Collaboration

In Like a Lamb

I’m taking real liberties with that title because I’m not referring to either March or the weather. See today as I write it is January 4th — a day I have been very careful to spend quietly, just like a little lamb, so as to avoid any possible conflicts with those near and dear to me brought on by the “thorny full moon” which is currently under siege from Pluto and Uranus. Seriously.

You would too if your silverware did this whenever you ate out…

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Or the street lights all did this when you drove by…

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I think that full moon might exert a little pull where I’m concerned. Anyway, so far so good.

Even more good news is that this is supposed to be a gangbusters (“gangbusters”…don’t you ever wonder if these words really mean what you think they do?) month for my work life, and since my work life is really making art, this should be a gangbusters month for… making art. And to that I say it’s about time!

I’ve spent most of my time lately setting things up so that I can make art, and have a place to show it. I’ve even helped a tiny bit to influence the city I live in to appreciate the fact there are a bunch of us here worth getting to know.

But now it’s time for me to just Make Art. To materialize the inventory I’m carrying around in my head. To move from the “To-Due List” to “Just Doing It”, and I am really, really ready.

What makes this year different from last year is that I am entirely on my own as far as incentive goes. Last year I had both the Treefort Public Art project, and See Spot Walk, plus four shows to curate for TVAA.

This year we are going to New Orleans for two months and that will briefly restrict the size of the work I can do, but besides that I am unencumbered by responsibility to anyone or any organization. I am my own boss. Soy Chingona!

As part of his New Year’s Resolutions Mike is reading a blog called Art Biz Blog written by an Artist Marketing Coach named Alyson Stanfield. I read a few of her posts as well and one sentence in one excellent post in particular (Your Job is In the Studio) caught my eye. She said: “If you don’t make art, you have nothing to market.”

She couldn’t be more correct. How do you like the gif Mike made for me when I pointed out how cunningly “make” and “art” are nestled into “market”…

The word "market" transforms into "make art." This animated GIF is designed by Melissa "Sasi" Chambers and Michael Chambers

Cool right?! What a guy, and he’s handsome too!

Anyway this got me thinking that this year will be a different sort of approach for me because I will be making art first and then marketing it. Last year the market came to me and I made the work it asked me to make. I am liking the freedom to do what I want. We will see if the market wants what I do.

Which I guess means I’ll find out if “gangbusters” actually means “blowed up good.”

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Nah.

Four Eyes: An Optical Collusion

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I’ve been busy for the past couple of days getting ready for the next exhibition — Four Eyes: An Optical Collusion, An Exhibition of Collaboration.

That’s meant literally dusting off older collaborations TVAA did for the Modern Art in 2010 and for Tour de Fat, as well as receiving, arranging, and yesterday hanging — with Sue Latta’s usual expertise and a very cool laser level — the whole show including the new work.

I framed the mock-up of the wall of panels which we hung on the outside of the stairwell of the Modern Hotel for our first collaboration. There were 60 panels in all, either T’s, V’s, A’s or self-portraits.

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These are some of the actual self-portrait panels:

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And these are some of the actual T’s, V’s and A’s in a grid format just like our TVAA logo:

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The other 16 pieces are hung in the atrium…

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and the open hall.

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Here’s my collaboration with Barbara Bowling, “The Abdication of the Sylvan Beauty Queen on the Occasion of Her Epiphany” right next to Mike’s collaboration with Lauren T. Kistner, their acrylic painting “Getaway Bike.”

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The Opening Reception is tonight from 5:00 to 8:00pm at the offices of Boise State Public Radio at 220 E Parkcenter in Boise. I hope I see you there!

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Guilty as Charged

Last night’s Art Journaling panel went really well. I found it fascinating and inspiring to see the variety of approaches we each take with our journals and how they reflect so accurately our unique personalities and talents. I even have renewed appreciation for my own journals and am excited to dust off some old friends that could use some new chapters.

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Before I can get to that adventure however, I have a more pressing assignment for this week. We are mounting TVAA’s 13th exhibition Four Eyes: An Optical Collusion, An Exhibition of Collaboration which opens this Friday, June 6, 5:00 – 8:00 pm at the offices of Boise State Public Radio.

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Collaboration is at the heart of the mission of the Treasure Valley Artists’ Alliance. When we founded the organization four years ago we envisioned artists working together with each other, with the public, and as an organization with other arts organizations. You’re familiar with the aphorism “Whatever… is like herding cats“?

Meow.

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Four Eyes: An Optical Collusion will be a comparatively small exhibition. We have 16 pieces which are original collaborations created for this show and, in the spirit of our original vision, I am bringing back elements from two of TVAA’s previous collaborations with the public.

One of those is the bicycle painting which Terry Burkes painted for our second collaboration with Tour de Fat. I painted the bike for the first collaboration and it hangs in the Boise Bicycle Project shop.

The finished piece is 7′ x 4′ framed and she and I hauled it over to the radio station this morning in her pickup because it doesn’t fit in my Forester. Actually, Terry and I have each had a hand in 8 of the pieces in this exhibition, including “Confluence” which is one we worked on together.

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I guess that makes us collaborators. Or really manageable cats.

Not Just Daydreaming

Three day weekends are always good for a little change of perspective. This one just past gave Mike and me the chance to think through some dreams we’d put on hold until the time seemed right to put things into motion which will turn those dreams into reality. Seems like that time might be sooner than we thought.

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“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France

Stitchin’ Time

I’ve been so busy stitchin’ I forgot to do my daily “at least one photo” post for the past couple of days. So, to make up for it, here are six photos of the item I’ve been stitchin’ — the sash for my collaborative piece with Barbara Bolling — “The Abdication of the Sylvan Beauty Queen on the Occasion of Her Epiphany.”

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Run Beauty, run!

We Ink it Up & Pull it Off…

Our background prints had two orbits of the sun to dry, so first thing this Monday morning, Terry, Marilyn, Shirley — my mom, and I were back at Wingtip Press to ink up our second blocks and pull our final prints.

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Terry would have to do the math to tell you the number of variables we had with 4 artists, 10 blocks (I had 4 not 2), 5 colors, and any number of fractions of inches of difference between river connections twixt the blocks.

But, even I can tell you this…registration is very tricky!

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Each of our prints is slightly different, but each is also beautiful in its own way.

Here you can see the variation between two of them:

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and…

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I even think the blocks themselves are beautiful after we’ve pulled the prints:

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Now all that remains to be done is to select the print we will show in the TVAA exhibition of collaborative works which will be hung in the offices of Boise State Public Radio.

That exhibition will be called “Four Eyes: An Optical Collusion” and opens June 6, 2014, so go ahead and mark your calendar.

In ink.

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Laying the Groundwork

Dang. I was really hoping to have a nice tidy post with a whole “start to finish” story laid out for you about the wood cut collaborative print I’m working on. But things are never tidy that way are they?

And there’s the rub.

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Well, actually there’s the rubbing of our four blocks after we carved them, and before we printed them. My feathers are at the top.

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Today we met at Wingtip Press and set up to begin printing the background layer of our prints.

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Luckily Terry Burkes is one of the artists collaborating on this project and she is good with numbers and geometry and quadratic equations and how long it takes to orbit the Earth, and other important things you need to know when you are printing more than one color with more than one block and making more than one print. If you know what I mean. (And good on you if you do, because I have no idea what I’m talking about.)

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We made 9 prints with our background colors of Crimson and Yellow Ochre. You can see the blocks above which are inked and ready for the paper to be placed, pressed, and the print pulled.

Next week we’ll be back in the studio doing the second layer, with the detailed images in the rubbing above, using darker cool colors. They are going to be beautiful — and in this case, I know exactly what I’m talking about.