Five Alive Interviews

50+ interviews to inspire you to take action

Did you know that we have a beautiful archive full of over 50 interviews with inspiring artists and creatives? We couldn't believe it, either.

Our series of DELVE interviews explore the unique paths of artistic and creative individuals. How did they get to where they are? What did they do before? What does a day or week in their professional lives look like? Check out our whole series of DELVE Interviews here.

Five Alive is an interview series where we ask creative people we admire five questions about their practice. They are short, powerful glimpses into the worlds of talented people, just like you. See our growing Five Alive series here.

Enjoy and be inspired! XO, Sara and Andrea

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Five Alive: Abigail Doan

Abigail Doan

Abigail Doan

Five Alive is an interview series where we ask creative people we admire five questions about their practice. Today we are featuring Abigail Doan, an environmental fiber artist and writer, who divides her time between NYC and Europe. Her studio practice explores the sculptural language of handmade objects, slow craft methodologies, and cultural preservation issues.

Thank you, Abigail, for sharing your work with us!

Plaited Wildgrass | New Mexico (2006), hand-plaited wild grasses from The LAND/an art site residency in rural New Mexico | by Abigail Doan

Plaited Wildgrass | New Mexico (2006), hand-plaited wild grasses from The LAND/an art site residency in rural New Mexico | by Abigail Doan


What is your favorite art making tool?

Abigail's tabletop loom

Abigail's tabletop loom

A miniature tabletop loom that I use to create small ‘drawings’ with leftover or salvaged paper, threads, textile bits, and even dried vegetation or found flotsam.

I also really cherish a magnifying glass that belonged to my grandmother. I sometimes use it to zoom in on materials that I am documenting while traveling or working at home.

A good pair of scissors makes me very happy, particularly my Okubo garden scissors from Japan – perfect for bonsai trimming or simply as a paperweight on my desk.

I am definitely a tool lover, so much so that I started a project called, Toolshedding. Several of these objects were on view with my own sculptural forms in a solo exhibition at Weaving Hand gallery in Brooklyn last autumn.

What project(s) are you working on right now?

I recently initiated a project called, Walking Libraries, which involves (slow) movement research in combination with the documentation of site-specific materials in both rural and urban zones. This is an extension of an exploratory performance-based practice I started years ago for Conflux Festival as well as during solo walks in the deserts of the American Southwest and in the fields of my childhood farmland of the Hudson Valley. I will continue these travel explorations in rural communities in Bulgaria this summer as well as along coastal routes in Italy. 

Walking Libraries | artifacts 01 (2016), gathered wild grasses, recycled fiber, mylar, and plastics for still life documentation | by Abigail Doan

Walking Libraries | artifacts 01 (2016), gathered wild grasses, recycled fiber, mylar, and plastics for still life documentation | by Abigail Doan

My intention is to build a library of plotted, psycho-geographic phenomena across communities and cultures with the mission of highlighting border-defying acts. This documentation with also serve as an archive for future art and design projects for my creative agency, Lost in Fiber.

I am also collaborating with several artist friends on projects that relate to modern day correspondence (in an attempt to make social media sharing more tactile), as well as an olfactory art project that explores tools for modern pioneering and monitoring pedestrian flow.

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

Well, I just arrived in Bulgaria for the summer, so I tend to listen to local bands here as well as regional folk music. I love to run in the morning with my headphones on – listening to Rachel Row as well as Milenita, two very cool Bulgarian women artists/musicians. Otherwise, I listen to my eight year old twin sons singing and practicing their instruments.

Toolshedding | artifacts 02 | assemblage (2015),  16” x 16”, vintage wooden shuttle with recycled threads and collage | by Abigail Doan

Toolshedding | artifacts 02 | assemblage (2015),  16” x 16”, vintage wooden shuttle with recycled threads and collage | by Abigail Doan

Where do you go for peace and quiet?  

Definitely the mountains in Bulgaria, small village life in Italy, as well as some secret pockets within Central Park. I also have favorite rooms at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that I often retreat to when urban life is wearing thin. I grew up on a farm in New York State, so I am always trying to simulate this existence no matter where I roam. This is most likely why I have the art practice that I do, i.e. methods of outreach beyond the studio walls.

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

The muted tones of the desert as well as hues created by botanical dyes. Several art friends are natural dyers, so I have learned a lot from them about what constitutes true color. Although I am not a dyer per se, I did grow up in a household where my mother often had a dye pot on the stove or we were foraging for roadside ‘weeds’ together. 

Color is something that I typically view as being nature-based. That said, I have been exploring the inclusion of neon pops of color in my still life documentation, as I like the counterpoint and reference to the palette available with digital tools. Color can be bold, though, as demonstrated by the plant palette experiments of artist friend, Sasha Duerr.

Walking Libraries 03 | Coastal California (2016), site-specific documentation with hand-dyed fiber rope and handmade silk tassel | by Abigail Doan

Walking Libraries 03 | Coastal California (2016), site-specific documentation with hand-dyed fiber rope and handmade silk tassel | by Abigail Doan

Walking Libraries 01 | Coastal California’ (2016), c-print: 20" x 20”; site-specific documentation with fiber drawing, vintage glass, recycled packaging, soil, and local vegetation | by Abigail Doan

Walking Libraries 01 | Coastal California’ (2016), c-print: 20" x 20”; site-specific documentation with fiber drawing, vintage glass, recycled packaging, soil, and local vegetation | by Abigail Doan

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Five Alive: Michael Arthur

Five Alive is an interview series where we ask creative people we admire five questions about their practice. Today we are featuring Brooklyn-based artist, Michael Arthur, who specializes in both drawing the intimate moments of theater, dance and music as well as performing "live drawings", visually accompanying music and performers with projected, real time illustrations.

Artist Michael Arthur at work. Photography by  Kevin Yatarola

Artist Michael Arthur at work. Photography by Kevin Yatarola

Michael draws mostly in ink without any pencils or rough drafts: each drawing is a live reaction to the moment. Michael's drawings have appeared at Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Departures Magazine, NPR, The Huffington Post and many other places. He is also a member of the indie band Balthrop, Alabama where he draws live during performances.

**He will be performing a live drawing collaboration with Peter Salett at The Greenwich House Music School on April 14, called Uncharted. Don't miss it.

Thanks for sharing a little bit of your world with us, Michael!

A drawing by Michael Arthur from David Denby Dance at Lincoln Center

A drawing by Michael Arthur from David Denby Dance at Lincoln Center

 A drawing by Michael Arthur at the Hedwig tech rehearsal for the New Yorker

What is your favorite art making tool?

I'm pretty basic. I have three pens that I primarily use, two Japanese brush pens and a medium nibbed pen with refillable ink cartridges. I prefer a heavy toothed watercolor paper that preserves the line but absorbs the ink quickly. 

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

Like everyone else probably, I'm listening to--and trying to absorb--David Bowie. I'm also very much in love with Benji Hughes's album, A Love Extreme.

 

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

I have a kid at home, so my studio is my place of peace and quiet. I've taken to closing my studio door lately. I used to leave it open so my studio neighbors could drop in and chat, but I get so little alone-time now that I've become anti-social.

Where is your next dream travel destination?

I dunno. I'd like to see Australia/New Zealand.

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

I love black, white and gray. So much room to be creative in a limited palette. That said, I've been obsessed with the colors of Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are lately. Having a kid is my world at the moment, so my discoveries and environment are pretty much an extension of that. 

A drawing by Michael Arthur at the Martha Graham Dance Company

A drawing by Michael Arthur at the Martha Graham Dance Company

drawing by Michael Arthur

drawing by Michael Arthur

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Five Alive: Leah Rosenberg

Five Alive is where we ask creative people we admire five questions about their practice. Today we are excited to feature the colorful work of Leah Rosenberg.

Leah at work on a recent project in Hamburg, Germany.

Leah at work on a recent project in Hamburg, Germany.

Leah Rosenberg is an artist and pastry chef with an affinity for color, stripes, paint and the arrangement of things. She moved to San Francisco from Canada to pursue her MFA at the California College of Art, where she wrote her thesis on the artistic possibilities of cake. Her paintings, paint-based sculptures and cakes combine systems of accumulation and elements of layering to explore how our experiences, emotions, and memories build over time. Her work has been exhibited extensively in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as in Poland and Canada. Recent exhibitions include Happiness Is... (Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, CA), Pairings (Galleri Urbane, Dallas, TX), and Bay Area Now 7 (YBCA, San Francisco, CA).

What is your favorite art making tool?

I just acquired a Ryoko nail gun! I use it all the time to build up color wall installations.

And painter's tape to make stripe paintings.

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

We've been listening to the new Dengue Fever album around our house. I like to listen to audio books as I go from one place to the next and sometimes in the studio when I'm doing something repetitive. I just listened to Kim Gordon's memoir Girl In A Band which has been taking me back to the days living in Canada in my room in the basement listening deeply and repeatedly to Sonic Youth, the Breeders, the Pixies...

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

Ocean beach, in San Francisco. 

Leah's   Everyday, a color  project . Day 6: Fiery Sunset, Day 7: Beach Sand.

Leah's Everyday, a color project. Day 6: Fiery Sunset, Day 7: Beach Sand.

But in the summer the quietest place is my aunt and uncle's cottage at Lake of the Woods, Ontario. The water is like glass in the evening and there is no place like it.

Where is your next dream travel destination?

Scandanavia, and Holland for tulip season.

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

The   Everyday, a color  project  in process

I like color palettes that present themselves throughout the day. How what you eat for breakfast, to the color of the sky, to the person's outfit who passes you on the street, can make up a map of one's day through the colors you encounter. I'm also interested in how certain colors can be associated with flavors. For example, if you eat a red cookie, what flavor you might expect it to be and the stories that come up.

Recent and upcoming projects:

I recently did a color wall installation in Hamburg for a café in a pink shipping container, a project organized by Thomas I Punkt, a family clothing design business in Hamburg.  

I am wrapping up a project in the Outer Sunset at an artist-run studio and gallery, Irving Street Projects. The project is called Everyday, a color and there have been a few things written about it here, here and here!

I'm doing the Future of Food residency Sept-Dec at Bemis Art Center, so working towards that.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

FIVE ALIVE: AUBREY ROEMER

Aubrey at work in her temporary studio in Nicaragua

Aubrey at work in her temporary studio in Nicaragua

Today, painter Aubrey Roemer joins us for our interview series Five Alive. I met Aubrey at a residency at the Vermont Studio Center, and right after leaving the residency, Aubrey had plans to go work on ambitious public art projects in Nicaragua and Indonesia. She is currently still on a boat in Indonesia, and she describes both of these amazing and intense projects below the interview.

Aubrey Roemer is a visual artist, whose work incorporates painting, photography, printmaking, installation, and performance. There is a strong focus on materials within the work, often using found and repurposed items – such as linens, bedsheets, dinner napkins, and old candles. The raw materials are tailored to each project, using a given object’s context to reinforce the conceptual nature of the artwork.

Her work centers around portraiture and the representational, but touches into abstraction in it’s execution. The artist often uses community as a platform for creation – depicting the employees of a strip club, painting the people of an entire town, photographing houses along one road, etc. In this regard, there are facets of journalism, anthropology, and socio-economics found within the work.

Aubrey Roemer was born in Rochester, NY. She received her BFA from Pratt Institute. She has had residencies in Europe and Indonesia, and exhibited in galleries and museums both nationally and internationally.

What is your favorite art making tool? 

I am secretly a (color) writer, so color, in all mediums.

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

Music is all over the place: old Future Islands, a little Tom Waits, bombastic classical music, dark country tunes that hark to True Detective, and two new bands other artists put me on to—Darkside and The Acid. Oh, and this band from Florida: Holopaw. 

Where do you go for peace and quiet?  

The ocean, the big beautiful ocean. No matter how intense my life may or may not feel, the ocean is more vast than I will ever be. I find this soothing. 

Where is your next dream travel destination?

The Philippines—I want to do a portrait study of the bakla, i.e. trans/gay culture there. Although Africa and India are calling my name, too.

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

Really depends on the project. I am most known for the blue and white palette that was Leviathan: The Montauk Portrait Project. Yet, I try to pair the colors of each project to resonate with the demographic I am attempting to depict.

The installation of 'Empalagoso (Saccharine)' in the sugarcane fields of Chichigalpa, Nicaragua

The installation of 'Empalagoso (Saccharine)' in the sugarcane fields of Chichigalpa, Nicaragua

Aubrey recently completed a huge project in Nicaragua, which she describes here:

A detail of a banner for the 'Empalagoso' project

A detail of a banner for the 'Empalagoso' project

This January in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua, in collaboration with La Isla Foundation, I have documented via painted portraiture, the Chronic Kidney Disease epidemic among the sugarcane workers in this region in a work titled ‘Empalagoso (Saccharine).’ There is a staggering mortality rate among the male workforce population from this disease, which is thought to be caused from a combination of dehydration, strenuous labor conditions, and environmental toxins. 

Painting in and around Chichigalpa, including the small community of La Isla, which is referred to as “La Isla de las Viudas” (“The Island of Widows”) - a name reflecting the reality of life where many men are dying young, leaving behind their families. Images of entire families affected by CKDnT are depicted on cloth banners formerly used to protest the worker’s conditions. These banners adorned with portraits were then returned to be used in protest once again and installed in the sugarcane fields during the many stages of harvest. A series of memorial portraits have been created of those who lost their lives to CKDnT, which were installed alongside the banners, and are going to be exhibited at Schema Projects in Brooklyn, NY. These commemorative works will be installed again in a mass installation in late fall this year in Chichigalpa. After this final installation, all of the portraits will be given to the surviving family members. Each banner and portrait has a ghostly secondary monoprint that was creating in the process of painting, which are exhibited and installed with the mother images. 

The work was driven and facilitated by members of the community, La Isla Foundation, the scientific and medical research of many dedicated to intervention and advocacy for this disenfranchised group of workers. Additionally, the photographs were taken by filmmaker and photojournalist Tom Laffay, who worked with Ed Kashi on National Geographic’s video ‘Under Cane.’ Laffay, Kashi, and I will exhibit the work in ‘Facing An Epidemic,’ which is set to travel through the USA, the EU, later returning to it’s home in Central America. In touring the work, there is hope to educate members of the consumer culture to the devastating costs of sugar production in an increasingly global world. We are striving to make a new and replicable model that explores intersection of art and journalism, while collaborating and engaging in current global issues.

Currently, Aubrey is on a boat in Indonesia working on a new project:

In-process paintings drying in Indonesia.

In-process paintings drying in Indonesia.

After a residency in 2013 in Bali where I met master painter Wolfgang Widmoser, a student of Ernst Fuchs and Salvador Dali, we decided to reunite and film something about art and make art together in the future. In 2014, Widmoser connected with enterprenuer Britta Slippens, owner of many tradtional phinisi boats and Mentigi Bay Villas, which Widmoser was the architect of, and it was decided we would travel with other artists and paint the Buginese culture—indigenous sea faring folk from Indonesia. We traveled with other artists Ebon Heath, Orly Even, Angelina Cristina, Icarus Zaure, and the film crew Slam Jam Brothers. All artists are making work about the culture and the respective journey throught he remote islands of Eastern Indonesia. 

I had personally planned on painting just the Buginese in a similar fashion to other projects, using sails from their traditional phinisi as the canvas. However, on the first day of traveling through Sulawesi and meeting with Bugi anthropologist, Horst Liebner, we learned that it was not so easy to find Bugis and that our perception of their culture was inaccurate. The Bugis are tied by language, not by custom, and as we traveled further through the islands we began to understand that the idea of a Bugi as a shipbuilder and a pirate was driven from colonialism and a degree of ethnocentric view points from imperialists and within in the respective Indonesian culture. Bugis came to be an all inclusive and simultaneous mystery term. Through this trip, we met many people and very few Bugis, in fact, when we asked where to find the Bugi men (ha ha) the response was always pointing to the next island or a previous island.

With this knowledge, I have decided to continue painting portraits, but under the guise of an Indonesian portrait project in search of the Bugi. As a result, this has presented exciting creative challenges, as one must adapt. Instead, I choose to collect hands from those living on the various islands—an homage to the cave paintings we saw outside of Makassar, which have been recently claimed as the oldest paintings on planet earth along with another cave in Spain. Seeing those paintings, perched in a cave on a mountain top was exhilarating! You had to observe the work from a distance, while knowing that you were perched on an impossibly high precipice— -my heart pounding and my brow sweating. It was really something. The community participation in this activity of painting harks to the very beginning of the cannon of art history. On top of the hands, images of the animals we saw or hunted or  ate are being rendered, along with animals meaningful to Bugi culture—the bison, the crocodile, the rooster. The other side of the sail is being encrypted with text from La Galigo, the Bugi creation myth—6,000 pages of text that make up one of the greatest sagas of all time. There will be 44, a magical number for the Bugis, portraits laid on top of the text. While not exactly a straight forward Buginese portrait project, the work has evolved into weaving stories of a great lost culture, with a shared adventure, and historical references to the knowledge garnered along the way. 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Five Alive: Hannah Cole

We are excited to have painter Hannah Cole join us for our interview series Five Alive today.

Green Crates, acrylic on layered Tyvek, 40" x 60," 2015

Green Crates, acrylic on layered Tyvek, 40" x 60," 2015

Hannah is a painter living in Brooklyn. She studied at Yale University and Boston University, and  has exhibited internationally. She is represented by Slag Gallery in New York. Her work was shown recently at The Drawing Center and at Volta, Basel. Last year she had her third solo show in New York at Slag Gallery and her first solo museum show at the University of Maine Museum of Art. She is currently working on an upcoming show for this fall at Boston University’s Sherman Gallery.

Hannah Cole

Hannah Cole

About Hannah's work, in her words:

I paint the daily surroundings that normally go unnoticed—a glimpse of the bookshelf, the subway grate I walk over on my route to the bodega, my pliers hanging on a pegboard.

My paintings are at once rooted in the unique experiences of my own life in Brooklyn, and in conversation with the larger history of American painting. I make every mark by hand, without shortcuts. This practice is one part meditation, one part Yankee work ethic.

What is your favorite art making tool?

I’m using an exacto-knife a lot lately. I’ve been cutting patterns into canvas and Tyvek.I love creating a tension between loose, painterly painting and tight, precise cuts.

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

I’m an NPR freak, and a big podcast listener. I ate up Serial like candy. I love Planet Money and I get really excited when there’s a new Frontline audiocast. My favorite is The Harvard Business Review Podcast. It sounds extra dorky (ok, it is extra dorky), but it’s full of interesting studies about how people form good habits, what makes a good leader, and how to communicate well. I’ve been boning up on economics since the market crash in 2008, when, like the rest of the world, I was caught thinking “what the hell just happened?” And what has emerged from that is a desire to help other artists with financial issues, especially taxes.

When I listen to music in the studio, I like to belt it out like a crazy fool. Put on Jenny Lewis’ new album, The Voyager, and I’m going to have to apologize to my neighbors.

Hannah's family cabin in Maine, with daughter Farrah

Hannah's family cabin in Maine, with daughter Farrah

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

 My family cabin in Maine. My family has roots in the farmland of western Maine that go back for nine generations. Being there is all about family, nature, and summer. We’ve all been missing summer during this awful winter: just check out those bare feet, that tent, lobster and fresh corn, and that green color. Remember green?

Where is your next dream travel destination?

Near-term: Asheville, North Carolina. When I’m not painting, I do pottery for fun. I’ve been doing it for 19 years now. So the folk art traditions of western North Carolina, especially pottery, have always been a draw to me. In a month, I am finally making a pilgrimage there to check it out. Asheville seems like a place with interesting energy.

Longer-term: Japan.

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

Blues. I have phases with favorite blues. When I was painting figures, I loved cobalt. It’s a warm blue, and reminds me of the robes of the Virgin Mary in pre-Renaissance painting. In grad school, I used so much turquoise that people began giving me presents of turquoise paint. This Christmas, my father gave me an enormous tub of Golden cobalt blue – after I haven’t used any in ten years. So I see myself going back on cobalt now…

Husky (Pliers), acrylic on canvas, 20" x 24," 2013

Husky (Pliers), acrylic on canvas, 20" x 24," 2013

Hannah's website: hannahcole.net

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Five Alive- Sarah Anne Ward

Sarah Anne Ward

Sarah Anne Ward

Five Alive is where we ask creative people we admire five questions about their practice. Today we are featuring Sarah Anne Ward, a New York based photographer specializing in food/drinks, soft goods and product photography. She studied at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and operates from her studio in midtown Manhattan.

What is your favorite art making tool?

Photography and any sort of light manipulation is my favorite art making tool for the time being. I always experiment with other mediums but just keep going back to photography and image making. I also love collaborating with other artists in other mediums with photography. I recently did a photography/illustration collaboration with food. Collaborating is one of my favorite parts of making art and exploring new ideas.

Photograph by Sarah Anne Ward

Photograph by Sarah Anne Ward

Photograph by Sarah Anne Ward

Photograph by Sarah Anne Ward

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

Right now I am listening to Jus Post Bellum, a local Brooklyn Band that is inspired by the civil war and American History. They are a little undiscovered at the moment but very beautiful and meaningful music. They are wonderful live and you can catch them at various venues around the city.

Where do you go for peace and quiet? 

My favorite place for peace and quiet is the little window corner next to my bed in my cozy apartment on the Upper West Side. With all the noise outside I am so surprised how quiet it can be. I spend every morning waking up gradually with my coffee. Having a a place of solitude is very important to the creative process.

Sarah's bed, photograph by Sarah Anne Ward

Sarah's bed, photograph by Sarah Anne Ward

Where is your next dream travel destination?

I do not necessarily have a dream travel destination but travel is always on my mind and very important to my lifestyle and work as an artist – always wanting to experience new ways of living, eating and experiencing life. And I find the best way to do that is to travel more as a local. I usually take the B&B route to traveling or go with friends that are native/familiar to the country/city. But next on the list is Isreal and Germany.

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

There is not a specific color palette I am drawn to; it usually changes with the seasons, after traveling, and experiencing new terrains and sunsets. Seeing colors in a natural environment, whether it be a sunset or just the contrast of when sky meets land or water is very inspiring to me, and I try to bring that into my work.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Five Alive- Katya Grokhovsky

Katya Grokhovsky, Selfie as an artist with a mask, 2013

Katya Grokhovsky, Selfie as an artist with a mask, 2013

Five Alive is where we ask creative people we admire five questions about their practice. Today we are featuring Katya Grokhovsky. Born in Odessa, Ukraine, raised in Melbourne, Australia, Katya works and lives in New York. Her practice spans various mediums including performance, video, installation, photography, sculpture, drawing, painting and text. She has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a BFA from Victorian College of the Arts, Australia and a BA in Fashion from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia.

Katya's work deals with alienation, gender politics and identity through a displaced female body. Often mesmerized by the future promise of yet another place to conquer, Katya becomes conscious of the duality of the mind and body in the process. Whilst the mind clearly follows instructions to build a better stable secure life, the body wildly suppresses the sensory memory of a place once native. The liminal space between being there and being here becomes full of tense emptiness and possibilities. 

Katya Grokhovsky, Caked, 2014, 30 mins, performance for video

Katya Grokhovsky, Caked, 2014, 30 mins, performance for video

What is your favorite art making tool? 

My favorite art making tool is my body. It is often my starting point of reference, which lends itself to other mediums. My other favorite tools are scissors, pen and pencil, fabric, thread and sewing needle, glue, brush and a camera.

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

I tend to be quite eclectic in my music choices and I love to mix and mash many styles and artists up. My current mix includes Gogol Bordello, Shostakovich, The Great Beauty soundtrack, Dolly Parton and Antony and the Johnsons.

Katya Grokhovsky, Katya's bed, 2014

Katya Grokhovsky, Katya's bed, 2014


Where do you go for peace and quiet? 

My first choice would be my bed. I am an avid and obsessive reader and a daughter of a librarian, so since early childhood, my true retreat from the world has always been to read, whilst lying in bed. Another way to regain my balance is to go for long walks, anywhere.




Where is your next dream travel destination?

As a traveler, that's a very difficult choice, as there are still so many places I would love to visit. However, a few of my top international destinations where I haven't been yet include Japan, Iceland, Argentina and Greece. In USA, I would also love to explore Alaska, Arizona and Utah as well as revisit New Mexico, which captivates my imagination.

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

Currently, I am drawn to Gelato colors such as dusty pastel dirty-sherbet pinks, lavender, minty greens, murky acid yellow and orange as well as baby blues.

Katya Grokhovsky, Who Ate Odessa?, 2012, 8 hrs, performance

Katya Grokhovsky, Who Ate Odessa?, 2012, 8 hrs, performance

Grokhovsky has received support through grants and awards such as Dame Joan Sutherland Fund, American Australian Association, Australia Council for the Arts ArtStart Grant, NYFA Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists, Chashama space to create grant, Freedman Traveling Scholarship for Emerging Artists, Australia and residencies at Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Nebraska, Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, Ithaca, NY, New York Residency and Studio Foundation, Brooklyn, NY, Santa Fe Art Institute, New Mexico as well as Watermill Center Summer Residency, NY.

Her work has been shown in venues such as HERE Arts Center, New York City Center, Soho20 gallery, NARS gallery, Watermill Center, Chashama, Ukrainian Institute of America, Fountain Art Fair, Gallery 151, Fowler Arts Collective, Museum of Russian Art, Grace Exhibition Space, Chelsea Art Museum, Galerie Protege, Defibrillator gallery amongst others. Her work can be seen at upcoming exhibitions in New York at Governor's Island Art Fair in September, Art in Odd Places in October and at ISE Cultural Foundation later in 2015 amongst others.

Katya Grokhovsky, The Lovely Immigrants, 2013, mixed media, found materials

Katya Grokhovsky, The Lovely Immigrants, 2013, mixed media, found materials

Katya Grokhovsky, Status Update, 2013, 6 mins, performance for video

Katya Grokhovsky, Status Update, 2013, 6 mins, performance for video

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

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.

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Five Alive--Kelli Thompson

We are looking forward to diving into what promises to be almost overwhelming amount of art this weekend at Bushwick Open Studios. As a special preview, we're featuring Kelli Thompson, one of our favorite Bushwick (technically Ridgewood) artists for our Five Alive column today. Her studio will be open in the 17-17 Troutman Building, and she will have her work featured in Seeking Space, a group exhibition at The Active Space (566 Johnson).

Courtney , 2013, Oil on Panel, 48x42"

Courtney, 2013, Oil on Panel, 48x42"

Kelli Thompson was born in Monroe, Louisiana in 1982. She received a BA in Fine Art from the University of New Orleans in 2006, and a MFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Tufts University in 2009. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Art Voices magazine in New Orleans, The Northeast Regional New American Paintings, #86, Studio Visit magazine, and was mentioned in The New Yorker in January of 2013 for her work at A.I.R. Gallery’s Biennial Exhibition. She has had two solo exhibitions, both in New Orleans, Louisiana, and many group exhibitions in New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana.

Kelli and cat

Kelli and cat

From Kelli's artist statement:
In my large-scale portraits from photographs, I use a highly synthetic palette to reformulate the look of the skin of my subjects.  I over-describe the surface of the flesh so that every detail remains in focus, removing the image one step further from reality, and experiment with the tension between the attraction and repulsion of viewers when confronted with artificial representations of the human figure. By breaking apart the painted flesh into separate planes of color, I’m able to participate in the classical tradition of exploring the surface and nature of the skin.

I create my source material using a series of photographs, often taken at different times in different sittings, to create a crude Photoshop ‘mock-up’. This aspect of my process plays into the unnatural color interpretations to loosely reference the constructed nature and humor of historical portraiture, specifically 17th century Dutch painting. My interest in the portrait lies in the connection between the subject and the viewer, a genuine moment of empathy. Utilizing the conventions of portraiture, I investigate the connectivity and authenticity of the gaze within a synthetic style of imagery.

What is your favorite art making tool?
Paint. I love paint, specifically oil paint. I love the gooeyness, the richness of color, the mixing, the glazing, the brushes- the brushes, oh my god, don’t get me started on the brushes. I picked up a rather expensive natural hair habit in grad school and it’s only gotten worse. I was using black sable exclusively for a while, but I recently discovered mongoose hair, and they’re far more durable than sable and still are soft enough for me to glaze without leaving brush strokes. I love that there is a small crew of painter friends I can sit around with and totally geek out talking about materials. There’s still so much to learn and so many things to try out in my  practice.

The view from Kelli's studio building roof

The view from Kelli's studio building roof

What music/band/artist are you listening to the most right now?
Truthfully, lately it’s been The Pixies ‘Doolittle’ and ‘Surfer Rosa’ back to back on repeat. I’m trying to lure out the summertime.

Where do you go for peace and quiet?
In my studio building on Troutman Street (in Ridgewood) there’s a big, wonderful deck from which you can look out at the entire Manhattan skyline. It’s maybe my favorite place in the city. Also any large body of water always brings a certain amount of inner peace for me.

Where is your next dream travel destination?
I’d love to spend some time traveling through South America, specifically Brazil. It’s a huge country and so that’s a very general answer, but there you go. I know I’d like to take some time, a weekend trip wouldn’t really do.

Is there a color or palette that you are drawn to?
I’ve always liked my pinks and reds. I am drawn to bright, vibrant colors, and really I love the whole spectrum. That’s maybe why I love paint so much- I feel like I get to own the colors and make them work for me.

Anna and Cat , 2012, oil on panel, 60x48"

Anna and Cat, 2012, oil on panel, 60x48"

B on Blue , 2013, Oil on Panel, 48x42"

B on Blue, 2013, Oil on Panel, 48x42"

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Five Alive--Becca Kallem

Five Alive is where we ask creative people we admire five questions about their practice. Today we are featuring DC-area artist Becca Kallem.

Studio view

Studio view

Becca Kallem received an MFA in painting from the University of New Hampshire, with a BA in Art and Spanish from the College of William and Mary. She held a Fulbright teaching fellowship in Madrid, Spain and teaches elementary art. Most recently, her work has been exhibited in the DC area at Transformer Gallery, Pleasant Plains Workshop, Heiner Contemporary, Hillyer Art Space, and Mary Washington University. She is a resident artist at the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia. She belongs to the artist groups Sparkplug and Project Dispatch.

What is your favorite art making tool?

A (lavapies) , 2013

A (lavapies), 2013

Tie: neon pink paint, palette knife.

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

Another tie: Gillian Welch, Bronski Beat (obscure '80s queer band) 

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

Sitting on the floor of my studio or bedroom.

Where is your next dream travel destination?

Turkey or Vancouver BC

Becca Kallem

Becca Kallem

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

I am teaching an oil painting class, and apart from white, I am having my students use primary color pairings: alizarin crimson/cadmium red, cerulean blue/ultramarine blue, lemon yellow/yellow ochre. I don't use yellow ochre much anymore myself, but I feel like in its natural earthiness it is a magical, primeval color, like the basic matter that EVERYTHING is made of!

He is my dear father , 2013

He is my dear father, 2013

Cloudland , 2013, 16" x 12"

Cloudland, 2013, 16" x 12"

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Five Alive--Susan Klein

Five Alive is where we ask people we admire five questions about their creative lives. Today Susan Klein shares her work.

Of Solitary Walks and Talking to the Sky, 2014.  32x40 in.  oil on panel  

Of Solitary Walks and Talking to the Sky, 2014.  32x40 in.  oil on panel
 

Susan Klein holds a MFA from the University of Oregon. She currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI and will be joining the faculty at the College of Charleston this fall. 

From Susan's Artist Statement:
I begin with a landscape painting, sometimes rural, sometimes urban. I then work over these representational paintings, referencing the visual world of objects. The result is an image that is observational, somehow recognizable yet ambiguous. The scale shifts from large to small within the painting, from landscape to still life, allowing for a multiplicity of possible interpretations. In my paintings, the horizon line is the only indication of scale, and acts as the way the viewer locates herself in relation to the space of the painting. The use of multiple horizon lines in an image serves as a way to unmoor the viewer. I like to think about the paintings as piles of time.  Although “time” is a universal, the paintings deal with the particular: the tension between two shapes, the quality of the color, the fact that the paintings all evolve from specific visual situations that I observe. Traces of hiding and revelation remain and the surfaces of the paintings show wear and tear. Irregular surfaces, architecture, botany, gnarly branches, fences, bricks – they swim together to create a dense visual obstacle course. 

Studio installation

Studio installation

What is your favorite art making tool?

Paint!

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

I am in love with Cymbals, I Break Horses, and Future Islands right now.

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

Wrapped plants observed on a solitary walk in Grand Rapids

Wrapped plants observed on a solitary walk in Grand Rapids

For peace and quiet, I tend to take long walks.  It helps clear my head and calm me down.  I also go to my couch with a book.  Going to Lake Michigan usually fixes me as well.

Where is your next dream travel destination?

Susan in her studio. Photo by Tommy Allen.

Susan in her studio. Photo by Tommy Allen.

I am going to the Arteles Creative Center in Finland this June...that is a dream destination, for sure.  I have always wanted to see the land there and experience 24 hrs of light.  I hear the sky at night is a very special blue color. 

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

I try to consciously experiment with color in my paintings, but when I look at the body of work as a whole, I see I tend to use red/green often. And cobalt blue.  I love chromatic grays...that whole range of rich color that is very low in saturation.  Morandi was the best! 

Weathered Cement and Ladybugs , 2013, oil on panel, 40x32 in.

Weathered Cement and Ladybugs, 2013, oil on panel, 40x32 in.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Five Alive--Emmy Mikelson

Five Alive is where we ask people we admire five questions about their creative lives. Today Emmy Mikelson shares her work.

Threshold Composition B, 10x12.5”, oil on panel, 2014

Threshold Composition B, 10x12.5”, oil on panel, 2014

Emmy's studio

Emmy's studio

Emmy Mikelson

Emmy Mikelson

Emmy Mikelson is an artist and curator residing in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA from Hunter College. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has appeared in Direct Art magazine and the architecture journals Nova Organa, KTISMA and Ampersand. She has been an invited speaker at Parsons the New School for Design, the CUNY Graduate Center, Maysles Cinema, Harlem, NY, and Pace University, NY. She currently teaches at Baruch College, CUNY. Her work will be on view during Bushwick Open Studios in the exhibition Seeking Space at The Active Space gallery.

What is your favorite art making tool?

Right now, I think it would be tape and paper towels. 

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

Oddly, I have realized that I am not someone that listens to music a lot. I used to listen to music often while working in the studio, especially Patti Smith — her song Pissing in a River is still my favorite. But mostly I listen to documentaries and movies while working. My queue has included a slew of 1970s horror films by Italian filmmaker Mario Bava, all 9 seasons of X-Files, and Blue Planet with David Attenborough (at least 5 times). Right now, I am working my way through the History Channel’s The Universe.

Threshold Composition no.3. Gouache, oil and ink on panel. 14” x 14”. 2013

Threshold Composition no.3. Gouache, oil and ink on panel. 14” x 14”. 2013

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

I don’t have a specific place I go. Peace and quiet is often something you need spontaneously, so you always have to improvise. 

Where is your next dream travel destination?

I always dream of hot beaches. It doesn’t necessarily matter where - well, it matters a little - preferably Fire Island or Key West. There are many places I would like to visit and explore, but it always feels like a dream to simply step out of a daily routine; just lie on a quiet stretch of beach with a drink and let your mind wander.

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

Prussian Blue and Alizarin Crimson. They always seem to fix something going wrong.  

Threshold Composition no. 6, 11.5x11.75”, Gouache, oil and ink on panel, 2013

Threshold Composition no. 6, 11.5x11.75”, Gouache, oil and ink on panel, 2013

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Five Alive--Shannon Rankin

Five Alive is where we ask people we admire five questions about their creative lives. Today Shannon Rankin shares a bit about her practice.

Tessellation (Cape Foulweather) , 2013, map, oil, paper, 12.25 x 17.5

Tessellation (Cape Foulweather), 2013, map, oil, paper, 12.25 x 17.5

Terrain (Wicomico) , 2013, map, acrylic, paper, 17 x 21.75

Terrain (Wicomico), 2013, map, acrylic, paper, 17 x 21.75

From Shannon's Artist Statement:

I create installations, collages and sculptures that use the language of maps to explore the connections among geological and biological processes, patterns in nature, geometry and anatomy.

Using a variety of distinct styles I intricately cut, score, wrinkle, layer, fold, paint and pin maps to produce revised versions that often become more like the terrains they represent.

These new geographies explore notions of place, perception and experience, suggesting the potential for a broader landscape and inviting viewers to examine their relationships with each other and the world we share.


Shannon Rankin was born in California in 1971 and currently lives and works in Rangeley, Maine. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine (1997). Her recent solo and two person exhibitions include Crux, June Fitzpatrick Gallery, Portland, Maine (2013), Fathom, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport, Maine (2011) and Disperse/Displace, Gallery Voss, Düsseldorf, Germany (2010).

Shannon Rankin

Shannon Rankin

She was included in the book Creative Block by Danielle Krysa (aka The Jealous Curator), which just came out this spring, and she's been accepted to the CMCA Biennial 2014, where she will be creating a large site-specific installation with ocean and star maps, inspired by the maritime history of Rockport, Maine.

What is your favorite art making tool?

My X-Acto blade is my primary art making tool, but scissors are fun, too!

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

Right now, I’m revisiting The Stylistics, Hall & Oates and Radiohead.

The cedars

The cedars

The greenhouse in the snow

The greenhouse in the snow

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

I live in the country so peace and quiet are relatively easy to find here. I enjoy taking walks in the woods. There’s a cluster of cedars that I’m quite fond of. I’ll visit them and take a seat on a rock that I placed in-between them. During the warmer months I enjoy taking studio breaks in our tiny greenhouse.

Where is your next dream travel destination?

Anywhere the sun is shining! I would love to visit the Southwest again and see the Grand Canyon. I would also love to visit Glacier National Park because I want to see a glacier before they’re all gone.

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

I’m drawn to vibrant hues from the ’60‘s. And I love every single shade of blue.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Five Alive: Skye Gilkerson

Five Alive is where we ask people we admire five questions about their creative lives. Today Skye Gilkerson shares a bit about her practice and tells us about her current residency in France.

Installation view from a recent exhibition

From Skye's artist statement:
Through location-specific installation, video and drawing, I combine divergent elements from the places I have lived to study the social implications and possibilities of these relationships, as well as our relationship to nature. Having lived most of my life in the big-empty-quiet of rural, central United States, I am drawn to the potential of open spaces. I look for abandoned structures and overlooked regions: the places in the periphery that are unmonitored and less defined.

I use subtle interventions, constructed from ordinary, often ubiquitous materials, to unfold our awareness of our surroundings and destabilize familiar structures. Space, time, light, and language, as well as architecture, landscape, and changes in the weather, all become the materials for this exploration. 

Skye Gilkerson.  Photo by Jenny Kutnow .

Skye Gilkerson. Photo by Jenny Kutnow.

Skye Gilkerson’s work has been shown in solo, two person, and group exhibitions in museums and galleries across the US including the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, Temple University Gallery in Philadelphia, and the The Wassaic Project in New York. Skye was awarded a Smack Mellon Studio Fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, and Artist Residency Grants with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Studio Center, the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and the La Napoule Art Foundation. Skye received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

What is your favorite art making tool?

I use different media for different projects, so I suppose the tool is resourcefulness or experimentation. I also seem to have a preternatural connection to adhesives of all kinds.

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

In the studio I like to listen to Radiolab and other podcasts. Joanna Newsom and Dirty Three have also been on high rotation lately.

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

For unparalleled levels of quiet, I visit the farm in rural South Dakota where I was raised. When I need a more regular dose of peace and quiet, I like popping into libraries and cathedrals and other such spaces of enforced quietness and thoughtful architecture. I also wear earplugs all the time to turn the subway into a reading room.

Skye's studio at the LNAF Residency in France

Where is your next dream travel destination?

The amazing key to Skye's studio

I am currently in a pretty dreamy travel destination, at a residency in the south of France.

Below my studio is a crypt where the founders of the art center are buried. Above my studio is a room without stairs where they meet in the afterlife. I inhabit the space in between.

After my residency, I am actually headed to my true dream travel destination. For years I have wanted to visit the Swiss home and museum of one of my favorite artists, Emma Kunz, and I am very excited to be going there next, and then onto Stuttgart and Berlin.

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

I am drawn to a soft color palette and tend to use a lot of transparency, light and reflection. At this moment my favorite color is the amazing cyan of the Mediterranean sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.