Most people like to call today, the day after Thanksgiving, "Black Friday." For us at CCM, it will forever be PRINTSGIVING! Once a year, we bring out all the out of edition prints we've got filed away, giving them another chance to find loving homes. If you are in the neighborhood, come visit us and check out some super sweet (and affordable!) prints from Tara and some of your other favorite artists! Printgiving is also an extra special time to come into the shop or order online, as every customer gets a free large lithograph! If you are ordering online, make sure to use promo code Printsgiving to receieve 15% off your entire order!
We'd also like to take this opportunity to remind everybody that we've only got a few weeks left at 235 South 1st Street and we'd love to see all our friends before we go! We will be here until Christmas Eve, so that means we will be here to satisfy all your holiday gift needs. Our final opening will be on the evening of December 11th, so please join us in celebrating the amazing community of artists we've been lucky enough to know. From all of us, thank you so much to the collectors, fans and artists that have made the past four years such a blast. We will miss our space in Williamsburg, but are looking forward to the next chapter. Stay tuned for updates about the future of CCM. But for now... get your PRINTSGIVING on! Permalink | Cotton Candy Machine, New Releases, Events, Openings, In Store
Here at the Cotton Candy Machine, we are excited about art and it is our mission to share that excitement with anybody and everybody. It happens all too often that art discussions are expected to be strictly serious and scholarly, placed up on a pedestal that, for many of us, is simply out of reach. It can be overwhelming and even alienating. While there is always a place for the serious and the scholarly, there is also a place for genuine enthusiasm and enjoyment. I’d like to think that the Art Knight web series is the place where all these attributes combine.There is no question of Sean’s excitement… his every word is infused with passion. But spend a few minutes with the show and you’ll also get some serious art-talk, whether it is through an art show’s written press release or an interview. Always mentioning the grander concepts of a show or an artist’s body of work, Sean recognizes the mental work behind crafting beautiful objects. His easy going demeanor prompts artists to speak openly and the effect is just perfect. The guests are presented as smart and thoughtful, while remaining accessible to even the most novice art fan. In the most recent episodes of the series, we get a few interviews, each of which provides a different angle of this massive universe we call Contemporary Art. Both episodes 6 and 7 feature two installments: the Art News and a an on-sight interview. So, let’s check it out!
Governor's Island Art Fair, Governor's Island, New York, NY
Jen Ray "Deep Cuts", Albertz Benda Gallery
Brett Amory, Seonna Hong, Martin Wittfooth, Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York, NY
Kris Kuksi "Amalgamation", Joshua Liner Gallery, New York, NY
Jel Ena "Sanctum Infernum", Stephen Romano Gallery, New York, NY
"13th Hour" Group Show, Last Rites Gallery, New York, NY
Murals In The Market Festival, Detroit, MI
Beyond Eden 2015, Los Angeles, CA
Babytattooville and Mark Ryden's Surrealist Ball, Culver City, CA
Mark Whalen "Trapezoid", KP Projects / MKG, Los Angeles, CA
DABS MYLA "Before and Further", Modernica Factory
Soey Milk "Pida", Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco, CA
Casey Weldon "Hastemaker", Roq La Rue, Seattle, WA
Evan Hecox "Terrain", Andenken Battalion, Amsterdam
Erik Jones "In Colour", Dorothy Circus Gallery, Roma
Tara McPherson "I Know It By Heart", Dorothy Circus Gallery, Roma
Sean visits Ramiro Davaro-Comas' studio in Bushwick to see the 50 pieces he prepared for his show "Pushing Wood" at Cotton Candy Machine. Originally from Argentina, Ramiro's work is heavily influenced by his time in New York and local skate culture.
Filmed at Ramiro Davaro-Comas' Studio
Music by: Dima Drjuchin and The Unconditional Love
"Don't Give Me That Face"
Seonna Hong "If You Lived Here I'd Be Home By Now", Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York, NY
Martin Wittfooth "Offering", Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York, NY
Logan Hicks & Beau Stanton "Calm Before The Storm", Highline Loft, New York, NY
Heartbeat Opera "Miss Handel", The Cotton Candy Machine, Brooklyn, NY
"House of Wax: Anatomical, Pathological and Ethnographic Waxworks
from Castan's Panopticum, Berlin 1869 - 1922", Morbid Anatomy Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Nychos "Translucent Fear", Kolly Gallery, Zurich
Hiroshi Fuji "Happy Paradies", 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Invader Mosaic Art, Low Earth Orbit, Milky Way Galaxy
We went to Times Square to check out the Juxtapoz T.sq Newsstand, a pop-up newsstand and art installation designed by Kimou "Grotesk" Meyer. We spoke with Evan Pricco, Editor-In-Chief of Juxtapoz Magazine about the newsstand, the artists involved with the project, and the realities of creating art in the commercial epicenter of New York City.
Filmed at Juxtapoz T.sq Newsstand
Music by: Dima Drjuchin and The Unconditional Love
"I'm A Fucking Punk"
"Bb (in Bb)"
Dashing and daring, the Art Knight watches over our city (and maybe yours!), keeping us safe from the forces of drabness and white walls. Stay up to date with his mission by following us on Facebook and subscribing on Youtube! Thanks for all the love and support!
We are thrilled to host "Underworlds," the very first solo show from Brooklyn artist, Brian Sparrow. On Saturday September 19th, we invite you all to join us as we explore Sparrow's imaginary realms through new sculptures and paintings that feel more like artifacts than modern creations.
"My work is simple but it does not get there simply. The symbols explore the relationships and meanings between places and people in my world. This world is an internal space kept since childhood. I am sifting through it to find what things mean and when there is no meaning I make it up. Two prominent symbols are the black dog, which has become an icon representing myself, and the arch, a symbol for belief. I work with mediums of multiples because symbols have power when they are multiplied for all to see. "
In this new series of scultpures, Brian further explores the upside-down coffin motif that he has worked with for the past few years. For the very first time, scenes and elements from his personal "creation myth" will have three-dimensional form, inviting us into the strange worlds of an alternative past. Brian first showed with us as part of They Live: Exhibited Works and then again in the Fifth Annual Tiny Trifecta. This will be his first solo show with us and we couldn't be more excited!
As many Cotton Candy Machine followers know, Sean Leonard loves to talk about art. And he’s darn good at it too! Actively seeking exciting shows and events around the world, Sean is the perfect tour guide for those interested in contemporary art, whether that means you are a creator, a collector or a fan. Cotton Candy Machine has been an incredible platform for Sean to promote and celebrate art, but now it’s time to take things global! It’s time for the Art News! Dubbed the “Art Knight” back in 2013 (a well deserved title, earned after chasing down an art thief and truly saving the day) Sean promises to explore all avenues of the contemporary art scene. He’ll be reporting on shows, interviewing artists, visiting studios and celebrating artistic milestones of the people who inspire us all. For years, foodies have had Anthony Bourdain. Now us art lovers finally have our very own Art Knight!
We released Episode 2 this week and are already preparing episode 3! Covering a ton of awesome shows with his usual charisma, Sean lets us know what is happening on both coasts and even invites us to check out Banksy's "Dismaland," arguably one of the most exciting large-scale art projects ever.
Covered in Episode 2:
Last Rites Gallery Presents Transfigure, Last Rites Gallery, New York, NY.
Mishka Brooklyn Presents Grace Lang, Mishka 350 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY.
DEVOLUTION, Fifty24SF, San Francisco, CA.
Dan Quintana "Diffused", Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco, CA.
Alexandra Manukyan "Oracle of Extinction", Copro Gallery, Santa Monica, CA.
SUMMER SOIRÉE Group Show, Copro Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Nick Gazin "Demented Brain In Constant Pain", Mishka LA, Los Angeles, CA
Art The Jewels: Run The Jewels and Nick Gazin Tribute Show, San Francisco/Los Angeles, CA.
Banksy "Dismaland" Theme Park, Weston-super-Mare, England
In case you missed the first episode, we've got it right here for you! Filmed in two segments, Episode 1 features the news and an awesome studio visit with our friend, Dima! The first segment is chock full of information on some really exciting art shows happening all over the country! Even if you follow the galleries and blogs mentioned, this episode is bound to show you someone new.
We decided to film the first episode just in time to celebrate our current show, "VISION QUEST!" by Dima Drjuchin with a studio visit and interview. Diving into his career as a fine artist, an illustrator and a musician, Dima talks a bit about the process behind creating a solo show, as well as much much more!
Covered in Episode 1:
Dima Drjuchin "Vision Quest", Cotton Candy Machine, Brooklyn, NY.
"Infra:REAL" Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York, NY.
"Bad Dads" Wes Anderson Tribute Show, Spoke Arts at Joseph Gross Gallery, New York, NY
FAILE "Savage/Sacred Young Minds", Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY.
Erika Sanada "Fighting Spirit", Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
Jessica Hess "More is More", Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco, CA.
Deedee Cheriel "Natural Resource", KP Projects/Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.
Brandt Peters & Mutant Vinyl Hardcore "Candy Gore", Stranger Factory, Albuquerque, NM.
"Invisible Collage" curated by ThinkSpace Gallery, Fort Wayne Museum, Fort Wayne, IN.
On the evening of July 17th, we are welcoming back the Detroit-based master painter, Glenn Barr for his second solo show, "Pit of the Id," at Cotton Candy Machine! It has been almost three years since Glenn’s first solo show with us and we are eager to have his work on our walls again.
That show, “Detroit Rooms,” which opened in September 2012, was an enormous success, featuring over 20 original paintings, drawings and prints. This new show, too, will spotlight a variety of Glenn’s smaller works, although we can promise at least one large centerpiece to enthrall and mesmerize his many fans. While Glenn’s work is always very clearly his own, due in part to his hazy color palette and the almost seductive nature of his often isolated figures, he manages to explore many realms of imagery without ever leaving the universe he has created for himself. For this show, Glenn invites us to view his playful side through some re-imaginings of beloved characters like Judy Jetson and Wilma Flinstone. Painted in his softly gritty style, these ladies appear in moments of solitude, skin exposed and peering out through magnetic eyes. Simply the choice to pull inspiration from these particular retro vixens feels entirely in line with Glenn’s vision. Like many of the elements in his work, they are relics of America’s not-too-distant past; a vision of feminine beauty that spans all the way from the stones of Bedrock to the depths of outer space.
In addition to working from some new inspiration, Glenn is also continuing to explore familiar icons, such as bombs, missiles and other old-school instruments of destruction. Combined with his futuristic vehicles and chrome-clad ladies, these references to wars past push Glenn's work into a beautifully post-apocalyptic universe that transcends the confines of a single period in time.
We are also thrilled that Glenn will be including his stunning masterpiece, "Athena's Lament," originally created for the "Juxtapoz: 20 Years Under the Influence" art show last February. Measuring 31.5 x 22 inches, this large painting has a little bit of everything that we've come to expect in Glenn's work.
Be sure to follow Glenn on instagram to see all the works in progress. If you see something you like, let us know! Contact email@example.com for presale info and we hope to see you all at the opening!
In addition to celebrating the Fifth Annual Tiny Trifecta this Saturday, we are also thrilled to announce an event with the legendary Daniel Danger, happening all weekend long! Now, an already exciting weekend is bound to be even bigger and better than ever before! Since the Trifecta crowd has already began camping out in front of the shop, we want to give them a little something special this year. Of course, the event is open to absolutely everybody, campers and non campers alike!
Daniel Danger is an illustrator and printmaker working out of New England. The son of an middle school art teacher married to a professional potter, Daniel was never going to be a mathematician or claims adjuster for a top rated insurance agency. Amidst old houses dead from the fallout of urban sprawl, railway bridges asleep from neglect, and trees that engulf everything; his work attempts to remind you of something you may have said to someone, or something someone may have said to you; back in that time period thats just too far away to remember clearly, but not so long ago you forgot about it completely. His memories and many of his friends are simply ghosts now, shaking him awake with mistimed alarm clocks and the sounds of a television from across the house. Documentation is key to get through the day. Things are always changing and its easy to lose yourself.
As a continuation of a print edition we did with Daniel in May 2013, we will be releasing more of his amazing screenprints on clayboard, each of which will be hand-embellished by the master himself. Both prints feature Daniel's incredible dilapidated houses, as well as special embellishments such as wolves, deer and foliage. So, please join us on Friday, June 5th at 7 pm to celebrate the beginning of this momentous weekend!
Here are the base screenprints before embellishment!
And here are two versions of the hand embellishment possibilities!
The prints on the left will be released as 12 x 16 inch screenprints on clayboard, while the ones on the right will measure 16 x 20 inches.
It is fascinating to witness overlap in creative fields, and to see how the influences of 2D productions can expand and infiltrate 3D and 4D work. For George Miller's latest creation of the horrifying dystopian society that is "Mad Max: Fury Road", he enlisted the help of many talented artists to assist him in the storyboard process during preliminary stages of the film. The end result is a catalogue of artist responses to a war ravaged, water-deprived, destitute landscape that Miller has manifested from the deepest, darkest cavities of his brain. The book, "Mad Max: Fury Road — Inspired Artists," contains incredible artwork from artists scattered all over the world,
including but not limited to our very own Tara McPherson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Lee Bermejo, Dave Johnson, Paul Pope, a friend of The Cotton Candy Machine who has shown his work on our walls, David Mack, Howard Chaykin, Nicola Scott, Gabriele Dell'Otto, Cliff Chiang, George Pratt, Tommy Lee Edwards, John Paul Leon, Teddy Kristiansen, Simon Bisley, Gilbert Hernandez, Javier Pulido, Declan Shalvey, Rebekah Isaacs, Dave McKean, and many more! It includes a brief commentary from each artist, with a forward by George Miller. The book has been released by DC Comic's imprint, Vertigo in conjunction to the film's May release.
For many artists, the question, "what is your inspiration?" can be somewhat daunting. An often elusive force, an artist's inspiration is constantly evolving, finding new ways to manifest in the work. Sometimes, all of the specific influences that lead to a piece's completion are tough to pin down, even for the artists themselves. When it comes to inspiration, there's usually a little bit of this and a little bit of that, sprinklings of the countless ideas and images that make up our creative lives. Knowing this, it is always fun to find ways in which different artists work from the same basic inspiration. Director George Miller clearly recognizes this, calling his curated book "a brigade of wonderful artists from all around the planet 'freestyling' their responses to the movie." The book is a codex of interpretations, all stemming from the same dystopic universe but ending up in their very own realms of Mad Max territory.
Take, for instance, Tara's painting of the characer Furiosa played by Charlize Theron, shown below.
Tara McPherson writes "She has such a strong look and intense makeup that really resonated with me. I knew I had to paint her the instant I saw her,". McPherson is known for her compelling ability to depict powerful, independent women of all sorts. Charlize Theron's character in this movie is more than appropriate subject matter for McPherson, as she completely proves to be a prominent symbol for female strength. The fact that Tara felt so attracted to the character's intense makeup is no surprise to fans of her work. Many of Tara's paintings and drawings use makeup to convey complex emotions rather than simply a pretty face. From her dripping heart-tears to her candy colored corpse paint, Tara's use of makeup (much like her girls themselves) depict both human strength and human vulnerability. Makeup is the impermanent mask we choose to show the world, a mask capable of both camoflaging and revealing the person underneath. This feels especially true for a character like Furiosa, a woman once valued only for exploitation who has risen up for the sake of justice. The soot and dust that surround her, evidence of her struggling world, create the intense makeup that so many find commanding.
As was Miller's intention in curating this project, the book contains multiple interpretations of the same characters, each crafted by a different hand. This demonstrates that although multiple artists chose the same starting point from which to work, they chose these points for different reasons and took them in different directions. Like Tara, David Mack also chose the character Furiosa as his focus. Although he does not mention the character's iconic makeup look as the specific element that fuelled the piece, he certainly includes it. Mack's added commentary reads, “For this new film, I was fascinated with the religious connotations. The iconography and tribalism based on a belief system with a central metaphor of the machine."
Ryan Kelly, too, focuses on the film's heroine, as well as the other powerful females surrounding her. In a more classic comic style, this piece captures its characters mid-movement, each of them braving the elements of a ruthless wasteland. In Furiosa's face and stance, we see a determined warrior prepared for anything.
Marguerite Sauvage is another artist who felt instantly attracted to Furiosa's power. She states, “the women characters; so beautiful, strong and numerous, these female characters had to be the main part of my image. I also was struck by the image of the abandoned dead tree in this red or blue desert of dust, so I took care to integrate it into my image. Then my image will speak by herself about the feelings I wanted to convey, from determination to faith or fate.”
Here's a look at Paul Pope's piece for the book, which also focuses on some of the film's badass babes.
"Mad Max: Fury Road — Inspired Artists." is available for purchase through Vertigo as well as through Amazon. Be sure to get a copy to take a look at the vast array of astounding responses to the post-apocalyptic wasteland Miller conceived.
George Miller was interested in the idea of a female road warrior that would be equivalent to Max for this installment, and praised Theron for her complete dedication and the authenticity she brought to the role. He referred to the women in the movie as an organic element that he would definitely like to incorporate more into future installments. Theron commented on Miller's capacity for celebrating the female race with "I always had this little voice in my head of George going, 'well, now I'm going to show you a real woman.' When you come across that rare filmmaker that really wants to embrace that, it's really nice, and should there be more of that? Hell yeah."
In the movie, a tyrannical warlord holds women captive to utilize as his sex slaves and wet nurses, treating them like his own personal livestock. Furiosa, played by Theron, breaks free from this imprisonment and becomes a renegade for the others still under the warlord's control, complete with a shaved head and a mechanical arm that she rigged herself, allowing her to be a sharpshooter who can also operate an 18 wheel war machine through the desert. She's trying to liberate the other women the warlord has in his clutches, who are also all firey, strong woman in their own right.
Tara McPherson and Charlize Theron are both powerful examples of strong women who are capable of tackling many things at once while retaining a level of self love and respect that is beautiful and inspriing to women as a whole. McPherson's interpretation of Furiosa completely captures this feeling of liberation, strength, and determination present in the character's heart.
Check out the trailer for George Miller's latest masterpiece, featuring powerhouse and dignitary of the female race Charlize Theron.
Be sure to keep up to date with all things Cotton Candy Machine by following us on instagram! @thecottoncandymachin
I began drooling over Lauren YS’s work on instagram a while ago. She’s one of those artists you start following after seeing just a single image, knowing right off the bat that there’s bound to be more and soon finding yourself in one of those wonderful instagram vortexes of the constant double-tap. She’s that good. So, I couldn’t hide my excitement when we began corresponding about a solo show here at Cotton Candy Machine. Through our email exchange, I learned that Lauren is not only a phenomenal artist, but she’s also a truly awesome person, which made coordinating her show, “Devil’s Jelly,” an absolute pleasure. When we finally met face to face, all my feelings were validated. In the days leading up to her show’s opening, Lauren was incredibly hands-on, helping Sean hang the show and creating a massive mural to compliment the work. Bringing this already brilliant show to the next level, she even opted to hand embellish every single one of her prints! How sick is that?!
The Smoosh Sisters Eat Jellyfish Salad
By Lauren YS
By Lauren YS
Originally from Colorado, Lauren works full time as an artist out of Oakland, California, focusing her time on murals, freelance illustrations and gallery shows. She refers to her work as “seek[ing] to translate chaos into visual terms, combining graphic and painterly styles to populate various dream-worlds of her making.” After graduating from Stanford, Lauren spent a summer working with the artist Nychos in Vienna, assisting him on countless mural projects and learning spray paint techniques that helped transform her work from sketchbook pages to the sides of builidngs. The residency culminated in a solo show at his gallery, Rabbit Eye Movement, proving that Lauren had found a place as an artist both on the streets and in a gallery setting. This ability to move flawlessly between various mediums and scales made us even more stoked to host her show, knowing that we could expect to see her paint some walls while in Brooklyn, even one inside the shop!
Lauren's amazing in-store mural, completed (with help from Sean) in 2 days!
In addition to her awesome mural inside Cotton Candy Machine, Lauren also kicked ass on a nearby drop-down gate! Located in front of a tattoo shop on Roebling between Grand and South 1st, Lauren created the beauty entirely in spray paint and incredibly quickly. So many colors!
She even helped me get my spray paint game on by collaborating on a piece with me. I felt honored to place one of my beasts atop one of her lovely lady heads and was beyond stoked to learn some of her tricks. I will be eternally grateful to Lauren for teaching me some moves and for creating my new-found love of mural making!
As most CCM fans know, we have a special penchat for artwork featuring strong females. We were, afterall, founded by one! With her other-worldy ladies dominating each painting, Lauren's work certainly falls into this category, while still existing in its very own realm that transcends specific categories. Like all the best artists, Lauren has a visual language entirely her own, one that is fueled by a fantastic imagination and years of serious dedication. Perhaps part of that identifiable style comes from her hyper colorful palette, but that’s not entirely it, as Lauren’s voice comes loudly through in her black and white ink drawings as well. For me, it is the sheer strangeness of her imagery that pushed Lauren to the top of my list. She paints girls entangled with all sorts of creatures, tentacles and jellyfish strings invading the empty spaces and spilling ambiguous goo. Her glowing girls appear to have been captured from another galaxy or possibly the darkest depths of the ocean. Either way, they appear tough and in control, even with their heads split open or gaping holes in their torsos.
Feed Your Head So It Can Feed You
By Lauren YS
The opening was a huge success, but luckily, some originals are still up for grabs! Here are a few of the remaining pieces, but feel free to head over to the event page to see what else we've got!
All Hail Snail King By Lauren YS
Goauche, Watercolor, Ink and Acrylic on Paper, Framed
Image 13 x 16 Inches, 17.5 x 20.5 Inches Framed
Somewhere to Stay By Lauren YS
Goauche, Watercolor, Ink and Acrylic on Paper, Framed
Image 13 x 16 Inches, 17.5 x 20.5 Inches Framed
Reaper Coach By Lauren YS
Goauche, Watercolor, Ink and Acrylic on Paper, Framed
Image 13 x 16 Inches, 17.5 x 20.5 Inches Framed
Devil Head By Lauren YS
Goauche, Watercolor, Ink and Acrylic on Paper, Framed
6 x 8 Inches
Monkey Head By Lauren YS
Goauche, Watercolor, Ink and Acrylic on Paper, Framed
Image 13 x 16 Inches, 17.5 x 20.5 Inches Framed
Skull Head By Lauren YS
Goauche, Watercolor, Ink and Acrylic on Paper, Framed
Image 13 x 16 Inches, 17.5 x 20.5 Inches Framed
While in Hawaii this past February for the mural festival, POW WOW, Lauren collaborated with another one of our favorites, Boy Kong, to create five incredible ink drawings, all of which became part of her show. Other than reaffirming both artist's personal skills, these pieces demonstrate an amazing ability to work together. Instead of feeling like two artists' work smooshed together, as many collaborative attempts do, these drawings appear to have come from a single hand, with two different voices, each taking a turn. The two artists' imaginations and styles merge together effortlessly, creating glorious hybrids that seem to exist on the threshold between their respective worlds.
Gator Seppuku By Lauren YS & Boy Kong
Ink on Paper, Framed
18.25 x 15.25 Inches
Bunny Cupid By Lauren YS & Boy Kong
Ink on Paper, Framed
18.25 x 15.25 Inches
Tiger Knot By Lauren YS & Boy Kong
Ink on Paper, Framed
18.25 x 15.25 Inches
And for those of you looking for some sweet merch rather than an original, you are in luck! We produced two editions of prints, both from new work in the show. All of the prints are signed and numbered. AND in order to fully capture the UV glow of Lauren's original paintings, she hand embellished every print with bits of neon pink, making them even more special.
Do you, like many of us New Yorkers, struggle to find new wall space for prints? Not to worry... we have t-shirts too! Taken from the same "Smoosh Sisters" painting as the print, this single color silkscreened tee is wearable art! The front of the shirt features a string of characters that, half gibberish and half Japanese curse words, shows a bit of Lauren's silly side. Same goes for the shirt's back, which features a letter written to her twin sister.... in a dream. Talk about illustrating her dreamworlds, huh!
Thank you so much to everybody that came out to make this evening special. We wouldn't be here without you! And thank you to Lauren for being such a wonderful guest and a true inspiration. Come back soon!
"Imbued with storybook-like imagery, Joe Sorren’s paintings tell tales of imaginative, surreal happenings, often through a childlike gaze. His paintings transmit the similar sort of tender emotion you experience when a child tells you her secret; Sorren’s characters, though they appear naive, convey complex, emotional themes." -Nastia Voynovskaya, Hi Fructose Magazine
We couldn't be more excited to host our second ever Artist in Residence here at the Cotton Candy Machine. The master painter, Joe Sorren, will be spending the month of March with us, painting in the shop and live streaming as he works. Many of us are used to following an artist's progress on the internet, making us somehow feel that we are present for the work's creation. This residence marks an incredibly unique opportunity to TRULY be present as a painting comes to life. For one month, the shop will not only be a place to come see finished works of art, but it will also be an artist's studio, a place where stories are told with a stroke of paint and altered completely with another. So, please come by the gallery this March as Joe invites us all into his strange and beautiful world.
"I remember the first time I saw a Joe Sorren piece in person, and the painting was Interruption. I knew of Joe's work obviously, but there was something so amazingly unique, so of his own world that it just stood out in a room of other artwork that was not Joe's. And I think that is the allure here; an artist that has created a universe for his characters and stories to live in, a dense world that especially in Interruption makes you look over and over again to take in every detail. Joe is an original spirit." - Evan Pricco, Editor-in-Chief, Juxtapoz Magazine
Visit to experience Daily Live Painting in Joe Sorren's Open Studio Artist Residency inside Cotton Candy Machine Tuesday to Sunday throughout the month. He will also be live streaming as he works! Watch the LiveStream at JoeSorren.com.
Here are some progress photos of the pieces Joe has prepared to work on here! Joe does quite a lot of reworking as he paints, so there is no guarentee that a piece will end up looking the way you imagined.
"off-kilter, peculiar, dreamy, somewhat haunting and immensely beautiful...
joe sorren is out there on his own creating a dizzying world, an other-worldly world
a world that i would very much love to inhabit...joe sorren is a unique visionary artist with very few peers..." - Long Gone John, Art Collector
Tomorrow evening, my very first solo show is opening at the Cotton Candy Machine and I may just explode with excitement. Not only will this be the first time I've ever shown a full body of work, but it will be hanging on walls that have previously held work by many of my heroes. I could not think of a more ideal place to host my first show. The combination of CCM's amazing in-store atmosphere and our wonderful fan base all over the world has made preparing for this event truly fantastic. Since we first announced the show, I've only encountered positive encouragement and support, which made creating the work even more fun for me. I am eternally thankful to Sean for helping me develop my work with some really excellent practical advice and for generating so much enthusiasm about my babes. I am also super grateful to Tara for inspiring me to paint powerful babes. I can't wait for everybody to come with me to Deathland, a place where you fight your demons, find your strength and stand tall like the baddass warrior you truly are.
It's been a pretty cold winter here in Brooklyn, so we are very pleased that February has some HOT STUFF in store for us! First thing's first - It's sale time! Starting this evening, we've made the HEARTHOLE promo code live on our website! This means you get 15% all online orders if you use the code! How sweet is that?!
Whether your hearthole is open or full, Tara McPherson's prints are pretty darn perfect for this holiday. Combining sweet motifs like hearts and stars with the darkness of a punched-out hole in your chest, much of Tara's work conveys love as it really is: beautiful and charming, but also a little bit vicious. A majority of her pieces focus on singular female characters, reminding us all that you don't need another person to feel the love!
Paper Bots is made up of 20 ultra-cool robot designs that can turn anyone on!
Each bot is pre-cut and scored so you can simply punch them out and fold them up with easy-to-follow instructions right on the page. You’ll instantly feel teleported to a bold new futurescape with these fun 3-D objects. Paper shuffling? A thing of the past—these bots will happily perform your dull, repetitive tasks on command. Paper Bots cleverly combine paper crafting with advanced paper engineering so no glue, tape, or tools are ever needed! Paper Bots make great drones for ages 7 to 101…and they may actually serve humankind after all—lets just hope its not on a plate.
Our friend, Dima Drjuchin, designed the characters for this interactive book!
As soon as we got copies of this awesome book in the shop, the CCM crew had a killer time building all 20 bots. To generate even more excitement about the party, we've been giving these little guys away to everyone who comes into the shop and mentions our instagram post. It's been wonderful watching the bots go to loving homes. But one is simply enough.. look at how great they all look together!
This event is going to be a lot of fun for kids and grown-ups alike! We hope to see you there!
Chris Uphues’ passion for knickknacks and pop imagery appeals in a very personal and visceral way, like “rummaging in the junk drawer of the soul.” In addition to his fine art painting practice, Uphues is also well versed in design, street art and ‘zines, with a singular style that translates across genres, and inspires and feeds back into his multifarious practice. Uphues sources influence from stickers, charms, keychains and a variety of imagery he calls “incidental graphics”; the smiley faces, hearts, hippie flowers and slot machine cherries that pervade our shared visual language. More often than not, these images populate Uphues’ works in swarms, creating all-over patterns of puffy mushrooms, doe-eyed hearts and melting smiley faces that democratize the pop references, past and present.
Yep, this is MY very first solo show ever! There are not enough words out there for me to convey just how stoked I am. I've worked at the Cotton Candy Machine for over a year now and find inspiration here every single day, both by personally being around all the incredible work and by witnessing how it affects other people. Getting to know the artists that we show with has pushed me and my work tremendously. Now, I am so honored to be one of those artists!
In Babes in Deathland, I am exploring both familiar and undiscovered territory through new paintings and sculptures. The demons that have appeared throughout my work for the past couple of years have now met their match in the babes that wade through rivers of goo in order to combat them. Continually preoccupied with the concept of personal “demons,” my work reflects the internal struggles that plague us all, creating visual manifestations of those dark little thoughts that are at once frightening and sort of funny. Much of my work stems from the belief that these personal demons are not necessarily enemies but, rather, aspects of ourselves that can be utilized for good. Often depicted in moments of triumph, my babes display their battle wounds proudly, allowing scars to stay fresh and dripping, even assimilating slain monsters into their armor. The babes serve as a reminder that with each painful experience, our armor grows and we become the warriors of our own worlds.
Although I am still working hard on all the pieces for this show, here are some fun in-progress photos of what you can expect to see!
We will also be doing a print release for this show, so stay tuned for more info! I sincerely hope to see you all there!
New year, new artists! For our very first opening of 2015, we will be showing 7 incredible artists, most of which are brand new to the gallery and all of which have created unique personal worlds in their work..worlds that we are thrilled to enter. We asked our friend, Liz Artinian, artist and founder of Bunnycutlet gallery, to be our guest curator and she rocked it out of the park. Just in case you aren't familiar with some of these artists, here's a little info on each of them, with examples of their work, some older and some for this show. Get stoked!
Kelly Denato lives and works in Brooklyn, NY with a closet full of ghosts and a tragically non-existent dog. She first showed with us this past summer, as part of our Fourth Annual Tiny Trifecta! Her paintings are at once dainty and tough. The use of ribbons and waves of hair, softly layered onto textured backgrounds, cause her orb-like characters to flow delicatley through the pieces, allowing bits of darkness to peak through the transparent forms. As Liz writes on the Bunnycutlet website, "her subjects are visceral; darkness and disappointment are represented with joy and innocence, allowing the viewer to simultaneously experience Denato’s emotional duality in one tumultuous image."
Ian “Hydeon” Ferguson is a contemporary graphic artist, designer, and silk screen printer living and working in New York City. He was born in National City, CA in 1985 and grew up in San Diego. He received his BS in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of California – San Diego in 2006. He has lived and worked in Seattle and Chicago before moving to New York City in 2014. His work is imaginative and explores a variety of surreal manifestations from his life experience in relation to his environment. He often deploys narrative depictions from lucid dreams, metaphysical curiosities, architecture, nature, and cities. Ferguson primarily works in Indian ink as well as gouache, acrylic, and mixed media. His creative approach stems from conduits of Americana folk art, street art, fine art, and elements of graphic design.
Ryan Heshka was born in Manitoba, Canada, and grew up in Winnipeg. Fueled by long prairie winters, he spent a lot of his childhood drawing, building cardboard cities and making super 8 films. Early influences that persist to this day include antiquated comics and pulp magazines, natural history, graphic design and music, movies and animation. Formally trained in interior design, he is self-taught as an artist. His illustrations (represented by Kate Larkworthy) has appeared in Vanity Fair, Playboy, Wall Street Journal, Esquire, the New York Times, Smart Money, and on the cover and interiors of BLAB!. He has been selected to appear in American Illustration, Society of Illustrators, and Communication Arts. In addition to gallery shows across North America and Europe, he is currently working on picture book projects for children as well as adults. He lives in Vancouver, B.C., Canada with his wife Marinda and cat Louis.
Christy Karacas is an artist, director and writer, best known for co-creating Superjail!, one of the most brilliant shows to come out in recent years. Violent, intricate and always bizzarre, Christy's personal artwork is certainly within the same realm as the show's aesthetic, focusing on panned out visions of obscene riotous beings (often robots vs. cats instead of prisoners vs. more prisoners), but unlike Superjail!, these large pencil drawings are strickly black and white. Compulsively detailed to an extreme degree, the pieces get more and more impressive the closer you look. They communicate a hilarious frenzy of violence that will be familiar to fans of the show, but while embodying only a single "frame."
Kristen Liu Wong is a Brooklyn- based artist from San Francisco who studied Illustration at Pratt Institute. With a color pallette reminiscent of a California beach Barbie and imagery pulled straight from a neurotic nightmare, Kristen's work packs a lot of punch. Like all of our favorite artists, a quick look through her portfolio shows a young artist with a highly developed mini universe. Focused both on people and places, her paintings invite narrative interpretations. The scenes, which often seem to show the moment right before something big happens, are unsettling in the most beautiful way. Clearly a bit obsessed with patterns, Kristen embraces seemingly "feminine" elements and pushes them into a strange and dark place where masked weirdos watch you through the windows and you don't even mind.
Jean-Paul Mallozzi was born and raised in Queens NYC, and received a scholarship to attend the Rhode Island School Of Design (RISD). He graduated with B.F.A in Illustration. His works have been exhibited in galleries and museums nationally and internationally including Los Angeles, New York, and London. Jean-Paul's work balances the fine line of combining highly rendered figures with abstract areas of color. While emotions are amorphous, they evoke a color and a vibration that physically resonates within people. The incorporation of iridescence and animal familiars takes the figures out of the mundane and into a world where a veil between realities is pulled away.
Joohee Park A.K.A Sticky Monger is a visual artist based in New york who recently finished her MFA in Digital Arts of Pratt Institutes. After getting BFA in Information graphic design from Ewha University in Korea, She has been working in a various art and design fields extending her visual experience. Joohee is most well known for being an artist who obsessively likes to play with sticky vinyl cutouts based on her hand illustration. Next week we will be posting an interview with this prolific artist, so stay tuned!
While engaging with Charlie Immer's work, it quickly becomes evident that he is a master of many things. His style, subject matter and execution consistently blows minds, propelling the viewer into a world where darkness and whimsy live in perfect harmony. His paintings tell stories of a world entirely his own, a place where sickly sweet skeletons wander geometric landscapes, dripping all kinds of goo and meeting funny little creatures along the way.
While preparing for his show with us (opening this Friday, December 12th at 7 pm!), I was able to ask Charlie a few questions about his work and am excited to share his thoughtful answers with all of you now!
Can you tell me a little bit about the concept(s) behind the pieces in this show? What are “Cold Captives?
A lot of my work explores violence combined with humor, but with these pieces I wanted to delve into inescapable isolation. Achieving an oppressive yet playful atmosphere in these paintings was very important to me. The balance between those disparate elements is my focus. It helps that skeletons always look like they are smiling.
I love gross-out sight gags. I like that slime can be any color, flavor, or quantity. A lot of times goo is coming from an unidentified source. It’s a very versatile element. It’s a fun challenge to make gross things look enticing.
Your pieces have excellent titles. What is this process like? Do you typically know the name of a piece before it is finished or do you save that bit for last?
I mostly come up with the titles when I’m finished. I tend to go with titles that are a bit goofy. I like rhymes and alliteration.
If you had to live inside one of your paintings, which would it be?
It’s tough to decide. I’m not sure I would be comfortable living in any. Hard to know how I would be treated in there. I’m also afraid to find out what everything smells like, could be good or very, very bad.
As an artist, what is your dream project?
I’m working on a video game idea as a side project in my free time. I would love to see that through some day. There is so much left that I need to learn.
To make this opening even sweeter, we will be producing and releasing 3 brand new giclee prints from Charlie, which we will release in the store the night of the opening, then online the following day.
If you happen to follow the amazing Dima Drjuchin on instagram, you are most likely familiar with his affinity for Batman. His sketchbooks are filled with hilarious doodles, depicting the masked vigilante in various reincarnations, all distinct but all totally Dima. Now for the very first time, Dima has brought his love for Batman to a whole new level, creating 50 acrylic paintings for the first ever "Fuck You I'm Batman" art show, opening Friday, December 12th at 7 pm. Yes, you read it right.. FIFTY paintings!
Being the radical dude that he is, Dima took some time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions about the upcoming show. Thanks, Dima. You rule! So, here we go...
What is the origin of “Fuck You I’m Batman?”
Around 2007 I started drawing Batman in my sketchbook while doodling. He kind of became a go-to subject when I was at a loss for something to draw. One time I drew one and wrote "fuck you I'm Batman" underneath and thought it was funny. So I turned the idea into a design that my buddy Greg Barris and I use as part of our sticker campaign around NY and LA. It grew from there into tshirts and different versions of the sticker. It kinda died down for us in the last few years. In the last few months I started drawing batman again in my sketchbook when doodling and I kept going with it. So that set off a brain storm to make it a show, the show that Fuck You I'm Batman never got, and it would be fun to relaunch the shirts, make an updated version of the sticker and do a bunch of small paintings.
You did an insane amount of paintings for this show, all with a different looking Batman. Do you consider all of them distinct characters or different versions of the same dude?
I'm not sure what they are. I'm not sure what kind of narrative they exist in. I think they're a little bit of both, if that makes any sense. It's in the same sense that we've grown up with several different versions ofBatman, from comic books, tv shows, movies, video games, etc... there is no one definitive Batman. All are different versions of the same trope. The story is often rewritten, the design of him changes frequently, you can't point to one batman and say that's him. So I think these are kind of in the same realm as that idea, but more in the microcosm of my world. Maybe each one is it's own mini reboot of the same character.
Did you approach this project differently than you might for a show with a less defined theme?
It's a very different show for me then what I usually do. for one, this is a mass volume of small pieces. This was partly an exercise in working on a smaller scale. I've started doing smaller pieces in the past year, since I started to show with CCM actually, and i wanted to get better at it. What better way than to assigned an obscene amount of works to produce? Also since theres a very defined theme for the show it was easy to just settle in and just have fun with redesigning ol' bat. It wasn't that much different then when I was just doodling him. It was just to a bigger scale, and more defined form. Plus since Batman has such a rich history it was easy to play around with a lot of his familiar tropes. It was fun to plug all of them into my style.
It has been almost exactly a year since your first show with us. Do you feel like your work has changed since then?
Most definitely. I had a major shift in the way i work with my first show at CCM. I always try to keep evolving and keep things moving, but the last year has been a pretty significant change. I'm excited about what has happened so far and I'm stoked on where it will go.
What is the first thing you remember drawing obsessively as a kid?
I know I used to draw Garfield a lot as a kid. I had a Garfield stuffed animal, and I noticed a lot of my drawings of him are in the same pose as my toy, so I think I drew him from life haha. Come to think of it I still draw animals sitting in the same position. I literally just realized that right now... When I was 10-12 I drew the Ninja Turtle a lot, and my early teens is when I got into metal so I drew a lot of skulls and evil shit.
Batman has been revamped so many times in comics and movies. Do you have a favorite version?
I really like the Lego Batman in the Lego Movie. Will Arnett as Batman makes all the sense to me. But in all seriousness, I don't really have a favorite. I really loved the Dark Knight movies, despite whatever flaws people have picked them apart for, it was a great tone for the character, and the movies were so much fun to watch over and over. I remain optimistic about Affleck.
Do you think there is a big difference between a super hero and a vigilante?
I feel like when you call some one a "super hero" you're implying that they have a super power, like superman or spider-man. Vigilante is a human being without extraordinary powers. They just have to will to do it.
If you could have any super power, what would you choose?
Flight would be fun, though i don't know what sense that makes since i'm not a big fan of heights. Though maybe if I had the gift of flight I would no longer contextualize height with danger since up and down would be not that much different then the way I perceive left and right or front and back.
Do you think you will ever be done with the “Fuck You I’m Batman” concept?
I think I got a lot of it out of my system this go around. But never say never. Unless DC says never... then I'll probably stop for good.
If you could do any art project, no matter how big or expensive, what would you do?
I would to build a gaint Lil' Goof pyramid on the moon. I would settle on building it on Earth too... I guess...
We still have one Lil' Goof available online! Sweet!
We will be printing and releasing special edition "Fuck You I'm Batman" giclee prints the night of the opening, so stay tuned!
We are also super stoked to have some awesome "Fuck You I'm Batman" silkscreened t-shirts, available in red, purple and black!
As many of you already know, part of our mission here at CCM is to bring affordable art to the masses because, afterall, don't we all deserve some extra beauty in our lives? This is why we always carry a huge range of products, big, small and everything in between. Inspired by this mentality, I wanted to create some cool, cheap art products. As a young artist, getting my work "out there" is tremendously important, so I figured that two small accessories (perfect for your favorite hoodie or your beloved winter coat) would be an awesome way to do this. Now, it is with a ton of pride and excitement that I announce the release of my two brand new products, now available both in the shop and online! Both the pin and the patch are just $7, making them fit everybody's price range. If you are looking for a small holiday gift for your favorite monster loving weirdo, look no further!
I cannot say enough nice things about the Cotton Candy Machine and what it has done for my life, but one of the biggest reasons I feel so thankful for this place is the support I've gotten from my fellow artists and art fans. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all!
Lori Nelson's massive panel painting...It started as a fun addition to our booth at New York Comic Con, but quickly became so much more! Sponsored and supported by the incredible folks at Golden Paints and Trekkel Brushes, the CCM Comic Con experience was pushed to the next level by the five amazing women we had live painting at the booth. As stunned attendees walked by, gawking and snapping iphone shots, Tara McPherson, Tina Lugo, Lori Nelson, Hikari Shimoda and So Youn Lee each created an enormous masterpiece. Since she simply couldn't get enough of the project, Lori continued to work on her piece in the shop for the following two weeks, ending with a huge resin pour!
As with most masterpieces, the creation of "Internet Friends" began with a sketch (and a cup of coffee!)
Lori (and the other ladies) even moved their live painting to one of the main stages at Comic Con! Now THAT is painting under pressure!
As is the case with all of Lori's work, the final piece is truly glowing. Playing with different light sources (both natural and man-made), "Internet Friends" pushes us to embrace modern technology, without losing the sense of wonder that comes with spending some time in nature. Technology and nature do not need to be mutually exclusive. As contemporary beings, we can always have a little bit of both!
To add some extra excitement to the piece's unveiling, we also released two new giclee prints from Lori, now available online! Both of these images are taken from Lori's "I Want to Believe" series, which features children/monster hybrids absorbed in moments of prayer.
This past Friday, November 14th, we introduced Brooklyn to "New Maps of the Abyss," a fantastical show with art legends, Skinner and Arik Roper. To help celebrate this event, we released a brand new print from each artist. Both prints feature the art from original pieces in the show and both are simply too sick to pass up.
For this show, Skinner chose to honor the demons of his past, namely the Dungeons and Dragons creatures that fuelled his imagination as a child. For the print release, he chose one of the rarest demons of them all, the Orcus. Measuring 17" x 22", this print is an edition of 25, so they won't last long!
"It is probable that this creature is one of the most powerful and strongest of all demons. If he so much as slaps with his open hand the blow causes 1-4 hit points of damage. His terrible fists can deliver blows of 3-13 hit points...Additionally his tail has a virulent poison sting...Orcus furthermore is able to summon certain of the undead, for he is their prince."
- Dungeons and Dragons Manual
Full of intricate demons awaiting your coloring skills, hyper metal imagery to make you feel like a baddass and helpful words of encouragement like "Clean up your room, ya bum," this activity book is unlike anything you had as a kid. Every single page is a masterpiece and for only $10, it's a total steal. We can't say enough good things about this little slice of heathenistic heaven.
Featuring a mythical landscape, half lush and half desolate, this print is subtle yet demanding. With only the backside of a dragon visible, this awesome print hints at the old days of fantasy art, without being too overt about it.
We are also thrilled to have copies of "Mushroom Magick," a gorgeous field guide to identifying the most special mushrooms Mother Earth has to offer!
"Mushrooms fascinate some, and freak others out. "Mushroom Magick: A Visionary Field Guide" is an art book introducing viewers to the wonderful world of these fleshy fungi, which are as widely varied as they are interesting and beautiful. With particular emphasis on the psychedelic varieties, each mushroom species has its own listing as well as a watercolor painting to give viewers an idea of how to identify these mysterious mushroom types. "Mushroom Magick" is a fine read for the curious, the mushroom lover, or for the experimental."
-Midwest Book Review
On the evening of November 8th, our buddy Wizard Skull brought the term "Re-Animator" to a whole new level, introducing us to some seriously whacky new pieces, in tandem with the Comic Arts Brooklyn festival. Taking real animation cels from some of the most beloved cartoons from your childhood (the Smurfs, He Man, the Care Bears and more), Wizard Skull has reimagined these familiar images into hilarious new scenes, chock full of mutant hybrids, sexual overtones and general strangeness. In honor of the show, we produced two new awesome products from Mister Skull, a "United States of America Freedom Fries" giclee print and a mask set of the same title. We are so proud to release these online!
We are very excited to announce three fantastic events happening at the Cotton Candy Machine this week! On Friday, October 17th, we will be hosting the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers for a pumpkin art show! The following day, Saturday the 18th, join us for Screens n' Spokes, a poster show for a good cause! Then on Sunday, the Maniac Pumpkin boys will be back again for a super special carving class!
Come by the gallery on Friday, October 17th from 7 - 11 pm for a Maniac Pumpkin exhibit! There will be pumpkins inspired by many of your favorite contemporary artists who have shown work at Cotton Candy Machine.
Maniac Pumpkin Carvers is a full creative art studio that specializes in elaborate pumpkin art. Maniac takes pumpkin carving to new levels of creativity and skill, providing unique and stunning carved pumpkins for parties, events, and occasions of all kinds.
Maniac Pumpkin Carvers started out as a labor of love but quickly spiraled into something that is so much more. Founders, Marc Evan and Chris Soria, have been collaborating creatively for over 20 years, creating all manner of artistic wonders. Their pumpkins have been displayed at MOMA, the Whitney Museum, in numerous television shows and publications, as they continue to elevate the art of pumpkin carving every year. Winner of Food Network's Halloween Wars, they have impressed viewers worldwide, with their carving skills and talent. Outside of the Fall season, Marc Evan and Chris Soria are fine artists and active muralists, with public art throughout NYC.
Founded in 2007 by Sam Verrill and Jess Harris, the effort has raised over $350,000 to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). It has also rallied an entourage of artists, musicians, cyclists, and people living with MS from across the US and abroad to bring new energy and enthusiasm to the cause.
Indie rock posters? Bikes? Screens 'N' Spokes unites them to create a fundraiser for the people. Over the past eight years, more than 50 artists have created original screenprints for Screens 'N' Spokes. All artwork is donated by the artists pro bono and then sold to benefit the NMSS. Many of the artists have been touched by MS in some way, and want to pay tribute to their loved ones living with the disease.
Tickets for the class are $125 and all the materials will be provided, including pumpkins! This is a rare opportunity to learn pumpkin carving from the professionals. The workshop will cover everything you need to make outstanding pumpkin carvings and impress your friends, family, and colleagues. No experience is necessary, class is open to all skill levels, from beginners to enthusiasts.
We are so excited to team up with super prolific painter, woodworker, mural artist and world dominator, Boy Kong for an event this Saturday June 21st from 7 pm until 11 pm. Please join us for some beers, laughs, and of course, incredible new original art works.
This incredible dude not only just finished an amazing mural titled "Two Tongue Tiger" at Rag & Bone's Houston's street location, but he quickly followed up this feat with a dope mural on our Roebling Wall the very next day!
And here is a little preview of what you can expect to see this Saturday!
And while you're at it, watch this sick little promo video for Boy's new body of work, "Lucha No Libre!"
Be sure to take a look at Boy's website and follow his instagram for more baddass art and some serious world domination.
Whether you are one of our beloved returning patrons or have never been into the shop before, we look forward to seeing everybody here tomorrow evening for a celebration of neon luchadors and all their whacky ways.
From May 9th through June 8th, we had a wonderful time celebrating these three magical ladies and their stunning work, full of devilish kitties, geometric volcanoes, and some seriously mutated children. The artists looked just as beautiful as their work, signing prints and posing for photos with fans. The crowd was awesome and kept the energy up all evening, whether they were buying originals, merch, or just supporting the artwork. Need proof of how great a night it was? Check out these photos!
On Saturday April 5th, we opened a magnificent show by French artists Ciou and Malojo, and local artist/musician Dima Drjuchin. This fanciful exhibit features insanely intricate originals as well as beautiful wall paintings from each artist. These colorful and imaginative works are the perfect pieces to usher in the Spring season. The opening reception was super fun, so thank you to everybody who made it out! Just in case you missed it, here are some awesome photos of the work!
Incredible, huh? Well, internet people, you are in luck! We still have quite a few of these originals left for sale! Check it out!
Not in the market for an original? We have other options! Malojo brought us some great prints of the piece pictured above, Tritone. Click here to check it out! Ciou brought some goregous prints as well! We have lithographs of Brain Beach Party and Mister Wallace Magician Company, as well as silkscreens of Modern Circus, the original of which is still available for purchase here. All prints are signed with love by the artists.
This original piece is also still available. Click here for more information!
But that's not all! Ciou brought us a bunch of specially signed copies of her new (and first!) art book, as well as her illustrated Chat Siamois, written by Guillaume Bianco. She did a special little doodle in every one!
Malojo brought us his first art book, Tales of the Uncute, too and each one is signed! What's even cooler is that Malojo produced this book him self! Rad!
For those of you that could not make it out the event, here are some of our favorite shots from the night. Head over the event page to see more!
And as always, the crowd was amazing, colorful and fun. It seems only right considering the colorful whackiness present in each artists' work!
Canicienta is a 20 year old artist from Mexico City, who has a serious love for Cotton Candy. She even says the sugary treat saved her life at a time when her sugar levels were dangerously low! She says that Tara McPherson and the work we showcase here at CCM have been a major influence since she entered the world of illustration.
Carnicienta is so into our sugary namesake that she actually made a Cotton Candy Costume! How SWEET is that?!
Check out this awesome piece of fan art from one of our young fans, Nathan, who lives in New York and loves Buff Monster's Melty Misfits. Nathan, you already rule and we can't wait to see how your art progresses! Thank you for sending us this photo and keep drawing!
We are really looking forward to ushering in the Spring season with an incredible three person show, opening on Saturday April 5th. The show will feature Ciou, Malojo and Dmitri Drjuchin, all three of which have crafted their own distinct (and stunning) universes, chock full of strange creatures, cool textures and just the right hints of darkness. In addition to showing entirely new works from each artist, we will also have some awesome extras for those who make it out to the opening! But first, a bit about the artists...
"Ciou was born in Toulouse in 1981. She actually works and lives in her home town, after living in Bruxelles and Paris. Suspended between dream and nightmare, her paintings consist of a base made of a collage of old papers, taken from old medical books, dictionaries, and nature manuals, where she uses acrylic and ink; creating her own personal mixed media. Her Influences are diverse : the American vintage culture from the 30′s to the 70′s, the Victorian style and the European barocco too, however she is focused on the Japanese culture and Japanese traditional and contemporary art. Her style is characterized by a line of great expressive force and a language where the power of color and deformation of shapes combine to make her stroke unmistakable. Ciou creates her own « necro-kawai » cosmology of characters mainly centered around witch-y nature burlesque girls and their strange animal companions. Her new works feature florescent psychedelic colors as a foil for her obsessive black line work. Her darkly charming works are creepy in a very playful way, a little bit of sweet and a little bit of sour in a friendly and dangerous world." (Bio courtesy of Ciou's website)
A truly prolific artist, Ciou has been featured in all three of our Tiny Trifecta Shows (2011, 2012, 2013) and we cannot wait to have her back!
"Malojo born in French city, Bayonne, but now lives and work in Toulouse, like Ciou! Comics, cartoons and old monster's movie posters are his first loves. Also fascinated by classic painters like Bosch, Bruegel or Caravage, they are as important to him as Tex Avery, Walt Dysney and Chuck Jones. The humor, sometimes cruel, of those cartoons characters as he loves the horrible scenes of religious painting. It came on his own to start painting funny monsters with tortured flesh and cute puppies with bad intentions." (Bio courtesy of Malojo's website)
Although his color pallette is soft, Malojo's images hit you hard with creepy cuteness. Featured in our most recent Tiny Trifecta show, this marks Malojo's second time showing with us. Aren't we lucky?!
"Dimitri Drjuchin is an artist/musician who was born in Moscow, but grew up making images and sounds in New York City. Wielding the culmination of human potential wrought from the depths of the bicameral mind, Drjuchin’s art is a hyperdimensional machine that invokes creatures who come bounding forward with affection and recklessness. These are not the Icons of the Byzantine Church—they are the new Incarnated Symbols of the Multiverse. Drjuchin allows us a glimpse into a fractulated moment of cultural hypnagogic modality and an opportunity to alter our perspectives of reality." (Bio courtesy of Dima's website)
Dima is no stranger to the Cotton Candy Machine. Not only does he make it out to all our events, but he was also featured in our December Brooklyn Biennial show and his work was a huge hit. An artist who is constantly putting out new work and developing new ideas, we are stoked to have Dima back so soon. Brooklyn visitors might also recognize his work on the Roebling wall paintings from our Comic Con live painting event!
Now, onto the goodies!
Just like at our recent Junko Mizuno/ David Cook opening, we will also have a special opportunity for the first 50 people to arrive...a raffle! Once more, the super cool art/jewelry company, Morphik, has generously donated two beautiful leather bracelets featuring tiny replicas of Ciou's "Blue Cat the Wizard" and "New Heart" paintings. We can't wait to send two lucky attendees home with these unique cuffs!
We will also have some amazing limited edition Ciou and Malojo collaborative button packs, as well as button / postacrd packs. These lovely sets are each editions of 50 and are signed by both artists.
Ciou also brought us a few copies of her beautiful illustration book, Chat Siamoise, written by Guillaume Bianco. This little book features a witchy little girl who really loves her cat, a perfect subject matter for Ciou's drawings! The story is written both in French and English, so you can learn while you read!
Malojo brough us some books too! Tales of the Uncute is a collection of selected works from the 2009-2013, all of which are totally sick.
Along with the incredible new works for our show Dima Drjuchin is releasing his first 3 dimensional collectible art piece! Follow him here @dimadrjuchin to see them painted leading up to the show, but for now... a sneak peak!
As an artist/musician, Dima does some absolutely incredible work with instruments. He will be bringing some of these customized pedals and amps to the show for your viewing pleasure. This will be the second time his amazing gear has been in the shop, as he played a rockin show at the Biennial Closing Party.
Whether you are in the market for an original piece, a print from the shop, or some sweet zines, this opening is going to be a real blast. We hope to see everybody there!
Simply put, our David Cook (aka Bonethrower) and Junko Mizuno opening was TOTALLY RAD. There was so much excitement for this show that a massive line formed around the block as we were setting up. This opening was truly special, as it was actually Junko's first major East Coast show, a fact that helped draw a huge crowd.
Almost every one of Junko's pieces sold at the show, but we do have ONE original drawing left. Click to Purchase!
We also have some incredible silkscreened posters from Junko. These are the first Artist Proofs Junko has put up for sale, so this is a rare and amazing opportunity to have a hand selected piece from a prolific artist.
David's work, collectively titled "Black Metal Church (on Acid)," was phenomenal as always. Some of the pieces recalled imagery we are used to seeing from Bonethrower, like tongue-wagging skulls and exaggerated nipples, while others demonstrated a new, architectural direction. These are truly his Black Metal Churches and they seem like the only places that could possibly house his colorfully demonic creations. We still have quite a few of these incredible works for sale on our site, so take a look!
We were also super stoked to welcome our new friend, the Sticker God, into the Cotton Candy Machine. Featuring awesome silkscreened stickers by some seriously cool artists, the Sticker God has made a great addition to the shop, especially for those of us who grew up in malls and arcades that held these oldschool sticker dispensers. This one-of-a-kind machine was made by Tyler Howorth, Jessi Highet and Knox White, through Tyler's sweet company Waste Cog Studos. Thank you guys so much for letting us pray to your Sticker God!
As always, the crowd was colorful and fun, making the night even more exciting. Here are a few photos of our awesome attendees, but be sure to check out the event page for even more!
Before the night even began, we at the Cotton Candy Machine knew that Amart Stewart'sHip Hop Royalty Party was going to be a bit different from our previous events. It marked the end of our first artist residency, an awesome new venture that we hope to continue exploring in the future, and featured massive oil portraits unlike anything we've ever shown before. Rather than just being a show opening, this night was a true celebration of the artist and his most current work. After witnessing his hard work and incredible turn-out, dozens of good people showed up to congratulate Amar on his finished collection. People did not just come to see paintings of Biggie and Tupac, but also to simply support the artist that became a unique fixture in our shop. The night started out wonderfully. The paintings were gorgeous and the crowd was (as always) excellent. We had the whole month of February watching Amar paint in the gallery to get stoked about the Hip Hop Royalty Party, but nothing could have prepared us for the wild events that actually went down that night. As folks were happily chatting with Amar and admiring the work, four sneaky attendees were planning a heinous theft that rocked the Cotton Candy Machine community.
A few hours into the evening, our gallery owner (and real life Batman) Sean Lenoard noticed three massive paintings missing from the back room and instantly ran out the door in hopes of catching the culprit. Being the rockstar that he is, Sean managed to chase down the thief holding the largest of the pieces, a 5 foot tall portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat. He was able to detain the thief (while still clutching the painting) until the police arrived to arrest him. As the Daily News stated, "His thief-catching skills are a work of art."
"This was after my long chase with Louis Lassalle, who is now under arrest and facing charges of grand Larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. I found him blocks away from Cotton Candy Machine with this Basquiat portrait by Amar Stewart, stashed between a fence and a railing. I confronted him and dialed 911. He immediately started threatening me and telling me to leave. He called someone and told them I hand found him. He kept threatening me and trying to scare me off. It made me laugh even though this guy could have killed me. I just knew he couldn’t catch me and the was no way I was going to just leave. He tried to run and jumped in a cab, so I rushed to the passenger side door and opened it to yell at the driver. Telling him that I was on the phone with 911 and he couldn’t take this guy anywhere. Louis got out of the cab and came at me, threatened me again. This happened with cab after cab as I began chasing him and stopping cabs from taking him away. Doing all this while carrying a giant 5′ painting. a few times I’d just run in front of the taxi and start yelling until the cabby would roll down the window and hear me out. I had to keep updating the 911 operator as we ran through the neighborhood. I chased him almost to the subway at North 7th and Driggs Ave. Then when it got a little crowded, and I was making a lot of noise about the situation, he started chasing me back the same way we came. So I’m running with this painting working against me as a wind sail, trying to keep my distance. We got to North 4th and Driggs when I saw the police coming down the street. He tried to bolt one more time but he was fat and winded and didn’t make it far. The officers arrested him and took him away. They have been questioning him about the other suspects involved. The DA’s office has been a huge help today. Thank you friends, the news media, the art community and NYPD for continuing to help. We are still missing 2 paintings and we will find them. Thank you again for your support."
- Sean Leonard, as reported on freewilliamsburg.com
The great freewilliamsburg article continues to say, "Despite Leonard’s heroic efforts, three of the four thieves got away with two paintings: portraits of Nelson Mandela and Snoop lion are still missing. So, if you know somebody who recently acquired a giant Renaissance-style portrait of Snoop Lion or Nelson Mandela, you should probably call the cops." YES, YOU SHOULD! Here are images of the portraits. We appreciate any information you may have on their whereabouts or the suspects responsible.
We sincerely appreciate the support that the media and NYPD have shown us. Tons of stations jumped on our story, helping us to spread the word and even make National News! Thank you so much to these stations for reporting the story! We are still hoping with all our might that the paintings might find their way back home.
Take a listen to this sweet interview with Amar and Sean, peppered with some excellent Hip Hop tracks:
It would be a massive understatement to say that the opening of our David Cook / Junko Mizuno show was a great success. It was mind-blowing! The work was incredible, the crowd was super awesome, and we had a case of delicious wine donated by Brix Wine Shop in the East Village. Thank you to everybody that made it out! It was an excellent evening. After creating a ton of new pieces for the show (most of which have already sold!) and journeying to the East Coast, Junko took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions. Thank you, Junko!
1. Can you remember the first time you felt inspired to make a piece of art?
No, I can't remember that because I was already drawing when I was two. I just naturally started making art and I don't know when and how it happened.
2. Do you doodle or keep sketchbooks?
Before I start sketching for a painting, I doodle on random pieces of paper to put the ideas in my head together but I usually throw them away once the final sketch is done.
3. You are well known for your comics as well as your paintings. Is your thought/working process very different for these two distinct art forms?
Kind of different and kind of similar. For a comic, I first come up with ideas, write them down as a script, make it into a storyboard then sketch and ink. For a painting I also start coming up with ideas first, doodle to put them together, then sketch and paint.
4. Were you pulling from any new inspiration or influences while making work for your show at the Cotton Candy Machine?
Since it's my first full show in NY, I decided to make it like an introduction to my world and I've put a lot of elements that often appear in my work. So the show is kind of inspired and influenced by my own art.
5. Is there any medium that you have not worked with that you would like to try?
I have a lot of things I'd love to try!! Sculpture (I've done it a little in my past, though), collage art, embroidery, etc, etc... I really wish I had ten more bodies!
6. Are there any artists working right now that you would like to collaborate with? If so, who?
I love Thu Tran who does amazing food-themed art! I recently got to talk with her via email. It would be great if I could do something
with her in the future!
7. What would be an ideal art project that you have not yet done?
Indoor theme park / museum is my dream project! I'm thinking about doing it after I turn 60 or so.
This week's fan art post comes from Aaron Tompkins, who is a rad painter and big time CCM fan. Here is what he has to say:
"It is inspiring me to see the art being shown at Cotton Candy Machine. An awesome diversity, but every artist is "A class" and all masters of there own styles. I aspire to have that connection with my artwork.
My favorite Cotton Candy machine artists are Alex Pardee, Tara Mcpherson & Bwana Spoons. These artists have created fully realized worlds that the viewer gets a window into. This is what i aspire to do... To create another dimension, have a direct connection to it and help it to grow to it's full potential."
We can see hints of all the artists he cites as inspiration, but this piece is still totally his own. The colors are very Bwana Spoons! You definitely are creating a window into your own radical dimension, Aaron. Keep it up and thank you for sending us your work!
We could not be more stoked for our upcoming show opening on Friday March 7th, featuring Junko Mizuno and David M. Cook! Both of these talented artists are dear friends of the Cotton Candy Machine and we have always loved showing their work. Junko has shown in all three of our Tiny Trifectas and her amazing comics are consistant sellers in the shop. David, who also answers to Bonethrower, has been consistantly featured at the Cotton Candy Machine since the very beginning. Even after two solo shows with us, one in March 2012 and one in July 2013, as well as a mini exhibition/party this past November, we still can't get enough of his work.
Both artists are flying in from the West Coast and will be present at the event, showing entirely new original works. To preview the work, head on over to our event page! For those of you looking for an alternative to purchasing an original, you are in luck! Both David and Junko will have other goodies. The event will mark a special giclee print release for two of Junko's newest paintings in the show. One of the prints will be released in the store only, while the other will be released online only the night before the opening, Thursday March 6th. These beautiful giclees will both be printed in editions of 25, so this is a very limited opportunity!
In addition to all the amazing originals and the giclee print release, we will also have a special opportunity for the first 50 people to arrive...a raffle! The super cool art/jewelry company, Morphik, has generously donated two beautiful (LIMITED EDITION OF 250!) leather bracelets featuring tiny replicas of Junko's piece, "Pregnancy," and we can't wait to send two lucky attendees home with these unique cuffs!
"Morphik is an independent, artist-driven fashion company based in Los Angeles and New York City with a mission to create intimate and provocative relationships between people and art." Thank you, Morphik, for your incredible donation!
David will also be bringing some rad goodies (hats, t-shirts and skatedecks!) from Mid Life, a collaboration between him and his buddy Greg Anderson and hopefully some new prints. We still have a few remaining giclees from David's event with us in November for sale in the shop and online, so feel free to take a look!
Please join us for this spectacular show's opening reception! Like all our events, there will be beer, music, and some seriously cool people to chat with. Both of these artists are based in California, so this is a rare chance to meet them on the East Coast, as well as see some of their astounding originals up close and personal. We hope to see all CCM patrons, new and old, in the gallery this Friday!
There has been so much going on at the Cotton Candy Machine lately that we fell behind with our fan art posts! Since we missed last week, we are posting two this week! The first piece comes from Erica Perjatel, who has been inspired by Tara's work for years. Here is what she has to say about the Cotton Candy Machine:
"I cannot remember when it was that I stumbled across Tara's work, but I know it was before Cotton Candy Machine opened because I was super excited that Tara was opening a gallery that I could visit...I remember her artwork being the first that I said to myself "wow, this girl is making art that I truly like, with content that is similar to what I like to paint or draw, that I would want hang in my home"...I even think that it was finding Tara's work years ago that led to me Juxtapoz and High Fructose magazines..which now has led me to so many favorite artists. I follow Cotton Candy Machine on facebook and...I think its awesome that it's a space that anyone can walk into off the street and see some amazing quality art, instead of some pretentious gallery that's intimidating."
Thanks so much for sending us your work, Erica! This piece totally reminds us of Tara's amazing Cosmic Serpent painting from her most recent solo show, Wandering Luminations. Wonderful!
The second piece comes from Alejandro Giraldo, who says he found our gallery while looking fot Tara's artwork.
He says, "It (the Cotton Candy Machine) has inspired me, not only in the way of creating, but in the way of working with other people to create things from group projects to exhibitions. It has opened my eyes to new talents and new ways of seeing art. I must have to say, that I find in Tara´s work a lot of melancholy and it touches deeply in my heart, it´s a big source of inspiration for my own work."
"Amar Stewart is a New York based artist from London, England. His influences lie somewhere between Music and City Life.
Growing up in a small town in the Midlands he began drawing at a young age typically sketching super heros in his scrap book. It was only in his 20's when he moved to London that he saw a whole new world. The city being filled with so much energy and creativity fed his mind with ideas. The next 8 years would be a learning experience. Experimenting with concepts, painting techniques, travelling and finding out what path he wanted to go down."
The Cotton Candy Machine is proud to have Amar as our first ever Artist in Residence. All month long he has been in the shop painting like a madman and we have really enjoyed watching his progress.
Although painting oil portraits is not new for Amar, the pieces he has been working on at CCM have one very cool new (well, actually pretty old) influence: Dutch master Frans Hals the Elder (c. 1582 – 26 August 1666). It's true that the Dutch masters have influenced plenty of painters, but we've never seen anybody use this type of inspiration in quite the same way. Amar dubs these newest pieces "Portraits of Hip Hop Royalty" and you'd be hard pressed to find a better name. By combining the faces of beloved hip hop icons with classical 17th century attire, Amar is creating a mashup of old and new that transcends time, carving out its own unique place in today's contemporary art world.
Amar's current work pays homage to some of hip hop's greatest fallen icons. Artists like Biggie Smalls, Tupac, and Left Eye find new life in these paintings as kings and warriors, further reminding us that their legacies will never be forgotten. Just as the classical Dutch portraiture that inspires Amar's work has stood the enormous test of time, these modern day "masters" of Hip Hop are sure to inspire future artists for generations to come.
But Amar is not only painting icons that have passed on. Mary J. Blige, Eminem, and Action Bronson are some of the living artists featured in his new paintings. The faces are recognizable, but we've never seen them looking like this. Eminen stares out at us from beneath a massive cavalier hat, while Mary J. Blige somehow manages to make a huge ruffled collar look timeless and even chic. Simply put, Amar's paintings push the boundaries of what we think of as "modern art." They are like time travellers, adapting into the modern world without completely losing their roots in the past.
Amar Stewart has proven himself as an artist who can pull direct influence from art history, while crafting images that are entirely his own. We love the work he has made here so far and cannot wait to see what the remainder of his residency will bring forth, as well as the work he continues to make in the future.
Here at the Cotton Candy Machine, we love when music and art come together. Tara McPherson never ceases to amaze us with her visual art, but did you know she can also DJ like no one's business?! While in Mexico City for a pop up shop at Custom Rock Garage, Tara made a special Valentines DJ appearence at Caradura and totally rocked it. We have just brought back some fantastic posters from this very cool event! DJ Set at Caradura Poster By Tara McPherson
17" x 27"
* There is slight wrinkling on the top right corner from travel, so there is only a $10 price tag!
Do you like music? Do you like art? YOU ARE IN LUCK! We just released a ton of Tara McPherson's earliest gigposters on our website! Many of Tara's popular characters and motifs find their roots in her early poster art, so owning one is a pretty amazing opportunity.
Take, for instance, this 2002 poster for the Blackheart Procession...
Tara McPherson fans are all familiar with her heartless girl, but did you know this poster marks her first appearence ever?! Comissioned by the Knitting Factory in Hollywood, the poster not only features rockin' indie bands, but also has special significance to the artist. Can you think of a better reason for adding it to your collection?
Another amazing poster that has a special place in Tara's heart is this one she did for the Stitches, the Fakes, and the New Detectives back in 2002.
She cites herself as the client for this poster, as she used to play bass in the New Detectives. How cool is that? Featuring three awesome bands and some tasty looking shrimp, this poster is a must for Tara's collectors and fans. She says of it, "I think this was my first decent poster," making it basically a piece of contemporary art history.
This week's awesome fan art post comes from Kellie Huskisson, a UK artist and big Tara McPherson fan. This piece was made for a "tributes" book, which featured Kellie's favorite female artists, musicians and characters. Here is what Kellie has to say about Tara and the Cotton Candy Machine:
"I was first introduced to her work around 2005 when i first started university and picked up a book on rock poster art. Amongst the hundereds of artists in the book, her work was some that really stood out to me, her use of colour and gorgeous clean line work really drew me in. Through my years in art college i looked into more of her work, her characters and methods. She has become one of my all time favourite artists so of course i had to include her in my series of awesome ladies!
Being from the UK, i had yearned to be able to make a trip to CCM at some point. What could be better than a boutique dedicated to one of my favourite artists and also featured other artists i was a big fan of? I was able to do this during a trip to NYC back in 2012 and it didn't disappoint. A sweet, individual space that hosts some of the best artists in my opinion. And lovely staff too! I hope i can make it back some time soon."
We hope you can too, Kellie! Thank you for the fantastic piece and continue to rock!
Our first Fan Art post comes from the awesome 17 year old Andrea Antomattei, who lives in Queens with her chihuahua and grandmother.
Andrea was first exposed to Tara McPherson's work through the movie Juno, in which Tara's art was prominently featured, decorating the title character's bedroom.
She says, "the way you (Tara) created your own style, the way you made the colors so unique, and the way you were able to give a strong message just took my artist heart away. Once I knew who you were and heard that you had a store in Brooklyn I remember waking up my grandmother at 11:00 at night and begging her to take me. She yelled at me I spanish. But I went ... My curiosity ran wild and it felt like I was knowing the secrets of becoming a great artist. Since then, I knew that I wanted to be just like you. To have my own business, my own artwork up in New York, and to inspire other people ... Your work will always be in a special place in my heart , not only for your amazing talent but for helping to understand heart breaks"
Thank you for reaching out, Andrea! Your work is wonderful and we are so happy that our gallery inspires you. Keep it up!
Hey fans! Are you inspired by Tara McPherson or one of the other artists we feature? Perhaps just Cotton Candy? Show us! We want to see your art!
Every Sunday, we will be posting a new piece of awesome fan art on the Cotton Candy Machine blog. How cool is that? Please send your images to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Fan Art" as the subject and tell us a little bit about how the Cotton Candy Machine inspires you!
One of my favorite things about working at the Cotton Candy Machine is the constant exposure to amazing artists. Almost every day I write down another name to look up when I get home. Tina Lugo is one of those artists. Her work in our Brooklyn Biennial Submissional Show got (and continues to get) an incredible response, which is only natural since her work RULES. Tina's images are dark, yet vivid with color. They are humorous, yet evocative of much deeper feelings too. Simply put, she is a rad girl with a lot of talent. I recently bombarded her with some questions and her responses were truly excellent. Thank you, Tina!
Can you remember the first time you realized you were meant to make art?
I definitely knew that I liked drawing at a young age, but i was convinced that I was destined to be a veterinarian. Mind you I was four. I would draw and color to the point that i had every crayon color memorized, from mac n' cheese to periwinkle blue. But I was going to be a veterinarian... It wasn't until middle school, after much Toonami, that i realized i wanted to create the things i was seeing-since my dreams were crushed of becoming a Thunder cat, drawing became all i wanted to do.
You graduated from SVA pretty recently, right?
Yes. In 2011. Good year.
Your pieces have such a specific voice. I know from my own experience that art school professors often dissuade students from trying too hard to find a “personal style.” Did you experience any of this at SVA? Tell me a little bit more about how you found your voice as an artist. Was it a natural evolution or did your work take a drastic turn at some point?
Definitely. There was always a teacher saying 'you don't have a voice until you are a junior'. It was frustrating, but it made a lot of sense. They didn't want you to be closed minded, or think there was only one way of approaching something, or only one grand master technique. They encouraged experimenting with your craft. It was a natural growth in some ways, you always have to make some bad art in order to make some good art and be able to admit that your professors knew what they were talking about. Even if you were too stubborn to listen. If it wasn't for all of that, i'd probably still be trying to be an illustrator.
Do you feel like art school helped you more with developing your techniques or your ideas as an artist? Or is it both? Neither? I’m always interested to know how other art school graduates look back on their education.
There is always the classic debate: should i go to art school when i can teach myself? Its a personal decision, and for me, i would never had met some of the greatest peers and friends i have now, nor the wonderful artists that taught me that i can now call friends. There is only so much you can do on your own, and it definitely helped having people around me who have made their living off making art. They gave me a lot to digest, from new artists I had never heard of before, to actually showing me new techniques that may suit my needs and the artists who have used them in interesting ways. Despite some debt, (more then some) i would do it all over again.
When you dropped your pieces off at the Cotton Candy Machine for the Brooklyn Biennial show, I was immediately drawn (art pun!) to them, mainly for the bright colors and intense imagery. When I looked closer, it took me a little while to figure out your technique, which is painting on plexiglass. That is what intrigued me most. Even though I love all the pieces, I especially loved looking closely at “Candy Crush” because you can really see how the technique adds dimension to the work. Instead of using white paint, you leave negative space for the white paper beneath the plexi to show through. So cool! Please tell me everything you possibly can about your technique. How did you discover it? When did you begin working this way? What is the process like?
Senior year was the year that made me. I was still struggling with where i fit as an illustrator and slowly began hating the process and how formulated it could become. My portfolio professor suggested i try something else. He kicked my ass a lot and was known for making students cry and hate themselves. I never got a chance to thank him for doing it though. It pushed me to paint and pushed me to want to be better than what i was doing. He told me to try Plexiglas, since i had absolutely no patience for things drying, and loved working at a fast pace. So i experimented with it but wasn't finding as much traction as i wanted. I had started an internship with the limited free time i had, being a painting assistant for French artist, Nicolas Touron. It was unpaid, except for awesome Vietnamese sandwiches he bought me every Friday, and the pleasure of working on his colorful pieces. He showed me how to use bright color and a limited color pallet. He worked at a stellar pace and i watched him as much as i could. He showed me the paints he used-what i would later work with-and his fluid process. It was a big turning point for me and my work. But my process wasn't as easy to start as I expected. The oil base line work was permanent and I had to be careful with what I put down. I've never been the type to do a crazy amount of sketches or drafts. Once I had an idea I just went for it. The tricky part was knowing that I am essentially painting backwards, as the finished product would later be mounted on the painted side. So I played a lot in the mirror, figuring out what looked good, and if it was readable when flipped over. It taught me a lot about how we see things, and how we read imagery much like a book-from left to right. Once the line work is done, I go over in a paint by numbers fashion and rarely mix -unless I can't find the color already made somewhere. I can complete a piece in about 6 hours from start to finish. Once I realized that I could drop that number even lower by working with negative space using a heavy white paper instead of white paint, I was thrilled with the result. Your work is obviously pretty emotionally charged, but maintains a darkly humorous element too. When you begin a piece, are you consciously trying to “say something” or are you acting on impulse and allowing the meaning to sort of emerge naturally? If you are trying to say something, what is it?
I was a late bloomer in life, and also pretty naive. I wasn't into sex, although I was curious. I was obsessed with the animated world and was very much afraid of growing up and what that meant. I deterred as many sexual experiences as I could. When it eventually happened, it paralyzed me and I no longer knew how to be a kid anymore. I struggled with sex and my sexuality for a long time, and it took a very special person to show me how not to be afraid of it. Much of my work comes from that place, of wanting to be that kid, to be innocent again but being too far gone. I grew a sense of humor about it all. A childish enthusiasm about sexuality and how differently we all experience it. Sometimes I paint so blindly, just adding in things that would live in this dreamscape and it isn't until later that I can pull some twisted experience that I may have had from it.
Tell me a little bit about your experience applying to and being part of the Brooklyn Biennial show at the Cotton Candy Machine. Were you familiar with the space? Had you attended any of our past shows?
I had sent work to CCM a long time ago, but admittedly I wasn't ready. The work just wasn't ready. When my job moved me into the neighborhood - a mere block away, my buddy Matty pushed me to go and talk to the people there. I met Sean, introduced myself as non-creepily as I could, mentioned that I just had a show put together by Jonathan Levine, and he told me about the show he was making and said I should submit. So I did. I didn't think I'd be picked-I never do. When he told me he wanted me in it I was thrilled! But also dreading it, as most of my work was already gone. I had to make three new pieces within two weeks for the show. What was your impression of the Brooklyn Biennial show as a whole?
I thought the show was pretty great! I was impressed with the space, and the atmosphere. It was definitely my kind of scene. We had some pretty amazing artists present.
Do you have a favorite moment or memory from that night? It must have been really exciting for you!
Oh its so hard to choose just one! But it would have to be meeting Tara McPherson and her telling me that she bought one of my pieces. It was a definite NO WAY kind of moment. Its nice to know I'm part of her erotica collection.
I gotta ask, do you ever experience shocked or horrified reactions to your work from conservative people? Maybe the elderly? How do you deal with it?
Of course! All the time. But we all know its the conservative ones that secretly like it the most. There's always a "wow...thats uh, that's something" but never had someone outright disgusted, at least not to my face. Someone said I was spreading hate speech and had my Facebook fan page deleted. Who they are, I will never know. It can be disheartening but I am always honest about what I do. Its something I will have to deal with because of the nature of what I do. I accept that.
What are you working on now? Future projects? Hopes? Dreams?
I'm working on new pieces now. I want to have a series put together to have another show this year, and maybe one day, be represented. That's definitely the dream. My goal is to paint big, like storefront window big and have a whole gallery space to myself. But that will happen when I have the money and space to do such a thing. Everything will come in its own time. But it would be pretty exciting to see that wouldn't it? Tell me, in the simplest terms, WHY you create art.
I wouldn't be able to function as a normal person if I didn't feed my creativity. The longer I go without it, the more anxiety and irritability forms. Its the same way someone goes for a run to clear their head, or picks up a hobby to escape for awhile. Its a basic need by now.
Questions by Grace Lang
All Photos by Austin Crimmins
To see more of Tina's painting process, check out these videos!
We will be having a closing party for the Brooklyn Biennial Show this Saturday from 7-11 pm. Tina, as well as some of the other featured artists will be there, so come on by if you want to meet some crazy talented folks! Dima Drjuchin, who also has work in the show, will be playing some music live at the event. He is bringing his custom guitar and his pedals to entertain us. All the work will be coming down after the party, so it marks your last chance to come see the show. It's sure to be a killer evening, full of art, music, and lots of laughs. We'd love to see everybody there!
Brooklyn Biennial Submissional
Closing Party Saturday February 1st
7pm to 11pm