MySLArt.org 33 October Show

Tom Jr. and I in front of my 3 paintings at the My SLArt.org 33 October Show

Tom Jr. and I in front of my 3 paintings at the My SLArt.org 33 October Show

It’s always fun to have your art work on display. So participating in my fourth MySLArt.org show was a treat to be a part of and getting to meet and talk with other artists who are kind of in the same boat I am always makes for an interesting evening.

I was impressed with the variety and quality of the entrants in this month’s show. There’s truly something for everyone at these events and they’re a great outlet for artists who traditionally may not be quite gallery-worthy yet – and for others that certainly are.

I enjoy seeing people walk up to my paintings, looking closely at the details and oftentimes, talking with others about what in the world is going on with what I’m showing.

It’s also fun when people come up to me and say that my work reminds them of Magritte.

That’s probably the ultimate compliment to me. As a painter, I am a novice, still learning, still trying to get better every time I start on a new canvas. Talking to other artists at the event, that’s their quest as well.

The Juror’s Choice award went to Noelle Wagner – and deservedly so. One of her works was featured as the key image for the invite and it was even better seeing it in person. Gorgeous stuff and she got my vote!

Photography by Divine XO Photography

Photography by Divine XO Photography

Hat’s off also to Ulysses Sebastian, who received the Visitor’s Choice award for three compelling photographs that had a lot of people talking. I spoke to Ulysses (who recently changed his name) about his work and about his pursuit of creating photography that made a difference. That’s really what it’s all about – pursuing your passion, putting yourself out there and always trying to get better.

I love to paint and even though the canvasses continue to stack up in our house, that’s okay.

My best paintings are still ahead of me.

A return to the MySLArt.org 33 Show

Last March I decided to begin showing some of my art again and was happy to be chosen for the MySLArt.org 33 Show.

Every month, 33 artists get to display three of their works in the Old Orchard Gallery. There’s an opening night reception and the show stays up for a few weeks and it’s always a very eclectic mix of art. I was thrilled and honored at the last show when I received both the People’s Choice Award and the Juror’s Award – one of the few times that has happened at their shows.

So I’m entering again. Two relatively newer works and one old favorite. All three are quite a departure from my surrealist pursuits and after hanging the pieces tonight, it was fun to hear some of the comments on all three.

My tribute to Jackson Pollock done my own way.

My tribute to Jackson Pollock done my own way.

The featured image in this post is called “Nuts and Bolts”. I’m not really sure this is a painting. But it’s definitely art. When our family was in London, the boys and I made a visit to The Tate Modern Gallery. There you’ll find all sorts of modern art – some pieces absolutely amazing, others leave you scratching your head. I decided then and there that I was going to explore some utterly simplistic concepts and see what happened.

One of my initial thoughts was to see if I could come up with an extension of the first painting I ever sold back in 1984 at my first gallery showing. I was so thrilled to have a show and even more amazed when the gallery owner, who took a flying leap of faith on my unproven works, came up to me and said, “Well, you got your first sale!”

“Really?” I asked. “What was it?”

The gallery owner replied, “Sealed for Your Protection” – and I was amazed. That painting came about because I had a small canvas sitting around and I didn’t know what to do with it. I decided on a whim to smother it in every paint color I had, globbing it on with a palette knife, making a colorful mess of the canvas. But that seemed kind of dumb. Looking around my sloppy painting area, I noticed that I had all these little tabs from the tops of airbrush paint bottles. I picked one up and looked at it. It read, “Sealed for your protection”.

Perfect. I stuck about 60 of them into the still wet globs of paint and they literally dried around the tabs. The tabs truly were “Sealed for your protection”.

I took that basic premise and started anew and decided to do word combos. The first one that popped into my head was nuts and bolts. I had an old can full of nuts and bolts, passed on to me from my dad and I decided they needed to be painted. So over the course of three evenings, I hand painted about 40 nuts and bolts, questioning my sanity along the way. But when they were all done and I laid them out on the blank canvas I couldn’t wait to glob on the paint with my trusty palette knife.

I love the end result.

So I continued on with “Nickels and Dimes”. This time I tried spray painting the nickels and dimes but the paint didn’t adhere so I went back to hand painting each nickel and dime. I like it but not as much as “Nuts and Bolts”. Next on the agenda was “Salt and Pepper”. I searched online for salt and pepper packets but couldn’t find what I wanted so the idea was stuck in neutral. I told Tom Jr. about my plight and he surprised me one day after a visit to a local diner with about 60 packets of salt and pepper.

That one is also on display at the show and it drew rave reviews tonight. For awhile, I went back to exploring more surrealistic concepts but recently a whole flurry of word combos popped into my head, demanding to be done. I just finished my most recent one called “War and Peace”.

My latest 'stick' painting is also my new favorite.

My latest ‘stick’ painting is also my new favorite.

 

I love this piece of art. Again, whether or not it’s a painting is debatable. But it’s definitely art.

I invite you to stop by next Friday night, April 29th from 6-10 pm at the Old Orchard Gallery in Webster Groves to see all the art on display at the MySLArt.org 33 April show. Every one I’ve been to so far has been a good time. Please. Do drop in. And ask me to tell you the story behind “Purple Splatter”.

 

Writer or artist?

During the day, there’s no doubt what my profession is – I’m a writer and a creative strategist, helping companies with their marketing communications challenges.

I don’t just enjoy what I do, I love what I do.  I get as energized now about coming up with strong concepts as the day I first entered the business which, when you think about it, was truly from another era – when copywriters created their copy on manual typewriters. No, it wasn’t the Golden Age of Advertising – that was supposed to have been in the ’60s. But it was long before the internet came along, before cell phones and fax machines and the whole concept of a blog would have sounded like some sort of science fiction term.

Creative director and writer by day. But when evening rolls around, I find it more entertaining to pick up a paint brush and see if I can get better at whatever painting I happen to have in the works. So, “Writer or artist?”

Recently, the brush is winning out over the keyboard keys.

So the blog is losing momentum, losing readers and I am losing interest – to a degree.

I don’t believe I’ve gotten any business as a direct result of the content I push out. I know I’m not following all the rules of blogdom and that if I really wanted to become a Subject Matter Expert in the wonderful world of advertising and marketing communications, I’d have to always be on point and actually push out some knowledge that could be of use to people.

There are plenty of people that do that already.

So instead, I write about what interests me – and apparently, I’ve written about enough things that interests others from time to time. Since I began this blog, I’ve gotten more than 50,000 views – which initially sounds impressive. But in reality, that’s not even equal to the attendance of a bad Rams home game (not that I can write about them anymore). And when you spread those 50,000 views out over a 5-year period, the numbers begin to get smaller and smaller.

Meanwhile, my painting prowess seems to be picking up a bit more. I had a 16-year hiatus from the canvas but now, I love to have a painting in the works.

I was proud to have my work on display at the MySLArt.org first ever “Best of Showcase”. There were some very cool paintings on display and I think my work stood on its own.

Recently, I began sharing some of my paintings on a new app called ArtLoupe, put out by Art St. Louis and I was flattered yesterday to receive a message that I’ve been chosen as one of 12 artists that they will be promoting through the organization’s various social media accounts which includes over 6,000 followers. My hope for 2016 is to land a gallery show of my own and I’m going to be pursuing that over the coming months.

 

 It’s cool when other people post your work. It’s fun when other people read your work.
Bottom line, I’m going to try and do both. But right now, there’s a canvas that is calling my name.

 

 

MySLArt.org’s Best In Show Showcase

This past March, I put a few of my recent paintings on display at an event called the MySLArt.org 33 Show. Each month, artists from throughout the metropolitan St. Louis area can submit 3 works of art into the show. If you’re chosen, you become one of 30 artists featured in a monthly showing at the Old Orchard Gallery in Webster Groves.

I chose two of my recent works and one of my older favorites and was pleasantly surprised when I was informed that I made the cut. (Whether or not everyone makes the cut, I have no idea.) I was even more pleasantly surprised when I discovered that someone at MySLArt chose one of my three entries as the key visual used to promote the show.

I invited a number of friends and family to the opening and a good time was had by all. At the end of the evening, yet another surprise came my way – not only did I sell one of the entered pieces, I also received the dual honor of my work being judged as the People’s Choice award and I also won the Juror’s Choice award – making me one of only two artists to receive that honor.

So now, MySLArt (MySLArt.org) is having their first ever Best in Show Showcase, featuring 5 works of art by each one of the 12 monthly winners of 2015. Opening night is on Friday, January 8th at The Chapel, which is across the street from Forest Park off of Skinker Blvd. (http://chapelvenue.weebly.com – 6238 Alexander Dr.) It’s all part of a fundraiser for MySLArt.org – so even though admission is free and open to the public, they do ask for a small donation at the door. There will be food and drink and live music by The Riverside Wanderers.

I had a tough time deciding what I should enter.

Since I resumed painting in July of 2014, I’m now on my 13th canvas – so I could have gone with all recent works – but I decided instead to be slightly thematic with these paintings that now span a period of more than 25 years as all five entries feature a little man in either a black suit or a long black coat, wearing a black bowler hat. There will be two recent paintings and three from my painting days in the late ’80s into the ’90s.

The man is basically my tribute to my all-time favorite artist, Rene Magritte who also created a number of paintings featuring a man in a bowler hat, almost always with his back turned as if he also were looking into the painting. Looking at photos of Magritte, I can see that his version was somewhat of a self-portrait. I don’t quite see my versions that way but I do love putting this little guy into extremely odd circumstances. Magritte was a surrealist, fascinated with painting what seemingly existed but could never quite be. I’m not quite sure what I am other than a hack who enjoys putting paint on a canvas.

I’m also donating a painting for a live auction that they’ll have at some point during the evening. It will be interesting to see if it sells and yes, it, too, is another homage to Magritte.

Some might say that I am ripping him off, using some of the same thoughts and concepts in my paintings as he had in his works. To that I say, “yes”. Still, Magritte passed away in 1967. If he were around today to see some of my work, he might laugh at its amateurish quality – he was a master. I’m still in kindergarten. But I also think Rene would encourage me to keep painting to see where it leads me.

I invite you to visit The Chapel next Friday night – not just to see what I’ve done but to also enjoy the works of 11 other extremely talented artists. If you can’t make it on the 8th, the show will be up through February 6th.

I also invite you to explore more of my work on my Pinterest page (https://www.pinterest.com/bloodlines/paintings/) There you’ll find a wide range of paintings and a wide range of styles, too.

I love to paint.

Sorry, but recently, it’s been getting in the way of my writing endeavors.

I hereby resolve to do more of both in 2016.

Hope you can make it to the show!

Walking the Line Between Art and Commerce

How do artists make money off of the art they create?

What is that fine line between art and commerce?

Those are questions that have been on my mind as I continue to create more paintings but have been doing very little to actually market them.

The painting shown here is called, “Walking the Line”. It’s the first painting that I sold since my last gallery show in 1992. This one was featured in a MySLArt.org recent monthly show where area artists get to display three of their works at the Old Orchard Gallery in Webster and anything you sell is commission-free.

It’s no way to make a living – but I’m definitely not trying to make a living off of it. For years, I painted for the fun of it – always trying to get better and trying to continue to explore new concepts and directions. Back in 1991, I had my first art gallery showing at The Creative Gallery. That was followed up by two additional shows – and then, my painting room was converted into a spare bedroom and I went dark for almost 16 years until this past Father’s Day when Tom Jr. gave me two small canvases and challenged me to begin again.

You can see a small sampling of things I’ve done at https://www.pinterest.com/bloodlines/paintings/

At my second gallery showing, I created two different t-shirts featuring my paintings and sold them at the show. I made more money on the t-shirts that evening then I did selling paintings as most of the attendees weren’t ready to spend a few hundred dollars on my paintings but were more than happy to purchase a t-shirt.

So I’ve been trying to figure out if there’s some other way to market the art I’ve been creating. For inspiration, I visited the site of Mark Kostabi (http://mkostabi.com/) – who in the late early 80s was deemed to be the new Andy Warhol of the New York art scene. I love his work and Mark was a huge promoter of the art he created, claiming “Modern art is a con and I’m the world’s greatest con artist.” At one point, Kostabi was hiring other painters to produce his paintings and even others to come up with ideas for paintings that others would paint and then he would sign his name to the final product and sell them to galleries.

That’s when you know you’ve made it.

I’m not good enough as a painter to ever reach such heights.

But I do think it would be interesting to turn a few of my painting images into greeting cards or posters or create more t-shirts.

Ideas are welcome. Joint ventures are possible. All inquiries and suggestions will be answered.

Art is meant to be shared.

It is not meant to be housed in a basement.

Thoughts?