Terry Arena – Ventura, California

“Symbiotic Crisis #45”, graphite, 6 ¾” diameter, 2014

“Symbiotic Crisis #45”, graphite, 6 ¾” diameter, 2014

Briefly describe the work you do.

My most recent work, Symbiotic Crisis, explores the vulnerability of the honeybee and its ancillary impact on our environment, economy, and food sources. One-third of the crops we eat are supported by pollination from honeybees. This is to include direct consumables such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts and indirectly in the crops that are grown in the production of meat and dairy products. The role of the honeybee is so integral to crop propagation that bees are transported by trucks to farmlands in need of pollination. Though studies have been conducted, causes of these bee declines are not yet definitive.

My work considers our relationship with the environment and the impact bees have on our food sources. I draw on food tins and repurposed materials. Initially, the drawings were presented inside a box truck to imitate the transportation of bees to areas where bee populations have declined. I continue to make drawings for the installations and show them at a variety of venues. Though the appearance and quantity of drawings is somewhat mechanized, each one is unique and handmade from collected source materials. The elemental approach reflects simpler methodologies and examines a more direct and intimate relationship with our environment.

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 rural area of North San Diego County where most of the land was covered with avocado and citrus groves, and a lot of horse property. When we first moved, there was a post office and one stop sign. It doesn’t look like that anymore. I spent a lot of time on my horse, riding over miles and miles of trails and occasionally swiping oranges and tangerines for my horse and me. Like most people, we had fruit trees on the property and a backyard garden, also. I have fond memories of waking up in the morning and going outside to pick fruit off the trees for breakfast. After a brief stay in Long Beach for college, I landed in Ventura County, another area rich in agriculture. When I think about how I grew up, it makes sense that my work would center around food and agriculture.

“Symbiotic Crisis: Carnegie”, graphite and mixed media, variable size, 2014

“Symbiotic Crisis: Carnegie”, graphite and mixed media, variable size, 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 would say that I have a primarily traditional studio practice. I collect specimens for my drawings outside and generally work from what I have in the backyard these days, with the occasional “gift” from friends and family. I also draw and photograph outdoors for compositional studies and then take my references into a converted space in my home, thus the studio, to complete the work.

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

In school, I had heard all about the amount of time artists spend looking for opportunities, writing grants, and managing the business of art. It is true. I just didn’t realize how much time would be spent in supporting the work. It is challenging to balance the business and the production aspects of art making, but I have found that I have learned a lot in doing the research components.

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 have an active four-year-old daughter, so I work when I am able. I often wake up early in the morning before anyone is awake to do things that require thinking and quiet which is generally the drawing. We also share studio time. When I have tasks that require slightly less focus, like preparing surfaces, we work together. She has her own drawers in the studio for her supplies. Because I am a teacher, I also have the benefit of extra studio time during the summer months.

"Symbiotic Crisis #33”, graphite, 6 ½” diameter, 2014

“Symbiotic Crisis #33”, graphite, 6 ½” diameter, 2014

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

Stylistically, my work is similar. However, in 2014 I started a project called Symbiotic Crisis where I began making drawings on metal and installing them in varying clusters or swarms. The first three of these installations were presented in a box truck that I parked at different locations and I have continued to show them in brick and mortar locales. Working with installation has given me the opportunity to do things like suspend and overlap drawings in a way I certainly never imagined doing before. I also get to play with reflections cast from the back of the drawings that are copper or painted metal.

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

Early on, writers like Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle had an impact my work. Even the writings of chef Thomas Keller and farmer Joel Salatin resonated with me. Much of their attitude relates to quality food and the communal experience. Although my studio work is solitary, it is certainly inspired by all that happens outside the studio. Invigorating discussions about art with my peers, visiting galleries, even working in the garden all influence what is made, even if it merely creates space and time for ideas to be resolved.

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

Before going to college, I was very involved in the equestrian sport of dressage. There came a time when one of my trainers offered to team up. I would learn the business practices of running a training stable and would also take over the lower level riders. It has been years since I have ridden horses. I opted to finish traditional schooling and finished my Bachelor’s and Master’s through the Cal State schools. I think I was supposed to teach, something, and I am very fortunate to work with high school students making art everyday. My other interests ebb and flow with family. Cooking, gardening, hiking, camping, and traveling are all things that make up my spare time.

About

5. Headshot

Headshot, photo credit Brittany McGinley

Terry Arena was born in Georgia, but has spent most of her life in Southern California. In 2009, she received her MA in Painting at California State University, Northridge. Recently, Arena’s work has been shown at the Museum of Art & History in Lancaster, CA and at the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, CA. She also held a series of mobile installations housed in a box truck this past fall. In addition, she has had three solo shows of her graphite still life renderings at Sinclair College, OH, Ventura College, CA and Moorpark College, CA. Her work has been included in various group exhibits such as Sweet Subversives: Contemporary California Drawings at the Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA, City and Self at Red Pipe Gallery in Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA, and Chain Letter at Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica, CA. Arena currently lives and works in Ventura, CA.

Detail “Symbiotic Crisis #44”, graphite, 5 ¼” diameter, 2014

Detail “Symbiotic Crisis #44”, graphite, 5 ¼” diameter, 2014

terryarena.me

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

 

 

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Kevin Gaines – Dublin, Ireland

Golden Bird I-Bronze  5.5 x 10 x 5 inches, 2013

Golden Bird I-Bronze 5.5 x 10 x 5 inches, 2013

Briefly describe the work you do

Sculpture for me is a means of giving form to my personal investigation of a core philosophical question: What is this enigma that we call life?

All living matter responds to external stimuli and internalises these external forces, transforming itself through such interactions, and endlessly manifesting ‘a state of suspended tension between being and non-being, in which both being and non-being are unreal and only their incessant interaction, their becoming, is real’, as Austrian philosopher, Ernest Fischer writes

By carving directly by hand in wood, without making use of any preliminary plans or drawings, my work strives to capture a moment in time of this ephemeral flow of life, in an attempt to give concrete form to this process of becoming. By giving a tangible form to such a constant metamorphosis/transformation, I strive to access the essential and enigmatic element or energy that exists in all things, but that remains elusive and unseen and that can only ever be evoked

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

My life in art is due mainly to my father and his interest in the Russian language. It was while he was studying Russian in Dublin that he met and befriended a Russian sculptor living in Ireland, Lev Neznansky. In my twenties I had just dropped out of college and was unsure of where my future lay. I was always artistic growing up but when I finished school I never had the confidence to apply for art college. On meeting Lev, I asked if he would allow me to come and work with him for a while. It was through Lev and his work that I discovered my love for carving directly in wood.

Chi-Iroko Wood, 9 x 7 x 38 inches, 2011

Chi-Iroko Wood, 9 x 7 x 38 inches, 2011

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 current studio is a derelict building in Dublin city with no electricity or heat. As I work by hand my pieces are very labour intensive and so I would spend much of my time in my studio.

My practice involves carving directly in wood by hand without preliminary drawings or plans. I also work without the use of machine tools or a work bench and use the ground as my work space. The reason for not using a work bench is that it only allows you to work on one aspect of a piece at a time, before turning it over and re-securing it in order to work on the other side. This method of working is more suited to a rational, pre-planned approach which is the antithesis of my working methods.

My practice, is more spontaneous, and by working on a piece on the ground I can re-position my body or the piece itself so as to work on various sides in a more fluid and free-flowing way. Therefore when I first start on a piece there is no top or bottom, left or right only a constantly changing orientation that is only finally resolved towards completion.

The raison d’etre of my work is the process of the transfer of this energy through my body via hammer and chisel into a piece of wood. The final piece is a silent testament to the physical processes involved in its own making.

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

I don’t find myself playing any other roles or roles that are in any way different that I hadn’t envisioned before I started making art. Making art, for me is only an extension or manifestation of my life as a whole, for me I could never envision it as a distinct separate activity.

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?

There is no best time for me to make art. It is a constant and on-going conceptual process, a way of being, whether I am in the studio or not.

Golden Bird I-Iroko Wood 5.5 x 10 x 5 inches, 2012

Golden Bird I-Iroko Wood 5.5 x 10 x 5 inches, 2012

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

The only major change in my work in recent years is a gradual simplification of forms and a toning down of the exuberance and energy of some of my earlier pieces, a movement towards subtlety, simplicity and the essential, involving a quieter and more meditative process.

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

“Substance is movement and change” – Henri Bergson

My work very much engages with the notion of process and the essential energy inherent in everything and is a part of my wider interest in and exploration of ideas, everything from the Buddhist notion of Samsara to the ideas of Henri Bergson to contemporary “process philosophy”.

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

I have worked in the past for many years in Arts organisations and galleries but these positions also played a formative role in shaping my ideas and experiences of art. My other interests in philosophy and art history are wholly bound up with being an artist and I would never see them as being separate endeavours.

About

Kevin Gaines-HeadshotAs a sculptor, I never undertook any formal training. I started sculpting in my early twenties, working with Russian sculptor, Lev Neznansky and it was then that I first discovered my love for carving directly in wood. In the early 1990’s I worked with Irish sculptor, Cathy Carman and from her learned the techniques of casting in bronze.

I subsequently lived and worked in San Diego, California, where I exhibited extensively. After returning to Dublin and after a fifteen year career as an art gallery administrator I returned to sculpting full-time in 2011. Since then I have exhibited my work in various galleries and art fairs in both Ireland and England. I currently exhibit with the Solomon Gallery inDublin and with Nicholas Bowlby Fine Art and the Barbara Stanley Gallery in the U.K.

Studio Shot

kevingaines.artweb.com

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

 

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Maxwell Rushton – England, London

 

Drawn Out, 2014-2015 Dimensions: 10 meters x 2.5 meters. Materials: pen on paper roll. Four 10 meter rolls of paper. Each filled with 4 repeated hand-drawn lines. 10 million lines in total. Completed in isolation over the course of a year.

Drawn Out, 2014-2015
Dimensions: 10 meters x 2.5 meters. Materials: pen on paper roll.
Four 10 meter rolls of paper. Each filled with 4 repeated hand-drawn lines. 10 million lines in total. Completed in isolation over the course of a year.

Briefly describe the work you do.  

The work I produce is varied in terms of it’s time scale and size, some pieces taking me a less than four days and some more than four years. What is consistent is the breed of ideas behind each work. 

I focus on the influence commercialism has on my life, creating from my rejections and obsessions. Some pieces are attempts to define myself as a product or brand, and others are ones expressing my escape from any defining industry. My work has taken me from painting a logo using ten pints of my own blood, to drawing in isolation every day for one year with a pen.

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

I was raised in rural Countryside by one parent and would travel to London where I would stay with the other. Opposites such as these have shown in my art since I was 16. When I moved to University I became fascinated with Outsider Art. It’s impossible to create artistic expression without influence, so I began to make art which embodied the themes that are binary to Outsider Art – those of pop culture and commercialism.

Share a Coke With Maxwell, 2014. Dimensions: 63 mm x 218 mm. Materials: glass coke bottle filled with artist's blood. Exchanging fluids with Coca-cola to 'be the brand'.

Share a Coke With Maxwell, 2014.
Dimensions: 63 mm x 218 mm. Materials: glass coke bottle filled with artist’s blood.
Exchanging fluids with Coca-cola to ‘be the brand’.

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 like to work in France, which region I work in depends on which kind of piece I need to make. When I’m in London I’m developing ideas and making those shorter pieces. In some respects I’m quite old fashion as I move around to make work, in a similar way to the impressionists who traveled to their landscapes.

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

I like to write, it helps materialise the work before I make it.  Sometimes the work comes first, and then the reason for it comes afterwards.  It all depends on the day. At the moment I’m co-writing a shot story with a writer I know. 

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?

Whenever time allows, there is no 9-5, it’s just a mixture of projects and texts that I work though. It’s taken over my life.

Counterpart (version 1), 2013. Dimensions: 1,800 mm x 2,500 mm. Materials: Oil stick, pen, household and metallic paint on canvas. Commercing raw expression.

Counterpart (version 1), 2013.
Dimensions: 1,800 mm x 2,500 mm. Materials: Oil stick, pen, household and metallic paint on canvas.
Commercing raw expression.

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

In 2011 I started on a project that I’ll be finishing very soon, another project has just been completed. Seeing the end of these two pieces has introduced self imposed standards for my work which I didn’t have before. Now my ideas are weirder and I don’t really think too much about any limitations, just eventualities. 

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

I really recognise and appreciate their influences on my work. The thing is that I make work about people and culture so I look to people and their cultures for my inspiration. I’m not saying my ideas are stolen, I just interpret things people are thinking and feeling and use my understanding of their predicaments as a starting block on which I graft my own interpretations. More importantly, I tend to use the quality of other peoples work, the works that I love, as something to aspire to.  This allows me never to be satisfied, but always to work hard and be hopeful. 

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

If I wasn’t an artist perhaps I’d be a fisherman. Got to love the smell of the sea and excitement of a good catch. Probably somewhere tropical and with hula skirts (not me, her).

About

me in my studioMaxwell Rushton was born in 1989 in Swindon, UK. In 2009 he moved to the North, where he worked as a fish monger whilst studying for a BA in Fine Art at Leeds College of Art. Moving to London with 1st Class Honours in 2012 he continued to create art based upon his own relationship with commercial culture, expressing both his rejections and obsessions, and the influences it has on him. His aesthetic focus polarises a saturated commercial existence and a world that resists it, placing commercialism in a binary with the primal.

Through physically becoming a brand by painting 10 pints of his own blood into a logo in Buy In Bleed Out, or spending a year in isolation constantly drawing a repeated symbol for Drawn Out, Maxwell identifies an unavoidable spectrum to encourage his viewer to question their placing within it. Maxwell articulates the force of commodification in today’s culture by adopting the characteristics of commercialism in order to stand provocatively close to it.

“. . . and in the other I try and turn myself away from buying in at all.”

my studio

maxwellrushton.com

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

 

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Angela Redmond – Chicago, Illinois

1.Excuse Me! Buckwheat has not been recovered by black people as a positive representation of their reality Oil on Canvas 26 in x 36 in 2009

Excuse Me! Buckwheat has not been recovered by black people as a positive representation of their reality
Oil on Canvas
26 in x 36 in
2009

Briefly describe the work you do.

My main medium of choice is oil on canvas. I also work with charcoal and pencil drawings on paper and digital artwork, by use of Photoshop and Illustrator.

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

I have always been passionate about art. It wasn’t until undergraduate college that I became sure that I wanted to pursue art. What really motivated me was during my senior year, the school hired a new painting professor, Michael Dixon, and he showed me a new form of painting that is shown within my artwork today. I was introduced to the thick brush strokes, the vibrant colors, the use of text, and especially the finished vs. unfinished technique.

The focus of natural African American hair began because of my personal battle with my hair. My family wanted me to keep my hair straightened because to them that represented having “good hair”; hair that would be accepted by society. Due to this upbringing, I kept my hair straight. When I went to college, and I let my hair grow natural, I would often have people of a different race wanting to touch my hair and add their comments. I decided to finally stay natural and create paintings that represented the beauty of natural African American Hair and proclaimed that it should be celebrated for its distinctiveness.  

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.”

At this point in my life, my artist studio is also my room where I sleep. When I am creating art, I am focused on what I am doing. I need the door closed, my neo soul music up loud, and I am able to work for hours. I often jot down ideas or sketch anywhere from being at a café, or at my 9 – 5 job, but I always to have to be in my studio when it comes time to create the actual piece.

2.Stand Up Oil on Canvas 30 in x 24 in 2015

Stand Up
Oil on Canvas
30 in x 24 in
2015

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

I envisioned myself as only being the artist at this point in my life. I thought myself to have a promoter, as well as, assistants to build the canvases for me. I would only have to focus on making the art and speaking at the exhibition openings. That is not quite the case yet. I do everything, but that is ok, because soon I know I will have the promoters and 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?

I always make art at night to overnight. During the day, I have a lot of different people and things that require my attention and take away the focus from my art. At night is when I am able to be alone and get my artwork done.

They Saw My Hair and Called Me Ignorant Before I Spoke Oil on Canvas 26 in x 36 in 2009

They Saw My Hair and Called Me Ignorant Before I Spoke
Oil on Canvas
26 in x 36 in
2009

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

For the technique and style of my art, if has really stayed the same in the past five years. However, the subject matter has changed a bit. Natural African American hair is still my passion, but I have also included other societal issues within my portfolio. This includes the encouragement of men to stand up for their responsibilities, as well as, the growing violence in Chicago. I am in the process of creating a series entitled, “Protection or Entrapment” that focuses on the violence within a community and our ability to make the situation better.

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

My family is completely supportive of my art, but their negative views towards natural African American hair have influenced me to create art that celebrates natural Black hair. I am also inspired by other artists, such as; Michael Dixon, Beverly McIver, Kehinde Wiley, Jenny Saville, Kara Walker, and Jean-Michel Basquiat when it comes to technique, style, and composition, and subject matter.

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

Growing up, I was pulled towards being in the medical or scientific field. I even went to a math and science academy.

Other than painting, I am also very interested in digital art and movies. I look to combine these interests and create movie posters as a living in conjunction with being an oil painter.

About

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

Angie Redmond Artist is a figurative and portrait artist from Chicago, IL. She received her Masters of the Science degree in Digital Art from Knowledge Systems Institute in Skokie, IL and a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Studio Art (emphasizing in oil painting) from Albion College in Albion MI.  Her pieces contain both oil paintings and drawings.

She uses her personal experiences to focus her artwork on various social issues within a culture.  For example, the subject of natural African American hair is a reoccurring theme within her art.   Having natural hair herself, she has faced a lot of ridicule and negative views towards her coils.  Drawing from those experiences she creates paintings and drawings to celebrate natural hair for its unique distinctiveness and beauty.  She also explore topics that affect her community; such as the violence throughout Chicago and our ability to make the situation better.  

It’s the thick texture and vibrant colors of the oil paint and the love for the complexity of humanity that keeps the brush in her hand! 

She uses her personal narrative to honor her race and celebrate all of the human spirit.

Angie’s artwork has been shown nationally in various museums, galleries, and universities ranging from Chicago, New York City, and Miami.  She was a finalist in the first Rush Philanthropies Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series.  She also exhibited artwork in the 2015 Museum of Science and Industry Black Creativity and was voted winner of the Ultimate Painting Chicago Live Painting Competition.  

Angie Redmond Artist in Studioangieredmondartist.com

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

 

 

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Robert Gorman – Penaflor, Region Metropolitan Santiago, Chile

Title: “his and hers” series Pillow Forms Medium: hand sewn fabric sculpture Size: 50x38x15cm Year: 2009

Title: “his and hers” series Pillow Forms
Medium: hand sewn fabric sculpture
Size: 50x38x15cm
Year: 2009

Briefly describe the work you do.  

I make nontraditional sculpture. Most of my sculptures resemble familiar childhood objects (like stuffed animals/pillows) and genitalia. I’m interested in perception and how our minds process information, react and respond to new experiences. For this reason, the usage of soft materials is an important element in my work; I like using soft fabrics that are intimately familiar to people, as a way of disarming their social weight and allowing the public to physically interact with the sculptures.

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 the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota and one of the experiences I’ll never forget (as a young adult) is meeting a deaf person for the first time—he moved his hands fast to communicate, I was amazed he could lip read! His body language and expression were impressionable. Thereafter, I decided to learn American Sign Language and spent time studying subtle body language. Today, I work with photography and subconsciously I’m using some of the information I learned back then to capture body language and movement in my work.

In 2010, I had been living with my wife in Santiago for a couple of years, when I found out she was pregnant with our first born, I realized at that very moment how overwhelmingly big my own sexual organ had become. Afterwards, I created a larger than life-size penis and vagina to express my experience and visually preserve its importance.

Title: Japanese robe series Pillow Forms Medium: hand sewn fabric sculpture w/shoe string Size: 30x9x8cm Year: 2009

Title: Japanese robe series Pillow Forms
Medium: hand sewn fabric sculpture w/shoe string
Size: 30x9x8cm
Year: 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.”

My concept of studio space has change throughout my art history. When I first finished grad school, I had a hard time relating as an artist without a formal studio space. Later on, I found myself making work anywhere I could find space—kind of like a nomad. Today, I’m making art that doesn’t always require a studio or should I say the work itself is its own studio space.

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

Director. Photographer.  Writer.  Organizer.  Speaker.  Needle worker.  International Artist.    

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

I like making art during daylight hours and I usually set aside time to work but it really depends on what I’m working on and where I’m particularly at in my process.

Title: Neck Pillow #3 in series New Generation Pillow Forms Medium: hand sewn multiple fabric sculpture Size: 21x30x11cm Year: 2014

Title: Neck Pillow #3 in series New Generation Pillow Forms
Medium: hand sewn multiple fabric sculpture
Size: 21x30x11cm
Year: 2014

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

Since then, I’ve expanded upon my art practice by allowing myself to explore new ideas within different mediums and create new sculpture. My new sculpture is heading in a different direction; I see it more as installation art and photographic illustration than sculpture itself. There are some things in my work that haven’t changed for instance, I still use soft materials to make genitalia.

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

My grandmother would be a person who has had an impact on my work. Growing up she and her sisters would have their prized sewing possessions out fixing some old shirts or hemming a pair of slacks for my grandfather. At the time, I was just a kid—curiously rummaging through her cookie tins looking for old relics and sewing paraphernalia. I could have cared less about sewing. 20 years later, I was without a studio and had little to no money and I remembered my grandmother had everything I needed to sew. Sometimes, everything we need is right in front of us and all we have to do is embrace it—that’s how my soft sculptures were created.

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

Yes, I’ve spent a couple of years away from making art to remodel an old colonial style home from the turn of the century; it’s where my family and I live now. I’m not sure I would do it for a living unless it was absolutely necessary. My other interests are riding motorcycles and playing music (I’m a drummer).

About

GormanRobert Gorman was born in 1976 in Houston, Texas. In 2003 he received his BS in Sociology at Northwest Missouri State University and, then in 2006 he received his MA in Sculpture at Fontbonne University. Gorman lives and works in Santiago, Chile; where he has been involved in various important exhibitions including, a solo show untitled “Pillow Forms are Safe to Touch” at La Biblioteca de Santiago (The Santiago Library) and group show entitled “Laberintos de Amor y Erotismo” at the Casona Nemesio Antúnez Corporación Cultural de La Reina. Gorman has also been invited to present his artwork at several universities in Chile.

Gorman was honored with an academic award for his work on sustainable art practices from the Universidad del Desarrollo, which later became a core class in their curriculum entitled “La práctica de Arte”. He is currently working on a photography project entitled “Body Movement and Communication” (BM&C).

Title: Masculine Sofa Pillow #1 in series New Generation Pillow Forms Medium: hand sewn multiple fabric sculpture Size: 60x36x17cm Year: 2014

Title: Masculine Sofa Pillow #1 in series New Generation Pillow Forms
Medium: hand sewn multiple fabric sculpture
Size: 60x36x17cm
Year: 2014

visualartistrg.webs.com

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

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Kelly Brumfield-Woods – Santa Monica, California

One Ray, Three Bars Acrylic and glitter on canvas 60” x 60” 2014

One Ray, Three Bars
Acrylic and glitter on canvas
60” x 60”
2014

Briefly describe the work you do.

I paint—acrylic on canvas on panel. My paintings are hard-edge geometric abstractions with some elements from light and space and color theory. I use glitter for light/color-shifts and I use color for the afterimage. The viewer can, with a glance, get what the painting is about but with a slightly extended involvement, they can get more out of it. To experience the color/light-shift, one must move around a piece, and for the afterimage, one must take the time to stare into a point on the painting for around 30 seconds and then glance at a white wall. That effect never gets old for me. It’s an apparition that appears out of nowhere, and the boldness of the colors…even though I know exactly what color it is going to be without having to stare, the way your eye can create that glow is still a novelty for me, after so many years. It surprises me how many people don’t know about it! It’s really fun to be the one to show them for the first time!

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

I went on one of the early Venice Art Walks back in the mid-80’s while I was taking GE classes at Santa Monica College. I sent notes out to the artists I liked, offering my services as a studio assistant, and they called! By the time I was accepted to Otis I was working for some of my favorite artists and I turned down the offer from Otis. Because I was around the artists I had chosen for myself, I can’t say what came first, the chicken or the egg, but all of those artists I worked for have influenced me. I think all but one of the artists worked out of their home studio so the assistant becomes more than just an employee; you are part of their private lives and there’s a much deeper level of involvement.If you really want to take it back, my father did commercial real estate here and in Texas and my mother was a stay-at-home mom but if she had pursued her interests, I think she would have been a designer of some type. Terence Conran’s The House Book was our bible and she was (and still is) a prolific weaver. One day a huge loom was delivered to our house which remained in the middle of the living room until my mother moved to Topanga, where it now lives in her weaving studio along with many more looms. She was always redoing a room in our house. Cox Paints on Santa Monica Blvd. was our second home where we pored through wallpaper books (Schumacher, of course) and analyzed paints: “I’m looking for a red with a little more blue” sort of thing.

Four Folds Acrylic and glitter on canvas 36” x 36” (18” x 18” each) 2015

Four Folds
Acrylic and glitter on canvas
36” x 36” (18” x 18” each)
2015

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.”

The conceptual part can happen anywhere but once I have the idea and I have worked it out on paper, I need that studio. My process involves many coats of gesso and lots of sanding before the canvas is ready for the paint. The sanding throws dust everywhere, so I have a smaller room in my studio that is dedicated for sanding.The romantic notion of walking across my garden early in the morning with a cup of coffee and going directly to my studio was nice but with two kids and a dog, my life is messier than that. I had a studio at home and I found that the distractions and the isolation were too much to handle, plus I outgrew it. I have a studio in Inglewood now. I love my studio! It’s my sanctuary. I like the control over my space (something I do not get at home), the separation between work and home, and the convenience to galleries. I also look forward to seeing the three artists who work out of other parts of the building. I get a lot more done in that studio than I ever did at home.

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

Since I worked for all those artists, I can’t think of anything that is a surprise but I don’t like being my own salesperson and would like to have a gallery take that part over. For better or worse, I don’t have a computer in the studio so the business side of things suffers from deferred maintenance.

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?

The best time to make art is when I can do it, which is when I’m in the studio, which is when my kids are in school. Because my art career does not secure my position as breadwinner in the house (yet), I take the brunt of the running of the household and the kid-related duties. My goal is to be in the studio four days a week but often something comes up that reduces that to three and sometimes two. I used to get really upset about that but now I know it will still all be there waiting for me when I get back (unless I’m on a deadline. One weekday is reserved for errands, marketing and house/ kid/dog-related appointments. Summer, when the kids are out of school, is tough. This week I will have just one full day in the studio, but next week I will have five full days because both kids will be at sleep-away camp. I love camp! During the school year, I have a nanny two or three days a week to pick up the kids from school and give me some “long days”, which means about 10-5, and on the other days, I work from about 9:30-1:30. It’s not enough, so you can be sure when I’m in the studio, I am working! Every minute is valuable.

Fold  Acrylic and glitter on canvas 72” x 72” 2014

Fold
Acrylic and glitter on canvas
72” x 72”
2014

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

There is a very linear path to what I do now but you wouldn’t know from looking. I was doing really tedious, precise “paper paintings” on canvas, with many layers of paper, getting thinner and thinner as the paper was layered on, often ending up with some shimmering gold or silver thread creating the last layer. I have been conceptualizing a sort of draped installation for a while now, to get that paper off the canvas, and I had sewn together some 5” x 5” paper squares for a mock up. There were some squares that I especially liked, set them aside and decided they needed to be painted, which is how I got to what I’m doing now. I was still going for that light/color shift in the paper pieces and I used lots of glitter paper, holographic paper and iridescent paper to get that effect. I like the chameleon-like quality of paper…it can do anything…and am always trying to figure out a way to work it back in, which is where visions of this draped paper piece still swirl in my head.

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

The artists I have worked for have had a huge impact, as an influence but also the opposite, where I was aware that I had to separate their art, which I was surrounded by all day, art that was successful and selling, from the paintings I was making. I very consciously had to block out their art to develop my own “voice”.

My family has impacted me in the way that they are supportive of what I choose to do, for which I am thankful, but at the same time, their existence limits the time I can spend working, and if I could work all the time, I would. Maybe I should look at it as though they provide a healthy balance?

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

Art and architecture will always be tied for first place in my heart and there are no places below that but I did try out for the LAPD once upon a time. I nearly made it to the academy except something happened in that last interview—a strange story for another time—that squashed it. I thought it would be interesting to eventually be a homicide detective but I wasn’t disappointed that I wouldn’t be going any further. The LAPD delved deep into my background, but they never asked me about elevators. I’m a claustrophobic, elevator-averse chicken!I’ve had a real estate license since 1995. After a while, I needed my own career and I could see art wasn’t going to support me at that time, so I decided real estate was a good idea because it involved architecture, though I knew, having had a father in commercial real estate, that it was also a game of numbers, and a fun one! I have been able to go through countless historically/architecturally significant houses but real estate is stressful! More than I can take with these two kids. I still have an active license and when something falls into my lap, as it still does once in a while, I have a handful of great agents that I refer things out to. A friend asked me the other day, if money were no object, what would I do, and I told her I would do what I’m doing now: I would be working in the studio, but I’d definitely invest in real estate, too.

About

DSC_7514 (1)Kelly Brumfield-Woods began her art career in Venice in the mid-1980’s, when, after a Venice Art Walk, she sent cards to the participating artists, offering her services as a studio assistant while she completed her transfer courses at Santa Monica College, studying under the late, great Jim Doolin. By the time she was accepted to Otis, she was running a full-time studio assistant business, working closely with artists such as Billy Al Bengston, Charles Christopher Hill, Frank Lloyd (in his studio and at his newly opened gallery), Mary Corse and a handful of others, and she made a decision to continue working in the professional realm rather than return to academia.

Kelly’s work was currently shown at Red Pipe Gallery, Gallery 825, Prohibition Gallery, Hale Arts in Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach Art Center.

She is in the collections of Laura & Jeffrey Langdon of Rancho Santa Fe, CA; The Akiva Family of Topanga; Barbara & Bowen McCoy of Los Angeles, CA; Nancy Catlin of Portland, Oregon; The Connor Family of Topanga, CA and more.

Originally from Santa Monica, Kelly now lives in Topanga and works from her studio in Inglewood. She is a member of Los Angeles Art Association/ Gallery 825 and Collage Artists of America.

DSC_7571

kellybrumfieldwoods.com

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

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Xuan (Schwinn) Chen – Albuquerque, New Mexico

XC installation2Briefly describe the work you do. 

I create small wall paintings and site-specific installations. My current and future bodies of work contain anomalies of the hand and the physical process of making a painting. I use non-paint materials as paint, such as fabric, paper, reflected light, colored plastic sheets, and threads. The works are constructed in physical spaces instead of on pictorial surfaces, and on unconventional structures of painting supports, indicating human touch and presence, thus, encouraging the viewers to walk around, examine and interact with the work.

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

I was born in China and grew up in a family that strongly practiced Taoist philosophy. One important Taoist belief is that the truth must lie “somewhere in between.” This belief is applied to both our daily material lives and spiritual practices, which influences me both as an artist and in the making of my artwork. For example, in one of the recent bodies of my work titled Light Threads, light is materialized as sewing threads and paint transforms into light by casting reflections in its surrounding spaces.

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.”

It varies. When I have a show scheduled or I start to create a body of new work, I spend as much time as possible in the studio. When I am not working on a project, I would like to shut off my studio and spend time else where such as in the nature, visiting art galleries or museums, writing grants for future projects or connecting with other art professionals. For me, studio is more of a work place. And most inspirations of my projects happen outside the studio. Once I know what to do for my next project, I work in the studio almost 50 hours a week but I might spend half a year brainstorming the project before I start working in my studio.

xc solo exhibition

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

I found myself doing more administrative tasks than the making of art. These tasks include but not limited to applying for grants and residencies, taking photos, writing, outreach, packing, meeting deadlines, archiving artworks, etc., so many things that have nothing to do with the actual making of art. There is little time that I stay in the studio making art. But it is the little time that makes all the other efforts totally worth it!

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?

Again, it varies. I perform the best only when I am inspired and have a project to work on. The rest of the time I prefer stay outside my studio.

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

My work changed dramatically. I used to make hand-drawn animated films that dealt with my social and political backgrounds between the US and China—the two countries where I spent almost 50/50 percent of my life. Although the physical form of my art changed significantly from social/political work to abstract paintings/installations, the ideology of my art making remains the same. No matter what form I choose to realize my work, my art is deeply influenced by my Taoist background. As mentioned before, my artwork and me as an artist are both influenced by “somewhere in between”: one essence of the Taoist philosophy. Before, my work was about “somewhere in between the East and West cultures” and now it is about “somewhere in between the tangible and the intangible”.

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

I have a very supportive circle of friends. My peer artist friends always share with me their critical thoughts whenever I have a new body of work. We critique each other’s works. Some of my friends act as mentors and always encourage me to be my best. My non-artist friends always show their support by attending my art events such as gallery openings or public talks.

I constantly gain inspirations from other artists; the name of the artist varies from project to project. My most recent inspirations come from the sculptures by Richard Tuttle and Rachel Harrison. I am very intrigued by their way of making sculptures. Both work in very spontaneous yet extreme specific ways, which are completely different from the way I make my art.

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

Gardening. I am an avid gardener. I find gardening one of the most relaxing and meditative practices.

About

xc headshotAs a multi-disciplinary, conceptual and project-based artist, Ms. Xuan Chen decides upon the media that best fits the concept of each project: painting, printmaking, site-specific sculptures/installations, animated film, drawing, interactive installation, graphic narrative, etc. Her artworks have been exhibited in solo and group shows in galleries, museums and film festivals and she has won many national and international awards/grants including 2014 Dorothy Yeck Award (Miami University’s Young Painters Award), Working Artist Award (2013), 1st place New Mexico’s Contemporary Art Society award (2012), 1st place in the 14th Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (2011), Honorable Mention in the 26th Tallahassee International Exhibition (2011), New Visions/New Mexico contract award (2010).   Born in Mainland China, Ms. Chen has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received an M.F.A from the University of New Mexico in 2011.

xc studio1

xuanchen.net

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

 

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