Agi & Sam AW14

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Agi & Sam are UK-based menswear designers.

 

Titled ‘Watu Nguvu’ – ‘People Power’ in Swahili – the collection is the result of (Agi) Mdumulla’s travels throughout the continent, in particular the Masai territory. African tribal workwear was fused with western menswear staples, with pieces almost entirely monochrome and only a handful of items in other colours.

A traditional Masai check was presented in black; adorning coats and slightly oversized and cropped trousers as part of a smaller pattern.

African weaves were also included in the form of horizontal stripes, which had been hand drawn and screen-printed onto cloth. Reflective materials appeared throughout the offering, often as bands on cuffs and hems as a nod to the West.

The juxtaposition of rich and poor African countries also served as a reference point. A selection of vinyl printed tops featured the duo’s take on logos used by large western oil companies operating in the continent. These were the only pieces shown to contain colour, with green, blue and red used.

 

To read more about their presentation at London’s Victoria House and their vision, click here.

 

http://agiandsam.com/

 

Jen Aitken

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Alluding to an apparatus of architecture and industrial infrastructure, Aitken’s work embodies basic construction methods to balance the authority of the object in regards to her own. Through its materiality and the structure of each piece, the artist reveals an assemblage of two-dimensional geometric shapes into three-dimensional surfaces. Building them through a molding process, Aitken creates an interesting relationship in between the preconception of modernist architectural aesthetic and shaped elements of the everyday life. Jen Aitken holds a BFA from Emily Carr University and had also studied Fashion design at Ryerson University in Toronto previously. She is a MFA candidate in the sculpture department at Guelph University, ON. Her work has been shown in Canada and in China. -Battat Contemporary

To see more from Jen Aitken click here.

Studio AH-HA

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Studio AH-HA is a brilliant up-and-coming design studio based in Lisbon.

Working as a design journalist confers some pretty amazing benefits — travel to international design fairs, VIP invitations to parties, the occasional holiday gift — but this, right here, is hands down our favorite part of the job: discovering something so new and exciting we get a rush just from being the first to be able to share it with you. We originally met Portuguese graphic designer Catarina Carreiras a few years ago during the Milan Furniture Fair, where she was helping staff the installation of her then-employer, Fabrica, and we’ve kept in touch with her ever since; in 2011 she joined forces with fellow designer (and OMA alum) Carolina Cantante to start the communication and design agency Studio AH—HA, which now operates out of Sam Baron’s office in Lisbon. Carreiras still does work for Sam and Fabrica, but as of this very story, she and Cantante are officially announcing the existence of their burgeoning practice — and its brand new website — to the rest of the world. You’ll want to stare at the duo’s gorgeous work for ages; seeing as it’s the last story we’ll be posting until January 2 as we embark our annual holiday hiatus, you’ll have plenty of time to do just that. Happy new year, and enjoy!

 

To read the rest of this piece and their interview, click here.

Caroline Achaintre

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Artist Caroline Achaintre was born in Toulouse, brought up in Germany and currently lives and works in London.  Her weird and wonderful ceramic and textile works has been exhibited throughout Europe.  To see more of her work, visit her site.

Elizabeth Huey

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Elizabeth Huey’s paintings and collages reflect a broad spectrum of quandaries surrounding humanity and healing.  Luminous pairs exchange intimate caresses and eccentrics perform oddball tasks while individuals immerse themselves in remedies and recreation.  Myriad forces – nature, architecture, technology, and memory – impact the minds and perceptions of each protagonist. Both chaos and order collide and coalesce in the paint handling and spatial constructs.  Excavating imagery from an array of sources, Huey continually draws from her own photographs as well as her ever-expanding collection of source material.

Born in Virginia, Huey now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Before obtaining her MFA from Yale University, she received a BA in Psychology from George Washington University and studied painting at both the Marchutz School in Aix-en-Provence, France and the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture in New York City.  She has received several awards including an Artist Research Fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution, a travel fellowship to Italy through Johns Hopkins University, and a Terra Foundation of American Art Fellowship and Residency in Giverny, France. Huey has exhibited both nationally and internationally and her paintings are held in collections such as the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia.

To see more from Elizabeth click here.

Dream Spheres

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I was asked to be a guest curator on Culturehall.

“Things are all around us, items we have bought, made or wish to own. They hold an inherent aura within them when they are in our possession. We often associate our things with a person, place or time. When I look at everything I have acquired in my house throughout the years, the objects are documentation of my life that only I know the order or value. Once I am gone, my history vanishes and it waits to be reactivated by someone new.

During the mid to late 1800s, collecting objects, especially souvenirs, became popular. This movement paralleled early industrialization and the infancy of mass production. The paper weight was a coveted object and highly collectable. These “dream spheres” could capture a moment frozen forever, both literally and psychologically. Anything could become permanently still within these timeless orbs, which created sentimental time capsules and preserved memories for the individual. I underscore the paper weight as a significant time in our history in relation to the commodification of objects.”

To read the whole piece, go to culturehall.com

Sigrid Calon

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Sigrid Calon’s work is formed through the desire and the curiosity to investigate, discover and create. Making new connections and to look differently at what we take for granted. This investigative mentality is separate from a set working method or usage of a certain type of material: what does the room demand? The assignment? Or the moment? Research into identity is very important in her work: what is the essence? Is there a new truth? Through these questions, Calon imagines the chaos of possibilities in a clear and pure manner. Aspects such as intuition, rationality and playfulness are of importance here. Calon searches for wonderment and is inspired by the things around her, preferably things that are meant for something different: materials, but also objects, situations or spaces. To what extent can you explore the autonomy of applied data?

 

Dutch designer and illustrator Sigrid Calon applies her curious and evocative touch to everything from publications and risograph prints to massive, site-specific installations.  To see more of her work, visit her site.

Now Featuring Elena Johnston

Baltimore artist and musician Elena Johnston works across a variety of media, making work that feels like a carefully crafted invitation to play. It makes sense then, that Elena is also drawn to collaborative projects and teaching as well. We talked about her process and the tape she released this summer.

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MH: I wanted to first ask about the sense of play in your work… It reminds me a lot of the sense of relearned simplicity and naiveté in artists like Calder and Miró, but with a pop sensibility as well.

EJ: I love Calder and Miró. They are big influences on my work. Someone just did a studio visit with me and said that my work was playful yet considered at the same time, which I liked. The idea of play has been something I have explored or years, in my own work, shows I have curated, and essentially collaborating with others is playing with them in a way. I have always enjoyed the simplicity of playing with basic shapes or lines- the challenge to create an interesting composition, like a game.

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MH: Can you talk about the videos you’ve made… they’re like moving collages!  I really enjoy the most abstract parts, where what I’m looking at feels like so many things at once, as I’m recognizing marks and shapes as what they are (ink, cut paper) as well as seeing them abstractly, and then seeing them as moving parts whose motions are separate from the motions of the gestures (a brush on paper, for example) that they also represent.

EJ: The videos are a fairly new medium for me, and have been really fun to make. It was an exciting challenge to consider real movement, as opposed to the implied movement in my two-dimensional paintings and collages. “A Dream of You and Me,” is a collaboration with William Cashion, the bassist for Future Islands, who wrote the song. William studied painting in college, and it was really fun to collaborate with him on this, because although we share a similar aesthetic, he is responsible for some of the materials, such as glitter and candles, things that I would not have chosen, but changed the video in a unique way because it allowed light in as an important element.

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MH: You do a lot of collaborations and projects with groups like bands… what are those group endeavors like, how do they compare with more self-directed work?

EJ: Collaborating is a great way to switch things up. It is important to be open to other people’s ideas, especially if you respect them as creative contemporaries. I think musicians usually have an interesting take on visual projects, as they are always thinking of rhythm and unity in their own music.

MH: How do you arrive at the colors you work with… I have enjoyed how your work has surprised me with new color schemes as I’ve looked through it.

EJ: The color choices are intuitive. Some combinations repeat as I reflect more on the work, like sunset colors. Sometimes the combinations are dramatic, but mostly they flow together in a subtle way.

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MH: In other interviews, you’ve mentioned making an album as a goal, and I know you sometimes collaborate with musicians.  What does your own music sound like?

EJ: My own music is melodic, meditative, blue, repetitive, serene, layered keyboard tracks. It is usually a first thought, best thought process. I don’t usually plan what I am doing when I begin a song, but record layers on top of each other and trust that the right notes will find each other. I wouldn’t call myself a trained musician, but did grow up with it always around me, and have continued to surround myself with musicians and music throughout my adult life. It is integral to my process as a visual artist, if not the most important thing. My music project is called Chac Mool, and my first tape release is coming this summer on Marginal Records. I recorded the tracks onto tape in my studio in Baltimore, MD.

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MH: What are your biggest challenges in studio and in your other creative projects?

EJ: It’s a challenge finding time to work in the studio this year, as I have been studying Art Education, and now teaching art. But I did manage to make the stop-motion, paintings, collages, and I just came out with my debut cassette release, so I do pack in projects in the little time I have to work on art. It is really important for me to maintain an active studio practice while teaching.  Another challenge is having space to work on large-scale work. My flat-file is full, and my studio is a multi-functional space. It would be nice to try a sculpture series, but I am not sure I would have the space to store them anywhere.

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MH: What projects do you have coming up?  And what do you dream of trying that you haven’t gotten around to doing yet?

EJ: I am collaborating with artist Jordan Bernier on a split cassette of music and artwork. We used to have a music project called Bamboo, which was sort of an experiment because we both considered ourselves more visual artists, and it was fun to collaborate with a new medium and approach. It should be coming out sometime this summer. I am showing a few artworks at the Sondheim semi-finalist exhibition in July. I have been planning a lot of art lessons for young artists, so I have also been working on that a lot. In terms of dream projects, I would like to work more on music videos, and another music album of my solo project Chac Mool. In general, I want to join my music and artwork more.

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MH: How do you think touring with bands has influenced your work?  I know that travel can be really inspiring, but for me it makes it hard to get actual work done, for that I have to wait until I get home.  What about you?

EJ: Travel has been very inspiring for most of my work. I usually only travel for short periods of time, such as a few weeks on tour, and then come back to the studio with new ideas. Traveling really shakes up any creative energy that may have been stuck and creates a momentum for creative thinking. At home and in the studio, I like to collect things that are inspiring, but sometimes these objects or artworks can congest my creative process, because I feel tied to them. When you travel, you realize that you don’t need many things, and you can let them go. This can happen physically and metaphysically. I return to the studio with a clean slate and new ideas.

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MH: What artists and makers are you excited about these days and why?

EJ: There are so many rad artists in Baltimore that are inspiring. DJ Rice, Chris Day, Chloe Maratta, Molly O’Connell and John Bohl, and are all doing cool things at the moment. I also really like Zachary Utz music.

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Renna Laura

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Renna Laura lives and works in Ravarino, Italy. To see more click here.

Marcia Hafif

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Over the past few decades, Marcia Hafif has built a body of work that includes writing, photography, sculpture, installations, and paintings. In 1972 Hafif came to a personal and process-based practice of working, beginning a series of monochrome works that explore the methods and materials of drawing and painting. At a period when the relevance of painting was in question, she concluded that the only way to proceed was to focus on, as she wrote in Artforum, “the materials and techniques with which art is made.” Hafif has questioned the discipline of painting by exploring and experimenting with types of paint (acrylic, oil, egg tempera, ink, watercolor, enamel) and supports (canvas, wood, paper, wall) for over four decades. -Hammer Museum

Marcia Hafif lives and works in NYC. To see more click here.