So, you may or may not know this, but, I was totally at a show this week. I know, right? I mean, I haven’t bothered to show up for one of those in like, a year. I’m not a recluse! I just, you know, only like doing every show like a gallery showing. I prefer to have lots of new work to show you guys when you get there. If you want a tour of my classic body of work, come on over to my studio. We’ll have a beer, talk paint, drag out sketchbooks. You want to see new work with eyes full of wonder, come to one of my shows.
Enter RawArtists and their December Holiday Rawk show. I went. I showed. I had a booth. No, literally. Not just a space where I showed, but a booth, like the variety you secretly hope to score whenever you’re on a first-available seating list at a restaurant. It was white. I covered it in paintings, many of them new. Seven of them, in fact.
So, how was it, you ask? And if you don’t, so, how was it I ask rhetorically for you? Well, in part, it was like this:
In other part, I’m mixed. My boothmate was definitely there to sell, which, as long-time readers will know is something I think frequently cheapens or lessens art. I’m all for selling a piece if someone’s into it, but the sheer idea of doing art with the idea of selling it to someone at a show still just sorta sets me on edge. I know I happen to be pretty lucky, and my design work takes care of the bills and leaves me unbeholden to painting sales to buy my beer. But still, it’s a hard thing to follow a personal vision and challenge the boundaries of ideas and images when you have to move them to the sort of people who still trust Fox news. That’s a personal issue, and power to my boothie for his success, but, count me out.
Otherwise, it was fun. I think Raw is still working on getting its footing down, but, they’re pretty new to the area, unlike the gang at Oranje, so, I think I can overlook the hiccups I ran into in the process. They’re a cool group, and they’re definitely aiming big. I hope to get invited to show again, and I’m waiting to see how things go for them as they mature in this city. If nothing else, more art is always good, whether that’s high-concept white-wall gallery art or triptych abstracts or what have you. Not all of it is for me, but all of it is for somebody, and I am def a big proponent of that sort of open market thinking. I’d have to be, I’ve owned two Zunes and three Windows Phones. I clearly embrace the idea that there’s a market for any sort of alternatives.
But, I think I might have a better time if I think of future Raw shows more like Penrod with martinis, and less like Oranje in formal wear.
Oh, and I have pictures. Piiiiictures!
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?
Sometimes They Opened Galleries, 2006
We Search For Another, 2010
And now I’m off to rouse the crew for a post-show tradition: enormously unhealthy breakfasts slathered in gravy.
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
by 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
By 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.
His website: http://bridgecollective.org/section/149643_Mike_Graves.html
3. Bruce Loewenthal
by 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
by 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
Jim Arnoldt at Oranje 2010
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
by 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/
As you might be vaguely aware, ORANJE is coming up on us in right about a month. Which I will be at. As you probably also knew already. What you don’t know already is that I want to make sure you don’t walk out of the event empty-handed. So, I’m bringing a freaking ton of art to it. Including 100 unmatted lithographs which will be priced from $10-$20 each. That was the sound of all your excuses for not buying anything at the show disappearing. There will also be a dozen or so larger lithos for $30, photographs from both of my ongoing series starting from $50 each, and paintings ranging everywhere from $80 on up to some more astronomical prices. But the point is, I’m going to be bringing a lot of stuff that’s within ease reach for the average joe to walk out with. Because I believe in helping people put art on the walls and keep art in their homes.
So, this past Saturday I went and did the callout for Art Vs Art. Art Vs Art, for those who don’t know, is an annual local event I discovered for the first time last year where a bunch of paintings from local artist are pitted against each other in a sort of blut royale.
Basically, each painting is done in four hours with provided materials. Then, the public votes, and the top 32 go into a contest to win $4,000. Each round, the audience cheers for two paintings, whichever gets the loudest cheers goes on. The one that doesn’t has a giant wheel of death spun for it. If it’s not instant death, there’s an auction. If it’s instant death or it doesn’t sell, it gets destroyed on stage in a dramatic way (ugly stick, chainsaw, dirty sanchez…)
Anyway. That handsome picture of ChickenBones there is my entry for this year. Now, if I could ask your help here. See, we’re on the voting part. I need enough votes to get CB in the top 32 of the 134 paintings entered, otherwise it won’t make it into the competition. And, since the competition is on my birthday this year, I’d really, really, really like to see my painting get in it so I can watch people cheer for it.
So, please, click on it or the link below, go vote for it. You get three votes per email address, and I don’t see anything saying you can’t use them all on the same painting.
Photo by Jennifer Parker
So, as many of you might be aware, Saturday evening was the closing reception for my show “We Search For Another.” And, it was something of a big deal for me. It was my first solo showing, if you don’t count “…And Sometimes They Opened Galleries,” which you shouldn’t because that was thesis work. And, it was my first proper series of paintings (although to credit my reputation, it didn’t start that way.) So, it was really a lot of impressiveness all around. The show, which was made of 11 pieces (with one not hung), was of course an exploration of the dynamics of relationships, identity, love, abandonment, leaving, yadda yadda. On some level, it was serious stuff.
On the other level, it was me, as many people who paid attention the flippant, sarcastic, or otherwise meta titles commented. Serious stuff is absolutely no time to take yourself seriously.
“Naught But An Odd Tree” was a runaway success, though somewhat bittersweet for me (given that it was painted after a fight with my now-ex girlfriend). It was complimented at the reception by the introduction of “Nothing To Say And Everything To Lose,” a fairly sizable piece (pictured there beside me, in prog pics still coming, I promise.) And, I sold a piece, so all’s good there.
Jennifer at MEA was a pleasure to work with, which is something I hope to do more often with the impending return of Grimey Studios. Quite a handful of wonderful people, family and friends, made it out, and thanks to them all for that.
I have mixed thoughts about a restaurant gallery. On the negative side, business has to take precedence, so space, lighting, and foot room are all a bit questionable. On the other hand, the removal of the artwork from the foreground to the background leads to people spending way more time staring at it (I know I’m guilty of cruising through galleries, but I can spend a half hour drinking a good beer.) And that’s good, good art you have to live with and it unfolds a bit for you. Thanks Scott, for teaching me that.
Why do you choose the different mediums you do for the different ideas?
When I was talking with buddy Phil’s brother and his brother’s girlfriend, I mentioned that I was going to spend some more time doing photo, and that I do different work in painting than I do in photo. And, the girlfriend who’s name I have apparently forgotten, had the wherewithal to ask me how it is I choose a different medium, and that seemed worth revisiting.
My first solo exhibit, We Search For Another closed yesterday. I’ve got shots of the development of the final piece for it, the rather sizable work titled “Nothing to Say and Everything to Lose” that I’ll put up Tuesday, I just realized in my rush to get it to the show I didn’t get a shot of it in its final state. I’ll do a proper write-up on it tomorrow, but for tonight, hey, lookit me there!
C’mon Zed, sulk a bit more, I know you can do it!