Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Birmingham continued

i am very interested in returning to Birmingham to investigate the gallery culture. the seminar was held at Space One Eleven aka SOE, non-profit gallery devoted to the artist and non-traditional gallery experiences. i met Anne Arrasmith and Peter Prinz the founders of SOE, both generous, hospitable, and sharp people whose mission is to run a gallery that allows artists to exhibit non-commercially viable but vitally important work.

everyone was astounded that i had driven 4 hours to attend, but the seminar seemed perfect to keep me energized about my work and the next steps i need to take. the cost of the trip was around $250 for room, food, gas, and attendance fees. which seems affordable for the chance to network in the region. the drive was really easy, and I discovered that Birmingham in addition to being close to Pensacola, it really a nice central hub for the major urban areas of the (non-Florida) Southeast. it is within 3hours of 4 major cities (Memphis, Atlanta, Nashville and Knoxville).

i had the chance to talk to several other faculty about developing visiting lectures both amongst ourselves in the region and to bring in other high profile artists/theorist to out campuses through sharing of costs. most of the faculty in attendance were from Alabama with a few from GA and TN.

the trip yielded a new colleague, Sarah Marshall who is at University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. Sarah also brought a fantastic undergrad by the name of Patricia who is doing some high level aesthetics-data moshing around the culture of cancer. i was energized when Sarah shared her experience about marketing when the Apatow film that shares her name came out. i let her know that the ideas of identity is an important topic in my work, and we were fast friends.

Monday, November 22, 2010

a seminar in Birmingham

i have mentioned earlier in this blog that i have been traveling the SE area to discover the things that would keep me energized and help me expand my network in the region.

this weekend i was in Birmingham AL, the largest city in Alabama (nearly 750k residents and 2.3million in the metro area), to attend a faculty and professional development seminar sponsored in large part by CAA at Space One Eleven.

i have recently decided that i need more representation even though i know that i will still want to make art that is hard to sell to collectors. i am eager to follow the Christo/Jean Claude methodology of selling ephemera/artifacts associated with my projects and thus works like my drawings (Study for My Past Life as Yuri) will fulfill the commercial side. they form a bridge into the more esoteric and less material regions of my projects. i see the opportunity for the drawings and similar work to become a type of advertisement to get exposure to encourage the further exhibition of the hard to market portions of my work into the museum/university/and experimental gallery system.

the first workshop was about resume/CV development and whilst i found that most of it was a refresher there were points where the speaker confirmed that he would have made a similar decision in how to list or organize the document. this session was led by Larry Jens Anderson and he is awesome despite the fact that he felt the language in my statement was too 'flowery'. it reminds me a moment when Shannon Wright told me that my application to a school was fine, but maybe i should tone it down a bit because no one was going to believe i talk in that fashion. then she said even though you do... sigh, it is the nature of this beast.

Larry is sharp and tells you immediately what he thinks; i was in awe by how he listened to people read their artist statements and could give an instantaneous critique! you go Larry! additionally, the work he does is fantastic. he dropped lots of amazing tips on all manner of things including how to get a brief sit down with the director of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center to consult on your work. this was definitely worth the $20 cost of admission!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Studies for My Past Life as Yuri

over the past two weeks i have been trying to return to my artistic roots and also influence it with an impression from early in my life. the artistic root is that of drawing; specifically i am doing a sort of self portraiture in graphite. and by sort i mean that i am choosing to influence the portraits with early impressions on my personality. recently, my obsession of the EVA (or spacesuit) and all things cosmo- or astronautical has been a real focus for me. i have motives for a very grand experiment that i am not quite ready to unveil publicly, but a way that this obsession has manifested is that i started to make avatars for my online life using the famous space pioneers. the twist and art in this comes from my treatment of the images. i have been compositing pictures of myself into the photos. through the magic of computer imaging i become Yuri Gregarin, Alan Shepard, etc.

i started doing this to riff on how to let the impressions of the 'space race' effect my art work; it soon became obvious to me that i am very interested across much of my work in identity and role play. the composite photographs of my face in the role of astro-colonialist created a really interesting way for me to consider what i want to do with these 'heavy' influences. the creation of this alternate reality, also gave me an excellent focus when i have had to do demonstrations of digital manipulation in the class room. i could talk to the act of fakery as an art, an art exploring roleplay, identity, and personality. i developed a nice an extensive narrative of my shadowy past connected to the early ballastics history of Germany, the Soviet Space program, and eventually recruitment to the NASA program as i built sample images and websites to demo the software for my students.

the photoshopped images were excellent foils for this discussion and a pleasant way to riff as i mentioned before. i examined them with a critical sense over the last few weeks, i saw that the composites had a sort of distance and flatness in the digital form. they seemed to be conceptually flat and distant; and i wanted to manifest these ideas in the real world in a real way. really get on the stage if you will allow me to extend the the acting metaphor a bit more.

i saw that they need to be made of whole atoms, not just electrical traces on the medium, so i remade the composites once more by drawing them in graphite and larger than life. i consider these two as studies in this roleplay. i have ideas on how to bring even more life to the idea and images which i may share at a future date. i told a colleague that the drawings are making the fake into reality for me. it is a complex relationship/process between the tangible material (paper, graphite) and the oversized format. it brings a life to my fantasy land, my youthful desire to be a rocketman.

Study for My Past Life as Yuri(Number 0001) 2010 Graphite on paper. 36x25 inches.
Study for My Past Life as Yuri(Number 0001) 2010 Graphite on paper. 36x25 inches.

Study for My Past Life as Yuri(Number 0001) 2010 Graphite on paper. 36x25 inches.

Study for My Past Life as Yuri(Number 0002) 2010 Graphite on paper. 35x34 inches.