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Artist Takeover, Day 4: Steve Williams

2 Aug

Steve Williams and I go way back, although he doesn’t remember.  When I was a college senior, my painting professor encouraged me to meet with two artists/gallery owners, Jim Draper and Steve Williams.  They liked my work and were very encouraging, wanting to see more and see it framed.. but I chickened out and didn’t follow through.  Who knows where my life may have led had I followed their advice and diligently pursued it?  Oh how stupid we are when we are young! 🙂

A gallery owner and artist, Steve is always a source for interesting work, his own and what he features in his gallery, Florida Mining.  He is also a businessman running not only his gallery but his family’s sign business, Harbinger Sign.  So it’s no surprise his questions related to the business of making art!

Jackson, mixed media, 60×30

Steve Williams | What have you found to be most important to an artist’s success?  What do you see as the activities an artist does that puts them in an arena of “success”, whatever that means?

Artsy Forager | Hmm.. I suppose to answer this question, you would first have to define success, which differs with each artist.  For some artists, financial success, i.e., selling lots of work, taking on commissions, making a living solely by art-making, may be their touchstone.  While for others, critical achievement is utmost in their minds– being lauded and accepted in the highest of art circles.  Or maybe they are looking for their Andy Warholish 15 minutes of fame.

For success in both arenas, first I would say an artist has to just WORK.  Create all the time.  Creating work is the most important activity an artist can do because after all, it’s impossible to achieve financial or critical success without having the work to sell or show.  Second, use the tools at your disposal and use them smartly.  An online presence is more important for an artist now than ever– keep your website updated and make sure it loads and allows browsing easily.  Post regularly on Facebook and Twitter ( Hootsuite is a great tool for social media time management ).  Write a blog if you’re so inclined– but if you don’t have something interesting to say or share, whether about your work, other artist’s work, your interests, etc., don’t feel like you need to write a blog.  Do it well or don’t do it at all.  Third, be open to everything.  Opportunities come your way when you put yourself in their path.    Don’t be afraid to propose a collaboration with a dream brand or approach a dream gallery for representation.  You’ll never know if you don’t try.

TV Exploration of Mars, mixed media, 12×12

SW | Is there an area in America that seems to be enjoying greater success in art sales? Or an area that seems to have less?

AF |  This is a really tough question for me to answer, as I’m so ingrained in the Southeast and Northwest and I’m not truly in the business of selling art ( yet..?  ).  There are exciting shows happening in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but is that translating into sales?  I can’t say for certain.  I see some Southern galleries and artists doing really well, but I can’t say if that is a product of their location or if the galleries are just working really hard to sell art and build up a following of collectors for their artists.  Artistic epicenters like NYC, Santa Fe and Miami are always going to be ahead of the game, sales-wise, I think.  But there are smaller cities like Austin, Asheville and Portland that are gaining in popularity as artistic tourist destinations, which could equal greater sales.

Haiku Metaphor, mixed media, 22×30

SW | Have you seen/done research to see if people are buying art more online now?  If so, what type of work is being purchased?

AF |  I can only speak for what I’m witnessing on my own and hearing about from artists.  Collectors ARE buying more work online these days.  I see online buyers as more apt to purchase limited editions or less expensive originals than to purchase originals with a higher price tag over the internet. There is inherently less to lose by purchasing work online with a lower price tag.  Also, the intricacies and textures inherent in original work are almost impossible to truly see online, so that makes some originals a tougher online sell.  Perhaps as technology continues to advance, we’ll see more truly fine art originals being sold online.  For now, the online market seems to be made up more of prints, limited editions and lower priced originals.  I hope to see that change, as galleries continue to fold, the internet is soaking up the slack– but the technology of viewing originals online still has a long way to go. Hmm.. maybe I need to team up with a venture capitalist and some uber-smart techie and make that happen!

Marco Polo, mixed media

Thank you, my dear Mr. Williams for what may have been my toughest set of questions all week!  You never fail to make me think or smile.

To see more of Steve’s artwork, please visit his website.  Don’t miss tomorrow’s final Takeover when artists reveal their favorite Artsy Forager finds!

Artist Takeover, Day 4: Christina Foard

2 Aug

It’s Day 4 of the Artist Takeover and today Artsy Forager is being taken over by two of my favorite artists from my hometown. First up is Jacksonville artist and friend, Christina Foard. Christina and I first met back in Jacksonville and she has become a dear friend and wonderfully supportive and encouraging ear. And hopefully, she’s always able to count on me for the same.   True to her nature, her questions were thoughtful and insightful.

Urban Leak, acrylic and oil on canvas, 109×66

Christina Foard | My first question is possibly a bit broad, but something makes me think it’s a cornerstone for you, and may have application for all of us in any field. What are your beliefs about generosity – you know, giving without a foreseeable or tangible return on investment? What role does it play in your strategic plan for your future as an arts advocate/blogger?

Artsy Forager | I purposefully don’t talk much about my spiritual beliefs on the blog.  I would never want anyone to be put off by spiritual talk.  But your question brings it forward, so I’ll lay it out there.  I am a Christian.  I believe in God & the salvation of Christ.  A cornerstone of my faith is a belief in service to others.  My husband and I both try to practice giving freely of ourselves and our resources.  We believe in the joy of giving.

Through Artsy Forager, I’m able to give of my time and resources to help people whose talent I believe in.  Right now, I receive no financial benefit from Artsy Forager.  What it is giving back to me is a sense of purpose and a knowledge that I am doing my part to help someone else.  My strategic plan for the future is pretty fluid at the moment– I have ideas and short-term goals for broadening my audience and scope of services through the blog, but I also want to be open to whatever comes my way.  I want to be able to help artists in a tangible way– I’ve found that is where I receive the greatest satisfaction!  In the short term, that may be achieved through the blog and through doing the type of art consulting/project management I’m already familiar with.  I’m not sure what will happen long term, but I would love to be able to incorporate charitable giving into my long term business plan, once I figure out what that is. 😉


CF | Are there characteristics that you think many/most artists share? Are there commonalities in their approach, energy, psychological make-up that you’ve experienced?

AF | I’ve been so fortunate to be able to meet and befriend some spectacularly talented artists and incredible people.  Every artist is different, but I’ve found that many of the artists with whom I’ve developed relationships do share some characteristics–

Many of the most talented artists I’ve come across are incredibly humble, they are often open to all types of inspiration and stimulation, whether it be through other visual artwork, music, literature or other creative talk.  They see the world through a broader lens, often much more open than others may be to differing points of view.  I love the way so many artists support and encourage each other.  The arts are a business but one that I personally think is enhanced by cooperation, not competition.


CF | You’ve been roaming nomadically for a while, clearly devoted and adoring your husband all the while, what do you think are the most exciting art markets amongst the cities you’ve gotten to know? What makes them vibrant in your opinion?

AF | Oh what a fun question!!  My husband George & I feel so fortunate to be living this unique nomadic lifestyle.  It has opened our eyes to so many places we may not have discovered otherwise.  Here are a few of my favorite artsy spots I’ve found so far–

Seattle, WA— I may be a bit biased toward Seattle, as it was where George & I truly fell in love, so I see the city through love-colored glasses!  That being said, the artistic energy in Seattle is phenomenal and the quality of the work being done there is, in my opinion, among the best in the world.  For a large city, the sense of community and camaraderie among the artists in Seattle is amazing.  Every time George is up for a new assignment, I hope and cross my fingers for Seattle.  I would love to be there for a while to really immerse myself in the art community and just soak it all in.

Portland, OR— Another obvious one. 😉  I’m not as familiar with Portland as I am with Seattle, having only visited on a few day trips last summer but the art scene there is comparable.  The arts in Portland seem a bit more laid back than Seattle.. almost like Portland is Seattle’s younger sibling.. I think it is still coming into its own.  It’s truly becoming a creative destination for all kinds of art, which I find really exciting.  It’s another city I would love to live in for a while and get to know better.

Astoria, OR— When we moved to our first Northwest assignment in Aberdeen, WA last summer, I was desperate for some cultural stimulation ( not currently to be had in Aberdeen, but we have hope for that little town ).  We took a day trip to Astoria one Saturday and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the galleries there.  Many small Northwest towns have thriving art scenes, but the focus is usually on Western/Native American art– which is great, but not my cup of tea.  Astoria has a fantastic photography gallery, Lightbox Gallery , a large multi-discipline contemporary gallery, RiverSea Contemporary  as well as a fun, more cutting edge space, Lunar Boy Gallery and others.  An artwalk, shops, bookstores, etc., make Astoria a great little artsy town.  If only it didn’t get almost 200 days of rain a year..

Jacksonville, FL— Of course, I had to include my hometown!  The resilience of the artists and art community in Jacksonville continues to amaze me.  The economic downturn hit the art market hard in Jacksonville, resulting in a lot of gallery closings, but it is so encouraging to watch artists and arts supporters finding new ways to rebuild.  I’m afraid they are often running up against bureaucratic opposition and conservative political silliness but yet they keep fighting.  And I’m cheering them on from afar.  I’m looking forward to being back for a visit later in the year and seeing first hand exciting new ventures like Florida Mining and CoRK Studios.

Ashland, OR— This small town in Southern Oregon has a really booming and exciting art scene.  Being a tourist destination known for its outdoor Shakespeare Festival, Ashland was a favorite spot while we were living in Southern Oregon.  We have a good friend moving to the area and are looking forward to visiting again.  I’ve discovered some really fabulous artists through Ashland galleries.  It’s a liberal town in the midst of a very conservative area, which makes it kind of a mecca for culture in the southern part of the state.

Port Townsend, WA— Another small town that completely charmed me.  It’s proximity to Seattle ( a ferry-ride away ) and touristy appeal gives this little town great potential for its art market.  I don’t think it is quite where it could be yet, but I see it moving forward toward becoming an arts destination.  Port Townsend is one of those towns where I immediately wanted to open a gallery. 😉

There are a few places we haven’t made it to yet, but I am anxious to see what their art communities have to offer– San Francisco, Los Angeles ( I’m seeing some really incredible art coming out of LA ), Santa Fe, New Orleans, Chicago, just to name a few.  And perhaps it’s my proximity to Canada these days, but we have some really talented neighbors to the north.. it almost tempts me to talk George into changing our citizenship!

Summer Rain, oil on canvas, 48×60

CF | How can artists help your business grow?

AF | Right now, the biggest way artists can help is to share the Artsy Forager page with friends, help me get the word out with social media, etc.  When you share a quote, status, post, etc., you’re helping AF reach a wider audience.  There are web tools that estimate your potential social media reach and it really is incredible to think about.  It reminds me of that old shampoo commercial, “then she tells 2 friends and they tell 2 friends and so on..“.. wow, I just really dated myself!  In sharing, you’re not just helping AF but every artist that is featured.

Keep me updated with new work, shows, etc.  It would be very time consuming for me to periodically check for new work on each artist’s site. I love it when an artist emails me to let me know of an upcoming show or new work just posted to their site.  It helps keep you & your work on my mind, which in turn, usually prompts me to post about it on the blog or social media.  Win-win for both of us!

I am always open to new ideas and dialogues, too.  This interview process idea came from artist Christina Baker and I was thrilled with all the artists’ enthusiasm!  I would really love to have artists even more involved with the website.


To see more of Christina’s work, please visit her website.  Stay tuned this afternoon for Steve Williams’ takeover!

All images are via the artist’s website.

Artist Takeover, Day 3: Christina Baker

1 Aug

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s Takeover with M.A. Tateishi!  Today’s Artist Takeover is courtesy of Christina Baker, the artist whose idea to turn the tables led to this special week at Artsy Forager.  I first met Christina while working at a gallery/ consulting firm in Jacksonville, Florida.  We carried Christina’s work from time to time and placed it in healthcare settings around the area, but it wasn’t until she moved to Nashville and started focusing on abstract compositions that her work really took off.  I’m happy to report she’s a super busy, in-demand artist and it’s been thrilling watching her career blossom!

C and I have bonded over our love of art, coffee and our super-adorable husbands ( she married her true love just a few months before I married mine ).  Here’s a peek inside one of our online conversations..

Blueberry Martini, acrylic on canvas, 60×48

Christina Baker | You love most everything beautiful to the eye and what I have grown to admire about your eye so much as how authentic it is to “you.” You have such a myriad of taste yet it always goes back to seeing a little glimpse of you in each and everything you share with others.
Have you ever thought of Artsy Forager as sort of a personal home away from home, not just a vehicle to promote art but a place you feel that is part of you and you are the hostess?
Artsy Forager | You know, I’ve never really thought about it that way, but given that George & I are living such a vagabond-ish lifestyle, it makes sense that I’ve crafted Artsy Forager as a sort of home!  I hope that AF feels like a warm and inviting place, where visitors feel welcomed and want to linger over a cup o’ jo and some fantastic artwork.  I’m a nester by nature, so I put my personal stamp on any place I inhabit, even an online home.

Locked Doors, acrylic on canvas, 36×36

CB | I have totally taken note of how much you love nature. You have even seemed to have met the man of your dreams who also loves and respects nature. I have also noticed your taste leans more contemporary yet you show appreciation for such a variety of styles and genres.  Is there any connection to your passion for nature and your taste in the contemporary arts?
AF | I do see my love of nature coming out in the works I’m most attracted to.  Many of my favorite artists find a way to combine natural themes or elements in a thought provoking and contemporary way.  Artists like Rachel Denny, Jennifer Bain and Brenda Mallory come to mind. The natural world is full of abstract shapes and textures, it’s an unending source of inspiration and I’m most intrigued by artists who interpret that world in abstract ways vs. a realistic landscape or still life.  Being outdoors and immersed in nature, away from the hustle of traffic and pressure to be connected to technology refreshes us in so many ways.   I find myself at my most creative and thoughtful after a day of hiking.  George & I have been batting around a long-term dream of opening an artists’ retreat in a gorgeous, secluded location.  Kind of like summer camp for artists and other creative types.  It’s my favorite dream right now!

Birds in the Dryer, acrylic on canvas, 24×30

CB | Do you still own any of your childhood art projects? This could include anything from your college years as well.  If so, have you ever pulled them out and studied them as well as had the urge to create a new body of work in the  present moment of your life?  I think it would be really cool to see a blog post of something you have or plan to create.
AF |  I have stacks of paintings from my college days hanging out in our storage unit in Florida.  My mom and brother/sister-in-law each have several paintings of mine hanging in their homes.  There is a large portfolio full of figure drawings from my senior year in college that I can’t bear to get rid of.  Most of them are on newsprint and have at some point or another been rolled up, so they aren’t in the greatest shape, but I just can’t part with them.  I struggled when I first began taking Figure Drawing with the amazing Paul Ladnier— I got so frustrated with myself, yet he was incredibly encouraging, telling me that one day it would just click.  And that’s exactly what happened!  I grew to love it so much I took 3 semesters of Figure Drawing with him and was probably at the height of my skill level then.

Playing Catch, acrylic on canvas, 36×36

But here’s the thing.  Painting and drawing are skills, like anything else.  They must continually be practiced and developed or they lessen over time.  I haven’t painted or drawn really consistently since college.  Every once in a while I create something I’m proud of, but more often than not, I’m disappointed with my efforts.  I would love to get back into painting, as few activities energize me as much ( when the work goes well, anyway! ).  But I’m also humbled by the amazing talent I see every day.  It would be difficult to keep from measuring myself against so many incredible artists and falling short.  Maybe one day I’ll have the courage to post about my own work.  It’s definitely something I would have to work up to!
To see more of Christina Baker’s work, please visit her website.  A special treat tomorrow– a double takeover with  Christina Foard and Steve Williams!
All images are via the artist’s website.

Artist Takeover, Day 2: M.A. Tateishi

31 Jul

Welcome to Day 2 of our Artists Takeover Event!  Today’s artist is the only Canuck in the bunch this week, Vancouver artist M.A. Tateishi.  M.A. is an artist whose work I immediately connected with and the artist herself has become a great supporter and friend.  Our conversation gives you a little behind-the-scenes peek at Artsy Forager!

The Walls of This Old House, mixed media with resin, 36×48

M.A. Tateishi | You feature a lot of inspiring and different artists. How do you find the artists, and is there a particular reaction you have to art when you find it…like an immediate fall-in-love feeling, or does some work grow on you? Do you have to sort through a lot of “bad art” to find the good ones?

Artsy Forager | I find the artists I feature through a number of different avenues– some I’ve known through working in the industry, others I’ve found through galleries ( both visited in person & online ), social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, through other artists, through other art blogs, lifestyle blogs, even some DIY, fashion & home decor blogs will occasionally feature interesting artwork.  Really just keeping my eyes open at all times.  I try to always have a pen & paper handy, as you never know when you may happen upon something amazing!  The reaction is a little like falling in love or at the very least having a crush!  My heart will skip a beat and many times my mouth will drop open. 😉  I’ve been told I have a “great eye” and my husband used to always ask how I knew really great work from mediocre– it’s hard to describe, it’s more of an artistic intuition, I guess.  It’s funny, but many of the sources through which I find work are so full of great stuff that I don’t really have to sift through much “bad art”.  I do get emails from artists whose work doesn’t quite make the cut for Artsy Forager, though.  I always want to be encouraging to anyone who is willing to reach out and ask to be featured, but I strive very hard to keep the standard of work featured high. If I do need to “reject” an artist, I try to offer other avenues for online exposure.

Pixelated Rhythm, mixed media with resin, 36×48

MAT | How do you organize your writing? Do you have a lot of posts ready to go, or do you work on deadlines? Do you have an editor/friend to bounce things off, or do you work alone?  And how to you manage all your social media? Are you typing away on your iPhone while you’re waiting at the post office?

AF | I plan out Artsy Forager posts usually no more than a week or two ahead.  I’m a bit of a procrastinator by nature, something I’m trying to work on, so right now, that’s about as far out as I can plan & organize for the posts themselves.  Since I post to the blog Monday-Friday and my husband’s schedule can change, I’m sometimes writing & scheduling posts in advance for the days when he is off.  For instance, he’s currently working Wed-Sun, so I make sure to have all my posts completed and scheduled for Monday & Tuesday by Sunday night, so that we can enjoy time together without too much distraction.   I normally work alone, but will sometimes bounce ideas off fellow bloggers, artists and of course, my hubby is always a ready ear.  I’m still learning to smartly manage social media.. I finally signed up for Hoot Suite, which allows me to advance schedule posts to social media and has gone a long way toward helping me maintain an online presence even when I may not be physically near a computer. 😉  You may be surprised to learn that I don’t have an iPhone or even internet access on my cell phone and right now the hubby and I share one MacBook Pro between us.  It can make keeping up more difficult, but it also helps to be able to disconnect when spending time with my hubby.

Neon City, mixed media with resin, 36×48

MAT | Finally, what motivates you to do the Artsy Forager? As an artist I can see the benefits for me, and I think it’s important to bring original art to as many people as possible, but I was wondering what inspires you?

AF | This is a really interesting question and one I’m sure many artists are curious about.  I began Artsy Forager when I left a long time gallery/ art consultation position and was preparing to leave Florida to begin traveling the Northwest with George.  I knew that I would be bored without something to occupy my time while George was working and getting a different job in a new town every 3 months didn’t seem appealing or even possible.  I thought about what I’d loved the most about my former position, what really excited and motivated me– it was the artists themselves and their work. I’ve always loved writing, I was almost a Lit major before switching to Art History and I thought blogging would be an interesting way to fuel my passion for art, help artists succeed in whatever way I could and allow me to build and create something of my own.  What really inspires me is the relationships I’m building with artists from all over the country.  When artists come to me for advice, I am honored, humbled and inspired to do more of whatever I can to help them succeed.  Who knows where Artsy Forager may lead in the next few years.  I hope it leads to greater success, not just for me, but for every artist featured.

Champagne Pop, mixed media with resin, 24×36

To see more of M.A.’s work, please visit her website.  Taking over tomorrow:  Christina Baker!

All images are via the artist’s website.

Artist Takeover, Day 1: Deborah Scott

30 Jul

I warned you, Artsies!  The Artists are Taking Over Artsy Forager this week!  While Mr. Forager & I are finding inspiration in Glacier & Yellowstone, a few of the artists featured on the blog are turning the tables on moi, asking all sorts of interesting questions about blogging, the art world and little ol’ me.

First up is Seattle artist Deborah Scott, who knocked me out with her work when she emailed me last year asking if I might like to feature her on the blog.  I was blown away by Deborah’s work and I’m not the only one.  Recently Eric Fischl ( yes THAT Eric Fischl ) recently chose two of Deborah’s paintings for his America: Now & Here national project!  Hope you enjoy this conversation between the artist and the Artsy Forager.

Without Their Permission ( File 1: Baby Bear ), oil and mixed media on canvas, 24×40

Deborah Scott | What is the most exciting part about being an arts enabler and making connections for art, artists, and art appreciators?
Artsy Forager |  So many things excite me about what I’m doing at Artsy Forager!  But THE most important and exciting for me is when I hear that it was through Artsy Forager that an artist has connected with a new gallery, a new collector, a new opportunity to promote and/or sell their work.  As noble as the art world may seem, artists have to eat and if anything I do helps an artist make a sale or get connected to a gallery, art consultant, designer or collector to generate future sales, well, that makes everything I do worthwhile.

Without a Sound, oil and mixed media on canvas, 24×40

DS |  What work(s) of art do you wish you owned?
AF | Oh wow.  I don’t even know where to begin!  Obviously, if I had the funds, I would love to own works by my favorite masters.. Picasso, O’Keeffe, Rothko, Pollock, just to name a few.  Not to be a suck-up, but I would love to own one of your pieces one day!  😉  I am finding new favorites every day, but there are certain artists whose work I keep coming back to and that both George and I really adore– which I think is very important, we would have to both love any artwork purchase.
Christina Foard— I’m very fortunate to own a smaller, earlier work of Christina’s, but I would love to be able to buy one of her larger pieces one day.  She has some new work showing at the Haskell Gallery inside Jacksonville International Airport ( along with July Facebook Featured artist, Thomas Hager! ) and I am completely coveting “Flow“.
Maribel Angel— I loved Maribel’s work from the first moment I saw it and completely regret not investing in a painting while I was getting a gallery discount. 😉  “Shangri-La” is a piece of Maribel’s that I adore.
Rachel Denny— Rachel’s “Domestic Trophies” are so fabulous and after we saw them at Foster/White Gallery in Seattle, George loved them just as much as I already did.  I would give any of them a good home!
Susan Hall— Susan’s work is incredibly soft and ethereal.  There’s a quiet intricacy to it that I don’t think I would ever tire of.  “April” reminds me of the serenity of the wildlife here in the Northwest.  I love it.
Joe Segal— Joe’s work has always appealed to me.  It bridges the gap between the raw natural quality of the wood and his contemporary vision so beautifully.  His “Cleave” series really fits our aesthetic perfectly, it echoes my hubby’s “mountain man” personality with my own more urban style.
I could go on and on!  Suffice it to say that I would love to own the work of any artist I’ve featured so far on Artsy Forager!

Plummet, oil and mixed media on canvas, 24×40

DS: What is your art world pet peeve?
AF:  I hate it when artwork isn’t credited along with other sources.  I’ve seen some gorgeous work on blogs and in magazines and often every element in the room except the artwork is credited down to the paint on the walls, often not for lack of trying on the designer’s part.  One of my favorite artists recently had his work featured as part of a home design in House Beautiful and although the designer lobbied heavily for him, his name was still not listed among the source credits.  It just devalues the work of the artist as not as important as, say, the sofa or a table lamp.  It’s so irritating!

Into Flat Space, oil and mixed media on canvas, 24×40

To see more work from Deborah Scott, please check out her website.  Tomorrow’s Takeover Artist:  M.A. Tateishi!

All images are via the artist or her website. 

Nowhere Land: Jenna Gang

11 Jul

Photography, more than any other medium possesses such a power to transport us to anywhere in the world.  And because of it’s documentary nature, we often believe what a photograph is telling us.  When New York based photographer Jenna Gang contacted me, I was especially intrigued by her series of images from Israel.  It turns out this controversial country has very special meaning for Jenna.  I hope you’ll enjoy hearing her talk about the series in this email interview we conducted recently.

Artsy Forager | Your series of photographs from Israel have such a different, more quiet focus than most imagery coming from that country.  What was your catalyst for the series?  Did it evolve over time or did you begin with your concept already in mind?

Jenna Gang | The catalyst for this series was my grandfather. As a holocaust survivor, he expressed throughout my childhood how important it was for me to visit the holy land.  After he passed away, his 35mm camera was given to me by my grandmother.  By merging his camera with his aspirations for me, I thought it only fitting to honor his memory by shooting this series.

Throughout my development as a photographer, I have always been drawn to images that were minimalistic and left interpretation to the viewer. Through photographs, the world sees Israel as a conflict. I wanted to show that Israel is so much more than that. I simplified my subject to lines and shapes to reflect the natural beauty of the country.

AF | Who do you count among your photographic heroes?

JG |  In hopes of not sounding too generic, most of my fellow FIT alumni are my heroes. This is because although our foundation was built in the same way our results vary so widely. Erin Kennedy, Christian Thorman and Nadirah Zakariya were each given the same tools that I was and yet we all emerged with distinct individual styles. I wait in anticipation to see what they create next.

AF | What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a photographer?

JG |  If I weren’t a photographer, I’d be a food critic. Since I love to eat, this would be a worthy profession. I understand that I would have to eat some bad food along the way, but it would all be worth it for that one good dish.

AF | What is your dream photography project?

JG |  During my free time, I enjoy travelling the world via Google Earth, planning how I would capture each of the different landscapes. I am fascinated with Japan and would enjoy a trip to the countrysides of Tokyo, Samurai sword in tow.

To see more of Jenna Gang’s work, please check out her website.

Cult Of ( Fashion )Personality: A Conversation With Christina Foard

15 Sep
Jacksonville artist Christina Foard has been developing a series of paintings, “Dresses”, which explore the connection between what we wear, our personality, our past, present and future.  Here, Christina talks candidly about this series and what she sees as the psychology behind our fashion choices.
AF:  Hi Christina!  Thank you so much for taking the time for this little interview.  You know how much I love your work.  I am completely enamored with your dress series and am so excited you have been creating some new pieces! How did this series begin and how has it evolved?
C:     I’ve been working on dresses since 2008. It began with self-portraits where I am wearing gowns painted with mapped areas or terrain I’ve covered. Mapped gowns was a personification and extension of aerial landscapes that I had begun a year prior.  (Ballerina Dance, The Written Legacy, Fluid Gown ( below ), The Courtesan, A Life-changing Conversation, A Single Mom’s Playground, Picnic of Adulthood are some of these.) Since it was more about the journey, decisions and influences, I eventually removed the figure altogether. I began to place myself in and amongst other women, each of us represented symbolically as a dress.  In these, I paint the way someone feels to me. It’s more about vitality and energy than their physical presence…a little like painting a pattern of the music they emanate and comparing those rhythmic differences in a series. ( “Pajama Party” ( below ), “Three Sisters”, “Five Friends” ). For example, a 90 year old woman with a saucy, adventuresome personality might end up with the most flamboyant and lively dress, which looks more suitable for a 20 year old.
Recently, in “Polka Dot Party” ( below ) and a few others, my focus area shifted from observing others to a discussion of how I choose to present myself to the world around me each day. Again, choices, decisions and influences.

Liquid Gown, oil on canvas, 60×48

The Pajama Party, oil on canvas, 36×60

AF:   Tell me about what you see as the psychology around fashion and the garments we choose to clothe ourselves in.
C:      When we are shopping for clothes, we pass up most items available. We reject all the items which don’t fit our perception of ourselves or our perception of our bodies. These rejections are as telling as what we eventually choose to buy. We essentially have to contend with the roles we play in our relationships as well as physical issues that dictate attire: seasons, terrain and climate. Specifically for women whose options vary greatly, our choices can openly display themes of femininity: sexuality, power, accessibility, creativity, compassion, social status, affluence, self-respect. Because our attire speaks so loudly about who we are and who we aren’t, we also deal with influence and who we hope to engage with on a given day. How accessible do I want to make myself today? How much do I want to reveal? How much do I want to conceal? Do I want to lead or do I want to be one of the masses? Do I want to bring attention to myself? These aren’t conscious questions we ask ourselves necessarily; yet they sit below the surface. 
           Behavior and language is affected by dress. From my personal experience I’ve noticed that I’m more expressive and creative when I wear a long scarf; more formal, precise, and attentive wearing a suit jacket; more nurturing and tactile in a long flowing dress. I notice my energy, tone, and carriage alters depending on the femininity of my fabrics, the structural formality of a garment, the heel height of my shoes, the accessories I’ve chosen. My language and sentence structures change, my accessibility to others is affected. The emotional, physical, and psychological components are intertwined. This, I find fascinating.

Orange Scarf, oil on canvas, 29×42

AF:  I’ve noticed a few of your latest works in this series are named after women.  Are these “portraits” of specific women?
C:     Yes, they are. It is part of a social “inspiration” project that I began in 2009 and will be complete in the next several months. It is comprised of 6 individual paintings around 40″ and one larger 10′ painting. It is entitled Accidental Mentors Project and I’ll be sure to let you know all about it when fully complete. 

Cindy: Structural Integrity

AF:  I can’t wait to see the completed series!  Do you have a favorite article of clothing?  What makes it special and what does it say about you, as a woman, as an artist or as a mother?
C:     I found this question challenging, if you can believe it. I decided on one long skirt I’ve had for about 6 years. It has a conservative pattern on a somewhat sheer fabric, yet a Latin-inspired construction. Every time I wear it, it makes me feel like dancing and I couldn’t feel more feminine or more perfectly my age in it. Because of how it makes me feel, I’ve also had some great memories attached to it. That adds a sentimental component.

Decisions, mixed media on canvas, 36×60

AF:    Finally, just for fun.. What are you wearing? 😉
C:       Pink racer-back NIKE T-shirt, navy blue Adidas cropped workout pants and my favorite socks – my running shoes yet to be put on. Plus, a little locket with my kids’ tiny toddler faces inside. The combination seems perfect at this quiet, early morning moment before the sun has arrived.
A huge thank you to Christina for sharing her work and insights.  To see more of this talented artist’s work, please visit her website.
Featured image is Christina in her downtown Jacksonville studio.  All images are courtesy of the artist’s website.
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