Category Archives: Articles & Interviews

Interview with Artist Mason Mansung Kang

With great pleasure I  present this interview with artist Mason Mansung Kang who won the Featured Artist Award in the Manhattan Arts International “New Beginnings” exhibition  which I had the pleasure to curate. Mason Mansung Kang’s art combines artistic prowess,  versatility and a positive vision.

Furthermore, the artist represents “New Beginnings” by embodying the  passion and determination of the human spirit to pursue one’s dreams. The artist, who was born in Korea and lives in California, became a full-time artist after he retired. He has achieved tremendous strides in his career and creatity in only two years.

Mason Mansung Kang, Sunset at Bolinas Lagoon, oil on canvas, 48" x 36".
Mason Mansung Kang, Sunset at Bolinas Lagoon, oil on canvas, 48″ x 36″.

Mason Mansung Kang’s portfolio encompasses superb paintings of landscapes from Korea, California and Europe, as well as cityscapes, still life and figures. In addition to his paintings, his drawings also reflect a keen observation to detail, form and values.

When submitting his entries to “New Beginnings” he wrote: “The visual changes of the natural world, with unending colors and values that exist in light and shadow over each season and over time, create variations of moods and emotions that always affects my mind. I struggle to observe these subtle colors, but also enhance the colors that are usually not noticed by untrained eyes. To share this beauty is the goal of my efforts.”

Mason Mansung Kang, Cable Car, oil on canvas, 24" x 36".
Mason Mansung Kang, Cable Car, oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″.

Although born with an innate talent, the artist only began to pursue his passion for painting full-time after retirement. He studied at the Graduate School of the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, and he obtained his MFA in Painting in 2016. Since 2015 his artwork has won 17 awards from various organizations throughout the U.S. and Korea. He is currently represented by the Bill Hester Fine Arts gallery in Santa Fe, NM.

I would like to recommend people never to hesitate to put anything you want to do into action realizing that we still have much longer time in our lives than expected or estimated before. Once you tried, you would realize again that time flies and the new world appears so close to your eyes.
~ Mason Mansung Kang
Mason Mansung Kang, On the Hill, California, oil on canvas, 30" x 40".
Mason Mansung Kang, On the Hill, California, oil on canvas, 30″ x 40″.

RP: What do you try to achieve with your paintings that you would like people to experience when viewing your art?

MMK: In short, I would like to express this world more beautifully than it looks, not than it is as it is actually, and truly, a lot more beautiful than it looks. I would be very happy if the viewers of my paintings can feel the same sublime sense of warmth, happiness and contentment.

RP: Do you paint en plein air or from photographs and sketches?

MMK: I definitely prefer plein air painting to the studio-only-work, as the beauty of a scene is not only the objects themselves but also the combination of the moods and the feelings I had at the sites. Due to a shortage of opportunities and the time allowed, I have mostly painted in the studio from photos that I took myself. But I’m seeking the opportunity to paint en plein air as much as possible.

Mason Mansung Kang, Busy City, oil on canvas, 24" x 18".
Mason Mansung Kang, Busy City, oil on canvas, 24″ x 18″.

RP: What personal beliefs do you have that influence the kind of paintings you create?

MMK: I, as a Christian, thank God for the creation of this beautiful world and for allowing us to be able to feel, see, touch, and even own these ‘Beauties’ of the world. I think this ‘Beauty’ originally comes from various mysterious sources of ‘light’ by which we all can see anything exists in the world. The dramatic combination of light and shadows always enraptures me and lures me to paint it on the canvas.

RP: You are so prolific and achieve excellence in many different subjects – from  landscapes, seascapes and citycscapes, to figures and still life. What series of paintings are you current working on?

MMK: I’m mostly focusing on the landscape at the moment, which actually includes some combination of other areas like cityscape or figures too because what I love is actually the dramatic balance of light and shadows regardless what kind of objects they are.

Mason Mansung Kang, Morning Light at Namwon, oil on Canvas, 18"x 24".
Mason Mansung Kang, Morning Light at Namwon, oil on Canvas, 18″x 24″.

RP: It is admirable that you returned to school to earn a degree after your retirement. What advice would you like to offer people who may be timid about following their passion later in life?

MMK: I think I’m very much lucky that God gave me such a talent and even such a passion to actually carry it out. Many of my colleagues envy me for that. But I would like to recommend people never to hesitate to put anything you want to do into action realizing that we still have much longer time in our lives than expected or estimated before. Once you tried, you would realize again that time flies and the new world appears so close to your eyes.

RP: What art career goals do you have for 2017?

MMK: I will keep painting and want to expose myself more as I’m now just a baby in the art world. I hope to get more chances to win in various famous international competitions in 2017. If there are some paintings that I can sell at good prices, that will be additional bonus I would welcome.

Mason Mansung Kang, On The Way to Vienna, oil on canvas, 30" x 36".
Mason Mansung Kang, On The Way to Vienna, oil on canvas, 30″ x 36″.

RP: When is your next exhibition?

MMK: Many people in Korea want me to have it here in my home town. I plan to do it sometime in October 2017 in Korea. I need such time to prepare the new paintings as I have consigned most of my recent paintings to the Bill Hester Gallery in Santa Fe, NM before I returned home last September, 2016.

RP: How do you define “success” as an artist?

MMK: Basically they shall have no financial difficulties to continue to create their art works. And I think the real success as an artist is to obtain the same level of respect and consensus intended by the artist from as wide an audience as possible.

Mason Mansung Kang, Companions, oil on canvas, 24" x 36".
Mason Mansung Kang, Companions, oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″.

RP: What advice would you like to offer younger artists who are on their way to becoming professional full-time artists?

MMK: This is the very serious question for me and I am a bit gloomy to think that it looks like there are not enough opportunities for youngsters to be successful as professional artists in their future.

But I even have recognized that there are still many ways, routes, and systems which assist and support young artists to be successful. Manhattan Arts International is one of the good examples for this, I‘m sure. Therefore, I can definitely say that anyone who pursues anything with more passion will surely be able to obtain the better position in this very much competitive world. I recommend they never give up!

Visit Mason Mansun Kang’s website

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Where Do Artists Find Inspiration?

Artists find their inspiration from such diverse sources as nature,  man made objects, random forms, color, technology, fantasy, dreams, ideas, and their emotions.

What compels these artists — Trisha Lambi, Carolyn Oberst, and Gail Postal — to create the kind of art they do?

Image above:  Art by Gail Postal.
Click images to view enlargements.
Artists are featured in alphabetical order.

Click artists’ names to visit their pages.

Trisha Lambi

Trisha Lambi
Trisha Lambi, And The Owl Wished Everything Was White, oil on linen, 40” x 48”.

Light and its effect on form is Trisha Lambi’s inspiration and while she doesn’t particularly aspire to convey a conscious emotion in her work it seems to emerge of its own will.  She states, “Color has a huge impact on the emotions and I love to use it as a form of expression. Composition plays a large part as well – simplicity is powerful.”

Carolyn Oberst

Carolyn Oberst, She's Come Undone, oil on canvas, 22” x 30".
Carolyn Oberst, She’s Come Undone, oil on canvas, 22” x 30″.

Carolyn Oberst believes objects have emotional power of their own. “Vintage toys  suggest the idea of moving through time; striking a chord, with notes of nostalgia, joy and laughter, sadness and fear.” She produces work that serves her interest in, “memories of, and reflections on childhood, expressing how the past profoundly affects the present.”

Gail Postal

Gail Postal, Tserting, graphite and oil paint, 36” x 24”.
Gail Postal, Tserting, graphite and oil paint, 36” x 24”.

Gail Postal is an Artist Showcase Award Winner.  She states, “I do a graphite drawing and then add gold paint and many layers of transparent oil or acrylic paint to create an icon of a contemporary ‘saint.’ I have had two major influences on my work – old hand tinted black and white Japanese photographs and Russian Orthodox icons.”

Please visit the Manhattan Arts International Art and Artists page for more articles.

Become An Art Collector On Any Budget

First Rule is Follow Your Passion!

By Renée Phillips

Living with an art collection of any size can be a richly rewarding experience for so many reasons especially if you follow your passion. You probably know that the years of pleasure a good art collection may bring you is invaluable. If you want to become an art collector, you may ask, how and where do you begin?

This article “How to Become An Art Collector on Any Budget” was originally written in 2015 and was recently revised. I offer ideas on how and where to acquire art, increase your knowledge about art, and develop your own preferences. You may also find the  Questions to Ask Yourself at the end of the article to help you make a mistake-proof purchase.

Why Does An Art Collector Collect?

In the dictionary you’ll find the definition of the word “collect” as: “To bring together in a group; gather; assemble.”

When the collection is assembled (which is an on-going process for the collector) it brings a value beyond the sum of the parts, it creates a certain order and reflection of the collector’s response to them.

Rubin Library and Museum
Rubin Library and Museum

The most influential financier in this country’s history, Pierpont Morgan was also a voracious collector. He bought on an astonishing scale, collecting art objects in virtually every medium, including the rare books, manuscripts, drawings, prints, and ancient artifacts that are the core of The Morgan Library & Museum’s holdings.

Instincts, Taste, Passion, Preference and Study

Ask any art collector why they collect and they might say that their objective is not necessarily related to accumulation or investment. A serious art collector might say the collecting process is based on following their instincts, taste, passion, preference and study.

Quite often high price collectors enjoy acquiring objects that build a collection of works that are somehow related to each other. If the art collector is one who strategically plans their acquisitions, before they make a purchase they may secretly ask themselves how the new piece will fit in with the others they own or if it will fill a historical or stylistic gap in their collection.

These collectors will then donate their private collections to museums or establish their own art institutions. An example is Pierpont Morgan whose private collection formed the foundation of the Morgan Library and Museum, located in New York, NY.

Collect Art
Art collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel. Lorene Emerson. National Gallery of Art, 1992.

How The Vogels Collected Art on A Small Salary

An excellent art collection can be started on any budget and any salary. You might know about Herbert and Dorothy Vogel. Once described as “proletarian art collectors,” they worked as civil servants in New York City while amassing what has been referred to as one of the most important post-1960’s art collections in the U.S.

The couple amassed a collection of over 4,782 works, which they displayed, and also stored in closets and under the bed, in their rent-controlled one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

They used Dorothy’s income to cover their living expenses and instead of eating in restaurants or travelling, they used Herb’s income to purchase art. So, if your priority is to buy art you’ll find the funds.

Darlene Kaplan, Pheasants in Wisteria, Oriental Brush Painting. Chinese mineral colors on acid free rice paper, 27″ x 29″
Darlene Kaplan, Pheasants in Wisteria, Oriental Brush Painting. Chinese mineral colors on acid free rice paper, 27″ x 29″. Visit Darlene Kaplan’s page.

Select the Medium and Size to Fit Your Needs

The Vogels began shopping for art in the early 1960s, at first choosing drawings and small scale paintings and sculptures that would fit in their modest apartment, as well as prints, photographs and illustrated books.

Smaller artworks are less costly and more manageable on the wall or pedestals.  As you collect small scale art you can easily rotate the pieces throughout your space.

Avoid the temptation to rush into building any collection. Take time to build a high quality, admirable collection, rather than striving to accumulate.

Works on paper, such as the painting by Darlene Kaplan above, are generally more affordable than large oil paintings. Consider the thrill of acquiring art from emerging and mid-career artists and watch their careers grow.

Kari Bienert Featured Artist
Kari Bienert Featured Artist. Visit Kari Bienert’s page. Kari’s art is also featured as the banner image above.

18 Ways to Educate Yourself and Enjoy the Process.

  • Become an eager and enthusiastic student of art.
  • Embrace the exciting world of a myriad of art, artists, styles and mediums.
  • Visit artists’ and art gallery websites.
  • Attend art lectures, auction previews, art fairs, exhibitions, museums, artists’ “Open Studio” tours, and the homes of other collectors.
  • Acquaint yourself with different price levels and different mediums.
  • Browse the Manhattan Arts International Gallery of Images and Online Exhibitions. The artists featured in our curated art program have been selected by a panel of art professionals. Visit their pages and read how I describe the art and the artist’s process. Read about their career achievements. Please return often because new artists are added weekly.
  • View art with an open mind and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Train your eye to understand the differences between various styles and techniques.
  • Speak to artists, gallery owners, and museum curators who are eager to share their expertise.
  • Learn about art history and the careers of artists whose work you like.
  • Explore artists’ pages and art groups in social media: LinkedIn; Instagram; Pinterest; Facebook; and Twitter.
  • Attend juried exhibitions assembled by leading art professionals and observe which artists won the most awards and why.
  • Read leading art magazines and art journals.
  • Visit art blogs often and subscribe to them.
  • Seek ways to continuously expand your knowledge about art.
  • Enjoy purchasing and living with new pieces as you explore your preferences.
  • Consider buying something different than your normal taste.
  • Acquire new works periodically by the same artist and enjoy the rewards of being a “patron”.  Watch the artist’s career grow.
Bren Sibilsky
Bren Sibilsky, Esoteric Promises, Clay for Bronze, 10.5″ x 19″. Visit Bren Sibilsky’s page.

17 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Make An Art Purchase

  1. What is usually the first thing that attracts me to the art I want to purchase?
  2. How much about the artist interests me and why?
  3. Does the art work continue to interest me no matter how often I view it?
  4. Does it remind me of my cultural heritage, favorite childhood memories,  or pleasant travels?
  5. How does it make me feel? Does it comfort and relax me?
  6. Is it intellectually inspiring?
  7. Will it reflect my company’s mission if placed in my office?
  8. How well is it constructed?
  9. Does if fit my budget?
  10. Does the purchase come with a return policy?
  11. Has the work of art been appraised?
  12. If it is a limited edition print does it come with a Certificate of Authenticity?
  13. Is the art work accompanied by provenance (documentation that confirms its authenticity)?
  14. What are the common traits in all of the pieces I want to bring into my collection?
  15. Am I buying the art because someone else told me to buy it?
  16. Am I willing to trust my gut instincts or do I need a second opinion?
  17. Am I buying it for an investment or because I love it — or both?

Wishing you a blissful and rewarding journey as a collector!