Tag Archives: Odd Nerdrum

Creative Crisis – Interview with an Artist, part 6

After reading the most recent post, Kathryn Arnold, blog interviewee forwarded a Newsweek article regarding a significant decline in creativity scoring in the American youth, “Creative Crisis.”  While citing TV, video games and school curriculum as “culprits” for the new disturbing downward trend, my daughter of twelve years  Samantha, brings Inventive Creativityanother possibilityto light.  I’m calling it the MacGyver Factor.  She feels that as we evolve with technology, we’re not forced to use our creativity for problem solving etc.  So, we’re not exercising the right side of our brain as much as we have in the past. We’re our own enemy.  Our creative forefathers have made us right-brain lazy. That said, Isabella, daughter of ten moves in the Skype view and says she’s done with her art class as of Friday for the rest of the year due to a recent curriculum change. Now, creativity runs through these girls veins, including their sister Alexandra (nine) like vermouth in the Kennedy’s.  I’m not worried.  Life’s the classroom.
So, what do you do? Like anything else that’s important to you, you take ownership and manage the process. When you go to the beach, you help build mutant sand creatures.  You play visual games to spot what land features you see in the lakes mirror-like reflection.  And you give an eight year old a camera.  The interviews continue…

Danielle Ezzo, Brooklyn, NY

Patterns in Healing Study1-Danielle EzzoWhen did you first discover your creative talents? Both of my parents were artistic, so from a very young age I was painting, drawing, and taking pictures. I thought I wanted to be a painter as I got a little older, but didn’t know how that could translate into a career. Funny that I was thinking of the ‘practical’ side so young. Because of this, my grade school focuses were more on the sciences, and it wasn’t until applying for college that I decided I was going to go back into art. I guess it’s hard to pin point an exact moment because it was always there to some varying degree.

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. Oddly enough, I sold my first piece of artwork when I was a freshman in high school. Our project was surrealist based although I don’t remember the precise assignment. Essentially, I painted a fish bowl in the shape of a cat with detailed aquatic life inside painted with acrylics. It was suggested by my teacher that I submit the work into a community gallery show that was to be exhibited at the town’s local library. After the show came down, another teacher from my school contact me about purchasing the piece. It was definitely very flattering for a fourteen year old!

Who are your favorite artists? Some of my favorites artists are: Sandy Skoglund, Egon Schiele, Rudolph Koppitz, Rene Magritte, Francisco de Goya, and so many others.

Artist: Danielle Ezzo
Title: Patterns in Healing, Study 1
Medium: Cyanotype with gouache and ink, 9×12 inches
Website: http://danielleezzo.com/ Blog: http://dezzoster.tumblr.com/

Greg Orfanos, Bristol, CT

Said the Cicada - Greg OrfanosWhen did you first discover your creative talents? My first recollection of having discovered any creative ability was at age 3. I was sitting on the paisley patterned mustard colored carpet in my decked out 70′s style living room doodling away on a green piece of construction paper. All of a sudden, I noticed that my drawing appeared to look like an exact rendering of the human figure. I quickly got up to show my mother and ran to her incredibly fast as I thought the drawing were going to disappear from the page.  I burst through the bath room door and held up my masterpiece. My mother, while sitting on the toilet, graciously said “Excellent, now please leave and close the door.” My first critique.  Although blunt in its delivery, I modestly accepted. I became a child obsessed. Drawing feverishly, I created these fantastic figures as if magic were pouring from my hands. Over the course of a few days I had an epiphany. If shapes were put together in any sort of way and even manipulated that I could not only draw figures but all kinds of things. My refrigerator started to look like a giant pinata. Covered in multicolored construction paper that was adorned with the most wonderful images the human eye has ever beheld. “Is that a sun over a mountain” my dad would ask. “No, it’s you” I said.  ” I like the train with the bubbles in it” my sister would say. “No, those are the gerbils in the habitrail” I would reply. This went on for some time. Needless to say my ego became bruised and the fridge went back to its original avocado green.

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.   As far as selling my work, I don’t enjoy it as much as one might think. I sell out of necessity. There is one particular sale however, that is very memorable. I received a lengthly email from a gentleman describing how much one of my paintings had captivated him. He saw so much of his own life in the subject matter. Memories of missed opportunities that all of a sudden, he felt, had become with in reach to him again. He went on to say that this painting inspired him so much so, that he was going to further his education and pursue his dream. After reading this I was dumbfounded. I wanted to give it to him for nothing but he insisted on paying for it. Never in my life has my art work ever got a response more true and heartfelt as his letter. That in of itself is pretty damn cool. 

Who are your favorite artists? There are a lot of artists that inspire me. Not just the visual ones but literary, musicians and film makers as well. So, to name a few and not in any particular oder: Grosz, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Ensor, Saint Saens, Winsor McCay, Roald Dahl, Bud Powell, Burl Ives, Link Wray, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Lisbeth Zwerger, Arnold Lobel, Brian O’Nolan, Thomas Hart Benton, Henry James, Sparkle Horse, Daniel Johnston, David Lynch, Eric Dolphy, Earl Bostic, Harrison Cady, Edward Gorey, Kenneth Grahame, Ezra Jack Keats, Judi Muscara-Orfanos, Hiedi Dentremont, David Ferreira, Deborah G. Rogers, Jennifer Richter, Kathleen Lolley, Heather Adels, Jill Herick Lee, Dave Brubeck, Wes Anderson, Richard Kelley, Spike Jonze, Richard Flynn and the list goes on.

Artist: Greg Orfanos
Title: Said The Cicada
Medium: Mixed, 36×24 inches
Website: http://www.gregorfanos.com

Amy Guidry, Lafayette, LA
The Wild West-Amy Guidry
When did you first discover your creative talents? Apparently my talents were not discovered until my kindergarten teacher called my mother to let her know I could draw really well.  My mother thought I drew like any other child.  I was the oldest of two, so there was no one else to compare my work to.  As far as I was concerned, I just knew that drawing and painting were fun.  I mass-produced artwork to the point that my mother had to throw out a lot of it.  I plowed through entire packages of- what we called back then- “typing paper.”  I was always hoping to get my hands on more advanced (i.e. messy and destructive) art supplies.
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. This is actually a tough question.  I sold some work when I was a kid, so I don’t think I completely understood what that meant.  It wasn’t as significant to me as it is now.  So I will have to say that one of my most memorable sales was one of my larger works and it was actually purchased sight-unseen.  The collector saw it on my website and emailed me about the piece.  I was not expecting it to sell that easily, but he said he wanted it and so I had it shipped immediately.
Who are your favorite artists? I love an eclectic mix of artists- I just appreciate good art in general, no matter the style.  That said, if I had to name some favorites I would have to say James Ensor, Hieronymus Bosch, Salvador Dali, Wangechi Mutu, Odd Nerdrum, and Kiki Smith.  I’m trying to keep the list small…  I admire a lot of artists, but I guess at the top of my list, those would include the ones whose work is surreal in some manner.
Artist: Amy Guidry
Title: The Wild West
Medium: Acrylic on canvas, 24×30 inches
Website: http://amyguidry.com/

It’s OK to be an artist…Interview with an Artist, part 5

Atypical for me, I didn’t have a goal or objective when I started this blog. As a result of subscriber feedback and my personal beliefs, I do now. Simply…to celebrate and support those who have chosen to become “artists” and to encourage those who are exploring the occupation…
Paul Shampine
While attending a Tom Kelley seminar, author of The Ten Faces of Innovation, Tom references author/artist Gordon MacKenzie’s experience while giving lectures to grade school children (K-6). In short, when Gordon asks “Anybody here an artist?” to a kindergarten class, everyone raises their hands with great animation and enthusiasm. As the lectures continue throughout the day, Gordon experiences significant attrition with only two hands being raised in the six grade. Transcript can be read here:http://ventureswell.com/innovation-made-personal-tom-k

Tom’s message for his lecture: “..it’s OK to be an artist. It’s OK to be an innovator. It’s OK to be a design thinker even if it causes people around you to raise their eyebrows.”

I agree. It’s my creative thinking that made me an effective corporate leader, CEO, small business consultant and a sculptor.

Here are a few that I’m sure would agree that it’s OK to be an artist……

Carolanne Leslie, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY

Passageway to Consciousness-Carolanne LeslieWhen did you first discover your creative talents? When I was a child I endlessly wrote poetry. I discovered poetry as a means to express myself abstractly.  I was afraid someone might see my nightly journals about my life and I had a sense my words were too revealing. Then one day in a quiet moment of “no mind” my hand began to write poems.  Poetry was my secret language, my quiet expression of an inner world I was only beginning to discover.

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 piece was “Surrender”. It was hanging on a wall in a Downtown Brooklyn Bar. One night I was at the bar and I watched a man take pictures of all of my art hanging on the wall. I asked him why and he said his friend in the corner wants to buy “Surrender”. I told him I was the artist and he introduced me to  Azim Ramelize who bought the painting off the wall that night.

Azim understood my art on the most intimate level. We discussed the spiritual sentiments in the title  “Surrender” and other concepts such as transformation for hours before I realized Azim was paralyzed from the waste down because he was shot at the age of 17 at the base of his spine…Azim grew up in the worst of the Brooklyn ghettos.  But what I didn’t realize at first was the scope of what Azim overcame in his life.

Azim managed not only to survive the gunshot wound but he pulled himself up and out of the insidiously difficult world he lived in and “transformed” it into something wonderful. He became a lawyer.  The commissioner of Children Services helping inner city kids with their struggles.  “From Gangster to Guardian”… Azim Ramelize, I am proud to say was moved by my artwork and I felt understood. What a beautiful exchange.

Who are your favorite artists? Gaudi, Bouguereau, Frida Kahlo, Antony Gormley, Marina Abromovic, Julian Schnabel, Ayala Serfaty, Gustav Klimt,Camille Claudel,

Artist: Carolanne Leslie
Title: Passage to Consciousness
Medium: Acrylic on canvas, 36×74 inches
Website: http://carolanneleslie.com/

Cheryl Faligowski, Detroit, MI

Nude Frame - Split SugarWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I started exploring photography at a young age with cameras you would find as a prize in cereal boxes. Although my concept of composition and lighting had not been discovered yet, I loved the feeling of capturing what I saw. While in high school I started experimenting with the idea of conceptual photography with models (my friends) and self portraiture. I loved photographing the human body in all it’s shapes and forms.By the time I was 16 I had found my heart belonged to portraiture, performance and fine art photography and also came to the realization that I can help others see the beauty in themselves and others with these photos.
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. There is no one photo (sold or unsold) that takes precedence over all the others. I still am finding to this day that each new shoot I do I learn something new about my technique, my style, myself, and the people I’m shooting. It’s a growing process always and I love that about all artistic endeavors! My studies in the nude human body are still some of my favorites over-all but it’s too hard to pin-point one shot that meant more than the others.

Who are your favorite artists? I do not have many consistent favorite artists anymore. I look at all genres, new and old, and I go through phases with liking some more than others. It’s always changing because I like to be able to always change. It’s almost as though I have favorite peices, rather than artists. Even if I do a series, I rarely stick with it for longer than a few months to a year because I like change and evolution and allowing for that to happen naturally as I discover new inspirations. If I had to name some names, then some of my inspirations have been Jan Saudek, David La Chappelle, Richard Avedon, George Hurrell, and even young up-and-comings like Lara Jade who took the online photography world be storm before she even 16, and locals AJ Kahn and Gary Mitchell who I have even had the pleasure to work with as a model. There are countless others but these are just the few that come to mind right now.

Artist: Cheryl Faligowski aka Spilt Sugar
Title: Nude Frame
Medium: Digital photo converted to black and white can be converted up to 11×14 inches
Website: http://www.spiltsugar.com/


Mary Ann Wakeley, Wynnewood, PA

Manifesto - Mary Ann WakeleyWhen did you first discover your creative talents? I seem to have several recollections that qualify as first discoveries. Like so many children, it was natural for me to make things whether it was creative structures with wooden blocks and crafts or painting, drawing or playing piano …. it is inherent so as children we take those things for granted and don’t consider what we do is special or a talent. As we mature, we are singled out for what others perceive as unique. I remember how amazed I was that I did so well in a design class I took as a continuing education student yet I had been rearranging colors and forms in space in so many ways for years beginning as a toddler that I don’t know how I could have been surprised. Every time I am aware of a new form of expression making its way through is a first discovery for 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. Even though it wasn’t the first time I sold a painting I remember the first piece I sold via the internet and consider it my first official sale. This may be due to the fact that prior to internet sales most paintings were purchased by friends, family and friends of family. This was the first official sale from an unknown person via the web. It was a square abstract in acrylic on canvas that was in shades of muted pinks and orange and resembled a landscape but the colors took it out of that realm and the buyer connected. It was 2004 when I made the sale after reading an article in Art Calendar magazine about artists selling on the internet and especially having success on ebay. The piece sold within minutes of being listed and I was hooked! The sale of that piece along with the lovely personal note that was sent by the woman who purchased it was very memorable.

Who are your favorite artists? Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Franz Kline, Elizabeth Peyton, Howard Hodgkin, Patrick Heron, Louise Bourgeois, Matisse, Bernard Dufour.Favorite painters of today whom I have personally connected with via the web are Michel Guerin, Diane Kramer, Hiroshi Matsumoto, Sharon Barfoot, Goro Endow, Mayako Nakamura, Gerard Stricher, Bertrand Eberhard, Anne Buffum, Anne-Laure Djaballah to name but a few.

Artist: Mary Ann Wakeley
Title: Manifesto
Medium: Acrylic and pastel on canvas, 40×40 inches
Website: http://www.maryannwakeley.com/

Ivy Jacobsen, San Francisco, CA

Sanctuary-Ivy JacobsenWhen did you first discover your creative talents? From as early as I can remember I’ve always gravitated towards drawing, painting, and other crafty things as a means to self expression and fun.But it wasn’t until 1997, when I was 23, that I took my first college level painting class and became a painting addict! Something just clicked when I began oil painting and it’s been my passion ever since.

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 1999 I was studying painting and printmaking at San Francisco State University and at night working at a restaurant/bar in Oakland’s Jack London Square. I had the fortune of having my very first art show at this restaurant. One of the regulars came in one night and we got to talking about my paintings. He asked me which of these pieces was my favorite and I told him it was “Long Necks”. He said he’d buy it! I was so excited, I couldn’t believe it! A few years later he started a new gallery in Oakland and I had my first solo gallery show there.

Who are your favorite artists? I have a lot of favorite artist. Some current ones are Ruth Oshawa, Darren Waterston, and Eyvind Earle.

Artist: Ivy Jacobsen
Title: Sanctuary
Medium: Oil, bronzing powder, & mixed media on canvas, 38×52 inches
Website: http://www.ivyjacobsen.com

NEXT UP…..

Paul Shampine Greg Orfanos ~ Danielle EzzoAmy Guidry ~ Meg Dwyer