Interview with Daniel Bilodeau for “State of the Art”

The first new works to adorn our project room for 2019 are by Canadian, New York-based artist Daniel Bilodeau for his exhibition State of the Art. Bilodeau’s paintings explore aspects of identity, from the symbolic archetype funneled through art history to portraits of people close to the artists. He combines the immediacy of single rapid strokes, pours, non-objective marks with carefully constructed realistic forms to create gorgeous reimagined portraitures,  where his portraits of people around him are highly personalized, the portraits from art history are depersonalized

In anticipation of State of the Art, our interview with Daniel Bilodeau discusses the inspiration behind this body of work,  creative process, and dream collaboration.

Join us for the opening of State of the Art this Saturday, January 5th from 6 pm – 9 pm. 

SH: For those that are not familiar with you and your work, can you give us a brief look at your artistic background and zodiac sign?

DB: Sure, and I think I’ll start here: while I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, a pivotal moment came when my 5th-grade teacher took us to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art to see the Marc Chagall retrospective. As a child, I could relate to the freedom with color and the lack of anatomical accuracy in the work. And I could see that these works were moving and important; on display in hallowed halls. As soon as we had passed through the exhibition proper we entered a room full of paper and art supplies and we were told, essentially, “Now it’s your turn.” I could draw new parallels at that moment and felt an empowerment. Other crucial moments in my life and art came when studying at the museums of Italy and France for a summer, living as a monk at a Zen monastery for another summer, a blood ceremony with the chief of the Yaqui Native tribe.

My BFA came from Ringling College in Florida, my MFA from the New York Academy of Art in New York City.

It seems unlikely to me that any balls of gas impossibly far from here are conspiring around how my next dinner party or job interview will go. However surprised I’d be to find my fate really is written into a star map, I’ll be damned if I don’t, for some reason, go looking at the public display screens at the train station when they flash the zodiac blurbs. If there is astrological weather in store for me, it’s coming to a Pisces.

SH: What inspired this latest body of work?

DB: The joy and challenge of creating, first of all. Pushing the resonance between smooth and textured, illusory and abstract, deliberate and spontaneous… In terms of content, with these portraits, I was considering how the sense of self today is formed. It’s formed inside an algorithm funneled cacophony of input and expectation, and the manipulation of content produces more and more for us to consider. I wanted to speak of the side of us that is learned balancing with the side which is direct, automatic, and childlike.

When not painting people around me I’ve examined portraits from the past- two in particular- through the lens of our image-addled times. Working from my own previous experiments with a Bronzino and an Ingres, instead of reproductions of the originals, I play a game of telephone- adding, shifting, and seeing what changes over the iterations. Ever more titillating freely available imagery is traded endlessly online. Here I’m embracing this open season on visual content-fascinated by the losses and gains associated with our culture of content manipulations. In the migration of culture into digital space, and the processing of art history through a digital age vastly removed from the original context, I’m dealing with the question of whether these old works are “up for revision;” especially given that they are all definitely receiving it and there is no going back. Where my portraits of people around me are highly personalized, the portraits from art history are depersonalized.

SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece.

DB: “Unfolding” involved just about as much color and movement as could go into a piece which, in person especially (with its size somehow important), still evokes calm. The interesting challenge, as I put it to myself, was to have the work both full of life and at ease simultaneously.

SH: How do you capture ideas for pieces; do you have a sketchbook on hand or is it just a note to yourself in your phone?

DB: Both and beyond – sometimes it’s a small drawing, and I do take endless photographs and screenshots of everything from spots on the ground to torn up flyposting in New York City to the work of inspiring artists. I also manipulate imagery with physical collage and in Photoshop. The methodologies really vary by the piece.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?

DB: The next one- the nascent work of art. Knowing that I can do more, make more, tackle the next one, explore an idea, express myself, inspire someone. There is a wellspring of inspiration and an urgency with the passage of time.

SH: What frustrates you about your work/ creative process?

DB: Pulling brush hairs and paint boogers out of fresh varnish, protecting the sides of the paintings, touch-ups and many other such things that take hours when all I want and need to be doing is painting. The fact that there are only 24 hours in a day when clearly we need many more.

SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?

DB: If Picasso, Velázquez, myself and a nice bottle of Bourbon all got together I’m sure we could make something happen. Artistically. Also, I would leap at the chance to collaborate with a museum to fill a room (rooms) with creation on a large scale install.

SH: What do you think the role of artists is in society? How does other artwork inform how you move through life?

DB: We all look at life through our own tiny keyhole, no matter how “connected” we are. Art first causes us to pause. Then it introduces a new perspective, feeling, or information to consider and internalize in such a visceral way. There is nothing else like it and to engage with art is to bring a gift into your life.

 

SH: If your body of work inspired an ice cream flavor, what would it be called and what are the ingredients?

DB: Rods and Cones: color swirls plated with a texturally contrasting layer of translucent hardened caramelized sugar varnish, with rods and cones.

SH: Favorite way to celebrate the completion of a project/body of work?

DB: Before cleaning up and getting right back to work I would ordinarily have a great dinner with friends I couldn’t spend time with during the work deluge. This time, however, two days after the opening I’m going to make a dream come true and go on an intensive exploration of eight Southeast Asian countries. The time has come for a great adventure.

Artist Statement:

State of the Art – Daniel Bilodeau

Whether playing with an archetype funneled through art history or a portrait of someone close Daniel Bilodeau is thinking about aspects of identity today. He has been engaged with a series of works which imply certain truths of our time: the modern sense-of-self formed inside an algorithm funneled cacophony of input and expectation, and the manipulation of content to produce more and more to consider. His paintings, in form and function, speak of the side of us that is learned and calibrated balancing with the side which is direct, automatic, and child- like. He uses different forms of attention in painting these, combining the immediacy of single rapid strokes, pours, non-objective marks and introduced found objects with carefully constructed realistic forms. Intertwining these into a unified whole beckons out different forms of creative activity and the result speaks to a similar interplay within the psyche of the sitter- the conscious and the unconscious at work simultaneously.

When not painting people around him Bilodeau examines portraits from the past- two in particular- through the lens of our image-addled times. Working from his own previous experiments with a Bronzino and an Ingres, instead of reproductions of the originals, he plays a game of telephone- adding, shifting, and seeing what changes over the iterations. Ever more titillating freely available imagery is traded endlessly online. Here this open season on visual content is embraced by Bilodeau who is fascinated by the losses and gains associated with our culture of content manipulations. In the migration of culture into digital space, and the processing of art history through a digital age vastly removed from the original context, Bilodeau deals with the question of whether these old works are “up for revision” especially given that they are all definitely receiving it and there is no going back. Where his portraits of people around him are highly personalized, the portraits from art history are depersonalized.

Bilodeau displaces and distorts but brings his creations through objectification and back as a haptic, considered physical work of art with presence. Having used the variety of tools at his disposal Bilodeau produces real-world objects demanding attention as signs of the times, remembrances of the past, and an embrace of all the gorgeousness we can make through our ever-widening visual resources and agency.

Interview with Stephanie Buer for “Wild Abandon”

We are starting 2019 off with “Wild Abandon” from Portland-based artist Stephanie Buer. In her latest body of work, Buer returns to Detroit where she explores the city, and shares her finding through photorealistic paintings in oil, and charcoal works on paper. Buer captures the abandoned recesses of the city, finding unexpected richness in its desolation and quietude in its abrupt vacancies. Our interview with Stephanie Buer dives into the inspiration behind this new body of work,  what the role of an artist is in society and her dream creative collaboration.

SH: For those that are not familiar with you and your work, can you give us a brief look at your artistic background?

SB: I spent the majority of my childhood and even into adulthood, training as a classical ballet dancer. So I didn’t start pursuing drawing and painting seriously until College. I went to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, where I studied drawing, painting and stone carving. Right after I graduated all of my stone carving tools were stolen and at the time they were too expensive to replace, so I started focusing on my drawing and painting. I also worked for many years in car design, while I lived in Detroit, once I saved enough to pay off my student loans, I moved to Portland and started making art full time.

SH: What inspired this latest body of work? What buildings and cities did you explore?

SB: This body of work was inspired by Detroit, a city I love and called home for 10 years. I had taken a break to explore and make work from other cities and was starting to feel a bit homesick, so I decided to go back home for this one. I was also inspired by the cold, snowy weather. It has been years since a good snowy winter and a winter break trip to see family, have coincided. There has been a lot of warmer winters in the last 6 years or so and I just love painting and drawing snow. It makes me so happy, I couldn’t wait to get out and explore. I was home for two weeks and the temperature was never above 20 degrees. It was so cold one of the days that my camera froze! My closest friend and old college roommate recently bought some property and a small building in Detroit. It’s in a neighborhood that is a bit newer to me, so I spent some time with her getting to know some of the places and buildings nearer to her new home. Spingwells, Del Ray, the Old Continental Motors Factory, Corktown, these are just a few of the locations that I worked from.

SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece.

SB: I usually draw very blank skies, just plain white paper most of the time. I made a larger drawing that had a lot of cloud work in the sky. I know it doesn’t sound like much but it was quite challenging and I think it turned out well. I also tried some new techniques with the painting of clouds too and I think it was successful. I guess I’m proud of the clouds. Sounds a bit silly but I am.

SH: Abandon buildings can attract interesting characters and private security, has there been a time where you had to talk your way out of a tricky situation? Is there a particular piece from that moment we can reference?

SB: I’ve been pretty lucky, in Detroit, there isn’t a lot of security. Birdman and I had to run and scale a small wall to get away from security in LA once, that was pretty fun. The climbing skills really came in hand.
In Detroit its more often very interesting characters that you run into, and I love that. While gathering images for this last body of work, my friend and I were stopped by an older man, taking his son and granddaughter on a tour of the neighborhood he grew up in. This neighborhood, like most in Detroit was lively but desolate, on account of the riots back in the 60’s. His son wasn’t too amused with the tour so he was excited to tell us some stories from his childhood. He told us that Stevie Wonder grew up in the same neighborhood as him and that as a young kid, he used to deliver milk. He was showing us where his house once stood. The drawing, Searching for Stevie Wonder, is that spot.

SH: What was the most challenging piece in this exhibition? Why and what did you learn?

SB: The most challenging piece was definitely the large painting of the Continental Motors factory. It is the largest painting I have made to date, even building the canvas was a learning experience. I am a big fan of the artist, Rackstraw Downes. He paints a lot of wide-angle landscapes where he exaggerates the curvature of the earth in the horizon and building lines. I wanted to experiment with that and it was very difficult. I find very straight lines and square angles comfortable, they’re easy to make look perfect, but long sweeping, organic lines are so hard to perfect.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?

SB: I love painting and drawing. I get excited to be in the studio every day, even after doing this for so long, it never gets old. Going through new images and planning out pieces and bodies of work is exciting. Trying new techniques is exciting. I like the way that the work helps the viewer to see beauty in things and places where they might not stop to look. I love it!

SH: What frustrates you about your work/ creative process?

SB: The sustainability and the business side of an art career are the things that frustrate me the most. There’s not much about the creative process that I dislike. Even the tedious bits, like laying in the construction lines or painting hundreds of bricks, I’m even starting to enjoy a bit of framing! Its just the business part of it that I find frustrating.

SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?

SB: I daydream about collaborating with a choreographer and a dance company. Sometimes my pieces feel to me like the settings on a stage and I wonder what types of movements and costumes someone would dream up to take place on the stages I would create. That’s a super outer space daydream though, never said it out loud before.

SH: What do you think the role of artists is in society? How does other artwork inform how you move through life?

SB: I think the role of an artist in society has many purposes. It depends on the artist. A few things that I think are important though, are to challenge people, to bring into question the ways we live, and the choices we make. Its also to bring beauty into the world.

I would like my work to encourage people to have conversations about what it means to be more present, to be in the moment and observe the world. It’s a societal lifestyle change I see happening and it worries me. I would also like my work to challenge peoples relationship with the environment, to bring attention to our relationship with it and our responsibility to it. I had some great conversations with myself during the making of this body of work, about these points. I love winter, and I love snow, I love being in it, looking at it, capturing it in my pieces. The reality of it though, is that it is rare these days in the midwest. Growing up winters were always cold and snowy but its changing. I know my work is known for focusing on old, dilapidated buildings and graffiti but I wanted these pieces to also showcase the changes we experience with seasons, wintertime, a unique experience to the midwest which I think is not a guarantee these days. It may be something we look back on in a hundred years or so, as a memory. It doesn’t seem like much in capturing it now, but it may be what is most significant about work which artists are making these days. These thoughts definitely inform my life too, they teach me to live a life that is more aware of my impact. Per the earlier point too, I hope making art reminds me to be more present, to put my phone down and to focus on the things that are important.

SH: If your body of work inspired an ice cream flavor, what would it be called and what are the ingredients?

SB: That is an interesting question. There is a lot of snow in these pieces so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch, although, I’m imagining bits of brick and asbestos, some twigs sticking out . . . that’s yucky . . . maybe like vanilla with chocolate and Oreos and other messy looking bits, maybe in a brick patterned waffle cone!

SH: Favorite way to celebrate the completion of a project/body of work?

A trip! I visited my family in Michigan for the holidays after I finished this last body of work, it was great motivation. A trip to the mountains or some time in the desert climbing is also something I really look forward to. I sacrifice those things in the middle of deadlines so its great to be able to fit them in again.

Join us for the opening of Wild Abandon, Saturday, January 5th from 6 – 9 pm.

 

Interview with Christopher Konecki for “Size Matters”

We’re thrilled to present new works by San Diego-based painter, muralist, and sculptor Christopher Konecki in our project room. The exhibition Size Matters is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery and will showcase Konecki’s self-taught techniques experimenting with new materials to create mixed media sculptures. In anticipation of the exhibition, our interview with Christopher Konecki discusses his creative process, the piece that challenged him, and dream collaboration.

SH: For those that are not familiar with you and your work, can you give us a brief look at your artistic background and zodiac sign?

CK: Well if they are not familiar with my art then they are blowing it! Naw, just kidding. I am a self-taught artist out of San Diego. I began painting at a young age and learned how to scale my work up to murals a few years ago. I became fascinated representing architecture in new ways wanted to express my ideas in the third dimension. With the help of some mentors and endless experimentation, I learned how to build my ideas as miniature mixed-media sculptures. I love the versatility the media provides and the way that model making brings out the child in the audience. Now I get to travel and make art – which is awesome. Um, I think I’m a Libra?

SH: What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work?

CK: With, SIZE MATTERS, I wanted to display the current political and social climate through the lens of degrading Mid-Century Modern structures. I tried to capture the irony of the optimism of the American nuclear generation and the monuments they erected that are now faded crumbling remains.

SH: You’re a muralist and sculpture artists. How did you get into sculpture? What made you want to explore that medium? How do the different mediums inform each other?

CK: l have always tried to envision my paintings as sculptures. I just needed the physical skill and time to create them. I began building with simple forms and then added complexity as my skill level increased. Sometimes I will paint something I deem too difficult to build and while painting the piece will begin to unravel the 3d design. The murals inform the sculptures and vice versa.

SH: How do you capture ideas for pieces; do you have a sketchbook on hand or is it just a note to yourself in your phone?

CK: I use a lot of reference for my work. I never know what might inspire me – maybe a small detail on a corner or some sign somewhere. I get the idea down as fast as I can using whatever I have near. Usually, I have my ipad with me and can bust out a quick sketch.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?

CK: It is limitless. The extent of my imagination is the well in which I draw from. I’m not concerned with exact replication as a scale model maker. I try to display the world as I see it.

SH: What frustrates you about your work/ creative process?

CK: No one sees all the mistakes. Sometimes I will destroy or lose a small piece that I have put time into creating and have to start over.

SH: If your body of work inspired an ice cream flavor, what would it be called and what are the ingredients?

CK: Rusty Road- Like Rocky Road but with rusted metal flakes and some lead-based paint chips.

SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?

My dream collaboration would have been to create models for a Kubrick film. That guy was a genius so far ahead of his generation. That would have been a great honor for me.

SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece?

CK: “Smoke a Bowl” was the most interesting build by far. I wanted to make a piece that was about zoning out and smoking weed but not have it be typical ‘weed art.’ I need to find a balance between the Mid-Century signage and the practical fact that its a bong. I feel that the message is the primary focus of the piece and weed culture is secondary.

SH: Favorite way to celebrate the completion of a project/body of work?

CK: I love to travel and paint. Maybe a few days off where I don’t have to produce and can simply create for myself. However, I’m super busy and don’t see time off in my immediate future

Interview with Dulk for “Legacy” Opening December 1st at Thinkspace Culver City

We’re pleased to present “Legacy” featuring new paintings and drawings by Spanish painter, illustrator, and muralist Dulk. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with Thinkspace, and we’re honored to be showcasing the internationally known artist who creates worlds of stylized Animalia and character creatures. Our interview with Dulk discusses the inspiration behind the exhibition, his creative process, and favorite mural festival memory.

Join us for the opening reception of “Legacy December 1st from 6 pm to 9 pm. 

SH: What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work?
DK: In this body of work I wanted to go a little further than in the previous exhibitions and look for a link between the beginning and the end of the life. We come from the earth and in these artworks everything seems to return to it. Although the earth keeps on turning on its axis and keeps orbiting around the Sun, for our everyday lives it is still the most solid groundbase we have.

In the same way, the multiple characters that swarm in the mirror-like depths of these paintings appear to be arrested, frozen and petrified. Everything flows in a motionless paroxysm. Human nature makes us not really see what is happening before our eyes, we do not see the problems or maybe we do not want to see them. Hence, this attempt to camouflage the disaster.

This exhibition confronts us with a fantastic world where everything flows, changes and transforms in manifold different ways. That being said, the underlying discourse is unified, categorical and self-evident: man is killing Nature and its incredible biodiversity which we ought to love for many reasons but which, nevertheless, we are destroying day by day, step by step.

SH: How do you capture ideas for pieces; do you have a sketchbook on hand or is it just a note to yourself in your phone?
DK: Normally I always bring with me a moleskine where I write down words, concepts or small drawings with notes. You never know when an idea may come to you so it is necessary to be prepared. If for any reason I don’t have it, I usually write it down on my mobile phone and as soon as I get to my computer I put it on a list. Many of them will never see the light, but it is good to have a folder of possible ideas stored in the trunk.

Nature photography is my other passion, many of the images I shoot in my travels are the basis of my future creations. I also follow many nature photographers and I have a very complete folder of photographic material in which I immerse myself before starting a new piece. I usually start from an element, central character that I want to represent for some reason and from here I imagine its history.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?
DK: My work shows the inner vision of my personal tastes. I remember when I was a child and I saw my father’s illustrated bird books, I thought, when I grow up I want to be a bird cartoonist. It sounded very surreal and I laugh when I remember it, today it is not what I dedicate myself to 100%, but it has a direct relationship with those dreams of childhood.

I enjoy my work from the first step. Organizing my research/inspiration trips or researching in my editorial collection. This step is one of the ones I like most about the creation process because that’s where everything comes from, it’s the moment when you start giving life to new works and you feel emotion for the future of the piece. Without any doubt, it is where creativity gains more power.

My work makes me happy because it brings together my two passions, nature and art and that makes me feel very fortunate. On the other hand, not everything is beautiful, you live in constant pressure, it is a very difficult profession to carry, many trips, uncontrolled pace and often a bit chaotic but I am sure that without all this it would not be me. You have to feel it. Each project is a new game, a whole thing full of sensations that make you more prepared for the next.

SH: What frustrates you about your work/ creative process?
DK: I do not really have any relevant negative feelings, maybe the only thing could be work times, I’m very methodical and I spend a lot of time in the pre-production phase of the works, drawing and researching and maybe that delays me the production tempos, but at the same time, I think that it is necessary to invest that time to establish the foundations of the project with more strength. Many times I envy people with styles that can be reproduced by another hand than the artist’s own, because you can cover many more projects simultaneously, but at the same time I think that work loses its warmth. Still, that is what can frustrate me the most, not being able to reach all the projects I would like. This is the good and the bad thing about having such a personal style, it makes it unique in all the senses. I enjoy every step of the creative process, so I try to take care of and pamper every piece from the first stroke to its last detail.

SH: Do you remember your dreams? If so, can you share with us one of your more recent vivid dreamscapes?
DK: The truth is that I do not usually remember dreams, only when I wake up and very seldom, then they become part of the most hidden side of our minds. The dream is a way of processing and accumulating what happened during the day. At night, the brain digests and metaphorically filters information, and in my opinion, what the brain saves becomes part of who we are. Sleep is like the digestive system of the brain.

Perhaps many of the elements that appear in my works come from that hidden inner world and mix with the reality of everyday life to create compositions free of restrictions. Hence my influence with the surrealist movement. In my opinion the surrealist creative process starts from the pure psychic automatism to try to express, verbally, visually, or in any other way, the functioning of reality. Surrealism is not a technique, nor a school; it is a way of seeing and understanding reality, or how to understand the reality of the dream come true.

SH: What do you think the role of artists is in society? How does other artwork inform how you move through life?
DK: Art has many connotations for each person, each person has different tastes in the sense that each individual considers art different things. Art is influential depending on the point at which the artist wants the audience to understand his work and at the same time the public is interested in art if it is done in the context in which it lives. By combining these two parts, art can be influential, sometimes it can make people think, sometimes these people can stop to look at what they see and others directly and not flinch.

Speaking of my art, I do not pretend to act as an activist and show people the errors or natural disasters that we are causing, I simply want to offer images that make us think and reflect on the reality of our days. I like to work on antagonistic concepts, frustrated ideals or colorful nightmares, which find their meaning when the viewer feels sensations when observing them.

SH: If your body of work inspired an ice cream flavor, what would it be called and what are the ingredients?
DK: It would be a combination of vanilla and bitter dark chocolate. At first glance we are faced with a sweet and appetizing taste that invites you to savor the work from the beginning to the end but once seduces us and we enter into your body the hidden message represents the reality of the characters who are threatened, many times injured and others directly extinct, form scenes full of sarcasm. I try to capture the viewer with a pleasing palette in sight and organic forms, to later immerse him in a tragic realism hidden in an ideal world. Love and hatred are recurrent in these works beautiful in form and terrible in the background.

SH: You’ve painted murals around the world? Can you share with us a memorable moment from one of those journeys?
DK: One of the places I remember most is Churchill, Canada. Churchill is a city on the west coast of Hudson Bay in the province of Manitoba, which is famous for the many polar bears that come from its seas from the hinterland in the fall, so it is called the “polar bear capital of the world”. It is also very famous for the amount of beluga whales that come in the summer to mate. It is a totally remote place that I wanted to travel to take photographs some years ago, it was one of those places that I wanted to visit as a source of inspiration for my work, but when I saw the flight ticket prices from Spain I discovered that it was very  expensive and I decided to leave it for later.

Coincidences of life, two years ago, at the end of 2016, I received an email from Tré Packard, (organizer of Seawalls and Pangeaseed director) told me that he was organizing a mural festival in Churchill for the summer of 2017. Tré warned me that, given the circumstances of the place, it was going to be a totally different festival than what I was used to. Apart from being a place that can only be reached by light plane or train, during those dates there were floods that destroyed the train tracks so it was only reached by plane. All the materials to paint, as well as the food came in the small plane with us, we loaded the provisions ourselves. We had a couple of lifts for about 12 artists which we took turns according to needs and very little painting. I’ve been in too many festivals but the circle of friendship that was created in this place was pure magic.

Painting in the cold night in summer observing the boreal aura or listening to the whales screaming and watching them flutter while I was on top of my scaffolding were some of the things that I lived there. They joined my two passions, nature and art in its purest form to spend 15 unforgettable days. When things come up with a purpose like this, a festival does not need anything else, it does not matter if there is little painting or few means, friendship and experience is what counts and that at the end of the day is what you remember on your return to home.

SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?
DK: I love the cinema and especially the stop motion animation. One of the collaborations that I would most enjoy would be to work in a film production of this type with the the dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, obviously this is impossible but we were talking about dreams.

SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece?
DK: The piece “Carousel” was perhaps the most complicated to finish. After two weeks working on it in detail I applied glazing techniques to enhance the effect of water in the underwater area by covering it all with bluish veiling. I had never worked a piece in which most of the scene is submerged and also with a large size. At first it was very dark and I had to rescue zone by zone the effects of light and shadow to recover the strength and order of the elements of the scene in the areas where it needed  but it made me gain depth and improve the aquatic effect. In the end the problem made me look for a solution and greatly improve the final result.

 

SH: You used to work in advertising and animation as an artist while still developing your own creative and artistic voice. What advice would you give other artists who have the creative day-job that may leave them burned out at the end of the day to work on their own art?
DK: As you said I’ve worked in animation, illustration, fashion or advertising, meanwhile I have been developing my personal style and applying it to the different aspects. Today I have realized that what I really need is to work on the development of my work with a more artistic purpose.

Living from your own art is something complicated, it is something so passionate that it becomes a lifestyle and it is very difficult to separate your personal life of the professional. This is where many joys and sorrows come and you have to take the control. As a main point I would highlight the work and effort as a starting point, and from here to consider yourself because you dedicate yourself to this. I personally do it because there are things that have to come out from me, I have never thought why I do it, It simply comes because I need it, it is part of my personality and a mode of expression in silence.

Interview with Atsuko Goto for “Elysium”

We’re excited to have artist Atsuko Goto’s new body of work as part of our group exhibition Elysium. Goto pushes her hauntingly melancholic images and feather like details exploring various techniques found in Asian art. Our interview with Atsuko discusses her post-show plans, highs and lows of the creative process, and studio tools.

Join us for the opening for Elysium, Saturday, November 10th from 6 pm to 9 pm.

SH: What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What ideas or themes were you exploring?
AG: I am recently interested by painter’s point of view and mindset of the old time. Thinking of that, I drew some elements of old Asian artworks in my paintings, “Mischief of forgotten dreams” series.

SH: How do you approach developing a new body of work and capture ideas for pieces; do you have a sketchbook on hand or is it just a note to yourself in your phone?
AG: I often draw paintings watching photos on my PC. But I start to paint before deciding about the final result.

SH: What excites you about your work / creative process?
AG: When I try something new and I don’t know how it will progress.

SH: What frustrates you about your work / creative process?
AG: When I feel that I do always the same things.

SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece?
AG: “Mischief of forgotten dreams I,” When I started this painting, I really didn’t know what I should draw. So I greatly (for me )changed the process and I continued drawing without many thinking. I was uncertain but I also felt excited, because I didn’t know what will appear in my painting.

SH: Who is an artist; musician, director, any art form – who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?
AG: I dream to collaborate with someone from different fields; writer, musician, player…I also dream to be involved with the stage play (theatre).

SH: Has there been someone or some event that has made a significant impact on you that lead you to where you are now? An artistic catalyst of sorts?
AG: There have been many people and many events impact on me.

SH: What’s in your toolbox? AKA what paints, brushes, tools would we find in your studio? What do you wish was in your studio?
AG: Pigments, natural pigments, brushes, Japanese ink, glue, Arabic gum and PC (photos, music, movies)…etc. I would like to have a chair that moves automatically into all directions.

SH: After a show what do you do? Do you take a long break, vacation, a particular ritual? Tell us.
AG: I try to take some break in order to think about nothing.

SH: In one or two words, tell us something that you really like or resonates with you about the work of each artist in Elysium.

AG: Their own unique world.