Chicago | Los Angeles | Miami | New York | San Francisco | Santa Fe
Amsterdam | Berlin | Brussels | London | Paris | São Paulo | Toronto | China | India | Worldwide
Interviews With Artists
Documentary Interview with John Paul Thornton

John Paul Thornton was classically trained at the Otis Parsons School of Design and California State University at Northridge, where he received his B.A and further training working with two legendary artists Hans Burkhardt and Saul Bernstein. During his studies, they challenged John to find a true purpose to his art making.

John reflects, “Their message was paint your time and to connect with things that are universal and could appear in any time period historically, but find in your period of time what is vital and real, paint the truth.”

John’s desire to find the “truth,” landed him a job as an art teacher at a school for runaway kids. He looks back, saying, “I got to learn their stories and their stories were so impacting to me. I had come from a middle class family in the San Fernando Valley and I was suddenly meeting kids from the inner city, kids from broken families with histories of abuse. What happened there really changed my life.”

John’s truth started with a series called, The Missing Children – Portraits of Hope, an ongoing body of work for which he still receives international recognition, it led to other opportunities working with underprivileged children around the world.

“I started getting these invitations to work in other countries. I worked in Japan and was teaching projects in China, working in Mexico, Europe, and Haiti with the United Nations and what has been exciting for me is that my art isn’t about my paint, it’s about the people and the experiences that its given me.”

Through his journey, John found an art that heals, a truth, and the real power of art. This Summer he worked in Haiti on Girls United Haiti, together the United Nations Foundation, the Merridan Health Foundation and Full-Circle Learning.

“Imagine a country that has gone through trauma, an earthquake or hurricane and is it possible to go into the ground, impact a group of young people and through art and creativity empower them to become leaders in the community. And can you do this in two weeks?”

It’s this kind of challenge that motivates John and gives him a purpose to his life and to his art. “I keep getting this message, you’re on the right path with your work. Keep going. This is what you are meant to do and art is your tool.” For more of John’s story and art demonstrations, please watch his video documentary here on Studio Online.

John has taught at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California State University of Los Angeles, Pierce College, the Los Angeles Unified School District Conservatory of the Arts, and the Sophia School of Painting in Tokyo, Japan. He also served as Art Education Coordinator with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs working on projects with MOCA, the Getty Research Institute and on International exchanges with Taxco, Mexico. John Paul's paintings are in numerous private collections. He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and daughter.

Please see John’s story here on Studio Online.

For additional information please visit the artist's website.

Posted by Veronica Aberham on 9/3/11 | tags: figurative realism painting demonstrations traditional painting teacher Art

Interview with Willie Middlebrook

Video Interview by Los Angeles filmmaker Veronica Aberham

We are pleased to present Willie Middlebrook, an award winning photographer, whose work, from the 1970s to the present, is a historical record of the American culture.

The 1965 Los Angeles riot ripped apart the progress made thus far by the civil rights movement, causing more problems and poverty in the growing African American community. Just when a seed of hope had emerged, many felt they slipped back into new hardships, reminiscent of the past, plagued with gangs, street drugs and increased racial barriers and tensions.

Willie Middlebrook was challenged by this environment, but somehow managed to rise above it. Instead of allowing the world to close in around him, he found protection in the family unit, taking in their successes, shutting out the background noise that worked so hard to destroy much of his community. Willie chose to follow the good advice from his father, meeting positive role models.

Willie has dedicated his life to the arts and to giving back to the community. Willie reflects, “Artists get involved. You’re either totally self involved or you get involved in everything else and that everything else is the community around you so it’s just an expansion of that.” With each photo and digital creation Willie shaped and molded the true light and essence of people, becoming a well-respected artist in the community. Not only does he gives back with his art, but he also gives back something more precious, hope. “ I wanted to show black people in a true light, as true as I see it.”

From his father’s positive influence on his life, to the training he received at Compton College, to the community services he provided through the Communicative Arts Academy and the Watts Towers Arts Center, Willie’s determination to reach for better has created the artist we now know as MONK, or Willie Middlebrook.

For the exhibit we selected works from various projects, including: Early Work Series, 1977-79; Early Influences; Skid Row, 1977-1980; WATTS, 1979-1982; My Father’s Funeral, Our Father’s Funeral, 1979; LA Weekly Early – Middle 80’s; Medical Photography; Portraits Of My People, 1990; The MONK Project; from FREEDOM to slavery to Freedom? and Black Series IN PROGRESS.

For additional information please visit the artist’s website.

Posted by Veronica Aberham on 7/2/11 | tags: digital photography conceptual mixed-media

Interview with Judithe Hernández


Ms. Hernández’s life has been dedicated to the arts, furthering the social causes for both Mexican Americans (Chicanos) and Latin American women for forty years. Her work facilitates feelings of empowerment, undoing the adverse effects of decades of abuse, stigmatization, and racial injustice. Through her motivational murals and artwork, what she refers to as her “image support”, people gain the benefits and appreciation for their culture.

Judithe’s association with Carlos Almaraz, during her graduate studies at Otis Art Institute in 1977, led her into becoming the fifth member of Los Four, a powerful group of artists during the Chicano Power Movement and setting the stage not only for change within the neighborhoods of East Los Angeles, but also establishing a legacy and career deeply ingrained in her roots.  Creative Review, London 2009, published an article about Self Help Graphics (SHG) of East Los Angeles, crediting Los Four for the visual language of the movement. Judithe’s response was quite humble, “My God, I never thought of it that way and I never bumped into anyone who said that to me, but it’s very flattering if that’s true.” By following their hearts and being creative, using education to promote freedom, a visual language was born. Los Four showed that by banding together, youth could make a difference in their community.

After spending 25 years in Chicago, Judithe returned to Los Angeles, to her roots, still determined to affect change. In this interview she talks about her rich history as member of Los Four and her current show at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. The exhibition, La Vida Sobre Papel, is on view until May 1, 2011.

Video Interview by Los Angeles filmmaker Veronica Aberham


Posted by Veronica Aberham on 3/31/11

Video Interview with Sam Erenberg



Video Interview by Los Angeles filmmaker Veronica Aberham

Sam Erenberg has created challenging work using narratives that constantly push us to explore history, eastern philosophy, the kabala, mysticism and how these converge in language and in visual form. Since graduating from Chouinard Art Institute in the 1960’s, Erenberg has explored many forms of expression. “It started with the alternative space movement, artists were starting to use new and different form: video, performance installation, and the place of narrative.”

While pursuing a MFA at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he worked under instructors (Richard Dunlap, Miles Varner, and Wayne Buckley) who spurred his exploration of multimedia and experimental media and film, installation and performance work. “Some things that I started to explore were new music, movement, video, closed circuit TV and porta packs. Though my graduate thesis was in painting and not film, this did not keep me from exploring many media.” This framework set the tone and range for over forty years of self-expression, pioneering, and ever new and intensive work. These extend at times to political subjects with which he explores and plays at times. “I found a relationship between physics and mysticism and then I came up with an esoteric system and using my own experiences in life to translate it into a kind of observable system.”

Erenberg has exhibited extensively. His works can be found in many public collections, the Akademie fuer Sozialarbeit (Bregenz, Austria), Franklin Furnace Archive and Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Getty Center for the Study of Art and Humanities and Skirball Cultural Center Museum (Los Angeles), and the Kunstmuseum (Bern, Switzerland) to name a few. His work has made an important contribution in the minimalist movement, which led up to the postmodern era.

Erenberg’s videos will be screened next year at the Filmforum’s Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles 1945 - 1980, as part of the Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945 - 1980.  “I wouldn’t call myself a video artist or filmmaker. I’m just an artist who makes films, and works in video, books, and painting. Some artists just work in one media solely without changing, but I change.”

Here we present a video on his latest exhibit, Mementos, and other recent works, and hear how his thoughts and life undergird the creation of his work.  “I think my work is more like Barnet Newman’s work because my work is amorphous and transparent like Newman’s work, but I don’t get into a spiritual state before I start work, you know.”

For additional information please visit Erenberg’s website.

Posted by Veronica Aberham on 1/31/11

Fumiko Amano: Dreams Series


Fumiko Amano’s artwork comes from the inspiration of Beat Generation writers and poets, and music and noises from urban street life.

Growing up in Tokyo in the 1970s, Fumiko traveled to the states in the late 1980s to attend the University of Wisconsin. Her initial plan was to return to Tokyo after collecting scripts in the United States to study at the MOCA experimental theatre in Tokyo. However while studying painting and printmaking, Fumiko found her true expression in the fine arts.

“I found that while I was studying at the University of Wisconsin my hands were looking for something rather than my body was looking for something in the theatre arts, that’s when I made my decision to enter fine arts. It also came naturally for me and I started to develop my own unique style.”

With her fine art skills, her earlier education in English Literature from Tokyo Woman’s College, and her understanding of theatre and movement, Fumiko transfers her voice to canvas through the inspiration of her dreams and rhythms that play constantly in her mind.

Her paintings and collage work have an intricate quality, both colorful and poetic. Having traveled internationally, to Wisconsin, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, and NY, ending up in Los Angeles, she finds her inspiration in the streets and in the rhythms of everyday life.

Fumiko’s latest works, in her dream series, are collaborative combinations of her dreams, her thoughts, and her varied skills. With each glimpse of her work, the audience uncovers another piece of Fumiko, but also a piece of themselves.

See video:
Posted by Veronica Aberham on 12/2/10 | tags: mixed-media landscape abstract graffiti/street-art figurative

David Buckingham: A Life and Career Salvaged

David Buckingham’s background fuels his current work. Graduating from Loyola University in New Orleans in 1984 with a BA in Communications, David naturally gravitated to a career in advertising, where he served as a writer and creative director from 1985 to 2005.

It was during his time in New York when he ran into the Rivington school gang and their founder, Ray Kelly. “It was funny, I just ran into Ray by accident and he took me to his basement on Broom Street and gave me a five-minute welding lesson. We were both smoking, Ray was drinking, and I thought we’d get blown sky-high, but we didn’t.”

This rudimentary lesson led David to a whimsical form of furniture design. His pieces started resembling folk art, in fact. His current art practice started with his move to Los Angeles in 2000 during his final battle with drug addiction. “I really didn’t intend to move here. I just came on vacation from Australia and got busted.”

Obstacles along his route to recovery form the man he is today, and, in turn, his work both as artist and as humor writer. He also met Mark Caplan, master welder and friend, during a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and ended up apprenticing for him. David reflects, “He’s a real good friend and a very good welder. I learned more with Mark in six months then I was able to teach myself in fifteen years.”

Buckingham values such connections and when asked how the advertising world influenced him David notes, “[It's] just being around smart people doing creative things, the cutting edge of type and design, the ideas, the talking to people, and looking at things. Being teachable as well. I’m not a certified welder by any stretch of the imagination, but every time I meet another welder, I’m always learning something and, if I can help out too, I will.”


To see the video and slideshow click on the link below:

Posted by Veronica Aberham on 9/1/10 | tags: video-art artist-interviews sculpture

Dominique Moody Shares Her Life Journey

Assemblage artist, Dominique Moody, was born to a life of struggle, with her parents working to shelter their children in a Jim Crow South, and determined not to allow racism to undermine their children’s growth and potential.

Dominique was encouraged early to prize opportunity, to develop an independence of mind and spirit, to grow into a person of intense drive and persistence. She is a storyteller, sharing with us her life’s progression, her strengths, and the mojo that powers her life-trek, a trek that ignites, or re-ignites, in all of us dreams of better things.

She was marked as an artist at an early age and was invited to study in various workshops at the Philadelphia College of Art, and Pratt Institute in New York. She then was awarded a scholarship to UC-Berkeley (1986-91), afterwards pursuing an eclectic creative path. In her 30’s, faced with failing vision and the prospect of no vision, she returned to Berkeley to further her education. With loss of vision her usual art forms, drawing and painting, shifted to assemblage work.

Whatever the form, the story and its telling are rooted in her own life and experience. Her newest work ‘the Nomad’ exhibited recently at the California African American Museum, draws on the personal challenges of childhood, of artistic growth, of the loss of vision, and, finally, of an artistic vision gained: a vision that encompasses the interplay of the no-nonsense tough-times and the playful fantasy of child-artist, the vision of a seasoned and mature artist. She shares here an entire life-journey, from childhood to the evolved Nomad, free from bondage, free to shape and create and share her life, her art.

To see the video and slideshow please click on the link below.



By Veronica Aberham Filmmaker and Art Jounalist Professional

Posted by Veronica Aberham on 8/1/10 | tags: Dominique Moody installation

Video Interview: Joan Carl - Art, A Way Of Life

Joan Carl has spent a life enjoying what she loves most: sculpting with hands, seeing with eyes, feeling the crevasses of hard wood, shaping materials until they speak as she says.

In her joyous reflections of youth, she shares the secret that ignites her heart: family and community are at the core. Other concerns — war and hate, space and refuge, the frustration of observing and not controlling — are present too but are under-girded by the hope of community, of banding together, of love.

For this video interview we walk through the sculptor’s studio and home, learning some secrets, some techniques, and some uncommon knowledge at work. Still actively receiving commissions, Joan’s passion has not dimmed; she relishes a challenge, the project at hand.

See video interview:

For additional information please visit the artist’s website at:

Video Interview by filmmaker Veronica Aberham at:


Posted by Veronica Aberham on 6/19/10 | tags: digital video-art

Video Interview: Mary Heebner, Intimacies

Mary Heebner, an American artist has been connected to the power of the natural world for most of her artistic career, observing exotic landscapes, working with earth and water, with minerals and pigments, or anything that dissolves in water.  She manipulates textures and handmade papers to communicate the beauty and knowledge she has acquired.  For Mary, art is all about finding line and shape.  Much like a cave artist, she crafts her work through spatters and spills, looking within that surface to reveal the form.  As she explains, “Once you have drawn something and really looked at it and studied it, you have owned it in a way.”  Mary preserves for us the natural beauty of landscapes, animating the exchange between words and images, images that lend to the creation of these earthy, vivid, and well-crafted works.  She strives to remind us how we all are interrelated.

Here we get a glimpse of her inspirational exhibition Intimacies/Intimismos, and see locations that led to these works as well as some techniques and processes she employs.  Through the poetry of Pablo Nerudo, translated and read by Alasteer Reid, we gain further insights into her paintings, Intimacies, the series inspired through his lyrical sounds.  Some of the paintings are on view until April 17, 2010 at the Edward Cella Art + Architecture Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

See video interview:

Special thanks to Boston-based guitarist, musician, and writer Anthony Weller for allowing the use of his music from the album, Guitar of the Americas.  He is a personal friend of the artist and his talents are much appreciated.

For more information visit the artist:

Contact the filmmaker: Veronica Aberham,

Posted by Veronica Aberham on 4/1/10

Video Interview: Toni Scott, A Bloodline to Africa

Growing up, Toni Scott struggled with self-perception as an interracial woman with Black, White, and Native American heritages. This juxtaposition ignited hostilities between ethnicities, fueled by her frustration to fit in. Instead of relying solely on this tension, Toni found inspiration in the richness of her history and in four generations of artists and musicians.  Even her father’s handyman nature provided inspiration for her varied art career, showing that making with one’s hands is just as much ‘art’ as any other media.

A multimedia artist, Toni studied the classic and contemporary masters, finding inspiration in the works of Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Theodore Gericault. A former student of the Otis College of Art and Design and an MBA graduate from the University of Southern California, Toni decided to continue her learning through self-study, which has resulted in academic and artistic recognition.

Toni’s latest works explore 300 years of her matriarchal ancestry. The poignant stories of African American slavery are revealed in the “Embracing Ambiguity” exhibition at Cal State Fullerton and “Bloodlines” at the California African American Museum.

In her most recent exhibitions, Toni calls attention to those long forgotten, the victims of slavery in America. Exposing the truth of the missing Negro faces and pictures which had been buried in the U.S. Library of Congress for nearly seventy years, Toni uncovers sentence by sentence, image by image the magnitude and the impact which still plagues the African world.

Toni Scott presents her story and her art in a conversation with Veronica Aberham. Please watch this exclusive interview.

Click here to view artists page and video:

For additional information please visit the artist’s website at:

Contact the filmmaker Veronica Aberham at:

Posted by Veronica Aberham on 3/1/10

Video Interview: Lisa Adams, Beyond Abstraction

Lisa Adams, a Los Angeles based public artist and painter,  paints colored-rich yet calm and deep nature scenes. Ms. Adams' has a teaching background at the University of Southern California, the Claremont Graduate University, Otis College of Art & Design and overseas at the University of Ljubljana, Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Slovenia. She is the co-founder of the exhibition space “Crazy Space” and is thee author of FM, a how-to book on painting. She is currently represented by the Lawrence Asher Gallery and the Michael Rosenthal Gallery.

Click here to view video interview:

For additional information please visit the artist’s website at:

Email the filmmaker Veronica Aberham at:

Posted by Veronica Aberham on 11/1/09

Video Interview: Kim Abeles: Seeks the Truth within our Global Landscape

For thirty years artist Kim Abeles has work to raise social consciousness through her art. Her boundless appetite seeks new and inspired connections among art, science, and technology. Here she finds awkward truths within the American landscape: flaws in contemporary mores, the struggles between our needs and the needs of the environment in urban L.A., in America and across the globe.

She brings to bear extensive empirical research, informed feministic views and ethnographic sensibilities. Her use of different materials and of complex technical processes entailed in her creations to achieve works thick with content and shaped by deep curiosity.

Common subjects and concerns are re-shaped and re-created into inspired art. She states: “I will figure out a process to do a piece if that process or material seems just the right thing for that. There is a language in the materials and this is part of how the dialogue proceeds, a dialogue between material and me and the final created piece.” Abeles’s early background in craft-making, in biography, and in the  translation complex thought to Dada-inspired image has earned her respect and an international reputation.

Her work form part of great collection, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, the United States Information Agency, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her work is archived in the library collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt Publication Design Collection of the Smithsonian. She has been shown throughout the United States and in galleries and museums in Canada, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, and Czechoslovakia. She represented the United States in both  /Fotografie Biennale Rotterdam/ (1992) and/ Cultural Centre of Berchem,/ Antwerp (1993).

See video interview:

You can see additional works and current and upcoming exhibition by  going to

Special thanks to Los Angles-based guitarist/singer/songwriter Stephen Costantino for the use of his song “Silent Heart” in our video introduction. His personal experience through words and music always inspires him "to keep learning more about himself and to create songs to share with others.”

You can contact the filmmaker, Veronica Aberham at





Posted by Veronica Aberham on 8/31/09

Video Interview: Patricia Correia, The Art of Dealing

Patricia Correia’s passion for the arts started in the late 1970s when she was marketing the glass art designs of her brother Steven Correia. Her innovative marketing approaches created a new American market for contemporary decorative art and spearheaded the movement of luxury glass art found at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Harrods, and Cartier. Within a few years Correia Art Glass (CAG) became a multi-million dollar business with wide presence, and attained respectability in decorative arts evidenced in permanent collections including the Smithsonian Institute, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the White House.

The Patricia Correia Gallery opened in Santa Monica in 1991. She represented both emerging and established artists for the next over 18 years, including Patssi Valdez, John Valadez, Ann Chamberlin, Llyn Foulkes, Richard Godfrey, and Gronk. She fondly reflects, “I started the gallery with this beautiful thought of promoting art and artists, and as you get into the business, you realize there are many more facets than that. That’s the ground breaker, and then it goes from there.” When asked to what she attributed her many successes, she replied, “I always had a natural instinct to sell. In all honesty, it is my passion: I’m passionate about the arts and in making a difference by helping both artist and collector and, so, creating a world with more communication.”

Now more than ever, it is important for artists to understand and to find avenues into the the art market. The art world is comprised of many genres, many levels, many institutions and many connections. The artist needs to grasp how these are structured to be successful. Patricia Correia shares her wide experience and many insights, and outlines the different paths an artist may take when seeking representation. Patricia explains, “You have to sell to survive. I know a lot of artists think commercialism is an ugly word, but, once you put that out there on the block, it is commercial. You, the artist, put it out there for critique, for review, for the pleasure and purposes of others. And these others have opinions and you need have to realize: that is commercial, period.”

See video interview:

Special thanks to New York City-based singer and songwriter Frank Bango and Richy Vesecky for allowing the use of the song, You Always Begin by Saying Goodbye, from the album, The Sweet Songs of Decay.

For more information on Correia Art Glass go to

Email Veronica Aberham, the filmmaker at:



Posted by Veronica Aberham on 8/1/09

Video Interview: Guillermo Esparza, An American Iconographer

In this interview Guillermo Esparza opens up the exclusive world of traditional Byzantine Iconography and shares his discoveries and techniques. The influences of classical architecture, of his extensive religious and ecumenical studies, keep alive an ancient canon, painted in pigments freshly ground and mixed by hand in medieval tradition. His path to Iconographer was long and arduous: thousands of brush stokes, years of constant study at the Morgan Library and at the General Theological Seminary, a master emerges.

As a boy Guillermo was stuck with the wonder at church icons and a rooted feel for the work of grandfather Don Benito’s work in Mexico. Two great men — Martin Schaffer, and Bishop Michael Dudick of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic shaped his development. After years of working as an environmental sculptor in the Southwest, in 1988 Guillermo decided to learn the art of the Orthodox and moved to New York City. “Bishop Michael Dudick was an expert in iconography and pointed out many of the directions that I should go.”

Today, Guillermo Esparza is internationally recognized and respected for his work. Currently he’s capomaestro for the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation and artist-in-residence at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Manhattan, New York. He recently received a Proclamation from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, honoring his recent exhibition “Arcanum Angelorum” (Mystery of the Angels) at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral.

Here you will view some of his Iconography and other works accompanied by music from Guillermo’s wife, Maria Andriasova Esparza, daughter of the famous Russian composer Iosif Andriasov.

See slideshow and video interview:

For further information, please visit:

Email: Veronica Aberham, the filmmaker at:


Posted by Veronica Aberham on 6/1/09

Video Interview: Folk Artist Kent Twitchell Talks about His Career as L.A. Muralist

For over 40 years, folk artist Kent Twitchell has shared with the people of Los Angeles artwork in the form of large-scale murals several stories tall with photorealistic precision of people he most admires.

People pass by his painted murals decade after decade admiring his work. His work is a time capsule that lasts not long before his work gets destroyed by the weather, taggers, and building owners that want to change the colorful walls and Twitchell’s work is forever gone. This is the case of the Freeway Lady, 1974 (the first ever Freeway mural in the United States) and Ed Ruscha mural, 1978, which are now in the process of being replaced.

It is urgent that better preservation keep alive this legendary work that has transformed many people’s attitudes by exposing them to art, spurring minds to notice and wonder, and inspiring other artists to follow in their own self inspired pursuits. As Twichell explains

“It’s so much bigger than life. I so much want other people to appreciate them the way I do that it helps me get through the work, because it’s not necessarily exciting, it’s not process, it’s hard, so painting people I really like makes it a lot easier.”

The process of creation, restoration, and recreation seems a never-ending task in keeping pure the originating romantic notion of this artist. The sources for such great passion are remarkable and we feel as obliged as he does to share his interests and talents with all.

See video interview:

Contact the filmmaker Veronica Aberham at:

Posted by Veronica Aberham on 2/1/09

Copyright © 2006-2013 by ArtSlant, Inc. All images and content remain the © of their rightful owners.