Category Archives: Inside the Artist’s Studio

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Adam LaPorta

In 2001 I was given a Pentax k1000 camera as a gift from my parents. It was a send off gift as I was headed to art school that year.

Little did I know that I would always be drawn to the lens.

Over the past eight months I have realized the gift I was given was too far removed from my life, and in January 2018 I stepped back into my role as an artist.

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Artist Adam LaPorta

I wanted to reignite an idea I had from 2006. The idea related to my earlier macro works, which I always wanted to take it to an elevated level.

Capturing patterns and shape at macro and microscopic magnifications distorted the placement or recognition of something someone so commonly understood, to becoming unfamiliar with it.

Below are images shot from my years at the Cleveland Institute of Art, 2004 – 2006.

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Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

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Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

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Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

I have always been intrigued by the repetitious and structured patterns life so beautifully creates. We pass by so many places/items daily and never think to give something a different look…a new perspective.

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Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

In taking my process to an elevated level I began to explore life from new heights. Turning a path someone so commonly walks on, into something graphic and different, giving them a new perspective.

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The artist getting a new perspective

What makes this process so exciting to me is the ability to remove our awareness of place, taking a viewer’s eye into patterns and shapes by abstracting space.

The surroundings of color, objects, weather, and seasons all play an important role influencing my canvas.

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“Unknown #3″ by Adam LaPorta, included in the Land & Sea exhibition

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There is still so much to learn about my process, especially finding out how different seasons will influence what I capture and why I want to capture an area.

Right now I am just grateful to be creating once again. I have many ideas I would like to bring to fruition. If I continue to be consistent with my work then my ideas will continue to consistently grow into stronger creations!


Adam LaPorta is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. His photographs “Unknown #1–3″ won a juror’s choice award. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with June Szabo

Most of my work begins with the natural world, often in a particular landscape. Sometimes a place finds me and sometimes I look for a location that illustrates the idea I am working on. I spend many hours exploring and researching the history and geology that formed the place I have chosen. I find myself making comparisons and creating metaphors between the events that shaped the land and the actions that shape our lives.

Artist June Szabo

Artist June Szabo

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Inspiration

To understand what each place has to teach me, I write about the connections I make in poetry and prose. The following contemplation on the purpose of scars was a comparison between glacial formations (scars on the land) and the scars that we carry.

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June B W Szabo

Considering the damage we do to ourselves and others;
I looked to the landscape to ponder the purpose of scars.
Above and below the surface is a record of events that have left a lasting impression:
Kettles, kames and eskers, are divots, knobs and welts,
caverns, caves and sinkholes are mania and despair.
Forgotten and remembered these marks and inklings are the relics of our story,
scars and impressions resolved and unresolved.
When we stop scratching, scraping and digging like a glacier,
our wounds begin to heal.

"Relics of our Story – Mendon"

“Relics of our Story – Mendon”

The process I use to create my sculpture is also a metaphor for a connection between nature and human behavior. The layers of wood, which give my forms depth and dimension, reflect growth in nature and the layering of the earth. Wood sculptures are formed by cutting and stacking lumber, which is joined with glue, clamps and wooden dowels. Each layer in a landscape sculpture represents an elevation on a topographical map.

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

In addition to wood sculptures, such as the one seen in Land & Sea, I also weave. Weaving creates thousands of connections and intersections. I warp my loom with copper wire and weave panels that are folded, pleated and bent into three dimensional forms. These bonds are sometimes unseen, but necessary for the final woven product to exist. They are a metaphor for the connections that hold our earth together.

Weaving

Weaving

Weaving

Weaving

For me each process has come to represent and illustrate the interrelated, interdependence of all things.

Comparison is the estimation of similarities and differences. Metaphor suggests a likeness as we speak about one thing as if it were another. My sculptures are reflections on questions that occur to me as I consider our place in the world. They take the shape of landscapes and natural forms. They may include an area that covers inches or hundreds of miles. The sculptures are not exact replicas of a particular place or thing, but partial abstractions representing ideas that surface as I consider each place and how it was created. They are comparisons between the forces and forms found in nature to human inclination and behavior.


June Szabo is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jim DeLucia

I have always been creative as far back as I can remember. It wasn’t until I went to college that I began to paint. I mean really paint. I earned my BFA in 2002 and didn’t officially become a full-time artist until 2013.  Soon after, I shifted into the role of stay-at-home dad and nighttime painter. And here we are.

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My current studio set up, my basement.

These are my favorite brush sizes and palette knife shape.

These are my favorite brush sizes and palette knife shape.

My painting Salt Life is a loose representation based off a photo from a mini vacation to Florida. I was visiting a friend who moved there from Rochester. He would always say “It’s the salt life, Jim.” I don’t really venture out into water, but there is something about the ocean that just gets me. Always changing. That’s attractive to me.

Salt Life, Oil on paper.

Salt Life, Oil on paper.

All my work is oil paint and graphite on canvas or paper. My style and subject matter has seemed to change over the years but the materials have remained. Landscapes , dogs, patterns and pink are the usual suspects in my work. I’m kind of all over the place.

Stella, Oil and colored pencil on canvas. Current pet portrait work in progress.

Stella, Oil and colored pencil on canvas. Current pet portrait work in progress.

I am currently painting pet portraits, figuring out Adobe Illustrator, and trying to finish a children’s book influenced by my daughter’s pink boots.

Pink Boots #14, graphite and colored pencil on paper. A page from children's book project.

Pink Boots #14, graphite and colored pencil on paper. A page from children’s book project.

You can see more of my work at  www.jimdelucia.com or @jimdelucia on Instagram.


Jim DeLucia is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Ruth LaGue

I grew up in Alaska, awed by the incredible vastness of the wild landscape. Gazing at the expansive skies and majestic mountains as a girl, I recognized that I was a small part of something much larger than myself.

"Migration" by Ruth LaGue, Best In Show winner in Land and Sea at Main Street Arts.

“Migration” by Ruth LaGue, Best In Show winner in Land and Sea at Main Street Arts.

Traveling through India in my twenties, I became consumed by the landscape of the spirit — that limitless interior universe that lives in each of us. The marriage of the two experiences ignited a lifelong quest to connect the outer and inner within my paintings.

To me, landscapes represent fragments of time that will never be again; intimate moments of communion with something greater than myself; quiet meditations to which I bear witness.

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Work by Ruth LaGue

The most exciting part of the creative process is observing the juxtaposition of colors and textures as they form a depth of field — how a simple dark line next to a light field of color can come alive.

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Ruth in her studio

I use palette knives, mixing colors on the surface of the canvas and using visual economy in my work, reducing the landscape to its barest form.

I rarely come to the studio with an idea of what I’m going to paint but rather listen for the inspiration from within.

I always wanted to go to art school. I applied and was accepted to the Rhode Island School of Design to study graphic design; after graduation I began a career as a graphic designer and later as a web designer. Ten years ago, I found a studio space at the Gorse Mill Studios in Needham, MA and began painting. I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to explore two very different aspects of my professional life.

I can be found online at www.laguewax.com, on Instagram: @ruthlague and on Facebook: @Laguewax


Ruth LaGue is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. Ruth’s painting “Migration” won Best In Show. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with KS Lack

I started working with letterpress almost eight years ago, when I was looking for a way to print a mixed-media piece for a gallery in Brooklyn. I fell in love with the medium:  the richness of the inks, the juxtaposition of typography and imagery, how different paper types interact with ink and pressure—the list goes on. There are so many ways to create something unique, even if you are making multiples.

I also write poetry and both facets of my work have a profound influence on one another. There is poetry in presswork. Nothing makes you understand the weight of words like laying them out by hand.

Laying out type at the London Centre for Book Arts

Laying out type at the London Centre for Book Arts

Squall and Sunset, the two pieces featured in the Land and Sea exhibition, were printed at the London Centre for Book Arts. The prints were created on a Stephenson Blake press, a manufacturer that is common in the UK but rare in the US. For a pressure print, the ink is applied to a base instead of onto the rollers. The paper is then rolled over the ink, and the weight of the press is what makes the print. The cylinder on this Stevie B is very heavy, which makes for great pressure. As for inks, the LCBA has a wonderful collection of vintage, oil-based inks that were great fun to play with.

Some of the vintage orange inks at the LCBA

Some of the vintage orange inks at the LCBA

Printers love this Stevie B model because it has a very wide bed. This let me print on 22-inch squares (I used Redeem 130gsm, a 100% recycled paper), which are quite large for a single letterpress page. I printed each piece four times; the paper became so supersaturated with ink that it took over a week to dry.

Prints drying on the racks

Prints drying on the racks

Finished prints

Finished prints

Then I took the plunge and cut each sheet into four strips.

Cut down to size

Cut down to size

While living in the UK, I was particularly struck by the vitality of the countryside. Everything seemed so lush—the sea off Cornwall, fields of grass and hay with poppies growing by the side of the road, summer sunsets and rainy days—it was all on my mind as I mixed and applied the ink.

The individual strips were getting overwhelmed when mounted with traditional matboard. I decided to use acrylic for the front and back, allowing the vibrancy of the inks to stand out. I also like how the colors seem to float within the frame when hung on a wall. 

RBR  for R&T

RBR for R&T

Green Flash

Green Flash

As a person with a long-term disability, I find there is a lot of synergy between my art and how I try to live my life. Working on a press could be all about its limitations. Instead, I find that the structure inherent in presswork grants me greater freedom by giving me something to lean on. I may not always be able to hold a pen, but I can create something beautiful by working within the constraints of the press in order to transcend them.

You can find out more about my work at my website: www.zitternpress.com.


KS Lack is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Patrick Kana

For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the idea of making things with my hands. I started as a child in my father’s basement workshop making carefully assembled model boats and planes, and over the last 15 years continued to gravitate toward working with wood as my primary creative practice.

Patrick Kana working in his studio

Patrick Kana working in his studio

I grew up on the coastal eastern shore of Maryland as a son of two marine biologists, and these influences remain at the forefront of my experimental woodworking today. I am currently the studio technician and visiting faculty for the Art and Architecture Department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, and have my independent business and studio: Kana Studios.

Finished texture and form exploring biological specimens.

Finished texture and form exploring biological specimens.

My work ranges in appearance and context, from fine client-based commissioned furniture to sculptural and carved objects that are grounded in my curiosity of the natural world. All of my work is experimental on some degree, by testing and exploring what certain specimens of wood can provide, how form integrates with the material, and how surface texture and color can enhance the gesture of the piece.

Development of Geneva Chair, 2012.  Mock-up before final production.

Development of Geneva Chair, 2012. Mock-up before final production.

The collection of work currently on view at Main Street Arts is more about showing the spectrum of my work rather than honing in on one central theme. The Geneva Chairs were my first long-term design and research project in 2012 that yielded a user-friendly and intriguing product for the masses, while keeping the material use and construction process efficient in my workshop. These are designed to be made in multiples, which contrasts well to the inherently one-of-a-kind carved wall vessel, Nascent, a piece that is designed and made using one specific piece of wood.

Organic development of Nascent.  Arranging free-form parts until I am drawn to a pleasing composition.

Organic development of “Nascent”, arranging free-form parts until I am drawn to a pleasing composition.

"Nascent" by Patrick Kana

“Nascent” by Patrick Kana

As my work has progressed over the last 5 years, I have found more intrigue in curves and contours of surfaces, as seen in the reed-like curves on the back of my Palea Chair, where multiple laminated slats combine to generate a contoured, gestured, and most importantly comfortable back to the chair.

Sketch developments of Palea Chair.

Sketch developments of Palea Chair.

Sketch refinement of Palea Chair.

Sketch refinement of Palea Chair.

Mock-up development of Palea Chair.

Mock-up development of Palea Chair.

"Palea Chair" by Patrick Kana

“Palea Chair” by Patrick Kana

My outlook on making is one that is central to understanding material. I want to learn the deep characteristics of wood—it is a seductive material in its natural state, tempting to simply sand and leave smooth, but I challenge myself to look at the raw material with a curiosity of what is within, or what it wants to become. I believe that through a range of working methods, we gain a more thorough understanding of medium, and in return we become stronger designers and artists.


Patrick Kana is one of eight gallery artists represented by Main Street Arts. He is featured in the exhibition CULTIVATE which runs April 7 through May 18, 2018. More information about Patrick and his work can be found on our website. View more pieces by Patrick Kana on the gallery’s Artsy page.

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Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jody Selin

Until about the age of 6, I grew up in fairly rural area of Greensboro, North Carolina. My parents were avid gardeners and some of my fondest memories where of snapping green beans, skinned knees and following my parents around the yard, as they pruned and planted throughout the growing season.

Jody Selin working in her studio

Jody Selin working in her studio

There was plenty of land to roam as unsupervised kids and we took full advantage of it. If asked, we could recite the trees in our yard; cherry, pear, oak, dogwood and magnolias. It was here that I naturally developed a love of being outdoors, gardening and a fascination with plant and earth sciences. These earliest childhood impressions, along with a mother who encouraged creativity, are what I carry into my work today. 

Various pieces in progress

Various pieces in progress

So, for the better part of 20 plus years, I’ve been making art and choosing to live creatively. Originally, I came to Western New York to pursue my MFA in Ceramics at RIT’s School for American Craft, eventually settling in Buffalo, NY. Before this, I had traveled around the US and Caribbean for several years, where my natural inclination for plant biology overlapped with a love for the enormous plant growth and lush, saturation of the sub-tropics. The ecology of western NY has been just as inspiring, with the diverse hiking trails, rivers and Great Lakes. 

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Detail of “Entangled Growth” from CULTIVATE exhibition

"Medium Pollinator Cluster" from the CULTIVATE exhibition

“Medium Pollinator Cluster” from the CULTIVATE exhibition

Working with my hands, traveling, hiking and experiencing people and places outside of my direct understanding have always been an interest for me. At my best, I am curious. 

These recent works, featured in the CULTIVATE exhibition, are a reflection of this continued curiosity. Threads of previous works in content and style are always present although, I intentionally choose to pursue work that is continually explorative and in response to my direct natural environment. 


Jody Selin is one of eight gallery artists represented by Main Street Arts. She is featured in the exhibition CULTIVATE which runs April 7 through May 18, 2018. More information about Jody and her work can be found on our website. View more pieces byJody Selin on the gallery’s Artsy page.

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Inside The Artist’s Studio with Meredith Mallwitz

The series of landscape paintings featured in the CULTIVATE exhibition is about the simple, unassuming beauty of the relationship between a horizon line, the light of an expansive sky and the changing mood of the day.

Inspiration for a painting

Inspiration image for “Canandaigua Light”

Inspiration for "Canandaigua Light"

Inspiration image  for “Canandaigua Light”

When I see a landscape that inspires me it can be because of the glow of the light coming through the clouds that happened very quickly and dramatically, the smell of the air as it moves across the land, the contrast of color in a field, or the rising mist coming over the horizon. I don’t paint to recreate what I saw, rather I paint to convey my sensory experience and bring that initial inspiring experience or moment to life.

"Canandaigua Light" in progress

“Canandaigua Light” in progress

"Canandaigua Light"

“Canandaigua Light” by Meredith Mallwitz

The landscape of the Finger Lakes region in particular has given me so much in terms of inspiration. I live in Canandaigua and even in our dark, gloomy days, I can have my breath taken away by the stunning beauty of the area. And when that happens, I don’t forget that image or that feeling.

My work starts from a photo or a sketch of the subject. I’ll start a painting from that, but the work takes on a much different identity once it comes into my art studio. That photo usually only serves the purpose in the initial stages of a painting. I work with acrylic paints, usually very diluted, soft layers that I build up very slowly to allow the paint to have some translucency to it, and allow the layers to glow and illuminate from beneath.

Inspiration image for "Canandaigua Lake"

Inspiration image for “Canandaigua Lake”

Inspiration image for "Canandaigua Lake"

Inspiration image for “Canandaigua Lake”

"Canandaigua Lake" by Meredith Mallwitz

“Canandaigua Lake” by Meredith Mallwitz

Two of my biggest art influences are William Turner, for his light and atmospheric technique, and Mark Rothko for the emotion behind those color relationships.

I am originally from Shortsville, NY where I grew up working in my family’s bar and restaurant, Buffalo Bills Family Restaurant & Tap Room. If there’s one thing that has been the most influential on my life, it would be that restaurant. It’s been in my family since I was 4 and has taught me a thing or two about the intrinsic value of good hard work. The great bonus of the business was meeting some remarkably inspiring, creative, and interesting people over the years starting from a very young age.

"Windswept" in progress

“Windswept” in progress

"Windswept" by Meredith Mallwitz

“Windswept” by Meredith Mallwitz

After I graduated high school I attended the Art Institute of Boston, California College of the Arts, and The Art Institute of Florence, Italy. I traveled to Egypt, Greece, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ireland. Right after college graduation I traveled the coast of Mexico for 6 months. Life was good and I was soaking up and loving every moment. But truth be told, I actually missed the Finger Lakes. I needed to see the world to realize how beautiful the Finger Lakes region truly is. I longed for the rolling hills, the farmland, the lakes. So, I moved back and rented an art studio above my parents restaurant. During the day I painted, and at night I was a bartender.

Viewer looking at "Windswept" in the CULTIVATE exhibition at Main Street Arts

Viewer looking at “Windswept” in the CULTIVATE exhibition at Main Street Arts

One day I hung a painting that was still wet on the wall at the restaurant because I wanted to get feedback. Two hours later a man saw it, loved it and bought it. That lit my fire and I started painting like a machine. My goal was a new piece or two every week. That was 2001 and my work has certainly evolved, but my fire, drive and passion to create has only grown bigger.


Meredith Mallwitz is one of eight gallery artists represented by Main Street Arts. She is featured in the exhibition CULTIVATE which runs April 7 through May 18, 2018. More information about Meredith and her work can be found on our website. View more pieces by Meredith Mallwitz on the gallery’s Artsy page.

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Inside The Artist’s Studio with Pat Bacon

If you want a label, today I would say that I am a “photographer/printmaker” knowing full well that I have a painter’s sensibility. I like to color outside of the lines and to experiment, which is not really a practice that is compatible with traditional photography or printmaking. There is a prescribed process and set of steps that you should follow.

Experiment with printmaking and fire

Experiment with printmaking and fire

Printmaking and photography, like all mediums require understanding and mastery. The intrigue for me is to gain mastery while not being a slave to the expected process. When working, I want to collaborate with the subject, using the chosen media to make the unspeakable into something concrete.

Hedgerow Fog, photogravure, 2018

Hedgerow Fog, photogravure, 2018

Burn Pile, photogravure, 2018

Burn Pile, photogravure, 2018

Currently my art incorporates printmaking, photogravure, and collage. Photographic images from my camera, scanner or phone capture a specific moment. What I do with those images after capturing them allows me to elevate the quiet and insignificant in a loud world. Each of my pieces carry the trace the marks of the process of making them.

"Old Orchard" and "Burn Pile", digital prints made from photogravure images with wax and oil paint.

“Old Orchard” and “Burn Pile”, digital prints made from photogravure images with wax and oil paint.

Art is not obvious. Art critic, Jerry Saltz once wrote “Art is for anyone. It just isn’t for everyone”. My work is not for everyone. I start working on something for the possibility of interacting with an image that has the potential to speak beyond the obvious.

Self portrait, in the fog

Self portrait, in the fog


Pat Bacon is one of eight gallery artists represented by Main Street Arts. She is featured in the exhibition CULTIVATE which runs April 7 through May 18, 2018. More information about Pat and her work can be found on our website. View more pieces by Pat Bacon on the gallery’s Artsy page.

"Into the Wood (Autumn)"

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Lanna Pejovic

Throughout my life as an artist/painter, I have found my inspiration in the world of nature. The places I prefer as a source for motifs are the places that I can experience continually, such as the view from my house and studio windows or a park or special garden close by that I visit all the time in every season and light. I live in a village surrounded by fields and woods with gentle hills and four seasons in a year.

My backyard

View of my backyard with studio on left

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Gouache sketch

I most often paint in cycles where I concentrate on one of “my” places for a while in a series of works and then move  to another motif. There is usually overlap and a cycling back toward previous motifs. Discoveries in each cycle inspire future series.  I swing between abstraction and naturalism and I often paint and draw on location. My on location paintings are a way of building up a memory of landscape but as finished paintings can become too burdened by information. I prefer to have time to reflect and distill so I often work over the outdoor version in the studio. It can become a finer reflection or a reflection of a different experience, such as the painting below, “Winter Garden”.

garden shed at Linwood Gardens

Photo of Linwood Garden shed

Winter in the Garden

A summer plein air version that got a winter makeover

What I respond to in the space surrounding me is the light and color first and then the structure of the trees. I love trees and experience them as living architecture. I can imagine them breathing when I walk through the woods. They also remind me of the great church architecture of Gothic Europe.

Birdsong Trail at MMP

Birdsong Trail at Mendon Ponds Park

Birdsong Trail at MPP sketch

Drawing made at Birdsong Trail location

Below, the painting The Listener is a studio invention that alludes to time passing, night/day and again…I find winter more evocative.

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“The Listener”

To conclude my post, I am back at my studio with a photo of a winter sunset seen through a window.

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Winter scene from the studio window


Lanna Pejovic is one of eight gallery artists represented by Main Street Arts. She is featured in the exhibition CULTIVATE which runs April 7 through May 18, 2018. More information about Lanna and her work can be found on our website. View more pieces by Lanna Pejovic on the gallery’s Artsy page.