Interview with Shirley Mancino

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by September 30, 2014

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Tell us what you do.
I paint in both watercolour when I travel and in mixed watermedia when at home in my studio. I travel to Southern and SE Asia almost every year to paint and get inspiration. Travelling and seeing other cultures is such a great inspiration that some years I have been so productive in the field that I have returned with 50 small 9 x 12 in paintings

At what age did you pick up a paintbrush? And at what age did you declare ‘I’m an artist?’
When I was in third grade, I apparently hid behind the cloakroom door when all the other students went outside for recess. When my teacher notices me missing, she came inside to find me colouring maps in my geography notebook. I don’t personally remember this incident or her rebuke if there was one. But I do remember getting an award for that notebook at the end of the year.

Desert habitat, 24 x 20 in, mixed media collage, midsize

Tell us about the process of making your pieces.
I pour, tilt, drip and splatter and  generally have great fun moving the paint around with scrapers and pipettes. I add all kinds of texture from spackle, paper and cord, to sand, seashells and eggshells. Then I resolve the piece into a brilliant and vibrant abstract or I superimpose  a more realistic figure on top letting the magic of the underpainting shine through

What’s your favourite thing about Westport?
I was born and largely raised here…I like being surrounded by family and ancestors…some first cousins 3 times removed I am just getting reacquainted with.

Shirley will be showing her paintings at Studio #4 – The Mancino Gallery.


Interview with Mary Lou Devine

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by September 29, 2014

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Tell us what you do.
I sculpt human and animal figures using natural materials.

At what age did you pick up a paintbrush? And at what age did you declare ‘I’m an artist?’
I did not start to dabble in the arts until I retired from the federal government in 2009.  I have been sculpting almost every day since that time.  I was 58 when I decided that the “artist” moniker was something that I could attribute to myself.

Tell us about the process of making your pieces.
The pieces start with an idea originating from my imagination.  A wire armature is created and is filled out with tin foil or some other material which adds bulk to the figure.  A “skin” is added by dipping fabric into a hardening agent and wrapping it around the sculpture.  Additional details are added, again by dipping the materials in the fabric hardener.  The final product is usually quite different than what was originally imagined as each of the figures determine what they will be in the end.

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What is your greatest inspiration?

All of the great art which is available at our fingertips through the magic of the internet.

How do you feed your creative process? How do you keep things fresh?
I am constantly challenging myself to try something new, either by using a different type of material or a different style of sculpture.  I also take classes in other media which I use to inform my medium of choice.

What’s your favourite thing about Westport?
There are so many things to like about Westport, starting with the drive into town from the top of Foley mountain.  Westport is a warm, welcoming town and the people are what make it like that.

Mary Lou will be showing her work at Studio #2 (Red Door Studio).


Interview with Isidora Spielmann

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by September 25, 2014

 

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Tell us what you do. I make fabulous one of a kind garments, mainly coats, jackets and skirts. Using only exceptionally beautiful fabrics with an ease and a drape that makes wearing them a delight while looking terrific. My newest line is called : “Painting with fleece”, I cut different coloured fleeces to create wearable art.

At what age did you pick up a paintbrush? And at what age did you declare ‘I’m an artist?’ I remember the first time I was put in front of a stack of white paper and crayons – a little over a year old, it was the moment I “woke up” into life. Later I was always making something, my hands always busy, my mind full of pictures and the everpresent sketchbooks were filled quickly. mI began my artistic profession with fashion school which was held paralell to high school, so that I became “journey woman” with 18, at high school graduation, and a couple of years later “master tailor”. After that I had so many skills, I could turn my hand at almost anything.

Tell us about the process of making your pieces. Sometimes I start with a sense of the colours I want to use, then I will take out all the colours I have available and begin to lay them out and build the piece. Other times I have a definite picture in mind, be that from a sight I have seen on one of my walks through the woods or a picture that builds up inside my mind, a mixture of real and fantasy, or an allegory.

What is your greatest inspiration? Forest, meadow and people.

How do you feed your creative process? How do you keep things fresh? Sometimes I have to change mediums, like weave a basket or paint with oils or write a story, just to reach other parts of me and introduce new possibilities. Or take a trip to Algonquin park and forget everything for a few days.

What’s your favourite thing about Westport? The artistic community involvement, the size of the village, the closeness to the forest which allows for easy biking, hiking and skiing, and the Studio Tour!

Isidora’s garment creations will be on display at Studio #9 – Centre for Creative Learning.  View more of her work on her page here.


Interview with Papillon Press’ Chantal Bennett

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by September 23, 2014

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Tell us what you do.
I make letterpress stationery that features mine and my husband’s (Joel Kimmel) illustrations.

At what age did you pick up a paintbrush? And at what age did you declare ‘I’m an artist?’
I’ve been painting and drawing every since I can remember. I decided pretty early on that I needed to make art my job but didn’t know how to make that happen. I tried fine arts, animation and have a BA in Communications but none of these were for me. I finally resolved that I needed to be an illustrator. I don’t think anyone should be labelling themselves “artists” unless they take a serious stab at it…just like you don’t declare yourself a “musician” because you play the guitar for fun. I didn’t declare myself an illustrator until I tried to do it professionally in my mid-20s.

Tell us about the process of making your pieces
Every letterpress item starts with an ink drawing. That drawing is then scanned in and edited in Photoshop and Illustrator where we add the typography. We then make plates of the artwork (one plate for each colour in the design) and then the plates are mounted on the press and printed, one colour at a time. In between these main processes are the smaller tasks of paper cutting, proofing, making film, prepping files, scoring, folding and packaging. It’s a laborious process from start to finish but the final product is ultimately very rewarding.

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What is your greatest inspiration?
I love turn-of-the-century children’s and fairytale illustration. The greats like N.C Wyeth, Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac are always a source of inspiration for my own illustrations, as well as more contemporary illustrators like Alan Lee and Yvonne Gilbert.

How do you feed your creative process? How do you keep things fresh?
I don’t look at anyone else’s work! (aside from my favourites, that is)

What’s your favourite thing about Westport?
It’s the quaintest, prettiest and friendliest town around!

See more Papillon Press work at www.papillonletterpress.com and Chantal’s illustration at www.chantalbennett.com


Interview with Joel Kimmel

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by September 23, 2014

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Tell us what you do.
I am a freelance illustrator. I create illustrations for clients such as ESPN Magazine, The Royal Canadian Mint, Nike, Field & Stream and Popular Science (to name a few). I work mostly in ink and watercolour and sometimes I work digitally.

At what age did you pick up a paintbrush?
And at what age did you declare ‘I’m an artist?’ I really started drawing a lot when I was 10 years old. I would copy comic book drawings and invent my own superheroes. I ended up inventing about 100 characters, but only a few of them were any good! I probably started telling people I was an artist in high school. By that point I had moved on from superheroes and started drawing basketball players.

Tell us about the process of making your pieces.
A lot of the work I do starts with a few sketches of my favorite ideas to illustrate the story I’m working on. Once a sketch is approved by an art director, I can then finish the illustration for publication. I research a lot of reference, take photos of myself or others for poses, lighting and clothing, and work on a pencil drawing. I’ll then use ink to finish the drawing and watercolour to paint it. Because of my tight deadlines and the look I’m going for, I’ll often paint my backgrounds in digitally and make other adjustments digitally.

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What is your greatest inspiration?
I am a huge fan of illustrators from the early 1900s and through the 1960s. I also find inspiration for illustrations in things like old logging imagery and circus imagery. Right now drawings of old timey loggers and depression-era characters are some of my favorite things to work on.

How do you feed your creative process?
How do you keep things fresh? I try not to look at the work of too many current illustrators so as not to be influenced by it. I love to discover older artists and experiment with new techniques in my own work. I also stay fresh by taking breaks, learning new things and thinking of new projects to work on outside of my comfort zones.

What’s your favourite thing about Westport?
My studio is in my backyard, I have a basketball court across the street, everything is within walking distance and everyone is very friendly. And we have a great studio tour!

See more of Joel’s illustration on his website www.joelkimmel.com