Posts tagged Painting
Nadia Waheed: Wearing Your Braid as a Badge
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Wearing Your Braid as a Badge: Challenging Expectations and Finding Your Place

By Christina Nafziger

Through the female body and cultural iconography, Nadia Waheed’s paintings explore dichotomies present in her own life as well as those that affect the female experience, one that forces women to navigate through the unrealistic, and often contradictory, expectations from others. Originally from Pakistan, and now based in Austin, Texas, the artist has lives all over the world, with her artistic practice being the space where she can claim agency and be her true self, away from judgment. The blue, pink, and orange women in her paintings often sport henna on their skin and long braids, both strong and beautiful, nodding at her cultural roots. Recently represented by the London-based gallery BEERS, Waheed shares honest advice on how to stay focused on what is truly important as an artist. Join me as Waheed opens up about her struggles overcoming personal obstacles, and discusses the challenge of balancing the two sides of East and West in her work and life. 

www.nadiawaheed.com

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Have you always considered yourself an artist? When did you first feel like you had found your voice artist voice? 

I haven’t always considered myself an artist, actually. I hold that word and title in very high regard and I don’t think that everyone who makes “art” is an artist. Artist to me implies a very high level of commitment to a certain type of work and practice. Mentally, it is not a “part time” relationship; the thinking about the work becomes something that’s always there, processing in the background of everything you do. It’s everything. I wasn’t comfortable calling myself an artist until I realized that this really was my only purpose in life. I could’ve taken another route after graduating with my BFA, but I felt so empty without my work, it was a clear sign that making paintings is an inherent part of my identity and that I could never be a functional version of myself without it. 

I grew up drawing and that was my primary method for communicating myself artistically. When I moved to paint in 2013, I didn’t at all have the same fluidity or finesse as I did with line. I believe I found my artistic voice many years ago when I was young, but it’s been a years long process of honing it. When my mentor Kevin Wolff passed away in early 2018, his death rattled and pushed me to the brink emotionally—it was like a rebirth. I lost my apprehension and stopped thinking about painting and just did it. Everything clicked into place and this body of work is what came out; Blue Portrait (Sisyphus’s Boulder) is the painting that started it all.

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Originally from Pakistan (born in Saudi, but from Karachi), how has your cultural background affected your artistic practice? Are there aspects of your work that are influenced by cultural elements or iconography?

I think it’s affected everything - it has always been something that I’ve responded to. I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere, so my sketchbook was always my sanctuary. I could be my unadulterated myself, outside the sphere of judgment from Western or Eastern culture. My practice was born from a need to belong and be understood as myself, and my studio became the space for me to do it. I am heavily influenced by the styles and themes I see back in Pakistan, and am so in love with miniature painting and Islamic architecture, but I only draw from the pieces that feel mine. The things that I’m most excited by, or scared of, are the things that you’ll see in my paintings. The weight that I see carried by women, the different weight of expectation that I see carried by others and myself. Iconography aside, I’m interested in the social dynamics of the East and West - what’s “societally appropriate,” primarily in regards to the development of young women. The difference is incredible, and balancing the two has been a challenge for me. 

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There seems to be an emphasis on hair, specifically on the braid, in your work. Can you speak a bit to this?

The braid has become a metaphor for so many things. Connection, worth, beauty, vulnerability... but maybe the simplest answer would begin with me saying that I wore a long braid similar to the women in my paintings for many years. I felt it was a tangible connection to my culture, a badge I could wear that said, “This is where I come from.” Long braids are symbols of traditional beauty in Pakistan and I pay homage to that tradition in my paintings. It’s a heavily layered symbol, a liberation and simultaneously a huge weight. It can be your pride and your greatest vulnerability; the interdependence of opposites is something I think about all the time. My grandmother’s nurse in Karachi has an incredibly long braid, down to the back of her thighs. She says she keeps her hair wound away and hidden when she’s in public because she’s afraid that her hair is going to be cut off by a jealous woman or a man who thinks she’s being shameless about her appearance. She says it’s happened before to others. I don’t think I’ve fully unpacked it, but to me, the braid says, “I’m trying to be a good Pakistani girl.” It’s totally contradicted by the nudity, but that’s my point - we can have both and still be good.  

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Can you tell me about the presence of the female in your work? Are the scenes in your paintings allegories or are they perhaps reflections on your own thoughts or experiences?

I’d say a combination of both. I love women. I love men too (I love all humans!) but I’m amazed by women every day. So much is put onto us, and for generations women have persevered, raised families under constant abuse, broken countless glass ceilings and fought for respect in society and from our male counterparts. In my paintings, all my imagery is very personal; a lot of it is a surrendering, the resignation and the waving of a white flag. Someone looked at my paintings and said that none of my figures were empowered, that this work doesn’t empower women. I still grapple with that today, but I don’t disagree. Some of these figures are not empowered. It’s because sometimes I don’t feel empowered. There is an idea of “conditional” love that I see everywhere in my world which panics me - why is our worth and value as an entity dependent on our appearance or our paycheck or our marital status? I paint women because I am a woman, and mitigating the endless layers of complexity surrounding femininity and vulnerability and whatever ideas are thrust onto us, hoops we need to jump through to be given “worth”... these are all questions I’m painting through. At this point I have no definitive answers, rather I’m more interested in the question and the idea.

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Congratulations on your gallery recent representation with BEERS London! Do you have any advice for artists seeking gallery representation?

Thank you! It was an incredibly serendipitous occurrence and I couldn’t be happier about it, BEERS has been one of my all time favorite galleries for years and I’m so thrilled to join the team. 

Advice wise, there is only one thing that matters: making a good painting. We all know it’s a very difficult thing to do, so that honestly should be the only thing on your radar. If you try to curate your authentic voice towards a particular gallery or type of gallery, you are doing yourself and your work a massive disservice. The only thing an artist needs to be doing is making the work the best and most authentically that they conceivably can. There is no timeline. There is no falling behind. The only thing that matters is the quality of the work. If you can proudly stand next to your art and say, “This is me, this is mine,” then that’s all that matters. Everything else will come. Any young artists out there who are feeling anxiety, take charge and tell yourself this, “as long as it’s not impossible to do, it can be done”. Even a 1% chance is still a chance. Commitment is key.

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Do you listen to anything (podcasts, music, etc.) while you paint?

I used to listen to music when I worked, but I’ve switched to NPR and podcasts in October 2018. I’ve placed really stringent restrictions on the music I listen to because I’m just so overwhelmed by it now. Commercials make my heart race and make me cry, any music that’s too emotive takes me too deep inside myself and my vision warps. It’s almost funny how strongly I react to it! Pretty much the only music I can tolerate without weeping is lo-fi hiphop, very calm music with few words, and nothing too emotionally charged. I’ve become a really big fan of On Point and Fresh Air on NPR, and the podcasts Philosophize This! by Stephen West and Making Sense (formerly Waking Up) by Sam Harris, and also, The Adam Buxton Podcast. I highly recommend all three of those. I deal primarily in ideas, so these are great podcasts that explore a particular idea or person in each episode, a deep dive into the nuances of a certain topic. Nothing in this world is black and white; I love being exposed to shades of grey I hadn’t thought of before. 

Can you tell me about a time where you had to overcome an obstacle, either in your art career or during your painting process? 

Things in my personal life during 2018 overwhelmed me to the point that, at the tail end of the year, being alone with myself in the studio became dangerous. I prefer working without natural light so that I don’t see the passage of time and I can just get lost in the flow of the work, but things in my life were happening one after the other and I was drowning. Going into my studio and being alone in a windowless room for 10 -14 hours a day was so isolating. My studio was slowly becoming this echo chamber for all my terrifying thoughts and feelings: of failure, of worthlessness, of hopelessness - but I couldn’t stop working. More than being alone with myself, I was afraid of not painting, I couldn’t stop. If I stopped I was afraid that one day would become two, that two would become three, and that I’d wake up one day and it had been a year and I hadn’t painted. Even thinking about it now is terrifying. My practice is about communing with myself and my deepest thoughts about different ideas, if my mind is full of fear and anxiety, it becomes intensely amplified in the studio. Learning how to mitigate the part of me that is compelled to paint and the part of me that was terrified of being alone with myself is something I consider to be one of my biggest accomplishments.

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Do you have anything coming up this year that you’d like to share?

At this point in time nothing in particular besides a group show in Toronto and my two-person show in May with BEERS! I’m very excited to make a whole new body of work for that show and to see what comes out. I’ve got some really good ideas rattling around in my noggin and while they’re very labor intensive I think they’re going to look super good. If you want to keep up with my work or get more insight into my process, feel free to follow me on Instagram at @nadiakwd.

(And thanks so much for reading!)

Let Yourself Grow: Podcast Episode with Erika Lee Sears
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On this episode, Kat has a fun and inspiring conversation with Erika Lee Sears. Erika is a self-taught oil painter who took the plunge to leave her corporate job in order to paint full time.

Learn about how to commit to a daily painting practice, get tips for painting while traveling, set up a perfect morning routine, balance family life and more!

The First Love: Interview with Jenni Stringleman
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Interview by Sarah Mills


After twenty years of working in graphic design and animation, Jenni Stringleman has returned to her first love - working in oils.
 
Based in Auckland, New Zealand, she paints contemporary, bright expressionist florals, fresh, abstracted nudes and portraits.
 
“For me, painting is an expression of joy. I simply love the act of applying oils to canvas, and this has lead me to explore a heady mix of thick oils, and semi transparent washes of colour, high detail combined with gestural strokes.”

Jenni's recent pieces focus on the figure drawn from life in charcoal, erased, rotated, and attacked with brayers and solvents with slabs of flat colour finally applied to obscure and reveal. 

Jenni sells and exhibits at Gallery De Novo and Endemic World Gallery in New Zealand, as well as shipping pieces to international collectors.

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You came back to painting after 20 years of working in graphic design and animation, what drew you back to oils?

I painted almost religiously at high school, partly to get out of PhysEd but mainly because I was obsessed with art! At our school, we had hessian or paper stapled to walls and never-ending acrylic paint, and it was heaven. I wanted to be a full-time artist but decided to go for something practical - graphic design. I assumed I’d paint in my own time after work, but I never did! Instead, I worked on a bungee jump for years, in New Zealand and the UK, then painted murals and eventually ended up in graphic design in the City in London. I was having too much fun to remember to paint (or practice the flute, but that’s another story)!

Eventually, after 11 years in London, I returned to New Zealand, got married and retrained in animation which I adored, but after falling pregnant with my eldest daughter, I decided to give up work for a while. I played a domestic goddess for some years, then sadly a friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only a year to live. It was absolutely tragic as she was a mum of two, and it made me reassess my life choices. I felt it was too late to retrain as a brain surgeon so instead I decided to jump back into painting to leave a legacy for my two young daughters. It was one of the bravest things I ever did, walking into a painting class under the tutelage of artist Robert Campion, however, he was nurturing and kind and downloaded his years of education and experience into my brain, and from there I had a new career!

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You work with such a wide variety of subjects ranging from florals to portraits to abstract work. What do you see as the connecting factor between all your work?

Yes, I do! I am probably like that as a person. I want to be trying new things, learning, stretching myself. Most people call me a colorist, and I do love color, it’s hugely instinctual for me, I feel what goes where and get great joy from the marks and drips and combinations. My first love in painting is the figure... life drawing, nudes, faces. But my mum asked me to paint hydrangeas for her, and they were my first sales to friends and locals.

The nudes were put on the backburner for a while. The galleries who approached me, came to me for my semi-abstracted florals, so that’s where most of my energy went. I painted a portrait of my daughter just for fun then ended up getting commissioned to paint other kids. I love the opportunity they afford me to sit down for once! I like being challenged to capture the real essence of this child, in a more classic way that will stand the test of time. They take ages, and they give me a break from the physical effort of the large pieces. Last year I studied under Martin Campos, and he inspired me to combine my love of color and paint with my charcoal sketches of the figure. A new aspect to my work developed, and now I think of myself as working happily across these three strands.

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Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?

Definitely nature, usually in the small details of plants and the effects of light. Also all of human life. I store away images from magazines and TV, fashion shows, of people on the street. There’s not enough time in my day to paint the things I want to. I screengrab so much of Instagram. Today my art hero Andrew Salgado posted a shot of himself in an orange raincoat against an orange wall, and now that’s all I want to paint! As well as the pieces I sell through galleries, I paint on A3 size Arches paper and that’s where I experiment, and they’re all stacked up in a cupboard! I need to have a sale.

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What is the first thing you do when you sit down to start a new oil painting?

So this depends a little on which one of my themes I’m working on. For the big textured botanical pieces, I almost always start with a fast, loose acrylic underpainting. I stand, listen to podcasts or music, move around and go on instinct. I may use a ref photo but often don’t. I start from a position of wanting to use certain colors or shapes, and this informs what I’m working towards. For the portraits and nudes, I tend to sit at the table and use a desktop easel. The nudes are from life or ref photos, I sketch multiple times in charcoal, rubbing out marks and rotating the support. Eventually, I will introduce a limited palette of oils. With the portraits, I dive in from a ref photo. I don’t grid up or anything. I paint the whole face at once and gradually refine.

Your paintings have a beautiful textural quality to them. What is your process like to achieve that texture?

Thank you! That came about mainly through laziness. I use so much saturated oil color that washing out my brushes each night was doing my head in. I tried a painting knife one day and got hooked! I rarely use a brush now except for the portraits. It helped me simplify, and I love the geometric quality.

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What is your favorite part about working with fluid paints?

Oh, it’s just so fun, it’s exciting. It’s a proper thrill to squeeze paint from a tube, mix it with the knife. With the washy underpainting, I love the unexpected blends. With my oils, I enjoy the thick texture and sheer glazes. The only thing I don’t like is how messy I am. Each tube is lidless, covered in paint, etc.

What advice do you have for our readers who are struggling to change their artistic paths?

My week with Martin Campos did genuinely change my life. I’d say if you can afford it, seek out artists you love and admire and try and study with them. Even a weekend will help! Give yourself permission to play, don’t feel the need to show everything. Expect changes to take time. Your audience may take time to catch up to your new style. Imagine you had a year left, what would you do with it? What is your true passion? But be practical! You need to survive, and there’s no shame in working for money to allow yourself the luxury of time to explore.

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

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

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Spotlight: Stencil Exhibition at Hashimoto Contemporary
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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 Lurato,

Joe Lurato,

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

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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.

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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 nyc@hashimotocontemporary.com

Lizbeth Mitty
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Described by New York Times critic Ken Johnson as a combination of “painterly verve and hellish beauty”, the work of veteran artist Lizbeth Mitty has long been focused with examining and amplifying the intrinsic abstract beauty of deteriorating or overlooked corners of urban architecture and interiors.

Her latest endeavor ‘The Thread’ is a joint exhibition with her daughter, Dana James on view at M. David & Co. through April 14th. Taking its title from their genetic and psychosocial bond, ‘The Thread’ presents an intergenerational between two contemporary painters with independent practices yet close-knit lives, whose artwork is undeniably influenced by the presence of one another.

Born in Queens, NY to a family of artists, inventors and actors, Lizbeth was immersed in the world of visual art from a young age. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in both the United States and abroad and is held in public and private collections including the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York State Museum, The Orlando Museum of Art, The Zimmerli Archive, The U.S. State Department, and Trierenberg Holding AG (Austria). Her studio is based in Brooklyn, NY.

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Free and Intuitive: Interview with Lauren Mycroft
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Lauren Mycroft is a Canadian painter whose abstract works reference organic shapes using complex layers and staining. Using a contemporary palette and methodical layering technique, Mycroft creates process-driven artwork that feels both fresh and familiar. The compositions are created freely and intuitively, learned through years of practice and formal art training. Inspired by memory of place, Mycroft reflects on our emotional attachment and not specific locales. Through her unique palette and fields of stains, Mycroft offers the viewer a sense of nostalgia and elicits a personal response based on their own experiences with the landscape.

Mycroft studied at Vancouver Island University and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and now exhibits regularly on the Canadian West Coast.

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In your artist statement, you talk about how your practice is process driven. How did you develop your process?

My process was developed over years of experimentation and working towards the goal of painting without developing an attachment to the end result. I have always enjoyed painting with a fluid medium. However, something clicked for me when I started working with high flow paints. This new medium caused my process to change dramatically, as I started pouring liquid paint over the canvas rather than applying with a brush.

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What is your favorite part about your intuitive practice?

Painting intuitively as opposed to painting with a specific outcome in mind challenges my need to control small details and allows me to problem solve creatively in the moment. Although it can feel overwhelming approaching a canvas in this way, once I overcome the compositional challenges of a painting, I am far more excited by the result than had I approached it with a predetermined outcome.

You also talk in your statement about being inspired by the memory of the place. When and how did this idea become an inspiration in your work?

The process of painting landscapes is something that has allowed me to reflect upon my childhood, as I moved around a lot in my life. Leaving the imagery abstracted and void of representative details allows the viewer to create their attachment to the work. For me, each piece is very personal; however it is not based on a specific locale, it is more representational of time.

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How does the idea of memory drive and come through in your work?

I would say the idea of memory drives the mood of my work and dictates my color palette and the boldness or softness or a painting. That, combined with the indistinct forms, allow viewers to apply their memory and attachment to a piece which creates a connection for the collector.

Can you tell us a little about your color palette? Is the palette premeditated for each piece or do you work intuitively there as well?

I often start with an idea of a palette or a couple of colors; however, it changes as the painting develops.

Can you share a piece of advice you have received that you think our readers would benefit from hearing?

I don’t remember where I read this, however, the simple, yet powerful statement, “walk towards your fear” has greatly impacted how I approach creating such personal work every day and how I navigate this career. I also have a note on my studio wall reminding myself not to allow the work to become precious; this keeps it fun and experimental and will enable me to make my best work.

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What has been the best part of your artistic career thus far?

I keep surprising myself with what I’m able to accomplish as a self-employed person (even the fact that I’m self-employed is a surprise to me) who is also raising two little humans! There’s a sense of pride and newfound confidence that I’ve acquired with each hurdle I overcome.

Katherine Fraser
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Katherine Fraser is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and of the University of Pennsylvania. As a student she received the Thomas Eakins Painting prize, the Cecelia Beaux Portrait prize, and the William Emlen Cresson Memorial Travel Award, among others. Since graduation she has been exhibiting throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, and nationally. Katherine grew up in Maine as an only child, and finds that experience often reflected in her work. Her subject matter comes from memories and experiences that feel in some way universal. By portraying singular figures in sparse settings, she explores the idea that being alone makes us feel most alive and connected to our true nature. She is represented by Paradigm Gallery, in Philadelphia.

My paintings depict moments of quiet reflection and insight, of wonder, vulnerability, yearning, determination, humility, strength, and growth. I see a duality in every moment, and beauty in the tension of opposing emotions existing in a single facial expression. As every person, and every experience is multifaceted, every painting is meant to express a dimensional idea. I am fascinated by the mutability of memory, by the way emotions can shape perception, and the way we unconsciously create narratives to understand our experience and explain our identities.

I paint out of my sincere desire to respect, express, and share the tender qualities that unite us. Compassionately and with a generous heart, I seek to portray our continual need to reckon expectations with truth, and the struggles we endure to feel satisfaction with our choices. My goal is not just to make aesthetically beautiful paintings, but to create works that touch and resonate with the complexity of real world experience.

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Lucie Duban
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Based in Marseille, France, contemporary painter Lucie Duban deals with the unseen, astral plane of existence and the common bond by shared by every living being on the planet earth. Pulling influence from her studies of quantum physics and cosmology theory, she transports views into a dreamy, meditative realm of vibrant hues and translucent shapes interspersed across an unresolved oblivion. Each scene depicts the intimate connections shared between individuals that give way to all energy and light, as opposed to the materialistic, tech-obsessed world of tangible conveniences we immerse ourselves in today. In all, her work gives form to what she views as “a mandatory revolution of the collective consciousness” and “a quest for shamanism”. Throwing cynicism to the wind, she presents a beautiful re-interpretation of human existence on planet earth, guided by dream, escapism, and idealism, divorced from the tangled web of excessive commodification our modern societies choreograph themselves around.

Text by Nathalie Levey

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Andrea Castro
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Andrea Castro is a visual artist from Spain with a thing for odd and unusual stories. She began taking art lessons when she was 14. Later she studied Fashion Design and discovered she would never befriend the sewing machine, so she ditched it and committed herself to full-time painting in 2015. In her recent series of work, Andrea paints all those strangers we spot at the street but never pay closer attention to, asking herself the most bizarre questions about those people. "How many times did I walk past a killer in my life?" Questions that lead to even more peculiar stories she makes up in her artwork. Her paintings are featured in several online and printed magazines and owned by collectors from all over the world.

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Sarah Leuchtner

“Sarah Leuchtner’s practice deftly incorporates precepts of contemporary culture with a painterly approach that calls on formal relationships with the graphic, the iconographic, and the structural.”

-Bianca Bova, Curator

To create a work of art that causes the viewer to slow down to a full stop in order to spend just a bit more time with it is an accomplishment all on its own. To do the successfully twelve times over, compelling a longer examination of the surface of each piece, is something else entirely. In her recent solo exhibition at Hubbard Street Lofts in Chicago, artist Sarah Leuchtner presented twelve new paintings, filling the room with a distinct tone and palette, both moody and rich with energy. Her visual language weaves together elements of design, pattern, and palpable texture. Paint is at times washed across the canvas, and at other times appears built up, revealing pockets of layers and hidden mark making. Leuchtner’s skills in painting are only matched by her mature and distinct voice as an artist, one that can be heard cohesively throughout her body of work, and one that will only continue to resonate louder over time.

Sarah Leuchtner is a Chicago-based contemporary artist. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016. Follow her on Instagram at @sarahleuchtner.

Images courtesy of Sarah Leuchtner and curator Bianca Bova.

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

Jenniffer Omaitz
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Jenniffer Omaitz (b. 1979, Cleveland, OH) lives in Kent, OH and works in Kent and Cleveland. She holds an M.F.A. in painting from Kent State University and a B.F.A. in painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at The Sculpture Center, Cleveland; Sandy Carson Gallery, Denver; and Kent State University, Hinterland, Denver, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland. Her work was also featured at the 2010 Biennial of the Americas in Denver, Fresh Paint at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati (2017), CAN Triennial in Cleveland 2018 and recently was awarded a fellowship residency with the Akron Soul Train. 

Statement:

Our urban and geographic environment is in a constant state of transformation. My work explores states of change between order and chaos that relate to the visual experience of environmental shift. Painting and Installation Art are modes of communicating our sensitivity to environmental factors; these practices provide me with a cadence and context through which to express ideas. My installations explore order/chaos theory by invoking abstraction through the juxtaposition of technology, architecture, and nature colliding. Paintings are a meditation on movement, color, permutation, and gesture; boundary coordinates operating between space and color.

My paintings explore ideas of Fold, Gesture and Movement. These are approached in two ongoing series: Solid Movement and Folding Gesture. Solid Movement is an investigation into gesture and its ability to encapsulate time and psyche, fuse internal and external, and record conceptual state changes in solidified form. Folding Gesture explores changes in spatial order that appear fractured or fragmented. These states can remain calm or reconfigure coherence in the painting. I am interested in the connection between a fold as it relates to architecture or design and gesture as it relates to aspects of drawing and 20th century painting. This series struggles to define beauty, exploring abstraction as incident and artifact of the process in which paint is applied, exposing interior and exterior spaces that may not coexist. There is a constant struggle between surface and ground, between paint and the boundaries within the painting. This series of work attempts to unify my sculptural endeavors with my interests in painting.

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Iris Scott
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Credited with spearheading the Instinctualist movement, Iris Scott has garnered widespread acclaim for her innovative approach to finger-painting, elevating it from mere "child's play" into a formidable creative discipline. Switching out paint-brushes and palette knives for latex gloves, she imbues her work with energized bursts of locomotion, manipulating frosting-thick, globs of oil paint across her canvas. Utilizing as many as 100 different pigments within one painting, the end result is nothing short of dazzling & has won over legions of fans, social media followers, and art critics alike. Her works have been acquired by MicrosoftCoco Cola, Children's Hospital, and Swedish Medical Center.

Presented by Filo Sofi Arts, Iris is preparing to launch a new solo show, ‘Ritual in Pairing’ at High Line Nine in New York City this May. Curated by Gabrielle Aruta, the exhibition will serve as a celebration of nature's unequivocal beauty, as well as an exploration of behavioral instinct, the laws of attraction, and the process through which human beings construct their own identities.

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