21 November 2015

in the studio :: emily demsky

one of the biggest things i was looking forward to when i went to baltimore this summer meeting emily demsky face to face. 

she is a LONG time internet friend. back in the day flickr friend. and if you know her at all, it's always about the red shoes. in particular the red clogs.

needless to say. i was so happy to see them in person in her studio. 

emily is also one of the founders of habit blog. a space that is no longer "current", but still incredibly meaningful. i remember the first time they invited me to participate and it felt like i had entered into this sanctuary. a space i had loved from a far and was suddenly asked to join. it was a thrill. 

this summer emily also opened up her home to me. i stayed with her for the better part of the week that we installed chroma. and not only was she my amazing host, she helped me arrange things - giving me tips on where to get an airbnb for the family, where to eat, what to do [along with cyndi]... she always was my DRIVER- taking me to the train, picking me up after a long days work at the gallery. and in those moments- at her kitchen table for coffee, in the car... she was everything a good friend should be. 

at the time - emily had just recently moved into the most glorious studio. it's a dream. high ceilings. white. brick walls. a separate room. fabulous light... sigh. her work is intuitive. abstract, but leaning toward the natural. it's flowing and free and really heartfelt. and here are her answers to my studio questions. 

please name 5 artists/creatives/makers that you know personally who you find inspiring
and influencing ? 

I know this seems like an easy questions - it's just that there are so many!  I've chosen all Baltimore-based artists/creatives/makers for the purposes of answering this question.

1. Pam Negrin, textile artist and print maker

2. Bridgette Guerzon Mills, encaustic painter

3. Ellen Frost, florist

4. Jill Andrews, wedding gown designer

5. Deena Margolis, painter

And 5 artists/creatives/makers that you don't know but love from afar?

again, there are so many!  here are a few highlights:

the last thing or two you read that had you marking or dog earring pages?

1. The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

2. A Year with Rumi by Coleman Barks

your top 5 tools/supplies

1. my camera - iphone and dslr

2. glass jars leftover from my husband's kimchi and saurkraut (from Hex Ferments in Baltimore) which I use for water on my painting table

3. paint brushes and palette knives in all shapes and sizes

4. artists tape

5. #2 x-acto knives

a material or idea you most want to try but haven't yet

oh, everything.  I make encaustic monotypes but I've never done encaustic painting - that's something I'd love to try.  dyeing fabric.  weaving.  i could go on....

name a song or album you will grow old with

that's a funny one...and the song that comes to mind and stays in mind as i scroll through the playlist in my head is "closer to fine" by the indigo girls.

favorite beverage? 

easy peasy - water.  no ice, not cold.  water.

how many studio spaces have you had ? is this current one your fav ? why or why not ?

I suppose that I've had 3 studio spaces - the first was a communal space at a local community center.  It was a multi-purpose room and a group of us used it as a painting studio two days/week.  About 7 years ago I moved from that community center space into the spare bedroom in our home and I painted there until this past spring when I moved into a proper studio space about 15 minutes drive from our house.  The current space is by far my favorite and I still can't believe that it's mine.  It's bright and huge and I can work with ease on more than one project at a time, which is something I've never been able to do before now.  And it's all mine - nobody leaves stray items lying around, or borrows my scissors and doesn't return them, I can leave it as messy as I want or tidy it obsessively, rearrange the furniture or leave paintings all over the floor.  To say I love it is a grand understatement.

what is crucial for you to have in order for your studio day to be productive?

A stretch of uninterrupted time.  It doesn't have to be long - 2 hours is good, 4 is better - if I have lots of interruptions, I have a hard time finding my flow.

do you have a studio routine? if so will you share it with us?

Do you have a studio routine to recommend?  Last fall I read "Daily Rituals: How Artists Work" by Mason Currey.  It's a collection of short essays about various artists (of all types - painters, poets, filmmakers, etc.) and their work routines.  Now that I'm in the new studio I've been thinking a lot about routine, and since it's summertime, there really is no routine in my life at all right now.  I'll let you know what happens in the fall!

is there a place that you've been that really resonates with you?

Yes!  More than one...

We spent two weeks in Italy in June and I told my husband that I think I must have been Italian in a former life - I felt so content and so inspired being there.  I loved the language and the relationship between the ancient architecture and modern life, I loved the food (what's not to love!?) and the lifestyle, I loved the way even the simplest things are packaged so beautifully.  I loved being there and I could have stayed if only I had my dog with me!

And no mention of places that resonates with me is complete without Provincetown, Massachusetts - it's at the eastern-most tip of Cape Cod, the beaches are all protected National Seashore, the air is fresher, the light is brighter, and I have a little love affair with the dunes and the marshland.  We've been going every summer for 12 years and my family would probably say it's my happy place.

where have you felt the most "at home"

For better and for worse, I live in the city where I grew up.  I went away for college but other than those four years, I've lived in Baltimore all my life.  I've traveled lots and I love to travel, I'd also love to live somewhere else at some point in my life, but for now I'm here.  And though I've felt at home in other places (see previous question!), I'm going to have to answer "Baltimore."

dancing? pro or con?

pro in theory, learning to be comfortable doing it in public :)

it took a tremendous amount of willpower for me not to steal this little gem of a painting. with the rocks next to it of course.

thanks emily... so much love
hope to see you soon. 

19 October 2015

the keepsake project // open studios THIS WEEKEND

hi... i know... crickets around here. that's partially because i've been so busy with the keepsake project !  it's been growing by leaps and bounds - which is great ! i've got 30+ items photographed and in the process of documentation. i'm excited [and a bit overwhelmed]. 

i wanted to let anyone who still checks this space know that irving street projects will be hosting an open studios this weekend and i will be there. you can come say hi. you can purchase copies of my books/zines and perhaps a few artworks. you can purchase artwork of kelly inouye , leah rosenberg, and mary anne kluth

i've been pretty good about updating the keepsake project blog - so there you can see and read the stories of different items that have been brought in. 

if you are around - please stop by
4341 Irving Street
San Francisco

Saturday i'll be there from 12-4
Sunday i'll be there from 12-5.

hope to see you !

09 September 2015

on being an artist and mother

sara irvin asked me to write a piece on what it's like to be a working artist and parent.
you can find it here on her blog the [pro]create anthology. there are a lot of other interesting takes from other artists/parents.

03 September 2015

the keepsake project

this week i moved into the irving street projects - a residency space in the sunset of san francisco. it's kelly inouye's  studio that she's also turned into a space to support artists and their projects. 

my project is entitled the keepsake project -i will be "collecting" and documenting the public's {AKA YOU} keepsakes. i'm curious what you consider a keepsake. why some objects seem to be imbued with nostalgia. where the heck does nostalgia come from anyway. you can read a lot more about the project on the tumblr i've set up, or the press release.

i will be there tuesdays and thursdays 10:30-ish to 2:30-ish documenting keepsakes. like this ponch that my grandma made for me, and that i've now passed onto the little:

i will photograph keepsakes [documenting them]. i will render them in some sort of painting/drawing. and i will be tagging them with some vital information [like an archeologist].

if you are in the Bay Area and want to stop by - i'd love to chat with you about a keepsake of yours. [any kind of keepsake]. you can book an appointment here, but you can also just stop by. if you want to come on a friday or weekend day, please email me to make a separate appointment.

and if you aren't local, and want to participate, please email me too... you can take a photo of your keepsake for me and i can interview you via email. the more the merrier.

i started on kelly's christmas sweatshirt today. she made it with her grandma.

please come visit me [and invite anyone you know who might be interested in the project to get in touch!] 4331 Irving Street, San Francisco. 

10 August 2015

in the studio with :: amy boone-mccreesh

i fell in love with amy's work ages ago [i collected it in my pretend art collection on poppytalk in 2012. you should read this post for more of what i adore about amy's work]. she currently has work up at mixed greens in ny [go amy]. and she was kind enough to interview christine and i about our chroma exhibition for baltimore's premier art blog. 

her studio was across the street from city arts and so she graciously let us pop in for a visit. it's in this super duper cool old brick building and her studio is so full of interesting tidbits. i literally could have spent all day in there. just like her work, her studio is layered, FULL of hidden tidbits, and completely overwhelming in the best possible way. 

please name 5 artists/creatives/makers that you know personally who you find inspiring
and influencing ? 

Carolyn Case, Sara Barnes, Milana Braslavsky, Kyle Bauer, and my husband Adam Boone-McCreesh, he's not an artist but works very hard and influences my artistic life often

And 5 artists/creatives/makers that you don't know but love from afar? 

the last thing or two you read that had you marking or dog earring pages

Honestly, Elle Decor magazine. I am very into interior design right now. I like finding parallels in composing a room vs. composing a 2D picture plane and all of the overlaps in formal sensitivities, like repetition and unity. Maximal interior design, pattern on pattern, a variety of colors and shapes is what has me the most interested. I also just saw the Ruth Root show at Andrew Kreps gallery in New York, so I have been really into the catalog for that show. Art is so all-encompassing in my life that I find it hard to invest in reading books. When I do it's mostly World War I and II related fiction. All quiet on the Western Front and Farewell to Arms are the most recent. I think this period in history changed everything and everyone and meant a lot for art and creativity. 

your top 5 tools/supplies

Rives BFK paper, prismacolor markers, xacto knife, Ink, felt 

a material or idea you most want to try but haven't yet

I'd like to do more with plastics and larger scale work in general

name a song or album you will grow old with

What a tough question..... The album The Warning by Hot Chip always sounds good to me but I feel like music is so tied to time of life that different music will remind me of different points in my life as I grow old. This album by Hot Chip came out around the time I met my husband so it's tied to a really happy and exciting time! 

favorite beverage? 

Seltzer water!

how many studio spaces have you had ? is this current one your fav ? why or why not ?

I am on my third since graduate school, this is one is pretty great because I have my own window, so I feel like I am moving up in the world! 

what is crucial for you to have in order for your studio day to be productive?

The least amount of distractions the better, I try to keep everything in my studio related to work and not leisure 

do you have a studio routine? if so will you share it with us?

I tend to bounce around a lot between projects so there are few constants other than working. I'd say something that is more of a ritual and less routine is every time I finish putting up an exhibition I do a full-sweep studio clean. Everything from that body of work or that show gets put away so that I can start fresh. This allows me to not fall in a rut with materials, colors, etc. just because they are out and visible. It forces me to "start over" every time I start "new" work. This happens a few times a year. 

is there a place that you've been that really resonates with you?

My husband and I visited Scandinavia a few years ago and it was very beautiful and clean. The sensitivity and awareness to design and aesthetics there is pretty amazing. 

where have you felt the most "at home"
Other than at home, I think in a small village in England, Ely. My mother is from here and her family is still there. I visited often as a child and still do (though less than I'd like). It feels very nostalgic and safe, I think a lot of people feel this way about their grandparents home. 

dancing? pro or con?


thanks SO much amy. i hope our paths cross again soon !
you can find more about amy on her website. and her instagram. 

30 July 2015

c h r o m a - in baltimore

oh hello ! 

it's time to show you a million pictures of the chroma installation. i had grand plans to show you things while we were getting it up, but yeah. that didn't happen. a friend joked that he thinks i should get a trophy/award for most brutal/intense installations. OK yeah. well... at least this time i had a partner in crime in christine buckton tillman

so it's UP ! for a couple more weeks [through August 19th] at gallery CA

we used cyndi's submission in the title area as an "intro" to the show

so yes. weeks and weeks. months and months of collecting these loving little mini collections paid off. 

when we started we knew that we had to keep the "transitions" between colors fluid. i had a LOT of practice from photographing all the stuff as it came in and christine and i agreed that it was the white space and the the way you moved from one color to the next that was going to be crucial to the big piece working. that the edges should be "organic" not a perfect shape. 

prior to flying out i sent out EVERYTHING pre sorted by color to christine....

when we got there the first thing we did was dump the bags in front of the wall. we quickly realized that we needed to lay everything out. we were going to have help, but we couldn't leave it to people to randomly place things. we knew, too, that if we laid it out in front of the wall we could control the spacing. how high it went on the wall. how it filled the space. 

 this was both tedious/tiring, and exhilarating...

as we got further along i think we realized that indeed it was going to work. and it was going to work well [huzzah]. 

oh and there were opportunities to see where what you wore fit into the spectrum. 

this might be my favorite process shot [christine took it - her work is on the walls - LOVE IT]. 
we ended up taking and printing photos of each section and using them as guides to place things on the wall [if you are curious we used mostly HOT glue ... yes. hot glue. and pins, and poster putty]. 

the photos were a guide, but we didn't expect the wall to end up 100% accurate. 

slowly but surely things moved from the floor to the wall. [it was kind of like magic]

me on scaffolding at the end of a 12 hour day. 

we had helpers of all ages and sizes and places. it felt like camp. [it always feels like camp]. 

and then finally the last pieces were put into place. 

this is the stuff we overlook [a lot] on a daily basis. we are surrounded by color. it is a constant in our lives. this is the stuff we call "junk", what our kids play with, what we toss into a drawer, what we discard... 

all together it becomes something else. [those are my kid's ballet slippers]. why are there so many more blue things? 

my kid looked color by color to tell me what she would want to keep in each area [mama there isn't a lot of silver. why did the sliver and gold end up by itself on the little wall.... excellent question. it just wouldn't fit on the big wall. and we thought neutrals/metallics would look good on their own]. 

looking in through the door. 

THE WHOLE THING !! all the things. we used almost everything that was sent to us. a few things had to get edited out because we didn't have the space. we mostly removed redundant things [for example i think we had 50 of one color green button. about 25 made it in]. 

this is us. high-fiving because well... because it deserved a high-five. so do all the people that helped. and every last person who sent something in. [once again it takes a small army]. i keep thinking about how amazing it is to pull together all these people, things, ideas in one space. 

if you want to read more about our process or the piece then check out this great interview that amy boone-mccreesh published on the b-more art blog [btw that is MY FAMILY in the header photo. hi mom, hi dad].  

oh and the other day the MAYOR of baltimore was speaking in front of our piece. crazy-town. 

a bit more on the show an all my east coast adventures in subsequent posts... hope summer has been treating you right.