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

NYC Fountain Art Fair proves Albert was wrong, E=fA²f

Maybe hold off on changing the textbooks.  Professor Einstein was on to something…

Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of Fountain Arts Fair - NYCcompassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.(A. Einstein 1954).

As a first-timer of the Fountain Art Fair, the event was a perfect setting to fulfill Albert’s advice.  Go once and you’re a lifer as attendance reflected.

It was unlike any creative event I’ve attended.  BUT, I’m not going to disrespect the pulsing soul and ramble on about my thoughts and experiences or flood this with imagery…just go.  Trust me…just go.  It’s a true bucket list for any art lover, art collector or anyone wanting to continue or start  Albert’s pilgrimage.

The Fountain Art Fair continues through Sunday March 11.  For more info: http://www.fountainartfair.com

Paul ShampineJust a peek.  Ian Ross (http://ianrossart.com) and Lindsay Carron (http://lindsaycarron.com) infusing the mood onsite.
Ian Ross - Fountain Arts FairLindsay Carron - Fountain Arts Fair









Thank you.
Best regards, Paul
Paul Shampine

Fountain Arts Fair – NYC, March 9-11, 2012

In anticipation of this weekend’s (March 9-11) NYC Fountain Art Fair, I asked participant and past Arts PR Group interviewee Agni Zotis  her thoughts.  Also, a  short chat with  Santa Monica artist Kathleen O’Connell Kaller.

Getting ready for an exhibit, solo or joint, can be its own reality TV Agni Zotisshow….the diverse mix of personalities, stress of deadlines and production issues.  Can you share a personal experience with Fountain?  Art fairs and the art world in general are reality tv dramas, entertainment should be inevitable. This year the Fountain Art Fair is at the 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue  @ 25th Street, the very first exhibition space for the Armory Show in 1913.

I was invited by my friend, sculptor Bernard Klevickas, that had the idea for a Bernard Klevickasband of artists to come together and present in a salon style exhibition, 72 artists including some friends, in booth E212 producing artwork right now in NYC. It’s an opportunity to show work, collaborate, see art, friends, parties, represent a part of the NYC art energy I am, as the world pours in to experience it.  As an active artist I have the ability to create my experience.

 I’m showing “In Haiti Kids are Eating Mud Cookies What Heels Should I Wear” at the curators request and also the painting  “Liquify Earth” the idea of the being, the self, consuming the globe, unifying, becoming one with all,   Universal Consciousness.

Thanks Agni.  From the FAF folks…the “Fair is an exhibition of avant-garde artwork founded to leverage support for smaller independent galleries to gain access to larger collectors and critics. In addition to cutting-edge art, visitors to the fair can enjoy signature elements such as on-site performance art, a major street art installation, and musical performances that Fountain has become known for integrating into the art fair experience. From presenting just 3 local exhibitors at its first fair in 2006, Fountain has grown to represent over 30 international exhibitors and independent artist projects…

Paul ShampineBuy discounted tickets online or for more info:  http://www.fountainartfair.com
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Jumping to the West Coast, our interviews continue with Stanta Monica artist Kathleen Kaller.

Kathleen O’Connell Kaller
Kathleen Kaller-Luminous Tide

When did you first discover your creative talents? My mother introduced me to creativity as a young child.  Getting crafty on school projects and painting on shells. However the first time I realized I actually had a talent for it was in a high school art class.  One of our first projects was to sketch and draw with charcoal.  We were assigned to draw and shade an image of our hands and then turn it into something.  I drew my hand and then turned my arm into a snake! It was quite fierce now that I look back.  Having studied Hindu mythology recently, I now know snakes represents the life force, strength and rebirth. But I suppose the point of the story is that after seeing what I had created I was a little in shock that I could make something so detailed and I also felt proud. Like I found what  I was good at.  The images were displayed in a glass case near the cafeteria and I got really good feedback from other students. I guess it was at that moment! Having pride as I walked to the lunch room everyday.

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.  Every time I sell something is memorable moment! It really reinforces the fact that I can live and prosper as an artist.  I refuse to believe in the myth of the struggling artist.  But the very first art show I had was pretty memorable.  I didn’t know what to expect!  I had sold a few pieces to friends and family along the way but to sell to someone you don’t really know means alot to me.  It means you reached an audience.  After my first show I sold a piece called “Letting Go”.  It was one of my first abstract paintings were I literally let go when I was painting it.  I had been creating more impressionistic work and at this point I was wanting to be more free and abstract. In addition my client  that bought the work commissioned me to create 2 more paintings to add to  “Letting Go” creating an original Triptych for her.  This was one of my first sales and commissions at the same time.  This was a very exciting moment for me.

Favorite museum? Any museum I walk into is my favorite! Since I was little I loved going to museums on school trips.  There is an energy that is palpable, inspiring and divine.  Its quiet, meditative, and the life of each painting vibrates Sam Francis - Norton Simon Museumoff the walls and into your psyche.  One of my favorites in California is The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.  There hangs one of my all-time favorite mural paintings by Sam Francis.  It takes up an entire wall hanging 13 x 20 feet. It’s drippy, vibrant  and has emotional impact at first glance.  This work has been an influential in the way I create art. 

If you were to give a room full of emerging artists one bit of advice, what would that be? Your studio is sacred space.  Get weird as much as possible.  Be grateful for everything.  Little prayers to the universe work.  If there is something or someone that speaks to you have a conversation, there is something you need to hear. When the going gets tough keep creating.

If you were to receive an “Artist of the Year Award,” who would be the first person you would thank and why? My family and for all those teachers along the way. My husband especially. When I left a decent-paid job Revelation-Kathleen Kallerto paint my husband was 100% supportive. As an artist himself he realizes the importance of the creative process. He has infused my work with encouragement and love. He also gives me really good criticism on my work and he is the only person I may alter a painting for after hearing his commentary. My mother has also been really helpful in the process as she is a painter too and has great tips. I truly feel blessed to have the resources to be an artist. It is a magical profession.

Who are your favorite artists? These artists continue to inspire, mentor and influence my work and journey as an artist. SACO (Susan Ann Christiana O’Connell), Sam Francis, Vibul Wonprasat, Francoise Gilot, Saule Piktys, Sage Vaughn, Trudy Montgomery, Darren Waterston, Picasso, William de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, Benzo Theodore, Laura Amazzone, Elaine de Kooning, and Mary Addison Hackett.

Artist: Kathleen O’Connell Kaller
Title: Luminous Tide
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 40”x40”
Website: http://www.kathleenkaller.com

Paul ShampinePaul Shampine

Accidental Inspiration?

Kathleen Kaller succinctly states that her “work is derived from life’s drifting REVELATION-Kathleen Kallerinspiration.”  As a study of nature, I couldn’t agree more. It’s the sum of the whole―a collection that makes up the matrix of our souls.

I had a spell of this enigmatic “inspiration” this V-Day. Simply, I made a necklace.  A fun project, but a bit risky for a gift.  I always feel like a child when IPaul Shampine present a new artistic concept…a little boy approaching his mother with a precious object behind his back….hoping…waiting…

Ultimately, I just want create to have others “feel” that same inner spiritual feeling.  It’s when you actually feel your soul.  An unbalanced but comfortable place. That tightness in your chest when you feel happiness, anger, proudly, lonely, excited, guilt, joy and…..inspiration.

I’m always asked the unanswerable…what inspired this?

Paul ShampineHope these guys do it for you…did it for me…
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

Eleanor Rahim

Surface to Air-Eleanor Rahim

When did you first discover your creative talents? I think it was around the age of six. My mom gave me a painting by numbers set and I did a pretty good job! Teachers at school started asking me to paint the windows at Christmas and do various decorating jobs around the classrooms. Yes, I think I knew quite early on that I had a talent. However, none of my family were artistic so I didn’t grow up with a great awareness of art or have any idea what to do with my 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. Following on from your first question, my education and career went in the direction of graphic design and illustration. I started as a fine artist only four years ago when I moved from London to New York and discovered the Art Students League. I entered a painting in the class concours and won a Red Dot award. The show was open to the public and a man contacted me to ask if he could see more of my work. I really didn’t have many paintings to show him but he fell in love with a piece called Calm at Present, 40 x 30 inches, acrylic on canvas. He immediately wrote a check for my asking price. Having been in business for many years with design, I always got a kick out of sealing a deal. However, this was different. When I paint, I paint for myself. My thoughts and emotions all go into the painting. It is very personal. Suddenly, I found someone who understood my work, it resonated with him and he had to have it. It was the most exhilarating feeling and I shall never forget that day, or the collector! I still get excited when I sell a painting and I love to hear how a painting makes the owner feel. I’m fascinated by what people read into my work and the effect it has on their emotions.

Who are your favorite artists?  Well my list keeps growing but I’ll throw out a few, in no particular order of preference: Claude Monet for being the ‘father of abstract expressionism’ as my tutor and also one of my favorite artists, Ronnie Landfield, told me. Gerhardt Richter for his use of color, texture and subtlety. I recently saw his fabulous retrospective in London at Tate Modern. John Singer Sargent, especially his male nudes. Peter Paul Rubens for his anatomical studies, Egon Schiele for his use of line, Pablo Picasso for his sketches, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Ilya Repin, Hans Holbein, Johannes Vermeer, Diego Velázquez, Joan Mitchell, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul Jenkins, Clyfford Still, Norman Bluhm…..oh it goes on and on.

Artist: Eleanor Rahim
Title: Surface to Air
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 48 ”x 72”
Website: http://eleanorrahim.com

Ali Gallagher
Astral Dust-Ali Gallagher

When did you first discover your creative talents? Like most children I enjoyed painting and drawing when I was young. As a teenager I realized the feeling of sweet positive release while creating and knew I needed to maintain this flow throughout 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. The first time I sold work to a stranger I remember the feeling of curiosity as to where the piece would live in a space I had never seen. It was warming to think that they felt a strong enough connection to want to house the piece in their personal sanctuary. I remember they wrote a check and I just kept rereading their name and was so thankful that someone I had never met before was in support of the artwork.

Who are your favorite artists? William Blake, Kathe Kollwitz, Margaret Macdonald, Swoon, Shona Heath, J.M.W. Turner, so many!!! The process of creating is more important than the outcome but these prophets definitely stand out to me.

Artist: Ali Gallagher
Title: Astral Dust
Medium: Oil on wood.
Dimensions: 18”x18”
Website: http://www.aligallaghercreations.com
Blog: http://aligallagher.wordpress.com

Karen Duckles
Hula Hoop-Karen Duckles

When did you first discover your creative talents? I think I first discovered my creative urge when I was a kid.  My mom had art supplies around and she helped me paint a seascape.  I was just fascinated with painting and making things look how they do in real life.  I remember becoming obsessed with painting rocks and making them look three dimensional with light and shadows.

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 sold the first piece I can remember when I was in high school.  It was a landscape, and a friend of mine bought it.  He chose that one because he said he thought it looked like it took a long time to make.  I think I got about ten dollars for that.

Who are your favorite artists?  One of my favorite artists is Mondrian.  I love how his paintings are so precise, and yet so human at the same time.  They are so elemental, and really quite complex.  Another artist I just love is MorandiHis paintings have a wonderful stillness, just being.  The colors are so soft and subtle, just lovely.

Artist: Karen Duckles
Title: Hula Hoop
Medium: Oil on cavas
Dimensions: 37”x63”
Website: http://karenduckles.com

Michelle Oppenheimer
Untitled-Michelle Oppenheimer
When did you first discover your creative talents? I first discovered my creative talents when I was a child but it really blossomed when I was in school studying to become a Doctor of Oriental medicine. That was about thirteen years ago. I painted for a study break. Acupuncture school was arduous for me. I found a serenity when I painted.  I started with water color. I love how water color bleeds and how delicate it is.  I rarely showed anyone what I was painting. I was incredibly shy and vulnerable about my art. I have no formal training and felt insecure about it. My husband encouraged me to continue with it. Explore with different materials and sizes.

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 sold my first painting to a dear friend almost twelve years ago.
It has been one of those paintings that I have never grown tired of.
My friend is an art collector and I was incredibly honored he bought it.
He bought it for 300.00 dollars and it has been one of the most asked about
paintings on my website.

Who are your favorite artists?
I love Rothko.  I love Franz Kline. I love Ed Moses.
All three continue to inspire me on an incredibly deep level.

Artist: Michelle Oppenheimer
Title: Untitled
Medium: Mixed media on paper
Dimensions: 50”x50”
Website: http://michelleoppenheimer.com

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

Passionately curious…

Passion.  Do we all have passion? Where does it come from? How does it reveal itself? Is it genetic or acquired through our environment? If we all followed our “passion” where would the world be?  Would we have global warming?

I did my first triathlon a week ago.  I had 60 days to prepare.  I’ve put together a sculpture exhibit in 60 days.  I can do this. I taught myself to weld.  I can relearn to swim….in the ocean…for ½ mile.  Got it.  Biking?  Well, I had a motorcycle with 1000cc’s.  0-60 in less than 3 seconds.  15 miles? No problem. But to be safe, I’ll train on a cement-truck-like mountain bike and get in shape fast and hard.  Run?  I run.  Everybody runs.  “Hey, I have to run to the store.”  “We’re running out of toilet paper!”  I run my mouth off about the State of Connecticut wasting tax dollars and increasing their carbon footprint by mowing native plant life along the sides and medians of the highway so, and I quote from the Governor’s Office, “it looks prettier.”  Keep the highway earth-wrecking crew, but layoff school teachers? Not to mention the carbon dioxide pulsing parking lot it creates…I should run for Governor.

Anyway….Day 30 marked the day I urinated on my training partners arm stung by a jelly fish the size of an exoplanet.   I’ve swallowed enough saltwater that I’m now the new Morton Salt Girl (Boy)  and my chainsaw consumed three blades clearing my favorite biking trail from Irene’s tantrum.   Running? No, not for office.  Too many skeletons.  But I am still talking about the State of CT and I shaved 4:30 off my three mile run.

Day 60. Beyond my tears of stomach acid, I felt something special that Saturday morning @ 6AM.  I saw it in hundreds of dancing eyes.  I felt numb with strength.  Superhuman.  Via satellite, there was a foggy glow above Madison, CT that clear, sunny morning.  A colony of XTERRA seals gathered at the threshold of the rookery.

“Boy, those buoys are far out” I said to #923.  “Yeah, they’re cool” he replied.   “No, I mean they are way out in the ocean!”  #871 smiled and nodded.  I survived my Magoo-like swim which probably moved the decimal point on my distance from .50 to 5.0 (I later learned I set the record for the longest half mile swim).   I couldn’t leave my faithful cement-truck mountain bike at home.  We broke many a trail and had a special bond.  So Quikrete and I battled together with Gatorade taped to her belly, fueled by cheers of “where’s the mountain” “go mountain boy! Go!”  “Catskills on your left.” With mouth closed,Paul Shampine I ran the last stage with hydraulic vice grips on my calves which then moved to my shins.   Then it happened.  I can still see the smile in her eyes.  As I was finishing my last mile, she was starting her first…really struggling…  We both looked up from the ground, eyes met.  Passion.  I’ve had less intimate moments with lovers.

Here are three artathletes…with passion.  Have a look through their eyes.
Best, Paul
Paul Shampine

sculpture, artist, art, sculptor 

When did you first discover your creative talents?

I’ve been at an easel, literally, since I was in diapers. I first started using oils in school when I was eleven years old. The teacher told us to make a landscape, and I blissed out making a small, extraterrestrial, organic abstract. I was chastised. I defended my piece. I had found my medium.

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 sold my first piece, reluctantly, in 2000, in order to finance another. Jack Whitten asked me to be in “Plural Dimensions,” a group show in the SVA Gallery, Soho. I went down to look at the space – 16′ ceilings! I had a chance to realize a piece I had been dreaming about, barely; the show would be in two weeks, and I was broke. A friend of mine had been after me for a little piece for years; made c. 1989-93 (high school, I worked in oils at home), it was about 3 x 1′, with little patches of rust-pocked metal on board, painted in blue, green, and black acrylic with black and metallic marker to give the effect of a rainforest. I sold it to him for a few hundred dollars and the promise of a bartered haircut that I never got. The cash went to making Banner Triptych. Banner Triptych measures 13.5 x 14 x 10.5′ – a triangular installation with an acrylic exterior (of necessity, as it was I had a hair-dryer on it up to the last minute) of deep blue with silvery mountain outlines, that could be walked into for a panoramic abstract scape of cascades and mountains in blue, green, cream, purple, and orange on a radiant yellow ground. A friend who was in the show with me told me that one evening when I was not there, he saw someone stop in their tracks across the street, and walk into the gallery because of that piece. I guess you could say it was a good trade.

Who are your favorite artists? 

I could sooner tell you my favorite color. I will say that one of my earliest memories was seeing a Morris Louis at the National Gallery in D.C.; my child-mind reeled, “How did he make those drips go diagonally?”

Artist: CJ Nye
Title: Power, Force, and Circumstance.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Each canvas is 8” x 8” x 1.5”
Date: 2011
Website: http://cjnye.com

Barbara Traub, San Francisco, CA
Barbara Traub-Passion Fashion

When did you first discover your creative talents?

When as a kid I learned to play Joplin’s ‘The Entertainer’ on the
piano or perhaps my senior year on the campus of Johns Hopkins when I
tried some LSD and watched the trees dance and sway.

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 my photography was featured in an exhibition at the
International Fotofestival of Knokke-Heist in Belgium. I had about
100 prints in the show and was wined and dined in a room at the
Casino where Magritte had painted the mural Le Domaine Enchanté.
Though none of my work was for sale there, I did receive an
honorarium and donated a print to their collection.

Who are your favorite artists? 

It’s kind of like being at the mouth of a river what with many
streams and tributaries flowing into it from a whole lot of
directions — film, painting, literature, music, media, culture,
nature, etc. Some photographers who have inspired my work, in
addition to the ones mentioned on my Wikipedia page are Ralph Gibson,
Ruth Bernhard, Bill Brandt, Helen Levitt, and William Eggleston.

Artist: Barbara Traub
Title: Passion Fashion
Medium: Lightjet Digital C-print, 11×17 inches
Website: http://www.home.earthlink.net/~traubleaux/

Andrea de Ranieri, Cascine di Buti, Italy

When did you first discover your creative talents?

I do not know if I have the creative talent inside me, it’s up to others to say it. I made what goes through my head and I haven’t enough time to realize what I have in mind.  It’s only been a year and a half I made sculptures,  before I enjoyed  painting here and there.

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 sculpture was created by accident.  I was making a lamp and came up with something different out of the ordinary woodworking. From there I realized I could do other sculptures.  This “sculpture” was then sold and this has meant a lot to me because I also had confirmation of what would become my passion.

Who are your favorite artists? 

Pablo Picasso above all others, in particular the sculpture The Goat.

Artist: Andrea de Ranieri
Title: Dott.ssa.Manta
Medium: Wood, resin, iron, 15x150x85 cm
Website: http://www.andreaderanieri.com