Category Archives: Artist in Residence

Meet the Artist in Residence: Lya Finston

Lya Finston, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of January 2020, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Lya some questions about her work and studio practice:

Lya leading a plate lithography demonstration on an etching press at Spudnik Press in Chicago

Lya leading a plate lithography demonstration on an etching press at Spudnik Press in Chicago

Q: To start off, could you please tell us about your background?
I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Cranford, NJ, which isn’t far from Elizabeth and Newark if you’re familiar with the area. In May 2018, I graduated from Oberlin College in northeast Ohio with a BFA in Studio Art and German Language. Since then, I’ve been living in Chicago, IL with two friends and my cat, Leoni.

I decided to move to Chicago in 2017, after spending the best summer of my life interning at a printshop called Hoofprint in Pilsen (now in Mckinley Park). Liz Borne and Gabe Hoare, who run the space, became lifelong friends and role models of mine that summer. As an intern, I helped them with various publishing projects, ranging in media from screenprinting and lithography to cyanotype and relief. Gabe also trained me in stone lithography that summer, which has been my primary artistic medium ever since.

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Lya assisting Florida artist Bob Mueller with his edition of large-scale woodcuts, printed and published by Hoofprint in Chicago

Q: How long have you been making artwork? Did you go to school for art?
As early as 7 years old, I aspired to be an artist, singer, spy, and primatologist (a scientist that studies primates). Monkeys in leisurely poses with double lives as high school students and super heroes remained the central focus of my work for the majority of my early years. My list of future careers narrowed out over time, but I never could shake my love for drawing.

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“Lunar Animals & Other Objects,” stone lithograph with screenprinted color

From the beginning of my time at Oberlin, I knew I’d major in art, but I fell into printmaking entirely by accident. I spent my freshman year floundering around various painting classes, uncertain where to land. I couldn’t get into the drawing class I wanted sophomore year, so, knowing nothing about it, I signed up for the same intro screenprinting class as my best friend. All of Oberlin’s print classes were taught by Kristina Paabus, who I’m infinitely blessed to still have as a mentor today. Everything about printmaking drew me in, from the process-driven nature of creating multiples, to the strong sense of community in all shared print spaces. During that first screenprinting class, I fell in love hard and fast, which left me eager to learn all the different branches of printmedia.

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“For Two,” stone lithograph

Q: Do you have a job other than making art?
For over a year and a half now, I’ve worked as a circulation assistant at the Ryerson and Burnham Library, which is an art and architecture library located within the Art Institute of Chicago. Working in a place where I’m surrounded by so many incredible artistic resources has been truly invaluable.

“Golem,” stone lithograph with screenprinted color

I bounce around between my apartment and three different studios in Chicago to make my own work. I continue to help out with publishing projects at Hoofprint in exchange for studio use and flatfile storage. I’m also a fellowship alum and current member of a community shop called Spudnik Press Cooperative, where I often go to screenprint. Because I work at the Art Institute, I have access to the School of the Art Institute’s printshop, as well. I’ve been lucky to print two stones there thus far, including the one above!

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“Trees,” screenprinted butcher paper & cardboard tubes

Q: How would you describe your work?
These days, I work primarily in lithography, screenprinting and animation. However, throughout the span of my residency at Main Street Arts, I’ll be focusing on linoleum relief printing.

I’m primarily inspired by historical phenomena that are fantastic and surreal, but still contain hints of truth, especially when they overlap with the evolution of printmedia. My recent subject matter includes giant prehistoric sloths, Kabbalistic monsters,  regional cryptozoology, and lunar aliens.

"Triplets," stone lithograph on kitakata paper

“Triplets,” stone lithograph on kitakata paper

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
My creative process usually starts with some research. I’ll discover something I find beautiful, strange, and a little bit scary that resonates with my identity in some way — whether it be where I live, where I have lived, the kind of printmaking I do, or my jewish upbringing. Then I’ll do lots of reading and thinking about it. I’ll spend my breaks at the Ryerson looking at lots of art books, drawing inspiration from different image compositions and collecting reference photos.

Next, I’ll start sketching out designs that contextualize my subject in a narrative, and often humorous way. Over time, I’ve learnt it’s important for my prints to tell stories, for me to laugh and make others laugh when I talk about them, and for me to exercise my love of drawing.

"Incident on S Professor St," stone lithograph

“Incident on S Professor St,” stone lithograph

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I’ve recently become fascinated with a phenomenon known as the “Great Moon Hoax.” In 1835, a newspaper called the New York Sun published a series of articles detailing the invention of a new telescope that allowed astronomers to see all sorts of fantastic happenings on the moon, including bat-winged humanoids, vast plains of giant amethyst crystal, and blue, bipedal beavers acquainted with the use of fire. All the images supplementing these reports were printed traditionally as stone lithographs and reliefs. When these articles were released, people believed them, since publications like these were how the masses normally received “factual” information on current events.

A lithograph of the hoax's "man-bats" relaxing near a distant "lunar temple", as printed in The Sun

A lithograph of the hoax’s “man-bats” relaxing by a distant “lunar temple,” as printed in The Sun

Lunar scene, from a Welsh edition of the moon hoax

Relief print from a Welsh edition of the moon hoax

The Great Moon Hoax’s 19th century impact isn’t so different from the way misinformation pervades the internet today. During my time at Main Street Arts, I’d like to complete a project that speaks to these consistencies in both a warning and humorous light.

As an artist in residence at Main Street Arts, I plan to complete an edition of books illustrating the original text from the New York Sun’s Moon Hoax articles. I’ll render these illustrations as linoleum-cut reliefs  in order to achieve an antiquated look that’s contemporaneous with the phenomenon I’m referencing.  I’d also like to experiment with incorporating my prints into various pop-up book techniques.

Linoleum relief stamps carved by Lya and Atlan Arceo-Witzl

Linoleum relief stamps carved by Lya and Atlan Arceo-Witzl

Q: What’s next for you?
I have a few projects lined up once I return to Chicago. Last year, I started collaborating with some writer friends of mine by illustrating, designing, and screenprinting their texts in the form of short booklets. I’m currently wrapping up an 8-page review of various menu items from the chicken-finger-centric, fast food restaurant Raising Cane’s. Next on my list are a comprehensive ranking of the Air Bud franchise, and a scholarly review of a dark, imaginary sequel to the classic Adam Sandler rom com, 50 First Dates. Chicago’s thriving zine and comics scene was my main inspiration for this project, along with a growing desire to incorporate more humor and collaboration into my work.

Lya printing at Spudnik Press Cooperative in Chicago

Within the next year or two, I hope to participate in the Printer Training Program at Tamarind Institute. Tamarind is a school in Albuquerque, NM dedicated to education, research, and publishing projects in fine art lithography.

Q: Where else can we find you?
The best way to follow my work is on Instagram, where my handle is @thehottestdjinmiami. I also update my website regularly, which you can find at lyafinston.com.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Betsy Foster

Betsy Foster, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the months of February and March 2020, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Betsy some questions about her work and studio practice:

Betsy Foster studio picture

artist in her studio

Q: Tell us about your background.
I’m from Henrietta, New York (about 35 minutes west of Clifton Springs).  I’ve been making artwork for around 15 years now!

In 2011 I graduated with my BFA from Alfred University, and in 2019 I graduated with my MFA from The Ohio State University. My concentration for both fine art degrees was ceramics.

I just moved back to the western New York area this past summer when I finished my Master’s. In addition to my studio practice I teach as an adjunct instructor at SUNY Fredonia.

Q: How would you describe your work?
My practice revolves around the manipulation of ceramic material and carrying out repetitive actions to accumulate multiples. I am drawn to the tactility of clay, of leaving marks in the surface whether they be my fingerprints or that of a tool. The surfaces of my ceramic sculptures and paintings are usually abstracted patterns like grids, lattices, or polka dots stretched or overlapped. I change these patterns on the surfaces to create something different each time.

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Pinnacle Pair, 2019. ceramic, 5 feet x 4 feet x 2 .5 feet.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Nearly every ceramic form I build starts out as a series of sketches done in my studio, a sort of planning process. Two-dimensional sketches become three-dimensional form. I sketch the piece again after it is completed, continuing that cycle of sketching and building, each time abstracting and changing the form, pushing against its specificity. My sketches originate from fuzzy thoughts, or flashes of memories steeped in nostalgia. I’m tapping into these feelings as I explore how my paintings, sketches, and ceramic forms can exist together.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
For my time in the residency, I want to explore the relationship between my paintings and ceramic forms. Having gone the better part of this year without a kiln, I’ve been creating paintings with freeform abstract swatches of color. My work from early 2019 and late 2018 dealt with purposefully distorting patterns across a surface, but with access to a kiln once again I am interested to see how my time working solely in paint has influenced how I glaze ceramic forms. My plan is to create ceramic pieces that have painting counterparts. Being back where I was born and raised in Rochester, NY for the first time in many years has everything steeped in nostalgia. I plan on tapping into these feelings as I explore how my paintings and ceramic forms can exist together, merging surface textures and colors, as sources obscure and abstract in the back-and-forth of two-dimensional paintings/sketches to three-dimensional ceramic forms.

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September Display Case, 2019. ceramic sculptures and paintings installed in a hallway case. roughly 10 feet x 3 feet

 Q: Do you collect artwork?
Besides work from a variety of mediums from friends of mine, I have a collection of ceramic cups, mugs, and plates. As someone in the ceramic community who used to solely create pottery, I have a huge appreciation for handmade cups, mugs, plates, etc. With a few exceptions, I only use handmade ceramic to eat off of! I have gotten most of it from The Clay Studio’s gallery, they are located in Philadelphia (but you can also order online!) NCECA, the annual ceramic conference, is also a place I’ve picked up a few of my favorite pieces. For me, there is a sensitivity, a contemplation, and an awareness present while using handmade objects every day.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
I want to say my hands, but I think that’s too cliché. I’m going to say a banding wheel. When building ceramic pieces, I need to be on all sides of it and being able to spin the piece around on something has probably saved my body from aches and pains! Alternatively, for bigger work a dolly from the hardware store (so I can put a large wooden board on wheels to move around) has definitely been a life saver!

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That Pink Painting, 2019. Acrylic paint on canvas, 3 feet x 3 feet.

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?
I would say anywhere that I’m traveling where I haven’t been before. If I’m in a new city I usually make a quick stop at a museum or gallery. I frequently drive around for concerts, and I love to make an overnight trip so I can pop into a museum in the morning before a drive back to give me a lot to reflect on during the drive. My more recent favorite was The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh. A second runner up response would be the museum I used to work at – The Philadelphia Museum of Art. They have such an amazingly huge collection that they rotate frequently so if you stop in, a lot of the galleries are different than that last time you were there.

Q: What’s next for you?
I’d like to get a kiln to establish my own studio here in western New York so I can continue to create ceramic pieces in my studio practice. And I’m hoping to continue teaching!

Q: Where else can we find you?
Website: betsy-foster.com
Instagram: @betsy__foster

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Cylinder Composition, 2019. Ceramic, brick, acrylic paint, 6 feet x 5 feet x 1 foot.

Meet The Artist in Residence: Erika Kari McCarthy

Erika McCarthy, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of January 2020, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. Erika is also an MSA Residency alumni, she was here in January 2019 as well! We asked Erika some questions about her work and studio practice:

Q: Remind us who you are where you’re coming from?
I’m an interdisciplinary artist but I often simplify things by calling myself a sculptor because my work relates to mass and presence (things sculptors are often caught up in).  I have been making art in one form or another for as long as I remember, earning my BFA from RIT a few years back, and was lucky enough to be in residence with Main St. Arts last January.  In my other life, I run an artist residency in the Hudson Valley with my partner-in-crime James Adelman, a painter who is also in residence with me this month.

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Erika working on a copper sculpture, photographed by James Adelman

Q: What inspired you to come back as a returning resident to Main Street Arts?
I find the heart of winter to be one of the most inspiring and productive times of year to make art. Being an artist-in-residence last January was tremendously beneficial for my creative practice. I spent much of the month marveling at bare trees stark against sheets of ice, nestling into the quiet of a snow-blanketed landscape,  giving myself time and space to unravel complex questions and immerse myself in the studio devoid of distraction.

Work from January 2019's residency

Work from January 2019′s residency

In the best of ways, the time was very isolating in a manner that allowed me to dig deeply into my creative practice on a personal and genuine level.  This year I am substituting isolation for camaraderie by sharing the residency time with my partner, James Adelman, an astounding painter and observer of light.  He and I often approach problems from different angles and have complementary skill sets, so we’re both always providing resources for the other and supplementing each other’s ability to get things done. We have more force &energy as an alliance than we do as individual entities, so I’m excited to see how our work shifts alongside one another over the course of the month.

Sculptural view of the Horizon of the Earth, November 2019

Sculptural view of the Horizon of the Earth, November 2019

Q: Tell us about your current projects.
My most current project, “iterations of ghosts”, is an attempt to merge my ongoing sculptural work into larger environments and use photography to capture the resulting image. I am attempting  to collaborate with the environment  – from earth to sky to architecture and everything in between – to try and find a point where sculpture becomes something as broad and encompassing as the very horizon of the earth.

Collaborations with Body & Landscape, November 2019

Collaborations with Body & Landscape, November 2019

The photography for this series happens alongside the development of the sculpture itself;  I am building a form by intricately weaving copper wire into a laced pattern, a tedious process that thus far has produced a webbed body built from 1300 ft of thin gauge copper threads. As more copper wire is woven in and the form grows, I photograph its current body in an environment and see how  it’s presence shifts within each situation – watching where the copper web disappears then falls back into existence, seeing where it catches sunlight and where it casts shadow, etc.

My process lends itself to being incredibly tedious – lacing hundred of strands of thin copper into one another becomes a imbued with a sense of ritual over the many days and many many hours it takes me to work on a project. I am obsessed with the repetition of elements beyond a reasonable number, layering thread on top of thread to the point of absurdist intricacy.

Installing and photographing the work over its evolution allows me to see its permutations  and how its elements shift, allowing the sculptural body to morph and change over time with no defined start and end point. I’m excited to continue this project while in residence, finding new environments and collaborations and seeing how the sculpture itself develops as I put more labor into it.

Item from the series iterations of ghosts

Q: Where else can we find you?

You can find me on instagram: @erikakari and on my website: erikakari.com

 

Meet The Artist in Residence: James Adelman

James Adelman, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of January 2020, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked James some questions about his work and studio practice:

James Adelman in his Brooklyn studio.

James Adelman in his Brooklyn studio.

Q: How would you describe your work?
Pretty traditional by most standards. I find 2-dimensions wholly adequate to convey infinite possibilities, so primarily I make oil paintings and charcoal drawings.

I am fascinated with contradictory notions and emotions felt simultaneously. The intersections and parallels of futility and persistence, despair and hope, loneliness and contentment.

Many are representational featuring ambiguous subjects with ephemeral, atmospheric qualities. They could read like stills from a movie reel, telling a nonlinear story. Sometimes haunting, but with stillness and quietude as well.

"Three Dresses" Charcoal on Paper 18 x 24"

“Three Dresses” Charcoal on Paper 18 x 24″

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Often my work begins with a meditation or visualization exercise, followed by small sketches. I try to stay in a trance state and think as little as possible for as long as possible.

The sketches are translated into drawings, staged photographs, or paintings. Any of these may serve as the basis of further drawings, photos, or paintings. Sketches become photos become drawings that inform more photos that become paintings. Like a cycle.

The idea or visual is not as critical to me as maintaining the mood or emotion throughout the process. I want work imbued with emotional resonance and pictures which solicit emotive response and elude analysis.

Meditation Derived Charcoal Study 9 x 12" and Oil on Canvas 30 x 40"

Meditation Derived Charcoal Study 9 x 12″ and Oil on Linen 30 x 40″

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I was nominated to apply for a Pollock-Krasner Foundation photography grant, so one project will be developing that portfolio. But also paintings and drawings.

I have a mountain of ideas, visuals, and references built up from the Summer which I just haven’t had psychic space to reflect on or organize. Main Street Arts seems like the right place to regain that space and dive in and see some of the longstanding projects advance.

Q: How do you promote your artwork?
I don’t really! Or at least I’m terrible at it. I carry forward announcements for events etc for the sake of the venues, but  most opportunities and supporters come to me through friends. It all comes back to friends. We are a tribal species.

James Adelman, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 40″

Q: Who are some of your favorite artists and inspirations?
Not just visual artists. Bruce Lee, David Lynch, Mr. Rogers, Gerhard Richter, Friends, Mark Tansey, Lisa Yuskavage, Marilyn Minter, Inka Essenhigh, Stanley Kubrick, Emily Evelleth, Edward Hopper, Vilhelm Hammershoi, James Casebere, Amy Bennet, George Tooker, Francis Bacon, Whistler, Kurt Cobain,… the list goes on and perpetually evolves, of course.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
Imagination! Then eye, mind, and hand. After that I think I use a palette knife most. Also I’m a big fan of homemade painting carts and how they evolve organically. Sort of a hobby.

James’ Studio Cart

Q: Do you collect artwork? Tell us about your collection.
Yes when I’m able, but only modestly scaled work. I have about 20 pieces, most came from friends as gifts or trades. Sometimes residents leave work out of gratitude, which is always humbling and amazing. There’s an amazing Alex Kanevsky I won in a raffle I could never have afforded it otherwise. I also got a Dik Liu at a Christmas benefit.

Q: What was your experience like at art school?
I think this quote from Mark Twain about sums it up: “I’m glad I did it, partly because it was well worth it, but mostly because I shall never have to do it again”

Q: Who are your strongest influences and why?
Ha, this will be a long one… Inka Essenhigh had a profound impact on me and my work. I admired her a lot then unbelievably she taught a class while I was in grad school. Later I was her teaching assistant for the same class: ‘Painting from Imagination’. It rocked my world. It is crazy that I know her.

Inka Essenhigh "Forms from Deep Underground" 2014, Oil on linen, 54 x 64"

Inka Essenhigh “Forms from Deep Underground” 2014, Oil on linen, 54 x 64″

Mark Tansey must be the most influential artist for me though. I was his studio assistant for several years and a huge fan long before. He employs one assistant at a time and there is a mentorship component, which he considers a long standing painting tradition.

He worked for Helen Frankenthaler around the same age and was very open with techniques, materials, and process with me.

Mark Tansey "White on White" Oil on Canvas, 78 x 138.5"

Mark Tansey “White on White” Oil on Canvas, 78 x 138.5″

It was incredible meeting an artist I’ve studied and for years and emulated for a time. Being able to ask about pictures in the book and told almost exactly how they were made, plus insights and revelations surrounding them at length. I got to see new work develop stage by stage. It is hard for that not to permeate the subconscious, especially if your willing.

I traveled to Rhode Island 3-4 days at a time, staying in a guest house over the garage. He has a Tribeca studio, but  Rhode Island was the primary workplace. We’d have dinner each night and talk art, philosophy, politics etc for hours.

Mark Tansey "The Innocent Eye Test" Oil on Canvas, 78 x 120"

Mark Tansey “The Innocent Eye Test” Oil on Canvas, 78 x 120″

It was amazing to have access to such a powerful intellect, especially in an ongoing format like that. The conversations could carry on to great depths as we reconvened consecutive nights and weeks.

Challenging at times too though, sometimes I had to read whole books just to participate. Often his wife Jean, who I regard as highly and deserves all credit for the food, would join us. They are an extraordinarily generous family in all regards.

Q: What’s next for you?
Driving to Utah to see my brother’s brand new baby! Then not sure. Probably driving aimlessly to places I’ve never seen, exploring. Taking advantage of having remote work and a Saab. I know I’ll be back in Woodstock again in May.

James Adelman "Swingset" Charcoal on Paper, 18 x 24"

James Adelman “Swingset” Charcoal on Paper, 18 x 24″

Q: Where else can we find you?
On my website,  www.AdelmanArt.com and @AdelmanArt on Instagram.

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. :)