Category Archives: Inside the Artist’s Studio

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jacquie Germanow

 

Me in my studio with chisel and wood form

Me in my studio with chisel and wood form

My work process is highly intuitive and relies on an interactive dialogue with the materials at my hand and the possibilities in my head.  I use the energetic/magnetic variety of materials—sometimes, at the edge of existence—to resurrect a visual metaphor in sculpture. The work often progresses through many iterations before being realized for exhibit.

When I was finding my path to becoming an artist, I read a book by Carl Jung that resonated within me:

The artist has at all times been the instrument and spokesman of the spirit of her age. Their work can only be partly understood in terms of personal psychology. Consciously or unconsciously, artists give form to the nature and values of their time, which in turn form them.

I knew it was my path, and because of that I have always seen my role as a conduit for translating universal energy into material conversations.

Positive clay forms waiting to be cast into plaster/silica molds

Positive clay forms waiting to be cast into plaster/silica molds

I love the connecting conversation that my work provokes and enjoy the feedback. Yet, getting ready to show work is always stressful for me. The dialogue shifts from a uniquely personal and nourishing one to a very public and hence “judgey”arena that I know is important as a vital gift to humanity. Visual art is quiet for the artist, for the viewer and patron.  If we are receptive, it makes a connecting vibration in our hearts.

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to English parents who escaped from China just before the Japanese invaded. I became a US citizen when I was 14 very aware of the toll WWII had on my family and my parents homeland. Encouraged by my mother’s artist soul, I have been making art ever since I can remember, and I am particularly struck by memories of sculpting sand on the beaches of the Jersey shore.

The artist at work

Ready to work

My fascination with how things work and the seductive forms and
colors of nature led me into science culminating in a pre med BS. Physics, philosophy, and religion were part of this liberal arts study and they turned my mind from scientific deduction to an inductive formulating mind set that artists use to build work. The excitement of making art was like receiving a lightning strike. Could I dare to do this for my life’s work? I went west to study art in Utah never realizing how the geology would impact my visual acuity. I received an MFA in Sculpture there.

If I have a style, it is by default. I am told my work is recognizable, but I do not aspire to a style. I do trust my dreams, revelations, visions, my capacity to synthesize, and find meaning in the ordinary. Each work bubbles up and percolates. Execution is usually much more arduous than I tend to anticipate because I am magnetized by a large palette of materials. Alas, Inspiration is a command. (Agnes Martin) I take the afore seriously and gratefully.  

Mold loaded with glass and ready for kiln

Mold loaded with glass and ready for kiln

Perhaps by pulling together such disparate forms and  textures into unity, I give credence to connection, heart and memory in a world caught by divisiveness and discord. The space between forms has always spoken to me as a synapse  of forces.  The spiral, a symbol of change,  seems to keep surfacing in my sculpture and painting.  

The most challenging aspect of making my work is how to attach one material to another so that it reads as a whole, seamless impulse.

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The inclusion of glass and showing my paintings has been the biggest change in the last 20 years.  They all address timeless themes, but in very different ways.  I really enjoy how they inform each other and me.

My sculptures are beautiful maquettes for public spaces.  Wouldn’t it be great to see that happen! “My work is a tether that loops around  the invisible, the chaos, the quiet; always seeking the structure of the sublime.  Without it I am adrift in the in between.”

Visit my website to see more of my work: www.jagvisualart.com.  You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

www.jagvisualart.com


Stop by Main Street Arts to see four of Jacquie’s sculptures included in “Sacred Curiosities”. The exhibition runs through November 17, 2017. 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Belinda Bryce

Belinda Bryce

Belinda Bryce

Although Rochester has been my home for the majority of my life, I wasn’t born here. My family moved a lot when I was very young, and as a young adult I lived in various places before returning to Rochester. These experiences may have led to my interest in navigation of place and time as it relates to an inner journey. This theme also influences how I work with layers to create a history of the art-making process.

I started painting watercolor landscapes inspired by the Finger Lakes while in college. After college I worked for a typography and print production company that supported the major advertising agencies in Atlanta. Graphic design holds a special place in my heart but I was drawn to fine art.

Belinda's Studio

Belinda’s Studio

My interest in non-objective art began while living in Atlanta where expansive contemporary commercial space invited large abstract work. When I returned to Rochester, I spent the first 10 years working with monotype, which allowed me to layer images and combine elements of printmaking and painting. More recently, I have focused primarily on painting.

My work combines expressive drawing and painting. The compositions suggest an inner landscape that is inspired by nature, its patterns, shapes, color, light and textures.

Nighttime photo reference

Nighttime photo reference

NightSketch

Nighttime painting sketch

NightPainting

Finished painting inspired by nighttime photo

In the last five years, I have focused on the fundamentals of line, gesture, form and texture, nestled within layers of staining, glazing, mark-making, and drawing. The dialogue among these formal qualities informs my process. I am interested in creating balance with a visual language that conveys simplicity, complexity, and mystery.

Rock inspiration (left) and a detail from a painting inspired by the same rocks (right)

Rock inspiration (left) and a detail from a painting inspired by the same rocks (right)

A “celebrant of the indeterminate,” I need room to roam in my work and often get lost in the unconfined freedom I so value. The resulting images are related but often visually different, maybe two or three suggest a brief series, but the work as a whole is more a traveler’s diary of exploration, digression, and the indirect process of becoming then going beyond—a map of getting lost.

A rock-inspired sketch

A rock-inspired sketch

Painting inspired by rocks

Painting inspired by rocks

Untitled painting

Untitled painting

You can see more of my work on my website, belindabryce.com, on Instagram and on Facebook.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see three of Belinda’s paintings included in the Upstate New York Painting Invitational. The exhibition runs through October 7, 2017. Belinda’s work from the show is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

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Inside the Artist’s Studio with Lacey McKinney

Lacey working in her studio

Lacey working in her studio

I am so happy to be included in the Upstate New York Painting Invitational at Main Street Arts. The paintings in the show are demonstrative of a new body of work that I started working on this summer.

Paper photo collage sketches posted on the studio wall

I am experimenting with a different formal approach by making paper collages to use as source material for paintings.

A finished oil painting on polyester film hangs above two preliminary collages

Concepts that coalesce to form a continuing thread throughout my years of painting are still present in this work. For instance, social issues, feminism, and themes relating to bodily experience emerge during my process.

An acrylic ground acts as a beginning base for oil paint

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Detail of a larger painting shows texture

Richness of surface is important. This allows a physical engagement to take place where visceral connection engenders empathy. Oil paint is such an appropriate medium for this since it is used to mimic flesh throughout the history of painting.

To see more of my work, connect with me on social media (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) and to sign up for my email newsletter, visit my website at: www.lacey-mckinney.com


Stop by Main Street Arts to see three of Lacey’s paintings included int he Upstate New York Painting Invitational. The exhibition runs through October 7, 2017. Lacey’s work from the show is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Lacey will also be one of the artists participating in a closing artists talk for the exhibition on Saturday, October 7 at 2 p.m.

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Colleen Griffin-Underhill

It is such a treat to be asked to write about my work!  It’s always been somewhat secretive and secondary in my life but I’m thrilled to be letting it shine a bit in the exhibit at Main Street Arts.

silo w orange in process

Silo with orange in process

After 15 years as the buyer and manager of the lovely Gallery Store at MAG, I am now the GM of Hart’s Local Grocers—plus the mom of 2 boys and a compulsive furniture re-arranger.  Sometimes I joke that I run the grocery store in my free time but the reality of course is that it is typically the other way around. I’ve learned to take good notes when inspiration comes flying at me and to allow the whole process to ebb and flow as time and life allows.

Making things and playing with color makes me tick.  Putting paint on a brush and playing with how it flows and mixes with other hues is just heart-racing exciting for me.

brushes

Brushes

When my boys were very little, the paintings and collages I had been making for many years became too time (and space) consuming.  Around that time I started making polymer clay shapes and beads to paint. Working in small chunks of time moving back and forth between just painting and then composing the finished pieces later, gave me the time to focus on what I wanted; mixing patterns, pushing color play and finding a rhythm to the way shapes work together.

pallettes

Pallettes

About 4 years ago I started learning to work with metals and integrating sterling silver components into the work. I’ll continue to explore where this goes as I practice more metal-smithing.  Adding something new—a tool, material or a thing in my head that kicks in and gives me a new way of working, feeds my creative process.

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My new studio space

This body of work is the most I ever made in one burst.  Early this year we moved our 11 year old up to the attic and this spare room became my studio space.  It has been such a luxury to start and stop freely and to sneak in there before work or late at night when everyone sleeps.  Keeping the work breathing and spread out before me each day allowed me to push into new realms and build off of earlier concepts to fully enjoy the design process.

studio sketch

Studio sketch

So much of what was in my sketchbooks came to life this year including the “drills” pattern featured on many items.  In planning our summer garden I found myself thinking about rows of holes for seeds… the boys probably dropping two in here and 12 in there and the dots kept creeping into my sketchbook, some larger, some smaller for seed size.  The dots wander around this work I’ve made and the garden never happened…so it goes.

drills brooch in process

Drills brooch in process

I’m always fascinated and eager to see the artist’s hand in their work.  I try to celebrate that and I never worry too much about the imperfections that happen along the way.   The process of creating plus the thrill of seeing my work worn and worked into a someone’s personal style is what keeps me making it.

My work is sold at Main Street Arts, MAG, Andrea Geer Designs and occasionally on my website — ceegeeu.com.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Colleen’s work in our current exhibition “Multifaceted: An Exhibition of Fine Jewelry” through August 18, 2017. Colleen’s work from the exhibition is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Inside The Artist’s Studio: Erica Bapst

Erica Bapst Profile

I consider myself a bit of a plate spinner. I always have a great multitude of projects in the air. It is a precarious balancing act I perform on a daily basis while running my boutique, Adorn Jewelry and Accessories, in Canandaigua NY. I always laugh and apologize to my customers because my workspace rarely stays confined to the actual designated studio behind the curtain. The designing process, works in progress, tools, random bits and pieces, all spill over into checkout area. I’m sure to many, it looks as though those “plates” I like to spin have all dropped and smashed to bits. More often than not the customers seem to love having the chance to see all the different projects I have going on in their various states. (Or perhaps they only like to peek behind the counter to say “hi” to my constant companion Penny, my shop dog —I am never entirely sure…;)

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Ok, let’s rewind a bit — how did it all start? I have an AAS in Graphic Design from Finger Lakes Community College (1998) and a BFA in Metalsmithing from Syracuse University (2001). I honestly have to say that my time in graphic design has always influenced my work, particularly during the initial layout process. I tend to create most of my layouts and templates using Adobe Illustrator. Because my jewelry is what stocks my store, I am often very focused on creating elements that have a consistency people depend on. Creating the templates allows me to easily reproduce, for example, a specific set of Ginkgo leaves.

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I hand form these ginkgo leaves from brass sheet in bulk.

The invite to this wonderful exhibit at Main Street Arts has given me the chance to step back from the day-to-day routine of creating jewelry for the retail world. I was able to expand upon my favorite body of work and experiment with the form and structure. It was so much fun having a reason to push my boundaries slightly. I am the type of person that often feels guilty if I take time to experiment. I fear that if the piece did not work out,  those precious moments would have been wasted. Running the shop leaves no minute of the day unaccounted for. Being a part of this show was such a luxury to be able to hit pause on my overly sensible brain and create with a sense of freedom!

Here are some progress shots of the piece I had the most fun with.

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I really wanted to design something that felt as ancient as the Ginkgo itself. So I dug into my memories of the historical jewelry I have seen over the years in different museums. Gazing at jewelry that is thousands of years old always mesmerizes me. I could stare at the ancient pieces for hours, puzzling over the stories of how they were made, who they adorned, and how they came to be in front of my eyes. I wanted to take this opportunity to pay homage to those works — jewelry created impossibly long ago from a single ingot, with rudimentary tools  and incorporated rough stone, clay or glass elements.

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While I was not interested in starting from my own cast ingot of brass, I opted to start with a pre-formed sheet…the advantages of our age. Then I searched my vast collection of stones (seriously, my family thinks I am a hoarder when it comes to stones and beads…I am beginning to agree with them) and came across this great slab of seriphinite that I have been hanging on to for a few years waiting for the right moment.  This was the time.

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My favorite shot of this piece.

Some of you may be asking at this point,  “What is with the Ginkgo theme?”  I have had the store for 13 years and have heard a lot of personal stories — stories of bravery,  heartbreak, of illness and also of the people who heal and comfort those who have been through it all.  I would listen to these stories and later think to myself, “ugh…and what do I do? — sit here and make jewelry, what good is that to anyone?”  Then little by little I began to notice that the reason I was hearing these stories was because my customers were often coming in to purchase my pieces to lift the spirits of someone going through a tough time, or to celebrate overcoming a difficult situation. I knew I was not a person that truly helps or heals, but if there was some small way I could contribute to others through my work, I wanted to with all my heart.

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I searched for a theme that carried with it a powerful sentiment and could be translated in many ways. So I looked to nature which I love so dearly, for inspiration. I was walking to work and pouring over my thoughts on the subject, and a leaf dropped off of my neighbor’s tree in front of me. I realized right then that the Ginkgo would be my symbol. It fit perfectly.

With every jewelry piece I include the words:

“The Ginkgo has existed for 250 million years, unwavering in its uniqueness and beauty. They naturally resist the negative and are survivors against all odds.

May we be like the ginkgo and carry with us the strength, resilience and natural beauty that resides within. “

It is not much in the grand scheme of things, but I create each and every leaf with as much love as possible in hopes that the love will carry through to the wearer.

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Sterling silver, aquamarine and quartz branch earrings

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A little surprise on the back.

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This Labradorite is what dreams are made of.

This Labradorite is what dreams are made of.

After the show at Main Street Arts, you can find me at AdornJewelryAndAccessories.com,  on Instagram @EricaBapst or on Facebook.

PS—If you get the chance after visiting Main Street Arts, head east up Main and visit the grand Ginkgo Grove that are a little piece of Clifton Springs History!

My Daughter and I visited the trees after the opening of the exhibit.

My Daughter and I visited the trees after the opening of the exhibit.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Erica’s work in our current exhibition “Multifaceted: An Exhibition of Fine Jewelry” through August 18, 2017. Erica’s work from the exhibition is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Karen Tretiak

Jewelry designer Karen Tretiak is one of eight artists in our current exhibition, “Multifaceted: An Exhibition of Fine Jewelry”. We asked her a few questions about her background and the work that can be found in the exhibition.

Karen Tretiak

Karen Tretiak

Q: What influences you? What themes or symbols appear throughout your work?
A: My jewelry exemplifies the visual excitement I find in layering textures, colors, values and materials. I gather imagery and inspiration from the natural world around me; in particular the sea and forest. Moss greens, autumn coppers, silken leaves, woven shadows, luminescent waves, and polished stones appear and reappear throughout my work.

Green Soutache Necklace

Green Soutache Necklace

River Jasper Cabochon Necklace

River Jasper Cabochon Necklace

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background. How long have you been making art?
A: Creativity has guided my life from as far back as I can remember. Mud, paint, crayons, yarn…so many possibilities as a child. As is true of most artists, that child-like joy has never left me but has been guided and nurtured through skill development and life-long learning.

Traveling!

Traveling!

I am an artist and a teacher; each influencing the other. Professionally I have taught in a wide variety of venues from public high school to colleges to workshops and lectures. My paintings, jewelry and ceramic sculptures have been displayed and marketed throughout the world. I have earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education from Skidmore College and a Master of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Roxie helping to take pictures

Roxie helping to take pictures

Q: Where else can we see your work?
A: I live and work in the Finger Lakes area of Western New York State as well as in “Maxine the Wonder Bus” when I’m on the road. I market my work at many venues across the country which gives me the opportunity to travel and meet many of my customers.

Maxine The Wonder Bus in Maine

“Maxine The Wonder Bus” in Maine

See more of my work on my website: www.karentretiak.com and my Etsy page WonderBusCreations. 


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Karen’s work in our current exhibition “Multifaceted: An Exhibition of Fine Jewelry” through August 18, 2017. Karen’s work from the exhibition is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Francesca Vitali

Francesca Vitali

Francesca Vitali

I was born and raised in Italy. My formal education is in science, having earned a B.Sc. and MS degree in chemistry from the University ‘La Sapienza’ in Rome. I then received my Ph.D from the University of Zurich in Switzerland. 

Even though my love for paper probably started way before my love for chemistry, I only started seeing my passion for paper not just as a hobby after moving to the US.  And more precisely when I took my first jewelry class 10 years ago at Penland school of craft in North Carolina. I am now a full-time studio artist (ok, I’m lying here I still work in the chemistry lab once a week) and I travel for craft shows all over the country.

But enough about me, lets step into the studio!

A few places where I store paper

A few places where I store paper

I use many different kind of paper for my jewelry—sometimes it is the paper that informs my work, sometimes I start with a design idea and then I have to find the proper paper that will translate into the design. 

I have shopping bags, books, magazine, maps, paint chips, patterned paper, money, yellow pages, newspaper, movie posters and the list goes on! (P.S. if you have some paper that is special to you and you want to make it into something wearable now you know who to ask!)

Once the right paper for a piece is selected, it needs to be reduced into strips, and that’s when the floor gets messy.

Strips of paper waiting to be made into jewelry

Strips of paper waiting to be made into jewelry

Next comes the weaving. The paper strips are handwoven into three-dimensional shapes by repeating the same movement over and over. 

If you are wondering if this stage of the process is a little monotonous, absolutely not! It is definitively very labor intensive but it is also very rhythmic, almost meditative, and therefore my favorite part of my studio time.

Once a piece is done, it needs to be coated. Every piece is protected with an acrylic layer that prevents weather or wearing problems.

The bracelet in the show  air drying after a first coat of acrylic medium

The bracelet in the show air drying after a first coat of acrylic medium

The tour has come to an end but if you want to know more about my work and my daily studio adventures, follow me on Instagram @francrscavitali.paperjelry. It has been a pleasure to have you in my studio!


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Francesca’s work in our current exhibition “Multifaceted: An Exhibition of Fine Jewelry” through August 18, 2017. Francesca’s work from the exhibition is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Mandi Antonucci

I like to think of myself as a crafter of visual stories.  I attempt to create drawings that provide more questions than answers, more ambiguity than certainty.  My intention is to leave the viewer with an open ended narrative that allows one to fill in the blanks from their own personal experiences.  

"Swarm"

“Swarm”

I grew up in Syracuse, New York with an unconventional family that instilled in me an appreciation for bird watching, collecting antique typewriters, and art.  My relationship with art was formed inside the walls of the Everson Museum where my grandfather served on the Board of Directors, and by watching my grandmother create ornate pieces with needlepoint.  These two factors served to inspire my great love for art history and attention to detail.  

"Family Tree"

“Family Tree”

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Studio in Art and Art History from Nazareth College, and my Masters in Art Education from Rochester Institute of Technology.  For the past 13 years, I have been an Art Teacher at Batavia High School.  I love my job.  It’s a unique opportunity that enables me to be constantly in the company of other artists.  I love the give and take of ideas, and the constant progression of concepts and materials that come with being an educator.  My students keep me on my toes, pushing me with their talent and insight to become a better artist while I help them to find their own artistic voice.  Nearly everyday, they give me hope for the next generation of creative thinkers.

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I like to invite my students into my creative process.  Aside from talking through my concepts and symbolism, many of them have become my subjects for my portraits.  They never seem to mind when I ask them to make weird faces or pose in a certain way.

"Queen of Crows"

“Queen of Crows”

My work as a whole is best described as Pop Surrealism, though I try my best not to label myself too strictly as I don’t want the identification to become a limitation.  While I will use a variety of materials, I generally use mostly colored pencil and graphite.  I love the control and versatility of my colored pencils; I love the feel of a sharp pencil and the look of a sharp edge. However, I also love the way in which colored pencil allows me to build subtle layers, like a recipe for the perfect color.

I generally don’t have a finished concept in my mind when I start a piece.  Rather, I like to start with a story in mind, or a picture I have taken, and let the creative process dictate my direction.  My best ideas come from the act of making, so it’s not uncommon for me to have five or six drawings in various states of completion as I work.

In progress

In progress

My work explores the themes of mental illness, loss, and the fragility of life.  I like to think of my drawings as a visual memoir of the struggles and achievements of myself and the others I share my life with.   My drawings often include the human form in some way, whether it’s with portraits or hands.  I am drawn to the automatic sense of emotion that comes with portraying the human form.  I want my work to tell a symbolic story of the strength of the individual while still leaving the details to the interpretation of the observer. My drawings attempt to show the vulnerability of my subject, their precarious and fantastical reality, and the effects their mental state has made in their lives.  

"The Future is Female"

“The Future is Female”

I tend to use a lot of pattern in my work as a design and symbolic element.  I am particularly drawn to the honeycomb pattern because it stands as a reminder that beauty can be born from chaos.  I feel like I’m just scratching the surface as to where I am headed in terms of my use of pattern; I’m excited to see where the process will take me.

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"Daydream Believer"

“Daydream Believer”

When I’m not at school or in my studio, I can be found at home in Geneseo with my husband and two children, surrounded by cornfields and distant horizon lines.  

"Boy Wonder"

“Boy Wonder”

My work can be found at www.mandiantonucci.com or on Instagram @skywardagain


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Mandi’s work in our current exhibition “Utopia/Dystopia” (juried by John Massier, curator at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center in Buffalo, NY). The exhibition runs through June 30, 2017. Mandi’s piece, “Boy Wonder”, is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Neil Marcello

I was born in Bombay, India, before I moved to Dubai, where I spent my childhood years. Dubai exposed me to the various industrial landscapes, like oil and natural gas production, large-scale infrastructure construction, and shipping ports that helped transform this desert city into the thriving manufactured oasis it has become today. These industrial scenes also left a lasting impression on me that continue to inform the imagery I produce today.

Photo Credit: Joanna Kula, 2015

Photo Credit: Joanna Kula, 2015

I have been making photographs for the past 10 years, during which time my focus and approach to creating images evolved from casual snapshots, towards images that are research based and might take on a critical role that can raise questions.

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from the Indiana State University, where my studies were concentrated in conceptual design and urban architecture. As a photographer I am self-taught, though computer technology, Hollywood films, and filmmaking factored heavily in my understanding of the aspects of image-making, as have the works of Caspar David Friedrich, Charles Sheeler and Edward Burtynsky that influenced me at pivotal junctures in my development as an artist

My body of work takes on an abstract quality without losing the sight of its origins. This is not a deliberate effort in which I go looking to create an abstracted view instead I find it to be inherent in the evidence left behind by our highly evolved consumer society.

CA #014, Coincidental Accretion, 2015

CA #014, Coincidental Accretion, 2015

To record my images I use a medium format, analog camera and film stock that best compliment the subject matter. I print using large format digital printers. This hybrid approach offers me the best of what the analog and digital formats have to offer, while continuing to challenge my sensibilities as a photographer and an artist.

My projects focus on conceptual ideas derived from industrial solutions, often created in the name of progress, that I now view as having become problems that bear examination. When I approach a specific idea, it is usually with the mindset that the viewer needs to be visually captivated before there is any chance of my idea being accepted. If the resulting image holds this type of interest, then it might draw the viewer into further discussion and thought on the perspective about the subject matter. Overall I think my work communicates a contemporary view more than it does any kind of popular view or trend in art.

#1JKS, Beyond the Heliopause, 2012

#1JKS, Beyond the Heliopause, 2012

With my most recent project, titled “Sweet Tooth”, the focus is on synthetic dyes derived from crude oil, and their role in the mass production of candy.

Sweet Tooth Series, 2014-2016

Sweet Tooth Series, 2014-2016

The project’s concept touches on themes of industry, mass production, consumerism and some of the resulting negative effects which may be seen in the piece, titled “Good and Plenty”, featured in the “Utopia/Dystopia” exhibition at Main Street Arts.

The idea for “Sweet Tooth” was born out of a need to find healthy candy for kids trick-or-treating on Halloween in my neighborhood when I was living in Los Angeles. I discovered news articles and a radio show on National Public Radio, that discussed the topic of synthetic dyes being used by candy companies in the US for their production of candy, while using natural dyes in the same candies in Europe.

Having just completed my work on “Mulholland’s Gold”, a project that dealt with the industrialization of water in Los Angeles, I was exposed to the various facets of the oil industry in California. So the connection between crude oil and synthetic dyes only became more apparent in my idea.

Oil #001, Mulholland's Gold, 2011-2014

Oil #001, Mulholland’s Gold, 2011-2014

The process behind “Sweet Tooth” was to place the candy that I was familiar with as a child and young adult, into an industrial backdrop. So I began with making rough sketches on paper to get the initial ideas down.

Good and Plenty Sketch, Pen on Paper, 2014

Good and Plenty Sketch, Pen on Paper, 2014

I would then scan and enhance these sketches in Photoshop to figure out the composition and color schemes.

Good and Plenty Schematic, Digital Rendering, 2014

Good and Plenty Schematic, Digital Rendering, 2014

Once I have finalized the schematic I set about building and painting the dioramas using household goods, broken or used model kits, architectural model building materials and synthetic paints mostly derived from crude oil.

Good and Plenty Diorama, 2015

Good and Plenty Diorama, 2015

Some of these dioramas measured up to 4 to 5 feet in height, width and/or depth, before I photographed them and progressed into post-production to create the final image and print.

Good and Plenty, Sweet Tooth Series, 2014-2016

Good and Plenty, Sweet Tooth Series, 2014-2016

The most challenging aspect to making my art is in how to rethink my fascination with the sublime in contemporary society, and translate this into a unique visual that can continue to attract and engage the viewer in a necessary dialogue about our time.

If you are interested in learning more about my works and background please visit my website www.neilmarcello.com. You can also connect with me on Instagram @neilmarcello and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/neil.marcello/


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Neil’s work in our current exhibition “Utopia/Dystopia” (juried by John Massier, curator at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center in Buffalo, NY). The exhibition runs through June 30, 2017. Neil’s piece, “Good and Plenty, The Sweet Tooth Series”, is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Rick Monikowski

My work is inspired by the sky and the mountains, the traditional pottery makers of the American Southwest, and the basket makers of my own Mi’kmaq people of New Brunswick Canada. My heritage is mixed – half Polish and half Mi’kmaq (Micmac) Indian of the Eel Ground First Nation of New Brunswick, Canada. I am originally from Hartford, Connecticut and now live in Rochester, NY.

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My trivets and baskets, for example, incorporate both the traditional and contemporary because the Mi’kmaq were traditionally basket makers. Weaving each piece of clay is time-consuming but these are some of my favorite pieces to create.

basketTHREE

Prior to moving to the Rochester area, I attended the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. While pursuing my JD and PhD, I had the opportunity to study and admire Pueblo pottery. In much of my pottery, my designs combine traditional shapes and forms with contemporary methods (wheel throwing and hand building).

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I began making pottery in 2001 at the Flower City Arts Center (formerly Genesee Center for the Arts and Education). I’ve also taken classes at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of American Crafts. In the summer of 2007 I took a month-long course at the NY State School of Ceramics at Alfred University. My primary focus was studying glaze calculations while interacting with over 40 artists from across the country and a number of internationally recognized faculty. My work continues to evolve and expand as I experiment with different types of clays, glazes, and glaze applications. I create many of my own glazes. I work out of “Art Hill” near Honeoye Falls, NY (just south of Rochester).

I produce two different kinds of pottery – functional ware and art pieces. All my functional pieces are handmade and unique and are food-safe as well as microwavable and oven-safe.  I make a variety of smaller pieces such as mugs, bud vases, pie plates – again with glazes I developed myself.  And as I prepare for the show season, I spend a lot of time re-stocking my inventory shelves because once the nice weather comes, there’s less time for the studio!

mugs studio

pieplates in progress

 I have also started producing dinnerware sets. This is my own green glaze on brown speckled clay – brand new!

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My art pieces, as I said, are inspired by the traditions of the American Southwest. In this plate, for example, I take an ancient design and put a contemporary spin on it. First I apply layers of colored slip, then using a sgraffito technique I scratch away the slip to reveal the Native design. In order to made it more contemporary, I often use a ruler, compass, and/or a protractor to sharpen the edges of the design.  After the piece dries, I finish it by applying a clear glaze and then I fire it .

indianplate 12in dkblue

One last thing…It is very important to me – as an artist, an attorney, and a Native American – that the general public understands the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644). It is a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentations in marketing of Indian arts and crafts products within the United States. It is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian,  Indian Tribe, or Indian arts and crafts organization. This covers all Indian and Indian-style traditional and contemporary arts and crafts produced after 1935. Every piece I make carries my RAM mark (my initials) and those pieces that reflect my Native American heritage come with a Certificate of Authenticity with my signature.

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Stop by Main Street Arts to see RAM Stoneware in our gallery shop! Visit Rick’s website at http://ramstoneware.com (new website in progress) and email him at rick@ramstoneware.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by jewelry artist Brittany Rea.