Virginia Broersma – Long Beach, California

At Home oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches 2014

At Home
oil on canvas
60 x 48 inches
2014

Briefly describe the work you do.

The way I think about my paintings is that I use the vocabulary of the human form – the colors of its flesh, its contortions and protrusions, its extensions,curves and crevices – as the components from which I develop my subjects. I’m interested in how we present the body and the human image when we try to pin it down in a still, two-dimensional image – particularly in painting – and how it becomes more complicated the less straightforward it is.

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

Every summer of my childhood, my family would take a long road trip around the US, visiting National Parks, historic landmarks, geologic wonders, distant relatives, and going down countless unknown roads. My parents encouraged exploring, seeing new places and being interested in how people do things differently from me, and this has given me a curiosity and openness to the unfamiliar. I was also always encouraged to pursue the things that interested me – music, reading, writing, art – so I have grown up feeling empowered to go after my inclinations.

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 is definitely the place where I, as an artist,  toil away alone in a room. It’s the space I go to work-  away from everyone else – that is completely governed by me and only me. This is both incredibly electrifying and gives me comfort, which allows it to be a place I look forward to going to. The toiling comes in with the challenges I give myself with the work – I often work on several paintings at once, each with a different problem or approach I am tackling, and usually with a variety of scales. If I ever get stuck or need some time away from a piece, I will always have something else to work on so I can stay productive, while also taking my time.

The Bath oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches 2014

The Bath
oil on canvas
60 x 48 inches
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’ve always had more roles that interest me than I can actually fill, so I am still working on attaining all I envisioned I would do as an artist.

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?

Right now I have a routine which I’ve found works really well for me. I split my time between my “day job” (which at this point I still need for income) and working in my studio. Luckily I’ve been able to work it out so that I can be in the studio 5+ days a week, for a decent amount of time. I strategically took a day job where it is geographically easier to go to my studio than home so going to the studio after work (and avoiding traffic) is always the better option. I find that I am much more productive if the decision to be at the studio has already been made, and once I’m there I can’t help but want to work. I think a key component of having an art career is making the time in the studio the priority, regardless of being in the mood or how many other things are competing for your attention.

Nocturne oil on canvas 54 x 38 inches 2014

Nocturne
oil on canvas
54 x 38 inches
2014

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

It has changed significantly. When I first became interested in working with the portrait, I headed (no pun intended) in a very representational direction where I relied heavily on photographic references. I think this was an important phase to go through because I gained many skills for capturing an accurate likeness, but I realized the work was lacking in the singularity I could bring to it if I allowed myself to follow my instincts rather than a source. So, my paintings have moved away from specific references to being developed through the undertaking of painting. The forms I am working with now are highly invented.

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

Undoubtedly.

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

I am often occupied by a good book and cup of coffee, so I would take that as an occupation.

About

Broersma headshotVirginia Broersma (b. San Diego, CA) received her BFA in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA in 2004. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at Autonomie in Los Angeles, CA and Fermilab Art Gallery in Batavia, IL and group exhibitions at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, CA and at JAUS, Autonomie, and with 5790projects in Los Angeles, CA. Upcoming exhibitions will include the Yokohama Triennial and  a group show that will be traveling to the Palazzo della Provincia de Frosinone in Italy, the Oceanside Museum of Art and the Riverside Art Museum in Southern California. Broersma has been the recipient of a several grants including funding from the California Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Puffin Foundation and was awarded a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago, IL, which she received in both 2010 and 2011. Broersma currently lives in Long Beach, CA.
Broersma in studio by EMS

Broersma in studio by EMS

virginiabroersma.com

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

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Aaron Bos-Wahl – Queens, New York

Linda, 2011, Pencil and watercolor on paper, 9” x 7”

Linda, 2011, Pencil and watercolor on paper, 9” x 7”

Briefly describe the work you do.

My creative activity rests on the idea of interconnection as an ecological and spiritual reality. I engage in artmaking, in part, as a form of spiritual practice – attempting to touch the fundamental. Often taking the form of delicate drawings and watercolors, as well as multi-media installations, my work presents windows through which to glimpse the substance of emptiness, the significance of the commonplace, the warmth of the familiar. The everyday is the sacred.

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

I grew up in Wisconsin and Iowa with one foot in the city and one in the country. My imagery reflects the Midwest. The near-absence of the prairie and indigenous peoples in Iowa has always been poignant for me. When I was still a child probably I became
vividly affected by notions of loss and a desire to memorialize. I think this sadness, and it’s companion – celebration, inform my work today. Also, my parents are both artists and activists, so I was always surrounded by poetry, music and other art, and I was given a broad education that included aspects of botany, ecology and social justice issues. These things relate to old values and a “wakefulness” that goes back to Whitman, Thoreau and the Buddha.

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 like traditional notions of being in the studio, because I feel like nowadays there is a mild stigma attached to being alone, or people try to avoid it. Sitting alone and making art and enjoying the isolation is a beautiful experience, and I think everyone should do it more.Also, I don’t have a lot of time in the studio, working to make ends meet in New York. So, sometimes it’s finding things on the street on my way home that I want to incorporate into a work, or writing in my notebook or just walking in the park. And these things are critical to my practice. So, the studio really bleeds out into everyday life, just like Buddhist practice – it’s all one practice, all the time.
Untitled, 2014, pencil and watercolor on paper, 16” x 21”

Untitled, 2014, pencil and watercolor on paper, 16” x 21”

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?

As the artist has become less specialized than she may have been historically, she learns more of a diversity of skills. For me, this has included learning how to work with my hands in a broad variety of ways, as well as with technology. Also, I did not necessarily anticipate being such a collector of ephemera. Collecting has really become important to my practice. These physical objects as well as ideas or texts are then reinterpreted or re- presented in my work.

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 wish I had the luxury to make those decisions, but I’ve always been someone who has to work a day job (or two). I love working in the morning though. And working at night and listening to music all by myslef and taking a break to dance.
Untitled, 2013, pencil and watercolor on paper, 12” x 9”

Untitled, 2013, pencil and watercolor on paper, 12” x 9”

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

It has broadened. My perspective has broadened. I’ve been able to define what I’m interested in better. I think it has matured (now I’m a teenager in art years – ha). I have experimented a lot in the last five years, and I feel some of these explorations have come full circle now and are maturing. I’m still really interested in people, craft and awkwardness – which I feel really conveys the human condition.

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

Everyone has impacted my work. My parents and family have been crucial, as well as all my teachers and peers. People are important, but cultures are probably more important. Visionary and folk artists make some of the best, most lively work that exists. Music has had a strong influence on me, most notably Irish and American traditional music, early American blues and hardcore/punk. I have a romantic interest in a lot of pop icons of art, literature and music – mostly from the past. I’m really drawn to those who seem to yearn for experience, yearn to touch God, or the sacred, yearn to touch the fundamental or the unseen (the magic and mystery of the world). Like Kerouac wrote, “the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time [who] burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles.” Writers and artists that have influenced me include Whitman, Thoreau, Kerouac, Gary Snyder, Wendell Berry, Shunryu Suzuki – William Blake, Alice Neel, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Ann Hamilton, Tim Gardner.

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

I would be a kindergarten teacher or work professionally on issues of poverty or environmental advocacy. There are so many good uses of one’s time.

About

Bos-Wahl_Aaron_headshotAaron Blake Bos-Wahl was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up in both Wisconsin and Iowa. He received a BFA in painting and a BA in English from the University of Iowa, and he earned his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis in 2010. He has taught art at Washington University in St. Louis and Mt. Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, IA. Currently, he lives and works in Queens, NY. His work has been shown at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France and will comprise a solo exhibition in 2015 at The Virginia M. & Edward Juergensen Gallery at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, New York.
Detail: Untitled (Kwan Yin), 2014, photographic print, earth and shelf, 5 1⁄2’ x 12” x 6”

Detail: Untitled (Kwan Yin), 2014, photographic print, earth and shelf, 5 1⁄2’ x 12” x 6”

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

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Molly Segal – Los Angeles, California

White Girls Kissing, oil on paper mounted onto panel, 31" x 43", 2012

White Girls Kissing, oil on paper mounted onto panel, 31″ x 43″, 2012

Briefly describe the work you do.

My painting practice explores psychological ambiguities within intimate spaces. I use personal experiences and relationships as a starting point to investigate ideas about fear, desire, recklessness, and honesty. Currently, I’m working on a portrait project about my assumption that most men I know want to have sex with me. I work primarily in oil and watercolor on paper.

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

I think growing up in Oakland, CA had a huge influence on me. My hippie/commie parents raised me with this idealistic optimism, but navigating adolescence in the city streets kind of chipped at some of my naiveté and gave me a wary, matter-of-fact skepticism about the world. It left me something of a critical humanist and I think that seeps nto my work.

I was also really influenced by the intense friendships I had with other young women growing up. The ways that boundaries get murky, and the way a relationship can be many things at once is rich soil for me. I’m fascinated by interpersonal relationships, especially the way something can be nurturing and toxic at once. 

I was also totally that little urban kid obsessed with power line silhouettes in the sunset.

Man Project, Installation Shot, n/a, n/a, 2014

Man Project, Installation Shot, n/a, n/a, 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 am obnoxiously stereotypical in my studio practice. For me, all of the answers are in the studio and are usually found through making work. Being willing to make bad or failed paintings is sort of a pillar of my practice. Bad work begets bad work begets interesting work. Mistakes, unexpected turns, and a willingness to not be precious are very important to me.

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?

Art making has allowed me (or forced me) to speak more truthfully and pointedly on a regular basis. A lot of my work centers around things that make me uncomfortable- that’s why I think they are interesting. By making this work and then having to talk about it, I find that telling the truth about my experience becomes less and less awkward. I’m really interested in exploring honesty and the limits of its usefulness. What happens when you explicitly talk about things that we’ve all decided are better left unspoken?

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 most productive time of day is 2-10pm or so. But it helps for me to be in the studio futzing around for two to three hours before that to sort of warm up. I hate going into the studio knowing that I have an end time. Unfortunately that’s a decadent way to work that I often can’t sustain. But ideally, I love having long studio days.

I also try to treat my studio practice like exercise. It’s important to go in whether you feel it or not and stretch and run drills. Not all days are going to feel good. I had a teacher who really emphasized that some days we just see better than others. But putting in the work helps make those magical transcendent Did I just fucking paint that??? moments possible.

Michael, watercolor on paper, 47"x36", 2014

Michael, watercolor on paper, 47″x36″, 2014

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

My work has dramatically changed in the last 5 years. I think that leaving the place I was born and raised to go to grad school helped me make work that was a little more honest and left me feeling a little more exposed. The work I’m making now much more closely reflects the kinds of things I’ve always thought about. 

Materially, I think I’ve accepted that my best work comes when I don’t over plan things. I come from an illustration background and can get obsessive about sketches, transfers, value studies, etc. Loosening up on my expectations of what a painting will look like has been rally good for me.  

All of the planning and control of my earlier work still seeps into my paintings though. I’m very attached representation and figuration. I think there’s a push and pull in my work between this goody two shoes who really wants you to know how well they can render a hand and an artist who is interested in what the materiality of paint can do on it’s own when you stop trying to micro-manage it.

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

Sometimes fiction will contain passages that articulate something I have never explicitly thought about but immediately recognize and leaves me thinking I can’t believe they just said that. Jonathan Franzen, Toni Morrison, and Miranda July have all done that to me. I appreciate unflinching and unflattering confessionals like Junot Diaz and Louis CK. I love how specificity makes things become universal.  I listen to a lot of podcasts while I work and Marc Maron’s aggressive, often combative insistence on making a human connection resonates with me.

I don’t know if this has anything to do with my work, but Judge Marilyn Milian from the People’s Court is a personal hero. I went to a taping and everything!

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

I think I’d be a good cultural critic. I enjoy making meta connections between seemingly unrelated things. I also like being given a platform to articulate exactly why I don’t like something.

I edit a lot of friend’s work and enjoy that process so some job editing would be exciting. I love shooting around ideas and paring things down in a meaningful way.

About

photo credit Ashley Wood

photo credit Ashley Wood

Molly Segal is a painter from Oakland, CA. She received her BFA from the California College of the Arts in 2008. After getting her MFA from The School of The Museum Of Fine Arts in 2013, she was awarded post-graduate teaching fellowships at both the Museum School and Tufts University. She is currently co-curating I Want To Smell Your Hair at the New Art Center in Newton, MA. She lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. 

photo credit Jason Wallace

photo credit Jason Wallace

mollysegal.com

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

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Norwood Viviano – Plainwell, Michigan

Mining Industries: Downtown Seattle, 3D printed pattern, kilncast glass, fabricated steel, and vinyl cut drawings, 38” x 14.5” x 17.25”, 2014. Photo: Tim Thayer/Robert Hensleigh

Mining Industries: Downtown Seattle, 3D printed pattern, kilncast glass, fabricated steel, and vinyl cut drawings, 38” x 14.5” x 17.25”, 2014.
Photo: Tim Thayer/Robert Hensleigh

Briefly describe the work you do.

For the past four years I have focused on three related bodies of work that deal with landscape after industry moves on. These projects are complementary as each tells a story of population shift and its relationship to industry. The first project, Cities: Departure and Deviation, culminated in an installation of blown glass forms and vinyl cut drawings that serve as three-dimensional population graphs of major urban centers. The second body of work is the result of a collaborative Arts/Industry Residency at Kohler Co. that explored the dynamic historical relationship between the Kohler factory and neighboring village. My current project, Mining Industries, is comprised of kilncast glass works created from LiDar scan data of the earth and 3D printed patterns showing aerial views of sites related to Detroit, Houston, and Seattle and their iconic industries.

Mining Industries uses LiDar data captured with a laser beam during airplane flyovers that define the landscape through a coordinate system. I am interested in how the technology of Sanborn Maps, aerial photographs, and LiDar data merge to reference times of peak industrial power. I then layer these maps and photographs between stacks of clear kilncast glass blocks so that the imagery filters through the polished glass landscape from above and is seen through the layers in the mirrored reflection below.

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

The three research projects represent my interest in the dynamic relationship between American industry and the towns that grew up around it. This focus – the domestic landscape – is a direct result of my experience growing up in the city of Detroit, which was devastated by changes in the auto industry, and moving to a small Michigan town that lost its primary employer in 2000 and was registered as a superfund site that same decade. My approach considers the tension between historical modes of manufacturing and contemporary notions of efficiency and industry’s influence on the individual and collective narratives in the surrounding communities.

Mining Industries: Installation View, 3D printed patterns, kilncast glass, fabricated steel, and vinyl cut drawings, dimensions variable, 2014.  Photo: Cathy Carver

Mining Industries: Installation View, 3D printed patterns, kilncast glass, fabricated steel, and vinyl cut drawings, dimensions variable, 2014. Photo: Cathy Carver

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.”

To create my work, I routinely consult with specialists in several areas including architecture, urban planning, industrial design, GIS data collection, engineering, and 3D printing. In many ways these conversations help to shape my creative work and the classes I teach at Grand Valley State University.

In my studio practice, newer 3D computer technology is an essential tool in my creative process. At Grand Valley State University, I have access to a 3D printing lab, mold making space, and kilns for casting glass. To gather the GIS data, I work directly with municipalities and libraries that routinely hold databases of LiDar scan data, Sanborn Maps, and historical aerial photographs.

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?

For me this is strongly related to question # 3.

Early on in my career, I couldn’t imagine incorporating newer technology as a regular part of my studio practice. Additionally, I enjoy the engagement with specialists outside of the field. The conversations with outside specialists are increasingly productive often resulting in future projects and collaborations.

Mining Industries: Houston Installation View (detail), 3D printed patterns, kilncast glass, fabricated steel, and vinyl cut drawings, dimensions variable, 2014.  Photo: Cathy Carver

Mining Industries: Houston Installation View (detail), 3D printed patterns, kilncast glass, fabricated steel, and vinyl cut drawings, dimensions variable, 2014. Photo: Cathy Carver

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?

Because of regular deadlines, I try to work in the studio as much as possible. Since the new project Mining Industries has a strong technology component – some of the process is portable. I can work on the cropping and conversion of LiDar scan data anywhere, but when it comes to mold making and casting glass – I need to be in my studio where I can make a mess and have access to kilns.

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

For more than ten years, I explored the relationship between generating 3D printed patterns, mold making, and casting a variety of materials. Mining Industries represents the synthesis of many early experiments.

Within my work, it’s the representation and form of the subject matter that changed. One of the early influences connected to finding a way to make sense of the dramatic population decline in the city of Detroit as well as developing new ways to visualize the change over time. It’s this early question that continues to be the foundation for my approach to other cities.

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

While growing up, I had several family members connected to the automobile industry in Detroit. Attempting to make sense of the family conversations and connecting the question of how my local industry (automobile production) related to a much larger national discussion aided in the growth and development of studio practice.

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

During graduate school at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, I had the opportunity to take electives in Architecture and Industrial Design giving me several ways to look at my sculpture work in new ways. It was at Cranbrook that I had my first introduction to the potential of 3D printing and CAD software. If I were to move away from sculpture or compliment my career in visual art, I would likely find myself working in a field related to Architecture or Industrial Design.

About

Norwood VivianoNorwood Viviano is an Associate Professor at Grand Valley State University, where he is the Sculpture Program Coordinator. He received a BFA in Sculpture and Glass from Alfred University and MFA in Sculpture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Viviano utilizes digital 3D modeling and printing technology in combination with glass blowing and casting processes to create his sculptural works. In 2001, he was the recipient of the Emerging Artist Award from the Glass Arts Society.  Recently he was an Artist-in-Residence at the Royal College of Art, London, UK, Ox-Bow School of the Art, Saugatuck, MI, the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA, the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY, and was awarded an Arts/Industry Residency at the Kohler Company in Kohler, WI.  Viviano’s recent exhibitions include, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, MI, Art Miami/Context Art Miami, Miami, FL, Heller Gallery, New York, NY, and the Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy. 

Mining Industries: Downtown Seattle (detail), 3D printed pattern, kilncast glass, fabricated steel, and vinyl cut drawings, 38” x 14.5” x 17.25”, 2014. Photo: Tim Thayer/Robert Hensleigh

Mining Industries: Downtown Seattle (detail), 3D printed pattern, kilncast glass, fabricated steel, and vinyl cut drawings, 38” x 14.5” x 17.25”, 2014. Photo: Tim Thayer/Robert Hensleigh

norwoodviviano.com

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

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Tony Conrad – Appleton, Wisconsin

Kancer, ink and collage on panel, 20 x 20 inches, 2014

Kancer, ink and collage on panel, 20 x 20 inches, 2014

Briefly describe the work you do.

I am mainly a painter who dabbles in collage and drawing. The focus of my work in years past has explored stereotypes and oddities surrounding the ‘outdoorsman’ culture. A lot of my work deals with these stereotypes through a complex set of systems including silhouettes, collaged photos of ammunition casings, vibrant, pulsating, and disorienting color combinations, along with decorative patterns inspired by various traditional textiles produced around the world. Recently, I have been moving away from the silhouette as a central figure in the paintings and have begun playing around with pattern and mark making to express the ideas of expansive space and meditational states of mind.

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

I grew up in a small rural town in Northern Wisconsin. I never felt like I related with the people and activities there. I guess I was always drawn to counter culture stuff like skateboarding, punk rock, and art. I gravitated toward doing things that gave me a rush of adrenaline. I remember as a young boy exploring the dark and mysterious places on my Aunt and Uncles dairy farm – it was such a great feeling to get lost in such a foreign space. I think the getting lost and rebellious nature of my past interests are a reflection of the dysfunction I was experiencing at home with divorced parents and the alienation I felt from my peers.

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 more a traditional one I guess. I have white plywood walls that I hang paintings and drawings on as I work. Additionally, I have tables that I move around the space to accommodate my needs depending on what I’m doing. I generally like to paint on vertical walls but prefer the tables for laying out collages or doing certain types of drawing. On the days that I’m not teaching at the University, I will get started right away in the morning once the kids are at school. I typically mess around with e-mails and computer stuff while I get the coffee going. Then I will get to work – first taking in what was most recently done. Some days are easier than others to get going. Usually when I’m really excited about a painting I was working on the day before, it seems like I can’t get in there quickly enough. It’s important for me to be comfortable. I have a couch that I sit on and read books or look at stuff for inspiration.

I Have Found Peace, acrylic on panel, 48 x 32 inches, 2013

I Have Found Peace, acrylic on panel, 48 x 32 inches, 2013

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 never really wanted to be didactic with my work and never really thought I would be attempting to create a social awareness for the people around me. My early years as a painter were really more personal and involved a world that was not necessarily so relevant for others. I guess it’s really humbling to hear someone tell me that my work is inspirational in some way or another. Being in that position where other artists are really engaged with what you’re doing and are willing to support it – that I guess is something I never really expected.

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 think like most people, I work when I can. Now that both of our kids are in school, I have the opportunity to work during the day, which is what I prefer. I used to have to work late at night all the time and that can take a toll on you after awhile. On the days that I don’t have to be at the University, I just get studio time all day. Very often, I will get back in the studio after dinner and sometimes work into the late hours of the night. I find that I am most productive during the workweek and tend to do more family things during the daytime on the weekends.

Nervous, acrylic on panel, 17 inches round, 2014

Nervous, acrylic on panel, 17 inches round, 2014

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

My paintings five years ago were so different from what I’m doing today. My process used to be much more organic, ‘painterly,’ and free flowing. I used to work on the floor a lot, pooling washes of paint onto the canvases. The work was very abstract and was about the abandoned, post-industrial landscape of Milwaukee’s downtown areas that I was exploring (sometimes illegally).

The work I am doing more recently seems to be the polar opposite. I find myself measuring out the collage elements, arranging them and the other painted elements in a specific organized fashion. The work now gravitates toward balance and symmetry much more than before. I could never say that I didn’t make conscious decisions with placement or color choices in the older work but it definitely was more left up for chance than what I’m doing today. Because of my tendency to create such order with the patterns I am using now, I have to sometimes force myself to ‘let go.’ I am enjoying the unexpected outcomes of this approach and I feel it opens up the work quite a bit. The two different bodies of work may look very different visually but they do still embody my interests in altered states of the mind and exhibit meditative qualities – this all comes back to my escapist tendencies from childhood.

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

Of course my family and friends influence the way I create and position the work that I make. Seeing my two children growing up and their unlimited curiosity for how things work inspires me to keep asking questions and digging deeper into my own understanding about the world. My wife Lillie continues to teach me about patience and the virtues that come with it. My younger brother David has taught me so much about deer hunting culture and has given me a more complex perspective on its moral and poetic implications. My friends and colleagues will often times come by the studio to see what’s going on – offering criticism and comments that I take to heart as I work on into the future.

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

I really can’t imagine doing something entirely different. I guess I would be a fly-fishing guide in Colorado or Montana. Being out in the Rock Mountain backcountry is an endless source of inspiration for me. I can’t think of anything more meditative than being deep in the wild backcountry and seeing beautiful native trout. There is something so peaceful and invigorating about hiking through that environment that never gets old to me.

About 

Conrad_PortraitTony Conrad received his MFA degree in painting and drawing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2009.  Currently, Conrad is a Lecturer of Art at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.  Conrad’s work has been exhibited nationally in various solo and group exhibitions and has won a number of awards including the Lawrence Rathsack Scholarship and the Frederick R. Layton Fellowship.  Recently, his paintings have been exhibited at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, the Frank Juarez Gallery in Sheboygan, WI, as well as the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art in Madison, WI.

In the Studio

In the Studio

tonyconradart.com

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

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Corey Dunlap – Los Angeles, California

In collaboration with Bradley Tsalyuk, Monolith, C-Print, 2014

In collaboration with Bradley Tsalyuk, Monolith, C-Print, 2014

Briefly describe the work you do.

Working primarily in sculpture, installation and photography, my practice is concerned with the perception of the corporeal and the mechanics behind such material negotiation.  Drawing from the aesthetics and devices of body oriented objects such as furniture, exercise equipment and ergonomics, my work extends the psychological-body through various imagined scenarios. I also work collaboratively with my partner, Bradley Tsalyuk. Our collaborative practice has allowed for larger scale works and a collision of interests.

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

I grew up in Birmingham Alabama, which is not exactly an artistic Mecca. However, I was able to attend a pretty rigorous art magnet high school for six years, which looking back probably saved me in a lot of ways.

My mother died when I was nine years old. While attending the open casket funeral, I was able to internalized her bodily presence and absence in tandem. This incident of multi-stable awareness fundamentally structured my relationship to the material world and spurred an ongoing obsession with psychological and corporeal perception. My artistic practice has been greatly informed by this cognitive shift and naturally has gravitated towards sculpture and material studies.

The Hot Stones Are Never Rough, massage table, silicon, stones, plastic, 4' x 6' x 2', 2013

The Hot Stones Are Never Rough, massage table, silicon, stones, plastic, 4′ x 6′ x 2′, 2013

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.”

For the past year and a half I have shared my studio space with my partner and collaborator in our home. This method is both convenient and cost efficient. When we are feeling claustrophobic and insular we will plan a larger project outdoors or put together an open studio event.

 I thrive in the studio. It is where the action happens. I certainly conduct research outside of the studio and will sometimes put together a traveling photo series, but in the traditional sense, I rely on the studio as my universe. Many artists (photographers in particular) have been returning to the studio in recent years and there seems to be a lot of conversation around the validating of this return. This interests me.

Gak, C-Print, 2014

Gak, C-Print, 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?

In addition to my independent work, I work collaboratively with my partner on large-scale sculptures and installations. Being an only child, I never imagined working intimately and making decisions with someone, let alone my significant other. It happened organically and has been successful thus far.

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 work when I can, mostly weekends. I’m a big believer in Flow Theory and have to be working on multiple projects at once. If paint or glue needs to dry, I will just set it aside and move on to the next one. If it’s a good weekend and I don’t have too many errands to run, I will work through the afternoon, break for dinner, and work into the evening. Music is a must as is some kind of drink; coffee, wine, tea, Gatorade, etc.

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

Five years ago I was eighteen, eager, naïve and enthusiastic. As expected, I have since become more broadly aware and gained many skills (both mental and technical). However, the only significant change in my work over the past five years is the level of critical rigor I apply to myself. Like with most art colleges, my undergraduate institution taught me to be critical and have an answer for every action. While criticality is good to some degree, my practice is still very much the same as it was five years ago. I continue to rely upon my interests and impulses as my guiding force and have an insatiable appetite for knowledge and experimentation.

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

As far as a single person, my partner and collaborator has probably had the most impact on my work. Understanding the way he makes decisions has helped me to understand my own mental preferences.

I tend to focus on little peculiar topics that interest me and will then read various articles on that subject. They are sometimes art related, artist interviews or critical essays, but are other times completely tangential, like the product safety reports of baby cribs and playpens.

These tend to be more influential than a single person.

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

In my wildest fantasy, I would love to be a surgeon of some kind. You are able to explore and repair the body in real time, as it is pulsing and breathing.

About 

10580246_10203339384977632_5060782982087987793_nCorey Dunlap (b. 1990) earned his BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston in 2013. He has shown nationally and internationally including Suffolk University in Boston Massachusetts, Grace Performance Space in New York City, and The Old Ambulance Depot in Edinburgh Scotland. He is a recipient of the 2013 Stephen D. Paine Fellowship and recently completed the ACRE residency in Steuben Wisconsin. Corey Dunlap currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

"Detail" The Hot Stones Are Never Rough, massage table, silicon, stones, plastic, 4' x 6' x 2', 2013

“Detail” The Hot Stones Are Never Rough, massage table, silicon, stones, plastic, 4′ x 6′ x 2′, 2013

coreypatrickdunlap.com

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

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Ewa Wesolowka – Poland

Music Box mobile-light-sound installation, 1.5 x 1.5 x 2m, 2013

Music Box
mobile-light-sound installation, 1.5 x 1.5 x 2m, 2013

Briefly describe the work you do.

I’m working with light-sound installations. I have very traditional sculptural background but since a few years I’m in installations link to the idea of light and darkness. It touches the question how we remember things when we do not see them anymore. How those things changes in our memory and perception. In my recent works I use flickering light as a reminiscent of something ending, and I juxtapose it with the sound that makes one think of the beginning. This creates a relationship of opposition, and this is what interest me the most.

I think of my art practice as a trace of presence, a reference to memory, and perception. It is a desire to preserve the moment. My work is about trying to keep a trace of a human touch and also displays the inability to do so; instead the desire to maintain the trace and history of an object reveals the opposite. It evokes an absent human, and shows that we cannot keep anything. The more we try to hold onto one’s trace, the more we pinpoint the lack of one. Therefore my work is more about trying. It is an act of meditation of our fragile and temporal nature with the essential value being the permanent trace left by the human hand through creative action.

In some works I choose ordinary objects that makes one think about vanity and elevate this mundane object to the dignity of a work of art. By choosing objects with marks of history, or creating them with visible traces of gestures, I mediate the realm of memory and the realm of experience through the work I do.

O=O interactive light-sound installation, objects: 30cm & 60cm, 2013

O=O
interactive light-sound installation, objects: 30cm & 60cm, 2013

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

I graduated from a university considered one of the most conservative and craftsmanship-oriented in Poland, that I deeply respect craftsmanship. I have studied and acquired it with great humbleness because I believe it is an essential language both for conveying something more and for learning new media.

This is why after finishing Academy my goal was to find a synthesis of traditional (classic) and modern concepts of sculpture, and to combine the consideration for the traditional sculptural technique with the spatial arrangement. In my understanding – or maybe I should say feeling – the traditional sculptural technique was at some point synonyme to trace of a human hand left on a surface of a work. At the time I did the works “Open Sculpture”  (http://www.ewawesolowska.co.uk/portfolio-item/04-2012-opening-up-sculpture/) and “Safesurround” (http://www.ewawesolowska.co.uk/portfolio-item/03-2012-safesurround/). Both of them were informed by the traditional formation of sculpture – a visible ‘artist’s gesture’ on the surface of work with the arrangement of the space in which the work is exhibited.

The first of them was very strongly referring to Robert Morris exhibit from Green Gallery. It was my doubt if the minimal haven’t runs out nowadays. Is there sense to repeat it over and over again. Isn’t it getting us too dangerously close to design…

In my opinion, the new thinking about spatial art doesn’t exclude traditional methods in the sense of work that leaves the trace of the sculptor’s hand, and the spatial arrangement doesn’t have to imply purely geometrical, abstract solutions. The traces left by a gesture -natural and imperfect, hand and tool – are incompletely defined or expressed. Interruptions of the form leave room for speculation and interpretation by the viewer. I believe that new things can be communicated with a traditional language which doesn’t have to equal a stylistically stiff form of representation.

In the course of time, I moved into light-sound installations, but still in my works I involve elements that are created with the respect to traditional sculpture craftmanship. In one of my recent works shadows are cast onto the walls from suspended objects which are sculptural forms created by an impression of the squeezing hand (“Music Boxhttps://www.youtube.com/watchv=SHhCntvzO6k&list=UUWakmkpCIc54ypUKkHP6Jew) so I think my background – even though sometimes I try to reject it – will be always part of my thinking about my art practice.

O=O interactive light-sound installation, objects: 30cm & 60cm, 2013

O=O
interactive light-sound installation, objects: 30cm & 60cm, 2013

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.”

After a few residency programs I learned how adapt to different studios as quick as it is possible. Few years ago I was in a studio every morning from day to day.

In the course of time, I have appreciated the importance of art theory, my own statement and philosophy of art. At this point, concept and my artistic framework play a very important role for me. As, to convey them, I use the language I acquired during my education years – the craftsmanship – so my practice is a mixture of working on concepts which I can do not necessarily in a studio, and the studio practice.

I think one day I will miss a day to day studio practice but now my work has a little nomadic character. I learned to build my studio whenever I am. Moreover every single time my work evolve influenced by different places. Also the materials I can find on spot determine my projects and how I develop it.

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?

Maybe I will say what was the only one role I envisioned myself in when I started making art, and when I finished Academy of Fine Arts. I was seeing myself as traditional sculptor with a daily studio practice. So I can say all my approach to art, along together with seeing myself as an artist is something I haven’t envisioned myself in few years ago.

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? 

Some say it about waiting for the moment when ideas comes to you. There is a lot of truth in it. I can’t find a rule. I don’t have any. I work all the time.

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

This time moved me from traditional filled sculptural form the one could only walk around into installations the one can walk in. At some point the filled sculpture has become insufficient for me. A desire to enter inside, and feeling it has appeared around five years ago. Then I moved towards light-sound installations where visitors are activating different parts of work by passing by (O=O https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXP_vzpkxwI&list=UUWakmkpCIc54ypUKkHP6Jew).

It this five years I moved my interest from the literal trace of human touch into mental trace. Although in a first glance, when you look at my works, it has changed a lot, it is about the same questions. Generally I think those questions will remain the same in art no matter how the way of development will change.

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

All. Every single person I meet can have influence on what I do.

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

Can’t imagine

About

ewa_wesolowskaEwa Wesolowska, born in 1982 is a visual artist working with environmental sculpture and light-sound installations. She works in ‘dialogue’ with the place of exhibition, through this site-specific way of working the object and space develop and transform as a whole. The work becomes part of the space. Through creating works of installation, Wesolowska wants the viewer becomes a part of the work through their interaction and participation.

Wesolowska graduated from Cracow Academy of Fine Arts obtaining a very traditional training in sculpture. She has participated in artist-in-residence programs (La Napoule Art Foundation, La Rectoria Art Foundation, DordtYart Foundation, Camac Art Foundation) where she has absorbed more conceptual approaches for her work. Subsequently she is refining her own visual and conceptual vocabulary that has emerged through her focus on the intersections of sculpture and spatial analysis.

Colombier light-sound installation, 2013

Colombier
light-sound installation, 2013

ewawesolowska.co.uk

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

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