Memorial Day 2020
Thank you to all of those who gave their lives for our country and the unparalleled contributions you made for all of our freedoms. Your bravery and the sacrifice you made is incomparable. Two of my postage stamp flags (and details) to honor the day.
St. James Rising
In the Studio
Ghost Bridge on Chicago's South Side
Q: What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on an ongoing series of geometric abstractions using thousands of used postage stamps and resin as my medium. I have been working on this series for over ten years now. I have several related series going on concurrently. One group titled, the “Vortex” series, is loosely based on Frank Stella’s “Black Series” from the 60s and range in size from 8” x 8” to 60” x 60.” The other major series of mine is based on Josef Albers “Homage to the Square” pieces from the 50s and 60s. I have also been working on several commissions based on my older quilt-like patchwork series -one for a home and one for a corporate setting. The studio shot I attached is me in front of one of them entitled, “Reflections.” Blue Gallery has several more from that series! My most exciting new pieces are actually digital art “Mandala” prints that I have created from photographs of my original postage stamp pieces. I use a total of three different graphics programs and a custom plug-in to create these stunning and beautiful images. I am looking forward to printing and offering them as large scale prints.
Q: What inspired that particular direction?
I am influenced by Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious and the interconnectedness of the universe and its correspondence to several schools of eastern thought and mysticism. All of the postage stamp pattern fields are my interpretation and reinvention of mandalas, or meditative microcosms. I am also drawn to simple, but powerful geometric relationships and repeating patterns.
Q: What are the positive things that are happening for you during the pandemic?
The most positive thing is the amount of creative time I am allowing myself to explore, learn and try new things. For example, my new “Mandala” prints may have not been created had I not been concentrating on the graphics side of things outside of my mixed-media studio work. Also, I have been taking several online courses that I am very interested in. One course is on drone photography that I am really excited about and incorporating somehow into my artwork and/or the process.
Q: Why did you start creating art in the first place?
My father was my first inspiration. He was a sculptor and a painter. From the age of four or five, I remember working on sketches with him, particularly of faces and my own left hand, and spending lots of time in his studio, which was in our home. My interest grew from there.
Q: What are you reading, what are you watching? Favorites please!
I have always read a great deal (hours daily), but during this pandemic my reading has increased x10! My Kindle is easily my favorite pieces of technology other than my DSLR. My favorite recent book is John Keel’s “The Mothman Prophecies” (love the movie as well!). It is wildly interesting book about the many paranormal and unexplainable happenings in Point Pleasant, WV, in 1966-67. My favorite current TV show is re-watching all of the old original episodes of Dr. Who on Britbox. I grew up watching that show and I am really enjoying seeing some of the earlier seasons (from the 60s) that I have never seen before, and have not been available until recently.
Q: Do you listen to music while you create? If so, who are you listening to?
Oh, yes! Beethoven’s nine symphonies are my all-time favorite. I have four different versions of all nine symphonies, each a different conductor and orchestra. It’s so interesting when you start to notice the subtle differences in interpretation and emphasis that each has. I feel very fortunate to have realized a life’s goal/dream just recently before the lock-down started. I saw all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies live in concert in Chicago. Sir John Elliot Gardiner (a true pioneer in classical music) conducted his Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique. They performed all nine symphonies over the course of just five days (and unheard of cycle/schedule) at the beautiful Harris Theater in Chicago! I was there for every one of them and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire adult life! The lock-down/pandemic followed shortly after this historic performance.
Q: Do you have a studio buddy (cat or dog or ?) if so, can we see a photo?
My studio doggies are both in doggy heaven. But fortunately, my studio is in an artist building and several of the other residents have dogs. Theirs dogs all run to my studio door first when they arrive for treats! So I get my fill with them.
Q: What is your favorite painting you just completed? (with photo) (if you plan to or would like to send it to the gallery, we’d love to promote in this post)
My favorite paintings are four 16” x 16” pieces completed recently from my “Vortex” series using postage stamps commemorating the various American arts (including one of George Gershwin), and my new “Mandala” digital art prints, based on these 16” x 16” pieces and others of my postage stamp collages.
A Quick Studio Tour!
I had fun filming some studio clips for Simon Breitbard Fine Arts, San Fransisco, CA.
This finished video is courtesy of SBFA and their amazing staff!
© Simon Breitbard Fine Arts, 2020