About three weeks ago I decided to sit down with a good friend and former colleague to ask her a few questions to get her take into what it’s like to be an accomplished artist, I also wanted to hear the process that she took to get there. I think it’s safe to say that in many ways Julia Townsend is renaissance woman with wide-ranging skills from painting to sculpture and long distance running to sea kayaker. If there is anything that she is not capable of doing I haven’t seen it yet.
Julia has lived and worked as an artist all around the world from Germany to Dubai. She is currently living with her husband in Edenton, North Carolina, where they run the Peanut Factory (PF). The PF was a former, you guessed it, peanut factory and through which she and her husband are converting to art center. From what I understand the PF is becoming a center for all things art. It is currently hosting artist’s residencies and they have just finished a gallery for exhibitions. She plans on adding a restaurant and housing for the visiting artists as well. Continue reading →
The latest artist interview that I had scheduled for this site was to be for a longtime friend, Corey Pickett, who is starting to make a name for himself in the art field. I use the word, “starting” a little loosely because by some measures, he has “arrived.” His work is topical and relevant to the current tone of society in the US. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that I would expect his work to take off in a couple of years. He’s had solo exhibitions across the country and his work is currently being shown at ENMU, with a new exhibition in Sante Fe, that will be opening shortly. This December he will be showing in Pennsylvania too.
For this interview I decided to go in a slightly different direction than the past interviews, namely I wanted the interview with Corey to be a podcast. This was the first time that I’d done an interview like this so bear that in mind when you listen to it. I have experience with audio recordings, but I lack quality equipment and a true studio to conduct the interview. Also, in the back of my mind, I was hoping that this will be a regular method of interviews for Kennethcurtis.com. Continue reading →
I’m not sure why, but I’ve been on a real illustration binge lately. While I was going through my twitter feed and ran into a talented artist that creates some of the most interesting illustrations that I’ve seen in a while. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great illustrators online, and many have great work as well. It’s just the work of Wenyi Geng just struck me somehow. If I were forced to give an answer why I enjoyed his work, I’d say that I think it’s is use of line mixed with the pastel colors that really caught my attention the most.
Most the pieces that I looked at were playful and fun. The one that drew me into his work was of a of a fully clothed woman riding a wave while holding an umbrella. If I had that kind of creativity, I would say that it’s straight out of a dream, but I don’t. I can only enjoy Wenyi’s work. That piece in particular, gives the impression that the artist has incorporated some of the ukiyo-e style into it. The ukiyo-e style is best identified by the woodblock print of the Japanese artist, Hokusai.
As far as I can tell on my quick examination of his work, none of the pieces are labeled by name or size. So my only way to identify them is by the content of the work. Another piece that I enjoyed was of a bird drawn in a playful manner. I think that’s the only way I can describe it quickly. Since this isn’t a critique, just my observations, you’ll have to cut me some slack. This piece is child-like and fun, and plays with one of Dali’s most famous pieces, The Persistence of Time’s melting clocks. Only with Wenyi’s work he’s replaced the melting clock with a melting orange slice. To a lesser degree I get a sense that there is a touch more Surrealism in his work. I can’t help but feel that the artist is taking a cue from Magritte as well. Though I can’t tell why, it’s just a feeling.
After doing some research online I’ve found out a little bit about him. Wenyi Geng was born in Japan, grew up in China, studied at SVA MFA Illustration and currently based in Tokyo Japan. Before writing this article I had not heard of him so I didn’t know if he was up and coming, or already established. I’m going to say that I’m embarrassed to see that he is very recognized in his field. I realize that I can’t know everything about the artists that I profile on this site, but Wenyi has been featured in at least three magazines. The magazines are listed on his personal site at http://www.wenyigeng.com/ in the about page. Other than that there really wasn’t that much more about him. I think it’s great that he’s getting the recognition that he deserves.
I recently came across an artist who does interesting mechanical sculptural works. The Dutch artist, according to her web site, ”
The works derive from her fascination with science, with an emphasis on physics, engineering and mathematics. Geometric patterns in Islamic art or mathematical drawings of Dutch artist M. C. Escher often serve as an inspiration. Images where lines and figures match each other so perfectly they could be repeated indefinitely. This infinity, regularity and obedience is what Townley also finds fascinating about mechanical machines; they are robust, strenuous and seemingly immortal. She is captivated by how a machine can convert a simple circular motion (rotary engine) into a very complicated nonlinear or chaotic movement pattern. jenniferTownley.com
When it comes to the ‘cool factor’ Jenifer’s work is definitely in the area of cool. That being said, maybe it’s that I’m seeing her work transition and move based on the videos that I’ve seen, and I can’t help but feel that I’ve seeing the work through someone else’s perspective. In many pieces, especially those that are static, sometimes all you need is a photo of the work. Imagine though if the photographer took the photo of the Mona Lisa at a strange angle, or maybe too far away, or possibly even too close to the piece. You wouldn’t get to look at the things or areas that interest you. It could, in extreme cases change your perception of the work. This is what I think is happening to me with Jennifer’s sculptures. I know that they are cool, and that I would most likely stand mesmerized in front the pieces, but the video doesn’t do it justice… That is of course my opinion.
So knowing that I have to kind of adjust my perception of her work into a more, “Wow, I bet that would be cool to see.” frame of mind, I want to give Jennifer the highest praise. The pieces that I’ve seen were effective as combining and contrasting both perception and shape. I was drawn to her piece, 161 Days. It is a combination of moving gears along with white string connected at various points around the gears. (The color of the string is important because it creates contrast.) It is an interesting joining of the shapes and perception, as Jennifer has stated she tries to accomplish. As the gears turn, the string will take on new shape as they are pulled in different angles. The eye focuses on the shapes and it can actually draw you in, and I guess maybe mesmerize the viewer.
There are several different paths that an artist can take when creating. I tend to view the quality of the piece on the end result. Kind of like the old saying, “How does it make you feel?” concept to art. There are others who will look at the technical aspect of the work, maybe the intricacies of the drawing, or the one observation that I personally don’t like to hear, “It looks so real.” If it looks so real, I mean, why not take a photograph? [small rant–sorry] You get the idea though, there are different aspects, or paths that an artist can take, and Jennifer has done an excellent job working with the perception of the viewer, and less with the technical side of it. Her work can feel soothing and yet, makes me a little uncomfortable. If I’m correct on the simplified aspects to art, then my guess is that Jennifer is definitely in the, “How does it make you feel?.” camp.
If you’ve got the time and want to get mesmerized by her work there are videos on her site. I’ve included the video link here to one of her pieces, “Asinas”
If you’re new to kennethcurtis.com, I’d first like to welcome you to the new design and hope that if you get a chance you’ll take a moment to look around. One of the many goals of this site is to create an area for artists of all kinds. It doesn’t matter if their chosen area is in fine arts or applied arts and even if they fall between the two, all are welcome.
As the function of the webmaster/creator of this site I get the honor and privilege to invite Greg Senn, one of my closest friends and favorite artists to be the first interview. As well as being a certified scuba diver for nearly twenty years, he has been an artist and art professor for about thirty years. Greg has primarily based his work on casting and metal work and it truly remarkable some of the pieces that he has created. His work ranges from serious to playful and he seems to revel in the freedom that art gives him.
kennethcurtis.com is a new site trying something unusual. I am trying to create a site that is about art and technology. The idea is that I consider myself an artist, but I spend probably most of my time working with technology. So both subjects interest me and I'm hoping that I'm not alone.