Authenticity in Life & Art

Staying authentic.
This was the important message relayed to me by an artist teaching a workshop I attended early last fall. She said it in reference to one’s own artwork.
Her message resonated much too clear in my personal strive for career success, and one way I chose to look at this idea of staying authentic was not forcing my creativity for the sake of anything.
Let me explain more thoroughly.
I see beauty everywhere and one of my goals (now) is to bring that beauty to the forefront of others that may not have it so clearly or as often as I perceive it. This bit has been a hard intention to admit, even to myself, because I felt guilty. Why? Because it didn’t feel important enough to do just that.
I’ve always felt the need to be part of the struggle against the many injustices of the world. Children going hungry, third-world countries being exploited by the developed world, the damage to our environment for the sake of profit, etc. Within this context, beauty just did not rank high enough, and I couldn’t base my artwork on this sole concept.
And so I found that my idealistic views were getting in the way of my creativity. Every time I set out to make artwork I would mentally beat myself up about how to make it transmit a message. How do I amplify these literal injustices through my work to make others more aware of them? And when I set out on these seemingly impossible tasks and fail miserably it would send me into depression mode. I thought to myself “I just have to keep focused and with more experience and effort I’ll find a way.” And the cycle would begin all over again.
At the end of the aforementioned workshop, the artist/teacher looked at the work I had produced and said to me “you have a heightened sense of beauty, so you should keep making beautiful things.” A confirmation that made me happy yet at the same time scared that this was all I could do.
Since, I have had a bit of time to reflect on these thoughts and I’m coming to terms with my own capabilities as well as my limitations. So now when I circle back to this idea of staying authentic, everything makes more sense. I believe if one stays authentic to their inclinations in life that the path to all you need will come. Nothing needs to be forced.
Therefore, if I concentrate on making beautiful art I can not only bring meaning to my own life but through that Vessel I may contribute to the struggle against those injustices I do wish to end rather than just bringing it to other people’s awareness. After all, I even find beauty in the fight for justice because it is the beauty in a just life itself which I want to preserve.
The sculpture pictured above was developed during the workshop. In the realm of my work this piece was such a freeing experience.
Are you an artist? Can you relate? Have you ever been road-blocked from the thing you do best because your intentions (as good as they may have been) were not aligned with your most authentic self? Please feel free to share or comment on my experiences laid out on this post.
Happy New Year 2017! (Since this is my first post of the year after a long hiatus).

Quick Update

Today I’m posting some photos of my work. The following pieces were accepted into some juried exhibitions and I wanted to share my excitement here.

Like crazy, I have been entering some competitions for 3D artwork.  Last week I found out three of my pieces made it in.  The first was one of my “rhino” minis.  It’s about 3.75 by 3.5 by 3.75 inches.  It’s pretty tiny.  It was accepted to a “small works” exhibition put on by the Clay Studio in Philadelphia.  Since I used to live in Philly, this was such exciting news!!!  If you’re in the Philadelphia area, be sure to check it out, Small Favors XI opens on March 25, 2016 but you can find more information here.

The same day I found out about the small piece getting accepted into that show, I also found out two of my other pieces were accepted into a different juried exhibition.  These pieces were both made last year, one in the spring and the other in the fall.  It makes me happy to finally have my pieces be shown.  These two were juried into an exhibition for the National Association of Women Artists.  You can check out the exhibition artists’ work on their website.  Please check it out and feel free to share the link with the world.

Soon I will post the photos of all my new works since last summer.  For now, I need to finish my many works in progress and make new pieces.  Thanks for stopping by.

Review of my Open Studio experience

Hello Friday and everyone out there.  It has been a few days but I am still feeling the energy from this past weekend.

In this post I am more than excited to at least show you how this past weekend’s exhibition went.

Let’s review: The event was called Open Studio Hartford and it was featuring close to 250 artists from across the state.  This was their 26th year organizing the city-wide event.  There were 20-something venues that opened up their free space to artists.  I was in the beautiful industrial and historic Colt building (Yes, as in Samuel Colt firearms).

Again and again I go over the same thoughts after finishing a weekend of exhibiting my artwork.  As exhausting as the whole event seem to be, I still love every minute of it.  It’s amazing to hear such great feedback from your viewers, but also fellow artists.  It pumps energy back into my little body to keep creating artwork.

Preparations for Open Studio started at least a month and a half before the exhibiting dates.  Spinning clay on the wheel, drying the pieces, putting together forms and adding textures to their surfaces, bisque firing pieces, glazing them, firing them once again, photographing finished pieces, and pricing pieces is some of the work happening in my basement studio.  Included in that month, or two, were some sleepless nights and long days and hours.  All of which, in my mind, paid off when I was able to relate to others through my artwork and my experiences.

My work was well received.  Many commented on my display, something I built up to after a few attempts and many tips from other artists who so graciously offer advice.

People had plenty of interesting comments and many were attracted to the horsehair pieces as well as the pit fired finishes.  These were my biggest sellers.  Some of my newest mugs were taken which makes think my craftsmanship and my forms (think a good/comfortable handle) are improving.

Here are some pictures from my display:

The downside of the weekend was that I had very little chances to escape my post to visit other artists’ displays.  Especially because it was spread out so much throughout Hartford it was impossible to be there for your clients versus escaping to other locations to see fellow artists.

I would love to hear comments on my display, but mostly I’d love to hear back from anyone who attended Open Studio Hartford and their thoughts on the city-wide event.

The Closing of Another Year

As we come to the end of another semester at CCSU, it brings with it the excitement of the holidays.  But, as the story always goes, we are also thinking ahead to the new year, new semester, new responsibilities, and goals to achieve.

A busy time for CAFA too.  We are in the midst of jurying the entries to our 1st online show.  It’s a big step for our organization who, with a little help, is stepping into the 21st century.  Art, I believe, should be readily available to all, rich and poor, regardless of religion, color, orientation, etc.  The world wide web helps us, artists and art organizations, bring fine art closer to all of you.

It’s a busy time for all, but I wanted to post some photos because it’s one of the easiest forms of art to share online.  And, before I forget, take a look at this article which explains how art is great for our physical health.

Until next time!

WPC: Converge

Converging cultures, thoughts, and ideas gives us some of the best outcomes that humanity is responsible for.

Visually, too, it can work beautifully when elements are juxtaposed within the frame of the lens (or iPhone).

Here is my response to this week’s photo challenge:

You can view others’ submissions here.

Playing Catch-up: Art and Artists in Connecticut

These past two months became the busiest for me.  Everything seemed to happen during this time.  Birthdays, reunions, concerts, side projects, plus work which never ends.

I must admit I let this blog slow down a bit.  However, I didn’t stop going to galleries, seeing art, and meeting artists.  Today’s post is dedicated to telling/showing you a little about what has been going down.

First, there was Spectrum Gallery with Monica.  It was an exhibition my friend entered because I had sent her information months earlier.  Fellow ceramic artist Monica Hewryk, whom I met in ceramic class at Central Connecticut State Univ.  She is one of the hardest working people I know and she is full of energy, a dynamic impulse which propels her closer to her goals.  Monica started working as an assistant at the CCSU ceramic studio, and she’s been making use of her free time to make more ceramic pieces and showing them at exhibitions, festivals, and wherever else she can find.

These are her pieces at Spectrum Gallery:

Spectrum Gallery, as I am just learning, is an extension of the Arts Center Killingworth, in southern Connecticut.  The gallery is located in Centerbrook, CT in a little fork intersection.  Barbara Nair, the director of it all, is a wonderful host at these exhibitions and festivals she and team put up.  She packs her gallery at opening receptions, she works the floor talking to guests so much it’s hard to cut in, and she works well with artists.  These are a few pieces in her gallery:

Then there was Maria’s exhibition in New London, CT.  Maria Colombo was the artist-in-residency at Expressiones Cultural Center from Argentina in October.  This was her second time around, and her work really evolved from the first exhibition she put on last year to the one she created last month.  Her medium is simply paper, however she never spends money on paper.  The paper she uses for her pieces are always taken from recycling bins or trash cans, she always finds multitudinous of magazines, newspapers, printing paper, etc that people discard.

Maria’s pieces are reactionary layers upon layers that transform from a two-dimensional form to a sculptural growth in the space in which she works.  Check them out for yourself:

While at Expressiones, I was lucky enough to bump into one of Hygienic Gallery’s resident artist and she was nice enough to give me a quick after hours private tour of the gallery.  It’s a great space and I liked the pieces I saw there.  Of course I couldn’t help but take some snapshots, here they are:

A group of exhibiting artists, of which I knew 95%, were exhibiting at the Dirt Salon in Hartford, CT.  My friend and artist Carolanne Pinto was presenting her Master’s Program body of work, and I offered a couple of hours of time to help her install some of her pieces.  The exhibition opened the same day as the Richard Welling show at CCSU, but I was able to catch the last little bit of it and I was glad I did.  Check out these awesome pieces:

November also marked the end to my dry spell because I finally put some of my work to showcase.  When I met Barbara at Spectrum Gallery, she didn’t miss a beat, immediately she asked me if I wanted to put work in for the next show.  A couple of weeks ago I brought her my four pieces which are now on sale in her gallery, just in time for the holidays.  She will also be selling those pieces online, you can check them out here.

Then, of course, came the making of the dress which some of you might have already seen from this post so I won’t go into detail about it.

This past week I met with CAFA president, Robert Frink, and artist Gigi Liverant, recipient of ‘Best in Show’ in CAFA’s Annual Exhibition this past summer.  Robert and I wanted to get a feeling from a member artist as to how we could make CAFA even more engaged with the artists, and how we could improve our leadership with our members.  She thought it was wonderful that we are trying to create additional exhibitions during the year.  Our 1st Online Photo Exhibition is still ongoing, so submit here.  It was a great meeting as we got some great feedback.  This is Gigi Liverant’s ‘Best in Show’ piece:

bestinshow

 

 

WPC: Angular

OK, I’m actually posting the challenge entry on the day of the challenge, not later.

These are my response to the prompt “Angular” and I decided to do without any editing on these two. Let me know what you think.