24 Works on Paper Artists: Marty Coleman

To give insight into the works included in the 24 Works on Paper exhibition, Ryan Pack has interviewed some of the participating artists about their work in the show. The exhibition is now at the Eleanor Hays Gallery at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. It will continue there until October 14. 24 Works on Paper will continue to travel the state through August 2010.

Marty Coleman
For those of you who created portraits: Why have people inspired your piece? What is it about portraiture that interests you?
An artist must be courageous enough to admit what he or she loves. I love having a real person in front of me, finding out who they are and what they are about while I create the initial portrait, either photographically or drawing. I love the physical surface of that person’s face; their skin, pores, freckles, hair, wrinkles, color, scars, makeup, and more. I like to collage those portraits with their clothing, accessories, possessions or environment. The conversations with the person and the visual information I gather give me a starting point to portray who they are AND who they might be to others.

Are there any social implications in your piece?
The goal of the ‘Truth’ series is to have the viewer both see the person in the portrait and see themselves in their interpretation of the portrait. The question becomes what social, cultural and personal influences go into your thoughts? What does she look ‘like’? What statement do you think is true? Why do you think that? By answering those questions, and talking to others who are viewing the collage, you start to see how the individual and social background of the viewer is as much a determining factor in the meaning of the portrait as the person in the portrait.

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24 Works on Paper Artists: Sarah Atlee

To give insight into the works included in the 24 Works on Paper exhibition, Ryan Pack has interviewed some of the participating artists about their work in the show. The exhibition is now at the Eleanor Hays Gallery at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. It will continue there until October 14. 24 Works on Paper will continue to travel the state through August 2010.

Sarah Atlee
For those of you who created portraits: Why have people inspired your piece? What is it about portraiture that interests you?
When left to my own devices, I have always created portraits. There is something so satisfying in depicting the human face, with all its nuances and unique details. It’s both challenging and rewarding. In addition to the aesthetic challenge, I enjoy portraying emotions and personality, even when it’s subconscious. Portraits mirror the subject, the artist, and the viewer.

Would you care to tell us about the technique you used for your piece? And why the technique appeals to you?
I created the portrait “romy” with Pigma Micron 01 pens on Rives BFK paper. It took about 40 hours. I enjoy creating a mass accumulation of tiny marks. The Micron pen allows me to use a wide tonal range and build up rich darks. I worked from photographs of the subject, and let the image take on its own character on the paper.

24 Works on Paper Artists: Michelle Himes-McCrory

To give insight into the works included in the 24 Works on Paper exhibition, Ryan Pack has interviewed some of the participating artists about their work in the show. The exhibition is now at the Eleanor Hays Gallery at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. It will continue there until October 14. 24 Works on Paper will continue to travel the state through August 2010.

Michelle Himes-McCrory
For those of you who created portraits: Why have people inspired yourpiece? What is it about portraiture that interests you?
I started incorporating portraits into my artwork after I discovered an old family album for sale at an antique store. The dusty and unwanted album, depicting lost memories, was shrouded in mystery. It piqued my curiosity about who the people were, what their lives were like, and why their photos were abandoned. Each photograph adds another piece to the puzzle, revealing clues about other people’s lives and how they are connected to the time in which they lived.

Would you care to tell us about the technique you used for your piece? And why the technique appeals to you?
Printmaking has been a dominant part of my artwork for almost a decade. Woodblock printing, the oldest printmaking technique, has a rich history of tradition. I like to focus on the process of carving the wood, scratching the copper plates, and the detailed mark-making in each image. While printmaking is deeply rooted in old techniques and customs, there is always an opportunity for me to try something different and explore new ideas.

Artistic Proposal Sample: Sarah Atlee, Art 365 exhibition

Since artists need to write about their work to apply for great opportunities, I am going to spend a few posts focused on the nuts and bolts of artistic proposals. What better way than to show some actual proposals!? Thankfully some artists were willing to share. Below find an actual “winning” proposal and some comments.

Prompt: Title and Description of proposed project (no more than 350 words)

Sarah Atlee

Title: Normal, OK: Signs and Folks

Description: I was born in Norman. When I was a baby, my family moved to Albuquerque, where I grew up. Recently my mother moved back to Norman, and after finishing graduate school, I joined her here. I have always been ”from Oklahoma,” but now, for the first time, I am an Oklahoman.

Borders between communities are arbitrary, yet we assign them a certain credence. Who I am is connected to where I live. This body of work is an exploration of my identity as it relates to my new surroundings.

Oklahomans, myself included, spend a lot of time on the road. Route 66 is an integral part of our heritage. Arterial interstates whisk us from state to state. Along the road, an archaeology of advertisement emerges: billboards with missing panels, hand-painted text, and panels rearranged so the ads no longer read correctly. Advertising is supposed to be shiny and bright. Signs that are old, awkward, or broken are uniquely endearing.

I have been taking photos of signage along Interstate 40. I have been making drawings and collages from these photos, allowing the forms and typography to become increasingly abstract. I’m at work on multiple small-scale panels that can be arranged and rearranged to form different compositions.

Here’s a fun game to play in the car: When you pass a road sign that has two town names on it, pretend they are the first and last names of a person. Invent a personality to go with that name. For example, Hydro Carnegie could be an aging vaudevillian child star whose specialty was the unicycle. These days Mr. Carnegie breeds labradoodles. I’ve played this game enough to populate the entire imaginary community of Normal.* These characters are fertile ground for my new series of portraits.

With fictional portraiture, personalities emerge gradually through the marks from my pen. I’ve developed a technique of collage and ink drawing to create nuanced, evocative images. Normal, OK is a place that exists in my head, based on the real places around me. By extrapolating characters from Oklahoma’s place names, and artifacts from its decaying signage, I can interpret our state’s identity through the filter of my own experience.

Julia’s comments: Sarah strength is describing her project in a way that helps us understand her ideas, style and joy. She does not get specific about numbers or sizes of pieces and is a bit vague about medium. The curator was taken with her concepts. This tactic may have left her latitude when beginning her project since she didn’t specify minute details. In some cases, such as to a gallery, project proposals might need more parameters. However, sometimes strong artwork images do all the explaining necessary for the project!

By the way, I have to make sure you know that Sarah snuck in an extra 11 words (for a total of 361 words J). Really, most groups receiving proposals are not counting words as long as the application reasonably fits with the guidelines. But some galleries, residencies, and granting agencies are tough on the rules and would disallow an application for things such as this. Many times selection processes are inundated with submissions, so need simple ways to filter out applications.

If you want to learn more about artistic proposal writing, attend OVAC’s Artist Survival Kit workshops on the topic coming up September 10 & 15.

Artistic Proposal Sample: Elizabeth Brown, OVAC Grant

Since artists need to write about their work to apply for great opportunities, I am going to spend a few posts focused on the nuts and bolts of artistic proposals. What better way than to show some actual proposals!? Thankfully some artists were willing to share. Below find an actual “winning” proposal and some comments.

Opportunity: OVAC Professional Basics Grant

Prompt: Statement of Purpose for Project

Elizabeth Brown

I am requesting funds for the development of a photographic space in my studio devoted to documentation of my sculptures and drawings. These funds will enable me to purchase a gradated backdrop, lights including stands and umbrellas. I will be matching these funds for the purchase of a digital camera and tripod.

This space will help to lower the cost of hiring a photographer and increase my ability to create professional level images in a timely manner.

Timeline for Project: Having recently created a new body of sculptures I hope to have this project completed by the end of August, 2009 to begin taking photographs for the development of my website, several upcoming show applications/proposals and promotional materials.

Julia’s comments: Elizabeth made this as straightforward as possible. I like that she made it clear for what the funds would pay and explained why this project made sense now (to prepare a website and several applications). This kind of clarity takes effort. Simply, what are you doing and why? In the case of OVAC grants, our purpose is to give artists funds for their careers. We just need to see that the artist is planning their project.

If you want to learn more about artistic proposal writing, attend OVAC’s Artist Survival Kit workshops on the topic coming up September 10 & 15.

24 Works on Paper Artists: Rob Smith

To give insight into the works included in the 24 Works on Paper exhibition, Ryan Pack has interviewed some of the participating artists about their work in the show. The exhibition opens today at the Eleanor Hays Gallery at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. It will continue there until October 14.

Rob Smith

Do you listen to anything while you create your work? What inspires you (Be it art, music, books, movies, etc..)?
I always listen to something when I’m working in the studio. After 11:00 pm I can pick BBC radio through KWGS out of Tulsa. That’s my favorite thing to listen to. Often I’ll have the TV on in the studio or I’ll listen to music or other radio shows. You won’t find silence.

Would you care to tell us about the technique you used for your piece? And why the technique appeals to you?
As far as technique goes I’ve had an obsessive interest in the medium of screenprinting since 1978. I’ll try other things but I always go back to screenprinting. I love the potential of possibilities with screenprinting and I enjoy the fact that I am making multiples. Creating a print involves a plan, a strategy to get somewhere with your image and being able to accept the unexpected that often happens. I sometimes incorporate metallic leafing in my prints.

Artistic Proposal Sample: Betsy Barnum, Art 365 exhibition

With so many opportunities available to Oklahoma artists (see www.tinyurl.com/OVACcalls for OVAC’s alone), I am going to spend a few posts focused on the nuts and bolts of artistic proposals. What better way than to show some actual proposals!? Thankfully some artists were willing to share. Below find an actual “winning” proposal and some comments.

Prompt: Title and Description of proposed project (no more than 350 words)

Betsy Barnum

Title: Leaves a Trail to Fall

Description: I intend to create twelve 18 x 12” prints, combining media such as etching, linocut and chine collé. These prints will comprise the main part of the project. I also intend to keep a sketchbook journal (about 6 x 9”) to record my thoughts and ideas as they come. I will use the pages as a jumping-off point for larger prints and paintings. Since paintings also allow me some freedom to experiment with layering and composition, I intend to create about ten medium-scale (about 2 x 3’) paintings in acrylic on paper.

In life, through the experience of time I am evolving, growing and changing on a personal relationship scale. With my husband, my sister, my friends and myself, I am adapting day to day, unearthing things about myself and growing from them. I use journals because ideas and writings can have free reign, sinking onto the page and immediately recording thoughts, feelings and experiences. Time is shown in a more linear way, tracing a pattern of evolution through the recording of life.

Using the human figure and symbolic imagery, such as birds, fish, plants and typewriters as metaphors, I can illustrate growth, change and adaptation. Patterns are important to me in conveying repetition in the everyday. The irregularities of a hand-drawn pattern parallel the small changes in life accounting for the sadness and frustration, anxiety and excitement. With flat, two-dimensional patterns under deep-layered, drawn etchings, images float together and meld with and over each other. Different elements grow into one composition. The medium of etching allows for continuous reworking, layering and transparency. With this layering, ideas and images build up on the picture plane leading the viewer through my history.

Julia’s comments: I like how Betsy combines practical information with her artistic vision. In only 281 words she’s explained her creative process, some about her artistic media, the scale she’s hoping to reach, and her expected content. Although the language is descriptive, she’s not adding many unnecessary words. For some projects, more specificity about the final product might be required. For Art 365, she answered the prompt well of proposing an approach.

If you want to learn more about artistic proposal writing, attend OVAC’s Artist Survival Kit workshops on the topic coming up September 10 & 15.