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Painting, Drawing

Vignette: Sunny Ra

"Radiate" by Sunny Ra, 32x48in, oil on canvas (2016), $1300 |  BUY NOW

"Radiate" by Sunny Ra, 32x48in, oil on canvas (2016), $1300 | BUY NOW

Artist, Sunny Ra. Photo by Dan Lubbers.

Artist, Sunny Ra. Photo by Dan Lubbers.

In striking abstract compositions, painter Sunny Ra uses the landscape form to investigate questions of identity in both a social and highly personal context.

“The foundation of my work originates from my experience of growing up Korean in Louisville, Kentucky. I did not have any Korean friends and since I spoke little Korean and could not read or write Hangul, I was an outsider in the Korean community. Similarly, I never quite identified myself as American since I was not white, and was living among majority white Americans.  I remember people would ask me where I was from or comment on how well I spoke English. I grew up feeling and eventually believing that I did not belong anywhere - perhaps nowhere. It is from this limbo that my night landscapes emerge and my journey into the obscure and the unknown began.”

"Untitled #3" by Sunny Ra, 9x12in, pastel on paper (2016)

"Untitled #3" by Sunny Ra, 9x12in, pastel on paper (2016)

It is a common, and let’s be honest, lazy assumption to confuse an individual artist’s racial and cultural identity. Ra makes paintings with no overt ties to traditional Korean pictorial forms, and her formative culture was Middle American, so it is fascinating to hear how she connects the luxurious darkness of her imagery with an evolving personal journey. 

“In these night landscapes, I revisit my childhood memories - what has been lost and what remains. Through the application of layers of paint, the images at first recognizable, slowly evolve and merge into the abyss of the dark palette. But through the darkness emerges light and color, a new image surfaces, perhaps this is where I belong.”

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 35
Education: MFA, Hunter College, CUNY, 2011; BFA, University of Pennsylvania, 2005; Painting Certificate, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 2005
Website: http://www.sunny-ra.com

"Harvest" by Sunny Ra, 11x14in, oil on paper (2016), $450 |  BUY NOW

"Harvest" by Sunny Ra, 11x14in, oil on paper (2016), $450 | BUY NOW

"Untitled #2" by Sunny Ra, 9x12in, pastel on paper (2016)

"Untitled #2" by Sunny Ra, 9x12in, pastel on paper (2016)

"Kinetic" by Sunny Ra, 14x11in, oil on paper (2016), $450 |  BUY NOW

"Kinetic" by Sunny Ra, 14x11in, oil on paper (2016), $450 | BUY NOW

"Untitled #1" by Sunny Ra, 9x12in, pastel on paper (2016)

"Untitled #1" by Sunny Ra, 9x12in, pastel on paper (2016)

"Might" by Sunny Ra, 11x14in, oil on paper (2016), $450 |  BUY NOW

"Might" by Sunny Ra, 11x14in, oil on paper (2016), $450 | BUY NOW

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Painting

Vignette: Sabra Crockett


“There seems to be a vacuous spiritual sense in our society.” — Sabra Crockett


Artist, Sabra Crockett

Artist, Sabra Crockett

Artists have painted nature and animals since the cave paintings at Lascaux, France. Those early renderings are documents of time: season by season, lifetime by lifetime, they are the first recorded history; but over the ages of time artists moved away from sociology and began capturing the complex beauty of other species as a means of expressing a reverence for nature. Art was also used to recognize the divine, and the natural world was often where they found it.

These paintings by Sabra Crockett are well-observed studies of specific birds, but they are placed in specific, idiosyncratic visual context for the purpose of conjuring a spiritual connection. The artist explains:

"Deception" by Sabra Crockett, 8x10in, acrylic and metal leaf on canvas (2017)

"Deception" by Sabra Crockett, 8x10in, acrylic and metal leaf on canvas (2017)

“My goal is to be a mechanism for shifting people's awareness towards nature. I believe that we have become disassociated with nature, therefore becoming disassociated with ourselves. There seems to be a vacuous spiritual sense in our society. Religion has become a sense of identity, rather than a transcendent self-discovery, and tuning into the higher self. Personally, connecting with nature has always been my way of connecting to the divine. Now I feel that our beautiful parks, wildlife, and habitats are being threatened even more. It feels like an assault these days. So I focus on imagery for people to create a connection with our natural world in hopes there will be a connection within themselves.”

"Exaltation" by Sabra Crockett, 12x12in, acrylic metal leaf venetian plaster on board (2017)

"Exaltation" by Sabra Crockett, 12x12in, acrylic metal leaf venetian plaster on board (2017)

In January 2017, Crockett was a recipient of a Great Meadows Foundation Professional Development Grant, and currently is a participant in Gridworks Revisited, Lexington, KY. She will open a solo show on March 31 at Downtown Pilates, Louisville, KY, and will be included in SALON International, in New York City April 12 -16. Summer will bring exhibits at Dragon King's Daughter in May, and at Evolving Gallery in June, both in Louisville.

Hometown: Rochester, New York
Age: 43
Education: BFA, Rochester Institute of Technology
Website: http://www.sabralynne.com

"Judgement" by Sabra Crockett, 10x8in, acrylic and copper leaf on canvas (2016)

"Judgement" by Sabra Crockett, 10x8in, acrylic and copper leaf on canvas (2016)

"Pride" by Sabra Crockett, 8x10in, acrylic and plaster on canvas (2016)

"Pride" by Sabra Crockett, 8x10in, acrylic and plaster on canvas (2016)

"Balance" by Sabra Crockett, 8x10in, acrylic and metal leaf on canvas (2017)

"Balance" by Sabra Crockett, 8x10in, acrylic and metal leaf on canvas (2017)

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. 

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Drawing, Mixed Media, Illustration, Painting

Vignette: Damien Vines

"Bull" by Damien Vines, 22x28in, charcoal and ink (2015), $80 |  BUY NOW

"Bull" by Damien Vines, 22x28in, charcoal and ink (2015), $80 | BUY NOW

"Skateboard" by Damien Vines, 30x8in, acrylic and oil markers (2016), $100 |  BUY NOW

"Skateboard" by Damien Vines, 30x8in, acrylic and oil markers (2016), $100 | BUY NOW

Viewing the work of an art student can illustrate the development of ideas, almost as if we are given glimpses into the creative mind, watching in real time the active thinking that is at play. Damien Vines’ drawings here are sometimes, simple and linear, but also rough sketches of larger themes that the young artist may be only beginning to explore. His approach is very illustrative, with a fair dose of the fantastical present. His design for a skateboard might have appeared in magazines or a comic book, so clearly is that ancestry evoked, but what of the Bull? Exposed to the bone and dripping from slaughter, the beast carries a burden on his back; the weight of industrialized society. It’s a provocative image made all the more impactful by the subtle turn of the bovine head, which stares at the viewer with one, empty, blood-red eye socket. Does it go far to imagine the dripping red beneath might suggest tears?

“My work aims to make the viewer question the intent of subtle meaning and symbolism, I aim to make the work not one note but instead to create a conversation. I explore imagery and ideas that might be considered disturbing such as living with serious mental illness or the boundary between psychopathy and fictional characters.”

Despite his more serious intentions, Vines is clearly enjoying himself with lighter, irreverent collages such as this one that ‘paints’ one arm of Michelangelo’s David with candy color, covering the body like a post-Modern pauldron or vambrace - pieces of protective armor. The contrast in the approaches are may seem sharp, but it is clear evidence of the uncertain, restless mind that drives an artist to communicate.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 21
Education: BFA candidate, Painting and Drawing, Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University, Louisville, Kentuck

"Drawings (series)" by Damien Vines, 8.5x11in,  dry point prints and watercolor  (2016), $120 |  BUY NOW

"Drawings (series)" by Damien Vines, 8.5x11in, dry point prints and watercolor (2016), $120 | BUY NOW

"Untitled" by Damien Vines, 16x20in, graphite and pastel (2016)

"Untitled" by Damien Vines, 16x20in, graphite and pastel (2016)

"Untitled #2" by Damien Vines, 4x6in, collage (2016)

"Untitled #2" by Damien Vines, 4x6in, collage (2016)

"Untitled #3" by Damien Vines, 18x24in, markers on paper (2015)

"Untitled #3" by Damien Vines, 18x24in, markers on paper (2015)

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Digital, Illustration

Q&A: Monica Beavers


“Rabbits are a lot smarter and tougher than most people give them credit for.”
– Monica Laake Beavers


"Big, Brown Bunny That Can't (Won't) Hop" by Monica Beavers, 8x10in, mixed media/illustrated book (2016)

"Big, Brown Bunny That Can't (Won't) Hop" by Monica Beavers, 8x10in, mixed media/illustrated book (2016)

Monica Laake Beavers was born and raised in the rolling hills of Northern Kentucky. She has always had a love for art and believes creativity is the spice of life. Monica received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, focusing in Graphic Design & Drawing, from Xavier University, and was at one time the Design Coordinator for Louisville Visual Art. She recently finished writing and illustrating her second children's book, "The Big, Brown Bunny Huh?".

When did you first think you would be an artist?

I’m pretty sure I was in kindergarten. The teacher pretty much wasn’t able to take the pencil away from me. I just kept drawing rabbits on everything – my fascination with rabbits started very young.

Who or what inspires you now?

My main inspirations are:

  • Walt Disney: say what you will about him, but I’ve always been a Disney kid from an early age. I respect his creative genius, ambition and persistence he carried throughout his career. He failed so many times early on in his career, but he kept on going. 
  • Movies, specifically Indiana Jones. I want my art to be able to force people to take a breather from the seriousness and monotony of life and just enjoy a moment, even if it’s fleeting. 
  • Saul Bass inspires me artistically. (Bass 1920 – 1996) was an American graphic designer and Academy Award-winning filmmaker, best known for his design of motion-picture title sequencesfilm posters, and corporate logos). He always focused on the communication of design and art. He was able to take complex opening scenes to films and simplify them to their bare minimum. When creating my books, I’ll try to start with a complex idea and try to simplistically break it down using a rabbit or other animals to typically convey the message in a lighthearted manner.
  • I’m very much fueled by quotes as well, specifically Charles Bukowski and Rudyard Kipling. 
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Why rabbits? Tell us about the real-life “Bun.”

The bun, the myth, the legend! I’ve loved rabbits as long as I can remember. 

I chose rabbits because of my own pet rabbit, Grumpy, as well as my love for personification. Grumpy has a unique personality and had a very rough upbringing. I wanted to bring this personality to life. Grumpy may appear crotchety and not very trusting of those who first meet him, but he has a heart of gold! 

Grumpy, aka “Bertie McBean” (his stage name for the books), is a French lop by nature and a bunny jam packed with disdain. Hailing from Cleveland, OH, he was saved from a hoarding situation and relocated to Indyclaw Rescue in Indianapolis, IN. One fateful day, he was adopted by a lady (me!) and meandered to Louisville, KY. His knack for traveling and zest for life blew him upstream to Bellevue, KY where he currently resides. He is a free-range rabbit who loves acoustic music (especially Eddie Vedder), the smell of feet, and apples.

You also are heavily into sharks, and there is at least one shark painting on your website. These two animals wouldn’t seem to be a natural match, yet they dominate your unique sensibility. Why is that?

I think from both sides of the spectrum, they are extremely misunderstood animals and ridiculously interesting. Rabbits are a lot smarter and tougher than most people give them credit for. They have a lot of admirable qualities and unique habits (thumping, chinning, binkying, etc.). On the shark end, I’ve always been fascinated knowing they have been in existence practically since the beginning of time and yet have never had to evolve nearly as much as most animals have. Again, they are extremely misunderstood animals but carry a very weighty reputation. 

Additionally, both animals have such unique characteristics they’re a lot of fun to play around with and personify. 

You can draw and paint old school, but why do the two books you have published rely on computer graphics? 

I think this stems from my college Graphic Design professor Jonathan Gibson. He very much emphasized the importance of keeping a human touch when creating a design piece. He stressed the importance of texture and use of mixed media when designing. Too often people rely on a computer to create textures/effects and as a result, a lot of art can begin to look monotonous and generic and lack personality. 

"Big, Brown Bunny That Can't (Won't) Hop" by Monica Beavers, book marks, mixed media/illustrated book (2016)

"Big, Brown Bunny That Can't (Won't) Hop" by Monica Beavers, book marks, mixed media/illustrated book (2016)

My love of art began with drawing and transitioned into graphic design, but I like to use the two interchangeably. When creating my illustrations, I actually start by sketching them all out on a notepad. I then take photographs of textures that have personal meaning to me. For example, I’m a Red’s fan, so a lot of the grass used is from the Red’s stadium. Additionally, the furs used for Grumpy/Bertie McBean are actual photographs of his fur.

Additionally, depending on the project I first start with the idea and what my main message is. From there I select the medium to work in accordance to the theme of the piece. My current style wouldn’t necessarily be used if the message were different. I felt like this style captured the personality of Bertie McBean and what I was trying to convey. 

If you could do anything else but make art, what would it be?

I would be a marine biologist or zoologist, travel the world and study sharks.

What frightens you the most?

I hate caterpillars - really, …I do. In all seriousness though, my biggest fear is losing the ones I love the most and not following my dreams and looking back years from now and asking “what if…?”

What challenges you more than anything?

The question “what if?”

What is your favorite music to listen to when making art?

I typically mix it up between Eddie Vedder/Pearl Jam, Pokey LaFarge, Jim Croce, or the Eagles. 

I usually listen to pretty chill music when making art. I’ve been listening to the Into the Wild soundtrack a lot lately.

Favorite movie? Besides Jaws, that is?

Ha! I think, “I’m going to need a bigger boat” for that question (wokka wokka). Although it is hard to beat, Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade is my favorite. In my eyes, it’s the perfect storyline and end to a trilogy (the fourth movie didn’t happen). It includes a just the right amount of campiness, wit and quirk that separates it from a standard action/adventure movie.

What are you reading right now?

I’m in between three books, “Ham on Rye” by Charles Bukowski, “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles, and David Sedaris’ “Chipmunk Seeks Squirrel.”

What advice would you give a young artist just out of college?

Don’t get frustrated. Each path and experience will lead you where you want to be as long as you don’t lose sight of where you intend to go. After graduating you leave feeling like you’re on top of the world and reality starts to sink in with work, but remember, you chose art for a reason. You always have options and you chose art because you didn’t want a boring life.

If you were given a $100,000 what would do with it?

Start my own company full time and work on branding The Big, Brown Bunny. Start up my own rabbit rescue and probably travel to Egypt, Greece or South Africa- great shark diving area.

What does art mean to you?

Art means happiness. It’s my escape. It allows me to take a break from the real world and just create. It means taking a closer look at things and not accepting things as they are, it means endless possibilities.

If you could meet any celebrity who would it be and what would you ask them?

Walt Disney – What inspired you? What would you hope people remembered you for? What kept you going on the hard days? 

Harrison Ford – I would have to ask about Indiana Jones.

Hometown: Villa Hills, Kentucky
Age: 28
Education: BFA, Xavier University
Website: http://www.bigbrownbun.com

"Big Brown Huh?" by Monica Beavers, 8x10in, mixed media/illustrated book (2015)

"Big Brown Huh?" by Monica Beavers, 8x10in, mixed media/illustrated book (2015)

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Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Photography, Fiber, Installation

Vignette: Sarah Kinslow

"Parachute Room" by Sarah Kinslow, 25x14in, still frame of cinemagraph (2016), $100 |  BUY NOW

"Parachute Room" by Sarah Kinslow, 25x14in, still frame of cinemagraph (2016), $100 | BUY NOW

Artists change over time. As a student in LVA’s Children’s Fine Art Classes, Sarah Kinslow was adept at highly detailed pen & ink drawings, the highlight of a portfolio that earned her a scholarship. Now in art school, she has shifted into fiber as a medium: “From a young age I was introduced to the art world via textile crafts such as crocheting, knitting, embroidery, cross-stitch, and many other processes. This was part of my everyday life and it impacted the trajectory of my career path early on. Through these processes I have been able to express myself and look to other artists following the same lines.”

Like many artists that work with fiber, Kinslow has an acute awareness of the history and heritage of these techniques as, "woman's work" or as menial household activities that, however important to daily life they might have once been, they were not by any means considered art.

“I want my work with textiles to give the viewer a different perspective, and provide them a place visually or physically to see that these realities are not what we may perceive them to be. They are to question what impact they themselves have on to the pieces, such as my installation work, and what their presence does to the work and their impact on their own reality.” 

Who wouldn’t welcome the opportunity to revisit the tent forts of their childhood? Kinslow’s installations are at once modern and traditional, anachronistic yet cozy. By building space that invites a viewer to sit in quiet contemplation, she explores the layers of meaning in the word “comfort” and reconnects us to the fundamental touchstones of family with a sure sense of place. The larger cultural associations can run even deeper, with the universality of a tented enclosure found in enough history to provide a common thread of understanding.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 20
Education: Currently a student at the Kentucky College of Art and Design at Spalding University, Louisville, Kentucky for a BFA in Painting/Drawing and Pre-Art Therapy.

"A Place For Contemplation #2" by Sarah Kinslow, 30x20in, digital photo of installation (2016)

"A Place For Contemplation #2" by Sarah Kinslow, 30x20in, digital photo of installation (2016)

"Exploration #4" by Sarah Kinslow, 6x10in, monotype dry point print (2016)

"Exploration #4" by Sarah Kinslow, 6x10in, monotype dry point print (2016)

"Fluidity" by Sarah Kinslow,  20x14in,  digital print (2016)

"Fluidity" by Sarah Kinslow, 20x14in, digital print (2016)

Sarah Kinslow (2016)

Sarah Kinslow (2016)

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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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