ARC 40th Anniversary Video

Here’s a video from the ARC Gallery 40th Anniversary Exhibition. It was great to reconnect with women from the gallery! I also attended a panel discussion the day after the opening. Past and current presidents were there to answer questions about the history, present and future of the gallery.

My piece is at 1:46-1:51 in the video, bottom right corner of the frame.The show is up for the next month so if you are in the Chicago area looking for something to do, stop by and see it!

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Winter Bike Art Show

Hey everyone! I’ll be in the Winter Bike Art Show, opening on February 22. I’d love to see you all there!

Here’s a sneak peek:

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Of  course the show will have amazing bike themed art of all kinds, and you can go to the Critical Mass website to find out more about the show and anything else about biking in Chicago!

Something from Nothing

To the best of my knowledge, only God (or whatever name you’d like for the divine) can truly make something from nothing. Maybe. We don’t know for sure how that works. However, to me as an artist, it is not only possible, but very desirable, to take something of “no value” and make it into something of value. I put quotes around the words “no value” because I’m pretty sure that all matter is valuable. Humans put value on things based on how useful we think a thing is to us. In any case, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Here’s a fun challenge to get you thinking about the value of the raw matter all around you: set a timer for five minutes and walk outside. If it is winter where you are (I am in Chicago), don’t even bother putting on your coat (but shoes are a good idea) and in those five minutes, gather as many useless items as you want from your immediate environment. They can be natural, as in a stick or rock, or something manmade, like a pop can tab.

Go inside. If you like, do an internet search for your objects: “stick art”, “pop can tab crafts”, “Oak Leaf properties”, etc. Especially check out YouTube tutorials. I”m pretty sure you will find that there are folks using these raw materials to make stuff cool enough to warrant posting a video. It is amazing.

Finally, make something from your objects. Just try it. How does it feel? Frustrating, confusing, liberating? Really pay attention to the inherent properties of your materials: texture, color, strength, brittle/flexible and so on. How easy is it to get your materials to do what you want them to do? Once you have your finished piece, how do you feel about the raw material you worked with?

If you do this exercise often enough, you will start to look at the world around you with different eyes. Things you disregarded as background noise, like weeds, dandelion fluff, rusted metal, bark and the like start holding interest. What are its physical properties? Would they lend themselves to a task I want to do?

This, my friends, used to be how humans looked at the world around them, until very recently (a few hundred years or less). There were no boxed solutions to search for in a special place, a store. The solutions and materials needed for survival were outside all around, and to be successful you had to keep your eyes open every time you stepped out the door.

I suspect that in spite of our pre-made conveniences, the ones that came from a factory and deemed valuable by virtue of costing money, it is still true. In order to gain real value from our immediate environment, we need to keep our eyes open.

I challenge you to step outside and see the world this way, and I’d love to hear about the results of your experiment!

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Raw stuff for this piece: Kentucky coffee tree seeds found on walks home from work, canna Lilly seeds from garden, dryer lint, pics from an old gardening catalog. Not found objects: white flour, baking powder, powdered soap, and glue. Paint, glitter, glaze, string and plastic beads.

Climate change

As lots of us have heard already, 2012 was the hottest recorded year in history (in the contiguous United States). Personally it was very easy for me to see that something unusual was going on, as I had to fight to keep my garden and even a full-grown tree alive and healthy during the drought over the summer. And it isn’t over: as of January 14, here in Chicago, we have yet to have a significant snowfall that capable of even covering the blades of grass in the lawn, or that sticks around more than a couple of hours. Not only has it been an unusually warm winter, but we’ve had frighteningly little moisture of any kind other than a few grey, drizzly days. If you aren’t a farmer or gardener you may be happy about this, but right now I’m quite concerned about how I’m going to keep my veggies watered if this keeps up.

Yet, this ample evidence in my own back yard is not why I believe what the scientists are saying about Global Climate Change. I accept the theory of global climate change and our part in the process because a lot of science has been done around the GLOBE that indicates this is what is happening.  But by the logic used by many global warming deniers, I can tell you climate change IS happening. We’ve had some mighty freaky weather here in Chicago over the last few years. This summer heralded the worst drought I’ve ever seen. Chicago has, in my lifetime, gone from being known for big snow storms to no snow at all.  I’ve seen a flock of PARROTS in my backyard, for Pete’s sake. Obviously, this is incontrovertible evidence and we can now get on with fixing the problem.

OK?

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These two were seen in the parking lot of a shopping center in Boynton Beach, FL on 5/30/09.
(Part of a Monk Parakeet Set).
A pair of lovely Monk Parakeets mauricholas/ Maureen Leong-Kee’s photostream
Scientific name: Myiopsitta monachus

Tasty RAW Art

I last posted to this blog very early on Saturday morning, and now I am writing fairly late at night after the Ravenswood Art Walk is over. I am exhausted and happy. All I can say is, it was a wonderful event and I definitely want to do this one again next year. There was a great crowd, amazing artists, music and yummy food. I was able to take a good look at the other vendors in the big main tent. I do wish I’d had a chance to walk through some of the artists’ studios in the neighborhood. There are some wonderful artists’ work spaces nearby and I want to see more of them.  Over the next several posts I’ll be showcasing some of the different artists I met including pictures of their work, but I’m way too beat to delve into that tonight! I will, however, leave you with a bunch of photos in my flickr stream so you can get a peek at the visual feast from this weekend. If you are in the Chicago area, plan on visiting RAW next year, it is well worth it to take an afternoon stroll through the art spaces of Ravenswood.

Our display

This the booth I shared with Rose Bachi from 13 Moons Designs

RAW big tent

Ravenswood Artwalk is in 6 Days!

 

I am in my studio packing everything up for the Ravenswood Artwalk next week. Everything looks great and I can’t wait! Rose and I have been busily preparing for this for the past few months. Everyone cross your fingers and hope I get my car back by then…or at least a vehicle that can carry a lot of stuff…since my car died about 10 miles south of Fond du Lac, WI. My husband and son were stranded for a bit on the way back from Mike’s half marathon but fortunately a family member rescued them. Victor gets to miss a day of school tomorrow ’cause they won’t be able to get the car looked at by a mechanic until tomorrow morning (Monday).

So what will I have at RAW, you ask? 40 + magnets, 16 handmade paper collage/assemblage pieces, 28 necklaces,  and 75 bracelets. For more info about this event that will have almost a mile of vendors set up in the Ravenswood neighborhood in Chicago, check out their website and facebook page.

 

Ravenswood Remix

Ravenswood is a neighborhood on the North side of Chicago. I lived there when I was in my 20’s and I have to say it might be my favorite Chicago neighborhood. Ravenswood Remix is an art festival dedicated to artists that use recycled, re-purposed materials. I am definitely interested in participating in this next year. We got there early while people were still setting up, and we didn’t stay too long since my son was feeling a bit under the weather, but I did see some cool art. Here’s a sample of my favs:

Jesy Grose had these fantastic paintings utilizing old windows.  She paints directly on the back side of the glass, giving a depth and gloss to the image. Her business cards were these hand-painted watercolors with one of her whimsical creatures on them and her email address hand written on back. I didn’t find  an online portfolio for Jesy, but I did find this profile on ArtSlant and her LinkedIn profile. If you see her name in a gallery somewhere, be sure to check her out.

John Hung Ha of Seigel Studios in NY creates really cool Asian pop art.

My son who is five learned what records are from Michel Rosenthal of mmm designs. She creates artwork from old album covers. You can find her on Etsy. Victor was amazed at the artwork that people used to put on album covers. To him, music is downloaded right from iTunes or maybe on a cd.

Simply Wood Rings is worth checking out too. Nice pretty rings (and other things) made from wood, they were unique.

And, last but not least, Back to the Root is not art, but food. They created oyster mushroom growing kits from recycled Peet’s Coffee grounds. I got one of the kits and am trying to grow mushrooms for the first time! Check back here in a couple of weeks to see how they turned out : )