These “cans” are rendered in porcelain by artist Lei Xue.


Art at Bonnaroo

I was lucky enough to go to the enormous music festival that is Bonnaroo, held in Manchester Tennessee,  June 9-12th.  The music was spectacular and the people, both local and from far away, were wonderfully friendly and fun.  What I didn’t expect was the large graffiti element to Bonnaroo: the festival site was surrounded by orange walls that began as visual odes to past Bonnaroos.  As the festival went on, the walls were spray painted, chalked, postered and drawn on until they became a living, ever-evolving border of pop culture and art.

While there are many professional artists to discuss and interview, there are also thousands of people attending art school.  Who are they?  What are they like?  Are they all planning on supporting themselves with their art in the future?  Here’s Sarah, one of my favorite art students.

Hello! Please describe yourself.

I’m a 20 year old Boston native, living in Allston. I’m currently in undergraduate BFA Ceramics at MassArt.

What is your art? What makes you want to create?

My major is Ceramics, but I don’t (and don’t think I ever will) view myself solely as a ceramic,  sculptural or even a 3D artist. Right now I have two bodies of work going on.

I’m really interested in and inspired by fungi, and I’m working on a lot of vessels that are fungi related. On the flip side of all that nature-related work, I’m also really interested in male/female relationships, sex and the dualities that can occur in relationships where emotional pain and physical pleasure coincide.  Along those lines, I have a few found-object sculptures  and a line of sculptural lollipops.  I love working with my hands and I think that 3D work is really creative in its most literal sense: as an artist, I am causing the existence of physical forms that didn’t previously exist.

How often do you go into the studio?

During the school year, I am in the studio nearly every single day.  Now that it’s summer, I’m toying with the idea of taking a class which would put me at school around twice a week… but if I dont take the class, I would still like to try to get to school at least once a week.

How do you feel about going to an art school, versus taking an art program at a liberal arts college? Positives versus negatives?

I think that you can get a decent art education at either an art school or at a liberal arts school.  It’s what you make of the experience, but the two are vastly different experiences.  Art school isn’t the typical college experience, and if you want that experience, then you probably don’t want to go to an art school.  I spent  20 + hours a week in class and then I’m expected to be putting in roughly the same amount of time into work outside of class.  In the time that I’m not actively hands-on working on a project, I’m expected to be gathering sources of inspiration and conceptualizing on my own.  In art school, art consumes your life, as it should.  It’s not for the faint of heart, or for anyone who really doesn’t love to do artwork.  It sucks really really hard sometimes, and my school barely has any sense of community but to me, it’s important to be surrounded by fellow artists and to have them as a peer group.

Wackiest thing overheard at an art critique?

After a student presented a performance/sculpture piece, my professor asked, genuinely and in all seriousness, “Were you on drugs when you were working on this?”

Thoughts on Tumblr?  What’s your favorite “Art School Owl” meme?

Ignoring any of Tumblr’s faults/controversies/etc., I love Tumblr.  I’m a chronic reblogger and for me it’s great that I can collect all these images and quotes and have them in one place.  I love looking at my archive and seeing all these things laid out that have attracted me.  I can draw parallels and use it as a strong source of inspiration.  It’s like a sketchbook where I don’t have to do any of the drawing.  One of my favorite artstudentowls: http://fyeahartstudentowl.tumblr.com/post/3787463211/via-meadowtea
It’s  SO TRUE.  No one is EVER going to recognize all the effort you put into any piece you work on, and out in the world you will probably work your ass off and people wont even give you 5 five minutes of thought….. but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth every minute of every hour you work.

Do you have any post-graduate plans?  How do you feel about being an artist in a depressed economy?

I don’t have any plans and though I probably should be thinking about my future, I’m firmly set against thinking about it.  Being an artist in a depressed economy is about as depressing as being an artist in an awesome economy… it doesn’t make a huge difference to me, and it’s not really something that I ever think about.  I have absolute faith that I’m on the right path to do all that I want to do in my life.

Favorite drink, favorite pair of shoes and the best dream you’ve ever had?

My favorite non-alcoholic drink is Abuelita, a Mexican hot chocolate made by Nestle, which is super creamy delicious and cinnamon-y. My fave pair of shoes are my Timberland boots, which are shearling-lined and so warm in the winter… but I really really really want a pair of wedges this summer.  In my best dream that I can think of, I was in a band with Leonardo DiCaprio and a grasshopper and although our band was having issues and the grasshopper was being a jerk, Leo is so hot.

Thanks Sarah!!

My sister and I, 1995 and 2011.  Read about Irina Werning’s “Back to the Future” project here.

Aren’t these just amazing?  These nebula galaxy heels have caught the eye of many Tumblr bloggers, but they originate on Etsy!  They’re sold by Kustom Kix under the shop name AlexandraSophie.  France-based duo Sheriff Nasir and Alexandra Sophie specialize in photography and custom painted shoes.

Sheriff is the artist behind the galaxy wedges, which are faux suede made extra-terrestrial with just acrylic paint and coated with varnish for longevity.

Sheriff cites the Cave Nebula as a source of visual inspiration, but says, “the main inspiration for this project basically came from the universe, the stars, planets and everything up there so majestic and breathtakingly beautiful in its own way!”

Illustration Friday

Artist Maja illustrates "cultivate"

Illustration Friday is the online art forum by Penelope Dullaghan and Brianna Privett that celebrates the artist in all of us.  Each week there is a theme to illustrate, whether you’re a professional artist or just like the feel of pastels in your hand.  Last week’s topic was “toy”; you can submit a topic idea of your own.  What will people dream up?

Participating involves posting your illustration on a blog or website and uploading a linked thumbnail of the piece onto Illustration Friday.  Viewers can browse the submissions by medium or by style.  There is also a message board for discussion and for reaching out to your fellow artists.  This site is a fun way to challenge yourself creatively, weekly.


Under A Wave Off Kanagawa In Windshield by Scott Wade