Posts about 'let’s chat!'

kristen neveu mixed media: let’s chat!

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There is something about the perspective in the collection of the talented Kristen Neveu that makes me so inspired. I don’t mean necessarily the perspective within a specific piece; I am talking about the big picture here. Besides using deliciously tactile materials in the textural pieces she creates, there is so much that is inviting in Kristen’s beautiful work. There is a deeper mystery and emotion that is silently hidden away, waiting patiently to be discovered. It intrigues me. And I also find the fact that she works in both large and small scale to be equally fascinating. She doesn’t necessarily limit her imagination to a standard size, which makes me wonder why should you or I do it either? It unfolds before my eyes in each piece, that liberation. Let’s have a chat with Kristen and find out more.

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Q: Where do you live, and where do you create your art?
A: Los Angeles (Studio City/North Hollywood).  I’ve been here a year after living in Chicago for 14 years. I work out of one of the bedrooms in our apartment.

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Q: Did you study art formally? How did you get from that genesis point to making assemblages?
A: I didn’t study art formally. In college I had a communications major and an anthropology minor. I didn’t start working on art until about 6 years after college. I started making collages only from old magazines, and then started adding the paint and found materials… I worked with found wood from alleys in Chicago instead of canvas at first. In the last couple of years I’ve started adding my own photography to the mix as well – slicing up photos I’ve taken into the collages.

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Q: On your website, you say that your work is heavily influenced by time passages. Can you tell us a little more about how this provides inspiration and why its interpretation is meaningful to you?
A: I have a taste for nostalgia, and also I’m fascinated by the patterns that time creates. The future has a way of repeating itself again from past experiences. A sort of step-forward-and-then-a-step-backward type of momentum.

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Q: You moved from Chicago to Los Angeles recently. Have you noticed any difference in that way you approach your work, now that you have changed your surroundings?
A: My work has become more colorful out here, and more influenced by nature – I’ve been inspired by blooming plants and flowers, and also the beaches. In Chicago, I was really influenced by the details of the city and there were more rustic and worn textures in my work, and also more muted tones.

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Q: One of the things that intrigues me so much about your work is the way that you seamlessly blend masculine and feminine elements into one piece, e.g., a vintage car cut-out pressed against lace trimmings. Do you have a balanced attraction to both?
A: Yes; I hadn’t really thought about the masculine and feminine qualities, but you’re right… I do have a balanced attraction to the kinds of textures and meanings behind these types of elements. I think it’s also about the material icons (classy cars for example) of the past and relationships between women and men too.

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Q: What is your favorite part of the process when you create a new piece for your collection?
A: The late beginning part of the process where I’m past the blank canvas, and into the layering and patterns. I tend to work more intuitively, and this stage is when I reach that “aha” moment where I figure out where I’m going.

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Q: Where can we go to see your collection?
A: My Etsy shop and website. I also have some work available at Hazel in Chicago. I am happy to arrange visits to my studio in Los Angeles too! I’m applying for the Beverly Hills outdoor art show this spring, and hope to be in that!

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Thank you Kristen!


stephanie simek wearables: let’s chat!

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i almost thought these delicate jewelry pieces by stephanie simek were trompe l’oeil when i first saw them. i mean, is that really an eggshell? lined with 23k gold foil? really? and there’s no way someone could possibly piece single eyelashes together so precisely, right? and what about that delicate, glowing sea cookie that looks as if it were found and plucked right from the ocean floor and pinned on a blouse? viewing these surreal pieces truly suspends my disbelief. my mind hurtles toward fantastic places and into stephanie’s world, filled with deft skill, technique and élan. could she be a refined, modern-day willy wonka? let’s have a chat and find out more!

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q: where do you live, and where do you create your art?
a: i live in portland, oregon in a former hare krishna temple that my partner adam keller and i turned into an art and music space. we host events about once or twice a week. my favorite part of the room is the stage area that has a beautiful scalloped cutout and peaks at the top. it is painted gold, which was like that when we moved in. actually every room in the house is painted a different, bright color. i work on my own projects in the main room when it isn’t being used for shows.

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q: what is your background? did you study art formally?
a: i studied at mason gross school of the arts at rutgers university in new jersey. i got my bfa in visual arts with a concentration in photography.

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q: on your website i see you have projects in several other disciplines. did you start out making jewelry? is it your favorite way to express yourself creatively?
a: the jewelry line is actually pretty new. i started it about a year ago and am really enjoying exploring the possibilities. but i am just as excited about some of the other things i am currently working on. right now i’m also working on some videos and sound pieces.

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q: what compelled you to use these extremely delicate, organic materials in your collection?
a: i think it makes the person wearing it more aware, to the extent where hopefully they feel like they are the guardian of something precious.

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q: what has been your biggest challenge in designing jewelry? and how about your biggest reward in being a gallery owner?
a: i like to use materials that aren’t customarily worn on the body, so it’s often a challenge figuring out how to get them to be accommodating. i have to find ways to prevent problems like breakage and decay while still visually maintaining the delicate nature of the object.

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as far as owning a gallery, i think experiencing and exposing other people to all kinds of work is the most rewarding aspect of running a place like ours. also, it’s very gratifying to be able to give artists a place to share what they’ve created with other people.

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q: what’s the best piece of advice you have ever received regarding your work?
a: keep at it!

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q: what is your inspiration to create these pieces?
a: recently it’s been my dreams and the feelings i’m left with when i wake up.

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q: can we go anywhere to see your work in person?
a: currently, i don’t have any work on exhibit, but you can purchase my complete wearable collection through my website, and select pieces around the world at the following shops: in chicago at habit, at catbird in brooklyn and pixie market in new york, in sydney at incu, at umi and co. in london, in san francisco at offbeat on haight and at the square room and foxmaid in seattle.

see more at stephanie’s website, and if you are local be sure to stop by rererato to see the latest and greatest art in all media.

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thank you stephanie!


naughty betty cards: let’s chat!

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i nearly spit my drink out when i opened my birthday card from a dear friend recently. actually i may have and i am still a little embarrassed about it, but i couldn’t help it. it was a laugh-out-loud funny, harsh and absolutely inimitable naughty betty card, from the dark and stormy minds of chicago designers christine montaquila and courtney weinberg. christine and courtney clearly have a bright sense of humor and a keen sense of style. their cards are sharp and truthful but are tempered with just a skinch of sentimentality. this formidable combination has enough visual jet fuel to teleport you to a playful place, stand by patiently idling its engines while you play around there for a bit and get you back to planet earth satisfied and smiling. let’s have a chat with c + c and find out more!

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q: where do you live, and where do you create your collection?
a: we live in the northern suburbs of chicago. we’re minivan driving, latte drinking suburban moms. can’t even try to hide it. we either create our cards in our home offices, borders, or crouched in a broom closet so our toddlers don’t find us.

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q: how did you two come together to create naughty betty?
a: we worked together as a writer/art director team at ogilvy & mather in chicago. we did many, many campaigns for women’s brands that we loved but never made it out the door. so we started to craft a voice and look we loved that was brutally honest, and talked to women the way women talk to women.

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q: can you tell us a bit about your creative process? how do these cards get out of your head and onto the paper?
a: it really is a very organic process. a lot of our inspiration comes from our lives. our hectic, crazy, extremely average lives. we tend to write down funny stuff along the way and see how it feels as a card and if it captures a sentiment just right. then we revise, revise, revise.

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q: your collection is so memorable thanks in part to its bold and clean graphic style. do either of you have a design background?
a: the design is courtney’s gig, but since i’m the writer i will speak for her. she’s got a design background and a fabulous eye for cool, modern things. she obsesses over every color! she’s really a design whore. (ed. note: this is the quote of the week.)

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q: the laugh-out-loud, descriptive imagery in your cards really hits the nail on the head and takes me (and i suspect everyone else!) to a specific place and time. have you drawn on your own experiences while creating them?
a: oh yes. all of it. i suspect my husband secretly watches porn, and i have been that drunk girl peeing in an alley. when courtney was ten she french kissed her pillow with braces on. anything you read, we’ve lived.

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q: what inspires you to make the line?
a: we love the idea of connecting with women and creating this dialogue about modern life. we certainly live differently then our mother’s did, working, raising children etc., so part of it is a social commentary on it all. after working in advertising for 15 years, we also love the honesty we’re able to have. you simply couldn’t be this blunt in an ad, but the truth is, people love the truth. they respond to it. and we love being culturally relevant too. greeting cards have a shelf life, so we can talk about things in the world that work now, but may not in two years. plus, life is just a hoot. senators having gay sex in bathrooms, people eating cockroaches on tv… this is good stuff!

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q: exactly who is naughty betty? any relation to ugly betty?
a: naughty betty is the name we came up with on the phone when we realized all the other names we liked were trademarked. it was a bit before ugly betty got so big. we loved the idea of it being a woman’s name, and the naughty gives us permission to offend people with our harsh language. “We’re not Politically Correct Betty” is what I like to say!

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you can purchase naughty betty cards at multiple choices and paper boy here in chicago, as well as paper doll in portland, heartfelt in san francisco and nancy nancy in brooklyn. if you are a retailer contact calypso cards for distribution info, and for more general hilarity and to contact christine and courtney, see their website.

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thank you ladies!


reina mia brill knitted wire and ceramic sculpture: let’s chat!

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when my cool friend burt came back from the acc show in baltimore, he told me that he really enjoyed the ceramic sculpture collection of new york artist (and recent donor to locks of love) reina mia brill. of course when i looked at it i went a little nuts. i love the clever combination of color and form, all the intricate detailing and facial expressions and most importantly the freedom these pieces give to my imagination when i look at all of them. let’s have a chat with reina mia and find out a little more!

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q: where do you live, and where do you create your art?
a: i live and work in a remote section of the bronx in new york city called city island. i like to call it the mythical island in the bronx because in all the 10 years i lived in manhattan i never heard of this place. my boyfriend dan grew up here and we are living in the actual house where he grew up. city island is a very unique place… it is an old fishing village trapped in time. my studio is in the basement with two windows at ground level where i say hello to all stray cats, birds and even snails that come and visit me.

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q: what is your background, and did you study art formally?
a: i have an mfa from san diego state university in jewelry and metalsmithing which was where i got started knitting wire. i made hand-knitted wire jewelry for five years out of graduate school. i never was really happy making jewelry, it just seemed practical at the time. so in 2001 when i received a $7,000 fellowship from the new york foundation for the arts i decided to finally ditch making jewelry and do what i always wanted to — make sculpture. i also hold an undergraduate degree from fit (fashion institute of technology) in accessory design which is why my creatures are always very well accessorized.

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q: so, why wire and clay? and how did you get to that place of combining the two (along with several other materials)? have you always worked in multiple mediums?
a: up until last year i only worked in knitted wire over a stuffed fabric covered armature. all the hand sewing was killing me. i wanted to be able to make work quickly. working in clay is not quick but it is quicker than sewing by hand. now i am able to build the figures faster and more sculpturally. after the pieces have been glazed i will embellish all the clothing and sometimes the bodies as well in knitted wire.

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q: these pieces are exquisitely detailed and must be very labor intensive. (without giving away any secrets of course!) can you tell us a little about the techniques you use?
a: i first start with a drawing usually found in one of my sketchbooks. the figure is then hand-built in a low fire clay and glazed with underglazes. i use two very old-fashioned knitting machines to knit the wire. one is a sock-knitting machine from 1923, the other is a big double bed passap machine from 1960. i can create beautiful dimensional patterns off of the passap machine which i usually use for the clothing. the sock-knitting machine creates a sinuous knitted tube that i like to use as skin covering. i knit with very thin gauge coated copper wire that has been coated with a polynylon coating for color. once the figure has been fired i determine which areas are to be covered in wire. sometimes it is just the clothing and eyes and other times it is the entire creature. the knitted wire is stitched to the clay body by hand and then tacked with an epoxy resin.

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q: i see a common thread of expressive human emotions as well as physical animal traits in these characters. did it come naturally to blend the two?
a: i have been drawing since i was a kid. my dad and i used to play these creature drawing games together. we would start with a blank piece of paper and then one of us would draw the first creature. the next person had to draw a creature interacting with the one on the page. we would keep drawing until the page was filled up trying to make the most outlandish creatures.

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q: what is the price range of your collection?
a: i offer a wide range of prices. on the low end i do creature illustrations framed in knitted wire as well as wearable creature brooches. these works sell for $95 to $250. my standing and wall sculptures start at $275 and increase in price depending on the size and the labor involved. two figures i made for an exhibition in poland last year stood just under 5 feet. they each sold for $10,000 but i spent 6 months creating them.

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q: what is your inspiration for these works? do you have a message you want to send through these pieces?
a: i do lots of sketches. i will study people, usually children on the street for a variety of poses. children’s faces are the most fun to watch for their devious little expressions. the animal/human imagery has just come naturally. when i study human faces, so many are very similar to animal faces. animals, however, offer a wider array of eyes, ears, feet and mouths to come up with my own species of creature. my work does not have a message. i love that it makes many people laugh and smile and remember their childhood. other people are scared by my work and that’s interesting too. the work is open to individual interpretation.

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q: where can we go to see your collection in person? are you exhibiting in any current or upcoming shows?
a: i am currently in three exhibitions around the country. the first is called contemporary repetition at the long beach island arts foundation in new jersey. it’s on view now through june 16th. the second is called contemporary crafts at the jrb gallery in oklahoma city. the show just closed but the work might still be there for a little while. the third is a traveling exhibition called fiberart international 2007. this show opened last year in pittsburgh and will be traveling through 2009. currently the show is in charleston, west virginia through june 22nd at the clay center. this show is accompanied by a beautiful catalog as well. i also show work regularly in new york at the eclectic collector in katonah and mano a mano in bronxville. i will be selling my work myself at the following craft shows: the niada conference in las vegas at the show and sale on july 27th; the doll and teddy bear expo in washington, dc august 9th and 10th; and back again in dc in november for the washington craft show. in 2009 i will be at acc baltimore in february and most likely craft boston at the end of march.

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thank you reina mia (and thanks to burt for the great tip)!


shalene valenzuela ceramics: let’s chat!

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i like to see pretty and edgy put together in art, and if it’s bright, ironic, feminine or makes a contemporary statement about society, i am all for it. you can imagine why my head nearly flipped off with delight then, when i saw the humorous and intriguing ceramic collection of shalene valenzuela. at first glance i admired shalene’s skillful command of her chosen medium, her layered style, and all the vintage shapes and molds she uses. after gazing for a little while longer though, the forms fall away to reveal secrets, histories and legacies which tell very strong, up-to-the-minute stories. let’s have a chat with shalene and find out a little more…

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q: where do you live, and where do you create your art?
a: i currently live in missoula, montana. i lived in oakland, ca for several years (i am a california native), and moved up here to start a long term artist residency a year ago. i will be in missoula for at least another year, then we shall see!

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q: what is your background, and did you study art formally?
a: i have a BA in art practice, and a MFA in ceramics. i have been an active studio artist for several years, and have taught many classes, mainly in ceramics.

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q: what is it about clay as a medium that appeals to you most? and (without giving away any secrets of course!) can you tell us a little about the techniques you use?
a: i love the transformative qualities clay has. there’s such a wide variety of work that people have executed using the very same materials that i do: we all speak the same technical language, but the aesthetic range is amazing. my work is mainly slipcast, and i draw/paint using underglaze, and sometimes use screenprint transfers in my works, using underglaze as the printing medium. my work sort of borders on the trompe l’oeil aesthetic, but in more of a “cartoonish” manner. i want the object to be recognized, but my illustrations compose it into something else entirely. for the most part, i make my own molds, unless of course, i run across a commercial mold that is way too ridiculous to pass up.

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q: i see throughout your collection a very strong theme of women in contemporary society. has your work always had feminine motifs? how has it transformed since you started making art?
a: my work always had some element of a feminine motif in it. i have always tried to combine humor with a deeper message in it, and i think as i have grown older, i have gained more of an understanding why these topics and image styles interest me. i use “dated” imagery, yes, but these images conjure up many issues that are still pertinent today, not only for women, but for society as a whole.

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another thing i was thinking about recently… i loved to draw at a very young age, and as my character rendering skills developed, i noticed even the male characters i drew had a soft feminine edge to them, so i sort of gave up on drawing guys. even now, it takes a bit more focus for me to draw the male characters i may put in some pieces.

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q: what is the price range of your collection?
a: from as little as $15 for ceramic teabags to about $3999 for my largest piece – 99 bottles of beer. but most of my stuff is in the “affordable” range – reasonably priced functional items, and most my sculptures are below $500, unless they are large or complicated.

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q: what is your inspiration for these works? do you have a message you want to send through these pieces?
a: i’d like to think that my body of work consists of quirky pieces that reflect upon a variety of issues with a thoughtful, yet humorous tone. i am inspired by the potential of everyday common objects. i reproduce these objects in clay through handbuilding, slipcasting, or a combination of the two, and illustrate the surfaces with a variety of handpainted and screenprinted imagery. i primarily obtain my imagery from remnants of the past (instructional guides, advertisements, family photos, tall tales), and reconstruct the images in order to convey my narrative. these narratives generally deal with topics ranging from fairytales, urban mythologies, societal expectations, etiquette, and coming-of-age issues. stylistically, much of my imagery is pulled from sources around the 1950’s era. through advertising, common objects were embraced in the most royal fashion, and through television and print, images of the “perfect americana life” were portrayed. i use these images in a manner that can deal with ageless topics.

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q: where can we go to see your collection in person? are you currently exhibiting in any shows or is there anything else meaningful you would like to tell us?
a: my studio is currently at the clay studio of missoula in my studio and our sales gallery, but i am in several shows and whatnot now and coming up. in missoula, i will have wall works in a solo display at bernice’s bakery in the month of june, a piece in the missoula now! show at the ceretana in september, a solo show at the clay studio of missoula in october, and a solo show at the catalyst in december. elsewhere in montana, you can find small works at b civilized in livingston.

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back in the bay area, i currently have work up in a group show at the grand theater center for the arts in tracy, at the natsoulas gallery in davis. i will have a piece in a group show at ruby’s clay studio in san francisco starting in late june, and will have a solo exhibit and sale at cricket engine studio and gallery in oakland (this is my former studio, where I used to serve as gallery manager). also, i am excited to be in two consecutive shows at santa fe clay in new mexico – the first is bling, opening this week (may 23rd – june 21st)! the best bet is to always check my site for updates. i do have several things in the works, and try to make updates regularly!

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thank you shalene!


jennifer squires photography: let’s chat!

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i am always drawn to beautiful still life photography. one good photo can expand my mind to think that maybe out here in the (sometimes) cold cruel world there are beautiful and joyous things we pass in the everyday. this brings openness and clarity and calm, and it also leads me to stare and stare at canadian artist jennifer squires’ gorgeous collection of images. soft and consistently pleasing, none of her pieces are hard on the eyes, which compels me to keep looking with confidence. let’s have a chat with jennifer and find out more!

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q: where do you live, and where do you create your artwork?
a: i currently live and work in london, ontario. i work primarily on location so i create my photographs anyplace that inspires me.

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q: what is your background, and did you study art formally?
a: i have been photographing professionally since 1996, but i’ve been taking pictures my whole life. i hold a diploma in photography, and a diploma in advanced photography from fanshawe college (where i was later asked back to teach in the advanced photography program), here in london, ontario. after college i began work as a producer and first assistant at a corporate and advertising studio in toronto, ontario. in 2005 i moved back to london to pursue freelance work, and i opened my online shop in february 2008.

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q: what conditions do you think must be present in order to create an outstanding image?
a: i don’t think there are specifically any physical conditions that need to present to create an outstanding image, that is, with the exception of some sort of light. it’s more that i have to arrive at certain points internally; first i need to connect with my subject (be it a person, place, or thing), then i need to observe my subject and find the hidden beauty, next i consider design aspects – what to include, what to exclude, composition, etc, and lastly i need to address all technical elements. then all that’s left is to have fun!

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q: which do you prefer more and why: shooting people or shooting objects?
a: honestly, there was a time when i preferred to photograph people. then there was another time when i preferred to photograph places and objects. i think now i’ve found a great balance between the two, when i need a break from one i can go to the other. it’s a beautiful thing!

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q: what is the price range of your collection?
a: my art collection ranges from $10-$225, depending on print size which can be as large as 24×30 or as small as 4×6. typically an 8×10 is $45.

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q: what is your inspiration for your photo collection?
a: i am constantly inspired by the world around me and i use photography to search for simplicity and meaning in the beauty of the everyday.

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q: can we go anyplace to see your work in person? are you currently exhibiting in any shows or is there anything else meaningful you would like to include here?
a: at the present time my work is not being exhibited in any shows but it can be seen online at my website and etsy shop.

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thank you jennifer!


gilah press and design: let’s chat!

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in the world of handmade stationery, choices abound that reflect many facets of our personalities. i for one have a bag full of cards in my closet that range from elegant letterpress to hipster sarcasm to simple pretty greetings. my stock reflects my ever changing moods, which is one of the many reasons why i love the clever, bright and pretty stylings of kat feuerstein and her company, gilah press. when i look at the collection of witty and just sacastic enough humor wrapped up in a classy letterpress card, it makes me howl with laughter. gilah (which is hebrew for joy) is a design company that not only creates clever cards and accessories, but also does custom work for corporate identities and invitations for special occasions. i enjoy this collection because it makes quick written correspondence so much more personal (and humorous) than a generic greeting card, and leaves the receiver not just with a gorgeous physical souvenir of a moment in time but also a fond memory to keep. let’s have a chat with kat and find out more!

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q: where do you live, and where do you create your collection?
a: i live in a little eclectic neighborhood (hampden), which is located in baltimore, md with my husband (adam) and two cats (reo & mel). i create my collection in the very same neighborhood, a few blocks away in a big pink warehouse that i share with two assistants (whitney & nathalie), two interns (justin & maggie), a colleague (emily) and a cat (pica).

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q: what is your background, and did you study art formally?
a: i went to maryland institute college of art (mica) where I earned a degree in graphic design. from there i worked for a couple of design firms, knowing that one day i would start my own company. i started doing some freelance design and happened upon letterpress through a friend of mine and the rest is history.

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q: how did you come to work in paper as a medium?
a: i’ve always had an obsession with the printing process, so it was a pretty natural progression. there’s something so rewarding when you see a project come to life as the ink hits the paper and your vision becomes a real, tactile object. i love working with a variety of different paper types because every paper will react in its own way to the design.

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q: are there any distinct challenges and rewards in working with a letterpress?
a: YES and YES. rewards wouldn’t be so rewarding without the challenges. with letterpress there are a lot of variables and almost every project we print comes with its own special set of challenges. the 100 year old presses we use can be finicky buggers, there are lots of rigs to help the process along. it literally depends on the weather some days, if it’s humid out the rollers will swell and we have to compensate for that. if the project we’re printing has a large solid area of ink coverage, we will print that differently than we would print a block of text. if we’re printing white ink on brown paper a whole new set of rules applies. if the ink is pushing out too much (looking sloppy) we can add masking tape to the rails that the rollers ride on to help correct that problem by bringing the rollers back to “type high”. so, to make an already long explanation longer, there are certainly lots of challenges every day, but that’s what we love about it and that’s what makes it so rewarding every time we print a beautiful looking piece.

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q: are there any differences in your creative process between custom work and production work?
a: the custom work certainly takes more time in the beginning phases. there’s a lot more thinking involved, you know, in the shower, at the bar, on the couch to come up with the design and the specifications of what will work best for the design in terms of paper and printing. with the production work we really just have to make the time to bang it out, we already know what we’re getting into.

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q: what inspires you to make the line?
a: inspiration comes from the things i surround myself with. my friends, my neighborhood, wine, the studio, etc. i also enjoy traveling to become inspired by new sites. a few months back we took a studio road trip to tennessee to visit yeehaw industries and hatch show print, talk about inspirational. the more sarcastic lines come naturally out of my acerbic sense of humor that i’ve had since i can remember. i’m a smartass at heart.

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q: what is the price range of your collection?
a: our single greeting cards generally retail for between $4 and $6. we have some boxed notes and postcards that go for $10-25.

you can find gilah press cards around the country, at places like kate’s paperie (ny and ct), and powell’s books (or) and anthropologie (everywhere). if you’re a retail buyer you can see kat and the crew at the national stationery show in new york from 5/18-5/21/08, and if you’re looking for a perfect design for your special event in charm city, the studio is open by appointment. those of us who aren’t lucky enough to live in the are can stop by the gilah press website to see their full collection and say hi.

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thank you kat!


michelle armas paintings: let’s chat!

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the world connects us in mysterious ways. you know how last week i interviewed suzanne shade of the beholder? it was so funny because in her answers she mentions the work of graphic designer michelle armas, who is one of the artists her gallery represents. the funny thing is i had contacted michelle and asked her for an interview before my interview with suzanne was complete. call it six degrees of separation or odd coincidence, but without further ado may i present these engrossing oil on canvas works. when i look at them i think that i could be anyplace at any moment, moving closer and closer to the canvas. there are sweeping curves and jagged peaks and wispy lines and cool splotches of color that are harmonious and flowing and make me wish i was in a gigantic room using my peripheral vision to see all of them at the same time, my eyes greedily scanning the corners and walls so as not to miss one bit of it all. let’s have a chat with michelle and find out more!

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q: where do you live, and where do you create your art?
a: i live in a house in atlanta, and my studio is the whole top floor, the master bedroom, but who needs a huge bedroom? i have lots of natural light, that is great for painting, and just a few steps from the kitchen, very important. my intern coco (below) is frequently working with me too.

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q: what is your background, and did you study art formally?
a: i have a masters of graphic design in branding. i moved to new york after i graduated and worked in branding and i really didn’t like it. i was way stressed out, so to feel better i started painting, and it kinda grew from there.

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q: do you have a favorite medium to use?
a: i love oils so much, so fluid, i even love the smell, it is like there is some serious science going on when i smell that oil. but, i am experimenting with acrylics now too, they dry so much faster, and since i layer so much, i can make a whole painting in a few days, it changes how the end product looks. very cool.

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q: do you think your painting style influences your graphic design work, or vice versa?
a: i am so much a graphic designer, i start with a concept or a story first, then explore basic shapes that communicate the idea, however abstract. then when i have a clear voice, i let go and just create. that is how i design too. i can’t just say, oh i want to do some flowers. it will end up looking crappy.

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q: what is the price range of your collection?
a: very inexpensive actually. canvases around $400-$600, with prints from $20-$30. but i do have another project that i will reveal soon, that involves textiles.

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q: what is your inspiration for these works? do you have a message you want to send through these pieces?
a: my first series was inspired by science. i am a huge science person, i love the idea of cells upon cells working together to create a body, and bodies together, very special to me. also i love history, i read historical books all the time, so i was researching early biologists and their reactions to the discovery of bacteria and single celled animals. how wonderful, i thought, to learn about these things that are all around, and how that would trigger your imagination. i don’t send messages really, i like to just create a fantastical environment, a place to let your brain just go and dream.

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q: can we go to see your collection in person anywhere? are you currently exhibiting in any shows or is there anything else meaningful you would like to include here?
a: i am participating in a show at the tinlark gallery in september with some very talented artists via little paper planes. i keep selling paintings, that is good, but that makes it hard to have a permanent exhibition anywhere when i don’t have a very large body of work.

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say hi to michelle on her blog, view her graphic design portfolio here and see more work from her in her etsy shop and (of course!) the beholder.

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thanks michelle!


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