International Postcard Show: Artist Interview

ARTIST:: ADAM BRANT

 

Introduce yourself and your art.

I’m a visual artist specialising in painting and drawing.  My work explores the relationship between the past, present and future.  I’m influenced by the tradition of still-life painting, and use objects and environments as starting-points to create images which investigate space and time.

 

I graduated with a Fine Art degree in 2002 from the University of Hull (Scarborough Campus).  I can recommend studying by the seaside – it’s as fun as it sounds!

 

During my studies I was lucky enough to spend a month at the Cyprus College of Art as part of a student exchange programme.  Finding inspiration in the ways the modern world impacted the ancient history of the island helped me to establish my identity as an artist.

 

My art practice can generally be divided into two work streams:

-  Conceptual series of work created in response to a theme (over months and years)

- Observational one-off work created in response to an object or image (over a few days).

 

Where/How did you develop the idea for your postcard?

‘Taut’ was inspired by receiving a Spirograph set as a Christmas present.  I often receive art related gifts (including art materials and books, as well as completely unexpected items such as an Etch A Sketch and the Spirograph!).

 

The idea for the postcard developed after seeing the Spirograph back in the art studio alongside other more traditional artist materials.

 

What was your intention for your postcard?

Over recent years I’ve been exploring different ways to combine painting and drawing within a single art work.  The intention was to challenge myself to use the Spirograph as the starting-point for the postcard as part of this exploration.  I didn’t use a Spirograph when I was young (I’m discounting trying out my sisters when she wasn’t looking!), so the aim was to see what I could make out of my unskilled efforts in using this new tool.

 

Is this your first exhibition and if yes, how do you feel about it?

This is not my first exhibition, but it is the first time my work is being exhibited in 2017!  It’s always exciting to be involved in a group show and see your art alongside the work of others.  It’s also a great way to connect with like-minded and supportive creative people.

 

My work has been exhibited in various locations across the UK, as well as in Norway and America (and is currently more well-travelled than I am!).

 

It can be daunting getting your work out there. I’ve been both successful and unsuccessful when submitting work for exhibition.  My advice to anybody creating art work is:

-  Do it because you love it.  If your work becomes recognised and appreciated by others that is great, but don’t let be the reason you produce work

-  Don’t be disillusioned if your work isn’t always successful.  Learn from previous experiences and stay inspired – you never know what exciting opportunities that next piece of work might lead you to…

 

Does your postcard have any connection to today’s world?

My work expresses experiences of space and time, and how these experiences impact how we connect to the world around us.

 

I join objects that already exist in the world from the past and present together for the first time.  By expressing my personal response to that connection, a new object is created with its own future in the world.  ‘Taut’ is no exception and represents:

-  The past (a plastic monster figure collected from a cereal box as a child)

-  The present (the Spirograph received as a Christmas present)

- The future (the postcard itself).

 

What artists inspire you?

I’m inspired by many different artists but if I had to pick one it would have to be Jenny Saville.  You can get a sense of the history of painting within Saville’s work so it also reminds me of other artists who inspire me such as Seventeenth century Dutch still-life painters, Picasso, and Lucien Freud.

 

The commitment of Saville to painting and drawing techniques fascinates me.  I treated myself to an expensive book about her work many years ago (I couldn’t really afford at the time, but it was a great investment). It has fantastic close-up photographs of the brushwork within her paintings.

 

I always turn to this book whenever something isn’t going well with my own work, and it usually leads me to resolving whatever artistic challenge I was facing.

 

What research do you do for your art works?

Research for my art work tends to be focused on local history, supernatural phenomenon, and my day-to-date interactions with the world around me.  This informs the theory of my work and provides visual inspiration.

 

My methods of researching vary - from looking-up information on the intranet, to visiting local libraries, to taking photographs of places I visit.

 

I love stationery so have more notebooks than is necessary to write down ideas and record information.  I tend to capture visual research information using a digital or phone camera as it is so convenient.  These have gradually replaced keeping a more traditional sketchbook.

 

I aspire to get back to keeping a sketchbook as they are a great archive of source material (I still refer to ideas from sketchbooks I created during my student days).

 

Do you have a creative routine/pattern?

I have a full-time office job to ensure the bills are paid so my art practice is planned around this.  It can be challenging juggling work, family and social commitments with time spent in the art studio.  Finding a healthy balance isn’t always easy.

 

I try to ensure I have a balanced schedule of time in the studio with time spent away from my art work.  Despite this I do still sometimes fall victim to deadline pressures (and have been known to stay up for 24 hours to get an art work finished!).

 

In the past I would feel guilty about not producing art work at every opportunity.  Now I have a more realistic routine of making sure I do at least one activity related to my art practice each day.  This can range from:

-  A few minutes spent updating my website or social media pages

-  A few hours spent researching concepts or sketching out ideas

-  A whole a day spent totally absorbed in painting a canvas.

 

It’s amazing what progress can be made from even doing only one task each day.

 

What are you trying to communicate with your postcard?

There isn’t a specific message I hope to communicate with ‘Taut’, but hope people can relate to the postcard in some way whether that be:

- Recalling memories of using a Spirograph

-  Wondering what the drawn figure and colours represent

-  Thinking about how the ink and paint has been applied to the paper.

 

I often use one-word titles to suggest rather than describe what the work expresses about my own experiences.  I hope people can take away something from my work that makes them challenge and reconsider their preconceptions.

 

You can discover more about my work via the following links:

Website: www.adambrant.co.uk

Facebook: Adam Brant – visual artist (www.facebook.com/abrantartist/)

Twitter: @brantus (www.twitter.com/brantus)

Instagram: @a_brant_artist (www.instagram.com/a_brant_artist)

International Postcard Show: Artist Interview

ARTIST: MARY DIXON

 

Introduce yourself and your art.

I live in Northern NSW in Australia. Printmaking is my main interest at present, both intaglio and relief.

 

Where/How did you develop the idea for your postcard?

There are still many mangroves where I live.  They are dark and mysterious and full of marine creatures but further north there may even be crocodiles.  
 

What was your intention for your postcard?

I want to evoke a feeling of subtle threat and attraction of the mangroves.

 

Does your postcard have any connection to today’s world?

Because of the continued coastal development mangroves are disappearing.  As well as being interesting they are also very important places for the birth and development of many species of fish.

Which artists inspire you?

Egon Schiele, Klimt, Kentridge, Munakata, Hokusai

 

What research do you do for your art works?

I walk through the area and take numerous photos as well as sketches. I study some of the techniques used by master printers.

 

nterview by Dominique Mitchell (Writer in Residence)

International Postcard Show: Artist Interview

ARTIST: NATALIE ANNE YOSTEN

 

Introduce yourself and your art.

My name is Natalie Anne Yosten, and my postcard is called Spirits Rising.

    

Where/How did you develop the idea for your postcard?

I was at my first Nebraska Husker Football game (American Football), and the balloons were released during half-time. It’s usually the time to get the home team reeved up for the next half of the game, or just to keep all the fans amused. It was a perfect moment, because the sun was about to set below the stadium. I took a picture on my Samsung Galaxy phone, right when the light was shimmering off the balloons as they rose to touch the light. It was a beautiful, exciting, and delightful moment! The crowd’s spirits seem to rise with the balloons all in a great cheer!

 

What  was your intention for your postcard?

To convey the beauty, passion, and spirit of the moment.

    

Is this your first exhibition and if yes, how do you feel about it?

This is my very first exhibition, and I’m extremely nervous and excited! To do it on an international level makes me nervous, because there are so many wonderous things in the world. If my work does okay, then I will be very pleased.

 

What was it about the subject/content of your postcard that enticed you?

It may be portrayed as whimsical or perceived a bit childishly, but I chose the balloons as a moment that could be from any part of the world. We all have events and festivals where joy is taken, and spirits rise in fervor to the music and the sounds from fellow participants! The world can be filled with horror, but for a moment it can be so light and beautiful!

 

Does your postcard have any connection to today’s world?

At the moment I would like to believe this would be an escaping moment most people in the world would cling to. Just a fleeting moment of joy, and I think we all try to hold the good times as long as we can. Keep them precious while we experience them, and as we try to recall them in memory. Our world is a grave place, and we all want to rise above the bad things.

 

What artists inspire you?

Well, I have always liked Josephine Wall’s Art, but for photography specifically I like Steve McCurry and Margaret Bourke-White.

 

What research do you do for your art works?

I will admit, I don’t research very much for my art work. When it comes to Photography I have become accustomed to just trying to capture the moment when I see a good one.

My inspiration usually comes when I am with friends, family, or in nature. I just snap a shot at what I think is good. I have learned about lighting, angles to pose in, and am trying to do more to create specific views. I still believe that many good shots happen on their own.

 

Do you have a creative routine/pattern?

No, I’m a hopeless amateur, and haven’t been able to get a good creative routine down. For now, I work off of the pressure of the deadline or by just being patient. Good times to take a photograph that doesn’t have to be edited are rare. I wait patiently, watching, camera in hand for those moments.

 

What are you trying to communicate with your postcard?

I try to convey with my postcards the feelings or thoughts that I have in the moment. I just hope that they are relatable enough for most people to understand. I prefer to take people out of their heads for a second, and make them see my point of view.

Interview by Dominique Mitchell (Writer in Residence)

Spirits Rising 

Spirits Rising 

International Postcard Show:: Artist Interview

ARTIST:: Jake Francis

 

What was the intention for your postcard?

To terrorise, then humour, then mourn, then move on, then think about joining one of those dating sites with the free trial.

Where/How did you develop the idea for your postcard?

The idea came from the unfortunate truths of today’s national media and the manipulation within it. In each map, the perceived ‘priorities’ of that country are exacerbated and visualised - depicting the fickle and jaded output of our so called ‘informers’.

Introduce yourself and your art.

My art is the visual embodiment of the phrase ‘nice try’ - it is very much the weak air freshener to my inadequacy - the bog brush to my skidmarks.

Does your postcard have any connection to today’s world?

Unfortunately, yes.

What artists inspire you?

I take much of my inspiration from comedians and authors - writers like Chris Morris and Ryan Holiday have a way of recording the horrors of our modern culture without stagnation and dilution. We should know the disgraces of our media, but not without a rightful giggle.

Do you have a creative routine/pattern?

My ideas come to fruition around 10 am each morning - ironically the same time I have a bowel movement.  


Interview by Dominique Mitchell (Writer in Residence)

Priorities: ISIS

Priorities: ISIS

EM:16 Tracey King

Tracey's work reminds me of Alice Through the Looking Glass; it seems to be one thing until you look a little closer and notice a skewed perspective, something a little off about a table and a delicate lace print you can only see if you're really looking. Tracey's work resonates on a variety of levels, having returned to the East Midlands from years living in Cornwall, she's trying to find that pulse here again. Many of us in Nottingham find that from the other side, waking up to realise Nottingham is home and the pulse isn't quite as strong where we grew up. We're just on different sides of the mirror.

Have you felt much of a difference creating for a ‘graduate show’ as opposed to creating as a student?

It’s less prescribed in a way, it’s a real mixture for me because obviously there’s new people in a group which is nice and it’s a bit like university because you’re bouncing off each other. It’s very familiar as well because I’m working next to Dave [Dent], we actually sat next to each other at uni, our spaces were adjacent!

So it’s almost like you’ve bought a bit of university with you?

Yeah, (laughs) I think the main difference is that you don’t have the workshop facilities at your fingertips because in the past I could go hmm, I’d like to do that in the porcelain slip and fire it. I perhaps would have done that with some of this work and although you could probably source that I’m kind of challenging myself to do what I can with the equipment available.

How do you think that’s impacted your work?

I’ve had this battle with myself in a way, some of it looks cruder maybe than I would normally do; just because of the different material I’m working in. I might have done something, like say, rather than soaking it in plaster I might have done it in porcelain, fired it and it looks finer and differently made. After the tutorial with Christine though, I’ve come to think actually this does say what I’m trying to say more. I’m trying to let go of the fact it’s crafted nicely. I’m seeing something different in the work. I’m quite excited about it now.

With the group name Pulse - how are you connecting to it?

It’s this pulsating city center. It’s busy, there’s life and yet, with my work there’s a lot of severed hands, without wrists; that’s the strongest part, where you feel your pulse, and it’s all cut off. It’s that sort of feeling I’m trying to get across, an unsettled feeling. This is my hometown, I used to live in the city center and be a part of everything but I feel a bit disconnected. I’m at a different part of my life and I’m doing something completely different. Because of body parts and wrists and almost a pulse that’s not there.

It’s that feeling that nowhere quite feels like home because I’ve lived away for a long time. I lived in Cornwall for quite a few years and had my children there and we’ve got very close friends there and we do go back. I feel as though that’s my home too but here still has family there and I’m kind of, at the minute, at that stage in my life where I’m trying to decide whether to stay.

When did you get into sculpting?

When I started uni, I’d never done sculpting. When I went to an open day and we were shown all the equipment… We were shown the welding bay and it excited me. I think that’s what it was, the welding bay and then when you first start you have little inductions to say woodworking, metal working and showing us all around the workshops and I don’t know, it quite excited me, casting was the thing. One of the first pieces I did was with a carnation and I cast it into bronze. I like that, it’s magical and that got me into sculpting.  You can make something that looks real, or is a normal everyday thing, but you can completely change it into something else. Present it in a different way.

This sense of feeling unsettled and a bit out of place, is that what you want your audience to experience on Opening Night?

I’d like them to see it and question it. I want them to look a bit closer to see the lace print you can’t see at first, see how the pieces react to each other. Hopefully they'll get this unsettled feeling. No one’s going to know how you feel, your history and why you’ve made it like this but there might be something… I try to use recognisable things, familiar objects and forms that anyone would know, you know, a hand, an egg or a glove but why’s it like this? Why does it make me feel like that? An emotive reaction I think, that’s what I always want to get.

What do you want to get out of this residency?

It’s that confidence really, because it’s quite hard working on your own without any feedback when you’re new, isn’t it? To suddenly not have any critique or feedback. It was that side that appealed to me because I like the idea of working in a smaller group, You get to know each other quite well and there’s the group critique [with Diana Ali] and the one to one tutorial with Christine [Stevens], whose work I absolutely love, so that was a bonus.

Did you find the one to one helpful?

Really helpful, that made me move on from ‘I’ll do the casts again, see if I can get it more precise’. I was actually in this real indecision about it and she gave me her take on it, I think you need those bits of reassurance. We were looking through the old catalogues and I was thinking I really love this piece, because she did EM13, and then Jez said ‘oh that’s Christine, she’s doing your critique!’ That was amazing.

How are you finding sharing a space?

Really good and positive. I do really like it, like I said, Jane I knew and Dave I’ve worked alongside him for the last two or three years… We work really, really different. It’s nice to have someone who knows your work and what you’ve done.

Do you find he works reacts to your work differently to the rest of the group who aren’t familiar?

I think he understands what I mean more because he’s seen what I’ve created before but it’s nice to have fresh eyes on your work too. Especially when it’s something a bit newer that you’re trying to do so you’ve not necessarily had any feedback on that type of work. You get some really different ideas from other people.  

Traceyking.com

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Image by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill

 

EM:16 Connie Liebschner

Reams of Connie's black fabric hang down from our skylight, it takes the middle of the room and the rest of the work exists around it but also as part of it. Where the fabric falls here, you notice how it frames itself around a desk and draws you to the notepad left on it, where it climbs up to the ceiling you notice how lovely the light falls through the arch. We sat down to discuss drawing attention to what's actually around you and enjoying the smaller moments.

Have you felt much of a difference creating for a ‘graduate show’ as opposed to creating as a student

There’s a difference between setting your own goals comparative to the goals set on a degree course; it’s nice to have that freedom to be able to do something without necessarily having to tick boxes or jump through hoops so you can justify what you’re doing. It’s nice not having to stop the flow of continuous creativity to stop and document those moments. You can be really in the flow of doing something and it’s really working and you’re inputting something you’ve read but you don’t have to stop and go ‘right i’m going to evaluate why this happened’; even though you do that naturally in your own head. Liberating is the way I’m looking at it but it’s also slightly daunting because you don’t have that cushion of being an undergraduate. You’re establishing yourself as an artist and thinking well this is one of the first pieces to come out after [graduation] so there is some pressure but more from a personal point of view.

What does Pulse mean to you, how do you connect with it?

I think Pulse symbolises something alive and there was also a jokey irony like we’re all still alive, we’ve survived and we’re still wanting to do this. Because financially it’s difficult and there’s a lot of things that say why on earth would you do that kind of thing, despite doing a degree in it, so i think it’s nice to… There’s sort of that thing that we’re still desperately trying to pursue that avenue. We’re still alive, we still love it and there’s that kind of side of it.

But also, in my own practice, I like to do stuff that’s with the here and now and where I am at that moment; it’s about the light-space interaction but it’s temporary and it’s a personal moment and that only happens when you’re alive in that moment. I think Pulse is relevant to everyone’s practice in some way, but that’s my personal take on it.

That personal moment you mentioned - is that something you want your audience to feel, some personal moment with your work?

I think it’s a reflective moment, there’s a personal association for me; a lot of my work is based on observing the everyday and taking a moment to think, yeah actually, that’s really beautiful, that’s really aesthetically pleasing. You look at something in a slightly different way and I think that’s really nice to stop and be reflective on this process. Sitting in this space, it’s been an inspiring space for me because it is interesting architecturally but also being amongst new, creative people. I’m trying to use the space as part of the work and it’s specific, what I’m feeling at that moment. I’m thinking, right i’m going to observe this, I've not really done stuff like this before. It’s really interesting because I'm personally interacting with the space - drawing people’s attention to different parts of the space, maybe slightly differently than how they’ve seen it before. In answer to your question, I guess that’s what I’m trying to get across.

How did you get into using light and space as a medium?

Throughout my degree, I really spent my time documenting the everyday and so, I use a lot of stuff within my own house and this idea of moving and every time you’re remaking a space and after a few months it becomes like home.. Exploring that, I used several different mediums, I was painting, I was photographing, I was printing and all the time the house became like this installation piece. It was quite funny because we’d have group crits and people wouldn’t necessarily know about my work beforehand and they’d say ‘oh is this a set design, have you set this up?’ None of it was ever set up it was all just things I was observing as time went on but because people don’t stop and look at the everyday you assume it’s some beautiful show home type thing where the light’s coming across and everything’s really perfect and it’s not. It’s just you’re in that moment and you go ‘I want to photograph that’ or ‘I want to paint that really quickly’. I think a lot of the time artists are searching to find out what they’re interested in but actually it’s all around them all the time.

There’s a little extracting formula for it as well - like what do all these images have in common because often it’s very visual. There’s often lots of similarities between the images so you’re thinking is it a tonal thing? Is it the light? Is it an angle that keeps repeating or the window? What is the formula to that moment? Because everyone relates to that same moment. I remember somebody saying to me, it’s really strange because you’re putting this out there and then everyone else is relating to it so then this solitary becomes a group thing.

I know we’ve touched on how you want to draw people to what they don’t really notice but how will you use the space - what do you want people to get from it?

We were discussing this with Diana Ali, [in the group critique] and I was saying I’m really inspired by this space up here and how’s this going to translate downstairs because it’s a very different space. I think the idea is I’m going to respond to it quite spontaneously not too far beforehand because I think then it becomes a bit forced.

The interesting thing about the space downstairs is it’s an exhibition space so there’s remnants of that everywhere - there’s hooks and hanging points you can see, the nails in the ceiling where people have hung stuff before and I think that’s kind of interesting because you can draw attention to the history of that space by attaching and reusing those kinds of fastenings or whatever and I’ll play on that. I want it to be about the space not just about what I’m putting into it so that will kind of dictate where the fabric will go - where it will be hung from. it’s kind of exciting but also a bit scary because i’m usually very much, i know exactly what i’m going to do and i’m coming out this from a very different - much more spontaneous angle.

It must be quite difficult though because you’ve got a lot of fabrics set up here - in the space - and it will need to move down to a new space.

I’m always changing it, that’s the thing about it. I’ve been using these chairs [to position it] and I like the idea people can then sit in the chairs. Originally I wanted it to be really clean and I was going to drill bits into the floor so I could do fastening very discreetly. Because I’m experimenting, I don’t want to do anything that will risk the fabric for the time being so I’ve just been attaching them to the objects that have been up here but actually the chairs work really well - if you go sit in the chairs you get a completely different angle from each one and it pulls you into certain points in the ceiling which I think is really interesting so maybe i’ll end up using chairs in the space.

Diana advised us to go with it and literally a few hours before opening just set it up and i was like oh god, i’m not sure about that but i get what she means, it’s a very spontaneous approach to something that could become very artificial. Like a bit pre-planned and rigid and what works about it right now is that it does feel fluid. I don’t mind if people move the chairs, it moves the dynamics of the space and that’s the fun - I can just take it down. Each time I take it down and put it back up it’s turned out completely differently.

Why did you apply for the residency?

I think it’s very difficult at the beginning to create by yourself with no input - it’s almost like you get so much freedom it’s overwhelming. The first few weeks after my degree I was really into the flow of it and I was really excited about what I was able to do; I started printing again and started doing things and really enjoyed the making aspect. I applied for the residency because I thought actually it gives me an opportunity to be experimental but within this sphere where you’ve still got other people's input - all these new artists, and everyone at Surface, that I’ve never met before and that’s really helpful because everybody has come from a slightly different perspective - so that’s an interesting dynamic for the group. We’re all very different in the subject matter, I was hoping that would be the case because it gives you a completely different input so i think the residency is really helpful because it’s that transition point.

So you’re enjoying sharing the space with other people?

I like the feedback because what you like doing, you can get very stuck in a certain route and you keep doing the same thing over and over again. You don’t have anyone to say oh what do you think of this - it’s really nice to have a new set of people to say should I make it interactive? Do you like these photographs ? It’s even really nice to have someone say I don’t think that’s working. People don’t often say they don’t like things - it allows you to question yourself a bit more.

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill

www.connieliebschner.com

instagram..com/Connieliebschner_art

EM:16 Pulse

It’s one of the most exciting times of year at the gallery, not only is Halloween just around the corner but the East Midlands Graduate Programme is finally beginning its residency. Our eight resident artists have been chosen for offering a style and project our committee was genuinely excited to showcase; and this year our artists cover a wide variety of mediums and influences so it promises to be a varied and exciting show. There’s something incredibly special about the first project created after graduation when you are beginning to label yourself as an artist without the adage of ‘student’. We’re excited to be part of this transition and hope you are as well.

    Connie Liebschner, Uta Feinstein, Jane Smith, Dave Dent, Tracey King, Ellysia Bugler, Tayler Fisher, Miriam Bean

   Connie Liebschner, Uta Feinstein, Jane Smith, Dave Dent, Tracey King, Ellysia Bugler, Tayler Fisher, Miriam Bean

Our first planning meeting, this Monday, was the first time we’ve all met in one big group; this could be an incredibly awkward experience with lots of drawn out introductions and ‘ummm’s but everyone’s instantly bonded. We’re all there for the same reason, to create something great. and besides, we don’t have time for nerves, there’s too much to do.

                      The Group Discussing Ideas

                      The Group Discussing Ideas

Our main aim this week is to discuss flyers and names - how the group want to brand themselves and present their debut. The recurring idea is that the design, and name, needs to say ‘Artist’ not Art Student’. The name settled on is Pulse, and the flyer, well, you’ll have to keep an eye out for that.

This week, the group was happy to meet with John Mitchell, of WiT Partnerships, who is conducting an independent evaluation for Surface to follow the residency; it plans to see what the artists hope to gain from the residency, what their plans are and then will reflect back on this once the exhibition has actually begun. John describes it as “more about learning than evaluation,” and it promises to teach us at Surface as much as it does the artists.

Next week, the artists will be having their critique sessions, which was mentioned in our October newsletter. Local artists will be meeting with the graduates, based on their experiences for individual critique sessions, as well as a group critique. Look forwards to reading more about this next Wednesday, when we look back on what’s happening and how the group are feeling for their sessions.

                                                       The Artists known as Pulse            

                                                       The Artists known as Pulse            

This Saturday kicks off our first EM16 workshops, the ‘Noisemaker Workshop’ led by Miriam Bean and ‘Engaging the Senses’ with Ellysia Bugler. I’ll also be publishing some interviews with them on Sunday so make sure to check back and find out how it went!

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images by Gavin ‘Urban Shutterbug’ Conwill