Portraits by Jason Balducci.

Portraits by Jason Balducci.
An Interview with Jason Balducci.

Who and where are you from?

My name is Jason Balducci, and I’m an Italian visual artist currently based between Italy and Canada.

What brought you to Art?

I have always been surrounded by art, both my parents worked in the field, so I grew up in an environment of visual stimulation.
So, I would say that art was brought to me, and during the years it became the expression of my feelings where words weren’t enough. I have always felt that I was different from others, kind of an outsiders. During the moments when I preferred to spend my time alone, art was always a companion and vehicle to make me feel part of something.

What is your driving force?

My driving force is to push further into experimentation and the unknown. I can say that It's like a personal quest to find that something that you haven't found yet, an expression of inner feelings that represents the invisible to others. For me Art in general is the best expression of the human being and an universal language that breaks all possible barriers.

What kind of work you do and why?

I do paintings, mainly portraits. In painting a portrait the problem is to find a technique by which you can give over all the pulsations of a person. That's why portrait paintings are so fascinating and difficult. Most people go to the most academic painters when they want to have their portraits made because, for some reason, they prefer a sort of colour photograph of themselves instead of thinking of having themselves really caught and trapped on the canvas. The model is someone made of blood and flesh, and what has to be caught is their spirit and emanation of energy. I  paint people because I truly think that art is an obsession with life and after all, as we are human beings, our greatest obsession is with ourselves.

Tell us more about your thought process.

I very much prefer working from the photographs taken of people I know, most of the times my models are people I have had the chance to know, so that while transporting their image on canvas I can add characteristics that I remember through shapes and colours.
It is harder to attempt to do a portrait from photographs of somebody I don’t know, but if I both know them and have photographs of them, I find it easier to work than actually having their presence in my studio. I think that if I have the presence of the model in my room, I won’t be able to drift so freely as I can with the photographic image. I feel free when I’m alone with their memory, it allows me to distort the thing far beyond appearances.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

This is a difficult question to answer since I appreciate many artists, each one for a different reason. The ones that I admire the most are Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Willem de Kooning. As living artists I find the work of Andrew Salgado so interesting and inspiring, both for his great technique and the messages within his work. I really hope to meet him someday.

Collages by an American Artist Madeline McLaughlin.

Collages by an American Artist Madeline McLaughlin.
An Interview with Madeline McLaughlin.

Who and where are you from?

My name is Madeline McLaughlin. I am an American artist, based in Los Angeles, CA. 

What brought you to Art?

I cannot remember a time when art was not a part of my life. I was extremely fortunate to have creative parents who thrust crayons into my hands the minute I could hold them. As a child, I was constantly drawing, acting, painting, knitting, sewing, filmmaking, sculpting—if you could think of a craft, I would do it. I loved creating something out of nothing. I was a very, very shy kid, so art became a way to express myself to others. Throughout my life, I have explored so many different art forms and could not imagine existing without art. 

What is your driving force?

Quite frankly, I’d go insane from boredom if I didn’t create. My mind goes about a million miles per hour, and without a creative outlet, the world can morph into something rather banal and painful. I have to make something, anything, to simply survive this planet I was assigned to (haha.) In all seriousness, it is what brings me to others. When my words fail me, my artwork articulates my thoughts for me. I am driven to communicate with those around me in the most genuine way possible; and that is through my artwork.

What kind of work you do and why?

Although I had dabbled in seemingly every art form within the Michael’s Craft Store inventory, I somehow fell into digital art quite recently, and well, sorta kinda fell in love. I studied film at NYU and from there have explored archive footage and photoshop techniques. Through finding experimental filmmakers I liked, I stumbled upon digital collage artists and thought the very original thought - “Oh I could do that!” But then I, well, did actually do that. I found it was a way to take so much of the imagery I had stored in my brain from film and pop culture, and transform those pre-existing images into something completely new.

Tell us more about your thought process.

Through the medium of digital collage, I explore a variety themes such as death, heartache, anxiety and loneliness. So all the stuff that’s just cooking up into a surrealist soup in my brain and that I have to dish out in consumable dosages or else it explodes all over the kitchen that is my reality (haha.) I manipulate ready-made images that range from pulp comics, movie posters, and old photographs, to vintage novel covers and classic paintings; I divorce them from their former intention and meaning; and create worlds, characters, and situations that are wholly unique. With my collages, I am able to manipulate the imagery and completely recontextualise what they evoke. I aim to combine images in a way that would never be expected from there first conception. 

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

One artist that I totally and completely admire is the watercolor artist, Michelle Avery Konczyk. Although I don’t usually work in watercolor, it is a medium that I have such great reverence for, as it is a very difficult and under-appreciated form. Koncsyk’s watercolors are both thought-provoking and impressive. She too works with surreal and dark imagery which inspires me daily. 

Mixed Media Art by Zelene Schlosberg.

Mixed Media Art by Zelene Schlosberg.
ECF7
An Interview with Zelene Schlosberg.

Who and where are you from?

Hello, Artospective Readers, my name is Zelene Schlosberg. I am a Chicago based artist working in mixed media, collage and sculpture. I was born in China and moved to the US in 2009, and I think you can see the influence of both cultures in my works.

What brought you to Art?

I have always been intensely interested in art, but the desire to create my own works began in earnest about ten years ago. Art is a mirror, or a profound document, of what it means to live on our planet in our time. Like all of the arts (music, dance, etc), it speaks in a deep way to the human condition. I also feel the physical making of art, while exhausting and time consuming, has tremendous therapeutic value to the practitioner.

What is your driving force?

The more I study the art of both today and the past, the greater my desire and drive to contribute to this unusual record of humanity becomes. I am also constantly listening to contemporary classical music, a genre that also influences me greatly. So, all of the above are the forces that drive me.

What kind of work you do and why?

Before I talk about the work itself, I’d like to discuss my influences, which include traditional Chinese ink paintings and calligraphy, as well as the Buddhist writers that have impacted these artists. This year in particular, I embarked on an in-depth study of these writers. There was a time not too long ago where I was doing mostly thinking and reading, but now I am back to the creating process itself. Another influence has been contemporary classical music, which I have been exposed to quite a bit the last five years. The sheer variety of stylistic approaches, not to mention the technical virtuosity of the musicians, fascinates me. I was lucky to have a painting recently featured as the cover art for composer John Liberatore's debut CD album.The nature of my work these days involves mixed media and collage, and less use of paint, but this could change with the season!

Tell us more about "Interim Landscape" Series.

Some of the specific artist tools that are my favorites include diluted paint, which I often let guide itself. The chance operations of where the paint will go are in line with my study of I Ching notions. I have also used thread for many different series of works. Thread by its very nature creates a sense of line, sometimes ambiguous in its directional confidence, due to its specific texture. I'm always discovering new tools and ways to appropriate seemingly mundane objects into a more rarefied aesthetic context.

I think most artists would say that whatever art they are making at present is what they are most proud of, what they are most invested in, and that is the case with me. I have been reading a lot about art history and criticism, as well as delving deeply into Buddhist texts, and I feel like the current series represents my distillation and combining of these subjects.
Landscapes deal with space, and I feel my abstract constructions, while not suggesting a concrete geographical location, suggest elemental qualities that are tangentially relevant to the natural world. 

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

I haven’t discussed this elsewhere, but one artist I would like to single out here is Franz West. The Adaptives is his series most readily relatable to my own work, in its use of tertiary colors (usually white), simple textures, and a certain playful quality. I also very much love his outdoor sculptures, which are both provocative and playful, and which Peter Schjeledahl rightly described as “maybe the most energetic and affable art for public spaces since Alexander Calder.”

Figuratives by Raúl Lara Naranjo from Spain.

Figuratives by Raúl Lara Naranjo from Spain.
An Interview with Raúl Lara Naranjo.

Who and where are you from?

My name is Raúl Lara Naranjo and from Spain.

What brought you to Art?

I believe art is in all of us, all children's in school draw and color, some of them stop doing it and others keep, I never stopped and that brought me into art slowly but surely.

What is your driving force?

My driving force is art itself and the possibility it gives me to express different thoughts and ideas through the canvas.

What kind of work you do and why?

I work  figurative and abstract paints, I need and use them both in different ways and to me they complement each other and join through the "body" of the canvas, the characteristic texture that I have developed.

Tell us more about your thought process.

As I said before I work figurative and abstract and I approach them in opposite ways. In my figurative work human being is the only thing it matters to me, in my recent works I try to represent what we are and others see but also the  side of ourselves that only we know, that idea can be extrapolated to the actual global society with all the social media and again what we really are and what we show through media and the contraposition between our "on and off line" lives. My abstract is inspired most of the times in nature, I just focus on colors and textures, I kind of feel more free  keeping apart all the philosophical side and just trying to focus on the aesthetic side of art.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

I would say Miquel Barceló, I really love the colors he use and the textures almost all of his paints have, something (the texture) which is key in my work.

Art by Roberta Pizzorno.

Art by Roberta Pizzorno.
An Interview with Roberta Pizzorno.

Who and where are you from?

My name is Roberta Pizzorno, my roots are italian. 

My mother’s family is originally from Florence, the art nest of the world. 

I grew up in this eternal city. I studied languages in Switzerland and in reality I feel very much a citizen of the world. I lived in the Canary Islands, in Cairo, and then I moved in central Africa in Kenya, on the Indian Ocean.

What brought you to Art?

I remember the beautiful time spent with my granfather walking around Galleria degli Uffizi, in Florence one of the most important museum in the world and my grandfather’s favorite place. I was just a child and art entered in my world from the main entrance but at the age of 8 a terrible accident happened and my grandfather died, a part of me was froze and I did never draw again.

Around 35 years old,  after work and family, I decided to take care of the part of me that for some reason had been injured and damaged since childhood. I felt a strong need to draw but at the same time a terrifying fear was paralyzing me and did not let me pick up a pencil without having tachycardia.

What is your driving force?

I really wanted to transform that strong emotion of fear into a creative and constructive energy as the alchemical transmutation of lead into gold.

As I turned 20 years of classical and contemporary dance into yoga and daily meditation, I try to trasmute the fear into space of consciousness.

What kind of work you do and why?

In my artwork I tell stories that are not tied to states of being, they are not self-referential, they contain profound messages that become original for each of us. They are advisors for use. Nutrient instruction booklets for a broader, wider and a brighter view of who we really are. The drawings tell it to me and I translate it for all those who have time and space to look and see.

A sort of communication of symbolic, abstract or evocative images.

They can be extended and amplified visions of mankind, of human frailty and resources. They can be suggestions for new opportunities or better behaviors. The themes are very varied but they spiral around a single Fulcrum: The mystery of life.

I like using black ink to cover white spaces but I also love watercolors so sensitive and snappish.

Tell us more about your thought process.

My next exhibition is at Museo Arti Visive Palazzo Collicola in Spoleto Umbria Italy. Opening during the Festival of Two Worlds 30th June 2018, is titled “Full of Emptiness”.  It’s a state of mind or better a state of mindfullness that comes after many years of daily exercise. Not much to say, not much to think but just being fully present in the moment. Hic et nunc. Empty space of silence sound. The blank paper in front of me, no judgement, no expectations. I draw a little seed that start to be alive like a fertilized egg, winning more and more power from every breath I take. 

Sometimes it happens to witness epiphany fulminating events that redraw the meaning of a path. These are extraordinary moments in which even if I am the author, I become a spectator and for a while I disappear, leaving room for revelation.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

One artist? Only one? 
Chromaticism, composition, aesthetics, balance, creativity, technique, inspiration, harmony, intention, beauty … there are so many artists that embody these energies!

If I could only save one artist from the end of the world? Than it has to be Nicola de Maria: His skies, stars and flowers, love and colors… Impossible survive without them.

Figuratives by Chelsea Reede from USA.

Figurative art by Chelsea Reede a mixed-media artist from San Diego, California, USA.
A vision of the future.
An Interview with Chelsea Reede.

Who and where are you from?

I'm Chelsea Reede a mixed-media artist from San Diego, California, USA.

What brought you to Art?

It might sound strange but this art started to occur after a series of spiritual awakenings. I've been at it almost daily since early 2016.

What is your driving force?

I come to the art table with the desire to be amazed and am rarely disappointed.

What kind of work you do and why?

I work with acrylic paints, inks, paper collage, and charcoal, I like the quick drying time and how it all works together. My work is usually on paper of varying sizes, with an occasional canvas mixed in. 

Tell us more about your thought process.

I don't initially put much thought into the art, I spread some different colored paints around or mess with some charcoal and then start to notice images in that. Once I start to work with the characters I usually get a bit of a story that goes along with them. The stories are sometimes very moving, and they really bring the art to life.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

I am really moved by Gillian Lee Smith, her work captures a mood that I find very inspiring, and her characters leave me wondering about their stories. 

Blythe Smith from Finland.

Blythe Smith from Finland.
An Interview with Blythe Smith.

Who and where are you from?

I’m Blythe Smith, a Finnish visual artist from Helsinki, Finland.

What brought you to Art?

Life-long urge and desire to make art and express myself.

What is your driving force?

The need to express myself, communicate my feelings and the things that are meaningful to me.

What kind of work you do and why?

I do painting, collages (of my own paintings only), videos, and comic strips.

Tell us more about your thought process.

My artmaking is based on intuition and material. I work on the basis of material and see what it turns into. I never make plans or sketches. I trust the process, it never fails me. Meanings only emerge while making art; therefore, I think that it’s useless to wait for inspiration.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

Oh no, does it have to be just one? I’d like to name two: Eeva Peura, who was my teacher in art school.  

Henrik Fab, a great emerging Finnish artist and my fellow student from art school.

Art by Anahid Hagobian.

Art by Anahid Hagobian.
An Interview with Anahid Hagobian.

Who and where are you from?

My name is Anahid Hagobian, I was born and I live in Montevideo- Uruguay.

What brought you to Art?

I remember that since I was a child I wanted to paint. It is a necessity to my existence. After postponing it and working for 10 years in my graphic design studio, I decided to dedicate myselfcompletely to fine arts.

What is your driving force?

My childhood.

What kind of work you do and why?

At this moment, I am drawing and painting. I paint to recover my childhood.

Tell us more about your thought process

I am very impulsive. My art is very spontaneous. All my work arises from inner processes which occur in my unconscious. I explore forms, beings and unknown spaces in order to re-create my own world.

That search is my passion.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

I like Jean Dubuffet. The first time I saw his works, I saw myself immediately reflected.

Dark Art by Wojciech Sosidko.

An Interview with Wojciech Sosidko.

Who and where are you from?

My name is Wojciech Sosidko. I’m from Poland. I was born in Kołobrzeg – a tourist town at the seaside in the North of Poland. Now, I live and work in Poznań.

What brought you to Art?

I do art because of Władysław Hasior.

What is your driving force?

Hate.

What kind of work you do and why?

It depends- it's a process, it's organic.

Tell us more about your thought process.

In the beginning there is a concept, inseparable from the material with which I intend to create it. The work that I begin to reminisce to a certain point of careful craftsmanship: I go into the studio, pull the canvas, ground it, prepare the material. I think it is extremely important to prepare everything yourself as much as possible to influence what is going to happen in the very act of creation.

When I have a solid effect of my work, it is never the final form. I see the possibility of change, redefine, change, and shape what is going on until I feel that I am no longer able to give more of myself to the work. My work is a long and multi-stage process, often full of rebounding, rebellion and destruction of what has already been established.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

Mixed Media Art by Claudio Parentela from Italy.

Mixed Media Art by Claudio Parentela from Italy.
An Interview with Claudio Parentela.

Who and where are you from?

My name is Claudio Parentela ….I’m 55 years old….I’m an Italian visual artist and a journalist free lance…I live in South Italy in  the ancient Magna Graecia….in a small and beautiful city called Catanzaro…

What brought you to Art?

I paint, I draw, I make collages, I write, I draw and I read tarots .... I draw weird comics .... since so many years ... since the far 1999 .... I chose to do this beautiful '' work '' because it makes me feel free .... it makes me feel well. ... it makes me aware of my limitations, it opens new worlds new doors, inside and outside of me. I feel like a great mixer, full of sounds, colors, voices, laughter’s, people, gestures .... I have drawn only in white and black for 15 years ..... then the color called me .... I started using 10,1000 different colors and to create with everything that I had under hand .... I love the strong contrasts, full of delicate and extreme emotions   .... I love the absolute contrast between white and black …and the 1000 shades that divide and unite the black and white .... I do a lot of photographs .... I love to photograph everything I like and that attracts my attention .... I like to dirty my photographs, to color them, to scratch them, to mix them with my drawings, with my ideas, with my heart.

What is your driving force?

So difficult and easy at the same time to answer…..many many things….different ,similar things inspire me continually every day to create….music….absolutely… first I need of good  music ….my cigarettes….and if it’s possible a good beer….My muses/ my inspirations vary every day…..Ghedalia Tazartes, Diamanda Galas, Shirley Horn, Patty Waters, Ornette Colemann, Sun Ra,Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Moschino, The Incapacitans, Alan Vega&Suicide, Hercules and Love Affair, Can, The Irrepressible ……much much fashion….underground comics…..my books…… Aurobindo and the Mother, Sai Baba, Tarots, Kundalini Yoga, Carolyne Miss, Alesteir Crowley…….my friends….their laughter’s….my garden with my cats and my beloved flowers….my wife….and our love!

What kind of work you do and why?

This is my wonderful ,fantastic work…. I could not do another work ... it makes me feel alive, real, myself, free .... the freedom is the only way for me to be in this wonderful world…. Art is the only way for me to be in this world, to feel free

Tell us more about your thought process.

I have new ideas in the morning ... in the afternoon ... in the evening ... at night ... always ... all the time ... I need only of good music, of my cigarettes, of a good glass of wine red .... and the magic happens every day ....surely because I love my work, because I created it and I create it continuously with joy and patience... I always create my freedom, this is the magic. It is a wonderful adventure, difficult, hard, full of surprises, full of splendid gifts ... every day. I find and create my style every day, I change my colors, my brushes, my pens, my papers every day. I reinvent myself every day. I like to experiment continuously .... I love experimenting. I love fashion .. .underground comics, my books, my cats.I draw and I paint continuously, every day. Continuously .... I read everything, I love to read ... I listen to everything.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

I love Joel Peter Witkin ... his works / photos are pure light ... light in the flesh, perfection in the compositions, order in the horrendous chaos, beauty in the dark unconscious, precise idea in the turbulent emotions

Faces by Mayro Toyo.

Mix Media Art by Mayro Toyo.
An Interview with Mayro Toyo.

Who and where are you from?

I'm Mayro Toyo, Venezuelan based in Argentina. I have a graphic design background and I draw since I was a child with attention deficit disorder, about 6 years old. Always been attracted to colors and cartoons. My environment wasn't favorable because I grew up in a industrial/oil country and people wasn't too connected with the art but I kept the faith and the thirst to learn from the greatest artists.

What brought you to Art?

Im not sure what is is I would call it natural force, I've always thought that I was born for this.

What is your driving force?

Love, when people get connected with my work there's an interchange of positive vibes, love and gratefulness. Some people think that peace is the goal and they go do war instead of doing  art, I can't get that.

What kind of work you do and why?

I mix painting and drawing because both are my strengths. I work with acrylics because of the immediacy and the oils because of the texture (I try not to mix them in the same canvas). I like pastels because I can draw freely and I like the trace I can get.

Tell us more about your thought process.

I like the interesting faces, the human expressions, the subtle gestures, face and body, my exploration goes through the human fragility, the sensible point where I can intervene it like unexpected with colors, abstract shapes. In some way I like handle with the oposites things and make them coexist in the same canvas.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

Cesar Biojo, because in some way he mixes oposites figurative and abstract.

Figurative Paintings by Lou McCulloch.

Figurative Expressionism Paintings by Lou (Ella) McCulloch from Medina, Ohio, USA.
Bullied girl
An Interview with Lou (Ella) McCulloch.

Who and where are you from?

My name is Lou (Ella) McCulloch and I am from Medina, Ohio, USA, a rural town south of Cleveland, with a small village atmosphere.

What brought you to Art?

I have always thought of myself as an artist.  It is in my DNA, with both grandmothers accomplished artists.  One grandmother, who I never knew, was a fine artist who painted in a traditional style.  My other grandmother painted anything around here with a method similar to grandma Moses.

What is your driving force?

My driving force is my sanity.  I love to see that first splash of color on paper-to see what is in store for me from my muse.  I was trained as a watercolorist in art school, so that medium is the most reflective in my work.

What kind of work you do and why?

I am a ‘Figurative Expressionism’ artist. I do my background first-whether it be acrylic, ink or graphite, then I generally set it aside until I start to see figures in it.  I let the canvas or painting speak to me.  I seldom have an idea in mind for a drawing, unless I have been inspired by a vintage image I have seen. I have always been fascinated by old photographs and even wrote a book about them.


Tell us more about your thought process.

I frequently have paintings in various stages of completion.  I will survey my drawings or paintings each day and see which one needs attention.  my feelings for that day are often expressed in my work.  I also like to experiment with new supplies.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

Marc Chagall is a modern artist that I have always admired.  He has a dream-like quality to his paintings and finds figures in the shapes and color patterns.  His work is also mainly based on emotional association.

Figurative Paintings by Ráth Márton.

Figurative Paintings by Ráth Márton.
An Interview with Ráth Márton.


Who and where are you from?

My father and grandfather were artists too, in this case I herited some talent from them.


How you got into this?

I love art so much, that the good music, everyday happenings in my life inspires me. My goal is to know my art in  world wide.

What is your driving force?

Oil paints, aquavarell also pen is my favourite tools. This is how I can show my thoughts myself in my artworks. The colours is really important to me, like every artists I like to use them, to make every work unique.

What kind of work you do and why?

Once I addicted to oil paintings, other time I like aquarell. It depends what I draw and paint, much like pure nude works and erotic pictures.

Tell us more about your thought process.

When I paint or work on my latest arts, I can let my thoughts fly, I can thinking clearly.  For istance, love everyday happenings, or new ideas, I like listening to music while I doing my work.


Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

Serge Marshennikov is my inspired artists because I love his erotic pure nude works, I love his ideas of women bodies and the lambrequin harmony.

Art by Beppo Zuccheri.

Art by Beppo Zuccheri.
Untitled - Mixed media on paper - Cm 50x70 - 2017.
From the Brush of Beppo Zuccheri.

On Knowing and Making.

The key element lies in the union of two different natures meeting, and often fighting, within me. On the one hand, the necessity, at times to become obsessive, to observe, know, understand… On the other, an impatient istinct to create, build and represent all that I realize, or think I know.

I have a great passion for philosophy, ancient history, mythology, the sciences in general, and all those branches of knowledge that somehow give me the feeling that I can give meaning to my life, to life more generally, to death and to all that is known or unknown. To know, elaborate, realize, identify myself as much as possible with someone else… To manipulate… To play with time, space and the awareness of it all… Art (the act of making with one’s hands, and through the medium of matter) comes as a consequence of this. It is the instinctive and natural means to give shape and an apparent logic to what I have devised in my mind, or to what I haven’t devised at all but which is nevertheless there and makes itself felt. I would never be able to write, or tell such things in words… I am far too impatient for that… I need to ‘fix’ what I have in my mind through matter and stroke, and I certainly do so… I tie it, I paste it, I nail it and show it to others. I need to have witnesses… Not in order to explain or teach… Nor in order to share… It is merely the illusion, or the unmistakable proof of having captured what is obsessing me.


On Matter and Painting.

The tecnique, style and pictorial research in my works are a consequence of all this… They are a means, a go-between… A frenzied weapon of both creation and destruction at the same time. At the very moment that I start a work, I use everything I have at my disposal, I almost never keep at hand a list of the instruments I need. That is why to me, matter and materials come even before painting itself. First I must build, tie and compose… No blank canvas in front of me, for the principle inherent in my whole work is not that of the void. The principle is chaos… The undetermined… Creation, on the other hand, is determination, it is a backward journey undertaken in order to grasp the mold. Principle and mold… Chaos and harmony… The starting point and the ends… A motionless journey. The ship lying still, stuck into matter. It is not the art of recycling, nor is it ‘Arte Povera’… It is the art of frenzy, of struggle. Painting comes after matter, I said, for painting, differently from mere matter, pushes you into entering another dimension… its purpose is to give depth… it is the key that opens a door, so as to persuade one to enter what the humble creator has created, or re-created. By contrast mere matter, just as is the case with sculpture, represents elements that actually enter the dimension and spaces of those who are observing them

I have the presumption to open myself up and open up a world, too. Even when I am only employing the stroke, such as in drawings or in less matter-oriented works, I feel the necessity to dig a groove on paper or wood… Always hard surfaces, all of them… Pencils or brushes that dig, enter and hurt… And hurt me, too. It is always a small battle, anyway. The sensation of having completed a work never, or almost never comes from an aesthetic, visual or conceptual point of view… But from the knowledge of having been the winner in a painful duel that has deeply scarred me.

On Masters, Heroes and Imitation.

It is not by chance that my own, once unknowing cultural education features few painters, sculptors or specific artistic movements.

I have always chased madmen and visionaries… Warriors, philosophers, poets, scientists… Myths, explorations and events that satisfy my hunger for knowledge through the destruction of dogmas and the search for the unknown. A gnostic, intuitive kind of knowledge… No theorem or equation. No idealism… The awareness of intuition and the re-evaluation of a certainty that has been revealed and proved… Just a small and presumptuous catalyst paying tribute to the Heroes of the time, destroyers of time. An artisan who is in a hurry to reveal to himself, too, that he has understood, realized and captured… That he, in his own way and through the use of matter, has put time and space into perspective within a small perimeter. The mind that is hungry for knowledge… The hands that are eager to do


Technique, style… there are so many artists I esteem and chase! I don’t even know the name of some of them…  Another kind of masters, to me… From them I have stolen and still steal through my hands, enriching myself by a small loot, a little treasure. Technique… no illusion of creating or re-creating anything new, no claim to any likeness or unlikeness. What is indeed there is the presumption to use them as my instruments for making… Instruments which are useful to figuration and composition, as are the symbols that often recur in my works… Ladders, knots, rags, fishes, nudes, masks, Pinocchio noses, unintelligible writings, boats that lie abandoned or tied to the pier, all of them lying still… Kiefer, De Dominicis, Vedova, Bacon, Rohtko and who knows how many others... Instruments. Extremely esteemed instruments for making and representing.

Batik Paintings by Rafael López Baz.

Batik Paintings by Rafael López Baz.
The nobodies - Tribute to Eduardo Galeano and Goya 
An Interview with Rafael López Baz.

Who and where are you from?

I am Rafael López Baz, born in Uruguay and have been living in Gran Canaria, Spain for the past 16 years. 

What brought you to Art?

A great cultural explosion was experienced in my country, Uruguay, at the end of the dictatorship. Brutally and beautifully impacted my quest for expression at the early age of 10. First came theater, then at 16, music and painting using batik as the underlying technique. And I have been walking this path since then. 

What is your driving force?

Chaos. To try to sort out the confusion and the unpredictable from the truth that lays underneath. To find a way to express feelings and emotions that arise in that awareness of chaos, then find the point of relax and return to chaos with a different perspective. 

What kind of work you do and why?

Painting with wax and dyes is definitely not conventional or popular in artworks, but is certainly a fascinating and challenging medium. The beauty of batik is that it requires careful planning and visualization of the final work before you even start, as there is no step back once a layer of dye has been applied. It requires lots of patience and time. Also, it requires absolute trust, as you never really know the result until the very final step, when the wax is removed. With other techniques, you can paint and repaint, correct errors, go back. Batik asks you to be very present. There is only one opportunity to color each part of the fabric. Mistakes become opportunities for change. Each step in the process is fascinating for the risk and discovery it entails.

Tell us more about your thought process.

The hallmark of batik painting is cracking, which is attained braking the wax layer and letting the pigments seep into the cracks. This idea attracts me strongly. From matter to feeling, there is almost nothing that does not crack and does not let the true colors find their way. 

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

Josh Bowe. Just because. 

Mixed Medium Artist Susan McCarrell.

Optical Illusion.
An Interview with Susan McCarrell.

Who and where are you from?

I am a painter living and working at my home studio in a rural area of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada.  

How did you get into this?

Art has always been a part of me – I was determined at a young age both at home and at school, to become an artist and was active in both music and in visual arts.  My mother and father were very  encouraging, and with four sisters - it was a good way of keeping us all occupied at the same time.  So I would say I came by it - i.e. being a self-taught artist, honestly!

We relocated to the South Okanagan from Vancouver, purchased land, and planted grapes which became the beginnings of Black Hills Estate Winery. We later sold the business which allowed me to pursue art full-time, which led to me leading a well balanced life of producing and selling art in private and international collections. At the same time I was also able to enjoy my family life and be part of nature in the country which is now very much my daily life in this lovely fruit growing region.

What is your driving force?

Working daily in my studio plays a huge part in allowing me self expression. This has now become a requirement and is very much my driving force. There is a thread that continues to connect all of my interests, from using natural elements - vintage items, old book covers, fabrics, papers, wood, along with different mediums - they all play a large role in how my work has evolved.

What kind of work you do and why?

I thrive on exploring many mediums. All are bound by discipline and tradition in their making - the results are rich, aged, chromatic, highlighted and layered surfaces. 

From new photography and mixed media techniques, my work has shifted the past few years to more drawing, painting with acrylics and oils, charcoal, inks, as well as working in wire and clay sculpture.

My wire sculptures are a direct result of my daily drawings and sketches that I produce from both figurative work to birds – nature often an integral part. My interest (and joy) is in the final contrast of blending paint with light, shadow and wire.

Tell us more about your thought process.

My pieces are interlocked with mind, memory and imagination while being influenced by both traditional and natural elements. What is current and real – a distant memory – and the mind's ability to be creative and resourceful.  From working with found images, to using different papers, manipulating images and working with shadow and light, I find all of these processes really challenging and exciting!  

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find interesting and why?

One artist I have always admired is Spanish artist Lita Cabellut  One cannot miss her distinctive Dutch master influenced, fresco-style large-scale portraits. Her 'Dried Tear' series expresses her fascination with the Asian culture, being one of my favorites.

Figurative Art by Deb Weiers.

Figurative Art by Deb Weiers.
An Interview with Deb Weiers.

Who and where are you from?

My name is Deb Weiers, I am a mixed media artist, and I live in the country outside of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

How you got into this?

I had my first art class in Grade 6 and fell in love immediately.  I have 'dabbled' at creating here and there throughout my whole life.  In 2001 I enrolled in the Visual Arts 2 year program at our local college (Red Deer College) and it was the best thing I ever did - I LOVED it!!   However, life got in the way again and I didn't start working on a daily basis until 2011.  

What is your driving force?

My driving force is my love of creating.  Every piece is a 'problem solving' event for me and I am constantly challenged to try to get it to 'work'.  I love the journey.

What kind of work you do and why?

I do mixed media work, a lot of it is focused on faces and figurative, it is often abstract and I like adding distortion.  I love things that are odd or different.  

Tell us more about your thought process.

My pieces are often a reflection of current events or what is going on around me or a reflection of my ancestors and my history.  I believe everyone deals with pain of some sort in their life and I try to have some sort of emotional connection to the viewer in my work.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

I adore Linda Vachon's work!!!  She achieves so much emotion in her work and I find her work visually stunning!

Animal Portraits by Cédric Peltier.

Animal Portraits by Cédric Peltier.
My work started in 2013 with a bull I've met and I've painted many times.
An Interview with Cédric Peltier.

Who and where are you from?

I'm Cédric Peltier, a 29 years old painter, born and living in Paris.

What brought you to Art?

It's quite difficult to explain, I've always felt attracted to Art, without even considering to become an artist. I was fascinated by people who could draw and when I was 19 years old, I decided that it was time for me to act and to take a real risk in my life.


What is your driving force?

Well, my painting aims at giving a voice to Animals. I want people to get aware that beauty, pride, honor are not only human concepts and that we share our planet with extraordinary neighbours.

What kind of work you do and why?

I work on the Animal's Condition for quite a long time. Mixing big study drawings (with charcoal and abstractions) and Paintings. These study drawings help me to understand the structure of each animal I'm going to paint. And then, I try to reach something deeper with painting, using Caséine, because it's a natural paint, respectful of our environment and ideal on wood panels.

Tell us more about your thought process.

I've started a new serie of paintings featuring wild animals evolving in our cities as if it was totally normal. This serie aims at showing that we've barricaded ourselves instead of having tried to live together whereas in the end, with a bit more attention and interest we'd have noticed that we're not that different to each other.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?

How can I not talk about the one who taught me everything? His name is Jean Michel Bénier, he's a French painter and he was my master during several years. He told me the most important thing in painting: it's a serious act, deep and which could change the world.
I have seen him evolving so much in his work and I truly think he's reached something high in painting. Especially in the interpretation of the landscape.

Forgotten Lives by Sierra Lowe.

Forgotten Lives by Sierra Lowe.
“Augusta Antoinette” 2017 – Sierra Lowe – oil and graphite on wood – 6x6in.
An Interview with Sierra Lowe.

Who are you and where are you from?

My name is Sierra Lowe.  I grew up on an island in Maine, but now live in San Francisco, California. 

What brought you to Art?

From the beginning, drawing and writing were the vehicles I used to make my inner world tangible.  The rich imaginings of a child were too ethereal for the liking of my younger self, who valued stability and continuity.  Dreams never lasted long enough. The characters in my mind had lineages and plotlines that spanned generations and needed to be recorded.  Art allowed me to document the meanderings of my mind to be viewed at a later date.  And I always looked back; back to my childhood, to what could be learned from the lives of my parents, all the way back to the history of my ancestors. 

Why did you create the series “Forgotten Lives”?

Over the years, I have traced the lives and mysteries of the people in my family tree.  When I get a glimpse into their reality by reading an old letter or uncovering a photograph, I am reminded how complex, how intricate their inner and outer worlds were...  And the tragic lack of proof that remains of these rich lives.  What happens when a person ceases to exist even in memory?  This series explores the erosion of a life after death; how a bountiful existence can be reduced to a single, deteriorating image.  These portraits developed through an exploration of how I could visually express their lives and personas evaporating.   Many times throughout the creative process, my subjects would reveal themselves, alive and vibrant, before I made them fade again.  I examined just what brought them to life and what released them from it.  The finished pieces are at various stages of fading, to mark this process.

Horse Art by Benedicte Gele from France.

Horse Art by Benedicte Gele from France.
An Interview with Benedicte Gele.

Who and where are you from?

I’m Bénédicte Gelé and I come from France. I currently live in an island called Oléron in the west coast.

How you got into this?

I was always fascinated by the drawing since I was young and naturally I wanted to do a job with something which included some sort of drawing. This is how I became graphic designer. But it was not enough for me. I created websites, it was fun and creative but I felt something was missing. Something more personal and a real pen, not a electronic pen and a computer. So I started my personnal research with horses in 2004 with oil or watercolor or charcoal.

What is your driving force?

My subject, the horse of course which is a passion. And my energy which is at the beginning of every painting I do. I need to be balanced and focused to enter in the process of creation.

What kind of work you do and why?

As I have just one subject, I love to try, combine or mix lots of technique like acrylic, charcoal, watercolor, chalk, pastels, oil… I also work the horse like a body. At school, I loved the nude drawing even if it was really hard to capture the shape in a given time. With the horse, I find again all the same difficulties but also the same round shapes, raw body with the bones and the flesh, the volumes, light and shadow.

Tell us more about your thought process.

What is important to me is to keep the motion in the line, to have the minimum of details to keep the the dynamism of the body. Actually, to say more with less. I keep all that in mind when I start a painting.

Please share with us the one modern artist whose work you find Interesting and why?
Since long time, the same artist come to mind. No one after the discovery of his work has as heavily influenced my work so much as him. His name was Ben Ami Koller. His work on the bodies (of course!) and on the portraits touched me deeply with the work of the line, of the deep black tones.