interviews

Interview with Aaron Nagel

Coming this Tuesday, January 10th is a co-curated print release from 1xrun and Creep Machine. The print entitled “The Calming” is by Aaron Nagel and is 14″ x 20″ on 140lb French Archival paper, signed and numbered in a max edition of 60. In lead up to the print release, Aaron was nice enough to answer some questions for a new, very in-depth interview here on the site. The image shown below is of the print that will be released tomorrow (right here) at 1xrun, and the rest of the interview features some random images from some of Aaron’s past shows.

Creep Machine: Your a self taught artist, which is very impressive when looking at your work, but music was another path you might have taken. What was it that made you choose painting over music?

Aaron Nagel: I spent years pursuing music and touring with bands, long before the idea of pursuing art as a career even occurred to me. With the bands…the idea of pursuing a career in music started to get in the way of playing music because we loved it. There was a point where we had been touring for so many years that we lacked the energy to keep at it at that level…without some degree of success. We could support ourselves on the road, but only long enough to live a couple months back home before we’d have to go out and make money again. That was fine when I was younger, but even by my mid twenties, the idea of touring for 6+ months out of the year started to become really undesirable. Plus, there were so many factors in whether or not a band “makes it”, that were entirely out of our control, which became really frustrating. Basically, at some point we realized that if we wanted to be in a band, that we would be in band, and we would function in that band exactly how we wanted to, without any consideration for the career aspect of it. That made playing music much more fulfilling, but removed it from the potential careers list. I was getting more serious about painting at the time the band thing was wrapping up, so I decided I’d try to make it my focus, at least for a while. It’s just as hard to make a living painting than it was playing music, but I feel like i’m much better at it, I have more control, and am entirely fulfilled in my career choice…regardless of how successful I am or will be. It’s a good feeling.

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The Mechanics of Christopher Conte

Christopher Conte’s artwork is full of surprises. While many of the elements in his sculptures are machined, cast or carved by him, he also incorporates parts of familiar machinery that, if you’re paying close enough attention, you will recognize. Antique watch movements, sewing machine feet and other old cogs and gears give his sculptures a retro steampunk flavor, while other elements like iPod cameras push his work into the future evoking some of the greatest of scifi stories.

Dermabot (Skin Crawler) | steel, bronze, and brass with working onboard miniature tattoo machine

Christopher’s sculptures indeed capture the attention of a steampunk audience, but also the Transhumanist movement, which revels in the power of biomechanics for promoting human advancement and explores the dangers that such enhancements might cause, has taken a great liking to his work. Wired Magazine, a publication which has some of its tentacles entwined in the movement, has published multiple interviews and articles on him, and many Maker Faire enthusiasts, scientists and medical professionals who support it collect his work.
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Interview: Paul Komoda – The Thing Comes to Life

Over the past year, artist Paul Komoda has been dropping hints of his involvement in a new movie.  Turns out that movie is The Thing, a prequel to the famous Carpenter film that gave me nightmares for the majority of my childhood.  Since its recent release, Paul has finally been able to show to the world the creature creation drawings he did for it as well as some of the sculptures he and the crew worked on.

Paul is most definitely one of my favorite artists today.  His imagination for monsters is hard to describe – they are beautiful creatures, either benign or horrific, that move on the pages on which they were drawn.  It goes without saying that I was excited to find out what The Thing looked like before it hit the big screen where much of Paul’s designs had been animated into CG.  This is really a perfect platform for Paul’s imagination.  I excitedly contacted the artist to find out what goodies he had to offer to the blogosphere.

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Interview: Paul Chatem

Back in May I reviewed Paul Chatem’s latest solo show “Island of the Colorblind”, and ever since then I had the plan to interview Paul and get a deeper look into his working process, what inspires him, and how he deal with being colorblind. Of course it took a lot longer than I thought to get this interview going, but luckily for me Samantha Levin came to rescue and helped out with the interview, coming up with some great questions and acquiring the images you see below. So this is the very first dual-interview here on the Creep Machine, and I think it worked out very well. Perhaps we will see more in the future. Make sure to click the “read more” for the full interview.

Creep: In order to create this latest series of interactive works, you learned an entirely new skill: clock making. This has given your works an extremely unique element to them, and added audience participation. Did you have any other ideas to create interactivity aside from the clock style works of art?

Paul Chatem: I’ve read a bit about clock making as well as gear ratios. Clock making is more complicated than what I’m doing. I’m just using the basics of gears or cogs to create a kinetic aspect to my paintings. At this point the movement in the gears has been pretty simple, there’s still a lot of things I need to learn so I can take it to the next level.
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Interview: Peter Adamyan

During the reception at Peter Adamyan’s solo show at the Lopo Gallery (reviewed), I talked to him about doing an interview for the site. It took a bit longer than anticipated, but here it is. I wanted to get a better insight to this artists work, and I hope this interview does that.

Creep: You stated that you have been drawing since you were very young, did you have any formal art education? If not what was it that helped with the current set of skills you have now?

Peter: For the most part I’m self taught. My brother was my first big influence, he taught me how to make up my own cartoon characters by created a chart of different features I could mix and match. We used to watch Imagination Station with Mark Kistler on PBS which is how I first learned basics like perspective and value. When we weren’t watching that we were drawing Spiderman, Spawn and X-Men out of comics and The Simpsons off the television. In high school I took the usual art classes that everyone who’s interested in art takes to fill up their elective classes and through that I got a scholarship with the Ryman program where I first drew from a live model. But most of what I know comes from reading books and doing research on the internet and just from loads of practice particularly when it comes to painting which I’ve never been formally trained in.

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Interview: Crystal Barbre

It’s been little under a week since Seattle based Crystal Barbre opened her latest solo exhibition at the Whisky Bar in her hometown. The show features some new figurative works, and still life works. I sent some questions to Crystal a bit before the show and now that she has had some time to mellow out after the reception, she sent over what is sure to be the most in-depth interview the site has had. Greg Hanefeld has some excellent photos of the opening that you can view on his Flickr (here), you will also see a couple throughout this interview.

Creep: You attended the Mark Kang O’Higgins atelier at the Gage Academy of Art, which focuses on drawing and painting. Can you tell us a bit about your experience there, and what drew you to the program?

Crystal: I had been interested in attending art school for a couple years. I checked out all the bigger name art institutions and even went and visited a few of them, but they seemed confused about my focus – wanting to learn the ins and outs of classical figurative painting but wanting to apply it to more “lowbrow” conceptual art which they considered illustration. They couldn’t seem to really understand combining the two – fine art and illustration. Then I found Mark’s atelier at the Gage Academy in Seattle. It’s so small I had my doubts at first but I am sure in two years I got one of the best educations I could get anywhere in the country. The atelier focuses hardcore on classical figurative drawing and painting skills while also allowing me to explore my work conceptually. The workload of painting 10 hours a day five or six days a week really is what gave me the ability to take my work to the next level professionally. I will always consider myself indebted to that program.
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Interview: John-John Jesse

John-John Jesse opened his latest solo show at the Opera Gallery this past April 16th, his first solo show in years. I worked up a few questions and was able to get John-John for an interview when he came back from the reception.

Creep: You have stated that among your favorite artists is Caravaggio, a favorite of mine as well. Can you tell me a bit about what first drew you to his work, and if there is any influence he has had on your style?

John-John: Its just soo dark and beautiful and narrative. I wish i could paint like him but i can’t, I just tell my story as i remember it and with the best ability i can. I can honestly say i’m not influenced by alot of art especially whats out now. and my favorite artist isn’t even a painter. It’s Jamie Reid. I’d rather be at a museum loooking at old masters than checking out paintings of hot rods and frankenstein at a lowbrow gallery.
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Interview: Joe Sorren

This past November 6th at the Grand Central Art Center, “Interruption” a retrospective of Joe Sorren’s work from 2004 to 2010 opened. Along with new paintings, some collaborative sculptures by Joe and Jud Bergeron were displayed. This January 22nd the exhibition will travel to the Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff, CA. Now that the show is set, and all of the other interviews Joe has done for this exhibition are over, the Creep Machine was able ask Joe some questions about inspirations, working processes, and the work for this retrospective.


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Interview: Genevive Zacconi

Coming this December 10th to the Last Rites Gallery in New York, is a new solo show from Genevive Zacconi. A new series of works will be unveiled, and while Genevive is frantically working to make this new show as amazing as we all know it will be, she took some time to answer some questions for the Creep Machine. I know that the site will also be getting some exclusive images of the new works in the weeks to come.

Paul Booth and Genevive Zacconi

CM: You went to the School of Visual Arts in New York, as well as the Academy of Fine Art in Pennsylvania. What was your experience like at art school, and what was your art and themes like before school?

Genevive: The themes before art school were much the same in many aspects, but I actually only attended both of these schools for one semester. So in a way, I am primarily self-taught. I found myself cutting class to stay home and work on my own paintings and consequentially decided that formal art training wasn’t for me, but continued in my independent study. continue reading «Interview: Genevive Zacconi»

Interview: Jason Edmiston

For this months, slightly late double feature, I was able to get an interview with Canadian illustrator Jason Edmiston. There is also a nice gallery featuring 20 images of his work, so make sure you check that out after reading the interview.

CM: Can you tell us a bit how you got started in art, did you go to any art school for your training?

Jason: Not sure how far you want me to go back, but I actually knew I was going to be an artist for a living since I was a child. I never thought I would do anything else, and luckily it worked out. I had regular public school and high school art classes, but after that I went to the Ontario College of Art (now called OCAD because of an increased design department). It was a four year program, where the first year focused on foundations of art, and you specialized in an area over the next three years. I went into Communication and Design with a focus on illustration. Although school was a good way to get exposed to and prepared for the life of a working artist, I felt that I still needed to tighten my portfolio to get regular paying gigs. After college, I continued to teach myself through trial and error practice, and by pouring over my large library of art books.
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Interview: Joe Scarano

For the month of June, we have another single artist feature with interview, this time from Joe Scarano. I sent Joe some questions, and was able to feature more than 20 images of his amazing artwork.

Cm: You grew up in Florida and New York, were you active in creating art during your childhood?

Joe: Yes! I was always drawing and doodling for as long as I can remember.
As a youngster I was always drawing really elaborate space battles and hot rods. I was also obsessed with Mad magazine and trying to re-create the covers.
Eventually I graduated to painting heavy metal album covers on my friends denim jackets. I once painted Cannibal Corpse’s Butchered at Birth album cover on a friends jacket, I had to hide if from my family for fear of being put into a mental ward!

Cm: Are you mainly a self taught artist, or did you have any formal training in the arts, such as a university or private school?

Joe: Kind of half and half… I took art classes all throughout school and then studied graphic design in college. I never focused on illustration or painting during school, I picked up most of that after I was already working as a designer.
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Interview: Vincent Castiglia

For this months feature, the Creep Machine not only had the pleasure to show the art of Vincent Castiglia, but to also interview him. I do hope what is recorded below will give viewers a greater understanding into the artwork that Vincent creates, but also to foster a greater appreciation of it. Vincent creates his paintings with only the use of his own blood. Looking past the medium one can clearly see that he is creating allegorical paintings, dealing with the ideas of life, death, and rebirth. Works of art that are iconic and timeless. I would like to thank Vincent for taking the time to answer these questions.

Vincent Castiglia at the H.R. Giger Museum Gallery, Gruyeres, Switzerland, 2008: Photo: © 2008 Raphael Siegrist


CM: I know you went to the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Was drawing and painting something that you did from an early age, or did you start later?

Vincent: I began drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil and comprehend how to make a mark on any given surface. Making art began like “The Great Escape” for me, and the most efficient way to disconnect from the war zone of what appeared to be a home from the outside world. Those initial marks on paper, walls, or just about anything I chose to draw on would pave the way to a much more contemplative sphere of reasoning and technical execution than what was possible at three or four. But nonetheless those early markings were the formative acts which were to unfold into a tree of destiny, the fruits of which are now my sustenance and the life of my flesh.
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