Sarah K. Benning

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Sarah K. Benning is an American fiber artist with a nomadic studio practice (primarily splitting her time between the U.S. and Spain).  Originally from Baltimore, she attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received her BFA in Fiber and Material Studies.  Shortly after graduating in 2013, Sarah discovered her love for embroidery almost by accident and the hobby quickly turned into her full-time career. Sarah is temporarily working from home in Menorca, Spain.

To see more, click here.

Senga Nengudi

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“I live in the fourth dimension when I create landscapes.

These landscapes are made out of materials that are discards and commonplace. I like to dance with the spaces I occupy, creating a triad. Partnering, we show what each other have to offer. Selection of a site and materials is critical to my creative process. They are my way into a concept that seems to usher forth (take form) from my manipulation of them.

I prevail with ‘what is at hand’. My installations are subtle and intimate, involving issues of time and personal change. They are durable like a bird’s nest with viewers feeling welcome enough to shift from observers to participants. Utilizing masking tape, gravel, dirt, newspapers, powdered tempera, seedpods, stripped pantyhose, photos and found stuff is a statement in itself.

To shape shift paradigms I find different ways to use materials others consider useless or insignificant providing proof that the disregarded and disenfranchised may also have the resilience and reformative ability to find their poetic selves.”

 

You can see more of Senga’s work here.

All text and imagery from sengasenga.com

Now Featuring Lisa Ostapinski

Lisa Ostapinski uses wax and gold to create paintings that are as laborious as they are luminous. Juxtaposing intuitive form against the ceremonial history of gilded painting, Ostapinski invokes the visual dimensions of spiritual exploration.

Exclusive Print, Rain

Print 1, Rain

Exclusive Print, Diamonds

Print 2, Diamonds

Exclusive Print, Pyramid

Print 3, Pyramid

Print 4, Triangles

Print 4, Triangles

Print 5, Rainbow

Print 5, Rainbow

Print 6, Temple

Print 6, Temple

MH: Can we start out talking about your materials? I’m familiar with encaustic paint, but can you say a little about how you you it, what you like about it (I love it myself, but it’s frustrating, too). Also, some of the liquid qualities I associate with wax are in the marbled motifs in your works on paper.

LO: I have been working with encaustic (beeswax) for 20 years.  It’s an incredibly rich, beautiful and dynamic medium; there are so many ways it can be used and I have tried almost all of them.  What I like about it is that it is natural and beautiful and smells good.  I prefer natural materials opposed to acrylic and I like using materials that are untraditional or unexpected.  I love the way that the beeswax looks and smells and the energy it has; it’s alive and rich, never lifeless or flat-looking like traditional paint and canvas can be.

It is also incredibly labor intensive to use, and can be very unforgiving so it has been years of experimentation for me with lots of ups and downs.  I melt it, add pigment for color, paint it onto wood panels and then fuse it with a paint stripping gun.  Then I add things on top like fabric remnants, metallic leaf and/or oil paint. I also carve into the surface with a needle tool.

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MH: Where does your palette spring from? Your work isn’t quite monochromatic, but it a deeply pared back blue, black, white and of course shimmering gold leaf.

LO: I have a limited palette (mostly just black and white and gold leaf) because there is so much already going on visually with my work because of the materials that adding in color is overwhelming to me.  This is funny because I love color and my house and clothing are like a rainbow but I can’t work like that with the mediums I choose.  I use a muted color palette because it emphasizes the forms and the textures of the surfaces.  My work is really about light and the reflective qualities of the materials I use so adding too much color would detract from that.  The encaustic and gold leaf pieces reflect the sunlight all day and can look completely different at different times of day or night and in different rooms with different light sources.

MH: How do you research or sketch your work? Some of your materials, like gold leaf, marbling and encaustic require a lot of preparation to set up, even to do something straightforward, like to make a shape or cover a surface, and even more work to undo if it goes wrong. So I assume there’s some planning and idea generation happening for quite a while before you approach the main work itself.

LO: I spend an enormous amount of time planning and preparing my work. Once the encaustic medium is melted and gilded, when I carve on top I can’t make a mistake because is incredibly difficult to fix or cover it up. I plan my images ahead of time with sketches and then I make stencils to trace on top of the encaustic for carving.

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MH: You mention that you’re interested in sacred geometry. Can you explain sacred geometry and what it means to you and how you use it in artwork? And why?

LO: Sacred geometry and spirituality play a part in my work.  My imagery draws from many different cultural traditions that express god or spirit in geometric configurations or that utilize shapes to represent abstract ideas about the spiritual realm.  This is something that I experienced very intimately in my childhood.  I was raised very religiously (Catholic) and in Catholicism or the particular flavor of Catholicism that I grew up with, visual imagery is used heavily.  In my experience visual imagery played a major part in prayer and in the formation of my own ideas about spirituality.  Now I am an atheist and that is something that is conflicting and very difficult for me almost on a daily basis.  In short, I make art because I don’t believe in god.  Not believing in god is very scary for me, so making art is a way of dealing with the intense emotions I have about it, it’s a way that I work these ideas and feelings out visually.

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MH: How has your education background and teaching practice influence your studio work, and vice versa?

LO: I have been an art teacher to children for seventeen years. Several years ago I chose to get a Master’s degree in art education and not in visual art, which was a big decision for me.  I find the process of teaching art in a way inspired by the Reggio Emilia schools to be incredibly fulfilling and creative for me. This is my art practice too, just a different one. It’s working socially and it is deeply satisfying because I’m very social and I love children.  Because of my teaching background I can work with almost any medium. I do ceramics, printmaking, silkscreening, painting, drawing, installation, new genre, everything. I enjoy being such a versatile creature.

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Kayten Schmidt

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Kayten Schmidt is an artist and photographer living in Los Angeles.

To see more, click here.

Gray Malin

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Gray Malin is jet-setting photographer who specializes in aerial shots of beaches and landscapes around the world. To see more of his work, click here.

Hildur Bjarnadóttir

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Hildur Bjarnadóttir’s works use Icelandic plants (weeds, native plants, non-native plants, ‘naturalized’ plants, propagated plants) as a cartography tool—a way to map a history of the land, a history of the people, a history of her family, her own history. Color as story. Making the land itself the artwork.

You can see more of Hildur’s work here and also here.

All images from hildur.net

Rora Blue

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Rora Blue is a 21 year old artist from California. Her most well known project is titled ‘The Unsent Project’ which takes submissions and perfectly transforms real human emotion into art. To learn more about ‘The Unsent Project’, click here.

The images above are from her newest work ‘Handle With Care’, which explores sexist comments that women hear frequently, turning derogatory comments into works of art. To visit Rora’s website, click here.

PinkOut Party and Planned Parenthood Fundraiser!

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Our current window installation features an amazing work by Dana Cray Fernie, one of our newest shop ladies and the badass behind Bang Bang SF print studio. Since it was inspired by powerful women and activism, we wanted to celebrate those potent themes and decided to make the installation reception into a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood!The event will be Friday, May 5th, from 7-10 pm at Little Paper Planes. Dana will be cutting down her piece in real-time, and the individual acrylic tiles will be for sale (all proceeds to Planned Parenthood). We’ll have various strings and ribbons on hang, so guests can make their own mini wall hangings!

+TUNES+ DJ Bonnie Danger of Lovesick Deejays
+PROTEST CAKES+ Leah Rosenberg and Tess Wilson will supply Protest Cake (check out @protestcakes on IG for some yummy inspiration)

+DRINKS+
+RAFFLE+ We’re hosting a MEGA raffle! Tickets will be $5, with all proceeds donated to Planned Parenthood. Enter for a chance to win prizes from some stellar brands and artists, including:
BAGGU
People I’ve Loved
Gravel and Gold
Julia Szendrei
Hikaru Furuhashi
Open Windows Cooperative
The Greater Goods
Hannah Emile
Jamila Keba
Alyssa Block
Julie Cloutier
Case For Making
Lindsay Stripling
pink quad

Ella Jazz

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Ella Jazz is an artist and actress. Born in Madrid, she currently lives between London, Madrid, Paris, southern France and Los Angeles.  To see more of her work, click here.

Dani Smith

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“Fueled by her identity as an African American woman, Dani’s artistic curiosity currently lies in identity formation, particularly in young black girls as they are faced with the challenge of absorbing, integrating or rejecting Eurocentric aesthetic ideals and traditions.

Dani’s work also questions intra-racial issues within black communities in relation to race, class, gender and religion. To explore this tension, she engages the histories and traditions of painting to mirror the discourse of societal organization. Her work investigates how the physical medium of paint and the methods of execution can influence the content depicted on the surface as well as discovers an overlap between medium hierarchy and social politics associated with race and class.

Dani’s studio practice is both a template and a self-portrait. It is a guide to examine select facets of blackness as she discovers new boundaries of her identity and the social arenas it occupies. The space she explores through painting, installation, and writing is the feeling of being neither here nor there, belonging but displaced, being black, being white, French Creole, female, a fetish, a threat, a dream, a reality, an ideal, a hybrid, a sellout, suburban, the little yellow girl, high yellow, whitewashed, minority, mixed, a mimic. Dani works through these categories to discover how they are embraced or rejected and interrogate the space between race, societal construction and medium. Social construction dictates how one moves throughout society and influences individual experiences. Since the compilation of these experiences does not lend themselves to orderly categorization, identity becomes fractured.

Dani uses her background and experiences as an illustration of an identity in difference against prevailing stereotypes and social norms while investigating what characterizes the transparency or opacity of these labels as they are influenced by intersections of gender, race, class and medium.”

You can see more of Dani’s work here .

All images and text from danismithstudio.com