Categories
Books, Comics, Music Summer Art Market

Twigs and Berries: Life’s Been Berry Good

I have the luxury of time lately, which is very good for art. A regular studio routine is great for following up on ideas, and midweek days to work on framing, etc, without feeling rushed or stressed by deadlines, makes one feel more professional.

The weather has been vivid. I’m taking more walks, looking at birds, watching the clouds roll in. Of course, I’ve always believed that an appreciation of ‘now’, a certain presence in the moment, is valuable in the studio. It’s wonderful in daily life as well.

Nights have been mostly about reading, and I’ve chided myself for ‘wasting’ my streaming subscriptions by not flipping on the TV and catching up on my odd series, such as Dickinson ( a Hip-Hop-infused mash up of Puritan retro futurist takes on the poet’s life ), and Upstart Crow ( Shakespeare gets the Black Adder treatment). You can see the problem here- my favorite TV shows only remind me of how much there is to read!

I’ve been organizing my studio/workroom to make a more pleasant place to frame art and work on the computer. It’s less like a storage/ creative dumping ground, and there’s more room to work on projects, which can then remain out until the next time I’m ready to work on them. I wound up with a better set up for quick photos, too:

Illustration of blog post
Homestead, Monotype, 2023 15×11″. From my series of boxes, exploring all a box could be.

#MoPrint24 is bubbling into existence as we speak. The main organizers are working on not just next year’s event, which looks better than ever, but serious organizational issues that will strengthen it for years to come. I’m not as involved in that as I used to be.

I am trying to contribute, in my own way, by helping to organize the ASLD Print Fair event at the school. That is also in process already, and will accelerate in Fall, after the 800-pound gorilla that is SAM is fed.

I have several classes going on, mostly for kids. My next adult class starts July 11, and is registering now. It’s called Monotype Portfolio, for people with a bit of printmaking experience and is registering now. Here’s the link: https://reg135.imperisoft.com/asld/ProgramDetail/3239303238/Registration.aspx

The demos often reflect what I’m currently working on myself, which is certainly valuable dialog for me, and I hope others craving those kinds of conversation- hard to find- will feel free to join us. If you are curious about MoPrint, or just want to talk about books, there’s plenty of time for that as well.

What I’ve been reading is a wider range of fiction, non-fiction, as always, modern and older comics. I’m thinking of starting a separate, pop culture-oriented blog for my reading and bookstore adventures, and converting this one to all art. I perceive this as more professional, although posting regularly is always a challenge. Also, diverse readings certainly inform my creative explorations, and would certainly continue to pop up here.

Examples of things I’m reading lately: The Sot-Weed Factor, by John Barth, a hilarious picaresque that skewers the essential venality at the heart of Puritan America, and led directly to one of my all time favorite novels, Mason & Dixon, by Pynchon. Jews In American Comics, which explores the ethnic, European roots of this historically repressed medium, which naturally goes a long way toward explaining why the repression. I also finally located an affordable copy of the seminal Kramers Ergot #4, a landmark publication for the Fort Thunder group, as well as other avant grade cartoonists. Until Fall, after the Summer Art Market, I won’t really have time to launch a new blog, so I may go into a bit more depth about these books here later.

On a related note, my dictum that ‘a good walk ends in a used bookstore‘ ( it used to be ‘bar’, of course, and there was a “Bookbar” in my neighborhood, a great idea which failed of incompetent management ), has become a mantra. In that vein, I’m inserting a mini-review here of the recently relocated Fahrenheit’s Books.

The new one, several blocks farther down South Broadway, on Antique Row, is larger and less dingy. It’s still cluttered, which some people like, and why not? -it allows them to display more books, and the selection was superior even before. As an example, I quickly found Jews In American Comics and a William Gaddis novel, A Frolic of His Own, in clean copies for great prices. It goes along with my obsession with obscure comics criticism, and Post Modern Brick fiction ( see: Barth and Pynchon, above ). You can’t find these in most bookstores.

There is a sort of simpatico curatorial consciousness to stores like this, and Kilgore, On 13th. There, I found But Is It Art?, a book I’ve been wanting to read. I don’t read as many art books as I used to, partly because I can find plenty of germane concepts in PMBs, where I don’t feel as derivative. Sot-Weed is one of the early PMBs, and Gaddis also was a pioneer, though Frolic comes much later. A store across the street form Fahrenheit’s specializes in nice clean, collectible copies of mysteries and histories, etc. It’s less about the reading, although, I like clean copies, and I collect some of them. There’s such a thing as not enough clutter!

By comparison, another cluttered store, Westside Books, caps off a lot of walks, as it’s near me, and I like to support neighborhood business. But it’s dusty, poorly laid out, and choked with outdated redundancies, which make browsing a chore. Fahrenheit’s is much more mindful in their selection, and user friendly.

I can’t go there every week, as I would just buy 2 or three books every time. But here’s a shout out to a wonderful place to finish a bus ride/walk.

#Artclasses #Bookstores #ASLDprintmakers

Categories
Art Shows Ideas Summer Art Market

A Studio Bestiary

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Categories
Art Students League Summer Art Market Uncategorized Workshops

Twigs and Berries: Shady Doings

Parasol to benefit Art Students League of Denver
This parasol, among many others by League affiliated artists, will be for sale at the Summer Art Market 2022, August 27-28.

I’m not doing a booth at the Summer Art Market this year. After about 25 years or more of doing it, I wanted to take a break.

That doesn’t mean I won’t be there. I plan on being there, volunteering and posting on social media. And my artwork will be there too, at least one of them: I offered to paint a parasol/sunshade that will be on sale there to benefit the school programs.

The photo I made in a Square app for shooting things for sale on one of their web store pages. I wish I could make it work for flat art as wall as this 3D object, but I’m working on it, and may have more to share in time for the show.

Other News:

Registration for my first Fall class, Monotype Starter, a beginners class that runs Tuesday evenings in September, opens August 9 here: asld.org. Search under “Instructors ” for Joe Higgins.

I’m working on larger works with my free time not preparing for the show. It goes slowly, but you can always see it by private appointment. Click on “Contact” in the menu bar above.

#sam2022 #asldprintmakers #artclasses

Categories
Art Students League Etchings and Small Work Month of Printmaking Uncategorized

Warming Up at MoPrint

Yes, it’s fair to say that the Black Ink fundraiser at TRVE Brewing was popular.

Despite the on again, off again winter weather, MoPrint is off to a great start, and people seem to be eager to see it after 2020 was cancelled, mostly, by the pandemic. I’ve seen several shows already, which is more shows than I probably saw all 2021.

ARThropod, Artists on Santa Fe: Carol Till and Jeff Russel take differing approaches to the subject matter, insects ( arthropods also include lobsters and crayfish, etc, I believe, but I saw mostly insects in the exhibit). Carol is a botanical illustrator by trade, who has migrated to printmaking. So hers are naturalistic, though abstract elements such as chine colle and hand colorings have been added. Jeff is more known for patterning and collage, and his prints follow that approach, projecting a more decorative designerly style.

Black Ink, TRVE Brewing: A MoPrint fundraiser, and a crowded one, with lines out the door. That’s what selling editions of linocuts donated by 60 artists for $10 will get you- a madhouse. It’s rare and gratifying to see people line up to buy art, of course, but I didn’t stick around too long as I’m not totally ready for crowds yet, and I had other commitments. I’ve posted a quick snap of the craziness, and I got my share of affordable art, of course. A lot of money was raised to keep #Moprint going. No word on how my own effort sold, but whatever prints are leftover can be bought at the Open Portfolio event at the Botanic Gardens, this Saturday from 1-4 PM.

This Lino cut by Greg Santos will soon be on my wall.

ASLD Print Fair Exhibition: I’m in this show, but will nonetheless extoll its overall strength. ASLD artist such as Kathie Lucas, Mami Yamamoto, Taiko Chandler and Michael Keyes contributed noticeably strong work, among many others. The opening was also crowded and many works have already sold. It’s up through March 27.

I also saw monotypes, ink transfer prints and some very interesting oil resist prints/drawings at Edge, and a great ceramics installation at Pirate. I tried to see the Women in Printmaking show at 40 West, but it was unexpectedly closed, so I’ll try again. I’ll be out there this Friday night for the opening of SurfaceIn/sight, a national printmaking show I juried, and that I’m excited about.

I will also be at the Botanic Gardens Open Portfolio show this Saturday with a portfolio of many (mostly smaller) prints culled from the flat files and past shows. Other upcoming events are described more fully, here.

#moprint22 #printmaking #denverart

Categories
Art Shows Art Students League Etchings and Small Work Monotypes Month of Printmaking

Month of Printmaking 2022

Illustration of artist's monotype process in relation to Month of Printmaking
This monotype is one of several ghosts and variants I created from a trace monotype image I did in 2021. The chair imagery is simple, but lends itself to multiple treatments and suggests to me a state of being in the present, with the asterisk suggesting more info to come, or in other words, change. It’s about presence. Showing at Art Gym imPressed show, March 24-April 17.

It’s been a busy, snowy run-up to #moprint2022. But the pandemic seems to be easing, at least in the vaccinated parts of the state, so we can keep our fingers crossed that this one will go off as planned, unlike 2020.

I committed to a lot of events, which has kept me running, but it’ll be fun if it all comes off. Note: I do not anticipate doing the Summer Art Market this year, to give myself a break, and to re-fill my inventory. So MoPrint may be the best opportunity to see work by me this year. Of course, you can always contact me (above) for a private showing. Here’s as complete a list as I can give right now:

February 26, 4 PM: Opening for Print Educators of Colorado show at Lincoln Center, Ft. Collins. I have 2 pieces in the show and anticipate being there for the opening. The show runs through April 9.

March 4, 5:30-8:30 PM: Opening for ASLD Print Fair Exhibition, Art Students League of Denver, 200 Grant St. I’ll have 1-2 pieces in the show. There are free demos by ASLD faculty and artists upstairs. I will be here most of the night.

March 4, 5-10 PM, Trve Brewing, Broadway and 2nd, Black Ink fundraiser for MoPrint. I will have an edition of 20 lino cuts available at a ridiculously low price of $10 apiece, along with 60 other artists. It all benefits Month of Printmaking. I will be here for part of the night.

March 5, 10-4 PM: ASLD Print Fair Pop Up Portfolio show and free artists demos at ASLD 200 Grant. I will have a portfolio of selected prints available for sale, and I’ll be here all day. Prints are an affordable way to start a collection!

March 11, 5-10 PM, Core New Art Space. A show of many techniques in printmaking, that I juried from a national call for entries. Show runs through March 27. I will be at the opening, at least for the later hours.

March 12, 1-4 PM, MoPrint Open Portfolio, Denver Botanic Gardens, Mitchell Hall. This is also a portfolio show, so no framed work, and mostly small pieces that I can display on a table. I predict prices will be very affordable.

March 19, 11-4 PM. I will be doing a demo this year at the MoPrint Print Jam at the Denver Art Museum, Martin Building Creative Hub. There will be 14 separate demos ( by various artists, in various techniques), and 3 workshops you can participate in. My demo will be at 11 AM.

March 24, 5-8 PM, imPressed, opening for juried sprint show, Art Gym. I will have one medium sized piece in the show, and I plan to attend the opening. Show runs through April 17.

All info is on the MoPrint.org website, along with all of the other Moprint-associated events. I will be seeing as many as I can; hope to see you there!

#moprint2022 #ASLDprintmakers #ASLDprintfair #denverart

Categories
Uncategorized

Twigs and Berries

Very busy with MoPrint doings, as this is crunch time for planning and publicizing. I will post a full update soon, but here’s a few teasers:

I’m jurying a print show at Core Gallery. Would love to see your work! Insider’s tip: I do have a bias for strong graphic work, I can’t help it. I do try to be balanced and often choose traditional, realistic work in these situations. But a nice tension between negative and positive; or lights and darks- that’s a plus. Register here

I’ve posted a full schedule of Winter/Spring class offerings at the Art Students League of Denver on my “Workshops” page on the top menu bar..

I will be in the Colorado Print Educators Show at Lincoln Center, Fort Collins, opening February 26, 4 PM.

I will have a ridiculously cheap edition of linocuts available for purchase at the TRVE Brewing Black Ink fundraiser for Month Of Printmaking, March 4. All proceeds will benefit MoPrint’s parent, The Invisible Museum.org.

I’m chairing a committee to organize the ASLD Print Fair March 4-27. I’m excited about it. It will have an exhibit opening March 4, a Pop up show with free demos March 5th, and a visiting artist, Heinrich Too with workshop and lecture, March 26-7. More details soon.

I do have the utterly fabulous Besties awards for comic book excellence ready to post, and have been just a little too busy to post it. Look for it soon.

#asldprintmakers #asldprintfair #moprint2022 #artclasses

Categories
Art Shows Art Students League Summer Art Market

Twigs and Berries

It’s ironic to note that as the reopening of quarantined restaurants, bars and businesses presents options for going out after a long lockdown, the heat has made leaving the house quite unappealing. Viruses and global warming have made our world resemble a Steve Erickson novel.

My own narrative this Winter/Spring has included a health issue- no, not that one in the news- a lovely condition where one’s autoimmune system attacks your own joints and muscles, making going anywhere, even to the fridge for a drink, painful. Thanks to treatment, that’s now manageable, and I’m back in the studio, if not in the bars.

I haven’t titled this one yet, and it’s not even dry yet: monotype, 14×20″ 2021. It contains up-cycled relief and drypoint elements, along with stencil and resist elements. As such, it qualifies as a bit of an experiment or study, which is why no title immediately presented itself. By ‘up-cycled’, I mean clipped and shaped bits of material such as styrofoam or Mylar or Tetrapak cooking broth containers etched and inked as if a traditional linocut, or metal drypoint plate. These can be top-rolled or spot-rolled to create variations of hue, even when only using two colors. I’ll post further previews of works available at the Art Students League Summer Art Market in future posts.

And I’m preparing for the Summer Art Market, now postponed to August 26-7, and distanced and limited to a few thousand visitors. As I was incapacitated for March/April, this postponement has been a fortunate twist. It was not fortunate for a friend- we’ll call her Susie- who went down to visit my booth during the traditional weekend, this last one, and found a quiet intersection in front of the school.

Don’t be like Susie! Read my blog for further updates.

Classes are also ongoing as people begin to venture out. A teen camp in July is full, and an adult evening class is registering now. The print room is religiously cleaned and distanced, and we’re going on a year without any reported re-closures or incidents. You may attend without a mask if you are vaccinated. Evenings in the print room are cool and pleasant.

Other than that, It’s been a lot of what I’ve come to think of as ‘comfort’ reading and viewing, with soccer books and telecasts a prominent feature. International football is returning with the Euro Championship, and with the US national team winning its own continental championship. I also re-read The Ball Is Round, by David Goldblatt, a history of the game from a somewhat Marxist/cultural perspective that is even more rewarding with a second run-through. I post on reading and pop cultural matters to break up the content presented here, and I may work up a post on that soon.

Stay safe and be cool! #sam2021 #asldprintmakers #monotypes

Categories
Art Shows Art Students League Online Art Classes Summer Art Market Workshops

SAM Update: We’re Baack!

The Summer Art Market is back! It will of course be different as a result of the pandemic, and I’ll be posting about it several times before it returns, August 26-27. I’m going to be in a very similar spot to where I have been in past shows, which is right near the school’s main entrance at 2nd Avenue and Grant. I’m not publicizing the booth number yet, as the restrictions on attendance and number of artists are fluid, so the booth numbers may change, though the location will remain the same.

First note the dates. The old second weekend in June slot was too soon and too uncertain, so August was chosen. I’m glad, as the studio was closed for several months, and it’s given me time to make more work.

Second, and most important, the event will be smaller, per city guidelines. This may also be subject to change. There’s a limit to how many artists and visitors will be allowed in, 5,000 people as of now. This is about a 6th of the normal crowd, IIRC. It will allow for distancing.

To control for crowd size, a reservation system is being set up, and thus the show is expected to sellout before it opens. If you’d like to see the show, please consider reserving early. There will be a nominal $5 charge for reservations. The festival is the school’s major fundraiser, and will help them recoup lost revenues from the reduction in booth fees.

For more info, go to the school’s website. I have not seen a link for registration yet, and will post it here when I do. I’m having photos of new work done, and will post previews soon.

Classes:

I have several classes scheduled for Summer. An online teen camp from June 20-25 is registering right now. There is also a live teen camp in July which is full, but again, guidelines for class numbers may change, so getting on the wait list can’t hurt.

Tomorrow, June 8, begins registration for my adult evening class, Monotype Starter, which is a beginner’s class that gives you all the basics of printing monotypes and also certifies you to use the studio on your own. Registration link for that class is here. Numbers for adult classes are currently limited, so don’t delay. Again, however, changing guidelines may open more spots, especially as unlike kids, adults have generally been vaccinated.

More general info on all my classes is under ‘Workshops’ on the menu at top. I’m hoping to see some people this Summer, and I’m sure I’m not the only one!

#sam2021 #asldprintmakers

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Uncategorized

Play It Again, SAM: How To Win Friends and Get Good Art At the Summer Art Market

I’m not sure how many Summer Art Markets I’ve done, but this year’s must be close to 25, if not there. I’m in booth #100. I’m entering the final week of preparations, and I think it’s going pretty well. Some years- especially the earlier ones- were frantic. There have been a few like this year where I had a good start, and though it’s always work, it’s been pretty calm the whole way.

The Art Students League #SummerArtMarket2019 is one of the better shows for artists, and many long time shoppers believe, for art buyers. It combines experienced artists, many of them, like me, on the faculty at the school; with newer artists doing their first festival show, many of whom are students at the school. It has a real community feel, and tends to emphasize the art, rather than the food vendor and sponsor booths, and it is the school’s biggest fundraiser. Only media taught at the school can be exhibited in this show, so various ‘craft-ish’ items are not allowed, giving the show a real focus that true collectors have learned to love.

A nice feature of the Summer Art Market for buyers- Giclees and other reproductions that represent themselves as ‘fine art prints’ are not allowed, so one can shop for original art with confidence. At some shows, you might see these offered in “limited editions” at inflated prices, as if they themselves were art. At SAM, you can buy actual handmade art, often for prices as friendly as others charge for their Giclees. It’s worth pointing out that at any of the many printmaking booths at this show, only true, hand-pulled fine art prints are for sale.

“Ladder at Moonrise”, Monotype, 15×11″. An original fine art print differs from a Giclee, or other commercial reproductions, in that it is hand-pulled by the artist ( in my case) or Master Printmaker under the artist’s supervision. Etchings and woodblock prints can have larger edition numbers ( 1/10; 1/25; etc, meaning: 25 total prints from the same plate or block), but in the special case of a monotype or a monoprint, only one unique print can be created: thus, 1/1

You’ll probably find art bargains there. The beginning artists, many of them quite good, tend to keep their prices very low, whereas the more well known need to protect themselves from the competition in this large show, and many probably also try to keep prices as low as they can, or offer smaller more affordable pieces as I do. Many of us are trying to maintain a consistent, gallery price level, so higher prices from established artists are not a surprise, either, though Denver in general has low prices for art, so it can be hard for a full time artist to generate sustainable sales in a year. Great for buyers, though. This is the balance an aspiring art community must attain.

Haggling is a personal issue with artists, though a show of this type, especially on Sunday afternoon, would probably be as good as any a place to try it . Some artists seem to see it as an insult. I personally don’t mind it, though it should be reasonable, for the issues of consistent and sustainable prices mentioned above. Even galleries offer discounts, especially when a multiple, or larger sale is being considered. Repeat buyers also get nice prices. Be respectful, is my advice. Again, if you’re shopping for art in Denver, you’re probably getting a deal, anyway.

If you’re just looking, that’s fine, too. Questions about process and philosophy are fun for me, anyway- they break up a long day; and questions about my classes are certainly encouraged (you can register there too!). But be mindful of monopolizing an artist’s time for too long, as this may be a major source of income for their year, so they must make sure they don’t miss the opportunity to speak with any potential buyer. If you are a buyer, monopolize all you want. Enjoy being a hero. Not only have you paid some nagging, distracting artist bills, or even launched a career, but you’ve put money into the creative economy, money proven to be beneficial to a region’s economy and quality of life, especially as it tends to be returned to the economy quite quickly!

Other situations call for common sense: Solicitations for donations for your group’s charity auction, or for your new framing business or whatever are not that welcome if they’re going to take up valuable time. I certainly don’t mind if you leave your card or a flyer. No artist is going to make room in their crowded booth for your ad flyers for CFE’s, shows, etc.

The real value of the show is interaction and feedback from peeps you wouldn’t normally meet in a gallery, so don’t be shy. I certainly enjoy it- all conversations about art are more welcome than say, any conversation about the Broncos. Stop by and introduce yourself, make a comment about the art, get to know the community.

Search: #sam2019, summerartmarket2019, #asld, #artstudentsleague, and my personal favorite, #sambooth100.

Categories
Art Shows Art Students League Monotypes Month of Printmaking Workshops

Month of Printmaking 2018 and Other Doings

“Conceptual Studio”, Monotype. Actually an impression of a very real studio where I worked during a residency in Sheridan, WY. It is up for auction to benefit the Art Students League of Colorado during their “Art and Soul” gala, February 10.

I’m Preparing art for a number of different shows and events this Spring. Most are related to the MoPrint (Month of Printmaking) festival of events and I’m organizing one event myself. It makes for a busy schedule.

“Master Printer and Print Educators of Colorado”, McNichols Building 3rd Floor, January 13-April 8 : This one has already opened, though viewing hours are limited, and the venue is often closed for private parties. The best way to see it may be the MoPrint Kick Off event on February 23 at 6-9 PM. I will be there. I have 3 pieces in the show ( I fall into the second category in the title), but I did not have any large work ready for the show.

“Hand Pulled: Mark Lunning’s Open Press”, PACE Center, Parker, Co, March 2-April 30: This is a show honoring the Open Press artists. The printmaking facility on Bayaud Ave run by Master Printer Mark Lunning is soon to close and move to Sterling, Colorado owing to the rapidly dwindling affordable space for arts orgs during the recent development boom. I haven’t worked there in a couple of years, since I now do most of my work at the Arts Students League, so this show will feature 3-5 large pieces from my past work there. It will be a mini retrospective of sorts. Opens March 2, 5:30-8 PM

Open Portfolio, Redline Gallery, March 17, 2-5 PM: This will probably be the most affordable show I’ve done in a long time. It was a fun show during the last MoPrint (2016) so I’ve decided to join it this year. Every artist has more art than they can sell, and this will be for printmakers, a chance to clean out the flat files at bargain prices, and that’s just what I’m doing. You’ll also see a lot of young artists trying to launch a name for themselves, I’m sure. Starting a print collection, and on a budget?

Art and Soul, Art Students League, February 10: This is the major fundraiser for the League, a big party with food and art auctions to benefit the school, and I always donate a piece. Tickets here.

artma, February 8: A fairly glitzy event that benefits The Morgan Adams Foundation.org. This year it will be in the Evans School at 11th and Acoma, an opportunity in itself to see this historic building.

I’ll mention here that many of us artists are approached by charity auctions on a regular basis. Any auction is risky to begin with, as it can be damaging to your ‘market value’, especially if poorly organized and callous about their donating artists’ career needs, as many appallingly are.

This is not one of those, however. artma is the creme de la creme of charity auctions, with artists on the board of the event, professional treatment for donating artists, and an overall spirit of gratitude for artists’ generosity. I’ve been donating for several years because of this.

Meininger Art Supply, Broadway, March 3, 11-1 PM: I’ll be doing a monotype demo here. It’s a fun place to do one, and well equipped for the large groups they usually get. It’s about an hour, but you get a coupon at the end. Come early for a good seat, though they have mirrors and PA, so it works in the cheap seats, too.

Monotype-aThon, Art Students League, March 3, 9-5 PM: Same day! I’ll rush over there to join eight other artists doing 2-3 hour shifts, with the public invited to watch and kibbitz. There will be prints donated for sale to benefit the League and MoPrint, light snacks and lots of different approaches to monotype making.

A Moxie U class at the Art Students League, March 15, provides a more ‘hands-on’ intro to monotypes, with materials provided and all the ink mixing and prep done for you. It’s less than $35, so it’s a great way to celebrate Moprint 2018!

I’ll have a complete list of all Spring workshops soon.

I’ll look for some of you at these events. Feel free to come say hello and chat.

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