Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Elizabeth Sheppell: Atlanta

Ellizabeth Sheppell

Please share a little about yourself.
I was born in Ohio. I grew up on a farm about an hour from Cincinnati.
My family still raises horses there today.  I had a lot of space and freedom growing up. I was lucky to have that experience. I learned to be very independent and my work ethic was instilled there.

Silk, 2010
acrylic on panel 16x16 
Where do you live now?
I live in Atlanta, GA with my husband. We live in an eclectic neighborhood called Cabbagetown. It is a small neighborhood very close to downtown. There are row/bungalow homes that were once homes for cotton mill workers in the 1920’s. A lot of the homes are brightly colored and a lot of artists and young families live here now. We are in a great location for living in this city.

Dot, 201
acrylic on panel 16x16

Did you receive any formal art training?
I studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati throughout high school in the summer time. I went to college and studied painting and minored in sculpture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. I received my BFA there.

Making Waves, 2010
acrylic on panel 16x16

At what point in your life did you become interested in making art and was there a certain point  when you decided you were primarily an artist?
I knew early on as a child I wanted to be creative. I would spend a lot of time drawing or making collages as kids do. I would entertain myself and be extremely content as my Mom recalls. Instead of having a lemonade stand I would try to “sell” my abstract painted rocks. I think it’s funny that I would actually charge people and they were kind enough to pay. 

Punch, 2011
9 x12 acrylic on panel 2011

It wasn't until high school that I realized I could get a degree and pursue it as a career. I had an incredible art teacher who pushed me and she knew about Pratt. My parents have always been very supportive and they supported my move to Brooklyn to study painting.  It was an amazing time that I will never forget. It molded me as an artist to be very strong and push on through. Brooklyn was rough then. I grew up quickly and learned some street smarts. It was an incredible change from farm life. I met some wonderful professors, students, and really got to know New York. I miss it a lot in terms of all the art and inspiration living there.

The Fat Series #3 9x9"

What is your media?
I am working in acrylic on wood panels and sometimes on paper. I have worked in oil years past but I am enjoying the capabilities of acrylic and how quickly I can work. I am building the surfaces with a lot of different gel mediums and trying to create more transparencies. It allows be to build the layering that I am focusing on right now.

The Fat Series #4

What is your current work about?
I am working on a new series of paintings where I am pushing the boundary of the panels. The work is all about surfaces. I am enjoying working in thick layers and creating new shapes with the over hang of paint. I feel like they are becoming more like objects. It is something I have been thinking about for a long time and played with different substrates in the past. I have found a material that I use as the base on the panels to build the edges. It is definitely a more sculptural process for me. I also have been trying to expand my color palette and push myself in this way as well. Color has always been a huge factor in my work and I want that to stay fresh.

What is your workspace like? 
My workspace is in my home. It is the largest bedroom of the house. I have had studios separate in the past but this is what works best for me. It is a sunny room where my loyal dog of 15 yrs has been my studio mate. I am a very messy painter and somehow I make it work. I am need of more space but that will have to wait. I dream of a barn studio down the road when we move to the country. (Click HERE to see Liz's blog post with more photos of her studio!)

Elizabeth Sheppell's Studio

How do you develop a sense of community with other artists, and how do you support your art colleagues?
I have been featuring an artist every Sunday on my blog since February.  I think it’s important to support and connect with other artists. I have gotten a lot of joy introducing a different artist I admire every week. I have a new network of artists from all over the world which is so amazing. I am inspired and in awe of so much good work there is out there. I hope to shed a little light on these works.
I also try to post about shows that are happening in Atlanta art community.

Upcoming shows
I will be having a  show Jan 2012 at Sandler Hudson Gallery in Atlanta, GA.
I will be exhibiting the new series of paintings that go beyond the edges.

The Fat Series #2
10x10 ish
Do you ever get stuck with your work and how do you remedy this?
Oh yes I do get stuck. The best thing for me is to put it away and come back in a few days, weeks, or sometimes years. I recently re-worked 4 paintings that I had started in 2009. I came back to them this year and finished them very quickly.
I also will sit with my work and just look. I let them reflect back to me and take them in. I know when something in the piece isn’t working. I might have to get rid of an area I love but I know it has to go. This used to bother me a lot, but now I know better. I now feel almost relieved when I paint over that section that I coveted. It’s a strange thing but I would be holding onto something or giving it too much power in the piece. It wasn’t letting the piece be a whole painting.

Do you have other jobs other than making art?
If so, please give us some details.
I do have a normal day job. I work for a wholesale furniture manufacturer. It has helped me to become more assertive and aggressive in the way I approach my art career. I wear a lot of hats at this job and it very similar to what artists have to do for ourselves to have any kind of art career. I think working with customers toughens you up which I believe I needed. It’s funny since I have been at this particular job I have been involved in more shows, written more blog posts, and have really focused to what’s next. I feel the most driven and ready for more right now.

Where would you like to be in 5 years as far as your art making?
I would like to continue to evolve and keep the stamina. I hope to have a few more galleries representing me by then. I would love to be a full time artist. I hope to make that a reality someday as we all do!

You can see more of Elizabeth Sheppell's work on her website, and she is represented by Sandler Hudson Gallery in Atlanta, where she will be having a show in January, 2012.

She also writes a blog featuring her work and that of other artists.
Thank you Elizabeth!

Thank you so much for this opportunity!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lee Emma Running: Grinnell, Iowa

Emma Lee Running
Please share a little about yourself. 
Where did you grow up and what were any early influences on your work? Where do you live now?

I grew up in Denver Colorado. In high school I worked for a sculptor, Jefferson Rubin, and also for The Bloomsbury Review a great book review magazine. From Jefferson I learned a lot about the daily life of being an artist, and the Bloomsbury Review exposed me to a remarkable community of writers and thinkers. Both of these experiences were instrumental in me wanting to lead a creative life.

Swailing, 2011
Site specific installation. Project Space. The Charlotte Street Foundation Urban Culture Project, Kansas City, MO. Front windows of the installation. Cut vinyl on glass. 82 X 60 inches. 

I got my BFA at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, working as a studio assistant for many great artists, including Ann Messner, Emiko Kasahara, and Grimanesa Amoros. I also worked at Dieu Donne Papermill, which was my first introduction to the world of hand papermaking and the New York gallery scene. I moved to Iowa to work at The University of Iowa Center for the book in 2001, and got my MFA in sculpture from UIowa in 2005. I live in Iowa where I’m an Associate Professor at Grinnell College.

Swailing, 2011
Detail of vinyl on glass
At what point in your life did you become interested in making art and was there a certain point when you decided you were primarily an artist?

I think I’ve wanted to live a creative life for as long as I can remember. As a child I wrote a lot, and attended a high school for performing arts in Denver where I wrote, performed in plays, and made art. When I applied to college I knew I wanted to be in New York. I had a lot of ideas about what that life would be like, some of which were true. I studied for a semester in Amsterdam in 1997. Being in another country where I knew no one and didn’t speak the language taught me an enormous amount about being alone with my work. I also saw a tremendous amount of art while I was there. Sensation was up in London, Documenta and the Munster Sculpture Project were happening in Germany, and when I was in Amsterdam I went to the Stedelik Museum ALL the time. It was the first time I’d seen work by Nan Goldin, Rebecca Horn, William Kentridge, Jenny Saville, and Rachel Whiteread. I remember thinking I didn’t know art could be like this and wanting so much to be a part of that world. 

Intimate Structures, 2010
5X6 feet. Cut paper, graphite and wheat paste
What is your media?
I make installations and drawings. I was trained as a papermaker, and though I don’t make all of my own paper these days, the aesthetics of that practice inform a great deal of what I do. I often print or paint directly on the walls and windows of the spaces I work in. Lately I’ve been working a lot with cut vinyl stencils.

Swailing, 2011
Detail of cut paper drawing and graphite print.
What is your current work about?
My current work is looking at patterns that exist in the natural world. I’m very interested in botanical form. I’m also particularly interested in systems and structures that are similar in micro and macroscopic scale, such as the way the veins in a leaf mimic those in our bodies and also a river system seen from space.

Intimate Structures, 2010. Detail
What is your workspace like? 
I teach at Grinnell College and have a studio space there. I also work site specifically, so most pieces come together on location. Sometimes my car and my laptop are as much my studio as my physical space!

Esplanade, 2009
Latex paint on glass

Do you involved with any arts groups or communities? 
I’m a core member of the artist collective The Moving Crew. This incredible group of artists is interested in site responsive projects that engage with ideas of transformation and change. I’ve found my work with this group to be some of the most challenging and rewarding work that I do. In 2010 we completed our first international project with the two-part exhibition Ideal-X in Rijeka, Croatia and Grinnell, Iowa. Four core members shepherded this project to completion with the help, hands and vision of more than 200 artists in the US and abroad. In huge projects like this we all contributed in as many ways as we could. Sometimes that means brainstorming and making art, and sometimes it means writing grants and cooking meals. All of it is generative and very exciting. 

Ideal X, 2010
Collaboration with The Moving Crew. Site Specific Installation, Rijeka, Croatia.

Screen printed cardboard boxes and shipping containers. 

Specific Night, 2011
Front windows of gallery. Paste on glass.
How do you develop a sense of community with other artists, and how do you support your art colleagues?
Making art in Central Iowa is sometimes a lonely task. I have the pleasure of being married to a great artist, Jeremy Chen, and also to working with great colleagues in my department as well as artist colleagues and friends across the country. Each of these relationships presents it’s own opportunities for support and community. A good example is the project Kind Favor Kind Letter that I’ve undertaken for the last 2 years with my good friends Kate Carr and Tatiana Ginsberg. We are close friends, but live very far apart. The project began as a year-long commitment to writing physical letters to each other about our work. It became 2 site-specific installations and an artists book. 

Kind Favor Kind Letter, 2011
Site Specific Installation. Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell, IA.
Collaborative Project with Kate Carr and Tatiana Ginsberg. 

Kind Favor Kind Letter, 2011
Latex paint on drywal
Do you ever get stuck with your work and how do you remedy this? 

If I’m stuck I give myself a new deadline, and apply to a new residency or exhibition. A new site always has challenges in the architecture, light, physical materials and scale of the space. Proposing projects for new locations can force me out of stagnation. 

Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?
I walk as much as I can and I take a HUGE number of photographs. Documenting closely the specific botanical information I’m interested in gives me an archive that I can draw from while making new work. Many of the phenomena I’m interested in are fleeting. I always try to make myself take the images right now rather than putting it off. Often when I return to a subject, it’s changed. 

Do you have other jobs other than making art? I’m a professor teaching sculpture and drawing. 

Where would you like to be in 5 years as far as your art making? 

I would like to be making more permanent site-specific work. I’m very interested in art in the public sphere, and I would like to continue to work in non-traditional spaces. 

Do you have any upcoming shows that you'd like to mention? I am in a group exhibition at Catich Gallery at St. Ambrose University in Davenport Iowa this month, and will be working on the windows of the old fire station in West Des Moines
this month, and will be working on the windows of the old fire station in West Des Moines for a public art event in October. 

You can see more of Emma Lee Running's work at these sites:

Thank you!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lloyd Martin: Providence RI

Martin with a work in progress, 78 x 144

Please share a little about yourself. Where did you grow up and what  early influences on your work? Where do you live now?
I was born in Providence RI and grew up there. Currently I live in North Providence RI and my studio is in Pawtucket RI. Drawing and painting were a part of my identity at an early age.

Lloyd Martin at work in his studio

Did you receive any formal art training? If yes where and what did you major in?
I got my BFA at RISD in 1980 where I majored in painting.

At what point in your life did you become interested in making art and was there a certain point when you decided you were primarily an artist?
I was interested in art making very early on. I did finally settle into the idea of being a painter at RISD. I also played guitar in some rock bands and maybe would have pursued that if I connected up with the right folks, who knows. I really loved the whole punk rock scene in the 70’s and still love that music.

Which rock bands did you like and do you currently listen to?
Some of the  bands from the 70's I still listen to are the Ramones, Television, Patti Smith, Toots and the Maytals, Iggy Pop, to name a few too many to list.
I am really a long time Smiths fan but also I love Beck and Tricky — again just to name a few.

What is your media?
Primarily I work in a very traditional way. My paintings are oil on stretched canvas. I also do some works on paper/drawings that are more mixed media.

84 x 96

What is your current work about?
Mostly it is about the idea that I still find making abstract painting challenging, I need a good challenge or battle to look forward to, to call me into the studio. Great abstract painting is a powerful thing. Metaphorically, the work is about architecture. The paintings rely on a synthetic architecture. 

I take photographs of my immediate surroundings that have, in the past, acted as a springboard. In 2006 I started a series of works titled “Finestrae” based on some photographs of windows in my building. I liked the multi-layered meaning associated with the window. Painting being a “window” I was thinking about all of the wonderful Matisse “window paintings as well. Those Matisse works were created by default—they weren’t about the great epic subjects they were just a reason to smear down some paint and explore the potential of color and form without any external meaning. So they are very modern, in that sense. I wanted to make work that didn’t rely on irony to be interesting like a lot of contemporary art does.

Inspiration: windows in Martin's building

I am fond of the nature metaphor where the artist through the process acts to transform their given medium. Much in same way Nature transforms our environment daily. The sense of perpetual entropy is life. Each painting is fed from the last effort. Also I am such a visual person what I see every day in my life enters in and becomes part of the mix. I try to continue to open things up within a limited vocabulary. I have settled with these rectangular forms that float or activate space or the environment they occupy. It is a sort of figure/ground relationship. I like to think of the canvas as a place where “painting events” take place. So I begin by setting up compositions or color relationships that may be a little challenging. Then the painting sort of takes over. There is this point where I rely solely on my gut and intuition.

Red Stilt
48 x 102
This is the sweet spot where I’m not thinking and good stuff starts to happen. Some of the good stuff stays and some doesn’t. There is a point where I do have to edit and work towards a statement that feels resolved enough. The palette I have been using lately has added a new challenge for me the where the color is more synthetic.

Lithograph created at Landfall Press in Santa Fe
 image size is 30x30 and is an edition of 30, 2007

What is your workspace like?
I work in an old textile mill here in Pawtucket RI. I have about 1500 sq. feet of space and I have been in this building for around 10 years.

A view inside Martin's studio

Do you involved with any arts groups or communities? If yes, what do you gain from that affiliation and what do you contribute to it?
I am kind of a loner so I don’t really belong to any groups currently. There were a couple of years back in the 90’s where I belonged to a “crit” group. There were 8 or 10 artists that would get together at one of our studios. Each one would bring a piece or 2 and we would have some pretty good open discussions and critique each others work. I met some great people some of whom I am still in touch with today.

Finaestre 7
60 x 84

How do you develop a sense of community with other artists, and how do you support your art colleagues?    
I try to get to as many openings of my closest artist friends as I can. The mutual support some of us have had for each other over the years is very meaningful to me.

Do you ever get stuck with your work, and how do you remedy this?
Yes, I do get stuck on occasion, but it usually doesn’t last too long. I find this mostly occurs when I venture too quickly into territory I don’t understand yet. Not that you ever want to define what you do but it is important to at least have a good hold on the reins.

Do you have any shows coming up?
I have some shows in the works but nothing official yet. I just had a one person show at The Stephen Haller Gallery that ran from May 19 to June 25th.

Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?
My habit is to show up to work everyday, things happen through working. There is no other way to will things into existence. It’s a job and requires a daily effort.

You can see more of Lloyd Martin's work on his website.
"The fascination of Martin’s painting lies in its pitch-perfect balance between the constraints of a formal grid and the rhythmic movement of horizontal bands within it. The tactile materiality of the paint, contained within strict, incised margins, contrasts with the immateriality of the image. Color is arranged antiphonally, occurring in alternating patterns of call-and-response. An orange band across the bottom of a canvas echoes a vertical of the same orange set across a span of neutrals. A single red bar draws the eye to the center of Dissever (2010) in terse rejoinder to the red plane that commands the upper left corner. "
— Maureen Mullarkey
Maureen Mullarkey wrote a review of Martin's show On the Grid, this spring at the Stephen Haller Gallery. Be sure to check out her Studio Matters Blog.

Thank you Lloyd!