1xRun Thru Interview
A Sacred Journey by Stella Im Hultberg
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about the original piece, when was it created and with what materials? Is it already sold?
Stella Im Hultberg: The original was created in May of 2012 with acrylic, crayons, and colored pencil on wood panel. The layers are mixed with different medium as listed above, I like to alternate for texture and color variation to by experimenting. I drew on most of the main figure and the buffalo, then painted, then drew over, and painted, etc. etc. The roughness of the texture was added on in some layers for contrast with the “softer” parts. It sold is already sold.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Stella Im Hultberg: This piece was made for a wild-life themed group show at Thinkspace Gallery, titled Wild at Heart. a portion of the proceeds was donated to Born Free USA, an organization that help protect wildlife and endangered species. I know that bisons/American buffaloes are no longer (technically) endangered anymore as they are widely farmed for meat now – but I still thought that that was kind of a sad yet bizarre reality, especially with given history.
I had many thumbnails for the piece – probably about 30-40 thumbnails just to get the composition that I liked. Most of the pieces seemed a bit familiar (I’ve done it before or someone else might have) and I liked the idea of a human figure carrying a large animal, just the overall symbolism of it kind of drew me in – carrying the burden, but that not being a burden, care-taking, co-journeying, etc.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Stella Im Hultberg: It took me about 3-4 to complete from the beginning, though not continuously.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Stella Im Hultberg: I don’t paint animals as much as i want to or should, and this is one of the ones with an animal in it, where the animal is the focus.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Stella Im Hultberg: Because you love buffalos! and animals! :)
1xRun: Describe the print in one gut reaction word.
Stella Im Hultberg: (hopefully) empathy.
1xRun: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Stella Im Hultberg: I’ve always drawn since I was a kid. I thought it would be more practical and fun to go to college for industrial design, learning to make models and to use shop machines. After being a product designer for years, though, my heart & mind both wanted a different, more personal release – so I started making art with a bit more focus, but with levity around 2004-2005, and started seriously making for shows from the late 2005. My first real piece for a show was two pieces on plywood, drawn with charcoal and painted with acrylic on top – one of a youngish girl (Green Heart, 2005) and another of a little older girl (Red Hands, 2005), both for a group show sponsored by Vice magazine.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on? What artists inspire you now?
Stella Im Hultberg: When I was in my teens, I was very into Picasso, Kandinsky, Monet and Van Gogh. Then as I got older, I fell in love with Schiele, Klimt, Goya, and other more classical figurative painters. I think I started drawing aside from designing products when I saw David Choe’s book at Giant Robot (which I worked near by at the time), and a big turning point being having seen the Egon Schiele show at Neue Gallery here in NYC a few years ago. The same artists that I loved as a kid are always inspiring to me, and so many of contemporary artists & friends really inspire me, all in different manners. These days I do feel that I am more inspired by artists with slight abstract flair in their oeuvre (rather than figurative), like Ursula Von Rydingsvard and Ruth Asawa.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Stella Im Hultberg: I do and it’s different every time. lately though, I’ve been heavily into spoken audio, like radio, podcasts or audiobooks – mostly radio lab, this American life, NPR shows, and recently 1Q84 audiobook by Haruki Murakami, while finishing up my recent 2-person show.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why? If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Stella Im Hultberg: I only have collaborated with Audrey Kawasaki in the past for one piece, and it was fun though we were so limited in time. It would be really nice to just get together with friends that I’ve shown with a few times, like Audrey, Amy Sol, & Mari Inukai and just paint and draw for fun and see what happens. I think, though, for a real collaboration, maybe it’ll be more fun if the mediums used by two artists were drastically different – like painting vs sculpture, painting vs clothing, etc. come to think of it, i think it would be amazing to work with the korean sculptor Jin Young Yu. I’m not sure if I dare say collaborate, but I’d love to watch or learn from the masters. Probably Schiele, Picasso or Basquiat.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Stella Im Hultberg: I can’t remember with prints, not that I have so many, but it was so long ago. But for originals (I only have a couple), it has to be Andrew Hem’s drawing from Gallery 1988. It’s a female nude in ballpoint pen, watercolor and black ink, I believe. and yes, I still have it, prominently hanging in my studio. that is the last piece of art I bought – probably in 2008.
1xRun: What else do you have in the works?
Stella Im Hultberg: I just got done with my last piece / last show of the year, for my friend Mari Inukai’s group show she’s curated for GR2, in honor of her daughter’s 20th birthday. I am taking a small break as I haven’t had any this year, then I’m planning to work on something other than art for a bit – small batches of hand made items, art objects, fabrics, sculptures, jewelry, etc etc. I’m not sure if that will come soon, but it might be develop-as-I-go kind of thing. I have tentatively named it the “Dohta Project”.