Wednesday, March 24, 2010

L.(innea) S.(trid) 3010

Holla. Radford here.

If you've noticed a little something extra in the air lately, and you've been asking yourself what it is, I am here to tell you that it is excitement and it is there because Industrial Squid has a new show opening this Friday. I'll give you time to stop screaming and dancing around with happiness.

You ready? Good.

So the new show is L.A. 3010, and it gave artists a chance to envision what the City of Angels might look like after another 1000 years of partying have gone down in the books. One of those artists was the tremazing (both tremendous and amazing at the same freaking time) Linnea Strid. If you aren't familiar with Linnea's work then be prepared to have your mind blown. I sent Linnea some questions and she was nice enough to take some time out of her day to reply to my nonsense.

Dave Radford: Hello lady! Well let me thank you for being a part of our L.A. 3010 group show. It was important to us to have a few international artists involved because we wanted to see how artists living outside of this country perceive the City of Angels. What first comes to mind when you think of L.A.?

Linnea Strid: Hey there, and thank you for inviting me to take part in the show! Well, the last time I went to LA was nine years ago, and what first comes to mind must be the cool atmosphere. Very laid back and kind of “be whoever you want to be, we don’t care”. And yes, the beaches in Venice obviously made a deep impact on me, haha.

DR: I fell in love with your oil paintings from the first time I saw them. You create extremely realistic images, even though your paintings often involve elements like rippling water or rounded reflections, which tend to be more difficult to paint in such a life like manner. So give it up. What is your secret? Are you a witch of some sort or do you have a working relationship with magical elves that come into your studio in the middle of the night?

LS: I suppose my secret has been revealed now, so I better look for a new job. No, but as much as I would love to have witch powers or a great working relationship with elves (not Legolas though.. he’s such a dork) I actually work best alone. Team work has always been difficult for me and I love to just lock myself up in my studio for days... or weeks. Hmmm, maybe that’s the trick? Yeah, that’s my answer, becoming a hermit.

DR: How do you choose the subjects that you paint? Does it involve a dart board?

LS: I suck at throwing darts so I usually just ask my dog, she’s extremely intelligent and has a lot of creative ideas. They usually involve food, sleeping and chasing cats... but I can read between the lines, I know what she’s after.

DR: Yellow?
a. Strongly Agree
b. Whatevs.
c. Disagree
d. Bacon.

LS: Disagree. It’s the color of pee and it just looks terrible on me.

DR: After LA 3010, the WWA Gallery is featuring Australian artist Rob Corless and Canadian artist Rey Ortega, and we at Industrial Squid love working with international artists for our group shows because we've found there is great work coming out of nearly every corner of the globe, even though it just occurred to me that globes don't technically have there any place on this little planet of ours that has particularly sparked your interest because of the art work coming out of it?

LS: I’m really into the new American contemporary art movement with pop surrealism, photo realism, graffiti, street art and all that implies. I’m feeling a bit bored with Swedish art at the moment. Sure, performance art, installations and conceptual art was fun for a while, but come on. It’s time to move on now (not saying all of it is crap, just generally speaking).

DR: Your painting of George W Bush and Adolf Hitler drinking tea whilst getting their hair did always makes me smile. Do you enjoy infusing social commentary into your work and is it something we will see more of in the future?

LS: Yes, I do enjoy making some sort of social commentary in my work, whether it’s the work itself or just a hint in the title. It was much more important for me to make grand statements when I was younger, but it’s still a huge part of who I am, so you never know, I might do some political art in the future. For me, the Baywatch year 3010 piece is also somewhat political since it concerns the future of the animals and the climate of our planet, but maybe not quite in an obvious and hardcore way as George and Adolf.

DR: Your contribution to LA 3010 is A-mazing, although I may be biased because it does involve my two favorite things, Polar bears and the beach. What inspired you to turn LA into a winter wonderland?

LS: Thank you! It was pretty much a nice little cocktail of climate changing, animal loving and a cold, ruthless, Swedish winter who made it happen.

DR: Since your painting is titled Baywatch 3010 I have to ask what will probably be considered the defining question of our times, who was your favorite Hasselhoff, Michael Knight in Knight Rider or Mitch Buchannon in Baywatch?

LS: Oh, the agony of choice! But if I have to choose, I suppose I’d go with Michael Knight. I mean seriously. Knight Rider. Epic.

DR: Industrial Squid's next group show is "I Believe in Unicorns," which is going to be a celebration of all things happy and smiley. What things make you happy and smiley?

LS: Unicorns are pretty cool, I think they’d make me smile if I ran into some in the street. But except from that I’d say girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, silver white winters that melt into springs. These are a few of my favorite things.

DR: We've already seen what you think the future might hold for LA, but what do you hope the future holds for Linnea Strid?

LS: Lots of fun experiences and painting, that’s all I ask for. Oh, and a new house/studio would be awesome too.

For more information and to view Linnea's available artwork from the "L.A. 3010" group show, visit WWA gallery. To learn more about Linnea and her art, visit

Monday, March 22, 2010

Devil's Haircut

The Art of Edward Robin Coronel
by Stephanie Chefas
Edward Robin Coronel is a very busy man these days showing in several group shows and a solo show that opens April 1st at Epoch in Austin, Texas. Early this year ERC showed new works in The Devil Made Me Do It group show at WWA and delivered an outstanding piece titled 'Haricut' that has been receiving much attention. Find out what makes ERC "tick" and get a sneak peek of his new works for his latest solo show 'furry:fuzzy'.

Stephanie Chefas (SC): When hearing about the theme for The Devil Made Me Do It, what was your initial reaction?

Edward Robin Coronel (ERC): I immediately thought of the very first time I heard that line. My sister, April, said it defensively. She was around 6, and I was about 8 years old. Since then, in my childhood, I’ve thought about saying it but knew I would have regretted it.

SC: What are some things in your life that the devil made you do?

ERC: In my youth, I’ve done my share of damage that I was not too proud of. Luckily, no one was hurt, and time heals wounds.

SC: What was your most memorable dream or nightmare?

ERC: I had a pretty vivid dream last night. I was calmly replacing a flat tire, while my father, B.A. “Bad Ass” Baracus, and Wolverine were diverting rainy-city-rush hour traffic around my little white ’93 Toyota Carolla station wagon. All three of them were pretty impatient and grouchy. They gave me their own perspective on how to change a tire, while I calmly swapped the flat out. We were running late to meet up with other friends who wanted to see “Maid in Manhattan.” Yep, this was a nightmare alright.

I know it may sound pretty weird, but I can remember most of my dreams.

SC: Did you go to art school?

ERC: No, but I took a basic art class in high school. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and minor in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago. After graduating, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 15 years. I am passionate about making art and have been painting for a couple of years now. It is a wonderful outlet.

SC: Can you tell me about your process?

ERC: It usually starts off as a quick “concept doodle” in a sketchbook. Once, I like the drawing, I paint it onto canvas. When I am satisfied with the initial composition, I build up many layers of color before adding the finishing touches. At times, I feel that I am back in the R&D lab and experimenting. I do allow the characters to evolve on the canvas so the final work may look different from the initial sketch. From the distance, some of the characters appear to be one solid color of paint, but if you look closely, you can see other colors come through. I’ve also tried to document the process of my work by taking lots of photos to show the transitional progress of each painting. Being new to making art, I like to see the steps I have taken to bring me to the final work.

SC: The Haircut is such a great, playful take on the Devil theme and has been getting a lot of attention. What was your inspiration for creating this piece?

ERC: It was from a happy memory of the first time I heard the line. In our childhood, my parents caught my sister, April, and me playing “barbershop.” April was the barber, and I was the client. April used the line defensively after shaving part of my right eyebrow off with our father’s electric shaver.

SC: Are many of your childhood memories the inspiration behind your works?

ERC: Yes, most of my artwork is inspired from memories. They can be inspired from happy memories from my childhood and/or colorful interactions with folks.

SC: Tell me about the two other pieces in the show, The Wolf and The Piglet.

ERC: Speaking of colorful interactions, I was projecting some feelings onto canvas where I thought the fun “Devil” theme would fit.

SC: What are you creating at the moment? Any shows coming up in the near future?

ERC: I am finishing up some work for an April solo show at Epoch and a 5x7 fundraising group show at Arthouse at the Jones Center in May. They are both here in Austin. I am also very excited to get started on my piece for the I Believe in Unicorns show at the WWA Gallery.

For more information and to view Edward Robin's available artwork from "The Devil Made Me Do It" group show, visit
WWA gallery. To learn more about Edward Robin and his art, visit

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Devil and Mr Sisson

Radford here again with another interview full of deep, philosophical questions that help illuminate the psyche of one of the "Devil Made Me Do It" artists. This time Dylan Sisson dared to stand before the firing squad and in doing so he revealed, among many other things, a predilection for chainsaws, his true feelings on argyle, and the terrifying possibility that he may indeed be close to building a time traveling robot. Don't believe me? (Why should you? We really haven't known each other that long.) Read for yourself.

Dave Radford (DR): Your artwork has been described, I believe by you, as Creepy Cute. Is there anything you find creepy cute in real life? For instance, I think hairless dogs and cats are creepy cute. I hope I didn’t just take your answer.

Dylan Sisson (DS): Whew, thankfully you didn't steal my answer, otherwise the tables would be turned, and I would have to interview you instead. And that would make for a bad interview, wouldn't it?

DR: Indeed. Putting the propaganda aside, which do you feel is the most important meal of the day?

DS: I appreciate the diplomatic nature of your query. Perhaps the meal that is the best is the meal not had? Perhaps being sated, physically, spiritually, or mentally, inhibits the creation of art. Maybe asceticism is inspiring? Or maybe it's purely pragmatic ... when I don't eat, I have more time left to paint.

DR: What do you think the characters you create do when you aren’t watching?

DS: That assumes my characters have free will, but ok. When I'm not watching I'd like to think my characters are following me behind my back.

DR: What are your feelings on argyle?

DS: It's a nice place to visit but I wouldn't like to live there ... but seriously, Argyle has always been a sore point for me, a thorn in my side ... Argyle never liked it when I said that Plaid was my favorite color and could never forgive me. Well, I told Argyle that Argyle is really just like Plaid but with a slight tilt. I even said that Plaid could be considered Argyle, but Argyle could never be Plaid, and guess what? Argyle didn't care.

DR: So you sketch, paint, animate, design vinyl toys and even i-Phone games. Are there any other media you’d like to explore, then conquer and benevolently rule over?

DS: Well, I've actually had a long standing fascination with chainsaw art ... I would like to explore that, if given an infinite amount of time. A lot of the subject matter of chainsaw art falls within the boundaries of bears, gnomes, and the great american bald eagle. There's a lot of stuff that hasn't been done. The idea of creating a motley collection of chainsaw sculptures for some kind of bizzarro road side attraction is kinda interesting ... but it's also a lot of bulky equipment, you need to get some tree trunks and a chainsaw for starters. You can't carry that stuff around and make art spontaneously ... like sketching people on the bus with a log and a chainsaw. That's generally frowned upon.

DR: What was your favorite comic growing up?

DS: This is actually a rather tough question. But I'd have to say that out of all the comics I read as a little kid, Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland was pretty much my all out favorite ... just because the stories were so elaborate and strange. And as a kid the only prop you needed to pretend to be Little Nemo was a bed. Luckily I had one of those. Of course, Winsor McCay was an early pioneer of animation and watching his early animation Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) taught me how the process of animation actually worked, a bonus I guess.

DR: You created possibly the most adorable depiction of the devil ever for our Devil Made Me Do It show. Is there anything in your past you’d now like to take this platform to publicly blame the devil for?

DS: I thank you for this opportunity to publicly blame the devil. In Boise Idaho, when I was a young lad of 13, I danced in front of a security camera at a pizza parlor ... like a mime. I pushed against the invisible wall of the camera, thinking that the security guard would look at me on his screen and think ... "Ha, there's a kid pretending like he's trapped in my security monitor!" Years later I now realize he probably thought I was a punk. I now have to agree with him ... I was a punk, and I publicly blame the devil for making me do that. If I could build a robot and send it back to anytime in the past. I would send that robot to that pizza parlor and kill that mime boy.

For more information and to view Dylan's available artwork from "The Devil Made Me Do It" group show, visit WWA gallery. To learn more about Dylan and his art, visit

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Elephant in the Room

The Art of David M. Ball
by Stephanie Chefas

photo by Shaun Roberts

I was first introduced to David M. Ball's art in April 2009 on a trip to San Francisco at the Cigar, Bar & Grill. On a quest for the perfect happy hour, my boyfriend and I popped into the bar on a whim and were immediately captivated by a series of collage compositions of surreal, twisted dreams on exhibit. These works never left my mind; I was infatuated and entranced. Six months later when the Squids created the theme for our first curated show, “The Devil Made Me Do It”, artist David M. Ball was, without a doubt, at the top of the list. To our delight he happily agreed and submitted two outstanding pieces, 'Third' and 'Dependency'. Here David shares some insight into his artwork and what makes him "tick".

Stephanie Chefas (SC): When hearing about the theme for "The Devil Made Me Do It", what was your initial reaction?

David M. Ball (DB): Sincerely, the thought that there is no devil or external force to make me do anything but I was glad that that the theme left room for work addressing moralizing, guilt, fetish, and introspection.

photo by Megan Wolfe

SC: What are some things in your life that the devil made you do?

DB: For that answer, we would have to go back to the days of my Catholic upbringing. I suppose in my moments of iffy lingering faith when I was in my early teens I may have perceived the devil tempted me away. I would say that with 25 years between myself and that decision now, I am in the clear.

SC: What was your most memorable dream or nightmare?

DB: I rarely remember my dreams. I try to manufacture them on canvas instead.

SC: Can you tell me about your process?

DB: It goes through changes but most recently, it starts completely abstract with aggressive paint application with no attempt at representation. Once I have a base (or as I have been working lately, multiple bases) I dig through my collage files which are also organized abstractly by palette. When I cut material, I generally just trim away to abstract shapes for texture or form. These files are extensive and are all pre-cut and in drawers classified by palette alone. Once I have a palette base of paint down, I look through the material files and pull out shapes and test them out on the surface. Once an image begins to suggest itself, I let things grow from there. The first phase takes a very long time. This is why I work on multiples- so I won't get bored. Once those elements are done, the rest is painting and drawing, building up in layers until complete.

photos by Megan Wolfe

SC: Is the process different with your illustrative works?

DB: As mentioned above, with fine art, I don't like to plan. As an illustrator, I am used to planning and there are benefits to it but I find that when I let things evolve of their own accord, I create works that I would never make if I was allowed to remain fully conscious of the objective. My work when I was younger involved a ridiculous amount of planning. Now I just let it go and see where it takes me. I tend to learn a lot about myself in the process-sometimes good and bad. I think these growing pains are part of the process.

photos by Shaun Roberts

SC: Is there any particular mythology at play in the two pieces you submitted for the Devil show, 'Dependency' and 'Third', or in your artwork as a whole?

DB: No, It is a strangely veiled, cryptic form of self examination or sometimes social commentary. I think that the few who know me best can see right through them.

SC: Many figures in your works feel isolated (even if surrounded by others). Is this a self-examination or a social commentary?

DB: This was self examination on some level but also I notice this in urban living. Many people living within the same areas, repeating the same patterns yet never seeming to cross the threshold into connection- in some sort of strange state of isolated coexistence. People unravel alone, right in the midst of others.

SC: Both pieces (and many of your works in general) have a very mechanical feel to them, with certain body parts like their eyes resembling solid objects or even small machine parts. Is this in any way a commentary on man or nature?

DB: All of it is a commentary on various human behaviors but the parts are almost always chosen as shapes that seem to make sense and look cool to me, no so much what they are. The reason why I have my files pre-cut is that I don't want to be conscious of why I am choosing them. That said, I am sure there is some unconscious drive at work but if so, I have done an excellent job of hiding it from myself. Mainly I am just fascinated how our primitive nature will seek what we already identify with, ourselves, in everything we see no matter how unrelated logically.

SC: In 'Third', I see a female figure who's physical appearance has a cold exterior and is some-what grotesque looking upon a small girl with an almost angelic aura. I wonder if the chained mechanical female is viewing herself in a hand mirror which shows what she believes is her true self; kind, gentle and perhaps meek or innocent. How do you see this piece?

DB: It seems that everyone is compelled to look past that corncob. It is the "elephant in the room". She seems to me more an anima as I believe both embody me on some level. The figure in back is a purer youthful self. I have my opinions on what I was addressing here about myself butl an element of mystery is best retained as, the beauty of surreal work is its capacity to unleash the unconscious of the artist and the viewer equally. Like each individual, its relationship to each person can be distinctly different, unique and unrelated. There is no one correct read for others. I think that at times, the artist knows as little of their intention as the outside observer. In such circumstances where i am inclined to express the meaning for me, I beat the narrator in me into submission and keep him out of people's way.

SC: 'Dependency' has a twisted, dark, yet candid view on motherhood. What was your influence when creating it?

DB: Although there are breasts, the figure could male or female- just a persona. It is more about them having something to provide and the false masks that other's will don to get access to it. For me though, I suppose it addresses some relationships with the opposite sex, maternal or otherwise. At its root, it is about how we treat each other, relationships in any form, addiction, and dependency.

photo by Shaun Roberts

SC: What is the most notable compliment, comment or critique about your work you've ever received?

DB: A stranger at a show once said my work was "like a deep wound bleeding out onto the canvas". A bit melodramatic but for the darker works, I can see it. I have a light side too although whenever I show it, I am told it is nearly as dark but I disagree. These days I find myself in a very good place taking on a direction that makes use of a more full range of emotion, exploring high key colors. Basically, I'm having fun.

For more information and to view David's available artwork from "The Devil Made Me Do It" group show, visit
WWA gallery. To learn more about David and his art, visit

A Conversation with Jason Smith

Rob Faucette: The one thing that I've always admired about you and your work is how you seem to get your humor into your work without it being overbearing, if that makes sense. Not that your humor is overbearing.

Jason Smith: I think my feeling about humor in art is not the same as many people- I think most serious art (and literature) needs to have a sense of humor- Not necessarily being clever but something stemming from a sense of absurdity and some kind of anti-despair force. I think too much work these days is self consciously ironic - about layering poses. I really don't like that kind of thing. Plus puns can be funny but are also serious because they play with meaning in unexpected ways. I think visual punning and the ambiguous language paintings can develop have the potential for humor that is also rich with meaning. Plus painting is a somewhat pompous undertaking and needs a bit of self-effacement to make it bearable.

Jason Smith, "Throw Till-U-Win"

I wanted to talk about your painting in the show and if this is a part of a series or not. Really, Could you expand on the attraction to carnival games and how it relates to the landscape?

The visual language of games is all about rules and boundaries- setting up a system that can be completed. To fuse that language with the landscape tradition for me is about generating tension between containment and the uncontained, something wild with something tired and teleological. But the language of games also reinvigorates the empty desire for transcendence that haunts the landscape and abstract traditions of painting. Who wouldn't want to be able to put a button on the side of a Rothko that let you dissolve up into the next level?


At the same time it mocks that desire. Also the whole structure of games is kindred to the exploitation of the landscape. Think of the lines and numbers on a football field, it’s somehow like comodifying the land. Drawing a grid on a field.

Jason Smith

Last spring, we had a discussion regarding what it meant to paint, and was struck by your interpretation. I actually think that's the most important thing. It's not for shows, it's certainly not for glamour and fame, but what is it? Why do you paint and why do you still paint?

I remember when I started painting seriously, back in high school, it seemed like the only adventure I could get behind. It seemed like the only thing I could do that (through a purely personal process of elaboration) could surprise myself and take me someplace new. Plus I was in love with a beautiful girl whose painting seemed like magic to me. I spent so many years trying to get someplace special through painting. At Bennington Amy Sillman said that painting is the only thing you can do that you cant explain- described as the last refuge of the non-rational. Of course we have plenty of irrationality around and I don’t think painting ever really brought me the kind of transformation I sought but something of that feeling stays with me.

Amy Sillman

I do not usually produce paintings for shows but I do think painting is fundamentally done for viewers. You can play an instrument for yourself but I think music is really about an audience- painting is the same, except you can delay showing your work for as long as necessary, even wait until after your dead (if that kind of drama appeals to you). In addition to admitting the necessity of showing, I must also admit to some vainglories notions somewhere. Do I really want lots of attention? I guess sometimes I do. I don’t care much about selling paintings for money though. At least I’m free of that need for validation. At the moment, since I have accepted the necessity of a full time job, my time for painting is limited, but I don’t need to worry about selling. There are lots of interesting spaces to show outside the commercial system. I’m not interested in academic settings or artist run spaces that I’ve shown in in the past- I hope to explore public spaces. There are interesting galleries in nyc in parks, botanical gardens, and other kinds of public - the Buffalo airport has a little gallery that always intrigued me.

So I still didn’t say why I still paint. I guess that Idea of elaborating the self is part of it. Kiki Smith said something about making the internal external and there's something there as well but it’s not quite right, especially because my work is not really about any inner vision. It is a way to make something very personal in our very standardized overproduced world. And something that is personal in a really profound way like not just -this is my style- but this is how I see things and think when I try to see and think in as startling a way as possible.

Kiki Smith, "Born"

Really, where can you find room to do that and make a visual record of that? There is something else though that is more passive- painting can be more than just about the self- I really like the way John Berger thinks about art. For him it's all about conversations- between artist and subject, artist and viewer, viewer and subject.

It’s about actually submitting- opening your consciousness to others. Looking at Cezanne looking at the mountain.

Cezanne's Mountain

I think we’ve lost the sense of how important that can be. Art is not about executing a plan. It has to involve this act of submission, listening looking, opening up. That’s why I always like to continue working from life, It keeps me honest.

Jason Smith, "Sweetgum Branches"

I think a really good reason to paint now is simply to liberate our minds from photographs. Photographs and other derived ways of making images are very different from how we see or how we could see. They really tyrannize our imaginations these days. Painting will never take the place of the movies but it could be a small antidote. Like slow food or something. The world is richer than one way of picturing it. Unfortunately so many painters have forgotten that and work from photos. I have no problem using photos as a reference but the vogue for using photos as a subject is very limiting. I think Richter is a great artist but his influence is rather pernicious. I think Polke is also a great artist but sometimes I think everyone today who doesn’t paint versions of Richter paints versions of Polke.

Sigmar Polke

Gerhard Richter

Myself I’d be happy to paint like Morandi for ever but I keep forgetting that and trying to become a version of Guston.



Not to imply that I have no voice of my own. I think this late in life I'm actually finding it.

Jason Smith, Season 5

Jason Smith lives and works in New York.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Me, Myself

The Art of Lily Mae Martin
by Stephanie Chefas

When Lily Mae Martin's piece, 'Me, Myself', arrived at the gallery, it was unanimous that this image would be the face of our first curated show "The Devil Made Me Do It". The piece embodied our concept perfectly; the idea of a sinister alter-ego persuading an otherwise content self to do evil acts on ourselves as well as others. Then 'Touchy Subject' appeared and the Squids knew we had not only an incredible talent, but also a unique voice on our hands. Here Lily Mae shares some insight on what makes her "tick".

Stephanie Chefas (SC): When hearing about the theme for The Devil Made Me Do It, what was your initial reaction?

Lily Mae Martin (LM): I was very excited about the theme of the show. It was great to be invited to participate in an exhibition that celebrated artwork that didn't have to be cute or pretty.

SC: What are some things in your life that the devil made you do?

LM: Made me do his laundry once, very dirty knickers. Never again.

SC: What was your most memorable dream or nightmare?

LM: I have intense nightmares and they are quite consistent. Without going into too much detail they are always about the loss of power or not having control of myself or control of the situation I find myself in. Fortunately I can usually wake myself up from them before they get too bad.

SC: Can you tell me about your process?

LM: When I come up with ideas I like to immediately write them down in a notebook or sketchbook. Depending on how big the idea feels to me I sometimes talk it over with people to develop it in my mind, or I get straight into taking reference photos, sketching, and experimenting with how I am going to draw the final piece. Some drawings just come out really fast and others take a long time to get out, so I tend to have a few things going at once. This means that if an idea is proving difficult for me I can always move onto something else and come back to it when I'm ready. The main thing is that I am continually drawing and developing more ideas for the future.

SC: 'Me, Myself ' is such an intense image. How do you see this piece?

LM: 'Me, Myself' is an important piece for me personally. Creating it was very much an exercise in releasing some of my personal demons, and it was a turning point in how I wanted to pursue my art. It's loaded with all the things I used to torture myself with. I've come a long way since then so the subject matter isn't as relevant to me as it once was, but it is a piece I am very grateful for.

SC: Things to torture yourself? Can you expand on these "things"?
LM: Well, I guess the best was to describe it is that I was my own worse enemy. I tortured myself with setting myself unrealistic goals and expectations. It got to a point where when anything really amazing did happen, I wouldn't take the time to appreciate it, I'd instantly get to work on something else, so I had very little joy with anything I did. I'm also my harshest critic, so it is good I have my partner around to tell me to leave a drawing or myself alone! I'm much better with these things though, I can usually tell when I am pushing myself too far and can stop myself.

SC: Touchy Subject is a very honest portrayal of the natural female form. I know from reading your blog, the piece had quite a negative reaction by some and consequently it was banned on Facebook. Have you received positive reactions or reviews for this work?

LM: Having it removed from so many websites was a very frustrating and it made me feel pretty powerless at the time. I had no say in what happened, however I do have my own website in which I am allowed the freedom to post whatever I like, so I wasn't as stuck as some other people would be. I guess I was really quite surprised with how many people missed the point. I was especially surprised with the reactions from some women. I even got a "my child could see that" argument. I think there are far more damaging things your child could be exposed to on the web than my art.
Overall I did get far more positive and honest feedback about this work than negative. The positive and honest feedback was far more interesting and inspiring and the negative reactions were a bit tiresome and typical.

SC: Would you like to share one or some of the positive reactions?
LM: I don't think I should quote anyone, as some of the responses where very personal, but the fact that people were willing to share such personal stories with me was really amazing. I felt that I put myself out there, and then had this amazing network of people, both known and unknown to me, stepped up and embraced it. Very special.

SC: Tell me about your influence when creating Touchy Subject?

LM: The idea was a big one for me as it was quite personal in nature. I talked a bit about this idea before proceeding with the drawing and had a few negative reactions to it that provoked me to create it even more.

As a young woman I feel that there is a real femininity that woman my age seem to have lost. The removal of pubic hair is the very obvious change in this generation of woman. I think it not only makes women look like children, but also quite androgynous. I don't understand why women wish to hide adulthood and the femininity, sexuality, and liberation that comes with that.

And of course, this is also about masturbation. Something that I find a lot of woman will not speak about and this is also curious to me. I do want to explore this subject further, but it is such a large and complex issue that I think it is something I can put on the back burner for now and come back to.

SC: Your work has a feminist feel; strong, smart and independent. Is this how you would describe yourself? Or would these be qualities you strive to achieve?

LM: This is certainly how I hope for my work to come across. I have moments of self doubt and I know I am constantly trying to improve my work and myself. The issues that I present in my drawings are very important to me and often can be confronting to others. I always strive to be sure of my views and opinions before putting them into a public forum. By the same token I like to keep an open mind to the opinions of others, as long as they are willing extend me the same courtesy.

SC: What are you creating at the moment?

LM: At the moment I am doing a lot of life drawing, as I like to keep developing my skills. I am really enjoying it at the moment. I'm in the process of working on a piece about gossip as well as some nudes, and I am always filling up my sketchbook with new drawings of animals.

SC: What is the most notable compliment, comment or critique about your work you've ever received?

LM: The most notable comments where again received with the 'Touchy Subject' image. I received a lot of emails about other woman's personal journeys, their sexuality and their struggles, which was quite inspiring for me. It showed that my work actually meant something to people and it's really inspired me to push my work further.

For more information and to view Lily Mae's available artwork from "The Devil Made Me Do It" group show, visit
WWA gallery. To learn more about Lily Mae and her art, visit