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INSIDE the ABSTRACT, post #3: A Burning Desire to create, gather, & conquer (3 artists today)


A Journal of Snapshots & Stories that delve into Process with pics, videos, and more...Melissa Misoda, Tracy Lynn Harp, and Isaiah Mulz

Things heat up around Melissa Misoda...

What attracted you to the 7th annual abstract call?

I have always been most attracted to abstract art. I love that there is no right or wrong way to feel when looking at it. My work has always been a take on the abstract so I felt it would fit in well with this exhibit.

Does the idea of transformation influence your work and process? Absolutely!

Glass is all about transformation. You start with a molten puddle of 2100 degree material and turn it into a hard, tangible object! I am always trying to capture those innate properties in my work. The first thing that drew me to working with glass was it’s fluid transformation from molten to solid and the distinguishing beauty of each form.

Tracy Lynn Harp gathers inspiration...

What attracted you to the 7 th Annual Abstract call? Because a sanctuary is a source of help, relief, or comfort in times of trouble and the perfect place for people to learn, experience, and connect with one another and nature, I was drawn to the idea of artistically exploring what an abstract sanctuary could look like. Does the idea of transformation influence your work and process? Absolutely, the subjects of my work are dying leaves, lichen, moss, and fungi, which are all in a constant state of transformation between decomposition and rebirth. Because I am so intrigued with the intricacy and complexity of the colors and forms that transpire during different stages of transformation, my process transforms from intention to discovery. What draws you to the medium you chose? I am drawn to using actual natural stone and mineral pigments, (i.e. lapis lazuli for blue), for my groundscapes, because one: the results are never predictable, and two: I thought it would be apropos to paint a ground scene with natural sources from the ground. While working with these pigments, I also discovered that because they are not regular synthetic man-made watercolors, they lack artificial brilliance and consistency, which engenders each natural pigment to have a unique character and personality. For instance, some granules dissolve quickly, others don’t dissolve at all, but instead scatter to the edge of the droplet of water, necessitating gentle coercing and finessing to fill in an area. I am drawn to these idiosyncrasies because they cause me to develop a relationship with each granule. Tell us a little about your process (I don’t believe in giving it all away). There are so many variations of colors, forms, and entwining lines in my subject matter that I deeply engage in a slow, attentive process of discovery and interaction with the medium, the brush, and the subject. What are the strengths of the medium?  What are the challenges? The strengths of natural pigments lie in the unique gritty textures and uncommon colors they create. The challenges are, as I mentioned above, each pigment seems to have a mind of its own and won’t perform as expected. Because I don’t aspire to gain control over the medium, I welcome, whichever medium I am working with, to get a word in. Do you work in other modes of expression? Yes, my work spans a range of media from sculpture, oil and watercolor painting, installations,ceramics, found objects, mixed media, and photography to fiber arts, paper arts, and artist books. Who inspires you? All the entities of our natural world are what most inspire me. Artists who inspire me are Bada Shanren (birth name Zhu Da), Leonardo Da Vinci, and Emile Nolde. What do you do to get inspired? Because I derive most of my inspiration from natural phenomena and debris on the ground, I go for walks. If you could have coffee or tea with any artist, whom would you pick? What would you have coffee or tea? What would you ask that artist? It would be extremely rewarding to have tea with the enigmatic Chinese calligrapher and brush painter, Bada Shanren (birth name Zhu Da). The most confounding questions I would ask are how did he attain such free artistic expression and what complex messages are harbored within his works. What do you hope your work achieves? It is my aspiration to bring about the inner radiance of things and direct people’s attention to obscure aspects of nature, humanity, and everyday life in a fresh and reverent way. How many works do you have to produce before you find a successful image? Because I find beauty in almost everything, each work I make I consider successful. Whether it is a raw porcelain sculpture that cracks or breaks after countless hours of refining, or a painting that remains unfinished or ends up with an unintentional mark, I have a partnership with my materials and happenstance, to create a successful work. If you could produce any type of work, would you choose something different? It is hard for me to stick to producing one type of work. This is why I work in so many different mediums and forms of artistic expression. I love to switch back and forth between mediums and forms of expression, because it doesn’t allow for control or monotony and keeps the making process inventive, fresh, and challenging. What recently made you smile? Watching a squirrel go about being a squirrel. What recently made you cry? Experiencing a flush of love and gratitude for life. What was the most powerful work of art you recall viewing? Where was it? How did it make you feel? The most powerful work of art I viewed was Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi in San Francisco. The painting is riveting. It made me feel a deep connection with the light being within. If you could tell your viewers one thing, what would you tell them? The distilled essence of my work is that beauty can be found in the places you least expect to find it, and, endeavor to recognize when something is perfectly imperfect.

Conquering the medium with Isaiah Mulz...

Tell us a little about your process (I don’t believe in giving it all away).  

Destruction is a major part of my creating process. One way I do this by building up layers of paint & collage, and then destroying random parts with something like sandpaper, razorblades,  or solvents.  

 What do you do to get inspired?

Inspiration can come from anywhere. It can be from a song on the radio to a mark on the sidewalk. 

 What do you hope your work achieves?

The one thing I hope my work achieves is immortality.  The thought of people viewing my art hundred of years after I’m gone is what really drives me.

What recently made you smile?

I’m always smiling cause it’s all so funny.

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