Barbara Lubliner – New York, New York

Bottle Jewel, plastic bottles, 24" diameter, 2012

Bottle Jewel, plastic bottles, 24″ diameter, 2012

Briefly describe the work you do.

For ten years I have re-purposed plastic bottles and metal castoffs into playful sculptures and public art. I developed the “plastic bottle building-toy system,” a method similar to an Erector set or Lincoln logs. I fashion connectors and segments out of plastic bottles to make sculptures. I also collaborate with others to make outdoor installations from large accumulations of plastic bottles.

I recently started using another kind of plastic castoff – slide sleeve pages. Now that artists submit artwork digitally, many artists have piles of these. I am filling the pockets with paint chips and detritus, sewing some of them into “quilts” and leaving others as small works.

I primarily make sculpture, but I also curate, do performance art and make works on paper. Like the story of the 5 blind brothers who each describe an elephant according to the body part they touch, my different bodies of work appear distinct.

My recent video installation creates an environment that suggests a domestic grooming space and addresses growing older and facing mortality. It has both psychological weight and humor like my early feminist sculpture. These sculptures of cast cement and paper mache are female figures abstracted, altered, and reconstructed to express a complexity of associations.

My curatorial projects and public projects are exuberant. They become a focal point and touchstone in the community for which they were conceived.

​​Plastic Bottle Pyramid, Collaboration with Sungjin Oh, plastic bottles, caps, gravel, 7' 6" x 11' x 11', 2012

​​Plastic Bottle Pyramid, Collaboration with Sungjin Oh, plastic bottles, caps, gravel, 7′ 6″ x 11′ x 11′, 2012

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

I grew up in a suburb of NYC on Long Island in an immaculate house. Sandwiched and over shadowed by boisterous siblings, I was drawn to quietly express myself by making things. As a toddler I made mud pies and later hid out in the basement melting crayons and playing with samples supplied by my paper salesman father.  Early on I developed a vivid inner world, love of materials, and a habit of taking advantage of the resources on hand.

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
 

My art practice is an ongoing internal process of imagining and integrating ideas. Physically manifesting them and making things is done mostly in my studio, which at one time or another has been almost every room in my apartment. Now it’s the former master bedroom. Working at home has its distractions, but you can’t beat the convenience.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I never imagined skills, such as project management, space planning, and customer support, that I developed in my day jobs would be so useful to me as an artist.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

I schedule blocks of studio time each week. Sometimes I work non-stop when creative vibrations take over or when I have a deadline.

 

​Fern Time in a Bottle, plastic bottles, 21" x 13" x 24", 2013

​Fern Time in a Bottle, plastic bottles, 21″ x 13″ x 24″, 2013

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

My work is constantly evolving as I respond to my circumstances, inner world and the world around me.

Five years ago I was working a day job and dealing with the care of my aging parents. In the public realm, I had the focus to curate “Upcycled,” artwork created out of plastic post-consumer waste. But waning psychic energy and time constraints guided me in my personal work to embark on a yearlong performance of simply letting my hair go gray.

Last year I became a full time artist, completed the video installation, “No More Dy(e)ing,” about the year I stopped dyeing my hair and co-curated “Time Frames Marking Time,” a large group show of artists who engage time as a palpable presence.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

My late mentor, master mold maker Walt Zucker was a gentle soul who helped me balance flights of fancy with practicality. He taught me to patiently mix plaster of Paris to just the right consistency and to strategize and follow a step-by-step approach when faced with daunting challenges – and to enjoy the ride along the way.

Being centered in new age spirituality impacts my work as well. It helps me face the abyss of the unknown and to keep an open channel to positive energy.
 
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?

I have always been an artist, but I never thought that I could only pursue that alone until recently.  Along the way I have been a professional flower arranger, hospital aid, architectural interior designer, feminist newspaper co-founder, and project manager developing educational software.

I used to fantasize about being a police detective. I love being physically active. One year I ran the New York City marathon. I am interested in word play, psychology, neurology and patterns of organization.

About

WestbethNew York City artist Barbara Lubliner moves fluidly between performance art, works on paper, and sculpture both large and small. Her art practice is a confluence of art and life, each twist and turn driven by the desire to use current life concerns as a springboard for creating thought provoking art that engages the public.

Lubliner has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions since the 1990s. The Brooklyn Museum’s online feminist art base includes Lubliner’s artwork inspired by her experiences giving birth and mothering. In recent years Lubliner’s public installations and studio work have involved re-purposing trash into playful art, shifting the focus from environmental blight to creative production. Her “File Cycle,” in Stamford, Connecticut’s 2007 Art in Public Places Exhibit and was featured in The New York Times article about the show.

Curatorial projects include “Upcycled,” artwork created out of plastic post-consumer waste; “Art & Alchemy,” featuring artists who transform found materials; “A Place At The Table,” a feminist performance event at the Brooklyn Museum; “Break the Mold: Honoring Walt Zucker;” “Time Frames Marking Time,” featuring work of artists who engage time as a palpable presence; and “Dog, Dog, Cat!” celebrating the bond humans share with all living creatures.

Lubliner_performance

barbaralubliner.com

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

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Linda Stillman – New York

“3 Lots” flower stain on paper 18 x 24 inches 2014

“3 Lots”
flower stain on paper
18 x 24 inches
2014

Briefly describe the work you do. 

I explore ideas about time, nature, and memory using many different media. Among my numerous projects is an ongoing series of “Daily Paintings” that began in 2005 and continues indefinitely. Every day, I paint a small panel of the sky; the particular section of the sky is based on one pane of my studio window, so no matter where I am, I work with the same shape and angle. I arrange the panels for each year in different formats. Sometimes I mount them on painted boards; sometimes I hang them directly on the wall, usually arranged by month. The 2011 paintings are fixed onto hidden supports and hover as low relief shapes that cast shadows on the wall. Initially, the series was a way to compel me to get into the studio each day, but the act of recording a specific natural phenomenon daily became important to me conceptually as a way of both marking and celebrating time.

My flower-stain drawings focus on the passage of time in nature: how plants grow and die; and how we try to preserve the memory of their fleeting beauty. I make the drawings from flower petals rubbed onto paper, creating traces of their ephemeral color and leaving behind small remnants of the flowers themselves. Many drawings in this series record what is flowering in my gardens in upstate New York, becoming a kind of diary of a particular season. Sometimes I add a small area of paint or colored pencil to give a benchmark of the color for comparison, since the plant pigment inevitably fades. This natural change and decay evokes the bittersweet idea of the passage of time.

I’m particularly interested in everyday, often meaningless or overlooked objects and fleeting experiences, and the ways we collect, preserve, and remember them. For example, I have made work from my used coffee filters, from hardened paint on my palette, from old envelopes. I also photograph lost or abandoned garments I find on the streets.

 “Daily Paintings, detail: 2007” acrylic on paper on panels  each panel: 3 x 2 x 3/8 inch, installation: 47 x 77 x 3/8 inches 2007


“Daily Paintings, detail: 2007”
acrylic on paper on panels
each panel: 3 x 2 x 3/8 inch, installation: 47 x 77 x 3/8 inches
2007

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

My urge to make art and document the everyday goes way back. From a young age, I assembled collections, pasted memorabilia into scrapbooks, took photos, drew and made cards. I also was aware of the changeable nature of time: I could be painfully bored on some long, hot summer days and yet time suddenly sped up when I was having fun. My art practice grows directly out of these childhood interests and observations.

My working methods and processes reflect my training and first career as a graphic designer. I love cutting and pasting and working with paper. Much of my work is based on the grid.

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I try to get as much time as I can in the studio, preferably alone. My aim is to set everything up in an organized way to maximize my efficiency. My interest in time as a theme in my work spills over to my efforts to streamline my working methods to be more efficient so I can get more work done.

My garden also functions as a kind of studio. It’s where I grow flowers for my drawings. Sometimes I make installations there, too. One year I turned what is normally my vegetable garden into a calendar of the month of August, with 31 plots (“days”) planted with different annual flowers whose changes over time I documented with aerial photographs.

Ideas often come when I’m not in the studio, at random times, sparked by something I’ve read or seen. Ideas even appear while I sleep.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I did not know that I would be need to develop the skill sets for packing, storing, shipping and hanging art, or spend so much time on that or on the business side of showing art. On a more positive note, I relish opportunities to exchange studio visits with other artists and help mentor my assistants.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

My studio time for the “Daily Paintings” is determined by the position of the sun: I paint when it isn’t shining directly into the windows that frame the panel of sky. If I’m in my south-facing studio in New York City I need to get to work before noon or the sun is in my view, whereas when I am in my studio in upstate New York, the optimal time to paint is after late morning when the sun has rotated outside my view.

The best time to pick flowers for my flower-stain drawings is in the morning after the dew has dried.

In my journal, I keep a record of my hours each day in the studio, a leftover habit from my experience running a graphic-design firm, so I can track how much time I spend on my art each day. This need to measure my hours quantitatively contrasts with the more emotional urge to capture the experiential quality of time in my art.

“Daily Paintings, detail: May 2006” acrylic and gouache on paper on individual panels mounted on white board 26 x 25 x 3/4 inches 2006/2007

“Daily Paintings, detail: May 2006”
acrylic and gouache on paper on individual panels mounted on white board
26 x 25 x 3/4 inches
2006/2007

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

My work still revolves around the same ideas and passions, but I would say my technique, productivity and focus have steadily improved. Now that I have been working on the “Daily Paintings” series for almost 10 years, I am exploring less calendrical, grid-based ways of displaying them and playing with more free-form presentations. In my flower-stain drawings I am not only documenting gardens but also exploring text and shapes from manmade aspects of the landscape. The drawing “3 Lots,” shown here, was inspired by the layout of some college campus parking lots.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

The writings of Virginia Woolf, May Sarton, and Diane Ackerman, among others, interest me. My research into flowers, gardens, weather, time, and art history inform my work. All artists build on the work of the artists of the past. I am inspired by conceptual and minimal artists such as On Kawara, Eva Hesse and Agnes Martin, as well as collage artist such as Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and Jiří Kolář. Living influences include the artists Mark Dion, Moyra Davey, Byron Kim, and Danica Phelps, whom I am lucky to count as former mentors and/or friends.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

I sometimes fantasize about following my love for plants by working for a florist or gardening full time. But in the end, I don’t want to do anything but make art.

About

Linda Stillman in Hillsdale studioLinda Stillman is an artist who works in various media, investigating concepts of time, memory, and nature. She works in her studios in New York City and upstate New York. Stillman is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (BA), the School of Visual Arts and Vermont College of Fine Arts (MFA). She has been awarded fellowships at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts Mark program and the Wave Hill Winter Workshop. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums around the country, including the Hunter College Art Galleries, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Dorsky Museum. Stillman’s art has been reviewed in numerous publications and blogs and is included in many private collections.

Linda Stillman in studio

Linda Stillman in studio

lindastillman.com

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

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Julie A. McConnell – New York, New York

Message Sent, (from the series Single-use Landscape), Archival Ink Jet, 24"x36", 2011

Message Sent, (from the series Single-use Landscape), Archival Ink Jet, 24″x36″, 2011

Briefly describe the work you do. 

My everyday experiences (a jog on the beach, reading the newspaper) can become the source material for my art. I make assemblages out of found beach trash which I then  photograph against the sky or ocean landscapes. These photographs are then placed within a larger installation of actual beach trash configurations.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

I  grew up around animals both at home and at elementary school. This sensitized me early on to the gift of their presence and their mysterious qualities. Near the end of high school I discovered and began a long relationship with feminist writers. In college I began to see connections emerge between violence against women and violence against animals and nature. Eventually, these subjects became the themes of my art.

Loose Ends, (from the series Deliberations on Equilibrium), Digital C-print, 18" x 27", 2009

Loose Ends, (from the series Deliberations on Equilibrium), Digital C-print, 18″ x 27″, 2009

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I don’t have a regimented schedule in the studio. It ebbs and flows. Because my art is concept driven, I often imagine my most productive studio space as being in my head. Taking the barest sketch of an idea through to it physical existence has its frustrations but it’s always a fun challenge and can lead to unexpected results. I often look back through my photo archives and let connections emerge.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I never imagined that I would teach high school photography at the school I myself attended. I never imagined I would take my teenage girl dream of becoming a beautiful fashion model and instead put my body (the female body) to use toward far more radical purposes. 

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

An idea could strike me at any time and any place. I don’t generally set aside regimented time unless I have an impending show or other deadline. Deadlines create intense periods of work. Having an assistant is also great for managing studio time and creating more focus to move things forward.

Mid-air, (from the series Single-use Landscape), Archival Ink Jet, 24" x 36". 2012

Mid-air, (from the series Single-use Landscape), Archival Ink Jet, 24″ x 36″. 2012

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

For the past five years I have been working with the unending flow of beach trash (much of it plastic) that is filling our oceans and endangering marine life and more. I am trying to narrate this tragedy we humans are embarked upon by presenting a view of the destruction we all take part in creating. The work’s intent is to instigate a personal  “Ah ha!” moment around our own participation. The materials that I work with (photography and beach trash) have not changed, however their presentation does. My intention is to always push at the traditional notions of photography. I am as concerned with what is inside the photographic frame as I am with the installations I construct around it. 

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

At a certain point, the radical feminist theory I was so engaged with didn’t feel like it was acknowledging other blatant forms of exploitation. This rift was mended when I discovered writers such as Carol J. Adams (The Sexual Politics of Meatand Animals & Women), Marjorie Spiegel (The Dreaded Comparison), and others. They made connections between feminism, racism and speciesism and illuminated the animal and environmental concerns that were informing my art work.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

Apart from a brief fantasy as a future choreographer (wholly inspired by Duke Ellington’s music) – I can’t say that I had many other “professional pursuits”. At most, I spent years disco roller skating and still love it when I can find a rink and I go through marathon periods of unearthing new electronic music (John Beltran, Lemon Jelly, Moby, Lazybatusu). My most primal passion has to be exploring new plant-based cuisine. I am a total food hound and love the prospect of sating my palette with a thousand different sensations.

About

headshot_j_a_mcconnellInfluenced by the human disregard of the environment and its animal inhabitants, Julie A. McConnell, a fine art photographer and mixed media installation artist creates photographs and assemblages to narrate her concerns and reorient the viewer’s perception. Her long-time engagement with feminist theory informs art that speaks to the interconnected exploitation of women and the natural world. Combining wry humor and poignant imagery, McConnell’s work grapples with the violence humans inflict on animals and inevitably ourselves.

Reviews of McConnell’s work have appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, and C Magazine. Selections from her photomontage series, Hillary et al., have been featured in Photography Quarterly. McConnell participated in the book, Death in the Studio, featuring the interpretive studio deaths of 62 artists as documented by Lederer and Priesch.

McConnell’s solo exhibitions, Deliberations on Equilibrium (2009) continuing with Single-Use Landscape (2012) saw the integration of beach trash into her photography and mixed media installations. Her notable group exhibits include Enantiomorphic Chamber at NurtureArt and Sustaining Vision: A Tribute to Arlene Raven at New Jersey City University’s Lemmerman Gallery, and a two person show at PS122 Gallery. Central Booking’s recent group show Natural Histories featured McConnell’s Stereograph Cards from the Animals in Mind series while Un/Natural Occurrences exhibited her mixed media installation piece Elemental Disturbance. She was a participant of Aljira’s Emerge Program and Exhibition curated by Arlene Raven.
! Over the years McConnell’s Doberman companions have inspired her card line, Canine Greeting Cards, as featured in Taschen Press’ A Thousand Hounds: The Presence of the Dog in the History of Photography.

Born and raised in New York, NY, she attended NYU Tisch School of the Arts (BFA) and Hunter College of The City University of New York (MFA). She continues to live and work in Manhattan.

studio_mcconnell

julieamcconnell.com

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

 

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Adria Arch – Arlington, Massachusetts

Fan, acrylic and Mylar on board, 30" x 24", 2014

Fan, acrylic and Mylar on board, 30″ x 24″, 2014

Briefly describe the work you do.

As a way to begin my recent series of paintings,  I  pour thin acrylic paint onto drafting plastic. I carefully cut out the shapes where the dried paint has pooled and use them as collage elements. The forms I discover briefly coalesce into monsters and cartoon characters, only to dissolve again into pigment, binder and surface. The uniquely human tendency to see objects or figures in clouds and tea leaves is what I explore in my work. I paint on a variety of surfaces, mining content from the chance discovery of shapes.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in making art. I grew up in Pittsburgh PA, the oldest of two kids in a middle class Jewish family. I spent a lot of time wandering the exhibits at Carnegie Museum of Art and the natural history museum. As a teenager, I took art classes at nearby Carnegie Mellon U.  Pittsburgh is a gritty, hilly, industrial city on the river, far from an expansive horizon or the ocean. I think that had an effect on the way I use space.  Four years in Arizona shortly after college exposed me to the very different aesthetic of West Coast/LA. The narrative-based content and high key color of California in the 70s and 80s resonated with me and changed my art quite a bit.   I got my MFA from Mass College of Art and Design in Boston where I now live.

Gulab Jamon 2, acrylic and Mylar on paper, 11" x 15", 2014

Gulab Jamon 2, acrylic and Mylar on paper, 11″ x 15″, 2014

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I probably spend equal or more time online researching opportunities and writing than anything. But I don’t feel like I am really working unless I am physically in my studio! Lately my studio practice has involved  using commercially printed or laser cut elements. The notion of public art is very appealing to me, and lately I have been working on projects that could survive out of doors.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I discovered soon after college that I liked to teach and that it was a way for me to support my art practice. I never taught in a public school, but I have been an adjunct college teacher and also have taught adults in museums and art centers for most of my career. In 2010, I started working  for GOLDEN Paints as a technical consultant. My job is to introduce groups of people to their line of products and demonstrate how to use them.  

I have also been an arts administrator, probably as an outgrowth of teaching. I love the behind-the-scenes of how events work. I was the Education Director of a small local art center in my area for seven years, and currently I lead public art initiatives in my town. I am a parent, and of course, I did not imagine how difficult it would be to have an art career and also be a mom.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

I try to be in the studio as often as I can. I tend to be a morning person, so that is the best time for me to work. An art practice is like working out – if you skip it too many days, it becomes harder and harder to get back into it.

Passing Strange 3, acrylic and Mylar on board, 16" x 12", 2014

Passing Strange 3, acrylic and Mylar on board, 16″ x 12″, 2014

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

From 2008 to 2013, my work  featured a vocabulary of shapes derived from the tiny doodles I found festooning my son’s high school notebooks. I copied the doodles onto transparencies and projected them onto my canvases. The larger projections reveal eccentric edges and turn the otherwise insignificant into something which commands attention.  The doodle shapes could be cryptograms, geometric diagrams, hieroglyphs or pictographs from another civilization. At their heart, however, they are very human marks, not necessarily elegant and usually offhand. My recent work uses paint spills as a starting point, so it still grows from  random marks and shapes.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

Artists who inspire me, like Nick Cave, Mickalene Thomas, and Judy Pfaff, for example, make me push myself and be braver in the studio. My artist friends and family help to keep me sane and give me reality checks.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist?

I have always believed it is important to give back and leave the world beter somehow. Teaching has been my main way of doing this. It complements the studio practice which can be rather isolating. I also learn a ton from my students.

About

headshot_ArchAdria Arch lives in Arlington, MA and her studio is located in Lowell, MA. She studied at Rhode Island School of Design and Carnegie Mellon University. She received an MFA in painting from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Adria has taught widely in the Boston area.

Adria’s work was recently featured in solo exhibitions at the Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham, MA, the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, MA, and Mary Baldwin College in Virginia. Her work is in the collections of the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Fidelity Investments, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and the Boston Public Library.

Adria in studio

adriaarch.com

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

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2014 Artist Spotlight – Peter Bonde Becker Nelson

"Do Not Worry", Collaboration with Michon Weeks

“Do Not Worry”, Collaboration with Michon Weeks

Have there been new developments in your work since your 365 interview?

Through most of my professional career, I have worked with photography, audio interviews, live-action video, and performance. Currently I am pursuing a completely different form: stop motion animation. The process is much more physical, focused first on building sets and puppets, and then minutely adjusting elements of this miniature world to create a frame-by-frame animation.

The story (tentatively titled Blacklisted: A Story of Sexism and Cake) focuses on the experiences of my Grandmother Jessie, an outspoken woman who was blacklisted from teaching in the 1950s. Instead of resigning to the life of a housewife, Jessie fights a public campaign that leads to the discovery of defamatory reports in her personnel file and a triumphant return to teaching.

Something that the 365 Artists project has us thinking about is the power of collaboration. Are you involved in any projects with other artists or within your community?

My current stop-motion animation project has been incredibly collaborative. Initially, I relied on the expertise and memory of my uncle and dad to share my grandmother’s story. I then worked with three undergraduate students over the summer to develop the initial narrative, storyboards, puppets, sets, and screen tests. I’m now working with a studio assistant to revise certain elements and build a few additional components. Together we’ll start animating in earnest, hopefully very soon.

In the midst of all of this, I collaborated on another animation with an artist named Michon Weeks (michonweeks.com). We thought it would be fun to create an animation based on one of her painting series titled “Do Not Worry.” The result can be seen here.

"Blacklisted: A Story of Sexism and Cake", In-Progress

“Blacklisted: A Story of Sexism and Cake”, In-Progress

What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts? What do you wish you would have known when you set out on this path?

Make your work. Everything else hinges on that.

Apply to everything, even if you’re not qualified and even if it’s not a great venue. You have to start somewhere.

Tell yourself you’re awesome, but don’t tell that to other people. In other words, be confident in your abilities but avoid entitlement.

Stay positive. The art world comes with an abundance of rejection and a shortage of cheerleading. Keep your chin up and keep applying.

Take some chances. It’s great to say “yes” to things you don’t know how to do. You will figure it out and there’s a good chance it will lead to other opportunities.

Make friends and collaborate with them. I see too many artists who isolate and/or torture themselves. Get out and have fun. You’re making art. Enjoy it!

I’m not sure how to phrase this, but I think it’s important to consider other people once in a while. Maybe that’s in a critique group, maybe that’s volunteering somewhere, maybe that’s teaching a class. Artists have amazing talents/skills to share beyond just the gallery space.

Are there any upcoming shows or projects that you would like to talk about?

My next regional screening will be at Instinct Gallery in Minneapolis, MN on April 17th. In conjunction with the exhibition The Meds I’m On, two of my videos will be screened, live music will be performed (not by me), and wine will be sipped. All are welcome!

Also, I was recently awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, so I’ll be starting a big new project focused on a couple struggling with the effects of dementia in their patient/caregiver, husband/wife relationship. Stay tuned…

Read Peter Bonde Becker Nelson’s 365artists365days interview here.

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Jeremy Foy – Des Plaines, Illinois

Thrown Mugs 2014 Ceramics 4 x 4 x 5”

Thrown Mugs
2014
Ceramics
4 x 4 x 5”

Briefly describe the work you do. 

I am a ceramic artist who creates sculptures, installations and performance art. My current work focuses on artists and athletes to show how similar their mindsets are. As most movements are minimized to be more efficient, I bring a kinesiology aspect from athletics into my art process. These movements in my performance pieces emphasize the concept that the process of creating art is more important than the product.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.  

I grew up in Des Plaines, Illinois and have remained in the Midwest for my art education. I have an athletic background ranging from little league tee ball through pitching in college. As an athlete, I have always believed that one needs to work harder than one’s opponents in order to become successful. If the opponents are getting to the gym at 6am, I need to force myself out of bed to be there at 5:30am in order to get those extra repetitions. I brought this competitive mindset of athletics into my artistry, where I still believe that in order to be the best that I can be I have to want it more than the person next to me. Thus, athletes and artists both share this same philosophy of practicing to be the best in their fields.

Unlock 2014 Metal/Ceramic/Clay 66 x 36 x 13”

Unlock
2014
Metal/Ceramic/Clay
66 x 36 x 13”

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”   

I find studio time in between teaching 3D Foundations courses, working in the undergraduate ceramics studio, and my own classes at Northern Illinois University. I try to utilize all of my time in the studio working with clay. Clay is my real sketchbook, whereas my actual sketchbook is more like a Post-it note pile. Clay is a forgiving material and I use it for just that reason. Sketches and ideas on paper can be mesmerizing at times, but my sketches are usually writing and scribbles of shapes and forms. Those few marks create the foundation of an idea, but I learn how it is going to look, feel and exist in this world by making it in the clay.

My studio will never have a door. If I feel uncomfortable or embarrassed doing my work in front of others, this will skew the development of my art. My studio space has 8 other artists in different disciplines, which enables us to bounce ideas off of each other constantly. However, I do enjoy the hours I find myself alone in the building. This is when I can concentrate on creating whatever I desire without feedback.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?   

Initially when I started making art, I never envisioned myself in performance art. Making art was satisfying, but after a while I realized I missed being an athlete. Performance art allowed me to incorporate both of these passions into my art while giving me the excitement of anticipation and allowing my work to focus on the process instead of the product. The results of my performances are variable, which lets me to find a middle ground between my past athletic and current art practice.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?     

I am an early bird and a night owl, in other words, I do not sleep. My mind is constantly envisioning new ideas and I become anxious to get to the studio to turn my thoughts into art. I try to spend any amount of free time in my studio.

Three Man Weave 2014 Ceramic 13 X 12 x 16”

Three Man Weave
2014
Ceramic
13 X 12 x 16”

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

Dramatically. My first body of work as an artist was creating clay sculptures of aquatic sea life: coral, sea urchins, and creatures. I did not feel a connection to those pieces. I do not like swimming, I get motion sickness, and the work was not coming from within. I did not find a sense of inner art until I auditioned to be a clown for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. After not making the final cut, I made a series of woodblock reduction prints that represented my perspective of my ambitions of being in the circus. This series of work was when I started to become an artist, and not just making art.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?    

I receive support from my family and friends, but the figures with the biggest impact on my work are the artists I am surrounded by, my fellow graduate students. I am interested in many areas of art and contemporary artists. However, it not until I get to know an artist’s personally and hear the emotion and excitement they feel when making their art that I become that much more interested, connected and inspired by individual art pieces.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?   

It is important to me to be part of a team, whatever profession that entails. Currently, I teach at the undergraduate level in order to supplement my graduate studies and studio practice. I would like to continue teaching upon graduation, but I am also interested in coaching athletic teams. I admire the idea of a successful team, both in and out of sports. As a result, I am always interested in how to become more efficient and how to create systems that utilize teams and their players. I could see myself being a part of collaborative art projects in the future or, in the very least, part of a community studio space.

About

Jeremy_Foy_Performancepiece_HeadshotJeremy Foy is currently an MFA candidate with a ceramics emphasis at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. He writes, “As a former athlete, I am addicted to the repetition of movement. In the studio my goal is to replicate an assembly-line of movements in order to test my physical ability to adjust and adapt to different challenges. My assembly-line technique could be compared to someone shooting a piece of trash into a garbage can. If I miss, I am not going to pick it up and just throw it in the garbage. Instead I am going to return to my original spot and continue to attempt the shot until I am successful. These repetitive assembly-line actions eventually become muscle memory, which evolve into an instinctual action I employ when creating art. These motions require both practice and mistakes, which is why my preferred medium is clay, a reclaimable material, naturally suited to make errors. My inspiration to endure the physical exhaustion of repetition for the sake of art is a combination of my athletic motivation and studio practice”.

jeremyjfoy.com

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

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Beth Brown – Baltimore, Maryland

title: Constriction no.8 (detail) medium: Ink on paper size: 6”x8” year: 2014

title: Constriction no.8 (detail)
medium: Ink on paper
size: 6”x8”
year: 2014

Briefly describe the work you do. 

My body of work includes intricate ink drawings on paper and euphonic processed field recordings. The drawings and musical arrangements share a common thread of representing textural micro-landscapes, articulated through obsessive (and meditative) mark-making, and  improvised composition.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

When I was little, I began to stay up until dawn drawing people, patterns, and patterns in people while blasting music through my headphones. I love drawing. I always have. But once I became a teenager, in order to stand out from my peers, (besides dyeing my hair funny colors and listening to Post Punk) I set aside my fancy pens and paper and started figure painting in oils. Drawing became a means to an end.

Folks said I was pretty good at rendering people in oils, so I assumed it was my calling. In retrospect, it’s totally counterintuitive because I was trying to be an individual, but by doing what others expected of me. So I struggled with the preparation, mess, slow drying time, expenses, and cumbersome canvases until the age of 21. Then I started making dumb drawings with my college friends while we drank beer and smoked too many cigarettes. Gradually, I started drawing on my own and I remembered how natural it felt. My paintings became more abstract and I began incorporating patterns over the figures. It was the summer before my senior year when BAM! I stopped painting. Everyone thought I dropped out because my senior thesis was just a huge drawing/sound installation.

It was pretty scary at first, discarding an entire body of work and starting anew. Scary, but liberating. I still tried to include figures into my drawings, but found I was having more fun with the textures and geometric shapes. I ousted those too. Life’s too short to fight what you love.

title: Constriction no.5 medium: Ink on paper size: 22”x30” year: 2013

title: Constriction no.5
medium: Ink on paper
size: 22”x30”
year: 2013

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I literally lived in my studio until I moved a couple months ago. Now I sleep and eat in different parts of the house but still spend 80% of my time in my private space. My studio isn’t solely for my practice as a visual artist. I have all my gear for making electronic music and turntable down here…and I do mundane things like send emails, pay bills, and buy records from Discogs. Actually, I guess I still do live in my studio. What can I say? Old habits die hard. I think I need to be close to my work because, when I take breaks from life, I can either work or just spend time with my pieces; figure out the next plan of attack or put my ‘In Session’ sign on the door and kick out the jams for seven hours.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I never expected to become a musician. I’ve always had a perpetual soundtrack to my days…and nights. I sleep with headphones on actually. (Although, I do get down to some Cage 4’33” now and then.) Needless to say, I am a slave to music. So it would make sense that I’d become a musician right? Nope. When I was younger, I’d perform in musicals and choir, and even took voice lessons for many years. It was TERRIFYING singing someone else’s material. I felt I could never perform a piece that would do the artist’s intent justice. Maybe I was being hard on myself, but hey, that’s how I felt. My senior year, when I experienced that insane paradigm shift in my work, I randomly started screwing around with some free DAW’s and decided to take a Sound class to fulfill my required digital elective. I made some of my first compositions and even included one for my senior thesis. A year later, I released an album, was awarded a grant, have been featured on many comps, and perform around Baltimore. Crazy. 

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

I’ve always worked best at night because I know I’ll have completely uninterrupted, sublime, and delectable solitude. Unfortunately, it’s always negatively affected my performance during daylight hours. My teachers used to tell me I work really hard and produce great results, but I am a terrible student. All those late nights in the studio really take a toll on your punctuality and attendance. Thank goodness I’m not battling dawn for my degree anymore.

title: Constriction no.2 medium: Ink on paper size: 22”x30” year: 2012

title: Constriction no.2
medium: Ink on paper
size: 22”x30”
year: 2012

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

For the sake of brevity, I won’t go into much detail since I basically explained how my work has changed in the previous response regarding my background. All I’ll say is that I am finally on a path I’ve always wanted and needed to follow. 

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

I am extremely fortunate in that I come from a family of creatives whom have been nothing short of cheerleaders for me and my aspirations. Two of my great great aunts were successful sculptors and photographers, my great grandfather was a famous architect and designer in upstate New York, my grandmother was a notable painter who sold a piece to the Rockefeller family, my sister has a background in dancing, and my mother is a very talented writer and painter. My father was an electrical engineer, scientist, and inventor who had fifteen patents attributed to his life’s work. He dabbled in blacklight paintings and (although he didn’t know it at the time) created light and sound installations. Really psychedelic stuff. For his work, he’d do these incredibly detailed hand drawn schematics that I found to be so captivating for their complexity and cryptic ideograms. As I said, I am so lucky to have had such a creative heritage.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?

In college I pursued a triple minor in curatorial studies, creative writing with a focus on poetry, and art history. I guess I can still utilize any of three if I muster up the will. I’ve often daydreamed about becoming a music or art critic or maybe even a teacher. I’m too much of a people pleaser to crit anyone’s work beyond that of my friends and acquaintances and don’t want to have to deal with kids who are worse students than I was. So those three are pretty unrealistic. Another entirely quixotic (and lesser known) wish I’ve had since adolescence is to become a neurosurgeon. Perhaps I satisfy that desire with the amount of dexterity required for my work…and I’ve been told parts of my drawings look like scrambled brains. In truth, I’d never trade my studio practice for anything of those things. As I said earlier, don’t fight what you love.

About

headshotBeth Brown is a visual artist and experimental musician practicing in Baltimore, MD. She was born and attended school in Houston, TX where she started to show an interest in drawing, music, and storytelling. At the age of three, Brown began spending her weekends in a remote part of East Texas and utilized the solitude to pursue her interests. The prolonged shifting between city and country landscapes inspired her to capture the differing shapes, patterns, sounds, and narratives on paper and field recording based musical compositions.

In 2007, Brown attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD to pursue a BFA in painting. After three years of tutelage in figure painting, her work went in an entirely different direction and focused on her first loves; drawing, music, and storytelling. She graduated in 2011 and shortly thereafter released her first album and won a grant for her experimental music compositions and phonography. Her visual art has been featured in exhibitions across the United States and publications including Manifest Gallery’s 9th International Drawing Annual, Visual News, Forage Press, The Sketchbook Project’s World Tour, and Juxtapoz. Critics have called her work “a beautiful phenomenon” and “iconic across mediums.” She plans to further her career as a visual artist and musician through releasing another album and expand her body of work.

studio

bethbrownart.com

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

 

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