Inside the Artist’s Studio with Ian Park

Ian Park working in the studio

Ian Park working in the studio

My name is Ian Park. I’m originally from the southern rural village called Hartman, Arkansas. The population is still about 600 people. From there, I began making art at a preschool age by sketching with pen in wide ruled notebooks on my grandparent’s couch and gluing popsicle sticks together to make sculptures, all while experimenting with usual childhood art supplies of marker, crayon, watercolor, and mud. Middle school is when I realized art was part of my life and I couldn’t live without it; a means of survival for a queer kid living in a completely hetero community. Near the end of high school, I had the luxury of experimenting with ceramic sculpture and firing objects in the kiln. It wasn’t until my second year of college that I realized ceramics would become a major part of my life.

Front and back of the two cups included in The Cup, The Mug 2019

Front and back of the two cups included in The Cup, The Mug 2019

It was in higher education that I pursued a career in art. There were so many wonderful instructors and people that I met in Little Rock during my time in that city and eventually I obtained a bachelor’s degree in studio art and public school art education after six years of being an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. I remember realizing I wanted to be a teacher when I was showing a co-worker how to make a rose out of icing at my cake decorator job. Something clicked in my brain that this would have to accompany my art making.

Installation piece by Ian Park

Installation piece by Ian Park

The first piece of art I found to be professional was made during my last year of undergrad. It was titled Visiting Grandma Agatha, and it combined my skills with cake decorating, wood working, painting, found object, ceramics, mold making, and conversations with my grandma that we had over sweets at the table. After being an intern elementary school teacher that last year of school, I realized just how much I loved teaching K-5 elementary art. Kids are awesome, and so fun to be around! I was able to juggle my art and being a public-school teacher for a couple years. I missed ceramics though, and didn’t have access to a kiln, so I applied to the Flower City Arts Center in Rochester, NY and was accepted as a resident artist there in 2016. I met some awesome folks in that region as well. From there I helped establish the very first Flower City Pottery invitational, pushed my ceramics career further, applied for grad school (and got into LSU), and finally learned just how hard the real world can be. I am forever grateful for my time there and can’t wait to go back and visit when the time comes.

"Makeup Manica" by Ian Park

“Makeup Manica” by Ian Park

I am in my third year of grad school at Louisiana State University. My work is about combining queerness with, camp, the uncanny and horror. I create functional pottery with a cone 6 clay body that uses imagery or words relating to queerness & LGBTQIA+ themes. These pots usually consist of a pre drawing on leather hard ware and different layers of underglazes, wax resist techniques, sgraffito, lusters, and decals. I also make installations that consist of wallpaper, fabric, performance video projection, found object, paint, video projection, wood, and altered objects. I adore creating installation that people can either walk through or come into close contact. With these installs, I am pushing the idea of set design and art, creating an atmosphere that sees through the veneer of a normal home in a way that celebrates the queer themes of horror I use.

Ian Park working in the studio

Ian Park working in the studio

I also love to celebrate other people’s art, and community is very important to me, especially the LGBTQIA+ community. In October of 2019, I organized a queer ceramics symposium at LSU, with the assistance of Andy Shaw. We titled it Queeramics and several queer clay artists from around the U.S. came to participate. I curated an exhibit with 25 artists from around the nation and Canada, there were two love performance art works, a panel discussion, keynote speaker, and think tank discussions with the attending queer artists. We came together to embrace each other’s thoughts, concerns, needs, creations, and lives and will all be pushing to create a stronger future for queer ceramics.

Front and back of the two cups included in The Cup, The Mug 2019

Front and back of the two cups included in The Cup, The Mug 2019

As of now, I must continue finishing my thesis. Once I graduate with my MFA, I would love to become a resident artist again at another art center in America and continue churning out installations and pottery. I love what art centers have to offer their community! Beyond that, I would like to continue teaching kids. I miss teaching children and want my students to have a future with the artistic well-rounded knowledge that I have to offer. Just like my roots in art as a child, I want others to be able to explore their many artistic options, because art opens thousands of different possibilities for a

brighter and more knowledgeable future. If you want to see more of my art you can find me at:

Website: www.ianparkart.com
Instagram: ian.park.art
Queeramics Article: Click here

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Gretchen Quinn

Gretchen in her downtown Raleigh studio. Photo credit: Juli Leonard

Gretchen in her downtown Raleigh studio. Photo credit: Juli Leonard

Hello, I am Gretchen Quinn. I’m a full-time potter living and working in Raleigh, NC. and I have two mugs in The Cup, The Mug 2019 show at Main Street Arts. I make functional pottery with a clean, modern feel. The inspiration for my work comes mainly from what I want to have and use in my own home. I’m definitely under the spell of well-made crafts and much of what I make spins out from my love of Danish Modern and Shaker designs where simplicity, utility and honesty are among the guiding principles in their work.

Finished work for sale at the studio.

Finished work for sale at the studio.

My pieces are all handmade out of a beautiful dark brown stoneware clay and glazed in glossy white. I decorate my pots with a variety of hand-carved patterns or 22K gold luster. In the decoration process I never use pre-made patterns, templates or textures. To me, it’s the freehand markings that makes my pots feel fresh and modern and what tells the user that every piece is handmade.

My favorite part of the process.

My favorite part of the process.

Six years ago, I moved from working in a community studio to a private space. In the community studio I had a wide range of clay bodies and glaze colors available, so I always felt compelled to use them all. When I became responsible for ordering my own clay and making my glaze I decided to narrow my focus to one clay body and one glazed for a year. While I initially did this for practicality, this shift in materials is really what gave birth of my current Mix & Match collection and all these years later I’m still focused on one clay and one glaze. I love how the Mix & Match aspect of my work makes customers active participants in building their collections. Some customers will choose to stay with just one pattern, others will select a few, while some just go for it all!

A recent custom dinner plate order.

A recent custom dinner plate order.

My serious study of ceramics started at Providence College, where I received a BA in sculpture and made most of my work in clay. After graduation, I worked as a graphic designer and made pots on the side. I never stepped away from clay, but I didn’t see an avenue to make it my full-time profession. It took a cross country move from Seattle to Raleigh for me to finally take the leap into clay full-time. I’m now over 6 years in and have seen a steady, organic growth in the quality of my work and in my business. In addition to my studio work I teach ceramics at the North Carolina State University Crafts Center. The combination of teaching and making work for my business has been a huge point of growth. It forced me to slow down and think through my technique and reflect on the elements that go into making a good pot.

Mix & Match lamps.

Mix & Match lamps.

My studio is a space that I share with three other female potters. We run our businesses independently and make very different work, but we are all equally committed to our love for working in clay. Being able to share our kiln firings and buy our clay together in bulk allows us to speed the making process and to save on our material expenses. It makes for an interesting dynamic as we are all from different backgrounds and generations, but together we freely share our vast clay skills and push each other forward in our work and our businesses.

At work in my studio. Photo credit: Juli Leonard

At work in my studio.
Photo credit: Juli Leonard

I am truly thrilled that I get to work with clay every day. There is just something magical about turning a humble lump of clay into a beautiful, functional product. See more of my work at www.gretchenquinn.com and follow me on Instagram @gretchen.quinn


Gretchen Quinn is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jarrod Dahl

Turning end grain cups in my workshop at a Japanese-style lathe. woodspirithandcraft.com

Turning end grain cups in my workshop at a Japanese-style lathe. woodspirithandcraft.com

I am Jarrod Dahl, a craftsperson, teacher, and writer from Northern Wisconsin. I have been working with wood since 1996. Although I got my start designing and building traditional timber framed homes I slowly moved from the building trades to traditional craft. Today my time is split teaching handcraft and designing and making a wide variety of ‘domestic craft objects’. Currently my focus is on woodenware.

Wooden cups with urushi lacquer finish. Woodspirithandcraft.com

Wooden cups with urushi lacquer finish inspired by my research/study trips to Japan these last 2 years. woodspirithandcraft.com

I work together with my wife and one assistant to create high quality handmade goods. I specialize in turning freshly harvested wood, known as green wood, into cups, handled mugs, bowls, plates, and lidded boxes and I carve a wide variety of utensils.

Spoon carving.

Carving a wooden spoon with a Swedish craft knife.

Spoon design possibilities are endless.

Spoon design possibilities are endless. woodspirithandcraft.com

I am one of the few professional woodturners in the world (no joke) whose specialty is using a foot-powered spring pole lathe. I also use both a Japanese-style and a Western-style electric lathe. I am extremely intrigued by the the textures each of these machines leave on the objects I make. Because of this I also forge my own tools—quite uncommon in the Western wood turning world.

Giving a pole lathe turning demonstration in Borås, Sweden a region famous for 400 years of wood turning.

Giving a pole lathe turning demonstration in Borås, Sweden a region famous for 400 years of wood turning.

Wooden coffee mugs turned from one piece of wood.

Wooden coffee mugs turned from one piece of wood, design inspired by wooden Viking cup shards found in York. woodspirithandcraft.com

I’m inspired by what I understand as wood culture, most of which is from the recent past or even further. It isn’t thought about much, but woodenware was the main tableware for thousands of years in much of the forested lands around the globe. I’ve traveled to places like Sweden and Japan to further my understanding and also to inform my designs. I’ve studied thousands of lidded boxes, bowls and cups in museum archives in Sweden. In Japan where woodenware is very much common place even today, I studied with woodturners, designers, and lacquer artists again to inform my design aesthetics and also to learn how I might be able to bring more appreciation to wooden objects in our modern times.

Tableware

Tableware. woodspirithandcraft.com

Woodenware can be very elegant and beautiful. My designs are conservative and change very slowly through making many pieces in the same style.

Lámhóg is a traditional Irish drinking cup turned from one piece of wood on a reciprocating foot powered pole lathe.

Lámhóg is a traditional Irish drinking cup turned from one piece of wood on a reciprocating foot powered pole lathe. woodspirithandcraft.com

The majority of the wood I use is harvested and milled by myself and my assistant, from trees within miles of my home. I am lucky to be in touch with the whole journey of my product from tree to finished design.

Future wooden items will be made from this backyard Maple tree that came down across the alley from our house.

Future wooden items will be made from this backyard Maple tree that came down across the alley from our house.

A wooden lidded box finished with milk paint and linseed oil.

A wooden lidded box finished with milk paint and linseed oil. woodspirithandcraft.com

I believe that beauty is an important part of daily life and that the handmade wooden object has a part to play in it.

My website is www.woodspirithandcraft.com
Blog: https://www.woodspirithandcraft.com/blog
instagram: @jarrod__dahl and @woodspirithandcraft
Youtube channel: Jarrod Dahl’s Youtube

 


Jarrod Dahl is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Cole Worden

Cole Worden in the studio

Cole Worden in the studio

Hello, my name is Cole Worden. I am a recent graduate from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where I received a BFA in studio arts, and I am currently a participant of the working artist program at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

Cup II by Cole Worden included in The Cup, The Mug

Cup II by Cole Worden included in The Cup, The Mug

As far as my personal timeline goes, I am rather new to ceramics. I spent the majority of my youth honing my skills as a musician, which led to a short career as a drummer in an internationally touring metal band. My eyes were opened to a vastly larger world than I could have ever imagined, and became aware of how little I really knew about life. This fueled my curiosity and eventually drove me to drop everything and return to school. I spent two and a half years as a neuroscience major and struggled to adjust to the life of a student, while coming down from a three year high of adrenaline, drugs, rock and roll, and my own inflated ego. It became clear I wasn’t going to make it as a scientist. I took a ceramics class on a whim, trying to find a new path ahead, and was hooked instantly. I accidentally stumbled into a warm, accepting, and challenging community of artists, that helped me to find myself, and a way forward. I graduated in December of 2018, and have since been doing what I can to make it as a ceramic artist.

The original model for a bowl made from MDF and tape with fired bowl

The original model for a bowl made from MDF and tape with fired bowl

So, what does a day in the studio look like for me? Most of my work is slip-cast, so that means I have to go through a pretty extensive process starting from an idea and getting to a finished product. I begin by either making a form from clay, or making a form from MDF, then alter the surface (often with paint, electrical tape, or customized stickers) to get the desired texture I want. Then I take a plaster mold of the object, which I can later cast from with slip. Once I have the object in porcelain, I apply various washes, wax, and glazes to achieve the desired coloration.

Applying wash to bisquware

Applying wash to bisquware

While I am casting from the molds I have, in a more rigid production sort of process, I’m simultaneously working out how to improve on what I have, and brainstorming for the next form I want to make. Alternating between production and creation keeps my day interesting, and every step has room for creativity. So, despite the rigid replication that comes with slip casting, I like to make subtle changes all the time to make each piece unique.

Much of my time in the studio, I can be found with headphones in, which half of the time are playing metal. Growing up, one of the most influential forms of visual art for me was the album art and graphic design on cd covers and band merch. I think on a deeper level, most of my aesthetic decisions have roots in metal/rock/punk culture, whether they are immediately apparent or not. The other half is spent listening to audiobooks or podcasts, generally in the realm of science or philosophy. Learning about and pondering the nature of our reality through reason and experimentation provides for me a sort of spiritual satisfaction that no religion has been able to do.

Cole Worden pouring slip from a mold

Cole Worden pouring slip from a mold

Pouring slip from a mold

Pouring slip from a mold

These ideas permeate into my work, along with my love for architecture, and all of the media I consume, creating a chimeric brain baby that usually pops out in the form of a pot. Which begs the question, why pottery?

I’ve been asking myself this question for a while now, and for many reasons I love the process of making pottery. I find my flow through physical action. My mind and body are both engaged creatively and intellectually. But I think those personally gratifying aspects wouldn’t be worth it without being able to serve someone else. The utility of pottery is common across all walks of human life, and I am happy to provide someone with that utility. Plus, I can hint at little nuggets of ideas for someone to contemplate with their morning coffee, and that’s fun for me.

Cup 1 by Cole Worden included in The Cup, The Mug

Cup 1 by Cole Worden included in The Cup, The Mug

Thanks to Main Street Arts Gallery for giving me the opportunity to share with you a little bit about myself and my process. If you’d like to know more, or find more of my work, you can visit my:

Website: coleworden.com
Instagram: @coleworden
Etsy: Etsy.com/shop/colewordenartworks
Or contact me at: cwordenart@gmail.com


Cole Worden is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Emile Bouvet-Boisclair

I am a French Canadian born ceramic artist, residing in Chicago, IL for the last decade. 

artist Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair

Artist and a board of marbled cups. Photo by: Alexis Bouvet-Boisclair

Clay entered my life when I was 13. I was gifted lessons for Christmas with studio potter Lloyd Fitzsimmons. I long considered myself a painter, eventually graduating from State University at Geneseo with a BA in Fine Arts and a concentration in figure studies and water color. Despite this, as a teen, I purchased a potters wheel with my babysitting money before graduating from high school, and in my 20s, continued to enroll at local ceramic studios from time to time. Throwing pots was a welcome release from the seriousness with which I approached my canvases.

This set depicts flora and fauna native to North America- the Cuckoo bird and Paw Paw tree- one of the few fruiting trees native to this continent.

This set depicts flora and fauna native to North America- the Cuckoo bird and Paw Paw tree- one of the few fruiting trees native to this continent.

When I began merging my painting experience with clay, pottery making took on a more serious role in my life. I approached glazing pots with the eye of an oil painter — layering techniques of line inlay, and sculpture with glazes, colored slips and stains to achieve depth and nuanced color.

Jewelry box with typical adornment of flowers and also brains. Jewelry boxes are often gifted to young girls, one of many ways we initiate their values and status in society - this serves as a reminder of the importance of intellect.

Jewelry box with typical adornment of flowers and also brains. Jewelry boxes are often gifted to young girls, one of many ways we initiate their values and status in society – this serves as a reminder of the importance of intellect.

My work addresses an appreciation of nature and a hope to conserve the environment. 

birch wood inspired vases by Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair

The stillness of a birch wood forest is captured in my speckled line of vases.

The animals in my work often have very emotive facial characteristics — with the goal of creating a connection between the viewer and subject.

pufferfish planters by Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair

Pufferfish planters

Humans need to be better stewards of our shared home. Many of us live lives away from the small wonders of the natural world, wrapped in a bustling concrete jungles distracted by bright screens, crowded buses, and constant distraction . It is easy to forget our dependance and interconnectedness with our environments, and also all the creatures that share the earth with us.

Large bowl featuring puffins in a melting arctic with a rainbow throughout. The rainbow refers to a Christian story of Noah's Arc, and God's promise not to flood the earth ever again. We find ourselves in a time when sea levels are rising as a result of human industry; and our leaders are in position to play god to our planet, weather for better or for the self interest of the few.

Large bowl featuring puffins in a melting arctic with a rainbow throughout. The rainbow refers to a Christian story of Noah’s Arc, and God’s promise not to flood the earth ever again. We find ourselves in a time when sea levels are rising as a result of human industry; and our leaders are in position to play god to our planet, weather for better or for the self interest of the few.

Puffin and Rainbow Bowl (D) copy

Detail from Puffin and Rainbow Bowl.

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Photo by: Alexis Bouvet-Boisclair

My studio practice balances my love of sitting down and throwing production with creating more detailed, singular work. Throwing a board full of rounded vases is a meditation and a mental groove I can ride all day long. I find it gives me the mental space to develop and realize larger and more developed pieces.

Pottery requires a humbleness — there are so many facets of ceramics that have taken years to master — and there are lifetimes more of learning. Always having a challenge that seems attainable is one thing I enjoy from pottery making. It is a field which demands hours and full attention; the hurdles overcome and subsequent results in my artistic journey are hugely gratifying. 

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Pots in production. Every one of these that was a success has a pot that failed behind it.

In the last month, I learned to throw large pots — that was hugely difficult and tearful (this was for a commission with a tight deadline which I self assuredly accepted) and also self validating.  Each pottery technique that is mastered will open the door to new ideas and projects. 

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I love the interplay between the grouping of large pieces. These found a permanent home at the Hoxton Hotel in Chicago- they echo the stillness found on the lake front. Lake Michigan is a place to find a bit of peace from the city noise.

On the horizon for next year, I plan to experiment more with throwing large series; I enjoyed the play and interaction with scale, form and color in the pieces in my last collection. I also plan on bringing light into my work — I am interested in the possible narratives and hidden worlds that could be created using light — so hardwiring bulbs will be a skill I hope to attain soon as well. 

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Right now I am a potter- but I will always consider myself an artist first and hope to dip into my box of oils sometime in the future. 

You can see more of my work at TwinettePoterie.com or @TwinettePoterie on Instagram.


Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Vickie Pierre

Vickie Pierre artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of November 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Vickie some questions about her work and studio practice:

Artist Vickie Pierre

Artist Vickie Pierre

Q: To start off, please tell us about your background.
I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York and graduated from the School of Visual Arts 1997.  I’ve been living and working in Miami, Florida for the last 20+ years.  Prior to my full time studio practice, I spent years working as a fine art preparator in New York and then a Museum Registrar for local institutions in Miami.  I now work occasionally as a Registrar Consultant for local collectors and museums.

I Can't Say No to You (Good Enough) 2014 Mixed medial installation

“I Can’t Say No to You (Good Enough)” by Vickie Pierre, 2014. Mixed media installation.

Q: How would you describe your work?
My practice includes painting, collage and installations. I explore my Haitian American identity, with references to design and the decorative arts and the natural world. I also consider the connections between my Caribbean heritage and global cultural mythologies and their relationship to contemporary cultural politics.

Elemental Mistresses (The Power of 3) 2016

“Elemental Mistresses (The Power of 3)”, by Vickie Pierre, 2016

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
My paintings and collages usually begin with background color buildup followed by basic forms applied with rubber stamps or brushes. Sometimes I’ll draw on the surface to mark out possible shapes and collage placement. The assemblages and installations are trickier. I’ll visualize these projects for a longer period of time, even before I sketch it out. Once I’ve completed it in my mind, I’ll put it to paper and then the best part, I make it!

That's How Important She Was (Poupees in the Bush series) 2019, Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

“That’s How Important She Was (Poupees in the Bush series)” by Vickie Pierre, 2019. Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have many favorite artists (old and new) so it’s difficult to choose… I love the Surrealists and Matisse. Barbara Chase Riboud, Miriam Shapiro, Faith Ringold and the Saar Family women. There’s also Willie Cole, Jim Hodges, Lari Pitman. And of course back to women! All of the incredible women artists who have inspired me for decades: Petah Coyne, Annette Messager, Chakaia Booker, Sue Williams and on and on!

Queen on the Pyre (Poupees in the Bush series) 2018, Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

“Queen on the Pyre (Poupees in the Bush series)” by Vickie Pierre, 2018. Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork? 
One of my favorite places to see artwork is at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (previously the Temporary Contemporary). I lived in Los Angeles in the early 90s just before enrolling at SVA and spent many hours visiting with the art there.

She Wolf (Poupees in the Bush series) 2018. Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

“She Wolf (Poupees in the Bush series)” by Vickie Pierre, 2018. Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

Q: What advice would you give to other artists? 
My advice for others artists would be to determine from the onset if being a working artist is what you ultimately want. Perseverance is so important to sustaining your practice, even when it seems as if nothing is happening. My instructors at SVA used to say, ” work comes from work” and “paint your truth” so I try to practice everyday even when I’m not in my studio. I always have a pad and pen with me to jot down ideas or draw a vision that may come to me.

Totem For My Sisters (We Are Illuminous!) 2019. Mixed media installation.

“Totem For My Sisters (We Are Illuminous!)” by Vickie Pierre, 2019. Mixed media installation.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My goal for this residency is to continue working on the current themes in my work but also include elements of inspiration from living and working in Clifton Springs. I plan on using this opportunity to work on several projects including larger collage artworks.

Q: What’s next for you?
I have a solo exhibition coming up in the next year, so I plan on continuing to work and prepare for this career milestone.

Q: Where else can we find you?
My work can be see on my website: www.vickiepierre.com and on Instagram: @vpvpierre

Meet the Artist in Residence: Jeff Schofield

Jeff Scholfield artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of November 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Jeff some questions about his work and studio practice:

Jeff Schofield

Jeff Schofield

Q: To start off, please tell us about your background.
I grew up as an American expatriate in Europe, where I lived with my family for decades. I studied architecture at Columbia University and pursued a career in New York, Paris and Dubai designing sustainable buildings and urban masterplans. Along the way I began making art, also expressing sustainable themes, which gradually developed into a full-time occupation. For the past ten years I’ve devoted myself to artistic pursuits, which includes curatorial work in galleries and art fairs. I studied sculpture at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Detroit, Michigan, where I am currently based as an emerging artist.

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“Beach Litter” by Jeff Scholfield. Plastic and metal litter in recycled glass jars filled with lake water

Q: How would you describe your work?
I am an installation artist working with sustainable themes. I upcycle found objects, such as beach litter, salvaged wood, newspapers, car parts and everyday detritus, into irreverent art installations. My material choices involve discarded items with their own life cycles, containing stories of human use, interaction and ultimately disposal. I experiment with this detritus through processes of collecting and cataloging to create large scale artworks examining critical narratives that question the sustainability of post-industrial society.

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“Michigan Forest Fire” by Jeff Schofield. Burnt tree trunks hung on metal chains.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I use two complimentary approaches to investigate the landscape as a source of artistic expression. One, I explore outdoors to document specific sites of human trespassing in nature, which I try to interpret through in-situ installations. Two, I install artworks indoors using discarded materials found in the field. I conceive this artwork in the open air, through walks, hikes and forms of wandering, as methods for collecting and documenting the land. Landscape interventions are expressed through photography to highlight aspects of human agency, and through collection to understand natural sites as retainers of those agencies. I explore notions of “making do,” material life cycles, overproduction and accumulation.

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“Picnic at the Beach” by Jeff Schofield. Recycled plastic picnic ware and life vests hung on ropes and buoys.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
I use the camera a lot while developing a large-scale art installation, especially regarding an outdoor piece. There are two main reasons for employing this technique. One, the siting and lighting are crucial for the public to view a piece properly, and photos provide me insight on how to do this comprehensively right from the start of a project. Second, many of my outdoor pieces are intended to decay over time, and photos allow me to record this process visually, so viewers can see the progression and understand the underlying concept as a narrative.

"Beach Toys" by Jeff Schofield. Recycled plastic beach toys hung on ropes and buoys.

“Beach Toys” by Jeff Schofield. Recycled plastic beach toys hung on ropes and buoys.

Q: Do you collect anything?
Collection is a cornerstone of my art practice. I accumulate many things found in nature, in the city, in my kitchen, among my friends, almost anywhere. Found objects constitute my art palette, including plastic, metal, glass, ropes, newspapers, salvaged wood, burnt wood, beach litter, forest litter, sidewalk litter, old toys, broken toys, broken tools, rusty tools, rusty nails, hair, hats, shoes, belts, wheels, tires, car parts, almost anything non-perishable. Storage is a big part of my art practice, and I manage this constraint as well as I can.

"Subject to Flooding" by Jeff Schofield. Sapling tree trunks on forest floor

“Subject to Flooding” by Jeff Schofield. Sapling tree trunks on forest floor

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
My ultimate reference is Marcel Duchamp, who pioneered “ready-made” artwork a century ago. My upcycling artworks derive from this, though they are many generations removed. Contemporary artists I look at include Andy Goldsworthy, Lauren Bon, Mona Hatoum, Mary Mattingly and many others too numerous to mention.

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“Ford Escort” by Jeff Schofield. Car body parts hung on ropes and pulleys

Q: Who inspires you and why?
Hemingway, whose deceptively simple writing style expresses vivid emotions.

Philip Glass, whose whimsical compositions exude deeply emotional sounds.

Greta Thunberg, whose simple message on climate change is universally powerful.

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Trash to Treasure Series: “Banner of Trash” by Jeff Schofield. Found objects bound with twine

What was your experience like at art school?
Cranbrook’s multi-disciplinary pedagogy provided me a chance to delve into the complex inter-related realms of art and design. Most striking was the sheer diversity of the student body; everyone was unique in character and talent. I learned how to search for artistic freedom, and this creative journey will continue for a lifetime. Preparing a master’s thesis forced me to build bridges between visual thinking and conceptual writing. I adopted collaboration with fellow students as a working method to develop sustainable ideas more broadly. Sharing these events with others, including the successes and failures, helped me build a permanent network of professional colleagues.

"Outside Ourselves" by Jeff Schofield. Storm-damaged pear tree branches.

“Outside Ourselves” by Jeff Schofield. Storm-damaged pear tree branches.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I aim to continue building the body of work I am currently developing with plastic and metal found objects. I will work with discarded materials that can be found in Ontario County public parklands in order to explore human transgressions of natural sites. I will make day trips to local parks, trails, lakes and rivers to collect thrown-away plastic, metal, glass and other inorganic waste. The landscape offers unexpected sources of inspiration and materials, in this case discarded junk. Using everyday items such as string, wire, paper, scrap fabric, etc, I will transform ordinary items into extraordinary artwork. My purpose is to interrogate received notions of recycling and repair. I aim to explore wacky and nonfunctional art forms by converting trash into treasure.

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Trash to Treasure Series: “Pillow of Trash”. Found objects bound with twine

q: What’s next for you?
As an ongoing program, I plan to visit other natural sites around the country and examine discarded refuse as materials to create art expressing sustainability issues specific to each locality. I am scheduled for an Artist-in-Residence program at PlySpace in Muncie, Indiana, in the spring of 2020. Just before then I will have a solo exhibition at Hatch Art Gallery in Detroit, Michigan. I will also participate in a group exhibition at the Sculpture Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in the summer of 2020.

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Q: Where else can we find you?
My website is www.JeffSchofield.net
My Facebook art page is Jeff Scofield Art

 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Sam Fratto

Sam Fratto artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of October 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Sam some questions about his work and studio practice:

Sam Fratto, October 2019 artist in residence

Sam Fratto, October 2019 artist in residence

Q: To start off, please you tell us about your background.

I grew up in the surrounding area of Main Street Arts, Clifton Springs and Phelps, and spent my childhood playing sports and skateboarding with friends there. I was always into doodling for fun back then, but didn’t take drawing or art seriously until college.

It was during my time at Finger Lakes Community College, where I studied fine art and graphic design, that I got into animating through a program I purchased called Toon Boom. After graduating from FLCC I followed this cartoon fancy and went to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where I studied traditional animation and obtained my BFA in Animation and Visual Effects.

Since, I moved back to upstate NY and have been working as a screen printer at Guerrilla Tees in Victor, while animating, painting, and drawing in my off time.

"Mind's Eye" by Sam Fratto, ink on paper

“Mind’s Eye” by Sam Fratto, ink on paper

Q: How would you describe your work?

My work ranges in subject and material. In animation, I have made various silly comedy shorts using digital software (like Toon Boom) and drawing pads, as well as glass painted animations that have a more serious and experimental feel to them. These glass painted animations, like my traditional paintings, tend to have dream like imagery that comes and goes.

A still from one of Sam's painted animations

A still from one of Sam’s paint on glass animations

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?

For my glass painted animations, I work at a fast pace due to the nature of the materials and animating process. I will paint an image, sometimes thought of before hand and sometimes instinctually determined, and then I will take a photo of the painting with a down-shooting camera. From there I will alter the painting by adding or subtracting paint and snap another picture, repeat, repeat. I also really enjoy editing and adding sound post-animation to give the piece texture and depth.

"Dane" by Sam Fratto, ink on paper

“Dane” by Sam Fratto, ink on paper

Q: What are your goals for this residency?

My goal is to complete a glass painted animation that I have barely started. Like my other painted animation work, this one has no story. Instead it is an experiment in imagery and sound.

"Cloud" by Sam Fratto, acrylic

“Cloud” by Sam Fratto, acrylic

Q: What’s next for you?

I am very into painting acrylics on canvas right now and plan on diving as deep as I can into the medium after the residency. A part of this will be painting for the ‘Painters Painting Painters’ show at Main Street Arts, that I am excited to be a part of.

Q: Where else can we find you?

You can see animations and other work of mine on my website -> www.samfratto.com…and I am on Instagram @chubbychocolate1

Introducing Literary Arts Coordinator, Rachel Crawford

Rachel

I want to thank all of you for welcoming me to the Main Street Arts family as the new Literary Arts Coordinator. As I get to know Clifton Springs, I find that so much of the charm I love about Western New York is present and thriving—and I’m humbled to be part of the work Bradley and Sarah put into integrating the arts here. It’s remarkable that they see literature as integral to the arts and I couldn’t be more excited to share our upcoming events with the rest of you.

For the sake of providing a little background as to what literature means to me and what my experience entails, I completed my bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature (with a focus in Russian) at the University of Rochester and went on to complete my master’s in English Literature there as well. During my time at the university, I can say that it was the internships and volunteering opportunities with Open Letter Books—a Rochester-based press that publishes literature in translation—that left the greatest impression on me. I learned how prevalent contemporary literature in translation is,  why we should all be reading living authors, and diversifying what we read.

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While I was completing my master’s degree, I began freelancing for City Newspaper covering the literary community, and interviewing visiting authors. I was granted the opportunity to write a cover story about literary translators in Rochester who bring women’s voices to the spotlight. These translators’ roles are so significant to creating diversity in the literary arts. Marginality in literature has always interested me—the other or the subaltern; who speaks and who is spoken for. Throughout both my graduate and undergraduate careers, I focused on voice and representation. I spoke on two panels in New York (the New York Public Library and Columbia Teachers College) on women and madness in literature. After that, I presented at the University of Johannesburg and co-presented at the Catholic University of Portugal—each on Zimbabwean author Yvonne Vera, through the lens of ecofeminism.

But these are just my interests—I want to know what you’re reading: science fiction? nonfiction? Or maybe you’re revisiting Little Women to prepare for the newest film adaptation. I know some people who solely read specific genres of graphic novels or who casually flip through the New Yorker every week. Maybe you listen to books during your long commute or during a run. I want to talk about all of that with you.

For those of you who may be curious, I’m currently reading Joytime Killbox—a collection of short stories by Rochester-based author Brian Wood (which hits shelves October 15th).  (Joytime Killbox is published by BOA Editions, also based in Rochester.) I’m also  reading On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, a melancholic and mournful rendering of a difficult relationship with a parent. (Of course, there’s a stack of books on my nightstand waiting to be read.)

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With Main Street Arts, I want to bring literature from independent publishers (especially our Western New York neighbors) to the forefront of our growing literary community. Moreover, I want to facilitate an inclusive space where readers can meet authors and poets and discuss what makes a work of fiction or poetry engaging. We will be hosting author visits, poetry readings, fiction workshops, a book club, and film screenings.—so stay tuned for more programs like these, yet to be announced.

Finally, a few fun facts about me: I’m the mother of a thirteen year-old boy who goes to the School of the Arts in Rochester, New York. We try to be adventurous about food, music, art, and by traveling whenever we can. I love a good glass of bubbly. My son and I enjoy camping––there’s no sound I love more than the Adirondack loons at night, paired with the stars during a new moon. But more than anything, I love meeting new people and exchanging ideas. As the saying goes, I’ve never met a stranger—so please come say hello to me at Sulfur Books!

Sincerely,

Rachel Crawford

 

From The Dirt to The Skies: Lanna Pejovic

“From The Dirt to The Skies” is on view at Main Street Arts through Oct. 4, 2019

“From The Dirt to The Skies” is on view at Main Street Arts through Oct. 4, 2019

From the Dirt to the Skies is a group exhibition featuring new works in painting, drawing, and printmaking from four of Main Street Arts’ gallery artists — Pat Bacon, Chad Grohman, Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer, and Lanna Pejovic. The artwork is inspired by fog-laden lakes, wooded paths, gardens, and objects plucked from nature. 

Next in an interview series with the artist, executive director and curator Bradley Butler talks to painter Lanna Pejovic about painting on-site as well as in the studio, her color palette, and what inspired the work  included in the exhibition.


From The Dirt to The Skies: 
Lanna Pejovic

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Q: Can you talk about the work included in the show and what inspired it? Is there a single theme running through the work?

A: The paintings in this show are more focused on flower gardens. Much of my previous work deals with the larger spaces found in the broader landscape. Even if I’m painting a garden, I’m normally more interested in the space of the garden, not the flowers themselves.
For whatever reason I felt more like being right in the flowers, so that’s what I focused my attention on. 

"A Garden Conversation" by Lanna Pejovic

“A Garden Conversation” by Lanna Pejovic

Q: What is on your mind while you’re working?

A: It often depends on the mood of the day but I am focusing on specific gardens. Memories of being in these specific places because it isn’t a generic idea of a garden, the memories come from my experience being in a garden. When I get ready to paint I think about the color mood of that day. Its a conversation with the painting about the color mood of that particular day. 

"Lilies and Rain" by Lanna Pejovic

“Lilies and Rain” by Lanna Pejovic

Q: When you’re recalling these gardens in your memory, are you trying to hold onto one specific image? Or do the images keep passing through in your mind?

A: I try to hold on to the image and go back to the same space in my mind. Two of the paintings included in this show are from the most intensive garden experience I’ve had, which is at Linwood Gardens. Linwood is a big place so it has all kinds of spaces that are very planned out, yet not rigid. Flowers and vegetables are planted together and continue to grow there all summer long. That’s where I spent some time a couple of years ago and I try to go back to that mental space while I’m painting, that combined with photos I took. Since I never did drawings in the garden, I am doing that now. Making charcoal drawings in the current mood I’m in which is a more linear and scribbly way of defining details of what I’ve seen. I try to revitalize my experience of the garden first in charcoal and then move towards oil paint.

"Pastel Gardens 2019 — Autumn Walk" by Lanna Pejovic

“Pastel Gardens 2019 — Autumn Walk” by Lanna Pejovic

Q: You have 3 oil paintings in the show along with 8 small pastel drawings, can you talk about the pastels?

A: Those were totally unplanned. I was thinking about a generalized idea of the garden, thinking of a poetic mood about a garden. Trying to not be specific, and not adding specific garden elements. Since they are very small, I couldn’t use the same gestural technique I’m using on the paintings. I didn’t have a specific image that I wanted and I like the ones best that are more diffused. Those are the ones that bring me back to the sensory experience of being in the garden. I focused on laying some color down, smudging the pastels and seeing what memories that might trigger. From there I would draw back into it, which was an unplanned gesture of the moment. I went through lots of paper, you never know if that gesture or that color combination will be successful. With pastels, you can only go so far with layering colors before they aren’t able to be brought to any kind of conclusion.

"Pastel Gardens 2019 — Pink Sky" by Lanna Pejovic

“Pastel Gardens 2019 — Pink Sky” by Lanna Pejovic

Q: Can you talk about your color palette for these pieces?

A: I’m very affected by what’s going on around me, I don’t work in a vacuum. I am aware of the landscape around me. As a landscape painter I am very much affected by the weather, the light, and the mood of the day. Paintings take their own course sometimes and you decide whether to follow it and support it or whether you will deny it. Letting certain colors in to the composition and then reacting to those colors.

I have been making an effort recently to rely less on blues and greens in my paintings. Those colors are so prevalent in our area, especially this time of year, it tends to dull the senses in a way. You can’t feel anything fresh about the garden. So I ask myself, how can I refresh the idea of being in a place that is a garden? I like winter gardens and I like the fall and a lot of the pastels are fall colors, somehow they kept coming out in the pastel drawings. I find the fall and winter to be more inspiring times of the year.

"Pastel Gardens 2019 — Autumn Dusk" by Lanna Pejovic

“Pastel Gardens 2019 — Autumn Dusk” by Lanna Pejovic

Q: How does your environment impact your work? 

A: The kind of painter I am, I am very sensitive to the lyrical mood or sound of the day. That in combination with my own mood, ends up having an effect on my dialog with that particular painting on that day. 

"Pastel Gardens 2019 — Yellow Trees" by Lanna Pejovic

“Pastel Gardens 2019 — Yellow Trees” by Lanna Pejovic

Q: Can you talk about your studio practice and how do you balance working on-site vs. being in the studio?

A: It’s hard being outside working on-site but I feel that it’s necessary, whether I’m just making a sketch or a full painting, that’s where I get the real experience of being there. Otherwise the finished painting wouldn’t have the sense of immediacy that I’m after. The symbolic and formal idea that has come out of my relationship to landscape. It’s more authentic for me to show the immediacy of the moment of being there, or a series of moments. The light is always changing, everything is changing. 

I found some drawings I did 35 years ago, very carefully done with layers of accumulation. They are small sketches but they are so fine, I thought “was I ever that quiet and calm working out there?”. I feel like now everything is moving so fast, even though I am out there in the quiet landscape. I feel like the time is going and I have to keep responding to it. Capturing the changing moments I’ve experienced
in a place is important to me now. So the paintings I make in the studio have to feel that way and having actually spent time somewhere helps me to capture the freshness and immediacy of a place.


From The Dirt to The Skies runs through Friday, October 4, 2019. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop.