Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The International Show at Summit 2009

The notification call came December 22 - that I was selected for final judging, meaning I'm in the show at least. I should like to frame the work to express a bit of my thoughts on my medium. Something to this effect - "Paper is not a surface, it is my dance partner..."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Art History in One Picture

From the dust-filled, noise-filled, factory floor, where dreams were broken and life beyond this black hole was hardly imagined, emerged my drawing style. A small gesture - mounting a flip-top drawing board next to my machine on the line, sealed my path. My original drawing board was torn down once by management, but weeks afterwards I mounted this less conspicuous flip-top version. Pictured here is a very abbreviated summation of the series that emerged. I will show how hieroglyphic, figurative, and abstract fragments eventually came to completeness in my continued unfolding path towards achieving a voice, a language in the visual arts. I will expand upon it for world-wide exhibitions. Mark my words.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gillette Razors Landmark

Conceptual works offer food for the thinker. And to a passionate artist, it offers a bit of a counter weight to his/her usual mode of expression. For this proposal to Gillette, I took a piece of aluminum, resembling a chunk off the production line of a number of razors and cut a diamond shape out of it, pointing the upper half towards the sky, revealing a split-level design of the background architectual wall.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Smallpox Monument Working Design

Using art to promote a sense of healing and historical commemoration as in the case of the Eradication of Smallpox Monument is the most fulfilling experience. I can put my mind and soul to its best use in concocting a design that addresses symbolism as well as aesthetics and a sense of majesty. I had to work the evening of the submission deadline, but after stopping to get gas and rushing through traffic with my working scale model and my pictures of it, I made it home in time to write the proposal and download the jpegs.
In my piece, I have humanized 4 Bifurcated Needles, the technological heroes of the eradication fight of smallpox. With joined arms raised in a victory stance, these 4 figurative, stylistic needles stick straight into Mother Earth, healing the Earth itself. The concentric rings within the 4 figures representing the 4 "corners" of the Earth, represent the various stages of the disease Mandala-style, from the red initial bumps on to the darkened scab in the center, which I propose to be lifted at the ceremony to reveal a pockmark on the Earth. The rings are composed of beads in the working model, and will be offered as souvenir amulets at the ceremony, to raise money and awareness. For the actual monument, colored rocks from 4 "corners" of the Earth will be utilized. It is an Earth sculpture to symbolize the breadth of the scourge. The raised arms symbolize the wave of life (as on a hospital screen), as well as victory. I've given a spiritual tone to this monument that blends the science, the Earth, and humanity.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blank Canvass Benefit Visual Arts Center of New Jersey

"Lunch with a Curator" II is my submission to the 2008 Blank Canvass Benefit at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. The event is by invitation and helps support education & art programming at the center. Last year I did an oil painting for the same event. This year, I created a mixed media piece, complete with fork, brush, plate, clay sculpted into a "ship coming in," as the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey logo is expanded to have an artist with cap joined with a curator wearing a crown. I accented the regal moment as something very special and transcendental, fantasy-like. The piece asks - Can a meeting with a curator lead to something? Can an artist be catapulted out of his financial misery by a single win in a juried art show? It also says something about believing in the power of art. Visualize it and concretize it to actualize it. Believe in the power of art.

The Tough Road Paved with Rejections

I was notified via email that my proposal for the Ella Lyman Cabot grant was rejected. Here in Mass. where I won the Outstanding Drawing Prize in 2007 when the Director of Harvard selected my "Dock with Rope." If ever I needed a grant, it is now. Struggling to make ends meet, I can't afford my little supplies. Thank goodness, shipping for my work for the National Drawing Show, only cost $7.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Drawing into Sculpture

From thought to image on paper to a fabrication 3-dimensionally out of hard materials. That is the basic steps of this dance of drawing into sculpture. But, time has already become an element of my drawing, before the 3-D elements were considered. So, the process did not flow in a traditional pattern of 2-D to 3-D, to the 4th dimension of time. So, how do I interpret the time element into the heavy mass-laden, sculpture? I have to model it like anything else 3-D.

The other thought is about juried art shows. Should winners be chosen at all? I mean, yes, we could all use a boost to our resume, but should the glory stop at being chosen to be in the show? Does a ribbon encourage a collector to part with his money? Does the selection of a few winners create discouragement in the many others whose work didn't win? I've won cash awards when I could barely afford shipping to the show, so it helped me greatly. Grants can have the same effect. It appears that winning anything may have similar feelings to those that didn't...even stories of someone finding something that others didn't. A career, a wallet, a voice.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Artistic legacy

Letter to the Editor - "Artistic legacy"
Oct 08
8:06 AMCongratulations on Norfolk's unanimous vote for a mandatory set-aside program for public art. Being the first city in Hampton Roads to have such a program sets in stone Norfolk's visionary leadership. Mayor Fraim's undying efforts to push the art initiative echo an artist's own perseverance. Ten years ago, I experienced first-hand the mayor's support for the arts. Having won the grand prize for the First Night Norfolk poster and button design contest, I requested a photo op with the mayor. Despite his busy schedule, he made time for a local artist.

Art goes a long way in making a city more attractive. It also allows artists a chance to add civic pride to their passion. Florence, Italy, is still reaping the benefits of the public art ventures that the Medici family established back in the 15th century.

Larry Samuel Estes

Monday, October 13, 2008

"Hey Whitney" goes to National Drawing Show

My drawing "Hey Whitney" continues its course, as it will soon make its way to the National Drawing Show at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, MA. Academy Art Museum curator, Brian Young, says it appears to extend drawing. But words can't do it the justice that seeing it will. Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Decordova Museum and Sculpture Park, is this year's juror for the show.

A sense of mission underscores all these drawings that I submit to shows. I want to be the best I can be in expressing this flow, this dynamic poetic flow. But it is also a battle there, to keep this dream alive. And so, this pen is likened to a sword, and the quest is little different than Achilles' quest. He flowed with his instrument. He had a mission. He was fearless. My problematic "tendon" is by metaphor, the many distractions that try to tire me, and pull me from my ongoing mission. But that's what we carry a shield for. A shield of Focus, Skill, and Determination.

"Hey Whitney" itself was a drawing done in response to a rejection in the International Show at Summit in 2007. The juror was from the Whitney, from the department of Drawings. That drawing won recently in the Madison National Show in GA, juried by Sylvie Fortin of ART PAPERS. And it will continue shining.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Female In My Art

She made her entrance by necessity. She was summoned in the name of Balance. I had focused too long on a hieroglyphic symbol which I later found to mean "MEN." Repeatedly, I drew it, transforming it over many months into its most dynamic form. Complimentary to this evolution of a hieroglyphic fragment, arose the posterior side of a feminine form, originally in thin line work. Later she evolved into a monochromatic wash in passionate,figurative embrace with her figurative, male opposite. This,emotionally and visually, brought about psychological equilibrium. After that, she continued her dynamic interplay with my drawing, sporting a continuous parade of colorful garments.
This watercolor pencil wash work was done at a fast-food restaurant in 2003. I framed a print of her and placed it in an eclectic store of unique things. A woman with her mother, after strolling through the whole store of thousands of items, stopped when she saw this print on a chair. "It spoke to me," she said. The original, like most of my original color works of this goddess, are complete with the authentic drops of coffee, which I used to blend the colors when drawing at fast-food restaurants. She measures 8.5" x 11" and I will let her go for $600.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Notification of grant committee by end of September?

Eager to hear the results of my first grant proposal, I looked forward as the end of September approached. Because I was supposed to be notified by then according to an email from the granting institution's clerk.

Verdicts in two other projects were postponed. Scrambling to make ends meet while all these projects that I met the deadlines on have delayed their decisions, is frustrating. Eventually, enough projects will be in the works so that something is always going on. Those will be the days.

Ella Lyman Cabot Trust Grant

On Monday August 18, I received an email from a Clerk, announcing that I would be notified of the committee's decision of my proposal by the end of September. Today marks the last day of the month and I am awaiting a decision that could catapult my 20 plus year struggle on a shoe string budget to an exhibition ready format. Of course, after that I would have to pitch it. But each support system snowballs the project into a stronger case. And of course the granting agency gets the benefit of being visionary or atleast for being insightful enough to realize the merit in an artist's deserving work.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bathroom Drawing - an old outlet revisited

It may sound a bit strange - sketching in the bathroom, but reading in there is not uncommon. I've done it before years ago when I was working in the door plant. It had the aura of a studio, something I didn't have back then. Back then, I took a scrap of wood and placed it on my thighs to sketch. Now, I use styrofoam - there is no shortage of it in the shipping and receiving department where I presently work. I break a piece and presto, I have a surface. Pictured here is my sketches from yesterday on 1 1/8" thick styrofoam, and 20" long by a variable height of 9".

Perhaps the unwritten beauty of it is this - it is a testament of my irresistable urge to draw and my continuing dedication. So there you have it - Bathroom Drawings!

Friday, September 26, 2008

What if a grant is granted this week?

I applied for my first grant months ago and will find out if it passed initial screening within days. I could do so much with this grant. Twenty years of work stored in a small room could come to life in my proposal for a protptype for exhibitions that reveals the symmetry of my journey.

It would make such a wonderful and enlightening exhibition. It would also show viewers the rocky road to achieving a voice, the ups and downs. Bills continue to mount and I and my supportive wife continue trying to stay afloat. Yesterday, I sent out a package to a museum considering acquisition. Today, I send out an introductory letter and pics to Gallery in upstate NY. Someone will see that something in my work that will inspire others - that is the motivating force that makes all these mailings purposeful.

I've gotten the eyes of important members of the art world. Now I have to get their ears. I need a solo show and I need assistance in bringing it to the people, damnit!


Last year, my donation to the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey's Annual Blank Canvass Benefit, was a painting depicting an alter ego of myself having lunch with the juror for the 2008 International Show. This was the "Best in Show" award - to sit down for lunch at the Whitney and have the ears and eyes of the juror, which in this case was the Whitney's curator of drawings. Did I resort to some ancient voodoo tactic to try my luck? No, I merely used art to express my hope for a certain outcome before it was decided to not happen - I wasn't even juried into the show. But in 2007, I won a Merit Award, one of the top 6 awards selected from about 1800 entries. So, my hopes are high and probably not too far-fetched. But, who's to say when hope is misplaced. I can think of many other things more misplaced.

This year I am submitting for the auction, a logo for the "Lunch with a Curator" Best in Show award in the upcoming 23rd International Show at Summit. It will consist of a plate, a fork, a 1" brush, an approaching ship made of clay, stick on letters, and a re-structuring of the VACNJ logo. I'll spray it chrome and call it "Lunch with Curator II."


In response to my rejection in the International Show 2008 (Summit,NJ), a show I really wanted to be in - the juror was from the Whitney and from the department of Drawings, I drew "Hey Whitney." The Best in Show award for the Int'l show was a meeting with the juror at the Whitney, and a Cash Award of $1,000. I entered that drawing in the Madison National Show in Madsion, GA, and it won a $1,000 Best in Show Merit Award, one of three awarded. The juror was Sylvie Fortin, Editor of ART PAPERS. Lesson: Take that artist's angst and channel it.

But the story doesn't end there. I sent a copy of this drawing to the Whitney to see if they wanted to purchase it. It's been months and still no response, which means there is no interest, because if there was they would certainly contact the artist. I sometimes find if a story is too good, too appropriate, or too relevant, it isn't wanted. Perhaps those that make the decisions prefer something they don't understand, which would make a big ego feel that it is important because it is after all, unexplainable by their cerebral cortex, and if it was easy to understand then it would be an insult to the inquiring mind if it wasn't easily grasped in the first place. Perhaps sometimes an artist should not try to explain the art, thereby making it mysterious, and exciting. But then doesn't art history try its dam nest to make our expressions understandable. Isn't that the point of lectures, books, and exhibitions, to a degree?

At any rate, there are a lot of reasons that determine an acquisition, and some may have nothing to do with the sheer freshness or spiritual value of the work. Look at dealers who may sometimes only look at the existing monetary "value" of a work as the informing factor in their acquiring of it. So, back to this fresh vision where an artist is gaining curatorial favor via juried art winnings, yet not one work has sold, and an artist has to struggle, searching car seats for coins, just to afford the most basic of materials, paper. Do collectors not have vision????

Drawing Prize

Last year in May I flew to Cambridge to receive the Outstanding Drawing Prize in the 10Th Anniversary of the Cambridge Art Association's National Prize Show. I was returning from a furniture delivery when I got the personable call from Kathryn Schultz. She was so welcoming saying, "New England opens her arms to you." My drawing with its Hard Knocks development had finally gained indisputable academic credentials - the Director of Harvard Art Museums, Thomas W. Lentz, had selected me for this prestigious award. How could I beat this I thought.

Well, this past May I was selected by Sylvie Fortin, Editor of ART PAPERS, for one of the three top awards in the Madison National Exhibition at the historic Madison Cultural Center. Three of us received this $1,000 Best in Show award. I was tipped off to my winning when I received the exhibition announcement bearing three images on the cover, one being a close-up of my accepted entry.

Just weeks ago, I won the Chung & Press Award for Drawing in the Will's Creek Survey Exhibition in Cumberland, MD., for my drawing, "Geisha" (pictured). The juror was from the Corcoran. Suddenly, my drawing is on something like a winning streak. However, not one original has sold at these shows where my work was honored by important members of the art world's curatorial staff. I'm a bit perturbed by this, despite the winnings. Curators are supposed to follow the artists, and collectors should do the same, supporting the artist that is struggling to gain a fresh mastery of his medium. What does it say about the visionary qualities of a collector if they wait until other collectors make the first moves. Where is that strength of belief in an artist. I'm doing my part and forging my own voice, breathing new life into this thing called art.

The awards are great, but why haven't they brought about a purchase? I still struggle to get money to pay for my paper and pens. Not to mention, framing costs and shipping & handling to shows. How nice it would have been to attend these past two art openings to hear the attending juror give a talk on the art. A talk that may never make it to a publication. These little things bring joy to an artist seeking to gain academic insight into his or her own contribution to the arts.

What's next now? By the end of September, I will find out if I was considered for a Ella Lyman Cabot Trust Grant. This is the first time I've asked for support. I feel I have a good chance; I've crafted my words pretty well and stated my case succinctly and it fits the trust's requirements in giving. I feel as though I've won enough through the past three years and need to now have a solo show and that is what I've requested assistance with. I need to develop a prototype for an exhibition of my 20 year plus journey in art. There is an important symmetry that has emerged. Without an audience the work is incomplete.
Posted by Drawingmyshipin at 9:00 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Labels: art, art shows, artist, awards, drawing, grants
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