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: Anthony “weird*eye*one”

AnthonyWeirdEyeOne_HumpDayHotSeatPhoto © Jason Vasquez, Hump Day Hot Seat Alum

1. Who are you?

I’m Anthony “weird*eye*one” and I currently live at the beach in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. I’m originally from Newark & Roselle Park.

2. What do you do?

I’m an artist, muralist, illustrator.. and A street ninja (aka, street artist). For years, I painted my characters & art everywhere I could, and I made small panels with my art on them, then glued them up everywhere, high up on buildings, signs, trees, vans, trucks, wherever. I’m semi-retired from that now, but I still paint my art on walls at abandoned buildings, and I still put up panels every once in awhile too. It’s cool to know that people will put the effort in to collecting those little street panels.

These days, well, the last four years actually, I’ve been putting more focus on my studio work and painting murals, showing my work in galleries and doing commissions for my collectors/fans. Recently my art work has made it to galleries in Australia and Japan for a few upcoming group shows.

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

Oops, I covered some of that in the last answer.. Well anyway, I was always drawing when I was a kid and making stuff. I went to Seton Hall for college, learned some stuff there, managed to keep my own style & vision through it all. Also, for years I filled up tons of sketchbooks, most of which I gave away, either the whole book or just individual pages. I stuck to this one character, which was kinda box shaped, sometimes he would look fun and friendly, and other times he looked downright evil. This character is what I started painting everywhere, on walls, trucks, abandoned buildings, freight trains. Eventually, the characters were joined by abstract patterns and this carried over to my studio work that I showed in galleries.

Now, over the last two years in my murals, I’ve been slowly dropping my famous characters and keeping the abstract patterns, and arranging them in some sort of shape and motion. My studio work has evolved into something different, but I still keep the style & patterns that I’ve always used over the years. It’s just more detailed now and I’m using the negative space more around the main images in my paintings. Another thing most people will notice and have noticed with my work in the galleries is there are the illustrated works that I do and larger abstract “mash-up” paintings, which are smaller versions of my giant murals that I do outside.

4. How long have you been at it?

Since 1999, doing stuff pretty much “under the radar” by staying anonymous whenever I would paint my characters on walls. The little wood panels I was putting up all over the place, I would write my name on them and they were pretty consistent with the art I was putting on walls, so people were starting to make the connection. So, when I started showing my work in group shows and eventually solo shows, I already had a pretty good following that came from my street art. I have taken breaks here and there from my work, and last year I took about 9 months off after Hurricane Sandy because I needed to get my house back in order. It was a good break for me though, probably one I needed at the time.

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

Besides being an artist & a muralist, I’m also a commercial artist too. I paint and design for the home fashion textiles industry, it’s something I do on the side throughout the week. It’s actually pretty fun and it allows me to change things up during the week so I’m not only working on my own art.

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

Too many to mention… Well, I’ll start with the artists whose art work I’m lucky to own.. Alex Pardee (who I’ve actually become friends with. He’s one crazy talented guy, but super down to earth). I also admire Jeff Soto, Sylvia Ji, Nychos The Weird, ROID, Dan Witz, AMUSE, Meres, RIME (aka, Jersey Joe), ASKEW.. and The list goes on.. Oh yea, Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo.

 7. What other types of work are you into?

I like everything from graffiti, low brow, surreal to the classics and some sculpture type work. I also like comic book art and some anime.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

Well, hobbies, I guess photography and no that doesn’t only cover me taking pictures of my murals, haha.. I do on occasion go out and just take pictures of stuff.

Unique talents.. I’m an expert at roasting vegetables, all kinds and somehow they remain firm and crunchy! I make some amazing hummus and falafel from scratch, and probably the hottest salsa on the planet. I use ghost peppers and habaneros!! So yea, it’s pretty hot.

 9. What’s your favorite vice?

I would have to say art is my vice and painting my art on walls. That’s why I’m glad I got some abandoned buildings that are my “secret” spots where I go paint whenever and whatever I feel like painting, plus experimenting with some different ideas and techniques. I like having my secret spots to use when I’m in between the “legal” mural projects I get.. Or else I’m pretty sure I would be doing plenty of illegal painting elsewhere!

I’m also addicted to collecting vinyl toys from Kid Robot and I like all things dark chocolate!!

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

When I hit a “block”, I just relax, maybe do a little sketching. I’ll go do some gallery hopping, look around the internet at other artists, blogs and sometimes wander around Queens or Brooklyn looking at graffiti and street art.

I’m sad that 5 Pointz is gone, that place was so inspiring to me!

Luckily, I’ve been on a roll and full of ideas now for the past 14 months.

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

Yes, I eat food, haha!! I’m a vegan.. When I’m painting at a wall for an entire day or an entire weekend, I usually have bananas, a container of peanut butter and some granola. Just some easy snacking food to eat when I take short breaks from painting. I do like to cook food, but I suck at baking! My diet is plant based, healthy, yada yada, but I like my junk vegan food like the awesome vegan donuts I get most Sundays from Cinnamon Snail in Red Bank. They’re so good!! I even like to make tofu scrambles with chipotle peppers and seitan.

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

Every single time I’ve tried to bake a cake, haha! For real, I’ve had a few paintings that I was simply not happy with and this happened when I’m about 90% done with them. The re-do ends up being significantly better, way better! However, I can count on just one hand how many times this has happened, so it’s a rare occurrence.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My parents, my sister, her new husband and my niece, so basically my family.

My camera. My two external hard drives that hold photos of every single piece of art and mural I’ve ever created. My Windsor & Newton paint brushes that I’ve had forever.

Hump Day Hot Seat: James Austin Murray

 

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©Max Noy Photo

1. Who are you? 

My name is James Austin Murray. I used to go by Jim Murray, but if you Google “Jim Murray artist,” good luck finding me. Now I go by my full name.

2. What do you do? 

I build and make paintings, what I mean by build them is I make the solid substrates they’re on and shape them as a starting place for the painting.

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

I’ve been making art of some sort since high school. I studied Illustration at Parsons School of Design, and I spent a long time doing work that was in some ways illustrative, but now my work has become completely abstract. I find it so much more engaging and the work evolves differently than figurative work.

4. How long have you been at it? 

See above.

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

Richard Serra for his ability to do massive powerful works that have magic. I also admire many artists who’s names are not yet household names. A few of those are Diane Scott, Keiko Narahashi, Mark Zimmermann, Alex Couwenberg, Valerie Brennan, Susan Carr, Erika Diehl, Don Voisine and lots of other living, hard working artists. There are so many excellent artists working today.

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

I’m pretty impressed by all artists and artisans, particularly by people who believe in what they do and have found a way to do it life long. I have huge respect for the artist that never gets to show much and works their entire life. To me it shows that they are or were true believers in their artistic endeavor.

7. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?  

I collect art, it’s not so much a hobby as it is a love. I think it’s important for an artist to understand what motivates a collector and there is no better way of doing that than collecting. It’s also becoming a retirement account. I don’t know about stocks, but art I know what I fall in love with. Yet it’s something I hope never to have to sell. Lots of people think that collecting art is exclusively for the rich. I spend an average of maybe $1000 a year, that’s less than someone spends if they smoke two packs of cigarettes per week.

8. What’s your favorite vice? 

Lust and Italian wine!

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

I can’t relate to artistic block anymore. I have a daily studio practice, and it’s about getting work done. There’s always busy work I can do if I’m not feeling “on” so that when I am feeling clear headed and ready to rock, my studio is ready for me.

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

I would eat Japanese every day if I could afford it. I’m a decent cook. I learned initially from my friend June Chung who taught me how to cook Italian food in France. He had lived in Italy when he was learning to sing Opera.

11. What is your most prized possession? 

I think it has to be my workspace. I could loose everything and be OK if I could continue to have a space to make work. It’s my personal rabbit hole and my playroom.

 

 

 

 

Art Opening: Jimbo Phillips’ “Skate and Create” at Bela La Vie Boutique & Gallery

Pro skater Steve Caballero and wife Rachael Caballero opened Bela La Vie Boutique & Gallery in Campbell, CA a year ago. Tonight they celebrate the store’s one year anniversary with an art opening reception for graphic designer & illustrator Jimbo Phillips‘ “Skate and Create” show from 7-10 pm at Bela La Vie located at 311 E. Campbell Ave. Support local shops and artists and check it out if you are in the area!

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Fresh Friday Finds: Alice X. Zhang

I am a week behind my regular schedule as my day job consumed all of me last week. Sorry about that! As a special treat, I am featuring a ridiculously talented designer and illustrator, Alice X. Zhang, as this week’s Fresh Friday Finds. Her solo show, “Moments,” opens tonight at Bottleneck Art Gallery in Brooklyn, NY with a reception from 7-10 pm. Enjoy a time lapse video of her process as she digitally paints “Virtuoso” drawn entirely in Adobe Photoshop CS5 on a Wacom Cintiq tablet below as well! Happy weekend!

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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.