Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year That Was 2010

Another year gone, and in many ways a typical year. You can learn all the details by going back through the past 12 months of this blog, or look immediately below for a rundown of the stats and highlights of the past year.

Prints- As usual, didn't get as much done as I would have liked. At least part of that is due to increased employment, and a little due to exceptionally heavy snow at both ends of the year. Still, I finished two more prints in the boardwalk series, a new print in the supermarket series, contributed to 2 collaborative prints, and started on my long in planning smoking print. Plus the annual Christmas card.

Shows- Another year with no solo shows, but once again I did get a bunch of work out in public in various group shows. By my count, a total of 33 works appeared in 7 shows, with 2 of those shows traveling to a second location. The typical mix of juried, open, and invitational exhibitions.

Publicity- A photo of me next to one of my prints appeared in the local weekly newspaper this past spring. And over the summer I was interviewed for a video news story about my work and the exhibition in appeared in, with the video posted on YouTube.

Awards- Was awarded Best In Show for my contribution to the After Sunset show at the Boatworks.

Firsts- With a lot of help from experienced professional Mark Ganguzza, I produced my first digital video, The Dog Food Story, to show in the Belmar Urban Myth exhibition.

Miscellaneous- Had a work banned from a commercial location (the same print in the newspaper photo mentioned above). Saw two artists with connections to the Outlaw Printmakers on TV this summer- Sean Star Wars on a commercial, and Peregrine Honig on an art-themed reality show. Ran into Drive By Press twice in New Jersey- at my university and at a street fair in Asbury. A seminary student made me and my Ecclesiastes series the focus of a class project.

The Studio- Business as usual. The critique group continues to meet regularly, and I'm making some good prints when I can find time to get in there. At the rate things are going around here, I might not be back there until the spring thaw.

Next Year- Not a whole lot on the calendar yet. I have a couple of small collaborative pieces at the Tallinn Print Triennial in Estonia, opening in about 3 weeks. And that's all I can confirm right now. But there's talk of a group show or two for our critique group, and I'm far enough into the boardwalk series that it's worth organizing an exhibition proposal around it. I'm hoping to finish 3 or 4 more prints in that series, and to finish the smoking figure print that I started this past year. There's bound to be a few surprises as well, but we'll find out about those as they happen.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Working Day and Night

Four days since the blizzard ended, and cleaning up around the whole region is still not complete. The above photos are from my street (yesterday afternoon and earlier tonight), both typical of what can be seen around the area. I called up to my Studio's building today and spoke to the boss. The good news- the building was open if I wanted to come in to do some work. The bad news- the parking lot wasn't plowed and the local streets of Ocean Grove weren't much better, so even if I could get my car up there, I might not have any place in the area to park it. Late in the afternoon I called an artist I know in Ocean Grove and she confirmed that the town itself is unavailable for parking at the moment.

This all impacts on me (artistically) in two ways. First, there seems little chance that I'm going to get into the Studio before next week. This means I may just go ahead and print my cards at home using the less desirable water based ink. And I'll start working up the preliminary compositional sketch for the next boardwalk print on paper. Usually the paper roughs are indeed very rough and minimal, but this way I'll be a little further into the process when I finally have the wood to draw on. The second impact is that Monday is our next scheduled critique night, and that will be very hard to do if we can't park anywhere near the building. Molly remains hopeful that all the road issues will be resolved by then and wants to keep on our usual schedule, so conditional reminders went out today- our group will meet on Monday unless we can't.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I Wouldn't Be Waiting By That Mailbox

My plans for this week included taking advantage of time off from all my jobs to get into the Studio. Not only do I want to finally get all my Christmas cards printed, but I'd like to get far enough on the next print to have something to show at next week's critique. Unfortunately, those plans look like they'll be delayed at least a few days. As predicted, a major snowstorm (according to the news, technically a category 3 hurricane, but with snow) slowly passed through the area starting yesterday morning, although those predictions were way off on the accumulations, for less than half what we ended up with. Woke up this morning to find everything on my street under at least 4 feet of snow, with some drifts over my head. Before noon I shoveled out my front steps (if I hadn't cleared the area in front of my door 6 times yesterday afternoon/evening I probably wouldn't have been able to open my door today), front walk, cut a trench across the lawn to my car (not easy shoveling snow above one's head), and dug out the car. But that's as far as it went today, because as I write this no plow has come anywhere near this neighborhood. And there's no guarantee about the roads between here and the Studio, or the building's parking lot. I've got plenty of things to keep my busy at home for the next few days, but anyone waiting to receive a card (as I told one midwestern friend on the phone tonight) will need to wait a little while longer.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from Studio Arrabbiata

Last year a major snowstorm, the first of many that winter, delayed the production of my 2009 card. No real snow yet so far this year (though that could change very soon), but just a very busy and late ending semester kept me from getting the whole production done by now. I selected my inspiration (Edward Hopper) a few weeks ago and spent a couple of hours drawing and cutting the block this past Tuesday in the Studio. Brought home my water based printing stuff and pulled a couple of quick proofs yesterday on my dining room table so I could make this prototype in time for today. My plan is to do small production run with oil based ink (the water based ink isn't waterproof and sometimes bleeds back into to watercolor) next week to get out to those friends on my Christmas card list by early in 2011. The media is reporting possible heavy snow coming in tomorrow, so those expecting cards to show up in their mailboxes may have to wait a few extra days.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Good to be Home

Got into the Studio for a few hours today, something I haven't been able to do for what seems like a vary long time. Not including the critique, probably not since November. Still have one more class meeting next week, and I'll have to put in some time figuring out all the grades for my 80 or so students. But once that's done, I can get back to making some art.

Worked on a few different things today, some of which were related to the upcoming holiday, so I'm going to keep those stories under wraps for the moment. One thing that I can say today is that I cut a 16" x 24" section off one of my larger pieces of lauan, which will be used for the next print in my boardwalk series. I'll do my usual surfacing of it when I back in there next week. I want to make significant progress on it before the next critique, and having a lot of time off from my various jobs after Christmas should make that possible.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Back to the Routine

Things continue to be incredibly busy lately (between work and holiday related stuff), and I have spent very little time in the Studio over the past month. But today I had the final meeting of one of my classes, a sign that I'll be able to return to my normal art making routine soon. I decided to anticipate that and spend the evening figure drawing in Belmar. Tonight's model was one of our regulars, and also the same model who posed for several drawings that will be part of what is likely the next print in the boardwalk series. I got a very good response to the use of shadows in the last print in the series, and I'm considering doing some of the same to add some variety to the relatively simple interior scene planned for the next one. So I've been thinking a lot lately about the look of low light, and even spoke to the model tonight about the possibility of having her back to the Studio in January for a quick session to work out specific shadows for those figures from last year. (after I've worked out the basic composition and placed the figures and theoretical light sources for the scene) Meanwhile I decided to break from my usual focus on the portraits during these Wednesday night sessions, and get a little more practice in body shadows, as in the 45 minute drawing shown above.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Santa, Is That You?

Tonight was the big one night Santa is that you? spectacular down at Le Souterrain Gallery in Seaside Heights. I got there shortly after the official start time and there were already a few dozen cars on the street in front. I found a spot about half a block away, which would be unheard of in the summer.

The first thing was to check out my art before the bigger crowds arrived. Quickly I noticed that only three of the pieces were hung, and I didn't spot the fourth anywhere else. Since the walls were otherwise full, I assumed that one was cut for lack of space and exhibition organizer Graham Preston confirmed this later. The three prints did get a good spot (they can be seen in the background of the next two photos below), and many compliments from people at the show, including some fellow faculty who were mostly unfamiliar with my work.

Before long the crowds did show up. It's possible that as many as 200 people came through over the part of the evening that I was there. In attendance were several college faculty (including our dean), and a bunch of my current and former students.

They did a bit of work to fix the place up since I was here dropping off work last week. That includes constructing a few new walls to create a back room. Besides additional artwork, the back room had some of the refreshments and a few live musical acts. When you see a stack of pizzas like the one below (and more would follow), you know you're at a good reception.

Things were still pretty crowded when I took off, a sign that there is definitely interest in arts events in the area. More shows are expected to follow, and if I'm in any of them, I'll be letting you know.

Monday, December 06, 2010

December Critique

We had 11 people turn up for the December critique, though only about half had art to present. That must have been enough, because we went right up to 9:00 talking about the work. The above photo has all the work- woodblock and drawings from Molly, sculptures from Adam (tire parts), Jane (alabaster), and Michelle (mixed media). Jill and I had painting in various states of completion, mine being the large colorful piece in the center of the tackboard (a demonstration piece for class that I'll post details about after it's done. Below is a close up of Michelle's chandelier piece.

After the critique ended, almost everyone remained for about another hour. As we are in the holiday season, several people participated in a Pirate Secret Santa game, where everyone takes home a piece of hand made art.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Going Underground

Today I wrapped up what had been another very busy week. After class I took the short drive down to Seaside Heights, which is pretty much a ghost town this time of year. The reason was to deliver work to an upcoming show. This whole thing started a few weeks back when I was invited to participate in a group exhibition by the organizer, a painter connected with my community college. Not a traditional gallery, but a relatively raw art space tucked under a boardwalk arcade (thus its name, "Le Souterrain") where he has put together a few shows and hopes to do more in the future. The photo above shows what it looked like when I arrived today, remnants of a previous show still on the walls. By next week it should all be cleaned up, with the back room fixed up for the occasion.

Not surprisingly, for this exhibition just steps from the boardwalk I'm showing a selection of prints from my Floating World boardwalk series. I brought the four that I already had in frames, so all have been shown at least once before. The show is called "Santa, is that you?" (there's a long story there), a one night only event. Things start around 7 pm on Saturday, December 11th, and go on until around 11 pm. Le Souterrain Gallery is located at 1020 Ocean Terrace (near the corner of Hancock Avenue), under the Big Top Arcade. Entry will be through the bright orange door of Le Petit Garage (see photo below). There is a $10 suggested donation at the door to cover the costs of refreshments and live music.

The organizer tells me that he expects a crowd of at least 100, but we can always find room to squeeze a few more people.