Posts in Issue IX
Brandi Marie Little

Brandi Marie Little is a visual artist living and working in historic Savannah, Georgia. Primarily a painter, she also works with fiber, collage, and sculpture. When she is not making art, she spends her time restoring her over one-hundred-year-old Victorian house with her husband, two pet rabbits, and one special needs chihuahua named Frida. 

"My current work springs from an obsession with the mysteries of found photographs and my fear of loss. The nature of old photographs (lack of color, frequent absence of details, wear, tear, and stains) leads to limitations in what we can perceive, and therefore, what can be represented when translated into large scale oil paintings. And yet, these are real people, at once important enough to be immortalized on film, and later abandoned, found in a box of forgotten memories in a junk shop. Collecting old photos and ephemera from antique shops and estate sales is an important part of my process. Why have these been left behind? Is someone missing them? As Louise Bourgeois said, nostalgia is a form of mourning. But what are we mourning? The loss of youthful beauty? The loss of those who held us dear? The loss of identity? What defines us and what is left when these things are absent?"

Mathematics, Connections, and Meditation: Interview with Marisa Green

Marisa Green (American, b. 1978) is a mixed media artist, primarily working in cut paper. She received her BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2001. Her work has been shown throughout the Pacific Northwest in galleries such as Disjecta. She has had solo exhibitions at Gallery 135, Duplex Gallery, as well as the Multnomah County Art Center. Her work has also been featured in online publications such as This is Colossal and Strictly Paper

Marisa lives and works in Portland, Oregon. 

Statement 

My work explores mathematics, connections, and meditation through the use of geometric shapes, patterns, and the art of physical repetition. I construct time intensive installations, sculptures, and 2D works out of cut paper, based upon numeric relationships and multiples of a single form—inspired by nature’s exquisite precision. 

Often times, color is used to draw out a form within a form, revealing layered configurations hiding in plain sight. Bright, saturated hues juxtapose neutrals adding additional layers of interlocking shapes. 

Through suspension techniques, weaving, and/or construction, these complex patterns symbolize the life force that molds each of us and our unique experiences. Through focus and introspection, my work attempts to connect us all to a shared awareness of boundless unity.

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What is your artistic background and training? 

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I primarily studied illustration, but quickly got into graphic design after graduation. I would say that my background informs the type of work I do now, more so than my official training.

I dabbled a lot in photography, installation, 3D illustration, sculpture, bookbinding, and paper craft. The illustration work I did was very exploratory and the jobs I held varied from art teacher, to lamp designer, to working on DreamWorks paper crafts for kids, to brand design. I studied abroad in Viterbo Italy, pleinair painting and writing. It’s the sum of these experiences the led me to paper installation.

I will say that the common thread has always been paper. I’ve always been obsessed—even as a child. I remember moving across the country from California to Massachusetts when I was 5. I didn’t have any toys for weeks because the moving truck hadn’t arrived yet. My mother helped me make various paper dolls to play with. That’s how it all started for me. Minimalism inspires creativity.

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Tell us about your interest in mathematics and when you started applying it to your art practice.

I’ve always been fascinated by the role mathematics plays in nature—the golden ratio, patterns in nature, sacred geometry, etc. My father was a mathematician, an engineer, and a professor. Sadly, I was never a student of his, and so I inherited his love and appreciation of math, but not the technical skill. My artistic interpretation of mathematics comes through via experimentation in color, pattern, and geometric shapes. I love exploring the endless possibilities of pattern creation and hiding patterns within patterns—intersecting shapes, overlapping color families, etc. At times, I’ll literally hide patterns inside paper shapes that can only be seen from below. Nature is incredibly inspiring and surprising, so I like to emulate that feeling of wonder and discovery in my work.

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Describe your process. What inspires you and how do you plan and prepare for each piece?

Most of the time I’ll envision a simple shape—two intersecting triangles, a series of circles, etc. Other times, with site specific work, the space will inform the perimeters of the work. Then there are the times when the viewer will inform the next piece. For instance, with Intersect, some people at the opening wanted to see the installation from below. They spontaneously laid down one-by-one, and then in full on groups, underneath the piece. Usually I’d be worried about people getting too close to the work, having strings get tangled, etc. but I trusted them. Plus, I was really curious to see their reactions. That moment informed my following installation, Expanse. I designed two chairs that sat underneath two adjacent tunnels of suspended triangles and invited viewers to lay back and look up into the work. Each section had different color patterns hidden inside. That said, how I begin a piece can vary.

After the shape/idea is sketched out, I’ll continue to evolve it, bring in color, decide on dimensions, and research what it will actually take to build it. This can also mean figuring out the supporting materials—wood, metal, acrylic, etc.

If I’m working on an installation or a 2D paper piece, I’ll bring it into Illustrator next, and further develop color narratives, patterns, and begin working on the math. I’ve tried doing this is CAD but I’ve found, for me, that using layers in illustrator allows me to break the physical layers up, dissect the overlapping patterns, and work on the math—yes there is actual math involved. Depending on the scale of the piece, I’ll then use Excel to keep track of every single string, how many paper objects are on it, what number is in what row, what the incremental measurements are between paper triangles, which triangles are which colors, etc. It gets extremely technical and if I’m not 100% organized, it can become very confusing. Plus, this is so much easier to communicate when I have people helping me construct the work. The 2D work is just as meticulous, but not nearly as difficult to organize.

When all of the prep is complete, I finally start to work. That’s when I can zone out and meditate. Sometimes it can feel a bit like a factory assembly line and other times, like dissecting an ant. My mind goes back and forth between intense concentration and completely zoning out on the task at hand. It can be a difficult process because I want to jump ahead to the making/hands-on part, but for this type of work it usually ends up being the final 30% of the whole process.

To tie it all together, the meaning behind the work usually comes to me last. The title will jump out at me and I’ll jot down a single word in my sketchbook. A lot of times I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for the artist statement. When the work is completed the story will naturally emerge on its own.

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What would you say your work is about and what do you hope the viewer experiences?

If I were to boil it all down, I’d say my work is about Growth and Connection. I can’t thrive if I’m not changing, learning, and growing. It’s a natural part of life and when I feel stuck or stagnant, I suffer. I need to be discovering and evolving, problem solving, and connecting dots.

Growth is closely intertwined with connection. We learn from our experiences with people, nature, spirit, animals, etc. Our relationships with the world shape who we are and who we become. It also helps us work through and carve out our place in the world. It is a cheesy expression, but we are all connected. If you can sit with that idea and truly take it in, you can get passed the superficiality of it and appreciate the sentiment for what it really means. It means that we need to take care of each other and the world around us in order to be our best selves. This concept is what drives my work. It’s the underlying ethos in everything I do artistically, and in life.

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Describe an ideal day. In a perfect world, how would you spend your time?

There are so many ways I could answer this question. I’d describe it more like a recipe. The ingredients would be:

Sunshine (always sunshine), outdoors, a new experience, friends and family, an intimate conversation with one of my heroes, road trip/travel, studio time, incredible food and beverages, live music, adventure, and listening to my daughter’s laughter. 

What artists have influenced your work?

There are so many, but here is a sampling of who I would consider the most influential:
Chuck Close, Tim Nobel & Sue Webster, Irving Harper, Morton C. Bradley Jr., Ursula Von Rydingsvard, and Stefan Sagmeister, to name a few. Sagmeister would not describe himself as an artist, but I am endlessly inspired by his design practice, execution, narratives, and installation work.

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What should we look out for and expect from you this year? 

Great question! I’m having my second child in October, so I’ll mostly be working in the studio until she arrives and then concentrating on motherhood for the remainder of the year. I’m currently working to schedule out more shows for 2019 and introduce new work at that time. Until then, I’m launching a new website (www.marisagreenart.com) in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Q&A with KT Browne, Editor-in-chief of ICEVIEW Magazine

Iceview Magazine is a nonprofit, bilingual literary and art (print!) publication based in Iceland. We publish biannual collections of creative writing, critical inquiry, and visual art concerning travel, tourism, geographies, and movement.

When was ICEVIEW founded and what gave you the initial inspiration for this journal?

The town of Skagaströnd, Iceland is home to less than 500 inhabitants and an artist residency that has little engagement with the surrounding community. I quickly realized that there was a significant communication gap between the locals and the artists-in-residence in town after moving here in 2015, and wanted to both understand this gap and come up with a possible solution to it; the gap seemed to extend beyond language barriers and felt more like a social wall between those who were from Skagaströnd, and those who were not. This created a sense of exclusion, of outsiderness that became more pronounced to me as time passed. ICEVIEW was inspired by these ideas and founded the following year, in 2016, as an attempt to bridge the gap between the locals and visitors of Skagaströnd, and more broadly between the permanent and temporary inhabitants of any place by investigating questions that touch on the themes of travel, loneliness, isolation, remoteness, and community. It is for this reason that one of the most important things about ICEVIEW is that all of the content is translated from English into Icelandic, and vice versa. 

What do you hope that readers take away from your publication? What is the most important thing you want them to be aware of?           

I’m a writer, so I’m inclined to say that an appreciation for high quality creative writing is one of the biggest things I’d like readers to take away from ICEVIEW. More generally, I also want readers to feel inclined to rethink their own conceptions of place, travel, and community. Given that we market ourselves as a travel-focused publication, I’d like for ICEVIEW to challenge commonly held notions of travel and tourism, especially given our current political climate. I think it’s easy to let ourselves be swept away by feelings of wanderlust, and though this isn’t inherently a bad thing, I’m interested in allowing our content to interrogate the implications of traveling for pleasure or inspiration, as well as carve out new ways of understanding the ways in which we move through the world, and why.

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Being an independent publisher, we are always interested in how other magazines and journals produce each issue. Tell us about how you find artwork and writing for each edition.           

With each issue, we put out a call for submissions and receive a lot of great artwork and writing that way. I also spend a good bit of time reading literary journals and whenever I come across a piece that sticks with me, I reach out to the writer and encourage them to submit. On the visual art side, the process is quite similar—browsing indie mags and bookmarking anything that fits within our theme. Most importantly, I look for work that engages with the questions and issues surrounding travel, community, and place. With the help of a talented team of editors, I curate the content for each issue with this in mind.

What are your future plans for ICEVIEW? What do you hope to accomplish?

I’m first and foremost interested in continuing to expand the scope of our content; I want to publish writing and artwork from multiple countries, from multiple continents, and it’s my goal to provide a platform for anyone who feels outside of society or isolated in any way. That being said, our focus is constantly evolving; our first issue was mostly centered around writing and artwork that was inspired by Iceland. Our second was less narrow and included work that more broadly engaged with ideas surrounding travel and place. Our third issue will extend the notion of “place” to interiors such as hospitals, apartments, hotels, etc. It’s been fun to witness these shifts, and I’d very much like to continue toying with the philosophical ideas raised by our content as a way to curate subsequent issues.

Practically speaking, it would also be wonderful to translate into other languages beyond Icelandic. This would allow us to reach a lot of new countries and talents, as well as feature a wider range of content.

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You mentioned that there have been more artists and creatives visiting Iceland in the past few years. What has the general response been and why do you feel people are so drawn to traveling to this country?

I am convinced that many artists crave what I like to call “creative solitude”, and of course challenge. It is easy to say that the stark, dramatic topography of Iceland—with its endless contrasts and contradictions—allures artists in a visual sense, but I do think there’s something more to the draw than that. Iceland is a harsh, difficult environment physically and, in many ways, socially; small rural villages are often inhabited by only a few families, and assimilating into those communities can be deeply difficult. It is very easy to feel like an outsider in Iceland for these reasons, whether you’re residing here permanently or temporarily. Artists are often drawn to these sorts of challenges because they raise questions that may inspire new techniques of production or avenues of inquiry, or simply because they ignite a different way of seeing things. I’m generalizing here, of course, but I’m also one to believe that artists are in large part experience-hunters and Iceland has done a pretty fantastic job of marketing itself as a destination rich in experience.

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What would you tell someone who is thinking of traveling to Iceland for inspiration? Share your best tips for visiting. 

Don’t only come to Iceland with the goal of being inspired! By doing that, you limit the possibilities of what the country can do for you, or what it can teach you. Like any place we may visit for the first time, the best mentality to have before traveling is that of an open mind—we never know how we may react with a place or its people, and it’s best to take things as they come rather than decide beforehand what you want a place to do for you. My suggestion, if you’re planning a trip to Iceland, is to research Icelandic literature (Iceland is a fantastically bookish country) and attempt to form a mental picture of the country through the eyes of a citizen rather than a visitor. Shy away from the glossy Instagram accounts depicting only idyllic versions of the country, and engage with its history, politics, emerging artists and writers. Know where you’re going, don’t just see where you’re going.

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How can we support your publication and learn more?     

Our website (theiceview.com) has an in-depth write-up of our concept, which would be the best place for a curious Iceviewer to start learning about our publication. As a non-profit endeavor, we rely on a local cultural grant to function. This means that our sales are crucial to our existence! We’re now stocked in seven countries and grateful for every purchase. If you can’t make it to one of our stockists, we also have an online store. But perhaps most importantly, we love receiving emails from people who have discovered ICEVIEW and want to get in touch. Reach out! It’s wonderful to connect with people around the world—this helps us appreciate the importance of a digital co

Ron Geibel

Ron Geibel (b.1985) received a BFA from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a MFA from the University of Montana. Geibel has exhibited his work in Canada and throughout the United States, including the New York Ceramics and Glass Fair, NYC; Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis; Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston; and Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati. He has been an artist in residence at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, NY; The Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY; and the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN. Ceramics Monthly Magazine recognized Geibel as an emerging artist in 2015. Currently, he is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. 

Statement

I explore the intersection of the public and private sphere and question our awareness of self and of others. 

My conceptual framework stems from co-opted by artists during the 1980’s AIDS epidemic. Their use of traditional mass marketing tools such as billboards, neon signs, and marquees utilized a familiar format to expose a poignant message. Colorful, candy-coated sweet treats and their irresistible deliciousness toy with the notion that temptation and desire allow us to be drawn to what we don’t even realize is present. 

The use of multiples obscures the sexual references that influence the sculptures I create. I initiate dialogue concerning sexuality, gender, and identity by crafting objects that are drenched in color and laced with playful humor that reference the so-called, private parts of people lives.

Sara Khan

Sara Khan was born in Birmingham, England in 1984 and raised in Lahore, Pakistan. She holds a BFA (with honours) from National College of Arts, Lahore (2008). Her works have been featured in several national and international group exhibitions. She was selected as one among 13 international artists for the Bag Art camp, an international art residency in Bergen, Norway (2012). She was also selected to be a part of the 13 Satellites of Lahore, a public art work shop held at the Annemarie Schimmel Haus, Lahore (2006). 

She lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.

Statement

When someone comes from a very different place compared to where you grew up, you find you can still relate to each other on a more basic and human level. This connection comes from elsewhere; it is not common to cultural backgrounds or skin colour. Instead, it comes from the minute details of our personalities. The atmosphere of the home we grew up in, the kind of mother we had, our interests: universal attributes that vary, but share a oneness in their “universal-ness”. 

I make work about the repulsive and beautiful found in ordinary spaces and situations, and question the normalcy of the seemingly mundane matters in life. For example, as a child, the coziness of pretending the bed is a ship on a vast expansive sea belies the notion of it capsizing and drowning us. Or how close relationships between women can be warm and nurturing, but mixed in the flock are those present who want worshipers and followers instead of the honesty of friends and family. Or how a man inside a woman leads to the birth of another human, turning the woman into a mound of soil in which a human germinates like a plant from a seed, and in the process, disfigures the woman to the limits of possibility. 

It is in dealing with these observations that I draw them out, to find a place for things that are neither here nor there. Slowly laying out translucent layers of watercolour, I work toward pronouncing some areas, while covering others entirely, almost decoratively, as if to say, “you didn't belong, but now you do.” I leave some questions to chance, answer others more definitively, hovering somewhere between restraint and complete spontaneity. The idea is to develop a space or landscape with both extremes in it, the abhorrent and the fantastic. Coexisting to form one complete picture; thriving in the gray areas, it’s a subtle dance between “is it” and “is it not”. 

David Pirrie

An avid climber and ski mountaineer, Vancouver based David Pirrie creates artwork that is multi-dimensional and conceptually layered. Pirrie employs bold coloring and architectural intervention to create his signature mountain portraits, monumentalizing the majesty of the individual mountain by removing it from the context of its surrounding topography. His works draw attention to concepts regarding framing and mapping, while also reminding the viewer of the handmade aspect of complex painting. By excising the mountain from its location, Pirrie abolishes perspective, placing the mountain within and without the picture plane. Pirrie’s art approaches scientific inquiry as his grids, dots, and formal ideas point to the intersection between human time and geological time. 

www.davidpirrie.com

David Linneweh

David lives in the greater Chicago Metropolitan area where he works and is the Creator of the Studio Break Podcast. He received his MFA in painting from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in (07′) and his BFA from Illinois State University in (02′). Solo exhibitions include the following: Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio (18'); Blanden Art Museum, Fort Dodge, IA, (15'); Jan Brandt Gallery, Bloomington, IL, (13′); The Peoria Art Guild, Peoria, IL, (12′); and Centraltrak Artist Residency, Dallas, TX, (08′). Group Exhibitions: The Samek Art Museum at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, (14'); St Peter Art Center, St Peter, MN, (13′); Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery, Davie, FL, (13′); What it is Gallery, Oak Park, IL, (11′); McNamee Gallery,Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, (13′), The Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL, (12′), Brooklyn Artists Gym, Brooklyn, NY, (11′), and Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH, (10′). 

He has attended residencies at Art342, Centraltrak, Osage Arts Community, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center (Full Fellowship), and Jentel. His work has been published in New American Paintings four times in (11′,07′, 05′, 03′) and his work has been collected by Richard Holland, Tom Burtonwood, Brian Redban, and Steven T. Zevitas. 

Statement

When walking through my neighborhood my mind is flooded with observations of light as it falls over homes and manicured lawns. Facades glisten with an intensity and variety of color that elicit a dreamlike state that feels nostalgic and prophetic in the same time. These suburban streets transport me in time; I close my eyes and memories of backyard barbeques, bike rides, and birthday parties in the garage fill my head. As the setting sun bathes rooftops in a warm glow, I reflect on the idea of the American Dream and wonder if its tenets are based in illusion or reality. 

My experiences in the landscape are distilled through photography, which begins my process; photos with dynamic formal qualities are then selected as the foundation of a new painting. Digital images are then carefully composed and printed to create image transfers over a wood veneer, resulting in an image that appears old and weathered. 

A layer of graphite is then applied to give definition to the edges of architectural and greenery elements, when the drawing is complete the surface is then sealed with layers of matt medium. The painting process begins by adding shapes of flat color followed by careful reflection of the paints interaction with the implied texture and faded color of the image transfer. The paintings slowly evolve over numerous sessions to create a composition that at a distance looks whole but upon close inspection is defined by flat shapes of color that sit on the surface. 

The finished paintings are formally inviting yet unresolved because they acknowledge their own physicality as paint and object that are connected to this notion of the American Dream. The visual tension in my paintings reflects the current tension within the contemporary world where working families struggle to transform dreams into reality. In this way, the paintings act as mirrors meant to evoke the viewer to meditate on these ideas. Do these works evoke faded memories or ideals, was the dream ever real in the first place, and how will our ideals mutate in the years to come?

Lauren Munns

I am fascinated with growth, evolution, and one’s perception of others, discovering and exploring the traditions and habits that stem from these concepts. The rituals between mothers and daughters through generations and the challenges of interaction with outer human spheres are highlighted in my pieces through traditionally “feminine” colors and textures, often transformed to seem as though they are something else. I manipulate imagery of the female form and its most notable parts like lips, curves, and hair. Detached from the female form, these pieces create new conversations of “where did we derive from”, “what are we”, and “where are we headed?”

www.laurenmunns.com

Cheryl Sorg

Cheryl Sorg creates with tape—collages, drawings, and wall installations, as well as a street art project, Portals of Hope. Her work is inspired by forms in nature, as well as by stories, particularly stories of change and metamorphosis, and uses color and shine as an antidote to the (abundant) ills of the world. She lives in Encinitas, California with her husband and two kiddos.

Clare Szydlowski

My work in silkscreen printmaking is concerned with the ways in which industrial processes, theories, and terminology have shaped the North American landscape: both the physical world and the collective imagination.

Visually I am drawn to spaces that expose American dreams, desires, and hopes: industrial ruins, oversize discount stores, suburban developments, and freeways—the hinterlands of American life. By rearranging and isolating these pervasive and seemly mundane images, I allow the viewer to question their assumptions about familiar spaces and recognize the strangeness of a landscape characterized by industrial dreams and boundless resources. 

This series of silkscreen prints were printed by hand using the CMYK process printing method where 4 layers—cyan, magenta, yellow, and black—on a single page create a full range of colors. The imagery is a digital collage of photos from a "zombie subdivision," a suburban development that was never completed because of the economic crisis of the late 2000s and images of Death Valley. I'm interested in dichotomies of environmental control and chaos, how our manipulation of the environment is at once hugely impactful and insignificant when faced with of the forces of nature. 

Clare Szydlowski was born in Buffalo, New York. As a teen, Clare moved to Orange County, California with her family. In 2006, she graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Art with a focus in Printmaking. In 2009, she graduated from SF State University with an MFA in Printmaking. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and makes her work at Graphic Arts Workshop in San Francisco, writes for the quarterly art magazine, Venison Magazine, and teaches art full time at a Bay Area public high school.

www.americanhinterlands.com

Michelle Heslop

Michelle is a Canadian artist living in Victoria, British Columbia. Inspired by her home’s location just a couple of blocks from the Salish Sea, Michelle’s work explores the mutable abstract landscapes of the seaside. Informed by her connection to the natural world and how the environment impacts our sense of well-being, she captures organic forms, lines, and textures that invite ease and contemplation for the viewer. Characterized by vivid colors and natural shapes stitched together with mark making, each piece represents a dialogue of interconnectedness. 

“I work from observation, quiet contemplation and intuition, revealing my own interpretation of island life.” 

Initially working primarily in acrylics, Michelle's work has expanded to the use of watercolour and ink on heavy watercolour paper, canvas, and Terraskin. Intrigued by the unpredictable nature of watercolour and ink, her aim is to lose herself in the process and not always control the outcome. Working from spontaneity and intuitiveness to explore a variety of compositions from molecular worlds to the expansive rocky topography typical of Vancouver Island, Michelle's colours intersect and blend while mark making becomes the punctuation to form a nature-inspired narrative. 

You can find Michelle's work in private collections across North America and Europe, featured on loomandkiln.com and in Biophilia, an urban nursery boutique downtown Victoria. You can follow her daily progress @michelleheslop on Instagram.

Seth Smith

Seth Smith was born in 1980 in Wichita, KS and attended the University of Kansas. B.F.A. in Painting and Printmaking. Seth lives and works in Kansas City, KS. He has many private and corporate clients in the US, including the H&R Block Collection and The University of Kansas. He has gallery representation at The Rice Gallery of Fine Art in Kansas City and the Lucky Street Gallery in Key West, FL

Statement
My work has always relied heavily on themes of escapism and longing. I’ve always had a fascination with 50’s and 60’s travel culture and how society advertised and communicated the idea to the middle class. As a child, I found a box of postcards in my grandparents’ camper and I would spend hours poring over them, mapping out uninformed naive itineraries. Often my palette and subject matter are directly sourced from those memories, as best as I can recall.

Exploration of Urban Forms: Interview with Zandra Stratford

Zandra Stratford is a West Coast abstract painter known for bold, semiotic works. Her pieces lay a foundation of elemental earth tones; clay and cement greys and soil blacks, laying strata after strata of contrasting and ambitious colour as a counterpoint to industrial textures, and this overlaid with confident horizontal structures.

Preferring large canvases and panoramic birch panels, her work stands as an exploration of urban forms and our experience with the material of cities. Each interaction, point of surface contact or scuff, whether by design or by circumstance, is at once something removed, something revealed, and something left behind.

Her use of maps speaks to a sense of place, but it is at the same time indistinct, a kind of universal geography, the design of space within pre- existing space, and how our interactions – organic and emotional and spontaneous – collapse and become aggregate, integrated into pre- established patterns of traffic, structure, and flow.

Stratford studied printmaking at the Victoria College of Art, after more than a decade’s experience as an advertising Art Director. This informs her work’s cadence, graphic sensibility and declarative confidence.

Her piece “Gorgeous Filth #01” (2017) was selected for the prestigious Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London, the only resident Canadian to be selected for that show’s 249th year.

Her studio, on Salt Spring Island off the coast of Vancouver, is a bright high-ceilinged space filled with the debris of signal - swatches and typographical elements, vintage textbooks and advertisements, spray- bombs and stencils and the ghosts of what someone, at some point, was trying to convey, like decades-old stray radio signals bouncing off the ionosphere to be captured serendipitously by a car radio at night. 

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Tell us about your creative background. When did you commit to a life in the arts?

I’ve always hand my hand in the arts. I worked as an Art Director in ad agencies for more than a decade before picking up a paint brush again. My kids were small were so I didn’t have a lot of time to move my work forward, but I was dabbling and experimenting. It wasn’t until 2012 that I really dedicated the majority of my time to making art.

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What inspires your current work and the color palette you choose?

I’m interested in the stories of urban spaces–the layers of built up debris, dirt, graffiti, and weathered structures, the convergence of the elements with what people have placed there and how that changes over time, the echos of what is left over and how the story changes. That’s reflected in my work. There is as much paint applied as there is removed and somewhere there is a balance that hopefully tells a compelling story. Because these areas are so worn, dirty, and aged, as a modernist I try to juxtapose a soft palette of neutrals and pastels to make something contemporary.

You mention that you live on an artist-colony island. Tell us a little bit about that and what the experience has been like for you.

I’ve lived on Salt Spring Island for the past 9 years. It’s a small rural community off the coast of Vancouver and is magically filled with people doing cool things. It’s a great place to focus because there isn’t really much else to do. I’ve met the most amazing people here, most of my best friends are creatives so while our work may be different there is a similar vein of experience so we really seem to get each other. There’s a shared understanding that you may be locked away in your studio for weeks on end but you’ll emerge eventually and it will be easy to catch up.

We’re about to change things up and are moving to London in the summer to explore opportunities there.

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What motivates you and helps you to prevent burnout?

I feel like making art is how I make sense of the world and it’s really not an option to not do it. It’s very bad for my mental health if I’m not actively working. I go through periods when I have too much on the go and usually have periods where burnout is inevitable. I haven’t figure out how to prevent it just yet but after it’s happened, my favourite thing to do is to go the city to recharge. It’s very quite here and spending too much time with yourself can feel isolating.

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Describe a typical day in the studio.

My usual practice has me going to studio around 12:30 so I have the morning to work on business stuff, but because I’ve got a couple of shows coming up I’m getting in there earlier. I’ve been trying to incorporate meditation into my routine so have recently started each studio session trying to clear my mind and invite focus and curiosity into my work. Then I’ll usually paint for about 5 hours. My studio is in my home so I take lots of little breaks to drink tea and contemplate what’s happening on the boards.

What are some challenges you face in your studio practice?

I’m always chasing the light. I live in the Pacific Northwest so its grey here more than half the year which can lead to some frustration. I’ve been in this studio for almost four years and I still haven’t figured out how to light it properly. Isolation can be challenging when I get caught up in my own head and can’t see where I need to go. Fortunately I am part of a large online artist community and can bounce challenges off to other artists.

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Name a few artists that inspire you.

I really love the #5womanartists campaign so I want to focus on women for this answer.

Jillian Evelyn
Katy Ann Gilmore
Carla Tak
Bonnie and Clyde (Steph Burnley) Tracy Emin
Guerilla Girls

Oops, that’s 6!

Huntz Liu

Huntz is a Los Angeles based artist who works with layered cut paper. 

Statement

My work is an excavation of sorts. 

With a straight edge and knife, I cut and layer paper to expose geometric/abstract compositions. The shapes making these compositions sit on different planes, which create literal depth, while the composition itself creates perceived depth. It is this intersection of the literal and perceived that informs the work; where the absence of material reveals forms and the casting of shadows creates lines. And together, they help with finding what’s hidden beneath the surface.

Jemma Lock

Hi, my name is Jemma Lock and I recently graduated from Loughborough University in fine art. A combination of unconventional techniques is used to create a hybridisation of traditional and contemporary art styles. My concept is fuelled by dramatisation, in an aim to re-characterise individual women. These models may be holy, honorary, or worshipped individuals who have been made apparent to society through the work of other artists, such as Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus. However, in my recreations they are placed in scenarios that allow them to be socially reachable and touchable in modern society. 

Incorporating different mediums in my work, oil paints, neon lighting, and glitter makes an overwhelming experience for the viewer. The use of phallic and vulva symbolisation entices the spectator to look past the composition of oils, and search for the reasoning and understanding behind the artist’s thought. This series of work, features Venus - the goddess of love, sex and fertility accommodating a Playboy vajazzle. Eve, the first woman to exist in primeval history was depicted to have a drinking problem. Madonna, the loving mother with bleached roots and chipped nail polish. This concept plays on the notion of camouflage; you become distracted by the surrounding and not on the figure itself, taking an infamous figure and hiding it in modern life.