Guest Artist: Sarah Atlee

Our intrepid intern Ryan Pack (O) is querying artist members about business of art tips. Watch on Mondays for new artist interviews.

Guest Artist: Sarah Atlee (SA)
O: Do you have any suggestions for artists like myself who are just starting out? I feel so overwhelmed sometimes like I don’t know where to start!

SA: I have a solid piece of generic advice: be yourself. If you stick to what interests you most in making art, and if you’re honest with yourself about what your interest is, then your work will reflect your original voice. If you rest too heavily on trends or try and follow what you think the market wants, your work will remain mediocre. If you’re in school, this could mean losing the approval of your instructors or peers. Remember, school is temporary.

I often don’t know where to start. So I do one thing. I take one piece of crappy notebook paper, and a cheap pen, and make one mark. There, I did one thing! That was easy. I look at drawings I made when I was little and realize that at age four, I was a completely uninhibited artist. I am entirely inhibited now, and have to work hard to overcome that. If I could go back in time and give advice to my past self, it would be: ignore fear.

One fun activity for overcoming fear of failure is making bad art on purpose. Imagine the world’s worst piece of art, or your worst possible product as an artist, then make that! Get it out of the way. It may lead you in directions you didn’t expect. It’s interesting that you asked me these questions at this time,because I have just decided to leave my day job and be an artist full time. And I’m very scared. (Remember that thing about ignoring fear?) So I’ve written down some advice for myself. My list includes “reach out” and “ask questions,” both of which you’re doing right now! Other artists are a resource for you; we can learn from each other. So ask questions. Usually people are more than happy to answer them.

O: have you had any experience with rejection? I know it happens to everyone but it is still a pretty rotten experience.
SA: Of course. But I can tell you that professional rejection is nothing compared to personal rejection. (My painting didn’t get into that group show? Ah well, there’s always next year. My date didn’t show up? I’m going to my room to cry all night.) So, due to my inability to remain objective about rejection in my personal life, rejection in the art world is noticeably less bothersome than, say, a mosquito bite. That’s called coping.

O: Any tips on coping with the self critical doubts rejections bring out?
SA: Aim high, strive to make work that you are genuinely proud of. At one point during art school, I realized that to try and make work as good as my fellow students was an inadequate goal; I was aiming too low. In order to succeed as an artist, my goal had to be making work as good as the established, successful artists that I admired.

Our reach should exceed our grasp, so when you strive to meet the best, your product will be better than you expected. My antidote to self-doubt is working to produce the best art that I can, especially when the payoff (in the form of recognition, sales, what have you) is uncertain.To sum up: be yourself, believe in yourself, and work hard. Thanks for asking these questions. (Learn more at

www.sarahatlee.com)

Advertisements

VisionMakers: Artist Interview with Lisa Sorrell

VisionMakers 2009 features 37 Oklahoma artists working in three-dimensional and high craft media.

Guest blogger romy owens has done mini-interviews with many of the featured artists. Check back here during the run of the VisionMakers exhibition for insights into the world of these artists.

VisionMakers 2009 opens this today, March 28 from 7-9pm at Six11 Creative, 611 N Broadway in Oklahoma City. It will run through April 30 and is open Thursday-Saturday, noon-6pm.

romy owens: How long have you been an artist?
Lisa Sorrell: As a child I was always drawing. Once I got older I discovered that I could sketch things and then make them, which was even more fun.

ro: What is your preferred media for your artwork, and why?
LS: As a bootmaker I work with leather, primarily kangaroo, ostrich and crocodile.

ro: Is this your first year in VisionMakers?
LS: Yes.

ro: How does an exhibition like VisionMakers affect your art and/or career?
LS: Since this is my first year, I guess I’ll find out!

ro: Who or what are your primary artistic influences?
LS: The late 1940’s and early 1950’s were a time when cowboy boots suddenly became popular and fashionable and bootmakers were producing boots that were colorful and wild. That time period inspires me.

ro: What challenges do you face in making art?
LS: My biggest challenge is finding the time to build the boots I want to build. Building boots for customers pays the bills but sometimes keeps me from exploring my own ideas.

ro: Where can people you don’t know see more of your artwork?
LS: I have a gallery in Guthrie, Sorrell Gallery. I’m always happy to give tours and demonstrate bootmaking, although appointments are recommended. I also have a website: www.sorrellcustomboots.com

VisionMakers: Artist Interview with William Derrevere

VisionMakers 2009 features 37 Oklahoma artists working in three-dimensional and high craft media.

Guest blogger romy owens has done mini-interviews with many of the featured artists. Check back here during the run of the VisionMakers exhibition for insights into the world of these artists.

VisionMakers 2009 opens this Saturday, March 28 from 7-9pm at Six11 Creative, 611 N Broadway in Oklahoma City. It will run through April 30 and is open Thursday-Saturday, noon-6pm.

romy owens: How long have you been an artist?
Bill Derrevere: I have been an artist for 45 years.

ro: What is your preferred media for your artwork, and why?
BD: I work in resistant materials. I work in metals from precious metals to rusty steel. I am very interested in surfaces. I like hammering on metal to make surfaces.

ro: Is this your first year in VisionMakers?
BD: I have been in two or more previous Vision Makers.

ro: How does an exhibition like VisionMakers affect your art and/or career?
BD: I hope that this years VisionMakers show will interest an OKC gallery. I also hope it will speak to a visitor to the gallery.

ro: Who or what are your primary artistic influences?
BD: My primary artistic influences consist of found materials, flea markets, things found in the street or garbage cans in town. I really enjoy assembling objects that have totally lost any value and bring them back to life.

ro: What challenges do you face in making art?
BD: I have been trying to reinvent myself recently. I want to work in the unknown. I want to create where when you come to the studio in the morning you have no real idea what will happen during that creative process. The surprise occurs for both the artist and the viewer. That to me is a good day.

ro: Where can people you don’t know see more of your artwork?
BD: I show my work at M.A. Doran gallery in Tulsa. I also show my work in Eureka Springs Arkansas at Zarks.

VisionMakers: Artist Interview with Stuart Asprey

VisionMakers 2009 features 37 Oklahoma artists working in three-dimensional and high craft media.

Guest blogger romy owens has done mini-interviews with many of the featured artists. Check back here during the run of the VisionMakers exhibition for insights into the world of these artists.

VisionMakers 2009 opens this Saturday, March 28 from 7-9pm at Six11 Creative, 611 N Broadway in Oklahoma City. It will run through April 30 and is open Thursday-Saturday, noon-6pm.

romy owens: How long have you been an artist?

Stuart Asprey: On a serious level, about 6 years. On a non-serious level, about 13 years.

ro: What is your preferred media for your artwork, and why?
SA: Ceramics, specifically English Porcelain, because I was a pyromaniac as a child.

ro: Is this your first year in VisionMakers?
SA: Yes.

ro: How does an exhibition like VisionMakers affect your art and/or career?
SA: Not sure yet, I will tell you after Saturday night.

ro: Who or what are your primary artistic influences?
SA: Robert Williams, Joe Coleman, Sergei Isupov, and Loui Marak.

ro: What challenges do you face in making art?
SA: Time. Never enough time.

ro: Where can people you don’t know see more of your artwork?
SA: OVAC’s website

Exhibitions: National Juried Exhibition at City Arts Center

Guest Blog from Art Focus Intern Maria Glover:

The City Arts Center is hosting the National Juried Exhibition 2009: Oklahoma Friendly which runs March 5-April 11.The exhibit offers a variety of artists from all over including New Mexico, Tennessee and California, with the majority being from Oklahoma. There are four categories in which the works are featured: Wild, Tornado, Pioneer and Friendly, each obviously relating to Oklahoma.

I found the Tornado category interesting as each artist’s interpretation of tornados differs. The 1st first place winner of the Tornado Alley category is Katherine Liontas-Warren’s The Arrival of Summer in Oklahoma. The colorful stone lithograph in colored pencils isn’t what I would think of when the word “tornado” pops into my head. The two peaceful looking birds perched between an arch and a landscape of flowers and mountains in the background is the perfect depiction of summer—until you notice the small tornado in the background. Among some of the other winners are: Larry Layton’s Spring Creek (Francis Tuttle Purchase Award), Bert Seabourn’s Versace (Juror’s Choice), and Tom Delheimer’s Richard (1st place Friendly Faces).

The remaining artists’ and winners’ assortment of Wild, Tornado, Pioneer, and Friendly illustrations offers capturing interpretations that will ignite inspiration in almost anyone.

Opportunity: Grant Writing workshops

Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation
2009 Grant Writing Workshops

Dates and Places
April 28-29 Wilburton
Partner: Wilburton Main Street
Location: Robber’s Cave State Park

June 23-24 Duncan
Partner: Duncan CVB
Location: Red River Technology Center, Rm B109

July 28-29 Woodward
Partner: Woodward Convention and Tourism
Location: Northwest Oklahoma Campus

Information
Cost: $40 per person, some workshops also have a meal charge
Class Size: Limited to 15 people
Project: Each registrant needs to have a tourism related project
Teacher: Melyn Johnson, OTRD
Information: Melyn@TravelOK.com

Email for a registration form, soon. The classes usually fill.

Viewing & Learning: Art Studio Tour

So, a great way to learn about being an artist– the work of being an artist– is by seeing other artists’ studios, querying them about how they work, checking out their filing system/materials/framing, etc. The opportunity is coming soon– the Tulsa Art Studio Tour April 4 & 5.

In a few hours you could see the studios of artists working in spaces from their own living room to separate buildings. 11 artists in 9 studios will open to the public for two days in this self-guided tour. They are primed to talk about their creative process and careers. See our website for more info.