VitaSoul – Pablo Picasso

Everything you can imagine is real. ~ Pablo Picasso

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Fresh Face Friday – Chris Keeley

If I had to use just one word to describe Chris Keeley’s work it would be soulful. How he does it I do not know but even docks on a harbor speak with character and an intangible spirit. In this week’s Fresh Face Friday profile, Keeley speaks about his work as an artist and his recent life changing trip to Tanzania. To learn more about Chris Keeley visit: www.chriskeeleyphoto.com, www.facebook.com/chriskeeleyphoto, www.instagram.com/chriskeeleyphoto. Enjoy!

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Background:

1) Name:

Chris Keeley

2) Website Address:

www.chriskeeleyphoto.com, www.facebook.com/chriskeeleyphoto, www.instagram.com/chriskeeleyphoto

3) Mediums you work in:

Digital photography

4) Examples of your work:

See Below

5) Brief biography:

Chris Keeley grew up in Midcoast Maine and now resides in Dover, New Hampshire. He became a photographer at age 25. From humanitarian and portrait photography to business promotion and seascapes, Keeley is an artist drawn to all areas of photography. Most recently, Chris was capturing images in southwest Florida, Downeast Maine, the Pacific Northwest, the Rocky Mountains, and Tanzania, Africa. His work can be viewed at galleries throughout New Hampshire and in numerous environmental publications.

Life:

1) What does wholehearted and mindful living mean to you?

Wholehearted and mindful living means applying myself to everything I do while being conscious of all of my surroundings and where I am in time and space. This means considering where the light is coming from, whether it’s the sun or artificial light, and how that light changes the subject, and how the subject or landscape might change or the stories it holds in its current condition. It’s also about considering how this photo will affect the future and what it means to the subject, especially if it’s a photo of a person or family. I think it’s only when you consider these and other elements, when you’re being wholehearted and mindful, that you succeed in capturing “the shot.”

2) How do you practice wholehearted and mindful living?

Well, being a photographer certainly helps. A camera is an incredible conduit for meeting new people and discovering lesser known places. I think it’s also incumbent upon photographers to give back with our skill set. That’s why two friends and I ventured on a philanthropy-photography workshop in Tanzania, and have since started an exhibit series and school supply drive to bring attention to the needs of schools in Tanzania.

3) What or who inspires you?

I am inspired by many talented photographers in my area who I’ve been fortunate to shoot with and share knowledge. My family is a galaxy of inspiration, especially my mother. She sets goals, works hard, and has the patience and selflessness of a saint.

4) Answer this quote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one, wild, and precious life?” ~Mary Oliver

I aspire to live a life such that if someone were to write my biography, it would be something worth reading over and over again. To that end, we don’t have much time, and so I want to make every day count. I want to feel and be accomplished in all that I do.

5) What words of wisdom would you offer to your younger self?

Set goals, work hard, and when you meet your goals, set them higher! Never settle. Also, surround yourself with role models, people that posses skills or experiences that you strive for, and learn from them and their challenges along their path to success.

Work:

1) What is your project “Journey To Tanzania”?

Journey to Tanzania is a project that grew out of my experience from two weeks in Tanzania in 2013. I went with a team of photographers as philanthropy-meets-photography-workshop trip. We were there to capture photos for on-the-ground NGOs to help them show the work they do with HIV/AIDS programs, orphanages, and schools. I fell in love with the country and its people. I want to help them. So when we got back to the US, myself and two others who I went with developed a mission to use our photos to share insights into their culture while raising awareness of the critical need for school supplies for children. As we launch gallery exhibits, we are collecting school supplies and holding mini-workshops about Tanzania.

2) How have your travels through Tanzania influenced your photography and life?

Tanzania really opened my eyes to humanitarian photography. It also surprised me to see how such happiness can shine through people who are meeting only basic survival needs. It was such a reality check on what’s important in life, and how trivial all of our material possession really are toward reaching true happiness.

3) What have you learned about humanity and life through your work and artistry?

Everyone has a story, a moment to share, an impression to leave. In Tanzania, the people I met and the places I saw really drove home to me that we are all one community on this planet. It’s easy to say it, but it’s harder to understand it. Once you experience it, it becomes very clear. We’re all people, we all have so much in common once we take down our cultural barriers.

4) What is the relationship between art and service?

Art is service! A friend of mine describes sustainability as all that “sustains” us as humans. And art is a major part of that, it distinguishes us from other lifeforms. Photography, as a form of art, is a tool to give back and help those in need. I feel fortunate to be developing this skill set that allows me to give back.

5) What do you hope is the impact and meaning of your work?

I hope for my work to show that the world is an incredible place, with interesting places and compelling stories in every direction you look. You only have to open your eyes.

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Eye Contact by Chris Keeley
Coastal by Chris Keeley
By Chris Keeley
Strength by Chris Keeley
Spectral Seascape by Chris Keeley
The Docks of Prospect Harbor by Chris Keeley
Ducks at Menomin Morgan Horse Farm by Chris Keeley

Fresh Face Friday – Lara Mossler

I am thrilled to be presenting this young emerging artist who is sure to make a name for herself in the art world. Hailing from rural Virginia, Lara Mossler’s work is brimming with a youthful energy and vitality that is ageless. Her work speaks, bearing witness to the old philosophy that a picture is worth a thousands words. Fall under the glare of “My Madonna” and I dare you not to be moved. Below, Mossler reflects on her work and inspirations. To learn more about Mossler’s work visit www.laramossler.com or http://postmedium.com/laramossler/2769/paintings. Enjoy!

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Background:

Name: Lara Mossler

Website address: www.laramossler.comhttp://postmedium.com/laramossler/2769/paintings

Title/position/mediums: Artist and strategist

Examples of work: See below

Brief biography:

Born in rural Virginia in 1989, Lara McKinney Mossler painted throughout her childhood, winning awards, and exhibiting her work in regional galleries and shows. She moved to New York City at the age of sixteen to follow her passion for the arts, taking an internship at Leila Heller Gallery. Lara spent her time in museums, at artists’ studios, and painting at The New York Studio School. When her Assistant Curator internship concluded, Lara accepted an art-activities counselor position at Wediko Children Services in Boston. After teaching art in that treatment center for emotionally disturbed children throughout the summer, Lara was accepted to Tulane University on a full scholarship and with a strong desire to further her studies in art. She moved to New York City after graduation and is now a strategist at Bureau Blank and runs an art collective in Brooklyn.

Life: 

1. What does wholehearted and mindful living mean to you?

Madeleine L’Engle writes that “If we are to be aware of life while we are living it, we must have the courage to relinquish our hard-earned control of ourselves.” This quote and her entire book, Walking on Water, have been tremendously helpful in understanding that having an awareness of the moment is not about developing more discipline or adding to a daily routine but rather letting the work take over. And, that takes guts.

2. How do you practice wholehearted and mindful living?

I use the quiet morning to practice listening. It’s a three part process that starts with my mind, then body, then craft. The routine, though I’m open to revelation, is that I wake up fifty or so minutes before the sun rises and make tea. This darkness before the light is my favorite time of day, and I call it the holy hour because I pray and read. When the sun is fully risen, I switch to water and warm up the body with an hour of Vinyasa yoga (Yoga to the People 7 AM is a good one). Finally, I make a cup of coffee and begin in the studio. I give myself only an hour of painting before getting ready and biking to work in Chinatown.

3. What or who inspires you?

Artists are a living mystery, and I surround myself with ones from a variety of disciplines, ages and stages of their career. Now, I know them as friends but in rural Virginia as a kid, I learned about artists in the library and on the internet. I admired the work of visual artists such as Cecily Brown, Elizabeth Peyton, Lisa Yuskavage, and Swoon. Later, the list included Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Mel Chin, Tracey Emins, and Pina Bausch. Pivotal moments for me include reading The Shape of Content by Ben Shan and watching The Five Obstructions by Lars von Trier. Writers that I return to as frequently as daily include C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity), Woody Allen (Complete Prose of Woody Allen) and Isak Dinsen (Out of Africa).

4. Answer this quote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one, wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

The community of artists I belong to want to give art a renewed, rich life in a digital world. Rather than fighting against technology, we’re interested in using it to push painting further for the benefit of both the viewer and the artist, as well as making the entire process more accessible. In other centuries, painters have been deeply engaged at the forefront of innovation- there’s no reason it cannot be the same today. For me, that means a life of continuing to grow as a painter and honing my skills in technology. Of course, a big part of being mindful is having the flexibility and grace to adapt to wild life you’re meant to live, rather than the one you planned.

5. What words of wisdom would you offer to your younger self?

Be brutally honest. When you misjudge your budget, say so. When something hurts, speak up. When you do not understand, ask now and not later.

Work:

1. What is your creative process?

My process evolves constantly but there are a few elements that have remained consistent throughout the years. Short and long periods of uninterrupted time alone with the medium are critical. A daily touch of paint or ink or pencil creates that familiarity and looseness that keeps me fresh. Serious time away from a brush where I desperately want nothing else than to pick one up reminds me why I do it in the first place. “Ideas” in the traditional sense have become less important to me over the years.  When I do have ideas, I write them down and put them away in a desk drawer. I’m more interested in the ideas that manifest themselves in the back of my brain and try to remain unnoticed rather than the ones that jump out onto a sheet a paper looking glamorous.

2. You discovered your passion for art at a young age, how have you weathered the challenges of being an artist?

The single most valuable asset as an artist is the ability to be financially independent. I was fortunate enough to do this by not being scared to always work, through both successful and slow times. I was a maid at an inn, a manager at an ice-cream shop and a waitress to name a few – do not hesitate to earn wages in a way that’s not trendy. Regardless of how well your art does, do not stop. After you sell out a show for the first time, be on time and prepared for your shift the next day. Working full-time wins you audiences of all kinds that you would have never encountered otherwise and gives you incredible time management skills. Secondly, learn skills from the people who love you. I picked up statistical analysis from my father and programming from a professor in college, both of which make up core components of my profession today. If your grandmother quilts or your uncle is a watchmaker, make it your mission to absorb it. Finally, write very specific thank-you notes. You are going to ask many favors in your lifetime as an artist. Whether it is borrowing a truck or catering a reception, communicate in detail exactly how that person’s contribution made that much of a difference in making the art come to life. People are often willing to help, and it means a lot to illustrate how each gesture makes a big difference together.

3. What is the relationship between art and service?

The artist is a servant to two ways. The first is be the recipient of the work that becomes designed in your head. It’s your duty and responsibility to see that your art comes to fruition. You never know who needs to see the piece you’re working on, and there’s no doubt that you are the perfect person to create it. The second to share your talent and enthusiasm with those around you. I was lucky enough to have opportunities to open my studio at a young age for lectures, panels, discussions and lessons. Later, I taught art to children in Boston and teens in New Orleans. There’s nothing quite like cultivating a passion for art in others, and I hope I have the privilege to continue teaching and mentoring for the rest of my life.

4. What do you hope is the impact and meaning of your work?

There isn’t a specific meaning or message that I intend to communicate through my art. Sure, there are things that I hold true when I make the piece and a viewer may intuitively understand what those truths are. The most important art pieces I’ve encountered have given me the mental and physical space to encounter myself. The most striking work I see feels like I’m looking in a mirror and encourages me to work through my own experiences. What I could hope for is that my work becomes a visual trigger for a moment where you’re able to explore something that’s been eluding you. Maybe it’s an emotion that feels less scary or more real. Perhaps it’s that what you are experiencing internally could be more intentional than you imagined. Ultimately, I hope that to gaze at my work is to feel joy.

5. What are you hoping to take from your residency in Finland?

This residency will involve long periods of uninterrupted time alone with the medium, and that excites me. I’m working with new Japanese materials and returning to the very first oil color palette that I conceived as a thirteen-year-old apprentice. I rediscovered it scribbled in my teenage bible on a trip back home. I have a few new photo shoots completed recently in Brooklyn that I’m packaging up in digital archives for the trip. I hope to come away with a significant amount of new work to share, new friends and additional perspectives on how to bring art and technology closer together.

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My Madonna Oil on paper, 2009 By Lara Mossler
Paper planes and sweet potatoes Oil on aluminum, 2009 By Lara Mossler
Study Chalk on paper, 2010 By Lara Mossler
Audubon Park Pastel on paper, 2007 By Lara Mossler
American Girl Oil on panel, 2010 By Lara Mossler
Heart Ghost Oil on panel, 2010 By Lara Mossler
Blood, Sweat, and Fears Oil on panel, 2010 By Lara Mossler

Fresh Face Friday – Mike Southern

My favorite aspects of Mike Southern’s work are the heaviness and depth of his etchings. They feel so rich, compelling, and textured; as if you could soak in them and be joyfully enveloped. I love “Water Cycle.” I remember doing an etching project back in school and to work freely in ink and metal is not easy, but Southern masters the technique. He makes a rigid medium fluid and free. His capacity for expression is formidable and is not just evident in his etchings but in all of his work. Below, Southern discusses the influences and passions of his work. I am really enjoying the work of this artist and I am happy to be sharing it with you today. Enjoy!

To learn more about Mike Southern check out his site: http://www.mikesouthern.com/wp/

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Background:

1) Name:

Mike Southern

2) Website Address:

http://www.mikesouthern.com/wp/

3) Title/Position or Mediums you work in:

Trained as a printmaker (etchings specifically) but now doing oil painting as well.  I have dabbled with encaustic (wax medium painting), watercolor, and some others.

4) Links to/Examples of your work:

See below

 5) Brief biography:

Graduated with a mix of natural history and art from Hampshire College (Amherst, Massachusetts, USA).  MFA in printmaking from University of Georgia in 1995.  Lived in Portland, Oregon 1995-2009,  2009-2012 lived in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Returned to Portland in 2012.

 Life:

1) What does wholehearted and mindful living mean to you?

I’ve never considered it consciously, really but I think it should incorporate as much empathy into all the decisions you make.  What does this decision mean for others?  How will it affect the world around me, both intimately and anonymously?

2) How do you practice wholehearted and mindful living?

I vote.  I try to be in as much harmony with the natural world as I can. I try to keep big plans and ideas within the realm of possibility.  For instance, I am thinking of writing a book. I’ve never done that but I love fiction and think I have that capability. Now I have to make that happen. I am an artist and have been for almost twenty years, making art in a world that doesn’t put that into a neat little career box.  I do what I believe is moral, right and earnest and I want my art to reflect that.

3) What or who inspires you?

So many inspirations.  Water and sky are so important to my work so I have to include those two elements.  Fire and earth are there as well so that’s as good a place to start as any.  I love the work of so many artists it’s hard to keep track.  I’ll list a few:  George Innes, Titian, Rubens, James Lavadour, Edgar Degas.

4) Answer this quote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one, wild, and precious life?” ~Mary Oliver

Well, I think I’ve answered about half that question already!  I have a great family, have traveled all over the world, lived for a few years in the South Pacific and am always looking optimistically towards the next great adventure.  I consider myself an idealist and I look forward to making decisions from this  ideological base.  I think everything I do and the decisions I make will stem from my creative self and my role as a father and a husband.  Two personas that don’t exclude each other, as I am beginning to more fully realize.

5) What words of wisdom would you offer to your younger self?

Don’t worry so much about what others think about your decisions.  There will always be conflict in your life and it’s not always a bad thing.  But truthfully, I am happy with most decisions of my younger self.  It was a wonderful time with shortfalls and disappointment but every era of life seems to have it’s own baggage so I can’t fault any of the truly big decisions I made.  I waited to get married until my mid thirties.  No regrets there.  I traveled a lot.  Certainly nothing to fault with that.  So, all in all, I believe my younger self and current me would have a good time reminiscing!  Although current me would be buying the drinks.

 Work:

1) What is your artistic process?

I am both an etcher and an oil painter.  With both processes I have developed a very technical, labor intensive practice.  I am drawn to technique and process.  I also marvel at the intricacy of natural forms.  Dragonfly wings, the meticulous course of a creek, etc are subjects that attract my attention.  These two things are related I’m sure.  I just follow my visual instincts and try to learn the craft elements that enable me to bring my interests into the light of day.

2) “I need interaction with nature to feel balance, connection and mystery. I see landscape as a metaphor for an ideal place. Painting is the physical act of constructing my home; a place of refuge.” ~ Mike Southern. For many people, their identity is strongly tied to a physical location, be it a neighborhood or country; however, you express a more fluid understanding of place and home. How has this perspective influenced your identity as an individual and as an artist?

Every place I have lived, I have searched out the places that are the most unspoiled by the human impulse to control nature.  I like things a little chaotic and in a more pristine state.  I have also moved westward across the North American continent and out deeper into the Pacific in search of this “place”.  I know it’s not an actual country or state but rather a condition and I try to immerse myself in this place through my work.  It’s as much a spiritual state as a physical place.

3) You moved from Portland, Oregon to Christchurch, New Zealand, given the significance of landscapes in your work how has the change in landscape influenced you?

Change always affects my work.  The New Zealand landscape is so majestic, distinct and young.  I have taken many of these traits and incorporated them directly into the landscapes of my current body of work.  Normally in my painting I have relied on imagined places but I find myself referring to specific locations in New Zealand.  It is, in some ways, that “ideal” place I have always been searching for and I think this is why it has been so overtly present since our return to the US.

4) What do you hope is the impact and meaning of your work?

I want people to be primarily moved visually and viscerally by my work.  I want them sucked into that place and I hope it takes them to their ideal place.  That must be the primary entrance into my paintings, drawings and etchings.  If it doesn’t affect their view of things then I think I have failed.  There are large, broad, conceptual underpinnings to my work but these are less important to convey to an audience.  The audience is going to bring their baggage and meaning to a work of art and I can’t control that.  If they tease out some of the “meaning” then that’s fine but I want the experience to be primarily VISUAL.  It’s a language unto it’s own and it can’t be communicated any other way.

5) What new projects do you have on the horizon?

I am working on a series of larger scale figures in landscapes with a broad mythological theme.  I have two shows scheduled this year so I need to keep working!  Always, keep working.

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Untitled 4″ x 6″ 2000 oil on 2 panels By Mike Southern
Untitled 3″ x 4″ 2001 oil on panel By Mike Southern
Twilight Storm 14″ x 24″ 2002 oil on panel By Mike Southern
Tributary II 3″ x 4″ 2003 intaglio edition size: 25 By Mike Southern
Tributary III 3″ x 4″ 2003 intaglio edition size: 25 By Mike Southern
Water Cycle 18″ x 22″ 1998 intaglio edition size: 50 By Mike Southern
Abandoned Dock II 5″ x 6.5″ 2002 intaglio edition size: 10 By Mike Southern

Fresh Face Friday – Anthony Frazier II

Great new photographer to share with you on this very special Valentine’s Day. Anthony Frazier II hailing from Northern California brings a unique and realistic approach to all his work. Read more about him and his work below. Check out his sites at www.Thenhp.com;
www.mobilesnapstudios.com; www.rawvantij.tumblr.com. Enjoy! And happy V-Day!

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Background:

1) Name:
Anthony Frazier II

2) Website Address:
www.Thenhp.com
www.mobilesnapstudios.com
www.rawvantij.tumblr.com

3) Title/Position:
Professional Photographer
Founder of Mobile Snap Studios and The Natural Hair Project

4) Examples of your work:
See below

5) Brief biography:
I was born and raised in Oakland, California. I have three brothers, two older and one younger. I graduated highschool in 2003 from Mountain Oaks in San Andreas, California. I currently run and own my own photography business and teach salsa dancing on the side.

Life:

1) What does wholehearted and mindful living mean to you?
It means allowing yourself to use all healthy and positive avenues to get the most out of life. And truly living your life fully in a way that benefits not just yourself but those around you as well.

2) How do you practice wholehearted and mindful living?
I always start my day off with prayer. My girlfriend and I are long distance so we pray with each other first thing in the morning. I also try to focus on making positive connections with positive people who help inspire me and motivate me. And I always try to have a positive release for when I become frustrated or stressed.

 3) What or who inspires you?
There are a lot of people, but definitely my dad who works extremely hard, my mom who teaches me to love my true self on a daily basis, my brother for his drive, and my girlfriend who is continually showing me the beauty of the simple things in life.

4) Answer this quote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one, wild, and precious life?” ~Mary Oliver
I want to do something that helps me grow; to become a better, selfless, understanding, and patient individual. Also, I want to have a positive effect on our world and culture in some type of way.

5) What words of wisdom would you offer to your younger self?
Work a lot harder, don’t be so quick to become angry, have patience, and take your time. With having your own business you have to work harder then the next person, so again work a lot harder and smarter. I wish I had the same mind set I have now.

Work:

1) What is “The Natural Hair Project” and what inspired you to create it?
The natural hair project is sharing the journey, struggles, and beauty men and women have experienced through photography and video. My mom, girlfriend, and best friend, all of whom are natural, inspired me to start this project.

2) What is your most memorable story from “The Natural Hair Project”?
I honestly can’t pick one because everyone of them so far has been inspiring and powerful in their own way. Each is different and encouraging.

3) What is your creative process?
My creative process… I usually sit in one place that’s really quiet for awhile just brainstorming and playing out ideas in my head. After that I usually attempt what I see in my minds eye; it may take 5 minutes or a few days to get it just right.

4) How have you dealt with the challenges of being an artist?
Oh yes daily, sometimes photos don’t come out at all like you intended, working with different scenes and weather, and even more so the financial part has been the hardest.

5) What do you hope is the impact and meaning of your work?
I hope it inspires everyone; just by viewing my work and how I see the world.

A Laundry Day by Anthony Frazier
THE BEGINNING by Anthony Frazier
A Day In The Life Of…..by Anthony Frazier

Ms. Kendra Leigh by Anthony Frazier
TNP by Anthony Frazier
Peculiar Knots by Anthony Frazier
Peculiar Knots by Anthony Frazier