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

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

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Artist Q&A with Augustus Goertz

Augustus Goertz was born in 1948 and raised together with two sisters in an artistic/bohemian household by artist parents, Esther Meyer Goertz, and August Goertz, in Greenwich Village, New York City. He received his education at LaGuardia High School in NYC, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and earned his BFA in Viusal Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, CA, where he studied with Bruce Nauman, Jay Defeo, and Wally Hedrick. 

“Blue Blood Force Field II”, mixed media on canvas, 16 x 14 in | 41 x 36 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Either a nameless cave painter or that productive bad boy of all time Pablo Picasso.

How did you become a professional artist?

Among my very first memories are those of making art. Both my parents were artists. My father was a painter and my mother did mostly woodcuts. I grew up playing with their materials and never stopped.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

Jay Defeo said to me, “You are already an artist. Why are you in art school?” Bruce Nauman said to me, “You are the best sculptor who is actually a painter.” Roy Lichtenstein said to me in his kitchen, “You always have to go over everything yourself, if you want it done right.” Tom Akawie, who taught me spray painting, is also a major influence in my work.

Augustus Goertz

How is your work different than everything else out there?

I think my work is very philosophical. In my view, art is philosophy made manifest. Conceptually, I have a lifelong interest in our place in the universe. The big perspective. Because of this, I developed an interest in the ramifications of quantum theory. Another interest has … Click here to read more

Bonnie Richards Becker sat down with artist David Kastner and spoke with him about growing up in the Midwest, his constant experimentations of materials of the course of his life’s work, and his current phase that has a renewed focus on color and the process of painting.

“Finding that moment when the human mind is free, but before conscious activity develops consecutive thought, was a difficult mental space to understand, exist in, and use for the creative moment of expression..”
– David Kastner
David Kastner, photo by Gale Richards.

My first real recollection of art came from the Art Institute in Chicago. My mother took me to the Museum when I was about five years old. Seeing the various paintings, sculptures, and other media left a deep impression that persists in my life today. Before that, I only knew of my own love for making and building things. But there I first felt the effects of the many great artists who left their ideas for others to see. Without really knowing what the creative process meant, I knew I wanted to create.

While it is possible to reflect on early childhood development, attempting to identify when and how the creative process came into being in one person’s life, it is likely there is a more general creative essence in that person’s life, rather than a singular epiphany. For me, I knew early on that I liked making things. This meant piling sticks, digging, and making marks in mud, etc. These early renderings were a precursor for more complex mark making that became the pursuit of my life’s work to date.

In elementary school we had art class with pencils, paints, and clay – and all the other materials a small child needs to build their first artistic masterpieces. Inspired by … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Geoffrey Dorfman

In a time when the centrality of painting has been questioned and abstraction appears to have exhausted its possibilities, Dorfman maintains his commitment to oil and brush on canvas. For him, the Abstract Expressionists were a starting point, not an ending point.

Dorfman’s approach is not goal-oriented movement toward some idea or vision. Rather, it is an identification with with the properties of paint, understanding what it can do, and from there to the painting. For Dorfman, the edges of the painting are very important, and his works tend to move out beyond the canvas. At the same time, he puts small “stop signs” in his works, so as the eye pauses and contemplates before it continues on and outward. His strokes tend to “flutter,” in a way similar to the Impressionists, further generating movement and at the same time, anchoring the eye in the moment.

“Zoroaster”, oil on canvas, 42 x 46 in | 107 x 117 cm, 2020. Courtesy of Lawrence Fine Art.

How did you become a professional artist?

Most artists are ex-art students or teachers. They’re still practicing the lessons they learned or else they get diverted into something peripheral, but call it art anyway. I myself didn’t know any different. I had been working summers in the movies as an electrician. I had an ‘in’ through my mother’s brother. In the late 1960’s I worked on several commercials and a few features, including Midnight Cowboy. (I and one other guy lit the set for Sylvia Miles’ bedroom.) Anyway, in 1971 there were openings in the scenic design union. You had to take a test and there was a $2,000 entrance fee. My uncle, who always drove a new Cadillac El Dorado, told my parents he’d front the money and … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Bobbie Moline-Kramer

Bobbie Moline-Kramer was born in Fort Madison, Iowa, in 1946, and is now based in California. She traces her interest in art to a course she took at a local community college with Conceptual art pioneer John Baldessari, and to assistant work she did with Allan Kaprow, the originator of “Happenings.” As a painter, Moline-Kramer has pioneered a unique fusion of hyperrealism and gestural abstraction; she has also worked in mixed media. Drawing on personal narrative alongside art-historical reference, she has produced several distinct series while maintaining a deliberate compositional heterogeneity. Moline-Kramer teaches oil painting and is an adjunct professor at California State University, Long Beach.

“American Shunga, Zen Sensual”, oil paint, colored gesso, graphite on handmade Japanese paper, 40 x 60 in | 102 x 152 cm, 2018

How did you become a professional artist?

 Initially I became an artist because I was good at it, thus getting lots of praise from assorted adults. Then as I became older, I magically fell in love with both the concepts and the processes of making art. To this day, facing a blank surface still excites me with its unlimited possibilities.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

My latest series American Shunga celebrates both life and love. 2020’s lockdown was for me a time of paring the extemporaneous with a rediscovery of the essence of living…love.  Of the importance of the combination of love and spirituality in trying to achieve the ultimate in love, a Greek/Christian concept called agape. Agape love is a selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love which I think I captured in a delicate piece that’s part Tales of Adjusted Desire online at Robert Berry Gallery.

Bobbie Moline-Kramer, photo by Tim Janssens.

How is your work different than everything else out there?

Since being an artist doesn’t pay the bills, … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with David Carbone

David Carbone,  Professor Emeritus of Painting and Drawing in the Department of Art and Art History, University at Albany, SUNY, received his B.F.A. at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University. He also spent a summer in Maine at the Skowhegan School, and later, earned his M.F.A. at Brooklyn College. He has studied with T. Lux Feininger, Henry Schwartz, Jan Cox, Barnet Rubinstein, Gabriel Laderman, Lee Bontecou, Jacob Lawrence, Jimmy Ernst, Carl Holty, Harry Holtzman, Joseph Groell, Philip Pearlstein, Alfred Russell, and Sylvia Stone. Carbone has had seven one-person exhibitions including shows at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Zoe Gallery, Boston, David Brown Gallery, Provincetown, and Hackett-Freedman Gallery, San Francisco. He is a painter, critic, and curator living in New York City. He has shown his work across the country and written for various print and online publications.

“Neither Out Far Nor In Deep”, oil on canvas, 42 x 70 in | 102 x 178 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Really, is there anything duller than an artist talking about their love of a famous artist—we all know too well: Leonardo, Piero, or Vermeer! Yes, they are all worthy. Perhaps, having a favorite artist may even be dangerous? Often, it points to a limited experience of art or worse to a limited capacity to respond to the varieties of human experience. For me, much of the value of a life in art is found in a conversation between works of art. Art, even when it is buoyant and joyous, is a matter of contemplation and meditation; I always look toward what is hidden in plain sight.

How did you become a professional artist?

Did I have a choice? Not that my parents wanted me to become an artist; it isn’t an easy career by any … Click here to read more