Tag Archives: Jeff Koons

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

Interview with an Artist…part 1

Over the next few weeks, you’ll find internationally diverse artist interviews revealing thoughts on their personal creative discoveries, their intimate and memorable “red dot” stories and their exclusive artist guest list.

Sign up today to get future interviews delivered to your Inbox.  Also, feel free to recommend your favorite artist for a featured interview.

Enjoy ~ Paul

Katrin Jurati, Los Angeles, CA
When did you first discover your creative talents? I remember very distinctly, in first grade, the teacher speaking to someone else about me, as I had the revelation, drawing my bird Hansi in his cage (that the rungs of the cage had to be drawn first, with the bird behind so he appeared within it) while hearing “she’s the best artist in the class.”  I was shocked.  That was the first moment I identified myself as artist.

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 hate to say I forgot which piece I sold first.  In Buffalo, I sold out 3 years worth of work, so it’s a bit of a blur.  The connection to each collector, of seeing their collection in their home, was amazing.  Unfortunately, out of that work, I remember the piece that I didn’t sell most, a heavy metal sculpture.  Instead of excepting $3000 I wanted $4000 and ended up putting it in storage and then lugging it to California to collect dust downstairs in the garage.  Probably my favorite sale was at the Anderson Gallery.  The collectors wanted it delivered to South Carolina, and invited me down for a week at the beach.  Precious memory.

Who are your favorite artists? My parents had a Picasso drawing book of nudes you can be sure I studied for years.  He’s still my favorite, loved the museum in Paris.  As a child Vasarely made a great impact on my first Museum visit, later punk, with all it’s emotive expression.  Cave Painting, Indian painting on buckskin, El Greco, Gericault, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Kahlo, Ana Mendieta, Baldessari, Godard, Agnes Varde, Louise Bourgeois, Rothko, Sautin, Goya, William Blake, Henry Darger, Raymond Pettibon, Monet, Eva Hess, Paul Klee, Philip Guston, and Lily Van Der Stokker easily begin the list.  Lately, I’ve been into Vera, the designer.

Artist: Katrin Jurati
Title: Grit in the girl/Puts punk in the pearl
Medium: Ink on silk – each piece (4 total) is 56″ x 6″ inches
Website: http://katrinjurati.com

Kristine Harper,  Copenhagen, Denmark
When did you first discover your creative talents?
It is hard to say exactly when I first discovered my creative talents – but I seriously started experimenting with and investigating my creativity when I was studying art. I have always been fascinated by color; I love how one, with color, can capture emotions and shape mental or physical landscapes.

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. Selling art is kind of strange – my paintings are reflections of my thoughts, and thereby very personal. There are always paintings I am more attached to than others, and they are the hardest ones to let go.

Who are your favorite artists? I am very fond of legends in abstract expressionism like Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, but also Gerhard Richter and Danish artist Per Kirkeby inspire me.

Artist: Kristine Harper
Title: New beginnings
Medium: Acrylic paint on canvas, 100 x 100 cm/ 39.4 x 39.4 inches
Website: http://kristineharper.sat0ri.com/

Kara Joslyn, Oakland, CA

When did you first discover your creative talents? I think it was before I can remember. My mom tells me that I was drawing and arranging trinkets/objects ever since she can remember. I think I realized I was an artist in second grade, though. The class drew portraits of a different student every week and then the student acting as muse would pick her or his favorite drawing to put up in class until the next round. One week we drew our teacher, Ms. Nielsen. My drawing wasn’t picked, and I couldn’t fathom why – it was my masterpiece – so I asked her why I hadn’t been selected. She told me it was because the drawing was inappropriate. I was confused. I pressed her – why did she think so? She pointed to the bust area of my rendered portrait – then I realized… I was the only student who had given her breasts (denoted by one W-shaped line). I felt it was completely unfair since I was just being accurate, and tried not to cry – until I got home.

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 was most excited when I sold a piece to my favorite professor, Linda, and when I sold a dyptich to a Rock Star, Tina from The Bobby Teens.

Who are your favorite artists? David Bowie, Nick Blinko, De Chirico, Kay Sage, Judy Chicago, Vija Celmins, Matisse, klee, Justin Olerud, Travis Wyche, Fritz Lang, Johannes Itten, NagelHunx and his PunxPeter Seville, Ertè, Nellè, Leslie Shows, Laura Owenskandinsky, arthur dove, the ancient greeks, the makers of the venus(es) of villandorf…the list could just continue on.

Artist: Kara Joslyn
Title: Vista Equinox Sunset
Medium: Graphite and acrylic on paper,  22 x 20 inches
Website: http://karajoslyn.com

Sara Joseph, Bangalore, India

When did you first discover your creative talents? When I was 10, my best friend used to sit in class and draw cartoons from newspapers during free hours and I used to see that and wait for her to finish drawing as I wanted to color it. One day she said, “Look , why don’t  you try drawing ?”  I said, “No I can’t draw, I can only color “. But finally, through persistent encouragement I drew Winnie the Pooh from the newspaper. The drawing turned out to be really good, which marked the beginning of art in 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. I had sold my first work to a friend of mine.  But the most memorable experience was when I sold a work  during a fair called ‘Chitra Santhe‘ where thousands of artists come together to sell their works here in Bangalore, India every year. It was in 2009 when this man came to my stall and checked a work of mine when I wasn’t there. He came back the 2nd time and asked my friend if the artist was back and I weren’t. Then he came back the third time looking for me to buy my work from me, but again I wasn’t there and he bought the painting when I wasn’t there. I was feeling really bad that this was the first time someone eagerly wanted to meet me and I wasn’t there all the three times he had come. Then finally in the evening while we had to pack up he came with his family to tell me he loved my work and wanted to meet in person to tell me how much he loved it.  I was overwhelmed by his gesture.

Who are your favorite artists? My works are a combination of abstraction and realism. I use an abstract background and I keep the portraits as real as possible. This is to show that it’s not the society that am interested in but the people and what the common man in India is like. I love to do portraits, as faces carry the emotions, of a person.  And in abstraction I use squares in the background which represent society which I used as I was inspired by Piet Mondrian and his representation of colors and geometric forms. My favorite artist in realism or I would say photorealism is Chuck Close. I love the way he uses faces of people or his self portraits in different styles to portray a skill beyond photorealism. The expressions are very neutral but the massive sizes he works on and his technique is amazing. Others, to name a few, that have inspired me are Salvador Dali, Michelangelo, Monet, Jeff Koons, David Kassan, Amrita Shergill and TV Santosh.

Artist: Sara Joseph
Title: Bounded
Medium: Oil and acrylic on canvas
Website: http://paintedpainter.blogspot.com/