Painting Strangers: Keisha Prioleau Martin

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Artist of the Month July 2017: KEISHA PRIOLEAU MARTIN

Interview by Jessica Petrylak

 

SUCKER: Who is Keisha Prioleau Martin?

KEISHA PRIOLEAU MARTIN: My name is Keisha I grew up in Queens, New York. I got my Bachelors of Fine Arts at Purchase College. I paint strangers out of their essential characteristics and collage them into places that can be absurd or funny and definitely emotionally heavy.

SUCKER: What are your preferred medium(s) to work with?

KPM: I prefer to work in acrylic paint because I like to try a lot of new processes and use several layers of patterns and transparent colors. I can layer the paint and adher many things to the surface and It would dry quickly and the objects wouldn’t rot in the surface the way oil paint would. I also discovered that the things that I like about oil painting the color and the viscosity can be recreated in acrylic paint.

SUCKER: Can you speak about your color pallet?

KPM: I love color, I appreciate color interactions and I like using grey and desaturated colors as a way to pump up color . When I paint I am considerate of the temperature ( warm and cool colors) . I love warm colors like orange, red and yellow. The temperature of my palate usually directs my subject into an emotional place. I also use discordant pallets to move the paintings away from looking like the original and natural life environment.

SUCKER: What is your first experience with art? How do believe you have grown overall as an artist?

KPM: As a child I was told to color on Xeroxed copies of coloring books. Then my first sketchbooks filled with drawings of my favorite teachers and self portraits with dogs or birthday hats. When I was ten my father got a part time job at the Cooper Union during a Summer Residency program or similar. I met a lot of amazing artist and I was exposed to a tiny part of the art world. My father like to look at art and we often took walks, he would stop to take a long look at a mural or at a sculpture. If he saw something without me, he would take me back down the street he found the artwork just so he could show me.

I have physical evidence that I have grown overall as an artist and like everything else in life, I keep growing. In those early days I was purely trying to communicate what I liked and what I wanted and show people what made me happy. In middle school and High school and focused a lot on techniques that were effective while learning what it mean to make art in a larger context. By “larger context” I mean art history and it was really important for me to learn it, It gave me more confidence because It became my own history. In college I finally started bring everything together. I started to develop a studio practice and there has been a lot of strength in that.

SUCKER: What is your go-to art making song(s)/What do you listen to while making art?

KPM: The songs usually happy upbeat folk music something I can dance to without too many lyrics. Sometimes I don’t listen to music sometimes I listen to a podcast. I like a few NPR stations. I like Modern Love, Radiolab, Invisibilia, Curious City and This American Life.


SUCKER: What physical and emotional environment is best for you to work in?

KPM: I like working in my studio mostly alone. This allows to play and move around the work enough. I take a sketchbook on the train and to restaurants. For optimal emotional environment, I just have to be in a good mood. I slight bad mood is okay. But have you ever been so upset that you couldn’t work? like your dog dies or you got your heartbroken, sometimes things like that actually inspires production that’s usually where new ideas walk in.

SUCKER: Do you experiment with other forms of Art?

KPM: Yes I experiment with abstract art. it’s becoming more useful in my figurative painting. I have made animations and written poetry and comedy.

SUCKER: What does your art making process look like how long does it take to create a piece?

KPM: My sketchbook filled with layers of notes concealed by drawings is a precious asset to my work. Making line drawings of people in this sketchbook is the way I salvage and sample images from life. My sketchbook was with me to record a student sinking with exhaustion into a café sofa. I am attracted to the emotional weight of posture and expression in the figure, but also to the between spaces interacting around people. From this sketchbook is where I pluck from to form paintings.
Fascination ensues when I find a small detail potent with signs of someone else’s mundane life. My curiosity is sparked by visual inconsistencies. I am charmed into hypothesizing personal narratives about those I encounter from theses potent specifics. I bring their essential characteristics into my paintings the way actors would enter a stage. This is where they can be freed from their own reality and where their emotional weight, posture, and expression can be highlighted. I do not know these people as much as I could and the mystery of these guest remains in the paintings for the viewer to wonder about

SUCKER: What is your ultimate goal involving the Arts?

KPM: I would like to continue making paintings and starting conversations with people.That is what I love so much about painting, being a part of a community and I can make paintings within a world that other people have made paintings but also I want to reach people who have ideas that I haven’t heard and I want to talk to those people I want them to talk to me. I want to learn forever. my goal is to share and talk about art . keep art alive, legitimate, useful and powerful.

SUCKER: Who are your biggest Inspirations within the visual arts world?

KPM: They are really strong artists that put out a lot of work and have a lot of great energy. I really love Dawn Clements, Nicole Eisenman, Jennifer Coates, David Humphrey, Tom Brookhart, Angela Dufresne, Matt Bollinger , Peter Williams, Caroline Wells Chandler and so many more. As Inspiration goes they have shown me that you should always do what you want.

SUCKER: Do you feel it is important as a contemporary artist to share your work online?

KPM: I think that sharing work online should only be promotional. It helps to get people to come to your show or to research who you are. it’s a way to connect with people that aren’t right there in front of your work. some people cannot visit my work in person.I have never seen the Mona Lisa in person I think a lot of people will just see my work online. The internet is a great way to connect and to network with people with similar ideas.

SUCKER: What is the best advice you ever received as an artist?

KPM: The best advice I keep hearing it over and over is that if your work doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it. Or if it doesn’t make you happy, WHY do it? That comes into play when I make a mark and I really hate it and but I keep making a mark. What am I doing? if there’s no reason for me doing. if it’s not even for happiness maybe it’s for like a big game like maybe I’m working on my yellow making muscles or something like that but that’s different I mean. it’s like if I’m going to be happy with better painting muscles and that is why I’m doing it but if it’s not making me happy there’s no reason to do it. I’m clearly bothering myself, so stop. That has gotten me in a lot of good places as far as making my work especially after years and years of making work I finally get into a studio and I have a purpose.

SUCKER: What is next for your future art and future self?

KPM: I’m just getting out of school I’m going to stay at New York City and going to live in Queens where I have intentions of connecting with the world in Brooklyn and then the Lower East Side. I am currently working on paintings that incorporate my identity into my narratives a lot more. Now, I am painting about the absurdity of life and the humor in life and also the mundanity of life. I have been asking the questions of what we’re looking at? and who are these people around us? Living in a big city there are strangers everywhere .

SUCKER: Where can we contact you, follow you and buy your art?

KPM: My website KeishaPrioleauMartin.com . My Instagram @KeishaPrioleaMartin . Just Facebook my name so far i’m the only one with it. Email me, my email address is on my website.

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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: LUCENT DREAMS

Art, artist of the month, Lifestyle, music, Words

Interview by Jess Petrylak

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SUCKER: Who is Lucent Dreams?

LUCENT DREAMS: Lucent Dreams is me, Caleb, and a few of my friends taking my songs and giving them life. It’s the latest incarnation of a lifelong pursuit of making songs that I would want to listen to in my car.

SUCKER: Is there an implied narrative within the song order on The Honest EP? How does this relate to the overarching theme of honesty?

LUCENT DREAMS: There is not really an implied narrative regarding the song ordering. I was mostly ordering them to reconcile the fact that none of the songs really sound like they should come from the same person or be on the same album. Thats the honest answer! Honesty, or the illusion thereof, is important in art but its different from telling the truth. You can manufacture honesty in music. The EP is honest in the sort of way a drunk phone call to an ex girlfriend is, its just kind of all on the table, vulnerable. I rarely checked myself or listened to the voice in the back of my head saying, “You can’t talk about sex and death on the same album!” or “You can’t just have drums on all the songs and then tap on your acoustic guitar for the intro, and why do you INSIST on ACOUSTIC GUITAR!!!!!?” I just kind of did things the way I did because all of these disparate styles, approaches, and sounds exist within me and I didn’t want to build this album based on what would make someone else comfortable.

SUCKER: What was your first experience with music? How has your process grown since?

LUCENT DREAMS: I used to learn a lot of songs on guitar, I took lessons, I got pretty good at finger picking. But I really wanted to sing, probably because I was so bad at it. I really liked writing. Anything. Stories, song lyrics, research papers, poetry, raps(lol), long winded AIM messages… I figured if I started putting guitar behind my lyrics eventually the singing would get better and I could share my passion for writing AND music. I started getting serious about writing music and performing when I was 17 or so. My process was very much: write the chords, write the words as they come, and then play it to people. You could argue that my process is the same now but now I understand it better. I still write the instrumental first and lyrics later, but I have a better understanding of what I want to say and how it will come across over the bed of music.

SUCKER: Is it difficult sharing the creative process on a project to personal to you?

LUCENT DREAMS: There’s two sides to that.

I write the songs by myself. Acoustic guitar, mechanical pencil, paper. Same way every time. Rarely on that end am I willing to compromise.

The other side is when I bring my songs to my band, I rarely give any direction and if I do its the feel I’m going for. The band writes their parts, and I pretty much never touch them.

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SUCKER: What is your favorite aspect of songwriting?

LUCENT DREAMS: Writing lyrics. I tend to write in a fairly stream of consciousness way, and sometimes it takes me weeks to understand what the hell I just wrote and what it means. A lot of it is very metaphorical and it takes a lot of examining the context of when I wrote it to understand what my subconscious mind was trying to say. The feeling of finally understanding and being able to explain each line is always a sort of eureka moment where you realize like “Hey, there is a lot going on here.”

SUCKER: Because you were involved in all the creative and productive aspects of the project, is it difficult separating the two processes?

LUCENT DREAMS: Yes. Especially this album. I record while I write, often by the time the band hears my idea its already final takes of guitar and vocals. Like I said before the album is a hodgepodge of styles so when I look at it as a mixing engineer, my training says level it out. Make the mixes be the thing that ties it together. I found myself turning down the distortion on Planting Season because it was the only lo-fi song and it stuck out. Then I realized thats took away from the song. Each song is like a child, they want different things. You can’t just try to force your kids to all play baseball so they fit in when Ronnie wants to smoke pot and Jimbo wants to be a dancer.

SUCKER: FILL IN THE BLANK: If you like ________, you will like Lucent Dreams.

LUCENT DREAMS: Lyrics.

SUCKER: How should the audience feel when listening to this EP?

LUCENT DREAMS: Hopefully pretty cool and thoughtful.

For me, spaces and places play a pivotal role in the creative process. Does your process/artistic style vary between (rural?) Vermont and urban New York?

My sound changed a lot when I hit New York. In Vermont, theres really two big scenes. There’s jammy funk stoner stuff everywhere and bluegrass. I was making weird electronic indie stuff for a while and then weird folk music and it was all very private, people here don’t really like that. Then I got to Purchase and was like… wait people here are playing the music I like to listen to and other people like it too. I felt less pressured to be accepted and felt confident in my process and sounds because New Yorkers get a great cultural education. In Vermont, there is Vermont culture. Maple Creemees, craft IPA’s, Phish, Bernie, and weed. New Yorkers have been exposed to all sorts of art and there are tons of scenes and tons of people. I can’t even walk to anywhere from my childhood house in Vermont. The closest venue is a restaurant that has bluegrass some nights. I will always love Vermont, the people in it, and the nature. I will continue to speak with an accent and write about swimming holes, firewood, and gardening in my songs. That won’t ever change.

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SUCKER: Can you speak on the visual choices used on The Honest EP?

LUCENT DREAMS: I said I was looking for some work on my Facebook which is full of amazing artists, because of Purchase, and I got a good response. I was going through peoples Instagram pages to see which style would best fit my music. I was going to commission something but then I saw a piece that I absolutely fell in love with by Casey McCarthy. I wanted it so bad. The muted colors, the dreaminess of it, the obfuscation. I contacted them and they generously said I could use it! As to the choices regarding the creation of it that’s best left to Casey. I’ll link their Insta at the end of this interview.

SUCKER: How has being exposed to all the different creative energies at SUNY Purchase College influenced your progression within your music?

LUCENT DREAMS: Purchase is so sick. Being surrounded by artists that are so motivated and do not compromise is extremely inspiring. It’s such a safe place to pursue art in your own way. It’s a daily dose of greatness. You’re surrounded. I imagine it would be intimidating for some people but when I got here I was like “this is my place, start writing NOW.” Plus you see people doing what they want and succeeding at it. I never felt that in any other music program at any other school.

SUCKER: Do you consider yourself more of a recording or a performing artist?

LUCENT DREAMS: I do a lot more recording these days although I’m planning on playing a lot more shows around the city when the album comes out.

SUCKER: If The Honest EP came with “exercises for listening”, what would that entail?

LUCENT DREAMS: What a great question. Treat each song as a vignette, a little story, without context. Listen like you were looking at a painting as someone who doesn’t know the first thing about painting and doesn’t need to extract meaning from the work. Then take a pass figuring out what it means to you. Then try to figure out what it means to the artist.

honest album cover

SUCKER: Who are you hoping to reach with your music?

LUCENT DREAMS: People who are into it. If it’s what you like, listen to it and support the artist! If you don’t like it that’s fine, I don’t dislike you for it. Like I’m pretty sure my mom won’t be listening to Planting Season in her car more than once. If my Gramma was still around she wouldn’t want to hear me swearing in my lyrics. I’m pretty sure none of the people I’ve ever dated listened to my music on their own time. You can’t force people to change their tastes. I want to reach people that like my music and gain some sort of pleasure from it, the way so many other artists have given me pleasure, courage, and stimulation.

SUCKER: Because your music is ultimately meant to be shared, does that influence your creative/songwriting process?

LUCENT DREAMS: Yes, I can’t help it. I want people to like my music and get something from it. I still write whatever the hell I feel like though. Its more of a subconscious effect on the songwriting end. It’s more measurable on the technical side, mixing and recording. You just can’t put out something that sounds like it was recorded over-saturated to tape and expect to gain much more than a small cult following. It still happens but people expect to hear the kick drum on a rock song.

SUCKER: What is your relationship with social media, and do you feel it is important as an artist in the 21st century to utilize it?

LUCENT DREAMS: I’m a social media fiend. I grew up on AIM and Myspace. I think it’s so important and beneficial to artists to utilize it if they want to reach people. I think that people who play obscure and don’t utilize it are expecting things to work out for them the way that lo-fi did for The Mountain Goats. John Darnielle has 1000s of songs. He got struck by lightning. You aren’t going to. If you desire exposure and reaching people you need to use all of the tools. Technology is evolving humanity and without it we just aren’t enough anymore. I believe that on a practical level, spiritually its problematic.

SUCKER: Where can we listen, buy and follow your music for future updates?

LUCENT DREAMS: The album will be available on Bandcamp and all the streaming services. Follow me on Facebook and Insta. You can add my personal page as well if you want. Also follow Casey McCarthy’s art page on Instagram! Thanks!

https://www.facebook.com/lucentdreamsvt

https://www.facebook.com/caleb.boardman

https://www.instagram.com/lucent_dreams_vt/

https://www.instagram.com/pthalo.goth/

 

Artist of the Month: January 2017 – Josh Thacher

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Interview by Jess Petrylak

josh-thacherChinese Restaurant, Josh Thacher

SUCKER: Who is Joshua Thacher?

JOSH THACHER: I don’t really know how to answer this question. I guess I am some sort of lost, spirit-like being. Just wandering around trying to pass the time…

SUCKER: Where do you get your inspiration from? How do you make decisions on what is important enough to paint/depict?

JOSH THACHER: I’ve been around for over a thousand years, existing on somewhat of a middle ground between a multitude of different dimensions and universes. I’ve been to many strange and surreal places, met a lot of awesome people, and seen a lot of crazy things. I also have voices in my head. So, all of that is where I get my inspiration. Sometimes there are things that I just want to share, or things that I want to take from other worlds and bring them into this one. Those are the things that I try to depict in my artwork.

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SUCKER: Considered a sort of artistic renaissance man of our time, you draw, paint, make sculptures, do digital drawings, have a few musical projects and piece together stuffed animals. How does your imagery translate through all these different mediums? Does one medium fit better than others?

JOSH THACHER: It all depends on how I see it first. If it is just an image, I’ll draw it. If it is something more three dimensional, I’ll make a sculpture or stuffed animal. If it comes to me in the form of sound, I’ll attempt (poorly) to recreate it somehow. Sometimes it’s nothing but words, and that’s when I write. Most of the time it is just images and words so I mainly draw and write, but it all just depends on a feeling. Sometime’s I’ll want to create something and I’ll think, “That needs to be painted, I can’t just draw it, It needs to exist in the form of a painting.” The same goes with sculptures, and so on.

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SUCKER: You work with a lot of imagery with cats, can you expand on that?

JOSH THACHER: I love cats.

SUCKER: In your opinion, does college help or hinder the artist? If it’s of no help, what are some suggestions to young artists that could aid them in showing/selling their work?

JOSH THACHER: College is great for art. You learn new things and expand your artistic horizons. I never would have touched oil paints if it weren’t for college, and I turned out to be really good with them and like them a lot. I had a creative writing class with my favorite professor, Dr. Chirico, where he had us write 7 pieces a week (which is also something I never would have tried to do on my own time) and I produced some of my favorite poems in that class. The professors and classmates are nothing but helpful and encouraging. You’re surrounded by good ideas and advice, and it’s just a great environment to be in. I think one of the best ways to make it in the art world these days is to go to college. People are much more likely to recognize an artist, if they have a degree.

SUCKER: What was your first art making experience?

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Dogboy, Josh Thacher

JOSH THACHER: I remember drawing a picture of a dog going down a slide. I had this weird way of drawing where I pressed really hard with my pencil and everything looked hairy for some reason. I know I was drawing before that, but this is my first memory of drawing. I think the dog was wearing sunglasses.

SUCKER: Do you believe anyone can be an artist? Or that the artist has a special gift?

JOSH THACHER: Yes, anyone can be artist. It doesn’t matter what you produce, how it looks or sounds. It doesn’t matter if you can’t perfectly recreate on paper what you saw in your mind. Whatever comes out is art, and it is unique to you as an individual. Everybody should make art and contribute their own individual style to the rest of the art in the world.

jt4 Tower, Josh Thacher

SUCKER: Have you ever thought about animating your work?

JOSH THACHER: Yes, I would love to make cartoons, but I don’t have the resources. I always have characters and stories in my head that a drawing or even a comic would not be enough for it. I made some cool things in an animation class but it doesn’t compare to what I would like to do if I had the resources. One of my dreams is to work for Adult Swim.

SUCKER: Often times words or poetry is incorporated within drawings you have done. How do you make these careful choices when pairing a drawing with words? How does that help what you want to get across to the viewer?

JOSH THACHER: Either words will come to me while I’m drawing, or an image will come to me while I’m writing. It’s not planned in any way. Making art, for me, is like vomiting from my mind. Most of the time, my mind is full of strange, broken stories.

SUCKER: What would you do if you weren’t making artwork?

JOSH THACHER: It’s hard to imagine that. I don’t know. I think my whole life would be different if I never made art, but if I just suddenly stopped today? I’d probably spend the rest of my life doing hard physical labor, and sit by a fire every night. I’d be somewhat of a cowboy, and I think I’d get angry easily.

SUCKER: Have you ever had an art show in a gallery? Or performed your music live?

JOSH THACHER: No I’ve never had my art in a gallery. That’d be cool though. I have played music live. My brother and I used to do open mic’s, but I wouldn’t call that my music; that’s really our music.


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Apricot, Josh Thacher


SUCKER: Would you say that your work is autobiographical? Why or why not?

JOSH THACHER: No because none of it is about me. It’s all just stories about other people and places that do not exist in this universe.

SUCKER: Because you live in rural Upstate NY, do you have any comments or advice for people who believe/are worried that the only way to establish yourself as an artist is to leave home for a big city?

JOSH THACHER: It doesn’t matter where you are. Just make good art, and put it out there for people to see. What is anyone in the city going to do differently?

SUCKER: Why is it important to share your artwork online as a contemporary artist?

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JOSH THACHER: I don’t think anyone but my close friends and family would know about my artwork if I didn’t have it online. So that’s saying something. I’m not well known at all. My facebook page only has 148 likes, but only about 40 of those people know me in real life, the rest are strangers from all over the place who discovered me through the internet. I also sell my artwork online. I probably wouldn’t be making any money from my art if it weren’t for the internet.

SUCKER: What are your future plans for your artwork and self?

JOSH THACHER: I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing. I have no plans for way into the future. I want to paint more.

SUCKER: Where can we follow you, and purchase your work?

JOSH THACHER:

My facebook page and my Etsy shop
https://www.facebook.com/JoshuaThachersArt/ https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShoppeofTheUniverse?ref=hdr_shop_menu

My Tumblr where I post my poetry, among other things
http://woolharvest.tumblr.com/

And this is where you can find music
https://soundcloud.com/cosmicdogslaughter
https://www.facebook.com/perfectnoise/
https://www.facebook.com/Bersinsuits-177282455759102/
https://www.facebook.com/jennyandthewitch/


NoDAPL and NoAOTM

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

By Jess Petrylak

In light of the recent events in North Dakota, Artist of the Month does not seem applicable in my eyes unless it features the work, feelings and livelihood of the Native American artist. With this in mind, I thought it would be appropriate to compile a small list that merely scratches the surface of historically significant artwork being produced by generations of Native artists.

If you are, or know of anyone that creates autobiographical work (visual art, music, writings, etc.) that is also of Indigenous heritage (no, not if you’re 1/26th), please email me at jess@suckermagazine.com. We would be more than honored to feature you and give your voice a platform.

And please, help support the Standing Rock Sioux by participating in one or more of the following:

  1. Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at 701-328-2200. When leaving a message stating your thoughts about this subject please be professional.

  2. Sign the petition to the White House to Stop DAPL: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/…/stop-construction…

  3. Donate to support the Standing Rock Sioux at http://standingrock.org/…/standing-rock-sioux-tribe…/

  4. Donate items from the Sacred Stone Camp Supply List: http://sacredstonecamp.org/supply-list/
  1. Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414. Tell President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  1. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund: https://fundrazr.com/d19fAf
  2. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp gofundme account: https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp
  1. Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reverse the permit: (202) 761-5903
  2. Sign other petitions asking President Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Here’s the latest to cross my desk – https://act.credoaction.com/sign/NoDAPL
  1. Call the executives of the companies that are building the pipeline:
    a. Lee Hanse Executive Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6455 Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com
    b. Glenn Emery Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6762 Glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com
    c. Michael (Cliff) Waters Lead Analyst Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 1300 Main St. Houston, Texas 77002 Telephone: (713) 989-2404 Michael.Waters@energytransfer.com– Jess Petrylak, Sucker Magazine’s Art Editor

 

 

Edmonia Lewis
(July 4, 1844 – September 17, 1907)

Edmonia Lewis was the first woman of African American and Native American (Mississauga Ojibwe) heritage to be recognized to achieve recognition and fame in the fine arts world. Through the stylization of neoclassical sculpture, Lewis incorporated themes relating to being a double minority in America. Lewis’ career began to emerge during the Civil War era.

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Edmonia Lewis

 

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Edmonia Lewis. Forever Free

 

Mavis Doering

(August 31, 1929 – 2007)

An esteemed basket weaver, Doering incorporated elements of traditional Cherokee basket techniques with her own personal flair. She had once stated, “Basket weaving offers many things to me and, as a third generation weaver. I strive to do the best job I can so that my people would be proud”. Doering made her baskets from scratch, collecting her own natural dyes, hulls and leaves in her home state of Oklahoma.

mavis-doering

Mavis Doering, Keeper of the Flame

 

Kenojuak Ashevak

(October 3, 1927 – January 8, 2013

Ashevak, a Native Canadian, is considered the most notable pioneer in modern Inuit art. After her father’s tragic death, Ashevak was taught traditional crafts by her mother and grandmother as a young child. Kenojuak Ashevak became one of the first Inuit women in Cape Dorset to begin drawing.

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Kenojuak Ashevak

 

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Kenojuak Ashevak, Timmiaruqsimajuq (Bird Woman Transformation)

 

Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty

(1969 – present)

Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty was born in Castro Valley, California, however, her family comes from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, where Juanita spent much of her childhood. Juanita was taught the art of bead and quillwork by her mother, who is also an acclaimed artist and often collaborates with her daughter. Juanita’s work is very labor intensive, gathering nearly everything she utilizes.

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Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty

 

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Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty, Give Away Horses

 

Helen Cordero

(June 15, 1915 – July 24, 1994)

Cordero was a lifelong resident and traditional potter of Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico. She was renowned for her storyteller pottery figurines which were based upon the traditional “singing mother” motif. Cordero “followed a traditional way of life including digging her own clay and preparing her own pigments.” She used three types of clay, all sourced near her home of Cochiti Pueblo. Cordero’s work can be found in the Museum of International Folk Art and the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, and the Brooklyn Museum.

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Helen Cordero

 

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Helen Cordero, Cochiti Pueblo Storyteller with 14 Children

Artist Of The Month – OCTOBER 2016: BLACKBLONDEIMAGES

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Interview by Jess Petrylak

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I MET TREVON LAST SPRING AT A BERNIE SANDERS RALLY IN THE BRONX; IT WAS A VERY QUICK INTERACTION, HE HAD ASKED MY BOYFRIEND IF HE COULD TAKE A PORTRAIT OF HIM IN THE CROWD. THIS WAS A VERY DEFINITIVE MOMENT FOR ME AS A PERSON, AND AN ARTIST. I WAS VERY INSPIRED BY TREVON’S FEARLESSNESS, GRACEFULLY MARCHING THROUGH THE CROWD ASKING STRANGERS FOR THEIR PORTRAITS, WHICH I COULD ONLY IMAGINE WAS A DIFFICULT TASK IN ITSELF; I WAS ALSO WARMED BY THE FACT THAT HE SAW SOMETHING SPECIAL AND BEAUTIFUL IN PEOPLE HE DIDN’T KNOW. I AM HONORED TO HAVE INTERVIEWED AND SUPPORT  SOMEONE WHO HAD SHOWN ME SUCH CONFIDENCE IN THEIR ARTISTRY. THANK YOU TREVON!

– Jess

SUCKER: Who is Black Blonde Images?

BLACKBLONDEIMAGES: My name is Trevon Blondet, I was born and raised and educated in the Bronx. And BlackBlondeImages is the name of the gallery on Instagram where I share my photographs and my message.

SUCKER: What was your first experience with a camera? Did your artistic career start with photography?

BBI: My first experience with a camera is when dad always took photos and I always play with the film container. He had tons of slides. I was the kid who used to bring my disposable camera, and photograph class trips. I took 3 credits of photography in undergrad as an elective. That wasn’t enough to be fluent in the dark room.  I few years ago I bought my first digital camera. A Canon Rebel.  I was off and running. As a kid, I was always interested in the music.

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SUCKER: Almost all of your images are monochromatic, what is the reasoning behind this? How do you decide if a photograph should be in color or black and white?

BBI: The first exhibits I went to that left an impact on me, most of the photographs were black and white. Mainly those photographers were too poor to spend the extra money to buy and process color film. When I started to figure out what subject matter I wanted to capture, I stripped away the colors to focus on the message.  If there is something very dynamic about the color in the photo I will leave it in color. Usually I convert it to monochrome to my liking. I mainly shoot street photography, sports, concerts and portrait not in that order.

SUCKER: Who are some of your favorite visual artists?

BBI: That’s a tough question…I’ve meet a lot of  muralist and painters in recent years and I’ve become friends of a few of them, So my favorite visual artists are my friends.

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SUCKER: How did you transition from taking photographs to making a career out of it?

BBI: I still have a 9 – 5, but I starting taking my camera every where and I began to hone my craft. Once I joined the Bronx Photo League, my photography got better exponentially. Being around a group of people who genuinely want to see you become a better shooter; they nurtured the environment that different types of photographers where you get inspired.  The BPL forced me to become better at my craft all around. It made me more aware about my community. That was showcased at Photoville with the Bronx Documentary Center container, where we highlighted a 2 mile stretch on Jerome Ave. in the Bronx. Photo book: Jerome Avenue Workers Project. From that work, I got published in the NYTimes and Metro News. I have had a few assignments for the Riverdale Press, Bronx Times and Crain’s 5Boros. It’s a start for other projects coming up.

SUCKER: What is the most challenging thing about working with an urban landscape and portraiture photography? What’s the easiest?

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BBI: I guess the tough  part is approaching people and asking someone to take your portrait.  It’s also it’s challenging being rejected. I doesn’t bother me too much, but at first I would completely shut down and stop taking pictures for the day.  The easiest part is when people walk up to you and ask for a picture. Some people want their story told and picture taking.

SUCKER: What kind of camera(s) and editing software do you use?

BBI: I have a: Canon 60D w/ Tamron Lens 24mm-70mm, canon telephoto lens 70mm-200mm, and canon 50mm, Fuji X-Pro 1  35mm, and Canonet QL17RF 35mm (film camera). Lightroom software, Snapseed (Google based app)

SUCKER: What is your go-to art making song?

BBI: The music really depends on my mood. There was a period time when I only listened to jazz while I was shooting  because I gave me peace to let my mind wander a bit and see things differently.

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SUCKER: Your work gives narrative behind the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, and coincides with living in the Bronx. What does your process look like in terms of your theme? Has it changed at all over the years?

BBI: I started to photograph the Bronx; and her residents and neighborhoods and the culture that lives there. When Black Lives Matter movement kicked off I felt I had to use my images to show, individually, each person matters. I started to finding people and started using the #TheyMatter,  or her or she matter. (I didn’t create the #) I take portraits of men, women, transgender, LGBTQ, kids, or senior citizens because they all matter. I went to a few Black Lives Matter movement events in the Bronx, but most of the marches and rallies are in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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SUCKER: Did you get a higher education in art? How did this decision help you?

BBI: I graduated with a Fine Arts – Communication Degree, but I wouldn’t call myself a Art Major. I learned most everything I know from the Bronx Documentary Center and that was the best decision I ever made.

SUCKER: Have you had any bad experiences when asking strangers to take their photograph? Any good experiences?

BBI: When I actively shooting the “NO” was the worse thing. No one has every threatened me or anything. If they agree to take a portrait, I consider a gift and it always pleasant to receive a gift. Also, it’s nice when people recognized the person if I post it to Instagram. That’s why I photograph the Bronx.

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SUCKER: Why is it important in the 21st century to be active online as an artist?

BBI: Photography provides immediacy depending on year gear. It tells you a whole without words, or a few photos with poignant text is like a novel. Photography can sell the recent trends of fashion. Everything is more visual these days and with a camera you tell a story and upload it within seconds.

SUCKER: What is the best advice you could give to aspiring young photographers?

BBI: It’s import to keep up with what everyone one is doing; it should spark ideas. I think also finding mentors and mentees is important to be active online. Criticisms can be complementary, and online you can get some good constructive criticisms.

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SUCKER: What are your plans for your future art and future self?

BBI: I will continue to get better as a photojournalist and try to show the Bronx in a positive light.


SUCKER: Where can we buy your art and contact you?

BBI: I have a friend working on my website it should be complete in October, but you can DM me on Instagram (@BLACKBLONDEIMAGES) and we’ll figure it out from there. I have 8 x 10’s and 11 x 14’s prints of my favorite photographs.

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AOTM September 2016: Beth Murphy Morrison

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Interview by Jess Petrylak

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Beth Murphy Morrison

SUCKER: Who is Beth Murphy Morrison?

BETH MURPHY MORRISON: I’m a seventeen year old artist and student from Northern Ireland. I like to create colourful pieces exploring the theme of body positivity, self love and the connection between ourselves and the beauty that is found in nature in my art as I find it’s a good way to celebrate self expression.


SUCKER: What is your preferred medium(s) to work with?

BMM: If I had to choose a favourite media it would definitely be a tie between watercolour and gouache. I love the freedom of expression I have when I’m working with watercolour, as in my experience even the mistakes that I inevitably make while painting with it serve only to add character and beauty to the piece, forcing me to step outside of my plans and assess how I can improve. However, I also adore and the strength of colour and versatility of gouache. It’s incredibly useful for an art style like mine, due to the thick consistency that lends itself to heavy linework.

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Beth Murphy Morrison

SUCKER: Reminiscent to Art Nouveau paintings/illustrations, you are influenced a lot by naturalistic elements, such as plants/flowers, crystals and the female form. Modernizing this classic style, you mainly work with imagery of women of all shapes/colors and LGBTQ themes. What do you hope your work illustrates to the world?

BMM: My main hope with my work has always been to celebrate the parts of us that are too often looked down upon or ignored by our peers, ourselves and the media, and to improve the representation of different bodies, sexualities, genders and ethnicities within art. While I’m heavily inspired by beautiful, stylistic Art Nouveau movement, I don’t see a whole lot of variety in what is shown to be beautiful. I am inspired by stomach rolls and stretch marks and acne and I have always wanted women to be able to look at the people I create and see themselves, their sisters, and their mothers in them. Every time somebody tells me that I have helped them feel more at home in their skin I feel like I have achieved a huge goal. I enjoy drawing the women among flowers and other natural, organic elements because I can show the similarities between our bodies patterns and those we find in the natural world. A woman with stretch marks beside flowers with huge veins, a woman with acne compared to a geode and crystals, a woman with body hair surrounded by cacti. It makes the person viewing them perceive what is usually shown to be a flaw as a natural and necessary part of the art. I hope my art illustrates that every single part of us is natural and beautiful and should be celebrated rather than hidden or changed.


SUCKER: What is your first experience with art? How do believe you have grown overall as an artist?

BMM: The first memory I have of anything art related is my mother explaining a Picasso painting to me. I come from an incredibly artistic family, with my grandfather, mother and sister all being very artistically talented, so art has always been part of my life. I began drawing when I first learned to hold a pencil and the nurturing and encouragement I received at such a young age is almost definitely the reason I continued with it. Despite this, I would say that I have only began to grow within the last two to three years. While I always had a talent for art, I rarely worked on my techniques and style until I was forced to when I took GCSE art and actually tried to step outside of my comfort zone and develop a new and more interesting style. I had previously fallen into a rut in which I only drew photo-realistic pencil drawings, which, for me personally, didn’t feel rewarding or expressive. Working with more knowledge of artists and mediums definitely helped me grow and it’s something I’d recommend every young artist explore.

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Beth Murphy Morrison

SUCKER: What is your go-to art making song(s)?

BMM: I’m a huge fan of musical theatre, so i always keep a playlist on my phone with a mixture of my favourite soundtracks which I stick on and sing along with as I work. At the minute I like to listen to Hamilton, Rocky Horror and Les Miserables. if I’m not in that sort of mood though I find artists like Hozier and Fleetwood Mac put me at ease while I work.


SUCKER: Heavy contrast is part of your stylistic approach to creating art, in your experience does overworking a piece ruin it?

BMM: For me, it definitely does. Often times simplicity is the best route to go down if you’re uncertain. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been forced to scrap one of my pieces after I let myself get carried away and either destroyed the paper I was using or overcrowded the painting itself. It’s never a pleasant feeling, and even when the piece is salvageable, it won’t feel the same way my other, more successful attempts do.


SUCKER: What physical and emotional environment is the best for you to work in?

BMM: I prefer to work alone most of the time due to the fact that I’m ridiculously easy to distract, and when I’m in other people’s company I tend to get sucked into speaking to them rather than being focused entirely on whatever I’m working on. I also tend to work best in a positive mood, because with the style of work I do I am always focused on portraying positivity and happiness. . When I work in a bad mood I find that that will affect my colour schemes and the general feeling of the piece, and I will likely be less happy with the end result.
Physically I’m not too fussy. As long as I am somewhere comfortable I can generally make it work. A lot of the time I paint sitting cross legged on my bed, leaning on whatever hard surface I can find. It’s unfortunately not the most professional set up, but hopefully I’ll actually get myself a desk soon.


SUCKER: What is something you absolutely would not do within your artwork?

BMM: There aren’t a whole lot of boundaries I have in terms of subject matter, however  If I felt that something I had created had the capacity to be harmful to someone, for instance, by promoting stereotypes, being culturally insensitive or by romanticising eating disorders, self harm or substance abuse I would immediately get rid of it. Other than that, I’m open to exploring a range of different themes within my work.

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Beth Murphy Morrison


SUCKER: Do you experiment with other forms of art other than illustration?

BMM: I have experimented in the past with different art forms, such as sculpting and digital art, however I found that none of them suited me as well as illustration does, as I enjoy the process of painting and sketching. Although I would really like to gain more experience with different art forms as I believe it’s incredibly important for growth, and I would absolutely like to try to improve my skills in a range of areas in the future.


SUCKER: What does your art making process look like? How long does it usually take to create a piece?

BMM: Usually when I’m working I like to start with a sketch or clean linework and then begin to layer. My process usually adapts to work with whatever media I am using at the time but I generally enjoy working in segments and will prefer to focus on one part of the piece at a time to make sure it gets the right amount of attention. More often than not, I start at the face and work outward, because that’s the part I enjoy most. When working with fast drying paint, which I usually do, I mix my colours as I go to avoid them drying out as I work. The amount of time spent on a piece for me varies, and can take anywhere from 4 hours to 70 hours, depending on the size of the painting and what I’m using to make it, but if it is as small as A4 I can usually finish it in around four or five hours.


SUCKER: Your work involves very vibrant, saturated colors; How do you make color decisions? Does color transcend the meaning behind your work?

BMM: I wouldn’t say I use colour to display meaning, but I do use it to portray moods at times and I find that the colour decisions I make change as I get a feel of the “personality” the subject I’m painting displays. I like to choose bright colours if I want the piece to show someone powerful or joyful and I like to use duller colours or purples to show someone peaceful and calm. People tend to associate different colours with different emotions, like yellow with happy or angry with red, so playing with these ideas can be good when displaying emotion in art.

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Beth Murphy Morrison


SUCKER: What is your ultimate goal involving the arts?

BMM: Ultimately, I would love to get into tattoo art and continue to sell commissions. I think that the stylistic approach I like to take with my pieces would transfer well into tattoos due to my love of linework, and, like all artists, I would also hope that at some point in my career I would be able to have my work displayed in galleries. In the more immediate future I would like to attend university to study Fine Art.


SUCKER: Who are your biggest inspirations within the visual arts world?

BMM: I’m really inspired by artists such as Frida Kahlo, Klimt, Alphonse Mucha and Egon Schiele, because they are all artists who explore a somewhat surreal style of portraiture which has heavily influenced my own work. Frida Kahlo’s unapologetic self expression and the celebration of her features has always played a part in my exploration of self love, and the unique body types both Klimt and Schiele portray is somewhat mirrored in many of my drawings. I’ve always felt very fond of Mucha’s work because body types he portrays look realistic and attainable, and I admire and the classic elegance that all of the women in his work seem to possess.

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Beth Murphy Morrison


SUCKER: You have recently painted on the back of your jean jacket, could you see yourself venturing into creating more custom made clothing pieces?

BMM: Definitely! I’ve already started on a second jacket and I have plans to buy more denim clothing in bulk and begin to make as many as possible to sell at markets, as well as creating custom clothing on request. It’s an incredibly fun way for me to create something new that can actually be used and it’s something a lot of people have expressed an interest in, so in the near future, I will hopefully be making a ton of new items.

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Beth Murphy Morrison

SUCKER: Why is it important as a contemporary artist, to share your work online?

BMM: I think that if you are trying to gain success as a contemporary artist you would have to be absolutely crazy not to have some sort of online presence, whether that be a promotional page on Facebook, an Etsy store or even an Instagram. The internet, and social media in particular, are incredibly powerful tools for creating a name for yourself and spreading awareness of your work outside of your own small bubble of acquaintances. The truth of the matter is that the internet is incredibly important for marketing yourself and getting your name out there for people to come across, and your chances of success are going to be much higher with that support behind you.


SUCKER: What is the best advice you had received as an artist?

BMM: Probably that you should listen constructive criticism, because as an artist it’s really important that you listen to the advice and tips that you are given by other artists or the people buying your work. While it may be difficult to acknowledge that you don’t always know best and that not everything you create will please everyone, taking constructive criticism on board will help you grow a lot faster and improve your work drastically. This doesn’t mean you always have to agree with the criticism, but acknowledging it and respecting different perspectives of your work can be really helpful.


SUCKER: Your linework is graphic, but hardly linear. What do soft, curved lines do for your work, contrasted with the graphic highlights and shadows?

BMM: I mainly use softer, more curved lines because of the movement and the easy flow they give the piece. I find that harsher, more linear lines can at times make the subject seem stiff and rigid, which is never an effect I’m fond of in my own work, or else they can make the entire piece slightly too harsh when coupled with the highlights and block colours I enjoy using. I find that when the soft linework is coupled with the more graphic elements of the piece it finishes the painting and it works as a whole, rather than overtaking other details and becoming the main focus.

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Beth Murphy Morrison


SUCKER: What is next for your future art and future self?

BMM: In terms of my future art, I’d really like  to further refine my current art style, while also experimenting with new subject matter and art forms to round out my abilities. I also want to begin to sell prints as well as commissions and will be doing so as soon as possible.Because I’m currently in my final year of high school, my future self for the time being will be focusing on getting into a good university and maintaining a balance of school and art, and will be selling custom clothing and commissions when she has the time, and will hopefully be creating an online store as soon as possible.


SUCKER: Where can we contact you, follow you and buy your art?

BMM: Currently my only public social media is Instagram, and you can find me and contact me there @fairyhands, and while I  don’t have an online shop at the minute, I will be creating one in the near future!

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Beth Murphy Morrison

Emma Magenta: Artist of the Month – July 2016

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Interview by Jess Petrylak

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Emma Magenta

Who is Emma Magenta?

I am an artist, author and now I’m heading into film making.

In your TEDx talk, you stated that with art and writing you attempt to map the terrain of the collective emotional landscape, and describe yourself as as a cartographer of the heart. What does this mean in terms of your artistic process?

I guess through my process of these two mediums, writing and drawing, I undertake my mission to base jump into my own darkness, collective unconscious and all matters to do with inner world to understand the invisible forces at play in us all. I imagine myself sometimes as a kind of Indiana Jones undertaking missions to find the treasures hidden are I’ve surpassed the challenges facing me as I look at at the unlovable, the painful and the destructive aspects in myself. I go to these places and my drawings and writings are landmarks i leave behind as possible help for those making the same journey. My process is basically this to help myself and maybe create something meaningful.

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Emma Magenta

What is your first memory with art?

It was seeing my mum’s sketchbook in our foreboding floor to ceiling library as a kid. It blew me away that she had this secret talent, she was an exhibiting ceramicist, so I traveled a lot as a kid for her shows. Drawing was always something I always did and didn’t think about it except that it gave me freedom and pleasure to do so. I always poured over comic books and the tipped-in plates in rare books in my father’s library. I guess my first experience of drawing being “art” was when I spent my lunchtimes at school in the library and read every book there was on Modern Art and I felt that these artists were my people, I felt for the first time, understood. I never thought I wasn’t an artist until after I finished art school and saw how the contemporary art scene was the opposite of creativity and it killed my mojo.

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Emma Magenta

 

When visually portraying an emotion, what are some indicators you utilize, other than text, that gets your message across? Are there any recurring symbols?

I have my own symbolic language that was born out of keeping my visual language as simple as possible while conveying as much as I could. I used a lot of math signs such as equations, plus and minus symbols to convey positive and negative emotions, division symbol for feeling divided or confused. The human body for me is the ultimate tool for me to convey emotion and body parts doing certain things to express what is happening internally, such as the hair taking on a life force of it’s own. The hair for me is about thoughts that we have not surrendered thought patterns, contained ideas and cosmic consciousness at it’s best. Cutting hair is often used to release such thought history and growing it long is nostalgia in a way. Feet for me are our unconscious steps and I often use bird feet to show fragility and not being grounded. Blood tears is about ancestral pattern release and may appear negative but is actually the essential process of transforming one’s own darkness. Animals as well are used to convey the symbolic meaning of the animal such as foxes being sneaky, wolves are the instinctive part of the masculine, birds are the higher aspects of the spiritual dimensions of the human, cats are intuition and dogs are loyalty. Nature is always for me the source of all metaphoric glory, I derive all my inspiration from nature.

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Emma Magenta

 

Are there any emotions that are too hard to portray? Too easy?

The works that people respond to the most are my very hopeful pieces which is natural, people don’t want to be looking all the time at the darkness. I began to introduce the darker side into my work, because that was what I was experiencing and I make my work to understand myself, not to appeal to an audience. A lot of what I have been doing of late is confronting for some people who have enjoyed my more Anne of Green Gables era of drawing, but that is the price i have to pay for being authentically where i am at. Having said that, the work that I am doing of late is opening me up to a new audience who are prepared to accept that life is not just a feel good mantra on a Facebook meme. I don’t struggle to draw the darkness, of late I am finding it harder to draw the whimsical, the über hopeful, but I can only be true to where I am at if I want to call myself an artist.

 

Your work is composed of simple but confident lines, and primary colors. How do these add to your message?

I think the style is actually where the artistry resides and also is not separate from the message. Most people look at it and think a child could do that and I say thank you. It is not easy to draw unencumbered by years of adulthood should’s and should not’s. Some people view my work through a very conservative lens of “art should look like this, but not that” I think the simplicity shocks people sometimes and they miss the point. The point is that the simplicity is a juxtaposition of the deeper message. I am merging the best parts of the child and adult into the one moment, such as the innocence, playfulness, emotional honesty of the child and the wisdom, experience and insight of being an adult.

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Emma Magenta

 

What other visual artists do you look to for inspiration?

Unfortunately Frida Kahlo has been hijacked by Art Capitalism and turned into a fridge magnet and shopping bag, but i have loved her since i was 15. Her independence, politics, style and honesty. I love Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Louise Bourgious, Bill Viola, but to be honest, I have stopped looking at other artist’s work for inspiration as i see them more with appreciation. I derive all my inspiration from nature, observing human behaviour, books, conversations and meditation.

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Emma Magenta

 

During what part of the artistic process do you feel most yourself?

Drawing for me is when I come in to the true essence of myself. It is when the intellect is dissolved and the heart is in control. Writing is more of a skin shedding process like I’m trying to exorcise demons. The best part of me emerges when the space between the intellect and intuition merges and I am no longer myself, but everything. That is when I do my best work and am the happiest being alive.

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Emma Magenta

 

What is your go-to art making song?

It used to be Arvo Pärt, but now it’s ambient electronic artists like Dead Texan, Steve Roach, Harold Budd or 1970’s over toning singer David Hykes. Some times, Kate Bush or Bjork, but that is only if I’m not trying to pull down new ideas.

 

How do you decide what phrase or wording represents the emotion you’re depicting?

I don’t think too much about it. I guess I just wait for the feeling of what I want to say and then I wait for the words to construct in my head and then I wait for the feeling in the belly of certainty. I am always writing, thinking and constructing ideas in my head so it’s just a matter of pulling something down.

 

Why is it important as a contemporary artist to share your work online?

I used to struggle with the online world as my process is so organic and non techno and being a nature lover and all, but the beauty of online is that you’re simultaneously connected to people all around the globe while never having to leave your studio. It is a great tool to share your work and also take out the middle man, the vampires all wanting a piece of your creativity and pushing you into a tight box of how your work should be seen. I’m tired of that shit. I became tired of not being the one in the driver’s seat of my own creations. I am interested in connecting with people not just dialoguing with other artists in a narrow world of “experts”. I am more interested in people honestly connecting with my work, being online as opposed to physical galleries is that it helps you reach a broader range of people. Also, no one cares about your work as much as you do, so you have to love it like a child and take responsibility for it’s path in the world and the online process is more autonomous…for now.

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Emma Magenta

 

What is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you in the studio? What’s the best?

Commissions with a brief are the worst. The worst. Sometimes they can help you think about your process in a new way, but rarely. Usually it is someone trying to squeeze your style into their average concept and usually it is a very twee feel good creation that makes my dark side grow stronger. Magazine work is usually my top Never Again thing to do, no, wedding present drawings actually are my all time low. The best thing is being left alone with no concern of where the work is going to end up and creating without external pressure or deadlines, no exhibitions and just making work to unfold something I’m trying to understand about myself. Once in an old warehouse studio in the city when I was 23, I was so in the zone, of my work, I left my body but was still in the room and i was filled with such an indescribable ecstasy that I was timeless and I became everything that has ever existed or will exist. That was my best studio moment.

 

You speak about the connection between growing older and the progression of censoring emotions in your TEDx talk. Why is it important to shed that censorship? How can it help the artist?

I feel like have I kept my child self intact and always see the world through the child eyes, so adults have always seemed so unhappy and I could never figure out why. It’s like I saw that they were always lying to themselves or taking on false roles to fill someone else’s agenda. It never made sense to me, until I became and adult myself, I saw how we get sucked in by our generational attitudes to how we should be. I was in my 20’s in the 90’s so irony and sarcasm were like social cues to kneel before if you were to be included and I just never could. I was always like “we don’t have to be unhappy guys, come on”. Censorship creates a false self and therefore your work as an artist is false and is buying into the strict codes of whatever era you’re passing through. It is this fear of not being included by your peers, but a true artist must be brave enough to walk alone if they have to and not be concerned if they’re not adored by their peers, to not conform, to trailblaze into deeper and deeper truths and realities IF they want to create meaningful work. If they just want a career that leads to a show at MOMA, then sure, conform and fill out those grant applications and dwindle your creativity down into the criteria of a panel of experts.

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Emma Magenta

 

Do you believe art school creates “anti-artists”?

It depends on the art school and what era you go there. It’s better to get technical skills than theoretical skills in my opinion. Because art schools are now becoming privatized or they are here in Australia, it will mean a diminished education and more hoops to jump through to fulfill government criteria agenda. Doesn’t sound like a good place for artists. But then sometimes yes, it will make you become a better more accurate artist because you have seen that even the art world has succumbed to the tyranny of the system and you’re basically own your own. This is very freeing and i hope art school creates more anti-artists but not to be cool. I just want to see integrity, honesty, talent and work that speaks to me. I don’t want to read a manifesto on why you are creating visual art unless it’s in book format. Academia has killed art, but has pushed the ownership of creativity back onto the artist if they’re willing to walk it with brave autonomy.

 

What is the best advice you have ever received as an artist?

It was actually from no one. Everyone around me was adhering to art history and academia so I was alone. The best advice was something I gave to myself and it was this: “Give up art, accept that right now you’re an athlete, draw for fun, draw what you want and feel. It is your world and therefore the only rules are the ones you give yourself, the flaw is the entry point for invention of new aesthetic combinations.”  So I did and here I am.

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Emma Magenta

 

What is your plans for future art and your future self?

I exhibit my work in this remote mountain gallery, but I just won money to write and direct my first film that will be a combination of live action, magical realism and animation. I made an animation a few years ago for The ABC called The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch and this is my first short film called Remembering Agatha. It’s about a mother of 2 in a flagging marriage who finds a portal through the dishwasher to the forest of her child self. I’ve been writing the treatment and script since August last year and it will showcase in October 2017. I’ve been working on an accompanying illustrated novella as well. It looks like the film world is opening up to me with this and another project afterwards, i’m just going to explore it as a new medium. My future self is creating work, making books, films, drawings, making a new straw bale studio in my backyard, camping, building my vegetable garden. I’m involved in a community garden project next year so there’s that to focus on as well, lots of bush walks and longer term: constructing a community multi-platform production studio under my company name Cellar & The Attic.

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Emma Magenta

 

Where can we contact you, buy and view your work?

My website will be up this year, but  for now you can view/buy and contact me through the following:
https://www.facebook.com/BrainPornNinja/
https://twitter.com/BrainPornNinja
https://www.instagram.com/emma_magenta/
http://www.hathillgallery.com.au

Selena Ruiz: Artist of the Month – June 2016

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Interview by Jess Petrylak

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Who is Selena Ruiz?


Selena Ruiz is a 20 year girl born and raised in Riverside, California.

What was your first experience with makeup?

I would say when I was about 11 years old I would apply NYX black pencil liner all over my waterline and smudge it out. I wouldn’t dare try liquid liner back then, I thought winged liner would never happen for me.

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Where did your inspiration first stem from?

When my mom died in 2012, I started wearing makeup way more than I ever had before. I felt it was a way of coping.

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Your makeup style showcases and argues the theory that makeup truly is art. How do you believe makeup factors into the art world?

I don’t understand people who do not think makeup is art. How is it not? It takes inspiration, vision, structure, blending shades, product placement, etc. My face is a canvas.

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Who are some of your favorite makeup artists?

I love many, but Roshar (@rosharofficial) is the only makeup artist I aspire to be.

How do you decide which design to create on a daily basis? Does color choice play into that as well?

I usually go based off the look I did the previous day. At the end of the day, I’ll look at my makeup in a mirror and think of other ways I could’ve done it, like what other lines/shapes I could’ve connected or drawn. I just keep building off what I do.

What are some of your favorite products?

Sephora’s Liquid Liner, Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder, anything Sugarpill Cosmetics, and NARS Makeup Removing Water.

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What makeup style do you feel most comfortable in? Empowered? Vulnerable?

I feel most empowered when I have sharp thick wings, over sized top/bottom eye lashes, some glitter highlight, and wearing my favorite brown lip gloss. I feel most vulnerable when I’m not wearing eyelashes, to be honest.

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Do you think makeup companies look down on you or avoid you because of your lifestyle?

I honestly feel they do, I feel a lot of makeup artists and brands avoid me because I’m not strictly a makeup account, and because I post photos of marijuana. If they look down on me for it, that’s unfortunate but I know myself and what I am capable of despite what my Instagram portrays.

You’ve recently been experimenting with adding textures such as gem stones, taped brows, and spiked paper eyelashes. How do these products further your exploration with makeup and art?

Yes! I’ve been experimenting with different objects to apply to makeup because I get bored. Adding these objects to my makeup looks have really given me a lot of inspiration to find out how far I could take it and what could become.

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What is the worst comment you have received on your makeup style? What is the best?

I don’t even consider the negativity I get. There’s a lot of people who think my makeup is trash, but not compared to how many people think my makeup is great. I think the best comment I’ve received was from @shrinkle (owner of Sugarpill Cosmetics); She told me how much her and her friends admire me, and how much she loves my creativity. Also, I have to add, when I went to IMATS this year, Kim Chi came up to me and complimented the hell out of my makeup. I nearly fainted. And, oh wait, once, Kat Von D liked a makeup photo of mine. I cried.

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What does your makeup process look like?

Well after I smoke, I get started with my skin, brows, shadow, liner, lashes, highlight, contour/blush, lips, and then, whatever I feel like gluing on my face that day.

What is your go-to song to listen to when getting ready?
Bam Bam – Sister Nancy

Which decade of makeup do you take the most inspiration from? Why?

I take a lot of inspiration from 90’s editorial makeup. I admire the rawness. They would include props on already very intense looks. Very fearless. I find it badass.

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What is your response to people inferring that women wear makeup to please men?

LOL

What is your experience with education and makeup artistry?

I’m a high school graduate and am currently attending My Beauty Mark Makeup Academy. The only makeup artistry experiences I have are from the courses I take at school, so far: prince inspired makeup, a full face makeup course, and a moodboard makeup course.

You are undoubtedly a pioneer of pushing graphic liner into another realm, changing how people view makeup itself, and truly creating a style unique to you. Have you noticed your influence on makeup artists on the internet and in real life?

Wow thank you. People do looks inspired by me often and will tag me in them on Instagram. I think it’s cool that people actually feel inspired enough to go out of their comfort zones and do some unusual makeup. I do notice other artists switch it up a bit and try something I would do, but I don’t blame them, I just get kind of irritated when I don’t receive credit.

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What is next for you? What are your plans and your plans for your future makeup looks?

As of now, I’m just waiting to finish makeup school, and see what happens from there. Due to experience, I find it hard to plan ahead of time. Nothing is certain, but of course it would be my dream to pursue an actual career in makeup. I want to succeed. And as for makeup looks… stay tuned️.

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Where can we follow you, stay updated and contact you?

I’m pretty active on Instagram: @anythingforselenaaas, and I also have a tumblr! Follow me at  spock-ho.tumblr.com.

The Story of May’s Missing Artist of the Month

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Comic by Rhianna Grace Henson

Words by Madison Killian


 All of our regular Sucker readers may have noticed that this month, our usual monthly highlight of underground kick-ass artists was MIA. 

We had been in contact with a fairly well know Vine star and artist, Nicholas Megalis- whom we were all fans of and thought the world of. He had agreed to be our artist of the month! 

After weeks of back and forth and getting jerked around, schedule changes, and still no interview- morale was low in Sucker Magazine’s art department.

Before we knew it- it was halfway through April and our artist of the month had still not given us the interview. 

It was then that the dark haired online King went on a quite misinformed Twitter rant encouraging his followers to skip college- a viable option for some, but not the most opportune or informed decision for many. 

We realized we may have been better off without said artist of the month- but in the spirit of being honest (and unmerciful), enjoy this comic strip.

We will always be honest with you guys, and we will also probably always be assholes. 

Enjoy…

rhianna comic 2

Megan Schaller: Artist of the Month – April 2016

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Interview by Jess Petrylak

 

julian casablancas

Julian Casablancas, Megan Schaller

 

Who is Megan Schaller?

She’s a pop culture enthusiast whose basic needs are fulfilled by “Tasty” Facebook videos and the affection of her 5-year-old Toshiba laptop. Viewer discretion advised; all characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Nothing she does is intended to be taken seriously, although she often questions if her own world would be more beautiful with less levity.

 

big grams x goldmine junkie

Big Grams x Goldmine Junkie, Megan Schaller

 


Your preferred medium is Microsoft Paint. What does that offer you that other mediums cannot?

Primarily, it offers a warm nostalgia, as well as comfort. Growing up as a digital kid, I first fell in love with art through hours and hours of Microsoft Paint play on the glitchy family desktop. There’s something romantic and slightly badass about using a tool so simple and universal. The digital art landscape is an incredible place, but so many brilliant people are discouraged from contributing due to lack of access to expensive digital tools (Photoshop, crazy expensive cameras). Microsoft Paint is my revolt.

 

 

wabi sabi

Wabi Sabi, Megan Schaller

 


Who are other visual artists you look to for inspiration?

I’m infatuated with classic comic book art and comic-inspired artists. Of course, Lichtenstein is a biggie. Nam Jun Paik inspires me with his liberal use of bright, exciting color; Laurie Simmons’s portraits drew me to the idea of portrait work. On an internet scale, I recently was introduced to the art of Polly Nor and fell in love. She’s a superhero, and I love scrolling through her instagram.  

 

alice glass x start again

Alice Glass x Start Again, Megan Schaller

 

 


How does your art making process usually go?

I mass-produce musician portrait artwork like Model-T’s. When I was younger, I would choose to draw whoever’s music was stuck in my head at the moment. I would open up a google image and practice tracing over it with my stylus to get the shape. Then, I’d transfer that wrist-flick to MS Paint in another tab. As I matured, I got better at eyeing shapes and sizes. I’ve probably drawn 750+ separate portraits using Microsoft Paint, and the practice has gifted me with a strange knack for spatial relationships. I draw portraits when I’m bored during class or half-asleep before bed. The familiarity of the process comforts me during these sporadic times.

 

 

bowie

Bowie, Megan Schaller

 


How do you choose which colors you are going to use within a piece? How does color help your drawing aesthetic?

The majority of my MS Paint portraits contain the same 5-or-6 pastel colors. I’m not a huge fan of pastels, and greatly prefer moody reds, purples, blues, and blacks, or ridiculously bright neons. However, I wanted to use color and line as a commentary of the current, digital age. Pastel has become its own culture within the tech babies of today, and it’s a palette that young digital kids identify with. I use it as both a satire of and nod to my own universe. These are pastel years.

 

 

beyonce x formation

Beyonce x Formation, Megan Schaller

 


What is the hardest facial feature to depict with line?

It’s unbelievably difficult to draw eyes with in the line/ minimal-shading style and avoid having them look cheesy. I never draw irises and pupils, and I wish I had a deep, emotional reason as to why I made this artistic choice. In reality, I just don’t want to butcher the pictures.

 

 

zayn x fader

Zayn x Fader, Megan Schaller

 

 

Have any celebrities interacted with you because of your portraits?

One of the coolest things about our digital parallel universe is the ease of which ordinary “anybodys” can communicate with their favorite artists. The access astounds me, and I’m so grateful to every entertainer who takes time to interact with fans of their art. Some of the I started posting my catalog of silly portraits of musicians as a way for thanking them for the impact that they have made on my life. To know that these portraits have made some of them happy is more than I could ever ask for; the only reason I post anything I make online is to make people with a love and respect for music feel good. About 6 months ago, Ryn Weaver contacted me telling me that she was interested in collaborating on designing her tour merchandise, which was wickedly fun.

 

 

gtg

GTG, Megan Schaller

 


What is your first memory working with Microsoft Paint?

I remember trying to recreate scenes from my own life using the paintbucket and mouse. There were a lot of drawings of a little blonde Megan and her cat, although often I just gave up and tried to draw abstract scribbles instead.

 

rock paper scissors

Rock Paper Scissors, Megan Schaller

 

 

What is your go to art making song?

Since the bulk of the art that I make in my casual life is portrait-work of musicians, I often listen to the songs of the musician. For the past few months, I’ve been listening to an awful lot of Empress Of. If I had to choose one song, I’d say Empress Of’s “Woman Is A Word” – or, possibly “Army Dreamers” by Kate Bush. I have a huge crush on Kate Bush.

 

 

bjork x it's oh so quiet

Bjork x It’s Oh So Quiet, Megan Schaller

 


You have recently been incorporating lyrics within your pieces. How do you decide which lyric represents the artist your depicting?

This is a manifestation of my love of Lichtenstein-esque “comic” art, and I’m glad you noticed! I try to choose a lyric that showcases the brilliance of the artist (which is essentially my selfish way of saying “a lyric that I think is universal or clever”), or a lyric that encompasses the theme that they are trying to portray through their body of work. If an artist is promoting a new project, I’ll try to use words to complement that project.

 

 

debbie harry x hanging on the telephone

Debbie Harry x Hanging on the Telephone, Megan Schaller

 


Do you have a favorite celebrity to depict?

I love drawing Julian Casablancas, a man whose sonic wisdom I respect and admire endlessly. His facial features are very unique, as well – and fun (…and better yet, easy) to draw! I also love to draw Grimes, who I believe is one of the most talented – and beautiful – people to ever grace this planet. Björk, too.

 

 

grimes x nylon

Grimes x Nylon, Megan Schaller

 


How long does a piece usually take you?

As I said earlier, I crank musician portraits out like Model-T’s. A piece of an artist that I have drawn before will not take me longer than an hour. I can thank the simplicity of line art, for that!

In what way does your art represent you and the message you want to put out into the world?

A while ago, I came to a standstill where I was wholly uncertain in the art (Microsoft Paint portraits of musicians) I was posting online. I felt as if it was meaningless, even though it was fun and comforting for me to draw, and exciting to share. I’ve come back to believing in the original purpose of my art – sharing a love of music with like-hearted people across the world, and bringing joy to people through innocent instagrams online. If I can make one person feel good for even a second, then I am doing something meaningful.

Offline, I have been working on a series of similar “line art”-style drawings of famous paintings of white, able-bodied women (ex. Mona Lisa, Botticelli’s Venus) with PoC, queer, and disabled women. I look forward to continuing to work on and share this project. Through this, I am finding power through art, while recognizing my own privilege as a white, able-bodied young woman.

 

 

charli xcx x trophy

Charlie XCX x Trophy, Megan Schaller

 


What is the best advice you have ever received in terms of art/the art making process?

Share art online! The internet is an incredible realm of human beings who never stop communicating, sharing, and exploring. If you put something out there, it will be seen. To me, that’s magic. The power is overwhelming.

 

 

war superstar

War Superstar, Megan Schaller

 


What are your future plans for you and your artwork?

My love of digital technology – as well as the realization of the major gender disparity in the field – has inspired me to pursue a career in computer science and engineering. I am excited to bring my artwork – via my half-broken Toshiba laptop – with me as I go off into the world, as that warm constant that has stayed with me since I first played with Microsoft Paint as a little girl. My little hobby has become something so much bigger than myself, and as long as it is a part of me… and my PC computer is running… I will continue to share it with others.

If the computer science thing doesn’t work out, I want to be a professional water bed tester or a high school math textbook model.

 

 

drake x hotline bling

Drake x Hotline Bling, Megan Schaller

 


Where can we follow you, and purchase your artwork?

My outlet for posting anything and everything is @megandoods on instagram.

Although I’ve dabbled in Society6, I find that RedBubble (http://www.redbubble.com/people/megandoods?ref=account-nav-dropdown) is the easiest and cheapest way for me, personally, to sell artwork.