Fugues: a Surprisingly Lively Interview with Ilona Sochynsky

From the Ukraine to the US, everyone seems to be in agreement that Ilona Sochynsky is a great painter. With an extensive career involving both countries – from a commissioned mural in Atlantic City, to the State Museum of Lviv in Ukraine – Sochynsky has quite a bit of experience in the art world. Read on to see what she had to say about the evolution of her career, her hobbies, and what has influenced her along the way.

You’ve certainly been in the art world for a while; your career spans more than two decades. How has your art changed over time?

 Over the 20-year span that you reference, my artwork has progressed from hyperrealism to abstraction. Influenced by Pop Art of the late 70’s and early 80’s I used my own photographs as source materials to create paintings. Very soon I started to split the images into large fragments, recombining the sections and thereby creating a new painting. This deconstruction process continued over the years and resulted in compositions (often kaleidoscopic) where the fragments were no longer recognizable.

 You obviously have experience in painting, and you’ve taught graphic design at a

FugueNo9Web

Fugue No. 9

college level. Do those two mediums ever intersect?

 I studied and worked as a graphic designer before resuming and dedicating myself to painting. Both professions deal with visual communication and the formal elements of art and design such as composition, form, color, texture space, etc. The graphic designer’s goal is to please the client. As a painter I have only myself to please, unless the artwork is a commissioned one, such as the large mural I painted in Atlantic City.

The idea that as a painter you only have yourself to please is an interesting point. Do you ever paint with an audience in mind? Continue reading

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From the Vaults: Vicki Thompson on “In Process”

When you’re working for such a busy organization with a million things going on all at once (hey, that sounds like the Catskill Mountain Foundation. Hint hint.), sometimes things fall by the wayside – they get lost, put at the bottom of the to-do list, buried under a pile of papers on your desk – but sometimes those things truly deserve to see the light of day…and while I’d love to print out this interview and leave it on the sunny sidewalk to catch some rays, I think the CMF blog will have to do for now. Anyway.

BEHOLD: back from the depths of unpublished Google Documents, my interview with Vicki Thompson on her October 2015 show in the Kaaterskill Fine Arts & Crafts Gallery, “In Process.”

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This show was partially a result of you working for the Foundation, correct? How did you get involved with CMF?

Yeah, I would say it’s safe to assume. I worked for CMF as the Programming Assistant. I found out about the job through a great friend, Cara, who used to work there. I went over and had dinner with her and her amazing family one night, and the next day I had an interview and a job! It was great! I worked closely with Pam Weisberg and Carolyn Bennett. Carolyn had mentioned that she wanted me to have a show. I ended up leaving CMF but kept in touch with Carolyn and we set a date for the exhibit. The rest is history.

Your show was a huge success. Why do you think your work resonated so well with the community? Continue reading

Putting it Pleinly: An interview with Alix Hallman Travis

There’s a party at the Kaaterskill Fine Arts & Crafts Gallery! Actually, there’s an exhibition called A Celebration of Community by painter Alix Hallman Travis, who recently had a talk with Carolyn. Read on, fellow party-goer! And just to be clear – Carolyn did this interview, but Maggie insists on being credited for the delightful pun in the title.

2. Parade_ Catskill Mountain Life, no. 6Travis

“Parade”

I’ll start with the proverbial “tell us a little bit about yourself” – when did you first come to the Catskills and why?

In 2003 while residents of Cleveland, OH my husband and I purchased a house in the Mid Catskills area of Margaretville in Delaware County to be nearer family that had a home here.  We were attracted to the area because of its beauty and I particularly because of the comfortable ease with which I could paint outdoors in the landscape.  I had just finished my study at the Cleveland Institute of Art and was an active plein air painter.  While I knew almost no one here I felt safe in stopping by the side of the road and setting up my easel—painting alone is not always possible in a large urban area like Cleveland.

You have a very interesting style, reminiscent in some ways—especially in your use of vibrant color—of the Bahaus Movement of the early 20th century. Can you comment on that?

While academically trained at the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Art Students League of New York, I am an intuitive painter; using bold colors and sweeping gestures because I like the way they feel and they just flow from my hand.  My gestures are large.  I have difficulty signing a check because my signature is too large for the space provided—

3. Fireworks, Catskill Mt. Life series, no. 7, oil on c with lights,Travis

“Fireworks” (oil on canvas with lights)

don’t even mention putting my signature in the space provided on a credit card receipt!

In both watercolor and oil I use large tools that fill my hand:  big brushes require big pieces of paper or canvas.  I use palette knives instead of oil brushes because I like their feel and the resulting stroke.  I paint quickly and Continue reading