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Artist Feature [ Kate Long Stevenson ]

Brittany TaylorComment
Kate Long Stevenson

It's hard for me to describe exactly how Kate Long Stevenson's bright, gestural paintings make me feel. Happy? Giddy? Like I'll never be able to tear my eyes away and look at anything else? Surely you feel the same way?

The works created by this South Carolina-based abstract expressionist are rich and full of movement. On her website, it eloquently states that Kate, a life-long lover of music "relies mostly on classical compositions to guide her as she builds a painting, layering chords of color over energetic swirls of charcoal and paint." And oh yea, one of her paintings is in Darius Rucker's bedroom. 

In our interview, Kate share about her process, the hardest part of being an artist, and the best way to spend 48 Hours in Charleston. 

Kate Long Stevenson
Kate Long Stevenson

When did you first know you would pursue a career as an artist?

I majored in art in college, but it wasn’t until my senior year that I really considered pursuing it as a profession, and it was a few years after that when it became a passion.  

Some artists struggle to find a style while for others it just comes naturally. Did you find your current style of painting early on or did it take some exploration and experimentation?

It took a while to find my style…I always loved abstract work, but felt compelled to paint for a seemingly conservative market.  As an artist, it’s so important to be passionate about your work, so I abandoned whatever I was doing and started experimenting, exploring, and painting for myself vs. a potential client or specific market.  Every so often I have to repeat this process to disconnect from what becomes expected.  

Kate Long Stevenson
Darius Rucker Home

Do you have a dream collaboration?

I think it would be amazing to paint the “scenery” backdrops for a beautiful ballet, a la Helen Frankenthaler  

Kate Long Stevenson

What contemporary artists do you admire?

I am a big fan of Howard Hodgkin, Alex Katz, Chuck Close

Tell us about your process. What's the journey of an idea in your head to the canvas in your studio?

First and foremost, I’m passionate about color and music.  A new piece can begin out of a color combination I admire from a catalogue or a song I liked that day.  I generally have to stick with both to remain focused during the entirety of the process, so it’s got to be interesting to me.  I like to work on large canvases, and begin sketching out the painting with charcoal while listening to loud music.  It can be anything from classical to hip hop, so long as I like that tempo and can interpret the movement onto the canvas.  Even though this initial process is pretty uninhibited, the crazy, gestural marks eventually need to evolve into a composition that makes sense to me.  I subsequently spend more time staring at a painting from ten feet away than I do up at the easel.  The application begins as very physical and immediate and segues into something much more thoughtful and deliberate.  It’s a process of creating balance, adding color, rediscovering the original marks.  An lots and lots of layers.  

Kate Long Stevenson
Kate Long Stevenson

What's the most challenging thing about being an artist?

Biggest challenge:  Having my work make sense to me.  Abstract is so subjective, and there’s a lot of “my kid could paint that” mentality.  So, it’s important to me that the elements of the painting are interesting, balanced…I don’t want it to be or look effortless.  

You've made a successful career as an artist and have been featured in numerous popular publications. What advice do you have for other aspiring creatives?

Why, thank you!  Never paint for the market.  Only paint for yourself.  If not, the work will suffer and you won’t enjoy the experience.  

Kate Long Stevenson
Kate Long Stevenson

What other creative pursuits do you have?

Other creative pursuits… Really my main one—being a mom to two adorable boys! :)   

What's your proudest moment from your artistic career?

Proudest artistic moment:  That’s always evolving.  Anywhere from having a good studio day where everything just clicks, to creating a body of work for a gallery, to hanging along side other artists I really respect, to watching my children delight in their own creative moments...

Kate Long Stevenson
Kate Long Stevenson

If someone is spending 48 hours in Charleston, what should they do/see/eat?

Oooh, GREAT question.  Lest you have a gracious Southern host, Zero George is a fabulous home-away-from home boutique hotel, and just a short walk to King Street.  Charleston Place Hotel is equally convenient and luxurious, and boasts a wonderful spa.  Be sure to pop by Bob Ellis Footwear, Hampden Clothing for women’s fashion, Sugar Snap Pea and Kids on King for children’s clothing, Worthwhile and Vieuxtemp for lovely gifts, and Dulles Designs on Church Street for the most beautiful assortment of fine papers and stationary.  Ann Long Fine Art on Broad Street is a wonderful gallery with gorgeous Realist artists and Otto Neumann monotypes, and Redux Contemporary Art Center on St. Philip Street brings cutting-edge installations to the LowCountry (and is the studio base for numerous local artists, like me!).  

I love to dine at Cru Cafe off of the Market for a delicious lunch in a quintessential Charleston Single home, or Butcher and Bee on Upper King for amazing farm-to-table specials.  The afternoon can be spent meandering through Charleston’s beautiful neighborhoods, and then perhaps a treat at Sugar Bakeshop (the mint chocolate cupcakes and ginger molasses cookies are my favorites).  Dinner. Oh, dinner.  I’m biased in stating that both FIG and The Ordinary are the finest restaurants in the city (or ever), so each night should be dedicated to them.  Stop by Victor’s Social Club for a cocktail…If your visit is over the weekend, check out the Farmer’s Market at Marion Square Saturday morning (and a very entertaining breakdancing show), and be sure to go to Husk for brunch and order their farm-to-table version of the In and Out Burger—divine!  

Kate Long Stevenson
Kate Long Stevenson

Visit Kate's website to see more of her wonderful art. 

*All images via Artist's website and used with permission

Around the World Blog Hop

Brittany Taylor2 Comments

Hello friends! I've been tagged in the Around the World Blog Hop by my friend and fellow blogger, Rachel Dreher of Quiltineering (an awesome quilting blog). The hop is basically a virtual game of tag where the person tagged shares a little about themselves and their blog and then tags three other bloggers that they find inspirational to do the same thing. 

Without further ado, here are my three blogger nominees that you should check out ASAP.

Jenna Puckett of Kitty Cat Stevens

I met Jenna in a book arts class at MTSU several years ago in a book arts class at MTSU. While we talked a bit during class and I enjoyed Jenna's work (and overall awesomeness), we didn't really connect until later when Jenna invited me to a Nashville blogger meet-up. Jenna is smart and creative and blogs about her book binding adventures on her blog, Kitty Cat Stevens.

Lauren Taylor of Lladybird

Lauren and I met at a Nashville blogger meet-up (yep that same one that Jenna invited me to) and I've been a fan of hers ever since. She's incredibly talented and equally as kind. She runs a great blog called Lladybird that chronicles her sewing escapades. 

Kimmie Jones of That Girl in the Wheelchair 

I also met Kimmie at a Nashville blogger meet-up (yea yea same meet-up) and look forward to seeing her at every one I attend. Kimmie is one of the funniest people I've ever met and is very easy to talk to (especially if you like talking about 90's pop culture, documentaries, and other fantastic topics). She shares her musings on her blog that girl in the wheelchair. 

And now, here are my questions/answers.

1. What am I working on?

Currently, I'm working on a top-secret project for my soon-to-be-born niece aka Baby Kraus and am also working on more minimalist embroidered pieces, layered maps, and Artist Features for the blog.

2. Why do I write/create what I do?

I run this blog for the pure joy of it. I genuinely love getting to know contemporary artists and sharing their thoughts and work. 

Thanks again to Rachel for tagging me so that I could share about my work and other wonderful bloggers! 

Artist Feature [ Mina Teslaru ]

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Mina Teslaru

Mina Teslaru has been photographing Coney Island for the past 7 years, creating dreamy scenes that are both cheery and nostalgic. Her colorful, overexposed images filled with tiny people seem like they've captured a miniature set staged just for the photo. 

Originally from Bucharest, Romania, Mina now lives and works in New York City and has graciously shared more about her process, her other creative projects and her thoughts on photography. Check out her interview below!

How do you define your photography in your mind? Is it a passion, a hobby, a calling?

My artwork whether it be photography, painting, collaging or installation is an archive of nostalgic moments, mapping my own displacement in the world. I create instinctively so it’s either all of that or none of it. 

Do you remember the first photo you took of Coney Island? If so, please tell us about it. 

I moved to the states when I was 24 years old.. the New World hit me really hard as something extremely different, there was no comfort in the unfamiliar places. At the time I was living in Long Island and remember hitting the beach soon after my arrival, expecting the seashore to greet me with happy smiling faces, coffee shops, side shows, rides and most importantly crowds and crowds of beach bums looking forward to chat you up or share their life story with you – needless to say that’s not what I found. 

Months later I remember hearing of Coney Island and was bound to go conquer it all and see if it was “all of that” – and it was! That’s when I felt a little closer to home and knew everything will be alright. 

The first ever photo of Coney Island that I loved (I have a huge archive of thousands of them that have never been published) – is Coney Island Beach and it’s a tilt shift because it describes how I feel about this place, a microcosm of happy, jolly beach goers that wouldn’t exchange the Brooklyn Riviera for anything else in the world. 

There’s many ways of looking at Coney Island, some might see the grime and crowded beaches, some might see the colorful characters, some just go there for the rides and the Nathans, I love it because it is such a challenge trying to fit it in the palm of my hand... or lens for that matter.

I love thinking of the guests that stayed at Elephant Hotel, I love trying to image how wonderful it must have been to take a ride on the Parachute Jump. 

Tell us about your process. What sort of tools and equipment do you use? Do you have any rituals that follow when you're out shooting?

I am a very moody person, I have a love hate relationship with my camera. But she’s my only tool and I rarely use tripods I try to make my frames look touristical with a fantastical twist. 


What's next for you and your work?

I would very much like to have the time to experiment more with light installations. I tried my hand at it last year and it was very rewarding. You can see more about it on my website. Transplant, 2013

2D-wise I’d love to do a Circus series and of course continue with my Coney Island Series.

When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?

I still am not sure that’s what I want to be when I grow up... I’ve always said I wanted to be a farmer. 

What other creative outlets do you have?

I make collages out of old photos and I have a rooftop garden in Brooklyn that is very rewarding, creatively. 

Do you have a dream collaboration?

I would have loved to work with Basquiat and Kahlo. 

Other than Coney Island, what inspires you to create?

Colorful towns and villages, crowds of people, things I can’t do.

What's the best thing about being an artist in New York?

It has to be the competition. There’s so much amazing art here, so many incredible artists – the constant envy and jealousy keeps me motivated. 

In all fairness though – NY has its good parts and bad parts. Sometimes I feel like I can’t get out of my head here, like there’s no mind space for anything new. But I think that’s probably the kind of pressure an artist needs sometimes. 


When do you know a photograph you've taken is a good photograph?

Oh gosh... I don’t, really, not for sure. I get a gut feeling sometimes – I love my Coney Island Beach photo but never thought the world would love it so much. It sold a few thousand times already. I don’t know what makes a good photograph, there’s absolutely no thought process at all when I shoot it’s all instinctive! As soon as I start thinking I screw up. Making art for me is like a meditation... the goal is not to have thoughts at all, just feel it.

Who are some of your favorite photographers?

I really like Nick Meek’s work, Franck Bohbot, Julia Margaret Cameron.


What is your favorite photograph? 

It changes a lot but for now it’s Mulberry Street – I think the photographer is unknown and the photo was colorized but how wonderful is that scene? It’s like everyone on that street knows they are being immortalized but they can’t really grasp the concept...

Artist Feature [ Matthew Korbel-Bowers ]

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Matthew Korbel Bower

Matthew Korbel-Bowers' work has been on my radar for what feels like a while now. Each time one of his delightful prints shows up in my Pinterest feed or on a beloved blog, it catches my eye and I linger for a second (which, of course, is a lifetime in internet time) to take in its colorful glory. 

Eventually, I finally had to look a little deeper and was both delighted and dismayed to find that there wasn't much to find on Matthew Korbel-Bowers save for a very interesting feature on Fast Co.Design and a brief interview on Domaine. I was delighted because I like the mysteriousness of not having a bloated About page on a website, but dismayed because this time I really did want to know much, much more. 

I did find, however, that he is an Art Director at Communication Arts magazine. [Insert freak out here]. For graphic designers, CA magazine is basically the design periodical. It's the one you save forever and wash your hands before touching.

So then I really wanted to know more and emailed him immediately. As you may have already guessed, he agreed to the interview and the rest is history. 

Big thanks to Matthew for sharing his thoughts and his work with us today!

Matthew Korbel-Bowers
Mathew Korbel-Bowers

What do you think led you to become a designer and when did you decide to pursue design as a career?

I always knew I would be some sort of designer. The family business was landscape design so I grew up around technical drawings, cartridge paper, blueprints, drafting tables, rulers, font books, architectural shape templates, pencils/erasers and artistic renderings. But what I really fell in love with was the design studio life. My folks would play records, drink coffee and dive deep into their design process. I inherited that love for getting in a zone—it works well with my hermitous personality.  

What is your proudest design moment while working for Communication Arts magazine?

Well, every 2-months I feel an equal sense of pride when we finish an issue and get it back from the printer. It is very satisfying to hold your work as an object in the hand. Working at a traditional agency designers—ironically—rarely get that experience. 

Matthew Korbel-Bowers
Matthew Korbel-Bowers

Your colorful prints have become quite popular. When did you start creating these works and what was the initial response? Were they an instant hit?

I really committed to them in 2012 and I guess they were sort of an instant hit.


What led you to start creating these pieces? 

Instinctually, they were pieces I had always wanted to make but I had some sort of mental block stopping me. I think I was self-conscious about making such "simple," works (though I don't think of them as "simple," now and could go on and on about this subject). Also, I thought of myself as a designer and not an artist so it took me awhile to realize that my form studies could be considered art. 

Matthew Korbel-Bowers

I believe your interview with Fast Co.Design about your secret surf maps touched on this,, but could you tell us about your process for creating these prints?

The Secret Surf Maps tap into the visual language of my folk's landscape design plans. That is the formal part. The other part comes from surfing, exploring and documenting the natural gems of the Northern California coast.    

Matthew Korbel-Bowers
Matthew Korbel-Bowers

What other creative pursuits do you have?

My other pursuit is just like this interview because I am interested in other artists'/designers' work and histories. That is what made me pursue a job at a design magazine. For example, my brother is a surf photographer and I like to hear every little detail about his work, progress and setbacks. When you pay big money for a collectible work of art you are paying for the history as much as the image.  


What are you favorite podcasts? Do you listen to them while you design?

Yes, I love podcasts—and along with gum and music—are crucial to getting in the zone. My wife and best friend have a podcast together called the Dirty 30-Something podcast ( That is my fav' but I might be bias.   

Matthew Korbel-Bowers
Matthew Korbel-Bowers

How do you define graphic design?

Graphic design is the visual side of branding. 


What is your favorite typeface?

Hmm. I think I like typographic relationships more than the typefaces. Like a 96pt classic 18th century French serif title paragraph set over 10pt Avenir body copy. 

Where do you find inspiration for your design projects? Do you look in different places depending on who the work is being produced for? Do you keep any sort of files full of ideas or inspiration?

My answer to this is Martin Venezky ( I learned from him the life-changing lesson of making your inspiration. It would take too long to describe here but research Martin and process artists like Robert Irwin. Good stuff. 


What's next for you and your work?

'Keep making,' is what I tell myself.

Matthew Korbel-Bowers
Matthew Korbel-Bowers

View More - Matthew Korbel-Bowers + Behance 

Purchase - Society 6


*All images are the property of Matthew Korbel-Bowers and were used with artist's permission.

Artist Feature [ Jess Black ]

Brittany TaylorComment
Image: Shanoa Garcia, SAGE Projects

Image: Shanoa Garcia, SAGE Projects

When I saw Jess Black's new work, my heart pitter pattered a little bit. Every piece resonated with me and I wanted to study every inch of the canvas. 

Jess Black grew up around Chicago, fled to New York at age 17 with only $400 in his pocket and signed a modeling contract a short time later. Fast forward a little bit and Black is now a well known, neo and abstract expressionist artist living in Los Angeles with an all new body of work.

Black's new work, curated by SAGE Projects and currently on display in a solo exhibition titled, "Timely Disorder", seeks to communicate and explore tendencies toward divided attention of the contemporary mind, while cultivating awareness of one's own engagement with this modern day disposition. 

See Jess Black's interview below!

White Wigs of the Court

Your work has garnered a lot of critical acclaim and attention. Some critics are even drawing comparisons between your work and that of Jean Michel Basquiat, Francis Bacon, and Wassily Kandinsky. How do such comparisons make you feel? Does it add a certain level of pressure?

I don't really think about it honestly. I don't  have a formal arts education and I certainly didn't study art history, so when the comparisons began I had to do quick google searches on my phone to decide if the comparisons were compliments.  I'm a little wiser these days about the artists who came before me.  I understand that people like to make comparisons so they can fit you neatly into categories.  For me the comparisons make me want to dig deeper and ensure that I am presenting work that is 100% me and not reflective of those from another generation. Though I have to admit that I do hope that in 50 years someone sees a young painter and says to him, "That looks a little like a Jess Black."

Timely Disorder.jpeg

I'm very interested in the pivotal moments in people's lives - usually moments that don't seem that significant until retrospect. Looking back, what would you say is the most critical moment in the earliest part of your career as an artist?  

I would have to say when I made the decision to be a full time artist and made that my path. I have done several things in the past for work. Not too terribly long ago when I made the decision to pursue art and only art, was life changing. There was no "B" plan. I had and do have tunnel vision. I think that is important.

What's next for you and your work? 

I was just discussing this with my manager.  I know I am going to be doing a show in Paris, France, probably in Spring 2015.  However, I have no idea what I will be painting or what type of collection will develop.  There have been a lot of issues I've wanted to explore in art . . . issues you wouldn't think would work with a visual medium, but I may give it a try.

On Your Every Word.jpeg

Do you have a dream collaboration?  

Hmm... I have a deep respect for writers, maybe because I feel like I have zero talent in that area. People who tell beautiful stories, paint pictures really with their words are amazing to me. I would at some point maybe like to collaborate with a writer in some form. Maybe a collection of paintings that mirror some sort of script, book or life story. Something where the words and the paintings all come together to tell the story.

It seems like you have a lot of creative talent that extends beyond painting. How do these other passions and talents influence your painting?

I think creativity takes many forms.  I sing, I even recorded an album awhile ago.  I enjoy cooking and have been told that I am pretty good at it.  I think it is all part of the creative process.  I think a lot of artists express their creativity with more than one outlet.  I view the world from a creative perspective.  As such, everything influences my paintings.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to become a professional artist? 

It really depends on your goals as an artist.  If it is just to create, then create.  Paint or sculpt or draw as much as you can and let the creativity flow through you.  If your goal is to be an artist who earns a living from your creativity, then you have to have business savvy.  You have to learn to look at your art as not only an expression of who you are, but also as a commodity.  If you find that you are having a hard time separating your emotions from the business side, then find someone to partner with who can.

Breaking Binds.jpeg

What artists do you look to for inspiration or who are some of your favorite contemporary artists?

There is the Australian artist Brett Whitely who is no longer with us. I admire his work but I am inspired by how he navigated the art world as a working artist. He, like me had no formal training. He was extremely business savvy. But at the same time took a lot of risks creatively.

I recently came upon a photographer named Dean West who does this beautiful surrealist photography. He has a series of beach scenes that I love.


Do you collect art? If so, what was the first piece of art in your collection?

I actually don't collect 2D art.  So many of my own works are on my walls and then they sell and new works go up.  What does seem to inspire me are fabrics.  I love patterns and color combinations.  I might have a bowl I bought at a thrift store, but my pillows are custom made from imported fabrics.  :)

What's the best thing about being an artist in LA?

After being an artist in NYC I would have to say the weather.  The sun is amazing here.  The light is amazing.  I can create all year round without the feeling that I need to hibernate between October and April.

If someone is visiting LA for 24 hours, what are the things they must do while they're there?

The beach. Sand and sun. After living in NYC for a very long time when I walk on the beach here I always think to myself "I'm living the California dream"!

Jess Black's show will be on view at the Gateway Gallery @ Cooper Design Space in downtown Los Angeles until August 14, 2014. 

Press or Purchasing Inquiries: info@sage-projects or visit Sage Projects online