Hump Day Hot Seat: Marlana Tollaksen

My super cool and talented friend, Marlana Tollaksen, jumps into this week’s Hump Day Hot Seat. She’s an amazing illustrator and textile designer who is full of wanderlust, can’t help but be a badass babe, and totally appreciates a mostly black wardrobe like myself. Learn more about Marlana, her work, and how she hopes to expand her creativity below. Check out her ridiculously magical doodles on Tumblr too. You won’t regret it!

Marlana, thank YOU for stopping by today and letting strangers get to know you! “You don’t know me!” 😛 Go ahead & get yours, Milengie!!! I’m so proud of you! Love and miss you mucho, my lovely!!! xoxo ❤

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1. Who are you?

Marlana T.  Artist and maker of things.  Wanderer and procrastinator.

2.  What do you do?

Professionally, I’m a freelance textile artist and illustrator.  Otherwise I have this ongoing art journal project I pour my heart into. I have three now!   In it I make intricate drawings depicting my thoughts and feelings and hand letter the entire text. It’s also a way to keep a record of my travels and all the interesting people I meet along the way.

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

As far back as I can remember I’ve been making artwork.  As a child this was always my main focus so it was a no-brainer to go to art school.  I studied textile/surface design at FIT with a concentration in decorative arts.  My professional foot in the door was ten years ago at a small textile studio my friend and I called “The Rat Den” for shit pay where my artwork made someone else rich.

4.  How long have you been at it?

My entire life!  I’ve always been working toward something even when it felt while I was working toward nothing.

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

I’m direct.

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

My good friend Joanna Mulder.  She’s a shockingly versatile artist and is endlessly talented.  She can literally do/make anything.

7. What other types of art are you into?

I really love screenprinting and printmaking.  Though I don’t have too much experience in either, I’d like to maybe someday get some.

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8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

My new fave hobby is making handmade clothing out of scrap fabric while on the road.  I was just in Mexico for three months, where I made two bikinis and a shirt out of my jeans and some leather and t-shirt scraps.  Now I have this dream where I travel with, like, no clothes in my backpack and I just make my wardrobe as I go along.

9.  What’s your favorite vice?

Weed, baby!

image110. How do you make it over the creative hump?

I make it a point to put myself in interesting new settings and situations.  The only time I feel creative interruption is when my life is stagnant.

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

We met in _______ a couple years back.  You looked really upset and told me you had to take a shit and I never saw you again.

12.  What is your most prized possession?

My resilience.

13. Truth or Dare?  Elaborate.
 
Dare.  I like to be challenged.

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Hump Day Hot Seat: Christine Soner

Coming in hot with this brand new Hump Day Hot Seat featuring one of my homies, Christine Soner! Hailing from Jersey, Christine grew up in a creative family where music, painting, and sewing were celebrated.  She graduated with a degree in clothing construction and design and quickly became a visual merchandiser for major clothing retailers, like Benetton and Macy’s. Check out what she’s into these days, at play and while working for IKEA, as she answers questions provided by Finch & Ada. Big thanks to Christine for hanging out on .stART here. MUAH!

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1. Who are you?

A curious, creative, Jersey girl with a good heart.

2. What do you do?

I do corporate PR for a major home furnishing retailer, IKEA.

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

I started off as a decorator in the Elizabeth store in ’93, and about six years in, a position opened for a product placement person with corporate. So I went for it, got it and was able to remain at the store, since it’s so close to all the media offices in NYC. My main function is to help media outlets get the products or images they need. I’ve also been a stylist for photoshoots if someone needs one, be it a television show, publication or online outlet, I help with corporate events, I was a founding member of our Pinterest account, I blog for our design blog TheShare-Space. I’ve even created original content for our Instagram account, in my office, with my iPhone. So I’ve had my hands here, there and everywhere.

4. How long have you been at it?

This November it will be 17 years total in PR, 23 years total with the company.

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

I’m a fiercely loyal friend as any Leo.

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

I absolutely know nothing about anyone in the PR field.

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

13620113_10154339424262053_3597889990066158415_nI began getting heavily into street art about 10 years ago, and yes I had a Banksy and Shepard Fairey phase (lost interest in them at least 5 years ago). I was at galleries, museums and warehouse shows every week and weekend, throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. 5 years ago I inherited a house, so that became the focus of my spare time and money. Then 3 years ago my free time got focused on becoming caretaker of my mom, so all my social activities and working on my house, has had to take a back seat. Ironically the last thing my living and dining rooms need, is art. This summer I am taking random days off from work, just with the intention of seeing some exhibits and installations. I recently went to Grounds for Sculpture in south Jersey for the first time, and it was great. Storm King Art Center in upstate NY has a special exhibit of Dennis Oppenheim’s going on. Govenors Island was just overhauled with the installment of The Hills and the longest slide in NYC. In Rockaway Queens there is an installation by Katharina Gross I want to see, and lastly, a retrospect of the late, great fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez, at El museo del Barrio in Spanish Harlem. He was one of my 80’s idols and we attended the same designing school in NYC.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

Pinterest has been my only hobby the last 5 or 6 years. I’m a virtual scrap-booker. I use to save lots of magazine pages of fashion and interiors, and when Pinterest came along, I freaked out. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve purged a lot of physical stuff. I also love that with technology, you can go smaller and lighter. Albums to tapes, tapes to CDs, CDs to audio files. I nearly wanted to kill myself when Apple stopped production of the iPod. At least now with the 6s+, I bought the 128 gig so I can store the current 80 gigs of music that I have.   This year my goal was to take all those magazines pages, some dating back as far as the early 1980s, photograph them with my phone, then upload them to Pinterest. I’m also tackling a lot of my photos by uploading them into albums on Facebook. I also think it would be cool to put certain photos into Chatbooks, actually hard cover bound books.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

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Unique cocktails with things in them like cucumbers, rosemary, lavender, fresh ginger, etc. Relaxing and drinking with friends is the best. And Pinterest. I’m obsessed with Pinterest.

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

Take a break and go on social sites, Instagram and Pinterest. Then I just dive right back in.

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

Yes, a bit of everything, except I don’t really like fruit, nuts or too much spice in what I’m eating. And tofu freaks me the f*ck out. I absolutely hate cooking. I like cleaning and organizing.

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

I can’t recall a project completely blowing up, but when you’re in PR, there can be a lot of set backs as you move along through a project. Things are very reactive, so sometimes you have to put out little fires along the way. You can be dealing with many different personalities and working styles. Not everyone is good with deadlines, which is disrespectful. When that happens, your whole project get’s thrown off balance, and usually means scrambling at the 11th hour.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My Pinterest account.

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: 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!

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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!

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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.

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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: 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.