medium /// paper




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}





lee mckenna

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Oh, I can almost smell these… not the flowers… all of that beautiful old paper! Sigh. These collages by Australian artist Lee McKenna are like found paper treasures. Bits and pieces from various places all coming together to create a new visual story… and seriously, am I the only one who knows exactly what that old paper smells like!? Here, in Lee’s words, is a description of this work:

“My collages embrace the imperfection of old, used, discarded and damaged paper. These papers depict moments in time – often bearing marks and traces of a past life and the human hand. I ‘rescue’ these unwanted fragments, creating layers and building connections into some sort of new, elusive and unpredictable thing. The process is wholly tactile – nothing is digital. I like the restrictions that this creates… the hand-cutting and gluing down, the use of only original papers and ephemera. Elements are added or removed, or covered over and reworked. Ideas and narratives may emerge, but often a series is initiated through the acquisition of a certain type of raw material – an old photo album, a stash of old maps, a pile of old postcards.”

Love.

{Most of this work is available via Boom Gallery, Australia}





shelley davies

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Gorgeous! These mixed media pieces {painting and paper-cutting} are the work of Canadian artist/illustrator Shelley Davies. I had to double check with her about these covers… were they real New Yorker covers? I know she’s created work for the cover of Uppercase Magazine before, and she had a long career in TV, film, and animation working with some very cool clients/people. Clearly I had to ask. Turns out they weren’t final covers, but the story of their creation is just as cool. This is a chunk of the email Shelley sent back to answer my question:

“My New Yorker covers were made a few years ago for New Yorker art editor Francoise Mouly’s site ‘Blown Covers’, which she started around the time her book of the same name was published. Her office was filled with art from all her illustrators (for any given cover, she sends out a theme and they all deliver an idea or five, she picks one for the cover and then finished art is produced), and she put all the rejects into a book, with anecdotes to go with. On her site, she asked the world at large to submit ideas for her chosen weekly themes, just as her own illustrators do. It was a privilege to get my work in front of the High Priestess of art direction, and she even chose a few of mine to highlight. Alas, no real cover came from it, but I had a ball, I got really good at creating their masthead (every week I cut out a new one, in paper and by hand, life-sized).

Love. Ok, so now the only thing left to do is get Shelley on the real cover… what do you think New Yorker?





“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

 





dan levin

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Wow, these are a big deal. Get it? Because they’re cards. Ok, this is the work of California based Dan Levin. I’ll let him tell you how this happened:

“I had these vintage decks of cards and I was fascinated by the history of them. I started cutting through them, kings’ and queens’ faces, but there was something missing. Almost by accident, I turned a deck upside down and looked at the patterns and said ‘wait a second’.”

Wait a second, indeed! Happy Friday

ps. If you want one of these beauties, visit his shop.





nicki crock

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“Dream House” … indeed! This stunning paper installation {yes, PAPER}, is the latest work from American artist Nicki Crock. I wrote about her series Tessellate in early 2015, but clearly this dreamy installation had to be shown too. Here are her words describing this lovely project:

A dream house is something to aspire to and long for. What better form could a daydream take shape in, than with something that we, as humans, already use to fulfill our imaginations: clouds.

Happy Monday.





sara landeta

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Beautifully drawn birds on the back of old drug boxes. LOVE. This series, titled “MEDICINE AS METAPHOR” is the work of Spanish artist Sara Landeta. Here is her description of this work:

The project includes a collection of 120 boxes of drugs that have been consumed by different patients to overcome their illnesses. All boxes are illustrated inside with a broad classification of birds from different families, being the only animal that although it gives it a meaning of freedom, because it is the only one able to connect with the earth and the sky, is also one of the main animals in captivity. This juxtaposition of the natural and the synthetic interprets the patient as a captive animal, and the bird as its metaphor.
Draw a collection of birds inside these boxes holding a single reflection ; l will learn to be birds in captivity, but they are wanting to fly, and that is what keeps them alive. 

Lovely. But sad.




lorna simpson

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Oh. Lorna Simpson. Her hair collages make my collage-loving heart skip a beat … brilliant, beautiful, and this time a little bit rocky. These pieces are part of a series of 12, exclusive to Vogue.com. Here is Vogue’s description of this fantastic work:

Now, her subjects are more liberated than ever… in a new exclusive series for Vogue.com, Simpson has lifted the faces of 12 women from “very mundane” ’60s and ’70s advertisements in Ebony magazine—the culture and politics monthly she grew up with that “informed my sense of thinking about being black in America”—and paired them with illustrations of geological and astrological forms from a 1931 textbook. Stripped of any fundamental context, the women provide no origin story and no identifying characteristics. The geometric shapes replacing their hair weren’t chosen for their resemblance to, say, Nefertiti’s crown or Erykah Badu’s emerald head wrap—references that may spring to mind as you look at them—but rather for the same reason you might cut, color, or change the texture of your hair: simply because, says Simpson, “I thought they were beautiful.”

Sigh… I do too.





gunjan aylawadi

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Intricate weavings. Made from paper. PAPER! This is the incredible work of India-born, Australia-based artist Gunjan Aylawadi. Here is part of her very poetic artist statement:

Through her unique and intricate, paper tapestry technique, she explores the intersection between craft traditions, sensory pleasures she experienced growing up and the new culture she finds herself in now. Crafting thoughtful mosaics out of personal reflections, she creates works with simple materials and processes that are as important as the end result – illustrating the quiet power of slowing down and a thoughtful absorption of our environments.

The patience she must have… I cannot even begin to imagine.





“distant friends”

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Today I’m talking to Swedish artist/illustrator Camilla Engman. Eep! She is one of those people who I’ve got way up on an artsy pedestal… and so do a lot of you apparently! I’ve had several people send messages asking if I can get her to come on the podcast. Yes, yes I can! Listen on the little player right up there, or subscribe on iTunes

Let’s start with a few of my favorite paintings by Camilla:

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Ah, so good. Mysterious, narrative, and oh so beautifully painted. We talked a little bit about her strange characters… the bears and dogs etc… turns out they represent people {people that may or may not take on those animal-like characteristics}:

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Ahh, I love them so much. So sweet and innocent… but I have a feeling they’re probably not quite as sweet and innocent as one might think. Next, these are the amazing envelope collages, from her “Distant Friends” series that she and Ana Ventura started together. I cannot get over them. So simple. So smart. So “damn I wish I thought of that” :

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LOVE! We also talked about her studio. Sigh. I want to go to there:

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She’s in her own little house which is part of a larger arts community area, in Gothenburg Sweden, called Konstepidemin, which means “the epidemic of art”. There is a little blue restaurant, galleries, AND guest studios that you can apply for as part of their artist-in-residence program. Here’s a little peek:

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Yeah. Let’s ALL go there! Thank you so, so much to Camilla for talking to me, even though she was worried about her English… which I thought was perfect/much better than my Swedish; thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode; and THANK YOU for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Her online shop, Studio Morran
  2. Book that Camilla did with Uppercase
  3. Apply for a guest residency at “Konstepidemin”