JOACHIM CASTANEDA by Margaret Hernandez

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A multidisciplinary artist that makes mixed media assemblage works and paints applied expressionist canvases.  The work it self speaks about the abstraction of language and the perception of it’s messages that barrage every corner of society.  Using bold shapes and distinctly highlighting positive and negative spaces, Joachim uses nuances found his works to blend the facts and truths.   Taking a cue from amateur sign paintings, ignorant (naïve) graffiti, and pre-Colombian textiles found through out Latin America, Joachim Castaneda creates a peculiar vis


  Q & A with artist Joachim Castaneda

What are you currently reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?

- Listening to a lot of AM talk radio, lounge piano always sets a good pace for the day.     

What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them?

- Time, and turmoil are my friendly rivals.  I accept the fact that I do things the wrong way always and heave to keep pushing through

How do you navigate the art world?

- Discussions with my studio mates, going friend’s art shows and studios.

What mediums do you work with?

- Reclaimed materials, paper, canvas, and anything that can be used to apply color, markings or texture.

How would you describe your subject matter?

- Abstract icons used in a greater body of work to build a dialogue off of.

When people ask you what you “do”, how do you answer?

- I’ve said I raise money for political campaigns before; a robot repairman is pretty impressive too.

Describe a childhood memory that has influenced your artwork?

- Spending so much time in Chicano Park as a kid.  It was all the folklore, colors, combined with its grassroots foundation started a path for me

Has there been a shift or change in your life or work that has led to what you’re making now?

- it was until I moved to Spain in 2009 I stopped doing figurative art and started to make abstract paintings and expand on subconscious themes

Do you see your work as autobiographical at all? 

- As much as I want to say no, I believe inherently it is, and will be a cosmic account of my life and who I am. 

What is your personal message to your artwork and how does that connect to a communal and universal message?

- To pay attention to nuance and forget about the flashy stuff.   My work talks to information and how abstract it has become and how ideas and beliefs are filters for truths and facts.

Do you intend your work to challenge the viewer?

- No, its intent is to just “be” with the viewer

Is the creative impulse driven by a personal need to ease pain and/or satiate desire?

- At times I have used it as therapy for emotional and mental distress, but ultimately my impulse is to relive the anxiety I feel to continuously show my self how much I exist

What three things never fail to bring you pleasure?

- Winning at anything

- Adding new plants to my apartment

- peeling paint off of almost anything

I.C. SIMPSON | OCTOBER 2017 by Margaret Hernandez

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   As an artist I feel that I am only following my human nature and natural inclinations. I am curious and inquisitive and want to examine the big questions of the universe. I want to explore our physical and spiritual essences and our place in the world. I work with my hands and express myself visually. This seems to, inevitably, make me a visual artist. I have been slowly establishing myself as an artist and settling fully into art. I have studied art, practiced art, and am more and more finding what I want to say.

   I have a love of materials of all sorts. I work with clay and metal. I paint and make prints. Currently, I am gravitating towards the potential of simple materials, the stuff of building supplies combined with simple design and texture. The meaning comes visually not verbally. Interpretation is possible but comes later with reflection. The artwork is meant to be immediate and fundamental.

   Much of my current body of work is mixed media sculpture where I find component materials have a very strong impact on the textures, patinas, and even structures of the finished artwork. Materials say what they want to be, what they can be. Artists can work with material to reveal a message that melds the expression of the artist with possibility of the material. 


Q & A with artist I.C. Simpson

What are you currently reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?
Recently read Phaidon Arte Povera book.
Seeing exhibits: the Richard Deacon show at the SDMA was inspiring.

Marisa Merz at the the Hammer was good.
And recently Carl Andre at the Geffen downtown LA. Noah Purifoy with Dada Junk and Agnes Martin at LACMA a bit ago.
Great selections of art to see in SoCal.
Starting a book about the evolution of the mind: Origins of the Modern Mind by Merlin Donald.

What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them? How do you navigate the art world?
I struggle with motivation. I like to make work for a set show. Gets me going.

I like to read about art. I collect catalogs and read about artists. I visit museums to see particular shows and artists. I visit galleries and openings. I travel with art and culture in mind.
I am involved at OMA as a volunteer and as a showing member of Artist Alliance. I am a newish member with North County Sculpture Salon.
I try to see gallery exhibits even though I do have trouble getting to San Diego at the right times. I try to see the things that come to North County.

What mediums do you work with? How would you describe your subject matter?
I work in a number of media. Mixed media, often building materials. Ceramics both functional and sculpture, dependent on studio. Painting, drawing, and printmaking.

When people ask you what you “do”, how do you answer?
More and more I say Iʼm an artist.

Describe a childhood memory that has influenced your artwork.
As a fairly young child, around ten or so, a friendʼs mother took us to a naval scrap yard. I found one piece in particular, a four inch square of two inch steel with the corners drilled out. The result was a cross of polished rusted metal with a engaging shape and appealing patina. Unfortunately, the piece has been lost. I miss it.

Has there been a shift or change in your life or work that has led to what youʼre making now? Do you see your work as autobiographical at all?
In 2001 I started taking classes at Palomar College starting in jewelry making and continuing on in ceramics and sculpture including foundry. This was a

change in focus from 2-D to 3-D. Without a commitment to a personal ceramics studio, I gravitated to mixed media sculpture using readily available materials. Not really autobiographical, more a minimalist lack of meaning. The meaning sometimes comes to me though association after looking at finished artwork or sometimes as part of the process. The work is often a response to the basic questions of the world and universe. The answers are not always easy to verbalize.

What is your personal message to your artwork and how does that connect to a communal and universal message?
There may be a message but it is more visual and abstract that verbal. Difficult to verbalize the message.

Do you intend your work to challenge the viewer?                                                                   Probably not. I hope to engage the viewer and their emotions in feeling the art.

Is the creative impulse driven by a personal need to ease pain and/or satiate desire?
No. Maybe the desire to create and work with my hands.

What three things never fail to bring you pleasure?                                                                       Great art.
Great design.
Great ideas and great explanations of ideas.

Whatʼs your motto?                                                                                                                               Be open to good things. 

NOLAN COOLEY | HAPPINESS by Margaret Hernandez

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Nolan is a talented artist living with Autism

Nolan’s creative spirit came to fruition when he obsessively started creating repetitive pattern art at the age of six. Now 7 years later, Nolan has amassed a large collection of artwork – expressing his creativity and pouring out his passion on everything from canvas to surfboards to skate decks, and more. Nolan is excited to share his vision and inspire everyone with his art. Nolan would like to welcome you to his show “Happiness.” 

Photos by Dominic Cooley 

ALLISON RENSHAW | EMERALD CITY by Margaret Hernandez

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Q & A with artist ALLISON RENSHAW

What are you currently reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?

I am currently reading "H is for Hawk" by Helen MacDonald, which I wouldn't necessarily say is “feeding” my work, but I do think that everything we experience, read, and see has influence.  It is a non-fiction work about a woman who loses her father and turns back to her passion as an experienced falconer to work through her grief.

I listen to all sorts of music while working in the studio, I can’t stand silence in the studio!  I also look at so much work either online, or in person, I love looking at what other people are doing and making.

Another book that really fed my work was "The Night Sky, Writings on the Poetics of Experience" by Ann Lauterbach.  Her investigation of ‘whole fragments’ really struck me especially.

What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them? How do you navigate the art world?

I think finding time to be in my studio is the biggest challenge.  I am a full-time mom and I am also very active with teaching art and fitness classes, so juggling my schedule is often very difficult.  I think navigating the art world has become easier with the internet, but there are still ups and downs.  It is pretty amazing to be asked to be in a show because someone saw you on a blog somewhere, as before we used to send slide portfolios out.  

What mediums do you work with? How would you describe your subject matter?

I work with a lot of media:  acrylic, oil, collage, spray paint, ink, paper, canvas, panel, etc.  My paintings are informed by particles of our urban landscape and our culture found in the everyday. Fashion, modern architecture, and the natural environment combine and collide in my work. In this setting, elements of plasticity and temporality are depicted in a suspended state of in-betweeness. I create a universe that is seemingly random and difficult to decipher. This chaotic quality becomes an apt visualization for today’s open-source culture of sampling and recycling. Lines between the organic and the man-made become blurred and a larger narrative is evoked through a banal fragment.

When people ask you what you “do”, how do you answer?

I usually say I am an artist.  If they ask more specifically I usually say a “mixed-media painter."

Describe a childhood memory that has influenced your artwork

I would have to say all of the time we spent outdoors camping, skiing and visiting beautiful places.  I remember always drawing.  

But also, the death of my father at age 5 and the death of my mother at age 26 has influenced the work off and on or maybe even always in the background.

Has there been a shift or change in your life or work that has led to what you’re making now? Do you see your work as autobiographical at all? 

I see the physicality in the work and the temperament being autobiographical, but I don’t see a shift that has happened recently.  It is a process that continues to feed into each new piece.  I recently went through a couple of years dealing with some bad sciatic pain which ended up requiring surgery, but I don’t necessarily see that in the work.  Maybe a few years from now I will be able to look back and see that.  Sometimes it takes a few years to fully understand why I made the work I did.

What is your personal message to your artwork and how does that connect to a communal and universal message?

I am interested in how cultures combine and collide and become something new.  I feel like we are just bombarded daily by images, fragments of images, and cultural differences at high speed.  The internet has made sampling, recycling and appropriation the norm now.  I am attracted to the idea that combining such fragments creates a collage that becomes its own thing entirely.

Do you intend your work to challenge the viewer?

I am not sure that “challenge” is the right word, but engage would be a good one.   I very interested in the idea that we each have our own personal experiences and baggage.   An individual fragment can elicit something completely different from viewer to viewer depending on his/her own awareness, which in a strange way, makes the viewer part of the collage.

Is the creative impulse driven by a personal need to ease pain and/or satiate desire?

Yes and yes!!  I find that I need to make work even if nobody ever outside the studio saw it again.  I also have found that in difficult times in my life, my art has saved me.  I am a process art maker and loads of the pleasure is derived from just the making of it.  It is funny how sometimes artists don’t discuss just how much “fun” making art is.

What three things never fail to bring you pleasure?

My family, exercise, Mexican food.

Whats your motto?

Go big or go home!