Art Matters! http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters Journal of the Southern Oregon Artists Resource Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:19:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 “Men don’t paint well either!” http://thedorseypost.com/?p=5266 http://thedorseypost.com/?p=5266#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:19:13 +0000 http://thedorseypost.com/?p=5266 Continue reading “Men don’t paint well either!”

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Christie’s priced this Baselitz at around $600,000. How does he make ends meet?

An article on Georg Baselitz in The Independent seems designed to make your jaw drop. Aside from the comments about female artists, there is an equally funny remark from someone pushing back against Baselitz by dissing him, on the grounds that his work doesn’t pass the sales test he sets up in his remarks. The point is that the highest price his work has fetched is “only” $4.5 million. That says more about the haywire perspective here than anything else. My riposte to Baselitz would be nothing but a list of female painters whose work I love, or at least like quite a bit: Martin, Frankenthaler, Riley, Saville, O’Keefe, Matthiasdottir, Fish, Freilicher, Krasner, Cassatt. . . and quite a few lesser-known women I’ve written about here. I’m surprised he didn’t fault women for failing to turn their images upside down. From The Independent:

Women cannot paint well, despite making up the majority of art students, according to one of Europe’s pre-eminent post-war artists. Georg Baselitz, who was lauded by the Royal Academy five years ago as one of the greatest living artists, dismissed women painters, saying that they “simply don’t pass the market test, the value test”, adding: “As always, the market is right.”

“Women don’t paint very well. It’s a fact,” the 75-year-old German artist told the German newspaper Der Spiegel. “And that despite the fact that they still constitute the majority of students in the art academies.”

Baselitz conceded there were exceptions, pointing to Agnes Martin, Cecily Brown and Rosemarie Trockel. After praising Paula Modersohn-Becker, however, he added that “she is no Picasso, no Modigliani and no Gauguin”.

Griselda Pollock . . .  co-author of Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology, said: “Only few men paint brilliantly and it’s not their masculinity that makes them brilliant. It’s their individuality. Baselitz says women don’t paint very well, with a few exceptions. Men don’t paint very well either, with a few exceptions.”

Sarah Thornton, who wrote Seven Days in the Art World, said: “I disagree with him; the market gets it wrong all the time. To see the market as a mark of quality is going down a delusional path. I’m shocked Baselitz does. His work doesn’t go for so much.”

The record for a work by Baselitz was £3.2m in 2011 for his work Spekulatius.

“Men don’t paint very well either.” Just that and nothing more would have been the perfect response.

 

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#ArtsAdvocacyMatters http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/artsadvocacymatters/ http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/artsadvocacymatters/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:33:43 +0000 http://www.artsactionfund.org/news/entry/artsadvocacymatters/ Continue reading #ArtsAdvocacyMatters

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Massive Spending Bill Awaits President’s Signature http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/massive-spending-bill-awaits-presidents-signature/ http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/massive-spending-bill-awaits-presidents-signature/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 12:48:39 +0000 http://www.artsactionfund.org/news/entry/spending-bill-awaits-signature/ Continue reading Massive Spending Bill Awaits President’s Signature

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Arts funding remains stable in $1.1 trillion Cromnibus

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If you’re going to Scarborough Fair . . . http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/if-youre-going-to-scarborough-fair-2-2/ http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/if-youre-going-to-scarborough-fair-2-2/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 12:40:23 +0000 http://thedorseypost.com/?p=5239 Continue reading If you’re going to Scarborough Fair . . .

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At Quartz, someone actually wrote this:

“Anyone who is a serious member of the creative class,” Art Basel director Marc Spiegler told Reuters last week, “is going to come into our fair. We’re getting a lot of requests from CEOs and CMOs who’ve never come to the fair.” In other words, there is a legitimate turn taking place as the idea of an immensely lucrative contemporary art market ceases to seem like a sign some market bubble is about to pop. With each passing year, contemporary art becomes a more plausible tent-pole for the global creative economy.

I love how two sentences can herd the creative class into very close quarters with CEOs. The opportunity and income gap is nowhere more extreme than in art. As soon as someone says a hyper-inflated market for things of extremely flexible value isn’t a bubble, you know it’s a bubble. A long-lasting one, maybe, but nevertheless. The point of the article is that art may be going the way of high-end cuisine, becoming accessible to a far larger market, though it seems it might be compared more accurately to tulip bulbs than to the latest iteration of risotto with chile oil.

“Anyone who is a serious member of the creative class is going to come to our fair.” I could make a long list of names of hugely talented members of the creative class who don’t have the time for it because they are too busy being creative.

The Economist explains that the big fair has spawned a lot of satellite events and galleries, as well as parties, and whatever money settles into that river delta of spending will go to emerging artists. Fair enough, no pun intended. But mostly its a carnival of conspicuous consumption, isn’t it?

 

Throughout all this, Miamians put up with the influx of cognoscenti and socialites with good humour. It does not matter that the traffic is snarled up and pretentious outsiders are flaunting their bulging bank accounts; this is a colourful pageant that not only bolsters the local economy but showcases genuine, creative talent. And with winter setting in elsewhere, the warm sunshine is fantastic. The city has come a long way from being the place where, as Lenny Bruce put it in the 1970s, ”neon goes to die”.

For a week or two, then, the exceptional artist who has merely average income might have a chance to happen upon people who love his or her work enough to pay for it. But it’s hard to see how this helps most galleries in New York City or in smaller cities around the country actually stay in the black from month to month. And it’s hard to imagine decent little galleries in mid-sized cities being able to afford a presence at Art Basel.

The Quartz article suggests to me that primarily Art Basel still offers the super-rich an opportunity to sell to the super-rich with a growing attendance from actually creative people who show up out of voyeuristic curiosity. The premise is that the world is becoming more and more visually sophisticated, thanks to Instagram, Facebook, and a life increasingly devoted to looking at electronic screens for communication, information and entertainment. What the article doesn’t explore is how the economics of all this would actually change in favor of the middle class: how the affordable mid-value work, what used to be the emerging effort that had the most potential to go up in value, if a beginning collector placed his or her bets properly, now gets overlooked in favor of the obscenely priced work which appears to be guaranteed to increase in value. The illusion of this insulated jet-set economy is that the creative risk of the buyer has been removed: it’s an investment with a lock on profit. That does impose on visual art a tent-pole mentality from the movie industry, though it’s hard to see how sales at Art Basel will help fund the work of artists who make little for their efforts, the way a major movie could give a studio enough profit to make lesser, award-worthy fare. I guess the answer would be: come to Miami and put up your little booth and try to tell your work once a year to the buyers who can’t afford Koons. The tent-pole model has already been adopted by the book business, with its focus on blockbuster tomes at the expense of the mid-list. I’m not sure how the entire “creative class” will benefit from the fact that unimaginable sums of money move from one enormous bank account to another as a result of a big art fair. Good movies can still make money. Good books too. Good paintings as well. There is some fine work at Art Basel. But as always, art fair or no art fair, it’s a tiny percentile of the creative class who can actually do it for a living, and to have to start modeling one’s idea of how to reach people with a painting on what happens at Art Basel is a very depressing prospect.

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If you’re going to Scarborough Fair . . . http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/if-youre-going-to-scarborough-fair-2-2/ http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/if-youre-going-to-scarborough-fair-2-2/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 12:40:23 +0000 http://thedorseypost.com/?p=5239 Continue reading If you’re going to Scarborough Fair . . .

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At Quartz, someone actually wrote this:

“Anyone who is a serious member of the creative class,” Art Basel director Marc Spiegler told Reuters last week, “is going to come into our fair. We’re getting a lot of requests from CEOs and CMOs who’ve never come to the fair.” In other words, there is a legitimate turn taking place as the idea of an immensely lucrative contemporary art market ceases to seem like a sign some market bubble is about to pop. With each passing year, contemporary art becomes a more plausible tent-pole for the global creative economy.

I love how two sentences can herd the creative class into very close quarters with CEOs. The opportunity and income gap is nowhere more extreme than in art. As soon as someone says a hyper-inflated market for things of extremely flexible value isn’t a bubble, you know it’s a bubble. A long-lasting one, maybe, but nevertheless. The point of the article is that art may be going the way of high-end cuisine, becoming accessible to a far larger market, though it seems it might be compared more accurately to tulip bulbs than to the latest iteration of risotto with chile oil.

“Anyone who is a serious member of the creative class is going to come to our fair.” I could make a long list of names of hugely talented members of the creative class who don’t have the time for it because they are too busy being creative.

The Economist explains that the big fair has spawned a lot of satellite events and galleries, as well as parties, and whatever money settles into that river delta of spending will go to emerging artists. Fair enough, no pun intended. But mostly its a carnival of conspicuous consumption, isn’t it?

 

Throughout all this, Miamians put up with the influx of cognoscenti and socialites with good humour. It does not matter that the traffic is snarled up and pretentious outsiders are flaunting their bulging bank accounts; this is a colourful pageant that not only bolsters the local economy but showcases genuine, creative talent. And with winter setting in elsewhere, the warm sunshine is fantastic. The city has come a long way from being the place where, as Lenny Bruce put it in the 1970s, ”neon goes to die”.

For a week or two, then, the exceptional artist who has merely average income might have a chance to happen upon people who love his or her work enough to pay for it. But it’s hard to see how this helps most galleries in New York City or in smaller cities around the country actually stay in the black from month to month. And it’s hard to imagine decent little galleries in mid-sized cities being able to afford a presence at Art Basel.

The Quartz article suggests to me that primarily Art Basel still offers the super-rich an opportunity to sell to the super-rich with a growing attendance from actually creative people who show up out of voyeuristic curiosity. The premise is that the world is becoming more and more visually sophisticated, thanks to Instagram, Facebook, and a life increasingly devoted to looking at electronic screens for communication, information and entertainment. What the article doesn’t explore is how the economics of all this would actually change in favor of the middle class: how the affordable mid-value work, what used to be the emerging effort that had the most potential to go up in value, if a beginning collector placed his or her bets properly, now gets overlooked in favor of the obscenely priced work which appears to be guaranteed to increase in value. The illusion of this insulated jet-set economy is that the creative risk of the buyer has been removed: it’s an investment with a lock on profit. That does impose on visual art a tent-pole mentality from the movie industry, though it’s hard to see how sales at Art Basel will help fund the work of artists who make little for their efforts, the way a major movie could give a studio enough profit to make lesser, award-worthy fare. I guess the answer would be: come to Miami and put up your little booth and try to tell your work once a year to the buyers who can’t afford Koons. The tent-pole model has already been adopted by the book business, with its focus on blockbuster tomes at the expense of the mid-list. I’m not sure how the entire “creative class” will benefit from the fact that unimaginable sums of money move from one enormous bank account to another as a result of a big art fair. Good movies can still make money. Good books too. Good paintings as well. There is some fine work at Art Basel. But as always, art fair or no art fair, it’s a tiny percentile of the creative class who can actually do it for a living, and to have to start modeling one’s idea of how to reach people with a painting on what happens at Art Basel is a very depressing prospect.

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If you’re going to Scarborough Fair . . . http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/if-youre-going-to-scarborough-fair-2/ http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/if-youre-going-to-scarborough-fair-2/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 12:40:23 +0000 http://thedorseypost.com/?p=5239 Continue reading If you’re going to Scarborough Fair . . .

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At Quartz, someone actually wrote this:

“Anyone who is a serious member of the creative class,” Art Basel director Marc Spiegler told Reuters last week, “is going to come into our fair. We’re getting a lot of requests from CEOs and CMOs who’ve never come to the fair.” In other words, there is a legitimate turn taking place as the idea of an immensely lucrative contemporary art market ceases to seem like a sign some market bubble is about to pop. With each passing year, contemporary art becomes a more plausible tent-pole for the global creative economy.

I love how two sentences can herd the creative class into very close quarters with CEOs. The opportunity and income gap is nowhere more extreme than in art. As soon as someone says a hyper-inflated market for things of extremely flexible value isn’t a bubble, you know it’s a bubble. A long-lasting one, maybe, but nevertheless. The point of the article is that art may be going the way of high-end cuisine, becoming accessible to a far larger market, though it seems it might be compared more accurately to tulip bulbs than to the latest iteration of risotto with chile oil.

“Anyone who is a serious member of the creative class is going to come to our fair.” I could make a long list of names of hugely talented members of the creative class who don’t have the time for it because they are too busy being creative.

The Economist explains that the big fair has spawned a lot of satellite events and galleries, as well as parties, and whatever money settles into that river delta of spending will go to emerging artists. Fair enough, no pun intended. But mostly its a carnival of conspicuous consumption, isn’t it?

 

Throughout all this, Miamians put up with the influx of cognoscenti and socialites with good humour. It does not matter that the traffic is snarled up and pretentious outsiders are flaunting their bulging bank accounts; this is a colourful pageant that not only bolsters the local economy but showcases genuine, creative talent. And with winter setting in elsewhere, the warm sunshine is fantastic. The city has come a long way from being the place where, as Lenny Bruce put it in the 1970s, ”neon goes to die”.

For a week or two, then, the exceptional artist who has merely average income might have a chance to happen upon people who love his or her work enough to pay for it. But it’s hard to see how this helps most galleries in New York City or in smaller cities around the country actually stay in the black from month to month. And it’s hard to imagine decent little galleries in mid-sized cities being able to afford a presence at Art Basel.

The Quartz article suggests to me that primarily Art Basel still offers the super-rich an opportunity to sell to the super-rich with a growing attendance from actually creative people who show up out of voyeuristic curiosity. The premise is that the world is becoming more and more visually sophisticated, thanks to Instagram, Facebook, and a life increasingly devoted to looking at electronic screens for communication, information and entertainment. What the article doesn’t explore is how the economics of all this would actually change in favor of the middle class: how the affordable mid-value work, what used to be the emerging effort that had the most potential to go up in value, if a beginning collector placed his or her bets properly, now gets overlooked in favor of the obscenely priced work which appears to be guaranteed to increase in value. The illusion of this insulated jet-set economy is that the creative risk of the buyer has been removed: it’s an investment with a lock on profit. That does impose on visual art a tent-pole mentality from the movie industry, though it’s hard to see how sales at Art Basel will help fund the work of artists who make little for their efforts, the way a major movie could give a studio enough profit to make lesser, award-worthy fare. I guess the answer would be: come to Miami and put up your little booth and try to tell your work once a year to the buyers who can’t afford Koons. The tent-pole model has already been adopted by the book business, with its focus on blockbuster tomes at the expense of the mid-list. I’m not sure how the entire “creative class” will benefit from the fact that unimaginable sums of money move from one enormous bank account to another as a result of a big art fair. Good movies can still make money. Good books too. Good paintings as well. There is some fine work at Art Basel. But as always, art fair or no art fair, it’s a tiny percentile of the creative class who can actually do it for a living, and to have to start modeling one’s idea of how to reach people with a painting on what happens at Art Basel is a very depressing prospect.

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New Website Completed for Judy Marshall! http://www.hannahwestdesign.com/2014/12/new-website-completed-judy-marshall/ http://www.hannahwestdesign.com/2014/12/new-website-completed-judy-marshall/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 02:04:44 +0000 http://www.hannahwestdesign.com/?p=4333 I am delighted to announce a new website completed for Judy Marshall, who paints in watercolor under the name Judy Buswell. Her former site needed a complete revamp, and we converted it to WordPress so she and her husband can manage it themselves. Judy’s work is so lovely, the majority of her pieces being delicate […]

The post New Website Completed for Judy Marshall! appeared first on Hannah West Web Design - Empowering Artists Online, written by Hannah.

Continue reading New Website Completed for Judy Marshall!

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“Lilacs”, one of Judy’s most popular paintings. ©Judy Buswell. All Rights Reserved.

I am delighted to announce a new website completed for Judy Marshall, who paints in watercolor under the name Judy Buswell. Her former site needed a complete revamp, and we converted it to WordPress so she and her husband can manage it themselves. Judy’s work is so lovely, the majority of her pieces being delicate watercolors of flowers and gardens, and it was a joy to work with the images while creating her new site. Why wait to read my writing? Visit www.judybuswell.com today! You can always come back to see what I have to say after feasting your eyes on her watercolor paintings.

Judy offers greeting cards and prints of her paintings, as well as some original paintings on her website, with a simple purchasing strategy – email the artist to order. I think this is wonderful as it requires personal contact between artist and art lover, something many artists don’t realize is an exciting part of buying art for those who love it. There is a contact form on each of the pages with items you can purchase, and the images are large and…gorgeous…particularly those of her more recent paintings. Visit www.judybuswell.com and order some of her pretty Christmas cards today!

Today Judy came to my office for a coaching session on blogging. She will be posting new works on her new blog, and posting about her daily artistic activities when she goes to visit family for a few months next year. I think this is an exciting development, as Judy loves to write almost as much as she loves to paint, and her followers and those discovering her for the first time will be able to learn more about her passion for painting and see works in progress. She wasn’t hugely confident in her ability to do this, but I found her to be a quick study and was not at all surprised when she called me a couple of hours later to tell me she had already been playing with the text in a couple of posts. She sent me some very kind words later…

“Thank you, Hannah. You are a very good teacher, and an even better web designer.”

Among the back end features of Judy’s new art website are search engine optimization, Google Analytics and WordPress site stats, security, backup and restore functionality, social sharing, and copyright protection via Digiprove. I always set up Webmaster tools with Google and Bing after finishing a website, submitting sitemaps generated by the SEO plugin, a highly respected piece of work by Yoast. On the front end is a magnificent presentation of Judy’s artwork with a beautiful premium WordPress theme, specially formatted pages with special galleries to showcase her artwork, a blog, and a visible copyright protection notice in the footer from Digiprove. The sentimental quality of Judy’s paintings does the rest better than I could…

Thanks to the attentiveness of Judy and her husband, this only took a month to complete, even with a number of other projects requiring my attention at the same time and they taking a couple of trips out of the area. Thank you so much for entrusting the renewed online presentation of your paintings to me, Judy!

The post New Website Completed for Judy Marshall! appeared first on Hannah West Web Design – Empowering Artists Online, written by Hannah.

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MissionCandles.com Online Shop is Open! http://www.hannahwestdesign.com/2014/12/missioncandles-com-online-shop-is-open/ http://www.hannahwestdesign.com/2014/12/missioncandles-com-online-shop-is-open/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 01:18:54 +0000 http://www.hannahwestdesign.com/?p=4327 Just in time for the holidays, we have finalized the shopping cart and the missioncandles.com Online Shop is open and ready for your holiday candle orders! Many heartfelt thanks to Laura O’Bryon, Executive Director of Community Works, the nonprofit parent organization of Mission Candles and the Lithia Springs Program of which Mission Candles is a […]

The post MissionCandles.com Online Shop is Open! appeared first on Hannah West Web Design - Empowering Artists Online, written by Hannah.

Continue reading MissionCandles.com Online Shop is Open!

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Rainbow Cheerlites® candles are a Mission Candles exclusive!

Just in time for the holidays, we have finalized the shopping cart and the missioncandles.com Online Shop is open and ready for your holiday candle orders!

Many heartfelt thanks to Laura O’Bryon, Executive Director of Community Works, the nonprofit parent organization of Mission Candles and the Lithia Springs Program of which Mission Candles is a part, Jim Posey, Director of Education and Residential Treatment Services, and Jason Fauble, the Mission Candles Production Coordinator, for entrusting me with the renewal of the Mission Candles website and online shop.

I can’t say enough about how much I believe in this program. The testimonials of youth who have graduated the program tell the story of how effective it is at helping Ashland, Oregon youth who have experienced debilitating problems of one kind or another and educating them, providing work experience and other essential services, teaching appropriate and effective relationship skills, and turning out young men and women who are ready to become valuable members of the community. The Mission Candles component of the program is financially self-sustaining and a crucial part of the healing, empowering experience that the Lithia Springs Program provides.

I am equally excited about the candles that Mission Candles produces! They make 9″ tapers in a variety of colors to match just about any décor scheme and an exclusive rainbow taper for a lively look. Perfect for candelabra, menorah, wall sconces, candlesticks, and more. Gorgeous. Then there are the Cheerlites®. These “birthday” candles take the cake! These come in 3″ and 8″ lengths (have you ever heard of 8″ cake candles? Their existence was news to me…), in a wide variety of colors to suit any occasion (including Mission Candles’ exclusive rainbow, and metallic gold and silver!), and can be used for holiday centerpieces and other décor applications beyond the kitchen. Not only do they come in a dizzying array of beautiful colors, but you can also opt for one of four different glitter finishes (something I had not seen before and fell in love with) – multicolor glitter, gold or silver glitter, and opal glitter – a subtle and beautiful accent that adds extra sparkle to the table and the eyes of those around it. I am enticed by the thought of delicately sky blue candles with opal glitter to send our daughters for their sons and grandsons’ birthdays, red candles with gold glitter for my mom, elegant metallic gold candles for decorating, and who can live without the royal touch of purple somewhere in their home? The prices are reasonable for such lovely and versatile options, and to celebrate their website’s launch they are offering FREE SHIPPING from now through January 1! I’ll be ordering some myself, and you should too!

Please visit missioncandles.com today and support this important social program with a purchase of candles…for birthdays, holiday decorating, gifts and stocking stuffers. Your friends and family will love them, and you will want them in your own home all year ’round!

 

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Catie Faryl Shows at Looking Glass Beads http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/catie-faryl-shows-at-looking-glass-beads/ http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/catie-faryl-shows-at-looking-glass-beads/#comments Sat, 06 Dec 2014 18:03:51 +0000 http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/?p=92043 Editor’s Note: We apologize to Catie for not getting this posted in time for the First Friday ArtWalk last night. Please visit Looking Glass Beads to view her amazing artwork and make a gift of art this holiday season!

Dear Friends,

I’m having a “trunk show” to sell some holiday gifts and artwork during First Friday, 5 to 8 pm on Dec. 5th. My show called “Consider the Animals” is on display at Looking Glass Beads at 283 E. Main St. in downtown Ashland with art and information about the 6th Extinction and what can be done to slow it.

The gallery owners are hosting a sale for me to help raise funds to continue the advocacy and activism I’m involved with. It is my goal to gather funds in order to produce a new card deck of my environmental, social and political satire artwork.

I’ll be selling my Balance

Continue reading Catie Faryl Shows at Looking Glass Beads

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Editor’s Note: We apologize to Catie for not getting this posted in time for the First Friday ArtWalk last night. Please visit Looking Glass Beads to view her amazing artwork and make a gift of art this holiday season!

Dear Friends,

I’m having a “trunk show” to sell some holiday gifts and artwork during First Friday, 5 to 8 pm on Dec. 5th.  My show called “Consider the Animals” is on display at Looking Glass Beads at 283 E. Main St. in downtown Ashland with art and information about the 6th Extinction and what can be done to slow it.

The gallery owners are hosting a sale for me to help raise funds to continue the advocacy and activism I’m involved with.  It is my goal to gather funds in order to produce a new card deck of my environmental, social and political satire artwork.

I’ll be selling my Balance Art Card Decks about the human condition (a little more comic than tragic!) for $10 (reduced from $25). Also I will  have lots of all cotton tied blankets in sizes for babies, kids and adults. These are warm, durable, affordable and make great, lasting gifts.  I guarantee the workmanship.  There will be jewelry for sale as well as greeting cards, prints and originals at great prices.

Thank you for visiting my show, which will be exhibited through December.  If you can’t make it to First Friday but would like to take part in my sale, please give me a call at 541 535-1854.

Happy Holidays!   Catie Faryl
www.catiefaryl.net

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Artists Prove SocialValue of Art in Ferguson, St. Louis http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/artists-prove-socialvalue-of-art-in-ferguson-st-louis/ http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/artists-prove-socialvalue-of-art-in-ferguson-st-louis/#comments Sat, 06 Dec 2014 18:00:21 +0000 http://blogs.soartists.com/ArtMatters/?p=92034 A few weeks after Michael Brown’s death rocked residents in and around Ferguson, Missouri, a small printshop in St. Louis took action. The graphic design studio, dubbed Firecracker Press, began hand printing posters emblazoned with the words “Promote peace in St. Louis.”

Amidst protests and heightened police presence in the city, the posters were made available to customers free of charge. Not surprisingly, the shop “sold out” of the wood type creations, though the print continues to live on in photos across sites like Twitter and Instagram. “Tell the world you support the debate that’s happening in Ferguson, MO and in the St. Louis region,” Firecracker wrote on its website. “Issues of inequality touch everyone… some more than others. Making posters is our small way of sharing our voice.”

Firecracker began offering its “Peace Posters” online, charging only for shipping and handling. “FedEx got its cut,” Firecracker owner Eric

Continue reading Artists Prove SocialValue of Art in Ferguson, St. Louis

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A few weeks after Michael Brown’s death rocked residents in and around Ferguson, Missouri, a small printshop in St. Louis took action. The graphic design studio, dubbed Firecracker Press, began hand printing posters emblazoned with the words “Promote peace in St. Louis.”

Amidst protests and heightened police presence in the city, the posters were made available to customers free of charge. Not surprisingly, the shop “sold out” of the wood type creations, though the print continues to live on in photos across sites like Twitter and Instagram. “Tell the world you support the debate that’s happening in Ferguson, MO and in the St. Louis region,” Firecracker wrote on its website. “Issues of inequality touch everyone… some more than others. Making posters is our small way of sharing our voice.”

Firecracker post in St Louis, MO 2014

Firecracker began offering its “Peace Posters” online, charging only for shipping and handling. “FedEx got its cut,” Firecracker owner Eric Woods explained. “But we didn’t make a penny off the posters. Some people wanted to donate money. And that money went to our nonprofit, Central Print.” (Images courtesy of Firecracker Press)
Firecracker owner Eric Woods, the mind behind the design, is one among many artists who spoke out after the shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old three months ago. From street art to paintings, murals to illustration, artists have been quick to echo the nation’s near constant calls for justice and clarity in the wake of Brown’s killing. The landscape of West Florissant might be marred by isolated acts of vandalism and law enforcement crackdowns, but art is still flourishing.

“I was so upset seeing Michael Brown’s mother on TV… that I felt I had to do something to express my grief and anger at the way the police handled the situation,” painter Mary Engelbreit recalled to HuffPost over email. Her illustration, “In the USA,” made headlines in August. The image depicts a black mother and her young son sitting over a newspaper headline that reads “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot.” Above the cartoon are the words: “No One Should Have To Teach Their Children This.”

I will not stay silent so you can stay comfortable

Images courtesy of Mary Engelbreit
“Art has been used to express feelings about every kind of situation since people could make marks on cave walls,” Englebreit added. “I was happy to be able to do something that helped the Brown family even in a small way. And it’s not over. It will never be over until black lives matter as much as white lives.”

Street artist Damon Davis agrees. “Artists play a vital role, telling these stories and keeping history alive,” he proclaimed in an interview with Mic. Like Firecracker, Davis created a series of posters; his also inspired by the popular “Hands up, don’t shoot” rally cry. Taped onto local businesses that have closed after an outbreak of violent protests in Ferguson, the massive photos showcase a simple pair of hands, raised in solidarity with the gesture Brown allegedly made when Officer Darren Wilson shot him.

“[The posters] are important for people who may be on the fence to see,” he explained. “Maybe they’ll change their minds [and start supporting us]. And for those who aren’t on our side … now they know we’re still here. And we’re not going to back down.”

Damon Davis posters

St. Louis artist Damon Davis installs posters from his Push Forward Project on a boarded up business along West Florissant Street on November 19, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. (Photos by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Along with Woods’ and Davis’ work, an organization called Paint for Peace has been bringing art to the walls of Ferguson as well. Using boarded up businesses as canvases, the group aims to spread messages of hope and love with the help of local artists.

Paint for Peace St Louis

St. Louis is a beautiful and resilient city. It is my home,” Artbar STL owner and Paint for Peace founder Tom Halaska wrote in a message on Facebook. “I believe we are strong enough to come out the other side better than we started if people can listen, have compassion, and work to change what needs to be changed on so many levels. I have high hopes and expectations for our city. I know I won’t be disappointed.”

 

Some art projects that originated prior to the events in Ferguson have since been appropriated for the cause. For example, New Orleans-based artist Candy Chang has been encouraging individuals to replicate her “Before I Die” mural, first painted on a chalkboard on the streets of her hometown. The work prompts passersby to complete the sentence “Before I die I want to…” In Ferguson, a group of local teachers took up Chang’s torch. The chalkboard posters have collected responses like “see equality for all” and “see systematic reform.”

Before I die I want to see justice

Image courtesy of Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly
Artists outside of St. Louis have responded in kind. In particular, New York-based artist Molly Crabapple recently debuted a time-lapse of illustrations detailing the controversial police response to demonstrators over the past few months. The video was released days before a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Wilson in Brown’s death. Crabapple has also lent her images to apparel company Teespring, which is selling hoodies in support of a Ferguson bail fund.

The power of the Internet has allowed works based in and out of St. Louis to reach national audiences. Firecracker’s Woods estimates that around 500 posters left his shop, some shipped to individuals living as far away as California and New York. “The design was born out of frustration. Some people want to yell and protest, which we fully support. Other people, for whatever reason, they don’t feel safe or they don’t want to add to the chaos. And they wonder what they can do. They still want to contribute.”

“Printers have a history of being rabble-rousers,” he added. “We wanted to spread as much positive vibes across St. Louis and other places as we can.”

The original “Peace Poster” is no longer in print — the handset design, like many of Firecracker’s creations, was meant for a limited run. But Woods has ideas for a new image. As the nation reels over Eric Garner’s death, and yet another grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the death of an unarmed black man, frustration continues to be felt. But as Ferguson proves, art will thrive in the face of frustration.

Do you know of more activist art in your area? Whether you live in Kiev or Hong Kong, New York City or St. Louis, send your submissions to photos@huffingtonpost.com below. (Art Matters! Editor’s Note: Sadly, I know of little activist art in our area, and none concerning the Ferguson issue. Wish there were  more…)

This article originally posted at the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/05/ferguson-art_n_6257340.html?utm_hp_ref=arts

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