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Blog

An Interview with Colleen RJC Bratton

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This month at Velouria we have the wonderful soft-sculptures by artist, Colleen RJC Bratton. Colleen has been living in Brooklyn, New York for the past year and has created a new body of work based on this transition from Seattle to Brooklyn. In a twist of fate, Colleen and her husband will be returning to the Pacific Northwest this month!

In the organizing of this months show Hannah had the chance to learn more about Colleen and her process, spending time with her work and chatting via email. Below is a portion of that correspondence:

Stand or Crawl, 2016

Stand or Crawl, 2016

Velouria: Do you think your time in New York/East Coast has changed or influenced you/your work?

Colleen Bratton: Definitely. While in Seattle I made new work constantly without much regard to what each of their physical impacts would be. I went from a 200 square foot studio and large apartment in Seattle to working with about 50 square feet inside my New York apartment. I was doing art almost full-time in Seattle but in New York I worked part-time with another artist. The time and spatial limitations of New York City put restrictions on not only the scale of work I was making but also on the quantity. At first this was frustrating, but I quickly realized that the limitation was an opportunity to hone in on the quality. I felt a responsibility to only make work I felt was worth existing; otherwise I’d be creating waste. In January I started working on Settling In with the work Contrast. The idea for the piece came from a sketch I made four months prior which was my first week in the city. Many of my pieces function this way: I let them soak for quite some time before coming to the surface in tangible form. For the first seven months of the series I only made one work a month. This pacing allowed me the room to fine tune my process and find a trustworthy groove for making. While at Vermont Studio Center, this groove gave me the freedom to bring six more works to fruition in one month’s time.

New York City is one of the most vibrant places I’ve ever experienced. I’ve always wanted to create a body of work inspired by a public sphere and the city’s subway system was the perfect conduit. Millions of people ride the subway on a weekly basis. It’s the most public sphere in New York City and it’s the metropolitan’s connective tissue. When people are down in the tunnels a lot of the time they have no cell phone reception. The bustle of the city above comes to a halt and it’s just you and the people around you attempting to occupy their own attentions in that space. It’s a collective experience unlike any other. This series is partially a love letter to that space. It’s also about figuring out my place within that environment and charting its personality both architecturally and socially. It’s the first time I’ve worked with painting and fabric together. The hardness of the painting represents the unknown, foreign parts of the environment while the soft fabric reveals the comfort that comes after adaptation.

Contrast, 2016

Contrast, 2016

V: Much of the series "Settling In," draws inspiration from NYC, do you feel like this series is being cut short now that you're moving back West?

CB: Time Cut Short deals with that realization. The negative space in this piece weighs equal with the positive. I can feel that parallel universe in which I stayed in NYC, just in the same way I can feel the other half of that square in Time Cut Short. But I’ll never actually know what that looks like because I made the decision to move back to Seattle. I made the decision to not add that second half to Time Cut Short. The entrance to that tunnel has been filled and has become impenetrable.

There are many more works in this series that are waiting to come to fruition. For the meantime I’ll continue to make them manifest.

This body of work came out of my acclimation to New York City. It would be naïve to say I have Seattle all figured out and acclimating back will be easy as pie. The term “vice versa” comes to mind and I think I’ll focus on that.

Acclimation, 2016

Acclimation, 2016


V: Space and self are two central themes to your work, do you plan on revisiting places that have previously been sources of inspiration (like the Frye), if so do you think you'll see the space or yourself in a new light?

CB: When I join a new environment I usually wait it out to see what resonates with me. My work is primarily about the relationship between self and space over time so until time enters that equation I don’t know what places I’ll choose to study. The locations I focus on tend to be spots that are part of my normal routine. The Frye was routine when I was a security guard there. I do hope to continue to make art about public places. I’m drawn to how the familiar imagery of public places makes the work more relatable to the viewer.

V: What are you most looking forward to upon your return?

CB: First, being close to my dear friends and family again. Secondly, the art scene in Seattle is so lovely and supportive. It’s incredible how excited they are about new and experimental methods. Thirdly, I’ve missed that lush, gothic green deeply. There’s nothing like living in a city surrounded by clean water, grandiose mountains, and a blanket of emerald. It’ll be good to breathe in clean air and find new ground in the Pacific Northwest. 

A huge thanks to Colleen!

A huge thanks to Colleen!

If you haven't had a chance to see the show stop by from 6 - 9 Thursday, September, 29th for the closing reception , and meet the truly delightful Colleen in person.

Her work can be found online here or here or here.

An Interview with Neon Saltwater + Shaana Hatamian

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Our current art show features a group show curated by the The Blush Room, an online gallery space for femme identified artists. Today we're connecting with two more of the artists, 3D illustrator, Neon Saltwater and fiber artist, Shaana Hatamian.

First up, Neon Saltwater:

Neon Saltwater, "Mall Feelings" 2016

Neon Saltwater, "Mall Feelings" 2016

 

Velouria: How did you come to find 3D modeling/ what first attracted you to it?

Neon Saltwater: I got into interior 3D modeling when I was in interior design school as a commercial tool to create renderings of prospective spaces.  For a long time I thought its uses were pretty limited to that but I found myself getting lost in it and spending countless HOURS on the details. I still consider myself an interior designer, however 3D modeling as an art medium is so satisfying because the limitations that exist in the real world don't apply.

V: Describe your process, do you have any specific rituals or routines?

NS: Sometimes I have partial pieces of a space mapped out in my head, and then once I start building it in 3D it just kind of grows and grows. I try to create my own textures sometimes and I do some small detail stuff in Photoshop too at the end.  

V: Who are some artists/designers/writers/makers who inspire you?

NS: Artists that inspire me: Miranda Lorikeet, Yoko Honda, Anny Wang, Dom Sebastian, Jules de Balincourt, Edward Hopper, Matthias Weischer, Laura Callaghan, Maria Jose Carlier, Jess Audrey, Mary Katrantzou and so many more!

V: If you could spend the day with one artist past or present who would it be?

NS: All the artists above express space, interiors, objects and time in a way that hits my gut, it would be an honor to spend the day with any of them and pick their brain and observe things they notice out in the world.

See more of Neon Saltwater's work at their website.

Neon Saltwater, "She's an Aquarius" 2015

Neon Saltwater, "She's an Aquarius" 2015


Up next, Shaana Hatamian:

Shaana Hatamian, "Ikat" 2014

Shaana Hatamian, "Ikat" 2014

 

Velouria: How did you come to find weaving/ what first attracted you to it?

Shaana Hatamian: Much of my interest in textiles stems from my Iranian culture. I grew up with finely crafted Iranian rugs and textiles that are quite exceptional. My admiration for such works let me to study Fibers during my undergraduate career. I became the most curious in the field when I started learn how to weave. I am continuously interested in how color, materials, and structure come together in a practice that has such ties to tradition. 

V: Describe your process, do you have any specific rituals or routines?

SH: I sketch. I plan. I start to weave and then it always turns into something different. I listen to at least one album from start to finish.

V: Who are some artists/designers/writers/makers who inspire you?

SH: Anni Albers, Mark Rothko, Faig Ahmed, Brent Wadden

V: If you could spend the day with one artist past or present who would it be?

SH: Sheila Hicks, a brilliant contemporary fiber artist.

You can check out more of Shaana's work at her website.

Shaana Hatamian, "Proximity" 2015

Shaana Hatamian, "Proximity" 2015


A big thanks to both Shaana & Neon Saltwater for taking the time to chat about their work with us!

The Blush Room curated show is up for just a few more days, be sure to stop and check out these talented artist's work.

An Interview with Ella Ordona

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This month at Velouria we have a show curated by the online gallery space, The Blush Room. Hannah, our events coordinator has asked some of the artists included in the show a few questions about their work & art practice. First up, Ella Ordona! 

Garden I, 2014, Ella Ordona

Garden I, 2014, Ella Ordona

Velouria: How did you come to find photography/ what first attracted you to it?

Ella Ordona: I started photographing in high school but then came to really appreciate it during parties and social gatherings. I didn't have much formal training and started photographing friends and our lives as we were just hanging out, and every time I got images back from the lab, it was surprising to see this perfect encapsulation of a moment that was even beyond what I had anticipated. There would be things that I hadn't noticed at the time of capture: patterns, colors, even body language and facial expressions. 

Seattle, June 2013, Ella Ordona

Seattle, June 2013, Ella Ordona

V: Describe your process, do you have any specific rituals or routines?


EO: Over time, I've moved towards more anticipatory rather than reactionary work and go through a process of brainstorming, journaling and collection. For each project, I keep these separate handmade journals and scribble initial ideas and sketches. Color is a huge part of my work, so I'm constantly playing around with that. Finally, I do this sort of intuitive collection of objects that are somehow tied to these images. I'll pick flowers and dry them or take posters and flyers off of walls. A lot of refrigerator and pantry space is dedicated to these cans of soda and juice that somehow remind me of the images I'm making. 

My images are often reworked and I find myself being drawn to the same materials in my photographs again and again - last year, I was really obsessed with tin foil and it kept reappearing in my work.

Birthday Party II, 2014, Ella Ordona

Birthday Party II, 2014, Ella Ordona

V: Who are some artists/designers/writers/makers who inspire you?

EO: Right now, I'm super into Neon Saltwater, TUF, Satpreet Kahlon, Una Blue, Ashley Armitage. I just saw this exhibit in Vancouver by Bharti Kher that floored me.

V: If you could spend the day with one artist past or present who would it be? 

EO: This one's way too hard to answer since I feel like this changes on a daily basis. Today, it's Meriem Bennani. 

Garden II, 2014, Ella Ordona

Garden II, 2014, Ella Ordona

Thanks to Ella for sharing a little about her work, we're excited to see more!  Be sure to stop by and see Ella's work, it's up until the end of August. You can also find her on Instagram @ella0 and on the web at www.ella-ordona.com.