emily fromm

These are the comic book inspired acrylic paintings {paintings!?} of San Francisco based artist Emily Fromm. Her color choices are stunning, her subject matter is fabulously kitschy, and I cannot get enough of her hand-painted signs! And, I hope she doesn’t mind me making the comparison, but there is a touch of Margaret Kilgallen in some of her pieces {who happens to be one of my most favorite artists of all time.} Here are a few words from Emily’s site about why she paints what she paints:

“Having been raised in the outskirts of Los Angeles, she was heavily influenced by the over-the-top yet seedy aesthetic of the American West, and often highlights signage, architecture and the iconic style of the region in her paintings. She applies a graphic style that is familiar and nostalgic to these settings, incorporating imagery that is mundane and often low brow, to contrast these grandiose scenes with everyday life.”

… and so  you can see the ‘grandiose’ scale of some of her work:

*This image is from a show at Mighty Box Gallery, SF

shawna gilmore


Ahhh, such a pretty game of hide & seek. These paintings {acrylic on cradled wood panel} are the work of American artist Shawna Gilmore from her series, “Chameleon”. I’ve never been much of a wallflower, but I’m suddenly inspired to give it a try!

{These paintings are exclusively available at Gallery 360 in Minneapolis}

emily filler


Silkscreen, paper collage and paint on paper. Gah!!! These gorgeous, color-saturated, flower-filled pieces are the work of Canadian artist Emily Filler. They’re already beautiful, but when you hear the story behind them, they’re even more lovely:

“The images photographs of flowers from my father’s garden that I arranged in bouquets from his vase collection.  My father is a very serious gardener and photographer, and being surrounded by flowers had a big impact on me growing up.”

Yes, clearly! {Emily must have one very proud Papa}. Happy first day of spring to my friends in the Northern Hemisphere… here’s to more flowers, less snow!

“starting from square one. again.”


Today is about starting from square one, AFTER you’ve done all of the things you were supposed to do to get the life you wanted. It’s also about jellyfish alien creatures. Yes, Rhode Island based collage artist Jenny Brown in my guest today. She wrote a really heartfelt story on Facebook the other day, and I just had to get the inside scoop.  You can listen under that flowering jellyfish, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Let’s begin with a few of her recent pieces that I’m currently obsessing over:


I would happily swim with these elegant creatures. Look at those thin beautiful lines, those perfectly cut bits ‘n pieces. LOVE.

And now, stepping back in time. A dark time. These were the large, very black, incredibly dense (and sad) pieces that Jenny transitioned to during her MFA:


So different than her now very effervescent work. But, she pushed through and found the light again. Here are the first few pieces as Jenny began finding her way back to her “creatures”:


Ah, that’s more like it. Although those charcoal pieces were beautiful in their own right, these are just Jenny… and she knew it.

I asked about the kind of paper she uses for her lovely colorful backgrounds, which seems like a perfect excuse for me to show a few more of my favorite “Jenny Brown” collages:


Yep, love them all… So. Much. Color! I’m totally going to give pink card stock a shot. Beautiful.

Ok, so I found these WIP shots on Jenny’s gorgeous Instagram feed. Clearly, she’s a woman after my own heart:


Gasp! Seriously, I need my scissors RIGHT NOW. Look at that cut-image covered table! Call me a collage nerd if you must, but my heart is racing.

What else makes my heart race? Sugar! The only thing I regret about this episode was not asking Jenny about her deep passion for donuts. All of these sweet gems are also from her Instagram feed. I want ALL OF THEM:


Unicorn donut!    

And finally… Jenny, her cat Max, and Jenny’s perfect (apparently high maintenance) red lipstick:


Perfection. Max must’ve been too tired to put lipstick on for this shot. Thank you so much to Jenny for sharing her story of full-circles, loops, and starting over… so inspiring. Thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting another episode, and thanks to YOU for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Bennington College
  2. Amy Sillman
  3. School of Visual Arts, NY
  4. RISD (Rhode Island School of Design)
  5. Jessica Brilli Episode
  6. Sidney Pink Episode
  7. Anthony Zinonos Episode
  8. The Philadelphia Story (Jenny’s fave movie from high school)
  9. Kirstin Lamb Episode
  10. Jenny on Instagram
  11. BUY Jenny’s work 

ps. Oops, I forgot to mention this! The sign-up page for the course I’ll be part of in VENICE is ready! Yes, two weeks this August during the Venice Biennale!?! I’ll be teaching a few classes and workshops from August 7 – 20th via the European Cultural Center’s Academy, alongside several other instructors, curators, etc. Tours of galleries, meeting with curators, art making, passes to the biennale, AND gelato? There are only 20 spots for the weeks I’m going to be there, so if you were thinking about it, pop over there asap. Hope to see you in Italy… ciao! 



Oil pastel on paper. Oh my goodness. These beach-goers, from another time, are the work of a Montreal based artist known as Cluca. Those towels, their skin, the perfect negative space… and of course the woman in a bunny hat / mask being thrown in the air… fantastic! Happy Friday.

rhian swierat


Ooooh! Painting and drawing and thread and sequins! I’d love to see these gems in person, but an extreme close-up or two is going to have to do for now. This is the mixed media work of New York based artist/graphic designer Rhian Swierat. Does she have a plan going into each piece? Yes – ish. Small stitched sketches get her going, but then she lets go and the whole process becomes very organic… perhaps that’s how those spider webs and flowers made their way in there.

“My process takes precedent over any drive towards a preordained composition. Sewing has no short cuts, you need to make every stitch to fill a space. This process becomes meditative as I work to recall each memory and distill it into a physical representation.”


christine shields


Weird. Portraits. Hot pink… these are a few of my favorite things! All of these bizarrely beautiful ladies are from a series titled, you guessed it, “FACES” by California based artist and musician Christine Shields. Throw some black glasses on that last gal, and I may have just found my twin. Note to self: buy a green bow. 

ps. a couple of her pieces are available at Good Eye Gallery.

sally west


Oooh, yes! Who wants to go swimming in aqua-blue cake frosting?! Simple strokes, an absolutely loaded brush, and big beautiful canvases just waiting to be transformed into busy beaches as a gentle ocean breeze blows through. Sigh. I can almost smell the salty air and sunscreen! This is the plein air work of Australian artist Sally West. and yes, I’m smitten. I also want to eat cake on the beach.

{Some of her work is available through KAB Gallery}

burl vreeland


Gah!!! I love, and want, the work of California based artist (and firefighter!?) Burl Vreeland. Yes, you read that correctly. Here’s a bit of info about Burl and his fabulous work:

“Burl Vreeland is a self-taught mixed media artist who specializes in creating images from  recycled scrap. He gathers his inspiration from the places he has lived and visited, garnering materials from the natural and unnatural world. (organic/inorganic?) He begins with canvas and then incorporates his reclaimed discoveries with woodwork and painting into movable shapes and tiles.  Over the past fifteen years, Burl has hosted numerous shows exhibiting his work across California. Burl has been a firefighter for many years.  He also works in demolition, where he seeks to restore that which has been tore down and castaway into his art, proving nothing should be considered disposable and forgotten, only transformed.”

There is literally nothing about any of this that I don’t love.

ps. Some of his work will be in “Manhandled” opening at Good Eye Gallery in LA on April 8th. GO! 

“if i’m in the zone, leave me alone”


BOOM! The first time I saw the work of Los Angeles based artist Samantha Fields, I thought “Wow, amazing photographs!” … until, of course, I realized that they were paintings. Yeah, PAINTINGS. Sam airbrushes layers and layers and layers and layers of misty paint to create the most ethereal, absolutely stunning work. You can listen up there right under that sky full o’ fireworks, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First up, some of her latest work along with a peek into her studio/her process:


There’s Baby at work – that’s Sam’s airbrush, not my nickname for her! Wow. She wasn’t kidding about all of those layers and her minimal studio. It would have to be, otherwise all of her trinkets and plants would be covered in a thick layer of paint, eventually.

Alright, these pieces are from Sam’s storm chasing days… her poor mother.


See! Proof… Sam in the middle of a highway just lookin’ for trouble to paint!

Again, more proof. The wildfires of California that called her name every time a new blaze broke out:


Destruction and beauty, rolled elegantly into one image.

This was such a good story! When Sam set off to document the aftermath of the Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption, but instead found, well, FOG:


Gasp! Who knew fog could be so absolutely beautiful! Thank goodness for happy accidents. I had to include this close-up… it still doesn’t do her work justice, but at least you can begin to see the “wisps” of paint. When she said she “paints atmosphere with atmosphere” she meant it.

Ah, next… the rainy highway paintings. These were some of the first pieces of Sam’s I ever saw. And yes, I totally thought they were photographs:


Right!?  They make my heart skip a beat.

Now, usually I start these posts with my favorite pieces, but today I’m ending the post that way. Sam’s fireworks. Oh. My. Goodness.


I can almost smell the smoke, and hear those chest-thumping BOOMS echoing through LA’s hills. I cannot imagine being able to paint like this, let alone with an airbrush named ‘Baby’. Sigh. I’m so glad Sam was able to do this with me. She’s insightful, determined, and creative to the core; thank you to Saatchi Art for supporting episode 91; and thanks to YOU for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

ps. Here are a few pieces from the portfolio of Sam’s very talented husband, Andre Yi:


Other links:

  1. Aaron Smith Episode
  2. Ashley Mistriel Episode
  3. Sam’s work at Good Eye Gallery, LA
  4. Cranbrook Academy of Art
  5. Beverly Fishman
  6. Cal. State Northridge
  7. Charles & Ray Eames
  8. Museum of Art & History, Lancaster (Sam’s retrospective show will be here)
  9. Traywick Contemporary (Sam’s LA Gallery)
  10. Mr & Mrs Exquisite Corpse