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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Finding Purpose Through the Darkness | Podcast Episode with Jenny Brown
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On this episode of Art & Cocktails, Kat talks to collage artist Jenny Brown about her journey and how she discovered her artistic voice, overcame adversity, let go of the shame surrounding her dreams and gained clarity in her art career. 

This episode includes conversations about:

  • Discovering your creative calling

  • Student loan debt and financial struggle

  • Overcoming depression and more

Jenny Brown is a 1996 graduate of Bennington College and she received her MFA in 2005 from The School of Visual Arts, where she focused on the mediums of painting, drawing, and collage. She moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 2008, and in 2018 set up space at Lyra Art Studios in the city’s Olneyville neighborhood. Her most recent solo show, “When You Speak to Me, This is What I See,” was curated by Periphery Space and presented at Paper Nautilus in Providence, RI, featuring a studio-like installation of her collages and drawings.

Artist Statement

Over the past decade, I have become captivated with exploring ideas surrounding the existence of a parallel or “alt” universe, and finding a way to represent it visually. What if we opened everyday doors and instead of seeing what we expected to see, we saw how we existed in the same moment but in another place in time? What if that alternative world wasn’t frightening, but instead place where color, nature, and our souls made sense in their own unique and curious way?

As an artist who sees the process of creating art as non-linear, I find that I experience the past, present, and future lives of my work all simultaneously. These periods of time happen all at once, maybe not at all, and sometimes infinitely with no end in sight. I find everyday curiousness, the physical mementos (such as photographs & paper ephemera I use in my work), and the history and images from past travels to be present every time I bring pen to paper. For when one speaks to me about my work and my creative process, I wish they could see it all-the beginnings, the unknowns, the forgotten, the lost, the joyous, and the never-ending beauty of the story that brought me to this exact place and time.

I am a 1996 graduate of Bennington College and received my MFA in 2005 from The School of Visual Arts, where I focused on the study of painting, drawing, and collage. I moved to Rhode Island, in 2008 and currently work out of a studio in Providence’s Olneyville neighborhood. I have collaborated with retail brands such as Anthropolgie and Alex & Ani, worked in a variety of art education settings both as a teacher and a mentor, and have over a decade of experience in event planning and facilities management in the corporate sector.

Learn more at www.jennybrownart.com

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

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

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

Listen here.

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Women Working in the Arts: Alana Voldman
Image courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Image courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

For our first-ever women’s issue (available for purchase here) I profiled four young and entrepreneurial women working in the arts to highlight those not only creating work, but also those who are supporting artists as curators, gallerists, educators, writers, and more! I’m keeping this series going on our blog with this mini-interview with art consultant Alana Voldman.

Image courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Image courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Alana Voldman is an independent art consultant currently based in Antwerp, Belgium. Originally from southern California, she first relocated to Chicago to study art history at DePaul University, after which she began working with several Asian art galleries in the city. She eventually relocated to London to pursue a Master's Degree in Art Business at Sotheby's Institute of Art, with an emphasis on 20th-century art and modern design. In 2017, she relocated to Antwerp, first working as a curatorial assistant at the MoMu Fashion Museum, and now as a freelance advisory consultant and art writer for several companies and institutions. 

Choose one woman artist from history or who is working today and tell us about why she inspires you or has had an impact on you.

I have always been drawn to German-born artist Anni Albers, both for her amazing textile works and her personal story. Forced into weaving, the only workshop available to women during the early years of her art education at the Bauhaus school, she was able to transcend the medium from craft to a recognized and functional art form. In line with the Bauhaus approach to form meeting function, Albers at first explored the limitations of her materials, making objects that not only looked nice but also served a purpose.  Eventually, she became known for her distinct use of color, and 'pictorial weavings', which were essentially modernist artworks made through the process of weaving. What I really admire is her sense of persistence - she mastered something despite it not being her first choice - during a war and in a male-dominated industry no less. It is very easy to be discouraged in the art industry, especially because it can feel quite oversaturated and as if (money-making) opportunities are rare. I often remind myself of people like Albers who had to persevere under even harsher limitations.

Image courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London . Photo is by Tim Nighswander/Imaging4Art

Image courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London . Photo is by Tim Nighswander/Imaging4Art

The Power of Imagination with Shamona Stokes
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On this episode of Art & Cocktails, Kat interviews artist Shamona Stokes about her creative journey and how she overcame her fear of being an artist.

Shamona Stokes (b. 1980) is a ceramic sculptor from Jersey City, New Jersey. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY (2002). Her iconic sculptures explore the archetypes and imaginary figures of the subconscious.

In 2017, she presented her first sculptural collection, “hypnos”, at Allouche Gallery, NYC as one of the regional semi-finalists in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. In just two short years, Shamona has gotten wide exposure and has shown at venues throughout the country including art fairs during both Armory & Frieze weeks (NYC 2018) and, most recently, at the SCOPE Art Fair during Art Basel (Miami 2018) where she exhibited with MUTT Collective.

Support Shamona’s big project on  Kickstarter .

Support Shamona’s big project on Kickstarter.

Hidden Nature: Interview with Darko Vuckovic
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Talent is a good advantage, but it brings us to our goal only if nurtured through constant work.

Vuckovic was born in Podgorica, Montenegro and graduated from Faculty of Fine Arts in Cetinje in 2001, in the class of professor Dragan Karadzic, painting department.

From 1999 to 2000, he attended L’ecole Superrieure d’Art du Grenoble, France, where he started to experiment in computer-generated imagery, photography and experimental sound.

In 2012, he completed specialized studies, painting department, at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade, in the class of professor Zoran Vukovic. He has been a member of ULUCG (Association of visual artists of Montenegro) since 2002.

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The Heraldry of Nature (Imprints and Traces)

Every shape in the visible nature, the smallest as well as the biggest, is revealed as harmony. 

The Māori from Polynesia had the word “mana” for expressing the unity of things, the strong feeling that life is a unity in which not only gods, people and all living things partake, but also things that to us seem dead. “Mana” thus represents an immediate experience of the “sacred force that permeates life”. All of their art is filled with spirals as visual displays of the force. They were engraved into wood and stone, painted, or even tattooed on the body. One can find identical spiral motives in many other parts of the world, some originating from prehistoric times.

In nature we find the spiral movement in the structure of the DNA molecule, as well as in the spiral galaxies. The “murmur” of the cosmos is expressed through shape, just as fine sand placed on a string instrument makes precise geometric shapes when one plays a tone.

György Doczi, a Hungarian architect from the early 20th century, discovered the same mathematical laws at the basis of architecture, the elements of landscape, the anatomy of humans, animals and plants, the tone scale, the rhythm in poetry, prompting him to introduce the concept of a dynergic pattern“.

The displayed works have a common thread. They represent different imprints of the universal energy flow, which is visible just partly. This energy weaves tirelessly behind the curtain of the material world, maintaining it and driving it. The idea once obsessed J. W. Goethe (Essay on the plant), and later Rudolf Steiner when he speaks about the active spiritual reality, deeming it the cause of what we perceive with our outer senses. The wide field of his work and his views had a profound impact on art: the works of Kandinsky, and later Joseph Beuys, among others.

Occasionally, the hidden, dynamical and changeable nature finds its artistic expression and displays itself in physical form. That is why I consider myself only as a formal author of these works.

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When and how were you first introduced to working with ceramics?

I started doing ceramics about ten years ago. Considering I received a degree in painting, the main techniques of my artistic expression were drawing, painting, photo collages. A set of circumstance led to my sharing a studio with some sculptors. This was a decisive factor for my gradual shift to ceramics and getting to know its secrets. Ceramics enabled me to add a third dimension to the visual images I created. I was and still am fascinated by the possibilities it offers, which are practically inexhaustible.

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What inspires your work?

Inspiration is something that is in my case spontaneous, which arrives the moment I start communicating with the material, in this case with clay.

There are certain conditions that have a positive effect on achieving a required state of sensitivity when creativity can be expressed in the proper way.

Frequent trips to nature contribute to this state. The rhythms of nature and its changes are somewhat similar to the rhythms of the forms I create. My forms are organic and changeable, almost natural.

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What is your process like when you start a new sculpture?

In most cases, I don’t have a clear idea and plan about what I wish to accomplish because I want to leave open the possibility of a surprise.

I allow the forms to change by their own inner rhythm and impulse. This is probably the main reasons why the technique has been holding my interest for so long. Later, after the first round of baking clay, some additional effects are made with texture and glaze, making it even more interesting. Sculptures are often baked multiple times in a row until the desired effect is achieved.

Below is the link for my short film on clay and an ancient method of sculpture making. The film was screened at the AVI Fest - Short Film Festival 2017, where it won the first prize.

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Who are some artists that inspire you?

It used to be Hieronymus Bosch and Flemish painters. Afterward, surrealists like Max Ernst, the metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico, but also M.C. Escher.

As for sculptures, I am most fascinated by the sculptures by Joan Miro and some works by Joseph Beuys.

These are the artists whose work always leaves an impression on me.

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What has been the most challenging aspect of your career thus far? How did you overcome it?

The greatest challenge is persisting in doing what one loves. It isn’t always easy. It means not compromising what one considers truly worthy of doing. Like the moment I left my steady office job as a graphic designer so I would have more time for my artwork. It often means entering a zone of economic instability. These decisions bring many questions, doubts, and dwellings, and one needs to learn how to cope with that. It becomes easier as time goes by.

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What would you say your greatest strength is as an artist?

For me, art is something that gives meaning even at times when we cannot find it in our surrounding, in the outer world. The fact itself is encouraging and gives strength and motivation. For me, that is enough.

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Do you have a piece of advice you have received that you would like to share with our readers?

There is good advice in the tale about Aladdin. It says that if you rub the lamp long enough, a genie will appear. The lamp represents us and our unnurtured talents. This means that if we are persistent and focused, results are inevitable. Talent is a good advantage, but it brings us to our goal only if nurtured through constant work.

The Economy of Poetic Verse: Interview with Stacey Beach

Stacey Beach is a painter without paint, making two-dimensional works of fabric, both solid and patterned, incorporating hand-drawn and screen-printed elements. Inspired by the economy of poetic verse and the transgressive in fashion, she works with collage, beginning with a pared down vocabulary of shape and form. Beach allows the fabric to make its own moves once it is sewn and stretched on a panel, allowing the wrinkles and pulls in the textile to add to the composition.  The works embrace awkward and uneasy relationships, exploring the concepts of beauty and anti-beauty, construction and decay, form and void.

Stacey Beach lives and works in Berkeley, CA. She received her MFA from California College of the Arts and has exhibited in California and New York, where she worked as a studio assistant to Takashi Murakami.

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Tell me about your creative journey so far. Were you creative as a child? What made you decide to pursue art?

Art making has always been a part of my life, and from my earliest days in school, the art room was where I felt at home and felt that I belonged. My parents were always supportive of any direction I wanted to take, so when I decided that I wanted to pursue art in school, they supported that 100%. I went to both undergrad and grad school for painting and have never looked back. It has always just been what I do. This means I have worked many odd jobs, waitressing, in cafes, galleries, and as an art assistant, but have always had the mentality that these are the job but my work is my artwork. I have had my ups and downs with that balance though, and at times the 9-5 job has defeated my creativity. I feel like I've come to a place where I don't feel like I have any more time to screw around, like this is it, and my drive is stronger than ever to make the work that I see in my head.

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Where did your interest in textiles come from?

Since I was a child, fashion has fascinated me, and I love the idea of decorating one’s self. I love the drama of fashion and pattern, form and proportion. I learned to sew when I was young and it has always been a tool in my home, but never a serious pursuit. Painting was my main interest creatively. But after a few years of creative frustration after working as an art assistant in NY, I started quilting when I was pregnant with my son, and sold quilts for a time when I was feeling that I just wanted to make useful things rather than art. I quickly realized I did not find joy in recreating my quilt designs and what I was making was becoming much less quilt-like and much more like my paintings. I feel I’ve finally found a medium that is much more personally connect to my sense of self than paint.

What is your current body of work about?

I am currently working on a series that focuses on textiles and highlights the medium of fabric as the subject of the work. The craft of construction through sewing is of critical importance, the textiles are joined by a thread, not glue, resulting in pulls and wrinkles when stretched on the final panel support. The pulls create line and texture, imperfections and a tactile closeness. I am currently interested in spaces that are traditionally female like interiors and looking at objects of decoration.

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Talk about your experience working with Takashi Murakami. What were some highlights and important things you took away from it?

Working for Takashi was a once in a lifetime experience, I am super grateful to have had that opportunity. I admire his dedication to work and art, and the team that I worked with was an amazing group of artists. We were really on a crazy ride together. Painting for another artist is something that was hard on me creatively, we worked such long hours there was nothing left outside of work. I kept pulling back my hours until finally, I needed to make a drastic change to reclaim my creative life and moved to New Mexico. I took this time as a time to work with no one looking, to reassess what was important to me in art. I focused on line drawings and collage. I didn’t paint again for years.

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Describe your creative process. How does each work come to life?

It always varies, there may be an image that is stuck in my mind, like the coat in Matisse’s Woman in a Purple Coat and I really wanted to make a piece like that, that had a prominent textile as the composition. Other times there may be a pattern that I’ve designed and screen printed on several yards of fabric and keep playing with until it finds a home. Other times, pieces that didn’t turn out as I wanted are cut up and that edited form is the base for new work. I arrange and rearrange, snapping pictures on my phone like a sketchbook until it is resolved.

What is currently inspiring you?

Matisse, Georgia O’keefe’s biography, textile design, American folk art and the amount of women artists out there right now working like total bosses.

Giving up Is Not an Option with Ashley Longshore
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Join Ashley Longshore and Kat on this special episode. We talk about the hard stuff: working through financial difficulty, not giving up, trusting and believing in yourself during times of uncertainty, staying in a positive frequency no matter what and working with high end clients. 

Sarah Ashley Longshore is a Louisiana-based painter, gallery owner, and entrepreneur. She is the owner of the Longshore Studio Gallery, located on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Longshore's art focuses on pop culture, Hollywood glamour, and American consumerism and has been compared to the artwork of Andy Warhol.

www.ashleylongshore.com

www.instagram.com/ashleylongshoreart

A Quiet Revolution: Interview with Martin Beck
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I want my work to reflect this through the study of the nude form as something that uplifts our experience of being human. This is not prescriptive art and does not have the power to change the world. But it might help spark a quiet revolution in one’s own experience.
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Martin Beck is a figurative artist best known for large pastel and mixed media paintings of the nude human form. These drawings often contain palimpsests – ghost figures from previous drawings - that evoke half-forgotten dreams or alternate realities. 
Beck has exhibited widely with solo shows at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH and the Jersey City Museum, NJ and most recently at ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL. Recent group exhibitions include Mixed Media at Site:Brooklyn, New York, NY and Art Connections 13 at George Segal Gallery, Montclair, NJ. His exhibitions have been reviewed in The New York Times and The Sunday Star Ledger. 

In 2019 Beck’s work will be included in the publication International Drawing Annual 13, Manifest Press, Cincinnati, and the Create Magazine Winter print edition. An interview with the artist is currently live on VoyageChicago.

Martin Beck received two New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowships (1994, 2000). Beck holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Cum Laude, from State University of New York at Buffalo. In April 2009 Martin Beck participated in the two-week residency MMMart, medana.art pomlad in Medana, Slovenia. 

Martin Beck’s work solo exhibition pal•imp•sest(2): bearing traces of earlier forms is currently on view until March 30, 2019 at MS Rezny Gallery, Lexington, KY.

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What is your creative process like? You tend to work on prepared paper. What do you typically do to prep a sheet of paper?

I’ve recently gotten involved with the process and the nature of materials. My main tools are chalk pastels, brushes, a random orbit sander, sanding blocks, atomizers and sometimes a garden hose. Mark making is an important element as I build up the surface over time through multiple life drawing sessions. I’m interested in creating a visceral experience for the viewer and provide a journey into the art-making process.

There are two methods I use to start a piece. The first begins with a drawing from life on a blank sheet of paper. This could be a sheet of gesture drawing or some other result of a life drawing session. These drawings are often incomplete. So, after the session, I manipulate them – prepare them by applying water or pigment (usually both), or sand them, apply to spray paint and let them dry in the sun on a textured surface. This provides a rich ground to work on.

The second method involves preparing the paper with various media: gouache, dry pigment, graphite, spray paint and acrylics. After either of these two methods, I’ll have a toned piece of paper with arbitrary marks and color that seem like abstract paintings.

I use this paper in life drawing sessions using some of the accidental marks, color, and texture as information to enhance the act of drawing. I respond to the paper almost as much as to the model. A resulting unsuccessful drawing on prepared paper might be further manipulated by obscuring the image with water, medium, and sanding. In those cases, the ground becomes quite thick with layers of color and texture. The final piece is more like a painting than a drawing.

As a result of all the layers, these works on paper often contain palimpsests – ghost figures from previous drawings - that evoke half-forgotten dreams or alternate realities. Or, as the 4th-century philosopher Augustine of Hippo wrote: “A present of things past, a present of things present and a present of things future.”

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What about the human form inspires you?

I am fascinated by the Neue Sachlichkeit artists of pre-World War II Germany. Their work was informed by the experience of the First World War, the turmoil of Germany society at the time and the dehumanizing aspects of new technology. We are living through a similar time with our own seemingly endless wars and terrorism, climate change and income inequality, gun violence, racism, and bigotry.

We are distracted from our lives through the ubiquity of social media and the hand-held device. We are jaded, selfish, insensitive and addicted to convenience and immediate gratification. It seems like society has a metabolic disease.

So, we are living in a difficult and interesting time. I want my work to reflect this through the study of the nude form as something that uplifts our experience of being human. This is not prescriptive art and does not have the power to change the world. But it might help spark a quiet revolution in one’s own experience. I want my work to help “express and overcome our humanity” (a quote that I, unfortunately, can’t attribute).

I’ve written elsewhere that our bodies are road maps of our individual experience. Part of that is the model’s self-expression. Hairstyle, tattoos, piercings, body hair or lack of, makeup or lack of are all clues to their identity. My work also then presents an emphatic confirmation of personality and a space to contemplate and celebrate humanity in all its variety.

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How has your style and technique evolved over the years?

I’ve always been a figurative artist because of my fascination with people and how we live in our culture. My work used to consist of large multi-figural paintings with social and political themes, based on photos and invention.

These were demanding pieces to make, made more difficult since I have Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), an autoimmune arthritic disease. For years I was able to control it using over-the-counter drugs, but when the disease intensified in 2012, I had to make some changes. Standing or sitting at the easel for extended periods is no longer possible. I’m currently focused on drawing and painting from life in two to four hours long sessions with the model. These sessions are challenging, but the level of intense observation and control necessary allows my body to “fall away". It’s like moving meditation. And focusing on another person in this way is uplifting and liberating.

These physical limitations also have me working in a more quick and loose way. The tight control I used to exercise isn’t possible. I’ve had to “let go” and let the cosmos help me draw through accidental mark making. As a result, there is a certain amount of surrealism and abstraction in my work.

I’ve also developed a sense of how ephemeral our experiences are. Working from life is like trying to capture time. The materials I use are fragile. The paper, pastel and water media are supple and vulnerable.

I’ve come to believe that the nude speaks most directly of the human condition. To study another’s face and form is to understand their essential humanity: their frailty and imperfection. My own arthritic condition has allowed me to see more of these qualities in the others. I’ve also found that if you study anyone with the level of intensity my kind of figurative work requires, you see their beauty and strength as well.

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What is your favorite thing to focus on when you are drawing someone?

In a way, I am more concerned with the act of drawing than the finished piece. Just as people are complex the attempt to depict them involves many variables. I try to let the figure emerge from the ground and let the model’s presence inhabit the prepared paper. It is remarkable how palpably present the model is once you begin to draw them.

The model often looks inward as they try to hold a pose. Some of that inwardness is outwardly expressed, not only in their face but also in their body. I’ve come to think of these pieces as portraits, even when the face isn’t visible or there is no likeness.

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How have you overcome setbacks in your career?

There are times when it’s difficult to deal with the career aspects of art-making, especially in a society that prizes money-making above all else. But I recall that the opportunity to make art is a privilege. Having a voice in our society through art even more so, and as such a responsibility. In my practice, the concern is not with the finished piece but the experience of art-making. For me each piece is like a journey – and I feel a responsibility to share that with my audience.

The act of drawing expands outward into other parts of my life. Whatever happens, is part of the larger journey of trying to be in the moment. This attitude is in part informed by my AS, which has forced me to deal with physical limitations. Despite treatment, it’s a disease that waxes and wanes and so the other shoe is always about to drop.

Tessa Miller wrote recently in the New York Times about having a chronic disease that “…your relationship with yourself changes. You grieve a version of yourself that doesn’t exist anymore and a future version that looks different than you’d planned.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/18/smarter-living/five-things-i-wish-i-knew-chronic-illness-crohns-disease-ibd.html)

And maybe that’s the source of my current fascination with the nude – to capture the artist and model in such a fleeting moment so that the four-hour session endures. Despite inherent fragility.

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What are you up to in 2019? Anything we should be on the lookout for?

My solo exhibition pal•imp•set(2): bearing traces of earlier forms currently on exhibit at 
MS Rezny Gallery is an exciting event for me as it is my first solo show in my new home town, Lexington, Kentucky. Seventeen recent works will be on display through March 30.

A two-person show at the Lexington Art League tentatively titled The Present of Things Past will be on view July 26 – August 23. This exhibition of figurative work by myself and Brandon C. Smith should have interesting juxtapositions and intersections. Brandon and I both run life drawing sessions here in Lexington. His on Thursday nights at the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts and my Sunday afternoon in my studio.

Two somewhat unusual pieces will be on display at the One Shot exhibition at Manifest Gallery March 8-April 5 in Cincinnati, OH. This show features works done in one sitting and my works on paper generally evolve over time. These two pieces came together in one session.

My work is also included in the publication International Drawing Annual 13, Manifest Press, Cincinnati, available mid-2019.

An interview with images is currently live on http://voyagechicago.com/interview/art-life-martin-beck/

Please visit https://www.spondylitis.org/ for more information about Ankylosing Spondylitis and related chronic arthritic diseases.

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Interview with Megan Magill: Venus with Folds 
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Megan Magill is an artist based in Chicago and Maine. She received her Masters from Northwestern University and her MFA from Maine Media College. Her work has been exhibited in group and joint shows nationally and she was recently a semi-finalist in the Print Center's International Competition. My Business is Circumference was featured at the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography and The Habit of Winning was featured in F-Stop Magazine’s portfolio issue with an interview by William Cox and in a print publication with LDOC . In the fall of 2017 her was published in American: Authors, Interpreters, and Composers a book series created by Patricio Binaghi of Paripe Books and designed by Matt Wiley of the New York Times Magazine. 

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Statement: Venus with Folds 

I begin each piece with a xerox copy of a woman's painted portrait. Most of the paintings are well known, and others were found through a google search for 'famous portrait paintings' which I then narrowed down to paintings of women. So far all have been painted by men and folded by a woman but this is not a requirement...it's just what predominates when you search for 'famous.' I don't have a preconceived idea of how each piece will look...I just start folding and re-folding until I've made something that feels right to me. The process is in part a visual exercise is seeing something new in something that already exists. A way of keeping my options open and my optimism up. Photographing them after I've folded them extends the process. 

How did your artistic career begin?

I started making art in 2009 after taking a class on the history of photography at my local art center. I realized pretty quickly that art was a long lost friend that I had lost touch with years earlier for reasons of ‘practicality.’ Photography was my entry into art and remains an integral part of my practice as the majority of my work springs from found imagery.

In your artist statement, you mention that you begin most of your work with existing imagery, where do you tend to find this imagery? Do you have any criteria that you look for?

For about 2 years I collected imagery somewhat obsessively. I bought crumpled up old photos primarily at antique stores, huge lots of old Kodachrome slides through eBay and also a number of old college yearbooks from the ’40s and ’50s. I am still amazed at some of the images I was able to find. I am drawn to collect images that speak to our shared humanity from a somewhat demented point of view.

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What is the first thing you do when you start a new piece?

At the moment my entry into a piece is to draw over an existing image digitally. I start on my iPad and just see where it goes.

What is your favorite part of your creative process?

The excitement I get when something that I have created surprises me and makes me gasp just a little.

In a few statements describing your different bodies of work you reflect on the idea of not having control over every aspect of your work, how does this mindset affect the way you work?

I think this mindset helps me keep an open mind to where a piece might want to go. I spent a good portion of my life (before I started out as an artist) trying to control my life to the nth degree. What I realized is that not only did this suck the joy out of living but often I would end up in places that I no longer wanted to be and would wonder how in the hell I got there. Staying open to the process keeps me in the moment of making and lets a piece evolve like a collaboration. This doesn’t mean that every piece will work out but they do have a better chance of surprising me and taking me to places that my logical brain might not have mapped out ahead of time.

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What has been the most challenging part of your artistic career?

Hmmm. I went to a school that was primarily for photographers and filmmakers to get my MFA. It was a great education but I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t really a photographer and so finding my place in the art world has maybe been more challenging because I’ve had to forge new relationships outside of the ones that I made in school in addition to teaching myself new processes. But this is also part of the fun…so challenge=fun.

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What should we be on the lookout for in 2019?

I am SUPER excited about some of the things I am working on. I have a series of sketches I am calling ‘you me and everyone we know.’ I have plans to turn these into hook rugs (I have one already started) and oil paintings. I hope to have the first hook rug completed this month.

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Second Chances: Podcast Interview with Michael Kalmbach, Artist and the Director of The Creative Vision Factory
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Have you ever felt disappointed in the course of your art career and even doubted your journey? On this episode, Michael Kalmbach shares his story of overcoming addiction, navigating his own art career and using parts of his story and life experiences to serve the community. 

www.michaelkalmbach.com

www.thecreativevisionfactory.org

About Michael

Michael Kalmbach received his MFA at the University of Delaware in 2008. Shortly after graduation he accepted a position at the Delaware College of Art & Design, and founded the New Wilmington Art Association, an organization that organized exhibitions of contemporary art in Wilmington’s vacant retail spaces from August 2008 to April 2013. This work led to Michael’s involvement with the Chris White Community Development Corporation, which developed the 23-unit artist live/work space, Shipley Lofts. Kalmbach served the CWCDC as Board Chairman from 2013-2016. In June 2011 he accepted a contract with the State’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to develop and direct an art program in downtown Wilmington. The Creative Vision Factory has been open since December of 2011, and fosters the creative potential of individuals on the behavioral health spectrum in a studio art environment that cultivates integration with the community through a program of exhibitions, workshops, and communal work space

Creative Vision Factory

The Creative Vision Factory opened its doors in December of 2011. Funded by the State of Delaware’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, it is one of several peer-run programs incubated by the sweeping reform of Delaware’s greater mental health system. The Creative Vision Factory is on a path to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. As a peer-run nonprofit agency, the Factory will be uniquely situated to serve the community, in the heart of an arts and cultural district, that sees the behavioral health population as a genuine partner in the development of a more creative and just City of Wilmington.

Podcast Interview: The Art History Babes

On this episode, Kat interviews Corrie and Natalie (2/4 of the Art History Babes) about the inspiration behind the Art History Babes podcast, handling criticism, the challenges of starting your own projects, building a community instead of competition and more. 

"The Art History Babes are four lady pals with Masters’ degrees in Art History that love to drink wine and discuss visual culture. The show explores various aspects of art and art history from a largely interdisciplinary perspective. Our primary goal is to make art accessible, promote curiosity, and illuminate how relevant and fun the study of visual culture can be."

www.arthistorybabes.com

https://www.patreon.com/arthistorybabes

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Using Your Voice: Podcast Interview with Erika b Hess

Join us for a fun co-interview with artist Erika b Hess who recently launched her own podcast, I Like Your Work. We talk about artist residencies, feminism, and being a painter, podcasting and entrepreneurship. Erika and I also discuss the importance of fostering our own artist communities and using our voice as artists.

Erika b Hess is a painter based in Boston recognized for her use and interest in color. Hess’s work has been exhibited nationally including Prince Street Gallery in NYC, Last Projects in Los Angles, CA, and Boston Center for the Arts in Boston, MA. In 2017, she had two solo exhibitions, “The Line Between the Past and the Present,” at Musa Collective, Allston MA and “Viewing Light,” at Newton Free Library, Newton, MA. Her work has been featured in various publications including, Poets and Artists, Fresh Paint, Charles River Journal and Post Industrial Complex, a book released by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Her work was selected by John Seed to be featured in, “Fifty Memorable Artists 2015”. She has served on panels such as Cleveland Institute of Art’s, “Feminism Now: Exposing the Truth”, was a visiting juror for Dayton Visual Art Center’s 2016-2018 biennial, and is a recurring juror for the Walker Art MFA Prize at Boston University. Hess is a co-founder of MUSA Collective, an artist-run collective in Boston, and received her MFA from Boston University.

I Like Your Work is dedicated to interviewing creative people from painters and artists to collectors and curators. People who are involved in a creative lifestyle and also in building community within the arts. 

You can see images of artist work on the blog or on Instagram at ilikeyourworkpodcast.



Between Love and Fear: Interview with Horacio Quiroz

Based in México City. After working for several years in advertisment industry, I began my self-taught painting studies in 2013. 

I graduated in Graphic Design from Universidad Iberoamericana. Following this, I worked for nearly twelve years as the Creative Art Director for various renowned international advertising agencies, such as Publicis México and Zeta Advertising. As a publicist, I learned to work under pressure on several projects at once; I gained a thorough understanding of how the industry works through dealing with customers, planners, brand managers, designers, producers, models etc.

Despite working full-time as a publicist, my artistic education never stopped, as I was always learning from the work of other art directors and great photographers, whom I was fortunate to work with both here in Mexico and abroad. 

In 2013, driven by my passion for the visual arts, I decided to leave behind advertising and devote myself entirely to artistic activity, to somehow reconnect with the spontaneity I had in my childhood. Thus, over the last four years, I have launched myself on a new career path, experimenting with various self-taught techniques of pictorial representation, formats and themes, which have guided how I define my vision and identity as an artist. This change in my life has given rise to deep personal introspection, closely linked to what now shapes my body of work.

Photo courtesy of  http://www.fabianml.com/

Photo courtesy of http://www.fabianml.com/

STATEMENT

My work is a reflection on the human condition, linked intimately to my psychological and therapeutic evolution. I view the body as a mechanism that not only functions physiologically, but as an emotional vessel that contains our entire temporal and spiritual history. In this way, the body perceives matter and space, through which it learns to experience its own humanity.

Everything around us has a dual manifestation. We have day and night, good and evil, feminine and masculine, love and fear, etc. This is so obvious that it is taken for granted. Consequently everything, absolutely everything that exists, has to be composed of the duality of these opposites. In my work, these apparently discordant forces are expressed in the flesh as a single dynamic unity.

Starting with the body’s emotional fluctuation, I explore the oscillation between love and fear as primary antagonistic vital forces, using the human body as a tool to represent the constant movement of our reality. This permits the incarnation of mutant emotions through the creation of impossible anatomies, similar after a fashion to x-rays of the experiences that we undergo as people while evolving.  

In the same way, my painting explores the boundaries of the tensions between the aesthetic and the non-aesthetic on the same support. It probes the resulting dichotomous movement between the beautiful and the grotesque.

www.horacioquiroz.com

You went from working in advertising to leaving it behind and becoming a self-taught artist. Can you tell us about that transition and how it affected your work?

No doubt working for many years surrounded by talented creatives in the gestation and production of visual messages educated my eye and my aesthetic conception. I acquired the discipline and understanding to realize that good ideas take time. However, in my case, advertising showed me that which I didn’t want to be.

From my personal point of view, advertising sells via deception, projects idealized scenarios and nonexistent archetypes. Needs and products are newly created to prevent large corporations from losing market share, preying upon people's anxieties.

Advertising generates plausible realities, where there is no room for polarity, much less negative emotion. It presents a reality devoid of substance, where the only purpose (with the sole intention of selling) is to make you believe that buying a certain product will make you "happy".

I was exhausted from being part of this vicious circle that feeds the collective unconscious with ideas and concepts, in which I don’t believe. This situation was compounded by my own extreme anger and frustration at having abandoned drawing and painting for so long (these were natural and extremely satisfying activities during my infancy and adolescence).

Similarly, I was annoyed with myself for ending up working in publicity. Since this had never been a planned decision, but rather where life and circumstances led me

Although being a painter was something I greatly desired, the fear I felt was proportional to my love for doing it. The process was not unlike coming out of the closet, but this time as an artist. I didn’t know what it would be until I was able to actually experience it. Before that, it was nothing more than a vague idealization, a world unknown and undiscovered, somewhere completely cut off from ads and ad agencies.

I built a small studio in my house and locked myself in there to teach myself to paint. This forced me to realize that I needed to rethink what I wanted from my life, where I wanted to direct it and what kind of person I wanted to be. I also realized how closely linked my personal life was to my professional work.

Via psychological therapy and introspection, I have sorted through many personal issues, nothing out of the ordinary, existential problems we all have. The painting also emerged as part of that cathartic process and, just as I did as a child, I took refuge in my drawings to make sense of my existence. The painting now began to function similarly, helping me let go of frustration, fear, and anger.

Accepting that I was petrified with fear was key to moving forward. In the same way, I realized that when you act with love, doors open.

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How do you go about starting a new painting?

My process varies from painting to painting. It oscillates between the freedom of expression when drawing/painting and in conjunction with photographic references. Sometimes I start from a mental sketch, sometimes from a photo. I try to visualize an already finished painting, although this visualization changes a lot during the process: Sometimes things turn out very differently to how originally imagined them. As soon as the feeling comes over me I just let it happen, I don’t really pay too much attention to it. I do like to put a lot of emphasis and detail in the eyes because I think they transmit much so much emotion/information. A lack of patience is a big obstacle for me; I struggle to control my temperament and I despair of the process, I need to breathe slowly, relax and maintain communication with the canvas, so as not to get lost. I have a hard time concentrating.

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Can you tell us about the distortion of the figure in your paintings? When did you start painting in that style?

My style simply came about, it wasn’t conceptualized. I can’t give you some rational explanation of how it emerged. What I can tell you, is that when I began my career as a painter I was weighed down by years of frustration and career dissatisfaction. So when I decided to change my profession and dedicate myself to art, painting functioned as a catharsis representing the internal exploration of my psychological processes.

Considering that humans are an amalgam of dually-opposed, antagonistic elements such as the body and the spirit, I can view this humanity as a physiological mechanism, but also as an emotional vessel that contains our entire temporal and spiritual history. In this way, the body perceives matter and space, through which it learns to experience its own humanity.

In my work, these apparently discordant, dual forces of reality are expressed in the flesh as a single dynamic unity, as a representation of the movement of the human body. This dynamism facilitates the creation of mutant emotions through the creation of impossible anatomies. Similar, I like to think, to x-rays of people’s experiences while they are in the process of evolving.

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How have your paintings evolved over your career?

I guess my style has evolved over a few years I've been painting. Compared now to the past, the color palette is much more varied, the compositions are more complicated and the aesthetic, although still surrealistic, is less grotesque or obscure. My work has always been a reflection of my emotional situation and the evolution can obviously be attributed to that.

Yet I feel my career is too young so I can see a quite clear evolution I think need more time and space to notice it by my self but aesthetically speaking, it would be difficult for me not to continue painting human bodies. However, in terms of specific themes, I have no idea how the content of my work will be developed over time. Actually, I tackle topics such as transsexuality, feminism, homosexuality and emotional disability, because these are the social issues that interest me. In the future I suppose, I will continue to touch on those issues that affect society.

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On your website you have a few installations that you have done, can you tell us about those? How did they come about? How was creating them in comparison to creating a painting?

Yes, those installations are composed by drawings, sketches, and quotes during the creative process on the making of a painting or a whole body of work, it is a natural process to me where all the ideas come together. The paper works installations are just about to share what is going on the walls of the studio while creation is taking place and bring that intimate process into the gallery.

This time, I've also been playing with garments for the installations. My interest is to take the painting out of its dimension and propose a different approach to the pictorial image through a three-dimensional object, which in this case is a garment.

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What is the best piece of advice you can give to artists looking to transition out of a day job and focus solely on their art?

I would say don’t be afraid and do it as long as your desire is true. You must also plan your finances.

Where do you hope your work will go moving forward?

I don’t like to think about that I prefer to keep working hard and be ready when the opportunity comes.

Finally, I just want to invite you to my solo show "Polarities" in NYC at Booth Gallery on view now through October 20th. This is my debut solo show in the US. The collection includes 11 paintings, 4 of which come paired with garments and almost 50 works on paper.

Photos courtesy of Fabian Ml

Psychological Portals: Interview with Valentine Aprile

By Sarah Mills

Valentine Aprile is a multi-disciplinary artist.  Her eclectic arts education includes The University of the Arts (drawing/painting, modern dance, and arts in education), The Art Students League of New York, Nimble Arts (VT), The Maggie Flanigan Acting Conservatory, and The Martha Graham School of Dance. Previously she has won varied arts awards in Philadelphia, her past creative home. As a visual artist her work has been shown in galleries, museums, and alternative art spaces nationally and in the UK. She is currently based in New York involved in multiple projects, directing, painting, and occasionally leading workshops. 

Statement

I am creating psychological portals, or visual meditations, marrying abstraction and life study by utilizing both traditional techniques and intuitive improvisation.  My work is informed by observation of human behavior and sociopolitical events as well as my own life experiences. I experience the world from the perspective of a woman artist and a single parent of little means striving to move forward in a patriarchal wealth based society. Yet I see magic and potential for change and remain optimistic.

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How did you start merging abstract work and figure studies?

I started playing around with the idea a little bit in college. I've always been more interested in psychological stories and imaginative play than just trying to recreate what I see in front of me. However, learning the technical skills needed to be able to understand and create form and space etc has proven invaluable. At some point, I became more interested in performance work and the capabilities of the body and expression in that regard. I've always tried to bring my visceral understanding of that to my visual work. However, it wasn't until after I had my daughter, in 2005, that I started seriously experimenting with the idea. More so in the last few years, and I look forward to pushing that process further in coming work.

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Can you tell us a little about your figure drawing process?

LOL!! When I draw I love to start out big, or open, and loose. I always work standing up whether drawing or painting no matter the size of my page or canvas. I like to be able to move freely, I feel like it allows more of a natural energy to flow into the work. I'm very interested in movement and sensuality. The challenge comes in keeping that sense of movement as the structure is built more solidly. ..that is, if I continue a straight up drawing beyond the gesture, which I rarely do anymore. However, when I do, I think my background in dance helps me quite a bit in that endeavor.

In dance, there is always this intense push and pull, this sense of controlled opposition, of going beyond what is pedestrian, ordinary, or 'real'. It's the yummiest. However, that being said, If I'm 'drawing' with my paint within a fuller composition, whatever sense of movement or lack thereof in the figure or portrait is dictated by the direction in which that painting takes me. Ah, so it seems my drawing process is actually quite different than my painting process... When I'm drawing I'm focused on the figure and what the figure is saying and adding compositional elements to support that. When I paint.. well...

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Describe your process for your paintings. How do you plan and execute each work?

I don't often plan out my paintings before I start. I usually begin by just getting some paint on the canvas. I love color and love watching it move and change as I improvise with additive and reductive methods trying to get to something interesting that flows well. I also make stencils that I can use to help create pattern and movement. At a certain point, I decide what kind of figure or portrait would work in that space. Then there's a back and forth between that figurative element and the surrounding space as I begin to see and refine what I'm trying to say with the image. Sometimes I choose colors to start with based on a feeling or mood I'd like to experiment with. Occasionally though I'll look at a blank canvas and imagine the face or figure of someone I know.

What I know about their personalities, how I feel about them, and how I see them in the larger world all come into play. I never sketch anything on the canvas first though.

What inspires you in your day to day life?

Environmental issues, socio-political issues, inner struggles, love, passion, and all the beautiful people in my life. I am particularly inspired by those who have an understanding of what it means to fight for something.

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What has been the most exciting moment in you art carrier so far?

Every day that I get to create and make new discoveries about myself, our world, the people I know.. that's what's exciting. Every time I get to share that work with someone else and see that they feel involved can relate, are touched somehow..that's also exciting...and teaching is exciting. So I really don't have a specific 'moment'. It's all of the moments.

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What are you currently working on?

A few things. I've actually started painting on an older canvas which used to be titled Pile-up. The new title is Onata. I'm adding a figure and it's giving the piece a whole new vibe. My daughter Onata is my model. It's technically challenging because the figure is small in comparison to the way I usually work. I'm really enjoying it though, it's been quite a while since I painted a full-ish figure of any size. In the studio photos at my work table, which I rarely use, I was working on attached work sample file number 3.

Also, a work in progress and the only one done on paper. That one is a watercolor and graphite. It's my second ever experimentation with watercolor and also uncharacteristically small as far as the figure is concerned but that movement in the figure and the passion embodied, I just really love working with that. I'm also working on finishing up an indie TV pilot as the executive producer. It's called VAL and it's about being a struggling single parent in New York trying to reach creative goals and still be a good mother and provide. From my point of view, it's not just about providing for her but also teaching her about tenacity, morals, ethics, love, strength etc...and how to be a genuinely happy well-rounded person who isn't afraid of feelings. All the juicy bits of life. Part of all that is leading by example. I will never give up on what I want for myself because I wouldn't want her to do that.

Additionally, I have a performance installation piece called Running Through the Woods that I'd love to bring to Philly. It's dark but the message is positive and runs along the same lines of never giving up. The artwork for the installation was done quite a while ago as a collaboration with James McElhinney. I've attached some of those as well. I set the poses and did the posing and he did the straight figure drawings. Then I manipulated them by adding, subtracting, or altering.

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What is your favorite thing about working with fluid paints?

The layers. The movement. The allowances for the delicacy that I can mix with texture or heavier marks should I choose. Really beautiful things are allowed to happen by chance and I get to decide whether I want to keep them or not. Sometimes those beautiful accidents can shape a whole painting, like Bed of Roses.

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