“Your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.”
-Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
There are no two people in this world exactly the same. Each of us journeys along an individual path, experiencing the world from an entirely personal perspective that not only shapes our outlook but carves out the ways we interact with the world around us. One person may excel at something another finds impossible to even contemplate and, in turn, may flounder at those things which others find to be almost second nature. It is this uniqueness, this innumerable combination of strengths, weaknesses, varied traits, that makes up the rich and fascinating world in which we live.
Marco Casagrande spoke to us from the forest of Finland. He tries to spend as much time as possible in the forest and at the moment Casagrande, a trained architect, is building a log home there for an artist and his family. Much of his work centers on how to connect with nature through our basic need for shelter. He believes that once shelter is achieved, one can concentrate on comfort and once this is achieved comes beauty, innovation and other human endeavors. Architecture, Casagrande says, must be something of a blank canvas, a reality that is not overthought to the point of becoming design. To hear more about his philosophy on architecture and the connection to nature, as well as his installation work listen to the complete interview.
Shingo Francis spoke to us from L.A. in early June where from just after Thanksgiving 2020 through February the city was ravaged by COVID-19 with something like 1 in 5 people infected. The art world – along with the rest of the city – shut down completely through the winter months. By the time we spoke, things were opening up and Francis had attended a few openings. He described the return to artwork as a cathartic experience. His own work was included in an early April group show at William Turner Gallery. Francis has two paintings in this show using interference paint by Golden – a medium he has been working with for the last few years. The paint contains micro-particles cut at an angle to reflect light back to the viewer. As one moves around the painting, the surface look changes depending on the angle. To hear more about this medium and more, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
Take a moment to marvel at the weaknesses you possess that are others’ greatest strengths.
Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.
Books to Read
The John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship is an annual award celebrating outstanding work across many fields including visual art. Applications open in August and artists are required to provide two written documents, a career narrative and statement of plans among the supporting documents. These two narrative pieces describe the career path to date as well as intentions moving forward. Praxis Center offers a comprehensive coaching and editing service for Guggenheim Fellowship applicants. For details and pricing, contact us. For more information about applying, visit the website.
Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius, and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius. His book, Making it in the Art World, is available now with bonus content here.