Jiabao Sun

"I enjoy the silence and appreciate the rich thoughts that being alone brings to me. At the same time, I deal with ambiguous and incomprehensible darkness hidden deep in my heart. The project aims to visualize my inner dialogues and thoughts, which are sensitive, fragile, and dark."

Until We Meet Again - Poetry 8.3 x 5.8 in.

Jiabao (Bonnie) Sun was born in Hangzhou, China, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a Master of Fine Arts degree recipient in photography from Savannah College of Arts and Design in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jiabao’s works often explore time and self-development using photography and poetry. She also works in diverse mediums, including alternative photographic processes, collage, and painting. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions and was recently nominated by the 7th Fine Art Photography Awards. 

Two Flowers - Photograph 33 x 22 in.
Feeling Lost - Photograph 4.5 x 3 in.
Peak II - Photograph 33 x 22 in.
Melting Away - Photograph 15 x 12 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


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


Christiane David

Born 1950, Belgium

Lives in: Lancaster, PA, USA

Describe your art in 3 words: Colorful, Spontaneous, Bold

See More Work:  www.christianedavid.com

"As life is a journey, my art is my vehicle and I see my work as milestone expressions. Using watercolor and oil I emphasize the nature of the color more than the nature of the object itself. In my abstract painting I completely eliminate the subject to concentrate on color, shape and rhythm, a painterly exploration and an attempt to capture the soul essence of life."

What themes does your work involve?
For me, art is communication, expressing my relation in any subject and translate it on canvas with colors and movements
Describe your creative process.
"I find my inspiration in my travels, experiences and relationship and through meditation. I do work on series inspired by an event or a meeting that happens in my life and explore the subject (ex. The firebird - who was publish in the magazine 42 - is one of a series inspired by the music of Rimsky Korsakov. The technique is so printed in my mind, I just have to express myself on the canvas using my inspiration and the pleasure to just paint. While painting, I fall in a deep concentration state and when I ""wake up"" and start to think about the work, I know the painting is done."
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I always knew I would be a painting. I was born with the love of color. My dad was a artist, he was an oil painting. The second world war, even if I was born after, as a big influence since my grand-father was a veteran and my dad went through the war as a young teenager and I carry his traumatic experience and express through my work. I did paint a series of poppies inspired by the poem "In Flanders in field". Symbol of life after death, this poem was the inspiration for this series.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
You cannot build a house without a solid basement and a solid structure. Technique for me is important. You can, if you want, break the rules but, first, you have to know what are these rules and how to apply them. For me a painting has a good compositions and good values. Then, when you have a good technique printed in your mind, you can free your creativity. To resume, a good painting has a good base, originality, diversity and creativity.
What is the role of the artist today?
If I have to define art, I would have said it is communication, and that the artist is the witness of their own time. The artist is the soul of a generation. The role of the artist is to witness the trauma and achievements from within himself and society around him and to translate that into a preferred medium.

 


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


Scott Troxel

Born 1971, Philadelphia, USA

Lives in: Marmora, NJ, USA

Describe your art in 3 words: timeless, retro-futurist, balanced

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

King (2021)

"I draw on the aesthetics of bygone technology and the forward-looking designs of the Atomic Age and mid-century modernism to make dynamic, retro-futurist wooden sculptures that evoke nostalgia for the past as much as they look to the future. I am fascinated by the way pieces of technology, culture, and design reveal their age and aim to make work that cannot be pinned to a specific era."

What themes does your work involve?
I am inspired by design and technology throughout the twentieth century, such as mid-century modernism, the Atomic Age, and art deco. In terms of what my work is trying to say, I tend to expand upon Frank Stella’s famous quote “What you see is what you see.” While the viewer tends to bring his or her experiences to my work and “find” something familiar in it, my goal is to create art that features strong composition, balance, color, form and movement. My work relies heavily on these pillars. I then incorporate themes of aging, organic versus man-made, and new versus old in the sense of how we engage with technology, design, and aesthetics across generations.
Describe your creative process.
My process is significantly calculated and pre-determined. I start with a concept or raw idea—similar to how I would approach a product development project. I spend hours in graphic design software refining the concept and purging bad directions. I do this mostly from a modeling standpoint, as it is difficult to work with the materials I use without a clear direction. Once I have a concept dialed in, I gather my materials and begin constructing the piece in my wood shop. Usually, the piece ends up around 70 to 80 percent true to my mockup. Things change when creating in the studio, but my direction is mostly clear. At this point I bring the piece to my finishing studio to paint and mount the piece. In a nutshell, it goes from a concept on a computer screen to the wood shop to the studio.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I am heavily influenced by industrial design and movements like Art Deco, Mid Century Modernism and the use of plastics in the 1970s. I am inspired by artists like Frank Stella, Franz Kline, Martin Puryear, Harvey Quaytman, and the tondos of Leon Polk Smith. But I am inspired by all great art, no matter the movement or artist-- I also love the work of Magritte, Picasso and Giorgio de Chirico.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
In my opinion, great art has the rare ability to be timeless yet dated, modern but retro, organic and grounded but still futurist and otherworldly. I find this concept fascinating, and it is the foundation of what I try to achieve in my work. I want it to feel both modern and bold but perhaps from another era—when it was cutting edge, before time passed it by and changed the definition of “new or modern.”
What is the role of the artist today?
The role of an artist depends on the actual art the artist makes. I am obsessed with modern abstract art. So I wrestle with formal issues like balance, symmetry, composition, color, and scale versus politics or other themes.
Spinnaker (2021)
Instant Crush (2018)
Terebellum (2020)
Ronin (2018)

 


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