I email every artist I blog about (or at least the ones who sign their work). Here are their responses!

Drool (ORIGINAL POST)

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Turns out Amanda Wilcox isn’t who I thought she was. She writes about her age, her food experiments and her color mixing theory:

“Thank you for your kind mention in your blog. My full name is Amanda Nettie Martin Wilcox.

And although I am a bfa student, and I just started painting in 2008 at Lane Community College before transferring.g to the university of Oregon… I am not so
young. I am 54.

Yes I used some food in my drawings. I have used cooking Oil stains to attract pastel and graphite to stick to paper surface to create denser marks.  Some soy sauce makes a lovely wash.

I do not carefully mix my colors. I try to put a large variety of colors on palette. Then experiment with using opposites to bump up or tone down areas. Also its great to but a thin wash of color over some saturated areas. Too much of one color will need dabs or washes or opposite and similar colors to give it life and depth.
Avoid using too much or any black unless you want to flatten out an area or make areas become extreme. Make black using very dark greens and dark reds and /or dark blues. And vary the blackish Colo you mix to help give the picture depth. Muddy gray is your friend and you can add other colors to it for shadows or defining highlights. And soften edges of areas using this.”
Thanks so much, Amanda!

Bad Kids. (ORIGINAL POST)

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Ms. Anne Teigen kind of got the short shrift in this post. Her Promenade was mostly a springboard for another adventure. When I emailed her a link to the post, she graciously responded with explanations of the mysterious leashes and the costs of artmaking.

“I like your interpretation of what might be attached to the leashes in ‘Promenade.’ Originally the painting had been shown as part of the series ‘Dog Walkers.’ Many of the paintings, including ‘Four Seasons #4,’ had dog paintings leashed to the paintings by ribbon matched to the color in the painting. However, I really like your idea of rabbits in winter jackets for ‘Promenade.’ I have sometimes imagined a pair of trained alligators.

Sorry the painting is so expensive. Half the money always goes to the gallery representing me. ‘Promenade’ was so large, I had to have the stretcher made by a framer. Also the size of the painting demands a lot of paint – which is expensive, sometimes $40 a tube. And it takes a lot of time to paint a painting of that size. Since I don’t time paintings exactly, because I keep coming back to them, even when I think I have finished – I would guess “Promenade” took at least a month. So, after expenses and gallery commission I would get about $1000, or about $33.00 a day. Sorry I did that – but my object isn’t to get rich, it is to sell enough paintings to break even – which I do manage to do.”

Truth be told, Anne, I felt a little silly about calling out the cost of the painting, though it was my honest reaction at the time. Anyone who spends time in galleries knows that large oils can run at very high prices. I had no idea how much an artist has to sink into a single painting though. Thanks for the insight!

I also asked Anne for her thoughts on street art. It turns out she and I have a common hobby:

“I have been photographing it for years. I began when I lived in L.A., and I sought it out when I traveled in N.Y., Spain, Paris, and almost any city I ever visited. What I think of it is a long answer that I don’t think I want to get into. But I appreciate it, and find it to be a very alive and immediate art form.”

Hmmm I like long answers. Perhaps we should have an art adventure, Ms. Anne Teigen.

Another post on Teigen’s work is coming soon, wherein I’ll try to crack the mystery of the four seasons! Stay tuned…

Things you lose.Www.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/things-you-lose/”>;;ORIGINAL POST)

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I walk through the Pioneer Cemetery about three times a day. Ever since I found the teddy bear and the puppy dog, I’ve been avoiding the little bench under which I left them. I wanted to imagine that they’d wandered off on their next adventure. Yesterday afternoon, I finally glanced in the general direction of the bench. My jaw dropped, my knees locked and I was filled with terror.

Teddy had grown to mammoth size, and his little blue overalls had apparently ripped off Hulk style. He perched on a gravestone like a fuzzy gargoyle, and was being circled by a rapidly gesticulating gothic gentleman. The scene was unfolding mere feet away from the bench. As I got closer I could hear rap music playing from a stereo next to the tree. What a bizarre twist to my little bear-y tale!

I approached the man, who was being filmed by a cheerful bespectacled woman.

“Is this performance art?” I asked.

The man weighed this question and gave a half shrug.

“Yeah, I guess,” he said.

“He always looks like this though,” said the lady of her costumed companion.

The gent is called Warped Brownlee, whose online alias is Deicide97402. That’s the name of the YouTube channel where he posts gothic spoofs of rap songs. Giant Teddy was the co-star of an upcoming release.

I tried to explain the story of Teddy, but Brownlee seemed a bit distracted by his artistic process. Before leaving him to his work, I looked over at the bench and thankfully saw my duo still huddled under it. Teddy hadn’t mutated into a monster!

At home I clicked over to Brownlee’s page and found “The Backyard Boogie.” It starts with a first-person jaunt through the Pioneer Cemetery to a dramatic song from Star Wars. Then the rap starts, which involves Brownlee channeling Janelle Monae moves, gyrating gothic girls with names like Lotus and Desiree, and a hilarious moment involving a precarious cape and a hearse door. Here it is, in all its glory:

Brownlee is clearly a goth with a good sense of humor- I love it! I’m a little annoyed that his strangeness upstaged my fiction, though. I can’t wait for the teddy bear video!

UPDATE

The teddy bear video has premiered!! Good ol’ Warped Brownlee and his teddy traipse through a graveyard, beat and cheat on each other, and have a romantic moment on a Ferris wheel. WARNING: There is some … um… nudity at 4:45. You’ve been warned!

Men. (ORIGINAL POST)

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I wrote all the bros of the BROSHOW(FOSHO) SHOW and got a response from Jonathan Bagby, who snapped that great black-and-white shot of bros shaving. He wrote about why the pieces weren’t labeled:

“In response to the titles/names, we had originally decided when brainstorming for the show we didn’t want names in order to be collectively male and and not out for individual recognition, but also to allow people to make whatever work they wanted without judge by what facet of maleness they chose to represent (being pegged as the chauvinist pig/uber-sensitive guy, etc. of the group for making a piece dealing with those issues) I kind of wish we had done titles, not everyone had/thought their piece needed titles so we scratched it.”

So perhaps the lack of information was actually a positive thing. If the bros needed a safe space to create and explore masculinity, then why not give it to them?

Visitors Attack Shark (ORIGINAL POST)

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I sent Michael Salter a link to my post about his monstrous polystyrene Carcharodon carcharias with questions about where he gets all that styrofoam (eBay addiction??), his style and his big, fishy message. Here’s his reply:

“I get the polystyrene packing pieces from many places. Having used them for a while in my work means people collect it for me, in many cases. You would be stunned how much the university throws away. When I am lucky I can get huge amounts of from particular sources.

My aesthetic? Its informed by anything and everything. The robot-shark is complex but it is also quite minimal. A singular color, a singular material, its a conscious reference to minimalism.

My use of a reclaimed material is more a comment on consumerism than recycling. I think using a known, familiar media, image, object or idea and just altering in an obvious fashion to change the way it is perceived is pretty magical.”

It’s magical- and refreshing. Something tells me Salter loves the Luo Brothers.

Out cold (ORIGINAL POST)

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After my classmate fainted and I found Caroline Phillips’ fabulously creepy “Funambulist,” I just had to know what inspired her. Turns out the grotesque pair of feet teetering on a tightrope was indeed a meditation on death. The most macabre part? She used her own feet to make it! Here’s her note to me:

“I made the feet using a waste mold. I first sculpted the feet with clay and took a plaster impression of that. I scraped out the clay and poured plaster into the mold to make the impression. They are pretty freaky and its even stranger for me because I modeled them after my own feet so the subtle nuances make me feel literally disembodied. The tightrope is actually steel rebar of which I welded two thin spokes that insert into the feet. The twine wrap creates the illusion of stasis. And yes I was definitely thinking about mortality, especially the fragility of our own bodies. I am interested in how the ego can project the illusion of invincibility and power yet it is contained within the walls of an organic and vulnerable vessel.”

The picture above is actually a larger version of the piece, which wouldn’t fit in the case for the EMU exhibition. While I loved the simplicity of the EMU piece, the original seems to work even better. When it’s not cooped up in a case, there’s a much better sense of space. Can you feel the vertigo. Kudos on the spindly floating orbs, Caroline. If only that pesky heater weren’t there.

To weave realities (ORIGINAL POST)

Jeff Mason, The Mill at Night (watercolor version)

“Acquisition” is a lovely word. It makes you sound snobby and rich. “I acquired this Picasso.” “My acquisition of this Cezanne…” “I’m going to the store to acquire a head of cabbage.”

I’ve been babbling about my first acquisition for a week now, and though the art piece is an itty bitty watercolor, I’ve been treasuring it like it’s a masterpiece. It all started when Jeff Mason, who had that show in the Wandering Goat in October, sent me an email:

I guess you bought a watercolor, I hope you’re happy with it. Thanks..
I’ve got a show at the Art of Glass this month (the opening is tomorrow at 5 or 6 or so). Old paintings (including one or two that I hung in the Goat in October) but most of them are paintings that you haven’t seen.
I love it when artists send me scoops on their exhibitions (note to self: I still need to go that show!), but I hadn’t, in fact, bought his work. The email reminded me that Mason had done a series of watercolors from his Goat show, and it also got me thinking about how bare my walls are…
And now I’m the proud owner- or acquirer– of the lovely little thing, though I haven’t pinned it on my wall just yet. I’ve been keeping it in my textbooks and peeking at it in my most stressful finals moments.
The piece is a version of Mason’s painting The Mill at Night, the Mill being the iconic industrial building that rises above the Whiteaker. The building, with all of its strange planes and glowing lights, was a perfect subject for Mason, whose paintings exalt in plays of light. It doesn’t come across as well in the watercolor version, but Mason’s fondness for the building certainly does. It’s positively charming.
Acquire. Acquire. Acquisition. Okay, I think I’ve gotten it all out of me.
P.S. You acquire a Mason watercolor, too! Head over to the Goat ASAP, cuz they’re sellin’ like hotcakes. Beautiful hotcakes.

It’s alive! (ORIGINAL POST)

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I was sitting in Lawrence on Friday when I looked up to see a gentleman lugging a strange bundle of wood, wire and body parts toward the door. It was Tim Hamilton, creator of the untitled sculpture I wrote about the other day.

The piece looked so different as he carried it under his arm, the hands hanging limp when they used to be animated and creeptastic. The whole construction looked small and sad, like a crumpled corpse.

I caught Hamilton before he went out the door and asked him if his piece was inspired by zombies.

“Actually, no,” he said, laughing. “The piece explores the idea of the machine as a stand-in for the human body.”

He pointed out that the hands are poking through different sides of the boards and talked about the ambiguity of the internal versus the external.

Hamilton is a BFA student in sculpture, and boy is he good with a welding torch. It took him two months to create the sculpture from old bike parts, metal scraps and wood.

Before leaving, Hamilton reached down and tickled the fingertips of one of the hands. It seemed to stir, sparked back to life by its maker. Feel free to shiver, because I certainly did.

Hippie Haunting (ORIGINAL POST)

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Marilyn Kent, Viva La Frida

I emailed the Maude Kerns about my blog post on their Day of the Dead Exhibit, and got this response from Marsha Shankman of the Duchess Committee, which created Maude Kerns’ altar, a few days later:

“I’m glad you were intrigued by the altar in honor of Maude Kerns at the Art Center’s Dia de los Muertos exhibit. And, yes, the blue painting is a gem. I like your title: ‘little blue soul watching over the festivities.’ The piece is untitled like so many of Maude’s works on paper. One of Maude’s favorite colors was blue – especially a grayed, powdered blue that she often dressed in.
You’re right that there’s not much food on the altar (just the oranges and the round pan de muerto on the lower level). She’s a rarified spirit. And, yes, aesthetics won out with the two long candles on the top level. We do have four small beeswax candles on the second level, which is traditional. It’s also traditional to put tools and utensils of the departed on the altar, so we included the palette, pigments, and palette knife.”

Sorry I posted the Frida Kahlo painting instead of another photo of the Maude Kerns altar. I just really wanted to put it somewhere because I love Frida so much, and it was such a standout at the exhibit. To see Kerns’ altar and the “little blue soul” painting, click here!

THUGZ WHO KNIT (ORIGINAL POST)

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I sent a link to the Oregon Folklife Network (The curator of “Hooks, Yarns & Bars” in cooperation with the UO Center for Intercultural Dialog and Folklore program) and got a response from Emily Afandor, who is the OFN’s interim program manager. Here’s what she had to say:

“We take very careful effort to frame the Crocheting 4 Community men in a light that emphasizes their humanity, and I truly appreciate your cooperation with that goal. They have had journalists come in with the best intentions, but whose articles dramatize and sensationalize the fact that they are criminals, highlighting the contrast, which sadly only leaves the reader imagining tough guys and “thugz” rather than impressing upon them the healing journey that crocheting items for charity affords this unique and specific group of men.”

I asked a couple questions about the program, some of which she answered on the original post. She also sente two links. The first includes a little 101 course on the prison industrial complex (read it!!!), and the second is a video of the program that includes shots of the inmates (who look like regular people) and the prison (which looks a lot like a community college campus). Emily writes:

“The video clarifies a lot of your questions, and it introduces Karen, who volunteers to bring supplies, takes their items out to charities, and helps them learn new stitches. The men largely teach each other the stitches, though Karen teaches them, too.

We have been quite fortunate to build a relationship with the administration of OSCI who allowed us to enter the prison to talk to the men. There is no way to contact prisoners without entering the prison which, as you might imagine, makes this exhibit an incredibly rare and cherished document of the C4C men.”

Thanks for sharing, Emily!

The espresso monster (ORIGINAL POST)

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Who was that pretty girl who helped tame the espresso monster? I know you’ve been wondering that since Caroline made a guest appearance on my Sunday post. She is quite unforgettable. Here’s what the master barista has to say about espresso:

“For the past year (minus the summer), I have worked at a coffee shop on the University of Oregon campus. It’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had; and I love the job, the customers, my co-workers. Having grown up in a family where neither of my parents drink coffee (and only own a coffee maker for company), I’d never even made a cup of regular drip coffee when I started. It took me awhile to learn the difference between a latte and a mocha and a cappuccino and a café au lait. But undoubtedly my favorite part of the work part of the job is making espresso drinks for people. I love steaming the milk, and pulling espresso shots. And when the milk is steamed perfectly, it is absolutely be-you-tee-ful.”

If you want to hear more from the fabulous Caroline, you should probably check out her blog. It’s pretty fantastic.

To weave realities (ORIGINAL POST)

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When I sent Jeff Mason the link to the post, I added one last question: is it strange to be surrounded by his art when he enters his favorite coffee shop? His response:

“I’m always surrounded by my paintings so it doesn’t seem strange. I like them being at the Goat because I like to talk to people about them, and I often approach people who are looking at them and let them know that I’m the painter if they have any questions. I spent a lot the of day there today because I decided to make little watercolor copies of the paintings to sell at a small price up at the front counter.”

The little replicas will go on sale late in the week (10/16), but beware. If you want to get one, you’ll have to pry it from my fingers first.

Ecostalker

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Creeping on corn at the Garden of Urbania

I emailed the staff of the Urban Farm about my articultural ideas, and I got a response from Kenny Helphand (wonderful name, right?), who is a Knight Professor of Landscape Architecture, donchaknow.

“Of course agriculture can be viewed as an art. I wrote about this 25 years ago. See:’Agriculture’s Art: The Garden,’ Landscape Architecture, Vol. 74: No. 3, pp. 60-64. May/June 1984
And in fact just lectured on this last week in my History of Landscape Architecture class (one of my favorite lectures).”

I feel affirmed in my ecostalking… I hope that’s healthy!

The Pensieve (ORIGINAL POST)

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It turns out Meg Branlund’s message about memory is twistier than I expected, delving into something called memory reconsolidation:

“I too, am a sucker for anything nostalgic, particularly anything have to do with old photographs. I have been exploring ideas and associations to memory in my work for awhile now, and as of recent I find myself focusing on the topic of memory reconsolidation, its a process where as we bring up a memory trace we make that memory susceptible to begin reworked in our mind. Kind of erasing the initial path to the memory as it gains new associations.
And the suitcase I picked up at a thrift store, I’m always on the hunt for them after that discovery.”
I think this has definitely happened to me, especially if the memory involves one of my faults!

Gallery as crime scene! (ORIGINAL POST)

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I just had to know more about Kate Kalal’s tragic ceramics piece, which was the stunning result of a weak gallery wall. I wrote to ask her about how the piece has affected her work now and the familial connection she has with her pieces. Here’s her response:

“There is something kind of ironically funny about what happened in the washburn gallery. Although that was nowhere intended, it showed the death and letting go of traditional crafts ceramics. I can put the traditional mug to rest and move on to more contemporary art that still holds a function. I think I will always have a familial connection to my work, specially when working in multiples. Mainly because as group they seem like a little family but each piece does have it’s own individual characteristics.”

Night at the Museum (ORIGINAL POST)

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Remember Eleven Eyes and the conch shell video? I emailed the band and asked some follow-up questions about conch playing and the varying explanations about the band’s name. Band member Tim McLaughlin responded:

“I’m not really sure if I’ve mastered the conch shell. I don’t actually practice it. Just play it on gigs. But people seem to like it and it’s fun. It’s like blowing into a mini-trumpet mouthpiece with no valves. I control the pitch kind of like one does on a french horn by sticking their hand in the bell.

And the funny reason for Eleven Eyes’ name is pretty much whatever one of us makes up on the spot…. Ya know, like we used to have five band members and one of us has a hidden eye somewhere… Or whatever. The later it is, the more abstract it can become.

If you’re free, we’ll be performing again tomorrow night (Sat 10/1) at the Maize (new Cornucopia venue on 13th and Oak). Swing by if you can!”

“Torso?” Sculpture? (ORIGINAL POST)

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I know the neighbors of the people who have the “Abdominal Discomfort” sculpture in their front yard, and I’ve been hounding them for a phone number for a while now. I finally got a response with a phone number and this insight:

“Kent told me they have more in the backyard too, and that you can look at it if you like. They put that one out front because they figured it was too heavy for anyone to steal. Good Luck! I’ll look at your blog sometime,” wrote Kate.

I’m one step closer to figuring out what the heck that thing is! And it sounds like the owner is very invested in sculpture. Exciting!

Mulwalwa Helmet Mask (ORIGINAL POST)

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After I wrote the post asking why Picasso gets artsy cred while the African masks that inspired him end up in natural history museums, I emailed Jon Erlandson, the executive director of the UO Museum of Natural & Cultural History, to see what he thinks. He said:

“Your art history teacher was wrong in two respects: most of the art on campus is not housed
in the JSMA–much of it is at the MNCH; and art museums often exhibit traditional arts such as those in our current exhibit. The JSMA, in fact, owns quite a number of similar masks–I think some in our current display were borrowed from their collections. I wasn’t the director when the MNCH added “Cultural” to its name (ca. 2002, I think), but it was because of the sensitivities your teacher mentioned.”

He makes a valid point- African and indigenous art does appear in art museums. But does it get the same respect? That’s a harder question.

“Fox” mask, Ajay Ryerson (ORIGINAL POST)

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Ajay says:

“It’s funny you ask about the sewing, because it was actually glued together with hot glue. I was an Art major before I switched to Biology, so I’ve learned many crafty trades such as sewing, sculpture, textiles, etc.”

Did you also have a major in adorable?

“Is art garbage?” Brooke Borcherding (ORIGINAL POST)

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It’s not, according to Brooke. She sent me this awesome response that gives real insight into her artistic process:

“First off, if the piece was dangling in your face, it probably IS due to lack of quality. The piece (which actually has a title “Encroaching Shadows” and is not a psychedelic depiction of a sea creature) was part of a series I did while at the UofO doing my undergrad before going into my 5th year for the BFA.
It isn’t “trash” art, although it does contain trash remains, nor is it “coffee shop” art but unfortunately Eugene has little exhibiting locations, so I use ROMA as extra storage space. I’m still undecided on how I feel about the plight of contemporary/conceptual art, but being under the influence of the academic art scene at the university, I was compelled to do something conceptual, so this painting stems from a larger body of work that addresses our human consumption of plastic.
For 3 months, I saved every last scrap of plastic, be it food packaging or plastic bags that I came into contact with and used them in my work. I made this 10 foot net out of the remains of my own plastic consumption and also a small series of paintings.
I just looked through some of my documents and found this small rambling statement:
These paintings are a merging of two styles I have been working on; landscape and conceptual. Because I have such a strong love for landscape and plein air painting, my abstracts have a tendency to be read as a landscape reference. Becoming aware of this, I embraced my conscious and unconscious connection to this type of subject matter and further investigated the implications of painting a landscape.
Going out on site gives a concrete reference that lies before the painter to paint from, but when the painter walks away and leaves that place, the moment is gone, and what is left is a painting that documents that moment in time. Going along with this idea of an ephemeral moment, I was caught in a beautiful landscape, enjoying the sun and shadow so much that I had the desire to capture it and save it. Unfortunately one is not always prepared to paint when inspiration strikes. with no materials in hand, but. This was the case for “Encroaching Shadows,” when I was inspired by the tall blue shadows cast on a bike path at twilight, but with no materials in hand at the time, I later used that emotive imagery in which to base the piece.
The inability to always be ready to record and the desire to preserve reiterates the fact that ultimately all moments, no matter how beautiful or ugly, are fleeting, and what’s left at the end of the day is our memory of that experience. In a way, experiencing a place and ephemeral moments is a type of consumption where the bi-product is the leftover memory. This ties back to our food consumption because it only lasts for a few moments but we are left with the plastic packaging that originally contained the product , reminding us of our momentary action.
All things are temporary but there is usually something left behind that allows us to be aware that something actually did take place or existed at one time. Whether it be leftover trash, or memories, I am exploring this dialogue of present material with its connection to the past in a visual and tactile way.
So, there’s a taste of the hoity art world! (I’ve currently gone back to tradition and focus solely on plein air painting at the moment).”

“Big Balls” Ryan Paxton (ORIGINAL POST)

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Paxton’s info at the exhibit said he works “without restrictions,” so I asked him just how a poor college student does such a thing with little funding.
He said:
“To answer your question I work without restrictions to any particular medium. It is necessary to works any and every way possible to effectively communicate what I am trying to. As far as being financially bounded, it is very difficult as a full-time student taking on such ambitious projects. I essentially save and spend all of my money on my work aside from food and shelter. What most people aren’t aware of is the amount of research and development that goes into work like this. Until I cleaned my studio this week I had five different versions of failed spherical forms.”

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