Inside The Artist’s Studio with Myung Urso

Myung Urso in her studio

Myung Urso in her studio

I was born in South Korea and moved to Rochester, NY in 2006. Since 2007 I started making jewelry based on my MFA major Fiber Art, which I studied in Seoul, Korea. This is one of the reasons that I have chosen using textural materials for creating my work.

Fiber materials

Fiber materials

Showing the "wear-ability" of my work

Showing the “wear-ability” of my work

Jewelry is the media that I have chosen to express my desire of art. It’s wear-ability has always been a big challenge which makes my work different from objects. I often challenge myself to broaden the boundaries of jewelry, regarding it as an art form.

Home studio

Home studio

Calligraphy

Calligraphy

I work in a studio within our house with three dogs and two cats. This is one of the reasons that I mainly choose organic materials as they are mostly derived from my daily use. New ideas at times come from a particular material; sometimes begin with a form and other times from a color or any kind of motivation.

 

Necklace -Combination Red

Necklace -Combination Red

My working process is like chasing the origin of the imagination. I directly work without a pre-planned drawing. In this way I am open to how the work can arrive towards its own destiny. This approach is risky and at the same time has huge benefits. As a result a final art form often becomes very different from my original expectation.

Asian/Korean calligraphy

Asian/Korean calligraphy

Simplicity and spontaneity are the kinds of principles or virtues of my work. I often think that I gained these abilities for being spontaneous and simple through Asian/Korean Calligraphy which I have been practicing since I was young. Calligraphy is like “my native language” which I am able to communicate through my work. Practicing calligraphy also led me to being intuitive in the creative process. This intuition is applied when I either choose a material or I am chosen by material to follow it’s own path.

To see more of my work, visit my website: www.myungurso.com


Myung Urso is one of 6 artists included in Beyond Ornamental, an exhibition of fine jewelry at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. Beyond Ornamental runs through August 16, 2019.

 

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Loraine Cooley

Hi, I’m Loraine Cooley and I’m honored to be included in the Main Street Arts exhibit Beyond Ornamental.

Me at my studio bench

Me at my studio bench

At the age of 13, I began my journey as an artist at my father’s knee so to speak. My dad decided to teach himself how to create jewelry in his basement workshop and invited me to join him in his discovery of the metal fabrication process. That was over 40 years ago. Since then, some of the things that have contributed to who I am and my recent artwork are: a BFA from The School for American Crafts at RIT, extensive travel around the world, pursuing a degree in the Art Education Program at Nazareth College and engaging in several classes and workshops in all areas of art. I also continue to enjoy teaching and learning from my students at the Memorial Art Gallery where I’ve taught since 1987.

In my studio, creative chaos abounds!

Creative atmosphere

Creative atmosphere

Creative chaos

Creative chaos

Work in progress...

Work in progress…

For me the boat shape is a predominant theme in my one-of-a-kind pieces. I regard the boat as a symbol of the journey each of us takes throughout our lives. Below is my triptych sculpture:

PHASES: Birth  Chaos  Rest

PHASES: Birth Chaos Rest

Here are more boat themed pieces:

"Journey" Necklace

“Journey I” Necklace

"Journey II" Neckpiece

“Journey II” Neckpiece

"River" Neckpiece

“River” Neckpiece

"Sunboat" Necklace

“Sunboat” Necklace

I am currently working on a series of Lapel pins loosely based on the windows and doors that I photographed several years ago while in Italy.

"Archway" Lapel Pin

“Archway” Lapel Pin

"Guilin" Lapel Pin

“Guilin” Lapel Pin

"Tuscan Arch" Lapel Pin

“Tuscan Arch” Lapel Pin

Each piece that I make is born of an idea. I think big and make small. The act of transforming the idea into a 3 dimensional form is an ongoing challenge. The end results stem from sketching, experimentation, trial, failure, refinement and finally, with hope and experience, success. My work starts with raw materials ie: metal sheet and/or wire or materials such as slate, bone, fossils, stones or shell. I use several metalsmithing techniques to transform these materials into something unique and personal.

Here are some of the tools that I use to manipulate and transform the raw materials that I use in my pieces.

Studio tools

Studio tools

Future projects include a series of necklaces based on the 4 seasons and also a large (for me) sculptural boat made of parts and pieces from my studio scrap box.

To follow me as I continue on my journey of discovery, please visit my web site: www.lorainecooley.com


Loraine Cooley is one of 6 artists featured in the fine jewelry exhibition Beyond Ornamental at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. Beyond Ornamental runs through August 16, 2019.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Jane Fleming

Jane Fleming, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of July 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Jane some questions about her work and studio practice:

Jane Fleming with "Self Portrait," Mixed Media on Canvas, Triptych, 2019

Jane Fleming with “Self Portrait,” Mixed Media on Canvas, Triptych, 2019

Q: To start off, tell us about your background.
My path to becoming a visual artist has been rather non-traditional. I grew up in Virginia and moved to Texas in 2014, where I have lived ever since. I received my B.A. in English from the University of Texas at El Paso and am currently pursuing my PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin. I have always been a creative writer, focusing primarily on poetry and creative non-fiction, but had never really considered myself a visual “artist.” In 2016, I began to create small collages as a compliment to my writing— a way of working out the things that I couldn’t yet form into words.

My collage practice morphed to include painting with acrylics, which I began to learn with the help of YouTube videos and guidance from my twin brother, Jordan Aman, who has a BFA in studio art from Florida State University. From there, something really clicked. Like my writing, the creation of my collages became almost compulsive. I have totally fallen in love with the ever-growing and changing artistic practice.

"Mindscape 2019," Mixed Media on Paper, 2019

“Mindscape 2019,” Mixed Media on Paper, 2019

Q: How would you describe your work?
All of my work is mixed media— usually acrylic paint with images found in old magazines and used books. I often joke that my preferred aesthetic is “naked ladies in space” because most of my pieces have some kind of cosmic backdrop and nod towards my fascination with the female form.

Like my writing, though, my art tends to play with the experience of internal chaos alongside the presence of what I consider aesthetically beautiful. I am an artist, like many, who struggles with mental illness, so I am all about working through those struggles in my art. The road to recovery from depressive episodes and intense anxiety is as beautiful as it can be dark and exhausting. I think a lot of my work mimics that.

Live Painting at Austin Witches Circle Market, 2019

Live Painting at Austin Witches Circle Market, 2019

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
In addition to writing and visual art, I also do a lot of flow dancing, which is basically a form of dancing that relies on the music and gut instinct to determine movement (that’s a crude description, but it is hard to describe). I think about it as a form of meditation. I am placing my faith in the medium of creative production and trusting my creative instincts to perform the right movement. My process for creating art is very similar.

Usually, I start with an image from a book or magazine that has really gotten stuck in my mind— a figure, a face, a background. I choose the major color for the background and paint a primary layer. Then, I begin to lay out the piece with other objects, images, etc. that feel right. When I have a basic composition, I sit with the piece and ask it what it wants to be. I find that my most successful pieces form narratives organically throughout the process of creation. Usually, what I think I am creating when I begin is nothing like what the piece ends up looking like in the end.

"Jumper," Mixed Media on Paper, 8.5"x11", 2019

“Jumper,” Mixed Media on Paper, 8.5″x11″, 2019

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
The music that I listen to has a huge influence on the art that I create. When I get into the “zone” it is almost always accompanied with a deep dive into my favorite albums. That said, my taste is pretty erratic. By far, the album that I listen to the most while working is Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I just love the performative nature of the album and the feeling that you are going down the rabbit hole with the band. When I am really jamming hard with a piece, I feel like I’m heading down a rabbit hole too, so it jibes perfectly.

Otherwise, I am a big fan of what I lovingly call “sad girl music,” which is basically female indie singer/songwriters who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Some of my recent favorites are Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Hop Along, Slothrust, and Boygenius.

"Roots," Mixed Media on Wood Board, 24"x48", 2019

“Roots,” Mixed Media on Wood Board, 24″x48″, 2019

Q: Do you collect artwork?
Yes! Absolutely. Mostly, I buy art from local artists at craft fairs and art markets. I just love picking up prints or originals that both support local artists and are emblematic of the places that we live and have visited.

I am also lucky enough to have a family that also values art production and collecting, so some of my most treasured pieces in our collection have been passed down. My favorite piece is without a doubt one of those gifts. It is a paper cast from New Mexican artist, Dolona Roberts, which was gifted to us by my grandparents for my husband and I’s wedding.

Jane Fleming working on pieces for her show, "Ocotillo Worship" at Vault Stone Shop  Gallery, Austin, TX, 2019

Jane Fleming working on pieces for her show, “Ocotillo Worship” at Vault Stone Shop Gallery, Austin, TX, 2019

Q: Who inspires you and why?
Unsurprisingly, a lot of my pieces have a literary influence. I often get lines from books and poetry stuck in my head and write it on the wood/canvas before I begin painting. So, you could say that the heart of my visual art is always literary.

In the art world I have a lot of influences, but for collage, my favorite is undoubtedly Sebastian Wahl. I love the Wahl’s clean composition and the dynamism/movement of his collages. I am always trying to emulate that in my work.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My biggest goal for this residency is to play. I hope to really experiment with material and form. Recently, I have begun using butcher paper and wheat paste rather than wood for my collages and I would like to continue working with that.

Additionally, I have a series that I have been working on called “To Wander,” which I would really like to expand upon. The series gets its name from John Milton’s use of the word “wander” in his epic, Paradise Lost. In Paradise Lost, it is Eve’s wandering that leads to the “fall of man.” Milton uses “wander” from the latinate root for the verb “to err,” thereby suggesting that a wanderer is, in fact erring. I interact with this interpretation in two ways. First, my series produces “Eves” that wander on purpose. They are fully in control of their processes of discovery. Additionally, these Eves are centered rather than the tragical Adam. They are engaging in a pleasurable wandering– one that is productive for its pleasure, rather than reductive for its erring.

I haven’t yet found a place for this series, but I am excited about where it will take me with its narrative.

"Eden," Mixed Media on Wood, 12"x12", 2019

“Eden,” Mixed Media on Wood, 12″x12″, 2019

Q: What’s next for you?
I have two full-length collections of poetry and lyric essays coming out in 2020 with Rhythm and Bones Press and Chaleur Press, so I am working hard on getting those manuscripts ready to go. With my visual art, I intend to keep producing and working on getting involved in the artistic community here in Austin. I am hoping to have opportunities to show my work before the end of the year and have faith that those opportunities will fall into place!

Q: Where else can we find you?
I am very active on social media and have a personal blog. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @queenjaneapx. I also run a blog called Luna Speaks, which houses my artistic portfolio in addition to interviews with other artists and authors, and a creative writing series. You can find that at lunaspeaksblog.com.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Geena Massaro

Geena Massaro, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the months of July and August 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Geena some questions about her work and studio practice:

Geena drawing

Geena drawing

Q. Please tell us about your background.
I grew up in Palmyra, NY and still reside there. I attended Pratt MWP in Utica, NY as well as the better known Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where I received my BFA in painting and drawing. Since finishing my BFA, I worked as a preschool teacher and am currently a teacher’s aide in a special education program. I’ve always found the energy of children inspiring, honest and relatable so I seem to have developed a gravity for this type of profession. I am currently attending Nazareth College in pursuit of a degree in art education.

Q. How long have you been making artwork?
I have been making art since I was a child. My imagination was my home and a safe place to follow some of the curiosities I developed about perceiving my inner and outer worlds.  I identified with the quiet self who  actively observed both my imaginary world and the physical world in one channel, so drawing became very natural to me. It was my habit and identity as a child.

The first thing I consciously remember drawing was an elephant. I remember showing my parents at the kitchen table (where I actually still draw) and my mother telling me that I was going to be an “artist” and I remember I took that very seriously.

Self portrait as a child, graphite on paper, 2019

Self portrait as a child, graphite on paper, 2019

Q. How would you describe your work?
I started this style of automatic painting that is very reactive to surface and are conversations (and excavations) with my own silent innerness. My paintings exhibit compulsive movements, perceived more through the hand than the eye. Superficially, they are highly textured and raw spaces. The goal of this kind of painting is not to represent a specific thing but to be within the activity of a field of feelings come and gone- observed and released through me to my hand and onto the surface. I started doing this as a way to push my paintings and myself into places of the unknown. When I reach this state of the unknown, I feel I often go blind to the action of my hand and become involved in this deep instinctual play of automatic-reactive problem solving. 

Geena Massaro, Untitled, oil on canvas, 2019

Untitled, oil on canvas, 2019

My drawings channel the same hand but a different eye. They often depict some innocent and vulnerable object or character (I seem to be followed by the archetype of the child) turned melancholic.  It is the expression of my hand however that I do believe defines my drawing- regardless of what I could say my subject matter is.

Geena Massaro, Isabella at the table, graphite on paper, 2018

Isabella at the table, graphite on paper, 2018

Q. What is your process for creating a work of art?
I am very curious about seeing and enthusiastic about the act of (and the mind of) drawing itself. Translating an image from my perceptions to my hand, my hand becomes a vehicle towards another seeing.

I draw a lot from reference photos that I have accumulated from my time as a preschool teacher. I draw a lot of my students. I think sometimes the drawing begins with a separate emotional response (some curious response) and then I just continue reacting to whatever through the language of line. My line dances fast from light to heavy and I tend to draw small- around sketchbook scale.

Geena Massaro, Lily in a chair II, graphite on paper, 2019

Lily in a chair II, graphite on paper, 2019

My paintings develop out of reaction as well. Painting is embarked upon in phases of intense work and suspensions of waiting. Painting begins in the hand and it’s completion is seldom foreseen. The process is a blind, visceral response between thought, hand and material.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Blue), oil on canvas, 2018

Untitled (Blue), oil on canvas, 2018

The painting sits once I tire of the action and then waits for me to return to it. I live with the painting as if it were complete. This is when the painting speaks to me. I contemplate its suggested “eternity” through this play until I am either tormented or inspired to re-enter the work- or agree with it’s completion.  this play is very childlike to me and liberating. It is difficult for me to see my paintings clearly as the object they insist to be in their completion and I am curious still how to define the life of an artwork.

Geena Massaro, detail of Untitled (Blue)

Detail of Untitled (Blue)

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
I’ve learned that it is more productive and enjoyable to leave some questions out of the working hand and to ask them when you are out of the creative state. I think asking yourself questions while working is important but any question that involves a doubt about the work  will be more beneficial and constructive to yourself when you are out of the work and in a state of reflection instead.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Carter, curtain, dog, room), graphite and chalk on paper, 2018

Untitled (Carter, curtain, dog, room), graphite and chalk on paper, 2018

Q. Who inspires you and why?
Children seem to have a big emotional impact on me. It may be because they are naturally what they are and I have a feeling of this being more difficult to know in adult life. I think children are always in a creative space.  Their brains are so hungry and I feel mine is too but I feel it is so much more natural to engage with that when you are child. They take the information of life as it comes. I love my students and there is so much natural wisdom in the things they say and do. They remind me to be honest with myself and my own inner child.

Q. Who is your favorite artist and why?
My favorite visual artist, overall, is Cy Twombly.  Apart from his works being highly charged in historical literary significance, there is a sublime freedom and play in his hand and the language his works possesses which I feel moved by.

Geena Massaro, Sasha’s communion and lilies, graphite on paper, 2019

Sasha’s communion and lilies, graphite on paper, 2019

Q. What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
I’ve noticed, my hands respond to noise reflexively, so I really enjoy listening to music while working. I respond to all kinds of genres, so whatever I’m into at the moment is what’s playing.

I had a huge relationship with John Frusciante’s music during college (especially after reading his essay on the creative act, The Will to Death). His work and expressions carry through to me still so deeply so I turn to him sometimes by default because I know a strong energy exists in his music.

I sing a lot to myself when I work as well.

Q. What are your goals for this residency?
My goal for this residency is to produce as much as I can and really be present with my creative world. I want to work bigger and I am very excited to have the space to do so (my current working studio is also my bedroom which is very limiting).

I want to try to unite the worlds of my painting hand and my drawing hand more successfully as well. I would like to try larger figurative paintings that use the same kind of mark as my non-objective paintings but solve themselves with a  figure. I would like to try to make more spaces for the figures to exist in in the paintings that would combine a better sense of space with the dance of paint that my non-objective works have.

Geena Massaro, Lily, oil on canvas, 2017

Lily, oil on canvas, 2017

Apart from figure, there are other subjects in me that I find reoccurring in the gravity of my innerness and I want to try to understand how these objects or things got there and what I could do with them in my work.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Julianna, bird, branch), graphite on paper, 2019

Untitled (Julianna, bird, branch), graphite on paper, 2019

Q. What’s next for you?
I can’t really say what’s next yet. I’ve been  looking forward to this residency and I’m just really excited for this opportunity to be with myself and create.

Q. Where else can we find you?
Instagram @geenamassaro