Tag Archives: artist profiles

Lighting strikes Mark Demos at the Fountain Art Fair! A very delayed report….but I have a note from my Doctor.

Not-So-Patient: Paul ShampineDear Art World, Please excuse Paul’s tardiness as he has suffered a comminuted Fx of the radius and humerus with magna angulation.  Cause: Stendhal Syndrome. 

Click here…

As a teenager I experimented with gravity, performing stunts beyond any “stupid” or “don’t try this at home” reality TV show. And over the past fifteen years, I’ve bread-spread layers of my epidermis at breakneck speeds on the earth’s crust motoXing, mountain biking, trail running and even a downtown Boston motorcycle spill…all without skeletal carnage. So why would a plodding minus zero mph bike accident shatter my elbow in a thousand-piece single-shade puzzle? A Buddhist Miss Ko2 - Nurse Takashi Murakami would say it was for a reason….maybe if I mack truck grillcontinued my trip I would have eaten Mack grill? OR, I wouldn’t have met the radiologist that will soon be my third wife? “No Paul,” that throaty parental voice echoed, “you’re old.”

What makes me feel young, innocent, fresh and alive? The work of Mark Demos. As I strolled around this year’s Fountain Art Fair, a wide-eyed boy in a store of porn and fuzzy wet dreams (sorry that’s the Oxy talking), I was surreptitiously drawn to Mark’s booth – close encounter-like, pulled by back-lit cryptic swaths Mark Demosof color found only in Pantone’s secret basement.  “Over the last few years I’ve added light to my art for a dream affect.  Strange how these paintings have become so cathartic that they make me feel like its a new life every day.”  Mark explains.  He attributes his supernatural palette wizardry to a negative personal incident  “wrong place, wrong time,” but for me, his work must come from a deeper encounter from within.

FAF-Mark DemosAs an exhibitor at the 2012 Fountain Art Fair, can you share your experience from your perspective? Showing at Fountain was a great experience… showing in that historic venue (69th Regiment Armory-68 Lexington Avenue and 25th Street) was exciting to see mine and others’ works in such an inspiring context.  I thought my spot was great too because when you walked in you’d see my booth glowing all the way at the end of the space.  I enjoyed time spent and speaking with exhibitors, gallerists, & art lovers at Fountain.  The event was organized and still had the laid back Fountain feel but all involved stepped it up and made this event a blast to be part of.

Mark DemosAll great artist strive to evolve, try new mediums, methods and test their creativity.  What inspired the incorporation of light with your work?  I was inspired to incorporate light once I felt my paintings became more like memories of a memory so it was dreamy.  I added light for the dream affect.  I love how the light adds dimension and more life to my works!  Some people prefer no light… the paintings are meant to be seen in 3 ways/moods.  The pieces can be viewed front light- with no back illumination front light and illuminating and in the dark illuminated.

When did you first discover your creative talents?  I first discovered my creative talents when I was a young child wearing a garbage bag, playing with my kitchen sink… my mother would give me food coloring and a bunch of clear jars and glasses and I’d mix the colors with the running water. I’d watch the colors move, change hues and form. I’d be hypnotized and play with the sink all day. I’ve since changed medium but feel the same can be told about what I do in my studio every day.

FAF-Mark DemosFor an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  My first piece of art I sold was quite memorable because I hadn’t sold to anyone and had tons of work stockpiled in my rent stabilized apt. I was recommended by a friend to do the office of a financial company on Water St. in lower Manhattan. I met her connection and gave him 4 pictures of my work I printed 10 mins before the meeting. We met on the Union Square steps and the meeting was brief. He later called me and asked how much work I had… I told him. He later stopped by and bought ALL of my work. This gave me enough to rent my first art studio- what a stroke of good fortune. I’m so grateful to still have the luxury of an art studio today.

Who are your favorite artists? When it comes to favorite artists Richter is high on the list. Gerhard Richter has inspired me every time I view his work… online to recently at the Tate. His use of color and expression through abstraction cannot be matched. I also love Rothko because when I was a kid I thought ” I could do that”. I was wrong. His paintings glow and shake like no other and dark to light they will always shake us up with good and bad mood swings. My third on today’s list of favorite artists will finish with Adolph Gottlieb who creates gorgeously designed circles. I am obsessed with the motion of circles and to find Gottlieb later in life, makes me feel like we have something in common with one of the greats!

Since the show? I’ve been painting outside on my roof and will be showing works on my roof so when you’re on the Brooklyn Bridge you can see a piece.  I recently found a new work space way downtown lower Manhattan and it’s big so I look forward to working there.  I have a few galleries interested in my work one on the LES and the other in CT.  Hope to do a solo show soon.

Visit Mark Demos:  http://www.markdemosstudio.com

Thanks Mark.
Paul ShampinePaul Shampine

NYC Fountain Art Fair proves Albert was wrong, E=fA²f

Maybe hold off on changing the textbooks.  Professor Einstein was on to something…

Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of Fountain Arts Fair - NYCcompassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.(A. Einstein 1954).

As a first-timer of the Fountain Art Fair, the event was a perfect setting to fulfill Albert’s advice.  Go once and you’re a lifer as attendance reflected.

It was unlike any creative event I’ve attended.  BUT, I’m not going to disrespect the pulsing soul and ramble on about my thoughts and experiences or flood this with imagery…just go.  Trust me…just go.  It’s a true bucket list for any art lover, art collector or anyone wanting to continue or start  Albert’s pilgrimage.

The Fountain Art Fair continues through Sunday March 11.  For more info: http://www.fountainartfair.com

Paul ShampineJust a peek.  Ian Ross (http://ianrossart.com) and Lindsay Carron (http://lindsaycarron.com) infusing the mood onsite.
Ian Ross - Fountain Arts FairLindsay Carron - Fountain Arts Fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you.
Best regards, Paul
Paul Shampine

Fountain Arts Fair – NYC, March 9-11, 2012

In anticipation of this weekend’s (March 9-11) NYC Fountain Art Fair, I asked participant and past Arts PR Group interviewee Agni Zotis  her thoughts.  Also, a  short chat with  Santa Monica artist Kathleen O’Connell Kaller.

Getting ready for an exhibit, solo or joint, can be its own reality TV Agni Zotisshow….the diverse mix of personalities, stress of deadlines and production issues.  Can you share a personal experience with Fountain?  Art fairs and the art world in general are reality tv dramas, entertainment should be inevitable. This year the Fountain Art Fair is at the 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue  @ 25th Street, the very first exhibition space for the Armory Show in 1913.

I was invited by my friend, sculptor Bernard Klevickas, that had the idea for a Bernard Klevickasband of artists to come together and present in a salon style exhibition, 72 artists including some friends, in booth E212 producing artwork right now in NYC. It’s an opportunity to show work, collaborate, see art, friends, parties, represent a part of the NYC art energy I am, as the world pours in to experience it.  As an active artist I have the ability to create my experience.

 I’m showing “In Haiti Kids are Eating Mud Cookies What Heels Should I Wear” at the curators request and also the painting  “Liquify Earth” the idea of the being, the self, consuming the globe, unifying, becoming one with all,   Universal Consciousness.

Thanks Agni.  From the FAF folks…the “Fair is an exhibition of avant-garde artwork founded to leverage support for smaller independent galleries to gain access to larger collectors and critics. In addition to cutting-edge art, visitors to the fair can enjoy signature elements such as on-site performance art, a major street art installation, and musical performances that Fountain has become known for integrating into the art fair experience. From presenting just 3 local exhibitors at its first fair in 2006, Fountain has grown to represent over 30 international exhibitors and independent artist projects…

Paul ShampineBuy discounted tickets online or for more info:  http://www.fountainartfair.com
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Jumping to the West Coast, our interviews continue with Stanta Monica artist Kathleen Kaller.

Kathleen O’Connell Kaller
Kathleen Kaller-Luminous Tide

When did you first discover your creative talents? My mother introduced me to creativity as a young child.  Getting crafty on school projects and painting on shells. However the first time I realized I actually had a talent for it was in a high school art class.  One of our first projects was to sketch and draw with charcoal.  We were assigned to draw and shade an image of our hands and then turn it into something.  I drew my hand and then turned my arm into a snake! It was quite fierce now that I look back.  Having studied Hindu mythology recently, I now know snakes represents the life force, strength and rebirth. But I suppose the point of the story is that after seeing what I had created I was a little in shock that I could make something so detailed and I also felt proud. Like I found what  I was good at.  The images were displayed in a glass case near the cafeteria and I got really good feedback from other students. I guess it was at that moment! Having pride as I walked to the lunch room everyday.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  Every time I sell something is memorable moment! It really reinforces the fact that I can live and prosper as an artist.  I refuse to believe in the myth of the struggling artist.  But the very first art show I had was pretty memorable.  I didn’t know what to expect!  I had sold a few pieces to friends and family along the way but to sell to someone you don’t really know means alot to me.  It means you reached an audience.  After my first show I sold a piece called “Letting Go”.  It was one of my first abstract paintings were I literally let go when I was painting it.  I had been creating more impressionistic work and at this point I was wanting to be more free and abstract. In addition my client  that bought the work commissioned me to create 2 more paintings to add to  “Letting Go” creating an original Triptych for her.  This was one of my first sales and commissions at the same time.  This was a very exciting moment for me.

Favorite museum? Any museum I walk into is my favorite! Since I was little I loved going to museums on school trips.  There is an energy that is palpable, inspiring and divine.  Its quiet, meditative, and the life of each painting vibrates Sam Francis - Norton Simon Museumoff the walls and into your psyche.  One of my favorites in California is The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.  There hangs one of my all-time favorite mural paintings by Sam Francis.  It takes up an entire wall hanging 13 x 20 feet. It’s drippy, vibrant  and has emotional impact at first glance.  This work has been an influential in the way I create art. 

If you were to give a room full of emerging artists one bit of advice, what would that be? Your studio is sacred space.  Get weird as much as possible.  Be grateful for everything.  Little prayers to the universe work.  If there is something or someone that speaks to you have a conversation, there is something you need to hear. When the going gets tough keep creating.

If you were to receive an “Artist of the Year Award,” who would be the first person you would thank and why? My family and for all those teachers along the way. My husband especially. When I left a decent-paid job Revelation-Kathleen Kallerto paint my husband was 100% supportive. As an artist himself he realizes the importance of the creative process. He has infused my work with encouragement and love. He also gives me really good criticism on my work and he is the only person I may alter a painting for after hearing his commentary. My mother has also been really helpful in the process as she is a painter too and has great tips. I truly feel blessed to have the resources to be an artist. It is a magical profession.

Who are your favorite artists? These artists continue to inspire, mentor and influence my work and journey as an artist. SACO (Susan Ann Christiana O’Connell), Sam Francis, Vibul Wonprasat, Francoise Gilot, Saule Piktys, Sage Vaughn, Trudy Montgomery, Darren Waterston, Picasso, William de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, Benzo Theodore, Laura Amazzone, Elaine de Kooning, and Mary Addison Hackett.

Artist: Kathleen O’Connell Kaller
Title: Luminous Tide
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 40”x40”
Website: http://www.kathleenkaller.com

Paul ShampinePaul Shampine

Accidental Inspiration?

Kathleen Kaller succinctly states that her “work is derived from life’s drifting REVELATION-Kathleen Kallerinspiration.”  As a study of nature, I couldn’t agree more. It’s the sum of the whole―a collection that makes up the matrix of our souls.

I had a spell of this enigmatic “inspiration” this V-Day. Simply, I made a necklace.  A fun project, but a bit risky for a gift.  I always feel like a child when IPaul Shampine present a new artistic concept…a little boy approaching his mother with a precious object behind his back….hoping…waiting…

Ultimately, I just want create to have others “feel” that same inner spiritual feeling.  It’s when you actually feel your soul.  An unbalanced but comfortable place. That tightness in your chest when you feel happiness, anger, proudly, lonely, excited, guilt, joy and…..inspiration.

I’m always asked the unanswerable…what inspired this?

Paul ShampineHope these guys do it for you…did it for me…
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine


Eleanor Rahim

Surface to Air-Eleanor Rahim


When did you first discover your creative talents? I think it was around the age of six. My mom gave me a painting by numbers set and I did a pretty good job! Teachers at school started asking me to paint the windows at Christmas and do various decorating jobs around the classrooms. Yes, I think I knew quite early on that I had a talent. However, none of my family were artistic so I didn’t grow up with a great awareness of art or have any idea what to do with my talent!

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. Following on from your first question, my education and career went in the direction of graphic design and illustration. I started as a fine artist only four years ago when I moved from London to New York and discovered the Art Students League. I entered a painting in the class concours and won a Red Dot award. The show was open to the public and a man contacted me to ask if he could see more of my work. I really didn’t have many paintings to show him but he fell in love with a piece called Calm at Present, 40 x 30 inches, acrylic on canvas. He immediately wrote a check for my asking price. Having been in business for many years with design, I always got a kick out of sealing a deal. However, this was different. When I paint, I paint for myself. My thoughts and emotions all go into the painting. It is very personal. Suddenly, I found someone who understood my work, it resonated with him and he had to have it. It was the most exhilarating feeling and I shall never forget that day, or the collector! I still get excited when I sell a painting and I love to hear how a painting makes the owner feel. I’m fascinated by what people read into my work and the effect it has on their emotions.

Who are your favorite artists?  Well my list keeps growing but I’ll throw out a few, in no particular order of preference: Claude Monet for being the ‘father of abstract expressionism’ as my tutor and also one of my favorite artists, Ronnie Landfield, told me. Gerhardt Richter for his use of color, texture and subtlety. I recently saw his fabulous retrospective in London at Tate Modern. John Singer Sargent, especially his male nudes. Peter Paul Rubens for his anatomical studies, Egon Schiele for his use of line, Pablo Picasso for his sketches, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Ilya Repin, Hans Holbein, Johannes Vermeer, Diego Velázquez, Joan Mitchell, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul Jenkins, Clyfford Still, Norman Bluhm…..oh it goes on and on.

Artist: Eleanor Rahim
Title: Surface to Air
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 48 ”x 72”
Website: http://eleanorrahim.com

Ali Gallagher
Astral Dust-Ali Gallagher



When did you first discover your creative talents? Like most children I enjoyed painting and drawing when I was young. As a teenager I realized the feeling of sweet positive release while creating and knew I needed to maintain this flow throughout my life.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. The first time I sold work to a stranger I remember the feeling of curiosity as to where the piece would live in a space I had never seen. It was warming to think that they felt a strong enough connection to want to house the piece in their personal sanctuary. I remember they wrote a check and I just kept rereading their name and was so thankful that someone I had never met before was in support of the artwork.

Who are your favorite artists? William Blake, Kathe Kollwitz, Margaret Macdonald, Swoon, Shona Heath, J.M.W. Turner, so many!!! The process of creating is more important than the outcome but these prophets definitely stand out to me.

Artist: Ali Gallagher
Title: Astral Dust
Medium: Oil on wood.
Dimensions: 18”x18”
Website: http://www.aligallaghercreations.com
Blog: http://aligallagher.wordpress.com

Karen Duckles
Hula Hoop-Karen Duckles

When did you first discover your creative talents? I think I first discovered my creative urge when I was a kid.  My mom had art supplies around and she helped me paint a seascape.  I was just fascinated with painting and making things look how they do in real life.  I remember becoming obsessed with painting rocks and making them look three dimensional with light and shadows.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. I sold the first piece I can remember when I was in high school.  It was a landscape, and a friend of mine bought it.  He chose that one because he said he thought it looked like it took a long time to make.  I think I got about ten dollars for that.

Who are your favorite artists?  One of my favorite artists is Mondrian.  I love how his paintings are so precise, and yet so human at the same time.  They are so elemental, and really quite complex.  Another artist I just love is MorandiHis paintings have a wonderful stillness, just being.  The colors are so soft and subtle, just lovely.

Artist: Karen Duckles
Title: Hula Hoop
Medium: Oil on cavas
Dimensions: 37”x63”
Website: http://karenduckles.com

Michelle Oppenheimer
Untitled-Michelle Oppenheimer
When did you first discover your creative talents? I first discovered my creative talents when I was a child but it really blossomed when I was in school studying to become a Doctor of Oriental medicine. That was about thirteen years ago. I painted for a study break. Acupuncture school was arduous for me. I found a serenity when I painted.  I started with water color. I love how water color bleeds and how delicate it is.  I rarely showed anyone what I was painting. I was incredibly shy and vulnerable about my art. I have no formal training and felt insecure about it. My husband encouraged me to continue with it. Explore with different materials and sizes.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. I sold my first painting to a dear friend almost twelve years ago.
It has been one of those paintings that I have never grown tired of.
My friend is an art collector and I was incredibly honored he bought it.
He bought it for 300.00 dollars and it has been one of the most asked about
paintings on my website.

Who are your favorite artists?
I love Rothko.  I love Franz Kline. I love Ed Moses.
All three continue to inspire me on an incredibly deep level.

Artist: Michelle Oppenheimer
Title: Untitled
Medium: Mixed media on paper
Dimensions: 50”x50”
Website: http://michelleoppenheimer.com


Passionately curious…

Passion.  Do we all have passion? Where does it come from? How does it reveal itself? Is it genetic or acquired through our environment? If we all followed our “passion” where would the world be?  Would we have global warming?

I did my first triathlon a week ago.  I had 60 days to prepare.  I’ve put together a sculpture exhibit in 60 days.  I can do this. I taught myself to weld.  I can relearn to swim….in the ocean…for ½ mile.  Got it.  Biking?  Well, I had a motorcycle with 1000cc’s.  0-60 in less than 3 seconds.  15 miles? No problem. But to be safe, I’ll train on a cement-truck-like mountain bike and get in shape fast and hard.  Run?  I run.  Everybody runs.  “Hey, I have to run to the store.”  “We’re running out of toilet paper!”  I run my mouth off about the State of Connecticut wasting tax dollars and increasing their carbon footprint by mowing native plant life along the sides and medians of the highway so, and I quote from the Governor’s Office, “it looks prettier.”  Keep the highway earth-wrecking crew, but layoff school teachers? Not to mention the carbon dioxide pulsing parking lot it creates…I should run for Governor.

Anyway….Day 30 marked the day I urinated on my training partners arm stung by a jelly fish the size of an exoplanet.   I’ve swallowed enough saltwater that I’m now the new Morton Salt Girl (Boy)  and my chainsaw consumed three blades clearing my favorite biking trail from Irene’s tantrum.   Running? No, not for office.  Too many skeletons.  But I am still talking about the State of CT and I shaved 4:30 off my three mile run.

Day 60. Beyond my tears of stomach acid, I felt something special that Saturday morning @ 6AM.  I saw it in hundreds of dancing eyes.  I felt numb with strength.  Superhuman.  Via satellite, there was a foggy glow above Madison, CT that clear, sunny morning.  A colony of XTERRA seals gathered at the threshold of the rookery.

“Boy, those buoys are far out” I said to #923.  “Yeah, they’re cool” he replied.   “No, I mean they are way out in the ocean!”  #871 smiled and nodded.  I survived my Magoo-like swim which probably moved the decimal point on my distance from .50 to 5.0 (I later learned I set the record for the longest half mile swim).   I couldn’t leave my faithful cement-truck mountain bike at home.  We broke many a trail and had a special bond.  So Quikrete and I battled together with Gatorade taped to her belly, fueled by cheers of “where’s the mountain” “go mountain boy! Go!”  “Catskills on your left.” With mouth closed,Paul Shampine I ran the last stage with hydraulic vice grips on my calves which then moved to my shins.   Then it happened.  I can still see the smile in her eyes.  As I was finishing my last mile, she was starting her first…really struggling…  We both looked up from the ground, eyes met.  Passion.  I’ve had less intimate moments with lovers.

Here are three artathletes…with passion.  Have a look through their eyes.
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

CJ Nye, NYC, NY
sculpture, artist, art, sculptor 

When did you first discover your creative talents?

I’ve been at an easel, literally, since I was in diapers. I first started using oils in school when I was eleven years old. The teacher told us to make a landscape, and I blissed out making a small, extraterrestrial, organic abstract. I was chastised. I defended my piece. I had found my medium.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.

I sold my first piece, reluctantly, in 2000, in order to finance another. Jack Whitten asked me to be in “Plural Dimensions,” a group show in the SVA Gallery, Soho. I went down to look at the space – 16′ ceilings! I had a chance to realize a piece I had been dreaming about, barely; the show would be in two weeks, and I was broke. A friend of mine had been after me for a little piece for years; made c. 1989-93 (high school, I worked in oils at home), it was about 3 x 1′, with little patches of rust-pocked metal on board, painted in blue, green, and black acrylic with black and metallic marker to give the effect of a rainforest. I sold it to him for a few hundred dollars and the promise of a bartered haircut that I never got. The cash went to making Banner Triptych. Banner Triptych measures 13.5 x 14 x 10.5′ – a triangular installation with an acrylic exterior (of necessity, as it was I had a hair-dryer on it up to the last minute) of deep blue with silvery mountain outlines, that could be walked into for a panoramic abstract scape of cascades and mountains in blue, green, cream, purple, and orange on a radiant yellow ground. A friend who was in the show with me told me that one evening when I was not there, he saw someone stop in their tracks across the street, and walk into the gallery because of that piece. I guess you could say it was a good trade.

Who are your favorite artists? 

I could sooner tell you my favorite color. I will say that one of my earliest memories was seeing a Morris Louis at the National Gallery in D.C.; my child-mind reeled, “How did he make those drips go diagonally?”

Artist: CJ Nye
Title: Power, Force, and Circumstance.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Each canvas is 8” x 8” x 1.5”
Date: 2011
Website: http://cjnye.com

Barbara Traub, San Francisco, CA
Barbara Traub-Passion Fashion

When did you first discover your creative talents?

When as a kid I learned to play Joplin’s ‘The Entertainer’ on the
piano or perhaps my senior year on the campus of Johns Hopkins when I
tried some LSD and watched the trees dance and sway.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.

In 1999 my photography was featured in an exhibition at the
International Fotofestival of Knokke-Heist in Belgium. I had about
100 prints in the show and was wined and dined in a room at the
Casino where Magritte had painted the mural Le Domaine Enchanté.
Though none of my work was for sale there, I did receive an
honorarium and donated a print to their collection.

Who are your favorite artists? 

It’s kind of like being at the mouth of a river what with many
streams and tributaries flowing into it from a whole lot of
directions — film, painting, literature, music, media, culture,
nature, etc. Some photographers who have inspired my work, in
addition to the ones mentioned on my Wikipedia page are Ralph Gibson,
Ruth Bernhard, Bill Brandt, Helen Levitt, and William Eggleston.

Artist: Barbara Traub
Title: Passion Fashion
Medium: Lightjet Digital C-print, 11×17 inches
Website: http://www.home.earthlink.net/~traubleaux/

Andrea de Ranieri, Cascine di Buti, Italy

When did you first discover your creative talents?

I do not know if I have the creative talent inside me, it’s up to others to say it. I made what goes through my head and I haven’t enough time to realize what I have in mind.  It’s only been a year and a half I made sculptures,  before I enjoyed  painting here and there.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.

The first sculpture was created by accident.  I was making a lamp and came up with something different out of the ordinary woodworking. From there I realized I could do other sculptures.  This “sculpture” was then sold and this has meant a lot to me because I also had confirmation of what would become my passion.

Who are your favorite artists? 

Pablo Picasso above all others, in particular the sculpture The Goat.

Artist: Andrea de Ranieri
Title: Dott.ssa.Manta
Medium: Wood, resin, iron, 15x150x85 cm
Website: http://www.andreaderanieri.com


Interview with an Artist – Nancy Jaffee

Nancy Jaffee, Weston CT

Abstract in blue and brownWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I didn’t really
know I had any artistic talents until I was an adult. But my mother
was artistic. She worked as a clothing designer and a decorator and I always appreciated the way she put colors together in her work. My sister used me as a guinea pig in grad school for her PHD in Psychology. And after taking all her tests, she said I should pursue a career in the arts but I never really did anything about it.  It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I started taking formal art classes and realized this was truly something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Some visual artists describe crossing a threshold where they see new colors, shapes, forms, shadows and movement. Did younude looking up experience this kind of artistic “awakening?” It happen at The Rye Arts Center. When the teacher was explaining how to convert three dimensional space onto a two dimensional page she taught us about foreshortening, cast shadows, reflected light, modeling…volume. It was eye-opening for me
because it all worked. It was like unlocking a door and learning how to
see.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. My first sale was to my neighbor. It was a sketch from a life drawing
class. Just a quick one minute pose. But she liked it, had it framed
and hung it in her living room. She had a lot of beautiful art that she
collected, so I felt honored to have my little throw away amongst her
really nice paintings. I think I charged her $20 for the sketch.

Who are your favorite artists? My favorite artists… long list… but
I would start with Michelangelo… I was lucky enough to travel to Europe several times as a child and was exposed to some of the most beautiful masterpieces of
the world. But the David really blew me away. I love Whistler, JS Sargent, Cezanne, Modigliani, Matisse, Picasso (especially his blue period), Egon Schiele, Munch (the Storm is my favorite), Clyfford StillMilton Avery, Jim Dine… too many to mention.

Do you “see” your paintings before you create it or is it a
work-in-progress? I often start out with an idea for a nude or
something representational. But the abstract pieces are more works in
progress. I usually try to start with a palette and work from there.

When a painting takes on a mood….say a dark one. Do you feel likeescape
you need to exist in that mood to continue with the painting? When I’m focused on painting, I want to create something evocative and
interesting and I’m just trying to do that. What’s so cathartic about
painting is that it takes you out of your own head while you’re doing
it. It can also give you an outlet to express what’s inside you. I
think the emotions come first and then the painting.

I think my outlook is naturally somewhat dark. I see people as alone,
my figures are always alone, they sometimes seem isolated. I think a
heavily clouded sky is more interesting and than a bright blue clear
one. My least favorite paintings are “Spring” and “Painted Flowers” in
terms of their content and color. I was experimenting more with
technique on those, using a calligraphy pen in the first and a palette
knife in the latter.

You mentioned that you like Picasso…specifically his blue period.Picasso
Some feel that his blue period was a reflection of depression, while others say blue paint was cheaper and he couldn’t afford other colors at that time. What do you think? I like his blue period because it seems more compassionate than his later work. Like the famous painting of the woman with the iron. She’s exhausted, endlessly working,  overwrought, poor. She’s not glib or superficial. Looking at her evokes powerful emotions. The painting has soul.

In general though, if you ask most people what their favorite color is,Rockbottom
they say blue. Blue is rich and soothing. It can also be considered
sad as in a blue motel room or a blue mood. But art is in the eye of
the viewer. It’s highly subjective. I think the artist may have one
thing in mind and the viewer something entirely different and both are
equally valid.

male nudeIs there a particular painting of yours that evoked polar views or
moods from a viewer? If so, which one and describe what they “saw.” This is a funny story. A friend of mine on Facebook saw my male nude
who is masturbating in the painting, and thought it was a woman. To be fair, he was looking at it on his phone, so it was only 3″ big. Mainly in my drawings people have experienced the nudes as sad when I just felt they were relaxed, neither happy nor sad. Some people try to understand literally what I’ve painted as in “Escape.” Like what exactly am I depicting? Are there mountains in the foreground? Is that a lake beneath them? Others will just see it as a seascape and not wonder about the realism of the specific shapes. I can’t really think
of any that have evoked polar reactions from different people except
that some will love a piece while others aren’t impressed at all.

I’m also a fan of Sargent. My favorite Sargent piece (El Jaleo) is in
one of my favorite Museums…the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It’s one of those paintings that you have to seeWhistler's Mother
up-close-and-personal.  Do you have a “must see” that you re-visit or moved you when you viewed the original? I was really moved by
Whistler’s “Mother.” When I saw it, I couldn’t stop looking at it. The
mood was so compelling, the gray on gray, the contrast of white on
black, the quiet stillness of the subject almost trancelike.

Sargent’s work is just so elegant and beautiful. One of his paintings that
impressed me the most is in a permanent collection at a museum in
Scotland and it’s titled, “The Lady Agnew”. She is seated and dressed
in white. The skin tones are flawlessly smooth and the eyes seem as
though they are laughing. I also love the painting “Madame X” at the
Metropolitan Museum in NYC.

Favorite museum? Having grown up in NYC, my favorite museums are the Metropolitan and the Museum of Modern Art. It’s always a pleasure to spend an afternoon there rediscovering my favorite masterpieces. I recently discovered the work of Clyfford Still and his work has had an influence on several of
my most recent pieces.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out? Well, since I Nancy Jaffeetoo consider myself an artist just starting out, I can only offer what I say to myself. Try to be the best that you can be.  Compete only with yourself. While there will always be someone out there that you find more talented or more accomplished then you don’t let that discourage you. There is room for all of our artistic expressions. Just enjoy the process and remember that the nature of
creation is creativity itself.

Nancy’s website: http://www.nancyjaffee.com

Paul ShampinePaul Shampine

An Interview with an Artist, part 8

Partially  inspired by this blog and the direction it has taken, I’ve decided to team up with a great friend, art lover and PR Guru, Kaitlyn Siner to create a consortium of experienced art professionals and local business leaders to support “emerging” visual artists, collectively  forming The Arts PR Group.The Arts PR Group

We define emerging artists as “any individual, regardless of age or occupation who is fully committed to their craft.  Emerging may apply to artists in the early, mid, and late stages of their career, with some evidence of professional achievement.”

We are energized and inspired daily as we organize this privately funded (no federal or state assistance) nonprofit start-up to include a permanent flagship gallery site in Boston, a formal mentorship program (Shadow Program) with grant and fellowship opportunities among many new and unique initiatives for this important and critical collective of artists.

Kaitlyn and I have the passion, drive and the entrepreneurial prowess to commence our vision,but we need to continue to adopt and consult with key industry leaders to refine our objectives as we charge our mission forward. Your thoughts and ideas are welcomed.

Celebrating all visual artists, the interviews continue…

Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Mara Safransky- You Don't Know What You Don't Know or Why You Know What You Know

When did you first discover your creative talents?

From a very early age I was encouraged to draw and paint. My parents placed a lot of importance on the creative process and always emphasized me finding a means through which to express myself. I was home-schooled with my sisters and our days were structured around reading, dancing, music, and art. Explaining it now, it sounds so bohemian and renegade, and I guess in a lot of ways it was. Still, I feel very lucky looking back, because no matter how much I yearned to have a “normal” life like other children, I discovered my love of art because of the environment I was raised in. To this day, drawing and painting give me a purpose and an outlet. Most days in my studio, I feel like my real work as an artist is getting back to that time in my childhood when my approach to my work was totally unselfconscious and as much about the process of creating as it is about the finished piece.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.

My first piece was sold in 2000 through a small start-up gallery in Los Angeles. I was part of a group show and the buyer was visiting from Germany. Because the gallery owner made the sale, I never had contact with the collector. The sale made me feel grownup and legitimate as an artist because it meant someone bought my piece, not because they liked me, not because they knew me, but because the work spoke to them. Ironically, the experience ended up being memorable in more ways than one. Soon after the sale, the gallery went belly-up and I was never paid for the piece. It was a good lesson in the fact that art is a business, so having good contracts and being careful who you work with matters.

Who are your favorite artists?

While it may not be especially vogue to say, I derive the bulk of my inspiration from the painting that was happening in this country in the 1950’s and 60’s. So, to name a few of my heroes: Helen Frakenthaler, Hans Hoffman, Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock.

Artist: Mara Safransky
Title: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know or Why You Know What You Know
Medium: Acrylic on canvas, 48×36 inches
Website: http: http://www.marasafransky.com

Batya-We Virtually Held Up the Sky, Made the Wind Move

When did you first discover your creative talents?

It was a natural thing to express through the arts ever since I can remember and it included stories, art and music. I used to draw on anything I could get my hands on, small drawings in hidden spots at home, chalk on the sidewalks, illustrate my desk in school and on the blackboard before the teacher came in.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.

The first piece I sold was a drawing of a very long necked woman. I was a junior art counselor in a summer camp and on visiting day this couple saw it and asked me if they can have it. I said ok and they gave me a tip, but I was shocked at the amount.

Who are your favorite artists?

Too many to name all, these come to mind first: CaravaggioGoyaMagritte,VermeerIngresEdward Hopper,Caspar David FriedrichHenry Darger,Michal HeimanPeter DoigJeff Koons and Damien Hirst.Artist: Batya F. Kuncman
Title: We Virtually Held Up the Sky, Made the Wind Move
Medium: Oil on canvas 20×24 inches
Website: http://www.batya.ws

Vesna Jovanovic-TimekeeperWhen did you first discover your creative talents?

I guess I should first address the idea of talent, and how I perceive it. The concept of “talent” has always been a problematic one for me with regard to art.  In fact, I recently listened to a fantastic podcast episode that addresses this idea from various angles (it was a past episode of WNUR’s Radiolab). I think that some artists may be more or less talented in their craft (by that I mean how accurately they can execute something that they might envision or pursue), but that doesn’t say anything about their art, only their craft. On the other hand, I think that humans, by nature, all feel the need to create art. In other words, I don’t think that the word talent applies to art so much as to craft, or skill. Art is something that we all informally engage in: from how we move to how we interact with one another, cook our food, wear our clothes, etc. Art is something that we all experience and share with others all the time, and to judge it or evaluate it seems inappropriate to me. I never sought to evaluate my abilities before embarking on a specific project, but I do make a point of always working on and improving my crafting skills. I’ve just always been curious about the world around me; I’ve always felt the need to explore and create, regardless of my level of talent.

I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, and recently I found out that my elementary school classmates to this day remember me as “the artist in class”. Early on I discovered that this is what I needed to do. I don’t think that any artist is fully satisfied with the outcome though. It can always be better, different, more “true”… This is in part what drives us. Maybe I shouldn’t speak for all artists. But this is what I feel.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.

A big problem for artists is that our work is publicly perceived in a way that I believe is quite skewed. The general public seems to perceive artists as people who create products, instead of seeing visual art as part of the humanities and culture (neither a commodity nor a product, but an intellectual, or perhaps even more so experiential, pursuit).I do happen to sell my work – as many artists do in combination with several other sources of income, such as grants, teaching, residencies, etc. – but I think of being a visual artist as being a philosopher or a composer, not a manufacturer with products to sell.

An artist’s job is to create art and show it, not to sell it  – just as a composer’s job isn’t to sell compositions, and a philosopher’s job is not necessarily to write or sell books. These are sometimes unfortunate necessities that can only get in the way of the actual job, which is to create something and expose others to it.  To further elaborate on my point, some visual artists make work that simply cannot be sold (site-specific installations, time-based sculpture, sound video and performances with mixed media, new media, etc.) They rely on other sources of funding.  I just happen to sell my work because I can (and because I need to make room for more!) but I don’t see it as anything that should be memorable nor in any way admirable, or something to be proud of or even happy about; it is neither central nor necessary to being a successful artist.

I noticed that this general misconception about sales (especially in a capitalist society) causes many artists to quit because they feel as though it’s necessary to sell art in order to have some sort of validation, not realizing that this is not the case (especially in countries where artists are deemed important enough to be funded with regular paychecks from the government).

Having said all this… I cannot remember when I sold my first piece. It may have been a series of photographs that I sold back in my undergraduate years… Or there may have been a ceramic piece that I sold before that.

Who are your favorite artists?

I always enjoy viewing art without judging – just experiencing what others have to share and how they perceive the world, whether or not I agree with it. But there is some artwork that I feel an unusual kinship to.  Here’s a short list of artists whose work I really responded to, in no particular order: Lee Bontecou, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Marc Leuthold, Robert Turner (ceramist), Max Ernst, Caspar David Friedrich, Diane Arbus, ancient Egyptian reliefs and drawings, Lascaux cave paintings, Jean Tinguely, H.R. Giger, Gordon Matta-Clark, Katsushika Hokusai, Karl Blossfeldt, William Kentridge.

Artist: Vesna Jovanovic
Title: Timekeeper
Medium: Medical Scans, Watercolor, Ink, and Graphite, 84×34 inches

Website: http://www.vesnaonline.com