We’re looking back at work by Laura Viñas this month. Through her work Viñas explores the psychological reality about self-contextualization and memory. Painting Tengucho 5g and 9g papers with watercolors, Viñas transforms the seemingly delicate sheets into powerful haunting images of landscapes alluding to the Pampa region of South America– a vast expanse of low-lying flat fields that unfurl in every direction that you look towards the horizon. Viñas work asks us to look into the image on the surface of the Tengucho paper and once there to try to look past it and get lost in the illusory expanse, and to consider the space behind the paper as part of what’s directly confronting us in each painting or installation.
In the words of the artist:
My subject matter deals with the perception of landscape in order to create new places. These new places are a mental construction, and in them the object of my work is embedded: time deposits, memory and distance. At the same time, it allows me to research into the concealed and enigmatic side of these objects. I choose my materials with precision: thin rice papers, watercolors and photography.Furthermore, I restrict the color palette, the vanishing points, and materials in order to fully develop my creativity and concentration. I manipulate nature and light as an abstraction, to generate a mirror where the viewer finds himself. –Laura Viñas’ artist statement
Art student Jon Shimizu shared with us his experience printing on the inkjet Asuka papers for his book project, and how much he loved working with them. Below is Jon’s artist statement. Thank you, Jon!
(We always appreciate any feedback about the papers, so please let us know!)
Originally from the UK, photographer and artist Sal Taylor Kydd has lived all over the world, before settling in Los Angeles. Formerly an editor, Sal has been developing her photography for the last six years, both as an editorial and a fine art photographer. Sal will be showing her work from her series “Just When I Thought I Had You” at Gallery 169 in Santa Monica. Check out her amazing prints done on our Mohachi paper.
“Origins” artist statement:
Growing up in a small town in England, I had a childhood that was in many ways typical of its time. In the 1970s children led relatively unfettered lives and were free to explore the world with a large degree of independence. In my work photographing my children and family, I find myself revisiting my childhood through their experience, playing by rivers and ponds in the summer, idling the days away, discovering a real connection with nature. Every year we spend our summers on a small island off the coast of Maine. It has become a touchstone for us as a family, a place for us to connect with nature and with each other. For my children these are times of growth and exploration that are strongly tied to a sense of place, of roots and authenticity.
This series is entitled “Origins” because through these images I am attempting to understand what defines that sense of connection and understanding of where we come from, what ties us to a place and tethers us to what has come before?
The processes I have used in this series is Salted Paper printing, in which I use a combination of antiquarian and contemporary technologies. I use a digital camera to capture my images, but then I create a physical negative from the digital file, which is then printed in a contact frame, using the same techniques pioneered by British photographer Henry Fox Talbot in the 1800s.
With these processes, the element of time is not inconsequential, it takes time to make a print, a process that gives opportunity for discovery and serendipity. You coat your paper, you expose it to the sun, you wait. It is a contemplative and mindful undertaking. In each of the steps, from sizing the paper, to exposing the negative and developing the print, there is a tangible connection with nature and the natural elements brought into the print, which again mirrors the content of my work. The artistry of “making” a photograph becomes itself an act of becoming and invention.
During the CBAA conference held in Nashville, I had the pleasure of visiting Lisa Jennings at her studio and ask her a few questions regarding her work:
Can you briefly explain your art concept and media?
I refer to myself an artist, painter and sculptor. My art concept has evolved over 18 years as a professional artist and long before that I used papers, found objects, watercolors, acrylics and acrylic mediums. I have known since I was a child that I am artist. My work technique as it is right now evolved from working with watercolors, acrylics on and with pre-pigmented hand made papers that I created paintings with on canvas when I first started as professional artist.
How did you start working with washi and how does it compare to other paper? As I evolved further into my career I wanted more control of my surface texture, color palettes with my my painting, that is when I started purchasing Washi/Mulberry Papers from Hiromi about 8 years ago. I started with using mulberry thin and thick papers and pigmented them with liquid acrylics and acrylic dyes. This evolution set my standard and quality of work way above how I was using the other papers before in my paintings. I also use the pigmented mulberry papers on the wood sculptures that I create. The paper used on my sculptures really connects my paintings and sculpture as definable as a Lisa Jennings trademark and people identify my work because of my unique technique process in both my painting and sculpting processes. I get totally lost and am so passionate with the all the experimentation that I have done using Hiromi quality papers. I started ordering this past year some of the thicker Nepal Lhakpa Thick and thin Natural, Khadi and also DHM Triple Thick Paper. I love to work with these papers with the the liquid acrylic and acrylic dyes plus sewing and batik resist.
What are some characteristics that you like about the washi that you use? I love the versatility of the thick and thin mulberry papers. I love the strength of the thick/thin mulberry papers and how it holds up when I pigment it also using batik resist and sewn areas, then applying it with matte medium to the canvas or wood. The papers don’t easily tare or wear off with brushing on the matte medium. I trust the quality of the papers that I use as a professional artist that I am using something that is archival with my techniques for both my paintings and sculptures! I love the organic look and feel. My work is referenced to as primitive modern so the organic texture that lends itself with the Lhakpa thick and thin papers is so luscious to integrate into my works. I love being able to sew and batik resist on the thick and Lhakpa papers.
Do you have any advice for people starting to work with japanese papers? Firstly, I would suggest that people interested in papers research about papers and what their uses are for, how they are made, how archival and versatile they might be for different outcomes. Research is the key for me in anything that I do to integrate something more into my art practice. I would suggest that people who want to experiment more about using Japanese papers should use smaller sheets at first, perhaps use different types until they find the specific ones that work well with their techniques, mediums or purpose of what their desired outcome is from using the papers. Lastly play! Let your creative inner child come out! There are no mistakes when it comes to creating!
John Zabrucky is an artist and designer living in Los Angeles. He both works in the film industry and creates independent bodies of art using our various handmade papers. The majority of his works are drawings and collages done on our Yucatan and Bhutan papers. John has been drawing on our papers for years. In his studio we leafed through hundreds of works and picked out a few highlighting multiple techniques.
Brazil-based artist Elinor Cotaithas been using the Asuka inkjet coated paper for her beautiful imagery. I had the pleasure of meeting her a few months ago when she visited our store, all the way from Brazil. We began to talk about her works on Asuka paper, and I loved how her subtle photographic images looked on the Asuka paper!
A few words from Elinor:
“In 2012, visiting friends in LA, I spent some time at Bergamot Station Art Center and then discovered Hiromi Paper, where I found myself in an entire new word of possibilities. At the time, I was working in a series of photographs characterized by soft forms and pastel colors. My idea was to share through it a very abstract, subtle view of the landscape. However, I tried all kind of papers to print and never achieves what I had in mind.
That is when I found coated washi paper at Hiromi Paper. Not only one kind or size, but several! I brought some options home [to Brazil] and in the very first trial I finally saw something that was real only in my mind becoming real on paper too.
Nowadays, I am a member of Hiromi Paper, and four series of my photos are based on their washi paper. Currently I am working on a photo book that hopefully will be printed on washi paper too.”
We had the pleasure of visiting the studio of lighting designer and artist, John Wigmore. He combines the elements of sculpture, painting, and installation with Japanese papers for his lighting installations for both show rooms and personal clients. This time, we were able to ask a couple of questions and learn more about John and his work.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your artist background and company?
A: I graduated from UCSC with a BA in Art Studio and mainly concentrated on painting and sculpture. I got interested in natural materials and found that I enjoyed working with paper in my sculptures. I was looking at a lot of James Turrell and Robert Irwin at the time in the early 90’s and began making my light sculptures in NYC from Okawara paper combined with a heavyweight watercolor paper.
Rembrandt and Gampi Written By: Bruce Meade The news got to Rembrandt quickly. The first trade ships from Japan had just dropped anchor in Amsterdam harbor. And among the exotic treasures in their holds was rumored to be a rare, beautiful paper. Luminescent, incredibly lightweight, yet more than strong enough to hold a printer’s ink. Rembrandt hurried through a maze of alleyways to the shop of the paper merchant. The artist arrived just as the new sheets from Japan were being carefully stacked on wooden shelves. “Gampi”, stated the merchant. “Made from the bark of a shrub that grows only in the wild. Quite expensive.” Continue reading “Rembrandt and Gampi by Bruce Meade”
Bergy Bit Paintings on Nepalese Paper Artist’s Statement by J. J. L’Heureux www.jjlheureux.com
“I am an abstract painter. I often use landscape as the inspiration for my work. The road from the physical environment to the inspiration on the canvas attempts to convey my enthusiasm and attraction to a place, its wildlife and selected aspects of the actual physical scenery.
Antarctica is remote, vast, windy and cold. Yet it is the most pristine place in all regards. It contains life in the most amazing forms and adaptations including penguins (birds that do not fly), birds that fly, seals, whales and in few places a handful of plants. While it is a place dominated by white on white there are colors in this setting of ice and snow that most people would be surprised to see.
Few people have had the privilege to travel to any part of this continent. There is a complex process underway among the many nations working in Antarctica of expanding the imagery of Antarctica into our shared cultural inventory of word, picture, music and scientific discovery.
Since my first visit thirteen years ago I have been building my own visual vocabulary. Bergy Bits is my first series of ice paintings. I have a photographic series that captures the colors and life in the snow and ice landscape. It is my intention to use different disciplines to capture my varied responses to this most wondrous place.
I have been to the Southern Ocean 13 times, the last in March 2013 when I was able to fly into the Taylor Dry Valley and study the Canada Glacier, one for the only “moving without movement” glaciers as it stays in approximately the same place because as it moves slowly forward it evaporates at the front inthe extremely windy, dry and extra cold air. It is my intention to find additional venues to explore different parts of this vast and inspiring place. The art will follow.
By definition Bergy Bits are large chunks of glacier ice or a very small iceberg floating in the sea. They are generally spawned from disintegrating icebergs and glaciers.”
We visited J.J.’s studio in late July, to see the Bergy Bits Series she was finishing up on. We were surprised to see how she incorporated the textured Nepalese papers into her work, using the bumpy textures of the papers to portray the coarse surfaces of the actual icebergs in the Southern Ocean. Over some coffee and J.J’s delicious homemade chocolate pudding, we asked her a few questions regarding her work:
Why did you choose to work with the Nepal papers for this series?
I loved the Nepal paper’s texture. I used to create my own bumpy textures on smooth papers, but when I found this Nepalese paper at Hiromi, it saved me a lot of trouble.
Do you go through any special preparations?
I have someone make the special size custom panels for me, then stretch the papers on to them and adhered with PVA glue. Then, I apply gesso before I start with my oil paints. I feel that oil paints have more texture than acrylic, which tends to become ‘flat’.
What is your main inspiration?
Well of course it comes from my expeditions to the South Ocean! Since 2000, I’ve been going every year on these adventures, and have been making art, conducting research and helping people ever since.
How long have you been using papers from Hiromi Paper?
Since Hiromi was at the Marina Del Rey location. She has the best papers, best variety and most availability. No one is disappointed with Hiromi’s Papers!