Featured Artist: Spindle A. Webb

Name: Spindle A. Webb

Age: 43

Hometown: Bermuda

Current town: Los Feliz, California

Job description: Painter, Illustrator, cosmetologist

A View From Milwood-11'x14' oil on canvas

Bio: I am a cosmetologist by profession. I have taken digital design, oil painting, drawing classes, design classes but I am self taught since I’ve been drawing and painting since I was seven years old. I was born in Los Angeles, Santa Monica California to be precise, and from the age of six to 17 I lived in the island of Bermuda which I call home.

Upcoming projects: An untitled series of paintings and then finish some previous projects. I will also be doing a commissioned series in the near future.

Describe your work.

I paint and draw mostly fantasy with dark subject matters and balanced out with high saturation of colour. I am highly detail driven and I focus on light and movement. I do some surreal work, but seldom realism, although some of my subjects in my fantasy pieces are based on people I may know and try my best to convey reality in their physical form.

What themes and concepts does your work generally revolve around?

It depends on what I come up with. I’ve created a couple of my own worlds that allow me to explore boundless possibilities and on the way, finding out new things about myself which in turn develops into chapters or parts of a story. This is when some of my pieces become cinematic and start to breathe a life of their own. I fluctuate between a faerie realm with creatures that are deceivingly beautiful with a venomous twist; covering their ulterior motives, to raging Amazons with destruction and chaos on their minds in a more futuristic, electronic stage. One world is a natural one while the other is more synthetic.

Bethany's Deadfall for Bogles-22'x36' acrylic on canvas

What materials do you work with?

I use mostly acrylic, I love oils but because it dries rather slowly, I seldom use it. I love prismacolor pencils because they taught me how to embrace bold colours. Oils are much more graceful and because I’m a blending freak. Acrylic dries faster and allows me to build on top. I have mastered blending with acrylic. It’s tricky because of how fast the paint dries even with retardants but I have surpassed that obstacle.

What are you currently working on?

I’m wrapping up a commission that has been my most challenging piece. It requires mixing ashes of a companion that passed away and because I’m detail driven the ashes create heavy texture, almost like stucco. It has forced me to think outside of my box. I am also starting a series. It started with a couple of images that have been burning in my brain for months and I’ve revamped some sketches I’ve been wanting to paint for years. The series doesn’t have a title yet, but I’ve always enjoyed painting faces, so the theme will involve faces of different styles and maybe color.

What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?

I try to keep things organic, and once I get going there’s no stopping. I usually have a bunch of cats laying around and I’ll turn on some music for a while and let the magic happen. I don’t have a set ritual except to pull out my brushes and the paints needed for that piece.

Claws of Ursalia-18'x24' Prismacolor on card

What’s your art background / when did you begin really focusing on art?

I grew up on a small island, which was fantastic! It was illustrious with pastel painted houses that looked like were made of sugar. The variety of flora was incredible and it was home to some of the neatest spiders you’d come across in a cherry bush or high up an oleander. The water was filled with a plethora of exotic fish swimming around in reefs and shipwrecks. The beaches were literally pink and the water looked like sapphire. It was gorgeous, but, it had it’s downside. It became boring after a while because it was like living in a small town you can’t get way from. When I was very young, around six, my Granny lived in this beautiful Victorian home made of limestone. It was haunted and had stalagmites and stalactites growing on the front patio. She would read to me fairie tales and Mother Goose rhymes and then I discovered “Faeries” by Brian Froud. I started drawing mermaids, fish, cats and other critters or magical beings around the age of seven. At the age of nine I was inspired by HR Giger, that’s when a darker side started to rear it’s mysterious head. As I got older I started to absorb other things that drove me to draw. I started using pencil crayons around ten and colour was incorporated. I started painting at 13 with water colors in Vinalhaven, Maine where Granny and Grandpa had another haunted summer home. (Granny was a magnet for ghosts.) Music then became my drive and that’s when I got into a more abstract phase. As I got older, late teens, early twenties was when I really started to explore much more fantasy and playing with colour, light and movement. I attribute the beauty of the island to the large amount of brilliance I put in my work.

What’s been happening in your life/ what’s next for you?

The past few years have been kind of a transitional stage of my life. I put my art on a little hiatus to concentrate on cosmetology which requires a slightly different creative process. This past year I have been doing commissions which are something I really love. It gives me creative freedom and it also allows me to make other peoples’ fantasy a reality. I’ve always enjoyed hearing an idea and then interpreting that idea onto canvas or paper.

Describe your current state of mind / what’s inspiring you?

My boyfriend and I do quite a bit of traveling and being that we’re both artists, we seek out local galleries and independent shops that showcase arts of local talents. We discovered a shop in Portland that sold glass art from local artists that were divine. The Pearl District is scattered with galleries we enjoyed.

My boyfriend is in school now and is working on a fine arts program. It’s nice to have someone else that is also creative. I see him doing some projects and it inspires me to do something as well.

Gates of the Sleeping Moon-14'x18' acrylic on canvas

Do you have any exhibits coming up/ past exhibits you’d like to mention?

I just had my piece “Insects & Lust” displayed at the Cannibal Flowers show. It was a fun show that featured the artist Kristi Bockrath as well as many other great artists. It was a fun collaboration with musicians, artists, DJ’s and stage performers.

Is any of your work political?

Being that I am an animal enthusiast and I do my part in preserving this planet we call home, I use a lot of those elements in my work.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?

I think everyone is entitled to their own interpretation of an art piece. No matter how obvious the subject might be to myself; I think different interpretations are great. If I paint a unicorn but people see a horse with a tiara, that is just fine. I don’t feel the meaning should be dictated. I would rather a story emerge that best suits the viewer and hopefully it’ll be something that moves them. With inspiration given by the faerie realm, I hide and disguise elements in some of my pieces; sometimes too well. For example: “Insects & Lust”, and “Deadfall For Bogles” both have hidden faeries in those pieces. Most people have no idea they’re there and the painting just looks like a painting of an odd giant flower. These are just little treasures when people finally find them.

Moonflowers Over Luna-18-x14- acrylic on canvas board

What is one of the biggest challenges you face as an artist?

Not be my own worst critic.

How has the meaning of your work changed over time?

I’m seeing a lot more movement and flow in my work and the use of dramatic lighting. There’s much more depth and perspective and more focus on composition. Therefore, it has become much more personal in the way I’m connecting to them. I see more connection with personalities in the subjects (characters) and how it brings out their own individual characteristics.

What do you dislike about your work?

I can’t say I dislike anything about my work. Each piece is a part of me that reminds me of who I am and how much I’ve grown. Some pieces do bring to to mind less desirable times of my life, but that’s why they’re there. They remind me that I’ve moved on from that point and created this great piece as a result.

Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?

Metal would be interesting. I do love to play with fire and shaping things. Glass blowing fascinates me as well.

Hermosa Pier-60'x28' oil on canvas

What is your dream project?

I’ve been playing with the notion of a community co-op. Finding artists in my area and either starting one or joining one. It would be great to have a communal space where everyone inspires each other, do shows and have the space to paint.

What are a few of your favorite spots in your area?

When I lived in the Pacific Palisades, I went to Lake Shrine quite a bit and hiked the trails of Temescal Canyon. Now in Los Feliz, we go to Barnsdall Park where we get to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture and the most panoramic sunset.

Favorite artists and why/ people in your field whom you most admire:

HR Giger, Brian Froud, Daniel Mirriam, Salvador Dali, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Laurie Lipton, Dorothea Tanning, Remedios Varo, Frida Kahlo. These artists are pantheons of either fantasy, surreal and realism, all of which have inspired me to create the way I do.

Favorite comic strips/ comic books/ graphic novels?

I love Wonder Woman simply because she’s an amazon with the strength of Superman. She is a great inspiration for me as you may notice many of my female characters are extremely powerful.

Insects & Lust-48'x30' acrylic on canvas

What are you listening to these days?

A lot of electro. I’m an 70’s-80’s child so I love the Eurythmics, Human League, Grace Jones and I’m crazy about Dead Can Dance. I love music of Middle Eastern variety, anything with a full sounding orchestra and percussion.

What was the last show you attended?

Geneva Jacuzzi at Cheetahs. She’s a riot!

What was the last exhibit you attended?

Cannibal Flowers, KRK Ryden and Chet Zar.

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