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Photography

Vignette: Sid Webb


“I think of art as making a statement about the artist’s time and place and/or turning points in techniques and tools that give the next generation of artists a new outlook.” — Sid Webb


"Skipping" by Sid Webb, 10x27in, photograph (2011), $89 |  BUY NOW

"Skipping" by Sid Webb, 10x27in, photograph (2011), $89 | BUY NOW

Photographer, Sid Webb

Photographer, Sid Webb

Sid Webb creates in a variety of mediums, and today we see some of his photographs. “I have taken nearly 100,000 photographs,” claims Webb, “and although I am tempted by beaches, mountains, sunsets, and sunrises and their breath-taking beauty as much as anyone, I rarely find lasting substance in such images. We can count the significant landscape photographers on one hand. Landscape painters fare a little better because technique and interpretation come into play.”

Webb prefers people as subjects for his camera. Here we see a young boy approaching a large 17th-century canon at Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine with appropriate trepidation, sheepishly inching his foot forward, a look eager anticipation mixed with supreme caution on his face. The shot is from a distant, raised point-of-view, and if the child had a clue he was being photographed, would he have been so expressive?

"Cigar Roller" by Sid Webb, 11x17in, photograph (2013), $45 |  BUY NOW

"Cigar Roller" by Sid Webb, 11x17in, photograph (2013), $45 | BUY NOW

The locations here cover a range of territory, from Germany to Portugal, and Webb’s camera finds the ordinary, universal truths of people instead of the divisive artificial barriers that arise from nations and politicians. Webb sees people experiencing the wonders of the world as a respite from their normal, daily existence.

“It is my feeling that about 80 percent of creating art is the process of making it,” says Webb. “By which I mean just being focused and absorbed in the process of creation. Another 15 percent or so has to do with skill and craft, and 5 percent is drawn from our sensitivity to the world around us and how finely tuned we are to form and balance and color. Somewhere in this mix is a bit of rational thinking and reasoning that lead us in deciding subject matter and content. Generally, artists are thought of as being creative and original. And artists think of themselves in those terms, too.”

Hometown: Lexington, KY
Education: Majored in journalism and political science, University of Kentucky; Atlanta School of Art (High Museum)
Website: http://www.sidwebb.com/

"Skipping (detail)" by Sid Webb

"Skipping (detail)" by Sid Webb

"Boys and Guns" by Sid Webb, 11x17in, photograph (2014), $45 |  BUY NOW

"Boys and Guns" by Sid Webb, 11x17in, photograph (2014), $45 | BUY NOW

"Boys and Guns (detail)" by Sid Webb

"Boys and Guns (detail)" by Sid Webb

"Fairy Dust" by Sid Webb, 11x17in, photograph (2013), $45 |  BUY NOW

"Fairy Dust" by Sid Webb, 11x17in, photograph (2013), $45 | BUY NOW

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 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.

Are you interested in being on Artebella?    Click here    to learn more.

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Painting

Vignette: Jeremy Brightbill

A photograph of artist  Jeremy Brightbill in studio.

A photograph of artist Jeremy Brightbill in studio.

Jeremy Brightbill has been an abstract painter for years, although some level of representational imagery was present in previous work. Most recently, he is creating densely layered compositions of pure abstraction that almost have the feeling of textiles; the broad, coarse brush marks interwoven almost as strands of fiber might be worked on a loom. We anticipate tactile textures in textile work, and Brightbill’s painted surface is a primitive, elemental exploration of interconnectedness. 

Yet, all of that may sound too serious for the artist himself, who emphasizes human experience and self-awareness when discussing his paintings. “My current work explores play and experiment, love and memory, and self-delusion,” explains Brightbill. “We tend to create narratives around our experiences that may or may not be accurate. This fascinates me, and, I believe, comes through in my work.”

"Blood Would Drip From The Honey"  by Jeremy Brightbill,  24x24in,   acrylic on wood (2016), $400 |  BUY NOW

"Blood Would Drip From The Honey" by Jeremy Brightbill, 24x24in, acrylic on wood (2016), $400 | BUY NOW

Brightbill is a self-educated artist who began making artwork in Charleston, West Virginia, in the mid-nineties. In 1999, he moved to Bloomington, Indiana, where he lived and worked for just over sixteen years. He briefly lived in Annapolis, Maryland, and is currently based in Louisville, Kentucky.

You can find his work displayed in Bloomington, IN at Dimensions Gallery, and he currently has a solo show up at the offices of Sold Sisters Realty in Ripley, WV.

Age: 41
Hometown: Charleston, WV / Bloomington, IN
Education: I worked in museums for 19 years. I did not go to school for art.
Website: www.jeremybrightbill.squarespace.com

"Lost Shoes"  by Jeremy Brightbill,  16x20in, acrylic on wood (2016), $200 |  BUY NOW

"Lost Shoes" by Jeremy Brightbill, 16x20in, acrylic on wood (2016), $200 | BUY NOW

"The Best Path Is The One That I've Taken" by Jeremy Brightbill, 24x24in,    acrylic on wood  (2016), $400  |  BUY NOW

"The Best Path Is The One That I've Taken" by Jeremy Brightbill, 24x24in, acrylic on wood (2016), $400 | BUY NOW

"Map For The Blind" by Jeremy Brightbill, 24x24in,    acrylic on wood  (2016), $400  |  BUY NOW

"Map For The Blind" by Jeremy Brightbill, 24x24in, acrylic on wood (2016), $400 | BUY NOW

"Pretty Much The Opposite"  by Jeremy Brightbill,  21x28.5 in,   acrylic on wood (2016), $425 |  BUY NOW

"Pretty Much The Opposite" by Jeremy Brightbill, 21x28.5 in, acrylic on wood (2016), $425 | BUY NOW

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

Please contact    josh@louisvillevisualart.org    for further information on advertising through Artebella.

Please contact josh@louisvillevisualart.org for further information on advertising through Artebella.