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Artist Decoded by Yoshino

"I started this series as a means for exploration, an exploration of self and an exploration of the perspectives of other artists. This series is an unabridged documentation of conversations between artists. It’s a series dedicated to breaking down the barriers we tend to set up in our own mind. I want to inspire future creatives to have the courage to explore and experiment. This is about making dreams a reality and not about letting our dreams fall to the wayside. My intention is to give my audience a sense of real human connection, something that feels rich and organic. When I was thinking of a title I thought of the word “movement”. In relation to the Renaissance period in art, my goal for this program is to signify a rebirth of consciousness towards the way we look at contemporary art." - Yoshino
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Now displaying: Category: art
Sep 18, 2017

Brad Kunkle was raised in rural Pennsylvania and graduated from Kutztown University with a BFA in painting in 2001. Rather than continue his artistic pursuits in an academic environment, he became a house painter. That dubious, professional beginning however, taught him valuable lessons that became crucial to his later success. Having taught himself how to gild with precious metals for some of those residential projects, he later implemented those skills in his personal, fine art works.

His debut, fine art exhibition in 2010 at Arcadia Contemporary in NYC sold out before the show's opening night and was followed by a second sold-out exhibition two years later. Since then he has exhibited his paintings in New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, London, Miami, and his works can be found in private collections all over the world. His paintings have twice graced the cover of American Art Collector Magazine and have been published extensively online and in print in such highly read publications as Hi-Fructose, American Arts Quarterly, Lapham’s Quarterly, Juxtapoz and Fine Arts Connoisseur. Kunkle continues to be represented by Arcadia Contemporary in Los Angeles, where he had his debut, West Coast solo exhibition in November of 2016. More recently, Kunkle collaborated as an Art Director with the award-winning, special effects house, Imaginary Forces as his paintings became the foundation for the main title sequence of the Netflix original series, “Anne With An E.”

He lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley.

​​​​​Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Reflecting on his 2016 show “Invisible”
  • Muses
  • Social media misconceptions
  • “The Invisible Man” by H.G. Wells
  • Technical elements behind his work
  • Dreaming and lucid dreaming
  • The benefits of listening to music while you work
  • Meditation
  • Intention in creation
  • Elevating vs. entertaining

www.artistdecoded.com

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Sep 12, 2017

“What I want is to open up. I want to know what's inside me. I want everybody to open up. I'm like an imbecile with a can opener in his hand, wondering where to begin—to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I'm sure of it.” - Henry Miller

Digging beneath the mess of the world to find the beauty underneath is perhaps the most consistent theme in Chelsea Wolfe’s expansive discography—a theme that ties together her ceaseless explorations in unorthodox textures, haunting melodies, and mining the grandeur embedded within ugliness and pain. With her sixth official album Hiss Spun, Wolfe adopts Miller’s quest to become empowered by embracing the mess of the self, to control the tumult of the soul in hopes of reigning in the chaos of the world around us. “I wanted to write some sort of escapist music; songs that were just about being in your body, and getting free,” Wolfe says of the album before extrapolating on the broader scope of her new collection of songs. “You’re just bombarded with constant bad news, people getting fucked over and killed for shitty reasons or for no reason at all, and it seems like the world has been in tears for months, and then you remember it’s been fucked for a long time, it’s been fucked since the beginning. It’s overwhelming and I have to write about it.”

Hiss Spun was recorded by Kurt Ballou in Salem, Massachusetts at the tail end of winter 2017 against a backdrop of deathly quiet snow-blanketed streets and the hissing radiators of warm interiors. While past albums operated on the intimacy of stripped-down folkmusic (The Grime and the Glow, Unknown Rooms), or the throbbing pulse of supplemental electronics (Pain Is Beauty, Abyss), Wolfe’s latest offering wrings its exquisiteness out of a palette of groaning bass, pounding drums, and crunching distortion. It’s an album that inadvertently drew part of its aura from the cold white of the New England winter, though the flesh-and-bone of the material was culled from upheavals in Wolfe’s personal life, and coming to terms with years of vulnerability, anger, self-destruction, and dark family history. Aside from adding low-end heft with gratuitous slabs of fuzz bass, longtime collaborator Ben Chisholm contributed harrowing swaths of sound collages from sources surrounding the artist and her band in recent years—the rumble of street construction at a tour stop in Prague, the howl of a coyote outside Wolfe’s rural house in California, the scrape of machinery on the floor of a warehouse at a down-and-out friend’s workplace. Music is rendered out of dissonance—bomb blasts from the Enola Gay, the shriek of primates, the fluttering pages of a Walt Whitman book are manipulated and seamlessly integrated into the feral and forlorn songs of Hiss Spun.

The album opens with the sickening bang of “Spun”, where a lurching bottom-heavy riff provided by Chisholm and Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age, Failure) serves as a foundation to a sultry mantra of fever-dream longing and desire. The first third of Hiss Spun—whether it’s the ominous twang and cataclysmic dynamics of “16 Psyche”, the icy keyboard lines, restless pulse and harrowing bellows of Aaron Turner (Old Man Gloom, SUMAC) on “Vex”, or the patient repetition and devastating choruses of “The Culling—all carry the weight of desperation, lost love, and withdrawal. Wolfe’s introspection and existential dread turns outwards to the crumbling world around us with “Particle Flux”, an examination of the casualties of war set against an aural sea of static. White noise is a constant thread through Hiss Spun, with Wolfe finding solace in the knowledge that radio static is the sound of the universe expanding outwards from the Big Bang—a reminder that even dissonance has ties to creation. The electronic thump of “Offering” serves as an ode to the Salton Sea and the encroaching calamities stemming from climate change. The obsession with white noise and global destruction carries over into “Static Hum”, where the merciless percussive battery of Wolfe’s former bandmateand current drummer Jess Gowrie helps deliver the dire weight of a sonnet dedicated to a “burning planet.” By the time the album closes with “Scrape”, Wolfe has come full circle and turned her examinations back inward, reflecting over her own mortality with arguably the most commanding vocal performance in her entire oeuvre.

“The album is cyclical, like me and my moods,” Wolfe says of Hiss Spun. “Cycles, obsession, spinning, centrifugal force—all with gut feelings as the center of the self.” And it’s an album that Wolfe sees as a kind of exorcism. “I’m at odds with myself… I got tired of trying to disappear. The record became very personal in that way. I wanted to open up more, but also create my own reality.” Every Chelsea Wolfe album is cathartic, but never before has both the artist and her audience so desperately needed this kind of emotional purging. Sargent House is proud to release Hiss Spun to the world on September 22nd, 2017.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Her radio show through Red Bull Music Academy called "Hypnos Hour"
  • The process of discovering yourself as an artist
  • The novel "1Q84" written by Haruki Murakami
  • The film "The Sevent h Seal" directed by Ingmar Bergman
  • Writing lyrics and song writing
  • Psychedelics opening up access portals
  • Her collaboration with Converge
  • Her new album "Hiss Spun"

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Jul 30, 2017

​​​​​​​Nika Roza Danilova has been recording and performing as Zola Jesus for more than a decade. As a classically trained opera singer with a penchant for noisy, avant-garde sounds, she launched her career with a series of lo-fi releases that pitted her soaring vocals against harsh industrial clatter and jittery synths. The signature Zola Jesus sound became more hi-fi as she began to explore her own skewed vision of pop music on releases like Stridulum, Valusia, and Conatus. With the release of Conatus, Danilova was propelled to regular appearances on festival stages all around the world, as well as a special performance at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. That era culminated in the release of Versions, a collection of string quartet interpretations of her most beloved work, conducted by J.G. Thirlwell (Foetus). That album and subsequent tour were followed by her most hi-fi outing to date, Taiga. Now, coinciding with her return to both the Wisconsin woods in which she was raised and her longtime label, Sacred Bones Records, Zola Jesus has produced Okovi, her darkest album yet. It is, in Danilova’s words, “a deeply personal snapshot of loss, reconciliation, and a sympathy for the chains that keep us all grounded to the unforgiving laws of feral nature.”

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Depression
  • Dissecting sections of her creative process from an emotional and technical standpoint
  • Creative resourcefulness
  • Identity
  • Her thoughts on constructing honest lyrics
  • Yoshino and Zola Jesus’s collaboration together
  • Kindred spirits in collaborative creative partners
  • Exploring morbid curiosities and ideas surrounded around death
  • Understanding human suffering
  • Collaborating with David Lynch
  • Finding your own path
  • Resilience through failure

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Jul 23, 2017

"Jesse Draxler is an artist best known for his collage and mixed media works, though with his new exhibition "Tire Fire" we find him returning to the medium that sparked his love of image making, drawing. As a child growing up in rural Wisconsin Draxler drew incessantly. Being that his father was a mechanic he would spend hours upon hours drawing cars, trucks, and engine parts. Later in adolescence, his attention changed as circumstances became bleak.

Draxler’s mother was in a near-fatal car accident when he was nine. Upon her recovery, over a year later, his parents were divorced. His mother, whom he was now living with, soon remarried. Then just months after the wedding she was ran over and killed by her new husband in his truck, an event to which he arrived just moments later.

In the following years, Draxler states that he barely remembers a thing. These times of pervasive uncertainty and loss changed him forever and his focus shifted to much darker interests. He was always an outcast from his peers, but from this time on Draxler leaned into his outsider lot in life. It wasn’t until almost two decades later that he began to see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Themes of bewilderment, isolation, ambiguity, and absurdity are all strongly represented in Draxler’s work, along with frustration and aggression. Yet these are not endpoints but have rather become the in-roads to deeper understanding and acceptance. It is clear he has spent the better part of his life straddling the line between fear and ecstasy, the beautiful and the grotesque. The result is Draxler’s unique ability to present a point of view in which the subtle nuances of the human condition are concisely illuminated, satisfying a psychological and emotional itch that so seldom gets scratched."

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Talks about his show TireFire
  • Containing multitudes
  • Finding the balance between commercial work and personal work
  • Developing a point of view
  • Susan Rothenberg
  • Viewing the entirety of your life as an artistic practice
  • Listening to music as a tool for creating art
  • Billy Corgan
  • “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Timothy Gallwey
  • The intersection of physical activities and artistic practices

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Jul 8, 2017

"Photographer John Kilar’s site will tell you, simply, that he is a nomad. Portraits and landscapes by Kilar will show you that too, with a raw presentation of untamed characters and equally wild and beautiful locations. Variety does not shake the colorful, documentary aesthetic that is true to his photos, which show a curious admiration for each subject.

John Kilar’s images can be found in Oyster Magazine, VICE, Dazed & Confused, Purple Fashion, and DIS Magazine. His client list includes Heineken, Urban Outfitters, The Cobra Snake, and several other lifestyle-saavy brands which Kilar worked with while living in Venice Beach, California."

Text by Linnea Stephan @ Juxtapoz

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • His journey into a nomadic lifestyle
  • Synchronicities
  • Following your bliss
  • Deactivating technology to be more focused on the present moment
  • Expanding consciousness
  • Identity
  • Having empathy towards others

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Jun 30, 2017

Originally hailing from Toronto, Canada, Michelle Groskopf is a Los Angeles based photographer. Her work is a mix of photo journalism, portraiture and street photography. She holds a BFA in film and video production from the School Of Visual Arts in New York where she also taught as an adjunct professor in the graduate film and video dept. She is a member of the celebrated flash photography collective Full Frontal Flash. Michelle is dedicated to empowering youth through photography and education initiatives working with the Lucie Foundation, Educare and Youth Arts to inspire the next generation of photographers and artists. Her work has been shown around the world and featured in publications such as The British Journal Of Photography, American Photo, The Huffington Post, Vice Magazine and It’s Nice That, among others. Her clients include, Refinery 29, Bloomberg Businessweek, Vice Magazine, Marie Claire France, Aftenposten, and Stern Magazine. Her first monograph is being published by The Magenta Foundation and will be released in the fall of 2017. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Making thematic work
  • Her early life/work as a filmmaker and producer
  • How she became a photographer
  • Visual iconography
  • Outside forces polluting ideas
  • Her experiences living in Hollywood
  • The path of least resistance
  • Physical and emotional stress
  • Larry Sultan
  • Thinking about life as a marathon as opposed to a sprint
  • Changing the idea of success
  • Romanticizing the artist lifestyle
  • Seeing the light at the end of a dark and hopeless tunnel
  • Looking at other mediums of art for inspiration
  • Over intellectualizing artwork
  • The “Full Frontal Flash” photography collective
  • Finding a community

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Jun 21, 2017

Writer / photographer, Scot Sothern, bounced around for forty years. In 2010, at 60, his first solo exhibit, LOWLIFE, photos and stories of life with street prostitutes, was held at the notorious Drkrm Gallery in Los Angeles. His first book of the same title was published in the U.K. by Stanley Barker in 2011. The British Journal of Photography called LOWLIFE, “The years’ most controversial photobook.” Scot’s work has since been exhibited in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, London, and Paris. In 2013 he began a biweekly column, Nocturnal Submissions, for VICE Magazine, and Curb Service: A Memoir, was published by Soft Skull Press. STREETWALKERS, stories and photographs was published by powerHouse Books in February 2016. Writer, Jerry Stahl, called it “An absolutely amazing and essential book." BIG CITY, published in 2017 by Stalking Horse Press, is Sothern’s first novel.

Guest Interviewer: Nolwen Cifuentes

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Jun 16, 2017

GEMS is the evolving ethereal pop project of former lovers Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher. After an agonizing romantic split, the duo are continuing to make music together with the project: ‘Every Full Moon’. The full moon represents a time of culmination and fulfillment, of coming full circle, and a symbolic illumination in our inner lives that is mirrored in the night sky. GEMS will be releasing a new song with every full moon as they work through the ghosts of their past and face the uncertainty of the future. Their hope is that the music they create can serve as a vehicle to transform the pain and work through things that otherwise seem totally overwhelming.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Being able to separate yourself from your art
  • Constantly investigating and navigating the world
  • Neil Young, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell
  • Astrology
  • Releasing their songs at the end of the full moon cycle
  • Changes the duo has been going through both personally and with their musical career
  • Technological advances
  • The music industry
  • Getting trapped in systematic styles of living / thinking
  • Social and emotional education
  • Positivity through individuality
  • Artwork affecting culture

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Jun 13, 2017

"I'm an art director, motion designer, and illustrator from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I've been working online since 2003 with an extensive list of creatives in music videos, live visual packages, lookbooks, and everything art related.

I have studied Beauty Arts in Bachillerato de Bellas Artes in my natal city, La Plata. I also have a teaching degree in Beauty Arts." - Gustavo Torres (aka Kidmograph)."

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • His beginnings as a painter then transitioning to digital art
  • Juxtaposing disparate elements together
  • His daily flow
  • Staying disciplined
  • Looking inward for inspiration

www.artistdecoded.com

May 14, 2017

John F Simon Jr. is a multimedia artist and software art pioneer who work and installations are found in the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others. In 2011, he collaborated with Icelandic singer Bjork to write an app for her album, Biophilia. Simon's newest publication, Drawing Your Own Path: 33 Practices at the Crossroads of Art and Meditation, is out now by Parallax Press. Simon grew up in central Louisiana and currently lives and works in Sugar Loaf, New York.

Topics Discussed in this Episode: 

  • Creative ruts leading to personal creative breakthroughs
  • His experiences going to Brown and SVA
  • How he started to experiment with digital imaging
  • Communal VR and AR spaces
  • "Snowcrash", a book by Neal Stephenson
  • Classic panopticons
  • His research into AI
  • The "no-self" experience
  • Discussing the idea behind his book "Drawing Your Own Path"
  • Understanding and dissecting meditation
  • "Secret of the Golden Flower" (book)
  • Mindfulness being executed when the verbal and non-verbal parts of the brain sync up
  • The personal narrative
  • Bruce Lee
  • Creating your own reality

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May 9, 2017

Casey is a painter based in New York City.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Accepting imperfections
  • Explanation of his upcoming solo exhibit, "Exposed"
  • Being honest with oneself
  • Creating visceral and guttural artwork
  • Absorbing inspiration and life experiences
  • Taking risks
  • Balancing artistic, creative, and business practices
  • Setting up monetary systems to allow yourself the freedom to create art for a living
  • Tony Robbins
  • Films
  • Comparing films to paintings

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Apr 10, 2017

Rebecca Farr (b. 1973, Los Angeles, California)

Lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

Rebecca Farr recently exhibited her most recent show at Klowden Mann, Out of Nothing and was reviewed by New American Paintings. In 2015, Farr was awarded a residency at Kaus Australis in Rotterdam, and was featured in a group exhibition at Kaus in the Fall of 2015. Farr has exhibited in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Houston, Istanbul, Rotterdam, and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Her work is held in private collections both nationally and internationally, and she recently completed two years as faculty artist in the education department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where she has been developing youth driven public works. Rebecca is the founder of CREATE/ACTION, an artist driven community organizing collective based in Los Angeles.

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Mar 21, 2017

This podcast episode was originally recorded in Los Angeles, CA @ NOH/WAVE's event entitled MIND/WAVE on March 18th, 2017 with guest speakers Joshua Hagler, Jarell Perry, Maja Ruznic, and Yoshino.

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Mar 14, 2017

Unit London is an arts space and gallery founded in 2013 by Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt. Unit London was born from a desire to break down the barriers of elitism and to include people in the contemporary art world - whether they are enthusiasts, first-timers, new collectors, or seasoned collectors and institutions - they strongly believe that everybody should be able to enjoy the world's most amazing art. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The next generation of galleries
  • Pop-up gallery experiences
  • Making art more accessible
  • Unit London was started with the approach of identifying 3 problems in the art world and a need to change these problems: art being exclusive and elitist, certain deserving artists not being celebrated, artists not having social recognition and relevancy.
  • Defining your "why" and your "story"
  • The importance of starting a business that connects with their audience on an emotional level

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Feb 10, 2017

Justin Hopkins interviews Martin Wittfooth and Sergio Barrale.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Being in control of yourself even if you're not in control of outside forces
  • Sergio's car exploding while driving cross country
  • Plant medicines
  • Letting go of materialistic possessions
  • The importance of family
  • Not letting bad situations dictate your happiness
  • Psychedelic experiences
  • Martin leaving NYC to live in Woodstock
  • Reflections on Martin's dog Luna
  • Lessening one's own ego
  • Being lost in a big city
  • How Sergio and Martin met each other
  • UFC
  • Martin explains his work
  • Terence McKenna

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Feb 7, 2017

Originally from Ottawa, Elly Smallwood graduated from OCAD University in 2011 and now works as an artist in Toronto. Her paintings are intensely personal, a visual exploration of her mind and body, and those of the people around her.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Female sexuality in art
  • The ephemeral feelings involved while painting
  • Ron Mueck's sculptures
  • The business of art
  • Pricing artwork
  • Nymphomaniacs

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Jan 24, 2017

Adam Lee is an Australian artist working from his country studio at the foothills of the Macedon Ranges just outside of Melbourne, Australia. His practice focuses on a re-interpretation of painting and drawing traditions and references a wide range of sources, incorporating biblical narratives, natural history, historical and colonial documentary photography, contemporary music and film, and varying literary sources. Employing new evaluations of landscape painting and old world portraiture Lee investigates humanity’s interface with the environment of the natural world and its relationship to ideas of a timeless zone of the divine.

Topics discussed in this episode: 

  • Accepting the unexpected
  • Allowing the process of creating artwork guide you
  • Embracing inspiration
  • Describes his newest body of work, "Lament Asunder"
  • Anselm Kiefer
  • Chris Ofili
  • Creative problem solving within paintings
  • Understanding writers block
  • The business side of the gallery system
  • Ben Abraham

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Jan 17, 2017

Daniele Bolelli is an Italian-born writer, martial artist, university professor, and podcaster. He is the author of several books including On the Warrior's Path. He's also known for his podcasts History On Fire and The Drunken Taoist.

  • How martial arts and physical activity can change your life
  • Developing mental toughness
  • The ability and willingness to challenge yourself
  • Making small improvements to your life
  • Joe Rogan
  • The reasons why he started his podcasts The Drunk Taoist and History On Fire
  • Existing as yourself
  • Living an unedited existence
  • Tackling fear
  • Understanding work from a conscious perspective

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Jan 13, 2017

Anthony Lister was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1979. He graduated from the Queensland College of Art in Brisbane in 2001 and traveled to New York soon after where he mentored under the auspices Max Gimblett, one of New Zealand's most influential living artists. Lister began painting on the streets at the age of 17; a location which has become a key part of his practice as a space where he can take pleasure in his 'hobby' of producing art rather than the 'craft' of studio work. He has since exhibited his work extensively within Australia and internationally both in the gallery and on the streets. He is considered to be one of Australia’s most renowned contemporary artists.

Topics Discussed:

  • The process of creating his artwork
  • Exploring the idea of "adventure painting"
  • A curious exploration of the dualities of life
  • Skateboarding abstracting itself into artwork
  • Creative and mental breakthroughs
  • Tactility of art changing or being lost with the advent of technologies
  • His virtual reality app
  • Decorating the apocalypse
  • Seeing artwork in the flesh
  • His love for the work of Egon Schiele

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Dec 31, 2016

Artist Decoded host, Yoshino, is interviewed by Cory Allen.

This interview was originally on Cory's podcast The Astral Hustle.

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Dec 16, 2016

HONNE is a UK based soul musical duo formed by co-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist James Hatcher and frontman Andy Clutterbuck.

HONNE's name is derived from the Japanese words, honne and tatemae, which describe the contrast between a person's true feelings and desires (honne) and the behavior and opinions one displays in public (tatemae).

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Dec 7, 2016

Brian Shevlin is the owner and founder of The Con Artist Collective which is an artist community, creative co-working space and gallery founded in early 2010. The collective is located in The Lower East Side in New York City. They are an active community of creatives, curating group shows & social events, encouraging collaboration & inspiring imagination.

Interviewer for this episode is photographer and podcaster, Michael Donovan.

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Dec 2, 2016

Ben Quilty was born in Sydney, Australia in 1973. He has an Honorary Doctorate from Western Sydney University, a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Sydney College of the Arts, a Bachelor of Visual Communication from the School of Design at the University of Western Sydney and certificate level studies in Aboriginal History and Culture from Monash University. Widely known for his thick, gestural oil paintings Quilty has explored a range of themes throughout his career. From the dangerous coming of age rituals of young Australian men, to the complex social history of our country, he is constantly critiquing notions of identity, patriotism and belonging.

He won the 2002 Brett Whitely Traveling Art Scholarship, the 2007 National Self Portrait Prize, the 2009 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, the 2011 Archibald Prize and most recently the Prudential Eye Award for Contemporary Art in Singapore.

His work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, QAGOMA and the Museum of Contemporary Art along with numerous regional and private collections.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Making work about who you are
  • Writer's block being a fallacy. How there's no shortage of things to talk about in your artwork.
  • Curating your artistic vision
  • His trip to Lebanon and following the Syrian border to view refugee camps
  • Using writing as a creative medium while traveling
  • His love and interest in human rights
  • Myuran Sukumaran's story and Ben's involvement with teaching him how to paint while Myuran was imprisoned in Indonesia for drug trafficking. Myuran was later executed by firing squad for the charges.
  • The debauchery of young masculinity
  • Western cultures lacking rites of passage ceremonies
  • The economic rationalization of education
  • Contemporary trends in the art market
  • Dissection of the survival and / or death of painting
  • David Hockney's iPad art
  • Spending time with his children
  • Australian Frontier Wars
  • Larrikinism
  • Vincent Namatjira

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Nov 28, 2016

Born December 21st, 1990; Matthew Ryan Herget is an emerging self-taught artist from Miami, FL. 

After attending University for two years, Herget opted to leave formal education to pursue his personal calling in life; to live as a contemporary explorer. 

Herget's work is what he calls, a "constant collaboration" between himself at all points in his life. The evolution of his work mimics the evolution of his own self - a student of life, the mind, nature, and spirituality; Herget continues to explore anew without losing the childlike confidence that propelled him to the person he is today. Earlier paintings consist of juxtapositions of visual metaphors that tend to represent overcoming personal fears and limitations. These juxtapositions mix serious tones with playful imagery: an ode to finding who he is while at the same time never forgetting where he was. 

Newer paintings jump in and out of the boundaries of form and abstraction. Occasionally paintings are figurative while others take the shape of full on abstraction: a reflection of where Matthew is currently in his personal journey. Matthew's process in the studio is that of high-energy and adventure. Paintings usually begin with no set concept and evolve into a dialogue of mark-making and feeling between the painter and painting. Dozens of paintings are often worked on at the same time and rotated throughout the studio. His painting style relies heavily on instinct, risk, and uncertainty. Things that are learned today may be dropped tomorrow in an effort to consistently keep oneself open to change and discovery. Herget's main focus is making the process the reward, and to allowing that process and inner voice to mold and evolve what comes of the process, as it pleases. 

“Each piece is a journey in-and-of itself. I’m constantly trying to take it somewhere that I haven’t been before. The way I paint is kind of a metaphor for who I am, and why I’m here. It’s not about taking it to a point where you can see something; it’s about bringing it to a place where you can feel something. We all have a space suit on; whether it sits in the closet or goes to the moon is a choice we get to make. It’s a constant mission of finding ourselves. I think that pursuit is nurtured by consistently pushing ourselves further than we did yesterday. That’s how we change, grow, and evolve. That’s what these paintings are about. It’s pretty simple, but means a lot to me."

Matthew Ryan Herget currently works out of Los Angeles, CA. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Psychedelics opening up mental portals
  • His adventures traveling
  • Artist For Peace And Justice in Haiti
  • Meditation and spirituality
  • His love for Eckhart Tolle books
  • Finding purpose as our work as an artist
  • Learning from the ways animals interact

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Nov 24, 2016

Born during his parents' flight from Cambodia in the wake of the Khmer Rogue genocide, Andrew Hem grew up poised in the balance between two cultures - the rural animistic society of his Khmer ancestors, and the dynamic urban arts of the tough Los Angeles neighborhood where his family eventually came to rest. Fascinated by graffiti at an early age, he honed his skills with graphics and composition on the walls of the city before following a passion for figure drawing to a degree in illustration from Art Center College of Design. Working in gouache, oil and acrylic, he weaves atmospheric, richly textured narratives in a vivid palette of twilight blues enlivened by swaths of deep red and splashes of golden light. His haunting impressions of culture and landscape evoke the life of the spirit through the visionary manifestation of memories and dreams.

Over the six years since his graduation from Art Center with a B.F.A. in Illustration, Andrew Hem has exhibited in venues worldwide, from Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York and the Portsmouth Museum of Art in New Hampshire to solo and group exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Nashville, Miami, Toronto, Zurich and Leece, Italy. He has lectured at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida. His personal work has been featured in Beyond Illustration, the Society of Illustrators annual, Communication Arts, Spectrum, American Illustration, 3x3, Swallow and Hi-Fructose, among others, and his illustration clients have included The Atlantic, New Scientist, the Los Angeles Times, the Fort Worth Opera, Adidas and Lucky Brand Jeans. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

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