Filtering by Category: Brushstrokes

Brushstrokes: Interview with CoCo Artist Patrick L.

New to the CoCo Artist network is Patrick L.  His work uniquely spans florals, birds, and a range of other objects, like cars, for example.  The common element among all of them is the incorporation of collage from vintage sources.  Check out our brief, but enlightening chat with Patrick:

 

Flowered Tom and Jerry, by Patrick L. 

 

CoCo: What inspired you to become an artist?

Patrick: I have been an artist as long as I can remember. Specifically I fell in love with art in the fourth grade as well as with my art teacher Miss Gallo. It was love at first site on both accounts! I also remember my love of objects, antiques, and anything vintage. I eventually graduated with a Masters Degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in Lithography.

CoCo: How would you describe your artwork?

Patrick: My work is rich with color and nuanced with a surface quality that is engaging. My love of paper, surface and collage continues to this day.

 

Library or studio? Patrick L. draws inspiration from literature. 

 

CoCo: What type of media do you use and why?

Patrick: In my Seattle Studio, my images room surrounds me with hundreds of books and cuttings from pages of history books from various cultures, erotica from the Kama Sutra, original letters and journals, encyclopedias, old children’s books, and vintage wall paper. I am intrigued with the past and the associations that can be made with aged surfaces and vintage ephemera.  My technique is to combine paint with collaged ephemera from these sources.

 

Patrick L. incorporates collage from vintage sources in his work, which is evident in his eclectic studio. 

 

CoCo: What is your favorite thing about doing a commission?

Patrick: I love working on commissions, I love the challenge of being given a project to create what matches the client’s ideas and desires with my own creative vision.  What is unique in my work is I am able to combine pictures or collage elements that the client provides of their family, memories and significant events and I incorporate them in a lasting work of art for them.   I also have produced large-scale paintings for restaurants, hotels, hospitals, law offices, and ten years for major department stores nationally.

 

Patrick L. enjoys matching the client's desires with his own creative vision.

 

CoCo: Tell us about one of your favorite commissions.

Patrick: One of my favorites is a client’s house, depicted as a cake.  The client was a professional baker, and to make it personal, the windows of the house have family photos collaged in them.  Another was for a client's wedding anniversary; she wanted two florals with an Italian background, and images of The Kamasutra collaged into the flowers.

 

A commission by Patrick L. that uses original family photos in the windows. 

Brushstrokes: Interview with CoCo Artist, Galen C.

Despite living in rural Vermont, CoCo Artist Galen C.’s paintings reflect the energy of the urban environment.  As we interviewed Galen about her abstract paintings, she described just exactly what goes into creating unabashedly strong works worthy of making a statement in any setting.

Galen in her studio.

Galen in her studio.

CoCo: How would you describe your artwork?

Galen: I would describe my work as process-driven abstraction.  My work moves forward through the investigation of materials and processes.  It is physical, visceral, and visually compelling.

Artwork by Galen C.

Artwork by Galen C.

CoCo: What inspired you to become an artist?

Galen: I’m pretty sure I was just born that way.  However, I did get the message from my mother at a very young age that being an artist was not only valid, but also important.

Galen in her studio.

Galen in her studio.

CoCo: Who is your art for?  What type of person are you speaking to?

Galen: People who appreciate my work are those who embrace the imaginative qualities of abstract painting.  They like the experience and pleasure of seeing something original and of bringing their own interpretation to the work.

Artwork by Galen C. 

Artwork by Galen C. 

CoCo: What does your work of art bring to its environment?

Galen: I only allow my best work to leave my studio.  I do this, in part, because I want my paintings to have integrity and enduring appeal; I want them to stand the test of time and continue to unfold and reveal themselves to the viewer over the years.  If I’ve done my job, my paintings will enrich and transform any environment in which they are placed.

Artwork by Galen C. 

Artwork by Galen C. 

CoCo: What is the most important part of the artistic/creative process for you?

Galen: The most important part of my artistic process is that I be present and open to what is happening in the moment.  While I bring many years of painting experience with me into the studio, every painting is unique and has its own story to tell.  It is crucial that I am quiet and vulnerable enough to be able to listen and allow that new painting to push forward.

Artwork by Galen C. 

Artwork by Galen C. 

CoCo: What type of media do you use and why?

Galen: I am currently working with three distinct media.  I continue and will always work with basic oil on canvas or panel, as it is a rich and versatile material.  I am also working on ink on paper constructions, which I began during a recent art residency in China.  The third area of interest for me, which is also inspired by the work I began in China, is collaged paintings.  These works involve cutting and ripping existing paintings and reassembling them into new works of art.  It is a dynamic and endlessly interesting process.

Take a girl to China , by Galen C. 

Take a girl to China, by Galen C. 

CoCo: Tell us about an interesting piece that you have displayed in your own home?  Where exactly is it, and why is it there?

Galen: I have one spot in my living room that serves as a viewing spot for paintings that I have recently finished.  Hanging new work and living with it for a while allows me to know whether or not it is really finished.  Sometimes it takes looking at a painting for a while to know for sure.

Artwork by Galen C. 

Artwork by Galen C. 

CoCo: What is your favorite thing about doing a commission?

Galen: It is a great thing to create a work of art in collaboration with people who have are fans of my work and who have a vision and passion to work together.  It is extremely rewarding to place a painting with people who love it and who were instrumental in its creation.

Brushstrokes: Interview with CoCo Artist Toni S.

“Aerialscapes,” a term coined by CoCo Artist Toni S., refers to her paintings of urban to rural landscapes from a flattened, above ground perspective.  In our interview with her, Toni tells us a little more about how these unique depictions from the sky come to life, and what they are really all about.

 

Paterson, NJ,  16"X16", acrylic on canvas by CoCo Artist Toni S. 

Paterson, NJ, 16"X16", acrylic on canvas by CoCo Artist Toni S. 

CoCo: What inspired you to become an artist?

Toni: I always knew that I wanted to be an artist. Growing up, I spent a lot of time drawing and painting. Art is a passion that I was lucky enough to be born with. It is a joy and part of my being alive.   

After studying painting at the Philadelphia College of Art and realizing that I needed a job, I pursued studies in graphic design as a career. I applied my application of graphic solutions to my painting concepts and the abstract representation of my imagery, which was present in my design work.

Toni S.'s Studio

Toni S.'s Studio

CoCo: Who is your art for?

Toni: Regardless of the time, I believe my raison d’être as an artist is to share my vision of the world. I want my aerialscapes to be a commentary on our lifestyles and environment, a collection of urban and suburban way of life as well as a representation of the natural and industrial worlds. I will be satisfied if my paintings encourage people to step back and see our world as affected by humanity in a different light.

NYC Water tanks , 48"X48", acrylic on canvas by CoCo Artist, Toni S.

NYC Water tanks, 48"X48", acrylic on canvas by CoCo Artist, Toni S.

CoCo: What do you think your aerialscapes bring to their environment?

Toni: My aerial-view paintings represent various places and spaces of the contemporary landscape seen from an above ground perspective. The flattened surface planes convey the textures of abstract space enhanced by compositional aesthetics and skillful use of color. My images of cities and towns, factories and farmlands, power plants, suburban communities and highways are conceived with a distinctive angle on structures and a fresh visual vocabulary. The flattened plane reduces details to strong graphic images. I like the subject for its many aspects and possibilities.

Wanting to depart from traditional landscape perspective, but still incorporate realism, the view from above allows me to combine elements of abstraction and representation, pattern and grid, surface and illusion, as well as observation, imagination, and memory. My work can be understood on many levels, from the simple interplay of shape and color to the narrative of the pictorial story.

Jodhpur, India,  36"X48", acrylic on canvas by Toni S.

Jodhpur, India, 36"X48", acrylic on canvas by Toni S.

 

CoCo: What is your artistic/creative process?

Toni: I start with a location that fits my narrative, then proceed to sketch my idea from one of my own photographs or stock material using the bird’s eye view. The next step is to block out the shapes, patterns and color working with Photoshop to further refine composition and color. Although the color is not realistic, there are close similarities. Finally it is time to work at the easel.

 

Open Field Cultivation , 30"x30", acrylic on canvas by CoCo Artist Toni S.

Open Field Cultivation, 30"x30", acrylic on canvas by CoCo Artist Toni S.

CoCo: Tell us about an interesting piece that you have displayed in your own home.  Where exactly is it, and why is it there?

Toni: Edison Industrial is a bird's eye view of a New Jersey industrial area including industrial plants, factories, farms and homes.  I attempted to capture the landscape with somber color and let the pictorial tell the story. Hovering above, it examines the relationships between the man-made and the natural. It is hanging in my dining room with NJ Subdivision, both 48” x 60”.

 

Edison Industrial  and  NJ Subdivision  by CoCo Artist Toni S.

Edison Industrial and NJ Subdivision by CoCo Artist Toni S.

CoCo: Tell us about your favorite commission.

Toni: The One, in Jersey City was a rewarding challenge. A real estate developer wanted an aerial view that portrayed the location. Through a series of sketches the image was developed.

The One  by CoCo Artist Toni S.

The One by CoCo Artist Toni S.

Brushstrokes: Interview with CoCo Artist Nick L.

CoCo Artist Nick L. approaches his subject matter primarily through abstraction — to evoke rather than illustrate the intersections of society and nature. His works organically creating diagrammatic structures and planes of flat color reminiscent of the built environment. Commissioning a big, striking work by him would be perfect to fill in that large empty wall in your home, especially because his colors and lines will definitely bring together all your aesthetic preferences. We interviewed him before Affordable Art Fair NYC where he painted in front of a live audience.

CoCo: How would you describe your artwork?
Nick: My artwork ranges widely in subject matter and medium, from completely abstract oil paintings, to highly rendered realistic graphite drawings, to multi-media installation art. The constant that ties everything together is my interest in the natural world and the connections between society and nature. All of my work, whether abstract or representational, relates in some way to my experience of the real world…in other words, whether there is a recognizable reference in a work or not, my inspiration for the things I make always comes from actual experience.

CoCo: Tell us about your training as an artist.
Nick: I’ve always kept a sketchbook, even as a young kid. But art was never a part of my academic life until after college. I was an environmental science and biology major. After graduating, I spent several years living in the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada where I taught ecology and geology for the Yosemite Institute. It was during that period living in the mountains that I decided to put all my energy into my artwork and to make it my life pursuit. I moved to New York in 1996 and attended the New York Studio School for a couple years while I built a portfolio that I needed to apply to graduate school. I wanted to study with the British painter John Walker, and was fortunate to be accepted into his graduate program at Boston University. I finished an MFA in painting there in 2000 and then returned to NYC where I’ve lived and worked ever since.

CoCo: Describe one of your favorite collectors/clients.
Nick: My favorite collectors are people who were initially drawn to my artwork on its aesthetic merits alone, but with whom I’ve also developed strong friendships over time. As we get to know one another more and more, they trust in what I do, regardless of style or subject matter. It is fantastic to know I have the enthusiasm and support of sharp-eyed, intelligent and informed people who are interested in each new stage of my development as an artist. 

Coyote ; 60"x70", oil on canvas

Coyote; 60"x70", oil on canvas

CoCo: What does your work of art bring to its environment?
Nick: I strive to make my artwork interesting and dramatic enough to catch people’s attention, but it is also important to me that, once they look at it, it also inspires them to think more deeply about the world around them. Put simply, my artwork doesn’t pass muster until it has both graphic punch and deeper evocative appeal.

CoCo: What type of media do you use and why?
Nick: I use all kinds of media and techniques, often mixing them in unconventional ways. I believe that being open to all possibilities of expression, especially modes that are unfamiliar to me, can be an important key to unlocking new imagery and new creative territory.

Image courtesy AAF NYC

Image courtesy AAF NYC

Coco: What are you working on now?
Nick: I’m having a fantastic time doing live drawings at the Affordable Art Fair in New York City. I’ve never worked in front of a crowd this way and the performative aspect of the experience has been fun and invigorating.

CoCo: What is your favorite thing about doing a commission?
Nick: I love the collaborative aspect of working on commissions. It is thrilling to meet with clients, see the space for which they envision an artwork and then work together with them to come up with something that excites them as much as it does me.

CoCo: Tell us about your favorite commission.
Nick: It’s difficult to single out one commission as a favorite above all others, but one of the most exciting commissioning experiences I’ve had was working on some site-specific works for the lobby and media room at Richard Meier building at Grand Army plaza in Brooklyn. It was fantastic to respond to his architecture and to speak with the enthusiastic building residents who came through the space over the course of the painting and installation process.

If you are interested in learning more about Nick's work, contact info@cocogallery.net

Brushstrokes: Interview with CoCo Artist Chamisa K.

As part of our ongoing Brushstrokes series, we interviewed CoCo Artist Chamisa K. Primarily an illustrator, Chamisa's magical drawings and imaginative scenes have especially peaked the interest of our clients with young children. We love the idea of a series of Chamisa's custom illustrations in a nursery or kids room.

The Light in the Tree 1 ; 8"x10", ink and watercolor

The Light in the Tree 1; 8"x10", ink and watercolor

CoCo: How would you describe your artwork?
Chamisa: My work is magical realism. It belongs in a world that looks like ours, but where the rules are tipped on their head. I draw everyday scenes overlaid with imagination.

CoCo: Tell us about your training as an artist.
Chamisa: I began drawing very young, around age three. Both of my parents are artistic, and work as architects and urban designers. There was never a shortage of drawing and painting supplies in our house. Ball-point pens were my go-to tool. The way the ink flowed out around the tiny ball at the point, the satisfaction of seeing it sink into the paper; I spent hours drawing with them. I consider this foundation of drawing as a kid to be extremely important to my training as an artist. If it really does take 10,000 hours to master a skill, then I’m lucky I got a lot of my drawing time in at a young age.

From first grade through high school I attended Waldorf school, a private school system that puts a lot of emphasis on art and working with your hands. This, of course, was an absolutely perfect environment for me. It felt so natural to have drawing and painting so seamlessly integrated into my every day school life. In first grade I was introduced to watercolor, and since then have been combining watercolor and pen and ink in my work.

After high school, I applied to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Nothing could have really prepared me for the work load at RISD, but all the drawing and painting at a young age certainly helped! I studied Illustration, and while I can’t say I loved every minute of it, I certainly made a lot of personal creative discoveries. I met so many incredible artists, got my ego knocked down a peg or two (or ten), and after trying a ton of other materials, reaffirmed my love for ink and watercolor. They are the tools I use most in my current work.

Childhood Drawing 2

Childhood Drawing 2

The Light in the Tree 2

The Light in the Tree 2

CoCo: Who is your art for? What type of person are you speaking to?
Chamisa: Anyone who loves it and connects with it! I aspire to illustrate and write children’s books, so I always find it fascinating when children look at my work. There is a childlike place in each of us, something authentic and honest. This is the place I hope to speak to with my work.

CoCo: Can you lead us through an important aspect of a special technique you use?
Chamisa: Lately I’ve been creating three-dimensional works which I call “Light and Shadow Boxes”. I use cut outs of ink and watercolor illustrations and layer them to create depth. The light portion comes from small colorful LEDs, which I set behind the layers of paper so they shine through and create shadow and glow. Working with light has been a great learning process for me. Since the LEDs are battery powered, it requires some calculation and mathematical precision. Thinking about color, in the context of a piece that has it’s own light built in, is also a challenge. A piece can change drastically depending on how it’s displayed and whether or not the lights are turned on. As an artist it’s important to have something that drives you to create a lot of work, something that pushes you through the layers of learning. For me, working with added light is that thing that has ensnared my curiosity. I can’t get enough of it!

In the Belly of the Wolf

In the Belly of the Wolf

CoCo: Do you have any rituals or routines you must perform before you start or continue on a piece?
Chamisa: When I have a day where I get to focus solely on making art, I make sure to schedule in breaks. I dabble in string instruments, and a short session of strumming the guitar or picking at the banjo really clears my head, while keeping me in a creative mental space. It’s not a total departure since I still get to use my hands to make something, but it lets my mind shift so that when I come back to the drawing board I see it with fresh eyes.

CoCo: What is your favorite piece and why?
Chamisa: My favorite piece is one I did while still in school. I call it The Wanderer. It isn’t my best technical work or even my best idea, but it is significant to me because it represents a breakthrough in my work and my mindset towards being an illustrator. The Wanderer was made for an assignment in a children’s book class. I had been trying and failing to mimic work that I liked, illustrators who had succeeded in a certain style. Naturally, I was failing left and right, because I wasn’t following my own intuition; I was forcing it. But this was one of the last projects for the semester, and I think I was so tired that I just couldn’t force it anymore. I returned to that feeling I had as a child, of drawing for the pure joy of it, and not for the purpose of copying something or someone else. Teachers always said, you can’t force style, and I never “got it” until that point. I stayed up all night working on The Wanderer, which wasn’t unusual. The unusual part was that I wasn’t brain dead the next day. I was liberated from this self-imposed weight, and making that piece only made me want to create more.

The Wanderer

The Wanderer

CoCo: Tell us about your favorite commission.
Chamisa: Recently a friend commissioned me to design and woodburn an image on a hand-made wooden surfboard. I don’t have woodburning examples in my portfolio, but he wanted an image in my drawing style (he knows my love of line), so he approached me about learning this new skill. The limited times I’ve worked with a wood burner have been great experiences, so I readily agreed. 

There are three reasons why this has been a great commission project: one, it allows me to learn a new skill, without taking me away from the style I like to work in. Two, the idea and design have been a pleasantly collaborative effort, and the client has allowed me full reign on the technique and fabrication. Lastly, it has opened up the possibilities for future projects like this one, and bolstered my confidence in expanding my repertoire of materials.

(All photos by Phil McElroy)

If you are interested in learning more about Chamisa's work, contact info@cocogallery.net

Brushstrokes: Interview with CoCo Artist Laura G.

Today, we would like to share our chat with CoCo Artist Laura G. Her abstract depictions of the infinite sky transport viewers to a place of meditative serenity. They tend to provide a window to the beyond, especially in closed settings like long hallways and dark rooms. And yet, they also expand large environments, when natural light reflects upon them. Meet Laura.

CoCo Artist Laura G. in her studio.

CoCo Artist Laura G. in her studio.

CoCo: How would you describe your artwork?
Laura: I paint large-scale atmospheric oil paintings. As an artist, I strive to transport the viewer to a more peaceful dreamlike setting. In this hectic fast-paced world, it is my hope that the viewer will experience a moment of tranquility when viewing my work. 

CoCo: What inspired you to become an artist?
Laura: I was inspired to become an artist because I found a sense of serenity while I was painting. I think I am my happiest whenever I am creating. I was also fortunate as a child to visit art museums whenever my family took vacations and I remember feeling such a sense of awe staring at wonderful works of art. There was something very powerful about viewing famous pieces of art in person. It left quite an impression on me at a young age.

CoCo: Describe one of your favorite clients.
Laura: One of my favorite clients was Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. I got to visit the hospital and meet some of the patients. They were such sweet kids and so excited about art in general. I love when I’m able to see where my work will “live” and meet the people who will experience it on a daily basis.

CoCo: What does your work bring to its environment?
Laura: My paintings bring a sense of calm and peace to its environment as well as a burst of color. I like to think of my paintings as windows, looking out onto another world.

LGuesestudiophoto1.jpg
LGuesestudiophoto3.jpg

CoCo: What is your artistic process?
Laura: I start a painting usually with an image in my mind or a feeling I want to communicate. My paintings are places of my imagination. I find my work the most honest and authentic when I create from a feeling or an image in my mind’s eye.

CoCo: What is your favorite piece?
Laura: My favorite piece changes quite often but my current favorite is “Ciel Colorado.” I have really loved working with shades of lavender, purple, blues and greys lately. I love the understated palette; it feels so soothing to me.

Ciel Colorado,  44"x72", oil

Ciel Colorado, 44"x72", oil

CoCo: What is your favorite thing about doing a commission?
Laura: My favorite thing about commissions is that it is a true collaboration between the client and myself. I love creating something unique and specific to one client. It is fun to have an ongoing dialog with the client about what they envision and then bringing those ideas to life.

If you are interested in collaborating with Laura G., please contact us at info@cocogallery.net. We're happy to share more information about Laura and more of her artwork with you.

Brushstrokes: Interview with CoCo Artist Doug F.

Brushstrokes: Interview with CoCo Artist Doug F.

Through our new series of interviews, Brushstrokes, we're happy to introduce CoCo Artist, Doug F., a nationally celebrated abstract landscape painter, whose works have been exhibited in museums, galleries, and in private collections throughout the country. Doug's work? Think big, intense, and yet calm. 

Read More