Friday, January 31, 2014

Manchester Residency

I'm writing this post from a studio on the first floor of a row house in outskirts of Manchester, England.

I applied and was accepted to the artist residency, Artfunkl, in Manchester just a few months ago. It was either here or a fish town in northern Iceland with a population of 500 people. As much as that sounds like an experience to be had... just to be had, I figured this was a little more practical.

The point of this residency is to build a body of painted work. The original plan was to continue the animal paintings but when I couldn't transport the paintings I've already started I thought this might be a good time to start and finish some ideas and designs I've been interested in lately.

My brother and I started a line of design work under the name KOIVU. We recently released a women's line of tshirts and sweatshirts for Ghostly International. We also made some tshirts simply for ourselves and are selling them on our site: This is definitely a subject that deserves a post all on it's own but will have to wait till later

Anyways this design aesthetic we've been after is quite abstract and in many ways kind of cartoony. Our main influences have been euro interior designs from the early 90's, a little bit of Lichtenstein's more obscure work, clean geometric forms, bold colors or entirely pastel palettes, messy textures and patterns, and illustrative styles from companies like Lazy Oaf, Quiet Life, and Nike. And as much as these styles have informed apparel designs it also is an influence to fine art. It brings attention to the necessity of things that DON'T make sense in a world where we must constantly make sense of, bring practicality to, and justify our actions, our plans, and our lives.

The concept is very playful and light-hearted.  In many ways the concept begins to bring out our childish side and the aesthetic looks this way to us. There isn't much depth - the focus is saturated in the visual content and the absurdness in the pairings. There isn't clear context. There isn't even a set dimension because both 2D and 3D-realism are used.

To begin I made hundreds of sketches. After deciding on some compositions that I found pleasing to the eye I began stretching my canvases and preparing the surfaces for paint.

Next I began working. Some pieces are painted on wood, some on canvas, a few on paper and even one on glass.

Here is the progression of a painting on wood panel:

Next is the process of painting on a pane of glass - which was then layered on top of a painted wood panel:

A 3rd wood panel and it's progress:

Next is the progress of an oil painting on canvas. This painting is still in process and is my second largest piece at the moment:

And lastly I began to make some paintings using a different technique entirely. It only takes a few minutes to create these paintings but each one can be a real hit or miss. I've found it takes many fails to produce a few great pieces so I've only made about 2 of these that I really like. I hope to create a few more if possible before the show.

The 2 above are the two successes that I will put in the show. The work below is an example of a piece I used to test different techniques with the palette knife. As you can see there are a few spots that are really exciting while others that simply look like a terrible mistake.

Love this particular area of the painting.

Anyways I still have about 2 weeks to finish up these works and a few more so stay tuned for the next and last post about my residency!

mARTyna - ha... I know, never again.