Posts in PxP Contemporary
Studio Sunday: Brandi Hofer
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This week’s Studio Sunday feature highlights the work of Canadian artist, Brandi Hofer. With three pieces from her GUS series currently on view with PxP Contemporary, we wanted to learn more about her creative practice, how she tackles creative blocks, and what inspires her work. Behind the bright colors and gestural marks lies a wealth of emotion tied to love, loss, new life, and most importantly, the joys and challenges of motherhood. Learn more about the artist and her work in the interview below!

Bio

Brandi Hofer was born in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan in 1986. She studied in Red Deer, Alberta, at Red Deer College from 2004 - 2006 before transferring to the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax, where she completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2008.

Hofer has worked in several art media including: drawing, printmaking, and painting, with oils, acrylics encaustic, mixed media, and watercolors.

Hofer has long focused on female portraits and has explored themes of feminism, empowerment, the emotional self, and the female psyche. Hofer's work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in France, London, New York, and all across Canada. In 2011, she attended residencies at Red Deer College, Toronto Island, the Marnay Art Centre outside of Paris France, and was part of artist Robin Lambert's project in Montreal, Quebec. She was listed as the online Saatchi Gallery’s “Artist to Watch” feature on their website. Most recently her work appeared on HGTV’s House of Bryan, Bryan Inc, and has been published in The World of Interiors Magazine and a General Motors commercial.

Her show "Gus", based on parenthood, for 2018 traveled to Red Deer at the Harris-Warke Gallery, Lloydminster with through The Collective Art Market, and the Rouge Gallery in Saskatoon.

Brandi Hofer's studio where she works and creates is located in Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada.

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When did you first become interested in art?

Art or being an artist and creative has always been a part of me. From a very young age, I was interested in all forms of art, particularly painting and drawing. Every book in our home had an original drawing on its pages. My parents were always very encouraging and open to my interests, they never pushed or questioned, they were just supportive of whatever interest my siblings and I had. If I received a gift from someone, it was always related to the arts. I remember breaking a wishbone on Thanksgiving when I was about 4, and I wished aloud for a pack of markers, that week in the mailbox the “wishbone” delivered. I was very fortunate, in the regard that I had a support system, encouragement, love, and the space to experiment, explore and create.

Around my second year in the visual arts program, something began to shift, and I made a conscious decision to actively pursue the avenue of becoming a professional visual artist. I had no idea what being an artist and running an art studio or what it meant to run a self-employed business actually entailed. I just knew that I was passionate about creating, it made me happy, it was fulfilling, and I would do anything to be able to do it every day.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your work and what your creative process is like.

Nothing can prepare you for parenthood, being a parent is one of the most difficult and challenging endeavors in one's life, however, I have no doubt it is the most meaningful. As an artist, I am influenced and inspired by my everyday environment. In this new series of artworks, I aim to highlight and capture the beauty of being a parent, (from what I've experienced) as the richest time in my life. This series aims to speak about my triumphs and struggles as a mother. It deals with the ideals of motherhood, its morals, and its priorities. It is an exciting series that revels in a mother’s time with her child.

I would like to begin by establishing that I rarely like to bring up or to discuss the subject matter of losing my mother in 2014, being that it is emotionally painful. I lost my mother, my beacon of wisdom and love, my sense of home. After a brief fight with lung cancer, my mom passed, I was six months pregnant at the time with my first child. I found her death to be beyond life-shattering. Devastatingly I lost my “home”, the constant in my life. Though her values and way of life are entrenched in my every day, I still long for the sound of her voice and cling to the dream of her meeting her grandchildren. Her meeting them for even a minute, to see how amazing, beautiful, and smart they are, those thoughts are the most heart wrenching for me. There is no doubt in my mind that my son Gus and my husband Carly saved my sanity in those trying months following her death. Gus was my focus, and Carly was my strength. I learned in that trying time that a mother’s love for a child is an insurmountable love, and I now know how much my mother loved me. 

That experience and shock of death awoke something in me. I had a new thirst for life. Nothing scared me anymore. Nothing could be more painful than losing my mother. You will not get the things you want in this life by not taking a chance in the first place.

“Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

-Steve Jobs

Since the passing of my mother, my life has kicked into high gear. Time is our most precious commodity and should be spent on the things that matter most: family, love, and one’s passions. Moments are fickle and fleeting; I have endeavored to make the most of mine. I refuse to lock myself away in my studio alone and not include my children in my passion for the arts. I want to show them the beauty of mark-making, dancing, and expressing yourself with a brushstroke or a splash of paint. I want to teach them that it’s ok to make a mess, “YES Gus you can step in the paint, squish it between your hands, and no Finn, you can’t eat it”!  My 2-year-old son Gus and I had the most amazing time together painting this series; I hope the unique artwork can even scratch the surface of the significance of our time together.

The paintings consist of a series of portraits. The intention of the work is to project strength, integrity, love and the struggle of what it takes to be a parent. This series is a celebration of motherhood, parenthood and the sheer innocence of being playful. The mindset and mood of the artwork is to project the incorruptible freedom of a child’s open cognizance, and zest for living life in the moment. 

What do you hope your viewers take away from seeing your art?

My aim and hope are that the viewer can connect in some way, get a feel for the artwork, and grasp not necessarily the exact meaning that I have intended while creating, but to have their own associations and perceptions.  Moreover, the viewer can feel the passion and emotion behind the imagery, figure, portrait, and forms in the artwork. 

What is one piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?

I do think about this from time to time. I have a few “wishes”, like utilizing social media a few years ahead, in a more effective manner for business purposes, I could have built a wider audience had I been more focused or aware of its effectiveness earlier on. I also wish I had applied myself as hard as I do today, and made a point of being in the studio, including it as a part of my daily routine, like I do presently. I have always been very prolific, but I think could have had more of a vision and focus for my practice. I still would not change a thing about how my life or my creative process, or the way my art business has evolved into what it is today. There are important lessons to be learned in the way that life falls into place. I feel like changing anything would possibly affect the outcome of where I am now, I am happy and grateful for the life that I have presently, and in the end, I guess I wouldn’t take my future self’s advice. 

How do you overcome creative blocks? 

I believe in working through creative blocks. As long as you are in your studio creating, there is a lesson to be learned or ideas to explore. You are never going to get ahead if you can’t take the first step of being present in your practice. I also believe in rest. You cannot master your active life if you cannot master your resting life. Living a balanced life helps my practice immensely: getting a proper night’s sleep, taking naps, reading, eating well, spending time with loved ones, meditating, and exercising. Because when I finally get that time in the studio it feels like an honor and a special treat. How many people can say they do what we do as artists? I am always grateful for the ability of simply being an artist, creating something out of nothing, and creative blocks are just an organic part of the process. 

Do you have any big collaborations, projects, exhibitions, etc going on during the rest of the year that you'd like to share?

The most recent show that I am involved in is with PXP Contemporary for their “Faces & Figures” show. My work from the “MINE” series is soon to be available in an upcoming publication titled, “FEMME Issue II”. My “MINE” series (from 2018/19) has found homes in several galleries. I just had my third child recently, and I am taking a month or two to rest. I will continue working on my ongoing commissioned work, as well as my personal in-progress series. The focus of my new series is based on heritage, lineage, and imagery from found photos from the past, this series will be opening at the Assiniboia Gallery in 2021. I also was recently featured in an episode for a documentary series “Making it in Saskatchewan” which aired in June. The “GUS – artwork created by Mother & Son” series just finished its tour. The series was a 44-piece show and interactive installation, travelled to 3 Galleries across Canada, in 2017/18. 

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By Alicia Puig

Studio Sunday: Natalie Bradford

This Studio Sunday we meet Natalie Bradford, a multimedia artist based in Michigan. Inspired by the connection between humans and nature, her work also depicts themes of absence and decay. Two of her surrealistic ink drawings are currently on view with PxP Contemporary. Learn more about the artist in her interview below!

Bio
Natalie Bradford is a young, emerging artist en route to earn her BFA with an emphasis in Printmaking from Western Michigan University. She splits her time between Kalamazoo and Detroit, where she is from, and creates prints, paintings, drawings, and collages. She has exhibited locally and previously been featured in Average Art Magazine, Wotisart Magazine, A5 Magazine and Juste Milieu Lit + Art Zine.

Statement
My artwork is mostly surreal and imaginative and oftentimes deals with themes of absence, decay, humans, and nature. It explores my concerns, anxieties, and curiosity about the future and what happens to our bodies and souls when we die. I create images and narratives of what I perceive to be life after death depicted by the human figure, nature, and animal/hybrid creatures.

When and how did you first become interested in art?

I was always interested in art, ever since I could (kind of) hold a pencil. I started to get serious about it during my senior year of high school when I had to decide on what college to go to and which ones had the best art program. I ended up choosing the Frostic School of Art at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI, and love it!

Tell us about what inspires you creatively. Can you share a bit about the meaning behind your drawings that we're exhibiting in Faces & Figures?

I’m inspired a lot by nature. My drawings depict birds and human body parts and speak to the circle of life and the temporality of life. Basically, how humans, being organic beings, eventually die and their body goes back into nature to nourish new life.

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What is your process like?

My process starts with a very rough, vague pencil sketch to establish important lines and curves and then I move into using a pen. I know using a pen this early on in a drawing is risky since it can’t be erased, but as I work through a drawing, I’ll sometimes instinctively make marks or add pieces that weren’t originally sketched out and it adds another element to my drawings

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 space is kind of split in half at the moment; I have my own studio space through the Printmedia department at WMU where I work on my prints and other class projects, and then I have a little makeshift studio space in my sunroom at my house. That space is where I do most of my drawings. I always keep a stack of sketchbooks and an empty coffee canister of pens and pencils in both studios.

What is one piece of advice that has stuck with you or a quote that you think is especially meaningful?

One thing my now-retired high school art teacher said to me my senior year was that making art isn’t just dependent on talent; he said: “Art making is about 1% actual talent and 99% dedication and time spent on your craft.” I oftentimes put this pressure on myself to make masterpieces every time I sketch, paint, draw, or print. That quote has stuck with me for a long time because it acts as a reminder to myself not to rush the process and really take my time with planning and sketching out my pieces, and working through the actual piece.

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

I have three prints that are going to be in a holiday exhibition at the Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center this November to December! This will be my second time exhibiting work at this gallery and I’m really excited about the prints that will be on display because they are three of my favorite ones and it’s nice to have work in a gallery that’s close to home for me.

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Studio Sunday: Andrew Indelicato

Andrew Indelicato, an artist, designer, and teacher, is this week’s Studio Sunday feature. In his interview, he discusses the crucial moment last year when he reevaluated the work he was making in order to develop a style that was more true to himself in addition to what he believes is the most rewarding aspect of being an artist! He also has two works currently available with PxP Contemporary in their show ‘Faces & Figures.’

Bio

Andrew Indelicato holds a Master's in Fine Arts and a Master's in Product Innovation. He is passionate about color, design, and Japanese culture. Indelicato has recently been featured in multiple publications and group exhibitions and he currently teaches Art, Creativity, and Design at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Statement

This body of my work revolves around the beauty of alternate futures that lay within the aesthetics of niche Anime subcultures. In today’s age, we are always looking for something to escape into. Remembrance and the retro always come forth. We want to relive ourselves within the nature of what we watched and saw when we were younger. It’s all about connecting to something that never was but perhaps might come forth in the future. The work draws upon the cyberpunk and dystopian aesthetics with subtle hints of neon vaporwave culture. It's big, bold, and a tad kitsch. The work can become somewhat awkward, but we as viewers crave this and then always want to take a peek.

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Tell us about your background in art. Where and what did you study?

I grew up in a creative household and was always pushed to pursue what I wanted. I got my BFA in Painting and printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University, an MFA in Painting and Drawing at the University of Georgia, and just recently I completed a Master’s in Product Innovation at Virginia Commonwealth University.

How did you develop your style?

I’ve always had a hard-edged geometric aesthetic as well as an intuitive way with color. In 2018 around May, I had a gut-check moment about my work and why I was actually making the work that I was. I didn’t enjoy what I was making so I started to do some self-reflection and remembered the things I was passionate about and the things that I grew up with. These things really never left me and I wanted to bring these topics and images into the contemporary world. It’s an ongoing process and I’m enjoying the ride.

What is your process like? Do you work on pieces simultaneously?

I do a lot of research and planning for the imagery I want to use as well as the aesthetic I want to go for. Some of it is mapped out, some of it is just by chance - one of my goals is to find the play between both. I like to work on multiple works at the same time, especially within different media. Drawings, paintings, and digital work all go on at once.

Name a few artists who inspire you or where you look for inspiration.

I’d say KAWS, John Felix Arnold, and Felipepantone, just to name a few. For inspiration, I also look to anime, manga, and pop culture or tech websites as well as YouTube and Instagram.

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 space is all over the place right now. Unfortunately, I don’t have a dedicated space, but I have a screened-in porch that I use and a spare bedroom I use part of. I must always have my computer and my projector.

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What is the most challenging aspect of being an artist? The most rewarding?

The most challenging aspect is time, finding time to make for yourself and not for a client or anyone else. The most rewarding is that gut feeling when you know you hit that sweet spot in the piece you are working on. It’s like putting two puzzle pieces together, it just feels right.

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

Right now I’m working on a couple of paintings for a group show for early next year as well as getting some things together for new opportunities.

Studio Sunday: Ladislas Chachignot
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Meet Ladislas Chachignot, a French artist working in Barcelona, who we’ve profiled for our Studio Sunday feature! His traditional and digital paintings integrating the figure and nature are characterized by beautiful and complex compositions that draw the viewer in. Learn more about his studio practice in his interview below and make sure to check out his two available works in PxP Contemporary’s current exhibition ‘Faces & Figures.’

Bio

Ladislas Chachignot is a French digital and traditional artist based in Barcelona. Specializing in colorful and detailed art, Ladislas is a kind of graphic chameleon that is working both digitally and traditionally, mixing various techniques to experiment and create vivid and bold artworks, full of details that are reflecting his vision of the world.

Ladislas is inspired by several themes like pop culture, urban art, graphic design and illustration, ecology and arts or crafts from ancient civilizations. The painting technique via a digital medium is almost the same as the traditional one: everything is hand-drawn and painted using a graphic tablet. No photographs or photographic textures are included in his images.

In parallel to his digital work, Ladislas began to paint on canvas and transfer his knowledge learned in digital art into traditional. He uses various mediums such as watercolor, acrylics, water-based markers, and spray-paint to create his images and paintings. No matter the medium, digital or traditional, Ladislas is willing to transfer his vision of the society and world and share his love for living as well as raising awareness toward the preservation on planet Earth by showing its richness and diversity.

Statement

I'm confronting the human body and its place alongside the richness and diversity of nature. See how we interact and are part of it and at the same time how we transform our world to fit to us.

I'm showing the ambivalence / ambiguity that lies in each human being, the two sides that are clashing and go in opposite directions within us:

- The constant need to control, adapt our environment to our own needs without thinking of the consequences of these modifications.

- In opposition to the need of peace and balance that we can find when connected with the natural environment. A kind of roots that we've rediscovered.

Through these images, I am questioning our place as humans in the world. We do concentrate more and more in the cities and are progressively losing the connection between nature and our initial primitive wildness and freedom as we fall more and more into a digital and 24/7 connected way of living.

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?

Images were always something very attractive for me since I was a child. I could spend hours in the toy shop watching colorful packagings and dream about stories I could create with all those toys. I was watching a lot of cartoons and always loved to play. I started to discover the art world bit by bit with school trips and with my parents. We visited French museums and I remember that I was amazed by all the paintings I was seeing on the walls.

I was attracted by ancient art and crafts from old civilizations (like Pre-columbian art) , so much details and stories, "bestiary" of gods, monsters and heroes. 

Everything I needed to imagine stories while watching the images.  I started to absorb images everywhere and tried to draw characters I saw in magazines, on the TV... With the growth of internet and its unlimited access to images I discovered various new visual trends and Artists I loved. 

It helped me a lot to develop my skills and also to get inspired to create new paintings.

We love that your work is so bold and colorful. Can you tell us about what inspires you?

Colors are really important for me yes. I guess it's my way to express emotions through the image. It's really interesting because when you experiment with it you learn how to create contrast, and highlight some elements in your image only with the use of colors.

You can change the mood of a painting just by picking some specific colors and the way you create lighting in your scene.

I think that my main inspiration is definitely "nature". It's a source of unlimited inspiration, so much species, and diversity. Patterns, colors, shapes, there's everything you need to create images. You can find species and then discover sub-species that has different colors and shapes, sometimes quite different from the one you knew. To me, Nature is a the biggest source of creation, and we all inspire ourselves with it.

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

I don't think I sketch too much when I'm starting a new piece. I've got an idea of how it should look in the end and then I start putting lines on the paper. But the great point of doing this is that as it's not planned totally, there's room for improvisation, it makes the process more fun and enjoyable. I follow my instinct on this, and look for the moment when I tell myself " yes, there's something interesting here". I look for excitement and fun when creating.

I usually sketch the character first and then I start to fill the canvas bit by bit all around the character.

I do everything with pencil, lines are quite sloppy in the beginning, but I focus of the composition and how shapes are interacting between each other. To create movement and so the viewer can dive into the image and look for details. Then I erase slowly and leave the first layer of lines a bit visible so I can re-create a refined and clean version of the lines. Then start the "color phase" where I'm putting colors and change them progressively as I experiment and build the image. In this step also, I don't plan too much, I often have a "mood board" but I leave room to make "tests". It's quite easy to do with the digital medium so I do it until I feel I found the right combination in the image.

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

I work in a co-working space which is a big open space in an ancient factory in Barcelona.

I've got a desk in it so I can leave my things inside and don't need to remove them every evening.

My workstation is made of my computer that I leave closed, an additional screen bigger than the computer screen which I use as my main screen + my Cintiq pro 16 graphic tablet. When I work I leave my images and references open on the other screen and paint on the Cintiq .

I also have an additional Hard drive to save projects and don't leave them only in one place , would be a shame to loose all my images so I often do backups and copy my things on various places.

I surround myself with plants on my desk. Small green plants that I let grow and invade the desk if I could I would create a jungle surrounding my screen and myself but Im a bit afraid of the humidity problems I would have with this solution haha). I also have a collection of pine cones that I collect everywhere I go. I've got some from various countries all around the world and display them in a jar on my desk. I like to collect things so I display a few of them, images, a few toys or motivating quotes to help me get some good and relaxing vibes when I work.

When I paint of canvas I prefer to do it at home as the activity is more messy and dirty, I don't disturb anyone like that.

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What is your favorite thing about being an artist?

My favorite thing about being an artist is that I mix work with passion. I'm lucky to be my own boss and propose my vision to my clients. 

I feel I express myself through my images and have a purpose with this. The best thing is that I can give people emotions when they look at my images. When I see that I give them a small piece of "dream", a moment of "pause" and spark there curiosity, I'm really happy of it. It's a reward to remind me that art has a great power to deliver strong message and emotions and I'm grateful I can create connections with people by doing this.

When I look back 10 years ago and think about what I wanted to be, I feel that I'm on my way on the right track. I don't have all the solutions yet but I trust that if I do my best and do it with pleasure, people will see it through images.

Do you have any big collaborations, projects, exhibitions, etc going on during the rest of the year that you'd like to share?

I'm currently traveling for a a month in Los Angeles. As I live in Europe, the culture scene is a bit different from the USA. 

I'm gonna get inspired and stop by various galleries to present my art and meet gallery owners. The city is really excellent for art. Many artists I follow are living or exhibiting there.

I also want to see if there would be opportunities to work there. I combine my activity of illustrating with painting. The entertainment scene is so developed in LA, I feel it would be a great place for me to live and work. 

I'm also in the process of a collaboration with an organization for the protection of the oceans. These type of projects are something I'm really interested in and I'd like to do more of these in the future. Using art to deliver important messages and raise awareness toward environmental preservation is one of my goal for the next few years.

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By Alicia Puig

Studio Sunday: Karen Navarro
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Our Studio Sunday interview this week highlights the work of photographer Karen Navarro. Learn more about what inspires her colorful, figurative images, her creative process, and the motto that keeps her going in tough times! You can also view two of Karen’s works in ‘Faces & Figures’, a group exhibition presented by PxP Contemporary.

Bio

With a background in fashion design, Argentina-born artist, Karen Navarro, works with a highly stylized aesthetic in a diverse array of mediums that includes photography, collage, and sculpture. Her constructed portraits, as she describes it herself, are known for the use of color theory, surreal scenes and minimalist details. Navarro’s work expresses self-referential questions that connect in a much larger scale to ideas of construction of identity, societal expectations and the understanding of the being; prompting a discourse about the subconscious will to comply with the contemporary societies' canons when these are in fact misleading. Similarly, Navarro explores in her work femininity as a cultural construct.

Navarro has lived in Houston since 2014 where she completed the certificate program in photography at the Houston Center for Photography. In 2018, Navarro was awarded a scholarship at the Glassell School of Art | The Museum of Fine Art Houston where she studied analog photography. Most recently, she received the Artadia fellowship in 2019.

Navarro's work has been exhibited in the US and abroad. Her most recent shows include ones at the Elisabet Ney Museum in Austin, TX (2019), Presa House Gallery in San Antonio, TX (2019), Melkweg in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2019), Museo de la Reconquista in Tigre, Argentina (2018), The Union in Houston, TX (2018), and Houston Center for Photography in Houston, TX (2018).

Statement

Driven by an insatiable curiosity about understanding the self and the resulting human behaviors shaped by social norms. Furthermore, understanding the role of social norms in the construction of personal and social identity, my work seeks answers and proposes questions that may not yet have a predetermined answer.


Through the use of color theory, surreal scenes and minimalist details, the constructed portraits, as I like to call them, recreate a character that usually doesn’t have an identity. My photo process blurs those lines of identity by disguising, hiding and covering the faces. In the performative photographs, often times, the characters are isolated in a serene environment. I believe photography allows me the expression of self-referential questions. By expressing personal worries, my work appeals to connect these ideas to a much larger scale of ideas of construction of identity, societal expectations and the understanding of the being; prompting a discourse about the subconscious will to comply with the contemporary societies' canons when these are in fact misleading.

When did you first become interested in art? 

I first became interested in art while doing a photography assignment for an art class in high school. But I would say that I grew up surrounded by an artistic environment, my grandmother was a dressmaker and my grandfather, who I didn't get the chance to meet, liked to draw. I remember spending my childhood days with my grandmother in her atelier. And, I think that was what led me to study fashion design and then photography. My fashion design training had a strong art program. I gained a general overview of art and history but it wasn't until I came to Houston that I started to get more interested in the contemporary art world and the art scene.


Tell us about what inspires you creatively.

My inspiration comes from different sources. Color, lighting and shadow from the everyday can inspire a mood. I usually use these moods to approach new artwork and link it to philosophical ideas, self-referential questions, or something else in what I believe in and I want to share. Looking at artwork and specially from the Surrealist, Renaissance and Cubist periods brings a lot of inspiration. I'm interested in the concept of identity so I explore it in many different ways. Photography for me is about creating conversations, making relevant a topic that may be only relevant for me. It's about inviting people to question along with me. My work doesn't offer answers because I don't believe in absolute truths. And, in the in-between of this dichotomy of not believing in absolute truths and having an opinion at the same time is where I position myself every time I approach a new body of work. Inviting you, seducing you through a highly stylized image to reflect on topics that may challenge our social notions.

What is your process like?  

Usually, everything starts on the sketchbook, then I pay a visit to the warehouse to buy some painting to paint the backdrop wall. After that I go to the thrift store to get some clothing and some props to prepare for the photo shoot. In my performative photographs I create characters, for this reason I meticulously arrange the elements in the scene. Although, while in the photo shoots I allow myself to get creative and try new things, I don't stick entirely to the sketchbook. 

Since my work is evolving and I am working on new mediums, like collages and soon sculpture, my process changes according to the work I am doing. For example in my last series of collages "El Pertenecer en Tiempos Modernos"  I added laser-cutting, 3-D printing, and embossing.


Describe your current studio space. What is most important about it or one thing that you can’t live without in your work area?

I like to call my studio ‘big white box’. I love the high ceilings and how airy it is. Natural lighting is something I can't live without. My studio has small window that faces the top of a tree. I enjoy looking at the the wind blowing the tree with the sky on the background. During the mornings the sunlight is very beautiful. For me, my studio is my sacred temple, everything has to be in order and be very minimal for me to be able to concentrate.

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What is one piece of advice that has stuck with you or a quote that you think is especially meaningful?

My motto is from a Spanish saying, Persevera y triufarás, which translated literally into the English language means Persevere and you will Triumph. If at first you don't succeed, 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?

Yes! There are two things I‘m very excited to share. I'm currently working on some sculptures that explore the notion of body and beauty. It’s an extension of my body of work “Soft Objects”. I’m currently at the first stage, but am very excited about it!

I’m also organizing and co-curating a show called “Alternate Pathways”. The show celebrates Houston’s cultural diversity and has received a grant from the city. The show opens on October 19th 6-8 PM at 2315 Union St, Houston, TX 77007⁣⁣. 

Studio Sunday: Kestin Cornwall
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This week’s Studio Sunday goes behind-the-scenes with one of the represented PxP Contemporary artists, Kestin Cornwall. In his interview, he discusses an early memory with his mother that inspired him to start drawing, why working with certain mediums are important for his style, and how he gets into a state of flow in his studio. PxP will have two of his works in our upcoming fall exhibition, which we will be announcing shortly!

Bio

Kestin Cornwall grew up in the Windsor Ontario area. His father is Grenadian and his mother is American, and he spent much of his youth in Detroit, Michigan with family. In 2001, he moved to Oakville, Ontario to begin his training at Sheridan College. While completing the Art Fundamentals and Illustration programs, Cornwall’s focus and love for the arts grew quickly. He increasingly combined both classical drawing and painting with modern digital reproduction and screen-printing. In 2006, Cornwall won the CAPIC Best In Show Award. Over the past ten years, Cornwall has focused on creating relevant progressive art. He has used a varied practice of combining hand drawings, digitally removing the human hand and then forcing the element of the human hand back into the work. Using elements such as painting, wheat-pasting, screen-printing, installation and drawing to explore the relationship between art, human rights, politics, sex, and freedom. Cornwall critically charts current political, social, and economic landscapes with compositions brimming with references to media, popular culture, music, and art history. He enjoys challenging what’s considered “common” and feels it is the duty of an artist to add beauty to the world while invoking the unending social responsibility to capture thought. Many of his influences include contemporary graphic realism, street art and old comics, with a complimenting factor of mystery, often mirroring timeless depictions of pop culture. Each piece depicts an analysis of our obsession with beauty, age, and change. Kestin Cornwall lives and works in Toronto.

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When and how did you first become interested in art? 

I was a little kid, grade 3 or 4. At that time, if my family was not in Detroit visiting my aunts or at church we were at home with an old tv that had just three stations and no video games for the most part...not much to do most days in the summer after you completed your chores. Small town shit. My mom was trying to keep me busy and decided to show me how to draw an elephant. It blew my mind how much it looked like the real thing to me. Her drawing was so simple and didn't have much detail but I knew what it was and I loved that. That moment felt like it lasted forever, instead of a word it was an image, a thousand words as they say. From that evening on I wanted to draw an elephant as well as she did, and draw as often as I could. 

I loved art and sports and as I grew up life was hard at times, art and sports provided a place to channel my energy. What is interesting, is that studies have shown that young male aggression and creativity follow the same line on a graph, and at peak male aggression, creativity peaks. So having outlets are important. Outlets are valuable. Again, I didn't know this at the time but art and sports gave me a direction and an outlet, I got to work with my hands and create objects and images. That's why it felt so great to do it, that’s the core of what I grew to love about it, all the other reasons came after. 

Tell us about the series you’re currently working on and a bit of what inspires you as an artist

So much inspires me. Resilient people inspire me. People that can get hit, have everything go to shit and keep going, like my parents. If you think about it, we’re descendants of the strongest. What’s the number...0.5 percent I think,  of the male population in the world have Genghis Khan geneticists.

I’m currently finishing up another skate deck, a series I started this year. The work is based on visual culture and ethnicity. It’s impossible to disentangle or separate the two. Visual art presents a direct opportunity to actively challenge images that are discriminatory or biased and create new imagery. I draw on not only my own racial identity but also include faces from my community. With the new work, I’m using images to examine the notion of how culture and entertainment including film and other media, shape the mass public perception of people of color in North American culture.  

I try to ask questions, do research, create and then repeat that process. A few friends and I had the idea to do a Jeffersonian Dinner, it was a great way to help form new ideas and shape future thoughts, but next time we need to add additional rules. I always say I like “happy mistakes.” One could argue that the creative process is just a series of mistakes.

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How did you develop your style? 

There were so many factors. From what I just enjoyed working with, to the longevity of the medium. Also what I grew up listening to. Hip-hop, rap, punk, and rock music raised us. My boys and I looked at artists before us as a path out. A way out you know? Some wanted to be ballplayers, some wanted to be rap artists or in a rock band. Guys like Mike Giant, Blek le Rat, Basquiat, Richard Hambleton, Shepard Fairey, Cope 2 are like the forefathers to some of us. I looked up to them and they helped shape my idea of what art is while trying to forge my own identity and my own vibe, my own cut, and line work.  

Early on I had no budget for tools and costly materials so it was whatever I could get my hands on… in a lot of ways that helped. It forces you to be creative and resourceful, do more with less. I think that's what separates the people that are creative enough to keep making personal art and those that stop. Keep in mind, making art is subjective, you could be an art director or teacher who never draws a thing and in some ways still, be making art.

Everyone has something that inspires them, you just have to search long enough to find it. Everyone has to find what they think is a great tool or what they think is real art. For so many,  if it's not done in a classic medium like oil, it's not real art. I respect oil greatly. It's a beautiful medium but you can't do with oil what you can do with a spray can or screen print and vice versa. I kept this in mind with all of my work and wanted to capture the contemporary culture and modern society not just in the images at times but also the material and technique. Nothing screams contemporary art like a spray can. 

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Describe your current studio space. What is important to have in it and how often do you dedicate time there? 

Coffee!!! Coffee is a prerequisite… lol

I work in a midsize space above a storefront, with lots of light and houseplants. I just got a new monstera, pretty stoked on that.  Learned how to propagate a monstera a few weeks back! So look out!

I like to live and work in buildings with history.  Like, if the pipes make noise, and there are old bricks that had to have patchwork done, I'm drawn to that! I like that.  

A lot of what I keep around and much of what decides when I work is the ability to know when I can or can't tap into flow. Ya’ know what I mean? That state where you’re so zoned in on a task that at the end, the time melts away leaving only the moment of creating it. An hour feels like 5mins. It’s just done. I can get two or three full images done in 8-12 hours when I’m inflow. I just come out of it and I’m almost done, and I crash because it takes so much out of you. The time dedicated varies, it all depends on flow.  

I need tools like a sander and mixed media. A glass of wine or bourbon to help me tap in to flow, you vibe? Makes it easier. You have to be on point, only a glass or two, too much and you’re out of flow or fucking up shit. I also can't start if I don’t have a fan or blow dryer to speed up dry time and a football or basketball to toss around the studio as I think or wait for the paint to dry. I have to have music… most of the time. Oh, music.  Music and painting are like steak and eggs, or old jeans and a fresh black t-shirt, they belong together.   

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Can you share a bit about your artist community and the art scene where you live?

The East Side of Toronto is diverse. We call it the Ark, in my hood anyway… due to the diversity. When you walk the core, you see two of everyone. Lots of 3rd generation black Canadians, lots of 1st and 2nd generation South Asians and 5th-10th generation white Canadians. You can get roti, samosa, oxtail or baklava all in a three minute walk on one street. 

Some of the top upcoming galleries have moved from the West, where all of the upcoming and established galleries use to be, to the East. The contemporary art scene is very young. There’s a lot of great street art. There are some awesome artists, art studios and the music scene in the East is always popping off. 

Besides showing in the next exhibition with PxP Contemporary, do you have any other exciting projects coming up for the rest of the year? 

I have a few commissions in the works I'm excited about and an upcoming show I might take on next year.  I have an interesting project that incorporates art, that I'm excited about but can’t give too much detail on this just yet. I rolled out a new site layout earlier this year, so I'll add a store option with past and new work shortly. 

Yes! I’m excited to work with PxP Contemporary and am looking forward to the next show! I’m feeling that.   

Thanks for taking the time to interview me, and giving me the opportunity to share some details of my work and process with your readers, I truly do appreciate that.  Thank you.

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Studio Sunday: Michelle Lee Rigell

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!

Bio

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.

Statement

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.  

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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Studio Sunday: Brooke Sauer
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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.

Bio

Brooke Sauer holds a BFA in Painting from Otis College of Art & Design, and an MFA from Art Center College of Design. 

Statement

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.

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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.

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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.

Studio Sunday: Samantha Boni
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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!

Bio

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.

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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.

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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.

How We Started Collecting Art on a Budget and Why It Is Important to Us

By Ekaterina Popova and Alicia Puig

From Kat:

Working with hundreds of artists through Create! Magazine over the past several years has given me an incredible opportunity to discover beautiful and affordable works. I had the privilege of decorating my apartment on a budget because I was exposed to artists working in all mediums, styles, and price points. 

It first started off as trades with my own work, and later evolved to me purchasing some of my favorite pieces to add to my ever-growing collection. 

What makes owning original art special, instead of settling for a cheap canvas print from Ikea or Marshall’s is that your space will have a completely unique vibe, curated based on your visual aesthetic. It will make it so much more fun to entertain your guests because each piece has a story that you can share. I don’t know about you, but I want to cultivate an interesting life both inside and outside of my home. 

Having been both the buyer and seller of artwork, I love the process. For example, it makes me so proud to share my growth with those who invested in my work early in my career. I bet the gentleman that purchased my first large painting in 2012 is excited to see me move on to exhibit at international art fairs, work with bigger galleries, and be featured by leading blogs and publications. It’s exciting for the collector to feel as if they are a part of the artist’s journey and evolution and that they were a part of making their success happen. On the flip side, I love seeing the artists I traded with or purchased from move on to reach higher levels and increase their value in the art market. More than anything, having my community literally surround me inside my home brings me immense joy and comfort. 

If you are ready to upgrade your living space and truly make it unique, exciting, and full of the energy of the creatives that you love, take the first step and buy your favorite thing that you can afford at the moment. Most artists and galleries will work with you and can even offer a payment plan if you don’t have cash upfront for a larger piece. I have frequently let my collectors pay as low as $100 per month for larger paintings. 

A few months ago, Alicia Puig and I launched our online platform, PxP Contemporary, which will help you get started on your art collection. We wanted to create a space where new collectors can order a piece they love without awkward interactions, especially if you are new to buying art. Shop our collection of affordable works ranging from $100-$2000 to help you get started! If you aren’t quite sure which piece you want to buy first, don’t be shy about contacting an artist you’ve been following on Instagram to get more information about their work and pricing or you can look for local gallery exhibitions where you might just find something you fall in love with. With any of the works exhibited with PxP Contemporary, you can always email us with questions at info@pxpcontemporary.com. We’re happy to help!

Here are a few of my favorite pieces which are available at PxP Contemporary:

From Alicia:

Looking back to our days in college, perhaps it was always meant to be that Kat and I would be working on a gallery project together. She was technically my very first art purchase! While we were both pursuing our BFA degrees at Kutztown University, I fell in love with a beautiful landscape piece with a country home pictured against a vivid pink background that she had painted and mustered up the courage to ask her if I could buy it. At the time, we knew each other through working at an off-campus gallery, but weren’t as close as we are now so I wasn’t sure what she would say. Luckily, she agreed, gave me a price that I could fit into my student budget, and I started to realize that I could afford to collect art that I loved. I simply had to ask or else I’d never know. As I started in my career, I was able to continue to learn more about buying art from working in galleries. I learned about asking for discounts and payment plans, but also continued to buy directly from artists as well. 

For me, like with Kat, my apartment would never feel complete without art on the walls. It both looks and feels empty. Whenever I move into a new place, I get anxious until I start to curate the space because without art, it doesn’t yet have that same feeling of being my ‘home’. So this ends up being one of the very few aspects of moving that I actually enjoy, ha!

The artworks I hang around me also serve as a reminder of wonderful artists who I have worked with in the past and places I have visited, the lovely friends and family who have purchased art for me, or are just pieces that make me happy when I look at them! One of the most beautiful things about art is that it is so emotional and personal. You have the power to find art that speaks to you and surround yourself with it. It can bring consistent reminders of positive memories and spark feelings of joy. Who wouldn’t want that? 

More than the aesthetic part of collecting, however, I also enjoy that I’m supporting someone else’s career. While it is exciting to buy art from big names that you may have seen in history books or museums, it is so important to invest in the current generation of living artists. The artists who are household names now usually had patrons or other buyers back in their day and the majority definitely wouldn’t have been able to continue their work without them. This is probably the art historian in me talking, but if we don’t support those working today, how will they be able to leave their mark? Many are worried about making ends meet, not making history. So let’s make sure that we’re all doing what we can to support each other in this community. 

Not to mention, there is so much talent in a vast array of mediums both traditional and new and it is wonderful that today there is even greater recognition for women artists, artists of color, and LGBTQIA artists. We can all find our niche. Therefore, with a little bit of research you will definitely find someone’s work that is really meaningful to you. I certainly have!

These are all reasons why we created PxP Contemporary. We wanted a place that makes collecting easy: not intimidating, not complicated, not expensive, and not low quality. We’ve curated a selection of work by incredible artists from around the world and given them a platform to showcase their art and tell their stories. If you aren’t familiar with PxP yet, I invite you to take a look. I hope you’ll join us! 

In addition to our website: www.pxpcontemporary.com you can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated with gallery news and exhibitions.

The first exhibition curated by PxP Contemporary!

The first exhibition curated by PxP Contemporary!

Studio Sunday: Molly Mansfield

This week’s Studio Sunday feature highlights the work of artist Molly Mansfield. We’re so excited to be bringing you a closer look at her paintings and best tips for maintaining a creative practice. Read her interview below and then check out her two beautiful and affordable pieces that are currently available online with PxP Contemporary!

Bio

I live in small town Texas with my husband and two little boys. Working with watercolor, gouache, and oil paints, I use handmade pigments that are mined from the earth's minerals.

My childhood days were spent playing amongst the leaves in the nursery owned by my parents and running barefooted and wild on my grandfather's property. Nature and particularly plants have played an important role in helping me to cope with anxiety. Now as a mother, thinking about my children, I value its role even more. When encountering nature, so many feelings are elicited. There is the excitement of spotting a rare bird, the wonder of a spiders web, an overwhelming sense of peace when standing at the water's edge, and even fear when met face to face with a coyote. Nowhere than in nature are the senses so stimulated.

The fury of our fast-paced, productivity driven, consumer culture is often overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. I regularly feel the struggle to counter these pressures in my life and work.

Statement

My paintings are impressions of experiences. Abstractions of a memory seeking to speak to the benefits of interacting with the natural world. Nature beckons us to take time out of our busy schedules to pause and take in the beauty. I want my paintings to reflect that sentiment. My process is measured and intentional. There is a lot of looking and soaking in the experience. Each brush stroke is carefully placed to describe the feeling that I am trying to create. My hope is that when you look at my artwork you are compelled to slow down, maybe take a deep breath, enjoy something beautiful, and engage with the present moment.

When did you first become interested in art and what drew you to painting?

Like most young children I was always making and inventing things. My mom was always coming up with some new creative project for me to work on from bead making to sewing and knitting to designing container gardens. I loved the opportunity to explore and certainly benefitted from being able to look at art making through different viewpoints via playing with different mediums. Painting has always been there though, and it has always had my heart. It was elevated in my mind as a child by a few images I had seen of Van Gogh’s work, a thin paperback portfolio of Cezanne that we owned, and receiving postcards in the mail from my aunt, Jennifer Young who is a painter. This modest collection of paintings I had access to, was devoured by me. Every color and brushstroke becoming ingrained in my mind. But every time I came back to the paintings an overwhelming feeling came over me, the energy moved me, I was taken far far away from my present situation to something magical that I had never experienced before. The paintings couldn’t be memorized. The process of making a painting is very feeling oriented as well. I love the experience of guiding, sliding the creamy buttery paint across the canvas. I turn music on, my whole body is moving, I’m not thinking about what I’m doing I just know I can’t stop. I keep laying down brushstrokes boldly side by side, alone they are blocks of color but together they become something recognizable. Something that has meant so much to me and I hope becomes meaningful for the viewer.

Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your work and the series (or multiple bodies of work) that you are focusing on at the moment?

Imagine driving down a well trodden road, but you still can’t keep your eyes off the landscape. A line of cars builds up behind you , but you are struck with overwhelming beauty of whats in front. The grey stormy skies, the saturation of the well watered layers of fields. There is something new and exciting about the view and yet something familiar.

We moved out of Austin last summer to a small town near my hometown. It was an unusually rainy and cloudy fall for Texas. I was struck driving the road, FM 973, that connects my small town to Austin by the rolling green hills and grey skies. The landscape that you can see from this road is so striking because it is slightly higher elevation and open farmland with layers and layers of fields and crops leading up to the horizon line. I knew that I had to paint these views and I wanted to, focus on movement, shapes, and feeling, over details.

The collection, “Views From 973” is inspired by memories. Abstract & Fluid. Moments running into each other. Not about the fine details but about the feeling and emotion of the experience. Though these landscapes are inspired by a particular place, it makes sense that one might remind you of your own adventures. That’s when it becomes about human connection. Something that started as part of my own story, but then becomes yours.

This body of work has been the most intuitive work I have ever done. I look at so many of the pieces in this collection and think, “how did I even do that?!” The Brushstrokes, compositions, colors, none of it was planned really. I went into it with a feeling that I wanted to express and then let the process take over. This is work that I felt Inside of me and I knew I had to create.

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Describe your current studio space. What is most important for keeping a consistent creative practice?

My studio sometimes is the kitchen table, sometimes my bedroom dresser, and always most of the closets in our house (for storage, not for painting in, LOL). I am beginning to long for a more permanent space to create in, but honestly working out of my home has served me well. I’ve been painting (almost) every day for the past five years. Most of that happens in the evenings after my kids are in bed and I clean up my mess, packing everything back into closets when I’m done. I am very energized to work in the evenings, however homebody that I am, it is the last time of day that I want to leave my house. I have loved creating in the center of my home near the energy of my family and the comfort of my tea kettle.

Here are a few things that have really helped me in having a consistent creative practice.

1) Just start making. Its that simple. If you can, organize your day so that you are creating at the same time. Pay attention to what times of day you have the most creative energy, are you a morning person or a night owl? There may be times in the beginning when you don’t feel like making anything but just keep showing up, eventually the muse will show up too. After a couple of months of coming to the studio consistently you will have a habit, and after that I think it is pretty easy. I did a 100 day project 5 years ago and I’ve been painting nearly every day since, it’s just what I do and I love it.

2) Remove distractions. A few years back we got rid of our TV. Relaxation and enjoyment are good things, but for me Netflix was taking over my life, I felt like I wasn’t in control of how I spent my time. This was the best decision ever because while vegging can feel nourishing in the moment because it is passive, painting is what FEEDS MY SOUL.

3) Make your workspace comfortable. Do what you can to make your space not only where you want to be, but a place where you feel relaxed and able to let the creativity flow out of you. I once had a studio with no air conditioning in the summer in Texas. I did make work there but there was no lingering with delight over the process. You know I got out of there as soon as I could call the piece done! Recently I have been making work out of my home. It’s not glamorous. I could’ve rented a studio but home is just the only place I want to be at the end of the day (when I paint).

What is your favorite thing about being an artist?

Freedom! I get to be with my kids, make art and have a business. I get to make my own schedule. I don’t like people telling me what to do, LOL. I am allowed to follow my interest, passion, and muse. Making art isn’t all lollipops and fluffy clouds, sometimes there’s a wrestling that has to happen. Communicating what’s in my head, a thought or a concept into something visual on the canvas is hard work. There are so many ideas and in a way each one is a problem to be solved. Thinking, trying, thinking again. Once something clicks the work just starts coming out and I just have to keep up. The best word I can think of to describe this feeling when the idea is out and on canvas, is freedom. Sigh. Now I am ready to start on the next idea. ;)


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Name a few artists whose work has had an impact on you.

Pastmasters: Cezanne, Van Gogh, John Singer Sargent. Contemporaries: Jennifer Young and Richard Claremont.

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

Oh yes! I have just barely started making work for my first solo show here in Austin at Revelry in September! I am soooo excited about this body of work exploring a slightly different landscape than my last collection, of plants and our relationships with them. It is work that I have been thinking about for a long time and I feel like I’m finally ready to get it out and put it on the canvas. Of course I’m very excited about the show too!

Kat & Alicia Interviewed for the THRIVE Talks Podcast!
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We were so honored to be invited to be guests on the THRIVE Talks Podcast hosted by Jamie and Tara of Thrive Art Studio! Here’s a description and link to the episode:

Starting where you are with Ekaterina Popova and Alicia Puig from Create! Magazine

Do you read Create! Magazine? Today we talk with Ekaterina Popova and Alicia Puig about the ups and downs of running an independent contemporary art magazine and working in the arts! We loved talking to another creative duo about starting where you are, failure and they offer awesome tips on getting your work featured!

Listen here.

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Studio Sunday: Jennifer Small
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This week’s Studio Sunday allowed us to catch up with Philadelphia based abstract artist, Jennifer Small. We love the bold colors and geometric forms in her work so it was nice to hear a bit about what goes on behind the scenes! Read on to hear about her process and some advice she would have given to her younger self that is relatable to many emerging creatives.

Bio

By day, Jennifer Small makes visual designs on screen and by night she makes abstract paintings on canvas. She received her BFA in Painting and BS in Art Education in 2005 from Millersville University and MFA in Painting in 2012 from Savannah College of Art and Design. In 2016, while living in Chicago, she made the transition from teaching to graphic design. Her work has been exhibited in Washington, DC, New York, Richmond, Savannah, and Chicago as well as in New American Paintings and Studio Visit magazines. In 2019, she relocated to the Philadelphia area to continue her career as a painter and designer.

Statement

My art, initially abstract in appearance, records a journey of a day in the life—a practice that starts with documentation through the lens of a camera. My eyes act as a viewfinder narrowing down the panoramic into single frames. Compiled snapshots represent blocks of time during my process of seeing and recording aesthetic significance in ordinary routine. I see curious formal elements in common things waiting to be manipulated and transformed into abstract compositions. I collage together the single framed images, simplify and render them in paint to create the lines, shapes, and hues that fill the canvas. Abstracted layers build shallow spaces that depict my translation of the everyday. My work shows my analysis of time and space interpreted by looking through a lens at my immediate environment.

When did you first become interested in art?

I've been interested in art as long as I can remember. I grew up in a creative family where we were always drawing or making something. I knew from a very early age that I would have a career in the arts and be a lifelong creative.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your work and what your creative process is like.

My work is inspired by observing my everyday life. I see daily routine as an opportunity to record aesthetic curiosities that can be used as building blocks for my paintings. My abstractions are collections of these curiosities which represent my personal experience with time and place. I begin my creative process by taking photos of interesting visual sightings observed while moving through my normal routine. Next, I make sketches collaging parts of the photos together to create compositions that work well as formal abstractions. Sometimes the original source material in one painting relates, sometimes it doesn't. Color is a consideration before I begin. I usually start with 2 warm colors and 2 cool colors and during the painting process expand upon or reign it in from there. I work from painterly to more precise (with the help of a lot of painter's tape) combining acrylic and spray paint to build my surfaces into abstract structures that tell my story.

What do you hope your viewers take away from seeing your paintings?

I hope viewers of my paintings see energy, movement, and variety from a formalist abstraction point of view but also their approachability after learning what inspired them. And as a result, they might consider slowing down enough to appreciate their own daily environment.

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What is one piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?

I would advise my younger self to be more proactive earlier with sharing work, applying for opportunities, and connecting with other artists in order to build a community and also see personal growth.

What is your favorite thing about being an artist?

My favorite thing about being an artist is its unpredictability. I can't predict what I will make, who I will meet, or where it will take me next but I'm very much looking forward to the ride.

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

My work will be published in Vol. 45/46 of Studio Visit Magazine coming out this summer. Additionally, I am continuing to make work and get reacquainted with the east coast after moving from Chicago to the Philadelphia area in April.

Find a selection of her work available online with our new gallery PxP Contemporary!

Studio Sunday: Veneta Karamfilova
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In this week’s Studio Sunday feature, learn more about Veneta Karamfilova, an artist and photographer from Bulgaria! Veneta creates beautiful images, largely focused on women and flowers, that have a flair for drama and immediately catch a viewer’s attention with isolated figures against a stark background. She has received awards from PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris, the Tokyo International Foto Awards, and Fine Art Photography Awards and is currently exhibiting two works in PxP Contemporary’s inaugural show ‘Pilot.’

Statement

To me, photography is an exploration of the mind. A kind of fiction, offering a glimpse of a coexisting reality. A way of seeing a world floating between unspoken dreams yet-to-be and the endless nostalgia for the time that has never been, with a surreal motif. 

Since photography is born in a split-second, I find it being the perfect medium to show a fraction of a supposed reality. A fraction that does not describe, but merely suggests. A fraction that has no beginning or an end, but is bound to have an afterlife, long and rich as the viewer’s memory. 

The two main subjects I explore are women and flowers, as flowers are often associated with women and femininity. 

My woman is a silent inhabitant of an alternative place that provides an escape from the passage of time. She is both strong and fragile. The center and only a fragment of something greater; a suggestion for something more.

Flowers are usually associated with women because of the idea of new life; a rebirth after the winter. Yet since they fade quickly, flowers are also linked with death. In my photographs, a slice of this birth-to-death shift is suspended in time. 

Tell us how you first became interested in art and why it led you to the work you create today.

I guess I've always had the urge to create. I wanted to paint, but wasn't very good at it, so photography was a great substitute. Being able to seize the passage of time is an amazing ability. It's like magic, defying all physical laws of nature and at the same time being possible thanks to these same physical laws. I still sometimes paint. Just for my own pleasure of watching how the colors mix, the texture of the paint and how it all comes together in this perfect memory of how I felt. Painting is my other kind of magic. One that can capture a moment that has already passed.

Can you explain a bit about the inspiration behind your work?

The fragile beauty of flowers has always fascinated me for being so apt a metaphor of how ephemeral life is. It's a poetic tragedy. I'm here, I'm beautiful and I'm going to die.

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What is your process like?

Some of the flowers I photograph are bought from the market, some are found on the street, and others come from my own garden. I might plant a bulb in the autumn and wait for the spring, to photograph it. Or I might find something on my way to the market, pick it and photograph it half an hour later. So I guess my process is a kind of flexible.

What do you hope your viewers take away from seeing your photographs?

I hope my viewers realize that real beauty is in diversity and imperfection. Тhese stereotypes of what is beautiful that we get bombarded every day are just an illusion. My flowers are all different. Just like us they come in all shapes and sizes; blooming or decaying; being whole or missing a petal or two. It's all of these little differences and "imperfections" that make each and everyone unique and thus interesting. For me beauty has always been associated with making an impression and being remembered. And you only get to be remembered if you are different from everyone else.

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

I lost a lot of time thinking that I don’t have what it takes; that I didn’t have the skills, the equipment, etc. It took me quite a while to deal with that and make a move. I still don't have a fancy camera, nor do I have a studio. Most of my flowers (including the two, part of PxP Contemporary exhibition "Pilot") are shot at a corner of my kitchen, beautifully lit by two windows. But I learned that having an idea is the most important thing. The rest is just figuring out a way to make it happen. And you do by making small steps. So I’d tell myself: “Don’t think too much! Just go for it! Make that first step and then make the next one!”

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

I'm currently working on a new series, inspired by opera and ballet. I am a huge fan of both, so I suppose marrying them and photography is only natural. Opera and ballet stories are timeless. Love, hate, murder, heartbreak, betrayal, greed, power, conspiracy, women's abuse are still current issues in our days, centuries after their performances. This project is a personal interpretation of pieces of some of the world's most famous operas and ballets. The images are created by infusing my vision with parts of the libretto and the emotions felt, while listening to a particular piece. They are a kind of fiction, offering a selective personal view of the story. The fragile beauty of music born in a split second and trapped in it for eternity.

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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