Arrested Motion http://arrestedmotion.com "the aim of every artist is to arrest motion..." -Faulkner Fri, 06 Mar 2015 07:13:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Streets: Usugrow (Marrakech) http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/streets-usugrow-marrakech/ http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/streets-usugrow-marrakech/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 07:12:29 +0000 http://arrestedmotion.com/?p=271889 Usugrow-by-raphelliais-marrakech-upper-playground-08-copy

Last month, the facade of the well known Cafe Des Epices in Marrakech, Morocco was painted over with the street calligraphy of Usugrow. Curated by Valerie Liais du Rocher of Studio IWA with support from Upper Playground, the Japanese artist left his mark in the heart of the Medina at in Rahba Kedima spice square covering one side of the rooftop structure with his signature script. Photo credit: Raphael Liais (via Upper Playground). Discuss Usugrow here.]]>
Usugrow-by-raphelliais-marrakech-upper-playground-08-copy

Last month, the facade of the well known Cafe Des Epices in Marrakech, Morocco was painted over with the street calligraphy of Usugrow. Curated by Valerie Liais du Rocher of Studio IWA with support from Upper Playground, the Japanese artist left his mark in the heart of the Medina at in Rahba Kedima spice square covering one side of the rooftop structure with his signature script. Photo credit: Raphael Liais (via Upper Playground). Discuss Usugrow here.]]>
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Interviews: Aaron Li-Hill http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/interviews-aaron-li-hill-2/ http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/interviews-aaron-li-hill-2/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 01:00:44 +0000 http://arrestedmotion.com/?p=271130 Points of Seperation

Recently, we had a chance to stop by the solo by Aaron Li-Hill at the C.A.V.E. Gallery in Venice (showing through this Sunday) and the associated mural. The selection of work on display, of which some can be seen below, focuses on one part of his oeuvre - renderings of the natural world. We talk about this as well as his background, installations, fencer imagery, and more in the interview below... wQAwKSTMGGsZqxNvAAVw6GOBSPOplqRS3yX4Mb-a_jJdUSCBpspb79RPzRQnypZKJdbQ=w1066-h702 Arrested Motion: Can you tell us a little bit about your art background and how you got to where you are now in your career? Aaron Li-Hil (ALH): I use to draw a lot as a kid but then it became all skateboarding and antics. I dropped art for a long while until some friends of mine started writing all over the neighborhood. Slowly graffiti took over as that main passion in life and in a round about way, it brought me back to fine art. Eventually I ended up in art school where I finished my degree, but between years is where I really learned how to draw and paint. I travelled Europe with my sketchbook and copied paintings in museums. But, I can’t totally disregard my schooling, it helped me formulate and contextualize my ideas. So many things attribute to how you get somewhere. I think a large part has been about support, never feeling like I couldn’t accomplish something and then putting in the work to get there. I also think I’m lucky being in the time period I am in now. With the advent of the digital age, things like exposure are a lot easier to accomplish. A large part of where I am now began with getting my art onto blogs and sites that I have admired. Arrested Motion has done a lot for me in that regard… so thank you! CZm5KxN2v4QnLUltbkDjF5GFwv1Wm25WB1YM4vHn1MJM9oGYiR4D5i598KQFTGrg9-rW=w1066-h702 AM: You chose an interesting name for this new body of work - Carbon. How did you come up with the title of the show and what was the message behind it? ALH: I find coming up with titles pretty tedious most of the time. I usually write out a list of words, phrases or sentences that speak to the body of work. Looking at the way the animals dissipated into the tiny dots of spray paint made me think of molecules of carbon and it dawned on me that that was the common thread between it all. Carbon in relation to the cycles of life and death, as all matter is made up of carbon but also to the different formations of those atoms to create the biodiversity we see on this planet. Carbon also speaks to what is threatening this biodiversity through rampant industry and waste production. Even the tools I used were basically all carbon. ScreenShot2014-01-26at52830PM_zpsc79bb3b7 AM: What drew us initially to your work were the striking installations you create with found materials that are full of kinetic energy and simulates motion so well. Can you tell us a little about how you came up with this concept? ALH: This concept started as small drawings and stencil pieces I made in university. Based on what I saw as the “bones of the city” I created these dense abstract line patterns. I found these patterns repeating themselves in many different forms such as scaffolding systems, aerial views of cities, mapping of internet networks and flight routes. These patterns are born out of rationalization yet overlapped in the densities we see create a dramatic sense of chaotic order. Eventually, these drawings turned into piece made of thread that became more and more three-dimensional. The long discarded strips of planed wood became an extension of the first initial lines I drew. I wanted to create work that was connected to those flat surfaces I usually worked on, yet make something that navigated the environments I spoke about. 11021212_592126754256493_6235702545098015142_n AM: Your work featuring the fencers are pretty awesome - why fencers? ALH: A lot of people think I fence or that I am obsessed with fencing, which isn’t the case but it has become a very interesting symbol for me that holds powerful associations. The most prominent association being the Olympics, which I see as a contemporary form of battle, where global power dynamics are expressed. With such a strong military background and deeply held connotations of war, fencing is where we can see these ideas conveyed. The whole event encompasses political, social, economic and environmental issues all within the human drama of sport. The Olympics influence and change so much about host cities and advance many neo-liberal tactics that drive contemporary capitalism and change the urban environments around us, which is how this subject all ties together for me. But, these ideas are not that apparent on the surface level of these works. What I do think gets conveyed is an aggressive action, filled with speed, cunning and power and that, even without my connotations to capitalism, I think embodies a lot about our current state. FcLiLtjBcb-ucCB9aspQ7vseaV51XTa7qA_ONuIYG3PHTqjFptf2JBiu9833wSwSHK57=w1066-h702 AM: How does creating a series of paintings differ from painting a mural on the streets or building an installation with three-dimensional features? Does the mindset change or is there some connecting artistic vision that you have throughout each process no matter the end result? ALH: I would say the mindset changes slightly depending on the environment or parameters. For a painting on canvas, there is still the defined edges and how that affects the work but for murals and more so for installation, those parameters drastically change and I find that the =most exciting thing to respond to, which is the environment. That excitement definitely changes the mind state. There is a connecting artistic process that ties it all together though. I would say that process is two pronged, what does it mean and how does it look. _BAi3zBLBJ50FCOz_1UdoDXFTXO9diUMBGSdUuJWTG9m8lpfc78O2K_kIUcWXNQGCiWB=w1066-h702 AM: It's been mentioned that you have a background in graffiti. How did you progress to the more figurative work and mural painting? ALH: I got bored of letters and how little that seemed to engage with the public that was seeing what I put up. I moved toward the figurative because I had always loved the figure, even as a kid. Most my graffiti had characters with them and eventually the letters disappeared and the characters stayed. 7kLLDIY52vWNjJVAVCWnH_l0d7mf7utS3-dua_o0CGGEO7ufHHVn8ZJnl6SEX2-XDVq7=w1066-h702 AM: Any other shows or projects coming up that you can share with our readers? ALH: For the near future, I am taking a break from canvas and studio work to push my installation pieces and work in interesting places outside the gallery setting. Come spring, I should have some different projects set up and I will definitely keep you in loop! I am also very excited to head to Berlin for the first time to do a large-scale piece with Urban Nation along with some smaller walls in London lined up. In July I will be heading to Rochester for Wall Therapy, which I am really excited about as well! Discuss Aaron Li-Hill here.]]>
Points of Seperation

Recently, we had a chance to stop by the solo by Aaron Li-Hill at the C.A.V.E. Gallery in Venice (showing through this Sunday) and the associated mural. The selection of work on display, of which some can be seen below, focuses on one part of his oeuvre - renderings of the natural world. We talk about this as well as his background, installations, fencer imagery, and more in the interview below... wQAwKSTMGGsZqxNvAAVw6GOBSPOplqRS3yX4Mb-a_jJdUSCBpspb79RPzRQnypZKJdbQ=w1066-h702 Arrested Motion: Can you tell us a little bit about your art background and how you got to where you are now in your career? Aaron Li-Hil (ALH): I use to draw a lot as a kid but then it became all skateboarding and antics. I dropped art for a long while until some friends of mine started writing all over the neighborhood. Slowly graffiti took over as that main passion in life and in a round about way, it brought me back to fine art. Eventually I ended up in art school where I finished my degree, but between years is where I really learned how to draw and paint. I travelled Europe with my sketchbook and copied paintings in museums. But, I can’t totally disregard my schooling, it helped me formulate and contextualize my ideas. So many things attribute to how you get somewhere. I think a large part has been about support, never feeling like I couldn’t accomplish something and then putting in the work to get there. I also think I’m lucky being in the time period I am in now. With the advent of the digital age, things like exposure are a lot easier to accomplish. A large part of where I am now began with getting my art onto blogs and sites that I have admired. Arrested Motion has done a lot for me in that regard… so thank you! CZm5KxN2v4QnLUltbkDjF5GFwv1Wm25WB1YM4vHn1MJM9oGYiR4D5i598KQFTGrg9-rW=w1066-h702 AM: You chose an interesting name for this new body of work - Carbon. How did you come up with the title of the show and what was the message behind it? ALH: I find coming up with titles pretty tedious most of the time. I usually write out a list of words, phrases or sentences that speak to the body of work. Looking at the way the animals dissipated into the tiny dots of spray paint made me think of molecules of carbon and it dawned on me that that was the common thread between it all. Carbon in relation to the cycles of life and death, as all matter is made up of carbon but also to the different formations of those atoms to create the biodiversity we see on this planet. Carbon also speaks to what is threatening this biodiversity through rampant industry and waste production. Even the tools I used were basically all carbon. ScreenShot2014-01-26at52830PM_zpsc79bb3b7 AM: What drew us initially to your work were the striking installations you create with found materials that are full of kinetic energy and simulates motion so well. Can you tell us a little about how you came up with this concept? ALH: This concept started as small drawings and stencil pieces I made in university. Based on what I saw as the “bones of the city” I created these dense abstract line patterns. I found these patterns repeating themselves in many different forms such as scaffolding systems, aerial views of cities, mapping of internet networks and flight routes. These patterns are born out of rationalization yet overlapped in the densities we see create a dramatic sense of chaotic order. Eventually, these drawings turned into piece made of thread that became more and more three-dimensional. The long discarded strips of planed wood became an extension of the first initial lines I drew. I wanted to create work that was connected to those flat surfaces I usually worked on, yet make something that navigated the environments I spoke about. 11021212_592126754256493_6235702545098015142_n AM: Your work featuring the fencers are pretty awesome - why fencers? ALH: A lot of people think I fence or that I am obsessed with fencing, which isn’t the case but it has become a very interesting symbol for me that holds powerful associations. The most prominent association being the Olympics, which I see as a contemporary form of battle, where global power dynamics are expressed. With such a strong military background and deeply held connotations of war, fencing is where we can see these ideas conveyed. The whole event encompasses political, social, economic and environmental issues all within the human drama of sport. The Olympics influence and change so much about host cities and advance many neo-liberal tactics that drive contemporary capitalism and change the urban environments around us, which is how this subject all ties together for me. But, these ideas are not that apparent on the surface level of these works. What I do think gets conveyed is an aggressive action, filled with speed, cunning and power and that, even without my connotations to capitalism, I think embodies a lot about our current state. FcLiLtjBcb-ucCB9aspQ7vseaV51XTa7qA_ONuIYG3PHTqjFptf2JBiu9833wSwSHK57=w1066-h702 AM: How does creating a series of paintings differ from painting a mural on the streets or building an installation with three-dimensional features? Does the mindset change or is there some connecting artistic vision that you have throughout each process no matter the end result? ALH: I would say the mindset changes slightly depending on the environment or parameters. For a painting on canvas, there is still the defined edges and how that affects the work but for murals and more so for installation, those parameters drastically change and I find that the =most exciting thing to respond to, which is the environment. That excitement definitely changes the mind state. There is a connecting artistic process that ties it all together though. I would say that process is two pronged, what does it mean and how does it look. _BAi3zBLBJ50FCOz_1UdoDXFTXO9diUMBGSdUuJWTG9m8lpfc78O2K_kIUcWXNQGCiWB=w1066-h702 AM: It's been mentioned that you have a background in graffiti. How did you progress to the more figurative work and mural painting? ALH: I got bored of letters and how little that seemed to engage with the public that was seeing what I put up. I moved toward the figurative because I had always loved the figure, even as a kid. Most my graffiti had characters with them and eventually the letters disappeared and the characters stayed. 7kLLDIY52vWNjJVAVCWnH_l0d7mf7utS3-dua_o0CGGEO7ufHHVn8ZJnl6SEX2-XDVq7=w1066-h702 AM: Any other shows or projects coming up that you can share with our readers? ALH: For the near future, I am taking a break from canvas and studio work to push my installation pieces and work in interesting places outside the gallery setting. Come spring, I should have some different projects set up and I will definitely keep you in loop! I am also very excited to head to Berlin for the first time to do a large-scale piece with Urban Nation along with some smaller walls in London lined up. In July I will be heading to Rochester for Wall Therapy, which I am really excited about as well! Discuss Aaron Li-Hill here.]]>
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Openings: Sarah Joncas & Camilla d’Errico – “Beauty in the Breakdown” @ Thinkspace Gallery http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/openings-sarah-joncas-camilla-derrico-beauty-in-the-breakdown-thinkspace-gallery/ http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/openings-sarah-joncas-camilla-derrico-beauty-in-the-breakdown-thinkspace-gallery/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 17:15:15 +0000 http://arrestedmotion.com/?p=272208 birdman-thinkspace-feb-am-38

Last weekend,  Sarah Joncas (seen above) and Camilla d’Errico (seen below) opened up a joint show together at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles that included good representations of what they were known for. Beauty in the Breakdown featured the feminine portraiture  of Joncas in film-noir settings contrasted against the manga-inspired surreal work of d'Errico. Both Canada-based artists were in attendance and it looks like a good time was had by all. Photo credit: Birdman Photos. Discuss Sarah Joncas here. Discuss Camilla d’Errico here.]]>
birdman-thinkspace-feb-am-38

Last weekend,  Sarah Joncas (seen above) and Camilla d’Errico (seen below) opened up a joint show together at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles that included good representations of what they were known for. Beauty in the Breakdown featured the feminine portraiture  of Joncas in film-noir settings contrasted against the manga-inspired surreal work of d'Errico. Both Canada-based artists were in attendance and it looks like a good time was had by all. Photo credit: Birdman Photos. Discuss Sarah Joncas here. Discuss Camilla d’Errico here.]]>
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POW! WOW! ’15 / Streets: Doze Green http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/pow-wow-15-streets-doze-green/ http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/pow-wow-15-streets-doze-green/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 05:26:21 +0000 http://arrestedmotion.com/?p=270805 doz green-2

Working on probably the biggest wall of this year's POW! WOW! Hawaii (more coverage here), the legendary Doze Green and his team painted a mural with warm tones showing his signature characters in action. Using his recognizable line work and intuitive style, the artist who made his name on the streets of NYC came up with an interesting composition on a long wall. Spending days doing the fill ins and shading the large, almost tribal like characters, the sight of his mural slowly turned into a neighborhood attraction with local community. Often having his art friends and fans visiting at work, Doze was pretty relaxed working his way through this piece, meeting people, chatting, and genuinely having fun while creating this large mural. Photo credit: @arrestedmotion_sal & Brandon Shigeta (finished image). Discuss POW! WOW! Hawaii here. Discuss Doze Green here.]]>
doz green-2

Working on probably the biggest wall of this year's POW! WOW! Hawaii (more coverage here), the legendary Doze Green and his team painted a mural with warm tones showing his signature characters in action. Using his recognizable line work and intuitive style, the artist who made his name on the streets of NYC came up with an interesting composition on a long wall. Spending days doing the fill ins and shading the large, almost tribal like characters, the sight of his mural slowly turned into a neighborhood attraction with local community. Often having his art friends and fans visiting at work, Doze was pretty relaxed working his way through this piece, meeting people, chatting, and genuinely having fun while creating this large mural. Photo credit: @arrestedmotion_sal & Brandon Shigeta (finished image). Discuss POW! WOW! Hawaii here. Discuss Doze Green here.]]>
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Openings: Yaze ‘The conference of the Birds’ @ David Bloch Gallery (Marrakech) http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/openings-yaze-the-conference-of-the-birds-david-bloch-gallery-marrakech/ http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/openings-yaze-the-conference-of-the-birds-david-bloch-gallery-marrakech/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 05:14:01 +0000 http://arrestedmotion.com/?p=272157 Yaze 06 © Madjid El Ayari

Yassine YAZE Mekhnache just launched a new solo exhibition titled The Conference of the Birds at David Bloch Gallery in Marrakech. In the past ten years, the French artist has built up strong ties with Morocco and particularly with the embroiderers of the small mountain village of Tameslouht, in the region of Marrakech, whom it is thought shared encoded information in their silent works for many years. Through a series of thirty large scale canvases, the artist invites the viewer to a mystical journey by merging figurative drawings together with traditional Moroccan embroideries and Indian silks. Images courtesy of David Bloch Gallery and Madjid El Ayari.]]>
Yaze 06 © Madjid El Ayari

Yassine YAZE Mekhnache just launched a new solo exhibition titled The Conference of the Birds at David Bloch Gallery in Marrakech. In the past ten years, the French artist has built up strong ties with Morocco and particularly with the embroiderers of the small mountain village of Tameslouht, in the region of Marrakech, whom it is thought shared encoded information in their silent works for many years. Through a series of thirty large scale canvases, the artist invites the viewer to a mystical journey by merging figurative drawings together with traditional Moroccan embroideries and Indian silks. Images courtesy of David Bloch Gallery and Madjid El Ayari.]]>
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Studio Visits: Junko Mizuno http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/studio-visits-junko-mizuno/ http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/studio-visits-junko-mizuno/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:13:36 +0000 http://arrestedmotion.com/?p=272161 P1170595

Leading up to her current showing at Narwhal Contemporary in Toronto, we stopped by the studio of Junko Mizuno in San Francisco to learn more about her work environment and to see some of the works in progress. Using acrylic, ink, and graphite, the Japanese artists creates recognizable cute, grotesque, and provocative imagery that has a mixture of influences from pop culture to manga. You can see more of the work created for the show here, but can also glimpse some of the pieces that were painted based around a theme of "dark and erotic food fetishes that views eating as a metaphor for female sexual appetite and power." Photo credit: Ken Harman. Discuss Junko Mizuno here.]]>
P1170595

Leading up to her current showing at Narwhal Contemporary in Toronto, we stopped by the studio of Junko Mizuno in San Francisco to learn more about her work environment and to see some of the works in progress. Using acrylic, ink, and graphite, the Japanese artists creates recognizable cute, grotesque, and provocative imagery that has a mixture of influences from pop culture to manga. You can see more of the work created for the show here, but can also glimpse some of the pieces that were painted based around a theme of "dark and erotic food fetishes that views eating as a metaphor for female sexual appetite and power." Photo credit: Ken Harman. Discuss Junko Mizuno here.]]>
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Upcoming: Daniel Arsham – “Remember the Future” @ CAC Cincinnati http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/upcoming-daniel-arsham-remember-the-future-cac-cincinnati/ http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/upcoming-daniel-arsham-remember-the-future-cac-cincinnati/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 20:52:30 +0000 http://arrestedmotion.com/?p=272142 11015663_1403041450008079_1042213385_n

Coming up on March 20th at the CAC Cincinnati, the New York-based Daniel Arsham will be opening a show entitled Remember the Future. For his first major exhibition in Ohio, the artist known for his sculptural works created with an architectural mindset, will "respond in unique ways to the scale, light and structure of the CAC building." Discuss Daniel Arsham here.]]>
11015663_1403041450008079_1042213385_n

Coming up on March 20th at the CAC Cincinnati, the New York-based Daniel Arsham will be opening a show entitled Remember the Future. For his first major exhibition in Ohio, the artist known for his sculptural works created with an architectural mindset, will "respond in unique ways to the scale, light and structure of the CAC building." Discuss Daniel Arsham here.]]>
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Streets: Blu (Mexico City) http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/streets-blu-mexico-city-d-f/ http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/streets-blu-mexico-city-d-f/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 04:28:22 +0000 http://arrestedmotion.com/?p=272088 blu5

While much of street art these days is primarily decorative and created with a purpose of promoting an event, art show, or commercial endeavor, there are still artists out there that are using the streets as a powerful medium for sharing information and making statements. One of those artist is Blu, who is currently traveling around the America's and creating engaged works. After recently visiting Bolivia (covered), he just finished another strong and meaningful piece in Mexico City, where he was invited by Fifty24Mx for their ManifestoMx project. The idea behind this initiative is to address the social and political situation in ‪Mexico‬, through large murals painted by a select group of artists. The contribution from the Italian muralist features the colors of the Mexican flag being created out of (green) dollar bills, some rolled up for snorting cocaine (white), and finally a pool of blood (red). This entire scene is heavily guarded by an army of toy soldiers, symbolizing the state and the government protecting the drug trafficking. Always on point and direct with his work, Blu once again hits you where it hurts the most. Along with his dedication to reveal injustice and the struggle of the oppressed, he also showed his dedication to creating art by painting this large and elaborate piece while hanging on ropes. Photos via the artist. Discuss Blu here.]]>
blu5

While much of street art these days is primarily decorative and created with a purpose of promoting an event, art show, or commercial endeavor, there are still artists out there that are using the streets as a powerful medium for sharing information and making statements. One of those artist is Blu, who is currently traveling around the America's and creating engaged works. After recently visiting Bolivia (covered), he just finished another strong and meaningful piece in Mexico City, where he was invited by Fifty24Mx for their ManifestoMx project. The idea behind this initiative is to address the social and political situation in ‪Mexico‬, through large murals painted by a select group of artists. The contribution from the Italian muralist features the colors of the Mexican flag being created out of (green) dollar bills, some rolled up for snorting cocaine (white), and finally a pool of blood (red). This entire scene is heavily guarded by an army of toy soldiers, symbolizing the state and the government protecting the drug trafficking. Always on point and direct with his work, Blu once again hits you where it hurts the most. Along with his dedication to reveal injustice and the struggle of the oppressed, he also showed his dedication to creating art by painting this large and elaborate piece while hanging on ropes. Photos via the artist. Discuss Blu here.]]>
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Studio Visits: Christian Rex van Minnen http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/studio-visit-christian-rex-van-minnen/ http://arrestedmotion.com/2015/03/studio-visit-christian-rex-van-minnen/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 04:12:55 +0000 http://arrestedmotion.com/?p=271928 christian_rex_van_minnen18

AM recently had the privilege to visit Christian Rex van Minnen's studio in Brooklyn and see several pieces he was working on as well as some previously undisclosed paintings. We also had a chance to talk to the him about his beginnings in the art world, the influence of the Golden Dutch Age on his work, the origin of his grotesque portraits, tattoos, the Internet and NYC art week. Christian Rex Van Minnen is self taught painter, which is hard to believe once you see his skills with oils. As a fan of Golden Dutch Age, which was an important part of art history on many levels, he learned how to paint using book reproductions as his reference. After years of mastering his technique at his home in Colorado, he eventually traveled to Amsterdam and got to see some of the works in person for the first time. There, he realized he went over board with his execution, as unlike reproduction photos, the actual paintings weren't as perfect and you could clearly see the brush strokes and human hand behind them. This mistake though allowed Van Minnen to start exploring painting in a new direction. Tackling the phenomenon of pareidolia, he focused on creating work that balances between abstraction and realism. Using his meticulous painting skills along with the ability to let go of pre-programmed ideas of how certain things can look like, his works are basically photorealistic abstractions. Using basic shapes and textures, his paintings look familiar and recognizable, while actually being completely abstract and surreal. By adding a layer of tattoos to almost finished works, both portraits and still life ones, he actually adds another interference layer of the story to his works. He is basically creating three different ways to view the painting - as a narrative provided by the tattoos, a meditation on the form that hosts the tattoos, and the union of the two. His works are often seen as haunting, bizarre or even disturbing, and it wasn't until he started sharing works online and getting appreciation from a wider crowd that he felt comfortable with what he was making. When we visited his studio, Van Minnen was working on two large still life works that were going to Pulse Art Fair, where he will be showing with Pouslen Gallery from Copenhagen. Also, he will take part in a Poulsen group show at the Lodge Gallery during that week. These new pieces are a continuation of some narrative issues he's been working out, along with some technical experiments, layering the bright hi-chroma underpainting integrated with the traditional techniques. Though primarily visually and technically striking, his oils often carry a strong message. One of the recurring subjects is the connection between the Dutch Golden Age and the birth of the slave trade. He further elaborates - "I'm making work about it and thinking about how that implicates me. In a time when everyone wants to say 'That's not me,' I'm just not sure I can wash my hands clean of it." Discuss Christian Rex van Minnen here.]]>
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AM recently had the privilege to visit Christian Rex van Minnen's studio in Brooklyn and see several pieces he was working on as well as some previously undisclosed paintings. We also had a chance to talk to the him about his beginnings in the art world, the influence of the Golden Dutch Age on his work, the origin of his grotesque portraits, tattoos, the Internet and NYC art week. Christian Rex Van Minnen is self taught painter, which is hard to believe once you see his skills with oils. As a fan of Golden Dutch Age, which was an important part of art history on many levels, he learned how to paint using book reproductions as his reference. After years of mastering his technique at his home in Colorado, he eventually traveled to Amsterdam and got to see some of the works in person for the first time. There, he realized he went over board with his execution, as unlike reproduction photos, the actual paintings weren't as perfect and you could clearly see the brush strokes and human hand behind them. This mistake though allowed Van Minnen to start exploring painting in a new direction. Tackling the phenomenon of pareidolia, he focused on creating work that balances between abstraction and realism. Using his meticulous painting skills along with the ability to let go of pre-programmed ideas of how certain things can look like, his works are basically photorealistic abstractions. Using basic shapes and textures, his paintings look familiar and recognizable, while actually being completely abstract and surreal. By adding a layer of tattoos to almost finished works, both portraits and still life ones, he actually adds another interference layer of the story to his works. He is basically creating three different ways to view the painting - as a narrative provided by the tattoos, a meditation on the form that hosts the tattoos, and the union of the two. His works are often seen as haunting, bizarre or even disturbing, and it wasn't until he started sharing works online and getting appreciation from a wider crowd that he felt comfortable with what he was making. When we visited his studio, Van Minnen was working on two large still life works that were going to Pulse Art Fair, where he will be showing with Pouslen Gallery from Copenhagen. Also, he will take part in a Poulsen group show at the Lodge Gallery during that week. These new pieces are a continuation of some narrative issues he's been working out, along with some technical experiments, layering the bright hi-chroma underpainting integrated with the traditional techniques. Though primarily visually and technically striking, his oils often carry a strong message. One of the recurring subjects is the connection between the Dutch Golden Age and the birth of the slave trade. He further elaborates - "I'm making work about it and thinking about how that implicates me. In a time when everyone wants to say 'That's not me,' I'm just not sure I can wash my hands clean of it." Discuss Christian Rex van Minnen here.]]>
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