The two artists behind Trance and Shield, the upcoming show at Aurora Coffee, bring an artisanal knowledge to their work. Kenn Twofour is co-owner of Wearwolf Press, a screen printing shop that prints shirts for Deerhunter, Black Lips, and the like. Danielle Distefano is co-owner and tattoo artist of Only You Tattoo in Grant Park. Both Twofour and Distefano create work that is shaped by, yet distinct from, their businesses. We caught up with them to get some insight into their process and a glimpse at the pieces they'll be showing on Friday at Aurora.
What's your background?
Danielle Distefano: I'm from New York, but now Atlanta is my home.
I've been an artist my whole life I like to think. Being an only child makes you get creative with the time you have growing up. My mom, and my grandma were both artistic and encouraged whatever medium I was interested in, except tattooing. I started painting when I was real young and took some oil painting classes by the time I was in middle school. That led to going to a visual and preforming arts high school my junior and senior year, taking community college drawing classes over the summers. I wanted to do anything that would keep me growing. I did go to college at School of Visual Arts in Manhattan for two years but dropped out to start my apprenticeship tattooing.
Kenn Twofour: For the past 20 years or so I spent my time in the underground DIY hardcore punk community here in Atlanta playing in bands and booking shows. When the last band I was in started to become less active I started doing visual art. I started a screenprinting shop and decided to start using the equipment to make my own art. First on paper and now on wood.
Do you think working in an artistic trade has affected your art?
DD: My whole life is tattooing, whether I want it to be or not. Dropping out of college was the best thing I could do at the time to be able to grow in this industry, but everything I had been learning artistically my whole life was was now changing. My artist background made it easier to draw concepts and understand basic ideas of composition and light, but it's different when you are dealing with a new canvas. My style had to become more graphic and illustrative with hard black outlines, because that is the style tattoo that lasts. I was a very loose painter, doing abstract and portrait work, you can do that with a tattoo but you have to apprentice with someone who can teach you that method. It's very different and a more modern way of tattooing. I learned from an old school woman Kate Hellenbrand, she does traditional tattoos that's how she learned and that's what I wanted to learn. My paintings now tend to be tattoos, because after 9 years of professionally tattooing my brain goes to that style.
Can you describe your process?
KT: I’m an atheist, but I’ve always had an interest in religion and especially religious symbols. I am interested in how people find so much value and power in these symbols. The work that I have been doing has been a study on religious symbols by creating a religion and back story that sounds as valid as any other religion. So when I start designing a new piece I am thinking what my storyline needs or what new symbol do I need to create. Because some of my pieces are wood cutouts I work out how I will cut and build the piece into the design. After it is designed I screenprint each element then cut it and build it.
DD: I use liquid acrylics, and water color paper, this is the closest to tattooing that I can get off skin. It really does feel like a continuation of my work, I love to paint but the similarity in style does make it feel like it's the same project. At the same time it's a way to give people ideas for tattoos because they see how I would
I do tend to go through phases of things I like to draw. For a few years now i've been tattooing these symmetrical flower/ shield-like images. I have them tattooed on my hands. I love the balance in them. I don't do them a lot so I was looking forward to painting some ideas I had floating around onto paper. Painting lets me draw what I want, from size, color, shape it is liberating to have that freedom, after creating for other people everyday.
Trance and Shield, featuring work by Kenn Twofour and Danielle Distefano opens at Aurora Coffee in L5P this Fri., Nov. 5 at 7 pm. More details on Facebook.
It's good a thing the majority of the housing project tenants moved to Clayton County.
I'm just surprised at the rapid fire speed they're constructing these buildings. I take it…
it's hard to tell. usually trolls say things that are so outrageous that it's hilarious…
"I thought tradition meant nothing to lefties. Traditional marriage doesn't deserve respect just because of…
I thought Plain Talk is Simple Pete not to be confused with the real Pete....what…
Dang, I so wanted the "Jon Jones for District 2" swag, so I could re-sell…