Posts in Art
Paintings-Sculptures inspired by Korean Landscapes, Artist Haevan Lee
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Haevan Lee (b.1990, Republic of Korea) expresses the regional context of specific places through various forms including painting, installation, video, and collaborations in other media. DMZ Landscape Series turns restricted or photography-prohibited areas into paintings. The artist has created painting-sculptures by superimposing the layers of landscapes that she experienced while staying at Peace Culture Bunker, an anti-tank defense shelter built after armed North Korean guerillas invaded Seoul, South Korea in January 1968, and presented the works in the exhibition Goliaths, Tanks (2018, Seoul). She is planning and producing DOPA, a collaborative project with contemporary artists, and currently contributes to various exhibitions including those at Buk-Seoul Museum of Art and SeMA storage, and her work is in the collection of MMCA((National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea)Government Art Bank.

Haevan Lee has arranged indications, situations, and apparatus for guessing the aftermath inside peaceful-looking sceneries to reveal a reality of psychological anxieties in the divided Korean peninsula. The artist, who was born in Dongsong area in Cheorwon, Gangwon-do near the DMZ and has always had a curiosity for unknown, unnamed spaces, explores them by either keeping a distance from the view as an observer or mingling within the distances in fantasy.

‘Goliaths, Tanks’ by Haevan Lee is an amalgamation of her paintings and objects weaved together in her site-specific installations and multi-media projections, accompanied by performance pieces. The movement in each object resonating with the sound of ticking clocks serenely draws out the muted anxiety underlying the division of Korean peninsula following the war in the 1950s. The ensemble takes place at the Peace Culture Bunker at the Northern end of Seoul, which was originally built in the late 1960s as a barricade to cut off North Korean ground forces, recently transformed into an art space. The artist embodies the remnants and residues of the space into her entire exhibition, deliberately placing objects along the artillery halls looking out to grass yards where rusty old tanks sit as gravestones.

www.haevanlee.com 

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!

Beautiful Paintings Inspired by Nature, Australian Artist Jessie Pitt
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Jessie is an Australian artist who is based in Austria. She is deeply inspired by the natural world, with a focus on mountain landscapes and nature. The constantly changing light, moods, seasons in the mountains offer a constant stream of inspiration. Jessie feels strongly connected to the mountainous landscape and her artworks are influenced by what she sees in connection to what she feels. A painter of light and shadow, she conveys an impression or a mood, bringing an impression of the true soul of the mountains to everyone. Time is symbolized in her current works in the form of birds.

Her current works are painted/drawn on un-stretched canvas predominantly, that she deliberately crumples to add texture, which is an important part of the finished artwork. Giving them a natural and free look without constraints. Using various mediums such as graphite, charcoal, ink, and acrylic combining both painting and drawing techniques to build up the artworks in layers, trying to achieve a sense of depth and translucency in her artworks.

www.jessiepitt.com

Start Late, Live Your Dreams | Podcast Episode with Lisa Congdon
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Join us for a super inspiring episode featuring one of our favorite artists and role models, Lisa Congdon.

If you are worried about whether it's too late for you to be an artist and pursue your dream, listen to this interview immediately!

This episode covers:

  • Lisa's journey and breakthroughs

  • Starting later in life

  • Overcoming imposter syndrome and fear

  • Finding your artistic voice

  • Managing your time and increasing productivity while making time for fun + more

Fine artist, illustrator and author Lisa Congdon is best known for her colorful paintings and hand lettering. She works for clients around the world including MoMA, REI, Harvard University, Martha Stewart Living, Chronicle Books, and Random House Publishing, among many others. She is the author of seven books, including the starving-artist-myth-smashing Art Inc: The Essential Guide to Building Your Career as an Artist, and illustrated books The Joy of Swimming, Fortune Favors the Brave, Whatever You Are, Be a Good One, Twenty Ways to Draw a Tulip and A Collection a Day. Her latest book, A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives, was released by Chronicle Books in October 2017. She was named one of 40 Women Over 40 to Watch in 2015 and she is featured in the 2017 book, 200 Women Who Will Change the Way you See the World. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

Learn more at www.lisacongdon.com

Philadelphia 'Summer Rush' All Female Art Exhibition at James Oliver Gallery
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Kristen Reichert Dark Sister - 45” x 45”, Oil on canvas

Summer Rush will be curated by and take place at James Oliver Gallery as well as their sister gallery HOT•BED, where custom horticulture by Bryan Hoffman will accentuate the organic feel and intense color pallets of this show. The incredible line-up includes a diverse array of works by artists: Michele Kishita, M.K. Komins, Elizabeth Bergeland, Nat Girsberger, Alicia LaChance, Juliet Sugg, Kristen Reichert, Caitlyn Grabenstein, Molly Goldfarb, Ekaterina Popova, Erica Bello, Katelyn Liepins, and Nikki Painter. 

The scope of media includes abstract, surreal and hyper-realistic painting, collage, illustration, jewelry, and much, much more. Summer Rush will magnify the entropy of the season and eviscerate a notion of excitement and activity brewing and cultivating in our spaces. Don’t miss this enticing exhibition! 

The exhibition will be on view from July 13 - August 31, 2019

For more information or private viewings, please contact jamesolivergallery@gmail.com or by phone at 267-918-7432.

www.jamesolivergallery.com

Cate Inglis
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Cate Inglis is a contemporary Scottish landscape painter based in Glasgow, whose detailed paintings explore the transience of the built environment.  Since graduating from Glasgow School of Art, she has won numerous awards and is a Professional Member of the Society of Scottish Artists.  She exhibits with highly regarded galleries in the UK and Ireland, and her work hangs in both public and private collections.

Statement

My practice is concerned with the layers and structures of the urban landscape, the transience of the built environment in a relentless process of change.  I retain an element of drawing in my paintings - underpinning the structures with an emphasis on draughtsmanship.  I search for overgrown, derelict subjects - places where disappearing buildings leave gap sites and wasteland.  Undertaking urban explorations is a key part of my practice, and recent work has involved exploring the edges of urban areas.  Bleak, industrial sites that have fallen out of use, structures left to deteriorate, overrun by plant life, I paint the cumulative layers of habitation use and disuse.

www.cateinglis.co.uk

Giveaway Announcement with Upcrate, a New Art Supply Subscription Box!

Create! Magazine is excited to announce a giveaway contest with Upcrate, a new Hamburg-based monthly subscription crate with amazing art supplies. They have generously offered to send one free box to a member of our online community. In order to win, simply make sure to be following @createmagazine and @upcrate, then tag a friend in the comments section of our Instagram post announcing the contest. One grand prize winner will be selected on Monday, July 15th!

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Kickstarter supporters will be the first to receive Upcrate! Your crate contains multiple art supplies together with materials of a featured artist that will inspire you to create. For more information on what is included in a typical crate, you can check out their Kickstarter link below. Upcrate ships worldwide and fees are included in the prices.

They are offering special early bird deals so check them out sooner rather than later! Upcrate has no contracts or hidden fees. Try a crate and if you like what you receive you can subscribe on their website for a plan that best suits you. There are four different subscription options for your mystery art supplies, but if it’s not a fit you can cancel at any time without penalty.

Learn more about Upcrate:

Website: www.upcrate.art

IG: @upcrate

Support them on Kickstarter:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/upcrate/upcrate-mystery-art-supplies-in-a-subscription-crate

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Studio Sunday: Lizz Berry
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Create! Magazine is pleased to present a new Studio Sunday feature with Portland-based artist Lizz Berry. Learn more about what inspired her interest in fiber and textile art, the multiple reasons that she keeps a small forest of plants in her home studio, and what will be keeping her busy for the rest of the summer!

Bio

Lizz Berry is the founder, maker, and innovator behind The Wild Textile. All of the products she creates are hand crafted in her home studio in Portland, Maine.  She is a hand-weaver, natural dyer, quilter, and all around fiber enthusiast. 

Her love for cloth began at an early age, when she was exposed to family heirlooms from India - some over a century old. Colorful antique silk saris and other complex weavings were a part of her childhood - whether it be forts, canopies, or costumes. These fueled her love not only for textiles, but also for the color and textures that enliven them. Today you can still find her home adorned with some of the very same pieces that inspired her as a child. 

Lizz received her B.F.A. from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, where she concentrated in Textiles. She spent her undergraduate years studying hand weaving, color application, and surface design via dyeing techniques.

More recently, she has integrated her fibers studio with her other life-long passion, the outdoors. She loves the simplicity of color in nature, and it never ceases to inspire her. Environmental conservation is also important to her, and she represents this value in her practices as often as possible. Color, the natural world, and fibers are the core elements of her creativity, and the unified embodiment of The Wild Textile.

When did you first become interested in art?

My interest in textile design has evolved from a variety of influences with one commonality: three dimensional, visual design. In grade school I wanted to be an architect, which later shifted to interior design and decorating. I experimented with every artistic medium that was available, both inside and outside the classroom. Throughout high school I took every single art class that was offered, except for Weaving. Ironically, I thought it sounded boring!  However, as a crafts major in college, my attitude quickly changed. I developed a passion for textiles after taking my first class. My focus began to gravitate towards functional pieces - scarves, blankets, linens, tableware and various items of home decor.  Throughout and following my college years, I worked in a sewing studio and fabrics store. This experience supplemented my passion for textiles with exciting new disciplines - sewing and quilting! On weekends and after work I also taught myself to forage for natural dyes and use my kitchen scraps for free sustainable colors that told a story. All of these practices have become key elements of The Wild Textile, and I suspect that my artistic interests will only grow more diverse in the years to come.  

Tell us about what inspires you creatively.

Plant life, abundant light, and nature in every form. Whether it’s the ever-expanding urban jungle in my home studio,  the rocky coasts and sandy beaches of Maine, or the alpine zones of my favorite mountains - I constantly integrate the textures and colors of my natural surroundings with my work. Exploring the outdoors inspires me to build lively color palettes that facilitate unique combinations of surface designs. It is always an extra special day when I come across natural dyes to be foraged in my travels! Another key source of my textiles inspiration emanates from my family heirlooms. My grandmother was a missionary surgeon in Assam, India, and she bestowed to my family a variety of handwoven Indian saris, tapestries and fabrics. The standards of craftsmanship upheld by prior generations never ceases to astound me. I find myself connecting with these textiles more than ever, as I approach reading the end of her diary entries on life in India during the 1950’s. 

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What is your process like? 

I often find my process fluctuates between meticulously planning and complete improvisation. In some instances, I plan each weaving in precise detail to make sure they will work logistically. In these cases, I create multiple scales of drawings with different colorways, pattern options, and sizes. On other projects, I allow my process to depend solely on my instincts. This approach involves designing my pieces while simultaneously crafting them, and has created some of my most interesting weavings to date. I love making up patterns on the loom that have never existed, and perhaps never will again. I often find myself in a meditative state where my feet move across the foot pedals while barely looking down at what I am creating. Some weavers may find this odd, but I think this technique can create truly authentic combinations of texture and color. I am always anticipating the next weave structure to be accidentally discovered!

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

I work out of my home studio in Portland, Maine. I have A LOT of house plants (over 70) scattered throughout my small apartment, which has abundant natural light. The plants are therapeutic to me, and also very functional in the photography process. I use them as backdrops in an effort to help the viewer visualize my products in a livable space. As an added bonus, it allows me to hide the nicks and bumps in my not-so-perfect wall from the early 1900’s.

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

If you want to keep it, so will someone else! That’s how the majority of my products have developed. Create something for yourself - something that embodies the colors, textures, and emotions that inspire you - and before long you will have orders for more. 

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

I have recently signed on as Show Coordinator for the Maine Crafts Guild, which puts me in charge of organizing four large fine craft shows throughout the summer. This will keep me pretty busy over the next few months, but in my spare time I have been experimenting with a slew of great new materials for product prototypes. I am currently working on a brand new Fall line for the The Wild Textile, including more home decor items than ever, zipper pouches, sling bags, backpacks and more. Keep an eye out for this exciting release!

Check out The Wild Textile online or follow along on Instagram!

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Kat & Alicia Interviewed for the THRIVE Talks Podcast!
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We were so honored to be invited to be guests on the THRIVE Talks Podcast hosted by Jamie and Tara of Thrive Art Studio! Here’s a description and link to the episode:

Starting where you are with Ekaterina Popova and Alicia Puig from Create! Magazine

Do you read Create! Magazine? Today we talk with Ekaterina Popova and Alicia Puig about the ups and downs of running an independent contemporary art magazine and working in the arts! We loved talking to another creative duo about starting where you are, failure and they offer awesome tips on getting your work featured!

Listen here.

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Create! Magazine x Art Girl Rising Collaboration

THEY ARE FINALLY HERE! We’re so excited to bring you a side project that we’ve been working on for a few months with Liezel Strauss, founder of Art Girl Rising. You’ve likely seen us sharing our obsession with her now Insta-famous t-shirts that each list a set of five iconic women artists. We couldn’t resist being a part of her incredible project to support the National Museum of Women in the Arts as well as their #5womenartists campaign so we created a special edition t-shirt (in gray & pink) with five women artists who we love. A portion of the proceeds from each shirt sold will be donated to the museum. As an all female team, we here at Create! Magazine want to do the most that we can to both provide more opportunities for contemporary women artists and also to be educators and champions for all of the women in the art world today!

You can purchase these special edition shirts directly from our webshop! *We only made a limited amount of them so make sure to get yours before they sell out.

Learn more about Art Girl Rising in an interview with Liezel from our 2018 Miami Edition.

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Who are Hilma, Mickalene, Marina, Shirin, and Judy?

Hilma

When Swedish artist Hilma af Klint began creating radically abstract paintings in 1906, they were like little that had been seen before: bold, colorful, and untethered from any recognizable references to the physical world. It was years before Kandinsky, Malevich, Mondrian, and others would take similar strides to rid their own artwork of representational content. Yet while many of her contemporaries published manifestos and exhibited widely, af Klint kept her paintings largely private. She rarely exhibited them and, convinced the world was not yet ready to understand her work, stipulated that it not be shown for twenty years following her death. Ultimately, her work was all but unseen until 1986, and only over the subsequent three decades has it begun to receive serious attention.

Read more: https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/hilma-af-klint

Mickalene

Mickalene Thomas, who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, is best known for her elaborate paintings composed of rhinestones, acrylic and enamel. She draws on art history and popular culture to create a contemporary vision of female sexuality, beauty, and power. Blurring the distinction between object and subject, concrete and abstract, real and imaginary, Thomas constructs complex portraits, landscapes, and interiors in order to examine how identity, gender, and sense-of-self are informed by the ways women (and “feminine” spaces) are represented in art and popular culture.

Read more: https://www.mickalenethomas.com/about

Marina

Marina Abramović, born November 30, 1946, is a Serbian performance artist, writer, and art filmmaker. Her work explores body art, endurance art and feminist art, the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. Being active for over four decades, Abramović refers to herself as the "grandmother of performance art". She pioneered a new notion of identity by bringing in the participation of observers, focusing on "confronting pain, blood, and physical limits of the body".

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Abramovi%C4%87

Shirin

Shirin Neshat is a contemporary Iranian artist best known for films such as Rapture (1999), which explore the relationship between women and the religious and cultural value systems of Islam. Born on March 26, 1957 in Qazin, Iran, she left to study in the United States at the University of California at Berkeley before her the Iranian Revolution in 1979. While her early photographs were overtly political, her film narratives tend to be more abstract, focusing around themes of gender, identity, and society. The split-screened video Turbulent (1998) won Neshat the First International Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1999.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirin_Neshat

Judy

Born July 20, 1939 in Chicago, IL, Judy Chicago is an artist, author, feminist, educator, and intellectual whose career now spans five decades. In 1974, Chicago turned her attention to the subject of women’s history to create her most well-known work, The Dinner Party, which was executed between 1974 and 1979 with the participation of hundreds of volunteers. This monumental multimedia project, a symbolic history of women in Western Civilization, has been seen by more than one million viewers during its sixteen exhibitions held at venues spanning six countries.

Read more: http://www.judychicago.com/about/biography/

Andrew Paul Woolbright
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Andrew Paul Woolbright (American, b. 1986) is an MFA graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design in painting. Woolbright integrates paintings, sculpture, and video into an ongoing project about Shrinebeasts- grotesque and uncanny figurations built of tangled lovers. Using his wife and himself as subjects within his work, Woolbright has been constructing an expansive mythology that documents their ongoing transformation into moving shrines of love. Using this mythology, he examines love and sentiment, along with their political and personal relationships to individuals, relationships, narratives, and the history and aesthetics of western art. Woolbright attended the School of the Art Institute Chicago where he was greatly influenced by the work of the alternative figuration of Ivan Albright and Mary Lou Zelazny before being taught by Angela Dufresne at the Rhode Island School of Design. Woolbright has exhibited nationally and internationally. His work has been reviewed in the Boston Globe, the Chicago Reader, and the Providence Journal and his work is in the collection of the RISD Museum. He currently runs Super Dutchess, a contemporary art gallery with a focus on a tautological curation of rotating exhibits on the lower east side in New York. In 2020, he will be curating a survey show of Kathy Goodell’s work at the Dorsky Museum and an international group exhibit with Coherent gallery in Brussels.

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!

Katherine Rutter
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Katherine Rutter was born in 1984 in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 2007 she received her BFA in Photography/Drawing from the University of Central Arkansas. She has shown her work in galleries and museums throughout the country including the Historic Arkansas Museum and the National Museum for Women in the Arts traveling exhibition in Arkansas, as well as participating in a residency and exhibition in Tulum, Mexico. In addition to exhibits, she has been commissioned for multiple mural projects in California, Colorado, Arkansas, Mexico, and Nepal. Interacting with communities is an important part of her practice, including volunteering with Creativity Explored in San Francisco and teaching a workshop at a children’s school in Kathmandu. Her work explores ideas of femininity, beauty, and connection, with fantastical narratives of drawings and paintings. She currently lives in Ukiah, California.

My practice explores how we navigate our emotional beings within the complexities of femininity and beauty. The vernacular expressions and innate desires we have as humans to connect to ourselves and to nature are addressed throughout my work, requesting a deeper understanding of what it means to live. My drawings often begin by ‘painting’ with hair-like algae, an intuitive process that allows me to connect with my subconscious like one might find images in clouds. The algae provides a certain aesthetic quality while also nodding to my Southern roots and its folk tradition of found materials in art. Themes of nostalgia, vulnerability, sexuality, wonder, subtle humor and the struggle of the unknown reveal a tender experience of humanity.

www.katherinerutter.com

Tattooing in "Somewhere NYC": Interview with Astrid and Mars
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Interview by The TAX Collection

https://www.instagram.com/somewhere.nyc/

What led to the inception of 'Somewhere NYC?' - Is this something that you had been planning on doing for a while, or did something specific spur its creation? 

Mars: Opening "Somewhere" was definitely a crime of opportunity (or maybe fate?). I had spent the last two years working in a tiny, one-station studio in the back of an art gallery in Bushwick, and although I loved it, it was starting to feel a little cramped. I traveled a lot during that time and kept getting progressively more inspired by all the amazing queer studios that were opening in other cities. I met so many wonderful people who were so deeply committed to offering a safer space to get tattooed in. I wanted to create an equally open space to be able to invite them back to! 

Right after finishing a stint at Minuit Dix in Montreal and Outcast Club in Toronto, I found out that my previous studio mate was leaving New York. Astrid was coming back to New York at exactly the same time and needed a place to work. It felt like a sign!

Astrid: I returned home to California for ten months in 2017 to work in my first shop. As a former home tattooer, I felt obligated to put in the time at a street shop to feel less alienated from the community. Despite my profoundly positive experience (for which I'm forever grateful), I still left feeling discontent with the old school dynamic of a shop owner "running" space — a space consisting of artists who essentially managed their operations independently. I knew I would have to be my own boss. When I moved back, Mars contacted me, and here we are. 

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I know you have certain feelings towards traditional tattoo shops, what is something different you feel your shop provides? 

Astrid: I'm very collective minded when it comes to workspaces. We wanted a transparent, cooperative partnership where we share primary responsibilities but are more or less autonomous. Our primary mission is to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible. So many young clients of mine have recounted experiences where they felt scared, pressured, and intimidated in a tattoo shop. Artists bullied them into designs they didn't want or belittled their ideas. It's wild to me that any artist would think that's appropriate and I'm glad to see the machismo aspect of the industry drying up. 

Mars: I generally have a strong preference towards private studios (as opposed to more traditional walk-in shops) both for working and being tattooed. I started my career tattooing friends in my bedroom, most of whom were queer and didn't feel comfortable being tattooed in traditional shop environments, which was a feeling I shared. At the time, I think it was much harder to find private spaces or be able to get a sense of which shops would be welcoming. I've heard so many horror stories from friends and clients about being harassed, assaulted, or just not respected by tattooers (all behaviors that have been a big part of mainstream tattoo culture for a long time). That was not an environment I had any interest in replicating. 

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Has social media (Instagram specifically) helped shape your business? 

Astrid: Social media IS my business. Artists used to be entirely dependent on shops to bring in clientele, and that's where the gatekeeping began. The internet turned the tables completely. People seek out individuals now, not shops. The shops depend on artists. It's been beautiful to see people who were, or would have been turned away from traditional spaces become successful in their own right, in their own style. That's why the changes in social media, mainly punitive algorithms, and shadowbanning, are more than frustrating - they're dangerous. People choose the content they want to see, and trying to restructure those choices makes no sense. 

Mars: I wouldn't have a business at all if it weren't for social media. I wasn't trying to be a tattoo artist or do this professionally at all when I started; I was just tattooing some friends and posting the results on Instagram. If it weren't for people finding and responding positively to my work there, I have no idea what I would be doing with my life right now. 

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Any upcoming guests we should be checking out? 

Astrid: All of them! It's been so amazing to work with friends and with talented strangers who become friends. We are still very new and like to ask our guests what we can improve on. It's essential to get feedback and keep growing.

Mars: Oh my god yeah, everyone! The main motivation for me leaving my previous studio was to finally have space to share with other artists; it's been such a pleasure so far, and I can't wait to continue expanding our little tattoo family. 

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If someone reading this wants to book a tattoo appointment, what's the best way for them to go about this? 

Astrid: Email us! We are not a walk-in shop, which is important because it both allows us to be selective and keeps random strangers from walking in and potentially souring the vibe. My books are almost always open. Just remember that answering emails takes time, so please be patient. 

Mars: Everyone working at Somewhere manages their own schedule and has slightly different ways of doing things. If you're interested in making an appointment with any of our guest artists, I'd recommend just checking out their Instagram to see how they prefer to take appointments. I open my books on the 1st of every month and receive all inquiries through a booking form, which will always be posted in my bio during that time, cause trying to figure out how to schedule my life more than a month out is way too much for me to handle!

How many tattoos do you each have? Do you ever tattoo yourselves? 

Astrid: Many of my friends sacrificed their bodies so I could learn, so of course I tattooed myself as well. It would have been unfair to not practice on my own skin first. There are tattoos I did on myself, for better or for worse (mostly for worse), and I have tattoos from fellow artist friends. I decided recently that I only want friends to put art on my body. I always thought the design itself would be most important, but it turns out that the person who did the art is more important to me now. I get to carry them around with me forever. People are surprised that I don't have that many. My grandma doesn't want me to get any more, even though she likes the ones I put on other people. 

Mars: I've definitely tattooed myself because it is a really important step in the learning process when you're still figuring things out, but I absolutely hate it! There are so many amazing artists out there. I'd much rather dedicate the body space to work I really respect than cover myself in my own doodles. I get so tired of seeing my work all the time, and there's so much to learn from trading and connecting with other tattooers.

I'm honestly not sure exactly how many I have at this point; I sometimes try to count them like sheep when I'm going to sleep, but usually, I fall asleep somewhere around 50.

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Starting a business in NYC is not for the faint of heart - have there been any challenges along the way? 

Astrid: We found out that our windows did not keep the rain on the outside and that our heater is selective about when it is or isn't going to turn on. Ridiculous building issues are a classic Brooklyn thing. However, I've had much more trouble dealing with apartments than when I opened our business. To be fair, Mars did most of the work. I recommend a Capricorn + Taurus business partnership whenever possible, whether you believe in the zodiac or not. 

Mars: I can't even count the amount of meltdowns I had in the first couple of months, but I can't imagine going into this project with anyone better suited than Astrid. We've known each other for 6-7 years (where and when we actually met is one of the only things we disagree on), well before either of us were tattooing, and I think we do well balancing each other out and keeping each other sane. It's honestly an earth sign dream team. 

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What was your worst client/tattoo experience? 

Astrid: Almost everyone I've ever worked with has been wonderful. I think I only experience difficulty with clients who are particularly controlling or demanding, usually people who don't understand the limitations of tattooing. This behavior usually comes from a place of anxiety, and I can empathize with that. The only way to combat these situations is to trust your artist. They are making decisions based beyond aesthetics. They have to think about how the design will work on your actual body and if it will age well. It's not just about how it looks on paper. 

Mars: I think I've been really lucky with all of my clients! Since for the most part everyone finds me through Instagram, I think generally my clients are pretty self-selective; I don't really have anyone come in that I don't really vibe with. 

Unfortunately that doesn't always extend to their friends/boyfriends (usually boyfriends). I think probably the worst thing you can bring to a tattoo appointment is another person who's going to be questioning your decisions the whole time. I'll always give my professional opinion based on how I think the piece will age, fit with other pieces you have, etc, but ultimately the only opinion that really matters is your own. I hear a lot of, "That spot is gonna hurt too much, get it lower/higher/smaller/less visible," from people not getting the tattoo, and it really bums me out because it's not their body. Don't let anyone else make you doubt yourself or get in the way of you getting the piece you're really excited about!

Astrid: Yes, please leave the boyfriend at home. And leave behind the friend that doesn't want to be there or the friend that wants to talk to you like your artist isn't there. I don't only have an investment in the tattoo, but an investment in getting to know you. It's still a privilege to put art on someone’s body and I appreciate having the opportunity to bond with clients.  

If someone wants a tattoo and is not in NYC, will either of you be traveling and doing guest residencies? If so, where? 

Astrid: Definitely! I made a permanent travel "highlight" so people can check in on it as I add destinations. My biggest issue is that I am terrified of flying, so I haven't been traveling as much as I could. And I'm sorry about that. I wish strangers were more down to hold my hand during taking off. 

Mars: I travel pretty frequently, but also unfortunately not as often as I'd like. I have a lot of guilt around the frequency I'm able to get to other cities, but the truth is I have a family, including two dogs here, that I hate to leave. It's really hard to balance time at home, time working, and the time actually spent on vacation. Realistically, when I'm on tour somewhere, my only days off are travel days. That being said, I always post about cities I'm going to as soon as I know I'm going, and there will definitely be many more in the future!

What advice would you give someone getting their first tattoo?  

Astrid: These days, my advice would be to get a little tattoo first. Something simple and small, just so you can understand how the process works and what it feels like. Fear is challenging. Fear will hold you hostage and force you to get an awesome tattoo that is too small in a place where you didn't want it. Choose an artist whose work you love and make sure you see the kind of work you want reflected in their portfolio. The number one rule is that if you don't like the design, or you feel uncomfortable with the artist, don't get the tattoo. Yes, you will lose your deposit, but you don't owe it to anyone to go through with a situation where you don't feel seen, respected, or safe.  

Mars: I think the most important thing is to trust your artist, and a big first step towards that is doing your research in finding someone whose work you value. I'm honestly so jealous of anyone getting their first tattoo now, in a post-Instagram world. When I got my first tattoo, I had no understanding that artists could have different styles or specialties, or that you could even be specific about the type of person or space you wanted to work with. Now it's so easy to find someone who does exactly what you're looking for, and at the same time get a little bit of an idea of who they are as a person before going in. 

I think if you go into it trusting your artist, and being open to their interpretation, you'll end up with a really rad tattoo that you're both super stoked on! But that trust also extends to knowing you can assert your needs at any time. They know what's going to be best in terms of what's realistically possible, what's going to heal well, etc., but you know your body. Like any other situation, make sure whomever you are with can respect your boundaries. If you need a break, you can take a break! If you need to adjust how you're sitting for comfort, talk to your artist, and figure out how to do that. Don't be embarrassed to ask questions at any point in the process, because you're both relying on each other to communicate and make something awesome.

Jiaranai Apaipak
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Born in Thailand, Jiaranai grew up in India, New Zealand, and the United States. She received her BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia before moving to Toronto, Ontario to work as an art teacher and manager of a small art school. She graduated with an MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2017. She lives in New York and works in Jersey City.

Statement

The main subjects of my work are genderless creatures that are representational of me in a particular mental state that is in the lonely, self-doubt kind of place. It has nothing to do with the physical world but your mental state. They are not sexy, and they are awkward. They have fat rolls, and there is no attempt to make them glamorous. I try to focus on displaying honest, exorcism feelings. The swirls occupy colorful environments. The emotions shown on the creature's faces reflect a food coma state. To be in that space, you would believe there is a happy, smiling character because of the colors but it is not. It’s like being in New York City, you should be happy and excited, but often times you’re exhausted. I am also exploring how the environment we live in can make us feel isolated even when many people surround us. The loner dreads their isolation until eventually that feeling of dread becomes the joy and in their isolation, they find solitude. A Happy Lonely Place is the feeling of loneliness that becomes like home.

www.jiaranaiapaipak.com