medium /// contemporary




erik jones

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This explosion of nostalgia and color is screaming at the sticker-collecting, rainbow-loving twelve year old in me. The absolutely gorgeous figures and stunning compositions are in a mature conversation with the art-loving curator in me. This is the work of Brooklyn based artist Erik Jones, and this is a description from his latest show, “Twenty Sixteen”:

“Jones challenges viewers to see beauty in his chaotic, mixed-media works that merge nude subjects with nonrepresentational, abstract elements. Describing the human figures in his compositions as “aesthetic anchors,” they are the calming foreground upon which bursts of color, stenciled shapes and custom-made stickers create surreal landscapes. Using multiple mediums, such as watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils, wax pastels and oil paint, Jones’ portraits are technically complex and express a heightened sense of realism.”

And also rainbows, unicorns, and orcas! Sorry, that was the twelve-year old again   ♥   

{Just missed this show… damn. “Twenty Sixteen” was at Jonathan LeVine in New York and just came down at the end of April}





tiffanie turner

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May 4, 2016May 29, 2016. That’s how long paper artist Tiffanie Turner will be spending as the fabulous artist-in-residence at the de Young Museum in San Francisco! I had her on the podcast last year, while she was tucked away at another residency in a beautiful barn, and she talked about this… and now it’s finally here! If you’re in San Francisco, you can pop by to see “Nature Constructed”… you can see her giant flowers hung on the walls, watch her working on new pieces, talk about flowers, talk about paper, etc. And if talking’s not enough for you, you can get in on the flowery action:

During her month-long residency, museum visitors are invited to work on a giant communal botanical paper sculpture, learning how to stretch the paper into the proper shape and adhere it to the flower. The first two weeks will be spent creating something vibrant and beautiful, and the last two weeks will focus on taking the piece to a state of decay, inviting visitors to return to the gallery toward the end of the residency to see the piece’s transformation.

Beautiful, on every level. Pop by the museum if you can {tell her I say hi!}, and if you’re too far away then you can follow along on Instagram: #natureconstructedsf





maude white

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Hand. Cut. Paper. Mic drop.

This is the insanely meticulous work of American artist Maude White... I am completely in awe. Yep, she’s giving Mother Nature a run for her money with the delicate detail in these lovely white blooms. Sigh. So good.

{Some of Maude’s work is currently showing in “Bloom”, at Walker Contemporary in Vermont}





“big mouths, ukuleles… but no chins”

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I’m starting to sound like a broken record… today I’m talking to an artist that I’ve loved for ages, have done several projects with, but you guessed it, we’ve never actually spoken. I was so excited to speak to New Hampshire based artist Aris Moore. She’s an amazing artist, a recent MFA grad, a full-time middle school art teacher, and a single mother with twins – phewf. I was so excited, in fact, that I forgot to hit record. Episode 49 and I forget to hit record? Sigh. Anyway, we made a full recovery and also became BFFs in the process. You can listen right up there under the lovely lady in the red blouse, or you can subscribe on iTunes. Now, I always like to start these posts with a few of my favorites. Aris’ sad/beautiful portraits are on that list:

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I love them. So strange. So beautiful, and yes… not a chin in sight. Next, this is some of her older work. These were the pieces I discovered and wrote about way back in 2009. And that bunny block at the top? Yes, that’s the original piece she sent to me, again, in late 2009. It was a major highlight in the first year of being ‘the jealous curator’:

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That bag full of little people is heartbreaking, and I can’t help feeling that it’s my fault. Someone left a very harsh comment on one of my posts about Aris’ work back then, and it really hurt her… to the point where she just wanted to gather up all of her little characters, throw them in a bag, and toss them out. See? Heartbreaking. Well, she didn’t throw them out, but she definitely evolved them. Yet another reason to admire this fabulous artist {because, remember from last week’s episode… “no one can wrestle the pencil out of your hand, you get to keep going in absolute defiance”}. And that’s what Aris did.

This is the collage Aris made for my book, Collage. She used the accordion from the starting image I gave all 30 of the artists, and before you knew it “Joan With Her Castle” was born:

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I love that piece so much…. almost as much as Aris loves drawing mouths:

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She wasn’t kidding! Ooh, next… I love this series so much. Same photograph, oh so many different faces:

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This is what Aris does best as far as I’m concerned. Such emotion-filled, personality-exposing expressions.

Ah, I love this next project too. This is also some of her older work, but she had a little help with these ones. Her daughter August, who was 4 at the time, decided to add some hair to these otherwise hairless ladies:

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Beautiful job, August! A fantastic collaboration.

So, I usually like to include photos of the artist’s studio space, and I absolutely love that Aris’ studio is basically wherever her fancy bag of pencils happens to be. Bookshops, cafes, her living room… her studio is the world:

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How fabulous is that!? Granted, it wouldn’t work as well if she was an oil painter, but it certainly works for her! One of the things she’s been doing “in her studio” lately are these flip books. I love what she talked about re: always having a starting place/never having to look at a completely blank page. Brilliant. I’m going to try this:

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Sigh. So fun. So weird… and let’s be honest, if Aris and I lived in the same town we’d be fun, weird friends in a heartbeat! This is how I felt through the whole episode:

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A brand new soul sister  ♥  Thank you so much to Aris for doing this with me {I’m glad I actually recorded some of it!}, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode, and great BIG thanks to you for listening. If you happen to be over on iTunes, I’d be so grateful for a rating or a review – it helps keep the podcast near the top of the art section, and who doesn’t want to be near the top of the art section!? Ok, there will be more art for your ear next weekend… EPISODE 50 to be exact!

Other links:

  1. Agnes Martin
  2. Esther Pearl Watson’s Comics
  3. Laylah Ali

 





elvira johanna duives

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Tiny, colorful, juicy portraits by Dutch artist Elvira Johanna Duives. Sigh. Love. I’ve written about her drawings before, but just last week she sent me some of her new collage work. My plan had been to write about those… but when I went to her site, well, I found more drawings! I had no power over them, so here they are in all of their bright, vintage, miniature goodness! If you want to see more, and the collages that I’d planned to write about, pop over to her site. Happy Friday.





bhavna mehta

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Beautiful paper cutting, dedicated to a beautiful human. This is the work of Indian born, US based paper cutting artist Bhavna Mehta. These exquisite pieces are from her 2012 series titled, “Malala Yousafzai”. Here, in her words, is the motivation behind this work:

[Malala Yousafzai] has become known around the world for her rigorous activism for children’s rights and education. All her well-wishers are praying for this 14 year old girl who survived an assassination attempt on her life and continues to be an inspiring force. She still faces daunting surgeries and a lengthy recovery period.

My Malala is the heart of our world – her goodness extending to the furthest corners of despair and providing much needed brightness. Books make up an essential part of her environment, reading and learning being a way to break away from whatever cages surround her. She receives her song from the birds and her strength from the tiger.

Beautiful. Powerful. Just like Malala.





sanda anderlon

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Oh. Yes, yes, yes! I would happily pay a hefty admission fee to get into this insane jungle… clearly, I’d have to buy the week-long pass! So amazing. I’ve written about the large-scale collage work of Croatian artist Sanda Anderlon before – that was a party in a living room – this appears to a be a party in the jungle. Bunnies, chandeliers, hula dancers, and a rollercoaster … because every jungle obviously needs a rollercoaster. LOVE.

{Prints of this beauty are available in her shop}





brian donnelly

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Oh. My. Beautiful, sad, perfect, destroyed… all of that. This is the work of Toronto based artist Brian Donnelly. He has a solo show coming up later this week in Portland at Stephanie Chefas Projects. The show is titled “Nothing Lasts Forever” – appropriate – and this was a chunk of text that I found on the gallery’s site describing Brian’s process:

“Donnelly is well known for his aggressive approach to portraiture that involves defacing meticulously executed figures through the use of turpentine, hand sanitizer, and other materials. The resulting work is a study in deterioration, fortified by the philosophy that to take away from something can be just as provocative as to add to it.”

Agreed. I think I’d put the word “brave” in there somewhere too. I’m not sure I’d be able to pour turpentine over a perfect painting… although I bet it would be fun!





cheryl sorg

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Um, yes… this is my kind of graffiti! Wait, can I call it that? Street art? Tagging with tape? I don’t know what to call it other than GORGEOUS! I have been carefully stalking, I mean watching, the evolution of California based artist Cheryl Sorg for awhile {hence most of these photos coming from her Instagram feed}. I’ve seen her working on these beautiful, colorful designs made from carefully cut metallic tape, and then just the other day… gasp! There they were on forgotten corners, concrete columns, skateparks, and under bridges. And I repeat… gasp!

ps. these are just her “minis”. Yeah, there are also really BIG ones ♥ 





“defiance is my favorite motivator”

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When I emailed Toronto based artist/designer Amanda Happé to ask if she’d do the podcast, she wrote me back and said “Oooh, sounds scary – so yes!”  You gotta love that. Amanda does work that speaks to the designer in me. Perfect lines, beautiful text, gorgeous palettes… sort of not surprising to learn that she’s a graphic designer by day. She has such a refreshing/smart way of looking at creativity so I was thrilled to finally talk to her. You can listen right up there under all of that GRATITUDE, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

The first thing we talked about was, of course, her text-based paintings that I love oh so much:

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Ah! I already loved them but then to find out that she doesn’t plan them on the computer first {kinda what you’d expect a graphic designer to do}, it’s all done with old school tools like pencils, erasers, and compasses! Love. Oh, speaking of love, I forgot to mention that the piece directly above, “YOU ARE LOVED”, was a custom piece that Amanda made for one of my Land of Nod collections. Love. Again.

Alright, next… yes, Amanda was the artist that I chose to paint the cover of my first book, Creative Block! And what I didn’t realize for the longest time, until I held the book in my hands and really looked at it, she hand painted the “Creative Block” letters!? Look:

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So good! What a steady hand she must have. That’s me at the opening of my show at the Bedford Gallery in late 2014. This is when I saw the original painting {that she later gave me as gift!?} for the first time. And yes, I cried a tiny bit. Oh, and I had to show visual proof of this… the Korean version of Creative Block:

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Ha! I’m going to send one to Amanda, and I’m going to give one away today too… leave a comment below and I’ll draw one name before the next podcast goes up. Good luck!

Now, these are the “doodles” she mentioned. Her marker drawings that she does just to stay loose and to keep making when the big ideas are simmering in the background. Yeah, except that now Chronicle has asked her to make a book with these!? Hello amazing surprise project!

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See, just goes to show that doing a little something every day really can get you somewhere! Ok, I also had to show you this too… so the building her studio is in was going to be sold and all 5 artists working there would be kicked out… so Amanda bought the building and now manages it. Um, ah-mazing! Here’s a little peek at “Three of Wands” {a tarot card reference}:

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This is going to be my first stop for a visit next time I’m in Toronto! And finally, I had to include Amanda’s bio photo… her amazing pink/yellow door in her old apartment:

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Let’s hope whoever lives there now kept it that way. Thank you so much to Amanda for doing this with me, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode, and thank YOU for listening… there will be more art for your ear next weekend {and don’t forget to leave a comment if you want a chance at that Korean version of CB!}

Other links:

  1. Bruce Mau Design
  2. TAXI Advertising & Design
  3. Martha Rich
  4. “Home Movies” TV show