Tag Archives: Visual Arts

Artist Feature: Basilia Guadalupe

Basilia Guadalupe

Creo que el arte, la pintura en este caso, es una forma de entablar un diálogo no sólo con uno mismo sino también con la vida misma. Es un diálogo para mí ya que no podría afirmar que uno puede dar una respuesta cerrada haciendo arte, es más bien un diálogo eterno.

I believe that art and painting, in this case, is a way to initiate dialogue, not just within oneself but also with life itself. This is an ongoing dialogue, and I would say that one cannot really give a closed (or final) answer concerning art.

– Basilia Guadalupe

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicas, de dónde vienes? Dónde estás?

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

BG: Vengo de una provincia del nordeste Argentino que se llama Corrientes. Nací ahí pero a los pocos días de nacer nos fuimos a vivir con mi familia a España. Mis primeros cinco años fueron allí y luego volví a vivir a Corrientes. Hace cinco años vivo en Buenos Aires y Ahora estoy en el Sillón de mi casa en el barrio San Isidro.

BG: I’m from a province in the northwest of Argentina called Corrientes. I was born there and shortly after I moved with my family to Spain. I spent my first 5 years of life there and then moved back to Corrientes. I returned to Buenos Aires 5 years ago where I’m currently sitting on the sofa in my house in San Isidro.

Que quieren decir “reflexión,” y “respuesta,” para ti?

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

BG: Quiere decir dar una respuesta desde el lugar en el mundo donde uno se para y encara la vida. Una respuesta desde la visión del mundo que uno tiene.

BG: This means to give a response from the place one stops and faces the world. A response from one’s point of view of the world.

Basilia Guadalupe

Cómo se mete tu arte en esta definición?

How does your art fit into that definition?

BG: Creo que el arte, la pintura en este caso, es una forma de entablar un diálogo no sólo con uno mismo sino también con la vida misma. Es un diálogo para mí ya que no podría afirmar que uno puede dar una respuesta cerrada haciendo arte, es más bien un diálogo eterno. Kandinsky decía “Cada cuadro encierra misteriosamente toda una vida, toda una vida de muchos sufrimientos, dudas, horas de entusiasmo y de luz”. Yo creo que el arte que verdaderamente vale la pena mirar es aquel nos muestra casi sin querer toda esa energía de vida, toda la maravillosa complejidad de ser humanos. Creo que si en algún lado se cuela en mi arte la definición de reflexión y respuesta que dí es simplemente en el hecho de entrar en ese espacio de conexión donde se genera una reflexión sobre el mundo que quizás parezca que dura unos segundos pero continúa eternamente cuadro tras cuadro mientras intento dilucidar una respuesta.

BG: I believe that art and painting, in this case, is a way to initiate dialogue, not just within oneself but also with life itself. This is an ongoing dialogue, and I would say that one cannot really give a closed (or final) answer concerning art. As Kandisky said, “In every painting a whole is mysteriously enclosed, a whole life of tortures, doubts, of hours of enthusiasm and inspiration.” I believe that art that is really worth experiencing effortlessly depicts all that energy of life, all the complexity of human beings. If people hang up my art somewhere then my Reflection and Response is simply the fact that I’ve entered into that space of connection; (a place) where reflection about the world that seems to only last a few seconds but in reality continues forever (through) painting after painting (through which) I try to elucidate a response.

Basilia Guadalupe

Que más estás haciendo actualmente? Que proyectos estás pensando trabajar próximamente?

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Artist Feature: Alivia Schaffer

Alivia Schaffer | Photo by Cheryl Mann

Alivia Schaffer | Photo by Cheryl Mann

I actually would prefer to use these words in their verb tense- reflect and respond, because of their less passive nature. When I see these words as action, I take more responsibility for creating a response versus responding how the masses may or in a way that is expected of me. With each of my reflections or responses, I am able to create another layer of connection between my work and the work of others, or between myself and the world around me.

– Alivia Schaffer

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

AS: I grew up just Northwest of Chicago in Algonquin, IL. Now, I am living in Chicago and working with DanceWorks Chicago.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AS: Reflection and Response are two important parts of my everyday life. The two concepts really are what making work is all about. They are the process of taking the dry technique of an art form from mindless regurgitation, to a robust and personalized statement. The art I put out is always my reflection or response to something. I see others’ work and I shape opinions about it as my reflection, and then I notice what things I found successful or intriguing, compared with which parts I was put off by. From there I create my own work as my response, using my reflection from what I experienced. As an artist, I feel like the world has become my studio and space for constant reflection and response. I often just see everything around me as information. Yet, the information does me no good until it is responded to or reflected upon. I actually would prefer to use these words in their verb tense- reflect and respond, because of their less passive nature. When I see these words as action, I take more responsibility for creating a response versus responding how the masses may or in a way that is expected of me. With each of my reflections or responses, I am able to create another layer of connection between my work and the work of others, or between myself and the world around me. When I am genuinely utilizing reflection and response, I have no longer been simply going through the motions of life, but instead I am truly being present and listening to what’s around me and making a choice of how to propel forward from there.

Alivia Schaffer | colored pencil

Alivia Schaffer | colored pencil

Alivia Schaffer | colored pencil

Alivia Schaffer | colored pencil

  How does your work fit in with that definition?

AS: I prefer never to make work that is a narrative of my own life, but instead I aim to create work that acts as a platform or framework for dancers to find themselves in. In this method, my work asks dancers to do the reflecting and responding themselves. Thus leading them to connect with their fellow dancers, myself, their audience, and the world. My choreographic process feels much more like a conversation and constant exchange of responses between myself and the dancers, versus me as the hierarchy handing out instructions.

 What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

AS: I am proud to say that I just finished my first season working as a professional dancer with DanceWorks Chicago! We recently returned from performing at Spring to Dance, a dance festival in St. Louis. Next up for me will be choreographing a quartet for Dance in the Parks Chicago. This summer, I will also be teaching dance and visual arts classes at the Auditorium Theater’s Heart to Art Camp; a camp providing art outlets for children who are coping with the loss of one or both of their parents.

Alivia Schaffer | oil pastel

Alivia Schaffer | oil pastel

Alivia Schaffer | oil pastel

Alivia Schaffer | oil pastel

 Who or what inspires you?

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Artist Feature: Sydwox

Sydwox

Like “Indra’s Net” or a spider’s web full of dew drops, each dew drop contains the reflection of all the other dew drops, in a game of infinite reflection, we are all connected. Response is the act that we’ve chosen, (whether physical, mental, or verbal) to communicate with one another.

– Sydwox

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

S: I go by my undocumented moniker Sydwox, but most of my artist friends call me Wox. I was raised on the central coast of California in a small surfer beach town called Los Osos. I currently reside in San Francisco, and have been in love with the Bay Area ever since I moved here in 2004. After studying visual effects for film at Gnomon (a Hollywood based private school), I turned my back on the digital world to pursue my true passion of painting surrealism and graffiti. Although I am constantly influenced by my technical background, there’s nothing better than getting your hands dirty and the fresh smell of tiny aerosol paint molecules colliding with the wall without permission. 🙂

Sydwox - Over Creation

Sydwox – Over Creation

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

S: Reflection for me means looking within oneself to find that we are all just one reflection of each other, beneath the surface differences, one organism revolving through space on this craft called Earth. Like “Indra’s Net” or a spider’s web full of dew drops, each dew drop contains the reflection of all the other dew drops, in a game of infinite reflection, we are all connected. Response for me is the act that we’ve chosen, (whether physical, mental, or verbal) to communicate with one another. Using all our senses we perceive what exists outside ourselves and depending on how a particular vibration resonates within us we choose a way to answer to our perceptions.

Sydwox - DaVine Apprehension

Sydwox – DaVine Apprehension

How does your piece “DaVine Apprehension” fit in with that definition?

S: In “Davine Apprehension” a vandal barely escapes injury or arrest when his artistic depiction of nature comes alive and constrains the institutional enforcer trying to stop him. This piece for me was a fun way to reflect on several experiences I had dealing with the authorities for the way I chose to respond to social issues through public self expression or “street art.” The creation of this painting helped me release a lot of anger while making light of the age old game of cat & mouse.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

S: I just started working on my first canvas after a two year break where I focused entirely on murals and wheat pasting. I didn’t plan on taking this long of a break from my paint brush but I’m very excited to see what results from two years of built-up inspiration and life experience. Looking ahead, I’m working on a series painted entirely on rusted found objects and I am in the process of lining up several live-painting sessions at various venues in SF as well as a few music festivals in 2015.

Sydwox - SF Hands

Sydwox – SF Hands

Who or what inspires you?

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Artist Feature: Michela Buttignol

Michela Buttignol is a visual artist that we met up with through Maryanne Ventrice. Born and raised in Sacile, Italy, Michela has been based in New York City since 2009. She now focuses on her craft as a freelance illustrator, often switching between client projects and media work. She highlights an interesting version of Reflection as legacy, in that all reflections come from ideas that have previously existed, and Response is the unique style in which an artist creates work. Throughout the interview she discusses her experience growing as an artist working for the New York Times Op-Ed Page, an exciting upcoming show at the Bushwick Open Studio alongside dope artist Andrea DeFelice, and the journey curating visual components of her husband’s band Libel. Her unique style shines through the prints presented next to the dialogue below. Peep the talk below!

Michela Buttignol

Working with boundaries, if well defined, helps me move out of my comfort zone and find new solutions for better results.

– Michela Buttignol

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

MB: I am originally from Italy, born and raised in Sacile, a super small town in the northeast, not too far from Venice. I moved to the United States almost three years ago because of love. Back in 2009 while in New York, I met a guy who’s now my husband and makes me very very happy.

Since I’ve moved here I’ve been working solo as a freelance illustrator but art, drawing and creativity have always been central in my life. I decided to embrace a hard but beautiful career in the arts when I was very young; leafing through children’s books, I fell in love with the magic world of illustrations. Through the years, my passion has shifted from children’s books to editorial illustrations, which became later my profession.

Today I switch between media work and client-driven projects. I always try to find new inspirations, experimenting and pushing myself forward to improve and grow as a designer.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MB: Reflection is to recreate. Deliver a new point of view on something that already existed but appears differently every time someone builds or creates a new identity with it. I love to recreate what I see; for example, when I draw people, I tell a new story about them, attaching a new vision and a new identity. The response is in the style, in the world that you create with your art and how the audience recognizes and captures it, understanding the process behind the artwork.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

MB: I love to work on commission. That’s why I don’t recognize myself as an “artist” but as a designer. I like the pressure of the deadline and the exchange with the commitment. During this past year I’ve had the opportunity to work for The New York Times Op-Ed page, and the experience made me understand how important a challenging topic is, as well as the urge to give it a new meaning with your design. Working with boundaries, if well defined, helps me move out of my comfort zone and find new solutions for better results.

Michela Buttignol - The Tonic of Wildness

Michela Buttignol – The Tonic of Wildness

Michela Buttignol - NYT

Michela Buttignol - NYT

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

MB: Today I am working on my next exhibition for Bushwick Open Studio. I will open my apartment and my studio during the festival weekend and share my space with friend and extraordinary artist Andrea DeFelice.

Michela Buttignol - Jump

Michela Buttignol – Jump

Also, I am very happy and proud to curate the visual identity and everything related to my husband’s band Libel. Creating posters, album covers and animated videos for this band is a joyful ongoing project that constantly gets more challenging. Since I started (almost three years ago), with Gavin’s direction and the inspiration from the music, I’ve created a large collection of gig posters that is going to grow in the future along with other video projects I am going to jump on soon for the band.

Michela Buttignol - Gig Poster

Michela Buttignol - Gig Poster

Michela Buttignol - Gig Poster

Michela Buttignol - Gig Poster

Michela Buttignol - Gig Poster

Who or what inspires you?

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Artist Feature: Nichole Speciale

We connected with San Diego-based visual artist Nichole Speciale through our friend Andrea Harris. Nicole goes in on Reflection and Response, detailing the graphic representation of these processes in her piece Repeat After Me, focusing on the interaction of various surfaces and mediums. Additionally, she delves into her fabric work, On Gravity, which provides two different viewing options that each inform the other to provide a complete understanding of the piece for the viewer. This is a visual artist that practices ill artistic and multimedia expression and we’re juiced to have her words and pieces represented as part of the LIFESTYLE Collective below!

Nichole Speciale

I’ve had this ongoing project called Repeat After Me, which is about considering the plane of the canvas or the paper as a closed system, and as soon as a mark or shape is made in an art material another reflection or translation of that shape is made in thread.

– Nichole Speciale

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

NS: I am originally from Boston, MA and about 3 years ago, I moved to San Diego to go to graduate school, which I am currently finishing up.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

NS: I would have to say that my practice is largely based on this concept. I’ve had this ongoing project called Repeat After Me, which is about considering the plane of the canvas or the paper as a closed system, and as soon as a mark or shape is made in an art material another reflection or translation of that shape is made in thread, which becomes a more difficult task because to make a shape composed of straight lines you have to move back and forth through the plane of the paper or canvas.

I have also been doing an ongoing project with a flutist where we have a continuous feedback loop where I’ll reflect on the music she has played and respond through the making of an object and then she will reflect on my work and respond musically. So, to define the terms for myself – I would say that Reflection is a process of seeing/hearing and then internalizing only to turn back to the original occurrence and present your own version, much like holding up a mirror to the original act. Response is something delivered that does not have to emulate the original, but can carry a thread of the original with it in the returned action.

Repeat After Me (in Response to Rachel Beetz, flutist)

Repeat After Me (in Response to Rachel Beetz, flutist)

How does your work fit in with that definition?

NS: I’ve included a drawing from the Repeat After Me series, which I touched on in the my last answer, and have included my piece On Gravity, which is a two-sided work on stretched fabric made with sewing pins and nails. I feel this work fits in with this definition in that you can only take in one side at a time, while knowing that both images exist at once. And in viewing each side you have to consider the other to make sense of the whole piece.  The front of the canvas creates one impression with subtle color changes and soft textures and in response, or maybe an inverted reflection, the back side with the colored heads of the pins is like a bejeweled surface, and is surprising, but can only be surprising because of the reverse side.

On Gravity (front)

On Gravity (front)

On Gravity (back)

On Gravity (back)

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

NS: I have been collaborating with a different musician than the one I mentioned earlier and we have been making ‘sound paintings’ where we embed speakers in stretched fabric or canvas to extend the surface of the painting via sound. The one I am currently working on is about 5.5’ x 3.5’ stretched canvas and I have been sewing 2 large coils of speaker wire onto the surface. We’ve got magnets that turn those coils into speakers. So we are working on figuring out what sound should be coming from that piece… very exciting.

Pie from Scratch - In progress (speaker wire and thread on canvas)

Pie from Scratch – In progress (speaker wire and thread on canvas)

Who or what inspires you?

NS: I am very inspired by investigation of the universe. So I will often read things by Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson or Brian Greene. I also love watching NASA TV or poking around on their website. I also get really excited by 80s and 90s art that looks like it was the product of AV club, like Gretchen Bender or Nam June Paik.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

NS: Hmmm… Well, I recently learned that wasps basically make their nests from paper maché… how cool is that! They started it!

Shout out to…?

NS: Andrea Harris for suggesting me to the collective!

And my music collaborators: Curt Miller and Rachel Beetz!

Redshift Blueshift (ball point pins on speakers)

Redshift Blueshift (ball point pins on speakers)

Check out more of Nichole’s artwork on her website: http://nicholelizspeciale.com/home.html

Reflection and Response.

 

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Artist Feature: Valerie Wilson

Valerie Wilson is a visual artist and educator based in San Francisco. We first met when she was working with students at Alchemia, an arts program for adults with developmental disabilities. In our dialogue, she comments on the conscious and subconscious nature of Reflection, and the unique uses of these Reflections that each person chooses as their Response. Valerie chooses to reflect through art as a “healing interpretation,” of her world, as she describes with her print, The Royal Rooster, dealing with mixed emotions of a past relationship. Check out Valerie’s ideas in more detail below and snapshots from her printmaking process!

Valerie Wilson

Either consciously or subconsciously, people are processing their surroundings, their past, present, & future every single moment of the day. What one does with their reflection(s) is completely subjective, but unanimously response is a direct reaction to reflection (and visa versa).

– Valerie Wilson

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

VW: I’m originally from Sebastopol, a small town in Northern California infused with wine, liberals, and art.  In 2005 I moved to San Francisco, and have set up a semi-permanent fort there.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

VW: Either consciously or subconsciously, people are processing their surroundings, their past, present, & future every single moment of the day. What one does with their reflection(s) is completely subjective, but unanimously response is a direct reaction to reflection (and visa versa). Reflection and response are symbiotic with each other, for every action there is a reaction, creation is what happens when these two work together (which is all the time).

Valerie Wilson - The Royal Rooster

Valerie Wilson – The Royal Rooster

How does The Royal Rooster fit in with that definition?

VW: I’m incredibly detailed oriented and love symmetry, but besides that, my artistic process is very lackadaisical erring on the side of intuitiveness. My most complex pieces have surfaced during equally complex life events. Without a doubt I’d say that my work is a creative and healing interpretation of my world & existential well-being. My art is interchangeable between Reflection and Response, and is definitely fueled by both concepts. The Royal Rooster is the romanticization of a past partner. In the spring of 2011 I started carving and designing this bird after a breakup with someone I truly respected but equally despised. He (the rooster) is so tall and proud and beautiful while simultaneously reiterating his haughtiness and unattainability. Of course, I come to realize this only retrospectively, but see this piece as an obvious phoenix rising from the ashes of a failed (but cherished) relationship.

Valerie Wilson - The Royal Rooster (Process)

Valerie Wilson – The Royal Rooster (Process)

Valerie Wilson - The Royal Rooster (Process)

Valerie Wilson – The Royal Rooster (Process)

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Artist Feature: Alicia Martínez Díaz

Conocí a Alicia Martínez Díaz por primera vez en un concierto de artistas locales en Madrid en 2012. Era compañera de piso de Amber Stiles, miembro del Colectivo the LIFESTYLE, y en el concierto hablamos de su interesante arte visual ecléctico, que incluye medios tan diversos cómo el mundo musical hasta la publicidad. Dos años después de conocernos seguimos en contacto y estamos alegres de que haya aceptado la oferta de hacer una entrevista con nosotros. En nuestro diálogo, Alicia nos cuenta su proceso creativo, la naturaleza pensativa de la reflexión y la acción de la respuesta. Además describe su proyecto llamado “La Vida de los Otros,” que busca explorar la idea del “desconocido” tras una mezcla de medios diferentes. Abajo disfruta las palabras y unas selecciones de una artista visionaria!

I first met Alicia Martínez Díaz in Madrid in 2012 at a concert where several dope local artists were performing. She was friends with LIFESTYLE Collective member Amber Stiles, and at the concert we spoke about her eclectic visual art projects, ranging from working with musicians to advertising. Two years later, we remained in contact and we’re delighted that she accepted an interview spot for an Artist Feature. Throughout our dialogue, Alicia delves into her creative process, the pensive nature of reflection, and the active nature of response. She also describes her exciting project “The Lives of Others,” that seeks to explore the idea of the “stranger” through a milieu of different mediums. Enjoy the words and selected pieces from this visionary artist below!

Alicia Martínez Díaz

Mi proyecto fotográfico denominado “La vida de los otros”…recoge y muestra mi mirada, mis pensamientos y conclusiones, sobre personas que no conozco y que veo pasar; las personas que pasan por mi vida directa o indirectamente, las que están y las que no están, y todas las historias que imagino al verlas, las historias que me sugieren los enigmas que parecen rodearlas.

My photo project “The Lives of Others”…gathers and showcases my vision, thoughts, and conclusions concerning strangers that I see but don’t know; those that pass through my life directly or indirectly, those that are here and those that aren’t, and all the stories that I imagine upon seeing them, stories that suggest the oddities that seem to revolve around people.

– Alicia Martínez Díaz

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicas, de dónde vienes? Dónde estás?

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

AMD: Soy Alicia, de algún lugar de la Mancha, y resido en Madrid (España) desde hace más de 15 años, ciudad que conozco por tanto muy bien y que cumple a la perfección el dicho: “de Madrid al cielo”. Y debe de ser verdad, porque aunque siempre estoy ávida por conocer lugares nuevos, siempre estoy ávida también por regresar después. Estudié un símil de Bellas Artes en un lugar tan peculiar como la Casa de la Moneda, en otras palabras, el lugar donde se fabrica el dinero en España. Mientras de día aprendía con una mano a grabar, dibujar y diseñar becada y mimada durante 4 años; con la otra, de noche, y de manera eventual para conseguir algo de dinero extra, destruía con una troqueladora millones de euros empaquetados en fajos de billetes… irónico, y un acto que, aunque no tuviera nada que ver con el aspecto artístico, tenía su evidente carga simbólica y sirve de ayuda para relativizar la importancia a lo material y concentrarse en el lado más espiritual de la vida. Desde hace más de diez años soy cofundadora de mi propio estudio de diseño (91Nueveuno), pequeño y con ganas de ayudar a aquellos que nos llaman a descubrir lo que necesitan y todavía no saben, haciendo de medium entre lo utilitario y lo artístico. Pero mi pasión real son los libros, la música y, sobre todo, fotografiar.

AMD: My name is Alicia, I’m from a place in la Mancha, and I’ve been living in Madrid for over 15 years – so it’s a city that I know really well and it fulfills the saying “de Madrid al cielo” (“from Madrid to Heaven”). And it must be true, because although I’m always eager to get to know new places, I’m also always eager to return [to Madrid] afterwards. I studied Fine Arts in a place as strange as la Casa de la Moneda (the Royal Mint), in other words, the place where they print money in Spain. Meanwhile, during the day I studied film, drawing, and design on a 4-year scholarship; on the other hand, at night, in a sporadic way in order to earn a little extra money, I used a machine press to turn thousands of packaged euros into bundles of bills… ironic, and an act that, although it had nothing to do with the arts, had it’s own apparent symbolic responsibility, and served to help me diminish the importance of material [things] and concentrate on the more spiritual side of life. For over ten years I’ve been the cofounder of my own design studio (91Nuevueno), a small project with the desire to help those who ask us to discover what they need but don’t already know, operating in between utilitarian and artistic aspects. But my real passions are books, music, and more than anything, photography.

Alicia Martínez Díaz - Barcelona

Alicia Martínez Díaz – Barcelona

Alicia Martínez Díaz - Berlin

Alicia Martínez Díaz – Berlin

Que quiere decir “reflexión,” y “respuesta,” para ti?

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AMD: Para mí, reflexión es pararse a pensar. La respuesta, casi siempre, actuar. Reflexionar es hacer un repaso de nuestro “histórico” personal, emocional, intelectual (y, en mi caso, especialmente importante también, el visual) y, en base a nuestro objetivo previo, decidir qué deseamos hacer. Con todo ello en mi cabeza y sin que la reflexión sea eterna para no caer en la “parálisis por análisis”, me dispongo “a pasar a limpio” lo dibujado y escrito en mi mente, ya sea diseñando o fotografiando. Pasando a una dimensión real esos planos de mi pensamiento. De todos modos lo que realmente lo inunda todo, tanto en lo personal como en lo profesional, es el factor X de la intuición. Ese intangible mágico y decisorio que se encuentra entre la reflexión y la respuesta. Para mí es lo realmente determinante. Y que en el caso del artista es lo realmente fundamental. Yo diría que ahí es donde reside el verdadero talento.

AMD: For me, reflection means to stop and think. Response, almost always, is to act. Reflection involves taking another look at our personal, emotional, intellectual (and, especially important in my case, visual) “histories,” and based on our individual objectives, deciding what we’d like to do. With all this in my mind, however, I run the risk of falling into the trap of reflection leading to “paralysis via over-analysis,” and I often start over from scratch both in design and photography.

Alicia Martínez Díaz - Madrid

Alicia Martínez Díaz – Madrid

Alicia Martínez Díaz - Madrid

Alicia Martínez Díaz – Madrid

Alicia Martínez Díaz - Madrid

Alicia Martínez Díaz – Madrid

Cómo se mete tu arte en esta definición?

How does your work fit in with that definition?

AMD: Es diferente, aunque no radicalmente, si se trata por tanto de un proyecto personal o de un encargo por parte de un cliente. Cuando se trata de un encargo en el desarrollo de la reflexión serán claves también las premisas del briefing del proyecto y, aunque el resto de pasos del proceso sean los mismos, será necesario sumar un análisis más condicionado y un timing más estricto, eso seguro, pero también debe satisfacerme a mí además de al cliente. Jugar como decía entre lo utilitario y lo artístico. En el proyecto personal los límites los pongo yo. Es más experimental: lo emocional y lo intuitivo lo llenan todo…

AMD: This is different, though not radically, depending on whether I’m working on a project for a client or a personal project. For orders, the premise of the client’s instructions are instrumental for reflection, and though the [creative] process is the same [as a personal project], working for a client is more conditional and requires strict timing; however client orders should be satisfying for both the customer and myself. [This process] involves working between pragmaticism and artistry. [Alternatively,] I set the limits on personal projects. These are more experimental: these are projects filled with emotion and intuition.

Que más estás haciendo actualmente? Que proyectos estás pensando trabajar próximamente?

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Artist Feature: Ángel Rams

We’re excited to welcome Valencia-born and Leipzig-based comic book artist and illustrator Ángel Rams to the LIFESTYLE collective. Angel sheds light on the roles of Reflection during the process of interpreting an author’s scene and Response as the illustrator’s goal to tell the story through that interpretation. He goes in on the importance of telling a story without sacrificing the narrative for superfluous illustrations that only aim to impress readers. Ángel showcases these different features of the creative process using dope examples from his portfolio. He also sheds light on exciting future projects such as serving as the artist for  Alfred Ngubane‘s book Shaka Zulu, the upcoming release of a graphic novel set in post-WWII, and his participation in the 2014 Egmont Graphic Novel Contest with his graphic novel Cayuco. Check out the dialogue below accompanied by samples from Angel’s eclectic collection and links to various projects he’s got going on.

Ángel Rams

 

One of the main rules of sequential art is that you are here to entertain people, telling them a story throughout panels, not to gather a bunch of cool pin-ups on a page. A good comic book page can be understood without the dialogue on it, because it responds to the script.

– Ángel Rams

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

AR: My name is Ángel Rams. I´m a comic book artist and illustrator born in Valencia, Spain. I currently reside in Leipzig, Germany.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AR: I consider myself a comic book artist that takes occasional illustration commissions. The bulk of my artwork is what we call “sequential artwork”, in plain English: comic book pages. So I guess I should respond as a comic book artist. I believe Reflection and Response are a great part of a comic book artist’s work.

I would say Reflection describes my intention when I draw a scene, an object or a character. I try to capture on paper how I conceive that scene, object or that character. I try to reflect my perception of reality through my artistic skills. Of course that reality doesn’t really exist; it’s a reality the writer created. My task is to read, interprete and reflect. And that leads us to the next question: Response.

I understand Response as the artist’s level of commitment and efficiency toward the story. Rule number one is: tell the story. The closer my drawings are to the writer’s initial idea, the better Response I provided as a professional. In my opinion, a good comic book is the one where art and dialogues work along so well that it makes you wonder if it was made by a team or by one single creator. For this to happen you need a collaborative effort between writer and artist, or such a complete, well written script, that it gives the artist information enough to provide a good Response. Luckily I’ve been in both situations.

One of the main rules of sequential art is that you are here to entertain people, telling them a story throughout panels, not to gather a bunch of cool pin-ups on a page. Sadly, many artists focus their efforts on showcasing lots of boobs, muscle and plasma beams in cool postures rather than telling the story effectively. They adapt the story to the art and it should be the other way around, and that creates divergences. There’s nothing worse than divergences between artwork and dialogues. Seeing a character doing something or showing a body language that doesn’t match what they say, drives you out of the story and makes it less believable. A good comic book page can be understood without the dialogue on it, because it responds to the script. You don’t really know what they are saying but you know what’s going on.

Ángel Rams - Tunnel, page 9

Ángel Rams - Tunnel, page 10

How does your work fit in with that definition?

AR: When you look at the pages [from Tunnel] above, even with no lettering work on them, they convey the defenselessness and vulnerability the wounded character is feeling at that point of the story. His posture laying on bed, the martial mood of the military character that’s talking to him, the dark empty infirmary room, how the doctor approaches step by step with his apron stained with blood… All of this is telling you that wounded dude is in trouble. My task as an artist is to convey that idea throughout the page, to respond to the writer’s idea. Even the page layout imitates the shape of the window’s grid. All these elements subconsciously affect the reader, they create a mood and make the story believable. They all work together to tell the story.

At the same time, I have to reflect on the look of the room (it’s not a civil hospital, but a camp hospital), the ethnicities of the characters (the doc is Japanese) and every single object in an effective way. That means hours of documentation and study before even picking up the pencil. How many amateur comics did you see where cars look like shoe boxes? That happens because they don’t reflect real objects properly.

The next scene, below, [is] pretty much the same. The female character has the sensation of being observed, and so does the reader, because  the position of the statues, the deer head and the empty library convey that feeling.

Ángel Rams - Tunnel, page 23

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Artist Feature: David Figueroa

David Figueroa estudió arquitectura y también diseña camisetas, escribe microrelatos, saca fotografías, mientras combina todo en su tienda Básic Barcelona (Carrier Portal Nou 17).  Le conocimos a David durante el viaje que hicimos en el verano de 2013.  Su arte y buenas vibras se encuentran en su tienda que representa un lugar donde también invita a otros artistas a compartir sus voces y palabras. En la entrevista, David comparte su narrativa global y nos invita a charlar sobre Reflexión y Respuesta, y varios otros temas sobre una mesa con tazas de café en Barcelona. 

Artist David Figueroa studied architecture and also designs T-shirts, writes micro-fiction stories, takes photographs and combines all of these mediums in his shop Básic Barcelona (Carrier Portal Nou 17).  We first met David during the LIFESTYLE trip to Spain in Summer 2013. His shop space is filled with his work and represents a place where other creators can also come to share their voices and words. In this interview, David shares his global narrative and invites us all to discuss Reflection and Response, and various other topics over cups of coffee straight out of Barcelona.

David Figueroa

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicos de dónde eres y dónde estás ahora?

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

DF: Soy de Colombia, soy arquitecto y llegue hace doce años y medio aquí a Barcelona. Vine con mi hijo pequeño y mi ex esposa y aquí estoy en Barcelona. Vine a Cerdanyola, luego estuve un tiempo en Estados Unidos , 6 meses. Luego vine aquí, he vivido en Gracia, en el Raval, en Sagrada Familia, en el Borne. Me gusta mucho el centro, el ambiente del centro.

DF: I’m an architect from Columbia and I came to Barcelona twelve and a half years ago with my young son and my ex-wife. I first came to Cerdanyola, then lived in the United States for six months. Finally I moved here [to Barcelona] and I’ve lived in Gracia, in Raval, Sagrada Familia, and el Borne. I really enjoy the environment of living in the center of the city.

Que quiere decir reflección y respuesta para ti y cómo se mete esta definición en tu arte?

What does Reflection and Response mean to you, and how do you locate those ideas in your artwork?

DF: Reflección es lo que nos tiene que inspirar, el arte; el pensamiento crítico o no. Yo creo que el arte no es gratis si no sale porque si… nos hace como respuesta a algo en que esto es personal. Que realmente tienen que ver con algo más global. Una respuesta social. Es parte de donde has estado, el sitio, todo lo que estas viviendo.

DF: Reflection refers to what inspires us artistically, expressed critically or non-critically. I believe that art isn’t free [from experience] and comes out in response to something personal [in the artist’s life]. I believe we need to actually view art with a more global perspective and a social response. This is shaped [differently for every individual, depending on] the places you’ve seen and your unique life experiences.

David Figueroa - Cilantro

David Figueroa – Cilantro

DF: Mi arte, yo no sé si considerarlo arte. Si que es una expresión gráfica en este caso con las camisetas es diseño gráfico y si que hay respuesta a muchas cosas pero sobre todo personales lo mismo. Las cosas que me gustan y que me gustaría compartir. Por ejemplo un diseño que he gustado muchísimo y tiene muy buena respuesta es del cilantro. El Cilantro es una yerba que utilizamos para cocinar en Colombia. Es cómo el sabor de casa, algo que añoramos y que nos identifica muchos que estamos aquí que somos de fuera. Luego también sueño de infancia de tener un Mustang, pues mira es casi siempre (sueñas con) tener un Mustang, pero tienes por lo menos una camiseta.

DF: I don’t know whether to consider my work “art”. It’s true that my pieces are graphic expressions, and the [screen-printed] T-shirts certainly represent graphic design and involve response, mostly to personal issues – themes that I enjoy and that I’d like to share with others. For example, the “cilantro” t-shirt is a design that I’m passionate about and that has had a strong response from others. Cilantro is an herb that we use for cooking in Colombia. It represents the flavor of home, something that we miss, and is part of the identity of those that live here but are not from here. [Another design concept I’ve been working with involves] a childhood dream of owning a Mustang – although you can have this aspiration forever without actually owning a Mustang, at least you can have one printed on a t-shirt.

David Figueroa - Mustang

David Figueroa – Mustang

DF: Yo también hago fotografía y escribo. Escribo microrelatos y cosas cortas, y hay unas cosas que están en plan más en camisetas también. Es algo más íntimo, más mío y me gusta eso que la gente lo pueda llevar. Normalmente para los diseños utilizo fotografía, la retoco en Fotoshop y en Illustrator. Hay una que también me gusta mucha y que ya tenía muy buena respuesta que es una fotografía que hice en Marruecos en la playa. Un turista típico con sombrilla y calcetines blancos, shorts-guiri típico haciendo una foto. Queda en el sol en la playa, o sea que perfecto con eso hay que hacer algo. Luego viene lo de el concepto del turista. Por eso quise poner el texto de “I’m not a tourist.” Porque también hay una cosa de viajar: tu puedes ser un viajero pero no un turista, un turista típico. Es una especie de critica también, y por eso me gusta que ha tenido tan buena aceptación.

DF: I also take photographs and write. I write short stories, short pieces, some of which I incorporate into my t-shirt designs. These are intimate pieces that feel very much mine and I like that people can wear these pieces. For my designs, I typically work from a photograph, using Photoshop and Illustrator for retouching and editing. Another one of my favorite pieces that has had a positive reaction is a photo that I took on the beach in Morocco: an archetypical Western tourist holding an umbrella, wearing high white socks and shorts, taking a picture. The tourist is standing in the sun on the beach – an image I knew I had to do something with. Thinking of the whole concept of an archetypical “tourist,” I wanted to include the text “I’m not a tourist” to suggest that one can be a traveler without being a tourist.  This piece represents that criticism, which is one reason why I’m happy that it has had such a positive reaction.

David Figueroa - I'm Not a Tourist

David Figueroa – I’m Not a Tourist

Que más estás haciendo actualmente y que proyecto estás pensando trabajar próximamente?

What else are you doing currently and what projects are you thinking about working on next?

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Artist Feature: Damjana Jokic

Damjana is an artist whose explorations come from various places including her hometown of Vojvodina, Serbia and her current location in Madrid, Spain. Her art is tied into questioning the world around us and uses visual mediums to reflect on and respond to human nature, challenging accepted beliefs. We welcome the words and ideas of Damjana to the LIFESTYLE Collective with our dialogue below and samples of her work!

Damjana

What are the problems of the world that we live in that are affecting us as artists and towards which we cannot be indifferent?

– Damjana Jokic

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

DJ: I’m from Serbia, and have  been living in Madrid for the last nine years.

I just finished my Art Manifest, where I invite all “The Makers of Reality” to join and gather around the idea, and that is an indefinite love towards the art, the strength of a human spirit and the creative force. For the Makers of reality  it’s important to be brave, the truth when we create and we are moved by cosmic force and intuition.

We want to finish with the fake, superficial, banal and decorative art that is offered by the galleries.

Damjana Jokic - Bitter Mud of Experience (2005)

Damjana Jokic – Bitter Mud of Experience (2005)

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

DJ: The world is a picture that is inspiring me. My observations, reactions and my emotions towards it, are leading me to my projects. The projects are the response of my reflections. 

How does “Living in between of everyday life” fit in with that definition?

DJ: My project is called “Living in between of everyday life”. We live in between of everyday life, in the metaphysical space, marginalized. I see that as a problem of the crisis of our spirit, consciousness, and values. The concretizing the problem would be showing the intoxication that we are exposed. The essence is that everything that is surrounding us is something that is constantly making us stupid. The absurd of our existence I see in our own impotence to change something that is obvious. Should the artists be more radical, devoted and sharper in their critic?

Damjana Jokic - Living In Between of Everyday Life (2005)

Damjana Jokic – Living In Between of Everyday Life (2005)

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

DJ: I am interested in the new generations, where are they going in life and in art? I have  been painting and making graphic prints, videos.

I would like to make an art movement on a bigger scale. 

Who or what inspires you?

DJ: The new generations live in the world that is a picture that inspires the search for an answer to the question: Where are we going? The need for the truth and understanding the world that I live in, revealing the human nature.

What are the problems of the world that we live in that are affecting us as artists and towards which we cannot be indifferent? We live the consequences of the capitalism that is pushing us towards neo fascism, slavery and ignorance. That is making us vulnerable taking away our dignity little by little. How is that affecting art and artists? 

Damjana Jokic - Arrival (2005)

Damjana Jokic – Arrival (2005)

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

DJ: I think that  art today needs to get back to the traditional values meaning to perfect the form, technique and the spiritual essence of an artist. Also needs to have a clear moral message, meaning to discover the floods of a contemporary social ethic and to offer a  new esthetic. If the art doesn’t have those elements then its kitsch!

Makers of the Reality are also pursuing the Little happiness!

What is the personal happiness?

The possibility to question our own life, when we know who are we and why we exist!!!

www.damjanajokic.com

Damjana Jokic - Mud (2005)

Damjana Jokic – Mud (2005)

Reflection and Response.

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