Artist Spotlight: Daisy St. Sauveur

One of our favorite things about contemporary art is getting to know the artist behind the work. While the work itself tells a story, the artist’s background further paints the picture of where they came from and how they got to where they are today. We sat down with our artist Daisy St. Sauveur to learn everything about her - from growing up in New England to navigating her artistic career:

Abigail Ogilvy: Tell us a little more about your background.

Daisy St. Sauveur: I grew up in Cohasset, Massachusetts- it's a tiny ocean town in the South Shore. My mom is a graphic designer/painter, and my dad works in music. I knew I wanted to be an artist my whole life, but until 2015 I thought I would study illustration (I was obsessed with anime and cartoons growing up!). I ended up declaring as a printmaking major at MassArt and I've been studying it ever since.  

AO: So what was your initial spark to be an artist?  

DSTS: Since my mom is an artist, I was lucky enough to be introduced to art at a very young age. We would see all kinds of artists- from Miyazaki to Thiebaud- I was introduced to many different styles at a young age. Making art was the one thing I could focus on when I was growing up (I probably went through five sketchbooks a year!). There was definitely a period of time in middle school when I was fascinated with anime, and I think that interest inspired a lot of the shapes and colors I currently use.

AO: How did you choose your medium? 

DSTS: While I was a freshman at MassArt, I wandered into a student printmaking show one rainy morning. The work was so fresh and interesting, it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Being the impulsive person I am, I decided on the spot that I would study printmaking instead of illustration. Print allows me to work in a layered, collage-like way, and I can easily make variables and play with the piece until I'm satisfied. 

I've also started painting a lot more- primarily acrylic. Painting has taught me patience, I can't be as impulsive with it, but I've learned a lot about creating unique shapes and spaces.

AO: What is your creative process like? When you begin a new work do you have a vision of the end result?  

DSTS: I always have a vague idea of what I want a piece to look like but I never know for sure. I'll start with a sketch and then realize 'You know what? I'm bored I'm gonna scribble on this.' Or I'll cut it up, collage it, paint over it, etc. I love to push my artwork as far as I can. I try to make things as chaotic as possible while staying along the lines of the original composition. Whenever I mess up, I'll paint a big square or scribble over it- kind of like white out. I always like the pieces I "mess up" better than the ones that go exactly as planned.

AO: We love that organic chaos in your work! With that in mind, what themes do you pursue? 

DSTS: Recently I've been interested in branding and advertising. The idea of interruption seems to be a common theme in my work lately. I love working with pop culture, social media, and the visual relationship between architectural and organic forms. As a young artist, my experience is a little different from those who grew up in the 90s. The 2000s fascinate me, and I take a lot of my subjects from that era.  

AO: What are you currently working on?  

DSTS: Right now I'm working on a series of screenprints that have advertisement-like interruptions. One of the pieces I'm most excited about features a pink and yellow jungle-like pattern with a vintage Sandals Resort ad in the middle of it. I really want to explore that frustrating feeling of interruption and obstruction. I'm constantly being bombarded by commercials- from Youtube and Instagram to the radio, billboards, or even airplanes. What would it be like if fine art had advertisements too?

AO: Are there any artists that inform your work?

DSTS: There are so many artists I love, but my favorites are Jonathan Lasker, Henri Matisse, Nona Hershey, Cy Twombly, Takashi Murakami, Ricardo Bofill, David LaChapelle, and Leroy Neiman.

Check out Daisy St. Sauveur’s work at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery on view through June 16, 2019!

Daisy St. Sauveur, Side C, Etching with screenprint, 22 x 18 in. (framed), 2018

Daisy St. Sauveur, Side B, Etching, 22 x 18 in. (framed), 2018

Artist Spotlight: Clint Baclawski

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery is thrilled to officially represent the artwork of Clint Baclawski, a Boston-based artist working with photography, technology, light, and space. Working out of 35 Wareham Street studio, Clint transforms his landscape photographs into 3D light installations. He separates his photographs into sections which he wraps around LED light tubes and sets vertically across plexiglass sheets. The result is an interactive and compelling illuminated landscape whose dialogue with the viewer renews and refreshes as the viewer moves along the composition. We recently sat down with Clint to ask him questions about his background, process, and recent work. Check out our interview below:

Photograph of Clint Baclawski by Tony Luong

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery: How has your upbringing influenced your work? What was the original spark that drew you to study photography?

Clint Baclawski: Growing up, I was a Montessori student so, even from a very young age, I’ve always been encouraged to explore my creative interests in the greatest way possible. My older sister, also an artist, attended MICA, originally for photography before switching to painting. She was a constant source of inspiration for me to pursue a creative path. However, it was really my father, a veteran and former state police officer, who inspired me to pick up my first camera at 12 years old. He was a photography hobbyist and invited me to join him for one of the photography darkroom classes he was attending. Since that day, I’ve essentially not put my camera down for the last 25 years.

AOG: Fast-forward several years later, and you’ve graduated with a degree in advertising photography. Why the shift towards fine art? What lessons from advertising have you held onto?

CB: The impetus to major in advertising photography was simply my desire to learn everything I possibly could about cameras and lighting. However, it was never my intention to go into the field of advertising or editorial work as I’ve always been drawn more towards fine art. Despite the early rise of digital photography, I was fortunate enough to be attending an institution, Rochester Institute of Technology, that had such a strong connection to The Eastman Kodak Company and film. The school instilled in me a great love of positive E-6 film, which is the basis of why I continue to shoot exclusively with a large-format camera. My early fascination with light, without my conscious knowledge, was developed during critiques. Instead of presenting images on the wall, we presented our film transparencies on a light table, in order to better develop exposure, technicality, and knowledge.

AOG: What is your creative process like? How do you start a piece? Do you have a vision of the end result?

CB:
When I’m conceptualizing my next work, sometimes I start a piece with the photograph, and, other times I will start a piece by considering how I’d like it presented, then hunt for an image which will best align with that vision.

Even with the rise of digital photography during my undergraduate years, I’ve always been drawn to film photography and these days my large format camera is often mistaken for a video camera when it’s on the tripod. The most unique aspect of my process is that I typically only shoot one frame. I either capture the image or I don’t.

I am interested in making each piece uniquely different from the previous one. I’ve enjoyed playing with multiple sizes of lightbulbs, spacing between the bulbs, and the pattern of those bulbs. Also, I’m very loyal to my camera. Everything I’ve shot in the past 15 years has been with the same Horseman camera with a standard 150 lens.

Clint Baclawski, Oasis, 2017. Glossy red Plexiglas and red mirrored Plexiglas on Dibond, archival pigment backlight prints, clear polycarbonate tubes, 2′ LED bulbs 44 x 80 x 3 in.

AOG: You’ve previously spoken about the serendipitous moment of a piece of film draping over a blub and inspiring this new exploration. How do light bulbs differ from your light boxes? What does this medium offer you?

CB: Yes, I entered graduate school in 2006 at MassArt, presenting rather traditional 2-D work. Then, for a few years, inspired by Canadian artist Jeff Wall, I presented my work in custom-built lightboxes. One night, in my studio a piece of discarded photograph fell onto a light table, setting off a figuratively lightbulb in my head, which lead me to begin wrapping my images around them.

On the most basic level, my current light bulb pieces are a deconstruction of the light boxes. As a medium, the lightbulb offers me endless of options of size and scale, which is a departure to the more confined nature of the lightboxes.

AOG: Much of your current photography explores landscapes and architecture, whether it be a houseboat, wind turbines, or a home. Why this theme? What kinds of subject matter are you drawn to?

CB:
In the last few years, I’m drawn to photographing places that are generally solitary in nature and were often inhabited but may no longer be. I then use the lightbulbs as a representative symbol of former advertising displays. More recently, after living here for almost 13 years, I’ve finally turned my camera to capture subject matter in New England. Previously, most of the imagery I exhibited was far outside of New England.

2017, ©Clint Baclawski

AOG: Last fall, you showed Zephyr, an immersive installation in a shipping container for Boston’s HUB week (and recently sold, woohoo congrats). How has this harmony between technology and art, electricity and film, defined your work?

CB:
I wouldn’t exactly say defined it but when HUBweek asked me to propose artwork for the shipping container I was intrigued by the concept and felt confident that I already had an image, Zephyr, that strongly represented their theme. Zephyr at HUBweek was really about viewer engagement. The scale allowed the piece to be viewed from different angles, producing a different viewer experience for each person. Some HUBweek viewers preferred the upclose nature of the work, which produces an abstract image, but most prefer to walk along the image until it comes together as one. And, quite honestly, the children who viewed the piece simply loved the lights. As a father, I took particular delight in young people interacting with the work.

AOG: What types of pieces are you working on currently? Do you have any goals or experiments you’re eager to try?

CB: Lately, I’ve been working on a few large-scale site-related proposals and one I am particularly excited about is entitled Fringe. The installation includes new materials and a slight departure from my other image concepts and I look forward to presenting it in the gallery as part of a solo exhibition opening on Friday, September 6, 2019.

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Clint Baclawski’s solo exhibition locations include San Luis Obispo, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Boston, Massachusetts; Edinburgh, Scotland; and group shows at the Chelsea Art Museum, Danforth Museum, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, San Diego Art Institute, and others. His work has been featured in: FRAME magazine, The Boston Globe, The Creator’s Project, Boston Home magazine, Designboom, Take Magazine, and The Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography Volume II. When not in his studio or behind a camera, Clint is a staff member, and teaches Installation Art to graduate students at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.