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…
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.”
Here are a few that I’m sure would agree that it’s OK to be an artist……
Carolanne Leslie, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY
When 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.
Artist: Carolanne Leslie
Title: Passage to Consciousness
Medium: Acrylic on canvas, 36×74 inches
Cheryl Faligowski, Detroit, MI
When 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
Mary Ann Wakeley, Wynnewood, PA
When 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
Medium: Acrylic and pastel on canvas, 40×40 inches
Ivy Jacobsen, San Francisco, CA
When 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.
Artist: Ivy Jacobsen
Medium: Oil, bronzing powder, & mixed media on canvas, 38×52 inches