Posts tagged Design
Minding Your Business | Podcast Episode with Ilana Griffo
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On this episode, Kat learns all about creative business management from Ilana Griffo! Ilana's book "Mind Your Business" is a beautifully designed workbook that can help artists and creatives take charge of their career.

Our conversation includes:

  • Ilana's story and how she got to where she is today

  • Time management

  • Balancing personal life and business 

  • Leaving day jobs and more!

Ilana Griffo is an illustrator with typographic tendencies. She has taught many craft and creative workshops, and is an adjunct professor. In 2011, Ilana launched a stationery line, Sugar & Type, which includes the Rule the World Planner, a weekly planner designed for creative go-getters. She turned her side hustle into a six-figure design studio after leaving her full-time job as an art director in 2015. Ilana lives in Rochester, New York, with her husband, son, and dog.

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!

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

Statement

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

--Rebecca Solnit

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

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


www.lindsayannajones.com

Complexity Through Minimal Expression: Interview with Yihong Hsu
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Yihong Hsu has an interesting multi-cultural background. She was born in Seoul, Korea as 3rd generation Chinese immigrants. She received American education since elementary school to college. She now lives permanently in Hong Kong.

 Yihong Hsu received her Bachelor of Art in Graphic Design at  Maryland Institute, College of Art, USA and later received her Master in Arts, Design Management, at International Design Advanced Studies Hongik University in Seoul, Korea.  

Her multi-national and cultural background lead her to have a successful career in design and branding industry for 18 years.

In 2018, she had a first break through as an artist, by being commissioned to do an art installation of 10 meter wide giant Panda and 7 meters tall Camellia tree - LOVE.FOUND. in Chongqing IFS mall (with co-artist Simone Carena of Italy). Ever since, she has found a new passion in contemporary art and have been painting for the past year. 

Artist Statement

Seed Series

The “Seed Series” was developed as a personal interpretation of nature and carries a deeper meaning of how that relates to us - humans. Flowers are portrayed as carriers of the seeds. All flowers carry female and male parts and thus self-reproductive. It is in all nature of things, a desire to reproduce and seeds are the beginning of that. My paintings are the exploration of seeds, seeds journey. Every seed will carry its own path, it may fall out sometime, it will one day be received, and it will grow.

Ball Series

Circles (balls) are very intriguing. They create movement and tension in the space and create odd spaces around them. They are so simple yet so powerful and I find myself using circles (balls) to interpret life, my own encounters, experiences, and emotion. Using the most minimal expression to interpret some complicated thoughts.

Interview by Alicia Puig

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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 was a graphic designer for 18 years working in branding and advertising agencies. During those years, I always felt like there was an artist in every designer.

However, designers are very restricted, as they also have to be sensitive to the project's objectives, client's needs, market trends, etc. I was longing for freedom to express myself the way I wanted to and about things I was interested in. In 2018, I was lucky to be commissioned to do an art installation piece in Chongqing, China. A 10-meter long chrome finishing panda lying on top of Chongqing IFS shopping mall complex - named LOVE.FOUND. (co-artist Simone Carena) and a 7-meter tall metal-chrome camellia tree. During the project, which lasted one year, I did a lot of research on flowers and how to express them. I sketched a lot of camellias and ways to make it more interesting. It is during this time that I fell in love with flowers and nature and decided to quit my 18 years of career in advertising and start the journey of depicting flowers and nature. I have been painting ever since and find it very therapeutic and self-satisfying. 

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We love that some of your work is minimalist while other pieces have more complex layering and patterns. Can you tell us about what inspires you? 

It was a long train of thought and curiosity that led to these two very different types of paintings. I personally called them the "seed series" and "ball series." As I started to dig into and experimenting with different ways of expressing flowers, I became more curious about the anatomy of the flower. Something not everyone draws about when they draw beautiful outskirt of flowers. What I learned from the biological anatomy diagrams of flowers was that all flowers carry female and male parts and what I thought were the seeds of flowers were only pollens and that the seeds are carried deep inside the ovary and ovule. This was very intriguingand interesting to me, and it inspired me to start painting flowers always emphasizing on the seeds that they carry. I also started to imagine them all around us in nature, how they strive to survive and get transferred to other flowers, and so on. To me, it somehow reflects human life and what we go through in life. For the "ball series," it began when I started to draw a lot of circles for the "seed series." It was very fun and interesting to me how circles affect the space around it. It gives a sense of motion even in a still 2-dimensional space. It is a perfect round-edge shape but provides oddness. I was inspired to just use circles (balls) and the most minimal expression to depict this tension. When I want to tell a very complicated story and put a title to the "ball series" pieces, it makes perfect sense!

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

I do a few sketches before just to make sure what is already in my head looks okay on flat surface. 

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

My creative space is an extra room at my place that I transformed into my workspace. There is no most important "thing" for me. I just need absolute silence and natural sunlight. I love my big window. 

What is your favorite thing about being an artist? That I can transform my thoughts and feelings into art. I don't need to organize my thoughts into PowerPoint slides and excel sheets and use fancy words to write about it. I just draw them. I feel free!

Studio Sunday: María Guzmán of Austère & Crudo Atelier
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I recently had the chance to speak with Costa Rican fashion & textile designer María Guzmán in her studio, which is housed in a beautifully quaint Victorian-style residence in San Jose that she inherited from her grandmother. She is the brains behind Austère, a women-run and eco-conscious brand of swimwear and elevated basics. Built from her background working in the fashion industry in both Argentina and Europe, María’s company will be celebrating its fifth year in business come October. Having lived abroad for a number of years, she returned to Costa Rica around nine years ago. Not exactly sure of what she would do next, but certain that she was tired of working for companies that didn’t meet her standards for sustainability, she first lived at the beach and dove into painting. María’s creativity eventually led her to design dresses. Then, after a friend helped her connect the idea of incorporating her paintings into her work, she started making colorfully printed swimsuits as well.

It is clear early on in our conversation that art is an integral part of her business. The prints used in María’s bikinis and one-piece bathing suits come from her own sketches and gouache paintings that she then finalizes on the computer. Looking closely at the fabrics, you notice the deliberate choices of her various color palettes. Bright and fun without being too flashy, she explains the inspiration behind each pattern, calling one ‘feminist camouflage’ and saying that others were inspired by contemporary art or the environment. Like mini abstract paintings, each piece that María makes is unique as much as it is comfortable, functional, and sustainable.


Apart from her fashion design work, however, María also runs a second business called Crudo Atelier. From her same spacious studio, she holds weekend workshops in Costa Rica where small groups take classes such as hand lettering, embroidery, or how to make natural dyes. Now three years old, Crudo Atelier was initially a way for María to share her creative skills with others. It has grown since then, with her moving away from teaching and instead inviting new specialists to diversify the offering of classes. One of the aspects of these workshops that she loves most is the idea of creating community. Like-minded creatives meet each other through her platform and have gone on to continue working together afterwards. She also mentions that students have started projects based on the work they first produced at Crudo Atelier.

As focused as she is on her own businesses, she has an equal interest in paving the way for the next generation. Besides Crudo Atelier, María also serves on a council with the local chamber of commerce and the contemporary art and design museum along with ten other representatives. With this group, she seeks to build out more resources for designers of all types in Costa Rica and additional opportunities to show and sell their work. With stores in the area taking high commissions on locally produced items, especially those created by women, she hopes that this task force can put together more fairs or similar events and spaces that allow makers to have direct access to new customers.

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With so many things going on already, it’s hard to imagine María having time to do much else! However, she’s also currently working on an an ecommerce website to make her collections available beyond the few local and international stores where her items are currently sold. In addition, she’s begun the process of designing low-impact handbags made from wood and wool fibers alongside her other pieces. If all goes well, her portfolios will be shown at Satisfactory, a local design popup in San Jose. While she loves her studio space, she’s also in the middle of renovating it to make it more practical for her businesses. Once that is complete, one of her other goals is to eventually utilize it as a gallery for women artists. The space will then be even more of a hub for all of the things that she believes in: building community, creating quality and sustainable designs, and empowering other female artists.

Learn more about Austère by following the brand on Instagram at @austere_atelier or check out Crudo Atelier’s profile at @crudoatelier!

Monica Ikegwu
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Monica Ikegwu is a 20-year-old Baltimore based figure painter. She has been awarded as a first place winner in the XL Catlin Art prize (2018), a Young Arts Finalist (2017), a Gold medal winner in the NAACP ACT-SO National competition (2016), and as a Scholastic silver medal portfolio winner (2016). Her work was recently displayed and exhibited at the Reginald F. Lewis museum, as well as at Ida B’s Table in a joint show early in 2018. She now attends and studies at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) as a Junior.

Statement

Monica Ikegwu’s work is structured upon the portraiture and depiction of African Americans. She displays figures rendered in the three dimension while accompanied with two dimensional design elements. Her work brings to focus subtleties that she notices in the black community, as well as her personal life. Living in Baltimore and the way that she experiences it plays a big role in the ideas that she develops for the work. Taking feelings and aspects from her surroundings, she presents them in a way that is not only captivating but also unconventional. The figures presented in her work are often times her siblings and family from whom she draws most of her inspiration from as she watches them progress through life.

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Orit Fuchs
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Orit Fuchs lives and works in Tel Aviv, where she creates across a full range of mediums, such as sculpture, painting, video, video, illustration, knitting, photography and more. During her career, Orit worked as an art director in the leading advertising agencies in Israel.

After some intriguing years and turning into a mom, she decided to quit her career in favor of her kids. Versatility and creativity definitely define Orit Fuchs.

 With three kids at home and a career in advertising and fashion behind her, Orit began to paint. Her quest and thirst for in depth knowledge on art, brought her the desire to learn from numerous artists from multiple disciplines and then led her to study at Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design.

As Orit grew and matured, she felt ready to open up to the world.


Orit's art is inspired by life's little moments that often hit us when we least expect it. The outcome could be anything, art created by a newly discovered freedom, unhindered by any particular artistic language or style.  Strong women are often the subject of her work: sensitive, independent, and replete with humor – yet ever awakening and biting with vitality.

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Interview with Chris Kotsakis, Founder of Artistacon
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Chris lives in Southern New Jersey in the same house where he first discovered his passion for art after doing an extraordinary job drawing his favorite characters from Greek Mythology at age 5. His 27 year professional illustration/creative direction career has been influenced by his love of comic books and adventure heroes like Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones. Former collaborators have commended his professionalism and ability “to deliver superior work from concept to completion.”In a fully equipped studio, he utilizes various mediums combining traditional art techniques and digital technology.

Artistacon 2019 was founded by Chris and Janet Kotsakis after the first successful iteration of Artistacon 2016, founded by Enrico Botta, Chris Kotsakis, and Janet Kotsakis.

Artistacon is a conference for seasoned and aspiring artists celebrating the creative process and the mentorship of a new generation, it will be held in Philadelphia, PA on March 22, 23, and 24, 2019. Hosted by Moore College Of Art and Design.

This event promises to be a unique and intimate engagement featuring well-known Guests of Honor and Featured Creators. They will be conducting workshops, educational symposia, portfolio reviews, demonstrations, and displays from featured guests, all willing to share their expertise with those looking to build and expand professional bridges or pursue a career in the Arts.

Join the cast, crew, and special guests for a weekend of creative growth and inspiration is one of the oldest and most culturally important cities in the United States. Level up your creative game and explore America's founding city.

WHEN/WHERE:

Friday, March 22, 2019 – Philadelphia Sketch Club: Meet and Greet , Drink And Draw

Saturday & Sunday, March 23-24, 2019– Moore College of Art & Design : Conference Venue

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Tell me about yourself and what you do. 

I’m a life-long artist myself, drawing since age 5. In 1992, I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from the University of The Arts in Philadelphia. Since then, I worked as a full-time freelance illustrator for many years, with diverse clients in all genres of illustration including advertising, editorial, and publishing. 

What inspired you to start Artistacon? Tell us about the event and why you decided to create it. 
My colleague and I were guests of NY Comic Con’s Artist Alley in 2012, and while we were speaking to people, as we promoted our own art and product, we noticed we were getting just as many questions from people asking how to get into the Art field – how did we get work, where were the best resources for learning, etc. We decided to help people who are eager to learn, and Artistacon was founded. We held the first one in 2016 in The Lyceum in Burlington, NJ.  

What can attendees expect from Artistacon? What are some topics that will be covered by your guest speakers? 

We use the word “intimate” quite a bit when we speak about Artistacon. This is not a “con” with 5,000 people, this is an intimate educational experience where people who are either just beginning their journey into a career in the Arts or are interested in doing so can actually meet and speak with professionals who are experienced and successful in their respective fields. Attendees can get portfolio reviews, mentorship or advice from Art Directors, publishers, Fine Artists – you name it. We have worked hard to ensure there’s something for everyone, and that is evident in our programming. 

Our topics are geared to those exploring a career in the Arts. Many artists and writers have a great deal of talent, and they have to work to continue developing their craft. We will have workshops and panels from Fine Artists like Dave Palumbo, Neilson Carlin, and John Wellington, as well as writers, illustrators, and comic artists to help them continue that part of their process. But there’s a business side that many art professionals have to be knowledgeable about too, and we are providing information on subjects such as social media, self-promotion, what Art Directors are really looking for, self-publishing and many more. 

How do you choose your guests of honor and presenters? 

We are artists, too, and we know who we admire in the industry, and we aren’t shy about asking the best of the best to be a part of Artistacon. Most people we speak to jump at the chance to give back and share their wisdom. We also want to make that we have a diverse group of people with a variety of talents, from a variety of genres and disciplines to ensure that we are providing attendees with a great experience. I think we have accomplished that – we have 40+ presenters among our Guests of Honor, Featured Artisans, and panel participants. 

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What is your favorite quote or mantra that helps you on your creative journey? 

All ships rise with the tide. I support a lot of artists and am passionate about the importance of the Arts, whether as a field of study, career or simply as a hobby. It has fed my soul throughout my life, and I see what it does for others who share their talents. We as an industry need to be there for each other, support each other, teach each other and ultimately, mentor the next generation by sharing what we’ve learned along the way. When we work together, all of us will succeed.

What are you most excited about in regards to your event? 

Personally, I am excited about seeing many of my friends in the industry, and, in turn, watching as they share their experience and expertise with the attendees. I recharge being in an environment with other people who are as passionate about art as I am. My team and I have been working on this event for two years, and we are excited about seeing the attendees learning, networking and collaborating with our guests and presenters. Having it all come to life.

Any tips for creatives inspire to create their own conference or event? 

Don’t be afraid to try. Introduce yourself, ask the hard questions – you never know what will come of it if you just take the chance.

Learn more about the presenters

Opulent Mobility: Interview with A. Laura Brody

A. Laura Brody sculpts for the human body and its vehicles. Her sculptures are conceived with a commitment to social justice and are inspired by art history and the spirit of scientific discovery. Her belief that disability should not mean a loss of beauty has lead to “Opulent Mobility”, group exhibits comprised of art, designs, and creations dealing with and reflecting on disability and mobility. The 2015 and 2017 exhibits were co-curated by the disability activist and historian, Anthony Tusler. Brody gave a talk on the exhibits and their creation for the DisArts Symposium last spring, and took part in a panel discussion on the Spectacle of Accessibility at UCLA’s Disability as Spectacle conference.

A. Laura Brody has 30 years of professional costume making, designing, and teaching experience. She’s taught at FIDM and in independent classes. Brody’s re-imagined wheelchairs and walkers were shared by Frances Anderton on NPR and on The Improvised Life. Her professional career and her passion for reuse and sustainability gave her the skills she needed to create these artworks.  

Interview by Sarah Mills

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Where did the inspiration for The Opulent Mobility project come from?

My interest in wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility devices started after a former partner had a stroke. I was fascinated by adaptive technology but hated its cold and clinical design. The devices were almost insultingly ugly. There had to be a better option. Without medical device experience, I wasn’t sure how to proceed, so I set the idea aside and didn’t work on it for many years.

Flash forward to 2009, when my good friend Peter Soby offered me an old electric wheelchair of his to refurbish as an art piece. I came up with an Edwardian style throne that looked amazing but nearly dumped Peter on the floor because I didn’t understand that padding the back like a standard upholstered chair would throw off his balance. The idea still intrigued me, but I realized how much I had to learn.

While investigating, I discovered that few interesting designs for adaptive technology ever make it to market. I also found hidden taboos and a surprising resistance to the idea of making these devices beautiful. My research made me more curious, and I looked around to see who else I could work with. Surely I couldn’t be the only one thinking along these lines! That led me to develop Opulent Mobility as a group exhibit, calling out for other artists to re-imagine disability of all kinds.

What has been the most challenging part of this project? What has been the most rewarding?

My background is in theater costuming and craft, with many years spent working in film, television, opera, theater, and dance. Although those experiences gave me the skills I need to make my own pieces, the visual arts world is very different from the performance world and it is sometimes tough for me to navigate. Disability arts can be tricky for an outsider, and I do my best to operate thoughtfully in that arena. The biggest challenge, though, has been finding accessible and affordable gallery spaces in Los Angeles.

On the positive side, this project has given me so many opportunities to learn and grow. I love collaborating and working with others, and the people I meet through the exhibits and my research are overwhelmingly welcoming, bright, and fascinating humans to work with. Each step of this process challenges me in the best of possible ways, and I’m looking forward to the next steps.

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What do you hope people take away after viewing one of your pieces?

My pieces are inspired by my love for art and social history and the desire to repurpose and re-imagine old materials into new forms. These base materials are often overlooked or discarded, in the same way, that our society treats disability, and I want people to see new possibilities. My art is primarily about starting a conversation. Disability doesn’t need to be treated as a tragedy, a taboo, or an “inspirational” lesson. It is part of life, and has both benefits and drawbacks, like anything else. I want my pieces to celebrate all of our states of being.

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Where do you hope your work will go moving forward?

The goal for Opulent Mobility is to expand the conversation, bringing the exhibits to new audiences and developing collaborations with like-minded artists and disability arts organizations nationally and globally. I’d love to work with disability arts festivals and events in Ireland, England, and Australia!

Some collaboration efforts are already in process. Ellice Patterson of Abilities Dance in Boston and I are working on a Black Panther-inspired walker for her performance at Hub Week 2018. I created decorative wagon covers and wheelchair wheel covers for the pediatrics ward at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena. The next step is developing interactive workshops for people to personalize their adaptive devices.

What is your favorite part about creating three-dimensional works?

I think with my hands, and I think in terms of sculpture instead of two-dimensionally. Reused materials speak to me: it’s like they are buried treasure, waiting to be discovered. Truly, though, my works don’t feel complete without interaction with others. Maybe it’s my years of theater and performance-based art training- my works need to be touched in order to come alive.

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What is the best piece of advice you have received that you would like to share with our readers?

This is the advice of all the great artists and writers that I admire: there is always a way in. Find it or make it, and pursue it for as long as it works for you. It doesn’t mean that it’s easy or that the path will be clear, but you’re guaranteed to find something valuable if you keep searching.

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What is next for you? What should we be on the lookout for?

There is a lot on the horizon! Opulent Mobility 2018 will be at Thymele Arts in Hollywood December 2-8th. I have two solo exhibits coming up: Kali/Medusa runs November 10- December 16 at Highways Performance Space and Gallery in Santa Monica and Goddess/Monster, a show with Project La Femme, is scheduled for the beginning of February at the Magowski Arts Complex in Fullerton.

The next Opulent Mobility is planned for 2019, and I welcome your suggestions for great accessible venues.

Introducing Our Printing Partners: Printi!

Interview with Daynah Leblanc from Printi

Printi is a Boston-based online printer that caters specifically to creative professionals, from graphic designers to small businesses and marketers. We specialize in cost-effective, custom-printed products in varying sizes, substrates and finishes that will help you make a visual impact.

Our online printing solutions cover a wide range of products, including books, magazines, marketing materials, signage, and art prints. We use cutting-edge technology to deliver exceptionally finished products to our valued customers, and provide an intuitive user experience – simply configure your product, upload your files, and you’re done! 

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When was Printi founded and what is the story behind the brand?

Printi entered the Brazilian printing industry in 2012. Printi entered the US market in 2017 and eventually joined forces with Pixartprinting NA. With both companies servicing the same audience and providing many of the same products, it only made sense to merge! Since then, the company and product portfolio has only grown and we have been able to provide better quality, prices, and offerings. 

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What do you hope to provide to your clients that other printing companies are not doing?

We aim to provide a various amount of high quality products at the lowest prices. We have the latest tools in the Web2Print industry that simplify and streamline the complex process of ordering custom materials. 

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What products and services do you offer that could be helpful to artists and creatives?

We offer sample packs of our products, allowing artists and creatives the chance to gain an idea of what their product could potentially be printed on- whether that be their business cards, magazines or banners for trade show essentials. We also match prices! If someone finds a product that we offer, but on a competitor's site for a lower price, we match prices. We want to be the printer that helps fuel creativity!  

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What is something you are currently excited about within your company?

As our team has continued to grow, we’ve recently moved offices to a new location in Boston- 109 State Street. We’re excited to welcome new members and be able to offer our followers more content and creative inspiration geared towards their interests! Also - continue to stay tuned to our product offerings. We’re excited about some new offerings on our current products that are different from our competitors. 

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How can we learn more about your products and brand?

The best way to learn more about our products and brand is to stay tuned to our social sites- Instagram (@printiusa), Twitter (@printiUSA), Facebook (/printiUSA), LinkedIn (/company/printiusa/), and Pinterest (/printiusa0347)! And signing up for our weekly newsletter allows our clients to be the first to know about our discounts and special offers.  

Arielle Wilkins

Arielle Wilkins is a New York-based graphic designer who was raised in the heart of Texas. Inspired by her father’s performing arts background, she quickly immersed herself in music and naturally visual arts.

Color, creativity and black pride intertwine in the magical mystery ride that is within Arielle’s art. She effortlessly notes the evolution of the portrait painting tradition and makes anyone who views her pieces smile. Her characters exist in a world more bold and colorful than our own. Where natural hair in complex realities roams free and strong yet relaxed/confident/ personas come to the forefront. Arielle’s work is meant to prompt a wide spectrum of untapped exposure and celebration of black culture. The evolution of the modern woman and man, curls and bountiful afros on deck.

Highlights in Indie Publishing: Pikchur Magazine

Shelby McFadden is a graphic designer, illustrator, and entrepreneur who resides in a small town located between Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington D.C. She graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in 2011 with a BFA in Communication Design with a concentration in Graphic Design and Advertising Design. She has a passion for art and design, and she feels imagination and creativity are what feeds the soul. With her mom’s influence, she grew up loving all things weird, nerdy and... “old.” Movies like Star Wars, Fright Night and Labyrinth are her top favorite movies to watch on repeat. You can often find her listening to David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, or 80’s artists like The Cure and Echo & the Bunnymen. Her favorite time of year is fall and Halloween season, and she is a big collector in Halloween antiques. For fun, she browses antique shops and yard sales, reads tarot cards to her friends, and plays Super Nintendo. She finds her interests influence her work and her love for everything weird, wild, and wonderful.

www.pikchurmag.com 

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You have a background in art and design. What inspired you to start Pikchur Magazine?

I have worked professionally as a graphic designer for nearly a decade. I am very fortunate to work in a field that allows me to be creative and help others to become successful in their personal and professional endeavors. However, the difference, in my opinion, between being a graphic designer and being an artist, is that graphic design can sometimes limit your creative freedom. It can strip away at your creative spirit, and the end result isn’t always a reflection of you, because you’re designing for the client and not for yourself. I grew up as an artist. Everything I created in my sketchbooks was 100% controlled by my thoughts, feelings and emotions. Since graduating from college nearly a decade ago, I have been so engrossed in work and design, I realized I forgot what it was like to draw and illustrate for myself. What I love most about drawing is sitting with a blank piece of paper and a pencil and no one can tell me to set limits or boundaries. I can create anything I want from the abyss of my imagination. I forgot about my “weird side,” as I like to call it. The side that was me. The side that David Bowie taught me it was okay to be different. The side that said you can be a weirdo and dress-up with zombie makeup and go to Walmart with your friends for something to do. The side of me that missed escaping the real world and diving into my sketchbook to explore the many realms of my imagination. I missed being an artist. With over five years of editorial experience, I knew I wanted to create a publication that will inspire others and bring people together. I wanted to share my personal love for the strange and bizarre, and embrace the side of me that fell dormant for some time. I want PIKCHUR Magazine to be a place where people from around the world can embrace their “weird side” and aren’t afraid to be themselves. I want to create an art community where up-and-coming artists and professional artists can discover and inspire one another. One of my favorite things to hear are artists reaching out and telling us thank you for what you are doing, because we could introduce them to other artists and get inspired. I love that. PIKCHUR Magazine is a publication that sets zero limitations to creativity and imagination. Be as weird, wild, or wonderful as you want your art to be. Without anyone saying, no.

Share your creative journey with us briefly.

My creative journey started when I was really little. I have pictures of myself under the age of four years old painting and coloring at my family’s kitchen table. I was always that person who created comics about me and my friends in spiral bound notebooks. I am pretty sure my school notes were more illustrations and less note taking. I was voted “most artistic” in school, always going above and beyond on school projects, and getting excited about art class instead of physics or mathematics. I was fortunate enough to receive art scholarships for school and my projects were nominated for design awards. I went to a fantastic University and was taught design by talented design professors. After I graduated, I worked for several large and small companies, working on an array of projects, from branding large shopping malls and mixed-media establishments all around the world, to creating patterns for tech accessories sold in large-scale retail stores in the United States. I somehow evolved from the little girl sitting in a high-chair painting on paper, to a professional graphic designer who now owns her own design company. I consider my creative journey a rough road. My self-esteem was on a teeter-totter for many years, full of highs and lows. I never knew how my days working as a designer would go when I stepped through the office doors at 8:30AM. I met challenges through work and the people I worked with. I listened to criticism and I stood behind my opinions. I listened to sexist remarks by men who fueled their egos and I comforted peers who were bullied by female art directors on power trips. However, I wouldn’t change the rough road for a smooth-paved highway. It gave me the drive to quit working for someone else, and start working for myself. In the early months of 2016, I began freelancing, which later turned into my design company. I’ve built relationships with new clients I love and learned a lot along the way.

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Why do you think print media is relevant and important in today’s digital world? What draws you to it personally?

Print media, what I believe, will always be around. I think people were nervous it would die-off now everyone owns a smartphone or tablet of some kind, but I believe there are people out there, who still prefer turning pages than scrolling up with their finger. Print and digital are two different experiences. Print is more personal. It’s like talking to someone in person over a cup of coffee versus talking to them over facetime. It’s the energy of being face to face with someone that makes the conversation experience different. One of my favorite past times is going to the local Barnes & Noble, grabbing a stack of magazines, and sitting in the cafe with a cup of coffee. Though, the cost of print is far more expensive than downloading an entire publication instantaneously, I will always be the person who collects print materials, whether it be magazines, stickers, journals, or posters. I love holding something in my hands and feeling the textures of the materials, and even stumbling upon it on a coffee table or on my computer desk and feeling the excitement all over again.

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 What should readers expect from upcoming issues of the magazine? 

I think this issue will come as a shock to a lot of readers, as it is our first issue of PIKCHUR Magazine... and it looks so damn good! Our team has been working really hard, and I am SO excited about it! I really wanted each issue to tell it’s own story and I think we really nailed it. Not only a chance for us to showcase really awesome work from other artists, but for us to really have fun with the layouts and the flow of each page, while also maintaining consistency.

Name a few of your favorite print publications.

Aside from Create! Magazine being at the top, I am also a big fan of popular magazines such as: Juxtapose, Hi-Fructose and Bon Appetit! Some of my favorite indie magazines include: Lunch Lady, Frankie, and Popshot Quarterly. I also recently discovered So Young Magazine, an awesomely illustrated, new music magazine!

Mathematics, Connections, and Meditation: Interview with Marisa Green

Marisa Green (American, b. 1978) is a mixed media artist, primarily working in cut paper. She received her BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2001. Her work has been shown throughout the Pacific Northwest in galleries such as Disjecta. She has had solo exhibitions at Gallery 135, Duplex Gallery, as well as the Multnomah County Art Center. Her work has also been featured in online publications such as This is Colossal and Strictly Paper

Marisa lives and works in Portland, Oregon. 

Statement 

My work explores mathematics, connections, and meditation through the use of geometric shapes, patterns, and the art of physical repetition. I construct time intensive installations, sculptures, and 2D works out of cut paper, based upon numeric relationships and multiples of a single form—inspired by nature’s exquisite precision. 

Often times, color is used to draw out a form within a form, revealing layered configurations hiding in plain sight. Bright, saturated hues juxtapose neutrals adding additional layers of interlocking shapes. 

Through suspension techniques, weaving, and/or construction, these complex patterns symbolize the life force that molds each of us and our unique experiences. Through focus and introspection, my work attempts to connect us all to a shared awareness of boundless unity.

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What is your artistic background and training? 

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I primarily studied illustration, but quickly got into graphic design after graduation. I would say that my background informs the type of work I do now, more so than my official training.

I dabbled a lot in photography, installation, 3D illustration, sculpture, bookbinding, and paper craft. The illustration work I did was very exploratory and the jobs I held varied from art teacher, to lamp designer, to working on DreamWorks paper crafts for kids, to brand design. I studied abroad in Viterbo Italy, pleinair painting and writing. It’s the sum of these experiences the led me to paper installation.

I will say that the common thread has always been paper. I’ve always been obsessed—even as a child. I remember moving across the country from California to Massachusetts when I was 5. I didn’t have any toys for weeks because the moving truck hadn’t arrived yet. My mother helped me make various paper dolls to play with. That’s how it all started for me. Minimalism inspires creativity.

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Tell us about your interest in mathematics and when you started applying it to your art practice.

I’ve always been fascinated by the role mathematics plays in nature—the golden ratio, patterns in nature, sacred geometry, etc. My father was a mathematician, an engineer, and a professor. Sadly, I was never a student of his, and so I inherited his love and appreciation of math, but not the technical skill. My artistic interpretation of mathematics comes through via experimentation in color, pattern, and geometric shapes. I love exploring the endless possibilities of pattern creation and hiding patterns within patterns—intersecting shapes, overlapping color families, etc. At times, I’ll literally hide patterns inside paper shapes that can only be seen from below. Nature is incredibly inspiring and surprising, so I like to emulate that feeling of wonder and discovery in my work.

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Describe your process. What inspires you and how do you plan and prepare for each piece?

Most of the time I’ll envision a simple shape—two intersecting triangles, a series of circles, etc. Other times, with site specific work, the space will inform the perimeters of the work. Then there are the times when the viewer will inform the next piece. For instance, with Intersect, some people at the opening wanted to see the installation from below. They spontaneously laid down one-by-one, and then in full on groups, underneath the piece. Usually I’d be worried about people getting too close to the work, having strings get tangled, etc. but I trusted them. Plus, I was really curious to see their reactions. That moment informed my following installation, Expanse. I designed two chairs that sat underneath two adjacent tunnels of suspended triangles and invited viewers to lay back and look up into the work. Each section had different color patterns hidden inside. That said, how I begin a piece can vary.

After the shape/idea is sketched out, I’ll continue to evolve it, bring in color, decide on dimensions, and research what it will actually take to build it. This can also mean figuring out the supporting materials—wood, metal, acrylic, etc.

If I’m working on an installation or a 2D paper piece, I’ll bring it into Illustrator next, and further develop color narratives, patterns, and begin working on the math. I’ve tried doing this is CAD but I’ve found, for me, that using layers in illustrator allows me to break the physical layers up, dissect the overlapping patterns, and work on the math—yes there is actual math involved. Depending on the scale of the piece, I’ll then use Excel to keep track of every single string, how many paper objects are on it, what number is in what row, what the incremental measurements are between paper triangles, which triangles are which colors, etc. It gets extremely technical and if I’m not 100% organized, it can become very confusing. Plus, this is so much easier to communicate when I have people helping me construct the work. The 2D work is just as meticulous, but not nearly as difficult to organize.

When all of the prep is complete, I finally start to work. That’s when I can zone out and meditate. Sometimes it can feel a bit like a factory assembly line and other times, like dissecting an ant. My mind goes back and forth between intense concentration and completely zoning out on the task at hand. It can be a difficult process because I want to jump ahead to the making/hands-on part, but for this type of work it usually ends up being the final 30% of the whole process.

To tie it all together, the meaning behind the work usually comes to me last. The title will jump out at me and I’ll jot down a single word in my sketchbook. A lot of times I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for the artist statement. When the work is completed the story will naturally emerge on its own.

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What would you say your work is about and what do you hope the viewer experiences?

If I were to boil it all down, I’d say my work is about Growth and Connection. I can’t thrive if I’m not changing, learning, and growing. It’s a natural part of life and when I feel stuck or stagnant, I suffer. I need to be discovering and evolving, problem solving, and connecting dots.

Growth is closely intertwined with connection. We learn from our experiences with people, nature, spirit, animals, etc. Our relationships with the world shape who we are and who we become. It also helps us work through and carve out our place in the world. It is a cheesy expression, but we are all connected. If you can sit with that idea and truly take it in, you can get passed the superficiality of it and appreciate the sentiment for what it really means. It means that we need to take care of each other and the world around us in order to be our best selves. This concept is what drives my work. It’s the underlying ethos in everything I do artistically, and in life.

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Describe an ideal day. In a perfect world, how would you spend your time?

There are so many ways I could answer this question. I’d describe it more like a recipe. The ingredients would be:

Sunshine (always sunshine), outdoors, a new experience, friends and family, an intimate conversation with one of my heroes, road trip/travel, studio time, incredible food and beverages, live music, adventure, and listening to my daughter’s laughter. 

What artists have influenced your work?

There are so many, but here is a sampling of who I would consider the most influential:
Chuck Close, Tim Nobel & Sue Webster, Irving Harper, Morton C. Bradley Jr., Ursula Von Rydingsvard, and Stefan Sagmeister, to name a few. Sagmeister would not describe himself as an artist, but I am endlessly inspired by his design practice, execution, narratives, and installation work.

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What should we look out for and expect from you this year? 

Great question! I’m having my second child in October, so I’ll mostly be working in the studio until she arrives and then concentrating on motherhood for the remainder of the year. I’m currently working to schedule out more shows for 2019 and introduce new work at that time. Until then, I’m launching a new website (www.marisagreenart.com) in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Awagami Factory: Interview with Craig Anczelowitz

"Awagami Factory" is a brand of Japanese washi papers produced solely in Tokushima, Japan. Awagami operates on 8 generations of family knowledge and skill focusing on quality and refinement within this world-heritage craft. Awagami papers are used by the world's leading artists, photographers, designers, bookbinders and conservators and unlike other washi of unknown origin, guarantee their papers 100%.

Responding to the needs of artists and creators, Awagami strives to incorporate washi paper into contemporary society and is known as a modern-day facilitator of washi culture. Besides creating the worlds most trusted Japanese papers, Awagami also operates a paper museum, runs international papermaking workshops, maintains an ongoing artist-in-residency program and a multi-disciplinary printmaking lab. The mill also collaborates with artists on custom-made papers and has most recently created the Awagami International Miniprint Exhibition; a juried printmaking show (for works on any type of washi) with over $10,000 award in cash and prizes.

It is Awagami’s desire to promote the beauty of Japanese washi and to proudly pass washi culture on to the next generation….and then well on into the future.

Awagami is a generous sponsor of our call for art and will be giving away $300 worth of fine Japanese paper to one lucky winner selected for issue IX.

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When was Awagami Paper founded and what is the story behind the company?

Awagami's Fujimori family has been making washi paper for over 200 years going back 8 generations. In the old days, papermakers were farmers who during the winter months turned to making paper to earn additional income while there were no crops. Traditionally, Japanese papermakers never used a "brand" or added an identifying mill watermark to their paper as they were simply 'humble craftsman. With an influx of Japanese-style papers entering the market from other countries and an increased artist interest in their papers origin, we established the "Awagami" brand in the 1980's.

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What makes Awagami paper different? Tell us about the unique properties of your materials. 

Awagami paper or "washi" is typically made using eco-friendly/renewable fibers such as kozo (mulberry), gampi, hemp and more-and-more, bamboo. These plant-based fibers renew annually providing hundreds of usable harvests over the plants lifetime.  Typically, washi paper is thinner than Western papers however these papers are remarkably strong and resilient. Awagami makes a few hundred types of paper suitable for fine art, conservation and even digital/inkjet printing.

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Japan has a history of beautiful paper. How is this tradition continued and used by contemporary artists today?

Because of the inherent beauty, strength and archival qualities of washi paper, artists are still drawn to using them.  Our mill works with many inspirational creators who use Awagami papers for many types of work including fine art, product and interior design, etc.  Awagami maintains an artist-in-residency program and washi paper museum to promote contemporary artworks on washi.  In recent years, we have seen a growing demand for inkjet/digital papers, so our collection of "AIJP" inkjet papers has gained traction with professional photographers looking to give a new dimension to their prints. Traditional printmakers have also started to use these inkjet papers to create "hybrid printworks" by combining digital output + traditional print techniques (lithography, silkscreen, etching, etc…) in a single print.

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Name a few interesting facts about your company that artists should be aware of. 

-We are one of the few mills in Japan to make such a wide variety of papers (art, inkjet, conservation, interior)…. Done in an effort to adapt washi to meet the demands of a more modern following WII.  

-Awagami's 6th generation master papermaker, Minoru Fujimori was awarded by the Emperor of Japan as a 'National Sacred Treasure'

-We have often accepted challenges by artists to make unique custom papers and have the ability to make some of the largest handmade papers in the world…some of which you can see in works by Chuck Close, Richard Serra, Frank Stella, Yu Youhan and Ding Yi.

-Although our papers are sold in over 50 countries, we are still a small family-operated papermill. 

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Is it possible to visit the factory when in Japan?

Of course, sure…..our mill and washi paper museum are open to the public from Tues.-Sun. Please visit, make paper, visit our paper shop and galleries, etc… We also hold 2 annual International workshops each year (in January  & August).  More information may be found on our website: www.awagami.com or via our facebook page.

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Where can we learn more about the products and purchase it?

Our website has more information and a page of international Awagami stockists. Also, please check out our facebook page as we update it regularly with papermaking photos, interesting paper facts, paper artworks and other paper goodness.  Feel free to message us there anytime too if you have specific questions and/or paper needs.

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Drigo

Drigo is a self-taught artist and muralist based in Dallas, Texas with a primary focus in painting. His work stems from a long line of cultural influences, theories, and ideologies, as well as a background in graphic design. A few cultures that appear most prominently in his work are African, Mongolian, and Spanish. Drigo often pulls ideas and thoughts from his subconscious or what he explains as the 5th Dimension. He recognizes his work as somewhat subconscious self-portraits merging everything he is influenced by into one. His kitschy, throwback-’80s paintings of Aztec and African masked figures, which nod to Egyptology, lost civilizations, and mysticism, will take you way back to ancient times, while his refreshing color pallet and hints of iconography will bring you right back (Christopher Blay).