Five Alive--Afton Love

Five Alive is where we ask creative people we admire five questions about their practice. Today we are featuring Afton Love, an artist working with themes involving preservation and memory. She was raised in the deep wilderness of rural Northern California and received her BFA from California College of the Arts. Her work draws on her upbringing and is developed through a unique process involving graphite powder and wax, creating drawings and installations that articulate a landscape that is both highly specific and nearly abstract. Her drawings and installations range in scale from intimate to ambitiously expansive, imparting a sense of both power and loss in connection to the natural world. One enters Love’s dreamy work as one might enter a forest or take the first step on a path. She lives and works in Oakland, CA.

Afton's studio

Afton's studio

Long Butte, graphite, beeswax on tracing paper

Long Butte, graphite, beeswax on tracing paper

What is your favorite art making tool?

Lets see... My favorite art making tool is a really really cheap paintbrush with plastic bristles that I’ve cut down to a blunt tip. It is pretty much all I use to apply my graphite. I have tried tons of other brushes and tools but nothing seems to compare. Honestly I cherish it now!

What music/band/artist are you listening to the most right now?

Last weekend I saw this Swedish band GOAT and they were amazing. Hard to explain the music, but the energy and vibes put out by the two front women of the band was like shamanistic or something. Seriously they blew my mind and made me want to give up painting and join a psychedelic rock and roll band!

Afton Love

Afton Love

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

My work is so totally based on personal experiences with land and nature, that for peace and quiet I usually go out of the city to smell the dry California grasses and commune with rocks or the ocean, or walk the John Muir trail through the redwoods. But recently I moved into a new studio space that is bright and sunny and big enough to allow for my current project; which is a 9x10ft drawing. So even if I’m not working I tend to be there.

Where is your next dream travel destination?

The desert. Take me to the wildest rock formations, where the land is red, and the sky is a big bowl over the earth.

Is there a color or palette that you are drawn to?

Well I seem to be drawn to earth tones. The beeswax that I use is all the color I need right now. It varies slightly from sheet to sheet and gives the graphite this warm almost chewy look. I am forever enamored with the endless possibilities of graphite, but when I go for color I tend to reach straight for the cadmium red.

Pile, graphite and beeswax on tracing paper

Pile, graphite and beeswax on tracing paper

Pile (detail), graphite and beeswax on tracing paper

Pile (detail), graphite and beeswax on tracing paper

Afton is currently at the Santa Fe Art Institute for June and July, and she has a piece in a show right now called Known Associates at the Berkeley Art Center.

And if you happen to be in Oakland this weekend (June 14-15), she'll be participating in the East Bay Open Studios, so you can see her amazing work in person.

 

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