AV Arts Convo – pop artist Michael Jones

AV Arts Convo – pop artist Michael Jones

Presenting Pop Artist Michael Jones

SATURATION 2.0: The Arts in Conversation project at Antelope Valley Arts is an ongoing, weekly publishing series: Local artists (painters, poets, photographers, fiction writers) have been invited to submit art and partake in a conversation on artistic influence and inspiration as the print arm of Antelope Valley Arts goes digital.

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Michael Jones, an exciting young pop artist whose vibrant colors and iconic images make his work timely and powerful. Michael’s positive message art created under street name Dream Bigger works to change the inner city dialogue of anger and hopelessness.


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Who is your favorite visual artist? How does he or she influence your work?

My favorite Artist is Basquiat aka Samo, his work inspires me because he wasn’t afraid to do what he wanted.
One of the most original and influential artists of his generation, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988) produced deceptively unsophisticated-looking works that belied a complex and unique talent. Born in Brooklyn of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent, Basquiat first gained notoriety with graffiti artwork. He catapulted to fame with paintings that incorporated a fusion of words, symbols, stick figures, animals, and historical and cultural references. Befriended by Andy Warhol, Basquiat collaborated with the renowned Pop Artist on 100 artworks. Despite a career tragically cut short by a heroin overdose, Basquiat introduced the unique African-American and Latino experience to the elite art world.

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Is there a certain emotional valence or emotional register that characterizes your work?
 

Yes I would say happy haha Most of my art is bright, with bold colors. I want to portray happiness on canvas threw colors if that makes any sense at all.The art to losing yourself in life, is to first love yourself and appreciate the beauty of your place in the world.

 

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AV Arts Convo: Museology by Larissa Nickel

AV Arts Convo – featuring museology – art, design and display – by Larissa Nickel

Presenting Museology – Art, Design and Display – by Larissa Nickel

SATURATION 2.0: The Arts in Conversation project at Antelope Valley Arts is an ongoing, weekly publishing series: Local artists (painters, poets, photographers, fiction writers) have been invited to submit art and partake in a conversation on artistic influence and inspiration as the print arm of Antelope Valley Arts goes digital.

Museology is a term that Larissa Nickel uses as part of her description of what she is up to as an artist, what she is looking at and looking through.

I create works and collective projects that address the museology process as more than just a container of materialism, but also as a conceptual space with performative qualities that activates object theatre and expressive curiosity.

A long time advocate for local artists, Nickel is a professor and museum scholar with ties to KCET through arts projects like Hinterculture that emphasize a creative and ecologically-sound relationship between locals and the local landscape. In an article for KCET, Nickel quotes artist David Hockney describing “the process of looking” as a focal interest in the creative experience, as well as the experience of viewing art. Nickel’s museology approach is seems bound up with this notion of “the process of looking” and so becomes as complexly intellectual as it is frankly aesthetic.


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Who is your favorite writer? How does he or she influence your work?

I don’t necessarily have a favorite writer, but there is a common literary thread in theme and device that is influential in my work. Specifically narrative and storytelling concepts such as nonsense literature and the visual/sound devices in Alice in Wonderland, and the wider genre of science fiction such as Frankenstein or Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer have influenced my work including ideas in bioengineering, and nanotechnology. I love magical realism such as Love in the Time of Cholera, and recurring issues of utopia/dystopia which have been in my work for some time. My projects and research on the utopian/dystopian community of Llano del Rio, and dystopian/utopia of illegal dumping in the eco-art project DEHSART (trashed backwards) address our preconceived ideas and the speculative future of these nonsensical binaries.

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Who or what are your major artistic influences?

Life is probably the biggest influence, but that can be considered more specifically as the transdiciplinary reach of the arts and humanities. Art, design, philosophy, literature, music, science, film, architecture, new media, etc are all influential factors as well as curiosity, memory, and my muse the museum. Theorists such as Donna Haraway, and Elizabeth Grosz, have weighed on my ideas in many ways, as well as aesthetic and conceptual connections with the visual art practice of Hannah Wilke, Louise Nevelson, and Marcel Duchamp. The history of technology, and the cabinet of curiosities are things I am constantly wondering about, as are mapping, surveillance, and theories of place/identity such as in Lucy Lippard’s critique and explorations. I’m also engaged in the hybridized identity of artist, curator, educator, and activist and how those entities coalesce and divide in our evolution, and ethics as yet another approach to understanding/influencing our future selves.LarissaNickel_Alice


Keep up with Larissa Nickel and find out more at her website – larissanickel.com.

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AV Arts Convo: Painting and Mixed Media Work by AJ Currado

AV Arts Convo – featuring painting and mixed media work by AJ Currado

Presenting Painting and Mixed Media Work by AJ Currado

SATURATION 2.0: The Arts in Conversation project at Antelope Valley Arts is an ongoing, weekly publishing series. Local artists (painters, poets, photographers, fiction writers) have been invited to submit art and partake in a conversation on artistic influence and inspiration as the print arm of Antelope Valley Arts goes digital.

Painter AJ Currado has described herself as “creating little villages of art” and she has certainly had a hand in doing that off the canvas as well. A youth art teacher substantially inspired by travel, Currado is also a founding editor at SATURATION: Antelope Valley Arts Publication. Back in 2011, Currado helped to launch an annual series of print volumes showcasing the prose, poetry, painting, drawing and wit of local artists (and at this very moment that project moving into the digital space).

Even as she looks to help others shine, Currado has herself continued to grow as an artist, winning awards, embarking on projects of increasing scope, and pushing herself into new areas of expression. Currado’s work will be on exhibit at the MOAH juried show in June and at MOAH Cedar’s LVAG show in July-August. Seek out her work. You’ll be glad you did.


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Who is your favorite writer? How does he or she influence your work?

GK Chesterton is one of my favorites. He explores everyday life with an optimistic twist, leading from content seemingly fluffy and cleverly twisting it into some thousand pound gem. I love his optimism and cheerful sobriety.
I like to think that I achieve something similar in my painting. Anything on face value can be simplistic, but you have to pause and think a moment to get at humor or depth. I present simple imagery in my paintings but I see them as portals to an immense web of ideas. A stack of books is not merely a stack of books, it is the thirst for knowledge being simultaneously satisfied and unquenchable. It is achievement in educational goals. It is preparation for travel. It is centuries of humanity past. It is the unending landscape of adventure inside the mind.
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What artist or writer from the past would you most like to meet and why?

Vincent van Gogh. My work is nothing like his but I’ve always loved his style and been intrigued by him as a person. I admire his tenacity to keep working and creating so many beautiful paintings with so much pain in his life and so little encouragement. He is a maverick. I was fortunate enough to go to the south of France this past year and spend some time in Arles where van Gogh lived and worked for many years. The terrain is rugged and really inspiring, even in the winter. Easy to see why he painted the area.

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Track AJ Currado down at her website – www.ajcurrado.com.

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AV Arts Convo: Photography by Douglas Paul Wade

AV Arts Convo – featuring photography by Douglas Paul Wade

Presenting photography by Douglas Paul Wade

SATURATION 2.0: The Arts in Conversation project at Antelope Valley Arts is an ongoing, weekly publishing series: Local artists (painters, poets, photographers, fiction writers) have been invited to submit art and partake in a conversation on artistic influence and inspiration as the print arm of Antelope Valley Arts goes digital.

This week we are excited to showcase the work of Douglas Paul Wade. President of the Lancaster Photography Association (LPA) and chairperson of the Antelope Valley Fair Photography Exhibit, Wade is active both in getting his own work out there and in helping other artists find an audience too. On his website, Wade describes himself as “Striving to become GREAT at photography! Wanting bigger things in life, dreams of them often. Loves when the inner kid takes control.” There is quite a bit more to say about Douglas Paul Wade, but let’s let him and his work to the talking from here.

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I got a chance to photograph the very beautiful #Claudette

 

Who is your favorite visual artist? How does he or she influence your work?

As a photographer, I favor the work of many masters, such as Irving Penn (Entertainer Portraiture), Man Ray (Fine Artist), J. H. Lartigue (Fashion, Motion). Some more modern masters, such as Arno Rafael Minkkinen (Fine Artist), Clarence Sinclair Bull (Portrait), Jerry N. Uelsmann (Fine Artist) and Keith Carter (Fine Artist).

I prefer more often black and white over color images. I believe it is better at telling a story and invoke an emotional response.

 

What artist do you currently find yourself talking about most often and why?

I spend more time talking to my peers, such as James Poynor, Juan Roberts, and Kathleen Blacklock to find out what they see in their images and their post processes.

Who or what are your major artistic influences?

I love to read and view images of non-photographers, as painters in all kinds of media. To be a better a photographer, I should not study photographers but rather museum presented artists.

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Catch up with Douglas Paul Wade and find out more about his work at douglaspaulwade.com.

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AV Arts Convo: Mixed Media Art by Julie O’Sullivan

The AV ArtConvo – featuring art by Julie O’Sullivan.

Presenting Mixed Media Art by Julie O’Sullivan

SATURATION 2.0: The Arts in Conversation project at Antelope Valley Arts is an ongoing, weekly publishing series: Local artists (painters, poets, photographers, fiction writers) have been invited to submit art and partake in a conversation on artistic influence and inspiration as the print arm of Antelope Valley Arts goes digital.

Julie O’Sullivan is our featured artist this week, showcasing a playful and colorful sensibility. O’Sullivan is an active presence on the Antelope Valley arts scene, showing work and winning prizes and hashing out new ideas along the way. This dynamic and sweet-hearted artist brings a little madness to her method and the results, in turn, are dynamic and sweet-hearted, lively and engaging.

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Who or what are your major artistic influences?

Miro’, hands down. Love him, though, in high school I was a die-hard Andy Warhol fan. I wanted to be Edie Sedgewick. When I moved to NYC I stalked his factory and tried to breath the same air he breathed. Loved him. Now that I have seen his work not only in museums, but in people’s houses, I feel I have moved on. It will always be there influencing me in the back of my mind but I am so ingrained in abstract art that if I could meet one artist in all time it would be Miro’.

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What artist do you currently find yourself talking about most often and why?

Local artists Marthe Aponte and Geoffrey Levitt. I met them when they were starting out and look at where they are now in the matter of a few of years! I love how they have evolved and seek inspiration in their advancement from beginning artists to emerging artist, artists to watch. I think they have greater things ahead for them. I will forever be a fan of Miro’ and Lurcat. I am terribly inspired by them and had the great pleasure of visiting both of their studios.

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How does music influence, shape or fit into your work?

It used to influence it greatly, especially during my celestial series. I would pull up Pandora and paint to new adult alternative artists. I will forever be a fan of Parov Steller and Wax Tailor. They always inspire me to paint openly, they seem to open up my third eye. Through Pandora I found a whole new line-up of international artists. I always paint well to Beruit, they are very calming. The lead singer sounds a lot like David Byrne from the Talking Heads. David has a special place in my heart. Chvrches has an entirely different mood and when I am feeling a bit off I pull that Pandora station up for a listen. Then there is Vampire Weekend, Phoenix and Ratatat for when I am in the “designing” mood. These are bands I would have worked to in architecture school and now work to when I paint cityscapes. Bjork is a long time influence. Love her and her daring to be unique. When I listen to her I feel her mood. I love to paint feelings, such is the life of an abstract artist. A song by Wild Belle, called “Keep You” is one I play over and over. That YouTube Video just hits me for some reason. I am haunted by it. I feel it is like the child within a man that you can never keep.

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Catch up with Antelope Valley Artist Julie O’Sullivan at her website.Arts Blog

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AV Arts Convo: Poems by Hollie N. Martin

HAPPENING NOW: Antelope Valleys Arts new initiative, the AV ArtConvo, featuring poems by Hollie N. Martin.

Presenting poems by Hollie N. Martin – “Laguna’s Labor” & “Shakes in Heat”

SATURATION 2.0: The Arts in Conversation project at Antelope Valley Arts is now live: Local artists (painters, poets, photographers, fiction writers) have been invited to submit art and partake in a conversation on artistic influence and inspiration as the print arm of Antelope Valley Arts is going digital.

This week we are featuring the work of Hollie N. Martin, a poet with a vivid and deeply rooted connection to the arts. When she is not actively meditating on sound through her writing, Martin teaches at Antelope Valley College, where she is probably also meditating on vowels and consonants in delicate contrast and delightful pattern.


File:Rocky Sea Coast-William Trost Richards.jpgLaguna’s Labor

 

Waters of sanctification scattered.

The sonogram of fish.

A birthing, writing baby

begging to issue from the womb.

 

Waves do not seem as harsh

from so great a height,

from so small a whisper

not wanting to crack the air with human language.

The tide sings an aria of rocks,

of an intercourse between liquid and solid.

Freely you have received.

                                    Freely give.

 

Waters of sanctification scattered.

The out-spray of a crash.

Brute force munching a foundation,

eating the cracks of the earth.

 

And you are down there,

deep-sea decked in 80s yellow.

World never to be born.

World who wonders what it must be like

to inhale deep and

escape amniotic fluid.

 

And I am up here,

arms cradling the metal guardrail, my own tightrope,

waiting for this foundation’s dissolve,

for the moon’s glow to liquefy my heart

and issue a prayer.


 

Interview Part 1

Who is your favorite writer? How does he or she influence your work?

Li-Young Lee will always be my favorite poet, and Book of My Nights will always stand in my mind as his best work.  I was first exposed to Lee as an undergrad at CSUN, and I fell in love with the spirituality and sensuality of his language.

I love the recurring theme of the father figure in his work, as in the poem “Little Father,” which discusses burying the father in the heart and birthing him again into the child’s own image.  This is especially touching now, as my own father is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease; I am having to rebirth him today, to take his sounds and movements and make words out of them.

Lee also brings in song and birds, which are two intense touchstones in my life; these images brought me through my own “book of nights.”  This line from “Lullaby” comforted me when I was suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts while in college: “After crying, Child / there’s still singing to be done.”  The capitalization of the Child spoke to me of importance and significance, as a push to keep existing.  Then the lines, “After wings // and the shadows of wings, there’s still / the whole ungrasped body / of flying to uncover.”  This spoke to me of the promise of potential: there was, and is, so much more flying to do.

I have wanted to emulate the sense of pause and depth in his work, and while I am far from achieving that goal, Lee gave me a deep appreciation of the way one word can change the timbres of a work.


Shakes in Heat

Christmas
does not feel like Christmas
until there are lights.

Small and white
like rain drops.
Large and pied
like gum drops.
Lights from trees, cars, overpasses,
lights from a city screaming daytime in nighttime tongue.

And I whisper words
while the lights scream. Somehow.
They pulse. I think it’s my eyes.
I think it is lack of 20/20,
lack of hindsight, no time to reason,
only to eat the moment
one droplet at a time.

Sometimes I choose to unfocus.
I open eyes wide and rest.
The lights explode in blur.
Then I strain, then I readjust,
then the light’s song rushes toward me
and it shakes in heat.

Completely mechanical. What
isn’t mechanical.
Christmas becomes a series of bulbs
dangling from gaunt-green strings.
Swear words
at the raising of a killed tree.

So I look for a miracle in shivering lights.
(They’re cold from lack of attention.)
I look for a dream through bars
locking away the view.
Dear city of angels,
I look for winged creatures under every bush.
We with our snowless eves.
Us with questions and pleas.
You and I and cries for peace.

My heart matching a pulse too great to be a machine.

I think light is magic.
I think the city is lit by Gabriel’s torch.
The cries accompany glorias.

I will catch the light in my hands.
I will take it home, sew a little nest,
and watch its wings develop.
I will ask it to fly inside my eyes.

 


Interview Part 2

How does music influence, shape or fit into your work?

To be honest, I often can’t write anything creative without music.

I have been singing since I was little, and I learned to play guitar when I was 21.  I tried to form a band with my sisters for a time, and we had our own level of success, but it never went very far.  I think I was more fascinated with the writing process of music and performing it for a few friends than for “musical success.”  (One of my favorite pieces of ours was a melodic rendition of pieces from Eliot’s “The Hollow Men.”)

Musical sounds captivate me.  Playing a chord progression in a repetitive manner will often allow me to “see” words or images (I’m a sucker for very traditional time measures with sticky melodies).  I will get a concept, set the guitar down, and start writing.  Some of my strongest poems have been written in these moments.

I have also produced work while listening to the music of others.  My musical tastes tend to not reside in the mainstream—and I’m not talking about the “cool” non-mainstream.  I grew up surrounded by music that was written from the perspective of people who were followers of Christ.  I attended concerts almost every weekend through my teens and twenties, and some of those musicians have remained in my auditory repertoire ever since.

Arts BlogThe artists Jason Upton and Rita Springer are two of these people, and they produce music that I just can’t classify into a specific genre.  Upton is extremely free-flow, in the sense that he often writes songs while in the concert experience itself.  That creativity helps uncork me, especially when I am suffering from writer’s block.  Springer channels a Janice Joplin type of voice and pounds out melodies on the piano.  She is very raw—like a wild lioness who could kill you at any moment and afterwards comfort her baby cubs.  She is so different from me that she also uncorks new arenas of creativity.  Their albums can’t even capture how they sound live, so whenever I can, I try to see them, often with a notebook and a pen in my hand.

Most recently, I have been moved to write while listening to “When the Music’s Over” by The Doors and “The Fire and the Flood” by Loud Harp (a duo who sings the Psalms).

 

 


Note: Image above of “Rocky Sea Coast” by William Trost Richards (public domain image).

AV Arts Convo: Art & Poetry by Edwin Vasquez

HAPPENING NOW: Antelope Valleys Arts new initiative, the AV ArtConvo, poetry and Multi-Media art by Edwin Vasquez.

Presenting Art & Poetry by Edwin Vasquez

SATURATION 2.0: The Arts in Conversation project at Antelope Valley Arts is now live: Local artists (painters, poets, photographers, fiction writers) have been invited to submit art and partake in a conversation on artistic influence and inspiration as the print arm of Antelope Valley Arts is going digital.

This week’s featured artist is a substantial figure in the regional art scene in many ways: showing, helping others show, publishing, speaking and opening artistic doors – Edwin Vasquez.


Edwin Vasquez |Interview Part 1

Is there a certain emotional valence or emotional register that characterizes your work?

As an artist and writer, the term “Humanities” links my work together, especially since I was born in Guatemala, where a forty year internal political war gave the artists a voice for the voiceless. I don’t know if my work is still “political”, but it has definitely evolved because my focus is on creating art using recycled materials. I think art should include social issues because, even here, many don’t have a voice regarding political issues.


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WE ARE AMERICANS

 

We shall not be denied the freedom,

the liberty and happiness

on which our country was built.

 

We are the farmer’s hands

rough like old leather

with blisters  and aches from working on the fields

where your food comes from.

 

We are the trash collectors

keeping the streets clean

where your limousine is parked.

 

We are the nurses and doctors

saving your brat kids from drug overdose,

from drinking like pigs with your filthy money

because at home there is no love other than for stocks and bonds.

 

We are the teachers

buying school materials out of our own pockets,

and preparing the next generation

so they can attend Ivy League schools

not because they bought their way in, but because they earned the right to be there.

Yes, we deserve liberty, freedom and happiness

even-though priorities deviate us from our dreams

and only takes hateful words from powerful blindness

and arrogant men to wake us up,

your words were like a cold shower that got to our souls.

 

Yes sir, we are Americans too,

we came here for a better future,

we didn’t grow up with a silver spoon,

we made that spoon with our sweat and hard work,

we are the Hernandez, the Robledo, the Vásquez

we are part of the puzzle that makes America great.

 

Thank you for your poisonous words,

they are spreading in our communities like California wild fires

and soon you will see a tsunami wave so strong

that your wealth and your ambition will be tarnished

and like the rest of us, you, Sir

can look at the White House from the street.

 


Interview Part 2

What artist do you currently find yourself talking about most often and why?

The artist I am currently following is Efrain Recinos, a Guatemalan contemporary architect, painter, and sculptor. Sadly he passed in 2011, but his art legacy is of tremendous value for Guatemala and for the world. He was born in the second city of importance, Quetzaltenango, which is the city I was born in as well.

How does music influence, shape or fit into your work?

Music is an essential tool in my art life; Jazz and Latin-American are my favorites. Since the internet gives us the opportunity to listen to the beats and sounds of many countries, I find myself listening to music from all over the world while exploring mixed media in my studio.


ENDLESS PLAY

Hollywood, the endless play with real life actors,

those with rags and riches walking among the stars

and dancing the waltz of all nations,

where all dream how awesome meeting a movie star could be.

 

The seasoned actors make their moves unceremoniously

across the hot concrete stage, hustling the unsuspected tourists

drinking coffee or Red Bulls, while attempting to take selfies with faking smiles

and overflowing the sidewalks like hot lava rivers from Brea to Vine,

unaware of the homeless trying to sleep because it was yet another bad day.

 

Hollywood, glamour and seventy-five degree weather,

where the scent of urine is overpowered by cigarette smoke,

Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, or illegal weed,

where walking the long boulevard becomes another meaning,

where it feels real and, then, it hits you —

here, poets pick the stanzas just by opening the senses and

realizing, sadly, that the golden promise is nothing but fool’s gold.

 

Hollywood, the endless play

with characters and fake superheroes,

Gucci glasses and skateboarders,

where Starbucks and tarnished stars

compete with IPhones and Barbie dolls…

this endless play, where actors come for a piece of the pie

and end up living a new tomorrow

for the second act and their broken dreams.

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