Q&A with Cristina H Melo

"I use photography to record images. And in each, I see a kind of metaphor, since, as we know, the eyes do not see the same as the photo, any photo, shows."

It Wasn't Mine But Now It Is - Photographic collage 70 x 50 cm
Born in: 1962; Portugal
Lives in: Lisbon, Portugal
Education: Counsellor For Addiction Diseases, Weston-Super-Mare, UK · Drawing Course, Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, Lisboa · Professional Photography, Instituto Português de Fotografia, Lisboa · Project studying by the supervision of  António Júlio Duarte, Atelier de Lisboa, Lisboa
Media: Photography,  Digital Photography, Mixed media, Collage
Describe your work in 3 words: Trans - lation;  trans - action;  trans - ference
See More Work: https://www.cristinahmelo.com/
It Wasn't Mine But Now It Is - Photographic collage 70 x 50 cm
CFA: What themes does your work deal with? 
C.H.M.:  The Human Nature - life and death, movement and statics, reality versus unreality, matter and anti-matter, gravity and ascension
CFA: Describe your creative process.
C.H.M.: My starting point is daily life or rather my own wandering between the rhythms and the randomness of daily life. When the elements that shape it come to me, I feel able of interrogation and search. And in spite of isolating a body /object or a part of a body /object as the central motive of this interrogation, I'm not concerned with existential loneliness nor do I want to use mere descriptions of things or human beings. I am concerned with seeing the unseen
CFA: What influences your art? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
C.H.M.:  For sure my work has to do with Eugene Atget and also Man Ray. When I feel I want to transfigurate the image go onto Gerhard Richter, (overpainted photos)
CFA: What is art? What makes a piece of art great?
C.H.M.: Art has to come from within, from the guts.
CFA: What is the role of the artist today? 
C.H.M.:  Humans live between duality and fact. Black and white, new and old, modern and ancient, death and life, light and darkness, night and day, real and imaginary. The imaginary is great and lifts your weight...Then, everything is possible.

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Q&A with Niamh Butler

"Ultimately, when time permits, my goal is to relive and enhance those moments, either captured by camera or presented in front of me, in which I discovered and felt something beautiful."

Eirik den Raude - Oil on panel 8 x 10 in.
Born in: USA
Lives in: Montrose
Education: B.F.A. in Drawing; the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, CT   |  Full Time Certificate for the Intensive Drawing Program at the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy
Media: Painting, Drawing,  Printmaking
Describe your work in 3 words: Classical realist, photorealist, detailed
See More Work: www.niamhbutler.com
Victor's Contentment - Black colored pencil, charcoal pencil & white chalk 8.5 x 11 in.
CFA: What themes does your work deal with? 
N.B.:  Themes that my work explores are anxiety released as kinetic energy, confidence & vulnerability, the image of masculinity, feminine strength, the passing of time & decay, and beauty found in the smallest of things.
CFA: Describe your creative process.
N.B.:  My meticulous process of measuring and getting a sense of gesture, rhythm, body type, and proportion allows me to feel as if I were living through a photographed instant, or the few hours with the live model, in an “exploded moment,” or a life in a second, making the original moment even more profound to me. If the subject is a person, whether in a photograph or in a live sitting, the method of re-creation also allows me to feel like I am getting to know that person in a way unlike any other.
CFA: What influences your art? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
N.B.:  Years of traditional academic training have always had an influence on my work, as has much time spent admiring work by artists of the past such as Velasquez, Repin, Bouguereau, Salvador Dali, Zdzisław Beksiński, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Alphonse Mucha, Andrew Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, Frank Frazetta, and contemporary artists such as Alyssa Monks, Gottfried Helnwein, Andrew Lattimore, Joakim Ericsson, and Jordan Sokol. What inspires me most are people's character and eerie settings.
CFA: What is art? What makes a piece of art great?
N.B.:  I believe in a broad definition of art; I feel that if one perceives and treats something as art, then it becomes so. However, whether it is great art (or whether or not it will be accepted as art by others) is very subjective and changes from individual to individual. What makes a piece of art great for me, in particular, is if it moves me emotionally and/or intrigues me by revealing several layers of meaning to keep me contemplating; this can be evoked by many genres of art for me.
CFA: What is the role of the artist today? 
N.B.:  I feel that there are many roles an artist can play and that this role comes naturally to each artist (and perhaps changes over time). For example, an artist could make work to reinforce, or perhaps influence others to change, cultural perceptions, or to bring joy by allowing people to savor a beautiful moment, or simply to relieve their own tensions through the action of creating.

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Q&A with June Sira

" Tell A Story."

A Girl With Flowers On Her Shirt - Tempera on canvas 120 x 87 cm
Born in: 1965; Norway
Lives in: Oslo, Norway
Education: Master of Fine Art at the Chelsea School Of Art, London 1999/2000; Oslo National Academy Of The Art 1985-1992
Media: Painting
Describe your work in 3 words: Figurative, expressive, poetic
See More Work: https://www.saatchiart.com/junesira
Dreads - Tempera on canvas 90 x 70 cm
CFA: What themes does your work deal with? 
J.S.:  My work deals with people and moments.
CFA: Describe your creative process.
J.S.: When I start working on a painting I never plan to make a series. But I often end up painting the same image several times to see how it can tell a different story. I prime my canvas with an old recipe of which 1 part is pigment so I have different colors of primer to paint on. The primer is specially made for tempera. I often save out spaces so the primer is part of the painting.

I draw with charcoal and sometimes I leave the drawing in the painting if I think the expression is already there.
CFA: What influences your art? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
J.S.:  Life and everyday reflections is what inspires me to make art. Making art is a part of my self.
CFA: What is art? What makes a piece of art great?
J.S.:  Art is something that moves you or makes you reflect. Perhaps without words, like music - the feeling is what makes a great piece of art for me.
CFA: What is the role of the artist today? 
J.S.:  I have always made drawings. Ever since I was a young child. It was just unnatural for me to do anything else even though my parents thought artists was not a profession. The role of an artist is to be true to yourself.

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Q&A with Sinisha Kashawelski

"My art is predominantly based around realism, shrouded with elements of mystery which are coming from my inner world and sublime thinking. In many cases, the composition is set in a form of a rebus, with a desire to provoke the audience's imagination to unlock the true meaning of the story."

Je Crois En Progrès, - Oil on canvas 185 x 120 cm
Born in: 1969; Macedonia
Lives in: Kumanovo, Macedonia
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts at Faculty of Fine Arts-Skopje, Macedonia
Media: Painting
Describe your work in 3 words: Conglomerate of realism, mysticism, and harmony.
See More Work: www.kashawelski.co
Periculum In Mora - Oil on canvas 140 x 95 cm
CFA: What themes does your work deal with? 
S.K.: My themes are always different, and in the majority of the cases, they are in the function of my inner world. Every day brings a new theme, would it be in a form of a thought or a ray of light that penetrates through my soul. These components form the nucleus of what later develops as an idea that goes onto the canvas. This process has a strange and unpredictable flow. The individual pieces of the mosaic are all into their place forming a harmony that can be visualized by the eye of the audience.
CFA: Describe your creative process.
S.K.:  Everything starts with some kind of provocation which develops a desire to entertain it. While working on the mental sketch I get engaged into some mystical world, which sometimes is hard to explain. The idea born drags you slowly in and it opens the ways that lead to the end of the journey. By the time that this magic is happening, if you feel your true emotions and you manage to connect with the unknown cosmic vibrations, you are on the path to get a good piece of painting 
CFA: What influences your art? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
S.K.:  My art is predominately influenced by the desire to create and express myself through this unpredictable, magical process. The urge comes as an unknown sensation out of my feelings, dreams, and fears which are common to every human being. We all have our own mission in this vast universe. I feel that mine is to create pieces of art which I'd like to pass onto the others to enjoy. There's nothing better than to create and leave traces behind you that we'll speak later about your existence. 
CFA: What is art? What makes a piece of art great?
S.K.:  The art is the soul of our society and as such is responsible to bring some good vibrations and evoke positive feelings within the consciousness of the audience.  The greatness of some piece of art is recognized when it gets shared with the audiences irrespective of where and when it was originated. Once this state is reached, both the author and the creation have fulfilled their mission and are destined for timeless immortality.
CFA: What is the role of the artist today? 
S.K.:  The role of the artist today is to initiate a dialog within the society, to be a critique and to inspire positive changes for the wellbeing of every single individual. Sharing his/her ideas and positivity transpired onto their pieces of art it is an aspiration to add to the intercultural understanding around the world. 

" The variety of artistic expressions are a collection of magnificent creations that come from the known and unknown masters around the world."

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Q&A with Caia Diepenbrock

"All That We See or Seem is But A Dream Within A Dream."

High Society - Acrylic paint on wood panel 12 x 12 in.
Born in: 1993, Providence, R.I, USA
Lives in: Los Angeles, USA
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Bard College NY
Media: Painting, Photography, Installation, Mixed media, Collage, Drawing, Printmaking, Textile Arts
Describe your work in 2 words: Abstracted realism
See More Work: http://caiadiepenbrock.com
Culture - Acrylic paint on cardboard 60 x 30 in.
CFA: What themes does your work deal with? 
C.D.:  Human consciousness and our relationship with the universe inspires me most. As emotional beings, there are infinite ways that we can each interpret art and the world around us, yet there are common denominators such as time, location, and color (to an extent) that keep us connected. My work explores individual perception vs what we experience as a collective by combining the recognizable and the abstract to question what is Subjective vs. Objective & Reality vs. Illusion. 
CFA: Describe your creative process.
C.D.: Everything I do starts somewhat randomly. In my most recent "Translation" series, I begin with fashion magazines to find textures, patterns, and shapes that intrigue me. By cutting these images into abstract shapes and remixing them, I create my own composition that I later translate into a painting. This process eliminates the pressure of a blank canvas because my material already exists - I just have to curate and portray it. Overall, I simply use the medium and edit & elaborate later.  
CFA: What influences your art? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
C.D.:  Making art is healing to me; it keeps me sane and out of my head. I strongly believe in the energetic connection between conscious beings and the universe, and creativity is a way to channel that connection. It is intuition versus logic. It is peace versus conflict - I see it as a form of therapy that the world needs more of. Everyone is an artist - we just need to let go of the judgment that revolves around making "good" art. It's the process that matters.
CFA: What is art? What makes a piece of art great?
C.D.:  Art is a way for people to open their minds to new perspectives of the world. It is a catalyst for emotion and empathy, as well as discomfort and controversy. To me, a successful piece is one that makes you think or feel something new and real. It's not contrived, it's not superficial, and it challenges what's expected. I wish the "high art" world could be separated from Capitalism, because so often a piece of art is only as valuable as how expensive it is, and I think that's disgusting.
CFA: What is the role of the artist today? 
C.D.:  To disrupt normalcy! There is so much we take for granted, or don't see at all - and the role of the artist is to reawaken the public to these issues. Whether it's through the energy of an abstract painting, or more literal portrayals of political issues (such as Shepard Fairey's OBEY work), art today needs to make people feel something and realize there is more to life than meets the eye.

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Q&A with Ji Su Kwak

"With a focus on the United States' long-established cultural colonialism in South Korea, I approach politically charged public commodities such as a safety fence, newspaper, and flagpoles through linguistic and symbolic reconstruction."

Safety First - MDF, wall paint, spray paint, varnish, cement, graphite, and door hinges 71.3 x 382.8 x 11 in.
Born in: 1993, South Korea
Lives in: Chicago, USA
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL
Media: Sculpture, Digital Media, Performance, Installation, Video, Textile Arts
See More Work: www.jisukwak.com
Untitled (Praying Bench) - Walnut, masonite sheets, gears, steel rods, aluminum block, velvet, varnish, vinyl coated polyester, cotton rope, and a perforated golf ball 33.5 x 72 x 72 in.
CFA: What themes does your work deal with? 
J.S.K.:  The deeply-rooted power dynamics between South Korea and the United States that are embedded in everyday objects.
CFA: Describe your creative process.
J.S.K.:  I use a wide range of materials particularly wood, metal, and fiber that would best imitate and transfer the original form of a chosen object. All decisions commit to the existing regulation in its measurement, color, and material with small adjustments to its form and functionality: combining different objects into one; removing and rearranging inscribed text and image, and reinventing or rejecting a function.

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Q&A with Patrick M Webb

"My work since 1990 has explored the experiences of a contemporary version of the Italian clown Punchinello."

Tinker Tailor : Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, Cowboy, Policeman, Jailer, Engine Driver, Pirate Chief, - Oil on linen, 60 x 220 in.
Born in: United States
Lives in: NYC
Education: Master of Fine Arts Yale University; Bachelor of Fine Arts Maryland Institute College of Art
Media: Painting
Describe your work in 3 words: Queer Punchinello Narratives
See More Work: http://patrick-webb.com | https://www.gf.org/fellows/all-fellows/patrick-webb | https://www.visualaids.org/artists/detail/patrick-webb | http://ricepolakgallery.com/artist/patrick-webb
Tinker Tailor: Burglar, Boxer, Baker, Preacher, Writer, Politician, Crook, - Oil on linen 60 x 180 in.
CFA: What themes does your work deal with? 
P.M.W.:  Identity, pictorial dynamics, narrative, queerness
CFA: Describe your creative process.
P.M.W.: I work in series. Sometimes as a continuous narrative, sometimes as a theme, I work in various sizes and mostly with oil paint on oil primed linen either stretched or mounted on board. I sometimes work from observation in preparation and sometimes for the finished painting. I draw a lot before and during the process of making a painting. Larger work requires more work ahead of time including underpainting and color studies.
CFA: What influences your art? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
P.M.W.:  I make art because I cannot help it. The poet Stanley Kunitz used to say that being a poet was an affliction. I think so with painting but would add it is a divine way to spend one's life. I am inspired by the long history of painting, music, poetry, and writing.
CFA: What is art? What makes a piece of art great?
P.M.W.: Gadamer said it better than I: The encounter with art belongs within the process of integration given to human life which stands within traditions. Indeed, it is even a question whether the special contemporaneity of the work of art does not consist precisely of this: that it stands open to limitless way to ever new integrations. The creator of the work may intend a particular public of his time, but the real being (my emphasis) of a work is what it.
CFA: What is the role of the artist today? 
P.M.W.: Art shows us who we are.

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Q&A with Anna Caruso

" The sense of my work is portrayed through a continuous dialogue woven between memory, space and time perception, in a dimension of quantum uncertainty. My aim is analyzing the structure of memory, as a perception and post-rebuilding of reality and as a neural connection within the human brain."

Abito Uno Specchio Deformante - Acrylic on canvas 80 x 150 cm
Born in: 1980, Italy
Lives in: Milan, Italy
Education: Graduation of Fine Arts and Restoration from Academy of Fine Arts of Bergamo, Italy
Media: Painting
Describe your work in 3 words: Pictorial, different, quantum
See More Work: http://www.annacaruso.it
Senza Domande Si Apre Il Bosco - Acrylic on canvas 50 x 50 cm
CFA: What themes does your work deal with?
A.C.:  I want to investigate the human perception of time and memory's recreation mechanisms by combining figures and mental spaces. I use overlapping and colors transparency to simulate a false memory on the canvas. The observer is invited to create his own feelings, freely and independently, inside the white portion.For this purpose, the painted portion creates disorder of thought, with unstructured figures and disorientated signs. I usually use my paintings to express, explore, and question ideas about identity.
CFA: Describe your creative process.
A.C.:  Nearly everything starts with an idea that I put down in my notebook -a paragraph, a sketch, a fragment, a photo. I write as much as necessary to get the idea down. Obviously, my work is a continuous development and refinement of previous research and themes. I'm always amazed by artists who are able to look at a work and say'It's done now. I've never been able to do that. I work in series of paintings, so I'm always thinking the groups could be exhaustive. Everything is always evolving.
CFA: What influences your art? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
A.C.: I have always had an inquisitive and curious mind. Reading books, studying science, talking with people, going inside myself and traveling to culturally diverse areas intrigues me. Travel gives me time to think, ideate, observe and learn new things. It is this thirst for knowledge, these meetings of the mind, that keeps me energized. The best work always comes from being challenged, whether in time, finances, materials or concept. It's better to take risks than play safe. Art is my life and my work as well.
CFA: What is art? What makes a piece of art great?
A.C.:  Art has a broad definition. Art has added value to my life in so many ways, both big and small, that it is difficult to express all of what art means to me. Art says things that even words cannot say. You don't need a language to understand Art. It's a powerful connection of ideas and purposeful creation. A great piece of art needs to connect, to have some element of truth to it that resonates with the viewer and leaves them something after they've left the piece.
CFA: What is the role of the artist today?
A.C.: The role of the artist has changed significantly throughout time. Now it's largely dependent on the personality of the artist and on that artist's chosen subject matter. The artist records history for future generations, art reaches out and touches people around the world. The role of the artist continues to change, grow and expand. It remains an incredibly important part of society. Art means many different things to different people; therefore, an artist's role is as versatile as the definition of art.

 

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Q&A with Iva Troj

"Whenever I'm asked to describe what I do I end up thinking of something my son said when he was 8 years old. He was eavesdropping on me rehearsing a lecture and asked about some of the terms. After listening to me he said: "so... art is about breaking things in the right places". My jaw dropped."

Milk - Pastels, acrylics, oil, gold leaf 71 x 48 in.
Born in: United Kingdom
Lives in: Henfield 
Education:  Masters from Borås University in Sweden (Psychology, Design & Business Strategy); BA from Södertörn University in Stockholm, Sweden (Design, Aesthetic Learning & Communication); BA from Stockholm University, Sweden (3D modeling, Theatre Studies, Learning); Junior College Degree from T.L. Fine Arts School in Plovdiv, BG (Painting, Graphic Arts, Sculpture, Anatomy)
Media:  Painting
Describe your work in 3 words: Open, deep, contradictory
See More Work:  www.ivatroj.com
Water Under No Bridge - Pastels, acrylics, oil 78 x 55 in.
CFA: What themes does your work deal with?
I.T.: I grew up during the Cold War and when I moved to Sweden as a young mother I started devouring Western culture. I'm genuinely glad that I did because it allowed me to see life and art as something beyond the misogyny and dogma I grew up with. I would say, most of my ideas come from that clash between the Sakar Mountain wisdom of my grandmother and the raw capitalist reality that I was thrown into when I moved to California and later to Sweden. These two worlds collided and made me.
CFA: Describe your creative process.
I.T.: I started developing this very personal painting technique ca 10 years ago. I use photos that I take or images from photo shoots that I've done. I sketch most of my work on the computer and then I paint. My technique resembles the Flemish method of layering thin veneers of paint between layers of varnish. I start with pencils, pastels and, varnish. After that, I paint a lighter layer with acrylics and finish with a couple of thicker layers using a combination of mediums, often acrylics and oils.
CFA: What influences your art? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I.T.: I was taught to question conventional truths at an early age so whatever I see that makes me look at things from a different angle, inspires me. The artists that I look up to have one thing in common - constant renewal. Keeping your work close and personal, and unique is important. But, experimenting and exploring new ideas is equally important. The way I see it, the day you find a way to keep these two things from becoming mutually exclusive, that's the day you become a professional artist.
CFA: What is art? What makes a piece of art great?
I.T.: The way I see it there are two vital components to art, philosophy, and skill. Skill without philosophy seems dull to me. Philosophy without skill can be stiff at its best, and grotesque at its worst. Throughout my artistic life, I have been learning how to use the first to express the latter. I grew up wanting to change the stories in classical art, especially the way women were portrayed and that's quite a goal. Artwork that goes deep and aims high usually captivates my imagination.
CFA: What is the role of the artist today?
I.T.: A lot of paintings have started with me trying to understand the death of my brother Troj and ended up with a comment on the impossibility of grief in Western culture. Other paintings have tackled girlhood and what it means to be a woman. Making art is a very direct way of communicating whatever aha moments and wisdom you may possess to whoever might be in the right mindset to respond. And if you can somehow find a way to rise above mediocrity then you might have a butterfly effect moment.

"When I was growing up I got to hear: "You are the only person in the history of the world that does what you do in the way that you do it. It's up to you to make it count." That scared me greatly because it meant that I had to accept this immense responsibility and prepare to be held accountable. Nevertheless, I do think that every child needs to hear those words. It makes sense to strive for greatness. Why are you here otherwise?"

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Q&A with Eva Redamonti

"By combining movement, structure, symmetry, and detail, I try to obscure the lines between cosmic fantasy and reality while creating a three-dimensional space within two-dimensional media."

Collide, 2017 - India Ink on Paper 18 x 22 in.
Born in: 1995, Connecticut, USA 
Lives in: Boston, MA, USA
Education:  Berklee College of Music
Media: Illustration / Drawing
Describe your work in 3 words: Organic, fluid, detailed
See More Work: http://evaredamonti.com/
Swim, 2018, Ink on Paper, Ipad Pro 6 x 12 in.
CFA: What themes does your work deal with? 
E.R.: Fantasy, psychedelia, human figure, city landscapes
CFA: What influences your art? What inspires you? Why do you make art? 
 E.R.:  Music heavily influences the art I make. I have to have music playing otherwise my work would not contain the amount of "flow" and gesture it contains. I make art because, quite frankly, I have to. It's a release of every part of who I am and is necessary for me to be happy.
CFA: What is art? What makes a piece of art great?
E.R.: Art is an expression of your perception of the world, and all the experiences you've had thus far within it. A great piece of art is honest and connects with others in a way that is free from any pride. 
CFA: What is the role of the artist today?  
E.R.: The role of the artist today is to not only speak on the worldwide topics at hand - in nature, in religion, in politics, in technology - but also I think another valid role is to give everyone a beautiful space to introspect. 

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