Photographs provided by Klara Glosova
Above left: Visual artist Klara Glosova, photo by Bellen Drake;
Above right: Her Seattle home and the location of the home_page.project, photo by Klara Glosova
Developing a personal art and design practice is something that takes passion, time and dedication. While many creatives are influenced and inspired by the outside world, the process of creating is one that tends to be deeply personal, where one can be fully immersed in their creative endeavors, and can therefore lead to a sometimes isolated working environment. To kick off our West Coast Week, Ava Living explores this topic with Seattle, WA-based artist Klara Glosova. A native of the Czech Republic, Glosova is a visual artist that works with the concepts of reflection and projection, as well as themes of self-discovery, and personal transformation through the slow unveiling of the creative process. Glosova, who exhibits work on an international basis, works mainly out of her Beacon Hill basement studio.
Over the years, and perhaps as a reaction to her solitary art practice, she grew her desire for more intimate human contact, collaboration and the sharing of ideas. Glosova set out to create new connections with the outside world and the local art community, by opening the door to her three-story home and turning it into a temporary project space/gallery – an endeavor that is called the home_page.project. The project is also an experiment in defining and dissolving the boundaries between private and public space, a topic that has triggered her curiosity and one that she has explored through her work for many years. She is currently in the process of collaborating on the next event, Open House: Nepo (a humorous approach to the serious art of living), which will take place at the end of February.
Klara Glosova speaks with Ava Living:
Your current home_page.project was first introduced as a method of fostering connections and examining the role of private vs. public space. Can you tell us a bit about the foundation of this new venture?
There were several things that led to the creation of the home_page.project, such as the recognition for the need for cooperation and contact with other creative people. Artists also played a large role in the initial foundation, as well as the fact that I work from home on my artwork/design, and am also raising a family, which sometimes leads to feelings of isolation.
I also felt was that it was no longer enough for me to simply dream up great ideas on my own, and that I had to manifest these projects in, and with, the real world. The home_page.project was conceived as a platform to make some of my ideas into a reality, to create shared experiences with other creative individuals, and to provide a space where people can come together in body and spirit. With increasingly larger portions of our lives spent in the virtual world, I wanted to create something local, tangible, and material (as in having a body that is made of matter).
After our remodel, the clean white walls of our home seemed like the perfect space, subject, and object to experiment with, and I felt that it could be made into something more than just a family residence. Rather then a crusade against the internet, I saw this as an opportunity to take the idea of blending public and private spheres, something that is now very common in the media and virtual world, and bring them back to the real world, and also to our neighborhood. I see my house as a flesh-and-bones website (hence the name home_page.project) – I want it to fully reflect who I am and what I do.
Above clockwise left to right: Three interior views of home_page.project;
The venue with outdoor signage that was inspired by fresh cherries, all photos by Klara Glosova
The first home_page.project event was in November 2009, and you are currently planning a new one for the end of February. What kind of response have you had regarding the exhibitions, and how are they evolving as time goes on?
Actually, I was pretty surprised! The response to our first event, which also doubled as my birthday party, was great. It was an impromptu, fairly chaotic (in the best sense of the word) affair. People were invited to bring their out-of-the-box-formulas to the gathering – to be creative, bring what they had, and not spend too much time pondering their concepts. I wanted to infuse the project with some spontaneous creative energy from the start, and give it a little push and to see what would happen, and I think that people responded to that.
The next event will incorporate a new twist, as we will explore the difference between singing in the shower and concert performance – in other words, the relationship between a spontaneous and creative experience, with a perfected mastery of the art.
This time, it will also be more collaborative, as the concepts for the next show were formed over a series of meetings with other artists. But as our title suggests, we don't want to take ourselves too seriously, and we are definitely keeping an element of humor in the mix. I think that it's important for people to have fun whether they are creating or participating.
Above left: Entropy installation;
Above right: A sculpture piece in mixed media, artwork and photos by Klara Glosova
What types of artwork have been included in your exhibits to date?
Our last event was a smorgasbord of many different types of art forms. We had a little bit of everything, ranging from paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, video installations, and stop-motion animation that we projected onto the vaulted ceiling upstairs. As a testament our talented local musicians, an impromptu live band was assembled in our living room with a range of ages from 7 to 40+ years old. People were jamming on anything that they could find, from a kid-sized drum set, to electric guitars, to iPhone keyboard applications.
Above: Ceiling project installation, photo by Todd Jannausch
Was the intention to create an accessible creative environment that is both non-commercial and non-competitive, as opposed to the traditional gallery space?
Yes, this project space is non-commercial and non-competitive. I think there is plenty of competition to go around in the art world, which I am not against per se; I just didn't feel the need to add this element to our events.
Above clockwise left to right: Carbonized waffles by Scott Hotchkiss; music poster
and CD by Ryan Purcell; egg shaker by Kim Haworth; a very useful gift
from Dona and David Bowen, photos by Klara Glosova
How are the featured artists selected, and is the submission process/attendance open to everyone?
So far the process has been what I would call self-selective. I send out open calls to artists, asking for them to participate, but I am also open to working with any artists and designers who are enthusiastic about the project, once I have an idea of what they want to contribute, and how they’d like to collaborate. I think that a face-to-face conversation, when possible, is a great start to figuring out if this particular project space fits the their needs, and vice versa. For this reason, I encourage people to come visit our home, see the space, and talk to me about their ideas, and of course, everyone is welcome to attend our events.
Above left: Detail of Here I Stand I Can Do No Other; Above top right: Little Letters (Love);
Above bottom right: Keep an Eye on the Ball, artwork and photos by Klara Glosova
With a background in architecture, your education must influence how you feel about interacting in a space, as well as structural aesthetics. Can you talk about this background and how it worked with your concept for home_page.project?
I grew up in a family of architects. My dad has his own practice and my mom teaches architecture at a university, so I was definitely influenced by my childhood environment, as well as my architecture studies later on.
When I dropped out of architecture school to pursue my education in the fine arts, my only regret was that I didn’t get to build a house. With this in mind, when my husband Scott and I decided to remodel our little craftsman home in Seattle, I was very excited to use my art and design skills on this big 3D object. Since the day we bought our house, I had always envisioned how I would change the layout to make it more simple, functional, and open and bright.
Above left and right: Interior views of home_page.project with featured installations, 2D pieces,
dining table and chairs, and staircase detail, artwork and photos by Klara Glosova
The final design came out of a collaborative process with my mom, and is a cross between functionalist/minimalist architecture and an archetypal little house in the neighborhood. My hometown of Brno, in the Czech Republic, is a hub of functionalist architecture, and I think that a lot of these ideas were ingrained into my consciousness early on, both by my parents and my schooling.
Our home has a solid monolithic quality, and I think of it as a large sculptural object. I have been playing with the idea of transforming both the inside and the outside of the house with color, words, temporary projections, and drawings that are done straight onto the walls. I really enjoyed the building and construction process, and this will be my way of continuing to make the house new and alive. It is a work in progress, on many levels.
More information and photos can be found on www.archiweb.cz (a Czech architectural website), as well as here. There are some photos posted on my blog here.
Above left and right: You and Push featured projection pieces, artwork and photos by Klara Glosova
You lived through an interesting time while you were growing up in the Czech Republic, watching communism fall through peaceful protests, and by working for 3 months in order to provide newspaper content to the residents of the area, who didn’t always have easy access to media. Did this experience come into play with your home_page.project at all, in regards to the idea of the individual developing the steps for necessary and long-lasting change?
I think that 20 years ago, my experience during this revolutionary time taught me that it is very important to take initiative into your own hands, and make that first step, even though you might not exactly know where it is going to take you. If you want to change something, you cannot wait for someone else to change it for you, or you might have to wait forever. However, I feel that this is a lesson that can be learned anywhere, anytime (with or without a revolution), and I must admit that I had to re-learn it a few times myself.
Of course, there is also the question of perseverance, of having to repeat your steps several times, or try different approaches before you get it right. It also helps when you believe in a cause, and keep a steady overall course in mind, while at the same time, trying to stay flexible and willing to adjust your plan according to circumstances. I think that any creative project is like the art of sailing, keep your direction in mind, but go with the wind – though this is probably not the best example coming from a landlocked country.
Having lived everywhere from New York City to Sitka, Alaska. What originally drew you to Seattle, and what ultimately keeps you on the West Coast?
Well, that is a funny story that made a lot of sense to my husband and I when were twenty-something, but now I don't know. We lived in Lake Tahoe at that time, and were both ski bums/ski lift operators who were in the process of deciding to move back to a city. The choice was between the Bay Area and Seattle, and Seattle won because we thought our husky dog Walter would do better up north. It was an epic journey to Seattle through a snowstorm, and we didn't know anybody here, but ultimately, we stayed because it's beautiful. We live in the city, are minutes from downtown (thanks to the new Light Rail), can see mountains out of our windows, live close the Sound and the lake, and our kids can walk and bike to school (even though they complain about it) – we like our urban neighborhood.
Above: Open House, photo by Klara Glosova
How is the creative community in Seattle?
The potential discovery of Seattle’s creative community was another reason why I wanted to open the doors to our home. Since our kids are little and are a main focus in our lives, I had been a bit of hermit, and didn't really know that many people in the local arts community. I had not been a part of an arts community for a long time, so when I did venture out a couple of years ago, I was surprised at how much was going on. Maybe it is like seeing something through the eyes of a stranger.
Last year in particular, seemed to be packed with exciting shows, collaborative projects, forums, salons, and some very good writing about it all on several local art blogs. I think that there is a lot of creative energy around here at the moment, and that is always a great ingredient for something good to happen.
Above left: Open House and Blake;
Above right: Detail of Sgraffiti (Little Letters), photos by Klara Glosova
Having children of your own, do you feel that it’s important for kids to be involved with the arts?
I am passionate about art in the education system. I think that art is essential for our creative development as humans, and it is a big mistake to cut it out of our children’s educations, or see it as a non-essential subject, as has been the case with many schools in this country.
When we don't teach our children these things while they are young, we are sending a strong message that it's not important, and not only that, but also that creativity is something that is not valued. Since many challenges in life can be overcome creatively, and through this neglect to educate our children on the arts, we are depriving them of a great tool. Not only will they not know that this tool is at their disposal, as they grow older they may be scared of it, because humans are usually scared of what they don't know. I think that this gap in education reflects on the state of the society that we currently live in.
I have been teaching art at my children’s school as a part of an after school program for the last 6 years. In co-operation with other parents, the teachers, and a fantastic organization called Arts Corps, I have worked to establish this program which offers a variety of art classes that are not a part of the regular school program.
Are there any plans to incorporate children into the mix at future home_page.project events?
Right now, I am in the process of brainstorming with Arts Corps about different ways to incorporate children and young adults into the home_page.project. Our events are always open to everyone and there is definitely an all-ages creative collaboration that happens in our family, whether it comes to playing music or using (my!) spray paints and colored duct tape.
For those that are interested in contributing to, or attending the next home_page.project event, what is the best way to organize this? Should people contact you directly?
They can contact me directly through my blog. More information including contact info, updates, and event date announcements are being added regularly.
Written by Ehren Seeland
For more information on Klara Glosova, and home_page.project, contact:
Phone: (206) 819-5760