Monday, August 26, 2013

Differing Views

On June 22nd, I went to the opening reception for "Differing Views" at the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida (946 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803). This was a  group art show featuring: Parker Sketch, Jon Glassman Gardner, Patty Sheehan  and Karen Cate.

When I arrived, a little early, John Glassman Gardner was still hanging pieces. He had these wonderful one inch square  pieces of glass with vibrant patterns that looked like aerial views of river valley topography. He told me that the pattern had been discovered by accident when 2 pieces of glass had been pushed together with a small drop of paint between them. Like a microscope slide, the paint spread. When pealed apart, this organic pattern would appear. John then glues magnets on the back. He was placing dozens of them on a metal support column. He gave me one of these pieces and it is proudly displayed in my home. It isn't signed unfortunately so someday I hope to catch him to sign it.

Commissioner Patty Sheehan had a show the previous week at the Peacock Room. She had sold 75% of all the pieces there. She therefor had to do more than a dozen paintings in a weeks time to have something for this show. All her paintings were of black cats with wide eyes and a Cheshire grin. She called them "Bad Kittys" and they sell like hot cakes. She gave me a button with one of these kitty's on it and a pink equal sign. Of course this was "Equality Kitty".

Parker's Sketch's work is ubiquitous to the Orlando art scene. His pieces use pop commercial imagery portrayed with bold brush work and a liberal display of spattering. The boldest piece was of a faded American flag. He was voted the Best Arts Advocate in this years Orlando Weekly. Karen Cate only had a few pieces in the show.  I had never seen her work before.

Analog Artist Digital World

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Brendan O'Connor, sent me a Facebook message, "Thomas I'll be headed out to the Hope Community Center in Apopka (1016 N Park Ave Apopka, FL) on Thursday around 11:30 to work on the mosaic-mural for the afternoon. You're more than welcome to join!"

Brendan is a project manager for Art Reach Orlando whose mission is to support art projects that foster creativity and hope, develop self-esteem, and offer children a platform to reflect, re-vision, and rejoice. By fostering creativity they are encouraging and empowering children to imagine the positive changes they wish to see in their own lives, their communities, and the world.

The Hope Community Center is a service and learning community dedicated to the empowerment of the Central Florida’s immigrant and working poor communities through Education, Advocacy and Spiritual Growth. Janis Neunez is the artist who designed the mosaic mural that will surround the back entryway to the center. The story of the area's migrant workers will be told through through the placement of tiles and objects donated by migrant worker families and through interactive computer chips placed in the mosaic. By activating the chips with your smart phone, you can see images and hear the stories of the men, women, and children who made the Tree of Life mosaic at the center and make up the real life mosaic of our Central Florida community.

Brendan had to work from the top of the ladder using acid to clean an area. I was nervous that someone might open the door fast and send him tumbling. A dear friend Melissa Kasper recently fell off a ladder breaking her nose, so the possibility was fresh on my mind.  I'm glad to report that no artists were hurt during the creation of this sketch.

Analog Artist Digital World

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Florida Overtures, Undertones and Subplots

On July 18th, I went to the opening of "Florida Overtures, Undertones and Sub Plots" at Gallery at Avalon Island ( 39 South Magnolia Avenue, Orlando FL). The opening featured live music from Chris Aycrigg’s group , all nestled inside an Orlando architectural gem, the Rogers Building.

The Florida Overtures, Undertones and Subplots show was a multimedia collection that examined the state’s intricacies and idiosyncrasies through the eyes of 13 artists.The artists included, Gary Monroe, Carmon Colangelo, Therman Statom, Matt Roberts, Brian Phillips, Tamara Cedre, Phillip Estlund, and Jay Flynn. I was intrigued by the black and white photos of Gary Monroe of hasidic Jews in Miami beach. In the front window Phillip Estlund had large sheets of plastic or glass had prints on them and the sheets were bent or melting giving a warped surreal effect.

As I sketched the musicians, one of their wives entered with her daughter.  Her daughter was intrigued. She stood beside me watching as I splashed color onto the sketch of her dad. Once the sketch was done, I treated myself to some nuts which were on the table. As I left, Carl Knickerbocker was just arriving. He told me that one of the artists inside, Gary Monroe, wrote "Extraordinary Interpretations: Florida's Self Taught Artists", published in 2003. Of course this book showcased, Carl's Suburban Primitive work.

I also went over to City Arts Factory which was insanely crowed. The Re Define Gallery had toy Marquette's which were decorated by different artists. I'm pretty sure I recognized a toy by WoolfrichToni Taylor had several of her magnificent futuristic oil paintings on display. I told her that I wished I could take the time to create more refined pieces like hers. She said I should just keep doing what I'm doing. I didn't explore any other galleries. I decided I needed to get home.

Analog Artist Digital World

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Imprint Show

June's Imprint Show at The Gallery at Avalon Island ( 39 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, Florida) featured all women artists. On June 29th the artists talked about their process. The first artist to speak was  Emilie Finney. Her work featured large sheets of drywall with words cut into it. I was sitting in the bay window and when she started talking I realized I was sort of sitting in the midst of her piece. l considered moving but I was well into the sketch at that point.

Emily likes to get to the heart of the matter. She loves reading and writing and she grew up in a bilingual household. She is concerned that literacy is on the decline. A linguist said that it is possible to learn any language if you just memorize the 250 most used words. She began to wonder what the 250 most used words are in English. Around the same time she was reading George Orwell's "1984" where the elimination of language resulted in the elimination of creativity and expression. She carved sayings from "1984" into drywall. She began to wonder, "What defines America?" Is it the Declaration of Independence? The "I have a Dream"speech? The Star Spangled Banner song? What would these look like if they were only written with 250 words? Emily discovered drywall because her uncle was using it. With a single swipe of his blade he could cleanly crack the drywall in two, she was hooked.

I sketched Lesley Silvia as she spoke about her Sherenschitten, or black paper cutouts. She considers herself a recovering photographer. She did some very experimental and creative photography but there are so many photographers which made it hard to be seen. She started with cutting paper because it is part of her European heritage. She discovered that she loved the process. Many of her pieces were based on European Folktales but they are also deeply personal. She brought along a loose leaf binder where she keeps all of her developmental thumbnail sketched and research. I looked through it after her talk and was astounded at the level of organization and how many ideas were taking form and being developed. Every step in the process was preserved. It reminded me of the notebooks that Edward Hopper kept to document his paintings. It was exciting to see her process so clearly preserved. I have so much yet to learn.

- Analog Artist Digital World