As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Serena Cole. See the full studio visit and interview with Serena and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.
Serena’s studio is in her Oakland apartment, a modest space that she has efficiently rigged to accommodate her needs. She’s set it up so that her studio takes up most of the apartment’s square footage, but she keeps things flexible with furnishings that are easily moved and rearranged. I’m always impressed with resourcefulness and am appreciative of the kind of ingenuity that comes out of necessity and that manages to circumvent a set of limitations. In fact, the idea of limitations kept coming up for me in thinking about Serena’s artwork because her pieces are very much visually dictated and confined by her reference material. Her work directly appropriates the fashion imagery of advertising campaigns and editorial spreads, highlighting the patterns and tropes used to elicit desire and encourage consumerism. In taking on this imagery, her work attempts to examine what is revealed about our collective psychology, the culture of consumption and escapism, and the complexity of fantasy. In our conversations, she acknowledged that she isn’t so much trying to create something new, but instead aims to deconstruct already existent imagery in the appropriation of it. But this is a slippery slope— in being so tightly tethered to the aesthetics of the fashion world, Serena’s work runs the risk of coming off as analogous instead of questioning. Serena is aware of this risk— in creating art within a framework already heavily loaded with well-established associations, value, and perimeters, she knows the trick is to get the viewer to recognize that there is actually a lot at stake amidst the glitz and glamour.
Allison Schulnik Beautiful/Decay Studio Visit from Beautiful/Decay Magazine on Vimeo.
The Queen of lush and juicy paint Allison Schulnik opened up her studio to Beautiful/Decay and Visual Creatures to give our readers insight into the world of sad hobo clowns and her painting and animation process. Allison discusses how her paintings inform her animations and vice versa, the long history of artists in her family, and how Los Angeles allows artists to have quiet time in the studio yet have a community.
Melissa Brown makes art which deliberately engages the precarious mental territory where reality and fantasy are indistinguishable, not in the sense of a narrative which may or may not be true, but in the sense of the inconsistency and vagaries of perception when vision gets a hard slap of imagination. A little over a year ago Beautiful/Decay did a studio visit with Melissa where we discussed her large scale prints (made with a steam roller) and scratch tickets collages of dizzying geometric complexity.
Photo Credit Ari Markopoulos
If you are lucky, once in a while you find an artist that helps you remember why you started getting into art in the first place. I first saw Dave Muller’s work in 2004 at his show ‘I Like Your Music’ at Blum & Poe, and at the time was just a fresh-faced college kid, only beginning to think about getting involved in the fine arts. I walked into this room full of his drawings of massive record sleeves – vibrant, colorful, and full of life – it was one of the first times that I remember feeling truly enthusiastic about art, not simply because I thought it looked cool, but because it seemed to speak to something about life that I was really excited about. It was a turning point for me in the way I interacted with art, and I’ve never thought about things the same way. For me, Dave Muller’s work is all about the good things that make life worth living – good music, good friends, a little messy, a lot of color, and a lot of fun. Dave has been one of my favorite artists since that fateful day, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to him about his work, his alternate life as a DJ, and his recent wall drawing at the new Cowboys Stadium.
A couple of weeks ago, we featured Mark Licari on the B/D blog, and the response was so positive that we decided to catch up with the man himself and ask him some questions about his work, squids, and life in LA. Licari’s world is full of sea creatures, crawling bugs, exploding volcanoes, and the degenerative force that turns a clean room into a big fat mess. In addition to his vibrant works on paper, elaborate lithographs, and hilarious sculptures, he also creates dramatic wall drawings that will make you ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ like a little kid. His show at the Monterey Museum of Art is on view through February 14th, so go check it out!