How do you stage an international art show with work from 100 different artists? If you’re Shea Hembrey, you invent all of the artists and artwork yourself — from large-scale outdoor installations to tiny paintings drawn with a single-haired brush. Watch this funny, mind-bending talk to see the explosion of creativity and diversity of skills a single artist is capable of.
David Nackashi is Ugallery’s veteran “contemporary impressionist” as I like to call him. He paints mostly landscapes with thick, quick brush strokes. He lets trails of dripping paint trickle down his canvases, combining serenity and spontaneity in one scene.
But recently David went in a totally new direction. After working as an an architect for a couple years, David started to question a concept that many architects consider sacred - the idea of ‘keeping the elements out’. In his artwork, David decided to embrace these elements.
He started playing with shapes he had cut out from a black canvas he was exposing to strong Florida sunlight in an effort to fade the canvas. While David added or removed cut outs, the sun slowly printed subtle vibrations of moving shadows onto the canvas. The prints of the abstract cut outs came together to form a portrait.
David created many more works from in this style. He chose his subjects from his life, usually people with energy that had “created a memory” with him. For David, the feeling of vibration in these portraits “mimics the changing and not so static view I have of the people themselves.”
Here are some of the portraits David has completed so far. (PS - If you’re interested in David creating a similiar portrait for you, give us a shout via the “Commissions” tab in his portfolio.)
Bobby standing next to his portrait “Bushwack Bobby”
David next to his self-portrait
A third, mysterious portrait model
A Charlie Cawley photograph hangs in a stairway.
Art world specialists from all over will tell you the same thing - photography is on the rise. Joshua Holdeman, international director of photographs at auction house Christie’s believes “photography is still hugely undervalued in the scheme of art. It is greatly undervalued in terms of comparison to sculpture and painting.”
A new generation of curators and collectors are leading the charge of breaking down the stigma between painting and photography. Many people believe that the current generation of collectors have stronger emotional connections to the subject matter depicted in, say, Robert Frank’s photograph of a New Orleans trolley (which sold for $204,000 last month) better than to a Peter Paul Rubens painting of porcine 18th-century aristocrats.
For most homes, photographs also work better as a decorative element. A large painting defines a room; photography defines your personality just as well, while taking up less room.
So how do you get a photography collection going? We’ve gathered together some helpful tips for photography neophytes and veterans alike:
1) First and foremost, follow the wise words of Roy Adzak “Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us.” Buy what you like, what resonates with you emotionally. If you do, you’ll never get sick of the artwork on your wall.
2) Want more information on a piece or an artist? Go straight to the top and contact the gallery directors. Here at Ugallery, Alex and I are always happy to talk about our artists. And, we can put your order through for you directly over the phone. Give us a ring any time.
3) Finally, size does matter. Fortunately most photographs are available in multiple sizes and can fit any space. That said, always make sure to measure your space before you buy. To help ensure your new artwork will fit in your home, try our Virtual Wall.
Here are some helpful tips for finding the right sized piece for your space:
- Want to highlight a small photograph? Hang it in an intimate setting, perhaps in a small room, a narrow space or in combination with other similarly sized pieces.
- Hanging art over furniture? Make sure that artwork is at least a third smaller in width than the furniture hangs above. This maintains a sense of proportion and allows the artwork to be the center of attention.
- How close to the art will people stand? Large impressionistic images require the viewer to stand further back to get a better visual. Small, detailed images (ie many photographs) require the viewer to stand closer.
To get started, be sure to peruse Ugallery’s photography collection!
Now that’s creative! Check out these recreations of famous paintings by balloon artist Larry Moss.
Elliot at work in his studio
Ugallery artist Elliot Coatney paints from the heart of the Applachian Mountains in North Carolina. Working fast and loose, he creates unique scenes that are impulsive and full of life. Read the interview for more on Elliot’s path to painting, his life and his work:
What’s your earliest art memory? When did you first start painting?
I think my earliest art memory is going with my grandmother to a painting workshop she was in. I was maybe 8 or 9 and was home sick from school. I remember the strange site of so many easels set up and the smell of oil paints.
I started drawing and painting with my grandmother around that time. I was into birds, and we would pick out birds from the Audubon Field Guide and paint them in watercolor. I still have a little watercolor of a swan on my nightstand that she and I did together. When I was a little older, maybe 13, she gave me a book on the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. That book really grabbed me and taught me a love of modern art. I did a splatter painting and made it a part of a presentation I did in 8th grade on the life and art of Jackson Pollock.
You went to Appalachian State! I’ve been there. Have you ever seen this video?
Yes, I have seen that notorious promo video for ASU, and to this day, I can’t figure out if it’s the school’s greatest blunder or boldest stroke of genius… I mean the video has 1.5 million views on YouTube. It’s kind of like watching a car wreck.
I actually went to Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill, and finished at Appalachian State University: 3 schools, 6 years, and only 1 degree to show for it. I didn’t study art in school. I did take one art history class at Duke. I think it was the worst courses I’ve ever had anywhere. I love art history, but I decided to learn it on my own after that.
I saw you assisted a “Ringling-trained” painter. Is that like Ringling Bros, the circus?
Yes, it is actually Ringling like the circus. John Ringling used his fortune from the circus to create the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL which has become one of the finest art schools in the US.
My friend Steven Prewitt graduated from Ringling. I was a studio assistant for Steven and helped with the promotion of his work. In return he has been an incredibly generous mentor to me. Steven really encouraged me to pursue art with a passion, and he has taught me so much about art history, making art, and the business of art. I wouldn’t be painting seriously today if it weren’t for him.
What’s your creative process like?
In looking for something to paint, I don’t really care much what the scene or subject is. I’m mostly interested in shapes, colors, patterns, and values.
I use a pretty simple process of painting that encourages playing with paint and discourages over-thinking. Focusing on large shapes and values, I lay down an underpainting in a warm earth-tone and then block in color, highlighting minimal detail with the retouching of values.
I paint really really fast. Working fast helps me stay out of the way. If I labor on a painting, I pretty much know it’s gonna be garbage.
How did you develop your personal style?
For a long time I had zero direction or focus. I played with various styles and media: drawing, painting, collage, prints. I had no idea what I was doing. It wasn’t all bad though. It got me ready to latch onto something when the time was right. And the time was right for me when I started painting with Canadian artist Brian Simons. He really taught me how to paint like I do now, to be free and loose and to let the paint do the work.
What’s the art scene in North Carolina where you live?
I live in the heart of the southern Appalachian Mountains where there’s a strong tradition of fine crafts, folk art, and outsider art. I love all of these traditions and feel like they definitely have an influence on my work.
One of my favorite people in the world is a guy in town who is mentally retarded and who makes all these crazy pieces out of wood—ambulances, stretchers, airplanes—and then paints them up funky. His work is visionary, pure and beautiful. He’s the greatest artist I know.
On a different note, we have some great galleries and museums in Raleigh and Charlotte, like the Betchler, Mint, and NC Museum of Art, that show regional, national, and international art. I love going to them, and I love driving up to DC and visiting the great art collections there for free. I’m actually working on a series of paintings that sort of riff on the art and people in these various venues.
What advice would you offer to other emerging artists?
Hmmm, I don’t feel very qualified to give advice. What the heck though… I would say to be as disciplined in the business aspect of your art as you are passionate about the creative side. Don’t see the business aspect of your career as a drag—let it be part of the fuel that ignites your creative side. That’s how I’ve tried to see it anyway.
Ugallery artist Kate Fauvell is launching a kickstarter project called “1.1”. Kate will be creating 1.1 million life size artworks - one to represent each child enrolled in a NYC public school. The project is inspired by Kate’s work as an art instructor in Brooklyn public schools and her goal is to call attention to the needs of children and public education.
To learn more about the project and Kate, enjoy the video above. To help support her project, visit her kickstarter page.
The WSJ ran a great article this morning about the growing practice of artists employing an army of assistants to create their works. It’s a controversial topic, one I’m not much of a fan of. Would love to hear your comments:
It’s a phenomenon that’s rarely discussed in the art world: The new work on a gallery wall wasn’t necessarily painted by the artist who signed it. Some well-known artists, such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, openly employ small armies of assistants to do their paintings and sculptures. Others hire help more quietly.
Art-market insiders say soaring prices and demand for contemporary art is spurring the use of apprentices by more artists. The art world is divided on the practice: While some collectors and dealers put a premium on paintings and sculptures executed by an artist’s own hand, others say that assistants are a necessity in the contemporary market.
“An artist has a choice to make,” says Mark Moore, owner of Mark Moore Gallery in Santa Monica, Calif. “They either hire assistants or they risk not being able to meet their obligations to their dealers. Then the art market, which is fickle and sensitive, gets the impression that the artist has disappeared from the art world.”
Mr. Koons says he has 150 people on his payroll and that he himself never wields a paintbrush. “If I had to be doing this myself, I wouldn’t even be able to finish one painting a year,” he says. Every year his studio averages 10 paintings and 10 sculptures. In the last four years, six of his works offered at auction have sold for prices between $11 million and $25 million each.