As we round up our interviews, we leave you with two more amazing artists who we’re proud to be featuring in “Islands in LA”: Derek Albeck and Marco Zamora. Both artists are no strangers to working with one another already. We can’t wait to see what they’ll come up when they join us, and all the artists on February 27th!
Meet Derek Albeck…
Can you tell us a bit about how you got started as an artists? How did you decide that this would be your career and that it was possible to support yourself through it?
I graduated from California State Northridge in Fall 2005 with a BA focusing on printmaking and painting. At the time I graduated I had been working as an intern/assistant at a gallery in Culver City, and the director there was super supportive in helping me get my artwork shown. She taught me a lot about how commercial galleries work and really helped guide me in the direction I wanted my art to take me. After my time at the gallery my art started slowly supporting me, and now here I am. I don’t think that I ever really decided that my art would be something that would support me full time, I just knew that I wanted to make art all the time and thats all I really ever think about. So when it did start to support me it was a pretty amazing thing.
Many pieces you’ve done have a kaleidoscopic theme. What is it about patterning and weaving the different motifs you choose that fascinates you?
I’ve always been into pattern for some reason. I think that it might be a subconscious reaction to all the time I spent in the textile labs during college, because my work then didn’t contain much pattern but it did have a lot or repetition. The process of repetition has always been something I been attracted to in my work, whether its the repetition of one single motif or a particular pattern in an object.
What are you trying to convey through this visual arrangement?
When I started creating the kaleidoscopic pieces I was really trying to create a strong visual arrangement utilizing repetition and figuration that would become almost psychedelic in appearance. I think now in the newer works that utilize graphite and colored pencil I’m really into how the various subjects of the drawings associate and dissociate with one another leaving this ambiguous nature to the drawings.
I met Marco in 2007 when we were introduced by a mutual friend. We were both participating in the Vans Sky Gallery billboard project together later that year, and I think we were just both at the same point in our careers that we just found this common bond. We both had backgrounds in printmaking and painting and both had similar work habits. We also shared perspectives on our surroundings, which related to our work, so we meshed really well. Throughout 2007 we participated in a lot of shows together, created a collaborative print set together, and helped organize the Vans Sky Gallery exhibit and New Image Art. After 2007, it just became second nature for me to confide in him about art related business; and I think the same goes for him. Since then we have worked together on more and more projects and I think we just really have a mutual respect for each other that has allowed our friendship to grow.
Do you feel there are similar themes in the work you guys do?
I do think that Marco and myself have shared themes in our work, but I think we both approach then in different ways. It’s good to have someone you respect to give you an honest opinion about a piece or an idea that you’re not so sure about.
Images of skulls are heavily involved in your work. What does the skull motif mean to you?
Most of the people in the skulls are friends and family or people I have shared time with; so the work in its entirety becomes a map of events and stories (good and bad) that I have shared with these people throughout my life. The use of the skull is more of a sign representing everyones ultimate fate.
There are a couple of striking pieces in which you have a multiple heads forming the shape of a skull. Can you tell us a bit about what you were doing here?
The first initial skull composition was titled “Bury Me with my Brood” and it was for a show titled Bury Me. The title alone provided a dark theme for me to work from and I thought, who else [would I rather] be buried with than my friends and family. So I shot photos of my friends and family and drew them into the composition as a skull, which to me worked as a good symbol for death, obviously. After I created this piece I kind of had a difficult time with the line work of the painting not being as realistic as I would have liked it to be. I began playing around with graphite pencils which allowed me to give a more accurate portrayal of the individuals in the work. For my most recent show I exhibited two new skull works that were done entirely in graphite. They took me forever to complete but they really worked for me. To me these skull pieces serve as maps of shared experiences.
Where did you grow up? And what are some places that are near and dear to you in Los Angeles?
I grew up in Simi Valley on the border of Ventura country and Los Angeles county, so my hometown as awful as it may seem now, provided me with a ton of memories growing up. Although the town seems a bore, it’s amazing what you could come up with as a young bored teen in a suburb town. As for Los Angeles I do have a lot of good memories spent down in venice. And my mini house that I live in at the moment has provided me with many crazy memories thus far.
What do you look forward to most at Islands in LA? What lasting impression do you want the attendees to leave with?
I look forward to finally meeting Luke and Angela, eating a good lunch, and just having a fun day meeting new people and drawing all day with friends!! wooohoo!
Great, thanks Derek! We’ll see you soon!
Meet Marco Zamora…
Were you always making art?
Art has always been apart of my life. Art is the one thing you can do for you, and no one can tell you how to make it. I enjoy that aspect of it and that is why I create.
You must take tons of photographs, since much of your work comes from the pictures you take. You photograph a space, a street, or an object, and you sketch and paint what you captured. Can you tell us more about this process?
Yes, I photograph a lot. I am always observing people and my surroundings. It is a bit of a process and is not something where there’s immediate satisfaction. [But] I do go home and am very excited to see what was photographed. When I see something I know is going to be good, I immediately start to collage images in my head. A lot [of the ideas] have to do with what I’m involved in at the time.
People and the places that they inhabit is a dominant theme in your work. What is it about this that fascinates you?
It’s a playground of imagery, being out and seeing people work hard has always made me work harder and appreciate what I have. This is part of the reason why I paint what I paint. I paint people in their most everyday living and work situations. My drawings and paintings are a log of what I see, and what I want others to see. Most people often ignore or are too busy with their everyday lives to notice the little things that make the world go ’round.
Color seems to be sparse in your work except for certain pieces where you accentuate color. Is there a reason for this? What do you try to convey by doing this?
I am a little afraid of color. From the beginning I have always set limitations on it. And little by little that has disappeared. Limiting has made me think harder about what I am doing, and why I paint certain things. Now I am breaking from that and feel that I need a little structure and chaos.
Has there been anything inspiring you lately? Is there anything that you’ve been working on in light of that?
Being active has helped me to let loose a little. I am experimenting a little more with color, objects and not being so structured in my process. For this show I created three 5×7 screen prints using 9 images. I decided to go with the flow. This little experiment has spawned ideas for my next project.
Tell me how you came to be involved in the Islands in LA show. What do you look forward to in working with the different artists involved?
I stayed with Islands fold in ’06, and since then Luke has kept me involved in their projects. Thanks Luke. I’m looking forward to meeting, collabing, and seeing what comes from it.
Thanks Marco! We’ll see you very soon!
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Poketo and Islands Fold Pop Up Art Show, “Islands in LA”
Beginning at 3 PM, all are invited to grab a drink, hang out with the artists, and witness new pieces being created from start to finish to be showcased later that evening. At 6 PM the official party will begin with a release of a special edition Poketo tee shirt featuring a collaborative design by the artists. The spontaneous nature of the show will allow the public to purchase all original art right off the walls to be taken home that evening.
Friday, February 27th
3 PM – 6 PM: Open studio with artists
6 PM – 9 PM: Official Artshow/ Party