Kurt Palmquist

Born in: 1965, Helena, Montana, USA

Lives in: USA

Describe your art in three words: Striking, unique, creative

Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Montana State University, USA

See More Work:  www.kurtpalmquist.com

Pipe Dream - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 36" x 58" x 3.5

My artwork explores my fascination of the three-dimensional geometric form. Through experimentation, I discover a constant evolution of space defined by simple shapes, color, and composition. Architectural environments provide space and light to create striking compositions of depth and interest.

O-Motion - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 38" x 36" x 4"
What themes does your work involve?
My Sculptures explore my fascination with three-dimensional geometric form inspired by my lifelong passion for design, architecture and light. I strive to find harmony, through the forms I create, how they combine with each other and the color palettes used. They express freedom and movement, while always maintaining a sense of order.​
Describe your creative process.
As I design each sculpture I develop a visual language, that gives each piece it’s character. I start from a sketch and gradually refine each aspect of the composition. It’s a constant evolution that gives me the freedom to explore. The design of the piece is ‘finished’ when the visual language communicates a clear message. When the design is complete, each piece is then fabricated and cut and then I’m able to roughly put the sculpture together. This is my first chance to see how the layers interact with each other and how light and shadow begin to play with the forms. I can then start to make final decisions regarding final color and finishes. Next is the hands on phase where I really get to know the work, sanding, prepping and final finishing.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I am influenced by all kinds of art, architecture and graphic design, but what inspires me the most is having the freedom to create whatever I want. It is this freedom that allows me to explore ideas and concepts at a moments notice. I enjoy the creative process even though at times it can be challenging. I am also inspired by my finished work when I have a chance to see it on a wall and how it impacts the space. As much as I love creating art for myself, I really enjoy hearing and watching a viewer experiencing my work. Uncovering intricacies that are not evident at first, and being surprised or struck by what they are seeing is a huge reward.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
There are many aspects of art that can make a piece of art great. There are several for me that stand out. First is that I can look at a piece of art multiple times and each time I take away something I may have not seen or thought of before. This doesn’t mean that the artwork has to have some deep intellectual theme or is really complicated. Some of my favorite artists create work that is very simple. But it’s within the simplicity that I find the beauty. Second is craftsmanship. I really appreciate art from an artist who has attained a certain level of mastery and understands their medium. I know they have put endless hours in to developing their technique. You can see the fruits of their labor when you look at their body of work and can see how they are able to push themselves.
What is the role of the artist today?
For me personally, art has been therapeutic, it has given my creativity a place to go where its not hindered by the outside world. It’s easy for me to lose myself in my work and come out of it fulfilled and refreshed. It is really gratifying for me to see the finished piece and be proud of what I have accomplished. I am a much better person for it. From a bigger picture, I think society feeds off the creative energy of art and inspires us in our personal and professional lives. Some art challenges us to see things differently while others are for pure enjoyment and happiness. In either case it provides an escape where the viewer steps into a world where they are transformed.
Arc Traverse - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 45" x 38" x 3.5"
Strata - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 27" x 43" x 4"
Flourish - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 33" x 32" x 3.5"
Quirky - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 45" x 46" x 3.5"
Metro Ritz - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 46" x 33" x 3.5"
Circ Divide - Wall Sculpture, Oil Stain on Birch, 40" x 38" x 3.5"
Chroma Remix - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 42" x 36" x 3.5"
Split Swoop - Wall Sculpture, Acrylic on Wood, 44" x 45" x 3.5"


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

Mozhdeh Zandieh-Grayson

Born in: Tehran, Iran

Lives in: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Describe your art in three words: present, poetical, noiseless

Education: Postgraduate MFA, UCA (University for Creative Arts), UK (2020)
BA in Graphic Design, Sooreh Art University of Tehran, Iran (2001)
BA in Visual Arts and Architecture at the School of Arts, Tehran, Iran, (1995)

See More Work:  https://www.mozhdeh.art/

The Matter of If (Green) - Mixed media relief sculpture 80 x 80 x 17 cm

Art is my shortcut for the closeness of thinking by making. When I make art, I don't think about art but think about us—humans. 'We' are the foundation of my making in the notion of outside and inside. From that perspective, my works reflect on our human existence concerning problematic social and individual subjects in a confrontation of existential dichotomies—exploring actuality versus reality.

What themes does your work involve?
The heart of my concept and primary point of reference is the human mind. I am preoccupied with the philosophy of today's life and the phenomenon of the world of lingual-ism in vital and critical states. Through art, I've always tried to understand and expose the inside, the feeling, perception, forces and struggles (with self and surrounding) that we do not necessarily see yet think otherwise. One of the biggest problems from this century, which in some means we all might confront, is the prevalence of noises over voices (in missing the tactility and quietness). My works institute a fine line between these two and try to portray the human being within this exploration and narration. ​
Describe your creative process.
In the making process, I'm intrigued by the invention of forms and the material's manifestation and imagery which click with my concepts and directly reflect on my visual language. I choose how to execute my ideas based on what do the best for what I want to convey. Therefore I have never limited myself to mediums or materials. Hence, my research and study encompass two-aspect conception (in response to what) and formation (in answer to how) often overlapping conventional artistic mediums; mixed media, sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography and digital art. Within that sense, my works are partly exploratory and partially experimental. So many tests and trials are involved at the studio to find the most satisfactory material and the best medium to run my ideas and feelings.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
The shortest answer is the people. My inspiration comes from today's life and gaps, things which only art can define, modify or preserve. One day I was reading a book about Marcel Duchamp and the term Infra-thin that he coined, the notion of infra-thin inspired me. When he asked for the term's definition, he replied that the notion is impossible to define "one can only give examples of it: the warmth of a seat (which has just been left)" is infra-thin. Art is a gap that represents the difference between intention and realisation. What art is, in reality, is this missing link, not the links which exist. I grew up during the war. As a child, my life shaped between red and white alerts in the gap between bunkers and classrooms. Infra-thin is somehow rooted in me and finds its way into my art.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
I firmly believe there is no such thing as good art or bad art. Art is art. Art is the only thing that makes life better than art on all levels. Art is a must, a definite need for our improvement, connection, and communication in both individual and collective aspects. But I'm sure there is a level in art, not in the meaning of bad or good but about having and being for different audiences, viewers, observers or in general for a distinct purpose. And I think what makes a piece of art 'great' is if it touch, embraces and or changes one's heart or mind, then we have a definition for 'a great art' in its (own) narration.
What is the role of the artist today?
That is a good question. In generalisation, I think the role of today's artists is related to multiple factors, such as artist possibilities, intention, personalities, perception and many other elements that can be complex to line a circle around a solid description of the artist's role. Personally speaking, I think it's essential that artists don't leave themselves behind. I feel being an artist means being aware in all means in its contemporary sense. Artists should be present, live the today with the knowledge of the past and an eye for the future, be representative and project a world to the world. Being an artist doesn't mean just producing art but thinking artistically, and thinking that way means live above and beyond, somewhere between the lines.


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

Victor Montague

Born in: Washington D.C.

Lives in: Washington D.C.

Describe your art in three words: Distinct, timeless, progressive

Education: H.S Diploma

See More Work:  www.VictorMontague.com

The Haitian Migration of 2021 - Oil on canvas 30 x 40 in.

Victor Montague is a self-taught artist, born and raised in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Specializing in realism and figurative painting, he uses oil paint to convey his message. Growing up rooted in a community filled with the riches of black culture came with both its benefits and challenges while simultaneously trying to cope with growing into manhood being black in America.

What themes does your work involve?
My themes involve many subject matters driven from my current mood or feelings derived from the unique black experience.
Describe your creative process.
As an art teacher and parent of two, I tend to look at my creative process as very versatile. During the day I fully take advantage of off days and synchronized nap times to get some painting done. However, my true creativity comes alive during the Late night hours between (9pm-3am) and I try to devote this art and meditation time at least 5 days a week.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
To me art has remained a reflection time continuously throughout my life. It’s a time when the world’s chaos doesn’t matter and the only thing that can penetrate my mind is my own thoughts. I can’t tell you the amount of things I have taught myself (art and non-art related) just by being deeply in tuned with my work, but the lessons continue to come. As cliche as it sounds, Art is a lifestyle and honestly I feel the more you genuinely indulge in it while remaining open to constant learning, it will continue to inspire you. I make art because we as humans are natural creators and destroyers and it gives me the opportunity to make my natural instincts as a creator to better this world In my short time here.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Im not too sure as an honest answer. I think the most important part of painting is a) how it makes the creator feel (before/during/upon completion) b) what conversations and feelings it conveys upon its viewers. To me the degree or caliber of the work is a non-factor.
What is the role of the artist today?
The role of the artist today remains what I think it always has. We are just constantly evolving as society does. I think that the role of the artist is to convey ideas to and for others that may not be able to in the way that your artistic expression can. The same way musicians give voices to those that are not able to melodically describe those same shared feelings Art can visually do the same thing and bring new ideas/ contradictions/ concurring opinions and so much more. So as an artist I think it is very important to be socially aware and constantly questioning your environment.
A Peace of Mind, with My Piece in Mind - Oil on canvas 16 x 20 in.
Chaotic Needs To An Organized Mind - Oil on canvas 16 x 20 in.
COVID: Party of Ten - Oil on canvas 36 x 48 in.
The Starting 5 - Oil on canvas 30 x 40 in.


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

Hari Lualhati

Born in: 1985, Philippines

Lives in: Cape Town, South Africa

Describe your art in three words: Soulful. Inspiring. Unforgettable.

Education: BFA, University of the Philippines, Diliman (Hons Cum Laude).

See More Work:  http://harilualhati.yolasite.com/

Braveheart - Oil on canvas 122 x 89 x 3.5 cm

Hari Lualhati prefers her latest artworks to be called as “SOULWORKS” because they are a direct connection to her soul. Her figurative subject being accompanied by animals and nature shows that we are all connected. Her soulworks are mirrors of golden life lessons, Aha Moments and realizations that the artist aims to preserve and share to others.

What themes does your work involve?
My “SOULWORKS” serve as a direct connection to my soul and represent matters that value to me. I love the sincerity and raw beauty that a naked figure represents. These qualities inspire me to use nude figure as my subject matter. I also incorporate elements of nature and animals to the human figure to show that we are all connected. I can define my creative style as a marriage of realism, symbolism and expressionism. I prefer to paint my subject in a clear realistic style to make sure it can easily be identified by anyone (no matter if they are expert in art or not) , for me to make sure I deliver the message of my artwork clearly. Then I would paint the other parts as expressive as I can so there would be balance and to make the piece more interesting.
Describe your creative process.
I mostly use oil on canvas. The creative process starts with concept- tualization. Once I’ve visualized my idea, I start painting. More often than notIfindmyselflostinmyartasIgo with the flow of passion running through my paintbrush. I call it: “Love made visible through Art.” Quality is one of my top priorities. I never rush when I paint and give it the time and attention it needs until it speaks to my heart, until I know that I’ve given it my best.
 Though I take into consideration the use of different techniques, I value more the feelings that I put into my works. I paint and draw with my heart.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
The concept of my soulworks revolves around powerful life lessons, aha moments and realizations I’ve gained from life. These are those “Moments” that made huge impact in my life and have taught me to be a better version of myself. I would like to preserve and pass these lessons and inspirations to others through the best way I can and that is through my soulworks. I believe that we are all connected as human beings and that we share the same emotions. I hope that the audience could see part of themselves through my soulworks and hopefully connect to them and inspire them to have a more positive outlook in life.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
A great art for me has a perfect combination of certain elements. It should not only be aesthetically appealing but it must also carry a meaningful message. I visualise it as a well thought out art that shows the masterful skills of the artist where you can witness the disciplined principles that were followed and combined it with the freedom of expressive artistic techniques. To top it all, a great art will not be great if it was not created by the HEART. I believe that this element allows the art to connect to the viewers, making it easy for the viewers to not only understand the art but also feel the intention and message of the art.
What is the role of the artist today?
Being able to create all my Soulworks is the most rewarding thing for me as an artist. The joy and fulfillment it gives me whenever I would finish a piece of art is comparable to the feeling of a parent giving birth to a newborn baby. Every piece is made with love. That’s why I’m glad whenever someone connects with my artworks or when they get featured in a magazine or exhibited locally and abroad or receive an award. Each of my artworks has a special connection with me. They are like my babies. I believe that artists/painters have the capability to influence other people through their artworks. Art pieces serve as a great vehicle for messages/ ideas/ inspiration/ life lessons that can be pass on to different generations.
The Last Miracle - Oil on canvas 122 x 89 x 3.5 cm
Bloom Where You Are Planted - Oil on canvas 122 x 89 x 3.5 cm
Becoming A Prayer - Oil on canvas 122 x 89 x 3.5 cm
When Sparks Fly - Oil on canvas 122 x 89 x 3.5 cm


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