Check out the Miami Foundation’s Give Miami Day and see which local nonprofits are raising money online. If you want to make a donation to a local nonprofit with a notable cause, The LAB Miami has a few recommendations you can explore. Wynwood’s very own O Cinema is participating and even won the “Sleepwalker” incentive prize for $500. Experience Aviation is another great local organization participating in Give Miami Day. Experience Aviation is a nonprofit focused on strengthening young people’s skills in science, technology, engineering, by developing hands on projects for participants. You should also check out The Miami Rail, an independent editorial about art and culture. Give Miami Day has already raised $462,168 and will be accepting donations until midnight tonight, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to support your local nonprofits!
Lori D is an artist and animator living in Portland, Oregon. Her beautiful work is part of our "Good for Nothing" exhibit that is opening tonight. The party starts at 7 and we can’t wait for all of you to see it. Fellow artist, Dillon Froelich asked her a few questions:
Whether it’s painting, commercial illustrations, or animations, each piece you produce has such a visible sense of humor. Do you find creating work that makes people smile important when working on a new series?
A lot of the time when I’m working I’m just sort of playing and exploring ideas and letting the narratives unfold so I think maybe the humor comes from posing questions for myself in the image(s) when I’m working and then coming up with little visual punchlines for my own amusement. Hopefully the humor is legible by others too!
It is so exciting to see your world come to life through your animation projects. How do you like working on animation verses painting? Do you find zines being helpful in creating a storyboard for upcoming animations?
Thank you! Painting is so much more immediate so I enjoy it for that reason and also because I get to play with color a lot more. Animation takes a long time to bring to life usually so it is more of an ongoing commitment to an idea. But there’s nothing quite like seeing your drawings come to life when you line them all up in a row. I use zines more as a way to work with text or to share specific information, or a collection of ideas. I like that you can put a handmade thing like a zine into a lot of hands and over a long period of time for a very low expense. Zines are also interesting to work with because they too are time based in a way; in that it offers a little experience for the reader that isn’t over as fast as if they were just facing off with a painting. They can hold a zine in their hands and keep it until they are ready to put it into the hands of somebody else. That’s a special quality about zines. They can have a long life and reach a lot of people.
Along with designing multiple skateboard graphics, you also write a monthly column in The Skateboard Mag. Where do you think your style fits within the skateboarding world?
I haven’t been doing the column lately in The Skateboard Mag but I feel lucky to have been able to do that for SO LONG! Thanks so much to Kevin Wilkins at The Skateboard Mag for making that possible. I think my style fit(s) into the skateboarding world because I am and always will be a devotee of that community. Now that I skateboard less often than I’d like to, I feel like maybe I’m growing into an old lady a bit so now maybe it’s time for the new voices to dominate: like your brother’s and yours! The many hours and days and years I have spent rolling that little sled all over the earth will always define who I am. It gave me a different kind of awareness about people and landscapes. I hope to be healthy and able enough to keep skating for years to come.
There is always an overwhelming sense of culture, history and tradition in your paintings. Do you find yourself pulling inspiration from a specific nationality or is it mainly fictional?
I am very much inspired and informed by my own experience growing up in a rural town in California and the temporal cultural specificity woven into that experience. I often revisit archetypal characters of the places and times I have lived in. I am also in constant awe of folk art from around the world and the way people from a spectrum of cultures and climates represent their own regional characters, historical figures, and heroes.
Your use of patterns and outfits is very authentic. Is there a time period or fashion style you admire the most? Ever make your own textiles?
Hahaha! Wow, thank you! I have never been complimented on authenticity of the outfits I paint and animate before. I am kind of oblivious when it comes to fashion but I imagine somebody else could probably point out better than I could what time period or fashion style I am tending towards. I have become increasingly obsessed with cowboy boots and I also enjoy painting clothes with tassels and fringe. I grew up around a lot of farmers, cowboys and people with monster trucks, motorcycles and muscle cars so I imagine the kind of outfits those folks would strut around in make up a big section of my mental costume department. I the people in my work usually look very American and occasionally they are donning more Russian or Ukrainian styles. I have never made my own textiles per se… unless you count knitting? I am addicted to knitting. But I have never made any prints for fabrics or anything. I hope that one day I will get a chance to do that!
What better way to consummate a day of relishing in the art at Miami’s Art Basel than going to check out some live music! You can catch Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor and Neon Indian on Friday, December 7 at Bardot for a more intimate musical experience. If you are interested in a more interactive musical performance, you should check out Flying Lotus and Dan Deacon at Grand Central on Saturday, December 8. Known for his live performances, musician and composer Dan Deacon takes audience participation to the next level with the creation of an interactive audience performance app for smart phones. In a recent interview, Deacon says that “for a while [he has] been thinking of new ways to recontextualize the audience and making them the performers or focal points of the performance”. The Dan Deacon Smartphone App enables Deacon to synchronize light and sound on the phones of audience members based on their various locations in the venue.
Ben Brough is an American painter and collage artist who was born in California and raised in Hawaii. Brough’s spectacular paintings capture the significance of his Pacific upbringing and his affinity for surfer/ skate culture.
The last time we spoke, you were really enthusiastic about your “Ctrl + Alt + Del” concept featured in “The Last of the Outside Enjoyers”. What lead you to explore this idea? What is its significance in relation to Good for Nothing?
When I was a kid growing up we played outside till dinner time. When we “liked” something we were either doing it or about to or trying to. These days kids play outside still but times are different, there is that digital element that stands in the way. You have that option to go outside and like something or stay inside and look at it on a screen. We all know what that button does and the concept behind this particular pieces kids playing outside flying a kite or whatever and the button has been pushed. The act of outside doing is disappearing.
Surfing has clearly played a huge role in your artwork from the beginning. Is there a surfer whose surfing style you feel is directly related to your artistic style?
Not really someone’s style, but I know I did like all the comics and art in the mags growing up. “Maynard and the Rat” and Bob Penuelas’ "Wilbur Kookmeyer" were a huge influence on me. I was and still am wrapped in surfing and skateboarding cultures. I loved getting surfer and thrasher mags looking at all the artwork on boards and in the articles… I still do.
I’ve always noticed “33” signed in the bottom right of each of your pieces. What is the history behind the number?
It's my initials “BB”. When I sign my name the B's looked like 3's to me so I thought “33” looked cooler. I've been using it for over 20 years and it has become a very significant number to me, I see it everywhere. I think the number itself holds mystical powers.
What kind of movies did you grow up on as a kid? Any relationship between the films and the way your style has developed?
I grew up on a lot of movies… Classics from the 80’s and 90’s, comedy, drama, horror. I watched and still watch almost anything, I love cinema. It’s the same as music to me. I’ll watch the same movie over and over like a song. As far as my style, I’m not sure. I’ve always drawn the way I do but I definitely use content from films.
We can’t wait to have Ben Brough’s work on display in “Good for Nothing” at The LAB Miami starting December 7. Make sure to come by and check it out!
Check out today’s article in The Miami Herald about Innovate MIA, a series of entrepreneurship events in Miami that “will shine a light on the city’s growing tech startup community and its position as the gateway to Latin America”. The LAB gets a shout-out for its commitment to give co-working space to the winning team of HackDay as a prize.
Innovate MIA will kick-off December 6 with IncubateMiami’s Demo Day and will end with America’s Venture Capital Conference December 14. You can check out the full event calendar here!
In a recent interview, fellow featured illustrator and “Good for Nothing” curator Dillon Froelich asks Batchelor about his work, his inspiration, and his expectations for the future.
The hyperrealist detail in your work is absolutely remarkable. Do you think coloured pencil is the best way to achieve such precise detail? How long would you say it takes to complete each piece?
There are other mediums that would produce a better detail, but I just love the simplicity of pencils and paper, It feels very democratic and not elitist at all, the art and ideas i make are for everybody, there’s nothing really complicated about it, I like to use simple means to convey important messages. The drawing I’ve done for the show took about a month to complete, including the planning which took about a week or so, I had to make sure each product was right, and to make sure that it worked for an American audience. I thought it would take a lot longer and didn’t expect to finish it so soon. The time it takes varies with every drawing, but i do think it is important to spend time on the work you make, don’t rush things.
Do you think living in England has a significant effect on your style and inspiration?
Sure, of course, English culture, our way of life, our media affects my perspective, It has allowed me to have both very liberal views about the world and taught me the importance of being critical of our establishments and our government. I would like to make more art about England, and i would like to learn how to make art that is more political in nature.
Most of your artwork is clearly inspired by modern culture and the effects of globalization. Would you say your influences are drawn from current events reported in the somewhat exaggerated use of the media today or from historical pretenses?
Two years ago i took part in a volunteering program where I lived with a family in a small community in Nepal and with other volunteers we helped to build a secondary school, with no machinery, this took about a year to complete, with each group of volunteers coming and working on the project for a few months at a time. My experiences in Nepal changed who I was as a person. Nepal is the 15th poorest country in the world, and to witness the issues and problems many face day to day, made all my problems that I was facing at the time seem completely irrelevant, we have so much, and we take so much of it for granted, being there helped me to reform my perspective of the world and consider things I wouldn’t necessary have considered before.
My goal is to make art that can act as Activism, and i want to make a more conscious effort to try and combine the two. People can be so apathetic to people facing real problems. Take what is happening in Gaza for instance, our leaders are doing nothing. This kind of thing just enrages me. I followed to U.S elections since July and watched the millions of gaffes Mitt Romney made, It was incredibly saddening to watch a man running to be arguably the most powerful man in the world show a clear disregard for people facing poverty and for minorities living in the U.S facing so much hardship. I don’t understand how you can put profit over people, it’s disgusting.
All my influences are drawn from global issues, they are sometimes drawn from current events and i definitely keep on track with what is happening out there. History is important though, especially for context, It’s important to gain a greater understanding. I’ve been working on a project that focuses on two tribes of hunter gatherers and the issues they face with modernity, and i’ve been researching a lot about early human hunting techniques, such as persistence hunting, where you run your prey down to the point of exhaustion. I’m also a runner so find that stuff so interesting.
I’m assuming your Google image search history must be pretty intense. Do your visual references usually come from the web or do you have a collection of books, newspapers and encyclopedias? Are there some components of your work that are entirely fictional?
I collect National Geographics, I’ve got hundreds. I want to start collecting LIFE magazine as well. I have a pretty massive archive of images and even if you don’t notice it I research everything about a subject and try to keep the attention to detail as high as possible. The problem with collecting images off the web especially something like google images is that you won’t totally know for sure how many other people have used that image for something, so even though i do tend to try and use images that are from creative commons, it is important to search hard for that perfect image, and also picking interesting and irregular subjects helps to keep things original. And that’s why it’s important to not get lazy about it, appropriated imagery is a massive part of my art practice and so i have to be through and creative about finding images to use. There are some components that are fictional or added, but not often.
In regards to the theme represented in Good for Nothing, how do you feel social networking will impact future generations?
I totally like using Facebook and twitter to post and spread information to and with other people, i think that is the single greatest thing it’s done for us in terms of mass communication, twitters role in the arab spring and the occupy movements was really important, if not vital.
But, not everyone uses these sites for that, like consumerism, social media becomes ingrained in daily lives because it becomes the platform for how we build and make new relationships with our friends. I think it’s quite scary just how integrated it’s become, and what’s worst is the sheer amount of data it collects on people for advertising.
I was born in 1988, (so not that long ago!) so i’ve been fortunate to have grown up without the internet always being there and being so ingrained, I had dial-up for years and years, before wikipedia there was Encarta, an interactive encyclopaedia and you had to really know how to search for stuff, nothing was quick. I still like that though, it all seems too easy now, wheres the challenge. Now, everything is so connected, you can post photos of what you’re doing at any given time of the day and everyone you’re connected with will know where you are and who you’re with.
For my sisters generation it’s different, it’s apart of life, not something new that appeared and became popular when you were a teenager. It’s like that for every generation i guess, that’s why people say kids aren’t what they used to be, things just move forward. We just communicate with each other differently. Person to Person, letters, telegrams, telephones, emails, mobiles, social network.
But nothing has radically changed the way we communicate like Facebook or Twitter i don’t think.
The use of Twitter to communicate exactly what one thinks about and share that with absolutely anyone is definitely setting new precedents on how we now communicate with each other, there is something about twitter that makes us believe it’s okay to say certain things that we wouldn’t on any other form of pre-existing social media, telephone, email, letter. It’s like there is a veil of anonymity that allows you to say what ever you want and feel like you’re not going to get caught. For some reason, twitter has made everyone believe that we all have a voice and what we say is important. But instead we ramble on about irrelevant information and insult people.
For instance, in the UK there have been multiple cases of people using twitter to abuse, harass, bully and defame others. You can face prosecution for posting something grossly offensive to thousands of people, and some say this threatens freedom of speech. Twitter allows anyone to publish what is on their mind to anyone around the world, whilst not requiring it’s users to adhere to the same standards of the media, newspapers, i believe it will highly damaging if we all suddenly became self publishing via the internet, a line has to be drawn.
We’re looking forward to having Batchelor’s politically charged artwork at The LAB Miami. You can come check it out beginning December 7.