ART INVESTORS BLOG

Whether you simply love art, are a casual art collector, or are an avid art investor, you’ll enjoy educational and interesting facts about art culture, investing, collecting, evaluation, events and more here in our Art Investors Blog.

Artist Interview with Patrice Stanley

Artist Interview | Patrice Stanley

Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.

Artist Interview with Patrice Stanley

When it comes to your art, explain what you do.
As a landscape painter, my work is fundamentally connected to “place.” Each series I have undertaken has been derived from time spent away with site-specific influences that imbue my work, where I can fully absorb and consider how to apply what I am experiencing, seeing, and learning to pictorial representation. Residencies have enabled me to do some of my best work as well as afford me the time to evaluate and consider what is at the heart of my practice.

What project are you working on now?
I have just completed a new series entitled “Empyrean.” This series is scheduled for exhibition at the newly constructed Ottawa Art Gallery. The show opens October 17th and runs until November 18th, 2018. I started this series in January 2018 and have continued to develop and expand it over the last seven months. The word Empyrean comes from the Medieval Latin empyreus, an adaptation from Ancient Greek meaning “belonging to or deriving from heaven, the celestial, ethereal or upper empyrean regions, the dwelling-place of God, the blessed, celestial beings so divine they are made of pure light, and the source of light and creation.” In this series, I am returning to some familiar themes seen in much of my earlier work with a new energy, style of execution and a more mature, seasoned, technical precision. It is a study of land, sky, and water, rendered on canvas, wood panel and Mylar. I am creating works that celebrate landscape and light, creating pathways that go nowhere and everywhere. I am exploring the typography of the land, experimenting with imagery constructed to challenge the individual view and perspective, as well as exploring compositional tensions within the painting, to further develop pictorial properties. Then, finally, translating this dynamic into larger surfaces that compel the viewer to reflect and consider their own personal beliefs about the land and the importance of preservation and managing the destructive aspects of climate change.

Art by Patrice Stanley

Why do you do what you do?
I paint landscapes. There is something in that distant line that divides the sky from the ground that compels me. What one sees in it depends on the person; it might be spiritual in nature, a fear of the unknown, or a yearning to travel. Whatever the attraction, it is my distillation of those fleeting atmospheric conditions that have the power to move me. I paint these images perhaps wanting to know what lies beyond. Having lived in Canada all my life, I have been fortunate to explore through my work, a variety of ecosystems, lakes, oceans, and forests. What one sees in my work, depends on the lived experience of the viewer. Working from specific locations and landscapes, I abstract from both direct observation and memory. In investigating the dynamics of each landscape and intentionally working and reworking the surface, I seek to merge this explicit physical world with the spiritual.

How has your practice changed over time?
I have been a painter all my life. Each year that goes by brings new experiences and ideas but mostly more knowledge and insights that I apply to my practice. The best times for me have been when I’m away at a residency. I have attended four so far and plan on applying for many more. At these residencies I can completely dedicate myself to the development of new work, focus all my energy on the task at hand, be free of distractions from my teaching practice and the responsibilities and pressures of daily life. This extremely rare and precious time of unrestricted reflection, hard work and experimentation have resulted in major developments in my work. At the end of each residency I have been able to work, gain more knowledge and insights, create artistic networking opportunities as well as advance my practice. Furthermore, being immersed in a setting for a prolonged period of time has enabled me to capture the essence of ”place,” which is intrinsic to my work. I am at a pivotal point in my career as I have a major solo exhibition scheduled for this coming October at the Ottawa Art Gallery, after which I will be attending the Damsite Historic District Artist Residency Program in Elephant Butte, New Mexico in February 2019 to continue to develop more new work for 2019-2020.

Art by Patrice Stanley

What is your strongest childhood memory?
Coming home directly after school and working at my “art table” until supper time. I loved making things since before I can remember. I hated going out for recess, since I wasn’t very athletic, so I would ask to stay indoors and help decorate the classroom with my teacher. I also fondly remember taking art classes with a lovely old English woman named Mrs. Meadows. She lived down the street in a fabulously large house, she had a gorgeous, wild, English garden, a lovely studio and she painted mainly watercolours. I adored her, she taught me so much. I have taken up the torch and have been an art educator now for over fifteen years, all thanks to Mrs. Meadows.

What is your scariest experience?
Arriving at an artist residency in the middle of a storm, in Newfoundland, in the middle of the night, driving an unfamiliar car. The studio was just a large, rather cold industrial space that included a mattress on the floor, a wood burning stove, something resembling a kitchen and an awful artist that was staying in the upstairs studio, who was incredibly unfriendly. I thought while I was driving the narrow roads, along steep cliffs in the rain, that I was going to die. But I didn’t and the residency ended up being an incredible six week experience that I will never, ever forget.

Art by Patrice Stanley

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.
Meeting Betty Goodwin (March 19, 1923 – December 1, 2008), a Canadian printmaker, sculptor, painter and installation artist. Her work is represented in many public collections, including the City of Burnaby Permanent Art Collection, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and the National Gallery of Canada and framing her work while I interned at a prestigious gallery in Toronto in the mid-80’s.

What is your pet peeve about the art world?
So many things bother me about the art world. For starters, the elitism and the hierarchy. The image of the “white-walled shrine” that some galleries project to the general public, the fact that “joe average” can have access to such places but generally doesn’t bother because he or she feels they don’t know anything about art. It’s unfortunate; art should be for the people, all people should be able to have access to it, as well as have opportunities to learn more about it. Galleries and museums need to up their game as far as education and outreach. The other pet peeve I have is the academic versus the non-academic status issue that is pervasive in the art world. Why does an artist have to have a master’s degree to show in certain galleries? A life long learner has just as much if not more experience and knowledge then someone who just so happens to have created a thesis.

Art by Patrice Stanley

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?
The Faroe Islands of the coast of Denmark are my muse these days, but it changes all the time.

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio/practice?
Music.

What are your hobbies?
Performing Burlesque, cooking and reading.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
This is more of a question answer. I was once asked if I woke up one morning and couldn’t sell another painting, would I still want to paint? This made me think seriously about what my practice was all about. Also, I was once told to collect art, to build my own well-selected collection which would help me in my golden years, as a means of investment.

Creatively, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Hopefully selling enough work to live off of, to have several galleries in different cities, in Canada, the U.S. or even in Europe. To sell a painting through Saatchi, and to have had several solo exhibitions in highly visible cultural institutions.

What is your dream creative project?
To produce a series of extremely large paintings to be displayed in the same way Mark Rothko did his Chapel in Houston, Texas. To be able to paint at the same scale as Julian Schnabel.

Patrice Stanley was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1964, and is currently based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Visit www.patricestanley.com

Artist Interview Emily Hoerdemann

Artist Interview | Emily Hoerdemann

Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.

When it comes to your art/writing, explain what you do.
Characterized by their small scale, my works are desktop paintings and photo collages culled from the pages of fashion magazines, advertisements, and contemporary art auction catalogs. The work draws on an obsession with organization, and as a result, each work is a delicate placing of aesthetics and colour.

What project are you working on now?
I’m working on a few bodies of work currently, but mostly collage studies on paper and photographs for my Photo Interventions series.

Why do you do what you do?
I’m feeding the creative impulse; I’ve made art all of my life. I grew up with an artistic mother and was always handed art materials to fill my time. I think that’s translated into a meditative practice. As I’ve grown older, I cannot now go for a long period of time without creating or thinking about creating.

What is your strongest childhood memory?
Midwest rainstorms—going with my mom to her art school studios during rainstorms and getting to play in the different mediums. This was my first access to art supplies other than crayons, and doing so was very informative. I have some photographs I snapped attending one of my mom’s field trips!

What is your scariest experience?
Packing up all of my things and moving to New York because I never lived anywhere except my hometown.

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.
I feel like inspiration is always flying around the city. Going to see art is so important—and I’m very lucky to live in a city where creativity is constantly fed. Most recently, I did a walkthrough of a museum exhibition with the artist—hearing his stance on the work really inspired me to look differently at my own practice and thought processes.

What superpower would you like to have and why?
Teleportation—personally, so I could visit my family more, and professionally, so I can keep up with what is happening in the art world!

What is your pet peeve about the art world?
That it can be perceived as inaccessible, so it’s avoided. I think no matter what gift you have to share, you should share it!

What is your dream creative project?
I really want to write a book about the art collection I manage. The collection is absolutely incredible, and the collectors are amazing people.

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?
Home. Hands down. I can travel and see shows and experience new cities, but when it comes down to it, I really get the juices flowing at my worktable at home where I can get my hands moving and work through ideas.

Do you make a living off of your art?
I am lucky enough to have a career in the arts! When I am not managing a private collection, I’m creating art—and vice versa! Both worlds inspire me and inform each other. My job affords me the ability to have immense creative freedom—and that is priceless!

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio/practice?
A pair of scissors! Or maybe a stick of glue.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Be patient and let your accolades reveal themselves in time (no one wants to listen to a bragger).

What are your hobbies?
I love to garden, and although it sounds silly, I love to organize and reorganize my space. I also read a lot and am in an art book club. We specifically read only art-related books!

Creatively, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Right now I’m confined to doing small-scale work due to working in my Brooklyn loft—I would love to be able to translate my work into a bigger format.

Emily Hoerdemann was born in 1985 in Peoria, IL, USA and is currently based in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
Visit www.emilyhoerdemann.com

Studio Spotlight Soteris Sam Roussi

Studio Spotlight | Soteris Sam Roussi

Catch a glimpse of the space in which creativity is born in this artist studio tour.

As a five-year-old, my focus was on making art. I mostly and exclusively painted in a spare room that served as an oasis and safe harbor for me—a place free of restrictions. I’ve found that there are practical advantages to this arrangement as the urge to create happens at all hours and for varying lengths of time from a few minutes to a half of a day of pondering.

My studios have always had the essentials—a sturdy wood panel used as an easel, paint-spattered rugs, half-spent jars of acrylics and tempera paint, and a bucket of murky residue that provides the subtlest range of grays. Finished paintings lean against the closet wall; older paintings hibernate on the attic floor.

There are oddities and rarities in my studio, resources that cram shelves and cover benches and boxes. They populate my studio as a multitude of “stuff” just like the newspaper clippings that covered the walls of my father’s Niagara Falls candy-making shop. At times these objects conspire to take the room over. Yet, when I’m not painting, I tinker with these odds and ends using scrapers, nippers, files, wires, glues, etcetera, to make “things” according to my earliest intention, to be ingenious and creative.

Soteris Sam Roussi was born in Niagara Falls, NY, USA, in 1945. He has an MFA in painting from Ohio State and is currently based in Westfield, MA, USA.
Visit www.samroussi.com

Artist Interview with Trena Myers

Artist Interview | Trena Meyers

Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.

Explain what you do.
My works are presented with the aim not to provide an idealistic view but to identify where light and the environment are important. The energy of a place and its emotional and spiritual vibrations are always important. The character, shape, or content of the presented artwork is secondary. The essential things are the momentary and the intention of presenting. Some of my works don’t reference recognizable form. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted.

Why do you do it?
Art is a form of therapy for many facets of one’s life. I have an autoimmune disease, so painting is a form of therapy to relieve stress and alleviate the pain.

What project are you working on now?
I am currently working on an acrylic mural for the historical downtown Braselton district in Georgia. In addition, I am creating pieces for display in various galleries and juried events.

What superpower would you like to have and why?
My superpower would be healing because there is so much hurt in this world. I would like to be able to cure diseases, mend broken hearts, and eliminate mental illnesses.

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?
I have two favorite places to travel—Pensacola, Florida and Germany. They both bring peace and serenity to me.

What’s the most indispensable item in your practice?
My apron is my most indispensable item as I get pretty messy with painting.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice that I have ever been given is that it is all in perspective; just because one person doesn’t like or appreciate my artwork doesn’t mean that it is invaluable.

Creatively, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I am working towards being more published and involved in national events.

Trena was born in 1974 in Wichita Falls, Texas, USA and is currently based in Suwanee, GA, USA
Visit www.designsbytrena.com

Artist Interview with Hayley Haddad

Artist Interview | Hayley Haddad

Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.

When it comes to your art, explain what you do.
Fueled by my interest in history, my recent work depicts imaginary, or even dreamlike, cityscapes that portray a dynamic continuance of time. In my drawings, I am exploring the concept of history as a synthesis of the past and present in which multiple vantage points of numerous incidents are juxtaposed in a single visual expanse. The result is a multifaceted ephemeral panorama that meanders through space, time, and history. The large-scale drawings are comprised of a combination of printed images and found photographs seamlessly melded with pen, ink wash, and transfer techniques. The montage of images is superimposed, rendering dynamic scenes that traverse elements of the past, present, and future.

The compulsive layering and building of the imagery and narrative within the scenes are what I find most satisfying about my work. This highly involved process of construction and elimination and reconstruction allows for an almost meditative exploration of the materials within the drawings and the creative process.

What project are you working on now?
Currently, I am building upon a concept my professor and I were discussing in one of our final “one-on-ones” before graduation. I am working on a series of large panorama drawings that incorporate the figure into the cityscape, using similar techniques to my other work, but with more drawing and painting elements.

How has your practice changed over time?
My work has become more concept driven over the years, focusing more on process and idea, rather than simply technique. Art school has definitely made me more experimental in my approach, helping me become grounded and more self-driven. Professional attitude is everything. After slowing down on the art-making while my girls were babies (they are three and almost two), I am beyond eager to jump back in full force.

Why do you do what you do?
I create because that is what I have always done. As a toddler, at age three, I continuously watched my stepfather draw and studied the strokes that comprised the mythical creatures he created for me. I would eagerly follow in collaboration, colouring in the forms that he imaginatively put on paper. That is where it all began and my excitement for the arts never ceased. From that point on, I used every spare moment to nurture or indulge my newfound creative outlet. I could not get enough of this productive free-flowing form of expression and longed for the revolving process of practice and improvement.

What is your dream creative project?
My dream creative project would be an artist residency in a country such as France or Italy working on my large cityscape drawings while utilizing reference sketches and photos from life. Being immersed in a vastly different atmosphere and location would give my drawings a new depth and heightened energy.

What’s the most indispensable item in your practice?
I would have to say that my poetry books, my folders of cut images and paper scraps, and matte medium are the most indispensable items in my studio. I use a matte medium for everything, and I get most of my inspiration for the imagery and narrative within my drawings from poetry excerpts. Oh, and I can’t forget my Faber-Castell and Precise Pens!

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?
Though I have only visited the desert once, I have found it to be incredibly inspiring. The mountains and the valleys really do emit those vibrant tans and purple hues that you see in pictures. The landscape itself looks like a painting, and the towering old cacti that are scattered for miles become figurative in the barren terrain.

What are your hobbies?
Beyond drawing and painting, my hobbies include reading and writing poetry. I also love to visit my horse whenever I have the opportunity. Before college and having kids, I spent a majority of my time traveling with my grandparents and competing in rodeos and local barrel races. Those were the highlights of my adolescence. Recently, however, believe it or not, my favourite pastime is spent using sidewalk chalk to draw with my daughters. Because their ages are three and almost two, we spend the majority of our time in the backyard, and our evolving sidewalk drawings are now one of my favourite things.

What is your pet peeve about the art world?
My pet peeve about the art world would probably be the assumption surrounding the relevance and/or purpose of art as an occupation or field of study in society. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been asked, “What will you do with an art degree?” I can reassure you that I didn’t spend many long nights studying, perfecting assignments, prepping for critique, and writing responses and research papers in order to play with coloured pencils and water colours for the rest of my life. I believe art, like any other discipline or field, requires dedication and drive; however, innovation is definitely key.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I have been given comes from two of the most influential men in my life, my stepfather and my art school professor and mentor. Whenever I would confide to my stepfather, he would always encourage me to “empty my cup.” It works both ways. If you are overwhelmed, “empty your cup”; if you’re overconfident, “empty your cup.” That still gets me through day to day; you have to keep the momentum going. The other crucial piece of advice that everyone could (and should) utilize is to steal as many ideas as you can. This can be accomplished through research or simply learning from other artists and creatives around you. It’s imperative to grow and expose yourself to different ideas and concepts.

What are your strongest childhood memories?
My strongest childhood memories will always
revolve around my horses and ponies. Riding was my constant hobby, and at that time, I never stopped drawing horses.

What superpower would you like to have and why?
My superpower of choice would be the ability to freeze time… but only temporarily. I believe that there is an amazing quality in the ability to recognise the significance of a single (fleeting) moment and that an abundance of beauty can be found when exercising such keen awareness. I am sure we all have experienced those moments that we wish we could relive… or savour them just a little bit longer.

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.
I am always finding inspiration in the smallest details throughout the day whether it be from just a moment of self-reflection and realization or by positively visualizing different scenarios in my mind. The next step in my educational career involves returning to school to obtain my MAT in Art Education. My daughters are definitely my inspiration behind this coming chapter.

Creatively, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the next five years, I see myself as an art professor, having obtained my master’s degree, and traveling to art festivals with my family in my spare time. I have two young daughters, and this is the kind of lifestyle and excitement that I would love to expose them to.

Hayley Haddad was born in 1989 in Memphis, TN, USA, where she currently resides.
Visit Hayleyhaddadart.squarespace.com

Artist Interview | Andrew Norris

Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.

What is your art about?

My work is about the representation of masculinity from my childhood into adulthood. My earliest memory of the expectations of men is based on comic book superheroes, which influenced my understanding that men are supposed to be strong and dominant. As I grew older, I realized that I still had self-esteem issues that were influenced by the visual representation of male bodies–like ones found in fitness and fashion magazines. I work with oil paint on canvas to create compositions of superheroes imposed over male celebrities that exaggerate the ideal macho culture of our society.

What project are you working on now?

I am going off the idea of the work from my series, Toxic Masculinity, and building upon it. I am still very much interested in the male form and painting advertisements found in magazines that promote the toxic manhood ideology. I have stepped away from flat backgrounds and colourful outlines for imagery from pages of my favorite comics growing up. My concepts are still familiar, but I am looking at my work in a more personal way now.

How has your practice changed over time?

In college, I took courses on painting such as the old masters learning the grisaille and the Venetian techniques. This way of painting was a slow process with a conservative outcome of a clean painting. As I continued painting each male figure in the series, I would shorten the process gradually by skipping steps as well as using different underpainting hues. The most prevalent difference in my work now is a shift from a general idea of masculinity to a more personal dialog about my gender expectations.

Creatively, where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Within five years I would have, hopefully, gotten my MFA degree from one of the nine universities I have applied to. I would like to think I would be employed by then as a professor or an adjunct professor, and if not, then work at a gallery or museum.

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.

During college, I took a trip to Atlanta with a group of artists and went to a few galleries there. I was able to see a Phillip Guston and a Fahamu Pecou at the High Museum which was an incredible experience.

What is your strongest childhood memory?

The best memory that sticks out the most is my school’s book fair, which had a book that contained all of the notable X-men. This allowed me to draw a full body image of many of the characters that are in my work now. I was always drawing; as a kid, I would usually close myself away with my comic books and just draw each character multiple times.

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?

Of the few places I have been to in this world, upstate New York was a very inspiring place during my art residency. I didn’t do much work there because after graduation I needed a break.

What is your scariest experience?

In college, a group of some friends and I went into the lower levels of a building on campus. The building was abandoned and had a reputation for being haunted. It was around midnight when we went down the stairs, and we took out our phones to record the whole thing as we asked dumb questions. When we came back up we played the recording and a voice yelled back at us when we asked if anyone was there.

What superpower would you like to have and why?

I have always loved water-based abilities like Aquaman’s powers. Even though it’s not as impressive as Superman, there is always a job for Aquaman.

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?

Other than the obvious paint and brush, it would be music in the background.

Why do you do what you do?

I have found my artwork is a way for me to communicate how I was raised in an environment that encouraged a traditionally straight, male lifestyle. In the south, much like many places across the U.S., there is an assumption that we will stay in our small towns and raise children. There is nothing wrong with living that way; it’s just not for me. I want to challenge those ideas by showing an overdose of maleness that achieves an almost homo-erotic visualization. For me, this environment also establishes that men do not really show their emotions or talk about what they are dealing with; my work helps me express what I am going through and hopefully encourages others.

Andrew Norris was born in 1993 in Kingsport, Tenn. USA, and is currently based in Fall Branch, Tenn. USA.
Visit andrewstephennorris.weebly.com.

Artist Interview | Emily Hoerdemann

Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.

When it comes to your art/writing, explain what you do in 100 words.
My work is characterized by its small scale, desktop paintings, and photo collages culled from the pages of fashion magazines and contemporary art auction catalogs. The fragmented photographs, absent of their identity, paired with anthropomorphic objects, organic cascading elements, and abstracted artworks by other artists are meant to address authorship, cultural curation, and sexual objectification. Without being overly sentimental, the collages capture the feeling of both glamour and despair, while maintaining a tenderness and composure.

What project are you working on now?
I am working on a few pieces of work that I’m really excited about. They all incorporate the same source materials—fashion magazines and art auction catalogs—so I consider them to be related. I’ve pushed away from my photography background for a while, but recently have embraced it in order to capture my desktop collages.

Why do you do what you do?
Because I have an intense drive to create. As obvious as it sounds, I think all artists have this intense drive to create—otherwise, what’s the point of doing what we do?

How has your practice changed over time?
I have allowed a bit of my over-controlled and rule-abiding practices to loosen a bit in order to embrace some more chance mark making and happy accidents.

What is your strongest childhood memory?
Painting next to my mom in her studio.

What is your scariest experience?
Moving to New York from my small mid-western town and only knowing a couple people. But it was the best thing I have ever done for myself!

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.
I am constantly inspired by the people I surround myself with. I have a lucky job because I get to communicate with collectors, gallerists, and artists. Recently, I visited my undergrad college, Bradley University, and had the opportunity to walk through the painting class with Heather Brammeier who was my professor. It was very rewarding to be looking at the talent at my alma mater and talking with someone I admire greatly about my path since I was an undergrad. Hearing Heather tell me how proud she is about what I’ve accomplished pushes me to keep creating.

What superpower would you like to have and why?
I would want a photographic memory. I think I would have been a much better scholar if I had that talent!

What is your pet peeve about the art world?
The art world is massive and terribly small at the same time. No matter how much you think you know or have experienced, there is always someone that knows more, has experienced more, and/or can do more. I think championing positivity and encouragement is key—but that’s lost on some participants!

What is your dream creative project?
Collaborating with others that are just as hungry to create something as I am.

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?
My home studio. Honestly, I am a homebody, so for me being at home in my studio and just creating until it “clicks” is always best.

Do you make a living off of your art?
No, and I think that affords me to be more adventurous and take my time. I make a living caring for other people’s art, and that can be incredibly inspiring.

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio/practice?
Scissors! Everything is collage, whether it’s on paper, on wood, or photographed. Second would be my camera. Without it, I cannot make an entire body of work without my camera. My Photo Interventions series is analog collage work, but ultimately captured as a photograph and printed as an archival pigment print.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Keep going. Apply yourself again and again. Ask questions. And don’t wear uncomfortable shoes.

What are your hobbies?
I love my garden. Growing herbs, veggies, and peppers on my rooftop garden in Brooklyn is a big luxury in this city!

Creatively, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Ideally, having more time to be creative on my own work. But I love having my hands in many pots, so I go where the inspiration takes me.

Emily Hoerdemann is a US citizen, was born in 1985 in Peoria, Illinois, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.

Visit www.emilyhoerdemann.com.

Artist Interview | Kate Stavniichuk

When it comes to your art/writing, explain what you do in 100 words:
I am superstitious about what I do. Art is not just the work I love to do; it’s magic that lets people feel or imagine something invisible and hidden that I’m trying to show. Every art piece done by me has a special meaning. Even when it’s a portrait, I write the whole story without words. And only if you look at the details carefully, can you reveal the secret. You might think I only do abstract art. No, I’m a realist artist. But who said that reality is not magic?

I hate being the same; that’s why I like to challenge myself and choose different themes. I do believe that we attract what we think about or what we do, so I’m very careful with my choices. Of course, it doesn’t mean that all my artworks are bright and cheerful because sometimes art is just a mirror of your soul.

What project are you working on now?
I’m working on a new solo exhibition. Can’t say a lot about it because it’s a secret project for now. But it’s going to be a new level of my work.

Why do you do what you do?
I’ve been drawing as far back as I can remember; my works were exhibited many times, but I never thought it would be my job. That’s why I never studied art. I’m not from a rich family originally, so my parents wanted me to have a stable, good-paying job. But I kept fighting for what I do now. And then it just happened. I remember being in the last years of school; I started to earn money from my art. I became completely immersed in it and couldn’t imagine doing anything else but art.

I believe in destiny… that what is meant to be will always happen. I always wanted to know my mission in life. Maybe I haven’t found it yet, and one day I will change my ways. But for now, art is my life.

How has your practice changed over time?
I became more daring and confident as I did my art. I’m using new techniques and styles, and my life experience greatly influenced my art.

What is your strongest childhood memory?
I remember when I was a five-year-old; I got a present for my birthday. It was a big, very expansive illustrated book called Barbie. I really loved leafing through that book, and as I did, I had a strong belief that I could make a much better book with my drawings and my own stories. I don’t know why I felt that way, but I did. I thought the Barbie book just wasn’t good enough. I made drawings of ladies and men on paper and glued them together. But I thought something was missing. So one night when nobody could see me, I cut some illustrations out of the Barbie book and added my own illustrations to the book. Barbie was completely damaged. My parents were so mad at me when they found out that I did that. I knew I would be punished, but at the same time, I was really proud of creating my own book. (Kate was laughing now as she said this.)

What was your scariest experience?
My scariest experience was my first solo show. I think a first show is a scary thing for every artist. You never know what to expect at your solo exhibition, especially your first time when you’re insanely nervous about literally everything… who’s going to come, what I’m going to say about my works, what if people don’t like my art or me? But at the end of the day, you’re tired and satisfied that so many people came to support you, and you realize they did love your paintings; and even if some of them didn’t, you don’t care anymore because you just completed a new step in your career. That feeling is amazing.

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.
I think inspiration is always about the places you visit or the people you meet. Once I met a very good person who supported me in a hard time (sorry can’t say the name). I was about to quit doing art because I had so many problems at that time and it was really hard to continue. But the person made me believe that I had to keep going, that I had to be strong because I am strong. His words inspired me to put myself together, and I did. Six months later I had my first solo show.

What superpower would you like to have and why?
I am a woman. That’s my superpower.

What is your pet peeve about the art world?
Honestly, I don’t understand those artists who are chasing popularity on the social media. Those Facebook likes just make them crazy. They stop being themselves, stop being original, and start creating what attracts more people. Listen. People can’t tell you what is amazing and what is not and convince you according to their visions. Show the world your vision, what your soul is feeling.

What is your dream creative project?
My dream project is to own my own gallery and do workshops for artists and for those who just want to express themselves in art. I would love to help everyone believe in themselves and give them a push in the right direction.

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?
I think the most inspiring place in the world is where I am right now. And that goes for everyone else. People often complain that they are not in the right place, where they live doesn’t inspire them. But wherever you are, there is a reason why you’re there, so look around and you will see.

Do you make a living off of your art?
Yes, I’m a full-time artist.

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio/practice?
The most indispensable item in my studio is a compressed charcoal pencil. It’s my favorite!

What are your hobbies?
When I was younger I had many hobbies, but now art is almost everything to me. So I don’t have much time for something else. But I do like sports, dancing, watching movies, etc.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Never give up. No matter what happens, always stay strong.

Visit www.katestavniichuk.com

Artist Techniques | Master Pastelist, Louise T. Webber, Shares Her Techniques

I prefer soft pastels over wax and oil pastels. They have been used by such notable artists as Degas, Delacroix, Millet, Manet, and Whistler and have been used for hundreds of years.

Soft pastels are a versatile dry-painting medium which comes in sticks and pencils. They are fragile and contain more pigment and less binder which gives them their velvety texture; their colours are rich and can be layered and blended easily, usually with a finger, tortillion, or stump. They don’t require the use of water, turpentine, or oils and there is no preparation required to start using them. Just pick up the stick of colour and start your painting. I especially like that there is no right or wrong way of using pastels, allowing me the freedom to experiment with their use.

I enjoy the texture of Canson Mi-Teintes coloured pastel archival and acid-free paper and pastelbord, feeling the tooth of the support as I work the pigment into my support with my fingers. This practice requires me to frequently wash my hands to keep the pigment from building up on my fingers and dulling other colours as I work on the piece. Extra pastel dust is knocked off of the painting by tapping the support instead of blowing it off as blowing can cause the dust to get in the air, and it can be a health issue if inhaled.

When my artwork is complete, I use Sennelier Soft Pastel Fixatif to protect it from smudging and environmental pollutants. In thin coats, it doesn’t change the colour of my pigments like most fixatives. The final step is framing. All my pastel paintings are matted and framed behind glass to further protect the artwork. The mat creates a space between the artwork and the glass so there is no rubbing and transfer of pigment to the glass, potentially ruining my artwork.

I sketch from life as well as using reference photos that I have taken. I keep a stockpile of photos from old magazines, books, newspapers, etc., that catch my interest. I use them to mix and match and build a composition and to get ideas when I have “artist block.” When I go for walks and drives, my Nikon is usually with me so I can take reference photos.

First, I decide the colour and type of support to use, considering my subject, the colours I want to use, and how they will relate to the background. I begin my painting by making a detailed sketch directly on the pastel paper with either a vine charcoal stick or pencil, a graphite pencil, or a pastel pencil.

After choosing my colours and separating them from my box of pastels, I start blocking in the background, using the colours throughout the skin tones to create colour harmony, defining the light and dark areas as I go.

I generally work from left to right to reduce the chance of smudging, completing each section as I go.

Completed painting sealed with Fixatif and ready to frame.

Louise T. Webber is a Canadian-born
International award winning artist
Visit http://www.louisewebberarts.com

Artist Interview | Liisa Ahlfors

Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.

artistinterview_liisaahlfors_3

When it comes to your art, explain what you do.

I am a visual artist based in Tampere, Finland. My work is mainly inspired by the challenge of new environments. I am inspired by encounters with sites, situations, or objects, and I view each in its socio-political context; then I bind these stories together with simple shapes. I seek to separate the obvious things that attract my attention, disrupt the distinction between public and private space, and propose a temporal place where factual and sensitive realities coexist. Usually my works take a form of a durational installation made only for the space of its representation.

artistinterview_liisaahlfors_8

What project are you working on now?

Currently I am an Artist-in-Residence at SÍM, Reykjavík, Iceland. I am also working on a project with my friend and colleague, Anastasia Artemeva. We are collaborating on the shared cultural history of the Finnish and the Russians, and summer cottages and dachas. The project will be a participatory installation at Gallery Huuto in Helsinki, Finland, in the summer 2017.

Why do you do what you do?

I am challenged by each new environment. Rather than following a line of systematic production, I cultivate my ability to respond specifically to each new situation, space, or context. I see each new environment as a unique challenge, and I approach it accordingly because what may have worked in one environment does not always work in another.  The on-going challenge of new environments keeps me going and doing what I do.

How has your practice changed over time?

I have studied at the Tampere University of Applied Sciences in Tampere, Finland, and graduated from the programme of Fine Arts in 2011. I also studied various practices from painting and drawing to photography. When I was in the Fine Arts programme, installation and environmental art were most appealing to me. I worked as an artist for a few years before entering my master studies at the Aalto University, School of Art, Design, and Architecture in Helsinki, Finland, in the programme of Environmental Art from which I graduated in 2015. There I reconsidered my relationship with the gallery space, and came to conclusion I am still “inside the white cube,” even if my work is not. This conclusion took my work in a slightly different direction as I am now also working with the gallery spaces. Recently I made a large-scale, text-based installation, so using text is now what interests me, aside from a more material-based working method.

artistinterview_liisaahlfors_6

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you:

I used to dance a lot when I was younger. I even wanted to be a professional dancer one day. I have been thinking that this time-and-space-related practice I used to do for years, and from such a young age, is one of the reasons I turned to becoming an installation/environmental artist, why it is so important for me to do work that is related to one particular time and space/place, and why I value more of that particular experience rather than the object.

What superpower would you like to have and why?

Invisibility. I sometimes withdraw in social situations to observe. Observing would be much easier if I had the ability to become invisible!

What is your strongest childhood memory?

Long summer holidays of solitude and dwelling into literary worlds with my books.

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?

Any place can be inspiring. The time that I spend in a place develops my relationship with that place; through that relationship I become inspired and create my art works.

Artist Interview | Bhavna Misra

Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.

artistinterview_bhavnamisra_headshot

When it comes to your art, explain what you do.

I am a full-time artist and art educator based out of the San Francisco, Bay area. I paint sun-washed, colourful local landscapes that surround me and motivate me. I also work in portraiture and still life. My work is an emotional response to what I observe and experience. Through my paintings that I create in oil and pastel, I attempt to present the colours in their pure brilliance without losing the balance of accuracy and expressionism.

artistinterviewbhavnamisrabeautyinthebeast_oil1

What project are you working on now?

Currently I am painting figurative portraits for my upcoming solo show at Olive Hyde Art Gallery in Fremont, California. The focus is on ballet dancers and performance artists in motion, exploring the elegance and rhythm of human form and portraiture.

How has your practice changed over time?

Over time I have learned to become more organized. I have devised steps to utilise the available time efficiently and distribute it better between work and family.

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?

Any place that has space to rest my pad and time to draw is perfect for me. That’s all I need to become inspired and to get started. I have a home-based studio that opens into the backyard. It has an all-windows wall that faces south so the room receives natural sunlight throughout the day. It is a well-lit, airy place that is perfect for making art.

What is your strongest childhood memory?

It has to be raising a bear cub. My father was a forest officer, and he routinely went on forest inspection tours. Upon his return from one such tour, he brought back a bear cub that had been separated from her mother. The cub was very young and would have died if it was left in the jungle. We fed milk to the baby with a bottle and took care of it just like other pets that we had at that time. The cub stayed with us until she was big enough to be sent to the local zoo.

artistinterview_bhavnamisra_earlycalloil3

What superpower would you like to have and why?

If I could have a superpower, it would be to be able to control time and travel through it. That way, there would be no lack of time to do what I like to do!

What are your hobbies?

In my spare time, I like to go for a run, a hike. or take pictures.

What is your pet peeve about the art world?

Art marketing! Putting a business perspective on artmaking somehow drives or hampers the creative process, and I sometimes find it annoying.

artistinterview_bhavnamisraorchidsoil5

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“Create when you are inspired. Create even when you are not!”

What is your dream creative project?

My dream project is to be in a safari and paint wildlife and animals from life. When I worked on Circle of Animals – a zodiac, cycle-based, animal-portrait series, I had a chance to explore deeper into the lives of various wild animals. I painted animals from pictures that I took during my trips to the parks, farms, shelters, and zoos. It was a great aid to my process, but it was nowhere close to being what it would be if I could observe the animals close up in the comfort zone of their natural habitat. One day, I hope to be able to fulfill this dream.

Do you make a living off of your art?

Yes, I am a full-time independent artist. I work for the County Library as an art contractor where I offer art presentations and workshops. I sell artwork directly and through online galleries, accept commissioned art, and take part in local art shows and fairs.

artistinterview_bhavnamisra_acadia_12x16_oil7

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio/practice?

A sharpened pencil. It is the magic tool with which I begin my art journeys, and it still is the most essential tool in all of my adventures. It’s an inexpensive, low-maintenance, effective, and versatile piece that is a must-have for any artist.

Describe a real-life experience that
inspired you.

I used to make portrait sketches as a hobby. During the summer, when I was about nine or ten, we had a visit from an out-of-town house guest who came to meet with my grandfather who lived with us. The guest was a professional artist and an art teacher. He viewed my work and told my grandfather that he saw natural talent in me. His words stayed with me and gave me the confidence to one day pursue art as a profession.

Why do you do what you do?

Because I have received the gift (the power) to translate ideas into illustration. Having received this gift, I find it my duty and purpose to share it with others. Doing so helps me learn every day and grow as a better person along the way.

By Bhavna Misra

Bhavna Misra is currently based in San Francisco, California.

Visit https://bhavnamisra.com/

Artist Interview | Hari Lualhati

Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.

What do you do and what inspires you?
My artworks are inspired by powerful lessons I’ve learned from life. My paintings emphasize the value of life and incorporate elements like nature and animals to show that we are all connected. Layers of expressive brush strokes can be observed at each painting, together with my rich devotion to details. I paint with my heart. For me, a painting is successful if it can make anyone who would look at it feel the emotion that it’s supposed to give. It is like delivering a clear message by touching the hearts of the viewers.

What project are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a new series of paintings. Very interesting theme, and I’ve also incorporated new techniques that were never seen in my earlier paintings. I’m also preparing for an upcoming solo exhibition soon. I will post more details on my Facebook Artist Page.

Why do you do what you do?
Ever since I was a kid, I have always been interested in art. Although I used to work as a graphic artist, product designer, and illustrator, I still painted in my spare time. It was only during 2012, that I decided to follow my heart, take this huge step, and only concentrate on my painting career. For me, this profession is a calling, you must have the dedication and must really love to paint in order for you to survive in this field.

How has your practice changed over time?
I’ve always strived to develop my skills by trying different techniques but making sure to have a distinctive style. When it comes to the themes of my paintings, they also change, as they are the reflections of significant memories in my life.

What is your strongest childhood memory?
My strongest childhood memory would be all those times when I competed for on-the-spot poster/painting contests. I remembered other events when I represented my school and, most of the time, I received an award. These are the things that developed my interest in art at a very young age.

What is your scariest experience?
One of my scariest experiences was when I had a dream that I was dying. I was being buried alive, and all I saw was black. Then, I suddenly struggled to breathe. I prayed and thanked God for everything, and surprisingly, after my prayer, I woke up from that bad dream and everything was all right. That dream has made me appreciate life more.

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.
There would be a lot of experiences that inspired me, but the ones that inspired me the most are those that were struggles which I experienced in life. The lessons I’ve learned from these life trials have always inspired me to create paintings about them and to be a better person.

What superpower would you like to have and why?
I’ve always dreamed of flying with the birds. I think it would be a very good way of meditation and can be an easy escape from all the noise and business in this world. I also want the power of reading other people’s minds. I think life would be easier if I could immediately know the genuine intentions of a person without any pretentiousness.

What is your dream creative project?
It would be the project I’m working on right now, a series of paintings. but with a much bigger budget and being able to exhibit them all over the world.

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?
For me, the environment is really not a big deal. Any beautiful place would do as long as I’m happy inside,; then I’m sure I would be inspired.

Do you make a living off of your art?
Yes, but I also do accept illustration jobs.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Follow your heart.

Hari Lualhati was born in 1985 in the Philippines and is currently based in South Africa. Visit http://harilualhati.yolasite.com

Artist Interview | Jane Dickson

Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.

When it comes to your art/writing, explain what you do in 100 words.
I am a self-taught mixed media painter, Nature Spirit photographer, and aspiring poet. Whether it’s on canvas or camera lens, I approach my art with the same intention – to create or capture magical scenes of endless possibilities, and to offer insight and inspiration. When I start a painting, I work intuitively, building an abstract base of colour, working with brushes and fingers until I see images start to emerge in the paint. As the scene unfolds I follow along, developing the characters and bringing them to life! My Nature Spirit photography originally portrayed the “faces” I saw in the rocks, clouds, and trees, but more recently I have started working with a mirror image effect and the Nature Spirits that now appear are so fascinating!

What project are you working on now?
I am now working on a series called “The INKspirationals” using mainly acrylic ink and pen on art board. Like all of my paintings, I approach the blank page intuitively. With these pieces I drop inkblots on the board and see what images start to emerge in the paint as I play with it. I then use pen and marker to further develop the mystical creatures that have started to take form. I try not to censor any image that begins to take shape and, as a result, these scenes are often quite surreal! Usually, a few uplifting words or an inspiring poem will come forth to go with these pieces.

You Hold Infinite Possibilities

How has your practice changed over time?
Although I have always painted intuitively, much more detail has emerged in my art this year. The scenes and stories are taking on an even greater life of their own as I gain more experience with drawing and developing the characters.

Why do you do what you do?
During a time of grieving, I discovered intuitive painting, and it was such a balm for my soul. From that first painting I was so fascinated with the process of laying down paint on canvas and watching as magically faces and figures would start appearing in the abstract base. It was such a delightful experience during a difficult time, and that joy has remained with me each time I paint a new piece. I never know what or who will show up, and that keeps me completely engaged in the process and my mind open to new possibilities!

What is your strongest childhood memory?
I asked my mom one time what I loved to do as a child, and she said I loved to colour. I said, “All kids like to colour, don’t they?” She answered, “No, you REALLY liked to colour.” Then I remembered how I loved to draw the mountains with the sun peeking out from behind them. It was so surprising to me when I remembered that because it wasn’t until I was living in British Columbia, surrounded by the beautiful mountains, that I started painting and finding my way back to art.

artistinterview_janedickson_8

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.
It was 2011, the first year that I really started painting in earnest. It was also a period of much grief and turmoil for me. I was going to meet someone at the Vancouver Art Gallery for The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art exhibition. My date never showed up, but it didn’t matter! I was so completely thrilled and moved by the work of Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, Leonora Carrington, and others. I left the gallery feeling excited, inspired, and determined to continue focusing on my painting.

What is your scariest experience?
When I was twenty, I was in a motorcycle crash that claimed the life of my boyfriend. Regaining consciousness, I discovered that I had landed in the middle of the road, and I could see headlights approaching. That was a scary experience… and a life-changing one.

What superpower would you like to have and why?
Well, flying would be marvelous! Can you imagine? At a moment’s notice being able to take off for Indonesia, Italy, or India to experiment, explore, and experience! Or maybe soaring into Paris, Panama, or Peru to paint, play, or pray!

What is your pet peeve about the art world?
Being self-taught and finding my artistic passion in mid-life, I’ve never really felt I was part of the “art world.” I am mildly frustrated when an art degree is required or there is too much emphasis on technique over expression, but I realize quite quickly that is not the direction I’m meant to go. Apparently in some languages the word for “human” and the word for “artist” is the same. I do believe that artistic expression is our birthright, and I’m happy to see our cultural attitude changing with regards to art.

What is your dream creative project?
I have discovered that I’m really smitten with live-painting events! Although they can be somewhat nerve-wracking, I also love the excitement of them and being able to engage with onlookers and encourage participation from the audience. It would be amazing to be commissioned to paint a huge outdoor wall with a group of both emerging and seasoned artists of all ages. We would create a mystical scene of grand proportions that would be viewed by thousands and an inspiration to many. I can think of so many dream projects!

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?
Although I have only been there once, Italy was a magnificent experience! I travelled there almost thirty years ago and have never forgotten the art, architecture, and the richness of their culture. Closer to home, I absolutely fell in love with White Rock when I lived in British Columbia. That little ocean-side town in western Canada captured my heart with the sun twinkling off the bay, the boardwalk, and the little shops of art and treasures. There is an energy there that is truly inspiring and revitalizing for me.

artistinterview_janedickson_5

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio/practice?
Myself! This is a good example of the adage “just do it.” I must show up to make and create or the vision to inspire is wasted! As far as tools and supplies go, it’s so hard to choose just one item! With this current series I’m doing, I absolutely love working on Canson watercolour art board with Liquitex acrylic ink and Pigma Micron pens so these items feel indispensable at the moment.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
As Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Done is better than good.” In other words, don’t let procrastination and perfectionism (different sides of the same coin) keep you from making and creating. The satisfaction of completing a work of art or project is priceless. Chances are that as your craft evolves, you won’t be satisfied with older work anyhow. So start now, keep creating, and your work will just naturally improve over time.

What are your hobbies?
In addition to the visual arts, I have a lifelong passion for the healing arts, and a great interest in spirituality and shamanic work. Recently I have been into vegetable and herb gardening and continue to be interested in foraging for mushrooms and edible plants. I love hiking the woods and around waterfalls searching for faces in nature and taking mirror image photos.
I also enjoy expressive dance. I am a lifelong reader too and currently gravitate to travel and art memoirs.

Creatively, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I envision living closer to nature and fully supporting myself with my art. I see myself engaged in collaborative work with other artists and I have a vision of being involved in large-scale work. I am the creatrix and facilitator of “Art From Your Heart” intuitive painting play-shops, and I would like to take these events “on the road” to continue sharing my love of intuitive painting.

Jane Dickson was born in the 60s in Dunnville,
Ontario, Canada and is currently based in
Beamsville, also in Ontario, Canada.
Visit http://www.mysticalspiritstudio.com

Studio Spotlight on Rusty Sherrill

A loft to get lost in | Rusty Sherrill

After graduating from art school in Tampa, Florida, I worked briefly in my home state before moving to California. I worked as an artist in the clothing industry for 25 years before striking out on my own. Now I am painting full-time, showing in galleries, and working on my novel, Kid Nitro and the Sinister Slorp.

My studio space is a loft. My wife and I moved to the mountains four years ago for the peace and quiet, and because it’s a lot cheaper than Orange County! All of this helps my creativity. My studio is a place where I go to lose myself in my own world and thoughts.

My creative vision allows my imagination to run wild to see what happens. I draw from a childhood love of monsters, aliens, superheroes, finks and weirdos. Combining those images with my arguably adult mind, I convey different perspectives on very serious subjects. I aspire to make people think in a way they might not have before by reaching out and grabbing them with powerful images. Then I pull them into my world where they are free to find their own way, explore and discover new things, wallow around in this place for a while and see what happens.

By Rusty Sherrill
Rusty Sherrill was born in Lakeland, United States in 1962 and is currently based in Big Bear City, United States.
http://dropr.com/portfolio105028

Artist Interview | J Howard

Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.

thecolorofrain

When it comes to your art, explain what you do in 100 words.
I could tell you how far I have come and what I have come from. I could share with you my journey as a mental health physician and how art has healed many through its use. But what I would like to share with you is how I identify myself, not just with my art, but in it and through it, that my purpose is to reach individuals deeply and spiritually. To share not just a visual, but an emotional experience. I am not a young artist by age or training, but I am emerging with a message.

What project are you working on now?
I am currently working on a series entitled, “Voices of Humanity.” In addition to this project, I am compiling pieces for the Women Painting Women Exhibit in Clarksville, Tennessee, and a solo show the first of 2017 in my home state of Texas. It is entitled, “Texas Speaks.”

Why do you do what you do?
Art plays many roles in society and, at different times, can speak to issues in areas such as religion, science, politics, and history. No matter what venue, my art can provide thought-provoking commentary and innovative perspectives on a vast array of ideas. People often forget the significance of art in the discourse of social, cultural, and global concerns. Art clearly has the power to spark ideas and challenge prevailing opinions, and as an artist, I become the point of delivery.

13239369_1107715819285421_4554173513878820202_n

How has your practice changed over time?
Although I began my training at a very early age, my practice as an artist has had two lives. Trained in oils with a rich background in drawing, I have evolved into someone who really must get their hands “in it.” I first began as a studio artist with the responsibility of recreating life and movement with inanimate objects. Through the observation of reality, I became a lover of Photorealism, which has given substance to my art career’s second life. As a pastelist, I can draw on my strong illustration background while really using my hands to apply the colour and create rich images that have a sense of storytelling.

What are your hobbies?
Cooking and hunting for antiquities.

What is your strongest childhood memory?
Traveling and seeing things creatively and always having a sketchbook.

What is your scariest experience?
Nearly dying… twice.

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.
Each time I travel to a new destination, I am inspired by the people, food, entertainment, and environment. I think the beauty of Kona Hawaii last year moved me creatively more than anything. As a mental health physician, I am inspired by the many survivors I encounter on a regular basis who give me a purpose and a mission that drives my voice within my art.

What superpower would you like to have and why?
I would like to have the superpower of speaking every language in the world and communicating with anyone, no matter where they are from, to have fluent conversation and share stories.

joyoflightandlife2.5

What is your pet peeve about the art world?
Unfortunately, the art scene is quite fickle and trendy with judging in a realm of subjectiveness that is beyond comprehension. It has an air of snobbery that makes an emerging artist’s attempt at becoming known and favored very difficult. Art as a whole is rooted in cultural diversities, but seems disjointed at times. With my grounded sense of reality, I feel that, for the moment, there is no place for me, but I have a voice that will one day be heard.

What is your dream creative project?
To have a solo show that speaks to the world in a very profound way, shown in a prominent gallery, in a well-respected art community.

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio or practice?
My purely organic soft pastels. Having an autoimmune disorder means that commercial grade soft pastels are life threatening. The other would be natural light.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Degas once said, “It’s not what you see, but what you make others see.” A very good friend recently told me that the most important thing I can do is be true to myself in my art. To make sure that above all else, my voice is heard over the judgment of others who feel that art should be traditional in how it is created. I also have to remember that just because someone or some gallery tells me “NO,” it does not mean that I cannot do it; it just means that I am not going to do it with them.

Creatively, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In two years I see myself retired and a full-time artist showing everywhere. In five years I hope to be able say I won the Hunting Art Prize and the Dave Bown Project. I also hope to be able to say I was a winner in the Art Comes Alive competition which is sort of an Academy Award for an artist. I plan to establish my own gallery where I can support emerging artists in a very loving and supportive manner. But most important, I plan to just experience real joy for the rest of my life.

J Howard is a US citizen, was born in Houston, Texas, and is currently based in Alvin, Texas.
www.organicpastels.com