Wednesday, February 21, 2018

GIANT WOODCUTS



Next month the city of Denver will celebrate Mo'Print, a month-long celebration of printmaking that will include exhibitions, demonstrations, studio tours, and workshops, among others. Check out this exhibition schedule!  Colorado is beautiful, Denver is cool, and printmaking is the best. I wish I could be there for any of it, but especially for the opening of GIANT WOODCUTS, a show at Art Gym Denver in which I'm honored to have a print.  

That print will be in good company-- just look at this all-start lineup!

James Bailey (Professor, University of Montana)
Jamaal Barber (Owner, J Barber Studio, Atlanta, GA)
Lyell Castonguay (Director, Big Ink, NH)
Annalise Gratovich (Associate Director, Flatbed Press, Austin, TX) 
Holly Greenberg (Associate Professor, Syracuse University, NY) 
Dusty Herbig (Associate Professor, Syracuse University, NY) 
Martin Mazorra (Owner, Cannonball Press, Brooklyn, NY)
Humberto Saenz (Assistant Professor, University of Texas at San Antonio, TX)
Sean Starwars (Owner, Woodcut Funhouse, Laurel, MS)

My print comes from Really Big Prints 2016. We're currently accepting applications for this summer's Really Big Prints in Manitowoc, WI. It's a fine time to visit Wisconsin and a great set-up for pulling a large print. Join us! 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sketchuary


Last fall I participated for the first time in #Inktober, an online drawing challenge in which people make and post daily ink drawings. Many of the drawings are in response to a list of prompts provided by Inktober creator Jake Parker.

It was an excellent challenge that functioned for me as a sort of motivation and accountability. Now I'm partnering with several artist friends to participate in the similarly structured #Sketchuary. We've generated our own prompts (shown here) and are encouraging people to join the challenge with non-drawing sketches like prototypes, rough drafts, and other forms.

If you're at all inclined to participate in the challenge, please do! Whether you go the full 28 days, every-other day, weekly, or once, there's something to be gained from this practice.

Domestic sketches

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Only Way Out Is Through

Drawing based on Inktober sketching, 2017
Current mood. Both figure and ground.

Print out this image for coloring and drawing in meetings, commutes, and other seated occasions. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Revival

January of this year was the last time I posted anything here. This may mean it's time to pull this thing out by the roots and lay it on the compost heap of projects alongside KnoxLooks and abandoned studio projects.

In the meantime, here's one of the things I've been doing this month: an ink drawing a day for #Inktober on Instagram. It's been challenging to stay on top of the drawings, but the repetition of the task is helpful. Drawing in response to prompts I think are lame is helpful. Drawing when I'd rather do something else is helpful. It's the kind of gentle resistance visiting artist Johanna Winters cited recently in talking to SNC art students: we tear muscles slightly so they grow back stronger. So too in the studio do we introduce prompts, challenges, and materials that tear our making muscles a little and help us grow.

Below is one of the images from the month. The rest are on my Instagram feed here. You can also spend some time perusing the hashtags #inktober and #inktober2017 to see some of the millions of images posted. Lots of bare-chested witches last time I checked. That's not my jam, but right on for daily drawing.

From the Day 15 prompt "mysterious"

Friday, January 27, 2017

Let's Draw

I am honored to be part of Let's Draw, an upcoming art exhibition at James Watrous Gallery based on a long-running radio show by the same name. From the gallery's website:
"Let’s Draw" was developed by Wisconsin’s own WHA (now Wisconsin Public Radio) as part of the station’s School of the Air program. These weekly broadcasts wove together stories, dramatic readings, music, and instruction into lively half-hour programs that brought art lessons to rural and underserved communities around the state. The driving force behind Let’s Draw, James Schwalbach, emphasized originality and free expression. Schwalbach’s mantras were "We do not copy" and “Art is fun,” and he urged students to “Sit up straight, hold the crayon loosely, and swing your whole arm with a great big grin on your face.” After introducing each’s week’s theme, Schwalbach would say “There’s that big sheet of paper, and you’re just full of ideas, so let’s draw!”
Every time I read about the "Let's Draw" radio program my heart starts to beat a little faster. What an amazing thing: the gospel of everyone drawing-- on the radio! The show will be up from February 10th - April 9th with an opening reception Saturday, February 18th from 1-3 PM.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Revolution Sourball

Have been recently inspired by Mierle Laderman Ukeles's work and read her Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969.  Was especially taken by this line from it:
Two basic systems: Development and Mainteance. The sourball of every revolution: after the revolution, who's going to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?
The entire manifesto is Ukeles's smart and funny declaration that, from here on out, everything she does is art. Washing dishes, finishing reports, staying young -- it's all Ukeles's Art. We'll be reading it in Intermediate Printmaking soon and I look forward to talking about its contemporary implications.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Slouching towards 2017

I used to dismiss New Year's Eve as just another day, unworthy of making a fuss or resolutions. But now I think resolutions are a chance to reflect and reveal who we think we are and hope to be. Last year I resolved to draw daily. Now one of my resolutions for the coming year is to be more deliberate in the professional work I do, specifically to write and draw more and with more deliberate aim. In light of that goal, I know I need to read and look more.

Similarly, I recently advised an aspiring student art critic to read more art criticism and sent him four links.* The first is by famed art critic Jerry Saltz and unusual in that he's not discussing art, but the graphic photographs of the assassination of the Russian ambassador at an art gallery in Turkey. When I posted the link on facebook a friend-of-a-friend (a non-native speaker?) wrote:
"I read manu[sic] words about visual set up, but nothing about history. If to look from historical perspective such murders often happened to be the start of giant wars and disasters. Also I feel that esthetic approach to terrorism as a way to tolerate it. If we start that we can go forward, let's enjoy the beauty and the drama of WTC collapsing, murder of American ambassador in Bengazy[sic]... what next? 
It is the wrong way. When you step on it you will lose all limits."
The assassin and his victim, Russian ambassador, Andrey Karlov.
Photo: Burhan Ozbilici/Turkey/AP
This sentiment is similar to Micah Mattix's criticism of Saltz in his article. He writes, "Saltz's response also shows us the vacuousness of criticism that takes provocation as the only remaining touchstone of art." I will admit I ate up Saltz's article because it spoke to and stoked my provocation. Those images are glossy and surreal. They echo the slick packaged way we present tragedy or elections in the news. They are stunning and Saltz's smart clinical discussion is a way, admittedly not the best or most humane way, to process them.

In the classroom I am a champion of quantity over quality and of separating the acts of creation and editing. There needs to be spitballing and what Anne Lamott calls "shitty first drafts." There's much to be said for putting-it-out-there without design by committee, but for me, in 2017, I want tighter focus. To make sure the work I do is doing good and not, as Saltz's writing, trading in provocation. To what end do my drawings, actions, essays go out into world? What do they do? I think answering this question calls for more production, but coupled with more editing and reflection too.

So here's to doing more in 2017, but more importantly, doing better.

* The other two articles I sent are about an exhibition in Minneapolis and reveal different approaches to art criticism. Original article by Gregory Scott here and rebuttal by Cristina Schmid here