Posts tagged artist
Christian Böhmer Interview | Moniker Art Fair
Image courtesy of Christian Böhmer.

Image courtesy of Christian Böhmer.

For our next preview feature from the upcoming Moniker Art Fair in New York, we’re sharing an interview with Christian Böhmer! Christian is a self-taught contemporary artist who creates large-scale murals along with drawings and paintings. He has exhibited work around the world including in Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, and Switzerland among others. Most recently, he completed a mural painting for the "one wall project" curated by the Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin. After learning more about his work and process, we’ll certainly be looking forward to seeing what he exhibits at the fair!

Tell us about your background. You describe having roots in the graffiti movement of the 90's so was this the type of art that first inspired you and that you first created? 

Yes, graffiti was the kind of art that influenced me most when I was a kid in the mid-nineties. I was lucky enough to live only a few kilometers from Europe’s largest legal graffiti hall of fame at that time, which was the famous "Schlachthof Wiesbaden". Once a year, there came the world’s most famous writers together to have a graffiti jam for one weekend. I was so fascinated to see what was possible to do just with a spray can, that I decided to try this on my own. As it was a legal spot to paint graffiti, there was no need to hurry or to get nervous. I think this is why I had time enough to experiment in every direction, which included painting characters, too. I found out that I had much more talent in character painting then in writing letters....

How has your work developed since then? When and why did you turn to portraits? 

The first few years I developed in painting characters and as I got better and better, I moved towards a photorealistic style. I believe the most difficult subject one can paint in photorealism is a portrait, where there are no mistakes allowed. And when you dive into this world of painting portraits, you find out that there’s a lot of stories you can tell with that kind of art.

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Images courtesy of Christian Böhmer.

Images courtesy of Christian Böhmer.

Can you explain your reasoning behind covering various body parts of your subjects - namely their heads and faces, but also in recent work, their hands as well?

As I said, it is very interesting to tell stories within portraits. I did that for a long time, but one day you ask yourself, what will be the next challenge? What else can I add to these stories? When you think about that, the next logical step will be to transform the portrait, to paint it in an abstract way. But the abstract in my portrait painting is not the transformation of color or shape, but the paper bag. I found out that for me this is a perfect medium to use in order to transform shape, to give it a message, or to simply hide the face itself. Sometimes less is more :)

You recently completed a new mural in Berlin, congratulations! How did that project come about? How often do you create larger, public works and do you enjoy it as much as your smaller pieces? 

It was Yasha, the director of the Urban Nation Museum of urban contemporary art in Berlin, who asked me to paint this specific wall. I just began working on a new series of drawings, which plays with red colored hands, that tell all those stories that hidden faces can’t tell. This series deals with people on the edge of society, the ones nobody listens to. And the wall I painted in Berlin is located in an area where these people live. So it was the perfect match.

Image courtesy of Christian Böhmer.

Image courtesy of Christian Böhmer.

What will you be showing at Moniker in New York? 

I will be showing this new series of people with red hands hidden behind their paper bag mask. But you need to see it in person!

Do you have any additional exciting projects going on in 2019 and beyond that you'd like to share?

Yes, I will have a huge solo show in Mainz, Germany in September. I’m very glad to be there because that is the place where I grew up and where I had my first graffiti writing experience. I have not been back there for more than 15 years!

I will also have a group show in October at 19Karen Gallery near Brisbane in Australia, which I’m also looking forward to. I love the idea that people from all over the world can have the opportunity to see my art in person.

Moniker will be held May 1 - 5 in New York City at:
718 Broadway
NoHo, Manhattan
New York City, NYC
10003

Learn more about Moniker Art Fair by visiting their website.

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Evoca1 Artist Feature | Moniker Art Fair
Image courtesy of Evoca1.

Image courtesy of Evoca1.

We’re just a few short weeks away from Moniker Art Fair which will be held May 1-5, 2019 in New York City. The international fair’s 2019 exhibitors include some of the world’s most renowned urban & contemporary artists and galleries in booth exhibitions as well as solo presentations and installations. 28 exhibitors and four special projects, hailing from 13 countries around the globe, will present work in alignment with this year’s theme, Cause & Effect, which examines our shared roles and commitment to addressing the current state of political, social and ecological issues. Create! will be providing coverage of the fair, but we’re also excited to be bringing you a sneak peek at some of the artists who will be highlighted at this year’s NYC edition of Moniker. Last week we introduced you to WK Interact and this week we’re sharing the incredible work of Evoca1!

Image courtesy of Evoca1.

Image courtesy of Evoca1.

Evoca1 was born in the Dominican Republic, where he spent most of his childhood drawing on walls and playing baseball, until eventually moving to Hollywood, Florida at age 11. 

As an autodidact, he has received his art education from the compulsive study of the old masters’ works and techniques. His pieces are a personal reflection of his life experiences, as well as observations of human behaviors and social struggles.

He currently lives and works out of South Florida, where he continues to develop his craft and research of figurative painting. In recent years, this mainly happened in public spaces where he has painted large-scale murals. His interaction with the local environments has been essential in generating the concept of his work.

Image courtesy of Evoca1.

Image courtesy of Evoca1.

For more information about Moniker please visit their website and follow along with Evoca1 on Instagram.

Image courtesy of Evoca1.

Image courtesy of Evoca1.

WK Interact Interview | Moniker Art Fair
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Create! Magazine is a proud partner of Moniker International Art Fair which will be held in May in New York City. Moniker shines a spotlight not only on young and emerging artists, but also on leaders in the urban and new contemporary art movement. For the forthcoming iteration of the fair, they will be highlighting one of NYC’s most recognized wheat pasting artist, WK Interact. Originally from France, WK Interact has been working in New York for over 20 years. Read our interview below to learn more about his work!

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Tell us about your background. Were you interested in art as a child or did you come to it later in life?

Well, I started to draw when I was 8 years old as my father was a painter. I think I became passionate about art from seeing him in his studio.

What brought you to New York?

I was first in New York when I was 13 years old, but did not have a chance to visit as I had only landed there for a connecting flight to Miami. I came back at age 16 in 1982 and it ended up having an incredible impact on me. My flight arrived late at night and I only knew the address of my hotel on 82nd street near Central Park. Of course, it was the cheapest place to stay and the worst hotel at $15 per night. I spent the next three months traveling all over the state using Greyhound buses and after this, I decided to focus on creating art ‘in motion’. At the age of 18, I came up with a process of making distorted images using a Xerox copy machine which helped me find my signature style. After placing many canvases in my hometown in the south of France illegally, it was obvious to me that the best city to create that sort of interaction with my work would be New York. I ended up living in the city for many years and became a french New Yorker. I’m still living there today!

How has living there affected your work?

Living in New York for me was important to just be there and connect with the city. For my work, I feel that it becomes part of an event or a corner of the street. Even I start to blend in with my work by wearing all black clothes.

Can you explain your interest in figures and your unique techniques to create your work?

My work is based on the following concept: First illustration, then the location, then the motion interacting with the scale of the building. My real motivation is film. I decide to use the street to recreate a story and take photos with people passing by. The interaction part of my concept and process is where I came up with the name WK INTERACT.

What are some of your inspirations?

Sculptors and photographers like Calder and William Klein as well as the film industry including French Connection, Blade Runner...and so many others.

What will you be exhibiting at Moniker?

I  will have one large work and 8 posters plus a large print directly installed on a wall.

Besides showing with Moniker, do you have any other projects this year you'd like to share?

Plenty of projects, but I can’t mention anything yet :)

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Moniker Art Fair has earned a reputation as one of the most exciting contemporary art fairs with it’s roots embedded in urban culture. Learn more by visiting their website or follow them on Instagram.

Moniker Art Fair | New York May 1-5, 2019
Tina Ziegler, Fair Director. Photo courtesy of Moniker Art Fair.

Tina Ziegler, Fair Director. Photo courtesy of Moniker Art Fair.

Create! Magazine is excited to be partnering with Moniker Art Fair for its 11th edition in New York this spring. Read on to learn more about what exciting things you can look forward to at this incredible contemporary art fair!

This May 1 - 5, Moniker Art Fair returns to New York, welcoming international and local collectors to a five-day celebration of New Contemporary Art in Manhattan.

Moniker Art Fair is an acclaimed contemporary art fair with urban influences, which has for 10 years delighted collectors and art lovers in both New York and London with hyper-curated, fully-immersive and broad-scope events.

The next edition, held 1 - 5 May 2019, will dominate the heart of the New York art scene in its 15,000 square-foot venue in NoHo, continuing the never-conventional, always-pioneering fair format that has launched the careers of numerous artists in the past decades in partnership with international galleries.

Moniker has become the go-to for art collectors to learn more about the contemporary art world and to buy art assured by the curation, instinct and advice of professionals.

Moniker London 2018. Photo credit: Sam Roberts.

Moniker London 2018. Photo credit: Sam Roberts.

NEW YORK EXHIBITORS LIST

INTERNATIONAL GALLERIES

GAREY THE THIRD | LA & Hong Kong

FIERCELY CURIOUS | Brooklyn

MAZEL GALERIE | Brussels & Singapore

FOUSION GALLERY | Barcelona

VINYL ON VINYL | The Philippines

ROMAN FINE ART | The Hamptons

CAKE AGENCY | Chicago, Illonois 

11.12 GALLERY | Moscow, Russia

LIVING ART GLOBAL | UK

ANALOG CONTEMPORARY | Philadelphia

PERSEUS GALLERY | New York

 

OPEN STUDIOS

SIRIS HILL | UK

FATHERLESS | Illinois

DEREK GORES | Florida

BURAK KARAVIT | Istanbul

NICK FEDAEFF | Russia

ARTHUR BECKER | New York

TXEMY & AMAIA ARRAZOLA | New York

 

SPOTLIGHT ARTISTS

EVOCA 1 | Dominican Republic

CHRISTIAN BOEHMER | Cologne

WK INTERACT | New York

ICY & SOT | Iran

YOK & SHERYO | The Philippines

ARINZE STANLEY | Nigeria

NUNO VIEGAS | Portugal

Photo credit: Icy & Sot. Photo courtesy of Moniker Art Fair.

Photo credit: Icy & Sot. Photo courtesy of Moniker Art Fair.

FAIR SCHEDULE 2019

Wednesday 1 May 2019
Collectors Day: 3pm-7pm 
VIP Celebration: 7pm - 10pm
$75 (Includes $50 towards your first original artwork purchase)

A program of educational talks, panel discussions and networking sessions
around collecting contemporary and urban art.

Thursday 2 May 2019 
Public Opening | 1pm - 5pm 
Opening Celebration | 5pm - 9:30pm 
$25

General Fair Days
Friday 3 May | 1 - 10pm 
Saturday 4 May | 12 - 8pm 
Sunday 5 May | 11am- 6pm 
$15

STUDENTS AND SENIORS

Students can visit Moniker free of charge. A valid student ID will be required before entry.

Seniors (65+) ticket price is $10 (+booking fee) with code: REDUCED.

FAIR ACCESS

Children under the age of 16 do not need a ticket to visit the fair.

Well behaved leashed pets are welcome on site.



For more information, please visit their website: https://www.monikerartfair.com/ or follow them on Instagram.

Photo credit: WK Interact. Photo courtesy of Moniker Art Fair.

Photo credit: WK Interact. Photo courtesy of Moniker Art Fair.

Solo Show of Harlem artist Stan Squirewell at Gallery 8, London | April 1-13, 2019
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FACTION Art Projects is delighted to present a solo show of Harlem-based artist Stan Squirewell at Gallery 8, London. Following an exhibition of Squirewell’s work at FACTION’s Harlem space, the FACTION team is bringing him to London for a display of multilayered collages, which through elements of mythology, sacred geometry and science, tackle themes of race and memory. This marks Squirewell’s first solo show outside the US. A Private View of the exhibition will be held on April 2, 2019 from 6-9pm.

Squirewell’s newest works, which have evolved over two or three years of archival study and exploration, are heavily influenced by a recent revelation of his paternal ancestry.

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Squirewell says:

‘For most of my life I believed my family were African Americans who had arrived to the US on slave ships, and it wasn’t until my twenties that I discovered my true heritage, that they were indigenous Americans. As a teacher working closely with the national curriculum I constantly see how history, even now, is curated. My art attempts to rewrite these assumed histories. The beauty of the works capture the viewer, but it’s the ugly that intrigues and leads them to look deeper.’

Rediscovering his ancestry has prompted Squirewell to question his identity, particularly in the western hemisphere. It also speaks to his battle with the omnipresent slavery narrative, when he himself comes from a black family that is not believed to have a history of slavery. Through portraiture he challenges histories and presents a more empowering narrative for black identity, seeking to change the terminology around the very word ‘black’.

The portraits have a16th, 17th and 18th century aesthetic with a contemporary awareness. The depicted figures are both real historical figures and fictitious characters that are in some way related to the artist. Through demonstrating the misrepresentations of history, they critique what we colloquially describe as fact. Each artwork is complete only after he ceremoniously burns both the collage and its hand carved frames which include motifs and markings from ancient indigenous American and African cultures.

The titles of Stan Squirewell’s works reference particular moments in our shared history. One work entitled ‘Willendorf’, is inspired by the prehistoric female figure of ‘Venus of Willendorf’, while another, ‘Amerindian’ refers to the ‘$5 Indians’ - those who, 125 years ago, paid for falsified documents that proved them to be Native American.

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About Stan Squirewell:

Stan Squirewell was born and raised in Washington, DC and currently lives and works in Harlem, New York. His artistic training began at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Since graduating he has continued his tutelage under many of DC’s legends including artists Michael Platt and Lou Stovall. Squirewell, is a painter, photographer, installation and performance artist. His work is multilayered and his subject matter tackles themes such as: race and memory through mythology, sacred geometry and science. He draws his inspiration from theory books, science fiction movies and novels, avant-garde jazz and indigenous storytelling. He is a (2007 MFA) graduate of the Hoffberger School of Painting where he studied with the late, Grace Hartigan. Squirewell is the first winner of the Rush Philanthropic and Bombay Sapphire Artisan series. He has performed with Nick Cave (SoundSuits) at the National Portrait Gallery and Jefferson Pinder with G-Fine Arts. He is privately and publicly collected, his works are in the Reginald Lewis Museum, the Robert Steele Collection and recently acquired by the Smithsonian for the African American Museum (2015.) Squirewell is currently exhibited as part of ‘Fashioning the body’ at projects+gallery in St. Louis alongside Bisa Butler, Soly Cissé, Renee Cox, David Antonio Cruz, Kenturah Davis, Hassan Hajjaj, Basil Kincaid, Mario Moore, Chris Ofili, Fahamu Pecou, Katherine Simóne Reynolds, Jacolby Satterwhite, Mickalene Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley.

About FACTION Art Projects:

FACTION is a flexible collective, from the team behind the hugely successful Gallery 8 and Coates & Scarry in London, who have created a unique model for artists and gallerists to work together. FACTION addresses the changing market place and the erosion of the traditional art market, where galleries were gatekeepers for artists. FACTION provides artists with promotion and opportunity to access collectors and a wider audience, with all the support of a gallery but without the constraints of the traditional model. They aim to deliver a program of artists that is diverse and inclusive. FACTION launched in February 2018 at Gallery 8 in Harlem, New York and since then has become strongly imbedded in the Striver’s Row community and a highlight of Harlem’s cultural scene.

For more information please contact Anna Beketov, anna.beketov@damsonpr.com, +44 (0)20 7812 0645

Are you making the one mistake that is keeping your art from being featured?
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We’ve seen it happen time and again and artists have asked us about this when considering what to submit to our magazine or new gallery, PxP Contemporary. Think that including images from multiple series of works will double or triple your chances of being selected for that juried show, publication or gallery you’ve dreamed of showing with? Well, unfortunately, that’s not likely the case. I know that it’s tempting to want to show off the range of your style and creative ability, but here’s why this isn’t the time to do so.

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  • Demonstrate to the juror that you’ve taken time to really develop an idea, push yourself and stick to it! When you focus on one subject for a while, you get a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t and this helps you build your creative voice. Always keep in mind that submitting your work is like a leaving a first impression. If you have pieces from two bodies of work it can give off the vibe that you don’t quite know who you are yet as an artist or that you’re not confident enough in either series to commit to it fully. I’ll borrow from Kat here and say that you should always be sharing work that excites you! Which paintings, drawings, sculptures, or (insert whatever incredible work you create here) are you most excited about right now? Those are what you should be submitting!

  • Sometimes, it’s purely practical. For publications especially, it is difficult to consider an artist if we wouldn’t be able to put together a consistent spread with their work. Each book, journal, or magazine will have a distinct aesthetic so make it easy for them to know that you are the right fit and to feature your work. The same applies to a gallery, which has to make sure that your work could fill their space and look professional. They are also looking out for their collectors, who come to them specifically for their curatorial expertise. Rather than show them everything in the hopes that they end up buying something (with the risk of overwhelming them), a good dealer will work with the client to help them find something they love from a narrower selection based on their interest and budget. Collectors do often want to see a variety of works, but still within the same theme or style.

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  • If you are equally satisfied with several bodies of work at the moment, I’d still recommend only applying with one or at least one at a time. The biggest issue with this is that you’re leaving the curator to fill in the blanks and assuming that they can or will. How is someone who is not familiar with your work supposed to imagine what the rest of a series looks like when they’ve only seen a few pieces from it? You know that a whole group of works exists that are as great as the ones you’ve submitted, but the curator does not. If they have to go through hundreds or even thousands of artist submissions, they won’t always have the time to go looking through your website or Instagram account to see if you’ve made others like the one or two that they did like.

  • If you’ve recently started a new body of work that you’re wondering if you should start putting out there, make sure it’s ready. Do you have enough works from this series completed and photographed? If not, what’s the rush? There will be more opportunities to apply to. You can keep submitting from an earlier series for now if you want and if there is no restriction from the organization on how recent the work must be or simply allow yourself the time to fully dive into this great new idea.

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Of course, none of this is to say that you have to stick to the same thing forever. No, on the contrary, because it would be hard to have repeat collectors if your work never develops. Your gallery, if you have one, and your collectors simply want to see you continue to grow and will support you along the way!

If you’re making abstract sculptures, but have always wanted to try painting cats, go ahead! One of the greatest things about being an artist is having the freedom to experiment with your creativity. Ultimately, you have to DO YOU. But when it comes time to apply to that next exhibition opportunity, I hope you’ll consider the above and give yourself the best chance of being selected!

As always, both Kat and I are happy to answer any art career questions you have so please feel free to reach out to us: info@createmagazine.com or alicia@createmagazine.com and if you liked this article, check out the Art & Cocktails podcast or our new book The Smartist Guide for more tips.

Cheers and I wish you luck in applying to our current call for Issue 15 curated by Paradigm Gallery! Submit here.

-Alicia


Tiny Room For Elephants Festival in Philadelphia | April 19th-21st
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After speaking with the organizers, Create! Magazine is thrilled to be supporting TRFE and their upcoming event in April! Learn more about this exciting festival in Philadelphia that combines art, music and more below.

Tiny Room for Elephants Festival (#TRFE19) is a month long, collaborative, multi genre art and music experience, held throughout the month of April at Cherry Street Pier.  It is a living art ‘gallery’ that incorporates styles and mediums of 25+ Philadelphia artists painting/installing live from April 8th-April 17th. The finished works are celebrated on April 19th, April 20th and April 21st with live music, djs/producers, panels and interactive elements. 

The organizers, Dame & YaYa

The organizers, Dame & YaYa

The schedule of events is as follows:

Opening Exhibition 

Date: Friday, April 19, 2019

Time: 6:00pm-10pm

Fun Stuff:  Standing Room Only, A Wearable Art Show

Sounds: Camp Candle, Club Crusades, Eric Boss, Johnny Popcorn, Joshua Lang

Music Series

Date: Saturday, April 20, 2019

Time: 9:00am-9:00pm

Fun stuff:   Day Breaker (Tickets sold separately) "1000 Ways to Make It", panel moderated by Cosmo Baker; Live screen printing w/ Do It Now; Sticker Make & Take (Sticker Stampede); DIY Donut Station w/ Federal Donuts

Sounds: Aime, Cierra, Drew Mills, Emynd, Eric Boss, Expo, Femi, Jabair, John Morrison, Kayin x Sylo, Killiam Shakespeare, Kingsley Ibeneche, Mellowbastard, Pierson, Rover Rover, Shane tha Great, Suzanne Sheer, Tha Riva, The Bul Bey

Family Fun Day

Date: Sunday, April 21, 2019

Time: 12:00pm-6:00pm

Fun Stuff:  Easter Egg Hunt, World's Largest Kid's Sip n' Paint (tickets sold seperately), Sticker Make & Take (Sticker Stampede)

Sounds: Lee Jones & Friends

Sponsored in part by: YARDSPhiladelphia Weekly, HabithequeDo It Now T ShirtsFederal Donuts, Joe Werner ProductionsBlickTru WaveThe ParlorBeauMonde OriginalsChampionDWRC

Get noticed on Instagram!
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You may have heard that a lot of galleries, curators and writers now discover new artists that they end up representing, exhibiting or interviewing via Instagram. It’s pretty incredible that social media has created such a simple platform for sharing art worldwide. That being said, there are so many talented artists showing their work on Instagram these days that it can seem like a competition for followers and impossible to get noticed. But neither of these are true. Make sure your feed stands out for all of the right reasons!

  • Quality photography for artwork: We know, we say this all the time! As Instagram is a visual platform, it makes sense that all of your images should be high quality. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours to get a perfectly lit shot of your studio or an artfully messy image of your palette and brushes. Focus on clean, cropped photos of your work that can easily be reposted. Make it easy for others to share your work!

  • Along those lines, while it is fun to mix up the type of images that you share, like detail shots, an installation view and works in progress or even your cat, make sure you regularly show finished pieces (perhaps one of every three to five posts depending on how much work you have and how quickly you create new pieces). I came across a really incredible painting that I wanted to share on Create! Magazine’s Instagram so I went to look up the artist’s profile. I scrolled and scrolled, but could not only not find the painting I wanted - I couldn’t even find one single image of a nicely photographed, completed work cropped to the edges!

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  • Use the right hashtags: We discuss hashtags in more depth in our new book “The Smartist Guide” but the general rule is to be relevant to your work while not being too general or your posts will get lost in the mass of images. So if you make sculptures you could use #sculpture, but that has over 10 million posts and #sculptures has over 1 million. Instead you could try #sculptureart (200,000) or #sculpture_art (9,000).

  • It might be your goal to get reposted by a larger influencer account like an art blog, magazine or curator. DM-ing them to ask for a feature isn’t professional and doesn’t work (nor does random tagging unless they specifically request it!). Often, these accounts will post simple directions like using a specific hashtag on your posts for you to share your artwork with them. We look through #createmagazine regularly and love seeing the great images that the artists in our community share with us! Kat also mentioned recently on an Art & Cocktails podcast episode that Instagram doesn’t allow us to sort through all the messages that are sent to us. With the volume of DM’s we receive, after a day or two it is hard to go back and find specific ones even if it was an artist that we liked.

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  • While I can’t speak on behalf of other publications or curators, I personally don’t care what an artist’s follower count is. If I like the work, I will happy reach out for an interview or repost the work whether they have 50, 500 or 50,000 followers. There’s no need to play games by following a bunch of accounts hoping that some will follow you back and then unfollowing them a few days later. People definitely notice and will remember you in a negative light.

  • Make connections with other artists, curators, galleries and arts publications that you genuinely like. This way you can meaningfully engage with their posts. For example, if you leave a particularly nice or interesting comment on a post, it is likely that they’ll click through to your page. It pays off to be a friendly follower :)

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  • Don’t feel pressured to post new content all of the time! It’s likely that only a fraction of your followers will see any given post so if one has performed particularly well feel free to share it again a while later. Especially as you get more new followers, it is a great idea to keep putting your best work out there - you never know when a new writer or curator will end up on your feed!

  • When you do inevitably get your work shared, you can definitely repost it on your profile to be proud of your accomplishment and it’s also good practice to leave a comment thanking them for the feature. Hopefully one shared work will cause a chain reaction leading to more! That happened to Kat last year with a piece she didn’t expect and early in my career as well with a completely different type of work than what I usually made. Be patient and consistent with your posts and it will happen to you too!

Above all, none of this is important if you aren’t yet happy with your work or don’t have finished pieces to show. Put the time in your studio to get to the point where you have a really strong body of work to post about first and then trust us, the rest will follow.

Happy ‘gramming!

-Alicia

If you’d like to hear more about what writers are looking for on Instagram, you can check out the Art & Cocktails episode Kat did with our other magazine contributor Christina Nafziger at createmagazine.com/podcast.

Looking for additional career tips like these for emerging artists? We’re so excited to share our recently launched book, The Smartist Guide, which discusses topics ranging from perfecting your resume and writing the perfect pitch to a gallery you’d like to represent you to dealing with rejection and finding the best opportunities to show your work! Learn more here.


Max Cole 'Crosswinds" at Larry Becker Contemporary Art
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If you find yourself in Philadelphia before the end of the year, we highly suggest stopping by Larry Becker Contemporary Art to see their current exhibition. To be honest, it wasn’t yet on my radar when I decided to go gallery hopping on a Saturday in November. I happened to begin chatting with an artist sitting a co-op space nearby and he urged me to go over and take a look. ‘Crosswinds’ presents paintings and works on paper by American artist Max Cole. I won’t give away too much here since the owners are more than happy to tell you about this incredible artist and her work - so go see some great art and say hi to their adorable gallery cat!

Max Cole
’Crosswinds’
On view Nov 10 - Dec 29, 2018

You can follow the gallery on Facebook & Instagram.

Max Cole’s paintings suggest an approach to infinity through the use of vertical repetitive lines, a record of intense focus that is said to contain energy as embedded content. The artist describes this process, which she has worked in for over 50 years, as meditative. Though sometimes compared to the work of Agnes Martin, the similarities between the practices are superficial. “There is no other way to produce the work except for a depth of engagement requiring the abandonment of self," Cole has explained, "and this process opens the door to infinity enabling reach outside the physical. For me art must transcend the material.” Born in 1937 in Hodgeman County, KS, she received her BFA from Fort Hays State University in Kansas and her MFA from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Influenced by the Suprematist works of Kazimir Malevich during the late 1950s, she began producing paintings which reflected on time with simple forms. The artist lives and works in California. Today, Cole’s works are held the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.

Artist biography adapted from Artnet.

Shayna Silverman - "The Grand Sketch"

Shayna Silverman is currently based in Amsterdam, but she hails from New York.  She got her artistic start by drawing on the kitchen floor with crayons, but today her preferred mediums are watercolors and pen and ink on cold press paper.  She is inspired by sunny destinations, the craziness of city life, and all subjects equine or canine.  She attended New York University, from which she received a Bachelor of Arts in French with a minor in Economics.  For the past nine years, she worked as a strategy consultant in New York and Paris, but she recently decided to take a break from consulting to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an illustrator.    

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I think a lot of artists got their start by doodling with crayons as a kid! Did you have the jumbo box with 120 colors? I loved that. How did you continue to develop your drawing and painting skills growing up? Did you take classes independently or are you more self-taught? Were you still dedicating a fair amount of time to making art even during your early career in strategy consulting?

We had everything at home growing up!  Crayons, markers, colored pencils, pastels, the Sculpey polymer clay you bake in the oven, and more.  My mom was an artist who did decorative painting with acrylics – first on furniture and later on textiles – so our house was always filled with art supplies.  Ironically, I never painted that much when I was little and now I wish that I had let my mom teach me.

My preferred technique was drawing and I had a huge set of Prismacolor colored pencils.  Many years later when I was a management consultant, one of my clients was the company who owns the Prismacolor brand and I got the chance to shop in the company store.  It was a dream come true!

Aside from one watercolor painting class that I took at The New York Studio School when I was a consultant, I am pretty much self-taught, though.  While I was a consultant, I would sneak in time to do travel sketches on vacation (or okay, maybe the occasional doodle in the margins of my work notebooks), but otherwise my creativity was limited to the confines of PowerPoint!  

Tell us a bit about the transition to illustrating. What was the turning point that made you decide to go after your lifelong dream full-time? 

I have always loved art, but I guess that I always felt a little bit of pressure to follow a more traditional career path.  When I graduated from college I had student loans and I wanted to stay in New York (but it’s expensive!), so consulting seemed like a responsible choice.  The further I progressed on the consulting career track, the riskier it seemed to leave.

That all changed when I transferred to the Paris office of my consulting firm.  One of my lifelong dreams was to work abroad. However, once in France, I was working even more grueling hours than I had in the US and I didn’t even have enough time to visit Paris!  Although, I must admit that I was still able to eat my fair share of croissants. Then my boyfriend found a job in Amsterdam and while I was researching my visa options in the Netherlands, I discovered the Dutch American Friendship Treaty visa for American entrepreneurs and I realized that I might have a shot at obtaining it as a freelance artist.  I said to myself that it was now or never!

Where did the name 'The Grand Sketch" come from? Did you consider using your name? 

I did consider using my name, but I decided that I wanted to have a little flexibility with branding until I decided on the style I wanted to use.  I chose the name “The Grand Sketch” because I wanted the name to immediately convey the product being sold. I also liked the juxtaposition of the word “grand”, which suggests an elaborate, impressive work, with the word “sketch”, which implies a rough or unfinished product.  One of my goals in my painting is to have an economy of line that expresses the same emotion as an elaborate painting but without all of the fuss. Finally and most importantly, though, the domain name and instagram handle were available!

Describe a few of your sources of inspiration and how or why they influence your work.

I have always found the craziness of city life endlessly inspirational, if not exhausting!  In New York there are so many eccentric characters everywhere, and so much energy! Amsterdam is wonderful in different ways – the beautiful canals and quiet streets, the take no prisoner cyclists, and the moody weather.  I also love painting horses and dogs. It is a real pleasure to capture their movement and expressions.

What is your process like to create a work from start to finish? Feel free to talk about materials here too. How long does one piece usually take and do you work on more than one at a time? 

I tend to start out by taking a lot of reference photos of the subject that I want to paint.  Then I move to a pencil sketch (with lots of erasing)! When I am checking proportions, I tend to take a photo of the drawing and crop it to the same size as the reference photo and then flip back and forth between the two.  This allows me to spot errors in the proportions. Once I think that I have finished the drawing, I always leave it alone for a day and come back to it to make final corrections before I start to paint. It’s like that dress that you wanted to buy in a store – it’s always easier to have perspective on what you truly need when you look at things with a fresh eye!

For the painting, I often do landscapes on cold press watercolor paper, and more detailed paintings or portraits on hot press paper.  When I am painting horses or dogs, I first do an underpainting of ultramarine blue and van dyke brown to set the values. Then I layer color on top.

While portraits tend to take eight or more hours, I find that lately I have been spending more time on detailed city scapes that require a little bit more ruler work.

I prefer to work on multiple pieces at a time and switch between them to prevent myself from getting bored, but when I have a commission, that takes priority.

Are you working on any upcoming projects, collaborations or exhibitions? 

I am currently preparing for an exhibition at the coworking space The Thinking Hut in Amsterdam.  The theme of the exhibition is Holland and I am painting everything from the canals of Amsterdam to modern – and humorous – takes on the cultural trademarks of Holland (Delft pottery, cows, stroopwafel).  I also have a few commissions in the works, which are all dog portraits.

What are your goals in the coming year? 5 years? 

In the next five years, I would like to eventually find representation with the right gallery, as well as with an illustration agency.  It would be great to do illustrations for luxury brands or editorial work. I would also like to write and illustrate a children’s book, but I think that is more on the five-year horizon.

For more of Shayna's work, you can visit her website or follow her on Instagram here.

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Marion Griese

Marion Griese completed a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Toronto in 1992. After travelling and working in Europe, she studied jewellery art and design for two years at Vancouver Community College. These two art forms have allowed her to explore ideas and concepts from different angles. A found object may inspire a painting, which consequently may inspire a piece of jewellery. Other times, the jewellery may spark ideas for a painting. She has a deep appreciation for balance, proportion and colour and looks to both natural and urban forms for inspiration. She is currently focusing her time on a new series of abstract paintings. Marion Griese resides in the Niagara area of Southern Ontario with her family, where she teaches art to young children.

Artist Statement:

My approach to painting is intuitive, yet also imbued with my years of studying art and design. Whether I turn to the natural or the urban environment for inspiration, I am always looking for a dialogue between colour and form. I am so interested in how notes of colour can play off of one another to transport and even transform us. My current work begins with lines rooted in organic shapes to form the structure of the composition. Sinuous lines intersect across the canvas to reveal shapes which are then given colour from a palette I observe around me, or sometimes draw from the hues of memories, poetry or music. The intertwining of the creative challenge and sense of serenity I experience when composing my paintings is what I find most compelling and rewarding.

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You talk about the colors in your current body of work as being inspired by the hues of memories, poetry and music. Can you be more specific? In what way do certain moments, written works or songs speak to you? 

I find inspiration in many places, often in the everyday moments when I am just walking outdoors and observing my surroundings. It may be the colour of a shadow falling alongside a house or the bright neon of a street sign that I remember and bring back to the canvas. Today it’s the grey/blue Canadian winter sky forewarning snow. I take artistic cues from many writers and musicians, too. Michael Ondaatje is one poet and novelist whose writing style has had a great impact on me. His poem “To A Sad Daughter” remains one of my favourites for its beautiful colour imagery and metaphors that define the mood of the scene he’s portraying. The music of the Canadian band The Tragically Hip and the poetic lyrics of Gord Downie have also long inspired me. It is not only the words, but also the variations of sounds, rhythms and the experience of the music that makes its way into my work. It is the nature of what I experience through my surroundings, or music or words that I am trying to relay - not literally, but through tones and shapes of colours that meet or overlap. A fitting quote I like that is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci goes: “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”

How did this series develop? Have your paintings always focused on color and form?

Like most artists, I’ve explored different styles, mediums and subjects over the years and so my work has gone through many changes. In previous years my paintings were more expressive in style and landscape was the focus of my interest. My current work grew out of art I produced for the 100 Day Project in 2015, where I committed to painting a 6 x 6 abstract for 100 days. To move away from painting a subject to relying on intuition was challenging and intimidating. Stepping into that uncertainty required me to quiet my mind and trust all that I'd learned and studied for the last 30 years! I discovered that in just showing up every day I was developing a new visual “language” for myself that I had not anticipated. I felt I was also beginning to get clearer on what was important to me artistically. In some ways my art, whether painting, illustration or even jewellery has had elements of the work I do now, but the focus had not been solely on colour and form. Removing some of the details and simplifying the composition allowed me to concentrate more on how a piece might make one feel, rather than what it might make one think.

In addition to painting, you also create jewelry. How do you balance working in both - and very different - mediums?

Making time for two different art practices is difficult, especially when coupled with being a parent and having a part-time job. At this moment I’m not actively working on jewellery projects, but focusing what time I have on painting. On occasion though, I make sketches for jewellery pieces when ideas come to mind, or make small samples out of wax, or get asked to make a commissioned piece. I continue to find working on jewellery as exciting as making a painting and I really enjoy translating a two-dimensional image into a 3D form. I hope to include more jewellery work to my studio practice in the coming years. I’m so interested in other artists who work in various disciplines – like Tapio Wirkkala, who worked in metal, glass, ceramics, jewellery and sculpture.

Does teaching inform or affect your practice as well?

Teaching young children is such a privilege! I began teaching art to young children over 10 years ago and feel as though it has informed my work in many ways. One of the things that I enjoy most is researching artists from the past or present and building a lesson around the work that will be fun, experimental and exciting for the kids. At the same time, it fulfills my own curiosity and I've come to discover the work of so many people that I may not have known before. Something I also enjoy and admire in young children is their inhibition and willingness to experiment. I love watching them choose colours or describe the details of their illustrations. Their fearlessness and sense of fun are a good lesson for me. I am reminded to enjoy the process, mistakes and all, and to not take myself so seriously.

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Can you explain your creative process? What does a piece go through from your initial idea to the completed painting? 

I am someone who needs movement first thing in the morning, so after my household has emptied and I have walked the dog and had my run, my mind is settled enough to start my studio practice. I will often flip through art books or my sketchbooks for inspiration, spend some time researching other artists online or organizing my space. I used to feel like I was procrastinating, but I’m realizing that this time of transition is important. To get a painting started I draw a few lines and shapes that interest me and then after some contemplation, I begin to add colour. I work intuitively to orchestrate the forms and colours, all the while being conscious of how the painting feels. The initial layer of the painting will change many times as I constantly rotate the canvas and stand back to have a look. I also like to take photos of the work-in-progress, as it gives me another frame in which to see areas that feel right or may still need work. A painting may, depending on its size, be finished in a few hours or a few days. I like to work on many paintings at a time, both large and small.

What is the best art-related advice you have received? 

I have come across a lot of great advice over the years from creatives who have generously shared insights about living an artist's life. One piece of advice that I've embraced and appreciate the most is the idea of “showing up” everyday. Steven Pressfield speaks to this in his wonderful book The War of Art and even Picasso knew this when he said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Ideas generate ideas. To keep the momentum going you have to practice – regularly. This also means accepting the mistakes and the work that just isn't very good. It’s hard for me, but I’m trying to remind myself that it’s about the process and that the lessons within the mistakes are valuable. 

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Art Miami Exhibitor Highlight: Vivian Horan Fine Art

Vivian Horan

Owner of Vivian Horan Fine Art

35 East 67th Street

New York, NY 10065

info@vivianhoran.com

Mel Bochner, Blah, Blah, Blah, 2013, Monoprint with collage, engraving, and embossment on hand-dyed Twinrocker handmade paper, 11 7/8 x 10 inches, 30.2 x 25.4 cm, Signed and dated on right recto in graphite

Mel Bochner, Blah, Blah, Blah, 2013, Monoprint with collage, engraving, and embossment on hand-dyed Twinrocker handmade paper, 11 7/8 x 10 inches, 30.2 x 25.4 cm, Signed and dated on right recto in graphite

What is the gallery's focus at this year's fair?

This year, we will be focusing on emerging and mid – career contemporary artists from across the world.

Are there specific artists or works that collectors should pay attention to at your booth?  

We are very excited to be bringing a Nick Cave Sound Suit, a Jenny Holzer Led sign from the Survival Series, Blah, Blah, Blah by Mel Bochner, and work by the Light and Space Californian, Peter Alexander. Further, we are bringing the work of Paul O’Connor, an artist from Taos, New Mexico, who has an amazing understanding of metals and their alchemic effects. Paul will be included in our spring gallery show featuring Taos artists.

Rob Wynne,   Over the Rainbow , 2010, Poured and mirrored glass in 15 parts, 45 x 55 inches 114.3 x 139.7 cm, Signed and dated on verso of the last letter ‘W'

Rob Wynne, Over the Rainbow, 2010, Poured and mirrored glass in 15 parts, 45 x 55 inches 114.3 x 139.7 cm, Signed and dated on verso of the last letter ‘W'

What are some of your favorite aspects of being a part of Art Miami?

As this is our first year at Art Miami, we are excited to see what it brings – and thrilled to go from spectator to participant.

Please give our readers a few tips for making the most of attending art fairs based on your experience. 

1)   Visit Art Miami first! We would hate for you to miss the great works before they are gone.

2)   Take your time, and do not do too much. It is very easy to become overwhelmed, causing works to blur.

Jee Won Park

I’m a 25-year-old South Korean girl based in Rome. I’ve never studied digital art nor attended art-related courses, but I’ve always loved editing photos to reproduce the colours, lights and 'moods' I see or imagine while taking photos with my iPhone. 

I started editing photos for my Instagram account in February 2017, and from simple landscape photos I started editing pictures combining flowers and bubbles, which became the 2 main elements of most of my art. Both flowers and bubbles are colourful and their colours are always different. I love playing with colours and lights; sometimes I feel like I'm discovering myself. Now I also create images from blank page, and my art ranges from collage art to animated photos.  

Learn more.

Interview: Jeanette Morrow

Jeanette Morrow earned her B.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design. After college, she worked in public relations for a number of years before eventually returning to her roots as a fine artist. She formally launched Morrow Studio in November 2016 and has been working out of her studio in Manhattan ever since. Her abstract paintings are hallmarked by larger scale color stories that are loose, gestural and emotional. 

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What inspired you to become an artist? Can you tell me about your background in art? 

I was born with a draw to the arts, but it was my high school art teacher who was the first to nudge me towards exploring my work further. He, and an accumulation of other voices collected in my head saying, “Yes. This. Do this.” fueled my desire to become an artist. As a rising senior, I went to a summer art camp (nerd alert!) and decided to apply to an art college. By the fall I was accepted into the Savannah College of Art and Design.

How was it to break away from art for a period of time in your early career? What urged you to return to it? 

Honestly, I was finding a lot of fulfillment in my career in the digital arts that I didn’t really miss the fine arts for the first few years of my corporate career. Once I had a family and knew I didn’t want to do the travel my job required, I decided to stay at-home with my daughter and freelance. It was then that it became less and less of a joy and more and more apparent that I missed painting and ceramics. At the time we were living on a small farm outside of Atlanta and converted our barn into a studio. The very early official works of Morrow Studio were born there!

Are you now painting full-time? What is your studio like? 

I split my time in the studio between painting and ceramics. I thought to get traction or exposure, I had to choose one or the other, but the perk of being my own boss is that I can do whatever I want! I’ve had to wrestle with preconceived notions of what “success” was going to look like for me. Exposure is important to the survival of an art career, but so is genuineness.

We have the very rare luxury of space in Manhattan and have converted a spare room in our townhouse into my current studio. When I’m not in there, I’m hanging with my two toddlers.

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How do you plan a day in your studio? Are there certain tasks that you always do? 

Time management is crucial to my time in the studio, as I only get a few hours a day to create (thanks to the aforementioned toddlers). A gift I am thankful for is my ability to work quickly. It doesn’t help with my patience in day-to-day tasks, but I sure do appreciate it when I have to focus on a commission deadline! Studio must-haves are a huge cup of black coffee, my favorite music playing (playlists change depending on the mood of the piece) and bodega blooms.

Use a few words you think best describe the aesthetic of your abstract paintings. Is there a specific feeling or idea you wish to convey through your work? 

Layered, moody, dramatic, loose. My favorite pieces are the ones that capture a feeling of movement and emotion. I have respect for the medium and let that play heavily in the process. I can’t control when the paint bleeds or how it sprays. As hokey as it may sound, it feels like a collaborative creation between myself and the medium.

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Why don't you title your works? 

Each piece most definitely has an intention or inspiration behind it, but I shy away from overtly sharing that with the observer. I don’t want to rob them of their imagination and thoughts of the piece by bulldozing over them with mine. Kind of like when a book gets turned into a movie.

What media do you use? 

I use a variety of materials, but primarily acrylic paint and prisma colors. Since acrylic is water-based, I can achieve the fluidity and texture that I desire.

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What is your painting process like? What do you do to generate new ideas?

To the disappointment of many art teachers, I have found the more methodical and planned I try to be before actually putting paint on the canvas, the unhappier I am with the end result. I can easily overthink and overwork and feel the first mark is the scariest, so I rip the bandaid off. If it’s a commission, then of course I’ll make sure the palette is correct and keep inspiration photos and notes nearby.

I find my environment the most fruitful to generating new ideas. I seek beauty in interiors and nature and when I’m immersed there, it’s the easiest to be inspired.

Which other artists interest you? In what ways do you find inspiration from their work?

Robert Rauschenberg was the artist who first lit the fire in me to create. I remember learning about his career in high school and couldn’t shake the urge to get my hands dirty after that. Currently, there’s so much talent out there that I find those who are unapologetic about their work to be the most interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good, safe and pretty floral piece, and have many in my home, but artists who seemingly don’t care what others think is the most appealing. Southern folk art has always inspired me in this way. Artists in that genre usually have little formal training, but cannot stop themselves from creating and their love and passion just pours out into their work.

How has your practice developed or changed since you first launched your studio? 

I’ve learned so much in the infancy of studio. First, that comparison truly is the thief of joy. I check-in with myself often and if feelings of doubt outweigh my feelings of creativity then it’s time to log out of my social media and sit with myself so I don’t lose sight of my intentions. From a business perspective, I realized quickly that getting a thick skin was going to be as important as a good brush.

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Mária Švarbová

Maria Svarbova was born in 1988; she currently lives in Slovakia. Despite studying restoration and archeology, her preferred artistic medium is photography. From 2010 to the present, the immediacy of Maria’s photographic instinct continues to garner international acclaim and is setting new precedents in photographic expression. The recipient of several prestigious awards, her solo and group exhibitions have placed her among the vanguard of her contemporaries, attracting features in Vogue, Forbes, The Guardian, and publications around the world; her work is frequently in the limelight of social media. Maria’s reputation also earned her a commission for a billboard-sized promotion on the massive Taipei 101 tower, in Taiwan.

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Maria’s distinctive style departs from traditional portraiture and focuses on experimentation with space, colour, and atmosphere. Taking an interest in Socialist era architecture and public spaces, Maria transforms each scene with a modern freshness that highlights the depth and range of her creative palette. The human body throughout her oeuvre is more or less a peripheral afterthought, often portrayed as aloof and demure rather than substantive. Carefully composed figures create thematic, dream-like scenes with ordinary objects. Her images hold a silent tension that hint at emergent possibilities under the lilt of clean and smooth surfaces.

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There is often a sense of cool detachment and liminality in Maria’s work. Routine actions such as exercise, doctor appointments, and domestic tasks are reframed with a visual purity that is soothing and symmetrical and at times reverberant with an ethereal stillness. The overall effect evokes a contemplative silence in an extended moment of promise and awareness—a quality difficult to achieve in the rapid pace of modern life. Maria’s postmodern vision boldly articulates a dialog that compels the viewer to respond to the mystery, loneliness, and isolation of the human experience. Nevertheless, deeply embedded within the aqueous pastels, Maria’s compositions hold to a celebratory elegance that transforms the viewer’s gaze into an enduring reverence for life’s simple beauty.

Series 1. Swimming pool
The atmosphere that depict through a palette of pastel and overexposed tones projects the spectator into a sanitized world in which the characters have chosen to give up any kind of extravagance that might unmask them.

Like inert and robotic figurines, they rigidly evolve from one photograph to the next without parading their feelings. Time seems to have stopped and the swimmers have no other idea than to see themselves reflected in the perfectly still water of the swimming pool. Reworking the concept of the photo novel that originated through a combination of cinema and comic strips, my photographs are a succession of short scenes in which the frontality and absence of contrasts removes any narrative dimension in favour of the fullness of the photographic surface.

The use of retouching software allows me to master this careful and stringent aesthetic with extreme precision, attenuating differences as though all individuals were the same, losing all of their individuality and identity.

Series 2. Plastic World
In Plastic World, Mária Švarbová's subjects act as emotionless mannequins. Through blank stares, stiff poses and total absence of emotion, the series challenges the viewer to question the ingrained roles people play in society.

Every image flows into another scene forming the overall narrative of the series -- the emptiness and mindless inability to change one's predetermined role in life in the the absence of emotion. Complex and dreamy, Plastic World presents an imaginary world (inspired by historic artifacts and environments of Communist Czechoslovakia).

The series has been complied through several of the artist's photographic series.