Friday, December 30, 2016

Dirty Little Secrets

Dear Blog,
I am sorry to have neglected you all these weeks and months like that one grape which falls out of the bag and rots in the corner of the drawer. I see you often, but sort of just grab what I need and go. So today I am writing to apologize for abandoning you since I have discovered all these dirty little secrets.

DLS #1 – Begin prolific is a bad thing. It was supposed to be a good thing. I am learning it would have been better to put down the brushes and scissors, and picked up more books. Reading only fills up the brain, not the basement.

DLS #2 – Being prolific is dangerous to one’s health. You see, all these created things have to be put into a cyber gallery space that requires hours and hours of typing. Hours and hours of typing leads to carpel tunnel pain. Pain keeps one away from typing so you poor blog site, get the short end of the straw. I know you will always be there on the screen, waiting patiently for me to return, but those cyber surfers are short on attention and need constant feeding.

DLS #3 – I really should write down all the great thoughts I have for blog ideas that happen to evolve during the night, but I’m just not that dedicated. It would mean waking the cat who then starts to howl thinking it is feeding time. Then the bladder kicks in because it hears the cat howling and thinks great, gotta go…now. So I don’t write ideas down for you blog, I just vow to remember them.

DLS #4 – I can’t remember much anymore. If I don’t write it down, I forget. Of course I also forget where I put the paper I wrote it down on. Let’s just blame this one on the cat again and move forward.

DLS #5 – People don’t really shop on line unless it is with a big company. Maybe they can’t find us little people. Maybe they don’t realize that I refuse (so far) to spend $ “boosting” posts. Maybe they don’t realize that I have yet to figure out Instagram which supposedly is essential to selling. I heard that about Pinterest. My wrist hurts just thinking about it. If thinking starts to hurt, I won’t be able to read, so I guess I’d have to go make more stuff. I think Catch 22 needs an upgrade….more like Catch 82….

DLS #6 – Okay, once one gets all their pictures taken, edited and uploaded without annoying backgrounds and distracting bodies (per trend), one comes to find out that now the pictures are supposed to be with people wearing stuff and in an environment. Really? So now I have to find people willing to pose and then do all that wrist action going through the process of data input again? Can I sue myself for workman’s comp?

DLS #7 – We live in a mobile world dear blog. Well you don’t. You just sit here in your blue W icon waiting for me to feed you words. But people do. Those same people who are supposed to be ordering merchandise from their mobile devices and wanting it shipped. I’m cool with that. I’ll ship you whatever you want to buy, but will you be someplace stationary long enough to get it? I can envision those drones chasing somebody down the street trying to drop off their package…like a scene from a Woody Allen movie.

DLS #8 – Dear blog, I hate to hurt your feelings but nobody reads you anymore. Not since I stopped talking about other people’s art. Plastic Jesus remains a big hit, but nothing else really interests anybody. It’s you and me Snarky. Maybe I should do fake review of shows that should have existed but didn’t. If it works for the Ruskies it should work for me right? This has potential……

DLS #9 – Bloggy, I did avoid you as well because of this tumultuous year. You are supposed to be a place for opinions and comment, but with all the vile rhetoric going around this year, I felt it best to lay low and not wake the sleeping cat.  Keep the claws in the paws, keep the tail low and go, ride the fence and hope everybody calms down…..

DLS #10 – I will put forth promises to you that I will write more. Don’t believe me. Staying home again is rather nice. The world is full of crazy drivers and distracted people so why should I venture out and write about a show that nobody will ever read when I could be sitting on my patio or walking the woods? Hell, I’m old enough to move to the Villages, shop on Senior Citizen’s discount day at many local retailers, and give young hooligans a stink eye without worrying about the resulting wrinkles. I even look forward to watching Hogan’s Heroes every night just so I can sing the theme song (yes, it has real words!)

DLS #11 - There are many more dirty little secrets about this online shopping and selling biz that I wish I knew then but I do know now…. However, if kids can learn common core math, then I can figure out cyber clouds. So Bloggy, while you wait for me to come back again, don’t feel like I have abandoned you. There are so many cool and funny things to write about, but between you and me lies an ornery cat.  

That’s about it for now Snarky blog. Thanks for listening (or recording I guess). See you soon (really, I’ll try harder). Love, me. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Circling the Airport

No, not literally. That phrase best captures where I am right now (for the whole 5 of you wondering). With the closing of a brick and mortar and a return to the home studio process, something happened. I think I retired (for now anyway)…. from the career which defined “me”.

In October, I was presented with the Alumni Gallery of Achievement (Hall of Fame if you will) Award from my high school. 5 of us were inducted. On stage, giving a speech, doing a recorded message for the in school TV station (sure a long way from the nerdy AV guy who hid in a dark room and knew how to magically work the film machine), engraved image on the wall for perpetuity, intro at the homecoming game…all those bells and whistles one would expect for being honored to have been busy and very successful for 35 years in a chosen profession. It was great….but it felt like an ending. Not a bad thing, but like an “okay, you can put the brushes down now.”

Couple that with the timing of empty nesting 6 years after the fact…..I was gone before the kids were….and it just feels weird. Now don’t go thinking I am going to go back to serving on committees and boards and special events and all that time absorbing activity…I am rather enjoying the emptiness.

But nature abhors a vacuum so I hear and down time has never suited me. Now I sew stuff, or rip it up and remake it, or cut things apart, try something new and may ending tossing in the dumpster. It is like creating a painting but without the cleanup. Some may think that rearranging garments is not as “impressive” or “worthy” as creating something on canvas.  Perhaps. But at least I don’t have canvases stacking up along the walls waiting to be disposed of by my kids if nobody wants them. Someday they can just drive a van to the local clothing donation center and say hasta la vista baby with no guilt attached.

Textiles (fancy word for garments and clothes so I sound more impressive) still require an understanding of line, shape, color, texture and space….especially when one never uses a pattern or guide. The elements of design still exist, only in a different form.  I am still working with my hands…more so now than ever before. My brushes were always between me and the surface. Now I am in direct contact with the media…I can feel each stitch and how the fibers are reacting. The colors, especially in denim, have subtle variations that can affect the look of a piece on the human body. Textiles have different weights to them just as watercolors are different than acrylics. The only downside is the number of pins and needles I lose on the floor, in the carpets, on the chair cushions……and the times I stick myself with various sharp objects. Sewing is far bloodier than painting!

Another reason I am circling is personal and related to family. I need to be ready to “go” at any time should someone older or younger than me need help. It is simple to turn off the machine and walk out the door. No clean up. Sometimes life is a holding pattern and other times we can land safely and disembark. My extended vacation downtown is over and I am back on a plane to a new adventure. No idea how long the flight will be, where it will take me or what lies ahead, but there are plenty of drinks and snacks on board and I have a window seat! Will I paint again? Absolutely, I miss it already and ideas are building up, but now is not the time. My supplies are in the overhead bin and I can’t get to them just yet. You will know when I land….and you can bet I’ll be well dressed. Until then, please check out the online shopping site at and the associated FB page Hoard Couture Original Denim. The Fine Art America merchandise and print site will be have new (old works) added to the inventory as well over the next several weeks. Plus I have to learn Pinterest, Snapchat and who knows what else…so knick knack patty wack give this old dog a bone and let’s learn some new tricks!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

In the Spirit of Peace

Normally I would not post anything too religious or political but I have to share this because it really touched me last night. I attended the Walsh University Celebration of Lessons and Carols, a concert by the Walsh University Chorale and Chamber Singers of which someone special to me is a member of the chamber group. Two hours of music and verse, old standbys and some bring down the house southern gospel. Impressive indeed.

One hymn however was unknown to me and the text was included for the audience to sing along. It was introduced by the conductor, Britt Cooper, as piece he selected on purpose to address the tensions that have faced our country since the election last month. His explanation was longer than that of course but no need to elaborate here. You will understand when you read the words below. Sorry I cannot provide a musical reference as to the tune itself so think of it as poetry and search your hymnals or the internet for further details. Also, if you so desire, substitute “little child” for a deity or symbol of your own faith but I believe the context and intent will remain the same.  Enjoy in the spirit of peace and fellowship.

We Wait the Peaceful Kingdom
(Kathleen Moore / Hal Hopson)

We wait the peaceful kingdom, when wolf and lamb shall lie
In gentleness and friendship without a fear or sigh,
When lion shall be grazing, when snake shall never strike;
A little child shall lead us both strong and weak alike.

Where is the peaceful kingdom? When will this new day start?
We long for peace and comfort to reign within each heart.
Yet not in our lives only, nor simply in our home:
We pray that all creation will one day find shalom.

When wars of desolation and hate come to an end,
When nation meets with nation and calls the other “friend”,
Still in peace in all its fullness will only have begun:
“shalom” for all creation begins with justice done.

That little child shall lead us to walk the chosen way,
To share the peaceful kingdom, to greet God’s newborn day.
The child born in a stable is sent to break our chains,
To bring through word and table the day when justice reigns.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Paradise by the Dashboard….right.

If middle aged women designed this machine it would do something like this…..

The “dashboard” to which one must return constantly when working on some programs would be renamed “Location of Main Topics” Then these menus (were people hungry then they designed this world?) would be called my “things I may need to do under each major topic….like a “to do” list, list”   And before I forget, (we are middle aged here, keep that in mind) but every 30 seconds, a “be sure to SAVE your progress” box would flash right in the center of the screen and not go away until on clicked on it.  (I just saved this…)

The issue of moving the mouse once one has decided to click on the “expand this category and show me the ‘to do’ list arrow, would not go away if one tends to be a bit wavy on mouse control. Our eyesight isn’t what it used to be and the distance from face to screen is too far for reading glasses but not far enough for regular glasses. The screen floats someplace just out of focus but clearly visible. Little mousy arrow/dot doesn’t run a steady course but how many dang times do I have to go back and expand that “to do” list because I veered off course a millimeter or so? (just saved this….)

If this machine were truly smart, it would know that if I have done the SAME THING at least 5 times in row, I am probably going to want to do it at least once more. If I wanted my progress go back 5 steps each time I push save (hang on….needed to save again) then that is what I would be doing on my own, but I’m not. Just keep going in the direction I have been for the last couple of hours. I do not enjoy mousy time going back and forth pulling up (or out or down) my “to do” list  (save) then tiptoeing through the tulips to get back to my same spot, over and over and over…..

A really smart machine would notice if I do something I have not done before, like push a button that does something I do not understand…because my eyesight isn’t what it used to be and my finger slipped. This machine would flash a sign (like the Save sign…hold on, gotta save) that would say “hold up lady, are you sure you want to do that? You hit the C or F or whatever button and this feels unfamiliar….why don’t I fix it for you and if you really wanted to do that maneuver, you can hit it again and we will both know what you intended. Oh, and DO NOT hit save if you have not responded to this message.) Because if you do….in little text will scroll the words….”ah shit, now I have to text my kid at work or his girlfriend at school and ask for help “

I think that options should be offered for that hand symbol with the raised index finger. Sometimes a raised middle finger seems more appropriate.

A great feature would be the ? button. If one were to push the ? symbol about 6 times in a row (because we are irritated), a box would pop up that asks you what’s wrong? You type in your problem and the machine fixes it. It doesn’t TELL you how to do it, it just corrects the issue. Issues like stuff suddenly disappearing. A finger slip again and lots of work all gets sucked up into cyber purgatory. (save).  If that happens, why can’t a little guy carrying sign appear on the bottom of your screen, a sign that says, “it’s okay, everything is right here, all saved, just click in my sign when you need it back, no need to have a panic attack {he’s a little poet too}.

Labels should make sense. Header and Footer? I know, they are grammar terms for page layout, but why is it so hard to say top and bottom? Maybe I want a Lefter and a Righter…why are those not options?

Could we get these machines with two options of operation…and don’t ask me about “operating systems”. Half the time I can’t get the system I think is logical to operate in a method that is systematic. There should be an “efficiency” option and a “conversational” option. Those who like checking boxes and drop down lists would be happy and those of us who feel this machine works FOR me would be happy. Conversational option would pop up questions which we can answer such as “what color would you like the background?” I could type in “light blue would be nice, not too robin’s egg though” and it gives me one. It should give us feedback or affirmations such as “nice choice” to which I can respond “thank you”.  I wonder if I need to get back out with real people more often? (save).  

The Word document I am on now has a little paintbrush up by the scissors, paper and paste images. I think it needs a rock symbol. Come on, rock, paper, scissors would be funny. I understand the use of the scissors to cut, the papers to copy but the paintbrush is a big disappointment. It doesn’t paint anything. It is format related. I want a rock. You click on the rock when really ticked off and want to throw one through the screen. A box would pop up – in conversational option of course – that would first apologize for pissing me off, then ask what it can do to help me. (save) I really want those paper and scissors buttons to move. That would be fun, to have the scissors open and close, the papers shuffle around….how hard would that be?

There are also too many ways to do the same thing. Want to “find” some text, push this button or that one or type in the words or do a hundred other choices. Why not just proofread the document? Remember how we had to actually re-read our papers before turning them in? We made the choices for words and usage and had to check our spelling. We learned from that. This thing tells me that half of what I write is wrong. Good thing James Joyce didn’t write on a computer.

How about little bike flags that appear on documents which get hidden by others as “pages” pile up on the screen, the proverbial messy desk of yore. When a page gets covered by another on the screen, I’d like one of those orange flags on a long stick to sprout out from the top of the page so I know its back there. Of course in middle age world, the flag would be like a post-it note with a word or two on it so I would know which page it is without having to click on it. (save)

I could rant about the “blackboard” which really isn’t or any number of other techno technicalities but I will “save” that for another time. Right now I need to go use my hands and make something, which alas, I will have to photo and upload and all that jazz on this machine. Sometimes it takes longer to do the mechanical part than it does to do the manual part. Thank you for allowing me to vent. (And thank you for all of the Birthday wishes, one big positive aspect of cyberworld is the instant communication between friends and family near and far). 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Judgement Day

Just a few thoughts about this past week….

Would you ask the 911 or suicide prevention hotline person who they voted for, and if not the same as you, would you hang up?

When the AAA guy comes at 6am on a cold snowy winter morning to jump start your car so you can make it to work on time, would it matter who he voted for?

If the hospice nurse holding a loved one’s hand during their final hours on this earth not be of the same party as you, would you tell her to let go?

If the fireman searching for your lost dog in your burning house didn’t agree with your point of view, would you tell him to forget it?

If the guy working the parking deck exit thingy didn’t vote your way, would you be willing to sit in that deck for a long time?

Would you turn down the couple who is spending money on your creation because the sign in their yard didn’t match yours?

If the surgeon about to care for your cancer tumor didn’t vote your way, would you get up from the table?

The leaves will still fall, the earth will still spin, and gravity is still working fine……

Did you offer someone a smile today? Did you say “thank you” to a stranger, did you appreciate the sunshine on your face or appreciate the warm coat you were wearing? Did you thank the deity of your choice that you woke up to live another day?

We are all guilty of something, we are all better than someone else, and worse than many. We are human, we are alive, we are able to love and be loved. We are able to do good deeds for others and make a positive difference in their lives, one simple gesture at a time. We cannot be responsible for how others think or feel, it is not our job. Our job is to be a good person so we can be good to others, one person at a time.  Hold open a door, smile at an elderly person, say thank you to anyone that deserves it and judge only yourself as to whether you did the right thing today or any other day. 

When your life is in someone else’s hands, and someday it will be, who they voted for, will not make a difference at that moment in time. Nor should it ever when the moment has passed. Love thy neighbor….I’ve heard that someplace before….sounds like a plan worth putting into action.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Fabrical and Digital, The Art of Karen and Bill Bogdan

Main Showcase Introduction

Wedding Party at Gervasi

Gervasi - Piazza Dining

Inception 1


The North Canton Little Art Gallery is currently showing the work of these two artists until Dec 4th.  Intrigued by their pieces in the Stark County Artists Show at the MassMu (see previous blog), I decided to get a larger offering of their work in a different context.  The Canton Rep wrote a full article (meaning multiple paragraphs in this sound bite age of ours) about this current show as well just a few days ago.

The printed program and list of works available at the NCLAG has several pages about the artists, their process, their relationship and this show as well as many visual examples. Bill likes to write so I was not surprised and it did allow for a deeper connection to the show by knowing all this detail. I would encourage you to read it over once before and once again after viewing the show. I did so and it made me go back and look at some of their pieces again with a different perspective and appreciation.

I do know that putting this show together was more intensive than most. Curator Elizabeth Blakemore worked her magic on the Bogdans to get the right feel for this show. Bill is making a name for himself with his woodcuts (The Chess Player) but there are none here. Instead, we have digitally enhanced oil pastels of a realistic nature, drawings in the true sense of an artist capturing a moment with a tool in his hand, not under it, like a mouse. Karen’s pieces are fabric (and mixed media in some cases) for the most part, textiles, not quilts. For the sake of space and not repeating what has already been written or what is available at the show, I am just going to offer some observations as my notes come together.

The way the show is laid out, with his more “gentle” works placed in-between her more “passionate” creations, gave me a clue to their connection as a couple. I use those two words in quotes because this presentation made me feel he is “there” in that space to say “I’ll keep you calm, I’ll keep you grounded”.  Their 50 years together is documented in the big showcase and the best way to start the gallery walk.

Ladies first so let’s explore Karen’s works. She was an elementary art teacher which means she must know many ways to make things and many historical art figures that kids can relate to such as Henri Rousseau. Her piece “Save the Forest” captures his spirit.  “The City”, a wood sculpture, appears to be channeling Red Grooms. “City Flowers”, a black and white pieces, is reminiscent of the boogie woogie jazz age of NYC.  Perhaps I am leading you to think she has no focus, but quite the opposite is true. She has an keen interest in textures, techniques and experiences….a voice saying “hey, lets try this now” much like an elementary teacher can’t stay in one place too long. I can relate. It gets a bit crazy up in the old brain with too many ideas and not enough room to hold them.

Continuing on, “Inception 1” is a big bang piece of layered fabrics, some transparent, some translucent, to give a feel of gasses in the big abyss of the universe. The work is stretched over deep sided canvas (or so it appears) which is a welcome change to the traditional flat on the wall display method associated with textile arts. In contrast to the delicate nature of “Winter Scene”, I have to talk about “The Carousel” because you can’t escape it. I would imagine that there are quite a few who would wonder “why is that here?”…well let me tell you why I think it is. Created in 1995, the oldest piece in the show by decades, it is an anchor piece. We all have them, the ones that marked a milestone or a change or that we just darn well like and want to share. “The Carousel” is big and bold and brash and loud…..but so is a carousel in real life. They spin, and shine and have loud music and go up and down….this multimedia fiber piece captures that essence, that craziness that makes a merry go round the favorite of many a child.  

Okay, a few words about the gentleman now. As I said, his pieces are surprisingly quiet in nature from what we have come to expect. All recent (2012 – 2016) these 14 framed works are digitally enhanced prints of his own drawings originally in oil pastels. The style is reminiscent of early Van Gogh with the layering of markings, the linear quality and the figures going about daily tasks, most notably in the Gervasi pairing.  All the subject matter and scenes are local.  One however, “Goodrich Smokestacks”, at first felt like I was viewing the World Trade Center Twin Towers by the way he has visually framed the imagery. So too does “Red Ball over Market Street (Akron)” have a minimalist graphic quality, especially if one does not know the reference. Both are strong pieces which work well together.

I would hope that the traffic is good through the gallery to see this show as it has universal appeal and offers much to take in. The only thing missing is a current photo of the couple. It would have been fun to have them pose in the same manner as the photo from long ago and include it in the showcase. Thanks to Karen and Bill Bogdan for sharing their story and their work with all of us. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Stark County Artists Exhibition 2016 at the MassMu

Karen Bogdan "Deep in the Forest" Fabric art and paint

Note* I was going to include more pictures but Artwach beat me to it as we chose many of the same.

Finally got a chance to stop by and see this year’s show. When I walked in, I wrote “wow, color!!”  It is a more colorful presentation than in past years, but rather slim in content and at times felt a bit dated. Full disclosure, I did enter the usual three, but only halfheartedly because I felt it was my duty as a Stark Co artist to do so.  With my retirement from the canvas now in full swing, or at least dormant for the foreseeable future, I just didn’t feel the urge to be a part of the show. It was a joy however to walk the gallery alone and take in the works of some of the best talents in the area.
The judges and I would still be in a fistfight if I had been one of them. I don’t know them, I suppose I could google them, but why. Knowing their preferences or styles would not have changed my opinions, maybe just help answer “what were you thinking???”

My husband is fond of saying “if you can’t make it good, make it bigger” which applies to a few of the pieces, ones that reminded me of foundation level still life set up paintings, basic assignment type of projects. The 3-D category was positively anemic, where are all our craft media artists?  A few works were practically carbon copies of each other in style and technique by different artists and a couple may be oldies but goodies!  However, all that being said, there were some absolute gems to explore so let’s move on with what I discovered.

Spencer Molnar, “Devil in a Blue-Green Dress” (Honorable mention) was the best of the three he has included, hung side by side as well. Enter 3 of the same, hope they take one, good odds. In this case all three got in and yes, they are well done but I would rather see them side by side in a larger solo show, not next to each other, because here the star was tarnished just a bit by her neighbors.

I was fooled by Lee Novotny’s “The Watcher”. From a distance it looked like a photograph with the framing an integral part of the work itself.  Much of this show I enjoyed from a distance which attests to the skill of the artists to deal with depth so successfully. Contrast and scale are essential elements to pull this off. Diane Belfiglio’s “Going Deeper ll” is a prime example. With no contextual references, one can see this underwater subject matter as perhaps celestial or abstracted imagery that grows more powerful the farther you step back. Up close, the blue form appears to be a felted material collaged on, not a drawing, a testament to her skill with oil pastels.

Emily Bartolone’s “Space and Motion”, a work of roll paper, pen and ink, though non-representational, was to me a like looking at a map that had gotten wet, been forgotten, had coffee set on it, and maybe even put into a bottle at some point. I spent quite some time imagining different coastlines and trying to make a reference to a location even though I knew no real one was to be found.

Karen Bogdan’s “Deep in the Forest”, a fiber arts piece, I felt was the better of her two included here. I loved the complex layering of the leaves, capturing sunlight and shadow by the textiles and their placement. The addition of stitching and her use of scale made this one of my favorites, but also because it felt more like a painting than a textile with the framing a big part of that.

Bill Bogdan’s woodcut, “The Chess Player”, should have won something. Perhaps it was too complex in meaning. This larger work is multilayered, not media wise, but mentally. The use of positive and negative space, the “live” man in the light and dressed, the “inactive” man, empty, barefoot and slumped over….dead? Only one piece is missing from the board, a pawn, on the side of the inactive player. The timer is numbered on the light side, empty on the dark…has time run out? The title is singular, not plural. Is this a contemplation of his own mortality? Is the game over or just beginning? So much to see and contemplate and I am sure most visitors will walk right past. Too bad, they will miss something important that art is intended to do, capture our attention and make us think.

“We Will Call Him Snappy” by Nate Forshee has a great title for his off centered portrait of a turtle. This offset placement is a compositional moment of genius, notice how concentric circles and the repetition of circles are formed by the shapes of the animal itself, like raindrops in a pond. Turtles live in ponds.

The mixed media works of Kelly Rae were stunning. I hope to see more of her work and perhaps a solo show.  The atmospheric landscapes are conducive to contemplation and I am glad she gave no reference to a specific location because the viewer can now let their own imagination take them to this “place” with whatever emotion is needed at the time.

Brian Robinson’s talents with soft pastel are beyond words. He needs a big solo show someplace so I can see more. The scale alone is intimidating for “Resting Soil”. One can feel the warmth of the earth in the spot on the field illuminated by a sun we cannot see.  Again, the “from a distance” factor is in full play here, both his pieces are even better when standing back, if that is even possible.

A few final mentions, Tom Wachunas (good thing you didn’t touch that flag, my DAR would kick in); Nanette Ream (you have a future in textile design, the “Fish” was fantastic); Michael Weiss (finally some clever fun in this show, thank you!)

Congrats to all the artists whose work hangs on the walls, putting your soul on display is never easy.
Until next time…..thanks for playing.

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… 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!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

74th Annual May Show – North Canton Little Art Gallery

The Triumph of Craft - detail
With mixed emotions I took a tour of this year’s NCLAG May Show, one of the two “local” competitions that seem to validate the status of artists in Stark County. Without all productive and talented artists in our area participating in these shows however, it is unfair to really assess the value of these exhibitions in that regard. As a showcase opportunity however, this year’s offerings are a wonderful array of nature inspired imagery. One could almost label this a theme show.

Beautifully hung by curator Elizabeth Blakemore, each piece is in harmony with the ones that surround it and nothing overwhelms any particular wall. There are focal points due to contrast and scale, but nothing shouts out over its neighbors….well, except for Russ Hench’s big ummm….rooster painting that screams across the whole library. By far my favorite in the whole show, it did receive an Honorable Mention in the acrylic category. Loud and large and just so much fun to look at, his impressionistic approach using flat brush strokes and the slightly off kilter angle of the fence, truly does bring to life this tipsy rooster walking down a Key West sidewalk.

There are 52 entries in the gallery with 21 of them NFS, which I find an extraordinarily high number. I wonder why? Full disclosure, yes I did enter, no I did not get in as the entry stood. It was a two part entry as one unit. The judges wanted one, not both so it’s a no. Stop by Journey to visit my rejects…a nice perk to having one’s own gallery space. The jurors were a husband and wife team from Ohio’s Polytechnic University (the in-transition U of Akron, my undergrad ala mater) who obviously spent a great deal of time going over each piece and pulling together a very cohesive distribution of works that focus on craftsmanship, technical skill and strong fundamentals. Personally I found it a bit light on message or statement pieces, but there is a good bit of humor mixed in so I’m okay with it.

Michelle Mulligan’s “Art Her-Story” is outstanding. Earning Second Place for 3-D entries, this found object and gourds creation is worth the need to get down on your knees and look at the detail and personalities of the faces. If you know art history, you will recognize the ladies depicted.  Heather Bullach, a truly gifted painter has 2 pieces, neither of which earned and award, but I would have given her one. Her oil on board “The Rising Sun” captures a moment in time through the use of only one, yes one, brushstroke. A single hint of yellow on the side of building in this small landscape is amazing. Her career is just beginning.

Gail Wetherell-Sack’s “Poppin’ Red” is also a fun piece in that her title is layered with meanings as one works through this mixed media Honorable Mention work.  Handmade papers, cut outs, pop-outs, bright colors, lime green frame, patterns, textures etc…I was a kid in a candy store. Her use of the green frame brings up the issue of framing….(eating some crow right now…..) but this year, the frames became part of the works more so than ever before. The idea is growing on me. Without some of the creative framing such as Lee Ann Novotny’s “A Superior View from Paradise”, a delicate colored pencil landscape, the piece may have been overshadowed. Instead, the framing almost functions as a window enhancing the concept of her work. But as framing may givith, it also can taketh away….gold metal frames are as out of date as saddle shoes, time to leave them at home and paint the edges of a deep canvas. Deep canvases being a way to validate that pieces are new.

My carpal tunnel is kicking in so time for this post to close. But I do want to mention the First Place winner in mixed media by Daniel Vaughn entitled “Which Way?”, a 12 x 12 black square that houses and intricate Lego pattern. At first one thinks, yeah, I’ve got bins of those puppies in my basement, but the concept grows on you. I would love to see a whole wall of these squares, like quilt patterns, or a whole room full in patterns and designs that treat the little bricks as strokes of color when laid on their sides. Hmmm…..I feel a dress coming on.

On view through May 31st, make the time to visit this year’s show. Congrats to all!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Image to Image: Photojournalism Students from Walsh University at Studio M

Tyler Dowd "Hole in the Wall"  digital photography 
Once again, Studio M at the Mass Mu is exhibiting the works of students enrolled in Photojournalism at Walsh University. 18 images are on view and well worth the time to stop by. Professor Lee Horrisberger has taught her class well.  In a world were almost everything is “caught on tape”, selfies saturate our servers, and images can be captured instantly on a cell phone, the role of photography as an informational art form is becoming somewhat of a dinosaur. Considering the long and rich history of photographs as our source for emotional connection to situations where words cannot say enough, it is refreshing to see students challenged to keep this tradition alive.

A large statement is posted just inside the door so I will skip the details of the specific assignment. Students were allowed to use “cameras, computers and photographic equipment from Walsh’s Communication Department to imitate the style, lighting and content of a photojournalist of their choosing.” Next to almost every image in the show is an explanation by the student as to why their journalist was selected and how a specific work by this person influenced the image you see. I would recommend that these comments be read in order to put the student photographs into their correct context.  One must keep in mind that these are intended to be emotional pieces that convey a story visually, not just “pictures” of people or things. But this is Snarky Art so I chose to see them also as independent works of “art” because this is a show rich in happenstance and the merits of just good old fashioned fundamentals.

As with any show, there are gems to be found and I will touch upon a few as we progress. Since space (and your attention) are limited, not everyone will get mentioned but all the works were deserving of comment. Several pieces already had red dots on the tags and my visit was the day after the opening!

Working around the room from the statement and going counterclockwise (because I know you print these blogs out and take them with you to follow along…right?) Brook Morgan (Jr) presents “Avery”, a study in crisp contrasts of black and white (on several levels) that captures a moment in time. Inspired by Sally Manns, Ms. Morgan’s subject does not look at the viewer but rather pulls us out of frame to wonder what caused the reaction we see on the child’s face. The child’s emotion is contagious.

Ronnie Stokes (Jr) whose piece is entitled “Zac Carter” is more than a journalistic project, it is also a study in the layering of triangles, whether intentional or not. Three bright “stars” of light forming the first such triangle are the teeth, the earring and the logo on his hat. If one continues to look for smaller and smaller triangles they are easily found. It is this underlying fundamental element (shape) of composition that elevates this piece and gives it bones.

Kaci Bucklew also has a basic element of art (space) which creates a layer of interest most likely unintended, hence the role of happenstance. The figure in “Matthew Lenz” is holding a longboard, the intended subject of the image, but the placement of the figure to the right leaving an empty space on the left, his eyes looking left, and a horizontal tree branch in the background located almost at eye level, all pull the viewer out of frame to wonder what is happening elsewhere. What is the rest of the story? Perhaps other skaters? I believe the board was to be having it’s portrait taken, but the figure holding it in place is far more intriguing.

Tyler Dowd (Jr) has a well written narrative of how he captured his graffiti image which leaves the viewer wanting more of the story when paired with the picture.  “Hole in the Wall” is just the beginning of an interesting journey on the part of the photographer. Whose work did he capture? How did it get there? Why was it done? All these questions are left unanswered…….the picture made me want to search for clues.

Dallas Makowski (Sr) was inspired by Neil Leifer’s image of bowling. Mr. Makowski’s “New School” appears to be a well thought out response to the formal elements of his chosen reference photo but to capture the moment in time of a bowling ball midway between the release and the lone pin at the end of an alley, is not something planned. Perhaps luck played a big role in how this study in contrasts works so effectively, but it does, and photojournalism is sometimes just all about being in the right place at the right time and pushing the shutter button.

Jamie Woodburn (Jr) had that same good karma with her the day she set out to capture sunlight. Inspired by Eliot Porter, one of the first photojournalists to work exclusively in color, her image “Sunlit Forest” reveals more than was perhaps intended. A strong visual piece as it is presented, look a bit more closely and one will see that she was not alone in the woods. Directly below the burst of sun (something that happened suddenly on a cloudy day according to her narrative), two trees form a cross (X marks the spot?) and within the negative space formed by those trees, a “face” can be seen in the shapes and patterns. I found more faces than the one which is most obvious. Yes, the intent was to capture light, but the almost holy intensity of the sunburst itself also gave us life in the forest.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the work of Alejandro Meza (Soph) and his piece “Never Ending Pathway”. As an artist, I was drawn to his overwhelmingly strong use of line as pattern in this image that depicts a man walking in a snowstorm on the edge of the woods. The blurred trees are vertical, the seams of his jacket are horizontal but he is vertical figure as well, and the wind driven snow is diagonal. Add the elements of texture and space and this work is dead on to his source of inspiration, the work of William Eugene Smith whose figure is in a circular composition.

There is more to see in this small but very strong show at the Museum. Good job to all these students who put their work on public display and I encourage the viewers to purchase a rising star or two as the prices are extremely reasonable and well worth your investment in their future.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

April First Friday Wrap-up

This past April First Friday was our best yet! Thanks to all the PR from Dan Kane and the Rep, we had people coming in just to see the store and participate in our project, many who had never ventured to the west coast before.  Hopefully we can keep that energy flowing. Letter Press Jess and Canton Clothing open officially next month so our little corner will be the place the BE!  Maybe the new tree wraps helped bring good karma as the olds one had faded. Our birds were certainly a happy flock (and Booger the squirrel even got into the new feeders like his own personal seed scooper).  The sunflowers are starting to poke thru the grates (or were until the snow came), but spring is here and so are new creations from our studios.

Our Community Participation Project was “We are of one cloth”, which asked visitors to decorate a 5” square of fabric that I will sew into a wall hanging/quilt.  Now people…… do I really have to spell out exactly what is expected? I can’t count the number of people that read my sign asking for participation in a “community quilt’ and they thought I was expecting them to sew.  Once that fear passed, most were willing give it a try. Stamps and pads were provided (giving a little head start on design options) plus markers and crayons. The results are incredible and not one inappropriate or censor worthy one in the bunch. However….your work stations were left in a horrendous mess this time. Missing caps, lost stamp pad lids, stamps all over the place…..hmmm… candy dish for you next time!

Our “Question of the Month” was “All past and present candidates excluded, who do you think would make a good president?”  69 people offered up some interesting choices.  Here are you answers: (oh, forgive me if I don’t know who your person is or if I spelled it correctly …or if you didn’t)
Music: Ted Nugent – Mic Jagger – Axl Rose – Cher – Ezra Koenig – Lana Del Ray – Wiz Khalifa – Vermin Supreme (who?)
Actual Political People: Joe Biden – Condolezza Rice – Colin Powell – Liz Warren – Glenn Cummings – Hilary Clinton (what part of the above question did you not understand?)
Characters: Carrie Bradshaw – Captain Penny – Mr. Fred Rogers – Wiz of Oz – Captain Kangaroo – Rick Grimes – Jean Luc Picard – Eric Cartman – Sophia Perrilo – Blanche Devaurax – Atticus Finch (2)
Religious: Jesus – Pope Francis – Sister Rose Marita
Science : Albert Einstein – Nikola Tesla
Unreals: Bart Simpson – Brewski Butt – Tidus Ruxpin (aka Teddy Ruxpin)
Television and Movies: Steve Colbert – Corbin Bernson – Jon Stewart – Mel Brooks – David Letterman – Harrison Ford – Johnny Depp – Jimmy Fallon – Ellen – Oprah – Claudia Sommers – Rick Sanchez – Charlie Rose – Jed Bartlett
Academics?: Professor Layton – Mr. Rehnberg – Coach Neitz – Mr. Maretka – Dr. Harris – Mr. Podoka – Mr. Motz – Mr. Juszli – Mr. Strube
Selfies: Meg – Me! (as in you wrote yourself) – Me again (ditto previous observation) – Me or no one (see previous ())
Un-categorical: Sr. Cheese – the Zodiac Killer (were you drunk?) – Seth Winkeart – Gibby – Ronald C. Varn – T. Lewis – Nicole Dyer – Michelle Jocas

Notice that there are NO professional athletes in this group?  For a football town, I am very surprised that no one would hand over the nuclear football to someone who knows how to carry one.  
Next month will be open studio supplies and a clothes pin show as I will be on an excused absence from the office. Extra security is being brought in and lots more new fashions will be on our racks. The Community Quilt will be done so come see your work on display. Much love to all who come out and play every month and leave you mark. 

PS – Mother’s Day is coming so shop early for a one of kind gift (or gift certificate if you don’t know someone’s size and taste) Plus Flag Day, Fourth of July, Birthdays, Showers, Weddings etc…!!!  Don’t buy another bouquet of flowers or an engraved dust bunny breeder…..think outside the box and come into the Studios.