Posts tagged painter
Interview with Moniker Art Fair highlight artist Andrew Hem
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Studio Sunday: Kestin Cornwall
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This week’s Studio Sunday goes behind-the-scenes with one of the represented PxP Contemporary artists, Kestin Cornwall. In his interview, he discusses an early memory with his mother that inspired him to start drawing, why working with certain mediums are important for his style, and how he gets into a state of flow in his studio. PxP will have two of his works in our upcoming fall exhibition, which we will be announcing shortly!

Bio

Kestin Cornwall grew up in the Windsor Ontario area. His father is Grenadian and his mother is American, and he spent much of his youth in Detroit, Michigan with family. In 2001, he moved to Oakville, Ontario to begin his training at Sheridan College. While completing the Art Fundamentals and Illustration programs, Cornwall’s focus and love for the arts grew quickly. He increasingly combined both classical drawing and painting with modern digital reproduction and screen-printing. In 2006, Cornwall won the CAPIC Best In Show Award. Over the past ten years, Cornwall has focused on creating relevant progressive art. He has used a varied practice of combining hand drawings, digitally removing the human hand and then forcing the element of the human hand back into the work. Using elements such as painting, wheat-pasting, screen-printing, installation and drawing to explore the relationship between art, human rights, politics, sex, and freedom. Cornwall critically charts current political, social, and economic landscapes with compositions brimming with references to media, popular culture, music, and art history. He enjoys challenging what’s considered “common” and feels it is the duty of an artist to add beauty to the world while invoking the unending social responsibility to capture thought. Many of his influences include contemporary graphic realism, street art and old comics, with a complimenting factor of mystery, often mirroring timeless depictions of pop culture. Each piece depicts an analysis of our obsession with beauty, age, and change. Kestin Cornwall lives and works in Toronto.

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When and how did you first become interested in art? 

I was a little kid, grade 3 or 4. At that time, if my family was not in Detroit visiting my aunts or at church we were at home with an old tv that had just three stations and no video games for the most part...not much to do most days in the summer after you completed your chores. Small town shit. My mom was trying to keep me busy and decided to show me how to draw an elephant. It blew my mind how much it looked like the real thing to me. Her drawing was so simple and didn't have much detail but I knew what it was and I loved that. That moment felt like it lasted forever, instead of a word it was an image, a thousand words as they say. From that evening on I wanted to draw an elephant as well as she did, and draw as often as I could. 

I loved art and sports and as I grew up life was hard at times, art and sports provided a place to channel my energy. What is interesting, is that studies have shown that young male aggression and creativity follow the same line on a graph, and at peak male aggression, creativity peaks. So having outlets are important. Outlets are valuable. Again, I didn't know this at the time but art and sports gave me a direction and an outlet, I got to work with my hands and create objects and images. That's why it felt so great to do it, that’s the core of what I grew to love about it, all the other reasons came after. 

Tell us about the series you’re currently working on and a bit of what inspires you as an artist

So much inspires me. Resilient people inspire me. People that can get hit, have everything go to shit and keep going, like my parents. If you think about it, we’re descendants of the strongest. What’s the number...0.5 percent I think,  of the male population in the world have Genghis Khan geneticists.

I’m currently finishing up another skate deck, a series I started this year. The work is based on visual culture and ethnicity. It’s impossible to disentangle or separate the two. Visual art presents a direct opportunity to actively challenge images that are discriminatory or biased and create new imagery. I draw on not only my own racial identity but also include faces from my community. With the new work, I’m using images to examine the notion of how culture and entertainment including film and other media, shape the mass public perception of people of color in North American culture.  

I try to ask questions, do research, create and then repeat that process. A few friends and I had the idea to do a Jeffersonian Dinner, it was a great way to help form new ideas and shape future thoughts, but next time we need to add additional rules. I always say I like “happy mistakes.” One could argue that the creative process is just a series of mistakes.

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How did you develop your style? 

There were so many factors. From what I just enjoyed working with, to the longevity of the medium. Also what I grew up listening to. Hip-hop, rap, punk, and rock music raised us. My boys and I looked at artists before us as a path out. A way out you know? Some wanted to be ballplayers, some wanted to be rap artists or in a rock band. Guys like Mike Giant, Blek le Rat, Basquiat, Richard Hambleton, Shepard Fairey, Cope 2 are like the forefathers to some of us. I looked up to them and they helped shape my idea of what art is while trying to forge my own identity and my own vibe, my own cut, and line work.  

Early on I had no budget for tools and costly materials so it was whatever I could get my hands on… in a lot of ways that helped. It forces you to be creative and resourceful, do more with less. I think that's what separates the people that are creative enough to keep making personal art and those that stop. Keep in mind, making art is subjective, you could be an art director or teacher who never draws a thing and in some ways still, be making art.

Everyone has something that inspires them, you just have to search long enough to find it. Everyone has to find what they think is a great tool or what they think is real art. For so many,  if it's not done in a classic medium like oil, it's not real art. I respect oil greatly. It's a beautiful medium but you can't do with oil what you can do with a spray can or screen print and vice versa. I kept this in mind with all of my work and wanted to capture the contemporary culture and modern society not just in the images at times but also the material and technique. Nothing screams contemporary art like a spray can. 

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Describe your current studio space. What is important to have in it and how often do you dedicate time there? 

Coffee!!! Coffee is a prerequisite… lol

I work in a midsize space above a storefront, with lots of light and houseplants. I just got a new monstera, pretty stoked on that.  Learned how to propagate a monstera a few weeks back! So look out!

I like to live and work in buildings with history.  Like, if the pipes make noise, and there are old bricks that had to have patchwork done, I'm drawn to that! I like that.  

A lot of what I keep around and much of what decides when I work is the ability to know when I can or can't tap into flow. Ya’ know what I mean? That state where you’re so zoned in on a task that at the end, the time melts away leaving only the moment of creating it. An hour feels like 5mins. It’s just done. I can get two or three full images done in 8-12 hours when I’m inflow. I just come out of it and I’m almost done, and I crash because it takes so much out of you. The time dedicated varies, it all depends on flow.  

I need tools like a sander and mixed media. A glass of wine or bourbon to help me tap in to flow, you vibe? Makes it easier. You have to be on point, only a glass or two, too much and you’re out of flow or fucking up shit. I also can't start if I don’t have a fan or blow dryer to speed up dry time and a football or basketball to toss around the studio as I think or wait for the paint to dry. I have to have music… most of the time. Oh, music.  Music and painting are like steak and eggs, or old jeans and a fresh black t-shirt, they belong together.   

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Can you share a bit about your artist community and the art scene where you live?

The East Side of Toronto is diverse. We call it the Ark, in my hood anyway… due to the diversity. When you walk the core, you see two of everyone. Lots of 3rd generation black Canadians, lots of 1st and 2nd generation South Asians and 5th-10th generation white Canadians. You can get roti, samosa, oxtail or baklava all in a three minute walk on one street. 

Some of the top upcoming galleries have moved from the West, where all of the upcoming and established galleries use to be, to the East. The contemporary art scene is very young. There’s a lot of great street art. There are some awesome artists, art studios and the music scene in the East is always popping off. 

Besides showing in the next exhibition with PxP Contemporary, do you have any other exciting projects coming up for the rest of the year? 

I have a few commissions in the works I'm excited about and an upcoming show I might take on next year.  I have an interesting project that incorporates art, that I'm excited about but can’t give too much detail on this just yet. I rolled out a new site layout earlier this year, so I'll add a store option with past and new work shortly. 

Yes! I’m excited to work with PxP Contemporary and am looking forward to the next show! I’m feeling that.   

Thanks for taking the time to interview me, and giving me the opportunity to share some details of my work and process with your readers, I truly do appreciate that.  Thank you.

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Studio Sunday: Michelle Lee Rigell

It is the last week of our show ‘Pilot’ with PxP Contemporary so this Studio Sunday highlights one of our invited artists, Michelle Lee Rigell. She is a contemporary realist painter who is based in St. Louis and we have featured two works from her ‘1,000 Crane Project’ in the exhibition. Read on to learn more about her creative practice, studio space, and exhibitions for the rest of the year!

Bio

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Michelle Lee Rigell is a St. Louis-based contemporary realism artist who works in acrylics. Since 2015, Rigell has shown her work in several locations in the Greater St. Louis area including SOHA Gallery, Art Saint Louis and fundraising art events such as Wall Ball for Artscope and Art of PAWS for St. Louis Effort for AIDS. Rigell also volunteers as an instructor and is the assistant director of Arts As Healing Foundation, a nonprofit organization that brings the therapeutic benefits of art to cancer patients and those with chronic illnesses.

Statement

I tend to gravitate toward subjects that evoke nostalgia and whimsy. I am currently working on a project called the "1000 Crane Project" because of my childhood love for origami. When I wasn't drawing or painting, I was constantly folding origami. My goal is to capture the beauty and precision of origami while incorporating the flawed nature of wrinkled papers and used wrappers and labels of some of my favorite childhood American products.

Cranes are also a symbol of good fortune and longevity in Korean culture. They have been an apt subject matter in my life because rediscovering my passion for painting began as a way to cope with my miscarriages and difficulties with infertility. I am a firm believer that art can provide healing, and I want to be able to help others heal by providing a sense of sentimentality and humor through my art process and experiences.  

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How did you first become interested in art and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today?

I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember. As a child I wanted to be an animator and graphics designer like my uncle, the other artist in our family, but in high school, I focused on getting into medical school. I was convinced by the adults in my life that this was a more practical career path, but ultimately I chose not to pursue a career in medicine after graduating from college.

After moving to St. Louis for my husband’s medical training, my mother-in-law encouraged me to take art classes. When I signed up, it never crossed my mind to pursue a career in art because I didn’t have any formal education in art and I had lost a lot of confidence in myself. Around the same time, I had a miscarriage and my second not too long after, so it was a period filled with a lot of hurt. Fortunately through the classes, I met my mentor and began volunteering for the Arts As Healing Foundation, reigniting my passion for art and opening new possibilities for me. I went on a long and roundabout journey back to an art career, but now I am sharing my love for art to others who need it and love it with more appreciation and passion than when I was younger.

We love that your work is so fun and whimsical with hints of nostalgia. Can you tell us about what inspires you and the story behind your series of origami cranes specifically?

A few years ago for Christmas, my mentor gifted me a glass jar with the Chinese character for happiness and good fortune on it. Along with art, I also loved origami growing up, so I decided to fill it up with cranes, which then led to an even better idea of painting them.

Before my “1000 Crane Project”, I was already painting nostalgic subjects like record players, musicians, vintage signs using earthy, dark tones; I grew up listening to a lot of Oldies music. But as I gained more confidence in myself and my work, I wanted to experiment with bolder compositions and colors. I had found the perfect subject that was not only iconic and symbolic but had been a big part of my childhood as well. Instead of using crisp, new sheets of paper, I thought it would be more interesting and challenging to make cranes with wrinkled, brightly colored candy wrappers that are sometimes more plastic and wax than paper. It would give me more opportunities to play with lights and darks to create all the tears and odd folds. And who doesn’t love candy? As long as I can bring a smile to the viewers’ faces, I know I’ve done a good job.

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What is your process like? Do you do a lot of sketching or make work more intuitively?

I fold all the cranes I paint first. Occasionally I’ll go on a folding spree and fold whatever piece of paper or candy wrapper that catches my eye, so that later if I need inspiration or a new idea I can go through ones I’ve already folded. Sometimes I have to do a little cutting and taping supplemented with thumbnail sketches especially with the candy wrappers, so I can get the right labels and patterns to show through. I prefer to paint from my still-life set up, but I also take photos to refer back to because the cranes are tiny.

Describe your current studio or creative space. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your work area?

Currently my studio is in our guest bedroom. I’ve tried almost every other room in our house before settling into where I am now. The guest bedroom has the best lighting as it faces north with lots of windows. I try to take advantage of the natural lighting as much as I can, so my colors don’t shift. For me, lots of sunshine leads to lots of motivation and productivity. I would eventually like a space where I can make larger paintings and move more freely, but I also like being comfortable and having everything I need at home.

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What is your favorite thing about being an artist?

One of my favorite things about being an artist is being able to express myself but also being able to have a safe place for me to tune everything out. The other is that I never stop learning as an artist. I’m continuously finding ways to improve my technique and to challenge myself to elevate my artwork.

Do you have any big collaborations, projects, exhibitions, etc going on during the rest of the year that you'd like to share?

I recently finished a piece that will be up for silent auction on August 3rd at this great fundraiser, Art of PAWS by St. Louis Effort for AIDS. The proceeds help patients care for their furry companions so they can focus financially on their healthcare. I will also be in a four-man exhibition at the Angad Arts Hotel in downtown St. Louis from August 2nd to October 26th.

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Studio Sunday: Brooke Sauer
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Our Studio Sunday interview is with LA based artist Brooke Sauer. She creates unique cyanotype paintings inspired by a deep connection with the natural world and how humans interact within it. We are pleased to be presenting two of her works with PxP Contemporary so if you enjoy this feature, we invite you to check out her work on our site! Make sure to view our inaugural show ‘Pilot’ soon as it will be closing on August 15th.

Bio

Brooke Sauer holds a BFA in Painting from Otis College of Art & Design, and an MFA from Art Center College of Design. 

Statement

Brooke is a Los Angeles based artist inspired by her innate connection to nature. With her art, she strives to connect more deeply with the natural world by exploring and learning about it first-hand and reflecting on our symbiotic relationships to it. The intimate and sometimes whimsical moments portrayed in her work suggest that just as nature surrounds us, it is also within us. Her unique cyanotype illustrations are created by combining a very old photographic printing process (cyanotype), with her background in painting and her love of botany, using the natural sunlight and water available to her to produce each unique and unpredictable piece. Her prints are made from pressed plants that she collects while hiking and exploring. Brooke refers to her botanical collection as her, “nostalgic herbarium”, as they all hold a memory and a story of a wonderful feeling, a place, and the people she was with when she collected them. This nostalgia peeks out from time to time in her works in the form of a longing or introspectiveness on the part of the figures captured within, or perhaps a yearning for a new adventure.

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When did you first become interested in art?

Growing up, I was always drawing and painting, making things and making music. I took a few formal painting classes as a little kid, but it was frustrating for me. I think I was happier just making whatever came to mind. One time I opened up a "greeting card store" in my bedroom with all the cards I designed. It was more conceptual, not like anyone was really going to come in our house and buy anything, but I liked seeing all the designs that I drew together like that. I was also an avid reader and wrote and illustrated my own detective novel. I was always creative, but I don't think I consciously thought I was creating Art until I was a teenager. I didn't have any formal art classes again until I was in my early 20's when I went to art school.

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

I am inspired by my relationship to nature, which has been growing along with me my whole life. Growing up, we moved to a lot of different places with different kinds of landscapes, plants, and animals, and I had a lot of freedom to, say, roam the woods behind our house by myself. When I was 12, my Dad & I , and often some friends started doing a lot of hiking, camping, and going on some pretty epic backpacking trips to some amazing places. This helped me to feel confident in my abilities and comfortable being out in the middle of nowhere and knowing I would be ok, and that this was actually natural, like how people used to live. The longer you're out there, the more natural it begins to feel, and you truly become one with your surroundings. That feeling of being a part of something in nature, which is vast, and it being a part of me, is what inspires my work. My work starts with a feeling, maybe a memory, or even an experience that I want to have, and then i try to translate that into a simple line drawing. From there I create my final piece, which has many layers.

First, I paint a picture using a UV sensitive fluid under non UV lighting. When it dries, I take wild plants and flowers that I have collected on my hikes and pressed, and arrange them on top of my painting. Next, I expose it to the sun for a certain amount of time depending on the weather, then I remove the plant parts and rinse off the painting and let it dry. The plants and flowers have been photographically printed into the painting, becoming the negative space that creates such a stark contrast against the rich cyan blue. This is actually how some of the very first photographs were made, as well as blueprints, which came much later.

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

I hope my viewers take away a feeling of being connected to one's surroundings in a way that is poetic and thought provoking. Of being a part of something and having it equally be a part of you.

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

To be confident in my abilities and my creative voice at any given time, even when it is always changing and evolving, because that can spark doubt, but it's really just a part of nature. In fact, I think that's just advice I would give to myself, or any other artist, at any time of life!

How do you overcome creative blocks?

I just force myself to do something - like I'll play a game where I have to draw any object that is in front of me in the room, or on the table, but in drawing it I have to transform it into something magical or mysterious. Those exercises don't usually turn into final works, but they do get me into a more creative headspace which is where I want to be.

Good advice! Are there any exciting exhibitions, projects, or collaborations going on this year that you’re currently working on or will be soon?

I have a solo show in April 2020, around Earth Day, at the College of The Canyons in Santa Clarita California. I am expanding my studio practice in a way that will allow me to work on a much larger scale to create a new body of work for this show. I will also be including a soundscape element and possibly some 3-dimensional applications of my process as well. This will be a big push for me to see what I can do with this medium and the context of my work.

Studio Sunday: Molly Mansfield

This week’s Studio Sunday feature highlights the work of artist Molly Mansfield. We’re so excited to be bringing you a closer look at her paintings and best tips for maintaining a creative practice. Read her interview below and then check out her two beautiful and affordable pieces that are currently available online with PxP Contemporary!

Bio

I live in small town Texas with my husband and two little boys. Working with watercolor, gouache, and oil paints, I use handmade pigments that are mined from the earth's minerals.

My childhood days were spent playing amongst the leaves in the nursery owned by my parents and running barefooted and wild on my grandfather's property. Nature and particularly plants have played an important role in helping me to cope with anxiety. Now as a mother, thinking about my children, I value its role even more. When encountering nature, so many feelings are elicited. There is the excitement of spotting a rare bird, the wonder of a spiders web, an overwhelming sense of peace when standing at the water's edge, and even fear when met face to face with a coyote. Nowhere than in nature are the senses so stimulated.

The fury of our fast-paced, productivity driven, consumer culture is often overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. I regularly feel the struggle to counter these pressures in my life and work.

Statement

My paintings are impressions of experiences. Abstractions of a memory seeking to speak to the benefits of interacting with the natural world. Nature beckons us to take time out of our busy schedules to pause and take in the beauty. I want my paintings to reflect that sentiment. My process is measured and intentional. There is a lot of looking and soaking in the experience. Each brush stroke is carefully placed to describe the feeling that I am trying to create. My hope is that when you look at my artwork you are compelled to slow down, maybe take a deep breath, enjoy something beautiful, and engage with the present moment.

When did you first become interested in art and what drew you to painting?

Like most young children I was always making and inventing things. My mom was always coming up with some new creative project for me to work on from bead making to sewing and knitting to designing container gardens. I loved the opportunity to explore and certainly benefitted from being able to look at art making through different viewpoints via playing with different mediums. Painting has always been there though, and it has always had my heart. It was elevated in my mind as a child by a few images I had seen of Van Gogh’s work, a thin paperback portfolio of Cezanne that we owned, and receiving postcards in the mail from my aunt, Jennifer Young who is a painter. This modest collection of paintings I had access to, was devoured by me. Every color and brushstroke becoming ingrained in my mind. But every time I came back to the paintings an overwhelming feeling came over me, the energy moved me, I was taken far far away from my present situation to something magical that I had never experienced before. The paintings couldn’t be memorized. The process of making a painting is very feeling oriented as well. I love the experience of guiding, sliding the creamy buttery paint across the canvas. I turn music on, my whole body is moving, I’m not thinking about what I’m doing I just know I can’t stop. I keep laying down brushstrokes boldly side by side, alone they are blocks of color but together they become something recognizable. Something that has meant so much to me and I hope becomes meaningful for the viewer.

Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your work and the series (or multiple bodies of work) that you are focusing on at the moment?

Imagine driving down a well trodden road, but you still can’t keep your eyes off the landscape. A line of cars builds up behind you , but you are struck with overwhelming beauty of whats in front. The grey stormy skies, the saturation of the well watered layers of fields. There is something new and exciting about the view and yet something familiar.

We moved out of Austin last summer to a small town near my hometown. It was an unusually rainy and cloudy fall for Texas. I was struck driving the road, FM 973, that connects my small town to Austin by the rolling green hills and grey skies. The landscape that you can see from this road is so striking because it is slightly higher elevation and open farmland with layers and layers of fields and crops leading up to the horizon line. I knew that I had to paint these views and I wanted to, focus on movement, shapes, and feeling, over details.

The collection, “Views From 973” is inspired by memories. Abstract & Fluid. Moments running into each other. Not about the fine details but about the feeling and emotion of the experience. Though these landscapes are inspired by a particular place, it makes sense that one might remind you of your own adventures. That’s when it becomes about human connection. Something that started as part of my own story, but then becomes yours.

This body of work has been the most intuitive work I have ever done. I look at so many of the pieces in this collection and think, “how did I even do that?!” The Brushstrokes, compositions, colors, none of it was planned really. I went into it with a feeling that I wanted to express and then let the process take over. This is work that I felt Inside of me and I knew I had to create.

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Describe your current studio space. What is most important for keeping a consistent creative practice?

My studio sometimes is the kitchen table, sometimes my bedroom dresser, and always most of the closets in our house (for storage, not for painting in, LOL). I am beginning to long for a more permanent space to create in, but honestly working out of my home has served me well. I’ve been painting (almost) every day for the past five years. Most of that happens in the evenings after my kids are in bed and I clean up my mess, packing everything back into closets when I’m done. I am very energized to work in the evenings, however homebody that I am, it is the last time of day that I want to leave my house. I have loved creating in the center of my home near the energy of my family and the comfort of my tea kettle.

Here are a few things that have really helped me in having a consistent creative practice.

1) Just start making. Its that simple. If you can, organize your day so that you are creating at the same time. Pay attention to what times of day you have the most creative energy, are you a morning person or a night owl? There may be times in the beginning when you don’t feel like making anything but just keep showing up, eventually the muse will show up too. After a couple of months of coming to the studio consistently you will have a habit, and after that I think it is pretty easy. I did a 100 day project 5 years ago and I’ve been painting nearly every day since, it’s just what I do and I love it.

2) Remove distractions. A few years back we got rid of our TV. Relaxation and enjoyment are good things, but for me Netflix was taking over my life, I felt like I wasn’t in control of how I spent my time. This was the best decision ever because while vegging can feel nourishing in the moment because it is passive, painting is what FEEDS MY SOUL.

3) Make your workspace comfortable. Do what you can to make your space not only where you want to be, but a place where you feel relaxed and able to let the creativity flow out of you. I once had a studio with no air conditioning in the summer in Texas. I did make work there but there was no lingering with delight over the process. You know I got out of there as soon as I could call the piece done! Recently I have been making work out of my home. It’s not glamorous. I could’ve rented a studio but home is just the only place I want to be at the end of the day (when I paint).

What is your favorite thing about being an artist?

Freedom! I get to be with my kids, make art and have a business. I get to make my own schedule. I don’t like people telling me what to do, LOL. I am allowed to follow my interest, passion, and muse. Making art isn’t all lollipops and fluffy clouds, sometimes there’s a wrestling that has to happen. Communicating what’s in my head, a thought or a concept into something visual on the canvas is hard work. There are so many ideas and in a way each one is a problem to be solved. Thinking, trying, thinking again. Once something clicks the work just starts coming out and I just have to keep up. The best word I can think of to describe this feeling when the idea is out and on canvas, is freedom. Sigh. Now I am ready to start on the next idea. ;)


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Name a few artists whose work has had an impact on you.

Pastmasters: Cezanne, Van Gogh, John Singer Sargent. Contemporaries: Jennifer Young and Richard Claremont.

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

Oh yes! I have just barely started making work for my first solo show here in Austin at Revelry in September! I am soooo excited about this body of work exploring a slightly different landscape than my last collection, of plants and our relationships with them. It is work that I have been thinking about for a long time and I feel like I’m finally ready to get it out and put it on the canvas. Of course I’m very excited about the show too!

Studio Sunday: Jennifer Small
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This week’s Studio Sunday allowed us to catch up with Philadelphia based abstract artist, Jennifer Small. We love the bold colors and geometric forms in her work so it was nice to hear a bit about what goes on behind the scenes! Read on to hear about her process and some advice she would have given to her younger self that is relatable to many emerging creatives.

Bio

By day, Jennifer Small makes visual designs on screen and by night she makes abstract paintings on canvas. She received her BFA in Painting and BS in Art Education in 2005 from Millersville University and MFA in Painting in 2012 from Savannah College of Art and Design. In 2016, while living in Chicago, she made the transition from teaching to graphic design. Her work has been exhibited in Washington, DC, New York, Richmond, Savannah, and Chicago as well as in New American Paintings and Studio Visit magazines. In 2019, she relocated to the Philadelphia area to continue her career as a painter and designer.

Statement

My art, initially abstract in appearance, records a journey of a day in the life—a practice that starts with documentation through the lens of a camera. My eyes act as a viewfinder narrowing down the panoramic into single frames. Compiled snapshots represent blocks of time during my process of seeing and recording aesthetic significance in ordinary routine. I see curious formal elements in common things waiting to be manipulated and transformed into abstract compositions. I collage together the single framed images, simplify and render them in paint to create the lines, shapes, and hues that fill the canvas. Abstracted layers build shallow spaces that depict my translation of the everyday. My work shows my analysis of time and space interpreted by looking through a lens at my immediate environment.

When did you first become interested in art?

I've been interested in art as long as I can remember. I grew up in a creative family where we were always drawing or making something. I knew from a very early age that I would have a career in the arts and be a lifelong creative.

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

My work is inspired by observing my everyday life. I see daily routine as an opportunity to record aesthetic curiosities that can be used as building blocks for my paintings. My abstractions are collections of these curiosities which represent my personal experience with time and place. I begin my creative process by taking photos of interesting visual sightings observed while moving through my normal routine. Next, I make sketches collaging parts of the photos together to create compositions that work well as formal abstractions. Sometimes the original source material in one painting relates, sometimes it doesn't. Color is a consideration before I begin. I usually start with 2 warm colors and 2 cool colors and during the painting process expand upon or reign it in from there. I work from painterly to more precise (with the help of a lot of painter's tape) combining acrylic and spray paint to build my surfaces into abstract structures that tell my story.

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

I hope viewers of my paintings see energy, movement, and variety from a formalist abstraction point of view but also their approachability after learning what inspired them. And as a result, they might consider slowing down enough to appreciate their own daily environment.

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

I would advise my younger self to be more proactive earlier with sharing work, applying for opportunities, and connecting with other artists in order to build a community and also see personal growth.

What is your favorite thing about being an artist?

My favorite thing about being an artist is its unpredictability. I can't predict what I will make, who I will meet, or where it will take me next but I'm very much looking forward to the ride.

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

My work will be published in Vol. 45/46 of Studio Visit Magazine coming out this summer. Additionally, I am continuing to make work and get reacquainted with the east coast after moving from Chicago to the Philadelphia area in April.

Find a selection of her work available online with our new gallery PxP Contemporary!

Studio Sunday: Samantha Morris

It’s Sunday and you know what that means - another behind-the-scenes look at one of the artists from our community! This week we’re so excited to be sharing a brief interview with Samantha Morris, who we’ve had the pleasure of working with on our very first exhibition with PxP Contemporary.

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Bio

Samantha Morris was born in 1995 and grew up in Madison, Connecticut; she now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Morris graduated from The University of the Arts in 2017 with a BFA in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Painting and Drawing. In addition, she will begin her graduate studies in the MFA Fine Arts program at Pratt Institute in September 2019. Recent solo exhibitions include:  Kanna Rými, Listhús Gallery in Ólafsfjörður, Iceland; and BFA Thesis Exhibition, The Space Between, The University of the ArtsSelected group exhibitions include Black and White, Site:Brooklyn, Practice: In Progress, NARS Foundation, and Space Invaders, Fountain Street Gallery among others. Morris’ work has been published in FreshPaint Magazine, Opción Magazine, ArtMaze Magazine, and Underground Pool.

Statement

In my artwork, I focus on the idea of an individual traveling through a space; exploring place through architecture and landscape, abstracted through line, shadow pattern, contrast, and negative space. I am interested in dynamics, what can and can’t be seen. The seemingly mundane aspects of everyday life, one light shining through the square of a window frame, or the corner of a plant casting shadow on glass. Influenced by photography and film, my work investigates the stillness of night; the frozen moments before something happens. It exists in the “in between”, the time when your eyes adjust to the contrast of natural illuminated light and the depth of darkness. I feel immersed, traveling through such spaces. Each piece has reference to an environment, while existing in its own space.

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How did you first become interested in art and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today?I have been passionate about art for as long as I can remember. I knew that it was what I wanted to pursue, which led me to earn my BFA from University of the Arts. There, I was able to develop my artistic practice that now informs the work I create today.

Describe your current studio or working area. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your creative space?

Right now I have a studio at NARS (New York Artist Residencies and Studios) in Brooklyn, NY. The most important aspect of my studio is having expansive wall space. I’m currently working on large wooden panels directly on the wall, which gives me the ability to step back and view my paintings from a distance. It’s also very important for me to have reference material surrounding me in the studio. This can range from drawings, collages, photos, and film stills, all of which inform my work.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your paintings.

In my artwork, I focus on the idea of an individual traveling through a space; exploring place through architecture and landscape, abstracted through line, shadow pattern, contrast, and negative space. I am interested in dynamics, what can and can’t be seen. Influenced by photography and film, my work investigates the stillness of night; the frozen moments before something happens. It exists in the “in between”, the time when your eyes adjust to the contrast of natural illuminated light and the depth of darkness. The work is influenced by Scandinavian architecture, from experiences in Iceland and Norway. Each piece has reference to an environment, while existing in its own space.

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What is your process like? Do you do a lot of sketching or make work more intuitively?

All of the work I create comes from places I have experienced first-hand. I start by using photography as documentation and reference, then drawing and collage to explore composition and space, which then translates into paintings on panel. I pay attention to the differences between being in an actual physical space, experiencing a photograph of that place, and then finally creating, and experiencing that space through a form of rendered imagery such as painting or drawing.

Do your works often undergo a lot of changes before you consider them complete? How long does a piece take?

I have found that painting with oil on panel most successfully captures the concept of the work. It allows me to build passages of color through the use of mediums and thin transparent layering. Through this process, a sense of internal light emerges from the work. Changes occur throughout the act of making, and painting in this way can take weeks, working in layers and accounting for drying times. I consider a painting complete when the space is compelling, and asks the viewer to enter into it through the depths of light and dark within the subtle differences in tone and value.

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

I am showing work in the exhibition Collage, at Site:Brooklyn from June 14th - July 13th in Brooklyn, NY, as well as Paperworks, at b.j spoke gallery in Huntington, NY from August 1st - 28th in Huntington, NY. I will also be exhibiting work in the MFA Welcome Back Show at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY from September 16th - October 10th.

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Crystal Latimer
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Crystal is currently a full-time painter based out of Pittsburgh, PA. She is represented by BoxHeart Gallery and Studio Director at Radiant Hall Susquehanna. Crystal completed her BFA Slippery Rock University. She then went to receive an MA and MFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2013 and 2016, respectively.

Crystal's work has been shown extensively in both solo and group exhibitions, including at the Pittsburgh International Airport, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Chautauqua Institution, The Mine Factory, George Washington University, and Framehouse and Jask among others. She has shown her work in Hong Kong, China, as well as participated in a residency at the Joaquin Chaverri Fabrica de Carretas in Sarchi, Costa Rica. Crystal's work has been featured in Local Arts PGH, Art Maze Magazine, Ruminate Magazine, and Fresh Paint Magazine. Her work is included in both public and private collections including those of Indiana State University of Pennsylvania, PNC Corporate, the Benter Foundation, and Wyndham Tryp.

Statement

I stood at a Wal-Mart in Escazu, Costa Rica, and felt like I was experiencing that moment in late autumn when you realize that all the fiery reds and oranges had faded and fallen to the ground. My life had been a staccato of visits to my mother’s native Costa Rica and, in that second, I realized that I was witnessing the dilution of the vibrant culture.

My paintings explore the hybridity of Western and Latin American identity. For me, understanding identity, and its existence within a historical context does not assume a position in words, but in shape. Embedded in my compositions is Latin American culture: its intricate folk arts, tropical flora, and warm hues; while graffiti tags, bold mark making, and images of conquest interrupt this patchwork of shape and color. Patterns, both traditional and commercial, are fragmented and pieced together. Colors infused with Latin flavor are diluted by a ubiquitous white. Organic, blooming forms are contrasted by flat or rigid fields. My paintings use the tools of paint and brush to consider the colonization of Latin America, and its continuing role as “colony” in Western society. Without taking a political stance, I aim to draw attention to the visual tapestries and unknown histories of this underrepresented area.

www.crystallatimer.com


Anne Buckwalter

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Anne Buckwalter is a painter exploring female identity and the coexistence of contradictory 
elements. Inspired by the historic tradition of allegorical painting, her work arranges disparate objects and mysterious figures in ambiguous spaces. By imagining obscure narratives and embracing paradoxes, her practice examines how gender-related expectations are defined and disrupted. Anne has been an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Hewnoaks Artist Colony, and the Vermont Studio Center, and she received a Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant in 2016. Her work has been exhibited in Boston, Montréal, Toronto, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, and Rome, among other cities. She lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.

www.annebuckwalter.com