EMPIRE OF DIRT Artists
Jill Herlands | New York, New New York
Jill Herlands is a self-taught art-jewelry artist living and working in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. Jill began her metalwork career in 2015 and uses hand fabrication to create miniature sculptures. She works with precious metals and raw gemstones, as well as non-traditional materials such as concrete and resin.
Jill’s work recently won the Applied Art/Contemporary Craft category at Babyforest.com and received an Honorary Mention at ‘Fun House 18’ Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY. Her work has been featured in numerous articles, interviews and fashion and accessory blogs, and her exhibitions have been covered online and in print media. Jill’s work is featured in ‘JAMS’, an annual publication that highlights the best new work being made in the international field of jewelry and metals and one of her designs is on the cover of ‘Fierce and Frail: of Beings, Beasts and Seed’. She was also featured in Benchpeg’s article, ‘Micro Scenery and Architectural Influences.’
Curtis Taylor | Camarillo, California
My work acknowledges the contrasts between hard edge abstraction’s austere formalism and the expressive textures and luminescent color fields of abstract expressionism. Overlapping stencils to produce fluid, interconnected layers allows me to quickly compose, freely react to previous marks, and establish a unique visual vocabulary within each series. Serendipity exposes intriguing shape associations that define relationships of non-referential shapes. I transform the shapes created through this generative process into large-scale, hard-edge abstract sculptures which complete each installation by expanding the conversation between artworks and reiterating forms and colors contained within the two-dimensional works.
Clint Imoden | Oakland, California
Clint Imboden is an assemblage artist whose sculptures and immersive installations address contemporary social and political topics in unprecedented ways. His work recycles discarded and neglected items sourced from local flea markets and estate sales, making use of odds and ends from chest x-rays and prison mugshots, to bicycle rims, paintbrushes, and hammers. Imboden’s art challenges viewers to consider each individual item and the associative qualities it brings to the whole in order to decipher the significance of a piece.
Imboden’s work can be found in public collections both nationally and internationally, including, the San Antonio Museum of Art (TX), Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (Colombia), the Milwaukee Art Museum (WI), the di Rosa Preserve (CA), and the Alameda County Public Art Collection (CA).
Imboden has been commissioned by the SF Curran (CA), Hyatt Place Hotel (CA), and Sherwood Designs (CA).
Clint Imboden currently lives and works out of his Oakland home-studio.
Edgar Takoyaki | Ventura, California
Edgar Takoyaki developed his passion for photography after documenting his first visit to Japan with a point-and-shoot camera in 2005. In the years since, Edgar has studied the technical side of photography while developing his distinctive style. His subjects are varied, from portraiture and travel photography to elaborately staged sci-fi-noir scenes. Much of his work reflects the influence of Japanese culture and science fiction, and is distinguished by a dark, atmospheric quality that suggests a larger story behind each image.
Gary Westford | Salem, Oregon
My art historical and poetic/spiritual heroes are numerous: Belgian Surrealist Rene Magritte, 19th century European painters Caspar David Friedrich and Theodore Gericault; English poet W.H. Auden, 1960’s soul singer Marvin Gaye. The precedent of their work delights and informs me.
If I had to choose between Matisse and Gericault, I would choose Gericault every time. At the present moment we live in a fear and misinformation loaded culture. I believe that art has the power to correct that tragedy, and to proclaim that social justice and humankind is important. Gericault proved that when he painted his epic Raft of the Medusa (1818-19). I have never liked schoolyard bullies. I do like my oat meal lumpy. Someday I hope to paint visions of paradise. But not right now.
Jonas Lara | Oxnard, California
Just as history painters of previous centuries found their subjects in the realities of everyday life, Lara finds inspiration in his own spontaneous visual experience, relying on his ability to abstract unique perspectives from surroundings.
His mixed media works have a formal congruence deriving from a bold and edgy dialogue between photography and painting, empirical observation and artfulness, conceptual rigor and spontaneity, representation and abstraction. Jonas Lara’s intangible viewpoint fuses the flux of life and nature with the stillness of metaphysical reflection.
Alexander Elkholy | Seattle, WA
Gina M. | Los Angeles, California
In all my work there is a whimsy with a dark side. My personal narrative uses innocent childhood imagery like teddy bears, toys, and puppets, to create the reactionary expressions of my inner emotional life. I was raised by a funky and creative family. My mother owned and operated a puppet theater where my family spent many weekends developing shows, building puppets and hosting birthday parties. Art and creativity were a way of life.
For a child nurtured by puppets and their puppeteers, my affinity for the anthropomorphic was fashioned to help me cope and accept the divorce and divide of my family. In college, I studied interior design and color theory. As a sideline I attended workshops and received private training in painted trompe l'oeil, faux finish, and decorative wall treatments. This educational background influences all of my art making.
I select materials based on their authenticity to my process. I choose clay because of its fragility, its relationship to the earth, and its tradition in arts and craft. I incorporate recycled materials such as wood and found objects because of their nostalgia and reference to aging, decay and decomposition. Encaustic wax and resins speak to my faux finish experience and love of historic art materials. Combining assemblage with ceramics fills my current body of work. Trompe l'oeil “fool-the-eye” sculptures are made of high-fired ceramic clay, oxide washes, encaustic paint and found objects. Their homespun construction and textured surfaces simulate threadbare fabric, tattered fur, and the broken button eyes of careworn, faded toys and carnival games.
Tara Cronin | Captain Cook, HI
Janet Milhomme | Los Angeles, California
Janet Milhomme is a Los Angeles photographer and mixed-media artist who has worked in the fields of journalism, marketing, public relations and publishing. She has worked as a stringer for United Press International, special correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, West African correspondent for London-based South magazine, assistant editor and feature writer for Escape magazine and author for Pearson Publishing. Her photos have been published internationally in newspapers, magazines and books. In recent years she has participated in a number of juried and group exhibitions, some featuring notable curators from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco MOMA, J. Paul Getty Museum, Orange County Museum of Art, and Gagosian Gallery of New York. She has received awards from galleries as well as the New York Center for Photographic Arts, and Women in Photography International (WIPI). Her photos are held in private collections throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Scott Amling | Newport Beach, California
Scott Amling is a professional landscape photographer who travels throughout North America, Europe and Asia. His photographs capture the unique and obscured subjects and experiences from normal encounters that often go unnoticed. He is inspired by discovering new locations and experiencing the landscape of structures and other natural phenomena (such as seaweed beds ready for harvest at low tide in Japan). Having studied Architecture in college contributes to his ability to bring innovative perspectives and vantage points to his work.
Gradually moving from film and a large format camera to digital, Scott began to study and learn new techniques with premier landscape photographers, including Michael Levin. Over the last several years, he has created his own identifiable style of minimalist images with alluring and calming visuals.
He has won numerous awards including First Place for the "Seawall at Sunrise" at the 53rd Annual Newport Beach Art Exhibition, Civic Center, 2017 (professionally juried). Also, three of Scott’s images were selected as part of the “Enduring Images” collection at Branner Spangerberg Gallery in Redwood City, CA (juried by Michael Pauker, former curator of SF MOMA). In 2017, he won four Honorable Mentions from the International Photography Awards for his photographs of landscapes and nature. His art can be found in private collections in Newport Beach, Los Angeles, New York and Japan in late 2018, his work can be found in TAG Gallery in Los Angeles and will also be featured in a solo exhibition at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA (October 15th to November 15th).
He continues to travel the world looking for more mysterious and captivating locations to document. Most recently, he traveled to Southern England to capture some of the wet and rainy coastline.
Joslyn Lawrence + Brian Kuhlmann | Los Angeles, California
Lawrence and Kuhlmann have been collaborating for over a decade. Lawrence studied painting at the Kansas City Art Institute and Death Midwifery in Topanga Canyon. She’s influenced by the lush disappearing landscapes of her youth and explorations in loving the fact that everything dies, while Kuhlmann brings earned mastery and a classical eye to his work, both in technique and process.
The images from this series are printed with archival ink on virgin craft paper and hand varnished to ensure longevity- with a wish that each species of the trees themselves far outlast the archives.
Julianna Fecskes Phillips | Oakland, California
Julianna Fecskés Phillips is a visual artist working in the San Francisco Bay Area, based in Oakland, using a variety of media, including painting, sculpture and multi-media installations. She studied art at the California College of Arts (CCA) and SF Art Institute. She has a BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley, and holds a Masters in Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design. She has taught in architecture, interiors and industrial design at CCA since 1998. She was the principal of the multidisciplinary firm InsideOut Design in Oakland from 2003 – 2016. Her greatest passion, however, is art.
David Reisine | Santa Cruz, California
I went to the University of California at Santa Cruz as an undergraduate majoring in art. There, I focused on bronze and metal sculptures. The university was one of the few institutions with a working forge and there I learned many of the basic disciplines of bronze casting. While difficult, bronze and metal art have an internal energy that I do not think is evidence in any other form of art. I think my training in metal work has created a foundational basis of all of the art I have and probably will produce, at least in the near future.
After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, I stayed in Santa Cruz and continued to develop my metal art techniques. I took courses at Cabrillo College in blacksmithing and also developed expertise in different forms of welding. This has provided me with a strong fundamental background in metal sculpture which I use in my present day work.
I entered the MFA program at State University of New York at Albany with a major in metal sculpture. I graduated in June 2016 and my thesis project was a large composite of five different abstract sculptures. During my graduate studies, I also started experimenting with making metal sculptures of scary creatures, focusing on spiders.
I then entered a residency program in Metal Sculpture in at the Steel Yard in Providence RI where I started making the octopus creatures that are on display at this exhibit.
I have returned to California and presently have jobs at the SFO International Art Museum as a museum preparator and I am an instructor at the Crucible teaching welding and blacksmithing and where I am trying to restart my work on scary creatures.
Molly McCall | Carmel Valley, California
Born in Monterey California, Molly McCall was surrounded by infamous photographers and the West Coast Landscape tradition. With a family influence in clothing, she began her creative career designing her own label and selling to numerous specialty boutiques including Henri Bendel in New York, Fred Segal in Los Angeles, and Nordstrom, where she was awarded their most favored designer in California.
Molly’s earliest influence on art making came from her great grandfather, an illustrator for the New York Times, and grandfather, a professional watercolorist in Southern California. She started painting and photography at an early age, and later attended Laguna Beach School of Art. After nearly two decades as a designer in the fashion industry, Molly returned to painting and darkroom photography.
Molly McCall’s work has been recognized with several awards in 2018 including Honorable Mention for her work represented at the 5th Barcelona Biennial of Fine Art & Documentary, Best in Show Award from the Colorado Photographic Art Center, and the EMERGE Award from the Midwest Center for Photography. Several print publications have also featured her work including Architectural Digest magazine, Diffusion Magazine, and The Hand Magazine. Recent exhibitions across the country include the Los Angeles Center for Photography, Griffin Museum of Photography, Midwest Center for Photography, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Center of Fine Art Photography, the Martin Museum of Art, The Center for Contemporary Arts, Houston Center for Photography, SohoPhoto, The Image Flow, Center for Photographic Art, and the Museum of the Big Bend. Her work will appear Internationally for the first time in the 2018 Barcelona Biennale where it has been awarded with two Honorable Mention prizes. Molly resides in Carmel Valley California with her husband Gordon and their German Shorthaired Pointers.
Teona Yamanidze | New York, New York
Teona Yamanidze is an NYC based Georgian artist. In 2005 she moved to Tbilisi, Georgia and obtained her BFA degree in Visual arts from the state academy of Fine Arts in Georgia. In 2008 she took an interest to print journalism due to the Russian Georgian war that took place in August of that year and remained an active participant of the association of young journalists for the newspaper where she wrote articles about art. Political and press censorship in Russia during the conflict banned all opinions and material about the current political situation. In 2011 Teona left the newspaper and returned to painting. The same year she was awarded the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant from Canada and Research Scholarship from the Ministry of Culture in Georgia that gave her an opportunity to study in London University of Arts. While obtaining her postgraduate degree she became deeply invested in using documentary photos from hostilities. Her final degree show was concerned with the unknown facts from the 2008 war in Georgia. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including Winzavod Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow, Berlin International Art Week, Everson Museum of Contemporary Art.
Teona is a recipient of the Edmund S. Muskie Fellowship'17 for young leaders and is a Fulbright Alumni at Syracuse University, College of visual and performing arts.