Posts tagged Artist
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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Colorful and Textured Paintings Claire Whitehurst
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Claire Whitehurst is an artist living and working in Iowa City, Iowa, where she is teaching and pursuing her MFA in Painting at the University of Iowa. She was born in Louisiana and raised in Mississippi, earning her BFA at the University of Mississippi, and a Post Baccalaureate degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia, PA. Her work can be found in private collections throughout the United States, and abroad in France and Germany. She has permanent public commissioned installations in Jackson, Mississippi, and in St. Jude’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. She received the Stanley Foundation Grant for International Research to study the formal and sculptural qualities of cave paintings in the Dordogne region of France. Her work explores the liminality between physical and psychological relationships of sense and emotion, the characteristics within the surface of objects as a mythology, and the possibility of narrative through an object’s formal qualities.

Statement

 

Suspended in a state between representation and abstraction, my pictures rely on the surfaces from which they appear for context inside of a structure of color, texture, and symbol. The surfaces often dictate the images that are produced – leaving some room for a sense of autonomy. I’m interested in the boundaries of clarity and misunderstanding, and how those boundaries react to our reliance on the arrangements of symbols and characteristics inside of our own of logic and sense-making. The psychic distance between a viewer and an object can change and pivot depending on what associations their environments provide at any point in time. The tertiary space that follows where logic and idea manipulate is where I’m most interested and engaged. The possibility for an image to confuse and describe simultaneously is what I want out of the images I make.

www.caoimhediamondartist.com

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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

Interview: Susan Lerner
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After a career as a Flavor Chemist, and as a mother of two, I was longing for an outlet to express myself and relieve the anxiety of caring for an aging parent with dementia.  On a whim, I took a collage class at the 92 Street Y in NYC and the minute I picked up a straight edge, I fell in love with the medium.  In a short four years, I have had the opportunity to exhibit my work in over 20 group shows, including Brooklyn, NY; Chelsea, NY; Edinburgh, Scotland and Rennebu, Norway and have had solo exhibits in New York City and Northwestern Connecticut. My work has been published in numerous art magazines and in the newly released book “Collage By Women:  50 Essential Contemporary Artists”. In 2018, I organized and curated, @the_collage_garden NYC, an installation in the 6BC Botanical Garden in the East Village, that showcased collages submitted by artists from over 25 countries.  I am currently a member of the instagram group, @thecollageclub, an exclusive group of collage artists who collage the same page of the same book each week. My most notable sale is to restauranteur David Bouley.

You can find me on Instagram @mixdmediamashup

Select pieces of work available on www.saatchiart.com/susanlerner

https://www.mixdmediamashup.com/

You discovered your love for collage at a time when you were in search for a creative outlet. How has your relationship with the medium progressed since then?

 I discovered collage as a creative outlet from everyday stressors, including taking care of a parent with dementia.  Since that time, it has turned into an absolute passion. I work on some aspect of collage almost daily.  Technically, I began with photomontage, using my own photographs, but gradually developed into a style using vintage imagery and maps. I have recently experimented with 3-D collage and continue to explore new ways to learn about the medium and myself. 

Can you expand on your process for us? How do you curate the images you collage?

My artistic journey is the process.  I source vintage material by scouring flea markets and garage sales.  I hunt for imagery in the viewfinder of my camera. I usually have an idea that I want to work on based off of one or two pieces of found imagery and go from there.  Everything is hand-cut, layered and glued. It can get pretty messy but I try to sort out cuttings into categories and file them into envelopes. However, the chaos makes it interesting. I never know what I will find or create.

 

How long do you typically spend on a collage? Is there a preliminary stage?

I like to work on numerous collages at the same time so I can't quantify how long it takes. I usually have an idea in my head based on one or two images and then use material I’ve already cut out to free-play and create.  If I get stuck, I move onto the next collage and go back to it later. This keeps it fresh and exciting. After everything is laid out for a collage, I take a photo. The trickiest part is to recreate the collage during the gluing process.  If I make a mistake, it’s over because I only use original papers, no photocopies. I like that the material is precious and one of a kind. Once it’s used, it’s gone.

Your most recent series “All Over the Map” utilizes vintage maps. Can you share more with us about your choice to use maps?

The series “All Over the Map” developed from a love of cartography and travel.  I had been wanting to incorporate maps within my collages since I started collaging.  The maps are all about the connection to my past both literally and metaphorically. Maps were used before GPS was invented so they bring me back to my childhood of planning and taking trips with my family and hand cutting the images takes me back in time before computers and photoshop were a fact of life.    I try to juxtapose images so the impossible seems possible. The process is both mediative and stimulating at the same time.

 

Do you have a piece of advice you have received that you would like to pass along to our readers?

My advice is to just go for it.  Put yourself out there and take a chance.  There is really no downside to exploring your creativity and sharing it with the world.  You may even surprise yourself.

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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⁣⁣. 

Minimal Mixed Media Work by Imani Pierre
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Imani Pierre is a minimal mixed media artist born in Jamaica, currently living in Maryland. Full time, she is a retail manager and buyer for an independent clothing boutique. In 2012, she began experimenting with painting and scraps of paper, adding collage elements to please her tactile nature. From there, she has enjoyed creating art for her home, exhibitions, and desired commissions. Having always had an interest in design and fashion, she is a self-taught visual artist, finding pleasure in the geometric arrangement of repurposed materials, complimenting the use of vibrant and soothing color choices. Imani’s evolution in mixed media painting, allow her to extend the range of her talents and a keen eye for styling and designing even further.  From styling a wide range of customers to styling her personal works of art – Imani’s art captures the expressive composition and playfulness in blending materials, patterns, and colors.

 

Statement

 

I am a minimal mixed media artist, creating what I feel is pleasing to the eye, and therapeutic to the soul. Inspired by nature with bold colors and subtle touches of calm tones, I find that my work visually stimulates your gaze and slows down your pace towards peace. From the neutrals in soil, bark, and branches, to the irresistibility seen all around us in petals and in the sky; I release my visual inspirations and fascinations into my craft, mirroring what I find withhold a timeless, memorable and colorful energy. As I create, I repurpose materials, and practice the concept of up-cycling by finding different ways to incorporate old bubble wrap, tape, sticks, flowers, papers, and even Chinese food menus! I enjoy experimenting along the lines of mending simplicity with tactile dimensions and expressing through abstract.

There Are No Rules | Kristi Kohut
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Join us on a special episode in which Kat gets to know artist Kristi Kohut. The artist shares about the transition from working in advertising to being a full-time artist and gives us a glimpse into her world. 

This episode covers: 

  • Overcoming the fear of putting your work out there

  • Creating your own rules and running an art business on your terms

  • Kristi's work and inspiration

  • Delegating tasks

  • Staying inspired and more! 

Kristi's journey as an artist began after taking time off from her job as an advertising director when her son was born in 2007. Kristi found that she had a creative force rising from her core, so she picked up a brush and began painting. In a month, her studio was filled with canvases from wall to wall and she knew she was onto something. After honing her craft for several years, Kristi was ready to market her work. But the typical artist's path and exclusive representation didn't feel like a fit — she wanted to connect one-on-one with potential buyers. Bucking the norm at the time, Kristi sold her art online and began sharing her story on Instagram. In one click, someone could become a collector and own a first edition, and in one message a person could have a conversation with Kristi. The direct-to-consumer approach was not only personally fulfilling for her, it was also a strategic decision. Kristi was out to build a true business and prove that fine art could be sold and scaled online. And so she did.

Today, Kristi's work has been featured in over 70 publications, including Architectural DigestElle DecorForbes and World of Interiors, and purchased by entrepreneurs, Hall of Fame athletes and magazine editors across four continents.

Artist Feature: Nelly Tsyrlin
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Create! Magazine is pleased to introduce the work of abstract and figurative artist Nelly Tsyrlin. After graduating from York University with a Bachelor of Arts, Nelly continued her studies in classical painting at the Repin Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Although at first glance her style of work may seem anything but academic, she actively employs all the pillars of a traditional art education, with an emphasis on color, harmony, and drawing.

Statement

I work in short series inspired by both profound and mundane experiences. My artwork is created by painting on glass and transferring the imprint to paper using a technique called Monotype. Each artwork is original and utterly unique. Each mark placed on paper is permanent, leaving no room for error and creating a sense of intimacy and exploration. My work is often spontaneous. It is not pre-sketched or designed. I find that without strict boundaries I am able to create a finished product that is truly honest.

We’re excited to hear about your new series! What can you tell us about ‘Compositions in Color’?

The following images are selections from a body of recent works created over the course of 2019 mainly as conversations in color. My theme color is Payne’s gray - I love it because it is neither blue nor black and yet it is both. I love to wear it and I love to work with it as its temperature is cool enough to compliment any warm and bright color on the color wheel, such as hot pink or my other favorite, Indian yellow. In addition, it always works equally well with neutrals like raw sienna and yellow ochre.

Learn more about Nelly’s work by visiting her website or following her on Instagram!

Photographs of the artist by Daria Perev.

Studio Sunday: Curtis Anthony Bozif
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We have an exciting Studio Sunday interview this week with Curtis Anthony Bozif! He is a Chicago based artist who has a solo exhibition of new works currently on view at the Evanston Art Center. The show opened on August 17th and will run through September 22nd.

Find more of his art on his website or on Instagram @curtisanthonybozif

We are pleased to have featured you in one of our previous issues, but you've got some new things going on now to share. How has your work developed in the last few years? What are you creating now? 

I think my work has undergone a kind of distilling since last we spoke. A simple observation would be that the paintings have become more monochromatic and less compositional; more textured and less graphic. I’m focused on building surfaces and less concerned with what I’d call picture making. To this end, I’ve been using a lot of metallic and iridescent colors. They have a sheen to them that accentuates the texture and surface of a painting; its physicality. Metallic and iridescent colors  shimmer. This causes the appearance of a painting to change relative to where you’re standing when you look at it. As you move around, the angle at which the surface absorbs or reflects light changes; the color shifts. A certain part of a painting may be obscured by a bright reflection while another part may appear to fall into shadow. In a sense, this kind of painting is hard to see. It’s hard to know. 

What kind of studio space are you working in? What is important for you to have in it? 

My wife and I recently moved into a new place here in Chicago. I now have a whole room dedicated to my studio. Definitely the most important thing for me to have in it is space. Because I make relatively large paintings, I need to be able to step back and see the whole thing at once. I also need to be able to move around and see it from different distances and from different perspectives. When a painting gives me trouble, this has always proved helpful; looking at it from a different perspective. Sometimes the hardest way to see a painting is to look at it head on.

Another thing that’s important is light. For me, this has always been the most frustrating part about setting up a new working environment. Balancing natural light with artificial, the temperature of the light, the intensity, and where to position the lights to reduce glare, I still haven’t figured it out. I‘ve never be completely happy with the light in any of my studios.

One last thing I’ll mention is my old CD player. It’s a simple stereo boombox I got when I was in high school. I’ve had it with me in all my studios. At the Kansas City Art Institute, Northwestern, and the string of different places I’ve had since then. I think music is important to a lot of painters because painting is a solitary activity that requires a lot of time and attention. Having something to listen to can help prevent loneliness, help you pass the time, and help you to focus. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Steve Reich, Ingram Marshall, Third Coast Percussion, and the soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, composed and performed by Ernst Reijseger. I think of the repetition and layering that is so characteristic of this kind of music as analogues to the repetitive mark-making and layering in my paintings. This has helped me to think about my process in some interesting new ways.

How do you maintain a consistent schedule with your creative practice? Do you have certain habits or routines that you follow?

The first thing to mention is I have a nine-to-five job. Any consistent schedule, unfortunately, has to be worked around that. In his book, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, David Lynch recounts Bushnell Keeler’s expression: “If you want to get one hour of good painting in you have to have four hours of uninterrupted time.” Like Lynch, I agree with this statement, but the exact times, one or four hours, doesn’t really matter. The point is that excess time is essential. It’s essential for play and for accident and for chance, but sadly, uninterrupted time is very difficult to make happen. 

So weekends are precious to me; I’m usually up by seven. I’ll make a pot of coffee and read for an hour or two before I start painting. Research has always been an important aspect to my studio practice and reading is a big part of that. For instance, I just completed a series of paintings inspired by the Great Lakes. Over the course of making this work I read dozens of books on the subject. In my research I discovered an author named Jerry Dennis. He’s based out of Traverse City, Michigan and has written extensively about the Great Lakes. I found I had a strong affinity for the way he often approached the lakes, which is to say, on a geological time scale. I was so taken by his writing that I reached out to him and we developed a correspondence and that’s been really rewarding. In a way that’s not easy to describe, I’ve always thought of painting as a way of thinking; a way of knowing, but so too is poetry, music, history, and science. Learning how people who work in other disciplines approach—and ultimately come to know—the same things you’re dealing with in your own work can help to develop a more complete and nuanced understanding of those very things and, of course, your work.

Coffee and reading wake me up and help me to focus, after that, I’m ready to paint. I try and make this a quick and painless transition. It’s important to me to be able to walk into my studio, grab my tools, and immediately get to work. Here, I’d like to quote Lynch again. In the same book as before he writes: “It’s crucial to have a setup. [...] So that at any given moment when you get an idea that you have the place and the tools to make it happen. If you don’t have a setup there are many times when you get the inspiration, the idea, but you have no tools, no place to put it together and the idea just sits there and festers. Over time it will go away. You didn’t fulfil it and that’s just a heartache.” Today, there are so many distractions vying for our attention, there’s so much noise, to have the time and space to dedicate to your work and where you can focus, and what Lynch calls a “setup”, is so important. 

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What is one piece of creative or business advice that you would give to your younger self? Is there a quote or mantra that is especially meaningful to you right now? 

I would tell my younger self to ignore, or mostly ignore, his grad school professors. It’s important that what you’re doing is enjoyable. I’m talking about the physical act of making art. What you do with your hands and eyes when you make art, is it enjoyable? What you do with your body, do you like doing that? It’s something that rarely gets discussed in art school. For example, when I was at Northwestern, I started making video art and my professors responded positively to it, but looking at the world through a camera, staring at a screen, and clicking a mouse all day made me really depressed. I ultimately stopped making art.

Similarly, I’d tell my younger self to think hard about the sustainability of his studio practice. By that I mean: is what you’re doing, are the ideas you’re engaging with, are they generative? Do they foster a healthy curiosity? Or, are you backing yourself into an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual deadend? If making the art you’re making is no longer enjoyable, or healthy, if it’s just paralysis, dread, and boredom that you feel upon entering your studio, then you should probably be doing something else.

Finally, you have a show coming up - can you tell us about the details and any other events you have lined up for the rest of 2019? 

My solo show, Great Lakes, at the Evanston Art Center, runs from August 17th to September 22nd. As I alluded to earlier, this work is the culmination of a year long effort—through research and careful observation—to engage with the Great Lakes and to translate these experiences into the paintings.

One way I’ve tried to do this is by thinking about the lakes in terms of their scale. By scale I mean their size relative to the human body; their time relative to human time. People often try and describe the Great Lakes by listing a bunch of figures like: they contain one fifth of the surface liquid freshwater on the planet. This sounds like a lot, but of all the water on the planet, only two and a half percent is freshwater. So what does one fifth of two and a half percent mean? It means that the freshwater in the Great Lakes, as a natural resource, is both abundant and exceedingly rare. Similarly, we think of the Great Lakes as being very old; melt water from the end of the last ice age, but this melt occurred just 12,500 years ago, while the last ice age lasted almost a 100,000 years and the earth, it’s over 4.5 billion years old. On a geological time scale, the Great Lakes, like human beings, just appeared. Reconciling these time scales is impossible. If painting is a way of knowing, these paintings have been a way for me to know the Great Lakes, but to know the Great Lakes can often times feel like an exercise in abstract thinking.

One of the ways I’ve tried to translate the irreconcilability of these scales is by making relatively large paintings built of dense layers of minutely-sized, seemingly random marks across their entire surface. It’s my hope that this kind of scale and intensity suggests a vast, infinite space, and unknowable depth. As I mentioned the last time we spoke, I’ll often employ sticks in lieu of paint brushes when I’m working. This technique, along with embedding different materials like sand and iron filings into my paints, creates a highly textured surface that can often times feel more natural than human made; like the surface of a rock face. Layers of thin glazes and metallic and iridescent paints enhance these textures by catching the light, they shimmer, obscuring the image, and for this reason these paintings can be hard to see. I’m interested in the tension between the depth created by these layers and the flatness that’s emphasized by the sheen of the iridescent surface. You have to negotiate the way the light is interacting with the surface in order to see past it, to go deeper. It’s not unlike looking at water. 

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Create! Magazine introduces RijksCreative, an initiative from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

We often get questions from our community from people who are interested in art, but are wondering how to get started. Whether you are a practicing studio artist, a passionate hobbyist, or even if you’ve never picked up a brush, we always love to recommend looking into free online resources to take your creative skills to the next level. To this end, Create! Magazine is excited to share a series of art tutorials on the YouTube channel, RijksCreative, an initiative from the Rijksmuseum, a renowned art museum in the heart of Amsterdam.

About RijksCreative

As part of an initiative that brings both greater awareness and appreciation of the vast collection of masterpieces exhibited at the Rijksmuseum, the RijksCreative YouTube channel allows you to delve deeper into the style of prominent figures throughout art history. On RijksCreative you’ll find how-to videos in which art teachers from the museum demonstrate the steps to creating compositions like Rembrandt or painting self portraits like Van Gogh. Each video explains one art technique in detail so that even beginners can follow along! 

Check out the RijksCreative channel here.

One recent video from this series is the ‘How to create a Van Gogh self portrait’ lesson from Ruud Lanfermeijer. Make sure to read the video notes for a materials list and you’ll be ready to start!

About the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is the Dutch national museum dedicated to the arts and history. It is located in the museum square close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw. The building was designed by Pierre Cuypers and opened in 1885. The Rijksmuseum has on display over 8,000 objects and a total collection of over 1 million. A walk through the galleries is a journey through 800 years of art and history. Some of the museum’s masterpieces include works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. The Rijksmuseum is the largest museum in the Netherlands and welcomes over 2.5 million visitors each year.

For more information about the museum please visit their website.

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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.

Interview with William Tyler Story
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Create! Magazine is excited to share a new interview feature with artist William Tyler Story. Besides telling us more about the new series of abstract works he is excited to be focusing on this year, he also explains the pivotal moment in his early career that motivated him to pursue being an artist full-time. You can find more of his work on his website or via Instagram @peaceoot and @williamtylerstory.

Bio

Influenced by modern-day street art, driven by raw talent and intuition; my subject matter reflects self-discovery.

My interest in art began at a very young age, drawing things I would see in everyday life. Brought up in East Texas, art was rarely encouraged as a career path. Because of this I never saw art as a future career, but more as a hobby. My local community revolved around sports and everyone I knew aspired to be a professional athlete of some sort. Naturally, I followed in those footsteps and played a wide variety of sports trying to find a fit. Despite my athleticism, I knew deep down it wasn’t my calling.

My first year out of high school (2010), I moved into a loft in Downtown Dallas. This is where I began to experiment with the arts. Inspired by artists like Banksy and Zio Zeigler, I spent countless hours painting large murals on the walls of my home. In time, I began taking acrylic to canvas, continuing to expand my artistic process.

October 01, 2016 I decided to share my art with the community for the first time. Selling 4 of the 5 paintings I displayed sparked a flame that motivated me to strive for a full-time career in the art world. Since then my art has evolved and expanded its reach internationally. 2018 marked my first year as a full-time artist, selling paintings, prints, commissions, customized apparel and more.

My latest “DREAMseries” (2019) was the debut of my favorite style of abstract paintings. I found a technique that felt very natural to me after all of the experimenting with different styles of painting. I’m currently working on creating an extension of the DREAMseries and plan to share it publicly early fall. These paintings will soon be translated into my first large scale mural installation.

Can you tell us a little more about your early interest in art? 

When I was little I loved looking at the illustrations in MAD magazine. I was drawn to the imaginary caricatures. Only 8 years old, I sketched my first portrait of Kobe Bryant (image lost over the years). That moment I recognized my knack for drawing. The details of the face, proportions, etc. It all felt very natural to me. 

I continued to doodle over the years and my skills began evolving. I had a wide variety of drawings, but the one common theme was my desire to portray an alternate, unrealistic scene. I was drawn to cartoons and things that were a bit abstract to reality. 

I took a couple of art courses in school. However, I felt confined within the guidelines of what I was being taught. So I chose a different path and pursued a career in the Health & Wellness industry. At the age of 19, I was working and going to school full time. On the weekends I spent my time painting on the walls of my apartment. It was refreshing to have zero boundaries. Painting large murals of anything that came to mind. Exploring color palettes, types of paints, techniques, etc. After moving around a bit and having to paint over the artwork on the walls, I figured it was time to take my art to canvas.

What led you to first exhibit your work in 2016? After this successful showing, how did you develop your career?

After working a stable job for 8 years and painting personal pieces when I had the time, I decided to display my art in a local coffee shop to see what would happen. 4 of the 5 paintings displayed sold in less than a month. That was my sign to take a leap of faith and follow my dreams. I started painting more and steadily transitioning away from the Health & Wellness industry. Once I felt like I could survive minimally off of my artwork, making sales online anyway I found possible, I declared myself a full-time artist.

It seems like doing commission work is a significant part of your practice. How do you find clients and what are some of the exciting or challenging aspects of this type of work?

As my work began to expand internationally, I felt confident enough to begin accepting commission work to push my skillset further. The clients’ requests were always of a style I had never attempted before. This was an exciting step in my career. They were requesting portraits, animals, landscapes, etc. The thrill of exploring new techniques motivated me to keep going and try new things. I’d say the most challenging aspect of this type of work was fear of the unknown. I began questioning myself, “Am I doing this ‘right’? Will they like it?” Define ‘right’.  I was reminded of the days in art class where I felt confined within the rules of art. Those internal struggles gave me clarity on what art means to me today. I no longer feel that I have to be so structured or plan so far ahead when it comes to painting. I create a general concept and allow myself to feel more and just let things happen. It brought on a whole different level of enjoyment to painting.

Talk about your more recent abstract paintings and what has inspired them.

Recent works of my DREAMseries reflect this epiphany of freedom to move about the canvas in the way I enjoy most. Sharing the inner depths of my subconscious using colors that reflected however I felt in that moment and letting shapes take form. Listening to music…sitting in silence…rested…exhausted…these paintings have pieces of me in every little corner. The colorful DREAM painting can be rotated to any side, creating a new perception with every turn. A fun twist that allowed me to paint from every angle, giving the collector 4 paintings in 1.

The DREAMseries also displays my first paintings composed in black & white. 

I spent many restless nights wondering what was next for me. I sat up thinking about how I got to where I am today and what the future may look like. And then it happened. I was able to finally close my eyes and dream. Hopping from one reality to the next, waking with blurry details in my mind…I picked up a pencil and began sketching. There was a new fire burning within my soul as the shapes began to take form. I felt the creativity flowing with every stroke. There was less planning…more feeling…it was eye-opening.

While painting the DREAMseries, I discovered a unique style that came very natural to me and I’m excited to continue to share my work with the world as I grow.

Do you have any other exhibitions or projects planned for the rest of the year or into 2020?

I am currently coordinating my first large scale mural installation and exploring different opportunities with gallery displays for 2020. From there I hope to continue painting on a larger scale and help more people connect with my work. 

Is there a quote, mantra, or piece of advice that is especially meaningful to you?

Find your passion, be persistent & remain patient. Forever grateful. Forever humble.

Start Late, Live Your Dreams | Podcast Episode with Lisa Congdon
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Join us for a super inspiring episode featuring one of our favorite artists and role models, Lisa Congdon.

If you are worried about whether it's too late for you to be an artist and pursue your dream, listen to this interview immediately!

This episode covers:

  • Lisa's journey and breakthroughs

  • Starting later in life

  • Overcoming imposter syndrome and fear

  • Finding your artistic voice

  • Managing your time and increasing productivity while making time for fun + more

Fine artist, illustrator and author Lisa Congdon is best known for her colorful paintings and hand lettering. She works for clients around the world including MoMA, REI, Harvard University, Martha Stewart Living, Chronicle Books, and Random House Publishing, among many others. She is the author of seven books, including the starving-artist-myth-smashing Art Inc: The Essential Guide to Building Your Career as an Artist, and illustrated books The Joy of Swimming, Fortune Favors the Brave, Whatever You Are, Be a Good One, Twenty Ways to Draw a Tulip and A Collection a Day. Her latest book, A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives, was released by Chronicle Books in October 2017. She was named one of 40 Women Over 40 to Watch in 2015 and she is featured in the 2017 book, 200 Women Who Will Change the Way you See the World. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

Learn more at www.lisacongdon.com

Solo Exhibition by Artist Danielle Krysa at Mayberry Fine Art
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By Ekaterina Popova

Artist Danielle Krysa has been busy in the studio this year, and it shows. I have always been a fan of her collage work, but most recently she took her studio practice on a whole other level and released a solo exhibition filled with large scale paintings and mixed media pieces that will inspire you, take your breath away and even make you laugh.

Danielle's work is on view at Mayberry Fine Art from June 1 - June 28, 2019. To purchase or inquire about available work visit www.mayberryfineart.com or email toronto@mayberryfineart.com

Danielle's Statement:

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There are, and always have been, a ridiculous number of stories in my head - stories I tell myself, stories I share out loud, and stories that become my mixed media collages. My most recent work takes those narratives a little further, inviting the viewer into my mind. There are messes and moments of pure joy that exist in an ‘artist’s chaotic and abstract world. There are also quiet white spaces – completely void of ideas – but then somehow, someway the creative machine starts churning again. A juicy stroke of paint in the perfect hue, or just the right found image and, voila, joy is restored! These artworks are a glimpse into the never-ending treasure hunt that goes on in my head – a combination of humor, personal thoughts, rich textures, found images and vibrant color.
— Danielle Krysa

Danielle is the writer behind the contemporary art site, The Jealous Curator, and the author of "Creative Block", "Collage", "Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk" and "A Big Important Art Book". Her work is in private collections in Canada, The United States and Europe. She has a BFA in Visual Arts, and a post-grad in graphic design and lives with her family in British Columbia.

How I Got Over My Imposter Syndrome
Photo by Emily Grace Photography

Photo by Emily Grace Photography

By Ekaterina Popova

When I first started putting myself out there with both my own artwork and in the early stages of Create! Magazine, I had to overcome a ton of fears and limiting beliefs about my place in the art world. Eventually, I realized that it simply takes time to get used to selling my paintings and launching a creative business. It’s uncomfortable at first, often feels unnatural, and you may even feel like a fraud in the process. But after your first few sales or other successes, you will start getting into the swing of things.

Though imposter syndrome may never entirely go away, we learn to build confidence by doing our work and sharing it with the world. The truth is, if you live with the mentality that humans are created as equals, then you will believe that we each have the absolute right to pursue our passion, put ourselves out there, and make a life and career we love. A lot of what holds us back is not a lack of time, money, or materials, but our feelings of unworthiness. Some of my biggest obstacles in the early stages of my career were being scared of silly, made-up problems, such as “what if this is the last good painting I make or sell?”, “what if all this money goes away?” (spoiler alert: with that mentality, it definitely will) and “what if something bad happens as a result of my success?” I even worried about not ‘looking like’ an artist (what does that even mean?).

Of course, I still have my share of anxieties and insecurities when taking risks and putting myself out there, but by continuing to pursue my dreams despite my fears, I’m learning that it’s usually much less scary than I initially imagine. There is more than enough room for all of us creatives to find success and our place in this industry. The only way to fight fear of doubt or disapproval is by staring it straight in the eye and doing it anyway. Share your artwork, submit that application, or write a grant proposal that terrifies you (or at least makes you a little uncomfortable). In so many instances, we’re the only ones who think that an opportunity, show, job, or gallery is ‘out of our league’ when it’s actually not. Show up exactly as you are right now, not when a fancy critic approves of you, when you get signed by a gallery, or when someone buys your work. Show up exactly as you are at this moment in time and be proud of what you do and who you are.

When I first started selling my art, it was priced ridiculously low. It was almost embarrassing how cheap I made my paintings, but I kept going and pushing myself. After each sale, I would slowly increase my prices, feel more like a professional, and upgrade my artist profile. Nobody can do this for you. Take your time and grow at a pace that feels natural, but I urge you to never wait for anyone’s permission or approval. You are the only person responsible for elevating yourself and lifting yourself higher in your life and career. I had to learn this the hard way.

Several years ago on a trip to Miami during Art Basel Week, I had one of my favorite experiences that illustrates the lies of imposter syndrome. I was completely broke. At this point in time, I had already left my day job but was in the process of rebranding the magazine after a business partnership breakup. With about $80 to my name, and a hefty credit card bill to top things off, I packed my bags and headed to the airport.

I was fortunate enough to be nominated by my mentor Bridgette Mayer for an exhibition at Art Miami Fairs. I was honored to be included, but literally had to scrape together every last penny I had in order to travel. The exhibition was sponsored by Diamonds Unleashed and I was invited to come to their cocktail party before the fair. Insecurities about my outfit, a few extra pounds induced by stress, and my lack of money, felt like rocks in the pit of my stomach. But I mustered up the courage to go and used my last few dollars to Uber to the event. Even though I did not feel ready or good enough, I knew that for me to climb out of the current pit that I was in, I had to start showing up for myself and become the person that I wanted to be.

When I arrived at the party, it was even more extravagant than I imagined. I surveyed the scene of this large, oceanview apartment complete with white leather couches, an impressive collection of contemporary art, and trays of champagne floating around the room. I was sure I didn’t belong. Much to my relief, however, the attendees were some of the friendliest people I had ever met. I began chatting with designers, art dealers, artists, and art collectors who were all brought together through this organization for their love of art. Nobody cared that I didn’t wear a designer dress or that I was an emerging artist trying to make things work. They just wanted to see my paintings and hear my story. I will never regret stepping out of my comfort zone to attend this event.

Of course, not every situation in life will go this smoothly, but it’s important to remember that even intimidating individuals, who appear to have everything you don’t, had to start somewhere too and would never have arrived at where they are now if they didn’t face their demons head-on. It’s often our own insecurities that prevent us from putting ourselves into situations that can help us the most. I got so much confidence from the simple fact that I could have a conversation with a famous art dealer that evening.

If you are worried about all the things you are not, or all the skills you don’t yet have, I urge you to take a moment and see yourself for everything you are. Ask yourself, what have you accomplished so far? What are you most proud of? Where do you want to go next? Don’t leave any room for doubts and negativity, especially when it comes to your art. Imagine the person who needs to experience what you create in yourself and don’t deprive them of that joy. Say yes to showing up and sharing your gift and watch the magic unfold in your life.

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, you may like our podcast, Art & Cocktails. You can listen to it for free on iTunes, Spotify and more.