• 13
  • 2
  • 3
  • 12
  • 4

    Matt Mignanelli

  • 5

    Jenna Ransom

  • 6

    Jenna Ransom

  • 7

    Eric Elliott

  • 15

    Eric Elliott

  • 14

    Sarah Laing

  • 9
  • 10
  • 11

    From left to right: Eric Elliott, Jenna Ransom, Matt Mignanelli and Sarah Laing

Art

Matt Mignanelli: Vermont Studio Center

Posted by Alex Moshakis,

Alongside fifty other artists and writers, Matt Mignanelli spent January working in sub-zero temperatures in a church in Vermont. The residency allows for focus, Matt says, and the amount of snow makes for very productive environments. We asked him a few more questions about the residency itself, his “studio mates”, and what it was like to work in freezing conditions…

You’ve just spent January in Vermont, as part of a residency there. What was it like working in those freezing conditions, with all that snow around?

It was extremely cold, at one point dropping down to -27 c, but an incredible experience. I grew up in North East America, but this was my first experience with temperatures that low. There was also about a 2 week period in the middle of the residency during which it snowed every day, which is great when you don’t have to shovel or commute.

The winter weather made for an extremely productive work environment, and kept the Vermont microbrews nice and cold in the snow out back of the studio!

Can you tell us a bit about the residency itself?

The Vermont Studio Center offers visual artists and writers the opportunity to live and create in Vermont with the sole responsibility of focus, and the production of new works. Throughout the program, notable artists visit to present slide lectures, as well as visiting the studios of each artist in residence. This was great, as you have the opportunity to engage these artists in conversation and critique about your work, drawing on their experience and opinions.

One of the most important aspects of the residency is the community itself. Artists travel from around the world to attend the program and it is comprised of a really broad age group. This diversity within the artistic community created such an invigorating environment, and a wide range of work to absorb and learn from.

You were working alongside 3 other artists. What was that like?

Our group was assigned to studios that were in a converted church on Main Street, stained glass windows still intact. My studio mates (aka the Church Crew) were Jenna Ransom, Eric Elliott, and Sarah Laing.

Jenna Ransom lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Working on both paintings and drawings over the course of the residency, she continued an exploration of the unexplainable energies and deep environments that nature holds. The paintings are constructed using layer upon layer of transparent washes, creating a depth in the works that is captivating. Strongly rooted in reality, the work maintains a wonderful enigmatic quality. We had a blast together in Vermont, and she makes a great 7-layer Mexican dip for football games.

Eric Elliott is a painter from Seattle, WA. Through the build up of heavy oil paint and repetitive mark making in neutral tones, his paintings of interior environments and still lifes emerge. The paintings have a special dreamlike quality to them that really engages the viewer, forcing them to look well beyond the surface to decipher the faint references that define his space. Besides being a talented painter, you couldn’t meet a nicer guy than Eric Elliott.

Sarah Laing is an artist originally from Scotland, now living in Philadelphia. Throughout the residency she was creating large scale, very intricate ink drawings of organic forms influenced by cornfields and plant life. The works were engrossing, each piece drawing you in to examine the painstaking detail that encompassed every aspect of the work. Sarah and I bonded over our mutual love of whiskeys and late nights.

Everyone was making really exciting work and it was inspiring to be surrounded by people creating such a high caliber of work. Over the course of the residency we all became really close friends, and had a couple of Vermont adventures together. One such unforgettable experience was our trip to a local watering hole, Robbie’s Wildlife Refuge. Robbie’s was as authentic as they come: taxidermy, Budweisers, and Nascar memorabilia. True backwoods Americana.

Did the environment change your work in any way?

Having the time to intensely focus on my work without any other distractions allowed for some really major breakthroughs for me. I was able to experiment with some ideas that I’d been thinking about for some time, but had not executed. I began working on a series of paintings that consist only of blues and greys, which is a new challenge for me as I strive to maintain the vibrancy in the work, while moving away from a colourful palette.

What’s next for you?

After working together in Vermont, Jenna Ransom and I decided to share a studio together back in New York. We’ve just moved into our new space in Brooklyn, which is very exciting. I’m continuing the series in blues that I began in Vermont, and am focusing on making large-scale paintings this year. I’m looking forward to see what else 2011 will have in store!

Portrait8

Posted by Alex Moshakis

Alex originally joined It’s Nice That as a designer but moved into editorial and oversaw the It’s Nice That magazine from Issue Six (July 2011) to Issue Eight (March 2012) before moving on that summer.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. Main

    Artist Larry van Pelt wants to spread the word that “Jesus in life makes a difference.” Already a keen artist, Florida-based Larry decided to use his creative skills to spread the message, and began drawing Jesus in a number of different working environments. His collection involves a huge range of work scenarios, including a truck driver, a secretary, a carpet layer, a bodybuilder and a french horn player.

  2. List

    We’ve long admired the work of Californian set designer and art director Adi Goodrich. A veritable mistress of creating the sort of strange, cartoon-like scenes that pop with colour and ideas, she’s worked with big-name clients like Michel Gondry and Wieden+Kennedy, but she recently got in touch about an intriguing solo exhibition at The Standard hotel in Hollywood, entitled Like Thiiiiis. The show takes the form of an installation in a glass box behind the hotel’s reception desk, and features a number of images that look to show what it means to be a young creative at the start of your career.

  3. Main

    In a beautiful profile in The Guardian recently, journalist Tim Lewis travelled out to the Hollywood hills to peek behind the gates of Hockney’s jungle-like home to get a glimpse of what the now 77-year-old artist is up to. As it happened, he had been very busy indeed: making a whole bunch of new paintings that are, in classic Hockney-style, moving in a totally different direction from his previous work.

  4. List

    Remember Kim Keever? Back in the summer of 2013, the New York based artist wowed us with his amazing landscapes created in 200-gallon tanks of water and what’s more, he let us in on his process with some fascinating set-up shots. Now, like many a painter before him, Kim has moved from landscapes to more abstract creations albeit within the context of his sculptural practice.

  5. List

    This project by artist Erica Allen is an oldie but such a goodie. Way back in 2008 California-born, Brooklyn-based Erica decided to merge a collection of faces from found barbershop posters with discarded shots of studio backdrops, creating a series of oddly alluring fictional portraits. Removed from their original context, the freshly-trimmed gents pictured come across as utterly anonymous and strangely distant, connected to one another only by a crisp shape-up and a gaze fixed somewhere in the distance. And if that rainbow backdrop didn’t inspire the album artwork for Drake’s Nothing Was the Same then I don’t know what did.

  6. List

    Edmund Clark is one of the most interesting artists working today, exploring what is arguably the defining issue of the past 13 years. He’s interested in the wars waged by the USA and UK in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the fall-out from this foreign policy and how it impacts on us here at home. His new book The Mountains of Majeed continues this theme, as it’s a reflection on “the end of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan through photography, found imagery and Taliban poetry.”

  7. List

    The secluded French port of Le Havre is a very particular place. Closed off by barriers, it is staffed solely by men, and jobs there are strictly only passed on from father to son. All of which made it the perfect backdrop for artist JR’s contribution to the Women Are Heroes project, which saw him collaborate with the dockers to create a huge image of a woman’s eyes on a 363-metre long container ship.

  8. List

    The bright, woozy haze of Wojciech Fangor’s psychedelic paintings is mesmerising. It’s even more so having learnt that the Polish artist, who worked during the 1960s, created these Op art masterpieces entirely in isolation, working in Eastern Europe having not seen the similar works being created in America and Europe by the likes of Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely. As such, while the images feel familiar; there’s also something exotic about them, pulsing with light created using intensely coloured oil paint applied in thin layers. A new show named Colour-Light-Space opens next month at London’s 3 Grafton Street gallery, and will display a number of works by Wojciech from the 1960s and 1970s that demonstrate his mastery of all three words in the title. It’s fascinating to think of the artist working on these beautiful optical illusions and explorations of the power of painting well before similar works were created elsewhere in the world, and it’s great to have his work celebrated in the way it deserves.

  9. List

    Mark Lazenby is the go-to guy for collage that just works. We last featured the artist two years ago and since then his portfolio of pieced together artworks has exploded with even more impressive works and a real exploration of materials and collage techniques.

  10. List

    There’s not a pie in the cultural world that James Franco isn’t ready and willing to stick a finger into, and to prove it the actor, director, poet and musician has just announced a new exhibition of his artworks, entitled Fat Squirrel, which is to be held at London’s Siegfried Contemporary gallery. The show is an undeniably eclectic collection, including a number of self portraits of the artist in the guise of various famous historical figures, a deer orgy entitled Triple Team, and some bright painterly collages, not to mention the eponymous overweight rodents which are undoubtedly our favourites.

  11. List

    I’m known for my sweet tooth and ability to consume an obscene amount of cakes, sweets and biscuits in one sitting, so it’ll come as no surprise that I was instantly drawn to Will Cotton’s sugary scenes of candy-laced lands.

  12. List

    Time and again Amy Woodside gets in touch to let us know about new projects she’s cooked up and time and again we’re powerless to resist them. The New York-based artist is focussed to a fault on her fine art practice where iconic letterforms emerge from meticulously registered screen printing and frantic flourishes of spray paint. Where first she caught our eye with multicoloured wordplay, the constant reduction and refinement of her process has resulted in a new series’ of totemic words like ‘Hero’, ‘Cash’, ‘Hoax’ and ‘Like’, pre-loaded with cultural context and double meaning, writ large on the canvas. What’s the meaning behind them? The interpretation is up to you, but Amy always seems to be critiquing pop culture with its own visual vernacular and playing fast and loose with our ambiguous use of language.

  13. List

    The Dutch/Brazilian artist Rafaël Rozendaal is best known for his digital artworks that often take the form of webpages but as he told us at our 2013 creative symposium Here he is increasingly interested in exploring his fascination with light and colour in real-world scenarios. Most recently this has taken the form of his hyper-colourful abstract lenticular paintings, which are made up of layers of different frames and so appear to move when viewed from different angles.