Inliquid Projects

AFTCP15: Curators

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This year InLiquid has invited some of the top Philadelphia Influencers to curate a group of promising artists and designers.

We would like to welcome this years’ Conrad Benner of Streets Department; Elena Brennan of BUS STOP Boutique; Megan Brewster/ Erin Waxman of Art Star; Gerard Brown, Tyler Scool of Art; James Claiborne of Philly 360; Darla Jackson of Philadelphia Sculpture Gym; Hilary Jay, Director Center for Architecture and DesignPhiladelphia; Rachel Kotkoskie of Next Fab; Marguerite V. Rodgers of Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design; Alexander Stadler of Stader Kahn; Dom Streater, Designer; Katie Tackman of Gravy Gallery; Caroline Tiger, Design Writer; Eileen Tognini, Independent Curator; John Wind, Jeweler/ Artist.

Conrad Benner, Fishtown-born photographer and creator of, a photo blog dedicated to highlighting local street art, graffiti and urban exploration.

I’ve been a huge fan of Jason Andrew Turner‘s work for years, and have even highlighted him/his work on my Instagram before. Jason’s work is bold and gripping, exploring movement through minimal mark making and texture with hints to cultural history and abstraction.

Elena Brennan is the owner of BUS STOP, a highly addictive and dangerous shoe boutique on historic Fabric Row in Queen Village. London-born Elena, brings a unique collection of shoes and accessories to Philly’s fashion-loving birds and blokes! BUS STOP was just nominated best boutique in the country by Footwear Plus Magazine!

Linda Fig is BUS STOP’s favorite local handbag and accessory designer. All her leather goods are handmade, one of a kind, and eco-friendly. Each piece is made of up-cycled leather, hand-sewn with love on her old industrial Singer sewing machine. She uses the Ginko leaf, as it’s a symbol of longevity & hope. Her mom used to tuck leaves in books around the house, so her creations are a homage to her mom. The leathers are rich, rustic earth tones with pops of color, always a surprise for the owner. Simple on the outside but an element of surprise inside – leaves, birds whatever moves her at the time. Product designer by trade, hand made in her studio with love. Linda Fig is sold exclusively at BUS STOP in Philly.

Erin Waxman + Megan Brewster are Philadelphia’s leading purveyors of quality handmade goods. Visit their shop Art Star in Northern Liberties and their Award Winning Art Star Craft Bazaar, held once a year on Mother’s Day Weekend at Penn’s Landing Great Plaza.

Kelly Kozma is Art Star’s first Artist in Residence! Her process driven, mixed media work typically begins as a flat piece of paper or canvas and is meticulously worked with brightly colored shapes and patterns that are created with layers of drawing, painting, hand emroidery, + jewels. The end result is a rich tapestry of abstracted patterns and textures that looks more like a textile piece, rather than the flat canvas or paper that it began as. We are both in awe of her dedicated studio practice and drive and believe she is a rising star in the Philadelphia art scene. She is busy working on a solo show at Paradigm Gallery that opens May 23rd and runs through June 21st.

Gerard Brown is a painter, writer, and teacher. He is currently an Assistant Professor and Chairperson of Foundations at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art.

"I’ve known Nathaniel Mell since he was a student at Tyler, and he was always eager to work. In his time at Tyler he assisted a number of artists with their work, building his technical skills and cultivating his sensitivity to materials. His sculpture combines these attributes in haunting ways. When I ran into him a few weeks ago and he told me about his latest project – casting tableware for restaurants around town – I was impressed with his entrepreneurial energy. I admire Nathaniel for his diligence and creativity, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to invite him to participate in Art for the Cash Poor."

James Claiborne is a proud, born-and-raised Philadelphian, who works to promote and preserve the creative arts in our region. James spent many years guiding member relations and community engagement at The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and now works as the editor for Visit Philadelphia’s multicultural/millennial campaign In addition to his background as both a performance and visual artist, James Claiborne serves on the board of directors for Art Sanctuary and the Philly Youth Poetry Movement.

I’m in love with a few things—art, music, my city and the black cultural aesthetic. In many ways, Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Serena Saunders‘ art embraces each of these elements, and brings them together with her own distinct brand of creative energy and emotion. I also have great respect for artists who take bold steps to invest in their community and who work to keep art alive in the inner city—where it is most needed. Undeniably, Saunders work and entrepreneurial efforts embody this. Her work is the city come alive, beautiful, vibrant and moving.

Darla Jackson is a sculptor and the owner of the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, a membership based community workshop that offers studio and workshop space to artists and makers, classes for all levels and a gallery dedicated to showing sculpture in all of its forms. She can be found in the studio creating both small and large scale animal sculpture.

Caitlin McCormack is a sculptor working with humble materials (cotton string and glue) that she then transforms into hauntingly beautiful objects. Her crocheted animal skeletons seem incredibly fragile and are presented as natural history items that look as though they have been meticulously preserved and cataloged. I am constantly amazed at the amount of detail that Caitlin is able to get into each piece and the quality of craftsmanship is incredible.

Hilary Jay is the Director of the Philadelphia Center for Architecture and Founding Director of DesignPhiladelphia. She is also the Co-Founder of Maximal Art with John Wind, an international costume jewelry, watch, and home furnishings company. Their handmade collections can be found in the permanent collection of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, and the Swarovski collection of 20th-century jewels. Jay has served as a journalist, with a particular focus on exploring how and why design influences the way we live, work, and play. For a decade, she worked as a writer and editor with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Art & Antiques, I.D., Modernism, and Metropolitan Home, among others. Before moving to the University of the Arts in 2010, Jay founded The Design Center at Philadelphia University, where she curated numerous ground-breaking exhibitions including What Is Design Today? And Lace in Translation.

Handsome design, ingenious use of materials, fine craftsmanship, and precision workings all make for a must-have time piece by Analog Watch Co.

Rachel Kotkoskie is a photographer and senior team member at NextFab. Along with managing the 2D Printing and Photography departments, she often teaches classes and assists NextFab members with laser cutting and design software. NextFab’s mission is to foster innovation and manufacturing as key elements of our nation’s identity and economy, through providing broad-based awareness of, competence with, and access to Next-generation digital design and Fabrication technologies and services.

I nominated Sharif Pendleton of Masters of None, because he is a longtime and valuable member of the NextFab community who continually uses our facility to develop new designs which directly align with NextFab’s mission.

Fascinated by composition and color, materials and craft, Marguerite V. Rodgers arrived in Philadelphia as a college freshman in 1972 and soon began to explore media ranging from fibers to wood. Meg’s talent for design and her growing aptitude for construction led to a series of gallery, boutique, and residential commissions following her graduation from The University of the Arts. Frequently collaborating with other artists, Meg built the furnishings in her own woodworking shop while working toward a certificate in interior design. In 1993, Meg took on the design of Striped Bass, a nationally recognized establishment about which Esquire magazine restaurant critic John Mariani would later say, “showed Philadelphia what was possible at the high end.” Meanwhile, Meg’s work for residential clients was winning accolades of its own. Designing the interiors of private homes, apartments, and condominiums in Boston, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Manhattan, and the Caribbean, Meg earned the respect and the loyalty of clients who appreciated the firm’s steadfast commitment to listening well, designing artfully, and seeing all stages of each installation through. Today, with a staff of fifteen Meg Rodgers continues to work on a range of projects including private residences, universities, corporations, retail, hotels and restaurants.

Brendan McAtamney’s sensitive, rustic turnings represent the culmination of his Fine Art training in sculpture and jewelry and his vast experience as a cabinet maker. Brendan holds a BA in Silversmithing and Jewelry from the University of Ulster, and an MA in Fine Art. Brendan also owns Fusion Furniture, located in Marguerite Rodger’s Art and Industry building. Fusion Furniture creates custom millwork, cabinetry and furnishings specializing in the use of sustainable and recycled materials.

Dom Streater, Designer

Megan Uhaze is a fellow graduate of Moore College of Art and Design with a degree in Art History. In her artwork, she combines techniques of painting and screen printing, to create amazingly graphic images and scenery. This style of painting gives Megan a style that is very unique and all her own. Her background as an art historian gives her an edge when it comes to the dramatic or intriguing subject matter that she paints. Initially her bold use of color and strong lines are what drew me to her work, but her intriguing technique and skills are what kept me interested.

Katie Tackman is a member and curator at Gravy Studio and Gallery. She has chosen artist Laura Kicey as her curator’s choice for Art for the Cash Poor this year. Laura showed her work at Gravy in 2013 and it was one of the most attended and popular shows from that year. Laura will be selling prints from her Constructs series at AFCP and we will also be highlighting a special Gravy edition of one these images.

Caroline Tiger is the senior content strategist at Philadelphia design + innovation consultancy, Bresslergroup, and a longtime design writer, editor (and occasional curator) focusing on local design. She’s also on the board of Collab, the contemporary design group at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Follow her on Twitter at @carolinetiger.

Christina Kazakia is the Philadelphia-based industrial designer behind Stick-lets, a line of colorful, silicone connectors kids use to build forts and structures out of sticks. Like all great products, it feels both timeless and of its time – timeless because it’s a modern twist on age-old building blocks and connectors, and of its time because it incentivizes today’s screen-addicted kids to go outside and play. Even better, it stretches kids’ imaginations through the best kind of unstructured play.

Stick-lets caught my eye because it is a truly human-centered design that pleases both its diminutive users and their towering caretakers – in addition to getting kids outside and engaging with nature, it’s easy to transport and store. I’m also impressed by Christina’s consideration of every detail to add up to a delightful, whole product experience — note the connectors’ satisfying balance of chunkiness and flexibility; the use of sophisticated, non-primary colors (still rare in toys!); and the nature-inspired packaging and branding, down to the clustering of multiple connectors into “Fort Kits.”

This summer Christina and her work will appear in San Francisco Design Week’s first Women in Industrial Design Show, sponsored by IDSA’s Women in Design.

Eileen Tognini is a "Curator Collaborator Innovator" in Philadelphia, creating art-, centered events ranging from large-scale, site-specific art installations to intimate, salons, sculpture gardens, and unique commissioned projects. Eileen also works with, private clients, both individuals and commercial entities to envision endeavors with a, particular focus on local artists and designers. Most recently, Tognini served as Chair for, Collab, a group of design professionals supporting the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s, Contemporary and Modern Design Collection; a member of CFEVA Board of Artistic, Advisors; a member of the Drexel University Westphal Arts Council, SCEE Arts, Committee, Advisory Board Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, and served on the Advisory, Board for Fiber Philadelphia 2012. Tognini is a past recipient of the Arts & Business, Council’s "Business Volunteer for the Arts" award for her efforts with the Pennsylvania, Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA).

I invited Steven Earl Weber to be my AFTCP Curator’ s Choice because I admire that his work travels between art and design- bringing with it his own curiosity for alchemy, process, and experimentation. I have long admired Steven’s attention to technical detail and craftsmanship regardless of the scale of the work, and whether it is a 2-D piece, sculpture, or site specific installation .

John Y Wind is an artist whose sculptures, collages and installations explore identity and question the boundaries between private and public, masculine and feminine, and art and commerce.

He is also a designer whose company, Maximal Art designs and markets their ‘Modern Vintage’ jewelry and gifts internationally.

Based in Philadelphia, Wind chose the artists and designers who work at Maximal Art as his curatorial pick. Among the 30+ employees at the company are a talented cross section of jewelers, sculptors, graphic designers, and stylists.

He will present a sampling of their work, highlighting the rich talent behind this well-known home grown brand.

Kellijane Rustica Studio Z Design UBER Philadelphia Brewing Company Marguerite Rodgers Tito's Handmade Vodka Blick Art Materials Bread +Butter Productions Nrew American Public Art Crane Arts BuildTank AIDS Fund Skai Blue Media Philadelphia Weekly Where Magazine Paper Clips 215 Central City Toyota