artist interview

Conception to Structure

“I’m interested in how we negotiate our place in the world and I make objects that explore this.” - the artist

Group of Four, 2018, Steel, 320 x 88 each, $3,100

Group of Four, 2018, Steel, 320 x 88 each, $3,100

Q: What led you to become a metal-smith sculptor?

A: Accident really. I grew up in a family of classical musicians and spent all of my time playing the violin and latterly singing. After training professionally as a singer, I soon decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do and spent around ten years working in healthcare – something I’d always been interested in. I really enjoyed it but knew I was also after something else. I took up an evening class in jewellery making when I moved to a job with more manageable hours and in that I heard about silversmithing, which is specifically making objects out of metal and I was hooked before I’d even started. In time this developed into practice as a sculptor.

Six Bowls on a Base, 2017, Sterling Silver and Patinated Copper, 750 x 250 x 250 mm, $8,000

Six Bowls on a Base, 2017, Sterling Silver and Patinated Copper, 750 x 250 x 250 mm, $8,000

Q: Where have you studied and how long have you been an artist?

A: I did my first short course in around 2009, completed a BA (Hons) in 2013 and a research MA in 2015, the latter two at The Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design in east London, UK. In the UK art education has changed enormously in the last 15 years and The Cass was one of the few places that still offered training in silversmithing as opposed to making jewellery. Having said that I was lucky enough to work with some extraordinary tutors who had a huge influence on how I thought about and through metal.

Containers, 2015, Steel and Sterling Silver, 450 x 500 x 300 mm, $4,100

Containers, 2015, Steel and Sterling Silver, 450 x 500 x 300 mm, $4,100

Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: I’m interested in how we negotiate our place in the world and I make objects that explore this. Put another way, I find the world to be a complex place and I make objects to try and understand it! My practice is an iterative one. I often take snapshots of the everyday world around me. I have found that my eye, through the frame of the camera, is capable of identifying subject matter that interests me artistically before I am capable of articulating it verbally. This means these images represent the embryonic development of creative ideas. I also draw on ideas – or questions, or propositions on how we live in the world - from academic disciplines and these inform my thinking indirectly as much as directly. Primarily thought I work by thinking through making.

Making is first and foremost action. All makers have their own ways of making and approaching their material that are suited to the outcomes they want to achieve. Within my own practice, there is a difference between 'making as construction' and making as thinking, where ideas, instincts, thoughts and emotions converse with material and form.  In this method, a piece emerges from the exploration of a notion where I use different methods and different materials to interrogate my ideas, my thoughts and myself. This process becomes an iterative conversation with material and form, rather than an instruction to it.

In Making, Tim Ingold calls this 'thinking through making' (Ingold, 2013), or allowing knowledge to grow from our experience of and engagement with the things around us, using the physical to entice our subconscious to speak out. In thinking through making, the key for me is action: doing something with a material, not thinking about it too deeply but working instinctively and reacting to things as they unfold. This, more than anything else is what results in creative raw material that can be reflected on and learnt from at a later date. Reflection is an essential step in making, but for me it is something that happens separately from doing. 

Two Bowls, 2015, Sterling Silver, 180 x 160 x 40 each, $8,250

Two Bowls, 2015, Sterling Silver, 180 x 160 x 40 each, $8,250

Q: We were very impressed with your Best in Show piece, titled Two Bowls. Tell us more about this piece.

A: This piece was commissioned for an exhibition call Silver Speaks: Idea to Object which was exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London between 2016 and 2017. They subsequently purchased another one of my pieces for their permanent collection in 2017.

Two Bowls explores the bowl form and particularly notions of inside and outside. One bowl is hollow, but appears solid and the other piece hollow - appearing to be lit from the inside. The overall piece is formed both by the relationship of the lines and thresholds within each bowl and in the relationship of lines and thresholds between the pieces. The piece is wholly sculptural but draws on the notions of familiarity and comfort that the bowl in its traditional form evokes.

Bowls are archetypal objects – they are some of the few objects that have not changed in form through the history of humankind and are some of the first objects we encounter as children. They have a rich history and symbolism which makes them an ideal form with which to question how we relate to objects.  This piece was made as I was researching notions of inside and outside, how we use these conceptions to structure how we live in the world and the spaces that lie in-between them.

Tall Vessels, 2016, Patinated Gilding Metal and Sterling Silver, 200 x 500 x 1000 mm, $18,800

Tall Vessels, 2016, Patinated Gilding Metal and Sterling Silver, 200 x 500 x 1000 mm, $18,800

Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your work?

A: I think this is a really interesting question. I have a strong sense of what I think is in a piece when I make it but I also feel strongly that the viewer will see what they want to see in my work.

Ambiguity is important in my work: there needs to be enough familiarity in a piece for people to be able to relate to it but enough ambiguity to engage people’s curiosity and their imagination. A mentor once asked me if I wanted my work to give answers or to ask questions – it’s definitely the latter.

Fundamentally I have no control over what people see in my work – and no need for them to see the same thing. I find it fascinating when I’m doing exhibitions how often people say ‘it looks like….’ - and the range of very different things they come up with!

Interlocking Pair, 2017, Sterling Silver and Mild Steel, 280 x 250 x 100 mm, $7,500

Interlocking Pair, 2017, Sterling Silver and Mild Steel, 280 x 250 x 100 mm, $7,500

Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: Writing is a significant part of my practice. I use it as a tool for capturing some of my experiences of the world, for research in a more formal sense and for communicating some of the ideas behind my work. In 2018, I completed my first publication Material Perspectives with support from Arts Council England, designed by Emily Benton. The book explores different ideas that recur through my work including Thresholds, Objects, Vessels, Lines and the act of making itself. I’m just beginning a new project which will run for the next couple of years.

On the making front, I see myself making larger pieces and more installations and hopefully showing more work internationally – including in the US. Scale is important to me but in metal in particular, at a certain point you move from making pieces yourself to working with fabricators as the pieces just get too big – that’s something I need to figure out as the act of making is so important to me.

Juliette Bigley Portrait low res 9.jpeg

About the artist:

I am an artist-metalsmith who uses base and precious metals to explore objects, their characters and our relationships to them, especially the ways in which we use objects to structure and explore the world in which we live. Focussing particularly on lines and thresholds, my work has relationships – between people, between people and objects and between objects themselves – at its heart.

Based in London, my initial career focussed on classical singing, followed by a number of years in healthcare management undertaking service design for a range of providers. I chanced on my love of metal by accident when a quieter job provided the opportunity to undertake an evening class - and I soon exchanged designing services for making objects. At The Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design I trained as a silversmith under influential makers including Simone ten Hompel and David Clarke, gaining both BA (Hons, First Class) and a research MA (Distinction). My research interests include our relationship to the objects with which we surround ourselves, and the ways in which we use objects to negotiate our emotional and physical place in the world.

I have exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally (Ireland, USA, Switzerland, Dubai and Germany) including Design Miami, ArtGeneve, Tresor Contemporary Craft and Collect as well as exhibitions curated by Zaha Hadid and former Director or the Serpentine Galleries Julia Peyton-Jones. I was selected by the Design Council as one of their Ones to Watch: a group of designers selected for having the potential to contribute to the future of Britain as a design nation. As well as winning several other awards, I have been featured in, amongst others, CRAFTS Magazine, Craft and Design Magazine, the Evening Standard and the FT's How to Spend It. I have work in the V&A permanent collection and the Irish State Collection,have received funding from the Arts Council England Grants for the Arts Programme and is am Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

I am represented by Taste Contemporary Craft (Geneva) and Studio Fusion (London).

To view more work by the artist, please visit www.juliettebigley.com.


If you are an artist or author and are interested in applying for a chance to be featured in Envision Arts Magazine, please email envisionartshow@gmail.com for application details.

Reaching Into Space

“Metal is something I thought I could depend on. But, when I saw molten bronze to be as viscus as water, I realized that it is very much alive …” - the artist

Thompson_M_Chiharu_Bronze_5x8x6.jpg

Q: What led you to become a bronze sculptor?

A: I have always had a creative bend, but when I went into college I wasn't sure what I "wanted to be when I grew up" so to speak. I'll never forget a conversation I had with my father at the time. He gave me a piece of advice that has really stuck with me: "take courses that are interesting to you, and keep on signing up for the ones you like. That will show you where to go". So I did just that. The obsession started with two dimensional design and painting. Then I took a basic sculpture course and that really opened my eyes to a whole new world of creation. In painting, you are essentially representing the three dimensional world in two dimensions. With sculpture, you are reaching out into space and pulling a form out of it. That aspect of god-like creation was fascinating and powerful. So, I kept on taking sculpture courses.

Bronze casting was a course only offered during the summer. I was trying to get some of the more difficult courses I needed to graduate out of the way in summer school one year. I thought that I might as well take something fun while I was there, so I signed up for a bronze casting class. 

I enjoyed the whole process, but it wasn't until I saw the molten bronze that things clicked for me. All of my life I had considered metal to be a cold, yet reliable material. A great example of this is that we build almost all of our building and bridge infrastructures out of steel. Metal is something I thought I could depend on. But, when I saw molten bronze to be as viscus as water, I realized that it is very much alive and that just a little bit of heat could undo all of that reliability. 

In short, it changed the way I thought about the elements and the world. Nothing else in my artistic career has ever done that for me, and I was hooked. 

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Q: Can you describe your process from conception to finished piece?

A: Usually my process starts with an idea or feeling. It can either be an abstract emotion and I then search for a form that can represent it. Or it starts with a form that captivates me, and I then search for the reason that it moved me. In that case, I usually find a feeling or emotion underneath that initial visual response. 

From there, if the idea is very concrete I will usually just dive into working in clay. If the idea, form, or emotion is still a bit elusive then I will draw a few sketches to get a better hold of what it is that I am trying to create. 

Either way, I begin creating the piece by building an armature (essentially a skeletal structure that will support the clay) and then working the clay to completion. 

During the clay phase, usually there are some considerable changes that occur from initial concept to what actually gets created. There is always a conversation between myself and the clay. Through the process, I am constantly asking why I am creating the piece, what's the reason behind it. At the same time, I have to listen to what the sculpture wants to become. At a certain point, I have to step out of the way and let the clay guide me. The whole thing is a conversation between my hands, the clay, and spirit, muse, or whatever you want to call it.

Once the clay is created, I will send the piece to a mold maker who creates a mold, usually a combination of rubber and plaster, from which all of the editions are cast in wax. From there, I send the piece to a foundry (a facility that casts bronze) and they enter what is called the "lost wax process". It is a one step mold process that takes the piece from wax to bronze. Once the piece is completed in bronze I will come in to patina, or put the final coloring, on the bronze.

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Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: I find that the times I am out in the wilderness are the times that I am most in tune with my own true nature. There is a sense of peace and calm I experience there. Maybe because it is the lack of people, technology, etc. but I like to think that there are spirits in the plants. If you listen closely enough you can hear them whisper the wisdom of the ages, reminding whoever will listen of who we really are. 

These whispering’s are where I draw my inspiration. I use the life forms I encounter in the mountains and forests I live in as a vehicle to explore various aspects of personality, human experience, and the dichotomy between mortality and immortality.

Thompson_M_Kazumi_Bronze_6x6x8.jpg

Q: Is there some underlying message you like to portray via your art?

A: At it's core, my work is a meditation on the ephemeral. It is the way I process the juxtaposition between the temporality of life with the deeper aspects of self and spirit. 

Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your art?

A; I hope that viewers walk away from my art with the sense of calm and clarity that I experience outside in nature. If my work can either help people connect to their own inner landscape and spirit, that would be the highest honor. At the very least, I hope that the sculptures inspire people to recognize the beauty found on earth, and maybe even move them to become stewards of this planet that we call home. 

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Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: In five years, I hope to be showing large, multi-part installations in museums and corporate buildings, along-side galleries. That being said, as long as I am creating in a way that is true and meaningful, that is what is most important. 

Photo source: www.margaretthompsonsculpture.com

Photo source: www.margaretthompsonsculpture.com

About the artist:

Margaret Thompson got her start in the arts while in high school when she began designing jewelry for Carlyn Galerie in Dallas, Texas. 

Through adolescence and into adulthood, Margaret was drawn to a variety of creative arts including musical theater, cuisine, jewelry design, drawing, painting, graphic design, and eventually metal-smithing and sculpting. 

In 2013 Margaret earned her Fine Arts degree from Skidmore College with a concentration in sculpture and metals. There, she began her training in two dimensional design, but quickly found herself drawn to three dimensional work. “It is one thing to paint space, but another to reach into space and shape something with my own hands. Once I had done that, there was no turning back.”

Margaret quickly became fascinated by the process of creating work in metal. “Working with metal for the first time completely changed my perception of the world. Here is this thing that is considered so strong and reliable; and with just a little bit of heat, it bends under my finger. Then with a lot more heat it becomes as liquid as water. That process of heating, and shaping in order to purify an idea and wrestle it to life speaks to me profoundly.”

Margaret now lives in Boulder Colorado, drawing much of her inspiration from the mountains. "I experience incredible wonder in nature. Especially in the mountains and forests. So I strive to create work that speaks to what I am enchanted by, in hopes that it allows the viewer to experience a little of that magic for themselves."

To view more work by the artist, please visit www.margaretthompsonsculpture.com. Also please follow the artist on Facebook as well as Instagram.


Want to share your work with Envision Magazine? Feel free to submit your visual art and/or literary works for a chance to be featured. Click here to apply online.

Various Forms of Beauty

“I guess you could say that my goal is to express the emotional feelings of wonder and admiration of the world’s natural elements, events and occurrences and to have the viewer experience a different way of seeing.” - the artist

Bloom, 2018. Acrylic, pigment and resin, 48 x 60 inches

Bloom, 2018. Acrylic, pigment and resin, 48 x 60 inches

Q: What led you to become an artist?

A: I have always been curiously interested in the various forms of nature’s beauty, and how it can be found in every aspect of life.  As a young girl you would find me outdoors and going on explorations looking for rocks or other interesting things.  My grandmother, and accomplished artist, introduced me to oil painting at the age of 10 and I began studying in earnest.  I was considered a bit of a “nerd” by many and, in hindsight, I guess I was…I was the only member of the “Rock Club” in 5th grade…a Science Club studying minerals, rocks and gems…it was awesome!

I was also lucky to have a wonderful high school art teacher who mentored me and taught me about other mediums.  I went on to receive my BFA from Hartford Art School at The University of Hartford where I spent her time focusing on large scale sculptures and bold shapes and design.

Thalassic Series, Study I, 2018. Acrylic, pigment and resin, 48 x 48 inches

Thalassic Series, Study I, 2018. Acrylic, pigment and resin, 48 x 48 inches

Q: You work with poured medium and resin, as well as mixed media. Tell us how you became proficient in these mediums?

A; My training and studies were concentrated in oil and acrylic mediums and, until recently, I almost exclusively used acrylic pigments.  I had seen some resin work and became fascinated with the concept but was surprised by the overall lack of artistry that was involved.  On a whim, I purchased a couple of gallons to see what it was all about and have, pretty much, spent the last 3 years challenging myself to find beautiful and different ways to use it.  My work in the medium is constantly evolving as I experiment with a lot of different pigments, micas, paints, and stones in the resin.  And, I also now have quite the collection of power tools.  Every piece I create involves a variety of blow torches, heat guns, sanders, saws, rotary tools and, my favorite, my dremel.

Frozen River, Mini series, 2018. Acrylic, pigment, resin crushed glass, mirror and agate on canvas, 6 x 6 inches, set of four (SOLD)

Frozen River, Mini series, 2018. Acrylic, pigment, resin crushed glass, mirror and agate on canvas, 6 x 6 inches, set of four (SOLD)

Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: To this day, all of my artwork continues to be inspired by nature.  My admiration of minerals, stones, landmass and the sea has only grown stronger and, while many don’t see this in my abstract interpretations, it is always there. My art is multi-dimensional and is based on one or more of these elements while also attempting to capture some aspect of light, darkness, warmth, and convey my the feelings this evokes in me.

Title unknown, 2018. Acrylic, pigment and resin, 5 x 60 inches, set of three.

Title unknown, 2018. Acrylic, pigment and resin, 5 x 60 inches, set of three.

Q: You've developed quite a following for your stick sets. And it's quite a different and unusual size at 5" x 60". Tell us the reasoning behind this size selection and why you believe it is so popular?

A: These Sticks!!  It is funny how they came to be.  A collector of my art was challenged by a round wall in her foyer.  After many conversations about what art could be placed on a round wall in her home, we agreed that mirrors, “tall, skinny mirrors”, were the solution.  That somehow morphed into” tall, skinny art” and I made a commissioned set for her.  “Paint Sticks” is kind of a tongue-in-cheek name for them as they are really quite beautiful slices of fine art.  They have garnered a lot of interest and I am now spending quite a bit of time doing custom “Sticks” for clients and have introduced  “Twigs”.  I am not constricted to the 5” x 60” size as I am now working with a local artisan who is fabricating all of my structure which is handcrafted from kiln dried birch and pine and constructed in a way that will never warp or be compromised .  What is great about these is that they can be used in tall, narrow, rounded or otherwise awkward spaces,  They can be grouped together to create a beautiful montage, the uses are endless.  I mostly meet with clients at their homes, measure and then do them in the sizes that work best for their spaces.  Also, Frisco Fine Arts, is carrying an extensive collection of them. 

Meteor Shower Stick Set, 2018. Acrylic, pigment, resin crushed glass, mirror and agate on birch, 5 x 60 inches, set of three.

Meteor Shower Stick Set, 2018. Acrylic, pigment, resin crushed glass, mirror and agate on birch, 5 x 60 inches, set of three.

Q: Is there some underlying message you like to portray via your art? What do you hope for viewers to take away from your art?

A: There is no underlying message, per se, that I am trying to communicate with my art.  It is something that gives me a sense of peace and joy.  I guess you could say that my goal is to express the emotional feelings of wonder and admiration of the world’s natural elements, events and occurrences and to have the viewer experience a different way of seeing.  Maybe to pass along a bit of joy to them as well.

Spring I, 2018. Acrylic, pigment and resin, 48 x 48 inches

Spring I, 2018. Acrylic, pigment and resin, 48 x 48 inches

Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: Five years ago, I was still caring for my family and ending a totally different career and only painting in my spare time for myself.  I would never have imagined that I would be fortunate enough to begin a new career this late in life and have it be my lifelong passion.  So, 5 years from now?  Hard to say and I really don’t want to jinx myself.  So long as I’m still able to create, I will be a very content artist and person!

Photo credit: Deborah Hartigan Viestenz

Photo credit: Deborah Hartigan Viestenz

About the artist:

Much is revealed about Deborah Hartigan Viestenz through her artwork. Known for her large scale multi-media abstract paintings seeking to translate nature into feelings, Deborah is based in the United States and began her creative journey and love of the outdoors at an early age.

“We see these every day. Birds, grass, trees, lakes, oceans, stone. We are touched by these every day. Water on our hands and bodies. Sunlight warming our skin. Rocks and grass beneath our feet. Darkness making us seek light. We hear these every day. Birds speaking to each other. Wind rustling the leaves. The cacophony of storms and thunder. My goal is to express the emotional feelings of wonder and admiration of these natural elements, events and occurrences—to have the viewer experience a different way of seeing.“

Always fascinated with the often overlooked beauty of nature, and encouraged by her grandmother, an accomplished painter, Deborah began her studies in oil painting at the age of ten. Given her admiration of minerals, stones, landmass and the sea, these elements became the subject matter of her work. After attending Boston College, Deborah received her BFA from Hartford Art School at The University of Hartford where she spent her time focusing on large scale outdoor sculptures along with painting and design. She has spent her adult life achieving a successful and creative family/work/life balance and enjoying the gradual maturation and seasoning of her work. Presently based in Dallas, TX, Deborah has resided in New York, London, and Paris and continues to find inspiration in her travels.

Her art is exhibited/available at several galleries in Dallas, or on her website at www.dhvartworks.com. As you explore her works, share in the spirit of her imagination, generosity, and genuine love of life.


Want to share your work with Envision Magazine? Feel free to submit your visual art and/or literary works for a chance to be featured. Click here to apply online.

A Record of Conscious Thought

“Using paint alone as a medium was very disenchanting.” - the artist

Interdimensional Landscape I, 2017, Collage on wooden board, 8 x 10 inches, $350

Interdimensional Landscape I, 2017, Collage on wooden board, 8 x 10 inches, $350

Q: What led you to become a mixed media / assemblage artist?

A: I took a collage class in my junior year in college. Soon after, it became my favorite medium to work with and now it is my prime focus. Though initially a painting major, I did not paint much (and still don't). Using paint alone as a medium was very disenchanting. At the time, I had interest in learning as many mediums as possible. Collage was very freeing from the rules of traditional art making and structured art classes.

Untitled, 2018, Collage on paper, 5 x 7 inches, $175

Untitled, 2018, Collage on paper, 5 x 7 inches, $175

Q: Where have you studied and how long have you been an artist?

A: I took graphic communications at my vocational high school before I studied fine arts at a community college. Afterwards, I transferred to Montserrat College of Art my sophomore year where I recently received my Bachelors. Art has always been an interest of mine ever since I picked up my first crayon. I have always been introverted, so it is how I felt most comfortable expressing myself.

Untitled, 2017, Collage on paper, 10 x 12 inches, $200

Untitled, 2017, Collage on paper, 10 x 12 inches, $200

Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: I derive a lot of my inspiration from multiple things. Mostly from self awareness, altered states of consciousness, the divine feminine, polarities, and channeling the dark side of human nature: that being, fears, the social masks we wear, multiple personas, as well as mental health. Though my work is really personal, I also explore external conflicts such as sexual liberation, body politics, power structures, and cultural identity. Though some of these concepts might not be too evident in my work at the moment, it is what I have been interested in lately and wish to integrate more into my work.

Some of my favorite artists, not in any particular order and ranging in various mediums are Robert Rauschenberg, Max Ernst, Ana Mendieta, Hans Bellmer, Wangechi Mutu, Claude Cahun, Steven Stapleton, John O`Reilly, Man Ray, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Valie Export, Herman Kitsch, Tatsumi Hijikata. Some artists who I admire that I discovered through social media are Katrien De Blauwer, Brittany Markert, Nedda Afsari, Miss Meatface, Denis Forkas, Krist Mort. I could go on.

Distorted Room, 2018, Collage on paper, 11 x 14 inches, $120

Distorted Room, 2018, Collage on paper, 11 x 14 inches, $120

Q: Where do you gain your mixed media materials from?

A: The materials I use in my collages and assemblages are mostly disposed paper or objects that I find on the ground when I walk my dogs. I love going to thrift shops and antique stores to pick up small knick-knacks. I find value in these forgotten objects and I like to integrate their history into my work. Not only can they be aesthetically pleasing but the objects also work as personal symbols. My black and white collages are cut out from various photography books, where I take apart figures and landscapes to distort them and turn them into something new. Working with these given forms not only gives me direction but I feel like I can relate to the work I am manipulating better.

Untitled, 2018, Collage & wax on vintage album, 8.5 x 10.5 inches, $135

Untitled, 2018, Collage & wax on vintage album, 8.5 x 10.5 inches, $135

Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your art?

A: When people come across my work, I want it to be a visual stimulant that guides them to looking into themselves. Self awareness, in my opinion, is not only about finding inner peace and joy or any of that nonsense, but also exploring parts of yourself that you are afraid to confront. I just want people to relate and feel something on a deeper level.

Interdimensional Landscape II, 2017, Collage on wooden board, 5 x 7 inches, $300

Interdimensional Landscape II, 2017, Collage on wooden board, 5 x 7 inches, $300

Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: In five years, I see myself living in a setting with an art scene that actually invests more in contemporary artists. I do not expect art to be my main source of income, though that would be nice. I want to be more involved and collaborate with other artists to create work that has an impact on viewers.

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About the artist:

I am a multimedia artist with a main focus on collaging, more specifically black and white photo montaging and assemblages. My collages work as a formal and psychological exercise to present a record of conscious thought and action. I take found photographs out of discarded photography books and cut up representational forms into indistinguishable abstractions, while incorporating found objects and rearranging them into something new. By using a given/found image or form, I am taking materials with a history of its own and applying that to my own personal experience. In analyzing and modifying a fleeting impression, I constantly put myself into unfamiliar places whilst being aware of what I discover.


This process allows me to understand my decision making. It is a metaphorical alchemy of tapping into the unconscious mind: transcendence through breaking apart and reconstructing what I think I know and turning it into something new. The fragmented glimpses visible in my collages, appearing much like inter-dimensional landscapes or obscured cinematic figures look to channel the polarities between the mind and body.


The process of my work refers the struggle between self-knowledge, self-deception and acknowledges that we are in a constant state of recreating ourselves, which is reflected in how I keep my work in a flux. My work explores mental and physical pain and the pleasure of indulgence, desire and apathy; the relationship between subject and object; the harmony of the creator`s control; and chaos or creation.


Though my work may be personal, I do reflect on external issues at times such as using parts of the figure as a tool to explore body politics, transgression, censorship, power structures, and cultural identity.


Want to share your work with Envision Magazine? Feel free to submit your visual art and/or literary works for a chance to be featured. Click here to apply online.

Multi-layered, Complex

“I do not dominate the material, but rather cooperate with it and include its specific characteristics in the designing process.” - the artist

Cold Blue II Brooch, 2017. Collection „vielschichtig“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Cold Blue II Brooch, 2017. Collection „vielschichtig“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: What led you to become a jewelry designer?

A: Originally, I started my apprenticeship in metal design with the goal of becoming a restorer. However, during my training, I quickly realized that I have more fun in creating something new, rather than preserving something old. Therefore, I continued by studying at the Munich Academy for Design and Crafts, where I actually started my experiments with plastic bags and foils.

Thus, these experiments formed the basis for my final assignment and the first pieces of jewelry developed. In retrospective I really cannot tell, what drew me towards jewelry - it was no conscious decision for or against jewelry or other topics. At some point, it was just clear to me that I wanted to design and create jewelry. I guess it was the multitude of possibilities of design that I found in jewelry, but also of course the results of my experiments.

Monochrome I Brooch, 2018. Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Monochrome I Brooch, 2018. Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: Where have you studied and/or exhibited your work?

A: I was already aged 35 when I began my apprenticeship in metal design with graduate metal designer Berndt Schweizer. In 2016 I graduated as designer of crafts at the Munich Academy for Design and Crafts.

Meanwhile, my works have been presented in various galleries in Europe, e.g. in the Galerie Ra in Amsterdam, the Galerie VundV in Vienna or in the Alternatives Gallery in Rome. My brooch "cold blue II" is part of the permanent collection of the AGC in the Cominelli Foundation. Other important exhibitions in 2018 were the Shanghai Triple Parade, Autor in Bucharest and Just Plastics in Karlsruhe.

Untitled I Brooch, 2018. Collection „überdreht“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Untitled I Brooch, 2018. Collection „überdreht“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: I am fascinated by the material poly ethylene in the form of bags and foils. For more than two years now, I have been intensively experimenting with it and I am still discovering new ways and possibilities of processing it. Because of that I can create new shapes, patterns and effects all the time. I suppose, it is exactly this pleasure of discovering some new aspect that is inspiring me.

Dark Red Brooch, 2018. Collection „vielschichtig“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Dark Red Brooch, 2018. Collection „vielschichtig“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: Your work is created using foils and plastic shopping bags. Can you elaborate on your technique and explain your process for us?

A: I am using traditional techniques that I have adapted to the characters of the material. The constant experimenting also allows me to further develop these techniques. It is essential that I do not force these techniques on the material, but rather cooperate with the material and let it lead me by its proper qualities.

For example, when for the collection "vielschichtig", the first steps of processing consist of folding and pressing - just like in Mokume Gane or Damscene -  color-themed foils. The finished stacks will then be cut and arranged in a strictly geometrical way. And yet, in the next processing steps, the material is allowed to free itself out of the boundaries I have set before which leads to the creation of the strong, free shapes and patterns.

For my collection "überdreht", I take the material to its limits of stability - there is an extreme tension which the piece of jewelry reflects as if you could even feel it. In case I take this too far, the piece is destroyed for good because I neglected the material's point of breaking.

Monochrome III Brooch, 2018. Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Monochrome III Brooch, 2018. Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: Is there an underlying message with regards to the materials you choose to use for your designs?

A: We are surrounded by packaging foils and plastic bags on a daily basis without seeing anything beautiful in them. But by processing this seemingly worthless waste, I want to bestow a new value on the material.

To me, this is one of the most important aspects of my work.

Untitled III Brooch, 2018. Collection „überdreht“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Untitled III Brooch, 2018. Collection „überdreht“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your designs?

A: First of all, I would like that viewers like my work - also without knowing the background story. As it is my aim to conceal the basic material in the finished objects further explanation is necessary. I wish that through this my jewelry will kick-off discussions: about my jewelry, waste and seemingly worthless things that received new value.

Untitled II Brooch, 2018. Collection „überdreht“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Untitled II Brooch, 2018. Collection „überdreht“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: The best thing would be, that in five years' time I will not be able to work with plastic bags any more, because there aren't any left. As this will, unfortunately, probably not be the case, I wish that I feel the same fascination for my work as I do now. Oh, and making a living with it would also be very nice...

About the artist:

At the age of 35, I started my apprenticeship in metalworking design and afterwards went on to the Academy of Design and Crafts in Munich, from where I graduated with honors in 2016. Directly after my graduation, I began designing and manufacturing jewelry out of plastic bags and foils. Already during my training at the Academy in Munich, I was highly enthusiastic about this seemingly worthless, inconspicuous material. Despite the fact that we are accompanied by the material in our daily life, we only rarely observe it as being beautiful. It is my aim to create pieces of jewelry that do not betray any traces of their origins. In order to achieve this, I do not dominate the material, but rather cooperate with it and include its specific characteristics in the designing process. I.e. the material is allowed to free itself from the initially imposed limits resulting from my geometrical arrangement, which creates free and strong patterns. Every unique piece reflects the numerous and complex structures to which this collection owns its name: vielschichtig (Engl.: multi-layered, complex).


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Finding Myself

“…I have lost myself in this amazing colorful world of my imagination only to realize that losing myself is really finding myself!” - the artist

Good Vibes, 2018. Oil on canvas, 47 x 60 inches

Good Vibes, 2018. Oil on canvas, 47 x 60 inches

Q: What led you to become an abstract artist?

A: It took me a long time to find a way into my abstract work.  It was just after my second solo show, around 15 years ago, very figurative, that I started experimenting with abstraction. I found a certain freedom of expression in abstraction but at the same time while I was finding that liberty I found also a challenge to express and deliver the message or the feeling that I wanted to deliver. So the freedom was so magical yet the challenge inspire me to keep experimenting. And I loved both! So over the years, I have create many different abstract series and in each one of them I have lost myself in this amazing colorful world of my imagination only to realize that losing myself is really finding myself!

The Beach, 2017. Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

The Beach, 2017. Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Q: Where have you studied and how long have you been an artist?

A: I studied a Bachelor in Fine Arts at LSU, and have studied important Certification figurative art minors in the School of Beauty Arts in Queretaro under the Master Santiago Carbonell.

I have been an artist I think all my life, because I dreamed of being one since I was very young. But it was not until I had my first solo show, 17 years ago in the Regional Museum of Queretaro, that I really took myself serious as an artist.

Pink Dream, 2018. Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Pink Dream, 2018. Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: This has to be the most important question for an artist because: How can art exist without a source of inspiration? I truly believe that. So I almost feel like I need a whole page to answer that question because almost every painting have a different source of inspiration. But I can tell you this, I am inspired everyday by this beautiful world we live. I am inspired by people that are fearless and that have beautiful souls, I am inspired by artists (Musicians, writers, dancers, painters, etc.) all over the world and by artist that I know very well. Sometimes something I see mostly what I feel, sometimes the light, sometimes the dark, and the colors of my roots, but most of all the love that surrounds me, I think that without that I could not paint.

City of Hope, 2017. Oil on canvas, 47 x 60 inches

City of Hope, 2017. Oil on canvas, 47 x 60 inches

Q: We were very impressed with your Best in Show piece, City of Hope. Is there a specific meaning or message behind this work?

A: Thank you, I feel so grateful for this award. And yes it has a meaning. This painting belongs to a series of my abstract work named FRAGMENTS.

Through this series, I wanted to show this fragmented yet connected universe. We are joined by symbols, paths, experiences, colors, shapes, and love. In “City of Hope”, I show this paths of endless possibilities just like the world we live in. And the painting is full of positive symbols of many forms and meanings. The blue represents that hope, I do not know why, but every time I paint blue in my paintings I feel that is because there is HOPE.

City of Joy, 2018. Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

City of Joy, 2018. Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your art?

A: Mostly, I want the viewers to feel joy, I want them also to feel that they can be lost inside my art and yet found themselves again somewhere in the painting. I like for them to come closer and find little things and symbols that you do not see at first.

Between Two Suns, 2018. Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Between Two Suns, 2018. Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: What I hope is to keep showing my art everywhere in this world that I can show it! That I can bring joy to everyone that looks at my art. I wish by then I can be talking about exhibiting in many beautiful countries. Because through my art I have met so many amazing people, for some reason they open their hearts to me and I do to them and that has given me so much joy! And like I say I get inspire by the inner beauty of the people and the magical world we live in.

Photo source: the artist

Photo source: the artist

About the artist:

Born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, Leticia Herrera (Leta) now lives and works in Frisco, Texas.  She moved to the US to pursue her formal art education at LSU, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Graphic Design in 1992.  After her degree, she returned to her country and started working as a Creative Director in Avon Mexico during the day. But in the evening, she worked at her home studio as a freelance artist, trying to explore her own creativity. As her artwork evolves to a more personal style, Herrera discovers within herself a deep and strong sense of color, and a connection between her emotions. In 1996 she decides to paint full time and abandons her career as a Creative Director and designer and pursues her art. But it was not until the death of one of her closest friends only a few years ago, that she immersed herself in her painting, finding a renewed sense of joy and inspiration for her life in the expression of her inner creativity.
Occasionally referencing figurative or landscape-like forms in her works, Herrera’s art defies simplistic labels and categorization, instead finding always a source of inspiration for her own personal search.

In over 25 years of painting, she has depicted a diverse amount of representations from the figurative, to the abstraction and back to the figurative. No matter what is her stage or what are the surroundings of her experiences, there is something that she cares the most about: humanities’ inner world, feelings and sensations. She expresses that through color and texture in her abstract compositions and through stories of her magic surrealism portraits of imaginary moments. She paints in series from the heart.

To view more work by the artist, please visit www.leticiaherreraart.com. You may also follow the artist on Facebook as well as Instagram.


Want to share your work with Envision Magazine? Feel free to submit your visual art and/or literary works for a chance to be featured. Click here to apply online.

A New Journey

“I capture whatever is capturing me!” - the artist

Q: What led you to become a photographer?

A: I became a photographer accidentally. I never planned and intend to be, it came to me naturally. I was a photo lover from the early years of my life. I used to spend hours going through the family albums when I was a little girl. Story behind each picture fascinated me at that young age and made me wonder how different people and their feelings were captured in such a small frame. I used to play with my father’s camera and try to get a clear vision with no luck. One of my older cousins who was taking pictures with her own camera gave me a quick explanation on how to use the camera. At that young age I thought she is a magician. I got my first professional camera as a wedding gift at the age of 29. First couple of years I was using my camera on Auto Mode only, to picture my travels for my blog. My real journey with photography started the moment when I switched my SLR camera to manual mode and rest is a history to tell.

Loneliness, 2014. Photography, 16 x 13 inches

Loneliness, 2014. Photography, 16 x 13 inches

Q: Where have you studied and/or exhibited your work?

A: Let me tell you this first, I am a mathematical engineer with no art background. There was the time of my life, I was questioning my engineering education and career. I realize that it is not the path that I wanted to continue because I have no deep connection to identify myself as an engineer. I was in need to create myself again at the age of 35, We might call it mid-age crisis. At that time, I had to go back my hometown, Istanbul for two years. First, I attended a creative writing course, I like it a lot at the beginning but my enthusiasm has gone in less than a month.

One day, me and my close friend, we were having lunch together, she told me she bought herself a camera and she likes to learn how to use it! She encouraged me to go to a photography course with her.  My course registration day was more like,” let me go with my friend, we will have fun together”. After the third lesson I was fascinated by the history of photography and the possibilities that you can create with your camera while my friend was like, “three lesson is enough I will return automatic mode” She quit. I stayed and complete the course. It was the foundation course for digital photography to learn how to take photos in manual mode. At the end of the course, we had photo shooting day. We met at a very historical part of Istanbul and spent all day to practice what we learned during the lessons. I fall in love with photography at that day! It may be the streets with lots of character, may be the all students’ passion to catch the right frame with the perfect exposure, whatever the energy, I fall in love and I decided to enroll for the second round of the course to create my own photo journal. My assignment was about photographing the vendors on the street, listening their life stories. I was so happy with my camera on my hand, questions in my head! I was free to ask any vendors, any question! More I listen and photographed people more I was in love what I was doing! As a curious person I found my excuse to approach the people on the street and ask their life story. It was a great feeling! But still, I have no intention to become a photographer! At that time, I photographed each and every member of my family, my distant cousins, my neighbor’s dog, even my son’s little turtle living in a small bowl can be the subject of my photo.

After two years I spent in Istanbul, I had to come back to Dallas, in 2013. I continue photography lesson in Dallas. I attended different classes and workshops about artistic and technical aspects of photography. In the past 5 years, I had the opportunity to experiment different style and subjects in photography before I settled on Fine Art Photography such as Architectural, family and corporate photography, wedding & special occasions so on. I was also photographing artwork of an artist, she needs them for her submissions to various exhibitions. While she was coming to my house, she saw my fine art photos hanging on my house’s wall and she asked me to submit them for exhibitions. She asked me each and every time she saw me, she texted me, she emailed me till she made sure I submitted my photos. I was like “okay let me do it for her!”   With my first submission I was honored the best photo prize. It was a photo exhibition by Visual Art Guild of Frisco which was displayed at Frisco Discovery Centre. The jury gave me lots of feedback about my photos, and she told me I am touching the millennium problem, loneliness. That photo, that little girl was reflecting my exact feeling in my life, I am feeling so alone in the middle of crowd. I am not a good fit most of the time. After I got the best photo prize with my visual reflection of feelings, I felt like I can touch more peoples’ life with my photos. It was the moment I felt like a visual artist first time, more than an amateur photographer.

Water, 2018. Photography, 15 x 8 inches

Water, 2018. Photography, 15 x 8 inches

Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: Traveling is inspiring me a lot.  I lose my connection with time & place when I am on a new journey discovering and capturing my next moment in life while I am already captured by my surroundings.

I love outdoors, people & nature and I love documenting different side of them through photography. Capturing shadows or placing people in unexpected scales or backgrounds in the nature inspires me to tell the story about how small we are up against the world surrounding each and every one of us.

Chairs, 2015. Photography, 16 x 13 inches

Chairs, 2015. Photography, 16 x 13 inches

Q: We noticed a recurring theme of light and shadows, which create a sense of movement and mood within your work. Can you elaborate on this?

A: I have been drawn to shadows since I was a little girl. They seemed to behave so mischievously and always mysteriously more interesting than the subject itself. I have a wild urge to capture the moment when I see a shadow. Shadows act like the visual underline of the subject matter in photography and helps to emphasize the importance of the captured moment in time.

Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your art?

A: Be honest with you, I never think to give a massage to my viewers till I won the best photo prize. Even I never thought I would have some viewers! Taking photo is my meditation. It is my worship! I do it for myself to feel connected!  I capture whatever is capturing me! I see the deeper beauty in every form of life beyond the obvious .. whether seeing the movement in a form of a shadow or recognizing the fact that how little we are against the nature surrounding us when we really think of it. My hope is, if my viewer feel what I feel thew realize that they are not alone! I want my viewers to feel the connection through my art. We are all connected with the whole, we just need reminders. Art is the best reminder. If it is my art, it is my hope for my viewers being able to feel the connection!

Man, 2018. Photography, 15 x 8 inches

Man, 2018. Photography, 15 x 8 inches

Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: My formal education is far from art and photography. I am a dysfunctional engineer with an artsy eye. Although I am divinely inspired, I have a personality to create everything from scratch and reasoning is my main ingredient for my own recipe. Keeping my amateur soul alive, I just want to experience art in more depth through more education for next five years. I liked to attend more art exhibitions nationwide & worldwide in the next 5 years. With my unique way of looking and capturing art in life, hope to be able to differentiate myself on the eye of art lovers in general and see my art work displayed in as many locations as possible. Personally, sharing my vision of life with others brings me the joy and priceless happiness.

About the artist:

I am Pelin and my journey with photography started the moment I switched my SLR camera to Manual Mode. Catching the most meaningful moment between an infinite array of possibilities is my primary passion right now, next to travelling, chocolate, trekking with my boys, meeting new people and reading everything and anything. Originally from Istanbul, I lived and worked in London and Brussels. Then I fell in love and my love brought me to United States in 2005 where I still live with frequent visits to my lovely hometown. When I take a picture, my primary goal is to catch the genuine smile and emotion while showing the loveliness, charm, strength and warmth of people.


Want to share your work with Envision Magazine? Feel free to submit your visual art and/or literary works for a chance to be featured. Click here to apply online.

In A Modern World

“My artwork deals with the problems of being a Native American in a modern world. This idea of having to face multiple problems.” - from the artist

Lifting, Size: 4104 x 2736, Photograph, 2018

Lifting, Size: 4104 x 2736, Photograph, 2018

Q: What led you to become a fine art and concept photographer? What type(s) of cameras or film do you shoot with?

A: What led me to become a fine art and concept photographer is how there is not much art that represented modern day Native Americans. I shoot with a Canon 70D with a 35mm to 105mm leases.

The Start, Size: 3818 x 2736, Photograph, 2018

The Start, Size: 3818 x 2736, Photograph, 2018

Q: You applied for consideration for our virtual exhibition, titled Identity: a collection of self-portraiture. The images you submitted were self-portraits aimed at drawing attention to issues of the Native American populace in the modern world. What issues do you wish to bring to light with your work?

A: The issues I want to bring up are the problems that Native American have to face. This idea of being divided into two worlds. Issues like poverty, alcoholism and drugs problems with a strong cultural background. How no one seem to understand how hard it is knowing that no one [knows anything] about you.

The Light, Size: 3261 x 2736, Photography, 2018

The Light, Size: 3261 x 2736, Photography, 2018

Q: How does your self-portrait photography paint a story of these issues?

A: The story my photographs paints is this idea of depression. Having strong cultural background but the everyday problems having a huge impact on me causing my strength of my beliefs to be question and tested.  

The ground crumbles beneath my feet, Photography, 2018

The ground crumbles beneath my feet, Photography, 2018

Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your self-portraits - knowing the intimate meaning behind it?

A; I want people to see how problems of everyday life can affect your point of view and cause you to question the thing that makes [you] unique. Also to bring awareness to the population of how there are to many people, just like me, looking for a balance.  

Q: Looking at your other body of work, there seems to be a reoccurring theme of nature. You have several works that depict beautiful landscapes, as well as images that exude texture or pattern found in nature, such as your image titled The Ground Crumbles beneath My Feet. What is the underlying message behind your nature pieces?

A: My nature pieces reflect my strong cultural backgrounds. My religion beliefs are surrounded by having respect for everything that is living and everything that is part of this world. Zuni’s believe that when you die your next life you could come back as an animal or even an insect. The Ground Crumbles beneath My Feet, represents the idea of taking the time to enjoy nature and how the way of life has changed.

Luminosity of water, Photography, 2018

Luminosity of water, Photography, 2018

Q: Where else have you exhibited your work?

A: Identity: a collection in self-portraiture is my first exhibition. I look forward to how people react to my photography.

Life has no boundaries, Photography, 2018

Life has no boundaries, Photography, 2018

Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: I already have a plan; my plan is take back what I need at college and apply that to my community. I have created a website, elementsofthewest.com, that is designed to help artists sell their work. More than half the people in my community uses art as a way of living. So by applying this website would have given artist a much larger reach of customers.

About the artist:

Anthony “Perry” Tekala is a Native American photographer and entrepreneur from the Zuni tribe, located in New Mexico. His photography highlights the problems of being a Native American in a modern world. This idea of having to face multiple problems. Some of those problems relating to the idea of poverty, pain, and depression. As well it deals with this idea of being stuck between two worlds, and how [he] finds a balance between the worlds. He has developed a website to assist Native Americans in promoting their art work and reaching more potential clients.

To view more work by the artist, please visit www.elementsofthewest.com. You may also follow the artist on Instagram @tekalaperry.


Want to share your work with Envision Magazine? Feel free to submit your visual art and/or literary works for a chance to be featured. Click here to apply online.

Sense of Self

“Light versus shadow are integral components in my work.” - the artist

Just a Moment #5, 2018. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 24 x 16 inches

Just a Moment #5, 2018. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 24 x 16 inches

Q: What led you to become a charcoal artist?

A: It began with my choosing charcoal as my preliminary medium, the medium I would use to create initial response drawings to the subjects I was exploring. The expressive nature of the medium, as well as its versatility, persuaded me to begin using it as my primary tool. I work with compressed charcoal sticks on frosted mylar. In combination, the two enable me to create an incredible array of values, from the deepest black, to an untouched white. On occasion, I use an eraser to remove charcoal from the surface. At other times, the charcoal is applied then left untouched.

Working with charcoal, enables me to work intuitively. The drawings I create using charcoal, range from soft and atmospheric, to high contrast and dramatic. Subject matter determines my style of response.

Conversations With Home #1, 2016. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 36 x 36 inches

Conversations With Home #1, 2016. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 36 x 36 inches

Q: Where have you studied and/or exhibited your work?

A: I have been fortunate to study art through three different art Universities: The Alberta College of Art and Design University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, The University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Wales. I undertook, and received my PhD through the latter university, an undertaking that took close to nine years, most of which was conducted at a distance.

I have exhibited my work in Calgary, Vancouver, Canada and in Aberystwyth.

Conversations With Home #2, 2016. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 36 x 36 inches

Conversations With Home #2, 2016. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 36 x 36 inches

Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: Two recurrent themes run throughout my work: sense of place, and sense of self. In many ways, my art is documenting my journey, my physical journey; places I have visited and lived, the architecture and the landscape, and my inner journey; aspects of my self and my history. Often they work hand in hand, my visual explorations of a place, triggering a memory, or reaction, which in turn, guides my work down a completely, unexpected pathway. Sometimes, particularly when I work with landscapes, my work encourages me to resurface, to take time to breathe.

Home #10, 2018. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 36 x 36 inches

Home #10, 2018. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 36 x 36 inches

Q: We noticed a reoccurring theme of light vs. shadows, as well as a strong use of negative space within your work. Can you elaborate on this?

A: When I studied art history during my BFA, I was drawn to the works of artists such as Michelangelo Caravaggio, Jacques-Louis David, and Rembrandt van Rijn. I was captivated by their dramatic presentation of subject, their use of chiaroscuro, the strong contrast between lights and dark to accentuate form.  My MFA thesis researched into shadow, light and darkness. Light versus shadow are integral components in my work.

Home #3, 2018. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 36 x 36 inches

Home #3, 2018. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 36 x 36 inches

In my first drawing class for my BFA, I was introduced to negative space. I had only ever been taught to define objects using line, and this focus on negative space opened up an entirely new way of seeing. Suddenly, in a way that made sense, objects and background began operating as one. Negative space is the aspect of a drawing I define first, before any other thing.

Just a Moment #7, 2018. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 24 x 16 inches

Just a Moment #7, 2018. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 24 x 16 inches

Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your art?

A: Just as certain places initiate a connection, and or, emotive reaction in me, my hope, is that my work will initiate a reaction in the viewer: perhaps igniting their own connections, triggering personal memories, activating emotions, pleasant or otherwise.

The Path Forward #3, 2018. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 24 x 24 inches

The Path Forward #3, 2018. Charcoal on frosted mylar, 24 x 24 inches

Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: For nine years, the PhD immersed me within a world of research. I emerged, confident in my ability to create, talk, and write about my work, but very much removed from the world of exhibiting. In five years time, I see my art career as one in which I am creating and exhibiting new works, but at the same time, writing and researching in conjunction. I am at my most effective when everything is working together as one.


About the artist:

Susan Fraser-Hughes grew up in Perth, Western Australia. She moved to Calgary, Canada in 1996, and then Vancouver in 2011. She holds a BFA, an MFA, and most recently, a PhD from Aberystwyth University in Wales.

Source: susanfraserhughes.com

To view more work by the artist or learn more about her work, please visit www.susanfraserhughes.com.


Want to share your work with Envision Magazine? Feel free to submit your visual art and/or literary works for a chance to be featured. Click here to apply online.

mysterious culture

“I am very interested in mysterious culture.” - excerpt from the artist

Landscape I, ink and paper.

Landscape I, ink and paper.

Q: What led you to become an artist?

A: I became an artist because I was influenced by my father. He is a photographer and painter. He planted an art seed in my heart since I was a kid.

Landscape II, ink and paper.

Landscape II, ink and paper.

Q: Where have you studied and how long have you been an artist?

A: When I was in primary school, I started to study sketch and calligraphy in my spare time. I started to study Chinese traditional painting in middle school, and then graphic design in University. I established my art studio in Song Zhuang Artist Village in 1998, then moved to 798 Art District in 2004. I have been an artist around 20 years.

Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: I am very interested in mysterious culture. I have studied and researched Stonehenge and crop circles for many years. I tried to translate and interpret the mysterious graphics all over the world. That formed my own ideology. My inspiration comes from those thoughts.

Landscape III, ink and paper.

Landscape III, ink and paper.

Q: I see that you create in several genre's, to include calligraphy and film. What has led you to become so multi-faceted?

A: My art comes from traditional Chinese art education, including the classic landscapes, flowers, birds, and characters. But my paintings are not in the traditional way, my paintings combine different elements, such as light and shadow, sketch and abstract.

In China, calligraphy is same as Kongfu; both of them need to take long time to practice. All of my paintings have calligraphy elements - it is the foundation of my paintings.

My father is a photographer; when I was very young, I had the opportunity to learn how to take photos. In 1990s, I had my own digital camera, I took video and images. Those works also impact my paintings. For making a documentary, I learned how to observe my subject.

Landscape IV, ink and paper.

Landscape IV, ink and paper.

Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your art?

A: In recent years, I felt my art works has moved closer to the viewers. Because it gradually has human’s story and emotion. I do hope the viewers could feel that.

Landscape V, ink and paper.

Landscape V, ink and paper.

Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: In 2012, I made a very hard decision. I stopped all exhibitions and selling my paintings. From 2013-2017, I focused on practicing calligraphy. That was a tough process, but I found something new. At same time, I also did quite lot experimental on my painting;, that makes my arts in different kind styles.  All creations are based on my calligraphy. It’s worth it to do this in 5 years.

To view more work from the artist, follow on Instagram @laodanrj.


Want to share your work with Envision Magazine! Feel free to submit your visual art works for a chance to be featured! Click here to apply online! Also accepting literary submissions.

The Grotesque and the Beautiful

“Alex deploys deep philosophical symbolism in dynamic imagery, combining the grotesque and the beautiful.” - excerpt from the artist

The Grotesque and the Beautiful is an in-depth look into symbolism and connection between thought and art; an interview between artist Alexander Unger and Matthew Mautarelli.

Coptics Final, 2018. Digital Art.

Coptics Final, 2018. Digital Art.

Q: Some of these questions about process might be very basic and banal, are these digital at first?

A: I draw here at my desk. The process has evolved in itself. For some of the earlier pieces I transposed my earlier sketches to tracing paper then to ink. Then I started to do it all in one go, by pencil overlaid with ink, then scanning into the computer. Sometimes increase the weight of the line. All the color itself is done on the computer, so there’s that technology piece of it. For some of them, I’ve made my own clip-art. I have some symbols, or I would call them perhaps totems, like flowers, bones, the icosahedron or truncated Dali Tesseract that I use in the geometric pieces. I reproduce those, change or transform them to fit the composition and create kind of an ensemble. So a lot of it is digital, but it all has to come from something organic. Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating, though this is the technology we have today, and I work with what I have. And organic can mean a lot of things, whether that’s concept that isn’t based on technology or computational thinking. Even with the purely geometric pieces, that feel a bit like little ditties, there still is a good deal of decision work to produce something that is composition-ally and visually stimulating, how you use the colors and the axes. Although there is a good proportion of imagery that is not hand done, I do look in the future, given time and funds, to do things in a more painterly way. At the same time, I like to work quickly, to think quickly, and sometimes my patience wanes to a rush to finish. So for the time being, I’m fine being an illustrator for the purpose of printed work, although my ultimate goal, as I develop my skills further is to bring this to paint or paint-markers, and create sometime entirely by hand. To that effect, I always want to start with something organic, whether that’s a larger or smaller hand-illustrated piece of the composition, or an entirely hand-drawn work. I basically do what suits the day and what suits a certain expediency for expression, but as with all artists, I think, trying different mediums is very important and in my process from going back to my cache of illustrations, refining them, bringing color to them, ultimately, I look to continue to develop both the style and the skills by which I can express what I’m trying to say.

Eros and Thanatos, 2018. Digital Art.

Eros and Thanatos, 2018. Digital Art.

Q: With your philosophical influences, there is a dividing line or a tension between rationalistic or formalist and the organic-ist or vital-ist, and that obviously comes across in your visual work through organic multiplicities and the grid stuff, and I was curious because it seems like they are generally confined to one or the other, whether that be graphic design of grid-work…Why and when do you juxtapose the grid stuff and the illustrated stuff, though there are those where you juxtapose the two at once.

A: I do some that are purely computer generated, like the Rhizome Funk Series, and I later augmented that to become Rhizome Ikebana because I wanted to things sprouting out of the geometries, like crab-grass might as Deleuze uses the metaphor, like the root structure and the arboreal growth.

Q: So the grid structure is conceived as rhizomatic itself then?

Yes, Rhizomatic [Deleuze and Guattari] and Evental [Alain Badiou]. Like in “Evental Structures”, the event would be when you have that bifurcation of the inner square, and also reminiscent of the mark of the void, the 0 with a slash through it, where the form then speaks to an idea of multiplicity because those dimensions within the suture [line splitting the inner square] could take on multiple axes. It’s up to the viewer’s creativity to say what that is, how the rest of the work is structured per the axes that the viewer finds. If you look at the original Rhizome piece, it seems like there will always be an Event within that, something that stitches the piece together and effectively vibes with how we see the rest of the dimensions. So it almost seems like whether we see that engendered by the territory, or other parts of the plane, per the use of color or how we see a plane being consistent, or whether that originates within the subject of the Event, almost doesn’t matter, it’s kind of a chicken and egg question. And we could beg the question, where would the crab-grass be, if it wasn’t for a seed, something generic. So the event, whether that happens politically, scientifically, artistically, or psychologically is there, but it has to link up with a wider social phenomena too. I see both Deleuze and Bdiou talking about similar things, they have similar politics, they might just be arguing about how to say it, taking antagonistic views on what’s more essential.

Good Trip, Bad Trip, 2018. Digital Art.

Good Trip, Bad Trip, 2018. Digital Art.

Q: Do you see the divisions here as being negative or positive? Are you building something starting with a whole drawn out and then dividing within it? Or are you procedurally constructing something out of something smaller?

A: I start with something more molecular. When those Rhizomes connect, in whatever form that takes, that’s when we see, perhaps, something more dynamic. Sometimes though, there are Events that stand apart from one another, or belong in different localities, sometimes the Event is produced by an encounter. In “Evental Structures” I mistakenly added a seventh color, but it kind of makes sense. Me formally, we might have to use six colors, but that doesn’t take into account a change of frequency, whether we’re talking about light or music. So there’s an introduction of a sense of time to that piece apart from how our perspective shifts in how we see the axes defining the planes.

Evental Structures, 2018. Digital Art

Evental Structures, 2018. Digital Art

Q: You talk about different perspectives and certainly in the geometric work. When it comes to the organic work, perspective is absent, everything is crushed together, there is a surplus of life, more ears and arms and more than anyone would need, but there’s not structure. How do you explain that?

A: Initially, I wanted to think that the cut into the bodies also represented a voided nature of who we are, a source of creativity somewhere within, but the more I thought about it, the more I developed both styles, I began to think that each is an expression of the other. As I was beginning with the last question. So although the bodies have in them that same nature, the void, that connection to being, they are still assemblages, like how the purely rhizomatic pieces work. Kind of inverting the idea of bodies without organs that Badiou talks about mathematically, and gearing the rhizome to speak to Deleuze’s unstructured, anti-math, geometrically.

Rhizome Ikebana 3, 2018. Digital Art.

Rhizome Ikebana 3, 2018. Digital Art.

Q: What about your topical pieces?

A: There are things that are explicitly political or cultural, and there are other things that are more autobiographical that connects to an emotion, but it doesn’t tell a story, but they’re more like fragments or random thoughts. In that sense it’s kind of therapeutic in a way. Some of it is more improvisational, some of it is more an assemblage of figures, some of is for the sake of design too. Sometimes I’m just drawing too.

Q: Let’s talk about a few examples of your work. Are there a couple of pieces that you’d like to exemplify as topical?

A: Sure. There are […] that come to mind. Sisterhood is one of my old/recent favorites. I illustrated it some years ago and put it in color later, then increased the weight of the line to bring it current. I try to address the emotive qualities of what might traditionally be feminine and also a communing aspect of talking or sharing with one another. There are two women bearing their hearts to each other expressing the sisterly relation. A man with a face is at the bottom right hand corner reaching into an ear, representing how we tool with our views of gender traits and values. There is another face in the lower left hand corner devouring an androgynous figure, representing kind of an edifice of cultural norms around gender and sex, how we are subsumed under that rubric of values. Above that there is a man and a woman looking sad, and connected through other facial features, kind of an intimacy. The large face on the top right is more like a deity almost a different expression, breathing a cloud with rain drops, mirroring the sadness that overshadows the piece and the larger eye has two tear-ducts that speaks to the melancholic theme as well. Although the piece’s colors are inspired by Indian schemes that I took from some of my wife’s sarris, I wanted to give it a different feminine vibe in that regard.

Sisterhood, Digital Art.

Sisterhood, Digital Art.

Q: You said that improvisation is a part of your process but not the entirety of your process? I was curious to ask because some of the pieces have no titles and it’s difficult to decipher their content.

A: There are themes. Sometimes I have a vision of what I’d like it to be, but your mind’s eye changes, and the piece takes on a life of its own. Not really pre-composed, but I don’t want to call it just improvisation, because I think they have a positive content, whether that’s emotionally, conceptually, or topically driven. But I try to make them cohesive in their content and I think that lends to good compositions. Sometimes I’m thinking of something that happened that day, or a memory of people who have been in my life, or a topic that I overheard being discussed and then my mind might wonder almost free-associating. So it’s kind of like a stream of consciousness sometimes, and sometimes that’s part of the more composed or topical pieces as well.

After the Rain Adjusted, 2018. Digital Art.

After the Rain Adjusted, 2018. Digital Art.

Q: What about artistic references?

A: I pull from all over. I mentioned street art. But a couple of my favorites are also Yves Tanguy, in how he shapes and composes those stone-like figures, and Joan Miro’s suspension of ethereal objects. In Good Trip, Bad Trip I try to combine them, with the nose touching the ground, looking like a stone, and most of the composition being suspended in air in some gravity defying way. Also Keith Herring in the use of hearts and the emotive offering and connection. Michel Basquiat in a way with the line work, but also R Crumb in the line work too. I had a friend in High School, who also really inspired me, Becky Furey, who is a great artist. She painted a mural at a local café and included resemblances of all her friends, I was up there. Her use of line was similar, though more flat, more American Folk influenced. Tried to differentiate myself form her when I picked up the pen, using thin lines, though over time they thickened, and I gave them a bit of a curve to make the pieces look sculptural. My signature too comes from an older childhood friend who was also very talented at illustration, Kyle Meiers. I augmented it to fit other details. So throughout the work, its autobiographical, by way of relationships, memories, people who’ve inspired me, the music I listen to, the history all of that comes from. In a way it’s about preserving memories, while also trying to talk about things that matter to me in politics and philosophy.

Q: What’s next?

A: Well most recently, I’ve been doing this Rhizome Ikebana, where I have more limited rhizome compositions with flowers growing out of them, and the bones. I’d like to add more symbolic items, fish and birds, for instance, to give a different spiritual meaning to the work, or at least include something else. I’ve also been doing the “Panel” series, where I’m going back to tighter compositions that I’d like to build out for better composition in larger more intricate works.

To view more work from the artist, please visit www.auhausart.com. You can also follow the artist on Instagram @au_haus and on Facebook.


About Interviewer: Matthew Mautarelli

Matthew Mautarelli holds an M.A from the Columbia University Committee on Global Thought and is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Political Science at the City University of New York.


Want to apply to Envision Magazine! Feel free to submit your work for a chance to be featured! Click here to apply online! Accepting both visual art and literary art submissions.

Various Elements

“People have always said that my pieces feel alive which is exactly how I experience them.” - the artist

Embrace, 2018. 5 x 7 inches

Embrace, 2018. 5 x 7 inches

Q: What led you to become an abstract artist?

A: I spent so many years in art classes drawing true to life that when I came back to my art as an outlet close to 10 years ago I really wanted to not be confined and to discover new things with materials I had never worked with. My father was a chemist and I think I developed a curiosity for mixing things and experimenting. It fascinates me! I remember wanting to paint like blown glass…I wanted to see if I could come close to that and so I went to the art store and just started throwing anything liquid I could find in the basket! I’m attaching one of the resin works that was commissioned from that series back in 2009-ish. I guess I am obsessed with the not knowing and trying to command the uncontrollable and still find the balance in each piece…an abstract flow just fits me

Otherworldly, 2018. 5 x 7 inches

Otherworldly, 2018. 5 x 7 inches

Q: Where have you studied and how long have you been an artist?

A: Truthfully I have been an artist since I was a child. When I was young I was always moved into the “gifted” art class or sometimes the “gifted” table in my art classes. I remember my high school art teacher had me at the gifted table but she didn’t really like me much…I think I was the black sheep of the gifted. LOL! I was awarded a scholarship to the ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO for college but in my family art was not considered a reasonable job it was considered more of a hobby so I went to EKU instead and minored in art and majored in psychology. I thought about Art therapy and tried Graphic design as well but I just didn’t want to stay between the lines. After moving to Los Angeles for acting-which I did for many years- I studied drawing and encaustics at OTIS intermittently. I am finally now at 48 dedicating myself to my art and it feels like I am finally coming home to myself.

Journey Inward, 2018. 5 x 7 inches

Journey Inward, 2018. 5 x 7 inches

Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: Oh inspiration comes from so many things…nature, other artists, a song, a book or a poem! At the moment, I am OBSESSED with Paul Jenkins!!!!  But here is the truth. I am now just 5 months in remission from stage 3 ovarian cancer and it wasn’t until I got sick that I gave myself permission to stop working and just concentrate on healing. And part of my healing was really listening to my soul and coming back to my art and painting again. I am convinced it has been medicine for me. Paintings just kept pouring out of me in between my chemotherapy treatments. I couldn’t stop. And I still cannot. It took that wake up call for me to listen to what truly inspires me. Nature…life…it’s all art to me and I am so grateful every day I get to spend in my studio. I could cry right now just talking about it.

Divine Complexity, 2018. 5 x 7 inches

Divine Complexity, 2018. 5 x 7 inches

Q: Describe your creative progress for our readers.

A: Do you mean process or progress? Both are good!:)  

Q: Yikes! I meant process, but go ahead and answer in your own way.

A: Painting for me –when I am having a good day is like meditation and communion. I start with a feeling…which leads me to the colors. Right now I am using pigmented alcohol inks and a heat gun. I just commit myself to the dichotomy of commanding a flow and also to letting go. I want the pieces to have their own identity but they also need to work as a balanced piece of work not just happy accidents…it’s got to be somewhere in the middle of command and a flow. I hope that makes sense! Paintings talk to me…many many times I don’t listen well enough but that makes the ones I do hear just magical…and we work together. I hope that doesn’t sound too mystical.  In terms of progress, I started in resin back in 2008 and then moved into encaustic painting with beeswax, damar resin and a blow torch which I LOVE! When I got sick I needed something a little less labor intensive so I discovered the pigmented inks and I fell in love with that. I am just now completing a 30 day mini painting series which has completely changed me as an artist…and Next I will be working larger again and I’m thinking of incorporating acrylics and my encaustics with the inks.

She Dreams In Blue, 2018. 5 x 7 inches

She Dreams In Blue, 2018. 5 x 7 inches

Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your art?

A: I like to paint beautiful things and by beautiful I don’t necessarily mean “pretty”. Some of my pieces are dark and I find that beautiful as well. I fall in love with my pieces and I guess that is what I hope people who look at my work take away…a bit of beauty…a moment of communion and a moment of feeling good or moved in some way. There is nothing better than having someone come to look at one of my pieces and then REALLY looking and leaning in to see more of the details and the moments beneath the first layers. Nothing better than that!

The Journey Deep, 2018. 5 x 7 inches

The Journey Deep, 2018. 5 x 7 inches

Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: Well, I just put in a bid for a storefront space in LA to be my new studio and gallery space so my dream is for that to come into fruition. It’s a space I see myself painting large again in and having shows not only for myself but for other artists I love. In five years, I want to continue collaborating with amazing people on commissions for their homes or businesses and to be inspiring other artists to take the chance on their dreams. And when my art managers and the consultants come to visit my studio, I hope to be covered in paint and laughing with joy.


Photo source: the artist

Photo source: the artist

About the artist:

Stacy is an abstract painter most interested in deviating from structure and experimenting with mediums she has never used. 

Raised in Louisville Ky. Stacy has been drawing and painting since she was a child. Trained as a fine artist working mostly in pencil, watercolor, charcoal and oils she earned a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago right out of high school but chose instead to follow a more accepted "job" and minor in art at EKU while pursuing a degree in Psychology hoping to become an art therapist. When that didn't seem to fit, she then tried her hand at graphic design...always looking for a way to fit herself into some mold that would allow her to paint and make money. This path veered when she fell into acting and eventually moved out to Venice California to pursue an acting career. 

After many years in CA working in television and film Stacy felt the longing for her art. She took a few classes at OTIS and then serendipitously had a painters art studio fall into her lap. From the moment she started painting again-thinking this was just for her- she had opportunities knock. After a few group shows Stacy's studio was featured on the VENICE ART WALK for 3 years selling many pieces and landing an art consultant who sells her work out of Scottsdale Arizona. Her work is displayed in the homes of many private clients here in LA and she has private commissioned paintings in restaurants in Scottsdale Arizona, Tampa Florida, Austin TX and San Diego CA. 

For her, entering her studio is a time of letting go: of expectations, of structure, of rules, and of her own ideas about what's possible and what's not...in life and art. 

To view more from the artist, follow her on Instagram @stacysolodkin.


Want to share your work with Envision Magazine! Feel free to submit your visual art or literary works for a chance to be featured! Click here to apply online!

A Future Version of Earth

“I found that removing the pressure of trying represent a subject enabled me to focus on composition, line, textures, and movement.” - the artist

Gates . Mixed media, 10 x 14 inches.

Gates. Mixed media, 10 x 14 inches.

Q: What led you to become an abstract artist?

A: I first fell in love with art through drawing, but as I got older my bent towards perfection would get the best of me when painting. If I couldn’t get something “perfect” I didn’t see the point in doing in at all. This is a very unhealthy mindset as an artist, so I decided to abandon subjective work and invest time experimenting with materials, colors, and process. I found that removing the pressure of trying represent a subject enabled me to focus on composition, line, textures, and movement. I fell in love with how an abstract piece can make you feel, imagine, wonder, and ask questions.


Dwell . Mixed media, 36 x 36 inches.

Dwell. Mixed media, 36 x 36 inches.

Q: Where have you studied and how long have you been an artist?

A: I was an art kid all throughout my childhood, and went on to get my BFA in Studio Art from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.


It Is Done . Mixed media, 21 x 40 inches.

It Is Done. Mixed media, 21 x 40 inches.

Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: I’m inspired by nature, specifically future versions of our world (whether it’s Earth or Mars) and how we may react to it. Color and textures also inspire me--I love trying new methods of mixing paint directly on the canvas and combining different mediums to create new textures and effects. Since I’m also trying to capture emotion in my work, I use my own experiences with strong emotions (good and bad) to create those feelings through color and texture. I typically make up a story about each piece as it’s coming together, and use that to guide the intended emotional output.


Death Shall Be No More . Mixed media, 36 x 36 inches.

Death Shall Be No More. Mixed media, 36 x 36 inches.

Q: We were very impressed with your piece, Death Shall Be No More. Is there a specific meaning behind this work?

A: The story I made up for this piece is that in a future version of Earth, colors of the world have changed into vibrant colors. Life and growth is so prolific that plants spawn within other plants, and trees light up with electric lightning.


No Light of Lamp or Sun . Mixed media, 36 x 40 inches.

No Light of Lamp or Sun. Mixed media, 36 x 40 inches.

Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your art?

A: I hope viewers will want to ask questions about what our world will be like in 100 years. Will we be living on Earth still? Will we spend our entire days in a virtual world instead? Will there be abundant life covering the Earth, or will it all be gone? I also hope my work through its saturated color and imagined worlds will bring joy and wonder to viewers.


Transitioning . Mixed media,10 x 14 inches.

Transitioning. Mixed media,10 x 14 inches.

Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: In five years, I’d love to be showing my work all over the United States and internationally. I want to sell more work directly to collectors. I view my collectors as patrons and supporters, and I want to be able to build and maintain those relationships. Over the next five years, I’m going to be evolving my work to incorporate both figures and abstract techniques. I’d also like to develop ways to incorporate science and technology, two things I’ve always been fascinated with. I can also see myself transitioning into more sculptural work.

To view more of the artist’s work, please visit www.bybreesmith.com. You may also follow the artist on Instagram @bree_smith_art as well as Facebook.


Want to share your art with Envision Magazine! Feel free to submit your visual art works for a chance to be featured! Click here to apply online! Also accepting literary submissions.

Art is a Soul Thing

“I paint because I must.” - from the artist

Mark I, 2018.

Mark I, 2018.

Q: What led you to become an abstract artist?

A: There are a number of ways I can approach the answer to this question.

Humorous: Because I can’t paint a realistic scene to save my life.

Emotional: I create (write, paint, produce) partially out of the fear I will be forgotten when I die. Whatever mark, literal and figurative, I can leave behind is a driving force of my creative output. I desire to be respected for my work.

Financial: I paint to sell and make money. I have a daughter in college who has made shopping an Olympic sport and she has won gold the last five years. I have to make money somewhere and, in my infinite brilliance, I thought selling art would be a great way to do that. HA.

Finally, Truthful: I paint because I must. When I close my eyes, I do not see darkness, I see a vista of colors, images, shapes and patterns. I paint to clear my mind of these images, so I can have peace. I paint because it is cathartic. It is a respite from the responsibilities of life. I can step into my studio, turn on some great music, pick up a brush and simply forget the rest of the world exists. It is a wonderful feeling to get lost in the flow of creation.

Oh, how about a Metaphysical answer? I am an abstract artist, because life is an abstract concept and the only way to capture its true essence is through marks and colors on canvas and paper. Is that deep or what?

Mark II, 2018

Mark II, 2018

Q: Where have you studied and how long have you been an artist?

A: I am a self-taught artist. I did take art classes beginning in junior high and spent every minute that I could in high school in either the art room with the teacher, Dr. David Newcomb, or in the creative writing class with Ron Davis. (I still remember both teacher as they had great influence on my life.) My senior year of high school my class schedule was painting, art teacher’s aide, creative writing, creative writing teacher’s aide, then two film classes at my local community college. I knew how to game the system, but also did well in school, so I glided through school and then went on to film school courses.

I am a firm believer that art is a soul thing not something that can be taught. Yes, you can learn color theory, rules of composition, and the technical aspects of painting, but Art, with a capital A, comes from the soul. For every rule of painting, I can give you numerous examples of artists who have broken those rules and critics love them for it. I have very strong feelings about this subject.

With all of that said, I read. A lot. I read about artists whose work I enjoy—the masters of course, Picasso, Monet, Kline, Pollock, Motherwell, Rothko, Modrian, Miro, but also Paul Klee, Sean Scully, Brice Marden—the list goes on forever. And those are just the mainstream artist. I love “low-artist” (a term I detest) such as Shag, Kelsey Brookes, Kenny Scharf. Reading about other artists and listening to how they describe their craft is probably the greatest art school of all.

Untitled, 2018

Untitled, 2018

Q:  Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: Ah, the dreaded question for all creative types.

I am constantly inspired by random patterns and colors I see. The way the light falls on a surface, or the texture of a wall; these things cause me to stop and for some reason I am driven to reproduce what I see with paint.

Nature is full of colors, patterns and shapes that inspire, but that is such a cliché answer. It is true, and that is why it is cliché. I love looking at photos of the earth from a bird-eye-view. When I see a forest from that angle, and notice the patterns and textures, I want to recreate what I see on canvas. Or waves, and the residual white water left behind on a beach; these things make we want to capture the image in a permanent way.

Music is another source of inspiration. I can close my eyes when listening to music and see vivid patterns and colors. I try to capture that in my art.

Untitled, 2018

Untitled, 2018

Q: Although your work is abstract, you maintain several different styles from color block and, cubism, representational and non-representational and more. Can you explain why you vary with so many different styles?

A: You’re touching on all of my hot button topics with art.

Painting, or really any act of creation, is a journey not a destination. While we will complete a work—a canvas, poem, novel, screenplay—it is truly only a step on a path of the act of creating.

I may experiment with styles and techniques from canvas to canvas. Each work is a step. Some steps are better than others and I learn along the way. Does that mean I return to previous works to re-work them applying what I have learned since I first painted a piece? I say, no.

This would dilute the journey and body of work. It would in affect be saying the destination—in this case, a finished canvas—is more important than the journey (the exploration of applying paint to canvas).

For this reason, I cherish the steps, the experiments, and while I may ultimately prefer one aesthetic step over another, I do not consider one wrong or more correct.

Gauguin experimented with different techniques—flat colors, each compartmentalized and simplified, or a high viewpoint which flatten his subjects, while also working with blended colors and eye-level viewpoints. Should he have re-worked canvases once he found a style, or technique, he preferred? Should he have created a uniform portfolio of work?

No! We would have lost the richness of his artistic exploration. We would have lost the journey he set out and invited us to follow on.

Picasso started in a traditional style of painting, but he was restless. He wanted to explore, experiment and wanted to destroy painting as it was known at the time. We are much better for his journey. Without the steps of his journey we would not have had Cubism, and within Cubism, we had the Cezannian styles, Analytic, Synthetic, and Crystal styles, all of which led to the various journeys of Constructivism, Futurism., Suprematism, Orphism, and De Stijil. So many steps. So many journeys. All on roads of creation.

I may have gone down the rabbit trail a bit. The simple answer is, I paint in various styles because that is what I see. Some critics will tell artist, you must stay with one style and perfect it—become known for it—I understand what they are saying but you have to follow your soul. Why do we set limitations on ourselves? Why must an artist be labeled? Pigeon-holed? Put in a box? I honestly do not understand that logic.

Art is rebellion. So, I paint in the style that interests me for that day. I come back to motifs all the time and often combine motifs into something new. That is part of the journey. That is part of my rebellion.

Volume I, 2018

Volume I, 2018

Q: What message are you sending through your art? Or what do you hope for viewers to take away from your art?

A: Another hot button. I’m not sure I have a message. I am drawn to attractive colors, shapes and patterns. That’s what I try to create in my art.

My Wondrous Stories series is simply a motif of color fields covered with layers of soft swirling blended colors and thick palette knife strokes.

My latest series, Volume is simply me playing with negative space and illustrating voluminous spaces as if made of concrete. I limit the color palette to only black, grays and white.

Honestly, I just want to make a beautiful image on canvas or paper. I want the viewer to see beauty and have some emotional connection with the work.

With my Mark Series, I reject the notion that art must be created with a multitude of layers comprised of under-painting and textures. Instead, I strive for the simplicity of one stroke of the brush or knife on the surface. Any complexity is derived from the act of the paint contacting the surface of the paper, or canvas. The texture, smoothness and weight of the paper determines how the paint will interact with it—I can force the paint to do what I want, but often prefer to allow the two media and medium to interact naturally.

In the art world there are too many pre-conceived notions that art must have meaning or on how art must be made—how it is created, what size, what color, and on and on. I say let art be art.

The mark is the art. The art is found in the mark.

Volume II, 2018

Volume II, 2018

Q:  How do you view your art career in five years?

A: I do hope that my art is recognized as being worth recognizing. I think all artists are frustrated by the belief that their art is worthy of attention especially when they see other artists receiving recognition. We all wonder, “Why are they being celebrated, and my work isn’t?” I think all artists are naturally sensitive and that can affect our confidence. There is a bit of arrogance in thinking that if I paint something people will like it, but at the same time, an artist puts themselves out there and is just asking for rejection. Unfortunately, that is what we receive most often and that hurts.

In five years, I hope someone looks at my body of work and says, “This is good. This is worthy of attention. I want to own this.”

We’ve come full circle with the first question. Why do I paint? I want my art to be noticed and respected. I can only hope someone will say, this is of equal quality to works by other artists. In five years, I hope my work is selling to collectors and is sought out by those who love art.

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Doug King is a talented artist, writer and film-maker living and working in Dallas, TX. He is currently Editor-in-Chief for Dallas Style and Design Magazine and continues to write freelance in addition to painting.

To view more of his work, follow him on Instagram. For information on film / screenplay and publishing, please visit www.dayiiiprod.com.


Want to share your art with Envision Magazine! Feel free to submit your visual art works for a chance to be featured! Click here to apply online! Also accepting literary submissions.

A Better Future

"I paint because I am unable not to paint! With my paintings I want to express moods and
emotions. I paint straight from the heart, using all the impressions from my daily life."  - from the artist

Photo credit:  Peter Søndergaard

Photo credit: Peter Søndergaard

"What painting means to me? EVERYTHING! I could never live without it. Working in my studio is wonderful! I leave this world behind to enter into my own fantastic universe where I am quite simply happy: Completely lost in space and time, a sanctuary for my restless mind." - from the artist

A View From the Inside , 2016

A View From the Inside, 2016

Q: What inspired this particular collection you submitted?

A: I am always inspired by what is going on around me, it may be in my close surroundings or what is going on in the world around us. Especially during the last years, a lot of refugees were trying to get to Europe, mostly by boat, hoping for a bright and better future and I think that most of my recent paintings show this subject.

Europe's Light , 2016

Europe's Light, 2016

Q: What kindled you to develop this painting style?

A: Well as far as concerning the style, I love to paint abstract or figurative in an abstract way, where it is up to the viewer to discover all the hidden things in my paintings. Everyone is seeing it differently and I love when people have a total different idea of what is going on in the painting. To be able to discover new things every day is great and this is what make the painting alive. I love to use a lot of layers in my paintings and I use a narrow palette with toned-down colors most of the time.

Waiting , 2017

Waiting, 2017

Q: What countries have you shown or displayed in?

A: I have had solo exhibitions in two galleries in Finland, in Helsinki and in Oulu, in northern Finland, as well I have had solo exhibitions in many capitals in Europe, [such as] Amsterdam, Paris, London, Munich, Stockholm at Hilton Hotels. The exhibitions in Finland were established in a funny way. I had an opening in a small gallery in the center of Copenhagen, when suddenly two Finnish men walked in. They were really impressed by my works and after we chatted for a while I asked them what they were doing professionally. One of them was the Sr. Planner at Finland’s National Gallery and I was really happy that someone in that position loved my works. He encouraged me to exhibit in Helsinki and set me up with a gallery owner who instantly loved my works. During my exhibition in Oulu later that year, this guy bought a large painting from the exhibition. I sold 6 artworks in Finland. Beside this I have exhibited a lot in Denmark and I was also giving a 30-minute interview to a local TV-program “Art right now” last year. It was a portrait of me and my art. I was later contacted by an Italian curator, who asked me to join a joint exhibition in Bologna, Italy.

Abandoned, 2017.

Abandoned, 2017.

Q: We were very impressed by the work, Abandoned. Is there a hidden message behind this piece?

A: The artwork Abandoned is part of the series about people somehow not really fitting in our society. In this artwork, I see a couple on their way out of town, simply because they were not accepted by the society. They came to the country and tried to fit in, but everybody turned their back on them. In this artwork, I have used the toned-down colors that I so often use in my paintings.

On Our Way , 2016

On Our Way, 2016

Q: What led you to become an artist?

A: I haven’t been painting for a long time, 5 1/2 years to be specific. It all started when I got more routine tasks at my job as an employee in a medicine company, where I worked with all the on-hand creative tasks in communications. I am not that good at handling routine tasks for a longer period and I missed the creativity. One day I went to my attic, where I saw all the painting stuff I inherited from my father a few years earlier. He was taking some evening classes during the last years of his life, and I think I took his gear for sentimental reasons. Well I took it down and started painting - me who had never, ever painted or drawn anything, [and] who knew absolutely nothing about it, and of course it was clearly shown in the two paintings I made. I thought, well you can’t do that and put it in the attic again. A few months later, I went to the attic again and took my gear with me in the apartment. 'This time I will do it right', I thought and I went to the internet, where I read and watched videos on YouTube for hours and hours, weeks and months where I watched other artists painting, read about colors and how to mix colors, techniques and so on. THEN, I started painting and I have developed a lot since then. I also took some physical art classes and here I am working as a full-time artist. I have never thought that I would be good at this, but apparently, I have a special sense for mixing colors and getting a very calm expression with my narrow palette.

Freedom , 2017

Freedom, 2017

"The process of creation is wonderful, it is my PASSION - and equally great is the joy of
touching others through my art. When I have sold a painting, and my clients write me that they are happy with it, I feel very privileged indeed." - from the artist

Photo credit:  Peter Søndergaard

Photo credit: Peter Søndergaard

The Danish artist Anitta Jonas was born in Copenhagen in 1960 into a family of 4. Her mother passed away when she was 7, an experience that profoundly influences her life to this day. She has led a rather turbulent life, and painting is a way for her to express herself and to reconcile her fears and memories. The feeling of abandonment is an ongoing theme in many of her works. 

She [is] inspired by Colombian Artist, Nubia Gala, and Croatian artist, Mila Plaickner, as well as many other expressionist artists. Along the way she discovered that she had a special talent for mixing her own shades of colors, using a toned-down and very narrow palette. She works exclusively with acrylics because it dries fast and thus complements her way of painting, impatient as she is. Furthermore, she uses a lot of charcoal and graphite in her artworks.

She has exhibited in galleries in Finland as well as various Hilton hotels throughout Europe. In November 2017, she will attend the joint exhibition, “Little Treasures” in Bologna, Italy.

Anitta wants her art to involve the viewer, to point to a deeper state of mind. She is often told by collectors that they find her works to be strangely soothing or relaxing. Not an easy artist to categorize, she paints her moods as they evolve - abstract or figurative, quiet or violent, soothing or evocative. She is inspired by people, situations, colors - and whenever an idea forms, she is compelled to commit it to canvas to set her mind at ease.

Anitta lives north of Copenhagen, with the youngest of her two sons, where she runs a small gallery.

To learn more about the artist and view her work, visit her website at www.anittajonas.com. You can also view her work on Facebook and Instagram.


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The Art of Ginger Cochran

Ginger Cochran.png
Magnify, 2018. 36 x 36 inches, mixed media on canvas.

Magnify, 2018. 36 x 36 inches, mixed media on canvas.

Ginger Cochran is a contemporary, mixed media abstract artist living in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and two sons. 

Fervor, 2018.

Fervor, 2018.

Her inspiration is derived from both music and nature. Ginger develops custom color palettes and explores different textures and colors to create whimsical and romantic pieces. She places striking applications of pastel, marker or other medium and pops of color to demonstrate dramatic movement. Each work effectively draws the viewer in to create their own story through design.

See You Soon, 2018.

See You Soon, 2018.

Exemplified throughout her work is the recurring theme of movement, color and textures delivered by mixed media, as well as an effective use of negative space, line work and pattern.

Ginger has displayed her work nationally in Dallas, Houston, New York City, as well as Las Vegas. She has also worked closely with fellow artists on collaborations and as director/curator for various shows and competitions throughout the country.

Softly Spoken, 2018.

Softly Spoken, 2018.

To learn more about the artist and view her work, visit her website at www.gingercochranart.com. You may also follow her art on Instagram @gingercochranart.