Archive for the ‘art fridays’ Category

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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Carlos Delgado Perez - Hacerdor

hacerdor46x55

::courtesy of Galerie 1959 ::

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Posted: August 14th, 2009
at 4:18am 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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ART! - Everyone’s a Hero

First of all, I’m going to have to thank NPR for helping us out on our ART Friday grind this week.AA Also, to those of you who aren’t hip to what ART Friday is, we try to post some new artwork every week.AA ART Friday is not limited to the visual arts, although they do lend themselves nicely to blog posting.

Sometimes on Fridays you’ll get analysis (UM… in a limited sense).AA Other times we’ll just make fun of whatever it is we’re posting.AA Still, other times you might just see pictures and links.

Dolphin Hunting, Scott Richardson (contemporary.mnp)
Dolphin Hunting, Scott Richardson (mnp)

Krumbles and Ock, two of our resident bloggers, have been tag-teaming ART Fridays for quite a long time, but had recently fallen off, which accounts for the holes in the calendar.AA At the same time as Ock resurrected the idea, Krumbles jumped off the newest (and probably most interesting) part of the feature: A Dozen.AA In this feature, Krumbles interviews different artists (local and famous) and asks them about their specific media.

Keep an eye out for all that goodness and more in the coming weeks as we re-launch our Art Store and prepare for the new blogging season (yes we treat this ish like professionals - trading people to other blogs and whatnot).AA But anyway, on to this week’s spectacular…

So I was listening to/reading NPR when I found this little piece about an unused plinth in Trafalgar square which has now been converted into a public art project.AA I’ll let you read the article yourself:

All Things Considered, July 6, 2009 AA In the northwest corner of Trafalgar Square, in the heart of London, there is an empty base, or plinth, for a statue. Unlike the others there, the Fourth Plinth, as it is sometimes called, never had the bronze likeness of a British hero placed upon it.

Now the vacant plinth, built in 1841 for an equestrian statue that was never created, is being put to use for a new art project that began Monday. Officially called "One & Other," the project will involve 2,400 members of the general public a€" chosen randomly from 18,000 applicants a€" acting, singing, jumping, shouting or doing whatever they want upon the plinth for one hour each, around the clock for 100 days.

It’s being called the ultimate democratization of art a€" whereby Joe or Josephine Schmo gets to stand on a plinth in the heart of the nation’s capital for a whole hour under the gaze of Lord Horatio Nelson, the hero of Trafalgar, and other heroes of the Empire.

While I clearly wouldn’t use such terms as the "ultimate democratization of art" (art is pretty frickin’ democratic…) I will say that this is an awesome idea.AA I particularly like the non-clarity of the metaphorical implications of a rando becoming the central figure on an haphazardly unused 1847 dais.AA It’s doing something subtle, drawing the comparison between the regular person’s expression and the commissioned artist, drawing a clear link to the past -which art (and architecture) is constantly doing wordlessly while reminding us that the present is constantly becoming the past.AA There is little visual representational art that can even be claimed to have a quality of ‘existing outside of time’ - which is the genius of this project.

I also find it interesting that all of a sudden the "statue" is regarding the onlooker with real blinking eyes.AA I always imagine those old statues peering back at me, stuck in one position eternally.

:: [ Go Read the Rest at NPR ] ::

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Posted: July 17th, 2009
at 7:43am by Black Ock

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A Dozen: Greg Drasler

For our second installment of A Dozen, we would like to introduce Greg Drasler, who was previously featured as part of our Artropolis Series. Here’s the interview…

GD12876

Open Mike, 2009

Could you please describe your creative objectives..

In a similar way that humor displaces, breaks or reveals anxieties, much of my work strives to unfasten the familiar with an uncanny perception of preoccupation and alterative potential.A Not just for laughs, retrofitting, repurposing and recycling seem to be a way forward for representation.A Employing the ventriloquist's task of making objects speak I hope to make multi-voiced work.

How did your studies abroad shape your evolution as an artist?

Living in another culture, dislocates me from my familiar and the knowledge of what exactly is going on.A Weather the luxury of travel or the anxiety of homelessness, the effect produced, being outside of my familiar world, has given me direct access to my desires and fears without the filtering of my everyday habits. Faced with alternative and rich differences of other cultures, I began to see my assumptions of a shared familiar as way over determined. Between expectation and their disruptions my painting began to center itself on multiple perspective the more that I traveled.

Written language and humor were dominant components of my work before I lived in Japan for a year as a foreign student 1980 to '81.A It was my first extended time abroad and although I lived with a generous host family it gave me my first experience as an undeniable foreigner.A Being caught up with humor as an active element in my work, my time in Japan proved a challenge.A Jokes don't travel well.A They are a bonding agent for the local.A Since I wasn't a local, my intentions continually fell flat.A The status of the artist and my position as a foreign student made every attempt at undercutting the authority as somewhat tragic or lost in translation to them.A The status of the art object in Japanese culture did not recognize the joke or humor particularly as an art form readily.A This made me reassess not only the simple topsy turvey simplicity of my effort at the time in what were more or less one-liners into a category of humor that was more widely understood as wit in that there was nothing to precisely get.A Much of my overt engagement with word play has been collapsed into the act of naming in a title.

My first visit to Europe in 1984 effected a contrary response in general. The nationalized cultural heritage that rooted my culture was ripe for the reexamination at first hand as the discovery of a new old country.A I am a second generation American of Slovenian, Irish and Welsh decent. I felt myself as colonizing back at the time. The knotted encoding and exuberant illumination of the "allegory" had the most significant effect on my subsequent work.A A concern for the translation of the structures of motif, symbol and metaphor were supercharged with my first visits to France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. The directly observed development of the standing portrait from Velasquez to Manet's social allegories exited me.A Appreciating the individual's hand that conveyed not only a close description but also an emotional intent and its unavoidable authority issues rushed at me.A Situated in Provance during the height of summers harvest added the intense color and light that inspired so many artists.A It took me years to digest that two month visit.

Being in transit, riding on the precise European trains made me appreciate how a moving train is the most dynamic situation in which to write.A The state of being between here and there, nowhere really for more than a moment provided me with a physical state of being between.A I am currently writing this from Venice where not only an immense accumulation of art architecture and culture are preserved, but this year is host to another Venice Biennale.A The commingling of tradition with the contemporary aspirations is something that I am too imbedded in for any perspective yet.AA To be continued….

GD12052

Wiggle Room/Penthouse, 2006

How do you integrate ‘the pattern’ (or being ‘out of pattern’) in your pieces?

Patterns, conventions and the familiar all contain the re-presentational stability of reifying order and predictability..A In painting through the Cave paintings I wanted to emphasize the hug and holding of the interior space.A A patterned wall paper inserted into the space provided this in what I called the Tattoo Parlors.A The repeat in a pattern is subliminally perceived, infinitely extendable and basically assumed without much reading.A The structure of a pattern heightens ones attention of anomalies.A When none are found the pattern becomes a kind of picture architecture.A Besides doubling the interiority of the rooms with a claustrophobic / claustrophylic intent, the insertion of atypical combinations of symbols and signs allowed me to use the structure of patternmaking with subversive subtexts.A These patterns can leave an imprint on the viewer as an afterimage beyond their structural orientation.

I can also use pattern as a convention of manners as in the representation of domesticity.A Irregularities within this context register presence and anomaly in what I would describe as conventional ways.

Which paintings have defined you the most over the years?

In hind sight there is a progression of one body of work leading into another.A I fist became known as a painter of images of workers a set ot paintings I named "Jobs in Heaven."A The accumulations of objects of symbolic attributes in the allegorical figure paintings found a place to put everything in the 'Baggage Paintings."A Confronting the upholstered interiors and tough scarred interior of the individual pieces of luggage I was working with led me to the interiors that I quickly labeled the "Cave Paintings."A I have been painting crowds of men in hats for more than two decades.A They have had various meanings at different times but I refer to them as "Hats Paintings."

How does your focus of the interior continue to challenge you?

The interior as an over stated place for containment, refuge, aspiration and privacy continues to provide a flexible potential for exaggerating the subjective psychological self.A Design, intimacy, privilege and isolation continue to be in play as I continue to think about the interior. These paintings are essentially the packing and the repacking of the empty suitcase.A It is also a useful reiteration of the moveable site as object that painting remains for me.

Who are some of your major influences?

Magritte in his incessant disruption of the domestic, Manet particularly for his social allegories, early Rosequist particularly F-111 as it was originally installed wrapped around an interior gallery space so that it could not be viewed from one position.A I saw an installation of this painting as a teenager in the '60 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago when it was on Ontario.

Venetian paintingA particularlyA Giorgione, Belllini, G.B.Tiepolo and of course Giotto. As I am in the Venento at the moment they are fresh on my mind.

Hopper, Murch, Sargent's travel paintings.

This is a tough question for me because I have an open heart for painting.

Intellectually the writings of Gaston Bachallard, Elaine Scarry, Susan Stewart,A Christopher Bollas, Walter Benjamin have all helped form my thinking.A I am at a bit of a loss as I am not in front of my book case at the moment.A (sp)

GD12548

Road Trip, 2007

As a teacher, what techniques and knowledge bases have you seen to be proven to be the most effective in developing the novice student?

I believe it is essential to advocate for the development of each student's individual aesthetic..A I believe that the methods tools and techniques that they accumulate and employ develop from their intuitive desire.

I use the categories of Language - Source - Drama - Vision as cardinal points of reference that urge them to be conscious, as they strive to make their work.A Many readings are used in my teaching but I find artists writings most useful in their direct documentation of work in progress.A It also offers a challenge to the young artist to record their own thinking for articulation of the present but for future reference.

One notable publication that I have been introducing in my classes recently is by David Goldblatt, titled Art and Ventriloquism.

Which places have inspired you the most in the imaginative process?

Beyond my studio which I think of as my ultimate place of freedom, there is an island of the coast of Maine that I have spent a good deal of time on. It is easily conjured in my mind.A Big landscapes, the Rockies, the plains, the seashore offer a spatial contrast to the realities of my painting practice that is dependably rejuvenating.A Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, Japan was a pivotal experience as was the ability to view the Tiepolo work in Churches and Villas around Venice and Werttzburg (sp), Germany.A Back to the process however, I like my own studio.A It is lile cooking in my own kitchen where I know where everything is.

Are you open to collaboration?

I am.A Because I am so excited and often inspired by conversation, collaboration seems very much an extension of that play.A I think the opportunities are rare but have been successful and enlightening when they have happened for me. Last spring Saturnalia Press in Philadelphia published an artist poet collaboration that I did with Timothy Liu.A Also a small catalog titled Tattoo Parlor incorporating the Jesus Wall Paper paintings was produced in collaboration with the Grand Central Art Center part of Call State Fullerton's Curatorial Studies Center.A I would like the opportunity to do more.

How do you go about critiquing your and other’s work?

Carefully and as precisely as possible.A When addressing the work of others I am hyper attentive to address the intentions and voice that the work manifests.A I tend to address those intentions, the underpinnings of the work primarily with the formal, technical and material devices in a supportive or non-supportive role. I believe wider social, political or philosophical manifestations in the work is delivered in how these to aspects interact.

Probably not surprisingly, my critique of my own work is somewhat turned around from that.A I tend to be most critical of my formal technical, and material devices in my work.A The conceptual intentionality is always woven into the beginning of the piece.A I dependably get the converse from my friends and colleagues.

Mixed Marriage, 09, 70x60in

Mixed Marriage, 2009

How do you see the progression of new technologies in aiding the independent artist?

I would go on record as being pro technology for the artist and in particular for the independent artist.A The one down side in my experience with website and jpeg solicitation is that there is no viable substitution for seeing the actual work in all of it's materiality, touch and presence.A It also seems to me that the behavior and responsibility of the viewer is in the middle of a rethink.A I have to admit that I don't much participate in blogging.AA I also have no space for texting and no time to twitter.

I am impressed however with the simple website that delivers access and a conditional view and contact for the independent artist.A I guess so much of your question depends on the expectations of the artist.AA To ascertain the progress It would be necessary to fully understand the attitude around being an independent artist.A In terms of sales, curatorial accessibility, need to maintain dialog, looking for a dealer or any combination of the above the statistical evidence is spotty.
Socially from my perspective new technologies deal best with single-issue topics, phenomena, events and more fully informed e-mail contacts.

This is not to say that it won't get better because it inevitably will.A It is simply the virtual community rather than the physical community that seems in conflict.A For new media work digital production and its distribution I think it is the new real-estate boom.

The closer the progress is aligned to helping artist continue to make their work, the more I think of it at good progress.

What elements do you see as being important in forming an art community?

Inexpensive real-estate to be brief.A I believe artists are amazingly resourceful, creative and community minded.A Independent by nature and generally mutually supportive, particularly when the stakes are lowered it is my experience that artist work together, bond and manifest themselves out of mutual interests.A I am from a Soho, Tribeca in the 70's and '80's generation.A It produced a political activism and mutual protection to abandoned areas of the city that are now some of its foremost economic engines.A Frankly I am most surprised that other civic and state administrations have not seized on this model as the most effective form of renewal in the city on record.

The community part, given even the most tacit civic support, will come.A Alternately, for an artist is a very isolated condition www. anything can be an absolute godsend.A There are more choices now and if mutual interests such as exhibition space, studio tours, visiting artists, arts festivals, are available, there will be a community.

Funding is another concern for which emerging technologies are proving particularly useful.A Artist opportunity web sites, funding searches, foundation access, curatorial access, besides people search, dealers and contacts abroad are all within easy reach.A Does that make Facebook a community?A I would say that it only is if it is supportive.

:: images by Greg Drasler, courtesy of Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York ::

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Posted: July 17th, 2009
at 5:45am by Koookiecrumbles

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A Dozen : Mark Khaisman

Welcome again to ART Fridays! To commence our new feature, A Dozen, MNP would like to share an interview that we had with Mark Khaisman- definitely a ninja. Orangemenace previously featured his brown tape art, and now Mark reveals what he’s up to, as well as introducing to the masses his newer video tape art. In addition you can now purchase his art on ContemporaryMNP! Enjoy.

burgonetofarchdukeferdinand2

How did growing up in the former USSR mold you as an artist?

As an artist, I believe in working against the system.

I was a part of the generation whose intuition, even when we were the school students, was anticipating the end of empire. In my case, along with the mistrust of authority and the values taught in schools, this anticipation meant an overall skepticism, disbelief in the possibility of a career, and an increased interest in the Russian past and the Western present. When I started walking on the other side of the world, I couldn't help observing the Paradox: there, in my old country, I experienced more freedom than the free one. The reason was the stage of the late decay of the dying empire with fewer people believing in the system and therefore less overall enthusiasm in supporting its conforming forces. People not buying into the official values felt less isolated, than in the realm of the "American dream."

How does your knowledge of architecture effect your perception?

My tape paintings are part calculation, part accident. My training as an architect gave me a slightly different perspective on art, to think about art in a broader way, tied to an historical context, and considered also as a construction, and a piece of consumption culture.

What materials do you find yourself using?

For the last 5 -6 years I am concentrating on packing tape. Now I am starting to introduce tape works in video.

Lydmila

What relationship does photography have to your creative process?

In a way my art is not original, only the material is original. I see myself more as a performer than a creator. My works are image based. That's why a photograph is usually my starting point.

Can you please explain what "Patternworks" is?

My Paternworks is a simple digital mirroring of selected slivers from found photographs, which transforms the original photograph into something very unexpected.

What is "Tapeworks'?

My tapeworks are large archetypal representational images, made from layer upon layer of translucent packing tape, applied to clear Plexiglas and placed in front of a light box to give the image shadow and depth.

Can you explain what you mean when you say you use an 'anti-matter' approach to the image?

I mean creating image out of packaging tape - Breaking the image into pixels, layers, converting matter into a visual illusion.

How accessible are your works to the average citizen?

I think that the interest in my works by popular culture publications, like yours for example, speaks for itself.

In what settings would you like to see your art displayed?

In MOMA.

mark_taped_1

What do you see yourself working on in the future?

Besides my tapeworks I am interested in videos, with the use of packaging tape as animating material.

Who inspires/d you to actualize your conceptions?

Good artists, also, pride, jealousy, mortality…

When do you think a piece is finally finished?

I feel that work is completed when I no longer understand how it's done.

:: images courtesy of Mark Khaisman ::

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Posted: July 10th, 2009
at 8:00am by Koookiecrumbles

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Bullet Proof Biker Shorts

-linked from the draw supergirl meme

-linked from the "draw Supergirl" meme

For some reason I’ve recently found myself reading Linda Holmes’ Monkey See, NPR’s media and entertainment blog, over at NPR.org. If you enjoy yourself a sort of 80’s-traumatized take on the 2000’s - and coincidentally there is whole a lot of MNP readers living that exact life - then you’ll probably enjoy it too. I can’t claim that it’s substantive, but, if you read this blog then you probably don’t care, now do you?

Maybe what I like about it is the wealth of fresh content which, like fresh bread, is a low price alternative to a perhaps more substantial snack (I really hope somebody writes about this site like that, one day).

http://dryponder.livejournal.com/105356.html

OK, enough. The real reason why I posted this was because Glenn Weldon wrote an interesting piece about Supergirl. I happen to remember being in a bookstore (not that kinda bookstore, you dirty ninja) and seeing the new re-launched Supergirl series. It appeared at the time that the transition of Supergirl to glossy, booby, post-Image-comics era vixenage was complete. That’s not to suggest that all previous iterations of Supergirl weren’t contrived male-fantasies, I suppose.

While the Monkey See article mainly focuses on the cosmetic changes in the Supergirl costume throughout the years (the author finds himself clearly upset by what he calls the "vampy-trampy aspects" of Supergirl’s appearance), there is however a little something for any self-respecting geek/comic book lover. The article has some good links, including histories of costumes and the like.

The thing that really caught my eye and consequently forced me to post this for ART FRIDAY! was a link to a livejournal discussion started back in 2007. This thread, the author of which implores users to draw their own supergirl renditions, has since become somewhat of a collab-art sensation, I mean… at least kinda, with about 100 different links to different drawings. The photo above is my personal favorite interpretation, amongst the many others.

I think there is a certain level of fantasy involved in all art, even art that plays the "real-life" angle. Bottom-line, there is certain mental distance that one has to cross to relate to just about ANYTHING (the term "relate" being etymologically connected to "carry back," ie. a carrying back of something originally not possessed with an implied distance or separation). On that note, looking at the panties on the outside of the costume, I found myself wondering ironically how as a child I so easily traversed the whole "undies on the outside" issue, like so many other young ninjas. I guess I was pretty much over Superman early-on though.

Then again, had they been fruit of the looms…

:: [ Check out the NPR blog and the LiveJournal thread ] ::

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Posted: July 10th, 2009
at 7:57am by Black Ock


Categories: contemporary,art fridays

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