Spotlight on Artist Sabin Aell

 

What brought you to the U.S.?  Why did you make Denver your home?
The US was my favorite place to be since I was 18. I dreamt of living there one fine day.  Around 2004 I submitted lots of my work to “Call for Entries” to get my work out. One was in 2005 to the Center of Photography in Fort Collins and got into the show which Mark Sink curated. I flew out for the opening reception met Mark and the artists…all amazingly open, welcoming people. At that point I knew that Denver would be my choice. I fell in love with the people and the exciting electric creativity I felt boiling underneath the surface. While developing relationships with my new friends I made a plan and started collaborating on a project with Mark Sink. I came back in October 2005 to work on “Perfect Beauty” with Mark. During that time I met my husband Randy – it was love at first sight. One thing led to another and in December 2006 I moved to Denver permanently, it was a very magical time for me.

 

 

You opened Hinterland Art Space in 2008, what inspired you to start a gallery/art space?  How did you come up with the name?
For a while back then I was thinking about being involved in a sort of a communal space. I didn’t think about a gallery specifically. When the Month of Photography came up in 2008 a friend called me and asked if knew of any galleries to show her work for that occasion. All the galleries I knew were booked up at that time. So, I spontaneously suggested that we could set up a gallery space and have a show here at our new warehouse location which we just started to rent and had moved into. Shortly after Randy and I started with the build-out Hinterland was born. The name developed out of a conversation with a close friend who was visiting from Europe. It seemed to be the perfect fit. The Hinterland —where there is the unknown —beyond what is visible —David Bowie once wrote a song about the Hinterland: “Red Sails” and the lyrics go like this:

 

Do you remember we another person
Green and black and red and so scared
Graffiti on the wall keep us all in tune
Bringing us all back home
Red sail
Red sail action
Red sail
Some reaction
Action boy seen living under neon
Struggle with a foreign tongue
Red sails make him strong
Action make him sail along
Life stands still and stares
The hinterland, the hinterland
We’re gonna sail to the hinterland
And it’s far far, far far far, far far far away

 

This song is exactly what Hinterland is about, discovering new things, some might be frightening but they are new, colorful, exotic and strange. We are artists, explorers of the soul, emotions, stormy seas and vast lands. But what we find and come home with are treasures beyond words.

 

 

 

 

 

Can you speak to your design career before moving into art full time?
I went to a college for graphic design as I wanted to have something to support myself. After school it was hard to find a job. I looked for a year and couldn’t find anything. So I decided to buy myself a computer. I taught myself photoshop, html, and javascript. I started my new business as a web-designer. It was a total window of opportunity for me – I could use my newly acquired programming skills, illustration and photography to build top websites. In Austria at that time the web design business was all just starting. There were not many people who where savvy in this newly developing design industry. I started building websites for big companies like Austria’s biggest insurance company, KTM, etc. But I really wanted to move on and leave Vienna. The only way I could do this was by getting hired by a company in another country. Various applications later Frankfurt was my next destination. I got hired as a creative director  by Ogilvy & Mather Interactive which is one of the biggest advertising companies with headquarter in New York City. Some of the clients I worked with included IBM, Mercedes, Daimler Chrysler and the Dresden Bank. It was highly interesting to see how the big corporate world worked. Years in this business taught me how to streamline processes and focus on the most important essences.

 

 

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Spotlight On Josh Berger of Plazm

“OnCreativity” a new film project by Plazm a creative studio founded in Portland, Ore., in 1991.

We all have the ability to create. But what is creativity? How does it work? Plazm’s “OnCreativity” series explores these and other questions via informal interviews with designers, artists, musicians, animators, and educators. Like creativity itself, their differing points of view inspire, provoke, confuse, and delight.

Since our founding in Portland in 1991, we have believed that creativity can change the world. “As human beings, we have to get over the period of competition,” as Arturo Vega says in an upcoming OnCreativity interview, “and we have to replace it with one of collaboration and compassion.” 

See the trailer  Project site

 


 
Plazm started as a cooperatively published, not-for-profit periodical that sparked a nascent creative community in early 1990s Portland. As the magazine garnered accolades and awards, it spawned a commercial design and branding firm whose clients have included Nike, LucasFilm, and MTV, along with local businesses and nonprofits such as PICA, the Northwest Film Center, and Fort George Brewery.

 


2016 Bend Design Conference during the Plazm “Come Fail with Us” workshop

About Joshua Berger: One of Plazm’s founders Joshua Berger believes that design can change the world. He co-founded Plazm magazine in 1991 and went on to run the award-winning creative studio Plazm Design. He’s worked with larger agencies as well, including Wieden+Kennedy and Liquid Agency, where he was Brand Content Director. Josh enjoys working with inventive, rigorous brands like Nike, MTV, and LucasFilm, and helping launch local successes like Fort George Brewery. He is active in the creative community, with organizations including PICA and Rock and Roll Camp for Girls, and this year the Bend Design Conference. Josh has won various design awards and his artwork has been shown from The Museum of Sex in New York to the ZGRAF Festival in Zagreb, Croatia.

 

What brought you to Sisters, O.R.?  It was really a health-related move. I wanted to be in a quieter place, and my wife developed a mold allergy. We drove around Oregon a couple years ago with our son and a travel trailer that we inherited and found that we really liked it here. So about a year ago we made the move.

I have also been interested in regionalism for some time, in particular finding ways to foster a regional design dialog. We’ve been working on connecting Portland and Seattle design communities over the past couple years. I look forward to seeing Bend become a part of the conversation as well.

 

After the film, what’s on the horizon for you? We will continue to do new interviews—there are a number of committed subjects, we also have a lot of others already in the can that just need to be edited. “OnCreativity” will also become a book.

At the same time, we’ll also keep doing commercial work with clients who share our values. I hope to find some great clients here in Central Oregon too!

We’re also working on a new issue of Plazm magazine on the theme of ‘creativity around the world.’ We have curators, designers, and jouranlists in Chile, South Africa, China, Iran, and Native Nations in America.

Spotlight on James Kenney of Interstitch

The newly published book, Searching for Hell, follows teams of filmmakers around the globe as they produce segments for the documentary of the same name. For the film segment set in the Congo, director, James Kenney, places us in the first-person POV of a child accused of being a witch. The boy becomes our guide as he searches for his mother in the vast pockets of tribal neighborhoods of Kinshasa, known to its inhabitants as Can City, because most of the structures are a precarious combination of cinder blocks and corrugated tin roofs.

Kinshasa is a mass of people estimated at nearly ten million. No one knows its exact population, because the poverty is rampant, and the government is insufficient for the care of its citizens. The majority of the city is divided into nests of alliances – invisible to strangers – who just see a sprawl of chaos mostly without running water or electricity. Tenuous wires snarl through alleys and across rooftops, attempting to tap into any grid. The din bustle of people is constant.

And yet James writes that he felt safe there:

I had read that it was moderately dangerous in Kinshasa, but after spending a few days there, I was surprised by the dichotomy of seeing relatively few police and yet general order among the people. I witnessed no crime. I asked my guide how this was, and he explained, in his broken Belgian-English, that people mostly stay in line because the consequences of not doing so are severe. Before 1960, under colonial Belgian rule, one could have a hand, or even a foot, cut off by machete for each infraction—such as not meeting your quota or causing unrest. Baskets of hands displayed the power of the King, and in Belgium you can still buy little chocolates in the shape of hands. The mostly docile culture is also a continuation—city-mind-thought—of the strong-arm dictator, Mobutu. He introduced the doctrine of Article 15, “debroulle voi”: suggesting to his people that they just get by, fend for themselves, hustle, finagle; however you need to, just don’t do anything too violent or serious and definitely nothing against the government. Under Mobutu, you could be sent to prison without trial and tortured for years, and then you might be mysteriously released and appointed to the government, where you would surely be an obedient minister. The memory of these rules survives into modern Kinshasa. I have certainly felt less safe in cities in the United States.

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