Artists on Art, Creativity, Life

Here are some cool quotes about art from artists and others:

“Fashion fades, style is eternal.” – Yves Saint Laurent

“The home should be the treasure chest of the living.” – Le Corbusier

“Think sideways.” – Edward De Sono

“Red is the ultimate cure for sadness.” – Bill Blass

“Art resides in the quality of doing, process is not magic.” – Charles Eames

“I’m always amazed how the application of color from tubes of paint can create something that allows the eyes to be a conduit to the heart and mind.” – Steve Taylor, oil painter of Western scenes

“Art and culture are the spirits that help elevate us to be better human beings, and that’s as vital as it gets.” – Angela Goding, contemporary art curator

“Without art…our world would have remained a jungle.” – Bernard Berenson, American historian

How to Talk About Your Art – Part 2

In this continuing series of blog articles by our webmistress Leona M Seufert, who is an artist and a writer, she discusses the importance of communications (letters to galleries, artist statements) and presents some tips on how to talk about yourself and your artwork,

In part one, I discussed the importance of words to present your artwork to the non-artist public and your potential buyers. The holiday season is over but communicating intelligently and clearly about your artwork never stops. This is not just important for seeking sales but also to obtain exhibits and media coverage.

As an artist those words for communications might not come easy. You specialize in creating something visual and words are the domain of writers.

Here are 8 tips on how to make the writing process easier.

  1. Think of it as a conversation. You are not writing a book. You are talking to the reader, so think of it as if you talking to a person you meet in a gallery where your work is on display.
  2. Write clearly and simply. Keep in mind that people who read what you write may not be artists or are very literal minded. They won’t understand art world references or jargon.
  3. Write with enthusiasm about your work. You created a work from a certain emotional base, let that shine through. Even if it’s a dark space for you, the act of creation is always fueled by enthusiasm for what you have to say as an artist.
  4. Write your text in a word processing program. This applies to especially to social media because by typing everything in online you risk having spelling and grammar errors. Be sure to use the spell checker and grammar checker and reread it over a few times in order to catch the tricky things these programs can’t (like “their” vs there”), and when it’s error free, cut and past it into your social media.
  5. Learn about how to write journalist friendly press releases. It’s really not that difficult and the web is full of great sources to show you how. (I will discuss this in detail in a future blog entry)
  6. Craft your artist statement to be interesting, inviting and revealing about you, the artist (I will discuss this in detail in a future blog entry)
  7. Communications with galleries should always be short and to the point by detailing your background and containing a good statement as to why the gallery should represent you. Your resume and artwork will do the rest.
  8. Hire a writer to show you how. Really not able to write? Maybe English is your second language, or you just can’t get the hang of it. Then invest in yourself and your art by hiring a professional who knows how to craft great copy. Have that person not only write your posts but also become your private tutor so that eventually writing will become easy for you.

Leona has produced content for the Les Malamut Art Gallery website for the last 6 years. She is a digital artist, visit her Studio ‘L’ website  and has a business writing practice in Roselle Park, NJ. She loves to help artists talk about their art and has provided writing consulting services to artists for the last 5 years.

How to talk about your art

We are delighted to premier a new series of blog articles by our webmistress Leona M Seufert, who is an artist and a writer! She will be sharing with us her advice on topics that deal with communicating about ones artwork and ones background.

As an artist I am lucky that I also know how to express myself verbally and in printed matter. Writing an artist statement or sending a letter detailing my background, or creating a press release about an exhibit has always been easy for me. However, the majority of artists I’ve met are good at one thing: Their art. When you are an established artist the creation of communication materials can be left in the hands of a PR agency or an agent. However, when you are starting out, even if you can afford to hire one, you need to learn how to talk about yourself and your art.

Your artwork can’t speak for itself! Oh, yes, it can convey many things about you as a creative person, it can be enjoyed on its own for its own sake, but…the big but…unless the work has something that the art world is looking for, it cannot sell itself on technique and image alone. Words have to do that. Words are what help get you into an exhibit (artist statement) into a gallery (your biography that shows you have a substantial background and are worth the gallery space), and help in attracting the media to follow you in your career. Whether you care to write a blog, tweet, post on instagram or Facebook, or write your own press releases, you need to know how to craft your words so that you present yourself in a good light. We all have read too many artist statements that ramble on and on or talk off topic giving a clueless impression about the artist and his/her work.

The holiday season is an important time to make sales as everyone is looking for that unique gift. Your artwork might be seen in an exhibit where you have the opportunity to talk with visitors at a reception. Or you send out a holiday e-mail blast to your mailing list offering special discounts on sales. However you approach your potential collector, you need to say something that will take them from the interest in the artwork to the point of wanting to part with their money to make a purchase. In part two of the article, I will discuss tips on talking about yourself and your artwork, and writing good copy for e-mails.

Leona has produced content for the Les Malamut Art Gallery website for the last 6 years. She is a digital artist, visit her Studio ‘L’ website  and has a business writing practice in Roselle Park, NJ. She loves to help artists talk about their art and has provided writing consulting services to artists for the last 5 years.

Union County Teens Exhibit Their Artwork

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Come out and support our teen artists. This exhibit has 55 pieces from the Touring exhibit. Acrylics, Oils, collages, a wonderful collection by aspiring artists. When you consider 650 works were submitted from schools all through Union County, these selected 55 are tops!

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Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella states, “The artwork in this exhibit is exceptional.”

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This is an annual event and the students look forward to creating works that could have a chance to be hung in a gallery.

After you’ve seen the show, take some time to leave your comments on this blog. I will make sure the students receive them.

Behind the Lens

A Closer Look at Rosemarie Hampp’s Photography

The pictures you see on this website do not do justice to the photographs hanging on the gallery wall! They are an amazing collection of images capturing the destruction and sadness that resulted from Superstorm Sandy’s powerful visit to our shore. But in their composition and color they also capture a beauty that made this viewer gasp and upon seeing certain familiar places, cry.

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North End Pavilion – Spring Lake NJ

Rosemarie achieved these spectacular results through the use of two photographic techniques: HDR and printing on metallic paper.

She uses a Canon EOS 60D 18 megapixel digital SLR camera and post-processes the images using Photoshop and at times other photography software to create HDR images.

High Dynamic Range is a digital photography technique whereby multiple exposures of the same scene are layered and merged using image editing software to create a more realistic image or dramatic effect. The combined exposures can display a wider range of tonal values that what the digital camera is capable of recording in a single image.(http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/glossary/g/hdr.htm)

Here is what she says about HDR, “In my opinion the real purpose of HDR photography is to produce a photo, the quality of which is higher than that of a normal photo, not some overdone unnatural or surreal looking image.”

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Debris Piled High – Seaside Heights NJ

The images, printed on professional quality metallic paper, have a glossy iridescent finish with a rich metallic appearance that catches the eye. The colors are rich and vibrant with enhanced depth and magnificent detail.

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Peeled Away – Ocean Grove NJ

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Push Over – Sea Bright NJ

These photos capture something else that most of the newspaper and magazine photos haven’t: The soul of the photographer. For Rosemarie most of these shore places are special to her, and it shows in her work!

Shadowboxing With the Artistic Muse

 On August 9th we had the privilege of meeting Mansa K Mussa and a chance to ask him about his art currently on display in our gallery. It was a lively evening of viewing the pieces and having him describe his creative process. The shadow boxes, which fill one entire wall, are small gems. There is so much contained in each that you have to stand there and concentrate to get it all in. Photographs do not do them justice! He has been doing shadow boxes for 10 years and these are a good sampling from that series.

 Behind the Eight Ball-shadow box

His collages, like the shadow boxes, are filled full of detail. They are expressions of what Mussa saw in dance images that he captured in his photographs, combined with other images that relate to the topic of that collage. As he says in his artist statement, “In the tradition of James Baldwin I am an eyewitness, an eyewitness to things seen and unseen. I am a Newark artist, and a citizen of the world, who has been living, working, teaching, and making art for over a half-century. My favorite instrument of art is the camera, and the camera, negative and JPEG are the vessels that capture the essence of my memory, that which I intend to be expressed or indicated. The photographer’s encapsulated memory makes us historians by default. Our work serves as a commentary on our personal observations of past, present, and future events in our lives, our communities, and by natural extension, the world.”

 Dancing in the Key of Life – Collage

Mussa sees the act of creating art as an act of liberation. “The liberation of the creative impulse as it passes from the mind, to the reality of the page, the stage, or the moving picture. Art is more than the simple process of creation a reaction in a viewer. Art is about power and healing. It’s about power because art can be used as an instrument for change. It’s about healing because the act of creating art can be a form of enlightenment for the artist and the viewer.”

Mussa is also a teacher. He gives workshops on the art of making shadow boxes.  (check out the Maplewood 1978 Arts Center for information on his Aug 18 shadow box workshop) For him “Making and sharing art requires a certain amount of courage that exposes the artist to appreciation, reverence, or criticism. My focus in this act is to use art to challenge and uplift the human spirit, to serve the community as an organizer and teacher, and to search for the common threads that bind us as human beings.”

This is a great exhibit that you shouldn’t miss. Plan to spend some time exploring these gems, it will definitely be a memorable artistic experience!

“Painting With Words” – Leona M Seufert

Abstract Art – Where Are We Now?

If you’ve visited our exhibit of Rosanne Potter’s works you would have seen a good example of Abstract Art. Forms, brush strokes, and color are the hallmarks of this style of art.

We are all familiar with examples of this genre done by well known 20th century abstract artists Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and Marcel Duchamp. The Abstract Art movement of the 20th century had its beginnings in Romanticism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Expressionism. “Abstraction indicates a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art. This departure from accurate representation can be only slight, or it can be partial, or it can be complete. Abstraction exists along a continuum. Even art that aims for verisimilitude of the highest degree can be said to be abstract. Much of the art of earlier cultures – signs and marks on pottery, textiles, and inscriptions and paintings on rock – were simple, geometric and linear forms that might have had a symbolic or decorative purpose. It is at this level of visual meaning that abstract art communicates. One can enjoy the beauty of Chinese calligraphy or Islamic calligraphy without being able to read it.” Wikipedia
For a comprehensive treatment of this era in art history visit wikipidia  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_art

20th century abstract art followed trends that the well known painters initiated. Today the abstract art genre, like all art, presents the viewer with a confusing selection of variations in differing mediums. Elizabeth Baker, writing in the July/August issue of the Brooklyn Rail states in her essay “What’s New?”  “The profusion of art being made is daunting.” “Nowadays exhibitions of the latest thing attract enthusiastic crowds.” In our 3D quick moving world, abstract artists no longer see the canvas or pure sculpture as their primary means of expression. Multimedia works combining painting and other materials, large building wall murals, and other hard to describe pieces have taken center stage. Ms. Baker comments, “In the heyday of the modern period, new art unsettled people or even scared them. Those days are long gone.” “It requires repeated viewing and sustained attention to ascertain what is quirky, personal, and surprising; yet those qualities can still be found.” Oh, and you can even wear abstract art as this season’s fashion fabrics  and styles are showing.

To our reality centered world of iPhone photographs and HD TV, abstract art can be confusing. What on earth do all those blobs of color mean? Does the artist have a message to convey or is it all just randomness? Abstract sculptor Edward Tufte writes in his essay “See Now…Words Later”, “Abstract sculptors make objects that generate unique optical experiences in the real world.” “Our minds are quick to convert new optical experiences into familiar stories, favored viewpoints, comforting metaphors.” He goes on to advise, “In looking at abstract artworks, once words and story-telling starts, it’s hard to see anything else.” “ To see with fresh eyes and an open mind requires a deliberate, self-aware act by the observer. Abstract artworks represent themselves and should be first viewed for themselves.” This Peanuts cartoon says it all:

However, the process of creating a work of art has to start somewhere regardless of whether the artist is famous, or a hobbyist or 20th century or 21st century. As Rosanne Potter wrote in her artist statement “I start with a blank canvas and paint, without a plan and using whatever medium comes to hand from pastel chalks to watercolors, India inks to ecaustic waxes, acrylics to oils; I begin to lay color on and move paint around until something begins to emerge.”  A friend of mine, Theodora Tamborlane  who has been studying abstract painting and creating it for the last 6 years starts with ideas of what she wants to put on her canvases and how that will vary from painting to painting to create a “series”. My approach, and I’m just a “Saturday Painter” is that I see emotions as color. I take an emotional theme current in my life and select the colors to represent it, then just go wild on the canvas creating forms that “speak” to me.

So are our current trends in abstract art good or bad? No, they just are. More art is being produced then ever before in history. Artists don’t answer to patrons anymore and the great majority of artists don’t even care about the “market”. They just want get their ideas out on the medium of their choice. Will the current trends in abstract art survive a decade, a century? Only time will tell.
                                   “Painting with Words” – Leona M Seufert

Meet Rosanne Potter – artist of our current exhibit

It was a delight to view the entire body of work last Thursday at Rosanne Potter’s reception. I had seen only a few pieces digitally that I was using for this website. But four walls of abstract color elicited a wow from me (and other visitors as well). You have to see these in person to appreciate the depth and breath of this artist’s work.

Rosanne states, “I start with a blank canvas and paint, without a plan and using whatever medium comes to hand from pastel chalks to watercolors, India inks to ecaustic waxes, acrylics to oils; I begin to lay color on and move paint around until something begins to emerge.” Indeed what beauty does emerge!

This gallery has had some colorful exhibits but none as vibrant as Rosanne’s. Here is another quote from her artist statement that I particularly liked: “I like to leave viewers to make what they will of my works and hope that coming back to a painting, they will find that it means something different on new viewings. This to me is the great value of Abstract Expresionism – it leaves an image in the mind of the viewer rather than simply lining up the palm tree in the painting with the palm tree in the mind.”

It was also inspirational to look through her book, “Key West, Transit of Venus” as I also write poetry. In this glossy, high quality book, she combines her poetry with her paintings to a smashing success.

Here is a peek into the inside

If you like abstract art or just want to experience something different, then don’t miss this exhibit! I’ll leave you with one more quote:

“Though these paintings started with me, the images may end within you.”

                                                       “Painting with Words” – Leona M Seufert

New Exhibit – “Four Walls of Abstraction”

“Four Walls of Abstraction” abstract paintings by Rosanne Potter, our new exhibit, is an exciting journey through color and shapes that are as clear as Chagall’s and as energetic as Frankenthaler’s. Rosanne has an extensive pallet and has tried a number of styles. This exhibit displays the different phases of her work. Her website is http://rosannepotter.com/

Meet her at the reception this Thurs 5:30 – 7:30pm in the gallery.