Tag Archives: Chicago

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

Know your audience…Charlie Brown v. Martha Stewart

I was asked to help with the holiday tradition of “getting the Tree” by two very dear friends of mine.  Both reside in restored Connecticut properties.  One is a good ol’ barn and the other is a circa 1700 cider mill.

Walking through the threshold of the cocoon-like barn, Scotty beams you to a Scotty-Star Trekdeep-forest campsite in Montana.  It’s mood changing.  Complete decompression.   The first step in forces your diaphragm to expand and contract and your shoulders drop. You don’t want to leave.  You almost can’t.

The Mill seduces you.  As you descend down the tree-lined driveway, your searching eyes find evidence of a nestled rooftop within a chiseled stone wall.  A moat of playful plant life greets you with a wave of country garden scents of lavender and roses.  America’s board room, the kitchen, where Second base in viewlaughter sometimes meets tears is already at second base.  Soft lighting mysteriously glows to balance the cool marble tops with the wide-planked floors.  You’re naturally drawn around third to enter the living area by a small opening pulling you in to meet low hanging, dark hand-planed beams lit by a soft green hue projected from an arena of windows.

Now, both love gardening and cooking, are green-minded organic and chat up an auctioneer paced wild prattle. Demographically, pigeonholed…..but…..

“Barn” Tree
Barn Tree
Hunting ground: Large brush pile.
Species: Needleless, gnarly, bleached 8’ aged cedar.
Lighting: Trunk wrapped multi-color with neon white shell.
Décor: None.
Location: Outside-fire pit.

“Mill” Tree
Mill Tree
Hunting ground: “Destination” tree farm.
Species: White Pine-postcard.
Lighting: Soft white.
Décor: Popcorn/cranberry string, local hand-crafted ornaments.
Location: Inside, left field.

Every time I ask these same three questions (below­-to more than 50 artists), I’m reminded of one of my personal, constitutional doctrines of life…know your audience.   And as seemingly predictable the answer to the question of “your first art piece sale” would be, there is a continued diversity of answers ranging from “I practically had a f#c&ing  heart attack” to “I never thought about my first sale”.

A marketing strategist might feel comfortable putting an “artist” in a box…a tight niche.    But we’re all as unique as our thumbprint.

Paul ShampineCheck out these thumbprints….
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Renee Prisble, Chicago, IL
Renee Prisble

When did you first discover your creative talents? My creative talents were never discovered, they’ve been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories from before I began “real” school was an art class dilemma. I’d made a pinch pot at workshop at our local art center and I was given the opportunity to fire it if I wanted. I remember clutching the four quarters my mom gave me to pay for this extra step as I listened to the instructor explain to me the possible risks of the object exploding in the kiln. The funny thing about this story is that I don’t remember what I decided.  I was fortunate that my mom was also an artist and she very much spoiled me with extra courses and all the supplies I could ever desire.

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 work hasn’t been a big part of my practice since much of my work has been installation based. I once sold a piece of jewelry I designed, cast, formed and fabricated for $300. I immediately regretted it. But for the most part I enjoy selling work now because I like that it has a life of its own and that someone likes it enough to exchange money for it. I make so much work now, that the sentimentality of that first sale doesn’t occur anymore.

Who are your favorite artists?  My favorite artists are Janine Antoine, Doris Salcedo, Anthony Gormley, Ernst Haeckel, Lucy Lewis, to name a few from the top of my head.

Artist: Renee Prisble
Title: Thunder Cell Pods
Medium: Bronze
Dimensions: 6” Diameter
Website: http://reneeprisble.com

Blanche Serban, Storrs, CT
Blanche Serban
When did you first discover your creative talents? Being creative is part of being human. We are all creative, at any age. We are creative in what we make with our hands and with our minds. But we are also creative in the way we look at the world, in the way we perceive and assemble and “bend” in our mind the reality around us. We are creative in the way we relate and communicate with one another. Artists are people who value creativity to a high degree. As my daughter keenly noticed: “We always improvise.”  It is a great joy to try new things, to invent new things for oneself, to push this unbelievable body that can think, feel, sense, imagine to get a new experience of this reality. I guess I never discovered my creative talents – they have always been with me, just as they are with all people. I take great pleasure in making art, I can spend all my hours working, and it feels like a party.

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 have never thought about my first sale. Let me see. My father was my first client. It was a Sunday afternoon, in Bucharest, Romania. I was about 10-years old and very opinionated. I was drawing as I often did, and my father stopped to watch me. He said that I should draw something more classical, like the subject of an oil hanging on the wall across from me. I challenged him. “Do you think that painting is so good?”. It showed a blue lake where a woman was washing linens. In the background was a village spread under fall trees. “Can you do it?” he asked me. So, I drew the image in pencil. My father was very pleased, and he bought it from me for the equivalent of $100. I remember seeing the money in a drawer of my table for a long time. Then I sold drawings and paintings to friends of my friends while I was in school. Each painting that I sell acts like a marketing agent, because so many contacts of the new owner see the work. And the more people see the work, the better. The more paintings I sell, the more I paint, and this works great for me. Of course, I do have some paintings that I will not sell, like the cityscape that I painted after my first child was born. I was very busy with the baby and very tired, and I worked at this canvas every day for three months to complete it. I remember how much I enjoyed painting it, even though some days I had only a couple of minutes free to paint.

Who are your favorite artists?  I love Vermeer‘s paintings.  They are like polished gems, perfect worlds. If you look at them this way, you might notice that some do not match – and it is hard not to wonder if there are still some fake Vermeer’s hanging in museums… I love Rembrandt’s portraits, he is a magician. Look closely and the brushwork is simple, ascetic, spontaneous. Step back and it comes alive. I love Matisse for his color and craft. I enjoy Gerhard Richter‘s technique and breath, and Wolf Kahn‘s colors. I enjoy children’s art … I obsess with Marc Mellits‘ music, and contemporary Japanese pottery…There is no way to make a good list of favorite artists… There are many artists whom I admire, and they are unknowingly my teachers.

Artist: Blanche Serban
Title: Place de la Marie, Aix-en-Provence
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 30x24x1.5 inches
Website: http://www.serban-art.com

Jan Geoghegan, Tolland, CT
Jan Geoghegan
When did you first discover your creative talents?  “Artistic talent” is hard to define so I can’t know if I have it any more or less than anyone else does.  I do know that whether I have “it” or not,  I have a persistent need to create.  When people remark that I am talented, they usually mean it as a sincere compliment.. but it  could also be a polite way to avoid saying anything negative about my artwork. It’s not something I dwell on.

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.  When I began painting in my 30’s, I sold most of what I produced and felt a personal need to break even with the cost of art supplies and framing.  I painted in oils and watercolor; house portraits, landscapes and local scenes. When I began experimenting, my work changed and appealed less to the general public as it garnered recognition via juried shows and gallery representation. My work restoring oil paintings helped to balance the books.  I  recall showing one of my newer paintings to my father.  He commented gently,”You used to paint so well, dear.”  So although I have always been encouraged and appreciative of sales, it’s especiallgratifying when I sell my recent work.

Who are your favorite artists?  Paul Klee is among the artists who hold my interest as well as Mark Rothko, Joseph Cornell and Mary Cassatt.  But closer to home, I am influenced by my artistic peers who, for the most part are, like me,”little fishes in a big pond.”  I look to the artwork of contemporary encaustic artists, not for imagery, but in order to become more familiar with the endless ways in which the medium can be used. My studio is a place for discovery…challenging, frustrating and exhilarating!

Artist: Jan Geoghegan
Title: Studio Time Line
Medium: Encaustic Mixed Media
Dimensions: 7 x 27 inches
Website: http://jangeoghegan.com

Caillebotte v. Renoir – Super Impressionist Sunday, Interview with an Artist, part 7

The Milwaukee Art Museum (Packers) and the Carnegie Museum of Art (Steelers) go head-to-head or frame-to-frame this Super Bowl Sunday as they wager (temporary loan) one of their prize impressionist possessions – Milwaulkee’s Caillebotte, Boating on the Yerres v. Carnegie’s Renoir, Bathers with Crab.
Milwaukee Art MuseumThe new tradition, started by last year’s Indianapolis “Colts” Museum of Art and the NewCarnegie Museum of Art Orleans “Saints” Museum of Art, finished with E. John Bullard leaving with  Joseph Turner’s “The Fifth Plague of Egypt” under his arm.  The win marked 37 years for Bullard, Museum Director of NOMA, as he retired that year to be succeeded by first round draft pick, Susan Taylor from Princeton University (no relation to NFL Hall of famer Lawrence Taylor).
Where’s my money? Renoir, who definitely has a better ground game, comes from a working class family (Steeler Country) and started his trade in a porcelain factory before going to art school. Ultimately becoming friends, Caillebotte hails from upper-class Parisian and is a bit more flashy and a Realist.  How will all this translate in Texas? Someone is definitely getting wet and I believe the term is “ender.”  The interviews continue….
Meg Dwyer, Chicago, IL
Meg Dwyer - PeppersWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I have been creating for as long as I can remember.  Not unlike many little girls, my first love as a child was horses; I was fascinated with their beauty and, beginning around the age of four, spent hours upon hours attempting to capture their form and movement on paper in pencil, paint and marker.  This was how I first discovered that I loved to draw, and I haven’t ever stopped.  From that early age, art became a very important part of my identity – it was both a means to connect with other people as well as to set myself apart.  It became the means by which I communicate what I find beautiful and significant.
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. What stands out to me even more than the sale is the very moment I was first asked, “How much?”  The question came at a show which was one of my first opportunities to display my work publicly, and I hadn’t yet even considered selling.  I enjoy watching and listening to other people as they view my work, and I was contentedly focused on doing so when the “How much?” question snapped me to a shocked (and flattered) attention.  I knew that my art held a great deal of meaning for me personally, but I was unprepared for the idea that it might be meaningful enough to someone else that they would want to keep it in their space.  This concept added a new layer of purpose and wonder to creating art.  That moment will stay with me forever.
Who are your favorite artists? I am fascinated by Chuck Close, Paul Gauguin, Rene Magritte, Grant Wood, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keefe, and Peter Blume.
Artist: Meg Dwyer
Title: Peppers
Medium: Oil on gessoed panel, 18×24 inches
Website: http://www.megdwyer.com/

Shelley Laffal, Silver Spring, MD
Shelley Laffal - goin bananas
When did you first discover your creative talents? My “ah ha !!” Art moment came to me in Kindergarden. The assignment was to color in the line a picture of the Thanksgiving turkey.  We were given crayons and paper and as I started to to color the turkey I found myself blending layers upon layered of browns, oranges ,yellows, reds and blacks, I got so focused on the coloring that long after all the other students had finished I was still furiously coloring away, layer upon layer. Until the teacher informed me the class was over.  I realized that I had this need to make the turkey as real as it would taste.
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 painting I sold was a mural , for restaurant. The owner had me commission several murals for his chain of restaurants.
Who are your favorite artists? The artists that have most moved and influenced my work: Frida Kahlo, Paula Rego, Botero, Alice Neel.
Artist: Shelley Laffal
Title: Goin bananas
Medium: Oil on canvas, 56×45 inches
Website:http://www.shelleylaffal.com
Hesther van Doornum, Vlijmen, The Netherlands
Hesther van Doornum - OverseeWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I discovered my creative talents at primary school. I discovered – actually my drawing teacher did – that I could draw anything I saw. She stimulated and motivated me in a great 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. The first piece of work I sold was at college, to a teacher. That is when I noticed people were happy to pay for my paintings. This gave me confidence and made it easier for me to approach galleries after graduating. The first few years after graduation I had difficulties parting from my paintings. It was not until I started to make more paintings (my own stock was growing) that I could ‘leave’ (sell) them.
Who are your favorite artists? I enjoy the work of many painters and sculptors. I love to look at their work to find there unique fingerprint. To discover how the works are made, their struggles and their own uniquelyfound solutions. I think the paintings of Francis Bacon are very interesting because of their compositions. He kept experimenting until he found the right proportion between shapes, colors and depth. Also the voids are just as important as de forms and figures themselves. I also find the drawings of Camille Claudel very touching.
Artist: Hesther van Doornum
Title: Oversee
Medium: Acrylic on canvas, 100×120 cm
Website: http://www.hesthervandoornum.nl

Kesha Bruce, US and France
Kesha Bruce-THAT THEY MIGHT BE LOVELYWhen did you first discover your creative talents? Well to be honest I was a late bloomer.  I didn’t really get serious about art until I was a teenager. I was never particularly interested in drawing or painting, but I took a jewelry-making class and fell in love with the physicality of it. I think some of that translates into the way I paint.
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. When I was first starting out my art career I sold a few small paintings here and there to friends and family of course.  But I made my first big sale when I was in grad school at Hunter College in New York City.  During an open studio a guy kinda wandered in, looked at a piece and within a few minutes asked me for a price.  I quoted his a price based off what I needed to pay my rent that month.  He didn’t blink an eye.  He bought the piece and then took me out to lunch at a fantastically chic restaurant to celebrate.  To say the least, I was thrilled.
Who are your favorite artists? I’m not much for hero worship.  Most of the artists that inspire me are contemporary artists that I have met and admire. Artists I’m watching right now: Stacia YeapanisJane ZweibelCharlie Grosso
Artist: Kesha Bruce
Title: THAT THEY MIGHT BE LOVELY
Medium: Archival Pigment Print, 20×27 inches
Website: http://www.keshabruce.com Blog: http://www.keshabrucestudio.com

Don’t talk to strangers! – Interview with an Artist, part 3

“Don’t talk to strangers!”  In American culture, that’s what you typically heard from your parents.  So, when can you start talking to strangers?  Some, well, all of my best friends were strangers and I recently met some really nice

Friendship

strangers that are showcasing some of my sculpture.  Ilsa Svendsen and Joseph Keller own and operate Garden of Ideas, one of New England’s finest nature destinations offering “beyond organic” produce, free range eggs and intimate woodland nature trails where your are guided by unique plant life and equally unique sculpture.

I share the grounds with some creative strangers including Sculptor Stephen Cote and Blacksmith Steven Bronstein. It’s a very special place to visit and to purchase locally grown organic produce from some great strangers: http://www.gardenofideas.com
For those of you that talk to strangers, here are a few great artists to get to know.
Carla Fache, Miami, Fl

Carla FacheWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I think that this is something you are always discovering and is endless. In my case, my first memories of recognizing I could do “magic” with common things, was when I was 5 years old and I discovered that I could use the flower’s petals as color painting and I started painting with them. That’s when the magic started…

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 name of the painting was “blue sky” and a collector, in my first exhibition, purchased it. The next day, the same collector, came and bought me another painting, the biggest painting I had at that time. That was another of the signs that confirmed me that I was on the right track.

Who are your favorite artists? Salvador Dali,Mark Rothko,Frida Kahlo, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline,Roberto Matta,Gerard Richter, Joan MiróSéraphine.

Artist: Carla Fache
Title: De amor y de sombras
Medium: Mixed media on wood, 50×50 inches
Website: http://www.carlafache.com/

Amanda Sage, Vienna, Austria

When did you first discover your creative talents? I was always into making things, but it wasn’t till i was 14 and didn’t have any money for xmas presents, so i painted on t-shirts for my family, which was the first time i really played with paint. I had always been into drawing, colored pencils, charcoal, etc… it was so much fun and a friend offered to buy one from me for a present for their father, this let off a light bulb in my head and from then on out I’ve made a living primarily from painting.

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 first real exhibition was at the Gallery at the Ernst Fuchs Museum in Vienna, Austria in 2001. It was a real success because I painted some life size nudes of his daughter and daughter in law who then organized the show, a few hundred people came to the opening. I sold a good amount of work and was told that i had to put a price on everything, but could keep my favorite piece, because selling as much as i could would help support me in producing more. I am so happy i did not sell that ‘one’ piece and is still the only piece that i have never put a price tag on. For some reason that story came up to that question.

Who are your favorite artists? Mati Klarwein, Dorothea Tanning, Banksy, Pietro Annigoni, Werner Tubke, Ernst Fuchs, Salvador Dali, Alex Grey, Rene Margritte, Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Kahlo, Neo Rauch, A Andrew Gonzalez, Mars-1

Artist: Amanda Sage
Title: Sharing Rays
Medium: Acrylic, egg tempera, oil on canvas, 30×40 inches
Website: http://www.amandasage.com

Mark Van Wagner, Kauai, HI

When did you first discover your creative talents? At a very early age…. As soon as the tempera paints were introduced to me in kindergarten I was off and running. Back in New York my mother had some artist friends who entered me into my first group show at the age of five and remember going to the opening.  So, since I can remember, I’ve always loved doing artwork and thankfully my family has always been relatively supportive of it.

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. It was going to be my first real pitch to get my artwork into an established and well-respected art gallery in Chicago. I had finally been able to schedule a studio visit with the owner, Nancy Lurie. I had been dreaming of getting into to her gallery for years and was really nervous of the visit. So there she was reviewing my work on the walls in my studio… after about 20 minutes of looking in silence she turned to me and said “I’m going to buy this one “Weed” and take it with me today. Bring those three (pointing to others on the wall) to the gallery next week and I’ll put you into the next group show”. I practically had a fucking heart attach….

Who are your favorite artists? Cézanne, Matisse, Van Gogh, Monet, Klee, Miro, Duchamp, Gorky, Cornell, Rothko, DoveRauschenberg, Johns, Richter, A Tapies Artschwager, Penone, Westerman, Golub, A.Neel, N.Jenny, P.Halley, Tuttle, E.Hopper, Turrell, Twombly, Kiefer, Pollock, T.Friedman and so many more….

Artist: Mark Van Wagner
Title: Drawing From Nowhere #21
Medium: Acrylic and sand on board, 24 x 32 inches
Website: http://markvanwagner.com

Eric Kaepplinger, Chicago, IL

When did you first discover your creative talents? I was probably 6 years old and I watched my dad draw a birthday card for my mom using only the crayons and colored pencils that my younger brothers and I had on hand. It was a forest scene with deer and squirrels, and I was blown away. I guess that’s when I discovered that there was such a thing as creative talent and that was way more important, I think, than discovering my own talent.

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. In 3rd grade my friend Robby and I started a little art business, specifically selling caricature drawings of made up people for 15 or 25 cents a piece. I don’t remember exactly what the drawing was but I do recall having to replicate it several times for other customers in class. I think in total we made $3 which was pretty cool, and we bought some baseball cards with our loot.

Who are your favorite artists? Martin Ramirez, Adolf Wolfli, Henry Darger, Joseph Yoakum, Kurt Seligmann, John Himmelfarb, Frederic Remington, Max ErnstOlafur Eliasson.

Artist: Eric Kaepplinger
Title: My Chorizo Dreams
Medium: Digital collage of colored pencil and ink drawings mounted on a Masonite box frame. 30×40 inches
Website: http://erickaepplinger.blogspot.com/


Kristen van Diggelen, San Francisco, CA

When did you first discover your creative talents? I have been aware of my creative talents for as long as I can remember, which means a toddler drawing with and eating the heads off my markers.

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 don’t really have a selling experience or a sold artwork that stands out amidst the group, however, each time I am utterly honored to sell a piece. It is also very cathartic, allowing me more space and funds to make new work.

Who are your favorite artists? David Friedrich, Sargent, Tiepolo, Julie Heffernan, Bernini, Turner, Vuillard

Artist: Kristen van Diggelen
Title: The Way of Negation (Battlescape #2)
Medium: Oil on canvas, 87×72 inches
Website: http://www.kristenvandiggelen.com