Friday, July 31, 2009
I’m not really good about public relations. I like to concentrate on my work, not on how my work is presented or sold. This blog, for example, has never been promoted, or had ads, or even a counter. I just write it for me, and a few friends. You!
(By the way, this is my 763rd post.)
Now, however, I’m being forced to reconsider PR. I must be more pro-active in marketing myself, job situation being what it is.
I saw this exhibit a few months ago at Rosamund Felsen. The paintings were sort of nice—loopy, ice cream colors, what I think of as California abstraction. Nothing great, though, and the person I was with hated them.
On the way out of the gallery I saw the poster. It’s a masterful story of romance: sexy yet sensitive artist, gorgeous studio, hint of the hip scene, whiff of wealth, hot Mediterranean garden… and it explains the paintings. It could be all made up, the guy could be the gardener for all we know, but the paintings are now much more marketable.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
A friend and I created a public sculpture that was temporarily installed on the waterfront. But it’s been in storage for years now. It was supposed to go into a new library, but the first shovelful on that project has yet to be turned.
And so we found another place to put it up, a peace garden, and it’s going to be beautiful!
Monday, July 27, 2009
“… so sorry to hear that you have lost most of your teaching jobs. This economy is really taking its toll on all of us. So many galleries are closing. I know that I am struggling to keep up with my studio space, as well. So I wish you the best of luck with your efforts. Is there some way for serious, professional artists (like us!) to survive when the teaching gigs and galleries dry up? I am trying to figure it out!!
“And I am totally with you when it comes to supporting the models. We are lucky to have so many excellent professional models here in (our town), and they are struggling, too.
“What is an arts community to do?!? Even during the depression, they had the WPA to hire artists and craftsman for public works. We need that now!
“Well, keep up the good work and don't loose heart.”
(Photos are to perk us all up: those seaweed looking things are actually two different types of seahorses!)
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Here’s my OTHER big project, besides the “Trade Show” and the bungalow restoration, both of which are pretty much wrapped up—a series of videos in which I teach drawing. (See a little plastic Bratz lecture on proportions of the face, etc.) I’ve been working on them for a year, gradually getting more technically professional equipment and expectations. Now I’m really serious!
More to come.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Oh dear, I’ve gotten quite behind in this blog. Spent the 4th of July sitting on the porch of a house overlooking a neighborhood where people set off lots of amateur fireworks. After so many years of synchronized civic shows, it was refreshing. And nothing caught fire!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Here’s what I recommend for depression: heavy exercise. It’s like a drug. I can be miserable before I get on my bike, skates, or walking shoes, but, moving into the sunlight, I begin to calm down. I start to think more clearly, I get hopeful again.
Of course it helps to keep that fantastic-plastic figure of mine in shape…
Friday, July 17, 2009
Over a year ago I realized teaching as a career wasn’t going to work out for me. I started to look into other options. But really, there’s nothing to compare to teaching at the college level for autonomy, creativity, and compensation. Not to mention the respect other people have for college professors.
Earlier this year my private college let me go, along with most of their other part-time teachers. Now the State of California is finishing us off. My normal teaching load was 4-5 classes per semester/quarter, or about 250 students. This fall I’m down to a three-hour-per-week art history lecture. Possibly one other short course through an adult ed program.
Those 200 students I won’t have in my classroom will be out of luck, because we adjuncts are not being replaced. I’m hoping this is where the public will be outraged, because these are not the poor or elderly who are affected, but the average taxpayer and his kid. I have an art historian friend who lost both of her upper division Renaissance classes. That means anyone trying to finish an art history degree won’t be able to, as the classes required no longer exist.
Anyway, it’s amazing that, though I knew the destruction of my career in education would happen, I’m still shell shocked. It’s like when you expect someone you love to die, you prepare for it, but when they do, you still can’t believe it, and your mourning is no less intense.
Well, life is short, we shouldn’t waste it, right?
A fitting masterwork, and one that continues to disturb: Giacometti’s “Woman with her Throat Cut,” 1932 at MOMA
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
One of the best parts of curating the Trade Show has been getting the works in the mail, from both American and Turkish artists. It’s so exciting to open up a fat envelop and fine incredible artworks inside. Nothing has been damaged, although unfortunately, a few things seem to have been lost in transit (my fault).
I’m still accepting works—send me something!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I didn’t get a chance to write about my New Your art trip earlier this summer. Saw wonderful stuff--glad I did, as now I’m so down on art (or maybe it’s just the horrible prospect of me and most of my friends losing our jobs).
Anyway, went to Mary Boone, saw this highly designed paper work by Jacob Hashimoto. It was both lovely and cold somehow. The space is impressive with exposed rafters. It’s also a reminder not to show too much, not to overfill walls with work.
Last night my studio building was open for the first time during the local gallery walk. I had several series up, but it was overload.
Just opened two boxes of paintings from almost 15 years ago that were in storage. Don’t quite know what to think. I don’t even remember doing the paintings, which are citycsapes. They were produced right before I entered grad school, when I quit painting entirely.
Have I improved/developed/matured? Can’t say. Am not thrilled with the old work, but that’s typical—the only work I’m ever really happy with is what I’m doing NOW.
The best thing about last night was that Kid.02, on his own initiative, put prices on the stuff he’s been making in my studio, and sold a pirate painting for $5.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
I took my advanced students to a lecture on “How to approach a gallery with your fine artwork,” in which a colleague shared her knowledge about the multiple gallery systems. Obviously, it was an optimistic topic.
It’s been 12 years since I seriously embarked on my career, starting with my MFA. By now I know, it’s who you know. Pure and simple. There are so many artists making good/fascinating/complex/deserving work. Only a handful will be seen. Everyone else will give their work away, give up, or keep toiling on in obscurity.
My colleague was honest. Degrees do count, and the better the school, the better your chances. Your famous professors are probably your ticket into the gallery system. You must spend 10% of your time creating the work, 90% marketing. My little-big town has a permanent inferiority complex, so artists from here are ignored for those to the north or south.
Blah blah blah. Doesn’t mean people don’t want to learn to draw. Although come fall there will be precious few classes to help them learn how.
It’s all just too depressing.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
The first opening of the Trade Show looked great, and the opening was packed. Am still recovering. Glad all that work will be seen several more times in different cities.
Am barely teaching but busier than I’ve ever been. How is that possible? Is the depression making us manic?
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
We experienced our usual May Gray and June Gloom here in SoCal. Just when you’re ready for some heat, the weather bores. The best months of the year are January and February, when the air is startlingly clear and the rest of the country is in blizzards…
But a few days ago we awoke to blue skies, and by 10am it was HOT. Bamm, summer is here. Tourists crowd the streets wearing the most god-awful outfits, welcomed for the money they bring.
Our new reality is water rationing, which makes us realize how long and hot the summer promises to be. No running through the sprinkler or taking long showers. No watering the lawns or washing cars.
I particularly suffer at the moment, as my car air-conditioning is kaput. I drive around with all the windows down, kids complaining in the back seat.
Reminds me of when I was 23 and drove cross-country in my non-ac-ed orange GLC with one of my best friends. She was about to leave for what would turn out to be a four-year Peace Corp stint, and I was moving to DC. We made a huge arc in the dead of summer, tent camping through Yosemite and Yellowstone, the Badlands (oh, what we saw!), moving through the breweries of the Great Lakes, then down through the Bible Belt (relatives must have thought me damned forever), Kentucky where we bought shot glasses and used them, to end up in New Orleans somehow.
It was a great education for two freckled-faced young women. Driving with the windows down, drinking lemonade, adventures waiting.
Love these bloopy paintings of donuts and beer by Tracy Miller.
Friday, July 03, 2009
I’ve been working on this exhibition for about six months. Tonight is the first opening; next month it will move north.
Tonight I’ll be showing about 120 6”x6” 2D works, including paintings, photos, prints and mixed media works. I’m completely satisfied with the work that was submitted--it’s exciting, challenging, beautiful and interesting.
Not to mention, a bitch to hang.
I’ll be adding more works as we go along. As the show grows the main structures will be more apparent, but right now I can see themes of politics, spirituality, the body (especially feminine beauty), connection to nature, and the process of artmaking.
Usually I’m afraid that no one will show up at my art openings, but with so many local artists participating, I think this time there will be bodies.
R. Reiss, USA
T.F. Ucar, Turkey
S. Aksoy, Turkey
M. Guieu, USA
L. Muller, USA