- Do not leave now dreaming of the return by Alessandro Casagrande
- Day in the Life: Tasya van Ree
- Baccalà stew recipe by Nick Curtola
Photography by Alessandro Casagrande
Styling by Aurora Zaltieri
Models Carolina Fenoglietto, Elina Vasilkovskaya
It seems natural – almost requisite, that contemporary artists choose to explore not only different materials for their work but different platforms. In this expanding sphere of multi and mixed media art, Tasya van Ree’s art stands out. Her enigmatic style imbues her work, no matter what media becomes her focus. Timeless symbols, icons and shapes endeavor to interpret or recreate dreams. The work is potent, astute and memorable. We caught up with the artist in late summer 2020.
Introduction by TJ Forman
Interview by Alessandro Casagrande
Images courtesy of Tasya Van Ree
TJ Forman (TJF) – Where does this interview find you and how did you end up there?
Tasya Van Ree (TVR) – Originally from Hawaii, currently in Los Angeles. Made my way to California by means of an athletic scholarship to play volleyball at a division l college. Dropped out after two years and have been living in this city ever since.
Die Wilder was an interesting t-shirt line you did a few years ago. Was it a more commercial endeavor or art project? And why is it that “hell is where the heart is?”
TVR – It was primarily done as an art project. Bringing words/poetry/typography into my art through design.
There is an element of an underlying sensibility that love contains. Some call it passion, some call it pain. I wanted to represent the heart in a way that is purposefully afflicted with this depth.
TJF – Over the years, your work has encompassed photography, painting, drawing, collage, sculpture and even short film, what is your current medium and what brought you to it?
TVR – I’m finding myself interested in taking my art and bringing it into three-dimensional space. I just did a technique on a large interior living room wall where I painted one of my drawings scaled up to cover the entire area. It was beautiful to see it enlarged to that size. The presence of intricate art magnified can be all-consuming, a labyrinth of interest. I would love to transfer my art to textiles, architectural finishes, concrete/plaster reliefs, tile, etc. Aligning myself with the worlds of architecture and interior design.
TJF – We love your latest works containing symbols of the feminine. In previous interviews you have referred to God as a woman, tell us more about the divine feminine and its influence on your work.
TVR – The divine feminine represents an infinite other-worldly intelligence. It’s what and where I have connected my creativity and essence to. There’s a deep relationship that I have with it, the language that we speak transcends all understanding. It’s vision, it’s love, it’s loyalty, it’s mastery, it’s immortal, it’s everything that I live by. I think when I genuinely align myself with its presence, I create my most profound work.
TJF – Where do you find inspiration for your artwork?
TVR – Nature and women/love.
TJF – Are there any artists who have influenced you?
TVR – I would say “inspire” me as opposed to “influence” me. I love reading and listening to great minds across all channels; Mystics, prophets, scientists, artists, etc… But if I had to say which artists specifically, I would say Georgia O’Keeffe, Hilma AF Klint, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Mitchell, Kara Walker, Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, Yayoi Kusama, Shirin Neshat, Leonor Fini, to name a few… and the list goes on.
TJF – What concepts have taken root in your work over the years?
TVR – It has always been the prism of love on all conceptual levels.
TJF – What is your current mood in regards to the pandemic; pessimistic or hopeful?
TVR – I think it’s a time of deep retrospection and a time for new beginnings.
TJF – Many artists I have talked to recently say they’ve had a loss of inspiration as consequence of the lockdown. Has your inspiration and work production been affected by this and how?
TVR – What this lockdown has created for me was a moment where I could completely focus on my art without any distractions, without any exterior noise. It has actually been very beneficial to my process, giving me a new discipline that I’ve been searching for. Stillness and quietude, both very important for me to really create some art that resonates.
TJF – How have you spent your time during this quarantine?
TVR – Drawing. I finished the first part of a project that I’m working on with a publisher. Now focusing some time on getting a website together. I’ve never had one so it seems like the right time to get one up and running.
TJF – The world we used to know has completely changed its path this year. First for the pandemic then with society’s uprisings. Everything needs to be adjusted and evolve. What do you think of this reality we are living? Given the situation, how do you think your work will evolve and what advice can you give to other artists?
TVR – The world/earth is shifting into its next phase. All of the toxicity that we’ve been holding on to for so long is sur-facing and being transitioned out. I am staying present in the moment and proactively holding a space of love for others to access so we can all move through this. I know there is something bright on the other side.
The evolution of art always happens with the polarity of circumstances. I can already feel this energy finding its way into my work. My interpretation of life has gone deeper.
The sensitivity of artists has always been an important role in helping to shape society and culture in the midst of any sort of upheaval. I would say to other artists, embrace your sensitivity and believe you are infinite.
Introduction by Anna-Giulia Caradeuc
Photography courtesy Nick Curtola
In the summer of 2015, LCD Soundsystem’s frontman James Murphy opened up The Four Horsemen – a sleek, intimate natural wine bar in the heart of Williamsburg, where he resides. Helming the kitchen is San Francisco native Chef Nick Curtola, who started off at Camino in Oakland, did a year of regional cooking in Piedmont, Italy, and came to New York to work Franny’s, Glady’s and Roman’s before taking the executive chef role at Murphy’s joint.
While the focus is on natural wine – diners can choose from an abundant list of about 650 different wines from small producers disseminated across the world – the food menu at The Four Horsemen is equally as exciting. Nick crafts shareable dishes starring seasonal and local ingredients that are both unexpected and delicious. Imbued by a myriad of influences, his revolving menus always artfully come together, as if held by an invisible common thread.
The Four Horsemen is a local treasure, and one of my favorite restaurants in New York City. The atmosphere and the music is always on point, thanks to the recording studio-grade acoustics (complete with a vintage preamp), and the service is always welcoming, considerate and informative. Just one year ago, The Four Horsemen and Nick were awarded their first well-deserved Michelin star. Nick shares his BACCALÀ Stew recipe.
35g ramp bottoms, sliced thin
1T extra virgin olive oil plus a little extra to finish 150g cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 tsp kosher salt
540g cooked cannellini beans
500g chicken stock
300g kimchi (any type will work; cabbage, daikon, ramp, etc.)
175g salt baccalà, soaked 24hrs, cut into chunks 50g ramp greens
2T fish sauce
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed, dried
and roughly chopped
Sweat the ramp bottoms and cauliflower in the tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Some color is fine, but try to cook them gently. Stews are all about building and layering flavors. They should never be rushed.
When the ramps and cauliflower are fragrant and have a slightly toasted aroma, add the beans, chicken stock, kimchi, and the salt baccalà. Increase the heat and bring the stew to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or so. The beans should break up slightly and the fish should flake into the broth, thickening it along the way.
Taste the stew along the way. The flavors should start to meld together and the natural gelatin in the cod will add a nice richness. The kimchi should mellow in flavor and add a gentle acidity to the broth.
Once you’ve reached this state and you’re happy with the results, add the pimenton, fish sauce, and tamari. Stir to incorporate and taste. Adjust if need be with salt or fish sauce. It really depends on the salinity of your salt baccalà and kimchi, but always season to your liking.
Portion the stew into 4 bowls. Top with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a few cracks of black pepper (always use fresh from a pepper mill), and the chopped cilantro.