Guest Post: Susi Kenna // @susikenna
At the studio of Richard Phillips, New York, NY (01/11) standing in front of Chase Crawford (2010)
There are four things that truly inspire me:
1. Meeting artists and visiting their studios.
2. Building the art collection of my dreams. (Slowly, but surely.)
3. Being around, seeing and learning about art. (Historical and contemporary.)
4. Working with artists on projects, collaborations and exhibitions.
The desire to blend what I love, with what I do, is what led me to launch The Creatives Agency in 2010. The company focuses on different areas where artists and art markets intersect, and I concentrate on ways that I can connect the right talents to the right opportunities. I manage artists and their brands, build portfolio websites, teach social media, curate and produce special projects, and advise collectors on artwork that I whole-heartedly believe in. A big part of this means engaging with the artist community and staying up to date with what’s happening in the art world. A necessity that requires me to make time for art fairs, museum shows, gallery exhibitions and my all-time favorite––artist studio visits.
Over the last 8 or so years I’ve visited about 50 studios. Of all the different ways a person can experience art, I feel that spending time with an artist in their studio is by far the most incredible. In 2010, I became inspired to start documenting my all of my studio visits and art-world experiences, with the exception of where cameras weren’t permitted.
Depending on what the visit is like, I take between 30 and 200 photographs and edit them down to a 10, 20 or 30-piece curated set, which is then posted to my blog. A process I am meticulous about, because presenting the artist, their space and their work in a beautiful light is key. It gives other artists the confidence to let me photograph in the future, and other art lovers an interesting way to learn about new art, and the life of an artist at work in their studio.
Below you'll find my musings about the beauty of doing studio visits; a little information about each featured artist; along with a few of my most favorite pictures taken on my visits to the studios of Andrea Mary Marshall, Andrei Petrov, Barnaby Hosking, Carl Eckhoff, Emet Sosna, Jake and Dinos Chapman, JD Walsh, Julio Cesar Gonzalez, Nick Kramer, Michael Alan, Patrick Jackson, Richard Phillips, Ryan Humphrey, Steven Shein and Trong Nguyen.
1. Barnaby Hosking explaining his technique of playing with surfaces, space, and light as well as their absence. The same technique he used to make the BUTTERFLIES 2010 series included in his February 2011 solo show at Charles Bank Gallery in New York. (Taken during the week of Frieze at Barnaby’s studio in East London. November 2010.)
2. Julio Cesar Gonzalez at his studio in Brooklyn, shown with Sharpie marker drawings created in collaboration with Colt Hausman. (Taken in August 2010 on my first visit to Julio’s studio to see his work and to discuss a project, later titled So So, Incredibly Beautiful.)
3. Nick Kramer surrounded by sculptures and drawings at his studio in West Beverly. (Taken on an art trip to Los Angeles in January 2011.)
4. Andrei Petrov in front of the only blank wall in his Lower East Side studio, presenting two drawings used as studies for his large-scale abstract paintings. (Taken on my third visit to Andrei’s studio in the spring of 2011.)
5. Andrea Mary Marshall being photographed in her studio by Elisa Goodkind for her feature on Style Like U. To her left is Dear John (Re-Titled, Refused Gift For A Lover) (Self Portrait), an oil painting from her 2010 nude portrait series. (Taken during her photo shoot in April 2011.)
6. Carl Eckhoff at work in his 'out of this world' studio filled with art, magazine cutouts, photographs, action figures, collectibles, books and more. (Taken on my first visit to Carl’s studio in May 2001, which was also the first time I met him.)
7. Ryan Humphrey standing next to a custom made candelabra created for the launch of Kyle DeWoody and Manish Vora’s Grey Area. Note: this photo in no way represents the totality of Ryan’s wild Williamsburg studio. (Taken in July 2011, shortly after meeting Ryan at the Whitney Art Party and asking if I could do a visit!)
8. Emet Sosna shown in his studio with his painting, Me You Be, made from oil, ink, acrylic, silk on rice papers glue to canvas. (Taken at Emet’s Lower East Side studio in July 2011, two months before his group show at Spattered Columns in Soho.)
9. Patrick Jackson shown with a scaled model of a large doughnut-shaped sculpture he plans on building from cardboard for this next show. (Taken during my January 2011 art trip to Los Angeles.)
Discovering what the inside of an artist's studio looks like is what fascinates me most about doing visits. Some studios are very minimalistic, free of visual distractions and personal items. Others are wild and highly personal, filled––sometimes packed with––objects and images that represent the artist’s private life and personal style. More so than anything else, the thing that stands out to me the most is that although different artists use studios for the same purposes, I’ve yet to see two of a kind.
1. Studio of video and multimedia artist, JD Walsh. (Brooklyn, New York)
2. Studio of painter and photographer. Andrei Petrov. (New York, New York)
3. Studio of painter and photographer, Emet Sosna. (New York, New York)
4. Studio of painter, illustrator, sculptor and installation artist, Carl Eckhoff. (New York, New York)
5. Studio of sculptor and painter, Nick Kramer. (Los Angeles, California)
6. Studio of sculptor, furniture maker, jewelry and fashion designer, Steven Shein. (Los Angeles, California)
7. Studio of sculptor, installation and performance artist, Patrick Jackson. (Los Angeles, California)
8. Studio of painter, illustrator, sculptor and founder / director of The Living Installation, Michael Alan. (New York, New York)
9. Studio of sculptor, painter, printmaker, designer and installation artist, Ryan Humphrey. (Brooklyn, New York)
Doing a visit to an artist’s studio is the ideal way to see where and how they make their ideas happen––and at the same time get to know them and their artwork on a personal level. Visits reveal a behind-the-scenes look into their creative zone. A kind of experience that is meaningful on many levels, such as a better understanding of their concepts and intentions, and an awareness of how and why they use certain techniques. Often times a studio visit means ‘anything goes’, which translates to: ask anything that comes to mind. Learning background info like where their inspiration comes from, and how their work relates to where they are in life can turn out to be meaningful knowledge. No matter what, studio visits become memorable experiences that allow you to connect to the work in ways that may never be possible in a commercial, corporate or institutional setting.
1. Patrick Jackson holding up a sample of a material, made from actual newspaper, used to construct an earlier work titled, Newspaper Brick Wall. For his newest body of work titled House of Double, Jackson takes on creating almost identical life-size and life-like fictional figures, partially made from casts of his own hands, body and face.
2. Well known for his art-focused furniture, Steven Shein loves to experiment, such as this original concept for a floor light. Shein is also the founder and sole designer of the jewelry line, Neivz (pronounced Knives).
3. Emet Sosna’s work combines old world, high art painting traditions with contemporary subject matter, and techniques to create representational paintings the deal with questioning the meaning of self-expression. (Left: The corner of Around, a painting created from oil, ink, acrylic, palladium leaf on rice papers. Right: A custom-designed paintbrush used to create the brushstrokes found in his painting Coupe, SUV, Sedan.)
4. Pictured is a signature line drawing by Michael Alan that he creates using a mixture of mediums––many of which are featured here. Alan’s work deals in using art to document the intangible realities of our bodies and minds through abstract drawings of figures and spaces that are not meant to conform or define our way of thinking.
5. Andrea Mary Marshall reinvents herself as highly developed characters and creates self-portraits through the use of several mediums including painting, film and photography. These characters are meticulously crafted through the use of fashion, makeup, wigs, prosthetics and props. For example, 'Loretta Minx' smokes Marlboro cigarettes. One of several elements repeated throughout Andrea's paintings, photography and short films that feature the 'Loretta' character.
6. Jake and Dinos Chapman's art became notorious by way of 'Sensation'––the Saatchi sponsored exhibit that Mayor Giuliani tried to shut down at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1999. Over a decade later, The Chapmans continue to make iconic sculptures, prints and installations––namely Hell and Fucking Hell––both of which contain tens of thousands of 2-inch-high figures depicting gruesome scenes. Around 2002 they began portraying McDonald’s characters as a way of examining contemporary culture, a theme that has continued to appear in much of their work since. This image, taken at their studio outside of London, shows figures that combine both themes, which will be used in part to create an upcoming installation.
7. Much like Carl Eckhoff’s artwork, his studio is saturated in neon colors, dazzling patterns and humorous tidbits taken from pop culture. Mixed in with current events, classic books and an overall appreciation for life. The pile in the picture may look random to some, but it is actually a pile of resources, content, materials and information used as inspiration by Eckhoff when working in his studio.
8. Julio Cesar Gonzalez went from studying how to make film and video using ‘machines’, to making machines inspired by the elements of film and video. Gonzalez’s work combines light, color, sound, motion, and moving images to create kinetic sculptures and rotograms (photographs that spin on the wall). For So So, Incredibly Beautiful, an experimental collaboration with artist Carlos Charlie Perez, he created 5 kinetic sculptures using LED neon flex, aluminum, wood and machinery. Above is picture of Liquid Neon (Round & Round 1) while still a work in progress in his studio. It, along with its corresponding photograph Ghost of Liquid Neon, are the largest and most significant pieces from his 2010 body of work.
9. In 2002, Trong Nguyen began a long-term project called Humanitarian Not Heros (HNH). Operating like a consumer brand does, Nguyen takes on a role he describes as “artist-as-company” and creates limited edition consumable objects-as-art, that get branded differently each year under the HNH label. These objects, which range from t-shirts to minimalist graffiti kits, are distributed and made available for purchase at participating locations. The above image shows Nguyen flipping through the 2004 product, 200 Year Calendar, 1986––a paper calendar and flipbook designed to depict a killer asteroid striking the earth.
ANDREA MARY MARSHALL -- New York, NY -- http://www.andreamarymarshall.com
ANDREI PETROV -- New York, NY (Lower East Side) -- http://www.andreipetrov.com/
BARNABY HOSKING -- London, England -- www.barnabyhosking.com
CARL ECKHOFF -- New York, NY (Inwood) -- http://www.elwaproductions.com/carl-eckhoff/
CARLOS CHARLIE PEREZ -- Brooklyn, NY (Greenpoint) -- http://www.carloscharlieperez.com
EMET SOSNA -- New York, NY (Lower East Side) -- http://www.emetsosna.com/
JAKE AND DINOS CHAPMAN -- London, England -- http://www.jakeanddinoschapman.com/
JD WALSH -- Brooklyn, NY (Williamsburg) -- http://jdwalsh.com/
JULIO CESAR GONZALEZ -- Brooklyn, NY (Greenpoint) -- http://creat.rs/gqB7Jn
NICK KRAMER -- Los Angeles, CA (West Beverly) -- http://nickkramer.blogspot.com/
MICHAEL ALAN -- New York, NY (TriBeCa) -- http://www.michaelalanart.com/art/
PATRICK JACKSON -- Los Angeles, CA (Boyle Heights) -- http://patrickjacksonblog.blogspot.com/
RICHARD PHILLIPS -- New York, NY (Chelsea) -- http://www.gagosian.com/artists/richard-phillips
RYAN HUMPHREY -- Brooklyn, NY (Williamsburg) -- http://humphreyindustries.com/
TRONG NGUYEN -- Brooklyn, NY (Greenpoint) -- http://www.cameandwent.com/tgnprojects.html [His upcoming solo show: Domestic God____ opens Friday, September 9 at Coleman Burke Gallery in NYC.]