Posts in PxP Contemporary
Studio Sunday: Samantha Morris

It’s Sunday and you know what that means - another behind-the-scenes look at one of the artists from our community! This week we’re so excited to be sharing a brief interview with Samantha Morris, who we’ve had the pleasure of working with on our very first exhibition with PxP Contemporary.

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Bio

Samantha Morris was born in 1995 and grew up in Madison, Connecticut; she now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Morris graduated from The University of the Arts in 2017 with a BFA in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Painting and Drawing. In addition, she will begin her graduate studies in the MFA Fine Arts program at Pratt Institute in September 2019. Recent solo exhibitions include:  Kanna Rými, Listhús Gallery in Ólafsfjörður, Iceland; and BFA Thesis Exhibition, The Space Between, The University of the ArtsSelected group exhibitions include Black and White, Site:Brooklyn, Practice: In Progress, NARS Foundation, and Space Invaders, Fountain Street Gallery among others. Morris’ work has been published in FreshPaint Magazine, Opción Magazine, ArtMaze Magazine, and Underground Pool.

Statement

In my artwork, I focus on the idea of an individual traveling through a space; exploring place through architecture and landscape, abstracted through line, shadow pattern, contrast, and negative space. I am interested in dynamics, what can and can’t be seen. The seemingly mundane aspects of everyday life, one light shining through the square of a window frame, or the corner of a plant casting shadow on glass. Influenced by photography and film, my work investigates the stillness of night; the frozen moments before something happens. It exists in the “in between”, the time when your eyes adjust to the contrast of natural illuminated light and the depth of darkness. I feel immersed, traveling through such spaces. Each piece has reference to an environment, while existing in its own space.

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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 have been passionate about art for as long as I can remember. I knew that it was what I wanted to pursue, which led me to earn my BFA from University of the Arts. There, I was able to develop my artistic practice that now informs the work I create today.

Describe your current studio or working area. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your creative space?

Right now I have a studio at NARS (New York Artist Residencies and Studios) in Brooklyn, NY. The most important aspect of my studio is having expansive wall space. I’m currently working on large wooden panels directly on the wall, which gives me the ability to step back and view my paintings from a distance. It’s also very important for me to have reference material surrounding me in the studio. This can range from drawings, collages, photos, and film stills, all of which inform my work.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your paintings.

In my artwork, I focus on the idea of an individual traveling through a space; exploring place through architecture and landscape, abstracted through line, shadow pattern, contrast, and negative space. I am interested in dynamics, what can and can’t be seen. Influenced by photography and film, my work investigates the stillness of night; the frozen moments before something happens. It exists in the “in between”, the time when your eyes adjust to the contrast of natural illuminated light and the depth of darkness. The work is influenced by Scandinavian architecture, from experiences in Iceland and Norway. Each piece has reference to an environment, while existing in its own space.

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What is your process like? Do you do a lot of sketching or make work more intuitively?

All of the work I create comes from places I have experienced first-hand. I start by using photography as documentation and reference, then drawing and collage to explore composition and space, which then translates into paintings on panel. I pay attention to the differences between being in an actual physical space, experiencing a photograph of that place, and then finally creating, and experiencing that space through a form of rendered imagery such as painting or drawing.

Do your works often undergo a lot of changes before you consider them complete? How long does a piece take?

I have found that painting with oil on panel most successfully captures the concept of the work. It allows me to build passages of color through the use of mediums and thin transparent layering. Through this process, a sense of internal light emerges from the work. Changes occur throughout the act of making, and painting in this way can take weeks, working in layers and accounting for drying times. I consider a painting complete when the space is compelling, and asks the viewer to enter into it through the depths of light and dark within the subtle differences in tone and value.

Are there any exciting exhibitions, projects, or collaborations going on this year that you’re currently working on or will be soon?

I am showing work in the exhibition Collage, at Site:Brooklyn from June 14th - July 13th in Brooklyn, NY, as well as Paperworks, at b.j spoke gallery in Huntington, NY from August 1st - 28th in Huntington, NY. I will also be exhibiting work in the MFA Welcome Back Show at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY from September 16th - October 10th.

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Studio Sunday: Huy Lam
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We hope that you’re enjoying your weekend! Here’s a new Studio Sunday feature with Huy Lam, who was selected for issue 15 and is also one of the invited artists for PxP Contemporary’s first exhibition! Read on to learn more about his work and process, then don’t forget to check out his available sculptures in “Pilot”.

Huy Lam is a multi-disciplinary artist. He was an aspiring painter when he was young but fell in love with photography when he was introduced to the darkroom in high school. After graduating from the Humber College Photography Program, he spent several years working as an assistant and traveled around the world honing his skills while shooting personal projects. Huy then worked as a professional photographer for over a decade in commercial advertising and has recently started to explore other creative outlets along with his photography work. Some of this includes his original love for painting and drawing, but his new passion is working with wood, for its natural, diverse, and malleable qualities. With the focus on employing reclaimed or recycled materials, his work includes custom furniture, lighting, and sculptures.

Statement

Touching the Void

The unexpected intersections of our lives have always fascinated me, how our disparate trajectories collide and create causal shockwaves across time and space. Although linearity exists neither in life nor in nature, the human mind nonetheless attempts to impose perfection upon an imperfect world. This series of wood sculptures with metal inlays explores that paradoxical impulse, as stark lines penetrate the natural flow of wood grain in an attempt to bring order to a random milieu. Just as I have carved out these paths in wood, collectively we strive to make our mark by blazing bright trails in a dark, dynamic universe. 

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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 been told by grade school friends that I use to draw pictures and give it to them as gifts. We immigrated to Canada when I was 9 years old and because I didn't know any english, I think I did this as a way to communicate and make friends. I've always wanted to be a painter and even took private oil painting classes with a tutor in my early teens but got into photography when my brother bought a camera. My passion for photography eventually led me to a career as a professional photographer, something I still do a little bit of today. But drawing and painting was always close and I've always had an interest in making things with my hands, whether that was diorama models or woodworking. The work I am doing today is a result of wanting to explore other ways to express ideas and using different materials like wood which is such a malleable and fun material to work with.

Describe your current studio or working area. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your creative space?

Like most major cities in NA where real estate and studio spaces are very expensive, my current studio is in my parents garage about an hours drive outside Toronto. It's working out really nicely because my parents are aging and this allows me to visit them more but most importantly, the act of preparing to go to the studio puts my mind and intentions into a creative space. That intention to create and enjoy the process is so fulfilling and that physical separation from city life means I have very little distractions. The result is usually very productive and when I am back in the city, I get inspired and work on ideas through drawing and doodling.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your work.

Besides what I mentioned before, I would also add, in terms of living everyday life, the process of having an idea or goal and going through the process of turning that idea into reality is pretty interesting. It seems like a linear line, a step by step process and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't but most of the time, it's rarely straight forward. It's a weird paradox because we do need some sort of direction but when does the planning become over thinking or procrastination? I think this back and forth is a moving target and we have to adjust our planning for each situation and so my work, the shiny lines are a metaphor of us trying to carve our way into a dynamic shifting world.

What is your process like?

My process is really about trying to bring my inspiration into practice. I do a lot of drawings and doodling and when I have a composition or idea I really like, I want to try and bring it into reality. By the time I get into the studio, I have a general direction as to what I want to create but I leave plenty of room for the process and I really try to enjoy the experience.

What one piece of creative or business advice would you give to your younger self?

This may sound funny because it doesn't really answer the question directly but my advice to my younger self is, when your dentist calls you for a check-up, call them back right away and make an appointment! It's really about dealing with things that needs attending to because avoiding the dentist does not make the situation better over time, ever! In fact it gets exponentially worse in the time spent, money wasted, the pain that could've been avoided and stress. And so I truly believe that by reducing and minimizing these "distractions" our creative juices will inevitably bubble up.

Studio Sunday: Kristen Elizabeth
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We’re bringing back Studio Sundays and this weekend we’re so excited to be introducing you to one of our PxP Contemporary artists, Kristen Elizabeth! Learn more in our interview below and then don’t forget to check our her available works in our premiere exhibition ‘Pilot’, which is currently on view online!

Artist Biography:

Connecticut based artist, Kristen Elizabeth (b.1986) formally educated in Industrial Design, has been developing her unique artistic voice over the past several years. Having grown up on the coast, she is heavily influenced by the sea and the dynamic tension between power and balance that can be observed around us. Her work seeks to draw viewers in through bold movement and a counterbalance of intricate mark making. Her use of a wide variety of materials such as acrylic, graphite, pastel, and more creates a visual statement that can be experienced on multiple levels. In addition to her art, she has been involved in many creative projects including painting a 50ft tall likeness of Lebron James in Harlem's famed Rucker Park, as well as - developed a new logo and fashion illustrations for New York's influential FABB charity event.  Her work has been featured in multiple publications including Create! Magazine, Art Reveal Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.  

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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?

As long as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion for art. I grew up in a creative family and had practicing artists on both my mother & father’s side. I’ve always had a desire to be creative, but felt I had to be practical. Because of this, I majored in product design and was approaching graduation right at the beginning of the recession in 2008. The career and life I had been envisioning for the past four years all but evaporated, but this allowed me freedom from a traditional path and ultimately set me on the course to where I am today. It’s been quite a ride - with both highs and lows. I hope to express this dynamism that is life through my current and future works.

Describe your current studio or working area. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your creative space?

I currently divide my time between my small home studio and a larger studio space where I run my business, a children's art studio called SplatterBox. My space at home is peaceful, harmonious and filled with the books, art, and music I love. That space allows me to focus on smaller more contained works using mostly watercolors and inks. SplatterBox allows me the room to stretch out and work on larger pieces without worrying about making a mess - hence the name SplatterBox. That said, it can be a challenge! It can often be hectic & stressful but it is also highly rewarding. I was able to not only lead a fulfilling path teaching kids but also re-discover my passion for art amongst all the glitter, unicorns, & beautiful mess.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your work.

I really try to absorb my environment. I find the people and places around me to be incredible resources. I’ve found that some series tend to draw from specific experiences, while other inspiration could be found in more ethereal experiences. My ‘Mineral Girl’ series was completely inspired by a trip to the amazing mineral room at the Peabody Museum in New Haven, CT. To contrast that, my ‘Geo Swoosh’ & ‘'The Change’ series took from something much more intuitive and deep within myself. I spent much of my childhood by the sea and observed everything from grey misty mornings to deep dark raging storms. Drawing from these visual memories as well as exploring life experiences I had, helped guide my hand.  You can see this in everything from the large sweeping motions to the tapestry of delicate details and patterns.

What one piece of creative or business advice would you give to your younger self?

The one piece of advice I would give my younger self is DON’T WAIT. On pessimistic days I might see it as time wasted, but I have had a range of other experiences and challenges that inform my art today. That said, I held back from truly jumping into my art career for many years and wish I had started that path sooner. It can be intimidating to put yourself out there, but if you keep delaying and putting it off - you’ll never know what opportunities might come your way.

What are you working on now and for the rest of the year?

Right now I’m coming off of an exciting job working for FABB (The Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball) & can’t seem to stray from creating high contrast fashion illustrations. I’ve found these very cathartic and they allow me to create without the pressure of a series or having any constraints imposed (self or otherwise). I’m happy to say they have enabled me to gain a clear headspace and I now have two new series I’m in the process of designing. Both will be an expansion & evolution of my previous work. As a side note, I have to give a nod to the Podcast - Art & Cocktails - for the invaluable information learned while listening to the episode ‘How To Design A New Series’.

View her collection of available works with PxP Contemporary here!