Three Questions with Artist Mary Hong

Mary Hong has caught worldwide attention of contemporary art enthusiasts with her unique use of recycled glass, color palettes and bold composition. Her world travel as an 18-year veteran flight attendant, brought her creativity, imagination and inspiration. The artist’s work has been featured in local, regional and national media outlets both in print and on television. Mary earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a well-established, award-winning artist and entrepreneur in Northwest Florida. A professional artist for 23 years, she has participated in group and solo exhibitions in the U.S. and France and was the recipient of the 2014 Artist of the Year award from the Walton County Florida Tourist Development Council.

The passion for glass began during a trip to Greece. “It was 1999 when I caught the bright glint of cobalt blue glass from a bead shop in Greece. I had to have it and I had to learn how to create it! Glass was my thing! I was hooked! I fused it in a kiln, wrapped it around a mandrel, and created full wall mosaics with it,” enthuses the artist.

John-Richard will be debuting new artwork by Mary Hong at High Point Market this April. We recently touched base with the artist to ask her about her inspiration and the current color combinations that appeal to her.

1. Your use of recycled glass creates unique textures and refracts light in unusual ways. What are the artistic and environmental reasons that you chose to include mosaics of glass in your work?  I have always loved glass…it’s permanence, it’s beauty when light passes through it. I’m a glass artist first, painter second. I love how glass can add another dimension to a painting. Glass can pick up any subtle light and magnify it. And, it’s all around us! It’s not difficult to find it! I love the challenge of taking an ordinary glass bottle, and turning it into art on canvas. Since I’ve taught thousands of people my process, I’m pretty sure we’re making a dent in how much glass goes out the door!

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2. How does living on the Emerald Coast of Florida inspire and influence your work?  Living on the Gulf Coast of Florida has definitely influenced my work. I lean towards the brilliant blues and aquas, always trying to find that soft subtle hue to balance it. I challenge myself sometimes by trying to create an image using only white paint and clear glass. It’s amazing what you can do with just those two things! I recently opened a gallery in Nashville TN and have begun a new series of work with much stronger colors. I love them! It’s a big change for me!

3. What are you currently working on and what are the color palettes that appeal to you right now? AH! See above! I’ve shared pictures so you can see the strong colors! I literally finished them yesterday!!

Mondays with Mary flyerTo learn more about the artist Mary Hong, visit www.maryhongstudio.com
Follow Mary on her social channels:
Instagram: @maryhongstsudio Pinterest: wiredglass.com
Facebook: Mary Hong Studio
*Join Mary for her Facebook Live ‘Mondays with Mary’ on the 3rd Monday of every month at 10:30 am. 

Artist Spotlight: Ashley Sullivan

Ashley SullivanAshley Sullivan grew up in northeast Ohio where the rust belt smokestacks and old industry give way to leaning barns and fields of soy. Depending on the season, or the temperament of the weather that day, the landscape outside her windows changed. Light ebbed and flowed against a field that boomed green and whispered in summer breezes and went all cracked brown and sharp when whorls of snow came tumbling out of the iron skies in winter. She chased cats through barns born a century before her and she watched how the dust lit up like fireworks when the sun slipped in through the slats and cracks of the room where cows used to mingle. There was beauty in everything, and she kept it all safe in the deepest pockets of her brain.

She’s lived in Chicago among swaying towers of metal and glass that poked at the sky. It was in Chicago that she learned to appreciate how dynamic a city can be; how the jagged lines and gentle curves of railroad trusses can spark memories of barn beams. Now, she’s boomeranged back home to Ohio to set down some roots in Cleveland Heights. Most days she can be found in her studio, chasing down moments and putting them onto canvas. She’s only just begun.

“Ashley Sullivan’s work is incredibly stimulating and interesting.,” enthused Mary Neff Stewart, Senior Wall Art Designer for John-Richard. “Her use of movement and color result in an industrial feel while remaining versatile enough for the most sophisticated spaces.”


We had a chance to ask Ashley about her background and what inspires her art.

You grew up in the country among fields and barns. How did the landscape effect or inspire you?
There are quiet, still, and restful places out in the country. Which is not to say the country is boring or dull. I love the repetition of lines in a field — freshly seeded rows of turned earth, or corn stalk bases that remain after the fall harvest. There is texture and pattern in a dense arrangement when viewed up close, and yet taking in the field as a whole, there is a calming uniformity. With more open space, you can take in a wider expanse of a field or sky. I love the feeling of being a part of and connected to nature, but also feeling a very small creature in a vast space.

Conversely, in the city of Chicago, did you find it infused you with a different type of artistic energy?
A city certainly has life and energy. At times I am completely starry-eyed enchanted, but can also find myself overwhelmed by the inexhaustibleness of a city. I would love to bottle the vibrancy and spark of a city lit up at night, but I don’t think it has a long shelf life. Part of what makes a city so appealing to me is its constantly changing nature. You could paint a city street forever and never paint it the same way twice.

GBG-1406Do you have any favorite color palettes?
I am always drawn to a layered neutral palette, pulling from both warm and cool tones to give depth and interest to the calm areas of a canvas. For the focal point I bring in more saturated neutrals and bolder colors. I’ll use various colors from the same color family — instead of the accent color being only “red”, I will use orange, rust, pink, cranberry, salmon, coral, burgundy, and so on.

Are there artists, past or present, whom you particularly admire?
Narrowed down to top ten: Alphonse Mucha, George Hendrik Breitner, Franz Kline, Sol LeWitt, Eva Hess, Gerhard Richter, Nick Cave, Kai Samuels-Davis, Jeremy Mann, Robert Szot.

When did you start producing art with John-Richard?
November of 2016.

What new art are you working on right now?
I came home from a vacation on Lake Erie with a collection of stones (agate, quartz, slate, etc.) and plan to do a series of paintings using their color palettes.

 

Brâncusi Inspired

BrancusiConstantin Brâncuși was a Romanian sculptor, painter and photographer who made his career in France. Widely considered to be one of the foremost pioneers of modernism, and one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century, Brâncuși is often referred to as the patriarch of modern sculpture.

As a child in Romania he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. His formal education first took him to Bucharest, then to Munich and then to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His artwork emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art. Brâncuși was also known for paying an unusual amount of attention to the bases on which his sculptures were displayed, believing that the pedestal was part of the sculpture itself.

The Brâncuși sculptural aesthetic has influenced many designers. These lighting pieces by Mark McDowell and accessories by Margaret Fisher show how the artist is still a source of inspiration.

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Living with Art: Evocative Art by Carol Benson-Cobb enhances Furniture Designs

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place:  from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web. 

– Pablo Picasso

Carol Benson-Cobb150Carol Benson-Cobb has a singular ability to trigger memories of place and time that stir emotions in all who view her paintings. Now, her work is being featured on several contemporary furniture designs. The artist’s abstract perspectives of sea, sand and sky are beautifully displayed under glass.

 

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Slated and the Slated Four Door Credenza

The contemporary style of the credenzas, cocktail and nesting tables are perfect statement pieces for the modern home. The soothing, neutral tones of the collection will compliment many design styles seen on the coast, in the mountains or within a city apartment. The work of Carol Benson-Cobb can be seen in the homes of many film, sports and entertainment stars and is a favorite of many celebrated interior designers.

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Seascape Nesting Cocktail Tables and Seascape A – C
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Dune Textile No.2 and Dune Cocktail Table
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Dune Nesting Cocktail Tables and the Original Dune Painting

Artist Spotlight: Austin Allen James

austin bay shirt hrAustin A. James was born in Putnam, CT but has lived most of his life since 1973 in Houston, TX. Austin began his art career in 1994 as a poet. His love for playing with words and phrases and his love for color naturally led him to experimenting with paint and motion. He started painting in 1996 and exhibiting as a professional artist in 1997. Austin believes that art is energy. Each human being has his or her own unique form of energy. An artist is the one who is capable of translating this energy into art.

gbg-1497.jpgAustin’s pieces focus on organic shapes, color and the natural flow of matter and motion. His MFA from Naropa University in Poetry has infused a lyrical sensibility into Austin’s work. Austin’s formal education also includes a BA from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, and an MBA from the University of Dallas. Austin lives in Houston, Texas with his children Granger and Baylies.

We asked Mary Neff Stewart, Senior Wall Art Designer for John-Richard, her thoughts about the artist. “Austin’s work has this amazing fluidity to it. The end result is incredibly peaceful – though when he talks about the creative process, it sounds so energetic!,” she adds, “His aesthetic suits so many spaces and styles. I am thrilled we are working with him, and I look forward to building our collection.”

You are a poet as well as an artist, are there commonalities between both forms of creative expression? Yes, it is not uncommon to find a poet and a visual artist in the same person. A poet loves to play with words. Words are pigments that define space. A visual artist enjoys the use of color and shapes to create a sense of feeling.

Art is most successful when it strikes two feeling chords at once. The piece that makes one feel happy and sad, angry and joyful. That is art.

Are there any places or settings that are inspiring you right now?

I love the Gulf Coast.

How has your time in Texas molded you into the artist you are today? I discovered I was a rascal in Texas. I am a child of the 1970’s. Children did as they pleased, and so did our parents; these parents were raised in the 1950’s and became young adults during the Vietnam war. No one was minding the store or the rules.

Do you have a personal favorite color palette?GBG-1501

Neutral: whites, soft grays, robin’s egg blues, celadons. I believe it is easier to feel through the subtleties of a soft, tranquil palete.

What are you currently working on?

A new series called “Carpe Grace”. It is a gentle piece with this faint touch of gold blending through the center of the piece. The gold appears as a fog. Carpe Grace involves a solid 10-15 layers in order to accomplish the feeling of “floating in grace”.

Can you speak about your new relationship with John-Richard?

I wanted to work with John-Richard because their aesthetic and scope compliment and represent the south. The company has a keen eye for strength mixed with subtleties. I see myself in a similar fashion. I look forward to a steady relationship with John-Richard that develops step-by-step through the years.

 

For more details on the Austin Allen James art carried by John-Richard, click on the link below:

www.johnrichard.com