Hustle of life

It seems I may have gotten a bit lazy about updating my page.

On the other hand, it could be  that I am getting somewhat more ambitious about my career goals and writing has been, sadly, a lesser priority.  As much as I love writing, it’s not my career choice.  This doesn’t change one of my long-term goals of writing a book….someday.

What career goals are be keeping me so busy?

Besides my two jobs, which keep me pretty busy, I am keeping my hands busy in clay.

New(er) work yet in progress
New(er) work yet in progress

Creating new bodies of work is exhausting when you find yourself always trying to buy a little time for solitude, music, and clay.  My most important goal is to develop artwork that makes sense and work which communicates what I have, for so long, been trying to say.  That in itself has been psychologically daunting because, inevitably, this incorporates some introspection.  As insightful as this process is, it is gut-wrenching when it’s not common practice.

Naturally, my next goal is to show my work, because what is the point in divulging if not to spark a conversation about it.  This takes some social skills which I am constantly trying to improve.  It includes going to galleries, meeting other artists and curators, applying for artist opportunities, and maintaining social media updated among others.

Speaking of artist opportunities brings me to other goals: find a residency (or a few) to help me grow artistically while preparing myself to find an MFA program that will take me.  This takes some research, preparation, and inspiration as well.

In the time left over for the rest of my life, I try to be with family, read a book, finally learn to play the guitar, travel, organize my kitchen, and feed myself.

It’s no wonder to myself that I can’t seem to hop on the computer to write another post.  It doesn’t mean I have stopped going to see art or even talking about it with others.  I am fascinated by the depth of learning throughout life, it’s a deep like the ocean floor and as detailed as marine life.

Still, I want to take readers on a journey of my life immersed in the arts.  One of the reasons I started this blog.  It might get a bit redesigned but its core will remain the same.  In the meanwhile, I will attempt to post more often which means more post will be simply photos of my interesting daily events.  There are so many good things happening and worry not, I will keep anyone reading updated!!

[Oh, and thanks for reading!]

 

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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.

Art in the state of Connecticut

Fall is the time of year known for the abundance of apples growing, the Oktoberfest events happening everywhere, Thanksgiving plans stewing, and the bright alluring colors of the foliage.

If you are an artist you are probably enjoying all these great attributes of the season, but you are also probably very busy creating work for one or multiple autumn art festivals.  For now I am keeping my head afloat with new work, but the first show is coming up in three weeks and there’s still so much to do!

This is the time to get organized to be efficient.

So what is happening in Connecticut that has me excited and busy all at once, you ask?  This year I am first-time participant of Open Studios in Hartford, a city-wide event where.  This will be happening Saturday & Sunday, November 14 & 15, 2015.  There are close to 250 artists participating in this event, it is sure to leave your art yearning satisfied!!

There are 22 locations throughout Hartford that will be featuring art and artists from around the area.  Below is the list of locations with addresses:

#1 Oak Hill Art Studio, 120 Holcombe Street
#2 Hartford Weaving Center, 40 Woodland Street
#3 Connecticut Historical Society, One Elizabeth Street
#4 Venom Vintage & Creative Art Space, 11 Whitney Street
#5 Passages Gallery, 509 Farmington Avenue
#6 Majorca, 2074 Park Street
#7 Arbor Arts Center, 56 Arbor Street
#8 Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor Street
#9 30 Arbor Street, 30 Arbor Street
#10 The Dirt Salon, 50 Bartholomew Avenue
#11 1429 New Park & Bartholomew
#12 Trinity College Fifth Year Fellows, Trinity College
#13 Kempczynski Gallery & Studio, 130 Washington Street
#14 Colt Gateway, 140 Huyshope Avenue
#15 Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts @ Colt Gateway
#16 First Presbyterian Church, 136 Capitol Avenue
#17 Hartford Artisan Showcase, CT Convention Center
#18 Hartford Dada Art Show, Capital Community College, 950 Main
#19 Hartford Prints, 42 1/2 Pratt Street
#19 Lindsey Fyfe Studio, 75 Pratt Street #504
#19 The Tobacco Shop Gallery, 89 Pratt Street
#20 ArtSpace Hartford, 555 Asylum Street
#20 Union Station Great Hall, One Union Place
#22 M. D. Robertson Photo Arts, 69 Myrtle Street C2

Here is a postcard that has been going around, but if you need more information, be sure to check out their website at: openstudiohartford.com/  

Hope to see you there!  I have been working on a lot of new work for this show.  At my table you can find some awesome sculptures, big and little, as well as some great practical pieces like coffee mugs, bowls, pitchers, tumblers, etc.  I want to leave you all wanting more, so come see me at the Colt Gateway (#14)!!

Rewind…

It’s always a busy time in September when school is once again starting and here I am trying to push my artwork as much as I conceivably can.

So let’s rewind just a bit to the late spring/early summer time when I went kind of crazy on ceramics work in my studio, tried to do as many shows as I had inventory, and tried to submit my work into juried competitions all over.

I managed to get rejected a few times as well as successfully set up and take down shows, sell some pieces, get some great feedback, and even make it into some of those juried exhibitions.  The rejections did leave a mark.  Instead they motivate me to be bigger and do better for the same competition next year.

This past Saturday was the opening of the “Untitled: AbEx 2015” in Hartford, Connecticut. I was honored to be included in this abstract exhibition artist list with one of my ceramic pieces and one of my old cyanotype photographs, both of which you can see here.

It was a great celebration of artistic talent in our local area.  And talent we have.  There were some very strong abstract paintings and mixed media on their walls.  My artist friend Monica Hewryk was also part of the exhibition with two of her ceramic pieces.  You can see our excitement in the images below.

Paola @ Hartford Artspace
Me next to “Missing Pieces” sculpture.
Monica @ Hartford Artspace
Artist Monica Hewryk next to her pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later that same night before we walked our way to dinner we stopped by EBK Gallery, their small work gallery situated on Pearl Street in Hartford.  It was my first time visiting, and to my surprise, we found this great one piece show.  You might ask one piece show?  Yes!  It was the opening for a mural piece by Tim Wengerstman.  And yes, it was the only piece of artwork there, however, it was a big mural covering the main wall of the tiny gallery.

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Tim Wengertsman (image from EBK gallery website)

The mural was strong, assertive in its message, and it spoke of the generational awareness of our times.  It was a busy gallery with mounds of people outside of the gallery trying to get their questions answered.  My friend overheard the artist reveal that many of his artist friends were getting ready to relocate or move on with their lives in one aspect or another, a rite of passage kind of thing.  This impactful series of events brought on this painting, adequately titled “The Last Supper in Hartford,” is so politically charged it’s one of the main reasons I loved it so much.

Besides being stylistically strong (he works in woodcuts), one must study this mural with some time at hand.  It has much to decipher besides the obvious political punches he inserts with symbolism and some words.  I highly recommend anyone in the Hartford area to go see it.

It will be showing until September 28th, 2015.  Go See it!!

Tell me what you see.  Tell me what you feel when you look at this mural.  Aren’t all your senses on edge??

Summer = Festivals

If you’re wondering around CT looking for something fun to do, come to Walnut Beach and find me. I’ll be there all day selling my ceramic work.

The Walnut Beach Art & Craft Festival will not let anybody down. There will be food, art, music, and good times.

I hope to see you all there!

 S

In Memory of…

Life is short but it sure is sweet.

About a week ago the physical world lost a good soul.  Mark Strathy; artist, art professor at Central Connecticut State University, mentor to many artists and students, great boss to work with; peacefully passed away in his sleep.  My deepest sympathies go out to his girlfriend, and all of his family.

Strathy came into my life when I started to work at CCSU.  He was one (of two) of the gallery directors.  Working for him was always free of stress as much as it was always a lesson for me to simply be around him and his lectures to his students.  Those students who took his classes semester after semester talk about him as a great resource with awesome artistic skills which inspired them and his colleagues around him.

As we shared memories of Strathy, Monica Hewryk (a colleague and former student of the artist at CCSU) and I smiled at the thought of a warm chuckle from above because he used to say “You don’t get famous until you die.”

His artwork was always mesmerizing.  His large-scale oil paintings or watercolors have dreamlike scenarios in which he embedded his allegories that made you think deeply, laugh, or sometimes took you out of your comfort zone.

Let’s celebrate his life and his creative genius simply by admiring his work, through it he lives on.  After 20 years of living and having your studio in Brooklyn (Driggs Ave.), people will surely miss you.  However, you left a deep mark here in Connecticut too, and especially at Central (CCSU).

Rest in peace…

 

Exhibiting Natural Forms

We have entered the last week of our current exhibition and I recommend for all of you (within reasonable distance of central Connecticut) to come and visit “Natural Forms” before it closes on April 9th.  That’s this Thursday, so hurry up!

As I get back into the rhythm of writing, I can’t help but feel a bit guilty for not having written in two months.  So I am hoping that this post reaches the masses so they can discover the beautiful artwork we presently have installed in our CCSU Art Galleries.

It was a chaotic few weeks prior to the opening of Natural Forms on March 23, 2015.  Logistics for transporting artwork to our gallery took a bit of communication, team work and lots of energy.

The four exhibiting artists were Josh Axelrod, photographer from Vertmont; Amelia de Neergaard, installation artist living and working in Connecticut; Raphaela McCormack, a fiber artist originally from West Ireland living in Rochester, NY; and finally Bryan Nash Gill, a Connecticut artist who worked making relief prints and sculptures.

Raphaela McCormack - Of The Sea
Raphaela McCormack – Of The Sea

All the artists’ work relates so well to each other in this exhibition, it is as if they spoke the same language or carried the same spirit.  And it’s how we relate to all of it that makes for an important insight.  Come and sit on our bench and enjoy the serene movement of de Neergaard’s “River of Trees,” it will clear your mind.  Need a breath of fresh air?  Axelrod’s landscape photos can provide you with that as well.  Or you can get lost in any of Gill’s etchings which seem to have endless layers to them.  As for McCormack’s forms, you can almost picture her vessels drifting on the water toward the horizon.

Amelia de Neergaard by her "Gyre Locust" pods
Amelia de Neergaard by her “Gyre Locust” pods
Josh Axelrod next to his photographs "Taking the Turn" & "Arc"
Josh Axelrod next to his photographs “Taking the Turn” & “Arc”

McCormack’s abaca pulp (made from banana leaves) forms were the original inspirations for Cassandra Broadus-Garcia, the curator (my boss), to put these four artists’ work together and create a very raw escape from the concrete and technological.

Hoping that you will appreciate browsing through the pictures from the exhibition, I leave you, also, with a short video of Bryan Nash Gill from Martha Stewart’s American Made series.