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Interview

Illustration, Interview

A ‘Kick in the Shin of the Patriarchy’ | Interview with Illustrator Hayley Powers Thornton-Kennedy

Hayley Thornton-Kennedy illustration activism strong female figures

Hayley Thornton-Kennedy illustration activism strong female figures

I first met Hay­ley Pow­ers Thorn­ton-Kennedy when I vis­it­ed the MFA Illus­tra­tion Prac­tice pro­gram (MFA ILP) as a guest crit­ic and lec­tur­er. In their cozy, well-lit stu­dio, she showed me a selec­tion of sig­nage she had cre­at­ed for the Women’s March on Jan­u­ary 21. I was instant­ly attract­ed to the bold illus­tra­tions and, above all, imagery fea­tur­ing strong female fig­ures. I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk to Hay­ley more about her work, both in per­son and via email. The con­ver­sa­tion and her illus­tra­tions seem espe­cial­ly fit­ting for today’s Inter­na­tion­al Women’s Day and A Day With­out Wom­en.

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Interview

Interview: Meg Wachter Talks Collaborating on Girl Crushes

got a girl crush

I knew from the moment I received the third issue of Got a Girl Crush mag­a­zine that I would love it. After all, it has a Tues­day Bassen illus­tra­tion on the cov­er and inter­views with Fal­con­wright (ladies who pro­duce leather goods)  and the wom­en of Stuff Mom Nev­er Told You (a great, infor­ma­tive pod­cast). The pub­li­ca­tion is a mix­ture of inter­views, pho­tog­ra­phy, illus­tra­tion, and per­son­al essays. Just the right amount to keep you inter­est­ed.

I enjoyed read­ing it from cov­er to cov­er and learn­ing things about roller der­by, the impres­sive Rena Tom, hav­ing 6 sis­ters, and more. Meg Wachter, one of the founders of Got a Girl Crush, was kind enough to speak with me  about work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive, a dream inter­view, and then some!

got a girl crush

My paper weight is a ceram­ic face by Tues­day Bassen. It felt appro­pri­ate to use it!

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For those who aren’t privy, can you briefly describe how Got a Girl Crush (blog, mag­a­zine) came to be? Was there an a-ha moment, or was it a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion of both your inter­ests?

Andrea Cheng (in San Fran­cis­co, Cal­i­for­nia) and I (in Brook­lyn, New York) start­ed Got a Girl Crush, the blog, in 2009 after crush­ing on each other’s tastes and inter­ests via TUMBLR for some time. A lot of our own posts and re-blogs revolved around wom­en doing awe­some things, so nat­u­ral­ly GAGC start­ed as a catch-all blog for both of us to share our admi­ra­tion for oth­er awe­some ladies. The mag­a­zine was born out of my hav­ing too much downtime/free-time as a free­lancer and need­ed a cre­ative project to pour myself into and, as a pho­tog­ra­pher, proved to be a great tool to approach wom­en I admired that I want­ed to pho­tograph and get to know bet­ter.

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A strength of Got a Girl Crush is all of the voic­es fea­tured in it (from both inter­view and inter­vie­wees). How do you tie the whole issue togeth­er with so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple?

The mag­a­zine has real­ly turned into a venn dia­gram of con­nect­ing tal­ent­ed illus­tra­tors, pho­tog­ra­phers, writ­ers with oth­er inspir­ing, self-start­ing wom­en. Some­times it starts from pick­ing some­one to fea­ture, oth­er times it’s ask­ing the cre­ative ladies we’d like to be involved who they’re cur­rent­ly crush­ing. I think the over­all tie that binds is the sis­ter­hood of explor­ing what oth­er wom­en are doing to inde­pen­dent­ly to empow­er them­selves and oth­ers. Or just fuck­ing doing it! Broad­ly speak­ing, media trains wom­en to be envi­ous or oth­er women’s fame, wealth, bod­ies, etc. It’s obvi­ous­ly not healthy and it pits us again­st each oth­er. We need to encour­age and cham­pi­on each oth­er to recon­di­tion our­selves as wom­en and the girls that look up to us. “Crush” is an inter­change­able, all-encom­pass­ing pow­er word.

got a girl crush

got a girl crush

What do you describe the pre­vail­ing themes of issue #3? I got the sense of dual­i­ty, cou­pling, mir­ror­ing… is that some­thing you were think­ing about?

It’s fun­ny you noticed that because real­ly there’s nev­er been an over­ar­ch­ing theme…but some­times it mag­i­cal­ly con­spires that way! There has nev­er been a set deci­sion mak­ing process for the blog since it’s a col­lab­o­ra­tion across the coun­try, but the mag­a­zine takes some more care­ful cura­tion to keep it broad and well-bal­anced (as to not have too many ladies who are design­ers or musi­cians, etc). But I have been schem­ing on themes for future issues…

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BPB Projects, Interview

Interview: Kirsten McCrea Talks Papirmass & Work + Life + Art Balance

Kirsten McCrea is the cre­ator of Papir­mass, an afford­able art sub­scrip­tion ser­vice that she runs with her hus­band, Jp King. Each mon­th, they thought­ful­ly curate the pair­ing of con­tem­po­rary artists and authors and gen­er­al­ly make the mail more fun! There’s a print on one side and a writ­ing on the oth­er. So, after you’ve fin­ished read­ing, frame the print and hang it on your wall!

For those play­ing along at home, I’ve teamed up with Kirsten to bring you the Col­lage Scrap Exchange. Let’s get to know her bet­ter — read the long­form inter­view below!

interview-opening2

Tell us a lit­tle bit about your back­ground and how you came up with the idea for Papir­mass. What was your ini­tial inspi­ra­tion for it?

I found­ed Papir­mass after grad­u­at­ing from art school mov­ing from Mon­tre­al back to my home­town. I was struck by the lack of access to excit­ing, con­tem­po­rary art (that is so easy to take for grant­ed in large urban cen­tres). I was also work­ing mul­ti­ple jobs and had absolute­ly no free time, so I wasn’t able to make it out to the art events that were hap­pen­ing. I want­ed great art to come right to my doorstep, and as an artist, I of course want­ed it to be fair­ly afford­able. I Googled ‘afford­able art sub­scrip­tion’, and when noth­ing came up I knew I had to cre­ate one.

In the 5 years since then Papir­mass has mailed over 45,000 art prints to peo­ple around the world! Each print fea­tures art on the front and con­tem­po­rary writ­ing on the back. It has moved with me back to Mon­tre­al, and now to my cur­rent home in Toron­to.

papirmass-framed-prints

 You start­ed Papir­mass in 2009. How many dif­fer­ent artists have you fea­tured dur­ing that time? How do you decide who/what makes it into each issue?

By the end of this year we will have pub­lished the work of over 100 artists and writ­ers! Each issue fea­tures a dif­fer­ent pair­ing of art and writ­ing, so it can be a chal­lenge to find works that res­onate with each oth­er. We work well in advance, select­ing pieces based on qual­i­ty and wait­ing until we find the right artis­tic or lit­er­ary match.

We have an open call for sub­mis­sions, but with me being an artist and Jp King (our lit­er­ary edi­tor and my hus­band) hav­ing a back­ground in Cre­ative Writ­ing, it’s also excit­ing for us to approach the long list of cre­ative peo­ple we admire to ask them to par­tic­i­pate.

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BPB Projects, Interview

Illustrators with Ink: Rebecca Volynsky

rebecca-2

So, I’m pret­ty excit­ed about my new series, Illus­tra­tors with Ink. Tuesday’s tat­toos got a great respon­se, and it’s fun to see all of the dif­fer­ent, per­ma­nent designs that peo­ple have on their skin. Today we’ll take a look at the tat­toos of artist Rebec­ca Volyn­sky.

Rebec­ca lives in Prov­i­dence, Rhode Island, where she’s both a prac­tic­ing artist and an expres­sive arts facil­i­ta­tor at PeaceLove Stu­dios. Her involve­ment with com­mu­ni­ty art orga­ni­za­tions began in high school, and she lat­er worked as a res­i­dent teach­ing artist at Prov­i­dence City Arts for Youth. The­se orga­ni­za­tions and activ­i­ties give peo­ple the oppor­tu­ni­ty to find their artis­tic voice.

Your name: Rebec­ca Volyn­sky
Web­site: www.rvolynsky.com
How many tat­toos do you have? 4 (Bird, flax seed flow­er petal, bow and arrow, and anchor.)
How old were you when you got your first tat­too? 19
Do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why? All of my tat­toos are per­son­al­ly mean­ing­ful, but the bow and arrow is a good reminder right now of how we have to strug­gle a lit­tle bit by pulling our­selves back in order to move for­ward in life.
Where did you get your work done? Good Faith Tat­too in Boston, MA and Redemp­tion Tat­too in Cam­bridge, MA.
Is there any mean­ing behind any of your tat­toos? I got the bird tat­too when I left col­lege after my first year in order to take time off and serve as an Ameri­Corps teach­ing artist. It was a huge change in my life that set the stage for every­thing I do now in com­mu­ni­ty art edu­ca­tion. The flax seed flow­er is the nation­al flow­er of Belarus, which is where my fam­i­ly is orig­i­nal­ly from. It’s a reminder of my grand­par­ents who still live there and why I work extreme­ly hard. The anchor is actu­al­ly in hon­or of my grand­fa­ther. He had a Sovi­et avi­a­tor anchor tat­too on his fore­arm that he got done when he flew fight­er planes in the Sovi­et army. He brought my fam­i­ly to this coun­try and was a strong lead­er, a qual­i­ty I try to car­ry with me.
Do you see a con­nec­tion between the type of tat­toos you have and your illus­tra­tive work?There are many sym­bol­ic ele­ments and details in my art­work that are inspired by Rus­sian byzan­ti­ne icon paint­ings. I feel that there is a sim­i­lar style in my tat­too illus­tra­tions. I drew all of them, and see them as pieces of work that rep­re­sent pieces of my iden­ti­ty.

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Rebec­ca has a myr­i­ad of influ­ences: Rus­sian folk art, Byzan­ti­ne icon paint­ings, live­ly col­ors, organ­ic shapes, her expe­ri­ences as a teach­ing artist, and much more. She’s inspired by the beau­ti­ful things and the peo­ple that sur­round her every day. Look­ing at her tat­toos and work, you can see the cor­re­la­tion between the two:

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Interview

Interview: Alex Citrin Talks Coming of Age and Her Magazine, “Until Now”

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Have ya’ll heard of Until Now? If not, then you’re in for a treat. It’s a pub­li­ca­tion start­ed by illustrator/art direc­tor Alex Cit­rin and fea­tures sto­ries about com­ing of age (AKA the tran­si­tion from child­hood to adult­hood). Per­son­al­ly, I love the­se types of tales — they are by far my favorite sub­ject to con­sume. So, need­less to say that when I heard Alex was pro­duc­ing this for her grad­u­ate the­sis, I was excit­ed.

Alex was a cohort of mine in MICA’s MFA Illus­tra­tion Prac­tice pro­gram, where we’re encour­aged to think about illus­tra­tion dif­fer­ent­ly and push the field to new places. As a result, the first issue of Until Now fea­tures a ton of great illus­tra­tion show­cased in gor­geous, large spreads.

I had the plea­sure of inter­view­ing her about being an art direc­tor and her love of com­ing of age tales. This is a long-form inter­view, but stick with it. Alex is hilar­i­ous and has some great things to say.

until now magazine

So, I’ll spare you answer­ing a lot of ques­tions that you’ve already cov­ered, but for those that aren’t famil­iar with Until Now, how would you describe it? How long had you been think­ing about putting a pub­li­ca­tion like this togeth­er?

Until Now is a mag­a­zine about com­ing of age, although I envi­sion the read­er­ship to be broad­er than just those cur­rent­ly com­ing of age them­selves. I sup­pose I’d been think­ing about pro­duc­ing a col­lec­tion of sto­ries relat­ed to this top­ic for a while, though in dif­fer­ent forms — col­lages, pho­to essays, a graph­ic novel…those ideas were reflec­tive of my focus­es at the time (a col­lege art major, band pho­tog­ra­pher, and illus­tra­tor, respec­tive­ly).

I’ve always been obsessed with doc­u­men­ta­tion and I am also a believ­er in the tra­di­tion­al print mag­a­zine as a medi­um for com­mu­ni­ca­tion as well as a kind of art object. Basi­cal­ly, I’m a com­plete lud­dite. Con­sid­er­ing the vast cul­tur­al reach of your aver­age main­stream mag­a­zine, though, there’s still some­thing not quite seri­ous about the for­mat. I think there’s room to play with that con­tra­dic­tion. Sim­i­lar­ly, com­ing of age sto­ries are typ­i­cal­ly rel­e­gat­ed to the “less seri­ous” YA sec­tion of the library or with­in mag­a­zi­nes aimed exclu­sive­ly at teens. I’m still fas­ci­nat­ed by com­ing of age sto­ries at age 27.

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Interview

Interview: Angela Dalinger and Nicholas Stevenson Talk about Their New Show

Nicholas Stevenson

Nicholas Steven­son

If I had my druthers, I’d be in Lon­don right now and attend­ing the open­ing for Home Sweet Home at Atom­i­ca Gallery on Thurs­day. The exhi­bi­tion fea­tures the work of two artists: Ange­la Dalinger and Nicholas Steven­son. They col­lab­o­rat­ed and cre­at­ed a series of imag­i­nary homes that allows you to indul­ge on voyeurism that we all love so much.

I find rooms real­ly intrigu­ing (remem­ber how much I love Anna Valdez’s paint­ings?), so you know I’m into the work in this show. Plus, I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to inter­view Dalinger and Steven­son about Home Sweet Home, which you’ll find below. Their answers are great.

The show is up from August 14 to Sep­tem­ber 11 of this year. Atom­i­ca Gallery is locat­ed at 29 Shorts Gar­dens, Lon­don WC2H 9AP.

Angela Dalinger

Ange­la Dalinger

Since this exhi­bi­tion cen­ters around voyeurism, do you find your­self active­ly peo­ple watch­ing, too?

Nicholas: Absolute­ly, when you’re on the upper deck of a bus in Lon­don, you can see all sorts through win­dows… Usu­al­ly it’s just real sparse and ugly decor, some­times you think you see some­thing real­ly inter­est­ing but you don’t quite get time to catch it. Is he naked or just wear­ing a pink body suit? Is that a huu­uge cat? I often look at anony­mous doors and dull facades and won­der what goes on inside. My paint­ings try and imag­ine the more excit­ing pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios.

Ange­la: I can’t say that it’s one of my hob­bies to stalk peo­ple, I’m any­way always too afraid they might stare back, may­be from the cor­ner of my eye. When I’m on the bus or train I always feel forced to lis­ten to peo­ples con­ver­sa­tion, even if its the most bor­ing small talk you’ve ever heard.

Nicholas Stevenson

Nicholas Steven­son

I love the dark themes in the­se images. What do you imag­ine the­se peo­ples’ lives to be? Who has it worse off?

Nicholas: In my paint­ings there a few insects which appear to be fac­ing per­se­cu­tion. Either the peo­ple are actu­al­ly very small, or the bugs are very big, but at any rate they don’t seem to be get­ting on too well with each oth­er.

As far as Angela’s work goes, she paint­ed a giant being killed with a gar­den­ing tool in an allot­ment. It’s hard to say whether it was in self defence or not, but I paint­ed the giant a nice funer­al, because I got the feel­ing he might have been a lit­tle mis­un­der­stood.

Ange­la: I often try to paint stu­pid peo­ple but when I see the paint­ings I don’t think they are as stu­pid as they are sup­posed to be. They most­ly feel mis­placed and stuck in an uncom­fort­able sit­u­a­tion.

I think the wom­en in Nicholas paint­ing that seems to have a rela­tion­ship with a giant insect got it worse off, or may­be its my girl in the bath­tub with a hor­ri­ble case of trots.

Angela Dalinger

Ange­la Dalinger

Before this show opens, you’ve nev­er met Ange­la face-to-face. How did you get to know her ini­tial­ly, and what do you think it’ll be like once you meet “in real life?”

Nicholas: We met through our blogs, and an obvi­ous affin­i­ty between our art­work. There’s a cer­tain kind of the very wild, painty brüt illus­tra­tion were both cham­pi­oning and col­lect­ing. I real­ly have no idea what it’ll be like to hang out in real life! But I’m hop­ing we can work on a few last min­ute pieces for the exhi­bi­tion togeth­er and I can show her some good parts of Lon­don. I get the feel­ing we both real­ly like paint­ing, so if all else fails we can do that all week, ha.

Nicolas Stevenson

Nicholas Steven­son

How did you find the process of work­ing vir­tu­al­ly close with the oth­er per­son? Is this your first time col­lab­o­rat­ing like this? Who start­ed the con­ver­sa­tions of the paint­ings?

Ange­la: Actu­al­ly it was Nicholas that start­ed the con­ver­sa­tion with my paint­ings and its a very great­com­pli­ment to get. He did a funer­al paint­ing for my dead giant and let him­self also inspire
by my colour palet­te, although I didn’t know I have a speci­fic one, but he told me so. I nev­er col­lab­o­rat­ed like this before, I wish I’d have some­one liv­ing near that would come around and spend the evening paint­ing some crazy stuff.

Angela Dalinger

Ange­la Dalinger

Interview

My Chat with Steven Peterman of The Sketchbook Project

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Have ya’ll heard of The Sketch­book Project? If not, then let me give you a brief intro­duc­tion: it’s a Brook­lyn-based com­pa­ny that orga­nizes col­lab­o­ra­tive endeav­ors. They gained fame with The Sketch­book Project, which is a crowd-sourced library that fea­tures over 31,000 (!!) artists’ books con­tribut­ed by peo­ple around the world. Cur­rent­ly, they have that and oth­er chal­lenges for you to par­tic­i­pate in.

I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to chat with Steven Peter­man, the co-founder and direc­tor of The Sketch­book Project, about it and their new­ly-launched web­site. It allows you to con­nect with art­work and artists in a more dig­i­tal­ly engag­ing way.

the sketchbook project

The Sketch­book Project was first start­ed in 2006 while Steven and his friends were in col­lage. He said they were try­ing to come up with ways to make “gallery space less intim­i­dat­ing and more acces­si­ble,” and this idea was the one that stuck. It also became insane­ly pop­u­lar, grow­ing from 2,000 sign ups at the begin­ning to 20,000 in 2010 (it cur­rent­ly has between 8,000 and 10,000 peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ing). The gain in num­bers was organ­ic, as Steven explains that peo­ple want to be apart of a com­mu­ni­ty.

Digital-and-In-person-SearcIf you want to view the sketch­books in per­son, you can do so at the Brook­lyn Art Library; it hous­es the col­lec­tion in phys­i­cal form. But, what if you can’t make it all the way to Brook­lyn? Have no fear — this is where the web­site redesign comes in.  With the exten­sive dig­i­tal library, you can browse the books from any­where in the world. Steven was telling me all about it — you can cre­ate col­lec­tions, share work that you like, and even search by the­me. It’s a way to pro­mote cre­atives that you love and even find new peo­ple to col­lab­o­rate with.

In-depth-Searching

the sketchbook project

So, check it out! One thing that Steven men­tioned was the sim­i­lar­i­ties you see among books and projects from dis­parate peo­ple. It’s inter­est­ing how trends — col­ors, imagery, pat­terns, and more — per­me­ate cul­ture and are expressed through­out the world. This is expressed with as sim­ple as the same fab­ric on the cov­er or the same the­mat­ic images.

Illustration, Interview

Piccolo Print Project: Interview with Michael C. Hsiung

Lisa Per­rin and I con­duct­ed anoth­er inter­view with an illus­tra­tor of our Píc­colo Print Project, a cam­paign we are also run­ning on Kick­starter. This inter­view first appeared on our Tum­blr.

Through the Print Project, Píc­colo has had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work with 4 tal­ent­ed illus­tra­tors. But, who are the peo­ple behind the images? We inter­viewed them in our series, Píc­colo Por­traits!

If you love Michael’s work, be sure to sup­port our Kick­starter and pur­chase one of his prints!

Píc­colo: Can you tell us a lit­tle bit about your back­ground?

Michael C. Hsi­ung: My name is Michael C. Hsi­ung and I was born in Chi­na­town, Los Ange­les.  I wasn’t always mak­ing art for a liv­ing – I actu­al­ly grad­u­at­ed with an Eng­lish Degree and was work­ing in schools, muse­ums, and even at a back­ground inves­ti­ga­tion com­pa­ny before even think­ing of mak­ing art.  I’ve been real­ly lucky to have had such a nice run so far, and I attrib­ute it to my facial hair.  

P: What was the inspi­ra­tion behind your piece for the Píc­colo Print Project?

MCHMy love of the cir­cus and per­form­ers (clowns/muscle men/stiltwalkers) was the inspi­ra­tion behind the Pic­colo piece. 

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P: What are your favorite techniques/mediums to use when you cre­ate your work?

MCH: My favorite medi­um would prob­a­bly be ink, micron pens, and rapi­do­graphs, and my favorite tech­nique is pat­tern­ing with semi cir­cles.

P: Do you think the field of illus­tra­tion is chang­ing? And if so, how?

MCHI think the field of illus­tra­tion is chang­ing as far as I can tell, though not real­ly being an illus­tra­tor in the tra­di­tion­al sense, but I think that its eas­ier for artists to get his or her stuff out there now with the var­i­ous social sites, forums, and com­mu­ni­ty groups. 

P: What are your favorite small things in life?

MCHMy favorite small things  are prob­a­bly dice, like 20 sid­ed dice because I’m a lover of all things fan­ta­sy and Dun­geons & Drag­ons relat­ed. [Sara’s note — This made me very hap­py because I too am a D&D play­er.]

P: What’s on the hori­zon for you — any excit­ing projects you’re work­ing on?

MCHI’ll be hav­ing a two-week solo show called So Far, So Good, So What! Feb­ru­ary 8th at THIS, LA gallery in High­land Park. I’m real­ly excit­ed because it’ll be my first time in a long while show­ing works, and I plan to have lots of draw­ings, a print, and a reprint of a zine that recent­ly sold out called Booze, Dudes, & Bears.  Also, I’m be doing a print with Poster Child Prints some­time this year which I’m very excit­ed about, as well as par­tic­i­pat­ing in a group show Out of Town­ers which opens some­time in April at the See­ing Things Gallery in San Jose. 

Thanks, Michael!