medium /// contemporary




catherine graffam

catherinegraffam

Beautiful and haunting. This is the work of American painter Catherine Graffam. She paints other people too, but her self portraits take my breath away… So. Much. Emotion. Catherine is a transgender woman who explores the complex nature of gender identity. Going through her portfolio chronologically is such a beautiful evolution. Here are her own words about her work:

“Portraits help me better understand the people in my life, including myself, and by painting or drawing I am able to build upon and express relationships. Self portraiture is a way of cathartically process my emotions, and regaining agency over my body.”

Catherine’s work is available on Saatchi Art.





irina & silviu szekely

irinasilviu

Ok, confession time. I have always wanted to chop up my old art history text books, even when they weren’t old! Flipping through the pages of the art world’s greats gave me so many ideas for collages… but I chickened out. You know who didn’t chicken out? Irina and Silviu Szekely, that’s who! They’re a couple from Romania who do everything, including making art, together. They met while studying philosophy in the late 1990s, and have been inseparable ever since. They “raised their son, read to each other, watched films and enjoyed long conversations about everything and nothing, translated philosophy books, travelled, worked, collaged and shot photographs together.” Beautiful.





mandy cao

MANDYCAO

I think I might have dreamt this. Sigh. So lovely and weird. This is the ethereal work of LA based painter Mandy Cao. Apparently her surreal paintings are “inspired by real stories and emotions.” Ok, well now I want to know allllll of those stories… I’m especially curious about that jellyfish being released from his delicate turquoise box… oh yes, I need to know!

Mandy’s work can be seen in a new 4-person show that is going up later this week at the Helikon Gallery in Denver, Colorado. “SUTURE” : NEW WORKS BY YELLENA JAMES, MANDY CAO, SIMON TRAN, & JENSINE ECKWALL. The show opens this Thursday August 4th and runs through until September 3rd, 2016.





“art. therapy.”

emily_barletta1

Oh boy. The work of Brooklyn based artist Emily Barletta blows my mind, and has for years! She is a very talented woman, with an incredible story that I really want to share. Emily was diagnosed with a rare spinal disease when she was in her early teens, and was in a huge amount of pain for years – both because of her back, and because of the bullying she experienced. We’re talking about alllll of that today, but I will slip in a spoiler – yes, she used art to push herself through to the other side. She’s incredibly inspiring, just like her work. If you are a teenager, or if you have a teenager, I think this is a really important episode. You can listen right up there under that insanely beautiful embroidered mound, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Alright, let’s take a peek at the work we talked about. Here are some of Emily’s crochet pieces from a few years ago {this is the work I discovered her through}:

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That first piece is “Pelt” which we mentioned. Isn’t it all so amazing? Art and science falling madly in love!

And then one day she decided to embroider on paper. Excellent decision, Emily:

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So beautiful! Still mainly red, still mainly hump-like. And her work continued to evolve from there. Brace yourself because these are crazy amazing:

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Whoa. I wish I could show you how stunning these are in person. Yes, the photos are lovely, but in person, my goodness! I happen to know this because out of nowhere, Emily sent this to my house:

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Oh. I love it so much! She mentioned how crazy the back of her work is so I took a photo so you could see. And that final image is the pin she has for sale in her shop that totally reminds me of my gorgeous piece [pause in writing] Ok, I just popped over there and got one! YAY!

And finally, her latest work. She talked about “drawn white lines”… they’re kinda drawn, but then embroidered around leaving her lines as un-embroidered negative space. Here are a few final pieces, closeups, and in-progress pieces so you can see her process in action:

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Stun. Ning.

And finally, Emily herself! Here she is with a brand new pixie cut, working on her couch {probably watching bad TV as she creates}, with one of her two tiny pooches by her side, and her “block blanket” behind her. The “block blanket” is one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever heard of! Whenever she was stuck/not feeling it when working on something, she’d take a break and go crochet a few rows of this giant, colorful blanket until she worked her way through the block. LOVE. I may have to take up crochet just for that!

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Thank you so much to Emily for sharing her story. I added a little bit of our “post-interview” conversation in there because she talked about the bullying she suffered through in high school, and the fantastic way she handled it – I just had to share. I know there are teenagers out there who feel alone, but just know that it does get better. Emily is proof.

Thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and thanks to you for listening {high fives to everyone who has left a rating or review over on iTunes… I appreciate those so much!} There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Stumpkins {My craft obsession as a kid}
  2. John Cage’s “Some Rules for Students and Teachers”
  3. True Blood {TV show}
  4. “Mind Over Matter” {Emily’s upcoming show in Florida}
  5. ps. sorry for all of the chip talk – I must have been hungry!

 





ron geibel

rongeibel

“Lick”, a ceramic series by Texas based artist Ron Geibel. I assume you’re not actually allowed to lick any of these dotty desserts, but I’m tempted… they look creamy and delicious from where I’m standing! Happy Friday.





alexis hagestad

alexishagestad

Ok, I’m suddenly in the mood to go thrift shopping… or maybe I’ll just move in with these people! All of these images are from a series, titled “The Heart of Longing”, by American photographer Alexis Hagestad. She just graduated this past spring from Savannah College of Art and Design… I cannot wait to see what lies ahead for her.





caitlin metz

caitlinmetz

I need to hold this in my hands, and flip those hand-made pages, and peek under the delicate layers of tissue. Sigh. This is a collage about gender – in the form of a tiny paper book – and it is the work of American artist Caitlin Metz. That suit jacket. That corset. And I’m pretty sure I can smell those roses. Love.

ps. if you’re a babe who’s into art, check out this group she runs called “babes send things” 





ward roberts

wardroberts

Lonely, pastel places … all of which look like perfect locations for Wes Anderson to shoot a fabulous tennis, and or basketball, film! This is the work of New York based photographer Ward Roberts. How does he find all of these ice cream colored courts? And will he take me with him? *All of these courts are in Hong Kong, except one that’s in New York. Any guesses?

{Some of his work is available via Uprise Art}





andre schulze

andreschulze

Buildings floating in quiet gray spaces, windows lit from within. Yep, I love these paintings by German artist Andre Schulze. Old meets new if you look closely… old architecture with a solid internet connection! Note the @ symbols here and there, the occasional Apple logo on a laptop through one of those rose-colored windows. Love.

{He has a show coming up this fall… it opens on September 15 at F5A by Gallery Z  Stuttgart}





“drawing with porcelain”

katharine_morling1

Oh my goodness, I am in love with everything this woman makes. I am so excited to finally be talking to London based artist Katharine Morling. Her work looks like wonky black & white drawings… that happen to be made of porcelain! I had so many questions about her narratives, her process, and of course her story. Where did the idea for these beauties come from?! You can listen right up there under that lovely “pot of pencils”, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Let’s get started with “Nature Boy”, shall we? He started in this little box, which led to all of the work below him {and there’s even more on her site!}:

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Porcelain cameras?! A butterfly net?! No, no, no… it’s all just too good.

This is the piece Katharine was talking about when she said she’s still not quite sure what it’s actually about! This is “Shifting Diamonds”:

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Gorgeous. Up next, the sewing basket she got at a very exciting Tupperware party when she was a kid, along with her mother’s sewing machine:

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I mean, come on! I want need a pair of those scissors.

This next piece is “Equipped”. Note the crosses she mentioned in a few of these beautiful household utensils:

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Lovely. That whisk might be my favorite.

Ah, her typewriter! I have loved this piece, titled “Poison Pen”, for ages but boy oh boy it certainly has new meaning after finding out that Katharine has severe dyslexia:

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… hence the wonky, confusing state of this lovely, porcelain machine.

I loved hearing about her process too! From sketching, to clay, to the fine line work {and I had to include a photo of Katharine so you could see the gorgeous woman behind that lovely English accent}:

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Ah yes, nothing like a little peek behind the curtain!

And finally, a gem from the ‘speed round’. Katharine’s first job, when she was 13, was at a tiny little green grocer’s. This was their cash register, and it inspired a piece titled “Plenty”:

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Her whimsical detail is just so insanely amazing! Look at that little box of matches… and those pencils… and allll of those coins! Sigh. Too good. And with that, I’ll say thanks to Katharine {and Rosie!} for spending an hour with me, big thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting episode 60 {!?}, and as always GIANT thanks to you for listening each week. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other Links:

  1. Cockpit Arts, London
  2. Royal College of Art, London
  3. She is represented by Long & Ryle Gallery, London
  4. Louisa Taylor
  5. A few of the studio shots are from this New York Times article
  6. Some of Katharine’s smaller works are available in her shop