Susan Schwake: On the Rocks

Released Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On the Rocks, by Susan Schwake.
15% of the gross sale of this print goes to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Susan Schwake grew up in a creative family, with her father painting and her mother playing music. For the past 16 years she has run an independent art school, which she developed and opened for children and adults. For the past seven years the art school has been a part of artstream, llc, a gallery and design studio. Susan owns artstream with her partners, Rainer and Mary-Jo. Susan has curated over 60 exhibits at artstream and has been a guest curator at other venues. She also has worked as an artist in residence in many public and private schools and community organizations.

Susan's work has been collected and exhibited around the USA and abroad. In the spring of 2010, her work will be exhibited in galleries in the UK and Romania. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and has created public art works for the city of Portsmouth, NH and Rochester, NH where she lives with her husband Rainer and two children.

Print variations - each is one-of-a-kind.

About the print:
"On the Rocks" is a gelatin monotype, with additional hand-painted elements in ink. The title comes from many a trip to the ocean here in NH with my family. We scramble upon the rocks looking for sea glass and often find ourselves simply sitting and staring out to sea. The blackbirds have appeared in my work since the fourth year of my studies in college and represent my obsession with birds in general. With "On the Rocks" I hope to evoke the sense of quiet and calm that we get from our trips to the ocean. A larger original monotype "On the Rocks" inspired this series of prints.

Each print was printed on the same plate twice, with the inking process being matched by eye. The final process was hand-painting the birds with India ink on each of the 50 prints. I used water based block printing ink and India inks on 310 gsm archival standard etching paper. Due to the hand-made nature of these prints, each one is one-of-a-kind.


What has inspired you recently?
Nature continues to inspire and inform my work. Much of this comes from living in New Hampshire and being so close to nature each and every day. Other direct inspiration comes from working with so many artists at the gallery, assisting my husband in his design work, my artist friends, and my 15-year-old daughter Chloe who rocks her art big time.

Why did you choose to pair Médecins Sans Frontières with your print?
There doesn't seem to be a more urgently needed cause at the moment than Haiti's catastrophe. I hope to help in a small way through this charity.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
Working with children and adults in my classes at artstream has shown me directly what making art can do for an individual in a positive, nurturing setting. For the children, it gives them a super power for which they don't yet have any words, and the adults often find their way back to the childhood they forgot to explore fully.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
I had a wonderful mentor in school that I still keep in touch with - John Terry Downs. I would have loved however to have met Paul Klee, as seeing his work in Munich made me weep (much to the dismay of my children), and Ezra Jack Keats who delights and inspires me even now when I reread his books to myself (as now, my children read on their own).

Who are some artists that other people should know about?
So many. But high on the list would be my good friend Megan Bogonovich who seemingly never runs out of steam and courage when working with some of the most difficult materials known to artists.

Heiko Windisch: To the Underworld

Released Tuesday, February 16, 2010

To the Underworld, by Heiko.
15% of the gross sale of this print goes to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Heiko Windisch is a visual artist and illustrator from Heidelberg, Germany, whose work has been shown in galleries around the world. Besides making art, Heiko also works in editorial illustration, apparel, product design, and more.

About the print:
One of my favorite books in my collection is Doré's Illustrations for Dante's "Divine Comedy". Since I mostly create art in black and white I can draw a great deal of inspiration from the prints in the book. I leaf through them a lot when I'm stuck in the process and the art and atmosphere often rubs off onto my work. The print I made for The Working Proof is my interpretation of the transport of the lost souls into the underworld.

This is a linocut on 300gsm natural white watercolor paper.


What has inspired you recently?
I recently stumbled upon Tixinda, a Mexican design company. I like their use of colour, it's pretty close to the look I aim for in some of my work. Mexican folklore and Mayan and Aztec culture in general have been a great influence for me for a while.

Why did you choose to pair Médecins Sans Frontières with your print?
I chose Médecins Sans Frontières in light of the recent Haiti catastrophe and other neglected conflicts.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
Making art is a fantastic job. It has taken me to great places, made me meet nice people, gotten me a wife, and it continues to make my life a great ride.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
I wouldn't like to be someone's protegé, as I prefer making my own decisions, taking risks. I can't really think of anyone I would like to be my mentor. There are many artists whose works have been a big influence for me, though. I like M.C. Escher, Max Fleischer cartoons, and I always enjoy going to ethnological and natural history museums.

Who are some artists that other people should know about?
I think more people should know about my wife, Lilly Piri. She's got quite a fan base in Australia already, but I think she's ripe for world fame. Also, a good friend of ours is Elly Yap from Melbourne. She makes the most beautiful patterns and also knows the best places for pies and Asian pastries whenever we're there.

Ben Javens: Untitled

Released Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Untitled, by Ben Javens.
15% of the gross sale of this print goes to 826 National.

Ben Javens is a freelance illustrator living and working in Birmingham, England. He is originally from a small Yorkshire town called Ossett but moved away to study fine art at university. He is a member of the outcrowd collective, is represented by the UNSEEN agency, and has worked for clients such as the Guardian, Time Out Magazine and the record label Static Caravan.

About the print:
My work generally has some kind of basic idea or theme but this piece just kind of happened. Like most of my images involving a girl, this was inspired by my girlfriend, Jenny.

This is a two-color, hand-pulled screenprint on 300gsm cartridge paper.


What has inspired you recently?
A lot of my inspiration comes from listening to music, which being a bit of a record nerd, occupies a lot of my time. Most recently I've been listening to a come back album by Dion (of Dion and the Bellmonts) that came out in the late sixties, and has some great cover versions of songs from the time, like Purple Haze and Everybody's Talkin'. As for art, I've recently been coveting the work of Jim Flora who designed some pretty ace record sleeves and Paul Rand who, with his wife Ann, made some really cool kids books.

How long have you been screenprinting and how did you get into it?
I first started screenprinting about five years ago when I bought one of those student starter kits. I think the first thing I printed was a t-shirt, and I soon realised how great a thing the process was. It did take me a while to realise that I'd only witnessed a fraction of screenprinting's greatness, but this all changed once I started printing on paper and with more than one colour. Cue light bulb.

Why did you choose to pair 826 National with your print?
I don't have a particularly academic mind. Other than in art, as a kid I didn't really excel in any subjects at school. I did okay in English, which I'm sure is due to having my dad take the time to sit me down and help me with my reading and spelling. Based on my own small insight into how one-on-one teaching can help with learning, I'm sure that the work that 826 National does will benefit countless number of kids who, like me, just need that extra bit of attention to kick start their imagination and interest in learning.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
Up until two years ago I was wasting away in a dead end job that sucked the very life out of me, but thankfully my own art forced me out of the rut I'd gotten into. Since then my world has changed a lot. Though it is difficult to pay the bills some months, I'm so much happier and I even feel better physically - I don't seem to get ill or run down anymore.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
That's a pretty tough question, but I think it would have to be Marcel Duchamp. He was one of the first artists to inspire me when I was 16 and just starting out at college. I didn't really know anything about art and had the same misconceptions about it that most people do. I thought that art had to be some grand thing only achieved by great people, and that it was out of my reach. With the help of artists like Duchamp, I soon realized that art could be anything anybody wanted it to be and that anyone could make it, even me. The older I get and the more my work develops, the more I know this to be true. So if nothing else I'd like to thank him for that.

Who are some artists that other people should know about?
I'm not the best person to point out what others should look at, as most will probably know more than I do, but in no particular order here is a list of some artists I like and think others might too: Margaret Kilgallen, Rob Ryan, Cat Johnston, Sister Mary Corita, Ben Newman, Simon Peplow, Stuart Kolakovic, Albrecht Durer, Marcus Oakley, nomono, Tom Gauld, Nigel Peake, Joseph Cornell, Alice Stevenson, Al Murphy, Lucy Mclauchlan, George Maciunas, Gwenola Carrere, Patrick Gildersleeves...that's probably enough, right?

What do you have planned for 2010?
The year is off to a pretty good start. I'm already in the thick of it, with a 7" single cover under my belt and I'm also working on an album cover for Andreas Soderstrom's solo project, Ass. I have plans to make a batch of new prints and I'm going to try and put together a small run of screenprinted books. An exhibition would be tops and I also want to make some headway on a children's book project that I'm working on with my friend Simon Peplow. To sum up, 2010 will hopefully be filled with work, work and more work...things have changed, because saying that four years ago would have brought me to tears!

The Enormous Tiny Art Show

Released Friday, February 5, 2010

Two of our artists, Gretchen Wagoner and Justin Richel, have a new show opening today - The Enormous Tiny Art Show at Nahcotta in Portsmouth, NH. The Enormous Tiny Art Show features small artworks (10"x10" or smaller) on a bi-annual basis. There are a bunch of awesome artists participating: Laura Berger, APAK, and Lisa Solomon, to name just a few. Check out all of the artists here.

Catherine Ryan: Man with Two Bears

Released Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Man with Two Bears, by Catherine Ryan.
15% of the gross sale of this print goes to Puppies Behind Bars.

Catherine Ryan received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the California College of the Arts in 2000 and she currently lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.

About the print:
Man with Two Bears is a charcoal drawing of a man posing with two dead bears. When I made this piece I had been looking through hundreds of photos of hunters with their kills and wanted to take this hunter and dead bears away from that context so that the oddness of their relationship could really be examined. I didn't want it to be gruesome or a blatant condemnation of trophy hunting, but rather a look at this very happy man and these beautiful, sad bears.

This is an ink jet print on Hahnemuhle German etching paper


What has inspired you recently?
I just got to spend a very inspiring month in Japan. Traveling always gets me into a different head space, and the way that Tokyo is such a melding of ultra modern technology and ancient culture really gave me a lot to look at and think about.

A lot of your work seems to be about the tension between animals and humans. What about this tension interests you?
I think tension is the most interesting element to any relationship, whether it's between people, animals, colors, shapes etc. With people and animals, there are so many facets to the tension that I find it really interesting to explore.

Why did you choose to pair Puppies Behind Bars with your print?
A lot of my work, and this piece in particular, takes a dark look at the relationships between humans and animals/nature. Puppies Behind Bars is a such a positive take on those relationships that I thought it would be a nice counterpoint. I really love what they do.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
I don't know. I'm not sure that I have.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
Stanley Kubrick. His movies have always been incredibly inspirational to me, and after I learned more about him I became really impressed with how particular and methodical he was. As far as filmmakers go he wasn't all that prolific, but almost everything he made was awesome. I really admire artists who take their time.

Who are some artists that other people should know about?
Joshua Johnson, Francis Barlow and Kamal al-din Bihzad.