The Power of Art Held in a Shoebox: Kristine Schomaker on PR, Gallery Space, and Art Itself

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Kristine Schomaker is something of a Renaissance woman – public relations pro, project space owner, magazine publisher, and artist.

As a working artist, Schomaker started Shoebox PR in February 2014 after realizing there was a huge need for artist marketing services.

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“There are more artists than there are PR companies. I have a degree in Art and Art History.  As a former instructor, I wanted to continue supporting artists any way I could. As an artist myself, I knew there was a need for artist support. I created my company to help artists in areas they aren’t able to.”

She notes that being an artist today is more than just creating the work.

“Today artists have to be entrepreneurs. A lot of artists don’t know where to begin. I come from an administrative background as well as my education history so it was natural for me to become a teacher, a supporter for artists.”

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Shoebox PR is not a traditional PR firm, but rather more of a support network for artists.

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“We help artists run their social media accounts, we do PR for their solo exhibitions, we help artists create community and build bridges in the art world that will help them persevere in there career,” she relates.

Her company also does social media promotion using Shoebox PR’s network of art influencers, and researches and filters calls for art/grants/residencies.

“We offer career consultation and guidance, studio visits, consult on artist statements, websites and more.”

Schomaker has success stories which include feature stories in major arts publications such as Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, Beautiful Bizarre, Huffington Post, LA Magazine, Konbini, Creators Project and here on Diversions LA among others.

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Along with assisting artists with coverage from other publications, Schomaker has also begun her own, Art & Cake.

“I felt there was a need for more writing on art. There are a few great local art publications, but there aren’t enough for all of the artists.  I wanted to add to the art world conversation. I wanted to support the lesser known art establishments, alternative venues and artists. Along the way, I realized I am also able to support art writers who deserve more attention and need more space to write,” she attests.

As an artist, much of the services she provides are tied to how she herself would like to be treated as an artist.

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“I am a multidisciplinary artist working to crush stereotypes and demythicize ideas of beauty.  My current work is part of a new cross-platform project called “An Ode to a Lost Love” whose leitmotif addresses the de(con)struction of self in relation to society’s perception/projection/reflection of beauty,” she explains.  “This work focuses on the complexities of gender identity, body image, and the societal privileging of women’s physical beauty over character and intellect.”

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The series already includes painting on canvas and mannequins, sculptural installation, digital animation made in Second Life, and narrative photography and video.

“I am a cultural producer who reaches outside of the studio to extend my creative energies and pursuits to my community. Shoebox PR, Art & Cake and Shoebox Projects are all an extension of my work as an artist.”

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And speaking of Shoebox Projects, Schomaker has created her own gallery/workshop space as another avenue for artists to promote and show their work.

“I’m lucky that I had the perfect space in my loft,” she says. “Artists are finding new ways to create, show, and sell. I started Shoebox Projects in November 2016 with month-long residencies. They’ve all been exceptional and fun.”

With so much going on, it may be hard for Schomaker to fit everything she’s doing into a “Shoebox” – but she’s certainly succeeding.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Kristine Schomaker

The Brewery Art Walk – Spring 2017 Edition

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Above, the work of Sean Sobczak Sandman Creations.

As always, DTLA’s awesome and eclectic artists lofts, studios, and galleries – the Brewery – offered up a tremendous wealth of art to peruse at the April edition of their twice yearly art walk.  Take a look at some of the artists and art – and if you missed it this spring, be sure to mark the walk on your calendar for October. So much to see, intimate conversations with artists, brilliant art work at reasonable prices. Hard to top that, but this being LA, we threw in a bright, sunny day, some gourmet food trucks, and beer. The Artwalk IPA was perfect.

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Above and below, artist Samuelle Richardson with her wonderfully haunting “Ghost Dogs” sculptural installation. Richardson created these beautiful pieces especially for Art Walk.

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A magical energy in these sculptures, which use fabric and wood to shape powerful and poignant beasts.

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Chenhung Chen’s fluid, alive wire sculptures dance with kinetic energy, below.

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The artist’s wall art, many utilizing staples, is a fresh take on abstract imagery, works that shine literally and figuratively.

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Below, Glen Waggner creates intense and diminutive drawings that tell succinct, perfectly realized impressionistic stories. The prolific artist creates both figures and landscapes.

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Kristine Augustyn, below, offers both lush abstracts and figurative pieces that edge into the surreal. Both Augustyn and Waggner showed works at the Brewery’s Jesus Wall Gallery.

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Below, a work inspired by a trip to Disneyland.

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Randi Hockett’s studio-grown crystals dazzle, below. These raw and glittering works offer a wonderful contrast of sharp crystal textures and the softness of the wax surfaces. This is work that is hard to look away from, which evoke the feminine and the fairy tale.

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Kristine Schomaker, below, has reconstructed and reimagined her own work in an exhibition titled “An Ode to a Lost Love.” Tackling complex issues from body image to gender identity, her sculptural installation below explores both the personal and the universal – and still evoke a fantastical candy store.

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Bill Leigh Brewer, below, creates photographic works that are painterly in style, mysterious and magical in perception.

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From the California desert to the snowy hills of Vermont, Brewer fills his landscapes with a subtext of wonder and loss.

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Winnie Brewer, below, has painted bees and other creatures great and small in exquisitely detailed works that glow with light and color.

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Below, Tony Pinto, in residence at Shoebox Projects, created dimensional paintings and photographic portraits in his exhibition “Art Seen.” His ability to capture the innate essence of artists, writers, and gallerists in LA’s art scene is revealing and insightful.

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While her studio was not open for art walk due to deadlines on completing works for other exhibitions, we had a sneak-peak at a piece currently on exhibit at Durden & Ray’s “Going Native” show from installation and sculptural artist Dani Dodge. Here a deeply layered image invites second, third, and many more looks beneath the surface.

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Her work, above, is like accessing an archeological dig: there is so much going on beneath the surface, an intense energy breaking through.

Below, Ryan McIntosh and Kati Milan share studio space and a wealth of evocative art.

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Artist Ted Meyer, below. A little bit Picasso, a little bit Modigliani in great faces, forms and familiars. These are portraits that tell a story worth “reading” often. Stylized, riveting, and exotic, Meyer’s figures also serve as a healing document for those affected by trauma. Brewery ONE

Below the incredibly rich partnered work of Anna Stump and Daphne Hill blossoms with life – lush and sensual florals.

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There is such an overflowing cornucopia of art at The Brewery that we could not do justice to all the artists here – or even those in this article. Find your own overflowing artistic joy at the next art walk come October.

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  • Genie Davis; Photos: Genie Davis

 

Art at the Mall: Galleria South Bay Redondo Beach

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Coming up in July, CA 101 will offer a new site for its pop-up, site-specific gallery, which features artists from San Diego to Santa Cruz. Last year, the installation was at the AES Power Plant in Redondo Beach, this year – it’s the South Bay Galleria mall in Redondo.

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As an early teaser, go visit the mall now, where artist Kristine Schomaker has inhabited an empty storefront on the first floor near Macy’s with her sculptures.

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“The Avatars are a stand-in for me. They are virtually my ‘ideal’ self. Since my work is about body image, self-acceptance and society’s perception of beauty, I will eventually have a mannequin made in my likeness to show that every body shape and size is beautiful,” Schomaker says.

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When you take a look at these store windows, for once, it’s not the clothes on the mannequins you’ll want to buy, it’s the mannequins themselves, beautiful examples of abstract expressionism, and one of the best commentaries on consumer culture, fashion, and body image around.

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Not much of a shopper myself, nonetheless I’ll be making many trips to the mall this summer.

  • Genie Davis

Yes, Curate This 2, Too

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Always a treat, the group shows at The Gabba Gallery seem to pulse with more excitement every time. Curate This Part Deaux is no exception, with art -works created by some of Los Angeles’ top curators. Featuring something for virtually every artistic taste, the show takes viewers through a panopoly of vibrant, quintessentially LA art. There was a look and feel to the show that could absolutely only happen in SoCal, and only at Gabba, and only if including the work of artists whose taste aesthetics have been sharply honed as curators.

Below, book designer, collage and mixed-media artist David Brady pulls viewers into an astonishing visual quilt with his “Esperanza.”

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Highly detailed, frieze-like sculptural paintings by Nathan Cartwright tell detailed, fantastical stories. Cartwright is an LA-based mixed media artist and founder/curator of The Hive Gallery and Studios in DTLA. Feel the buzz.

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Dicapria’s glowing mixed media mandala’s are crafted from gummy bears and resin in a light box. Her back story: she travels the U.S. in a 1971 bus.

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Mitchelito Orquiola was born in the Philipines, and resides in LA. His self-taught works create a mosaic of color and line.F23C8702

So what could be more a part of the City of Angeles than Kristine Schomaker’s beautiful little convertible? The Ideal Sex (The Little Pink Corvette) drives us into the SoCal sunset on a road dotted with the sign posts of gender roles, power, and the healing community of art itself. Schomaker also runs Shoebox PR, promoting art and artists throughout the Southland.F23C8703

Baby, you can drive Schomaker’s other cool ride, too.

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Photographer Osceola Refetoff’s ethereal, sun-drenched desert and urban visions haunt and inspire. The artist takes viewers down a road not just less traveled, but one most people have never experienced before.

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Below, the delicate, precise images photographed by Shana Nys Dambrot reflect an intimate thoughtfulness. Dambrot recently curated the stellar Painting by Scott Trimble, Photography by Osceola Refetoff show at Chungking Studios in Chinatown.

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Ted Meyer’s beautiful acryllic “Woman Napping with Cat,” holds all the golden light, curves, and angles, of a Hollywood summer, kissed with expressionist flavor. Meyer is currently curating Scar Stories at Muzeumm.

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Performance and installation artist Dani Dodge creates compelling, often autobiographical and catharctic works. As a former journalist and war correspondent, she tells stories that vibrate with humanity. Collage, assemblage, and video are components of her works, below.

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Up close, these layered fragments of wallpaper compel viewers to look beneath the surface layers of life itself.

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Phil Santos co-curates Gabba Gallery with Jason Ostro. His beautifully detailed watercolor pencil rendering of Pasadena City Hall transports the image to something that could exist in Venice or Paris. Santos is currently at work on a triptych mural for Angel City Brewery. F23C8718

Gabba Gallery owner, director, and co-curator Jason Ostro contributed this brilliantly blue, intrinsically floral, and kaleidoscopic piece to the exhibition.

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Below, Juri Koll’s mixed media paper on board evoke water, light, and an unheard aural component in their patterns and colors. Koll is founder, director, and often curator at The Venice Institute of Contemporary Art, and the producer of the Fine Arts Film Festival.F23C8724

Venice artist Mark Satterlee is a self-taught traditional and digital artist working primarily in fiberglass and pigmented resin. His work below uses an assemblage of Poloroid portraits.F23C8725

Skye Amber Sweet’s pink fish float off the canvas. Love, kindness, and self-expression are the driving forces of her emotional and emotive art.

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Daniel Rolnik curated at the self-owned Daniel Rolnik Gallery, and recently hosted one of the most enjoyable booths at the LA Art Fair,  the “Kilduff’s Bakery” art installation.  Below, some of Rolnik’s cheerful, fun, and vibrant work. F23C8732

Even at the end of the night, Gabba drew appreciative viewers.

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Below, another piece by Gabba’s co-curator Phil Santos. His classic dog portraits are much sought after by collectors. F23C8742

Artist Radhika Hersey creates stunning art fantasies  based on meditation, dreams, and folklore. Her spiritually magical paintings are closely aligned with her curatorial works at Temple of Visions and the Do Art Foundation,among other venues.F23C8747

Ever versatile, Phil Santos dishes up a plate of mixed media zombie spaghetti.

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Curate This 2 runs until February 28th. The Gabba Gallery is located at 3126 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles.

F23C8751Genie Davis; all photos by Jack Burke