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Fei Disbrow

Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

I grew up in Vancouver, Canada and returned here three years ago after 10 years away. My time away included stretches of time in Portland, OR, Detroit, MI, and Toronto, ON, following various academic pursuits of both myself and my husband.

What is the inspiration of your Corpus series?

My work has always been inspired to some degree by the human body. My objects and 2D work often starts with a specific body-related theme (e.g., prostheses, technology and the body, etc.), that I abstract through form, and/or materials. This series began in a similar manner, with the investigation of organ diseases.

How do these works come about? Do you start with sketches?

I didn’t sketch out these works specifically, though I did complete many anatomical drawings of healthy and diseased digestive organs. My work is very process driven - I delve into the making, let go, and see where it takes me.

You work with unusual materials in this series: batting, giant pins and fill. Why not use fabric or the hardened mixed-media used in other series?

I had wanted to work with a malleable material when I came across the bamboo batting. I was attracted to its soft texture and empathetic quality. I felt compelled to cut it up and sew the pieces together in a random way; before I knew it I was making forms that were organ-like with arterial connections. Once complete, it was important that they took on a specimen-type quality, which was achieved when I hung them from the hand forged, cast-iron pins.

How do you respond to viewers’ reaction to your work, particularly the unsettling, or bordering-on-grotesque, elements in your work?

I think the juiciest parts of life are driven by attraction and repulsion. When people share their reactions and impressions of my work, it gives me insight on who they are - I really enjoy hearing what viewers think.

What are your hopes and goals for 2013?

I’m a maker and just want to make and make and make. A few shows would be nice too!

Fei Disbrow's website.

Written by Kate Singleton — January 29, 2013

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Rebecca Volynsky

Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

I am originally from Providence, Rhode Island, but currently live in lovely Cambridge, MA. My family came to the United States from Belarus in 1989, and I was born right away. They have struggled a lot over the years, and the sacrifices that they have made in order for me to succeed and make art are incredibly inspirational to me. Most of what I do is in honor of my grandparents, whom I have never met, that still live in Belarus.

What else do you do besides make art?

When I'm not doodling, collaging weird faces together, or sewing through paper, I'm most likely working at my full-time job at a startup in Boston or studying for school. I haven't finished my undergrad degree yet, but I hope to finally do so in the art therapy program at Lesley University. Eventually, I plan on getting a master's degree in community art education, and starting my own studio space for local youth and artists in the community. 

Sometimes I also have pancake and wine nights with my friends, read comics, or shake it at Zuzu's Soulelujah. I'm also really passionate about cooking. There's something about making a fancy meal that gives me the same sense of fulfillment as finishing a piece of artwork.

Tell us about this series and its personal significance.

This past year has been a whirlwind -- I experienced a lot of struggle and loss in my life, but was able to remain assertive and determined to bounce back. With the help of my family, friends, and creative practice, I've found the strength to create a balance between supporting myself and doing whatever I can to achieve my future goals. This series of work actually started early last summer, right when I began to rebuild again. The themes of my work usually revolve around the ideas personal growth, moving forward, and building self-confidence. For me, creating this series helped me realize those themes in my own life again. I was able to rebuild a lot of personal strength, and I hope that sense of positivity reflects in the work. I also did a lot of playing around with Russian folk art and Byzantine icon painting elements.

When are you most creative?

I try to make work everyday, but that often makes me feel like I'm forcing myself to be creative. When I feel the need to create, get inspired by something, or just have an idea that has been nudging me for a long time, that's when I sit down and let it all simply unfold. This process is unplanned, which allows me to fully invest myself into what I make. Sometimes these pieces are deeply personal, and I've been thinking of how other mediums might better communicate these ideas and feelings (performance and animation, for example). If I'm not creating artwork, I find myself to be "creative" and in-tune with my thoughts and self in other ways, such as yoga and cooking. 

What are your hopes for 2013?

2012 was honestly one hell of a year. I lost touch with a lot of my goals and self, so in 2013...I hope to be more patient with myself and peers. I plan on being more physically healthy and mindful of what I really want for myself. It's a brand new beginning, and I'm extremely grateful for what I have. :)

Written by Kate Singleton — January 20, 2013

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