Leonid Afremov Modern Painter...

Leonid Afremov was born in 1955 in Vitebsk, Belarus and has lived an international life as a modern impressionist painter with a politically neutral agenda. His purpose is to remind the busy people of the world that certain places are simply beautiful and worth a moment of study. Afremov has created his own unique painting style as well. He uses a palette knife and oils and the technique makes his work recognizable. The artist also uses the internet to promote and sell his work, rather than attending galleries or using exhibits and dealers. It was the internet which changed the game for Afremov and now he is a well-known and respected artist who works with landscape, still life and portraits. His work seems to glow like a stained glass window. Afremov has lived in Belarus, Israel, the United States and Mexico. One of his role models is Marc Chagall and he studied at the Vitebsk Education Institute. In 1978 Afremov graduated from the Vitebsk Art School as one of their elites before studying privately with a famous local artist, Barowski. Years later in 1990, he and his family immigrated to Israel under the political auspices of Gorbachev. At the end of the 90s, Afremov befriended the jazz musician Leonid Ptashka and began to paint a collection of portraits of popular jazz musicians. This brought about an upswing in his artistic career with respect to being able to exhibit his work. But after setbacks, his family immigrated to the United States and began to use the online auction system Ebay to sell his work. This proved to be extremely profitable and Afremov was able to paint whatever he wished. Psychologists found his paintings to be relaxing and calm and offered to buy them in order...

Introducing Salvatore Ventura...

After moving from Europe to the Bay Area, Salvatore Ventura soon discovered his love for photography. Over the past decade he has explored various photography styles ranging from natural landscapes to personal portraits, and documented several local events. While working in high tech startups, Salvatore takes on photography assignments to keep in balance with his artistic side. We spoke with Salvatore about his experiences in the field of photography: What is it about photography that first gained your attention? Salvatore: I think it’s the mix between dream and reality that can be achieved within a picture. It’s powerful and sophisticated, yet so simple at once. What type of training/schooling did you receive to learn how to do this? Salvatore: I am mostly self-trained. I did read plenty, and still do, on technique, lighting, composition and colors, and of course, decoding works of great photographers. What type of equipment do you use? Salvatore: I started photography in the digital world, beginning my exploration with a point-and-shoot, and then evolving into a DSLR. I currently work with a Nikon D600. Do you use any digital post-processing? Salvatore:  Yes. Mainly around sharpening, color balance and cropping. Then of course there are special effects, to add a more distinctive accent on some shots, but it all depends. Some cases call for deeper edits. You only have female models in your current portfolio. Is that by choice? Salvatore: There are generally more female models than male, so it is easier  to work with them. But I have planned projects with male models, just haven’t had a chance to work on them yet. What is your favorite subject to photograph? Salvatore: People. Working on projects with models is by far my favorite. Travel photography, and landscapes are next. Do you...

Musebreak: A Vision

When I contemplated the idea for Musebreak, I envisioned an online magazine dedicated to bringing the world information about The Arts. A place where everyday people could take a break from their everyday world and learn about the muse that inspires us all. What we deal with as artists, where we come up with our creative ideas, where our challenges lie. I believe that as creatives, we are obligated to explain our choices and talk about what drives us to do what we do, so we can break down the barriers holding us in an awe-inspired isolation; an enigma to the rest of the world. I envisioned Musebreak as an outlet for this purpose; a way to share creativity to those who have not found theirs. Most creatives tend to hang with other creatives, because they share a common bond and draw inspiration from the symbiotic relationship. They feel understood. There’s no need to explain behaviors that don’t necessarily conform to the norm. Unfortunately, that leaves the rest of the world shaking their heads and wondering why this type of person does what they do. My vision for Musebreak would enlighten those not privy to the artistic world—I had no idea what a challenge this would be. Being 100% volunteer, getting writers to volunteer their time has been a struggle. It is here that I have to sing the praises to the writers who have chosen to help me in this quest. Their weekly contributions are done without any type of feedback or pay. The only thing I can offer is to promote whatever artistic venture they are involved in and a space to write, free of strict deadlines or strict editorial constraints. I also feel the need to apologize for my attempts at...

Introducing: Paul Taylor...

Paul Taylor has the distinction of being one of a shallow handful of webcomic artists to have made the transition to the ranks of professionals. His comic, Wapsi Square, first appeared on September 9th, 2001, and has been a mainstay of the webcomic world ever since. Originally starring a young Hispanic woman named Monica and her friend Amanda, it was a slice of life gag strip. In the twelve years since its inception, it has become a supernatural thriller with a huge cast, but still maintains the wit that made it popular from the outset. Today, Mr. Taylor produces five original strips every week, sells original strip artwork and prints on eBay, and his fourth collection In the Shadow of Doubt has just become available as a paperback or ebook purchase. We’d like to thank Mr. Taylor for taking time out from his self-imposed busy schedule to answer a few questions for us at Musebreak. First of all, tell us about the origin of Wapsi Square. What was your motivation for starting a webcomic? Why this one? Paul Taylor:  Mostly, I needed an outlet for my overactive imagination. Also, I wanted a venue that I could use to help break stereotypes and give characters, who are normally sidelined in more mainstream stories, a front-and-center voice. The muse for this story was a friend of mine who was short, skinny, and very busty. She fit the bimbo bombshell (other than being 4‘10“), and most importantly, she was a super smart smarty-pants and very nerdy. And as quiet and socially awkward as she was, she had the fiery Latina temper and could put people in their place quite eloquently. I just knew this was a gal that needed a wider voice.   Anyone who approaches your...

Introducing: Patrick Hofmeister (aka WäDL)...

Patrick is a self-taught multimedia artist, born and raised in San Jose, California. Homeless and undirected at the age of 20, Patrick found his life-path changing direction when he discovered painting while living at the Bill Wilson Center – Transitional Housing Program. His house-monitor and mentor Marcus Are encouraged Patrick to focus his creative energies and pursue his passion for painting. Patrick’s enthusiasm for art is evident in all aspects of his life now and he credits Marcus, George Rivera and his mother, with his success in becoming a professional artist. Where there once was an aimless and misguided teenager, there is now a flourishing mural artist and sculptor, using his acrylics and spray paint to visually captivate his audience. And Patrick’s artwork is mesmerizing, grabbing the viewer’s interest as layer-upon-eye-catching-layer of vibrant detail is uncovered.  “I want the viewer to be as engaged in the viewing of my work as the work engages me in the moment I create it.” We spoke with Patrick at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, where his artwork is now showcased with three other artists in the Spiral: Art of the Street Exhibit. His collection of canvasses speaks of metamorphosis through organic imagery of moths, flies, darkness and light. When did you know that you wanted to be an artist? Patrick: I think it was when I was in 5th Grade. I was inspired by comic book art and a next-door neighbor who was an artist. Can you tell us what your chosen media is and why you like it best? Patrick: I mostly use acrylics. It’s what I have the most experience with. I like that I can work quickly with it and don’t have to wait hours for it to dry. What was...

Introducing: Vicki Boatright (aka BZTAT)...

Artist Vicki Boatright, known as “BZTAT” (pronounced bee-zee-tat), is an accomplished artist with several public art projects to her credit. An avid pet lover, she specializes in whimsical drawings, paintings and prints of cats, dogs and other companion animals. She creates colorful customized pet portraits, which are unique in their original contemporary style. Vicki also creates murals and other artworks that address a variety of themes. BZTAT Studios is located in the trendy Canton, OH arts district. She also has a gallery at Embrace Pet Insurance in Beachwood, OH. In addition to her studio website at http://bztat.com, Vicki has used social media to develop a worldwide audience for her artwork. Other artists have come to her for guidance in using social media to develop personal branding and niche marketing through social media. Vicki holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and a Master of Arts Degree in the visual arts from Marshall University in Huntington, WV and a Masters Degree in counseling from Marshall University. Until her recent retirement, she was a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and has since put those skills to work as an art instructor for youth. Vicki has completed a number of public and private art commissions in addition to a large body of work that follows her own vision. Her work encompasses a variety of styles and media however clear themes are evident throughout her work. She is known for her vivid colorations, utilizing painting, drawing, assemblage/collage, and digital media to create interesting works of art. Vicki signs her artwork BZTAT in homage to a feline companion of that name, who was an artistic inspiration to her for 19 years. We spoke with Vicki about her experiences in the art field: When and how did you first decide to...

Introducing: Len DiSalvo...

Len DiSalvo originally hails from San Jose, CA. He attended San Jose State University and earned his illustration degree before entering the real world, illustrating for print (mostly magazine) and a few years for a small game company in Santa Clara. Len has freelanced on many print projects including greeting cards, temporary tattoos, comics, licensing, etc. In 1999 he moved to Tucson, Arizona where he mainly works as a children’s book illustrator for Lima Bear Press on the series of books called “The Lima Bear Stories” by Tom and Peter Weck. Len also teaches at the Southwest University for Visual Arts (specializing in 2D traditional animation and illustration), and moonlights as a scorekeeper for a company that keeps detailed records of minor league baseball games. We spoke with Len about his experiences in the art field: Why did you choose to go into Illustration? Len: It was always something I wanted to do. I like telling stories and since I had always been into art, it was a natural route for me to take. I do a good amount of editorial/print illustration that allows for storytelling opportunities, especially in children’s books. Animation was also something I wanted to do for the same reasons, and luckily I can cross over into each with no problems. Who is your role model and why? Len: A very good question. I must go with Walt Disney; I will likely never raise myself to his lofty heights, but he was very persistent—he came from nothing, and through all the struggles achieved much. I have great respect for what he and his studio were able to accomplish, as well as the high standards they set and the innovations they created and continue to create. Animation and story telling, as well...