Driven by intense visual curiosity, I work intuitively to create paintings, drawings, prints, collages and digital art. My work is abstract, colorful, funny, and awkward. I am inspired by cross-section diagrams, 80s arcade games, and vintage textile patterns. My working process oscillates between making things by hand in my studio and scanning the handmade work to digitally manipulate and mash things up into new compositions. -Jenn Smith
Jenn Smith is a Chicago based artist and a soon-to-be MFA student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. To see more click here.
Derek Franklin’s practice is humble, omnivorous and ambitious. Taking the position of not-knowing as a starting point, Franklin deftly shifts the powerlessness associated with lack of information, using wrongness as more than innocence, but as a method of critique, and a route to personal authenticity. His print edition for LPP represents a small part of his work and we talked about the wider picture below.
MH: How would you describe your practice? I enjoyed the jolt of surprise I got between looking at some of your installation work and then seeing the 2D work you’d done for your LPP edition.
DF: I would describe my practice as ecology. It is an interdisciplinary project that includes, cooking, gardening, research, kids, running an artist run space, honesty, misunderstanding, sculpture, photo, painting, drama and deceit, traveling, insanity, eating and drinking.
All these elements above are kind of dependent on one another for continuation. The bulk logic of my practice is thinking I know something about the world or really anything, but always always being wrong or knowing I am always and forever wrong, so not trying to think I am right so much. The problem is the academy in the US teaches us to talk about our work in concrete terms and develop a pitch so people will believe or something. This just set me up for embarrassment eventually.
I think my work at times can appear visually disparate, but they all have these threads of estrangement, change, mistranslated documents and a sort of mise en scene that might tie them together. Your mentioning jolt and surprise reminds my of a poem that says: Our memory’s ghosts haunt the rooms behind our eyes and sneak up and say BOO! I wish I could make work that did that but in spaces rather than in heads.
MH: I’m curious about the state of not-knowing, or getting things wrong.. What was it like for you to develop this way of thinking, or find a way to work with it? I ask because I feel like the older, or at least the more “educated” one gets, the harder it is to find mental spaces that are free of the assumptions, references and allusions that get in the ways of new, surprising thoughts. And the easier it is for canned thoughts, like the “elevator pitch” you mentioned, to become a sort of mental muscle memory, and get us stuck.
DF: I think we are taught to talk a certain way about art and ideas and taught and taught and this really comes down to finding a way to justify your art practice by defending in context to the western canon. I participated in that and believed in it for quite a while and I even found comfort in it, especially when it felt like the more critical theory you consumed the more you were in the driver’s seat. The problem is that most of us don’t really feel we are a part of that or that we are outside of it or we came to art to escape it in the first place, so then we try to unlearn everything.
The state of not know came out of need.
MH: I noticed a theme of access in your work… in physical access in terms of display choices in your installations, and in visual access in cropping in your collages. It feels more restrictive than editing, more like mischievous redacting?
DF: Access is a way to put things but I had never really thought about things in that particular term. Often I play with a literal physical access to the work, which I think has something to do with questioning the ethics of making someone engage with art in a way that takes effort, which may be violent or choose to opt out. I think a lot more about lack of understanding, mistranslations; heartfelt blunders of meaning in my work. This could really go back to the earlier writing by Sam Korman about my work and maybe some attempt at exposing how things happening behind the scenes are not actually more special than what we see or it could just be an obsession with idiocy in a sense. I like to use the example of the difference between a stage actor and a television actor. The stage actor has the response and play back and forth between their performance and the audience to create a sort of criteria of success in respect to the quality of their performance. The television actor has less parameter to develop an understanding of quality or context and an estranged quality becomes embedded. I like to work from documents or documentation because they have been prearrange to be viewed in a certain way out of contexts or placed into new ones that could be read in numerous ways, which I may totally misunderstand and would not think I actually could understand “properly”. So, I always try to act in a station of wrongness but also be so close to the way things are maybe supposed to look that it is hard to tell that anything has shifted.
MH: How has your practice evolved over time? I was reading over a review of a painting show of yours from 2009, without seeing the paintings, and I was struck as a I read that one of the themes in that show was about your not being able to see painting you were researching in a poorly-printed old book. That missing information reminded me of the playful editing I mentioned above.
DF: My practice is forever changing, but so is life. I went from a rural Oregonian that first went to a museum at 22 and never met an artist in my entire life, to having an MFA, running a gallery in Brooklyn, living in Newark, NJ as an artist and a father in a transracial family. If my practice had not changed over ten years I would be traumatized by the disappointment. I think always changing is essential both to staying fresh and to staying ahead of being consumed into the market in a tragic way. I would say this is a constant theme, which stems from my navigating a type of estrangement-and-assimilation process in life that feels forever awkward and unsolved.
MH: Can you fill in some of the intriguing jump from having that first museum visit at age 22 to being an artist now?
DF: There was really just no frequency in my life that allowed me to have an artistic experience in any real way before that time. I had been exposed to county fair, Sunday painters and things but did not know people who went to art museums or galleries. I wanted to move into the city, which was Portland where I grew up. I found a job in a close suburb at this sheet metal shop and got a studio apartment with a shared bathroom in a building filled with artists in Portland. I loved art and drawing but being an “artist” I just did not know what that meant really. I thought a lot at this time about works of art I could make or might make but did not make anything. I wanted more than what was happening in my life, and thought about going to college but I had not known anyone who went to college. I walked into an A.I. school and was accepted that day as a computer animation student even though I had no interest in that, so I left and never returned. I made an appointment at Pacific Northwest College of Art, PNCA, and when I arrived with no portfolio we were all surprised, and I think they were equally surprised when I said that is what I thought you would do there. Eventually four to five years later I went to PNCA after developing a portfolio in community college and so the story goes I guess. Then I eventually arrived at Rutgers and then moved on to doing things in New York.
MH: How do you approach curating? What’s it been like running the Brooklyn gallery?
DF: Curating has always been part of my practice. I think it comes from being part of communities that made their own thing. If I wanted to show an artist’s work or work with an artist or I felt their work was under-represented I would just get it seen, somehow. Sometimes I just wanted to see artists work together in some way. I love curating — I think it is really rewarding and builds great relationships with other artists. The Brooklyn gallery is Soloway. It is an artist-run space, founded three years ago. I am not a founding member, but have been a partner for almost two years. The format is that four artists run the space, pay the rent, and make the shows happen. We run a diverse program that generally focuses on giving artists in various states of career solo exhibitions. It is a beautiful project that I love running with my partners Annette Wehrhahn, Emily Weiner, and Tomer Aluf. I would say the space works as a temporary autonomous zone where artists, writers, performers, and citizens come together to support one another and expose themselves. It is also nice to have a place to give artists chances in New York because the market does not allow for a lot of risk taking by some galleries.
MH: Who are some of the artists and what are some of the visual references that get you excited?
DF: Artists: I love artists they always make things that are way better than I thought of. I also love artists that help other art live. Martin Kippenberger, Paul Thek, Ana Mendieta, Geoffrey Farmer, Jason Dodge, Christopher d’Arcangelo, Nancy Shaver, Kristan Kennedy, Macintyre Parker, Aki Sasamoto, Prince, Marco Vera, and more, more, more.
Excitement: Yucatan Peninsula, open markets, crazy ass soup that blows your mind (usually Vietnamese or such), walking in Accra, New Jersey, mussel harvesting, books, public libraries, everything the world is really really fascinating.
Nathalie Du Pasquier was born in Bordeaux, France in 1957. She has lived in Milano since 1975.
Until 1986 she worked as a designer and was a founding member of Memphis. She designed numerous “decorated surfaces”: textiles, carpets, plastic laminates, and some furniture and objects.
In 1987 painting became her main activity.
To see more from Nathalie Du Pasquier click here.
The paintings of Bay Area artist, Megan Atherton. The work above was in Megan’s MFA show at the California College of the Arts in May, 2014.
**All images are from meganatherton.com
AMÉLIE CHARROIN + MARIE COLIN-MADAN = MILLENEUFCENTQUATREVINGTQUATRE
MNCQVQ is a French brand of printed silk squares, all made in France.
All of the prints are drawn, painted and finished by Amélie & Marie.
To see more from MNCQVQ, click here.
Reality Studio´s aim is to represent the here and now. German designer Svenja Specht observes her reality by investigating the everyday, exploring her surroundings and the interactions of people through clothing.
Traditional clothing with its ancient craft techniques and cultural references heavily influences her work. The interest in genuine craft makes her question fast fashion trends and Mass Production methods. It is the social and cultural aspects of fashion that inspire Specht as a designer. For her to make clothing means to take these aspects and provide a home for bodies which have to adapt in a day, a month, a year, a life to our ever changing conditions and circumstances. Therefore the shapes of the resulting garments are often open to changes and adaptions.
The materials are carefully selected and are uniquely composed. Refined detailing and manufacturing lead to contemporary pieces with a life long value. The resulting collections appear as a contradictory mix of appealing elegance,feminine strength and a delicate sensitivity with the aim to express: `Do what you love and live now´.
To see more from Reality Studio and shop their amazing collection, click here.
Kate Moross is a “jack of all trades” design mastermind based in London.
Long days, balmy nights. Salt on your skin, corn on the cob, fireflies in a jar. Beach days, mountain getaways. Camping, climbing, bike riding.
It’s high summer, kids.
ANA KRAŠ was born in Belgrade, Serbia, where she graduated from the University of Applied Arts. Based in New York, Ana works on different personal and commissioned projects. In addition to her sculptural string-wrapped lanterns, she paints, draws, designs furniture and works as a professional photographer. To see more of her work, visit her site.
Ana will be showing some of her recent drawings in an exhibition entitled “Mothers With Spoons and Relationships,” at the Ed. Varie Gallery in New York City. The opening reception is July 24, 6-9 pm and the show runs through August 10. For more information, click here.