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Octavia Frazier Feels the “Force”

Feeling the Force, mixed media, by Octavia Frazier. Winner of The Art League Award for Best in Show.

What does making a mark mean to you? When we talked to Elaine Qiu for this month’s other Q&A, she placed her painting in the tradition of Chinese calligraphy, with the same intention behind each brushstroke.

Feeling the Force comes from the realm of Western abstraction — and the sponges and squeegees of mixed media artwork — but you can sense calligraphic expression in the bold, powerful black marks across the surface of the work. (How do you think the artists’ marks compare?)

Artist Octavia Frazier, who we’ve previously interviewed on this blog, painted Feeling the Force and took home The Art League Award for her efforts. She told us all about making marks and how, exactly, she got to “feel the force” while working on this painting:

What does the term “mark” mean to you? What role does mark-making play in your paintings?
Octavia Frazier: It means leaving my stamp. I tend to make certain marks over and over without even thinking. I like when people tell me they can recognize my mark in my artwork.

In Feeling The Force, black marks are a strong part of balancing the strong colors I use. I try to be conscious of the strength of the mark and the negative space around the mark. In most of my painting I try to think of the weight of my marks and placement.

Octavia Frazier’s Color Blocking in acrylic and mixed media won the Evelyn Turner Award in March 2014.

What materials did you use for Feeling the Force?
I love the square-shaped, wooden boards, usually ungessoed. Starting out with making big black marks with high flow acrylic paint on a sponge, I follow up with graphite, markers and adding collage and torn paper with tar gel, ending up with a squeegee to eliminate certain marks I don’t like.

What was your goal for this painting?
My goal was to paint a successful painting with elements of shapes, marks, color and texture into a personal balance. I am very thankful to have been selected to receive the “Best in Show” award.

Closed Lines, mixed media, by Octavia Frazier

How do you interpret the title, Feeling the Force?
I really got into the painting, making marks without worrying about messing up or killing my painting. I felt very liberated and powerful. I truly was “Feeling the Force”!

“Mark” is on view through Sunday, October 1, 2017.

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