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If you don’t already know who Zaria Forman is, then you should get to know her because she is an amazing artist with the perfect eye for environmental art.
Using only her fingers and a range of blue, black, grey and white pastels set upon large canvases located in her Brooklyn studio, the crashing waves and iceberg scenes that Forman is most noted for is to bring awareness to the global warming epidemic plaguing the world.
Growing up in Piermont, New York, she received her bachelor of studio arts in 2005 at Skidmore College in Saratoga. Since then, her artistry has garnered lots of attention in the art world nationally.
Her solo works include Case Gallery, Saratoga Springs in 2005;Bunburry’s Art Gallery, Piermont, NY and the Allen Sheppard Gallery, NY in 2006; and her 2008 exhibitions Arctic Light: Recent Drawings, in the Allen Sheppard Gallery, NY. She is currently represented by DFN Gallery in New York, theDavid Floria Gallery in Aspen, Colorado and the Winston Wachter Gallery in Seattle, Washington State.
Forman’s inspiration came about when she and her family would travel to some of the world’s most remote places. Her mother, Rena Bass Foreman, would dedicate her life to going to some of the most isolated places on earth to photograph, where the arctic environment would took over her interest for 10 years.
In 2012, Zaria Forman hosted Chasing Light, where she sailed up the coast of Northwest Greenland where she documented the arctic environment and landscape.
10 of her drawings were featured in The House of Cards. She has also worked as the set designer for the ballet, Giselle.
Foreman sits down with High Fructose, The Contemporary Art Magazine, Nathan Spoor and offers us insight into her artwork:
So Zaria, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. If you would indulge us a bit, what is your background and what are your main inspirations as an artist?
“I grew up in Piermont, NY, about 30 minutes north of NYC. I went to Green Meadow Waldorf school from 6th grade through high school — a very small school with an alternative approach to education, in which art is greatly infused.
The inspiration for my drawings began in my early childhood when I traveled with my family throughout several of the world’s most remote landscapes, which became the subject of my mother’s fine art photography. I developed an appreciation for the beauty and vastness of the ever-changing sky and sea. I loved watching a far-off storm on the western desert plains; the monsoon rains of southern India; and the cold arctic light illuminating Greenland’s waters.”
Did you attend an art school for any formal training, or is this mostly a visual that insists that you create it? Or perhaps is your work something of a different nature altogether?
“Although I did major in Studio Arts at Skidmore College, I had been making art my entire life. Either I was born with the desire to create art or it was instilled in me from an early age, and my education fostered my passion for it over the years.
I actually never anticipated becoming a full time artist. Art making was simply an activity I enjoyed, but I never had plans to make it my profession until I was offered to be in my first exhibit after graduating from college. One show led to another, I chose to ride the wave, and am very happy I did!”
Your work seems to lend itself to heightening the awareness of the beauty and strength of natural elements, specifically water. How much of a message do you feel you imbue your works with, and what story are you trying to relay to viewers?
“I think most human beings are drawn towards water in one way or another. It makes up more than 75% of our bodies, and covers most of the Earth’s surface. We need water to survive, but we also gravitate toward its beauty — the respite, shimmer, and movement it adds to a landscape. Water provides me with an endless amount of inspiration as it constantly changes, taking on new forms from one moment to next. There will always be more for me to learn about the methods with which water can be conveyed in pastel, and I enjoy that never-ending challenge.
My most recent drawings document Earth’s shifting landscape and the effects of progressive climate change. In August 2012, I led an Arctic expedition up the northwest coast of Greenland. Called “Chasing the Light,” it was the second expedition of this nature; the mission of which was to create art inspired by this dramatic geography. The first expedition, in 1869, was led by the American painter William Bradford. My mother, Rena Bass Forman, had conceived the idea for the voyage, but did not live to see it through. During the months of her illness her dedication to the expedition never wavered and I promised to carry out her final journey.
I have begun a series of drawings inspired by this trip. Documenting climate change, the work addresses the concept of saying goodbye on scales both global and personal. In Greenland, I scattered my mother’s ashes amidst the melting ice.
Continuing the story of polar melt, which is the main cause of rising seas, I followed the meltwater from the Arctic to the equator. I spent September 2013 in the Maldives, the lowest and flattest country in the world, collecting material and inspiration to create a body of work celebrating and representing a nation that could be entirely underwater within this century.
My drawings invite viewers to share the urgency of climate change in a hopeful and significant way. Art can facilitate a deeper understanding of any crisis, helping us find meaning and optimism in shifting landscapes.’
Along with exhibiting in galleries and museums, you’ve also created large-scale works to function as backdrops for ballet – Giselle at the Grand Theatre in Geneva, Switzerland. What was that experience like and how did that come together?
“I conceived a series of ten drawings that were used as the set design for Giselle, a classic ballet that premiered at the Grand Theater of Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2012. Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg and I collaborated to choose each image and its details. Working in this way was a new challenge. It taught me how to collaborate artistically, and allowed me to render textural effects I wouldn’t have otherwise attempted. The ballet has since toured in Asia and Europe.”
What is the daily life of Zaria Forman like? Do you have a set time to create or do you find yourself working only when the spirit moves you?
“I would love to be able to work only when the mood strikes, but when exhibition deadlines are looming, that becomes impossible. I often work very long hours, drawing for two hours at a time and taking short breaks, from 9am to midnight. I have quite a full exhibition schedule for the next year, so I am doing my best to pace myself and take time off to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.”
From what I can recall, pastels are a very dusty and delicate medium. How do you manage or control such a powdery element? Do you work in layers or spray a fixative as you progress through a piece?
“Yes, the material is quite dusty. I use a non-toxic, workable fixative and often spray in between layers. The drawings are never entirely fixed however, and are very vulnerable until framed.”
One of my favorite questions revolves around challenges and advice – what have you encountered that you learned from, and what advice or knowledge could you pass on to others beginning their artistic journey?
“In residence at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in the Spring of 2012, I created a drawing entitled “Greenland #63″. Working amidst masterful paintings of Greenland’s ice by artists such as William Bradford and Rockwell Kent, I was both intimidated and inspired. The setting compelled me to push my own artistic boundaries. The scale and level of detail I undertook were the most challenging of any drawing I had yet created, giving rise to the most rewarding drawing experience I have ever had.
My advice to any artist is to discover subjects you are passionate about, and push your personal boundaries to challenge yourself. I always have the biggest breakthroughs with my work when I step outside my comfort zone and try something I didn’t think was possible.”
Looking to the future, what can we look forward to coming up with you? Are there any exhibitions we can see or projects in the works that our readers can find your work in?
“I currently have work on display in the exhibit CRB: Contemporary Realism Biennial, 2014 at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, IN (Sept 20 – Nov 30, 2014) as well as in We are One, an exhibition at the Living Earth Ecological Insitute, Phoenix, AZ (Oct 1- Nov 30, 2014).
I am currently showing work in “Environmental Impact,” a traveling museum exhibition, which began at the Erie Art Museum (Erie, PA August 1 – September 30, 2014). The show is continuing with exhibitions at Peninsula Fine Arts Center (Newport News, VA, Oct. 25, 2014 – January 4, 2015), Brookgreen Gardens, (Murrells Inlet, SC, January 31 – April 26, 2015), Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (May 16 – August 16, 2015), The Art Museum, SUNY Potsdam, (Potsdam, NY, September 1 – October 31, 2015) and Stauth Memorial Museum (Montezuma, KS, December 6, 2015 – January 17, 2016). Also, in addition to many places all over the world that I would like to travel to and document.
I have been forming a collective with two other artists that came to Greenland and the Maldives with me, Lisa Lebofsky and Drew Denny. Our project, titled “Ice to Islands,”continues to evolve and take shape through drawings, paintings, film, performance, and education. Future exhibition plans involve a group showing of our work, as well as other artists’ work pertaining to the subject of climate change, specifically ice melt and sea level rise. Along with exhibits there will be educational and performance based events, including panel discussions with climate change scientists, activists, and artists.”
Here’s a delicious black bean recipe that I’m sure you’ll love. Naturally Ella presents black bean and guac burritos. Great for breakfast and lunch. Full of protein and delicious!
It’s a quicker, delicious way to get lots of nutrients for those of us without a lot of time on our hands.
The recipe goes as follows:
- 2 Avocados
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ red onion, minced
- 1 Serrano chile(seeds removed and minced)
- 1 lime
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup Cilantro, minced
- 1 small Tomato, diced
- 2 large flour tortillas
- ½ cup brown rice, cooked
- ½ can black beans
- bag chopped lettuce, onion, and tomatoes
- ⅓ cup Moneteray Jack Cheese
- Remove avocado from skin and place in a bowl and slightly mash. Add in the garlic, onion, chile, lime juice, salt, and cilantro. Stir until guac is well combined. Fold in diced tomatoes.
- Spread guacamole in the center of the flour tortilla. Place half the rice, beans, cheese, and toppings on top of the guacamole. Roll into a burrito and tuck in the ends.
- Using an indoor grill or a panini press, heat burrito until tortilla browns on each side.
- Serve with remaining guacamole or salsa.
Thanks Erin. Enjoy!
Do you wear a required uniform to work or do you choose to wear the same thing to work everyday?
After reading about Matilda Kahl’s story about why she chooses to wear the same thing day in and day out to work, it doesn’t sound half bad. She credits her work uniform to the hassles of getting up in the morning and searching for the right outfit. So far, it only takes her about 7 minutes to get ready for work, including makeup and hair.
Although she wears the same thing everyday, she isn’t literally wearing the same outfit at the previous day. She has a collection of a few shirts and pair of pants in order to have a clean outfit on a daily basis.
With her work uniform of black pants and a white collared top, completed with a bow, she can now focus on her work instead of her looks.
What do you think? Would you consider a work uniform to work?
Btw, I have a post about building a wardrobe uniform that you might be interested in!
I must admit for the sake of this blog that I am a pretty hair person. I’ve tried waxing which I like, but it’s so messy. I have a high pain tolerance so it’s a breeze for me.
Shaving is ok, but I don’t like the stubbly feel afterwards and spending money on countless shavers. When i remove hair, I’d like it to be gone for a while.
I’ve tried an inexpensive electric shaver, but the blade is too small, which either means too much time spent shaving my legs or being only able to shave smaller amounts of hair.
I went to Sally’s the other day and saw an epilator called Emjoi Cashmere. I looked up the reviews online before purchasing and they were pretty good. The Emjoi Cashere is an epilation took that plucks hair out of the follicle. It looks like a regular shaver ( there’s a shaver attachment), but there are small tweezers that rid you of unwanted hair, along with tiny massagers to relieve the pain.
I was a little bit scared of the torturous looking device, but tried it anyways. Warning! If you try it, it’s best to do so after a shower so your pores are open and your skin is pliable. It may hurt but the more you do it the more your skin will toughen up against the pain. I’m used to hair removal so it’s no biggie for me.
So far so good. What products do you recommend for hair removal?
As an eyeglass wearer, it’s important that I’m able to afford a pair of glasses and what better way to do that than with the best spectacle brand in the world?
Right now, Warby Parker is featuring their new See Summer Better Collection. Two cheerful new shades in this collection, Sea Green Crystal and Ginger Crystal, round out some oldie-but-goody favorites, including Root Beer, Moonstone, and other hues inspired by the fun-loving summer season. Existing shapes Haskell and Chamberlain are lightened up in Crystal, and a cluster of current silhouettes are being reintroduced with new color selections, reminiscent of sunny blue skies and sandy beaches.
New optical eyewear shapes Stockton, Clark, Orson, Oxley, and June are designed to mimic those cherished summertime elements and activities: water, sand, cocktails on the patio .. you get the picture. Warby Parker is also especially excited to introduce new sunglasses Bates and Buckley. Each are noticeably distinct in their own way with undersized titanium rim frames and acetate brow.
Here’s a glimpse of some of Warby Parker‘s new Summer Collection:
June – in Moonstone.
Pick out your favorite See Summer Better shades at Warby Parker!
If you’re interested but don’t want to fully commit to purchasing a pair, their Home Try-ons allow one to purchase 5 pairs, free of charge, for 5 days. If you don’t like what you see, simply ship back and try on a completely new set.
I suggest you try it today and see what pair fits your style! Happy Shopping!
Denmark is one of my top places to visit one day, with it’s beautiful canal-lined streets and delicious pastries, but since I’m not able to go right now, I thought I’d delight you readers with beautiful Solvang, California!
Solvang is a Danish village located within the city limits of Santa Barbara, California and was settled by the Dutch back in the early 1900s. It’s quaint little town of bakeries, local shops and beautiful scenery, which is a small taste of Denmark in California.
So we spent the past week there and it was a nice getaway to see something that southern California isn’t known for. Of course, there’s Los Angeles and people know about San Diego, but Solvang is a hidden gem of sorts.
We visited Atterdag Square, which is located in downtown Solvang. It’s full of charming shops and feels very Scandinavian.
From there we visited some local shops, such as Mortensen’s Danish Bakery, which offers mouthwatering pastries and danish shortbread cookies, which we brough home a bucket of!
What are some of your favorite places to visit?
What are some of the things that you can’t leave home without? Right now, I’m loving this bag for a summer getaway among a few other things, just in case you’re in a “wanderlusty”mood:
Asos Sequin Kimono Dress for those romantic, balmy nights.
Jane floppy hat to shade you against the heat.
Philosphy Falling in Love Perfume.
And last but not least, how to layer bracelets for that too cool for school look that fits every style.
What do you wear to set off your summer look?
I had a craving for something different for breakfast. Since chocolate always fixes things, I stumbled upon Chocolate Covered Katie’s delicious recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough oatmeal.
It’s a cinch to make and a great way to sneak in potassium-filled bananas. if little ones don’t like them. Healthy and indulgent! What more could you ask for?
Here’s the recipe:
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/8 tsp salt
- sweetener (sugar, stevia, etc)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce or banana
- 4 drops coconut extract (you can omit)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup liquid (milk of choice, water, coconut milk, etc.)
- 1 or 2 tbsp pre-melted coconut butter (see note below about a fat-free substitution)
- Optional: a handful of chocolate chips (and a few for the top, too!)
Baked Cookie Dough Oats: Preheat oven to 380 degrees. Combine dry ingredients, then mix in wet. Pour into a small baking pan, loaf pan, or 1-cup ramekin (or, for mini boatmeal cakes, two 1/2-cup ramekins). Cook for 20 minutes or more, until it’s firm. Finally, set your oven to “high broil” for 5 more minutes (or simply just bake longer, but broiling gives it a nice crust). Don’t forget to spray your ramekins first if you want your cakes to pop out.