We picked five artists from”Wild at Hand, HVW8 Gallery, Berlin and asked them five questions about their work on view.

 

Wild at Hand, HVW8 Gallery, Berlin, a group show curated by Brit Seaton and Jenny Ames, as a celebration of works created on paper. The exhibition brings together a distinctive selection of drawings by fourteen artists, showcasing a variety of explorations in graphite, pastel, ink, and mixed media practiced today. Each artist’s stylized ode to figuration captures a sense of wild imagination​, presenting self-reflexive contemplations of identity and lived experience, alongside thoughtful muses on the world around.

Could you explain this work?

The piece of work is an image of a star who has come from the night sky going shopping.

What does this piece deal with? 

For me, the piece represents play, freedom, and happiness.

 

What medium and techniques did you use?

I wanted to experiment with the process of layers and texture. Specifically, soft edge and hard edge. The medium is oil bar and acrylic paint.

 

What were the struggles of making it?

I did this piece while I was supposed to be doing some pattern design work for a garment, but I got sidetracked and painted the star.

 

What is the purpose behind this work?

Sometimes, getting sidetracked is a good thing. Doodling is when I make my best work, because I’m making my most natural marks. I guess the purpose is to enjoy whatever it is I was doing.

Could you explain this work?

These drawings are black-and-white depictions of a recent trip I took to a wolf shrine on Mount Mitake called Musashi Mitake Jinja. Legend has it, Prince Yamato Takeru lost his way on the slopes of Mount Mitake when a mountain demon disguised as a deer led him astray. A white wolf appeared, and through the fog led him back to safety. The prince declared the wolves divine, and they became the sacred guardians of the Mitake mountain peak.

What does this piece deal with? 

I recently moved from Baltimore, USA to Tokyo, Japan, to be closer to my Japanese family. I am currently soaking up old mangas, exploring nearby neighbourhoods, and diaristically recording my observations.

What medium and techniques did you use?

I used ballpoint pen on watercolour paper.  I don’t think I’ve ever made drawings with ballpoint before this, but I like that I can get a range of values with it, and even erase it from thick paper.

What were the struggles of making it?

Hand cramps and time consumption.

 

What is the purpose behind this work?

To illustrate a legend from my trip to Mount Mitake that regards wolves as divine protectors rather than predatory antagonists.

Could you explain this work?

This is a drawing of Ice-T’s “Rhyme Pays” Vinyl cover.

What does this piece deal with? 

The title, “6 N the Mornin”, was a song by Ice-T inspired by real life early morning police raids in cities. Ice-T’s music references how he went from dope dealing to rapping, which is where Ryme Pays comes from.

What medium and techniques did you use?

I used thick oil pastels for this drawing. I try to make the drawing just as iconic as the photo, while concentrating on stylistic choices. I also try to use a minimal amount of colours.

What were the struggles of making it?

Faces… Drawing faces this small with oil pastel is always difficult. I don’t really aim to capture the person’s facial features exactly how they are, just the expression.

What is the purpose behind this work?

Ice-T helped birth a whole genre, so I had to make a contribution with one of my drawings. In my work, I reference rappers of my generation, but I felt like his impact really moulded the culture more than any other artist.

Could you explain this work?

“Desktop Picture #1” is a pastel-drawn, default background image from Apple computers. The title is a dual reference – macOS calls these specific images “desktop pictures,” and the piece is the first in a series of drawings.

 

What does this piece deal with? 

Sources, materiality, glory, futility. I wanted to find an image that was made for, and within, the digital field. Not an image of any particular exclusivity or excitement – something available, banal. By translating the pixels into pastels, I want to dually elevate the significance of the sourced image, while highlighting the human error that it is built upon.

 

What medium and techniques did you use?

I found the image within the default desktop pictures on my laptop, set it as my background, and took a screenshot. I then ran the file through photoshop to separate it into according CMYK halftones. Using pastel pencils, I drew each layer separately, and smeared the colours together.

 

What were the struggles of making it?

The struggles of making “Desktop Picture #1” are intrinsic to the piece itself. I could only get 5 or 6 dots down at a time with the pastel pencils before cutting and sanding the point back to precision. I’m not sure how many dots are in each layer – I don’t ever want to know! I remember daydreaming of an assistant whose only job was to keep my pencils sharp.

 

What is the purpose behind this work?

This drawing serves as an opening remark to the incredibly complex relationship between ourselves and the virtual realm we have created.

Could you explain this work?

I consider this piece to be a pretty pivotal turning point in my current practice. I had been exploring various ways of inventing spaces that were familiar and believable, yet completely impossible at the same time. This is because I wanted to create a narrative that, despite being opaque in details, would be rich in tone and emotion. 

What does this piece deal with? 

Introspection and interpersonal dynamics are very central to my work. This piece in particular deals with the struggle of reconciling the different versions of oneself, and the melancholy and mystery that accompanies that challenge. But there are a few jokes I’ve snuck in there as well. It’s not all moody.

What medium and techniques did you use?

I used Sumi ink on paper. I laid out the core elements of the image in pencil and made up the rest of the details with ink as I went along. Some call it drawing, some call it painting. I guess it’s both.

What were the struggles of making it?

There are a lot of details that were very tedious and time-consuming, but I wouldn’t say it was a struggle. It was very meditative. Although, working on the wood-grain floor sometimes made my eyes hurt. I think the challenge behind the work was more personal than technical, because it was created in an effort to sort through my conflicted internal dialogues.

What is the purpose behind this work?

To trigger some self-reflection that hopefully results in empathy for others, and gentleness towards oneself. 

12.09.18

Words by Martin Mayorga

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