Tag Archives: Franz Kline

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

It’s OK to be an artist…Interview with an Artist, part 5

Atypical for me, I didn’t have a goal or objective when I started this blog. As a result of subscriber feedback and my personal beliefs, I do now. Simply…to celebrate and support those who have chosen to become “artists” and to encourage those who are exploring the occupation…
Paul Shampine
While attending a Tom Kelley seminar, author of The Ten Faces of Innovation, Tom references author/artist Gordon MacKenzie’s experience while giving lectures to grade school children (K-6). In short, when Gordon asks “Anybody here an artist?” to a kindergarten class, everyone raises their hands with great animation and enthusiasm. As the lectures continue throughout the day, Gordon experiences significant attrition with only two hands being raised in the six grade. Transcript can be read here:http://ventureswell.com/innovation-made-personal-tom-k

Tom’s message for his lecture: “..it’s OK to be an artist. It’s OK to be an innovator. It’s OK to be a design thinker even if it causes people around you to raise their eyebrows.”

I agree. It’s my creative thinking that made me an effective corporate leader, CEO, small business consultant and a sculptor.

Here are a few that I’m sure would agree that it’s OK to be an artist……

Carolanne Leslie, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY

Passageway to Consciousness-Carolanne LeslieWhen did you first discover your creative talents? When I was a child I endlessly wrote poetry. I discovered poetry as a means to express myself abstractly.  I was afraid someone might see my nightly journals about my life and I had a sense my words were too revealing. Then one day in a quiet moment of “no mind” my hand began to write poems.  Poetry was my secret language, my quiet expression of an inner world I was only beginning to discover.

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 name of the piece was “Surrender”. It was hanging on a wall in a Downtown Brooklyn Bar. One night I was at the bar and I watched a man take pictures of all of my art hanging on the wall. I asked him why and he said his friend in the corner wants to buy “Surrender”. I told him I was the artist and he introduced me to  Azim Ramelize who bought the painting off the wall that night.

Azim understood my art on the most intimate level. We discussed the spiritual sentiments in the title  “Surrender” and other concepts such as transformation for hours before I realized Azim was paralyzed from the waste down because he was shot at the age of 17 at the base of his spine…Azim grew up in the worst of the Brooklyn ghettos.  But what I didn’t realize at first was the scope of what Azim overcame in his life.

Azim managed not only to survive the gunshot wound but he pulled himself up and out of the insidiously difficult world he lived in and “transformed” it into something wonderful. He became a lawyer.  The commissioner of Children Services helping inner city kids with their struggles.  “From Gangster to Guardian”… Azim Ramelize, I am proud to say was moved by my artwork and I felt understood. What a beautiful exchange.

Who are your favorite artists? Gaudi, Bouguereau, Frida Kahlo, Antony Gormley, Marina Abromovic, Julian Schnabel, Ayala Serfaty, Gustav Klimt,Camille Claudel,

Artist: Carolanne Leslie
Title: Passage to Consciousness
Medium: Acrylic on canvas, 36×74 inches
Website: http://carolanneleslie.com/

Cheryl Faligowski, Detroit, MI

Nude Frame - Split SugarWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I started exploring photography at a young age with cameras you would find as a prize in cereal boxes. Although my concept of composition and lighting had not been discovered yet, I loved the feeling of capturing what I saw. While in high school I started experimenting with the idea of conceptual photography with models (my friends) and self portraiture. I loved photographing the human body in all it’s shapes and forms.By the time I was 16 I had found my heart belonged to portraiture, performance and fine art photography and also came to the realization that I can help others see the beauty in themselves and others with these photos.
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. There is no one photo (sold or unsold) that takes precedence over all the others. I still am finding to this day that each new shoot I do I learn something new about my technique, my style, myself, and the people I’m shooting. It’s a growing process always and I love that about all artistic endeavors! My studies in the nude human body are still some of my favorites over-all but it’s too hard to pin-point one shot that meant more than the others.

Who are your favorite artists? I do not have many consistent favorite artists anymore. I look at all genres, new and old, and I go through phases with liking some more than others. It’s always changing because I like to be able to always change. It’s almost as though I have favorite peices, rather than artists. Even if I do a series, I rarely stick with it for longer than a few months to a year because I like change and evolution and allowing for that to happen naturally as I discover new inspirations. If I had to name some names, then some of my inspirations have been Jan Saudek, David La Chappelle, Richard Avedon, George Hurrell, and even young up-and-comings like Lara Jade who took the online photography world be storm before she even 16, and locals AJ Kahn and Gary Mitchell who I have even had the pleasure to work with as a model. There are countless others but these are just the few that come to mind right now.

Artist: Cheryl Faligowski aka Spilt Sugar
Title: Nude Frame
Medium: Digital photo converted to black and white can be converted up to 11×14 inches
Website: http://www.spiltsugar.com/


Mary Ann Wakeley, Wynnewood, PA

Manifesto - Mary Ann WakeleyWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I seem to have several recollections that qualify as first discoveries. Like so many children, it was natural for me to make things whether it was creative structures with wooden blocks and crafts or painting, drawing or playing piano …. it is inherent so as children we take those things for granted and don’t consider what we do is special or a talent. As we mature, we are singled out for what others perceive as unique. I remember how amazed I was that I did so well in a design class I took as a continuing education student yet I had been rearranging colors and forms in space in so many ways for years beginning as a toddler that I don’t know how I could have been surprised. Every time I am aware of a new form of expression making its way through is a first discovery for me.
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. Even though it wasn’t the first time I sold a painting I remember the first piece I sold via the internet and consider it my first official sale. This may be due to the fact that prior to internet sales most paintings were purchased by friends, family and friends of family. This was the first official sale from an unknown person via the web. It was a square abstract in acrylic on canvas that was in shades of muted pinks and orange and resembled a landscape but the colors took it out of that realm and the buyer connected. It was 2004 when I made the sale after reading an article in Art Calendar magazine about artists selling on the internet and especially having success on ebay. The piece sold within minutes of being listed and I was hooked! The sale of that piece along with the lovely personal note that was sent by the woman who purchased it was very memorable.

Who are your favorite artists? Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Franz Kline, Elizabeth Peyton, Howard Hodgkin, Patrick Heron, Louise Bourgeois, Matisse, Bernard Dufour.Favorite painters of today whom I have personally connected with via the web are Michel Guerin, Diane Kramer, Hiroshi Matsumoto, Sharon Barfoot, Goro Endow, Mayako Nakamura, Gerard Stricher, Bertrand Eberhard, Anne Buffum, Anne-Laure Djaballah to name but a few.

Artist: Mary Ann Wakeley
Title: Manifesto
Medium: Acrylic and pastel on canvas, 40×40 inches
Website: http://www.maryannwakeley.com/

Ivy Jacobsen, San Francisco, CA

Sanctuary-Ivy JacobsenWhen did you first discover your creative talents? From as early as I can remember I’ve always gravitated towards drawing, painting, and other crafty things as a means to self expression and fun.But it wasn’t until 1997, when I was 23, that I took my first college level painting class and became a painting addict! Something just clicked when I began oil painting and it’s been my passion ever since.

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 I was studying painting and printmaking at San Francisco State University and at night working at a restaurant/bar in Oakland’s Jack London Square. I had the fortune of having my very first art show at this restaurant. One of the regulars came in one night and we got to talking about my paintings. He asked me which of these pieces was my favorite and I told him it was “Long Necks”. He said he’d buy it! I was so excited, I couldn’t believe it! A few years later he started a new gallery in Oakland and I had my first solo gallery show there.

Who are your favorite artists? I have a lot of favorite artist. Some current ones are Ruth Oshawa, Darren Waterston, and Eyvind Earle.

Artist: Ivy Jacobsen
Title: Sanctuary
Medium: Oil, bronzing powder, & mixed media on canvas, 38×52 inches
Website: http://www.ivyjacobsen.com

NEXT UP…..

Paul Shampine Greg Orfanos ~ Danielle EzzoAmy Guidry ~ Meg Dwyer