Lenses: Seen and Be Seen wrapped up in February. I am embarrassed to admit that over the past few years, I had become so focused (obsessed?) with the 168 Hours series that I neglected a regular painting practice. From a painting perspective, this is a little like quitting an exercise routine. Starting back up is an uncomfortable, awkward, often demoralizing mess. And every time I do this to myself, I always inwardly yell "Drinkwater, NEVER again".
I just turned 39. And I decided this year will indeed be different. I nerdily created a 3-year plan of work to hold myself accountable (more on that in a later post), and so far, so good. It's no secret that regular website posts are part of this POW. And so is a daily painting practice.
So, I picked up an earlier series that I began back in 2014. During that year, I lived around the corner from a kid's fort that was built in a median cul-de-sac, which I found totally bizarro. Tiny plot of land surrounded by concrete. No kids anywhere in sight. It was sad and made me super nostalgic, which often is my painting trigger. Here's a drawing of one currently in progress. Oh my, these really are so fun to draw.
I just finished up my most recent commission piece this month. Make A Joyful Noise was a total departure from my previous portrait commissions, in that this one falls more in line with what and how I normally paint. I'm not someone who believes portraits can capture someone's essence. Hell, I don't even believe in "essences".
My friend asked me to create a portrait of his late father, a man who, by all accounts, was larger than life. Portraits are always collaborations. He sent images and told me stories. I did my best to listen. What resulted was a tribute to my buddy’s dad made up of faces and places that meant something to him.
40 Under 40
Got the news this week that Majority Rule (October 14, 2013: Part I) was chosen for 40 Under 40, an exhibition at Fort Work Arts that runs from September 14 to October 28 in Fort Worth, Texas. Excited to be part of this show!
The Good Folks at Creative Capital
This past weekend I participated in a mind-blowing, 3-day professional Development workshop hosted by Creative Capital , a top-notch arts organization begun by the Andy Warhol Foundation in the mid-1990’s, a time when the NEA stopped providing any individual artist funding due to political pressure (cough Newt Gingrich cough). This group generously provides financial and professional support to risk-taking creatives of all sorts through a host of grants, webinars, and other artist opportunities.
Several visual artists, a handful of filmmakers, one writer and a musician from all over Iowa hunkered down at the State Historical Building in Des Moines under the leadership of a terrific Creative Capital crew. On Friday evening, each of us gave a 3-minute introductory presentation of our work, which surprisingly is much harder than writing a 15-minute presentation. Every single word counts. During the rest of the weekend, we covered everything from strategic and financial planning to networking and budgeting. Being someone who loves a plan, this was right up my alley. I highly, highly recommend anything offered by Creative Capital and may thanks to Veronica O'Hern at the Iowa Arts Council for making all of this possible.
Return from Los Anchorage
We got back from Alaska a little over a week ago. In a nutshell, it was awesome. This was my second trip to the land of the moose, but my first chance to really go inland. We made some new friends (see above), ate reindeer sausage, and celebrated Aaron’s (spouse) birthday for pretty much the entire week. Incidentally, there is quite a lot of mighty good craft beer up there, which I suppose makes the winters pass by a little more tolerably.
The show at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art went well, and many thanks to Honor Hall and the rest of the IGCA staff and board for supporting such a great space. Anchorage has a bustling art scene, as does much of Alaska. We were there for First Friday, when a large number of downtown Anchorage art spaces open their doors to showcase new exhibitions. I was fortunate enough to show with painter Anne Wedler and photographer Joe Yelverton. Yelverton’s body of work, Unseen, is incredibly compelling – he spent several months interviewing and traveling with the Alaska 210th and 212th rescue squadrons, which he documented with large-scale color photographs. Yelverton himself had to undergo serious training in order to complete this project, which takes artistic sacrifice to a whole new level.
The show runs until the end of July. More information can be found at www.igcaalaska.org.
Hey there, Fellas...
I am thrilled to have been awarded a 2017-2018 Artist Fellowship from the Iowa Arts Council. In its fourth year, this award provides working Iowa artists with a monetary stipend, ongoing professional development, and networking opportunities for one year. I’m in pretty stellar company this year with Iowa City writer Rachel Yoder, Des Moines filmmaker Jack Meggers, Grinnell sculptor Lee Emma Running, and Rickardsville musician River Breitbach. Many, many thanks to the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the Iowa Arts Council for providing this support directly to Iowa artists, a rare opportunity in many states. More information about these great organizations can be found at iowaculture.gov/arts
Anchorage bound in T minus 6 days. 168 Hours will debut at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art during the month of July with an opening reception on Friday, July 7, 5-8 pm. Alaska friends (do I have any?), take note! I am taking full advantage and dragging my spouse to the tundra for a week to see the show and the sights.