Artist Q&A with Joyce Pommer

Joyce’s paintings evolve out of her subconscious in a free flowing intuitive process. They do not start with a preconceived idea or plan; the art is her reflection.  The work she creates makes people feel good, and instills positive emotions and harmony. The work frees the mind and spirit. Inspired by the early Abstract Expressionists, the artist seeks the emotion and spirit of the painting by way of the unconscious and spiritual.

“Adventurers”, mixed media on canvas, 15 x 15 in | 38 x 38 cm 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Giorgio Morandi. His transformation of simple objects into beautiful imagery are affecting. The contrast of strong to fragile, and still life to abstract, have always spoken to me from the time I discovered his work. Serene and quiet with subtle use of color, his play on positive & negative space are powerful.

How did you become a professional artist?

I attended art school in San Francisco and Boston, but when I moved to NYC I concentrated on having a studio and persisted in exhibiting my work wherever I could. Although I had another job (as a nurse) for many years, I had the flexibility and financial support to continue on this journey, always maintaining a studio and becoming more selective with exhibitions, and eventually becoming a full time artist.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

My inspiration is in the process and use of diverse materials. I am always in search of different textures and how I can put them all together to make the connections coexist especially when alien to one another. My work has a spontaneous and intuitive start, but I always love the element of surprise that happens when working. There are many references … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Edward Giordano

Ed Giordano is a sculptor living and working in New York. He recently completed an artist residency at The Blue Mountain Center. In 2013, he was awarded a residency in New Orleans from The Joan Mitchell Center. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Delfina Studio Trust in London and The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation in New York City. Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design and Pratt Institute in 1985, he has had two fellowships in theoretical and critical studies at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and been in numerous group exhibitions in USA and Canada. As a sculptor, he works with common materials from Home Depot such as wood, plaster, and nails.

“Red Reign”, plaster, terracotta, and steel, 24 x 7 x 7 in | 61 x 18 x 18 cm, 2019-2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Michelangelo. I was living in Rome would visit my relatives in Genoa. My great aunt insisted that I understand what the Italians had done with Sculpture. So, it started with a visit to the cemetery to put flowers on my family’s graves. The cemetery was replete with funereal sculpture and monuments. I was not impressed. Maybe, disrespectful until I went to the Vatican and saw the tombs designed by architects and sculptors including the Pieta by Michelangelo.I visited Florence and the unfinished slaves at the Academy di Belle Arti. Later, the unfinished work at in Milan, the Rondannini Pieta. It was the unfinished work that interest me the most. Unfinished but complete and psychological. Like modernism, about procedure and materials. Every mark that Michaelangelo made with his chisel left a view of his process in making art. 

How did you become a professional artist?

I … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Andrew Hockenberry

Andrew began painting in 2002, after moving to Denver, Colorado. A self taught artist, he learned to build frames and stretch canvas, an important part of his process. He manipulates and repurposes traditional and alternative materials to create balance in his abstract paintings. While working from his subconscious, every mark is deliberate and applied to the rhythm of music. Having moved to New York City to pursue his art professionally, Andrew continues to explore the boundaries of materials and marks.  

“Untitled”, oil on canvas, 60 x 84 in | 152 x 213 cm, 2020

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

I don’t think it is an artist as much of a genre, the style of the regalia of the Native American People. Growing up participating in a Native American community, I was influenced by the color patterns, attention to detail, bead and feather work and the authentic use of everything including porcupine quill. It all comes together to make something beautiful.

How did you become a professional artist?

I don’t really see myself as a professional artist versus other artists that might be signed to galleries with professional management. Everything that I do is made in house, all my advertisements, promotion, shows, everything is done by the artist for the artist for the past 19 years. I feel it’s just been a part of me being an abstract artist, it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle.
I see myself as an artist that’s prolific but original starting from building my own frames stretching canvas, teaching myself how to do that, and experimenting with
colors to create authentic artwork in my own style. I spend a lot of time educating myself by looking at art whenever the opportunity presents itself at openings, museums, pop up … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Gena Milanesi

Gena Milanesi is a self-taught painter whose work reflects a remastered reality through intense brushstrokes & movement. Her bold layers of paint function to achieve a distinct energy with oil, acrylic & other mixed mediums. As a dual-citizen of the United States and United Kingdom, she constantly retracts to her roots as a source of inspiration. Her work presents a simultaneous exploration of the contemporary that reoccurs showing concepts of newness & practices of the past. Her figurative works interpret various imagery using monochromatic hues to underscore juxtaposed content in a straightforward manner. As of 2020, Milanesi has been creating a series of abstract pieces with her continued stylized layers and mixed media.

 “The Second Portal”, oil, acrylic, spray paint, and graphite on canvas, 60 x 86 in | 152 x 218 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

This is a difficult question. There’s simply too many. I’d have to say Van Gogh or Turner, if I could own one.

How did you become a professional artist?

I am self-taught, but I have been creating for as long as I can remember. Painting was always a fascination of mine, and a craft that consumed me. Art school was out of the question so I had to make this all work and keep learning through uncharted waters. Most of the time, you must start something without the answers and navigate the uncertainty. 

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

Texture.

Gena Milanesi, portrait by Alanna Durkee.

How is your work different than everything else out there?

I don’t really take this into account. I strive to keep my work honest and evoke a reaction, good or bad, because I want the viewer to feel something. With these objectives as driving forces, … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Gregory de la Haba

A skilled painter with a pedagogical lineage that stretches back to Jacques Louis Davide, he is an exemplary practitioner of fine art whose conceptual practice resists categorization. Gregory De la Haba’s work explores themes of addiction, contemporary notions of masculinity and Duende, a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity derived from pure artistic expression. It is from this place that the artist unlocks his true self—both in art and in life. 

“Portrait of Gabriel (green)”, oil on canvas, 108 x 108 in | 274 x 274 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

The three unknown guys who created Laocoön and His Sons on display in the Vatican. This work, and others like it from antiquity and from the Renaissance.

How did you become a professional artist?

I didn’t know what the other choices were. When you’re drawing since childhood and all you care to do is look at art such a career choice almost becomes predetermined.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

Clearly the pandemic put things in perspective as far as what’s relevant (painting) and important (family). I’m content cooking for the family, and painting. Nothing more, really.

Unfortunately, when I do go out I see the pandemic has brought about more homelessnes and people in dire need of help. On that note, my work has always had a strong focus on the trials and tribulations of humanity and I can’t help but capture some of the present hardships surrounding us at the moment. In that regard, there is a bit of documentary-like thematics pertaining the work.

Gregory De La Haba, portrait by Shane LaVancher.

How is your work different than everything else out there?

All I know with certainty is that I’m different … Click here to read more

Nigerian-born artist and architect Peju Alatise on her back-to-back Venice Biennales, Yoruba influences, and giving back to Africa

We recently sat down with Nigerian-born artist and architect Peju Alatise at her new Glasgow studio to find out more about her back-to-back Venice Biennales, how she juxtaposes being a contemporary architect and fine artist, and how Yoruba culture has helped her work stand out in today’s global art world.

“You need a little bit of luck, as we know arduous work isn’t everything. Do what you do because you love it, and because you can’t live without it.” 
– Peju Alatise
“Alagemo” sculpture, part of “Alasiri” installation at the Arsenale of the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2021. Photo credit: Adeyemo Shokunbi 

Alatise is an interdisciplinary artist, architect, and author of two novels. She started her professional career as an architect while running a private art studio. These days, she is a leading voice in contemporary art on the African continent. Her practice is relentlessly experimental and labor-intensive. She produces works across a variety of mediums, techniques, and materials, including but not limited to paintings, film, installations, sculptures. Her work is also pointedly political, often asking damning questions, and provoking reflections about the times, the state of affairs at home and abroad. The artist’s work has, in the past, explored exploitative labor practices in Nigeria, child rights with a focus on young girls, state-sanctioned violence against citizens, migration and the policies that ensure that many die at sea, seeking a better life. Alatise now produces through the lens of spirituality and Yoruba cosmology, leaning into ancient storytelling traditions and crafting alternative social imageries.

When asked about some of her favorite artists, Alatise hesitated for a moment, and eventually offered the answer that it changes from season to season. Right now, she is looking at Mexican sculptor Javier Marín and continues to be impressed Chiharu Shiota whose work she first discovered at the Venice Biennale in 2015. Marin’s … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Swan Scalabre

Swan practice is inspired by the images of Épinal from her childhood. She created her female portraits from tales stories, classical movies, and their iconographies. The artist graduated from The Beaux-Arts in Paris, and her career has since driven her to be eclectic. Her work reflects her own artistic journey. With her paintings on wood, watercolors drawings, private notebooks, and secret boxes, Swan builds a rich pictorial universe revealing step by step a world that belongs only to her.

“Ornements n6”, oil on wood, 8 x 6 in | 20 x 15 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

One of my favorite painters is Joannes Vermeer. I discovered not long ago that my ancestors were Flemish, so it further reinforced my attraction for the artist. I particularly like the mystery and poetry of his works. The small size of the canvases is also a modest common point with my own work.

How did you become a professional artist?

I always drew and painted growing up, and after graduating from the Beaux-Arts de Paris, friends and collectors started becoming interested in work. I never looked back.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

My inspiration is essentially the image of women. I seek an absolute truth through my portraits, and try to understand their dreams, secrets, and wounds; all with a desire to escape reality.

Swan Scalabre, portrait by Fran Littlewing.

How is your work different than everything else out there?

My work is original by the combination of very small formats that I use combined with the mixture of Onirism and daring time that many find interesting.

When is a piece finished for you?

A painting is completed when the story I tell myself in my mind is presented … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Sajal Sarkar

As an artist of Indian diaspora in the US, Sajal Sarkar has stepped out of his comfort zone and began exploring uncharted avenues. Embracing fresh ideas by casting aside over-saturated ones is part of his nature, but he had not indulged in it enough in the middle phase of life in Baroda. Human figuration dominated his visual thinking, hardly allowing any other experimental possibilities. In fact, a couple of years before moving to the US, he fully recognized the stagnancy in his thinking and creative output, which was devoid of anything fresh and provocative.

“Beyond Life 1”, pen and India ink on Nepalese Lokta paper, 24 x 24 in | 61 x 61 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

It’s the most difficult question to answer as my art career passed through three distinct chapters and in each chapter, there is some great artist’s name I can remember who is still as significant as thirty years ago. In the initial stage after my undergraduate studies in Kolkata, two Indian artists, both from my homeland Bengal named Somenath Hore and Ramkinkar Baij, and two European artists named Kathe Kollwitz and Egon Schiele were my most favorite. After my move to the Western region of India to study printmaking in Baroda, my interest turned towards the work of Bhupen Khakkar, Nasreen Mohamedi, Zarina Hasmi, and Krishna Reddy. All four of them made a mark internationally for their unique quality of work. After migrating to the USA my new favorites became Sol Lewitt, James Turrell, and Louise Bourgeois, Alberto Giacometti to name a few. 

How did you become a professional artist?

My parents were the ones responsible for my artistic life and it’s a blessing to have such parents. Though my father, who had a small … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Paula Cahill

Paula Cahill is a contemporary American artist. She is known for her dark blue paintings composed with a single, continuous line reminiscent of the bioluminescent light that emanates from sea-life at deep, dark depths. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Paula relocated to the Northeast where she received merit and academic scholarships while pursuing an education in the arts. She holds an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and a BFA from Tyler School of Art and Architecture. She also studied at the Art Students League of New York and Parsons School of Design as a transfer student.

“Awry”, oil on panel, 24 x 24 in | 61 x 61 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

I have so many favorite artists, but if I could have one famous painting, it would be a van Gogh.

How did you become a professional artist?

I attended art school later in life. After graduation I spent several years experimenting with abstraction. In 2017, I created a body of work that I felt comfortable with and began to seek out opportunities to exhibit and offer my work to the public.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

Line.

Paula Cahill, self-portrait.

How is your work different than everything else out there?

My work is composed with a single line that changes color and often connects back to itself seamlessly. I’m sure it’s been done before, but I haven’t seen any paintings quite like the current work.

When is a piece finished for you?

When I’m satisfied with the composition and examined every inch of the surface to make sure that the edges are clean, the colors are right, and the paint application is correct. It’s a very labor intense process.

What’s different

Click here to read more