The folks down at Gallery 2014 are gearing up for a big #SHOPSMALL this coming Saturday! I made the trip down south yesterday to finalize pricing and find out what I info I need to provide for the gallery inventory system. I will have many, many pieces available through this gallery...all originals. The fact that my work will be alongside such amazing artists...is this real life?
The first thing, probably one of the biggest things to report is that the folks over at Gallery 2014...ummm...they liked my work. (yes, I had a MAJOR Sally Field moment, and I ain't afraid to admit it!) Last Friday night I spent time organizing my work, prepping some bootleg 'contact sheets' I came up with, printing inventory sheets..and basically just trying to get my s__(insert favorite 'S' word here)__ together. And I did my best. Went to sleep, feeling kind of like a kid on Christmas Eve.
Saturday...I hauled 'Grape Ape' (my '97 Honda Civic with muchos miles on it) down to Hollywood, Florida with three years worth of my art packed away in plastic bins and a large black portfolio. I had another bag ready with clear plastic sleeves, lightweight mats and some backing boards...just in case. I brought all my work in and then took a deep breath.
I wasn't prepared for what happened next. Elizabeth San Juan, one of the owners for Gallery 2014, literally sat on the floor and just started to go through my art- all of it. I would babble on about each series...hoping I made sense, but knowing that when I get excited I talk too fast and my southern accent thickens up. But she kept on, bin by bin, folder by folder, she literally looked at every piece of my art, and had good things to say to me.
So she and Sharon pulled some pieces aside and then I worked on pricing with Sharon while the gallery started to fill up with folks in for the Art Walk. Elizabeth was in and out and she kept looking at my work, at me, and then back out at the gallery. She said she wanted some pieces out there ASAP and then...just like that, some of my work was already out, for sale.
In a real, white-walled, fancy art gallery.
I also discovered that Elizabeth is allergic to cats, but that's a whole other story...so...coincidentally that even goes with the craziness of this past week. (Sorry, Elizabeth!!!)
So that was the weekend, obviously a 'high' moment. Followed by Sunday, November 16th- the day that Amy died, which no matter how many years pass will always be a low. This year I spent my day in my pj's, napping and just being by myself.
I have been thinking about my art, and why I make it and the more I think I have figured out the more questions I come up with. I know that Amy is such a large part of my art and my life, sometimes it is hard to articulate that into words...so I just make my whimsical ladies, and they make me forget about all that fancy thinking stuff. But I feel that there is some way that I can connect the healing that my own art has provided to me to other people that are going through the bereavement process...and the more I think about that the more I like that idea.
Sorry again, syntax. Sorry, order. Sorry, sense.
I will continue to revisit this stream of thought...just know, well- know that I am still trying to figure it all out. (hey, aren't we all?!)
I have more to report from last week, but I will save it- all good things.
The bad things were me oversleeping on Tuesday, thinking I lost an ENTIRE class' artwork, issues with the kiln...oh, and driving to Miami this morning for an event that was yesterday.
I hear ya universe, slow it down. Let me wrap up this blog post, start on my daily art and try to make it to sleep by midnight!
...today I remember her, and the day that she left. But it is the same as the day before and the day before that...and tomorrow and every day that is to come. Every day is November 16th.
I have had an amazing week. My work was accepted into a gallery and people will be able to go there and see my art, heck, even buy it. Part of the preparation process was to prepare an artist statement...truthfully something I have avoided doing. I wrote some things but the more I think about why I make art and how I make art...the more things I am figuring out...and the more questions I have...the more possibilities I see.
Making the art is easy. Explaining the WHY...that is harder.
Looking back on it, I had a very prolific year that year, in terms of my art. I made a ton of work. Now when I think about it, I think that might of been a way for me to cope with losing Amy. I guess I didn't realize it at the time. When I was making the work I didn't have to think about it, I could just lose myself in the process of making art. It helped me get through that time.
So it makes sense to me that I would associate art with Amy...and making art to creating a safe haven for myself in a time when things were out of my control. In my life, when things were out of control...like when it was just me and mom when my dad left...and times when we didn't have money...I would turn to things that would allow me to create my own sense of 'order'...from coloring my coloring books one page at a time, in order and leaving the pages in the book...to dressing and redressing my Barbies and meticulously 'posing' them on the shelf before I went to bed so they would be ready for the next day...trying to 're-decorate' our always humble living spaces...single-wide trailers, apartments, houses with no central heat or air...and even now that I think about it, mom did this a little bit, too. She would make sure my clothes matched and I looked nice for school, no matter what our circumstance. You don't realize it...or at least I didn't...but all of these things feed into who I am as a person and an artist. Things being 'beautiful' and 'organized' gave me comfort.
(Side note...this is all very jumbled and stream of consciousness. It used to bother me and I would try to neaten up my writing...but this is my inner narrative...my voice...so it has to be read like this. Sorry for any grammar-lovers out there, syntax doesn't live here.)
Another thing that I often think about is the actual moment that I found out that Amy died. The whole ride to the hospital I was crying, but I didn't think she would be gone. I thought she was hurt. I never for a minute thought she would not be here anymore. But I was in the room when the doctor came in and told John and Jennifer the news...and I feel like that day I heard...I felt...their hearts break when it happened. That moment will never, ever leave me. That pain, that loss.
So I made art...I turned to making art to fill that void...to keep my mind off things...to fill dark spaces with light. And making art helped me with the healing process...and the art that I made...that I make...I have noticed that it can help others as well.
Which is why I love my #angeldrop side project so much...and when people are moved by something that I create.
I was on the phone with Jennifer earlier this week and she was telling me about an artist that made it his life's work to help the bereaved through his art. This rang so true to my heart...every time I think of this possibility it feels my eyes with tears and my heart with love.
You know…I don’t know where to start. I have good news…but it’s like I am almost afraid to share it for fear that something will happen and it will fall through…or not be real. But I guess its okay to share…so I will.
If you follow my ramblings or any social media blahdy-dah…then you know I make art every day. But before that… I have been making art my whole life…from when I carried around a Sheds Spread butter tub filled with crayons around with me , along with my Barbie coloring books of course…from middle school with Mrs. Berliner…to being inspired to be an art teacher myself by my amazing art teacher Robin Calcutt…to my days running around with charcoal and glitter on my face as an undergrad at the East Carolina School of Art…to going back for my MAEd and taking textile classes again with my beloved Christine Zoller, who encouraged my love of embellishment and color (but said, ‘hey Jen, take it easy on the glitter’)…to finding and losing time and motivation for making art after grad school…to coming across the Creative Every Day challenge…making art every day, meeting my creative girlfriends down here in Florida and finding excuses to have girls art nights…being a part of the dream that is Art Hive Magazine (Jess and Angela, thank you so much for including me and my craziness!) …art…has always been in my life. But I don’t think at any point I thought to myself, I am going to be an ‘artist’ when I grow up, which seems weird, right?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a geologist. Seriously, I was a total rock nerd- I had an amazing collection, too…wish I still had it. Somewhere around middle school art became, well…me. In high school I decided I wanted to be an art teacher…and in college I became convinced that I didn’t belong in the gallery world and neither did my art…so I didn’t try. My work wasn’t serious, the colors were too bright…too much embellishment…no one ever said it per se but I just looked around and that’s how I felt. I have the technical training, I have completed drawing, painting, ceramics, surface design, weaving… I have learned tons of art history (and I love it!) but my work is more whimsical than the formal training I received. I just didn’t think there was a place for what I do. Even though I make my art every day…and even though I have over a thousand pieces of work on hand… I still never thought I would have my work accepted by a ‘fancy white walled gallery’.
But on Tuesday…it was. My work was accepted.
I contacted the gallery a while back via their web site…sent some information and received an email to set up a meeting, so I did. To prepare for the meeting, I went through my work from the past three years and made digital files of the pieces I liked best from each year…then selected some physical pieces to take with me. I went to sleep not really sure of myself but still excited.
So that is how it came to be that me, gal from North Carolina, who likes to make pretty faces, will have work in a real gallery. It was a dream that I didn’t allow myself to have. But…it happened.
My hope is that folks coming in will like my work. I hope that the prices will allow them buy it, or buy it for others. I hope that it will one day hang in regular houses and even fancy houses. I hope that working class people, professionals, young hands, and old hands will have the chance to purchase the work. I hope that it will make money for the gallery so that they can continue to give back to the community and to help even more artists. I hope that someone will see it and feel inspired, maybe someone will dreams of seeing their work hanging in a gallery too.
Just like I did.
So anyway…thanks again to Elizabeth, Ken and Sharon for taking the time to look at my work…and for giving me a chance.
So, why angels? The single most profound event in my life has been the passing of my best friend, Amy German, my senior year in high school. Hands down- this changed my life. There have been other events, but when I think about the heart of why I do what I do- it all goes back to Amy. Her death awakened in me to need to create, and to try and spread beauty and joy...which I do, or hope that I do, with my art...to share my heART.
I revisit the idea of angels... halos.. wings... butterflies and dragonflies periodically in my art. This is all part of the imagery that I attribute to my friend...to honor her...and because I think that these things are beautiful and bring joy to others.
And I am kinda into that...which led me to...
...something I call an #angeldrop.
That's when I leave art for folks to find...hopefully it will brighten their day. I used to call it #angelbombing, but that became problematic...I didn't want to potentially cause a bomb-threat situation. (ummmm...that would be BAD) So I started using a different tag...making small angel paintings, usually watercolor outlined in pen...and I just started...leaving them. Everywhere. I am going to do a separate post on this at a later date because I have some things in the works...including adding a link in the navigation for these...but that will be later...
So far...I am really excited about the series. Pairing the flying figures with the faces...just seems to fit. I can still draw my semi-realistic, stylized faces that I love, and then combine the elongated bodies that I use in my #angeldrop art...AND play with mixed media.
I will probably work on my daily art in pieces, starting with the heads, creating one each day for a few days and then sitting down to finalize the backgrounds and attach everything, so you may not see the pieces completed each day...just bits and pieces and then all of a sudden- angels. I am going to attempt to allow myself this freedom to work...we'll see how that goes.
Stay tuned for more angels...and side note...many good things happening! I must have some angels looking out for me!! More on that later!
...playing a little catch up on my blog...here is a summary of the first part of November...
On November 1st John and I attended a fancy private party at the Lighthouse Art Center in Tequesta. I donated a piece for their D'Art for Art event (November 8th) which gave me the invitation for the Artists Appreciation and Collector Party. I made a second, smaller piece for this event...hopefully it will sell!
Here is a link to a short video of the part...John and I were grubbing out, the food was delicious! And there was such a good variety of art! (http://youtu.be/F7eD3OiyzZw)
Day of the Dead
We left from Tequesta and drove to Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery in Lake Worth for the closing reception of the Day of the Dead Group Show. I am already thinking of what I want to make for the next show in December!
I wanted to mention my latest DYI mini-project that I utilized for the above events. I am a little neurotic about having the same thing on for events. Its weird, I know. If I can at least change up my accessories, especially if I am wearing a basic black dress then I am happy, and my #OCPDartist inside calms down a bit. To handle the two art events on the same day I paired a black metal necklace I purchased from a local shop (I think it was under $14) with a long black dress. Then I used black wire to make two mini 'hangers' to simply attach a black polymer clay skull (encrusted with rhinestones, of course!) to the necklace. (Shown below without the skull in #1 and with the skull in #2) I made this skull a while back with my friend Jess,during one of our polymer clay baking play-dates. You could do the same with a fancy button or pin, or with several of them. Just a thought.
If I get a chance, I will do a quick tutorial on the polymer clay jewelry pieces with some ideas for how to use them...
wait...more DOD! (well, kind of!)
Last of the weekend's events, the ArtFest at El Sol in Jupiter. This was my first artist festival in a while and the weather was perfect...I had my Fridas, my Day of the Dead pieces and good friends all right there.
At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.
Artist and Art Teacher