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The Inside Scoop with Inslee Fariss

Inslee Fariss, Sozo's figurative featured artist, who has illustrated for the likes of Kate Spade, Neiman Marcus, and Stuart Weitzman, spills on some of her favorite things. Join us Friday, March 27th from 5:30 - 8:30pm to meet Inslee and view her art at Sozo. 

Sozo: Go to wine or beer? 

Inslee: Wine - whatever my husband brings home from work! He’s director of retail for Manhattan Wine Company and is an expert in “mineraly french whites” in particular. My favorite beer is Colomba from Corsica. I discovered it on our honeymoon last May. Several of the paintings in the show were inspired by and named after various beaches we visited on our trip where we’d lounge around with our new favorite beer and I’d sketch sunbathers as figure studies. 

S: Tips for traveling? What one thing do you always make sure you have for the flight?

I: I am a nervous flier because my greatest fear is being trapped in the sky in a tin can without an activity! So I always travel with a sketchbook and a laptop for writing and drawing.  Best tip for traveling is pack lightly so you look really relaxed and easy going, and then figure out a sneaky way to slip more and more extra outfits into your husband/friend/travel companion’s luggage so you’re never caught in a new exciting place without the perfect outfit. 

S: Favorite writing pen? 

I: I just received a Sailor Chalana fountain pen as a Christmas gift and it is so beautiful and delicate and creates the thinnest, most graceful lines.

S: Workout? What gear must you always have/or be wearing? 

I: Yoga! I love Y2 Yoga when I’m in Charlotte and am a regular at a hot flow studio here in NYC. I’m becoming addicted to collecting crazy patterned leggings. Go to brands are Prism Sport and Jala Clothing right now. 

S: Latest greatest read?

I: The Goldfinch. It made me feel melancholy but made me fall more in love with New York. 

S: Sunscreen?

I: Yes please. And big floppy wide brimmed hats. and long flowy caftans and coverups. And big cheery striped sun-umbrellas. Basically stay inside. Sun is not your friend.

S: Lips?

I: I believe that lips should just be an extension of a perfectly kept complexion, there’s no need to accentuate with complicated colors. I only use Aquaphor on my lips to stay hydrated. 

S: Clothing or shoe line?

I: How much time do you have…? I’m a bit of a clothes horse. Just rediscovered how much I love a classic Jack Rogers sandal after partnering with them on a new illustration project to unveil this summer - stay tuned! And on the opposite end of the spectrum, I took the plunge on a pair of enormous platforms from Sigerson Morrison - all their new spring/summer pieces are must owns.

S: Signature jewelry piece?

I: Three solid brass bangles from a boutique in the West Village. I received one as a gift from my husband on three special occasions, our engagement date, the date of my confirmation in the church and the date of our wedding. The clang together musically while I work and remind me how lucky I am in love. 

S: What music do you listen to? Any certain genre while creating your art?

I: I love some good juicy old soul music or contemplative jazz while painting, or on a particularly perky Saturday am painting session, some throw back 90’s hiphop. Biggie’s top hits and painting nudes really goes hand in hand. 

S: Favorite coffee drink?

I: All of it. I love coffee. Just discovered the cortado - the smaller, lighter little sister of a cappuccino. 

S: Any superstitions?

I: Yes, but I’m too superstitious to tell you what they are. 

We can't wait to have Inslee at Sozo along with her beautiful nudes! 

We'll Figure it Out

Parked, waiting by the train tracks in a field for my friend and her dog. I wait. I breathe my deep yoga breaths and I pray. Some call it Dharma. I call it Jesus and Yoga. It's basically connecting and compassion. (the root of dharma)

I see her figure in the distance, hobbling along with her two walking canes and her sidekick and trusty dog companion. My mouth curls up into a smile and I exhale some relief. She's safe. She's here, and today we get to just be and enjoy our passion together.

Art. 

We got our own private tour of Matisse's works at  The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. She's 5'5, thin and in her oversized plaid shirt, dirty apron, scarf and hat-- her hands covered in old paint and she carries the aroma of earth. Me- 5'8 and curvy, dressed 'down' for comfort, palpating heart, anxious and hopeful that today we'll laugh some more, learn together and most importantly build trust.

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We studied Matisse's works, enamored with the love he had (like my friend has) with poetry, read poetry, and savored his use of figures and introduction of modernism to our world.

He created most of these works from his later years in his wheelchair. I noticed the tilt in her head and how her eyes light up when we discover this. This was a period of intense suffering for Matisse. His artistic cut-outs were created while confined to a bed or wheelchair, hiring assistants to help him and using a long stick to draw and point. Despite the physical agony Matisse endured during the works' creation, they appear as boundless and carefree as freed animals in a colorful field.  

Tears filled my eyes and my stomach had that heart wrenching gut pang. I cannot even explain the deep correlation here. If you don't get it, please repeat college Psych 101. 

After she selected a book on Matisse's art, I bought it and told her we'll share it and study more of his works and his figures.

Together.

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Trust and friendship.  I'm sure we'll figure it out.  

While we're on the topic of FIGURES. New York City's claim to fame, Inslee Fariss' figurative drawings are on display starting March 27th. Bold figures with brilliant bright ink designs. Elegantly full of heart and emotion. Please join us and meet our darling new artist Inslee at her artist reception on Friday, March 27th from 530-830. These figures will fly out the door.

No doubt Henri himself would have been impressed with Inslee's figures.

I'm also betting money he would have joined our laughter and conversations today at the museum while reviewing his works and would have been the type of artist to roll up alongside my artist friend and relate. And paint. 

Together.