Andrea D'Aquino: Support System

Released Tuesday, May 29, 2012


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Support System, by Andrea D'Aquino.
15% of the sale of this print goes to Shama Foundation.

Andrea D'Aquino is an experienced art director and graphic designer. In just the last couple of years, she decided to put her energies more seriously into her personal art and illustration. Andrea studied art and graphic design before Macs were ubiquitous, so she feel fortunate not to have had to learn the lesson that creativity has nothing to do with using software, though she loves using technology. Andrea spends many hours walking her dog and trying not to think too much. Somewhere in between the artwork seems to happen. At the moment, she is also learning silkscreen printing, which she says suits her very well.

This is the second time The Working Proof has paired with Andrea. The first print, Green Zen I + II, also benefited the Shama Foundation.
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About the print:
I try to allow ideas to happen organically; meaning that I try not to over-control or plan too much. I allow them room to grow, and take on a life of their own. If sketches are too specific, the end result tends to lose some life and spontaneity. I'd say that very concept in itself it the idea of this piece: all thoughts and actions are connected to each other, and have an effect on each other. Our thoughts, actions, the physical world around us, there is no solid boundary between them. Something has affected us, and we in turn, affect something else, and hopefully for the better.

This print is available in multiple sizes. It was digitally signed by the artist. The 8x10, 11x14, and 16x20 prints are numbered by The Working Proof. Learn more here.

PURCHASE!

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What themes are recurring in your work, and what is the meaning behind them?
One theme is hands and human figures, though not overly specific - more of a universal "every person". The meaning being striving for a higher consciousness and understanding (with or without success) of what we are doing here. Not of any particular philosophy (most of those intersect at a basic level, anyway).

A second theme I use is mythological creatures with a meaning that is very similar to the first, really. They become a 'blank slate' that almost anyone can relate to or project themselves onto. Often wandering around in curious environments‚ slightly lost, but not without dignity in trying to figure out what on earth is going on.

Why did you choose to pair with Teach for America with your print?
I chose to pair my prints with The Shama Foundation of Madagascar. I do not have children, so this is one way to be supportive of the most innocent among us, not to mention those with the most potential. It is also a way to acknowledge that I myself have been very fortunate to grow up in a supportive family with all of my needs more than met. As the Shama Foundation says on their website: "Madagascar is considered one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. An educated people may make the informed economic and environmental choices needed to heal and sustain Madagascar’s unique ecosystem."

What have you been up to since we last worked together?
I work as an art director and graphic designer on all kinds of projects. All visual and conceptual work that is often satisfying, but I find I must always make time for my personal expression. Otherwise, I feel like all my time and effort is spent conveying someone else's thoughts to the world, and why should I do that?!

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How has your work developed over the last year?
I feel some confidence has allowed me to be bolder, less tentative. But still always trying to get to a place that feels even more strong and effortless. By "effortless", I don't mean without working - but working in a manner that feels completely natural to me, and not necessarily anyone else. When things are working well, there is an ease, less thinking, less struggle‚ just pure doing. Those are the best times.

What is inspiring you these days?
I find the work that I enjoy looking at most is usually very painterly, abstract or very loosely representational. I think that work was most popular in the 40s/50s‚ it's not trendy now, but just as vital, for the people still doing it. I am inspired by a sophisticated or offbeat use of color-relationships, texture and form/composition. The classic elements, really. As long as it's not too academic or literal. I tend to be very bored by work that is strictly about perfection or an overt reflection of reality. It really needs to got a step further grab me.

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Harry Diaz: Deep Sea

Released Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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Deep Sea, by Harry Diaz.
15% of the sale of this print goes to Teach for America.

Harry Diaz is a Guatemalan born artist. He lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. His practice involves elements of printmaking, drawing, and digital media. Harry's work pays homage to traditional Guatemalan textile pattern. Additionally, his playful characters, whom weave in and out of the imagery, reference 50's and 60's American cartoons.
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About the print:
I was invited to a group show in May and Deep Sea was my submission for it. The title of the show was "Creatures From The Deep." Ironically the printshop where I printed these used to be an aquarium shop called "Deep Sea." Hence the title of the print.

This is a two-color screenprint on 140 lb Muscletone cover paper from French Paper. Each print was signed and numbered by the artist.

PURCHASE!

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What themes are recurring in your work, and what is the meaning behind them?
Patterns and animals are the main characters in my prints. I also play with symbols and icons to let the viewer come to their own conclusion about the piece.

Why did you choose to pair with Teach for America with your print?
I chose to pair my print with Teach For America because I think that everyone should have access to great schools and educators.

What have you been up to since we last worked together?
Since my last release with The Working Proof I've made some changes to my online presence. I've begun to pursue gallery work pretty seriously and I felt that I had to separate my "identities" into two camps. One being the new website/name: Color Beast, where I showcase my prints, zines and client work. My personal website will remain a place to showcase my paintings and drawings, which look much different than my prints. It was something I had been battling with for a long time but I feel it had to be done.

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How has your work developed over the last year?
I think making the decision to separate my web presence has helped me evolve in both studio practices. My personal work has become more abstract and conceptual. Whereas my commercial work has become even more playful and graphic. I think keeping things separate gives me the feeling that I'm always moving forward and not being bored with one thing.

What is inspiring you these days?
I'm very visually attracted to the more conceptual (border line fine art) graphic design, some people that come to mind are Matthew Korbel-Bowers, Tim Lahan and Andy Rementer to name a few.

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Melinda Josie: Three Cats in a Heap

Released Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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Three Cats in a Heap, by Melinda Josie.
15% of the sale of this print goes to 826 National.

Melinda Josie is a Toronto-based artist and illustrator. Utilizing traditional mediums, Josie explores themes of folklore and fantasy in the realms of everyday reality.  Growing up in rural Canada, Josie's work recreates the natural surroundings that shaped her formative years. She is currently working freelance illustrating children's books, editorial work, creating textile designs, and making fine art for gallery shows and commissions.
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About the print:
Three Cats in a Heap was created as a commission. I'd been asked to illustrate the three cats belonging to the client's friend.  Most of the image reference I'd been given showed the cats piled atop one another, so I tried to find an interesting composition to pile them on top of each other while still leaving each one recognizable.

This print is available in multiple sizes. It was digitally signed by the artist. The 8x10 and 11x14 prints are numbered by The Working Proof. Learn more here.

PURCHASE!

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What has inspired you recently?
I'm always inspired by trips out in to the country. I grew up in rural Ontario, and it's a comforting place to go back to. I often bring a camera with me out on walks and take reference photos. I use a lot of natural imagery in my work as a result. I also draw a lot from folklore, especially traditional children's tales and illustrated books.

Why did you choose to pair with 826 National with your print?
I've only recently become acquainted with their organization; I first discovered it while on a trip to San Francisco by entering the 826 Valencia Pirate Supply Shop. There is a writing workshop for children held in the back of the store where children can work on their own creative writing projects under the guidance of some very talented writers and teachers. The organization nurtures the creativity that is so much easier to tap in younger writers. The work that we were able to see while we were in the shop was pretty remarkable for a group of students between the ages of 6-18. I wish that there had been a similar organization for me growing up. It would have helped me a lot with future projects, especially the children's book(s) I hope to write one day.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
Absolutely. Every day. It brightens our home; as well as our streets and galleries. It's a very powerful medium.

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If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
I would probably have Albrecht Dürer mentor me. He had such a strong grasp on recreating realistic fur and feathers in creatures through watercolour, my preferred medium. Some particular favorites are Young Hare, Little Owl, Muzzle of a Bull, and Wing of a Roller.

Who are some artists you think people should know?
Some of my absolute favorites are:
Shary Boyle
Naomi Yasui
Christopher Silas Neal
Team Macho
Tatsuro Kiuchi
Heather Goodchild
Howie Tsui
Julie Moon
Megan Whitmarsh

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Stacey Rozich: Tiger Walk with Me

Released Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Tiger Walk with Me, by Stacey Rozich.
15% of the sale of this print goes to Farm Sanctuary.

Stacey Rozich is a native to the Pacific Northwest who currently resides in Seattle, Washington. She attended California College of the Arts in San Francisco where she studied illustration, and Seattle Central for graphic design. Combining what she learned in school and from years of drawing from her over-active imagination, Stacey has created a storybook narrative of beasts and patterns all playing into a world of cultural folktales.
Over the past couple of years, she has taken a strong interest in her own ethnic heritage (Stacey's father is Croatian) and in exploring the history of the traditions and folklore of Yugoslavia. From her research, Stacey discovered beautiful yet frightening carnival masks that utilize strong colors and textures to evoke a certain feeling of awe and reverence. She was intrigued that these creatures were displayed among beautifully garmented young women dancing in costumes of wool vests, draped shawls, and large triangular hats all adorned with woven designs. Stacey likes to think that she's channeling an ancestor from way back in her family history that has helped her to create some of these pieces that she finds so compelling. Aside from the Balkan influence, she has spread her feelers out to different cultures – Russian and Scandinavian, to the Native American cultures of the Southwest and Pacific Northwest, which are most evident in her recent work.



About the print:
The small, green, bat-like creatures in this print - I like to call them bogeys - are a recent feature in just about all of my new works. They are the little bit of humor I like to inject into my pieces, some more subtle than others. They sometimes drink cans of Rainier beer, smoke cigarettes or joints as big as they are - generally causing mischief and mayhem. In Tiger Walk with Me, the unbridled carnage of the tigers is a way of amending the bad behavior of the bogeys through primal instinct - crushing them, chomping in half - showing them who's boss. The way the figure is straining to reel them in also reminds of me of so many dog owners who take their dogs out and have to be wary of other creatures engaging them in potentially messy situations. I got to play with scale for this piece, since the original is a lot larger than I'm used to - 15" x 22". This gave me a chance to play with the detail of the two tigers, as well as the figure reigning them in.

This print is available in multiple sizes, and in an archival ready-to-hang version. It was digitally signed by the artist. The 8x10 and 11x14 prints are numbered by The Working Proof, and the 16x20 prints come with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity. Learn more here.

PURCHASE!



What does a typical day in your studio look like?
My time these days seems to be pretty evenly divided between my "on time" and my "off time". I'm in an off time right now, because I'm inbetween shows and a big trip to Europe later this summer, so my days consist of getting up late (and cursing myself for once again extinguishing my alarm without knowing it) and e-mailing for a while,  then running errands and taking meetings to discuss future projects. During an on time, I get up earlier, run errands, and work on pieces all afternoon and into the night. I don't go out much during my on time.

What themes are you exploring in your most recent body of work?
I'm incorporating a lot more elements of modernity into my work. My artwork is still deeply rooted in a multicultural narrative of folklores and vignettes, but the characters are now punctuated with basketball shoes, playing cards, Garfield mugs, lots of cigarettes, and the aforementioned cans of Rainier, which is a subtle homage to my home of the Pacific Northwest and my glory days of being a beer-swilling delinquent.

How do you come up with the fantastical creatures in your work? What is your starting point and how do you develop them?
I think it is hardwired in me now; I've thrown out the cover of the deep, dark well that is my subconscious, so that it all comes rushing out unfiltered. I pride myself on having a strong photographic memory, so the figures and creatures in my past works just walk right out onto the paper, along with newer influences that I keep logged away, which portray themselves in current work. I am a firm believer in rough sketching my ideas before creating them, so I have sketch books that are filled with loose pencil lines of compositions and mask ideas that I work out before I lay them out on watercolor paper.



Do certain creatures show up in your work more than once? Is there a progressing storyline for these characters, or are they specific to that one artwork and moment in time?
The black birds and bogeys are my favorite new additions to my work. It's a way of breaking up the negative space created by the main image. I enjoy the birds because the hard edges of their feathers lets me play with crisp lines while their coloring gives me a chance to experiment with different tonal washes. And the bogeys, well, those guys are just fun and a whole lot of trouble. I can imagine them coming to a party and being a barrel of laughs, and then the next morning you're wondering how there are so many beer cans in the bathtub, pizza crusts under your pillow, and why all your underwear is out flying on the power lines.

Any exciting new projects on the horizon?
I have so many projects cooking right now, but the main thing for me is a several-month-long trip to Croatia and Eastern Europe at the end of the summer. I was the recipient of a grant that will allow me to explore the region that my family is originally from, and which started the whole narrative behind my work. I'm taking my father for the first two weeks, since he has a closer connection to the land and language but has never been there. It's going to be a good trip to connect with our roots. Once I return home, I imagine I'll be bursting with new ideas, and probably a few new prints for The Working Proof!

Why did you choose to pair Farm Sanctuary with your print?
I decided to pair my print with Farm Sanctuary because I believe in animal rights and the safe harboring of mistreated and abused animals.

Alternate Histories: Map of New York City

Released Tuesday, May 1, 2012

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Map of New York City, by Alternate Histories.
15% of the sale of this print goes to Teach for America.

Matthew Buchholz fashions images of a fantastic past that never was, under the name of Alternate Histories. Using entirely digital sources, he refashions archival images to include monsters and science fiction elements, drawing the viewer's eye to search for the anachronism. Buchholz has long been fascinated with the quality of vintage illustrations and photographs, as well as the wealth of inspiration from low-budget science fiction films. He uses a variety of archives and computer programs to complete the work.

A graduate of New York University‚ School of Film/Television, Buchholz is originally from Tucson, Arizona. After working in the non-profit arts community in Brooklyn, he moved to Pittsburgh in 2008 to take advantage of the opportunities for artists. His show, Alternate Histories: Pittsburgh, debuted at WildCard in Pittsburgh in August 2010. Buchholz lives in the Friendship area of Pittsburgh with his dog Otis.

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About the print:
Map of New York City is a beautiful illustration of the five boroughs by the firm of Currier & Ives (immortalized in the holiday song‚ Sleigh Ride, as they were best known for their Christmas scenes and greeting cards). The attention to detail in this large-format map is exquisite, as it shows various points of interest - including Rosie, the East River Monster, grappling with the Brooklyn Bridge.

This print is available in multiple sizes, and in an archival ready-to-hang version. The prints are unsigned. The 14x11 prints are numbered by The Working Proof, and the 20x16 and 30x24 prints come with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity. Learn more here.

PURCHASE!

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Why did you choose to pair Teach For America with your print?
I chose to support Teach for America with my print because my mother was a librarian and a schoolteacher. I've grown up inspired by both my mother and the great teachers I have had - people who helped me see the world in new ways.

What has inspired you recently?
I am continually inspired by old science fiction movies from the 1950s, especially a classic that I recently revisited, Robot Monster. The film passes off a bubble machine as a deadly cosmic ray and a gorilla suit with a fishbowl as an alien creature. See the trailer here. I love the handmade, silver-spray-paint aesthetic of these old films.

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How have you seen art transform the world around you?
With the advent of the home computer and the internet, art has become far more democratized and more practical for a lot of people. It's thrilling to me that places like Etsy and other online sellers can provide a forum for artists to make money and live off of their own creations, even without gaining national recognition. Art is changing and being changed by the online world, and it's for the better, I think.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
Although I work in the visual art world, I have a degree in film/tv production and many of my artistic reference points still come from there. I would have loved to meet and work with Alfred Hitchcock; no other film director had such a razor sharp visual sense and an understanding of composition of frame and editing. Hitchcock would create the entire film in his head and then shoot it to his standards; that kind of precision and confidence is astounding, and I'd love to talk with someone who has such faith in their abilities and can back it up with masterpiece after masterpiece.

Who are some artists you think people should know about?
Working in the Etsy world and attending craft fairs to sell my smaller pieces, I've met a lot of great friends who also produce great work. These are just a few of my favorite people who are making a living with their work:
Laura Berger
Strawberry Luna
Tugboat Printshop
Just a Jar Press
ReConstructing Ideas

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