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Johanna Tagada | An Interview
studio visits

Johanna Tagada | An Interview

We happily introduce Johanna Tagada to Tappan today, introducing a series of paintings and sculptures from her series Rose et Jaune. We quickly fell in love with Johanna's practice, as she effortlessly melds her life practice and art practice into one. Bringing simplicity, love for what is nature, and what is beautiful into consideration always, Johanna's work reflects her respect and understanding of the world around her through her thoughtful application of color, form, and an array of textures. 

Read our interview with her below:

photo by Jan Stasuik

 

Tell us about this body of work launching on Tappan?

Paintings from the series Rose et Jaune and modular sculptures.

Rose et Jaune is a commonly rooted series of paintings and analog photographs.

The series was initiated in Summer 2015, shortly after our wedding Jatinder my husband and I, went on for a small journey in South Wales. An afternoon spent on a sandy beach, flowers, the trees, all the seasons seemed to come together. Returning to London, my paintings evolved, the organic shapes I used to communicate transformed into figures of flora. At first I did not really know what to do; keep this series of paintings a secret? Jatinder and Maureen Doherty encouraged me to present them. With time I also realised there was not - as I initially thought - opposition between my older works and this series; rather they are conversations, my abstract painting seem to be close and meditative views of flora. These recent paintings also are more confidently telling my deep attachment to nature and request for us to take care of it instead of repetitively destroying it.

The modular sculptures directly derives from my paintings and the idea of playing.

When exhibited I encourage visitors to touch them, bring them together as families, allowing the mind to rest.

 

 

photo by Ruby Woodhouse

Tell us about your process when you're creating.

Musicologist and writer Veronica Muchitsch has summed up very well when she wrote about my practice that “the notions of unity and simplicity determine both, processes of production and reception” (Imaginary Sounds, Poetic Pastel Press, 2016).

Colours, forms and textures are the languages I use through my entire practice to communicate positive feelings.

The selection of colour is a very important process, so it is this one I will talk about.

There are three important steps in my colour selection process.
First comes a patient and daily observation of nature, either in a rural / outdoor context or in a domestic environment (example looking at bouquets and potted plants at home). I capture these observations via my analog photographs.

Secondly, looking at the photos I created small collages using a part of the colours present in the images which I believe compliment each other. These collages would be defined as being abstract, they are my direct translations of feelings and colours.

At last, after putting the collages, which are references and intermediate stage colour selections, next to each other, I observe, and  create the final piece, which might be a painting, publications, textile etc.

At time the colours also directly derives from the vegetables I eat, the flowers / plants picked.

 

When do you make your best work?

 It is a question I can not answer.

As not thinking of the works which one is best.

 

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

The feelings dictate the choices of techniques and materials.

 

Artist whose career you admire?

Wolfgang Laib, who was recently awarded the Praemium Imperiale.

His speech brought tears to my eyes.


Last gallery show you went to?

Thinking Tantra at The Drawing Room, London.


What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Hopefully the same, surrounded by people I admire and love.

Communicating the same message of love, respect  and compassion for nature and all living beings.


If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

South Korea and Taiwan.


What are your other hobbies?

Reading, Gardening, Cooking, Tea, Cinema, learning languages, traveling, walking.

 

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

Tea with Wolgang Laib.


What influences you?

Nature, Love, Smiles, Rhythm, Daily Life, Tea,  Feelings, Oneness

photo by Sach Dhanjal for G-irl.com

 

What motivates you

Everything

 

What’s your studio philosophy?

Relax, Play, Learn.

My work is rather intimate so is my atelier.

It is soft, warm, welcoming and homely.

 

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

I don’t count. No need to count when you love my dad says.


photo by Sach Dhanjal for G-irl.com

 

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

Both.

Sound : my husband Jatinder Singh Durhailay practicing (he plays Dilruba, Piano, Guitare, Taus and sings)

And for years Alice Coltrane, Haruka Nakamura, Nujabes, Christian Scott, Takagi Masakatsu, ….

 

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

I would like to work with a contemporary dance company in order to create a scenery.

I have a background of contemporary dance studies and it is something I feel it is time to intertwine in a more obvious way with my current practice. Hereby I do not mean myself dancing, rather creating for / with dancers and choreographers.

 

What’s next?

A solo exhibition at Galerie Jean-Francois Kaiser (Strasbourg, France) opening February 2nd 2017. Titled Épistolaire Imaginaire - Merci it is the final part of the four year participative project Épistolaire Imaginaire.

A group exhibition I am curating and organising for Nidi Gallery (Tokyo, Japan) via Poetic Pastel opening March 24th 2017.

A solo exhibition curated by Elsa Melo of my series Les Plantes de Mamie at Casa das Artes (Porto, Portugal).


photo by Sach Dhanjal for G-irl.com

 

What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a piece?

Smile, sketch, writing in down with excitement.

 

What work took you the longest to complete?

Le Refuge, in term of hours maybe.

A hand sown and embroiderer cotton piece . A tent, a floating habitat.

I started working on it in late August 2016 and completed it in April 2016.

It is embroidered with a selection of the happy memories visitors of Épistolaire Imaginaire - Les Fleures du Japon  shared (Iko Iko Space, 2015, curated by Book Stand / Claire Cottrell).


Best gift you’ve ever received?

All

 

Describe your work in 3 words.

Kind

Gentle

Mindfull

 

What's one thing you still have from your childhood?

My milk tooth in a tiny wooden box.


Do you have a favorite quote, or a phrase you think about often?

“ Si tu tombes relèves toi tout seul.”

Carved in a small piece wood at my grand mother home.


Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.

I believe everything leaves a mark, sometimes big others nearly inexistent. The marks, or influences as your referred to, are there.

Zürich perhaps taught me to keep practicing the discipline learned in dance. Berlin I’m not so sure. London encourages my interdisciplinary practice.

The most important lessons and influences are not being taught to me not by cities but by villages, by rural lives in close contact wit nature, by Nature I mean people, fauna and flora.

 

What country do you wish to visit?

 

Jamaica

 

What makes you nervous?

 

photo by Jan Stasuik

 

What makes you laugh no matter what?

Jatinder and my grand mother ’s laugh.

 

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

Jurgen Lehl

 

What’s one habit you wish you could break?

Forgetting to wear my glasses.


Who was your favorite teacher in school?

Yann Beauvais . A cineast and critic. Each week when in the Beaux Arts I was looking forward to his class.

He encouraged and supported my curiosity and recommended me several publications that gave a new perspective to my thoughts.

photo by Sach Dhanjal for G-irl.com

 

Explore Johanna's paintings and sculptures on her artist page.

Alice Wiese | An Interview
studio visits

Alice Wiese | An Interview

Alice Wiese is an artist living and working in San Francisco. Each piece beautifully planned and executed, Wiese's textile pieces meld preconceived compositions with the spontaneity of abstract, geometric forms. We've been getting lost in these intricate pieces. Read our interview with Alice below: 

Tell us about this body of work launching on Tappan?
This body of work is really special because it was all made while I was living and traveling in Australia. The series I made in 2015 was about the death of a loved one and the loss of relationships with people and trying to rebuild myself. This current body of work is about the journey I took to rebuild myself. This series was made while working in houses and multiple studios and has traveled down the east coast of Australia and then sent to America.


Describe your work in three words:
Minimal, meticulous, orderly.

What is your creation process like, how are you conceptualizing and thinking about each of these pieces?
Lately, I have been starting off each piece with a collected pattern or image that I have photographed. I draw it out on my canvas and then begin embroidering. I often change the pattern to make the piece unpredictable. The concepts are constantly circulating in my head. I assign a concept to one piece then deconstruct that thought while working on the piece. I believe that my work is a direct representation of how I feel and each piece is a visual therapy session of my internal monologues.

 

Would you say you have a studio philosophy?
My work table has to be tidy and I need to be alone and not distracted.

 

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

I would say maybe the method of how I use the material.

What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a piece?Stretch a canvas and just start. I don’t do any preliminary sketches or plan anything out, I work directly on the canvas. I just go for it. Most of the time the way I thought the piece would evolve is not how it ends up. Most of my pieces are based on repeating patterns I see. As soon as the pattern starts to look too formulaic, I change it up to keep the viewer on their toes.

 

What was the last gallery show you went to?
I would say that my last favorite gallery show I went to was a quilt show at the National Gallery Of Victoria, in Melbourne. The quilts were packed with detail and I could really appreciate the hard work and hours that were put into them.

 

What is the arts community like in your city? Do you spend your time around other creatives?
All of my favorite people who I spend time with are all creative in some way or another. Some of them are artists, makers, designers, or problem solvers.

 

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?
At the moment, i’m dreaming of somewhere where it’s cold and rainy outside so I don’t mind being warm and productive inside.

 

What are your other hobbies?
I really love exploring. I learned how to surf about a year ago and I am pretty hooked on that too.

 

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?
Grayson Perry and Alan Measles.

 

What influences you?
Architecture, patterns, shapes, texture.

 

What motivates you?
I want to be a master at my craft.

 

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?
Anywhere from 24- 32 hours. I like getting into the studio in the morning and having really long days in it but it varies on my mood and the piece I am working on.

 

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?
I always have some sort of movie or show playing in the background, and it has to be something I have already seen about 100 times. Big, Big fan of The Office, up until Michael Scott leaves.

 

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?
Cement!

 

What work took you the longest to complete?
Never. Forever. I started this piece when I first moved to Australia and I was living in someone’s shed in a very small town, called Kangaroo Valley. I had none of my normal tools, quilting ruler, quilting pen, fabric, that I normally use while making my pieces so everything took a little longer. I also spent a good 3 hours trying to unpick something that took me about 6 hours to embroider.

 

Best gift you’ve ever received? 
Surfboard/Sewing machine.

 

Do you have a favorite quote, or a phrase you think about often? 

“Be curious, not judgemental.” -walt whitman.

 

Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.
Definitely. Especially for this series. I recently quit my job, moved out of my apt, and left the country for 16 months. Spent a few months in Europe, moved to Australia, and then went to Indonesia. I was really excited about seeing the communist era buildings in Berlin, took lots of pictures of patterns on fences, wrought iron gates, and tiles.

 

What's one thing you still have from your childhood?
Lots! Because I hold on to everything! But definitely my stuffed animal tiger named “Yo”

 

What country do you wish to visit?
Well, I don’t know about Country in particular but I would love to check out South America.

 

What makes you nervous?
Not being able to live as free as I want to live.

 

What makes you laugh no matter what?
My Dad. And fart jokes.

 

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?
Visiting the family of a lost loved one after they lost their son/brother. Also, I swam with sharks!

 

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?
One of my best friends, Hannah Beasley. I met her when we did exchange in college in Kyoto, Japan. She is a fantastic and skilled painter, incredible musician, and overall just a great human. I shared a studio with her for part of my time in Australia and since our work has a lot of parallels, it was fun bouncing ideas back and forth off of each other and setting goals for ourselves to help each other stay on track.  Since we normally do not live in the same country, we generally meet up about once a year, travel, and eat a lot.

 

What’s one habit you wish you could break?
Not believing in myself.

 

Who was your favorite teacher in school?
Sydney Cohen. She is the reason I tried embroidery. She had the ability to stretch my brain and make me think about art in a completely different, more fun way. I also really admire her work.

 

Tell us about your hometown. Did you grow up with creative people in your life?
I grew up in Mill Valley, Ca, a cute, small town about 15 miles north of San Francisco. My dad is a contractor and was remodeling our house for what seems like forever, so I was always allowed, or not allowed, to use his tools to make mini projects. My parents were always supportive of my passion to make things. I went to a boarding school (Oxbow) in Napa, Ca, for a semester in high school and that’s where I learned that there were others like me who liked to make art. After that I knew I needed to continue making art.

 

What’s next?
I want to make a few wearable embroidery pieces as well as incorporate some machine embroidery into my hand embroidered pieces.

Explore Alice's collection. 

Michael Wall | An Interview
studio visits

Michael Wall | An Interview

Today we introduce London-based painter, Michael Wall. We're particularly excited about Michael's approach to art-making, as he explores abstraction's ability to communicate and connect people. Drawn to forms of minimalism and exposing contrast wherever possible, Wall's paintings ask us to examine the work within a space - a larger context. You will see this focus on contrast, form, and color within his gorgeous paintings. 

Read our interview with him below, and explore his collection of works. 

Describe your work in three words:
For the viewer.

 

Tell us about these pieces launching on Tappan?

A collection of paintings that work parallel with one another.

 

What is your creation process like, how are you conceptualizing these organic shapes?
Composition and balance is important to me. I start with a rough plan, but the work grows naturally from that point onwards. The shapes aren’t made to represent one thing, the idea is for the works to act more like catalysts than a figurative representation, the interesting parts wouldn't exist without the viewer.     


 
Would you say you have a studio philosophy?
Not consciously.


Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea or the other way around?
It’s a natural process, they are in balance with each other. 



What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a piece?
I’ll set myself some boundaries to work from, they give me an anchor to fall back on.
Some basic rules keep consistency, normally the restrictions also free me up.



Tell us about an artist whose career you admire?
I admire a lot of artists - mostly artists who change their mediums but keep consistency.



What was the last gallery show you went to?
INFINITE MIX



What is the arts community like in your city? Do you spend your time around other creatives?
I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of creative thinkers, from design, illustration, sculpture, painting, fashion, photography, film, music. I owe a lot of my development as an artist and as a person to these people.



If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?
Anywhere friendly, and cheaper than London.



What are your other hobbies?
Films, music, sport, learning new stuff, reading. I have a passion for ceramics but I’m a novice and it’s an expensive hobby.



Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?
I’m normally alone when I'm working so I listen to the radio a lot or podcasts, it’s a good time to learn new things.



Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?
Concrete, foam - 3d stuff.



What work took you the longest to complete?
I made three ceramic pots that were much smaller then anyone thought they were going to be, they took me six weeks, I put pens in them now.



Best gift you’ve ever received?
A toolbox full of tools.


What's one thing you still have from your childhood?
The desire to play video games.



Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.
I can guarantee they have but I would be lying if I knew what they were.



What country do you wish to visit?
Japan.



What makes you nervous?
World affairs.



What makes you laugh no matter what?
Funny people.



What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

Kazimir Malevich. I don’t know how connected I am to him but his work has been in the background influencing my practise from the beginning, I don’t know if we are on the same page but maybe in the same big book. 



What’s one habit you wish you could break?
Leaving too much to do last minute.



Tell us about your hometown. Did you grow up with creative people in your life?
I grew up next to the sea, the longer I spend away from it the stronger I feel connected to it.

I have two brothers, one of them studied printmaking and this inspired me. My dad was an engineer before he retired, but he’s an artist too - he used to draw me colouring books.

What’s next? 

I’m working with another artist on ideas for a new show that will be a combination of 2D and 3D works.

Explore Michael's Tappan Collection

Caroline Denervaud | Interview
studio visits

Caroline Denervaud | Interview

Composed of performative, choreographed movement and two dimensional compositions, Caroline Denervaud's work spans multiple media, all of which keeps us gaping at her process and the beautiful, organic shapes she creates instilling her own body. Based in Paris, Denervaud concentrates on both series; they are innately intertwined and reliant on each other, as the motions, shapes and gestural strokes realized in her larger pieces are also realized in her collage pieces. Read our interview with Caroline below. 

Tell us about this body of work launching on Tappan?
These are collages and performing traces. Two different works.

Tell us about process.
It’s always about feeling. Letting the inside intention coming out, and see what happens.


When do you make your best work?
Before noon, at home, for the performances and at night for the collages. 


Artist whose career you admire?
Pina Bausch


Last gallery show you went to?
Some Soulage’s pieces in Lausanne


What are you most proud of?
Continuing to explore daily.


What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
I try to live day after day, we’ll see!


If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?
In the country side, near a forest.


What are your other hobbies?
Walking, knitting


If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?
John Cage


What influences you?
people, energies...but I try not to be influenced.


What motivates you?
An inner non-stop research about movement possibilities.


What’s your studio philosophy?
Search, try, play.


How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?
As much as I can, when I’m alone.


Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?
Silence, radio or some repetitive sounds to find a kind of transe feeling.


Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?
I’m more dreaming of a huge place with nude walls.


What’s next?
I hope collaborations and a personal project in textile.

What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a piece?
I don’t prepare anything, if I feel an idea is coming I go for it and see what happens.

 

What work took you the longest to complete?
Ordered works.


Best gift you’ve ever received?
Crazy, strong and flexible feet :)


Describe your work in 3 words.
Research, spontaneous, trace.


What's one thing you still have from your childhood?
Naivety


Do you have a favorite quote, or a phrase you think about often?
« Life is not a rehearsal », « we are lived ».


Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.
Lausanne, the contemporary dance classes, lots of improvisation and the people connected to an open simple way of living.


What country do you wish to visit?
Italy


What makes you nervous?
planning


What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?
Pina Bausch, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Francesca Woodman

Explore Caroline's collection

Struan Teague | Interview
studio visits

Struan Teague | Interview

This week we introduce you to our newest addition to the roster, Copenhagen-based Struan Teague

Teague is an abstract painter and printmaker interested in how visual expression performs within a separate arena to written or spoken language. Working across both large and small scale canvases, screen-print editions, and artist books, Teague creates a visual language of forms through a balance of compositional structure and intuitive touch. Teague's use of instantaneous processes and materials - screen print, spray paint, even dirt and spillage - force quicker and more irrevocable decisions to be made, resulting in intuition taking a crucial role in the image making process.

Read our interview with him below. 

Tell us about this body of work launching on Tappan?

This is a collection of unique screenprints, monoprints and paintings selected from a larger body of work thats been ongoing since 2015.

Tell us about your process.

My process is really direct and physical, you’ve just got to start without thinking too much and get your hands dirty. Then comes a more refined editing and cropping process where I decide what works and what doesn’t. I recycle a lot of works and hardly ever throw things out from the studio and even the ‘finished’ works remain part of the process in a referential way.

 

When do you make your best work?

That’s entirely unpredictable.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

Well I think the method and the idea are very much intertwined, the dictating factor frequently changes throughout the process.

 

Artist whose career you admire?

Agnes Martin.

 

Last gallery show you went to?

Sergej Jensen at SMK in Copenhagen.

 

What are you most proud of?

My painting ‘What do bees do in a summer like this’.

 

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

I don’t make any more than one year plans, and right now I don’t even have one of those.

 

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

Somewhere hot, I’m tired of Northern European winters. I’m also just kind of interested in seeing how working in a hotter climate for a little while would affect my work, if at all.

 

What are your other hobbies?

I obsessively follow Celtic Football Club.

 

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

I think Raoul De Keyser would have been good company for a drink.

What influences you?

Absolutely anything that I encounter in my life can be an influence, to me influence is a subconscious thing that comes out in a visual way, not something I put into words.

 

What motivates you?

I get really frustrated when I’m not working. Even when the painting is a battle and it’s not going well I still get great satisfaction out of the process, I don’t really need any more motivation than that.

 

What’s your studio philosophy?

Work hard but don’t take it too seriously.

 

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

I don’t really have a routine but I often spend a lot of time in the studio, about 10 hours a day.

 

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

Always have music on, loud repetitive bass music usually gets me in a good working mood. Online radio stations like Rinse FM and NTS are my go to when looking for something new.

 

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

I’m not sure there’s any special tools or mediums that I’m interested in which I don’t already have access to, I like to keep it simple. At the moment. I’d certainly like to learn more printmaking techniques and just explore the materials I currently use in much greater detail.

 

What’s next?

Working on a solo show at a new space in Cáceres, Spain early next year.

 

What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a piece?

Start doing it, never wait for the idea to finish formulating.

 

What work took you the longest to complete?

Not sure if there’s one work that stands out as taking the longest to complete. I see two sides of my work in this regard. There’s works which take a very long time and go through many layers and processes then there’s another set of works which are much lighter and happen almost instantaneously. I usually like the end result of the quicker works more but I have to go through the process of the heavier, more laborious works just to be able to get into the mindset of making the lighter ones.

 

Best gift you’ve ever received?

My bright red race bike.

 

Describe your work in 3 words.

Look at it.

 

What's one thing you still have from your childhood?

My handwriting hasn’t changed a bit, neither has my drawing really and I hope it stays that way.

 

Do you have a favorite quote, or a phrase you think about often?

"It’s like a man absentmindedly humming and being dumbfounded if asked whether he had meant that tune rather than another." - Rosalind Krauss

 

Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.

I’ve been living in Copenhagen for just over a year after graduating from art school in Scotland. I also now have a studio residency in Düsseldorf for the next 12 months. Moving around so much definitely has an impact on my practice, it creates restrictions but also being in new environments gives me a lot of energy for new work.

What country do you wish to visit?

There isn’t many countries that I wouldn’t like to visit.

 

What makes you nervous?

Answering questions and talking about my work, it’s about the visual.

 

What makes you laugh no matter what? What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Sorry these two are difficult questions! I have no idea!

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

I’d have to say Cy Twombly. Looking back on it now, seeing his retrospective at the Tate Modern in 2008 had a huge impact on me before I really began taking painting seriously.

 

What’s one habit you wish you could break?

Instagram.

 

Who was your favorite teacher in school?

Ronnie the caretaker.

Explore Struan's collection. 

Gabrielle Teschner | Interview
studio visits

Gabrielle Teschner | Interview

We welcome Gabrielle Teschner to Tappan today, and we are so excited to share this beautiful series of intricately constructed pieces. Gabrielle Teschner lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her BFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003 and her MFA from California College of the Arts in 2007. Teschner’s work is included in the permanent collection of the De Young Museum in San Francisco and has shown throughout the Bay Area at Haines Gallery, John Berggruen Gallery, Goodnight Projects and Chandra Cerrito Contemporary. Teschner works with muslin fabric, paint, and stitching to reconstruct forms that are analogous to our built environments. Employing architectural components into her carefully crafted works, Teschner questions and explores the edifice of accumulated knowledge, incorporating architectural icons that become themes for an examination of structural authority in both building construction and rigid ideologies.

Our interview with her below:

Tell us about this body of work launching on Tappan?

These pieces are made of cotton muslin and many depict stones. A lot of them are traveling works, and have crossed as many borders as I have in the past few years. I carried them everywhere. I was thinking about essential building blocks--elements of architecture that a whole structure would depend on. A keystone, or a column. Something that supports weight. We rely on the fact that these foundations exist in order to dwell. Some of them I made after I spent time in Berlin, and I was thinking about the remnants of the wall underfoot. Those stones had been significant dividers, but were scaled down to paving stones.

 

 When do you make your best work?

Before a good meal.

 

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

I start with an idea, but it works the other way too. Fabric talks about flexibility, portability, and information-loss in a way that more rigid sculptural materials don't. I sew this work. So much of the composition ends up behind the work, folded into the seams. With wood, it gets sanded off, it ends up on the floor, you never think about it again.

 

Artist whose career you covet?

If I'm going to break a commandment and a noble truth, can I go big? Picasso. I wanted to be him when I was five. I thought I could pick up where he left off.

 

Last gallery show you went to?

Of Many Minds at Euqinom in SF, 3 artists making epic photo work

 

What are you most proud of?

My reflexes.

 

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Tending a prolific orchard.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

I just traveled to Siracusa Ortigia in Sicily and I would go back there. It's a bright island with washed, white stone an hour from a dark city built of black lava stone. The columns of an old Greek Temple were used to build the newer cathedral that stands there today, which was built on top of an even older foundation, and you can see all the layers, all the stages of degradation in the stone, from the outside. I would like to take some more time thinking about that.

 

What are your other hobbies?

Spending time on the water, running stairs, looking up the uses of plants, going to the movies, talking with people who don't speak English

  

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

Richard Serra

 

What influences you?

Architects. Hindu Time. The history of math. Couture. Koans.

 

What motivates you?

My big family on the East Coast, and the morning

 

What’s your studio philosophy?  

Build more questions.

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

I try and create part of something every day. That could take me five minutes, or 5 hours, and not always in a studio. I spent half this year without one. There's a great picture of Rothko sitting back and staring at one of his pieces. I think that's one of the best uses of studio time. You're the first person to see this thing, ever.

 

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

I'm in Key West at the moment, and I was told a tropical storm comes through tomorrow. I would love to be working in a good thunderstorm with the window open. That's the right amount of drama. That or hip-hop, or Lionel Hampton.

 

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

Animation

 

What’s next?

I'm taking advantage of being in a tropical climate. Thinking about the function of color in the heat. And curves. The plants on the shore have shapes made to withstand the wind.

 

What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a piece?

Go for a walk. I do my best thinking when I'm moving or watching things move. I've been making a lot of small paper works on ferry-rides and flights. The scene is changing out of the window, and there's nothing to get done but this.

 

What work took you the longest to complete?

The Path, it was 14 feet wide and 8 feet tall. It took about 5 weeks but I used every hour I had. I couldn't wait to see what it would become. I used my full armspan, my full height, to put it together.

 

Best gift you’ve ever received?

A painting of a scarlet-sailed shipwreck by Ryan Pierce.

 

Describe your work in 3 words.

In the beginning.

 

What's one thing you still have from your childhood?

A fat little bronze Buddha that my Dad got in India. It's an inch tall and it's far heavier than it should be, like a piece of black matter. It used to sit in my windowsill.

 

Do you have a favorite quote, or a phrase you think about often?

"Five colors blind the eye, from the Tao te Ching." It points to how the finite divisions we create between things make it harder for us to sense the infinite.

 

Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions. 

I grew up in the woods overlooking a slow, marshy river that led out to the Chesapeake Bay. A very occasional boat would come through. It was quiet but full of forest sounds, and constantly transformed by the seasons. My parents had, and still build on, an enormous, sprawling, wild garden that touches the edges of the woods on all sides. Almost all of the color disappears in the winter, and it goes black and white. The pace of that piece of land is responsible for the way I focus.

I've lived in California for 11 years now. It always represented something bigger, more vast. The plants are more sculptural. When I first came here I thought it looked like a Dr. Seuss book. I thought, okay, he didn't make all of it up. I really appreciated how the West Coast has so much undeveloped coastline. When I zoom out, I think of the West as a monumental cliffside. The East coast is more granular by comparison, broken down into smaller pieces.

And I travel a lot. I go somewhat prepared with a perception that will help me enjoy the place, but then I let it get dismantled. It's the contrast between those that reveals.

 

What country do you wish to visit?

Iran

 

What makes you nervous?

Over-population.

 

What makes you laugh no matter what?

Slapstick kills me. And that scene in the Big Lebowski when Walter throws the ashes over a cliff and they fly into The Dude's face. There's something about halted motion...

 

What's the bravest thing you've ever done? 

It was a long time ago, but climbing the Inca Trail ill. There is almost no air there. I climbed every single stair individually. I told myself, just one more step, 10,000 times. I made it to Macchu Picchu, but it defeated me. I still enjoy brief encounters with landscapes that are like that--unwelcoming to humans. It gives me hope that we won't be able to take over everything.

 

Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

Ed Ruscha. He trusts phrases and symbols to exist in isolation. Also, the space in a lot of his work has substance, like it's dusty or humid. I appreciate his sense of humor. I shook his hand once, it was very encouraging.

 

What’s one habit you wish you could break?

Taking the stickers off of fruit and putting them just anywhere.

Marleigh Culver | Studio Visit
studio visits

Marleigh Culver | Studio Visit

We introduce Marleigh Culver to the Tappan roster this week. Producing vibrant digital and original paintings, Culver's approach to her work is refreshing, using color as perceived by feeling, enabling her to explore themes of beauty, femininity, and abstractness in the most unique of ways.

Tell us about this body of work launching on Tappan?

I really love making abstract work. I have a special relationship with color and searching for right shades that may match a specific feeling. Organic shapes and lines really get me, too. There’s a lot said with long, wavy lines, or curved and dented shapes. My work is translating my feelings into physical work.


When do you make your best work?

I make my best work when I have hours of time after work or on the weekends. When I feel free with no time limits. Although, I do make interesting things when I am on a deadline. Taking time between paint dryings to read or do a puzzle while thinking of next steps to make keeps the process a little mysterious and surprising. Being inspired to work gets things done faster.


Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

I would say method. I could do my work on any surface or material. Since what I do is abstract, that can inform when I work on. All surfaces are essentially the same. I’ll start a drawing on the computer, print it out, project it onto a canvas or piece of wood and go from there. The idea always stays the same going through all of these steps. If anything, a surface may be an obstacle but nothing impossible.


Artist whose career you covet?

I think I found him in high school; Anthony Cudahy. I’ve loved seeing the changes through the years and how he takes some old ways of his work and meshes it into the new. Very smooth evolution. It’s just very beautiful. I admire it since I’m not great at painting people, but it makes me want to try. It has the same haunted feelings as some of Alex Katz’ work.


Last gallery show you went to?

I was so excited when one of my favorite local galleries, Quirk Gallery, presented Kimia Ferdowsi Kline’s work. I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while, and it was so pleasing and impressive to see her work in real life. Large paintings with messy and layered thick, bright paint strokes. I liked seeing where she would use the paint to create negative space, or to shape a part of a person or animal in the pieces by layering paint in curves.


Is art making therapeutic for you?

Yes. I feel pretty emotional when I make pieces. I really feel this when I’m painting. When I’m drawing on the computer something about it feels a little more cerebral. Like I am trying to figure something out—a puzzle. It’s like that game, Minesweeper. I’d play that at my nana’s house. Making digital work is like “no that shape doesn’t fit there, that color needs more hits of yellow.” Painting is freeing and a little more about feeling and seeing how the strokes go. I like being free.


What are you most proud of?

I’m proud that it seems I’ve kept up a very similar train of thought and style for my work. I have a painting I did when I was 17 that looks just like work I do now. It comforts me and motivates me. I also have a messy portrait I did of a young Matisse, and he still influences me today. That might still be my favorite small painting I’ve done. I’m really proud of the projects I’ve gotten to collaborate on and all the artists I have met who push me to keep working. I know my greatest work is still ahead of me.

 

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

I’ve always loved to be a teacher. I want to have a big studio and work on all sorts of different projects and mediums. Moving into designing tiles or wallpaper or murals. More tactile things that affect people daily. Video or film work would be a dream. Maybe art directing some video work.


If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

Spain or Los Angeles. I haven’t been to Spain yet, but I do love L.A. so much. It has a magical feel, it’s not for everyone but I really connect with it. Surrounded by green and happy people makes me feel good. I can imagine myself in a beautiful, airy studio.. That is one of my dreams.


What are your other hobbies?

I love to run, especially outside. This is the most I’ve read in years. Reading has helped me articulate ideas better and describe experiences and my work better. I’m trying to get more interesting with what I cook. I love a lot of things: puzzles, watching tons of crappy movies and good films, trying to skateboard. I want to make some mobiles and get back into ceramics or screen-printing.

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

Does Patti Smith count? Her or Cindy Sherman...


What influences you?

A lot of other artists. Anyone. Fashion. I look at alot of things and talk to my friends who are writers and jewelry makers and designers, they influence me. I mesh together feelings and colors and shapes and time periods and make my work.


What motivates you?

I’ve had this longing and drive ever since I was young. Art has always been my first love. I love music so much, too. I just have so many memories of art classes and museums and my mom’s art books. It’s my innate connection to it. I feel like I have a responsibility to own being an artist and be apart of art.


What’s your studio philosophy?

To remain true to myself. To make work that is undeniably me and uniquely my own. I hope to make things that move people, but if I make work just for others without putting myself in it, it won’t carry.

 

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

I don’t mind silence, but I need to be totally alone. If I listen to music, I go to a site that has weekly mixes made by the band members of the Allah-lahs. So I love oldies, world music and anything that sounds sentimental or romantic. I like to go back in time.


Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

I wouldn’t mind trying oil painting again. I did an embarrassing painting in high school of a hippie version of “American Gothic” and stopped with oil after that. I didn’t give it a chance. I’d love to do a mural within the year and paint an interior space from floor to ceiling. Honestly I’m kind of a mutt. I should probably look into a proper studio space with proper materials. There’s a lot I need to learn and follow when it comes to being in a studio. I’d love to build my own canvases, or wooden panels.


What’s next?

I’m working on more in the series of the vases and womanhood. I’m thinking about printing on fabric. I’m not sure what else is coming up, but I always get surprised with cool projects and random ideas to work on something new. I’m going to London and Stockholm (for the first time) in a few weeks, so I’m using that time to think about next steps in my artistic career.


What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a piece?

I’ll draw different versions on my computer, or I’ll paint on a canvas until I get it right. I don’t like to plan too much, because it loses the spontaneity and fun. I’m working with my paintings as much as I am making them. Sometimes I let them take the reins.

 

What work took you the longest to complete?

The two large pieces ‘Woman After’ and ‘Woman Before’ took the longest because I had bought the wood to paint on months ago. I had them sitting in my living room trying to figure out what I would want to be strong for my first time working in a larger size. But then one day I started to sketch out with the idea of three colors I had in mind, that pepto pink, muted marigold and Klein blue. After that I sketched it out on the wood, made a quick stencil and went back and forth painting each of the pieces.

 

Best gift you’ve ever received?

I feel like I have had so many wonderful gifts and it’s hard to pinpoint which one I felt like I was so grateful for. What stands out is one my good friend gave me: a book on Wabi Sabi. It highlights the subtleties in everyday life.

 

Describe your work in 3 words.

loving, full, unkempt

 

What's one thing you still have from your childhood?

A deer beanie baby. I used to make deer-centric work in high school and thought of them as my mystic protectors and symbols of purity.

 

Do you have a favorite quote, or a phrase you think about often?

“Things of quality have no fear of time.”

 

Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.

I grew up in Virginia Beach, about two hours south of where I live now. The ocean is a very important physical element to me. It’s so symbolic and just amazing scientifically. Every summer when I visit, I like to sit there and let myself disappear into the horizon. It is so phenomenal. So when I incorporate a horizon into my work, the ocean is the first thing I associate that with. Going to a magnet arts school in high school steered me to where I am now. So my education is what influenced me more than where I’ve lived. I’ve lived in Richmond for about 8 years and I like the slower way of living here and how it’s surrounded by nature. The art scene is great here and that definitely keeps me on my toes when making work.

 

What country do you wish to visit?

My grandma is from Thailand. I am dying to visit. She is going next month and I would go with her if I could. It looks very beautiful and I have yet to experience a different way of living than in America and Europe. Japan is on my list as well.

 

What makes you nervous?

That I will be stuck and won’t evolve in my work. I am never bored as a person, but I do get in a rut thinking what I am doing isn’t original or interesting and that I will never been this incredible artist. There are so many people I look up to and I want to make the level of work they do.

 

What makes you laugh no matter what?

My parents. They are so weird and have such a funny sense of humor. They are my best friends. I’m on a family text group and we just send each other memes and gifs all week.

 

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

I moved to Chicago with someone I was in a relationship with after we both graduated from college. I was following my ‘heart’ and I loved to escape. I went to Chicago for a summer program at SAIC in high school and thought it would be cool to go back. Before graduating and before meeting this person, I was thinking about going to NYC. I had visited some studios there and wanted to be somewhere big so going to Chicago not alone seemed like an interesting move. It turned out to be a sad experience. I was depressed. I made bad decisions. It was winter in CHICAGO. Below freezing. I hated my first job there. There was a lot wrong about the whole thing. But it was Chicago..so there was plenty of drinking and great food and cool stores and museums to maybe distract me. I love the city now, but it was an eye-opening experience for sure.

 

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

Ever since I was little, I remember and love Ellsworth Kelly. I remember going to a museum in D.C. with my parents and seeing his work on the walls. Any kid would love his work, it’s so large and colorful and shaped so interestingly. He is the father of making color shapes that are so emotional and mysterious.

 

What’s one habit you wish you could break?

Keeping myself from starting things. It’s just dumb anxiety. I always pressure myself to be the best. I like to work hard and making really good work. So starting a new project can take me longer than it should… and then once I start I’m like “Wow that wasn’t that bad and I really like this project what is wrong with me!”

 

Who was your favorite teacher in school?

I still keep in touch with him sometimes! John Malinoski. Ask anyone who was in Graphic Design at VCU. He’s retiring now, but he was a different kind of maker and teacher. I appreciated his style of work, because it wasn’t traditional Swiss design which I was getting bored of. He was about color and shapes and an elementary way of thinking and doing. Just experimental and very cool. Plus his wife is a fashion design teacher at VCU and they live in a beautiful house with chickens that their friend, who is an architect, designed! My last semester of college I spent in his design class that only accepted about 8-10 students where we worked on real life projects. He involved us in the community and thinking and making real projects and not just class assignments. 

Explore Marleigh's Tappan collection. 

Michael Gittes | In The Studio
studio visits

Michael Gittes | In The Studio

September 2016 

Artist whose career you covet? 

Anyone working in the distant future.

 

Most influential "character" in American history in the past 10 years? 

Tara Indiana of the Female Supremacy Party.

 

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea or the other way around?

Usually material and method are dictated by the idea.

 

Is art making therapeutic for you?

It's my main source of therapy, and stress.

What are you most proud of? 

My cat Jacuzzi.

 

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Not liking my answers to these questions. 

 

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

Space, but not too far.

 

What are your other hobbies?

Reflecting on my childhood.

 

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

A royal artist from ancient Egypt.

 

What influences you?

Science and history.

 

What motivates you?

Death.

 

What’s your studio philosophy?

Be honest.

 

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

Electricity & gravity.



What work took you the longest to complete?

I’m still working on it.

 

Best gift you’ve ever received?

Cufflinks from the White House.

 

Describe your work in 3 words.

Red Yellow Blue.

 

Do you have a favorite quote, or a phrase you think about often? 

“Ring’s end.”

 

What makes you nervous?

Email correspondence.

 

What makes you laugh no matter what?

My dad.

 

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Install a show on the North/South Korean border.

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose

work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

Magritte.

 

Who was your favorite teacher in school?

Professor Suh from Philosophy of Logic.

 

Explore Michael's work. 

Andrew Steiger | Studio Visit
studio visits

Andrew Steiger | Studio Visit

When we first met with Andrew, entering his home studio space was like walking into a dream-like narrative. He was completing an immersive installation at the time, and elements from the piece seemed to find their physical presence in the room. Water bouys and rope, sacred dreamcatchers and a fishing hat. Immediately, you have entered his world. 

And that's what these works are: they're expressive, and they tell his narrative. You get lost in them the longer you sit and stare, absorbing their rich content. 

Read our interview with him below, and be sure to spend some time with each piece on his page, reading his detailed descriptions. 

Your work has so many layers and narratives going on. Describe your artwork in 3 words.

Childhood. Territory. Pack hunting. 

 

Tell us a little bit about this series on Tappan?

This series has a little bit of everything in it. A fun experiment where sports + native cultures + consumer behavior fight, play, win and lose. 

 

Where do you source your materials?

Blick, the beach, or an abandoned military base.

 

Each piece tells such a unique story. How do you begin? Do you have a narrative in mind, or does the story and composition unfold as you begin working?

Sometimes there is a narrative. Sometimes I just start making marks with my pen, then things start to pull at me. Sometimes there's a color or a shape that just kicks things off and from there- it's sort of a "choose your own adventure" story. There are a million possible outcomes - the thing I've found most important is being happy with the journey.

Last gallery show you went to?

Michael Alvarez @ MaRS.

 

Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.

I grew up in an area where there were lots of fields and forests. (And a couple low end housing projects.) Cars were sometimes left in the parking lot of this beautiful old winery, and blackberry bushes would take them over. There are a lot of indian reservations that surround where I grew up - and those areas were always sort of "off limits.."

My family camped a lot, and I spent much time focusing on survival training and doing my Sam Gribley thing in the woods. Lots of rivers, lots of fish. Lots and lots of fish. 

Place and time is clearly evident through your work. Talk about that.

I like to think about what people saw when this land was "uninhabited." Sort of that Avatar / Pandora idea where everything is new. I'm very drawn to history because the version I was taught in school left out a lot of stuff.

I like peeling back layers on things that happened that weren't in my text books.  I often think about this quote that says "winners decide how history is written" - absolutely terrifying. 

 

Best gift you’ve ever received?

The family I have. The love and support that comes from it - the lessons that continue to come from it, even when it doesn't go the way you think it should.

 

What is your favorite quote?

"Give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish - he'll eat for a lifetime."

 

What country do you wish to visit?

Japan.

 

Tell us about where your community now, is there a strong community of artists there?

I live in Koreatown, I am not sure how strong the community of artists is, but the family vibe is relatively comforting. There is a fun (to watch) turf war (local MS gangs). 

 

What makes you nervous?

Cliffs.

 

What makes you laugh no matter what?

Chris Allison when he makes his noises like the Ho-Hum, and the betty jlgoop - that lives there. Swallows us whole.  

 

What's one accomplishment you're most proud of?

Finding my other half. 

 

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Recognize and put all faith in the creator.

 

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose

work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

The creator of the universe, is quite the artist -has a lot of talent - paid close attention to detail. He/She allows things to run their course, allows moss to be the color it wants to after a rain. Gives me the glacial blues that comes off of mountains and into sacred rivers. Not getting caught up in the minutiae and letting my best efforts turn up what they will. Huge.  

 

What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a piece?

If its a major piece I'll do a smudging around it before I start. I've chewed on a couple pieces. 

 

What work took you the longest to complete?

Last summer, I worked for 3.5 months (lived in a trailer) on 3 pieces for a show at the MoNa about how climate change effects salmon - that took a lot out of me, at some points at late late hours I thought for sure I would never be normal again. That might have also been the chocolate. 

 

Tell us about some of your favorite artists.

Who ever invented Real-Tree camouflage. Jim Morrison. Brian Jungen - he's a native sculpture from B.C. Greg Colfax is a carver from Neah Bay, Raf Simons, Thom Yorke, Ralph Steadman, Hayao Miyazaki, anyone who drew or painted scenes of battles. People who build bridges.

 

What’s one habit you wish you could break?

Popping my hip when I stand, I went to a chiropractor recently with complaints about lower back pain all he relates it to - posture, man.

 

Who was your favorite teacher in school?

Mike O'Neil, my history and social studies teacher in 7th grade. He would stand in the hallway between classes and you just wanted to shake his hand. It made you feel like a man. I helped him build his log cabin home, he is a rugged, saddle legged - wild eyed cowboy. 

 

What's one thing you still have from your childhood?

Wilderness survival books.

 

What's one thing you've always wanted to try but you've been too scared to do?

Maybe something involving an orca whale, the dark, and me in the water. 

 

What else are you working on right now?

I'm working on a project for the board of Tourism for British Columbia (Canada). I'm thinking about moving there if the Donald wins the election. (laughs!) No but seriously, I recently spent several weeks in B.C. got hooked up with all these insane trips with Grizzly Bears, diving with salmon, traditional knowledge from Joe Martin (canoe carver) lots of bear watching and time with eagles - so I'm working on a series of drawings to get US citizens to visit B.C. #exploreBC

When do you make your best work?

When I don't second guess myself.

 

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

The idea always leads. 

 

Is art making therapeutic for you?

If I'm doing it right - yes. But it isn't always fun you know? Sometimes you make ugly shit. Sometimes you hate what you make and you flog yourself. haha! But when I truly truly get lost in a piece - yes, or when I find that hook that allows me to move to the next level - YES.

 

What motivates you?

A healthy planet. The power of nature. My parents. Russel Wilson (QB for the Seattle Seahawks). 

 

What’s your studio philosophy?

Get it out, don't apologize. 

 

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

I can't regulate like that - sometimes there are dry spells - other times it's all I do. 

 

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

Well right now there is a 10 hour nature track playing - depends on the mood. Native flutes. Elk skin drums. Ocean sounds. Animal Collective if i'm feeling wild. 

 

Any advice to aspiring artists?

Don't think about what other people are going think. You gotta find what makes you churn inside. The thing that takes your breathe away and makes you feel on the edge of being alive. The opinions of other people don't matter. They really don't. Just do what makes you feel good. and do it a lot. TAKE BREAKS. It's okay to find others who have made stuff that you like - it's important to think about why you gravitate towards that work - specific subject matter? Messy? Super technical? Reminds you of your childhood? Get personal as fuck. Do this for you. Only you. You never know who's watching. 

 

What’s next?

I want to collaborate with Raf Simons.

View Andrew's available works. 

Alexis Arnold | In the Studio
studio visits

Alexis Arnold | In the Studio

Today we welcome San Francisco-based artist Alexis Arnold to the Tappan artist roster. We first fell in love with her intricate, beautiful crystallized sculptures and learning about her process and inspiration to pursue and continue this series has only made us love them more. Read our interview with her below: 

Describe your work in 3 words.

Material, process, transformation


Tell us a little bit about this series on Tappan?

My Crystallized Book series began in 2011 in response to the vulnerability of printed media and bookstores, along with repeatedly finding boxes of discarded books. Books hold a great significance as objects, stories, teachings, memories, and more, so they were ripe for investigation with the process of crystal growth I’d been exploring on different objects. My intent with the series is to contrast the materiality versus the text or content of the book. The crystals remove the text and solidify the books into aesthetic, non-functional objects. I manipulate the books with my hands, water, and salt to transform them into artifacts or geologic specimens imbued with the history of time, use, and memory. The crystals and book shapes spark a sense of wonder akin to a great piece of literature, like some of the titles I use, but certainly not all, such as an obsolete software manual or old phone book. It’s been nice to watch an apparent return to the cultural value of printed media while working on the series over the last 6 years.


Where do you source your materials? How do you decide which book is just right for the piece? Once you do decide, can you tell us about the crystallizing process?

The books I have crystallized have come from the sidewalk, my own collection, my husband’s collection, given to me, or purchased (mostly used) if I want specific titles.

I have crystallized titles personal to me or others, obsolete books like out-of-date encyclopedias, books that play upon the project (such as the Classics to Grow On series edition of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), classic literature, children’s books, books I like for how they look or simply because I ended up with them for free. For a recent two-person exhibition with Esther Traugot at Napa Valley Museum, all the titles I used were directly related to both the location and Traugot’s work.


To grow the crystals directly on the books, I start by creating a super-saturated solution of borax (sodium tetraborate) in boiling water. When the water boils, its molecules expand, allowing more Borax in. I submerge the book (or other object) in the hot, saturated solution and carefully manipulate the book to my liking before and during the process. As the saturated water cools, the molecules shrink and any excess Borax crystallizes. Once the solution has completely cooled and the crystals have grown on the submerged book, I drain the solution and dry the fragile, waterlogged work without disturbing its shape. When completely dry, the books hold their new, rigid shapes.

What does this transformative process do for you? Some of the pieces are unrecognizably books!

Material transformation is a big part of my practice in general. It’s fun to see the latent potential of materials and bring my ideas to fruition through various processes. I like some works to be completely transformed, where the original material is unrecognizable, and others where the materials are transformed, but still recognizable. With the crystallized book series, it’s important for the viewer to know that they are books, but if it takes close investigation or reading a material list, then I feel I have successfully transformed the object from its original state.


I also enjoy the aspects of chance and time involved in many of the transformative processes I use. I have control, but only to a limit, and it would be impossible to make many works over identically. The element of chance, along with constantly introducing new materials and processes, helps keep my practice fresh and engaging.



Did you start by crystallizing smaller objects?

I ended up experimenting with crystal growth in my work after I found crystals growing on the concrete floor of my studio as a result of oxidizing metal with salt, soda ash, and vinegar. The first crystallized objects I made were concrete casts and antique tools related to a specific project at the time. Other sculptures and installations have included a range of crystallized objects, including bicycle wheels, bundt pans and other used kitchenware, a cactus, insects, eggshells, a wig, crab and mussel shells, copper mesh, steel wool, wood, and more. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, I began crystallizing books as most of the objects I had been using were hard and I was interested in seeing the effect of the crystal growth on porous, malleable objects. The malleability and transformation of soft paper into rigid sculptures, along with the cultural significance of the object, provided the material combination I found most successful out of all the objects I had crystallized.

I’ve recently explored using crystal growth with window screen and other mesh fabric. The crystals provide material contrast and structure for sculptures and installations that explore optically-active moire patterns.

There are interesting references to various laborious tasks - a martha stewart guide, java script. Utilitarian modes of doing things both masked by these crystals… any thoughts on that?

A lot of time making art includes repetitive, laborious tasks, often on things that appear quite simple, but I didn’t intend that as commentary, other than to provide aesthetics and new purpose to otherwise obsolete objects. Many of the more utilitarian titles were selected for their lack of contemporary relevance as a book, like out of date software manuals. My husband had a good collection of unwanted software manuals for me to use and, not surprisingly, it is the most commonly discarded type of book I come across in San Francisco.


Last gallery show you went to?

Mik Gaspay / George Pfau and Tom Comitta / Elisabeth Atjay at Alter Space in San Francisco


Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.

The places I’ve lived and traveled to, as well as my communities from different places have influenced my practice both consciously and unconsciously. It would be difficult to isolate my history and my present from my work. Regarding the literal elements, I feel pretty influenced by the nature around me, from geologic formations to California sunshine/light. My time in the Bay Area has had the most profound influence on me as an artist, through grad school, a large community of artists, a strong, but navigable art scene, location in both an urban setting and access to an amazing array of nature, and even financial challenges that push creative solutions.

 

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

It’s hard to pick just one, but a recent Peter Alexander exhibition at Parrasch Heijnen was incredibly inspirational and satisfying to see in person. I love his exploration and celebration of material, simplicity of form, use of color, harnessing of light, and visceral impact. His work is bold yet minimal, timeless, but contemporary - not easy things to achieve and good goals to have. I have been exploring visual perception through light and space in cast resin and other materials, and seeing his work in person made me excited to continue with a greater consideration to minimalism.


Best gift you’ve ever received?

The love and support of my husband. Education and experience up there as well.


What is your favorite quote?

I can’t say I have a favorite quote, but here’s one I came across recently and enjoyed: “Art is about taking the risk of engaging in something somewhat ridiculous and irrational simply because you need to get a closer look at it, you simply need to break it open to see what’s inside.” - Teresita Fernandez

 

What country do you wish to visit?

So, so many on the list. I don’t think it’s going to happen this year, but we’ve been talking about a trip to Chile over winter. Hiking through the Torres del Paine is something I’ve wanted to do for years, and I’ve never been to South America. I would be happy to go elsewhere is South America, and pretty much anywhere with glaciers, volcanoes, basalt columns, or other fascinating geology. I have long wanted to go to Japan, Madagascar, and Italy and would return to Iceland, New Zealand, or Mexico, among other places I’ve travelled, in a heartbeat.


Tell us about where your community now, is there a strong community of artists there?

I have communities in different places from moving around a bit and others dispersing themselves. My main art community is in the Bay Area, many people I know from grad school or other art-related things. The community is strong, supportive, diverse, and intimate without being insular.

What makes you nervous?

Speaking in front of an audience.


What makes you laugh no matter what? 

My dog.

What's one accomplishment you're most proud of? 

My work going in the special collections of SFMOMA.



What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Maybe moving to Spain on my own at 23. I don’t think i’m the bravest person.


What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a piece?

If an idea comes before material, I search for the right materials to achieve what I’m envisioning. If the idea comes from specific materials, I start experimenting and making test pieces, which evolves the idea through the process. I make sketches, small paintings, or computer mock-ups on occasion.

 

What work took you the longest to complete?

I tend to not track my hours as I don’t really want to see them totaled. Most recently, considering solo and two-person shows as a single body of work, I spent a while on the work included at State (San Francisco) and Napa Valley Museum this summer, as well as last summer at En Em Art Space (Sacramento). Crystallizing a 40-volume encyclopedia installation cascading from shelves, as well as a large collection of books for Bergdorf Goodman in 2014, are two more extensive crystallization projects that come to mind, along with a large, storefront installation of 40+ crystallized bike wheels and painted u-locks.  


Tell us about some of your favorite artists.

The list of artists I like that I keep on my phone is quite long. Some inclusions are Lynda Bengalis, David Ireland, Larry Bell, Thaddeus Wolfe, Ron Nagle, Samantha Bittman, Paul Wackers, Alyson Shotz, Casey Gray, Tara Donovan, Pierre Huyghe, Andy Vogt, Randy Colosky, Diana Al-Hadid, Ivan Seal, Hilda Hellstrom, etc. Of the artists on Tappan, I love the paintings of my dear friend, Anna Valdez, and have been enjoying Kelsey Shultis’s work, among others.


What’s one habit you wish you could break?

I would love to be less of a picky eater and curb my excessive sweet tooth.


Who was your favorite teacher in school?

Another question where I feel it’s difficult to choose just one as I feel fortunate to have had a lot of wonderful teachers throughout my education. My art teachers have been the most influential, including my high school mentor, the art faculty at my undergrad, Kenyon College, and several professors from grad school at San Francisco Art Institute.


What's one thing you still have from your childhood? 

My collection of Garbage Pail Kids


What's one thing you've always wanted to try but you've been too scared to do?

Sky diving - I wasn’t always too scared to do it, but may be now.

What else are you working on right now?

I have lots of pieces underway at the moment, including new works and variations in some of my series-based sculptures. Materials I am currently exploring include concrete, resin, iridescent and holographic films, screen, hydrocal plaster, pigment, spray paint, optical glass, and more. Much of the work underway addresses visual perception, light, and space through works that alter optically. While I’ve been dealing with perception in my work for a little while, I’ve recently started having scintillating scotoma visual migraines, which has furthered my interest in perception on a neurological level.

A fun, slightly different project I am currently working on is a collaborative work with my elementary school students for an exhibition in November.


When do you make your best work?

Late morning to early evening hours with reasonable deadlines and just the right amount of coffee.


Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

Both depending on the project, material, and method.


Is art making therapeutic for you?

Yes, and a physical workout too, though I wouldn’t mind if concrete and large quantities of water weren’t so heavy. There is plenty of stress, often self-imposed, in my art making, but this can motivate me and I wouldn’t do it if the stress outweighed the mental reward in the long run.

What motivates you?

A desire to see my ideas come to existence, innate impulses, a need to create, get dirty, have my hands on materials, experiment, seeing others interact with my work, deadlines, travel, other artists, etc.


What’s your studio philosophy?

Experiment a lot and don’t be afraid to make things that feel like mistakes. Challenge myself. Keep things varied. Make a mess often and clean occasionally.

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

As many as possible. I teach part time and spend more time working on the computer than I would like, but try to maintain a full-time studio practice. I tend to work in the studio from late morning (10 or 11 to early evening (around 7), but I have a home studio in my garage, so it is easy to go in at all hours and varied intervals depending on projects.


Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

A mix, lots of npr, some podcasts, music - last three albums played in the studio were Alabama Shakes - Sound and Color, Etta James - At Last, Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city


Any advice to aspiring artists?

Be prepared to put a lot of work into being an artist, which doesn’t just mean making art. Build a community. You don’t have to always know why you are making what you’re making. Don’t get dissuaded too easily but also maintain healthy expectations. It’s better to be surprised than disappointed.

What’s next?

Studio time! After back to back two-person shows this summer, I am happy to have time to be in the studio developing a bunch of new projects and completing works in limbo. I am beginning a public commission for a clinic in Antioch, CA, and also have work in a few upcoming group shows in the Bay Area.

Explore Alexis' work on her artist page. 

Jean Nagai | An Interview
studio visits

Jean Nagai | An Interview

This week we introduce Jean Nagai to Tappan. Based in Olympia, Washington, Jean creates intricate paintings that exude transcendental themes rooted in cultural explorations and connecting to our higher self. We asked Jean some questions about his work and what has influenced his practice. Read our interview with him below. 

Describe your work in 3 words.

Celestial, landscape, worship.

 

Tell us a little bit about this series of paintings on Tappan?

This series is a continuation of some concepts I’ve been exploring in my work for a while now.  Essentially, I’m trying to describe my relationship as a physical being to the spiritual universe; i.e. using physical materials to describe something immaterial.

 

Each piece tells such a unique story and your dot placement seems so strategized. Tell us about how you make these decisions, what inspires you. Do you see an overarching theme before completing a piece, or do you figure it out as you go along?

I believe I work as intuitively as possible, and that’s because while I can identify the germ of an idea and then be able to innately grasp when the piece has finished, I deliberately allow the work I do in between those moments up to meditative, hypnotic determination.  For example, I might take a walk and notice a cloud or a leaf and forget the literal shape of what I saw, only to see it gradually reemerge after I’ve spent a lot of time alone with a painting.

 

What is the history and inspiration behind using the blue? Tell us about that.

Blue is the void, blue is the sky, and blue is seas. These elements are all important to me and to think about as a living being on this planet. I am also fascinated with indigo and its universal application and magnetic appeal, but especially in Japanese textile.   Probably the most important encounter I had with the potential of the color blue happened one summer when I went to the  Yves Klein Museum in Nice, France and got immersed in IKB (International Klein Blue), which of course reflects how Klein felt such a compelling attraction to blue that he was obsessively driven to mix his own unique shade and claim it as his own work of art onto itself.  Furthermore on the Klein thread, I’ve come to realize over time that I have an affinity to French culture—it probably started when my parents deliberately gave me a French name.  By the same token, Yves Klein cultivated his own obsession with Japanese art and culture (he had a black belt in Judo), and it could easily be said that Japanese prints inspired the Art Nouveau movement—people didn’t really understand what it meant to flatten an image before they saw those.

 

Last gallery show you went to?

I just went to the History of Indigo Dye show at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. There was so much inspiring work there!  I definitely felt a kinship with many of the artists, whom I believe were using the inherently mysterious and elusive quality of indigo to try to establish a personal connection to nature or the spiritual world; a connection many of us have lost to creatively neutering modes of thought, like pop culture and religion.

 

Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.

I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life, and the cities here are fine, a decent mixture of nature and urban. But I used to spend my summers working up in Alaska and the landscape and the vastness of the sky there has influenced me significantly in terms of scale. My first year working up there was on a sight seeing boat and we would spend all day every day cruising through this incredibly massive fjord—it would take at least three hours if not more just to cross it once.  And so, our comparatively tiny boat would glide down this pass, surrounded by whales and porpoises and seals raising their pups, and on either side of the divide you would see waterfalls streaming majestically down thousands of feet of sheer rock.  Then at the end of the fjord you find the thing that carved this incredible path through the land in the first place, and it’s a 400 ft glacier—easily half a mile long.  And on top of that we’d spend the rest of the day watching this ancient glacier fall apart, and sometimes pillars of ice the size of skyscrapers would splinter off into the ocean. 

Once in awhile, the entire face of the glacier would come down at once and that is probably the most beautiful, awe-inspiringly destructive act I have ever seen, and I witnessed it with my own eyes.  And you know, just as a postscript, and it goes without saying, but when you can conjure anything on the internet these days, experiencing authentically clandestine moments like that make them all the more precious and sacred.    

 

Best gift you’ve ever received?

Having a deep connection to humans and animals. That’s love.

 

What is your favorite quote?

“listen”- Jon Hendriks

 

What country do you wish to visit?

I’d love to visit Bali one day to hear people play the gamelan.

 

Tell us about your community, is there a strong community of artists there?

These days my peer community is mostly web based. I live in Olympia and this is mainly a  rock n roll boogie town and there aren’t too many artists my age here I connect with.  However there is an established artistic community in Olympia led almost exclusively by older women, and their careers and passion are a constant source of inspiration to me.  I consider many of them mentors, I hope the feeling is mutual.

 

What makes you nervous?

The government and corporations who work together to trick the public into thinking that muslims or blacks or other marginalized people are the problem in the world when its them who are perpetuating this fear and  destroying this planet and creating disease and poverty for the rest of us.

 

What makes you laugh no matter what? 

My own self deprecating  jokes.

 

What's one accomplishment you're most proud of?

Keeping my dog Reggie alive for 8 years.

 

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Hugging a person I despise.

 

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

There are so many good artists out there. I have always been inspired by my friend, Dana Dart Mclean, I’m always baffled and inspired  by her simple and poetic gestures of paint or  a piece of scrap paper becomes art. We have jokes for each other and I like to call her “poor Matisse” based on a dream I had where she transformed an entire house into a work of art using the slightest everyday materials, but these days I think she is more of a “sunny Duchamp” in her practice of art. 

 

What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a piece?

I crudely sketch it out on a piece of paper and then I slowly recreate that drawing on a canvas. The sketch is extremely vague and generally focused on movement, so a lot of dashes.  It goes to follow that the finished piece doesn’t resemble the sketch much but I enjoy the process of trying to lose control over something I never had control over in the first place.

 

What work took you the longest to complete?

I made a large drawing (40”x60”) that I started in 2007 and didn’t complete it until 2012? I took many breaks, but it I spent hundreds of hours on that drawing. It’s called “American Dreamer” and I gave it to my partner.

 

Tell us about some of your favorite artists.

The usual suspects, the classics.  I love  Yayoi Kusama, and Geogia O’keefe’s early work, Helen Frankenhaler, and Robert Morris. Isamu Noguchi, and  I also love Matisse and Monet. I also like Barry Mcgee and Howard Finster.  As far as contemporary artists, I really like my friends who have a practice of focussing on their ideas. Some names I can think of right now are Brent Wadden, Alexander Tovborg, and Alex Heilbron, Louise Despont,  Michael Swaney. There are so many artists out there and I’m really not very informed on contemporary artists.

 

What’s one habit you wish you could break?

Not being present in the moment.

 

Who was your favorite teacher in school?

I had a photography teacher named John Wesley. He was in many ways my first art teacher and he introduced me to contemporary artists like Duane Michaels, Robert Frank and Harry Callahan.

 

What's one thing you still have from your childhood?

I have a hook yarn rug of a polar bear that my mother made.

 

What's one thing you've always wanted to try but you've been too scared to do?

Live in a big city.

 

What else are you working on right now?

Right now, I am working on a book and making a kite. 

 

When do you make your best work?

I make my best work when I am feeling loose and focused.

 

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

I started using correctional fluid because many of my friends were using it to make flyers  and as a general artistic outlet, and I was looking for a medium that was clean and opaque and dried quickly. This was around the time the #blacklivesmatter movement  started and then I began thinking about American history and whiteness  and whiting out culture, also known as silencing of people of color.

 

Is art making therapeutic for you?

Yes, art making is therapeutic if I want it to be. Breathing fresh air, walking, and sharing meals with friends are also therapeutic activities.

 

What motivates you?

For most of my youth, I helped my parents run a little cafe.  They worked excruciatingly long hours every single day, for years.  And they fucking hated it.  To me it feels like a huge privilege to be making art as an occupation.  If I’m going to be an artist the least I can do is work as hard as they did.

 

What’s your studio philosophy?

Keep it clean, keep it fun,  pain is part of life but not forever, and I can’t be satisfied until I’ve proven to myself that I did something worthwhile that day.

 

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

I spend about 50 to 70 hours a week in the studio.

 

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

I love listening to something with a beat. That sound that has been around forever. . House or techno. Been listening to much more  jazz  and classical these days. lt all depends  on my mood. I like silence too. I do enjoy the gentle repetition of the record spinning quietly.

 

Any advice to aspiring artists?

I really think that we should believe in ourselves—partly because if you’re not bravely committing yourself you won’t be doing your best work, so why bother?  That being said, also there is a whole incredible world around us so be aware of how you interact with it.

 

What’s next? 

I will be working on some larger scale work and I’d like to paint some more murals.This past year, I helped paint a few murals based on Leonard Peltier’s paintings to raise awareness of his wrongful imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. 

 

Explore Jean's collection on Tappan here. 

 

Ilka Kramer | Studio Visit
studio visits

Ilka Kramer | Studio Visit

We are excited to welcome Ilka Kramer to the Tappan family. We immediately fell in love with her photography, work that gracefully distorts our sense of perception of space while implementing beautiful, neutral colors. Her juxtaposition of nature, architecture and human presence is so conversational and explorative, we asked Ilka to talk more about her process and how she conceived of such unique perspectives. 

Read our interview below.

Describe your work in 3 words.

Composing- Space - Connection.

Tell us a little bit about this series MalaNazar?

 

 

MalaNazar is a name I invented, to mark a new way of working, more conceptual than before. I liked the mystery sound of it, but I ignored what it could mean.

This year, on a trip to India while photographing modernist architecture, an Indian architect told me that in Hindi, Nazar means the look/vision, and Mala is a name for a necklace. So the vision hanging around my neck, which is a quiet nice and poetic description for my camera.

  

 

 

 

 

MalaNazar questions our perception of space. Normally we don't pay much attention to the zone around us, we react to objects or persons, but we are not aware about the open space in between them and ourselves. And yet, without this sort of 'emptiness' there wouldn't be any movement, or transformation, no distance, no view, no possibility of connection. Space is a condition of life.  In my work I'm interested in this space as a possibility to relay something we are all part of. The consciousness of our body as a space by itself in connection with the space around it, and therefor in communication with everything else, can create a strong spiritual experience.

My work is inspired by architecture and theater as a possibility of creating space, and I'm much interested in the relation between artificial, man-made architecture and nature as an understanding of the place of man on earth. As well, one of the most challenging aspects about photography for me, is the question how to transform a 3 dimensional space into a 2 dimensional surface.

 

Where do you source your materials? Tell us about the process: Deciding on your composition, setting the stage, shooting the work.

Very much influenced by architecture, I get inspiration for my pictures from buildings of, for example LeCorbusier, Tadao Ando, Peter Zumthor, Louis Kahn, Doshi… I do very free adaption of these buildings in small models of paperboards, and cover the surfaces with prints of wall-pictures. These models I photograph either in my studio or outside in nature.

 

What does photography do for you? What are you striving for through this series?

I'm very much concerned about the perception of space, in my work as well as in my daily life. In meditation, the awareness of space can bring me here and now, and is a strong, intensive feeling. By creating pictures about the notion of space and working intensely, sometimes I arrive to the same state of presence, and this is just a wonderful feeling, which I'm looking for, always.

 

Some of the work clearly engages the viewer in the presence of nature; other images are abstracted, nearly spliced moments of white and black - tell us about these differences among certain works, and is there a particular order to the series?

The series is as well about our relation with nature, and the loss of it in our modern times. I want to show that we are more and more separated from nature, and sometimes even loose the total consciousness of it.

We built our own individual concepts of life, but are less and less connected to a wide, stronger energy, which lies for me in nature. So sometimes there is no nature left and we seem to be in a complete inward situation, in other images we can have a look on nature, but are separated from it physically.

In a time where we lose direct contact with nature, we accede to it only by the view. In a car or train, in houses and protected by architecture, nature is 'framed' and perceived like an image, invites to contemplation, but isn't any more a physical experience. There is no special order to the series, but some of them work very well together as diptych or in small series of 3 or 4.

 

Last gallery show you went to?

Some days ago in Berlin the exhibition 'nature and politics' by Thomas Struth, where he explores how human ambition and imagination become spatial, objective reality. The impressive spaces photographed, and the immense sizes of the prints. allowed a strong and physical interaction with the work, very impressive.

 

Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.

I would rather speak about places, I lived downtown in big cities as well as isolated in nature. Having a morning coffee in a sunny, silent garden, walking barefooted through wet grass, gives you another starting condition for work than sitting in an apartment with noise down on the street and a grey, rainy sky above. But the one or the other way I'm inspired to think about our relation to nature, which is one of my main themes.

 

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

James Turrell, 'We eat light, drink it in through our skins. With a little more exposure to light, you feel part of things physically. I like feeling the power of light and space physically because then you can order it materially. Seeing is a very sensuous act-there's a sweet deliciousness to feeling yourself see something.'

 

What is your favorite quote?

I have a lot, the quote of the moment : 'We borrow from nature the space upon which we build.' - Tadao Ando

 

What country do you wish to visit?

Japan, to experience the Japanese gardens.

 

Tell us about where you live now.

Since 3 years I live in Lausanne, Switzerland. A rather small city but with a strong cultural activity, a lot of festivals, an unique museum of 'art brut' and very good theaters. Nature is close, I see the Swiss mountains from my apartment and swim in the lake of Geneva each day in summer.

 

What makes you laugh no matter what? 

Spontaneous dancing moments with my 11 year old daughter and our cats.

 

What's one accomplishment you're most proud of?

I think it is very difficult to be free from social and political influence, opinions, expectations, but very important in order to create a personal creative work. So I'm always proud of myself when I have the feeling that I act according my own convictions, beliefs, desires.

 

What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a photograph?

I feel excited and should have a cold beer, and I always have a sketchbook with me where I note first ideas and do sketches of possible photographs.

 

What work took you the longest to complete?

When I lived in the south of France, I started a work about the relationship of children towards nature. It was a side project on which I worked for several years and I finally accomplished it in form of a book this summer.

In all,  it took me 7 years, and I realized that it is a heavy weight to work on a project by periods over a long distance, to keep on a good energy and to be able to come to an end. Now I would rather work intensely on only one project and go through it until I have the feeling I have come to an end.

 

Tell us about some of your favorite artists.

Abstract painting is the art to which I react strongly, I love the work of for example Pierre Soulages, Nicolas de Stael, Poliakof, Sam Francis, Lee Ufan, Marc Rothko.

 

What's one thing you still have from your childhood?

As a child I lived 5 years in Istanbul, Turkey, and found on a beach a skull of a stork, recently an artist friend gave it a gold coating and it hangs as a beautiful object in my studio.

 

What's one thing you've always wanted to try but you've been too scared to do?

Abstract painting, but one day I'll be ready!

 

What else are you working on right now?

I work on a series about modernist architecture. I take pictures of buildings of LeCorbusier, Louis Kahn, Doshi…and I decompose the architectural forms by projecting them on other architectural paperforms and re-photographing them.

 

 

 

 

When do you make your best work?

When I'm in a kind of work flow, where my ideas, the materials I use but as well improvisations or unexpected elements from outside, create a strong energy.

 

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

There is always the idea/the concept first, and then a whole process of finding a way/solution/expression to it by experimenting with different materials/light/perspectives/objects.

 

Is art making therapeutic for you?

I wouldn't name it therapeutic, because I don't feel a need for therapy, but a long time in my studio, emerged in an exciting process of creation, gives me a strong feeling of satisfaction and happiness, which surely is very healthy. As well when I work in nature, in the mountains for example, being by myself in a creating process as well as in a splendid nature, I feel very connected to the one whole, and never feel lonely neither.

 

What motivates you?

Good ideas which give me the urge and energy to realize them.

 

What’s your studio philosophy?

Leave the mess and don't clean up before the picture is not finished.

 

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

Routine is something I'm very afraid of, so I can't tell because it differs from week to week, and depends of my creating energy.

 

 

 

Any advice to aspiring artists?

Everything can be useful to inspire ones' work, even if we don't link it in a first degree.

 

What’s next?

Keep on exploring space.

 

Explore Ilka's MalaNazar series here. 

Satsuki Shibuya | An Interview
studio visits

Satsuki Shibuya | An Interview

This week we sat down with artist Satsuki Shibuya to talk about her new works launching on Tappan this week and her practice as it continues to develop.

Simple in form, Satsuki's watercolors are representative of a meditative state of mind. Conscious of the movement, palette and tone in each work, Satsuki perfectly coalesces her medium and her mindset, creating paintings that exude a calmness, a state of existence that one can truly get lost in.

Satsuki discussed her special gift of synesthesia with us, a heightened sense that ultimately led her to convey feeling and emotion through her watercolor paintings.  

 

Tell us about this series of work?

These new pieces continue to explore the dimensions between the seen and unseen worlds, depicting subjects such as energies, emotions, auras, dreams, and everyday nuances which may slip by us as we rush through each waking moment.

 

We've briefly discussed your gift of synesthesia before and how it has influenced you to create. How do you define synesthesia? There is certainly a dictionary definition, but what a personal and unique experience! Tell us about what is means to you, and your early experience of realizing you possessed a special gift.

For myself, synesthesia comes in a variety of forms, some closer to the definition and others, not so orthodox. If more inline with mainstream understanding, I associate sounds with colors, or more specifically, certain sound waves as colors. It is a combination of the sound tone, mixed with a sensory connection to the vibration felt throughout the body which produces an association with a particular color. 

Ever since I was young, I would feel the world around me, noticing the simplest of details, like a leaf falling from a tree on the side of the freeway, while peering out the window sitting in traffic. I would not only see this happening, but feel the leaf, swaying side to side, floating down onto the ground. It would mesmerize me as all senses were being tantalized by this one moment. 

I remember one day riding in the car with a friend and pointing out a beautiful autumn colored leaf which was green not too long ago, sharing thoughts about the seasonal change, only to receive a reply of, “What the heck are you talking about? You’re so weird, Satsuki.” ’Til this day, those words ripple within, once associated with a stabbing reality of being different, is now a fond memory, coupled with a chuckle and thankful for the deep connection I experience through this “gift”.

 

Is the affect of synesthesia a constant one? How have you managed to "live with it?" 

It is a constant one in a sense that if I visit a densely populated area or find myself surrounded by multiple sound sources, it can get quite overwhelming quickly and therefore need to either do some preparation work prior to entering the environment or find quiet time afterwards to recharge. Sometimes, if it affects the body heavily, I will end up feeling ill for a few days.

Before, it felt out of my control as I was not aware of what was happening, but finding out more about my condition and the way in which the body, mind, and spirit interact with the outside world, I am able to better harmonize with my surroundings, and through it, transmute the experiences into my work.

Living with synesthesia certainly inspired a slew of creativity in you - did you begin with watercolor or were you at first finding other creative ways of discovering and communicating your gift?
As I was not quite aware of this “gift” until 2011, after a sudden illness, I never really took into consideration having it a part of what I do, but by the time I discovered watercolor, through receiving messages to paint, it was very much a guided decision, watercolor being the medium best suited in expressing the unseen words experienced into a tangible form of communication with others.

 

Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.

I’ve never had the opportunity (yet) to live in another city except the City of Angeles, but I have always been deeply influenced by my parent’s homeland, Japan, whether it is the philosophy of Buddhism or the architecture of Kyoto. When I first began painting, there was never an intention to create in a particular style or genre, but was intrigued when others, who graciously shared my work, would refer to it having hints of Japanese culture. Being second generation Japanese-America, I have always felt neither here nor there, but in the middle, and sense that this is what comes through in my work.

 

Last gallery show you went to?

The last gallery show I attended was of Shio Kusaka at Blum and Poe in Los Angeles. I was not familiar with the artist prior to attending the show, but immediately mesmerized by Kusaka’s world. Each piece was imperfect in the most perfect way, lending a sense of warmth and familiarity, reminding myself of the wonderment experienced during childhood. Having studied and connecting with ceramics at a young age, it enforced my love for objects that are both beautiful and functional.

 

Tell us about the best studio visit you’ve had.

I must admit, I am quite a hermit and have not visited many studios, but one which continues to linger is of a letterpress studio in Silverlake: Presshaus. Owned and operated by Kristine Arellano, the idea of having a large, expansive working studio in the same compounds of the main house continues to be a dream as I deeply enjoy working from home. Quiet and nestled in the hills, it was an ideal setting, hearing only the sounds of the press machine and smells of freshly, cut paper. My business cards are a collaboration between Kristine and myself and feel truly grateful to call this amazing designer a friend. (http://presshausla.com/#/satsuki-shibuya/)

 

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone who’s work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

Agnes Martin. When I first came across her work, the distinction was instantaneous. All the cells in my body danced — I knew I was in the presence of something beyond just a beautiful piece of art. After reading more about her life, her philosophy towards painting, and perspectives, it was clear why I felt a connection.

 

Best gift you’ve ever received?

The thoughts behind a $100 bill gifted from my parents when I was in 5th grade. I had never seen a real $100 bill before and always dreamed of having one to call my own. The bill itself was not so much meaningful as was the gesture behind the gift. At the time, we were struggling financially and although they were not able to afford many things, my parents were about to scrounge together what they had to create this bill. I had it for one month, looking at it everyday in disbelief, which was stashed away in a birthday card, with a special message that read, “... we know it’s been one of your dreams to have a $100 and now you have one to call you own. Here’s to many more dreams fulfilled. ” Unfortunately, the following month, while tearing, my parents asked if they could borrow it, but for myself, there were no tears for the thought behind the gift was worth a lifetime’s worth of $100 bills. Through this experience, ‘til this day, I feel the most expensive gift I receive from loved ones are cards.

 

What is your favorite quote?

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." - Aristotle

What country do you wish to visit?

I have yet to visit Denmark, specifically Copenhagen, but my heart is still somewhere in between London and Kyoto.

 

What makes you laugh no matter what?

Anything my husband does. It’s not so much a laugh, but a tickle, knowing that someone in this world, just by their pure existence, can bring so much joy into life.

 

What's one accomplishment you're most proud of?

I’m not sure if proud would be the right way of describing this feeling, but it is of not giving up on finding my life purpose, no matter what others may say or do. It is not easy as judgement seems to be of second nature to us all, but something inside continued to push on and I am thankful for if it were not for this inner knowing, I would not be who I am today.

 

What’s one habit you wish you could break.

Sleeping late. I always try to sleep before midnight, as I feel completely off the next day if resting any later, and yet, the mind continues to explore and before I know it, it’s 1am or even 2am! For some, that may still be considered early, but for a morning bird like myself, it’s a constant struggle between knowing what is good for myself and satiating my curiosity.

 

Who was your favorite teacher in art school?

This is a tough one. Could I share two? Hands down, my favorite teachers in art school were illustrator J.T. Steiny and type designer Greg Lindy. Two completely different types of professors and yet full of intensity in their specific fields, I remember being inspired in every class and continue to have the utmost respect for them.

 

What's one thing you still have from your childhood?

My sense of direction. I’m sure I get it from my father, but if I visit a place once, sometime twice, I will never forget how to get there again. It’s funny as I had the hardest time in school remembering historical figures, names, mathematical equations, chemistry elements, but maps and directions? I was and am the queen.

 

When do you make your best work?

When I am well rested, feel balanced and grounded through yoga, meditation, reading, writing, and eat a whole foods diet. All things that I am sure make any human body feel good, but for myself, with painting being such a physical practice, the mind, body, spirit balance has to be in tune with the Earth and Universe to create the best work possible.

 

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

It is definitely the method that dictates the material or the philosophy that dictates the method that dictates the material. Without the conscious and higher self as my guide, I would be like a boat, without a compass, aimlessly floating out at sea.

 

Is art making therapeutic for you?
Yes. A spiritual practice.

 

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

The same. Only, painting larger pieces, perhaps.

 

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

Somewhere out in nature. Either in Scandinavia or Japan.

 

Did you grow up around other creative people?

My father being a french chef, was constantly talking about the importance of being immersed in beautiful things, even if you might not know what they mean. He spoke about a man he looked up to during his years in London, who would tell him to go visit museums and art galleries, to be surrounded by art. He explained that he grown up in a rural farm village and knew nothing about art, nor was interested, as he wanted to learn how to cook. The gentleman informed him that he was learning about art, the art of cooking. Many years later, my father finally understood what he was talking about — that beauty is not always something to comprehend, but something to be felt, to move us emotionally, something we can experience not only through the mind, but through our hearts, our being. There is something in art, the use of colors, the markings, the white space, the composition which heightens our understanding of the relationships in our material world. I continue to apply this philosophy, both in work work and life.

 

What motivates you?

To be a catalyst of love, peace, and harmony through art and words, where we can all live, appreciate, and honor one another for who we are and the life we have been given.

 

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

Silence when writing, sound when painting. If sound, some artists on my current playlist are: Tearnote, PawPaw, Sonicbrat, Pascal, Coeur de Pirate, CHARA, Arashi, Mika Nakashima, Park Jung Hyung, Bebel Gilberto, haruka nakamura, Les Nubians, Wild Nothing, Ryuichi Sakamoto.

 

Any advice to aspiring artists?

You may feel a need to have a unique voice, but it takes years, if not more, to find and even then, it may slip away as fast as it came into focus. There is no need to rush, for the journey is where you will find the pieces to the puzzle, when you least expect.

Jameson Magrogan | Studio Visit
studio visits

Jameson Magrogan | Studio Visit

We are excited to introduce Jameson Magrogan to Tappan. Magrogan is a painter from Baltimore who received his BFA in Painting from MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) in 2014. He currently lives and works in Baltimore. We sat down with Jameson to learn a little more about him and his practice. 

Tell us about this series of work?

This work is about trying to make an honest picture. I’m considering what it means for images or moments to share space within a picture plane, and I’ve been thinking a lot about craft and how it relates to a personal value structure.

I’ve been looking at a lot of still life painting recently. 

When did you start calling yourself an artist?

I’ve never really called myself an artist. Sometimes, I say I’m a painter, in the same way I’m a coffee drinker, because that's what I spend much of my time doing.

Tell us about the arts community in Baltimore? How has it changed since you graduated from MICA?

The arts community in Baltimore is amazing, I think it's a really exciting time to be here as an artist making work. There are lots of inspiring people doing great things. I can barely keep up with all of the private creative ventures.

Tell us about your studio practice?

I work best when I get to the studio early in the morning. I listen to Terry Gross or Diane Rehm on the drive and while I’m getting started. Once I get going I don’t listen to anything.

I generally work on one thing at a time, never more than two.  My studio practice relies on getting as many hours in the studio as i can and doesn’t always revolve around producing a huge amount.  It’s a lot of standing around.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

For me, the method tends to be the idea in my work. The material is just a preference.

Do you find art-making therapeutic?

Sure, it's a major part of my routine.

What are you most proud of?

Probably my work ethic.

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

Grace Hartigan

What motivates you?

Anxiety about not making anything.

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to?

Pierre Bonnard.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

Yes.

What's one thing you've always wanted to try but you've been too scared to do?

Encaustics and ceramics. 

What’s the coolest thing in your room?

Art from my friends.

Last gallery show you went to? How was it?

MICA undergrad commencement exhibition. That show is always impressive.

What else are you working on right now?

I’m working with a friend on creating a mixed use space for artists near Baltimore’s former “Superblock”.

What’s next?

Next, making more work.

Explore Jameson's Collection 

Kelsey Schultis | Studio Visit
studio visits

Kelsey Schultis | Studio Visit

We are excited to launch new paintings by Detroit-based artist Kelsey Shultis. Shultis studied at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague, Czech Republic and received her BFA with honors from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design. She works predominately in oil paint, exploring the life of objects and environments and their transition to disorder and termination. 

Tell us about this series of work?

I’m doing a lot of works on paper and I just started weaving. They’re all sketches or studies for paintings.

I have a bad habit of overworking larger canvases. I tend to, or at least lately, have been working them into the ground trying to make them perfect, or to find their perfect state. I know intellectually that this is impossible, but it gets a hold of me sometimes when I’m working and I can’t drop it.

So, these smaller works on paper are a necessary respite for me at the moment, and I think will be a necessary tool for me forever. They get me out of my head and into my head at the same time… Helps me cut through the thinking bullshit and get to the heart of the idea or feeling.

Sometimes it is hard for me to understand smaller works, but I am so much enjoying doing these. I can’t overwork them. Well - that’s not true; I can and I do sometimes, but something about them limits my obsessive revisions and allows me to enjoy everything as it is...t see potential and nix the perfectionism.

 

Where do you source your materials?

I like children’s books, old fairy tale illustrations, chromo-lithographs, daguerrotypes, garden books, old photo albums.

I take a lot of crappy photos myself and use those for reference quite a bit. I’ve got a few thousand photos of moss, still doesn’t seem like enough. I took another 75 this morning. 

 

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone who’s work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days? 

Oh boy, there are quite a few more than one. But I’m completely infatuated with Allison Schulnik. I mean, she’s done it. She is it. The thing. I’m so totally in awe and in love with her work. She herself, I imagine, is a painting.

Sometimes, or maybe most of the time, all I want to do is apprentice for her. Unpaid internship, whatever.

 

What country do you wish to visit?

Ireland.   

 

What motivates you to create?

To find my most honest voice and self through painting.

What makes you laugh no matter what? 

The radio show Car Talk. I love it.


What's something you will not be doing in 10 years?

Snoozing, I hope. I’ve got a terrible sleeping habit.

 

 

 What's one thing you still have from your childhood? 

Fairy Winkles (They’re tiny little forest fairies with sparkles)

 

When do you make your best work?

Late morning/early afternoon.  Anytime after 11 I guess. It takes me forever to wake up. Hence the snoozing problem. 

 

Is art making therapeutic for you?

Sometimes, except when I feel like a complete fraudulent good for nothing never amount to anything won’t have another good idea for the rest of my stupid idiot.

 

Did you grow up around other creative people?

My dad is an architect, otherwise no, not really.

 

What are your other hobbies?

Boxing and dancing and making anything in general, any craft anytime. And aspiring to be a back yard mechanic. 

 

What’s next for you?

I’m going to Sweden to paint for a few weeks.

Explore Kelsey's available work. 

 

 

Introducing Michael DeSutter
studio visits

Introducing Michael DeSutter

Tappan is excited to welcome Brooklyn-based artist Michael DeSutter to our roster! Michael creates intricate collages derived from archives of vintage magazine and book clippings. Each piece is unique in shape and color, and despite the numerous sources from which each collage comes, he manages to make each work feel unified and communicative. We love getting lost in these collages, and loved getting to know Michael even more in our interview with him. 

Describe your work in 3 words.

Flip. Clip. Paste.

 

Tell us a little bit about this series on Tappan?

This current series is the result of my last several years. During that time, I didn't allow myself to fully explore abstraction in the way I wanted; it often felt difficult to relate to. Most of my early pieces had abstract elements but were always grounded with a recognizable character.

This series is about embracing abstraction and the beauty of movement in formal elements of recognizable source material.

 

Last gallery show you went to?

I recently went to see Martin Creed at the Park Avenue Armory. I really appreciate the breadth of his conceptual work, and the humor.

 

Best gift you’ve ever received?

The countless sketch pads my mom got for me when I was growing up. As long as I can remember, I always had a pad with empty pages to fill with drawings. Oh, that’s why I like to make books!

 

What is your favorite quote?

I don’t know if I can choose just one, but these three resonate with me:

"Derive happiness from yourself, from a good day’s work, from the clearing that it makes in the fog that surrounds us." - Henri Matisse

“I photograph continuously, often without a good idea or strong feelings. During this time the photos are nearly all poor but I believe they develop my seeing and help later on in other photos.” -Harry Callahan

"Large thoughts depend more heavily on small thoughts then you might think" - Nicholson Baker (Size of Thoughts)

 

What country do you wish to visit?

After watching Heima, a 2007 documentary about Sigur Rós’ tour around remote parts of Iceland, I knew I had to go there. Nine years has passed since that realization, but I’m finally making the trip in December—braving the cold to see the Northern Lights.

 

What makes you laugh no matter what?

My girlfriend’s rapping. We met on a dating app, and one of the lines in her bio that got my attention was “…rap music, rapping at karaoke, rapping in the shower…” It never fails to make me laugh.

 

What's one accomplishment you're most proud of?

In sixth grade, I won a $50 savings bond for getting the highest score on a US history test given by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

 

What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a piece?

I just start clipping. It’s always served me well to actually explore an idea versus overthink it. There’s only one way to find out.

 

Tell us about some of your favorite artists.

My background is in photography and graphic design, so many of my overall artistic influences stem from those disciplines. The brash, raw expression of Robert Frank in a time when America wanted things sugar-coated. The formal elements of László Moholy-Nagy’s work and the way he challenged me to look at things from a different vantage point. Robert Rauschenberg, who wasn’t worried about how archival his work was; he needed to express himself. And Hannah Hoch, wow!

 

What’s one habit you wish you could break?

I recently stopped biting my nails…

 

Who was your favorite teacher in school?

My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Bauerband. She was really passionate about what she taught and it was infectious.

 

What's one thing you still have from your childhood?

So many things. They live in a few Tupperware containers in the corner of my studio.

 

What else are you working on right now?

Fabric sculpting. I’ve starting playing with draping and hardening fabrics to create some of the same movements I clip from fashion magazines.

 

When do you make your best work?

I make my best work after taking time out to cut clippings from magazines, so I don’t have to search for specific pieces after I’ve started the composition phase.

 

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

In my my mind, it’s purely method. I see formal lines in each clipping and connect them according to these lines. It doesn’t matter if it’s new or old material, photographic or comic illustrations, I take the same approach.

 

Is art making therapeutic for you?

Of course, yes!

 

What motivates you?

A physical need to create something everyday.

 

What’s your studio philosophy?

I have one rule: I don’t clean up at the end of the day. Why have a studio if I have to straighten up after I’m done working? 

 

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

Music is usually the first thing I turn on when I arrive at my studio. For the last year or so, I primarily listen to Rap Caviar on Spotify, or some days I listen to Grime.

 

Any advice to aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to get started, even if you don’t know the perfect method for exploring that thing inside you.

 

What’s next?

Bigger.

Explore Michael's collage works 

Alison Cooley | A New Series & Studio Visit
studio visits

Alison Cooley | A New Series & Studio Visit

We're excited to launch a new series of gorgeous paintings by artist Alison Cooley.

We got some insight into Alison's practice, what influences her and a little context into the intriguing title behind the new series "chirographs." Read our interview with Alison and explore her new paintings. 

 

We're excited about this new series of paintings! Tell us a little bit about these new works you’ve been creating, what's the story? 

I’ve always been attracted to drawing and marking in painting. In my latest work, I’m creating a kind of written visual language that’s my own but is open to interpretation by the viewer. It’s like a “secret language” that I create in line, form and tone that I want people to read in their own way.

I’ve been looking at artists who use molten glass on paper (pyrography) and at the same time realized I was making my own “ancient language.” I love the sound of the word “chirograph” which refers to the study of writing by hand (chiro-) and also to medieval contracts. My own chirographs are language markings that are a two-way contract with the viewer.

 

Last gallery show you went to?

“Unfinished” at the Met Breuer.

 

Tell us about the best studio visit you’ve had.

In London an art history professor came to my studio and said “You don’t know what you’re painting now but you will in the future.” I wasn’t sure what he meant at the time, but I have a better idea now. It’s the esoteric idea that you know your future self now. Painting is my way of arriving at a place where I already am.

 

Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.

I think my painting is a mirror to a lot of issues that I experience navigating the world. I’m very tactile, and also am hyper-sensitive to texture and smell. Living in London, I had this explosion of awareness of what you might call “personal climate” - the aura and weather of people’s skin and how everyone has an original atmosphere around them, like a fingerprint. I grew up in Washington, DC and have indelible memories of the dragging, almost New Orleans-like murk of summer weather. On Nantucket, I was like a bird in the wild, more expansive but equally tuned in to shifting air, light, and sea. Now I think I’m merging all of these experiences into my own language, and being much more ok with letting it be my own, not “translated.”

 

Best gift you’ve ever received?

My child.

 

What is your favorite quote?

“All my smooth body” - the ghost in Hamlet.

 

What country do you wish to visit?

Norway.

 

What makes you laugh no matter what? 

Keyboard Cat

 

Whats the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a painting?

Build a new playlist to create a gateway. Since I often work in a series, I edit and change the playlist as I move from one piece to the next.  In a way I am developing a soundtrack to my process, an audible experience that echoes and inspires the work. 

 

What work took you the longest to complete?

In this series, Chirograph 6.

Tell us about some of your favorite artists.

Recently I saw Cecily Brown speak at the National Gallery of Art and I loved hearing about how referencing the past informs her paintings.  Her sources included a wide reaching range of artists including Goya, Hogarth, Bruegel, among others.  Continuity is a such a big theme for me and “quoting” from the past is an intriguing and rich part of process.  I draw from so many different places — Nathan Oliveira, John Singer Sargent, Bernini, Miro.

 

What’s one habit you wish you could break.

Meandering through Pinterest before I go to sleep.

 

Who was your favorite teacher in art school?

Eve Aschheim at Sarah Lawrence.

 

What does creativity mean to you? 

Being radically open to your senses and experiences.

 

What's something you can't do? 

It’s weird, but I am awful at opening small packages so I have dozens of pairs of scissors around my studio and kitchen to snip open bags, boxes and cases. I’ll even cut an avocado with scissors.

 

What's the most adventurous thing you've done? 

Pack up my family and move overseas.

 

 

What's one thing you've always wanted to try but you've been too scared to do?

Take flying lessons.

 

What else are you working on right now?

A series of work on handmade Turner grey paper and some large drawings on lacquered board.

 

When do you make your best work? 

In the morning after a long walk outside.

 

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

Method…I cycle through materials — pens, ink, oil sticks — I love, devour, and learn from my materials and move on to the next.

 

Is art making therapeutic for you?

Yes, It’s essential for me and a key part of how I experience the world.

 

What are you most proud of?

Always finding the discipline and space to paint….even in really, really, really small apartments.

 

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Painting gigantic, expansive paintings that allow my language to tell multiple tales.

 

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

St. Petersburg, Russia.

 

Did you grow up around other creative people?

Yes, I grew up in Washington DC and we spent a lot of time in museums as kids.  Maybe more importantly, I am from a family of voracious readers, so I was introduced to the transformative experience of losing yourself in a book — someone else’s world and language — at an early age.  My family joke about book hangovers — the feeling that once you finish a truly moving book, you can’t shake it for a few days.

 

What are your other hobbies?

Yoga, reading, music.

 

What motivates you?

The fact that as an artist you can live in a magical reality for the hours you are working and creating.

 

What’s your studio philosophy?

Just show up and work.

 

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

30-40 hrs.

 

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

Music is intertwined with my work, when I’m not painting, I am engaged in making playlists and discovering music that might take me on a new voyage.  Back in the day, I made some masterpiece mix tapes which I still have even though I don’t have a tape player.

 

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

Heat or wax.

Any advice to aspiring artists?

You are your best self and worst enemy in the studio…find the space right on the edge and go with it.

 

What’s next?

We’ll see!

 

Explore Alison's new series of paintings 

Anna Ayeroff | An Interview about Her Process
studio visits

Anna Ayeroff | An Interview about Her Process

August 2016 

Anna Ayeroff has been traveling a lot recently, exploring the desert and the open road as she continues to broaden her practice. Read our interview with her and learn more about her work, the thought behind her unique photography, and developing process. 

Tell us about this series of work?

This series of photographic experiments come from an ongoing project called Land/Light/Longitude. About 7 years ago, I started taking solo road trips to Utah to photograph the ruins of the Jewish farm colony where my Grandfather was born. In taking these trips, I began to explore the surrounding landscape and became enamored with it. This series of works reflects my devotion to this landscape, to these mountains, and seeks to find answers to the question “How do I move mountains?”

What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a piece?

I write. My sketchbooks aren’t drawing based. They’re text based. So if you open them it’s just a bunch of chicken scratch. And maybe a sloppy diagram here or there.

These images are so beautiful and crisp, could you tell us about your developing process? 

I process my film with a non-toxic developer made from coffee and vitamin C. Caffenol. This is a process rich with flaws. My film is streaked with stains. Scan it and the image is brightly colored, the scanner software strangely interpreting light as nearly neon, contemporary. Printing in the darkroom with caffenol as the developer, stains the paper coffee colored, dating it. I use cyanotypes to make prints with sunlight, time making marks upon chemistry as the sun shifts overhead.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

Yes, my mother was trained as an architect and my father was a creative director in the music industry. Both are artists in their own right. My sister is also very creative. We grew up with creative parents and their creative friends. I feel forever grateful to have been and still be surrounded by creative people.

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone who’s work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

I have a strong connection to Agnes Martin’s work. The repetition. The precision. The flaws. Her work speaks loudly to me.

Tell us about the best studio visit you’ve had.

Before I transferred to art school, I attended a summer studio program in France. I was making paintings at the time and there was a clear divide in the work - some were highly conceptual and language based and others were almost purely formal and intuitive. A visiting artist did studio visits with us. He didn’t know me or my work at all but came in and offered just a few words. ‘You need to figure out a way to bring these two ways of making together. You can’t do both and neither is strong enough on its own. Bring them together.’ It crushed me. But it was a perfect critique. And 10 years later, almost every project I work on, I still ask myself, ‘did I bring them together?’

Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice?

I went to college in New York for 2 years straight out of high school. I was unhappy there for many reasons but one was that I felt constantly claustrophobic. I longed for the horizon line. That longing helped inform a lot about my practice today.

What work took you the longest to complete?

I’m still working on a book project I started in 2014. I’m about halfway done. I am tracing specific letters, from every page of “Moving the Mountain” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Can you describe an experience you felt most nervous?

I have had a few moments on the road when I don’t have cell phone reception and I haven’t seen another car for many many miles and I’m driving through a mountain pass or down into a quiet valley and I get really nervous. Feeling that isolated. Alone. But then I surrender to it. And it turns into exhilaration.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

My initial answer is solo travel but I realize the most brave act I’ve taken was to put down my dog of 5 years who got very sick very unexpectedly. She was my best friend. She was my sidekick. And the second I knew she was suffering, the answer was very clear to me. It was right. I felt so strong in knowing that, even when feeling such immense loss.

What is your favorite quote?

"Art is important because it changes people's consciousness. And changing people's consciousness changes the world." -Mike Kelley

Best gift you’ve ever received?

For my 18th birthday, my parents gave me a first edition copy of my favorite book, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. It is one of my most treasured possessions.

What makes you laugh no matter what?

Dancing… and my dog

 

Revisiting Heather Day in the Studio
studio visits

Revisiting Heather Day in the Studio

August 2016 

We sat down with artist Heather Day, who has had an incredibly exciting year of exhibitions, new projects and collaborations. Read our interview with Heather and learn about her recent works, what helps make her tick, and the person behind her beautiful paintings and sculptures.  

Tell us a little bit about these new works you’ve been creating.

During my artist residency in Joshua Tree, CA. I spent two weeks painting and exploring the desert. The extreme heat and arid textures affected my work and sparked, "Objects In My Pocket," the first paintings of a series that plays with shapes as representation of architecture and everyday objects and compares them to abstract motions in nature. 

I created a second series titled, “Stacks At Home,” after returning home from the residency in Joshua Tree. By then, I was back in my studio in Oakland, surrounded by the deep blues of the Bay area. I was painting prolifically at this time and became fascinated by the shapes formed from stacks of canvas in the studio, which ultimately inspired me to paint this series.

Last gallery show you went to?

I was in New York a few weeks ago for a sculpture installation in Central Park with Athen B. Gallery and spent the majority of my time there interacting with people and painting on-site. Although I didn’t have much free time, I made an effort to spend a day at the MoMA - a building that gets the gears turning in my head about how art and space intersect. It’s interesting how we use space as a medium to express our thoughts, especially when the space holding art, is also art.

Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.

Absolutely, being able to live and work in San Francisco has unquestionably influenced my work. From the atmosphere of my neighborhood to being surrounded by the ocean, textures and color, especially shades of blue, have infiltrated my work, both on a conscious and subconscious level. My art is largely centered on expressing emotions, thoughts, and stories encountered during my travels; I’m currently primarily focused on nature and how it feels so alien to be both a human animal connected to the environment and a human being that dwells in a city.

photo credit: @heatherdayart 

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone whose work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

Both Dutch-American painter Willem de Kooning and his contemporary Jackson Pollock have been unquestionable inspirations.  Influenced by post-WWII America, their work was more than abstract expressionism, it was also about the physical energy and strength needed to create. While I was at the MoMA a few weeks ago, I stopped in front of one of Pollock’s paintings and just felt starstruck. I see exertion and sheer movement when I see his works- which I can relate to not only as an abstract artist, but also as an artist who uses the body as a creative tool.

A huge part of my process involves physical strength. I’ll pick up the canvas and let gravity push the water around. I walk and stretch and pour. Paint and water get everywhere, and clean up requires a mop and rag.

Best gift you’ve ever received?

When I was in high school my mom gave me a De Kooning book that my art teacher recommended - marking the beginning of my art book collection. Art books, in a way, become art themselves. They are collections of beautiful works that become portals of exploration into the lives and opuses of artists. They’re also interior design elements that welcome and celebrate creative development. I love to see them around my home and my friends homes representing a portal into our lives.

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote depends on my mood, but I recently read a quote by Frank Lloyd Wright that said, “The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” I love that. I think I’m getting better at having different perspectives as an artist and a human. I’m looking more closely, but also remembering to take a step back.

What country do you want to visit?

Iceland. Hopefully soon! I’m curious about the the interplay between the colors and textures of nature and the people of such a geologically and geographically unique place. I think Iceland would inspire me in many different directions.

Can you describe an experience you felt most nervous?

Public speaking challenges me. I’ve spoken publicly twice in the past five months, and I think I’m improving.  I recently gave a talk at the Gensler Architecture firm in San Francisco and felt nervous until about halfway through; I found myself warming up and feeling more comfortable after that point. By the end, there were many questions, and seeing how deeply engaged my audience was gave me another boost of confidence. It also made me wonder if talks should start off with questions. Why not get to know your audience before speaking to hone in on what’s important? It would also give me a second to calm my nerves!

What makes you laugh no matter what? 

I have a solid group of friends in San Francisco that I can always count on for a pick-me-up. My friends are Tina Fey meets Chris Rock witty, and it’s hilarious. When we’re together, I’m always laughing.

What's one accomplishment you're most proud of? 

I just moved into my own live/work space in San Francisco. Before that, I had a studio in Oakland and an apartment with three roommates in San Francisco. The first morning I woke up in the new space I thought, “This is wonderful. I will never take this for granted.” I’ve been working towards this independence for a long time, and it feels good when hard work pays off.

photo credit: @heatherdayart

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Last year I drove from San Francisco to Washington D.C. and back on a solo camping and painting trip to create a new body of work inspired by observing nature. I found traveling alone to be both terrifying and liberating; it challenged my motivations and my sense of independence. Each night, when I tucked myself into my tent I wondered, “Why do I keep putting myself in these situations?” It was dark, and there was nothing but forest sounds to keep me company.

These sounds affected me deeply. As I tuned in and listened, my imagination took over. I began to wonder what texture or color they represented. What kind of energy did I want to translate from my hand to the paper? In the morning, inspired by these questions, I drew and painted my interpretations onto paper. It was clear that I had made a the right decision in taking the solo trip.

What’s the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a painting?

I tend to avoid thinking in terms of formulas when it comes to my process. If a repeating pattern forms, I take a step back and reconsider. I feel that art shouldn’t be about shortcuts or cookie-cutter products, and I frequently ask myself if I’m pushing concepts or themes far enough.

Lately, my ideas have formed while traveling. I record recipes for particular colors and compositions in my sketchbooks or on large sheets of paper I can travel with. When I’m back in the studio, sometimes I revisit what I created, or I start fresh on a large canvas and try to build on the new vocabulary of color and mark making from the trip.  

What work took you the longest to complete?

This is a hard question to answer. I view all of my works like pages in a book. Each series is like a chapter or maybe even a novel. Many people find this surprising, but all my paintings act as sketches. Each forms the basis for new paintings. I take what I learn from one and move to the next piece. Nothing is ever planned or premeditated. The story builds as I travel and learn through painting. While one piece may have taken a week, I most likely painted ten paintings previously, just to get to the right place to create the next page. In theory, all of my paintings are pages; some take longer to write than others.

Tell us about some of your favorite artists.

I’m currently interested in the work of Katharina Grosse, Sam Gilliam, Portia Zvavahera, Richard Tuttle, and Helen Frankenthaler. I also recently started reading poetry by Dorothea Tanning, who’s also known for her surrealist paintings from the 1950’s.

What’s one habit you wish you could break?

I’m really hard on myself. When I’m not working, I feel as though I’m not being productive. That being said, I know that downtime is equally important! I’m still figuring out how to balance.

Who was your favorite teacher in art school?

Timothy App. He’s such an intimidating and cool guy that was good friends with Helen Frankenthaler. App has an intuitive sense of composition and can break down the concept of a painting quite simply to find its root. He taught me how to talk about art from a critical point without being offensive.

What does creativity mean to you? 

Quite honestly, it’s one of my least favorite words. Perhaps Pinterest ruined it, but I think it can be overused or taken for granted. I think we need another word added to the English language that encompasses “inspire, pursue, create.”

What's one thing you still have from your childhood? 

My easel. My parents gifted it to my sister when I was in second grade. It was passed to me when her interest in art waned.

What's one thing you've always wanted to try but you've been too scared to do?

Scuba diving. I’m obsessed with the ocean and love everything blue, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of relying on an oxygen tank for breathing.

What else are you working on right now?

Currently,  I am working on a fine dining concept, called “Studio Table,” that unites art and cuisine. It began as a way to lessen the high costs of living and working as an artist in San Francisco, but then quickly evolved into a much larger project with a goal of bringing people together to share ideas.

Once a month fourteen guests are personally invited to come together in my live/work studio space for a five-course dinner prepared by renowned chef, Ben Roche. Each dinner is centered on a different, thought-provoking theme. The dinners will challenge the expectations of social gatherings and connect ideas and people.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

I suppose both material and method dictate my process of creating, depending on what message I want to translate into a piece of art. I like to keep experimenting and continuing to explore what challenges me and how far I can push myself.

Is art making therapeutic for you?

Yes, art is therapeutic. It’s a form of expression that doesn’t require verbal communication. Art gives me sense of confidence and security. Another way art is therapeutic is how it makes you a part of a community of artists who support you. You’re never alone.

What motivates you?

As a child art came easily to me. It was a way I could make sense of the world, and it was equally as important as any vital organ. Becoming an artist as an adult was organic and natural. Therefore, when when people ask me what motivates me to make art, I feel a little bewildered and I end up asking them, “Well, what motivates you to breathe?”

What’s your studio philosophy?

My studio philosophy is simply to get started, to make the first mark that begins the journey.

I begin paintings with a quick mark. A blank canvas is very intimidating, so the faster I can make a mark and get moving, the smoother things go. From there, every mark is a reaction to the previous. Sometimes, I scrape paint across the canvas, or pour buckets of water and watch what happens. It’s all an experiment in manipulation.

 

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

I am interested in pursuing more sculptural art, even going as far as architecture.  I’m really interested in how art can be integrated into everyday life. I believe one of those ways is through architecture. A collaboration with an architect would be a dream-come-true for me. I would love to push the envelope on how we view space, line, and texture on a large scale.

Any advice to aspiring artists?

I would say to keep moving, keeping trying, and be brave. I would also say not to put too much pressure on your art to feed you. When your art is ready to support you full time, then you’ll know. But, until then, let art be the best part-time job you ever had.

What’s next?

I’m going to continue exploring the themes in my current work. Nature, self-expression, and the idea that most things are completely out of our hands are sources of vulnerability that inspire me. As an artist I’ve found a deep parallel between being vulnerable and the creative process. There has to be a little fear and a little security. The process of creation is a vulnerable one, and feeling vulnerable allows creation. I find myself perpetually seeking balance on the canvas—from uncontrollable moments of making rapid marks or pouring paint to logistical controlled marks. I’m ready to see what’s next.

 Explore Heather's Collection

Claire Oswalt | A Visit in the Studio
studio visits

Claire Oswalt | A Visit in the Studio

Austin-based artist Claire Oswalt works in various disciplines – drawing, painting, and sculpture.  After two years designing textiles with a fellow artist, she wanted to return artisanship and craft to her daily life in the studio. Oswalt began working antithetically to her older, rigorous and representational work, redirecting the discipline towards minimal, watercolor compositions, relying on “the energy behind quick decisions, and the ruthlessness to pair the work down to the essential.” She seeks to juxtapose spontaneity with restraint, dynamic with static, until reaching a harmonious form, largely worked over yet clear in its intention to never show it. 

We're excited to revisit Claire and hear her thoughts on her creation process, who she admires and what keeps her going. 

Tell us a little bit about this new works you’ve been creating. Where do you source your materials?

I am constantly working towards a sense of harmony. It could be harmony in a design sense, or it could be one of very personal thoughts and feelings, but regardless, the work holds a precious process within it. Even beneath the clean outer layers you can see my struggle beneath. The process is everything to me. I rarely sketch out a work beforehand, but in turn choose to discover it in the process. That’s the joy and the self-discovery of what we do as artists.

There is a sense of personal relief that I aim to match on paper.

Photo credit Claire Oswalt 

Have the cities you’ve lived in influenced your practice? If so, tell us a bit about that, and what elements in particular steered you in certain directions.

LA gave me courage, New York gave me humility, and Austin, so far, is offering me a set of blinders to keep my focus directed solely toward work and improving my process.

Tell us about the best studio visit you’ve had.

The best visit was probably the hardest one as well. I may have been 25 and I had a professor from the Yale School of Art come for a visit. While talking about my work he specifically brought to light the parts of the work where I had the most insecurity. It was if he was calling me out for not listening to my gut and putting in more work where it was needed. It was the beginning of my understanding that there was a small but decisive voice inside of me that would guide me if I just trusted it.

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone who’s work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

Sophie Tauber-Arp. She inspires in so many different ways - to crossover into another discipline, to merge design with art, to not allow the trends and sensibilities of the art world dictate the direction of my work. She was a badass of her time who went about things her own way.

What's one accomplishment you're most proud of? 

Taking a momentary break from art to make quilts and other textiles with a dear artist friend of mine. Little did I know it would build my personal voice and largely inform my work.

Best gift you’ve ever received?

Hard to say, but a recent one that comes to mind is a “float” in a sensory deprivation tank. Totally unique and wild.

Last gallery show you went to?

The Goya exhibit at the Blanton. That’s a museum, does that count?

What is your favorite quote?

My friend Andrew Zuckerman interviewed Chuck Close where Close said “inspiration is for amateurs”. I relate to this so much. Art is work just like anything else. You have to show up every day and go through the process for anything worthwhile to emerge.

Photo credit Claire Oswalt 

What countries are on your travel list?

I like extremes and I like a physical adventure, so where does that put me? In Africa perhaps? Climbing Mr. Kilamajaro? My husband and I have big plans to climb, dive, and trek all over the world, but right now we’re busy with the little guys at home.

Can you describe an experience you felt most nervous?

The first time I went scuba diving at night, I felt extremely overexcited and nervous. Descending into dark water, as a stranger in a foreign world, with little more than a small flashlight wrapped around your wrist and a limited source of oxygen will surely alter your perspective.  It was like descending into a parallel dimension. Totally wild.  Intellectually, you know that underwater world  exists perpetually, but you’re not completely and viscerally aware of it at night.  All the night crawlers are in plain view, out from behind the rocks. Spider crabs with long legs walked across the ocean floor like some sort of Martian rover. I thought it was spectacular to say the least.

What makes you laugh no matter what? 

My kid’s full blown belly laugh.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Leave a potential career in medicine for one in art.

Whats the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a painting?

Clear my mind.

What work took you the longest to complete?

In 2009 I built, The Speed of the Sound of Silence, a 6 ft tall wooden puppet that lived within an enclosed, see-through box.

Tell us about some of your favorite artists.

Sophie Tauber-Arp, Sonia Delaunay, Louise Bourgeois, Luc Tuymans, Ellsworth Kelly, Helen Frankenthaler, Milton Avery, Hockney, and the list goes on.


Photo credit Claire Oswalt 

What’s one habit you wish you could break.

The fact that I can’t think of one either makes me think that I am not very discerning, or that I am a saint.

What does creativity mean to you?

Committing to a process long enough to watch the fragile bud of an idea grow, wind, and expand into a new one.

What's something you can't do? 

Whistle.

What's the most adventurous thing you've done? 

Hiked straight across the entire country of Spain with no more than a backpack.

What's one thing you still have from your childhood? 

My idealism.

Is art making therapeutic for you?

You have no idea. It’s akin to milking a cow. Without it you get all backed up.

What are you most proud of?

 That I can leap from being a mom, a wife, and an artist at any time and in no particular order.

What are your other hobbies?

I make ceramics, embroidery, and mobiles.

What’s your studio philosophy?

There are no philosophies nor rules in the studio other than to show up and to listen to my instinct.


Photo credit Claire Oswalt 

What else are you working on right now?

A zine with some Austin creatives.

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

I am dying to explore the paper in the bookbinding world.

 Photo credit Claire Oswalt 

 

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Matt Ross | Studio Visit
studio visits

Matt Ross | Studio Visit

When did you start calling yourself an artist?

To be honest, even to this day I feel like the term “artist” is thrown around so often that its definition has so many meanings that are relative to each person who uses the word.  I try to say that I’m a painter or a sculptor rather than an artist. For me, when I started to think about making art more often than not, I realized that I am on that track.   For example, these days I catch myself thinking about ideas constantly for new pieces and subject matter that I want to incorporate into a piece.  I recently started carrying a small notebook around with me to write down these ideas so I don’t forget them.  I think someone who is inherently an artist is one who lives their art; in a way, their existence is a piece and everything they do even if its subconscious is directed towards expanding and perfecting their method of creation and strengthening artistic identity.  I firmly believe that often, but not always, a true artist is someone who does not use the term [artist] lightly as many of them are plagued by their gift as well as blessed by it. 

When do you make your best work?

At night and often in the presence of the people I love and trust the most.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea or the other way around?

I would say the material I’m using directs the style of the piece, but overall I really don’t think too much and rely on instinct rather than a method.  

Is art making therapeutic for you?

Extremely so.  I feel my strongest sense of self and identity when I’m painting or building something.

What are you most proud of?

The fact that my paintings will hang in this world long after I die.

 Artist whose career you covet?

Cy Twombly, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, JMB, Dash Snow.

 What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Spending more time in nature, having multiple studios in my favorite cities and traveling all over the world making and selling my art.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

Somewhere in Bali maybe, or a remote mountain community.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

My mother is a painter and was always encouraged me to be creative.  I grew up in a very creative community that was originally founded as an artist colony. I was envious of my peers in high school who had the balls to make art with no agenda other than pure enjoyment.

What are your other hobbies?

I love carpentry and welding, and old clothing. I love old Harley choppers, cars, tattoos, surfing, and skiing. Hiking, camping and being in nature, too.

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

The late, great Dash Snow who I admire dearly and am highly inspired by. Rest In Peace.

What influences you?

My environment influences me, learning more about my craft and the people that have pushed it to where it is today.

What motivates you?

Strengthening my artistic identity. Wanting more and having whatever that want is to be completely obtainable. 

What’s your studio philosophy?

I try and do one thing that I’m truly proud of even if it’s a 1 inch by 1 inch smudge within a painting I’m working on.  Productivity is definitely not measured in quantity or time spent in my studio.

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

I try and go every night for 3-4 hours but it fluctuates.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

Sound. R&B, Classical piano, or Jazz or Punk, or Rock.

Favorite art­-making tools?

Things that a kid loves! Oil pastels, oil sticks, make up sponges, pencils, crayons, chalk, charcoal.

Any mediums you’re dying to experiment with in the studio?

I want to weld all day long, build metal canvases, and oxidize the material in my style.

I want to work with human skulls.

What’s next?

I want to paint bigger and bigger and more and more.  The day that I am simultaneously working on ten 8X10’ pieces is the day I will feel that I am at where I want to be and have more work and inspiration than I could ever imagine. 

Kate Drewniak | Studio Visit
studio visits

Kate Drewniak | Studio Visit

We are thrilled to announce that Boston-based artist Kate Drewniak has joined the Tappan family. Debuting with a selection of beautiful, delicately constructed mixed media pieces, her work blurs the lines between painting, collage and sculpture, realizing textured compositions that remind us that beauty may be found in the most unassuming objects. Drewniak’s talent lies in the layering of these materials and in doing so, explores the nature of memory and decay, appropriating and giving new life to discarded objects.

We sat down to ask her a few questions about herself and her practice.

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

When did you start calling yourself an artist?

Once I had a dedicated studio and was making a cohesive body of work after graduating, it was a little easier for me to make that claim. I still struggle with it sometimes.

Whats the first thing you do when you get an idea for a piece?

I begin looking for my materials. I love searching through thrift stores and estate sales and getting to see a bunch of weird stuff along the way.

You studied painting, but when did you begin exploring with different media in your works? 

I studied painting in art school, but luckily I was encouraged to explore other media as well. I was doing a lot of sewing and experimented with making 3d forms out of fabric and sewing tea stained paper/forming it into installations and 3d pieces as well. I also started basic bookbinding and making my own sketchbooks with vintage book covers. I didn't want to waste the entire inside of the books, so I started trying to find ways to incorporate the paper into my art. It pretty much went full circle and I started sewing the paper together again.

When do you make your best work?

When I’m in the moment and not concerned about the end result.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea or the other way around?

It’s a little of both for me. My work is really intuitive and a lot of decisions are made during the process. I don’t always approach pieces with an exact plan of how they’ll turn out. Color is usually what’s most important to me. I start putting colors together that make sense to me and aim for a certain feeling or aesthetic that joins the materials with my ideas.

I originally started using old books and discarded paper in my work because they were readily available and I loved the colors and text on them. I also make sketchbooks and boxes out of reclaimed books for fun, so I ended up with tons of paper leftover from those projects. My work has always been about exploring the nature of memory and decay, and these materials fit into that perfectly to me. I also like the idea of assigning new meaning to things that might otherwise be forgotten.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

I’ve always wanted to take a road trip across the US. I think it would be amazing to make art that’s inspired by all of the different landscapes across the country.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

I think my family had a big influence on my creativity. My parents aren’t artists, but they were always working on things around the house whether it was gardening or fixing cars or building things; they were always doing things with their hands. They always encouraged me to explore art and music.

What are your other hobbies?

I love bookbinding, sewing, bike rides, and ice cream.

What are your favorite art ­making tools in the studio?

My sewing machine, guillotine paper cutter, and my hot pink utility knife.

Favorite movie?

Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

What’s your studio philosophy?

I think it’s important to go to the studio whether or not you feel like it. Even if things aren’t working one day, just organizing things or seeing what my studio mates are up to can help inform what I’m doing.

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

Louise Bourgeois

What influences you and your work?

Everyday things, rusty cars, and factory buildings. Conversations with friends, and shadows in my house at night... 

What motivates you?

The feeling I get when I just finish a piece. Deadlines work too.

What is up next for you?

Keep making stuff.

 Drewniak received her BFA in Painting from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2010 and currently lives and works in Boston, MA. Learn more about her works on her Artist Page. 

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

Ali Beletic | Studio Visit
studio visits

Ali Beletic | Studio Visit

JUNE 2016

JOSHUA TREE, CA

Working in a variety of mediums, Ali Beletic is a conceptual artist whose diverse bodies of work reflect her connectedness to the earth and her desire to explore, simplify, and bring her viewers closer to the simple beauty of nature and its overwhelming power over us. Her practice hones in on a philosophical perspective regarding the human tradition of joy and celebration. Her work often draws on a wide variety of ancient symbols, narratives, materials, ancestral technology, art, medicine, architecture, ecology and mythology to help invoke some of these latent instincts and feelings.

Last month, Ali debuted a new collaborative series of Fire Bowls in our group show Dressed Up Normal. These works were created in collaboration with ceramicist Romy Northover. Aesthetically simple, these constructions are reflective of primitive methods, philosophies, technologies and artifacts. “There are so many ways of knowing and we are left only remnants,” says Beletic. “The series is intended to be in dialogue with the strong connection that runs through the endeavors of human beings and the many ways of knowing.” These new works mark a development in concept, departing from tradition and form, creating new works based on bringing these ancestral inspirations into the modern age. The Fire Bowls are intended as ceremonial objects for the purposes of holding small ceremonial fires.

With this mantra in mind, Ali presents this mineral series Dioptase, which hones in on a primitivist and archetypal perspective, choosing to work alongside the natural raw and rugged beauty of ancient technology, natural materials and mythological shapes. The intention of using raw minerals as pigment alongside these universal references to light, primitive survival, architecture & art, symbolism, natural shapes, mythological and storytelling from cultures throughout humanity’s history is intended to employ a Jungian archetypal celebration, hoping to bring to mind simple, beautiful, sensual responses and power which has been passed through generations.

“While working on several large-scale sculptural works in Arizona, I started the mineral painting series as a gallery-analogue to the work I was doing out in the field,” says Ali. “Painting with the mineral rich earth and hidden deposits beneath our feet with their intense array of color, beauty and innate worth was a way to bring my Earth Art Ceremonies into the gallery.”

Each mineral is selected carefully and crushed down to a fine powder to be used for its own natural beauty in color and intrinsic properties.


Dioptase was used as a decorative pigment on Pre-Pottery Neolithic sculptures dating back to about 7200 BC. The mineral valued as a precious gem was named for its unique crystalline structure and optic quality (Greek, Dia, “through and optos, “visible”). It has a unique perceptual quality due to its extremely high fire, however the fire is masked by its strong color, which makes the stones appear translucent, rather than transparent.

Katy Krantz | Studio Visit
studio visits

Katy Krantz | Studio Visit

JUNE 2016

LOS ANGELES, CA

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

When did you start calling yourself an artist?

After I finished college in 1998.  I started carving out studio time and figuring out the balance between my day job and my job as an artist. 

When do you make your best work?

I tend to work well with a deadline on the horizon.  Time constraints help me focus.  It’s tricky because too little time is a bad thing, but I think unlimited time can be problematic in its own way. 

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

My work generally grows from a physical process of making.  I let the materials and process inform the finished work.  That’s not to say that overarching themes aren’t at work as well, but the material is where the work begins.   

Is art making therapeutic for you?

Yes. 

What are you most proud of?

My ability to continue making my work despite being a mother to two small kids. 

Artist whose career you covet?

Sonia Delaunay, Alexander Girard, Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois— all artists who had long lives and worked with many different forms and materials over the span of their careers.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Well, my fantasy is to have a studio large enough to accommodate all the different facets of my practice.  I’d love to have a ceramics set up in one corner, a painting area in another and perhaps a place to place for textiles and fibers in another.  Then I could move from one area to another more seamlessly.  I also see using a space like this as a hub for workshops and get togethers with other artists.  Let’s see if I can realize this dream in five years!

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

A residency in a beautiful setting with some of my best artist friends.  I don’t think the place itself would matter as much as the interaction and dialogue with other artists.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

My mother is an artist and was an elementary school art teacher for many years.

What are your other hobbies?

Between making my work and raising my kids I have very little time for other activities.  However, I do love reading fiction. 

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

Jay DeFeo

What influences you?

So much.  Of course seeing art in galleries and museums is inspiring but I’m also influenced by a wide range of designers and illustrators.  I’ve found that I gravitate towards Japanese art and design.  I love a pared down mid century aesthetic, but I’m equally turned on by hyper baroque visual displays.

What motivates you?

After I had kids, I suddenly had to pay for my time in the studio in a very direct way.  Knowing that motivates me.

What’s your studio philosophy?

Just show up.

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

At the moment, 20.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

Definitely sound.  I listen to a lot of KCRW- sometimes their music programs and often NPR.

Favorite art-making tools?

Sumi ink brushes.  They’re cheap and make beautiful lines.

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

Ceramics is a discipline where there is always more to try.  On my list are photo transfers onto clay, paper clay and learning about cone 6 glazes. 

What’s next?

Right now, I am working on my first large scale ceramic mural.  Dealing with architecture and making an outdoor piece has opened me up to a whole new way of working.  I’ve learned a lot during the process and I’m already thinking about my next mural and how I will do things differently.  

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Alice Quaresma | Studio Visit
studio visits

Alice Quaresma | Studio Visit

LOS ANGELES, CA

JUNE 2016

We are excited to introduce Alice Quaresma to the Tappan Family. We asked her a few questions about her practice, what keeps her going, and what the future holds for her. Check out her responses below. 

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When did you start calling yourself an artist?

In 2009, after I graduated from my MFA at Pratt Institute in New York.

When do you make your best work?

I make my best work when I create pieces that have elements of surprise and reveal the process on its body. When I’m experiencing life at its fullest.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea or the other way around?

My curiosity on the idea of feeling “displaced” - not belonging to a specific place - encourages me to experiment with a diversity of materials and methods. I am interested in exploring playful ways to use geometry in my work...overlapping shapes and forms over my photographs and creating imaginary landscapes.

Is art making therapeutic for you?

It is fulfilling. Art allows me to experiment with the unknown, I am fascinated by things and places I don’t know or have never been. My artwork explores all the things that makes me feel vulnerable and allow me to find something new about life, society and myself.

What are you most proud of? 

I am proud of creating work that can take people to an imaginary land. Take people out of their reality for a minute, make them dream. Make them believe in something to come.

Artist whose career you covet? 

Sandra Cinto, Contemporary Brazilian artist. I admire the delicacy she brings into her work, her simplicity and professionalism. 

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

I see my photographs gaining sensorial qualities, being more experimental.

I see my work in a museum collection representing new approaches in photography.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

I would go on a boat trip from Indonesia to Fiji, I want to explore the Pacific Ocean. I am fascinated by the ocean and its void.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

No.

What are your other hobbies?

Sports.

Running, spinning, skateboarding…I need to do sports in order to be connected to my mind and body. It’s the moment of the day that I dedicate to myself.

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

I would have a drink with Uta Barth.

What influences you?

The ocean, or being in places that makes me feel uncomfortable. Or, when I visit places that bring nostalgic memories.

What motivates you?

Believing my artwork can change people’s mindset, even if just for a brief moment. 

What’s your studio philosophy?

Just keep working, trying…experience the present, the process of making my work is the most enriching part of my day.

“If things are not alright, it’s because yet is not the end, in the end everything is going to be alright” 

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

At least 40 hours, this is my full time job.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what? 

It depends. Lately, sound. I am very eclectic- I like something that agitates me:)

Favorite art-making tools?

Photo camera.

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

More experimental ways of framing or mounting my work. I am trying to create a surface that becomes part of the work.  

What’s next?

I have a few exhibitions scheduled for 2016 between US and Brazil.

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Daniel Fletcher | Studio Visit
studio visits

Daniel Fletcher | Studio Visit

LONDON, UK

JUNE 2016

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When did you start calling yourself an artist?

I think when I realised that the majority of my time was being being spent either physically making work or facilitating the production of new work. 

When do you make your best work?

I tend to work best under pressure and always like to keep a clear direction and goal even if these are self set. I work best in the evenings when I feel an urgency to make something of the day.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

I would always avoid either dictating the other, however the ideas behind my work hold a strong relationship to the processes which I work with.

Is art making therapeutic for you?

In the sense that I feel anxious if I haven’t been making then yes, it is therapeutic. I like to be able to be very focused on something. 

What are you most proud of?

I feel proud that I am able to support myself and my practice so early in my career.

Artist whose career you covet?

I admire many artists careers however I am very focused on doing my own thing and building my own career.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

I would love to be exhibiting regularly and making a living from my work. I run a printing & publishing press, Yucca Press, and have some big ideas for where I want to take it.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

I think it could be really interesting to do a residency in New York or LA. I'm always interested to spend more time in Europe making work - perhaps somewhere a little more tropical than London!

Did you grow up around other creative people?

I don’t come from a particularly creative family - both my parents are chefs - although I was always fully supported to pursue my own interests. When I first left home I moved to Cornwall to study on an Art Foundation course.This was a pivotal year for me which I spent surrounded by like minded people living and working together. A lot of my closest friends were met that year and many of us now live together in London.

What are your other hobbies?

Nothing wrong with a good drink!

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

It would have been great to have been able to talk to Patrick Heron in his later years.

What influences you?

I feel influenced in my work by contemporary British abstract painters - Roger Hilton, Albert Irvin, Howard Hodgkin to name a few.

What motivates you?

I am continually inspired and motivated by my peers. I think the bringing together of our practices will create a dynamic synergy, and I think there will be much excitement in the future for all of us.

What’s your studio philosophy?

My philosophy is to just keep making work. I am not always happy with the outcomes however I think the only way to progress and move forward is through mistakes.

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

It varies week to week but I aim to spend the majority of my time creating work either in the studio or print studio.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

I always listen to music when I work. Lately I have been listening a lot to this radio station called Balamii which is based where I live in Peckham.They support a lot of emerging music.

Favorite art-making tools?

I work a lot with screen printing. Lately I have been doing a residency based in an etching studio and so have been learning lots of new ways of making making marks. 

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

Really with my own work I am looking to drastically increase the scale. I am hoping to work with enamel inks onto canvas and aluminium panels. I have recently purchased an airbrush and am working on publishing a new book of drawings.

What’s next?

I have just moved into a new studio and will be beginning work on some new paintings and printed canvas panels.Towards the end of summer me and some of friends are putting on a show so I will be making work towards this.

I have lots planned for Yucca Press this year and will be plowing a lot of my energy into it. We will be working with some really exciting artists and I am looking forward to be able to share this later in the year. I will be launching Yucca Books as a platform for publishing the work of artists both here in the UK and abroad.

 

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Ignant x Ali Beletic
studio visits

Ignant x Ali Beletic

May 2016 

Ignant x Ali Beletic

Living and working in the Sonoran desert, Ali Beletic creates an experience allowing access to ancient emotions and latent instincts through her conceptual art instillations. 

From traditional gallery and field work to adventure-driven parties, Beletic’s intention is to evoke wild instincts within the context of the art world. And so the motives such as primeval rituals, vast natural spaces and liberating journeys carry throughout her work, inviting the viewers – or participants – to recreate the experience of their ancestors.

Speaking about her practice, the artist says: “My work deals with the rich history that humanity has in its past. I am constantly trying to create a space or experience where the modern art-goer can be reminded of their own ancestral history – most importantly on a visceral level.”

Photos courtesy of Ali Beletic 

IGNANT

ROSEMARIE AUBERSON | STUDIO VISIT
studio visits

ROSEMARIE AUBERSON | STUDIO VISIT

PARIS, FRANCE

MAY 2016

 

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When did you start calling yourself an artist?

Not yet! I am still too intimidated to call myself an artist, so it is always difficult to describe what I am doing. I tried a lot of things - graphic design, art direction, illustration. I still do these, but maybe my personal work caught me up.

When do you make your best work?

When I am alone. I cannot share a studio. I need to concentrate - completely free and alone.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

Always the material - its shape, colors, etc. Maybe the material is my method. But it's a very intuitive process, even if I have sometimes a strong idea in my mind of what I want to achieve in the end.

Is art making therapeutic for you?

It is something I need more and more. Maybe it allows me to express myself with no words.

What are you most proud of?

To see that I can persevere and that I can still learn [and] try something and evolve.

Artist whose career you covet?

I admire a lot of artists and their works, but it's impossible to compare myself to them in term of career.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Hopefully working more and more and exploring different techniques.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

An island in Sicily - the South of Italy.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

My mother is an artist too.

What are your other hobbies?

Photography. I like to take pictures but I am really into photographers works and books of photography.

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

They are so many! If I have to choose for today, it would be Blinky Palermo…

What influences you?

I try not to be influenced and to find my own way but I have many artists that inspire me. It's not totally the same thing.

What motivates you?

To realize that there are so many things to do and to explore! Learning everyday something new is a great motivation, in all areas.

What’s your studio philosophy?

I try to not feel guilty when nothing good happens, it will happen, later… I am trying to learn being more patient in the process and keep going.

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

It depends. I try to be disciplined, especially if I have no deadlines and when I am completely free. I try to work at least 7 hours a day but not during the weekend. But in another way, we are thinking and seeing things all the times, no matter the moment of the day, when we wake up, or sometimes when we watch a movie, etc. So life and work are never completely separated.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

Most of the time it is sound. Music is good to paint and draw, all kinds of music, but not too loud.

Favorite art-making tools?

Colors. Paper.

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

Very huge scale and lithography. And to decorate a wall for a building also. Not easy but it could be fun.

What’s next?

Keep going.

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MARTINET & TEXEREAU | STUDIO VISIT
studio visits

MARTINET & TEXEREAU | STUDIO VISIT

PARIS, FRANCE

MAY 2016

 

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Where did you two first meet?

We met at ENSAD (École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs) in Paris in 2006. We were in the same department: printed image. We started working together in 2009 and we graduated in 2010.

How does the process usually go? There are two of you making work together, what does that look like? 

We work exclusively together. We have no individual practice. Work in pairs, is more in the discussion phase than the drawing itself. Working with someone involves a lot of communication and sometimes compromises. We must be sure to be in perfect agreement before starting a drawing. It would not make sense for us to make one and then impose it on the other of us.. Practically, we never work on the same paper simultaneously. We have each a worktable. And we switch the drawings regularly to continue the work of the first one.

When do you two make your best work?

Although we are not really morning people. We are quite constant in achieving the drawing. And most of the time quite concentrated also. We loved being in residence in Norway. For us, that's when we made our best work. We were away from our lives that come often disturb our work when we are in Paris. Even our friends were absent, no more drinks only work. :)

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

Neither one nor the other. The method and medium are our way to work together in the exact same way. Our ideas are what we have to say and what affects us. They are quite independent. And indeed, they change at different rhythms ...

Is art making therapeutic for either of you?

Not really. Art is to express our ideas and our worldview. The drawing is the way we found to do it. What may be therapeutic, is to do it together. Somehow we create a third person behind we hide ourselves. We remove this link the artists may have with their works. 

What are you two most proud of? 

Of our determination to continue to do this job trying to get through the stages. We are proud of our sacrifices that allow our work to exist and evolve.

Artist whose career you both covet? 

We do not covet other careers. We hope that our career will grow. Offering us the privilege of continuing to do what we love and to have the freedom to make our choices.

What do you see yourselves doing in 5 years?

At the same place. still artists! With surprising projects, trips and meetings .

If you two could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

Japan and USA. We really like urban landscapes and it is interesting for us to apprehend different urban typologies.

Did you both grow up around other creative people?

Not at all. Our parents are teachers and doctors. Our families are very open to culture but none of them have artists.

What are your other hobbies?

Cooking. For lunch and on alternate days, one of us has to cook meal for the other one. This has become a real cooking competition. Otherwise Pauline do dance and Zoe do boxing and Tae Kwon Do. Our respective hobbies highlight our very different personalities ...

If you could both have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

We can start with Henri Cartier Bresson. His work is brilliant and He has crossed all the 20th century. He has to have hundreds of stories. And he speaks French, it will be an easy conversation. And then, We could invite Keith Haring for the second part. For his passion, his political commitment and his sense of partying.

What influences you two?

Mainly everything surrounding us and the everyday life. And also the work of many artists who have tackled the question of collection and contemplation such as: Hans-Peter Feldmann, Luc Tuymans, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Pierre Bonnard, Edward Hopper. 

What motivates you as a pair?

To show our drawings and talk about them. And know that people choose to buy and live with our work.

What’s your studio philosophy?

Work and Laugh

How many hours do you both try and work in the studio per week?

We have practically office hours. We are in the studio from Monday to Friday. We arrive around 10 am and we leave generally between 7 and 8pm. But that is changing somewhat from week to week depending on the projects ...

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

It depends. If we have to be focused, or discuss together...we turn off the music. Otherwise, we listen a lot of music while working; but it is not always very tasteful. So for reputation reason, maybe it is better to keep this secret. We watch a lot of documentaries and films also.

Favorite art-making tools?

The mechanical pencil. Because it is a regular tool. And it is an indispensable condition to work well together.

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

We would love developed our work on pattern. With weaving and textile printing. And so, confronting us to the color question...

 

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MATTHEW TRYGVE TUNG | STUDIO VISIT
studio visits

MATTHEW TRYGVE TUNG | STUDIO VISIT

NEW YORK, NY 

MAY 2016

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When did you start calling yourself an artist?

Making art has always been central part of my life—I’m not sure when I started calling myself an artist, but the act of creating has been a part of me for as long as I can remember

When do you make your best work?

When I’m working on drawings and paintings I work best at night after everyone has gone to bed. With pottery it’s the opposite, I work best in the morning or early afternoon when my mind is fresh and (relatively) uncluttered.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

Material and method are fairly intertwined with idea for me, they all serve each other to varying degrees.

Is art making therapeutic for you?

At its best, art making is extremely therapeutic and meditative for me; it is a way of quieting and focusing my mind, allowing me to get outside of myself and into the moment with whatever I am working on.

Artist whose career you covet?

Honestly, anyone who gets to spend all of their time making art and not worrying about day jobs!

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Continuing to make work, hopefully with a schedule that allows me to focus the majority of my working time on my own art.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

I would love to spend an extended period of time making art somewhere along the Pacific Coast, where I could hear and smell the ocean all day long.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

I was born and raised in San Francisco, which has always been an especially vibrant city, especially in those days before all of the tech companies moved in. My mom used to have her own small graphic and typesetting business back in the days when cut-and-paste were literal terms, involving razor blades and glue guns, and when computers served a minimal role. As a kid I spent a ton of time at her office drawing and playing with all of the tools she had there. Her job also put her on the periphery of a lot of other creative fields, so I had a fair share of exposure to different people making different things.

I also spent a lot of time with my dad at job-sites he worked on as a painting contractor, which was pretty far removed from an traditional sense of the creative world, but actually taught me a lot about how to look and see. His work involved an incredible amount of attention to detail, as well as the big picture, and he would always ask me to serve as an extra set of eyes when he brought me along. We also spent a lot of time in paint and hardware stores, and to this day I can still lose myself in a display of paint color swatches.

What are your other hobbies?

Long meandering walks, typically with my camera.

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

I think Saul Leiter would have been an interesting guy to have a drink with before he passed away—he had a fascinating approach to art, fame, beauty, and looking at the world.

What influences you?

Patterns, prints, architecture—the deliberate and the incidental. I spend a lot of time just looking and absorbing, whether it be on my way to work or down some internet rabbit-hole. The more you look, the more you see.

What’s your studio philosophy?

Enjoy what you’re doing and don’t overthink it.

Avoid thinking of art-making as “work.”

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

My primary studio has been in my apartment since 2012, initially by necessity, but eventually by choice. I like having my work and the ability to work right there in my home. As a result the time I spend making art is very integrated into my home-life. I don’t set off to the studio at a designated time and spend x-number of hours there, instead I work on things whenever the time or inspiration crop-up. This has been especially valuable since my Daughter was born last year—I get most of my drawing and painting done after everyone else is in bed. I do work in a separate communal studio for my pottery, though, and I try to get over there as often as possible.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

I can go either way. I’ll usually start out listening to some podcasts to keep me company, but often end up working in silence once I’m absorbed in the work.

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

I would love to experiment with making my own paints from raw pigment, and perhaps playing with some textile dyes.

What’s next?

Keep on making art.

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Jeff Kraus | Collage Process
studio visits

Jeff Kraus | Collage Process

GRAND RAPIDS, MI 

APRIL 2016

 

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Jeff Kraus is a painter, printmaker and collaborative artist predominantly known for his large-scale paintings. Exhibiting selections from two developing bodies of work; Kraus’ language is one of traditional symbolism and iconography, realizing minimal collages and ethereal, nearly enigmatic works on panel. His collage series, Adelante, explores our relationship to object, and our ability to delegate new meaning and structure. “The colors and scratches of these intaglio cuttings had a different meaning not long ago. The conditions that first created these marks are already gone; what place can the remnants presently hold? Though removed and replanted, the pieces of each collage are not isolated. The compositions employ order and hierarchy, each a specific, intentional structure and a home for new meaning.

The Adelante series is a reinvestigation of a body of work created in 2011.  Using the same treasure box of scraps and tear offs, a culmination of 4 years or printmaking, Kraus wanted to investigate new compositions and visual hierarchy.  It is exciting to see certain elements repeat themselves 5 years later, while the at the same time offer an endless wealth of mystery. 

 

Emily Knecht for Loeffler Randall
studio visits

Emily Knecht for Loeffler Randall

March 30, 2016 

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PHOTOGRAPHER EMILY KNECHT FINDS CONSTANT INSPIRATION IN EXPLORING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A WOMAN. LR LOVES HER CREATIVE, UNIQUE POINT OF VIEW AND HER WILLINGNESS TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE.

“Taking photographs is a discovery: not in manipulating what’s there, but bringing out what’s not seen.”

 

“I read a lot. I like getting into other people’s worlds and into their heads. This makes me want to get into my subjects’ heads. I love opening people up, watching them become whole.

My advice for aspiring photographers is to just shoot everyday. Put your stuff out in the world. Don’t wait until you’re ‘good enough.'”

“It’s so important to find inspiration everywhere, not just in your medium. I love Loeffler Randall’s simple designs.

My personal style changes. I like simplicity, but sometimes I want to go a little crazy. You have to be open to experimentation.”

WE ASKED EMILY TO INTERPRET OUR BRAND ETHOS IN HER OWN VISUAL LANGUAGE. HER DIPTYCH ON “BEST KEPT SECRETS” BOTH CONCEALS AND REVEALS:

 

 

“A lot of images we see in advertisement and art and television and film are shot for men and by men. My photos are about seeing the women fully. A lot of photography is just bodies. I want the heart and soul.

I’ve started to connect more to being a woman, and what that means. My newest obsessions are pregnancy and motherhood. My friends are starting to become mothers right now and documenting those moments is really special for me.”

As told by Loeffler Randal

 

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Lani Trock | Studio Visit
studio visits

Lani Trock | Studio Visit

March 2016

Los Angeles, CA

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The following excerpt is taken from your artist statement about your installation, biopilia: a public service announcement: “existing within this delicate space, our foundation, environment and systems are beginning to crumble. the future of our species and planet hang precariously in limbo, seeking balance. will we rise to the occasion or fall victim to despair?”

Could you tell us a little more about what this means in relation to biopilia: a public service announcement, in the way the piece has died, and, in a sense, has been reborn again and again?

we are existing in a pivotal moment in history...one in which we must release our past modes of being in order to make space for our individual and collective evolution. this truth has been revealing itself to me more and more frequently in recent months, and as i worked on this installation, both in preparation prior to the launch and in maintaining it while on view, its meaning has deepened internally within. externally, the energy surrounding the current presidential race is intensifying this theme of confronting the elements and constructions within our society and within ourselves, that are no longer serving our collective evolution. in order to move forward, we must face these sometimes painful and uncomfortable constructs, take responsibility for them and then release them to the wind; embracing a new way of being, centered in a more holistic, compassionate understanding of our relationship to our planet, to each other and i think most importantly, to ourselves.

creating and maintaining this installation has been a beautiful challenge...working with living plants and delicate materials is inherently unpredictable and in the process, i have experienced a wide range of physical and emotional responses to these conditions. it was always my intention or at least understanding that the elements of the installation might shift shape and/or destruct during the course of its life, but what i could not have foreseen is my feelings in reaction to those changes. the process has given me a wonderful lesson in care, letting go and remaining open. this project has been far from easy, but it has also given back to me tenfold, in every way possible. as the elements of the installation have moved through several phases of birth, growth, death and rebirth, I can feel us moving through a parallel process as a society at large.
this process will likely be complex, full of growing pains, stops and starts, and potentially met with resistance, but the point of this moment is in the face of these challenges, and any setbacks, to continue moving forward, one foot in front of the other, in a unified commitment to evolve together. as dire as this moment feels at times, i have a deep faith in our ability to rise to the occasion, release the old ways and move gracefully into the future as one, united in our deep desire to co-create a loving, peaceful world together.


This installation has been a labor of love; how has the process made you feel, and how would you continue to develop this exploration? I guess simply, what's next? 

this process of creation has made me feel a wide range of emotions...love, peace, joy and interconnectedness, as well as the other end of the spectrum; frustration, despair, a desire to give up and loneliness, but i am grateful for all of these experiences. the complexity of being is what makes our existence so magical. without sadness, happiness could never be felt so sweetly. with my next body of work, i would like to continue to make spaces that are both beautiful and useful. i wish to create environments that further explore pathways to our collective evolution and the idea of food and green space as human rights. we are moving into a new paradigm, one that abandons a competitive perspective, in favor of collaboration and support. we are all connected and together we will build a new global community, rooted deeply in an intrinsic understanding of this truth.

 

Tell us a little bit about what you're working on now.

currently i am most interested in exploring a singular aesthetic concept through multiple mediums that i have very little experience working with. i began making art as a photographer, and in this moment i feel like i am rebelling a bit against the instant gratification of that medium, by experimenting with processes that require a great deal of slow, patient movement and attention to detail. looking forward from my installation currently on view at Tappan, i am working on a long term, permanent installation that explores the idea of food and green space as human rights.

Why do you create?

the act of creation satisfies something within me that words cannot sufficiently explain. i think the best answer i can give is that i create because i feel compelled and inspired to. when i do not, i feel unbalanced inside. i find my voice and my purpose through the process of making art.

What is something people would be surprised to discover about you?

i'm pretty new to this. i made my first installation two years ago, and started taking photos about a year and a half before that. before this phase of my life, i worked as a web designer and developer. take it back even further, i first moved to los angeles, nearly 10 years ago to play music. my professional idols at that time were g. love and jack johnson. things have definitely shifted since.

What do you think is your most unique quality?

it is very easy for me to love and also let go. i am rarely angry as a result.

What are you known for amongst your closest friends?

i nearly always come with foraged flowers in hand:) and for my cashew pesto. i almost always have a variation on that in the fridge.

What is your favorite quote?

What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter - a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue. Henri Matisse

When do you make your best work?

i would like to say when i feel at peace, but i also feel there is definitely something to be said for the effect of struggle on an artist's work...i think the most important thing for me, is to cultivate an environment to create from in which i feel the freedom to explore with a sense of childlike wonder, without fear of error or making mistakes. i think that is my greatest challenge as an artist, to give myself space to mess up. when i create from that kind of fearlessness, that's where my best work springs forth.

What is your favorite color?

right now, i'm working frequently with a palate of pale pinks. but i also feel deeply connected to golden mustard and deep sea cerulean blue.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

fresh strawberry in a cone

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

hot yoga at kinship in highland park. that studio saved my life. as much as my schedule allows, i wake up early, mediate with a coconut cream coffee and go a morning practice there. it is the first time in my life i have found a form of exercise that fulfills me so completely. beyond yoga in the morning, everyday i wake up excited to make work that fulfills me both in the process of making it, and in the space that this work creates to bring people together, and cultivate a more loving, peaceful society.

What puts you to sleep at night?

a conscious expression of gratitude and release of everything that happened during the day.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

yayoi kusama, cy twombly, momilani ramstrum, teresita fernandez, helen frankenthaler, marina abromovich, pina bausch, james turrell, ana mendieta, jordan sullivan, eva hesse. 

Who is your hero?

bernie sanders

Did you have breakfast today?

avocado on sourdough with ghost pepper flakes and a fried egg.

What is your least favorite sound?

nails on a chalkboard 

What is the one thing you wouldn't eat?

cumin. i am allergic! 

What is your biggest demon?

sacrificing what is purposeful for me in the name of maintaining peace.

What would you draw for a lover?

us, making love in a wild garden.

What is your ideal life at 60?

pretty much the same thing i am doing now, growing a garden and making food for friends...the freedom to make the art i dream of within...it would be beautiful then, to have built an archive of living edible garden installations i can visit and help maintain.

Where is your ideal life?

in a beautiful wild space, surrounded by love.

What is something you can’t do without?

freedom 

Where do you go when you need to get inspired?

live jazz jam at the falls on monday evenings, huntington gardens, or eaton canyon. and when time is scarce, i explore the many microcosms that exist within my backyard.

What’s next for you?

the pursuit of a joyful, love-filled existence. hopefully many more opportunities to create spaces that reflect my deepest inner dreams and a vision for a more loving and compassionate future paradigm.

 

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Anna Valdez | Studio Visit
studio visits

Anna Valdez | Studio Visit

Oakland, CA

March 2016

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When did you start calling yourself an artist?

I guess I started identifying as an artist when creating became my primary focus.

When do you make your best work?

I tend to produce my best work early in the morning or later in the evening, when everything is quiet.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea or the other way around?

When I am in the studio and I notice small moments that spark an interest, I am naturally motivated to explore them further. In general I am a curious person, so I gravitate towards discovery – whether that be in subject material or methodology. At a certain point my motivation shifts to be more about the process. So I guess it isn’t either or, more of a give and take. Sometimes the subject inspires the process initially whereas other times it is the opposite. 

Is art making therapeutic for you?

In a way, facing a large painting is kind of like looking in a mirror. There is a certain level of self-reflection when trying to work through ideas visually. I am not sure if that means it is therapeutic, but creating art definitely contributes to my growth.

What are you most proud of?

The relationships I have built, and continue to build, in the art community.

Artist whose career you covet?

Covet is a strong word. Everyone’s career takes a unique path based on their circumstance, so I don’t necessarily wish I had someone else’s career. However, the list of artists I admire is long, like Charles Garabedian, Lois Dodd, Elizabeth Blackadder, Joan Brown, and Jennifer Bartlett to name a few.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Continuing to work as an artist.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

The American Southwest. The landscape is saturated in color and incredibly vibrant. I also love that many of the earth pigments I use can be found in this environment. It’s like you’re living in a painting when you’re there.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

Absolutely. My mother is a musician and quilter, my father is a horticulturist, and my sister is a singer/song writer.

What are your other hobbies?

Cooking and gardening.

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

Francis Bacon, because he liked to party.

What influences you?

My environment.

What motivates you?

Curiosity.

What’s your studio philosophy?

Work every day. And by work I mean: create, look, read, listen, write, inhabit the studio space.

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

I try to base my studio time on a standard 40-hour work week, but it of course fluctuates.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

It honestly depends on my mood. A lot of the time sound that ranges from audio books to The Talking Heads.

Favorite art-making tools?

Good ‘ol fashioned paint brushes.

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

Installation art/sculpture.

What’s next? 

Whatever feels right in the moment. 

 

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Lani Trock | Free People
studio visits

Lani Trock | Free People

How They Wear It: Lani Trock 

February 26, 2016

Los Angeles, CA 

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Walking into Lani’s space was like walking into a cloud of fresh air. She works out of her home, a naturally bright and calming sanctuary that feels more like a trip to the spa. Long, stringy green plants hang from the ceiling and big-leafed potted gardens are growing in the corners of her room. Her home is full of natural elements and everywhere I turn, I see more species of lush greenery. Outside, her patio explodes with more plants and she has two hillside garden beds beginning to erupt with vegetables and herbs. She walks me through her gardens as she points out and describes each plant. She even picks a leaf from her growing strawberry-mint sprout to give to me to try. (It’s delicious.) Lani laughs when I ask her just how many plants species she has. “Oh my goodness, I have no idea! Too many to count!” And before she moves onto another plant, she picks a growing bud and hands it to me. “This is a native California orchid – you can pick the bud, plant it again, and a new one will grow.” I put it safely in my pocket and we move onto the next one.

Lani Trock is a special one. She is an absurdly talented photographer and multi-disciplinary artist. Her current exhibit with Tappan Collective’s Spatially Speaking is a nod to the place where nature, technology, and art intersect… and it becomes clear why her home is immersed in plants. She moved into art in an abstract way, majoring in philosophy at UC Santa Cruz. The fact that she’s smart – remarkably quick – is as clear as day and I understand why no one wants to leave her company. She leaves a little bit of herself with the people around her – whether through her art, her kindness, or her intellect. I have a budding orchid on my desk to prove it.

Take a step inside Lani’s beautiful home, read about the artist herself, and see how she wears her favorite Free People pieces below.

 

Where were you raised? Tell us a bit about your journey to where you are now, artistically and geographically…

I grew up in Hawaii and then went to high school in San Diego. I always had a great deal of freedom to wander alone in wild spaces. I’ve realized recently how this experience instilled in me a deep love and curiosity for the natural world, and how it clearly influenced the subject matter and aesthetic of my work now. When I was young, we swam in the ocean most nights at sunset, and went home to cook dinner together. We lived almost all the way at the back of Palolo Valley, up on the right side. We always had an edible garden of some sort and our backyard was pressed up against a nature preserve, so I had free range to explore miles of beautiful trees, caves and a bamboo forest. I even had a treehouse there. From a young age, I was very interested in technology, but i am very grateful to have been born in the brief window which allowed me access to it, but also granted me a childhood unencumbered by its omnipresence.

Do you think growing up where you did influenced your personal style in any way?

Yes and no. I don’t think I really connected with my personal style until much more recently. In the past few years, when I began working as a photographer, and shooting a lot of street style, I started to pay attention to it more. To do that job well, I had to develop of deeper understanding of what good style looked and felt like. As a natural result, my personal style began to evolve and refine alongside that understanding. As a kid, I mostly wore shorts, slippers and baggy t-shirts from brands like Town & Country and Hawaiian Island Creations, because that was the style in Hawaii at the time. I was definitely a tomboy back then. When I moved to San Diego, I began to reconnect with my feminine side. Funny enough, I think my style now is more like my 3-6 year old self than any other period in my life. Sometimes in photos, I see things I wore then, and wish I had them now.

When did you first realize that you wanted to become an artist?

This has been a more recent realization for me, and a very interesting, challenging and constantly evolving process. The last five years of my life have brought a lot of change and transitions in pretty much every area. I went from music to web design to photography to art- almost by accident. About two years ago, Tappan approached me about selling prints of my photos after we met when I photographed the founders as part of a story about gallerists for Refinery 29. Before that, I hadn’t really considered myself as an artist and was still getting used to calling myself a photographer. Soon after that, I was invited to create an installation for The Box at The Standard Hotel. Everything in my life trajectory began to shift from those two occurrences. Last year, I was granted the opportunity to create my next installation, “Trust in the You of Now,” at Space 1520, and my third, “Biophilia; a Public Service Announcement,” is currently on view at the new Tappan gallery in Culver City. There’s a funny thing about calling yourself an artist that somehow implies that you are a good artist. This isn’t true for other professions. You can say I’m a dentist and it does not imply the sense that you consider yourself a talented dentist, although one would hope! When you call yourself an artist, it gives the impression that you must be good or how can you make a living as one? I realize that this is a somewhat ridiculous way of seeing things, but it feels impossible not to. It was much easier to call myself a photographer and sometimes I still do, depending on who I’m talking to. I’ve begun to release this perspective through a growing understanding of art as a way of life, and a way of seeing and being in the world. Not something I have chosen, but something that has chosen me. Because it really did happen that way. Connecting to a deeper understanding of the potential of art to serve as a tool for social change has helped to shift my feelings too. I can now recognize art as the most effective method for me personally to communicate and explore solutions for the challenges facing our society. When I frame it that way, calling myself an artist gets much easier; when I can see it more simply, that it is who I am, not what I do.

 

Do you feel your art and personal style are interconnected? How might these two aspects of your Self play with/against one another?

More and more, I’ve been connecting to how what I wear makes me feel. I think that is a really pivotal moment, when your personal aesthetic begins to reveal itself in all areas of your life; work, style, home, and even food. That’s when things really fall in step and align with your core self. What brings me great joy as an artist, is to take the things I connect with on an intuitive level, and express that across a multitude of mediums; from visual art to the way my life looks and feels, day to day. I think I first learned this from my grandma. She has always held a love for the beauty in tiny details; the shape of snowdrifts outside her house, delicate, collected objects and the spectrum of colors found in autumn leaves. As time passes, and I get to know myself better, I understand the many ways in which her aesthetic and artistic philosophy have shaped my own.

Style-wise, what are some of your necessities?

Lately, I’ve been wearing a lot of white and pale pink, but more than anything, I try to let my intuition guide me. By now I know my body and which shapes work best. Aside from that, certain colors and textures just feel right for me. With everything I do, I aim to move with feeling over intellectual thought. Also comfort is very important. One thing I know for sure is: How you feel inside, is reflected clearly in how you look outside. So I do my best to love and accept myself as I am in this moment and wear things that make me feel most relaxed, confident and most like myself.

What do you hope to communicate through your aesthetic?

One of my favorite quotes on art is by Matisse: “What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.” In all I do, I aim to share a feeling of peace.

What assumptions might people might make of you based on your style?

I have no idea. I’ve heard it is dangerous to assume things. Something about a donkey.

If you could translate the work of any artist to your wardrobe, who would it be? Also, why?

I have a few. Cy Twombly paintings for his incredibly subtle use of color. Karla Black’s asymmetrical sculptures made of pale pink sugar paper for their texture and perfect imperfection. Eva Hesse’s mustard colored string sculptures from the 70’s for their emotion. And lastly, Ana Mendieta’s self portrait series: “Imagen de Yagul,” where she is dressed only in flowers. Clearly a woman after my own heart.

What makes your style “yours”? How do you set it apart?

I think it is the same thing that makes my work my own; an intuitive connection. Everything I do, I do because I am intrinsically drawn to the subject and/or aesthetic. Be it art or fashion, each of us comes from a totally individual combination of experiences, abilities and innate preferences. When we create and live from the space where all those elements intersect, our unique point of inspiration, that’s where the magic happens.



 

Best advice you’ve ever received?

The way you do one thing, is the way you do everything.

And the worst?

Don’t try to do everything at once. Actually this might be the best advice I’ve received but I was very frustrated to receive it and this has been the most challenging space for me to navigate in my work. I receive new ideas and opportunities frequently, so the challenge for me is cataloguing and prioritizing them all. I have a hard time saying no, which often results in me taking on too much at once and not being able to follow through properly and/or in a reasonable amount of time. I think this is my greatest challenge right now; how to thoughtfully and consciously choose the way I spend my time and to treat every project and collaborator with respect by not taking on too much at once.

What’s next? Anything exciting on the horizon?

For my next installation, I am exploring the idea of green space and good food as human rights. I am working to create public & digital spaces that are both beautiful and useful. Highly productive edible gardens intermingled with drought-tolerant natives to create educational spaces that teach permaculture and garden to table cooking- and then give the food away. Essentially, I would like to grow, prepare and give away healthy, delicious food. Everyone deserves that, regardless of economic status. Today, our society is not structured that way, and I would like to challenge our current paradigm through the exploration of alternative possible futures, that better serve the global community. What affects one of us, affects all of us. I am most interested in investigating the interconnectedness of the universe through my work, and creating spaces the support our collective evolution towards a more compassionate and supportive society.

As told by Free People

 

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Jonni Cheatwood | Studio Visit
studio visits

Jonni Cheatwood | Studio Visit

Los Angeles, CA

February 2015

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What motivates you?

The idea that I get to create something new everyday is motivation enough for me. 

What’s your studio philosophy?

I am a big advocate of just showing up to the studio, even if you're not planning on actually working that day. You just never know. You'll never know when your inspiration will come. There have been days where I just go to my studio just to eat lunch and stretch canvas, but then ended up unexpectedly painting one or two paintings or changing a painting for the better instead. 

When did you start calling yourself an artist?

When I quit my job to paint full-time in May, that's when I really started to comfortably tell people that I am an artist because it is how I make my living. Sometimes, it's still weird to tell people that I'm an artist because I'm afraid of immediate judgement, but that's my reality. I scribble, pour paint on top of more paint and make decorations for a living. No regrets.

When do you make your best work?

When I don't force a painting and just go with the flow. I also need to be calm. If I'm upset, hungry or just flat out not feeling it that day, I can just go kick rocks.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

My general ideas when it comes to the piece isn't so much the paint on the canvas, because I don't really premeditate a painting; but rather if I am going to sew that canvas together with another piece of canvas, burlap or denim. I think changing the materials used change the idea of a painting. I like seeing how different fabrics disrupt a painting. Once I have the fabric down, then my methods of painting come in. 

 

Is art making therapeutic for you?

When I first started painting 6(ish) years ago it was 100% for therapeutic purposes. Now, most of the time it's a very joyful time for me but I would be lying if I said that I've never questioned all of my life choices by deciding to paint. 

What are you most proud of?

I don't talk about this much, but the fact that I am 29, didn't go to art school or have any type of formal training, and I get to make a very decent living by painting full-time is very rare. I don't like to pat myself on the back, but I've worked hard to get to where I'm at and I don't plan on slowing down.

Artist whose career you covet? 

Urs Fischer probably. Maybe Daniel Arsham.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

I'm committed to painting for as long as I'm able to. Hopefully, I'll have a kid or two and my dream studio. I see where my work was five years ago from now and I've seen how much I've progressed and how differently I view art as a whole; so I can only imagine what my work will be like in five years from now. Maybe I'll have a great art dealer and a big time gallery. I hope. 

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

Right now, I would be curious to see what I would paint in a place like Marfa, Texas. I feel like my work is directly inspired by my surroundings and I think a creative community like Marfa would be interesting. I would love to go to Paris or London as well. Maybe I'll look into a residency. 

Did you grow up around other creative people?

Not really. I grew up in the burbs. I grew up playing sports and everyone around me played sports. I didn't really appreciate art until my early 20s when Obey started popping up everywhere.

What are your other hobbies?

Well, painting was my only hobby and now that it's my job, I need to find another hobby. Suggestions?

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

Tom Waits. Absolutely Tom Waits.

What influences you?

So much. Other painters painting, photography, rock n roll, a good museum, a decent book, good cinema, pizza. 

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

I try my hardest to treat it like a full-time job. I don't really give myself a set schedule, but I like to be in my studio by noon everyday and work until I can't work anymore, generally 6 or 7 hours. I usually take off Saturdays and Sundays to spend that day with my wife, like normal working people. 

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

Tom Waits, DMX, Bowie, Rage Against the Machine, Cold War Kids, Fiona Apple & whatever great Jazz I can get my hands on. I'm particularly fond of Milford Graves & Jack DeJohnette. Sometimes The Dayton Sidewinders. Silence is for the birds in my studio.

Favorite art-making tools?

I feel like my sewing machine gets a lot of play, but I would say this little squirt bottle that I turned into a pen-like tool is my favorite. I fill it with a fluid enamel paint and I scribble with it. 

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

I have a very very basic knowledge of photography. I would really love to dive deeper into that. I've always wanted to work with lighting as well, but I don't know how my work would play into that. Could be cool.

What’s next?

So far this year I have a group exhibit at the Torrance Art Museum in June and I'll be in good company with Christian Rosa, Oscar Murillo and Albert Oehlen, then me. At least that's what I was told; but if that's the case, then I feel like I'm opening up for Led Zeppelin. I'm hoping to find a good gallery in Los Angeles or wherever that will represent me this year. Other than that I am open to most opportunities that present itself to me. 2016 should be a busy year for me.

 

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Lola Rose Thompson | Free People
studio visits

Lola Rose Thompson | Free People

How They Wear It: Lola Rose Thompson

February 19, 2016 

Los Angeles, CA 

 

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On the industrial side of the downtown LA Arts District sits a hidden studio exploding in color. Large canvases saturated in paint hang from the walls and potted green plants grow up from the concrete floor. Speckles of bright color decorate the floor, as if each drop has been placed on purpose. The smell of paint intoxicates the air.

Up from behind two work tables, Lola Rose Thompson appears. She’s wearing worn-in Levi’s with holes in the knees and spilled dried paint on the legs. Her hair is messy, but not for lack of caring — she’s just been busy. She is petite with a big smile, outwardly shy at first, but you can hear the wheels constantly turning inside her beautiful brain.

I’ve always been attracted to the artist’s lifestyle. To wake and throw your hair in a bun, pick up your tools and press brush to canvas. To create art in full freedom, to communicate what you really want to say. It’s all so alluring. Even the manner of dress — an artist’s style — is cool. But often I’ve wondered, is fashion for a painter based primarily in function? If so, then how do they still look so cool, so effortlessly chic? Lola is absolutely no exception to this. The Tappan Collective artist is a castle in the sky personified. Scroll further to see inside her captivating studio, how she wears her favorite FP pieces, and read a very candid interview about the woman herself.

Where were you raised? Tell us a bit about your journey to where you are now, artistically and geographically…

I was born in LA but as a kid we moved ALOT — almost every year…so I grew up between LA, NY and Sydney, Australia. I also lived in Toronto and London for a bit. I attended kindergarten in LA, first grade in NY, second grade in LA, third grade in NY, and so on… When I was 16 we moved to Australia — my mum wanted to be close to her dad, who was getting very old and sick. I spent a couple years in Sydney and then moved to Chicago to attend The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Moving so much was tough at times — but now I’m happy that I got to see and experience so many different places and people. I think it made me adaptable. It also made me love to travel and explore new places…and I’m a pretty good packer. From a very young age I had to learn how to make new friends, how to entertain myself and embody how important it is to accept that change is inevitable. Even though I lived in a different city and a different house every year, LA has always felt most like home. I’m a big fan of palm trees.

Do you think growing up where you did influenced your personal style in any way?

Growing up in cosmopolitan cities certainly exposed me to great style…but, I think more than anything, my parents’ style was a big influence on me. My mum has incredible style and taste — in the 70’s she had a fashion program in swinging London where she would highlight new and strange trends and model outrageous, absurd and very cool clothes. She was incredibly glamorous, and could pull off wearing anything, but her personal style was actually quite masculine — in the 80’s she wore a lot of boxy suits, ties, suspenders. She would pair Comme des Garcons trousers with high top Chuck Taylors, a Blondie Tshirt and a bow tie. My dad was covered in tattoos and would take me to the Army Navy store and get me cool army jackets and motorcylce boots…which as a teenager I often paired with ripped jeans, a tutu, and some kind of vintage t-shirt. They let me express myself through my clothes which was really great. The only rule was a very strict NO CLEAVAGE POLICY.

When did you first realize that you wanted to become an artist?

I think I always knew I wanted to be an artist — I just wasn’t sure what kind. I’ve always loved making things and being creative. As a kid I wrote plays for my friends and I to perform. I made up songs, I stole my mum’s camera and took pictures, I made elaborate potions and bottled them and painted labels to stick on them explaining what magic powers they contained. I also made lots of paintings and drawings. I was really lucky because my mum took me to many museums and galleries, so I was exposed to lots of incredible art from a very early age. The life of an artist always struck me as interesting and romantic — and, by the time I was 15, I knew I wanted to go to art school. I had an incredible art teacher in high school who taught me so much, and she really gave me the confidence to get serious about my work. Being an artist is romantic but it’s also VERY hard work. You have to be self-motivated which can be tricky sometimes.



 

What role, if any, does LA play in your creative process?

LA is such an inspiring city to live in — it’s so full of fantasy and contradiction. It’s a place where wealth and glamour and poverty and violence somehow co-exist, where you see Tom Cruise while you’re getting coffee and 20 minutes later, you’re in skid row walking past one of the biggest homeless encampments in the country. There’s really nowhere else like it. Although my work isn’t directly about LA, I am interested in the news, celebrity culture, tabloids, power and magic — all of which you can find in spades here. There are also great museums and galleries, incredible weather, and it’s really beautiful, albeit in kind of a seedy way.

Do you feel your art and personal style are interconnected? How might these two aspects of your Self play with/against one another?

My work is quite feminine but I’m really kind of a tomboy. I like to climb trees and hop fences and I paint all day every day — so you will usually find me wearing jeans or overalls, a soft t-shirt and my trusty Doc Martens. I sometimes wish my personal style was more like my art, which is super colorful and vibrant and wild. But I work in my studio every day and I always get paint on my clothes. I’ve ruined so many pretty clothes that now I know better. At the end of the day it’s more important to me to be comfortable than to look glamorous…but I do enjoy dressing up on occasion.

Style-wise, what are some of your necessities?

Denim jacket, sunglasses, stripey socks and pretty underwear (how can you feel good in anything if your underwear is ugly?). Also cashmere. I have a couple of nice cashmere crew neck sweaters that I live in, and I even have one that I’ve sacrificed to the studio — it’s old and has moth holes so I don’t care if I get paint on it. I’m also a big fan of suspenders, and I always carry a pocket knife.



 

What do you hope to communicate through your aesthetic?

I think I communicate more through my art than though my personal style…but I do kind of like it when people say I look tough. From the time I turned 14, my dad always gave me knives for my birthday, so now I have a pretty decent collection of pocket knives. Hopefully when people see the knife in my pocket they think, ‘I’m not gonna mess with her.’

What assumptions might people might make of you based on your style?

That I’m a tough bitch, that I’m gay, that I do construction.

If you could translate the work of any artist to your wardrobe, who would it be? Also, why?

Matisse. The way he uses color and pattern in his paintings is so so beautiful. I think his paintings would make incredible prints. I want dresses covered in beautiful nudes.

What makes your style “yours”? How do you set it apart?

I’m just your average knife-carrying, suspender-wearing, paint-covered woman. I think style is more than just what you wear — it’s also your attitude, your confidence and how you carry yourself. You can be wearing the exact same outfit as someone else, and still look different, as long as you let who you are show through the clothes.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Never trust a Hula Girl.

And the worst?

Yes, you should definitely get dreads.

What’s next? Anything exciting on the horizon?

I’m really excited to see my paintings turn into clothes! I recently took a trip to Nicaragua and, while surfing, I made friends with a really amazing woman who is starting a line of women’s surf wear. She has worked for some of the biggest names in fashion, but now she’s starting her own line — she wanted to work with an artist to create unique prints for the collection — and after seeing my work, she chose me. The line is going to be totally green, all the fabrics will be made from sustainable materials. I’ve fantasized for a long time about making my paintings into prints for clothes, and now i’ts really going to happen. It’s a kind of complicated process, though, so I’m super grateful to be working with someone who knows what she’s doing.

As told by Free People

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Cheryl Humphreys | Free People
studio visits

Cheryl Humphreys | Free People

How They Wear It: Cheryl Humphreys

February 12, 2016

Los Angeles, CA


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Cheryl Humphreys, an LA-based artist, member of the Tappan Collective and a woman making a name for herself in the world of printing and embossing. “I like to tickle people’s imaginations, create an intimate experience for the viewer and a space to re-sensitize and reconnect.” Her designs are meticulously simple, but don’t let that fool you. They are brilliantly bright and compelling…much like her personality. She has perfectly messy hair, effortless and blonde via the warm Cali sun. Her style follows suit. She’s wearing broken-in boyfriend jeans and an old vintage white tee with perfectly worn holes. She throws on a denim jacket and cracks a joke about wearing a “Canadian tuxedo.” She’s breezy and confident in her denim on denim, like she’s been wearing it her whole life.


Where were you raised? Tell us a bit about your journey to where you are now, artistically and geographically…

Raised in Baltimore, MD. Came out to California to study communication arts at Otis College of Art & Design. My first real job out of college was as a junior graphic designer at a small design studio in West Hollywood, where I met my now partner (in life and work). We instantly became best friends and colleagues and brought out each other’s strengths working together. From there, we went on and worked at another design studio together. Last July, we broke off and started our own art & design house called Arms. I wanted more time to work on my art and owning our own studio had always been a dream of ours. We run Arms out of our house and I bounce back and forth between client projects and my own work. The juggle keeps me fresh and engaged. One practice always influencing the other.

Do you think growing up where you did influenced your personal style in any way?

My immediate surroundings have always influenced what I am into, what I am inspired by, what I make and, with that, comes personal style — so yes.

When did you first realize that you wanted to become an artist?

I am still on that journey, to understand what it means to be an artist. Art is something I make.

What role, if any, does LA play in your creative process? 

LA has a great printmaking community — rich with fascinating and supportive leaders, which has positively influenced my navigation of the craft of printmaking.

Do you feel your art and personal style are interconnected? How might these two aspects of your Self play with/against one another?

Both are forms of visual expression. I definitely purchase clothes that I am inspired by — whether it’s an amazing color, fabric, pattern or graphic that then, consciously or subconsciously, transpires into something in the studio — or vice versa… Something in the studio awakens a search for something I suddenly NEED to have in my wardrobe. There is a dialogue there, absolutely.

Style-wise, what are some of your necessities?

A pair of Levi’s that fit in all the right places, and fun socks.

What do you hope to communicate through your aesthetic?

I am nostalgic for the tangible in this digital age. I believe that our personal belongings hold our secrets and memories. With this comes a passion for vintage shopping and a tendency to hoard. I love imagining the story behind my current favorite 1982 MTV shirt or the really strange rip on the front of my favorite pair of 1975 Levi’s. I guess it’s less about what I hope to communicate and more about what I hope to discover.

What assumptions might people might make of you based on your style?

My boyfriend often tells me that I look like I just walked off the set of “That 70s Show”.

If you could translate the work of any artist to your wardrobe, who would it be? Also, why?

The way Donna Summer sings — I <3 disco!

What makes your style “yours”? How do you set it apart?

My vintage items AND I get almost everything tailored. My best friend told me once that fashion is really about how something fits — I guess it stuck.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

“Make work that matters, have an opinion, and love something other than yourself.” — James Victore

And the worst?

I tend to not remember bad advice.

What’s next? Anything exciting on the horizon?

Spatially Speaking — A group show that opens February 11 and will be up through March 19, featuring work by a bunch of talented babes — also from Tappan Collective. And I turn 30 next month. I have never felt more myself so I say bring it on!

Can you tell us a little bit about the “Friendship Bracelets” series? 

The “Friendship Bracelets” were part of a larger body of work for my first solo exhibition, last November, “I just have this feeling…” where I was exploring the visual dialogue of communication in a digital age, questioning our current paradigms through matters of love, memory and an acute curiosity for the ever-evolving definition of connection.

I went back through text threads with loved ones and screenshot coming-of-age conversations I had with them over text. From the screenshots, I took just the outline of each text bubble and embossed them into hand-dyed paper, so that the viewer cannot read the conversation but can see the back and forth, giving the them just enough to let their imagination wander.

It baffled me, and still does, that some of these very intense and emotional conversations were happening over text messaging — via a device devoid of emotion. Why is that? Was it easier? Each one is dated, and titled with a pull-quote. The one between my best girlfriend growing up and I is titled, “I may have had a sort of kinda maybe lesbian experience” dated Thu, Dec 11, 2013.

You like to play around with “digital icons that hold a lot of weight” — what do you mean by that?

Here you are referring to the digital loading symbol and the pending text bubble I embossed into paper. The loading symbol appears when your phone or computer is working hard to get you what you need and the pending text bubble displays when someone is typing you back via iMessage — I think it’s interesting to take these shapes that we have only see behind a screen and make them dimensional, tactile pieces of work. These digital icons that we are all TOO FAMILIAR with come in and out of our day on a daily basis. A lot could be coming at you with that (…) from a friend, boss or boyfriend typing you back.

You took a five month break from Instagram — why?  … and how did that feel?

My five-month break from Instagram was inspired by the need to let my mind get bored. I noticed I wasn’t giving my brain or eyes a break. As soon as I found downtime, I would pick up my phone and scroll, whether it was in line at the grocery store or waiting for a friend at a restaurant. Why am I thumbing through other people’s memories rather than letting my own imagination wander? So I had to switch it up. I am still not BACK in the way I was on it before — I have committed to doing a post every two weeks or so to keep my feed updated BUT the original ideas that come from a quieter mind are too valuable to give up ;) Plus the reconnection to the present moment — also too precious to give up.



 As told by Free People

 

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Cheryl Humphreys | Studio Visit
studio visits

Cheryl Humphreys | Studio Visit

Los Angeles, CA

February, 2016

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When did you start calling yourself an artist?

Art is something i make

When do you make your best work?

After midnight

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

It’s a back and forth. I love working within parameters but I can almost always see the final result before I even start.

Is art making therapeutic for you?

I think art making for me is quite manic. There are times when it’s really therapeutic and there are times when it is really chaotic and stressful. Lately, I have been making as a way of healing, and I have found that really charged work comes from that.

What are you most proud of?

I just had my first solo show at the end of this past year and my partner (in life & work) wrote me a note the night before the opening that read “Thank you for reminding us all what love looks like”

Artist whose career you covet?

The Vignellis

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

being a life balance master

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

Japan - the most beautiful handmade paper is in Japan

Did you grow up around other creative people?

Yes, my mom was a big influence on me creatively, early on, and I have been really lucky to grow up with creative friends

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

Frank Stella

What influences you?

what doesn’t

What motivates you?

a deadline

What’s your studio philosophy?

Rule # 7 of Sister Corita’s Art Department Rules: “The Only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things” —THIS and practicing un-attachment to the end result. I am better at the first.

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

I run a design studio with my partner so if I am not making for me, I am making for someone else - my week is spent the studio.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?

sound - all kinds

Favorite art-making tools?

paper & pressure

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

fabric, porcelain

What’s next?

sleep

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Alison Cooley | Free People
studio visits

Alison Cooley | Free People

FEBRUARY 1, 2016

Inside the Unexpected Studio of Alison Cooley

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As told by Free People

On a deceptively sunny, freezing cold January day, my cab pulls up in front of the home of artist Allison Cooley. Bright white and very cute, the kind of Georgetown home/apartment building I might drive by and think how nice it would be to live there. A knock on the door and soon Alison is ushering me upstairs to her second-floor home, which she shares with her husband and young son, and which is just as sunny and inviting as one might imagine. In the front room, which doubles as Cooley’s studio, the early afternoon sun streams through the front windows, its wintery glow bouncing off couch and mirror, painting, and Lego set. This is a multi-functional space at its best, a space where Cooley works, relaxes, reads and spends time with her family (hence, the Lego set). The two sizable pieces on the wall, which are still in the works, are diminutive compared to the large-scale piece Cooley created for our latest catalog, The Artist Issue. The painting/backdrop, which you can see splashed across the first few pages, took up an entire wall. The kind of piece you might spy in a gallery or museum and think “wow, that artist must work in an enormous studio.
In reality, art is made when and where it wants to be made, regardless of space. As an artist you make it work, and that’s exactly what Cooley has done, melding her artistic life with family life, home with studio. And really, what could be better? Vibrant, saturated paintings reverberate across the walls, pieces on paper splash across shelves and bookcases. Inspiration flowing forth from all angles. Interspersed with her large work and mini-sketches are drawings by Alison’s young son, clearly feeling inspired by the work that surrounds on a daily basis.

You grew up in DC. Do you feel growing up where you did had any influence on your decision to become an artist?

I have vivid childhood memories of Washington’s swampy climate. Asleep in the backseat of our station wagon, I always knew we were close to home when my parents would turn off the AC, roll down the windows, and that spongey, humid air would settle over you. I was always attuned to atmospheres and changing weather patterns. It’s basically what I paint.

What informs your work? Are there particular sources from where you draw inspiration?

I paint edges and transitions. When I lived on an island, my work was informed by the solitude, beauty and severity of the natural world. Now I’ve taken this ambient abstraction into a much more intimate zone — an exploration of daily, mostly anonymous, interactions. So often we are thrown into surprising intimacy with strangers and the encounter is visceral. The scent of a wet coat, the recognition of a song leaking from ear buds, the unexpected look at a shaving cut can momentarily engage us in a stranger’s world. My work acts as a collective portraiture, capturing the shifting fronts and clouds of humans moving through and around each other, leaving elements in their wake.

The vibrant color in your paintings is so incredibly gorgeous – what role does color play in the work you create?

Color is such a trigger for people. Right now I work in a heightened palette combining natural pigments with glossy, incandescent colors. I use a lot of pink in my work. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I hate blue,” but I often hear people say, “I hate pink.” Culturally we have a strong reaction to pink — sometimes we tend to think of those tones as fanciful or fake or pretty. I think of pink as a very powerful and provocative color — the color of lungs, tongues, palms, gums, tissue — alive and vital. I build depth in my work by playing with juxtapositions — flesh tones and neon, stark twisting lines with creamy, shimmering color fields, transparent ink bubbles and chalky graphite scratchings. Lines, etchings and blooms of color express the range of ways we present ourselves to the world. I love the graphic potential of using graffiti mops and calligraphy pens alongside traditional watercolor, colored pencil, and oil paint, in many cases layering them over each other.

 

 

Before committing yourself full-time to your art you also worked in PR. When did you decide to focus entirely on painting? Was that a difficult decision to make?

I have been working full-time as an artist for about five years. At that time a lot of things were changing in my life and it seemed like a good time to take the leap. You work out of your home in a small area of your living room. 

Do you find it difficult to have the work in the same room that you might be watching a TV show or spending time with your family? How do you separate yourself from the demands of an unfinished painting?

The real answer is I am pretty disciplined about when I work. I’ve never had an issue with separating the mental spaces.

 

Having lived in some pretty spectacular places – DC, Nantucket, London – how has your work evolved as you’ve moved from place to place?

It has moved from exploring the individual in relation to the natural world to exploring the interconnectedness of human beings. In some ways, I’ve learned that it’s up for grabs whether you’re more isolated or more connected in a city or an island. I like exploring that question in the different settings.

Has your approach to painting shifted as you’ve traveled from one environment to another?

Well, my work space has changed dramatically from place to place. I’ve had everything from a 800 square-foot studio to a 50-square foot studio. When I lived on an island and had a lot of space in my studio, I spent a lot of time there thinking, imagining and then eventually painting. Now that I have a small space, I do a lot of my thinking and imagining in the world, surrounded by other people. When I get to my studio, painting is immediate and energized.

You had under a month to paint the backdrop you created for our Artist Issue – how did you prepare for that?

Everything grew. My brushes got bigger, my palette knives were like frying pans and my trusty ladder was unfolded. I do not fear deadlines so the main challenge was really the size.

How does your approach differ when creating a set piece, like the backdrop, as opposed to a painting?

I felt very free — I left some areas of the canvas raw and used large mops and thick nibs instead of delicate, superfine pens. It was much more physical and in many ways a joyful process.

Do you feel the same emotional connection with that work as you do your other paintings, or does the feeling differ when creating for a brand or other outside project?

I do feel the same connection. Music is a vital part of my process — once I put my headphones on and engage — the rest falls away.

How did you first come to be involved with Tappan Collective?

I met Chelsea at Art Basel Miami. My husband and I loved a Kelsey Shultis painting that Tappan had on view. We started a conversation and things developed from there!

Do you feel it’s important for full-time artists to be part of a larger collective or agency such as Tappan?

For me it is. As the boundaries between the creative worlds dissolve, it’s interesting to see what opportunities bloom in that new space. Tappan is constantly reimagining how to present art and cross-pollinate with other industries on new projects. 

 

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Claire Oswalt | Studio Visit
studio visits

Claire Oswalt | Studio Visit

Austin, TX

January 2016

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When did you start calling yourself an artist?

I graduated college thinking I was going to be a writer, but was spending more time painting than writing. Then I visited a friend’s studio in LA. He had enormous canvases hanging from the walls, paint sloshed all over the floor, and was drank cups of coffee back to back during the whole visit. Seeing my hesitation on how to jump in, he said - you just gotta start telling people you’re an artist, and that’s what you’ll become. Despite my intimidation, I think I tried it out the next day.

When do you make your best work?

When I trust myself wholly and do not make any second guesses.

 

Is art making therapeutic for you?

Completely. It’s a chaos that I need in order to balance my extreme pragmatism - a space to loose control without definitive purpose….. wow, listening to that it’s a wonder I ever make any money. 

What are you most proud of? 

The work that usually receives the least amount of attention from others; the least practiced; the work that takes a little something from me and pushes things forward, like a nod as to where we’re going next. 

Artist whose career you covet? 

It’s a dangerous thing for me to compare my career to another artist’s, or express any sense of desire to be somewhere other than where I am. Artists’ career paths are truly like no other. They demand their own space and their own story. The only thing of which I tend to get envious is artist’s studios, or artist’s time to work. I have two little kids right now, so my time in the studio is extremely precious. I anxiously await the time when I can meander a bit more in the studio, maybe lie down on the studio floor and take a nap.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

My mom is a painter, as well as my grandmother. My grandfather was a brilliant engineer who turned to stained glass later in life.  So when I visited my grandparents, their studio (a two-story red barn) instilled a very romantic vision in my head as to artists’ lives, as well as their spaces.  My curious nature was completely fulfilled in that barn as I got to pocket colored bits of glass and  walk amongst large oils of countryside landscapes.

What are your other hobbies?

Ceramics and Yoga

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

Hard question. Maybe Calder? He seems like an affable guy who spanned disciplines and tried to live as honestly as possible. But then there’s Georgia O’Keefe. What a lady! I would have liked to have spent a week with her in the desert.

What motivates you?

The fear of not having enough time in this lifetime to create or do all that I want to.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what? 

Both are needed on different days. sometimes it is the soft rush of my son’s sleeping machine while he takes a nap. Sometimes it’s the Pixies, Kinks, or Patsy Cline. And sometimes is something more experimental like Steve Reich’s meditative repetitions.

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Gia Coppola | Studio Visit
studio visits

Gia Coppola is an artist to her genetic core. Her soft eye serves up sweet melancholy in her images that focus on banal, fleeting moments with friends and objects. Her art turns these small moments into a meditation on style, intimacy, and the beauty of stillness itself, that only the camera allows.

 


see more

Gia Coppola | Studio Visit

JANUARY 2016

Los Angeles, CA

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Gia Coppola is a photographer and filmmaker. She has shot for Japanese Vogue and co-directed a short film with Tracy Antonopoulos for Opening Ceremony starring Jason Schwartzman and Kirsten Dunst. Gia’s talent has also captured the interest of fashion prodigy Zac Posen, who chose Coppola to shoot a film for his latest collaboration with Target. “She’s going to be the next Coppola force to be reckoned with,” Posen insists. "They just genetically, aesthetically, have something—they’re able to capture magic.” Gia is currently working on directorial work and resides in Los Angeles.

Polaroid taken by Tappan artist Travis Schneider

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When did you start calling yourself an artist?

Geez- I don’t know, I still struggle when I’m asked what I do for a living. 

What has it been like working with Tappan the past three years? 

Amazing! It’s a wonderful way to share my photography and they help me be organized.  

What is your most memorable experience with Tappan? 

I just think it’s so cool to see how they’ve grown.  I remember when they were first building the site. It so cool how they were able to build so much traction in a world now that has so much over stimulation.  

When do you make your best work?

When I’m given a challenge that forces me to work outside my comfort zone.  

Is art making therapeutic for you?

Yes, very.  

What are you most proud of? 

Palo Alto 

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

I want to make 4 movies in 5 years. 

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

Cuba

What was it like growing up among so many creative people?

I'm very thankful, my friends and family are constantly inspiring me.

What are your other hobbies?

Cooking.  Reading.  Decorating.    

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

Kanye  

What influences you?

Books, movies, photography, my friends.   

What motivates you?

Anxiety  

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what? 

I like having sound and people around when I work. 

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Alice Lancaster | The Arrivals
studio visits

Alice Lancaster | The Arrivals

Alice Lancaster | The Arrivals 

December 2015

The ARRIVALS teamed up with Tappan's Alice Lancaster on a holiday collaboration. Photos courtesy of THE ARRIVALS. See the full story here.

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Jonni Cheatwood | Hooper Projects Residency
studio visits

Jonni Cheatwood | Hooper Projects Residency

Jonni Cheatwood | Hooper Projects Residency

December 2015

Los Angeles, CA 

Hooper Projects is a unique artist-in-residence program founded in 2014 by a group of like-minded art enthusiasts. Located in a 14,000 square foot former metal shaping factory that has been refurbished into a communal space and individual studios, it provides a socially active space for younger artists from around the world to collaborate, produce, and exhibit their work. The program allows artists to begin a dialogue with one another and to engage with the cultural hub that is downtown Los Angeles.

The Tappan team visited Jonni & got a glimpse of his work. 

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Jenny Sharaf | Studio Visit
studio visits

Jenny Sharaf | Studio Visit

San Francisco, CA

January 2016

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Jenny Sharaf is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in San Francisco, CA. Her paintings, installations, videos, and happenings celebrate process, while reflecting on art history, feminism and abstraction.  Sharaf is strongly influenced by the Hollywood vernacular, in part because of her family's legacy in the film and television business and growing up in Los Angeles. The mythology of the California girl leads the way to tell a complex and fragmented narrative of art making in the 21st century.  Sharaf also has a strong curatorial practice, focusing around community engagement and promoting the arts in San Francisco.  Last year, Jenny founded The Lab's 24-Hour Telethon, raising funds to save the avant-garde art program in the Mission.  Most recently, she developed an exhibition for Creativity Explored that explores abstraction and collaboration.  She is the founder and director of Parking Lot Art Fair, San Francisco's rogue art happening and continues to produce art events in the Bay Area and beyond.

We asked Jenny some questions about her studio practice, goals, and upcoming projects.

 

When did you start calling yourself an artist? 

For as long as I can remember.

When do you make your best work?

Early mornings or during the day. I don't really trust the evening light.

Regarding your method of making, is it a case of the material or method dictating the idea of the other way around?

My process is very materials-driven, but my practice is definitely centered around ideas.

Is art making therapeutic for you?

Yes. I'd go completely crazy without it.

What are you most proud of? 

This last year, I completed a large scaled mural project. 
It was a big goal of mine and I think I did a good job:)

Artist whose career you covet? 

I don't covet anyone's career. The whole point is to find my own path as an artist and do what feels natural.
If we are talking about admiring careers- I'd say Kiki Smith and Jenny Holzer are at the top. I could go on and on though.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Making art and traveling for shows.

If you could travel anywhere to create for a while, where would you go?

I'd like to have a huge studio in Tokyo for few months. That would be cool.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

Yes- my parents are both creative professionals in TV/Film.
My aunt has a gallery as well. I've always been very encouraged in my decision to pursue the arts.

What are your other hobbies?

I kind of hate the word hobby. That being said, I think instagram might be...

If you could have a drink with one artist, who would it be?

John Baldessari

 

What influences you?

What doesn't influence me?

What’s your studio philosophy?

Play seriously and work smart.

How many hours do you try and work in the studio per week?

It depends on how many projects I have going on, but probably 30 hours a week.

Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what? 

Silence most of the time. Boring answer, but it's the truth.

Favorite art-making tools?

The way I paint now, I try to not use any tools at all. My arms and the paint bucket is all I need.

 

Tools or mediums you’re dying to experiment with?

I'm trying new kinds of paint all the time.
Always keeping the experiments going.

What’s next?

Working on a large installation with Charles de Lisle at FOG Art + Design opening on January 13th.

Also, I have some editions coming out in ARTBandini with Miscellaneous Press on January 29th.

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Elle x Gia Coppola
studio visits

Elle x Gia Coppola

Elle.com x Gia Coppola Interview

December 7, 2015

 

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There have been online art galleries for a while, but it seems like only recently, places like The Outnet and The Real Real have begun selling both. Do you think shopping for clothes and shopping for art is similar enough that it can work?

Yes, absolutely, and especially now. It seems like this new thing that's happening, and it seems like girls have really been on the cusp of it. It also seems like a great way to share younger artists' work online, because they don't need a gallery. 

Is that how you and your friends are buying art?

I think a lot of us find new work on Instagram, actually. I definitely do, and that's how I set up a lot of my trades.

Your trades?

Yeah, if you're an artist and you find an artist you like, it's really fun to trade work! I just made a trade with Lucien Smith. And I like how on Instagram, or even I guess online, you can connect with people who don't even necessarily call themselves artists, and make their photos into a print.

But on Instagram, you can also rip off someone else's photos very easily. Does that worry you?

It's a double-edged sword, definitely. I'm very inspired by what I see online, and it's very flattering when people leave positive comments or even repost my work. The problem comes when people repost my work as their own, without any credit, and it's just a big lie! But you can't get mad at it. 

God by Gia Coppola

So you're not leaving comments being like, "Nice try, I made that…"

You definitely don't leave a comment—just let it go. But at the same time, it's something I'm grappling with. How do you claim your work as your own?

How do you?

It's hard, especially because I think it's fascinating…I find it flattering if you share a picture I've taken on your feed. In this day and age especially, it's very hard to get any sort of work seen, so when you get any kind of opportunity to show—and with The Outnet, to sell, which is an even bigger deal—you want to take it. But please don't say, "I took this photo" if you didn't. It's rude. And it's weird. Don't be that weird lying person.

As a film director, you're often the boss at work—even though your "employees" like Emma Roberts and Carly Rae Jepsen are also your friends. How do you make that power dynamic work?

No, you can't see it like that. You can't be like, "I'm the boss and do what I say." That just doesn't work! My friends inspire me, and we go into [film shoots] feeling like we're lucky to have opportunities to work together. You know, I've never had a disagreement on set with any of my friends, because we've created a comfortable environment to say, "Hey, I don't feel comfortable about this." But you can't just say "no" to a suggestion on-set. You have to say, "What if instead, we do this?" And that's how you come to awesome happy mediums, and those places are the fun part.  

So "no" is a forbidden word when you're working?

There's nothing wrong with saying no as long as you're being open and honest about your reason, instead of just being closed-minded. Right? I mean, I don't know how it is with your projects, but I think that's what works for us.

It's a good rule.

When you find people who have similar taste as you, it makes collaborating kind of effortless. So, you know, when people are trying to make movies and they ask, "Where do you start?" I tell them, "You start by finding your people," and by that I mean, people who share your aesthetic. 

I read somewhere that you had a beer pong rosé tournament?

Oh god! Yeah. That happened. It was a while ago. It was bad.

Was it at least Sofia Rosé from your family vineyard? That's my favorite.

Is it?! It was Sofia rosé! It wasn't organized like a tournament, though. This was us being young and breaking into our parents' alcohol cabinet and making a mess. 

So beer pong with wine is a bad idea?

It's not that I wouldn't recommend it. It's just that you have to know your limits veryclearly. Which we didn't! 

Your Instagram shot with Jared Leto is kind of amazing. Do you share the same hair guru now?

I wish! That was a total fluke. The first time I met Jared, we both had long, brown, wavy hair. The second time I saw him, we both had pink hair. But his hair is pretty fancy. I dyed my hair myself. I was in Vancouver working. I was bored in my hotel room. I started playing around with bleach. But that damages your hair a lot, and the color fades, so now for the first time in my life, I'm platinum blonde.

As a blonde, do you notice people treating you differently?

People I know, yeah, because often they don't recognize me. Meanwhile, I forget that I changed my hair and look different. So I say "hi" to someone and they stare at me, like, "Who are you?" It's very awkward! 

Interview by Faran Krentcil

 

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Dana Veraldi | New York Times
studio visits

Dana Veraldi | New York Times

The Artist Behind Deer Dana and Its Celebrity T-Shirts

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Age

31

Hometown 

Born in Denville, N.J., lived in Paris and Ann Arbor, Mich., and grew up in Gulph Mills, Pa.

Now Lives

In a large studio in Brooklyn Heights with an adopted cat named Frankie.

Claim to Fame

Ms. Veraldi, along with Kevin Tekinel, her business partner, is a founder of DeerDana, a line of illustrated T-shirts and tote bags that feature cartoonish portraits of contemporary icons likeKanye West, Martin Scorsese, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Larry David and Lil Wayne. The T-shirts have been spotted on a fair number of celebrities, including Jay Z, Beyoncé, Dakota Fanning, Katy Perry and Jonah Hill. Ms. Veraldi draws each portrait by hand. “Because I’m not trained in fine art, there is a sense of childlikeness, a sense of humor and imperfection to it,” she said.

Big Break

She began making T-shirts as a photography student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and continued to do so when she moved to New York. A few stores, including Patricia Fields, carried her T-shirt, but the first major exposure came in 2008, when one of her friends, the model Agyness Deyn, wore a DeerDana T-shirt with her own likeness in the pages of Time’s Style & Design issue. She began selling her shirts on her DeerDana website, which at the time contained mostly her photography. “It was very lo-fi,” Ms. Veraldi said. “I was printing the shirts myself, in my apartment, on any cheap blank garment I could find — from men’s undershirts to tank tops.”

Latest Project

Ms. Veraldi recently created collages for Tory Burch as part of a promotional campaign for the book “Tory Burch in Color,” and collaborated with Uber on a line of T-shirts that read “Uber NYC.” Past projects include a lunchbox for Walgreens, illustrated portraits of Bruce Weber’s dogs and bunny T-shirts for Playboy.

Next Thing

Ms. Veraldi is creating a tote bag for La Mer, the skin-care brand, and shirts for Reformation that feature illustrations of planets and the text “Give Me Space.” She recently made T-shirts featuring her rendering of Ol’ Dirty Bastard for Diamond Supply Company, a skateboard brand, as well T-shirts for Madewell, the upmarket cousin of J. Crew, that feature illustrations of food associated with New York, Paris or Tokyo. “The Japanese one has sushi eyes and shrimp tempura mouth,” she said. “They’re cute.”

Fan Mail

She sends a shirt to every person she illustrates. “Kanye sent me flowers, which was unusual,” she said. “Martin Scorsese’s production company ordered a large number. I gave them to him at cost.”

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE 

Matt Ross | Urban Outfitters
studio visits

Urban Outfitters visits Matt Ross in his studio. Finding the perfect balance between beauty and chaos, Matt strives to paint the world as he sees and feels it—without the use of actual paint brushes.


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Matt Ross | Urban Outfitters

Studio Visits 

Urban Outfitters Visits Matt Ross


Tappan Collective is home to a wide variety and growing number of amazing artists, and one of them is the New York-based painter Matt Ross. Finding the perfect balance between beauty and chaos, Matt strives to paint the world as he sees and feels it—without the use of actual paint brushes. But mostly, Matt's art can speak for itself (as you'll see below). We paid a visit to the painter's studio and study to see how he develops and creates his wonderfully hectic pieces.

Photos by Frankie Marin (@frankie_marin) for @UrbanOutfittersMens

Can you give us some more background on yourself?

I grew up in Laguna Beach, a small beach town in Southern CA. My life there revolved around the ocean, surfing, and making music with my friends. Laguna actually has produced some amazing musical talent. It is an absolute paradise, and having not lived there for almost 10 years now, I can't wait to fly back whenever I can and get away from the city.  

What is your earliest memory of creating art?

My mother is an artist and at a very young age was always encouraged to be creative. She is a brilliant water colorist and some of my early memories are making landscape water color pieces with her. She had me in a rigorous piano school at 5 and founded the art masters program in our town. When I was 8, I won a local art competition but never took painting seriously until much later. I am lucky to have inherited her creative intuition.

 

What were/are your influences?

I would say visually the artist whose work I can most closely connect to is Cy Twombly. In my mind he is the most talented painter. You are seeing the inside of his brain in his art. It is raw expression; pure experience. I am also influenced by graffiti artists and that entire world and culture. Dash Snow and Dan Colen are great influences of mine. I am really into what JIMJOE has been doing lately. Although not as apparent in my style, I am hugely influenced by Baroque painting, with Caravaggio being a genius in my mind. 

 

How would you describe your aesthetic?

I would describe my creative aesthetic as both rooted in chaos but subsequently abiding by my own internal structure, if that makes sense. So in fact I do abide by my own "rules" when I create. I am fascinated with symbols and with the idea of my painting as being a portrait of my brain at the very moment I created it.  

What’s your creative process like?

My creative process is typically 2 steps: I will paint most of the painting very very fast—in an hour or even less. And then the next weeks I will spend solving the puzzle I just created: smudging, adding, erasing, constantly amending, fighting, and repairing until I feel it's either done or I simply can't solve the puzzle. This is why a lot of my paintings are untitled. I like to have tons of subject matter around me—music, other visual art, people talking, noise, etc. Painting is the most natural form of expression for me. Creating a painting is "pure experience." I am in a different state when I am truly in my zone. 

It is a very unique feeling that I don't get from anything else. Sometimes it all comes together like an orchestra would in perfect pitch; my movements and choices will coexist in a very fluid manner. I try not to think too much and have all my materials right in front of me so I can rely on my instinct, especially in the early phases of a painting. I'll reference symbols and letters that have relevance to me, and like anything else, I'll remember something I liked that I used in an older piece and try to incorporate that into a new one. Triangles, geometry, numbers, letters—they seem to tie together a lot of the chaos that spews out onto the canvas. 

 

What are some of the prominent tools and supplies you use to create?

One of my most central techniques is smudging soft pastel because of the obscurity of the result and the unpredictability of the color scheme that will come out of it. White pastel and white paint are my go to materials. I don't paint with brushes, only make-up sponges. I use my hands often. I look at creating as a puzzle—I am constantly trying to achieve balance and power in my paintings and each move I make will influence the next and so on.

Do you have a morning routine that you make sure to do every day?

My morning routine is typically different every day because I rarely am doing the same thing I did the day before. Cold water on the face seems to be something I do every morning no matter what.

Are there any places in NYC that you find inspirational?

I would say around mostly the industrial areas of Brooklyn because of the constant combination of decay and restoration, and the relationship that will in a sense tell a story about that wall or building. I used to take pictures of walls in areas like Bushwick and try to recreate portions of them in my art. Some of the walls you will see are truly beautiful—you'll have a colorful tag coupled with a new paint job that is peeling off and revealing a poster that was on the wall beforehand. I'll see a tag by a guy that I recognize that has been half painted over, and then the concrete is disintegrating, and on the wall there's gum, bird shit, food, and dirt, and all of that creates an idea in my head for a new work. The relationship between decay and restoration is very evident in my creative process.  

What’s the best place you’ve ever traveled to?

I love Berlin—that could be my favorite. I also love the desert. The Owens Valley in California along highway 395 is my favorite drive in the world. The South Island of New Zealand, too. Gorgeous.

What’s in store for the near future?

I'd like to incorporate lights and electrical objects into my paintings. I'm also fascinated with the idea of incorporating magic into art. Metal sculpture, too. Using more resin and maybe incorporating broken glass. As you can see when it comes to ideas for art, my mind is all over the place. I can promise that it will be interesting. I am learning new things everyday.

Alison Cooley | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Alison Cooley in her studio. Alison's work 

combines lyrical abstraction with intensive color experimentation. 


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Alison Cooley | Studio Visit

London, England

July 2015


SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

Alison Cooley was born in Washington DC and studied at Sarah Lawrence College and the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC . Her work combines lyrical abstraction with intensive color experimentation. Using knives, spatulas, and even her hands, Cooley revels in tactile expressions of her artistic vision. 

 

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

Alice Lancaster | Everlane
studio visits

Everlane spent a day with Alice Lancaster talking art, inspiration and the importance of a comfortable shoe.  


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Alice Lancaster | Everlane

Everlane Meets The Artist

Everlane spent a day with Alice Lancaster talking art, inspiration and the importance of a comfortable shoe.  

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE 

 

 

 

 

Photography courtesy of Everlane

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE 

 

Heather Day | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits San Francisco and Heather Day in her studio. Her large scale abstract paintings provide her with the space for exploration and self-expression.


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Heather Day | Studio Visit

San Francisco, CA

March 2015

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

Tell us a little bit about what you're doing in your work now.

I am exploring ways to break the average rectangular composition of a painting. Why not let the painting become its own shape? I figured since my work tends to be rather organic, I shouldn’t let the framework of the paintings be so confined in a solid shape. With this concept in mind, I’m also building larger paintings where it feels like the edge of the painting doesn’t really matter. Jackson Pollack explored this idea in his work a lot. He rarely touched the edges of the paintings because it was more about the fluidity of his body. If he was standing in the middle of the painting then the paint only went as far as his arms could reach.

Why do you create?

I've been painting since I was a kid. I never really had a reason I did it besides the fact that it made me feel good. Painting is a vehicle for me to express myself differently. We live in such a concrete world, it's refreshing to take a break from it all and make something that isn't so defined.

Describe your creative process.

Once the stretcher bars are built and the canvas is stretched, the painting starts with a few quick marks. A blank canvas can be daunting so making a mark without much thought is the easiest way for me to begin painting. At this point, every decision is a reaction to a mark that was previously made. These reactions are made through various methods of painting such as pouring, scraping, drawing, dripping etc. I usually have 5-10 paintings in progress at any given time. This allows me to carry ideas from one piece to another- similar to pages in a book. Working on several pieces also helps prevent me from overworking a painting. The amount of layers of paint and marks depends on each specific piece. Some paintings are complex with 10-15 layers of paint while others are quick. The quick gestural paintings are usually reactions to paintings that had more invested time.

What is something people would be surprised to discover about you?

I'm also a lifestyle blogger. I love art directing and working with designers to create compelling content. Aside from contributing to other blogs, I'm also Co-founder of Taupe & Birch (taupeandbirch.com)

What is your favorite quote?

“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, "You owe me." Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.” -Hafiz

When do you make your best work?

After a long vacation at about 9pm at night.

What is your favorite color?

Phthalo Blue

What is your favorite instrument?

Guitar

What is your least favorite sound?

The sound of someone else's ring tone that sounds like my alarm clock.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Cookie Dough

What is the one thing you wouldn't eat?

Asparagus

What is your biggest demon?

Not being able to pay rent. I've been very fortunate to live off of my paintings for the past year. It's a very exciting but scary business to go into.

What is your happy place?

Spending a full day in the studio and completely losing track of time.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

7am yoga!

What puts you to sleep at night?

I'm a heavy sleeper. No matter what is going on in my life, I still have the knack to fall asleep instantly.

 

Who are some of favorite artists?

Cy Twombly, Willem De Kooning, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollack, and Helen Frankenthaler. As far as music, I can't get enough of Bon Iver and Macklemore.

 

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

 

Matthew Trygve Tung | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Matthew Trygve Tung in his Brooklyn studio. Trygve Tung's work explores the desire for and unattainability of order. Using Internationalist housing and modernist structures as visual starting points, he focuses on the moment when the prescribed order of the grid begins to come apart and these utopic architectures are transformed into monuments of entropy.

 


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Matthew Trygve Tung | Studio Visit

Brooklyn, NY

January 2015


SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

 

MATTHEW TRYGVE TUNG was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2006 and subsequently relocated to New York, where he completed his MFA at Hunter College in 2012. He was awarded a Keyholder Residency at the Lower East Side Printshop in 2008 and received the Eleanor Gay Lee and Esther Fisher Perry awards from Hunter College in 2012. His work was featured in New American Paintings MFA Annual, Issue 99, and has been exhibited at galleries including Denise Bibro Fine Art, Blank Space Gallery, Geras-Tousignant, The Luggage Store, Spattered Columns in conjunction with ACNY, and through Ugly Art Room’s programming.
Trygve Tung's work explores the desire for and unattainability of order. Using Internationalist housing and modernist structures as visual starting points, he focuses on the moment when the prescribed order of the grid begins to come apart and these utopic architectures are transformed into monuments of entropy. Repetition magnifies imperfection, which is in turn mirrored by his mark making. Each drawing is measured and calculated; yet as with the buildings they capture, the idealized form is transformed by time and human fallibility, giving way to a new harmony... Learn More and Shop Art

Why do you create?

To stay relatively sane; to gain a little understanding of the world.

Where are you from and where do you live now? 

I was born and raised in San Francisco and have been living in Brooklyn since 2006.

When do you make your best work?

Late at night when everyone is asleep and when I'm out wandering around.

What is your favorite color?

Blues

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Mint chocolate chip.

What is your biggest demon? 

Self

What is your happy place? 

The California coast.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? 

Work!

Who are some of favorite artists?

Egon Schiele, Edward Hopper, David Hockney, Saul Leiter, Fred Herzog

Who is your hero?

My dad.

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

 

Ward Roberts | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Ward Roberts in his studio. 

Ward's Court series highlights the vibrance and architectural form of local courts while instantaneously drawing the viewer into the notion of isolation.


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Ward Roberts | Studio Visit

New York, NY

November 2014

Shop Art by Ward Roberts

Ward is welcomed into the Tappan family as a seasoned veteran with solo shows spanning across most of the world already. His work is reminiscent of Ed Ruscha and Stephen Shore--namely, capturing intricately composed photographs with sophisticated technique and a lesson in our modern world.

Ward's Court series highlights the vibrance and architectural form of local courts while instantaneously drawing the viewer into the notion of isolation. These places are typically full of action, excitement, and the highest embodiment of athleticism, but Ward's aesthetic reveals that beyond vibrant colors and intricate form, the local courts of our cities are now a humble pastime in our fast moving world. Ward has exquisitely captured the minimalist sentiment of change.

Why do you create?

It's impossible not to.

What is your favorite quote?

"Perfection is the biggest enemy of greatness"

What is your favorite color?

Purple

What is your favorite instrument?

Saxophone

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Cookie dough or Lemon Sorbet

What is your biggest demon?

Fear of failure has always been a big demon to over come.

What is your happy place?

In the water in Bermuda

What do you love most about being on the road?

The excitement of seeing and experiencing something new.

What puts you to sleep at night?

Not knowing what tomorrow will bring

Who are some of favorite artists?

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Gus Van Sant, Jacques Tati, Michelangelo Antonioni

Gia Coppola | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Gia Coppola in her Los Angeles studio. 

Her soft eye serves up sweet melancholy in her images that focus on banal, fleeting moments with friends and objects.


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Gia Coppola | Studio Visit

Los Angeles, CA

October 2014

 

 

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

Photographer, film maker, fashion trend setter, and mixologist--Gia Coppola is an artist to her genetic core. Her soft eye serves up sweet melancholy in her images that focus on banal, fleeting moments with friends and objects. Her art turns these small moments into a meditation on style, intimacy, and the beauty of stillness itself, that only the camera allows.



When she's not busy selling photographs on Tappan (which she always is) she's making short films for fashion houses, taking on the directorial spotlight for feature films, and getting us tipsy on Gia by Gia Coppola, her own brand of wine. Gia's a force and we can proudly say, she's on the Tappan team.

 

 

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

 

Ali Beletic | The Mineral Painting Series
studio visits

Ali Beletic | The Mineral Painting Series

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

Ali Beletic 

Fall 2014

Ali Beletic is a contemporary conceptual artist specializing in a new type of experiential work she calls Earth Art Ceremonies, which participate in the historic tradition of ceremony as a means to create evocative experiences for the modern art community to have access to ancient emotions, latent instincts and 360 degree sensual experiences.

She recently finished several large-scale sculptural works for the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona and recorded a full length record which is coming out in the Fall of 2014 on Lightning Records. She is currently working on a new series of large-scale sculptural works for the Mojave Desert.

Ali’s practice also hones in on a philosophical perspective regarding a human tradition of joy and celebration. Her work often draws on a wide variety of ancient symbols, narratives, traditions, materials, ancestral technology, art, medicine, architecture, ecology and mythology to help invoke some of these latent instincts and feelings.

About the Mineral Painting Series

The mineral paintings series was inspired, alongside my other recent works, to focus on a primitivist and archetypal perspective – choosing to work alongside the natural raw and rugged beauty of ancient technology, natural materials and mythological shapes.  The intention of using these universal references to light, primitive survival, architecture & art, symbolism, natural shapes, mythological and storytelling from ancient and cultures throughout humanity’s history is intended to employ a Jungian archetypal celebration, hoping to bring to mind simple, beautiful, sensual responses and power which has been passed through generations.

The paintings themselves are designed to be viewed in more than one direction.  When viewed from the side and lit, the minerals glow in a beautiful and awe-inspiring contrast to the matte canvas.  Each mineral is selected carefully and crushed down to a fine powder to be used for its own natural beauty in color and intrinsic properties.

While working on several large-scale sculptural works in Arizona I started the mineral painting series as a gallery analogue to the work I was doing out in the field.  Painting with the mineral rich earth and hidden deposits beneath our feet with their intense array of color, beauty and innate worth was an excellent way to bring my Earth Art Ceremonies into the gallery and collector’s homes.

History of Minerals

Ochres are among the earliest pigments used by mankind. They were also used as medicine, and body decoration among the Egyptians and Chumash. Aboriginal Australians used them in cave painting, bark painting, and in the preservation of animal skins. The Maori mixed them with fish oil to color the large waka taua – war canoe. Carvings of Ochre show up in the Blombos cave in South Africa- dating back to around 75,000 years ago, and again marking an unfinished obelisk in the northern region of the Aswan Stone Quarry. Ochre was the most commonly used material for painting walls in the ancient Mediterranean world. The Gold Ochre above is non toxic and is made from the ochre clay that is mined from the ground and then washed in order to separate the sand. The remaining ochre is then dried in the sand and sometimes burned to enhance the natural color. Mineralogically, Gold Ochre is called limonite and is a chemical composition of hydrated iron oxide.

Jet, the origin of the common phrase ‘Jet Black’ – now coming to mean the deepest of blacks, is considered to be a minor gemstone. Jet is the result of high pressure decompostion of wood from millions of years ago, commonly the wood of trees of the family Araucariaceae. Jet can either be soft or hard depending on the salt content of the water at the time of carbon compression. Jet, historically has been used as a gemstone, dating back to a jewelry piece found in Asturias, Spain in 17,000 BC. In the Roman period, amulets and pendants of Jet were considered magical because of its protective qualities. The micorstructure of jet, which strongly resembles the original wood, can be seen under 120x or greater magnification.

Cinnabar is generally found in a massive, granular or earthy form and is bright scarlet to brick-red in color.  Generally cinnabar occurs as a vein-filling mineral associated with recent volcanic activity and alkaline hot springs.  Cinnabar is deposited by epithermal ascending aqueous solutions far removed from their igneous source.  Cinnabar is still being deposited at the present day from the hot waters of Sulphur Bank Mine in California and Steamboat Springs, Nevada. 

Cinnabar has been mined since the Neolithic age.  Ancient people of South America often used cinnabar for art, or precessed it into refined mercury (as a means to gild silver and gold to objects.)  Cinnabar has been used as a decorative color since the Olmec culture and was often used in the Mayan civilization. During the Roman Empire it was mined both as a pigment and for its mercury content.  

 

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

 

Cheryl Humphreys | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Cheryl Humphreys in her Los Angeles studio to discuss her unique process, inspiration and learned her favorite quote is "the only rule is work."


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Cheryl Humphreys | Studio Visit

Los Angeles, CA

September 2014

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE


Tell us a little bit about what you're doing in your work now. 

I am continuing exploration of my Bring Into Being series where I experiment with surrender vs. control of my mediums; responding to organic ink forms with the meticulous process of blind embossing to create abstract landscapes that transcend the two dimensional.

I have also started a new series: A Collection of Vices, a body of work that explores the tension created when our dark secrets are portrayed in a visually pure way. This series has also lead to using neon as a medium; a new and exciting challenge.

When do you make your best work?

After midnight. This is when I feel the most alone and am free to get weird without interruption

Which is your favorite quote?

"The only rule is work" - Sister Corita

What is your favorite color?

Dusty pink

What is your biggest demon?

Perfectionism

What is your happy place?

Shavasana

What would you create for a lover?

A visual love note everyday

Who is your favorite artist?

Helen Frankenthaler

Why do you make art?

It's the way to communicate that comes easiest to me

What inspires you?

My surroundings, my friends, good story tellers, travel, hip hop, disco, old books, new books, my boyfriend & best friend Mike, minimalism, Big Sur, fashion week, afternoon naps

Where are you from and where do you live now?

Born in New York, raised in Baltimore, live & work in LA

What is something people would be surprised to discover about you?

I am kind of messy

What is your hero?

My mom

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

 

Thomas Hammer | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Thomas Hammer in his studio. 


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Thomas Hammer | Studio Visit

New York, NY

August 2014

Shop Art by Thomas Hammer

Why do you create?

Because I’m curious to find out where the work is going next.

When do you make your best work?

I work best when I’m feeling centered and calm. I need to be able to get lost in the work so I can be as open-minded and thoughtful with it as I can, otherwise it becomes too chaotic. When it comes to the studio, I’m most productive in the mornings and early afternoons. I use evenings to relax, catch up with friends, and do email. 

What is your favorite color?

Black - I guess it’s not technically a color, but it makes up most of my wardrobe 

What is your favorite instrument?

Cello - it can be elegant, playful, and warm but also dark and brooding. I listen to lots of stuff while I’m working. It really depends on my mood. Lots of podcasts, jazz, and dance-y / upbeat pop

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Anything with cookies or candy 

What is your biggest demon?

Me (I guess that’s a fairly privileged response)

What is your happy place?

Summer in Tønsberg, Norway where my mother is from.

What do you love most about being on the road?

The opportunity to see things with fresh eyes and return inspired

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Coffee, my morning run, and of course work

What puts you to sleep at night?

A glass of wine after a satisfying day in the studio. Maybe a bit of photo editing or tv.

Who are some of favorite artists?

William Kentridge, Tomma Abts, Donald Judd, Kara Walker, Paul Chan, Ryan Trecartin, Luc Tuymans, James Rosenquist, Hieronymus Bosch. There are a few off the top of my head who have expanded my view about what art can do.

Describe your creative process in a few words.

I tend to bounce around a lot from work to work while paint / ink dries. It’s more a process of making a move, taking time to reflect, and then reacting with another. Sometimes the work has a sense of inevitability and I just have to follow through, but I’ve learned that when it doesn’t the best thing is not to rush it. Sometimes my work starts with and idea or a sketch, but it always evolves from there.

Jenny Sharaf | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Jenny Sharaf in her San Francisco studio. Her work explores the mythology of the California girl, the role of the female artist, and the image of the 21st century woman. Also, we discovered her favorite color is bright yellow.


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Jenny Sharaf | Studio Visit

San Francisco, CA

June 2014

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

Jenny Sharaf is a an artist born and raised in Los Angeles, currently living in San Francisco, CA. Through painting, video, works on paper, and installations, Sharaf explores the mythology of the California girl, the role of the female artist, and the image of the 21st century woman in order to illuminate the evolving generational shifts of feminism and contemporary notions of the gaze.
The depiction of female iconography in her work is layered, something between want, desire, pain, and exhibitionism. Working between figurative and abstraction, her imagery encompasses trashy reality media, sophisticated starlets, pop culture and abstract skin-referencing forms of bright color.
While examining the complexity of feminism’s legacy, Sharaf works with images that reflect on this loaded history and explores her niche within a generation of women who are disconnected from that struggle. As a California blonde herself, she maps a history of blondes in the media and adopts tropes of pop art, abstract expressionist painting and low-brow media.
She is also the founder of Gallery Daily, which bridges the gap between art and technology in the Bay Area.
SHOP ART by Jenny Sharaf

Photos by Hans Kwioteks.


Why do you create? 

I don't have a choice.  If I don't create, I go completely mad.

Where are you from and where do you live now? 

I am from Los Angeles and I currently live in San Francisco.

What is something people would be surprised to discover about you?

That I started by own company.

Did you have breakfast today?

Coffee and a piece of toast.  Not too healthy....

What kind of paint are you using these days? 

House paint and cheap craft paint from Michael's.

When do you make your best work?

Hard to say....when I'm having fun and being completely present with the paint.
The kind of moments that I completely loose track of time.

What is your favorite color?

Bright Yellow 

What is your favorite instrument?

Electric guitar.  Love when my dude plays for me.

What is your least favorite sound?

The sound of 'no'

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Peppermint chip.

What is the one thing you wouldn't eat?

I eat everything, but don't like cilantro. 

What is your happy place? 

Split decision between Russian River, CA and Hudson, NY.

What puts you to sleep at night?

Visualizing new projects.

What would you draw a lover? 

Nude portraits, of course.

Who are some of favorite artists?

John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Alice Neel, Lee Krasner, Maya Hayuk, Alicia McCarthy, Desiree Holman, Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Francis, Lynda Benglis, Joan Brown, Frank Stella, Richard Artschwager.

Who is your hero?

All of the artists just mentioned.  Plus my mom:)

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

 

Anna Ayeroff | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Anna Ayeroff's studio in New Mexico. We discovered that her favorite quote is: 

“Art is important because it changes people’s consciousness. And changing people’s consciousness changes the world.” -Mike Kelley


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Anna Ayeroff | Studio Visit

Los Angeles, CA

June 2014

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

Tell us a little bit about what you're doing in your work now.

I’ve spent the past few weeks at a residency in the small town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The New Mexico landscape has drawn me back to it many times over the years and having the time to explore it has been heaven.
The starting point for my recent work has been a feminist utopian novel published in 1911 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, called “Moving the Mountain”. Using the book’s title as a symbol for utopian vision, I have been exploring different ways to “move mountains.” The movement has ranged from cutting and layering photographs, to building miniature rock formations, to taking the actual text of the book and copying only the letters N, S, E and W from each page, creating a set of directions.
New Mexico has perfect mountains - I spent the start of my year photographing them, filming them, painting them, building them, thinking about how they might one day move, becoming a perfect world.
The root of my practice, and the root of Utopia itself, is always literature and language. I can’t help but feel like “The Land of Enchantment” might be a perfect place. And that a wonderful town called “Truth or Consequences” could be even more special because of its name. Words have a funny way of making me believe.


Did you have breakfast today?

Nope

Which is your favorite quote?

“Art is important because it changes people’s consciousness. And changing people’s consciousness changes the world.” -Mike Kelley

What kind of mediums are you using these days?

Cameras. 35mm, 120mm, super 8, 16mm, digital

My hands. to cut, to mark, to glue, to place, to print

When do you make your best work?

When my head is clear, my body is rested and I am alone.

What is your favorite color?

Green. Or the blue of the New Mexico sky when contrasted by its orange mountains.

What is your favorite instrument?

The ones that sound like a voice or beat like a heart.

Where are you the most inspired?

Outdoors. and inside.


What is your favorite sound?

Bare feet running on concrete.

What is your biggest demon?

Perfectionism.

What is your happy place?

The desert.

What do you love most about being an artist?

I can speak without having to use words.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The pup staring at me with her chin rested on the edge of the bed.

What puts you to sleep at night?

Warmth (the big spoon)

What would you draw a lover?

The most perfect new world for us to live in.

What’s your ideal life at 60?

One where we are living in that most perfect new world I drew when we were younger.

Where is your ideal life?

In a simpler place.

What do you most admire in a man?

Femininity

What do you most admire in a woman?

Masculinity

Who is your favorite artist?

I can never answer this question because I always forget who I love. But the first time I ever cried because of a piece of art was standing in front of Velasquez’s Las Meninas. My most vivid memory of crying from an artwork is climbing down to the Sprial Jetty and then being reminded of that watching JG by Tacita Dean. And the most recent piece of art that made me cry was a small Georgia O’Keefe painting that looks like a butt.

Why do you make art?

Because I can’t not.

Who is your hero?

My great-grandfather, who had the bravery, foolishness, gumption, and hubris to move his Russian immigrant family from the lower east side to a jewish farm colony in Utah. He wanted to live the dream. The utopia failed, but the man sure did try.

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE

Jeff Kraus | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Jeff Kraus in his Michigan studio to talk about inspiration and his paintings.


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Jeff Kraus | Studio Visit

Detroit, MI

May 2014

 

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I was born in Kalamazoo, MI and raised in a small town outside of Kalamazoo called Vicksburg.  I lived in Traverse City for my teens and early 20's then moved to Grand Rapids in 2007 and have been here ever since.  There is something about Michigan that can't be beat.

Did you have breakfast today?

I try and eat breakfast every morning, It usually consists of  a glass or two of orange juice, and a bowl of yogurt and chocolate raspberry granola.

Which is your favorite quote?

This is one of my favorites from artist Cy Twombly. " I sit for two or three hours and then in 15 minutes I can do a painting, but that's part of it. You have to get ready and decide to jump up and do it; you build yourself up psychologically, and so painting has no time for brush. Brush is boring, you give it and all of a sudden it's dry, you have to go. Before you cut the thought, you know?"

What kind of paint are you using these days? 

I pretty much work exclusively in water based house paint, I like the idea of using little to no chemicals in my studio practice, the paint is super cheap and it dries really fast!

When do you make your best work?

I think I make my best work when I am least expecting it.

What is your favorite instrument?

The Drums! I have been playing them for going on 14 years.  Playing the drums is like painting for me, they are both so freeing and  primal.  You get to make your own rules

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Butter Pecan

What is the one thing you wouldn't eat?

I can't stand onions in any form. I hate them!

What do you love most about being on the road?

I love the constant change in environment, the chance to meet new people and see new things.  I take in the new experiences and pour them into my paintings.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The thrill of a new day, a new adventure to be had. I say to myself, maybe today I will make a better painting than yesterday.

Who are some of favorite artists?

Cy Twombly, Chris Burden, Joseph Beuys, Franz Kline, Bruce Nauman, Leonard Baskin, Robert Motherwell...

 

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

 

Owen Schmit | Studio Visit
studio visits

Owen Schmit | Studio Visit

March 2014

Why do you create?

I think it comes from a need, as opposed to a want. Sometimes I don’t want to create but I always need to.

What is something people would be surprised to discover about you?

I’m ambidextrous

Which is your favorite quote?

"Make whatever you want.” This is something someone said to me in graduate school, and although it seems like an incredibly basic concept, sometimes it can be easy to forget.

When do you make your best work?

When I have an appreciation of the time I have to work on things. Or whenever I have a deadline.

What is your favorite color?

Purple and black, it’s a tie.

What is your favorite instrument?

The pedal steel.

What is your happy place?

Sitting in front of Rothko paintings.

What do you love most about being on the road?

The energy that comes from gaining new perspectives and coming back to work with fresh eyes.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Coffee and my dog

What puts you to sleep at night?

Hard work and meditation.

Who are some of favorite artists?

Mary Weatherford, Werner Herzog, Morris Louis

Describe your creative process in a few words.

I usually start by collecting piles and piles of images from magazines and make tons of small paintings on paper, to start establishing tone and color palette. These new paintings on silk are created through a labor-intensive process of dye evaporation, washing and painting. I initially paint into black silk with a chemical dye discharge. Once the discharge has set, the dye is evaporated from the silk in the areas painted with the discharge using high heat and steam to produce an image. After carefully hand washing the painting, the process is repeated up to four times. Finally, I paint into the images created through the multiple evaporations, using flashe, acrylic, ink, or other dyes.

Jonni Cheatwood | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Jonni Cheatwood in his Arizona studio. Jonni's deconstructed and abstract approach lends itself to his interdisciplinary experimentation in urban subculture, composition, color, shape and form through a variety of mixed media.


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Jonni Cheatwood | Studio Visit

Phoenix, AZ

March 2014

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

Jonni Cheatwood was born in Thousand Oaks, California but has spent the duration of his adulthood living and working in the Phoenix area. He received his BA from Arizona State University, where he picked up painting. The majority of Jonni's thought process is dedicated to deconstruction, making mistakes, and coming alive through chance and the abstract. He has chosen to step into a seemingly destructive composition of layers, shape and lines, along with aggressive colors to relay parts of a story. Jonni is deeply interested in the process of creating an aesthetic piece and how one gets there; understanding the reception of art, objects, and how influences influence the work he makes. Cheatwood is also interested in how creativity cultivates hope, revival, and the restoration of what was nothing into something beautiful and pleasing. Cheatwood's work, at its core, is an interdisciplinary experimentation in urban subculture, composition, color, shape, and form through a variety of mixed media. Jonni and his wife, Amy, currently live in metro Phoenix, Arizona.

 

Why do you create?

I create to come alive. It's the one thing that I am passionate about and I feel like it's what I'm supposed to do, plain and simple. I can't imagine living my life without making art.

Tell us a little bit about what you're doing in your work now. 

Currently, I'm trying to mature, stretch, and grow as a creative. I get bored easily, I suppose. Personally, I don't want to go through my entire career as an artist pounding the same key. I realized this last year that I can get very comfortable making a certain type of art. If I'm being honest, sometimes I'm terrified that I will never meet my full potential as an artist so I'm taking the time now to sort out new mediums and styles to make my own. My studio has become a mess, and I love it. 

Did you have breakfast today?

Coffee, yeah. 

Which is your favorite quote?

"Write every day, line by line, page by page, hour by hour. Do this despite fear. For above all else, beyond imagination and skill, what the world asks of you is courage, courage to risk rejection, ridicule and failure. As you follow the quest for stories told with meaning and beauty, study thoughtfully but write boldly. Then, like the hero of the fable, your dance will dazzle the world." Robert McKee said that.

What kind of medium are you using these days?

For now, photography, oils, oil sticks, oil pastels, screen printing ink, house paints, unprimed canvases, archival paper, and other stuff. 

When do you make your best work? 

I'm yet to figure this out. I can go to my studio any time of the day and feel like I'm making a good work, but I feel like when my work comes naturally or when there is no thought going into what I'm doing, it is something worth keeping around. I can't premeditate my work. I noticed that if I try really hard to make it work in the studio, it won't work. At all. It has to be organic and true. 

What is your favorite color?

Gold, probably. 

What is your favorite instrument?

Bass & drums, man. I actually grew up playing the trumpet, but there's something special about the cello. 

What do you think photography does to a moment or place?

To me, it's a visual reference of a moment that I'll never get back. I think I take my personal photos in an unconventional way. Say you see a really cool building, the general idea is to take a photo of the whole building right? I'm more interested in the cracks in the wall or any imperfections that building has. That's what I want to take a picture of. Now, I use a lot of photography in my work as it gives me a way to broaden my options when I approach a piece and I get to interact with a moment that is gone. 

What is your least favorite sound?

Metal scrapping against metal. It makes me cringe. 

What is the one thing you wouldn't eat?

I absolutely hate cherries. Even the smell of cherries gives me a headache. 

What is your biggest demon? 

I don't really know. I don't have any wild vices that hold me back, but I have a few insecurities.

What is your happy place? 

My studio has become my happy place. I can turn my music up as loud as I want, make as big of a mess as I want and it's my safe place. Yeah, it's my little safe haven.

What do you love most about traveling?

I feel free, like I'm living out a Kerouac story. I love the idea of walking around a city where you don't know anything and no one really knows you. When I first moved to Arizona, I would take the train back to Los Angeles for Christmas and different breaks from school and I would stare out of the window for the entire trip, just because I'm watching America go by and I get to see places that you can't in a car.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? 

"Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News. It's my wife's alarm. 

What puts you to sleep at night?

I'm a night processor, so it takes me a while to fall asleep. It's a waiting game. 

What would you draw a lover? 

Her portrait, then drip paint all over it. 

Whats your ideal life at 60?

I imagine I'll be a professor somewhere and a grandparent by then. Maybe live in rural America. I don't see retirement being a feasible option for me. I think I'll be a lot like John Baldessari. Grey-haired, wise, a creative that can look back over the past 30 years knowing that I made a good amount of work and met every milestone I've set for myself. It's hard to project my life at 60 when I don't know what 28 looks like yet. 

Where is your ideal life?

I grew up around the Los Angeles area and I would absolutely love to be back in LA full-time, but Phoenix is home. It's very comfortable here and I enjoy the pace. My wife is from a tiny town here and she absolutely loves the desert. We'll see. I know that there is more opportunity for an artist in Los Angeles and New York, but it was my own decision to stay here. 

What do you most admire in a man?

Everyone I've ever looked up to has had something noble to say and has been a gentleman and courageous. I strive for that. 

What do you most admire in a woman?

I've learned a lot about women in my first year of marriage. I specifically admire my wife's ability to be my teammate and my backbone at times. I admire a classy hard working woman, working to make moves. That takes courage to me.

Who is your favorite artist?

I have a few. Pollock, Makoto Fujimura, John Baldessari, Basquiat, Richter, Cy Twombly, Kevin Appel, Robert Motherwell, Jaybo Monk.

Why do you make art?

I first started making art because I needed a creative outlet in a platonic way. I had dropped out of school to work full-time and it was killing me, so I picked up painting, with no dream or expectations of is becoming a career path; fast forward four years and art has become so much of who I am. I'm not a very vocal person, kind of soft spoken, so having the ability to speak through art is my greatest form of communication. All the work I make is true and there is so much thought and conviction into everything I do and I'm trying to get people to look at things a little bit different with my work by reconfiguring pre-existing imagery and creating new realities.

Who is your hero?

Jesus, straight up. 

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

Deerdana | Studio Visits
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Deerdana in her New York studio. Her process in a few words: 

Image research, collage, mixed mediums, Photoshop.


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Deerdana | Studio Visits

New York, NY 

March 2014

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE 

Why do you create?

To share with others

What is something people would be surprised to discover about you?

I love R&B music

Did you have breakfast today?

Eggs and salad

Which is your favorite quote?

“I don't trust anyone who doesn't laugh.” Maya Angelou

When do you make your best work?

Alone with lots of sunlight and loud music

What is your favorite color?

Green

What is your favorite instrument?

Piano

What is your least favorite sound?

Eating cereal.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Oreo

What is your happy place?

Martha's Vineyard

What do you love most about being on the road?

Music in the car with windows down

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Howard Stern and coffee

What puts you to sleep at night?

HBO Documentaries

What would you draw a lover?

Drawing someone I love is one of my favorite things

Who are some of favorite artists?

John Baldessari, Lucian Freud, Baron Von Fancy, Pablo Picasso, Isamu Noguchi, Richard Avedon

Who is your hero?

My mother

Describe your creative process in a few words.

Image research, collage, mixed mediums, Photoshop.

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE 

Camille Altay | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Camille Altay in her studio. Trained as a painter and a lifelong student of electronic and experimental music, her visual work unearths analogies with field recording, soundscape and electronic synthesis by applying mechanical processes to digital snapshots of landscape


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Camille Altay | Studio Visit

Brooklyn, NY

November 2013

Along with being trained as a painter, Camille is a lifelong student of electronic and experimental music. Her visual work finds analogy with field recording, soundscape and electronic synthesis by applying a range of manual and mechanical processes to digital snapshots of landscape. The visual record is fed back on itself, oscillated and bent, glazed in oil paint or printed in layers and subtle phases until its meaning becomes one of transformation. The work is a continuous experiment in the generation of new forms out of old signals - forms which are untethered to the past, and exert the gravitational force of a truly unique and pressing now.

Camille is devoted to the study of the intersections of art, music, science and technology, and when not in her own studio she provides technical assistance to students at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York.


INTERVIEW BY TAPPAN COLLECTIVE

Tell us a little bit about what you're doing in your work now.

I have been digging into all sorts of classic artistic tropes - bodies and the abstraction of movement, and natural landscapes - to figure out where newness comes from, and how to create the conditions for something new to occur now. Right now I am experimenting with methods similar to those used in signal processing as a way to generate new work from a snapshot I took in Point Reyes in California. Sometimes I will paint or draw on top of these images because they seem to want to interact, sometimes they seem happy to be left alone. I’m interested in finding the point where one thing evolves naturally and branches off into another - images that contain the instructions for the next form they will take. A good visual example of this is Muybridge’s photos of Human and Animal Locomotion.

Did you have breakfast today?

If you count butter in my coffee as breakfast.

What is your favorite quote?

“So, buttons on your underwear.”

What kind of medium/camera are you using these days?

Sine waves, gesso, graphite, instagram, oil paint, digital printer, opaque projector. Soon, goat skin parchment and hopefully an oscilloscope instead of a computer.

When do you make your best work?

After I eat steak.

What is your favorite color?

A hard question… right now probably graphite - though I suppose its more of a sheen…

What is your favorite instrument?

Another tough question… Maybe a Hammond organ or an Arp 2600 synthesizer. Or the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Or my dad’s piano.

What do you think photography does to a moment or place?

I think we’re all still trying to figure that one out, which is why its so fascinating.

What is your least favorite sound?

The high tone a TV makes when its left on. Or that car alarm that cycles through the different beeps and bwoops. Car alarms in general. TVs in general. Also, angle grinders.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Anything thats made with lots of real cream.

What is the one thing you wouldn't eat?

I had the opportunity to eat monkey brains and couldn’t bring myself to do it. It seemed wrong.

What is your biggest demon?

Forgetfulness.

What is your happy place? 

Gramaphone records in Chicago.

What do you love most about traveling?

Being lost. And trains. But not at the same time.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

A print my friend Nick Wallin gave me that says “Boo Fuckin’ Hoo” and has a cartoon of a guy with his guts spilling out.

What puts you to sleep at night?

1001 Arabian Nights.

What would you draw a lover?

A ghost with a thought bubble that says “have a great day boo!”

Whats your ideal life at 60?

I am hoping everything becomes cordless by then.

Where is your ideal life?

Somewhere near the people I love, next to a river, with plenty of stone and trees.

What do you most admire in a man?

Grace.

What do you most admire in a woman?

Grace.

Who is your favorite artist?

At the moment I’m kind of glued to Muybridge’s Human and Animal Locomotion and some drawings and writings of Henri Michaux, and I’ve been listening to David Lynch’s new records. They go well together.

Why do you make art?

To try to figure out why I make art. (This sounds like I am evading the question, but its the truth.)

Who is your hero?

My grandmother.

 

Matt Ross | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Matt Ross in his studio. His current paintings blend linear, alphabetical, and numerical symbols to create a modern cave painting; a chaotic yet calculated interpretation of the relationship between decay and restoration.


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Matt Ross | Studio Visit

New York, NY

September, 2013


Matt Ross lives and works in New York City and has previously been based in Vancouver and California. He is self-taught, but has been closely surrounded by artistic talent his entire life. Matt relies heavily on natural instinct and experiences to guide his movements and shapes that are visible in his work. Through his unorthodox style and use of technique, Matt's work is a result of both natural and unnatural forms that he has experienced which are then reflected in the final piece. His current approach blends linear, alphabetical, and numerical symbols to create a modern cave painting; a chaotic yet calculated interpretation of the relationship between decay and restoration. Matt has exhibited at Yossi Milo Gallery and Regina Rex Gallery in New York City.

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE


Tell us a little bit about what you're doing in your work now. 

Lately I've been making a series of what I call modern "cave" paintings; layer focused smudge paintings using mainly pastel and makeup sponge while incorporating some minimal linear, numerical, and alphabetical subject matter.  The stylistic inspiration for these comes from a lot of the walls and doors I've encountered adventuring throughout some of the more remote and industrial areas of New York. 

Did you have breakfast today?

Green apple

Which is your favorite quote?

"Don't speak unless you can improve the silence"

What kind of medium are you using these days?

A lot of pastel and a lot of smudging 

When do you make your best work?

Early or late evening

What is your favorite color?

Can never go wrong with Black

What is your favorite instrument?

Guitar and Piano

What is your least favorite sound?

The buzzer to my apartment

What is your happy place? 

The house I grew up in

What gets you out of bed in the morning? 

Black Tea

What puts you to sleep at night?

Claude Debussy or Delta Waves

Who is your hero?

My mother and father jointly

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

Julian Wellisz | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective and Bullet Magazine venture down South to the Big Easy to visit Julian Wellisz in his studio. Since it's Mardi Gras, Julian started his day with a 32oz Daiquiri.


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Julian Wellisz | Studio Visit

New Orleans, LA

August 2013

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

Tappan Collective x BULLETT: Julian Wellisz’s Big Easy.
by Ben Barna


http://bullettmedia.com/article/tappan-collective-x-bullett-julian-wellisz/


Mardi Gras 2013 has just come to a close. The Tappan Krewe loves this colorful tradition, especially because Tappan artist Julian Wellisz currently lives and creates in New Orleans. Wellisz’ Tumblr series aesthetically channels the chaotic experience of being in New Orleans, particularly during the parades and parties of Mardi Gras. Up-close there is much more depth to these digital images that have been recycled from blogs. He harkens to our altered, over stimulated experience of the world via the Internet.
And we’re not the only ones who recognize his talent. Wellisz has recently been chosen to participate in a silent auction at Christie’s Auction House in partnership with Y&S in New York City on March 4th. Like Tappan Collective, the shared mission of Christie’s and Y&S is to provide a venue for emerging artists not yet represented by galleries to share their work with young audience.
Tappan caught up with Julian amid the Mardi Gras madness to chat about his upcoming exhibition and life at the New Orleans Community Printshop away from his hometowns of Los Angeles and New York.

Why did you move to New Orleans?

I’d been moving around from place to place for almost 3 years. Most recently I was living in New York, but my friend Cora and I had been throwing around the idea of making some art together in New Orleans. When I visited New Orleans right after hurricane Isaac there was no power and 100% humidity. It didn’t matter; I fell in love with the place and decided to stay.

How does the city of New Orleans inspire your artwork?

The pace and the vibe. I could walk around all day here and just look at the color pallets of shotgun houses. In New York I was so overstimulated, in many ways I forgot how to take things in. New Orleans in a much slower city on the verge of being dysfunctional, yet some how fragmented pieces fit together in a beautiful manner. The passion I share for my home inspires me to create.

What is the emerging art scene in New Orleans like?

The art scene down here is very different. There is little to no patronage or market to sell work really, aside from busking pen and ink drawings on the side of the street to tourists. Beyond self-expression, art functions as a tool to strengthen the community. Both the New Orleans Community Printshop and the skatepark are completely DIY and run by people in their 20s. The majority of “counter culture” parades were advertised not online but by beautiful multicolored screen-printed posters. It’s all fueled by this need to create and it’s not about being famous, it’s about having an impact.

What was your favorite part of Mardi Gras?

Krewe de Poo, one of the “counter culture” parades. They had a firecracker shopping cart demolition derby accompanied by a drum circle of Swedish girls.

Where were you when you heard you were going to be in a Christie’s Auction?

Can’t remember. I’ve been in close contact with Vivian Brodie and Tom Lee from Young & Starving for quite some time now. I’m so psyched that it’s all coming together. Definitely a testament to what a group of passionate young adults can accomplish. I guess Y&S is similar to Tappan in that aspect.

How did you choose what you were going to put up for sale?

I’d been printing editioned works on paper for sometime, and I wanted to break away from that. So I decided to start printing larger format one of a kind works on canvas. Developing a stronger relationship with a sole piece has been a pleasure.

Did you have breakfast today?

A 32oz Daiquiri. It’s Mardi Gras. 

How many layers of color are in your black and whites?

4. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. All printed individually and registered perfectly. From a far it’s greyscale but up close it’s made up of color. It still trips me out.

How do you choose your tumblr images?

It started with random tumblrs that I followed and I dove deeper from there. It’s fascinating that there’s a forum where you can anonymously build a relationship with a person based on their curatorial eye.

Which other artists are you watching right now?

Mat Larkin. Also, Louie Eisner’s paintings of slides are unreal.

What is your biggest demon?

High School.

Why do you make art?

I don’t know any other way to live.

What is your happy place?

Skating with my friends and Sierra Nevada.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Mykki Blanco most days. Coffee from my Bialetti everyday.

Who is your favorite artist?

Leonard Baskin. The most incredible woodcuts and wooden gravings.

What’s your favorite color?

Certain combinations do it for me. Individual colors rarely do.

How much do you love Tappan?

Unconditionally.

Who are you following on tumblr?

Groodstuff, Allysonmariechung, Carlmarx, Yemano.

 

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

 

Ashkahn | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visits Ashkahn in his Los Angeles studio. Never a dull moment.


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Ashkahn | Studio Visit

Los Angeles, CA

May 2013

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

Ashkahn Shahparnia (pronounced ash-con / shaw-par-neeyaw) b.1984 in Redondo Beach, CA is an artist, designer, director and all around bon vivant living in Silver Lake, Ca and working in Downtown Los Angeles. He loves bananas, poop heads, coconuts, burritos, 1985 300d mercedes, BORING, beer, gold, silver, centerfolds, neon, pastels, open bars, los angeles, tiki drinks, happy hour, slackers, big boobs, sublime (the band), pulp (the band) sad sad movies, reflecting about nothing, comedy, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, shadow and heather to name a few.

Why do you create?

BECAUSE I WILL DIE IF I DON'T

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I AM FROM REDONDO BEACH AND LIVE IN SILVER LAKE

What is your favorite quote?

IF YOU DON'T HAVE A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE SOMEONE ELSE WILL

When do you make your best work?

WHEN I'M DRUNK

What is your happy place?

IN MY GIRLS ARMS

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

$

Who are some of favorite artists?

RICHARD PRINCE, WALASSE TING, BRUCE NAUMAN, ED RUSCHA, HEATHER GOLDBERG

What is your favorite color?

LIGHT PINK

What is your biggest demon?

CHARLATANS

What puts you to sleep at night?

BRIAN ENO

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

PRESS

I recently designed the packaging for eyewear design, Garrett Leight x Thierry Lasry collaboration...

My holidays snowman card was featured on Daily Candy...

MOCA interviewed me about what art means to me...

I collaborated with clothing line BLOOD IS THE NEW BLACK on an artist line...

I recently gave a talk at the RE:DESIGN LA festival about inspiration...

 

David Kitz | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective and Bullet Magazine visit David Kitz in his Venice Beach studio to discuss art and his investigative pursuit.


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David Kitz | Studio Visit

Tappan Collective X BULLETT

David Kitz Opens the Floodgates

by BULLETT
http://bullettmedia.com/article/tappan-collective-x-bullett-david-kitz-opens-the-floodgates/

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

For David Kitz, making art is an investigative pursuit. The Tappan Collective artist seeks out, isolates, and processes aesthetics, human behaviors, and systems of belief that don’t have simple explanations or clear streams of logic. His work exposes forces around us that may be exploitative or coercive and typically tend to go unnoticed. Artistic explorations have brought the UCLA grad into numerous and disparate fields including financial and religious institutions, pornography, and city planning with a camera serving as the perfect tool for the kind of isolation, framing, and collecting his outlook requires. Then, in the case of his drawings, paintings, and collages, he re-imagines, synthesizes, and re-purposes the original imagery from which he works. Read on for more from the artist himself on his methods, desires and sensory preferences.

Tell us a little bit about your new series of work.

Lately, my practice has been split between making pictures in the studio and making pictures in the field. These new photographs on Tappan came about while I was on a two-day Carnival cruise for a friend’s bachelor party. It was my first time being on a cruise ship and the experience was surreal to say the least; everything about it seemed centered around strange and somewhat outdated ideas of decadence, style, and luxury. However, reminders that you’re on an old boat with peeling paint, strict protocols, and dubious sanitation standards are abundant. That said, there were these real moments of beauty that didn’t feel like they were part of the show—they seemed almost accidental. Ultimately, they fall into a larger and slow-developing body of work that pivots around my travels and functions as a sort of journal or diary. While my studio-based work is highly controlled and calculated, I enjoy and feel like I need the counterpoint of a more immediate and spontaneous snapshot approach in the field. There is something about seeing something for the first (and perhaps only) time that I find very generative and expressive. There is less of a risk of over-thinking things.

Did you have breakfast today?

Yep. Had a smoothie.

What is your favorite quote?

Always be a beginner at something.

What kind of camera are you using these days?

I’m mostly using my 4×5 view camera and my Hasselblad, and I guess my iPhone.

 

What is your favorite color?

Green. I think it’s why I like watching soccer without really caring about the sport.

What is your favorite instrument?

Drums. No doubt about it.

How is your “Invisible Envelopes” series developing?

I think the most recent Invisible Envelopes have been veering a bit more towards abstraction. I’ve become increasingly interested in the idea of a photograph as a veneer and have been playing a lot with texture or the illusion of texture. I’ve also been experimenting with re-photographing black and white subjects with color film. The pictures look black and white at first glance, but there are veins of color that give away the trick.

What is your happy place?

The ocean.

What do you love most about being on the road?

Being away from home and seeing new things makes me pay attention. I think it’s just how my brain works. We are all programmed to focus on new stimuli and tune out the rest. It’s a survival mechanism. Sometimes getting away makes me feel like I’m able to see better, more is getting through the floodgates.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Surfing and a cup of coffee.

What puts you to sleep at night?

Cuddles with my lady.

What would you draw a lover?

Whatever she wanted.

 What’s your ideal life at 60?

I want to be making work, spending lots of time with my family, and in nature.

Where is your ideal life?

Many places.

What do you most admire in a man?

Kindness.

What do you most admire in a woman?

Kindness.

Who is your favorite artist?

I definitely don’t have a favorite. I think James Welling, Roe Ethridge, Jeff Wall, Phil Chang, Mark Hagen, and Luigi Ghirri are up there.

Why do you make art?

I think that there’s a lot that can’t be communicated verbally or through words. I think making art provides a way for me to communicate in ways I couldn’t otherwise. Playing music functions in a similar way. I can’t imagine my life without either. 

Who is your hero?

Dad.

 

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE

 

Tyler Healy
studio visits

Tappan Collective and Bullet Magazine visit Tyler Healy in his Brooklyn studio. Tyler Healy wears many hats: artist, curator, surfer, and for our little Q & A, versatile humorist.


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Tyler Healy

Brooklyn, NY 

Brooklyn Navy Yard

BULLETT X Tappan Collective: Tyler Healy Gives Good Link


Read full article by BULLETT
The Tappan Collective artist Tyler Healy wears many hats: artist, curator, surfer, and for our little Q & A, versatile humorist. His work mirrors the latter with a simple style and a warm but brash commentary. Read on for more on the Parson-educated New Yorker’s unique inspirations and predilections, in URL form.

Tell us a little bit about your upcoming show.

May 10 2013 http://edvarie.com/

When do you make your best work?

Probably in… America? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom

You seem to curate quite a bit, how does that affect your work?

Sometimes it gets messy!?! http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6ej3xl08A1qzd9ino1_1280.jpg

Did you have breakfast today?

Yeah I had it in Paris, Vegas actually! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a7Rbh8pbaY #ihop 

What is your favorite color?

Favorite color? This reminds me of a short story by Carrie Bradshaw…

What is your favorite instrument?

Pen 15.

What subject do you seem to be most drawn to?

See previous answer.

 What is your least favorite sound?

Predz much sumz me ^. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cVlTeIATBs

Who is your favorite artist?

Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me… ending up together?

Mary: Well, Lloyd, that’s difficult to say. I mean, we don’t really…

Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?

Mary: Not good.

Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?

Mary: I’d say more like one out of a million.

[pause]

Lloyd: So you’re telling me there’s a chance…

Why do you make art?

Lloyd: What the hell are we doing here, Harry? We gotta get out of this town!

Harry: Oh yeah, and go where? Where are we gonna go?

Lloyd: I’ll tell you where. Someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little place called Aspen.

Harry: Oh, I don’t know, Lloyd. The French are assholes.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Gray.

What is the one thing you wouldn’t eat?

Regret. 

 Where do you pull inspiration from?

Mostly here https://www.google.com/search?q=inspiration&sa=X&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ei=87J0UfeVJ6m20QGp2IHIDg&ved=0CFMQsAQ&biw=1116&bih=722

What is your biggest demon?

These next two questions were tough ones, but…

What is your happy place?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KH2gc11XQU

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther

What puts you to sleep at night?

More like who! 

Who is your hero?

I would just sing the entire song but my breath has already been taken. #JenniferLoveHewitt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koJlIGDImiU

What would you draw a lover?

My Back! http://www.hulu.com/watch/68224

Whats your ideal life at 60?

http://www.lifeisgood.com/

Where is your ideal life?

Peace, health and happiness for all.

What do you most admire in a man?

Resilience http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/05/lifelock-identity-theft/ 

What do you most admire in a woman?

Did you see that skit on SNL? No, no the other one.

How much do you love Tappan?

Oh my God! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROrpKx3aIjA

Why do you use film?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VeatafrQNU

Kelsey Shultis | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective and Bullett Magazine visit the studio of Kelsey Shultis - who paints from her mistakes.


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Kelsey Shultis | Studio Visit

Detroit, MI

March 2013

 

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE 

Tappan Collective x Bullett: Kelsey Shultis Paints From Her Mistakes.
by BULLETT
http://bullettmedia.com/article/tappan-collective-x-bullett-kelsey-shultis/

Tappan Collective artist Kelsey Shultis studied at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague and received her BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design. Shultis creates large scale, sculptural oil paintings that explore strength through thick texture and aggressive movement. Focused on research, her works chronicle a search for strength that is constantly confused and demeaned by exterior physical agents. Through distorted physical environments and forms, Shultis suggests that a being exists without its physical form, sometimes in spite of its physicality. Aggressive and confrontational, the forms in her work awaken a heightened emotional presence. Her collective works reveal a reverent approach to a complex process of dissection and impulsive reconstruction. Kelsey is currently living and working in Detroit, MI.

How has working in Detroit influenced your work?

Detroit has brought greater honesty and rawness to my work, to the way I approach and relate to my work. Everything feels more real. There is a remarkable authenticity here in structure, in experience and in relationships. It is actuality. This has bled through to my paintings.

Where do you pull most of your inspiration?

Mistakes, I think. Unintentional actions, responses, combinations, sounds, etc.

Did you have breakfast today?

Yes and it was OK.

What is your favorite instrument?

Painting instrument: Oval sash bristle brush. Musical instrument: Harmonica

 

Tell us about your new studio space?

My studio is in a large industrial complex called the Russell. Kelsey Ann and Little Kels live there. There is a wall made up entirely of windows. One opens. And there is light, a lot of light.

Are you ever scared being a pretty gal in parts of Detroit?

Maybe I would be, but my exterior tends more towards amorphous than pretty. So no, not particularly, I am the same as the rest.

 

What is your least favorite sound?

Regret.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Gray.

 

What is the one thing you wouldn’t eat?

Regret.

How do you choose the colors you work with?

Color and most all other decisions of mine are based on feeling. Sometimes the color corresponds to what I am feeling but generally the color corresponds to what the painting is feeling. A balance is necessary between the two, but color must always favor the desires of the painting.

What is your happy place?

In painting. In the place where judgment has departed, where listening is principal, and when the work communicates openly to me where it needs to go.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

That happy place.

What puts you to sleep at night?

Absence.

Who is your hero?

Michael Jackson

Can you recommend a good book?

Yes, of course.

What is your favorite coffee place in Detroit?

The Motor City Casino.

Where is your ideal life?

Austria.

Who is your favorite artist?

Let’s do top 5: Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Allison Schulnik, Folkert de Jong and Cy Twombly.

Why do you make art?

It is the convergence of everything for me. It allows me to make sense of myself and it is, for me, the most accurate means to make sense of the rest. I am most awake here, in painting.

Who is the Good Old Man?

A. Goodman is Andrew Goodman. He was a former slave. I found him a few years ago and felt a curious sense of familiarity with him. He seems to relate with others in a similar way and so he returns and returns.

How much do you love Tappan?

It makes my insides hurt, that’s how much.

 

SHOP HER COLLECTION HERE 

Dean Levin, Evan Robarts & Tyler Healy
studio visits

Tappan Collective stopped by the Brooklyn Navy Yard to visit Dean Levin, Evan Robarts & Tyler Healy in their studio.


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Dean Levin, Evan Robarts & Tyler Healy

STUDIO VISITS

DEAN LEVIN, EVAN ROBARTS & TYLER HEALY

Brooklyn, NY


Dean Levin, Evan Robarts & Tyler Healy in their studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

 

Michael Gittes | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective x Bullet Magazine. Into the mind of Michael Gittes.

Artist Michael Gittes was born and raised in Los Angeles. He never uses a brush. His process and technique are complicated and he uses many tools to achieve his unique stroke, but a syringe filled with paint is his most important instrument.


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Michael Gittes | Studio Visit

Tappan Collective X BULLETT: Inside the Mind of Michael Gittes

by BULLETT

Artist Michael Gittes was born and raised in Los Angeles. He never uses a brush. His process and technique are complicated and he uses many tools to achieve his unique stroke, but a syringe filled with paint is his most important instrument. His paintings are inspired by western history and culture. He enables the viewer to see and understand well-known figures or events in a unique fashion separate from historical text or photographs.

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE 

Did you have breakfast today?

If Pringles at 3 PM is considered breakfast, I certainly did.

What is your favorite instrument?

Either a permanent marker or an eraser. Definitely not a brush.

What is your least favorite sound?

Whatever wakes me up.

If you didn’t live in LA, where would you live?

On an asteroid.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Chris Brown’s “Turn Up The Music” and Jenelle from Teen Mom 2.

What is your biggest demon?

What a serious question. If I keep thinking about it, I’m going to be in a bad mood.

What is your happy place?

I don’t know, but thinking about it got me out of the rut the last question put me in.

What is your least favorite food?

My mom’s wheat pasta. I’m sorry mom, I love you (your turkey burgers really are great, though).

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

I don’t want it on record.

What puts you to sleep at night?

Ironically, the same thing that gets me out of bed in the morning.

Who’s your celebrity crush?

Tie between Ava Gardner and Gene Tierney.

Who is your hero?

My dad.

Who is your favorite artist?

I can’t say who my favorite artist is; so many have influenced or inspired me in different ways. But I’ll list a few: Magritte, Lichtenstein, Kandinsky, Rembrandt, and Vinny van Gogh.

Why do you make art?

I seem to enjoy it.

How much do you love Tappan?

I’d take a bullet for either of them.

SHOP HIS COLLECTION HERE 

Lola Rose Thompson | Studio Visit
studio visits

Lola Rose Thompson | Studio Visit

Los Angeles, CA


Tappan Collective x BULLETT: The Diary of Lola Rose Thompson

Shop Lola's collection HERE


by Ari Lipkis
Read full article on BULLETT
Artist Lola Rose Thompson was born in Studio City, California. She studied sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received her BFA from Otis College of Fine Arts. Thompson is interested in the idea that objects can receive and transmit information that they may or may not contain and that these objects have vast stores of data and figures that may be difficult to see. The drawings, sculptures, and installations she makes are often accompanied by text; lengthy, prose-like titles that imply or describe the multiple connotative potentials of objects and words, which have previously been veiled by their exhaustive utility. Thompson says she “wants to create unlikely empathies, and unearth the improbable similarities shared between distant things, for example the President and the World’s Tallest Woman, magic and big government, or physics and psychics.” Thompson employs metaphor, simile, metonymy, and other literary devices to create conceptual proximity between disparate things, and to editorialize and re-contextualize the objects she makes or finds. “I am influenced by investigative journalism, headlines, the editorializing of popular culture, magic, medicine, science, and the new age.” Here, in collaboration with LA’s on-point Tappan Collective, we take an inside look at the thoughts and space that artist Lola Rose Thompson lives with.

 

Amanda Charchian | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective and Bullet Media go inside the studio of Amanda Charchain's House of Yes.


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Amanda Charchian | Studio Visit

Inside Artist Amanda Charchian’s House of Yes

by Adarsha Benjamin
http://bullettmedia.com/article/the-house-of-yes-amanda-zazi-charchian/#1


Amanda Charchian possesses the type of energy that can light up a room, possibly a small city, and potentially the entire world. She harnesses an optimism and ferociousness that is contagious and exciting, and her work is a product of that. It’s definitive and totally provocative. It’s mystical and fully driven by a spiritual desire to create. Her home, the one she shares with her boyfriend, Guy Blakeslee, is living proof of life as art, art as life, and of her commitment to a higher plane. Here, I asked her a few questions about her work.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA.

How did you get here?

My parents emigrated from Iran in the late 70′s to escape political and religious oppression. I was born here at the request of my older sister Sunny. Despite my mother’s medical complications prior to my conception, I was brought to life as my sister’s little present. She is somewhere between a sister, mother, and best friend and conceptually responsible for my existence.

Tell me about YES.

For me, yes is a mantra I use often in my work. The YES mentality is about not only witnessing but accepting the actual nature of something in all its energetic complexities. The embracing of YES is seeing things as they really are, which is infinite. It is about empathizing so much that you become fully united with the essence of something enough to have influence. That is a key element of sympathetic magic and white magic.

Where do ideas come from for you, explain in your own words the process.

I am one of those people whose ideas come in a quick otherworldly flash, then they haunt me until I make them real. I really enjoy what I do, so I am constantly working. I am very fast paced and I like working in a trance state, so it doesn’t suit me to adhere to a particular plan. The process always starts with that sort of light bulb flash (usually when I am doing something really mundane), and then I refine the concept. With that concept lurking, the physical making of the work always becomes very intuitive. Yesterday, I was starting a new armature for a crystal sculpture, and instead of mapping out all the details on paper beforehand we just started cutting some metal and welding it together without taking measurements. It’s more fun that way.

When did you know you were an artist?

Always. I had always been making art, but because I wasn’t necessarily showing it to anyone it didn’t seem like fine art to me. Then when I went to art school as a teenager, it seemed more official. I went to an experimental alternative charter high school called The Renaissance Academy. Everyone there was an incredible painter, photographer, musician, actor, writer, etc. The school structure was made up as it went along to suit the students needs, because it had just opened. It was made to foster creativity without restriction. It was good for me to go there because I didn’t have to be the only outcast arty one; everyone around me was also incredibly creative. After getting bored of that school at 16, I left and took my CHSPE exam and started going to community college instead. After I had exhausted all the art and philosophy courses they offered, I applied to art school and enrolled the next month and started a rigorous and focused art education. Everything evolved very naturally because my parents had a very hands-off, style so I literally enrolled myself in school and did everything that my teenage self wanted to do. That experience of independence really shaped the way I work as an artist now. In my own memory, there has not been a time when I wasn’t an artist because I have always been me.

What or who inspires you?

The artists who are taking real psychic risks and doing the work they need to do for the salvation of their souls in this lifetime. I relate to people who create because they have to, because otherwise contemporary existence is just too heavy and incomprehensible.
David Altmejd is my favorite contemporary sculptor, and Louise Bourgeois is my favorite from the past. I am lucky to have many inspirational artist friends. Julia Montgomery is an awesome sculptor (we weld together). Ana Kras is a great friend and inspiration (still my favorite person to photograph). My friend Eliot Lee Hazel is an amazing photographer. One of my favorite people is Ariana Delawari. She just made an incredible film called “We Came Home.” I could go on and on.

What are you currently working on?

I just self-published my first photography book. It contains all the series I made in the year 2012. It will be available on my website within a week. I am going to London to install the last crystal sculpture I made into a gothic cathedral on Portobello Road. My friend who bought it created the perfect home for it, the roof is triangular, so it appears to be made just for the space. And it has these amazing gothic windows for the light to come through for fantastic rainbow action. I am also starting to create the armatures for some new crystal sculpture works. I am incorporating lights into them, so they not only reflect and refract rainbows with sunlight, but so they can give off light from an internal source at night.
I also just curated an all analog female photography show called “Pheromone Hotbox” featuring the work of Ana Kras, Ellen Rogers, Alison Scarpulla, Aëla Labbé, Stella Berkosky and Logan White. It will open in early 2013. I also just started playing drums with my boyfriend Guy Blakeslee, and after our first performance, it is all I want to do. So I hope there will be more of that in my future as well.

Your dream for the future now?

My dream for the future on a global scale is that people will wake up to the challenges we face on this planet and take immediate responsibility and action for the change we want to see. It is common to feel a heavy weight, that there are entire structures and systems that need to be upturned completely, and that the little things we can do are too miniscule. I believe revolution starts within oneself. When that transformative energy of an inner alchemy is produced, it becomes infectious. American culture is slow to speak in subtleties, but I find that that level of influence to be incredibly impactful. I don’t want to live in fear that I can’t do anything. I am noticing that the existential nihilism of the 90’s and early 00’s is slowly dying off to a youth culture that is more present and hyperaware of their responsibility to create the future. I find disinterested-ness atrocious and hope that more people will have a deeper relationship with the sacred.

Amanda’s work can be seen at www.amandacharchian.com

Doug Galante | Studio Visit
studio visits

Tappan Collective visited the Portland, OR printmaking studio of Doug Galante.


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Doug Galante | Studio Visit

Portland, OR

December 2012 

 

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