Limited Stretching w/ Matthew Yaeger

Interview w/ Matthew Yaeger regarding his work Rarely Do We Stretch. -A.M.

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A.M: Judging by the title, Rarely Do We Stretch, I assumed this piece was a unique representation of the human figure aging over time. Was this the concept you were thinking of while creating it? If so, do you reflect this idea in some of your other works?

M.Y: I had made some smaller studies and decided that I wanted to see what they would look like at a larger scale. After I made the first larger piece and hung it on the wall I was surprised at how the top section was bent over like a tilting head. I thought that was great that there was this connection to my own body through scale.

I would agree that they are figurative, but I’m more interested in how they made me aware of my own body. Because they are drywall, a material we see very much in one way, they instantly have this connection to the wall. By making several of them and spreading them out in space from each other I felt like they started to explore how they were positioned in space and what the limitations of that became.

In the back of my mind I feel like I’m often thinking of H.P. Lovecraft. In some stories there can be this walk through a typical town or landscape and when you turn the corner what was set up to be reality quickly falls away. I think this notion of our experience of the world as relative is always something I’m thinking of. How can I de-familiarize myself with images and objects in the world?

A.M: Looking at your artwork as a whole, what is the main message you are trying to relinquish to viewers?

M.Y: I don’t have a main message. I’m more interested in the work being self-reflexive for the viewer. I think by using specific references or setting up limitations, such as material and color and being aware of hierarchies within a piece, the work often is more analytical and open to interpretation.

A.M: What is your favorite medium to work in and why? Has it changed over the years?

M.Y: Although I’ve worked in many mediums and materials over time, I think I’m most excited about the notion of drawing. The line, speed, and economy of means of drawing for me is a very specific think-space. The immediacy that drawing allows, unlike painting (reloading a brush, or having to mix a new color), is the quickest way to see something.

A.M: I noticed you are not afraid of using vibrant color in your pieces. Is there color theory techniques behind your process?   

M.Y: Color is more intuitive for me but there are some references to how we have become accustomed to color through images and products that we consume. Lately I’ve been thinking of Gatorade commercials and how amped up the color is. I’m always accepting and suspect of color because of examples like this. In work in the studio right now color is one of the things that I’m trying to make apparent as well as pushing up against.

A.M: Lastly, do you have any upcoming/current exhibitions for our readers to check out?

M.Y: Recently I had work in this awesome show at SOO Local titled Weird Neighbor, which was put together by Bruce Tapola.More recently I had work in a show at Page Bond Gallery in Richmond, Va., and I have work in an upcoming show at the Peninsular Fine Arts Center in Newport News, Va., which opens July 12.

-Amanda Masini

GRRRL_PRTY_Katina_Elizabeth_Photography

Radar: GRRRL PRTY

If you saw me drive by recently…
you most likely heard me drive by too!

I was bumpin’ GRRRL PRTY in my Chevy Malibu.    #Checkit

The fierce as fuck trio, featuring thee “Spitfire Poet Sophia Eris, percussive Hellion Manchita and the Southern Rapstress Lizzo,” are taking over the Minneapolis scene, and hopefully every scene, with the gritty song, “Wegula.”

Adam Dunn, another one of the Twin Cities best kept secrets, produced the music video back in June of 2013 as part of the series Lights and a Backdrop (#LAAB). “Wegula” by GRRRL PRTY is season two out of seven, and showcases the artist’s talent with in your face girl power.

We’re feverish for more from this tantalizing hip-hop collective. Although the three are also in the process of nurturing their solo careers, I can’t help but expect GRRRL PRTY to blow up.

Check out more GRRRL PRTY and #LAAB before loosing yo’self
to July 4th festivities!
-Sara Franc

Are We Mine Us

Not Your GF’s Diary

Creative dialogue w/ Jacob Spriggs

Minnesota native, Jacob Spriggs received his B.F.A. in Studio Art with a double major in Art History at St. Cloud State University – not to mention he was a founding member of The Gallery Vault. 

Working with Polaroid instant film and the collection/appropriation of found photographs, his work blurs the lines between a diary and the fictive…with subtle badass undertones.

Artist Statement:

I am interested in photography and found images as a way to reconstruct memories, landscapes, and portraits.  The documentation of events with my Polaroid cameras and the accumulation of journals, magazines, and miscellaneous photographs have manifested into a collection of experiences both of mine and foreign.  This collection is then broken down, dissected, and reassembled through an integration of painting, photography, and collage to create disembodied nostalgias.


 A.V: There is something really captivating about this portrait/landscape juxtaposition. Most of these works are women…which stereotypically brings to light the complexities of the female mind, considering the multiple layers of the work.

What drove you towards creating such works using these mediums?
How did you arrive to this ‘art mission/thematic calling’ so to speak?

J.S: The female form is obviously a central subject within my collages and paintings. To put it in terms without all the “art” talk, I’m simply in love/viscerally attracted to the female body and it’s subtleties. It’s just beautiful. I specifically like the vanity that comes with fashion photography. It’s porn without the porn, a quiet embodiment of the body that’s safe enough to advertise but egotistical enough to be viewed as higher or important.

That vanity fascinates me, and with collage I’m able to deconstruct that cold perfection and fill it with some sort of soul again. It becomes imperfect, it distorts, mutates, and flows into something else. The choosing of the images consumes more time than the process at times. The main image is usually a large portrait or body shot of some kind, and from there I will start cutting, and a new form will emerge from there. The landscapes, animals, and other bodies that become intertwined with the main form often stem from the emotional state I’m in, recent personal events, and whatever music I’m currently listening to. In that way they are very personal, with meaning/theme lingering between a nonlinear diary and some fictive aesthetic that’s constantly developing. The personal aspects within the work aren’t a focal point or something I’m interested in documenting, I feel as though it’s just an organic product of the act of creating. My soul is bleeding out of my fingertips so to speak.

A.V: Additionally, choosing found images is much different than using photographs you composed. What do you look for when choosing images to use for your collages? Are some images chosen purposefully with a greater message in mind? – or am I thinking a little too much outside the ballpark here?

J.S: Art isn’t a secondary, it’s become intertwined with my day to day living. Between my personal documentation of events and others through Polaroid Instant Film, and collage as an outlet to explore the beauty of the body I have an endless supply of material and product to constantly fold onto itself for new outcomes. As to the formal qualities that I’ve developed, I do enjoy my lsd and mushrooms a few times a year, and I believe that it has had a significant impact on how I weave forms together with collage, and feel nostalgia. Seeing the world disassemble spiritually, emotionally, and physically into an amalgam folded onto itself, then witnessing it’s reassemble has made a definitive mark on my hand.

Collage allows me to so the same, take many instances and make many a whole, that whole doesn’t necessarily have a great mission, but can exist as a cluster of things, places, and times to be viewed in a singular instance. I just want to make beautiful things for people to see oh, and the song “Dawn Chorus” by Boards of Canada will explain my work really well in musical terms, give it a listen, it’s one of my biggest inspirations, and embodies the spirit my product and who I am/what I’m trying to do pretty well.

I’m searching for a beauty and nostalgia in essence, with a sexiness and prominence that is subtle, warm, human, and non-definite.

-Ashley Lanèe Voss

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Tuesday Weight Lift

A few words w/ Sean Anonymous

DJ Snuggles & Sean Anonymous released their new music video ‘Weight’ this past Friday!

Naturally, The ASH. snagged the first interview.
#playit


Before we get dirty, let me throw some credits atcha:

DJ Snuggles – Weight (Feat. Sean Anonymous)
From DJ Snuggles’ E.P. “That Beat”
Beat By: Big Cats
Director: Dave Wilson (Freeweather Films)
DP: Ryan Thompson


A.V:  For starters, how did the video inspiration/theme come to be? Visually, it’s a neat video – I mean…you have me scratching my brain trying to resolve how the bike was able to free ride around the neighborhood + then some.

S.A: The whole song is about wanting more than you have/need. I thought a perfect example of this would be a fantasy music video theme… A lot of folks have what they need to get by, but we’re constantly told that we could have more. (Whether it’s from music videos, magazines, advertisements, etc…)

There were certain lines in the song that re confirmed we should do the fantasy video thing. “These honest dreams flash on a screen” + “we want these things, but we might just grow to need it”

As far as the bike riding by itself… I think we might leave that one up to the viewers imaginations as well.

A.V: Damn…looks like I’ll be scratching my head all afternoon. May I ask if there’s any symbolism in the bike? I envision it symbolizing the future, yet we are still referencing the past – since the camera is focused on the bike from the front…showing us where the bike has been, not where it plans to go.

S.A: Not sure if there is any symbolism in using the bike… But if you happen to find some in there, then yup, the bike is hella symbolic…. One of the beautiful things about making art is seeing how others interpret it. The bike was mainly Dave Wilson’s (the director) idea. And I love how it turned out. I could draw conclusions on what the bike represents, but I’d rather hear what everyone else thinks about it.

A.V: To circle back to the ‘weighty’ message of the madness, do you have any advice for others/readers/listeners on how to escape the mindset of constantly wanting more? – this mindset?

S.A: There’s nothing wrong with wanting more than you have. That’s one of the driving forces that keeps people going. (Especially me). I want to be happy in life, but I’d never want to be content, because if you’re 100% cool with everything going on in your life, what would inspire you to be a better person?

The problem is when people are striving for the wrong things, or even the right things, but for wrong reasons. There’s no problem with wanting a little bit, but when it gets to be excessive, that’s when the problems start.

Word.
-Ashley Lanèe Voss

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Radar: Ryan Segedi

Ryan Segedi, originally from Ohio, is an emerging photographer who graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design last year. While traveling the country throughout his life and studying abroad in Hong Kong, he was able to expand his knowledge of various cultures. This remains apparent in his work, yet Segedi stayed true to his origins; he has a whole collection of photographs dedicated to Midwestern landscape!

Segedi utilizes geometric shapes and patterns from fashion in his editorial images. His work is very precise in terms of focus and pose. Color coordination is a factor in the editorial shots, which adds to this artist’s professionalism.

From interiors, to exteriors, to open fields and water, Segedi captures the true beauty of the Midwest in his Onward From the Midwest series. These photographs are of everyday scenes, which are perhaps usually overlooked on a daily basis. However, Ryan’s use of fragmenting, light, and angles makes us viewers realize what we surpass each day. Next time you are walking down the street, look and see what beauty is around you!

-Amanda Masini

Izzy

Girl Crush: Izzy Commers

Okay, I understand I either jumped the gun or missed the boat with my ‘#WCW’ (aka women crush Wednesday) post – but does one necessarily have to fit their admiration to hump day?

-apparently I think not!

Interview w/ photographer, Izzy Commers

A.V:  At the age of 16, and oh-so-talented,  when would you say you began photography – and what attracted you to the art form?

I.C:  Awh thank you! When I was 14 I saved-up and bought my first DSLR, but I’ve been taking photos for as long as I can remember! I’m still trying to figure out what strongly drew me to photography… It’s never really been a way for me to channel my personal emotions  (as it is for many artists). It was more of a way to capture and remember a moment in time. I want the viewer to understand and relate to the moment for themselves.

A.V: It’s lovely you’re in a larger city; I envy you a tad. Have you always lived in Minneapolis? I bet you have many subjects and are always finding new possibilities with all the hustle + bustle of the city. Are you mostly interested in taking pictures of people? – I find that to be your most common subject matter.

I.C: It’s funny that you say that haha, I always think of Minneapolis as such a small city! There’s always new people to meet and new places to explore here, which are two of my favorite opportunities that come along with being a photographer. People and places are often what inspire me, so that is why people are usually my subject matter. I hope to travel more in the future to explore completely new places as well!

A.V: Oh exactly! Carpe diem to the max! Have you ever had your photography exhibited in a gallery/similar venue?

I.C: I’ve never had my work in any sort of gallery or art show, but I hope to someday!

A.V:  …to which I find surprising! However, I know good vibes are continuously hugging you! To add onto that thought, what are your overall creative aspirations (a very vague/broad question – take this and run however you choose! haha)

I.C: The question of all questions.. haha… This is something I struggle a lot with to figure out. To be general, my ideal future with photography would involve something that allowed me to travel and meet new people. That was a large part of the thinking behind ‘The Artist Collective’ portion of my site actually (a way to showcase various types of artists/tell their stories/and hopefully spread their work). I’m super excited to get it up and runnin’- I truly just love being able to document my life, the people in it, and all of the adventures along the way!

-Ashley Lanèe Voss
Not fully satisfied? Check-out more of Izzy’s photography!

Portraits of Expanse

"Portraits of Expanse" Interview w/ Taylor Evan

This afternoon I was able to snag a few words from Taylor Evan,
bike enthusiast + artist, currently residing in Mankato, MN.

A bit of a mystery man (aka he hasn’t yet embraced the digital/online portfolio realm), Evan graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato in the spring of 2012 with a BA in Theater-performance + Studio Art – painting/ceramics.

His recent collection “Portraits of Expanse” was on display at The 410 Project (May 30th – June 15th)…however, for those that missed it in human form, check-it below:

Artist Statement:

“Through layering multiple swatches of paint, and also pulling some away, I create an expanse of colors. I use ink and paint to draw lines and create a figure within the foreground of the expanse. I refer to this as the portrait. To me, a portrait is all encompassing, possessing incomparable traits that make up a completely unique personality. They are the sum of all parts. The figure, or figures, in these paintings are the portraits of each expanse they are set against.”


T.E: The series “Portraits of Expanse” grew out of small Watercolors and drawings I’ve been doing for a couple years now. Once I started to paint larger panels, the idea really unfolded and came together. I always found the duality between the intuitive nature of large swatches/layers of color, and the more precise and planned line drawings that create “forms” to be really appealing to me.

Before ending our chat I asked for a little more, to which he responded, “I’m a huge coffee geek… haha. I have 4 different manual brewing devices in my kitchen, I work in a coffee shop, and I definitely followed the annual World Barista Championship a couple weeks ago…”

Yeah, he’s an artist.
-Ashley Lanèe Voss

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Best of the Midwest

"Capturing the Best of the Midwest"              Interview w/ Colton Otte of BlueG Productions

In a world that is saturated with photographers, it seems that everything would have been captured on film by now. Colton Otte of BlueG Productions has seamlessly found a way to show us the everyday beauty of the Midwest that we overlook.

Otte began playing around with a handheld video camera in high school making “stupid, stupid, stupid videos” with his friends. After playing around with the camera in high school, Otte realized this was something he would like to do professionally. He now does photography and promotional videos for Stophouse Music Group.

“Maybe one day I could film all their music videos,” stated Otte, “That’s something I’m striving for. For the time being, I’m just seeing how the big boys do it if you will. It’s a really great learning experience.”

Otte’s work with Stophouse Music Group grants him the opportunity to document Prof’s local shows.

“He’s everything he is expected to be off stage,” stated Otte about the hip-hop artist, “He always has the whole room eating out of the palm of his hands. You never quite know what he is going to do next. It’s a blast.”

Although Otte has worked with musicians big and small, he describes being able to relate to the lesser-known musicians, identifying with their struggle to succeed in a competitive industry.

“Not every show is a big ol’ headliner show,” said Otte, “A lot of these places I shoot at are a little bit smaller with lesser-known artists. It’s motivating to see people who are the same level as me and pushing themselves the same way I do in terms of getting out and being able to shoot, shoot, shoot anything and everything I can. That’s what makes you better. Time will only tell who will come out on top.”

Although Otte currently works with musicians, he is more driven toward nature photography. He hopes to one day work for National Geographic.

“If I could get paid to travel the world and take pictures and bring my friends and family along with me, I think that would be awesome,” Otte said, “I don’t need to get paid a billion dollars and have the nicest of everything or hang out with A-list celebrities. That’s fun and all, but I’m much more at peace being out in the woods; that’s what I really enjoy. If I can get paid to do that the same way I get paid to make music videos, that is my end goal.

-Sara Franc
Check-out more from BlueG Productions!

Christian Fillippo

Christian Fillippo is a contemporary abstract painter who resides in Indiana. He has the knowledge to work in various mediums, which he acquired from Indiana University as a studio art major. Fillippo has gained accomplishments in graphic design, creating artwork for musicians and clothing.

Melt the Sky
Melt the Sky, Christian Fillippo

Fillippo’s acrylic paintings especially capture the viewer’s attention with their line movement and bold color choices. The artist describes this work as a momentary view of construction and deconstruction, creation and re-creation, and growth and decay. His paintings can be related to the cycle of life. One painting in particular, entitled Melt the Sky, is the perfect representation of this process. The 36” by 48” canvas features vibrant blues, yellows, oranges and dark neutrals dripping down into each other. This melting effect adds to the decaying aspect in his work.

Soundproof
Soundproof, Christian Fillippo

Some of Fillippo’s work comments on the media itself, seen in his painting Soundproof. By executing this piece on found wood the artist silently reiterates his support for the natural, opposed to the artificial. The vibrating line quality resembles black static on a television screen. Warm colors make the piece aesthetically pleasing, while harnessing beauty and energy.

 

Fillippo is a great example of emerging talent in the Midwest. His conceptual originality gives viewers a fresh take on abstraction in various forms of art.

-Amanda Masini
*Check-out more of Christian Fillippo’s work + current exhibitions!

sunculture

Hello, Sun Culture

On Friendship and Making Music w/ Brennen Waldron
By: Natalie Wilson

Well then. Isn’t this exciting?

This is my first article for The ASH., and I have to say, so far it’s more play than work. Especially because for this assignment, I got to call an old friend, have a long and inspiring conversation, then marathon his music for the subsequent 24 hours.

Parallelism is playing as I write these words.

Brennen Waldron is the lead singer and guitarist for the Springfield, Ohio based band Sun Culture. The group has become pretty popular in the area, having played shows in Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, and boasting over 700 likes on Facebook.

Despite the professional intentions I had when calling him for an interview, chatting with Brennan turned into easy conversation between two friends about music, passion, and what those concepts mean to us.

sunculture

Fitting, then, that he tell me the foundation of Sun Culture is rooted in friendship.  Brennan and the rest of the foursome, Alexander Scaglia, Brenna Myers, and Zach Sterzenbach, have all known each other since high school. They got together and contributed small pieces, some bass here, a song idea there, until January of 2011, when the band debuted at the Un Mundo café. Of all their shows since, Brennan says this first one is still the most memorable. “There was an ice storm,” he recalls, “But we packed Un Mundo anyway with family and friends that just wanted to hang out with us and hear our music.”

Since then, Sun Culture has been devoted to creating music for the enjoyment of others. Says Brennen, “We’re not really interested in getting famous”. The band attributes this attitude to their family. “We all have at least one family member who casually makes music,” Brennen explained, “Growing up, it just stuck with us.” Positivity and camaraderie are also huge elements of their inspiration. “When you’re with a group of people who you love and love to be with, you get a feeling of happiness and joy that translates into the music.”

Right before we said goodbye, I asked Brennen, “So, what do you think is the band’s Artist Statement?”

“Hmmm… well, what is that?” he replied, laughing.

“I’d say it’s like a Mission Statement, but less business-y.”

“Oh.” He paused and thought. “Our Artist Statement is to make music that others can enjoy, but also that we enjoy. I think when you make art that you like just as much as your fans, then you’re doing something right.”

-Natalie Wilson
Credit: Sun Culture
*Listen to their new EP, Gallery Presents, for free!
**Sun Culture has an upcoming show on June 20th at The 86 Club in Cincinnati.

Online platform highlighting Midwestern alternative culture and contemporary talent.

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