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Artist Crush: Chad Wys

June 25th, 2010 · 1 Comment

You may know Chad Wys from the beautiful, small-scale abstract landscapes he sells on etsy. Little did I know but he’s also been working on some other really cool projects, including this series of readymades* entitled, Brutalized Delights. For the series Wys acquires discarded decorative objects by way of thrift stores and gives them a new life with bright paint. I personally love when artists rework traditional elements of art and design. I think it’s the feeling of surprise and the little rush of adrenaline that comes with it that I love most. Check out more of Wys’ projects here.

Wys does a fabulous job of contextualizing the series: “In many ways our possessions define us. The bric-a-brac of our lives becomes a unit of measure of our own worth… The ‘art’ and the ‘cultural objects’ we chose to engage with in our own living spaces becomes a physical part of ourselves.”

“This series of readymades investigates the themes of ownership and object history, as well as the relationship between kitsch and art…  By altering these objects I am introducing a second narrative into their histories as cultural artifacts.  By acknowledging their status as objects of kitsch consumption, I am suggesting the capability of transcending the barriers of high and low art depending upon the act of interpretation, awareness, and purpose.” Enough said!


* Readymade or “found art” is a term for art objects that once had a previous life. In some cases the artist leaves the object untouched, but in others the object is altered in some small or not-so-small way. One of the most famous example of this kind of art is Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (1917) which was an ordinary urinal that he signed R. Mutt. Readymade is also the name of an awesome magazine.

Interview with Hollie Chastain: Artist and Treasure Hunter

February 4th, 2010 · 8 Comments

Hollie Chastain is a found paper and collage artist who pounds the pavement for the perfect (i.e. stained, ripped, doodle-covered) books and ephemera for her mixed media pieces. Her work is currently for sale at Nahcotta’s ETA 7 (one of her pieces was included in this week’s picks) and through her etsy shop, Dr. Kennedy Jones. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her husband and two children.

AH: Tell us a bit about your artistic process. Do you start with a specific idea for a piece or are you inspired by the found objects you use?

HC: It varies. Sometimes I will have a composition in mind and go scavenging for exactly what I feel is right for that particular piece.  Only about 10% of the time will the end result portray the initial idea exactly but if something has been hanging around in my mind for a long time, never changing, then i stick with it. The composition and subject for some of my pieces were imagined months before I stumbled across the perfect scrap of paper that it required. But most of the time i start with one really great sheet of paper or board and start building up, pulling shapes and ideas and characters from the different scribbles and splotches and colors i find. Some of my favorite pieces have started from nothing but a coffee-stained book cover and an amazing scrap of blue from a geography book that accidentally overlapped in a great way at the bottom of a crate.

AH: What inspires you to create?

HC: Oh man, so much! A shelf of random old junk in an antique shop where each item just seems to naturally fit with everything else as a whole, anthropomorphism, really brightly colored chipping paint on abandoned walls.  I’m drawn to natural textures and patterns caused from aging in any context but there is nothing like opening the cover on a textbook from the early 1900s and seeing water damage and speckled mold spots and scribbles. Music is a huge inspiration for me. I constantly have something on the ipod or stereo all the time especially when i’m working. and live music, of course. I come back from a show with lots of ideas. Most of all it’s simply people and the things they come up with when they’re only trying to entertain themselves and no one else. The silly and great things people do when they’re playing and exploring, moving from moment to moment with no end result in mind. (more…)