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Check out Esther Barr’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Esther Barr.

Esther, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I started working in metal 16 years ago after a 20+ year career as a special effects animator for film and television. I left the film business so that I could concentrate on my metalworks but my work is still profoundly influenced by my time spent as an animator.

I was passionate about animation. I had moved here from the east coast to finish my BFA at Cal Arts in the Experimental Animation program. I was fortunate to graduate, join the Animation Guild and make a good living as an artist. Unfortunately, working in commercial animation had a negative effect on me and I no longer wanted to animate my own films. I felt the need to find an alternative medium and decided to look to my past for guidance.

My first ever visit to a professional’s art studio was of an artist who worked in copper. My parents purchased a piece from him and it hung on their wall for over 25 years before I ever thought to work in metal myself. I took a metalsmithing class which happened to be next door to a printmaking studio and was inspired to combine printmaking with metalsmithing.

I work in series; the pieces all share similarities but are unique due to their differences. In my current works I use my animation experience to help express the dynamic nature and motion found in my subjects. Instead of using time to evolve a design as I would have in animation, I now distill the essence of movement into a single frame.

I continue to experiment and explore new techniques working in copper from my studio in Burbank. My work can be found in galleries and selected art festivals across the western states.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I create relief in copper sheet using different combinations of bas-relief carvings and textures pulled through an etching press in multiple passes. Between each pressing, elements are added or removed as they leave multiple exposures of relief impressions upon the metal. Translucent layers of patina light the scene and merge or define the subject of the piece.

Some pieces are fully envisioned before pressing the relief, yet other pieces evolve only as a result of the many multiple passes on the press. I am influenced more by experimentation and chance rather than traditional techniques and planned execution. Some of my best pieces exist only because I actually embraced a problem or mistake and then figured out how to do it again intentionally.

In my current series I explore designs in nature and the influences of movement. Similar patterns and shared characteristics can be found in differing elements and contribute to an amazing array of variety. Many common designs develop through evolution and function but can also be created by a directional flow of movement which causes one shape to echo another; turbulent or abrupt actions add variety to these patterns. The interplay of these components converges to create new forms and effects.

Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
Nothing you create is so precious that you can’t take a chance to ruin a piece in order to create something better. Your art will become rewarding when you learn to embrace your uniqueness.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My solo exhibition “Convergence” opens Friday May 4th 2018 from 6-9 at Gallery 839, The Animation Guild, 1105 Hollywood Way in Burbank. Gallery hours are Mon-Fri 8:30-5 and I’ll be there Saturdays 1-5. Show continues through May 25th. Visit my website estherbarr.com for more information and future exhibits.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Bart Giovannetti

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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