Tag Archives: Artist Residency

Meet the Artist in Residence: Chas Davis

Chas Davis is one of our current artists in residence at Main Street Arts. He is working on prints and paintings during the month of July, 2017. 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 is one of our current artists in residence at Main Street Arts. She is working on mixed media paintings and cut paper pieces during the month of June, 2017. 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.

CathyGordonCutPaper

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.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Kira Buckel

Kira Buckel is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts. She’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the months of November–December 2016 (you can stop by the gallery to see her studio and works in progress). We asked Kira a few questions about her artwork, life, and more:

Kira Buckel working in her studio at Main Street Arts

Kira Buckel working in her studio at Main Street Arts

Q: To start this off, would you tell us about your background?

A: I grew up on the East End of Long Island and always enjoyed drawing as a child. I studied art in high school and through college. I graduated from Bard College with a BA in Studio Art this past May. As a recent graduate I’ve been working and living back home and looking for job opportunities in art.

Kira Buckel, "Infinite Kitchen" (detail), acrylic, gouache, painted collaged paper, PVA glue, tape on paper, 22’ x 7’, 2016.

Kira Buckel, “Infinite Kitchen” (detail), acrylic, gouache, painted collaged paper, PVA glue, tape on paper, 22’ x 7’, 2016.

Q: How would you describe your work? 

A: I usually work in a 2-D format, mostly painting and drawing, and occasionally printmaking. At college I explored sculpture as well, but settled back into painting for my senior thesis. Most recently I have been working with collaged paper that I paint or using found papers and incorporating them into paintings. I like to work representationally, usually of everyday reality, but mixed with the imagined in order to express a personal relationship to the subject of the painting.

Kira Buckel works on a new painting/collage

Kira Buckel works on a new painting/collage

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

A: I work from sketches and photos, but ultimately allow the materials I’m using to direct the process of painting. When working with collaged paper I sometimes peel off layers or use sandpaper to reveal what is underneath. I enjoy working this way because it is tactile and almost sculptural.

Kira creates her works by collaging painted paper

Kira creates her works by collaging painted paper

Kira Buckel, "On an Anxious Sea" (detail), acrylic, watercolor, painted collaged paper, PVA glue, tape on paper, 12’ x 6’4”, 2016.

Kira Buckel, “On an Anxious Sea” (detail), acrylic, watercolor, painted collaged paper, PVA glue, tape on paper, 12’ x 6’4”, 2016.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?

A: One of my favorite artists is Pierre Bonnard. I’m always inspired by how he transformed everyday scenes into otherworldly images through his paintings. His use of color is especially magical.

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.

A: I want to make as many paintings as I can during my time here, using sketches and imagery from the past. I’d like to explore the Finger Lakes region and paint local scenes as well.

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Q: What’s next for you?

A: Next I’ll be attending a residency at the Vermont Studio Center for the month of February. After that, I’m applying for other residencies and opportunities, and continuing the search for jobs in NYC or the northeast in general. Eventually I’d like to attend graduate school.

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Q: Where else can we find you?

You can view my work at www.kirabuckel.com. I’ll also be on Instagram soon!


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.

Meet the Artist in Residence: James Mikhel Emerson

James Mikhel Emerson is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts! He’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the month of August 2016 (you can stop by the gallery to see his studio and work in progress). We asked James a few questions about his artwork, life, and more:

Artist in residence James Mikhel Emerson

Artist in residence James Mikhel Emerson in his studio at Main Street Arts

Q: Where are you from?

A: I’m from a real small town called Candler, in the heartland. It’s actually an unincorporated borough, just like one that I passed real close to Clifton Springs.

"The Totem Can Project" by James Mikhel Emerson

“The Totem Can Project” by James Mikhel Emerson

Q: How long have you been making artwork?

A: I’ve been making art my whole life. Both of my parents were artist craftsmen, so I started very early in clay and paint. Later, I moved to New York City and studied traditional drawing, painting, and advanced mixed media at the Art Students League in Manhattan.

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Q: How would you describe your work? What is your preferred medium and your typical subject matter?

A: Primitive Surrealism is a term I like. I work with concepts and styles that extend across generations; things that humans can relate to regardless of time and place.

Somebody else just asked me what my preferred medium is, and I’ve been thinking about it. It’s sculpture when coupled with drawing and painting. I usually draw to absorb and explore different styles, and then sort of port that over into sculptures through a lot of different means.

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James4

Q: Do you collect artwork?

A: I do, very occasionally. I have a couple of very cool prints, a coke bottle, some small stone objects, and a wooden piece of a new alphabet created by a great artist, Esteban Patiño. I also have a small collection of artwork that I found around NYC over the years, which was created by #FAF and #FreeArtsMovement artists. Some of it’s good stuff.

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?

A: Good question. My favorite places are anywhere art doesn’t normally occur, so outside of galleries, museums, etc. I have participated in the #FAF as I mentioned before, and have left a bunch of small sculptures in public places for people to find and to hold, so I get a kick when I find other artists doing that as well.

A recent public sculpture by James in Riverside Park South in Manhattan

A recent public sculpture by James in Riverside Park South in Manhattan

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.

A: Right now I am working on a new series of paintings and sculptures which use old visual language to present contemporary life. I’m using a bunch of styles to create contemporary symbols and representational imagery with which to talk about the world we live in.

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Q: What advice would you give to other artists?

A: Seek the deeper function of art. Ask “What does art do for us humans, why do we keep creating it?” It is a question that is as old as us and is absolutely relevant today. See how far you can go to find your answer.

Q: What’s next for you? 

A: I think I’m gonna drive over to New York to the Wassaic Project. There are some folks over there that I’m hoping to see.

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Q: Where else can we find you?

A: You can see more of my artwork at www.jamesmikhel.com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @JamesMikhel.


Sign up for a Social Media for Artists Workshop with James Mikhel Emerson! In this workshop, James will discuss different social media platforms and strategies for creating platform-specific content. Increase your reach and get your work in front of collectors, galleries, and more! Saturday, August 20, 2016 from 12-3pm. $25 per person. Call, email, or stop in to sign up today.

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. Submissions are reviewed and awarded on an ongoing basis.