Eric Blum’s pieces are so complex they offer up more interpretations than a Sia music video. Born in Fresno, California, Blum grew up in Los Angeles and now calls the East Coast home. He has an intimate studio in New York City where he creates his enigmatic works. Blum began his artistic career as a photographer but currently works with transparent layers of ink and wax-infused silk. You might be able to categorize Blum’s play of light and shapes as abstraction, but his stunning forms have a story to tell and we’re totally hooked. He has been a recipient of grants from The Pollack-Krasner Foundation and New York Foundation for the Arts, and continues to exhibit widely throughout the United States. We were lucky enough to grab a moment of his time to find out more. Blum talked to us about his medium, what his work has to say and more.
THE LAYERS ARE JUST STUNNING. IS THERE A UNIFYING THEME FOR YOUR PAINTINGS IN TERMS OF INSPIRATION OR FEELING? I didn’t know it when I started out, but the unifying theme turns out to be uncertainty: seeing without looking, which expands the possibilities of interpretation… how a form viewed peripherally or in the background can be felt as something other than itself, something potentially more desirable, poetic or preposterous. Like anagrams, parts are mixed up and reassembled to become something that ultimately appears foreign; no longer resembling one’s own preconceived ideas.
Every work of art by Vancouver-based illustrator Ola Volo tells a story. Her intricate works weave a narrative motif with animals, people, elements of nature and architecture, all with a distinct style that is drawn from the traditions of her heritage and contemporary whimsy. Lucky for us Ola regularly shows her work around town while working on commissions from such clients as Hootsuite, Lululemon and the Vancouver Opera House. We love what she does, so we had to find out more.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST IDENTIFY AS AN ARTIST? I grew up attending art classes in school and out of school all my life. However, it was my final year of university where I completely fell in love with art. From that point, I couldn’t wait to dedicate all my time towards illustration and fine art.
YOU’RE ORIGINALLY FROM KAZAKHSTAN. HOW DOES THAT INSPIRE YOUR WORK? My world has been greatly influenced due to being raised in Kazakhstan and Canada. A big part of Kazakh culture is storytelling and use of intricate patterns. Blend this with multiculturalism, and often that’s where the root of my concepts are inspired from. Having had the chance to live in Asia, Europe and North America, I’ve been directly impacted by the cultural styles and themes from these diverse regions. In fact, at the moment I’m visiting Kazakhstan and writing from a small town near China called Tekeli.
All photos found via Elisa Strozyk
We looove Vancouver. And we love it even more that it’s home to artist Andy Dixon. Andy is just another example of the amazing talent that Vancouver has to offer. His paintings are utterly gorgeous and his use of colour can bring any dismal room back to life. We needed to know,
DOES LIVING IN VANCOUVER INSPIRE YOUR ARTWORK?
Living in Vancouver is a huge influence on my work. It has to be. How could anyone claim that one’s immediate surroundings don’t have a direct impact on the things that he or she creates?
Growing up in Vancouver has greatly helped to inform my sense of personal aesthetics – colour pallets and form, for example. I seem to use colours that mimic the sea, cherry blossoms, and the green rain forests of North Vancouver, where I was raised.
There is also no denying that the West Coast’s penchant for raising an easy-going populace is in my work as well. Although I take my job as a painter very seriously, I also enjoy the process immensely and hope that that sense of play is obvious in my work.
I read an article somewhere that once described Vancouver as being “culturally prepubescent” – meaning we’re such a young city and are at the very beginning stages of developing our personality. I like this. It makes me feel like we have the capability to pioneer something magnificent. I think my paintings offer the same thing. I contrast modern techniques with subject matter from art history. Appropriating these historical ready-made totems of fine art into something completely new raises questions about what these images mean to us now and what will be coming next. It’s simultaneously a respect for the past and an eagerness to forge ahead.
All Images sourced by: Andy Dixon