6-on-6 Artist Interview :: Shahin Fathi Djalali

Pride. Digital. 2013.

Where were you born?

I was born in Tehran, Iran on March 12th, 1982.

What is your major at AAU?

I’m majoring in 3D animation (modeling) in MFA program. I also take some of the visual development classes.

How would you describe your work to someone?

It depends on each work. For example if I do fine art, like the works exhibited here, my tendency is to raise questions instead of answering any. In other words, it’s up to the viewers and their points of view to create different perceptions of the same work. In contrast, when I create artwork for production (animation, movies, games, etc.), I have a completely different process and goal. In production, you need to be as clear about your subject matter as possible since the viewer has limited time to process it.

Who or what influences your work?

Pretty much everything! Mostly nature and what I can find in it. Since my works vary in style and medium (from cartoony to realistic and from traditional painting to digital sculpting), things that influence them are also so vast and various. Whatever project I start I try to get as many references possible as I can. Usually these references are raw images from nature or the environment around me. I also refer to similar works done by other artists for inspiration or for solving particular problems in my own work.

What is your process for creating work and what materials do you prefer?

Each project has a different process, I learned that in my previous major as an industrial designer, but there is always a lot of planning in the beginning of the project. I personally prefer digital medium not because it is easier to work with (which is a false common belief by the way) but because I prefer to have the most control over my works whether it will be an image, a video, or a sculpture. Working with digital medium gives me the ability of having this amount of control because of its nonlinear nature when compared to traditional methods. For example, you can go back and forth between major composition elements and fine details and change each of them drastically without losing the other aspect, something that is almost impossible in traditional methods.

What is next? (upcoming exhibitions, trips, graduation, new projects, etc.)

Currently I’m working on my thesis here at AAU, and I’ll be here for at least one more year to fill in the gaps between the knowledge I have in CGI. I hope I can find a proper internship and job in the media industry (especially the animation area) in the near future.

The 6-on-6 Artist Interview series consists of 6 questions for student artists asked by the Library staff on the 6th floor.

Shahin Fathi Djalali’s interview was conducted by Lindsey Simard, Information Literacy Librarian, in January 2014.

6-on-6 Artist Interview :: Anne Chia Ching Lin

Community Library, Under the Wing. Autodesk Revit, Autodesk 3ds Max, Adobe Photoshop. 2013.

Where were you born?

New Jersey but I was raised in Taiwan.

What is your major at AAU?

MFA of Interior Architecture & Design.

How would you describe your work to someone?

A good design is not just visually beautiful but it echoes the essence of one’s individual personality. Using “healing interior” as my principle for design, I try to build up the spatial relationship and interaction with each individual. Design is a gift, bringing heavenly inspiration to Earth for human enjoyment.

Who or what influences your work?

My parents have taught me, “Love cannot be seen or measured.“ Most people have drawn or made cards for their parents while little, so did I and I still do. I remember the first time I tried to save my allowance to buy flowers for Mother’s Day. My mom was happy but then told me not to buy them again. “Flowers will faint but your lovely card won’t.” I have made a card by hand every single year for my parents since then. This experience has also affected my way of approaching design. Each project is unique and customized for each individual, just like a handmade gift for the client, which touches the heart most.

What is your process for creating work and what materials do you prefer?

Understanding the client, the site environment and the culture history. It is a thought process that includes people, profit and planet. While interviewing and researching, I will start getting the feel of the project. I prefer to hand sketch the most memorable scene and think through people’s experience and movement in the space.

What is next? Upcoming exhibitions, trips, graduation, etc.

I am going to graduate this year in Summer 2014. Currently I have an internship with Brayton Hughes Design Studio, which provides comprehensive commercial, institutional and high-end residential design. Their clients include the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton Hotel, both leaders of hospitality design. I am also doing a retreat center for my thesis project. It will be a great experience not only for my future job search, but understanding and applying design for relaxation and dwelling units will help fulfill my passion for healing interiors.

The 6-on-6 Artist Interview series consists of 6 questions for student artists asked by the Library staff on the 6th floor.

Anne Chia Ching Lin’s interview was conducted by Abby Dansiger, Visual Resources Librarian & Special Collections Manager, in January 2014.

6-on-6 Artist Interview :: Marisa Ware

Seasons. Cut paper. 2013.

Where were you born?

I was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado where I garnered my deep appreciation of nature from a childhood spent enveloped in the forests and glades of the Rocky Mountains. The formative experiences I had in the dense woods and sun-dappled meadows of these mountains heavily influenced both my paradigm and my visual interpretation of the world. This connectivity helped me develop an acute awareness of detail. The fluorescent dabs of chartreuse lichen on cold, grey granite, or the delicate follicles of soft downy hair on the unfurling frond of a fern delighted my eyes and taught me about beauty. It was in nature that I learned about art, through the symmetry of a butterfly’s wing or the iridescent greens and reds of a ruby throated hummingbird’s tiny feathers.

When the tides of my life pulled me away from the Colorado mountains I so loved and placed me into the chaotic cacophony of a California city, I began to understand that the experiences I had as a child were uncommon to many who didn’t have the fortune to grow up amongst the trees. Reflecting on this, I began to understand my purpose as an artist. I feel that is my role to visually depict the sacredness of the human experience, especially as manifested in nature, so that others may connect to this powerful source of abundant primordial magic. In my art I strive to provide a window into the sacredness of the ordinary world and the latent spiritual potential of every human individual.

What is your major at AAU?

I’m working towards a master’s degree in Traditional Illustration. I also have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado in Editorial Journalism and have written for a wide array of publications, including Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, Climbing Magazine, and Elephant Journal.

How would you describe your work to someone?

I strive to capture the organic framework that makes up the world we live in, the underlying patterns that become visible in elevated states of consciousness. While my work is constantly evolving, at the moment I have two very distinct styles I’m working with. Both styles are very design-based with a graphic sensibility. One style uses cut paper and is more geared towards children’s books, while the other style is predominately pen and ink with intricate detail and allegorical content. I like to explore the design potentials created with dynamic symmetry while using imagery borrowed from nature- flowers, birds, fish, animals, trees, etc.

Who or what influences your work?

Although I find inspiration in thousands of places, nothing influences my work or my perception of the world as much as my daily meditation practice. I’ve been studying Tibetan Buddhism for a little over a decade and have attended numerous meditation courses including a month long retreat. Nothing focuses and cleanses my perceptions as powerfully as meditation does. It’s like wiping the dust off of a pair of glasses- suddenly you notice the small beauties and intricacies all around you. I also find that meditation greatly heightens my creative powers, as well as my ability to concentrate.

As far as other artists go, I find inspiration from artists of the past such as William-Adolphe Bourguereau, John Singer Sargent, and John William Waterhouse. I’ve always been inspired by Frida Kahlo and Georgia O Keefe, not only for their art, but also for their boldness as female artists and fearlessness with which they lived their lives. I’ve been very influenced by Alphonse Mucha’s design sense and am a fan of Maxfield Parish and J.C. Lyendecker. Contemporary artists that I admire include John Baizley, David Hale, Nicomi Turner, Josh Keyes, James Jean, Jeremy Mann, Nikki McClure, Emily Hogarth, Nimit Malavia, Sylvia Ji, Tiffany Bozic and Joao Ruas.

I find a lot of inspiration in literature and poetry, as well as in music. I am also inspired by strong emotions, whether it be sorrow or joy, happiness or loss, love or grief; I find they provide potent creative fuel. My ultimate muse is found in nature- in redwood forests, granite mountaintops, desolate deserts, or the vastness of the sea.

What is your process for creating work and what materials do you prefer?

My process begins first with inspiration, which comes sometimes as vague and fleeting images that flash before my open eyes. I attempt to capture these with quick and messy sketches that would be intelligible to anyone else. The next step is generally collecting reference photos, which can sometimes be the most time-consuming part of my process. For my pen and ink drawings, I’ll often use Photoshop to test out compositions before starting a pencil drawing, which I’ll eventually ink. Recently, I’ve started scanning my finished pen drawings into Photoshop to color them.

My cut paper illustrations come much more organically to me, and I often just draw the designs straight from my head without reference. The process of cutting the paper, then assembling and gluing the layers is extremely tedious and time-consuming though.

What is next? Upcoming exhibitions, trips, graduation, etc.

I’m planning on graduating in December of this year. Between now and then I have several commissions I’m working on, including a few album covers and concert posters. I typically spend every break from school traveling, rock climbing, and being out in nature as much as possible.

The 6-on-6 Artist Interview series consists of 6 questions for student artists asked by the Library staff on the 6th floor.

Marisa Ware’s interview was conducted by Audrey Ferrie, Library Director, in January 2014.

Spring 2014 Exhibition Is Here!

National Archives UK. Great Hartford Show, Hatfield. Ringmaster announcing next event. ca. 1926-42. Flickr. Yahoo! Inc. 20 Jan. 2014.

NEW ARTWORK NOW ON VIEW!

The AAU Library is pleased to announce that our Spring 2014 exhibition is up! This semester we are showcasing artwork by Shahin Fathi Djalali, Anne Chia Ching Lin, and Marisa Ware.

Stay tuned for interviews with each artist, images of their work, and their recommended resources!

Call for Submissions: Spring 2014 Exhibition

U.S. National Archives. “Getting em up” at U.S. Naval Training Camp, Seattle, Washington. Webster & Stevens, ca. 1917–1918. Flickr. Yahoo! Inc. 22 Oct. 2013.

Art @ AAU Library is now accepting submissions for the Spring 2014 semester exhibition. Current AAU students from all departments are invited to apply.

Interested students should include the following information in an email with the subject line “ART @ AAU LIBRARY SUBMISSION” to adansiger@academyart.edu:

  • Full name
  • AAU student ID number
  • Department and expected graduation date
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Digital images of 5-10 finished pieces
  • Brief descriptions of work including title, size, and medium
  • Brief artist statement (1-2 paragraphs)

The deadline for all submissions is November 22, 2013.

Do not bring any artwork to the Library until requested!

Opening Reception This Friday!

All AAU students, staff, faculty and alumni are invited to join us for refreshments and celebrate the opening of Art @ AAU Library’s Fall 2013 student exhibition featuring Spencer Chopp, Sarah Ortiz, Quynh Phan, and Lisa Taylor.

Where: AAU Library, 180 New Montgomery, 6th Floor
When: Friday, September 20th from 5:00-6:00 PM

Also be sure to check out our interviews with each artist, images of their artwork and their recommended resources, all available on this blog!

6-on-6 Artist Interview :: Spencer Chopp

Footrest. Metal, plastic. 2013.

Where were you born?

Lansing, Michigan.

What is your major at AAU?

Fine Art Sculpture.

How would you describe your work to someone?

Bold, organic, structural.

Who or what influences your work?

My work is influenced by nature. Forms and concepts found within nature resonate with me and ultimately end up as the content of my work.

What is your process for creating work and what materials do you prefer?

I start off with a vision of a finished piece that I would intend to create. I sketch out images as a concrete starting point. Then I think about the work as a physical entity and plan out materials, keeping my budget in mind. Then I begin to edit and do some technical sketches as I plan out the piece.

Once I have created a concrete plan of action, I move into the production phase. My favorite materials for construction are clay and glazes.

What is next? Upcoming exhibitions, trips, graduation, etc.

I will be graduating this winter with a Fine Art Sculpture Bachelors degree. During my last semester as an undergraduate student, I plan on creating a series of figurative ceramic sculptures that focus on human anatomy and gesture.

The 6-on-6 Artist Interview series consists of 6 questions for student artists asked by the Library staff on the 6th floor.

Spencer Chopp’s interview was conducted by Abby Dansiger, Visual Resources Librarian, in August 2013.

6-on-6 Artist Interview :: Sarah Ortiz

Nymph. Adobe Photoshop. 2013.

Where were you born?

I was born in Anaheim, California on February 16th, 1989.

What is your major at AAU?

I’m majoring in Illustration in the Undergraduate program.

How would you describe your work to someone?

I would describe my style as mostly realism, with a hint of Japanese animation influences. As for the work, I mainly focus on illustrations and concept art. Many of my subjects are women, because I love drawing them the most. I’m drawn towards sci-fi and fantasy art because there is room there to do something exciting, fun, and unexpected.

Who or what influences your work?

What influences me today is the concept art industry. There is always something new to see on sites like cghub.com. As for my favorite artists, there is Alex Pascenko, KJ Kallio, and L.D. Austin. Most people expect a longer list of names, but I’m quite picky!

Chris Oatley has been a big influence in my life the past year. I took his online course, and occasionally participate in his monthly live sessions. Whenever I had a dilemma with my art, he and his amazing online students would inspire me, and get me pointed in the right direction. He is very thoughtful and caring to all his students, and I’m happy I’m a part of that.

As for influences that got me on the road to being a committed artist, there are quite a few. Sailor Moon inspired me when I was around 11 or 12 years old. I desperately wanted to capture the movement and style. It fascinated me to no end at that age. I remember looking up Sailor Moon tutorials online and practicing over and over again. I eventually broke away from Sailor Moon to other Japanese styles. Miyazaki’s films, for instance, really inspired and fueled my passion. So, I got into the habit of doodling and drawing on any surface.

However, I didn’t put much stock in a future art career. In fact, in my senior year of high school I was dead set on becoming a pharmacist. I still had that idea while I was at community college until the fateful day that I bombed an important intermediate chemistry test, and realized how very little I cared.

Now, I’m not advocating for people to fail tests, but I was in serious denial about my future and that was the wakeup call I needed. Chemistry and math were not my strong suits, and after all these years, I still kept on drawing on my notes. It then dawned on me. I knew my passion was art, but I was scared. I admitted that to myself, and I think any artist seriously considering an art career should be scared because it’s tough. It’s climbing up a mountain with no summit. You always have to improve, and compete. So, I swallowed my pride and buckled down. I’ve committed myself to studying art for the rest of my life with no regrets.

What is your process for creating work and what materials do you prefer?

I prefer doing the entire process in Photoshop. That includes thumbnails, sketching, color roughs, and rendering. However, I’ve been occasionally doing art in Illustrator. It’s a completely different program, and quite powerful for the right type of art. In that case, I do the sketching in Photoshop, and then do the line art and colors in Illustrator.

I don’t like most traditional materials because it’s often a slower process. Out of all the traditional mediums, I prefer watercolor, because it’s by far the most forgiving and easiest to learn.

What is next? Upcoming exhibitions, trips, graduation, etc.

I’m looking forward to my last few semesters at the Academy!

The 6-on-6 Artist Interview series consists of 6 questions for student artists asked by the Library staff on the 6th floor.

Sarah Ortiz’s interview was conducted by Abby Dansiger, Visual Resources Librarian, in August 2013.

6-on-6 Artist Interview :: Quynh Phan

Bedtime Story. Digital. 2012.

Where were you born?

I was born in Hanoi, Vietnam.

What is your major at AAU?

My major is Illustration, with focus on Visual Development.

How would you describe your work to someone?

You will find my work mostly captures “the moment.” It could be a moment from real life or from films. Whatever I do, I try to suggest a story in my work; it makes the painting more engaging to me. I’m also fascinated with capturing the lighting and color, as these bring mood to my painting.

Who or what influences your work?

Life, nature, and people! Okay, that might be too broad. But seriously, art should come from real life, shouldn’t it? I think I have a pretty strong emotional memory. I can recall almost exactly what I’ve felt at certain events or places, then I try to integrate that personal experience into my artwork. Your art really reflects your personality, I think.

Having said that, I’m also inspired by many other artists and it changes from time to time. Disney and Pixar animations led me into this field so naturally I’m definitely inspired by them. But before that, I was attracted to printmaking in a major way, and fine art painters. It’s quite important to get influences from different art fields. AAU faculty and students also have made a big impact on me as well.

What is your process for creating work and what materials do you prefer?

It really varies. Most of the time I create my work step by step: from researching, sketches, thumbnails, value and color studies to final painting, but sometimes I can just paint directly and the ideas just pop naturally. One thing I try to keep in mind though is to trust my instinct and keep my work fresh. Sometimes after a long painting process, I may lose the initial excitement. Then I know that I should go revisit my sketches and studies to refresh my feeling. Oh, and remember to be flexible as well.

As for materials, I use both traditional and digital, and love them both! My favorite mediums are oil painting and Photoshop.

What is next? Upcoming exhibitions, trips, graduation, etc.

I will graduate from school this Fall 2013 and as other students, work my best to land my dream job. Meanwhile, I will keep updating my work at behance.net/quynh and phantuquynh.daportfolio.com, so stay tuned!

The 6-on-6 Artist Interview series consists of 6 questions for student artists asked by the Library staff on the 6th floor.

Quynh Phan’s interview was conducted by Abby Dansiger, Visual Resources Librarian, in August 2013.

6-on-6 Artist Interview :: Lisa Taylor

Reflections. Charcoal on paper. 2012.

Where were you born?

I am a native Tennessean, born and raised, although I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a typical Southern gal… I grew up with plenty of New York influence from my mother.

What is your major at AAU?

Fine Art Painting.

How would you describe your work to someone?

An exploration of the joy and beauty found and interpreted through artwork.

Although my current artwork is varietal, my subject preference is landscape.  I am very much a country/nature girl, so my aim is to convey the beauty and simplicity of what nature has to offer. I want to provide a look into the rare splendor that is the country landscape.

Who or what influences your work?

My greatest influence would have to be my mother. She was, and is, extremely supportive towards my creative/educational development and without that I probably would not be where I am today, art or not.

My first artistic influence/impact would be the artist Jules Bastien-Lepage.  Ever since viewing his painting Joan of Arc: Listening to the Voices at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it has been, and remains, and of my favorite pieces.  The detail and the “awe” of the figure within this painting has always struck me. His use of refinement and careful detail of the figure, but loose, impressionistic handling of the background is exquisite. I was completely fascinated and enthralled with this work and, as a result, became more aware of art and its influence.

What is your process for creating work and what materials do you prefer?

My preference of medium really depends on my subject. For figurative or portrait I prefer charcoal, for landscape, oil paints.

For a figure or portrait, I tend to be a strong advocate for gridding. I will usually grid out my subject to ensure more accuracy and then block in the shadow area. Once the excess charcoal is removed, usually I begin with the eye area and work my way out, going back and forth as necessary.

With painting, I tend to be more lenient/loose. Mother Nature is not accurate, so why should I be? I usually try to begin my research with some plein air paintings and photography, to ensure I can capture not just the detail of the scene, but also the vibrancy/accuracy of the colors and values that can be absent in a picture. Once I’ve chosen a canvas size, I sketch out a rough outline and then begin blocking in the large shapes from background to foreground. I then begin detailing it more over a number of days, allowing the paint to dry a bit before each reworking.

What is next? Upcoming exhibitions, trips, graduation, etc.

Currently I am working on my thesis development for graduation. Aside from a couple of commissions, I really don’t have anything planned, per se. I am pretty much taking things as they come, but I am always on the lookout for opportunities.

The 6-on-6 Artist Interview series consists of 6 questions for student artists asked by the Library staff on the 6th floor.

Lisa Taylor’s interview was conducted by Abby Dansiger, Visual Resources Librarian, in August 2013.

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