Art in Motion: Interview with Ambreia Stephens

Art comes in many forms: sculpture, painting, ceramics, photography and more. Most artists seldom stick to one form of art to express themselves, like Ambreia Stephens. This young lady is an amazing painter and has started her journey in tattooing. Her work has been showcased at The Baltimore Gallery, Riopelle Studio, Lithouse, and more. Incorporating her love of portraits, the human body, and her unique outlook she has been able to make a mark and will continue to blaze a colorful trail.

When did you decide you wanted to be an artist?

I  decided that I wanted to be a full-time visual artist in December of 2015; it was right after a rocky breakup and losing a good job. Art is what kept me afloat that winter, been at it ever since...

What made you start tattooing?

I wanted my art to be a lasting impression. I want people to take it with them wherever they go..

How is a body different than a canvas?

Your canvas is alive and responsive so that always adds fun to your project! Your time is also limited when working on human canvas compared to leaving a canvas and returning to it at your leisure.

Who or what inspires you?

The city and my creative peers inspire me to be honest. You can find art everywhere in almost anything and that is how I get out of my creative slumps most of the time. Simply leaving the house, seeing people and the atmosphere helps. Working with Krissy The Butcher has definitely been a life changing experience as well! She is so full of life and creativity, it’s hard not to be inspired by her!

What is your role with Art with a Spark?

I'm the head instructor at Art With A Spark. My job is teaching people of all backgrounds that art can be enjoyable, whether you are a beginner or a Basquiat! Also, who doesn't like a smoke friendly paint class?

What has been your biggest achievement?

Being able to travel with my art has been one of my biggest dreams! So having the opportunity to be able to tattoo in Los Angeles for the Ladies Of Ink Tour has been an absolute blessing.

Where do you see yourself in a year?

Happy, healthy and expanding my brand in all ranges. Collaborations with more like-minded artists, more community functions, and Urban Truth Projects. Progression is always the goal. I'll still be tattooing and painting so I'll be traveling more to share my gift with people all over the world.

Paint and Power: Victoria Bayagich

Art is a huge part of history and culture. Everyday history is being made and culture is being formed and we have artists like Victoria Bayagich to thank for that.

A blossoming artist from Michigan she specializes in painting series and doing portraits. Bayagich has been featured in and has had exhibitions all over Southeast Michigan and continues to rise. She says “I believe there are three key ingredients necessary to make a successful image: composition, color, and content.”

Take a look at some of her amazing art and become a fan victoriabayagich.com

Mars visits the Octopus

September 2007.

 

A young me walks fresh out of the local, and long since closed, CD and record shop with Kanye's "Graduation" album tucked. I had been reminded by 106 & Park that the battle between Kanye West and 50 Cent for album sale supremacy had begun, and I had to go support my mans. Little did I know I was also purchasing a piece of artwork: the album cover by famed master contemporary artist, Takashi Murakami.
 
Fast-forward to the year 2017. I get word from a friend that the Chicago Museum Of Contemporary Art is having an exhibition that will be featuring Takashi's artwork throughout the years. Soon after, I flew out to visit the exhibit titled "The Octopus That Eats Its Own Leg" and was blown away by the work of the Japanese artist, as well as the many works of the local talents on display. I could go on and on about my Indica induced adventure through historically magnificent contemporary works, but my words would not do it justice. Instead, I took photos to help!
 
"The Octopus That Eats Its Own Leg" wraps up and leaves Chicago Sep 24, 2017. If you happen to be in the area, stop in and check out a fine display of brilliance by the master.

 

The Art of Death: Jamie Roadkill

Road trips are filled with sites of cities, small towns, mountains, trees, and inevitably roadkill. Most times we are grossed out by these severed animal bodies, but Jamie Roadkill sees art.

I stumbled upon her page on Instagram and was instantly infatuated with these golden skeletons I saw all over her page. Born in Pennsylvania, raised in New Jersey, and now residing in Brooklyn this artist creates these pieces to “promote awareness of the stigmas around death and decay, and promote the power of transformation”.

She uses 24k gold to gild over animal skeletons that are roadkill or died of natural causes including Fawns, Coyotes, Raccoons, and more! She turns these, otherwise, nasty dead animals into beauty. These statues are awesome conversational pieces that combat the stigmas of death and dead animals that are usually seen as a nuisance.

Check out her art below and her website JamieRoadKill.Com

Convos on Fashion over Apricot Wheels with Bree Gant

Shortly after the release of the Detroit Clothing Circle & Rock City Lookbook collab of pictorial greatness I was able to meet with the lead photographer and editor, Bree Gant, to speak more about the mag itself. The magazine consists of 3 different shoots from spring, summer, and winter of last year. The images in the magazine are so well put together that when Bree told me that I was in awe. The models are fashion and art enthusiasts wearing pieces from Detroit Clothing Circle, which is a high-end thrift store if you will, who also promotes local designers. There are a couple of garments from Serch-n-Destroy and Skandoughless featured as well. 

The more and Bree and myself spoke about Detroit's potential as a fashion realm, the more hopeful I grew. While the city already has a look, per say, young creatives feel the need to put a stamp on fashion with their own flavor. "Our mission is bringing artist together, really being a cornerstone of the tastemaking and art making scene in Detroit. Being a hub for that." Bree explains. "We want to cultivate influences and artist of actual Detroit". With both brands fueling a push distinctiviness, there's plenty to look forward to from Detroit Clthing Circle & Rock City Lookbook such as summer events as well as a fashion talk series.

Below are a few exclusives photos that Bree took this year. With her permission, of course, I'm more than happy to release these images (honored actually). She wishes to do more editorial shooting and from the looks of everything, she will. Soon.

Do You Watch “Anime?”

Sailor Moon, Pokemon, and Dragonball Z! Chances are that if you grew up in the 90s then you’ve watched at least one of these shows. Whichever one that may have been was probably your introduction to anime. However, like most kids, you likely didn’t realize this at the time. I wouldn’t realize it myself until sometime in the early 2000s, after Cartoon Network started airing Tenchi Universe on it’s Toonami block and Yu Yu Hakusho premiered on Adult Swim. Since then, I’ve recognized and viewed anime as a product of Japanese animation. That is, until Avatar: The Last Airbender began to air. Since then, and with the addition of similar shows that blur the line of what is and isn’t anime, I’ve had my doubts as to whether or not my simplistic definition was sufficient. So, I began searching for a better definition by acknowledging some of anime’s key characteristics.

Typical flatness and huge eyes aside, the techniques used in Japanese animation are just as distinctive as they are diverse! The variety of artistic elements, such as the use of color and lighting, and the character designs, like the spiked hair of a shonen protagonist and the soft fluffiness of a shojo MC, are testament to the sheer amount of distinguishing art styles that exist within the medium. It’s production tends to center itself around creating as realistic a setting as possible while utilizing camera effects to combine cinematography with hand-drawn art. Moreover, since anime focuses on realism in both movement and image, environments are produced in which audiences can become easily immersed. A great use of this technique can be found in the works of Satoshi Kon, director of Paranoia Agent and Paprika.

Gif of Satoshi Kon's Paprika to illustrate cinematography's use in anime to create realistic movement

Furthermore, the story-telling mechanism of these shows are easily distinguishable. While most American cartoons are intended for children, the themes of anime are multifaceted and complex. In fact, there are five basic types of anime. Each one is focused on a specific target demographic, with content that ranges from imaginative children’s stories intended to teach morals and principles to tales of a violent, psychological, or even pornographic nature about revenge, addiction, and love. Continue Reading