Ben Grant – Madison, Wisconsin

Briefly describe the work you do.

Untitled #43, Acrylic, Automotive Paint, Enamel, Flashe, Metal flake, and Spray Paint on Panel, 72 x 38 x 9”, 2012

Untitled #43, Acrylic, Automotive Paint, Enamel, Flashe, Metal flake, and Spray Paint on Panel, 72 x 38 x 9”, 2012

My paintings explore the potential for meaning in simple, bold, and colorful combinations of shape and dimension.  I look at my paintings as an evolving whole whose constituent components will continue to shift, drop out, or be added to as I explore the boundaries of my process.  I paint the modular units that make up the pieces separately and then combine them in the studio to create strings of information that take on the form of a visual syntax.  As I combine the elements of my pieces, I am building relationships that speak not only to the internal logic of the single piece, but also to the larger structure of the abstract language that is present in the whole body of work. 

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

I have worked a lot of different jobs in my pursuit of a career in the arts.  I have bartended, bussed tables, worked in a bookstore, painted houses, made archival enclosures for books, worked in a hardware store, been a studio assistant, taught high school kids, worked in a neon lab, and painted some more houses.  I believe that by struggling to make a living while at the same time finding space for my painting practice, I have had to really focus on what is most important to me about painting.  Many of the repetitive actions that produce my paintings are a crucial part of my formal and conceptual framework. I can now see that they have arisen partly as a kind of antidote to the pressures of a working life and as an extension of the repetitive gestures that were central to my daily routines as a house painter.

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

Unlike the prevailing wave of “post-studio” artists, I find that the physical place where I make my work is absolutely integral to my painting practice.  For me the studio is a refuge; it allows me to build, paint, nap, and to think.  I look at my studio as a laboratory where I can experiment with different processes without worrying about their application and explore what it means to make paintings.  My studio practice has given me discipline and it has given me a space within which to inspect myself and the world around me.  As an educator, I feel that the most important thing I can give my students is a desire to get into the studio and make work.  

Untitled #44, Acrylic, Automotive Paint, Enamel, Flashe, Metal flake, and Spray Paint on Panel. , 24 x 38 x 10”, 2013

Untitled #44, Acrylic, Automotive Paint, Enamel, Flashe, Metal flake, and Spray Paint on Panel. , 24 x 38 x 10”, 2013

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

As a younger, more headstrong artist, I believed that success meant bursting onto the New York art scene at a young age.  I felt that success was linked to a large life, a life that took on the art world head on.  As an artist now, I try to live a small life and believe that making my mark is much less important than discovering the intricacies of painting and passing on my love for the medium to my students. 

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

I work around my teaching schedule.  The days that I teach are dedicated only to teaching, the other days of the week are dedicated the studio.  I work in the studio from around 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.  I find that after 8:00 PM I lose focus.  For me being an artist requires a large amount of discipline and I find that by making myself dedicate as much time to the studio as I can, the greater the chances are that I will make something worthwhile.

Untitled #59, Acrylic, Automotive Paint, Enamel, Metal Flake, and Spray Paint on Panel, 36 x 24”, 2013

Untitled #59, Acrylic, Automotive Paint, Enamel, Metal Flake, and Spray Paint on Panel, 36 x 24”, 2013

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

My work has undergone quite a transformation over the past five years.  I received my MFA last spring from UW Madison and my three years there really changed my perspective on what my paintings can be.  Being at UW gave me the opportunity to work with an amazing group of professors who helped me to focus my energy on a formal and conceptual trajectory that has led me to where I am now.  My current paintings seem to me to be a distilled version of their predecessors.  In my earlier work there was always a vestige of figuration underlying the largely abstract compositions.  This has completely disappeared from the paintings I am now producing.  They contain the processes (repetition, combination, precision, experimentation, etc.) that my paintings have always had, but they deploy these processes in a much more direct and simplified manner.  Rather than feeling restricted by the simplification that has overtaken my work, I feel that it has helped to open up a much larger group of concerns that will provide fodder for future paintings.

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

My family has been crucial to my development as an artist; they have always supported my artistic endeavors and helped me to be persistent in my pursuit of painting.  I also have to acknowledge an interest in and a debt to semiotics, particularly to the work of Ferdinand de Saussure.  As for writers, while I do not consciously include any references to the authors’ work that I read, I have a sneaking suspicion that the constant flow of trashy mystery audiobooks that I listen to is slowly influencing the work I make.  

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

When I was in the third grade I wanted to either be an artist or a heavy metal guitar player.  I can’t play the guitar at all but what the hell, heavy metal guitar player for sure.

About 

bg head shotBen Grant was born in Canton, NY in 1980.  He is a painter and a Lecturer in Painting and Drawing at University of Wisconsin Madison.  Ben’s paintings have been included in exhibits across the country including Wisconsin, Chicago, and New York.  Most recently his work has been included in The Wisconsin Triennial at The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and at Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee Wisconsin.  He is represented by Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee and lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Studio

The Studio

www.bengrantart.com

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

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Jamie Bates Slone – Kansas City, Missouri

Protastatic Homeostasis, Coil built white earthenware clay and digital video projection, 17.5"x36.5"x13", 2013

Protastatic Homeostasis, Coil built white earthenware clay and digital video projection, 17.5″x36.5″x13″, 2013

Briefly describe the work you do.

The focus and significance of my work lies in the state of the human condition, the delicacy and fragility of the human construct in an emotional and physical sense. My experience is that of being part of an extended family that has endured a history of cancer and high mortality rate. As I have become more aware of my family’s history with illness through the examination of my memories, I have become wary of the future and empathetic of the past. I often find myself attributing to others my own unease in relation to cancer. This projection of my anxieties onto others acts as cancer does in metastasis, spreading from one location to another. My work is an examination and reflection of the memories, emotions, and anxieties caused by my family’s history with cancer with an emphasis on the relationship between human biology and human emotion.

I have developed a process utilizing my knowledge of various casting methods and glaze chemistry to create forms made entirely glaze. The color and texture is appealing and repulsive at the same time. When viewed through a magnifying glass the surface resembles Scanning Electron Micrographs of cancer cells. The fragile and fleeting appearance of these pieces symbolizes the transient nature of human life. Projected onto life size, coil built figures, are a series of macro images of my casted work. The projections engulf and overwhelm the figures, as do my anxieties and fears for my health, the health of loved ones and cancer itself.

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

I was born and raised in a small town in Missouri. I received my BFA in Studio Art at the University of Central Missouri and shortly after attended graduate school in Lawrence, Kansas and received my MFA in ceramics. It is funny to look back on what might have led me to where I am today. As a young child I was always drawing or creating. I loved drawing portraits of others, which I feel fully, translates into the work I make today. As I grew older I became more and more drawn to the sciences. I desperately wanted to become a biologist or a doctor of some sort. Human biology and life science were my favorite subjects and I knew every single bone and muscle in the human body. In high school I fell in love with psychology and thought that was going to be my path. I began my college career as a psychology major and after a few changes became a studio art major. Although I am not a doctor today I still find my work has so much to do with human biology and psychology. My family’s history with illness is a huge conceptual influence in my work. Not until I had spoken with others about my family’s medical history had I known that the amount of death and illness had been perhaps abnormal. I had begun investigating my memories as well as the affect that these instances have had on me psychologically. 

PhenotypeVII, Cast ceramic glaze, 6" x 3.5" x 3.5", 2014

PhenotypeVII, Cast ceramic glaze, 6″ x 3.5″ x 3.5″, 2014

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

I have worked in both private studios and communal studios and I find both to have their advantages and disadvantages. In my private studio I was allowed to truly make a mess, close my door, and play my music as loud as I wanted. This is great for a certain amount of time but I need some sort of human contact to give myself a break and to be sane. The communal studio is great when is comes to having human contact and being able to ask for feedback on the spot, but you must always be conscious of others and your surroundings. I suppose being in a communal space forces me to clean up after myself, which is never a bad thing.

BIO, Coil built white earthenware clay and digital video projection, 34" x 22" x 70", 2012

BIO, Coil built white earthenware clay and digital video projection, 34″ x 22″ x 70″, 2012

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

I feel that I have become a bit of a therapist for others. Because of the concepts I deal with in my work people often want to tell me their story. I absolutely love this aspect of my work. I am allowing myself to be vulnerable and express my fears and so it makes others examine how they might feel. Everyone has had an encounter with cancer, illness, and loss at some point in their life and for some reason viewers want to speak to me about their experiences. Perhaps they find it therapeutic. Whether they do or not it makes me feel better to know I am not alone. 

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

I would love to be in the studio everyday. Unfortunately this is not possible at the moment. I do have entire days where I can set aside a large chunk of time to work, but mostly I just work whenever I can. I have never been a 9 to 5 person. My best working time is between Noon and 10 pm. That is when I find myself really wanting to do nothing but make work without any distraction.

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

It has changed so much. I just finished graduate school less than two years ago. It was time to experiment and discover new ways to work. I began school working with the figure and dealing with a lot of the same conceptual ideas that I am now. At some point I realized I wasn’t ready to address these ideas yet so I began another body of work that was almost a way for me to ignore these issues. At one point I was growing grass on organic clay forms and making hints at the human form without replicating it. It wasn’t until my third year of graduate school that I had begun the kind of work I am making now. One of my thesis committee members even drew a diagram of how I had come full circle in my graduate career to make a point in a meeting!

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

My family obviously has a huge impact on the work I do. My husband is my rock. He balances me out and allows me to spend long hours in the studio with no complaints. My fellow art colleagues are my motivators. Seeing them do well only makes me work harder. Books such as “Autobiography of a Face” by Lucy Grealy and “The Anatomy of Hope: People Prevail in the Face of Illness” by Jarome Groopman have influenced my work greatly on speaking about the psychological effects of illness and loss. And the more fact based book “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” by Siddhartha Mukherjee keeps me in check when speaking the more scientific aspects cancer and illness. 

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

Like I said before, I left high school wanting to be a psychology major. I think I could see myself somewhere in that field. Perhaps helping people who have experiences with great loss in their lives. I find the way the brain and human body work to be fascinating!

About 

jamiebatesslone-april-portraitJamie Bates Slone is a ceramic artist known for her figurative work in clay paired with with projected imagery as surface as well as her experimental work in the casting of ceramic glazes. Her most recent work addresses the fragility of the human spirit in the midst of illness and loss in relation to her family’s history with cancer. Jamie earned her MFA with honors in Ceramics at the University of Kansas in Spring of 2012 where she received the Professional Development Assistance Award. She earned her BFA in Studio Art with and emphasis in Ceramics in 2008 at the University of Central Missouri. Jamie is currently a Foundation Resident Artist at Red Star Studios in Kansas City, Missouri and adjunct faculty in ceramics at Park University in Parkville, Missouri. Jamie has exhibited work in galleries throughout the U.S. including the Spencer Art Museum in Lawrence, Kansas, Jacob Lawrence Gallery in Seattle, Washington, First Street Gallery in New York City, New York, and the St. Petersburg Clay Company in St. Petersburg, Florida. She most recently won first place at the Clay3 National Juried Exhibition juried by Kurt Weiser.  

In the Studio

In the Studio

www.jamiembates.com

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

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Christopher McIntyre Perceptions – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

American Scene, Fine Art Photography, 12x18, 2012

American Scene, Fine Art Photography, 12×18, 2012

Briefly describe the work you do.

Art to me an acronym; A Reality Transcribed. My art is life so I often say on social media #ARTLife. I speak life, I create life, I birth life with my artworks in various mediums, mostly known for my fine art photography.

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

Given my background, life inspires me because at one point I was extremely close to the opposite of it. I am a self taught artist with various mentorships. I took the unorthodox path into the art world. No family connections to institutions, no art school, nothing that would make one be at ease in reference to the ‘typical’ artist because my life has been far from typical. My father was a drug dealer. My mother is apart of an active Christian church. So, in these separate homes I would live in two different worlds which shaped a lot of my art as well as my worldview; my perception is of the big picture as well as the little pixels. My art is riddled with codes due to that & my passion is far beyond what a ‘typical’ artist can have. I am driven by my desire to be successful in the rite of cultivating / manifesting my own perception with 100% artistic control as well as to profit from what I create. Even when I was living in my art studio for a moment in time in the past, this has never been a hobby. This is my life. I inked ART Life on my chest in blood, I’ve sweated with building my brand & I’ve surely cried tears due to it. I’m beyond invested & this is my ministry from the Most High God to the people of the earth.

Waterfalls, Fine Art Photography, 20x30, 2012

Waterfalls, Fine Art Photography, 20×30, 2012

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

The world is my studio. All I need is a space where God’s peace can rest & space for my tools then I can work. I’ve lived a nomadic life in reference to studios but as I mature, I see myself owning spaces & being connected to spaces that I can occupy for the sake of art. Being an alumni RedLine Milwaukee artist, I grew to value the idea of feeding off of a community of artists of various mediums. It stimulates creativity that can manifest in different ways & collaborations can be birthed in communal studio spaces, as long as respect is kept high with communication as a must.

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

I see my power to influence people within society. My position as an artist is to make people think. If I don’t make people think then I’m not doing my job. Think in your mind. Think in your heart. Think in your soul.

Beauty Pageant, Fine Art Photography, 20x30, 2011

Beauty Pageant, Fine Art Photography, 20×30, 2011

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

Nowadays, all of the above. I am always ready to make art because the flow of creativity is never peaked for me. Sometimes, life just comes first. Family & the analytical side of art, which is business, often take precedent over the creative because the imbalance of these things in an artist’s life will utterly destroy you in the end so I take time to focus on those things then I get to the ARTLife. :-) My life’s creed is “God, Family, Business” & I feel closest to God when I’m creating. The first five words of the Bible are ‘In the beginning, God created…’ so the first act of the Triune Godhead is creation. I must create.

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

The essence of my work is the same because I am C.M.P. as my logo often brands. I legally changed my name to “Christopher McIntyre Perceptions”, which also meshes with my company “CMPerceptions”. When you invest in my artwork, you are receiving a piece of me, literally. I was once told that change is the only constant thing in this world so we are always changing. I’m changing how I express  via mixed media, painting, spoken word, documentary film, etc…but the essence of my expression is the same, to shine LIGHT…true light, not artificial light. Art is my ministry.

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

God, my family & people whom I respect in actions / principles influence me but life in general impacts my work. We gain from the world around us then give back to the world what we perceive as it processes inside of us to be birthed into art. This is the duty of an artist.

The Studio

The Studio

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

Honestly, whatever I’d be…I would be miserable to a point. I worked for Apple for two years & I loved it but I longed for more in my art career. I worked part time for AT&T making a few thousand dollars almost every pay check & hated it due to meeting numbers rather than creating work that I could sell for numbers. It would always go back to art for me. I knew since I was I child that I wanted to be an artist & work for myself. Thanks be to Jesus Christ, prayer works & dreams come true with hard work.

About 

Self PortraitChristopher McIntyre Perceptions, an artist, uses life as his canvas
as he is mostly known for fine art photography, cultivating art for 10
years.

www.CMPerceptions.com

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

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Laura Turon – El Paso, Texas

31831x5, 6' x 51", Colored pencil on paper, 2013

31831×5, 6′ x 51″, Colored pencil on paper, 2013

Briefly describe the work that you do.

I explore the process of mark making which has become my main focus—also, the idea of transferring or even destroying my work. That is, I often use tape to transfer the graphite from one composition to another. This causes one work to become less “perfect” while transferring the image to a new work. When the first work is destroyed, or degraded, it adds flaws and thus more personality and character to the original piece, while recreating it in a new piece, or, in the case of my triptychs, in two more ways. The first piece ceases to exist, it sacrificed itself to become something new. I liken this to life, aging, and growing as a person. When one’s former self disintegrates to become a new, more mature person.

At what point in your life did you decide to become an artist?

I started college pursuing an engineering degree, but it wasn’t until I took a drawing class as an elective that I found my true passion in life—art. Before taking that drawing class, I considered myself a self-taught artist, I never thought I could actually make a career out of it, until I talked to my art professor and looked into to the program. 

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

I grew up in Acapulco; a city situated in the south of Mexico in a semi-circular bay that is a popular tourist destination. My father was a singer and my mother a business owner. As a child I was always surrounded by music. I watched my father composing music and singing on a daily basis. My father’s passion and commitment to his career has been one of the major influences to me as an artist. I dropped out of school at young age and started working in my family’s business, where I learned about commitment and responsibility. In my free time I would spend mostly by myself, and began creating journals that consisted mainly of drawings, and some poetry expressing my feelings along with a drawing related to it. I had a very deep emotional and spiritual connection with my journals, where drawing would take me into a meditative state of mind. That’s when drawing became a very personal and significant aspect of my life.

Interference 1, 2 & 3,  6' x 51" each, Triptych, graphite and tape on paper, 2012

Interference 1, 2 & 3, 6′ x 51″ each, Triptych, graphite and tape on paper, 2012

What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?

Repetition, deconstruction, transformation, interference and exploring the idea of appreciating things that can be taken for granted: Such as time, life experiences and memories are my main conceptual concerns at the time. I mainly work on large scale and transcribe all of these ideas into mark making. I use tally marks to represent time and question how we make our time count in things that matter. I create pieces that consist of excessive mark making and use tape to deconstruct, transform and represent interference. I write memories and life experiences to carve them on different surfaces, and use each letter as a mark.  

We once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?

What motivates me is my commitment to my work. I have created a relationship with my art that requires time, responsibility and hard work. The more time I spend working, the more I can challenge and push myself into working in more complex compositions. 

32856x5, 6' x 51", Colored pencil on paper, :2013

32856×5, 6′ x 51″, Colored pencil on paper, :2013

What artists living or non-living influence your work?

Mark Rothko

Heike Weber

Agnes Martin

Yayoi Kusama

When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in? 

Hiking

Off-roading

Visit museums and galleries

Spend time with my loved ones and watch movies

About 

headshotLaura Turon is an emerging artist, recently graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art with double concentration in Drawing and Graphic Design, a minor in Painting and a certificate in Exhibition Practices. She was born on August 7, 1987 in El Paso Texas, where she lived until age four. She was raised in the south of Mexico in the City of Acapulco where she remained living until 2001. Then moved to Ciudad Juárez and began work at her family’s business where she stayed for five years. In 2007 she moved to El Paso where she remains and has established her studio. Her work has been exhibited in galleries throughout El Paso and she has curated exhibitions for local city events.

In the Studio

The Studio

www.lauraturon.com

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

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Grace Scott – Grand Rapids, Michigan

What was Once Milk and Honey, Oil and Mixed Media on Board, 16.75" x 22.5"

What was Once Milk and Honey, Oil and Mixed Media on Board, 16.75″ x 22.5″

Briefly describe the work that you do.

My art encompasses the technical realism of natural science illustration and also the strange imagery that is associated with modern surrealism and lowbrow art. My work is usually laden with symbols and features subjects from the natural world in correlation with these symbols or as symbols themselves. My paintings draw from ancient history and the present to create contemporary narratives and parallels.

At what point in your life did you decide to become an artist?

It wasn’t until high school that I made my decision to go to art school and become a professional artist. I had always loved science, as well, and it took me a long time to decide which direction to go in. As a child I had always had a gift for art and people always called me an artist but I didn’t quite know what this label entailed. While at Kendall College of Art and Design, though I still missed science, I knew that I had made the right decision to become an artist. After receiving my Masters Degree in Fine Art Painting I understood a little bit more about what it means to be an artist and what my duty as an artist is.

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

I grew up in Petoskey, Michigan. My family lived out of town and back in the woods. I had 40 acres of forests plus hundreds of acres of state land to play on. Everyday I would be outside playing among the trees, fields, ponds, streams, and also observing the inner workings of the natural world. These influences have greatly affected my work. I paint what I know and I know the natural world. Plants, insects, animals, and landscapes are the meat and bones of my work. Also the philosophies that are associated with being in tune with nature also appear in my art. 

St. Gitche Gumee: The Hunted, Oil on Board, 24" x 36"

St. Gitche Gumee: The Hunted, Oil on Board, 24″ x 36″

What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?

Conceptually my art is concerned with creating new narratives that promote deeper understandings of the world we live in and the inhabitants we live among. I see the world in an animistic sense where all things are regarded as persons and we all live in relationship to one another. My paintings use concepts of ma and symbols to draw these connections, ask questions, and create new thoughts that initiate deeper understanding of the world around us. Recently I have been exploring alchemical symbols and how they relate to my own personal narrative and myth while still encompassing my concerns mentioned above. Conceptually I don’t think my ideas relate in any specific way to the techniques I deploy. I paint realistically because that is what my hands do naturally. I guess I can say that I use many layers to build up my paintings and they also have many layers of meanings to them. 

sketchbookWe once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?

I agree with Chuck to a point, that it takes hard work to go anywhere in the art world, but I disagree with him on being inspired. Highly creative works need inspiration or you are stuck staring at a blank canvas with no idea how to link concepts or ideas. If you just paint portraits, like Chuck, you don’t need all that much inspiration you just need a hard work ethic. I need both. What motivates me is seeing other artists who do similar work to mine and who are making it big.  I have big ambitions and these push me to work hard at my studio practice and my persona of “artist.”

What artists living or non-living influence your work?

Artists such as Martin Wittfooth, Walton Ford, Derek Nobbs, Andy Kehoe, Lindsey Carr, Charmaine Olivia, Craig Larotonda, and even Marilyn Manson influence my work by creating fantastic imagery and creating their own myths and their own naratives that resonate. They inspire me to become a better artist. 

When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in? 

When I’m not making art I’m usually doing something outside. I like to garden, hike, camp, mountain bike, go to the beach. I do some fun things with my dog, Aleu. He is a Malamute/Samoyed mix and we go dog sledding, skijoring, and bikejoring. I also like to brew my own beer. Right now I have a blueberry mead in the carboy. I also love to go to concerts, music festivals, and see live music.

About 

headshotGrace Scott is an inspired native Michigan artist currently residing in Grand Rapids, MI. Her work possesses a magnetism that grows from a deep connection and curiosity with nature that began in childhood. Science, magic, symbols, and folklore are woven together to construct meditative images that bare the strangeness of dreams and yet comment on current issues.

Grace has received a Bachelors Degree in Traditional Illustration and also a Masters Degree in Fine Art Painting from Kendall College of Art and Design. Grace currently teaches traditional rendering techniques for the Illustration Department at Kendall.

A published illustrator and designer, her work can also be found on local Michigan breweries’ beer labels, business’s logos and promotional gear, and in regional galleries throughout Michigan. She enjoys commissioned work, illustration/design jobs, and also progressing her body of work with experimentation and constant research.

In the Studio

In the Studio

www.graceescott.com

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

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Jordon Rodgers – United Kingdom

Urban Utopia no 9. iPad drawing. 2012

Urban Utopia no 9. iPad drawing. 2012

Briefly describe the work that you do.

At the early stage of my career it is an opportunity to do something different, to push boundaries. I use my cross-disciplinary way of working to bridge the gap between traditional drawing and drawing on the iPad. I’m interested in conservation and preservation of historical British landmarks and buildings.

I have been exploring the affect the changing nature of the built environment has on our collective imagination. The process of creation is kinetic and mobile, yet macroeconomics and national politics feel increasingly more remote. Consequently, creative collaboration is essential to the art of valuing what’s on our doorstep. 

At what point in your life did you decide to become an artist?

Ten years of age. 

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

Education

2009 – 2012, BA (Hons) Fine Art, Lancaster University, First-Class

Prizes

2013, Short-list, Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013
2012, Long-list, Aesthetica Art Prize 2012, and the 100 Contemporary Artists 2013 Anthology

iPad drawing workshop

2014, iPad Art Class: Cityscapes at Apple Store, Covent Garden, London 2013, Jerwood Drawing Prize: The Big Draw, London
2013, Tea With An Architect: Love Architecture Festival, Liverpool

Solo Exhibitions

2014, Drawing: Liverpool, Clove Hitch Gallery, Liverpool 

2013, New Babylon, Nancy Victor Gallery, London

Selected Group Exhibitions

2013, Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013, Jerwood Space, London 2013, Fresh Meat Gallery Open 2013, London
2013, Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition 2013, York St Marys, York 2013, Art In Mind: Downtown, The Brick Lane Gallery, London 

City of London Mile. iPad drawing. 2014

City of London Mile. iPad drawing. 2014

What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?

I make use of the iPad as a tool to explore the comparisons between traditional drawing on paper and digital drawing applications. Touch screens are revolutionising the process of creation and represent a new perspective in drawing. Direct touch input has made a significant difference to my pieces. 

Urban Utopia no 10. iPad drawing. 2012

Urban Utopia no 10. iPad drawing. 2012

We once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?

The act of looking during everyday passage through a city is an art form. Architecture presents a romantic vision for a humanistic city that is ever changing due to technical enhancement; it’s just a matter of how we keep up with these changes. 

What artists living or non-living influence your work?

David Hockney, Guy Debord, L. S. Lowry. 

When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in? 

Architecture, art, British heritage, new technologies, drawing, iPad, design, graphic design, skiing, tennis 

About 

headshotJordan Rodgers is a BA (Hons) Fine Art, First-Class graduate from Lancaster University, who presents cross-disciplinary drawing involving architectural visualisation. His style is reminiscent of cubist, futurist where the extended lines of the buildings appear to have angles, which have more potential than the visible; the invisible of the building. Since graduating in July 2012 his work has already been exhibited in selected group and solo shows and published in national and international art magazines and websites, including the Aesthetica Art Prize 2012, and the 100 Contemporary Artists 2013 Anthology and more recently the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013. 

In the Studio

In the Studio

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

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Katie Ries – DePere, Wisconsin

Land Boots – First Draft,  Wool, nylon, satin, rubber, cotton, acrylic felt, thread, grommets, laces, Size 6.5 US, 2012

Land Boots – First Draft,
Wool, nylon, satin, rubber, cotton, acrylic felt, thread, grommets, laces, Size 6.5 US, 2012

Briefly describe the work you do.

I make drawings, objects, and events about my ideas of ecological sustainability. I use humor, performance, and community events to mediate the perceived righteousness of environmentalism and sustainability. I’m interested in the rub between what is possible and what is reasonable. 

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

I grew up in Nashville, TN and was lucky to be encouraged to make things by artist mother. She gave me and my brothers access to supplies like paper, scissors, glue, pens, and markers. That early exposure and some great teachers gave me a good foundation of making. I played outside a lot—sports and imaginary-play—and I think those positive experiences laid the groundwork for the Land Scouts.

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

I have a small studio in my house and I try to put in (and log) a certain number of hours each week depending on projects and my teaching schedule. My work also evolves via research, emailing community partners, and that sort of thing. That legwork is equally important, but sometimes less satisfying. I think I use drawing to see me through those times and to root my ideas in the visual and material world. 

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

I think art has always been for me about engaging with ideas and people, but my ideas of how artwork can engage people have changed. I’m more comfortable now with using my work to ask for more specific responses and behaviors. 

What You’ve Got,  Midwestern prairie wildflower seedballs, offer to trade, traded objects, dimensions variable, 2014

What You’ve Got,
Midwestern prairie wildflower seedballs, offer to trade, traded objects, dimensions variable, 2014

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

Right now evenings are a more productive time for me. I find it helpful to have ongoing punch lists for projects so that when I have shorter spans of time in the studio I can go straight to the list and knock something off. In a similar vein I try to note on a big wall calendar how many hours I’m in the studio (not counting professional practice work) and any upcoming deadlines.

Land Scout Badge – Observation Primary badge of the Land Scouts, sewn by Stadri Emblems, Woodstock, NY, 2.5” diameter, ongoing

Land Scout Badge – Observation
Primary badge of the Land Scouts, sewn by Stadri Emblems, Woodstock, NY, 2.5” diameter, ongoing

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

It’s still about people and land, but I think I’ve tempered my romantic ideas of agriculture or the Natural World and gotten more specific in my ideas of how we use and interact with land and what sustainability can look like in different situations and cultures. 

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

Wendell Berry’s writing and activism are inspiring to me. I consume pop culture in small doses—things like pop dance music, youth fashion, and mass media. I enjoy work by artists who use humor, the natural world, and/or social interactions to address modern issues, people like Mel Chin, Natalie Jeremijenko, Sophie Calle, Agnes Denes, and Mark Dion.

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

I’d like to run at a land-based school for middle or high school students. That or some sort of sustainable farming or land advocacy. 

About 

ries_headshot_640A graduate of UT Knoxville (MFA) and Colorado College (BA) Katie Ries is an artist living in Northeastern Wisconsin. Ries creates drawing, prints, costumes, and objects to raise and answer questions about land, labor, and community. She is an Assistant Professor of Art at St. Norbert College and the founder of the Land Scouts, an urban troop promoting land stewardship. In 2006 Ries helped establish and run Ries the Birdhouse, a community space for working artists, musicians and activists in Knoxville, TN. She is currently working to design and construct a pair of sustainable fashion boots appropriate for Wisconsin winters. 

ries_thyme_sm

www.whoshareswins.com

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

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