Posts tagged Portrait
Sarah Detweiler
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Sarah Detweiler is a Philadelphia-area based, mixed media painter whose most recent works incorporate embroidery with watercolor, gouache, and oil. Sarah has a BFA from the University of Delaware and a Masters in Art Therapy from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She has exhibited in group and solo shows in various locations including New York City, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Pennsylvania.

My work explores narratives around themes of feminism, female empowerment, and the human experience through figurative, mixed media paintings. I integrate the traditionally feminine craft of embroidery to challenge the boundaries of feminism. The embroidery allows my work to be revealed in stages and acts as a visual invitation to take a closer look. My art reflects the feminine experience through personal and global issues because, in many ways, a woman's experience is universal.  Whether it acts as a mirror to the viewer or as a window into another person's narrative, ultimately, my art is about making connections.

www.sarahdetweiler.com

Denise Stewart-Sanabria
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Denise Stewart-Sanabria was born in Massachusetts and received her BFA in Painting from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. She has lived in Knoxville, TN since 1986.

 Sanabria paints both hyper-realist “portraits” of everything from produce to subversive jelly donuts. The anthropomorphic narratives often are reflections on human behavior. She is also known for her life-size charcoal portrait drawings on plywood, which are cut out, mounted on wood bases, and staged in conceptual installations.

 Her work is included in various museums, private, and corporate collections including: The Tennessee State Museum, The Evansville Museum of Art in Indiana, The Knoxville Museum of Art, Huntsville Museum of Art, Firstbank TN, Pinnacle Banks, Omni and Opryland Hotels, Scripps Networks, Knoxville Botanical Gardens, Jewelry Television, TriStar Energy, and the corporate offices of McGhee Tyson Airport

Artist Statement: Anthropomorphic Food Painting

Our relationship with what we eat is probably one of the most intimate relationships we have during our lifetime. It also, to a certain extent, can be a reflection of each individual human experience. Is what we want to eat risky? Is it adventurous or bland, or perhaps frightening? Is it healthy, or mired in toxic relationships? As a culture, what does our food say about us? If food itself was to enact human behavior, what would it do?

I use contemporary hyper-realism loosely informed by early European vanity painting clichés to explore these ideas. For instance, I’m not sure if 17th-century Spanish Baroque painter Juan Sánchez Cotán hung fruits and vegetables by strings to imitate how wild game was hung up in Dutch paintings of the time, or as a comment on the Inquisition. I like to think it is about the latter when I employ it.

Whether my paintings are an outright statement of some anthropological observation or a narrative of human foibles, I try to insert just enough humor and lusciousness to make them as palatable as possible. If I documented them literally, I would probably have constant censorship issues.

Over the years, I have had pears enact my Inquisition scenes, impaled maraschino cherries on nails, and had donuts enact the seven deadly sins and various fertility rites. My recent work involves allegorical narratives, driven by historical wallpaper appearing behind iconic contemporary baked goods and candy. A classic, regal French design is paired with a partially devoured Black Forest cake and decomposing flowers and then appears again behind a king cake, which is disgorging its Mardi Gras beads. A classic French pastoral toile print in a decidedly non-traditional color looms above a stack of artificially colored MoonPies and junk food. A classic Asian toile that I populated with Godzilla and his fellow movie monsters sits behind a vast array of candy that appears to have also been subjected to radioactive mutation.

I often combine artificially colored food with actual beauty products, such as fingernail polish in #130 Classic Coral Cream Glitter. I’ve actually embedded glitter in a painting to produce a more emboldened form of colored sugar in King Cake Glitter. I am presently continuing the series where I juxtapose a toile pattern I either design myself from scratch or discover, with ironic culinary foregrounds.

Stilllifes, or Vanitas, were originally domestic images containing items symbolic of life and death. Mine are about the human experience.

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Erin Fitzpatrick
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I am constantly inspired by patterns and prints, my travels, summertime, Instagram, interior spaces, my immediate surroundings, fashion magazines, textile design and meeting new people. I have an iPhone full of screenshots, and sketchbooks, notebooks and a studio wall covered in notes and clippings — my collections of visual stimulants. A seed from these images, a West African textile, a languid Miu Miu model, a Slim Aarons photo of poolside decadence, inspires the vibe for each painting. I plan each piece around this initial idea by creating a storyboard depicting wardrobe, model type/look, textiles, and setting. I source my models from my peers and social media, import textiles, shop for wardrobe, and build a set. I style my models and chat with them as I take hundreds of reference photos. The model becomes the focal point in my world of clashing patterns, textiles, and plants.

I’m a Baltimore native and graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art.  I started painting portraits in 2008 and this body of work now contains hundreds of paintings and drawings of artists, musicians, business people, my peers, and commissioned subjects. I have collectors all across the US and around the world.

www.erinfitzpatrickportraits.tumblr.com

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Eliana Marinari
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Eliana Marinari is a visual artist living and working in Geneva.

Her paintings, created by superposition of glazing layers of aerosol paint on ink and pastel drawings, are a surreal representation of the subject, speaking of both the distorted quality of memory and the ephemeral nature of our experiences. 

The vestigial image composed of transparent imperceptible paint particles, mimics the process of creating a visual representation of an image in our mind, which is matched in our memory to attribute meaning.

Eliana began her training in Florence as a scientist, while studying Art under the mentoring of Greta Villa from Academy of Florence. She continued her studies in London, where she obtained an interdisciplinary PhD at University College London (2008-2011).  In 2012, she continued her studies at Central St Martins, focusing on her studio practice and her interpretation of realism in figurative painting. She then moved to Switzerland, where she continued her quest in bridging the gap between Art and Science. In 2015, she received the prestigious Swiss National Funding Award for the development of an interdisciplinary project.

Her work has been exhibited and held in private collections in Switzerland, Italy and UK and it has been featured by thejealouscurator and BOOOOOOOM among others.

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

Statement

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

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The Human Side of the Marginalized: Interview with Jenn Terrell
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Jenn Terrell is a portrait and documentary photographer. Jenn’s work showcases a wide range of topics and individuals, ranging from portrait sessions to sharing the stories of sexual assault survivors, all presented with a raw, honest aesthetic. She lives in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Statement
I want to use the power of the photograph to create connections and bring people together. I aim to do that by showing the very human side of the marginalized. I want people to feel the tears of trauma, the scars of abuse and the pain that relates us all.

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What is your favorite part about working with photography?

I have a passion for people, from all walks of life. With my camera, I feel I have the power to tell stories; stories of the oppressed and marginalized in society. I feel it is my responsibility to use my privilege to address social issues, educate, and effect change.

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How has your style evolved into what it is today?

My style has evolved from bright compositions to creating darker, more moody scenes. I find it more authentic to show how things actually were. In addition, a documentary style is much more indicative of the style of my work these days.

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Does the way that you create photographs change depending on your subject?

Working with different subjects changes the way I photograph, specifically the reasoning for the shoot. Family shoots, couple shoots, and styled shoots are much more laid back and relaxed. My biggest goal with those is to make sure the subjects feel comfortable with me so that I am photographing them as who they really are. Photographing to try and inspire change is different. When I photographed victims of sexual assault for the Hidden Reality Project, it was very raw and difficult. These women were pouring out their souls to me and many of them still had not completely dealt with the trauma they had experienced, particularly ones that received no justice. I tried to be extremely sensitive to what they were going through and I paused the photographing as many times as needed to help them get through telling me their stories. I think the photoshoots were a bit of a resolution for some of the women. I believe most women have been through some kind of sexual assault or harassment and sadly we can all relate and connect through those horrific experiences. So I think for some of the women they were able to talk to me about this and I could respond with some knowledge of where they are coming from and why they felt certain things.

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What are you currently working on?

Right now I am working on finishing up the design of a poetry book by a Haitian American woman that I did photographs for as well. I am also designing my own photobook that includes stories from sexual assault survivors that I have collected over the years. I also have a few more versions of my project called "Femina" which explores femininity in the modern day.

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Do you prefer working on styled shoots and more controlled projects or events where the environment is less controlled?

I really enjoy both controlled shoots and documentary style. The most rewarding, though, is always photographing to tell the stories of the marginalized that have the potential to inspire change or just to inspire people. That can come from either a styled shoot or a documentary style shoot.

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You have three projects on view on your website, Hidden Reality project, The depression Project, and Femina project. Can you tell us a little about those projects and how they originated?

The Depression Project (jennterrell.com/the-depression-project) was the first full series that I ever completed. I started it because I was very close to someone who had pretty severe depression. I didn't know much about it so I researched and researched. I couldn't believe all of the information I was finding. I thought more people should know about this to understand what others are going through. I wanted more people to have the epiphany that I had. I thought a great way to get that information out is to have it come firsthand from a variety of people living with depression. I got a variety of firsthand accounts as well as stories of spouses and family members of those dealing with depression. The project became a sort of therapy for me too.

The Hidden Reality Project (jennterrell.com/hiddenrealityproject) came next. I kept thinking back to a night in 2008 when I hosted a girls’ night at my apartment in college. Nine women from various parts of Arkansas who all moved there to go to college came to my apartment that night. We were sitting in a circle talking and one girl starting talking about her son. We were all a little baffled that she had a son. We started showering her with questions. “How old is he? Is the dad in your life? How difficult is it to have a child in school?” She answered the first question with “He is 9.” We were all shocked. She was our age (19-24) and she had a nine-year-old!?! Is this possible? At this point, she decided to share with us the horrific story of how she lost her virginity by being raped while she was passed out at a party. She didn’t even know she wasn’t a virgin until her doctor told her she was pregnant. This story sparked stories from other girls in the circle about their own rape experiences. At one point I looked around the room and asked who all had been raped. I was the only person who did not raise their hand. Little did I know by the time I turned 24, I would be able to raise my hand too. This gathering was where I realized sexual assault was a much bigger problem than I had ever imagined. Young women from all different cities of the same state shared a similar fate when it came to rape. What a horrible thing to have in common. I never forgot that night and still think about it often. It was the inspiration for the Hidden Reality project where I also shared my own story.

Femina (jennterrell.com/femina) is my current ongoing project. It started with a group boudoir photo shoot that I did to showcase a variety of women. The photo shoot ended up being so much more than that. On the day of the shoot, all of the women came together and problem solved as soon as tiny setbacks happened. Each time we did individual shots of one woman from the group, the others would gather around and encourage her and tell her how beautiful she was. This type of love and togetherness fostered the perfect environment for this photoshoot. I never would have dreamed up this day the way it happened. It was amazing and inspiring for me to see how this group of women, who were mostly strangers, interacted and helped to produce a raw and beautiful set of photographs. This spurred an ongoing project about exploring femininity. I just finished up the second installment of the series with a diverse group of 3-7-year-old girls. They wore black dresses, leggings, pants, and jackets to foster a look of togetherness. They held hands, sang twinkle, twinkle, little star and laughed and played together throughout the photoshoot.

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What advice would you like to give to people who want to start their photography careers?

Work, work, work. Work pretty much every day. If you truly love it, it will feel natural. Focus on your craft and create. A mentor of mine, painter Hubert Neal, Jr., once said that even if he was making no money at painting and was poor he would still be a painter. This made me realize that no matter what I do, I have to be all in. Photography is my passion and I am all in no matter if that means no money or lots of money.

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Credits: 

Photographer: Jenn Terrell Photography

Hair: Giovanna Barboza

Make up: Brushed By Shae

Planner & Creator of the amazing crowns: Sonnet Weddings

Models: Destiny LaNeé, Tylr DeShae Mustin,J'Aaron Merchant, Monique Beilby, Cynthia Hernandez, Jasmine Hudson, Jessie Wagner

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

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

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

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


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

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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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Madison Parker
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In 2013, Madison Parker or “MADPICS", graduated from the Art Academy University with a BFA in Photography. Her college years in San Francisco set the trajectory for her to move to LA to pursue the entertainment industry, an almost gravitational pull for any photographer. There she interned and assisted for photographer, Art Streiber. Learning the ins and outs of the industry, she decided to relocate to San Diego, where she currently works and resides.

While my diploma may be camera-centric, my heart is anything but. I revel in the wonder of exploring all mediums as ways to capture the feelings, ideas, people, and moments that make up life. I embrace creative challenges, encouraging change. The world around me, something wild yet comforting to behold... something you really need to open your eyes to. I've been lucky enough to grow up in an environment that has inspired me throughout life to try and capture everything I find enticing- whether it be the way sunlight leaks through a window, the shapes of shadows, or what lurks between what we can and cannot see.

Space for Women's Stories: Interview with Hiba Schahbaz

Hiba Schahbaz was born in Karachi, Pakistan and lives in Brooklyn, NY. She works primarily with paper, black tea, and water-based pigments. She depicts women’s bodies while referencing self-portraiture, creating a space for herself and other women to tell their stories and reclaim their histories. Since migrating to the United States, her practice has expanded from miniature painting to human-scale works on paper.

Schahbaz trained in miniature painting at the National College of Arts, Lahore and received an MFA in painting from Pratt Institute. Her solo shows include The Garden (Spring/Break Art Show, 2018), Hiba Schahbaz: Self-Portraits (Project for Empty Space, 2017), Hanged With Roses (Thierry Goldberg Gallery, 2015), and In Memory (Noire Gallery, 2012). 

Schahbaz has participated in numerous group exhibitions; including shows at NiU Museum of Art, The Untitled Space, and Center for Book Arts; and at art fairs such as Pulse Art Fair, Art.Fair Cologne, and Vienna Fair. Her work has been written about in Vice, Hyperallergic, The Huffington Post, Coveteur, Vogue, NY Magazine, Art Critical, and others.

Schahbaz has curated painting exhibitions in Pakistan and India. She was an artist-in-residence at Mass MoCA, The Wassaic Project, Vermont Studio Center, and the Alfred Z. Solomon Residency at the Tang Museum. She teaches miniature painting at the Art Students League in NY.

Interview by Sarah Mills

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When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I can’t say that there was a single decisive moment. When I was a young girl, I would keep little scraps of paper, markers, and a torch under my pillow. I would draw imaginary landscapes hidden under my blanket when I was supposed to be sleeping. I always assumed that I would be an artist, and luckily life flowed in that direction.

When did you decide to start creating large-scale works? What pushed you to do so?

I began painting larger human scale works a couple of years ago. It was a big shift from miniature painting, and although I’d been thinking about it for years, I was still hesitant to do so. I think the shift happened because I had become very comfortable and settled as a miniature painter. I needed to develop something different. I craved growth (no pun intended). 

In part, the transition also happened because I began painting the gaze. When I moved to New York, I wasn’t painting faces at all. Over time, I began painting the side profiles of figures and eventually the women in the paintings turned to face the viewer. At this time I wanted to make their eyes life size to further this engagement.

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How did your work in miniatures inform your large-scale works?

I trained as a miniaturist and painted within the genre for over a decade. I see the human sized paintings as an extension of my miniature works. I still paint very stylized bodies and imaginary landscapes. My use of tea, pink, and turquoise are the same colors I utilized in miniature paintings. I also still use a fine miniature brush to articulate areas of detail. Most of the materials I use are a direct extension of my miniature practice, such as handmade paper, tea, gouache, watercolor, and gold leaf.

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Can you tell us a little about your studio practice? 

I’m a full time artist. My studio practice is entirely self-disciplined and self-motivated. I like working at my own pace and being in a state of flow at the studio. I prefer to paint without goals for exhibiting my work, and I don’t need deadlines to get things done. I find I’m most satisfied when I work without pressure and my paintings develop organically. The opportunities to show these paintings arise along the way.

I appreciate harmony. I wake up with the sunrise and come to the studio first thing in the morning. Early mornings are very important to me, since I’m most centred and productive when I have substantial mental space and quiet time in which to work. 

In the studio I often work on more than one thing at a time. These days I’m not working from preliminary sketches or drawing or color studies. All my energy is going into the paintings themselves. If I get stuck, I shift my attention to another work until things fall into place. I often shift scale, moving from working on large paintings to small ones.

What has been the biggest surprise you have faced in your art career thus far?

I think the biggest surprise has been all the support and encouragement I have received from both inside and outside the art world since moving to New York. Even when things got rough in my own personal journey as an artist, I always feel stronger and more accepted when I received a note from someone who had seen and experienced my paintings for the first time. It’s always a surprise and it’s always welcome. I feel a lot of gratitude towards everyone who has supported me on my path.

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What is one piece of advice that you got that you feel our readers would benefit from hearing?

Believe in yourself and make work for yourself. If you’re fulfilled as an artist, the rest of the world will come around. Ninety percent of the validation you need should come from within. Consistency is key, so work everyday—it’s not about ‘feeling’ inspired. Lightning will probably strike you before inspiration does! You’re an artist, so create your own inspiration. Never give up.

Glamour Shots by Scott Scheidly

Spoke NYC is pleased to present Glamour Shots, a solo exhibition by Orlando, Florida-based artist Scott Scheidly. Glamour Shots will be Scheidly’s inaugural solo exhibition at Spoke NYC, where he will be exhibiting his ongoing “pink series” in which he depicts notorious politicians and celebrities dressed in hues of pinks and purples. Scheidly’s work presents an analysis of power, corruption, celebrity and masculinity. Through his exploration of color theory and identity, the artist touches upon themes of perception and societal norms through a satirical lens.

Popularized in the 1990s, glamour shots (photography) is known for it’s depiction of a composed image of it’s subject in a still position, often times intended for private and personal enjoyment. For Glamour Shots, Scheidly draws inspiration from this campy genre, draping figures in pearls, satin gloves and feather boas. The subjects playfully yet seductively look back at the viewer, hands cheekily grazing their face.

Consisting of 15 vibrantly painted satirical portraits, Scheidly’s humorous yet critical work challenges the viewer to consider the dichotomies of the feminine vs. masculine, and to question what is considered socially acceptable. By adorning controversial and pop culture figures in swathes of pinks and purples, Scheidly re-contextualizes them, challenging ideas of propaganda, power, strength and the machismo. Intricately detailed and shockingly pink frames complete each portrait.

About the series, Scheidly states, “the paintings are about the perception of color so by painting people in hues of pinks and purples it makes you step outside the norm and look at the subjects in a different manner. ”

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Solo exhibition by Scott Scheidly Opening Reception: October 6th, 6 - 8pm On view: October 6th  28th, 2018

For more information, or additional images, please email nyc@spoke-art.com.

Addressing Social Issues Through Art: Amy Scheidegger Ducos

By Sarah Mills

I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting & Drawing from East Carolina University in 2005 and a Masters of Science in Arts Administration from Drexel University’s graduate program in 2010. 

Originally from North Carolina, I relocated to Philadelphia in order to join the Drexel graduate program to pursue a more multi-faceted role in the world of art and culture.

In 2011, I founded the Artistic Rebuttal Project – a grass roots art advocacy initiative that strives to, through story-collecting and story-telling, emphasize the power and necessity of the arts. On the project’s behalf, I periodically travel around the country speaking with university students in art programs, creative adults and kids, imploring them to become active in their communities in order to better serve the places in which they are rooted. It is only when the public knows the importance of art and art’s way of connecting our past to our future, can the arts act as a civic lesson to citizens everywhere. That same year, I was nominated a Creative Connector, a recognition pioneered by Leadership Philadelphia. Creative Connectors are “hubs of trust, seen as trustworthy and credible who use art and design to mobilize people around an issue.” 

In March of 2017, I moved to Quito, Ecuador to study how arts and culture are managed and appreciated in an older, foreign country. Living here, I am able to carve out a lot more time to create my own work.

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My work is largely social issues-centered, ranging from global warming, mental health, immigrant rights to body positivity.

My recent body of work was sparked by a myriad of issues that were once at the center of a progressive government and leadership - broadening women’s issues and mental health policies, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, and confronting police brutality and many more - that are now being rolled back by an administration run by greed and ignorance.

Now that I am living abroad in Ecuador, I am seeing these issues from what is considered a third world country. In this third world country, the class of person who would be considered the minority in the States is the majority that runs the country. In turn, women and the poor are treated on the whole and with a lot more respect in my particular third world country than the United States. 

My intent with the images enclosed is to explore the experiences I’m having watching and learning how Ecuador deals with these issues in contrast to my country of origin.

My work is created through a variety of mediums. I work initially with graphite and ink on paper as a first layer, then watercolor and acrylic on paper, as well as non-traditional materials like coffee (from the Galapagos). After scanning in these traditional/non-traditional mediums, I inject more color and detail digitally, creating a digital painting using a tablet.

www.amyartisticrebuttal.com

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How did you first start creating?

I first started drawing when I was 2 years old and I haven’t stopped! My mom saved everything (including the attached photo what "what mommy looks like when I'm bad"), put me in every after-school art class my parents could afford, art teachers from elementary to high school (I was lucky enough to have art classes every year) all encouraged and nurtured my inherent urge to make art and it blossomed into a skill that I’ve sharpened throughout the years.

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Travel obviously plays a big role in your work, can you talk about your experience and the impact it had?

I didn’t travel much until I was 17 - the first time I ever got on an airplane. But since that first flight, I’ve tried my best to see and experience as much as I could afford. As fate may have it, I met an extraordinarily kind man from Ecuador while we were both earning advanced degrees in Philadelphia, PA. Pedro, by the end of his student visa, had to return to Ecuador, so after about 2 years of dating and living together in Philly, we took the leap of faith that we were going to work out and I moved to Ecuador with him in 2017. The shift to a completely different culture where I was now the minority took a long time to adapt to. In the States, I felt like things were “made” for me. Everything was in English, almost everything on tv and online is marketed towards women because women do the shopping...like the world catered to me and I had access to everything I needed, even when money was tight. And I wasn’t rich by any means - I grew up lower middle class in a very rural town. Once I moved out of state I had my struggles not being able to find full-time work after I got my Masters in Arts Administration and yet I feel I excelled because the society I was in was some-what tailored to help me, a young white woman, succeed. Therefore, to be taken out of that environment and placed in a city where I couldn’t understand one conversation being had on the street, needing my fiance to tag along everywhere I went to translate, I ultimately, after 9 months needed to fly back to the States because I had overstayed my time Ecuador without getting the proper documentation. I was a legit illegal immigrant for 5 of those 9 months. (Americans can stay in Ecuador for 4 months until needing to register with the government and we had a crap lawyer who didn’t do her job). It gave me a completely new look at the America I grew up in and I have to tell you, it’s not a positive new look. I think my South American now-husband and I are lucky to not be living in the United States at this specific point in time. We would be in constant fear that his status would be in question and that we might be separated. I have learned that all Latin Americans - from Mexico to Chile to Spain - are all lumped together when Americans in power talk about them. When the current administration started calling Mexicans rapists and Venezuelans criminals as they stood in line for asylum at the border, I listened as my husband, an Ecuadorian, called all of them “his people” as he watched in agony as the United States continued to perpetuate harmful myths, vow to deport them all, and separated children from their parents. And for me, who has always had art as a form of therapy, expression, and retreat, my subject matter naturally becomes a portrayal what I’m feeling in response to my husband and his family’s current state of shock surrounding what the United States has become - for them. I can always return and I have thousands of good memories of growing up in North Carolina and finding my voice in Philadelphia. America will always be my home but when you’ve never lived outside if it, you don’t know the true impact and role it plays as far as what direction the rest of the world is headed. As Mark Twain once wrote - “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”

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Much of your work involves observations on social, political, and cultural events, how did you get started creating this type of work?

My first major move, long before I moved to Ecuador, was moving from North Carolina to Philadelphia - which completely opened my eyes to how different races are treated across the country. I grew up in a somewhat mixed community, had friends of all colors, but we were in a rural town where law enforcement (from the point of view of a teenager who maybe wasn’t clued into politics quite yet) was community-led, everybody knew everybody. So there was a sense of justice and fairness spanning all ethnicities because if you were caught doing something you shouldn’t have been, no matter the color of your skin, the town sheriff knew your momma and knew she raised you better. Once I got to Philadelphia, things couldn’t have been more different. Avoiding eye contact with strangers was paramount because if you did say hello, more often than not it would turn into a creepy guy trying to follow you home from the subway or an arrogant man feeling entitled to let you know your tattoos are “unbecoming of a lady” and “your job should fire you” for letting one peek out underneath your shirt sleeve. And because none of those experiences are against the law, sometimes you have absolutely no one to turn to. From rural North Carolina where you go from home to car, to work, back to the car, back home, to Philadelphia where you feel you’re exposed on a regular basis - I became very hardened myself yet very aware of what women and men of color are subjected to on the daily. I could endure someone talking shit about my tattoos or my weight on the bus, at least I was never spat on because of the hijab being worn, or followed around a drug store simply because my skin was black and I was wearing a hoodie. Living in such proximity to racial profiling and racial biases has made me more empathetic and aware that racism is alive and well - and that I’m always working on my own biases that I wasn’t fully aware of having grown up in the South. That emotional work shows up in my artwork now - that idea from Mark Twain about travel, I’ll amend it to say that proximity is also fatal to prejudice. If you can SEE what happens to people of different races and backgrounds and be able to compare that to how you’re treated - your world will be flipped on its head if you think equality or equity has been reached in any way shape or form.

What is your favorite part of your creative practice?

My favorite part is I guess what you would call the middle part, where idea meets reality. Once you’ve conceived an idea and you begin sketching it - for me the first few sketches are never what I had envisioned in my head, but by the 3rd or 4th, it starts coming out the way it should. So when I’m able to step away from my work and say “YES! That’s what I was going for,” I get really excited to keep going and finish.

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How has making art impacted your life?

That’s a difficult question, considering I’ve never NOT had art as a critical part of my life and being. I would say, having this ability has been the greatest gift, no doubt, but it has also been the root of some sadness as well. I’m currently writing a children’s book about my childhood where I was used for my skills and then discarded when my skills/I myself wasn’t “needed” anymore. Or times in my life where I wished I could have spoken my mind instead of keeping quiet at the moment and instead of painting about it later. Both are valid ways of communicating but I think I always wanted to be more vocal but didn’t know how which is something that maybe comes with age and experience. My voice is a lot larger than it ever has been - my family can attest to that - and now that I’m almost 35 I’m finding a better balance between speaking vocally and speaking through my artwork.

What is a piece of advice that was given to you that you would like to share with our readers?

The main thing for me, when I was in art school, I had a teacher named Mr. Hartley, who has since passed, but he told me being an artist had nothing to do with talent: it was all about practice and sharpening your skills. I had a lot of people tell me when I was growing up that I’ll be an artist, no doubt, it’s a talent I was born with and I shouldn’t waste it. But the work you have to put into it is NOT something the average person realizes. The amount of artwork that doesn’t see the light of day because it’s not up the artists’ ridiculously high standards is not something the average person realizes. So yes, you can be born with talent, but don’t let that for a minute make you think that being an artist isn’t all about the work. “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life” IS A LIE!

What is the most important thing you have learned from your creative journey thus far?

I have learned that the world and all its creatures are so complex, it’s beyond all of our practical comprehension. I grew up thinking being right was more important (to me) than anything else. In Philadelphia, I thought hustling and being busy from sun up til sun down meant I was doing all the right things. I learned that everyone’s got baggage so stop judging. In Ecuador, I am learning that the world was not made just for me, so I need to adjust-adjust-adjust myself on a regular basis and not be afraid of how other people see me. Through my journies of becoming an Ecuadorian resident, my own personal difficulties of learning how to speak Spanish, and now at the beginning of my marriage, I have learned that trying to be right all the time and trying to come off like I know something about everything is exhausting, arrogant, and won’t work for me or the important people in my life anymore. I’m settling into a place where most things are new to me and there’s no way I could have prepared for them or knew about them. Personal evolution is my current mindspace and I have to leave all the doors and windows open.

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Complexities of The Human Condition: O’Neil Scott

I am a self-taught, Philadelphia-based artist. Influenced early on by both my grandfather and uncle, each of whom pursued creative careers, I took to drawing as a child and spent much of my youth filling the pages of empty notebooks with images of individuals, both fictional and real. In college, I had hoped to study art. But I’d been awarded a football scholarship from Syracuse University and therefore had to prioritize my activities, which meant dropping my studio courses since they conflicted with the school’s training schedule. While I ended up majoring in Information Technology and then later earned my MBA at the University of Delaware, I never lost my passion for art. Rather, it remains a vehicle that I continue to utilize as a means to give voice to my innermost concerns.

Inspired by the Old Masters as well as contemporary realists, I always have been captivated by portraiture and its capacity to impart the complexities that comprise the human condition. It wasn’t until I stopped working with acrylic and started experimenting with oil two years ago that I started spending so much more time at the easel. Not only have I found the material’s pliability so much easier to navigate, but it’s ease of use has pushed me to delve that much deeper into my subject matter and risk voicing my trepidation about the many issues that I hold close to my heart, such as social justice, climate change, police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. At their core, I want my paintings to invoke mindfulness, to inspire contemplation, and to convey understanding. 

www.oneilscottstudio.com

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Your work has heavy political themes, what is the specific inspiration behind your current series?

My current series was centered around my 2018 Solo Exhibition, “American Emotion”. The exhibition takes a look at individuals and their different emotional states in relationship to America. These emotions span from a sense of pride to a sense of sorrow and anger. Currently, I am thinking about how America as a country is feeling about its current state and trying to reflect that through each painting. Even though each painting is portraying a different topic they all have an underlying theme of society’s current state.

What is your favorite part about working with fluid paints?

For me, it’s about capturing an emotion and a sense of truth about the subject. Oil painting evokes different emotions depending on the way the paint is applied. A smooth painting can bring in a sense of calmness and a heavy thick tactile painting can easily imply a sense of anxiety and disruption. The application is just as important as subject matter.

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Were you always interested in realism? What drew you to painting in this style?

I grew up drawing nonstop, filling up notebooks with sketches of any and every one. For as long as I could remember I was sketching people, I think I fell in love with the form at an early age. To me, realism is the closest to nature and humanity. It’s about people and the things that make up the world around us. There is endless emotion in all of it.

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What do you hope the viewer will take away from your work?

I hope each painting encourages the viewer to take a step out of their current world to relate and connect with the subject. In the end, it should bring us some awareness and insight into the life of others.

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What are some goals you are working towards in your career?

My main goal in my career is to expand the level of truth in my paintings, in doing so I hope to extend my reach as an artist nationally and globally.

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Who are your biggest influencers and mentors?

I draw most of my technical inspiration from the old masters. I am currently obsessed with David and Rubens. Lately, I have been spending hours in the Philadelphia Museum of Art studying Thomas Eakins. His application of paint is impeccable. I don’t have any mentors but I often go back to the works of contemporary artist like Mario Robinson and Cesar Santo for inspiration.

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

I am exhibiting next at Gallery MC in NYC for “Show Your World” on September 28th and have been invited to be a part of “Painting the Figure Now” at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art hosted by Poets & Artist in early 2019.

"Alla Prima" Exhibition by Kristen Margiotta

Delaware artist, Kristen Margiotta presents: "Alla Prima, an exhibition of her portraits presented by the work of her subjects", opens this Friday, 9/14, 6-10pm at RH Gallery, in Hockessin, DE. Kristen is a Delaware based oil painter, illustrator, and art instructor, who created 18 "alla prima" portrait paintings in March, from live models in her studio. These portraits, and a few more, will be on display to the public at this show, along with artwork created by her subjects, as well as live music by staples in the Delaware music scene for decades. This show is a tribute to the creative talent in our tiny state.

To learn more about Kristen and this project, please visit www.kristenmargiotta.com

Santiago Galeas

Santiago Galeas was born to parents from Peru and El Salvador, and currently lives and works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His work uses a diverse range of subjects that address varying concepts in portraiture, often including LGBTQ and racial issues. Galeas believes that the contemporary figurative painting scene is severely lacking in its diversity and his work brings a light to those who are often underrepresented. Many of his figures dissect the diaspora of Latino race and culture, and question our place within American culture. Galeas has exhibited in a number of group and solo exhibitions in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Colorado, and has an upcoming exhibition in Quito, Ecuador. Recently he was invited to attend artist residencies in Mexico, Ecuador, and Philadelphia. Aside from exhibiting, publications have been showcasing his work including The Huffington Post, the cover of Poets and Artists Magazine, and several local newspaper sources.

Statement

My work is primarily about representation. I want to bring to light populations that aren’t normally focused on in contemporary portraiture. As a queer Latino man I feel myself treading between finding myself as an artist and constantly standing in as the face of these communities that I represent. It is not a position I find many painters in and I feel that it’s an important one in today’s social climate. Many of my figures confront the machismo of Latin America, dissect the diaspora of Latino race and culture, and question our place within American culture, from recent immigrants to my fellow first generations coming of age.