Posts tagged 2018
5 Questions With NPZL Curator Carly Blaine

Jonathan Lisenby: Of all media available to collect and distribute, why did you choose zines?  How do zines facilitate your mission?

Carly Blaine: I would love to start by defining a zine as a small-circulation, self-published, and often inexpensive or free work made by either an individual or collective. I began collecting zines a few years ago, on my own accord and in relation to my own fascination with the various content available from this medium. I am very much in love with the accessibility aspect of zines, both from the perspective of the author and audience, and that is what I believe facilitates my mission with the zine library project. It is my goal to make both conversations of important social topics, as well as the work of participating artists, as accessible as possible to those who wish to self educate or experience the works without any barrier to entry.


JL: A large portion of the Nashville Public Zine Library is made up of works promoting ‘anarchic’ OR far left ideologies - two fairly opposing viewpoints. Do you think there’s a reason for zines to naturally drift to extreme political poles, or is this a feature of your curation?

CB: I wouldn't quite say that these works promote these ideologies as much as I would say that they are from the perspective of individuals or collectives who embody these ideologies, and converse on such from a humble and robust perspective. Although some of these works seem like propaganda in nature, most of them are well argued on both sides of the political spectrum (anarchic to left-leaning that is), and offer well-rounded arguments on the social topics they center on. Zines do naturally tend to embody strong opinions when they are discussions on social topics and issues faced in given socio-political circumstances, and do tend to be either left-leaning or anarchic; though I do intentionally select works for the library that I believe will be useful resources and materials for the community to use as a basis for conversation within itself.


JL: What skills are most important to have to be a successful zine-maker? Is it required to have gone to art school, or helpful to have a background in journalism?

CB: As I mentioned above, what I love most about zines is the accessible nature of them, both in terms of authoring and experiencing them. One need not have a formal education in order to create a zine, one must simply have an idea and a pen and a piece of paper and a zine may be born.


JL: Which of the zines in your collection would you recommend as starter zines, to recommend to someone new to zines?

CB: It all depends on what an individual has interest in! There are many different areas of specificity, or "genres", within the library for one to choose from. In terms of local works, I would suggest starting with anything from Sabotka, Ursus Press, or Broadside Print, to get a scope of the literary genius that exists in Nashville. I often find that the visual art and music scenes eclipse some of the great poets and writers that live and work in the scene.


JL: How do you bring the NPZL to the public? Do you have bigger plans for the future?

CB: Though this project has been fairly small scale since its inception, I am incredibly excited to be working with new supporting partners and collectives to bring out the library itself to engage with the community! I wish I had more details to share publicly, but as certain intricacies have still yet to be ironed out, I can't divulge any further information. BUT I can say that I have been overwhelmed with support and interest in the project thus far, and that I am looking forward to bigger plans in the future! I would also like to mention that I'd truly love to meet with any individual looking to collaborate, to get involved in some way, or even just to share thoughts and opinions on the creative community itself! I can be reached at (:

Studio Visit + 5 Questions With Artist Alexandra Jo Sutton

Jonathan Lisenby: From looking at your studio setup, it looks like you use a wide variety of materials and employ painting, printmaking, sewing and sculpture - sometimes all in a single piece. How do you choose your materials?

Alexandra Jo Sutton: Exploration of materials is an extremely important part of my practice. When I get an idea for a piece/series/exercise, I often begin by experimenting with a wide variety of materials and see how the idea manifests itself in different ways with different mediums. Practical thinking, problem solving, and trouble-shooting are important as well. But my practice is very fluid and experimental by nature, so nothing is really off the table. I’m always playing with new ways to use things I’m familiar with, and how to incorporate new media. I think my open relationship with material is an important way that I continue to expand my visual vocabulary and build texture and tone in my work.


JL: How did you come to use the cyanotype technique that produces these blue-tinted prints? Is there specific meaning illustrated by this particular process?

AJS: The blue is the result of mixing traditional cyanotype fluid correctly. Blue is a very important color in my work (often signifying distance, desire/longing, physical and temporal separation, etc.) However, sometimes I’ll play with the mixture and formula to make the prints seem more green or yellow... the surface or ground for the cyanotype fluid is also experimented with... it pools, spreads, or bleeds differently on gauzy fabric than vintage wallpaper. This ties back into that experimental part of my practice and an intuitive response to material. The “specific meaning” behind using cyanotype is really about crystallizing the silhouette of one moment in time. The cyanotypes can take several minutes of exposure to capture an image, so I look at them like these documents marking a more tangible span of time than just taking a regular photo.


JL: Natural forms of detritus and cast-offs, like leaves, shells, twigs, and footprints find their way into your work. How do these visual symbols relate to memory and the ephemeral, in your more recent work?

AJS: I like to call these detritus objects “artifacts” because they each embody a history, and have somehow found their way to me. They are artifacts that embody a memory of their own past, their eventual journey into my studio (closed to me as the details of that origin may be). These objects are fragile, change over time as they die, shrink, warp, disintegrate, and are meant to maintain the ephemeral quality that all living beings share. In another way, many of these artifacts, like the Magnolia leaves, represent specific personal memories for me... pointing to different moments and sensations from childhood that are themselves shimmering fantasies of ephemerality. The cast hands and feet are more about the indexical... the marks that living things leave behind on their environment, that people leave within one another.


JL: Some of your resin and clay castings seem to explore the difference between a figure’s exterior and ‘interior’ - for example, the resin casts of your hands, and the clay casts of the space between your fingers. What is the relationship between these two modes?

AJS: As I mentioned before, I like to think about the indexical, impressions we leave behind as we move through time from birth to death. I started thinking a lot about fossils, trilobites, plants, extinct species, the hollow shapes of bodies found in Pompeii, etc., and how many different ways that bodies can take up space, or become cavities. I started playing around with shapes my open or closed body can make, positive/negative, exterior/interior, and using plaster, clay, and resin as a way to document those spaces.


JL: Instead of producing a single, rectangular image, like a traditional painting, you cluster sculptures and images on the wall or the floor. Sometimes you re-use the same sculptures and images in different configurations to make new pieces.  What is your thought process when making this type of work?

AJS: My thought process is always based in creating visual relationships that express what I feel that I need to say in a given moment. When preparing for and installing an exhibition, there is a lot of intuitive responding to the exhibition space to accommodate for fluctuations in those visual relationships. I like to think of my studio practice as fluid, among materials, ideas, and that includes fluidity of presentation in an exhibition space. I also like to set up small, sometimes hidden moments in the work that it takes a few minutes to discover. By being flexible with how I  curate the work, both myself and my audience are constantly able to see the things I make in new or different ways - just like how a memory may be an image of one moment in time, but that image changes each time we recall it.

Photoblog: Duncan McDaniel at Red Arrow

Duncan McDaniel's Standing Wave is up at Red Arrow in East Nashville from April 14th May 6th. The majority of the exhibit is a series of paintings on paper that stack and repeat thin lines to form wave-like patterns.  From Red Arrow's press release on Standing Wave:

"In this series Duncan McDaniel incorporates art and design into an intrinsic experience of finding harmony and simplicity in the creative process. The organic quality of the work is not as much of a decision of subject matter, but more of a process based evolution that highlights the binding connection between man and nature. Using elements of artificial light, found industrial materials and inks the artist creates work that reflect shapes and patterns that are nestled harmoniously in between the natural, manufactured, and the spiritual. The soul of the work reflects an approachable lighthearted quality indicative of hearing a pleasing note or the sound of om."

Photoblog: Impermanent Underground Art Show | Nashville, TN

Photos by Jonathan Lisenby