This week's blog post was written by fiber artist Sherry Bingaman of Nueva Vida.
This poster was all over Facebook recently, and it caught my attention for a variety of reasons. I generally agreed with it upon my first glance and felt it was a version of the “power of positive thinking” thing. After closer examination, I saw more of a blend from both the green side and the red side as a truer reality. I don’t call myself a “thriving artist” but I am pleased with the state of my art and believe there are many aspects to my happiness with my artistic life. For example:
Working to be a “thriving artist” consists of the same things needed to be a “thriving human”!
This weeks blog post was written by mosaic artist June Martin of Moth and Twig.
Dilemma. I have multiple shows on the horizon which I need to be prepared for, but….THERE.IS.A.SPIDER.IN.MY.STUDIO! It would be more accurate to say that the mother of all spiders (let’s call her MOAS) is occupying the space that I get to Zen out in and create art. Another way to put it is that a grotesque, eight-legged creature (no creature should have that many legs, except for the octopus because, well, they’re cute despite having that many appendages) is keeping me from doing something that I love.
I need to make art but I’m being held hostage. My partner, Andrew, is at work and won’t be home for hours. He usually takes care of spiders in our home. That’s his job, besides his job as a postman that is. I’m in charge of bats and snakes. It’s a nice arrangement. He’s not a fan of bats and snakes. I, on the other hand, am fond of them. Neither have eight legs or hundreds of eyes. I don’t actually know how many eyes the average spider has, but I know it’s lots. What the hell!? Why do you need that many eyes….or eight legs for that matter?! Sorry, I digress.
As I said, Andrew is a postman so it’s not as though he can come home and take care of MOAS. Although, I think that is reasonable but I bet the US Postal Service would disagree. By now, you may be thinking, you’re a grown woman; take care of MOAS yourself. That’s logical. But my fear of MOAS, and her most likely 5000 hideous offspring, is not logical. It’s a phobia, which by definition is an irrational fear. Although, I might interject that some spiders can kill you, so is it really an irrational fear? Food for thought. Sorry, I digress.
As I said, multiple shows on the horizon, MOAS holding my studio hostage, and Andrew dutifully at work. I knew this would happen one day. Since moving to Oregon from San Francisco (apologies) a year ago, it has not escaped my attention that spiders love Portland, and seemingly, my home. I’ve learned to check my shoes before sticking my feet in them, as well as checking the tub before having a shower. Thank god my eyesight sucks and I often don’t wear my glasses because who knows how many spiders are really lurking about? BTW, having fuzzy vision has also come in handy when I walk past a mirror. It’s like having my own personal Photoshop.
Without glasses: “Damn, I don’t look so bad.”
Glasses: “Ack! Who is that?”
Sorry, I digress.
I work too many hours at my job in mental health (I know, that makes this phobia thing even more ridiculous) to let MOAS hold me hostage. I could call my son, but he lives across town and doesn’t have a car. Besides, what kind of example would I be setting? Pfffttt, who am I kidding? I confess to making him take care of the spider situation in his teen years. That makes me a bad mom. That’s a blog for another day. Mind you, in SF we didn’t have many spiders, and certainly not like MOAS.
Is MOAS a freak of nature? Did she breed? I bet she ate her mate afterwards. She looks the type. I could enlist the help of the vacuum cleaner but I doubt she’d fit. Perhaps I should embrace MOAS by creating a mosaic of her. Maybe that would cure me. Doubtful. I guess I’ll just go for a walk. MOAS:1, June: 0
This week's blog post was written by mosaic artist Colleen Patricia Williams.
A cooperative art gallery is a notion that has been around for a while, but here in Portland, it has really taken hold! Artistic Portland is one of these cooperative art galleries that I have been a member of. As I go on hiatus, I offer this blog post to give some of my thoughts on this gallery that I’m a part of.
With the advent of the internet combined with the economic crash of 2007 that our nation still hasn’t fully recovered from, artists have had to get creative about the way that they sell their work. In the case of our gallery, the cooperative gallery survived where many other traditional galleries did not.
The combination of different artists, artisans and crafters, allowed the survival of artists in a tough economic time. The other plus to the cooperative gallery is the sharing of ideas, as well as the exchange of art supplies combined with the expertise of one’s colleagues when another head is needed to figure out a tough problem.
The sense of community that occurs with a cooperative gallery is one that is unique and that is valuable; many artists, including myself, find that the cooperative experience is one that we treasure. The nature of a cooperative gallery is such that all of the artists put in time, leading to a socialization that many of us do not get from our time in our studios, as art is often a singular process that is, by nature, often a lonely thing.
The other plus to a cooperative gallery is the many varied works made by our artists and artisans are all handcrafted; nothing is made in a factory! Our people put in the time to make each piece unique, each piece may have elements in common with pieces, such as the body of work of a particular artist, such as a painter or a sculptor or a photographer. Each artist has a unique talent that they bring to the gallery, which not only sells the work of that artist, but also gives exposure to the other artists in the cooperative.
One of the other ways in which membership in our cooperative is a benefit to the artist is the ability to creatively sell artwork, allowing the more expensive pieces to be put on a layaway plan, or with a deposit, to hold the artwork for a collector/customer. This is a benefit to the consumer as it allows them to be able to access art they love and might otherwise not be able to afford, making this a win-win situation for all concerned!
The other part of the membership benefit is the special events where the artists can interact with the customer, to answer questions, sometimes to see demonstrations and for First Thursday, extra refreshments for both adults and kids.
I’m going to miss my colleagues at the gallery during my three months away, and I’ll miss our friends and customers that come in to see us during our shifts at the gallery. Have a wonderful Autumn season, everyone and I’ll see you again near the holidays!
This week, enter the mind of local artist Ben Gilbert of Crayons and Cardboard, as he shares his latest artistic inspirations and ponderings ...
It's time to return to the basement and see if we can communicate with Molly through the use of the deep dream... I hesitate to go there since who knows how upset she be still even after the many months since the move... But the sacrifice will be worth it..
I have been toying with the Deep Dream computer vision program designed by Google... Darkness, dusk, and dawn are my focus... Layers of glass, mist and reflection... Close up... smaller things... The lighter the light the less intriguing the resulting image:.. Singular well defined entities create the better image...
Shining a red light on black plastic bags with a perfect circle as a hole is creating some intriguing images as well as certain products... Colorful drinks like Gatorade with its rainbow of colors are useful... There seems to be lots of birds lizards and rodents popping up in the creations. I tried a hippo but it didn't warp enough... Bunny and cats did well as well as certain lit humans.. Dark holes and little imperfections in walls and floors make cool images also...
Some staged pieces work better than others... It's hit and miss... I have made some cool cityscapes also... Again at night... ll be making more postcards and magnets in the future... Clearing out most of the stockpile of blank cardboard... I will continue to make things with crayon and can always replenish the cardboard...
This is a time of transformation and movement as well as the dumping of a lot of the crap I have collected over the last 3 years. At least the heat will end soon... Maybe night snow will make some come alive...
Some of the old pieces will survive through careful preparation and luck so I don't regret using the commercial cardboard at all... Just keep watching Antique Roadshow...,
I used Wikipedia to make a Dee painting and a work involving Malden Island... I'll keep using that and a random word generator in the future... I don't know where I will be next year but I'm here in some form until the end I can promise you that
This week's blog post is written by John Stephenson.
Veronica Guzman, a relative newcomer to our Co-op, has had a very interesting and varied life as an artist and world traveler. Her ceramic artistry is featured in our Co-op Store, but she also expresses her creativity in many other art mediums. She recognized as a child that her calling was to find meaning and expression in creating art in whatever paths were open to her. Her father, who was a biologist with a deep love of nature, encouraged her to follow her heart in whatever direction she envisioned.
Veronica has followed the wisdom of her heart ever since. She grew up in Mexico but has lived in more places than most people visit in a lifetime. These countries include China, Malaysia, India, Viet Nam, Italy and now the United States for a number of years.
Her Mexican heritage strongly influences her choice of materials, themes and design, but there are many strands to her work. She studied graphic design for three years after attending high school in Guadalajara and has continued her studies in all the places where she has lived. Beginning with an interest in painting and design, she branched into ceramics while living in Malaysia and bought a potter’s wheel. That has been a major interest ever since. Other areas of her artistic curiosity include painting, printmaking, collage and papier maché, and most recently has begun working in encaustic painting.
Visiting her living space, you soon realize how immersed she is in her artistry. Every wall and shelf is filled with her paintings, prints, and ceramic pieces. One room of her condo is her studio and another a small showroom. A kiln sits in her garage which also houses her potting materials. She has a collection of newspaper clippings and articles that outline the work she has created in the various countries she has lived. Part of her vision today is to reach out to the artwork that is available in the Hispanic community in Portland, and to advance public understanding and exposure of this artwork to the community at large in the Portland area.
The underlying theme of her work is a spiritual view of the cosmos especially as it is expressed in the entire array of natural creations visible in sky, water, and animals. There are very imposing, large paintings of koi on her walls which symbolize prosperity, longevity, courage and perseverance. Her ceramic bowls, which can be seen at our store, incorporate various animals for their traits, and her encaustic work expresses the purity and healing power of water. Her approach is well stated on a bowl she made with the text: “Train yourself to find the blessing in everything.” That phrase embodies what she is doing - using the power of art to reflect the deep appreciation for the natural world.
Hopefully, this article will encourage the reader to come in and see for yourself the wonderful artistry of Veronica Guzman and to view the work of all the other members of the Artistic Portland Cooperative who contribute beautiful, quality products in all areas of art.