. She has had 11 solo exhibitions; in Athens, Paros, New York, Toronto, London, Lugano, and Los Angeles.

Chrys has participated in Art Athina, Revolution Art Fair, Parallax Art Fair, Biennale of Chianciano, Biennale of Beijing, Biennale of Santorini, Scope Art Fair, Emerging Artist Award-Dubai, Art Takes Paris, The Artist Project and The Other Art Fair by Saatchi. Chrys’s work has achieved awards in various exhibitions.

Her work has been featured on music book covers, in the book «International Contemporary Masters Volume 5», Hidden Treasures Art 2014, ArtTakes Miami 2012, 2014, 2015, Serendipity Magazine "stories from the fringe" 2013 and made the shortlist for the Emerging Artist Award Dubai 2016.

Chrys has also won the feature in the Artist Portfolio magazine.

She has participated in over 50 group exhibitions in Greece and abroad.

Her work is found at the Museum of Fine Arts in Las Vegas and in many private collections in Greece and abroad. Chrys was also an invited Guest Speaker for UnfodingArt North Carolina, USA.

www.chrysroboras.com

Paintings-Sculptures inspired by Korean Landscapes, Artist Haevan Lee
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Haevan Lee (b.1990, Republic of Korea) expresses the regional context of specific places through various forms including painting, installation, video, and collaborations in other media. DMZ Landscape Series turns restricted or photography-prohibited areas into paintings. The artist has created painting-sculptures by superimposing the layers of landscapes that she experienced while staying at Peace Culture Bunker, an anti-tank defense shelter built after armed North Korean guerillas invaded Seoul, South Korea in January 1968, and presented the works in the exhibition Goliaths, Tanks (2018, Seoul). She is planning and producing DOPA, a collaborative project with contemporary artists, and currently contributes to various exhibitions including those at Buk-Seoul Museum of Art and SeMA storage, and her work is in the collection of MMCA((National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea)Government Art Bank.

Haevan Lee has arranged indications, situations, and apparatus for guessing the aftermath inside peaceful-looking sceneries to reveal a reality of psychological anxieties in the divided Korean peninsula. The artist, who was born in Dongsong area in Cheorwon, Gangwon-do near the DMZ and has always had a curiosity for unknown, unnamed spaces, explores them by either keeping a distance from the view as an observer or mingling within the distances in fantasy.

‘Goliaths, Tanks’ by Haevan Lee is an amalgamation of her paintings and objects weaved together in her site-specific installations and multi-media projections, accompanied by performance pieces. The movement in each object resonating with the sound of ticking clocks serenely draws out the muted anxiety underlying the division of Korean peninsula following the war in the 1950s. The ensemble takes place at the Peace Culture Bunker at the Northern end of Seoul, which was originally built in the late 1960s as a barricade to cut off North Korean ground forces, recently transformed into an art space. The artist embodies the remnants and residues of the space into her entire exhibition, deliberately placing objects along the artillery halls looking out to grass yards where rusty old tanks sit as gravestones.

www.haevanlee.com 

Beautiful Paintings Inspired by Nature, Australian Artist Jessie Pitt
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Jessie is an Australian artist who is based in Austria. She is deeply inspired by the natural world, with a focus on mountain landscapes and nature. The constantly changing light, moods, seasons in the mountains offer a constant stream of inspiration. Jessie feels strongly connected to the mountainous landscape and her artworks are influenced by what she sees in connection to what she feels. A painter of light and shadow, she conveys an impression or a mood, bringing an impression of the true soul of the mountains to everyone. Time is symbolized in her current works in the form of birds.

Her current works are painted/drawn on un-stretched canvas predominantly, that she deliberately crumples to add texture, which is an important part of the finished artwork. Giving them a natural and free look without constraints. Using various mediums such as graphite, charcoal, ink, and acrylic combining both painting and drawing techniques to build up the artworks in layers, trying to achieve a sense of depth and translucency in her artworks.

www.jessiepitt.com

Cate Inglis
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Cate Inglis is a contemporary Scottish landscape painter based in Glasgow, whose detailed paintings explore the transience of the built environment.  Since graduating from Glasgow School of Art, she has won numerous awards and is a Professional Member of the Society of Scottish Artists.  She exhibits with highly regarded galleries in the UK and Ireland, and her work hangs in both public and private collections.

Statement

My practice is concerned with the layers and structures of the urban landscape, the transience of the built environment in a relentless process of change.  I retain an element of drawing in my paintings - underpinning the structures with an emphasis on draughtsmanship.  I search for overgrown, derelict subjects - places where disappearing buildings leave gap sites and wasteland.  Undertaking urban explorations is a key part of my practice, and recent work has involved exploring the edges of urban areas.  Bleak, industrial sites that have fallen out of use, structures left to deteriorate, overrun by plant life, I paint the cumulative layers of habitation use and disuse.

www.cateinglis.co.uk

Katherine Rutter
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Katherine Rutter was born in 1984 in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 2007 she received her BFA in Photography/Drawing from the University of Central Arkansas. She has shown her work in galleries and museums throughout the country including the Historic Arkansas Museum and the National Museum for Women in the Arts traveling exhibition in Arkansas, as well as participating in a residency and exhibition in Tulum, Mexico. In addition to exhibits, she has been commissioned for multiple mural projects in California, Colorado, Arkansas, Mexico, and Nepal. Interacting with communities is an important part of her practice, including volunteering with Creativity Explored in San Francisco and teaching a workshop at a children’s school in Kathmandu. Her work explores ideas of femininity, beauty, and connection, with fantastical narratives of drawings and paintings. She currently lives in Ukiah, California.

My practice explores how we navigate our emotional beings within the complexities of femininity and beauty. The vernacular expressions and innate desires we have as humans to connect to ourselves and to nature are addressed throughout my work, requesting a deeper understanding of what it means to live. My drawings often begin by ‘painting’ with hair-like algae, an intuitive process that allows me to connect with my subconscious like one might find images in clouds. The algae provides a certain aesthetic quality while also nodding to my Southern roots and its folk tradition of found materials in art. Themes of nostalgia, vulnerability, sexuality, wonder, subtle humor and the struggle of the unknown reveal a tender experience of humanity.

www.katherinerutter.com

Jiaranai Apaipak
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Born in Thailand, Jiaranai grew up in India, New Zealand, and the United States. She received her BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia before moving to Toronto, Ontario to work as an art teacher and manager of a small art school. She graduated with an MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2017. She lives in New York and works in Jersey City.

Statement

The main subjects of my work are genderless creatures that are representational of me in a particular mental state that is in the lonely, self-doubt kind of place. It has nothing to do with the physical world but your mental state. They are not sexy, and they are awkward. They have fat rolls, and there is no attempt to make them glamorous. I try to focus on displaying honest, exorcism feelings. The swirls occupy colorful environments. The emotions shown on the creature's faces reflect a food coma state. To be in that space, you would believe there is a happy, smiling character because of the colors but it is not. It’s like being in New York City, you should be happy and excited, but often times you’re exhausted. I am also exploring how the environment we live in can make us feel isolated even when many people surround us. The loner dreads their isolation until eventually that feeling of dread becomes the joy and in their isolation, they find solitude. A Happy Lonely Place is the feeling of loneliness that becomes like home.

www.jiaranaiapaipak.com

Kirkland Bray
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I’ve been painting on found surfaces for more than 20 years. In 2012, I began exploring “found” through collage.

Everything I create, from painting to collage, has a found element. It could be a rejected piece of partially dyed canvas, a page of a book oxidized by a note placed inside decades before, or the horsehair bristles of an architect’s brush. 

I'm inspired by the hunt to find new materials and new subject matter and the challenge of executing and editing. A piece is finished when the combination of shapes, colors, and ideas comes together like a puzzle; when the positive and negative space have an equal say; when I’ve exhausted all other possibilities.

I make art to see how far from my comfort zone I can go, to make something beautiful from something discarded, and to discover new directions in both process and subject.

I live and work in Jersey City, NJ.

www.kirklandbray.com

Lexicon Love / Harriet Moutsopoulos
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Australian born and bred, I am a collage artist who works under the name Lexicon Love.

I love collage art essentially because I enjoy the process. I am less preoccupied with the end result. I’m still not sure if I found collage or if collage found me. Either way, I simply love the idea of being able to renegotiate and manipulate the origins of an image through this magnificent medium. Ultimately it’s the way in which collage art challenges traditional notions of aesthetics, which I find most appealing.

I am drawn to the surreal and unsettling and try to inject that into my work where possible, always seeking out the unexpected connections between humor and tragedy. At first glance, the elements of humor and tragedy don’t seem to go together, yet they are so absolutely inseparable. Their relationship is complicated, and one cannot survive without the other. It is in combining the two that true magic begins.  

I don’t want to control the outcome of any piece. I do, however, want the viewer to empathize with the subject through subtle suggestion. My aim is to transport the viewer to a time and place of their own choosing. By hiding the faces, I remove any distraction and invite the viewer to slow down and join the dots in order to seek out the hidden. I guess the real power of the final composition is what can’t be seen. At this point, the viewer holds all the power and the artist none!  

Although my mental approach is analog, my physical techniques are digital. The most significant challenge for me is giving each artwork the slight imperfections of hand and the general look and feel of being made entirely from traditional analog practices.

To achieve this, I do not use any sophisticated software such as Photoshop or Illustrator. Instead, my tools of choice are extremely, extremely basic and closely mimic analog techniques. It’s like working with your hands in the traditional sense.

My process begins by finding the trigger for each piece. This is usually a single image that really catches my eye, grabs me by the throat, and triggers the all-important starting point.

Remixing the old with the new to create new truths, I organize and reorganize until it ‘feels right.’

 www.lexiconlove.com

Lindsay Jones
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Lindsay is a contemporary artist, textile designer, and graphic designer, originally from Lee's Summit, Missouri but currently residing in Western Colorado. She works in a variety of media including drawing, painting, digital art, sculptural constructions, and installations. Lindsay’s work reflects on ideas of landscapes and environments that are built, altered, shaped, and manipulated, while using playful patterns and abstracted imagery. When she is not working, she is doing her best to spend as much time outside as possible, including camping, exploring remote lands, mountain biking in the desert, and racing cyclocross. 

Statement

“The word landscape itself becomes problematic: landscape describes the natural world as an aesthetic phenomenon, a department of visual representation. A landscape is scenery, scenery is stage decoration, and stage decorations are static backdrops for human drama.”

--Rebecca Solnit

Abstracting images from architecture and landscape, I create drawings, small sculptures, and installations out of materials such as paper, collage, and balsa wood. My work is the result of my observations of the landscape: the rural, the urban, the exquisite, the boring, the natural, the unnatural, etc. I find myself both in awe of, as well as disturbed by, the way that we build, and transform our environments and believe that humanity will always be trying to figure out how to negotiate our life in this shared environment.

This collection of drawings uses imagery from the Western Colorado and Utah deserts, whose environments I find to be valuable because of their lack of human development. I use hand-drawn elements and abstracted symbols to represent these ideas of culture, and environment that I myself am always trying to process.


www.lindsayannajones.com