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BSDA Artist Interview: Michelle Fleck

November 4th, 2014 · 2 Comments

San Francisco-based artist Michelle Fleck is back with new work on Buy Some Damn Art. 


Boxed In

KATE: Your artwork deals with urban environments. How was the city of San Francisco, and your neighborhood in particular, evolved since you started painting these landscapes? Are you still inspired by the same things?

MICHELLE: Living in SF for almost 10 years now, I’ve always been drawn to scenes from urban landscapes and the intersection of the man-made and nature. As of late, my work has been impacted by witnessing this city undergo rapid change. My neighborhood keeps developing and every time I leave the house it seems like something new pops up. This series in particular was inspired by watching large condo units being built where there were once longtime vacant lots. A lot of the pieces depict the potted plants being brought in to add greenery these newly completed buildings. This group of paintings explores urban expansion and finds beauty in these moments of newness and change.


Waiting Room

KATE: Can you talk a bit about your palette, which includes bright pink, orange and neon green?

MICHELLE: I love bright, artificial colors (what can I say, I grew up in the 90s loving Lisa Frank!) and often juxtapose them with more muted or subdued earth tones. These contrasting color families always jump out at me when I’m walking around the city, and I find them really stunning when placed side by side in my work. They act as a visual metaphor for the concepts I explore in my work.

KATE: A recurrent theme in your work is the sectioning off of certain areas by the use of plastic fencing and stakes and rope. What lies behind this theme?

MICHELLE: I think I’m drawn to these barriers because they speak to our pattern as humans to exert control over a space or situation. The fences, ropes, string and caution tape are all metaphors for control and containment, or separation of man and nature.


High Rise

KATE: Have you ever dabbled in mixed-media or incorporated found objects in your works?

MICHELLE: Honestly, not so much lately!  I love and have always loved paint. While I like the idea of branching out to new media, I’m kind of a perfectionist, so I always find myself going back to what medium I’m most comfortable with.

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Artificial Nature

KATE: What is inspiring you to create new work at this point in time?

MICHELLE: Being in the Bay Area, where art has a huge presence, really keeps me going. And as opportunities to show work keep coming up, that inspires me to continue creating as well.


See/read  a studio visit with Michelle here.

BSDA Artist Interview: Noémie Jennifer

October 28th, 2014 · 4 Comments

There is a new show on Buy Some Damn Art by Brooklyn artist Noémie Jennifer.

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KATE: You spent time at both Brown and RISD. Do you feel that either prepared you for your post-college life as an artist and creative person? If what what has?

NOÉMIE: Brown and RISD are great places to learn how to value, follow and theoretically carry out your ideas. But they didn’t do too much to prepare me for all the practical aspects of post-college life (I think maybe RISD does a little bit more of that, but I can’t speak to it as I was technically full-time at Brown and just took some classes at RISD on the side). All of that practical knowledge I gained afterward, often from people in totally different industries. I worked office jobs, then transitioned into self-employment, and from there finally feel like I have the right tools to transition into creative self-employment. But I’m not there yet and I still have a lot to learn.


Untitled, 2010.

KATE: A few years ago your drawings were restrained, organic and calming. Today your work seems quite different-  bold, charged. The thin lines have been replaced by much heavier marks. Is there a link between these periods of work that viewers might not recognize?

NOÉMIE: I have so many paintings in my head right now that layer organic marks with bolder, more graphic marks, and I feel like both those strains of work are languages I want to learn in their own right before bringing them together.

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KATE: What role do the grids play in these works? How much is the process part of the final product?

NOÉMIE: Process is hugely important to me and it’s very transparent in these works. I can trace these back to their beginning pretty easily—they start and end with the grid (first in pencil, then in ink). So it’s a guide through the process, and then gets layered on top of everything else. I like how grids and patterns can go in and out of focus, how they both show things and hide them.

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KATE: What does it mean to you to be an artist?

NOÉMIE: Well…I think I could probably find a different way to answer that question at any given moment of the day! So I’ll go with what feels right as I’m writing this: it means that I get to spend several hours today thinking other than in words.


Art Transformer Project in Providence, Rhode Island.

KATE: Can you tell us a bit about the Art Transformer Project?

NOÉMIE: Sure! I was living back in Providence for a few months when the city’s call for proposals went out. It was a while before I heard back (we are talking about city government here!) and I was eventually selected, as one of twelve artists, to paint electrical transformer boxes across the city. I painted my three boxes in over 90-degree heat in the summer of 2013, adapting paintings from my “Indexed” series to the 3D object. It was a step out of my comfort zone to work outside, as I’m usually very private when I’m working, but eventually I found interactions with passersby fun and rewarding. I would definitely do it again.

BSDA Artist Interview: Ellen Siebers

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Brooklyn-based artist Ellen Siebers is now exhibiting six of her paintings on Buy Some Damn Art.

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The Awk The Orchard

KATE: There’s a great deal of talk about the art scene in Bushwick. Living in Brooklyn and having exhibited in multiple shows in Bushwick what would you say about all the hype? Is Bushwick really the pulse point of new art?

ELLEN: I think the best part of what’s going on in Bushwick is that it is a supportive community for artists. If I’ve learned anything about living as a professional artist, it is that good things usually happen (shows, getting work) by your artist friends talking about you and your work to others. That is all to say that your community is extremely important and Bushwick is a place that these crucial friendships are given the chance to flourish. There’s so much energy in Bushwick right now. However, I hope there isn’t a singular pulse point for new art. This idea of living and working in the NYC area as an artist has lived for so long, and while it is still important and a great place to be, I have just as many artist friends living elsewhere who are contributing in an equal capacity. We constantly need to rethink models/ways of how to exist as professional artists.


Armlessness II

KATE: Is Brooklyn still (one of) the best place to live and work as an artist?

ELLEN: I think the best place to live and work as an artist can only be defined by each individual artist, and their needs for making the best work that they can. It is one of the best places, but there have to be so many places of equal importance for different reasons.

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Cross Leg Cross Tack

KATE: You paint on marble ground. What exactly is that and why do you chose this material?

ELLEN: Marble ground or a marble gesso is a traditional way of making a painting ground, but it behaves very differently than the gesso that can be purchased at the store. It is made out of a binder (rabbit skin glue, PVA) and marble dust. It has to be poured upon a rigid surface, like plywood, because it would crack if put upon canvas.

I struggled with grounds for a long time before finding this surface. I always loved the absorbency and quality of paper, and the acrylic gessos were too resistant for my taste. This ground soaks up paint very quickly in the first few layers and has a beautiful matte surface, much like paper. It can also take a lot of abuse, which is good because I often sand off layers of paint with a hand sander and start over. It is both delicate and sturdy, which would seem impossible but I feel I need both qualities in a surface.

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KATE: Tell us about the works in this show. Where do these visual themes come from?

ELLEN: These works in the show are recent, from the last year or so. During that time I had moved from Wisconsin to Brooklyn which really exposed a lot of my ties to Midwestern terrestrial forms and experiences. I spent a lot of time taking in imagery in my surroundings and comparing that to memories of where I grew up. That being said, I don’t feel that the paintings are overwhelmingly nostalgic. I more have a sincere interest in trying to document this type of experience that I’m sure others experience as well. The paintings are an attempt to recall these experiences and document them the best that I can without the assistance of things like photography.

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A Lesson In Water

KATE: What is most inspiring to you right now – either in your art practice or life in general?

ELLEN: Two specific things I am finding really inspiring are the Shakers, and Blinky Palermo. Their specific spiritual tendencies are really interesting to me. I am trying to navigate through things very slowly and be as sponge-like as possible, and I find a lot of material through that daily exercise.


September 9th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Liza Lacroix is a Brooklyn-based artist from Montreal whose art is now exhibiting on Buy Some Damn Art. Her paintings are lush tempestuous explorations of gesture and abstraction and remind me of one of my favorite artists, Gustav Klimt, and his protégé Egon Schiele.


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KATE: There is so much drama and emotion in your artwork despite the fact that it is abstract. Where does that energy come from and how do you express it so well in your paintings?

LIZA: I’ve always been attracted to works of art that have a dramatic and intense energy. I’m also a very dramatic and emotional person in general in my daily life so I guess that just translates naturally into the paintings.


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KATE: These paintings, especially Untitled 8, 9, and 10, remind me of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. There are hints of a body, a head, a dress or a hat, but the rest is obscured by dramatic, ethereal detail. Have you noticed the similarity?

LIZA: Yes, definitely! I’m a big fan of Egon Schiele especially the way he manipulates paint. I also love how Klimt simplifies certain areas into large shapes filled with pattern. I’m interested in abstracting the figure to a certain point where you’re no longer really able to see a full figure but still completely feel it’s presence.


Untitled  (8)

KATE: Your earlier works clearly evolved from traditional portraiture. How has your art progressed to this current state of abstraction and expressionism.

LIZA: I’ve recently been working on two separate series. Large paintings on canvas that lend themselves more to the traditional practice of portraiture since they have dark gradient backgrounds, and the ones here are a result of working on paper and much smaller dimensions. Naturally the work became more abstract because of the material and size limitations. I’m a strong believer in not forcing or battling with paint to much. Accidents are always very welcomed.


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KATE: Making art can be very solitary and elusive. How do you stay motivated when things are slow?

LIZA: I’m really competitive. I try to attend a lot of art openings which usually gives me a kick in the butt to get back to the studio and work harder.


Untitled (9)

KATE: What is the most exciting thing in your art practice (or life) right now?

LIZA: I’m getting ready to go on a trip to Trinidad this winter with my partner and back to Europe for a big trip in the spring.

BSDA Artist Interview: Sofia Arnold

August 26th, 2014 · 1 Comment

I’ve had a longtime artist crush on Sofia Arnold so it’s a thrill to be kicking off her show today on Buy Some Damn Art. Sofia is one of those artists whose work completely stands on its own; viewing her work feels like stepping into another world, the singular inner world of the artist’s imagination.


 Found The Rat

KATE:  Where are you from and where do you live now?

SOFIA:  I grew up in rural Wisconsin and now I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Looking For The Rat

KATE:  When did you start making art?

SOFIA:  I’ve always made things, but I didn’t get serious about making art until my third year of college.


New Shit/ Old Shit

KATE:  Your paintings provide a hard-to-decipher narrative of the private lives of the figures within. Do these figures have names and lives and stories to tell?

SOFIA:  Of course! Although their lives and struggles are probably more mundane and familiar than you would think.


Moth Box

KATE:  Do you have another job? If so do the two compliment each other at all?

SOFIA:  I work for a car manufacturer, administering production line simulations. It provides me with structure and forces me to operate outside of my own mind on a regular basis, but it couldn’t be further from art.


KATE:  What is most exciting to you right now in your art practice?

SOFIA:  The evolution that happens when recycling old ideas and imagery. A copy of a copy of a copy might become visually unrecognizable from the source, but I think that continued reiteration will eventually distill some kind of meaning for me. I’ve only been doing this for about five years and it’s already starting to happen. It’s exciting to think that I can keep doing this until my fingers fall off.

BSDA Artist Interview: Wendi Turchan

August 12th, 2014 · No Comments

There is a wonderful new show on Buy Some Damn Art by Wendi Turchan. Wendi’s work draws you in with its dramatic colors and compositions but context from the artist alludes to other, deeper layers; “I explore moments of transformation in physical and emotional states, marking rupture, anxiety, and opportunity… Memory and time inform my ideas, as I look back on moments when I have lost control. These episodes seem to be filled with a sense of loss and liberation simultaneously, a longing for what could have been and the revelation of unexpected possibilities.” – Wendi Turchan



KATE:  Where are you from and where do you life now?

WENDI:  I was born in Petoskey, Michigan.  Growing up I spent time living in Wisconsin and Texas.  I received my MFA at the University of Oregon, and I am currently living in Milwaukee, WI.

KATE:  What sparked your interest in visual arts? What keeps that spark going?

WENDI:  I have had an interest in art for as long as I can remember, but I have had some amazing and inspiring teachers that motivated me along the way.  I can’t imagine my life without being in the studio making things.  It has become such a big part of who I am now.  Seeing how my work has evolved over time has really kept that spark going for me.  It is exciting to think of what could happen next!

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KATE:  Your paintings are a bit hard to pin down. On a purely aesthetic level they are very beautiful… even precious. However the paintings also seem to allude to fire and explosions. What’s your perspective on various interpretations of your work.

WENDI:  I am very open to various interpretations of my work (the good and the bad!)  Beautiful and precious are definitely words that I would use to describe my work and I fully embrace that.  The world is always shifting and changing around us, I create work that shows moments of change happening in different spaces (real and imaginary).  I like to play around with how these moments of beauty and rupture can bounce off of one another.

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KATE:  What’s your process with these pieces?

WENDI:  For me, what happens in the making is where these pieces hold their excitement.  I start out with a very rigid and structured plan for each piece.  Inevitably along the way something happens to change that plan: a mistake or an unexpected impulse, and the piece changes.  The work really starts to come alive when these changes happen and I allow myself to let go of where I thought things would end up.  I always try to find a way to allude to these things either in the piece itself, or in the title.


Over Green

KATE:  You expand on the basic concept of painting on paper by creating works that span multiple pieces of paper. When and why did you begin doing this?

WENDI: This really started coming about through the above-mentioned process.  Working on a piece and wanting to expand it beyond the limit of the original piece of paper, or wanting to cut things out and move them around.  Now, I enjoy working both ways.  Sometimes I stay on one piece of paper and sometimes I don’t.

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