Artist Interview: Valentine Wolly

Maryland based artist Valentine Nazarian Wolly is one of three artists whose work will be exhibited in the “Candy Coated” exhibit at Artwork Network Gallery in November 2015. We had a chance to ask her a few questions before the opening.

Valentine Wolly at Artwork Network

Artwork by Valentine Wolly at Artwork Network Gallery in Denver, Colorado

You were born in Iran and raised in the United States. Does your Iranian culture influence your art? How?

As I reflect on my growing-up years, what I remember most is lots of people (mostly family), lots of color, lots of patterns, and lots of light. I suppose that was the birth of my love of figurative art, the importance of color in my work, and my continuing interest with pattern and reflection.

The artwork you have on display at Artwork Network is from your Altered States series. Can you tell us more about this series? How did it come about? What does it mean? Which was the first piece in the series?

Because of my long-standing fascination with reflective surfaces, I had collected all sorts of shiny objects in my studio—mirrors of all shapes and sizes, including broken mirror pieces; all types of chrome objects; glass objects. In my search for more, I came across a roll of mylar, which I hung loosely on the wall of my studio. When a breeze blew by, the mylar shifted to and fro and suddenly transformed everything and everyone around into myriad patterns and colors that kept shifting. It was like a star wars moment. I grabbed my camera and just clicked. Those pictures became the basis of my Altered States series.

The significance of this “event” was that it pointed out to me how precarious my very organized world is that it can be thrown into endless chaos with the slightest breeze, never to return to its original place. After that initial adventure, I moved the mylar around to different parts of the studio and photographed the reflected images of people, objects and architecture.

The first completed paintings in the series are Spaced Out 1 and Spaced Out 2.

Spaced Out #1 by Valentine Wolly

Spaced Out #1 by Valentine Wolly

What are you working on at the moment?

My current focus is on people in transit. I am interested in depicting the level of activity and inactivity at airports, train terminals, bus stops, and waiting areas, often as reflected on ceilings, walls and floors.

What hobbies do you have? Do these other hobbies influence your artwork?

I am so immersed in my art that one could say my profession and my hobbies are rolled into one. Travel has the biggest influence on my art because it provides most of my inspiration.

Do you have a favorite artist?

While there are many current artists whose work I appreciate, my favorite artists are Richard Diebenkorn and his contemporary Bay Area figurative artists David Park and Elmer Bischoff; Francis Bacon and his contemporary Lucien Freud: Vermeer, Matisse, Degas, Manet and I could go on and on.

What is the hardest part about finishing a piece of artwork?

My pieces are never finished. Deadlines and frames force me to stop working on a piece like this one fri¡om

Artwork by Valentine Wolly at Artwork Network Gallery in Denver, Colorado

Artwork by Valentine Wolly at Artwork Network Gallery in Denver, Colorado

Digital Placements – A Before & After

Seeing artwork in its new home might be the best part of my job. It’s so satisfying to have a before and after image, proof of a space receiving a boost of personality.

A Blank, Boring Photo

But let’s talk about the Lightroom mastery.

When a client comes to us seeking artwork, one of the first things we do is ask for a photo of their wall. This is a great way for us to get a feel for the vibe and style of the place, but also to see what kind of scale we’re working with.  Sometimes we’re dealing with blank, boring walls, and other times there may be existing artwork we’re replacing. (Such was the case here, obviously.) Next, we take suggestions by our Art Consultants as well as favorites from the client and digitally place them right into the photo.

Original Photo and Digital Placement

Note: The piece of paper gives us an easy way to scale the artwork correctly.

Art, An Online Romance

It can be a little scary to buy artwork sight unseen from a website. Our digital placements can give clients an idea of what the artwork will look like in their space.  This lovely Tadashi Hayakawa painting was packed up and shipped across the country, and a short time later we received a note with the happy client, along with a photograph of the artwork in its new home.

Pretty good comparison, don’t you think?  Let us help you solve the woes of your own naked walls. Reach out to us with your Reputation Management project, big or small, today!

Extended Gallery Hours

Hey art lovers, the gallery has new extended hours! We’re now open from 9am to 5pm every weekday, and from 12pm to 4pm on Saturday. We’re also open late for First and Third Friday Artwalks. Come see us!

Artist Interview: Tadashi Hayakawa

Writer Felipe Diaz, of 303 Magazine, stopped by in the final days of the “By Way of LA” exhibit to interview artist Tadashi Hayakawa.

“Everything about Tadashi Hayakawa radiates wisdom.

His thin, long white hair, tied casually in the back, hangs lightly over shoulders that slouch slightly as he walks. His face, hardened by time, wrinkles faintly around the corners of his mouth and eyes whenever he smiles. Now in his early-seventies, he walks and talks with the patience of an older generation.

Between his early years as a child actor in Japan to graduating from the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and becoming the internationally-recognized artist that he is today, it’s needless to say Tadashi has seen and been through a lot before getting his U.S. mail address in Denver…”

Click here to see the Full Interview

… and don’t forget to check out the exhibit, yourself!  “By Way of LA” will be on display through August 31st.

Artist Interview: David R. Stanford

Artist David R. Stanford is one of the newest additions to the Artwork Network roster, hailing from Fort Worth, Texas. His piece “Blue Grotto” was last week’s “Friday Favorite”, and he’s this month’s featured artist. I’m sure you can quickly tell why – these colorful abstracts pack a powerful punch! I was really excited to pick his brain about his creative process and how living in Texas affects his artwork.

David R. Stanford, artist

David R. Stanford, artist

Introduce yourself in a single sentence.

David R. Stanford:  I am someone whose visual senses are very intrigued by what I see, whether it is in architecture, my primary profession, art, or sculpture, and the textures, patterns, sequences, volumes and complexities that exist or can exist within them.

What is your favorite piece of artwork from your own body of work?

David R. Stanford:  This is a difficult question, because I like several of my recent pieces, which are in a different style than I usually paint in. I like “Target” and “Grotto”, which are recent efforts, but then I look back at a piece like “Zeppelin” that I painted several years ago and the styles are very similar, but my knowledge of painting has evolved immensely.

How do you start a new piece?  Do you know how it will look beforehand?

David R. Stanford:  I seldom start with a definitive idea of what the painting will look like, and when I do, I usually change it before I am finished with it because I get bored with the original idea. I want each piece to be fun, challenging, and a learning experience to see how the painting will evolve and how over a period of sessions the layers that are added will impact the previous levels to create new tensions and conversations that interest me and others that view them.

When you’re done with a piece how do you know?

David R. Stanford:  Sometimes it takes years to finish and sometimes the painting will be finished in a couple of hours. I often paint some on the painting and then let the painting be on display for weeks while look at it, sometimes rotating it to see if I see something different from a different angle. Recently, I have started to take a photo of the painting with my phone and then make studies on my phone of what I might do for the next step. These are usually just quick ideas that may lead to something I might add to the painting. Ultimately, you just sense when a painting is finished and I call it done. Then I proceed to the hardest part of the process, naming the painting!

"Target" by David R. Stanford

"Target" by David R. Stanford

You often favor vibrant orange and red in your paintings.  What emotions or responses are you trying to trigger with these colors?

David R. Stanford:  I like these colors because they are rich in color. Blue is probably my least favorite color, but I still use it. I like contrasting colors to draw out the best in each color. I actually like using white and black in my compositions, but often don’t get the same response I feel from those who usually see them.

People love to ask abstract artists about what their art “means” – how do you answer?  And how much do you hate being asked this question?

David R. Stanford:  For me, my art usually doesn’t have an intended meaning, but instead is about life’s struggles, harmonies, collaborations and resolutions. I enjoy seeing how the layers of the painting communicate with each other.

Artistically how does Texas nurture you?  How do you think your environment affects your paintings?

David R. Stanford:  I like the laid back environment in Texas, and I think this allows me to explore more options. I am also appreciative of the tremendous collection of art museums in the Dallas-Fort Worth region that allow me to see innovative works by other artists from around the world.

What do you think your work says about you?  Do your paintings offer insight into you as person?

David R. Stanford:  I hope my artwork shows that I like multi-dimensional thoughts and nothing is only black and white. I like to look at things from multiple viewpoints and see how the views influence the way something is perceived.

"Zeppelin" by David R. Stanford

"Zeppelin" by David R. Stanford

Has anyone ever had an unusual interpretation of your work?

David R. Stanford:  I don’t know of any unusual interpretations of my work, but I do like to hear what people think. One of the things I hate most about painting is coming up with a title for the picture. Sometimes it is very obvious and easy to select, but other times it is very difficult. I like to ask people what name they would use for the picture. The titles they give me are often unique and something I had not thought of, but definitely give me an idea of what the piece says to them. I often use the title given to me.

What are you working on right now?  What’s in the pipeline for you?

David R. Stanford:  As I have throughout my career, I am experimenting with alternative ways of expressing myself. I am continuing to paint in the same format I have used in “Target” and “Grotto”, but I am also studying what you can do with acrylics. I have also started to explore mixed media pieces with the introduction of layering. This has been fun so far and I look forward to seeing what comes from this.

View More about David R. Stanford

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Art Collecting 101 for Grown-Ups

Huffington Post had a great article last week with tips on collecting art:

“Many art lovers reach a moment when their artistic taste has become too sophisticated for posters but original fine art is still financially out of reach. Luckily, in the past few years many options have emerged, notably on the web, for building an art collection that looks great, reflects your personal style and won’t break the banksy (art humor).”

Patric Johansson via La Maison d'Anna G

The article goes on to recommend several great nuggets of wisdom for anyone who is just starting their art collection.  My favorite tip – and one I personally advocate to anyone who asks – is “Trust your taste and don’t overthink it.”  More often than not, you’ll know in your gut a piece of art is perfect match for you (sounds a bit like Dating 101 doesn’t it?).  However, I might be inclined to rephrase this tip as:  the art doesn’t have to match the couch.

Check out the whole article here.

What are your personal obstacles for starting a collection?  Do you agree or disagree with these tips?

Artist Interview: Curt Fowler

It’s no secret I am a huge fan of Carlson Knives and artist Curt Fowler – one of his paintings hangs in my living room. His new body of work, entitled ‘Conscious Chaos’, exhibits this month at Artwork Network in a dual show with Phil Bender (read more about that here). I was incredibly excited to sit down with him and ask a few questions that have been on my mind.

You work mostly in abstract – do these pieces have any hidden meanings?

Curt Fowler: There are no intentional meanings or symbols in my paintings. For me it is, most of the time, an experience of the moment. Usually the choice of color is random.

Curt Fowler, Artist

How do you choose the titles of your work?

Curt Fowler: I am reluctant to give my paintings names, but it seems desirable to the buyers. Titles to me can influence how the art is viewed. Sometimes I will make up a name that in no way pertains to the painting. For instance the last painting I sold, of a tree, was named “At the Mall”.

Do you have a favorite contemporary artist?

Curt Fowler: I do not have one favorite artist. I try to be observant and see the best in another artist’s work.

Do you have a favorite color you like to work with?

Curt Fowler: Three colors for me: red, yellow, blue.  In that order.

A side by side view of paintings by Curt Fowler.

I’ve noticed you sometimes paint over pieces – why?

Curt Fowler: I don’t think of it so much painting over as picking up and beginning again. The one you own “32 Red Lines” was over a year in the making.  I have come to think of this technique as excavation, paint is layered on then I begin to remove it to see how the lower layers reveal themselves.

What do you want people to walk away with when they see your work?

Curt Fowler: One thing is for them to feel the love the painting was created out of, to take it into their lives because they want to feel all the painting has to offer.

Art in the… Bathroom?

Every now and then someone asks for help in choosing art for the most taboo of places: the bathroom. There is no question it’s the most overlooked of spot for a work of art, and one of the most feared. However, it IS possible to hang art in a bathroom – and the result can be unexpectedly fabulous. Some types of art fare better than others, so do you research first (or call a framer for advice).

Check out our “Art in the Bathroom” Pinterest board for an ever-growing collection of inspiration!

Artist Interview: Silvana LaCreta Ravena

Artist Member Silvana LaCreta Ravena was recently featured on Minnesota’s MN Original, a series featuring the state’s creative community. “Originally a clinical psychologist in Brazil,” the intro describes, “artist Silvana LaCreta Ravena uses encaustics as a medium to explore memory. By combining bee’s wax, resin and dried pigment, she creates custom colors that reflect what she is seeing in her mind’s eye.” The five-minute feature is a wonderful peek into her creative process and inspiration even going as far as creating a hand stamped initial necklace for Simple and Stamped. Check out the link below and let us know what you think!

Artist Interview: Juan Esteban Usubillaga

During March 2012, Artwork Network will be exhibiting some beautiful abstracts by South-American artist Juan Esteban Usubillaga.  He refers to this series as “mind calming”.  We asked him a few questions about his process, influences, and what we should impart from his paintings.

Artist Juan Esteban Usubillaga

Why do you work with acrylics?

Juan Esteban Usubillaga:   I work with acrylics because they are water-based, and as a kid most of the painting that I did was with watercolor.  It taught me a lot about the nature of the colors, transparencies and the use of light.

Does anything else from your childhood come up in your work?

JEU:  Light and colors of the rainforest.  My cultural and geographical background always comes to influence my work.

How did you get started in the Arts?

JEU:  I entered an Art school at age 12 and kept this path until I was 25 years old.  I realized very early in life how much I suck at the Arts, and only a lot of hard work made me improve and find personal language. I knew that everything I produced was not as good as the Art I admired, but that planted a seed of urgency to find quality in a personal path.

Do you think it is important for artists to know about art history?

JEU:  It is vital!  As an artist I know there is a limited time for art production (a lifespan), and even after the artist reach a personal language, we can still learn from past or current artists, from their passions and fears, their masteries, being open and curious to other artists, keeps us open and eventually makes us understand our work more deeply, and probably show our personal paths more clearly, and see what else is out there for us.

"Mist" by Juan Esteban Usubillaga

Speaking of past and current artists – are you more attracted to work that is not like your own, or work that has similarities to yours?

JEU I find I am attracted to any kind of Art that feels sincere to me.

Do you have a favorite piece of artwork?

JEU:  Too many to be so exclusive!  But I really the works of Baskiat, Szyszlo, de kooning, and Jacanamijoy.

Has anyone ever given you a real gem of advice?

JEU:  The best advice has come not from painters but musicians and athletes – “Do not rush into the future.  It creates anxiety.  Keep your attention on the now.”

What is your favorite reaction someone has had to your work?

JEU:  An international artist and master said, “I wish I could do what you have done in this painting.”

That’s a great compliment!  What do you like about your work?

JEU:  It takes me to places I like to be.

"The Unseen" by Juan Esteban Usubillaga

Do you visualize your art before creating?

JEU:  No, and if I could I wouldn’t, I want to surprise myself.

Why do you make art? And whom do you make it for?

JEU:  Probably just to keep my insanity healthy.  At the beginning just did it for myself, but as soon I realized other people like it, my mind changed, and now I make art for anyone who likes it!

What other kinds of things do you like?

JEU:  I love music and poetry.  It twists my mind and soul in a positive way.

Your Artwork Network exhibit is coming up – I want to know, what question do you hate being asked about your art?

JEU:  What does that painting mean?

And lastly, is there anything you want people to walk away after seeing your work?

JEU:  With an strong emotion, a sense of connection with inner images or realms. I do not care about what kind emotion it is, but prefer when is real and personal.

Click here to see more artwork and info
about artist Juan Esteban Usubillaga.

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