For Blog on Blog, we interviewed Joanna Bean from the catergorized image blog, Madre Padre. Joanna is multi-talented artist, designer, art director and crafter based out of Los Angeles that you will be hearing more about in the future.
What do you do?
Up until last week I worked for myself as a freelance art director and part time artist. But now I work for Forever 21 doing various graphic thangs.
Describe the art that you personally do? What is the idea behind your art?
I think my art is informed by the language of non-verbal communication, conceptually and superficially. I think of my work as if it’s its own language that cannot be spoken or read,but when seen is understood. I guess in a way, I feel like its not really mine, but rather something unexplainable that I’m just channeling. I don’t think it has a message beyond the concept of inspiration and creation. I like working on things where the construction is revealing. Not necessarily unskilled, but simple. I would love for people to see my mobiles and say, “that’s amazing, I want to make one”.
What are your favorite collaborations that you have worked on?
My favorite collaborations that I have come from situations where each person brings a different but equal amount of enthusiasm and expertise. I have a few people I consider on going collaborators and in each of these relationships there is a large amount of trust for one another. One of the most exciting collaborations I have worked on was with the landscape architecture firm Ground View. They approached me to work with them on the planting design for a sunken roof-top garden at the new Phyllis Litoff building at Oberlin College. I had never thought of landscape architecture applicable to what I do, but it totally was and has opened my eyes to a world of possibilities.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on more mobiles and exploring ways to incorporate new materials into mobiles. I also have an ongoing series of hand drawn designs on paper plates.
Why do you chose to do public art? How well received has it been?
I think this goes back to communication. Public art is a wider audience by default. I’m not very interested in private art, I’m interested in speaking to people that don’t go to galleries. I guess I don’t really go to galleries. I’m also interested in the experience, environment, space and time. I want people to interact with my art and I want it to be sensory. Public art fulfills a lot of these things. As for how its received, my friends seem to like it…or so they say.
When did you start making the feather mobiles? Is there a story behind them?
I started making them as birthday presents for friends last year, but my obsession with feathers has been around for awhile. After making a bunch as gifts I approached Stand Up Comedy in Portland about carrying them. Their store is so unique and they are so intelligent, they really understood the mobiles. They walk a line between craft and art. Honestly I think that’s just a matter of price, though and I’m stillnot sure which way I’d like to go.
What is Dinner After All?
Dinner After All is a grand collaboration. Concepted by Shaniqwa Jarvis and myself. The idea is to create an art project out of a dinner party, or brief moment in time. Each aspect and participant is amazing in their own right. In the beginning people are a little bit out of their comfort zone but by the end they’ve had this special experience that hopefully led them to new people and ideas and potentially future collaborations.
What is the premise of Madre Padre and how long have you worked on that project?
I had a inspiration/color blog in 2006. It was on blogspot and called something else. I never liked the format, and I didn’t do much with it. Between 2006 and 2008 I collected hundreds of inspiration images for work. I was categorizing them in folders by date but that made searching for something hard. Madre Padre was born out of my need for a searchable library of inspiration. Because I work in colors and visualize in color, it made sense to categorize the images that way. I came up with groupings that seem to be the basic 9 color stories most images fall into, but the rules are pretty loose and change from group to group.
What kind of intrigue are you looking for when you are featuring someone’s art on your blog?
Its very organic. I am on the internet all day with tons of tabs open looking at as many sites as possible. I’m constantly pulling inspiration onto my desktop for my archive and the blog. I try not to use a bunch of images from one source for the color section of theblog, so when I pull too many from one place, I’ll turn them into a
Have you met interesting people through blogging?
I have! I met Jennilee Marigomen(virtually) through blogging. She contacted me after I featured her work. Its was her body of work that inspired me to start the “featured inspiration” section.
What do you think of the future of computers?
I don’t know anything about the future of computers. I don’t really know anything about the past of computers either. I think they’re amazing tools and I figure they’ll just get more amazing.
Is there any photographer right now that you like or you are influenced by?
I’ve collaborated a lot with Lydia Burkhalter, there’s a timelessness and a calmness in her work that I love and I think she may have influenced what I respond to these days. I think Jennilee Marigomen has an amazing eye for composition and color. In general portrait/lifestyle landscapes is what I’m looking at these days….Marlon Kowalski, Andrew Bush, Corey Arnold, Katie Lockhart
Do you have a favorite artist at the moment?
Hmm…it’s weird, as I started to think about this question I realized that what I am drawn to in artwork is very different from what I am drawn to in photographers. Almost the opposite. Color and chaos, text and graphic shapes. That said I’ve been looking at Sister Corita, Gunta Stolzl, Eva Speer, Bertjan Pot, Valerie Hegarty, Leslie David and all the artists I’ve featured on madrepadre have some great work.
Are you interested in fashion?
I’m interested in fashion as expression and clothes as characters and history.
What are you listening to right now?
Right now I’m listening to some randoms….The new Pink Mountaintops, and the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Crystal Antlers, M83, Matt & Kim, Cut/Copy, The Tough Alliance and always the Cave Singers. I was listening to a lot of sad music last year, this year its about energy….its time to get moving…
Have you read any good books lately?
I just re-read my mom’s book that was just published called I-5: A novel of Crime, Transport and Sex. Its a fact based noir novel. Heavy shit. Before that, I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, which was very motivating.
Where would you like to visit next?
Vancouver! I’ve never been. I think I would really love it. I grew up in Northern California, but only discovered the Pacific Northwest in the last couple years, I imagine Vancouver as being this mystical magnificent emerald city. Oh and Japan…that’s a distant dream.
What blogs do you check on a regular basis?
Uhhh hundreds…awkwardfamilyphotos, failblog, saipua, inspiration resource, reference library, stairporn, saintverde, aftonian, allthingsordinary, 2or3things, lastnightsdinner, scout-holiday, smittenkitchen……
If you had something to say to your audience what would it be?
We are telling our most glorious story.
1. Laurent Champoussin 2.Lydia Burkhalter+Joanna Bean 3.Joanna Bean for Family 4.Asher Penn 5.Joanna Bean for Space 6.Erika Somogyi 7.Noele Lusano 8.Joanna Bean 9.Joanna Bean 10.Hannah Davis 11.Spring & Clifton(directed by Joanna Bean)
Collage image: Various artists- Courtesy of Joanna Bean
Joanna lives and blogs in Los Angeles California