Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ROBERT OTTO EPSTEIN











I met Robert Otto Epstein a few years ago, while he was working on his 8Bitterized paintings and drawings.  I was intrigued by the (as I thought) obvious connection to technology and of course the vibrant color palette, and I got to know him through a few conversations about his work and visits to group shows.  Most recently, I was struck by his portraits at VOLTA in NYC.  When I saw that his work would be included in a two-artist show at Hionas Gallery in Chinatown, I decided to reach out to him about a collaboration.

In chatting about his work, I found out that it references much more than technology.  In his words, "When I was first painting, I randomly came across a knitting pattern magazine on eBay.  So I started out painting sweaters, cardigans, jackets, and skirts.  Over time, I noticed that the knitting instructions take on a grid format.  Each square and each symbol represented a different color and that's how I got into the abstract form of painting and drawing." Basically, Robert was Artfully Awear all along!

When asked about his newest series of portraits, three of which are included in the Hionas Gallery show, he said he started out searching the internet for high-resolution images, and eventually landed on celebrities as subject matter, after exploring gallerists and athletes.  The painting that I chose as inspiration for my jacket is based on a portrait of Olivia Munn.  We both had a laugh when I told him how difficult it was to capture the expression in his painting - and he reminded me that each portrait naturally contains a likeness to its artist, so of course mine would have appeared different than his.

Instinctively, I asked him what's next, and he said he's very interested in pursuing wall-sized paintings.  It took many hours for me to hand-paint the skirt and jacket inspired by his work, so I immediately understood how intensive the process would be to paint a grid on a surface the size of a wall!   He also joked that perhaps a fashion line should be in the works.  I'd wear it!

Robert's work is on view at Hionas Gallery until May 26th.

Photos by Kathy Paciello.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

KUSAMA KIDS







My very favorite thing about Artfully Awear is seeing how others are inspired to create their own wearable art.  Leila and Jonah, along with their mother Stephanie, created these fabulous polka-dotted shirts for their visit to the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum. Stephanie said they were inspired by my Artfully Awear ensembles.  In her words, "The exhibit is so interactive already and interacting with your clothing brings it to the next level."  Have you ever seen a more adorable duo?!  It looks like Leila and Jonah had a blast wearing their Kusama shirts in her infinity rooms!

Have you created any wearable art?  I would love to see it!  Use the hashtag #ArtfullyAwear on social media to share your creations.


Monday, May 1, 2017

DESERTX






"Do you want to go to an art scavenger hunt in the desert?" Without hesitation, my friend Jayne responded, "I'm in!"

A few weeks ago, I flew out to Palm Springs from New York, and Jayne drove to the desert from her home in Los Angeles.  We immediately got to the task of locating sixteen different site-specific artworks, the Desert Exhibition of Art (or DesertX), which were sprinkled throughout the Coachella Valley. Our favorites are shown here: Tavares Strachan's I Am, Phillip K. Smith III, The Circle of Land and Sky, Doug Aitken's Mirage, and Claudia Comte's Curves and Zigzags, which I painted a dress to match.

The most fun part of the whole experience was driving through the desert to locate the works.  Even though the exhibition had a map, there was still some creative visualization involved in pinpointing the exact location of some of the pieces.  Being told to watch out for scorpions was another high point.  It was so interesting to see how the various artists created site-specifics works, and the different themes that emerged throughout.  All in all, it was a unique experience, and I'm looking forward to the next edition of Desert X!


Photos by Jayne Clark.