Monday, July 27, 2015

Marilyn

For the past year, Miami based artist Marilyn Rondon has been on my radar. At first glance, you're attracted to Marilyn's tattoos: But there's more to her than just that and on one of her latest trips to New York, I had the opportunity to meet up the Venezuelan beauty. While our time together was brief, our conversations from technology to being women of color, had me energized all day. It's safe to say that Marilyn is a radiant soul, inside and out:


How does being a Latina woman influence your style of work?
 I think it just makes me more conscious to include more than one race when illustrating. I love playing with colors and being brown gives me such a nice pallet to incorporate so many eye pleasing color combinations.


 Although you're a multi-media artist, which medium did you fall in love with first and how?
 I’ve always loved taking photos. Although photography I think is the one medium I’m worst at, it’s my absolute favorite thing in the world to do. When I fall in love with a person, I always want to photograph everything about that person so I can freeze time, memories. Whenever I have a partner who isn’t as open to being photographed, or we don’t spend much time together I then tend to carry them into my two dimensional paintings and illustrations and my work becomes my main way of communicating with them directly in a public form, although it ends up going over their heads.

 It’s crazy but most of my work is usually for my lover or “muse” and tends to be about how they draw so many emotions out of me. The only way I can humanly process my experience is by making self-reflective and narrative art, or I illustrate song lyrics that I directly relate with in that moment of my life.



Probably my favorite series you've done so far would have to be your instillation from last year entitled “Latina Seeks Thug, where you left a craigslist ad up for 17 hours and printed the emails you received. Where did the inspiration behind that idea initially come from? Was the idea of printing and hanging the emails up in a room always there for you?
 The idea initially came from a conversation I was having in passing with a friend about how all I really wanted out of life at the moment was to find a “thug to have a baby with”. When the words came out of my mouth, I immediately followed the sentence with “I should make a craigslist ad and look for a thug…and then make that a zine”.

A few days passed and finally I posted the ad before bed one night and woke up the following day with over 40 emails in my inbox. The first 8 hours the ad was up it didn’t even have a photo but I already had a line of thugs ready to get me pregnant. I wanted to see how far I could take it and then uploaded a very goofy photo of myself blowing a kiss at the camera with hearts floating around my head and then more emails came flowing in. It was pretty hilarious. I then took the joke too far and posted a photo that was a bit too ‘sexy’ for craigslist and the ad was immediately flagged and removed.

I started to collage the images in photoshop and made the zine in about a week because I was literally sitting on what felt like gold at the time. I was then approached about being a part of a group show in little Haiti where I could choose a space in an abandoned church which is being turned into a condo or something now, idk. Anyway, they were planning this group show and I found this little office looking room in the space and thought it would be perfect to wallpaper with the emails. It just kind of worked out exactly perfect too, like I had just the right amount of emails to cover the room 100% in these pervy replies. It’s what I believe the best work I’ve made yet and I’m trying to explore this aspect of my work more in the future.


 Currently, your zine Dat Ass is about to be on volume 4, releasing this summer. How has the response been so far to the series?
The response to this series has been great. I like printing them in small runs of 69 as well so it makes them a lil more rare.

One misconception about you?
I’m very petite in real life, whenever people meet me they are shocked at how physically tiny I am.


And finally, words to live by?
Thoughts become things, choose the good ones. 

For more of Marilyn and her work, follow her on instagram and tumblr

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Leila

Although painting is her passion, we get talking to recent graduate Leila Zhanybekova about life abroad, dabbling in 35mm, and the start of her baby, Pudge Magazine:



Where are you originally from?
Astana, Kazakhstan.

What would you say is the biggest difference between living in New York and Kazakhstan?
The people. The mentality is different, the way people think is different. Funny thing is, I’ve spent so much time living away from home that at this point, I don’t particularly feel close to one or the other, but rather I identify as someone from in between the two. Not from there anymore, but not from here yet, either.


You spent some of your youth going to school in Europe. What made you decide to pursue your college degree in New York rather than overseas?
See, it’s all overseas for me. I did spend quite a bit of time outside of America, primarily four years of high school in a boarding school in Switzerland. And everything being so close, I travelled a lot. But I had never been to the States before, and when I was applying for a bunch of science and economics-related majors, I thought I’d apply to an art school just for the hell of it. And then where better to study art than in New York, I’d thought. Mind you, at that point in my life I was absolutely terrible at painting and drawing, and I still am not quite sure how I managed to get in. But I’m glad I did. The past four years have changed me in so many ways.

So now some questions about Pudge Magazine. How did it start?
I suppose this is a bit ironic, but in my sophomore year of art school I was feeling very uninspired by my surroundings, and I was wondering how it could be possible to create a network of some kind for artists. And then my friend and I were driving one night, and somehow the idea of starting an online zine came around, and that’s really it. She dropped out of the project a month in because she wanted to focus more on personal work, and I then started to use it as a platform for artists of any and all kinds, although it has evolved to be primarily focused on photography.


Based from your instagram, you've started to dabble with photography (35mm specifically), where do you see that going?
The thing is, I’ve been doing it for ages, I just have never had the balls to share it with anyone. Not the 35mm thing - that’s fairly new, I started to play around with it sometime this past October, and I really got into it around February. But taking photos, that’s always been a part of my life, way before painting even was a possibility for me, I just never thought of it as anything more than a hobby. But then with the encouragement of a very dear friend, I started sharing them bit by bit on social media, and it seems that people like it. That friend, she's been a very firm support system in the past several months particularly, when I started to have a terrible painting block, and through talking with her, I discovered that perhaps I enjoy photography more than painting, at least at this particular stage of my life.

As for where I see that going, I don’t know. I’m doing it right now because I am in a very transient, a very odd time in my life. I’m graduating art school, I’ve barely picked a career, I’m moving. A lot of changes are happening, and right now I am focused on documenting all of it. I am very interested in documenting the people around me, the people I have met in the past four years. Taking photographs is, right now, a way to paint without using a paintbrush, and a way to reconnect with old friends. At this point, all I want is to build up a couple boxes of photographs.


Running  a site by yourself + school + life can be challenging, where do you find the time and energy to balance everything?
I don’t. I am frequently exhausted, and I can never quite balance everything, something always becomes more important and therefore an area that I focus on. With senior year, running Pudge has been tough, and as a result, I haven’t featured as many artists as I would have liked. But now that I’m done with school, I’m hoping I can bring it back, better than before even. I’d like to say that I find the energy to balance everything, but I am human, and I do not, although that certainly does not stop me from trying.

When you do have a spare moment, how do you like to spend it?
Oh God, sleep. Travel, too. My family lives on the other side of the world, and my best friend lives on the other side of this country. I’ve become far too comfortable with airports over the past decade. I like to talk to people. Not the small talk thing, that pisses me off - the kind of talk where you find yourself discussing lives past and future, and the possibility of an alien invasion in the summer. I love that. 



Favorite photographers right now?
Bao Ngo, Sophia Schultz, Danny McShane, Theo Gosselin

And finally, your hopes for the future?
How far into the future are we talking? Long-term I want to travel more. There are a few countries I’ve got on my list that I am dying to visit. Would love to live in a treehouse for a bit, preferably in the middle of nowhere. I want to find a job that I like and that allows me to pay the bills and leaves some left over for oil paints and film. Live some place where I don’t need to layer three sweaters over one another to stay mildly warm in the winter. Short-term I kind of really want a doughnut from this place on 23 street, that’s my immediate hope for the future.

Check out Pudge Magazine. And for more of Leila, follow her on instagram and tumblr

Monday, June 15, 2015

Emmanuella

Born in Madison, WI to Greek parents and raised in both Melbourne, Australia and San Francisco, Emmanuella Zachariou  now lives and studies in NYC. Having lived in two continents and traveling quite extensively, she turned to filmmaking and photography to document. Get to know more about her below:


How did you end up choosing to live and attend school in New York?
I was drawn to the music scene and the city itself. I love working with musicians and noticed that some of my favorite labels are actually located there. I thought it would be a great environment for me to mesh with musicians and work with them, photographing and doing music videos. However, after I was in New York, I realized there's so much more. There are great people, contacts, and friends... it just takes a lot of searching to find the right ones!

One misconception about you?
One common misconception about me is that I only do experimental films (and only work on 16mm)! I have done a lot of music videos, photo shoots, documentaries, and even a fashion film! I've actually worked digitally multiple times. I just prefer the look of film.



You dabble both in 16mm film and photography; what pushed you to pursue both medias? Which one did you pursue first?
I actually pursued photography first. I've been taking photos since 2011 when I received a 35mm camera. I absolutely love taking photos of my friends, and the environments around me. I got into 16mm by taking a precollege course at San Francisco Art Institute. The course was Experimental Cinema and we used 16mm Bolex cameras. I was immediately hooked and loved the timeless look of film. I didn't want to just stop one media. I loved to do both, so I decided to continue both photography and film . Although I am a film major, I really enjoy doing lots of photography on the side, and always will.

When you do photograph, what is your favorite subject to shoot?
I really don't have a favorite subject. I like to focus on everything I can. I love doing shoots where I can have a theme and dress up my friends, and I love just walking around the city, or traveling, and capturing anything that catches my eye.



I love that you shot most of the short films on your website with 16mm; where did you draw inspiration for the films 'Lifeblood' and 'Mere d'Inri' ?
Thank you! Mere d'Inri was a short film I had wanted to make for a while. College was a whole new experience and I was thrown into a different environment, where you are forced to grow up so suddenly, and in many cases lose yourself, and even go down an alternate path. The film is an experimental way of showing the loss of 'purity' and 'innocence', where you realize the world is not as idealistic as you once thought. I also love including religion in my films. It's a risky subject, and the way I have presented it may be offensive to some viewers, but that's not my intent. I respect all religions and use aspects of it as symbolism to get my message across.  Lifeblood was inspired by  one of my favorite filmmakers Stan Brakhage. I wanted to create a film that was able to explore the vitality and eradication of a human being's existence. The film's poem was hand etched onto 16mm leader frame by frame! So in a way, it kind of adds some animation into it too.


What's one thing that you haven't done, but would like to do?
I actually haven't officially photographed a band. I've shot polaroids of bands at their shows, but I would love to work with some musicians on a themed 35mm photoshoot and go out somewhere and finish a few rolls.


Words to live by?
Only compare yourself to your standards and expectations, but never compare yourself to other people. Focus on you and only you, don't let other people use their standards and expectations to alter your vision, always reminding yourself of who you really are and what you really are trying to achieve.

Visit Emmanuella's website and instagram