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Every week we pick one noteworthy artist to spotlight on our blog and other social media outlets. Mia Henry is the artist we picked this week not only because she has been uploading new work every week (and therefore prolific), but also because she is working with her friends to establish a collective in Pittsburgh. Her Kickstarter project is one of the many things we asked her about in this interview! Check out what see has to say below.
Kimberly Marra is an architect of emotions. She builds powerful paintings of interiors to highlight the struggle between public and private space. From the kitchen to the bathroom, Kimberly acts as the voyeur in any room one might live, work, sleep, or eat in. Read on below to learn more about her inspirations.
You may recall Piero Manrique’s video from way back! Since then, Piero has been painting away. Even though the video from the previous post is amazing, I thought it would be nice to get Piero to answer a few of UGallery’s traditional Artist in Focus questions. Here’s what he had to say.
Mernie Baker’s mixed media artwork is dedicated to the joys of life. She blends realism with abstract impressionism in her colorful collages by cutting paper, layering paints, and mixing plaster. She hopes to imbue her work with peace and love. Judging by the pieces she shows on UGallery and the honesty by which she answers the questions below, she succeeds.
1. What is your earliest art memory?
One of the earliest art memories I have is when I had a story report to do in fourth grade. I decided to draw a book report cover on orange construction paper. I created so much concern that the teachers had my parents come in to discuss what I drew. I drew a pencil sketch of me on roller skates skating out of a tunnel with bad guys chasing me. This was strange because of the grown up independent nature and violence.
Have you stumbled upon gray figures while browsing UGallery? Regal, ghost-like people sipping on coffee, reading a newspaper, or listening to music? You most likely discovered the work of Royal Jarmon, one of UGallery’s Art Deco dynamos. His portraits are caught in daily rituals. Each character captures the facet of individualism that become apparent when a person goes from one task to the next. His intuitive work is firmly rooted in aesthetics. Royal knows people as well as he knows art (and that’s pretty well). We caught up with him one he returned from a trip to South East Asia to talk about his artwork. Here is what he had to say.
Brazilian protest graffiti, called pichação, coats a building. via Guerrilha DCI
Over the weekend, the NY Times published an article on pichação, a type of graffiti that now coats much of São Paulo. Of the graffiti, the Times writes:
Taking action against the establishment, young people arm themselves with black paint, rollers, spray cans and no shortage of personal daring. Their target: the landscape that society cares so much to recover.
“We practice class warfare, and there are casualties in war,” said Rafael Guedes Augustaitiz, 27. “They compare us to barbarians, and there may be a little truth in that.”
Mr. Augustaitiz is part of a subculture that executes a form of graffiti described by one scholar as an “alphabet designed for urban invasion.” It nearly envelops some of São Paulo’s government buildings, residential high-rises, even public monuments, with lettering eerily reminiscent of Scandinavia’s ancient runic writing.
The most daring practitioners risk their lives, scaling building facades at night to paint their script at the crests of smog-darkened skyscrapers. Some have fallen to their death from terrifying heights.
Their graffiti, called pichação, from the Portuguese verb “pichar,” or cover with tar, reflects the urban decay and deep class divisions that still define much of São Paulo, a city with a metropolitan population approaching 20 million. It is just one reminder of the social ills that Brazil’s economic boom has so far failed to resolve, and may perhaps even be accentuating, despite recent strides in reducing income inequality.
The pichação style immediately struck me. I’d seen it before in the woek of one of our very own photographers, Alexandra Henry. Alexandra lives and shoots in São Paulo. She says she’s “fascinated by cultural exchange and aims to bring awareness to global issues through her photography.” Her work explores architecture, graffiti and social contrasts within urban environments. Her current work focuses on São Paulo’s sustainability and Brazil’s structural and social transformation as a country emerging on the global economic scene.
Here are some of her photographs:
Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world. — T’ien Yiheng
Greetings Art Lovers,
I was sitting in a cafe in Italy overlooking the Mediterranean and I noticed a couple sitting at the table next to mine. They were deeply engaged in conversation. When they left, their two small cups on the table remained. The cups looked very intimate and I began to create a story about the couple in my mind which the title of the piece - “Chance Encounter” - captures. I like to look at these empty cups and imagine where the couple went after they left that romantic spot beside the Mediterranean.
That pleasant thought is too lovely to sully with more words.
Meet new Ugallery artist, Robert Holewinski. Disney designer, Van Gogh enthusiast and American serviceman.
When did you first start painting?
After graduating high school, I joined the US Army. While stationed in Korea I started painting during the evenings and on weekends as a way to pass the time. I had purchased a book on Disney Feature Animation and became fascinated with the background paintings and images created for Disney’s full-length features, and I attempted to recreate them on canvas. From there I ventured into landscapes and still life paintings, usually from photographs from National Geographic magazines. It was after I got out of the army in that I became fascinated by the paintings of Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, and Whistler.
How did you find supplies while in Korea?
I had my parents buy and send art supplies to me, and then I would send the finished paintings back to them to store until I came back from Korea.
When I returned, I was then stationed in Washington DC at the Army Map Service. It was while there that I began to paint seriously, taking day trips on weekends out into the countryside of Maryland and Virginia. I started studying the Impressionists, Cezanne and then Van Gogh, and on into Matisse and Picasso. To this day, they are my heros in the art world.
How did you end up at Disney?
After I was married and had two daughters. I realized that I needed to find a more reliable career which led to my working as a creative product and package designer for Johnson & Johnson where I designed products used in doctor’s and dentist’s offices - like the rubber grip on toothbrushes that keeps your hand from slipping.
Some of Robert’s design work for Disney, via robertdenisgroup.com
Then, 15 years later, with The Walt Disney Company as a Product Design Manager. Working for Disney was a dream come true for me, something I had wanted to do ever since since I was five years old. During my years with Disney I worked on many exciting projects like redesigning all the foodware at Walt Disney World and creating the Epcot Center passport. I even got to work directly with Michael Eisner and other Disney execs quite frequently. I look back very fondly on my time with Disney.
Your style of painting’s is hard to pin down. Can you tell us a bit about what unites your work and what your creative process entails?
My paintings cover a broad range of styles and techniques, with my preferred medium being oil on heavy watercolor paper. Using paper rather than traditional canvas allows the paint to set and dry quicker, allowing for a faster painting and for paint ‘drag’ to occur. Brush strokes become more visible which is an important element in most of my paintings. I enjoy exploring new and varied painting styles rather than locking into one technique or approach. Depending on the subject, the medium being used, and his mood, the finished artwork may depart from the style of the previous painting.
How do you balance creating personal art with creating for work? What makes the two experiences different?
I enjoy both professional design and painting, and in some ways find doing professional product and package design to be more fulfilling, I think because it is usually a method of constantly striping down the design or image or product to its simplest elements, removing all the ‘visual gibberish’ as I call it. There is a distinct cross over between design and art with elements of one fitting nicely into the other and the design work I created as a product and package designer sometimes surprised me.
Ugallery’s own Scott Dykema has just released a children’s book! It’s called Keep Dreaming and focuses on encouraging kids to “dream…and dream BIG”. The book comes with a CD of music to compliment the poem inside. The book’s focus is celebrating dreamers that have made our world what it is today.
Scott created Keep Dreaming with Jake Brittain, a friend from high school in Arlington, Texas. Both Jake and Scott are young fathers and wanted to set a text to music that sends a positive message to young boys and girls. For every book that’s sold, they give away a book and CD to through the Boys and Girls Club of America. Purchase your copy here.
Listen into this great radio feature from Studio 360 on Komail Aijazuddin, telling the story of how his work had been restrained by Pakistani authorities, threatening his admission to art school in America. The end of the story holds a hilarious twist: Listen Here
For more on Komail and his artwork, here’s another excellent radio piece: