Saturday, May 30, 2009

Just, Wow

I am all for using humor as a means of healing and catharsis. And I'm all for getting things out in the open. I think communication and acknowledgment are important parts of being able to move on and not dwell too much upon past wrongs and tragedies.

However, today I encountered something that I personally believe to be in poor taste, and that was a giant inflatable slide of the Titanic sinking. I don't like to be prudish or take things too seriously, but wow. Perhaps the context was once different, and this was an attraction for the traveling Titanic exhibition or something... (I don't know; I didn't make it by the St. Louis Science Center when it came here.)

Now I know I'm not one to talk given that many people would consider some of the things I've done to be in extremely poor taste. I'll admit I like to push the envelope and I fall into the role of devil's advocate a bit too easily. Confrontation can be good. And I suppose this sort of relates back to my previous posts on taste and censorship. But I don't really question whether or not this has an right to be here, so this isn't really a question of censorship so much as appropriateness. I just wonder if this is truly in bad taste or if it reflects a culture having healed and moved on from a great loss. What do you think? I just can't completely wrap my mind around it.

Claude Plays Rock Band

Claude is pooped from playing so much Rock Band lately.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Monsters of Rock

Claude's biggest gripe with Rock Band is that there are no good monster type bodies. He feels the selections available are all just too stereotypically human, but he's still having a blast with the game.

Claude Rocks

Here's another preview for Claude's show at Cranky Yellow in August. Claude has his own Rock Band band now, the Monsters of Rock! The band will make its video debut at Claude's show.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I recently acquired a bag of wool from the Missouri Humane Society's Longmeadow Rescue Ranch from Pepe the sheep, whom Chuck sponsored for me as a Christmas gift. We had gone out in February for Valentine's Day to see the facility and to meet Pepe, and I learned then that they have a hard time finding someone to take the wool when they shear their sheep. (This year, there was only the one sheep - the others were adopted out.) So I put my name on the list. I picked up the wool a couple weeks ago.

I used some of the wool in its natural state (burrs, hay, lanolin and all) in a wall-hung window piece which I plan to display in my solo show at the Green Center in October. Yesterday, I washed the remaining wool, following the instructions here that a friend emailed me. Now it is drying. Next comes carding... I have bought several dog brushes on sale for this purpose and hope to take the activity to the upcoming St. Louis Women's Caucus for Art Gathering event in June.

It is amazing how much wool one sheep generates (and how dirty it gets). I hadn't realized that I would have so much of it. I am planning to offer some of it to other artists at the Gathering since there is more than I need, and I hope that they might make a donation to Pepe to say thank you for the wool. It won't be good for spinning because it's too short, but after the feltmaking workshop at the last WCA-STL meeting perhaps some artists will want it for that purpose.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Claude Goes to the Butterfly House

Today Claude went to the Butterfly House in Faust Park. He enjoyed seeing all of the tropical butterflies but declared that it was too hot and humid for someone so furry as himself, at least during the summer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Handling Sales

I have talked a little about sales before, but now I will touch on the topic again. I am always grateful for events and venues that handle sales for artists because I don't have to deal with the actual transference of money, but those can be a mixed blessing. A lot of sales and information can be all too easily lost between points of contact.

The buyer may be ready and willing to put down money for an artwork when talking to the artist but may never actually do so if they have to finalize the sale at another table or booth or with another representative. This is especially true when the buyer walks away from the artwork. The desire to acquire a piece can be so much stronger when one is looking at it and talking to its creator than when one is negotiating payment in a totally different location, or worse yet, at a later date. Thus, a lot of artists prefer to handle their own sales so not to lose potential sales to convoluted bureaucracy or extra steps.

Some artists are very good at marketing themselves and convincing hesitant buyers to invest. (I am not one of those artists.) Even more so, those artists that are good at marketing themselves often want to handle their own sales so as not to lose them. Depending on the circumstances, they will entrust this task to others, but may be hesitant to do so.

Many commercial gallery owners and representatives know exactly how and when to land a sale and make this process as smooth as possible, but many nonprofits and other organizations that don't rely on sales to keep their doors open may not be near so well-versed or organized in this, especially if the gallery sponsors exhibitions infrequently, is short-staffed, or in volunteer situations where people may not be fully aware how the gallery is run. It is highly important that you work out how to handle sales with the gallery or show organizer beforehand so as to eliminate confusion before a potential buyer pops up. If a system is in place and everyone knows how to follow it, sales will run much more smoothly and be less likely to be lost.

Claude Sees the Piasa Bird

Today, Claude returned to Alton to see the Piasa Bird mural along the Illinois Great River Road. Thank you to my mother, Judy Weigel, for photographing us.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Claude Goes to Hidden Lake Winery

Yesterday, Claude went to Hidden Lake Winery for a friend's wedding. Here he enjoyed the wonderful scenery at Majestic Falls despite the cool breeze.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Critique of My Work

I had mentioned that Art Saint Louis was forming up critique groups before, but hadn't brought it up again since then. It has been a real asset and I am honored to have the opportunity to get feedback from and look at works by so many great artists of differing levels and disciplines. My group has decided to critique one person's work at a time to get a better feel for their approach and what they do. I was the third artist to go and tonight was my turn.

Tonight was very informative and taught me a lot about myself that I hadn't before placed because I am too close to it. A fellow artist pointed out how I had set a very traditional oil painting on the floor leaned against a pedestal upon which I had placed an empty frame and he mused upon my treatment of the two and how I had approached it so differently than so many people who would have elevated the oil painting. (It wasn't that I meant to devalue the painting, but I didn't have much space in which to place things.) Another artist pointed out that an underlying current in all of my work that ties it all together is the idea of value, whether that be time, money, content, idea, relational, social, personal or an even more direct exploration. I hadn't really noticed this or examined it near so much but she is right - much of my work is about value and how we determine it.

She then went on to encourage me to find and question for myself the value that I place on different things: time, idea, concept... I must admit that this is hard for me because so many of the distinctions are blurred, but it is a worthy pursuit. And in regards to what I hold in the highest esteem, I would say that money ranks well below time which ranks slightly below idea, although sometimes they are close to par with one another and sometimes time ranks higher depending on its relative scarcity to me at that moment. All rank below integrity - I am most drawn to that which I feel is honest and genuine; I think this is part of why I run the risk of being too direct at times. I do not want to overemphasize the quick, clever idea and thus run the risk of being gimmicky, but I still want for my message to be accessible. So then I must ponder: how do I balance this and what is most important to explore and convey? Is what happens behind the scenes in regards to me showing my work an integral part of this and should it be brought to light to maintain or enhance that integrity?

At any rate, the evening gave me a lot of food for thought and I have not yet even begun to explore it in any depth. I am very grateful for the input from all of the other artists who were able to attend. This sort of feedback reminds me of why it is so important to get feedback from others about your work, even after one has left the educational institution - it provides so many insights that are all too easy to overlook because of the proximity and interconnectedness to one's own work.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Absence / This Week

I know that I haven't been near so active here since my Bitch performance. I have been spending a lot less time on the computer overall. I will continue to post more Claude photos and exhibition announcements though, and I will try to post something else once a week or so when I can. Right now, I just don't have much of anything to say. I haven't had time to be near so active in the art scene lately, and so I'm kind of out of the loop.

This week I am participating in the Webster Groves plein air event.
Saturday May 9th, 2009 in Webster Groves, MO
This event is free, open to everyone and welcomes all traditional mediums (oil, acrylic, ink, etc.) Participants must paint en plein air and provide their own easel, canvas/paper and medium.
You can register until 10 am on the day of the event at Yucandu Art Studio.
Award reception begins at 5pm on Saturday May 9th at the Monday Club!!! Open to the public, refreshments served, artworks for sale.

Art on the Spot

Thank you Mary Beth Shaw for pointing out the You Tube video of Art on the Spot at Chesterfield Arts. I am glad that I was able to participate - it was a great experience and an honor to meet and work with Emily.

Time Taken

In my insomnia, I have catching up on some other blogs. Jeane Vogel recently pointed out some interesting thoughts on process and value on her blog in her post How Long Did That Take to Make? It is well worth reading because it really points out some of the biases and value judgments that we as viewers have. Most people who would ask, as Jeane points out, genuinely just want to know more about a piece that intrigues them.

That said, I have been guilty of asking. It is a very difficult topic to breach politely. But I don't equate time spent with monetary worth. I'm not interested in passing a value judgment based on how long an artist spent creating something, and often when I do so I feel that the artist is underselling themselves not asking too much.

Given the diversity of media I explore and my background in fiber art, I may be genuinely curious as to how long an artist has taken to create a work. A lot of people simply don't appreciate the physical effort that goes into creating artwork, especially fiber works, and I think that a better understanding of this can foster a better sense of appreciation. And even more people don't understand or appreciate the time taken to develop and hone a skill to the point that it seems to come as naturally as breathing. Or the time taken to conceptualize an idea before making it manifest. Or the history and authenticity bestowed upon carrying on traditions to keep a culture alive and remember our ancestors...

I'll admit that I can be way too nosy sometimes. I've been curious as to how much artworks and other objects weigh or how they are transported, especially if they are large, heavy or fragile. This doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the artwork or object on its own accord, but typically shows that I was wowed by some particular aspect of it, like its size or intricacy, and want to know more about it. As an artist, I find that this sort of nosiness can be a way of connecting with other artists and talking about process. Between artists, such discussions can help us to come to a better understanding and appreciation of each other's working styles. We all stand to learn a lot from one another.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Claude Goes to the Sappington Farmer's Market 2

Here's a close up of us with the little farmer.

Claude Goes to the Sappington Farmer's Market

Today Claude saw the farmer statues outside of the Sappington Farmers' Market. Claude was especially taken with the big farmer since he so infrequently feels dwarfed.