This month, Pony Club Gallery had the pleasure of interviewing Caitlin McDonagh. Caitlin is a visual artist, born and raised on Vancouver Island, and currently resides in Powell River, BC. She creates intricate illustrative works that are deeply inspired by folklore, storytelling, traditions, architecture as well as various real and unreal sources. “Behold we live” is the title of her solo show which will be on display at the gallery throughout the month of April.


Caitlin, the feeling of a story being told is a constant throughout your work. Is it important for you to communicate the idea of a narrative within the images you create?

I’m definitely a narrative based person. I also really enjoy art that has heavy narrative within it. I love storytelling, children’s stories and illustration. I feel like the narrative flows easily when I’m working on pieces, and that they mesh together naturally. Sometimes the narrative is more noticeable once the body of work is all done and seen together. I find that there is a constant balance of harmony and upheaval between my characters. Dealing with loss, death and transformation. Certain characters are on different sides, band together, turn on each other or turn into each other. Starting a painting with only a little bit planned on the piece paper is fun, because it leaves so much room for the narrative to evolve. Then it’s done, and I share it with my friends, family and the public, and they translate it into their own narrative and the story keeps growing. I love that about art! 


A vast assortment of borders and patterns are displayed throughout your art. Where does the interest with this imagery stem from?

Over the past few years I’ve been very inspired by different religious buildings and structures. From the archways, intricate stone work, stained glass and exquisite facades. They drive me wild! The patterns stem from traditional patterns from different cultures, ornamental architecture, statues and a love of bright colors. I sort of see the borders as different panels or monuments for the characters within them. I’m hoping to start working on large scale pieces with these bordered panels playing together.

What are some influences and inspirations that have shaped your art?

Oh boy, where to start! I’m very influenced by different cultures, rituals, traditions, folklore and costumes. I love architecture and the shapes found in buildings, cathedrals, and different structures. Animals and nature. Storytelling, symbolism, alchemy, and all sort of mythologies. The balancing of opposites.  As far as artists go, I love Carlo Crivelli, Hieronymus Bosch, Henri Rousseau, Edward Gorey, Jose Guadalupe Posada, Marc Chagall, Francis Bacon, Albrecht Durer, Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo..to name a few. I love love love renaissance art. Surrealism. Old woodcuts and engravings. Stained glass. My cats (I’m sure).

What materials do you normally use?

For almost four years now I’ve been using Holbein Acrylagouache paints - I love them! They are an awesome mix of a regular gouache paint with an acrylic base. You can get light, watered down layers as well as opaque matte layers. It works well for doing pattern work and little details. Dries fast and can’t re-wet like regular gouache paints. Other than the paint, I’ve been working exclusively on watercolor paper for the last few years, but might change that up in the next little while.

Can you share with us your creative process from initial concept to finished product?


When it comes to start a painting it starts by measuring out the borders and shapes that will be in the piece (if present) I get the general idea of the piece down, sketch out the characters that will be in the painting and then get to painting. One of my favorite parts of a piece is when I’m drawing stuff out and measuring with a ruler. There is something so nice about how simple everything looks. I usually have a few different characters in rotation throughout my paintings. Sometimes they just stay within one series of work, but some of them carry on. I do variations, sketch them out, draw out body movement, and usually come to a clear idea behind what the character will look like. Sometimes certain characters are just floating around in my head and have a simple process from mind to paper.
I start with base colors for all of the beginning parts of the painting and the central characters. I usually do everything that will be red all at once, everything blue, yellow, etc. Once the light base layers are painted I sort of start the cycle again and start layering colors on top of each other and adding in shading. When it gets to the end of a painting I finish off different parts of the picture with delicious metallic colors. It’s easy for me to keep revising and shading, cleaning up and so on, but I think I’ve gotten better at letting myself understand when a piece is finished.

Pertaining to your art, when are you the most productive?

I usually wake up in the early hours of the morning, and go to bed early. I find I can’t paint all night like some people I know. Definitely a morning person!

What projects are you currently working on?

After the Pony Club show, I head home to prepare for a show at Reading Frenzy in July! I’m excited to get to do another show in Portland. I’ve started doing workshops using the Acrylagouache paints, which are really fun, so I have more of that in store this year. I’m hoping to work on larger pieces this summer, and work on some personal pieces to explore some ideas. I’ve started a project illustrating a tarot deck with a friend, which I’m very excited about! As well as working on a zine project with fellow Canadian artist Esthera Preda, set to come out in September as well!


What is a typical day in the life of Caitlin McDonagh like?


A typical day for me is waking up around 5 or 6, making coffee, feeding my cats, having some water. I get my painting area set up, put on some podcasts and get to work! I stop to make breakfast - usually - and then keep painting into the afternoon. My partner and I both work from home and share a studio, so we get to listen to music together, talk and show each other what we are up to. It’s really nice to have company and get feedback from someone who is outside of my head. I usually call it day around 5 or 6, make dinner and relax. If I have an upcoming deadline, I do work at night, but I prefer to go to bed early and wake up early. I also try to make sure I leave the house and get some nature time in - even a half hour recharge outside makes such a huge difference!

You can check out more of Caitlin’s art at http://caitlinmcdonagh.com/
 and you can follow her on instagram @caitlinmcdonagh and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/caitlinmcdonaghart

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Amy Kuttab is a member of Pony Club Gallery, an illustrator, painter and animator living in Portland OR. She just finished a graphic novel titled Urstory, which will be published by Teenage Dinosaur later this year. Throughout the month of February, Amy will be showing work from her graphic novel at Pony Club Gallery. She was kind enough to give us a glimpse of Urstory and to share her process for creating sequential art.

Amy, can you give us a brief synopsis of your graphic novel Urstory?

Urstory is a formal study reflecting many of the myths of Ursa Major and Minor from all over the world. It’s also a simple story about the last day of a girl’s life.


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The story is written by Nathan Bradley Smith, outside of the initial story, was their any involvement with the writer in the making of Urstory?

Nathan and I worked together in the editing process a bit, and we workshopped several visual ideas together over the phone. Also, he sent me a large list of web links which he used in research for the novel, which turned out to be very useful for me as well. I’m debating whether or not to include them in the actual book.

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Conceptually, what was your process in creating this graphic novel?

I did a lot of research concerning the myths of Ursa Major and Minor and found that many of the myths from all over the world were very similar. I tried to make sure that the form of these myths were mirrored in the book somehow. I also wanted the book to have it’s own mythology, and so I decided to include a short appendix.

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What materials and techniques are you using when creating sequential art?

I do all the layouts or storyboards first, with lots of notes. Then I usually use pencil and watercolor or gouache to make the finished pages. Since my work tends to be pretty low contrast intentionally, I use photoshop to make the images more printable.

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Is there a date set for the release of Urstory and what will you be showing at Pony Club Gallery (finished pages, preliminary drawing, ect)?

There is no date currently set for the release of the book, but it will certainly be released in 2016. I will be showing 18 finished pages from the book at Pony Club this February.

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Any other comic endeavors set for the near future?

I’m currently working on a book with my father that is a memoir of his life/graphic novel historical treatise on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

You can check out more of Amy’s work at www.amykuttab.blogspot.com

Once again, it is time for Pony Club Gallery to spread the Yuletide cheer and this year we are doing so by a Krampus holiday-themed group show curated by Pony Club member Holly Cappello. Originating from German folklore, Krampus is a horned creature who punishes children during the Christmas season who have misbehaved. There are many great artists involved in this show and Pony Club Gallery had the privilege of asking several of the artists involved, some  questions pertaining to the Holiday season… . .

CL Dahlstrom

What is your favorite Holiday movie? Bad Santa/Trading Places

What don’t you want for Christmas? I don’t want to hear people complaining about Starbucks cups and swarthy refugees.

Most annoying thing that occurs this time of year? People talking SERIOUSLY about a war on Christmas.

You can check out more of CL Dahlstrom’s work at http://cldahlstrom.deviantart.com/ and http://cldahlstrom.blogspot.com/

Sashiko Yuen

Favorite toy you’ve received for Christmas?
My fondest memories of gifts in my childhood were ones that my brother and I would share. We loved video games a lot, it’s the one activity we can do together (even today). We would beg our mom and dad for a video game system, and we would get it a year or two after release. Once the price had drastically dropped. We’d play games together, even if our family could only afford one game. But spending time with my brother was most important.

Best holiday meal you’ve ever had?

I used to be a huge fan of my mother’s mac and cheese. She would make enough to feed a couple dozen people. But me, my brother, and our friends would devour it in a couple days. I’m allergic to the things my family eats now. I’ll learn to make a dairy-free/ gluten-free one someday!

If you could spend a holiday with any person (dead or alive) who would it be?

I’d love to chill with Eartha Kitt. Seems like her and I would get along very well. We love ourselves and we can’t stand bullshit.

You can check out more of Sashiko’s work at http://wishcandy.net/ , http://wishcandy.bigcartel.com/ and http://wishcandy.tumblr.com/ and you can follow her on instagram @wishcandy

David McHank

Traveling for the holidays or staying at home? Man, I have no money. I can’t travel.

Worst gift you’ve received for Christmas? I’m so grateful that anybody thinks to get me anything.

Are you a proponent of regifting? Yes, I’d rather something goes to somebody who will appreciate it more. The past of an item doesn’t diminish its value.

You can check out more of Mchank’s work at
http://mchank.tumblr.com/ and you can follow him on instagram @mchank

Morgaine Faye


Wrapping paper, gift bags or newspaper for presents?

It’s usually whatever I have around, whatever’s is leftover from last year,  or whatever can be repurposed from something else. I have made wrapping paper in the past, but I prefer to recycle wrapping where I can because ultimately it is ending up in the trash. After all, it’s all about what’s inside…

Are your holidays exciting or stressful?

As an introvert, they can get stressful. I could really care less about the holidays, but they are a busy time for jewelry making and the demands are high this time of year to be present for friends and family, too, which I am really bad at balancing. If I could just hibernate all winter I would, we can put it that way…

Alcohol before, during or after spending the holidays with relatives?

What a silly question! All the above, but only in hot-drink form. I think more than anything I would lose it without my nightly backyard “safety  meetings” if you get my drift… (weed emoji goes here)

You can check out more of Morgaine’s work at http://morgainefaye.com/ and you can follow her on instagram @morgaine_faye

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The month of November is “The Cat’s Meow”, a group show all about the furry felines that we love so much. For this show, Pony Club Gallery asked several of the artists to answer some cat-related questions and share some photos of their beloved felines.

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Mark Quemada, is your cat the jealous type? 

Maggie is the most aggressive snuggler I have ever known. She gets jealous of my phone and will bat it away when I’m staring at it instead of her.

Does your cat ever assist you with your art-making?
She works as foreman for all my projects. She observes my work from her blanket covered chair and helps by snoring loudly.

Most memorable cat moment?

One time she escaped from the backyard. I got worried when she didn’t turn up after a while, so we went out to look for her. After a lengthy search we finally found her on the doorstep two houses down, waiting patiently to get back inside somebody else’s house.

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You can check out more of Mark’s work at -http://www.markjesusquemada.bigcartel.com/

and on instagram @markquameda

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Jennifer Parks, how many cats do you own and what are their names?

I have 3 cats. Their names are Magnus (The Robot Fighter), Cerebus, and Hobbes.

Favorite spot your cat likes to hide in and why do you think that is?

My cats don’t really hide. Hobbes will sometimes tuck himself away in my closet to get a good nights sleep because I am always up late watching netflix and doing things.

Most memorable cat moment?

The one time Hobbes turned wild and saw me as prey. Yep, it was scary and it took him a minute to snap out of it. Remember that one time those people called 911 because their cat was holding them hostage in a room? I can kinda understand that now.

How does your cat tell you it loves you?

Out of all 3 of my cats, I’m pretty sure that Hobbes is the only one that really loves me. He shows me by butting his body against my face and smiling at me with his eyes.

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You can view more of Jennifer’s art at http://www.spectralgardens.com/

and you can follow her on instagram @spectralgardens

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Sera Stanton, how many cats do you own and what are their names?

I live with three cats, their names are Kumo The Dark Lord, QT Eleanor and Carl Pantene 420Fumadora (as stated on their name tags).

Strangest behavior that your cat displays?

Kumo - brings a curated collection of trash to the doorstep each morning. Typically paper towels and plastic bags.Eleanor - Always sits like a mermaid. If you cough or giggle around her, even if she’s asleep, she will respond by quietly chirping and meowing.Carl - everything he does is equally strange. He’s an enigma.

What are your thoughts about cats being “walked” on leashes?

Cute! None of my cats do it.

Favorite spot your cat likes to hide in and why do you think that is?

Carl and Kumo both love being rolled up in carpet or blankets. Kumo loves boxes. Eleanor likes to lie on top of the towels on the shelf. They all like small, dark spaces. Carl is less prone to hiding due to his aggressiveness and girth. He perches proudly on the edge of a marble table looming over the other cats like a huge owl.

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You can view more of Sera’s art at- http://serastanton.tumblr.com/

and you can follow her on instagram @serastanton

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Lauren Gonsalves, how many cats do you own and what are their names?


I’m the cat momma to one hell-raising, little man whose formal name is Fenriz, but is more predominantly called Noodle. He’s obtained several nicknames by this point, some favorites being Nude Dude, Little Man, and Nudey.


Favorite spot your cat likes to hide in and why do you think that is?

Noodle isn’t exactly a hiding kind of cat, he’s more into lounging on old pizza boxes or any sort of corrugated cardboard. However, when he does decide to hide, he’s most likely behind the shower curtain next to the toilet waiting to attack your innocently bare ankles, or stuffed inside the tiniest cardboard box around, peering his beady little eyes out you and getting ready to pounce. He’s not very tactical. Much more of the running straight at you, meowing so loudly that the neighbors have to definitely hear him. I like to think that he’s a puppy at heart, or that he doesn’t abide by society’s cat constructs. He’s a little rebel.

Most annoying behavior your cat displays?

Yelling at 4am in the kitchen for no apparent reason. Sleeping on top of all of my mail and knocking my bills into the recycling. Or lately knocking anything off the kitchen island, because it’s apparently his new nap spot. He mostly does all of the above for attention.

is your cat the jealous type?


He’s definitely a needy and sometimes clingy cat, but I don’t think he’s a jealous one. He never throws a fit when I come home and smell of other animals. If anything he probably wonders why I didn’t bring any home. Noodle is more like a shadow and pretty much always wants to be near me. Even to the point where he watches me fall asleep every night, sitting and staring approximately a foot away from my face. (Low key creepy, but it’s all good.) He’s just a momma’s boy who actually loves strangers/guests and is the life of the – household – party. 

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You can view more of Lauren’s art at http://www.laurengonsalves.com/

and you can follow her on instagram @laurengonsalves

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Andrice Arp, what are three words that best describe your cat (or cats)?

Fluffy
Sweet
Immature

Strangest behavior that your cat displays?

When he’s hungry but being finicky about his cat food, he tries to eat dust bunnies off the floor. When I tell him not to do that, he whines at me as if I’ve hurt him. When he wants attention he’ll meow while he’s purring, which makes him sound like Marge Simpson.

Does your cat every assist you with your art-making?
More often it’s the opposite. Maybe HE thinks he’s assisting!

Is your cat a lover or a fighter? please explain

Mostly a lover. He’s a pretty snuggly cat. When he plays he keeps his claws in (I recently heard this referred to as keeping their paws “velveted” which I love), but he’ll bite if he’s really riled up.

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You can view more of Andrice’s art at http://interlineargloss.tumblr.com/

This month, The Pony Club Gallery had the honor of interviewing Jon MacNair. Jon MacNair was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up in the suburbs of Southeastern Michigan near Detroit. He graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2005 with a BFA in Illustration. In addition to freelance illustration, he frequently exhibits his personal work in galleries around the U.S. Jon currently resides in the beautiful city of Portland where he continues to divide his time between freelance projects and exhibiting his personal work. Jon is part of the group show, “Preternatural”, that will be on display at the gallery throughout the month of August.

Your artwork has a very mysterious, magical dream-like quality to it. Is there a great deal of work behind the conceptual aspect of how these images are created, or do they come about with a significant degree of spontaneity?

Sometimes they are totally spontaneous, but more often than not I have to take some time to develop them. Usually the essence of the piece comes out in the thumbnail sketch and then all the details are developed on the final paper during the pencil stage. A lot of erasing takes place. Not having the entire piece planned out before I start the final drawing makes the process more interesting for me.

Is there a constant narrative that runs throughout your imagery?

I wouldn’t say there is a constant narrative, although one could easily think that due to the fact that certain characters I draw seem to reappear in a lot of my drawings. More than a constant narrative, I would say there are themes that one could say are constant or prevalent. Some of these themes would include things like man and beast, anxiety, journeys, isolation, night, communication, magic and rituals.

When did you decide to become a professional artist?

I originally went to art school with the intention of being a professional illustrator. While I still do some illustration here and there, gallery work and personal projects have definitely taken over my working life. It wasn’t a totally conscious decision transitioning into full time fine artist. I tried for many years to get enough illustration work to sustain myself, which, while not an impossible thing is a very difficult one. While I was sort of spinning my wheels trying to do that, I started to develop my personal work, first in sketchbooks and then into finished pieces. As it turned out, the world seemed a lot more interested in my personal work than commercial work and that just kind of took off around 2010. When I moved to Portland in the spring of 2012, It seemed almost certain that I would have to get a part-time job, but due to the artistic opportunities the city had to offer, it wasn’t necessary. My first year in Portland was my first year as a full-time working artist. It’s ironic that I’m doing this as a career now because it’s probably just as difficult to do as getting full-time illustration work, but somehow it has worked out so far.

Why do you prefer to work in strictly black and white?

I actually don’t think of it as “black and white” because to me that sounds exclusionary of the whole in-between spectrum of grays. I prefer the terms grayscale and/or monochromatic. The reason my work is grayscale is because india ink is my main medium. I love the way the inks dry and the luminous quality you can achieve using this medium. While my work is limited in terms of the colors, I have a multitude of tones I can utilize within that gray spectrum. That said, ink is definitely not a forgiving medium if you make a big mistake, so you have to be very careful about the process to prevent unintended drips and drops of ink on the paper. I’ve been doing it a pretty long time now so it’s not as stressful as it once was. I would say it’s fairly easy working in grayscale in that I don’t make decisions about color schemes or what hue will compliment another hue. However, because I don’t have colors to help define one element of the composition from another, I have to be particularly careful about having a variety of tones in the works (ranging from very dark to very light). In retrospect, I feel like the grayscale look has worked out pretty well for me. Many people have told me they feel it compliments my imagery, and although I would agree with that, it was never my reason for going that route. At the time, I was just experimenting with ink and did not foresee what was to come.

What are some influences and inspirations in and outside of the art world that have shaped your art?

Renaissance and Medieval art, Symbolism, prehistoric animals, Russian animation, Surrealism, old maps, Indian painting, ancient Greek and Roman art, German expressionism, Grimm’s fairy tales, Tarot, Russian folk-tales, Greek mythology, Edward Gorey, sea monsters, ghosts, botanical drawings, Gustaf Tenggren, sleep paralysis, anatomical engravings, picture books from childhood, Assyrian relief sculpture, Henry Fuseli, Wanda Gág, sketchbook collaborations, forests, magic, gothic architecture, the music of Igor Stravinsky, mythical creatures, ancient civilizations, childhood memories, alchemy, William Blake….

What current projects are you working on?

Working on a number of pieces for a group show at Pony Club Gallery and then it will be onto works for a solo show with Antler Gallery, both in Portland.

If you had to exist in the confines of imagery from one of your favorite classical painters, who would it be and why?

Hmmm…this is a hard question. I think maybe the world of Remedios Varo would be a fascinating one to exist in. Her work is pure magic, but with a very haunting quality. It seems like there would be so many places to explore and lots of surprises hidden within.

You can check out more of Jon MacNair’s work here- www.jonmacnair.com

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This month, The Pony Club Gallery had the privilege of interviewing Johnny Acurso. Johnny is an artist and freelance illustrator who resides in Portland Oregon, where he spends his time making art and befriending stray cats. In July, he will be curating his first show at the gallery titled, “The Pony Club Sideshow”.

What attracted you to the field of illustration?

I’ve always enjoyed storytelling, and that’s really what illustration is: Visual storytelling. Whether it’s your own story or a client’s, illustration is about communicating ideas, and if I get to create an awesome piece of art at the same time…good stuff.

What facets of illustration do you prefer (editorial, advertising, conceptual, ect.)?

I’ve mostly done editorial in the past, but I’ve been toying with some children’s book ideas for a while. The field of illustrated storybooks has really opened up recently, especially with the advent of accessible self-publishing. With the “gate keepers” no longer solely in charge of the content being put out there, artists are creating some really amazing works. I would love to be a part of that movement.

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Can you share your creative process, from initial concept to the finished product?

So, I wrote out my whole process and it was long and boring as hell, so I figured I’d just give two pieces of advice for people looking to paint in oils or gouache: Get good reference, and get a good drawing before you start. Even if you aren’t doing a realistic image, reference can help inform color and lighting, and as long as your drawing is solid, the painting will go ten times faster.

What are some influences and inspirations that have shaped your art?

I’ve always been drawn to heroic and character centered images; stuff like old propaganda posters and advertising illustration from the 50s and 60s. That sense of epic idealism always appealed to me. I’m also a rampant consumer of animation in all its forms.

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What current projects are you working on?

Right now I’m getting ready for my first curated show ever, The Pony Club Sideshow (opening 7/2)! I’ve got over 20 artists doing their take on sideshow ads/banners and it’s going to be awesome! I’ve just got to finish up my own stuff before the opening…

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What enticed you to become a member of the Pony Club gallery?

I’ve been going to the Pony Club on First Thursdays for years, and I’ve always loved the aesthetic of its members. When I got the offer to join, I knew it’d be a great fit.

Outside of the art field, what occupation would best suit you, Snake Milker or Professional Cuddler, and why?

Both terrify me, but at least I know the snake’s intentions, so I’ll go with that.

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You can check out more of Johnny’s art at http://www.johnnyacurso.com  and you can follow him on Instagram @JohnnyAcurso

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This month, The Pony Club Gallery had the pleasure of interviewing local artist and current member Martin Ontiveros. Martin is a painter, illustrator and self-proclaimed werewolf. 

How long have you been a professional artist?

About 17 years, by my count. That I’ve been making (squeezing out) a living from it, anyway.

What media do you work in and what attracts you to working with these set of tools?

Brush and ink, primarily. I also paint or use paint in drawings, and like to dabble in papier mâché or cardboard structures/sculptures, but ink drawings are where it’s at for me. It’s not easy to put into words what attracts me to brush and ink. Maybe it’s the challenge of the line, but it’s also the state of mind it puts me in when I work–I mean once the foundation is set, I’m in there for hours and hours. It’s super high-focus. I’m ADD, and it sort of helps put all that noise in check for a while, like meditation, I suppose. Also, working in black and white means I have so much more detail and depth that I have to figure out how to cover using just the one color (black), so there’s a lot of textures and techniques to achieve this that I don’t really get to use when I paint with color–it’s actually something I’ve struggled with recently when I’ve made paintings–how much black line and texture should I use, how to balance this with the shading of the paintings and honestly, this is why I decided to set aside painting for this new show and stick to the medium I’m currently happiest with. I feel there’s a little bit of an evolution taking place with my inking and I would rather not stilt its growth for now.

Describe a typical day in the life of Martin Ontiveros?

My days are never typical, I can assure you. It’s a roller coaster of emotions and activity. The only typical thing is that I always end the day exhausted.

Is there a relationship in your creative process between your constructed objects, painting and illustration?

Kind of. No matter what the medium, I have to jot down a quick sketch as soon as I get the idea. And if I deem the idea too awesome to ignore, I’ll generally not do anything else until I get it done. Especially with sculpture–I’m not trained in any of it, so half the fun is just seeing if I can make it happen, if I can actually pull it off. So if there’s any common link between the process of all those mediums, I guess it’s that I can be obsessive.

Can you share your creative process, from the initial concept to the finished product?

I’ll try to keep this short: germ of an idea, quick sketch, proportions selection, loose pencil composition, hard pencil drawing, graphite transfer to bristol, ink applied, corrections made, signature. That’s for ink drawings. For paintings it’s the same except it would be watercolor paper instead of bristol and paint is applied first before the ink. This is the basic process, excluding the chaos I have to wrestle through just to sit down and get to work.

What/who are some influences and inspirations that have shaped your art?

I get a little weary of answering this question. Not because it’s dumb, but because I can never keep the list short. I guess we could narrow it down to Rock n’ Roll and other artists  I know now or grew up checking out. The influence is the energy those things/people give off. The inspiration is trying to become someone who can deliver that energy back.

Any projects that you’re currently working on?

Yeah, music related stuff–band shirts, album art. I don’t want to be specific because it’s more fun to announce stuff once it’s actually finished. Summer is almost here too, and that means it’s time to whip up a bunch of new material for myself.

Is there a different avenue of image-making you would like to branch out into?

I’d like to get more into 3D, sculptural stuff. Maybe some installation or immersive environments. Animation would be super, too–but it’s very time consuming so who knows if it will ever happen.

If you were to play a werewolf in an iconic werewolf horror film, what would it be and why?

I’m already a werewolf in real life.

You can check out more of Martin’s work at- www.martinhead.com

And you can follow him on Instagram @martinheadrocks

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Amy Kuttab is a member of the Pony Club Gallery, a working painter, illustrator and animator living in Portland, OR. She is currently working on a graphic novel dealing with the myths of Ursa Major to be published by Teenage Dinosaur. 

What originally made you want to become an artist/ illustrator?

I think my love for this type of work started with the time my mother spent drawing with me as a very a young child. My parents were very encouraging of my creative endeavors. In middle school my class went to the Hirschhorn Museum and The National Gallery in DC, and I think that really solidified my urge to express ideas via artwork.

What media do you work in and what do you like about working with these set of tools?

I work with oil and gouache predominately but also digital media and video for animation. I like them each for different reasons, but I mostly use oil for pieces that are meant to last, and gouache for print media, as it dries much faster and is easy to document via scan or photograph.

What are your favorite brands/tools of the trade?

I’m pretty much a scavenger when it comes to materials, however I do love and mostly use Arches hot press paper.

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Can you share your creative process, from initial concept to the finished product?

Wow. The concepts come from all over the place. I ruminate a bit on an idea, then do many concept development sketches, then on to the final piece.

What are some influences and inspirations that have shaped your art?

As a child I was fascinated by Bev Doolittle and Picasso. Both of them because of the hidden images I think. As an adult: Lucian Freud, Henry Darger, Yoko Ono, Duchamp, Brecht Vandenbrouke, Aidan Koch

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What current projects are you working on?

I’m working on a long format comic about the universality of narrative.

How long have you been involved with Pony Club Gallery and what enticed you to becoming a member?

I have been there since 2008! I joined so that I could learn the ins and outs of running a gallery. I was excited to collaborate with other artists to create an awesome gallery and community space that encouraged beauty and creativity.

You create paintings, animation and sequential art. What motivates you to float through these three avenues of expression?

Different ways of interacting and expressing the experience of time

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How would you define your social life, art-life balance in terms of ratio (50/50 70/30 etc) and do you consider it a healthy balance?

I think it’s mostly healthy, but sometimes I am more of a shut-in than others. I really value alone time, but also really value my friends and community. I’m trying to get out more lately and develop more positivity in my relationships.

Comic book or graphic novel, are they one and the same? If so, what term do you prefer?

I think they are the same. I think graphic novel sounds fancier, but it doesn’t matter to me.

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All images art taken from Amy’s forthcoming graphic novel. Check out more of her work here- http://www.amykuttab.blogspot.com/


Mark Rogers is a self-taught artist currently living in Portland, Oregon. Through his paintings he creates magical narratives by way of fantastic and surreal imagery. His solo show, “Power From Beyond” will be on display at the gallery throughout the month of March. Pony Club had the pleasure of interviewing Mark about his artistic endeavors.

How would you best describe you style of picture making?
I would describe my style as a weird mismatch of medieval Dutch,
fairytale illustration, and folk art.

What media do you work in and what attracts you to working with these set of tools?
I love oil painting, and it is my preferred media to work in!! I love it for many reasons. There is a smell associated with oil paints that I find comforting, it is a very old medium, and it seems to respond to what I am thinking and trying to achieve a lot more that other types of media. When you are working with oils it really feels like you are mixing potions and performing a magical ceremony.

What are your favorite brands/tools of the trade?
I paint on wood and I use Liquin Fine Detail for my painting medium.  I use pretty inexpensive brushes and paint, and my most important tool is my sketch book. My favorite paint is raw umber. When drawing I use 2H, HB, and 2B pencils as well as black and white charcoal.

Can you share your creative process, from the initial concept to the finished product?
Here is my process:
-I work out an idea in my sketch book, and create a thumbnail drawing.
-Then, I gather reference material and make a drawing that is roughly half the size of the painting that I will be working on.
-Next, I photograph the drawing, enlarge it in the computer, and made a large poster/print out that I can use to create a charcoal transfer to get my drawing onto the wood panel I will be painting on.
-I seal the drawing on the panel with spray fix, and I prime the panel with 3 coats of clear matte medium.
-Finally, I am ready to paint. I first create an under-painting with raw umber and titanium white, and then I follow that with a few color layers and glazing. Done!

What are some influences and inspirations that have shaped your art?
I have many influences. Some of my favorite artists are Albrecht Durer, Bosch, Van Eyck, James Gurney, Boris Vallejo, Mark Ryden, Arthur Rackham and Edward Gorey. There are tons of other artists whom I admire and am always learning from. I have countless art heroes. I take my inspiration from the paranormal, folklore, fantasy fiction, conspiracy theories, dreams, mysterious happenings, you name it! I always feel inspired.

The narrative seems to play a major role in your art making process. Is the narrative conceived well before the image is fleshed out or does it happen more spontaneously?
Yeah, narratives really do play a part in my art making process. Before I got serious about painting I wrote fiction. So I think that has had an impact with my art making. The narrative is conceived loosely while I am drawing in my sketchbook. I will usually know what I am going to draw before I begin, and while creating the thumbnail sketches, the story unfolds before my eyes. By the time I start painting, I already have almost every detail planned out.

Can you give us a little back story on the inspiration for
your show “Power From Beyond”?

Sure, I decided to paint about aliens because I feel that they are the modern folklore of this age. I have totally been interested and terrified of them since I was a little kid. I am big on UFOlogy and watch all the conspiracy theory documentaries. I totally love that stuff. I actually saw a UFO in 2009. Anyway, Power From Beyond was a series of paintings based on the loose idea of an alternative fictional history where the Puritans and Pilgrims were visited by the Gray race of aliens. …Both of these peoples being “aliens” from another land invading someone else’s world. I like the idea of pairing religious people with extraterrestrials. It’s a tiny bit humorous, a little creepy, and it indulges my need to explore Ancient Astronaut theory in a practical way.

I also want to say that this isn’t just a one off show about Aliens: it is just
the beginning…

If you were able to go on a date with Neytiri from Avatar or Leeloo From the Fifth Element, who would it be and why?
Most definitely Leeloo from the Fifth Element. She seems the most artsy of the two.

Check out more of Mark’s work at www.markrogersart.com

Yuletide Cheer!- Thursday, December 4th from 6-9pm Pony Club Gallery will be hosting our annual Holiday Art Sale. There will be a great selection of affordable, local art of original works, prints and other items that you can purchase in time for your gift-giving events. Throughout the night there will also be a live 5ft by 13ft mural painting by Pony Club member Keith Carter which will be up all month long at the gallery.

So to kick off this event, I asked several Pony Club Members  questions pertaining to the holiday season … .

Keith Carter

Favorite Christmas movie?

Gremlins. One of my favorites since I was little kid.

Traveling for the holidays or staying at home?

Traveling. Nothing too intense though. My family lives in Tacoma, WA, which is only a 2 hour drive.

Most annoying thing that occurs this time of year?

That’s a tough one, there’s a lot to choose from. I work at a bar, and I tend to get pretty annoyed with drunk, obnoxious people wearing “ironic” cheesy holiday sweaters.

Martin Ontiveros

Favorite toy you’ve received for Christmas?

Maybe 1976, when I got Micronauts. I don’t mean a couple of
Micronauts, I mean ALL of the Micronauts. It was enough to keep me
busy until a year later, when Star Wars became a thing.     

Are you a proponent of regifting?

No, but it happens, to the shame of us all

Most annoying thing that occurs this time of year?

No one sings ‘Happy Birthday" to Jesus.

Amy Kuttab

If you could spend a holiday with any person (dead or alive) who would it be?

I would love to spend the holidays with so many people, I can’t pick one. I guess ideally there would be a room big enough for everyone I know and love, dead or living, to be together all at once.

Best holiday meal you’ve ever had?

There have been too many to choose the best, though childhood Arabic food Christmases with my aunts, uncles and cousin Amanda were especially nice. Anytime people cook together or potluck it’s going to be great.
Most annoying thing that occurs this time of year?
Not always getting to see my family and other loved ones that live elsewhere.
Jennifer Parks

What do you want most this year?

A new computer!

Wrapping paper, gift bags or newspaper?

Newspaper or brown craft paper.

Most annoying thing that occurs this time of year?

Christmas music.

Happy Holidays everyone! ~ The End

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The month of October, Pony Club Gallery presents “Spirit Animal”, a group show celebrating the theme of Spirit Animals. One of the artists featured in this show is May Ann Licudine (she also goes by the nickname Mall). She is a visual artist, sculptor, painter and freelance illustrator living in La Union, Philippines. May Ann has been commissioned for a music album, paintings, murals and advertisements.

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1. What attracted you to the field of illustration?

At first, I stopped enjoying doing semi-realistic oil paintings because there was a general lack of interest in them, which can be very disappointing for a struggling artist. So, a close friend – who is also a visual artist – suggested I would do some self-study on illustration. After that, I went to bookstores, and did some research on a lot of children illustration books. It was at that moment that I felt inspired by those utterly brilliant illustrators, and artwork. Since then, I have started creating my own style. At present, I feel blessed, and happy, to be an illustrator, and visual artist, and that it has attracted a new range of clients. 

2. What media do you work in and what do you like about working with these set of tools?

I normally use several mediums, from pencil and graphite to acrylic paints. However, I prefer to use pencil more than acrylic paints since it is easier and faster to make a drawing like this. Sometimes, I also make customized toys and sculptures which might require the use of different means. I rarely use watercolor though.

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3. What are your favorite brands/tools of the trade?

For drawing, I use Blackwing, Staedtler, CretaColor and Mongol pencils. For painting, I use Golden and Liquitex acrylic paints. For custom toys, I use Magic Sculpt resin epoxy clay and other materials.

4. Can you share your creative process, from initial concept to the finished product? 

I would love to. When I am commissioned for a painting, I like to follow closely the clients’ requirements regarding the type of medium, concept/ theme and size they have in mind. Afterwards, I make a few rough sketches or thumbnails, and then show the drawings to the clients so they may tell me what they prefer for the final concept. I only start creating the artwork after that stage is completed. Usually, I finish it within a few days, depending on the complexity of the clients’ wishes. 

When I have exhibits with a particular theme or in fact any kind of themes for the paintings, I create personal artworks. However, there are times when I love to draw or paint my final artworks directly.

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5. What are some influences and inspirations that have shaped your art?

I am inspired by several illustrators, like Hayao Miyazaki, Winsor McCay, Maurice Sendak, Helen Hyde, Mary Blair, Edward Gorey and Tatsuyuki Tanaka. But wonderful amazing people (family, relatives and friends) whom I love dearly, nature, music, nightmares, and of course God, are always my biggest sources of inspiration. 

6. What current projects are you working on?

At this moment, I am working on my custom toy, and small paintings for a client, after I finished creating 21 artworks for my upcoming solo and group exhibition.

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7. your images provoke a whimsical, dreamlike atmosphere, is this intentional or a subconscious product of your imagination?

They meant whether the kind of playful and dreamlike atmosphere that I create in my paintings is something that I do on purpose, or without intention, if it just happens while I am painting. 

8. Do you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it and why?

Yes, I have, the fox spirit animal. According to spirit-animals.com, this symbol means that, “The solution to a problem is at hand. The Fox spirit is the grand problem solver. She will guide you to solitude and silence until the way out is shown. A healthy combination of persistence and patience will strike a balance that picks apart a problem until it is solved.” That is what has been happening to me for about many years, I have been dealing with some serious health issues, hearing problems, depression/anxiety, being bullied, and some other trials that sometimes we have to go through in life. My graphite drawings reflect these experiences that I have been through so far.

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9. Are you superstitious, if so what are some of your superstitions?

No, I am not, actually. Even though my grandmothers, and aunties tell me about their superstitions, I find it hard to believe in these stories :)

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You can check out more of May Ann Licudine’s art at http://www.mayannlicudine.com/

The month of September, Pony Club Gallery is displaying ‘Deep Black Sea", a series of new drawings by Jennifer Parks.

Jennifer Parks is an illustrator and cartoonist who believes in ghosts and magic. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon where she is co-owner of Pony Club Gallery. When she isn’t making a mess with charcoal or drawing tiny details in ink, she likes to take naps with her cats, go hiking, watch crime documentaries and horror flicks, and drink coffee. She especially loves sleeping (with the lights on) and has wildly vivid dreams about ghosts, giants, flying and often the end of the world.

What is the idea behind your new series of drawings for “Deep Black Sea”?
My idea was to create a large continuous charcoal landscape using smaller pieces. Kind of like a puzzle except I wanted the individual pieces to be able to stand on their own. The show is underwater themed, but that is only because I ran out of time. I wanted to have some above land illustrations as well.

Your body of work seems to blur the line between fine art and traditional illustration. What are your thoughts on illustration versus fine art?
I’m not really sure what the difference is. In my head I have an idea of what each are but its hard to put to words because the lines are definitely blurred. To try and simplify, I feel like illustration tells a story that happens in a made up world whereas fine art is more observational, abstract and conceptual.

What attracted you to the field of illustration?
Comics!! My art was always a little narrative but when I got into reading comics I realized that I could create my own world and tell a story within it, or draw a single image that would fit somewhere into that world. I love the idea of constantly building on a narrative through individual drawings.

What media do you work in and what do you like about working with these set of tools?
I work mainly in two mediums. Charcoal and pen and ink. I love pen and ink because I feel like I can just draw tiny little lines all day without really thinking about what image they are making. I love charcoal because it really does a perfect job of illustrating the dark, dreamy images I have in my head.

What are your favorite brands/tools of the trade?
M
icron pens and generals charcoal pencils.

Can you share your creative process, from initial concept to the finished product?
A lot of the process happens in my head. I do a lot of thinking until I settle on an idea. Then I like to do some online research to see whats been done before and get some reference photos if I need to. I’ll start with a light pencil sketch to make sure I like the composition. Each medium has a different process. Charcoal is more involved and It goes something like this: outline, smudge/shade, erase, spray fix, fill in the blacks, spray fix, use vine charcoal to achieve the different levels of gray, erasing and outlining to help define the shapes, add details and whites if necessary and spray fix one last time.

What are some influences and inspirations that have shaped your art?
Old nature illustration plates, Ernst Haeckel , Aubrey Beardsley, Daniel Clowes, Charles Burns, ghosts, old photographs, dreams, nightmares, magic.

What projects are you currently working on?
Im working on an illustration for Antler Gallery’s “Unnatural History” Show, a birdhouse for the WeMake “Put a Bird in it” Art Auction, and a screen print for the ArtCrank bicycle poster show. All happening in October… haha. I gotta get to work.


How long have you been involved with Pony Club Gallery and what enticed you to becoming a member?
Ive been doing it for about 8 years now, I think. Me and Zack Soto got asked to do a collaboration piece for a wilderness show. The night of the opening was my first time stepping foot into the door. We met David Youngblood, one of the owners and founder, and got to talking. He asked us if we wanted to be a part of the collective. It was such a cool little gallery. I had never seen anything like and It felt special that he was even asking, so I said yes, with no hesitation.

You predominantly work in black and white (at times with sparse use of color), what attracts you to centering your artwork in back and white?                                                                                                          I do like color a lot and I have fun when I’m using it but there is just something about the simplicity of black and white that I’m drawn to. It reminds me of old photographs and things of the past.


There’s use of repetitive characters and a character that strikingly resembles you within your work. How intentional is this narrative that you’ve created in your art?                                                             Its part intentional and part accidental. I started drawing this character in my first ever comic that was somewhat autobiographical. I didn’t think of her as me until everyone started pointing it out.


You’re lost out at sea and you could only have one sea creature to keep you company, what would it be?                                          
hmmm… a merman!

Who would win in a fight: Creature from the Black Lagoon or the Fiji Mermaid?                                                                                         Creature from the Black Lagoon.

You can view more of Jennifer’s work at-    http://www.spectralgardens.com/      

Every month Pony Club will be showcasing artists that are affiliated with the gallery. To begin, we interviewed Portland artist Maryanna Hoggatt.

Maryanna is a painter, cartoonist, illustrator and sculptor.
She was born in the Philippines, raised in Arizona and now lives in Portland Oregon. Wife to graphic designer Jake Hollomon and mother to feline son Theodore. In 2013 Maryanna became a full-time freelance illustrator. She is the creator of the autobiographical comic Adult babysitting which depicts her life in the industry of bartending. Her current focus is on her Animal Battle creations and she is currently preparing for an upcoming show at Hellion Gallery in August 2014. Maryanna has worked with clients including Willamette Week, Nike, Microsoft and Amazon and has also exhibited her work in many places around Portland.

How long have you been a professional illustrator?

I’ve been taking money for my drawings since I was a kid, but let’s say since about 2008.  I’ve been full-time freelance for the last year.

What media do you work in and what attracts you to working with these tools?

I’ve become familiar with many mediums - oils, acrylics, charcoal, digital illustration, watercolors - and each have had a phase.  The medium of the moment is clay.  I never know how long a phase will last or when I will return to it.

What are your favorite brands/tools of the trade?

I can’t say I’m loyal to any one brand.  If I can afford the good stuff, I’ll take it, but I’ve learned to make do with what I’ve got.  Some paints have been in my possession for over a decade.  There are a few staples in my toolbox: a mechanical pencil, a kneaded eraser, a white “Gelly Roll” ink pen by Sakura, Microns, and lots of paint brushes, naturally.  The Kuretake brush pen was a big splurge but worth it, I use it all the time for my lettering.

Can you share your creative process, from the initial concept to the finished product?

I don’t do a lot of prep work.  Usually, an image fully forms in my head, I make a quick drawing in my sketchbook, and then I’ll redraw the image for the final piece onto watercolor paper or Bristol.  Sometimes, if the drawing in the book is really tight, I’ll scan it, print it out, and use my light table to transfer the image.  Personal work is almost always traditional medium.  Client work usually involves digital.

I have had the pleasure of perusing through some of your sketchbooks, they contain wonderful imagery. How much time is spent in your sketchbook working on an image for a final piece?

Just 2 - 15 minutes.  Too much more and some of the magic begins to fade and I’m ready to get started on the final work.

What are some influences and inspirations that have shaped your artwork?

Sure, I have favorite artists and films and I probably know too little about a lot, but I tend to think of life experiences as having a bigger impact on anyone’s work than their artistic influences.  Like, that brief period when I got really good at playing billiards, moving a lot as a kid and then growing stagnant in the desert, that one time when I was a raver and wore too-big pants, not seeing a single firefly since 1993, slogging too many years behind a bar.  I’m always learning: go bigger, and pursue the thing you’re meant to do.

Any current projects that you are working on?
Making sculptures from my Animal Battle series, probably my most favorite project yet.  I have a show coming up this August at Hellion Gallery.

What has inspired you to create your creatures in three dimensional form?

From the beginning of this series, I always thought about seeing these characters move.  I love stop-motion animation and dream of working for feature films, so a lot of my initial research was regarding armatures and puppets, but first I stumbled upon the maquette stage.  I fell head-first into Sculpey figures, and I’m running with it.  Bringing these animals to life in three dimensions has been immensely fun.

There is a common subject matter within your work, so what compels you to produce these creatures?


It’s really simple: the pursuit of dreams.

What do you feel is the main factor that makes a piece of art an illustration?

That’s a good question.  I think I blur that line often.  In terms of client work, I think illustration is used to convey a narrative or sell idea, and is usually used in print or reproduction - children’s books, editorials, comics.  Most of the illustrative work I do is for other people.  Art is the exploration of a concept that can cross many mediums and is a form of self-expression free from any boundaries.  I have no client to answer to but myself.

What’s your spirit animal?

A wolf.A little one.

Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?

Are we talking food or ideas? Either way, I consider myself more of a cook.

You can view more of Maryanna’s work here: