Blam! is a working studio with seven resident artists: Keith Adams, Phoebe Briley, Elke Brand, Jen Coon, Graham McKinney, Sys Oppenlander and Juley Striegel. This year has seen many changes at Blam!. The studio — in a 1920 brick warehouse with great atmosphere and light — has a new, fresh look and the artists in this wonderful creative space are exploring both new directions and inspirations in their work. The artists here work in an array of mediums and subjects, inspiring one another to improve and expand upon their own capabilities. Exhibiting together allows the artists a new perspective and viewers a chance to see a variety of media and visual strategies.
Keith Adams — I paint purely because I really enjoy painting. Its that simple. I love to create things I have never seen before while pushing and blending colors together and when I start to see something I have never created before, that excites me.
Phoebe Briley — My work is currently about discovering abstract spatial relationships inspired by nature. After years of experimenting with photography and mixed media, I am again fully committed to painting. My perceptions are now grounded in the transient, ever-changing landscape which is constantly morphing as seasons revolve. The lightness of the medium has allowed a “loosening” of my hand and spirit, which is reflected in the organic shapes and dreamy landscapes.
Elke Brand — My work is a symbiosis of photographs of organic images, digital drawings, and digital manipulation. Most of my pieces start out with images of people, which I then start to draw on and manipulate until I reach the final image. I mount my final images on wooden board to maintain the original organic character I started out with. Through the symbiosis of organic and digital materials and images I create a form of cyborg that shows the evolution of nature with the help of technology.
Jen Coon — I’d describe printmaking as the capturing of a carefully considered surface in a temporary skin of ink. I think of this process as a cross between sculpture and recording. By engaging with various techniques and their incongruities, I create challenges and learn to make do with what I have on hand. My objective as an artist is to interpret materials and organize marks to transmit my experiences and understandings while navigating the distinctions of language and image, individual and humanity.
Graham McKinney — My paintings and sculptures — otherworldly, underworldly, innerworldly, sub-marine — can be described as macro/micro abstracts of a final frontier. Often humorous and combining traditional and unorthodox materials, they create a sublime tension between the “beautiful and creepy.” I am very interested in leaving my work open-ended — so as to evoke the widest variety of experience and response among viewers. I feel the greatest gratification as an artist when my art stimulates imagination and dialogue.
Sys Oppenlander — I started to wander, both literally and metaphorically, at a very early age. Through my travels, I found breathtaking new surroundings — in which vibrant colors, exotic flavors and sizzling temperatures flourished. Today, my paintings are visual expressions of this newfound world. Bold colors combined with a partially textured canvas reflect the abstract kaleidoscope of life’s internal rhythms, its inevitable challenges and ever increasing complexity.
Juley Striegel — Texture, line, shape, color, point of view…these are all elements in my art that I use to evoke an instinctual response from the viewer. Whether it is through mixed media or acrylic paint, my paintings illustrate a personal biography, but are intentionally left open to the viewer’s own interpretation. Each piece is constructed using layers representing life’s trials and tribulations and are not always evident upon immediate viewing. Each creation explores life’s unexpected twists and turns, using them as a constructive outlet for those experiences.
Blam! is tucked just under the Boylan Avenue Bridge, in the Boylan Heights District of downtown Raleigh. The studio is open by appointment and features display areas for the artists’ current work as well as providing workspaces that allow visitors to see not only finished artwork, but also to get a glimpse into the process for making art.