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A Dozen : Tim Lee

Welcome back to another edition of A Dozen. This week we’re going to do something a little different and introduce our featured artist, Tim Lee out of the UK with a short documentary about his life and work to jump off things. So first his documentary, and then our interview- sit back and relax!

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"I am never looking for perfection in my work; I like the near misses much more"

"I hope people can see beauty in the simplicity of my acts; that they can admire my attempt to decorate and celebrate what it is to be human"

ashes

"Ashes Between You and Me"
Ink on calligraphy paper
35cm x 39cm
2008

Please explain your beginnings and how you got started with art.

It’s all I have ever known. It began from when I was a child, as soon as I was able to pick up a pen; I was drawing.

What’s your earliest memory involving art or creating art?

I was pretty young in a classroom and it was my first art lesson. I drew a cartoon of a naked male urinating. All that sticks with me was the teacher erasing his genitals and me redrawing it, this went back and forth all lesson.

lovemustnever

"Love Must Die Young (Never Old Enough)" Diptych
Ink Drawing on Chinese Rice Paper
2008
(30cm x 45cm) x2

What is your education or training in art?

I’ve graduated from university with a fine arts degree. I didn’t use my time wisely, the work I made as a student is unrecognizable to what I do now.

There’s no real training involved in my work, I feel self taught in many ways.

I just had to realize my voice and that took some time.

How do you pay the bills to enable and unleash your creative energy?

Bottom line is I don’t! I get the odd bit off illustration work through and that helps a little, but I don’t like to think about outgoings, If you really want something you have to sacrifice certain things.
romancandle

"I’ll never be your Roman Candle"
Ink on Calligraphy paper
50cm x 35cm
2009

How have your surroundings or environment influenced your evolution?

It has shaped me hugely. My family heritage is from Hong Kong and I was born in the UK and have lived here all my life. There are identity issues that arise from this culture clash but I’ve learnt to accept them as I’ve grown. It’s important to try to keep your culture alive in you.

Who are some of your major influences?

My Uncle (Lee Man Sang) he is also an artist and I look up to him and his work a lot. The level of craft is his works that is quite rare in today’s art world.

But aside from my biased opinion I’m a fan of Francis Bacon, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, Nick Cave, Joel Peter Witkin, Bjork, Haruki Murakami, David Lynch, Wong Kar Wai etc Im influenced by very visual and visceral art.

whydoi

"Why do I, Still water flowers"
Ink on Calligraphy paper
36cm x 55cm
2009

Do you work alone or are you open to collaboration?

The illustration work I take on is kind of collaboration in itself, where ideas go back and forth but generally speaking I prefer to work independently. That way if anything goes wrong I can take responsibility. But it really depends on what’s proposed and if I see any potential in the project.

What methods of exposure have proven to be the most effective for getting the word out about your work?

The Internet has been my most successful route. Without the Internet I have no idea how I would have found some of the people I know now and vice versa.

dontletthelight

"Don’t Let the Light In, or You’ll Kill Us All"
Ink on calligraphy paper
2008
30cm x 35cm

When are you most productive or when do you normally work on art?

The best time for me to work is when most people are sleeping. Anytime past midnight and I get more done. I work throughout the day too but I feel I make much better decisions and ideas flow more easily at night.

What do you consider your biggest overall influence (music, artists, food, etc)?

Everything, I can’t highlight one. Life is the influence, there’s no other explanation. I can be doing nothing and nothing running through my head and suddenly I know what work I want to make. No reason or rationale so I think that comes from a culmination of things I’ve seen consciously or otherwise. Since you have mention food, I think it’s overlooked in many ways. Food and Drink is what brings people together, breaks barriers and without it, we’d be nothing.

inandoutoflove

"In & Out of Love with You"
Ink on Calligraphy paper
54cm x 33cm
2009

Where would you like to travel to and expose your work?

I’ve always wanted to visit New York. I’ve only ever heard good things about the place. My dad lived there for a while so maybe I’d like to tread his path for a while.

I’d like to have a show in Hong Kong too, that way my family could attend and see what I’ve been up to.

China would also be somewhere that would be interesting to visit. I’d like to see how my work would be received there too. I’ve never been across to China and seems like a lot is happening there culturally and artistically, I’d like to see how and if my work would fit in context there.

To be honest the I’d love to travel and take my work anywhere.

What is something about you that nobody would ever guess?

I voted for Leona Lewis to win the X factor, I voted 3 times.

What do you have coming down the line in terms of shows/ projects/ etc?

I’m showing some work at the affordable art fair in Amsterdam later this month, I have a few more shows lined up but until I’ll announce those once I know for sure they’re happening.

I’ll be painting more in the future. I don’t want to be one of those artists that never steps outside their comfort zone. I want to try everything. Maybe I’ll eventually end up in film or photography. All i know is that I have a bank of backed up ideas that need to come out.

::all images courtesy of Tim Lee ::

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Posted: October 16th, 2009
at 12:34pm by Koookiecrumbles

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A Dozen : Brett Amory

This week for A Dozen we talk with Brett Amory out of San Francisco. Uniquely combining images in Photoshop and painting, his work is amazing. He has been published in Convergence in 2005 and Twenty2wo Magazine and Pages Magazine in 2009. Definitely look out for his art in times to come. If you’re in the LA area this weekend be sure and check out the New Contemporary Art Fair at the LA Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park, running October 9th, 10th and 11th.

waiting_28

Waiting # 28
oil on wood panel 48″ x 96″

Where and how did you get your start in art?

I moved to San Francisco when I was 21 to study motion pictures at the Academy of Arts University. I was skateboarding and playing a lot of music at the time. I really didn’t have any direction. The first person I met in San Francisco was a painter and I just sort of fell into the arts.

After a couple years of playing around with art I switched my major to fine art. Before I started painting I was really into Photoshop. I would make these wacky montages from my shitty drawings. At the time I thought they were really cool but looking back on it they were pretty messed up. When I started painting I kept using Photoshop and eventually I combined painting with Photoshop.

What separates your work from others?

I usually start off taking pictures of people waiting for stuff, and then I go through the pictures and start montaging them together in Photoshop. After I come up with something I like I’ll do a really loose five-minute painting with a big brush. I take a picture of the painting and add the picture to the Photoshop file changing the original image. I repeat the process of going back and forth between the image and the painting until I have something that works. The painting changes the image the image changes the painting. This process was developed over ten years of experimenting. My work is the end product of this process.

waiting_39

Waiting #39
oil on wood panel 24″ x 36″

How do you view the recent movement of "crowd sourcing" to fund new art projects?

I have never heard of "crowd sourcing."

Sure sounds like a good way to fund new art projects.

What problems do you see in the art world and how would you fix them?

Art trends seem to be dictated by curators. They seem to have the control of deciding what art is important. These trends influence emerging artist to make art in order to fit a market.

Emerging artist should focus on the work and not on showing in the beginning. Give your work some time to develop before building the hype. When the work is there the hype follows.

waiting_31

Waiting #31
oil on wood panel 24″ x 36″

How do you use the online universe to your advantage?

Where to begin. The online universe is awesome! I use it for everything. Online submitting has made getting your work out there so much easier. I submit to galleries, online galleries, blogs, websites, magazines, online publications the possibilities are endless. I love the Internet

What was your first big break in the art world?

I’m still waiting.

When I was asked to be in Convergence that was pretty awesome.

waiting_34

Waiting # 34
oil on wood panel 24″ x 36″

How would you characterize your work stylistically?

That’s a good question.

I really don’t know. If I were to label my work I would probably categorize it as modern painting.

Who are some of the major influences in shaping your personal and artistic evolution?

I have so many influences but my biggest influences have to be my uncle Ed and my closest friends. My first experience with art was from Ed. His work always made me want to do art.

I started painting pretty late but I was lucky to be surrounded by great artist. While I was in school I met Gage Opdenbrouw, Kim Cogan, David Choong Lee, MARs 1 and Jerome Opena. Hanging out and watching these guys grow really helped me develop my own work.

waiting_40

Waiting #40
oil on wood panel 24″ x 36″

What mediums do you constrain yourself too?

I’m an oilman.

What advice can you give to emerging talent trying to get more exposure?

Make sure your confident with your work then make sure your website accurately portrays your work. Start submitting your site to online publications, magazines, blogs and other websites. Be clickable, build online presence and start generating hype. The galleries will follow. Work hard and never give up.

waiting_20

Waiting #20
oil on wood panel 24″ x 36″

Where would you like to see your work displayed in the future?

London, Berlin, and Rome, Japan places I haven’t been to yet.

Which contemporary artists do you think are having the greatest impact in the art world?

I have a lot of respect for graffiti and street art. It’s the next thing. The underdog is coming up and it’s going to take us all by surprise.

waiting_44

Waiting #44
oil on wood panel 9.5″ x 48″

::all images courtesy of Brett Amory ::

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Posted: October 9th, 2009
at 10:17am by Koookiecrumbles

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A Dozen : James Roper

After a weeks hiatus, A Dozen is back with a talented artist from the UK, James Roper. Enjoy the interview.

rapture5

The Ecstasy of Catalina Cruz
mixed media on paper
29.5cm x 42cm
2006

What led you to become an artist?

A drive to express myself and communicate ideas that I couldn’t do through any other means.

How were you educated in your field?

Even though I’ve studied art since high school I still feel like I’m self taught but with a certain amount of guidance along the way via teachers and especially listening to other artists.

The Divining Censer

The Divining Censer
acrylic on canvas
95cm x 100cm
2008

What differentiates your work from the next artist?

The varying interests of every artist combine together to make their work unique. I am interested in a variety of subjects some having very opposing themes such as religion and pornography or Zen philosophy and material excess.

Where have you seen the best emerging art scenes transform?

I’m very wary of art scenes. I seem to get grouped in with street/urban art a lot which doesn’t make much sense to me, it just highlights peoples need to define parameters around vague aesthetic similarities so they can try and understand them (or market them). I also seem to be placed within an art scene which is more prominent in the U.S. which exists between ‘low brow’ and ‘high brow’ art. I guess you could call it ‘middle brow’, it seems a lot more in tune with aesthetic pleasure without being throw away as with low brow advertising or getting lost in convoluted intellectualising as you get in high brow art.

rupture1

Exit vehicle 1
mixed media on paper
42cm x 29.5cm
2006

Would you rather be part of a revolutionary movement or an evolutionary movement?

I don’t like the idea that if you revolt against something you define yourself and your actions around the very thing you dislike, but although evolution on the whole seems more natural and steady sometimes there is a need to change things drastically.

Who have been some of your major influences?

There are to many to mention, here’s a few in no particular order: Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Katsushiro Otomo, Shintaro Kago, Francis Bacon, Jeff Koons, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Hans Bellmer, Takashi Murakami, J.G. Ballard, Slavoj Zizek, David Lynch, Andy Warhol, Brett Easton Ellis, Derren Brown, V.S. Ramachandran, Matthew Collings, Gilles Deleuze, Matthew Ritchie, Matthew Barney, Inka Essenhigh, Francesca Lowe…..

Push the pull

Push the pull
acrylic on canvas
170cm x 180cm
2005

What makes art collectives so successful these days?

I’ve always worked alone so have no real knowledge of how a collective works. In a way I guess it’s like having a brand name, something people can more easily identify you with and build up a certain aura around a number of artists who would otherwise be less successful working on their own.

What advice can you give to the next emerging artist?

Be original. Be your own worst critic and listen to others criticism, you don’t learn if you think you’re doing everything right. Dedicate yourself fully to your art, don’t take up valuable studio space if you intend on doing it half-heartedly. Don’t be part of the art school fashion parade, the ones who succeed spend their time being artists not trying to look or talk like one. Don’t self indulge but try and truly affect people (there’s nothing worst than passive art), but don’t use cheap shocks or cliched attempts at beauty to achieve it. Look at as much art as possible, and don’t ignore the old masters. As an artist living today you have via the internet the most expansive database ever on which to discover new art and ideas, use it. And, just because Francis Bacon was a drunk doesn’t mean drinking will make you paint like Francis Bacon. He was a painting genius, you’re not.

Inverse excess 2

Inverse excess 2
acrylic on canvas
40cm x 40cm
2007

Would you say that creating art is in your DNA?

Partly, but looking back I’d say there were many outside factors that pushed me into becoming an artist as well.

What other styles have proven to be the most therapeutic in collaborating with your own unique styles?

I recently co-wrote and worked on the production design for a short film which was very different to how I normally work. Painting is a very solitary activity where I make every decision myself, where as film making is very collaborative and relies on a lot of people. The ideas and visuals I want to express through film are very different to what I put in my work, it allows me to bring out other aspects of my work.

intothefold

Construct
‘Into the Fold’ installation
2005-2008

How do you feel about the current recession that has been happening in the art world (or do you think that the contemporary art industry is recession proof)?

I’ve heard it said that it will allow artists to take more risks with their art because the creative process will be less defined by how sellable the work is. Personally I’ve always wanted to make work that sells, I don’t do work for the sake of it and although it is self expression I’m not sure I’d have the drive to make so much were I not selling. I want my work to be desired, and the ultimate complement is someone wanting to own it.

Where do you see your work progressing in the next ten years?

I want to work more in other mediums like sculpture and film. I tend to get bored of working in one particular way quite quickly so I wouldn’t be surprised if my work isn’t drastically different from how it is now.

Collapse Inversion 3

Collapse Inversion 3
acrylic on canvas
55cm x 33cm
2007

::images courtesy of James Roper ::

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Posted: September 24th, 2009
at 12:59pm by Koookiecrumbles

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A Dozen: Gregory Euclide

Gregory Euclide is an artist who "explores the way we experience nature and how this is tied to the cultural practice of constructing landscapes as idealized images." Currently living in the twin cities of Minnesota, he has been awarded two Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grants and a Jerome Foundation Residency through the Blacklock Nature Sanctuary. Now, the interview:

euclidecapture1

Capture 1

What is your definition of family (do you come from a family of artists)?

I don’t have a definition of family. I know what our culture says a family is. I guess I think it is more of a network of people in a symbiosis and less of a blood line. Both of my parents are artistic/creative people. My mother gardens and creates stained glass windows. She can draw really well. My father is an art teacher. He’s more of a critical thinker than he is a fine artist. He builds houses, designs solar collectors, and landscapes. He is a good reference, because he literally knows a little bit about everything and a lot about many things.

Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?

I never thought of it as art, I just thought of it as play. I never decided to be an artist. I always enjoyed making things and I always enjoyed drawing. That enjoyment evolved to the present day. It’s an economic system that requires that what I do be called "art" and at an early age I learned that my work could be sold if it were displayed. In high school and college I started to display the work I was doing and was able to make money doing that instead of working at a gas station or factory.
euclidesomethingsimilartowavesinsidebutlowerthanbreaking

Something Similar to Waves Inside but Lower than Breaking

What is your style or aesthetic base that you work from?
I’m interested in how my experiences in land can be translated into objects that possibly comment on the nature of that translation. Influences include graphic depictions from textbooks, the history of landscape painting and nature itself.

What mediums to you prefer to work with?

I try to develop a relationship between traditional art supplies and found objects. Increasingly I find myself drawn to materials that allow me to assemble them into larger constructions. This includes natural materials such moss and wood as well as synthetic materials like foam and paint. I am constantly looking around me for new materials that might be able to express something new in the work.

If I was the river I was only projecting

If I was the River I was only Projecting

Is there anything left inside after your create on the outside with your art?

Yes, I would say that there is something left. There’s a desire to approach the problem in a new way, which results in the drive to work again.

What artists move you to create new art?

The work I make comes as a direct result from being alive in the world today. I’m not so much inspired by other artists as I am by living in this culture. Seeing Coke bottles in the most remote corners of the world. Seeing water towers with idealized nature scenes. This makes me curious.

From This Distance Contained Gifts RAW

From This Distance Contained Gifts

What are your relationships with other artists like?

I am pretty isolated when it comes to contact with other artists. I am much more interested in music and nature than I am in art. I think it has something to do with being inside the art world that turns me off to it or demystifies it. Other things seem much more unknown to me, and therefore more interesting.

What problems have you encountered in publicizing your work?

It is hard to capture a sound bite of these works. The new work is deliberately not graphic. The photos never amount to the same experience as being present in front of the actual works. The works are meant to be experienced with the physical body. This type of work is inherently at a disadvantage in a marketplace that is driven by print media and still images.

development-lines1700

Development Lines 1

How do you view the traditional relationship that galleries have with artists?

If art is not going to be a commodity, then who is going to make sure that those who create these things will have food. Art is a commodity and therefore requires some sort of system of distribution. Galleries, museums and fairs all have a vested interest in keeping art as something we buy. Some galleries work for you & some galleries work for money. I like to work with galleries that are first and foremost concerned with my work and my ideas. David Smith of the David B. Smith Gallery has always been supportive of my intentions as an artist. I feel like we have a symbiosis.

What avenues apart from selling your work have proven to be effective in monetizing your creativity?

I am not that concerned with money. I just want to be able to eat food that is produced in a respectful way. I want to be able to walk outside and feel safe. I don’t think about money until I have to pay for the supplies and the electricity. Thankfully I have teaching jobs that pay the bills and I am somewhat free to create what I like.

dispersedonshelves

Dispersed on Shelves

What first hand advice would you give to an upcoming artist?

I can’t imagine giving any other advice than to do what you do, and to know whom you are doing it for. Personal happiness is much more interesting than fame or money.

How do you see your work evolving in the future?

If I knew, I would be doing it now. I suppose I will continue to explore the relationship between the cultural construction of landscape and my personal experience in nature. And the trend seems to be to swing back and forth between the flat work and the relief work, combining them and making the distinctions between the two more subtle.

walking-away-on-the-build-upafternoon at mvnwr

Walking Away on the Build Up Afternoon at MVNWR

::all images courtesy of Gregory Euclide ::

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Posted: September 11th, 2009
at 10:47am by Koookiecrumbles

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A Dozen: Henrique Oliveira

Welcome back to another edition of A Dozen. Welcome to Henrique Oliveira as well. The show Tapumes, which is featured below was on display from March 26th - August 11th, 2009 at the Rice Gallery in Houston, Texas. Oliveira uses salvaged wood collected from the streets of Sao Paulo to create large scale installations. And now here is the interview…

PremioFiat3

Tapumes 2006 Site specific installation

Fiat Mostra Brasil, Pavilh o da Bienal, Sao Paulo. Wood.

4m x 18,4m x 1,2m; (13,15ft x 60,5ft x 3,9 ft). photo: Mauro Restiffe

Please describe your mission as an artist.

I don’t see my work as a mission, but just as something that can create a situation of interest for the viewer. I try to do something I like and it will be excellent if someone else can experiment a similar feeling more or less a kind of emotion that some art works, movies or music can bring.

What separates your work from others?

Usually a peace of wall is enough to do it, but to be sure I try to do something different than what I have seen, something that can only be reached out of a constant work towards the development of language.

How have you been influenced by your travels?

Traveling is the time of observing things, cultures, people and their ways of living. The influence of such experiences, usually, takes a long time to show up in an art work. Except when you intentionally take some element from a trip, it all comes slowly to form a background. Influence doesn’t respect hierarchies, I can have a very strong impression of a banal happening when I’m flicking a magazine in a waiting room, and can travel around Asia for two months and don’t get a moment that keeps my thoughts so attached to it.

1-vallois

Tapumes Gallerie Vallois

Paris - 2008 wood and PVC

3,2m x 6,2m x 0,9m; (8,42ft x 16,3ft x 2,36ft)

Which places have inspired you the most?

The streets of Sao Paulo have inspired me to the aspects most disgusting of my work; but I think that, creating interesting things out of only one source of influence doesn’t happen very often. I see my work as a crossover of this urban experience which happened more recently in my life, with the earlier way of life that I had in the interior of Brazil, in contact with nature.

In a work like Tapumes, how did you achieve the desired effect?

It was a long process that started when I decided to use plywood as a support for painting. Then I noticed the surfaces were very rich in textures and, the laminates, when broken, suggested me a brushstroke shape. At this moment I started to use old plywoods on collages to suggest big paintings relating to architectonic sites, which I explored in tension against the building walls. I wanted to bend the plywood boards.

As I started to exploit the flexible properties of this material, I felt it necessary to use something more plastic. Them I started to build them using PVC tubes first, (Tapumes Paralela 2006), and next another kind of wood that we call bend board (Tapumes Fiat Mostra Brasil 2006). In some cases I use only the last, in others I combine it with the tubes, screwing it to a kind of wire structure. It provides a first surface and the used plywood is used like a skin, covering it.

The used plywood is collected from the streets. I take them to my studio and pile off the layers, separating them by color, size, etc. In some works I control the color pouring diluted paint on the wood, getting them moist in order to make it easier to be manipulated.

CentroBrit mau2

Whirlwind for Turner 2007

Site specific installation created after the painting Snow Storm by William Turner.

11 English Culture Festival, British Council, Sao Paulo.

Wood. 4,35m x 6,92m x 2m; (14,3ft x 22,76ft x 6,57ft). photo: Mauro Restiffe

How do you view painting in terms of its relationship with other mediums?

I think painting is a medium that has its own logic. It is a language capable of re-inventing itself, but it can also be seen as concept that goes beyond its medium condition and can be applied in order to organize other kinds of more physical realities.

What is the difference between the second and third dimension in your eyes?

I think the difference is in the window that frames the images in my paintings. More than any other quality, this device is what makes things be seen as bi-dimensional. This is the reason why my paintings don’t function so fine in photographs as my installations. The physical dimension of my paintings are part and parcel of the process of comprehension of it. They are the tracks to the process of construction that unfolds the sense of the work.

What materials do you find yourself using?

Basically woods for tri-dimensionals and acrylic on canvas for paintings. But I have tried other types of woods, metal, bee wax, cement, polyurethane and found objects in my sculptures.

tunel2

Tunnel 2007

Instituto Ita Cultural, Sao Paulo.

Site specific installation Wood, PVC and bee wax. 2m x 30m x 3m; (6,57ft x 98,68ft x 9,86ft).

Created for the exhibition Future of the Present, this work was an environment where the visitors could walk through and feel the smell of the materials. The instability of the wooden floor that moved slightly, provoked a sound. Tunnel had an entrance (left part of the image) that led to ramifications (right) which conducted the spectator to a small room covered with bee wax, or to a close space, or to a narrow passage to the other side of the museum room.

What artist or work would you compare yourself to (if you had to do it)?

Alberto Burri, Anish Kapoor and Frank Stella. In Brazil, Nuno Ramos, Ernesto Neto and Adriana Varejao.

What challenges face the emerging artist?

Many, but the most import I believe, is to reach a situation of economic independence to permit you dedicate exclusively to your work and do whatever you want.

3-p08ver

Untitled 2008

Acrylic on canvas.

1,9m x 1,7m; (6,25ft x 5,59ft).

What defines the audience or rather who would you like to see your art?

I don’t have much idea of how my audience looks like, but I wish my work could be appreciated by as many people as popular music is.

Where would you like to see your work displayed?

At home. But I don’t have enough room yet.

::all images courtesy of Henrique Oliveira ::

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Posted: September 4th, 2009
at 12:01pm by Koookiecrumbles

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A Dozen: Vitaly Komar

Search no further- we now present to you an interview that MNP had with Vitaly Komar. On November 7th, 2009, Komar will be opening his new work, New Symbolism at the Ronald Feldman Gallery, NYC. You can read about New Symbolism right below the painting (Landscape with Ouroboros)- and then the interview commences. Thanks to Vitaly for taking part!

Landscape with Ouroboros

Landscape with Ouroboros

New Symbolism is intended to suggest a movement. Even if it remains one artist’s movement, it may work toward restoring a sundered connection between art and certain historical and timeless myths. In New Symbolism, symbols akin to mandalas and heraldic emblems are conceptual signifiers that coexist seamlessly with painting’s reverie.

Its images are visions of a yet unborn, unpronounceable word. They’re related not only to the art of the Pre-Raphaelites and 19th-century Symbolists but, to a greater extent, to syncretic symbols that, thousands of years ago, unified the origin of written language and art. These works may be termed conceptual symbolism or proto-symbolism.

With this project, I would like to approach the near-absurd syncretism of state symbols. I recall walking to UN Plaza to watch the removal of the Soviet flag. It was the fall of 1991 and leaves were falling in New York, but as I looked at the hammer and sickle I saw instead the old symbols of vanity and life’s evanescence: the hourglass and the skull. I stood for a long time under those flags and canvases at an installation juxtaposing abstract and figurative images, political heraldry and transcendental mandalas.

The consequences of world wars, of social and scientific breakthroughs, have eroded the connection between fragments of what once was a continuous experience of the world. In these conditions I turn to visual symbols and their mysterious quality of bringing together unrelated images and concepts. Today, this magical gravitation gives me a feeling of lightness and hope that art may yet resist the universe’s scientifically-proven tendency to expand the phenomenon that someday will bring about a starless sky, with all of its unproven consequences for the soul.

Lenin with Crown

Lenin with Crown

How would you define your art?
You know my definition of course changed- people changed and my art change. I understand my art in two different parts. First in the old view point of view- what art means for me and second what my art means for spectators. For myself, I believe my art is a kind of visual representation of the moment of contact between irony and admiration of visual enigmas. It may sound too philosophical but my art became more philosophical, more metaphysical. For the spectator, I make a hermit- to mediate, to become a hermit for a moment, a moment of contact. It is not necessarily in my art or in other artist’s works, but these are my two definitions that I can say now.
You have lived in the US as long as you have lived in Russia- do you still feel Russian (or American)?
You know it is impossible to change identity in the depths of your heart, if you were born in some place it is like marks on your body, it is impossible to avoid, if you try to eliminate this it could cause cancer. I’m against any flat definition, we live in a 3-dimensional world, 3 is the magic number- in three forms. I think I don’t define myself as a Russian or American separately- I believe this falls into a 1 dimensional way of thinking. I view myself as a 3-dimensional person- Russian, Jewish, American. I don’t like to view myself as 1 dimension it make me flat. I prefer the 3 dimensional view.
How has your work changed now that you work alone?
My work has always changed even when I worked in collaboration. I still work in collaboration, now I work with art history, especially with the first brilliant artists that created the original symbols years ago- those that created writing, etc. But I still work in collaboration, it is very important. For example, if you are a young artist, not well experienced, are you working in collaboration or are you working on your own? 99.9% will say I’m a lonely artist- in the first moments they will mention the artists that they admire, but you know if you look at the works of this artist you will see abstract expressionism, this makes it very clear that they are working in collaboration, but they just don’t recognize it. They are collaborating with the early developers of the style- any type of moment is a work in collaboration- its a type of family business for me.
What themes are most difficult to visualize in your paintings?
It’s difficult to say. Everything is sometimes difficult- but I enjoy the process of painting. I spend hours mediating on a painting, which is very enjoyable for me when I can find something to fix. I enjoy the process even it is slow. So this is a difficult question for me to answer.
What would your advice be to a new artist?
I understand that many artists have lost connections and enjoyment of the knowledge of their family history- a kind of genealogy. Many young artists simply do not enjoy the contact and time that you spend in museums in contact with art that was created many, many years ago. They lost the enjoyment of being the art spectator- they are more art creators. I believe this a dangerous loss with mythology and the enjoyment of artifacts of the past. For me it is quite enjoyable when I visit a museum and see a not very well known masterpiece. If I discover in a very small museum a masterpiece I feel great. I can spend the same amount of time that people spend in front of a computer or screen in front of a painting. I can mediate for hours on a painting. People usually look at a painting for one or two minutes- you know to see something easy to catch, not mediate. I remember this was typical for many young artists because I studied art with artists who belonged to traditional and classical art and modernism- I mean some old survivors, the ones that were teaching at my art school. In Soviet Russia an old style academy coexisted with some avante garde tradition.
What styles of painting are you most attracted to?
I really love all art history. For me it is a type of dictionary or ABCs. It is difficult to say which words you love more or what letter or character of the alphabet you love more. In the beginning of the seventies I tried to use all styles together as a type of alphabet to create new words that had yet been articulated in the universe. The most attractive contemporary style for me is abstract art and particularly Cubism, especially some kind of transitional moment between Cubism and abstract art or some abstract images of the Cubism and Futurism. A representation of the world as a kind of vision through diamonds. From the classical, the old art, I really like 17th Century art. What I’m doing now is I am trying to combine old art and futuristic contemporary art in my latest work, which I call New Symbolism. In Russia it was attracted by two styles, classical art and by Russian Avante Garde art. In my latest work I present this is some type of tradition Cubism and Futurism which coexist with traditional art.
Who would you like to engage with your art?
It is difficult to say, but I hope the spectators of my art are the people that spend more time, not looking for something easy to catch in the painting and are able to mediate on the image. Usually these are people who are not in a rush- people who have not their abilities. I remember your mother actually gave me a great lesson- the Poetry of Sound of Australian artists: what is life if you don’t care, if we have no time to stay and stare? Maybe this is naive now, but I really love the concept. We really have no time to stay and stare. My favorite spectators are the ones that can really spend the time- are not cheap with spending time. Somebody who really treasures time and become a hermit for a minute.
How do you view painting and its relationship to film/video?
I believe film and art belong to contemporary media or art. I can divide these on two different branches. One branch is when you see the presence of the operation of the artist’s hand. Sometimes you can see it in brush strokes or etching and printing and even the scratching of metal in etchings represent the highly personal vibration of the artist’s hand. It represents like an electric cardiogram of the heart beating or the life of our eternal soul or world or psychology. And in different other types of art that usually don’t represent this type of vibration its executed through the assistance of something. Assistance is important in great art, in architecture and design especially. In architecture you don’t build brick by brick, but with assistance from a sketch, or calculation in some type of celestial joining of mathematics. But in this type of fine art, closer to design, when artists just give the image, installation, or production of the object done by machinery; along with photography or video art done by machinery, it could represent the beauty of the object, but it doesn’t represent of the beauty shaking hand (or vibration). I love both styles actually, but it is really important to represent contemporary art by these two different approaches. I love the representation of this vibration of the artist’s hand during creation, as a kind of representation of time that artists spent on the art object. An art object by definition is the freezing of time, or a moment. In this moment, with the presence of vibration or shaking, time is represented by the frozen moment of eternity spent by the artist.
When do you feel a piece of work is finished?
Usually I work on a painting for a couple of hours then meditate on the painting- just stop and look at the painting. I see I have to change this and that, then meditate and make another change. When I cannot see anything to change, in this moment of course, art is finished. But sometimes I look at my old paintings in my studio and suddenly I feel that I have to change that and that. This doesn’t often happen, since paintings sell, but the ones that I keep for myself I continue from time to time.
How do you like the New York art scene?
It gives me a wonderful feeling. I don’t know many places, maybe only London, Paris, or even Berlin, which provide such an intensity for the artistic life.
Where do you think has the best emerging art movements?
Of course many people think about London and the young British artists, and it’s really true because many interesting emerging artists appear in London. We can say there is a very close connection between the London art world and the New York art world. A very close comparison can be made with their respective stock markets. Now we can take a computer of plane and cross this divide in a few hours- symbolically it is one state, London New York. Apart from their language similarities that exist, a British Empire still exists, just with the United States. Berlin is interesting because the real estate is relatively cheap for a capital with such a nightlife. Having a nightlife is an important definition for "capital + art world." Gallery openings usually don’t end until the evening or even in the morning as part of the traditional 19th Century Bohemian style. I noticed that some young artists live in Berlin, because everyone speaks English there- the Latin of the 20th Century. For example, when a Japanese boy meets a French or Puertorican girl they are speaking English. There is no language barrier anymore. Berlin offers inexpensive rent that allows you to have a big space while being in the Center of Europe- and now Europe can be known as the "global tourist village."
What plans do you have for the future?
I will continue to work on "New Symbolism." Young artists have been asking me to learn about the way of symbolist art, so maybe I’ll make a free school at my studio for an open session, once a week, anybody can come and we’ll speak about art. It wouldn’t be a practical school covering how to mix color or which brush you could use, but a conceptual school. The most important thing is vision to get the concept of painting. Technical things are technical things, but how to develop a symbolist vision of this life is what I would be getting at. Life of the contemporary world is in ruins- the traditions of the world as whole in the 19th Century now remain in ruins because of revolutions, social revolutions, world wars, scientific revolutions, technical and sexual revolutions; we are living in ruins. Symbols have a magic ability to combine these ruins, to nurture these ruins in a type of mysterious gravity. We can learn how to live in these ruins, how to make these ruins our home and how to create a beautiful mosaic from these ruins. I believe this is one of the functions of symbols, to remain in a mysterious gravity and to combine visual symbols that are far apart from one another.

How would you define your art?

You know my definition of course changed- people changed and my art change. I understand my art in two different parts. First in the old view point of view- what art means for me and second what my art means for spectators. For myself, I believe my art is a kind of visual representation of the moment of contact between irony and admiration of visual enigmas. It may sound too philosophical but my art became more philosophical, more metaphysical. For the spectator, I would want him or her to become a hermit for a moment - to meditate for a few moments of contact with my work. It is not necessarily in my art or in other artist’s works, but these are my two definitions that I can say now.

You have lived in the US as long as you have lived in Russia- do you still feel Russian (or American)?

You know it is impossible to change identity in the depths of your heart, if you were born in some place it is like birth marks on your body, it is impossible to get rid of them, if you try to eliminate them it could cause cancer. I’m against any flat definition, we live in a 3-dimensional world, 3 is the magic number- like in 3 primary colors, 3 forms of time- past, present, future. I think I don’t define myself as a Russian or American separately- I believe this falls into a 1 dimensional way of thinking. I view myself as a 3-dimensional person- Russian Jewish American. I don’t like to view myself as 1 dimensional, it would make me disappear. I prefer a 3 dimensional form of existence.

Landscape with Lenin's Tomb (Triptych)

Landscape with Lenin’s Tomb (Triptych)

How has your work changed now that you work alone?

My work has always changed even when I worked in collaboration. I still work in collaboration, now I work with art history, especially with the first brilliant artists that created the original symbols years ago- those that created writing, etc. But I still work in collaboration, it is very important. For example, if you are a young artist, not well experienced, are you working in collaboration or are you working on your own? 99.9% of them will say: "I’m a lonely artist" - after having a conversation with me they first begin to understand that they are working in collaboration with their favorite artists whose style they admire and try to continue or develop. For example, if you look at the works of an artist who admires abstract expressionism, you will see that he or she works in collaboration with the creators of abstract expressionism, but most artists just do not recognize it. They are collaborating with pioneers and early developers of the style- any art movement is work of participating artists in collaboration- it’s a type of family business for me. For example, all Futurists’ work looks very similar, as if made by siblings.

What themes are most difficult to visualize in your paintings?

It’s difficult to say. Anything could be sometimes difficult- but I enjoy the process of painting. I spend hours meditating on a painting, which is very enjoyable for me when I can find something to continue. I enjoy the process even it is slow. So this is a difficult question for me to answer. The concept and vision come to me simultaneously- come people think that a theme comes first, and then the artist tries to visualize it. This is not so in my case.

What would your advice be to a new artist?

I think that contemporary lost its connection with images and poetry of ancient mythology, legends and history. I recommend to try to reconnect with them. Unfortunately, in art schools, art history classes have no connection painting and drawing practice. It would make me happy if they spent no less time in a museum department of ancient archaeology than in front of Marcel Duchamp paintings. I would like to open a free school of symbolism where I could share my experiences with any artists interested in that.

Last Days of Job

Last Days of Job

What styles of painting are you most attracted to?

I really love all art history. For me it is a type of dictionary or alphabet. It is difficult to say which words you love more or what letter or character of the alphabet you prefer. In the beginning of the seventies I tried to use all styles together as a type of alphabet to create new words that had not yet been articulated in the universe. The most attractive contemporary style for me is abstract art and particularly Cubism, especially some kind of transitional moment between Cubism and abstract art or some abstract images of the Cubism and Futurism. A representation of the world as a kind of faceted vision through a diamond. From the classical, the old art, I really like 16-17th Century art. What I’m doing now is I am trying to combine old art and futuristic contemporary art in my latest work, which I call New Symbolism. In Russia I was influenced by two styles, classical art and by Russian Avante Garde art. In my latest New Symbolist work I invented conceptual eclecticism as coexistence of futurism and classical old masters’ tradition.

Who would you like to engage with your art?

It is difficult for me to express myself in my English, but I hope the spectators of my art are the people that spend more time, in front of a painting, that are not looking for something easy to catch in the painting and are able to meditate on the image. Usually these are people who are not in a rush. I remember your mother actually gave me a great lesson- the Poetry of Sound of Australian artists: what is the life if full of care, we have no time to stay and stare? Maybe this is naive now, but I really love the concept. We really have no time to stay and stare. My favorite spectators are the ones that can really spend the time- are not cheap with spending time. Somebody who really treasures time as life, not as time as money and can become a hermit for a minute.

Russian Alphabet in an Hourglass

Russian Alphabet in an Hourglass

How do you view painting and its relationship to film/video?

I can divide contemporary art in two different branches. One branch is when you see the presence of the operation of the artist’s hand. Sometimes you can see it in brush strokes or etching and printing and even the scratching of metal in etchings represent the highly personal vibration of the artist’s hand. It represents artist as a cardiogram of the heartbeat. The other branch is represented by artist’s ideas executed by assistants, using contemporary technologies- industrial design, photo and video labs. Assistance is important in great art, in architecture and design especially. In architecture you don’t build brick by brick, but with assistance from a sketch, or calculation in some type of celestial joining of mathematics. But in this type of fine art, closer to design, when artists just give the image for an installation, or production of the object done by machinery; along with photography or video art done by machinery, it could represent the beauty of the object, but it doesn’t represent of the beauty OF unsteady artist’s hand. I love both styles actually, but it is really important to represent contemporary art by these two different approaches. I love the representation of this vibration of the artist’s hand during creation, as a kind of representation of time that artists spent on the art object. An art object by definition is the freezing of time, or a moment. In this moment, with the presence of vibration or shaking, time is represented by the frozen moment of eternity spent by the artist.

When do you feel a piece of work is finished?

Usually I work on a painting for a couple of hours then meditate on the painting- just stop and look at the painting. I see I have to change this and that, then meditate and make another change. When I cannot see anything to change, in this moment of course, art is finished. But sometimes I look at my old paintings in my studio and suddenly I feel that I have to change that and that. This doesn’t often happen, since paintings sell, but the ones that I keep for myself I continue from time to time.

Sky and Earth. Forest as a Temple

Sky and Earth. Forest as a Temple

How do you like the New York art scene?

It gives me a wonderful feeling. I don’t know many places, maybe only London, Paris, or even Berlin, which provide such an intensity for the artistic life.

Which do you think has the best emerging art movements?

Of course many people think about London and the young British artists, and it’s really true because many interesting emerging artists appear in London. We can say there is a very close connection between the London art world and the New York art world. A very close comparison can be made with their respective stock markets. Now we look at the web and cross this divide in a few hours- symbolically it is one state, London New York. Apart from us speaking the same language, the British Empire still exists, ruling the world with the United States. Berlin is interesting because the real estate is relatively cheap for a capital with such a nightlife. Having a nightlife is an important definition for "capital + art world." Gallery openings usually don’t end until the evening or even in the morning as part of the traditional 19th Century Bohemian style. I noticed that some young artists live in Berlin, because everyone speaks English there- the Latin of the 20th Century. For example, when a Japanese boy meets a Puerto-Rican girl in a Parisian club, they usually speak English to one another. There is no language barrier anymore. Berlin offers inexpensive rent that allows you to have a big space while being in the center of Europe- and now Europe can be known as the "global potemkin village."

Cross and Sickle

Cross and Sickle

What plans do you have for the future?

I will continue to work on "New Symbolism." Young artists have been asking me to share my unique experience of living in two worlds- east and west, so maybe I’ll start a free school at my studio for an open session, once a week, anybody can come and we’ll speak about art of visual symbols. It wouldn’t be a practical school covering how to mix color or which brush you could use, but a conceptual school. The most important thing is not to separate concept and vision. Life of the contemporary world is in ruins- the traditions of the world as whole in the 19th Century now remain in ruins because of revolutions, social revolutions, world wars, scientific revolutions, technical and sexual revolutions; we are living in ruins. I’m fascinated by visual symbols and their mysterious quality of bringing together unrelated images and concepts. Today, this magical gravitation gives me a feeling of lightness and hope that art may yet resist the universe’s scientifically proven tendency to expand- the phenomenon that will someday bring about a starless sky, with all of its unproven consequences for the soul.

:: all images courtesy of Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York ::

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Posted: August 28th, 2009
at 7:34am by Koookiecrumbles

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Categories: contemporary,a dozen

Comments: 2 comments


A Dozen : The Glue Society

This week MNP got a chance to talk with Jonathan Kneebone of the Glue Society. We talk about their particular brand of "creative collective" - which is a group of writers, directors and designers. Enjoy the interview.

pile

Pile

How was the Glue Society formed?

The Glue Society was started in 1998 in Sydney. Gary Freedman and myself wanted to create a set-up which was essentially creative through and through. Where we could make ideas happen. And make a living doing what we love doing. We knew that once we had created some work, then that would attract future customers. Fortunately for us the first projects we undertook were very diverse. A rebranding exercise for Channel V - a local music TV channel. A logo design for Hong Kong Tourism. Which combined with an art book we had made for News Limited in a previous existence to create a very broad output. And the work has always been what has brought in the next project.

How many people/what type of artisans are involved with the collective?

We have a total of nine writers, designers, film directors and artists in the studios here in Sydney and New York.

Where do the members reside?

The majority of us work from Sydney. With Gary Freedman heading up New York. We do move around as the work requires. And have spent a fair amount of time working in New Zealand, Thailand, Europe and the States.

IMG_5988 copy 2

Whippy

What aspects of your organization do you feel are unique?

The approach to work is still very different. We are unusual in that we bring together idea and execution into the same creative space. And that approach has allows us to work in an extremely versatile way. Our art projects co-exist with commercial projects. And each of us has a hand in both.

How do you separate the various specialties of the Glue Society?

We work with each other in different pairings or groups - depending on the project at hand. We don’t have specialities as such. But as each person has their own creative ambitions - and desires to achieve new things - the dynamic of the group and what it produces does evolve and change. Currently, we are working on a television project which is bringing together all of the team in some capacity, for example.

What is most important to you do you think in preserving a collective’s life (or half-life)?

The important thing is to allow everyone to be involved in evolving the creative output. And of course to have a shared creative ambition.

Glue-Society-Chair-ArchLR

Chair Arch

How does your website engage the public while offering a base to the collective?

We felt that our website should be a simple gallery of our work. It has our ‘mark’ if you like. And it does invite conversation. Soon, we will be allowing people to buy some of our work.

What has been your most difficult project?

Inherently, I think we make all our projects challenging - so that we evolve. In any given period, every one of us will be doing something we haven’t done before. Recently, for example, we buried a 25 tonne digger in 300 tonnes of sand in a park in Denmark. It is not something anyone has done before. But therein lies the attraction.

How do you find inspiration?

Not knowing the answer more often than not provides the inspiration.

amber2

Amber Relic

Where do you see the Glue Society in the next ten years?

We hope to be doing things we would never have thought we were capable of. And to allow everyone involved a chance to have the ability to live where they want to live and do more of what they want to do. That was the mission from day one.

MosesLR

Moses

:: all images courtesy of Jonathan Kneebone of the Glue Society ::

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Posted: August 21st, 2009
at 7:16am by Koookiecrumbles

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A Dozen: Patrick Mimran

Thanks to Patrick Mimran for taking part in this interview. You can view more of his work here. Quite and to the point for this one.

SBill1

What is your mission as an artist?

I have no mission , I am not a missionary , I am not here to convert or to convince anyone, I just try to express myself the best I can that’s enough for me.

What mediums do you prefer to work with?

Depends the mood and what I want to express , I always try to choose what I think is the most suitable media for what i wish to create.

Where did you gain the most experience?

I have no idea it is not for me to judge.

Goldesca

Normally, how do you conceive a new idea?

It comes by itself as a flash, the most often the morning when I wake up.

Would you define your work as being popular art or ‘niche’ art?

I do not know but if I had the choice I would prefer popularity to elitism for the simple reason that I believe recognition is more genuine and for sure more spontaneous and sincere when it comes from the masses versus the elite.

ASB

Which works have proven to be the most challenging for you?

Every work of art is very challenging, but it is for sure more challenging and difficult to paint a canvas or compose a symphony than conceiving a new billboard or a monochromatic canvas.

What are trying to accomplish with your Billboard art?

The idea behind the billboards was mainly to say what I think about art and the art world, expressing loudly what many other people think without daring to say it.

Have you had any problems with the law/police in displaying your pieces?

No never, none of my billboards are insulting anyone, they are just expressing a point of view.

T16S

What scales do you feel most comfortable working with?

Medium ones.

Who would you like to see your art?

Bach.

Are you open to collaboration?

Sometimes depends with who, I collaborated with many other artists especially in music.

What do you want to work on in the future?

At the moment I work on oil paintings and music.

::images courtesy of Patrick Mimran::

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Posted: August 14th, 2009
at 4:17pm by Koookiecrumbles

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A Dozen : Brad Ascalon

This week for A Dozen, myninjaplease interviews Brad Ascalon. Brad and his brother Josh, recently composed a soundscape for the 2009 PULSE New York contemporary art fair; Brad has made this available to the MNP readers for free, you can download it here! (We recommend you listen to this while reading this interview to get the full effect:)

Brad Ascalon Studio, Service Wine Bar_02,  for Architectural Digest

How did your family help mold your development as a designer?

I come from a very creative family of artists, sculptors and designers. My parents were always enthusiastic about introducing creativity into the lives of me and my brothers. That being said, they were always supportive of whatever avenue I chose for myself. I guess they were most influential not only raising me in an environment full of art and music, but in making sure not to embed into my brain that I needed to be a lawyer or doctor when I grew up. It was nice to know that being creative was a good thing, not just as a hobby, but as a career and a way of life.

Where did you gain the most experience to get to where you are now?

In January of 2006, I had just received my Masters’ in industrial design, and I wanted to jump right in and start my own studio. I figured that the only way I would gain the experience necessary to run my own studio was to run my own studio. It was a sink or swim mentality, and I’ve been fortunate enough to keep swimming ever since. I acquired my first client, Maybelline, in early 2006, and I knew next to nothing, but I learned because I had to learn. I’m still learning and that’s one of the most exciting aspects of what I do.

How would you describe your work best?

That’s such a hard question for me to answer. My work varies immensely because my clients and their markets vary. I do work that I think is smart and functional, or elegant, or super efficient, or thought-provoking based on who I’m designing for, both in terms the manufacturer, their respective country and their audience.

Spindle Table for Ligne Roset, Brad Ascalon Studio_02 Hi Res

We featured the "Spindle" previously on MNP, what led you to design this?

I wanted to design a furniture piece that incorporated both elements of modern and classical. Of course this concept has been visited many times and by many designers. My goal was to bypass the humor, irony and one-linerisms that are generally associated with designs of this nature. I wanted to pay homage to both ornamentation and industrial modernism, to celebrate the history of each style in a respectful and elegant manner.

What piece are you most proud of?

The Spindle table for Ligne Roset is still the piece I am most proud of. I think it truly accomplishes what I set out to do. And working with Ligne Roset as an American designer so early in my career is something I’m also extremely proud of, so that just adds to my feelings toward that design. I’m also very excited about a few new pieces I’m developing for a company in China, but that’s jumping the gun a bit.

How do you start the building process with your furniture?

I don’t physically build the furniture that I design. I leave that to those who do it best, the manufacturers that I work with. But the process generally starts with a concept that together we dissect in order to determine the most viable way to achieve something very close to the original design intent. I do create a handful of sketch models and mock-ups in my studio in order to solve certain issues, but that’s the extent to which I actually build anything myself. On occasion, a partner of mine builds prototypes in his furniture workshop.

Where/when do you conceptualize most of your work?

It just happens out of nowhere. It's a funny thing, I spend a good 15 or 20 hours a week sketching on ideas for companies that I’m working with. But more often then not, a good concept happens when I’m not expecting it, when I’m walking to the subway or shopping at the grocery store. When that happens, I try to design it in my head and hope it stays up there until I have a chance to put it on paper.

05 New York City

How do you use painting in combination with creating furniture?

I don’t physically combine my painting and furniture design, but rather correlate the two with regard to the creative process. I am after the same things in either medium, which are a perfect balance, proportion and resolution, whether others see it or not. People sometimes ask abstract artists how they know that a painting is finished. They just know. I think it's the same for furniture designers…or any creative type.

What materials do you find yourself using?

I love designing with the more traditional materials, such as metal, wood, upholstery and glass. Modern materials are definitely very interesting to me, but I think there’s still so much that hasn’t been done with the old ones. Of course I’m open to using new materials, but I just haven’t found the right opportunities to do so yet.

Are you open to collaboration?

Of course. Anytime you’re designing for manufacturers, it's a collaborative process. There’s no avoiding that. In terms of working with other designers? I am always open to an interesting collaboration! In fact I’m gearing up for a couple of furniture collaborations in the coming year for a German company, and this past March, I finished a music composition and production project with my brother, Josh, which was part of a larger project, a VIP lounge space that I designed for the 2009 PULSE New York contemporary art fair. I think that the best results occur when you have somebody to bounce ideas back and forth with.

What does your personal residence look/feel like?

It feels like a dumping ground for my furniture and paintings! No, I’m kidding. It's just a eclectic mix of some pieces of mine that are in production, a few prototypes, a few custom pieces I designed and had produced for the apartment, and a couple of hand me downs…and quite a bit of of Ikea used as filler. It definitely has a modern feel to it, but warm at the same time. And the Philippe Starck gnome stool for Kartell that I bought my wife is the centerpiece of the entire apartment! We love that thing!

What plans do you have for the future?

I have no idea what lies ahead of me, nor can I plan for it. I am talking now to a few amazing companies right now both here and in Europe about potentially doing some work with them. But of course a lot of that will depend on how soon the economy can stitch itself back together and how willing these companies will be to invest in my ideas. In the long term, I want to design a bit of everything, as well as continue designing furniture until I’m an old man.

Quatro Tables, for Naula

What is your affiliation with Naula Workshop?

Naula is a small, high quality custom furniture workshop based in Brooklyn, NY. Its been around since 2002. I met the owner, Angel Naula, a couple of years ago at an exhibition that I was part of during the ICFF in 2007. Eventually he invited me to see his showroom and workshop, and I was amazed at the quality of his craft. After realizing how well we got along, and how our goals were in line with one another, I thought that he would be a great person to work with. I started by helping him design his trade show booth for the 2009 Architectural Digest Home Design Show. Eventually I ended up designing a piece or two for the show, and before we knew it, he had brought me onboard as his consulting design director. I helped to rebrand the company, give it a new identity and design a number of pieces that are a part now of Naula’s collection. My main goal is to find new opportunities for interior designers and architects to discover Naula as a very valuable resource for creating custom furniture, both residential and commercial, for their clients. Currently we’re working on a custom furniture project for the Robert F. Kennedy Jr. family, which will be part of a much bigger eco-friendly project taking place at their residence. Most recently, I’ve been asked to design an outdoor bar for this year’s Esquire House in NYC, for which I brought Naula onboard. It is these types of projects that we’re hoping will build traction for both Naula and myself as a designer.

What is your relationship with Angel Naula like?

Angel and I get along very well, and we both want the same thing for his company. We want to grow our business, start working with new designers not only in the New York area, but around the country, and we want to continue on the path we’re currently on as a high-end, reputable furniture maker. In order to get that done, we both put a lot of trust in each other that we’re both making the right decisions for the company. Its tough to gauge right now, due to the current economy, but when things pick up, I think we’ll be in a good position to gain the traction that Naula deserves.

How would you describe the kind of custom work that Naula can produce for the client?

Naula produces exquisite upholstered and wood products to the design trade. We have great relationships with many designers and architects because of the quality of work we do. We’ll take on jobs as small as reupholstering old chairs or sofas to doing custom furniture for entire hotels, restaurants or homes. Clients can come to us with their own custom designs, or we also offer our own design services based on the nature of the job. In essense, we’re truly a one-stop resource for beautifully crafted custom furniture.

:: all images courtesy of Brad Ascalon ::

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Posted: July 24th, 2009
at 5:42am by Koookiecrumbles

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Categories: contemporary,a dozen

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