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Scribble Artist Interview with Guy Laramée!

Pétra (2007). Eroded encyclopedias, pigment, 12 x 11.25 x 8.5 in.

Pétra (2007). Eroded encyclopedias, pigment, 12 x 11.25 x 8.5 in.

Scribble Town (ST): We are constantly traveling on a journey.  It’s amazing how each part seems like a whole world of it’s own with all it’s intricacies and surprises. From books, to words, to feelings, all these experiences connect us, either to each other or to our surroundings.  That’s how I felt when I saw Guy Laramée’s work.  I found myself walking through his artworks, which are fantastical microcosms in the grand scheme of things.

Due to it’s uniqueness, I would rather not attempt to classify your art, but how would you describe it?

Guy Laramée (GL): People define me socially as an artist. I make art.

ST: What are you up to at the moment?

GL: Right now I’m doing exactly this : beginning what looks as an “Atlas of No-Mind”.

ST: Wow, I can’t even begin to imagine just how overflowing with indescribable findings this atlas will be!

Your artwork is very full, complex and interdisciplinary in a playful and magical way!  How do you combine music and art?  And what about words and art?  For example, your poem titled Rain has many oil paintings related to the text.  What came first?

Pour Calame (2010) Oil on canvas 102 X 147 cm

Pour Calame (2010). Oil on canvas 102 X 147 cm


GL:
I don’t combine music and visual art. They were different moments of my life. Maybe I’m more multi-disciplinary than interdisciplinary.

I have a love-hate relationship with words, that’s why I both love and destroy books. I find that words are beautiful, they open up entire worlds, but at the same time they fix things in a way that binds us.

Rain (pluie in French) came as a body of work first. But while I was doing the research and starting the actual paintings, I collected poems and texts to understand my feelings about rain, how rain is profoundly nostalgic, calming and beautiful. To translate these feelings on a more existential level, I wrote the poem.


RAIN

May it rain
May it rain on this troubled world
May this rain erase borders
May it mix colors, forms, and times.
May it rain upon me
May the sound of this rain
Wash myself from myself
May this rain dissolve me
Until I recognize myself in trees, mountains, and people.
May I keep hearing this rain
Through the clamour of ambitions.
May it rain
May it rain upon our confused minds
And (that) through this rain
May we return home.

-Guy Laramée, March 2010


ST:
 It’s a beautiful poem!  It lends itself to giving the reader images in their minds and context for your paintings. How have your studies in anthropology inspired your artwork?  What has been you artistic path?  I can see your interests run deep and wide with the range of mediums and concepts you use.

GL: Anthropology came as a way for me to understand that there exist different worldviews and that in their own world, they are all equally valid. They clash one with another, but all worldviews have some fascinating coherence. Thus my problem was/is : if truth – by definition – is unique, if truth can be equated to Oneness, then how come it manifests itself under so many guises, in so many forms? How can Truth encompass contradictions?

The variety of mediums I used only reflect the incapacity of each medium, of each piece, of each work to say it all. The incompletude (uncompletedness ?) of each art work keeps me on the move.

Tuyos, Microtonal and Gestural Music for Invented instruments, 1986-92.

Tuyos, Microtonal and Gestural Music for Invented instruments, 1986-92.


ST:
 The way you manipulate and use books as sculpture is amazing!  How did you start carving books?  Please let us know more about Les Livres-Lumier.  I would love to visit those mountain tops one day!

GL: I cannot really say how I’m doing it because I feel more and more that it is not me who is doing this. When I enter the process (often reluctantly…!) I am possessed by a force that is quite powerful and that “decides” so to speak how things are going to go this time, what tools will be used, etc. Tools and processes change all the time, sometime new tools have to be created. The only thing I know for sure is : since I invent tools, I’m not a monkey, thus I must be human (lol). Even that I don’t really know for sure. I’d rather see the artistic process as a process of Unknowing rather than a learning process.

DRAGON OVER THE CLOUDS. 2014.  Webster dictionary, inks,  pigments, Plexiglass, wood, LEDs.  18 x 21 x 16 (h) inches.  (47.7 x 53.3 x 40.6 cm)

Dragon Over the Clouds (2014). Webster dictionary, inks, pigments, Plexiglass, wood, LEDs.
18 x 21 x 16 (h) inches. (47.7 x 53.3 x 40.6 cm)


ST:
 Your work ranges from 2D to 3D.  Do you feel that some of your 3D works could also work at 2 dimensional pieces?  How do you decide what mediums and platforms to best portray your ideas?

GL: Once I showed an art magazine to a friend who happens to be a photographer. There was a piece in there that was quite ambiguous, like a painting stretched on a sculpture. I asked him ” “What do you think, is this a painting or a sculpture ?” I went for the sculpture. I shouted at him, laughing : “It’s neither ! It’s a photograph !!”

Think about it : 99 % of the art works you saw in your life, you know then only through photographs. Interesting, right ? So in a way you could say that the ‘essence’ of the work can make it into a translation, either photographical or textual; or you could say that for you, the real work is the photograph. If you were to be true to yourself, the work for you is a photo.

So of course my 3D work works very well in 2D, people buy it after seeing it on the internet…!

Guan Yin. Wood, linen, rags, integrated lighting. 16 x 16 x 13 feet ( 5 x 5 x 4 meter). 2011.

Guan Yin (2011). Wood, linen, rags, integrated lighting. 16 x 16 x 13 feet ( 5 x 5 x 4 meter).


ST:
 You’re absolutely right!  The transformations between mediums and documentations of those changes creates a whole new piece of it’s own every time.

When you come up with an idea what is usually your process for working it through?

GL: If I had found a recipe to make my work, I would SELL IT ! There’s no recipe. Like in love. The moment you fix it, it’s gone. That’s the beauty of it, that’s why also I’m always in a state of profound anxiety (half kidding : it is not easy to make insecurity your home…).

ST: Did anybody encourage your creativity when you were a child?

GL: Nobody encouraged me really. My parents gave me the usual painting boxes and tools, but when they saw that it was becoming serious, they did their very best to discourage me. I wish they had succeeded, really, because see in what mess I’m in now : don’t know where the next $$ are going to come from, don’t know what I’m going to do this morning, don’t know how I will ever come out of that terrible state of solitude that I ended up closing myself in, etc etc. Creativity is not a choice and thus it cannot even be fostered. Creativity is an imperative. It is the imperative of life itself. We chose nothing. We follow the current of life or resist it. Even to think that we decide to follow or resist is fallacious. The current of life is all there is.

ST: Guy, what would be some artful advice for our Scribble readers?

GL: Don’t fear solitude. That’s the only advice I can give. When you are alone, don’t try to escape it. Drop your cell phone in a pond. Put your TV to the trash bin. Stop losing your time on computer screens. These things suck your creativity.

Be alone as much as you can. Then the voices of the muses will take care of the rest. They will guide you.

ST: I understand what you mean. We are, in the end, our own best friend even though sometimes it can seem like we are our own enemy!  Thank you so much for sharing with us!  You have given us all whole lot to chew on- from concepts to techniques.  Scribblers, for more inspiration please have a look at Guy’s website at http://www.guylaramee.com.

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Frida and Flowers for You

Frida Kahlo de Rivera (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954; Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón) was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán. Known for her self-portraits, which symbolically express her own pain and sexuality, these images extend beyond herself allowing us, the viewer, to ponder, reflect and raise inquiry.  Her vibrant colors were painted in a style influenced by indigenous cultures of Mexico as well as by European influences that include Realism, Symbolism, and Surrealism.

The New York Botanical Garden has curated an exhibition highlighting Kahlo’s love of nature.  Catch the show between May 16 — November 1, 2015. Read more about the exhibition here.

We have made a coloring page for you, Scribblers, based on Frida Kahlo’s great work titled Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.  Feel free to download and print. Watch the picture come to life as you fill in the spaces!

Scribble your own version of Frida Kahlo's elf-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird

Scribble your own version of Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird

For teachers and art lovers I recommend you watch one of MoMA’s art education video, which delves into how to critically look at and discuss one of Frida Kahlo’s portraits. Enjoy!


Keeping it surreal with René Magritte

“The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.” –René Magritte

René Magritte, Homesickness, 1940

René Magritte, Homesickness, 1940

Surrealism began around the 1920s as a movement that explored expression and the imagination of the subconscious. René Magritte, a painter part of the movement, did just that. Much of the work during this time was very dreamlike and bizarre. Artists such as Magritte truly created some amazing and legendary paintings that breaks boundaries between dream and reality.

Magritte was born on November 21, 1898 in Lessines, Belgium. He began his paintings in 1910 when he was only 12 years old. In 1922, he married Georgette Berger who was also his childhood friend. Four years later he produced his first surreal oil painting called ‘The Lost Jockey’ and held an exhibition to present this work. He soon moved to Paris and became involved in the surrealist group. His work was finally exhibited in 1936 in New York City where he became more popular day by day. His work can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that was added in 1992 and also at the Museum of Modern Art that was added in 1965.

Magritte not only keeps us fully interested in his work but also in our own. He helps us to think outside the box and brings us into another dimension of art. Try and remember one of the last dreams you’ve had that you can remember quite vividly and sketch it out. Maybe even make a painting about it. You may discover and create something you never imagined. Dreams are a part of our everyday lives whether we remember them or not. Something is always drifting through our subconscious, and if you can get a hold of it, pay attention to it and try to make sense out of it.

René Magritte, The Lovers I, 1928

René Magritte, The Lovers I, 1928

Posted by Andi Thea, on June 15th, 2015 at 6:38 am. No Comments

Category: adults,Artists,Featured,Painting,Uncategorized Labels: , , , , , ,


Scribble Artist Interview with Kenneth Michael Zeran!

"Abstr Action"  Acrylic Paint on Canvas  48 in x 48 in  121.92 cm x 121.92 cm  1980

“Abstr Action” Acrylic Paint on Canvas, 48 in x 48 in,
121.92 cm x 121.92 cm, 1980

Scribble Town (ST): From one medium to another, Kenneth Michael Zeren is an artist that portrays an array of ideas and concepts. Always surprising and always thought provoking his works make you think of all the possibilities.  Ken says, “I am a creative person whose journey brought me to the realm of Fine Art.” Indeed he is!  Ken, what are you up to these days?

Kenneth Michael Zeran (KMZ): At the moment I am creating a glass work that is an element within a larger ongoing project (14 pieces) involving different mediums.

ST: Wow this sounds like a huge project! Your artwork ranges from painting to printmaking to new media. Is there one that you are more drawn to?  What is one of your favorite styles and why?

KMZ: I am more drawn to original painting because it is distinguished in our replicating digital world. I don’t have a favorite style because I am constantly evolving. Collectors want an artist to be defined- to use the same style. I have always felt that is boring. After you have done something it is done.

"Family Portrait"  Serigraph on American Etching Paper  Silkscreen Ink with Gold Medium  21 in x 50 in  53.34 cm x 127 cm  Offset Poster Edition Released for Bicentennial  1976

“Family Portrait”, Serigraph on American Etching Paper, Silkscreen Ink with Gold Medium, 21 in x 50 in,
53.34 cm x 127 cm, Offset Poster Edition Released for Bicentennial, 1976

ST: You’re right! We develop as persons along with our ideas, so working with different mediums seems so natural. How do you figure out which medium to use for your concept?

KMZ: Choice of medium is important because ‘it does the talking’. It is all about concept. If it is cerebral then representational control is the focus. If emotionally driven, then losing control to find it in the process.

ST: Since we are talking so much about evolutions I wonder what has been your artistic path.  What is the first memorable piece of art you have made?

"Twilight Zone Man"  Video Frame  1980

“Twilight Zone Man”, Video Frame, 1980

KMZ: My artistic path started in film production. While it was/is rewarding it is a medium that is quickly consumed. I am more interested in lasting permanence, as in Fine Art.

My first memorable piece of art was creating football uniforms with crayons on thin cardboard and covering with wax paper and using an iron to melt the crayon color.

ST: Even your first memory has you mixing mediums and combining techniques!

You have made portraits of important figures such as Salvador Dali and Andi Warhol.  What role do these artists have in your life?  How do you choose the people you would like to make a portrait of?

KMZ: Having spent time with these artists allowed me to take a ‘reading’. I experienced the natural essence of them. I was able to perceive things that have not been expressed in media accounts. Such experience has played a role in my life- call it authenticity. Knowledge of the core that led to new ways of expressing the human condition. I choose portrait subjects based upon social relevance and the result of an engagement of my own perceptions about what makes the individual function. If it is a commission, I process the subject in a very conceptual manner- looking for the edge. Whoever the subject, my interest is to place them in an unresolved state so the viewer keeps coming back.

"Oh Picasso!", Homage to Pablo Picasso, Serigraph on Strathmore Bristol Paper, Silkscreen Inks, 30 in x 40 in, 76.2 cm x 101.6 cm,  1974

“Oh Picasso!”, Homage to Pablo Picasso, Serigraph on Strathmore Bristol Paper, Silkscreen Inks, 30 in x 40 in, 76.2 cm x 101.6 cm, 1974

ST: When you were younger who encouraged you to be creative?  Also, what triggers your imagination?

KMZ: As a child, my brothers (2) and I were beneficiaries of our superlatively talented mother. She cared for and involved us in everything. I have always had an active imagination. Perhaps it was spending an important part of childhood handicapped and relying on imagination.

ST: When you are not drawing or creating, what do you like to do?

KMZ: I am always in a mode of interaction with the intent of ‘sparking’ living creatures.

ST: You are a sparker! I would say so too. What is something that you have recently seen that amazed or sparked you?

KMZ: Something I saw recently that was amazing was driving through central California in the middle of the day with the sun blotted out by dust storms severely limiting vision – brought about by drought -a visit to the ‘dust bowl’ of the 1930’s.

ST: You just described a very beautiful vision. I imagine the sky to be very shiny and sparkling from the flying sand.

Your painting are generally very abstract?  What are they about?

"Turning Point", 48 in x 60 in, Mixed Media on Canvas

“Turning Point”, 48 in x 60 in, Mixed Media on Canvas

KMZ: My paintings are physical and masculine with heroic pursuit. It’s a two way process. It’s communication. I make a move and the paint informs. It’s about the paint. (Impressionism was all about the paint itself).  Losing control to gain control. It is high wire and on a edge and you can lose it in an instant- it is intense.

ST: I feel that your paintings are so different from your recent “Turning Point”.  What prompted you to make this painting?

KMZ: “Turning Point” is about the subject of sports and, as such, requires ‘familiarity’. Sport is all about uniformity. My longtime friend LeRoy Neiman coined the ‘look’ of sports painting and I kept this is mind when creating “Turning Point” so the masses could relate. I did the painting because it is of a major subject in Seattle culture and history. The role of Fine Art is to permanently capture such moments. Of course, I live in the Seattle area.

ST: Your painting does capture that excitement and ecstatic energy that comes from winning!  I’m starting to get the feeling that you are a football fan because your first memorable artist moment was creating football uniforms. Any last golden pieces of advice for us Scribblers?

KMZ: My advice to ‘Scribbler Nation’ is trust yourself with the unique natural gifts only you have. Use them with the power of innocence. Use yourself!

ST: From ‘Scribbler Nation’ we give you a big Thank You, Ken! That’s beautiful advice! Scribblers, have a look at Ken’s website for more inspiration, http://www.kennethmichaelzeran.com.

"Dali!"  Serigraph on Arches Paper  Silkscreen Inks and Gold Metal Medium  22 in x 22 in  55.88 cm x 55.88 cm  1974 (Re-released in 2010)

“Dali!”, Serigraph on Arches Paper, Silkscreen Inks and Gold Metal Medium, 22 in x 22 in, 55.88 cm x 55.88 cm, 1974 (Re-released in 2010)


All about Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera was a Mexican artist married to Frida Kahlo who allowed one to think about life in all it’s beauty and pain.  He is famous for many things, but one of the most groundbreaking pieces are The Detroit Industry Murals.  They are a series of frescoes by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera, consisting of twenty-seven panels depicting industry at the Ford Motor Company. Together they surround the Rivera Court in the Detroit Institute of Arts. These frescoes were painted between 1932 and 1933.

Detroit Industry, North Wall, 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Arts.

Detroit Industry, North Wall, 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Arts.

The two main panels on the North and South walls depict laborers working at Ford Motor Company‘s River Rouge Plant. Other panels depict advances made in various scientific fields, such as medicine and new technology. The series of murals, taken as a whole, represents the idea that all actions and ideas are one.

Detroit Industry, South Wall, 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Arts.

Detroit Industry, South Wall, 1932-33. Detroit Institute of Arts.

“The Flower Seller paintings was painted in 1941 and depicts a young woman kneeling with a very large bundle of calalilies. Her clothes are simple yet she is colorfully and neatly like a typical young woman of Mexico in the early 20th century. The double braids in her hair indicate that she is a young girl not yet married. We cannot see her face because she has her back to us, facing the lilies, 600xNxflowerseller.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Swl2_wW1-Iwith her arms around the bundle. The rest of the image is dark so there is not definition of the ground that she sits on or a background behind the lilies. Can this young girl carry the lilies? They seem too big, yet the title indicates that she is supposed to sell them. Did Diego choose to hide her face because she is quietly struggling with her burden? Or is she simply preparing for a day at the market by carefully lifting her flowers?

The calla lily, a sensual, sculptural flower – and quintessential example of Mexico’s exuberant flora – was celebrated by Rivera many times, particularly in frescoes depicted peasants with indigenous features carrying bundles or offerings of them.”

DiegoRivera.org

Scribblers, print out the sheet below and color in your own Girl with Lillies!

Diego Rivera-Flower Vendor-01

 

Posted by Andi Thea, on November 5th, 2014 at 11:07 am. No Comments

Category: adults,Arts & Crafts,Featured,Illustration,kids,Uncategorized Labels: , , , ,


Scribble Artist Interview with Curious Ruby!

IMG_20141006_155528Scribble Town (ST): Curious Ruby is full of color, adventure, and good energy!  These qualities pour out from her watercolor paintings.  When I first contacted Ruby she was traveling and now I can understand more how motion is carried into her images.  I’m so excited to learn more about you, Ruby!

Curious Ruby (CR): Hi! I’m Ruby. I love to travel and explore new places, and I love the outdoors! I have been to 14 different countries in the last 10 years! Being in nature helps me relax! I love camping and hiking, of course I love drawing, yummy food and being with my friends and family.

ST:
Where are you located and what are you up to these days?

CR: I live in Brisbane in Australia, but right now I am traveling around Iceland (it is beautiful) I had never seen snow so this was exciting for me! Next I am off the Norway and Sweden (yay!) So you can see that I love to travel!

ST: How has your Kickstarter campaign been going? I really like the video you made and would like to share it will everybody.  Please let us know what your project and goal is so that we can support you!

CR: It is my first campaign, so I am learning a lot! I might not reach my goal this time, but that’s not entirely important, its a great learning experience. My project is primarily to get my designs onto fabric. I chose silk scarves for this campaign after a trip to Japan. I saw how they used beautiful fabric to wrap gifts in, so it was both functional, re-usable, wearable and beautiful. I thought having designs on silk gave people the option to wear the art, or hang it in a space. Or even wrap gifts in! My goal is to get enough support to print these designs on high grade silk, which is not cheap here in Australia. Also I want to use some of the campaign to improve my website and online store curiousruby.com

ST: You have a great attitude! How will you choose which ones to make into a scarf? They are all so beautiful!

CR: I chose my four geisha girl designs, inspired again by Japan (of course!) I fell in love with these designs as soon as I drew them, and saved them for something special. I have never made these available for prints or sale. I realised also that my pattern designs are popular, so have given some the option for patterned scarves.

ST: Your watercolor and ink paintings are so dreamlike! How do you come up with your designs? What’s your process for developing these ideas?

IMG_20141012_154445

CR: Honestly it starts with drawing. I just put pencil to paper and see what comes out! I am still developing and changing as an artist, but ever since a kid I have drawn girls, they just have changed a little over the years! After that then I play with watercolour and see how it turns out! The fun thing about watercolour is that for me its luck of the draw…sometimes it behaves how you want it and other times it does it’s own thing!

My favourite thing to do is use the sakura ink (from the markers) and then fill in the colour. I don’t use a fixit or masking medium, so its a little game I play to see if I can stay in the lines. Sometimes I’m like “who cares about the lines let’s go crazy!” It sounds silly but it keeps me entertained for hours!

ST: You mentioned you have had a 7 year break from drawing. What were you doing? What brought you back to drawing?

CR: I was being all serious and thought having a hobby was a waste of time. I tend to be someone who can’t sit still, always having to do something, so as I was traveling and adapting to new cultures, I became so absorbed in them I didn’t have time to do any drawing. That changed after a long trip on a boat in Laos. Four days of no internet, TV, mobile phone reception or knowing a single soul on board reignited my love of drawing. Since then there was no looking back. Hobbies are good kids….they help you relax!

ink and watercolor drawing by Curious Ruby - girl dreamingST: Was there somebody that encouraged you to become an artist? What is your first memory of being creative?

CR: I have drawn and painted ever since I could remember. But my first memory is in Grade 9 high school art class. Our art teacher was super supportive, and we would ooohh and ahhhh over the work the seniors would make. Our art teacher looked at me and said, one day you will be doing work 100 times better than this. He’s been my hero ever since!

ST: What tools are in your toolbox for creativity?

CR: Easy: paper, Sakura Microns, Winsor &Newton watercolours.

ST: What is your favorite color at the moment? Why?

CR:  Winsor green. It is so bright and cheery and vibrant.

ST: Any last tips on creativity?

CR: I’ve read dozens of blogs and articles in relation to this question and I agree with almost everything they say: practice practice practice. Make mistakes. Practice. Try new things/ styles – even if you don’t like it…just try. Practice. Have FUN. Enjoy it. Did I mention practice?

ST: Thank you, Ruby for sharing so much with us!  I can see that Iceland has been an inspiration for you with the painting below. She has Aurora Borealis hair and is wearing an Icelandic sweater.  Now your painting has inspired us to explore with art and adventure!

Scribblers, click here to see how you can support Ruby’s Wearable Watercolour Paint Project!

aurora Borealis Iceland sweater ink and watercolor drawing by Curious Ruby


Paul Cézanne brings still life to life

Even the most mundane object can be an adventure for the eyes if you look at it in a certain light.  Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter.  He painted the path for the turning point from the 19th-century conception of art to a new and different world of art in the 20th century.

Paul Cézanne, 'Still Life with a Curtain', 1895

Paul Cézanne, ‘Still Life with a Curtain’, 1895

“Cézanne was fascinated by optics and tried to reduce naturally occurring forms to their geometric essentials—the cone, the cube, the sphere. He used layers of color on these shapes to build up surfaces, outlining the forms for emphasis. His deep study of geometry in painting led him to become a master in perspective. Until the end of his life, Cézanne received little public success and was repeatedly rejected by the Paris Salon. In his last years, and particularly after his death, his work began to influence many younger artists, including Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.”

More on MoMA

Scribblers, get out your paints and create your own Still Life.  You can also print out the worksheet below and color in Cézanne’s painting how you wish.

Cezanne_Line work-05

xjl29278

Paul Cézanne, Still Life With Apples, 1893-94


A collection of beach craft ideas!

Many of you are probably at the beach soaking in the sun.  While you are there, I’m sure you have seen some beautiful seashells by the seashore.  Next time, pick them up and collect them to make all sorts of crafts.

Here a few idea to get you started, but I’m sure you’ll turn them into something unique!  Share with us what you have come up with by emailing your photos to info(at)scribbletown.com.  Looking forward to seeing your creations!

Hasan Kale, an artist from Turkey, has used a snail shell to create a scene Istanbul.

Hasan Kale, an artist from Turkey, has used a snail shell to create a scene Istanbul.

Posted by Andi Thea, on June 19th, 2014 at 9:27 am. No Comments

Category: Arts & Crafts,Found Art,kids,Uncategorized Labels: , , , , ,


Scribble Picks Judy Simonian!

Extreme Ikebana by Judy Simonian

Extreme Ikebana by Judy Simonian

Judy Simonian is a painter based in New York City and originally from the West coast.  Scribble Town asked Judy what moves her, how did she get started, and who is the person that creates these beautiful paintings?  Her thoughtful responses run deeper than the surface and with that the stories she shares give the paintings more meaning.  Thank you, Judy!

I was born in Los Angeles, CA were I attended California State University, Northridge and soon after that began exhibiting my artwork in LA and around the country.

As far back as I can remember I have loved to draw everything, but mostly people, and that included mermaids when I was in elementary school.

My family, friends and teachers were very encouraging early on. I loved trying to get a likeness and learned how to really “see”  from my mother who spent hours drawing my siblings and me. She was very talented. She also made me very curious about the east coast because she grew up   in Connecticut until her family moved west to Hollywood when she was 16.  The way she described the extreme weather conditions they had to deal with like freezing cold snow and dreadfully humid summers made me want the to see if I could endure that kind of daily challenge.

Two Red Chairs by Judy Simonian

Two Red Chairs by Judy Simonian

The fact that New York city was a mecca for artists of all types made me want to move here. I knew I could learn a lot more in this environment. So many great museums and wonderful architectural gems are here and you can see them all without having to drive a car. I visited the city several time and showed my paintings here before finally making the move in 1985 with my boyfriend, Milano Kaz.

Milano was a tremendous influence on how I paint to this day. He was always generous in his encouragement and willingness to show me how to improve my paintings and how to use acrylic paint. Another influential artist along the way was Charles Garabedian but many historical figures also loom large such as Alice Neel, Emile Nolde, Matisse, Manet, Goya, Bonnard and many more.

My preference for water media rather than oil paint has to do with my impatience with the long drying time required with oil paint. The medium I choose often is based on the size I’m working in and weather I’m working outside on location or in a studio. Smaller paintings are usually done with ink, gouache or acrylic while larger paintings in my studio are acrylic on canvas.

Yellow Bubble Fish by Judy Simonian

Yellow Bubble Fish by Judy Simonian

Lately I’ve been excited about painting fish that appear and disappear in water. They move quickly and can be represented simply as a blur of several colors painted with one brush stroke. Together they create a rhythmic dance that I enjoy paintings. Another newer subject includes still life objects that again I like to paint as if they were moving or changing form before our eyes.

I teach a few classes at the Cooper Union that include portrait drawing, painting, color theory and also drawing on location. My advice to all students is to draw or paint as much as possible because the more you practice the quicker you will improve. Soon you will have the courage to draw anything with confidence.  It is a pleasure to watch this progress.

Thank you for this opportunity to share my life as an artist with you.

To see more of Judy’s work, please go to her website, http://www.judithsimonian.com.

Posted by Andi Thea, on April 21st, 2014 at 2:21 am. No Comments

Category: adults,Featured,Painting,Scribble Picks,Uncategorized Labels: , , , , , , ,


Scribble Artist Interview with Laia Riera Sanjaume!

Picture of Laia Riera Sanjaume painting

Photograph of Laia Riera Sanjaume painting

ST: The bursts of colors in Laia Riera Sanjaume’s artwork matches her warm and open personality.  She’s an explorer of all sorts and you can see that in the various talents she has and from the many places she has lived.  From painting to textiles to being an art workshop leader, Laia shares her joy for art with the world!

Laia Riera Sanjaume (LRS): Hi Scribble Town! I’m Laia Riera Sanjaume, I live in Helsinki, Finland. Originally I am from Barcelona, which is very close to the Mediterranean Sea.  Ever since I was a small child I loved drawing stories.  I consider myself very lucky because my parents always encouraged me to develop my creative skills and they have been very supportive.  They are both linguistics and writers so you can imagine as a kid, it was fantastic to read as many books as I wanted to from their library and get inspired!  When I am not drawing I paint on canvas, or simply I make sketches for prints.  I also enjoy reading, doing Yoga and just chatting with friends around food.

ST: You move between Barcelona and Helsinki. What brought you from place to place and how have the different environments affected your artwork?

LRS: Some time ago, while in Barcelona, I met Jere and we fell in love.  He is from Finland and we decided to work together as independent designers.  Finland inspires me through Nature especially with silence from the woods that I am not used to.  It reminds me of the summers when I went traveling with my parents.  It’s an open door to new dimensions.

13 shamans by Laia Riera Sanjaume

13 shamans by Laia Riera Sanjaume

Yes, Barcelona is “home”.  Although, funnily, I realized it only after having lived in Winchester, Antwerp, Madrid and now in Helsinki.
Actually, each of these cities have been a bit of a home for me.  Home is our comfort zone.  Therefore, we tend to get relaxed and less observant to what surrounds us and to ourselves.  In order to draw, to imagine new scenarios, it’s necessary a good dose of investigating.

In my case this can be through reading,  traveling, being a foreigner in a new land…getting excited when meeting friends, being fascinated by the colours of the sky, trees, and hearing for the first time another language other than your very own.  Whenever I move away from my country I feel like I am suddenly awake.  And at the same time, whenever I return I see my city through renovated “lenses”.  It is very motivating, indeed!

At the present, I like to see Helsinki as a temporary place where I get to know myself better and where I explore new tools to express my inner world.  For instance, as a result of this, I changed from watercolor to oil painting, a technique I haven’t been using for years.  Right now I am working on a series of prints for the clothes Jere is designing and we will make together.

Hands in Hands by Laia Riera Sanjaume

Hands in Hands by Laia Riera Sanjaume

ST: It’s true, each environment brings out something special in us.  It seems like your Finnish winter is welcoming you to get more acquainted with more of your inner self.  Even in the darkness of winter, your paintings are so vibrant and imaginative!  What medium do you paint in?  How did you discover this medium that suits your imagery so well?

LRS: Thanks a lot!  Yes, in fact, the oil painting enables to create vibrant colours , bring texture to emotions and the expressions of the faces.  Usually, I am a bit chaotic when using the medium.  When I work on paper I treat it with tea and coffee because it gives it a yellowish and warm base colour.  I guess I discover mediums when trying to capture the right emotion when I start drawing  and I am working my best to register it accurately.  Actually, it happens through the work itself.  Work brings inspiration and more discoveries.  For instance, in my studies in Fine Arts in Barcelona University, or as Fashion student of the Fine Arts Academy of Antwerp I did research a lot!

Let me orget about today by Laia Riera Sanjaume

Let me orget about today by Laia Riera Sanjaume

On the other hand, every single day is a new beginning so you can always get surprised by a new twist in your own working process.

My favourites are Écolines, a never ending number of inks, water colours, oil painting, golden lacquers, glitter, bitumen judaicum paint…just to mention a few.  During my short stay in Winchester School of Art, I mainly did etching. Since then I use the hard point tools just to scratch the paint off, or just to add details.  Finally, to mention Collage or Mood Board as ways to get build up a new project.

ST: You are a true explorer!  You experiment and are inquisitive with mediums and textures.  Now I’m so curious about your ideas.  How do you come up with the themes for your series?

LRS: Normally, I start because of a feeling that later on will evolve into a story. A short story if you want, or an open story.  Sometimes it takes a month before I finalize a painting with which I am more or less satisfied. Sometimes it takes me only one day.  It can also be that I feel so happy when I finally come up with the exact idea of the painting that I need to paint it not to forget it. Other times, it can be as well, that by drawing I shake away negative moods that will bring on new topics to explore.

Painting by Laia Riera Sanjaume

Painting by Laia Riera Sanjaume

When I was a little girl I had a lot of imagination. In fact, my teachers throughout the years almost assumed I’d be a writer. My first years of life were a bit uneasy for my mother, because of a sad event.  Since then, the act of drawing is perhaps like going to an invisible shelter where I instantly get immersed.  I can be there for hours and hours and hours.  Drawing is a very powerful tool for me.  In truth, there are many times that first I write down the stories and slowly I begin to “see them” in colours, shapes, and volume.

I couldn’t say what it comes first as, haha.  Indeed, I am fascinated by the power of emotions and how these change our bodies and minds. How, as well, we change thanks to the effect of communicating to the ones we share our life, our present, the earth , ultimately. These are the essential themes I care about mostly.

Years ago I started focusing on memory, identity and transition. Since then folk culture, beliefs, myths ,storytelling are also my main themes of research. I love borrowing books on these topics from the public libraries to build up an atmosphere. Then, when the atmosphere is ready the working hours just flow.  As well, I am very interested in women dress and how did the fashion history changed because of the historic events and how these affected womanhood.

All of them witches by Laia Riera Sanjaume

All of them witches by Laia Riera Sanjaume

ST: Congratulations on joining Armuseli’s “made by artists” group! When you make your scarves for Armuseli do you keep in mind the size and shape?

LRS: Yes, I do have to be very careful with the size and the shape of the scarves.  Since the print adapts to the shape of the scarf.  And it had been a challenge for me, a very positive one! I did struggle a little to fit the original painting into the required size.  Itxaso Torrontegui is a textile designer and a graphic artist. I admire her colourful prints.  One day, my friend asked me to collaborate for her new project.We worked together in Madrid as designers for a clothes company.  We met as colleagues at work and we are now very good friends.  Armuseli “made by artists” is Itxaso’s initiative which brings together art, textile and fashion designers.  The result is a variety of small and unique collections of silks printed scarves. I am so happy to belong to Armuseli.

In this case, each artist has assigned a theme to be inspired by. It helps a lot, specially if there is a deadline. The print had to be inspired in Winter flowers and Frida Kahlo figure. Personally, I love Frida Kahlo art, so it was a lot easier to get started! Moreover, I had been truly inspired by the winterish forests from Finland. Actually, I took the chance to research a lot  the tradition in graphic printing and textile design in Finland.  Soon Armuseli will launch the website so you can give it a look; and the scarves are already on sale. It is wonderful to see your painting in a scarf in the streets.

After Hour by Laia Riera Sanjaume

After Hour by Laia Riera Sanjaume

ST: Oh how exciting that we’ll get to wear your beautiful designs!  Another congratulations on your recent exhibition in Spain!  What is this series of work about?  Hope I can see them in real life one day.

LRS: Thanks! The paintings that are exhibited in the art gallery Espai [b] of Barcelona are a series I did prior leaving Barcelona including some painting from a new series I started in Finland.

The gallery Espai [b] has been showing my works since 2011 and I am very happy to be chosen as one of their artists.  This group show revolves around the small format edition concept. For instance, the previous show was focusing on the idea of the face and the portrait.

Faces by Laia Riera Sanjaume

Faces by Laia Riera Sanjaume

In my works, faces are one of my strongest points, and as I said women’s dresses from different ages throughout history. I did a series on this topic for the gallery.

ST: In some ways it seems like you are a social historian in the way that you document people in context to time.  It’s really fascinating!

You are a textile artist, fashion designer, painter and illustrator.  Wow!  How do these industries support each other in your artwork.  Is there one field that you feel more comfortable in?  Adventures all around!

LRS: Haha, wow, said like this…The best thing, for me, in this is precisely that drawing and painting are the common denominator of these fields.  In addition, they can merge perfectly well and blend into each other. There is a very little separation from these disciplines, to my eyes honestly.  The fact that an illustration can be on paper, and can be converted to a beautiful print on a dress, jacket… it just gives me only more freedom as a creative.

When I design prints I rely on the imagery which fuels my painting, illustrations, and vice versa. So, it’s like just different chapters of the same novel.  The adventures had been and are very enriching.  I have been a former product designer for a clothes and accessories brand in Madrid.  There I used my skills to sketch and develop embroideries, prints and garments. It was my first real job after my long studies.  It was lots of fun!

When traveling to India or Hong Kong for field work, I always had with me a very small sketchbook and a mini water-colour box.  My bosses and co-workers taught me how to be myself as a creative at the same time I was a designer inside of a team.  On the other hand, I also had the opportunity to teach graphic techniques to young students. And I feel very grateful to transmit to them this knowledge and share with them.

Header by Laia Riera Sanjaume

Header by Laia Riera Sanjaume

When I worked for Inditex as a graphic  designer I drew on paper or on the computer all day long.  Although, I would say that the permanent adventure is to work as an independent freelance artist. It’s an incredible one and I hope it will be until I am very old.  And to be able to collaborate for projects like Dear You / Kära Du, Armuseli and so on.

Nevertheless, I am fortunate I could apply my knowledge and real vocation in a so called “office” job.  To answer to your question, the field I feel more at ease, is painting. Wait a second, drawing. Uhm I can´t simply divide these two!  🙂

ST: Indeed, drawing and painting for you are inseparable.  Your vibrant nature seems like it could be easily excited in the best possible way.  Is there a place you find yourself feeling especially inspired to create?  If you’re feeling stuck, what do you do to get yourself in the mood to create?

LRS: One of the best places for me is the living room table, instead of the one in the studio…ahem. I know it sounds strange, but it is where I quite usually start to sketch or write ideas.  You’ll find me there because it is a very lively place with strong energy from many different people that have lived in the house or passed by there. I like to feel surrounded by the sounds of people.

After a cup of coffee I automatically put the radio on the background, or long tracks of Jazz music, or anything from Ane Brun, Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Patti Smith, The Knife and many others; depending on the mood.  Then I move to the studio room and I prepare the big table to paint with all my tools.  I like to create a big mess first.  Although in the end I need to see nothing else than the table and the paper or the canvas.  Definitely with a never ending list of music!

Laia Riera Sanjaume's working table

Laia Riera Sanjaume’s working table

Nowadays I am designing together with my partner our first clothes collection and parallel to this I am painting new series. In order to combine these two tasks, I separate the table by imaginary lines. Then I also like to pin all the images I had been collecting, from postcards, to sweets wrapping papers, to a simple found object like a fabric tape…I pin them into a board. If not I tape them on the wall itself. Every now and then  I separate myself from the current painting. It is important to take distances. I look upon this map of images on the wall and I try to match them with my mental map. As I said before, the right atmosphere to create is crucial!
When I get stuck I go for walking, running or seeing friends. It usually works wonders.

ST: Sounds like you know how to take advantage of space and appreciate all the corners of your home.  Creativity needs air to grow!  Just wondering what are the 5 most important things in your life right now?

LRS:
1) Love
2) Family
3) To achieve goals, from the tiny ones to the huge ones.
4)  Happiness
5) To continue learning

ST: Thank you Laia for sharing with us!  Your stories, feelings, and beautiful depiction of faces give me a lot of inspiration!  Scribblers, please have a look at Laia’s website http://laiaillustration.com and keep up with her adventures on her blog http://lairisars.blogspot.fi.

The fox, myself II by Laia Riera Sanjaume

The fox, myself II by Laia Riera Sanjaume

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