Frances Pelzman Liscio: Yellow Roses/Milkweed

Released Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yellow Roses/Milkweed, by Frances Pelzman Liscio.
15% of the sale of this print goes to Puppies Behind Bars.

Curator's note: This is our 2nd print edition with Frances Pelzman Liscio. The first was Two Dahlias, released back in March of 2010. We are thrilled to be working with Frances again!

Frances Pelzman Liscio has had her work showcased in hundreds of group and solo shows. Her work has been published in fine art and design magazines including Traditional Home and Martha Stewart Living and is included in hundreds of private collections. A series of her images were selected by the teNeues fine art publishing company for featured boxed notecards available in their 2009/2010 catalogue. Ms. Liscio was recently commissioned to create a book cover for a Greywolf Publishing author in their Spring 2010 catalogue. She lives and works in Montclair, New Jersey.

Ms. Liscio holds a degree in printmaking, photography and illustration from Manhattanville College. She has studied printmaking with John Ross Sr., photography with Sean Kernan, Eva Rubenstein, Lisette Model, and John Loengard, digital darkroom and printing technologies with Jay Seldin, and botanical illustration with Deirdre Newman.

About the print:
This is one of my favorite images. It incorporates a distinctly Victorian sensibility of delicacy, of heartfelt love, of sincerity and of warmth. I originally created this image as the cover of the small paper yearbook that is distributed among the members of the Garden Club of Montclair. The yellow roses both reveal their magic and conceal it at the same time. The small 'heart' in the middle is actually created from the two sections of a milkweed pod. The curved piece of broadleaf plantain seed stalk reminds me of the woven hair wands that Victorians would make in mourning from the hair of a departed loved one, while the fresh sweetness of the African violets is optimistic and bright. This image also incorporates the green textured 'seedballs' of the Pond cypress that grows at the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens in Upper Montclair, NJ. They resemble little golf balls. They fit together like a brilliant puzzle, until they ripen and then the entire seed ball comes apart when you touch it. There are also brown dried seed clusters from the wild onions that grow unchecked in the creek bed at the iris garden, and I know they are weeds – they are just magnificent when they are four feet tall and top heavy with bulbils. I pulled those little yellow and red "cushions" off of some cactii – they are prickly but the colors are so delicious that I used them throughout the composition.

I created this work on an Epson Perfection 4490 Photographic scanner. I originally started xeroxing and scanning images many years ago simply because I could not afford a good 8x10 view camera, and I wanted to get closer up to my images. But I also love the unique quality a good scanner brings to the final image. I do very little to the work once it is created, aside from cleaning up the cat hairs (I have four cats) and the pollen from the finished images. Most of the work is done before the image is scanned, with tweezers and manicure scissors, and the baskets and trays full of botanica and natura which fill my studio. Each print was signed and numbered by the artist.


What have you been up to since we last worked together?
This has been an interesting year. My most recent project involved a hospital here in Montclair. I created several groupings of botanical photography for three of their waiting rooms for perinatal care and cardio care. Since I knew the artwork would be viewed by people who might be feeling vulnerable and anxious about health situations, I chose botanical images that were soothing and uplifting. For example, I often seek out botanicals that are desiccated, pocked by mold spots and creased or torn. I didn't think those images would be appropriate for these medical spaces. For this project I chose full, open blooms, fields of rudbeckia, petals on a flower stalk tenderly wrapping around each other in support, warm pink tulips in the sun.

How has your work developed over the last year?
My quest for detail has become more spirited. I've been looking for tinier and even more intricate botanicals and natural materials. And I've been using more 'wrecked' materials, such as a pine cone that was lying in my street for a week or two, repeatedly run over by cars. I used it to create a halo for a statue of a Madonna, and it was lovely and poignant. It reminded me of our own tarnished and battered halos - imperfect but more beautiful and meaningful because of the stresses and anguish.

What is inspiring you these days?
I am inspired by the head of my favorite doll - Cissy, by Madame Alexander. She was a glamorous career woman doll, and I received her as a gift from my Godparents when I was six. She had three wigs and was much prettier and more delicate than Barbie. I literally loved her to pieces. When I came across her head rolling on the floor of my garage last summer, I was stricken with concern and tenderness for her, and vowed to glorify her with a field of flowers. I worked with her all summer, surrounding her sweet pale face with waxflowers, irises, daffodils, berries and more.

You used to be a punk rock photographer. How different - or similar - is that from or to being a botanical photographer and artist?
Flowers don't try to steal my cameras to buy heroin, which is a big relief. Also, I was shooting film as a punk photographer and used a nice, heavy steel Nikomat and the world's most perfect lens: a Nikon 105mm 1.2 fixed focus portrait lens. The punk rockers were sweet, scared and shy, more sensitive than they ever wanted to let on. So I always looked for that kinder, more complex side. Flowers look fragile and they are - compared to, say, a log or a toilet brush. But for all their fragility they are stunningly resilient, and even as the corona of petals fades and fails, they are already working hard at making seed. And seed is unstoppable.

Is the work you do in the winter different from the work you do the rest of the year, when everything is in bloom?
That's when I rely more on my cache of dried stuff - all the shriveled berries, seed pods, and medallions of lichen that cover every surface in my studio. I also buy flowers constantly - both for my artwork, and also because it just looks so pretty to have lots of flowers in the house during the winter months.

Why did you choose to pair Puppies Behind Bars with your print?
When prisoners work with dogs, training the dogs to help others, a transformation can take place that benefits the world and can help to process and transform some of the pain and despair around us. This is true for botanicals. They bloom, they go to seed, they become desiccated, they are consumed with mold, and then they transform – new life starts over and over.

Is there anything else you would like to talk about?
Has anyone discovered a way to keep cat hair out of a printer?

APAK: Grow Your Imagination

Released Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Grow Your Imagination, by APAK.
15% of the sale of this print goes to 826 National.

Aaron Piland and Ayumi Kajikawa Piland are the fantastical magical duo known as APAK. They are a childlike husband and wife collaborative art team who live among the fury conifer giants in a little cottage on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. They create artwork together as a way exploring the beauty, mystery, and magic of life, as well as expressing their love for life and each other.

They are known in particular for creating rich and colorful gouache/acrylic paintings on wood featuring the utopian lives and adventures of curious little beings living in lush, fantastic environments. Surrounded by friendly little animals, the landscapes are familiar yet surreal, hinting at a fantastic narrative while suggesting truths about the real world at the same time.

About the print:
Dreams are like a garden that must be patiently and persistently nurtured from young seeds to a full, vibrant, blossoming garden. So, this piece is titled Grow Your Imagination.

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


What has inspired you recently?
Growing a child together.

Why did you choose to pair 826 National with your print?
826 National is amazing, we love what they do and how they do it. They are a very inspiring organization that empowers kids to make their dreams real through writing. They are helping to grow imaginations!

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
Art is all around us every second every day, all we have to do is stop and pay attention. See it? Isn’t it beautiful?

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
Mother Nature, because she is the best artist of them all and very alive!

Who are some artists you think people should know about?
The squirrel, the tree, the rock, the river, the wind, the ocean, the leaf, and the bird.

Estibaliz Hernández de Miguel: I Bring the Magic, You Bring the Cookies

Released Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Bring the Magic, You Bring the Cookies, by Estibaliz Hernández.
15% of the sale of this print goes to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Estibaliz Hernández de Miguel is a self-taught artist, freelance illustrator, and amateur storyteller who lives in Bilbao, Spain, and works under the name of Pintameldia (this stands for Paintmyday).

For twenty years she had been involved in the music industry - managing bands, founding an indie record label, writing in music zines, promoting concerts, and running a chain of record stores. This connection to music appears throughout her artwork. Even though as a child she always liked to draw, she took up a pen and a sketchbook late in her twenties and only stopped for a brief time when her first daughter was born. She took it up again later when the craving to make art was too loud to bear.

She has collaborated on several projects, designing for an Argentinean fashion brand, and promoting her own project, “We are a Happy Family”, along with eight international artists. She is currently working on some children’s books.

About the print:
This print was inspired by a series of drawings I had made for a new calendar. I wanted to create an image of a shared magical moment. It was originally titled "We Will Make Wishes, Steal the Magic, and Have a Good Time", but one of my kids came up with a title that suited it better: "I Bring the Magic, You Bring the Cookies".

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


Tell us about your process?
Usually I have an image in mind, and if I am in bed and cannot sketch it, I write down a description before the image fades away. I don’t make many sketches before sitting down to draw the piece. A rough pencil sketch suffices for me.

I can have several projects going on at once, but when I start a new piece, it is hard for me to stop. I like to see it finished, as it is in my mind. The sooner the better - it’s a relief to see the final version of my idea on paper.

What has inspired you recently?
My inspiration comes, more often than not, from my dreams, music, and music lyrics. Sometimes a conversation or a photograph triggers an image in my head. Every time I open a book, there is a sure chance of being inspired. That said, lately I feel attracted to anything that has to do with magic - in the sense that magic comes from within and is part of what makes us unique as individuals. It is obvious that I am always inspired by feminine interaction, too, and I like to play with the idea of women bringing light or darkness to the world.

On the other hand, I’ve found out that it is good for me to draw something totally different from my usual pieces every now and then. That is how I came up with some children’s drawings and have developed them into a series of books. This brings new perspectives to me.

Why did you choose to pair Médecins Sans Frontières with your print?
I chose MSF because saving lives is, without a question, as heroic as can be. MSF provides medical aid to those in need of care, no matter the geographic, political situation, or religious beliefs. It means a lot to me to contribute to them in this way.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
Well, art has certainly transformed my world, and it is changing my kids’ lives and way of seeing things. In fact, it’s become irreplaceable. Making art makes me happier and a better person. I only wish I could communicate this through my artwork. That would be a great accomplishment.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
There are so many artists that I admire – Gauguin, Rousseau...I am also sure there are dozens of living artists that could mentor me. I do know that I am in need of some learning, but right now the one artist that comes to my mind is Jiro Taniguchi, because I’d have so much fun. I love his comics; they are moving and beautiful. Most of all, I would like to be a fly on the wall in many artists’ studios, so I could see their creative process and learn from them.

Who are some artists you think people should know about?
Well, the roster of artists you have at The Working Proof would be a good starting point. Also Clare Rojas, Marcel Dzama, Margaret Kilgallen, Henry Darger, Richard Coleman, Laura Levine, Pepa Prieto, Blanca Helga, Betsy Walton, Thereza Rowe, Alexandra Hedberg, Elisabeth Bauman, Amanda Blake, Juliana Swaney, Katy Horan, Sanna Annuka, Jennifer Davis, Lis Timpone, Monica Canilao, Ana Montiel, Natascha Rosenberg, Allyson Mellberg-Taylor, Anthony Zinonos, Pakayla Biehn, Ricardo Cavolo, and so on. Sorry, but I am sure missing a lot of names here.

Luke Jinks: Fallen Warrior

Released Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fallen Warrior, by Luke Jinks.
15% of the sale of this print goes to The Pablove Foundation.

Luke Jinks is a UK-based artist who recently graduated from the University of West England in Bristol, where he studied illustration.

Luke's work is strongly influenced by folklore and tales from the past. He takes inspiration from Native American culture and the stories that have been passed down through generations of Native American people. He also takes strong influence from 15th Century Indian art such as The royal painting of Jodhpur, often choosing to ignore perspective in order to create a 2D aesthetic in his work. Luke likes to use bold colors and pattern within his work, often painting the ground as repetitive patterns and the sky in unusual colors in order to give the same dreamlike feel that so many folktales have.

About the print:
The piece is called Fallen Warrior. It is part of a recent body of work based around the Native American tale of 'The White Horse', which tells the story of maiden who was sought after by many brave warriors. There were two suitors who led the rivalry for her hand, a Cree chief from Lake Winnipegosis and a Sioux chief from Devil's Lake. The girl herself favoured the Cree warrior, and when the warrior brought a beautiful white horse from Mexico as a gift for her father, he agreed to the marriage.

On the day that they were due to be wed, the Sioux chief gathered his army and went to retrieve what he believed to be rightfully his. Upon the sight of the Sioux chief and his army, the two lovers mounted their horses and fled onto the western plains where they hid amongst the prairie bluffs. It appeared that they had lost the Sioux chief and his war party, but once they were on the plains again, the beautiful white horse was visible for miles, and the war party soon found them. A rain of arrows fell upon the fleeing lovers, and the warrior and his bride fell dead from their horses. They say that the soul of the white horse continues to haunt the prairie to this very day.

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


What has inspired you recently?
Recently I have taken a short break from illustration and have been concentrating on my other passion, which is traditional tattooing. I have been painting plenty of tattoo flash in the hopes that I can secure an apprenticeship in the new year. Although my tattoo portfolio differs from my illustration work, a lot of similarities can be found in colour schemes and the themes within the work. I still take huge inspiration from Native American folklore, but have been trying to broaden my spectrum by looking at international folklore, vintage tattoo flash, and Japanese prints for inspiration.

Why did you choose to pair The Pablove Foundation with your print?
I chose to pair my print with The Pablove Foundation, because their work with children with cancer is a subject that is very close to me. I have lost a number of close relatives to cancer, and I know how the disease can destroy families. Although cancer has not affected any children within my family, I sympathize greatly with the children and families that cancer has affected, and would like to offer my support in helping fight this destructive disease.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
Art has transformed greatly even within my generation, with a greater dependence upon technology. I feel that art (particularly illustration) has lost a lot of the craftsmanship that it once had. I like the idea of learning a trade and having manual skills, which is part of the reason that I am drawn to tattooing. Although there are still many great artists and illustrators around, I just feel that sometimes the trade has lost a little bit of magic. It saddens me when I go to a gallery and see printouts of work that have been compiled in Photoshop. I love to see brush marks in paint and spots where the ink hasn't taken in a manual printing. I am not saying that we should never use Photoshop; I just feel that artists should pay homage to the traditional techniques once in a while. I love illustrators like Jonny Hannah and Bjorn Rune Lie who still do a bit of painting or manual printing when they get the chance.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
This is a tricky one. I would love to improve my painting skills, so I guess Henri Rousseau would be the top dog. I think he might be my all time favourite artist. I love everything about his work, from the colour schemes to the surreal themes. I would definitely buy one of his paintings if I had a few million to spare.

Who are some artists you think people should know about?
I am going to be cliquey and say Adam Hancher, Jack Hudson, and Owen Gatley, as they have given me a mention and it would be rude not to return the favour. I have worked with these guys for three years (Adam and Jack for four years), and they have given me guidance about every aspect of my work, and helped me to improve greatly. They are also all great artists themselves, so you should check them out. In regards to other artists that I find inspiring, I'd say, Margaret Kilgallen, Jonny Hannah, Henry Gunderson, Bailey Hunter Robinson, Marcel Dzama, Henry Darger, and my close friend, Jade Bridgwood. I could go on, but I think that is enough for now.