The Clayton Brothers Visit The Same Thrift Shop For Four Years For Their Latest Exhibit

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Artist duo Christian and Rob Clayton, who exhibit as The Clayton Brothers, found their muse at Sun Thrift, inspiring their latest show “Open to the Public.” Three to four years in the making, the artists visited the shop almost every other day to browse and people watch. Rob Clayton says:

“There are two aspects to this show: one side of it is the store itself and the employees that run it, and more importantly, the other side is the people that go there to get things they need.” (Source)

A third aspect could be said to be the pieces that the brothers purchased and brought into their studio, and sometimes into their finished works. Drawn to the handmade and personal the artists speculate on the embedded stories the objects can’t tell. They see the store itself as a curated collection of sorts, where the employees determine the exhibition by making connections and creating categories. Christian and Rob, inspired by this method of organization, say it inspired the way they worked for this show.

When creating, the brothers have an interesting method of collaboration. They work simultaneously in the same studio, leaving unfinished pieces out for the other to be inspired by and often to add to.

Rob elaborates, “At the studio we don’t say, ‘This is mine, that’s yours.’ We refer to the drawings that haven’t made it into the process yet as carcasses. If a painting sits around for a while, one of us will usually grab it all of a sudden and change it in some way. It’s a constant give and take.” Christian adds, “When do get into a heated spot with a piece, we know each other well enough to let things stew.” (Source)

Their different approaches and techniques are evident in this collection, and it is particularly apt. The varied stylistic choices — assemblage, drawing, collage—speak to the patchwork merchandise in the store as well as to the diverse shoppers.

“The characters that inhabit Open to the Public are overall a sweet bunch. They might look disjointed and fractured, or some might say disturbing, but our overall intent with these drawings was to gain an honest understanding of ourselves as humans. The objects that are discarded or donated to the thrift store become a direct reflection on us as people. We look at the objects like archaeologists, and there is narration attached to all of it. The stories of peoples lives, creative heartfelt moments, messages left for loved ones, forgotten memories… this is what has been driving our characters.” (Source)

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Mother And Daughter Collaborate On Surreal Illustrations

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It’s hard not to be absolutely delighted with this story and these illustrations. Mica Angela Hendricks is an illustrator and graphic artist who used to keep her art projects separate from her daughter’s as a way to maintain control of artistic direction. One day, that changed when her 4-year-old insisted that Hendricks share her new sketchbook with her, finally berating her with, “we might have to take it away if you can’t share,” something Hendricks told her daughter often. So Hendricks let her finish the bodies of many faces she’d started (informed by old black and white movie stills), and was surprised and delighted with the results. Hendricks claims her daughter often has a focused direction when finishing a piece, and that her imagination is unpredictable.

After her daughter finishes drawing, Hendricks adds color and highlights, texture and painting to complete them. Her daughter critques most of them a bit harshly, but ultimately enjoys their collaboration. As for Hendricks, the collaboration means more to her than the creation of interesting and unique illustrations:

“…From it all, here are the lessons I learned: to try not to be so rigid. Yes, some things (like my new sketchbook) are sacred, but if you let go of those chains, new and wonderful things can happen. Those things you hold so dear cannot change and grow and expand unless you loosen your grip on them a little. In sharing my artwork and allowing our daughter to be an equal in our collaborations, I helped solidify her confidence, which is way more precious than any doodle I could have done. In her mind, her contributions were as valid as mine (and in truth, they really were). Most importantly, I learned that if you have a preconceived notion of how something should be, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE DISAPPOINTED. Instead, just go with it, just ACCEPT it, because usually something even more wonderful will come out of it.”

You can purchase prints of these delightful illustrations here. (via)

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Aidan Koch’s Artful Comics

Aidan Koch is a pretty talented lady. Her work overlaps between comics, illustrations and collaborations. Her comic style is completely her own, showing her mark making process throughout. She’s just finished a collaboration with Finnish artist Jaakko Pallasvuo on a comic called Pages.

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Kandace Wilson: living canvas photography project

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I don’t particularly consider myself an artist and certainly not a painter. But last week, I had the opportunity to be both when photographer & fashion designer Kandace Wilson invited me to participate as a collaborator in her ongoing horse painting project. Kandace grew up at the track, always around horses -the  underlying inspiration behind building this body of work. The end products are a portfolio of stellar images of the painted horse, textiles created from the painted imagery, and fashion designs using those textiles. There were a host of constraints and challenges in the process that make the experience one-of-a-kind: time is your biggest challenge as you’re working with a large furry animal that gets bored quickly and requires both entertainment and breaks; the fur, in both color and texture provides a challenging canvas to work on; working on location requires a certain degree of spontaneity and creativity… but beyond the challenges came some sweet and unexpected rewards both in the finished product that begins to take on a living, breathing life of its own, and in the experience of working with this majestic animal. Kandace continues to search for, and looks forward to connecting with willing participants, artists (and horses) of any variety who would be interested in future horse-painting collaborations.

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