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I was introduced to this artist work at “Octane,” a hip coffee cafe on the West side of Atlanta (pictured above). Here’s Astral’s webpage, she does fine art and design. Her art grabbed my attention because of the medium she uses to paint upon – wood. Its no secrete among fans of local artists that many artists save money by using plywood instead of canvas. What stood out to me about Astral is that the wood she uses for the frame and background becomes itself part of her art. The grains of the wood almost form their own distinct expression and then with her simple stencil technique upon the wood you get a sense of separation between the pieces that for the onlooker can only leave you with the impression of peaceful serenity. Her figures and settings come from dreams she’s had about animals, listen as she shares about them;

“I have dreams about animals. The animals are not always key components in the plots of my dreams. Sometimes they are in the periphery, but they are almost always there and with a closer intimacy and mutual understanding than in our relationships in waking life. In my paintings, I explore these interactions and general relationships or blurred boundaries that exist between humans and animals.”

There is a ‘commercial design’ vibe that you may have in the first few moments of looking at her pieces due to the popularity of stenciling in todays trendy stores like Urban Outfitters, but if you slow down and just take it all in you’ll find that Astral is doing more with her stenciling than borrowing from mass marketing. She is, as she just said, exploring the relationships or blurred boundaries that exist between humans and animals.

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Please go and visit her web-gallery or if you’re in or near Atlanta go by Octane, enjoy some good coffee, and see her art in person. I found her prices to be fairly priced, especially given the quality of wood she uses is art in itself. She also has a myspace page here.