medium /// painting




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!





“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




lauren matsumoto

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Oh. Yes! Painting, drawing, and collage coming together to create the weirdest, most wonderful treetops. This is the work of Brooklyn based artist Lauren Matsumoto… sigh… I’m not really sure what else to say other than roller skates, and cameras, and birds, oh my! ♥ Happy Friday.

{Thanks to Uprise Art for pointing me to Lauren’s work}





joey slaughter

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Work like this makes me wish I could build stuff. These are the colorful, abstract constructions of American artist Joey Slaughter. What do they mean? What are they all about? Here’s his description:

“My paintings and constructions investigate the “look” of digital information as it is transmitted around us, providing an overabundance of stimuli and therefore, distractions. I create abstract works that references conversations, usually a direct communication between two people. I wonder how a simple conversation is absorbed between people, how they’re connected, and what the conversational wavelengths would look like. The main idea is to create abstractions from conversations if you could see sound waves from analogue and digital devices passing through and around people. I imagine it to be very chaotic, yet beautiful.”

Now I wish I knew what my conversations looked like AND that I could build stuff.

{via Fresh Paint Magazine}





shawn huckins

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Lol’s meet beautifully painted classics. Yes. These are paintings! Everything – from the lace collars, to the romantic landscapes – and then of course there’s the perfect lettering… I rly cant even. This is a sneak peek of the latest work from American painter Shawn Huckins. I wrote about him yearrrrrrs ago, but with this amazing new show, titled “Everything is Hilarious and Nothing is Real”, about to open on May 5th at Modernism Inc in San Francisco, clearly I had to write again. If you want to see the full reveal of these big, perfect beauties up close and personal, you really should. The show runs from May 5 to June 25, 2016 and the opening reception is May 5th from 5:30- 8pm.

Good luck, Shawn! L8R

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sean william randall

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Um, I love these paintings. Is it bad that I find them funny? Explosive crashes, moments away from sure disaster? Perhaps it’s their Thelma & Louise-ness that’s making me smile… I hope so because if not, I have some major issues. This is the large-scale work of Canadian painter Sean William Randall… and yes, I fell in love at first sight. Those tranquil landscapes, beautifully painted cars, and obviously, the best acrylic on canvas flaming explosions I’ve ever seen. Fantastic.

{You can find his work at Ian Tan Gallery in Vancouver, and Mayberry Fine Art in Toronto}





lisa congdon

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Ready to dive in? Me too! “The Joy of Swimming”, by Portland based artist/illustrator Lisa Congdon, hits shelves today! Gorgeous illustrations, beautiful hand-lettered quotes, and really interesting facts/stories about all things swimming. Lisa brings passion to everything she does, but this project is near and dear to her heart, because she’s been a swimmer since she was little … see:

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Aw, so cute! Congratulations Lisa… I’m so thrilled that you had a chance to totally jump into this project {see what I did there?}.  If you love swimming – or water, or beautiful artwork, or Lisa – pick up this lovely book. Oh, and Lisa is going on the road with this one so if you want to meet her/have your book signed, you can find her right here:

April 26, 7-9 pm California College of the Arts (San Francisco)
May 8, 2-4 pm 
Strand Books (NYC)
May 11, 7-9 pmPowerhouse Arena (Brooklyn, NY)
May 13, 9-10:30 am Creative Mornings (Minneapolis)
May 17, 7-9 pm – Broadway Books (Portland)
May 24 7-9 pmUniversity Bookstore (Seattle)





“organizing the fray”

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I am very excited about this. Vancouver based artist Sarah Gee Miller is one of my most favorite people in the world. She is so talented (and self-taught by the way), incredibly generous, one of the only people I truly feel comfortable talking to about my own work… and she bakes a mean blueberry muffin. Sarah and I cover everything in this interview – from a life-altering accident she was in at 15, to finding her way to an art career decades later. A lot of you have been asking me to make these episodes longer, so Sarah and I just kept talking and talking! I loved every minute of this conversation (but be warned, there are a few bleeped out swear words in there… shocking, I know.) You can listen right up there, under that perfect circular drawing, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Alright, let’s get things started with the first of Sarah’s work that I ever saw… big, beautiful, perfectly-cut circles of paper:

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So gorgeous! Photos don’t do them justice. They’re really big, and really bright, so seeing them in person takes your breath away. Here are the two “city block” pieces she was talking about (there’s a bit of a glare because she had already mounted them/put plexiglass on them before taking the photos):

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Oh. I love them so much. And because I just can’t get enough of her circles, here are a few recent pieces in progress/moments before they were shipped off to shows:

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I love those studio shots… pre-mounting, just hanging out on her sunlit floor. Ok, now, moving on to the drawing machine! Yes, Sarah built her own revolving drawing machine, and luckily for me, she invited me over to try it out:

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So fun! I wish I could take credit for the drawings above, but alas, those ones were created with Sarah’s expert hand. I made a few that were ok… I was just happy to get out of there without being sick (that machine makes you dizzy!). I left there with the pieces I made AND that beautiful piece she gave me as a gift (that now sits above my fireplace beside “Rosie”, my pink doe by Rachel Denny)

Next, the pieces she’s been working on lately. These ones aren’t paper, but styrene (a type of plastic), that she cuts and then paints:

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So much work. So much careful work. We talked about how meticulous her pieces are, and the fact that she works on the floor… both of which sort of blow my mind considering the devastating accident she was in as a teenager. But, she tells me that being on her knees and working on the floor is much more comfortable than standing or sitting. Whatever works, Sarah, whatever works! I think her story is so inspiring. She’s overcome so much, and even though she suffers from chronic pain she is such a joyful person. See…

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Jumping over art and drinking champagne on the floor. That’s how you do it! And finally, in the speed round I asked her to clarify a myth about cats. I think she lied to me though. Note the proof I found on her Instagram feed:

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Ah-ha, I knew it! Cats do lie on your supplies/work! Busted. Oh well, they’re cute so we’ll leave that alone. Thanks so much to Sarah for taking an hour and a half (?!) out of her day to do this with me, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode, and great big thanks to you for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other Links

  1. Jessica Bell
  2. Ben Skinner
  3. Zoe Pawlak
  4. Wayne White
  5. Mayberry Fine Art, Toronto

 





laureen marchand

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I have a soft spot for botanicals, but they’re usually not dead/dying… however, these lovely paintings {oil on board} have managed to capture these roses at a perfect moment in time. Taking note of beauty in the everyday warms my heart, as does the work of Canadian artist Laureen Marchand.





“it began with biscuits”

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It really did begin with biscuits… in 2009 with those biscuits right up there to be exact. I’m talking to New Zealand born, UK based painter Joël Penkman. Her food paintings are absolutely stunning, but imagine my delight when I found out that they’re actually painted with food too… well, kinda. How’s that for a tease?! You can listen right up there under the tower of cookies, or subscribe on iTunes. First up, her gorgeous {and very popular} ice creams:

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See? Yeah, that’s why they’re so popular! Up next, the rainbow of lollipops she painted for my Land of Nod collection last year:

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So sweet… literally! Sorry. I had to. Ok, moving on. Here are just a few of my favorite pieces from her Taste of America book. There are over 100 to choose from so you can see my dilemma:

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Ah, smoked catfish paté… yum. Ok, from cheese, jelly and caramels to her very tidy studio {she wasn’t kidding}:

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… and her pigments! Her process and use of homemade egg tempera kinda blew my mind. I had no idea what it was or how to do it. I have always loved her work, but now seeing how she actually makes that work… well, I am totally, completely, head over heels in love. I also love that she photographs her own subjects as well {hence the photo of her mid-scoop}.

So, she paints a lot of food because she’s very good at it, therefore lots of people ask her to keep painting food. I asked what a few of her favorite pieces were, and it turns out, they’re not food:

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Books and the most beautiful stack of shoe polish I’ve ever seen. Well, if she gets to show her favorites, I want a turn too:

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Beautiful, and oh so delicious. I also thought it was fitting to end with biscuits since that’s where we started. Ok, now, before you go, you HAVE to watch this video of Joël in action. First of all it’s hilarious, and secondly it’s very educational. Wait till you see her actually squirt the egg yolk into her finely ground pigment. Oh yes, and there’s a talking chicken and a 3-piece band in there too:

I want a band in my backyard while I pick rhubarb! And on that note, I’ll say thanks so much to Joël for doing this with me, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting yet another episode, and HUGE thanks to you for listening … there will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Design*Sponge
  2. Handsome Frank Illustration Agency
  3. Joël’s prints available here