We are very pleased to announce Tatsuki (Taz) Hakoyama and his work Awaken The Giant (oil on assemblage) as winner of the Juror’s Award for Golden Apple’s Spring 2019 online exhibition AWAY: Other Places, Cultures and People. The winning entry is seen below (as well as additional works by Taz), along with an interview conducted by Golden Apple Art Residency Director Shelley Stevens.

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Tell us about yourself and your artistic journey:
I am a Japanese artist currently living in Grand Rapids, MI. I received my Bachelor’s in art from Central Michigan University, and my MFA in Painting from Kendall College of Art & Design, where I currently teach courses as an adjunct faculty. I have always enjoyed doodling, but it was during my undergraduate studies when I focused on the arts as a career.

What inspires you or your work?
A lot of my ideas come from questioning the relationship between values and behaviors as it relates to culture, whether it results from geographical, socio-economic, or generational differences. I also enjoy the idea of creating and manipulating space through the painting process.

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What is your artistic process?
My work (especially those from the Searching for the Middle Path series) usually starts with an idea, and I begin to create a list of objects. Symbols that get selected are worked into the composition, almost like a puzzle. In some of my newer figurative works, I have been trying a different approach where I start with a pose for the figure and use that as a starting point to explore different implied narratives.

What has been one of the biggest struggles for you as an artist?
I think one of them is finding the right audience for my work. Especially in some of my works that were based on my personal background, I used symbols and references that were sometimes esoteric and I felt made it harder to connect with some people. I also struggle with deciding on a direction with my work. I often end up with a few different types of work that I create concurrently, which means that it takes longer for me to complete a finished body of work that I can use to submit for proposals.

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Among your works, which one is your favorite and why?
My favorite changes over time. At the moment, my favorite is probably the diptych, “You Gave Us the Roots and the Wings, and Now We Rise to Fall Once Again”. I like to think that I was able to use both Japanese and western symbols to feed off each other as a diptych. I also like a new painting, Enter the Storm, which is from (one of) my current series. I switched up my painting style (as well as color for underpainting and painting medium) for my current series, and this piece was the first one where I am satisfied with the results.

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What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, either personally or professionally, that has helped shape your artistry?
It’s not quite advice, but more so something I have been reflecting on recently. I have been thinking about what one of my artist friends said about including abstraction within the representational approach. I still work in a fairly representational manner, but I have been thinking about having more ambiguity in the content, so the paintings represent abstract ideas rather than carefully thought-out symbols.

What do you see next for you in terms of studio work?
I am planning to get enough paintings done for my current series so that I can begin sending proposals for solo exhibitions, and go from there.

Thank you, Taz, and many congratulations on your Juror’s Award!

Golden Apple is happy to announce the collaborative team of artist Julie Tyslicky and poet Savannah Jezowski as the winners of the Juror’s Award for the Winter 2018 online exhibition titled Peace. The winning entry (composed of both image and text) can be seen below (with some additional artwork by Julie), along with an interview conducted with both Julie and Savannah by Golden Apple Art Residency Director Shelley Stevens.

Like pebbles on the shore
together make a beach,
no two alike, 
appearances aside,
we are one soul at heart.
Though different in temperament and strength,
we feebly grasp 
to find that peace
the beach already claimed.

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Julie and Savannah, tell us about yourself and your artistic journey:
J:
I’ve been drawing/creating for 52 years. I grew up in Marshall, MI and moved to Coleman in 2012. I became involved with the Midland Center for the Arts and took classes with Armin Mersmann, Ruth Howell and Kathy Jones, which led to all kinds of new skills. I began to compete in juried shows and have participated in the Greater Michigan Art Exhibition for several years, winning the Jurors Award of Merit in 2018, as well as winning awards in ArtWalk of Mt. Pleasant. I now teach drawing fundamentals, colored pencil and woodburning at ArtReach in Mt. Pleasant, Studio 23 in Bay City, and at the Midland Center for the Arts. Drawing and creating helps me deal with real life and real feelings.
S: I live in an old farmhouse with my husband and wee warrior princess in Amish country in southern Michigan. I started writing when I was in elementary school before I even knew how to formulate a paragraph. My first book was a little thing I bound with yarn and illustrated with crayons. I never outgrew my love for putting words down on paper, and now my dream of being a full-time writer and freelancer has finally come true. I run a small publishing house called Dragonpen Press which offers services to other writers, such as editing, interior formatting and cover design. As much as I love helping other writers, I like writing better. I love to create gritty worlds that reflect hope out of the darkness. Some of my stories have been compared to “Dickens with magic” because of the grim world-building and colorful characters. I don’t write as much poetry as I used to, but my two-year-old loves rhyming storybooks, so I have been getting back into it this past year.

What inspires you or your work?
S:
I find music and other books to be the greatest source of inspiration. I especially enjoy movie soundtracks and artists like Josh Groban, Christina Perri, Casting Crowns, and Daughtry…quite a mix of styles, but I need different things for different projects.
J: Nature inspires me. Trees, animals, horses, rocks, tree bark, roots that twist and turn or the way a vine crawls up and over things in its growth cycle…small things that most people don’t notice. I draw a lot of rocks because I feel a certain energy from those I’ve collected. Every rock I pick up to draw has its own abstract and unique quality which inspires me to portray those qualities in my drawings.

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What is your artistic process?
S:
I usually start with a vague idea…a character, a scenario, a mashup of two ideas. Then I cobble together a rough outline. I don’t get very detailed with my outlines because I like to leave myself free to follow the story/poem where it wants to go. I never plan the climax until I’m well into the piece because the characters don’t tell me right away what they want to happen. Sometimes it’s a total surprise to me how things turn out. For poetry, I tend to do a lot of word associations and scribble down words and other related ideas as quickly as I can until I have a messy work board. Then I can start pulling out the themes I like best and format them into complete thoughts.
J: My process begins with choosing my subject. I work both from real life and from my own photos. I polish each rock before drawing it and I keep in mind the direction of the light, adjusting the composition as I go. In wood-burning, I need to consider the woodgrain because it’s part of the piece.

What has been one of the biggest struggles for you as an artist?
S:
Self-doubt and discouragement, definitely. In a world where the publishing market is flooded with would-be writers, it’s very difficult to find your place in the world. Getting rejection after rejection can be very discouraging to the artistic spirit. I finally learned that rejections aren’t a bad thing, and that the trick is finding the right piece for the right audience at just the right moment.
J:
Creating an artist statement without directing the viewer too much…I prefer the viewer to come up with their own conclusions. I also struggle with the idea that as an artist my work “should” depict some kind of political statement. There is so much uneasiness and unrest in the world already and it’s pointed out to us everywhere we look. I would rather create art that causes people to think about happy places where they feel safe and peaceful.

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Among your works, which one is your favorite and why?
S:
It’s hard to choose a favorite…whatever I’m working on now is usually my favorite. The characters kind of get into your head and take over your life for awhile. If I had to choose just one, it would probably be the first novella I had accepted for publication by a small publishing house: “Wither” in the Five Enchanted Roses anthology. I put so much of myself into that story and its success gave me the courage to finally start pursuing my writing full-time.
J: Right now my work titled Lemons on the Rocks is probably my favorite, followed by the only self-portrait I’ve drawn which I like. The Lemons piece came about as an assignment in which my instructor wanted me to draw fruit and I didn’t want to, so I compromised and drew rocks with lemons, which was fun. This piece gave me lots of ideas for future projects and pieces.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, either personally or professionally, that has helped shape your work?
S:
To finish something. It’s fun to jump from idea to idea as the fickle muse drags you about the hundreds of ideas bubbling in your imagination, but until you force yourself to finish something, you can never do anything with your ideas.
J: “Your work just has to be plausible, not perfect. You can’t create the object itself, you can only create an illusion of it”. This was so helpful and freeing of my need to be such a perfectionist. It allowed me to be okay with making “flops” and in realizing that I learn more through making mistakes.

What do you see next for you in terms of your work?
S:
I’m in the middle of a Five Year Plan to finish a six-book fantasy series. I try to publish one or two novels and several short stories, children’s books and novellas every year. I may dabble in some unfamiliar genres to see what seems to take off for me and my readers. After that, I plan to keep writing whatever the muse brings my way.
J: I see a continuation of additional rock pieces created with colored pencil and graphite, but I also see new works with the wood-burning tool, a tool usually relegated to “folk art”. I’d like to explore wood-burning drawing to create fine art. You never know what will happen when you ask yourself the questions “I wonder…” and “what if…?”

Thank you, Julie and Savannah, and congratulations on your Juror’s Award!

We are pleased to announce artist Barbara Schilling as the first place award winner of the Spring 2018 Golden Apple online exhibition titled Still Life and juried by Stefynie Rosenfeld of New York.  Barbara's entries can be seen below (beginning with the winning image) along with an interview conducted with Barbara by Golden Apple Art Residency Director Shelley Stevens.  Additional information about Barbara and her work can be seen on her website www.barbaraschilling.com.

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Tell us about yourself and your artist journey:
I grew up in a very small farming community and had very limited exposure to art, but I loved to draw and my parents encouraged me in it.  When I graduated high school I moved to Grand Rapids to pursue an education in Art.  Life took control and landed me eventually as a single mother of two starting my own business and self study in Art Restoration.  I spent 30 years in art restoration and didn't have a lot of time to practice my own art although I did what I could, painting in the evenings and on weekends.  In July 2017 I retired from art restoration and am finally focused on doing what I set out to do over 40 years ago...I'm painting!

What inspires you or your work?
I am deeply in love with nature.  It fascinates me at every turn.  Whether flower, tree, bug, bird or mammal...I am drawn to see it closer, touch it, be a part of it.  Painting is a way I can try to communicate that passion with others.  It is a way that helps me to better see it and become more than just a casual observer.  To paint something honestly, emotionally, one must really invest the time to understand it.

What is your artistic process?
I love oil paints.  I have interests in other mediums, but oils draw me in like none other.  To master the art I believe one must practice it regularly.  Whether an artist chooses to paint abstractly, expressionistically or realistically, they need to understand and master the fundamentals.  I find I need to work in a variety of methods and subject matter to keep my excitement alive.  I see myself as a cross combination of representational, impressionism, expressionism.

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What has been one of the biggest struggles for you as an artist?
Finding a balance between marketing and creating.  I think artists today must be willing to assume a degree of their own promotion.  The days of leaving it all up to a Gallery to promote your work just isn't enough in this technology-driven world.  I'd rather just paint, but the need to pay the bills makes selling somewhat of a priority.  Sadly, that can create a lot of stress that is not conducive to the creative process.

Among your works, which one is your favorite and why?
I'm fickle.  What I loved yesterday I don't love today.  Sometimes I change my mind about how I feel towards a painting several times during and after the process is complete!  I often "rework" older paintings because they just are no longer satisfying me.  Today I'm particularly proud of my piece "Inner Glow" (www.barbaraschilling.com).  It is a painting that I feel I accomplished very well.  It has good drawing, design, color, technique and emotion.  But by next year, I might be entirely bored with it.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given, either personally or professionally, that has helped shape your artistry?
"Nothing replaces practice"  and "Brush miles"

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What do you see next for you in terms of studio work?
I am really excited about doing more with the highly textured impressionism I've started recently.  I have been studying some Contemporary Russian Impressionists and I just love their use of broken color and textures.  I want to find how that fits to me personally as an artist.

Thank you, Barbara, and congratulations on your first-place award!

 

We are proud to announce artist Alina Poroshina as the first place award winner of the Fall 2017 Golden Apple online exhibition titled The Intimate Portrait juried by Stevie Rose of New York.  Alina's entries can be seen below (beginning with the winning image) along with an interview conducted with Alina by Golden Apple Art Residency Director Shelley Stevens.  Additional information about Alina and her work can be seen on her website www.alinaporoshina.wordpress.com.

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Tell us about yourself and your artistic journey:
Alina Poroshina has a Masters in Fine Arts from the Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she studied painting, illustration, and art history. Her artwork focuses mainly upon expressions of the human form through themes of religious imagery, folklore, and elements of fantasy. Marc Chagall, Lucian Freud, and Leonardo Da Vinci are counted among her many artistic influences. She has been featured at several galleries and exhibits in New York, California, Grand Rapids, Chicago, and Baltimore.   Alina now focuses on art education, portfolio development, and commissioned artwork.

What inspires you or your work?
Art allows me to take memories, dreams, and sensations and make them tangible. I’m inspired by people and events in my life and I tie them in the context of art history and human spirituality.

What is your artistic process?
I was inspired to paint the glassblowers when as an emerging artist I was offered a residency by Ben Birney who co owned Global glassworks in Lansing,MI.  I was the only painter in that building and I frequently went down to the torch room to observe glass artists doing their magic.

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What has been one of the biggest struggles for you as an artist?
Finding your own voice as an artist – I was lucky to develop a painting style that was intuitive and expressive early on than for a few years I was experimenting with different media and styles until eventually I went back to my own voice.   I think its a normal process for a painter to explore different techniques, until you settle on the one that is your true to your own voice.

Among your works, which one is your favorite and why?
Abduction of New Orleans
A year after hurricane Katrina I painted a very interesting and symbolic painting.   I am attached to that art on a visceral level, having experience loss and displacement myself.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, either personally or professionally, that has helped shape your artistry?
The world that you live in creates enough impediments – do not become your art works road block.  Art will find its audience.

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What do you see next for you in terms of studio work?
Working simultaneously on figure painting and still life where I will be exploring different textures and color theories.

Thank you, Alina and congratulations for your first-place award!