Jessica Teckemeyer – Dubuque, Iowa

Apparition, 2012 mixed media | feline: 36" h x 52" w x 24" d “We Are Animal” series

Apparition, 2012
mixed media | feline: 36″ h x 52″ w x 24″ d
“We Are Animal” series

Briefly describe the work you do.

The unreal becomes tangible through my sculptural forms. My interests include rare phenomenon, ancient mythology, monster theory, and spirituality. Based on research into these topics and observation of human behavior, concepts evolve into animal sculptures. Over the last four years, the work has focused on the dark and light side of personality. Human behavior is complex because it is driven by both instinct and cultural influences. As social creatures, instinctual forces are derived from our primal selves, while cultural influences stem from the history, religion, science, media, and literature of the place we live. Therefore, humans are domesticated animals. Each artwork utilizes human-like eyes and smooth skin to provide viewers with clues to the introspective nature of my ideation. I am interested in the ways our social, creative, and psychological development relates to animals. The sculptures represent archetypes.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

After completing my BFA degree at Minnesota State University Moorhead, I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to pursue artistic employment. Within two weeks I was working at “Tivoli Too” a three-dimensional design and fabrication shop. The first couple of weeks consisted of working several days in each department. Soon my time was dedicated to the mold making area. Under the direction of Professor Martin Meersman at MSUM, I had learned to make relief, box, and brush-on molds. I utilize these processes constantly to create sculptures. In fact, this skill set has led to many employment opportunities for myself, so I have dedicated my Sculpture III and Ceramics III curriculum to students learning mold making and casting.

Impact (38 special), 2014  clay, polyurethane, paint  |  18.5” h x 7.5” w x 11” d “Meeting Our Shadow” series

Impact (38 special), 2014
clay, polyurethane, paint | 18.5” h x 7.5” w x 11” d
“Meeting Our Shadow” series

The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

A year ago I received an Iowa Art Council grant supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. It supported experiments to shoot clay with a variety of bullets to see the projectile effect. Expanding my studio practice to the firing range was exciting. Watching the clay burst and expand as it reacted was heart pounding. Otherwise, my practice requires traditional spaces from a sculpting area to a woodshop for crate building.

What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

When I began making art my goals included providing viewers with sensory experiences through interactive sculptures. The artworks were activated with tactile materials or soundscapes. This work was focused on notions of fantasy. Now, my work is a blend of fantasy and reality. It focuses on the complexity of human behavior driven by both primal instincts and evolved socialization. Some sculptures feature mutations or blurred motion. Most recently, studio experiments have focused on current issues. Over the past thirty years, twenty-one mass shootings have occurred in the United States. These shocking one-day events have death tallies ranging from eight to thirty-two individuals according to CNN. Recent events include the movie theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado; the gunning down of twenty-six people in Newtown, Connecticut; and the Washington Navy Yard killings. This string of violent events resulted in the desire to create sculptures that would represent the shock felt when one hears the news. Plus, question the mass murder’s motivation and how these individuals can be helped before more tragic events occur. Several clay torsos were sculpted and transported to a firing range. A rifleman then fired a variety of bullets from handguns and assault weapons at the objects. The resulting forms record the effect of the projectile. One of these sculptures is titled “Impact (38 special).”

Chaos, 2014 mixed media | 16" h x 26" w x 16" d "Creation" series

Chaos, 2014
mixed media | 16″ h x 26″ w x 16″ d
“Creation” series

When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can? 

My sculptures are labor intensive and most take months to create. During summer months and holiday breaks, I dedicate weekdays. As deadlines approach my hours extend accordingly. During the academic calendar, I typically work nights and long weekend hours to create new work.

How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?

I have developed three series of works: “We are Animal,” “Meeting Our Shadow,” and “Creation” in the last five years. Each addresses different concepts. The “We are Animal” series began with investigating current spiritual beliefs and the lineage to ancient religions. I have utilized technology in some sculptures to create unexpected encounters. “Apparition” is a life-sized mountain lion lying on a pedestal. The large cat cries physical tears. Wooden church window frames are hung behind on the wall. These works vary greatly in physical form from those in the “Creation” series, which began in 2013 on a whim. Resulting artworks have stemmed from mythology, which has led to general wonderment regarding rare phenomena. What discovers will be made in the next century? “Chaos” questions what we know to be “true” as the combination of forms violates the rules of nature. These sculptures combine natural plant and tree life with animals. The overall style of my work remains sleek. The animal sculptures have smooth surfaces relating to skin and human-like eyes.

Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?

In 2009, I was hired to create commissions for internationally known artist Siah Armajani. Since, Armajani has become a mentor. He attended the reception for my Master of Fine Arts exhibit at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and followed up with a one-on-one critique. Each time we meet at his studio or talk on the phone, Siah always has words of wisdom to foster my career. On a recent visit, Siah said, “Tell yourself everyday the work you make is important, everyday!”

If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?

When I began undergraduate school at MSUM I was interested in pursuing either a fine arts or chemistry degree. Being a chemist requires higher-order thinking and problem solving skills. The most engaging courses in high school included physics, psychology, and mathematics. Luckily, as a three-dimensional artist and professor, I utilize knowledge of these subject matters often. Since then, I have also thought a career in forensic science would have been very engaging.

About 

Teckemeyer_headshot_72Jessica Teckemeyer maintains an active studio practice and is an Assistant Professor at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in May 2010. Teckemeyer’s artworks have been featured in six solo exhibits and shown in over forty group exhibitions. Viewers in many cities have experienced the work, including: Monoco, France; Montevideo, Uruguay; New York, NY; South Orange, NJ; Santa Ana, CA; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Tallahassee, FL; Cincinnati, OH; Minneapolis, MN; and Des Moines, IA.  Recently she has received Second Prize at the “Tallahassee International” hosted at the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, the Three-Dimensional Award at the “36th Annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition” at the Augustana College Art Museum, and two Iowa Arts Council Grants supported through the National Endowment for the Arts.

Teckemeyer has fabricated sculptures for internationally known artist Siah Armajani since 2009. Prior to graduate school, Teckemeyer worked in the sculpting, mold making, and painting departments at “Tivoli Too” a 3D design and production studio located near Minneapolis, MN. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2004. 

In the Studio

In the Studio

www.jteckemeyer.com.

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

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Kate Castelli – Cambridge, Massachusetts

Woodblocks on 19th century book covers dimensions range from 9x12" to 12.25x18" unique impressions  2013

Woodblocks on 19th century book covers
dimensions range from 9×12″ to 12.25×18″
unique impressions
2013

Briefly describe the work you do.

My work is an intersection of prints, books, and works on paper that explores poetic and formal juxtapositions in order to connect what cannot be connected.
At the root of it all is the idea that paper has a memory and a history. Much of my work explores how I can edit, alter, or add to that history. There are threads that run throughout my work: traveling and the desire to be elsewhere, cities, fragments of literature and art history, small moments that need to be recorded or remembered. They all get layered on top of each other to weave something new out of something old. There is a subtle poetic tension in that, something mysterious and lingering. Someone once described my work as “Sherlockian,” and that has always seemed very accurate.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

I grew up going to museums and galleries, traveling, and spending a lot of time with my nose in a book or with a crayon in my hand. My parents have always been extremely supportive of my artistic endeavors and they fostered my curiosity and creativity from an early age. They are both public school teachers, and my father is a photographer, so it is really no surprise that I am an artist and a professor. 

The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

Where I work depends largely on what I am working on. I tend to work on projects in stages. I use a lot of ephemera and found paper, so a vital part of my process is sourcing material. I wander around used bookstores and antique shops. My printing surfaces and grounds take time to prep and the prints need to dry longer because of the nature of the surfaces. Books and mixed media work gets developed in layers. I like to have a lot of space to spread out on (aka create a large mess) and I use every available flat surface. I have a large oak table that my father made to fit my workspace in my apartment. I’m also a big fan of working on the floor. My woodblock prints are small in scale but very intense. They can take 8 to 12 hours to carve, so I work on a few of them at a time and print them in batches or series. As faculty, I’m lucky to have access to the print shop and other studio facilities. So I take full advantage of that workspace in addition to the space I have set up in my apartment.
woodblocks on vintage paper and ephemera dimensions range from 7x9.5” to 10x14” unique impressions 2014

woodblocks on vintage paper and ephemera
dimensions range from 7×9.5” to 10×14”
unique impressions
2014

What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

You get the privilege of being the architect of your own life. But that also means wearing many hats and switching gears a lot. You have to be a maker, a critic, an editor, and a savy self-promoter. But above all you have to be resourceful.

When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can? 

I have more of a weekly routine. It depends on my teaching schedule but I generally have one full day in the studio and several afternoon/evenings a week. I work best anytime after 2 pm, although rarely very late a night. I’ve never pulled an “all nighter” in my life. I can’t seem to work in the studio in the morning so after my daily trip to Starbucks I take that time to email, research, document work, and update my website and social media.

“Tiny Little” series pairs of woodblocks on 1920s navigational charts 8.75 x 11" each, unique impressions 2014

“Tiny Little” series
pairs of woodblocks on 1920s navigational charts
8.75 x 11″ each, unique impressions
2014

How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?

I have a background in illustration and design, and after earning my BFA I was interested in working in the book and publishing industry. Things did not work out quite as planned and my work evolved away from illustration and client based projects. I’d always been interested in print based work and printmaking techniques, but I never considered myself a printmaker. When I decided to go back and pursue my MFA, I focused on printmaking and bookmaking. 

Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?

I’ve loved Alexander Calder since I was very small and frequently visited the monumental “Steggy,” in Hartford CT. 
The range of William Kentridge’s work and his multifaceted process is fascinating to me. Most people know him for his animations and performances, but I love his prints and works on paper.
The Rolling Stones have always been a soundtrack to my life.

If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?

A flâneur: an urban explorer with a passport, plenty of time, a blank sketchbook, and good food. Somehow I would be paid to just live like this.

About 

photo credit: Ashley Wood

photo credit: Ashley Wood

Kate Castelli is an artist living and working in Boston. She earned her BFA from Lesley College of Art and Design (formerly the Art Institute of Boston) where she is currently an assistant professor teaching in the Illustration program. She received her MFA in printmaking and book arts at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is the blog editor and a member of the Board of Directors for Glovebox, a non-profit organization created to enable greater awareness of the art of emerging and established artists in Boston. When not making or thinking about art, Kate can be found happily wandering the city. She is rarely without a sketchbook, frequently haunts used bookstores, and is hopelessly addicted to Starbucks.

castelli_process

www.katecastelli.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

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Yvette Mayorga – Chicago, Illinois

Jose, 2014 (6ft x 2ft) 50 Million M&M’s, Frosting, Acrylic, Glitter, Bows, Sprinkles, Rhinestones, Found Objects, Foam

Jose, 2014 (6ft x 2ft)
50 Million M&M’s, Frosting, Acrylic, Glitter, Bows, Sprinkles, Rhinestones, Found Objects, Foam

Briefly describe the work you do.

I make sculptural towers made out of frosting and found objects that stand as monuments of immigrants. They are monuments to transnational bodies that have been covered in the sweetness of the American dream.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

I am a Mexican American, my parents are immigrants from Mexico that came to the U.S. in the 1970’s. My background as being a daughter of immigrants who have faced struggles crossing into the U.S. and adjusting to the culture have really influenced my work. I think that hearing stories of my family struggling to come to the U.S. has made immigration close to my heart, a border will always separate me from my family members. My Mexican identity always shows up in my work, it’s a part of me. Through color, iconography, and materials the Mexican in me always comes out in my paintings and sculptures.

The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

My studio practice is similar to traditional notions of “being in the studio” and also unconventional at the same time. I have specific days where its just me and my materials in my studio and I’m making work alone consuming the colors and the music in my ears. I think its important to have some sort of moment where its just you in your studio making work. I also do social work outside of the studio which to me, its also studio work, because it informs it as much as my materials do. I teach art classes to young Mexican/Americans and I learn a lot about them and I get different stories and narratives of identities which I think is very influential to the work I make.

La Muchacha de $2.99, 2014 (5ft x 3ft) Mixed Media on Paper

La Muchacha de $2.99, 2014 (5ft x 3ft)
Mixed Media on Paper

What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I see myself more political than I could have ever imagined. When I first started making work, I was interested in making political work but I never pushed myself to do it. I was afraid of painting or talking about hard subjects that are politically charged, such as the U.S./Mexico border. As the years have gone by I feel as though it is my obligation to bring awareness to these subjects through making.

When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can? 

For me, the best time to make art is after 5pm. After a long day of teaching or class, the first thing I want to do is head to my studio and make crazy colorful work! I try my hardest to be in the studio every day. Even if it’s just me reading in the studio, it’s important for me to be in there and consume everything around me.

Maria, 2014 (3ft x2ft) Frosting, Acrylic, Hair, Roses, Glitter, Candles, Sprinkles, Rhinestones, Found Objects, Foam

Maria, 2014 (3ft x2ft)
Frosting, Acrylic, Hair, Roses, Glitter, Candles, Sprinkles, Rhinestones, Found Objects, Foam

How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?

In the last five years I wasn’t making sculptures let alone using frosting. So I would say it’s different in the choice of materials that I know am constantly using. I would also say that it’s the same in terms of my work always being about my identity as a Latina artist.

Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?

My family and their personal narratives have heavily influenced my work, they are so inspiring to me. In terms of writers, Gloria Anzaldua has also had a large impact on my work. Her book, “Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza,” has opened me to understand my own identity in such a fruitful way. After reading her book I began to gain a better sense of why I work the way I do and why my heritage is so engrained in me. It was a beautiful moment for me.

If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?

I would be a stunt woman, sounds crazy right? I am fascinated with the idea of being a powerful woman who jumps off buildings and gets paid for it, what’s more great than that?

About 

HeadshotYvette Mayorga (b. 1991) is a Mexican/American artist known for her sculptural work that is situated within the idea of the “American dream,” and how it has been perpetuated through culture—the white picket fence and sold through the popular media. Yvette’s current project, the Borderland Series (2014), utilizes confection, industrial materials, and the American board game Candy Land as a conceptual framework to juxtaposition with the U.S. and Mexico borderlands. This juxtaposition relates to the artist’s Latina identity as she constructs imagined places which mirror her position between the U.S. and Mexico borderlands. She received her BFA from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently an MFA candidate at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Jose's X-RAY, 2014 (19in x 24in) Inverted photograph of detail of Jose

Jose’s X-RAY, 2014 (19in x 24in)
Inverted photograph of detail of Jose

www.yvettemayorga.weebly.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

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Bass Structures – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Bass _1 "48 Hz" Oil and Acrylic on Plexiglas, 24" x 24" 2011

Bass _1 “48 Hz” Oil and Acrylic on Plexiglas, 24″ x 24″ 2011

Briefly describe the work you do.

We harness the power of sound to arrange paint on canvas.  This is done through a visual and audial experience, in which Bass Structures will sometimes collaborate with musicians and/or other sound artists.   The paintings then, are a visual record of that experience.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

We met at the Milwauee Institute of Art and Design and started working together in 2010.  We went through a year of research and development before our first show of frequency based studies.  It has been a wild ride since.  We are both painters, sculptors, and musicians with an eclectic taste for life.  

The Wassilys (our music composing robots) only talk in bleeps and waoums, but we imagine that they have lovely things to say about their short lives.  

The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

The thing that is really unique about Bass Structures is that the WAY that the work is created.  So, we try to include the audience in that process as much as possible.  The majority of our new paintings have been made in a gallery or collaborative setting with musicians.  The rest are results of our solitary “studio practice” of equipment creation and other various experimentations.

Bass_2  "Still from the creation of 38 Hertz,"  Oil and Acrylic on Plexiglas, 24" x 24" 2012

Bass_2 “Still from the creation of 38 Hertz,” Oil and Acrylic on Plexiglas, 24″ x 24″ 2012

What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

Pseudo Scientist/Inventors.  We both thought that a pursuit of fine art would involve painting on stretched canvas in the studio, and had absolutely no idea we would end up messing with physics and programming robots.  

When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can? 

Art creation has been synonymous with sleep deprivation since we were both studying at MIAD. So, our answer is going to have to be “that magic time somewhere between midnight and sunrise.” This is when all of the course changing ideas have come around.  But really, any time of the day or night is enjoyable. 

Bass_3 Still from the creation of 34 Hertz", Oil and Acrylic on Plexiglas 24” x 24” 2012

Bass_3 Still from the creation of 34 Hertz”, Oil and Acrylic on Plexiglas 24” x 24” 2012

How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?

In the last 4 years we have gone through 9 separate sound transferring systems, over a dozen materials used as the “canvas,” and we’re not entirely sure how many combinations of paint and particles have been experimented with to form the imagery.  We have collaborated with a wide variety of bands and musical sources ranging from classical to heavy metal.  We’ve used atmospheric sound sources and constant sources (i.e. Hertz wavelengths), and we have programed music composing robots (something we call the Wassily Collective).  We are constantly searching for something new.  Throughout this, though, there has been the striking constant of fractal like forms.  We take this to mean that sound has a shape, and all of our variables are merely distortions.

Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?

All of our friends and family have been extremely supportive and helpful in this.  This phenomenon that we are capturing has a way of sparking some very deep philosophical discussions, which is very fulfilling and is a great inspiration in our search for distortion.  We owe a lot to Ernst Chladni, who is credited as the pioneer in studying the effect of sound on the physical world.  Something that is broadly referred to as cymatics.  We have affinity with contemporaries such as Evan Grant, Sonic Water Laboratory, Bartholomäus Traubeck, Neil Harbisson, and John Mueller.

If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?

Astronauts.  In part, because we want to test Bass Structures in zero gravity… we may be working on trying to convince NASA to have us be their first Artist in Residence that actually goes into space….

About 

collin_and_emmanuelBass Structures: the Mark of Sound is a collaborative body of work between artists Emmanuel Fritz and  Collin Schipper. They use sound to arrange paint into geometric and/or fractal-like patterns.  This happens in both the pigments and the 3-dimensional space that the paint occupies.  The patterns are subject to several factors.  The note/frequency that is pulsing through the system reacts uniquely to the types of materials used in the process. The chemical make up of the paint and surface, the shape of that surface, as well as environmental factors of temperature/humidity/etc… all have a part in the equation that makes the piece what it is.

Started as an observational exploration of the effects of sound on materials, this body of work is based on research surrounding cymatics. They have made the decision to keep a portion of our portfolio dedicated to this observation.  However, they have also begun to go beyond observing/recording the effect of a single note over time.  They create experimental music using frequency generated sounds, instrumental sculptures, and self programed synths; as well as collaborations with other musicians and musical groups, to observe what their sounds look like. 

From the opening reception at Var Gallery and Studios 2013

From the opening reception at Var Gallery and Studios 2013

emmanuelfritz.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

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Sanja Hurem – New York, New York and Berlin, Germany

Through, Acrylic on Canvas, 30x40'', 2014

Through, Acrylic on Canvas, 30×40”, 2014

Briefly describe the work you do.

My work is primarily engaged in a process of translation, dealing with the question of how we perceive similar states of mind through a variety of media. I initially started out as a lens-based artist and later moved towards working with a variety of media, including installation and painting.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

I think that my background as a photographer has strongly influenced my work, because light and composition, the most important elements in photography, are also the most important elements in my other pieces. In addition, having lived in quite diverse and international environments has allowed me to delve into the topic of translation- what is translatable and what is not? What’s the common ground and what are the areas of difference? Is a shared language possible? All of these are questions that apply to cultures and languages, but they also apply to how artists create across media and to the ways an audience experiences moods and qualities across art pieces.

The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

The studio to me is more a mental space than a physical one. Being in the studio just means being engaged with your own creative process. This can happen in the four walls of my physical studio or it can happen in my kitchen or on the road. Quite frequently it happens in interaction with someone, where new ideas are sparked for my practice and then automatically start to shape my next steps. Looking at it this way, I don’t think it’s ever possible to leave the “studio space”.

Dream Materialized 1, Installation, size variable, 2014

Dream Materialized 1, Installation, size variable, 2014

What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I frequently find myself playing the role of a researcher. I remember when during college I would take a required classes, and the research for papers was the hardest part because I didn’t have much motivation other than the external need to complete the module. Nowadays, on the other hand. I find myself constantly learning and researching, motivated by an intrinsic desire to know more. 

Overall, I think that artists are asked to make sense of what they see in the world and place their own work within that context. I don’t know if there’s one specific word for that activity, but whatever it’s called there’s definitely a lot more of it than I anticipated.

Dream Materialized 2, Installation, size variable, 2014

Dream Materialized 2, Installation, size variable, 2014

When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can? 

Afternoons and evenings are a good time for me, but generally I work whenever I get the chance.

How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?

My work has changed because it is no longer tied to photography alone, so I am able to play with abstraction and reduction more than before. Photography can be an abstract medium, but for me it has always been more literal and direct. Developing my practice throughout other media over the past years has allowed me to think in different “languages”.

Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?

With regards to family and friends, I think it’d be difficult to understand where exactly the influence begins and where it ends- to a certain extent we’re all outcomes of our environment. Listing all the writers and philosophers that have shaped my work would probably lead to a very long list. On a very fundamental level, their questions about the individual’s role in society and subsequently about art’s role for the individual are the same mysteries that drive me to make work. 

If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?

If I had an occupation outside of being an artist it would most likely writing. My interest in language goes back to my school years, so working with the written (and spoken) word would seem like a natural step for me. 

About

headshotSanja has lived between Europe, US and South America. Her education includes programs at Northwestern University, the International Center of Photography and Plymouth University (UK). Initially trained as a photographer, her work spans several media including painting and installation. She has exhibited in the US, Canada and Europe, as well as having completed artist residencies internationally. Her current practice focusses on the fusion of two and three-dimensional pieces. Sanja lives and works internationally with a year-round base in Berlin.

detail shot of Dream Materialized 1

detail shot of Dream Materialized 1

www.sanjahurem.com  

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

 

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Robert Chamberlain – Boston, Massachusetts

Fountain 10 2014 Porcelain with porcelain decoration  16" x 14.5" x 16"
Fountain 10
2014
Porcelain with porcelain decoration
16″ x 14.5″ x 16″

Briefly describe the work you do.

I am a conceptual artist living and working in Boston, Massachusetts where I recently received my MFA from Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Art. Working across media (photography, performance, ceramics etc.) to express ideas and promote conversation. I tackle projects that channel a contemporary socio-political issues like surveillance, sexuality, and domesticity through a personal lens.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

I was raised on the move in a military family moving from Germany, South Carolina, California, Massachusetts, Georgia and again to MA. Studying photography in undergrad was vital in my arts education.  Georgia State University was an amazing place to be educated both with its location inside of Atlanta and its opportunity to study both art and indulge in sociology, rhetoric, history and sciences. My final project was a sixth month performance of identity at my job of the time waiting tables.  The project culminated in a book of documents and images.

It was in undergrad that I dabbled in the ceramics department filling all of my electives with ceramics classes becoming an honorary ceramics major.  It was in graduate school at SMFA/Tufts that I went back to clay and as my thesis “Fill Me Up” a 106 piece ceramic installation.  this set me on my continued exploration of desire through porcelain.

Fountain 04 2014 Porcelain with porcelain decoration  11" x 14" x 15"

Fountain 04
2014
Porcelain with porcelain decoration
11″ x 14″ x 15″

The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

 I think the notion that being an artist means you are struggling over a blank canvas all day waiting for inspiration etc…  is a way out dated and antiquated notion.  While I am sure some artists who identify as a painter do spend some time contemplating the empty space on a canvas, I’m sure they are spending other time reading, researching, and critiquing or doing something outside the limits of the traditional studio.  

My practice is studio and equipment specific most of the time, but that is only considering the physical production of objects.  In order to create a body of work a concept will be thoroughly explored and filtered through that artists lens or voice, in my case lately porcelain. I hold my library time, museum visits, lectures to be just as important if not more than time in my ceramic or digital lab. 

I am currently have a studio in the Harvard Ceramics Program where I am an Independent Artist.  Luckily I live in Boston and am able to take advantage of the many many free talks that are always happening. 

Fountain 03 2014 Porcelain with porcelain decoration  15" x 14" x 14"

Fountain 03
2014
Porcelain with porcelain decoration
15″ x 14″ x 14″

When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?

At this point in my career my schedule seems to be constantly shifting and studio time has to adjust around that, sometimes meaning studio from 7am -11:30  going to work and then returning after to finish.  Currently I am able to have two half days devoted to the studio and try to get there during the week if I can.  (talking of my studio as the place of physical work being made)

How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?

My work has changed a lot in the last five years going from a photography focused practice to one that thinks much more broadly about media.  Context will also continue to shift my work, having recently graduated from grad school I have an extreme cut off to equipment.  Living in Boston is also drastically different in terms of living space than Atlanta, GA.  If my computer of camera brake tomorrow or i brake my leg my practice will shift again.

Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?

My family has had a great deal to do with my work and who I am as a person.  My friends and peers are always inspiring me and making me want to push harder and do more!

Chamberlin_365_workinstudio2If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?

I think to have the sole occupation of artist is something that few people experience.  I am a teacher, barista, server, etc  Once in a while I do like to fantasize about being a doctor, but  I think that has more to do with a Grey’s Anatomy fantasy than an interest in medicine.

Chamberlin_365_Studio

www.robertchamberlin.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.
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Melissa Eder – New York, New York

Can You Dig It? A Chromatic Series of Floral Arrangements (Yellow), digital print on metallic paper, 30"x40", 2014

Can You Dig It? A Chromatic Series of Floral Arrangements (Yellow), digital print on metallic paper, 30″x40″, 2014

Briefly describe the work you do.

I am interested in exploring ideas related to beauty, popular culture, and kitsch. Can You Dig It? A Chromatic Series of Floral Arrangements is a series of photographs taken of floral arrangements that I have created. This series consists of ten 30” x 40” digital photographs printed on metallic paper. Part of my artistic practice is collecting objects to photograph from 99 cents stores. These ‘fake’ flowers used were gathered from various 99 cents stores found throughout New York City and New Jersey. The backdrops are made out of polyester spandex. Creating each picture has been fun. Quite often, I am surprised by how an arrangement translates into a photograph. These photographs challenge notions related to what is natural and artificial, what is considered to be beautiful and what is considered to be tasteful. By using a low tech camera and lighting, I address this concept of high/low art and the idea of the well-crafted photograph.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

I have a degree in painting from the Parsons School of Design where I studied with Sean Scully and I have a Master’s degree in combined media from Hunter College where I studied with Robert Morris and Rosalind Krauss. I realize that my work is greatly influenced by Pop Art. Let me explain. When I was about three or four, I went with my family to see a Pop Art survey show at MOMA in 1967. I can recall my parents pointing out a sculpture of French fries and a painting of a piece of cake. When I got back home to New Jersey, I painted a picture of a piece of cake with a cherry on top. I thought it was great that you could look at everything as art. I still believe this notion to a certain degree. Of course, now, I acknowledge the layers of complexities of meaning(s) that create Western culture on both a personal and larger field.

Can You Dig It? A Chromatic Series of Floral Arrangements (Purple), digital print on metallic paper, 30"x40", 2014

Can You Dig It? A Chromatic Series of Floral Arrangements (Purple), digital print on metallic paper, 30″x40″, 2014

The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I have worked collaboratively in the past and can appreciate that type of work. Currently, I am an artist in residence with chashama at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. It’s great to be around such creative energy. Still, I have to say that I have moments when I want to be alone in my studio. I am the proud owner of 3 camping chairs (the ones with the cup holders in them)! I find that when I’m in my studio, I sit on my chair, think, daydream and drink a lot of Diet Coke while imagining what I’ll do next when I get up from my chair!

What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

That’s an interesting question. When I was younger, I didn’t think about myself as an artist beyond my own art making process. (Boy, I’m a true narcissist!) I wasn’t super into self-promotion etc. I just wanted to make my art. There is still a part of myself that is encapsulated in that creative bubble. I truly feel connected as a person when I’m involved in my art making process. Now, though, I want to share my work with an audience and see how it fits into a larger global context. I’m a believer in the concept that art is about ideas and that discourse and sharing your work, promoting dialogue etc. about art/culture continues to promote growth in a society. I would now like to thank social media and its part in promoting this exchange of ideas! Thanks to the ‘Interweb’!

Can You Dig It? A Chromatic Series of Floral Arrangements (Orange), digital print on metallic paper, 30"x40", 2014

Can You Dig It? A Chromatic Series of Floral Arrangements (Orange), digital print on metallic paper, 30″x40″, 2014

When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can? 

I am definitely a night owl. I can procrastinate pretty well. If I work late at night, there’s nothing but myself and the wee hours of the morning so I feel like I have to focus. But I will say, if I have a deadline or a show coming up, I’m up early, too.

How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?

My work hasn’t changed that much in the last five years. I still scour the 99 cents stores for inspiration. I will say, however, that I’m trying to push myself and take more ‘personal risks’ in my work than I ever before.

Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?

Hands down, my sister Nancy is a huge influence. She’s an art historian and the smartest person I know. I feel like I can discuss my art ideas and all ideas with her. We spend a lot of time together looking at art. I also listen to tons of music. I can name what music has influenced certain work. Right now, I’m totally into Jerry Garcia and can’t stop listening to the Dead. Also, I’m completely obsessed with BRAVO TV and all of the Real Housewives shows!

If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?

I’m an educator. I teach Critical Thinking for the City University of New York at a local community college. I love teaching and the exchange of ideas. Being an artist and an educator is exactly why I value living in a free-thinking society.

About

Head shot EderMelissa Eder is an artist who creates photo-based projects that explore notions related to female identity, popular culture and kitsch. Ms. Eder received her B.F.A. in painting from Parsons School of Design in New York City where she studied with Sean Scully and a M.F.A. in combined media from Hunter College in New York City where she studied with Robert Morris and received a Meritorious Award from the Alumni Association. As a visual artist, her work has been shown nationally and internationally in such venues as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York University’s Broadway Windows Gallery, Art in General, the Aperture Foundation, the Parlor Gallery, the Charlotte Street Foundation’s Paragraph Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri and in Stadtlengsfeld, Germany where she created a permanent art installation in a former kindergarten. She was an artist-in-residence at the Henry Street Settlement in New York City, the Saltonstall Foundation in Ithaca, New York and the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida as selected by photographer Graciela Iturbide. In 2011, her work was selected by Eric C. Shiner, the director of the Andy Warhol Museum for his curated exhibit on CurateNYC. Her work was also chosen by Sarah Hasted for Photography Now, 2004, for the Photography Quarterly, Woodstock, New York. Her photo book “Can You Dig It? A Chromatic Series of Floral Arrangements” was included in a group show at the Davis Orton Gallery in Hudson, New York. During the summer of 2014, her work was included in the Aperture Foundation’s Summer Open and was chosen from over 860 applicants. She was selected to design a piano for the public art project for Sing for Hope during the summer of 2013 that was displayed at Lincoln Center. She has received numerous grants including funding from the Puffin Foundation and two Manhattan Community Arts Fund grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Her work has been reviewed by the New York Times, highlighted in Feature Shoot, Co Design, the Collector Daily and various other publications. She lives in New York City and works in Brooklyn as an artist in residence through the chashama studio residency. She was born in Long Branch, New Jersey on October 8, 1963.

Studio Flowers

Studio Flowers

 

melissaeder.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

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