Friday, December 01, 2017

December 2017 Unicorn Of The Month: Yoh Nagao

"Jumpman" Collage, Acrylic, Marker on Canvas / 2800mm-2000mm / 2017

Yoh Nagao is a pop collage artist from Aichi Prefecture, Japan. In our modern society, we are taking so many issues such as war, sickness, natural disaster, resource, environment, food and etc. The situation is getting harder and harder. The world is totally losing its balance, pursuing just economy and ideology can not manage our modern life any more in this planet. We even would lose the chance of recover, human will be collapsed if the situation continues the same way.

However, under this hard situation, Nagao believes that art can change our world better place.

In his art, he uses figures, animals and landscapes to expresses love, happiness, warmness, pleasure and elation such as invisible emotional feeling which is hard to describe in words. These are the senses which we are absolutely missing in modern society. He thinks these invisibleness contains are getting more importance for us now a days. They are also the key to live up in our society better. Nagao’s aim is to tell these thing to the people through his art which is not only his way of connection with the society, but also his mission as an artist.

"Searchman" Collage, Acrylic, Marker on Canvas / 1000mm-1000mm / 2017

After graduating from Nagoya Zokei University, he began working as a graphic designer and illustrator, while freely expressing his unique style as an artist. He gained prominence in Japan after receiving the Uniqlo Creative Award in 2005 (now UTGP), exhibiting at the International Poster Triennial in Toyama, and being selected for the SHIFT calendar design contest. These successes at international competitions led Yoh to expand his work overseas. After a successful first-ever solo exhibition in Hong Kong in 2009, he received an honorable mention in the collage category of the international competition ARTAQ Urban Art Award (France) in 2011. 

"Dove" Collage, Acrylic, Marker, Ballpoint / 420mm-600mm / 2016 /

He was invited to participate in the PICK ME UP Contemporary Graphic Art Fair held in London that same year, becoming a serious contender on the international art stage. Since then, his pieces were also showcased in numerous art fairs and events in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Zurich, Berlin, Paris, Angers, London, and Tokyo.

In 2008, his work was displayed in the famous boutique shop Colette in Paris. His work has also been published in high profile magazines such as Nakedbutsafe (Germany), Lodown (Germany), Dazed and Confused (England), and DPI (Taiwan). In the summer of 2014, in Isla Mujeres (Mexico), he collaborated with the project SEA WALLS by PangeaSeed (USA), creating an outdoor mural with the artist Aaron Glasson (New Zealand) that was showcased in The Huffington Post and The New York Times online.

Private Commission Work. Collage, Acrylic, Marker, ballpoint on Canvas / 515mm-728mm / 2017 /

He was also selected by the organization World Art Destinations as one of the 30 artists who took part in the Festival International de Arte Público in Cancún, Mexico, where he created an installation of a 100 multicolored paper planes that captivated the Festival's audience. Back in Japan, his art works were selected to depict the popular JRA Chukyo Racecourse in Japan for 2015, widely showcased in the subway network of Nagoya. 

Untitled. Collage, Acrylic, Marker, Ballpoint / 390mm-300mm / 2014 

Nagao’s pieces, exhibitions and artistic collaborations have steadily gained specialized but also wide public appreciation, confirming the rising value of his unique style and endless creativity, which is being recognized all over the world.

To view more of his work, visit his Website, Instagram, Twitter, FB Page, and Tumblr Page

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

November 2017 Unicorn Of The Month: Joha Harrison

Joha Harrison was born in Baton Rouge Louisiana but now currently lives and works in Sacramento California. Like most artists, his interest in being creative started at an early age. In elementary school he would often experiment with watercolors in the backyard, but as he grew older, his interest in art dwindled, and he became active in sports.

In his junior year of high school, his interest in art, particularly photography, came back to the forefront. An unexpected move with his family caused him to purchase multiple disposable cameras from local grocery stores. He wanted to document and commit to memory EVERYTHING he saw before him so he could remember the last place he called home.

When he was in college he became the historian for an on campus organization as well as their was official photographer. This promotion and opportunity allowed him to buy his first "real" non disposable camera. His love for photography took off, but it was still years before would pick up a paintbrush again. Although photography is his main focus he still makes time to create original art watercolors and doodles.

To see more of his work, check out his Website, Instagram, and Facebook Page.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Beware Of Art Scammers Pt.2: Vanity Galleries!

This is the best, most life like portrait of any American ever! Believe me!

This is a follow up to a previous post about art scams and shady sounding art consultants. There is another element that I feel artists should watch out for, Vanity Galleries aka "Pay To Play Galleries." Now before I list my experiences, let me say that I find no fault with any artist that takes charge of their career. Every artist I know has self funded group/solo exhibitions, flown to an art fair or exhibition on their own dime, or put in serious unpaid hours setting up their show at gallery. A DIY attitude is essential in this business. Yes, doing all the work is exhausting, but how else will you learn? And if you're serious about making this your life, you better strap in and get to ready to work your ass off. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and go back to school for something practical like accounting or dental hygiene.

What I'm talking about here are galleries that you must pay to exhibit your work in. You essentially rent the space, rooms or the whole gallery, pay for catering, pay for promotion, shipping your work to and from the gallery, insurance, annnnnddddddd you're still supposed to give the gallery 20-50% of your sales! Many of these galleries also have "Open Calls" for group or solo shows that require a non-refundable submission fee.

"But Jeff, what's wrong with renting space at a gallery? The place is already set up and they have a network! Plus it's in Chelsea, right in the heart of the gallery district!"

To which I say, " Fine. But keep in mind this word, QUALITY. If ANYONE can rent space at this establishment, what does that say about their program?"

Granted, plenty of top notch galleries show bullshit work, and if it was an option I might sacrifice one of my kidneys to put on my own show at David Zwirner, but that's not how the art world works. Human beings are funny in that we don't value things that are easy to acquire. The more exclusive an object is, the more its' perceived value.

If you have done your research and you really believe that a vanity gallery is right for you, go for it, but my advice, keep it to a bare minimum. From my multiple conversations with artists and art advisors, too many vanity gallery listings on your CV will seriously hurt your chances of showing in more prestigious places. You would be much better off just putting on your own events. Nothing makes galleries want you more than the belief you don't need them!

So here is a gallery that contacted me out of nowhere, with a decent introduction:

Exhibiting in Florence Italy sounds nice. However my spidey sense is already tingling. 

I put a great deal of time and thought into the look and feel of my website. I have tried to make my own website user friendly, easy to navigate, and sleek. So when I see gallery website that looks thrown together or out of date, I almost always dismiss it. If the gallery doesn't take their own website seriously, how serious are they going to be about the careers of their artists? Take a look at the website of the above gallery and tell me what you think. And remember when I mentioned quality? I will just leave this here:

When I scrolled down, I found a PDF attachment which confirmed my suspicions:

The Gallery offers all the necessary facilities to guarantee the success of the event: 

  • Print of a brochure-invitation that will be sent to all our customers and collectors, art critics, etc. both by regular mail and via email. Each artist will receive an amount of this brochures. 
  • The Press Office will provide for advertising in the newspapers and magazines such as "Arte Mondadori", “Il giornale dell’arte” and "Flash Art". 
  • The advertisement of the exhibition will be added to the homepage of our website, it will remain online for the duration of the exhibition. 
  • The information about the exhibition will also be added to YouTube, to the major web portals of art, like "Exhibart" and to social networks (Facebook and Twitter). 
  • The Opening night will be filmed by Toscana TV and will be aired as a part of the program “Incontri con l’arte” (‘‘Encounters with Art"). 
  • The Gallery will implement the best sales strategies, informing visitors and customers about the artists and their market prices. 
  • This Opening will be a special event, with some novelties: o Conference/Meeting about the exhibition (There will be journalists, art critics and artists). The artists of the exhibition will have the occasion of visiting the Novecento Museum of Florence. 

The cost of participation in the exhibition including all the services listed above is 1300 € including VAT.

The artist that will confirm their participation to the exhibition before June 30th 2017 will receive a discount of 10% on the fee. 

The payment methods will be described in the contract that will be sent you upon confirmation of your interest in participation in this exhibition.

Keep in mind there is no mention of shipping or insuring of art work. Scroll down to the bottom of the PDF you get this:

Additional information: 
  • 1. The artist will take care of the charges for transporting the artworks, for the incoming and also for the outgoing. We have an agreement with the international courier MAIL BOXES, which will give you the best shipping and the lowest price. 
  • 2. The Mentana Gallery can advise you for your stay in Florence: Hotels and restaurants which have special agreements with us. 
  • 3. All this information will be given at the time of your adhesion with us. 
  • 4. The Gallery could also be the representative of your work in Italy permanently. 

So I would have to pay for crating my work, shipping my work to Italy, pay for additional unexpected fees, insurance, pay for a hotel, pay for food, pay for the roundtrip flight, pay to have the work shipped back if it does't sell AND pay 1,300 Euros just to exhibit? 

Even if your self respect weighs less than a humming bird fart, how could you think the above scenario was a winner? 

Granted the gallery only takes 20% of sales, but unless I sell out the entire show and take home $20,000 USD, I'm loosing money. I would rather have the gallery take 50% and handle all the rest, because that's why galleries take half. 

Another gallery/art organization based in London contacted me for basically the same type of thing. And I cant remember exactly when it was, maybe 2015, but another well known vanity gallery in NYC that rhymes with " La-Bora" contacted me through my website with a similar intro. And like the other art " galleries" they loved my work and welcomed a an opportunity to work with me, but I would have to pay a $50 portfolio review fee. Which is odd because, if you took the time to write me an email through my site, you have already seen my portfolio. 

I'm not sure how to end this post. Maybe something inspirational and  cute picture of a kitten inside a sandwich.
My beautiful, wonderful, consciousness shaping artists, you are are worth so much more than you could possibly know! 


Sunday, October 01, 2017

October 2017 Unicorn Of The Month: Megan St.Clair

Emotional identities and intimate awareness are things that fascinate me. Although these conditions cannot be clearly defined, I enjoy the struggle of attempting to examine them or create new questions asking what we think we know about ourselves.

My goal is to question these complicated qualities of closeness through drawings, paintings, metaphor, or object. I expose constructs of identity in the singular self and within the plural unit of a relationship.

Megan is also a contributor to Hyperallergic, Art Maze Mag, and the Director/Curator of SoftCoreLa.

More of her work can be seen on her Website and Instagram page.

Friday, September 01, 2017

September 2017 Unicorn Of The Month: Ann LePore

Ann LePore Was raised in the garage under her father’s car and continued tinkering with analog video and kinetics in Western New York and later with computer driven electronics and animation in New York City. A New Leonardo artist, and Geraldine R Dodge Foundation grant recipient, Ann has exhibited at events such as Digital Salon, the Free Biennial, and La Superette, in New York City and Internationally. She has completed residencies at Engine 27 Sound Space, the Taliesin Artist Residency Program and was awarded a year-long studio residency at Gallery Aferro in Newark.

The images and installations she creates as a result of her tinkering are heavily influenced by her experiences not just as an artist, but as a member of several communities that are defined by the physical assertions and limitations of a very specific environment. Ann received her BFA from Alfred University and her MFA from the School of Visual Arts. She is currently Associate Professor of 3D Design and Animation at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

The Greening: 209 evokes different moments in time: present, future, and past. In the U.S. a house or other building may last a generation or more. The systems we design to guide us as a society outlive us all, though they are not permanent either. How do we know if the structures we put in place are working? How long does the long view need to be if we are going to plan accordingly? It’s time to remodel.

The Average age of homes in the US is 35. Is that because we are a “young” culture? Or a disposable one? Vines grow quickly, decay can be seen on the walls, and an oculus opens up on the roof. Is this a time-lapse showing years compressed into seconds or are those plants actually predatory? Is the oculus actually the moon, or are there primordial organisms swimming under a microscope? We’ll only know if we spend some time, looking at the same thing, all facing the same direction.

And this is what being rooted in a place, in the landscape, does for us. To all face the same way, shoulder to shoulder, laboring together- this is the only way to be human together. Everything else that defines us is less consequential.

More of Ann's work can be seen on her Website,  her Vimeo Channel, and be sure to follow her on Twitter

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

August 2017 Unicorn Of The Month: Grace Roselli

My work overall is driven by the malleable nature of identity, eroticism and gender, and is realized through transitory performances- visual dialogues with transition and self modification mediated by both natural and man-made forces. The final documentation—generally the mediums of painting and photography—celebrates, and interrogates the narrative potential buried in everyday encounters, innocuous materials, and their embedded cultural associations. 

’Naked Bike’, my current series, involves women riders and their motorcycles. I’ve been riding since the late eighties, and have sometimes considered ‘riding while female’ as a gendered performance piece involving the display of the female body combined with a machine that has had mostly masculine associations. 

I started the project by asking volunteers to consider this: When you ride, you wear gear that protects you, like a helmet etc. What happens when the ride stops, you take off the helmet and walk into ‘female’? The answers and ideas in response have been overwhelming with ‘Naked Bike’ being very much a work progressing.

There’s a rich history of women’s bodies, nude and clothed, portrayed in art. Much of this historical portrayal has ranged from the casually misogynistic to outright sexism. After a still ongoing struggle for awareness and rights, many women are now controlling, owning and celebrating the narrative of their bodies. 

The Naked Bike Project is a performance of that narrative, concerning the language and agency of the contemporary female body combined with a machine traditionally associated not only with men, but sexuality, rebellion and freedom.

The motorcycles portrayed cease to be mere moving vehicles but become a symbol and extension of contemporary female sensuality. It’s curves echoing the form of the body, the motorcycle functions as a lover, a prop, a site for the expression of utter physicality. The female bikers who have volunteered for the project share a love of riding and a willingness to be vulnerable for an idea: re-imagining the portrayal of their bodies in combination with their beloved machines. The images of Naked Bike are as diverse as the individuals being portrayed.

Women riders and machine can be one—cyborgs rejecting the boundaries and social mores that separate human from machine. In some pictures the women are covered in gear for the sport, but also can function here as armor, a mysterious shell, a hidden space. In others, that protective layer is gone. Naked, the women project what protects them, or not, as female. 

My work isn’t about documenting the visibility of the growing number of female riders, but a change in the very culture we’re in. This is not just about/for women, this freedom of thought is for everyone. 

A work in progress, ultimately Naked Bike is about the journey, the beginning of a provocative and culture-shifting ride.

More of Graces' work can be seen on her Website, Instagram, and Facebook Page.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

July 2017 Unicorn Of The Month: Malayka Gormally

In my oil paintings I use the figure to explore emotional vulnerability and connection between people of disparate races and generations. The subjects of my work stem from personal observation both within my community as well as in communities that have aspects of familiarity to me yet challenge my preconceptions. From my perspective, the diversity reflected in this lens matches that of the world around me — one occupied by people of various ages, body types, genders, and ethnicities. I am interested in the ways in which this perspective, an iteration of a life that is recognizably normal to me and most people I know, appears out-of-the-ordinary within the context of the figurative canon.

Malayka Gormally is a figurative painter, curator, and commission portrait artist. Her paintings are included in the City of Seattle Portable Works Collection and Safeco Insurance Collection, and have exhibited in group and two-person exhibitions throughout the US.

Malayka’s childhood in Berkeley influenced her interest in equity and social awareness, as she grew up during the integration of public schools and Vietnam War protests in the streets. With her figurative paintings, she aims to reflect the world around her — one occupied by people of various ages, genders, ethnicities, and body types. 

Since 1997, Malayka has painted portraits on commission for over 100 collectors in the United States and Europe, including individuals who have served as board members for the Seattle Art Museum, the Henry Art Gallery, and the Palm Springs Art Museum. Malayka also curates the rotating art exhibitions of corporate properties in the Seattle region.
My photographs inspire my iPad drawings, which I use as source material for my paintings. I intentionally maintain the linear quality of the figures, a device commonly enlisted to depict a generalized “person” (such as in cartoons or graffiti), to depict specific individuals with recognizable emotions in nuanced moments of interaction. The specific nature of the emotions expressed in the figures has the power to resonate with personal experiences from the viewer’s life. Some of my work utilizes overlapping figures suspended over bands of color, referencing sequential moments of time as well as film frames.    

Growing up in Berkeley profoundly influenced my interest in equity and social awareness, as my childhood included both the integration of public schools and anti-war protests in the streets. At home, my father told of surviving the Nazi occupation of his native Holland, and my mother spoke of her Jewish grandparents escaping pogroms in Poland and traveling through Ellis Island to the United States. 

Though I’m haunted by their stories, they push me to create imagery of the measure of social integration that I experience in my current life — precipitating my body of work Gatherings. My community of friends and relatives were the subject of this body of work. The majority of my friends and relatives are in the arts and so these paintings have also served as a documentation of an artistic community.

For my body of work Beachlife, I based my paintings on the unselfconscious beach culture of Spain and Italy. I wanted to create these paintings for a US audience, particularly women, to provide a jumping-off point for reflection about how we feel about ourselves. Women in the US are much more self-constrained about our bodies, which adds to the measure of disempowerment that we feel. Cognizant of my role as a woman painting other women, I address women's concerns about body size and image, and my paintings reflect a range of physiques and stages of life.

These paintings investigate women’s place in society with the implicit aim of subverting the male historical painting canon. By creating art that depicts women and families spending time together while quite physically exposed, I hope that we reconsider our own anxieties and judgments about our bodies.

To see more of Malaykas' work, check out her Website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook Page.