Tag Archives: Small Works 2016

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Cat Clay: Pop Vintage

Cat Clay’s work is on view in our juried exhibition “Small Works 2016”. Their work is available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


Cat Clay was founded by Clifton Wood, a gorgeous calico who stepped on a rainbow the same day as Prince.

cliff-in-vase-insta

Miss Clifton Wood

She has been reincarnated as the Dalai Kitten, Miss Beckett. The sole employee of Cat Clay is Sabra, who also doubles as a mediocre kitten servant.

Our studio was founded 10 years ago, after taking classes at Genesee Pottery and RIT, as well as working alongside Stephen Merritt & Richard Aerni. We are located in the historic Hungerford Building in Rochester, New York. Cat Clay’s cozy studio has all the usual components: wheel, slab roller, kiln, display shelves. Plus an executive gym for Beckett.

Cat Clay studio

Cat Clay studio

We make functional pottery and sculpture, and are best known for our mug shot mugs.

David Bowie mugshot mug

David Bowie mugshot mug

And this time of year, we make ornaments – lots & lots of ornaments. With critical quality control being provided by senior management.

Quality control of ornaments by Miss Beckett Wood

Quality control of ornaments by Miss Beckett Wood

The other mainstay of our studio is Pop Vintage, where we transform vintage china into pieces that appeal to a new generation of collectors. This is done by designing an image with pop references, applying it to the china, then re-firing it in the kiln.

The first step in creating a Pop Vintage piece is to buy vintage china. A lot of vintage china. 6 shelving units of vintage china. Too much china? A lot of our friends are enablers, acting as pickers – keeping a lookout when they go thrifting or to estate sales.

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When we bring home a new pattern, we test it for lead – both to meet federal regulations, and to be sure our kiln is not contaminated and fuming lead on everything that’s fired in it.

Once we pass that hurdle, the guess work begins: how hot was the glaze fired on the vintage china?

If under-fired, the image isn’t melted enough into the surface of the glaze and will rub off. If over-fired, the image will disappear. Or bloating can happen, so that the piece looks like it has the plague, like poor Mr. Sloth (pictured below). Or even worse, the piece can melt down, turning into a lava flow in the kiln, and taking out everything in its path. Most of our vintage china is successfully re-fired to a point from 1900-2300 degrees – and a mere 50 degree difference can spell success or failure.

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Even if we guess correctly, there may be a defect in the piece that isn’t visible until after the firing. Soup saves lives, but it couldn’t save the invisible crack that grew in the kiln.

Bowl cracked during firing

Bowl cracked during firing

When we started making pop vintage, about 3 out of 10 pieces were successful. But we fell in love with those successes and kept plugging away. Now, given a new china pattern by an unknown maker, we guess correctly about 70% of the time.

And our images? We design them using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.  Sometimes current events inspire a design, such as our St. Bowie ornament, where we added renaissance wings and halo.

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Other times, we incorporate  lots of vintage illustrations with a snarky twist, to make the bridge from vintage to pop. For Valentine’s Day, we’ll couple an old print of cutlery and pair it with the caption, “Spooning leads to forking”. Or take a vintage cupid, and substitute an AK47 for the bow and arrow, with the added words, “Love hurts”.

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Then comes marrying the image to a specific piece of china, taking into account how the china’s colors will change from the kiln’s heat. And adjusting the contrast of the image so that it pairs well with the vintage glaze characteristics.

Once that’s done, we  re-size the image for the specific china, print it on special paper that creates a water-slide decal, cut it out, soak it in water and apply it to the plate. At this point, the decal is a stark black. A design may be a simple one-image decal. Or there can be over 20 individual decals that are hand-placed on one object.

Plates with images, before firing

Plates with images, before firing

Now it’s time to carefully pack up everything, load it in the car and take it to the kiln at the studio.

The kiln will fire for 8-12 hours and cool for 16 hours before we can unload it. And at the end, if all has gone well, we have a Pop Vintage piece. The decal image is now a warm sepia, and the original colors of the vintage china have softened.

"Surrender, Soviet Shark Subs"

“Surrender, Soviet Shark Subs”

Want to see more of our work? Look no further than Main Street Arts, which carries our Pop Vintage year round. Or check us out on Instagram: @cat.clay. And feel free to visit the studio – we’re there a lot!

In our spare time, we host Graphic Ear, a radio show on WAYO 104.3.

Our radio show on WAYO 104.3

Our radio show on WAYO 104.3

Each Thursday at 6pm, we have a visual artist as our guest, and talk about their life & work and play the music their favorite music. And we’ve had members of the Main Street Arts on – both Bradley Butler and Melissa Huang!

Bradley Butler on Graphic Ear

Bradley Butler on Graphic Ear


 

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Cat Clay’s work in our current exhibition “Small Works 2016” (juried by Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator of RoCo; exhibition runs through January 6th). Sabra and Beckett’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com. and in our physical gallery shop. 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Werner Sun: Redbud Reconsidered

Werner’s artwork is on view in our juried exhibition “Small Works 2016”. His work is available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


I am an abstract artist from Ithaca, NY and I work with digital prints, drawings, and other paper materials that I cut and fold into three-dimensional patterns. I started making these paper sculptures about five years ago. At the time I was experimenting with digital photographic compositions, but I wanted them to be more than just pixels on a computer screen; I wanted to work with them as physical objects. These folded sculptures are my way of establishing a kind of intimacy with my images.

Werner Sun in his studio.

Werner Sun in his studio.

Below, I show the process I used for a recent wall sculpture (18″ x 24″ x 2″) called Redbud Reconsidered. This piece began with a photograph I took of a redbud tree in my yard on a sunny October day, when the leaves were a brilliant shade of gold.

Source photograph for Redbud Reconsidered.

Source photograph for Redbud Reconsidered.

Then, I brought this image into Photoshop and combined it with some abstracted floating shapes derived from a different photograph.

Manipulated photograph for Redbud Reconsidered.

Manipulated photograph for Redbud Reconsidered.

At this point, I made a 12″ x 16″ archival inkjet print of the image. Instead of folding the print itself (as I usually do), I decided to overlay some patterns made from plain white paper. Below, you can see the folded elements being constructed and then arranged on the print.

Constructing the folded paper elements.

Constructing the folded paper elements.

Sculptural folded paper patterns.

Sculptural folded paper patterns.

Folded paper elements with manipulated photograph.

Folded paper elements with manipulated photograph.

In playing around with the composition, I couldn’t get the proportions quite right. So, I reprinted the image in a larger size and added pencil drawings on top. I also introduced a second, smaller version of the folded pattern to soften the visual rhythm. Finally, I mounted the new print and the folded elements on a 18″ x 24″ x 1.5″ wooden board (painted black), and I coated all the exposed paper with protective acrylic varnish. The finished piece is shown below.

Redbud Reconsidered, full view from front.

Redbud Reconsidered, full view from front.

Redbud Reconsidered, detail view.

Redbud Reconsidered, detail view.

Redbud Reconsidered, detail view.

Redbud Reconsidered, detail view.

Redbud Reconsidered, side view.

Redbud Reconsidered, side view.

A consistent theme in my work has been the use of patterns to transform my visual materials. I am a particle physicist by training, and I’m fascinated by how people figure things out, how our brains can come up with new knowledge by teasing out patterns from a sea of data. So, in a way, my artistic process mirrors my scientific process. In Redbud Reconsidered, I’m treating the source image as data to be understood, and the alterations I’ve made by hand — the pencil drawings and folded paper — grow out of a close examination of the material. These superimposed patterns therefore serve as a lasting record of my own curiosity.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Werner’s work in our current exhibition “Small Works 2016” (juried by Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator of RoCo; exhibition runs through January 6th). Werner’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com. Visit his website at www.wernersun.com and follow him on Instagram @wernersun.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter Kathryn E. Noska.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Kathryn E. Noska

Kathryn’s artwork is on view in our juried exhibition “Small Works 2016”. Her work is available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


I hold an Associates in Fine Art and reside in Pennsylvania.  I’ve been accepted in numerous juried exhibitions and have won several local and national awards.  My motto, “Take Time to Find the Unseen” is realized through Symbolism, the language of my art.  I paint mystic still life in mythic landscapes using curious compositions, representational symbolism, and philosophic whimsy.

As an artist with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, (sensitization to extremely low levels of many seemingly unrelated chemicals, pollutants and toxins), I’ve traveled a winding road to find safe, nontoxic materials that won’t trigger any symptoms.  My goal is to express my personal sense of creativity – healthfully.

Come with me as I relate this journey…

Me in my studio

Me in my studio

I was trained as an oil painter from the age of 12, but by college I had to give it up due to reactions to the solvents.  I then worked with acrylics for many years, but my symptoms gradually increased because the formaldehyde and ammonia in acrylics was too much for my body to handle.

Knowing that I could not work with any solvents or chemicals, I stopped painting altogether and for the last 5 years worked on a series of drawings.  However, being an oil painter at heart with a strong passion, purpose and persistence, I went back to research in 2015 and learned about the solvent-free oil painting method used by many Old Master Painters.

Studio with still life setup

Studio with still life setup

My journey continued as I searched for a chemical and alkyd free oil paint.  After trying the paints from several very good companies, to which my body still reacted, I discovered Art Treehouse, which makes paint with cold-pressed walnut oil that are completely free of chemicals at all stages of the processing.  Huzzah!

The Art Treehouse colors and oils I use

The Art Treehouse colors and oils I use

Now that I am working completely solvent-free with slower drying walnut oil paints, I have to make some adjustments to my familiar painting process.

Stages of my painting process:

First, I develop a detailed drawing on grid paper using a harmonic grid to aid the placement of my composition.

The drawing composition on grid paper.

The drawing composition on grid paper.

Harmonic Grid I use to create a pleasing composition.

Harmonic Grid I use to create a pleasing composition.

Next, I trace it on a panel using a burnt umber oil transfer technique, then thinly paint a brunaille underpainting.

Oil transfer onto panel and brunaille underpainting.

Oil transfer onto panel and brunaille underpainting.

Once the underpainting is dry, I apply many mechanically thin layers of color often adding a small amount of umber and/or rubbing the paint down with paper towel to help them dry a little faster.  Because walnut oil is less viscous than linseed oil, I have no need for any additional medium.  I work with straight tube paint, only adding a little water-washed walnut oil to the upper layers as needed.

First layer of color applied thinly.

First layer of color applied thinly.

Beginning to add volume and details.

Beginning to add volume and details.

Both heat and light help speed the oxidation process of oils.  I place the painting inside an insulated box using the small amount of heat from either a low 25 watt incandescent or high wattage LED lightbulb to help speed the drying time – free of solvent and sensitivity!  (Of course it still requires patience.)  :-)

Paintings inside the heat box.  I use an old insulated cooler with LED lamp.  The box is kept closed :-)

Paintings in the heat box (old insulated cooler).  If using an incandescent, keep the lid open slightly to allow air flow.  If using an LED keep the lid closed – they don’t produce much heat.

Clean up is easy.  Walnut oil is expensive, so rather than use it for clean up I use a less expensive oil like grapeseed or sunflower.  I rinse the brushes in the oil and wipe them on a paper towel repeating this several times to remove most of the oil paint.  I then repeatedly wash the brushes using an oil soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Unscented bar soap) until the soapsuds remain white.  The palette I use is a butcher’s tray which is cleaned up just as easily by wiping with oil, then with soap and water.

Symbolism of Finished Painting:  This painting depicts going within to sweep away negativity.

Grapefruit: One’s state of mind – sour or sweet.  Broom: Change; Material and spiritual cleansing; Clean sweep.  Book: Knowledge; Wisdom; Chronicle of existence.

Mind Sweep - Sour or Sweet.  8 x 10  Oil on Panel  © 2016 Kathryn E. Noska

Mind Sweep – Sour or Sweet    8″ x 10″    Oil on Panel    © 2016 Kathryn E. Noska

“Metaphor is the path I travel to perceive, consider and understand the world.  I faithfully represent the seen, exterior of objects while revealing an internal, unseen spirit, thus transcending reality.  My paintings become a means for uncovering the veiled layers of reality cultivating conscious awareness of my life path”.

Gratefully, my journey continues!  Thanks for coming along with me. To keep in touch with what I’m doing or to see more of my art check out my website KathrynENoska.com and Like my Facebook Page – Kathryn E. Noska.  I love sharing my process on Instagram, too.  Please follow me @kathrynenoska.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Kathryn’s work in our current exhibition “Small Works 2016” (juried by Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator of RoCo; exhibition runs through January 6th). Kathryn’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by artist Megan Armstrong.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Megan Armstrong

Megan’s artwork is on view in our juried exhibition “Small Works 2016”. Her work is available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


Artist Statement:
A line is a critical tool for communication – whether compositionally visual or textual, a line connected to another line creates a navigational thread to follow – this thread can be woven in and out as a form of coded language – the duplicity of a line is directly linked to the formation and understanding of words – whether drawn or written, a line can develop into structures, systems, labels, and powerful (perhaps dangerous) associations – associations spur emotional, factual, and fallible interpretations and translations – lines act as evidence of human thought – definitions, synonyms, organizations – lines slide back and forth to create new relationships, pairings, combinations, composites, connections – the limitlessness of the line is linked with it’s limitations – through repetitive, compulsive exploration and manipulation of lines I investigate notions of normalcy by examining the narrative lines between fiction and reality.

Through practical and emotional research of a specific system – mental illness and the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Version 5 (DSM-V) – I create artwork that translates the coded language within the system, as well as the individual experiences that are left out of the clinical translation of human behavior. When a system and it’s coding logic is laboriously translated into didactic lines that weave in and out, attempting individuality, but ultimately creating controlled chaos, the complexity and ambiguity of a convoluted system remains.  

Work in Progress

Megan Armstrong in her studio drawing lines for a work in progress.

For the past three years my work has focused on the exploration of lines, as a form of communication, translation, and investigation of systems and mark-making. While the width and style of the line remains consistent in each drawing, it is important that every endeavor is a challenge, whether in content or form.

Artist Studio

Megan Armstrong’s home studio.

This past summer I moved to Rochester, NY, and set up a temporary artist studio in my home. The second I step into the house I am reminded of the art I have made in the past, current pieces, and the type of work I would like to attempt in the future.

Nomenclature, 2016, Ink and graphite drawing on paper, 36"H x 42"W

Nomenclature, 2016, Ink and graphite drawing on paper, 36″H x 42″W

Hanging above my makeshift drawing table is Nomenclature, a drawing I started at the Byrdcliffe Artist Residency in Woodstock, New York in 2015, and completed in 2016. The drawing is created by individual ink lines woven together. The background was laboriously hand-drawn, erased, and re-worked in graphite.

A Reductionistic Anachronism, 2016, Ink drawings on paper, Eighteen individual 12"H x 12"W drawings

A Reductionistic Anachronism, 2016, Ink drawings on paper, Eighteen individual 12″H x 12″W drawings

Resting on the drawing table is a work in progress titled A Reductionistic Anachronism. This piece was started with the simple and necessary idea of individual drawings building and creating a larger drawing. I was in the process of moving and had packed up all of my larger works and tools, except for my micron pens. I began working on a 12″ x 12″ drawing with the intention that it would connect to another, and another, and another… In a grouping of 18 drawings as shown it measures a total of 36″H x 72″. This drawing will continue to grow indefinitely.

The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language (106), 2016, Ink drawing on paper, 12"H x 12"W

The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language (106), 2016, Ink drawing on paper, 12″H x 12″W

The drawing shown above was created for the Small Works 2016 Exhibit at Main Street Arts. I challenged myself to take content I had previously worked on in a large scale, to the restricted dimensions of 12″H x 12″W. The drawing created for Small Works 2016, which won the Director’s Choice Award, features 106 lines total, signifying the amount of mental disorders defined by the first version of the DSM. The piece is an iteration of a drawing I created for my MFA Thesis at San Francisco Institute of Art, title The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language for Communication (pictured below). The entire drawing includes 394 hand-drawn ink lines, depicting the number of current codes for diagnosing mental illness, as categorized by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Version 5 (DSM-V). These pieces were created line by line, and each line is numbered, with a clear beginning and end. This means that you can follow one line in it’s entirety. In both drawings there seems to be a clear form, although abstract, when viewed from a distance. The closer you get to the drawings, the easier it is to see the distinctions between each line, the connections and interactions, as well as the varying paths traveled. Each line is completely unique and wholly individual, yet viewed on the same page and in the same space, they begin to seem the same and it is more difficult to clearly define them as separate.

The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language for Communication, 2016, Ink drawing on paper, 48"H x 48"W

The Clear Virtue of Creating a Common Language for Communication, 2016, Ink drawing on paper, 48″H x 48″W

Line Theory, 2015, ink drawings on paper, artist book, 7" x 8.5" x .5"

Line Theory, 2015, ink drawings on paper, artist book, 7″ x 8.5″ x .5″

Line Theory is a hand-drawn and hand-written artist book I created in collaboration with photographer Brian Dean, who beautifully hand-bound each book. Each page features a “chapter” and corresponding line drawing. The book holds 28 complete chapters (original poetry) and line drawings (the drawings grow from one line to twenty-eight lines). Line Theory is a limited edition of six, and each book in the edition features completely different drawings.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Megan’s work in our current exhibition “Small Works 2016” (juried by Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator of RoCo; exhibition runs through January 6th). Megan’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com. Visit her website at http://www.meganarmstrongart.com and follow her on Instagram @meganarmstrongart.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by ceramic artist Renee LoPresti.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Muhammad I. Aslam

Muhammad’s artwork is on view in our juried exhibition “Small Works 2016”. His work is available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


I would like to take a moment to discuss my process as it relates to my imagery and use of symbolism. My work functions mostly on the allegorical level – the figure is used as an icon; the meaning often suggested through the use of additional parts, pose, as well as palette. The starting point for much of my work is with a single word or a phrase. Much like an author I employ word bubbles, branching off into synonyms  (a thesaurus is heavily employed in this phase). This is often where the title of a piece is locked down as the word that best encompasses the conceptual structure of a work emerges.

Muhammad Aslam, "Opacare I", cast resin, mixed media, 13" x 16" x 5", 2016.

Muhammad Aslam, “Opacare I”, cast resin, mixed media, 13″ x 16″ x 5″, 2016.

While the word bubbles develop the imagery begins to form in my head. In the case of “Opacare I” I began with the concept of “dusk”. That quickly moved to wanting to personify my perception of that particular point of day. Moving in to the symbolism of the word I formed a mental map of what the piece should encompass. Given that twilight is the fading of sunlight hours into the nocturnal it seemed most appropriate to represent elements of both within the work. To this end the bird skulls came into play.

The crow, a bird of the day, is given the central position just above the figure’s head. Here the skull is slightly enlarged as a nod to the prominence of day in the lives of most human beings. It is typically the hours where one is most active as well as feels the most secure. The owl, a bird of the night, takes the left side of the figure suspended in a configuration of three. Crows in addition to owls are often taken as icons of wisdom as well as change. Dusk can be taken as a time of competition, metaphorically this may represent the moment where the end of a phase (or the entirety) of one’s life yields insight.

To pull this together a bit more a headdress, very loosely referencing a dream catcher was constructed. This served a function purpose of giving the skulls a place to attach to but also gave the piece an air of the pseudo religious and regal, albeit the regality of the vanishingly small segment of time sunset represents. The headdress itself is attached in a rather unrealistic way, as is most of the head gear in my work, with the intent of heightening the surreal flavor of the piece.

Of course, at this point outside of some words, loose scribbles on scrap paper, and notions of varying focus in my head – none of the piece exists. This is the part of the process where a project often dies, my interest faded, or it is filed away to attempt later. In addition, while everything I have described thus far sounds rather specific, the final imagery almost always varies quite a bit from the original idea. What works well on paper does not translate well into three dimensions in many cases. Once I actually decide I would like to sculpt a piece it is simply a matter of deciding what the piece should be made of (oil or water based clays, Sculpey, etc…).

The very start of a sculpt. Loose, fast, not much care for anything else.

The very start of a sculpt. Loose, fast, not much care for anything else.

The choice is merely what is appropriate for the piece. For “Opacare I” I chose Monster Clay; an oil based clay with what I find to be excellent handling properties. Once the armature was constructed (a simple brass tube affixed to a base), sculpting begins in earnest. I prefer to start very fast, keeping a loose hand, not paying much attention to overall accuracy, nor using any tools. It is here where the feel of the piece as well as any immediate edits are established. I eventually slow down, introduce tools, and then gradually refine the piece.

Left: How much of the figure to use is experiment with. Right: The final composition is established. Refining starts in earnest.

Left: How much of the figure to use is experiment with. Right: The final composition is established. Refining starts in earnest.

Naturally, an oil based clay sculpture needs to be molded then cast if one intends to keep it.  was a fairly straight forward mold. The interest came from the resin selected to cast her in. A semi-translucent resin was my material of choice. The idea centered on the notion of layering up translucent airbrush colors over the surface to give the piece a depth in color that may otherwise turn out bit flat. With the first set of mostly successful casts the color palette was considered. I initially opted for a color scheme heavily favoring pinks, blues, and purples layered over a wash of violet then scarlet. Testing this on the seconds (castings not quite up to snuff), the pink proved a bit overpowering. The final piece introduced a bit more of a bone color while retaining the same scheme.

Left: Firs two pulls from a silicone mold. Right: Initial paint test, base, and headdress fitting using one of the seconds.

Left: First two pulls from a silicone mold. Right: Initial paint test, base, and headdress fitting using one of the seconds.

The seconds were then used to test fit and experiment with ways of attaching the headdress and skulls. The more or less final piece assembled, it appeared something was missing. Ultimately, I opted to construct two thin tree branches, both made of Sculpey (to save time on molding then casting), and attached them to the back of the figure. This unexpected addition provided the missing element to the work while providing a nice visual to further tie the figure to the natural element found in the bird skulls. Given that twilight, crows, and owls all also symbolize death in certain traditions the branches were given a white color.

Left: Final paint job, but something is missing. At this stage I had experimented with using feathers. Right: Near final piece.

Left: Final paint job, but something is missing. At this stage I had experimented with using feathers. Right: Near final piece.

Outside of some spot checking, a sculpture is finished at this stage. From the point it is presented on it, to some degree, ceases to be completely mine. As each viewer encounters the work it is liked, or disliked, and assigned meanings that often have nothing to do with anything I saw or intended for the piece. This phase it typically the most rewarding. On occasion one or two individuals may ask for the thought processes behind my art, or I may have the artist statement on hand, or write a blog, but I find I mostly prefer to stay silent and let the viewer take in the piece and converse with it on its own terms.

Gallery visitors view Muhammad's sculpture in Small Works 2016

Gallery visitors view Muhammad’s sculpture in Small Works 2016


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Muhammad’s work in our current exhibition “Small Works 2016” (juried by Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator of RoCo; exhibition runs through January 6th). Muhammad’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com. Visit his website at http://aslamfineart.tumblr.com and follow him on Instagram @miaslam_.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter Stacey Rowe.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Stacey Rowe

Stacey’s artwork is on view in our juried exhibition “Small Works 2016”. Her work is available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


I started teaching myself how to paint while on a family vacation during the summer between eighth and ninth grade. I primarily painted landscapes on canvas in acrylic, but occasionally dabbled with oils and painting on other surfaces. While I always took art classes in school, the class times were never long enough to really get into a project. So, I wound up doing a lot of painting outside of class at my kitchen table and out in the garage during summer months.

Snowglobes Painting

Snowglobes 1997. One of my earlier works from Nazareth College – won the Poster Award and was featured on the annual student show poster.

I grew up in Liverpool, New York (just outside of Syracuse), and moved to Rochester to attend school at Nazareth College, where I was a studio art major and psychology minor. During my freshman year, I contemplated switching my major to English, which is pretty ironic considering that the bulk of what I do today is working as a writer and independent marketing consultant. At that time, I had no interest in teaching art or English, so my mother (a former third grade teacher) encouraged me to stick with the art therapy career plan. I concentrated my art efforts in painting, illustration, and printmaking and then entered what is now Nazareth’s Creative Arts Therapy graduate program immediately after finishing my undergraduate degree.

While in my first year of graduate school, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away a year later – about a month before graduation. I surprisingly managed to finish my thesis and graduate on time, which is what she wanted. Since she was one of my biggest supporters, I really struggled with painting after she died. I entered one show later that year, and other than a couple of craft projects (mostly unfinished), I basically took a hiatus for almost fifteen years and focused on other things, including making a career change from art therapy to marketing and public relations.

Stacey Rowe On the Side Expo RoCo

Stacey Rowe with two of the three pieces she created for On the Side Expo in 2015

In 2015, there was an opportunity to present work at Rochester Contemporary Arts Center for a Rochester Advertising Federation show called On the Side Expo. I had quite a few older paintings in storage, but for the first time in years, I had a strong desire to create new work. Worried that I would likely be rusty, I still managed to pull off three new paintings and even sold one of them a couple months later. These paintings were very similar to the style I developed in college studying under Kathleen Calderwood, where I focused on color, symbolism, Jungian archetypes, and mythology. I’d say my style is very influenced by the Expressionists, but I’ve also been a longtime fan of Klimt, Matisse, Kahlo, and Warhol.

No Hot Dogs Snappy the Turtle

No Hot Dogs 2015
Snappy the turtle’s debut appearance at the 2015 On the Side Expo

I’ve always had an interest in juxtaposing everyday life with fantasy – giving animals or inanimate objects humorous and human-like qualities. The end result is often surreal and the scenes are laden with symbolism. I get much of my inspiration from my own life events, notable places and people, and pop culture. Some of the old characters (like the cheeky monkeys) have reappeared in my newer works; and a new, temperamental critter named Snappy emerged and gained some traction. Buoyed by the positive response, I decided to keep it going.

Impostor Syndrome RoCo RAF Connect

Impostor Syndrome from On the Side Expo 2016

While Snappy the turtle continues to pop up in my larger works, I’ve spent the past year exploring something more “pop art” influenced – the Pantone Series. What started as a 6×6 exhibit piece featuring the Instagram-famous The Fat Jewish evolved into a series of other famous people. Each is positioned against a Pantone chip backdrop in a color that represents something about that person. Two of these pieces are currently in the Small Works show at Main Street Arts. Most recently, I was asked to complete something holiday-themed for Cohber Printing based on the blue color they use in their logo and branding guidelines: Pantone 300 C. Naturally, I chose to depict Elvis Presley in “Pantone 300 C Blue Christmas.” The image will eventually be turned into holiday cards. In the series of pictures below, you can see how I go about creating one of these pieces.

I think the most challenging part of creating art is finding the time and space to do it, particularly when you have another occupation and aren’t a full-time “working artist” in a studio. Much like in my younger years, I still paint out of my kitchen – some things just never change! In the same vein, I don’t think my style has changed that much despite the fifteen-year break, but I’m probably focusing on different ideas than those of my “twenty-something” self. I feel very fortunate and grateful that I’m back doing something I’m passionate about and that I’ve been given these opportunities to show my work and meet other artists and makers in the community.

Snappy Baby Yoga

Snappy Baby 2016 – Snappy’s latest adventure involves going to yoga class

Kitchen Studio

I’m still painting in a corner of my kitchen – but pretty soon that mixer will be helping me make some holiday cookie art!

Those interested in connecting can find me on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or via my website. Stay tuned for new folks popping up in the Pantone Series and more!


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Stacey’s work in our current exhibition “Small Works 2016” (juried by Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator of RoCo; exhibition runs through January 6th). Stacey’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com. Visit her website at www.staceyrowe.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by ceramic artist Ryan Caldwell.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Katherine Baca-Bielinis: Printmaker

Katherine’s artwork is on view in our juried exhibition “Small Works 2016”. Her work is available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


I am often asked how a native of San Francisco ended up in Rochester, NY.  I reply, “It was fate!”  After earning a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in Printmaking from California State University at Long Beach, fate took me on a slow eastward journey across the country that eventually ended in Rochester – my home for the past 30 years.  Fate also steered me to R.I.T. where I received a Masters in Art Education. This resulted in a long, wonderful career teaching art in Rochester area schools.

After retiring, fate intervened once again.  It allowed me to finally focus my energies on my professional art career and led me back to printmaking – my true artistic passion.  I have directed my initial efforts towards learning non-toxic processes that afford me the ability to work in my home studio, as well as the Printmaking studio at R.I.T.  All forms of printmaking fascinate me.  My current efforts are primarily focused however on lithography and etching with an occasional departure to silkscreen. These methods enable me to draw, which is an essential part of my work.

My home studio.

My home studio.

My current imagery stems from a love of old world architecture and a desire to present the grandeur of the urban environment. In our hectic lives, full of distractions, it is often difficult to take a moment to enjoy the beauty around us. In my work, I hope to reconnect the viewer with the elegance and craftsmanship of these architectural features that were missed along the way.

My process usually begins with a photograph that I have taken – in this case,  “Casa Batllo”  in Barcelona at Antoni Gaudi’s architectural masterpiece.

Photo, Casa Batllo, Barcelona.

Photo, Casa Batllo, Barcelona.

A drawing is then developed from the photo.

Drawing for silkscreen "Casa Batllo", based on a photo  taken in Barcelona.

Drawing for silkscreen “Casa Batllo”

Silkscreen is a shape-based method, so the next step is to develop the color separations on tracing paper or vellum, always keeping in mind that overlapping colors will create additional colors.

Color separations on vellum.

Color separations on vellum.

Each separation is then transferred to a silkscreen using photo emulsion and a light exposure unit.  I use ink dispersions in a transparent base medium which allows for a subtle build up of colors, almost giving the appearance of watercolor.

Silkscreen with image transferred to emulsion.  This is now ready to print.

Silkscreen with image transferred to emulsion. This is now ready to print.

Each color builds upon the last until all colors have been printed. Below is the completed  silkscreen, currently on view at Main Street Arts Gallery, Small Works Exhibition.

Completed silkscreen, "Casa Batllo".

Completed silkscreen, “Casa Batllo”.

Additional works can currently be seen at the Mill Art Center and Gallery, ROCO and the Ink Shop.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Katherine’s work in our current exhibition “Small Works 2016” (juried by Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator of RoCo; exhibition runs through January 6th). Katherine’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com. Visit her website at www.kcbaca.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by artist Richard Harvey.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Richard Harvey

Richard’s artwork is on view in our juried exhibition “Small Works 2016”. His work is available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


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ARTIST STATEMENT: As a figurative artist, I explore the psychological and emotive potential of the human face and figure in a contemporary expressionistic style. My work diversifies across a broad range of two and three-dimensional media including digital and mixed media collage, encaustic painting, digital photography, and mixed media figurative sculpture. My work often draws on both my graphic design background and my interest in primal expression found in ancient or indigenous cultural artifacts.

“Divided We Fall”, Mixed Media 3D Sculpture

I created a political figurative sculpture by bringing together found objects to reflect the fractured tone of our election and the need to heal divisions.  

Found Objects: a rusted tin 3D form used as the face; black coated split steel plate form for the body; 2 small torn, decorative USA flags; red and blue acrylic paint.: I painted a 12×12 inch wood panel white and glued one USA flag in strips to the panel beneath the black steel plate. I screwed the rusty face form to the panel through the side flanges and glued the second USA flag to the face form. I added red and blue acrylic paint to the eyes along with additional red and blue paint to the steel body form. I accented the body with white metal spray and lastly protected it with a coating of clear acrylic spray.

"Divided We Fall" Mixed Media Sculpture

“Divided We Fall”
Mixed Media Sculpture

“Revealed”Digital Print with Encaustic Wax Over Painting, Enhanced Digital Print

“Revealed” was created in Photoshop Software on an iMac computer.  

Process: Before I begin to create imaging on my Mac computer, I first scan all the imaging elements into the computer before I assemble and collage the final print. These elements include digital photographs, drawings and other scanned objects used for special effects. One important process in Photoshop is called “layers”. These are separate pieces of art that float above one another, and I can work on each layer independently. When the image is completed I print the image on archival digital paper with an ink jet printer, and I over-paint the print with encaustic wax, and other media. Rather than making limited editions of one print, I create variants of pieces that interest me, thus each print becomes one of a kind. Main elements of the piece “Revealed” include a photograph taken in Holland showing layers of worn, deteriorating and peeling paper on a large public wall in which the subject matter was not wholly recognizable. The defaced image represents a visual expression of the psychological state of mind.

"Revealed" Enhanced Digital Print

“Revealed”
Enhanced Digital Print

Richard Harvey's artwork in Small Works 2016

Richard Harvey’s artwork in Small Works 2016


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Richard’s work in our current exhibition “Small Works 2016” (juried by Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator of RoCo; exhibition runs through January 6th). Richard’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by ceramic artist Rachel Donner.