Fountain Art Fair NYC offsets the unbalanced art market…

Bernard Klevickas

Klevickas@cWOW Gallery, photo by Colleen Deery*

As the art market continues to heat up despite the international recession, record revenues continue to be predicted for 2013.  The scale is a bit unbalanced with leaders like Andy WarholPablo Picasso and Edvard Munch

With the Fountain Art Fair just around the corner, March 8-10, I looked for the next leader.  I found Bernard  Klevickas.  A few words with recent Sculptors Guild inductee and  NYC artist found at a local gallery near you…

PS: As a FAF veteran, if you could you sum up the FAF vibe in one word, what  would it be?

BK: Grassroots. The original Armory Fair in 1913 was begun with American artists picking contemporary art. Fountain is more in line with artists showing artists than the many other art fairs. It also feels inline with groups like the Hullaballoo Collective, which is a group of artists working collaboratively to show their art and the Sculptors Guild which was founded and run by artists since 1937.

PS: How did the Indiana boy make his way to living and creating art in NYC?

BK: I didn’t fit-in anywhere else. A left-handed, shy nerd bad at sports who rode a bicycle everywhere and drifted into skateboarding.  I always doodled and made things. I used to believe this saying that “function was more important than form” but at some point I guess it became inverted and I came to think that form was all important. Eventually there was no where left for me to go, though I often consider Barcelona.

PS: Where did you procure your choice sculptural lines?

Bernard Klevickas

Untitled (sixpack) photo by Klevickas.

BK: Maybe it was the time I spent living in the Hudson Valley. After Indiana, which is very flat and fairly sparse, I moved to Chicago which is very flat (land-wise, not in the high-rise building sense) but dense, then I moved to the Hudson Valley. The hills, valleys, mountains had a strong impact on me. Again this goes back to the form over function, maybe a baroque sensibility that it is the path more than the goal that matters.

PS: …on the current art market…

BK: ..there are extremely wealthy people out there who buy what they are told to buy from the suggestions of experts. Experts who approve what’s seems to have already been approved, so it limits the risk taking. Any middle level seems to have disappeared because all the focus is on the highest end. The interesting art is outside of this carnival of hype.

Donald TrumpPS: You’re dining out with friends. In the distance a wave-like form catches your eye. Naturally, you’re drawn to it, you get up and work your way across the room and discover it’s Donald Trump’s hair. He waves you over to sit down. What’s the message?

BK: May I see your birth certificate? I would love to see a shift in the artworld happen. More attention to the misfits, the oddballs, the ones who aren’t given exhibitions at Gagosian or Pace or Zwirner or Hauser and Wirth. The ones who have not been hand-picked from Yale by powerful and wealthy conglomerate art galleries. I feel this way not just for my own sake, but there is an enormous amount of talented artists in their prime (regardless of age or gender) who are ignored.

PS: I was always partial to the “land of the misfits.”  You can’t ignore the talent historically exhibited at the Fountain Art Fair. So don’t.  Attendance has almost doubled from the previous year (2011 v. 2012).  Better marketing or a shift in demand? I think Bernard’s getting what he wants.   Buy advanced tickets today:http://www.fountainartfair.com/visitor-info

If you don’t see Bernard at the FAF, visit him here:  http://bernardklevickas.com

Make Art. View Art. Buy Art.

Best, Paul
Paul Shampine
*Photo credit: Colleen Deery

My Broadway, My Super Bowl…the Refrigerator.

I just opened a new box of crayons. Can you smell that? Yep. Next to them, I have a fire-engine red piece of construction paper. Can you feel it? Yep. These crayola crayonstwo powerful items have a promise that’s never broken –  to bond and create a one-of-a-kind reflective piece of life.  Just like the special bond between a parent and a child or your best friend in school who you can’t wait to see at recess.

When you move the crayons over the paper, the line always gets wider, just like Refrigerator Artour world, expanding and growing. As you start to mix colors, they form layers, like our memories with time. It starts to take form.  It’s often not what we expected….sometimes better, sometimes worse. But we created it and it’s permanent. It may be lucky enough to reach the ultimate stage, the Broadway of this special art form, known as the refrigerator. Or it might find its way across the world, and into the hands of Yolie Moreno.

Newtown Town Hall-Memorial-Panorama

This is one of many sections..

Yolie, friend and sculpture fan (inspired my Gaia series) is the creator and shepherd of the Newtown Documentation Project – a laborious, but awe-inspiring task of documenting (digitally)  an international collection of 200,000+ gifts, cards, letters  and artwork collected on behalf of the fallen souls of Sandy Hook.   As the photo documentation continues at the Newtown Town Hall, and her deadline fast approaching, Yolie makes a video pass.

For now, Yolie is focusing on her deadline and is still contemplating the home and destiny of almost a million megabytes of precious treasures.

Newtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook Memorial

“They are still with you. It will be alright.”

I was lucky enough to touch the raw, loving and caring collection of these creations today. A very heavy crayon mark for me. In my last post, I talked about the importance of living a balanced life…trying to… and to help, I suggested an expressive drawing exercise…a loud coach or a whispering mother. Maybe one of these creations can be it for you. I’m very certain Neely, Dario, Maya, Red, Avril, Hannah, Jennifer and Michael won’t mind. In fact, I think that’s what they wanted. Use them to make something more.
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Newtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook Memorial

Newtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook Memorial

“I know how you feel…I lost someone before…”

Newtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook Memorial

“I grew up on 12/14/12″

Newtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook MemorialNewtown Town Hall-Sandy Hook Memorial

Healing Newtown Through the Power of the Arts is lead by a strong team - Newtown Cultural Arts Commission, who is supported by the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and the Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA). To learn how you can help: http://www.healingnewtown.org

Thank you.
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine
“Living Life with Balance”

Newtown is your town. Newtown is everyone’s town. Moving forward with balance…

balance: 1. a state in which opposing forces harmonize; equilibrium.  2. mental equilibrium; mental health; calmness, a state of remaining clear-headed and unperturbed. 3.  awareness of both viewpoints or matters; neutrality; rationality; objectivity.

Simplicity is Complex Series-Agni Zotis

Simplicity is Complex Series-Agni Zotis

Some of the most complex pieces of artwork have balance – arranging elements so that no one part of a work overpowers, or seems heavier than any other part.

I live in Newtown, CT.  My three young daughters attend school in another district, in another state. When I talked to them about what happened in Newtown and why it happened, one word came to mind. It wasn’t evil.  It was balance – the importance of living our lives with balance. Balancing family, relationships, our jobs, careers, school, education, our physical and mental health, politics, religion and our environment….oh and some play time.

All of us, whether we’re a parent or not, live in Newtown or not, were greatly affected by what happened December 14, 2012. Yes, the community of Newtown has risen and rallied in model form.  They are labeled and seen as “strong.”  But Newtown is no different from your community.  If your community experienced a similar tragedy, you too would develop a volunteer task force, attend vigils and have the police forces of surrounding towns cover the Christmas shift for the emotionally and physically drained police officers forced to see this life-changing event up-close-and-personal.  Your town is Newtown and Newtown is everyone’s town.

Was the individual responsible for this abominable tragedy  living a balanced life?  Are you living a balanced life? I struggle every day. Most of us do. How can we learn from this tragedy?

Get a small piece of paper and a pencil. At the bottom of that piece of paper, write “balance.” Then emotionally put yourself in the shoes and in the house of aBalance surviving parent, brother, sister, friend, classmate or neighbor of a fallen Newtown soul.  Draw how that makes you feel. Aesthetics do not matter.  It can be a simple star, a cross, torn and ripped from the pressure of your pencil…doesn’t matter.  Put that piece of paper where you can see it every day. Put it on your dashboard, your bathroom mirror, your desk or next to your bed.   It’s a strong trigger and a poignant reminder of the importance of balance.

Lastly, whether you’re a chef, auto mechanic, artist or surgeon.  It’s all about having the right tool. It can mean the difference between success and failure.  If you ask a US Marine what a gun is, he/she may look confused because he/she doesn’t use a gun as a tool; they use a “weapon.” If a Marine uses the term “gun,” they may find themselves doing 50 pushups with three Sergeants on their back.  An assault rifle is a weapon…not a gun.  A gun is what is used to hunt for food….sport. Is there sport in an assault weapon?  By design, none. Nor should it be.  It’s a specific tool, designed for a specific task, for a specific user.

As a young adult, eager to get my driver’s license, I can still remember that sobering moment when my father stated while I buckled my seat belt, ready for my first lesson.  “You’re in control of a two-ton weapon.” he said.  I suddenly lost my smile and quickly took my hands off the wheel.  I was required to take guided lessons, practice, classes, register and pass tests.  Although I passed, it was not a guarantee that I would not be injured or cause injury.  But I felt better, my father felt better and the car in front of me and behind probably felt better….safer.

Balance is the answer. But we need patience. It’s a process. We can’t transform ourselves overnight.  That would be like trying to run a marathon without Central Park-Paul Shampinetraining.  As humans, we resist change. Change takes work. A lot of work. It requires self-awareness, acknowledgement, desire and most importantly, patience.   That’s why we often get discouraged, quit and give up.  We regress back to our years of conditioned lives….years.  We’re trying to change years of long-lived repetitive behavior.   Adding to the struggle and challenge, we’re a society where immediate gratification just isn’t quick enough.  Ok, so there are two answers…patience and balance.

Healing Newtown Through the Power of the Arts is lead by a strong team - Newtown Cultural Arts Commission, who is supported by the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and the Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA). To learn how you can help: http://www.healingnewtown.org

Thank you.
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine
“Living Life with Balance”

Spiritual Liberation – make Art, view Art, buy Art

Paul ShampineTop ten reasons why I shaved my head:

10.          Humility.
9.             Eliminates bed head.
8.             Vulnerability.
7.             Saves  $519.73 annually in haircuts and hair product.
6.             Empathy.
5.             Triathlon performance…saves  3.14 seconds off my run, 2.718 on my swim and  4.20 on my bike.
4.             Vanity.
3.             Fitting in with the other inmates.
2.             Cleansing.
1.             Spiritual Liberation.

If you’re less likely to shave your head to experience spiritual liberation, then make Art, view Art or buy Art.  Start now and view the Art of Mary Blum,  Sara Biersteker, Linda Bladen and Helena Hötzl.
Thank you.

Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Mary Blum, NYC
Summer Mary Blum 2012When did you first discover your creative talents?

In Kindergarten, a loaded brush, a bib and smile ear to ear for the praise from my teacher and classmates. . . a beginning. At 10 years old standing two feet away from the big Larry Poons dot painting at MoMA, my mother quiet on one side of me and my father standing on the other, I heard his soft voice say, “I don’t really think this is art”. I felt a slow running wave of shock moving from my feet to my now bulging eyes. How could my hero of information, a man who traveled Europe just to see the art, say something so completely illogical. I was stunned. I felt so confused and finally so angry! We had a well controlled argument in the Cafe. As I experienced the rest of our visit, blue dots still swimming in front of me, I realized, I was sort of like Larry Poons. Art didn’t have to be a particular thing. It just was. That day I gave myself permission to be an artist in “the Larry Poons sort of 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. Selling my first piece, a glistening blue and gold leaf painting of a fish, was a thrill, not unlike the feeling that morning in Kindergarten. Selling pieces is a fascinating push pull. (I’ve signed my child up for sleep away camp, the morning comes—- his gleeful face and I think I might go a bit mad. Who’s idea was this? He’s going away). Am I taking too much money for the piece? Have I not set the price high enough? Should I have done the piece in the first place? Oh, my. Within the realm of good business sense, for me, the theme is letting go, and letting go some more. Letting go as I paint and as I offer to share a part of myself with the world.

Who are your favorite artists?  The William Bouguereau exhibition at the small museum where I worked was magic. Everyday I met his porcelain figures, his surfaces miraculous painting. Narratives that told infinite stories.
So very powerful. Then there’s Joseph Albers, formal and minimal, often repetitive. Assuring color and form. Robert Rauschenberg‘s Combines. A stuffed goat with a tire around it. I only wish I could have been the tourist who sat on it. Unfortunately it had to be repaired. An extreme sport for the tourist and the restoration team. Louise Bourgeois with her visceral eccentricities. I wonder what it would be like to be Jean Basquiat for a day.  His brief and brilliant gushing of life and paint. Or Yayoi Kusama. Dots!!! So many artists inspire me. . . so many! And I’d like to think, the best is yet to come.

Artist: Mary Blum
Title: Summer
Medium: Mixed media metallic on canvas.
Dimensions: 36 ”x 24”
Website: http://www.maryblumstudio.com

Sara Biersteker, Venice Beach, CA
When did you first discover your creative talents? When my mom wanted me to clean the cat box when I was young, I would sulk in my room and draw a picture. These pictures were always the same. I would draw my mom as a massive queen in renaissance attire, sitting on a wooden throne. I would then draw myself very small and wearing rags. I would be sitting at the base of the throne with large tears that resembled bullets jutting out of my face. Once I had finished my drawing I would give it to my mom and run back to my room. Sometimes it worked and I wouldn’t have to clean the cat box. Sometimes it didn’t. I believe this is when I learned that visual representation has a great power to manipulate and therefore evoke strong emotion. Emotional responses to artwork give us, as artists, opportunities to experience our unadulterated selves. I believe that this process is the core of creativity.

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 person to approach me about buying a painting was a tall woman from Topanga Canyon. She told me that the painting reminded her of her favorite book. The painting, a 36’’ x 36’’ acrylic on canvas, I had painted for my cousin’s graduation from Berkeley. The subject was our great grandfather as a youth atop a large horse. The photo I found had been taken in old Rancho Malibu somewhere in the 1880s. Though I needed the money badly, I wanted to give the painting to my cousin so that she would feel connected to her family. I declined the offer and proceeded to give my cousin the painting. I am glad it went to her because it was created for her. She recently sent me a picture of it hanging in her bedroom of her new apartment.

Who are your favorite artists?  The artists I love change with whatever mood I’m in. My mom used to say that when I would ask her what her favorite color was. It would make me so mad. But it’s true. One artist that will always be in the forefront of my mind, though, was my grandmother. She was an advertising artist for Bullock’s-Wilshire while it was still in business. While her body of work was marked by profound control of line, she was also talented with watercolor. There are a few California coast landscapes done on cold pressed paper that hang in my studio. My favorite piece, however, is a watercolor of an old Mexican scarecrow. For years I thought it was just a man with a cigar until I finally learned to actually look at what I was seeing.

Artist: Sara Biersteker
Title: Old Rancho Malibu
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 36 ”x 36”
Website: http://www.BierkstekerArt.com

Linda Bladen, Los Angeles, CA
Maria.Linda Bladen
When did you first discover your creative talents? My father was a professional artist in Chicago. Both my parents discovered that I could stay amused for hours with some paper and crayons. This began at a very early age – possibly around three years old. I was lucky to have my father around to validate me and encourage me. It shaped my identity as an artist from the beginning of my life.

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 biggest thrill was probably when I sold a piece before the show opened. The Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors was screening for new members and then showing the work at the La fond Gallery. It was exhilarating because I was accepted into the group and then discovered a red dot next to my piece when the doors opened. It had been purchased by the juror of the show.

Who are your favorite artists?  Since I grew up going to the Art Institute of Chicago, which holds the largest collection of French Impressionists and Post Impressionists outside of Paris… I will say I love Degas, Gauguin, Caillebotte, all of them really…  van Gogh is one of the greatest painters, Camille Claudel‘s sculpture, Corot – a great innovator, the American painter George Inness, Matisse, Constantin Brancusi, Isabel Bishop‘s character studies… too many to name.  Then going back a little… Georges de La Tour and then Velasquez, who started new ideas about painting, and inspired the great portrait painters like John Singer Sargent – “a painter’s painter”.

Artist: Linda Bladen
Title: Maria
Medium: Oil on wood panel
Dimensions: 32 ”x 48”
Website: http://lindabladenart.com

Helena Hötzl, Alingsas, Sweden
When did you first discover your creative talents? I always used to paint and draw and worked several years as a make up artist painting faces. One day I got an email from a man at Saatchi gallery in London telling me that they liked my website and thru them I was invited to participate in a Scandinavian exhibit with the best contemporary artist in Budapest, Hungary.  That was when I realized that I actually had an creative talent in 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. I had done a piece with women with trench coats that I went to a gallery to ask them to frame it for me.  The man at the gallery looked at it and asked me who had done it? I was very shy and remember looking at the floor telling him that I did that one.  He bought it as fast as I can remember telling me how great it was.  I started to realize that maybe other people would like to buy my art too.

Who are your favorite artists?  I love Gustav Klimt. My favorite. At an exhibit I had a man told me I had some similarities of Modigliani. Never though about him but starting to like him more and more. There are so many good artist out their today.

Artist: Helena Hötzl
Title: The lady in the red dress
Medium: Acrylic/kohl and pearl liquid
Dimensions: 100 x 70 cm
Website: http://www.helenahotzl.com

Lighting strikes Mark Demos at the Fountain Art Fair! A very delayed report….but I have a note from my Doctor.

Not-So-Patient: Paul ShampineDear Art World, Please excuse Paul’s tardiness as he has suffered a comminuted Fx of the radius and humerus with magna angulation.  Cause: Stendhal Syndrome. 

Click here…

As a teenager I experimented with gravity, performing stunts beyond any “stupid” or “don’t try this at home” reality TV show. And over the past fifteen years, I’ve bread-spread layers of my epidermis at breakneck speeds on the earth’s crust motoXing, mountain biking, trail running and even a downtown Boston motorcycle spill…all without skeletal carnage. So why would a plodding minus zero mph bike accident shatter my elbow in a thousand-piece single-shade puzzle? A Buddhist Miss Ko2 - Nurse Takashi Murakami would say it was for a reason….maybe if I mack truck grillcontinued my trip I would have eaten Mack grill? OR, I wouldn’t have met the radiologist that will soon be my third wife? “No Paul,” that throaty parental voice echoed, “you’re old.”

What makes me feel young, innocent, fresh and alive? The work of Mark Demos. As I strolled around this year’s Fountain Art Fair, a wide-eyed boy in a store of porn and fuzzy wet dreams (sorry that’s the Oxy talking), I was surreptitiously drawn to Mark’s booth – close encounter-like, pulled by back-lit cryptic swaths Mark Demosof color found only in Pantone’s secret basement.  “Over the last few years I’ve added light to my art for a dream affect.  Strange how these paintings have become so cathartic that they make me feel like its a new life every day.”  Mark explains.  He attributes his supernatural palette wizardry to a negative personal incident  “wrong place, wrong time,” but for me, his work must come from a deeper encounter from within.

FAF-Mark DemosAs an exhibitor at the 2012 Fountain Art Fair, can you share your experience from your perspective? Showing at Fountain was a great experience… showing in that historic venue (69th Regiment Armory-68 Lexington Avenue and 25th Street) was exciting to see mine and others’ works in such an inspiring context.  I thought my spot was great too because when you walked in you’d see my booth glowing all the way at the end of the space.  I enjoyed time spent and speaking with exhibitors, gallerists, & art lovers at Fountain.  The event was organized and still had the laid back Fountain feel but all involved stepped it up and made this event a blast to be part of.

Mark DemosAll great artist strive to evolve, try new mediums, methods and test their creativity.  What inspired the incorporation of light with your work?  I was inspired to incorporate light once I felt my paintings became more like memories of a memory so it was dreamy.  I added light for the dream affect.  I love how the light adds dimension and more life to my works!  Some people prefer no light… the paintings are meant to be seen in 3 ways/moods.  The pieces can be viewed front light- with no back illumination front light and illuminating and in the dark illuminated.

When did you first discover your creative talents?  I first discovered my creative talents when I was a young child wearing a garbage bag, playing with my kitchen sink… my mother would give me food coloring and a bunch of clear jars and glasses and I’d mix the colors with the running water. I’d watch the colors move, change hues and form. I’d be hypnotized and play with the sink all day. I’ve since changed medium but feel the same can be told about what I do in my studio every day.

FAF-Mark DemosFor 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 of art I sold was quite memorable because I hadn’t sold to anyone and had tons of work stockpiled in my rent stabilized apt. I was recommended by a friend to do the office of a financial company on Water St. in lower Manhattan. I met her connection and gave him 4 pictures of my work I printed 10 mins before the meeting. We met on the Union Square steps and the meeting was brief. He later called me and asked how much work I had… I told him. He later stopped by and bought ALL of my work. This gave me enough to rent my first art studio- what a stroke of good fortune. I’m so grateful to still have the luxury of an art studio today.

Who are your favorite artists? When it comes to favorite artists Richter is high on the list. Gerhard Richter has inspired me every time I view his work… online to recently at the Tate. His use of color and expression through abstraction cannot be matched. I also love Rothko because when I was a kid I thought ” I could do that”. I was wrong. His paintings glow and shake like no other and dark to light they will always shake us up with good and bad mood swings. My third on today’s list of favorite artists will finish with Adolph Gottlieb who creates gorgeously designed circles. I am obsessed with the motion of circles and to find Gottlieb later in life, makes me feel like we have something in common with one of the greats!

Since the show? I’ve been painting outside on my roof and will be showing works on my roof so when you’re on the Brooklyn Bridge you can see a piece.  I recently found a new work space way downtown lower Manhattan and it’s big so I look forward to working there.  I have a few galleries interested in my work one on the LES and the other in CT.  Hope to do a solo show soon.

Visit Mark Demos:  http://www.markdemosstudio.com

Thanks Mark.
Paul ShampinePaul Shampine