Category Archives: Interviews

Darkly Dreaming: Photographer Mariah Channing

Lock and Key, by Mariah Channing.

Lock and Key, by Mariah Channing.

Ten minutes ago I was supposed to meet photographer Mariah Channing at Barsa, the stylish tapas place on King.  I’m working on a project and don’t mind that she’s late- but when my phone rings, and its her, we discover we’ve both arrived early and have been waiting separately.  Channing waves across the restaurant, and comes over carrying her laptop and glass of water.

With her winged eye liner, bow shaped lips, cat-eye glasses and a scattering of tattoos winking out from under her charcoal colored tee, Channing could be one of those mischievous sylphs on the cover of an alternative magazine.  Her cameo necklace swings on a long thin silver chain as she sits, looking dreamily distracted, like a cat that’s just woken from a sunlit nap.

“I’ve been working on website stuff all day at the studio.  Then I was at the Orange Spot- have you ever tried their cayenne tea?”

“ I haven’t,” I say, and she tells me its to die for.

She places her laptop between us and shows me her photographs.

“This one here, with the magnolias, that was an adventure.”

Flower Portrait, by Mariah Channing

Flower Portrait, by Mariah Channing

“I bought this kiddie pool without really thinking about how I was going to make it all work.  On the day of the shoot, I had to blow the whole thing up by myself and then run back and forth into the photo room with a pitcher to fill it up before my model came- and all these art students are sitting around outside Redux, sketching away and staring at me, wondering out what I was doing.  I picked all the flowers by hand from trees by the side of the road.  The model was from Model Mayhem.  She was great.”

Channing crosses her hands over the back of her laptop, resting her chin over them with a sigh.  “This cameo shape is hard to fit a picture inside.  The shape is just so busy to begin with- I think maybe it just doesn’t work.  I’m going to move towards using a circle frame.  But this one,” she taps a cameo, “was in the Piccolo Spoleto exhibition.”

Magnolias, by Mariah Channing

Magnolias, by Mariah Channing

We talk about round frames, and those beautiful antique photographs you can find sometimes at thrift stores with the domed glass.  “Those are the best,” she sighs.

Where do her ideas come from?

She keeps a sketchbook.

“Words or doodles?”

“Both! and if a symbol comes to mind, I’ll define it for myself, too.  Writing stuff all around it.”  She scribbles in the air.

“Making kind of a mind map?”

“Yes, exactly.  And I write down ideas for costumes and postures too.”

Channing sources her costumes from antique and thrift stores, and also uses found objects.  “When I moved into Redux I found a super little-teeny-tiny hatched egg outside on the sidewalk.  It seemed like a good omen, you know?  So I kept it, I still have it.  I’d like to take more walks in the woods and find stuff…”

I tell her a rambling story about a pig’s skull I acquired (we ordered a pigs head for dinner one night at The Green Door, which was delicious albeit exceptionally porky), how I put it in the yard to be cleaned by ants.  But a raccoon or something ran off with it… my friend was going to put me in touch with some witches he knew who said they would let me sit in on a ceremony in exchange for bringing the skull.  But the skull had been my ticket, so without it…

Untitled.  (Channing hates naming her photographs.)

Untitled, by Mariah Channing.

Channing laughs. “I follow this guy on Facebook who finds these great bugs. He builds moth traps, with this great big white sheet…”

Occasionally she does boudoir photography.  “In college I became fascinated with classical nudes.  And Venus, Venus was my favorite.  I just think its neat, especially in this generation when women they they have to look a certain way.  This is a way they can fall in love with themselves again.”

Eventually, she says, she’d like to open a photography business.  She tilts her head on her hands to catlike effect.  “I have an idea, a kind of a two pronged approach as to how to do it, but I’m going to keep it under wraps for now.”

One of her pieces won best in photography at the Salon de Refuses, a show that was coincidental with the Young Contemporaries at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, and recently participated in a group show with the Charleston Female Photographers at the North Charleston Arts Festival.  

Memento Mori, by Mariah Channing.  Best in Photography, Salon de Refuses.

Memento Mori, by Mariah Channing. Best in Photography, Salon de Refuses.

She’s offering special edition matted photographs through Charleston’s Supported Art program, which offers glamorous baskets of art from six local artists to shareholders- sign up today to support local art!- and can be reached through Facebook or her website for questions and commissions.

-article by Pauline West, a novelist and writer for Redux Contemporary Art Center.  Her novel Evening’s Land recently won the Helene Wurlitzer Fellowship Award.

Lulie Wallace: The Sweet Life

Spiky Flowers, by Lulie Wallace

Spiky Flowers, by Lulie Wallace

Lulie Wallace is scrolling through designs she’s fashioned into patterns on her laptop: “There’s a million of them, there’s tons,” she says, smiling.

“I’ve licensed things before to places like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters- but what I’ve really been wanting to see is whole patterns [based on her work]- and it turns out there’s this whole field called surface design.  It turns out a lot of illustrators are in surface design.  And a lot of artists.”

We’re sitting in Redux’s classroom at two wooden tables tucked together just shy of the center of the room.  Big boxes of Wallace’s goods are stacked to one side, ready to ship out.  The AC blows down to one side of us warmishly, and if we turn to one side we can see into Wallace’s studio.

The burlap doors are still pinned back from her recent show, and from here I can see walls filled from floor to ceiling with cheerful canvases: flowers in patterned pots and pitchers, cheerful tablescapes.  One shows a table strewn with flower cuttings and a pair of scissors.  Wallace’s work is whimsical and folksy, with a largely pastel palette; each one beachy and full of sunshine like Wallace herself, who is wriggling in her chair beside me, happily vibrating in flip flops and cut offs as she scrolls.

“I love seeing art come off the canvas.  I mean, you look at a blouse, you look at a bedspread- they’re forms of everyday art, art you can actually use.  So my idea is to approach people who are already working with fabric and have them use my patterns.  There are five collaborators I’d really like to work with- I call them my dreamweavers.” She smiles when I ask who her dreamweavers are.  “Let’s call them a local clothing company, a kids clothing line, maybe a badass stationary line.”  A friend of hers comes into the classroom wielding a box of cupcakes;  Lulie dives in delightedly.  “Fabric is so nice because it doesn’t take a lot of money to see the art form to fruition.  And I can do fabric to order.  I can do it by the yard.”

Pink Flowers, by Lulie Wallace

Pink Flowers, by Lulie Wallace

 

So how does this work, turning one of her canvases into a pattern?

“I sketch with a very fine illustrator pen and then I scan into an ordinary printer.  I use Adobe Illustrator and photoshop.  I applied to get a UGA fabric design student to come in and intern here this summer, and she’s teaching me all the technical stuff I wouldn’t have known.  She’s super proficient in photoshop.”

Machinery whines from a studio on the other side of the gallery.

“It’s like a giant carpenter bee,” I say- and then wince as the whine gives way to hammering.

Wallace laughs.  “That’s Kaminer.  [A jewelry designer.]  We call her Haminer.”  Something on her screen suddenly catches her eye, and Lulie Wallace leans into her computer, concentrating.

I excuse myself for a few minutes to explore her studio, leaving Wallace to work. Behind the burlap doors I find a large wheelie cart piled high with brushes, paints, used palettes.  A pair of old-fashioned sunglasses perch owlishly above a small carton of maple almond butter in squeezie packs.  An emergency stash?  More palettes, paints, brushes.

Underneath all this is the aforementioned printer; ordinary, as Wallace said, and on the other side of the cart is a jumble of shoes, some tupperware, and a beach towel.  The walls are covered with canvases, and a tall metal chair sits in one corner, splattered with paint.  It is facing her newest piece, featuring a brightly colored table setting. When I come back out into the classroom, Wallace is scrolling again.

“Its so fun to scan your stuff in,” she says.  “There’s so many color manipulation possibilities.  Things you could never do ordinarily with a canvas- you can change the color palette in an instant, completely changing the personality of a pattern.  Same design, but with a different color.  We call that ‘color-ways.’”

“Beautiful word.”

“It is.” Wallace looks up as her intern, Brooke Davidson, sails into the studio.  Davidson’s sunny blonde hair is tied up and smoothed back by a wide black headband.

Davidson explains she primarily works in photoshop.  “You try to create a repeat where you don’t notice the tile.  When I look at fabric I can see if its’ got a good repeat or not.”

“Can you look at fabric and pick out the tile?”

“Kind of, sometimes.  There’s also this thing you can do called a half drop repeat, where the pattern kind of continues down, and so the next one fits into it a little lower.”

I ask her how she likes her internship.

“It’s been really fun, I love Charleston so much!  I wish I could stay, but I have to go back and student teach.  But maybe someday!”

We talk about the possibility of her getting a studio here, and of further collaborations with Lulie. She’s been working with Wallace to help her develop “a portfolio of a ton of repeats.  And I’ve been painting a lot this summer, I’m been so inspired by,” she sweeps her hands around us,  “all this!  I’m doing abstract stuff, playing with layers.  It’s cellular, almost.  And Lulie gives me so much good advice.  She said next week maybe I could even bring my stuff in, we can play around with it in photoshop.  Have you seen the lunchboxes she does?”

Davidson takes me around to the side of Lulie Wallace’s studio; more canvases, more boxes of product.  She pulls out an old fashioned metal lunch box coated in one of Wallace’s cheery design.

“How fun!”

“Yeah, she’s great,” Brooke says, grinning.

But cupcake break is over, and now Wallace and Davidson seem itchy to get back to work.  We hug goodbye, and I leave them still happily chattering and scrolling away under the air conditioner.

-article by Pauline West, a novelist and writer for Redux Contemporary Art Center.  Her novel Evening’s Land recently won the Helene Wurlitzer Fellowship Award.

Peaches and Cream, by Lulie Wallace

Peaches and Cream, by Lulie Wallace

Hollis Hammonds: Worthless Matter

hammonds

Things Hollis Hammonds is Obsessed with:

1. Japanese Manga

2. Post Apocalyptic Narratives

3. Superhero Movies

4. Really Bad Action/Armageddon Films.

“I love seeing the explosions,” she says, leaning over the bar counter, peering around and smiling at me.  Professor and chair of visual studies at St Edwards University in Austin, Texas: but with her black pageboy, smoke-colored glasses and clear gaze, Hollis Hammonds could be a character in one of her manga adventures.

A mad professor, an evil genius, doing what she can to reimagine the materialistic world.

In real life, Hammonds has 11 full-time faculty members, and “I don’t even know how many part-time members.”  Although she teaches three classes a day and for a time also ran a gallery, she shows constantly.  She’s had 10 solo shows all around the country just in the past two years.  “I tend to be more productive in shorter blocks.”

We’re at Closed for Business on a steamy Sunday- on Mother’s Day, in fact, although as I write this, I realize I neglected to ask her if she has any children. (She doesn’t, although she does have a dog.)

“Can I get something really light and crisp?” she says.  “I tend to like Chinese or Japanese beer.”  The bartender amiably sets her up with a tulip of Hitachino. I order a Chocolate Rye Porter.

“I have a couple manifestations of the work,” she says.  “Primarily, though, I draw.  These piles, islands of objects.”

Aftermath: Asteroid

Aftermath: Asteroid

It started in April of 2011, when more than 200 tornadoes broke over the United States in a four day period.  Watching coverage, Hammonds became interested in how “we, as viewers, are interested in the aftermath of both man-made and natural disasters.”

Also drawing on the aftermath of the house fire she experienced herself as a teenager, she began making charcoal sketches on white paper: “Dystopian, futuristic, kind of dark but seductive.”

“Destruction is seductive,” I say.  “We’re drawn to what destroys us.”  Chocolate rye, you’ll be the death of me.

“Yes.”

In Ruins

In Ruins

So her work started as “documentation, homage. Of course, now I’ve turned it into this indulgent fascination with materialistic consumption.  My father was born in the 1920s, my mother in the 1930s.  So they hoarded everything.  I mean, we had an entire room dedicated to plastic containers.  They could not throw anything away.”

I’ve seen Hoarders.  I asked if animal carcasses were ever found amidst the containers.

“That’s the defining line, isn’t it?” Hammonds said.  “No, it never got that far.  Before the house burned, though, my mother had a lot of collections.  She had her mother’s things, her grandmother’s things.  Old furniture, things like that.  But it was after the fire that her desire to collect these things really intensified.  She began to collect dolls, Lilliput houses.  Trying to hang on to something, I guess.”

“You think collections are a way for people to try to comfort themselves?”

“Oh, sure.”

While Hammonds doesn’t have any collections herself, her husband, a graphic designer, does have “a collection of graphic design toys on this floating shelf.”  She laughs.  “He takes them down, rearranges them, everything.  It’s so funny.”

She likes to do work that is endemic to place, and so she always sources her materials from the cities where she makes her installation.  “I got this new studio two years ago, and I did start thinking it’d be great to have a space to collect things for installations.”  She shook her head, smiling ruefully. “But we have this policy- it’s from Pinterest– anything comes in, something has to go out.  We keep everything minimal and clean.  Even artwork has to be approved.”  She laughs again.  “By my husband.”

What do her parents think of her art?   “Maybe they’d feel a little… mocked, I don’t know.”  But her parents are both deceased.  They were each married and divorced prior to having Hammonds, and she has 11 half brothers and sisters, all ranging from 30 to 11 years older than her.  She shrugs when I ask her what they think of her work.

“A lot of them really don’t know what’s going on in my life.  One sister is a quilt artist.  Recently she says to me, “couldn’t there be some leaves?”  She sips her beer.  “You know, I look at people like Anselm Kiefer.  His work is very dark and also amazing.  I don’t think my work is as dark as his, really, but it also ride that line of beauty and terror. My installations, because they are in physical space- the viewer experiences them with a sense of wonder.  They’re visceral.”

I was curious if the house fire she experienced as a girl changed her immediately- or did its impact take a while to surface?

“Going through the process of losing everything as a teenager certainly informed my personality.  I learned to not have emotional attachment to objects.  I treat objects as a metaphor for the human condition but also self-worth.  I’m interested in how collections can validate us societally, personally.  And I’ve lost a lot of people, so I’ve also gone through the process of sorting through these… artifacts.   I have this shoebox. With my father’s license, my mother’s birth certificate, trinkets like that.  And I also have this box of old photographs.  I’ll keep those until they’re lost.”

“It would be awful to throw away photographs.  I always feel horrible when I see those boxes of old photographs for sale in antique stores.  But I wonder if maybe that’s what it takes to move on as a society, philosophically- the destruction/abandonment of objects.  Do you think objects might hold us back from progress?”

She shrugged.  “Our search for power is consuming the world.”  We were quiet a moment, looking around at the happy clutter of the bar.  “I used to be a figurative artist,” she mused.  “I was obsessed with it.  But I’ve got to this stage in my work when I’m more fascinated with storytelling. I took the figure out completely.  I use the things that are left behind to signify the figures.  Chairs, you know.  People’s things.”

“Keeping just the echo of the figure.”

“Yes.  I had that passionate obsession with drawing figures,” she says, to the counter.  “Not to say that it won’t come back, but I don’t have that anymore.”

We finish our beers and walk back to Redux.  It’s locked up, according to a hand-drawn sign, “for all the Mothers in the world. Happy Mother’s Day!”  Hammonds unlocks it, flips on the lights.  The interior is blissfully cool and quiet.  I hug her tightly and then leave her standing there, in an arena of people’s cast off things.

Come see what she’s made of them at the opening of Worthless Matter on May 16th.  Artist talk at 5:30 pm.

endemic sourcing

endemic sourcing

Planning the installation

Planning the installation

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-article by Pauline West, a novelist and writer for Redux Contemporary Art Center.  She is at work on her first Southern Gothic.

Dan Dickey

“I’ve always painted with a lot of texture, but I didn’t start splatter painting until I moved here.  This is my first studio that wasn’t also a kitchen or a bedroom,” Dan Dickey says.   We’re at the Tivoli, standing in his studio, where every wall is shielded with color-ribboned canvases.  His grandfather’s mower hulks in the center of the room, swizzled with yellow, orange, purple, white and pale-blue.

“I brought it down from Virginia, but when it wouldn’t start, I decided to cover it in paint.”  With a round, fox-colored beard and his way of rooting himself where he stands, Dickey has the distilled presence of a disciplined man.

He shows me how he dips the blunt end of a brush into a paint can and uses it to make a controlled drip over the canvas.

“Sometimes I put a dab of paint here and here, you know, and then I roll the middle of the brush through it.”  He indicated a wandering swath and then, looking at the long, paint-mottled brush in his hand, Dickey said, “I like this one.  I think I might put it up on a long, narrow canvas, just all by itself.  It has a pop.”

“Yeah, it does.”  It’s warm, breezeless in the room, and I pluck at my shirt, absorbed in his paintings.

He smiled.  “A lot of sweat goes into these.  Pretty soon it’ll get too hot to work in here at all, but I usually paint a month on, a month off.  So it’s all right.”

“What’s it like in the winter?”

“Well, it’s cold.”  He shrugged, indifferent.  “I like to work at night.  This canvas, here?  I got up to the crow’s nest up there, all whiskey drunk, and threw the paint down from there.”  The result was thick, ridged tributaries like dried sediment.

I looked around at the other studios.  White drapes swaying from rafters.  Ladders to nowhere, propped up against the walls.  Large, industrial furniture slouched in the corners, rusting comfortably; the warehouse was full of coves where artists could work deeply, losing themselves in process.

“Yeah,” I said, “and in places like this, alone in it at night?  You’re aware of space in a way you can’t be when there’s people in it.”

“Yeah, yeah, absolutely,” he said.  “This canvas is one of Andrew Smock’s.  Underneath all this,” he indicated the layers of paint, “is the Angel Oak, but I painted over it.  A lot of these canvases, actually, have stuff buried beneath them.”  On a wall outside his studio was an enormous piece created from a checkerboard of records and record sleeves, stitched by paint into an interpretation of the American flag.

He likes to bury physical objects as he paints; masks, tubs, tin lids; letting skeins of color veil the ordinary shapes, creating new, shifting ones.

Dickey’s studio feels deliciously like the pages of a Magic Eye book.  You can visit it at 656 King Street.

 

The whisky incident.

The whisky incident.

 

-article by Pauline West, a novelist and writer for Redux Contemporary Art Center.  She is at work on her first Southern Gothic.

Redux’s Alizey Khan

alizey

Alizey Khan in her Redux studio, 2013

Redux Studio Artist and staff member, Alizey Khan is currently exhibiting her astronomical paintings and prints in her first solo exhibit, Interspatial, in the Saul Alexander Gallery at the Charleston County Public Library. Her exhibit will be on view from July 2 through August 17. There will be a opening reception on Tuesday, July 2 from 5 pm – 7:45 pm. During the reception, Alizey will give an artist talk (at 5:30pm) and give away a limited number of free linocuts!

We recently had the opportunity to talk with Alizey about her work. Here’s what she had to say.

Congrats on your new solo show, Interspatial. Tell us a little about your yourself and what you do. I am a recent graduate of CofC. I double majored in Studio Art and Arts Administration. During my last semester at CofC, I interned at Redux. Now I am a part-time staff member as Membership and Media Coordinator. I also have a studio at Redux where I make most of my current work. I have another job at Artist and Craftsman Supply, where I see Redux artists buying stuff all of the time. I spend most of my time working but I use much of  my spare time to make art.

Describe “Interspatial” in three words. Ethereal. Meditative. Nebulous.

Why do you make art? I know my time on this planet is short, and I want to leave something tangible behind to be remembered by! 

What inspires you? Beauty in nature; recurring patterns in physics; good design in our culture.

What do you find most satisfying about your artistic process? I use subject matter as the unifying theme in my work rather than style or medium. This allows me a lot of freedom to experiment with different techniques and materials with the images I make. I like to do a lot more than just paint, so I’m glad I have the opportunity to include printmaking and resin layering techniques in my portfolio.

Have you always been interested in astronomical science? I have visited NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day almost daily for the last five years. I’ve always been interested in images of nebulae, galaxies and other beautiful celestial bodies; but, I never took the time to research them until I started painting them. Now I feel like I have learned a lot through this series.

What artists do you admire and why? I really love Yayoi Kusama for her lifelong fanatical dedication to the motifs she uses – her installation work with mirrors and lights is my favorite! I also love Julie Heffernan’s ethereal brushwork ,and her masterful use of strong colors and lighting effects in her paintings. Locally, I really admire Karen Ann Myers and her ability to juggle working as a professional exhibiting artist, a curator at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and as an instructor at CofC. She’s my hero.

kusama_800_626

Yayoi Kusama

What do you hope your viewers learn/gain from your work? Most of all  I hope they gain a sense of curiosity, wonder and scale. It’s amazing how small you start to feel once you start looking into how big the universe really is. It really puts all of one’s minor worries into perspective.

If you could live anywhere in the world – if time and money were not an issue – where would you go? I would really love to live in Florence, Italy one day. The weather is perfect there, there’s tons of art, and the food is amazing.

reduxphoto5

Khan’s “Interspatial”, on view July 2 – August 17, 2013

Last great book you read. The Magicians by Lev Grossman. It’s a bit like Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia, only it’s written for an older audience who has already read all of those books. It deconstructs the genres of magic-school and magic-world books.

If you are not painting/working, you are….hanging out with friends, usually playing Settlers of Catan. I actually plan to make my own Settlers of Catan board soon.

Tell us about your upcoming class at Redux. I’m teaching an intensive four-week Resin Painting Workshop. I’m really excited about it. I plan to give students a lot of freedom and show them several techniques that they can choose to incorporate into a finished painting, including working with dry powder pigment and glitter, working wet paint into wet resin, incorporating photos and collage elements, and painting in 3D with successive layers of resin. 

alizey4

Opening Reception & Artist talk, Tuesday July 2, 5:30-7:45pm

What do you love about being involved in Redux? The community! There are so many great artists here. Even our interns are talented. I really love being at Redux – surrounded by the amazing art in the main gallery, and the other studio renters. They are so helpful and friendly.

Favorite music to listen to while working in your studio? I’ve been listening to a lot of Alcest, Grimes, Daft Punk and Sigur Ros lately. I also like playing Gustav Holst’s The Planets to rev up my painting mood.

Future goals/aspirations. I would really like to have more solo and group shows locally, nationally and internationally. I’d also like to be represented by a gallery somewhere.

 

Meet Redux Artist: Lindsay Windham

Longtime Redux studio renter, Lindsay Windham is a freelance designer & printer with an extensive design portfolio. She’s an inspiring and bright spirit to all she meets–a true asset to the Redux community. Here’s a little Q & A interview with Lindsay where she talks about her unique, creative path which has led her from neuroscience to the creative collective, Distil Union and their clever invention of “Snooze”.

How long have you been at Redux? 
I started printing at Redux in 2006 when Jessie Bower and I learned how and then started teaching the screen-printing class together. I moved into the upstairs shared space with Nate Phelps in 2008, and into the new print shop space when it opened. I do miss being up in the “perch” and having a view over the entire Redux, but having the print shop consolidated and separate from the classroom space has been good. 

What do you love about being a part of the Redux community?
 There’s an energy that you get from being around so many different creatives! It charges me up, and pushes me to make room in my life for creative pursuits. It’s a supportive network, and at the same time I feel like an important member too who’s there to give input and support back. I try not to take Redux for granted, it’s a give-give situation.

What inspires you?
 Other than the renters at Redux who are getting their hands dirty and making it happen every day? Music inspires me, and musicians, and designers of all sorts. I respect anyone who pours their hearts and souls into their expression. To me it’s terrifying because I grew up thinking I was going to be a scientist and didn’t think twice about art. I’m still learning how to let myself be creative, and how to be inspired instead of intimidated.

Do you listen to music while you work? 
I have a Sam Cooke 4-cd box set plus a few more of his albums that I put on shuffle when I’m printing. Oh man, in the summertime, screen printing and sweating to Sam Cooke — it doesn’t get any better! If I’m doing work on the computer, it’s a lot of Dr. Dog, Ratatat, Black Keys — stuff I can bop along to and keep my brain engaged and blood pumping. 

Can you tell us a little about your background: how you found your way into design and what types of design work you do?
 My background is in the life sciences. I worked at the MUSC Physiology and Neuroscience lab after graduating from CofC with a BS in Biology. Rat brains and cocaine, which is pretty compelling stuff… In my spare time I was making posters and album art for friends’ bands for fun. Music posters have always been an easy way to get into art — usually affordable, and you get that direct connection with a band that you love. I had been doing most of my design work either on the computer or as multi-media collages that I’d scan and print. As a process-oriented person, learning how to screen print was a no brainer! And I’m fascinated with marketing and packaging and the whole presentation of a product, so that’s what I do now with Distil Union as our graphic designer. 

Describe Distil Union. We’ve dubbed Distil Union a “micro-collective” comprised of three designers who met at DLO, an Apple accessories company: Nate Justiss and Adam Printz were the two industrial designers, and I was a copywriter/web/graphic designer. DLO was a small company which was acquired by the global corporation Philips Electronics, who closed our office 3 years later. After a few months of freelancing on our own, the three of us reconnected on a mission to create the sorts of products and packaging that we always wanted to see on the shelves, but were never able to execute within Philips for one reason or another. Our philosophy is to create products that solve problems in a clever way with simple execution and considered materials. We’re located in a live/work space on the 2nd floor at 161 King Street near Queen. Working at a window that overlooks King Street is a dream come true.  

Latest Project? What was the inspiration behind SNOOZE?
 We’ve kicked off our product line with Snooze, a minimal iPhone alarm dock with a big rubber snooze bar. The inspiration was to solve the first problem we encounter in our day: waking up with our iPhones. The iPhone has replaced our alarm clock, but it’s not ideal — iPhones get knocked to the floor, alarms get shut off accidentally, charging cables fall behind our nightstands. We wanted to improve that experience, and adding a ginormous snooze bar to the iPhone in a simple dock design not just solved the problem, it made us smile. We recently received full funding on Kickstarter, and now we can’t wait to bring our first product to market! Snooze is only the beginning….

Where can people find you/Distil Union?
 You can check our website distilunion.com, our facebook.com/distilunion, our twitter @distilunion, or come by our office on King Street! Just call first, Nate and Adam live here…

Future goals?
 Our goal with Distil Union is to design beyond the Apple accessories market, to deliver unique, sexy products that people want. 
My personal goals? The usual stuff, to keep growing and learning and to find happiness, as soon as I figure out what that looks like… Oh, I would also like to revolutionize the music industry so that artists and musicians make the money and the living that they deserve. That would make me really happy.

Meet Redux Studio Artist – Tina Christophillis

­Redux Studio Artist Tina Christophillis is exhibiting her first solo show, Tina Christophillis: Paintings and Drawings, at the main office of The Coastal Community Foundation in downtown Charleston now thru April 1st. This figurative body of work consists of oil paintings and mixed media drawings that reflect her personal journey as an artist. As a former dancer, improvisational movement plays a strong role in her work.

"Longing" by Tina Christophillis; Oil on canvas, 18x24"

Tina is a committed artist and she teaches figure drawing classes weekly at the Redux. Her radiant energy serves as an inspiration to her students, colleagues and blog followers. We recently interviewed Tina and here’s what she had to say.

What is your full name? My full name is Fotini Christophillis.  I was named after my grandmother who immigrated to the US before WW II.  The name Fotini means light.  I feel this represents the intent of my work.

You were a dancer in NY before you became a painter. What made you decide to become a painter? I arrived at a place in my life where I felt called to pursue an arts management degree at the College of Charleston.  I knew deep inside that I would become an artist, but it wasn’t until getting into studio art classes in college that I saw this gift surface.  I had an inspiring painting professor, and realized that this is who I am and what I would do.  It chose me.  There was not a doubt in my mind when I came to this recognition.

What motivates you? Doing the work and a need to reach something greater.  An inner impulse and a knowing that I have something to say that can not come out in any other way.

Favorite Artist? Alberto Giacometti.  I’m inspired by the unwavering obsession and authenticity that emerged in his work for no other reason than his personal need and drive. 

Is writing an important part of your artistic process? Writing has always been part of my life.  It is a way of sorting out the insights and ideas that come to me.  A daily writing ritual is very useful to me.  It gets out all the garbage and, sometimes the gems, in my mind.  Then I can get up and get busy, see what I’m doing with clarity.  It is very important to my process.

In your blog, you openly write about your artistic/personal journey. You talk about setting intentions as an artist, moving past negative thinking, and often reflect on beauty and inspiration.  Can you tell us how you got started? One day I just started blogging.  I find it helps me see bits of truth clearly, in my own way.  I’m teaching myself as my inner workings unfold.  I seek to communicate this with an audience and develop a relationship.  I’m interested in a dialogue that goes beyond the finished painting on the wall.  It’s a journey, both epic and challenging.  It’s a story, a way of life, full of daily discoveries.  Writing helps me see all of this, check in with myself and understand things from a different perspective.

Favorite author and/or book? Marrianne Williamson is my favorite author.  I love everything she says.  Her book, “A Return to Love”, has been by my side for a long time.

When presenting your artwork or writings you often say, I hope you feel safe. Can you tell us why? The idea of “safety” has been on my mind since I started painting.  I think so often people are afraid of the power and feeling within them.   So many people have the ability to create with great depth and beauty.  But also just as often we are told not to, or perhaps that it doesn’t matter.  It is my hope with my work and my life, that I inspire other people to create and express their truth.  This “safety” is the creation of this space to do so.

Favorite quote? Art is either plagiarism or revolution. -Paul Gauguin 

Tell us about your figurative drawing classes at the Redux? The independent figure drawing class is every Sunday from 5-7, year round, except on major holidays.  It’s $10 drop-in rate and all levels and materials are welcome.  The advanced figure drawing class is every Thursday from 10:30-1:30.   In this class we work from a live model for 3 hours, beginning with shorter poses and ending with a long pose.  It is for students who have more experience working with the figure and want to hone a style and personal vision. 

Favorite phrase? Let’s start a revolution!