LA-based internet artist Petra Cortright and I were introduced by the Swedish gallerist Carl Kostyal during her recent solo exhibition Orange Blossom Princess Fucking Buttercup at his London space. Standing before her digital paintings, I felt as if I had discovered a new medium as I experienced the impact of seeing her evocative work in the flesh. In fact, I was blown away by her kaleidoscopic paintings made using digital software to blend figurative and abstract elements. Previously, I had focused on her self-portrait videos, which are made using the effect tools on a webcam, before being uploaded to YouTube. In time, these had also led me to her wildly popular Instagram feed @petcortright, which is the perfect balance of artistic innovation, intimate portraits from her everyday life as well as the blissfully mundane.
In Santa Barbara, Petra grew up in an artistic family with a sculptor/printmaker father and a mother who painted. In terms of her education, Petra studied Fine Art at Parsons School of Design, New York as well as the California College of the Arts, San Francisco. From the early days, the internet artist always had a playful relationship with computers as she worked within an online community of other artists, googling images, making videos with her webcam and painting on Photoshop. As described by Artsy online, "Petra uses a range of mediums, both digital and analog, to explore the aesthetics and performative cultures of online consumption." Her work has also been met with critical acclaim in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, W Magazine, Artforum and The NY Times Style Magazine.
Over the past few years, Petra has exhibited worldwide from Mexico to Switzerland, Germany and Argentina. Notable exhibitions include Electronic Superhighway at Whitechapel Gallery in London, Brushes at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, The Metabolic Age at MALBA in Buenos Aires and Bridal Shower at Frieze Art Fair in London, which was also broadcast on Channel 4. Ever the polymath, Petra has also had successful collaborations within the fashion industry, making videos with the British designer Stella McCartney that play with the patterns of her designs as Petra models them. Follow her Instagram @petcortright to keep up to date with her adventures.