Category Archives: Artist in Residence

Meet The Artist in Residence: Kathryn Beavers

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

Kathryn Beavers, December 2019 artist in residence

Kathryn Beavers, December 2019 artist in residence

Q: To start off, please tell us about your background.
I am originally from Bucks County, PA and now reside in Philadelphia, PA. I attended the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, MD and received my BFA in Painting this past summer. This year I did my first residency at The Vermont Studio Center which opened my eyes to the possibilities of residency programs. I always knew I wanted to be a painter and muralist in the art world.

Q: How would you describe your work?
I would describe my work as all encompassing installation that borderlines on being site specific. Landscape and body converge as they were the first forms of art that I was formally trained in. These collisions of spaces focus on line as the main thread of piecing together a full mural and installation. I world-build but it is all of our world and the creatures that inhabit our Earth as well as minds creating a sense oneness with alien.

Kathryn Beavers, marker and pen drawing on tracing paper, June 2019

Kathryn Beavers, marker and pen drawing on tracing paper, June 2019

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Layering and more layering. I edit by adding. I relate it to propagation in the natural world. Something I realized early on when making art is that I need to be active. I move around a lot and need to be able to see the physicality of the mark. My mind is typically in a state of undulation of feelings real and unreal so I go back and forth between natural non-archival materials as well as paint as the basis for all of the moving parts.

Kathryn Beavers in her studio at Main Street Arts

Kathryn Beavers in her studio at Main Street Arts

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.
For this residency I really want to focus on small works. I am constantly in flux between grand scale and micro objects, and size is something I can not stay consistent with. I would also like to explore and push my ideas and concepts to a more specific realm. I often have too many ideas floating around in my head so trying to narrow down what exactly I want to say has been the goal.

Kathryn Beavers, Irritation, acrylic, matt medium, watercolor, marker on paper

Kathryn Beavers, Irritation, acrylic, matte medium, watercolor, marker on paper

Q: Do you collect anything?
I probably collect too many things. I am not a hoarder, but rocks and “free souvenirs” as Quentin Moseley would say. I have bags of dried flowers, some dried gourds, a lot of dead things. And then there are baskets, containers, bags, and vessels. I have a bag filled with bags, sometimes I take them out and stuff them for reference. I like looking at different types of sacks and pots and even cages.

Kathryn Beavers, Sunny Side Up, acrylic, sand, gloss medium, marker on stretched fabric, 39 x 41in.

Kathryn Beavers, Sunny Side Up, acrylic, sand, gloss medium, marker on stretched fabric, 39 x 41in.

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
My advice to others artists is very simple: I think you never know until you try. I would say go at it with gusto. There’s a difference between overworking a piece and pushing it to 105%. Never leave something where you are wondering if you should still make a move or not. I say go for it.

Q: Who inspires you and why?
Terry Winters, I can’t help but always go back to his Tessellation Figures and his notebooks. Elizabeth Murray, Katharina Grosse, Barbara Takenega, Georgia O’Keefe, Rina Banerjee… There are too many women for me to count and name. I absolutely adore taking in hybrid paintings. I love Op Art, Installation Art, and performance work that takes in consideration of the time and place in which it is occurring. There are so many musicians and different art forms that influence me, especially glass-blowing as a medium.

Undulating Systems, Temporary Site-specific studio Installation/Mural, acrylic, polyfil, canvas, cut paper, organic materials, fake plants, (MICA) Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, 2017

Kathryn Beavers, Undulating Systems, Temporary Site-specific studio Installation/Mural, acrylic, polyfil, canvas, cut paper, organic materials, fake plants, (MICA) Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, 2017

Q: What was your experience like in art school?
MICA was an incredible experience. Incredibly difficult and incredibly transformative. The pressure was definitely felt every year. I didn’t know I could be pushed as far as I went honestly. There were visiting artists and lectures constantly, if you wanted to jump in it was very accessible. There were so many incredible female artists/professors I met during my time there that made me believe it was possible to hold a space in the art world : Carolyn Case, Lauren Adams, Katherine Mann, and Alex Ebstein just to name a few.

Q: What’s next for you?
After this residency I am going to go back to Philadelphia to work and continue making art whenever I can. In May I plan on doing another residency in Minnesota at the New York Mills Retreat.

Q: Where else can we find you?
www.kathrynbeavers.com
behance: behance.net/KathrynBeavers
Instagram: instagram.com/kathryn_beavers_
Facebook: facebook.com/kathryn.beavers.54
Pinterest: pinterest.com/kathryn_beavers_/

Meet the Artist in Residence: Brandon Sward

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

"Chicano dude learns Spanish through Duolingo" is a video in which I complete one Spanish lesson on Duolingo as a monolingual-English Chicano person.

“Chicano dude learns Spanish through Duolingo” is a video in which I complete one Spanish lesson on Duolingo as a monolingual-English Chicano person.

Q: Please tell us about your background.

I was born in the Los Angeles area and grew up in Colorado. While I’ve taken art classes, I don’t possess any academic degrees in art and am not exactly sure how long I’ve been making it, primarily because I’m very bad at knowing what art is. I guess I started doing things I thought were art about a year ago, but I’ve also come to retrospectively consider some of my earlier activities as a latent artistic practice. This of course quickly raises the question of whether artists are born or made, as well as the role of technique and the subconscious in artistic production, and now you probably regret asking me this question (I blame graduate school—I’m currently a doctoral student at the University of Chicago).

"A performance is a sculpture made with the body" situates performance within the history of the gradually broadening medium of sculpture over the course of the late 20th century.

“A performance is a sculpture made with the body” situates performance within the history of the gradually broadening medium of sculpture over the course of the late 20th century.

Q: How would you describe your work?

I consider performance to be my home medium. I trained extensively as an actor, singer, and dancer during my adolescence and find myself constantly returning to these modalities, albeit in radically different ways. Perhaps I’m reaching, but I think that even my drawings and prints have a performative quality in how they reveal their own making, giving a sense of the body even in its absence.

"Sometimes I too want to die" is an intaglio print of confessional poet Anne Sexton, who succumbed to her long battle with depression in 1974.

“Sometimes I too want to die” is an intaglio print of confessional poet Anne Sexton, who succumbed to her long battle with depression in 1974.


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

The beginning is always the idea. I don’t know where ideas come from or how. I only know I have absolutely no control over them and in this way they’re similar to the Christian concept of “grace” (I grew up Catholic and while I’m no longer a believer, I remain intensely interested in theology and mysticism). Sometimes I feel like my ideas are my children; that they have an existence independent of me and that I’m a sort of midwife tasked with bringing them into being. Ultimately, I want them to find places in the world where they can thrive. In that way, I’m maybe a kind of foster parent…

"Child's play" is a video of my man-child character playing with scaled-up versions of Lincoln Logs.

“Child’s play” is a video of my man-child character playing with scaled-up versions of Lincoln Logs.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?

I don’t know how I could say anyone other than Marcel Duchamp, the first person who understood how dumb art could be.

"We have time for a few questions" is a compilation of institutional footage of me asking questions at artist talks.

“We have time for a few questions” is a compilation of institutional footage of me asking questions at artist talks.

Q: Where are your favorite places to see art?

Unconventional spaces. There’s a lot of great work in galleries and museums, but when you walk through those doors, you’re effectively putting on your “art goggles.” It’s much more exciting to encounter something out in the “real world” and to have to ascertain whether it’s art (this may be related to my interest in performance, which often occurs in public).

"Trauma train" is an installation consisting of a Thomas the Tank Engine toy train set, to which is attached a flashlight that projects text onto the walls as the train goes around the track and shines through pieces of clear acrylic affixed with black vinyl lettering hung from the ceiling.

“Trauma train” is an installation consisting of a Thomas the Tank Engine toy train set, to which is attached a flashlight that projects text onto the walls as the train goes around the track and shines through pieces of clear acrylic affixed with black vinyl lettering hung from the ceiling.

Q: Who inspires you and why?

Ms. Lauryn Hill for her obstinance. Andrea Fraser for her authenticity. Rei Kawakubo for her vision. St. Francis of Assisi for his commitment. Lana Del Rey for her lyricism. Sigmund Freud for his iconoclasm. Frank O’Hara for his joy. Rainer Werner Fassbinder for his honesty. José Esteban Muñoz for his seriousness. PJ Harvey for her mutability. Anne Sexton for her vulnerability. Pier Paolo Pasolini for his weirdness. But most of all my friends, who are truly the most extraordinary people.

"Truth and reconciliation" is a lecture-performance I made about my parents' divorce based on interviews with my siblings.

“Truth and reconciliation” is a lecture-performance I made about my parents’ divorce based on interviews with my siblings.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?

I don’t know whether I’m going to undertake any new projects while I’m here; I have a lot of cleanup and organizational tasks I’d like to get done (editing, transcription, writing, installation, documentation, etc.).

About half of my work deals with childhood and its ramifications upon later life. These pieces involve toys, character sketches, and a strange lecture about my parents’ divorce. The other half of my work is more conceptual and tries to push “institutional critique” beyond the museum. These pieces present art-adjacent activities like journalism, residencies, and talks as themselves works of art.

For "Art is a discourse," I blew up one of my art reviews and wheat-pasted it to an abandoned, graffitied building.

For “Art is a discourse,” I blew up one of my art reviews and wheat-pasted it to an abandoned, graffitied building.

Q: What’s next for you?

Learning to more fully surrender to my process (compare with divine surrender).

I also have another residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in March.

"A portrait of the artist" is a compilation of depictions of artists in popular films.

“A portrait of the artist” is a compilation of depictions of artists in popular films.


Q: Where else can we find you?

I’m pretty good at updating my website: brandonsward.com. Otherwise, I’m on Instagram like everyone else @brandonsward. You can follow my rabid thoughts on Twitter @brandon_sward. Facebook is for old people, though I still have an account for events mostly. Add me on LinkedIn because I need more connections.

"Free art" is an interactive performance in which I offer participants my art (my name, the words FREE ART, and a number written on a plain white piece of paper in black Sharpie).

“Free art” is an interactive performance in which I offer participants my art (i.e., my name, the words FREE ART, and a number written on a plain white piece of paper in black Sharpie).

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

Meet the Artist in Residence: Gregory Dirr

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

Gregory Dirr and his works at Bailey Contemporary, July 2019

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

I’m from Miami but I live and work in Boca Raton, I work as a full-time visual artist. I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember; from a very young age it was something I was known for by my peers and even my family. I created more serious bodies of work during high school and applied to Ringling College in Sarasota where I received my BFA in 2008. After college, I started an artist collective – Thought Coalition – to help not only myself, but my friends and other emerging artists build relationships with businesses and art gallery owners.

Because of Thought Coalition I was able to accrue a lot of experience in curating and event organizing. I work as art director for Healing Blends Global, art director at Sickle Cell Natural Wellness Group, I am co-curator of Shangri-La Collective, and I have spearheaded some projects with local businesses all while pursuing my own studio stuff.

Q: How would you describe your work? 

Primarily, I’m a painter. I do, however, work in printmaking, sculpture, installation, collage, video, and music but I always circle back to painting. I’ve always been interested in various ways of creating and my own career has led me to dip into a plethora of art forms.

My subject matter is all a study for a book I’ve been writing for several years. I create landscapes, observational pieces, realism, or dreamy imagery as a response to my surroundings. These responses are sort of existential, which is touching into what my book is about, even if the references for the book are a bit obscure.

Flora

Flora, 2018, Gouache on raw canvas

I also love children’s folklore and literature. A few of my successful pieces are inspired by children’s stories that have a fantastical world like James and the Giant Peach, Grimm’s Tales, Oz series, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Alice in Wonderland.

GregoryDirr_James And The Giant Peach

James and The Giant Peach, 2017, Acrylic, gouache, ink on canvas

Q: What was your experience like at art school?

During college, I was constantly surrounded by other visual artists. At school I would get a glimpse of other artists’ work and their studio processes. We had to write papers about them and critique their work which turned out to be valuable and introspective to my own work. That analytical way of thinking allowed me to apply it to my own work and become less biased of the art I create.

immured

Immured, 2008, Acrylic, toothpaste, collage, medical tape, iridescent ink

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?

My favorite places to see art are in an artist’s studio or home, where they work. I feel like I’m getting an unedited version of what their process looks like. I enjoy looking at the duality of how something can look so orchestrated when it’s in a gallery, a book, or online versus how human it looks in person.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?

What’s most valuable to my process is actually a sketchbook or journal, something to write down or draw thoughts. To me it’s more than doodling or sketching – I write ideas or even potential color palette combinations. Sometimes I even just write a single word, sometimes I write lyrics. I think the thought process behind an idea is more valuable than the actual painting of the artwork itself. I can be working on a very successful idea, but if I’m not elaborating on it aesthetically or conceptually, it will never grow. This is where a sketchbook comes into play.

Q: What are your goals for this residency? 

I want to mix my observational stuff with my landscapes with my fantastical illustrations with my graphic work and find a middle ground between them. I’m also going to use this opportunity to paint bigger than what I’m usually working because my current working space is at home. That all being said, I’d love to use this opportunity to be influenced by the surrounding imagery of Clifton Springs. I’ve never been to upstate New York so I’m excited to explore the area – especially the nature.

Currently, I’m working with Nordstrom on a project, I’m also working on a regional grant proposal. I always have something in the works be it public art, upcoming shows, commissions, directing art – you name it. This month at Main Street Arts is going to give a reprise from most of those things.

Q: Where else can we find you?

My website — GregoryDirr.com has some bodies of work gathered in an organized type of way.

Instagram — @gregorydirr it where I post only art, usually current stuff or things I’m just interested in showing off. :)

My blog — gregorydirr.wordpress.com where the art is all over the place!

And my Facebook business page — @Gregory Dirr and it lists all my upcoming and and recent works. :)

 

Meet Artist In Residence Lauren Pitcher Stone

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

IMG_0177

Lauren Pitcher Stone

Q: To start off, tell us about yourself.
Greetings! I am Lauren Pitcher Stone, an interdisciplinary artist from the tri-state area. I graduated with a BFA from Mason Gross and am classified as a millennial even if my bracket rejects the term. I currently work as an artist assistant as well as freelance fabricator and look to continue my studies in the future.

"Remnant of Actaeon", deer teeth, dirt, grinds, hair, fabric, paper, and paint

“Remnant of Actaeon”, deer teeth, dirt, grinds, hair, fabric, paper, and paint

Q: Can you describe your work?
My work encompasses painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, and exists as traces of another place. They act as transformative environments that are chthonic portals of poetry and romance as well as rot and growth.

A Good and Spacious Land, mixed media installation

A Good and Spacious Land, mixed media installation

Q: What are your plans for your residency?
While at Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs I plan on delving into polarities of nesting vs. nomadic and how the modern world begs for beings to be conflicted to be subversive, peripatetic, or anthropological in their approach to life. In general I have a clear idea of my direction. I feel intimate with these ideas and feelings that have to be developed through creating and making. As the work is developed it often changes and takes different permeations till they are one.

The works will involve photo and installation which will exist in nature as well as in the workspace till they are cannibalized into something useful or as a stepping stone.

Split of Persephone, Paint, Fabric, Paper, and Graphite

Split of Persephone, Paint, Fabric, Paper, and Graphite

Q: Where can we find you?
My work can be seen on my website, laurenstoneart.com and on Instagram: @HoldMeMonster

Meet the Artist in Residence: Victoria Scudamore

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

Artist Victoria Scudamore

Artist Victoria Scudamore

Q: To start off, tell us about your background.
I grew up in a suburb of San Francisco near the ocean, and across the street from a mountain covered in eucalyptus trees. I was given lots of freedom to explore, climb trees, and create. Being so involved in nature helped inform my art process.

I was an ultrasonographer, and realtor, before becoming a full-time artist. I have taken numerous courses from well-known artists and did an art residency in Barcelona. I don’t have a  formal art school background but have been told that is why I am able to be so free and loose in my art, there are no preconceived notions.

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Q: How would you describe your work?
Painting makes me happy, and I hope to bring the same response in the viewer. I paint abstractly with bold brush strokes, and vivid colors. My paintings are non-representational,  as I want others to feel the art, and decide what it means to them. Since I have always lived near the ocean, blue seems to appear in my paintings quite often, as do abstract mountains, forests, and seas.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
As an ultrasonographer, I used the left side of my brain while performing and interpreting scans of patients.  As an artist, I use the synergy of both sides of the brain. My intuitive right brain is in play when I am painting my emotions, using varied gestural strokes, marks, and vivid colours. Like a scientist, my art studio is my lab; where I experiment with different media and techniques in my abstract paintings. Acrylic is combined with ink, collage, monoprinting, or encaustic. Layer after layer and various textures aim to evoke a visceral response in the viewer.

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Q: What is your most useful tool in your studio?
My most useful tools are my imagination and intuition. I have a wildly vivid imagination and dream in color. My intuition is so strong, amazing things have happened in my life.

The tactile tools I love are my fingers and catalyst blades, which are a firm flat silicone blade.

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Q: What advice would you give other artists?
Enjoy the journey, have a sense of play. Don’t worry about what others think of your art. If you are authentic and enjoy what you are doing, it will be reflected in your paintings and liked by others. Don’t compare yourself with other artists, everyone is on a different part of their journey. Comparison steals joy. You are never too old. Just start. The world needs your art.

Q: Do you collect artwork?
Making art has enhanced my enjoyment of other’s work. I collect art from close artist friends, as I love to have a memento from those I care about. When I participated in the International Encaustic Conference, I was thrilled to be able to purchase small works from incredible encaustic artists. I usually buy small pieces, as my walls are covered with my art. My most recent purchase was from a local hyperrealistic artist, Lorn Curry.  I appreciate his talent, as it is so different from my own.

Roundhouse Exhibition

Roundhouse Exhibition

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I am so excited to have been accepted to the residency program at Main Street Arts!  I can’t wait to be in Clifton Springs and make new friends. I plan to explore the beautiful Finger Lakes region and incorporate natural materials in my work. Experimenting with brush making and monoprinting, I hope to complete a series of abstract paintings that give a sense of place. I hope to engage the locals, and that you will come to visit me on the second floor. I would enjoy chatting with you. I am also teaching a monoprinting with a gel plate workshop on August 24!

Q: What’s next for you?
I’ve applied for a few shows at the Federation Of Canadian Artists, back home in Vancouver, Canada. My dream art studio in my garden has been finished.  I’m excited to announce mixed media workshops in my beautiful bright new space. I hope to also have guest artists.

Q: Where else can we find you?

I can be found on my website: www.victoriascudamore.com
Instagram: victoria_scudamore_artist
Pinterest: www.pinterest.ca/VScudamoreArt

 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Jane Fleming

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

Jane Fleming with "Self Portrait," Mixed Media on Canvas, Triptych, 2019

Jane Fleming with “Self Portrait,” Mixed Media on Canvas, Triptych, 2019

Q: To start off, tell us about your background.
My path to becoming a visual artist has been rather non-traditional. I grew up in Virginia and moved to Texas in 2014, where I have lived ever since. I received my B.A. in English from the University of Texas at El Paso and am currently pursuing my PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin. I have always been a creative writer, focusing primarily on poetry and creative non-fiction, but had never really considered myself a visual “artist.” In 2016, I began to create small collages as a compliment to my writing— a way of working out the things that I couldn’t yet form into words.

My collage practice morphed to include painting with acrylics, which I began to learn with the help of YouTube videos and guidance from my twin brother, Jordan Aman, who has a BFA in studio art from Florida State University. From there, something really clicked. Like my writing, the creation of my collages became almost compulsive. I have totally fallen in love with the ever-growing and changing artistic practice.

"Mindscape 2019," Mixed Media on Paper, 2019

“Mindscape 2019,” Mixed Media on Paper, 2019

Q: How would you describe your work?
All of my work is mixed media— usually acrylic paint with images found in old magazines and used books. I often joke that my preferred aesthetic is “naked ladies in space” because most of my pieces have some kind of cosmic backdrop and nod towards my fascination with the female form.

Like my writing, though, my art tends to play with the experience of internal chaos alongside the presence of what I consider aesthetically beautiful. I am an artist, like many, who struggles with mental illness, so I am all about working through those struggles in my art. The road to recovery from depressive episodes and intense anxiety is as beautiful as it can be dark and exhausting. I think a lot of my work mimics that.

Live Painting at Austin Witches Circle Market, 2019

Live Painting at Austin Witches Circle Market, 2019

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
In addition to writing and visual art, I also do a lot of flow dancing, which is basically a form of dancing that relies on the music and gut instinct to determine movement (that’s a crude description, but it is hard to describe). I think about it as a form of meditation. I am placing my faith in the medium of creative production and trusting my creative instincts to perform the right movement. My process for creating art is very similar.

Usually, I start with an image from a book or magazine that has really gotten stuck in my mind— a figure, a face, a background. I choose the major color for the background and paint a primary layer. Then, I begin to lay out the piece with other objects, images, etc. that feel right. When I have a basic composition, I sit with the piece and ask it what it wants to be. I find that my most successful pieces form narratives organically throughout the process of creation. Usually, what I think I am creating when I begin is nothing like what the piece ends up looking like in the end.

"Jumper," Mixed Media on Paper, 8.5"x11", 2019

“Jumper,” Mixed Media on Paper, 8.5″x11″, 2019

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
The music that I listen to has a huge influence on the art that I create. When I get into the “zone” it is almost always accompanied with a deep dive into my favorite albums. That said, my taste is pretty erratic. By far, the album that I listen to the most while working is Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I just love the performative nature of the album and the feeling that you are going down the rabbit hole with the band. When I am really jamming hard with a piece, I feel like I’m heading down a rabbit hole too, so it jibes perfectly.

Otherwise, I am a big fan of what I lovingly call “sad girl music,” which is basically female indie singer/songwriters who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Some of my recent favorites are Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Hop Along, Slothrust, and Boygenius.

"Roots," Mixed Media on Wood Board, 24"x48", 2019

“Roots,” Mixed Media on Wood Board, 24″x48″, 2019

Q: Do you collect artwork?
Yes! Absolutely. Mostly, I buy art from local artists at craft fairs and art markets. I just love picking up prints or originals that both support local artists and are emblematic of the places that we live and have visited.

I am also lucky enough to have a family that also values art production and collecting, so some of my most treasured pieces in our collection have been passed down. My favorite piece is without a doubt one of those gifts. It is a paper cast from New Mexican artist, Dolona Roberts, which was gifted to us by my grandparents for my husband and I’s wedding.

Jane Fleming working on pieces for her show, "Ocotillo Worship" at Vault Stone Shop  Gallery, Austin, TX, 2019

Jane Fleming working on pieces for her show, “Ocotillo Worship” at Vault Stone Shop Gallery, Austin, TX, 2019

Q: Who inspires you and why?
Unsurprisingly, a lot of my pieces have a literary influence. I often get lines from books and poetry stuck in my head and write it on the wood/canvas before I begin painting. So, you could say that the heart of my visual art is always literary.

In the art world I have a lot of influences, but for collage, my favorite is undoubtedly Sebastian Wahl. I love the Wahl’s clean composition and the dynamism/movement of his collages. I am always trying to emulate that in my work.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My biggest goal for this residency is to play. I hope to really experiment with material and form. Recently, I have begun using butcher paper and wheat paste rather than wood for my collages and I would like to continue working with that.

Additionally, I have a series that I have been working on called “To Wander,” which I would really like to expand upon. The series gets its name from John Milton’s use of the word “wander” in his epic, Paradise Lost. In Paradise Lost, it is Eve’s wandering that leads to the “fall of man.” Milton uses “wander” from the latinate root for the verb “to err,” thereby suggesting that a wanderer is, in fact erring. I interact with this interpretation in two ways. First, my series produces “Eves” that wander on purpose. They are fully in control of their processes of discovery. Additionally, these Eves are centered rather than the tragical Adam. They are engaging in a pleasurable wandering– one that is productive for its pleasure, rather than reductive for its erring.

I haven’t yet found a place for this series, but I am excited about where it will take me with its narrative.

"Eden," Mixed Media on Wood, 12"x12", 2019

“Eden,” Mixed Media on Wood, 12″x12″, 2019

Q: What’s next for you?
I have two full-length collections of poetry and lyric essays coming out in 2020 with Rhythm and Bones Press and Chaleur Press, so I am working hard on getting those manuscripts ready to go. With my visual art, I intend to keep producing and working on getting involved in the artistic community here in Austin. I am hoping to have opportunities to show my work before the end of the year and have faith that those opportunities will fall into place!

Q: Where else can we find you?
I am very active on social media and have a personal blog. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @queenjaneapx. I also run a blog called Luna Speaks, which houses my artistic portfolio in addition to interviews with other artists and authors, and a creative writing series. You can find that at lunaspeaksblog.com.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Geena Massaro

Geena Massaro, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the months of July and August 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Geena some questions about her work and studio practice:

Geena drawing

Geena drawing

Q. Please tell us about your background.
I grew up in Palmyra, NY and still reside there. I attended Pratt MWP in Utica, NY as well as the better known Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where I received my BFA in painting and drawing. Since finishing my BFA, I worked as a preschool teacher and am currently a teacher’s aide in a special education program. I’ve always found the energy of children inspiring, honest and relatable so I seem to have developed a gravity for this type of profession. I am currently attending Nazareth College in pursuit of a degree in art education.

Q. How long have you been making artwork?
I have been making art since I was a child. My imagination was my home and a safe place to follow some of the curiosities I developed about perceiving my inner and outer worlds.  I identified with the quiet self who  actively observed both my imaginary world and the physical world in one channel, so drawing became very natural to me. It was my habit and identity as a child.

The first thing I consciously remember drawing was an elephant. I remember showing my parents at the kitchen table (where I actually still draw) and my mother telling me that I was going to be an “artist” and I remember I took that very seriously.

Self portrait as a child, graphite on paper, 2019

Self portrait as a child, graphite on paper, 2019

Q. How would you describe your work?
I started this style of automatic painting that is very reactive to surface and are conversations (and excavations) with my own silent innerness. My paintings exhibit compulsive movements, perceived more through the hand than the eye. Superficially, they are highly textured and raw spaces. The goal of this kind of painting is not to represent a specific thing but to be within the activity of a field of feelings come and gone- observed and released through me to my hand and onto the surface. I started doing this as a way to push my paintings and myself into places of the unknown. When I reach this state of the unknown, I feel I often go blind to the action of my hand and become involved in this deep instinctual play of automatic-reactive problem solving. 

Geena Massaro, Untitled, oil on canvas, 2019

Untitled, oil on canvas, 2019

My drawings channel the same hand but a different eye. They often depict some innocent and vulnerable object or character (I seem to be followed by the archetype of the child) turned melancholic.  It is the expression of my hand however that I do believe defines my drawing- regardless of what I could say my subject matter is.

Geena Massaro, Isabella at the table, graphite on paper, 2018

Isabella at the table, graphite on paper, 2018

Q. What is your process for creating a work of art?
I am very curious about seeing and enthusiastic about the act of (and the mind of) drawing itself. Translating an image from my perceptions to my hand, my hand becomes a vehicle towards another seeing.

I draw a lot from reference photos that I have accumulated from my time as a preschool teacher. I draw a lot of my students. I think sometimes the drawing begins with a separate emotional response (some curious response) and then I just continue reacting to whatever through the language of line. My line dances fast from light to heavy and I tend to draw small- around sketchbook scale.

Geena Massaro, Lily in a chair II, graphite on paper, 2019

Lily in a chair II, graphite on paper, 2019

My paintings develop out of reaction as well. Painting is embarked upon in phases of intense work and suspensions of waiting. Painting begins in the hand and it’s completion is seldom foreseen. The process is a blind, visceral response between thought, hand and material.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Blue), oil on canvas, 2018

Untitled (Blue), oil on canvas, 2018

The painting sits once I tire of the action and then waits for me to return to it. I live with the painting as if it were complete. This is when the painting speaks to me. I contemplate its suggested “eternity” through this play until I am either tormented or inspired to re-enter the work- or agree with it’s completion.  this play is very childlike to me and liberating. It is difficult for me to see my paintings clearly as the object they insist to be in their completion and I am curious still how to define the life of an artwork.

Geena Massaro, detail of Untitled (Blue)

Detail of Untitled (Blue)

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
I’ve learned that it is more productive and enjoyable to leave some questions out of the working hand and to ask them when you are out of the creative state. I think asking yourself questions while working is important but any question that involves a doubt about the work  will be more beneficial and constructive to yourself when you are out of the work and in a state of reflection instead.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Carter, curtain, dog, room), graphite and chalk on paper, 2018

Untitled (Carter, curtain, dog, room), graphite and chalk on paper, 2018

Q. Who inspires you and why?
Children seem to have a big emotional impact on me. It may be because they are naturally what they are and I have a feeling of this being more difficult to know in adult life. I think children are always in a creative space.  Their brains are so hungry and I feel mine is too but I feel it is so much more natural to engage with that when you are child. They take the information of life as it comes. I love my students and there is so much natural wisdom in the things they say and do. They remind me to be honest with myself and my own inner child.

Q. Who is your favorite artist and why?
My favorite visual artist, overall, is Cy Twombly.  Apart from his works being highly charged in historical literary significance, there is a sublime freedom and play in his hand and the language his works possesses which I feel moved by.

Geena Massaro, Sasha’s communion and lilies, graphite on paper, 2019

Sasha’s communion and lilies, graphite on paper, 2019

Q. What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
I’ve noticed, my hands respond to noise reflexively, so I really enjoy listening to music while working. I respond to all kinds of genres, so whatever I’m into at the moment is what’s playing.

I had a huge relationship with John Frusciante’s music during college (especially after reading his essay on the creative act, The Will to Death). His work and expressions carry through to me still so deeply so I turn to him sometimes by default because I know a strong energy exists in his music.

I sing a lot to myself when I work as well.

Q. What are your goals for this residency?
My goal for this residency is to produce as much as I can and really be present with my creative world. I want to work bigger and I am very excited to have the space to do so (my current working studio is also my bedroom which is very limiting).

I want to try to unite the worlds of my painting hand and my drawing hand more successfully as well. I would like to try larger figurative paintings that use the same kind of mark as my non-objective paintings but solve themselves with a  figure. I would like to try to make more spaces for the figures to exist in in the paintings that would combine a better sense of space with the dance of paint that my non-objective works have.

Geena Massaro, Lily, oil on canvas, 2017

Lily, oil on canvas, 2017

Apart from figure, there are other subjects in me that I find reoccurring in the gravity of my innerness and I want to try to understand how these objects or things got there and what I could do with them in my work.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Julianna, bird, branch), graphite on paper, 2019

Untitled (Julianna, bird, branch), graphite on paper, 2019

Q. What’s next for you?
I can’t really say what’s next yet. I’ve been  looking forward to this residency and I’m just really excited for this opportunity to be with myself and create.

Q. Where else can we find you?
Instagram @geenamassaro