News

ccmStranger Factory and Cotton Candy Machine are teaming up to create a collaborative crossover exhibition, one big awesome event taking place simultaneously both at Stranger Factory Gallery in Albuquerque, NM and at Cotton Candy Machine in Brooklyn, NY on the same evening. All works by each artist will be split up evenly between both galleries, so no matter which location you attend you will experience the exhibition, each with a different perspective.

The show will feature new works by Glenn Barr, Dilek Baykara, Scott C, Katie Carillo, Karl Deuble, Jeremy Hush, Tim Lee, Tina Lugo, Jeremyville, Kozyndan, Stan Manoukian, Tara McPherson, Phil Noto, Kathie Olivas, Brandt Peters, Chris Ryniak, Amanda Louise Spayd, Lamour Supreme, Greg Rivera and Chet Zar.

The opening reception for both events will be Friday, July 11th from 7 – 11 pm, local time.

 

We’re so excited for the Vagaries opening on Friday! I caught up with some of the ladies featured in the show for a very short interview, and despite their insane work schedules, they were happy to oblige me. Read on for my chat with Carisa Swenson, Michele Lynch, and Allison Sommers.

Circus Posterus: How did you come up with the title and theme for the show? What does “Vagaries” mean to you?

Carisa Swenson: Given the varied nature of our mediums, styles and voice we each lend to our pieces, we felt it was best if we presented a title that didn’t trap us in a particular theme, giving us all freedom to create and follow our ideas wherever they took us. After tossing a few descriptive titles back and forth, we felt the word “Vagaries” (derived from the Latin “vagari”—wandering) best accomplished this. Using the definition helped push me to create new characters and forms as well as work with cast resin pieces.

Work in Progress by Kelly Denato

Work in Progress by Kelly Denato

CP: Did you all know each other already? If so, how did you meet?

Allison Sommers: Carisa and I know each other through mutual artist friends, she comes out to shows in the city every now and then.

Carisa: While both Allison and Kelly are NYC based artists, I only personally know Allison. We first met at a show opening in Brooklyn last year which we both had work in. As an admirer of Allison’s paintings, especially the altarpieces, it was quite exciting to finally chat with her.

Michele Lynch: I didn’t know anyone in the group, but I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone!

Work in progress by Allison Sommers

Work in progress by Allison Sommers

CP: Where do you draw your inspirations from?

Allison: Constant sketchbooking.

Michele: I’m inspired by fairy tales, flea markets, antique stores, a feeling, something someone says, Victorian society, so many different things!

Carisa Swenson: Animals and nature are huge sources of both comfort and inspiration. The works of Beatrix Potter and illustrator Bill Peet have always enchanted and influenced me, as well as the films of directors Jeunet and Caro (Delicatessen, City of Lost Children), the Brothers Quay and Ray Harryhausen, to the music of Kate Bush. Mythological tales of the trickster, and the desolation of old houses and abandoned buildings are never far from mind.

A delightful mole, by Carisa Swenson

A delightful mole, by Carisa Swenson

Allison, how long did it take you to perfect your colour palette(all those wonderful greys!)? 

Allison: Over the course of the last two or three years– there was a point a few years ago where I was fed up with the palette I was using then– it was rather garish and story-book-ish– and decided to try to strip myself down to (near-) monochrome and build up again. I ended up staying with the greys (and their related greens) for the most part, and later acquired the particular reds I use now through a serendipitous art-material-accident.

michelelynch

Works in progress by Michele Lynch

 

Michele, how did you come across the steampunk influence in your work, and does it permeate the rest of your life as well?

Michele: The steampunk influence came about because when I first envisioned the sculptures, I could see them as half human and half mechanical, working for someone that had made them half machine, so adding machine parts to them came naturally. I wish I was active in the steampunk community! I think it would be so much fun to dress up in all those wonderful costumes! But sadly I just haven’t had the time.

Work in progress by Carisa Swenson

Work in progress by Carisa Swenson

Carisa, you’ve been branching out from your standard doll body shape, and it is delightful! Have you encountered any specific challenges with these newer designs?

Carisa: Thank you! Well, the sculpting isn’t an issue, but sewing up the bodies and clothing them has presented some challenges, most notably with the rabbit/bird hybrids due to the set of their wings and legs. Avian proportions add a whole new layer to the pain of sewing for me!

“Vagaries”  opens June 6th and run through July 6th, with an opening reception on Friday, June 6th from 6 – 9 PM.
Stranger Factory
109 Carlisle Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
505-508-3049

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smallNot in tune with our social media outlets? Well, we got a wrap up for you to sing your shiny teeth into!

This week, we showcased many works in progress from the talented artists gracing our June exhibitions “Vagaries” and “Transfigure“. We get a small look into what Carisa Swenson, Kelly Denato, Michelle Lynch, and Katie Carillo have in the works.

To catch up, flip through the gallery.

Carisa

Picture 1 of 4

 

10312470_311260039028532_8769107342838707190_nIt has been almost a full month since our own Brandt Peters started his sketching campaign with all the fans out there. “Creatures of the Sunday Night” started off as an interactive way for any skill level of artist to contribute and draw together with Brandt in the same Instagram studio, and the success of this project has been tremendous.

Every Sunday, Brandt posts a theme on his Instagram page for everyone to be inspired by for a 24 hour character design challenge! So far, the character themes have ranged from cryptozoology and Mother’s Day mutations to circus ghosts and a haunted yellow brick road. Our forum and Instagram feed(follow along with with hashtag #creaturesofthesundaynight) have been laden with amazing submissions from all around the world and Brandt is even there to give feedback and encourage ideas like:

Another fantastic exercise is redraw your #creaturesofthesundaynight idea again and only give yourself 5 minutes… Next redraw that same piece but give yourself 3 minutes… 1 minute… 30 Sec… 15 Sec. Watch what happens with each pass. You will start to adapt to the shorter time frames, and you will be forced to put down your vision faster, taking shortcuts, trimming down details, editing, becoming faster and faster. You will start noticing details you like in each pass and you will bring those details to each shorter time frame (hence editing), but will take risks. This exercise will train you to see details faster, make more decisions on the spot, help you to develop your own drawing style, etc. Push yourself!

It seems everyone has grasped this Sunday undertaking with open arms, and we thought we would show off a few submissions that have made it in under the 24 hour deadline over the past few weeks!

from CarlosAguilar
CarlosAguilar

from Le_Mal
Le_MaL

 

from Creeptoons

creeptoons

 

from TashaLlama
TashaLlama

With only a month in, this has been a great exercise for new and experienced artists alike. Get ready for a new theme this Sunday, and get those pencils ready!

 

10296715_1431186700468742_1162862585_nIf you haven’t kept up with our social media outlets, we got a roundup on some things you may have missed.

We covered a lot of the development and works in progress from all the artists in the upcoming Vagaries group show at Stranger Factory. To put it simple, Carisa Swenson, Michele Lynch, Kelly Denato, and Allison Sommers are on fire.

Now for the proof:

Carisa has been sculpting like mad the past few months for the show, and we get to see some nice hands and jackalopes in progress.
Hands for Digging

Michele Lynch has also been putting her sculpting tools to their utmost potential. Look at the flowers and bird details.

10177519_10200830116675409_659951453_n

Kelly Denato gave us a little taste of her paintings underway.
10296979_790625104283476_1138439470_nWe also got to see the magnificent work from Allison Sommers!
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We will have plenty more developments next week from all the artists, and some new exciting work from Katie Carillo.
Keep watching!

“Vagaries”  opens June 6th and run through July 6th, with an opening reception on Friday, June 6th from 6 – 9 PM.
Stranger Factory
109 Carlisle Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
505-508-3049

 

The Toy Art 2.0 book is not the first coffee table book devoted to toy art on the market, but it is likely the most comprehensive – not just profiling artists and designers, but also collectors and gallery owners. At 4 pounds, it is also likely the heaviest. Most importantly, it is driven by people from within the toy community! The book is spearheaded by Okedoki, a Canadian artist known for toys such as Benny the Dreamer, with former toy blogger Jeremy Brautman(Jeremyriad) on editing and interview duties.

kathie_brandt

Kathie and Brandt’s page spreads in the book!

Excitedly for us, the Circus Posterus collective is featured a lot in the book. Brandt Peters and Kathie Olivas, Chris Ryniak, and FERG are interviewed, alongside many of our friends. Jeremy is a good interviewer, and includes the usual introductions and surfacey questions, but also digs for details on toy productions, frustrations with the artistic process and common artists myths. Still, even though the seasoned toy community members can find lots of new ideas in the book, it remains accessible and a perfect introduction for newcomers to designer toy art.

Where this book excels though, is spotlighting the gears that make the toy industry run. I loved reading the interviews with Julie B. of Pretty in Plastic, the master sculptor behind some of the industry’s most well loved figures, as well as the essay by Kirby Kerr, although writing about his life as a toy collector and not the gallery director/co-owner for Rotofugi. In addition, several of our own Sideshow community are in the book as well – Stacyjean and Sara Harvey, two wonderful women that we look forward to seeing every year. It is also more than obvious, looking at collectors like Stacy and Sara(and by the way, there are pages and pages of full colour and absolutely drool worthy toy shelves that make it into the book), that collecting is its own art form and passion project.

An outtake from the book of Stacyjean's wonderful collection.

An outtake from the book of Stacyjean’s wonderful collection.

 I’ve always felt that most “art books” are great machines to promote artists, which is all well and good, but the true heart of every community has always been its people…every single one of them, not just the ones selling stuff. As Jeremy told me, “When I came on board the project, I read all 500 pages and started cutting it down to a reasonable amount of text. Along the way, I noticed that this wasn’t a book about the world of toy art ten years ago, but rather the Internet-enabled world of toy art: emphasis on community and collaboration.”

I’ve always been blown away at the toy art community’s willingness to embrace the outsiders, the newbies, and the slightly lost and wide eyed. We’re a community largely based around making art and design accessible, and I think it’s always been one of our best aspects. At the end of the day, our community is the most important thing to us at Circus Posterus, and I am excited that this book chose to highlight the diverse and fascinating community that has evolved around the toy scene in the past ten years.

Quotes from the book:

“We started as outsiders, and forming a group just made sense. Everyone contributes something.”—Kathie Olivas (about the Circus Posterus collective)

“I enjoy art in an accessible form made by people I admire, and I can create a world around me.”—Sara Harvey

“I hope by sharing images of pieces I’ve collected, I’m contributing back to the cycle.”—StacyJean

“It’s an awesome, punk rock response to what we liked as kids.” —Chris Ryniak (about toy art)

toyartbook_cp1

You can learn more about the Toy Art Book, featuring Circus Posterus artists, at http://www.toyartbook.com and purchase it at http://www.toyartbook.storenvy.com.

You can also join our community at The Sideshow forums(one of us. one of us.). We like the stuff you like.