Erika Pajarillo is an illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. Her illustrations feature lush drawn environments of women and nature, which stems from the world in her sketchbook. Working both digitally and traditionally, Erika’s illustrations extend to typographic design, surface and pattern design, and even embroidery.
Daria Aksenova is best known for her pen and ink, suspended, cut paper narrative shadowboxes. The current focus of her work is the creation of cinematographic storytelling through constructed dynamism - arising from layering and complexity of composition - within a static media, inspired by her past experience with the fashion and film industries.
Daria Aksenova uses ink as it is an unforgiving medium that precludes editing and demands precision. Individual elements are then hand-cut with a scalpel and suspended against each other until the desired depth is achieved. Her technique demands a steady hand and unfailing commitment, often requiring over a hundred hours of dedication and intimacy with each piece.
The subject matter choice is driven by her interest in symbolism, often reflecting conflict inherent to the human condition, as echoed through mythology and folklore. The balance of playful storytelling coupled with deeper-seeded significance provides unique yet relatable work. Her pieces evoke a dreamscape-like narrative that pulls in both the eye and mind, presenting a space and opportunity for the imagination to wander into a deep narrative that can only be experienced first hand.
Katherine Rutter was born in 1984 in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 2007 she received her BFA in Photography/Drawing from the University of Central Arkansas. She has shown her work in galleries and museums throughout the country including the Historic Arkansas Museum and the National Museum for Women in the Arts traveling exhibition in Arkansas, as well as participating in a residency and exhibition in Tulum, Mexico. In addition to exhibits, she has been commissioned for multiple mural projects in California, Colorado, Arkansas, Mexico, and Nepal. Interacting with communities is an important part of her practice, including volunteering with Creativity Explored in San Francisco and teaching a workshop at a children’s school in Kathmandu. Her work explores ideas of femininity, beauty, and connection, with fantastical narratives of drawings and paintings. She currently lives in Ukiah, California.
My practice explores how we navigate our emotional beings within the complexities of femininity and beauty. The vernacular expressions and innate desires we have as humans to connect to ourselves and to nature are addressed throughout my work, requesting a deeper understanding of what it means to live. My drawings often begin by ‘painting’ with hair-like algae, an intuitive process that allows me to connect with my subconscious like one might find images in clouds. The algae provides a certain aesthetic quality while also nodding to my Southern roots and its folk tradition of found materials in art. Themes of nostalgia, vulnerability, sexuality, wonder, subtle humor and the struggle of the unknown reveal a tender experience of humanity.
Interview by The TAX Collection
What led to the inception of 'Somewhere NYC?' - Is this something that you had been planning on doing for a while, or did something specific spur its creation?
Mars: Opening "Somewhere" was definitely a crime of opportunity (or maybe fate?). I had spent the last two years working in a tiny, one-station studio in the back of an art gallery in Bushwick, and although I loved it, it was starting to feel a little cramped. I traveled a lot during that time and kept getting progressively more inspired by all the amazing queer studios that were opening in other cities. I met so many wonderful people who were so deeply committed to offering a safer space to get tattooed in. I wanted to create an equally open space to be able to invite them back to!
Right after finishing a stint at Minuit Dix in Montreal and Outcast Club in Toronto, I found out that my previous studio mate was leaving New York. Astrid was coming back to New York at exactly the same time and needed a place to work. It felt like a sign!
Astrid: I returned home to California for ten months in 2017 to work in my first shop. As a former home tattooer, I felt obligated to put in the time at a street shop to feel less alienated from the community. Despite my profoundly positive experience (for which I'm forever grateful), I still left feeling discontent with the old school dynamic of a shop owner "running" space — a space consisting of artists who essentially managed their operations independently. I knew I would have to be my own boss. When I moved back, Mars contacted me, and here we are.
I know you have certain feelings towards traditional tattoo shops, what is something different you feel your shop provides?
Astrid: I'm very collective minded when it comes to workspaces. We wanted a transparent, cooperative partnership where we share primary responsibilities but are more or less autonomous. Our primary mission is to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible. So many young clients of mine have recounted experiences where they felt scared, pressured, and intimidated in a tattoo shop. Artists bullied them into designs they didn't want or belittled their ideas. It's wild to me that any artist would think that's appropriate and I'm glad to see the machismo aspect of the industry drying up.
Mars: I generally have a strong preference towards private studios (as opposed to more traditional walk-in shops) both for working and being tattooed. I started my career tattooing friends in my bedroom, most of whom were queer and didn't feel comfortable being tattooed in traditional shop environments, which was a feeling I shared. At the time, I think it was much harder to find private spaces or be able to get a sense of which shops would be welcoming. I've heard so many horror stories from friends and clients about being harassed, assaulted, or just not respected by tattooers (all behaviors that have been a big part of mainstream tattoo culture for a long time). That was not an environment I had any interest in replicating.
Has social media (Instagram specifically) helped shape your business?
Astrid: Social media IS my business. Artists used to be entirely dependent on shops to bring in clientele, and that's where the gatekeeping began. The internet turned the tables completely. People seek out individuals now, not shops. The shops depend on artists. It's been beautiful to see people who were, or would have been turned away from traditional spaces become successful in their own right, in their own style. That's why the changes in social media, mainly punitive algorithms, and shadowbanning, are more than frustrating - they're dangerous. People choose the content they want to see, and trying to restructure those choices makes no sense.
Mars: I wouldn't have a business at all if it weren't for social media. I wasn't trying to be a tattoo artist or do this professionally at all when I started; I was just tattooing some friends and posting the results on Instagram. If it weren't for people finding and responding positively to my work there, I have no idea what I would be doing with my life right now.
Any upcoming guests we should be checking out?
Astrid: All of them! It's been so amazing to work with friends and with talented strangers who become friends. We are still very new and like to ask our guests what we can improve on. It's essential to get feedback and keep growing.
Mars: Oh my god yeah, everyone! The main motivation for me leaving my previous studio was to finally have space to share with other artists; it's been such a pleasure so far, and I can't wait to continue expanding our little tattoo family.
If someone reading this wants to book a tattoo appointment, what's the best way for them to go about this?
Astrid: Email us! We are not a walk-in shop, which is important because it both allows us to be selective and keeps random strangers from walking in and potentially souring the vibe. My books are almost always open. Just remember that answering emails takes time, so please be patient.
Mars: Everyone working at Somewhere manages their own schedule and has slightly different ways of doing things. If you're interested in making an appointment with any of our guest artists, I'd recommend just checking out their Instagram to see how they prefer to take appointments. I open my books on the 1st of every month and receive all inquiries through a booking form, which will always be posted in my bio during that time, cause trying to figure out how to schedule my life more than a month out is way too much for me to handle!
How many tattoos do you each have? Do you ever tattoo yourselves?
Astrid: Many of my friends sacrificed their bodies so I could learn, so of course I tattooed myself as well. It would have been unfair to not practice on my own skin first. There are tattoos I did on myself, for better or for worse (mostly for worse), and I have tattoos from fellow artist friends. I decided recently that I only want friends to put art on my body. I always thought the design itself would be most important, but it turns out that the person who did the art is more important to me now. I get to carry them around with me forever. People are surprised that I don't have that many. My grandma doesn't want me to get any more, even though she likes the ones I put on other people.
Mars: I've definitely tattooed myself because it is a really important step in the learning process when you're still figuring things out, but I absolutely hate it! There are so many amazing artists out there. I'd much rather dedicate the body space to work I really respect than cover myself in my own doodles. I get so tired of seeing my work all the time, and there's so much to learn from trading and connecting with other tattooers.
I'm honestly not sure exactly how many I have at this point; I sometimes try to count them like sheep when I'm going to sleep, but usually, I fall asleep somewhere around 50.
Starting a business in NYC is not for the faint of heart - have there been any challenges along the way?
Astrid: We found out that our windows did not keep the rain on the outside and that our heater is selective about when it is or isn't going to turn on. Ridiculous building issues are a classic Brooklyn thing. However, I've had much more trouble dealing with apartments than when I opened our business. To be fair, Mars did most of the work. I recommend a Capricorn + Taurus business partnership whenever possible, whether you believe in the zodiac or not.
Mars: I can't even count the amount of meltdowns I had in the first couple of months, but I can't imagine going into this project with anyone better suited than Astrid. We've known each other for 6-7 years (where and when we actually met is one of the only things we disagree on), well before either of us were tattooing, and I think we do well balancing each other out and keeping each other sane. It's honestly an earth sign dream team.
What was your worst client/tattoo experience?
Astrid: Almost everyone I've ever worked with has been wonderful. I think I only experience difficulty with clients who are particularly controlling or demanding, usually people who don't understand the limitations of tattooing. This behavior usually comes from a place of anxiety, and I can empathize with that. The only way to combat these situations is to trust your artist. They are making decisions based beyond aesthetics. They have to think about how the design will work on your actual body and if it will age well. It's not just about how it looks on paper.
Mars: I think I've been really lucky with all of my clients! Since for the most part everyone finds me through Instagram, I think generally my clients are pretty self-selective; I don't really have anyone come in that I don't really vibe with.
Unfortunately that doesn't always extend to their friends/boyfriends (usually boyfriends). I think probably the worst thing you can bring to a tattoo appointment is another person who's going to be questioning your decisions the whole time. I'll always give my professional opinion based on how I think the piece will age, fit with other pieces you have, etc, but ultimately the only opinion that really matters is your own. I hear a lot of, "That spot is gonna hurt too much, get it lower/higher/smaller/less visible," from people not getting the tattoo, and it really bums me out because it's not their body. Don't let anyone else make you doubt yourself or get in the way of you getting the piece you're really excited about!
Astrid: Yes, please leave the boyfriend at home. And leave behind the friend that doesn't want to be there or the friend that wants to talk to you like your artist isn't there. I don't only have an investment in the tattoo, but an investment in getting to know you. It's still a privilege to put art on someone’s body and I appreciate having the opportunity to bond with clients.
If someone wants a tattoo and is not in NYC, will either of you be traveling and doing guest residencies? If so, where?
Astrid: Definitely! I made a permanent travel "highlight" so people can check in on it as I add destinations. My biggest issue is that I am terrified of flying, so I haven't been traveling as much as I could. And I'm sorry about that. I wish strangers were more down to hold my hand during taking off.
Mars: I travel pretty frequently, but also unfortunately not as often as I'd like. I have a lot of guilt around the frequency I'm able to get to other cities, but the truth is I have a family, including two dogs here, that I hate to leave. It's really hard to balance time at home, time working, and the time actually spent on vacation. Realistically, when I'm on tour somewhere, my only days off are travel days. That being said, I always post about cities I'm going to as soon as I know I'm going, and there will definitely be many more in the future!
What advice would you give someone getting their first tattoo?
Astrid: These days, my advice would be to get a little tattoo first. Something simple and small, just so you can understand how the process works and what it feels like. Fear is challenging. Fear will hold you hostage and force you to get an awesome tattoo that is too small in a place where you didn't want it. Choose an artist whose work you love and make sure you see the kind of work you want reflected in their portfolio. The number one rule is that if you don't like the design, or you feel uncomfortable with the artist, don't get the tattoo. Yes, you will lose your deposit, but you don't owe it to anyone to go through with a situation where you don't feel seen, respected, or safe.
Mars: I think the most important thing is to trust your artist, and a big first step towards that is doing your research in finding someone whose work you value. I'm honestly so jealous of anyone getting their first tattoo now, in a post-Instagram world. When I got my first tattoo, I had no understanding that artists could have different styles or specialties, or that you could even be specific about the type of person or space you wanted to work with. Now it's so easy to find someone who does exactly what you're looking for, and at the same time get a little bit of an idea of who they are as a person before going in.
I think if you go into it trusting your artist, and being open to their interpretation, you'll end up with a really rad tattoo that you're both super stoked on! But that trust also extends to knowing you can assert your needs at any time. They know what's going to be best in terms of what's realistically possible, what's going to heal well, etc., but you know your body. Like any other situation, make sure whomever you are with can respect your boundaries. If you need a break, you can take a break! If you need to adjust how you're sitting for comfort, talk to your artist, and figure out how to do that. Don't be embarrassed to ask questions at any point in the process, because you're both relying on each other to communicate and make something awesome.
Interview by Alicia Puig
I come from Korea, a country with a historic tradition of ceramics, where I was a fashion designer. By age 30, I had been designing high-heeled shoes for over ten years in Seoul then in Tokyo and London. I emigrated to England in 2007, the first time I had set foot outside Asia. Learning English from scratch and being influenced by the radical change in the culture I went back to being an artist, which was always my first calling. Starting with life drawing and experimenting with other media, I found myself drawn to my cultural roots in ceramics, mixing the two.
In 2013 I made bowls and sketched live models drawing directly onto the contoured surfaces, combining the organic hand-molded form of the bowl with the human form of the model. A couple of years later I began to add imagery to the pieces to extend the narratives that began with the poses, seeking inspiration from what I found captured in the drawings. In Asian culture bowls are philosophically connected with humanity; for example, in Korea, we might talk about how big a bowl you have in your mind, so the bowl is holding all your knowledge and experience. I mold the bowls in my hands, and I draw straight onto them, with no plan, never changing a line. My vases are like many bowls coming together inverted into sculptures. Drawing directly onto these with a life model, with a human in front of me, I can be led by their energy and afterward see what of human life can fit into a bowl. What I found drove me to use imagery on top to draw out stories imagined from the lives.
Yurim draws straight onto the surface of each piece. Life drawing in front of the living, breathing model joins the model's pose to the contoured surface of the piece. The lines from the model are communicated through the rough texture to the fired hand built stoneware with a ceramic pencil. The jagged lines soften under the glaze. For some pieces, imagery is overlaid on the drawings.
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?
When I was six years old, my art teacher was surprised to see my paintings and made me participate in an art contest. Painting was the only stabilizer, because I was a little kid who couldn't concentrate. I tried to go to art school with a love of art, but I became a fashion designer. Being a designer was another pleasure for me. It's a process that allows the maker to understand the images of creative imagination through drawing. I'd always heard that my design drawing is more beautiful than the reality. When I first moved to England, I worked briefly as a designer again, but all the circumstances were better suited for art. So, after five years of experience with a new environment, culture, and experimenting with various other media, I fell in love with pottery for the first time.
The passion for life-drawing and my new interest in ceramics have combined, yet my passion for fashion still shows in my work.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your artwork or a specific series that you're currently working on.
I get inspiration from having a living human being in front of me. It's related to the idea of humanity, and I find that humanity can’t be felt without direct contact with humans. And so I find that the thrill of putting a human live model in front of me when I draw is captured in my work.
For me if it's not life-drawing, it's dead art.
I live and experience this world and express what I see in colour; in particular, my 10 years of fashion design experience and special interest in fashion are part of this new work.
How did you end up working with ceramics as your primary medium and what is its significance for you and your art?
"What do I like and also want to do?" This is the question that created a combination of life-drawing and ceramics, and I think it's really important for many artists to find the right materials first. I found the medium for me and that's ceramics. Ceramics is like a paper or canvas that holds my paintings. I've never had a formal education in pottery. Through my experience as a designer, I developed and analysed an understanding of the material and found that clay and pencil fit me. The failures that arise without formal education are a source of ideas for me ... in my works I can see both failure and success at once.
Describe your current studio or creative space. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your work area?
Creative space is really important to me. I can work without having my own kiln for my work, but without a studio my art would stop. My workspace is divided into two. It's a ‘brain space’ on one side and a ‘body space’ on the other. For me, balance is very important, just like our brains. In the brain space, all the planning, data and images are easily attached to the wall to make it easier to see. I plan and organize it just as when I used to work as a designer.
In the physical space, I make and shape organic hand moulded bowls. It's the same process as meditation that cleans and empties my mind and soul. Then I have a life-drawing space in the middle. I go around the model and find the angle I want to draw. I work in a new studio less than a year old, and I feel it’s a little bit small already... I can see why studio spaces get bigger as artists grow.
What one piece of creative or business advice would you give to your younger self?
I think all the great artists have already told us.
I also took notes from their comments and put them on my wall.
READY TO FAIL
DON’T ESCAPE FROM YOURSELF
NOBODY DOES BETTER THAN YOU
BUILD A GOOD NAME’
I want to add ‘LET’S PUT IT INTO PRACTICE AND ACTION’
Do you have any big collaborations, projects, exhibitions, etc going on during the rest of the year that you'd like to share?
I have a very exciting first solo exhibition, which runs from the 25th May until the 12th June 2019 in London at the Zari gallery. www.zarigallery.co.uk
I also open my studio space in the second and third weeks of July. Located in the centre of the Cambridge, UK.
My self-portrait has been selected and is exhibiting (Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Art Prize) at Piano Nobile, Kings Place in London until the end of September 2019.
April 6th - April 27th, 2019
NEW YORK CITY - Hashimoto Contemporary is pleased to present Spotlight: Stencil, a group exhibition surveying contemporary stencil art. The exhibition features an international roster of artists who push the boundaries of the medium both inside and outside the studio.
Eelus is a UK based mural artist and screen printer. An early member of the street-art bastion Pictures on Walls, Eelus is a contemporary of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Hush, and many more working in stencils.
Jana & JS are an Austro-French duo whose work merge their shared passion for photography and urban environments. Inspired by the city, its architecture and inhabitants, their work focuses on urban landscapes, portraits and details of architecture.
Joe Iurato is a multidisciplinary artist whose works are built on a foundation of stencils and aerosol. Falling somewhere in between simplistic and photorealistic, his multi-layer stencils offer a distinctly clean and illustrative aesthetic.
Mando Marie is known for her graphic work, which uses images of tales and repetition of motifs to inform the compositions of her paintings. Her works play with elements of both the spooky and nostalgia.
OakOak is an anonymous artist who transforms everyday objects, utilizing them for his cleverly placed imagery, creating works that are a combination of humor and urban poetry.
Penny finds inspiration in everyday objects and often overlooked ephemera, but currency is the most prominent recurring theme in his work. He has received global critical acclaim for his hand cut, extremely detailed stencil work.
This exhibition will be on view through Saturday, April 27th. A limited edition 7-layer screen print titled Red Dress by Eelus is scheduled to be released in conjunction with the exhibition and will be available in person at the opening. For more information, additional images, or exclusive content, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Leishman grew up in Georgia, moving to the Los Angeles area after completing her Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Originally trained as a photographer, she now works in collage. Her work investigates the interrelationship between painting, drawing, and collage.
She has shown her work nationally, won awards, and taught photography and fine art at universities in Utah and California. She has participated in art residencies at The Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN and PressWorks in Claremont, CA. She was most recently commissioned by Emily Henderson Designs, and was exhibited in the Downtown LA Arts District, had a solo show in Utah, “If We Ever Wake At All”, and continues to participate in the ever-evolving art collaboration, “The Fourth Artist.”
The world is collage to me. What happens at the edges and among the layers, where two different materials or ideas meet — that’s where I’m drawn. I have bins and bins of paper and scraps in my studio. It is important to my process that I not use virgin working materials but rather fragments of older work and found materials. Something from something. Beauty from ashes. It’s also important for me to show the sometimes-raw joints, the roughness of their coming together, to be candid about the process of layering and to leave the hand of the artist apparent.
The push and pull between two ideas intrigues me most: the animating tensions between destruction and creation, expansion and contraction, and explosion and implosion. These ideas are embodied in the wilderness. The only constant in the wild is that it will change, that an element can and will be both violent and passive, opposites held in a balance. In a world that is increasingly contentious, the need to feel peace within the chaos becomes more desperate. By drawing, painting and collaging, I seek to find an equivalent to the peace found in wild places.
Erin Holscher Almazan is an Associate Professor of Printmaking and Drawing at the University of Dayton in Dayton, OH. Erin is a native of North Dakota. She received her BFA in Fine Arts from Minnesota State University Moorhead and her MFA in Printmaking from Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester, New York. She has completed two printmaking residencies at the Frans Masereel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium. Erin’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has been included in exhibitions in connection with the Southern Graphics Printmaking Council and the Mid-America Print Council. Erin is also an active member of the Dayton art and printmaking community. She resides in Dayton with her husband and two sons.
My work is a direct and emotional response to identity; I am continually fascinated and perplexed by my roles and relationships. Through my work, I reflect on a malleable identity shaped not only by our own shifting environments, but also by nature, nurture, inheritance, and history. I draw, print and paint to fluidly move with and investigate form and edge and to achieve a range of gestural lines and marks. I strive to communicate acceptance, ambivalence, struggle, empathy, and connectivity, and to convey the duality embedded within our identity.
Anastasia Parmson is an Estonian artist with Siberian roots and a French education. She is currently living and working in New Zealand.
Parmson’s drawing career began from early childhood. It is during her MFA studies at Strasbourg University that she began pushing the limits of drawing by combining it with other mediums such as video projection, sculpture, ready-made and poetry, winning awards for animation and drawing installation.
In 2010 she served onboard a marine conservation vessel in Antarctic waters. The voyage resulted in a series of light box drawings titled Ship Life. These were the focal point of Parmson’s first solo show at Rundum Artist-Run Space in Tallinn, Estonia.
In 2017 Parmson created a public art installation for Kilometre of Sculpture festival at Tallinn Art Week, drawing a 200m (656ft) long line through the heart of her hometown.
Her latest project – a site specific installation Untitled (my space at may space) for Out of Line exhibition at MAY SPACE gallery in Sydney – is the next step toward Parmson’s vision of creating a whole world in drawing.
These milestones have helped Anastasia define her artistic practice and inspire curiosity toward new unexpected possibilities to innovate contemporary drawing as a medium. In future projects she intends to expand drawing into large scale installations with video mapping as well as virtual- and augmented reality.
My work has been strongly influenced by childhood obsessions of Dysney comics and coloring books. Traveling a lot and living in several countries around the world has meant that I am constantly looking for belonging while inevitably remaining an outsider. Drawing has been my way of creating pockets of familiarity and intimacy in a world of strange and unknown, like tracing my place in the world.
Stripping everything down to the line - that is the most basic form of every drawing. I want to take drawing past its conventional two-dimensional format by combining it with other mediums such as sculpture and ready-made, video, performance and poetry, social media and augmented reality. I want it to be not just seen – but experienced. I dream of creating a whole environment in drawing; something people can walk through, exist in and interact with.
When did you first start experimenting with the idea of experiencing and interacting with a drawing? What sparked that idea?
My first experiments began in university during my Master’s degree studies. Learning about contemporary art and what was popular in the art world left me feeling like drawing as a medium was somehow not “enough”. I experimented with video art, installation and performance. But when the time came to pick my Master’s curriculum I discovered that the only class taught by my favorite tutor was a graphics module. That scared me a lot! This tutor had become my mentor and pusher of boundaries and as a painter himself, he always had the toughest questions and harshest critiques for students working with painting and drawing. At first, it was difficult, drawing felt too limited and too traditional to think outside the box. So I began considering mixing it with other mediums and slowly I was able to imagine drawing become so much more than marks on paper. Since then it has kept proliferating in my mind: my artistic practice cannot keep up with my vision of what drawing can be.
What was your experience like shifting from drawing in a more traditional way of creating installations?
Growing up, drawing had always been my “thing”. Then in my first years at university, I completely neglected it because I discovered that all of my favorite contemporary artists were making big shiny work, conceptual installations, and sensory environments. I can still remember the lightbulb moment when I realized I could marry drawing with video and installation art. It was pure joy and felt like I had found my artistic voice. I could at last combine the craft that had shaped my past with the scale and feel of art that had so much inspired me and what I was striving for.
Based on your artist statement travel has played a big part in your life, how has traveling so much affected your art making?
On the one hand, there are the constraints of time, space and available tools, which largely dictated what I could and could not do for many years. I spent a lot of time on a boat where the only medium readily available was photography, so I documented my encounters. This provided a lot of material and inspiration for when I turned to digital drawing (and mixing drawing with photography). It was easy to pack a graphic tablet and take my work with me wherever I went.
On the other hand, there are the personal and cultural effects of moving countries and living in different parts of the world. It is difficult to put into words but it has been an important theme in my work. My Master’s thesis was about the “in-between” – the ever precarious space in which one is divided but at the same time made whole by cultural differences, language barriers, and patriotic loyalties. For me the lines I draw between dark and light areas of an image or an object are like borders: they link parts of an image together just as much as they separate. Art has been my way to work through the enormous experiences of travel, the friendships lost due to distance and it has served as a comfort in times when I was yet again starting as a stranger in a new place.
What is your first step when starting a drawing that is going to combine more than one medium?
There are many ways to begin. When working on a site-specific project or for a particular event/purpose I start by looking at the existing space and use any constraints as my initial framework. Sometimes I have to ask myself how to simplify everything down to just one line and then build onto that.
Most often though I have these big visions rattling around in my head for a long time before I figure out a way to make something of them. For example, the body of work I am putting together right now has been gestating for years. It’s only in the past 18 months that I have been able to have space, the tools and the confidence to start bringing these visions into reality.
How has your artistic style changed throughout your career?
My visual style - or my handwriting so to speak - has been pretty consistent so far. It’s mainly my tools and materials that have changed over time. I think the greatest shifts have been in how and why I begin a project. In university years I was able to work a lot more conceptually - starting with a personal struggle or revelation and building an artwork around that. Then during many travels and changes, my inspiration came mostly from outside – from objects, places, and people I came across on my journey. And now it’s slowly changing again toward a more reflective and personal expression.
Do you have advice for our readers who would like to take their drawings off the drawing pad?
Begin to draw a line, when you reach the edge of the pad – keep going! Think big but simplify to the max. Try all the tools, surfaces and mediums you are drawn to or feel intimidated by. Regardless of how big and “unfeasible” your idea seems, try to make a prototype out of what you have at hand or can afford. There are so many ways to push the limits of art today: digital tools, virtual reality, 3D printing, street art… Or why not use mediums such as sound, fabric, social media or food to DRAW people together!? There is no limit.
Has creating installations changed the way you view drawing as a medium?
Yes! I have this huge passion for drawing now because there are no limits to it as far as I can see. I just love how simple lines can be so all-encompassing, I am obsessed with it.
Making digital drawing also brought a big shift in perspective for me. A few years ago I visited a large contemporary drawing fair in Paris, hoping to see how digital art was faring in the art world. It shocked me to find that a vast majority of work there was charcoal, pencil or ballpoint pen on paper. I only found one digital piece in the whole fair – and it looked like a pencil drawing on paper. That experience opened my eyes to what the art world at the time deemed acceptable as drawing. This notion had influenced me in my early years as a student, limiting my ideas of drawing as primarily a tool for preparation and practice. And so I believe it’s important that more artists use the most contemporary mediums and unusual tools available to make art and expand the notion of what a simple line of drawing could be.
NEW YORK CITY - Hashimoto Contemporary is pleased to present Petites Luxures in Big Apple, a solo exhibition by French illustrator Petites Luxures. Petites Luxures in Big Apple will be the artists inaugural solo exhibition at Hashimoto Contemporary, in which he explores themes of sexuality and intimacy through his signature minimalist style.
Through the use of minimal mark making focusing on the simplicity of fluid lines, Petites Luxure’s work delves into the intimacy of human relationships and love. French phrases and humorous witticism’s act as clues
to the often seemingly unfinished scenes, leaving the viewer to imagine the rest of the story. From a pair of hands unbuckling a belt to innumerable hands intertwined and entangled across bodies, the images culminate in a delicate and playful portrayal of desire and lust.
For Petites Luxures in the Big Apple, the artist will be exhibiting over 25 new ink on paper drawings, and will be exhibiting mixed media sculptural works and installations for the first time ever.
About the exhibition, Petites Luxures states, “Whatever the medium is, the purpose is always to play with the viewer’s eye, to make the spectator search for the rest of the story and to create playful and interactive erotic scenes.”
Please join us Saturday, January 5 from 6pm - 8pm for the opening reception of Petites Luxures In Big Apple. The artist will be in attendance. A limited edition archival pigment print of L’Éventail is scheduled to be released in conjunction with the exhibition and will be available in person at the opening.
This exhibition will be on view through Saturday, January 26, 2019. For more information, additional images, or exclusive content, please email us at email@example.com
Daria Aksenova is best known for her suspended paper dreamscape-like narrative compositions in ink. In the heart of Houston’s newly renovated creative studios, she displays a unique treasure of imagination. The current focus of her work takes on the creation of dynamic movement in a static medium, as a self-taught artist, drawing from her past experience with the fashion and film industries. It is her intent that cinematographic storytelling arises from the layers and complexity of the composition. These pull in both the eye and mind, presenting a space and opportunity for the imagination to wander into a deep narrative that can only be experienced first-hand.
Daria Aksenova uses ink, as it is an unforgiving medium that precludes editing and demands precision. Individual elements are then hand-cut with a scalpel and suspended against each other until the desired depth is achieved. Her technique demands a steady hand and unfailing commitment, often requiring over a hundred hours of dedication and intimacy with each piece.
The subject matter is chosen by a fascination with mythology and folklore. Her pieces evoke a dreamscape-like narrative to serve as a vehicle to transport the viewer back to past, more carefree times, outside the limitations of the everyday world.
Born in Miami, FL, Natalie Dark works in a variety of mediums, though her current work is made exclusively in colored pencil. Natalie's attention to detail and precision requires a certain level of mindfulness, which lends itself to rich color and visual depth that results in finished pieces reminiscent of oil paintings created by 17th-century Dutch Masters.
As a theme, mindfulness is woven throughout her body of work in direct response to her environment and reflections on personal identity and cultural experience. As a Cuban-American woman in today's political climate, colored pencil provides a sense of stability and grounding that is necessary when living in a world that is in a constant state of flux.
Follow her on Instagram: @nataliedarkart.
"Camino Oscuro," (or "Dark Journey," in English) is a foray into Natalie's experience as a newly married, Hispanic woman, who has lost a sense of obvious cultural identity in exchanging her maiden name, Delgado, for the more Americanized Dark.
Her subject matter is purposefully inviting, familiar, and comforting. It provides the viewer with an instant connection and, therefore, an opportunity for further exploration. It is a democratizing experience, where a seductive and comforting exterior hides a world of complexity, a history unexplored or understood by the viewer.
We were so excited to be given the opportunity to visit Art on Paper [in collaboration with BOZAR] a small, international drawing-focused art fair in Brussels last week. Besides the fact that it highlights a specific medium - one which can be defined broadly due to its potential to be used in a seemingly infinite amount of ways - the fair is unique in that each gallery's booth presents one solo exhibition rather than a group show of their roster of artists. Below you'll find a few of our favorites!
From the Art on Paper press release:
The line, to infinity. As everyone knows, drawing is first and foremost a line, potentially infinite. This line evolves and expands over time. In 2018, Art on Paper grows and doubles in size. Since its inception, Art on Paper has been emphasizing the variety and diversity of contemporary approaches to drawing through artist solo shows. This is the main principle of the show, it is THE specificity renewed every year: one booth, one gallery, one artist. Thus, for 5 days, 50 Belgian and international galleries are investing BOZAR exhibition spaces to offer, in the heart of Brussels, 50 SOLO SHOWS from established and emerging artists: the best of contemporary drawing. Building on the success of its latest editions, Art on Paper is setting itself up this year in the prestigious "Ravenstein Circuit", always in collaboration with BOZAR, and has new parallel projects to reflect the most current creation and the most experimental practices in terms of drawing.
1. Gamaliel Rodríguez at ATM Galería
5. Serena Fineschi at Montoro 12 Contemporary Art
6. Anneke Eussen at Tatjana Pieters
Katie graduated from Flagler College in the fall of 2015 with a BFA in Fine Art and a BA in Graphic Design. After school she continued working at a design studio in the area. When she's not making art she enjoys practicing yoga, exploring Florida's state parks, and thrifting for objects that will inspire her next drawing. To stay up to date with Katie's latest drawings and see work in progress, follow her on instagram: @kevans_art
At first glance the women in my work may appear meek and docile, lying lifeless or staring blankly into space. The seemingly submissive poses they hold become performances of endurance as they firmly resist their environment. They are immersed within themselves, possessing a quiet, reserved power.
Lisa Wicka received her BFA from the University of Central Florida, and MFA from Purdue University. Her work has shown both national and internationally in solo and group exhibitions, and is in many public and private collections. She actively participates in artist residencies around the world including Sparkbox Studios (Canada), Ålgården Workshop (Sweden) and Officina Stamperia del Notaio (Sicily). Her experiences traveling and living throughout the US have greatly inspired her practice. Wicka currently resides in Marinette, WI where she is the Assistant professor of Art at the UW Colleges.
We live in the spaces...
between past and present,
between empty and occupied,
between mind and body,
between physical and virtual,
between tangible and lost,
between loneliness and love,
between exposed and hidden.
Through the breakdown and rebuilding of the in-between, my work mimics the everyday navigation of these realms. Temporary moments of clarity come together and fall apart, creating a self in motion, evolving through experience, place, failures and successes. My work is a surface where this dialogue becomes visible explorations of my surroundings and my identity, a surrogate self with limitless possibilities.
Often referencing architectural spaces, wallpapers, and raw materials, my work brings into question the solidity and accuracy of things we hold true. Printmaking, drawing, and mixed media methods allow me to acknowledge my experiences, dissect them, and reconstruct them into something concrete, if only for a moment.
Interview by Sarah Mills
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a new series of work Along the Way while continuing to work on my series, Focus. Along the Way is made up of fragments that incorporate patterns, textures, and in most cases, some little legs interacting with the construction. Focus is a series I started a few years ago, where I build miniature abstracted domestic spaces and photograph them in various locations. These photos then become a part of an interactive piece that invites the viewer to have their own intimate experience. (See short video clip.)
What is the inspiration behind your current series?
In my artist statement, I talk about my work as a surface where the dialogue between my surroundings and myself can take place, as if a surrogate form. With this new work, I am reflecting on transitional spaces, and how one functions in them. These spaces are in-betweens, such as trains, cars, etc… but I also draw connections to the space that exists on our digital platforms. Both types of space feel heavy and physical; they take up space and time and are often occupied, but at the same time can be lonely. This new series is about existing within them, recognizing their rules and limitations, and finding yourself (even if only temporarily) in those moments. A number of things have brought me to this series, but primarily it stems from my last three years in a fairly remote location in the Midwest. This being my first location post grad school, I went from having a network of artists, friends, and resources within my reach to having a lot of physical distance from these things. I am learning to rely more on communications online, staying up-to-date through Facebook, and other resources, and traveling whenever I can. This means that I am mostly isolated, with bursts of New York, Philadelphia, or Chicago, where I try to soak up as much of my surroundings as much as possible, as if I could store it like a camel. This approach has given me the time to reflect on both ends of this experience and evaluate this balance that we all try to create in one way or another.
Tell us about your process when you start a new piece.
At this point, very rarely am I starting a piece totally from scratch; I have built up a large collection of screen printed patterns, monoprints, drawings, wood shapes, etc. and they often make their way into my work. The patterns I create are often reflections of past experiences or are reminiscent of an existing pattern from my everyday. I work like a collage artist, so for the most part when I am drawing or printing my patterns, I am creating flat sheets that will be cut up, folded, layered along the way. My sketchbook is filled with shapes and notes more than anything, and I can pretty confidently say I never know what the piece is really going to look like when I start it. I have found this way of working allows the more controlling side of me to have a say in the creation of the individual collage pieces, then I rely on experimentation and instinct when I start to combine things together. I intentionally make room for happy accidents, which sounds strange, but that is the place where the good stuff happens.
In your artist statement you talk a lot about how your surroundings and identity influence your work. Can you talk about some of the biggest influences in your life?
I think moving around and traveling has had such an impact on my work and my life. I have experienced small towns, big cities, and some in-between, and finding who I am in those places has challenged me to questions what is important to me: what to keep, and what to let go. For me, embracing the uncomfortable has offered me the opportunity to try new things, meet new people, sometimes fail, but learn more about myself along the way. I can see the fluidity in which I change from place to place, recognizing changes in career, age, and priorities. But each location also offers me the opportunity to try something new. This playfulness allows me to find new parts of myself and has become a very important part of my process. I work hard to keep embracing the uncomfortable in my practice; it is where I am the most vulnerable and honest.
What advice would you give to artists looking to find their voice and technique? How did it happen for you?
That is a big question! I think my suggestion would be to experiment and do what keeps you engaged. It took me a lot of work, writing, reflecting, and bad art to really start to feel solid about what I was doing. I thought for a long time that once I “figured it out” then I would be stuck in it, which scared me a little. For me, I have found a way of working that lets me move, experiment, twist and turn, while still staying true to what is important to me. Once I got to that point, I felt so much better because at the end of the day, if you are not interested in what you are doing, why would anyone else be? My way of working constantly gives me to new problems to solve, and I enjoy figuring them out.
You work in multiple different mediums, is there a medium you are most drawn to? Why?
Printmaking plays a large role in my work by allowing me to create multiple versions of the same image. I enjoy the spontaneity that arises through the print process. I can change colors, use painterly approaches and embrace the unexpected results that will later often get cut up, and mix and match with other images and materials. Outside of the process of printmaking, I enjoy working with materials that have a physicality to them and they often include some sort of building materials such as wood, house paint, or enamel, mixed with delicate materials, such as paper, gold leaf, wax, etc. The combination of these materials can feel solid and temporary at the same time. It is important to me that my work feels as if it is in motion, possibly coming together, or falling apart, and my choice of materials help to reinforce this concept.
Because you use many different mediums, your series are all pretty unique. Is there one body of work that you are the most fond of? Why?
This is a complicated question. Although some series may look unique, they are very closely related. Some are a response to a particular time or location, while an ongoing series can show the growth within a particular idea. I can appreciate both ways of working; I do feel I need to have some more spontaneous work along with the controlled because they reinforce each other. An example of this would be In-between series, which was made during the time I began the Focus series. Although this work does not look too similar, In-between allowed me to explore shape and space in a way that can be seen in the Focus series. There are also some repeated patterns between the two.