Every Line is Beautiful: The Art of Tabitha Lahr

“I am always drawn to the lines in everything I see," she says, "the beauty of the planes and intersections, the movement that happens when a person, or something in nature, is perfectly still. The intense honesty of what makes up a living form, rather than an easier to please softness. My passion for cultural subjects—such as a song, a musician, a writer, or a performer—often evolves into a need to release my adulation in the form of painting with gouache.” Tabitha Lahr was born in Brooklyn, and raised in Queens, New York. She received her BFA from The School of Visual Arts, with a major in illustration. In 2004 she moved to San Francisco, where she still resides, and she contributes to various group shows throughout the Bay Area. I first met Tabitha in 2005 while we were both working at the same publishing house in the Bay Area; her work in illustration the perfect foundation for book design. She's smart...
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The Art of Letting Go: Laura Jane Walker’s Mixed Media Sculpture

Laura Jane Walker has a visionary approach to art. First, there is an event, something that negates control, like a spilled glass of milk. Freedom comes from the element of surprise, the lack of resistance to the event, the willingness to see what is present. Then, there are the nails, the structure imposed upon the creation, a symbol for that which cannot be changed or transmuted. Static elements, the nails are the guideposts of navigation. Between the event and the structure, thread creates a compositional element, a delicate weaving between fluidity and rigidity, understanding and the understood, what comes easily and what appears as "challenge." How do we navigate through life? What do we deem "good" or "bad"? How solidly do we rely upon structure?  What is required to be flexible with change? And what does it take to remain open in the face of challenge? Is it courage? Perseverance? Love? And what makes these experiences beautiful? Here's what Laura had to say: Many works...
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Tammy Schuetz: Photographer, Pianist, Visual Artist

Tammy Schuetz is a vocational coordinator for student with disabilities, in the Chicagoland area. She's also an artist, photographer, pianist, and composer.  With a body of work that ranges from photorealism to abstract, surrealism to post-modern, her work utilizes a vast expanse of mediums including: oil paints, water-soluble oils, gouache, oil pastels and sticks, graphite pencils, and other materials. She received her M.A. in Arts at Northern Illinois University, which culminated in a solo show of 15 similar pastel paintings that depicted both Midwestern and Southwestern landscapes framed in light-oak shadow boxes. Recently, Tammy has worked on Southwestern landscapes, and stadium paintings. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with her and chat about her body of work. When did you first begin working with visual art? What impetus in your life spurred this interest? "Three things influenced me between the ages of five and ten years: First, getting 100’s on my school work, I would make comic characters (today’s anime characters.) out...
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The Studio of Frank Gonzales

In the heart of Tempe, Arizona, amongst the hurried activity of the nearby university, artist Frank Gonzales makes his home on a quiet street, where his studio provides a sanctuary for creative work. Knowing that environment is important and can impact creative work, he peppers his studio with important items that bring inspiration. Alongside the tubes of paint and jars of paint mixtures, his primary easel sits, facing the window overlooking his sleepy front yard. A terrarium of carnivorous plants sits on the table across from his easel, next to a wide bookcase filled with art and plant books, magazines, and supplies. One of his cats lazily sleeps under another table covered with newly finished works nearly ready to be sent to one of his galleries. Botany and ornithology inform his works; bright, playful paintings that reveal the type of personality that each creature exudes. Most of his pairings are unusual—not necessarily the elements of natural habitat or examples of symbiotic relationships in...
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The Space of the Unknown

The process of creation happens in the present moment. Michelangelo said of his journey as an artist:  “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Alchemists knew this process well—the act of fashioning “something” from “nothing.” Solve et coagula, that is, "dissolve and coagulate" meaning nothing new can be built before we break the old and we make space. Before a project is revealed, the artist may not (and most likely doesn’t) know what the final work will be.  The artist may have a vague idea about theme, or character, or scene, or tune, but the work reveals itself during the process of creation. It doesn’t happen during a planning phase or a crafting session. The artist, the writer is a channel—one who is willing to go into the space of the unknown, into the space of uncertainty, and be present in that space long enough for the work to reveal...
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Frankly Explicable: A Conversation with Mary Burger

The art of poetics begins with the intersection of the visual and the unseen. Word gives way to image, image to thought, thought to inspiration. As communicators, human beings desire to bring value to the exchange—something ambiguous in the visual art world, value. What holds meaning for one may not for another, and what inspires is highly subjective. More than value, we search for meaning. Who are we? To what do we devote attention? On what do we spend our time? The idea of categories amongst thought makes experience easily interpretable. But what of the things that meet and mingle? Where does communication end and poetry begin? How is experience cataloged as “art”? Writer, visual artist, and environmental designer, Mary Burger is interested in cross-genrewriting that merges aspects of poetry, essay, and fiction. Her books include Then Go On (Litmus Press, 2012), a collection of lyric prose pieces, Sonny (Leon Works, 2005), a novella on the Trinity bomb test, and A Partial Handbook for...
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Infrared: Through the Lens of Photographer Cody Brothers

Photographer Cody Brothers was born in Farmington, New Mexico. After attending West Point Academy and, later, exhibiting works at his first gallery showing in New York City, Brothers decided to devote his time to photography. Inspired by  Dalí, Picasso, El Greco and Paul Strand, his work concentrates on abandoned farms, crumbling homes, neglected churches, aging cemeteries, forgotten cars and other objects, set within the vastness of the southwestern landscape, which he expresses as a narrative of “the western abandon.”  He works almost entirely with infrared film, using a range of different cameras, including a 4 x 5, a hand-made pinhole, and a 6 x 17 panoramic. Shooting pictures in the early-morning or late-afternoon with a black-and-white infrared film is what he enjoys best because of the dreamy effect and the length of the exposure times required to get a great shot. Cody captures his analog frames, then scans and renders each frame as a black-and-white digital chromogenic print. Each print is then typically...
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