Interview with Brooks Salzwedel for “Rut in the Soil” at Lancaster MOAH during “THE NEW VANGUARD II”

Brooks Salzwedel’s exhibition “Rut in the Soil” is on view now through December 30th at the Lancaster MOAH during “The New Vanguard II” 

Can you explain your creative approach when developing your installation/solo for the New Vanguard II?

In my most recent work, I present landscapes, some imagined, some inspired by our national parks, touched by man in various states. In many pieces I’ve enclosed the landscapes in a border of negative space by use of graphic shaped rectangular boxes mimicking a foundation, more specifically the borders we put on land; from national parks, city parks, backyards, gardens, to countries and states. By setting the scenes in these shapes it alters the seemingly limitless boundaries of nature and our behavior with it.

Within the pieces are moments that are personal to me, hidden within the trees and brush one will find oil rigs, fire pits, pills, rainbows, animals, palm trees, and other various images make the piece personal to my experiences and create a greater narrative when pieced together.

In 100 years from now, what do you think will be said about the New Contemporary art movement?

I think the current New Contemporary movement is thriving with so many different types of work and materials. It will be seen as a change in the relationship between artists and galleries, artists and other artists, galleries and other galleries, and collaborations. It will be a time of blurred lines between artists’ original work and people altering those works via social media and computer-generated imagery to create their own works. Technology is still relatively new in the art world, that seems to be shown a lot more in artists’ work as well.

What does it mean to you as an artist to have your work be shown at a museum?

To have a solo show in a museum has been one of my top goals since I was a young artist. I never thought it would happen at such an early stage of my career. I feel as though I am able to offer the world feelings they may not have felt before in a space that is made for the viewer to focus on the work and what it means rather than what it is or will be worth.

If your body of work had a signature cocktail or drink, what would it be made of and called?

It would have to be Oaky, strong, and dark. Maybe an Old Fashion. A dark, wood colored whiskey, with a cold cube in the center and it would need a small object, a stir stick in the shape of a nail to combat the natural taste and feel of the liquid.

Favorite part about Lancaster, or something you learned about Lancaster during your time there working on your install for the New Vanguard II?

It’s a surprisingly comfortable, easy drive from Los Angeles. It’s close enough for an easy afternoon and far enough that the museum is able to take risks on the exhibitions, have more fun. Also, the Blackbird Air Park is quite a treat.

There are a lot of amazing artists in the exhibition, and this question may be difficult to answer, but which artists in this show would you want to collaborate with on or steal an artsy secret/technique from that you want to use too?

I’m not much of a freehand painter, I’m meticulous and detailed and on quite a small scale compared to some other artists. I’d like to collaborate with one of the mural, graffiti artists, maybe Jeff Soto. Not only did we graduate Art Center within a couple of years together I’ve always had a connection to the work, the plants and weathered look in some of his work. I notice Soto has a few larger works, and murals, so the grand scale of his work would push my comfort level.

BROOKS SALZWEDEL
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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 Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker for his Installation “Suzy Is A Surf Rocker” at The New Vanguard II

Can you explain your creative approach when developing your installation/solo for the New Vanguard II?

In developing my first solo museum installation, “Suzy Is A Surf Rocker”, I wanted to be very thoughtful and focused with my imagery. I began simply drawing sketches and writing down ideas, as well as collecting objects and ephemera to fill the large amount of wall space I was given. When I had narrowed down the ideas into a definitive, cohesive direction began the process of time management in my studio preparing all of the paintings, objects, photographs, and support pieces. Once I had begun the installation process at the museum the fun really started, but strategic editing had to also take place during the process. I always bring way more of everything than I need for a large-scale installation, and this was no exception! Finally, building what I had envisioned in my mind for months on the MOAH walls was an incredible…and at times exhausting…experience.

In 100 years from now, what do you think will be said about the New Contemporary art movement?

100 years from now I believe what will be said about our movement will be that it has been the most all-encompassing, inclusive movement in history. This movement has the most diverse styles, disciplines, genders, ethnicities, geography, exhibition venues…the list of inclusion goes on and on!  The New Contemporary Movement is the first to have grown up during the internet age…giving an instant platform to artists of all kinds worldwide. This kind of exposure has shone a bright light on artists and styles that would have never seen a glimmer in the past gallery/museum pantheon. This exhibition is a shining example of that fact!

What does it mean to you as an artist to have your work be shown at a museum?

Having my work…and our movement…shown at museums is the realization that all of the hard work of the artists, gallerists, collectors, and fans is being accepted at a whole other level now. Although, it still means almost as much to me to show my work in a local gallery, coffee house, warehouse pop-up, or anywhere that supports current and up-and-coming artists. The wide variety of venues available to new artists has had a huge impact on why The New Contemporary Movement has grown to museum levels.

If your body of work had a signature cocktail or drink, what would it be made of and called?

Oh man!!! I suppose it would have to be some kind of kitschy tropical drink with lots of rum and fruit juice…garnished with pineapple chunks, flowers and a tiny umbrella…and would probably be called “skibs kula’i wai”…loosely translated as “skibs knockout juice”…HA!

Favorite part about Lancaster, or something you learned about Lancaster during your time there working on your install for the New Vanguard II?

Oh, this one is easy…favorite for sure was the people! Not just the people who work in the museum…who were all amazing. The people in the shops, restaurants, bars…everyone was extremely nice and excited to see and meet us while we were out and about in their city.

There are a lot of amazing artists in the exhibition, and this question may be difficult to answer, but which artists in this show would you want to collaborate with on or steal an artsy secret/technique from that you want to use too?

Geez, come on!!!! I guess if I had to narrow down that insane list of talent…I would want to do a collab with Chris Konecki. I think his 3D, mixed media, sculptures, and ambiguously vintage imagery would mix well with my similar aesthetic. I would want to steal some of Jaune’s stenciling techniques…the details and accuracy he creates with that hard edge technique are incredible

 

Artist Talks with Spenser Little and Craig “Skibs” Barker at Lancaster MOAH

Hop in your car and join us in Lancaster this afternoon as Craig “Skibs” Barker will lead a walk-through of his exhibition, Suzy is a Surf Rocker today,  November 25 at 1 pm followed by a walk-thru and talk with Spenser Little at 2 pm.

Craig “Skibs” Barker Bio:

Barker has been immersed in both the punk rock and surf culture of southern California since the early 1980s. His imagery, being informed by the print media and graphics of the subcultural terrain shaping the time period, reflects this upbringing. Influenced and surrounded by punk flyers, album covers and surfing magazines, Barker began testing his artistic skills by initially making flyers and t-shirts for his punk bands and his friends. Barker’s work explores the junctions between past and present, memory and imagination, fantasy and reality, while creating a dialog between image and viewer.

Barker’s most recent paintings infuse his long-standing love for painting and rendering the human female figure with his punk-fueled graphic design aesthetic. Mixing different approaches, techniques and mediums, he creates a sense of memory, personal history and appreciation for the female form. Combining elements of pop culture and literary censorship, he creates layered scenes of voyeuristic playfulness. His artworks feel surreal and partial, yielding results of decontextualization. The way Barker frames his figurative subjects, his compositions feel like spontaneously taken polaroids.

Born and raised in Huntington Beach, Barker has been exhibiting installations and his paintings in places such as Long Beach Museum of Art, Thinkspace Projects Los Angeles and was featured at MOAH in 2014. His work has been included in Newbrow and Juxtapoz magazines.

Spenser Little Bio: 

Spenser Little is a self-taught artist who has been bending wire for the last 15 years, allowing his creativity to morph into images that range from simple wordplay to complex portraits. He has related his wire work to a mixture of playing chess and illustration, as the problem-solving component of the work is what continues to inspire himself to create larger and more complex pieces.