LVL3 Artist of the Week

Added on by Cole Pierce.

LVL3 Artist of the Week Interview



Cole Pierce lives and works in Chicago. He earned an MFA in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern University, a Post-Baccalaureate in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a BA in Art and a BA Sociology from Cornell College. He recently had a solo show at Butler University, was in a group show at CAM Raleigh, has been in numerous exhibitions in and around Chicago and also as far as Cairo, Egypt and Sarajevo, Bosnia.  Modern Painters Magazine reviewed his work in 2012 and he has been featured in many online publications including Papercut Magazine, Disquiet, Art Social, and Sixty Inches from the Center.  He is a co-author of Field Mic, a sound art and music blog and is a contributor to NUMBERS.FM, an experimental music radio station.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I grew up in Iowa and moved to Chicago shortly after college, where I lived in a house full of art students and transients before going to graduate school.  Back then my practice included anything and everything, and in grad school I narrowed it down to painting, found object installation, and video.  I was interested in finding and making a quiet flickering moment that I equated to everyday epiphanies.  I graduated in 2007 from NU and for a couple years I was in brainstorming mode, inventing systems to make abstract paintings and making analog glitch videos. My current project, the Triangle is the Strongest Shape, came out of that brainstorming period. This series started in 2008 but I was also working on 2 or 3 other projects at the same time. In 2011 I decided to dedicate my studio to the Triangle series because I realized that all of the issues I was interested in could be found in these paintings of skewed triangle grids. I was, and still am fascinated with the visceral effect of Op Art and it being an example of a limit of cognition. By the time I was technically able to achieve a mind-blowing optical effect, I became more interested in the imperfections and started to add elements that detracted from the strong optics. I wanted to focus on the phase transition into the optical effect, which I am still working on today.  

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on?

I am currently working on a set of three paintings, a kind of subset of the series, each sized 48”x 60” in mostly black to white gradients.  They will be #44, #45 and #46 of the series, and they are the first paintings I’ve made where there are multiple layers of gradients over the masked off triangle grid.  

I also have an ongoing side project where I make an edition of audio multiples about once a year.  It is essentially an intricate mix CD of ambient, electronic and found sounds that I distribute to a mailing list and share on the internet.  I sent out the last edition in March of 2014, and this summer I will start collecting songs that will determine the theme for the next edition.

What are you currently watching on Netflix/what’s on your Netflix queue?

I don’t know about Netflix but the new Fargo series on FX is fun to watch. Some of the intros are long, one-take scenes like Gus Van Zant or Bela Tarr, minimal and sinister.  

What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other artists are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing?

The biggest challenge is making a decent living.  There are plenty of opportunities to exhibit in Chicago and the arts community here is strong but the market is not so supportive.  There are a handful of success stories, but most artists I know have day jobs and are now starting families. My kids were both born when I was in grad school so I’ve had time to find a balance between work/art making/parenting.  It is still a struggle, especially on beautiful days when I’d rather be at the beach with my kids than working in the studio.  

What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like?

My process is formulaic and I make gradual changes over time. I keep a notebook with rough sketches and ideas to try.  I’ll make 3 or 4 paintings with similar color and compositions before moving on to the next idea. I start with a layer of acrylic, which I cover in a pattern of triangles that I have cut out of painters tape. This is the time consuming part where I slowly build the structure and decide how many glitches will disrupt the pattern.  After the tape is sealed I’ll use oils to paint a gradient or a fluid abstraction.  The final product is revealed when I peel off the tape.   

What artists are you interested in right now?

Tauba Auerbach and her instagram feed, Jessica Eaton, Anoka Faruqee, Russell Tyler, and Jeremy DePrez to name a few.  I’ve unintentionally become a heavy tumblr user, and will frequently post artwork I find on the internet.  So you could say I’m interested in a gazillion artists right now but I don’t know if they really count because I’ve only seen their work on a bright digital screen. I try to reserve judgement until I’ve seen it for real.

How has your work developed within the past year?

Last winter I decided to complicate the paintings further by adding a layer of smaller triangles, which is the beginning of the Sierpinski fractal pattern. This made the pattern more detailed and it also gave me an extra layer to play with, so I could combine various gradient compositions.   Last fall I was experimenting with vibrant color combinations, which I was happy with, but when I changed up the composition I decided to return to black and white in order to  focus on what the new structure was doing.  I have one more painting to make in this black and white mode and then I’ll decide how to bring more vibrant colors into the mix.

What are you really excited about right now?

Biking 20 miles a day on my commute to work now that the weather is nice and Chicago is beautiful once again.

Listening to audiobooks in the studio. I just finished the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons, an epic sci fi space drama. Another of my recent favorites is 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.  The process of taping off the canvas is quite time consuming so I just settle in and put on an audio book.

Any current or upcoming shows we should know about (that we can include in our LVL3 Media calendar)?
I’m in a group show at Johalla Projects that opens July 28th. Josue Pellot and I are working on a collaborative piece for a show at Roman Susan on October 10th. I also have work in a massive group show in October at Elder Gallery in LIncoln, NE.

What are you listening to right now?

Future Islands, Deru, Ray Charles, Colin Vallon Trio, Man Forever & So Percussion, anything that comes out on 12k, and the Lee Scratch Perry Pandora station.

Indiana University Northwest

Added on by Cole Pierce.

Triangle is the Strongest Shape #30, 2013
40"x40" Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

Installation View at Indiana University Northwest


Added on by Cole Pierce.

August 26 - September 20, 2013
Pinpoint: An Exhibition of Emerging Artists 

CLOSING RECEPTION: September 17 from 4 - 6 pm

Jennifer Hines 
Brent Houston 
Morgan Sims 
Cole Pierce 
Raul Mendez

Curated by Holly Sabin Houston 

Gallery for Contemporary Art 
Indiana University Northwest
Savannah Center
3400 Broadway
Gary, Indiana 46408

Gallery Hours: Monday & Thursday 9 am - 5 pm, Tuesday & Wednesday 9 am - 7 pm, Friday 9 am - 3 pm

facebook event page


Added on by Cole Pierce.

A single-evening exposition of artifacts, recordings & mixes, fine apparel and elegant conduct.

Friday, May 10
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Elastic Arts Foundation
2830 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Andrea Jablonski. Bruce Neal. Chris Hefner. Cole Pierce. Cinchel (Jason Shanley). EC Brown. George John Larson. Jake Myers. Jon Bollo. Michelle Harris. Pleasant Group (Erik Wenzel). Stephanie Burke+Jeriah Hildwine+Ryan Peter Miller.

ASCII (Archeospiritist Study and Consortion Initiative, Illinois) is an event where participants are entrusted to uphold the following principal specifications: 

  1. An edition of artifacts shall be created, to be distributed freely.
  2. Artifacts shall commit an arrangement of recordings.
  3. Participants shall proclaim their own specifications, to enrich the ASCII specification body.
  4. Attire shall always be elegant. 
Moreover, there are candidate specifications, including the following:

    ...Participants shall consummate their edition with a 10-minute reverie during the ASCII event...

Consequently, a/v escapades, both live and pre-recorded, begin at 7:30 p.m.

More information:

Prints for Sale!

Added on by Cole Pierce.

Silk-screen print on 90 lb Stonehenge paper, pictured here cropped to 7.5"x9". The size of each print slightly varies in between 9.5"x9.5" and 10"x10".
Edition of 4.

Printed in conjunction with LAKE ODESSA, a sound installation / mix CD exhibition at CAM Raleigh, January 2012.

Originally designed with by Cole Pierce, based on a collage by Able Parris and typography by Paul Soulellis.

Lake Odessa

Added on by Cole Pierce.

LAKE ODESSA (2012) audio multiple, silk-screen print on 90lb cotton paper,
handmade cases, found paper inserts, edition of 100. Print originally designed with Mixel by Cole Pierce, based on collages by Able Parris and Paul Soulellis.

Listen to the mix on Headphone Commute.
I will gladly send you CD if paypal me the price of postage. 

appreciation meter

Hour 2 of my August NUMBERS.FM set

Added on by Cole Pierce.

Hour 2 of my August set on NUMBERS.FM, 
Rhino Named Lazy  (IDM slow jamz) 
Blame it (GROUNDISLAVA COOL MIX) - Jamie Fox
Don’t Owe Me - Pavla & Noura
Moonshine - Retina.It
Holder breaks it down - The Killing
Laroche - Lukid
Lineage (Sun Glitters Mix) - Shigeto
Bela Bartok - Fresh Air Interview
Shaker Mind - Cole Pierce
Closed - Com Truise
Cloud 10 - Kendrick Lamar
January Love (yus Remix) - Newtimers
GHOST - Nikita Quasim
End - Frank Ocean
Born to Die (Remix) Lana del Rey - Clams Casino
False Eyes - Jeremiah Jae
Rebirth is Necessary - J Dilla
待機 - Macintosh Plus
Se Pixelo el Vinito - Super Guachin Goooo - DFRNT
Gov’nor - JJ Doom
Terrorist - Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
Trumpet Sketch - Cole Pierce
Irène Jacob in Othello 

Added on by Cole Pierce.

NUMBERS.FM set 6.13.12

Captcha audio
Antigravity Certificatioin
2012 Preakness Stakes
Margaruita - Gerald Clark & His Caribbean Serenaders
I’ll have another at Belmont Park
On the Beach - Phil Cohran
Hichki - Dhodhe Khan
Usher Interview Sample
Ex the Extrax - Gerren Grand
An Old Escape (Kill Them Kill) Dabrye remix - Illum Sphere
2012 Kentucky Derby
Blow My High (Members Only) C.P.edit - Kendrick Lamar
Its a good thing - Beale Street Shriekers
First Falls - James Murray
Bicycles, Football, Volley And Other Sports in a Public Park, With Birds All Around - Andrea
Ferraris & Matteo Uggeri
Usher Interview Sample
I Will - Elephant & Castle
Diamond Ring (Deele Flip) - Mathewdavid
Sacrilegious - Schoolboy Q
Fifth Ave - Gold Panda
Rained the Whole Time (Nicholas Jaar Mix) - Shlohmo
3 year old recites Litany by Billy Collins
1.6 Una Inexplicable Exitació- Raül Fuentes
Je Voudrais Tant Que Tu Comprennes - Marie Laforet
Speechless (Kelpe Remix) - Soosh
Monkrato - Global Goon
Pocahontas - Jonwayne
Stand Up Lazarus (Peanut Butter Wolf Remix) - Bruce Haack
4. Ohm Sweet Om - Clearlight
Raphael Hythloday - Gabo Gulbenkian
Glitch - Disasterpeace
Shadow from Tartarus - Actress
Kafkatrax 2.2 Wolfgang - Voigt
Captcha Audio
Octagon - Liars
Chwal Sen Jak Mare Nan Poto Michilene Forestal, Bois Laborde
'Closer Came The Light' - Konntinent

NUMBERS.FM playlist 5.16.12

Added on by Cole Pierce.

NUMBERS.FM 4.16.12 8:07-10:09pm Central Time
field recordings and crafty ambient

faa tapes sound approach 0:49
Shoals 11:28 Taylor Deupree
Venice Beach Boardwalk 4.28.12 20:44 Cole Pierce
I Will 4:20 Elephant & Castle
Caroline bor⁄ale 5:11 Jerome Joy
Ice Bow 7:11 Steve Roden & Machinefabriek
04.l2rd 7:24 Asmus Tietchens
MURIEL (bouncé) 20:20
Meroo Lake Pt. 1 5:18 Seaworthy & Matt Rosner
Cosmos: A Personal Journey (The Edge Forever) (Moroccan beatnik treatment) 2:54 Carl Sagan
Urban Sax Part II 9:11 Urban Sax
Sunflower Tk2 1:20 Cole Pierce
Clay cameras 8:57 Keith de Mendonca
animate structures #4 (marin headlands) 15:10 John Grzinich
Radiator Peace 5:46 billy gomberg + offthesky
guy rapping 0:43

NUMBERS.FM Playlist 04.18.12

Added on by Cole Pierce.
Broadcasting an extended version of ‘Resurface’ on NUMBERS.FM until 10:09pm Central Time.
Slow moving electronics and underwater vocals, interspersed with field recordings
and snippets of experimental radio documentaries. Headcase IDM and electro lady crooners. Underwater electronics, noodling synths and a sampled documentary about divers finding a sunken pirate ship.

Forgotten - Disasterpeace
Home - Disasterpeace
Rained teh Whole Time (Nicolas Jaar Remix) - Shlomo
Derni/Paralysis - Elephant & Castle
The World Needs Change [Soulja Boy] - Clams Casino
Caroline bor⁄ale - Jerome Joy
The Other Side of Backwater - Ryan York
Take My Hand - Soosh
MURIEL (bouncé) unknown
The Mountaineer - Alog
Francis Mwakitime (Tanzania) - Mwalala
Foggy Dew - Two Banks of Four
Lion In Winter - Bee Gees
100Birthdays - Chris Whitehead
Goddess Eyes - Julia Holter
unknown class - Cole Pierce
Scissors - Kuedo
Skin - Grimes
Woke Up Missing You - Sean Byrd
Clay cameras - Keith de Mendonca
lampshow - Roth Mobot
wen uuu (Teebs Remix) - Shlohmo
sample FAA radio techniques
B1 - Night Landing - Ssaliva
Leaving San Miguel - Antony Milton
Fragile Hope - Balam Acab
Blue Marlin - Steve Hauschildt
Morning Criminal - Ricardo Donoso
Jenseits Des Stromes [Beyond The Tide] - Jürgen Müller
sample Recovering the Whydah
Columns - Father
MURIEL (bouncé) unknown
blue john cave - Mari Saastamoinen
boardwalk empire sample
santa fe (excerpt) - Lightnin Hopkins
Number 33 - Jan & Lorraine
Paris 1971 - Suzanne Ciani
Deathless - Outer Space
Unforetold - The Sight Below
Standing in the Rain - Gel Set
Glawio - Com Truise
Quantum Leap - Bruce Mao


Added on by Cole Pierce.

A one-night-only exhibition at Floor Length and Tux

332 W. Augusta #3 front

Opening Saturday, April 14th, from 7PM - 10PM

FLAT 12 will feature new work from Cole Pierce, Angela Lopez, and Stephen Nyktas, alongside resident FLAT artists Catie Olson and EC Brown.

COLE PIERCE will create a floor of enamel-encoated floppy disks.

Cole Pierce is a Chicago-based artist who makes paintings, video installations, and audio multiples. He received an MFA in Art Theory & Practice from Northwestern University, his recent exhibition at Hinge Gallery was favorably reviewed in Modern Painters magazine, and currently has work in Born Digital at CAM Raleigh.

ANGELA LOPEZ will present a stop-animation video alongside watercolor/collages depicting the fluid relationships between humans and other species.

Angela Lopez studied painting at the Kansas City art institute. Her paintings use the exploration of alternating power struggles between humans and nature as a way to express gloomy ominous and desperate emotions. Her artwork has been featured in exhibitions at H&R Block ArtSpace, The Dolphin Gallery, in Kansas City MO, as well as Buenos Aires Argentina at Proyecto’ ace Studios and the Beasley gallery in Arizona. She premiered her first solo show, “On the Upside,” at the Urban Culture Project Space in 2009. In 2010 she curated her second exhibition “Community+Loneliness” at the Paragraph Gallery with Urban Culture Project in Kansas City Mo. Angela lives and works in her hometown of Chicago.

STEPHEN NYKTAS will create an installation consisting of found radios from different eras.

Steve Nyktas (MFA, Northwestern University, 2007) is a Chicago-based artist whose work is preoccupied by opportunities to better understand the normal world by seeing places that were never meant to be seen and to look at things as they are not meant to be; to observe a version of the everyday which exists just beneath consciousness. His work has been exhibited at Dorsky Gallery (New York, NY), Gallery Four (Baltimore, MD), Rowland Contemporary Gallery (Chicago, IL), The 22nd International Festival Sarajevo (Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina), and he is a member of the Danny Think Tank artist collective.

CATIE OLSON will present a hand-cranked automaton of a Band-Aid punching a pillow.

Catie Olson is an artist and filmmaker who organizes the Spiderbug short-film series ( She is ½ of Floor Length and Tux.

EC BROWN will present paintings of wooden capsules containing imaginary film stills with choice male actors of the 60s-70′s as terse mallard-carvers.

EC Brown is a painter and exhibition organizer who co-directed the COMA exhibition space from 2006-2008 (, and organizes the ASCII exhibition series ( He is ½ of Floor Length and Tux.

About the FLAT series:
Catie Olson and EC Brown have conducted Floor Length and Tux exhibitions from their home since February 2009. These single-evening events are the result of an extended relationship with small selections of artists.

Official Website