medium /// contemporary

scott gardiner


If you happen to be in Sydney between September 9th ~ 13th, you should stop by Booth A16 at the Sydney Contemporary. There you’ll find the gorgeous work of New Zealand based artist (and surfer) Scott Gardiner. These striking mixed media pieces (pigment ink print, acrylic, gloss and matt varnish on canvas) are from his latest series, titled Three Oceans. Here’s a bit about this project:

… The three locations of the project, Sri Lanka, Sydney and Gisborne all represent significant points in my life and development, places I have forged meaningful relationships with the environment and its people, centered around and reliant upon the ocean. In these instances the ocean became a powerful familiar environment, allowing me to connect on a deep level to a new and unfamiliar locale. During the project I wish to examine this complex relationship through my own personal experiences, understanding these are universal issues that relate to all human beings and our  sense of place and belonging, an awareness of our mortality and a connection to something beyond ourselves…

{all images are courtesy and copyright the artist and Palmer Art Projects.}

#creativeunblock no.9


September. Whoa. Project 9 of 12. {If you missed the other projects, no problem, you can catch up right here.} This project is from American artist Aris Moore. I really don’t love the idea of doing a self portrait… but this one is all about embracing the imperfect self-portrait. Now THAT I can do. Ready?


#creativeunblock // september // by aris moore, pg.27


A collage self portrait // Do blind contour drawings of your eyes nose and mouth. If you are likely to erase, draw them in pen. Choose the ones you feel best about and collage them together. Draw your face around them and your neck shoulders and clothing if there is room. Look closely in a mirror and shade your individual features and your hair using what ever materials you like with as much detail as you need.   After you feel good about your portrait, not because it looks exactly like you, but because there is an honesty in it, begin writing. Surround your drawing with text, beginning each sentence with if you really knew me you’d know…. Writing can be legible or illegible whatever you need to be truthful. Lastly, remember that this is a drawing of you for you there are no rules, just suggestions. Play and have fun.”


Ok, let’s do this! I love Aris’ work above, so I’m thinking I might take her lead and house my self portrait within in a found image. Do whatever works for you… let loose, have fun, and remember, it should not be perfect. In fact, it’s literally impossible for it to be perfect! Just enjoy a chance to think about yourself for an entire afternoon. If you’d like to share what you make, just put it up on Instagram or Twitter and hashtag it #creativeUNblock.

“photography was not in the picture”


Ahhh… dreamy, sun-drenched negative space. Today I’m chatting with LA based photographer Max Wanger… not Wagner. I’ve written about Max, and featured a few of his pieces in a show at The Fig House, but we’ve only met once very quickly. I didn’t know much about his story, but I do now. The first thing that shocked me – spoiler alert – he’s completely self-taught! Anyway, I can’t give it all away… you can listen right up there under those little legs, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, take a look at the work we talked about in the order that we talked about it. First up, design bloggers. That’s who Max reached out to when he finally decided he wanted to follow his bliss and become a photographer:


And it worked! Not only did they write about him, but he also photographed them… and became good friends along the way. If you follow design blogs you might recognize (above) Bri Emery from Design Love Fest  ; the hands of Joy Cho (and her husband) of Oh Joy  ; and Joanna Goddard (and her husband) of Cup of Jo. So, how did a self-taught photographer who was working at Fox Sports get the attention of a bunch of design blogs? He staged a fake wedding, with a fake ring, starring his sister as the bride, photographed it, and sent them these images:


So smart! This was in 2007 or so… and he hasn’t looked back. In fact, he’s still doing weddings! Here are a few of his more recent shots:


Gorgeous. He splits his time between weddings and commercial work. He has all sorts of clients (Vans, Nordstrom, Outrigger Resorts, and more), but my favorite stuff is the work he does for LA based


See? Sun-drenched and so happy! We talked a bit about the brilliant woman behind, Jen Gotch. She does some really cool personal Polaroid work, if you want to check out what Max and I were both drooling over. This of course led us to talking about Max’s Polaroids. I asked if he had a favorite… iPhone or Polaroid. See if you can decide. First up, a few shots from his iPhone:


Love! … and a few of his Polaroids:


Oh, more love! He voted for iPhone at the moment, but I think it’s a tie. I might even be leaning toward his Polaroids! It’s cool to see some grit on his normally perfect images. Speaking of which, I dare you to look at these perfect beauties and not immediately book a trip to Hawaii:


Ahhhhhhh. Yes. That. And finally, the little peanut that was being put to bed while we were talking, Max’s two year old son:


Oh my goodness. Ridiculously cute. So, I learned a lot about Max, the most shocking information being that he’s never had a gallery show. That is crazy. Ok, galleries… someone scoop him up! And with that, I’ll say thank you to Max for skipping bedtime reading to talk to me, and thanks so much to you for listening (and looking)… there will be another episode waiting for you next Saturday!

ps. here’s a link to Max’s print shop.

david samuel stern


Oooh! New pieces by Brooklyn based artist David Samuel Stern. I’ve written about his woven portraits before, but when I saw his latest work I gasped out loud. Now, there are in fact images of men in this series too but, oh my, there is something about these women that takes my breath away. So dreamy, so delicate, so careful… and that color palette. Sigh. Here is what this ongoing series is about:

These images are the result of physically weaving together two photographic prints of the same subject. They are an attempt to bridge dignified, direct portraits with a sort of abstraction that allows their subjects to hide within themselves, and the photographs to be distinctly physical objects. In hiding some things, we reveal others.

{If you’re in Brooklyn, several of David’s woven portraits will be on view at BAM from Sept 16th ~ Dec 20th… details about viewing times/location can be found here.}

rbc canadian painting competition… a few finalists!

Oh, this annual competition is such a fantastic supporter of Canadian artists! Here’s the deal:

Since 1999, the RBC Canadian Painting Competition, with the support of the Canadian Art Foundation, has been a unique initiative, which helps bridge the gap from emerging to established artists. The RBC Canadian Painting Competition is RBC’s cornerstone RBC Emerging Artists Project property which focuses on supporting artists at the early stage of their careers. More than just financial support, this program offers mentorship, exposure to audiences and more.

So, so great … and $25,000 to the winner, $15,000 to the next two finalists, and $2,500 to the other 12 isn’t bad either! There are 15 finalists: 5 from Eastern Canada, 5 from Central Canada, and 5 from Western Canada. The winner will be announced on November 18th at the Vancouver Art Gallery… but until then, here are just a few of my personal favorites, although it was really hard to pick:

west: robert taite, mixed media



central: caroline larsen, oil painting



east: hangama amiri, mixed media


Ah, makes me proud to be Canadian… but I’m really glad that I’m not a judge {how could you decide!?} Good luck to them, and good luck to all of the finalists!

johnny abrahams


Whoa. I cannot even close to imagine having the patience to paint these. Yes, they’re paintings… acrylic on panel, by New York based painter Johnny Abrahams. I love that he creates such unbelievable, dizzying, detailed pieces, but also creates those very simple pieces … they’re like palette cleansers for my eyes before heading on to the next insanely patterned piece. Oh, and to give you a sense of scale:


{via but does it float}

katy krantz


Stunning ceramic necklaces… that happen to be up to 3 feet in length. Amazing. This is the organic, delicate, beautiful, large-scale work of Seattle based ceramics artist Katy Krantz. They are part of an ongoing series titled, The Gifts…. very appropriately named because all of these pieces have just gone to the top of my gift list {hint hint Gregory West}

{Her work used to be available through Totokaelo, a gorgeous shop in Seattle… but not sure where to find it now. If you know, let me know.}

dan abramson


Ok, I’m a little behind the times with these hilariously awesome “Yoga Joes” by Dan Abramson. Apparently there was a kickstarter last year. Well, it must have worked because you can find these old school army men, who have given up their weapons in favor of warrior pose, on Dan’s site.  Ah, just imagine if the world was really like this? Namaste. 



Sigh. Sometimes, especially on Friday after a very long and busy week, I love to look at art like this. Ah, the soothing palette and of course the promise of scones, lattes, and general quiet for two whole days… enter the lovely work of Ontario based artist Yuliya. Yes, this is exactly what I need today.

{Prints of her work are available on Society6}

jean faucheur


Dizzying collages, with an absolutely dreamy palette, by French artist Jean Faucheur. Um, does anyone know where I can get scissors to cut perfect circles? Thanks.