Category: Figurative

Johan Wahlstrom

Artist Q&A with Johan Wahlstrom

Stockholm-born Johan Wahlstrom is an artist who is making a conscious effort to describe the social and political landscape of our contemporary world. His ironic series Social Life gives a perfect sense both from a conceptual as a formal point of view of this estrangement. He is a magnificent observer of our social lives.

“Turmoil”, urethane and color pigments on canvas, 62 x 54 in | 157 x 137 cm, 2020

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Leon Golub

How did you become a professional artist?

I am the 5th generation of artists on my mother’s side and you could say it was in my blood from an early age. I have always loved expressing myself through the arts. It started with painting, went into Rock ‘n’ Roll, and then back to painting.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

Today’s society, news, my travels, and people that I meet. I see myself as a journalist portraying what I see and hear through my paintings.

Johan Wahlstrom, self-portrait.

When is a piece finished for you?

That is always a difficult question that I constantly battle with. Normally it is finished when I feel that the painting is talking to me and makes me feel.

What’s different about your current body of work?

Most likely many of my distorted face paintings are less obvious, less in your face, thanks to adding more abstraction. 

Tell us about a few of your career highlights or moments that have greatly affected your career?

Moving to New York five years ago certainly affected my career, as did my two man show “From 1960’s Celebrities To Today’s Social Media, From Warhol To Wahlstrom” with Andy Warhol in 2018.  I have also been part of group shows in Europe … Click here to read more

Howard Shapiro

Art Review City speaks with New York dealer Howard Shapiro about opening his gallery, some of his success stories, and his unique approach to the business of art.

“My dream was always to open an art gallery. No other business would allow me to be surrounded by beauty and help artists get the recognition that they deserve.”
– Howard Shapiro, owner of Lawrence Fine Arts in East Hampton, NY
Howard Shapiro in front of Harriette Joffe, “Untitled”, 40 x 50 in | 102 x 127 cm, c. 1980. Photo courtesy of Lawrence Fine Art.

Howard Shapiro spent over two decades as a consumer finance expert on Wall Street at firms including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, so his friends and family were surprised when he decided in 2009 to pivot his career by opening an art gallery. But it turned out to be a winning combination: he brought with him an acute understanding of business and finance, and quickly evolved from art startup to standout.

Art was always his passion, but he took a circuitous route to get there. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and Art History at Yale in 1983, Shapiro was accepted into Yale’s PhD program in Art History, but his parents insisted that he choose a “real” career instead. Art was something nice to look at—and buy when he could afford it—but it wouldn’t support a family. Looking back, he acknowledges that his parents had a point. The art world would have to wait.

The Wall Street life was hectic, so when Shapiro and his wife Esther could afford to start buying for themselves, they originally sought artwork that was calm and soothing and began collecting American Impressionist works. The first work they purchased—and still own today—from a small outdoor craft fair was a … Click here to read more

Michael Netter

Artist Q&A with Michael Netter

For more than 40 years, Michael Netter has been religiously creating video art, paintings and assemblages. A self-taught artist, he became a protégé of Andy Warhol, fully immersed in the dynamic art world of New York in the early 1970s. He is represented by ACA Galleries in New York.

“Three Wise Men”, mixed media on canvas, 62 x 66 in | 157 x 168 cm, 1995

How did you become a professional artist?

I was always an artist in a sense; always loved art and saw it as a calling. I guess that’s kind of a standard answer, but I’m mostly self-taught.  As I reflect more on the question, I would say it was to put my creative self to work.  That I want to manifest my ideas in a lasting form of communication in a more conceptual and less literal manner than through words. 

When is a piece finished for you?

It’s magical – a piece feels unfinished until, with that one stroke, it’s all of a sudden finished. That can take 2 days or 10 years. I feel all work has the possibility of being good, you just must keep working at it.  In fact, sometimes I have felt like gessoing over a painting that I can’t see any potential in only to finally discover a path that works much later on. This might happen in the last 5% of effort on a work. 

Michael Netter, self portrait.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

I try to resist being influenced by other artists although I might see some dimension of their art that gives me an idea.  Some art influences/inspirations are – early Italian Renaissance painters like Cimabue, Fra Angelico, etc. because they are about icons and are relatively primitive; Paul Klee because much of … Click here to read more