Issue I 

Featuring work by: 

Justin Blackmon

Avery Campbell

Madeline Fluharty  

Jessica Holt

Savanna Jubic 

Freya Kingsley

Karolina Romanowska

Amy Shelton 

Alicia Mutlu

   

"The Great Conjunction"

Justin Blackmon

You recently participated in your local towns "art drop"; were participating artist hid art for locals to find; how was this experience for you overall?

 Community engagement has always been important to me. The idea of having a treasure hunt for art was great. I donated a few originals and gave out clues on social media. To my surprise they were all found and posted back to me. It was a very humbling experience and I can’t wait to do it again.

 

How do you come up with an idea, and start the process for a piece?

I find inspiration in just about everything. It could be conversation, walking in the woods, music, reading, or even thought. Finding the right perspective then placing the emotion on top of that. That’s how I start every project.

 

Any words of wisdom for those struggling to push forward with their art?

Art has no limits. Don’t ever limit yourself as to what you can and can not do. Remember that you are indeed special and you must tell your story. Creation is a precious resource.

 

Instagram: antwood_

Website: https://www.antwoodworkshop.com/

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Avery Campbell

 How do you go about selecting an image to paint?

I paint my own pictures that I take. Sometimes I will be in a moment and realize it would be the perfect painting. Other times, I go through my camera roll and find a picture that I took in the past that I thought would be too difficult to paint at the time and finally just go for it.

Not only painting- you have done mosaics, sculpting, glasswork and more; what was it like teaching yourself these processes?

 I have always been the type of person that learns through doing. Rarely do I get it right the first time. It’s usually trial and error, which is okay because I love the process. I think being self taught enables me to be more experimental with my art because I know there isn’t just one “right way” to do anything.

Any words of wisdom for those struggling to push forward with their work?

 When you create, do it as if there is no one else in the world to impress or please. Don’t forget the feeling of seeing a piece come together even better than you could have ever imagined.

Instagram: acamp5351art

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"Le Je' Raff"

Madeline Fluharty

How it's going transitioning from in the studio- to working out of your small apartment; and how do you feel this transition may effect your future endeavors?

The transition of working out of a small space has been both a blessing and has its difficulties. For one, it can be challenging to work from a small and limited space, as it’s made even some of the simplest tasks much more complicated than they need to be. But, a huge plus, and something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, is how pressure from difficult situations (or work environments) forces me to be a lot more creative and efficient with what I have and what space I do have. So in the long run it’s kind of cool to know that this process and the frustrations of working out of a small space will be really helpful in growing my creativity, dedication, and problem solving skills in the long run. An awesome quote I heard recently went something like this- pressure is what causes creativity to work best.

Any words of wisdom for those struggling to push forward with their art?

Keeping that quote in mind has helped me embrace the challenges and appreciate them despite how uncomfortable and frustrating they can make creating art at times. When I’m too comfortable I don’t often push myself. So bring on the challenges I guess!

 

One other word of advice I would give artists is to just keep creating. I have to remind myself of that OFTEN. It’s hard. Inspiration doesn’t always “hit” when we want it to. Some good advice I’ve gotten is to just keep creating even when you don’t feel like it. Inspiration doesn’t just smack you in the face usually. Be looking and actively pursuing your passion, even when you’re not feeling the most passionate about it.

 

Instagram: madelinelivelyart

Website: https://www.madelinelivelyart.com/

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Jessica Holt

Your work has a spectrum from realistic to complete caricature, how do you decide to combine or select one in your works?     

That’s an awesome question. Caricatures are actually much harder for me to do but I find them hilarious so I’ve been trying to get better ever since I discovered them. A lot of times the best gift is a combo of the two, so when I can I try to combine them. It takes a lot of practice to get it right, but the most recent time worked pretty well, I sketched the outlines with pencil, then outlined it with sharpie (dolla store sharpies huney), and then shaded in some color with colored pencil. A lot of times color is hard to add but when it works it’s much better than black and white.

How do you decide on the materials you use when starting a piece?

Ah great next question! I was just talking about that, lately I’ve been doing the pencil-sharpie-colored pencil combo (and I erase the pencil outline) when doing caricature. When I do something realistic lately I’ve been going with chalk because I’ve had good luck with that in the past and I also have some on hand. The one in this picture is actually something different I just started trying during quarantine – I experimented with some watercolor crayons on canvas and it actually sticks on there. Folks gotta be careful to not get them wet though.

Any words of wisdom for those struggling to push forward with their work?

Ah words of wisdom… I would say to not hold yourself back and try to find time to do every idea you can. Best advice I find is to do things regularly, like at least 5 min a day. I find that advice bleeds onto other aspects of life not just art as well. Don’t question yourself or question how others will accept your art or you in general. U R FANTASTIC ♥

Instagram: jessartsnfarts

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"It Always Feels Like It's Always Like This" 

Savanna Jubic

Recently featured work in Chicago bases show “On the Record”-  This exhibition is a presentation of works by artists who currently, or in the past, worked as artist assistants to notable Chicago artists. This common and accepted practice of making work for an artist, without being named, raises questions about labor, visibility, and ethics in the art world. In a field that places great emphasis and value on authorship and signature, the working artist-to-artist relationship remains relatively unexamined. (artsandpubliclife.org)

How was your experience while participating in “On the Record”?

 On the Record was a really exciting show for me show but definitely a different experience from usual. The show was originally meant to happen in March but got postponed when the pandemic hit, and ended up taking place virtually in the fall instead. I was bummed to not have an opening or gallery hours where people could see the work, but Arts + Public Life put together a great web page that showed the work really well, and I got to spend some socially distanced time with Brittany and Greg, the other artists in the show. All things considered it was a great experience and I hope I get to work with the gallery and artists again.

How do you select the phrases you incorporate in your pieces?

Reading and music both play a big role in my practice. The majority of my phrases come from books or lyrics that I’ve tweaked or rewritten to fit. In my recent work I’ve been looking for phrases that serve as double entendres, lending to an ambiguity in whether the emotion alluded to is a personal feeling or one of global stress surrounding current issues.

Any wisdom for those struggling to push forward with their work?

I think it’s super important to make sure you’re feeding your brain if you’re struggling in your practice, whatever form that takes for you. I personally find reading and language really fuels my practice, but other people need socialization or music, etc. You need things going in if you want ideas to come out. Secondly I think it’s important to treat your practice as a job if you want it to contribute to your income. This is hard when you have a day job and other responsibilities to take care of, but setting aside time every day to make work and apply to grants and shows really makes a huge difference over time.

Instagram: savjubic               

website: https://savannahjubic.com/

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Freya Kingsley

How did you get into stained glass and would you recommend a similar path for those interested in pursuing it?

My sister in law bought a half day course as a birthday gift a couple of years back. I in turn bought a friend the same voucher so we could go together and instantly fell in love with it. I am creative by nature so I picked it up fairly easily and after visiting the same teacher a couple of times I bought my own starter kit (perfectly timed with the first lock down so plenty of time to practice!) I started making bits and gifting them for free, then I started getting enquiries from strangers! I thought I’d give it as go as a business and to my total disbelief here I am taking commissions! I would 100% recommend stained glass. It’s a new challenge compared to a lot of styles of making out there. Very hands on, lots of stages, lots of tools required, and truly a lot of practice! But the effects different glasses create and the colours and textures you can find feel endless!! It’s very satisfying.

Your hanging art is beautiful, but you have also done a 3D piece; is this something you’d like to try out again?

 I made a 3D terrarium/candle surround for a friend and love it! Definitely something new for me and something I would love to do more of! As all my pieces are commissions I just need someone to want another box! 😉

Any words of wisdom for those struggling to push forward with their art?

 I guess don’t beat yourself up, step back and remember you’re making because you love it. It’s calming and therapeutic and it’s not supposed to be stressful. Watch videos on how to improve and look back on older work to see how far you’ve come already! I always take solace in the fact that I am learning and getting better at something. As an adult there aren’t that many things you get to learn unless you’re proactive enough to teach yourself so enjoy it!

Instagram: northviewglass

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 "Tassels"   and  "Evergreen" 

Amy Shelton

What often strikes you to take a photograph?

I work as a photographer so I’m forced to carry my camera everywhere throughout the entire city of Chicago. Most of the time, I’ll take a picture just because I happen upon something peculiar, wholesome, or funny. Other times, it’s as simple as the lighting was just really nice or the color pallet was beautiful.

Are there any other mediums you are currently working with or plan to work with?

I’m getting more interested in making work that can engage a community. I’ve been working with an art collective called Purple Window Gallery since April last year. We’ve curated shows in windows and engaged with more community driven projects like community gardening, mail art, and teaching art classes. I’m really inspired by Jason Lazarus and Tonika Johnson at the moment.

Any wisdom for those struggling to move forward with their art ?

I graduated from art school in 2017 and barely made any photographs for a year partially because my camera was stolen, but also because I was working two jobs. I started shooting photos on shitty disposable cameras and started to have fun again.

Art school put in my head that everything you make has to be so meaningful or so precise but at the end of the day. It’s okay to make a picture of something that just makes you laugh or feel something ANYTHING. Make some shitty weird stuff it might turn out great if you’re brave enough to just make something.

https://www.amysheltonphotography.com/

Instagram: amyownsacamera

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Karolina Romanowska

How did you decide to focus mainly on masks?

Honestly, it just happened. I was in the studio 4 years ago and in between projects,  I had some slabs left over and thought I would make a mask. My work has always been figural so whatever I was working on at the time had a face or a body-like shape. This was also a time when I was just becoming familiar with Eskimo and Inuit wearable art, found object Folk Art and the history of mask making and their ritual purpose. Those ritual, transformative yet simple themes and aesthetics were a huge inspirational force in my first masks.

Do you feel your own identity ties in which each of your pieces?

 Yes I do, but this is not an essential part of my practice. Being creatively productive and making it sustainable for myself both physically and emotionally is what creates an overall  happiness in my life. Overthinking every piece I make is just not a part of my process. Often I will look back at a piece I made years ago and think about where I was at with my life at that time and think wow! THAT’S what I was trying to say? For me, working in clay is a true definition of freedom. Freedom can be scary. You are the creator and you can make ANYTHING…what will you choose? Those thoughts kept me from making art for many years, it was my fear of not knowing what to say because I was lost. These days studio-time is more of a meditative practice than ever before, a mind-set of letting my brain and hands play, and in that moment of self-acceptance and freedom my unfiltered identity can travel from my brain to my hands and make itself into a piece of art.

Not every piece I make feels like an extension of me, some are pure experiments and fails but the general idea is the same, to let myself play.

Any words of wisdom for artists struggling to push forward with their work?

Just like any relationship your relationship with the material or your body of work can get polluted by external pressures and expectations. Accepting this blockage as part of the creative process is essential, however, it doesn’t make it any easier when you have a deadline. This is a tough one because we are all different and our personal struggle finds its way into us differently. Sometimes, I take a break. I might need to just take a break and hide for a couple of days. General fatigue and feeling overworked and overwhelmed is a good reason to escape to the woods or go on a hike or stare into a fire, or do whatever helps me quiet those external voices. However, when it's a tiny-in-studio-struggle of:  I’m here, I’m present but kind of bored with my work type-of struggle..then I just try to reconnect with my material.  In those moments of creative obstruction I  make my studio session purely about the sensory experience, focusing on the body of clay and my body’s impact on it. I punch and scratch the clay, I throw it and stretch it. I focus on the movement, moment and the material. The act of random movements and mark making creates an opportunity for something instinctual and unfiltered to come along, something that might break the creative funk and push the work and the maker forward.

Instagram: karolinasculpture

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Alicia Mutlu

all remaining images ♥ 

instagram: yeahfuckyeah

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THANK YOU ! TO ALL THE ARTIST THAT PARTICIPATED IN THIS FIRST ISSUE!