Posts tagged figurative art
Interview with Moniker Art Fair highlight artist Andrew Hem
lb.jpg

In advance of Moniker Art Fair coming up on October 2 - 6, Create! Magazine caught up with painter Andrew Hem, who will be exhibiting at the show. Read his interview below!

Raised as the child of Cambodian immigrants in Los Angeles, Andrew Hem’s illustrative paintings bridge disparate aesthetic influences as well as cultural touchstones and sensibilities. Hem’s paintings typically highlight an individual within a group of figures, homing in on the one person who is often somberly staring out from the canvas. Using a cool palette in which the colors do not quite match up with the real world, the artist creates somber moods in illusionistic spaces set at a remove from reality. Although his color scheme—with its supernatural rendering of the natural world—elicits comparisons to impressionism, Hem also echoes graffiti art based on his straightforward and illustrative rendering of figures and space, as well as allusions to street culture, art, and fashion.

paulal.jpg

How and when did you first become interested in art?

I became interested in art around 12 years old through graffiti. I feel like most kids who grew up in the 80s in my neighborhood had a similar start.

Tell us about what inspires you creatively.

Great designs inspire me so much - whether it be architecture, fashion, or interior design. I love color combinations. I get inspired by all the different color combos I could achieve if I had more time in the day.

What is your process like?

I start with an idea in my head. I would then do some rough sketches to plan out the composition. From there, I would shoot some references. I like to add a 50/50 blend of reference and Imagination. Before, I would do all imagination and found that I tended to repeat myself. And when I used all references it would tend to be too stiff for my liking. The 50/50 was the perfect look I was aiming for.

Describe your current studio space. What is most important about it or one thing that you can't live without in your work area?

My studio is my garage and I love it. I use to have a separate studio but spending the money to transform my garage was the nest decision I could’ve made. I have a tv in that I probably couldn’t work without. I work while listening to movies so Netflix is playing all the time in my studio.

What is one piece of advice that has stuck with you or a quote that you find meaningful?

You are going to need a Coretta Scott to be king.

Can you share a bit about what you will be exhibiting at Moniker and what viewers can look forward to?

Most people think that an artist is born with talent. They don’t really know the hard work and time spent perfecting the craft. I wanted to showcase the moment rarely seen. We see the end result and assume how talented that artist is. With this new body of work you will get a glimpse of the backdoor.

Studio Sunday: Ekaterina Vanovskaya

This Studio Sunday meet Ekaterina Vanovskaya, a Russian born and Philadelphia based painter. She is one of the 14 international artists participating in PxP Contemporary’s exhibition ‘Faces & Figures’ and we’re pleased to be presenting two of her stunning figurative works in the show!


Bio

Ekaterina Vanovskaya was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and an MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2015. Ekaterina has exhibited nationally, which includes shows in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, among others. She completed the Artist in the Marketplace Program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts and recently participated in the Governors Island Art Fair in New York and the AIM Biennial at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Ekaterina received the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant in 2017 and 2018.

Statement

Pale, distressed figures inhabit my large-scale oil paintings. There are several repeating themes in the paintings: loneliness, nostalgia, longing, melancholia, and a search for a sense of place. There are often figures depicted doing mundane tasks, or caught in a state of hesitation or fear, in forlorn atmospheres. A specific emotional longing translates into a painting.

I was born and spent my childhood in St. Petersburg, Russia and memorable childhood experiences frame the core of my work. These memories symbolize isolated experiences and therefore have a strong emotional impact. The physical places I no longer occupy and they do not exist in the same state, as when I knew them, all is imagined.

How does our past impact our emotions, responses, and ways of being? These perceptions of our childhood inevitably define the way we live our lives today. Painting starts to serve as a reconciliation with the self. It is as if I am painting about a secret that nobody else knows.

IMG_3242.jpg

When did you first become interested in art?

I started painting when I was fifteen years old, by accident really. Then during my senior year of high school I saw a poster on the wall for Portfolio Day in New York. (An event where you can show up with art work and get accepted into art school.) Completely on a whim, I gathered all my paintings into black garbage bags and made my mother take me to Portfolio Day. That’s how I ended up at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I did all sorts of things there, including painting, and generally had an amazing time. My last year there I already knew I wanted to go to graduate school for painting and I went to grad school a few years later. I think the School of The Art Institute of Chicago really opened my eyes to the world of art making and that’s where I realized that I can and want to pursue art seriously.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your work and what your creative process is like.

All my paintings start with a feeling. I was born and spent my childhood in St. Petersburg, Russia and a lot of my paintings are about memories of my childhood, my family and friends. I can think about a painting for months and years before actually painting it. There is usually a faint picture or idea in my head and the more I think about it the clearer it gets. I used to make a lot of drawings for my paintings - of each person, object, tree, room and so on. Now I don’t have to do that as much - and I try not to draw anything besides my composition sketches. I am afraid that making too many drawings will take away from the impulse of making the painting. I always have a sketchbook and I write down ideas for future work and notes about each painting as I am making it. Sometimes when I am trying to figure things out, I will write in my sketchbook something like, “Is the window in the painting blue?” And then the answer, “No.” It’s really funny. I usually have four or five paintings in my head and four or five different paintings that I am physically working on in the studio.

IMG_4158.jpg

What do you hope your viewers take away from seeing your paintings?

I hope they take away an experience of looking that is memorable. I want to share something about my life and say, “This is how I am in this world, come with me”.


What is one piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?

I would say, don’t worry so much and do more stuff. Enjoy college even more, for example. But maybe it was good to be so stuck on one thing - painting, who knows. I was always too worried about how things are. Someone said to me once, in painting class, “Whatever gets you through the day is fine.” I still think about that phrase, especially in terms of painting, and I think it's good advice.


How do you overcome creative blocks?

I don’t. I have creative blocks all the time actually and until fairly recently I would think, “Oh no, I have a creative block again, but I must paint!” But I hate doing something just to do it and I think it’s a waste of paint, energy and time to work on a painting “just to keep going”. I only paint in service to the idea I have and if I don’t want to paint, I don’t paint. I used to be really regimented in the way I work and now I am trying to be more loose and instinctive because I am always trying to make my paintings more personal, more diaristic, different from the previous work. So that’s a strange demand to make while at the same time saying, “but you must paint continuously for this many hours just like you did in grad school" and so on. I want to be free to follow my pattern of thoughts in painting form. In my experience a creative block comes before there is a change of direction or approach in the paintings. I would say trust that change and go on in whatever way possible for the time being.

IMG_4226.jpg

Are there any exciting exhibitions, projects, or collaborations going on the rest of this year that you’re currently working on or will be soon?

I was just invited to participate in a group exhibition at Mercer County Community College, October 28th - December 19th, 2019. There is also POST - Philadelphia Open Studio Tours in October, where artists open their studios to the public. I enjoy it every year and I am really looking forward to it.

Anna-Lena Cäcilia Ledl
Alchemy_of_Creativity_water_based_clay.jpg

Anna-Lena is a figurative sculptor who lives and works in Florence, Italy.

Anna-Lena Cäcilia Ledl (b. 1997,) grew close to Hallein, an Austrian city in the foothills of the Alps with a long tradition of wood-carving sculpture. There, Anna-Lena began training in sculpture at just 14 years old. 
In 2016, Anna-Lena moved to Italy to begin a three-year academic training in figurative sculpture at the Florence Academy of Art. Already in her second year, Anna-Lena was awarded both the ‘Best Sculpture of the Year’ and ‘Best Drawing of the Year’ prizes. Upon her graduation in June, she will take the position as a principal Instructor, as most certainly the youngest teacher in the history of the Florence Academy of Art. Her work has been internationally recognized by organizations including the Art Renewal Centre (ARC) and The International Arts and Culture Group (TIAC). Her work can be found in private collections in Europe, North America, and South Africa.

"I look at nature for inspiration and use my formal academic training to provoke viewers into experiencing universal emotions from new perspectives. By sculpting in clay, I can unite working from life and imagination with all of their infinite possibility."


www.instagram.com/annalena_caecilia/