Well, for all those who’d been participating in the old Grimey pool regarding my death, sorry, I never was particularly good at playing along with things. So here I stand, 28. Damn. These things do so sneak up on you. Meanwhile, in the background, way bigger stuff is moving in the world and in my own extended family. But, let’s face it, birthdays are great days for egotistic introspection, and I’ve been told that no one’s quite so egotistic as me. So, how about one of those list things the internet loves so much? That sounds good, right?
Things I’ve Learned (Maybe)
- Life’s too short for cheap beer, cheap tea, cheap coffee, and cheap scotch. Seriously. Enjoy yourself a little. Which reminds me of point two.
- Addiction is for chumps. Real men have vices. The difference? Connoisseurship. If you’ll slug back just anything so long as the hurt goes away, that’s addiction. if you’ll wait three days and shop four stores to find just the right fix, that’s vice.
- Like point 1, life is also too short for bad friends. This isn’t Pokémon, there’s no prize for having the most friends. Pick a handful of people, love them dearly, keep them close. Plus, you never know when you’ll need someone who trusts you enough to do something like wear pleather hot pants to a gallery. Or conquer Wal-Marts.
- A degree proves you can follow rules. Education means knowing how to process and think about the world around you and use previous data and experiences to adapt to new situations without instruction. Wisdom is knowing when to call it all bullshit and go have a drink with friends instead.
- Life will never be like it is in books, unless you live it like it is. See point 3, you’re going to need some trustworthy conspirators to let you pull that off. But, there’s a difference between idealism and fancy, and if you can pay all your bills, it ought to be up to you how you live your life otherwise. That much, I feel, is important.
So, now that Oranje is over, I can show you all that behind-the-scenes making-of transparency that I’m so fond of around here (they requested we keep the actual experience a surprise for the night of the show, which I approved of.) So, now that it’s over and done for this year, it’s time to catch you up. Ready? Alright, here’s how to build that authentic Zed flavor right into a show:
1. Get Some Art
Maybe, say, twenty prints from your lengthy, long-running photo series, as selected by popular vote by your fans?
2. Plan Ahead
Based on stuff I knew from going to Oranje, and asking friends who had been in, I guessed at a rough size for the booth and got to work planning what equipment I was going to need to make this all happen (estimated 15×20′.)
3. Work On More Art
Maybe, say, 2 giant 2×3′ prints of your two most popular photos. That’ll probably go over well.
4. Find Out The Truth
After the Oranje organization meeting, I knew what my actual space looked like and how big it was (actual measurements 13.5 x 15′):
5. Get To Work
Order and assemble lights. Buy lumber. Work with Dad to lay out the frames for the walls so that reassembly on site will be easier.
6. Put It All Together
Bonus points on this one if you get your friends to help you reassemble the walls, only to discover that you were too ambitious and the walls are too tall to actually exist in your space.
At this point, it might be useful to frantically saw everything down to 8′ walls, with chaos, confusion, and crankiness all ruling the day. However, after that, it should just be a matter of putting everything where the little diagrams said they go, slap on some paint, and oh, I suppose, hang some art.
If you shoot a photo and realize no one can read your signboard because it’s friggin’ dark, maybe shed some light on the subject.
And, that’s about it. How to spend $800 and two months of labor from five people in six easy steps. Repeat annually, with any luck.
I’m tired, so this is a real quickie, but I just wanted to congratulate the winner from last night’s painting giveaway at my booth at Oranje. One @marclebryk will soon be the (presumably proud, happy) owner of Skia, which is one of my favorite smaller works and part of my whimsical monocle series. Congratulations!
To the rest of you, thanks so much for coming out and participating. If you didn’t win this time, don’t let it get you down. I do one or two of these giveaways a year. Why, even right now I’m promising a free 2×4′ all-new painting to one lucky fan if my FB fan page gets to over 100 fans by the end of the month, to celebrate my show at Oranje and my birthday. So, if you want another chance, why not go over to Facebook and make sure you’re a part of making that giveaway happen?
And now I’m off to rouse the crew for a post-show tradition: enormously unhealthy breakfasts slathered in gravy.
1. Jonathan Foerster
I’ve talked about Jonathan on here a couple times. And I’ll do it again because his work is just that good. Jonathan’s thing is digital work, made up of hundreds of layers in Photoshop and taking countless hours to produce. My poor laptop is shaking right now just contemplating having pieces like this produced on it. I know Jonathan through MEA, and he’s always been a reserved, soft-spoken, patient guy. You’d pretty much have to be to do what he does with pixels, I figure.
His website: http://www.atleastwedream.com/
He’s also on Twitter: @atleastwedream.
2. Kate Wagner
The rest of these artists I’ll mention I actually know because of Oranje 2009, and it’s nice to see them coming back. Starting off, we have Kate Wagner, whose opening sentence to her artist statement makes me very happy in its bluntness:
I like to take the shitty and turn it into pretty. In art and in life.
Kate’s work impressed me the first time around, as does her work for Studio OTB running a progressive art studio for people with disabilites. I’m personally impressed most by her paintings, but she’s not a one-medium kinda gal and you’ll find her selling lampshades, jewelry, textiles, you name it.
Her website: http://www.artifolio.com/missionart/gallery
More about Outside the Box and Studio OTB here: http://www.otbonline.org/
3. Cameron Oehler
I first talked about Cameron back here. He’s a wood craftsman, making wood pendants as well as highly decorative but functional cutting boards. And, if you’re much of a geek at all, you’re probably already familiar with his Legend Of Zelda Triforce cutting board. And, from what I’ve seen, this year promises more of his high-quality work for your eyeballs and kitchens.
His site: http://1337motif.etsy.com/
4. Mike Altman
Mike was a favorite of mine back in 2009, but it took a while for his website to get up so I could talk about him. I’ve since seen him at various places around Indy, including Locals Only and Strange Brew. His work is always highly cartoony and whimsical, often featuring robot, ray guns, or robots with ray guns. It is bright, bold, colorful, and fun. More of it over at his website.
His website: http://mikealtman.com/
5. Stuart Sayger
Last up we have Stuart Sayger, who I wanted to talk about before but apparently forgot about. I’m not sure how, since my friends have two of his pieces in their living room. Stuart is a comic artist with a lot of chops. We’re talking the better end of comic art here, the sort that graces covers, cards, and limited run one-offs, not the daily grind kind of illustration work so often thought of by people. He’s also the creator of the comic Shiver In The Dark.
His website: http://www.stuartsayger.com/
So, you’re thinking about going to this Oranje thing. You’ve heard people yamemring about how cool it is. Probably me. You’ve heard it’s a massive festival of 45 artists and 30 musicians. And you have no idea what exactly any of that means, and what you should go to see.
“But, Zed!” you exclaim. “You’re an artist…of sorts…right? This stuff probably makes sense to you. Who would you go to see?”
Aww, shucks… I think….
Me? There’re several people I’d make sure to go see. Some of them I’ve talked about before, some are new to me. Today, let’s start with the new ones.
1. Joseph Crone
Starting us off is a nice dude I met during set-up, name of Joseph Crone. Joseph’s thing is among them I admire most, as I’m least able to do it myself: photo-realistic illustration. This level of work requires a lot of time, a steady hand, and an astounding attention to the actual world around you. In short, it’s fucking tough to do, and he does it well. That’s a good place to start, if you ask me.
His site: http://josephcroneart.com/
2. Mike Graves
It’s somewhat surprising that I’ve been in Indy as long as I have and not put together who Mike Graves is before I saw him setting up in the booth next to mine. I mine, I’d seen his work around, like this sculpture in the Murph at a First Friday, and I’d certainly heard of his BRIDGE Collective, although I’ll have to talk with him some because their description is so vague and sterile I’m still not sure what they actually do. But, point is, I’d seen him around and been impressed, and I’m a bad person for not committing the name to memory sooner.
Mike works in two basic modes: rough, figural “junk” sculptures that all seem hewn and welded from scrap, and big paintings that draw obvious influence from various street and graffiti movements, often featuring notable pop culture icons. Especially from comic books. Both modes are very visually distinct and memorable, and I can’t even do describing them justice. Luckily, going to his website and looking at them can.
3. Bruce Loewenthal
Next up is a bit different. Moving out of the “fine art” world and momentarily into the “functional art” or “design” world, we have Carmel-based Bruce Loewenthal, whose work is gorgeous, organic metal sculptures that function as hat racks, coat hangers, etc… He’s a trained architect and professor, and you can tell that he brings a lifetime of that experience to bear in these elegant, simple sculptures that mimic natural forms but with the clean balance and symmetry of European-flavored design.
His site: http://www.silverwoodbuilders.com/
4. Diana Childers
Diana is my other booth buddy, and a very friendly lady in my experiences. Patient, at least, because boy there was some fuss about getting our shared wall up so she could get going with her side, and she was very patient as me and mine slugged through the problems on our side.
Artist-wise, she’s a photographer. Her photos have a vaguely mysterious atmosphere, and are filled with distant and striking female models. Often, she employs a light high-key style (which she does in just the way that I’m a sucker for), which only increases the impression that you’re looking through some sort of haze, like a memory.
Her conceptual/fashion stuff is what I’ve seen the most, and I think what she’s hitting the heaviest for her show. But, her self-portraits are also gorgeous and atmospheric, and her commercial photography is also of a calibre I usually associate with my friend Jennifer Parker (formerly seen at Oranje).
Her website: http://dchildersphotography.com/
5. Jim Arnoldt
I’m going to try and not hold Jim’s artist statement against him, although it’s definitely of the stuffy, vague, say-nothing variety that I feel do more disservice to viewers than not. Luckily, despite the stumbling block of a statement, his work is visually engaging. His work is largely non-subjective/abstract, with occasional forays into stenciled pictures. His brand of abstract seems heavily influenced by textile pattern and design, frequently using the retro motif of overlaid circles lined up in grids as focal points. (Several of his pieces keep reminding me of the cover for Greenskeepers’ Pleetch) Had I made it to last year’s Oranje, I’m sure I’d have written on him sooner. As it is, better late than never.
His site: http://www.jimarnoldt.com/
6. JP Leiendecker
JP Leiendecker’s work falls into what I always consider to be “visually orgasmic.” The color, the texture, the tone. There seems to be a lot of Dave McKean influence to be had here, not that this ever hurts my feelings. Leiendecker works by layering photos, sometimes 100s of them, together in fragments and parts to create rich visual vistas that aren’t photographs and aren’t illustrations, but have a mystique and charm above and beyond either anyway.
His site: http://www.perfect-tree.net/