Well, why don’t you meet Artist Will Barras?

I’ve been a longtime fan of Will Barras and his work, he has a unique style thats instantly recognisable.  Described by Felix Braun as “There is a fluidity and energy in Will’s work that, although constantly changing, has always existed in a world entirely of his own making. His figures appear to be in a state of perpetual metamorphosis – caught for a brief moment between one manifestation and the next. always at the mercy of the swirling forces that surround them. From his early scanned and reworked doodles through to his recent, rich, mixed media work. Will has mastered every medium with a dynamism constant in all his work.” We found a great interview with Will and had to share this with you…

You have a distinctive style – there is dreamlike and fluid quality to your paintings – can you tell us about your artistic process?

I use a lot of water at first. I like the way wet acrylic and spray paint mix together. I start the painting using broad flowing brushstrokes and shapes, then focus inward. I think a dreamlike quality comes as much from my thought process as a lack of strong concepts or messages – ideas bubble to the surface as I’m painting, although I do return to themes and certain objects.

I like vehicles, and the journey and story which unfolds around the vessel and the journey it takes you on.

I’m quite indecisive; I have trouble choosing the direction a painting takes, so often you can see these choices and different elements. But I think my stronger paintings are the ones where I do decide to express one good idea directly.

I need to expand my subject matter, I should read more. Stories seem to exercise the part of the brain which generates ideas and images.

What or who inspires you?

My friends, just talking to people, like Duncan Jago, Steff , Harlan Levey, Abner Pries, Chaz from TLP, Mensday Wednesday.

I like people’s stories. I don’t know if I get inspired. I look at stuff on the internet, write lists and work my way through it.

I really like work of Moebius, and my favourite painting is Hunters in the Snow by Peter Breugel, that one has it all for me.

You are involved in quite a lot of animation and commercial projects, why do you think that your work strikes a chord with such a large audience?

Commercials are made for advertising agencies and the client pays for airtime, so it gets seen by a lot of people, but I don’t know how much of a chord it strikes. Some are better than others. Maybe in my own work, there is an escapism which people like, you can keep looking and discover a story in it. It is not shouting a message at you like a lot of things do.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to budding artists?

Just keep going, it takes time to get good. Be original; take the time to develop your own style and methods. Try and have a couple of days off the booze every week. Try to avoid forums.

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Well, why don’t you meet Artist Jose Romussi?

We have been fans of Jose Romussi’s work for a while, having come across him in the Jealous Curator. Born in Chile and now living in Berlin, he combines black and white photographs with colorful forms of embroidery.

“I intervene images by applying my own perception of beauty to them. Sometimes by giving them a new identity or a different aesthetic concept. It’s the chance to give this image a new emotion, a new life, a new interpretation of beauty through embroidering.”

Here we found a great interview and insight to his work…

Please give us an introduction on who you are and what you do.
I am Jose Romussi from Chile, and a self-taught visual artist since 2010.

When did you start to develop your interest in embroidery?
It was started when I could not represent my ideas in painting. In the search for new ways, I found the thread.

Could you tell us more about the idea behind the collaboration with photographer Rocio Aguirre in STRING-FIGURES project?
The idea was super simple. In some day we talked about doing a collaboration together. She took the pictures based on the theme of the game, String Figures. After a few months, I got the inspiration in doing it in a different way, most of the images like the urban or underground lines or some words that I steal in somewhere!, (The idea is like to voice out or represent some inner feelings through my hand with those lines & colors)

How do you choose your subject matter?
I don’t choose the subject matter to do my interventions. I start to draw and I apply my designs on those images. The subject matter will become more solid with the given inspiration based on those images.

Has fashion been an important influence in your work?
Fashion is not my influence but I do have a lot of inspirations found in some fashion designs and embroidery.

Where do you find your motivation?
Being as an artist, I feel that art is part of my life, so I think only my motivation is to live my life.

Where would you like to go next?
More far from where I am today.

 

Well, why don’t you meet Artist Bael?

BAEL is a self-taught artist from the North East of England, after solo shows and group exhibitions in London, showcasing his stark and haunting figurative paintings, he has found a definite place on the international art scene and a dedicated following. With influences ranging from German Expressionism to Art Nouveau and Japanese Anime.  We love his work and had to share it with you, here is a little insight into the Artist behind the work…

 

 What were you doing in the time between leaving art education and starting to paint again? Did you have any creative outlet in that time?

After leaving Art College, I just drifted around and worked minimum wage jobs, spending what little money I had at the weekend having a good time. I was incredibly shy and introverted as a child, so those years away from art when I came out of my shell and engaged with the world and other people.

Why did you not continue with art? Were you disillusioned with the career prospects of being a working artist or was it insecurities around your own abilities?

I don’t think really I had anything to express at that age and had no faith in my own ability.

Going a step back for a moment, outside of this website I’m quite interested in the creative development of children. Can you tell me a little about your own creative development? Were you parents creative? Was it encouraged at home / school or something you figured out on your own? Did you try any other creative channels before settling on painting?

I consider myself very fortunate to come from an extremely loving and encouraging family. In a creative sense, my dad has had the biggest influence on me, he loves music, film and art, he’d studied at Art College and had a strong technical gift for drawing, so I would ask him to draw something like a robot or a super hero and just sit and watch how he did it.

It’s fascinating to see the birth of your artistic development with “Caught”. It’s amazing how many creative leaps have been made from mistakes! It sounds like it was your Eureka moment and you knew immediately it was something special. What happened after that? Did you feel freshly inspired and churn out a lot of work quite quickly or you feel any pressure to recreate the feat?

After I had painted ‘Caught’ I began to show it to people to see how they reacted? What really struck me, was that nearly everyone who saw it had a strong emotional reaction to it, some people said in scared them, other people found the figured slightly melancholic and vulnerable. I felt I’d created someone genuine and unique, so I had to try and figure out what it was about that painting that had worked so well in engaging the viewer.

How would you say your work has changed since that piece and what elements of it remain?

I think everything I do has some trace of ‘Caught’. It brought me to the conclusion that I wanted to create a human form that had emotional weight and presence, but still had a raw energy and execution.

How would you describe your work?

I guess my work is my attempt to capture human emotion and form in a raw, true and effecting way

How much use do you make of your sketch book. Do you use it just when prepping a piece or is it always on you and always being used?

I generally don’t use a ‘sketch book’ as such, I generally work on separate pieces of paper and work on a single image until I am happy with it. I’ve never liked keeping a sketchbook, as I don’t like have a large collection of ‘rough’ work lying around that I’m not happy with, if I’m not 100% sure with something I’ve produced, I generally destroy it.

Do you work with life models?

I love life drawing, but usually as I exercise to keep my hand and eye alert to what’s immediately in front of me. The poses I want for my work are extremely hard for a model to hold, for any length of time, so I use photographs of the models and work from them.

It’s not clear from the images here exactly what materials you are using. Can you tell us?

My materials are high grade acrylic paint and oils in some areas, but I guess the most distinctive element is charcoal sticks: as they are intended to be a drawing material, they’ve allowed me to retain the kind of ‘line’ that exists in my drawings and transpose that into the paintings.

Where did the name Bael come from and when did you give yourself it?

It’s a kind of abbreviation of my name Michael Bell, its just came out of nowhere, most of my favourite musicians use pseudonyms: Aphex Twin, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy etc So I wrote it a few times to see if it worked and it just felt right, so I started using it around 2008.

Well, why don’t you meet artist John Reuss?

When scouring the internet for some Monday inspiration, I came across the work of John Reuss.  He paints images within images, distorting the human form making complex pattern.  We love the use of colour, with pops of neon embedded in more serene colours like light pink and a subtle grey.  W found a great interview with him on The Dead Dear that we had to share with you…

Do you take away a lot from those historic art forms?

Even though I am self-taught as an artist, I’ve actually read and studied quite a bit on art history & technique – and even painted in just about any -ism and style out there. I think my style is a fusion of various influences and things I tried out at an early age – some more deliberate and conscious than others. I like to take natural elements and then mix them with abstractions – so to that extend, there are elements of abstract art in my work. I think there’s also a lot of symbolism and surreal elements, and while you might see the aesthetic of impressionism, I’m actually very inspired by expressionism. I see my work as an eclectic mix based on history and contemporary elements – just as my technique is a blend of classical painting, contemporary techniques and experiments.

Are the subjects in your paintings based off of real people or is it a fully constructed entity?

Both. Some are constructed subjects, I like to think of them “universal” beings or maybe more representations of certain emotions & experiences rather than a specific person, some are meant to be me and a few are actually based on friends and family. I’ve even done a few commissioned portraits.

The hue to most of that series is overall pretty much the same. An almost human blue usually with shades of red, then some other more varietal color choices. Is there a reason for the consistency?

I think my use of color comes very much in phases. I don’t really plan for a specific palette as such, but when looking back I notice that I often will chose a certain color scheme over a period of time. The way I work is pretty intuitive and I think how I feel and what is going on in my life in general influences what colors I use. As for human subjects I tend to go for the more extreme variety of skin tone. I think there’s a lot of symbolism in the way I interpret skin tone – it’s not that I think that is how people look on the outside, but more a representation of their inner life. You’ll probably never find a healthy and perfect pink skin tone in my work, but more the colors of injury, disease, death etc. or even completely unnatural colors.

In the paintings that use a more differential palette there is what seems to me a more design aspect (basic shapes, straight lines, detailed environments), was that something that you had worked on at the same time as the others or did it get added as the work progressed? Was there any particular reason for such a dramatic change in the series?

The interest in geometric shapes and an actual “room” or environment is something fairly new. I used to do completely isolated figures on a very empty background – sometimes a single monochrome color. A while back I began to take more interest in the way my figures interacted with the environment around them – I think it’s a development of my overall theme of contrasts. I tend to make the figures very soft and organic and even to some extent translucent, while the rest is reduced to very basic shapes with sharp lines and areas of solid color. Some of it takes inspiration from a few experiences I’ve had a while back, especially in the space between sleep and awakeness my mind would suddenly have difficulties defining the boundaries of my own physical being in relation to the surrounding objects, I’d feel as if my “self” was this fluid entity that would spill out over and even inhabit the objects in the room – that all were reduced to these angular sharply defined planes.

Convergence of multiple people tends to be a prevalent theme in a portion of your work, is there a symbolic meaning to this. Some idea that you’re trying to convey or that you are pulling from? Or does mixing people together just look awesome?
Mixing people does look awesome! But really, the idea is that it is not multiple people, but actually the same person at the same moment of time. I see it kind of as a snapshot of one persons inner life in one split second. The idea is that while we are all “solid” and composed on the outside, there’s really a fluid multitude of thoughts, emotions and cognitive processes going on the inside. So I’m trying to convey that inner turbulence.

If you had to match your work to other art forms kind of like an analogy with audio and video works (movies or music) do you feel would be comparable or compatible with your paintings?

As for movies I’d have to go for works by David Lynch – I just love how he plays with the concept of identity, time and the dark sides of the mind and I think there are certain similarities to my work. That, and a (music)video by Chris Cunningham!
As for music, I don’t know, maybe something intricate and glitchy like Aphex Twin. Maybe something by Swans or TOOL .. I actually always listen to music when I paint and it goes from dark, intricate, rock to a variety of electronica and everything in between really. Mainstream music and radio is however something I avoid listening to.
I’d love to do more cover art and maybe even music videos or other collaborations with musicians. Music is a big source of inspiration for me and I think a cross-field collaboration would be awesome

You can find more of Johns work

www.johnreuss.com

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Well, why don’t you meet Artist Ernest Zacharevic?

I was lucky enough to see the show of Ernest Zacharevic a few months ago in Barcelona at the Montana Gallery.  I have a postcard of his work on my wall for some inspiration and wanted to share his work with you.  I found a great interview with him on the Brooklyn Street Art blog…

Many of your pieces include play and more specifically, children at play. How important is that theme for you and what attracts you to it?

Most of my work is photography based and site-specific, so I photograph my subjects and later choose angles for painting. Working with children allows more anonymity, I don’t consider my artworks to be portraits of a specific person, rather a universal experience. It is also easier to work with children – they are not self-concious and are not afraid to look stupid or ugly. So we play together and I take pictures that later translate into my artwork. I really like this unrestricted energy.

You have been traveling a lot in the last year – where have you gone and can you talk about one of your favorite experiences on the street with your work?

I do travel a lot. Japan, Italy, Norway, Lithuania, Malaysia – to name few places I’ve been this year. At the moment I am based in Penang, Malaysia, but originally I come from Vilnius, Lithuania and I graduated from Middlesex University, London where I lived for 5 years. My artwork is heavily influenced by all these layers of geographical backgrounds.
Probably the most memorable project I’ve done so far is Mirrors George Town murals that I created for George Town Festival in 2012. The murals became so popular that they started having a life of it’s own – there are people lining up to take pictures with it and Malaysian Government recognized them as valuable tourist objects. Crazy! It was even copied by one Chinese town near Shanghai. It is really nice for an artist to realize that his piece of work means so much to other people.

Many of your characters have mischief in their eyes and their actions. Are you getting into trouble in Stavanger?

I wish, but the weather is taking it’s toll. Stavanger is great! Everywhere you go there are traces of street art and amazing murals round the corner, places you would never expect to see it. It really inspires me to do a few smaller pieces if the Norwegian summer will be kind to me tomorrow.

Can you talk about using wheeled forms of transportation in your vignettes – bicycles, shopping carts, rickshaws… do you use them to create a sense of movement?

Yes! It’s a part of play, but also a wider narrative about the continuous desire by human beings to travel, push forward, explore unknown horizons. Cars and bicycles and tricycles were invented because just walking is too slow to most of our imagination. That is way my main installation for Nuart 2013 will feature a car – half sliced – continuing the theme of my previous work.

Sometimes you integrate something that is already on the street or the wall into your piece. Do you find yourself doing this mentally as you walk through the streets?

I find everyday objects to be fascinating. Signs that look like animals, doors that smile, little holes in the wall that look like part of a Tom & Jerry cartoon. It’s fun and I love to reveal this to other people just to make them smile.

Well, why don’t you meet Artist Sibylle Peretti?

Sybille Peretti studied Glass in Germany and has worked on fusing this with other media, working in 2 and 3D. She did a number of residencies which bout her to USA where she practices most of the year round. We love how delicate her work appears with her almost ghost lie figures. Here is an insight into her life and creative process…

You split your time between USA and Germany, two countries both of which boast of rich cultural heritage in their own ways. How has your art been influenced and enriched by these experiences?

I grew up in an urban industrial landscape, playing hide and seek between freight trains and Thyssen steel pipes. Than I moved to the beautiful savage wilderness of the Bavarian Forest where I studied Glass Making. Now I live in New Orleans Louisiana, which has a very unique atmosphere on its own. I am sure that all these different places with their unique qualities function as a catalyst, but I never see that the work stands in a direct dialogue with the places I choose to live. But being part of these inspirational environments secure the stimulant that triggers the need to uncover something inside of me what already existed. They keep me active and excited, moving me forward and are responsible for a wide range of expressions.

Do you maintain a sketchbook to register your thoughts and events around you to have them later developed into sculptures or you depend on the spontaneity of the moment? How do you train your mind with the power of observation so that the sensations you receive from all around you could be translated through your art later on?

When I begin to work on a new project it’s also time to start a new sketchbook. Mostly to organize the ideas and emotions which are occupying my mind and to give them some kind of importance and value. The Notebook also functions as a tool to get disciplined and focused . Also since my sculptural work requires a lot of technical preparation and process, the notes are essential and prevent me from repeating mistakes. Since my work is driven by emotional aspects the pieces living also from spontaneous intuitions.

Your artwork often is a touching narrative of innocence as seen in children. When did you first feel compelled to take up this subject? Do you consciously choose glass over other mediums for your sculptures? If so, then when?

My grandfather was a doctor. One afternoon I discovered boxes of medical books from the 1930s stored in the attic of his house. I was fascinated by the illustrations I discovered. They showed children with minor or major diseases, limbs and overall beautiful colours. But what kept my strongest interest was the unique expression on their faces. Somehow I felt obligated to transform these children by removing them out of their original realities and pair them with natural elements, letting them play roles in mysterious dramas. I try to endow them with a higher dignity, which they were deprived of as medical specimens.

I choose glass over other mediums, because the fragility and translucency of the material afford me an added dimension, an extra layer to enhance my ideas of humanities temporal existence. Glass allows me an expression deeply connected to my vision. Beneath the surface, I can produce a mysterious world, an atmosphere where connections are tenuous and brittle.

Your work is all about bringing life into an otherwise inanimate plane. Describe your sensation as your work develops in perfect synchronisation with your imagination?

It’s a long and difficult process to reach that goal, since your imaginations are constantly changing. Nothing wants to stay or feel the same. Today I look at a new piece and see something very different than what I was touched by yesterday.

But this is exactly what I try to peruse. It’s the wish to create some image of life. Something that doesn’t stand still and moves the audience and me each day, in different ways.

Your talent is evident through your sculptures, mixed media art works and sketches. Do you select the medium of expression depending on the story to be developed? Do you have any personal favourites from all your creations thus far?

In my exhibitions I always combine 2-dimensional with sculptural works… Both mediums play the same important role to me. They support each other and enforcing the idea and vision. One of my favourite wall pieces is ‘How to Breathe under Water’, since I was always fascinated by that ability. ‘Snow Child’, ‘Thaw’ and ‘Dorothea’s Leg’ are my favourite sculptural pieces at this time…

I choose glass over other mediums, because the fragility and translucency of the material afford me an added dimension, an extra layer to enhance my ideas of humanities temporal existence.
How satisfied Sibylle Peretti has been in the portrayals of her imagination? What are your plans for this year at a professional level?

There are so many moments in life when you feel helpless, speechless and don’t know where to begin. That’s the chance for finding another language and to make something visible what always existed, but was covered inside. I am very thankful that I am able to explore my imagination and that I search for ways to find a non-verbal language to express life.

I am in the process of starting a new body of work, part of it will be installation based containing life size glass sculptures. The work will appear unified by colour but by closer observation reveal traces of identity. It’s comparable with the process of melting snow uncovering interior dialogues.