Saturday, May 30, 2009

Shows End, This & That

The TEW show came down this Friday. If you have not been by, Corky has rehung several pieces upstairs on the second floor landing.

Some observations from this last month: For the first time, the age range of buyers was closer to my own and even younger, (ok I'm 52). I made a conscious effort in this show to limit my visual themes, I thought this made for a focused viewing experience (this trend will continue). The largest painting was 44"x36", going forward, the urge is to keep increasing the size, (have the smallest works run their course? we'll see). The dominant pigments used in this group of paintings were, cobalt blue and raw sienna (my new fave).

Switching gears, the Atlanta art "blogosphere" has had an increase in activity as of late. Long time local art critic, Cathy Fox, joined the ranks this past week. She, along with several other AJC expats, Pierre Ruhe (classical music) and Steve Murray (film) have created artscriticAtl. Maybe I am being too optimistic here, but I am starting to feel something, shall I dare say, a synergy, or heaven forbid the "c" word, community. Atlanta's art scene has mirrored the sprawl we see around us, subdivisions, separated by economics, taste and terrain. Is the Internet dissolving these perceived barriers?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Artists vs The Economy

These past several weeks the New York Times has been collecting stories submitted by artists answering the question, "What effect has the recession had on your life and work"? Hundreds of creative types have responded and you can read the tales of woe and triumph here. There is also a follow up piece, highlighting several individuals, accompanied by a nifty slide show.
Speed reading through the responses confirmed what I have experienced and heard from others. Times like these can spur creativity, an attitude of , "what have I got to lose" starts to develop, invigorating the work. Now, if you are a mature artist, with an overhead to match your success, stress can begin to dominate your psyche, there's a lot to lose.
A majority of my art world connections began their careers during the late 80's recession, it wasn't a great time to start a gallery or to quit your job and paint, but we did it anyway. Is this downturn a totally different animal, maybe, but what I do know is this, regardless of what is in
their wallets, artists will continue to adapt and create.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What Inspires You?..

This is the question I am most frequently asked and the one most difficult to answer. I imagine the majority of art patrons have this mental image of the artist that has been cultivated by modern literature and movies, the painter as "shaman-savant", and some aspects of that vision hold some truth. I have had experiences while painting that would reinforce this stereotype, but they are few and far between, and don't necessarily produce great images. Painting is an extreme pleasure and a task that I work long hours to achieve a satisfactory result, simple as that. But that answer is cheating the questioner, so I will continue this dialog in another post and offer this: At my opening last Friday, I was chatting with an individual and he wanted to know why I painted hydrangeas? I started scanning my data bank for an enlightening reply. When the silence was beginning to reach that uncomfortable stage, I sighed and said, "I have several outside my studio and I just love looking at them". He smiled and said, "thanks for being honest , I thought you were going to explain how they have this deep meaning and symbolize....,we started laughing and then continued the conversation, both with a bit of relief.
Top: Detail (The Prayer)
Bottom: The Prayer, 22x20 framed, oil panel, 2008, get it at TEW

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday Opening at TEW

The Wizard
The work has been in the gallery for 2 weeks and on the wall for 10 days, there has been a private party at a client's home and a preview reception, a magazine ad was placed, many invitations and PR packets sent, several email "blasts" and studio visits, all this has taken place before the public Friday opening. I began work on this show over a year ago, starting with a plan that I wrote down in my sketch book, of what I wanted to present (I kind of followed it). Gone are the days of frantic production and stressful arguments with the dealer (sort of), that never worked for me. I enjoy the commercial gallery process, always have, it has it's moments of BS and financial uncertainty, but the personal interaction with the gallery staff and their clients is an enriching experience, fueling the creative side. To be honest, getting paid to paint my pictures is pretty nice, it's what I always wanted and as of Friday night, it looks like it will continue.

Directly above: Me trying to look like a stable, successful artist, (yikes, scroll down, have I aged that much in 20 years, the beard might have to go).
I put the show on flickr, check it out here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

20 Years With TEW

I have been represented by Timothy Tew for 20 years and my 16th exhibit at TEW opens this week. When I first met Tim he was showing and selling paintings at a French restaurant in Buckhead, (Cafe Les Artiste) and looking to open a tiny space at the TULA Art Center. He had seen a painting of mine at a Post Properties show house, where my large abstract canvas was hung, (above the shrimp bowl and behind the buffet table, a choice spot). It caught his eye, prompting a phone call and a request for a studio visit, thus starting a relationship that, at the time, I could not have imagined. The evolution that took place in our lives and the Atlanta art world between then and now would require more than a blog post, but come by May 8th to view the 2009 edition and say "hi" to my friend Tim, and me, I'll be on the second floor.
Above: Charles Keiger,1989, 235 Forsyth St. studio, trying to look like a cigar chomping, hard core, abstract expressionist. Studio and painting lost in a fire, 1997.
Below: The first invoice-letter,click the image to read, (does anyone miss the typewriter?)
Note: I am going to increase the posts while the show is up, check back for pictures and maybe a few insights into what goes on during this commercial process.