Alexander

Born in: 1975, England

Lives in: Stockholm, Sweden

Media: Painting, Drawing

Describe your work in 3 words: Authentic, personal, diligent

See More Work:  alexanderlee.artspan.com - IG@alexander.lee.3110 - Gagliardi Gallery London

Alternate Sources - Pencil Drawing on Paper 60 x 50 cm

"The idea of avoiding or breaking the mold appeals to me so as the idea of immortality which is unavailable to me through the limitations of the material world."

“Insanity is the only sane reaction to an insane society.”
― Thomas Stephen Szasz.

What themes does your work involve?
People, places and things. Generally, my art is about myself and my inner and outer connection to my immediate environment, It's about my isolation in grief after having lost both my parents tragically and how I am continuously attempting to move forward and stay connected. These emotions are encapsulated in my works as waves, movements, power and rhythmic surges of energy, It's a cycle which will end only when everything ends.
Describe your creative process.
An idea presents itself; inspired by a mood, a conversation, a need, a want, an ambition. However crude it may initially be, rough and rudimentary, I know that in a few days I will have a lucid image in my mind, an uncontrollable process. The piece is clear. It's like the transformation we see in nature when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, which sometimes appears in my work. I never know quite when a piece is finished. In the studio, the viewers perspective or maybe it is never finished?
What influences your work? What inspires you?
The original impressionists! Not necessarily their artwork, but the stories of them. And the impact of my direct environment: the coast of Western Australia, the mountainous peaks of the Alps and the contrasts of dramatic seasonal change in Scandinavia. Keneticism i.e the ever changing, the constant struggle between the unstoppable force meeting the irremovable object which is a state we seem to dwell within.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
It’s emotive art. Art that leaves you with an impression; you leave with a little bit of it. It's when you feel that the experience has changed you to a degree. If a piece is good also depends on the viewer, "I can bore you in a day or I can shock you in an instant but how many lifetimes would it take to create universal beauty?"
What is the role of the artist today?
I see the role of the artist today as to provoke thought and to evoke satisfaction.


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


Simon Dray

Born in: Reading, Berkshire, UK

Lives in: Weybridge, Surrey, UK

Media: Painting, Illustration, Mixed media, Drawing, Glass Art

Describe your work in 3 words: An acquired taste

See More Work:  surreyopenstudios.org.uk/Simon Dray

ESCOLORES PINTURAS - Oil on canvas 120 x 120 cm

"My paintings are influenced by the torn and weathered advertising hoardings frequently seen in the urban environment. Many of these have been further enhanced with elements of graffiti. Due to their layering, and partly revealed words and images, they create a paradoxical yet vibrant image."

What themes does your work involve?
Although I am interested in traditional landscape painting, the majority of my work is based on advertising hoardings as seen in the urban landscape, albeit for very different reasons. The weathering, layering and graffiti applied to the hoardings, combined with the resulting contradictions of original intention, are for me, metaphors for a disturbing world of climate change, chaos and conflict caused by misinformation and alternative truths.
Describe your creative process.

In contrast to my work based on advertising hoardings, I also have a particular interest in landscape painting. In order to create the moods and atmosphere of a landscape, I prefer to use oil paint with a reduced palette, often on an unprimed stretched canvas. The paint is applied to the canvas using a variety of methods which include palette knives, brushes and cloth. Finally, a grade of abrasive paper is often used prior to a coat of varnish.

What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?

Good art is almost entirely subjective, it is related to an individual's emotional response to a piece of work. For me, the study of drawing and design as disciplines have always been crucial aspects of the process of creating a work of art.


To look in order to see, to see in order to understand.


Whatever media you choose to express your ideas, whether in performance, ceramics, digital, painting, sculpture or film, an underlying ability to draw will enhance your oeuvre and creative vision.


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


Gary Aagaard

Born in: 1949, Seattle, WA, USA

Lives in: Tucson, AZ, United States

Media: Painting, Illustration

Describe your work in 3 words: Socio-political commentary

See More Work:  https://aagaardart.com

Blinded by Delight Redux - Oil on canvas 30 x 20 in.

"My work is the product of my environment over the last three decades. Generally, I've had a positive experience, yet tend to be irked by frequent political and religious hypocrisy, general apathy and dogma of any stripe that leads to social and spiritual tunnel vision."

What themes does your work involve?
Political lampoons & social comment.
Describe your creative process.
I always do a series of roughs in pencil on a tracing pad. Once I zero in on an image, I draw it onto a toned canvas. Then I paint the image in oil, adding elements as I go (i.e. I'm not locked into the final rough). Generally, I glaze in areas of greater importance, although sometimes I glaze throughout the composition when time is not an issue.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Presently, U.S. politics (don't get me started) and universal social issues (relating to war, the environment, fact-challenged pundits, etc.). I find these subjects both inspirational and ofttimes of great concern, I make art because I feel obligated to address many of the aforementioned issues, plus I continue to enjoy painting, drawing and designing the space.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
What I respond to is a piece that makes me think, draws me into the composition and consider what the artist is trying to convey. Personally, I love clever conceptual and editorial art with the painting or drawing technique being secondary. A great piece of art succeeds in both arenas.
What is the role of the artist today?
Obviously, that depends on the artist. In my case, I hope to inform, entertain and in many cases sound an alarm, visually-speaking.


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


Pancho Jimenez

Born in: New York City

Lives in: San Francisco Bay Area

Media: Sculpture, Ceramics

Describe your work in 3 words: Textured, Intricate, Thoughtful

See More Work:  www.panchojimenez.com

Marks the Spot

"I explore the elusiveness of dreams and memory joining together molded forms in unlikely combinations. I Transform kitsch elements into complex pieces with a rich and relevant focus."

What themes does your work involve?
The themes of dreams, memory and experiences and how we recall those in our mind's eye.
Describe your creative process.
I have been making artwork for twenty years. I usually work in series. Sometimes on a single series or back-and-forth between one or more series. I begin a work with a specific concept in mind and/or allow the work to guide me. As I am working on one piece, an idea for the next piece inevitably emerges. Typically, when I complete a work, I put it aside for a number of days and then return to it and refine it. I find the time away from the piece allows me to see the work with “fresh eyes”.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I am inspired by pre-Columbian art, other artists, themes and/or issues that are relevant to our times and culture and that engage my imagination. I make art because it fulfills me; I feel incomplete when I am not creating art. It’s also fun, rewarding and a challenge.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
A great piece of art bridges concept and form. It successfully communicates an idea, a point of view or elicits emotions via a compelling object, installation or performance.
What is the role of the artist today?
In my opinion, the role of the artist today is the same as it has been for centuries: to reflect culture, to hold up a mirror to us and reveal something about ourselves and the human condition.


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


April Zanne Johnson

Born in: 1970, USA

Lives in: Greendell, New Jersey USA

Media: Painting, Sculpture, Installation, Mixed media, Collage, Drawing, Video

Describe your work in 3 words: hallucinatory environmental imagery

See More Work:  https://aprilzannejohnson.com

Vehicles II, 2019 - Oil paint on polyvinyl film 40 x 41 1/8 x .005 in. (irregular edge)

"I am interested in pulling subconscious imagery to the surface within the early stages of the painting process through autonomous application, and subsequently manipulating the form into the desired subject matter."

What themes does your work involve?
My body of work revolves around creating parallel planes existing within internal and external environments. Recurring themes include predictive coding, pareidolia, technology in comparison to the natural world and hallucinatory landscape imagery.
Describe your creative process.
I work in series of paintings at a time. I continuously have multiple projects at various stages of development in my studio. Often I will focus on one project or series, then move to the next while I am waiting for the paint to cure. Ideas are always there; usually, the last project or series influences the next.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
It’s a way to process the world around me. The natural environment has always influenced my work. I have been working with sound to pull subconscious imagery through myself, almost as a conduit to transfer the images onto the painting surface in the early stages. I try not to make too much sense of the process and to just allow it to flow freely through me. I have been making art my entire life as a way to communicate, to release information collected, and to process emotion.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Good art comes from the artist’s own experiential history. It comes from the heart. It comes from a need to communicate whatever needs to be presented, yet effectively and skillfully.
What is the role of the artist today?
To provoke questions, generate communication and collect information. Let us make the world think about what could be, and about what hasn’t been found yet. Artists research the past, develop ideas and make the world a better, more interesting place for the future.


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


Harry Arling – Kosmotroniks

Born in: 1965

Lives in: Emmerschans, Drenthe, The Netherlands

Media: Sculpture

Describe your work in 3 words: Unique - Beautiful - Happy

Kosmotroniks -ButterFlyCatchingMachineTank

My art reflects all that I loved, watched and did as a kid.
I'm myself's biggest fan!

What themes does your work involve?
It is about bringing a smile to people with my own created world called Kosmotroniks.
Describe your creative process.
I just start building. I never make a drawing first. It's what happens in the moment. Because of that, every build is an adventure for me.
What influences your work? What inspires you?
Big influences are music, Stanley Kubrick, toy stories, model kits, movies, model builders.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
I only can talk about my own art. Unexpected things while making it, make my art/Kosmotroniks great. These are the best moments.
What is the role of the artist today?
My art is totally unique. There is nothing in the world to compare it with. That’s one of the things that makes my art so interesting.


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