Kudzanai Chiurai
Aug 19 2016

9 Famous Artists from Africa

Africa has a fast-growing number of professional painters. Some of these artists use their work to interpret African traditions, political life, diverse African beauty, and socio-economic aspects. African paintings are an extremely diverse creativity that started from ancient days and has continued to evolve since. These works are not only appreciated in Africa but also across the world.

Today I invite you to discover 9 famous artists from Africa we like. There is no order, none better than the others. They’re all very creative, all different with their own universe.

Tracey Rose

Tracey Rose is a South African painter born in Durban in 1974. She now resides in Johannesburg where she develops multimedia. Tracey is well known for her outstanding works in performances, photography and videos. She skillfully utilizes South Africa’srich culture with sociology notions to illustrate different social-economic and political landscapes in her country. Her body is the center of her artistic works and most of them have a close relationship with Cindy Sherman’s, both in content and format. Tracey uses black paintings and photographies of her body to express certain universal emotions. The creative integration of her body in her work creates an intimacy with her audience.  She is not an artist who jumps at every chance to show her work to the world. For her it is an insult when one does not understand what they are working with. Her work revolves around her upbringing, gender and identity but recently she is doing more abstract works.

Tracey Rose

‘Lucie’s Fur Version 1:1:1 – I’ Annunciazione (After Fra Angelico)’ , c .1434 – 2003


Meschac Gaba

Meschac Gaba was born in Benin in 1961. The popular artist is known for the Museum of Contemporary African Art which was a travelling exhibition launched in 1967. This exhibition was initiated in different European art institutions for over a period of five years.  His museum covered various subjects ranging from fashion to food. He employed craftsmanship, and his works include paintings and ceramics. This was achieved by use of materials such as paint, plywood, plaster and stones. A visit to the museum reveals that Gaba has very bold political statements to make, but he does its in such beauty that one might even forget that statement. For example clay chicken legs and bread rolls painted in gold depict the image of lack of food between third world and Western countries.


Kudzanai Chiurai

Kudzanai Chiurai from Zimbabwe was born in 1981 but was exiled from the country after he designed an inflammatory portrait of the infamous President Robert Mugabe. Chiurai has continued his work in South Africa where he makes use of dramatic multimedia approach to address the most pressing issues affecting the citizens. The issues range from corruption, conflicts and violence. Apart from paintings, he also uses digital photography, editing and printing, and even films to expose ill acts of the African governments. He first started with landscapes, but he has now grown to a full-fledged activist. He even uses spray paint to pass-on his messages.

Nástio Mosquito

Nástio Mosquito is from Angola and was born in the year 1981. He started his career in Angola and easily gained popularity. His work is very informative and also makes use of multimedia such as music, videos, acapella, digital art, performance, and installations. Mosquito’s first solo exhibition was launched at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, UK. He has gained worldwide potential since he presented his works in various parts of the world.  Most of the time, he is the main figure of his works; he also loves to bring an African stereotype into a westernised context. His work has been said to be the original story-telling of today.

Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu was born in 1970 and has enjoyed great international exposure in her career. Her large paintings represent urban populated city environments and the 21st Century social networks. Her design process starts with the addition of thin acrylic paint layers on canvas. Superimposed marks are then added to the design using pencils, pen, ink, and paint streams. The final design gives a clear description of time, space and historical significanceShe focuses on abstract art which is inspired by the world around her.


El Anatsui

El Anatsui was born in Ghana in the year 1944. The famous artist uses metallic fabrics, clay and wood to create an expression of socio-political and historical concerns. He later advanced to installation art and sewing. He transforms materials into impressive shimmering forms by assembling them into vibrant patterns that provides a unique visual effect. El Alnatsui also makes use of acrylic paint and stainless steel to design interesting paintings whose meanings are easily interpreted by the viewer. He also uses simple tools such as bottle-tops, iron nails, cassava graters, driftwood and welding torches to make a variety of sculptural forms.

Sokari Douglas Camp

Sokari Douglas Camp is from Nigeria and was born in 1958. Her creative work has gained global art market attention. She portrays African culture and traditions in her designs. She employs sculptural methods with the use of steel to create large, figurative works that reflects Nigerian culture. Some of the materials that Sokari Douglas Camp makes use of are steel, Perspex, oil barrel, acrylic paint, metal drawings, stainless steel, car paint, gold leaf and nickel-coated steel to develop paintings and sculptures with a rich message integrated in them.


Maria Naita

Maria Naita is one of the most famous African artists and a great painter. She took part in the KANN artist projects such as the “Chogm monument” in Uganda. She utilizes sculpturing and watercolor painting in her work to reflect the immediate environmental elements. The sculpture’s skeleton is made of bee wax and metal before achieving the real idea for the sculpture. Then the idea is developed from the sample skeleton into amazing work. She creatively makes use of water-based solutions with suspended pigments in her artwork. These solutions are then used to paint and trace artistic designs that depict intended messages based on society.



Chéri Samba

Chéri Samba from the Democratic Republic of Congo, born in 1956, is a leading African painter. He reveals his perception of various daily life facets of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Having started his career as a billboard painter, he later advanced to paintings on sacking fabrics as regular fabric was very expensive. He also developed an innovative thought-provoking commentary. This technique was referred to as the ‘Samba signature’ and is a type of captivating paintings that encourages people to take more time to understand the meaning of the paintings.



References of the article:



Kramer, K. (2015). The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists. Afterimage, 43(3), 34.

Moore, A. (2016). The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists. Critical Interventions, 10(1), 81-97.










Hawaiian Painter Darice Machel McGuire in her studio
Jul 03 2016

Interview with Hawaiian Painter Darice Machel McGuire

Darice Machel McGuire is a famous Hawaiian painter who lives on the beautiful Island of Maui. Her works are represented by Village Galleries in Lahaina, The Gallery At The Ritz in Kapalua and Kaukini Gallery in Kahakuloa, all on the island of Maui. We welcome her today on CreativInn to let us present her universe.

Darice Machel McGuire Interview

“Never give up”


Darice Machel McGuire, could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your universe?

I’m an artist living, painting and teaching art on Maui. I have spent most of my life surrounded by beautiful nature. The north shore of Lake Tahoe was my home for over 30 years. I was a single parent of four and now Grandma of 7. Making the decision to move to Maui was easy and hard to do. Easy because the Hawaiian Islands have been calling to me ever since I was a kid. Hard because it meant putting thousands of miles between me and my family.

My universe is filled with inspiration. Every day I wake up to birds singing outside my window and sometimes to the sound of tropical rain and swaying palms. The scent of plumeria and other tropical flowers fill the air. My drive from home to my studio in Lahaina is visual eye candy. The ocean is on the right and the West Maui Mountains are on the left. Most days I’m treated to blue skies, incredible clouds, ocean waves breaking on shore and sometimes a rainbow or two.

All of that is just my morning ritual. When I go home at night, I get to do it all over again in the reverse. The time I spend in my studio is filled with lots of activities, not all are in the artistic realm. I work on marketing my business, building and updating my two websites, researching, teaching and when I’m a real good girl, I get to paint. Life in my universe is busy and pretty amazing.

Were you always interested in art growing up?

Yes, art and creativity was a normal way of life in my family. Both my parents are creative artistic people. My mom did cake decorating, flower arranging, sewing and oil and watercolor painting. Dad created lots of things out of wood and metal. He built our house and our play house and the furniture that went in it. I began at a very young age creating things, clothes, costumes, needle point projects. I crocheted dolls, blankets, doilies and stuffed animals. I sang, danced, acted in plays and I painted. I had a good imagination and was allowed to express my creativity however I saw fit.

My parents opened an art gallery in Lake Tahoe when I was a teenager. Fine art became the focus of our family life from that point on. The Gallery also had an art supply store, frame shop and classroom. My dad taught me how to frame and my mom taught me how to teach. Home wasn’t the gathering place of the family, the gallery was. So you can say, my life has always been surrounded in art and I don’t think I chose it, it chose me.

How did you come to art?

I grew up in the art world. I first began oil painting at our kitchen table when I was sixteen. Mom had been taking oil painting classes for about a year before opening Lakeside Gallery and teaching me how to paint. I went to a few painting workshops with her and really enjoyed them. When she started having workshops by visiting artist at the gallery, I would take advantage of as many as I could.

Do you have or have had a mentor or other special person to guide you?

My mother, Lola Owen was both my guide and mentor. Mom was patient, loving and smart. She never lost her temper or spoke harshly when I’d make a mistake. She was enthusiastic and excited about sharing her knowledge with me and others. She was the best teacher I ever had. She wasn’t just my teacher, she taught 100s of people, young and old. Art was her passion. I loved watching her paint, she made it look so easy.

Mom isn’t painting much these days and it saddens me. She is 87 and going blind. But her passion is still alive and strong, and she is still teaching others how to paint. Turns out you don’t need to see to pass on knowledge, you just need to listen.

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Hawaii is everywhere in your artworks. What is your favorite place that helps you find inspiration?

The Hawaiian Islands have lived in my heart ever since the fist time I step foot on them. I started painting tropical scenes soon after my first visit. It became my dream or obsession to live here. Most of the paintings I did while living in Tahoe were tropical scenes. People use to ask me why I didn’t paint more Tahoe scenes. I always responded that my heart wasn’t into it. Living here on Maui has set my heart free.

My husband and I explore the island whenever possible. He is a landscape photographer whose work goes hand in hand with mine. There are so many inspiring places. From the top of Haleakala to the beaches of Ka’anapali, to the waterfalls and bamboo forests along the road to Hana. Everywhere we go is inspiring to me. Sometimes I have too much inspiration, I go into inspiration overload and want to paint everything I see. I take all my own reference photos which allows me to revisit and paint those moments of time.

Could you explain your painting techniques?

The process I used for my “Southern Pacific Daylight” oil painting was to start with a detailed sketch. Being precise with the drawing was critical for this painting. The technique I used for applying the paint was the opaque method, using thick color and broad strokes. I worked from back to front.

Basically starting with the sky and moving forward. It’s how I approach most of my paintings. Once the sky was complete I moved on to the mountains, tree line and smoke. I then did a thin wash of color for the ground and tracks. Letting this part dry while I worked on the box cars and water tower. Going back to the foreground and tracks I spattered varying shades of color to the ground to give it a sandy pebbly look, painted in the tracks and added the three jackrabbits. Then I went back to work on the boarding platform and train cars. Leaving the engine for last because of the amount of detail that had to go into it. The engine started out as a black one, putting in about twelve hours of work.

Once I had complete it I had my client who commissioned me to do the painting, come over to view it. He was extremely pleased but asked for a “small” change to the engine. He requested I add the red and orange strip that was the iconic look of the Daylight. This meant covering about 4 hours worth of work. And to do that I had to make sure the paint was completely dry, then I began to cover over the highly detailed engine with thick paint. Making sure to follow the reference photos he gave me. Before calling it complete I added a conductor, flags and the wording on the engine. The train now matches his model train set and he is thrilled with the outcome.

How has your style changed over the years?

I started out painting more like my mom’s style, soft and detailed. Then I discovered palette knife painting in my 30s. I got such a thrill out of plastering paint onto the canvas, the thicker the better. When I opened my art school I starting teaching a variety of painting techniques to my students. I wanted them to discover what they liked, not just what I liked. Teaching allowed me to discover even more wonderful styles and gave me freedom to play. I love painting realism, impressionism, abstract now and again, and a fun spatter technique I do with acrylics on watercolor paper. Which people mistake for watercolor paintings. Exploring different painting techniques keeps me from running out of ideas.

What are you currently working on?  What is your dream project?

I just finished a couple of oil paintings of Lahaina for a show this July, and 6 miniature acrylic paintings for one of the galleries that represents me. My miniature paintings are great sellers here.

Now I’m working on a series of paintings to be used on fabrics for summer products such as beach towels and tote bags. All of them will have that summer fun feel but will be more in a graphic design style instead of my traditional fine art style.

My dream project is to expand my studio space. I’d like a classroom large enough to accommodate 12 to 20 students.

Is artistic life lonely?  What do you do to counteract it?

I’m never lonely. My art school, Art E Studio ( www.art-e-studio.net ) keeps me pretty busy. I have local students who come at least once a week for lessons and vacationers who schedule one day workshops with me. I created a series of paintings for my workshops that are Maui themed so people can take home a special souvenir they painted.

I’m also President of a nonprofit, Lahaina arts Association, which focuses on art education for the children of Maui county (www.lahaina-arts.org ). I do a lot of fund raisers, march in parades, run board meetings and sometimes substitute teach for one of the 13 free weekly art classes we have for the kids of Maui county. I have no time to be lonely.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“Never give up”. I don’t remember who said it or when. I just know that those words have been stuck in my head most my life. When times got taught, they were there. Raising my four kids on my own was a huge challenge. When money was tight and I didn’t know if I’d have enough to pay rent and feed the kids “never give up” was there. When a painting causes me grief “never give up” pops in my head. When I started dreaming about living on this beautiful island and life kept getting in the way, “never give up” kept me going. Somehow I knew if I never gave up, great things would happen and I was right.


If you have any question, don’t hesitate to let a comment below, Darice Machel McGuire will be happy to answer you. If you like her universe, don’t hesitate to have a look at her incredible collection of paintings and if you stop by Hawaii Island, don’t hesitate to visit Art-E-Studio .

Sakis Gouzonis
Jun 25 2016

Interview with Sakis Gouzonis

Sakis Gouzonis is a multi-award-winning Greek composer, arranger, orchestrator, producer and performer of electronic music. I’m really happy to interview him today and get you discovered his artistic universe.

Sakis Gouzonis Interview:

Be teachable, hone your talent, have a good attitude, and be willing to make sacrifices to succeed.


Sakis Gouzonis, please tell us a bit about yourself and your universe?

Before I answer your first question, Olivier, I would like to thank you for interviewing me and giving me the opportunity to showcase my music. I am an independent artist from Greece. I compose, arrange, orchestrate, produce and perform electronic and cinematic music. To this day, I have released 9 studio albums, each containing ten original music tracks; First Contact (2008), New Earth (2009), The Tree Of Life (2010), Ultimate Love (2011), Vast Victory (2012), Spiritual Unity (2013), Golden Heart (2014), A World At Peace (2015), and Liberating Truth (2016). Music is the best way to express myself and communicate with the world. I can’t imagine my life without it.

Were you always interested in music growing up?

Yes. Music had an enormous impact on me as a child. At a very young age, I asked my parents to buy me an electronic keyboard. Even though I didn’t have any knowledge of musical notation, I had the innate ability to create original compositions and play music by ear. The day I completed my first composition, I knew that being a composer and playing music was what I was going to do for the rest of my life. And I haven’t stopped since that day.

How did you get into music composition?

Young people are often attracted by seeing their friends or famous artists exercising their gift. But that was not the case with me. Nobody in my family was an artist, and I had never been to a concert before. Then, one day, I found a few old tapes at my parents’ home with some Christian music on them. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with all the exciting melodies and powerful orchestrations. Soon afterwards, I asked my parents to buy me an electronic keyboard. When I touched my first electronic keyboard for the very first time, I felt a very strange power all over my body. I instantly understood that music was my gift and what I was going to do forever.

Could you tell us about your style and the music you love?

My music is instrumental, electronic and cinematic, as well as very melodic and atmospheric. My music compositions and orchestrations are written and performed with a lot of passion and positive energy. I always do my best to keep my music interesting and exciting. Most people are not indifferent when listening to something with a lot of heart and soul. In my free time, I usually listen to electronic music with vocals. But when I work on my computer, I listen to instrumental music only, because vocals distract my concentration.

Do you have or have had a mentor or other special person to guide you?

I take matters into my own hands when it comes to guiding my music career. I haven’t always made perfect decisions, but they usually end up being valuable learning experiences. However, I have plenty of role models from both within and outside of music, but I don’t have a mentor that I meet with periodically one on one.

Where do you derive your influence? Do you have a favorite place or technique that helps you find inspiration?

My inspiration comes from the infinite beauty of our universe. I get inspired by everything I can touch, feel, sense, measure or detect. Intelligent beings, planets, stars, life, light, love, and even time can inspire me to write music.

What is your dream project?

To compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. The Eurovision Song Contest, which is organized by the European Broadcasting Union, is the only Pan-European cultural event. It is a very important tool with which to build bridges between nations. Viewers in about forty countries come together once a year to enjoy this one-of-a-kind event.

Is artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

Being an artist doesn’t equal a lonely life, that’s up to the artist. To speak for myself, I am a very social person, but when it comes to music production, I prefer to work in isolation. Every time I work on a project, I don’t like having anyone around that might disturb my concentration.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone who dreams to be a music composer?

Be teachable, hone your talent, have a good attitude, and be willing to make sacrifices to succeed. Keep up with the new technology. Play music with your friends. Play music with strangers. Take chances. Love the music, and share that love with everyone. Have fun.


If you have any question, don’t hesitate to let a comment below, Sakis Gouzonis will be happy to answer you. If you like his universe, don’t hesitate to listen to his music.

Seydou Keïta, le Grand Palais
Jun 15 2016

Photographer Seydou Keïta at the “Grand Palais”

Photographer Seydou Keïta at the “Grand Palais”

The photography exhibition showcasing Seydou Keïta ’s work is currently running at the Grand Palais. The photography exhibition opened its doors from March 21st and will end on July 11th 2016. This is a collection from Jean Pigozzi photograph collection, which is the largest collection of contemporary African art. The collection that includes 12000 works was created by Jean Pigozzi and André Magnin in 1989.

The Grand Palais photography exhibition offers art lovers and photography enthusiasts a chance to witness Art in its best form. Visitors of the gallery will be able to see Seydou Keïta ’s subjects come to light during the exhibition. Not only was Seydou Keïta a carpenter and photographer, he blended his skills and made a business out of it. His foresight, creativity and enterprising nature enabled him to relate well with his subjects. This can be noticed from the faces of his adoring subjects, who not only posed for photographs but paid for the services as well.

He rented costumes, jewelry, cars and flowers to his photography customers, which are lessons worthy of emulating for modern avid photographers. Seydou Keïta stands out as a magnificent artist whose works will continue inspiring future generations. His work is indeed an exceptional testimony of Malian society of his time.



Who was Seydou Keïta?

Seydou Keïta is a Malian photographer known for sharing his finesse with the world in the first half of the twentieth century. His portraits are mostly of people and families that aptly record the Malian society of his time. His work has been widely acknowledged as vintage pieces of art. His mastery of framing and light combined with invention makes his subjects to stand shoulders above the work of other photographers of his generation.

Born in 1920 in Bamako, Mali, Seydou Keïta came from a humble background. As the oldest son in a family of five children, Seydou Keïta had to work alongside his father, Bâ Tièkòró, who was a furniture maker. Keïta is a self-made photographer who developed a deep passion for photography after one of his uncles gave him a Kodak Brownie 6×9 camera in 1935. Though the film had eight shots, it was the best gift Seydou Keïta ever had and that was soon going to bring him global recognition.

Seydou Keïta, Le Grand Palais

Seydou Keïta, Le Grand Palais

How Seydou Keïta transformed his photos into Art?

Working as a carpenter and photographer, Seydou Keïta’s initial work consisted of his family and close friends. With time, he started taking photos of his neighbors as well. He got an opportunity to hone his skills under Pierre Garnier, who owned a photographic supply store. Later, his dreams to own a studio came true in 1948 when he set up shop in his family’s house behind the main prison in Bamako-Koura. Unlike modern photographers, Seydou Keïta had to juggle his carpentry work with photography as he learned his trade.

Seydou Keïta gradually developed a distinct style that enriched and transformed his photos into art. He enhanced his subjects’ appearances by providing accessories, costumes and the furniture he had made in his father’s workshop. He also encouraged his subjects to pose on motorbikes, hold flowers and wear suits and bow ties that gave his photographs a touch of modernity. It is no wonder that his black and white portraits of men, women and children stand out in their beauty and elegance.

Seydou Keïta retired in 1977 and passed on in 2001 in Paris.


If you’re on your way to visit Paris, don’t miss this exceptional exhibition at Le Grand Palais.

Alexendre Alonso
May 29 2016

Interview with Alexandre Alonso

Alexandre Alonso is a Brazilian actor and movie maker. He is best known for his role as Alex in the indie movie Palmos (2015) and the short Loop (2014). He also wrote two books and got some poetry published on major newspapers at the age of 14. Since early ages, he has produced some low budget videos and sketches posted on Youtube. Today, we’re very pleased to interview the creative artist and discover his universe.

Alexandre Alonso Interview :

“Don´t bother about what you need, bother about what you own and what you can do.”

Please Alexandre Alonso tell us a bit about yourself and your universe?

I’m 21 years old, Brazilian. Since an early age I have always dreamed of making movies.  The horror genre is definitely where I find most of my inspiration. Since 2007, I have made more than 50 short movies, most of them comedy and gore. Always on a limited budget, I had to improvise all kind of techniques.

Were you always interested in art growing up?

Yes, definitely I like Art. I remember that I was obsessed with David La Chapelle books.  I also did a lot of sighting on art galleries and was amazed by Tim Burton’s world of wonders. When I was 12, I used to do some homemade magazines and collages about horror and television 

How did you get into indie movie?

On 2007, I got my first video camera and started experimenting. Time went by and in 2010 I entered the cast of a web channel called ´´Wet dog TV´´. I did some cameos on Matheus Marchetti films, also an indie director.  Some of my childhood friends went to study cinema and really encouraged me to act on their chops. At that time, I was focused on becoming an actor.

Could you explain how Indie movie industry works?

 For many years, when you created a homemade or low budget production, only your family and some friends would be able to watch it. Now with Youtube and Video on demand platforms like Indie Reign, you can even capitalize on your work. It is a tough industry because finding your audience may never happen.

Also, we can now fund our movies by crowdfunding, which is great and has brought to life a bunch of projects that were too “risky” for a mainstream play out.

Do you have or have had a mentor or other special person to guide you?

My mother has always supported my love for art, she has even acted in some of my early work. Also, my friends, especially Lucas Acher, guided me as an actor and director on many of the Wet Dog TV sketches. Directors like Quentin Tarantino, Fernando Meirelles and Carpenter are a huge inspiration for me and my movies.

Could you talk about your latest low budget movie “Palmos – The Demon inside”

Palmos is not my first big project, but it’s my first full length project. I did the movie on a very limited budget and had all sorts of complications during the whole process. I got to meet very talented people like Regina Gaia and Wesley Sousa. My friends also participated in the movie which made all of the process more organized and friendly. For a movie filled with death and blood we sure had some fun!

Where do you derive your influence? Do you have a favorite place or technique that helps you find inspiration?

I’m essentially influenced by gore movies, other indie productions and horror classics. When I want to find some inspiration, I have an improvisation routine where I play some instrumental suspenseful songs and improvise a text based on that mood. If it is worth it, I translate that into a piece of video.

Is artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

It can be sometimes, especially if you do low budget movies, these days there is a need of producing palatable information, and when you get far from this curve some people may call you crazy. I always try to offer roles on my films to my friends, so it becomes a fun interaction and we do other things besides drinking beer.

What is your dream project?

It definitely would be producing a movie with more than 5.000USD, bringing some of my friends and the talented actors I got to meet on the shooting of Palmos. We would probably shoot a horror project again, but this time much more prepared for the adversities of a low budget shoot.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone who dreams to be a filmmaker?

Record stuff, your cat, a vine, anything. Sometimes we are scared that that won´t be a good video, and for that reason we stand still. Don´t bother about what you need, bother about what you own and what you can do. There is space for creating a brilliant work inside your bedroom, you only have to try.



If you have any question, don’t hesitate to let a comment below, Alexandre Alonso will be happy to answer you.

If you like this interview, don’t hesitate to visit his blog.

Photographer Black Mesa
Apr 28 2016

Interview with Photographer Black Mesa

Black Mesa is a 22 year old Photographer from the East Bay Area in California. He’s currently attending the University of Iowa as a cinema major and looking forward to going to graduate school in the near future. We’re very pleased to welcome him on creativinn.

Photographer Black Mesa Interview


Hello Black Mesa! When did photography become a part of your life and how have you been influenced?

I was quite a handful in my teens. I got into quite a bit of trouble growing up with my mother, at school and in the real world. Mainly because I hadn’t found anything that I loved yet. I knew that I always wanted to create something; I just hadn’t found my medium. When I was younger it used to bother me that I couldn’t draw. I saw so many talented young kids sketch the most beautiful doodles in class and I wanted to be a part of that. To this day I still try drawing and I haven’t done anything noteworthy, being a painter was always my dream career. I don’t think it’s in my hands to be able to do so. The irony of it all is, I had taken a photography class in high school that I hated because I’d try so hard and constantly receive C’s or D’s on my assignments. I always liked doing the photo work but because it was such a negative atmosphere, it made me think I wasn’t cut out for this.

When I was about 16, my auntie bought a DSLR. She had no idea how to use it so she asked me for help. After playing with it a bit, I was instantly hooked. My mom saw me as a troubled kid as she always referred to me as “the problem child” and she finally saw that I was attempting to do something positive with my life. Therefore my mother bought me my own camera and I haven’t really been in trouble since! Of course it still scares her that I’m trying to do art as my career, I feel like she’s come to accept it. As far as my influences go, growing up so close to San Francisco made big cities very accessible to me. It was easy for me to go get lost and clear my head; I was always up for adventure.

Photography always was a cultivation of the big city for me because I’m just a product of what time and circumstance has made me. My favorite artist list runs quite deep, I’m a huge fan of the photographer 13th Witness, the filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, and primarily people that are simply down to get gritty with their work. Also, my friends are some of my favorite artists. I’m extremely thankful to have talented people around me at all times focused on perfecting their craft and that goes an awful long way for my mindset.

Where do you derive your influence? Do you have a favorite place or technique that helps you find inspiration?

From the sadness in the city, it’s interesting to me. Being in a city means you’re never quite alone but you’re also the loneliest person in the world. I’ve spent numerous days by myself in San Francisco taking photographs amongst many strangers walking the streets, some with the same photographic goals as I witness them snap away alongside of me but yet we never say a word to each other. The city is weird like that, people are very engrossed in their solitude and it’s sad. Poverty has always been inspirational to me too, I love shooting in the ghetto. At the end of the day I’m trying to document a story and everybody wants to document the glamorous story. I like the story of the poor working class man better because it’s more real. My technique of finding inspiration has always been pretty simple, get lost until I find somewhere that I want to call home for the day.

When you are photographing, how much of it is instinctual versus planned?

It depends; walking down the street from place to place is all about using my instincts. If I find something interesting, I’m going to shoot it. However, when I take road trips with my friends we have to plan extensively to figure out what exactly we’re going to do when to ensure that we hit all locations that we had wanted to see on a timely schedule. If a location is known for sunset, we will be there at that given time.

What are you currently working on?

Oh gosh, I don’t even know where to begin. Far too many things on my plate are currently unfinished and in the process of getting wrapped up. For one, I’m working on a short film that requires more work than I’d like to admit but we’re putting it together slowly but surely. I’m pretty excited to be done with that as I’ve spent far too many late nights working on it. It’d be a stress lifted off my shoulders. Then I’m working on designing a photography book about some of my adventures and the stories behind the pictures, that project has been equally as hellish as I need to thematically choose the correct photographs and cut some out. Lastly, I’m working with a gallery here in Iowa City to get an exhibit scheduled which means well calculated prep work and dealing with people in a professional manner. I’m terrible at being professional really, I just want to be the belligerent kid I am forever.

Please, help us understand the meaning behind your art and comment  a selection of your favorite photographs.

Chinatown” : This photo is probably one of my favorites because it’s where a scene in the Pursuit of Happiness was filmed. My buddies Stephen, Malcolm and I were desperately trying to go to this spot for quite a bit now. Stephen had been there already, Malcolm and I hadn’t but due to Stephen we knew exactly how to get there. We had to call the people that owned the place of business and ask for approval to get onto their rooftop basketball court. They were hesitant at first but I was annoyingly persistent until they said yes. Then the big men in charge made us sign legal forms never to disclose to anybody where this location is and we complied. We only had a total of 10 minutes up on the court but man it was surreal.


Chinatown, Photographer Black Mesa

Chinatown by Photographer Black Mesa


San Francisco Sunrise”: San Francisco is one of those weird cities where it’s sunny, then it’s cloudy, then it’s foggy, then it’s dark. Literally, you never know what you’re getting. I remember standing on a balcony around sunrise looking out at it was this ugly gray haze at first. I was super bummed as I wanted the sky to break through and ten minutes later it did, this was the result.

San Francisco Sunrise, Photographer Black Mesa

San Francisco Sunrise by Photographer Black Mesa


Secret Window”: This shot was just eerie to me. My buddy Calvin and I were hiking on the coast one day when we stumbled upon this abandoned structure on the edge of a cliff. I kept thinking, who the hell would build a structure in an area extremely susceptible to earthquakes on the edge of a cliff facing the ocean? There was also broken glass everywhere in the structure and as much as I like catching a good buzz while adventuring, I don’t think I’d want to do it there. One bad move in this tiny enclosure of a structure and you’re falling off a cliff.

Secret Window, Photographer Black Mesa

Secret Window by Photographer Black Mesa


Blue Line”: Since I go to school in Iowa, Chicago is quite nearby. I went one weekend and simply rode on the rails. This is a shot I got during evening time on the blue line that I have no idea why I like so much. Probably because the memories on that road trip were one of a kind.

Blue Line, Photographer Black Mesa

Blue Line by Photographer Black Mesa


Layers”: My friends and I decided to get lost in Northern California. As far as weather went, it was a terrible day since it was consistently raining and the skies always had this menacing demeanor to them. I took this and it reminded me of some sort of strange impending doom. We all felt a little uneasy through that weather but we had a limited amount of time on our road a trip and a day of not shooting would have been a bummer.

Layers, Photographer Black Mesa

Layers by Photographer Black Mesa


I Might Fall”: I don’t think I’d ever been to a structure this high up that allowed me to kick a leg over. I can swim, yes. Can I swim well? No. Falling was a real concern!

I might fall, Photographer Black Mesa

I might fall by Photographer Black Mesa


Carl The Fog”: In the Bay Area we have named our consistent evening fog, Carl. You can see him starting to make an appearance in the distance.

Carl The Fog, Photographer Black Mesa

Carl The Fog by Photographer Black Mesa


Grizzly Peak”: This location is where high school kids go to drink, smoke and make out with their significant others. You could say I’ve had some pretty solid times here. Nowadays if I’m in the area during sunset, I’ll take the exit to capture a photograph. I’ve seen countless of sunsets here but this one was special. Sunsets are always pretty but some are more gorgeous than others.

Grizzly Peak, Photographer Black Mesa

Grizzly Peak by Photographer Black Mesa

What is your dream project?

I have two! I want to make a really gritty dark crime film. I have a few scripts that I don’t have the resources to film but I’d love to do so eventually if the opportunity ever arises. Secondly, I want to get sponsored to travel to obscure places such as abandoned buildings. Achieving either one of these in my lifetime would be a dream come true.

Is artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

Extremely. You get trapped in your own head a lot. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break and spend time away from the lens. However, often times I think about traveling photographers and imagine how lonely they must get. I suppose the sacrifice is necessary and being lonely isn’t the worst problem in the world.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“Life’s barely long enough to get good at one thing so be careful what you get good at”
-Rustin Cohle


If you have any question, don’t hesitate to let a comment below, Black Mesa will be happy to answer you.

If you like his photos, don’t hesitate to visit his photography blog.

Linda Franceschini
Apr 05 2016

Interview with Linda Franceschini

Linda Franceschini is a young artist with a strong universe. Songwriter, singer and now painter,  she was born in 1981 in Trento, a small town in the North East of Italy.

Linda Franceschini Interview: Be yourself. At any cost.

Please Linda Franceschini tell us a bit about yourself and your universe?

My Universe is in full contact with Nature and Music. The interaction between these two entities creates a magical flow which blows up on canvas through colours. The result is a picture of my soul in the moment that this explosion happens. Unique.

Were you always interested in art growing up? What motivated you to become an artist?

I have been always interested in all forms of art. I think that creativity is a sort of passport to the deepest expression of what I am. It is the most precious instrument I have to create the right connection between the environment and me. To be an artist means to shape the reality around your way of being trying to give it your own interpretation through actions, behaviors, words, colours, sounds, fragrances. To be an artist is a way to approach to reality.

I approached to artistic world as songwriter at the beginning of 2000. I released my first album called Lynn in 2005 – a work of 10 Italian pop songs written by me with the collaboration of some important musicians of Italian music. I have always been interested in testing my voice through various and different genres and in 2013 a new extemporaneous project calledScarlet’s Walk took place – the EP Transparency (Mashhh! Records) is a sort of trip in electronic synth pop music (you can find it on iTunes). I have recently discovered a strong passion for the abstract acrylic paintings as an exciting and very new opportunity to represent my inner world. The connection between colors and sounds is very important in all my paintings because the process of creating an impacting piece of art work is like composing a good melody. I live the artistic dimension in a total way… walking in a wood, almost naked, embracing the trees, painting my face with the colors of Nature, dancing into the shadows of the leaves… all these experiences inspire my conception of Art.

Where do you derive your influence? Do you have a favorite place or technique that helps you find inspiration?

I derive my influence from feelings. It’ is fundamental to pay much attention to my inner world, in order to capture every single shade of emotions. A good music and a peaceful place help me to find the inspiration to portray emotions on canvas.

Do you have or have had a mentor or other special person to guide you?

I really believe in the power of the Universe. I think my special mentor is It.


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Your artworks seem beyond reality but is there any real-life situation that inspired you?

There are many real-life situations inspiring me. Love is the most important and prevalent.

Now I am working on small collections of not more than 3 pieces of paintings, trying to creating delicate contrasts and marked strokes.

You can consider these three artworks as three branches of a tree. Each one represents an extension of the deepest part of my soul – three different and significant moods that often characterize the conception I have of reality – three different ways to interact with my own universe, the urge to understand it and to accept it:

Pop Korn – the hope to find the light, a sweet and golden rain that makes my inner flower bloom.. to finally come back to life as an explosion of pop korn

Out of Order – the feeling to be lost in the world, completely out of order, unable to be logical and reasonable

Goldfish & Sharks – the need to be myself at any cost, fighting against all that can be dangerous for my authentic essence

How has your style changed over the years? If yes, could you explain why?

I am at the very beginning of this kind of artistic production, so I am trying to define a style and a personal feature in my works. It is so funny to explore the world of colours that I am very focused on what I am in this moment, even if I am curious about my next evolutions.

 What is your dream project?

Keep on dreaming. Is artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it? Almost every experience is cyclic for me. There are periods in which it is very difficult to counteract my creative instinct which explode in a pressing way. I need to be kind and indulgent with it. When this strong push decreases is easier to stay in this world.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Be yourself. At any cost.


If you have any question, don’t hesitate to let a comment below, Linda Franceschini will be happy to answer you.

If you want more advice, don’t hesitate to visit her website.

Gilles Boenisch, digitaldefeat
Mar 24 2016

Interview with Gilles Boenisch

Both Artist and digital manufacturing expert, French creative Gilles Boenisch, PhD in information Sciences & Communication, accepted to answer our questions and let us enter his creative universe he named “digitaldefeat”.

Gilles Boeanish: Digital technology gives rise to ignorance.

Please Gilles Boenish, tell us a bit about yourself and your universe?

Digital technology gives rise to ignorance. For me, this ignorance can legitimate my work. It introduces a learning process involving testing, undoing, understanding, solving and experimenting. This is a way for me to meet new challenges, and discover creative situations, this is my universe.

Were you always interested in art growing up? How did you come to collage sculptures?

My work is rarely a pure discovery, but rather the result of intuition, based on diverse and multiple experiences, corrections, hacks, errors, faults, gaps, drafts, distractions. The Artworks I create are not simple sculptures but working digital machines. They make visible how digital technology affects our live, and sometimes, for entirely trivial reasons.

Do you have or have had a mentor or other special person to guide you?

My friends and my family have always supported and encouraged my work. However, I think my real mentor is actually my work place. The workshop takes the form of a private culture, where both the source of the condition and the purpose of my work are produced. Maybe my private playground is a response to my curiosity and my creative need, that make me produce even more objects.

 Your artworks seem beyond reality but is there any real-life situation that inspired you?

I’m dealing with ancient objects, from various recently-found locations. I disassemble them, trying to understand their mechanisms, and why they were abandoned. From this, I find the ideas and concepts behind the construction of my new narratives and artworks. The objects I collect are bizarre, strange, unusual, just like me…

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Could you explain the name of your website “digitaldefeat”?

The title of my thesis was “Dismantling, Diverting, Redirecting. Digital defeat”. My work is based on undoing, destroying, and getting rid of the dull norms of digital technology to ultimately defeat it. But “undoing”, really means “disassembling”, “dismembering”, and “dispersing” to better show up the normative functioning digital technology. In the end, the Defeat of digital technology is also a synonym of the “victory”, “triumph”, “recovery”, and “restoration” of creativity. This Defeat is my goal. This Defeat is paramount. This Defeat is my game.

How has your style changed over the years? If yes, could you explain why?

I don’t really know.   Perhaps my universe has become bigger and more complex. Every moment of my life, from childhood to this day, I have always had an artistic viewpoint. My every moment, gesture or look can “hijack” my mind and take me back to my Creative Universe. Over the years, my style has changed since I shift all the time between my artistic activity, my scientific research activity and my professional activity. I hope to continue to combine all these activities that inspire my creative work daily.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a dozen projects simultaneously that are almost all destined to be created in areas scattered throughout the world. At the same time, I try to maintain a pattern as each work leads to the next, therefore keeping a recognizable thread.

What is your dream project?

To make the world better, more sensitive and more creative. To make it less obsessed with success and money. To produce global non-profit collaborative works. To honor all anonymous artists by making their artworks more visible…

My wish is to be able to transmit my knowledge and passion to others, to become a starting point for new stories and artists.

Is artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

I am a consultant in digital and e-business strategies, co-founder of FabDataLab® a creative research network, and the founder of 3DPrintLab® a structure specialized on “engineering knowledge », « strategies and innovation » and « R&D @ Arts ». I am currently working on CNC micro-machine prototypes for children, and a Big Data platform for 3D printing and additive manufacturing. So, I am never really alone.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Anyone can exercise his/her creative sense and through it, build an artistic identity. I believe that one should never deny who he/she is, and should never give up doing things he/she loves. Artistic recognition should not be a goal but rather a consecration: it is others who hold the final judgment.


If you like Gilles Boenish’s Artwork and want to discover hir universe, I invite you to visit his website: digitaldefeat.fr

Ofer Samra Painting
Mar 11 2016

Interview with Ofer Samra

Ofer Samra (born 1963) is an Israeli-born Jewish bodybuilder, actor and painter. Ofer currently lives in Venice, Los Angeles, California, US and he kindly accepted to talk with us.


Ofer Samra – Finding Art Through Bodybuiding & Acting


“I love the communication game, feelings, expression, point of view and the ability to fully express that.

Expanding love and interests are imperative components. Love, creates openness, interests, create ideas.”


Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in the art world? I was born in Tel Aviv Israel.

From an early age, I was drawn to Athletics and Art. Athletics taught me to set up goals, and achieve. The art? well … that came a bit later.

My Acting Teacher Milton Katselas mentioned painters often, Goya, Velezquez, Picasso, that was the spark that started the fire. Milton was a Painter. His art exhibits and thought provoking art pushed me to study art, artists and paintings. So I took many trips to visit Museums and studied Art (Cheryl Walker, Santa Monica College).

What are some of your other accomplishments?

After winning the Israeli Heptathlon Track and Field competition(14) and The Israeli Bodybuilding Championship (20), I’ve Joined the Israeli Army for 3 years.

Who, or what, are you influences, mentors and inspirations?

Arnold Schwarzenegger was an inspiration, so I packed my bags and came to the United States.

English wasn’t my first language and the 300.00 dollars that I had did not help much… but I had a plan. I greatly enjoy the work of Picasso…he was my first real art influence and his work is something that I will always greatly appreciate!

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on “Venice Beach Murals”, which is a series of walls I’m painting in Venice Beach! I also greatly enjoy painting Bulls…a lot of my fans have grivtated towards these. Lastly, I’m working on more abstract pieces, as well as some pieces of other animals, such as my Dog Series.

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In your opinion, what separates you from other artists and makes you distinct?

What separates me from other Artists?  ….me….. yes simple. My life experience, what I want to say and feel. There is an arc of expression I want to achieve, that includes; Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract…. no rules.

What do you hope people take away from your paintings?

I do hope that people be moved by the paintings, my dream is to effect as many people as possible in a positive way…

Throughout the course of your life, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Find the core of who you are, what you love, and what you are good at. Go after your Dreams… now, stay open, be willing to make changes.


If you want to discover more about the art of Ofer Samra, don't hesitate to visit his website : ofersamraart.com
gunnar andreassen
Feb 26 2016

Interview with Gunnar Andreassen

The internet is the best thing that ever happened to artists in terms of getting their work out and seen by a large audience. One of the major advantages about the internet is that it’s all in your hands, waiting for you to take the initiative to make things happen. Unfortunately, whether or not you get noticed often times has little to do with the quality of the artwork.

We’re pleased to interview Gunnar Andreassen, who has been working in web marketing for many years. He”s the author of “Conquer the web”, a 700 pages information-packed book which covers all subjects of advertising and marketing on the web, like Google, Facebook, Ebay, YouTube and Twitter.

In this interview, he will give you a few tips to help you promote your Art work.


Gunnar Andreassen Interview: “Making people link to your site is key”


Thank you Gunnar Andreassen for taking the time to chat with Creativinn. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.

I started over a decade ago when I launched an online business directory. The site had huge potential, but I had zero marketing budget. So everything I had to do had to be free or almost free, and it had to work or my business dream was over. It took me a few months to get it right. Now I have a network of many websites, online shops, blogs and so on. A big part of my work is to help other businesses generate traffic, ranking and online value.

How would you define success? Do you think you’ve found it yet?

That is a very good question. I think it is a combination of several factors: high traffic, many sales and high income. I have several sites now, some sites I just personally like, others have traffic but little sales or income, others have little traffic and few sales but generates substantial income. Others may say I am successful, but I do not think I have reached a peak where I am satisfied with the level of success I have. Some sites have much bigger economic potential, but these things sometimes takes time.

You’re not only a professional in marketing, you’re also a logo and web designer. Outside of other designs and illustrations, what sorts of things inspire and influence your creative work?

What inspire me most is actually other people and their creative work. Often a creative project is a continuation of a combination designs or concepts done by several other designers.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to a Creative who wants to promote his Artwork on the Internet?

First of all, choose a good domain name. Use WordPress to make a website with purchasing possibilities. Blog and share your work on social media, be active. If you have a low budget you have to get creative to generate interest, links, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, traffic and sales.

 An Artist has his first Artshow coming out in three months. What should he do to launch it on the Internet?” Is Internet Marketing enough?

You will not have the time to make a website. Make a Facebook page for your artist work, share it to all your friends, then make a Facebook event of the artshow and spread it to everybody on your friend list. Also, reach out to friends on email and other social media. Make a press release about the Artshow, get help on the text, it has to be interesting and with no spelling errors. You will also need a good photo. A press release have some rules to follow, be sure to check them out. Email the press release and a picture to all media outlets that can promote your work.

Online marketing alone is probably not enough. I would probably also make some posters and hang them around the area, and even flyers and put them in mailboxes of nearby houses.

And finally, could you share with us one of your best secret marketing tips ?

It has to be link building. Making people link to your site is key: it gives you visibility in searches and generates traffic. If your site does not have lots of links, you might have to spend a fortune on online advertising to get successful.

You can use Paid links as well which are not dangerous. Paid links are a basic building block for your online efforts. However, you have to use analytic tools to check the link quality and measure it up to the price. You also have to use the correct link format and a smart anchor text (link title). You can start small, by commenting on peoples blogs with your links, sharing links on social media, registering your site in directories and so on.


If you have any question, don’t hesitate to let a comment below, Gunnar Andreassen will be happy to answer you.

If you want more advice, don’t hesitate to visit his website.

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