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BSDA Interview : Marleen Pennings

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Marleen Pennings, who also goes by the moniker Stroke a Bird, is the latest artist to show on Art Hound’s sister site Buy Some Damn Art. Marleen is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands where she is a visual art, illustrator and stylist. Her lilliputian paintings on scrap wood depict the perfectly imperfect living space – just the right mix of old and new, static and living.

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What do you paint on and where do you source these materials?
 
I paint on canvas, paper and wood. I really like to paint on scrap wood. I source it on places where people renovate their houses. When I pass a construction site I always pause to see if there is a beautiful piece of wood lying around. It already has had a lifetime when I find it, you can see and feel that. The structure has mostly softened during time and the old paint has turned pale. I really love these old pale colors and use them in the artwork.
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Are your paintings always so small?
 
No, I also paint on big canvases or big pieces of paper and wood, it depends on my mood and ideas in my head. But I do like to paint small, it sometimes feels like you can bond better with the painting, because it’s so small.
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How did your career evolve from a degree in Fashion Design and Styling to illustration and fine art? Why did you take up painting?

After I graduated I worked in Fashion Design for a while, but it didn’t really fit me. So I concentrated more and more on my illustration and one day I just started to paint, because I was curious. The next step was that I quit my job in fashion and concentrated fully on developing my painting skills, because I liked it so much. 

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You describe your work as a “subtle translation of a mix of city and nature.” Tell us about that idea. ‘Subtle’ mostly because of my use of colours, I rarely use very bright colours. The colours I use are mostly a bit pale and powdered, I like that. The wood I paint on is a natural material used to build houses in the city. And most houses and buildings have plants for decoration. The indoor landscapes in this series are like a snapshot of daily life where nature and city are combined and mixed up.
 
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The interior scenes you paint are beautiful. Are they inspired by your home city of Rotterdam?

 
The scenes are a translation of what I see around me and what inspires me, a coloured wall in a waiting room, a kitchen chair and a beautiful fern I saw someplace else. I collect them in one scene and try to capture the feeling of the three together when painting them.
Rotterdam is a great city for inspiration, but I would like to have a little more nature around me sometimes. So I paint them both.

 

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BSDA Artist Interview: Rachel Stuart-Haas

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rachel Stuart-Haas is an artist based in Louisiana who paints enigmatic portraits of women that I’d describe as both playful and soulful. There is unabashed femininity and playful sensuality in Rachel’s portraits, but beyond that there is also sadness, mystery and longing. Six of her paintings are now featured on Buy Some Damn Art. Check out Rachel’s show and read the Q/A below.

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How long have you been painting portraits of women? ​

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Since my senior year at art school (Kansas City Art Institute). For my thesis I created three large images around The Black Plague and they all featured these long, lanky women with smudged eye makeup. I’ve just sort of kept up with that theme ever since. Maybe one day I’ll branch out, but honestly men just don’t really do it for me artistically! Plus I kinda suck at painting them.

 

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There is nudity and vampy playfulness in some of your paintings. Does sexuality play a role in your work?

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Absolutely! It’s one of the best parts of being a woman. I just love the whole burlesque and pin-up theatrics of it all, without being too obvious and blunt.

 

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The women in your paintings look very young with their huge doe eyes. Why that particular look?

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Truly there is no real conscious reason for that, but I wonder if they’ll start looking older as I age too. A little crow’s feet here, some varicose veins there… A lot of people ask if the girls are self portraits, but they’re not. At least not intentionally anyway. But the eyes are the MOST important to me. I LOVE big eyes. Unfortunately, I do not possess these.

 

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What kind of people respond to your artwork?

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Really all kinds. You would think it would be mostly women, but I don’t always find that to be the case. Honestly, I’m thrilled with anybody who responds to it!

 

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How does symbolism play into your work?

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There’s actually quite a lot of symbolism that I throw in, but it’s usually not very overt. Or I hope it isn’t. I get bored if I don’t try and incorporate some layers in here and there. And they usually happen during the progression of each piece. I just try and let that evolve as I work.

 

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Artist Crush: Georgina Corrie

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Georgina Corrie is a ceramicist in London. Her work is very simple and appears quasi-decorative. Corrie uses the loveliest colors.

“Clay is a wonderful material that has the most amazing ability to be manipulated to create a myriad of textures and surfaces even before any glaze is applied, so it is somewhat ironic that I have chosen to use it as a series of flat planes and build forms using a set square and ruler. Likewise decoration has a long history with ceramics and whilst my work frequently uses pattern and decoration on the surface it has, over time, become more pared down, now using mainly simple blocks of coloured glaze to emphasise the geometric forms. Glaze alone is such a varied and awesome material, the joy of watching two types meet and react is sometimes enough, however subtle that reaction might be.”

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Jennifer Rochlan: Cats and Bats

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jennifer Rochlan’s series of ceramics and mixed-media Cats and Bats at South Willard.

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Shangkai Kevin Yu

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Shangkai Kevin Yu is a painter based in New York City. Dimensionality and visual context are critical to Yu who paints his subjects in vivid detail against backgrounds that are flat, opaque, and in some cases, totally empty. He describes the intended illusion this creates on his blog: “The ground is working to isolate each individual figures; the wholeness of the individual figure is put before the illusion of them together in a real space.”

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