Category Archives: Agora Artists

Finding our Humanity: New Portraits on ARTmine

 “The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Nilo, "No Name 6," Mixed Media on Canvas, 31.5" x 39.4" ARTmine portraits

Nilo, “No Name 6,” Mixed Media on Canvas, 31.5″ x 39.4″

As long as there has been art, there has been portraiture. Portraits were originally reserved only for those who were regarded as important – religious figures, royalty, and nobility – and were meant to be in the exact likeness of the sitter. For many of us, these are the types of paintings that come to mind when someone mentions portraits. However, there is so much more to this personalized style of art. Whether a photograph, painting, drawing, or sculpture and regardless of artistic style, a portrait is just as much about the inner psyche of the sitter as it is about their physical appearance. That is why in contemporary art, it does not matter if you recognize the face that you are seeing. Instead, it is about relating to the overall essence of the image – the emanating emotion and energy.

Each of these Agora Gallery artists have used portraiture to represent not only a specific face, but a culture, a concept, or an idea.

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Studio Spaces: Behind the Scenes with Sarah Elyse Granetz

One of the things we love most about our artists is that no two are exactly the same. Whether in style, technique, or medium, Agora artists all have their own unique characteristics that make their art their own. One such artist is Sarah Elyse Granetz, whose show at Agora Gallery just closed in early July. Sarah received her B.A. in Fine Arts from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. During this time, she spent a semester in Paris, France. What began as a “self-portrait” assignment has transformed into a meditative series on the female form through literal impressions of the artist’s actual body.

Sarah Elyse Granetz in her studio

Sarah Elyse Granetz applies paint to her body like a paintbrush, using her limbs to create unique pieces of art.

“Through this series, I have been able to explore the controversial and complicated theme of one’s body and one’s gaze upon it while respecting the ‘truth’ of my own. Through these works, I have found peace.”

We talked more with Sarah about her unique painting style. Read on to learn more about her techniques, artistic choices, and how she works through her process!

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Art Outside the Gallery: Making Murals with James Chisholm

Massachusetts-based artist James Chisholm has been with Agora Gallery since the beginning of 2013. We’ve had the pleasure of not only exhibiting and promoting his own beautiful paintings but also watching as he uses his passion to transform the lives of the young artists around him. James teaches numerous classes to artists of all ages (we spoke with him regarding his experiences teaching students that art can actually turn into a career for the 34th volume of ARTisSpectrum Magazine) and is always working on new projects that allow his students to experiment with their own styles of expression. However, one of James’ most successful projects has been an annual mural that is completed by the entire group of students from his drawing class at the North Shore Community College. Each year introduces a new inspiration, and stories about his mural projects have been written up locally).

James Chisholm and students from his NSCC drawing class working on the mural

James Chisholm and students from his NSCC drawing class working on the mural; source: Owen O’Rourke from Itemlive.com

We spoke with James to get a more intimate look into the journey from conception to creation to finished mural!

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Color and Chaos: The Art of Bimbi Larraburu

Some artists find a blank white canvas to be daunting. With limitless possibilities to be explored, how can you know if what you’re doing is the best thing? Bimbi Larraburu sees her canvas not as a challenge, but as an open space to express her inner self through color, line, and shape. Bimbi’s works give way to a chaotic visual effect, one that simultaneously excites and soothes any viewer. The colors are vibrant and the composition is random, and yet everything works together to create perfectly balanced abstract pieces.

Bimbi has lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for her whole life, and continues to work there today. She was always interested in the arts from a very young age, but was encouraged to pursue a traditional university career, causing her to study Architecture and Advertising, elements of which she continues to bring into her art. Bimbi also studied under the Argentinian abstract painter Heriberto Zorrilla and learned the ways of the “Esencialismo” movement. In addition to her art, Bimbi loves to travel and manages a family real estate business in Argentina and the US.
Bimbi Larraburu

Bimbi Larraburu painting in her studio in Buenos Aires

Being from Argentina, Bimbi answered some questions we had for her in her native Spanish language as well as in English. We have transcribed the interview in both languages here for all to enjoy! Read on to learn more about Bimbi’s story, as well as her techniques and inspiration.

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Body, Art, and Soul: An Interview with Painter Oliwia Biela

With a passion for art from a very young age, Oliwia Biela has always found a way to express herself through her paintings. She feels the impulse to put all her positive feelings on canvas without thinking, to just express her emotions in the moment. She continues to paint spontaneous and emotion-filled abstract paintings using a variety of materials and techniques, choosing whatever method works best with her mood at the time.

Oliwia Biela in her studio

Oliwia Biela in her studio

Outside of her artwork, Oliwia loves ballet, jazz music, and traveling. She is interested in learning all that she can about the world and loves all that is alive.

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Talking Hospitality and Business with David Stanley Hewett

These days, art is not limited – not in style, medium, technique, and certainly not in where it can be shown and enjoyed. Many of Agora Gallery’s artists have taken full advantage of the various opportunities available to contemporary artists, and we wanted to learn a little more about pursuing unique projects and how to use those connections to further your artistic career.

In our first post of the series, we’re speaking with New York-born, Japan-based artist David Stanley Hewett, one of the most well-known foreign artists in Japan. Having held major exhibitions in Japan, Singapore, and the United States, Hewett is known in particular for his abstract works with strong influences from the Samurai code of Bushido and the Japanese Shinto Religion. His works can be seen at The Imperial Hotel, The Okura Hotel, The Peninsula Hotel, Mitsui Trading, and numerous other collections around the world. Having created a large network in the hospitality industry as well as among other businesses, Hewett is always doing something big and new, and we were able to pick his brain and learn his secrets.

David Stanley Hewett with one of his works in the first floor lobby at The Oakwood Premier Tokyo

David Stanley Hewett with one of his works in the first-floor lobby at The Oakwood Premier Tokyo

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Agora Artist to Donate All Proceeds to Pulse Nightclub Attack Victims

It has been nearly 3 weeks since the horrific events at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando took place. In the aftermath of the shooting, friends, family members and sympathisers held memorials and showed their support for the victims and the entire LGBT community. In the wake of this terrible tragedy, artists are also showing their love and support. Two days ago, Agora Artist Irina Goryunova completed a painting entitled “28°31’10.5″N 81°22’36.5″W,” which are the geographical coordinates of Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL. Irina would like to dedicate this painting to the victims of this tragedy, and all of the proceeds from the sale of this painting will be donated to the victims’ families.

    If you’re interested in purchasing this artwork, please contact Agora Gallery directly.

Irina Goryunova pulse nightclub

“28°31’10.5″N 81°22’36.5″W,” oil on canvas, 40″ x 30″

Irina Goryunova

Irina Goryunova

Irina is originally from Moscow, Russia and worked in finance and business before dedicating her career to art. Seeing how much people depended on money for happiness made her sad, and she wanted to leave something on this world that was more than just her signature on a document, something she created with her hands. This is what drew her to art. A self-taught painter, Irina creates one-of-a-kind works straight from the heart. She strives to display her knowledge and experiences in life in her works, inspiring emotions and questions in her viewers, hoping that they will have a desire to learn more about what it is she is depicting.

When Art Meets the Street: Inspiration from the Montreal MURAL Festival

MURAL Festival on Boulevard Saint Laurent in Montreal

MURAL Festival on Boulevard Saint Laurent in Montreal

For 10 days each summer, the Canadian city of Montreal becomes a mecca for street artists and public art enthusiasts as one of the main thoroughfares in the city, Boulevard Saint Laurent, is transformed into a festival of epic proportions. Montreal’s MURAL Festival took place from June 9-19 this year. Throughout the week, 29 artists in total from all over the world created beautiful murals, participated in exhibitions, and displayed installations on the famous boulevard. Visitors to the festival had the opportunity to witness artists making murals in real time, attend musical events and seminars, enjoy a variety of outdoor exhibitions and installations, plus indulge in the glory that is Canadian gastronomy, aka poutine, on every corner.

“We are the merging point of creative spirits. We are the festive and innovative soul of a city burning with artistry. MURAL opens a portal to new artistic dimensions and unites the community around an authentic vision.” – Montreal MURAL Festival Mission

Haley in front of a mural by ASTRO, 2015

Haley in front of a mural by ASTRO from MURAL Festival 2015 in Montreal

Haley Carloni, one of our gallery assistants, got to experience the festival firsthand. Read on to see her impressions of the festival and how some of our Agora artists are contributing to the wonderful world of street and public art!

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