All posts filed under: Interviews

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“Young in Cuba”, photographer Cheney Orr Captures an Optimistic Youth Culture in Havana

New York City-based photographer Cheney Orr chases the less depicted places and faces of society all over the world. His images range from raw yet deeper-level relatable (partying New York kids) to the force that pulls the wool back from one’s eyes (the streets of Kabul). Orr is not only willing to go where many don’t go; he feels a drive to seek it out and capture it. That drive has brought him to places like Ukraine, Nepal, Rwanda, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia. Most recently, it brought him to Cuba. Orr’s knack for simultaneously observing and communing his subjects provides an intriguing perspective on the youth culture in a country that has just become open for tourism business for Americans. The scenes in Orr’s photographs are poignant and thought-provoking, but also new and novel for many. Here, he shares why he’s pulled toward the subjects he’s pulled to, what he found in Cuba, and the stories behind his photos. —Interview by Courtney Iseman How did you get started with photography, and what initially attracted to you …

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A Conversation With Nigerian-based Journalist Chika Oduah About Those Stories That Deserve To Be Told

When you hear the word “Africa” what do you see?  Despite it’s cultural vibrancy, those from the outside looking in often only see a faceless dark mass ridden with terror and desolation. Chika Oduah sees colors of all different shades because Africa could never be reduced to anything less than a multifaceted diamond in the rough. She sees the future of a continent that’s incredible strength has been proven through its trials and deserves much more than to be painted with a single brush. Chika artfully pens about her subjects in a way that allows them to breathe a raw energy into her stories. Because after all, it’s theirs to tell and should never be misconstrued. Chika’s articles include stories of culture and stories of change; stories of horror, yes, but also the untold stories of happy endings. She opens the book and articulately tells each one, seeking to eradicate the western myths of the unknown Africa. Through her journalistic work and evocative words, she investigates then illustrates the life and times of Nigeria and beyond. Chika Oduah …

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“One or The Other”: Jared Flaming and Eric Helvie Exhibition on view through May 21

“One Or The Other”, on view from May 17 – 21, 2016 at The Highline Loft at 508 West 26th Street, brings together the two artists Jared Flaming and Eric Helvie, in a pairing of photo-realistic works that focus on the ideas of pop culture, media and storytelling in an effort to dig deep into the subconscious mind to find inspiration and artistic creativity. Curated by Anne Huntington and Natalie Kates, both artistsʼ photo-realistic works, juxtaposed by color, black-and-white metaphor and iconography, embrace the psychoanalytical idea of unconscious desires via subliminal images. In concert with the 4-day show, Huntington and Kates will present a series of experiences to enhance the exhibition, including a Panel discussion with the artists (May 18th) and VAGA hosted opening (May 19th)   Q&A with artist Jared Flaming Tell us a bit more about you and your beginnings as an artist. Well I am a born and raised Oklahoma boy. There wasn’t much art around growing up but there was a lot of craft and I always enjoyed that and spent a lot …

Kerry James Marshall, Art History Counter-Archive

The work of Kerry James Marshall is centered on African American life, culture and history. His body of work explores new frontiers in racial politics, socio-economical issues and the artists’ own feelings & views about social responsibility. Marshall was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1955 and later relocated to South Central, Los Angeles near the Black Panthers headquarters. Marshall grew-up in a country in which there were not many black artists to reference and “black studies” were in their early stages. Through his work, the artist has committed himself to compensating for the absence and invisibility of black culture. The artist attempts to reconcile African American culture with images of western ideals in his paintings by highlighting black identity within their historical context and the current socio political situation. Video courtesy of Museo Reina Sofia, Painting and Other Stuff, 2014 For Marshall there is an evident gap in the [Western] art history archive. We can define his whole body of work as a counter-archive, reading between the lines of mainstream culture during the past decades …

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Llyn Foulkes: One Man Band by Tamar Halpern and Chris Quilty

Following Llyn Foulkes’ pivotal retrospective at the New Museum and the last exhibition at Andrea Rosen Gallery, there is a new documentary on the interior life of the Los Angeles-based artist. “Llyn Foulkes: One Man Band”, directed by Tamar Halpern and Chris Quilty offers a unique look at the life of the artist leading up to this major international exhibition and the re-emergence of Foulkes after nearly three decades of being overlooked by the art world. Llyn Foulkes and The Machine Oil, acrylic, and mixed mediums. 31 ½ x 26 ¼ x 2 in. (80 x66.7 x 5.1 cm). The San Jose Museum of Art. Gift of the Lipman Family Foundation, in honor of the San Jose Museum of Art’s 35th Anniversary (2003). Llyn Foulkes. The Lost Frontier, 1997-2005. Mixed mediums. 87 x 96 x 8 in. (221 x 243.8 x 20.3 cm). Hammer Museum, Los Angeles “Llyn Foulkes: One Man Ban” is available at http://www.llynfoulkesfilm.com words and interview by Keri Oldham Recently dubbed America’s most famous artist that you’ve never heard of, Foulkes combines …

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A Quiet Confidence – Master photographer: John Dugdale

–Words and Interview by Robbie Sosa. Image: A Turbulent Dream – 1996 – All images courtesy of Holden Luntz gallery. It’s 1992 and fear has cast its unending shadow over the gay community in New York City. Reeling from a mysterious illness, a thirty year-old named John Patrick Dugdale lies on a metal bed in a cold and drafty hospital room. From afar, the scene is straight out of war-torn Beirut – but this battle is taking place inside Manhattan’s St. Vincent Hospital. Dugdale is not alone, for there are dozens of other young, frail men on the frontlines of death. It’s a dark moment for a city wrapped in the clenched fist of a virus called HIV/AIDS. This is where Dugdale’s journey to triumph begins. Continue below.. Born in 1960 in the working class suburban town of Stamford, Connecticut, Dugdale dreamed of an artist’s life, “I thought of myself as being born in the wagon of a traveling van, just like the Cher song. I was a Guido, a real rough-around-the-edges kind of guy, raised …

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Skeletons in Draemings Closet

Skeletons in Dramings Closet Usually, the first things that come to mind when we hear the words “ritual and seance” are bible bashers or goth girls in black lipstick. We think seizure like gyrations and speaking in weird tongues. Yet we overlook the practice of creating music, art, photos and everything in between can be a ritulistic seance of its own. We dance rhythmically to the music, the tempo holds us- as beats pulsate; enthralling us. We sing and chant to lyrics that may or may not have tangible meaning to us; like having faith in something that is not really there. In photos we take on beings that we may not want to see staring back at us in the mirror, yet release them with the click of a shutter. Here, Dræmings sheds light on her music, rituals of her own, and that embracing the darkness can be as uplifting as holding onto the light. photography by Kalin December, interview by Juliana Bojorquez, makeup Austin Mark. Visit http://www.draemings.com  for more info VAGA: Like a diary entry, …

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Taylor Mead last Andy Warhol’s superstar

Taylor Mead died last Wednesday, May 8th at the age of 88, after over 70 years on the stage. The spunky, wry, and sometimes irreverent actor, performer, playwright, poet, and painter, was still performing every week. Only interrupted the past April when he agreed to leave his tenement apartment in the LES after a long-time battle with the landlords. The following interview was originally published in our 3rd issue in March 2012. New York, December 2011 –Born into and hated by a stuffy, affluent family, Taylor Mead, whose self- described dramatic debut went down at Grosse Point High School in 1930s Michigan, went on to work and party with such greats as Andy Warhol, Frank O’Hara, Dennis Hopper, and Jim Jarmusch. His roles in such films as Lonesome Cowboys (1968), The Queen of Sheba meets the Atom Man (1968), and Tarzan and Jane Regained…Sort Of (1964) were key contributions to a dynamic era of film in the ‘60s led by Andy Warhol, his collaborators, and his contemporaries. Sheet 8 from “Fairy Tale Poem,” Taylor Mead, …

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Sharon Gault (aka “Mama Makeup”)

Sharon Gault (aka “Mama Makeup”) is not your ordinary makeup artist. Part artiste and part muse, she is equally at home being behind the camera as she is being in front of it. After shooting to fame as Madonna’s hair stylist in Truth or Dare, Gault later became the go-to artist for Lady Gaga – doing her make-up in such videos as “Poker Face,” “Love Game,” “Paparazzi,” “Dirty Rich” and her iconic Rolling Stone cover shot by David LaChapelle. However, it wasn’t always red carpets and celebs. Growing up on welfare with a single mother, being a make-up artist to the stars hardly seemed possible. But with a little chutzpah, that is exactly what happened. –Photography by Vijat Mohindra, Interview by Rachel Khona. Read The Full Interview

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Joséphine de la Baume, “The Natural”

Some people make things look so easy. Actor, model and XX half of brother-sister duo Singtank, Joséphine de la Baume exudes so much seemingly effortless creativity in her fingertips alone, it would be annoying if not for her secret weapon — intoxicating charm. The disarming wit takes a moment from her destined ascent to next level fame to discuss working with the best in the business, vampires and Michael Jackson…and invents a new word while she’s at it. –Interview by Roberto Reyes, photography by Alex Brunet – Read More…