“Oh, I already know it’s the black-and-white cat,” says
, in response to the sounds of meows coming from outside of her Lincoln Heights studio in Los Angeles. Schulnik, 37, a native of San Diego, used to leave her studio windows open to let her thick impasto paintings air dry, until one of the critters broke in and relieved itself on one of the canvases. She’s since installed chicken wire to avoid another accident.
Cats don’t only make appearances at Schulnik’s studio but also in her latest exhibition “Hoof
” at Mark Moore Gallery
. One of the paintings in the show, Lady with Cat
(2015), is derived from a photo of Schulnik holding her own cat, reimagined with haunting eyes and a morose color palette of black, dark browns, and blues, typical of her oeuvre. But beyond cats, her paintings are inhabited by centaurettes, unicorns, and mermaids—not those of Disney films and children’s books but rather of nightmares and fairy tales gone awry. Her work portrays seemingly vulnerable heroines, ensconced in fields of pastel wildflowers, imbued with a quiet grace and strength. Schulnik has also gained acclaim for her claymation films including the 2009 music video for Grizzly Bear’s “Ready, Able” and more recently Eager
(2014), an epic eight-minute film which showed at ZieherSmith in New York.
We caught up with Schulnik ahead of her current show to learn about her evolving relationships with painting and animation, the artistic blood that runs in her family, and her latest work.