Parisian sculptor Vincent Vergone

The human form is one of the most enduring themes in art. For millennia, masters in all disciplines of art have been trying to replicate the complex intricacies of the human body. The emotive capacity of a person who is able to think, feel and breathe is almost limitless and this can no doubt be frustrating for a sculptor to duplicate into bronze.

Vincent Vergone is a Parisian sculptor and animator, who knows this problem too well. He’s spent innumerable time studying his craft, under a mentor and on through his own experimentation. Vincent’s reason for his precision is simple: he believes that the face is the mirror of the soul, and that a sculpture must be able to portray these ethereal emotions as well as a human face can. This kind of dedication is what once led him to work for six months on crafting just the face of one of his sculptures.

Vincent’s commitment to his craft is seen immediately in his work. His sculptures carry a signature look – long, sweeping, elongated arms and legs, limbs climbing skyward, meeting at the face which has all of its lines and curves etched perfectly, capturing the emotions of a mother with her children, or a couple.

TheScreenGirls_Vincent_Vergone

The way he finishes the pieces give them even more life. His bronzing can look brittle, and very earthy, brilliantly capturing the aging in some of his subjects.

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TheScreenGirls_Vincent_Vergone

 

We visited Vincent’s studio in Paris, and he was a gracious host as we perused his collection of unfinished pieces and previewed his foray into stop motion animated films. We asked him about his failed beginnings as a painter, how he discovered his passion for sculpture, and the first piece he ever sold.

 

Discussing detachment and decay with London taxidermist Claire Morgan

 

In 2002, Claire Morgan constructed Untitled an installation in which 2000 fresh strawberries were threaded with nylon and hung from the ceiling in a complex, concave shape. The piece was no doubt a laborious effort; the months of detailed planning, sourcing and implementation were all apparent in the final product – a sculpture that decayed within 10 days.

(Claire Morgan)

(Claire Morgan)

Most of Claire’s work is temporary. She uses organic materials, bringing together flowers, animals, insects and other matter and melding them into three dimensional shapes. Her works are commentaries on the relationship we nurture with nature, and some of her pieces hold themes of contained chaos. It can be jarring when you first realize Making A Killing is adorned with real butterflies but Claire’s use of taxidermy is the perfect introduction for us, who hadn’t previously thought it as art. She gives a new life to these animals as they’re reframed into shapes which seem to fluidly bend as you move around the piece.

(Claire Morgan)

(Claire Morgan)

The interim nature of installation work breeds a unique type of artist. It’s always interesting to learn how an installation artist accepts that their piece, which required such physical and mental effort will eventually cease to exist. For Claire, the fragility of her pieces is worth the price of seeing her ideas executed. She isn’t troubled with the notion of her legacy, instead she concerns herself with the implementation of her ideas. We still had so many questions about how she detached from her pieces but almost forgot to ask, as we spent the next few hours engrossed, prying through her buckets of bee’s and various stuffed animals (and her very alive cat). We did manage to ask Claire about how she’s adapted to letting go of her pieces, where she sources her animals and which animal is her favorite to work with.

Paris based illustrator Carine Brancowitz on art and adolescence

 

Carine Brancowitz

Carine Brancowitz

Her illustrations first caught our attention in Grazia and since then, we’ve been enamoured. Her work, drawn with ball point pen, is a labyrinth of detailed patterns, inked with vibrant hues.

She often draws adolescents as they mill about during all too ordinary situations. Sometimes they’re eating or laughing or sitting or sad. Carine’s precision helps bring her subjects to life. Her work is full of depth as she contrasts detailed subjects against flat backgrounds,  perfectly capturing the moods of her teens. Her skill is all in the subtle nuances, the way a thousand tiny lines of hair can be strewn against a girl’s bright eyes.

Carine’s pieces are layered with different styles, with her lines being just as interesting as her subjects. Her illustrations are so complex, yet simplistic, that one can’t help but wonder “how does she do it?”

We met Carine in her workspace in Paris to gain some insight into her process. Her studio, a spacious white walled apartment in the 5th, was sated with drawings, in various stages of completion amidst her colorful array of pens.

We brought with us many assumptions:  that she has a divine level of patience (she doesn’t), that she must carefully preplan her illustrations (not really) and that she’s been to the Eiffel Tower (not once).

Carine possesses an unassuming sort of charm; she’s graceful, but not loud about her talent (everyone’s good at something) and as we sat with her on the floor sifting through her pieces, we were overcome by a surge of nostalgia as we remembered the happy sickness of our youth, in the faces of her subjects.

And as with youth, our experience with Carine was fleeting. Before we parted we asked her to share with us her thoughts on adolescence, illustration and the effect of globalization in art.

Habemus Pizza

Habemus Pizza

 


When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?

Around 7 years old, really early.
I felt it. You don’t really choose to be an artist.
This is a seed deep inside you,
you choose to water it or not.


Why did you choose illustration as your medium?

I’m not fond of messy places.
I treasure living in a clean and empty space,
and don’t want to be confronted to the chaos that painting materials involves.
Stains everywhere and so on…
Moreover sometimes I travel a lot. You need to be “light” and flexible.


From where do you draw inspiration?

From everywhere.
There is a constant flow;
a line in a book,
a talk-show on the radio,
a person in the metro,
inspiration is generous. Continue reading

Meet NYC installation artists Aux Armes

“Aux arms et caetera” is a 1979 Gainsbourg album whose title song was considered an insult to the French Republic and reportedly even pissed off Bob Marley. The song also served as inspiration for installation artists Sam Wheeler and Dino Siampos, a creative duo who have taken window displays to new dimensions. They’ve collaborated with an impressive roster of clients, to produce visually arresting displays that perfectly merry their playful taste with the brands luxe message.

Dino and Sam have established a cohesive workflow, their bond (established during their time in their band Soft) has allowed them to venture past installations and collaborate on Lavender Lake, their bar in Brooklyn and on Svpscription, a quarterly curated subscription service delivering hard to find items to discerning customers.

We met Aux Armes in their spacious Brooklyn studio, replete with exposed brick, red furniture and quirky statues. Their space is reflective of their mannerisms, calm and cool without being contrived. We spoke with Sam and Dino about their Barneys beginnings, what it’s like to create for big brands and if they consider themselves artists.

How did Barneys play a role in the inception of Aux Armes?

S: I was 23 when I moved to NYC, April 2001. My first job was selling jeans at Barneys on the 8th floor at the Madison flagship. Working at Barneys was like going to grad school for business. It was a crash course in a very specific language. In terms of how to think about the environment and how to think about making things both functional and artistic, it was when I still thought of it like an artist.

D: I was working for Barneys in Chicago, doing freelance work for them, and around that time they were opening Barneys co-ops around the US and they flew me to New York to open one in Soho. I was here for a week and had a good time and was just super impressed by everyone and obviously the city. The team mentioned that there would be a position open if i wanted it, in New York, so of course I took it and moved. I was 25.

At what point did you decide that you wanted to work together? 

S: I met Dino at a party when he was here opening the 18th street co-op. We were friends, but not super close friends, I had made friends with everyone in the visual department. It was really through the band we were in that we became such close friends.  Going on the road and practicing five nights a week. Going on the road, you really get to know who a person is.

D: We both found ourselves in the same position, both being freelance, even though Sam was still at Barneys, he was kind of trying to get himself out of that. So he’d come and help me out on jobs, on the freelance side of things, and I would do the same with him, and it just got to the point where we were like well, why don’t we just actually just do the job always together, maybe call ourselves something, it was almost that basic. It made sense, and we had fun with the name, and making our own business cards, getting a website going, and it all just kind of started from there.

You started your business during the recession; were you worried about failing? 

S:  It was scary, to leave a full time job and the economy wasn’t okay, and to possibly have no pay, except for a couple of freelance clients. Basically we were doing one store once a month. Also without the support structure of a team, we’re always going to be on our own and on the fly.  There was a certain element of faking it until we made it. Oh yeah, we can do that…how do we do that? We met great people, other fabricators and designers.

D: We luckily didn’t have to do much to try and find work. We worked with a lot of similar creatives, in different fields and we all came up together at the same time.  There’s this kind of unspoken support system, and that kind of really helped us, to grow and acquire work. At the same time, people do like the story that we’re like this duo, semi stylish, there’s a perception there, and we were in a band together, and we’re friends, we’re always seen pretty much together during the day. Continue reading

Poetry in anonymity: Amsterdam street artist Laser 3.14

The public opinion on graffiti has changed significantly in the past two decades. The new wave of street art has socio-economic undertones, strong messages, and striking visuals, allowing public access to appreciate art, far removed from the confines of galleries.

Street artist Laser 3.14 is a social provocateur, providing cultural commentary through his tags on temporary spaces in Amsterdam. He’s a poet, a thinker and a street punk, confining anarchy onto plywood.

His work is simple – often just one or two lines, encouraging provocation, reminding you of truths you thought were escapable. It’s not intended for shock value, there is angst, but it’s not angry.

Instead, the artist offers up his interpretation of the sadness, love, social injustice and moral qualms of which we are made.

Laser 3.14 has become synonymous with Amsterdam. His work, although temporary, is by no means scarce. It pops up frequently, through the different landscapes of the city; between the sex and coffee shops near Centraal, above the heads of the tourists in the Museumplein and most significantly, in the cool streets of Jordaan.

His true identity like most graffiti artists and superheroes, is a mystery. He prefers to work in complete anonymity, adopting the moniker of Johnny Smith on his various social media accounts. We visited him at his studio in Amsterdam and he is just as enigmatic in person.

During our time with him, we discussed the growing popularity of street art, the freedom his anonymity allows him and why graffiti isn’t something just naughty boys do.

 

” Sometimes the mystery gives the art even more potency.”

– Laser 3.14