In the Studio with Ariel Cohen
What does a day in your art practice look like?
I usually enter the art studio with a specific project in mind, set myself up with supplies, and get going fairly quickly. I spend a lot of time thinking about ideas for themes/concepts in my artwork outside of the studio— on my drives in the car, during a morning run, or over a quiet cup of coffee. So once I’m in the studio, I try to get going as quickly as possible. After about an hour or so, I’m usually ready for a break from creating. At that point, I like to shift gears toward art-adjacent work outside of the creative process, which could be updating my website, submitting work to art calls, or posting to social media. Once I’m feeling ready to get back into the creative process, I’ll return to the piece I’m working on and focus on taking it all in. I’ll ask myself some questions about where the piece is going: does it need something added? Does something need to be removed? Does it contain a balance of color, composition, content, and artistic commitment? Then when I’m feeling ready, I dive back in and start creating again.
What inspires you?
A lot inspires me, but if I had to choose some primary sources of inspiration, they would be as follows: psychology and my life as a psychotherapist; growing up in the Southern California punk scene and all that came with it; Judaism and my relationship to Jewish culture; Low Brow, the DIY scene, and expressionism.
There Goes My Shadow
What advice would you give your younger self?
Focus less on what others think about you and focus more on what feeds your soul. Whatever those things are, do them, and do them often.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
I listen to all kinds of music and podcasts. I read books on a variety of subjects. I follow artists, art galleries, and art movements that help get me excited about my own creative process. I go to see/hear live music as often as possible. I spend time observing the world, reflecting on its complexities, and appreciating all the beauty that exists in it.
If you had the chance to live during a different artistic movement other than now, which one would you choose? and why?
The first time period that comes to mind is the New York City graffiti subculture of the 1980s. I was born April 1986, so I was too young to appreciate it at the time. There’s just something about New York City during that time, and its close connection to hip hop and the early stages of MTV (which ultimately had a major impact on me as a youth). Also, Keith Haring is one of my all-time favorite artists. His body of work and what he represented as a person really inspired and continues to inspire me to this day.
How has personal experience influenced your creativity?
Personal experience influences everything I do creatively. I create from the depths of my own experience. Whatever I’m going through, observing in the world, or finding inspiration in has a major impact on what I consciously choose and/or unconsciously gravitate toward creating in my art practice.
Another Yellow to Relax
What do you wish to accomplish with your art?
I want to move people emotionally and help them think critically. Authentic expression is at the core of what I do as an artist, and if that helps others get closer to their authentic self, then I feel proud of having achieved my goal.
How do you make the leap from an idea in your head to the action you produce?
It all begins with a thought. I’ll be daydreaming about some concept or idea, and suddenly I’ll land on a more concrete concept for a painting composition or a papier-mâché sculpture. Once that happens, I very rapidly shift into logistical planning— what materials do I need, how can I best go about executing the idea, what might be some challenges I could face, and how long will the project take overall? It’s a really beautiful dance between the hemispheres of my brain, a true interconnected process of both uninhibited creative expression and practical planning/problem-solving. I love it!
Ready to Take Flight (diembodied)