Artist Spotlight: Caroline Geys

This week’s StandardVision artist spotlight on the SVLA1 screen at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles features work by Caroline Geys. Geys is the latest of many artists to be invited to take over a two week-long recurring 15-second spot to showcase their work to the public.

We had a chance to ask Geys about her inspiration, favorite projects, and experiences living in downtown Los Angeles.

Can you tell us more about your father’s op-art collection that inspired the Vortex series?

My father has a large collection of contemporary paintings mostly ranging from the 1920’s till the 1990’s.

His first op-art piece he purchased was a lithograph by Victor Vasarely and specifically from his Vega period which was in the 1960’s. In the last 20 years, he’s collected op-art paintings from Paula Kadunc, Stanley Tigerman, Jakob Bill, and Jim Huntington.

Can you walk us through the process of making one of your vortex pieces?

I first started creating the Vortex pieces in late 2014 and have a collection of around 250. In the beginning of the collection, the pieces were simpler and then they went through a more chaotic and complex nature. Now, having created so many, I try to design them and pushing new boundaries. I utilize Illustrator to create each file so they are in vector format and the size can be increased to large format without losing any resolution. Much of my work is intuitive and not planned especially when starting the piece. Once, I come to a certain point in the design, the rest of the piece starts to take shape.

In the beginning of the year, I began designing a lot of patterns in Illustrator and started to use them within the Vortex shapes, which has launched a new development in the series and third part to the series. Now, I will start creating the patterns first and taking existing Vortex shapes to develop a new piece.

How has living in Los Angeles (specifically downtown Los Angeles) informed the direction of your work?

I have always been inspired by architecture, topography and the culture of the cities I’ve lived in. Being surrounded by a lot of new and old or historic architecture has played an important role in my work. Every day walking around in the neighborhood, I am always discovering new buildings and architectural details I hadn’t noticed before. The array of culture and diversity of downtown and Los Angeles plays a large role in my work. We are all connected by different degrees of separation. The linear lines representing the architectural and the organic representing topographical elements. The separation and overlap of the linear and organic line work in my pieces signifies all of these elements.

What is one of the most interesting commissioned or installation projects you’ve done?

While I’ve worked on several projects through out my career that I’ve loved, I am most interested about the current one. I have just completed design work for a large scale format project for the lobby of Building 1 at the ROW. I have been collaborating with hospitality interior design firm, Preen Inc. and the firm’s founder, Alexis Readinger on the project which will be installed by the end of the month.

My first trip to Iceland in 2016 inspired a new phase, ‘Vortex Overlay’ which continues to evolve within the Vortex series. While visiting Vik’s Black Sand Beach, I photographed particularly the hexagonal basalt columns and began superimposing my Vortex line work on a few photos. The result created a new relationship between the composition of the landscape and the linear overlays. Since that trip, I have captured various landscapes and urban setting photos in California, Europe and from my recent travels back to Iceland.

Alexis was inspired by this direction and one Joshua Tree Vortex landscape piece I had created, and wanted to use it as the direction for the lobby artwork. I visited Joshua Tree and photographed with a Phase One 100MP camera so that we would be able to print high resolution wall graphics. Back in February, I started illustrating patterns based off of the architectural details from a photo I took in Berlin to create various patterns to utilize in the Vortex shapes. I applied this process to the the Joshua Tree photography by illustrating patterns based off the boulders and landscape in the photos. The patterns were developed after creating a series of them and manipulating them to see which worked best within the Vortex shapes.

Do you have any future projects or series you’re currently working on?

I am constantly creating new works which have been great catalysts for future projects and new directions. There’s always projects on the horizon but not always ones we can discuss…as of yet!

You can catch Geys’s work on the SVLA1 screen through May 27 as well as on her Instagram here.