Saturday, June 28, 2014

"Royal" artwork!

I went to a graduation party for fraternal twins Rebecca and Edmund Royal this evening. They're both great kids. BTW, partially because their Dad is so cool! Their Mom is pretty cool too ;-)
Anyway… Rebecca is a great young painter (who will be a math major at my alma mater this fall!). Here's a great piece that she did (and a couple others)...

Good luck in Oswego!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse, NY) 60/60 Event

Once again, I participated in the Everson Museum's 60/60 Event fundraiser. It's a great event where 60 different artists come together on the beautiful grounds of the museum and each create an artwork in 60 minutes (pre-event preparation is allowed). I participated a couple years ago with my artist friend Tom Nettle and it was a great time. When this year's solicitation came in the mail, I immediately contacted my good friend and fellow NCS member Anthony Morgan to see if he was interested in doing a collaborative piece. He was excited about doing it. Whereas the last time I participated, Tom and I got together for some compositional planning, this time around Anthony and I did no pre-planning (partially because he lives 5 hours away in Pennsylvania). We each simply brought a box of elements that we thought were interesting. The lack of pre-planning any kind of composition was a bit stressful for me (Anthony might argue that it was more than a bit stressful for me). Upon arriving, Anthony immediately cut the woman and man that you see in the composition. This became one of our primary elements. I was particularly attracted to the B&W automobile element (which I was later informed was a 1969 Fiat 124 Sports Coupe), so we included that. Then it was a case of choosing some additional complementary elements. With the beautiful blue oceanographic map as background, I knew the "orange lady" would fit quite well. We were experimenting with placement and I happened to put the man and woman on the edge of the composition area and onto the matting (I had done this once before with a piece). We agreed that it looked interesting and worked from there. The finished piece came together in just about one hour (thankfully). The way part of the fundraiser works is that folks purchase "raffle" tickets and place them in paint cans located at each of the artists' stations; then one ticket is drawn and the piece goes to that individual. Earlier in the evening, an older gentleman was watching us and commenting about how much he loved what we were doing. He must have put 10 or 15 tickets into our paint can. Unfortunately, when the winning ticket was drawn, he did not win. I REALLY wished that we had gotten his contact information and done a piece for him sometime after the event. He was so enthusiastic about collage. One of the things that was particularly interesting (in a bad way?) was that some folks were hesitant to put tickets into our paint can because they had little idea about what our finished piece would look like (as did we). That's one of the interesting (and powerful?) things about an emergent creative process like collage. I think if people had an opportunity to see the finished piece ahead of time, they would be more interested (i.e., the tickets were drawn within 10 mins of the piece being finished). I will probably suggest this to the organizers of the event for next year. Anyway, here it is...

Friday, June 13, 2014

"Thank you John, I absolutely loved Paris"

Here is my latest piece entitled "Thank you John, I absolutely loved Paris" (8" x 10"). Once again, this piece is inspired by John Stezaker's work (his approach seems to be in my monkey brain right now). I am preparing a presentation for a conference in Athens, GA in the fall featuring much of his work. I am interested in the intersection of psychology, neuroscience and art and will talk about "face detectors" in the temporal lobe of the brain as it might relate to the strategy that Stezaker and others use when considering composition in art. I can elaborate more on that in the near future. For now, I would like to say a bit more about this piece. A common question that I am asked is "How long does it take you to do a collage?" This is a great question; but one that is difficult to answer precisely. This piece consists of only two elements (like much of Stezaker's work). Couldn't have taken me too long to do it, right? Well, here's the complicated answer… The base image is "Miss Theresa Nettles" (which is interesting in and of itself and one of my dearest friends is named Tom Nettle) which was taken from an old yearbook. I believe it was from a 1963 Louisiana State University yearbook (Theresa, are you out there?). I have had that image in my collection for about a year wondering what I was going to do with it. I have tried different things from time to time, but never "pulled the trigger" by using her in a collage. Last night as I was looking through my collection and trying all sorts of combinations ("doing collage 'sketches'" as I like to refer to it), I once again brought Theresa to the table. I had the nice vintage image of the arch for a couple months (BTW, the image is vintage, the paper is not. I think it was from a calendar). Anyway, I placed the arch over Theresa and things seemed to line-up in an interesting Stezaker-esque way; so I "went for it". Trimming the edges more took me about an hour. Then I delicately paint the cut edges with Golden neutral gray paint. After that, I need to coat and cut the substrate and carefully determine exactly the placement that will make the piece "pop". How does one "count" the time to acquire the sources of images, peruse them and choose which to use in the future? How does one "count" the time the images stay within a collection before they are selected and manipulated? The actual technical placing and adhering of the images takes little time. But I don't think that where the "art" comes from, in a way. So, the answer is complicated for sure. This two-element composition is a good example of that complexity methinks.