Tag Archives: Artist Residency

Meet the Artist in Residence: Emily Tyman

Emily Tyman, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the months of October and November2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Emily some questions about her work and studio practice:

Emily Tyman

Emily Tyman

Q: Tell us about your background. 

I grew up in Geneva, NY and went to college at the University of Rochester.  Originally I was a Biology major but quickly switched to Studio Art. I had always liked to make art, but in college, I experimented with different mediums and had amazing professors as mentors. I’ve tried many different types of art such as photography, sculpture, and performance art, but I always came back to painting as my favorite medium.

"Reflect", acrylic on linen, 18"x18", 2018

“Reflect”, acrylic on linen, 18″x18″, 2018

Q: How would you describe your work?

My recent work has been focusing on color and shapes and breaking down environments. I want to highlight the materials that I use, such as the linen or wood that I paint on and make that material as equally important as the paint that I’m using.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?

I used to always sketch out a plan and my paintings would usually end up being very close to the original sketch. Recently, I’ve tried to not be so strict with my paintings and just start something and not know how it’ll end up. While this was scary for me, it was a very liberating way to paint that I’ll continue to do with my pieces.

"Continue", acrylic on linen, 18"x18", 2018

“Continue”, acrylic on linen, 18″x18″, 2018

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?

Brush conditioner. Cleaning up is my least favorite thing to do and I’m not always the best at taking care of my brushes. The conditioner helps so much when I don’t thoroughly clean the paint off my brushes.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?

I usually listen to a lot of pop music but when I’m in the studio I will listen to art rock and indie rock. Anything with a good beat that will keep me focused on the piece I’m working on. A lot of times I work without any music, just listening to ambient noises. Sometimes that makes it easier for me to become distracted so then I’ll put music on.

"Setting Sun", acrylic on wood, 2'x2', 2018

“Setting Sun”, acrylic on wood, 2′x2′, 2018

Q: Do you collect anything?

I hoard a lot of random items and basically keep everything. It’ll be anything from wood bark to flower stem tubes. I have over fifty topography maps. I want to hang onto things that I think I could use in the future for different art pieces. Most of the time I end up not using anything that I’ve kept but I like to have it just in case. One day I might need it.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?

My goal is to become more comfortable with abstract work. I started to try and incorporate abstract elements into my recent pieces, but I want to see how I can develop those ideas further.

"Seneca", acrylic on linen, 11"x12", 2018

“Seneca”, acrylic on linen, 11″x12″, 2018

Q: What’s next for you?

Eventually, I want to go back to school for an MFA in painting. Applying to school again is very intimidating and so I want to get to a place where I am a lot more comfortable with my portfolio.

Q: Where else can we find you?

My website and my Instagram.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Jill Grimes

Jill Grimes, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of August 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Jill some questions about her work and studio practice:

Artist Jill Grimes

Artist Jill Grimes

Q: Please tell us about your background.
I moved to the Boston area in 1999 to attend the Post Baccalaureate  Program in Studio Art at Brandeis University, then to Boston University for an MFA in Painting. I also went to the Kansas City Art Institute for a BFA in Painting.

I’m a Full Time Lecturer in the School of Visual Arts at Boston University, where I’ve taught for the past 12 years. I’m lucky to work with a fantastic group of faculty and students.

Boston Studio 2018

Boston Studio 2018

Q: How would you describe your work?
I primarily make oil paintings in the still life tradition—working from observation in the studio from a set up that I arrange specifically for each painting. I am working with flowers, plants and trees at the moment. I’ve also been making cut paper pieces recently, and drawing more as a part of my practice.

"Arrangement II" (left) and " "Untitled" by Jill Grimes

“Arrangement II” (left) and ” “Untitled” by Jill Grimes

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I brought a wall-sized piece that I want to develop and think about. I also will work on implementing  some ideas about using different languages in my work: flat shapes, line, fully articulated form (in the same space). It’s something I’ve been thinking about this year.

MSA Studio Day 1

MSA Studio Day 1

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I don’t have one favorite artist at any one time, but look at different things that may inform what I’m working toward. Right now I’m looking at this:

Fresco from the House of Livia, Museo Nazionale, Rome

Fresco from the House of Livia, Museo Nazionale, Rome

I’m also looking at Bonnard, Klimt landscape paintings, and 17th century Dutch still life.

Q: Do you collect anything?
I collect tiny pinecones. I also collect postcards of paintings I like so I can curate a dream painting show with them.

Members of the pinecone collection

Members of the pinecone collection

Where else can we find you?
My website is jill-grimes.com  and you can find me on Instagram @grimes5000

Meet the Artist in Residence: Ari Norris

Ari Norris, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of July 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Ari some questions about his work and studio practice:

Ari Norris

Ari Norris

Q:Tell us about your background.
I’m the son of two art educators, from Muskegon, Michigan. I grew up watching both of my parent’s studio practices and helping along  when I could; it made the decision to pursue a career in art an easier choice than I’m sure a lot of other kids had it. We joke now that I was really just doomed from the beginning.

Large scale collaborative piece by Timothy Norris and Patti Opel, w/ two T. Norris pieces to left.

Large scale collaborative piece by Timothy Norris and Patti Opel,  two T Norris pieces to left.

More recently, I apprenticed with Gary Casteel for two summers (2016, 2017) in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; learning how to sculpt figuratively with oil clay, equally picking up the trade of commission-based bronze. Thankfully resulting in some public work of my own.

Norris' bust of Gary Casteel

Ari Norris’ bust of Gary Casteel, bronze 2016

Coming up in a few months, we will be dedicating a life-size bronze sculpture of Clarence Zylman, a fellow Muskegonite, in November 2018, in Muskegon, MI.

Zylman was given the title of the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” by the U.S. Army, during his service in World War II. The song had already been released by the time of Zylman’s enlistment, though he inevitably lived the role that the hit song had immortalized, and the Army publicly recognized him for that.

Clarence Zylman/Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, oil clay

Clarence Zylman/Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, oil clay

I am currently in the summer before my final year at Northern Illinois University, finishing up a BFA degree. Jose Jimenez, a fellow sculpture student, and I, run an independent space on campus named Backspace Gallery. I’ve lucked out and gotten great campus employment as well, at both the Jack Olson Gallery here, and the NIU Art Museum.

"the (g)rad stuff" at Backspace Gallery

“the (g)rad stuff” at Backspace Gallery

 Q: How would you describe your work?
The current body of work I’ve been building at NIU has partly stemmed from an area artist’s interview I had read; never before had I been hit with such an ego in writing before, and it helped realize some similarities I saw growing in myself.

It really encouraged me to try and deflate this prevalent machismo attitude, that I’m sure all of us can imagine in some iteration. The artist’s work that I was responding to was very much about “man’s work”/construction, so adopting similar materials and language was the starting point. The first pieces utilized realistically rendered, impotently sagging, cast resin hammers that I made.

Acrylic on cast resin

Acrylic on cast resin, 2017

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Lately, trying to find my own balance between technology and tradition has been changing my process immensely. While I have been finding ways to incorporate digital fabrication, dually burying the technological aspects by hand-skills has been changing the ways I make anything now.

I am constantly battling myself when questioning, “does one approach visibly outweigh the other?” Because for whatever reason, I have this pre-conceived idea that using new technology feels like I’m cheating in some way – and that’s one way I think the work thankfully combats my own ego.

Laser cut and painted wood, aluminum, cast resin, acrylic sheet, mounted on aluminum composite panel

Laser cut and painted wood, aluminum rod, cast resin, oil, acrylic sheet, mounted on aluminum composite panel, 2018

I want my work to stay informed dually by current topics, and art history, without hitting the viewer over the head with either sources, for lack of a better euphemism. The hammer, and objects in general, have already been long immortalized by Joseph Kosuth,  Magrite, and many others, so it’s not exactly doing anything new on that front.

Finding ways to converse with, and utilize these established and familiar motifs, I think is what part of my overarching motivation in art making could likely be.

Jennifer Mannebach, an artist who recently exhibited at Jack Olson Gallery, and is an NIU Alumni herself, titled a piece, “A Means of Asserting While Also Giving the Slip.” That’s been resonating with me for a few months now, as each new object I work on, is both trying to emulate the source material, but also show the viewer that it is an impersonation.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
As I mentioned before, I have been working around the clock on the Bugle Boy Sculpture. In the days before I leave Dekalb, IL, for Clifton Springs, NY, the clay figure will be going to a special arts foundry for bronze casting over the next several months, and I will be able to get some short term separation from it. The residency at Main Street Arts is coming at a perfect time, and I am really thankful to have been selected.

During the residency, I will be switching gears from working mostly  three-dimensionally, to focus on printmaking. I’ve been trying to make a connection from embossing as a flat, absent image on paper, to clear epoxy castings of objects, both being so ghost-like.

Intaglio print on laser cut embossing

Intaglio print on laser cut embossing

Q: What is your most useful tool in your studio?
Razor blade/Box cutter; I think I even prefer them over the smaller X-Acto knives. Mike Rea, the sculpture professor here at NIU, has shown me some really precise moves with a blade for framing/woodworking. Using a razor with the resin work I’ve been doing is great too, I’d rather shave flashing down with a blade than try to sand it and breath in all that dust. Cannot beat the replaceability either.

Q: Do you collect artwork?
When it’s reasonably priced, I try to! Since moving here to Dekalb, IL, I’ve been trying to collect work from retired NIU faculty. I think the fact that they are largely pre-internet, the amount of information sellers can find is more limited, so the price can be closer to what a student can afford. Not to mention the thrill of stepping into an area Goodwill or some other thrift store, and finding something with a name that is recognizable, but that’s rare.

Q: What’s next for you?
I have two public sculpture dedications in the months following the residency, and college will be back in full swing as well. During all of this, I will be getting my applications prepared for grad school, and getting ready for the Spring BFA show. Ready to let the chips fall where they may!

Q: Where else can we find you?
arinorris.wixsite.com/home
Facebook
Instagram

Meet the Artist in Residence: Scott McMahon

Scott McMahon, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of June 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Scott some questions about his work and studio practice:

Scott McMahon

Scott McMahon

Q: Tell us about your background.
I grew up in Killingworth, CT. I’ve been making artwork, in some capacity since I was a child. When I was 5 or 6, my mother was taking art classes and working toward a degree in art. I would often tag along with her to different art classes and studio sessions. What I remember most from that was the process and the feel and smell of art materials and the simple joy of creating something unique.

I took art classes in high school and decided to try a photography class, then taught by the auto shop teacher. He was probably a great auto shop teacher, but knew very little about photography. What he did instill in his students was the idea of experimentation and developing a personal and creative voice. I spent hours in the darkroom, experimenting with the process, solarizing prints, hand-applying developer, printing multiple negatives, pulling developed prints from the trash, re-exposing them, etc. This is when I discovered that photography was akin to painting and printmaking.

After high school I moved to Philadelphia, PA and received my BFA in photography from The University of the Arts. I then went on to receive my MFA in photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, MA. I am currently Associate Professor of Art and teach photography at Columbia College in Columbia, MO.

Scott with 360 degree pinhole camera

Scott with 360 degree pinhole camera

Q: How would you describe your work?
My work is primarily photographic and I use a variety of 19th century processes and techniques, such as cyanotype, gum bichromate, salt printing and tintype. My preferred method of generating images is with the pinhole camera. I typically construct my own cameras with a particular project in mind. I am drawn to the element of chance and experimentation that is inherent in pinhole imagery. Subject matter varies in my work. I am drawn to recording the human figure or presence within a landscape or other locations. I am interested in showing the ephemeral qualities of disparate subjects, recording things that may appear both absent and present. I have always been interested in how the photographic image can “capture” and “preserve” moments in time, but yet it can be just as fragile and fleeting as our own experience and existence.

Breathe

“Breathe” by Scott McMahon

Deluge

“Deluge” by Scott McMahon

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
My process generally starts with some kind of preconceived idea or thought that I feel moved to make an image about. Sometimes a residual image from a dream that stays with me over the course of a few days influences the start of building a photograph. I try to be observant to what is around me and recognize things I consistently come back to. I keep a visual journal of preliminary photographs, sketches, influences, ideas and examples of work by other artists.

Once the framework and structure for an image or series of images is there, I choose a process that seems fitting for the concept. Most of the processes I use are quite labor intensive and time consuming. I like the idea of images needing time to simmer. Exposure times can take several seconds or several minutes, developing and printing also requires time and patience. I work slowly and savor the time it takes to nurture an image through the process.

Another part of my process is working collaboratively with my dear friend and fellow artist, Ahmed Salvador. We have similar sensibilities and ideas about what a photographic image is and how it can be made. Some of our projects include: Bioluminescent Series. This project involves capturing the light emitted by fireflies onto photographic film and paper. Response Time is a project that involves sending photographic materials, wrapped in light-proof bags or tinfoil that have been riddled with pinholes, cuts and tears. We then mail these packages to each other. The photographic material receives various amounts of exposure through the mail.

Response Time

Response Time (In collaboration with Ahmed Salvador)

Bioluminescence

Bioluminescence  (In collaboration with Ahmed Salvador)

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
The OFF button on my Macbook…no, just joking. A box with a hole in it, of course.

Q: Do you collect anything?
Surprisingly, I collect cameras. The oldest one I have is made by Rochester Optical Co. and it’s from 1898. I love camera construction and the mechanical components. I also see cameras as beautiful objects and small sculptures. I also collect photographs, mostly from the 19th Century (tintypes, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, cabinet cards, etc.). The photographs are generally of people I have no relation or connection to, I know nothing about them aside for what is revealed in their portrait. I’m interested in the mystery of these, why their visages ended up an antique store, flea market or junk shop and the possible stories and narratives they can tell us. I share this collection with the History of Photography course I teach as well.

Luna

“Luna” by Scott McMahon

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I can’t choose one…so I’ll choose six…Video artist, Bill Viola for taking us to places within our consciousness that we should visit more often. Photographer, Sally Mann for the truth, beauty and sheer force of her imagery. Composer, author and philosopher, John Cage for being John Cage. Painter, sculptor, mixed media artist, Anselm Kiefer for confronting a dark past through layers of oil, straw, tar, shellac, murk and mire. Photographer and Optician, Ralph Eugene Meatyard for having an amazing name and creating some of the most haunting photographs in the history of the medium. Robert and Shanna ParkeHarrison for their collaborative genius in creating poetic imagery that deals with loss and human struggle.

"Dwelling" by Scott McMahon

“Dwelling” by Scott McMahon

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My goal is to work on a few different projects. I’ll continue working on a series of camera obscura images called “Daily Dust.” I’ll also be experimenting with a few new pinhole cameras that have multiple apertures. I’ll definitely be exploring the surrounding area for locations to photograph. A recent interest of mine has been learning about areas in upstate New York where Spiritualism got its start in the United States during the 1840’s. Hydesville (now Arcadia, NY) and Lily Dale have been on my radar of places to visit and possibly make photographs of or about for some time now. I’d like to keep an open mind and see where things take me, as Hans Richter said: “give chance a chance.”

"Visitor" by Scott McMahon

“Visitor” by Scott McMahon

Q: What’s next for you?
I’ll be part of an exhibition at Sager Braudis Gallery in Columbia, MO this September. I hope to exhibit some of the work I’ll be making during the residency.

Q: Where else can we find you?
www.scottmcmahonphoto.com/
www.fireflyletters.com/
vimeo.com/79811041


Scott is teaching a pinhole photography workshop during his residency at Main Street Arts on Saturday, June 9 from 12 to 4 pm. Participants will construct and photograph with their own pinhole cameras. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Sign up for the workshop here.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Kaele Mulberry

Kaele Mulberry, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of April 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Kaele some questions about her work and studio practice:

Kaele Mulberry

Kaele Mulberry

Q: Tell us about your background.
I was born in Sodus, NY, but when I was two my family moved south to Dallas, Georgia.  I spent the majority of my childhood there—running barefoot on dry grass, sipping honeysuckle, and drawing in the shade.  We relocated back north to Newark, NY in the summer of 2004 and I have lived there since.

I graduated from Alfred University in 2016 with a BFA and a minor in art history.  After graduating I made an improvisational studio in the closet of my childhood room.  At the moment I juggle working as a barista in the mornings and afternoons, and painting in my little studio in the evenings.

“Pupa, Imago (The Inherited Memory),” oil and varnish on canvas, 2016


Q: How would you describe your work?
More recently I have been really into the atmospheric qualities of layered watercolor and the buttery texture of gouache.  I find that these two mediums work best with my choice of scale.  I love the excitement of being overwhelmed by a large canvas, but even more so the meditative, scrawling, clenched fist process of working small.  There is a preciousness about holding something small in your hands.

“Exchange!,” watercolor and gouache on paper, 2017

Recently I have been painting a lot of raccoons.  During my morning commute it is not uncommon to pass by several unfortunate road-crossers, especially raccoons or opossums.  I have begun painting them to, in my own way, pay homage.  More recently my work subjects innocent and tender moments exchanged between humans and animals.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I start with a sketch, and then create more sketches based off the first sketch.  Most of the time I like my drawing more than a finished painting.

Sketchbook, graphite and marker, 2018

Sketchbook, graphite and marker, 2018

There’s a looseness and a spontaneous quality in my drawings that I am still working to capture in my paintings.  I end up scrapping a lot of work because of this.  Restarting and being frustrated about it is a short but important process for my work and for me.  I usually work on two pieces at once to keep things fresh and to stave off disinterest. I find it best to come back to an image with refreshed eyes.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My project is a series called Ugly Planet, a collection of paintings that illustrate a utopian planet where the dichotomy between humans and animals has been dismantled.  Ugly Planet describes the conventional human tendency to alienate and disparage the unfamiliar and strange.  The content of this series is not meant to be jarring or violent, rather, it is to blur the presumptive roles of humans and animals.

“Untitled,” ink, watercolor, gouache, and color pencil on paper, 2018

The underbelly of this series is inspired by roadkill.  My personal interest in this series is to pay homage to the birds, foxes, raccoons, and opossums I so often encounter on my daily commute.  I wish to illustrate a wistful imagining of their lives uninhibited by humanity’s environmental intervention, while also portraying them amidst activities and settings that are recognizably human.

My big mission is to walk away from this residency with many paintings and, hopefully, a book of this series.  I am convincing myself to let this series bend and grow however it needs too.

Q: What do you listen to when you work? How does it affect your artwork?
I find that I need to always listen to something to keep myself awake and focused.  I only let myself listen to podcasts when I’m working, and because I like to marathon episodes, this usually keeps me working for longer.  A few podcasts that I’m always listening to are Lore; My Brother, My Brother, and Me; and The Adventure Zone.  I definitely recommend them.

For music, I’m currently into the narrative of Sam Beam and the chaotic and exuberant energy of Dan Deacon.

“To Drown a Fish in Loose Leaf Tea,” oil on panel, 2016


Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have a handful of favorite artists.  Remedios Varo is an artist that I am drawn to because of her immersive and fantastical scenes.  Gustav Klimt is another favorite, especially his “Golden Phase” and landscape paintings.  I have far too many favorite contemporary artists, but to name a few: Teagan White, and her detailed paintings of flora and fauna succumbing to the gentle and cruel hands of nature; Rebecca Green, whose gouache paintings of curious children and animals reverberate nostalgia; and Estée Preda, with her folk tale inspired watercolors.

“Picnic,” watercolor and gouache on paper, 2017


Q: What’s next for you?
I expect to print and distribute Ugly Planet during or shortly after my residency.  I am hoping to ready an online shop up with prints, originals, books, and zines.  I will definitely be found brewing fresh coffee and pouring lattes for friends and familiar faces.  I will also be moving to Canandaigua and upgrading from my closet studio to a room studio.

Q: Where else can we find you?
You can view my work over at my website kaelemulberry.com, and follow my process, adventures, and shenanigans on Instagram @loiir.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Renee Valenti

Renee Valenti, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of October 2017, will working on a series of abstract paintings and immersing herself in art history books during her residency. We asked Renee a few questions about her artwork and studio practice: 

Renee Valenti

Renee Valenti

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background.
I’m originally from a town right outside of New Haven, CT but I’ve been living in Brooklyn for the greater part of the past fifteen years. I’ve been making visual art for the past ten, after making a switch out of performing art and theater. I decided to make the change and went to Pratt for my undergrad and finished my masters last year from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s low-residency program. I feel that I still often draw from storytelling, the theatrical, or cinematic in my work; and I often like to work in series until something is finished for me.

"fuckin, fuck", oil on canvas, 2017

Renee Valenti: “fuckin, fuck”, oil on canvas, 2017

Q: How would you describe your work?
Painting is the largest part of my studio practice and I also do a lot of photography. Most of the time I would take the photos that I was using for my figure paintings, as well. My painting had primarily been figurative or the spaces people occupy, but then last year I started turning toward abstraction. I just couldn’t carry the heaviness in the narratives that were in the paintings from 2015-16 and I also just didn’t have any ideas in my head! I was feeling mentally spent but also just needed to get back into the paint. So one day just started making without the photo imagery. However, then another narrative started emerging for me within these abstract paintings; which still very much have a place of body within them.

My photography has been a continued investigation of portraits of friends, bikers, communities, and empty hotel rooms. I started driving to nearby towns and staying in hotels while living briefly in the mid-west in 2014. As a way to combat the solitude I was experiencing while living there, I started to photograph these spaces—investigating the comfort within transient places devoid of personal memory. Recently, I started a project of landscape photos down Route 66.

Images by Renee Valenti: The Chateau Royale, Lake Geneva,WI (left) Photo 9; (right) Photo 8: ghosts of ashtrays and whiskeys

Image by Renee Valenti: "Gas station, entering New Mexico—off Route 66", digital photo, 2016

Image by Renee Valenti: “Gas station, entering New Mexico—off Route 66″, digital photo, 2016

Q: What is your process for creating a work or art?
That’s a big question and it varies. Sometimes I watch a lot of movies and that inspires me aesthetically; filmmakers like David Lynch, Wong Kar Wai, Fellini, and Pedro Almodóvar. Usually it takes me a minute to do all the background work before beginning a new series. Whether that’s going to the library to do research on a photo project or walking around the city or being or getting into a head space to feel out what the inspiration for the paintings is/are. Sometimes it’s just walking in the woods a lot. I need meditative time for sure. But then once it takes off I can kind of hit the ground running after that until a stop comes and then it maybe things need a minute to refresh.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
I’m going to say my speakers, or my phone speakers. I always have something on, whether it’s music or a podcast, or talk radio or something. That kind of gets me going or keeps me going. You spend a lot of time alone in your studio too, so it breaks up your own voice or lets me get deeper into it within the making.

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
Everything from Beethoven to Best Coast to Led Zeppelin, to Santigold. It runs the gamut.

"White Noise", oil on canvas, 2016

“White Noise”, oil on canvas, 2016

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?
Out in the world. I feel like some of the best art is all around us. Then Museums and galleries of course, depending on the show. The one thing about living in New York is that a lot comes through there, so you get to see a lot of great work up close and in person.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I plan on working on the series of abstract paintings that have been in process. I’m also planning on just bringing a lot of art history books and digging into those. I’m really looking forward to having a whole month to work there.

"Winter", oil on canvas, 2017

“Winter”, oil on canvas, 2017

Q: What’s next for you?
We’ll see! I’m looking for an exhibition space for these paintings sometime next year and to complete my Route 66 project. That’s the immediate future, art-wise.

Q: Where else can we find you?
http://reneevalenti.com/home.html
https://www.instagram.com/photoslag/
https://www.facebook.com/renee.valenti.9


Renee is teaching a workshop on Saturday, October 14 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Main Street Arts. Her Paint As Material worksop will examine the versatility of paint with a focus on experimentation within the medium. Sign up on our website to reserve your spot!

 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Ali Herrmann

Ali Herrmann, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of September, 2017,  will be working on mixed-media encaustic paintings featuring female icons and role models. We asked Ali a few questions about her artwork and studio practice:

Ali Herrmann

Ali Herrmann

Q:  Tell us about your background
I live in the Berkshires; travel around upstate NY and Hudson River Valley selling my work at markets, fairs, and events.  I have been making art since a very young age—coloring books and a box of Crayola crayons were always my go to.  I went to Colgate University to pursue geology, but after not being satisfied with my choice in college and the academic requirements surrounding the school, I decided to switch majors, transfer, and convinced my geology professor to write a recommendation for application to Bennington College.  My intent was to focus on ceramics and painting, but as it turned out, fell in love with printmaking and continued to pursue painting. I’ve always maintained a multimedia approach to my work, even to this day.  In addition to making art, I teach classes in bookmaking and encaustic painting, bringing my techniques, knowledge and shared experiences to each class.

Encaustic Landscape with Trees

Encaustic Landscape with Trees

Q:  How would you describe your work?
My work is painting with a multi-media approach, using inks, papers, paint, encaustic wax, found object…the idea dictates the medium of choice. I often use multiple things in one painting, hence why I say ‘multi-media.’  Subject matter is typically botanical and nature oriented, in ways that I tend to personify it’s beauty.  There’s a graphic design element to my work, which is a trickle down effect from the very graphic-illustrative nature contributed by college printmaking techniques.

At work in the studio at Main Street Arts

At work in the studio at Main Street Arts

Q:  What is your process for creating a work of art?
My day typically starts around 7:25 am,  getting up with my built in alarm clock, then I head for coffee and journal writing.  It takes me a good hour to fully ‘wake up’ in the morning, even after I’ve gotten out of bed, so I’ve learned this is a good time to let out the thoughts, dreams, ideas, and mental clutter into my journals.  After that, depending on the weather, I may head to the studio or go for a walk/jog.  If I head to the studio, I am likely to turn on the hot plate and slowly start heating up my encaustic paints.  While I’m waiting for the materials to liquify to working state, I clean off the work surface from the day before, prep paper collage materials I think I may want to use, and organize my workspace…much like decluttering my mind in the morning journals. When the materials are ready, I begin with a meditative layering and heat setting process with the wax, developing a surface upon which to work.  Encaustic works in layers, so this medium suits me particularly well, given that I utilize a multi-media approach to other paint processes.  Some of the pieces take days or weeks, while others may be done in a few hours…the elements and working properties of the wax dictate the direction, so it’s an experience of being both in control at times and letting go.

Uma: B. Kiddo, 6” x 6” panel encaustic, 2017

Uma: B. Kiddo, 6” x 6” panel encaustic, 2017

Q:  What are your goals for this residency?
My goal for this residency is to create a body of work that uses portraiture as subject matter, particularly women icons and role models.  I anticipate creating 100 6”x6” encaustic portraits of women, using illustrative drawings, paper collage techniques, writings, and encaustic wax.  Portraiture is almost a big diversion from my typical work in encaustic, since I tend to be more focussed on incorporating color abstraction and illustrative narratives using symbols of plants, trees, and sailboats. However, working with the more illustrative pieces in my tree series, where I embed text, I felt a sense of empowerment through the text and it led me to want to personify a strong women icon series.  And with everything going on in the world of current events/politics, I personally find this a perfect time to explore this series. Also interesting is the idea of ‘icons’, since the history of encaustic was predominantly a process of preserving pieces, such as the face masks from the Fayum wedding portraits, so in a sense, I feel as if I am bringing my love and knowledge of encaustic full circle. Going back to the beginnings and root of why this medium gained attention, while bringing attention to modern day women.

A collection of small, handmade sketchbooks

A collection of small, handmade sketchbooks

Q:  Do you collect anything?
I have a fascination for collecting ‘objects of containment’, yes this needs defining.  For a long time, I used to collect sketchbooks and they would sit on a shelf, pristine blank books, waiting and wanting to be used, but at the time, I was out of college and focused on a day job, completely unrelated to anything artistic.  The blank books became a thing of admiration, a collection of sorts: pretty covers, sizes, different bindings.  Once I took a course on different bookmaking techniques and realized how ordinary these were, I started using them to sketch, paint, & write while I made more fun books to eventually use.  While I do have a collection of sketchbooks I’ve made, it’s more for demonstrations and teaching purposes, but they do get used!  Additionally, I have other objects of containment, ranging from a modern, funky purse collection to old wooden boxes: rice boxes, tea boxes, cheese boxes, wine boxes, pencil boxes, and shelf boxes.

Q:  Where are your favorite places to see artwork?
While I enjoy going to a gallery or museum to see work, I really never want to make a full day of it or spend a lot of time in them.  There is a silent, sterile quality that somehow ‘quiets’ the art for me.  I believe this is because I am a process oriented person.  I like to see work in progress, the sketches, the inner brainchild workings, the silly notes, and the processes involved in making work.  The two places I really enjoy to see art are in peoples homes or artist studios.  I think there’s a real intimacy seeing what people collect and how they display it in their environment.  As for artist studios, you get to see the raw and visceral experience of being engaged in the process.

Six, 6x6 inch panels in progress

Six, 6×6 inch panels in progress

Q:  Do you collect artwork?
I think artists always collect artwork.  My collection started in college, where I exchanged a few etchings and monoprints with other printmakers.  Having an affinity for pottery and coffee, I have always loved collecting mugs, though the functional, everyday use aspect of it never made me think I was ‘collecting art’, but rather, creating a collection of enjoyment.  My first purchase that actually made me feel like I was buying art ‘to collect’ was a small portrait piece I found in a boutique type gift shop in Asheville, NC ironically during a pottery visit in 2003.  I saw this lovely portrait and it reminded me of myself: haircut, red background (at the time I had a red Jeep wrangler), seeming poignant, isolated, alone, but having this ingrained presence that could light up a room.  I kept looking at it; however, did not buy it that moment because I thought: why would I want to buy a portrait?   Of who? Of someone I didn’t know?… and so continued on my journey around Asheville.  When my trip reached it’s end, I found myself racing back to the store in the early morning, hoping they would be open, because I simply needed my this piece in my life, regardless of who this person was in the portrait.  I think I even floored the shop owner when I said, ‘I need that’.  She was so excited for the artist, to be selling a piece of their work, but it was more than a sale or a purchase, I somehow connected with that piece in a way that went beyond the imagery, so it became needing it in my life, not simply wanting it.

Since then, I have collected etchings from an artist in New Hampshire, and tiny paintings from artists based in Portland, OR.  Overall, I can say that all the work has a very illustrative feel, despite some being whimsical paintings and others being detailed bug/botanical prints…they all have images of birds, bugs, botany, with the artists personal vision/flair. Artists include: Cori Dantini, Michele Maule, Rachel Austin, J. Ann Eldridge  

Q:  What is the most useful tool in your studio?
The most useful tool is the most unattractive, bright yellow, mundane looking tool: an automotive bond application/spreading tool, but it has a great name…the Dynatron!  While I do love a palette knife, I find this tool in my car, my purse, in the kitchen, and yes, all over the studio for all media, so it is the most purposeful.  Life changing actually!

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In the studio at Main Street Arts

Q:  What’s next for you?
When I return home, I hope have a full schedule teaching classes in encaustic and bookmaking, head into autumn’s beauty, and ready myself for the winter market/vending season.

Q:  Where else can we find you?
On my webiste, www.aliherrmann.com, on Instagram, @aliherrmann, on Facebook, and on my blog, www.aliherrmann.blogspot.com.

Ali is teaching an encaustic collage workshop  on Saturday, September 16 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Main Street Arts. Sign up on our website to reserve your spot!

Meet the Artist in Residence: Chas Davis

Chas Davis, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during July 2017, is working on prints and paintings. We asked him a few questions about his artwork and studio practice:
Portrait of the artist

Portrait of the artist

Q: Tell us a bit about your background.
I grew up in Indiana, and like most kids, started drawing at an early age. I just never stopped, and have been a painter and a printmaker for most of my life. I guess that’s it in a nutshell. I have been in Rochester since 1996, and my studio is in the old Valley Cadillac building at 339 East Ave. I have taught here and there and now and then, at RIT, the Creative Workshop at MAG, and Roberts Wesleyan, for example, and currently teach a monoprint series of classes at the Flower City Arts Center, formerly Genesee Center of the Arts. You can see some of the more fun things I’ve done in Chas Davis’ Rambling Bio.

 

Artworks Gallery, 2015

Artworks Gallery, 2015

Q: How about some of your influences?
I was blessed growing up with many generous teachers, and while I was never too influenced by any one style of imagery, I was more impressed and influenced by hard work and the different ways to arrive at a solutions to visual problems.

 

Here I am doing some detail work.

Here I am doing some detail work.

Q:Where do you find inspiration?
I am very inspired by the landscape. I have travelled a lot around the country and the more time you spend in nature, the more you realize that everything is interconnected, and alive. I am inspired by simplicity, and by literature. Stories—especially the evolution and dynamics between events and characters—feed the imagination and create an alternate universe. These are some of the important elements that feed into my work. This is why I was attracted to Clifton Springs, because it is central to the Finger Lakes landscape, and it is in an area with a rich history.

My studio at Main Street Arts

My studio at Main Street Arts

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your residency at Main Street Arts?
I have always wanted to work specifically with the Finger Lakes landscape, so I will focus on that. Since there is an etching press outside the studio I will fool around with that and see what happens. Then I have a few surprise projects that I have no idea what will happen, so we will see. I would also like to get familiar with the area and meet new people as well.

Q: Where else can we find you?
I have a web site, www.Chasworld.com and a studio page on Facebook, www.facebook.com/ChasDavisStudio.

 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Cathy Gordon

Cathy Gordon. artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of June 2017, is working on mixed media paintings and cut paper pieces. We asked her a few questions about her artwork and studio practice:

Cathy Gordon working in her studio at Main Street Arts

Cathy Gordon working in her studio at Main Street Arts

Q: To start off, please you tell us about your background.
While I grew up on Air Forces bases across the United States and always created art, my love affair with art began when my parents divorced. My father moved to Chicago and my mother, my sisters, brother, and I moved to western Kansas. I know that sounds odd because you would not associate art with a small town in Kansas but it was a critical time in my life and as it happened the high school art teacher in that small town was a truly great art teacher (and a gifted artist in his own right!). I can’t begin to tell you how many of his students went on to become artists, art teachers, designers, photographers etc… He continues to mentor me to this day.

I went on to paint, draw, and print my way through the University of Kansas and I eventually obtained my Master of Fine Arts from Fort Hays State University, a small school in Kansas with an exceptional art program. Once again, I was fortunate that my drawing professor, who became an important mentor in my life, taught by example. She was a great artist and held her students to very high standards.

My experiences with these two great teachers made me realize that not only did I want to teach but I had to “walk the walk” for myself as well as my students. I knew my students needed to see me create art. I have taught full-time at the college level for twenty-five years and have always used an active studio approach to my classes.

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Cut paper piece by Cathy Gordon

Q: How would you describe your work?
My work has always been influenced by mathematics, Constructivist design aesthetics, and classical subject matter but most recently I have been inspired by the book, Visual Complexity, Mapping Patterns of information, by Manuel Lima. I am currently working on a series of cut paper drawings and mixed media collages that use the connecting lines and coordinates of mapping. Each coordinate represents a person, encounter, event, or transpiring moment in my life. The lines soon became a metaphor for the transience of life and our congruence with one another.

Cathy's workspace in her studio

Cathy’s workspace in her studio

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
For me, the process of creating a work of art is ongoing. I can’t turn it on and off. I am constantly contemplating a work of art whether it is in its early stages or almost completed.  It is a little embarrassing to tell you this, but I lay in bed at night thinking about artwork that I am either struggling with or considering. There is no question that the most important aspect of creation is to listen. If you truly listen to the artwork it will guide you.

On a practical note regarding creativity, it is imperative that you work on this process every day. The best-case scenario is to be in the studio working every day but if that doesn’t happen you still need to have your head in your work whether it is searching for ideas, taking notes, journaling, or exploring. We all hit creative road blocks. I once had a teacher tell me that when I feel empty and I don’t think I have anything to give, pick up a pen and draw straight lines. Keep drawing the lines as a form of meditation and the next thing you know you will be drawing. It works!

"Pear With a Five", mixed media painting by Cathleen Gordon

“Pear With a Five”, mixed media painting by Cathy Gordon

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
A: There is no question that my main goal for this residency is to create and produce art. This residency is a gift. It is a such a joy to walk into the studio and not have any of my regular life demands trying to draw me away from the studio. I am usually pretty good at dedicating time to creating art everyday but to have all day, every day to work has been nothing short incredible.

Creativity is often nurtured through experience and the fact that I came here from Texas is in and of itself, an experience. I am calling my month here, “Zen and the Art of Art.” I am looking at art along the way, creating art in the studio, meeting new people, seeing new landscapes and just trying to absorb the experiences.

I am working on both painted mixed media and cut paper projects while I am at Main Street Arts and I am working on incorporated mapping and charting into the works.

Q: What’s next for you?
A: I am a drawing and painting professor by day and an artist by night. And while that will continue, I am changing the location. As soon as I get back to Texas I will be packing up and moving to a new college in Kansas where I have accepted a new position. The adventure continues!

Q: Where else can we find you?
A: Check out my website at cathleengordonart.com

View and purchase a selection of Cathy’s work at the gallery and in our online shop

Meet the Artist in Residence: Adriane Smith

Adriane Smith is our first writer in residence at Main Street Arts! She’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the months of January–February 2017. We asked Adriane a few questions about her work, life, and more:

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Q: To start this off, tell us a little about your background.

A: I’m from right outside of Rochester, NY. I’ve always kept my hand in the literary arts from doing community relations at a bookstore to graduate work and teaching writing and Literature to working on a lecture series. I’ve had cool opportunities to write for various places, but I’m looking forward to devoting some time to my own personal projects.

Books and decorations in Adriane's residency studio

Books and decorations in Adriane’s residency studio

Q: How would you describe your work?

A: Victorian Futuristic Punk. I’m interested in fairytales, nostalgia, and liminality or the spaces between. I grew up on Molly Whuppie, Baba Yaga, the Grimm Brothers, and Hans Christian Anderson and I love how these fairytales are eerie and dark and violent and beautiful and clever and whimsical all at once. They tell us about the world on a very primal level as they illustrate life, death, love, goodness, sacrifice, and loss. Fairytales are also deeply nostalgic texts. They are the creation of and yearning for a time and place that never existed. Thus, fairytales speak to the deepest parts of our psyche. So, I’m also interested in exploring nostalgia for both the past and the future—how it imbues our memory of the past, our action in the present, and our hope for the future is an important element in my work.

Inside Adriane's residency studio

Inside Adriane’s residency studio

Q: What is your creative process?

A: Procrastinate, write really terrible prose, revise said prose, repeat until it’s not terrible anymore. That’s really the writing process in a nutshell. But it can also include reading, researching, drinking copious amounts of tea, writing lists, and staring into space. And I’m developing a penchant for writing on blank walls, so we’ll see where that takes me.

Adriane's cozy writing studio at Main Street Arts

Adriane’s cozy writing studio at Main Street Arts

Q: What are your goals for this residency?

A: So, there’s this great story about Douglas Adams’ editor locking him into a hotel room until he finished a long overdue project. He was a notorious procrastinator which gives me hope for myself and my own procrastinating tendencies. I think of this residency as my own version of the hotel room, but with better art. I plan to use this time to focus, discipline, and organize my writing life. So far, it’s working. I’ve got a longer novel in the works but there are also a couple shorter projects that I’d like to finish up. I will be teaching writing workshops—stay tuned. And I would love to work with artists who might want some help with artist statements or other writing for their careers—stay tuned on that one too.

Writing materials

Writing materials

Q: Who is your favorite writer and why?

A: My favorite writing usually brings together the fantastic with the ordinary. I like Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, and Douglas Adams very much for these reasons. There are so many great authors who have done and are doing so many interesting things and I’m very bad at lists because I always change my mind and/or leave something/someone out.

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Q: What advice would you give to other writers?

A: Write! Even if it’s just for a matter of minutes every day. There is no substitute for sitting down and putting one word after another over and over again. And don’t be afraid to write badly—just keep going; that’s what revision is for.


Are you an artist looking for new opportunities? Apply for a residency at Main Street Arts! Artists in residence will have 24-hour access to a large studio on our second floor (with great natural light), the option to show work in the gallery, and the opportunity to teach paid workshops. Housing is available. Submissions are reviewed and residencies awarded quarterly. Upcoming deadline: February 28, 2017 for a residency in April, May, or June 2017.