Monday, April 18, 2011


Please join me at the opening, FRIDAY MAY 6th, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Rule- # 3

If you are interested, here is a good discussion on art and artists.  Art21 - Forum:  What Makes It Art?  Use the link above and enjoy.

You can't be a "REAL" artist unless . . .

Rules- #2

You can't be a "REAL" artist until you are dead and gone and people rediscover your work . . .

O.K.  This is ridiculous.  You are not an artist until people discover you after you are dead?  Really?  I feel as if some people try to dismiss the value of living artists and their work.  It's as though there is this strange stigma with some people that artists just simply don't make art.  They make things and then LATER it magically turns into art.  Now, this statement is not about the obviousness of artists' work becoming more valuable after they die.  That goes without saying simply because there is no longer a chance for that artist to make more work-therefore the value of their work is raised. . .  This is about the degrading of living artists.  I will also say, that there are many people out there that DO appreciate living artists and their work.  I am just responding to statements I have heard from more than one person.

RULES- # 1

More often I hear people calling out the rules of being a "True Artist." You're not truly an artist until . . .
    You can't be a "REAL" artist until you have at LEAST 10 shows at venues approved by the "Art    

Well, what art world are we talking about here?  The wealthy people buying our work?  It can be important to the survival of an artist wanting to live off of their work to put it out there in a place where it can be seen; BUT that is up to the individual maker.  I do not believe someone is lesser of an artist because they don't have the same recognition as the next person.  People need to decide a purpose of their work.  Is it just for the maker and people in the social world of that person?  Or, is it for the world to see?   There is an awful lot of work that I find cliche' that is out there in major museums that I feel are more just a concept than an actual physical piece of work... I don't find these people to be more artistic or more of an artist simply because their work made it into a museum.  


Friday, April 1, 2011

Current Artist Statement

Clay, so easily moved from a rough, raw state into a smooth and graceful elegance, has been the vessel through which my work has grown. The allure of the material combined with the reality of my work brings substance and form to my visions.  There is an over-abundance of clay on the earth’s surface; and the potential of what can be created from that material is endless.  What attracts me to this medium is its ability to take on the sharp, concise edges of man-made objects and just as easily merge into the organic softness of the human face.

My work, compelled by the complexities of humanity, is driven by our existence and the ambience we have created for ourselves.  Comparing and merging our humanness to the natural world and the life within that environment helps me describe our connectivity to the presence we live in.  The imagery in my current work relates to the philosophy of body and spirit in relation to our existence.  The questions running through me as my hands work is what urges the development of my sculpture.  Where does the body end and the inner-self or spirit start?  What exactly is existence and how is it possible that we exist at all?  Our world revolves around beginnings and endings.  Our lives start with the expectation that someday we will die.  It is part of humanity to question the nature of life.  Some are simply content with the answers of religion, while others are in constant question.  As my fingers continue to impress themselves into clay, more questions emerge, making their way into the imagery of my work.  Does time contradict life?  If we live in a world with this theory of time while also living with a sense of beginnings and endings and in the grand scheme of things not being able to see a beginning or an ending to time or the universe, then how is existence a possibility?    

Each project brings new challenge and vitality to my creative awareness.  The challenge of creating and the uncomfortable questions of life fuel my work as well as my outlook on the world.  What are the traits of humanity, and what do we assimilate them with?  Question paves the road to my creative self.  


Here is a list of questions handed out in my current graduate seminar class.  Answering these questions, I believe, will help any artist better understand themselves and their work.  I have difficulty in talking about my personal art work, and always have.  It gets a little easier as time moves ahead, and I develop both as an individual and a maker.  There are often so many layers of ideas, philosophies, questions of existence, and personal life observations and experiences that are embedded into my work, that I tend to get so overwhelmed when talking about it that I close up.  Unfortunately, people are then unable to fully encompass all aspects or dimensions of my work.  This is something I need to work at.  It is an issue I am fully aware of, and I am trying to take steps in furthering my ability to verbalize the meaning of what I do.    

Are you an artist / image maker, or something else? If something else, - what?

How do you personally conduct (or engage in) “research” to develop your work?

What artists (or places) do you look to, (go to) for inspiration?

Could you write a list of ten artists (or more) that influence your current work?

How do you edit your work? How do you decide your best work is good, how do you know it for

Where does your best work come from, what is the genesis of your images and ideas?
Examples might be: divine inspiration, the product of internal dialog with a side of your self,
from research and past growth of your work, one image or object, leading to the next, intuition
and emotional reaction to spontaneous image making, etc.

When / how, did your best works originate? Did it ever feel like you could control the process of
creating really good art?

When you look at / (ponder) your best work, do you think about it in terms of art historical
context? Do you wonder if the work will be in museums, or talked about in academic circles?

Do you often think about what your favorite artists or friends or past teachers would think about
your work? If yes, why and is that important? Who do you have mental dialogs with, when
thinking about or editing your best work?

Do you need to be alone to initially design / create or make your artwork? If not, what type of
social interaction is needed to create or support your work?

Most artists have strong egos, do you? Is that good?

When did you first know that you should be a working artist?

Is art making your “life’s work”, will art making be a long-term thing for you? Will you still be
making art five years from now? If you never have critical acclaim and success, will you still make
your work?

Who / what / where / when, is the ideal (or target) audience for your work?

Is your ideal audience small or large?

Is the future success of your work dependent on commercial galleries or on particular kinds of
viewing spaces? What are those spaces?

What level of sophistication or education or art historical awareness, does your audience need to
have, to experience or really appreciate your work?

Does your audience need to understand a particular language to see / understand your work?

Are you an “elitist” artist? Is that good (or not), why? Is art making “ethical” in the modern world?

How important is “competition” to your ability to make better work? Are you driven to get critical
attention and acknowledgement of your intellectual capacity and genius? Why?

Is there some viable way to create or expand an audience for your work? Is the development of
an audience, critical to your work and success? What are you doing to create and connect with
an audience?

What artistic movement(s) are you a part of (if any)? Examples might be: Contemporary artist,
modernist, minimalist, conceptual artist, traditionalist, etc.

Is your work dependent on an existing group of viewers or supporters or an institution(s) or a
particular periodical or social network, or website or anything like that? If yes, what are those?

Consider the following two words, which one is more important to you artwork?
idea or object Can your work function without one or the other? Why?

What past art movements led to your work being created?

What is your best work about, what are your themes and what is the content of your work saying
to others?

Do you owe some allegiance or debt to a past movement or series of movements for your work?

Could your current work exist without past artists engaging in acts of communicating with their
peers, writing critiques, creating social movements, organizing and writing manifestos?

Could you, (should you) write a manifesto? Why? Who would you work with (or organize) to be a
part of a movement? Are “art movements” dead now? Why?

Are we still in the era of Romanticism, Modernism, Postmodernism, or some other era or
movement? Does that affect your work or its perception? Is your work dated or tied to a time
period or style? Is that ok?

What is your main medium (or material) of expression? Why?

If all paint or clay or bronze or paper (insert your main medium of expression here) magically
disappeared, would you be able to keep on as an artist or would that end it for you? What does
that last answer, mean to you?

How critical is “skill” in making your work? Can you / will you get more skilled?

Is movement or choreography or specific body motions, or rituals, critical to your work? What do
you do to work on improving your skills and movements or rituals?

If your hands fell off, would you still be able to make art? Would you still find a way to make art?
Does the answer mean anything to you?

Do you keep a journal of ideas and/or a sketchbook of preliminary drawings? If not, why not?

What do you need to do personally, to improve your ability to make better work (and to edit your
work more aggressively)?

Are you hip or sophisticated or aware or perceptive of the art world at large? Is that important?

Can you name ten important people in the art world, critics, curators or art power brokers? Is that

Can you name five important conceptual artists? Is any conceptual art or artist, viable to you? Is
that important?

Is art theory, and critical discourse, important to you? Should it be?

What is your definition of Contemporary Art?

Contemporary art

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Contemporary art can be defined variously as art produced at this present point in time or art produced since
World War II.  The definition of the word contemporary would support the first view, but museums of
contemporary art commonly define their collections as consisting of art produced since World War II.

- There are many varying perspectives and definitions of Contemporary Art.  Is it up to people today to define
the present, or simply experience the here and now?  Should we leave defining current art to future generations?
Who is responsible for defining avant-garde, or contemporary?  Wealthy art collectors? Museums?  Artists?
The public?  I find it difficult to swallow definitions of Contemporary Art whole heartedly when its course in
history has not yet been completed.  How do we define something fully that has not ended?  When do you think
it will end?

I feel it is important to restrain from trying to fit ourselves and our work into what people believe to be the box
of contemporary art.  It is vital to the life of one's work for the artist to follow their heart when making art.  Only
then will it reach it's fullest beauty and vitality.  The question now is how do we make our work known to the
world?  It is one thing to make work, but an entirely different thing to offer it to the world, and have it be accepted.

Please feel free to comment on these questions to carry on the conversation of Contemporary Art.


Hello Everyone,

Gratia Brown and I will have work in Routes to Art this year.  This group of artists is put together every year by the Cattaraugus County Arts council.  For all of you that will be around next year, check into applying.  I have had great results participating in RTA for the last few years.  Each year it has grown and become more successful.  

routes to art 2011

Studio Tour
On May 21-22, 2011 from 10am-5pm, and a special sneak preview on Friday May 20, 6-9p, 43 artists will open their doors across the Cattaraugus region and Seneca Nation of Indians.
The exhibition is scheduled for April 17, 2011 at Jamestown Community College in Olean, NY.
The 2011 brochures will be available soon- reserve your copy today!
Dig deeper on any of the 43 artists from 2011 by viewing their works, artist statements, and contact information.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Work in Progress

Here is what I've been working on lately.  Each box will have drawings inside.  Also, the wax feet I was working on for my crows have been finished and are attached to the crows in the images below.  

Monday, March 14, 2011


For our exchange project I chose three pieces from three different people.  I have a Jason Stockman mug that I glazed with slips and a reduction red glaze that unfortunately did not get reduced in the kiln.  Gratia Brown is another person whose work I chose.  I finished her sculpture with a variety of mediums including underglaze washes, gold leaf paint, encaustic paint, oil stains, and nail polish.  The last piece I finished was a small Kevin Rhode sculpture.  This was finished with water color washes, paint, encaustic, and oil stain.  Here are some images of the finished pieces . . .