Frank X. Smith

"I approach each work as an opportunity to create something new and visually compelling to the viewer. The principles of good design, including repetition of shape and color and occult balance, influence and inform all my work, both my figurative and abstract pieces."

Valor - Acrylic 27 x 34 in. (framed)

"I have devoted my entire professional career to art, working as an illustrator, graphic designer, painter, and art teacher. My paintings are characterized by abstract association, recognizable form, and two-dimensional flat shapes and color with outline. My style is contemporary and highly individual, utilizing both geometric and free-form shapes and often combining both in a single work. From largely figurative, illustrative work characterized by recognizable shapes, over time, my work has become increasingly non-objective."

 

Education

- Graduate, Philadelphia College of Art (formerly Industrial School of Art, Philadelphia Museum School; now University of the Arts), Philadelphia PA, Illustration Major

- University of the Arts, Philadelphia PA, Computer Graphics: Illustrator, Photo Shop, Quark

Struck It Rich! - Acrylic 27 x 36 in. (framed)
Change - Acrylic 19 x 31 in. (framed)
The Other World - Acrylic 27 x 34 in. (framed)
Eve - Acrylic 30 x 40 in. (framed)

This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


 

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mySERENA

mySERENA asks the question: "We are all here to experience human life, but how?" She searches for ideals. The sense of simple yet mystical complexity is her perspective of contemporary life in relationship to the energy of the universe, placing importance on psychological serenity and humanity

Life Element 2003 - Acrylic on canvas 91.5 x 61.5 cm

mySERENA, Serena Ho May Yin, who is an exceptional artist and writer, lives in Hong Kong S.A.R. and is on her first international tour of exhibitions. She is known as a mutli-talented artist as she is well-learned in many knowledge subjects including music, sport, maths, and science; besides art and literature. She merges the essence of knowledge and experience into her work with a higher focus on humanity. Before her graduation from Stanford University, her art fashion shop (2009) opened in Hong Kong. She subsequently debuted her solo in Hong Kong City Hall (2018) and was said to be the youngest female painter to have done so. She has had a round tour of exhibitions since then in other cities around China, Asia, Europe and the U.S., while she also published three books on ‘Serenity’ with Moon Publishers (2019-2021).

mySERENA asks the question: "We are all here to experience human life, but how?"

Her critically acclaimed series ‘Life Element’ that features a mystical form of signature light halo – explores the ‘Qi’ that can connect people as well as everything else in this universe. Minimal yet otherworldly, an audience enjoying this series seems to enter the spiritual realm at close range. Each light halo yet has its own texture and colour as it was created with her original way of combining classical painting and metalsmithing methods. Then her installation-like painting, ‘Alchemy’ is just as ground-breaking. Her unique approach of using fire along with paint is different from what we would usually see in a piece of painting. It resembles the energy in nature that cannot fully be controlled by any human being is indeed thought-provoking. 

Life Element 2005 - Acrylic on canvas 76 x 76 cm
Alchemy Renewal - Acrylic on canvas 76 x 76 cm
Alchemy Breakthrough - Acrylic on canvas 95 x 130 cm
Life Element 2006 - Acrylic on canvas 76 x 76 cm

This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


 

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Mague Brewer

"The energy that comes through me, and materializes in my art, invites us all to enjoy the choices, possibilities and certainties we can have and feel, as an invitation and not an imposition."

Certainty, 2016 - Acrylic and gouache on canvas, with semi-precious stones and metals arrangeable with magnets 152 x 122 cm

Mague Brewer was born in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico. She is a self-taught artist who began painting in 1999, while living in Russia. She developed her artistic style following moves to London in 2001, and to New York in 2010, where she remains.

Her artwork is based on intuition and reflects a continuing process of development and exploration within herself, inspired by her essence, roots, people and places. The artwork invites us to consider the possibilities in our lives and not to feel judged by what we choose to be, or what we possess. Through her artwork Mague expresses and materializes her experiences and choices, reminding us that the consequences of actions can be warm and colorful companions.

Mague's work can be found in private collections in Mexico, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Austria, Spain, Russian Federation and South Africa.

"Logos” - The unity which contains and transcends all opposing forces (Fridjot Capra), 2019 - Mixed media, linen, and carved wood frame (French 19th Century)115 x 135 cm
Comunidad y coincidir (diptych) It is good for us to be here! - New Testament: Matthew XVIII, 2009 - 4 Oil, metals, semi-precious stones on canvas Frames Parisian Haussman-era "bulls-eye" window frames, zinc Each frame 100 x 100 cm
We are all worthwhile, 2015 - Acrylic and gouache, silver, wood and semi-precious stones on canvas 152 x 183 cm
Nikolai Ogryskov's dream (triptych) - Open the window and the day will come; Open the window and the night will come; Open your heart and you will find peace, 2001 - Oil, brass and glass on linen Each 80 x 100 cm

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Kate Turning

"I aspire to incite a sense of awe in my work. To portray that transformational moment when the energy all around us is magnified, and our world becomes larger than life. To celebrate the archetype of The Hero in all its myriad forms."

Ancient and Still - Photographic print on ash birch panel 40 x 48 in.

Among Kate's major influences have been her deep love of painting in all its forms from the Old Masters to Pop Surrealism and the works of Joseph Campbell and his idea of 'The Hero.' She looks to incite a transformational moment in directing her subjects and strives to magnify the larger-than-life aspects whenever directing motion or creating individual images. Kate Turning is a hands-on creator and a fantastic collaborator with a great sense of humor; and believes that visual artists have a huge responsibility to create positive symbols that carry our human spirit forward.

Assignments and fine art projects have taken Kate as far afield as Tahiti, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Europe and Saudi Arabia. She has created unique and lyrical imagery for clients from pop stars to major consumer ad campaigns. Kate is a graduate of Art Center College of Design. She presently divides her time between New York, Los Angeles and her fortress of solitude deep in Mexico.

A Beautiful Day - Photographic print on birch panel 32 x 40 in.
Shards of Time - Photographic print on birch panel 32 x 40 in.
Romance - Photographic print on birch panel 32 x 40 in.
Secret World - Photographic print on birch panel 32 x 40 in.

This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


 

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Kirstine Mengel

Photography and space are opposites. Representing a three-dimensional space in two-dimensional photography – for the sake of the space – is mind-bending. When you think about it. And that is exactly what triggers Kirstine Mengel as a photographer and artist.

Stairs of wonder 03

Kirstine Mengel, born in 1873, is an award-winning Danish architectural photographer specializing in creating space and capturing the lines in architecture, art and design.

"My photographic style is influenced by visual calmness and purity, light and minimalism. I tell a visual story through the space I create in my photos; striving to generate visual calmness and sense of space. My eye for minimalism makes me perpetually strive for calmness in each image."

Stairs of wonder 05
Stairs of wonder 01
Stairs of wonder 04
Stairs of wonder 02

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Richard Chalquest

"I have been doing digital art for over ten years. I use Painter software with a few attachments to produce art pieces. I primarily create abstract art but do vary the format according to my interests such as a love for flowers. I have developed more than 200 digital art pieces."

Planets - Digital media 36 x 36 in.

"My life’s work has always been in research. I spent many years as a very serious photographer and after retirement transferred to digital art. When I started working with digital art, it was a very new field and I had to learn from tutorials for photography and adapt the techniques to art pieces. Later, specific software was developed which has made my work much simpler and has extended the horizon of potential art pieces."

Richard Chalquest is an American artist living and creating in San Diego.

Mellow Mood - Digital media 30 x 48 in.
More - Digital media 24 x 36 in.
Blue Squares - Digital media 24 x 40 in.
Face - Digital media 24 x 48 in.

This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


 

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Eric Wixon

Born 1977, United States

Lives in: Portland, OR, USA

Describe your art in 3 words: The search inward

See More Work:  http://www.ericwixon.com/

"I had a bitchin' Atari jacket as a kid that I wore while riding my dirt bike. One day I got lost and ran out of gas. After pushing my bike as far as I could I left it in a field. Crying, I walked on and eventually found a house. They called my folks and I got grounded because I was only allowed to ride close to home. Long story short, it was a shitty day. That said, exploration is never overrated."

What themes does your work involve?
Inner conflict / inner peace seems to be the most commonly recurring theme in my work. Often, my paintings attempt to process the whirlwind of emotions associated with the human experience. I find intent, meaning, and relation are all coincidental with creation, regardless truly personal work speaks to the collective consciousness.
Describe your creative process.
The house I grew up in had a bathtub with formica paneling in front of it; I remember repeatedly forming various mental images from that paneling as early as age 4. To this day I can remember a cat, the number 5, and a pair of scissors, amongst other imagery, but mostly I saw faces. I consider this to be my first artistic experience, and my creative process is still quite similar. I begin making marks without a predetermined notion, then search within the marks, and generally end up with strange multi-face imagery. It is an intuitive journey that usually gets solved about 3/4 of the way through the process. The last 1/4 of the process is just carrying out the actions to physically complete the piece. I tend to work in small series to prevent boredom and encourage exploration.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I believe my work is somehow the result of everything I've experienced, and that it primarily functions as a tool towards self-awareness.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Good art reflects an acute connection to, and relation of, personal experiences. Great art resonates those personal relations and connections at a societal scale over a period of time.
What is the role of the artist today?
The artists of today should be widely varied, each with their own role. As a whole though, the artist of today will reflect this period of time and affect the fundamental sense of self in the process.

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


Nicolas Castell

Born 1988, Argentina

Lives in: Granada, Spain

Describe your art in 3 words: Dreamer, curious, hard-working

See More Work:  https://www.nicolascastell.com

The Meeting - Digital media 21 x 31 cm

“I like to explore the limits of the imagination; there is a nice sense of travel and freedom in this way of creating. I would like to offer a little journey to the spectator with my work. Where he can relax, imagine and feel free.”

What themes does your work involve?
I enjoy telling stories with my work, with one picture or several, depends of the format, a single illustration, a series, children book or a comic book. On these stories I enjoy mixing fantasy with history, creating action in a special atmosphere. I love to learn from different cultures and times, usually I take elements of cultures I love and mix them in a particular scene. I specially love the japanese culture, I've worked with many projects using elements from Japan. For this particular piece I took inspiration from the work of Hiroshige, specially his picture of the Sugatami Bridge.
Describe your creative process.
It all begins with a session of studying the themes related to the scene I want to create. If I want to portray a kabuki scene I would spend some time researching kabuki costumes and actors, the poses, the old ukiyo e pictures that depicted them in old times, etc. Research and documentation is important in my process, because assures me that I'm creating something from knowledge, even if later I will add fantasy to the scene. Later the process is drawing on pencil (digital or paper), ink the picture on clip studio and adding colors on Photoshop.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
An influence is connected to what insterest you, what do you want to learn from it. It could be a culture in particular, or a special feeling, like feeling free, or feeling as a child, like Alexander Calder or Picasso wanted to explore. In my case it depends of the moment, but usually I enjoy adventure in different contexts, could be exploring the old Edo times, the forests from the ancient incas in Peru or the literature of Jorge Luis Borges. I make art to help the reader in that process of dreaming, to enjoy a journey with his imagination. I like to think that, not sure if I can provide always that service. Let's hope so!
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Good art is honest art, a direct connection to the within of the author, where he expresses human experience, his own personal experience. A master piece happens when the final piece within the framework and objectives the creator challenged to himself to achieve are so well executed that one can't add or substrain a single detail. All works in harmony, helping the message travel with the most powerful way to the reader.
What is the role of the artist today?
I believe that art is as important as medicine, specially in today's society. Without stories, pictures, movies and music, we become insane, we can't connect with other people, but even more important, we can't connect with ourselves. In these times of lockdowns and governments using us just as consumers entities, we only have art to feel again as humans, as living creatures. A book, a picture, is presented to you how the author wanted, not through an algorythm. That's something to think about.

Nicolas accepts his 2nd Place Award in the CFA Artist of the Month Contest (August/Sept 2021)

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


Vera Bonacci

"My goal in my current work is to go beyond realism and explore the energy, life, and vitality of the nature of my subject and theme. I hope you will enjoy the stories, be drawn into that kinetic energy and feel it in your own soul. I hope it will make you smile, wonder, tilt your head, and ponder."

Step it Up - Oil on canvas 20 x 30 in.

“I was born Jeannette Vera Luagina Veradina Bonacci in the United States, to Italian parents from San Mango d’Aquino. I grew up with the many traditions of food, faith and celebration. My father was a shoemaker and winemaker and my mom played the piano. The youngest of four children, I explored and invented in my own little world. I found art at a young age but had to fight for my desire to attend art classes and go on to college to major in Art and Theater. I became an Art Instructor for over 30 years and now I am finally doing what I have always wanted, to develop my own journey as an artist. My Art is signed using my birth name, Vera Bonacci, because my work reflects what is deep in my soul. My work is about celebration through dance, music and life’s moments of hope, joy, memories and just movement... Celebrating being human.”

Maypole - Oil on canvas 16 x 20 in.
Dance of the Divine - Oil on canvas 16 x 20 in.
Dancers on the Beach - Oil on canvas 18 x 24 in.
Dance Under Water - Oil on canvas 24 x 36 in.

This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


 

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Georg Douglas

Born 1945, N. Ireland

Lives in: Mosfellsbær, Iceland

Describe your art in 3 words: Strong, colour, joyful

See More Work:  www.artgeorg.com

Yellow flowers Oil on canvas 140 x 300 cm

"I like my paintings to be strong, whether from colour, form or something else. I want them to invoke an immediate reaction, either confronting the viewers or drawing them in to the work. They do not require much analysis or philosophical consideration, but rather appeal to the emotions and create an atmosphere of joy. The world of flowers and Irish dance have been my inspiration for some time."

What themes does your work involve?
The complex world of flowers from the visible down to the molecular scale and dancing, especially Irish dancing. These may seem disparate themes, but they inspire finished abstract works which are very comparable.
Describe your creative process.
Having embarked on a particular theme such as the life of flowers, I like to explore and develop it until I don´t know how to go on. This has not yet happened. Most often new ideas come out of the blue. I usually start with a very simple idea and design and try to keep to that, but it is essential that the painting takes its own direction and develops while I am working. I usually recognise this point fairly early on and things tend to happen quickly after that. I have always listened to comments from other artists and my wife in deciding if the work is finished. I don´t like repeating particular ideas, even if they have worked well but rather take a change in direction or simply work in a new palette. I have always felt that large works suit me and my subject matter best.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I think the main influences in my art have been a country childhood, growing up in the natural world and later my scientific training and career which has taught me to understand and appreciate the complexity and beauty of nature at all scales. Nevertheless my inspiration most often comes from light and its play on and within the floral world.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
To me great art is art which involves the emotions, especially triggering awe, happiness and a feeling of well being. In this regard it compares with music or dance. Of course others may use art to arouse feelings of anger or comment on social issues, which are of less importance to me.
What is the role of the artist today?
As a practising artist I can only comment on my own experiences. I enjoy the creation inherent in painting to the extent that I paint daily. Like most creative work, painting is a mixture of challenge, difficulty and occasionally relaxation. I like all of these, but I didn´t choose art as much as always being involved with it even as a child. I have strong feelings about what is beautiful in life, especially in the natural world and I want to convey these feelings to others. Many contemporary artists seem to be involved in stressing modern problems and social issues in their work. I feel that politicians, the news media and others do this more than adequately and that art can and should lift us to a level above this and show us things of beauty and interest.

Blue flowers Oil on canvas 200 x 300 cm
Blue grass exotica Oil on canvas 140 x 200 cm

Along the path Oil on canvas 80 x 100 cm
Birth of a flower Oil on canvas 200 x 300 cm
Secret garden Oil on canvas 200 x 300 cm
Summertime Oil on canvas 100 x 140 cm
In the meadow
To catch the breezy air
By the roadside Oil on canvas 100 x 140 cm
Garden party Oil on canvas 200 x 300 cm

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist