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Exclusive Interviews: Modern Eden Gallery ‘Artist of the Day’

It’s the perfect moment to be inspired by all the things you love and admire… like the beauty and joys of art. As the days change, some filled with uncertainty and others with hope, we can use this time to encourage our imaginative facilities and build a new sense of community through support and creativity. Modern Eden Gallery is doing just that by celebrating a selection of artists in their April ‘Artist of the Day’ event.

I had the pleasure of presenting an immersive Q&A to several of these talented creatives to learn more about their work and how they’re keeping busy during this time of quarantine. So kick back and enjoy this epic collection of 18 interviews as part of Modern Eden Gallery’s April ‘Artist of the Day’.

Modern Eden Gallery // Many are facing a hard road ahead, and our goal during this difficult time is to support our community of artists and to keep our fans and patrons engaged and inspired. With this in mind, we’ve put together a simple project called Artist of the Day. Each day in April, we will highlight a specific artist and release a new original artwork under $500 through the gallery website daily. We are also working with many of the featured artists to bring you print releases, Instagram live discussions, demos, and interviews.

We hope this project gives you the opportunity to support and engage our artists in a meaningful way while you are staying safe at home. Be sure to follow @moderneden #MEartistoftheday. For more information, please email info@moderneden.com

Modern Eden Gallery April ‘Artist of the Day’

Megan Buccere

Megan Buccere snake eye painting Modern Eden Gallery

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing? 

It’s been difficult to pull out anything creatively speaking. I teach high school art and often ask for students to critique my works in progress. I like to hear what they think, and feel about my work. Their perspectives are so fresh it’s always fun to work with them. During this quarantine, I’ve been hard pressed for inspiration. I find myself much more concerned with the state of my home and family members. It’s absolutely been difficult to create.

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you? 

Before the world was turned upside down, I was and am into creating works that combine my love of sculpture with my love of painting. I’m currently delving into a body of work where my sculpted elements enhance the painted scenes.

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight? 

What am I listening to? Hmm mostly trying to find audiobooks that aren’t annoying (hehe) I’m  always listening to tool and other hard rock, some rap thrown in.

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go! 

3 words to describe my mood, optimistic, anxious and anxious. 3 words to describe my art, trying, really, hard.

Primary Hughes 

Primary Hughes landscape painting Modern Eden Gallery

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

I’ve been really thankful that so many artists have been providing livestream demonstrations online and even organizing remote figure drawing sessions to keep the community engaged and bring back a sense of the normal studio atmosphere. I’d give a shout out to the folks, John English and Timmy Trabon, at the Illustration Academy / Visual Art Passage for the ones they’ve put together. As an illustration professor, I have been motivated by the need to stay engaged for my students’ sake if not my own. Otherwise, once school is out for the semester, I’m looking forward to doing some good old school social distancing—painting on the black rocks alone by the lake.

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

The past few summers I’ve really embraced the act of plein air painting. I live on the coast of Lake Superior and have access to a beautiful landscape just a few minutes from my house. In the process, I’ve been investigating watercolor and gouache, but really fallen in love with oil painting and the immediacy of the paint and textures that you can achieve. I avoid working indoors with oils, but the experience has dramatically improved how I handle my acrylic paintings in the studio. 

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

In between preparing my illustration courses for delivery online, I am working on a new body of work for a mini-solo show at Modern Eden Gallery in July. There are some early teasers on my Instagram and we’ll share more in the coming months before the opening. The work builds on the layered portraiture work that I’ve had the opportunity to create for Modern Eden Gallery in recent years. 

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

I have a “go-to” playlist for the current painting series. It keeps growing as I hear something new, but it always seems to get me prepped to start the work. Currently, it has a lot of Portugal. The Man, Cold War Kids, Foster the People, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Cage the Elephant. On TV, I’m rewatching shows that are a bit more idealistic and hopeful like The West Wing and Doctor Who.

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go! 

I could answer this with any number of memes, but my current mood like most everyone is, “day-to-day.” The artwork is much more optimistic and ideal in its aims: Romantic, Flourishing, and Vibrant.

Robert Bowen

Robert Bowen surreal painting Modern Eden Gallery

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

Honestly, just trying to stick to my normal routine; it’s really easy for me to get caught up in daily news and spiral, hell I did that before all this. I check in for a bit in the morning, and in the evening to stay informed, but I try my hardest to devote the bulk of the day to being creative, it’s getting harder but it definitely helps. Art therapy. 

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

I stumbled upon my recent subject matter of animal and engine concept and realize it gave me a voice to paint about mankind over stepping its boundaries and encroaching way to hard on nature. In turn that led my to start a series that counter act that and is about animals and gems, and how we should be treating the natural world around us. Covet it. 

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

A continuation of the ideas above, I’m really focused on those at the moment. A balance of the two is super important to me. 

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

A steady mix of Pixies, Ghostface, 90’s hip hop and Yacht Rock. Antiques Roadshow is on tonight. 

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go!

Me: Worried, angry, and hungry. Artwork: Worried, bleak, but hopeful.

Stephanie Jucker 

Stephanie Jucker surreal nude paiting

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing? 

I’m getting the know my indoor plants really well, and noticing the little spiders weaving beautiful webs to catch tiny flies. Also, I love seeing the droplets of sap and new leaves growing in geometric patterns. 

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork. 

I have more time to get into the details while seeing things in a really global way. 

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you? 

I’m painting a lot in oils again and combining that with gold leafing elements. During museum visits back in London I’ve been inspired by early Renaissance art that combines religious imagery with decorative embossed gold leaf. I’d like to bring that element to my handmade books too, make them more like illuminated manuscripts. 

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight? 

I’m going between 90’s Rap and Calming Meditation Radio on Pandora! I find Lady Gaga videos really energizing right now, and my favourite song is still Lizzo’s Like A Girl, such a great empowerment anthem. Tonight I’ll watch more Ozark (still on season 2) and then as a palette cleanser some Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show at Home. 

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go! 

Mood – Unsettled, Exasperated, Optimistic. Artwork– Tranquil, Lush, Optimistic. 

Amandalynn

Amandalynn surreal portrait painting Modern Eden Gallery

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

This slow down of life has given me a very focused studio practice, and I am diving deep into many projects that I had on my to do list. I am also really taking the time to think through ideas before I start creating, which is something I don’t always have the opportunity to do. I normally spend a lot of my time traveling for mural projects and other event curation, so taking some time to really focus on what I am doing in the studio has been really inspiring to me. Since the internet seems to be the way to keep in touch with the outside world during this time, I have been posting a lot of what I have been working on to keep myself and others inspired. I also have been spending time dreaming up ideas for new big mural projects that I will paint once I can get back out on the streets! 

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

I spend a lot of time in nature, taking hikes and looking around. As a small child, my grandparents took my sister and I out almost everyday on long walks in the forest, and taught us how to identify different flowers, trees, birds, and even mushrooms. They showed us the way each part of nature depends on the other, and how by finding one source of life, it is often a sign that another type is growing near by. This is how I approach my design process. I try to capture the interconnection between nature and human life, the way we both influence each other to grow in our own unique way. I have been very fortunate to experience many different climates of nature, as well as meet a vast array of personalities, so my work is ever evolving and inspired. 

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

I am very excited to be starting a new series titled ‘Full Circle’ for a solo exhibition later this year with Modern Eden Gallery. Coming Full Circle can mean a lot of different things to everyone, especially right now in our world.Through this new series I am excited to create pieces bursting with the symbols of unfurling life and nature, that are hidden behind each one of our lives and decisions. It is amazing to see nature and the planet starting to heal itself as we all start to slow down, I am hoping to capture the hidden beauty behind this growth beyond destruction. 

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

In the morning, I like things quiet; I just listen to the sounds of nature and my thoughts. As the day goes on, I start to tune into podcasts, the news, and music. My music tastes are very varied, but one person I always come back to is Erykah Badu. I am not sure what I will watch tonight – I normally listen more than watch – but I just finished rewatching / listening to OA on Netflix. 

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go!

Mood – Calm, Inspired, Preparing. Artwork – colorful, loud, bright.

Erica Calardo

Erica Calardo surreal portrait drawing

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

To be quite honest, my life didn’t change that much… I cannot teach and I miss my students. But I can concentrate on projects I put apart for a while. I can paint biiiig canvases. It is somehow thrilling in a strange way, it’s like living in a suspended bubble of time where I can concentrate solely on my work and experiment. I listen to audiobooks and to music. When I’m not painting I play with my 16 month old baby and we let our imagination run wild. I kind of enjoy this quarantine.

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

I’ve learned to be cheerful even though. I’ve learned that the fight against my own daemons should happen on my easel, not in my life. Now more than ever, I realize the deep healing power of art and creativity. 

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

I’m exploring the concepts of transient and introspection. I’m working on some big canvases and simple composition. I’m constantly attracted by that specific suspended moment on the threshold between wake and sleep, here and there. These strange times and their feelings are really close to my own vision. 

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

I’m listening to Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann. That and other audiobooks because I’m an addict. Tonight I’ll talk to my husband and then straight to my books (currently The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and a french textbook about painting dating back to the 1800s. Because, I have to accept it, I’m an addict.

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go! 

Elated, dreamy, grateful vs suspended, eerie, liminar.

Jaxon Northon

Jaxon Northon self portrait painting

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

Coffee and booze. So, nothing really out of the ordinary.

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

I’ve always had a hard time dealing with humanity and being a human. I think that’s why I paint humans. To try to convince myself of the possibility of what we could and should be. There is a Charlie Chaplin quote from the movie Limelight that I’ve always desperately clung to, in which Chaplin says: “I love the public but I don’t admire them. As individuals, yes I love them. There is greatness in everyone. But as a crowd they’re like a monster without a head that never knows which way it’s going to turn. It can be prodded in any direction.”

I truly believe that there is greatness in everyone and that greatness needs to extend to society as a whole. We need to try harder to be better and I believe it is an artist’s job to champion that idea. To show what we can achieve if we don’t just conform to what the public dictates.

However, there is also an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote that I have always embraced when approaching art that basically points out the futileness of such sentiments yet encourages one to keep going because WHAT ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO DO. “Art is meaningless in itself. It isn’t in that it tries to make life less so.” 

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

In quarantine I have been working on a few things so far. Some commission work that is left over from when people still had some money. A personal project of mine that I have been working on for the past few years I’ve been calling The Human Head which is part portraiture, part anthropology, part oral history in which I interview interesting people from all walks of life about who they are then paint them and have the audio available to listen to while looking at the painting. If the portrait could talk kind of thing. It has turned out really well so far if I may say so myself. You probably haven’t seen much of of it though because I have yet to find the right place and the right funding for it… Bueller… Anyone?… Anyone?…

I’ve started some small portraits of people in popular culture (alive and dead) that I admire for their genius and individuality. Kind of a ‘Kings and Queens of humanity series’. I’ll be showing some through Modern Eden Gallery’s Artist of the Day spotlight on April 26th.  And since you’ve got me rambling here I want to say that Kim and Bradley are amazing for continuing to give us such a beautiful outlet. Art galleries are one of the few necessary institutions that bring only pure good and light to our dark society yet it is extremely hard to keep them running for lack of financial support. It has to be doubly hard during this pandemic. SUPPORT THEM. SUPPORT ART. The world is a miserable place without it.

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

Shit. John Prine. Live. Mexican Home. On repeat. and crying into bourbon. Just like I did last night after he died. I loved that man. One of the best humans to ever live. 

I’ll probably keep watching ‘Kidding’ on Showtime. I love the practical effects. I watched Dave Chappelle’s Kennedy Center Mark Twain award show on Netflix last night. That’s another one of the best humans to ever live. Shit maybe I have to add two new people to my little painting series. 

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go! 

Ooooo. Uh, Sad. Disappointed. Pale. And then Sad. Disappointed. Naively-hopeful (that’s three words, there’s a hyphen). 

Chris Leib

Chris Leib surreal animal painting

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

Besides current projects, I’m trying to create one brush ink drawing each day. I love the medium and I rarely take the time to explore it anymore. Whatever comes to my head I just go with it, like a diary of this time.

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

It’s easy to get down in a situation like this. I’ve learned from a number of experiences that the best thing to do is stay busy. Find projects around the house, start that graphic novel, and even better if you can think of projects that can assist others. This situation has reminded me that our ‘job’ as artists is to add to society, put a voice to both hopes and fears. Art let’s you know you are not alone. 

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

I’m working on drawings right now, an extension of a series I began in 2013 – 15. It is a series of Royalty/Queens with astronaut helmets. It’s about power and control. The astronaut gear it turns out is rather timely. When I can return to my studio I will turn them into larger paintings.

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

Listening to John Wentz’s Lo Fi Podcast today. And tonight I’ll be catching up on Fargo.

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go! 

Mood… Tense, annoyed, distracted. Art… Tense, annoyed, detailed.

Ransom & Mitchell: (Stacey Ransom and Jason Mitchell)

Ransom & Mitchell surreal bee lady portrait

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing? 

To be honest, Sheltering-in-Place is not that hard since we already live and work in the same place. We love to cook and we already subscribed to many streaming services for music, films, and literature. As artists, we’ve been self-isolating for years! The two substantial streaming adds to our routine have been exercise and “live” performances. We are surprised how fun and effective the streaming yoga, pilates and dance classes have been. We actually think we are exercising more! We also love live performances, so we’ve been very happy that many theater companies, and symphonies have been able to share their productions via streaming platforms (both subscription and free).

We can admit that reading the news and the unfolding developments around the globe is sobering. We’ve found ourselves spending WAY too much time reading the current events, so to counter “pandemic-paralysis” we’ve been mindful to be positive. We’ve been encouraging to each other to get away from the news and keep making art. In addition to working on our mini “Oh, Honey!” body of work for the Modern Eden Artist-of-the-Day project, we’ve been pushing each other to take advantage of the down-time to work on our own personal projects. Stacey has been working on a new sculpture that she has been planning for a while, and Jason is developing some new thematic ideas and techniques for his encaustic works.

If you don’t have creative partners, find some folks that you feel good sharing with, and build a support circle to help keep you pushing yourself, motivationally and creatively. Building mood boards on Pinterest can help at least define whatever you’re thinking about. These are great habits that can exist with or without Covid-19.

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

We are in a group show curated by Diane Hoffman at Arc Gallery in June (“Awakened by the Midnight”), and we were planning to collaborate with a costume designer friend on an idea that required models and a crew, so that had to be tabled. In its place, we’ve moved up a project that’s been simmering on a back burner that incorporates 2-D digital art with 3-D sculpture. Stacey has been exploring new recipes for types of clay to make and use in these pieces. If we are happy with the results, this may be the beginning of a new body of work we’d like to debut at Vanilla Gallery in the future.

We were also just starting a window installation project with Loved To Death, a popular dark-arts store in SF, and that will be put off until the outside world is open again. In the interim, we are working with owner, Audra Kunkle on how we might be able to create virtual windows. 

With all the upheaval, we are thrilled to be able to debut, our new mini-series “Oh Honey!” with Modern Eden Gallery’s ‘Artist of the Day’ – this has been a project we began a few months ago, and this show gave us a focused deadline to tackle and complete them (releasing on the 14th). Yay for deadlines!

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

Jason:  psychedelica guitar rock (Brian Jonestown Massacre, Allah-Las, etc.).

Stacey: dark hearted, electronic drone (SQÜRL, Fever Ray, Soap & Skin, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Kora (CA), Agnes Opal).

Both: Lounge House with lyric-free background music for creating. 

Jason: guilty pleasuring foodie show Ugly Delicious.

Both: sci-fi fantasy gems Westworld, Altered Carbon, I’m Not Okay With This. If you haven’t seen it yet, The Watchmen is great. 

Stacey: just finished the creepy 6 part graphic novel series Locke & Key which is probably more visually rich than the Netflix adaptation. Also reading a bunch of sci-fi including Rosewater, The Broken Earth Trilogy and classics The Fall of Hyperion, and The Way Station.

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go! 

Mood:  Grateful, Resolved, Chonky. Artwork: Lush, Sensual, Enigmatic.

Jacqueline Gallagher 

Jacqueline Gallagher pop surreal mermaid painting

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

I am a natural hermit 90% of the time and it’s easy for me to slump into days of lazyness and guilt, almost as if I binge on sloth. During those periods I get nothing done, as I can hardly motivate myself to get dressed, let alone create something new. Luckily it’s spring, and being able to go outside and do some yard work, see how everything else is still growing, still moving, has been instrumental in kicking my ass in to gear. I am so fortunate to have a yard now, but for people stuck in apartments like I always was, find something to grow and nourish, even if it’s just the base of your spent lettuce soaking in a cup of water on a windowsill. That seems to work for me, just a little kick in the right direction snowballs quickly in to productivity.

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

I’ve heard a good way to motivate yourself to work out is to put on gym clothes, so for my artwork, even if I am not in the mood or don’t have any ideas of what to do, I get my station all set up and sit in front of the easle, anyway.  As I’ve learned from “What About Bob?”, baby steps.

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

May is Mermay at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco, and I am working on a large piece for that, another “feejee mermaid.”  I have been doing a lot of group shows in the past couple of years, keeping with short and strict deadlines, which is great to keep me painting but also limits how large I can work.  I’m moving back to BIG canvases this summer and playing with candy colored humanoid alien imagery, keeping the deadlines loose.  

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

I have recently stumbled onto a Japanese girl punk band called Otoboke Beaver. Holy hell, talk about a kick in the ass! You need to get moving, throw that on all house speakers. What am I NOT watching? I like to listen to the TV while I paint, so I go through a lot of shows, pretty much anything with a story, murder plot dramas, horror comedies, comedy comedies, whatever (no reality TV thank you very much).  Just finished Ozark, working through Happy on Netflix, which is… intense!

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go! 

Fun-loving cynic / cheerful rainbow nightmares.

Helice Wen

Helice Wen flower nature portrait painting

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

I am actually very inspired. Knowing my families and friends are safe; the uncertainty on the environment makes me want to create more. 

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

I can create in different setting. Also if one material isn’t available, I can pick up something else and have new experience.

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

I was working on a solo exhibition for a gallery in New York. Now the show is postponed without date; I am ok with extra time to refine the body of work.

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

I’m over news and podcast. I have been listening to electronic live set through the day; at night I usually read. 

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go!

Honesty, honesty, honesty.

Leilani Bustamante 

Leilani Bustamante surreal drawing

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

In general anxiety can be pretty crippling and in the current climate there is no shortage of sleepless nights. I usually have to kick start my inspiration by looking at other forms of art (film, photography, music) in order to get a different perspective. Something may cause a spark that can be developed.

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

I think from doing art for years I’ve had to come to trust my design instinct to know when a piece is done, whether it needs more and whether I’m challenging myself enough.

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

I’m currently working on a new series of work. Not sure what it’s going to shape up to be quite yet but I’m exploring more patterns and a brighter color palette. 

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

I’m currently listening to 90’s R&B and watching The Mandalorian. Again.

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go! 

My mood is calm, meditative and annoyed with my cat. My art tends to be Busy, detailed, patterned.

Catherine Moore

Catherine Moore bunny painting Modern Eden Gallery

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

To be honest, I haven’t been as “creative” as some of the artists out there. I have been cooking and baking a lot and I also have been spending time with the family playing games and doing puzzles and fighting off huge amounts of anxiety. Living with an anxiety disorder has not been fun since this all began. I usually can quell those negative feelings by sitting down and painting, but for the past couple of weeks, I have not had enough focus to do so. At the time of this writing, I am happy to say that the clouds seem to have lifted and I feel ready to get back to the easel. Not sure how long this feeling will last, but I full appreciate and welcome it.

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

Probably fairly early on I was struggling to come up with ideas when showing my work in galleries. I focused too much on what I thought a potential collector might want rather than listening to my own voice. I was used to working for clients who had a very particular idea or look in mind and I would create for them, take notes, color palettes, and other direction from them. So, when creating work for exhibition, it was a completely different beast. I remember a particular breakthrough when I was once again feeling overwhelmed with a piece for a group show when another artist friend of mine suggested I not overthink it and just paint whatever I wanted. I felt a weight lifted and found the painting came much more easily. I also made my very first sale with that work. Now I try to find that inner voice with each and every piece and try to quell the sometimes insecure part of my being that is more concerned with what others think. 

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

Every now and then I really like to delve into the world of fairy tales, magic, and childhood favorites. Currently, I am diving back into the world of Alice in Wonderland – a place I really like to explore. With all the craziness going on in the world right now, a rendition of the March Hare at a mad tea party felt appropriate. I even joined him for a cuppa! 

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

Listening to a variety of music, but for some reason Broadway showtunes are really hitting the spot for me (Hello Lin-Manuel Miranda!) I also sprinkle in The Cure, Muse, This Mortal Coil, and sometimes Foo Fighters. It’s a pretty mixed bag. As far as things to watch, I was late to the party on Schitt’s Creek, but I am now completely obsessed. Currently about halfway through Season 5 and am completely relating to David Rose. Absolute perfection, that show!

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go!

Current mood: uncertain, mercurial, determined. Artwork: imaginary, dark, illustrative.

Ania Tomicka 

Ania Tomicka surreal nude painting on wood Modern Eden Gallery

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

It wasn’t something I decided consciously but I stopped making personal works and started to just study new techniques. Without knowing it, new ideas started to flow into my mind but I am not sure I am ready to develop any of it yet.

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

Everything changes each time I start to study a new great master and his techniques. I am still looking for the best way for me to paint and I love to study new things. 

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

I am making so many studies in order to be able to approach my new personal artworks easier. I am planning a lot of huge new canvases.

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

The album “Tellurian” by Soen. I will probably don’t watch anything, I am having a hard time focusing on things.

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go! 

Melancholic, hopeful, reflective. Melancholic, oneiric, suspenseful… but I’d rather let the viewer describe my artworks; I don’t feel comfortable doing so!

Sandra Yagi 

Sandra Yagi surreal dragon artwork Modern Eden Gallery

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

The first weeks of being sheltered in place were difficult, with the dire news of suffering and death coming from Italy and later New York. I started out the lock down period by just drawing for amusement, copying old master drawings, sketching animals, and experimenting with brush pen.  I also found several virtual life drawing sessions, which brought a sense of being involved in an artistic community even though all of us artists were in isolation.

I began using some time to look at old arcane images, such as alchemy and occult illustrations, and old master drawings. I’m not a believer in magic or occult, but I appreciate the symbolism and philosophy behind some of the work. The art itself is often quite beautiful. The alchemists had a symbol known as ouroboros, a snake eating its tail, which symbolized cycles of life, death and rebirth. I feel like even though humanity developed high technology, modern conveniences, and medical advances, we are still subject to the cycles of nature. Plagues have occurred throughout history, and in fact, altered history. The Black Death of the 1300-1500’s was followed by the Renaissance, and the end of the feudal system. I feel like we are living through a major shift in contemporary life, and I’m hoping that it will bring change for the better. I’m trying to find positivity in this dark period. This has informed my art, and I’ve explored working in ink and watercolor, making images that look old and yet contemporary. I’m currently working on a piece inspired by Durer’s print of Nemesis, and made a piece for the Modern Eden Gallery project that depicts a dragon defeating the virus, battling above the Bay Bridge.

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

I was always drawing when I was a kid, but my father’s admonition was “artists starve”, so I pursued a career in finance/commercial banking. I spent my 20’s trying to accelerate my career in business/finance at a major financial institution. I was inspired to return to my art after meeting an older woman sculptor who advised me not to wait until I was too old and no longer had the energy for art-making. She helped me realize that the length of life is finite, and one should not let that time slip away or reach the end of life regretting not pursuing one’s true calling. I realized that I needed to find a way to become a full-time artist. I cut my hours back at the bank and signed up for continuing education courses in drawing and painting. I left my career in banking in 2008 to be a full-time artist. 

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you? 

Right now, I’m working on a watercolor tinted drawing of Nemesis, the goddess who enacts retribution against those who are arrogant. I was inspired by Albrect Durer’s print of the same name. I have Nemesis floating above a Mar A Lago landscape, which is under water. Instead of a cup, she holds the corona virus. It’s a little more political than what I usually do. In 50 years, no one will know that it’s Mar-a-Lago; it will just look like global climate change caused flooding at a resort. When I get back to the studio, I’ll be working on a series of paintings about endangered species. And in preparation of a solo show later this year, I’ll be doing faux illuminated manuscripts of iconic movie monsters.

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight

The Beatles, Johnny Cash, and Sigur Ros. I might watch a South Park rerun or Rachel Maddow. (I love South Park, as I grew up in Colorado, so I’m very familiar with their pictorial references, such as Casa Bonita, Denver Broncos, Conifer (neighboring town) and East Colfax Ave.).

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go!  

Melancholy, worried, existential sadness. Macabre, realist but illusionist.

Kindra Nikole

Kindra Nikole mermaid photography Modern Eden Gallery

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

I’ve been allowing myself to explore a more childlike approach to my art, and experimenting in new mediums. Something about this slower pace of time right now is reminding me of what it was like to be a child, when there were less demands on me. As such, I’ve been playing with clay, painting, sketching, ink work, writing, and cooking. I haven’t been too worried about the outcomes, and I’ve been allowing myself this time to simply create without the worry of sharing it online or even sharing it at all. I think it’s incredibly important for artists to take breathers like this, where they allow themselves to create with zero expectations. Doing this has been opening up an artistic curiosity that I haven’t felt in years!

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

I’ve learned that if I’m going to work with another person, I need to genuinely vibe with that person. Someone can be the most stunning model in the world, but if our personalities clash or we just don’t work well together that will inevitably show up in the final image. I seek out people whom I find interesting and who are down to earth and excited about creating, and in those partnerships, I create my best work. Oh, and usually very, very tough… modeling in the great outdoors here in Seattle is no walk in the park. I used to work with anyone who fit the vision I was thinking of, but now when considering a model, it goes far beyond that. The cool part is that my current approach has resulted in some life-long friendships!

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

I’ve been in the planning stages of a very large-scale project that will span quite a few years. It’s a personal project I’ve been wanting to pursue for years now, but I wanted to wait until my skills were at a level where I felt I could capture each image as beautifully as what I was seeing in my mind. I’m finally there, so now I’m beginning the slow process of planning out which images I’ll create, and in which order. As this is a personal project, there will be no timeline on it, which is how I work best. When I’m able to create freely and with very few constraints, I find a deep joy and fulfillment in what I do. I’ve got to keep the project vague for now, but as it’s been something I’ve wanted to explore for a long time, I’m really excited, and I think those who enjoy my work will be, too, once I start rolling it out.

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

Oh, all kinds of weird stuff! I’ve been into a lot of Celtic and Norse inspired music—been exploring my ancestry, and so this type of music has been an interesting source of comfort. Two favorites right now are Helvegen by Wardruna and Krigsgaldr by Heilung. Also anything dreamy, like Grimes, Bel Canto, Cocteau Twins, Björk, and FKA Twigs. And then loads and loads of ambient music—especially while I’m editing. I always sprinkle in some Bowie for good measure, of course.

Tonight I’ll be hanging out virtually with my dear friend Redd Walitzki and sharing virtual cocktails with them. But I have been considering watching Belladonna of Sadness, which I’ve not yet seen. It came up on my radar recently, and the art style and storyline sound very compelling. It’s a feminist witchcraft theme, which is always my jam.

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go! 

Quirky, fanciful, and snarky = mood! Surreal, otherworldly, and layered = art!

Jasmine Worth

Jasmine Worth surreal dark art painting Modern Eden Gallery

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

I’m currently finding a lot of inspiration to be creative by checking in with my creative friends and seeing what they’re up to. I also find Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art” to be a useful kick-in-the/butt when I’m feeling sluggish (which is more often than I’d like to admit.) To keep myself in a good head-space I’ve been listening to recordings of Pema Chödron’s lectures on YouTube.

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

I’ve learned not to let difficult circumstances stop me from creating. Often I find myself freezing up artistically (and otherwise) when I’m stressed or anxious. I’ve learned to ease through this creative block by setting little art goals for myself or doing tiny studies, just showing up at the easel as often as I can. 

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

I’m currently working on a series of eyes. The oft quoted adage “The eyes are the window to the soul” resonates for me and I find it interesting to look into that window during this unique time. I hope you will too.

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

I’m listening to The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast. I highly recommend it. I don’t watch a lot of tv but sometimes I put on old Simpsons episodes or British murder mysteries to fall asleep to.

Kai Carpenter 

Kai Carpenter nude painting Modern Eden Gallery

In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

I’ve been doing a lot more plein air painting!  It feels great to be able to go to an area of the city that might usually have people in it and have it all to yourself for an hour or so.  It’s a good reminder also that life goes on – birds are out, trees and flowers are blooming – the world is still happening!

Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your artwork.

During isolation, the art that no one sees also matters! It’s part of the foundation of everything that comes later.  

What are you working on? What can we expect to see from you?

I’m working on a couple projects right now – alongside the DC cover runs I’m currently engaged in, I’m working on a large commissioned painting – stay tuned!

What are you listening to right now? And what will you watch tonight?

God, I’ve been super obsessed with Carl Orf’s Carmina Burana. It’s fateful, witchy, blasting coral passages just really nail my mood.  

Three words to describe your mood vs. three words to describe your artwork. Go! 

Relief in isolation; expansion, fate, power.

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About Author

Internationally exhibited artist and creator of Wooden Ophelia, Bella Harris is not only the Online Editor at Beautiful Bizarre Magazine, she also oversees all staff writers and helps support website functionality and development. As a contributing writer for the website, active copy editor, and editorial photographer, she plays a vital role in the growth of Beautiful Bizarre Magazine while working closely with advertisers and artists. Wooden Ophelia is a contemporary collection of original moon designs, handmade woodwork, artwork furnishings, and sacred crystals... all to enchant your home.

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