Category Archives: Artist in Residence

Meet the Artist in Residence: Siena Hancock

Siena Hancock, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of December 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Siena some questions about her work and studio practice:

Artist working during residency in Iceland

Artist working during residency in Iceland

Q: Tell us about your background.
I am from Massachusetts, currently I live in Malden which is where I was born but moved around a lot as a child so it is hard to say what my exact origins are. As a kid I was always artistic but didn’t realize what I wanted to do with that until I went to art school and discovered sculpture. I went to school in Boston at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where I majored in glass. Since graduating in 2016, I have spent a great deal of time traveling. I backpacked through Europe one summer and this past spring I spent three months at a residency in Iceland. When I’m not traveling, I work for a fabrication studio in Boston that specializes in creating glass sculpture for a variety of clients: fine-artists, architectural projects, and public monuments.

venus

Venus of Raudsokkreyfingin, papier-mâché, 6′x6.5′x4.5′, 2018

Q: How would you describe your work?
My work is an interdisciplinary, socially-engaged practice which strives to be a conversation between people, place, and media. It is based in process, the process of craft and research, and by marrying these ideas I create sculpture and installation that seeks to educate viewers and illuminate the state of our world and women’s place within it.

Q: What is your process for making a work of art?
I tend to start with research for my larger projects, using texts and online resources to inform my work. From there I will start to develop a visual map of how to present my findings in artistic form. I work in a large variety of materials, usually they are connected to craft traditions, but I have been starting to experiment more with found objects and new media.

Nibble

NibbleBreast, white chocolate & artist’s body, 14″x12″x6″, 2015

Q: Who are your favorite artists?
I have a very long list of artistic influences including: Lynda Benglis, Eva Hesse, Faith Wilding, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Victoria Sin, Doreen Garner, Sarah Lucas, Carolee Schneemann, Annie Sprinkle, and Yayoi Kusama. All of them are amazing women artists that have done so much to push the boundaries of art.

Q: Where is your favorite place to view art?
MassMOCA in North Adams, MA is one of my all time favorite places to view art. The museum is made up of several industrial size buildings and this allows artists to create large-scale installations. I go to see most of the shows and they always make a huge impact, partially due to the space.

dmc

DMC, blown glass, clay/cement, LED, sand, cast glass, mirror, mylar, plaster, installation space: 12′x15′, 2016

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I am working on several projects that all fall under the umbrella of research I have been conducting using feminist sci-fi texts which depict utopias. I am investigating what is a feminist utopia and how one can be formed, more specifically I am interested in learning what other women think this could mean and creating an audio record of their thoughts. This is an ongoing project I began in Iceland. In addition to this, I am creating sci-fi feminist action figures. I’ll also be doing some ceramic work with molds and experimenting with site-specific installation using found objects.

thefall_detail

Detail from recent installation: The Fall (from Vogue), magazine, mirror, mylar, mirrored blown-glass, and mono-filament, 2018

Q: What’s next?
It’s hard to say…I am interested in applying for MFA programs in a year or so. I’m working with a friend in Boston on curating some all-female shows in the area and hope to do more residencies. I may end up going to Italy in the spring for work.

Q: Where can we find you?
My website is sienajhancock.com.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Kyle Graham

Kyle Graham, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the months of November and December 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Kyle some questions about her work and studio practice:

A self portrait print ready for installation

A self portrait print ready for installation

Q: Tell us about your background.
Hello! I currently reside in Whistler, BC, Canada, moved to the west coast in 2006 although grew up in Whitby, Ontario. I studied Adventure Tourism in college, and didn’t start making what I considered art until spring of 2017. The exploration had started previously but personally I didn’t feel anything had any oomph to it even though I had been  exploring with a camera since about 2010 in different capacities.

A lot of my background consists of adventures in the mountains, coastal landscapes, hiking, climbing, camping, mountain biking, skiing, and so forth. Although my mind has always had a fascination with art and creating works that provoke emotions and thoughts, I’ve simply been a self taught photographer with no prior experience in the artistic world. Currently I work part-time as a photographer, and part-time security personnel for a museum in Whistler, plus a few random odds and ends.

Multi day trek on the Sunshine coast

Multi day trek on the Sunshine coast

Q: How would you describe your work?
I am a self portrait photographer, I explore comfort zones, social constructs, personalized constructs, and attempt to find natural landscapes (generally) that can help facilitate a narrative to those experiences and ideas. Using the nude form primarily as it’s been a focal point to much anxiety growing up, it can host a variety of emotions.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
Camera, tripod, shutter release cable, and my laptop which has Lightroom. Also having a vehicle to get to unique locations is quite nice, or a bike to get there.

My local landscape

My local landscape

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Although I’ll have rough ideas, it’s going out and exploring, seeing what speaks to me. I’ll go under bridges, wade through rivers, climb on obstacles, experiment. I’ll look at spaces for a few minutes, think of poses, set-up the camera, trigger, try a couple shots, re-adjust framing, etc.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
Erwin Olaf in Europe, his imagery was one of the first I’ve seen that made me a little uncomfortable and gives me anxiety, his work pokes at convention. A lot of my work is loosely based around the same premise.

The Spotlight

Q: What are your goals for the residency?
These goals have funny enough changed, and they could change again during the residency. Originally I had the idea to expand current series surrounding nudes in nature, and gender. Although with further thought realized new series that compliment these series already started might be a better idea due to great differences in landscape design.

With a landscape that is familiar from growing up not too far away, although foreign when it comes to art, and with the shifts in changing seasons, I’m looking to force my perspective to think different on how I view landscapes. From a combination to thinking more critically about poses with it’s intervention with land in the nude form. Gender from the spectrum of gender identification and wearing lingerie/dress’s and the psychological ideas on how I feel society has processed this series.

A new series, The Voyeur, it’s taking a look at how the online world has changed so dramatically over the last couple decades and our interactions with strangers online has altered our ideas of interaction, the frame work is around nudity, exhibitionism from simple talking to explicit in nature imagery. I have another idea that I may tackle surrounding our phones/cameras and our interactions in landscapes, with people, scenic areas, etc, but creating augmented reality artistic expressions, this one I’ve dabbled in before but need to see where it may lead.

Gender Series Photo

Gender Series Photo

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
Explore, explore, explore. Get uncomfortable, try something new, go against the grain. Make things that you know aren’t going to work out. Step back, think, process, try, experiment, repeat.

Q: What’s next for you?
I don’t know…More residencies, expand/creating series, applying to shows, maybe get into a renegade style that goes against the regular spectrum on how you’re suppose to create you’re artistic image?

Q: Where else can we find you?
Can find me at:
www.kylegrahamfineart.com,
www.kylegrahamphotography.com, www.instagram.com/kylegrahamfineart, and www.instagram.com/kylegrahamphotography

Meet the Artist in Residence: Meredith Olinger

Meredith Olinger, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of October 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Meredith some questions about her work and studio practice:

MO_Photo

Meredith Olinger

Q: Tell us about your background.
I’m from Memphis, TN. I recently obtained my M.F.A. from Memphis College of Art. I am a mixed media artist. For the past two years I have been designing my own wallpaper, creating it both digitally and by hand, and using that to collage large scale installation pieces. I also work in printmaking, painting, and textiles.

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Room #1, mixed media, 2017

Q: How would you describe your work?
My work is very layered, both in physicality and content. I’m very interested in the intersections of art and design, painting and installation, digital and handmade. My work blurs these lines. Aesthetically, I’m looking for something bombastic and overwhelming. I’m inspired by advertising, billboards, interiors and  social media.

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Room #1 Reconfigured: Front, mixed media, 2017

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
All of my wallpapers are of my own design. I create them digitally and have them printed by Spoonflower, or I create them by hand, using painting, printmaking, drawing, etc. These are then layered onto a surface and then I rip away at them. I often collage these pieces back on, working until the piece feels right. I also photograph my work while it is in process, make a wallpaper pattern out of that, and then collage it into the work.

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Room #1 Reconfigured: Back, mixed media, 2017

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
During this residency, I am focusing solely on painting. My background is in painting, but I have been so focused on collage for the past few years that working with oil has been very challenging for me. My goal this month is to get re-acquainted with the medium.

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Detail, oil on panel, 2017

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have so many favorite artists! El Anatsui, Amy Sillman, Mark Bradford, and Nick Cave are just a few of my favorites. But recently, I’ve been very interested in Elliot Hundley’s work. Though it’s very different from mine, the way he works in layers is similar to my own process. I also love how dense his work is, and that is something I strive for in my own work.

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Untitled (Zeitgeist Installation), mixed media on wall, 2018

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
I’ve had so many great professors over the years, and they have all graciously given me so much wisdom. But one professor in particular once told me to, “trust the process.” Simple really, but I repeat it to myself a lot in the studio. It’s so easy to get bogged down in your work. Art making is hard and you have good days and bad days. You have to remember that it’s all part of the process. The struggle is important for making your best work.

Q: Do you collect artwork? Tell us about your collection.
I do collect artwork! My collection is small, but has some really great pieces by artists I love. I own a few pieces from some of my cohorts from graduate school: Katherine Dean, Joseph Mosely, and Mary Ruth Pruitt. I also own a piece of one of my professors, Beth Edwards, a fantastic Memphis painter. I also own some antique Chinese peasant paintings that I bought for a song because I don’t think their owner knew how amazing they were! I try to pick up prints when I can, and am looking to add a Chuck Johnson and a Greely Myatt (two local Memphis artists) to my collection in the near future.

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Untitled 1, mixed media, 2018

Q: What’s next for you?
I recently started showing my work with Binder Projects, an online gallery, so I am excited to see how that relationship develops. I’ll be teaching in the Fashion Design Certificate Program at Memphis College of Art in the Spring, and I have some workshops in mixed media and printmaking coming up. As for my work, I’m excited to see how my process grows and changes this month.

Q: Where else can we find you?
Check out Binder Projects and my website.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Emily Tyman

Emily Tyman, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the months of October and November2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Emily some questions about her work and studio practice:

Emily Tyman

Emily Tyman

Q: Tell us about your background. 

I grew up in Geneva, NY and went to college at the University of Rochester.  Originally I was a Biology major but quickly switched to Studio Art. I had always liked to make art, but in college, I experimented with different mediums and had amazing professors as mentors. I’ve tried many different types of art such as photography, sculpture, and performance art, but I always came back to painting as my favorite medium.

"Reflect", acrylic on linen, 18"x18", 2018

“Reflect”, acrylic on linen, 18″x18″, 2018

Q: How would you describe your work?

My recent work has been focusing on color and shapes and breaking down environments. I want to highlight the materials that I use, such as the linen or wood that I paint on and make that material as equally important as the paint that I’m using.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?

I used to always sketch out a plan and my paintings would usually end up being very close to the original sketch. Recently, I’ve tried to not be so strict with my paintings and just start something and not know how it’ll end up. While this was scary for me, it was a very liberating way to paint that I’ll continue to do with my pieces.

"Continue", acrylic on linen, 18"x18", 2018

“Continue”, acrylic on linen, 18″x18″, 2018

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?

Brush conditioner. Cleaning up is my least favorite thing to do and I’m not always the best at taking care of my brushes. The conditioner helps so much when I don’t thoroughly clean the paint off my brushes.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?

I usually listen to a lot of pop music but when I’m in the studio I will listen to art rock and indie rock. Anything with a good beat that will keep me focused on the piece I’m working on. A lot of times I work without any music, just listening to ambient noises. Sometimes that makes it easier for me to become distracted so then I’ll put music on.

"Setting Sun", acrylic on wood, 2'x2', 2018

“Setting Sun”, acrylic on wood, 2′x2′, 2018

Q: Do you collect anything?

I hoard a lot of random items and basically keep everything. It’ll be anything from wood bark to flower stem tubes. I have over fifty topography maps. I want to hang onto things that I think I could use in the future for different art pieces. Most of the time I end up not using anything that I’ve kept but I like to have it just in case. One day I might need it.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?

My goal is to become more comfortable with abstract work. I started to try and incorporate abstract elements into my recent pieces, but I want to see how I can develop those ideas further.

"Seneca", acrylic on linen, 11"x12", 2018

“Seneca”, acrylic on linen, 11″x12″, 2018

Q: What’s next for you?

Eventually, I want to go back to school for an MFA in painting. Applying to school again is very intimidating and so I want to get to a place where I am a lot more comfortable with my portfolio.

Q: Where else can we find you?

My website and my Instagram.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Angela Guest

Angela Guest, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of September 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Angela some questions about her work and studio practice:

Angela Guest

Angela Guest

Q: Tell us about your background.
I’m from Austin, TX and went to school for art at DePaul University in Chicago where I focused on oil painting and intermedia. DePaul had a small art department that was full of amazing teachers but lacked enough resources to teach a wide spectrum of artistic mediums. Because of this, all of my textiles knowledge is self-taught/ gleaned off of fabric experts like Chicago artist Karolina Gnatowski and my Grandma, Florence Guest (god bless mentors).

"Lazy Arches" felt and thread, 9"x11", 2018

“Lazy Arches” felt and thread, 9″x11″, 2018

Q: How would you describe your work?
All of my pieces tend to involve a pattern, lots of colors, appliqué, and are mixed media. I prefer materials like felt, gouache, oil paint, and thread. I have the habit of wanting to learn how to do everything; I want to be a master oil painter, a master textiles artist, a master of realism and abstract expressionism… so my practice can tend to go everywhere. Whether that’s good or bad for me and my work I’m still deciding! But I do love how that inner conflict often results in me producing mixed media works.

As far as subject matter, my work is very much about symbols and the meaning of those symbols, with the meaning usually connected to things like souls, death, decomposition, and love. 

"Long Distance Relationship" fabric, felt, thread, gouache, and glass paint with frame, 12"x15", 2018

“Long Distance Relationship” fabric, felt, thread, gouache, paper, and glass paint with frame, 12″x15″, 2018

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
The process is often a lot of looking at the materials I have and coming up with interesting combinations. I try to be a good planner, I draw out a few sketches, write out thoughts/goals with a piece, but it will usually devolve into me going “wow I like they way these things look together,” and then building off of that.

“On Fire” oil paint, gouache, thread, felt, canvas paper, two beads, 12″x16″, 2017

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
A needle.

Q: Do you collect anything?
House plants and beads. My aunt recently came across a big bag full of jewelry making materials that my late Grandpa left behind. The bag was full of precious stone beads including my favorite precious stone Carnelian, which it turned out was my Grandpa’s favorite precious stone as well.

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?
The whole city of Chicago.

"Consumption of Clouds" fabric, felt, thread, and bleach, 42"x23", 2018

“Consumption of Clouds” fabric, felt, thread, and bleach, 42″x23″, 2018

Detail of "Consumption of Clouds"

Detail of “Consumption of Clouds”

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?

I go for a lot of rap and hip-hop. Some of my favorite albums right now are Tyler the Creator’s Flower Boy, Kamaiyah’s A Good Night in the Ghetto, Tierra Whack’s Whack World, and Dj Quik and Problem’s Rosecrans. If I’m wanting to listen to something less wordy, I go for Philip Glass or Nujabes.

I don’t really think music affects my artwork. It’s more like what I like in music can be for the same reasons that I like my art or other people’s art. I like things that are intricate, chaotic/loud, and playful with the bite of a serious topic. The rap and art I like is often all of those things together.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I’d like to continue focusing on the creation of my own symbols and incorporating those symbols into a large scale fabric and paint piece. I also have a couple of unresolved projects that I started around a year ago that I’d like to bring out again and think about.

Q: What’s next for you?
Settling down in Buffalo, NY and getting my bearings!

Q: Where else can we find you?
My website and on Instagram

Meet the Artist in Residence: Matt Simon

Matt Simon, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of September 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Matt some questions about their work and studio practice:

Matt Simon

Matt Simon

Q: Tell us about your background.
I’m from Denver, Colorado, and lived in various neighborhoods around the city growing up. I didn’t really make much art in grade school (I had two art classes during those twelve years), and ended up getting into art pretty much on accident — I actually applied to a bunch of engineering schools, but ended up choosing Oberlin for financial reasons.

Still, I entered college with the intent of majoring in physics. I sat next to the painting professor at a first-year orientation event, and she encouraged me to take a class with her since I’d always had a vague interest in making more art but hadn’t really acted on it. I did so my second semester, and during a class field trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art first saw the painting Lot’s Wife by Anselm Kiefer, and was enamored with its scale and textural aptitude. But during another trip to the museum with some friends during commencement week at the end of the year, the painting’s emotional weight hit me. I had to figure out how Kiefer was able to provoke such a strong reaction through an image, and I was hooked.

Lot's Wife - Anselm Kiefer

“Lot’s Wife” by Anselm Kiefer

Q: How would you describe your work?
I think the best descriptor of my work is tactile — I love creating textures that make you want to touch them, and have slowly figured out various material processes that result in ones I’ve integrated into many of my pieces. My favorite one is probably a mixture of acrylic, sand, clay, and iron oxide, which dries thick and claylike, but much more sturdy due to the acrylic and sand; this can be seen most plainly in my book, Weathering.

how the stars did fall

how the stars did fall

My longest-running subject material is the mythology of the American West, which has a long and complex history I’m still working to understand more completely. I feel a deep affinity for the landscape of that region, especially in Colorado and New Mexico. But at the same time, that affinity is enabled by the genocide and displacement of the indigenous peoples who lived there. I draw on that tension as inspiration for my work.

the child the father

the child the father

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Most of my work begins textually, often from written sources on the West and the period of westward expansion. I find imagery or stories in these which I draw from to create preliminary ideas for pieces. A couple of my favorite textual sources for this kind of working are Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.

Once I have that initial idea, I’ll try to figure out which medium best suits the idea, whether it be one of my usual assortment of book, painting, sculpture, or print, or some combination of those. I’ll occasionally make a more formal sketch of something, like on a small canvas before moving to a large one, but often I’d rather just jump in with the idea and follow where it takes me as I work the image over and over. I find my choice of mediums fairly forgiving since I can usually just add more material over the last layer if I want to change something, which helps this approach.

Weathering (page 2)

Weathering (page 2)

Q: Do you collect anything?
I like to collect natural materials, especially rocks and plants, and some of my pieces even end up incorporating them. My favorites are the ones I have that remind me of Colorado and New Mexico.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have a hard time picking favorites, so I’d say there’s a three way tie: I’ve already talked about Anselm Kiefer, but I also love the work of Doris Salcedo, whose sculptures always have a level of detail that seems completely impossible, and Kathe Kollwitz — I don’t know of anyone who can create more depth in black space. I’d be happy to be one-tenth as good at that.

Kindersterben - Kathe Kollwitz (My copy)

“Kindersterben” by Kathe Kollwitz

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
I mostly listen to things in the vicinity of indie, folk, and bluegrass, with some hip-hop/rap in there as well. I often end up playing music that feels like it suits the piece I’m working on, so I sometimes will listen to an album or even a single song on repeat if I’m really focusing in on that correlation.

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.
I love making large-scale works, but unfortunately studio space where I live, in Seattle, is expensive, prohibitively so for a space big enough to do works of that size. So I’m planning on taking full advantage of the space I’ll have for the month and working on some good-sized pieces. I’m going to try making a book at least the same size as my largest so far (2×3’), or maybe even bigger!

Weathering (page 5)

Weathering (page 5)

Q: What’s next for you?
I plan on starting to apply for MFA programs in the next year or two. It’s a little intimidating how many incredibly skilled artists are competing for admission (especially for the well-funded ones), so I want to get to a place where I feel more confident in my portfolio first.

Q: Where else can we find you?
You can visit my website, and I recently succumb to making an art-specific Instagram, which you can find at @mattsimonart.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Jill Grimes

Jill Grimes, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of August 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Jill some questions about her work and studio practice:

Artist Jill Grimes

Artist Jill Grimes

Q: Please tell us about your background.
I moved to the Boston area in 1999 to attend the Post Baccalaureate  Program in Studio Art at Brandeis University, then to Boston University for an MFA in Painting. I also went to the Kansas City Art Institute for a BFA in Painting.

I’m a Full Time Lecturer in the School of Visual Arts at Boston University, where I’ve taught for the past 12 years. I’m lucky to work with a fantastic group of faculty and students.

Boston Studio 2018

Boston Studio 2018

Q: How would you describe your work?
I primarily make oil paintings in the still life tradition—working from observation in the studio from a set up that I arrange specifically for each painting. I am working with flowers, plants and trees at the moment. I’ve also been making cut paper pieces recently, and drawing more as a part of my practice.

"Arrangement II" (left) and " "Untitled" by Jill Grimes

“Arrangement II” (left) and ” “Untitled” by Jill Grimes

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I brought a wall-sized piece that I want to develop and think about. I also will work on implementing  some ideas about using different languages in my work: flat shapes, line, fully articulated form (in the same space). It’s something I’ve been thinking about this year.

MSA Studio Day 1

MSA Studio Day 1

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I don’t have one favorite artist at any one time, but look at different things that may inform what I’m working toward. Right now I’m looking at this:

Fresco from the House of Livia, Museo Nazionale, Rome

Fresco from the House of Livia, Museo Nazionale, Rome

I’m also looking at Bonnard, Klimt landscape paintings, and 17th century Dutch still life.

Q: Do you collect anything?
I collect tiny pinecones. I also collect postcards of paintings I like so I can curate a dream painting show with them.

Members of the pinecone collection

Members of the pinecone collection

Where else can we find you?
My website is jill-grimes.com  and you can find me on Instagram @grimes5000

Meet the Artist in Residence: Maliya Travers-Crumb

Maliya Travers-Crumb, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of August 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Maliya some questions about her work and studio practice:

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Q: Tell us about your background. I grew up in Avon, NY outside of Rochester. My mother is a quilter so our house was full of fabric and craft supplies for me to experiment with.  I was always making something or other, attempting to make my own clothes or scribbling in my sketch book. I currently work as an administrator for the University of Rochester Urgent Care system. I spend most of my free time making pottery.

 Q: What was your experience like at art school? I’ve always been a big reader and literature is an integral aspect of my practice. I studied English and studio art at Oberlin College as an undergrad and did a lot of conceptual work. I went back to school and got a second bachelor’s degree in illustration from RIT where I specialized in digital techniques. It was at RIT that I rediscovered ceramics and it was sort of the missing piece in rounding out the way that I think about and approach my art.

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Q: How would you describe your work?
I mostly make pottery, but my work is very informed by my background in illustration. I like to think of clay as a different kind of canvas, and I really enjoy pairing flat  drawings with more dimensional forms. I work primarily with graphic black and white painting which helps to create a sense of continuity between my work. My illustrative style gives me the freedom to go in a lot of different directions with the pottery I create. I gravitate toward simpler forms which I paint in a whimsical style with a lot of cats and other creatures.

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Q: What is your process for creating art? I had hand surgery about 6 months ago, which has significantly impacted my process and how I make art. I had a repetitive strain injury to the sagittal band on my dominant hand, which was very painful and made it almost impossible to hold a pen. I couldn’t make art for a year and a half and I refer to it as my personal dark ages. Making art is very tied into my sense of self.  When I wasn’t able to throw or draw, I thought about art constantly. What I would make, what I would change when I was able to get back into the studio. I thought more intellectually about form, about making intentional art rather than just working intuitively. Although the process was inarguably terrible, the shift in my art since being able to make again has definitely been a positive one. In a time where throwing on the wheel is something that has come more into vogue, it’s interesting for me to focus on something different and how I can approach a fresh type of making. How does creating multiples affect the preciousness of an object? How does this change if you add in more of the decorative arts? What does a piece from a mold need in order to be its own unique work of art? 

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Q: Do you collect anything?
 I’m really into strange natural bits of detritus and decay. I have a collection of pinned beetles, shells, little animal bones, pressed flowers, and rocks. There is something very satisfying about tiny things.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have always loved fairy tales, and am particularly drawn to the work of Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac. I also love the graphic style of Aubrey Beardsley, his drawings for Le Morte d’Arthur are strongly influential to my own work.
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Q: Who inspires you and why?
 
Reading has always been something that I go to when I need inspiration or comfort. Audiobooks have been the perfect tie in to how I create art. I love fantasy and storytelling, and something about listening to stories when I work helps me to create narratives within my own pieces. Anything by Neil Gaiman is on the list, but particularly Neverwhere which he narrates himself. I also love the Series of Unfortunate Events, which I didn’t originally like as much until I started listening to them narrated by Tim Curry who is over the top hilarious and amazing. My all time favorite will always be the Harry Potter audiobooks, which were an enormous part of my childhood and my development as a person.
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Q: What are your goals for this residency? My goal for this residency is to create a new practice of mold making with a focus on form and function. I’m looking forward to having the chance to spread out a little in this space and maybe create some larger pieces. I didn’t study ceramics in school, so I’m excited to learn more of the technical aspects of the process. I will be firing a kiln for the first time during my residency!  (With a little help from previous artist in  residence  Zoey Murphy Houser so I don’t melt anything J).
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Q: Where else can we find you?
Instragram: @mtcpottery

Meet the Artist in Residence: Ari Norris

Ari Norris, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of July 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Ari some questions about his work and studio practice:

Ari Norris

Ari Norris

Q:Tell us about your background.
I’m the son of two art educators, from Muskegon, Michigan. I grew up watching both of my parent’s studio practices and helping along  when I could; it made the decision to pursue a career in art an easier choice than I’m sure a lot of other kids had it. We joke now that I was really just doomed from the beginning.

Large scale collaborative piece by Timothy Norris and Patti Opel, w/ two T. Norris pieces to left.

Large scale collaborative piece by Timothy Norris and Patti Opel,  two T Norris pieces to left.

More recently, I apprenticed with Gary Casteel for two summers (2016, 2017) in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; learning how to sculpt figuratively with oil clay, equally picking up the trade of commission-based bronze. Thankfully resulting in some public work of my own.

Norris' bust of Gary Casteel

Ari Norris’ bust of Gary Casteel, bronze 2016

Coming up in a few months, we will be dedicating a life-size bronze sculpture of Clarence Zylman, a fellow Muskegonite, in November 2018, in Muskegon, MI.

Zylman was given the title of the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” by the U.S. Army, during his service in World War II. The song had already been released by the time of Zylman’s enlistment, though he inevitably lived the role that the hit song had immortalized, and the Army publicly recognized him for that.

Clarence Zylman/Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, oil clay

Clarence Zylman/Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, oil clay

I am currently in the summer before my final year at Northern Illinois University, finishing up a BFA degree. Jose Jimenez, a fellow sculpture student, and I, run an independent space on campus named Backspace Gallery. I’ve lucked out and gotten great campus employment as well, at both the Jack Olson Gallery here, and the NIU Art Museum.

"the (g)rad stuff" at Backspace Gallery

“the (g)rad stuff” at Backspace Gallery

 Q: How would you describe your work?
The current body of work I’ve been building at NIU has partly stemmed from an area artist’s interview I had read; never before had I been hit with such an ego in writing before, and it helped realize some similarities I saw growing in myself.

It really encouraged me to try and deflate this prevalent machismo attitude, that I’m sure all of us can imagine in some iteration. The artist’s work that I was responding to was very much about “man’s work”/construction, so adopting similar materials and language was the starting point. The first pieces utilized realistically rendered, impotently sagging, cast resin hammers that I made.

Acrylic on cast resin

Acrylic on cast resin, 2017

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Lately, trying to find my own balance between technology and tradition has been changing my process immensely. While I have been finding ways to incorporate digital fabrication, dually burying the technological aspects by hand-skills has been changing the ways I make anything now.

I am constantly battling myself when questioning, “does one approach visibly outweigh the other?” Because for whatever reason, I have this pre-conceived idea that using new technology feels like I’m cheating in some way – and that’s one way I think the work thankfully combats my own ego.

Laser cut and painted wood, aluminum, cast resin, acrylic sheet, mounted on aluminum composite panel

Laser cut and painted wood, aluminum rod, cast resin, oil, acrylic sheet, mounted on aluminum composite panel, 2018

I want my work to stay informed dually by current topics, and art history, without hitting the viewer over the head with either sources, for lack of a better euphemism. The hammer, and objects in general, have already been long immortalized by Joseph Kosuth,  Magrite, and many others, so it’s not exactly doing anything new on that front.

Finding ways to converse with, and utilize these established and familiar motifs, I think is what part of my overarching motivation in art making could likely be.

Jennifer Mannebach, an artist who recently exhibited at Jack Olson Gallery, and is an NIU Alumni herself, titled a piece, “A Means of Asserting While Also Giving the Slip.” That’s been resonating with me for a few months now, as each new object I work on, is both trying to emulate the source material, but also show the viewer that it is an impersonation.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
As I mentioned before, I have been working around the clock on the Bugle Boy Sculpture. In the days before I leave Dekalb, IL, for Clifton Springs, NY, the clay figure will be going to a special arts foundry for bronze casting over the next several months, and I will be able to get some short term separation from it. The residency at Main Street Arts is coming at a perfect time, and I am really thankful to have been selected.

During the residency, I will be switching gears from working mostly  three-dimensionally, to focus on printmaking. I’ve been trying to make a connection from embossing as a flat, absent image on paper, to clear epoxy castings of objects, both being so ghost-like.

Intaglio print on laser cut embossing

Intaglio print on laser cut embossing

Q: What is your most useful tool in your studio?
Razor blade/Box cutter; I think I even prefer them over the smaller X-Acto knives. Mike Rea, the sculpture professor here at NIU, has shown me some really precise moves with a blade for framing/woodworking. Using a razor with the resin work I’ve been doing is great too, I’d rather shave flashing down with a blade than try to sand it and breath in all that dust. Cannot beat the replaceability either.

Q: Do you collect artwork?
When it’s reasonably priced, I try to! Since moving here to Dekalb, IL, I’ve been trying to collect work from retired NIU faculty. I think the fact that they are largely pre-internet, the amount of information sellers can find is more limited, so the price can be closer to what a student can afford. Not to mention the thrill of stepping into an area Goodwill or some other thrift store, and finding something with a name that is recognizable, but that’s rare.

Q: What’s next for you?
I have two public sculpture dedications in the months following the residency, and college will be back in full swing as well. During all of this, I will be getting my applications prepared for grad school, and getting ready for the Spring BFA show. Ready to let the chips fall where they may!

Q: Where else can we find you?
arinorris.wixsite.com/home
Facebook
Instagram

Meet the Artist in Residence: Dain Q. Gore

Dain Gore, artist in residence during the month of June 2018 at Main Street Arts, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Dain some questions about his work and studio practice:

Artist Dain Q. Gore

Artist Dain Q. Gore

Q: Tell us about your background.
I was born in Phoenix and live in Laveen, AZ. I have been there my whole life. I keep thinking what it would be like to move but in my travels I have yet to find a Goldilocks Zone for that (except maybe Japan). I have an MFA in painting (2009) and BFA in drawing (2000) from ASU. When I’m not making art for upcoming shows I like to perform puppetry at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater in the Puppet Slams.

Q: How long have you been making artwork?
I was just telling a friend that the only good days I really remember about grade school were when I could draw, especially when it was “rainy day schedule.” As a small kid, there really was nothing much else of significance for me than drawing and collecting action figures and video games. Socialization came much later in life.

"Histrionics of Medicine" by Dain Q. Gore

“Histrionics of Medicine” by Dain Q. Gore

Q: What was your experience like at art school?
I’ve also been talking about this a lot lately. My perspective now has been oddened, as peers are relating experiences that I simply did not have. For some reason I feel like I had some kind of plot armor, or that as I recall it, knew I could accept or reject anything tasked of me. This was best illustrated when a professor gave me a long list of corrections to my painting, followed by, “Or not…just keep painting!” This became a running joke at critiques but stuck from then on. This probably made the most sense of anything I ever learned in art school. Any kind of actual learning—not mimicking, not repeating–I think involves a moment where you simply have to do and stop thinking.

Tardinaut-edit

“Tardinaut” by Dain Q. Gore

Q: Do you have a job other than making art?
I do! I am currently a faculty adjunct at South Mountain Community and Phoenix College. In addition, I have been substituting at Metro Arts, an arts-based high school in Phoenix. I’ve also been starting to do workshops based on some of my specific niche areas of interest in art, such at the Exquisite Corpse  and painting board gaming miniatures. I also perform puppetry, as mentioned above, which often intervenes into my exhibitions.

"Exquisite Corpse" by Dain Q. Gore

“Exquisite Corpse” pieces by Dain Q. Gore

Q: How would you describe your work?
My work is colorful, experimental, playful, image-ridden and fragile.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
My process very often involves turning on some music (I like art/prog rock) or Coast to Coast AM or an audiobook (currently trying to finish Snow Crash) to get started. I get out a piece of foam core and draw out a basic shape using a white China marker, paint directly onto the surface (sometimes with gesso or medium first).

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My goals were initially to experiment further, but now I have a list of several things I would like to play with that may still involve my process.

ArtClocky

“Art Clocky” by Dain Q. Gore

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have so many too pick just one: James Ensor, Philip Guston, Martin Wong, Wayne White. There are so many great ones on Instagram now, too. I would have to say James Ensor overall, though, because his life echoes his art so closely in such a surreal way and feels like an echo of my life and art, too.

Q: What type of music do you listen to?
As mentioned, music can be crucial to getting me out of my own head and on to painting surfaces. I love DEVO, Blue Oyster Cult, Oingo Boingo, Idiot Flesh (and its numerous incarnations), Father John Misty, Of Montreal, Talking Heads, Neon Indian, Stereolab, Adam and the Ants, Al Stewart…

"Avatar of Kek" by Dain Q. Gore

“Avatar of Kek” by Dain Q. Gore

Q: Do you collect anything?
I “used to” collect action figures. I have a hopeless fascination with them, and it certainly has influenced my aesthetic choices and being a puppeteer. I also collect (and sometimes actually paint) the aforementioned miniatures.

Q: What’s next for you?
As soon as I get back to AZ I have to start working on a Puppet Slam piece for GenCon, two shows I will be featured in at Eric Fischl Gallery in September and Fine Arts Complex in October, in addition to the monthly AZ Puppet Slams!

Q: Where else can we find you?
I can be found on Instagram @daintist and at www.daingore.com


Dain will be teaching two workshops during his residency at Main Street Arts. The first will take place on Saturday, June 16 from 12 to 3 pm and will focus on the Surrealist game of Exquisite Corpse—a spontaneous, group-collaborated creature where the only limit is your own imagination (see image above). Perfect for a group of friends! Sign up here.

The second workshop, taking place on Saturday, June 23 from 12 to 3 pm, will give participants to create puppet-like paintings that Dain calls “INGs”. Somewhere between two-dimensional paintings and sculptures, these objects represent an element of play as well as a thoughtful approach to the layered sensibility of painting (see images above). Sign up here.