Natalie Tweedie: Autumn Poppy

Released Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Autumn Poppy, by Natalie Tweedie.
15% of the sale of this print goes to the Show Hope.

Natalie Tweedie lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. Her love of drawing flowers was born from studying at the Scottish College of Textiles where she received a BA (Hons) in Printed Textiles.

Organic, detailed, intricate – an abstract version of traditional flower and botanical studies with a contemporary use of line. The 19th century artist Jessie M. King inspired her distinctive line drawings, and Natalie uses the same fine Gillott crow-quill nib as King to attain gossamer ink lines.

Natalie produces work under the pseudonym Nebo Peklo, meaning “heaven hell”. She could not live without nature, the internet and her daughter Astrid's smile.

About the print:
This is the first letterpress print that I have produced of my line drawings. Letterpress suits my line work so well, and I love the textural qualities that the medium provides to my artwork. I worked with a great letterpress company in the UK called Blush Publishing to produce this print on 300gsm, 100% cotton paper. I chose colours that remind me of my favourite season, Autumn...

This is a four-color letterpress print on 300gsm Somerset Rough 100% cotton paper. Each print was signed and numbered by the artist.


What has inspired you recently?
I am inspired daily by my Flickr friends and the various artists and designers that I have discovered online. A few favourite artists that after many years have remained in my 'list' are Stina Persson, Lucy MacLeod, Julie Verhoeven, and Jessie M. King – all women who have produced beautiful line work.

Process drawing

Why did you choose to pair Show Hope with your print?
We are so lucky to have our daughter Astrid in our lives. She brings us so much joy that it seemed logical to select Show Hope as my charity.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
My work is also very inspired by the illustrator Ralph Steadman, who I had the pleasure to meet when he came to Edinburgh many years ago to discuss his gonzo illustrations for the writings of Hunter S. Thomson. He was so charismatic, charming, and funny that I would like to spend a day with him splashing some ink on paper...

Who are some artists you think people should know about?
I'm sure many are already aware of the work of this artist, but I love the balance in the artwork of Victor Pasmore. Please seek out his work if you are not familiar with it...

Anne Smith: Four Cups

Released Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Four Cups, by Anne Smith.
15% of the sale of this print goes to the Médecins Sans Frontières.

Anne Smith is an American artist and illustrator who has been living and working in London since 1998. She spent the earlier part of her career as a potter living in Boston, creating richly painted porcelain vessels.

About the print:
This image comes from an ongoing, constantly morphing body of work called 100 Cups. At one point I realized that I was much happier painting images of cups than actually making them out of clay. This is my way of staying connected and paying homage to a significant aspect of my art making life and self.
This is an archival inkjet print on 310gsm Hahnemühle German Etching paper. Each print was signed and numbered by the artist.


What is your process?
My images are composed inside the computer using a vast language of painted and drawn elements that I have created over several years. Working digitally has totally liberated my way of working by enabling me to manipulate a rich lexicon of images. My training as a potter has left me with a deep respect for beautiful objects and craftsmanship, so I was thrilled to discover that it was possible to make digital prints of such exquisite quality. Having transgressed into this use of technology, I am enjoying the irony of being able to simultaneously retain a quality of intimacy and tactility in the final piece.

What has inspired you recently?
Some influences: Shaker Gift Drawings, Saul Steinberg, Alfred Wallis, Wolfgang Tillmans, vintage decorative arts archives, 19th century natural history drawings, and Mughal Miniatures.

Why did you choose to pair Médecins Sans Frontières with your print?
I am moved to support Médecins Sans Frontières because I have friends who have worked for this, and similar, organizations. Hearing of their experiences and the communities that they have helped has been very humbling, and has also taught me to see the world in a much wider context. If selling this print means that I can make any kind of contribution to these amazing efforts, then great.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
In general, I see any expression of creativity as a positive force in a world where most of us are rushed through our days, desensitized to beauty, and numbed to the qualities which makes us each uniquely human.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
I would not mind hanging out with Eric Ravillious and Edward Bawden for a while, to see if any of their brilliance might rub off on me.

Who are some artists you think people should know about?
Betsy Everit, Laura Tarrish, Todd McKie, Julia Binfield, Julia Talcott, Rupert Gatfield, and Richard Beards are all making beautiful graphic works.

Brendan Wenzel: Wildlife of Vietnam

Released Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wildlife of Vietnam, by Brendan Wenzel.
15% of the sale of this print goes to the The Jane Goodall Institute.

Brendan Wenzel is an illustrator whose work explores the natural world and our relationship to it.

He is a frequent collaborator with conservation groups throughout South East Asia and is currently involved in Fauna, Flora International's efforts to save the critically endangered Siamese Crocodile from the brink of extinction. He is also attempting to create a visual collection of the planet's species circa 2010.

Brendan is a graduate of Pratt Institute and is the son of the illustrator David T. Wenzel. Currently he lives in Brooklyn, New York with his girlfriend Magdalena Long.

About the print:
This piece grew from a series of images I created featuring Vietnam's threatened wildlife. Until recently I lived in Ho Chi Minh City and although I like to think my biophilia knows no bounds, having called the country home for over two years, I have become particularly attached to its creatures.

This image also ran as a cover of the monthly magazine AsiaLife. The issue focused on threats facing Vietnam's species - in particular the illegal wildlife trade, which sadly is growing to meet the demand for bush meat and animal products for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Many species, including a number that are unique to Vietnam, may soon face extinction. I am insanely frustrated by the growth of this industry and I hope the piece conveys that.

This is a digital print on acid free, Neenah uncoated matte 100lb cover paper that is 80% recycled. Each print was signed and numbered by the artist.


Do you have any process drawings that led up to this finished piece?
These are some of the individual animals that eventually ended up in the cage.

What has inspired you recently?
In April rangers at Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam found the remains of a critically endangered Javan Rhinoceros. The animal had been shot and killed for its horn, which was probably sold for a ridiculously high price for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine, despite the fact that study after study has shown that neither rhino horn nor bone have even the slightest medical benefit.

This event has really inspired me to work a lot harder. Vietnam is the last place in mainland Asia these rhinos survive and when I arrived in the country in 2008, despite much speculation that the small population of animals had already been wiped out, the species was in fact hanging on by a thread within a hundred miles of where I slept.

The optimism that there are Rhinoceros still out there in the park and the frustration that one of the last was poached within the short period of time I called the country home, really brings to light the urgency needed to address this issue and those like it. Right now, the opportunities to do good with my work are limited but are certainly growing. Though this is a terrible event, it has lit a fire under me to raise awareness and really give what I can.

Why did you choose to pair The Jane Goodall Institute with your print?
Since Kindergarten, I have been in awe of Jane Goodall. After watching a documentary on Gombe as a kid, I went into the backyard with a notepad and tried to gain the social acceptance of the local squirrels. I think I could have really shaken up the mainstream squirrelogy community if my research had lasted more than an hour.

But really...The Jane Goodall Institute acknowledges that the concerns of communities are linked to the well being of the environments that surround them, and that the degradation of those environments will inevitably have a direct effect on their human inhabitants.

I'm also a big fan of the Institute's Roots and Shoots program, which gets young people involved with the issues facing their communities, environmental and otherwise, and to then design projects that provide solutions to those problems.

Even if you would prefer to keep this print as far away from the walls of your home as possible, please consider giving to this organization anyway. It's just awesome.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
A few years back I taught art classes in San Francisco. I was always amazed at how focused and calm even the most wound up kids got when they started drawing. I can certainly relate to that.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
I think at this point I would rather wrangle a mentor with some storytelling chops than an illustrator or painter. I frequently get hung up while writing, and would really appreciate the guidance of someone I admire. Sir David Attenborough instantly pops into my head. He is a long-standing hero of mine and his documentaries resonate with so many people.

Also after a few years of mentoring, I might eventually be able to coax him into recording my voicemail greeting.

Who are some artists you think people should know about?
Oh, man. Here are some artists that I really enjoy and hope others might, too. Alice and Martin Provensen, Sidney Nolan, Quentin Blake, Carson Ellis, Leland Miyano, Walton Ford, Ben Shahn, Beecher Smith-Stackhouse, Deborah Ross, Ronald Wimberly, Charley Harper, Eric Carle, Leo Lionni, Ghostshrimp, Lou Joe and of course my father David Wenzel, who was all over Middle Earth before it went Hollywood.

Lisa Solomon: Pilot Wheel Doily Wall Decals

Released Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pilot Wheel Doily Wall Decals, by Lisa Solomon.
15% of the sale of this print goes to the 826 National.

Lisa Solomon was born in Tucson, AZ, but has lived most of her life in California. She currently resides in Oakland with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and many, many spools of thread. She received her BA in Art Practice from UC Berkeley in 1995 and her MFA from Mills College in 2003.

Profoundly interested in the idea of hybridization (sparked from her happa heritage), Solomon's mixed media works revolve thematically around domesticity, craft, and masculine and feminine triggers. She is drawn to found objects, tending to alter them conceptually so that their meanings and original uses or intents are re-purposed. She often fuses "wrong" things together - recontextualizing their original purposes, and incorporating materials that question the line between ART and CRAFT.

Ms. Solomon's work has been recently featured in 2 books: Contemporary Textiles published by Black Dog Press, and Illustration Play, published by Victionary Press. An eight page interview with extensive photos of her work and studio was also included in the Chinese Publication Art + Design. Her drawings and installations have been featured at various national and international venues including: The San Jose Museum of Art, the Academy of Art in Honolulu, HI, the Richmond Art Center in CA, and Koumi Machi Museum in the Nagano prefecture of Japan. Her work was recently featured in exhibitions at the ICA in San Jose, CA, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum, ID, the Sonoma County Museum of Art in CA, the Lawton Gallery at the University of Wisconsin, as well as the Ulrich Museum of Art in Kansas. Additionally, she has exhibited with the David Weinberg Gallery in Chicago, Garson Baker Gallery in NY, Women and Their Work in Austin, TX, The Fine Arts Gallery at San Francisco State University, and The South Florida Art Center. She currently works with the Richard Levy Gallery in Albuquerque, NM, as well as the Walter Maciel Gallery and Little Bird Gallery, both located in Los Angeles, CA.

She regularly teaches Art at various colleges in the Bay Area - currently at San Francisco State University. She has also taught at UC Berkeley, Mills College, CCA, and Cal State East Bay. She was also a member of the Curatorial Board of the Richmond Art Center from 2006-2008.

Ms. Solomon has received a travel award from the Komi Machi Museum, a Herringer Family Foundation Grant, as well as an Eisner Prize for Excellence in Fine Arts. She has been invited to create a site specific installation for Angles Gate - a non-profit art space in southern California - for the fall of 2010, and will receive a grant to help complete this project.

About the print:
Inspired by a large installation I was asked to do on/in the Fine Arts Building at San Francisco State University, I thought it would be fun to let people try their own hand at a mini doily installation in their home/space. This "print" includes 3 doilies - 2 in a sky blue and one key lime green one that you can place wherever your heart desires (on windows, doors, walls - I'd say even the floor is fair game).

I've been doing doily installations for quite some time, but generally I silk-screen or hand paint the doilies on walls/windows myself. When I was offered a chance to generate doilies in vinyl I was REALLY excited - possibilities just opened up in terms of numbers and scale. I wanted to make sure that they looked hand-drawn, though. That is a big part of my thought process and execution, the emphasis being on hand-made/hand-done. In the past I've used the doily to speak to our interior and exterior worlds, to mimic a landscape - there's also the fact that I'm monumentalizing something that is normally trivialized or overlooked.

Each wall decal set includes three doilies made from Exhibition 631 Orcal vinyl, and includes a signed certificate of authenticity. Installation instructions are included with each decal set, but can also be viewed here.


Do you have any process drawings that led up to this finished piece?
This is the original drawing I used for this doily. I scanned it into the computer and simplified it a bit in Illustrator and then used a sign cutting machine to create these vinyl stickers.

What has inspired you recently?
I try really hard to be inspired by something every day. I think it is important to notice things around me and to find a little beauty. But more specifically? This very small, wall-anchored Calder sculpture I saw the other day at SFMOMA has been stuck in my mind. I'm not normally a huge Calder fan, but this piece really resonated - I really wanted to be able to bring it home.

Oh! My daughter learning how to talk has been really incredible. Just watching her process new words and putting words together has been amazing; you can literally see her brain whirling and that is so inspiring.

Why did you choose to pair 826 National with your print?
I’ve always been a huge huge fan of McSweeneys and what they do, and have always wanted to support them somehow. Fostering any kind of creativity in children (writing/art/dance) is crucial, and 826 National is really trying to make a difference.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
I think the easiest answer here is in the classroom. When I have a student that has that AH HA! moment,  where they are now able to express something that they couldn't a mere two weeks ago. That is instant personal transformation. I think that in general, art makes us stop and hopefully really look, and if we’re really lucky it will somehow alter us forever. Sometimes I think what it boils down to is simply being hyper aware of oneself and yet simultaneously pulled into and observing the world around you.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
One? This is really hard, but I’ll say Eva Hesse, because her art breaks my heart in the most wonderful way when I see it. Because I love how inventive she was with materials. Because her work is SO clearly feminine without an apologetic undertone, and it so much grander than gender.

Who are some artists you think people should know about?
How to make a list that won't span the rest of this page? Everyone on The Working Proof site! Seriously, there are so many amazingly talented artists that aren't "well known". I think it is important to go to local galleries and museums, and to simply see what is in your neighborhood. I can almost guarantee that every community has talented artists making things. If people are interested there is a short list of artist friends and crushes available on my website links page.