Hump Day Hot Seat: Jason Vasquez

Jason Vasquez

Photo ©Jason Vasquez

1. Who Are You?

I am Jason Vasquez, just a joker who likes to have fun and play with his camera.

2. What do you do?

By day, I am an ultrasound tech in the medical field and by night I play freelance/fine art photographer extraordinaire. I primarily enjoy landscape and fine art portrait photography but with picking up Photoshop techniques, I have learned that all forms of photography help me achieve the final image I am seeking.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I started taking photographs at a very young age when my dad gave me his camera to use at six years old. From there, I just kept snapping photos and collecting cameras along the way. Probably 90% of my technique has been self-taught through lots of trial and error. I do emphasis on the error. It is only in the past 10 years that I have taken it to an even more serious level with digital photography and slowly shying away from film. Along the way, I was asked to join a group of resident photographers at Gallery 13 in Asbury Park, NJ. From there, I have recently obtained some studio space to get a little deeper into my projects and to provide clients with a studio environment as well.

4. How long have you been at it?

Taking photos since my dad put the camera in my hands at around six years old. I want to say I have been pretty much at it seriously for the past 4 years with the last 2 years being resident of Gallery 13.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I really enjoy classical music and a good dance partner. I also really like the comic book character the “Joker”.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I follow Benjamin Von Wong. He is so ahead of his time and experimental.

7. What other types of art are you in to?

All of the mediums. I appreciate a well done painting down to a well written song and everything in between.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

Lately I started building Gundam models again – 1/60th scale (I’m such a nerd), but I got that from my mom who taught me ceramics and how to make porcelain dolls from scratch. Other than that, I like to keep fit and strong at the gym, Building my own camera equipment, and I also like collecting sunglasses even though I only wear one pair.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

Going to get a really good burger with a cold tequila and ginger. Repeat second part. Ha!

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

I turn on some classical music. Lately it has been a toss up between Brahms and Mozart. Then there is always a good heavy lift session at the gym.

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

I LOVE FOOD!! Especially Seafood. I like to cook.

12. If someone was to write a craigslist missed connection about you, what would it say?

Lunatic on the loose goes by the name “Mista J” wears red sunglasses. Probably laughing. Seen him?

13. Tell me about the last time a project blew up in your face?

That happened recently. Poured some Everclear on a glove and lit it on fire. Well, I poured a little too much the first time around. I lit my hand on fire, wearing a fire retardant glove, and I accidentally burned the hair on my arm. I got the shot though.

14. Truth or Dare? Elaborate.

Truthfully I really enjoyed this interview… Daringly, I wrote back.

15. What is your most prized possession?

50mm Nikkor f1.4 nonAF. That is pretty much my favorite go to, all around lens even though I use Canon bodies. Oh and my red sunglasses – cannot forget about those!

Hump Day Hot Seat: Sophie Elliot

Fresh Friday Finds alum and Philly based artist Sophie Elliot is in the Hump Day Hot Seat today. Get to know more about this family oriented mixed media artist as she answers questions provided by Finch & Ada. Don’t forget to check out Sophie’s artwork currently displayed at two Mugshots Coffeehouse locations through July 1st. Thanks for stopping by today, Sophie!

Sophie

Photo courtesy of Sophie Elliot

1. Who are you?

I am a fun, friendly, and feisty artist living in Philadelphia… better known as Sophie.

2. What do you do?

Currently, I am living in the Museum District in the lovely city of Philadelphia. I work as a sales associate part time and am a freelance artist every chance I get! I love going on new adventures in the city with friends and am positively influenced by the brilliant artistic scene that most would refer to as the society of the “starving artist”… ALWAYS hungry for new inspiration.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

At the age of nineteen, I was headed into Manhattan to begin my schooling as an Interior Designer at The Fashion Institute. While there, I was accidentally placed in an advanced Fine Arts drawing course. This is where I soon realized my passion for drawing and the wonders of impressionism. After only a year at FIT, I moved to New Jersey to study at Mercer County Community College where I would gather all my foundation courses and move on to my studies at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Between my course work at Tyler and attending the Community College in Philadelphia I gained a well rounded understanding and appreciation for the arts and what they have to offer me…. and yes, that is four schools in four years (ha-ha) with a degree in Art and Design.

4. How long have you been at it?

I have been studying art since 2008 but have been creative and artistic since I was a little girl.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I am extremely caring and have a wonderful sense of humor. My art reflects who I am and the beauty I see in the world. I focus on shapes such as silhouettes but intertwine underlying complexities in the simplest of forms. I have been referred to as an old soul, but lets be honest… any old soul has it’s new visions. It’s what you do with those visions that matter.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I admire my mother who is a writer. She has taught me the power of thought and the true depth of emotion.

7. What other types of art are you in to?

I love all aspects of art! I am envious of all performing artists – their courage and discipline is something to admire.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

I grew up in an extremely creative family. My mother and father are both writers, my older brothers are musicians and writers, and my twin brother works for a brilliant publishing company in Manhattan. Being in a musical household, I was taught the piano at a young age and became classically trained in voice from ages eleven to nineteen.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

My favorite vice would be my middle of the night cravings! I always eat a bowl of cereal then go back to bed…. it must be the gremlin in me!

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

The best way for me to make it over a creative hump would be to listen to music and just go at it! It’s when I think too much that it becomes a task rather than an art.

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

I LOVE food. I have already mentioned my cereal obsession as listed above, but on a daily basis, I eat very healthy. My two weakness at this moment are bananas with chunky peanut butter and a bowl of Greek frozen yogurt.

12. If someone was to write a craigslist missed connection about you, what would it say?

“GIRL WHO TRIED TO STEAL MY PUPPY OFF THE SIDEWALK” – I have a     weakness for puppies… but who doesn’t!?

13. What is your most prized possession?

My most prized possessions are my own thoughts and imagination.

Hump Day Hot Seat: Tara Metzler

Fresh Friday Finds alum Tara Metzler is in today’s Hump Day Hot Seat on .stART here. Get to know this animal rights advocate and artist whose work you can find on pigdogonline.com as she answers some questions provided by Finch & Ada. Thanks for chilling in the Hot Seat, Tara!

stella_me

Photo courtesy of Tara Metzler © Megan Khichi Photography

1. Who Are You?

I am a tiny, fun and feisty individual who goes by the name of Tara

2. What do you do?

I do lots of things but my job by day is Graphic Designer and on nights and weekends I like to draw and paint for my side project, Pigdog, amongst many other things.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I have always been a creative person or into creative things. Outside of school and work I would always draw little characters that people seemed to love but I had never done anything with them. After rescuing my Pit Bull, Novia, and having multiple bad jobs I decided to go for it and started Pigdog (named after said Pit Bull). It’s basically a portfolio of my artwork with the option to purchase. A percentage of all sales go to a local animal organization. I never wanted to have your typical 9 to 5 job forever and although I still have one, I am now pursuing something that I have always loved to do with a cause that I am passionate about…helping homeless animals and animal rights. I really need to thank my family, friends, and boyfriend for supporting me and pushing me to do what I love.

4. How long have you been at it?

Pigdog has been a thought in my head for quite some time but did not officially start until 2007 when I did my first Hoboken Art & Music Fest. There have been a lot of bumps in the road and lessons learned since then but I am happy to say that I stuck to it.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I am a lover of all animals and will kick your ass if you hurt them.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I admire anyone that has the drive and passion to do what they love rather than settling.

7. What other types of art are you in to?

I love art done by children. Illustrator Dave DeVries did a book called The Monster Engine. He took children’s illustrations and painted them. It’s absolutely fantastic! I am also a big fan of photography, Edward Gorey, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I like gritty, dark and cute. I am not drawn to perfection.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

I have lots of hobbies but, no, none that I would call crazy.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

Macaroni and cheese. If you know of any great recipes or restaurants that have it on the menu email me. 🙂

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

Wine…just kidding…sort of. I can’t say I have ever been on a creative hump when it comes to my personal stuff. My brain is always in fast forward and coming up with whacky ideas. I write those ideas down and come back to them when I have the time and am ready to move onto the next project. The problem is there is never enough time to get to all of those ideas. Maybe my creative hump is my full time job?

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

Of course I eat food!!! Indian food, by far, is my favorite. My mouth waters any time I go into an Indian restaurant. I absolutely love to cook but hate to clean up the mess afterwards. It’s an ongoing battle.

12. If someone was to write a craigslist missed connection about you, what would it say?

Blonde haired girl with large sunglasses driving a very dirty Nissan Versa, I saw you sitting in traffic on the GSP completely oblivious to my honking.

13. What is your most prized possession?

I would say my dog, Stella, but it doesn’t sound right calling her a possession. I have many little sentimental things that I have held onto over the years but I would have to say a teddy bear my great Uncle gave me for my seventh birthday is my most prized possession.

Don’t miss Tara and her pit bull, Stella, at the Annual Hoboken Arts & Music Fest on May 5th where she’ll be selling her original artwork, prints, NEW! Pigdog branded notepads and more.

Hump Day Hot Seat: Ali Smith

Fresh Friday Finds alum Ali Smith is in today’s Hump Day Hot Seat on .stART here. Don’t forget to show your support for her newest project, Momma Loves; How the Mother Half Live, over on Kickstarter! With any level of donation, you could win a “Momma Love” gold necklace like the one Smith is wearing below. Thanks for stopping by today, Ali!

AliSmith

1. Who Are You? 

I am woman, hear me roar. A.K.A. Ali Smith

2. What do you do? 

I take pictures mainly.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I’ve been taking pictures since I can remember. As a youngin’ I played music in bands – mainly punk bands- and toured around the world a lot. I was really excited by how Pennie Smith’s photographs had defined the legacy of The Clash and wanted to do the same for my music scene which was the New York City music scene of the early 90’s. There was a lot going on. At the start, I couldn’t afford a good camera, so the ratio of good to crap photos was often stacked against me. But the feel was there and so was my love for it. So I just did it and did it until people saw that I wasn’t going to stop doing it and they began to pay me.

4. How long have you been at it?

I would say I’ve been making a solid living at photography for about15 years, but photography has been a regular part of my life since I was about 18. In my mid-20’s, I would get paid gigs but had to do a ton of other jobs, like bartend, to make a living. But even when I was bar-tending during the day at a local bar, I was taking pictures of the old men I’d serve, some of whom had been regulars there for 40 years.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

It’s that I’m very, VERY important! And that I’m kidding. Um… maybe that I consider myself really fortunate to do what I love for a living. And that I consistently strive to find a balance between causes I care passionately about and what I do for money. I try to blend the two as much as possible and when I can’t, I strive for balance.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

Donna Ferrato exemplifies bravery and vulnerability as a photographer. Her documentation of domestic violence with her classic book, Living with the Enemy, is rivaled by none. In her 50’s, she is unapologetic as she continues to pursue controversial subjects she cares about. I also really like fashion photographer Paolo Roversi whose work is always so beautiful and painterly.

7. What other types of art are you in to?

I love anything tiled. If I could tile an entire house, I would. I love tiles.

Cute, scribbly illustration that is filled with hand hewn thin lined drawings of deer and mushrooms and such. You know, the type they’d half make fun of / half love on “Portlandia”.

I am open and receptive to many medium. It’s not the medium so much as whether or not I respond to it emotionally.

I like the Richard Prince Nurse paintings a lot.

I love Cat Power and PJ Harvey. They’re great artists.

I can tell you what I do NOT respond to. Artists I see as pure arrogant like Mathew Barney. When I look at his art, the first thing I think is “Wow! This guy has a lot of money.” That is not very interesting to me. I like heart and soul.


8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

Not really, unless you consider collecting fingernail clippings to make a nest out of some day CRAZY!? It’s all about your point of view, I suppose.

I take pictures and I play music and I raise a kid.


9. What’s your favorite vice?

My favorite vice that I do NOT have is dancing on tables (although I’ve done it once). I like women who dance on tables. Not strippers. Exuberant women who dance unabashedly and not for money on tabletops when the mood hits.

My favorite vice that I do have is chocolate. The form or occasion is not important.

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

I am trying to learn to take a step back and refresh myself- my eyes, my mind… that would be the best way. So far, though, to be honest, I push forward with great stress and concentration until I pop through. I just sort of push and slog and push.

If it’s at a shoot and I can’t figure out how to get the shot, I sort of blur my vision and take in the whole scene and sort of add it up in my mind- this would equal that and look like that and mean this and represent that…. I can only think of a coupe of times in recent history that I really flubbed it and came away stumped. They were always on personal shoots that meant a great deal to me. Maybe I choked.

1
1. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

Yes. I do eat food. As for cooking, I REALLY like having a husband that is an amazing chef because I think my real strength lies in how well I EAT rather than cook!

My culinary tastes are broad but excludes baby animals.

12. If someone was to write a craigslist missed connection about you, 
what would it say?

Tall redhead with grey roots; I saw u sweating through ur shirt from anxiety at local Whole Foods.

13. What is your most prized possession?

I suppose I can’t call my son a possession, right?  Although he did cost me a lot of money! And I do make him sleep in a display case next to the Hummels.

For more on Ali’s latest project and to donate to her cause, visit her Kickstarter page at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/270616936/momma-love-how-the-mother-half-lives-hardcover/posts.

Hump Day Hot Seat: Lisa Coppola

In today’s Hump Day Hot Seat on .stART here. is jewelry maker and designer Lisa Coppola, owner and operator of BevaStyles. Visit the shop and enter Promo Code “HotSeat10” for 10% off your purchase. Thanks for stopping by today, Lisa!

lisa

Photo courtesy of Lisa Coppola

1. Who Are You?

Lisa Coppola


2. What do you do?

I design and create jewelry for BevaStyles on Etsy.com
.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start? 

Creating jewelry has always been my hobby and something I did in my spare time.  Four years ago, I switched from being a Chemist to a full time stay at home mom.  I continued to sell jewelry to my friends and family, and they encouraged me to open a shop on Etsy.  I’m so glad I did because I have had a ball managing my shop and being my own boss!

4. How long have you been at it? 

My shop has been open for 3 years, but I have been making jewelry since grade school. I definitely get my crafty gene from my mother who is a talented seamstress.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you? 

If you try and stand between me and my wine, I will cut you!  Seriously, I am very passionate about designing jewelry, but once it feels like forced work, the creative juices really dry up!

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire? 

There are too many to mention, but I am really inspired by midcentury jewelry designers like Monet, Trifari, Coro and Napier.  I also adore Miriam Haskell.

7. What other types of art are you in to? 

Any type of paper craft, especially origami, and I would love to learn a lot more about photography!

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents? 

Well my collection of vintage jewelry is quite impressive.  I LOVE to go junking at garage and estate sales.  It really does give me a thrill to find that special, aged, worn and loved piece of rusty gold!


9. What’s your favorite vice? 

WINE WINE WINE, I love fruity reds and dry whites!

10. How do you make it over the creative hump? 

I like to get inspiration from interior design magazines.  I love the colors and textures that designers use to create cozy and inviting rooms.  Anyone that can combine prints harmoniously knows what they’re doing and should be studied carefully! One thing I keep in mind while creating jewelry is that it must be comfortable to wear, not too fussy, prickly or heavy.  I love to add pops of vivid color against a backdrop of darkened oxidized metals, but I tend to keep my color palettes simple and monochromatic with the occasional use of color blocking and ombre effects.

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

I am totally on the French diet.  My favorite foods are: wine, chocolate, cheese, pasta and bread.  It worked for me in my early 30’s but now at 39, not so much. I love to cook and recently discovered kale.  It is my new favorite super food, and I love finding ways to slip it into my old recipes.

12. Tell me about the last time a project blew up in your face? 

Please, everyday!  It’s all about trial and error when trying to find what works, what’s pleasing to the eye, what fits right and doesn’t flop around while wearing it.  I have found that putting it down and walking away is a much better approach than torturing it and getting mad as hell, which is my innate Italian inclination!

13. What is your most prized possession?

I have two, well actually three. The two most beautiful things I’ve ever made are my sons, Logan and Gabriel.  They are like perfect little sculpted cherubs and it is difficult not to smother them with kisses and hugs every day.  The third is the relationship I’ve built with my husband Jay.  He is my anchor, my bestie and the biggest supporter of my jewelry business!  I am ever so grateful for my boys!

Hump Day Hot Seat: Giovanni Forlino

Get to know Brooklyn based artist Giovanni Forlino! He is in today’s Hump Day Hot Seat on .stART here. answering questions provided by Finch & Ada. You may remember when I featured his work in an Artist You Should Know post I wrote for Finch & Ada last year. Check out what he’s up to now!

image

Photo courtesy of Giovanni Forlino

1. Who are you?

Giovanni Forlino

2. What do you do?

I paint birds and plants and coming soon: FISH!

3. How long have you been at it?

I had been drawing like a maniac since I was a little boy. Eventually my drawings became thicker, and more colorful – more like paintings on paper, and then I put them on canvas and wood panels for the first time about nine months ago. Since then, I’ve made thirty-five finished paintings.

4. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I plan to make a million more paintings, and they are going to be really awesome.

5. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I’m not necessarily inspired by painters. I am, but it is more that I am inspired by people who wish to MASTER something. Like my genius girlfriend, Emma, is a barrister in London, and she is passionate about mastering everything she does. Cooking, sex, work, fitness, fashion, etc. This is what inspires me. This is a truly creative person.

6. What other types of art are you into?

I like how Jose de Ribera could paint a person’s face, with their skin truly looking like it was stretched around a skull. Also, when he painted a figure in pain, he came up with ways to stretch their skin, and bunch it up in other places, like big wrinkly foreheads, and thinned eyelids. I like how Michelangelo made arms and hands so expressive and delicious looking. I also love how he painted young people and made them so incredibly beautiful. I love Jan van Eyck. I feel like his paintings took 200 hundred people working together. He set the standard for how excellent the surface of a painting could potentially be. Wow, I guess I’m pretty old school today.

7. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

I love canned fish. I have an international collection of canned fish which I have brought back from Italy and other places. I have amazing cans of fish. Tuna, sardines, anchovies, and salmon. I love these things, especially ones of amazing quality, like Cabo de Penas brisling sardines, and Ortiz tuna, and often eat them right out of the can. Sometimes my dinner is a can of fish, which I eat with a fork, standing up. I love my lifestyle.

I love dancing so much! I wish people invited me to go out dancing every single night until 7am. I would happily sacrifice 80% of my sleep to go out dancing every night. This is why we have coffee. I think sleep is very important, but I must say, I know a lot of people who sleep WAY more than i do and have a lot less energy than I have. That’s because I recognize how important it is for my levels of energy and passion, to accomplish things I know will satisfy me.

8. What’s your favorite vice?

Blondie bars and getting inappropriately high on caffeine, everyday. And making people blush with my perverted sense of humor.

9. How do you make it over the creative hump?

I don’t have creative humps. The closest thing I have to a hump is when I think all my paintings suck. I just keep painting when that happens, or I’ll ask myself if I need to go out dancing or catch up on sleep. Thinking all my paintings suck is not a big deal. This is fine, healthy, and normal. It’s the same as anything else, like when you are walking down the street, you probably don’t have non-stop, seamless, original moments of seeing everything around you as new. Sometimes, your brain chatter gets louder and says, “I suck, and the world is ugly. It was never beautiful, and I already know all this stuff already.” You can have thoughts like that and just recognize it is part of being human, not a personal failure. Just engage with what you are doing again, and do not indulge in putting too much energy into those crappy USEFUL thoughts. They are useful for when people find it more convenient to distract themselves than to step into the unknown again, and again…

10. If someone was to write a Craigslist missed connection about you, what would it say?

Guy with big eyeballs who was staring at something.

11. Tell me about the last tie a project blew up in your face?

I bought a dead porcupine with the intent to make a disco ball. I was going to coat it in either aluminum powder or in microscopic glass shards using an airbrush and some oil. Then one day, I received this insane object in the mail. Big turnoff.

12. What is your most prized possession?

I just bought a pair of boots from a store called Sandro. They are dark blood-colored (nearly black), lace-up, leather, high ankle boots. So so beautiful. I have not worn them yet, but this morning, I was lying in bed with the boots and staring at them for an hour. They are so nice.

Hump Day Hot Seat: Andi Green

In today’s .stART here. Hump Day Hot Seat is Fresh Friday Finds alum Andi Green. Get to know Green and The WorryWoo Monsters a little better as she answers the questions provided by Finch & Ada. Enjoy!image

WorryBug and Wince, watercolor. Image courtesy of Andi Green.

1. Who Are You?

Andi Green

2. What do you do?

I write, illustrate and produce The WorryWoo Monsters series.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start? 

The WoryWoos came from characters I started sketching in high school, but it wasn’t until 2001 when I really got my start. I was working full time as a creative director and was invited to exhibit work at an art exhibit on the Lower East Side. I created a series of light boxes, called The Monsters in My Head, featuring individual characters dedicated to emotions. The show garnered such positive reactions that I was compelled to leave my full time job and start my own company just a few years later. Since then, I have gone on to publish six books and create six accompanying characters called the WorryWoo Monsters through my company named after the exhibit – Monsters In My Head.

4. How long have you been at it?

My whole life, but I’ve made it my full time gig for the past 4 years.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you? 

I’m a bird loving, dog snuggling, cat cuddling, monster maker.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

Some may say not directly in my field, but I am a huge fan of Jhonen Vsquez, the comic book illustrator and creator of Invader Zim. His art is magnificent. In the children’s book world, I have always held Shel Silverstein, Richard Scarry and Maurice Sendak as truly inspiring authors/illustrators. Their work spoke to me as a child and still does today.

 7. What other types of art are you in to? 

The world of typography and design is probably my favorite art. Design has been a big part of my life since I was a teen, turning the pages of Ray Gun magazine, and reading comic books. It is design as an art that inspired me to become who I am today. Although the design world has taken a turn since the digital age, I won’t forget how it all started. I still get weak in the knees when I see work from Barbara Kruger, David Carson or Max Ernst. And Dada was an amazing period of art with no limits – put me in from of a Duchamp piece and I feel content for weeks. 🙂

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents? 

I love adventure travelling. To give you an idea, I went on a trip to Antarctica last year… it was amazing.

9. What’s your favorite vice? 

Watching science fiction movies.

10. How do you make it over the creative hump? 

I put on my favorite loud music and I run. Usually that resets my mind.

 11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook? 

Yes, I love to eat. I am a vegetarian and my favorite food is Mexican – salsa is my downfall. I love to cook, but I can’t bake – never works for me.

12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate. 

Dare. Most of the time I will do random things if challenged. Last year, I went ice climbing because I was told that I couldn’t handle it. It was a challenge to say the least.

13. What is your most prized possession?

A necklace with my dog’s name. I never take it off. My dog changed my life and whenever we are not together, I feel better having the necklace on. It is my way of knowing I am always connected to her. She is everything to me.

Hump Day Hot Seat: Allison Green

Allison Green‘s “Entwined” was the first Sunday Funday feature right here on .stARThere. Now, Green is in the Hump Day Hot Seat where you can learn more about the artist as she answers questions provided by Finch & Ada.

image

Photo courtesy of Allison Green

1. Who are you?

Jersey City based artist Allison Green

2. What do you do?

 I create large scale, colorful oil paintings. Nature is most often my muse, and anthropomorphic trees and plant life have been my most recent subjects. I work full-time in my Jersey City studio.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I studied art at the University of Maryland, where painting was my concentration, and I also studied in Florence, Italy at Studio Art Centers International (SACI). After college, I moved to the New York City area where I have worked ever since. For eight years, I taught art at a Jersey City Public School, which was both a rewarding and eye opening experience. As my work became more recognized, I decided to take the plunge and work as a full-time artist. Soon after, Susan Eley featured my first solo show at her gallery, Susan Eley Fine Art, in 2011. She now represents my work.

4. How long have you been at it?

I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would always carry around a sketchbook. I started painting with Mr. Falcone, my 9th grade art teacher in my small hometown of Media, Pennsylvania. I remember that our first art class assignment was a home painting of something we were inspired by after a class trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum. I stayed up all night painting on this giant wooden board with house paints from the hardware store. I arrived to school the next day with a 4’X4′ painting! From then on, I was obsessed!

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I never give up.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

So many – Anselm Kiefer, Kiki Smith, William Kentridge, Inka Essenhigh. In November, I saw a great show at Leila Heller Gallery by two painters who work together under the moniker Kate Eric.

7. What other types of art are you into?

I love the arts – film, dance, & theater. I always have music on when I am painting. Sometimes, I am dancing when I paint. I love it all as other art forms truly inspire me.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

My sister says that I am a great “animal photographer.” I am also really good at sleeping late and sleeping for very long periods of time.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

Red wine – could there be anything else? 🙂

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

1. Persistence. 2. I take breaks. I know that sounds contradictory, but they work together. Sometimes, after I finish a painting or a series that I am really happy about, it’s hard for me to move on. I feel lost, but I force myself to pick up a brush or pencil even if I am not feeling creative. I will make myself start a new study or sketch, anything to keep it moving. At the same time, I also think it is crucial to take breaks. Whether it is taking a break from painting and spending the afternoon just sitting in the studio and thinking instead or stepping out of the studio for the day to visit galleries or go to the Met, it is important to allow yourself a moment to take a breath. Sometimes, taking a day off to step away from art entirely – like a trip to the beach or a day of shopping – can do wonders for a creative spirit!

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

I love food! I am a vegetarian, and I love trying all of the great, veg-friendly restaurants NYC has to offer. I also love to cook. Right now, my two favorite dishes to make are a pasta with kale and veggie sausage in a lemon olive oil garlic sauce, and a fresh salad with sautéed tempeh bacon, avocado, and tomato – yum!

12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate.

In terms of art, both. I always try to remain true to myself in my work while always daring myself to try the things that I am afraid I can’t do, to move forward, and try harder.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My husband. 🙂

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Hump Day Hot Seat: Dan Puleo

Ladies & gentlemen, welcome to the first Hump Day Hot Seat post on .stART here. where you’ll get to know some cool artists a little bit better.  I will be asking questions provided by Finch & Ada.  Enjoy!

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1. Who are you?

Dan Puleo, sometimes Daniel Jack. It depends on the weather.

2. What do you do?

Right now, I am working for a mid-century modern art/furniture gallery in West Palm Beach, Florida. It is really helping me research and develop some exciting new ventures I have planned, furniture design and simple framed works on paper. Unlike New York City and New Jersey, the market down here is less cluttered. I think it could be a fresh new market for me… if they’re even read for it. I also create mixed media paintings. I was using found objects on canvas, but I am refining and using gallery wrap canvas and works on paper. I think it’s time for marketability.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I was raised in New Jersey so I guess you can say I got my start there. I think my 4th grade teacher told me I was talented when I won a poster contest for fire prevention. When I moved to New York City is when I started garnering some attention from other artists and collectors. I lived Uptown so I took the train a lot. I would notice the difference in the maintenance of each train station I stopped at. I really liked the way advertisements were peeled off and tagged. I remember seeing faint images of fashion models underneath gyro posters underneath Newport ads underneath a flyer for a local show underneath…you get the idea, lots of layers. My dad is somewhat responsible for my love of street art. He drove a truck that was pretty accessible to great graffiti artists in Paterson, New Jersey. He liked to show my brother and me new pieces whenever someone tagged the truck. But, my dad didn’t like it too much when I got in trouble for vandalism in high school. My brother, Bobby, also exposed me to the latest skate videos and punk rock pretty young so that was a plus. Skateboarding culture played a huge role in my life and has influenced my art greatly.

4. How long have you been at it?

I was to say too long, but I guess it hasn’t been long enough.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I’m usually my biggest critic when it comes to my art. It still surprises me when someone really loves a piece that I thought was just whatever. I like to disconnect from the piece when I feel it’s done, kind of put it away from me and then go back later and see how I feel. I don’t like to become attached to pieces of art, most of them started as garbage and most of them will end up as garbage.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I admire anyone who can make a living following their passion when it come to art. I also admire people who starve just to hold on to their passion for art. That being said, I admire most artists. Robert Rauschenberg is one of my favorite artists. He recently died, and I think he may be buried here in West Palm.

7. What other types of art are you into?
Anything lowbrow, street art, pop art, signage, and furniture design.
8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?
My skull collection is growing. I just found a goat skull and a pig skull in the same garden. Voodoo?
9. What’s your favorite vice?
Miami
10. How do you make it over the creative hump?
Right now, I am at the top of the hump about to roll back down the other side. Changing location and lifestyle over the past year has been interesting. I am kind of surveying the scene down here and waiting for the right moment to release some real art. There is definitely some money to be made in South Florida, hopefully this old money wants some new art.
11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?
I do like food. I eat out a lot. I did just recently get a blender for Christmas. I want to drink most of my food from now on.
12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate.
Truth. I’ve admitted most things already so it shouldn’t be too hard.
13. What is your most prized posession?
I already mentioned my skull collection so I would have to say my vintage camera collection.
Check out Dan’s online portfolio for more information. Photo courtesy of Dan Puleo.