June 24, 2010

Fiona Hayes: DayFour

Interview with Fiona Hayes
June 2010

You have been the Editor and Art Director of DayFour magazine for over eight years now. How did the concept for the magazine evolve?

I have spent my whole career art directing magazines, in London, Moscow and Munich, and now in New York as well. One part of the job that I have always loved is commissioning photography. Over years of looking at photographers’ portfolios, it often struck me that the pictures which photographers take for themselves are more exciting than those they are commissioned to do. People tend to be more inspired by love than by money (which I guess is obvious really). The more I talked to people about this, the more enthusiastic feedback I got, and that’s when the idea of creating a magazine about working for love took hold.

What does the title “DayFour” mean?

In an ideal world, we could all work for a living three days a week, and on the fourth day we could work on what we want to: whatever we love or are excited or inspired by. DayFour is all about personal work: the work we do for love. (And in an ideal world the three-day weekend is a given.)

How do you typically find artists for the issues? Do artists come to you, do you seek out specific artists, or both? What do you look for in an artist?

There are a few people who have been involved from the beginning, and some who contribute every few issues. New people continuously find me, often through the website, I am still amazed at how much incredible talent is out there, and how much passion for photography. I really don’t have to seek it out at all.

What do I look for in an artist? First and foremost, honesty. Much of my career has been spent working with fashion and beauty photography, and with portrait-making for commercial magazines, where a great deal of effort goes into “improving” on reality. But with DayFour, I seek out photography that engages with reality. I believe that the access to photography we have today is a privilege. The camera is an amazing tool for looking at the world and looking at ourselves, and the more openness we can bring to this looking, the better.

Occasionally this honesty can take the form of reportage – for the last issue, Polish photographer Aleksander Bochenek submitted a gory (but beautiful) story about a blood festival in Lebanon. There are any number of independent photography magazines that showcase fashion and beauty, but far fewer for reportage. However, the next issue, Ulysses II, is a day-in-the-life project, with contributors from around the world, and the very ordinariness of the subject-matter is its strength. My contributors had to acknowledge, ‘Well, it’s boring, there’s nothing going on here, but it’s my day, it’s my reality’ – and to shoot that reality. The best of them found ways to look at banal situations with fresh eyes.

I like people who don’t wear rose-tinted glasses. I look for photographers who THINK about their work. I prefer artists who are engaged with the world rather than self-contained, who can play by other peoples’ rules and maintain their creativity.

That said, not every story I have ever published fits my criteria – I think it’s just as important for me, the Editor, to be pushed a bit out of my comfort zone as for my contributors!

Recently, you organized and curated and exhibition for the seventh issue, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at theprintspace in London. How did this idea come about? Will you continue to curate exhibitions in tandem with your DayFour issues?

Each issue of D4 has a theme, and the themes gestate in my head over long periods of time – literally years, in fact. A theme is always something that is meaningful to me and that I want to get other people to debate, discuss, or think about. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is a phrase that has always resonated with me: I find as one gets older that it becomes more and more important to think about what you really want, what you need, what you actually can do without.

The show at theprintspace was the sixth DayFour exhibition. I’ve curated shows for most of our issues, and am already in discussions about the next exhibition, in London this autumn. The exhibitions and launch events are a way of extending the dialogue that the themes begin. And of course they are a way to have lots of fun with my wonderful contributors, who are the ones inspiring me to keep doing this!

Fiona Hayes
London June 2010

June 17, 2010

Nicki Stager

In the darkroom I paint with light. There is no camera; rarely are there negatives. Over the past ten years I have been making images on the threshold between photography and painting, exploring light defined by line, space, form, and color. My specific intention is to create a space to manipulate light. That said, these spaces, perhaps because they sometimes include vaguely or even specifically recognizable objects and/or images, are rarely simply formal. They tend to have unique spacial and emotional interpretations based on the audience. The work begins as a relatively small unique chromogenic photographic print produced in the darkroom. They can be made only once, and are the originals for larger prints (c-prints) made by doing high resolution scans, which are eventually printed at 12" x 12" and 30" x 30". The images included here that are not square are a bit larger, 30" x 100."

Even more recently I have taken the photographs written about above and layered them both front and back with clear acrylic and epoxy in order to give the photographs more tangible depth. On top of the photographic image is a layer of epoxy that encases tiny objects. These objects reference the light altering process I use to make the original photograph, but also serve as a distraction from true procedure. Often the object could have been used and sometimes even looks like a 2-dimensional part of the image, but is just a hint that may or may not be important in figuring out exactly how light was transformed while making the piece.

-Nicki Stager

June 12, 2010

Jill Gerstenblatt

Photo © Glenn Glasser

Interview with Jill Gerstenblatt

June 2010

You own Gallery 10G, you also own Jill Gerstenblatt Art Advisory firm, and you are an avid collector of contemporary art. How did you begin this journey into the art world?

Good Question, well, to start off my parents collected art, so that was my first glimpse into the art world. They would take me with them to museums and different shows especially when we were traveling so they definitely got my interests going. Then, when I started college I remember Freshman year they asked us what we wanted to major in and the only thing that came to mind was ART. So I majored in Art History at Univ. of Michigan and then I went on to Sotheby’s Institute, London where I received my MA in Post-War & Contemporary Art.

As a gallery director, how do you discover new artists? Do artists typically come to you or is it the other way around?

I started the gallery, which is a private space, located in the 2nd bedroom of my apt in Gramercy, NYC, about 5 years ago when my husband, then boyfriend, and I moved into our new apt. I thought this was a great way to get young collectors involved with the contemporary art scene in a non-confrontational, laid back atmosphere. I curated about 3-4 shows a year and invited young professionals to come find art for their apts/ offices. This was also a great way for me to personally stay in touch with the young artists and to find the next best thing in the art world. I started off the gallery by contacting one of my old friends from high school who was an artist and he referred me to some of his friends. That was Ofer Wolberger who is a great photographer and just had a solo show in London. He led me to Kevin Cooley who was my top selling young photographer back then and still is to this day. Many artists’ send me works unsolicited but I feel if I wouldn’t personally want to own the art then I’m not going to show it!

What does your art advisory firm do for clients? How did this business come to fruition for you?

Now since the recent “edition” our daughter Julia has come into our lives about 6 months ago, I have turned the gallery space into a baby’s room. I am no longer curating shows although the apt. itself is filled with contemporary paintings and photos by the artist’s I still work with, as well as works from my own collection. I have moved from the gallery-side more to the advisory side where I am helping clients buy several works to decorate their homes and offices rather then having them come to the gallery and just buy 1-off pieces. I still have my website though, that features the works of the artist’s I am still working with. If someone is interested in seeing any of those works I arrange to get whatever I don’t have here from the artists. Nowadays I find it’s much easier for collectors to buy directly off the internet once they see the images online- they don’t always have to see the works in person.

What would your advice be to emerging artists who are trying to make names for themselves in today’s competitive and fast-paced art world? What is the best way to get themselves noticed?

I think the most important thing for a young artist is to go to Art School. There are only a handful of self-taught artists and those who go to school get to work with top artists/ teachers who can help shape and mold their art into something important and cohesive. Coincidentally a lot of my artists’ have gone to School of Visual Arts, NYC, and I’m glad to support the NY art scene although I also had some artists’ from London as well.

Also, a great way to get noticed is to donate works to different charity auctions. I used to go to the benefits and buy from the silent auctions several pieces of art for under $50 and if I liked it I would contact the artists to see more of their works and eventually open up a dialogue to work together in the future. Also, a lot of artists get picked up at their graduate school shows.

You are a collector of many contemporary artists. Do you have a favorite hanging on your wall at home?

Hard question to answer, Yes, I definitely have a few favorites, however not all are hanging on my wall at the moment for lack of space. I can’t wait to have a house so I can finally take some of the works out of their boxes for the first time. Right now hanging up my favorite works are a Ruud Van Empel photograph of 2 boys, Loretta Lux photos- I love her work and have several in my collection, an installation of butterflies made out of beer cans by Villinski hanging in my daughter’s room, a Tierney Gearon photo from her Explosure series, and an Anna Gaskell work from the Alice in Wonderland series. Although most of these are photos I do still collect a lot of paintings as well which have been more recent additions to my collection since I started for the first 8 years collecting mostly photography. My favorite painters I own are Benjamin Butler, painting of trees, Natasha Kissell, one of the young British stars I’ve been working with over the years and Ben Grasso.

When someone is looking to start an art collection, but they cannot afford some of the more expensive artists, like say Edward Burtynsky, how should he or she get started? How can a potential collector be sure that a good investment is being made?

There is never a sure answer as to whether an artist will go up in value. I think it’s important when starting an art collection to meet with an advisor or someone who works/ owns a gallery and get their advice about what artists they should buy. There are so many galleries and young artists out there now that it’s easy to buy crappy stuff.

That’s why I love working with my young Gallery 10G artists whose prices range from $1,000-6,000 for the most part so there’s really something in every price range. Many of my artists also show with other galleries and are included in group shows as well so they are starting to gain more exposure. If you have a good art advisor, like myself, they are sometimes able to get a young artists’ work at the beginning stages of an edition before the prices go up. This is a great way to get in at the bottom and watch your art go up in value.

Thanks for the interview! You can also see some of the works I have for re-sale on my artnet site at and then put in Gallery 10G. You can also see available works by the Gallery 10G artists as well as other works available at

June 9, 2010

David Newsom

About my dad: There was no one moment of crisis, no known cause for the collapse, no single disease to single out as our common enemy. My father had a complete physical and mental breakdown while living with his common-law wife Jean of 15 years down in Vero Beach, Florida. Jean, we would soon realize, had stage 5 Alzheimers. I find it really difficult to write about the last year without utilizing journal entries and other things I forwarded to friends during the initial crisis and over the ensuing year...

MAY 23, 2009

Where to begin?

3 nights ago, we were awakened by people stirring at 1:30 am. Dad and Jean on separate trajectories, with vastly different missions. Dad was an anxious wreck, trying to find the “missing files”- all his business and estate records- which my sister and I had been organizing for 2 weeks. He was digging in the garbage, looking under the couch, under his sheets, anywhere. Ginny tried to calm him, but it wasn’t happening. Jean, on the other hand, was in her summer best, bags packed and headed for the airport. She was in a rush, because “the Taliban or someone’s coming to kill us.”

If only.

We shepherded them back to bed. Jean climbed in fully clothed, petulant, eager to fly north, warily circling the man she had come to call, “the Other Buck”. My dad feigned lying down, and then sprang to his desk in his underwear and resumed poring over files that weren’t there. It was 2:30 am by then, and it had been a really long day. Ginny and I stood defeated in their doorway.

“We’re outgunned” I said.

Desperate, we left a call for the psychiatrist. Dr. Director, that’s his name, called back in the AM. The same Dr. Director who dragged me into his office to watch a YouTube video of his daughter when he found I had produced a short film or two. “Get him to the emergency room. We’ll admit him into psychiatric and he can get some help and respite there.”

By 11 am, dad was in a gown, lying on a gurney in the emergency room at Indian River Memorial Hospital here in Vero Beach.The nurse took his blood pressure, her brow wrinkling.

“He’s at 60.”

“Is that bad?”

“Anything under 90 is not good. We gotta bring that back up.”

They got IV’s going, did their thing. Dad was shakey, but calm. He looked at me and let out a blast of air. “Man”, he said, and just shook his head. He looked straight into my eyes for a while, and then proceeded to tell me how proud he was of me, of all his kids. How well we’d handled the difficulties of the last few weeks, how amazing Ginny had been at getting their affairs in order. In short, dad was simply amazed by the profound outpouring of love, from us toward him, and from him toward us at that point. Then, he said, “I guess this is it for me.”

“How so, dad?”

“Well, I’ve had a good life, but I’m not going to make it past today. This is the end. I’m finished”

I’m finished, that’s what he said. Like a cartoon character. Like Daffy Duck, “Finished.”

“A lot of my friends, they died right next to me in Europe. They died when they were only 19, 20 years old. But I got to live to be 86. I’ve had a good life.”

Then, I started to cry. Couldn’t help it. On that cue, the young intern walked in, looked at me, didn’t blink. “Well, Lloyd, your blood pressure’s back up. Your blood work is good. You’re in good shape.”

“You hear that dad? You’re fine. Your head’s a mess, but your body’s fine.”

“Well, it would be nice if I could live another day, but I just don’t think that’s possible.”

“Unless you plan on killing yourself, it’s absolutely likely.”

“I’m ok?”

“Well, technically, yes.”

“I guess we’ll see.” he said, whistfully.

It was going to be a few hours before they’d admit him into the psychiatric center, so I went home to take a break, get him some clothes, etc.

“I’m proud of you, son.” were his parting words. This time I just rolled my eyes.

By the time I got home, the nurse had called me and told me he had just ordered a turkey dinner. A good sign.

David Newsom is a fine-art photographer based in Los Angeles. A graduate of the Ithaca College Cinema Studies program, David worked in New York City in both film and still photography before moving to Los Angeles in 1990 to work in film and television. As an accomplished actor and producer, David has used his love of storytelling to develop his unique eye as a photographer. In 2005, David's photography work was discovered by Viggo Mortensen at Perceval Press which led to the publishing of the critically acclaimed book "SKIP". SKIP is a tribute in images and words to his family and the landscape of Idaho & Wyoming. David's work has since been shown in numerous galleries across the country, and his work is in collections around the world.