Sunday, September 4, 2016

Question of the Month… there is no place like home.

Out of respect for those who were victims and/or victimized/vandalized in the closing hours of this past First Friday, there will be no wrap up posting.

Our final Question of the Month answers are below. If anyone is interested in continuing this activity, the chalkboard and easel are yours. Contact us at Journey/Snarky Art before Sept 23.

“If you were to follow your own personal Yellow Brick Road, where would it lead to?”
Actual destination places: Hilton Head – Costa Rica – Bora Bora – Hawaii – Ireland – Jamaica – Paris – Las Vegas – Chicago – Paradise Falls – South America – Cincinnati – Dalles, Oregon.

People: Alex – Lisa – Bronne – Jill Frances – Harambe (the gorilla) – Melissa – Susan – Des – Moe – Cali – Jeffree Star – the Bab - my sister – to a place where I could sit down and talk to my mother…I really miss her!

Actual existing places: home – up north – the pool – the fridge – here – houdini’s – school – Print and Press – the Shire - Hamilton

Odd: chicken paprikash – weenies

Personal Places:  my dreams – happiness – Atlantis – an adventure – hell – Heaven (2)

And with that, 22 Questions have been offered and answered since October 2014. A final “Thank you for playing” to all who came out. Stay tuned for many more blogs to come….God bless.




Thursday, September 1, 2016

Conversations with our Collection: Massillon Museum Staff Responds

Margy Vogt

Jamie Woodburn

Alex Coon

Only through Sept 12th, in the side gallery of Cyrus Framing on Cleveland Ave, one will find a wonderful exhibition by the staff of the Massillon Museum. It is an extension of the show at the main museum expanding upon the concept of artists responding to the works of others, in particular, from the permanent collection of the MassMu.  A mounted statement on the wall and a list of the 15 participants and their positions with the museum provides details that I don’t need to list here. You have to go “there” to appreciate the works anyway as my words are only a hint of what awaits.

It has been way to long since I have had the time to blog about our arts but that is changing. Despite the carpal tunnel, the almost broken ribs (did you know dumpsters have steel projections on the sides?) and the mysterious wings of a guardian angel that prevented me from being run over by a car (God is suggesting you buy my work now for future investment because the next time I might not be so lucky), I’m still up and moving (and moving) to find hidden gems for your viewing experience.

Cyrus is open from 10-ish (gotta love honesty) to 6, M –F and Sat 11 – 3.  For the sake of equality and efficiency, we will start inside the door to the right and move counter clockwise around the room with the work of Scot Phillips. Based upon a 1914 photograph of a round house collapse (a round house is where train engines would be turned around, it is not a yurt), his 5 small micro dot screen prints are on found wood pieces. Superimposed doodles, some with dates, act as graffiti such as that found on train cars today, but in different context of style. I enjoy watching how he uses this signature technique in so many different ways over the years.

Next one will encounter two photographs by intern Jamie Woodburn, inspired by the work of American landscape artist Albert Blakelock.  The two pieces are meant to be considered together, one as a larger metaphor for the path we all travel, and another for those small shelters we seek out when the journey gets hard and respite is needed.  Look for the little critter captured on film while on his own slow travels.

Alex Coon shares an audio recording and in assorted jars, collections of things that spark memories of places visited. She has the gift of restraint… a rock or two, a shell, a piece of driftwood, a trait that will serve her well as those munchkins grow and start gathering things of their own. The simplicity of the presentation has a charm reminiscent of earlier times when all one needed was a rock, not a hundred selfies to recall the blessings of family.

Heather Bullach is such a natural talent and well known in the local arts scene so I will only point out my favorite gem this time…how she captured the connection between a young Nell Dorr and herself as  women finding their paths and discovering who they are.  It is a brilliant resolution to the concept.

BZTAT has a painting in the show that is dazzling in its simplicity but complex in its rendering of a balloon man at the circus. The perspective is from the bleachers in the eyes of child and the balloons are not round but elongated, which adds just a bit of whimsy to the image. The compositional bones and use of color placement is as sophisticated as any master work, as making the “simple” work, is often harder than filling space with complex forms. The personal memory shared in her statement will make the connection even more endearing.

Mandy Altimus Pond made me laugh. Stan Baltry is her inspirational superhero, pharmacist by day, photographer by night! Before all the glitz and glamour and green-screens of today’s action figures, men were just as grand and gallant. The depiction of her own super hero (Brian) by way of her signature photographic techniques and historical presentation are charming as they are personal.

Meghan Reed presents us with three brick shaped canvases painted with small brick patterns. They reminded me of those cardboard bricks with brick patterns that my children played with years ago. There is an innocent spirit and message in these three forms….starting small, one piece at a time, we can create great things, as whole cities are built by one brick at a time.

The gem in Emily Vigils work, again a well-known and very talented area artist so I won’t dwell, can be found in her large diptych oil painting. My eye was drawn to the red shoes of the little girl entering into the woods. In this sea of greens and woodland browns, little red riding hood has ditched the cape and gone all “big girl” on us and opted for red shoes. They sparkle like Dorothy’s in this work and leave you wondering about her journey into the future that no one can predict.

Rats, I am hitting my word limit so here is a cheat sheet synopsis:

Michelle Waalkes – the photo transfer of grid over a pathway with unreachable light, creating multiple layers of crosses based upon the old Mass State Hospital for mental patients…..spot on, loved it.

April Olsen – a woodcut of Christ, but oriented on an angle, not the usual vertical, makes the presentation a layer deeper.

Chris Craft – enjoyed how his rendering of the connection between beauty and torture for the sake of others contrasts with the same concept by Heather Bullach. He used mixed media drawing, while she is drawing on her own face. His inspiration is a photo of the permanent wave machine from 1928.

Margy Vogt – smaller digital photography vignettes that capture a rusted train bridge as if an old engine itself and been repurposed as the bridge upon which it once traveled. “Rust Belt” on bands of rust like stacked belts…nailed it.

Demi Edwards, Diane Gibson, Samantha Lechner are also represented in this show but I am at my 1000 word limit so time to cut this off.  Please try and stop in this week or next and view these works by the MassMu family.  Not one red dot when I was there, we need to change that!! Some purchases will benefit the museum fund as designated on their tags. Don’t chide, I plan to put my money where my words are and dot one or two tags unless someone beats me to it.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Feeling like a TV star…..

1999    #2    Not Going Gracefully

2014   #3   "The little old lady..."
…whose show got cancelled. No, I am not talking about the studio/gallery status, which will be addressed in another post down the road. Right now, I am preparing to bring downtown about 30 of my more “controversial” and “misunderstood” paintings from the now retired (?) Women Series, the one for which I am best known as an artist. The first official painting of the series was done in 1999 when my sons were 6 and 9, and the last (?) was in 2014 (ironically of a grandma in a graduation cap). My boys are are now 23 and 26. 

Somewhere at last count, I think I completed about 150 or so paintings, with a few in storage that may or may not ever get done. My dream for the series was to have it shown in retrospective form, somewhat in chronological order, as the intent of the series was to depict the social, cultural, moral, emotional and physical changes of a woman’s pathway through life. As she ages, as she has kids, interacts with people and circumstances, and so forth. Using visual imagery, color and humor to soften the blow of my statement, some pieces hit the mark and others were just too obscure for the average viewer.

Over the years, I wrote numerous versions of my “artist statement” to try and explain the concept. Some venues got it and hosted a solo show, filling a couple dozen guest books with mostly positive comments. Others could not get past the “comic” nature and felt it was not serious enough for “real” art.  But back to my point…..I wish I could see them all in one big show, the huge party scene of color and expressions that happens when they are all together, even in small groupings.

“I love your work!” Yep, hear that all the time….I do too, that is why I did it. “But not in my house…” Yep, hear that too. My house must be very weird compared to most. “They are so expensive!”  Yep, in this part of the woods that would be true. In major markets, they are cheaper than dirt, which also devalues the product. How to price at market value when the local market does not see, or can support, the value? Catch-22, but somebody already wrote that.

So it is with a bit of sadness that I am letting these more “difficult” children of mine go out on the floor in time for First Friday in hopes that someone will want to adopt one that may be problematic in their living room. And if they can’t find homes, I am happy to bring them back and add to the growing boat load awaiting my Viking funeral.  I wonder if one can get their paintbrushes spade so they stop producing so much?!

I won’t let go of the dream to see them flooding the walls of a venue big enough to house the whole lot, frameless however. Thin little sides with exposed staples cannot compete with the deep sided finished edges I can afford now. Back in the earlier days, the cheaper the better, hence a few warped ones in the lot (like me in many ways). 50 or so have long since been adopted and I have no idea who owns most of them. Sold at shows and I just cashed the checks. Some favorites will never be allowed to leave while the boat is still in dry dock.

Will I ever go back to the series for a second wave? Maybe. There are so many “subjects” waiting to be brought to canvas, but there has to be a purpose when one is my age, to add to something that may not ever go away. I am considering a book. Maybe pick my 100 favorites and add updated commentary to them. A book would not be the same impact as a real life sized in your face presentation but I am not aggressive enough to go after that. I like to plant seeds and hope that something sprouts in somebody else’s garden.

So with all that said, stop by First Friday for a final farewell to Snarky Art …the studio as a destination in the downtown area. My space is FULL of “stuff” from the sidewalk sale including tablets, drawing boards, tempera paint, cigar boxes, glass bottles, sheets of glass, ceramic tile samples, cans of paint for pollocks, frames, props, leftover community art project supplies, the projects themselves, and just lots of junque that needs to go. Cabinets, work table, some shelving…looks like a tornado went through so I apologize in advance for the mess!!!!  And it is a BIG mess, which for an avid merchandizer like me, is a very stressful state of being.

Hoard Couture is not discounted as that is almost done being an official trademark with the US Government! Step one of going to the Cloud is to protect the “brand”.  Most paintings of mine in the signature series and the botanicals are not discounted either but fashion paintings, photography, and misc works are reduced. My last day is Sept 23. So much love and laughter has been shared in that space, so that post is for another day. As always, thanks for playing and see you soon!


PS…I am going to have more time for blogging you lucky readers you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August First Friday Wrap up Report (with comments)

Mother and Child: Forgotten
Creative minds are notoriously “messy” and so are our spaces but I guarantee you if 5mm google eyes were needed for a school project, I got ‘em and I know where they are! That being admitted to, every now and then one must “purge” which has been occupying much of my time, hence this late update.

Usually I get my First Friday wrap up done in a timely manner….but ya know, it is summer time and the liv’n is easy. Either that, or I had to spend time picking up the bottles and cups scattered along the outside of the building (out of dora bounds in many cases….would it kill the city budget to put trash cans at the boundary points?) Said cans would make good visual markers that the end is near and could perhaps include a potty? Seriously, whoever you are, did you have to relieve yourself on my back door? At least a buddy of yours used his Bud cup (not a sanctioned dora mind you….)

No Community Project to write about, too much H of F craziness or so I would have thought. Our attendance was rather low for all the hoopla going on but perhaps with Jeff K not playing and Su N out on the road, the opening act had no headliners to back up the show. But whatever the reasons, our Question of the Month did get 24 responses…..I guess it was too hard this time.

“If Canton were to have its own NFL franchise, what would be a good team name?”
The Canton Basketballs  -  The Canton Ball Bearings  -  The Canton Dora-duhs  -  The Canton Denalies  -  The Canton Bulldogs (2)  -  The Canton Wannabes  -  The Canton Kodiaks  -  The Canton Hall of Famers  -  The Canton Can-dos  -  The Canton Crusaders  -  The Canton Can’t-Reads  -  The Canton Can’t Writes  -  The Canton Thorpes  -  The Canton Bitner Specials  -  The Canton Campaigns  -  The Canton Hoovers  -  The Canton South Akrons  -  The Canton Hams  -  The Canton C’mons  -  The Canton Crime Rates  -  the Canton Canucks  -  The Canton Cats  -  The Canton Can’ts  -  The Canton Vacuums
Hmmm…a bit of a social statement going on here…..I am not one to censor any answers unless they are decidedly inappropriate, but this one disappointed me.  

So everyone gets a do-over for September.  Our question of the month will be “If you could follow your own yellow brick road, where would it lead to….?”


Coming up Saturday Aug 27th 10 – 4 (speaking of purges!) is our sidewalk sale….big bargains on art, art supplies, old community projects, stuff, props, items, things, do-hickeys and thing-a-mug-jigs…..gotta love a good regurgitation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

First Friday Wrap Up Report…..and perhaps that’s a wrap?

We took it to the streets this past July FF 2016 in hopes of reviving our most requested Community Participation Project (CPP) to date, “Rock’n the Pollock” action painting.  The four large pieces that were completed will be seen again, as some type of clothing ala Hoard Couture.  Last year we made about 30 pieces of art for purchase from the canvases created and many of them are sitting in storage so we won’t be doing that again. The displayable works of art we created from past projects dating back to the 2014 Stick Figure Challenge will be included in our sidewalk sale in late August. Be sure to stop and shop for your office, lobby, or meeting rooms.

We will not be offering a Community Participation Project this next FF, Hall of Fame weekend, as there is just so much going on. The focus of FF’s has changed so it is time to take a break and consider how to best use our time, energy and resources to promote our business. Our Question of the Month will remain for now.

Did you happen to stop in and see our new dressing room? It is a scale replica of the TARDIS from the Dr. Who BBC televisions series, built by special request of the Doctor himself. And yes, it really is bigger on the inside! Below are this month’s responses and if you are interested in past answers, we do have laminated copies of all the past questions hanging on the big board for your reading pleasure.

What was your favorite summer break activity as a kid?  81 answers

Studying – water balloon fights – playing in the creek – drive in movies [2]– catching fireflies [3] – 4th of July fireworks – camping – cookouts – riding my bike [2] – playing in the sandbox – swimming [7] – reading – reading and writing – fireworks/parades – sleepovers [2]– hiking with the family – camping with grandparents – sleeping in – yardwork – beach – climbing trees [2] – flashlight tag – Saturday morning cartoons – 6th street pool – Sugarcreek train rides – playing capture the flag after dark – strawberry picking – playing on the tracks – go carts – playing in the dirt – YMCA pool – tansi – smoking weed – skate boarding [2] – riding dirt bikes – ghost in the graveyard [2]– kick the can [2] – hide and seek – sleeping [2] – willow spgs (?) – tag – GI Joes and Transformers – visiting the cousins – playing – street ball CAR! – vacation – vacation in WVA – boating [2] – horseback riding – bike riding – cops & robbers – computer with boo – fishing – Cedar Point – tetherball – being outside – up late and sleeping in – Girl Scout camp – bookmobile – 3 unreadable handwriting – 2 erased for non-family friendly response.

I love this list, so many fond memories of doing many of these things as well. But sorry to note that my own kids did not…..our generation and the current one seem to have overscheduled our children with classes, camps and programs and been too afraid of the boogey man after dark to allow them to roam free and make their own fun. If your kids are young, look over this list and if you need to know how to play ghost in the graveyard or find fun in a creek for hours on end, we will be happy to explain it to you!


Thanks to all who came out to play. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

What do you collect?


That was the Question of the Month at Snarky Art/Journey Studios this past First Friday.  Answers to follow soon. This past Friday also debuted the “DORA” which is the new law that allows people to open carry their alcohol in a designated area. Growing pains will be inevitable and as a business within the footprint, we will have to make some adjustments. As the law is written, no one can come into our place with the cups full of beer but how we can enforce that is going to be interesting. One would think that common sense would prevail and carrying food or beverages into a clothing store would be a no-brainer, but alas…..need I state the obvious?

As the famous movie line goes “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” We are still trying to find our way to effectively communicate to the public that we are not an entertainment venue per say. Yes, on First Fridays we provide an activity so as to draw people down to our end of the block but we aren’t a bar, a restaurant, a public restroom or a lounge to listen to music. We are a retail store that features art and wearables, the majority of which are made by two people.  As time passes and this new rule of open carry becomes the norm, it will be interesting to watch how our fellow retailers handle the issues. I suspect that we won’t have too many problems in Nov – Feb, after all, this is Ohio.

Our Community Participation Project this month was Frisbee Flowers which really had nothing to do with flowers but I had a bunch of mini Frisbees donated to the cause so they came in handy. Over 160 people (final count may be closer to 170) made a paint filled platter by blowing thru a straw. Even with such a simple method, I get the nay-sayers who won’t play because they have “no talent.”  Channel that middle school moment when you shot the straw wrapper across the lunchroom and it will be just fine. Some people are just too cool for school however and find it embarrassing or annoying to be asked to participate and have a bit of fun. It’s okay, we remember who you are…and I’ll get you yet my little pretties!! It is only a matter of time. Next month, weather permitting, we plan to Rock the Pollock on the blocked off Fourth Street outside. What could be more entertaining than drunk people flinging paint? I suggest coming early, we will be doing this one person at a time so a line will be formed, and we will shut it down promptly at 9 or maybe earlier depending upon the circumstances. I am requesting donations of acrylic house paints that you no longer need. Any amount, any color as long as it is acrylic latex (no stains, no oils). Drop off cans at the studio during regular hours only or message me to make an arrangement for delivery. I am not putting the hours here to force you to go to the website, and like us on FB too!

Okay, back to the “What do you collect?” answers…. Total of 73 (some people are also reluctant to write on a chalkboard or pretend to not have seen it….a 16 square foot board right inside my door…. Which is why I have 160+ Frisbees but fewer answers.)

Natural Items: crystals – seashells and sand – shells/rocks/bones – rocks (3) – stones – sea glass (2) – plants – succulents – cat whiskers

Sports: skateboards – baseballs – MLB ballpark memories – ticket stubs

Music and Media: high end audio – records (2) – blue rays – books (2) – music boxes – old music – CDs – movies – comic books – sheet music – instruments

Kitchen and Food: recipes – shot glasses – cast iron – kitchen tools – tacos – candies – turtles/teapots/tins/depression glass

Animals: eagles (2) – panda bears – horses – cats

Things: bottle caps – postcards – snow globes – buttons – bar signs – spoons – little cars – duct tape – trains – Santas – Simpsons – art – shoes – BSA patches – tie dye – panties (late entry by a DORA participant) – one illegible entry

Clever and Creative: smiles – self doubts – wives – joy – men – lovers – dust (2) – unfinished projects – love – too much (2) – pounds – memories (3) – hobbies – family – years – educational debt


Once again, thanks for playing. I appreciate those who have stuck by the blog, or lack thereof, over the past months to almost a year. I hope to get more entries now that both sons are 1) gainfully employed 2) living independently  3) have health care and retirement plans and 4) the best projects I ever made. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May First Friday wrap up and up dates

The Junior Varsity Team worked the Snarky Art and Journey First Friday this past week. Thanks to Andy, Matt, Travis and team captains Meg and Rich.  The place is still standing but we need to start moving merchandise so the whole she-bang doesn’t have to move. We love to be here for you but you need to be here for us a well…..

Our project was an Open Studio for anyone to use the available supplies and create works of art for our clothes pin show. The Team says more than half wanted to take home their projects (who is going to argue with a kid?) but only 3 pins were left unused so the results were great.

Our Question of the Month (in honor of Mother’s Day) was “If your Mom or Grandma worked outside the home, what was her job?” 53 answers are on the board and here they are…….

Greek and Latin teacher – Bible teacher – special needs teacher -  teacher (3) – store clerk – Meyers Lake Park worker – disaster relief worker – medical secretary – church secretary – secretary (5) – auctioneer – CEO – nurse (4) – seamstress (3) – HR manager – HUD manager – dental assistant – butcher – bar keeper – phone operator (2) – appliance sales – social worker (4) – school bus driver – March of Dimes – post office – chef – pharmacy tech – plastics factory – insurance agent – realtor (2) – waitress – florist – nanny – home health care worker – guest services – drug store – clothing designer – and my all-time favorite answer… she wouldn’t have time!

Next month will be our Frisbee Flowers project and our question is “What do you collect?” This is the season of birthdays, weddings, showers, anniversaries, graduations and Father’s day so if you need a unique gift, we have one (or many). With the cicada invasion on its way, we provide a safe haven from the swarm too. Look for our display at Vintage Canton and our one of kind creations in the Hall of Fame Fashion Show!


Thanks again for playing!