Tag Archives: Acrylic on canvas

10,000 hours

I recently asked a friends nine year-old daughter (Lily) how lacrosse was going.  “It’s a lot of fun, but I’m having a hard time catching the ball.”  Instantly the self appointed expert gene flared and I caught myself lecturing on the importance of “practice.” Practice or punishment in a K-6 thesaurus play book. Continuing, I stuttered with inspiration that I read somewhere that it takes 10,000 hours to become an “expert” (Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell). Her eyes widened and her voice calmly whispered “cool.”  Confused, I thought…did she think I said dollars…not hours…like if you practice, I’ll give you $10,000?  Lily ran off and grabbed her lacrosse stick and darted outside.  I just gave her a 10,000 hour license to have fun.  Need one?

Paul ShampineCheck out these license holders that are great with their stick…
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine


Jennifer Weiss

Dog Run-Jennifer Weiss

When did you first discover your creative talents? I think it was in the 3rd grade. Another student and I would perform these one on one drawing contests and the other students would be the judges (I’m not sure where the teacher was while this was going on). I was told early on that I had some talent, but it took me a very long time to really believe it; as I got older I realized I had to create in some way in order to stay sane. At times I would make paintings or drawings that I’d feel very good about, but it would often be followed by intense doubt and insecurity. It wasn’t until my early thirties, when a professor who I really respected told me I was talented did I actually begin to believe that I might have something worth pursuing. From then on I felt more of a commitment to my work and things really started to grow from that point.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. The first work I ever sold was a group of eight small 8×10″ paintings of coffee cups with a narrative theme. It happened during an open studio weekend in Red Hook where I used to live and work. A couple came in and purchased the entire series altogether for $400 for the eight paintings. I hadn’t expected anyone would really buy a painting from me, and so it came as a total surprise. Fearful they’d change their mind I threw out the first price that came to me. I miss those paintings…

Who are your favorite artists?  Some of my favorite artists include Terry Winters, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Herbert Brandl, and Willem De Kooning.

Artist: Jennifer Weiss
Title: Dog Run
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 72”x72”
Website: http://www.jenweiss.com

Cat Tesla
Endless & Outside of the Box

When did you first discover your creative talents? When I was 3 or 4 years old I made a birthday card for my grandmother using paint and collage, complete with a Hallmark® crown on the back (in goldenrod Crayola®, of course). Since then I’ve been drawing, painting, or making something. I believe it’s who I am part of my genetic code so to say.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  Honestly, I don’t remember my first sale! What I do remember is the last day of an art show about 7 years ago when a lady approached me asking about my “Outside of the Box” series. She really liked the work and said she had a wall that she measured and thought that she needed 50 paintings from this series for the spot she had in mind. I replied by saying you mean 15, right? No, she said. Fifty. Five-oh.” I thought she was pulling my leg. She asked me to come to her home after the show to see the space and bring whatever I had left.

My husband was with me and we were on the fence whether to go. She was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. It was very hot. We told her we’d call when we were all packed up. Once we got everything packed up, we figured “why not? Off we went.  It was beautiful. It was big. It was unbelievable!  The wall space was perfect for 50 “Outside of the Box” paintings. She purchased the 15 I had and commissioned me for the other 35.

Life is full of challenges, surprises, and joy. I’ll never forget this experience and how it taught me to be open and to believe that anything is possible. You just never know how God will bless you. I’m grateful for every day as an artist. For me, painting is the most life-affirming thing to do.

Who are your favorite artists?  William Turner, Jackson Pollock, and Georgia O’Keefe.

Artist: Cat Tesla
Title: Endless, 48″x48″, acrylic on canvas – Outside of the Box, 10″x10″/ea, mixed media on birch
Website: http://artbycat.com

Brooke Harker
Taxi 213-Brooke Harker

When did you first discover your creative talents? I grew up in a very creative home…so if I wasn’t putting on a show, making clothing for my troll collection or hosting dance contests between my sister and I (I always judged and won them too…which she never questioned), I was watching my mom paint…I began attending university art classes with her when I was seven, sitting next to her easel. When she worked on her art homework, I got to participate on a parallel project for me, and she taught me about what she was learning. I don’t remember ever not making things.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  I was probably five years old painting on rocks from the driveway with my best friend Ashley and trying to sell them for 5 cents each. It was a solid business plan, except we set our table of merchandise at the top of her winding driveway in the woods, private property with no food traffic or passing cars…and then we waited. Where were all the people? Didn’t they see our sign at the bottom of the driveway, “Rocks for Sale” with an arrow? Eventually we moved the rocks to the bottom of the hill, but were still shocked that nobody stopped to buy rocks that were hand painted for only 5 cents!  I’m telling this story…because it is possible that a rock sold before we gave up and started making hors d’oeuvres of graham cracker, frosting and marshmallows and delivering them door to door to our neighbors.

The first offer to buy one of my paintings came when I was 10. My elementary school had an art show in the evening, I wasn’t there but my teacher, Mrs. Smart, let me know that a man who collected children’s art wanted to buy my painting. I don’t remember now if I sold him the painting or held onto it…but I didn’t see it in the years that followed… I mainly remember the turmoil of deciding whether to sell it or not…The offer was for $50. I was shocked. The painting itself was from a class study of Matisse. We took turns posing for the class and painting Matisse inspired backgrounds. I was the only student to paint the boy modeling purple. I gave no explanations at the time. Perhaps the idea seemed original or abstract, but in truth I didn’t want to be racist. I had learned on Martin Luther King Jr Day not to pay attention to a persons skin color, and now I was about to paint Eric, the only African American boy in my class…If I chose brown paint…it would have meant I saw his skin color and I surely didn’t want to be racist…so I made him purple…but I still felt odd about the choice. Again another possible first sale…I for sure remember selling a painting of elephants when I was in high school to my elementary school guidance counselor.

Who are your favorite artists?  Rachael McCampbellChris ZambonRoderick SmithChuck Guppert, Paul GarveyMichael FlohrAshley HaganGregg Chadwick,Wendy MorrisMike Brouse, Carolyn ColeDaphne StammerGabrielle PoolRimi Yang,  James VerbickyClaudia Concha PereaBobby Logic, Charles Crossley, Hilary TaubMolly CourcelleMichael SituJean-Michel BasquiatPicasso, Renoir.

Artist: Brooke Harker
Title: Taxi 213
Medium: Japanese ink, oil and acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 36″ x 48″
Website: http://www.brookeharker.com

Kellie Thomas-Walker
The Invited-Kellie Thomas-Walker

When did you first discover your creative talents? I was brought up with a love for art originating from my artist mother. I dabbled here and there between creative writing, poetry, never centering on a creative outlet. Then, after many obstacles and many heartbreaks I started to take up sketching.  My threshold to cross which brought me into my world of colors, lines, and beauty was the progression of becoming a mother to my four daughters.  One day my mother set me in front of a canvas, with unlimited paint, brushes-and let me go. That day I found myself, and the world around me has forever changed.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  My most treasured piece I sold was a commission piece to our dear friends.  They gave me a color pallet to run off of, and gave me complete free artistic reign.  Three panels, reaching close to 10 ft across came to known as “New Jerusalem”. I poured my soul into that piece. It was where I started prayer to God in my work. A constant connection to Him.

Who are your favorite artists?  Without a doubt my all time favorite is my mother, Diane Heesen. She is such an amazing woman, and diverse in her artistic nature. My other favorites are Osnat Tzadoc, and Salvador Dali. Dali is a definite influence in my charcoal/pen drawings.

Artist: Kellie Thomas-Walker
Title: The Invited
Medium: Acrylic on canvas.
Dimensions: 48”x48”
Website: http://kelliewalkerabstractartist.blogspot.com/


Know your audience…Charlie Brown v. Martha Stewart

I was asked to help with the holiday tradition of “getting the Tree” by two very dear friends of mine.  Both reside in restored Connecticut properties.  One is a good ol’ barn and the other is a circa 1700 cider mill.

Walking through the threshold of the cocoon-like barn, Scotty beams you to a Scotty-Star Trekdeep-forest campsite in Montana.  It’s mood changing.  Complete decompression.   The first step in forces your diaphragm to expand and contract and your shoulders drop. You don’t want to leave.  You almost can’t.

The Mill seduces you.  As you descend down the tree-lined driveway, your searching eyes find evidence of a nestled rooftop within a chiseled stone wall.  A moat of playful plant life greets you with a wave of country garden scents of lavender and roses.  America’s board room, the kitchen, where Second base in viewlaughter sometimes meets tears is already at second base.  Soft lighting mysteriously glows to balance the cool marble tops with the wide-planked floors.  You’re naturally drawn around third to enter the living area by a small opening pulling you in to meet low hanging, dark hand-planed beams lit by a soft green hue projected from an arena of windows.

Now, both love gardening and cooking, are green-minded organic and chat up an auctioneer paced wild prattle. Demographically, pigeonholed…..but…..

“Barn” Tree
Barn Tree
Hunting ground: Large brush pile.
Species: Needleless, gnarly, bleached 8’ aged cedar.
Lighting: Trunk wrapped multi-color with neon white shell.
Décor: None.
Location: Outside-fire pit.

“Mill” Tree
Mill Tree
Hunting ground: “Destination” tree farm.
Species: White Pine-postcard.
Lighting: Soft white.
Décor: Popcorn/cranberry string, local hand-crafted ornaments.
Location: Inside, left field.

Every time I ask these same three questions (below­-to more than 50 artists), I’m reminded of one of my personal, constitutional doctrines of life…know your audience.   And as seemingly predictable the answer to the question of “your first art piece sale” would be, there is a continued diversity of answers ranging from “I practically had a f#c&ing  heart attack” to “I never thought about my first sale”.

A marketing strategist might feel comfortable putting an “artist” in a box…a tight niche.    But we’re all as unique as our thumbprint.

Paul ShampineCheck out these thumbprints….
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Renee Prisble, Chicago, IL
Renee Prisble

When did you first discover your creative talents? My creative talents were never discovered, they’ve been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories from before I began “real” school was an art class dilemma. I’d made a pinch pot at workshop at our local art center and I was given the opportunity to fire it if I wanted. I remember clutching the four quarters my mom gave me to pay for this extra step as I listened to the instructor explain to me the possible risks of the object exploding in the kiln. The funny thing about this story is that I don’t remember what I decided.  I was fortunate that my mom was also an artist and she very much spoiled me with extra courses and all the supplies I could ever desire.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  Selling work hasn’t been a big part of my practice since much of my work has been installation based. I once sold a piece of jewelry I designed, cast, formed and fabricated for $300. I immediately regretted it. But for the most part I enjoy selling work now because I like that it has a life of its own and that someone likes it enough to exchange money for it. I make so much work now, that the sentimentality of that first sale doesn’t occur anymore.

Who are your favorite artists?  My favorite artists are Janine Antoine, Doris Salcedo, Anthony Gormley, Ernst Haeckel, Lucy Lewis, to name a few from the top of my head.

Artist: Renee Prisble
Title: Thunder Cell Pods
Medium: Bronze
Dimensions: 6” Diameter
Website: http://reneeprisble.com

Blanche Serban, Storrs, CT
Blanche Serban
When did you first discover your creative talents? Being creative is part of being human. We are all creative, at any age. We are creative in what we make with our hands and with our minds. But we are also creative in the way we look at the world, in the way we perceive and assemble and “bend” in our mind the reality around us. We are creative in the way we relate and communicate with one another. Artists are people who value creativity to a high degree. As my daughter keenly noticed: “We always improvise.”  It is a great joy to try new things, to invent new things for oneself, to push this unbelievable body that can think, feel, sense, imagine to get a new experience of this reality. I guess I never discovered my creative talents – they have always been with me, just as they are with all people. I take great pleasure in making art, I can spend all my hours working, and it feels like a party.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  I have never thought about my first sale. Let me see. My father was my first client. It was a Sunday afternoon, in Bucharest, Romania. I was about 10-years old and very opinionated. I was drawing as I often did, and my father stopped to watch me. He said that I should draw something more classical, like the subject of an oil hanging on the wall across from me. I challenged him. “Do you think that painting is so good?”. It showed a blue lake where a woman was washing linens. In the background was a village spread under fall trees. “Can you do it?” he asked me. So, I drew the image in pencil. My father was very pleased, and he bought it from me for the equivalent of $100. I remember seeing the money in a drawer of my table for a long time. Then I sold drawings and paintings to friends of my friends while I was in school. Each painting that I sell acts like a marketing agent, because so many contacts of the new owner see the work. And the more people see the work, the better. The more paintings I sell, the more I paint, and this works great for me. Of course, I do have some paintings that I will not sell, like the cityscape that I painted after my first child was born. I was very busy with the baby and very tired, and I worked at this canvas every day for three months to complete it. I remember how much I enjoyed painting it, even though some days I had only a couple of minutes free to paint.

Who are your favorite artists?  I love Vermeer‘s paintings.  They are like polished gems, perfect worlds. If you look at them this way, you might notice that some do not match – and it is hard not to wonder if there are still some fake Vermeer’s hanging in museums… I love Rembrandt’s portraits, he is a magician. Look closely and the brushwork is simple, ascetic, spontaneous. Step back and it comes alive. I love Matisse for his color and craft. I enjoy Gerhard Richter‘s technique and breath, and Wolf Kahn‘s colors. I enjoy children’s art … I obsess with Marc Mellits‘ music, and contemporary Japanese pottery…There is no way to make a good list of favorite artists… There are many artists whom I admire, and they are unknowingly my teachers.

Artist: Blanche Serban
Title: Place de la Marie, Aix-en-Provence
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 30x24x1.5 inches
Website: http://www.serban-art.com

Jan Geoghegan, Tolland, CT
Jan Geoghegan
When did you first discover your creative talents?  “Artistic talent” is hard to define so I can’t know if I have it any more or less than anyone else does.  I do know that whether I have “it” or not,  I have a persistent need to create.  When people remark that I am talented, they usually mean it as a sincere compliment.. but it  could also be a polite way to avoid saying anything negative about my artwork. It’s not something I dwell on.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.  When I began painting in my 30’s, I sold most of what I produced and felt a personal need to break even with the cost of art supplies and framing.  I painted in oils and watercolor; house portraits, landscapes and local scenes. When I began experimenting, my work changed and appealed less to the general public as it garnered recognition via juried shows and gallery representation. My work restoring oil paintings helped to balance the books.  I  recall showing one of my newer paintings to my father.  He commented gently,”You used to paint so well, dear.”  So although I have always been encouraged and appreciative of sales, it’s especiallgratifying when I sell my recent work.

Who are your favorite artists?  Paul Klee is among the artists who hold my interest as well as Mark Rothko, Joseph Cornell and Mary Cassatt.  But closer to home, I am influenced by my artistic peers who, for the most part are, like me,”little fishes in a big pond.”  I look to the artwork of contemporary encaustic artists, not for imagery, but in order to become more familiar with the endless ways in which the medium can be used. My studio is a place for discovery…challenging, frustrating and exhilarating!

Artist: Jan Geoghegan
Title: Studio Time Line
Medium: Encaustic Mixed Media
Dimensions: 7 x 27 inches
Website: http://jangeoghegan.com

An Interview with an Artist, part 8

Partially  inspired by this blog and the direction it has taken, I’ve decided to team up with a great friend, art lover and PR Guru, Kaitlyn Siner to create a consortium of experienced art professionals and local business leaders to support “emerging” visual artists, collectively  forming The Arts PR Group.The Arts PR Group

We define emerging artists as “any individual, regardless of age or occupation who is fully committed to their craft.  Emerging may apply to artists in the early, mid, and late stages of their career, with some evidence of professional achievement.”

We are energized and inspired daily as we organize this privately funded (no federal or state assistance) nonprofit start-up to include a permanent flagship gallery site in Boston, a formal mentorship program (Shadow Program) with grant and fellowship opportunities among many new and unique initiatives for this important and critical collective of artists.

Kaitlyn and I have the passion, drive and the entrepreneurial prowess to commence our vision,but we need to continue to adopt and consult with key industry leaders to refine our objectives as we charge our mission forward. Your thoughts and ideas are welcomed.

Celebrating all visual artists, the interviews continue…

Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Mara Safransky- You Don't Know What You Don't Know or Why You Know What You Know

When did you first discover your creative talents?

From a very early age I was encouraged to draw and paint. My parents placed a lot of importance on the creative process and always emphasized me finding a means through which to express myself. I was home-schooled with my sisters and our days were structured around reading, dancing, music, and art. Explaining it now, it sounds so bohemian and renegade, and I guess in a lot of ways it was. Still, I feel very lucky looking back, because no matter how much I yearned to have a “normal” life like other children, I discovered my love of art because of the environment I was raised in. To this day, drawing and painting give me a purpose and an outlet. Most days in my studio, I feel like my real work as an artist is getting back to that time in my childhood when my approach to my work was totally unselfconscious and as much about the process of creating as it is about the finished piece.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.

My first piece was sold in 2000 through a small start-up gallery in Los Angeles. I was part of a group show and the buyer was visiting from Germany. Because the gallery owner made the sale, I never had contact with the collector. The sale made me feel grownup and legitimate as an artist because it meant someone bought my piece, not because they liked me, not because they knew me, but because the work spoke to them. Ironically, the experience ended up being memorable in more ways than one. Soon after the sale, the gallery went belly-up and I was never paid for the piece. It was a good lesson in the fact that art is a business, so having good contracts and being careful who you work with matters.

Who are your favorite artists?

While it may not be especially vogue to say, I derive the bulk of my inspiration from the painting that was happening in this country in the 1950’s and 60’s. So, to name a few of my heroes: Helen Frakenthaler, Hans Hoffman, Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock.

Artist: Mara Safransky
Title: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know or Why You Know What You Know
Medium: Acrylic on canvas, 48×36 inches
Website: http: http://www.marasafransky.com

Batya-We Virtually Held Up the Sky, Made the Wind Move

When did you first discover your creative talents?

It was a natural thing to express through the arts ever since I can remember and it included stories, art and music. I used to draw on anything I could get my hands on, small drawings in hidden spots at home, chalk on the sidewalks, illustrate my desk in school and on the blackboard before the teacher came in.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.

The first piece I sold was a drawing of a very long necked woman. I was a junior art counselor in a summer camp and on visiting day this couple saw it and asked me if they can have it. I said ok and they gave me a tip, but I was shocked at the amount.

Who are your favorite artists?

Too many to name all, these come to mind first: CaravaggioGoyaMagritte,VermeerIngresEdward Hopper,Caspar David FriedrichHenry Darger,Michal HeimanPeter DoigJeff Koons and Damien Hirst.Artist: Batya F. Kuncman
Title: We Virtually Held Up the Sky, Made the Wind Move
Medium: Oil on canvas 20×24 inches
Website: http://www.batya.ws

Vesna Jovanovic-TimekeeperWhen did you first discover your creative talents?

I guess I should first address the idea of talent, and how I perceive it. The concept of “talent” has always been a problematic one for me with regard to art.  In fact, I recently listened to a fantastic podcast episode that addresses this idea from various angles (it was a past episode of WNUR’s Radiolab). I think that some artists may be more or less talented in their craft (by that I mean how accurately they can execute something that they might envision or pursue), but that doesn’t say anything about their art, only their craft. On the other hand, I think that humans, by nature, all feel the need to create art. In other words, I don’t think that the word talent applies to art so much as to craft, or skill. Art is something that we all informally engage in: from how we move to how we interact with one another, cook our food, wear our clothes, etc. Art is something that we all experience and share with others all the time, and to judge it or evaluate it seems inappropriate to me. I never sought to evaluate my abilities before embarking on a specific project, but I do make a point of always working on and improving my crafting skills. I’ve just always been curious about the world around me; I’ve always felt the need to explore and create, regardless of my level of talent.

I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, and recently I found out that my elementary school classmates to this day remember me as “the artist in class”. Early on I discovered that this is what I needed to do. I don’t think that any artist is fully satisfied with the outcome though. It can always be better, different, more “true”… This is in part what drives us. Maybe I shouldn’t speak for all artists. But this is what I feel.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.

A big problem for artists is that our work is publicly perceived in a way that I believe is quite skewed. The general public seems to perceive artists as people who create products, instead of seeing visual art as part of the humanities and culture (neither a commodity nor a product, but an intellectual, or perhaps even more so experiential, pursuit).I do happen to sell my work – as many artists do in combination with several other sources of income, such as grants, teaching, residencies, etc. – but I think of being a visual artist as being a philosopher or a composer, not a manufacturer with products to sell.

An artist’s job is to create art and show it, not to sell it  – just as a composer’s job isn’t to sell compositions, and a philosopher’s job is not necessarily to write or sell books. These are sometimes unfortunate necessities that can only get in the way of the actual job, which is to create something and expose others to it.  To further elaborate on my point, some visual artists make work that simply cannot be sold (site-specific installations, time-based sculpture, sound video and performances with mixed media, new media, etc.) They rely on other sources of funding.  I just happen to sell my work because I can (and because I need to make room for more!) but I don’t see it as anything that should be memorable nor in any way admirable, or something to be proud of or even happy about; it is neither central nor necessary to being a successful artist.

I noticed that this general misconception about sales (especially in a capitalist society) causes many artists to quit because they feel as though it’s necessary to sell art in order to have some sort of validation, not realizing that this is not the case (especially in countries where artists are deemed important enough to be funded with regular paychecks from the government).

Having said all this… I cannot remember when I sold my first piece. It may have been a series of photographs that I sold back in my undergraduate years… Or there may have been a ceramic piece that I sold before that.

Who are your favorite artists?

I always enjoy viewing art without judging – just experiencing what others have to share and how they perceive the world, whether or not I agree with it. But there is some artwork that I feel an unusual kinship to.  Here’s a short list of artists whose work I really responded to, in no particular order: Lee Bontecou, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Marc Leuthold, Robert Turner (ceramist), Max Ernst, Caspar David Friedrich, Diane Arbus, ancient Egyptian reliefs and drawings, Lascaux cave paintings, Jean Tinguely, H.R. Giger, Gordon Matta-Clark, Katsushika Hokusai, Karl Blossfeldt, William Kentridge.

Artist: Vesna Jovanovic
Title: Timekeeper
Medium: Medical Scans, Watercolor, Ink, and Graphite, 84×34 inches

Website: http://www.vesnaonline.com

Caillebotte v. Renoir – Super Impressionist Sunday, Interview with an Artist, part 7

The Milwaukee Art Museum (Packers) and the Carnegie Museum of Art (Steelers) go head-to-head or frame-to-frame this Super Bowl Sunday as they wager (temporary loan) one of their prize impressionist possessions – Milwaulkee’s Caillebotte, Boating on the Yerres v. Carnegie’s Renoir, Bathers with Crab.
Milwaukee Art MuseumThe new tradition, started by last year’s Indianapolis “Colts” Museum of Art and the NewCarnegie Museum of Art Orleans “Saints” Museum of Art, finished with E. John Bullard leaving with  Joseph Turner’s “The Fifth Plague of Egypt” under his arm.  The win marked 37 years for Bullard, Museum Director of NOMA, as he retired that year to be succeeded by first round draft pick, Susan Taylor from Princeton University (no relation to NFL Hall of famer Lawrence Taylor).
Where’s my money? Renoir, who definitely has a better ground game, comes from a working class family (Steeler Country) and started his trade in a porcelain factory before going to art school. Ultimately becoming friends, Caillebotte hails from upper-class Parisian and is a bit more flashy and a Realist.  How will all this translate in Texas? Someone is definitely getting wet and I believe the term is “ender.”  The interviews continue….
Meg Dwyer, Chicago, IL
Meg Dwyer - PeppersWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I have been creating for as long as I can remember.  Not unlike many little girls, my first love as a child was horses; I was fascinated with their beauty and, beginning around the age of four, spent hours upon hours attempting to capture their form and movement on paper in pencil, paint and marker.  This was how I first discovered that I loved to draw, and I haven’t ever stopped.  From that early age, art became a very important part of my identity – it was both a means to connect with other people as well as to set myself apart.  It became the means by which I communicate what I find beautiful and significant.
For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. What stands out to me even more than the sale is the very moment I was first asked, “How much?”  The question came at a show which was one of my first opportunities to display my work publicly, and I hadn’t yet even considered selling.  I enjoy watching and listening to other people as they view my work, and I was contentedly focused on doing so when the “How much?” question snapped me to a shocked (and flattered) attention.  I knew that my art held a great deal of meaning for me personally, but I was unprepared for the idea that it might be meaningful enough to someone else that they would want to keep it in their space.  This concept added a new layer of purpose and wonder to creating art.  That moment will stay with me forever.
Who are your favorite artists? I am fascinated by Chuck Close, Paul Gauguin, Rene Magritte, Grant Wood, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keefe, and Peter Blume.
Artist: Meg Dwyer
Title: Peppers
Medium: Oil on gessoed panel, 18×24 inches
Website: http://www.megdwyer.com/

Shelley Laffal, Silver Spring, MD
Shelley Laffal - goin bananas
When did you first discover your creative talents? My “ah ha !!” Art moment came to me in Kindergarden. The assignment was to color in the line a picture of the Thanksgiving turkey.  We were given crayons and paper and as I started to to color the turkey I found myself blending layers upon layered of browns, oranges ,yellows, reds and blacks, I got so focused on the coloring that long after all the other students had finished I was still furiously coloring away, layer upon layer. Until the teacher informed me the class was over.  I realized that I had this need to make the turkey as real as it would taste.
For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. The first painting I sold was a mural , for restaurant. The owner had me commission several murals for his chain of restaurants.
Who are your favorite artists? The artists that have most moved and influenced my work: Frida Kahlo, Paula Rego, Botero, Alice Neel.
Artist: Shelley Laffal
Title: Goin bananas
Medium: Oil on canvas, 56×45 inches
Website:http://www.shelleylaffal.com
Hesther van Doornum, Vlijmen, The Netherlands
Hesther van Doornum - OverseeWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I discovered my creative talents at primary school. I discovered – actually my drawing teacher did – that I could draw anything I saw. She stimulated and motivated me in a great way.
For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. The first piece of work I sold was at college, to a teacher. That is when I noticed people were happy to pay for my paintings. This gave me confidence and made it easier for me to approach galleries after graduating. The first few years after graduation I had difficulties parting from my paintings. It was not until I started to make more paintings (my own stock was growing) that I could ‘leave’ (sell) them.
Who are your favorite artists? I enjoy the work of many painters and sculptors. I love to look at their work to find there unique fingerprint. To discover how the works are made, their struggles and their own uniquelyfound solutions. I think the paintings of Francis Bacon are very interesting because of their compositions. He kept experimenting until he found the right proportion between shapes, colors and depth. Also the voids are just as important as de forms and figures themselves. I also find the drawings of Camille Claudel very touching.
Artist: Hesther van Doornum
Title: Oversee
Medium: Acrylic on canvas, 100×120 cm
Website: http://www.hesthervandoornum.nl

Kesha Bruce, US and France
Kesha Bruce-THAT THEY MIGHT BE LOVELYWhen did you first discover your creative talents? Well to be honest I was a late bloomer.  I didn’t really get serious about art until I was a teenager. I was never particularly interested in drawing or painting, but I took a jewelry-making class and fell in love with the physicality of it. I think some of that translates into the way I paint.
For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. When I was first starting out my art career I sold a few small paintings here and there to friends and family of course.  But I made my first big sale when I was in grad school at Hunter College in New York City.  During an open studio a guy kinda wandered in, looked at a piece and within a few minutes asked me for a price.  I quoted his a price based off what I needed to pay my rent that month.  He didn’t blink an eye.  He bought the piece and then took me out to lunch at a fantastically chic restaurant to celebrate.  To say the least, I was thrilled.
Who are your favorite artists? I’m not much for hero worship.  Most of the artists that inspire me are contemporary artists that I have met and admire. Artists I’m watching right now: Stacia YeapanisJane ZweibelCharlie Grosso
Artist: Kesha Bruce
Title: THAT THEY MIGHT BE LOVELY
Medium: Archival Pigment Print, 20×27 inches
Website: http://www.keshabruce.com Blog: http://www.keshabrucestudio.com

It’s OK to be an artist…Interview with an Artist, part 5

Atypical for me, I didn’t have a goal or objective when I started this blog. As a result of subscriber feedback and my personal beliefs, I do now. Simply…to celebrate and support those who have chosen to become “artists” and to encourage those who are exploring the occupation…
Paul Shampine
While attending a Tom Kelley seminar, author of The Ten Faces of Innovation, Tom references author/artist Gordon MacKenzie’s experience while giving lectures to grade school children (K-6). In short, when Gordon asks “Anybody here an artist?” to a kindergarten class, everyone raises their hands with great animation and enthusiasm. As the lectures continue throughout the day, Gordon experiences significant attrition with only two hands being raised in the six grade. Transcript can be read here:http://ventureswell.com/innovation-made-personal-tom-k

Tom’s message for his lecture: “..it’s OK to be an artist. It’s OK to be an innovator. It’s OK to be a design thinker even if it causes people around you to raise their eyebrows.”

I agree. It’s my creative thinking that made me an effective corporate leader, CEO, small business consultant and a sculptor.

Here are a few that I’m sure would agree that it’s OK to be an artist……

Carolanne Leslie, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY

Passageway to Consciousness-Carolanne LeslieWhen did you first discover your creative talents? When I was a child I endlessly wrote poetry. I discovered poetry as a means to express myself abstractly.  I was afraid someone might see my nightly journals about my life and I had a sense my words were too revealing. Then one day in a quiet moment of “no mind” my hand began to write poems.  Poetry was my secret language, my quiet expression of an inner world I was only beginning to discover.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. The name of the piece was “Surrender”. It was hanging on a wall in a Downtown Brooklyn Bar. One night I was at the bar and I watched a man take pictures of all of my art hanging on the wall. I asked him why and he said his friend in the corner wants to buy “Surrender”. I told him I was the artist and he introduced me to  Azim Ramelize who bought the painting off the wall that night.

Azim understood my art on the most intimate level. We discussed the spiritual sentiments in the title  “Surrender” and other concepts such as transformation for hours before I realized Azim was paralyzed from the waste down because he was shot at the age of 17 at the base of his spine…Azim grew up in the worst of the Brooklyn ghettos.  But what I didn’t realize at first was the scope of what Azim overcame in his life.

Azim managed not only to survive the gunshot wound but he pulled himself up and out of the insidiously difficult world he lived in and “transformed” it into something wonderful. He became a lawyer.  The commissioner of Children Services helping inner city kids with their struggles.  “From Gangster to Guardian”… Azim Ramelize, I am proud to say was moved by my artwork and I felt understood. What a beautiful exchange.

Who are your favorite artists? Gaudi, Bouguereau, Frida Kahlo, Antony Gormley, Marina Abromovic, Julian Schnabel, Ayala Serfaty, Gustav Klimt,Camille Claudel,

Artist: Carolanne Leslie
Title: Passage to Consciousness
Medium: Acrylic on canvas, 36×74 inches
Website: http://carolanneleslie.com/

Cheryl Faligowski, Detroit, MI

Nude Frame - Split SugarWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I started exploring photography at a young age with cameras you would find as a prize in cereal boxes. Although my concept of composition and lighting had not been discovered yet, I loved the feeling of capturing what I saw. While in high school I started experimenting with the idea of conceptual photography with models (my friends) and self portraiture. I loved photographing the human body in all it’s shapes and forms.By the time I was 16 I had found my heart belonged to portraiture, performance and fine art photography and also came to the realization that I can help others see the beauty in themselves and others with these photos.
For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. There is no one photo (sold or unsold) that takes precedence over all the others. I still am finding to this day that each new shoot I do I learn something new about my technique, my style, myself, and the people I’m shooting. It’s a growing process always and I love that about all artistic endeavors! My studies in the nude human body are still some of my favorites over-all but it’s too hard to pin-point one shot that meant more than the others.

Who are your favorite artists? I do not have many consistent favorite artists anymore. I look at all genres, new and old, and I go through phases with liking some more than others. It’s always changing because I like to be able to always change. It’s almost as though I have favorite peices, rather than artists. Even if I do a series, I rarely stick with it for longer than a few months to a year because I like change and evolution and allowing for that to happen naturally as I discover new inspirations. If I had to name some names, then some of my inspirations have been Jan Saudek, David La Chappelle, Richard Avedon, George Hurrell, and even young up-and-comings like Lara Jade who took the online photography world be storm before she even 16, and locals AJ Kahn and Gary Mitchell who I have even had the pleasure to work with as a model. There are countless others but these are just the few that come to mind right now.

Artist: Cheryl Faligowski aka Spilt Sugar
Title: Nude Frame
Medium: Digital photo converted to black and white can be converted up to 11×14 inches
Website: http://www.spiltsugar.com/


Mary Ann Wakeley, Wynnewood, PA

Manifesto - Mary Ann WakeleyWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I seem to have several recollections that qualify as first discoveries. Like so many children, it was natural for me to make things whether it was creative structures with wooden blocks and crafts or painting, drawing or playing piano …. it is inherent so as children we take those things for granted and don’t consider what we do is special or a talent. As we mature, we are singled out for what others perceive as unique. I remember how amazed I was that I did so well in a design class I took as a continuing education student yet I had been rearranging colors and forms in space in so many ways for years beginning as a toddler that I don’t know how I could have been surprised. Every time I am aware of a new form of expression making its way through is a first discovery for me.
For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. Even though it wasn’t the first time I sold a painting I remember the first piece I sold via the internet and consider it my first official sale. This may be due to the fact that prior to internet sales most paintings were purchased by friends, family and friends of family. This was the first official sale from an unknown person via the web. It was a square abstract in acrylic on canvas that was in shades of muted pinks and orange and resembled a landscape but the colors took it out of that realm and the buyer connected. It was 2004 when I made the sale after reading an article in Art Calendar magazine about artists selling on the internet and especially having success on ebay. The piece sold within minutes of being listed and I was hooked! The sale of that piece along with the lovely personal note that was sent by the woman who purchased it was very memorable.

Who are your favorite artists? Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Franz Kline, Elizabeth Peyton, Howard Hodgkin, Patrick Heron, Louise Bourgeois, Matisse, Bernard Dufour.Favorite painters of today whom I have personally connected with via the web are Michel Guerin, Diane Kramer, Hiroshi Matsumoto, Sharon Barfoot, Goro Endow, Mayako Nakamura, Gerard Stricher, Bertrand Eberhard, Anne Buffum, Anne-Laure Djaballah to name but a few.

Artist: Mary Ann Wakeley
Title: Manifesto
Medium: Acrylic and pastel on canvas, 40×40 inches
Website: http://www.maryannwakeley.com/

Ivy Jacobsen, San Francisco, CA

Sanctuary-Ivy JacobsenWhen did you first discover your creative talents? From as early as I can remember I’ve always gravitated towards drawing, painting, and other crafty things as a means to self expression and fun.But it wasn’t until 1997, when I was 23, that I took my first college level painting class and became a painting addict! Something just clicked when I began oil painting and it’s been my passion ever since.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold. In 1999 I was studying painting and printmaking at San Francisco State University and at night working at a restaurant/bar in Oakland’s Jack London Square. I had the fortune of having my very first art show at this restaurant. One of the regulars came in one night and we got to talking about my paintings. He asked me which of these pieces was my favorite and I told him it was “Long Necks”. He said he’d buy it! I was so excited, I couldn’t believe it! A few years later he started a new gallery in Oakland and I had my first solo gallery show there.

Who are your favorite artists? I have a lot of favorite artist. Some current ones are Ruth Oshawa, Darren Waterston, and Eyvind Earle.

Artist: Ivy Jacobsen
Title: Sanctuary
Medium: Oil, bronzing powder, & mixed media on canvas, 38×52 inches
Website: http://www.ivyjacobsen.com

NEXT UP…..

Paul Shampine Greg Orfanos ~ Danielle EzzoAmy Guidry ~ Meg Dwyer