Featured Artist: Alejandra Corral

Reflection, ID #13673

Happy post-Thanksgiving to our US readers!  Last month, we caught up with Alejandra Corral, a Spanish-born, US-raised artist working in Madrid.  Read her brief interview below.

I create art because art is the means of expression with which I feel more comfortable. It is probably the only one that enables me to be fully see-through.

I feel most creative when my life is stable. Like Paul Klee, I need emotional stability to be able to create with full potential. But I also need action going on, projects, challenges and deadlines. So it is when all this elements come together that my creative Big Bang takes place.

Café, ID #12681

I listen to the radio while working, mainly news, talk shows and tertulias. 

The thing I am most looking forward to is to be able to move people’s consciousness through my art.

My favorite quote is: every cloud has a silver lining.

I will not make art just for money.

Sweet, ID #13787

My proudest accomplishment is to have had the courage to take decisions I thought where correct, but that went against what I had been taught or against what was expected from me.

A perfect day is a bright and artistically productive day. Or a cold sunny winter day having had a wonderful long horse back ride in the mountains.

My biggest indulgence is a good glass of red wine after a long day of work at my studio.

My fondest childhood memory is the smell of pretzels in Manhattan streets and the sound of Coquis (autochthonous frogs from Puerto Rico) at dusk.

Chinese Artist Lu

Time Container – Turtle, ID #13598

Lu was born in Dalian, China, and is currently a professor at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts.  Working in sculpture, painting, photography, and installation, the artist analyzes the dichotomy of “real” and “fake,” and the manner in which such an assessment shapes the viewer’s appreciation of an object. Lu also examines the relationship between sensory perception of an object and cognitive understanding of its meaning.

Time Container – Bone, ID #13597

Using playful techniques to create optical illusions within his pieces, Lu presents a clever twist on the concepts of real and fake, one that may require viewers to take a second look at the work before them. In one piece, the artist renders arrangements of fake flowers with meticulous detail. Through his visible effort to recreate exact copies of these bouquets, Lu turns an otherwise ordinary object into an extraordinary one, giving it increased value simply through his manner of representation.

Time Container – Fish, ID #13594

Despite his mischievous manipulation of viewer perception, the message of Lu’s work is optimistic; the artist demonstrates for the viewer new methods to understand and appreciate an object. Here, “fake” is not viewed in a pejorative light, as the skill and ingenuity required to render a “fake” object bestow it with a significance all its own.

Featured Artist: Mark Ulriksen

Gone!, ID #12000

Mark Ulriksen is an artist and illustrator based in San Francisco.  He has over 30 covers to his name from the New Yorker.  We caught up with Mark and asked him a mini-Q & A about his work and love of sports.

I create art because I feel I was born to do this.

I feel most creative when I’ve have a cup of coffee in my system, a blank piece of paper on my drafting table and an idea or two in my head.

All All-Stars, ID #10969

I listen to the SF Giants, NPR, and music while working.

The thing I am most looking forward to is earning enough money so that I can expand my 150 square foot studio.

My favorite quote is “David (Remnick, New Yorker editor) wants to run your cover”.

I will not make art when I’m dead and gone, as far as I know.

Lost Dog, ID #12094

My proudest accomplishment is the family life my wife, kids, and I have created.

A perfect day is sunny, with family, friends, food, drink and conversation.

My biggest indulgence is dark chocolate or salami.

My fondest childhood memory is playing kickball in the street with the neighborhood kids.

Featured Artist: Monique de Roux

Bodegón con personajes, ID #10309

Monique de Roux is a French-born, Spanish-based artist, working across many mediums like drawing, etching, and mixed media.  Monique recently answered a handful of AB’s questions about her practice; here they are below!

I create art because I need it.

I feel most creative when I feel peaceful.
I listen to silence while working.

Los novios, ID #10822

The thing I am most looking forward to is to see in front of me what I had in mind and in heart.

My favorite quote is “Car l’amour est fort comme la mort.”

I will not make art in a hurry.

My proudest accomplishment is to be able to accept.

La fuite, ID #14049

A perfect day is to think there are no perfect days.

My biggest indulgence is for children.

My fondest childhood memory is La Mediteranèe.

Featured Artist: Judith Raviv

Untitled, ID #13084

Based in Israel, Judith Raviv works primarily in acrylics, depicting dreamlike representations of birds and wildlife.  We caught up with Judith and asked her a few questions about her work and everyday life.

I create art because, for me it is a way to talk about matters that can’t be expressed by other ways of talking.  There are matters that can’t be vocally expressed.


I feel most creative when I decide that I’m working, and usually it is every morning.

Untitled, ID #10241

I listen to radio programs or music (classic, jazz or music from local artists) while working.

The thing I am most looking forward to are my coming projects.

My favorite quote is from SZYMBORSKA’S “Vermeer”:

So long as that woman from the Rijksmuseum
in painted quiet and concentration
keeps pouring milk day after day
from the pitcher to the bowl
the World hasn’t earned
the world’s end.

Untitled, ID #12172

I will not make art when – There is no possible situation that I’ll not do art as long as I live.

My proudest accomplishment is my family and my achievements in my career.

A perfect day is – Every day can be a perfect day when I think positively.

My biggest indulgence is buying shoes.

My fondest childhood memory is my mom teaching me painting as a three year old, and my first time going alone to the cinema.

Featured Artist: Shoshanna Givon

Mashker I, ID #13450

A working artist with an education in archeology and geography,  Shoshanna Givon’s work has a way of tying together the ideas of geography and memory. Her art explores the influences of location and traditions on a personal level, tapping into the various patterns and motifs that vary from region to region. One theme of her art practice is the imagery of lost objects. When her mother moved from Yemen to Israel, as a way of demonstrating complete commitment to the new state, they were asked to leave absolutely everything behind —  even their jewelry and treasured possessions. The images of these objects remain a consistent symbol in Givon’s work. Images of jewelry designs, lace, and textiles—all delicate and fragile objects—are transformed into metal etchings. “I found myself drawn to dense textures—carpets and embroidery—which was influenced by the surroundings in which I flourished and lived,” said Shoshanna.

Miriam 6, ID #10971

As the years progressed, she moved into printmaking and textiles. In one series, she silkscreened images of her daughter onto fabric; in another series, trees with branches that appear as a lace pattern. Whatever the subject, the theme is always the elaborate and ornate pattern and the interwoven nature of existence.

SG is based in Israel. Her work has been exhibited internationally; from Nord Art International Exhibition to the Virtual Art Museum at the MOCA in Brooklyn.

Featured Artist: Mark Bryan

The Island of Ballerinas ID #12953

No one can describe or explain the artwork of Mark Bryan more brilliantly than the artist himself: “Given this beautiful planet, our intelligence, talent, and opposable thumbs, one would think that things for us would be a lot better than they are…As a result of this perspective, satirical work is the logical direction for me. Humor allows for comment to be made without alienating the viewer.”

Last of the Merlot ID #12356

Combining incredible technical skill with a strong point of view allows Bryan to create detailed and specific images that illustrate an idea, but give the viewer so much more to look at, and fodder for additional interpretation. His recent works are strong political commentary, ones that combine the current political “Tea Party” with the colorful and insane images of the tea party in Alice in Wonderland, swapping out the Mad Hatter with political figures.

The Clown in the Sky ID #12472

Other work is more subtle, more personal. In “If Looks Could Kill” (1997), a husband and wife are completely covered in armor, shooting missiles at each other from their eyes. In Bryan’s own writing, he explains, “My wife and I were coming out of a rough patch at the time I painted this picture. Notice even the food in this painting is engaged in warfare.”  Indeed, even the entrées and salt and pepper shakers are shooting at each other.

Bryan has exhibited his work throughout the state of California, including California State University of Pomona and the Meridian Gallery in San Francisco.  Mark Bryan’s work has been written about extensively, including a chapter in Artful Jesters: Innovators of Visual Wit and Humor by Nicholas Roukes, and an interview in Juxtapoz Magazine called “The Art of Mark Bryan.”

Featured Artist: June Li

Spirit of the Stone ID#11711

Li’s work is constantly evolving, each phase of life bringing with it new subject matter and artistic technique. Although her work demonstrates an impressive variety of subjects – from figures to cityscapes and organic abstractions – she feels that each stage represents a new phase in her artistic practice as she continually moves forward.  Her current passion is the theme of “beauty and power” through the use of mixed media and dripping techniques.  She creates shapes which invoke connotations of beauty and power being in harmony with one another, not in conflict.  “Each of my pieces expresses its life, points to a path,” she states.

Jelly Fishes ID#12771

June Li was traditionally trained in art in Guangzhou, China. Being an artist was an unfulfilled dream of her father’s, who could never have a full art practice due to the obligations of having a business and supporting a family.  She earned her BFA from Sonoma State University and moved to San Francisco in 2007, where she began to explore more expressive and abstract work.

While June is an established graphic designer, her true love is painting. However, what is interesting to explore is the level of professionalism and craftsmanship that seeps into her more creative work in fine art. Although she explores many topics and subjects, she has a style that transcends and expresses itself in each work – making both a varied yet connected body of work, a signature style that always allows Li’s work to be recognizable and stand out from the rest.

Li’s artwork is displayed in numerous San Francisco Bay Area public venues and private collections from China, Florence, and London. She is currently available for gallery exhibitions and commissioned pieces.

Featured Artist: Christopher Mir

The Falls ID 11799

Christopher Mir’s paintings invite us to experience a series of unsettling juxtapositions. Astronauts have insect wings, sleepwalking children walk barefoot in mountainous terrain, and spiderwebs extend over the sky. Futuristic machines are placed in primal and mythical settings.  Yet the ordered composition and strong technique counterbalance the poetic and irrational themes, creating a realistic dreamscape.

Triad ID 10414

To create this kind of painting, extensive planning is involved. The painting begins with a digital composite, like a “virtual collage” — but once it is recreated on the canvas in paint, the image is brought to life and becomes something entirely different.

Vanishing Point ID 11178

Mir’s work has received extensive critical acclaim, including a favorable review in Artforum, arguably the most prestigious art magazine in print. For over a decade he has exhibited his work in solo exhibitions across the globe, from Spain and Switzerland to New York City.

Featured Artist: Jessamyn Hoshikawa

Energy of Life Spiral ID#12589

Jessamyn Hoshikawa emigrated from Japan to the United States when she was eighteen years old. This fact is critical to understanding her work, which offers an authentic fusion of both Japanese and American styles. Many artists have attempted to infuse Asian influences into their art, but none succeed in doing it as organically as Hoshikawa. Although she never set out to “break the rules,” she is certain that “it is not the traditional calligraphy/Sumi-e painting.”

When she gets an idea for a scene that has a simplistic and minimal appeal, she works in the monochromatic, calligraphic style. But when dealing with layers of emotional complexity, she switches to oil, making vibrant works which depart not only in technique, but subject matter — creating imagined landscapes and images that seem to be in the midst of a fantastical story.

Gate ID#10457

Her work is influenced by tapping into the unconscious. Curious about the connection between dreams and art, she has practiced “lucid dreaming” techniques, which, with training, allow a person to control their actions in a dream-state by being aware they’re in a dream. She states, however, “I am sure that what I express in my art is what I want to see.”

Ant ID#11564

Hoshikawa has exhibited widely on the east coast, and her book, Nostalgic Ink Strokes, features her recent works.