Tag Archives: rochester artist

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: Nick LaTona

Nick LaTona is one of our current artists in residence at Main Street Arts. He is working on sculptures and artist books during the months of May and June, 2017. We asked him a few questions about his artwork and studio practice.

Nick LaTona, artist in residence (May/June, 2017)

Nick LaTona, artist in residence (May/June, 2017)

Q: Tell us about yourself A: My name is Nicholas LaTona and I am from Churchville, NY. I currently work at Highland Hospital, Strong Memorial hospital and Entercom Communications. I’ve always been interested in the arts as far back as I can remember. When I was a junior in high school, I started to become invested in the arts and from there I attended college at SUNY Fredonia where I received my BFA. I was always indecisive about concentrating in a specific area but in my junior year is when I began concentrating specifically in sculpture. It took me 5 years to graduate because into the end of my junior year, I decided to have duel major in both sculpture and public relations.

Installation from a residency at The Yards in Rochester

Installation from a residency at The Yards in Rochester

Q: Tell us about your work A: Through the years in college I was exposed to many materials and was specifically drawn to Plaster, Wax, Copper, and Paper. Since graduating my work has drifted more towards using Paper, thread and pigment.

April 19th, artist book

“April 19th”, artist book about a day that changed my life

Q: What inspires you in the studio? A: I draw my inspiration from the medical experiences I’ve been exposed to. I find this helps me process what I’ve seen or have been through personally. This is what I have been concentrating on the past year. I also work on different pieces inspired by everyday experiences and various media I am introduced to.

Inside Nick's studio at Main Street Arts

Inside Nick’s studio at Main Street Arts

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio? A: The most useful tool(s) in my studio would have to be my cutting board, x-acto knife and ruler. I use those tools the most and they are the most essential tools to have with me. I collect all scrap paper and strands of thread whenever and wherever I can.  I do this so when I make paper I can recycle these bits and pieces and reuse them to make sheets of paper.

Q: Who are some of your favorite artists? A: Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Maggie Taylor. I draw inspiration from many artists, but these two in particular inspired me the moment I discovered their work and they continue to inspire me to this day. Gonzalez-Torres works minimalistic but his works speak powerfully while focusing on activism. Taylor’s work is more focused on surrealism, creating fantasy and dream-like images that are manipulated in Photoshop. I am very inspired by the local artists in Rochester I have had the opportunity to work with or meet. Everyone is exploring great concepts and you learn different ways to see what’s around you and interrupt. This has helped me tremendously through my work by offering positive feedback and motivation.

1992–2016, artist book

“1992–2016″, artist book

Q: Any advice for other artists? A: If I were to give another artist advice, it would be to double the amount of time you think it will take for you to complete work and to allow things to change as you progress through a piece. Everything I have made to this day has changed from my original intent to the finished piece.

Q: Where can we see more of your work? A: You can check out my work on Instagram @Nick_l.art


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: May 31, 2017 for a residency in July, August, September 2017.

From The Director: Re-Emerging Artists

Installation shot from the exhibition

Installation shot from the exhibition

Our current exhibition, Re-Emerging Artists features two painters who have both been making art for longer than I have been alive. Considering this fact as a painter myself, I find it so encouraging and inspiring to see two artists making such fascinating work after more than six decades of making art.

John Greene and Robert Marx met each other around the year 2000 but their history goes back to the 1950s when John purchased a print of Robert’s in a gallery on Madison Avenue in New York. Over the years, John acquired more of Robert’s work and was delighted to find out that he lived and worked in Rochester when he was in town for a meeting at the Memorial Art Gallery. The two met in Robert’s studio and immediately became friends.

Fast forward to 2017 and we have the first showing of their work together in an exhibition at Main Street Arts!

In Robert's studio at Anderson Alley. An early, in-progress shot of the painting "Solana" that is in the exhibition.

In Robert’s studio at Anderson Alley including an early, in-progress shot of the painting “Solana” that is in the exhibition.

I had the pleasure of visiting both artists in their studios multiple times in preparation for this show. With Robert, both in his studio at Anderson Alley and in his current basement studio in his home. He spent almost 30 years in the Anderson Arts building on Goodman Street in Rochester. He now has the convenience of not having to commute to and from the studio—unless you count the walk from the kitchen to the basement steps.

Making the initial selection of work for the show back in May of 2016

John and I in his studio, making the initial selection of work for the show back in May, 2016

I visit artist’s studios frequently and going to see Robert was a quick trip to Rochester. However, visiting John’s studio meant going on a bit of a road trip—he lives in the Hudson region about four hours southeast of Main Street Arts. During our first visit in May of 2016, I was thrilled to be welcomed into his home studio to see his encaustic paintings in person for the first time. I was particularly drawn to the “Dimensional Landscapes”, four of which are included in the exhibition. I had never seen a painting stick straight out from the wall before!

Dimensional Landscape, oil and encaustic on wood—John Greene

Dimensional Landscape, oil and encaustic on wood by John Greene (two views)

The seeds of this exhibition were sown in September, 2015 at an opening reception at Main Street Arts. Grant Holcomb, former director of MAG and Marcia Lowry, on the board of managers at MAG, approached me with the idea of having a show with Robert and John. Already being a Robert Marx fan—and soon to become a fan of John Greene—I quickly obliged and we set the date of April, 2017 for the show. All of us thought that 2017 sounded so far away, but here we are!

One of the sections of the show where John and Robert's work is paired together as one

One of the sections of the exhibition where John and Robert’s work is paired together as one

One of the things I looked forward to the most, besides seeing all of this work in person, was being able to curate it together in one space. I am always drawn to the idea mixing things up. Rather than have John’s work in one room and Robert’s in the other, we have sections like the one shown above, where pieces by each artist are hung as a cohesive singular installation. Other areas of the show allow for specific pieces to be highlighted on their own but for the most part the exhibition is a unification of both artist’s work.

Pictured from left to right: Marcia Lowry, John Greene, Gwen Greene, Bradley Butler, Francie Marx, Robert Marx, Grant Holcomb

Pictured from left to right: Marcia Lowry, John Greene, Gwen Greene, Bradley Butler, Francie Marx, Robert Marx, Grant Holcomb


Re-Emerging Artists runs through May 12th, 2017. On Saturday, April 29th, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., John and Robert will be discussing their work in the gallery (discussion begins promptly at 11 a.m.) RSVP by calling or emailing the gallery. More info: Artist Discussion Facebook Event

Purchase work from the Exhibition in our online store.
See photos from the exhibition and opening reception on Flickr.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Kara Lynn Cox

Kara Cox is one of our current artists in residence, she’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the month of April 2017. We asked her a few questions about her work, life, and more:

Kara Cox in her studio at Main Street Arts

Kara Cox in her studio at Main Street Arts

Q: To start this off, tell us about your background. 
I am from Rochester, New York, but currently live in Yonkers. This move was accompanied by my studies at SUNY Purchase for my BFA in Painting and Drawing. I have been keeping track of my studio hours, and guesstimate I’m around 3091 hours at this point. (I’ve been keeping strict track of my studio hours starting at the rough estimate of 3000).

I sort of have a day job… I wear many hats. Currently I am a Listings Editor for Artcritical, and have published writing with them as well. I’m also a studio assistant to various artists, and I will often freelance odd jobs. This is the only way I could support my nomadic studio life style and still have a place to live in New York City!

"Interference Blue" (Acrylic paint, house paint, on canvas)

“Interference Blue” (Acrylic paint, house paint, on canvas)

Q: How would you describe your work? 
My preferred medium is acrylic (painting). I also draw realistic portraits of people and dogs, but I don’t consider it part of my practice. As of late I think the paintings operate in the liminal space between abstraction and realism. They are rooted in their abstract formal elements, but are contingent on the structure inherent to photography (and physical objects/subjects of the reference photographs).

I’m really interested in how perception influences each of our individual experiences. The paintings have addressed this in their formal properties, such as hyper-gloss, or slightly differing colors. These formal decisions require the viewer to physically walk around the painting, as it is never fixated in a single moment.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
First my paintings start with my environment. 
My recent body of work originated from my attention to objects and surfaces that were easily dismissed or quite often devoid of monetary value. These quotidian objects felt deeply important to me; such as dirt piles, cracks in the sidewalks, or scuffs in the wall. I would then extract a pattern using Adobe Illustrator- either re drawing sections or using the program’s algorithms for selecting an element of the photograph and create a multitude of black stencils to project onto the surface of the painting. I think about the projection as if it were a grid…something to build off of and mold the image.

Still using this process I now think of my paintings as an exploration in perception, between subconsciously choosing what is brought to the foreground of my attention in an environment, and the way this information is translated through a digital lens.

Inside Kara's studio

Inside Kara’s studio

Q: What are your goals for this residency? 
I would like to utilize my time at this residency to produce a few new paintings, but also attempt to create a few short animations. I’ve been interested in making work about our perception of the immediate/physical world and how it is changed by our relationship to the digital/non-physical. I think exploring moments of quietness through extensive labor and the tedium of drawing them out frame by frame will allow me to respond in reverence to these dwindling moments of subtlety and stillness. I’m also interested in how a video might possess an unsalable quality, or have a veil of egalitarianism in its accessible/sharable aspects.

I’ve learned it is better to set very mild goals on a residency. This allows room for exploring new routes and ideas that may be unique to the experience, instead of shrouding new developments with an aggressive or unforgiving goal, mislabeled as productivity. I think some of the quietest, unsuspecting moments in our lives are the ones that fuel progress the most, and it is important to remain open to them.

KaraCox2_web

Kara at work in her studio

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
Hands down it would be my projector. Runner up is my computer. I’ve developed a real attachment to working this way, and these devices have really shaped my visual language.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why? 
I would say Trevor Paglen with his investigation into data collection and mass surveillance, and Hope Gangloff with her incredible color relationships are equally tied in first place for me. Runner-ups might be Sarah Sze, Agnes Martin, Donald Judd, and Dan Flavin.

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
I listen to so many kinds of music, but I find that I listen infrequently. I think listening to music while working discourages mindfulness, so very rarely will I listen while I’m painting. I think it is important to be fully present in activities (which is probably encouraged by my interest in our relationship to the digital).

Yellow Sun (Acrylic paint, house paint, on canvas)

Yellow Sun (Acrylic paint, house paint, on canvas)

Q: What’s next for you?
I’m going to head back to New York, and try to wear fewer hats. I’d like to stop freelancing, and find a consistent part time or full time job. I’ve already found a very small studio to rent for a few months, so I plan on slowing down on the nomadic residency life style for now. Other than that, as long as I can keep making and seeing artwork… I’m a happy camper.

Q: Where else can we find you? 
I can be found on Instagram at karalynn_cox, website at karalynncox.com, and email at karalynncox@gmail.com


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: May 31, 2017 for a residency in July, August, September 2017.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Stacey Rowe

Stacey Rowe is one of our current artists in residence, she’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the month of April 2017. We asked her a few questions about her work, life, and more:

Stacey Rowe in her studio at Main Street Arts

Stacey Rowe in her studio at Main Street Arts

Q: Tell us about your background.

A: I moved from the Syracuse area to Rochester to attend college at Nazareth. I have a B.S. in Studio Art and an M.S. in Art Therapy. I think I started painting on canvas around the age of fourteen. I work as a freelance writer and public relations/ marketing consultant. I’m also the editor-at-large at (585) magazine. The flexibility allows me to do a residency like this.

Q: How would you describe your work?

A: I paint in acrylic and I’d describe my work as colorful, humorous, and often layered with symbolism.

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

A: I’m very cerebral about it. Meaning: I tend to think more than sketch when I’m planning a piece. I’ll jot down lists of ideas and go about researching. Then, I’ll sketch right on the canvas and start painting. There are usually one or two improvisational items that happen once I get into it, so it’s good that paint is such a forgiving medium!

Some of the Pantone People Series

Some of the Pantone People Series

Q: What are your goals for this residency?  

A: I currently have three pages of ideas for the Pantone People series. These are smaller square works (6” x 6”) typically featuring a celebrity with some sort of creative play on the Pantone color swatch name. I’d like to put a dent in that list and also work on some larger pieces that will feature some of the funny animal characters I have created. I’m also going to teach a workshop on April 15. We’re going to have fun!

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

A: I’ve been using “The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver” for years and it really is the best. I once left paint on a relatively new brush overnight and this totally saved it. It’s also great for reshaping and conditioning brushes.

Q: Do you collect anything? 

A: Now that I’m older, I’m reducing my “Hoarders-Lite” tendencies. It’s tough because as an artsy person, it’s very easy to accumulate a lot of useless stuff! When I was a kid, I collected anything and everything – rocks, coins, different kinds of toys, and stuffed animals. I had a run on snowglobes for a bit. They’ve been in a few of my paintings. Since my father relocated, I only have one left and it’s kind of a relief. I still grab shells on beach trips and display them in a nice jar upon my return. I do have a few coins I’ve saved from my travels. I’d eventually like to see those in some form of jewelry. French Polynesian currency is particularly eye-catching.

"Goodbye Special Friend" is a painting I did for my graduate thesis in 2000. It features the only snowglobe I have left from the collection.

“Goodbye Special Friend” is a painting I did for my graduate thesis in 2000. It features the only snowglobe I have left from the collection.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why? 

A: It’s so hard to pick just one here. I love Gustav Klimt for his gorgeous pattern work and all of that gold leaf. I love Andy Warhol for his pop sensibility. I love Frida Kahlo for her ability to tell a story through imagery. And, of course, there’s the king of color – Henri Matisse.

Q: Who are your favorite local artists? 

A: I was incredibly happy that my college painting and illustration professor, Kathy Calderwood, had a show at RoCo last spring. It was great to see so many of her new paintings in a show. Lately, I’ve been interested in the work of Edie Small (Edith Lunt Small). She had a very intriguing piece in the RoCo member show in December. I’m always interested in what Sarah Rutherford and Andrea Durfee are doing because they are such incredibly skilled and powerful artists. I like what Shawn Dunwoody has done with street art and neighborhood beautification the past several years. He has fantastic energy and an ability to engage young artists and the general public. I’m also drawn to some abstract artists because their work is so different from my own – Brian O’Neill (who also does hyper-realistic work), Nate Hodge, and Bill Judkins – to name a few.

Nena Sanchez Gallery in Curaçao

Nena Sanchez Gallery in Curaçao

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork? 

A: Anytime I travel, I seem to wind up in a museum. I also love seeing the street art in other countries. Aside from the obvious choice (France), one of my favorite art destinations was Curaçao. In addition to the Kura Hulanda Slave Museum, I visited the Nena Sanchez and Serena Janet Israel galleries. The art community is very strong there. The architecture, floating market, and beach drinks aren’t too shabby, either!

Inside my studio at Main Street Arts

Inside my studio at Main Street Arts

Q: What advice would you give to other artists? 

A: There are going to be people who tell you to grow up and get a real job. Don’t listen to that noise. Yes, find something to pay your bills, but don’t give up on your passion.

Q: Who inspires you and why? 

A: I consider myself to be pretty fortunate that a very strong, intelligent, creative, and independent mother raised me. Naturally, I’m drawn to likeminded individuals. Many people inspire me and I’m very lucky to know such a diverse group of creatives in both my personal and professional life.

Q: How do you promote your artwork? 

A: I look for show opportunities and I use social media (primarily Instagram and my personal Facebook account) to get the word out. I’m often following up with people (a.k.a. nagging them) who express interest in a piece after a show comes down. I’m also planning on getting an Etsy or some kind of online shop going soon. I set an account up years ago but never had the time to figure it all out.

Stacey Rowe working in her studio at Main Street Arts as Snappy the turtle supervises.

Stacey Rowe working in her studio at Main Street Arts as Snappy the turtle supervises.

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

A: I will listen to pretty much anything except country, but I have to be careful that it’s not too funky – I’ll get distracted and won’t get anything done!

Q: What’s next for you? 

I’m working on getting some work in a few galleries outside of New York because I have family in Florida and several friends who have moved out of state. I figure it might make for a good excuse to visit!

Q: Where else can we find you?

A: My websiteTwitter & Instagram


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: May 31, 2017 for a residency in July, August, September 2017.

 

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.

monikowskiA

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).

monikowskiATWORK

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!

dinnerwareSET1

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.

Inside (or outside) the Artist’s Studio with Andy Reddout

Andy’s artwork is on view in “Sketchbooks: Genine Carvalheira-Gehman and Andy Reddout” in our second floor gallery. His work is available for purchase in our Online Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


Sketching in the back fields at The Apple Farm in Victor NY

Sketching in the back fields at The Apple Farm in Victor NY

I grew up in Victor NY, and attended Victor High School. After taking all of the art courses Victor had to offer I attended SUNY Cortland to become an art teacher. After realizing they threw out my major and didn’t tell me, I enrolled in their Studio Art program. During that time my printmaking professor introduced me to the graphic design program at RIT. The day after graduating from RIT I was fortunate enough to get my first job as an Art Director in the local advertising scene. I made TV commercials, ads, web sites, logos and billboards for international and local companies. After about eight years of working twelve hour days, weekends and holidays I needed a change. I eventually quit, got my Masters in Art Education from RIT (again), and became an art teacher. For the past 10 years I taught K-5 elementary art in Bloomfield NY, coached basketball, soccer and tennis. This past year I made the switch to Victor Senior High School where I teach Studio Art and Computer Generated Art. I also coach Modified Boys Basketball and Modified Boys Tennis.

Sketching at the Public Market, Rochester NY.

Sketching at the Public Market, Rochester NY.

I don’t want label myself as a “sketchbook artist” because it seems to take away from what I love to do which is capturing moments as I see them. If I don’t have my whole sketching kit with me–I can be found having a sketchbook and pen handy. I like to arrive early to doctor’s appointments and sketch the other patients, take an extra half an hour at Wegmans, or sit quietly in the corner of my favorite restaurant sketching away. I find I love layovers in airports since I started sketching–when people are engrossed in technology they make great models!

A majority of my drawings are made “en plein air” which is a term reserved for painting outdoors, or on-site. I will start and finish my drawings on-site and if my model moves, or a car parks in front of my subject–so be it!

A detail of my ever-expanding drawing kit.

A detail of my ever-expanding drawing kit.

Since I am drawing and painting on location my sketching tools have to be portable and reliable. I use a handful of different fountain pens filled with different colored inks–some of which are water-soluable and make for great effects. My watercolor kit contains 24 colors with emphasis on the primary colors (I have 9 different blues!) I have a few travel brushes, as well as some water brushes with water in the handles for quick painting. I rarely sketch in pencil first, but when I do I use some overpriced pencil I bought in Paris. My sketchbook choice took some twists and turns but after some amazing customer service and paper quality that can’t be beat, I use Stillman & Birn sketchbooks. I am a huge fan of their “Beta” paper which is an extra heavy weight paper ideal for watercolor and general abuse. I put all of this in my trusty Timbuk2 bag which has been to different countries, had coffee spilled in it, and pins pierced through the flap from where my sketches have taken me.

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When I started sketching I stayed away from people and anything people related. Instead, I focused a lot on objects and places. Whenever I attempted to sketch people they turned out like cartoon characters and lacked expression. So for a year I focused on sketching people only and failed over and over again. I even took a portrait drawing class trying to overcome my fear. So if you look back on my sketches in book #2–my people are very-remedial and limited in scope. And now I feel as if I can capture a person’s likeness and emotion light-years beyond where I was.

A sketch on the streets of Montefioralle, Italy

A sketch on the streets of Montefioralle, Italy

Sketching for me is a way to capture life’s moments in a more meaningful way than a snap of a camera. With all of my sketches–and with great detail–I can recall who I was with, the weather, our conversations–even what I was wearing that day. I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled to Europe and have sketched my way through the trips. A camera is an easy way to capture a moment and often a forgotten memento. But with my constant drawing these sketchbooks turn into prized possessions that tell a story. A recorded history. Moments in time. So as I progress, I’d just very simply like to continue to do what I am doing. Draw.

Captured on a sketchcrawl through Rochester, NY

Captured on a sketchcrawl through Rochester, NY

I get a lot of my inspiration from other artists that are sketching on location. Finding UrbanSketchers.org has changed the world of sketching for me. There are numerous links to artists, techniques and tools. You can get lost in there for days! I will be attending their UrbanSketchers Symposium this July in Chicago. Every year they pick a different city and this year is finally back in the states. I will have the chance to meet–and take classes from–a few of the “urban sketching all stars” that I look up to. Meeting and talking with other artists is a major influence and part of what makes this process so fun.

Sketching at the Cajun Jam at Coffee Connections

Sketching at the Cajun Jam at Coffee Connections

I attempt to maintain a blog of my work and travels: reddout.blogspot.com but Instagram (areddout) has made it more enjoyable to post art work and interact with other artists. With Instagram I’ve been able to meet other artists I admire, and actually got to go sketch with two of them while visiting Barcelona!


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Andy’s artwork in “Sketchbooks: Genine Carvalheira-Gehman and Andy Reddout” in our second floor gallery from  February 25–March 31, 2017. Visit his website at www.reddout.blogspot.com and follow Andy on Instagram @areddout.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by photographer Jenn Libby.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jenn Libby

Jenn’s artwork is on view in “Alternative Photographic Process”. Her work is available for purchase in our Online Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


I’m an artist who has worked primarily with the wet-plate collodion photo process since 2005.  Invented in 1851, wet-plate collodion was used to make ambrotypes, tintypes, glass negatives, and lantern slides.  It was the predominant photo process for several decades and was used to document the American Civil War.  This challenging process requires a darkroom on hand because the photographic plate stays wet during the exposure and must be developed immediately.

Self-portrait in Hungerford Studio, 2016, ruby ambrotype

Self-portrait in Hungerford Studio, 2016, ruby ambrotype

I learned (and later taught) the wet-plate process at the Visual Studies Workshop when I was working on my MFA in visual studies.  I’m from the U.P. [Upper Peninsula of Michigan] originally but I’ve lived most of my life in Rochester, NY, a city rich with photographic history and resources.  My interest in creating photographic objects is what led to my interest in learning the versatile collodion process.

The Cluttered House, Collodion positive transparency, 2005

The Cluttered House, 2005, collodion positive transparencies in jars

My thesis exhibition, The Cluttered House, included collodion images on glass in jars of water.  I didn’t know how long they would survive but I still have a number of the jars with the images still intact 12 years later.  My more recent work, Record, is made up of many tintype photograms mounted and displayed in vintage film developing hangers. While less sculptural than my jars, there is still a more tactile quality than photographs on paper.

Installation view of Record, 2011, Tintypes in film developing hangers

Installation view of Record, 2011, Tintypes in film developing hangers

I started making photograms in the darkroom with the wet-plate process during the winter months because of lack of natural light for in-camera work, before I had started shooting with artificial lights.  I could use the light from my enlarger to create these camera-less images.  When I saw the results I was hooked. Unlike a cyanotype or gelatin silver photogram, the trace or shadow of the object appears black instead of white.  Shadowy figures and objects emerge from the ether, and developing imperfections create a background with texture and depth.

Cowboy, 2011, Tintype

Cowboy, 2011, tintype

Like many artists, I’m a collector.  My work explores memory and the impulse to (re)collect.  Almost all of my artwork (I also make artists’ books and small gauge films) starts with objects and images in my collection.  The Cluttered House installation grew out of three objects I took from an abandoned house many years ago—a cigar box, an old children’s book, and a young woman’s diary.  For Record, I started recording bones, toys, glass items and other natural and man-made objects—small fragments of the 20th century.

Kodak, 2011, tintype

Kodak, 2011, tintype

The photogram of a translucent blue vinyl 45rpm record (with the aptly named track, Holiday on Mars) was the image in Record that led to my next series, Seeing is Forgetting.  I began making square photogram tintypes using primarily round objects, many of which were glass.  The images in Record are generally identifiable objects.  With Seeing is Forgetting I am transitioning into the abstract and hoping the viewer will look at the image and not at the object that I recorded.

Record (Holiday on Mars), 2011, tintype

Record (Holiday on Mars), 2011, tintype

I liked these tiny celestial and cellular looking images and an old map cabinet was the perfect place to encase them.  It speaks of collections, particularly those used for study, education, and display. I am very much influenced by cabinets of curiosity, the precursors to our modern day museums and archives.  What drives people to collect?  What drives them to record their lives?

Seeing is Forgetting, 2014, tintypes in map cabinet

Seeing is Forgetting, 2014, tintypes in map cabinet

I was curious to see how these images would look enlarged.  I printed out a 16”x16” test print and liked it, but decided it needed to be bigger.  I ended up having six of the images printed as 30” x 30” ink jet prints and incorporating them into the series with the map cabinet.  I love the intimacy of the small objects, but I also find the large prints to be exciting in a different way.  By changing the scale I remove the image further from the object that made it.  Oddly, with these large prints, I found myself moving away from remembering and into being present.

#3, 2014, inkjet print

#3, 2014, inkjet print

Here are a few images to illustrate my wet-plate shooting process.

In this first image I am pouring collodion onto a thoroughly cleaned and polished piece of black glass.

Pouring the plate

Next, I take the plate into the darkroom and put it in a bath of silver nitrate.  It will stay here for 3-4 minutes as the plate becomes sensitized.

Sensitizing the plate

Sensitizing the plate

I take the sensitized plate, now in a light-tight plate holder, to my 8×10 camera to make the photograph.

Inserting plate holder

Inserting plate holder

After making my exposure I take the plate back into the darkroom to develop it.

Developing the plate

Developing the plate

After developing and rinsing I can take the plate into the light to fix it.  After fixing, the plate will be thoroughly rinsed, dried, and varnished.

Fixing the plate

Fixing the plate

As for my physical studio space, I’ve been in transition since last summer.  After spending a few years working out of the Hungerford building, I decided to convert my garage into a new studio.  It’s a beautiful space with a large darkroom, lots of natural light, and access to the outdoors.  I forgot to mention that the collodion process is sensitive to ultraviolet light and it is a slow process akin to a film speed of ISO 1, which means it requires a lot of UV light.  Shooting outdoors is often the ideal option.  I’m really looking forward to spring and starting new work in my new space!


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Jenn’s artwork in “Alternative Photographic Process” (runs February 25–March 31, 2017). Visit her website at www.jennlibby.com for more information on Jenn’s wet-plate portrait studio and workshops. Follow Jenn on Instagram @geneseelibby and like her Facebook page at Genesee Libby Studio.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by photographer Ian Sherlock.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Rachel Cordaro

“Leave room for inspiration and the mood to create will present itself.”

~Rachel Cordaro

Artist Rachel Cordaro Photography by Katie Finnerty

Artist Rachel Cordaro Photography by Katie Finnerty

Hi! I’m Rachel Cordaro, a Rochester NY native- born and raised. I grew up with great encouraging artistic parents. I am the youngest of three hilariously endearing siblings. I have been an artist my whole life. Dabbling in art shows I decided to make it a permanent career in 2010. I am best known for my vibrant and cheerful floral paintings using acrylics on canvas as well as my hand crochet neck ruffs! Most recently I am taking my career to the next level as I have been pursuing the textile world! Putting my floral prints on pillows, tablecloths and other home fabrics!

My home studio! Photography by Kate Finnerty

My home studio! Photography by Kate Finnerty

What makes me tick!??
I am extremely passionate about what I do. I have a super supportive husband and family. Rochester makes me feel inspired to do what I do. It is truly a platform for entrepreneurs and a rich art community. Painting and textile work for me is therapeutic and fulfilling. There is no better feeling than expressing what is inside of me onto canvas and creating for the world to see.

My favorite part of what I do is having the luxury to be the BOSS!! I work best that way. I can create at my leisure and it is fantastic. Also I love that my husband Cordell and I are both artists so we can be on the same page.

Magnolias are one of my favorite flowers to paint. "Flower Market" Original Painting by Rachel Cordaro. Photography by Katie Finnerty

Magnolias are one of my favorite flowers to paint. “Flower Market” Original Painting by Rachel Cordaro. Photography by Katie Finnerty

Artist Rachel Cordaro Photography by Hannah Betts

Artist Rachel Cordaro Photography by Hannah Betts


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Rachel Cordaro’s paintings and neck ruff in the gallery. Visit Rachel’s website at www.rachelcordaro.com and follow her on Instagram @rachelcordaroart

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by Jessie Marianacci Valone of jmv ceramics.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Jacquelyn O’Brien

Jacquelyn O’Brien is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts. She’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the months of January–February 2017 (you can stop by the gallery to see her studio and works in progress). We asked Jacquelyn a few questions about her artwork, life, and more:

Jacquelyn O'Brien in her residency studio

Jacquelyn O’Brien in her residency studio

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

A: I’ve always been a visual person and art appreciator. I’m in love with the visual world and the work it produces. I got my undergraduate degree at the University at Buffalo State College in Sculpture, did a residency in Belle, MO between degrees, and then went to graduate school at the Rochester Institute of Technology, earning a degree in Studio Arts Sculpture. I am the oldest of five children and grew up in a single parent home with my mom. I think this is what made me a feminist. Being my mothers daughter has made me the way I am, being raised by a strong, independent woman.

Jacquelyn O'Brien, "Glitter Queen", cedar, glitter, yarn, 3' x 4', 2016.

Jacquelyn O’Brien, “Glitter Queen”, cedar, glitter, yarn, 3′ x 4′, 2016.

Jacquelyn O'Brien, "Influence Each Other", 3' x 3', cedar, yarn, fiber, 2016.

Jacquelyn O’Brien, “Influence Each Other”, 3′ x 3′, cedar, yarn, fiber, 2016.

Q: How would you describe your work?

A: I would describe my work as being a blending and multiplicity of materials. I combine materials that are traditionally “masculine” or “feminine”, harkening to the mixing of gender identifications in our current culture. My work uses the influence of color, weight, scale, gesture, politics, and materiality.

Cunt Cushions by Jacquelyn O'Brien

Cunt Cushions by Jacquelyn O’Brien

Fabrics in Jacquelyn's residency studio

Fabrics in Jacquelyn’s residency studio

Materials for Jacquelyn's embroidered hoops

Materials for Jacquelyn’s embroidered hoops

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

A: My process varies depending on what I’m working on to fulfill the individual needs of each piece. If I’m casting concrete, my process requires more planning in the way of mold making, supplies, armatures, and calculating weight. As a result, I would sketch in a very detailed way, with schematics and details that would help me efficiently create a piece. If I’m making a fabric work, like an embroidery or cunt cushion, I can take more risks and employ more off-the-cuff choices. I always do a small, messy sketch of what I’m thinking about and where I want the work to go before any piece is made. I also like to pin samples of materials on my cork board to see them all together.

Preparatory materials in Jacquelyn's residency studio

Preparatory materials in Jacquelyn’s residency studio

Preparatory materials in Jacquelyn's residency studio

Preparatory materials in Jacquelyn’s residency studio

Q: What are your goals for this residency? 

A: My goal for this residency is to focus on the more time consuming, lighter work that contributes to my heavier, bigger work. I’m working on three large embroideries that have political content stitched upon them. I am in process of constructing a 4×4 foot embroidery that requires me to build out a custom hoop, so that will be an interesting new endeavor!

Jacquelyn at work in her residency studio

Jacquelyn at work in her residency studio

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m the founder of a group called the Politits Art Coalition and we have a lot coming up in the next few months. In March, the PAC is showing their work at Gallery Q on College Street in Rochester. Then we’re curating a Women’s Work show in the same month at The Yards Collaborative Art Space. We’re having a show at The Yards featuring work by the six members of the PAC in April as well. Also, I will have a solo show this summer! Stay tuned for dates and locations.

Jacquelyn and Carolina

Jacquelyn and her studio helper Carolina

Q: Where can we find you?

A: You can find my work on my website www.jacquelynmarieobrien.com. You can also find me on Facebook at Jacquelyn O’Brien : Art, on Etsy as AFeministKillJoy, and on Instagram @dogmomm. If you’re looking to see my work in person it is always up at Dichotomy Rochester, located at The Yards. There is a changing display with work for sale. You can email me at jacquelynmarieobrien@gmail.com.


Embroidered hoops by Jacquelyn O'Brien

Embroidered hoops by Jacquelyn O’Brien

Rude Embroidery Workshop with Jacquelyn O’Brien
Saturday, February 18th, 12pm–3pm | $35 per person

Create your own sassy embroideries with fiber artist Jacquelyn O’Brien! In this workshop you’ll play with colored embroidery floss, funky beads, fun fabrics, and fringe to make four-inch “rude embroideries”. 

No need to be polite in this workshop, your rude embroidery can say what you really want to say! Laugh and have a good time while stitching out your innermost thoughts and feelings. 

Call, email, or visit our website to reserve your spot.
(315) 462-0210 | mstreetarts@gmail.com


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.