Artist Q&A with Mark Kostabi

Mark Kostabi is most known for his paintings of faceless figures which often comment on contemporary political, social and psychological issues, and which have visual stylistic roots in the work of Giorgio de Chirico and Fernand Léger.

Beyond traditional art world exposure, Kostabi has designed album covers for Guns N’ Roses (Use Your Illusion) and The Ramones (¡Adios Amigos!), Seether (Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray), Jimmy Scott (Holding Back The Years), Glint (Sound in Silence), RK: Roman Klun (Kingsway), Psychotica (Espina) and numerous products including a Swatch watch, Alessi vases, Rosenthal espresso cups, Ritzenhoff milk glasses, and a Giro d’Italia pink jersey. Kostabi is also known for his many collaborations with other artists including Enzo Cucchi, Arman, Howard Finster, Tadanori Yokoo, Enrico Baj, and Paul Kostabi.

“Ideas are Drips from a Melting Brain”, oil on canvas, oil on canvas, 47 x 47 in | 120 x 120 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

That’s sort of like asking which city I prefer better: Rome or New York, where I have homes in both. I like each city equally but for different reasons. So the best I can do here is list some of my favorites: Caravaggio, Bernini, Picasso, Warhol, De Chirico, Hopper, Magritte, Dali’, Arman, Picabia and Duchamp.

How did you become a professional artist?

I had natural talent and a strong desire to draw at a young age. All the positive encouragement made it an easy career decision.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

Amanda Gorman’s poetry. The pandemic. New technology. And the concept of recycling and revisiting earlier works and ideas of mine and improving them. 

Mark Kostabi, portrait by Jean Kallina.

How is your work different than everything else out there?

It’s the … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Hayley Ferber

Hayley Ferber is an artist, educator, curator, and contemporary arts leader living in Brooklyn, New York. In her personal artistic practice, Ferber creates artist’s books with suminagashi paper marbling, watercolor painting, embroidery and printmaking exploring nautical themes. With a BS from New York University in Studio Art, an MAT from the Rhode Island School of Design in Art & Design Education and over 10 years of teaching experience, Ferber’s professional mission is to facilitate and support creative opportunities in the arts. As Deputy Director of Chashama, a non-profit that repurposes unused real estate into artist studios and exhibition spaces, she supports a creative community of multidisciplinary artists.

“Chase”, mixed media, 4 x 6 to 4 x 24 in | 10 x 15 to 10 x 61 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

My favorite artist of all time is Kiki Smith. I’m amazed by all the different mediums she works with from printmaking to photography to textiles to sculpture and appreciate the universality of her content exploring the human condition.

How did you become a professional artist?

I studied painting and drawing at NYU as an undergrad and found my way to book and print making about 10 years later. I teach and curate and feel that all of these practices are closely linked. I also work as Deputy Director of Chashama, a non-profit where I support a multidisciplinary group of artists with free presentation space and subsidized studio rentals. 

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

I am greatly inspired by the sea. There is something about the mystery and adventure that lies beneath the waves, this whole other universe full of beauty. As Henry B. Culliver describes in The Book of Old Ships, “… the ship, combines all the elements of aesthetic fundamentals; … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with KwangHo Shin

 KwangHo Shin attempts to capture the complex relationship between the expression of emotion and the experience of the mind. With roots in Abstract Expressionism, he employs intense and vibrant oils juxtaposed with charcoal to distort the facial features of his subjects and confront them psychologically.

The artist deliberately refuses the depiction of precise form and proportion in an effort to transcend conventional representation and in turn confronts a more visceral type of portraiture. Faces are deconstructed but retain the power of expression as the artist reimagines them in a patchwork of carefully yet energetically applied strokes of color. Shin’s paintings convey the inner psychological processes of his subjects but also remind the viewer of the artist’s presence.

“[21p09] untitled”, oil on canvas, 21 x 16 in | 53 x 41 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

My favorite artists include Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, and Alberto Giacometti.

How did you become a professional artist?

Because I used to like making or drawing something, I went to an art high school and naturally went to an art school. By making works and posting them on social media after graduation, I was able to arrive at this point. I just did what I enjoyed doing.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

The images in my art are shaped through the emotions formed in conversation with the people around me, and the images and stories gathered through mass media such as the news.

KwangHo Shin, self-portrait.

How is your work different than everything else out there?

I mainly use primary colors, and the texture is very thick; therefore, I believe that my work permits multitude of emotions and feelings when seen in person.

When is a piece finished for you?

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Artist Q&A with Ben Weiner

Ben Charles Weiner lives and works in Queens, New York. Weiner studied painting under José Lazcarro Toquero at La Universidad de las Americas (Mexico), before completing his BA at Wesleyan University (CT). His work has been exhibited widely within the US and internationally, at institutions including The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, The Tarble Art Center, and The Carnegie Art Museum. Recent gallery exhibitions include “Notebook” at 56 Henry, “Dropout” at Super Dutchess, and “Gel Variations” at Mark Moore Gallery. His work is represented in various public collections, including Microsoft, Sammlung, Progressive Insurance, and The Frederick R. Weisman Collection. His work has been featured in publications including Artforum, Artnews, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, W Magazine, Interview Magazine, Artsy, and Vogue.

“Crazy Quilt”, oil on canvas, 14 x 18 in | 36 x 46 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

If I had to choose one it might be Lynda Benglis. But Audrey Flack, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Jack Whitten, and Brice Marsden are all artists to whom I frequently look for answers. 

How did you become a professional artist?

I’ve been obsessed with making art for as long as I can remember and have pursued it for my entire life. When I was younger I always had notebooks filled with drawings and made comics and zines. Then in college I was studying abroad at La Universidad de las Americas in Mexico when I studied painting for the first time with Jose Lascarro Toquero, a protege of the great muralist Ruffino Tamayo. That was when I decided I wanted to be a painter. I traveled all over Mexico to seek out the work of the muralists there. Their scale, material experimentation, symbolism, and futurism inspired me to want to make … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Jonathan Freemantle

Founded on encyclopaedic and intimate understanding of painting and art history, Freemantle’s work explores the intricate relationship between his body, time and the earth as materials and as inspiration. Spanning egg tempera, mountain rocks and ochre in his paintings, he situates the body as an organic presence at one with the landscape, at the same time as integrating the landscape physically in the human act of painting. In an age damned as Anthropocene, In his passionate and viscerally undeniable canvases, Freemantle consciously and resolutely makes the case for redemption and forgiveness of the human and as a male of the man, on the planet.

Freemantle, has been exhibiting internationally since 2007, with group and solo exhibitions in London, Cape Town, Amsterdam, Johannesburg and Edinburgh, including a major commission by The Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg. 

“Unknown Pleasures (VI)”, oil on linen, 40 x 48 in | 102 x 122 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

That’s an impossible question! I don’t think I can answer with just one artist. At different times in my career I’ve had artist’s who have inspired me deeply. Different artists at different times. At the beginning there was Leonardo Da Vinci. We had a reproduction of his cartoon for ‘The Virgin & Child with Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist’ (the original is at the National Gallery in London) hanging in our home in Cape Town where I grew up. My father is also an artist, he spoke about the work with such reverence and it rubbed off. 

When I finally arrived in London age 17 to study Fine Art I made a pilgrimage to see the original and it was so deeply moving. Then there is Cezanne. He was the first painter that I felt … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Joseph Nechvatal

Joseph Nechvatal’s contemporary art practice engages in the fragile wedding of image production and image resistance. Through his version of an art-of-noise, he brings a subversive reading to the human body through computational viruses, articulating concerns regarding safety, identity and objectivity. Since 1986, Nechvatal has worked with ubiquitous electronic visual information, computers and computer-robotics. His computer-robotic assisted paintings and computer software animations are shown regularly in galleries and museums throughout the world.

“Plagued Orlando Tracking the Viral Storm”, virus-modeled artificial life acrylic paintings on canvas, 12 x 24 in | 30 x 60 cm (diptych), 2020

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Marcel Duchamp. Because Duchamp’s entire artistic activity since the “definitive incompletion” of his masterpiece The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même), most often called The Large Glass (Le Grand Verre) in 1923 was an exercise in strategic invisibility, giving rise to objects and events which―because they were apparently too impermanent or unimportant or insubstantial, or because they eluded established genre conventions, or because they confused or diluted authorial identity―evaded recognition as traditional “works of art.”

How did you become a professional artist?

I went to art school, moved to New York City, and began showing my drawings in non-profit spaces during the early 1980s and, through those exhibitions, was invited to show with the commercial galleries Jack Tilton, Brooke Alexander, and Paula Cooper. Good reviews in the press helped.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

Dionysus, the apocalyptic, communication excess, the virus, and gender fluidity. Recently I have been inspired by the Virginia Woolf book Orlando (1928) and Antonin Artaud’s prophetic text The Theatre and the Plague, originally presented as a performance-lecture on April 6, 1933 at the Sorbonne (now an essential element … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with William Conger

William Conger’s paintings blend fascinating arrangements of color and form, some geometrically precise, others smoothly haunting. His works combine technique, complexity and abstract brilliance. Conger’s themes range from the fanfare of Chinatown parades to the collective souls within cemeteries, to the vast socio-economic-industrial energy of Chicago itself.

William Conger received his MFA from the University of Chicago and his BFA from the University of New Mexico, where he worked closely with abstract painters Raymond Jonson and Elaine de Kooning. He taught at Northwestern University along with his friend Ed Paschke. He is Professor Emeritus at the Northwestern University. 

“Boomer”, oil on linen, 36 x 36 in | 91 x 91 cm, 2019

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

I have a large number of favorite artists in art history. I admire them in different contexts or for differing reasons. Yet I have probably admired Picasso more consistently and for more reasons during my career. I first encountered his work during my childhood visits to museums and was immediately struck by its painterly force and inventiveness. I still experience a shock when I see his art, even after a lifetime of acquaintance with it. 

How did you become a professional artist?

As a youngster who was very serious about becoming an artist even in the first years of grammar school, I didn’t distinguish between professional and other, except I was never interested in being an amateur artist, (if that’s the opposite of professional). From my first efforts beyond childish scribbles and sun-and-stick figures and the like, I was very conscious of trying to draw and copy the images of paintings I saw in books or museum postcards. A family friend supplied me with stacks of ArtNews which gave me a visual sense of what art and … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Kathleen Shaver

Kathleen Shaver is an abstract painter who studied at Moore College of Art & Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) with teachers and mentors including Bill Richards, Chuck Fahlen, and Thomas Chimes. Her work has been included in a major survey of contemporary Philadelphia artists at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and in exhibits at PAFA, Woodmere Art Museum, the James A. Michener Art Museum, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, the Attleboro Arts Museum and Moore. In addition to the Rodger LaPelle Galleries and 3rd Street Gallery in Philadelphia, Shaver has exhibited in galleries located in Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Texas. Her work is included in both private and corporate collections.

“Just Human”, oil on canvas, 56 x 48 in | 142 x 122 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

That’s a tough question because time is speeding along and nothing remains the same. I remember seeing paintings by Goya and Velasquez in a book as a kid. I grew up loving the magic of Walt Disney movies. As an art student, Jasper Johns had a huge impact on me as did Eva Hesse, Robert Rauschenberg, George Segal, Marisol, Jim Dine, Joseph Cornell, and Lucas Samaras. The first time I saw works of Van Gogh in the flesh I was blown away by the physical presence of his paint. Today, I’d walk a mile to see work by Angel Ortiz, Rachel Jones, Rita Ackermann, or Daniel Crews Chubb.  I feel that Willem de Kooning is in my bones so he must be my favorite.

How did you become a professional artist?

By overcoming a deep conflict. I started out in art college after high school. After figuring out I did not want to study … Click here to read more

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