Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Pencils, Pristine Erasers, and Alluring Paper Birds

Next week I'm taking a drawing basics workshop to freshen myself up a bit, so this afternoon I popped over to Hollander's with my art supplies print out. So gratifying! I have a specific need to purchase new art supplies, outside my normal card-making and print-pulling realms. The best part of that first-day-of-school feeling, with none of the worry about buses or rosters or crushes being too near or too far. Since today was a bring-the-baby-to-work day for Javier, I restrained myself from getting sucked into all the pretty, pretty papers and cards as my projects were all waiting for me at home.

from ArtAngels website
It was, however, impossible not to notice the Mark Hearld cards planted next to the register. More precisely, the paper birds hanging above the display. Hard to say which desire came first: the desire to own them or the desire to be making and selling such lively and well done forms. His tri-fold collaged cards of leaping rabbits (excuse me, hares, he's from the U.K.), snacking mice, and questing chickens all balance spontaneous freedom with the accuracy of a practiced hand.


No surprise, then, to learn that he started out at the Glasgow School of Art, and has excelled at printmaking, collage, and fabric design. 


You also learn from an intro video (above) that Hearld is a bit of a collector, positioning the buying, collecting and arranging of objects as "almost as satisfying as creating art"; one of his past exhibits ("The Art of Acquisition") explored this and made me wonder whether he and Maira Kalman have ever crossed paths. As he said, "I enjoy objects, so I have the feeling I want to design objects. People I admire have also designed objects...It's about enjoying the visual quality of things around you." I don't have much to add to this, except that it resonates strongly for me. And it brings me back to the curious interplay of appreciating, the desire to own, and the desire to make. 
from ArtAngels    

Anyway, ain't he grand? Lisa Congdon published a nice image-laden post about him in 
2013...UK publishers Art Angels, boast an impressive artist list for their product lines, including the likes of Holly Meade, Nick Wroblewski, Angie Lewin (whose work I just saw for the first time this week, via Pinterest)...I'll definitely be trolling through their directory again. You can check out fabrics made by Hearld and other artists, here... And in his words, Hearld's Work Book looks like a behind-the-scenes visual feast.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cakeasaurus Design Progress

I'm really excited about the two designs I just pulled! My most recent studio times were well spent and differently meaningful, as they were the first such days as a mother. Javier texted me a few photos of Baby asleep in her swing, or laughing into her Grandpa's face, and I was able to happily motor along, spinning the printing wheel, holding each block up to the light, to make sure ink was evenly distributed. Satisfying days. All the more so, naturally, since the designs are fun and help to move the story along:

Page 5, approximately; edition of 25
Whereas "Cakeasaurus...Dreamt of Cake" is a bit rougher and more textured, "One Fateful Night"* feels a little slicker to me, almost possessing a 50's jaunty air. Since I have been carrying this project out over the years, around the edges, you could say, the images vary in approach and feel. This has definitely led to me reassessing and redrawing on numerous occasions -- and of course I worry about continuity and consistency -- and yet, part of me**
is confident these variations actually make the project more interesting and readers will accept it, as long as I do. Reactions?

*will be added to Etsy soon.
**conveniently delusional?
Page 17, approximately; edition of 30
I shared a few process shots in prior posts, but more photos available here

Friday, July 24, 2015

Spreads the Wealth...Addendum

Thursday: I am standing at the intersection of Liberty and 5th, floating in my own haze, until someone calls my name. I glance over and sure enough, local coolness maven Stephen stands on the opposite side of the street; he is already removing a length of corrugated cardboard from a bag.

We meet on my side, "Have you been to Bon Bon Bon? Go to Bon Bon Bon! Look how they package them. This is for ONE piece of chocolate. They're out of Hamtramck (Detroit, for out of town readers). They have a Vernor's flavor. Go buy your man some chocolate." When we had met previously, and spoke about Kent Ambler's prints, he said, "get your fiance to buy you "The Messenger," sure, he should buy it for you. Or buy it for him, and say, 'Here I bought this for you, I'm going to hang it here,' and then you have a present taken care of."

I was easily swayed, with the chocolate anyway. I had already been curious about the pop-up businesses in the old tiny Jerusalem Garden location. Katoi, the Thai restaurant was closed for the evening, due to an event in Detroit, but Bon Bon Bon was actually in its first official day of business (Thursday of Art Fair). So, what to do but get a few chocolates?

I snagged #15 for Javier
and #94 for myself.
Quite good, but gone too quickly
They're $3 a pop, but that's artisanal for you. Many more flavors to try.

I am chomping at the bit to try Katoi in Exile's Thai food -- was hoping Javier & I could swing by there while we still had some childcare, but looks like more work has popped up on his end. Takeout? Hmmm. In any case, check them out while you can: both businesses will be occupying the space through the end of Summer. Article (mostly on Katoi) here.

*** Friday's Addendum to Thursday's Addendum: We lugged the car seat and stroller into Javier's Escape (he's the master lugger) and got ourselves the last table in Katoi's outdoor seating area last night. A lovely experience! I didn't take any notes or pix, as I was hangry by the time Javier got home from work, Baby deemed us done with nursing and we could leave...but the darkening sky and the twittering birds in the vine-covered wall of Earthen Jar* mesmerized the bebe, and we were quickly and well fed. The menu changes daily, with a handful of popular repeats (like the Khao Soi); special focus on hyper-local sourcing and nose-to-tail cooking. 

 *vegetarian Indian next door

Either of us would have happily scarfed down three helpings of the blistered corn appetizer (avocado puree + nuoc cham + crispy shallots), but luckily our lack of gluttonous forethought saved us; both entrees were full flavored and well balanced (numbing lamb noodle, Khao soi --> coconut curried noodle & chicken dish). We struck out on the Thai iced tea and sticky rice, but chalk that up to us arriving in the last hour of a tiny restaurant's operation.

I have been rather out of the loop for a bit, so no real shock that I didn't know Chef Brad Greenhill is apparently a big deal, with prior ventures in Boston drawing the attention of The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Gourmet; in Detroit, Righteous Rojo gained attention in 2013 before Katoi broke out in food truck form next to Two James Distillery (2014 Thrillist love here). Check out daily menu before going.

Fun fact: Katoi partners played the ballsy move of advertising staff openings on NYC.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Stephen Spreads the Wealth, Chris R-A Shares Very Brave Dog Tales (Art Fair, cont.)

It has been statistically proven that the average art loving person has a one in four chance of chatting with Stephen Kerr* at the Ann Arbor Art Fair**; once engaged in conversation, there's a one in one chance that he will offer suggestions/directives of artists to see and also inquire after any good leads. Thus, I was on the lookout on Art Fair Day 1, but we didn't cross paths until I walked into the Yourist Gallery booth on South U. at the end of the day.

*Six-years retired art teacher to legions of high schoolers and (former) 3rd-6th graders; 2nd (if not 3rd) generation optimist; printmaker, ceramicist, art collector, cultural roustabout and stirrer-of-pots. 

**based on study by the University of Michigan, naturally. How is "average" determined for a cultured individual? So many factors, it gets complicated fast. Just ask them.

Stephen was busy in conversation with Detroit mug ceramicist Centurium Frost (cool short video of his work on Fox News), but hailed me over. This was Centurium's first representation at this show and he looked a bit overwhelmed; however, browser attention seemed steady for his work, and for that of the booth at large. He told me the next day that he was also busy adding details to other pieces, at either end of the fair day, in order to supplement inventory. "It's hard to be all things to all people!"...or something along those lines. Hopefully he had a successful first AA Art Fair.

But on Wednesday, it was time to trade names. "Kent Ambler!" I told Stephen at the same time he whipped out the printmaker's business card. So, we were on the same page, there. "Nancy Gardner, her work is always beautiful," said Stephen, "Chris Bruno! He has this great horse, I took a picture. He's all self taught. Step into the shade, I'll show you." We hovered in the shade of the neighboring tent, until we were in the path of the artist/space owner: "Coming through~~"

courtesy of Stephen Kerr
"Have you seen this couple? They've dressed identically for over 20 years, they design most of their own clothes. The hats they're wearing they designed for the Guggenheim. Even what they carry in their bags is identical. I asked if I could give them my business card and they asked if I had two. It's all about breaking down barriers."

Jesse and Ricardo (last names not used) collectively go by "Art in Tandem," they travel worldwide and welcome interaction with strangers. Get more acquainted with them on DailyKOS (includes short video interview) and through the Erie Reader (their hometown).

If the photo background looks familiar, it's because you've probably been in Peaceable Kingdom a million times by now. It's one of Ann Arbor's best browse-about art/folk art/jewelry/tchotchke boutique shops with the added bonus of fairy doors and occasional Russell terriers clicking their nails over the hard wood floors. Jesse and Ricardo were attending Thursday night's meet and greet with Michigan's own textile artist Chris Roberts-Antieau.
at Peaceable Kingdom, S. Kerr

You're probably already well aware of Roberts-Antieau's grooviness (as is Oprah, Time magazine, which called her work "Joy and a Bit of Scary" in 2013; Huffington Post, which deemed it "bright, ingenious and downright [Maira] Kalman-esque"). See also the opening documentary sequence about her (subtitled "A Love Letter to Tom Waits"). I attended another Ann Arbor pop-up event of her's a few years ago and posted photos then.

But what fuels her work? Why not go to the source? Hopefully you can read below. It will make your day better, trust me. This is excerpted from a warm, inspirational artist hand-out at the event, urging us not to give up on our own dreams ("You need that," said Stephen as he walked past me, and I couldn't tell whether that was a "You who-obviously-have-an-overactive-internal-critic need that" or "You, being human, need that," but he was right either way):

Hopefully you can read above? Artist connection with PK
Obviously, these images will not do. Visit official website, or google...

The bad news is I missed "Art in Tandem" by going later, and worse news is that you may have missed the Meet and Greet entirely and Roberts-Antieau has probably flown home to her gallery in New Orleans by now. The Great news is that Peaceable Kingdom is featuring a lot more of C R-A's work than they normally do -- through the end of the Summer -- so you can you go bask in the insight and humor of this renowned artist. Hop to it!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Art Fair Day Two, Part One. A Million Artists! Or Just One.

...And this brings us to Friday morning of Art Fair. It was raining in my half-sleep this morning. Now it is damp and sprinkling off and on (anyone will tell you, it ain't Art Fair without wet weather~), so here I am finishing last night's post, as I caffeinate. The interior dampness is due to milk spit-up, as the Baby lives up to her demographic's profile. She excels at the over-the-parental-shoulder cascade, which captures the length of one's clothing. This morning, she successfully spat up into my right sleeve, coating material up to the upper arm. Afterwards, she usually beams at us. "Oh THANK you," we say. She stays modest. And you non-baby readers are all,"Oh my GOD, why do new parents think anyone wants to KNOW this?? God." or you vacated awhile ago, before my Mammoth Baby post. Please accept my half-hearted apologies.

Onward to Thursday:

Since a helpful friend gave me the skinny on some fine stealth parking, today's venture downtown to ArtFairland was much less of a journey in and of itself, though my wandering began later in the day. A nice full morning and afternoon of La Dumpling before I skipped out, preventative umbrella swinging from my arm.

My first goal was the far reaches of South University, but I decided to cut through Liberty on the way there: Good Call, Me! Satisfaction should be credited to Booth D240. I had the lingering feeling of having missed something yesterday -- and this was surely it. Maggie Bokor, of Portland Maine, was a sculptor in her previous art life, and this can be seen and felt in her tactile, moveable pieces. Before trying on the first necklace, I warned her that I am not in the market for jewelry, since I have a new baby who has discovered how to *grasp* things. I'm considerate like that.

        "Do you breast feed?...She'll love playing with that!"
        "...she's strong, though--"
        "Mmmhmmm. I also have a friend whose baby traces her fingers around 
         and around the circles in her Echo necklace. Over in the side case."

So. She had established her strong salesmanship skills, while I had maintained my flimsy non-buying stance. The pedants in the Seagrass necklace were wonderfully touchable and organic in their movements. Whether with or without pearls (the grey ones!); dangling higher or lower; in bright silver finish, or darker, fully oxidized. Bokor creates the pendant designs first using pmc (precious metal clay), casts them in sterling, and then finishes with a patina.

And then, of course, once you try on one (or several variations of one), trying on a couple others seems to be the logical course of action. 
Horrible photos, but love for all three necklaces
A better image of the "dew drop cluster necklace" here and the large "radiance" necklace here.

Meanwhile, our conversation ranged far, into how life changing events can change you at all levels, down to the chemical; how people around you can invest themselves in your decisions and handling of life; the role of art making around transitions, etc. A nourishing kind of conversation. She comes across as grounded, warm, and insightful; making it easy to go deep. Without being precious, she sees her role as jeweler and artist extending beyond the objects created to teaching others, to aiding/witnessing transformation and self-realization {my paraphrasing}.

She eventually called her boyfriend (also a printmaker! and educator, app creator) back from a nearby cafe to join in the convo; and they checked out my recent test prints for Cakeasaurus (whee!). Separately, they are also big fans of Beck's Song Reader ; and my impression is, they'd play something for you/with you at the drop of a hat {my promise, not theirs}. So bring a hat.

Jewelry has been her full time business since 2007, with wholesale added on four years later; this is the first time she has sold at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. (Once again: Booth D240, in the happy blacktop between the Cupcake Station and Robot Store)

OH MY GOD IT'S ALMOST NOON, time to run there and then off to Dumpling's 4 month check up! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

That One Art Fair Day with Gorgeous Weather...

How's your Art Fair going? Today's visit marked my first without having a work related parking pass - the first in many years. A rude wake-up call, that. I drove to a few places, with cash! money! in my hand, to no avail; bored parking attendants shook their heads at me, "No parking, no parking. Sorrreee." Alas.

Rather than investigating other possibilities, I gave up, drove back home and walked out to the corner for the bus. The buses, naturally, were behind schedule, but I was able to skip across the street to snag an earlier arriving dovetailing route; "Pfffh, artfair," the other passenger muttered as she got on. Between the cloudless day, the rareity of bus travel for me, plus the general sense of being set free (Daddy's Take-the-Dumpling-to-Work Day!), the bus felt like a lark rather than a nuisance. I swung my legs and gazed around. A baby about my Baby's age stared up at me from a stroller; a smile bloomed across her face once I had passed some hidden test.

My first experience upon arriving downtown was watching hordes of pedestrians pour across Division against the light, as halted drivers glared and cursed silently at them. Were the bar for vehicular manslaughter easier to override, it would most certainly happen frequently at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. But good to know behavior holds steady across the years: Classic Art Fair! Made me feel right at home.

I, too, assumed my normal behavior: walking far, darting into the occasional booth, questing. I would like to say I don't revisit those I have mooned about in prior years, but it's simply not true. Moony once, moony often. I like to see how much has changed; and to reconnect, if a connection seems to be there. And I guess on my end, as a new Mom and someone not currently in the 9-5 paid workforce, I can't help looking to see how others are doing it.

Reduction printmaker from Ithaca, NY, Jenny Pope (booth A401) paused when I asked her how she has kept her creative productivity high, with a 1 1/2 year old son. Her pause seemed to say the creative work had never been in question, which made me feel a little silly, but still, it is difficult for many; "Well, I just wore him constantly. There were a few hard months, but then it just...settled in." She gestured to two of the biggest pieces in her booth-- between the two, they filled up one side, "I just did those this year." She could barely fit those through her press, which I think she said was 30x48. Whew! Also new this year -- her painted ceramics.

In addition to Joanna Mueller's new Austin Gallery (mentioned yesterday; booth B332), I found out that Anne Holman (Booth B559), whose map and antique glass (/button) jewelry I always enjoy, also opened a shop with Jen Townsend -- The Smithery in Columbus, OH. They are featuring artist work and also offering classes. How exciting! Holman also had more cast work among her pieces this year.

Amber Harrison, who traveled all the way from Saline, MI (Booth A404) not only had her satisfying moveable fan and rocking chair necklaces, but also had new architectural arch rings in sterling silver, which, when not worn, can be hung in their own brick wall setting, as tiny wall pieces ("Two Floors Up, Arch Window").

Katie Musolff's work (Booth A328) once again knocked my socks off, most especially "Bee Balm," which is just simply gorgeous. Great prickling leaves, long vertical, with a nice ruby deep red blooms at top. I don't know, maybe I should start a kickstarter campaign, to help you help me buy this, plus a few works from the next mentioned artist...It could happen.  She actually remembered me and what I had bought last year, which was a lovely bonus; she said since we're similar ages, and I had bought pieces she was especially proud of...that AND I had spent some time deliberating in her booth AND I kept writing things down. Like I said, mooning about. I showed her a couple Dumpling pictures. While I feel bad this post doesn't really have images, this image search of her name, even with false hits, gives you a good overall sense if her work.

Next to "Crow in Snow"
Kent Ambler? Who I mentioned last week? LOVE HIM. Or his work, rather. His woodcuts were promising online, but to see them in person is just really fantastic. Take "Messenger," for instance. I saw this on pinterest from a few accounts and it looks good, looks cool. But in person, the colors just *POP* -- the butterflies fall just short of glowing --  and you just have no sense of how big it is. It's huge. I absolutely love it. Design back story: His potter friend also happens to be a hoarder, so among other things he has numerous cement deer populating his front yard. One day when his friend was demonstrating "throwing" to a student, Ambler sat nearby sketching, and a crow kept alighting on one of the cement deer. This is his first time at this art fair; he is a full time artist with work in 10 galleries (i.e. American Folk, Art and Light); he usually does about 8 shows per year. Don't miss him! Other booth favorites include: "Tree Top Stop," "The Visitant," "Spring Sparrow," the simplicity of "Crow in the Snow."

If you can't visit directly, pinterest has some other greats: "Visitant," "Enchanted Pine," "Spring Sassafrass," "Evermore," "Journey" here. 2012 ArtPrize entry here.

Enough Art Fair for one day. Javier and Dumpling are in the living room watching Rachel Maddow, from the sound of it. Pending Baby approval, we're going to watch the last episode of Orange is the New Black, or Wolfpack, or perhaps I am Big Bird. Woohoo! Off to sink into the couch. Happy Wednesday, All.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

One Day to Art Fair! Sneak Peek attempts thwarted

I can't believe the Art Fair starts tomorrow! Normally, in my former life, I'd be feeling chained to my office desk, filled with anticipatory agitation, akin to the small town olde timey "circus is coming!" I tried my best to work on Tuesday, knowing that my concentration level would plummet by Wednesday morning. And, depending on my work location, music I rarely wanted to hear would be reverberating through our office walls, further decimating productivity.

But not this year! No agitating another day, because the reporting data I need is in process, no SPSS crashing or powerpoint going all wackadoo on a once properly appointed chart! No passive aggressive communications around shared kitchen areas, or group chastenings due to misbehavior of a few... But also true: the day is dominated by simple, sing-song narratives about life basics (diapers, walking, birdsong); and daily happiness pivots on the satisfaction of one teeny, tiny person. And while the house is a bit isolated, the production level of physically leaving said isolation behind is something I am still coming to terms with. Right now, the deck door is open to the rain; and the dumpling has succumbed to a nap in the darkened living room.  

Time for a quick glance at the artists of the State Street Art Fair ! The jig is up whenever she discovers Mom is no longer holding her, so anybody's guess how long this post will be. Site niggle: I will say it'll be a bit shorter than I'd like, what with the unfriendly website navigation -- while every artist name (300 of them) in the alphabetical artist list is clickable, there's no image next to these names to entice site viewers, or to differentiate one name from the next at this page level -- you need to click into each individually to learn more. which means lots of people fall off at that page, rather than clicking forward or back. You may think that's a nothing complaint, but it's basic online knowledge that any time you ask people to click to another page, you lose a portion of your readership. So you MUST provide incentive. Grr. All artists by medium is slightly better. The Original's artist directory is a lot friendlier...

On that tip, printmaker Johanna Mueller was a name I recognized, so I bothered to click through. Last year when I stopped in her booth, she was on the verge of moving from Colorado to Austin, TX and opening her own gallery. Looks like she did it! See also: pinterest account here. Booth 332.

**** and that's about as far as I got. Patience with that official site ran out. Luckily, the Ann Arbor Art Fair FB page has been posting artists across the four fairs ("25 artists in 25 days"), so there's a little more to be had here. About as random as my posts have been, but with more photos and info... The rock n' play is creaking in time with Dumpling's full-body protests (back ARCH! back ARCH!); she is aggravated or hungry or both -- either way, she is ready for something different. Tomorrow I shall run off to the art fair (/away to join the circus); today we have very hungry caterpillars and swooshing through the air.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Armchair Travel: Ann Arbor Art Fair Artist Peek

It's debatable how much I'll get to wander the Ann Arbor Art Fair next week, but just right now, with the baby asleep in a snuggly blanket in the study and a steady thrum of rain hitting our roof, it's a good time to visit the artists' directory for "the original." Starting in the A's, we have numerous returning artists here ... If I have the baby freedom, I'll check out:

  • Kent Ambler's woodcuts. Is there a growing printmaker presence at the show, or is it just my imagination? Ambler's prints strike me as more traditional woodblocks, though this may be inaccurate from an art school perspective. More rough hewn? Blockier? Words are clearly failing me. Or I am failing them. Anyhoo, they look similar to the woodblock prints I grew up seeing in my parents' house: bold lines, high contrast between light and dark, palpable texture. While I am most drawn to his single block work, his use of color is also quite good, as seen in "On the Hunt." Separately, block constructs, whaaaaaaaaaat??? In theory, we destroy our woodblocks after an edition, which I have an aversion to; but every once in a while an artist will do something else with the blocks -- or flat out sell them. Looks like he deconstructs his... Booth A532, Hails from Greenville, SC 
  • Jerry Brem's large scale mixed media paintings of book shelves hold appeal within their abstracted repetition and color variation; and inspire (a knee-jerk?) fondness. The repetitions of chairs though, aggravate in their floatiness and call to mind a furniture warehouse. Will see how they sit (*sorry*) in person.  Booth A520, hails from Lady's Island, SC
  • Curt Miller's prints. His website made me laugh, why not go laugh at him in person? Booth A537, Montoursville, PA
  • Katie Mulsoff's watercolors! Yayyyyyyyy, I love her! Returning. One year on, and I still love the pieces on my wall. Had I a bigger kitchen, I would buy some of her produce pieces. Baby currently talks to "Come Together," a still life with bird, with outstretched wings, flanked by ferns and small purple flowers. Warning: her work sells out. Booth A328, Stoddard, WI
  • Ray Maseman's narrative multiple plate etchings call to mind older schools of children's book illustration; Listed categories under his Projects tab on his web site gives some of the flavor: "Saints Reimagined," "Sub-Arctic Expedition," "Giraffe Story." Booth A518, hails from Albuquerque, NM
  • Sarah Bean's book art. Returning. I *believe* her booth was one that caused a buzz among my artist/book friends last year? Always, book sculptures make me feel ambivalent. Books! Drawn to them. Books were cut up! Makes me cringe. Booth A504, from Redford, VA
  • Local painter Karin Wagner Coron's landscapes. Returning. Local readers may have viewed her pieces at WSG on Main Street. I am a long-time admirer. The photo onsite doesn't do justice to her work -- the colors and compositions of her large pieces simultaneously energize and calm -- they'd be a pleasure to live with. Booth A364.
  • Creepy, fabulous, claustrophobic, plush dystopia of National Treasure. Joachim Knill returns. Always popular. always disquieting. Booth A206, Hannibal, MO
On a *completely* different note, artist's statements~~~ This really can help to differentiate you if it's done well. Judging by an initial scan, oiiiiiii, so many generic ones... Either inflated with art speak, or bland and obvious (I allow my viewers to bring their experiences to my work, therefore, *they* complete the art -- yes, thanks, Art 101; I use many media and colors, so it's never boring! ---hmmm, what?) On the flip side, a statement can occasionally miss the mark by striking an oddly personal tone, as in: "I just try to be myself, it is sometimes difficult when the whole world is telling you not to be" (note: this was the entire artist statement). Flip flip flip side -- this bare bones statement definitely needs fleshing out -- it tells nothing of Matthew Hemminghaus' motivation, but admit is -- it kind of makes you want to check it out (Booth A411) : "I build miniature sets in my studio which i use to photograph my chickens."

Also of Note: Artist Demonstrations! Dallison, Bean, and others are demonstrating their craft (photography, clay, fiber, metalworking, more) at select times. Full schedule here.

AND OH MY GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE BABY HAS BEEN ASLEEP THIS LONG. A blanket is being rustled. I will stop while I'm ahead.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

When in Portland, Maine, Swing by She-Bear Gallery

This! These, these, these.
I received a wee package on Monday and it definitely numbers among my happiest small art purchases. If any of you have considered, but discarded the possibility of, selling card versions of your work, I urge you to reconsider. For lo, cards are the gateway drug to larger works! ... Maybe, maybe not. My actions have yet to prove this point. I have been mooning over Holly Meade's prints since I ran across them a couple years ago and I have yet to make the leap to larger pieces. But it's a matter of money and wall space rather than lack of faith in continued love. The cards themselves will certainly help to keep her artwork top of mind. Where will they work best? Clustered in the study, a boon to typing? Cheering up the basement, near the carving bench?

I was lured in first by "Against the Tide" (2009), though I'm not sure where I saw it; once in the gallery of Meade's work, Ioved prints included "Glimpse" (2002) and "150 Working Days Per Eagle," "Nightwalker" (both 2012). Regrettably, I only became aware of Meade after her death in July 2013; but the variety and quality of her work will; certainly inspire illustrators and printmakers to come! The humor and lively joy inherent in her pieces made her well-suited to be an illustrator of over 30 children's picture books.

RE: the pictured designs --
  • "Invitation": I love its simplicity. A single outstretched hand, viewed with a measure of trepidation by the primary figure, whose own hands are cloaked in gloves, but whose garments and skin are the same hue as the one reaching out. Her ambivalence about the potential connection can be seen in the opposing lines of her scarf and hair. 
  • "Coon" Wonderful variation in line boosts the energy and sense of simultaneity, both appropriate for a raccoon; dynamic personality conveyed by the animal's framing.
  • "Angel Disguised as Woodpecker" -- favorite title and conceit
  • "Cut, Insert, Fold, Fly" -- strong image and message. Debatable that achieving an exalted status, or soaring, is easily achieved, but the idea that both options are open to us, for us, is refreshing.

Holly Meade's artwork is handled through her daughter Jenny Smick at She-Bear Gallery, located in Portland, Maine; if I were nearby, I'd definitely be paying visits to see the rotating exhibits, as well as Meade's body of work. Let me know if you check it out!  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Picture Book Update: Monster dwarfed by Obsession

Well, all craziness aside, I am forging ahead. Here's the next Cakeasaurus design in queue to get editioned at my friend's printing press -- the third design in line!

I carved this one in less than two weeks -- a record for me, as I usually milk it along, fitting in time here, time there; building up a carving callous in the first couple days and then slowing down a bit. I listen to This American Life, Marc Maron podcasts; carve from this angle, leaning into the block, carve from that angle, curling myself over the board...wander off for a cup of tea, or to bundle wet laundry into the dryer. I'd like to say that since time is shorter*, I have discovered greater focus and that I now truly understand and honor the gift of my time! BUT, no. I still slack. But you also need to know when to pick your battles: if baby mutterings are only going to escalate once your put her down? Best to become one with the couch. In truth, boosted productivity came down to the ipad. I parked it in between my carving bench S-hook and the wall and boom! I carved all the way through John Leguizamo's "Ghetto Klown."

*non-Baby time, that is.

With the subsequent baby care breaks, came the first season of "True Detective." I got sucked into drawled out menace of Matthew Mcconaughey's obsessive character and lopped off the tip of Cakeasaurus' tail. A portion of a lower case f was lost to another pivotal moment, but wood glue helped us out. I didn't take a photo of the test print itself -- will wait until I make some full-fledged prints... more process shots over at flickr here.