Weekend Art Experience at Creative 360

This past Saturday I enjoyed being a part of an art experience at my workplace, Creative 360 Studio and Gallery. I call it a art experience rather than an art fair because it was so much more than just an opportunity for people to “buy stuff”.

We had a diverse group of local artists working in a variety of mediums and styles, and also featured beautiful art and handmade items from our artists with disabilities in the inclusive arts and wellness program I run, Express Yourself Artshop. Treats were catered by the program’s culinary class.

Throughout the day, we also enjoyed a number of performances by talent of all ages and abilities. Our Artshop Community Theater members each performed the monologues they wrote portraying themselves as their favorite artist, writer, or musician. There was a singer who performed a song they’d written about their personal faith. We were treated to a vibrant stand up comedy routine by a very young aspiring comedian, complete with some mind bending riddles at the end ūüėČ. A young woman with autism who has been passionate about playing piano since she was 2 performed a series of pieces.

One of my personal favorite parts about participating in fairs is the fun of art trades, and I was thrilled to go home with a cozy fleece blanket perfect for the sudden descent into winter over here in Michigan, and an amazingly unique “80s Death Mask” (Check out the artist’s shop for some of their other sculpture and mixed media work).

Attendees found the fair inspiring, joyful, and uplifting with an environment of openness that encouraged sharing and connection. These events can only be as successful as the number of people who come out to support our local talent and enjoy the atmosphere of creative community! We are hoping to do another fair in the Summer, and in the more immediate future we have our Express Yourself Artshop Talent Show coming up this Monday the 18th at 6:00 inside Creative 360’s gallery.

I am also working on adding more inventory to Artshop’s online store featuring all student made fine art and crafts. Having the opportunity to get their creations out into the world provides a sense of confidence, ownership, responsibility and motivation for our students and also allows them to make income for themselves. Be sure to check back as I am going to start filling the store this week and next! For those in the area, hope to see you at our next event :).

 

Sonia Delaunay – Creative Minds Art History Project

I live in Michigan, and we have been having some wild weather over the past couple of weeks, including over 10 snow days! Since I teach a couple art classes in the program I run in addition to coordinating all the goings on, I still have to get work done on snow days, just without my fun project break :(. I was excited to finally get to host my classes again this week and share a long awaited project with my group! This week’s artist was Sonia Delaunay.

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Sonia Delaunay was an abstract artist and designer who not only painted but worked in fabric and costume design, and in 1964 became the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at The Louvre in Paris!

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The literal geometry she brought to her most famous costume work for the play The Gas Heart by avante garde poet Tristan Tzara is just fabulous.

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You know you’ve got a good thing going if David Bowie is on board! He wore a getup inspired by her cubist suit when he performed on Saturday Night Live in 1979.

Remembered most for her paintings, a lot of her fashion work gets glazed over which is a shame, because it is her fashion and costumes that I personally find the most interesting. Delaunay’s fashion work was revolutionary at the time because she didn’t just take her paintings and hang them on bodies… Her designs for clothing were specifically configured to work with women’s body shapes, and the clothing themselves was functionally designed for movement, not decoration. Come to think of it, this may still be considered revolutionary today! Given this, it was only fitting that our class project be something wearable. Inspired by Delaunay’s colorful, geometric art and design, my class created fabric collage necklaces.

I am all for any chance to upcycle! Discarded leather upholstery samples were cut into boomerang shapes to be used as a base for the collage bib necklaces. I pre-selected fabric for the students to choose from that meshed with the inspiration artist’s colorful, abstract style. All of my students have some form of disability, and a couple struggle with dexterity. Providing prepared shapes cut from matte board for the students to trace gave them a helpful guide to encourage project success and allow them to be able to work independently. They were also encouraged to look for shapes in the fabrics’ patterns that they could follow, as one did with a large red flower. Regular ballpoint ink pens can be used to trace the shapes on the back of the fabric. Fabric scissors were used to then cut out the shapes. Shapes were arranged on the base, and then students used a junky brush to paint tacky glue on the back of their fabric pieces and press them down. Once dry, holes were punched in the ends and jewelry chain attached and voila! Ready to wear!

Lesson planning has been so inspirational to me in my own art and handmade journey, and has pushed me to think outside of the box and come up with ideas I never would have otherwise. Creating this project inspired me to work on my own statement necklaces using not only fabric but my velvet vintage millinery florals I love to collect from ebay and local antique fairs. These necklaces are for sale in my own ebay shop for $25. More designs coming soon!

Movies To Watch This Halloween Weekend

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I am a huge movie enthusiast, and definitely classify movies as works of art themselves. Halloween is one of the best times for movies. I live in Michigan, and we actually had our first snow yesterday, making curling up on the couch an even more appealing way to spend an evening. I wanted to share my personal favorites, some theatrical, some funny, some disturbing … I don’t do straight up slasher horror films so for fans of Freddy, Jason, Michael, or the Exorcist I apologize. Lo and behold this is my personal, (quite pared down – It was hard!), best of Halloween list … enjoy!

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

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This goes without saying. Viewings of this film and/or play are a Halloween tradition for a reason. If you have lived on this earth for more than 10-12 years and have not seen this movie yet I’d highly suggest you get on board. The original is best. I know there’s been some buzz about the remake, but I feel like this is an “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” situation, and though Laverne Cox is a fabulous actress, she just didn’t do it for me as a replacement for Tim Curry. I mean, Tim Curry was Hexxus in Fern Gully, the Lord Of Darkness in Legend, the scary clown in It … We have a lot of memories together.

Eraserhead

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This is actually the only David Lynch film I like. I had a lot of friends in college who were super into his work, and this was the only positive experience that came out of a coerced¬†viewing of his library. I’m sorry guys, Blue Velvet is just not a good movie.¬†This movie isn’t so much horror as an extreme-surreal sort of creepy. To me it reads like a really long stress dream. A guy accidentally got his girlfriend pregnant, her family is pissed, he’s not even sure he likes her that much … This resulting odd film is filled with situations and human interactions that would never happen in real life, a really sick baby that looks like a space alien, and even a really fun song courtesy of a woman living in the radiator. Just watch, you’ll see what I mean.

Donnie Darko

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This movie centers around Halloween, so of course it’s a shoe-in. This is one of those movies I can never get sick of. It’s very detailed and you tend to notice more and more as you re-watch.

Santa Sangre

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I’ll be honest, not to sound like an indecisive 8-year-old pondering her crush of the moment but I don’t know if I can even really say I like¬†like this movie. Parts are super inspiring and sadly beautiful, others are plain hard to watch. The premise and visuals are just so bizarre and unlike any other movie I’ve ever seen, and that in and of itself makes it entertaining. It’s an Alejandro Jodorowsky, so you know it’s not going to be normal – It’s an experience. The premise is a far more interesting twist on the whole Alfred Hitchcock¬†Psycho mother-son situation.¬†This film centers around a troupe of circus performers. The mother is a dancer/gymnast who lost both her arms in quite an unpleasant fashion, and she now forces her son to literally be her arms. Like he is pretty much bound behind her at all times.

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He meets a cute little mime, falls in love, trouble ensues. Oh, there is also a crazy religion/cult that worships this saint who had both her arms chopped off in martyrdom. So there’s that.

Sweeney Todd

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Halloween musicals are where it’s at. This movie is pretty much a year-round choice for me, but I think the morbid theme makes it especially fitting for Halloween time. I’d always liked this play – It’s both emotionally moving and laugh out loud hilarious, and the music is amazing – and Tim Burton certainly did it justice in his film version. This specific cast was so great, I worry if I went and saw the play now I wouldn’t like it as much.

Dead Alive

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This is a weird¬†little zombie-comedy that is ultra campy. It’s also ultra gross. Like, if the Garbage Pale Kids made a movie, this would be the end result. I normally am not one for super violent movies, which is odd because this number is chock-full of grotesque situations. However, it’s so 1980s-claymation-and-ketchup-fake and so gratuitous to the point of being silly that it doesn’t bother me. I don’t like violent films that show situations that could actually happen in real life; murders, muggings, all that noise; but goofy looking zombies ripping apart people’s heads and play-doh-spaghetti insides falling out? I can deal. There’s another awkward possessive mother situation here, too. I don’t know what’s with the entertainment industry and demonizing mothers – I can’t tell what’s worse, the horror genre or Disney movies.

The Evil Dead Trilogy

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Again, this is pretty much a Halloween classic so not much explanation is needed. I had the extreme pleasure of watching the musical version of this film in Detroit 2 years ago, and it was everything I’d thought it would be and more.

They Live!

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It’s the 80s … unemployment is rampant, income inequality is out of control, race relations are at an all time negative … so says the hackers breaking into the TV broadcasts that are turning people into mindless zombies. (Sidenote: I’m so glad things are so much better a quarter of a century later, am I right?) This same hacker society has developed glasses that show the¬†truth … I want to give it away but it’s too great. You have to just watch it. Look at that screenshot!

So, what are your favorite movies to cuddle to once the calendar turns to October?

 

Art Discussion – Legacy

Legacy, 11x14 Prismacolor Pencil

Legacy, 11×14 Prismacolor Pencil

Today, I wanted to unpack a piece from my conceptual portraits series I’ve been working on since beginning of last year, titled “Legacy”.

The script scrolling from her head at the top right reads “I fear being ordinary most of all”. For this piece, I had been thinking a lot about how many decisions we make are rooted in a fear of mortality. We fear that once we are gone it won’t matter… we will have left nothing behind to be remembered by. We long to be KNOWN for something, to be successful at something, for others to know our name. Sometimes we don’t even care if what we are noted for is positive or not, just as long as our existence is eye-catching and out of the ordinary and commands fame and astonishment for good reasons or for terrible. LIke Oscar Wilde said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about”. Everything we do, in the relationships we build, the work and pleasure we choose, is leading towards a legacy we hope to build and the perception by which we will be remembered. I used the repeated pattern of the skull and grave markers on her clothing as a motif symbolizing mortality. You will also notice the burning city in the background at the bottom of the composition, which she turns away from smiling, so inwardly focused that she takes no notice of the external destruction.

I have always been interested in masks, mainly because I am interested in almost any form of art that involves faces. Masks can also symbolize so many different things. They can symbolize falseness, pretense, anonymity, invisibility, the concealment of sins. But, they can also symbolize celebration, personal expression, the fact that human beings are flexible and multi-faceted and shades of grey – not black and white, and the power we have over who we want to be in our own story. I am especially drawn to the aesthetic of Japanese Kabuki and Noh masks, two forms of classical Japanese musical drama that involve masks and elaborate costumes to aid in telling the story. In Noh, each mask symbolizes a different type of character. For the background of this piece, I chose to tile the demon character mask (destructive, powerful) alternating with the traditional woman mask (usually symbolizing a character who is beautiful, refined, elegant, and demure). This symbolizes the interplay between a person’s two choices (or more accurately, what we perceive as our only two options). Too often we think that the only way to get ahead, be noticed, be outstanding, is to forgo our ideals and do what is best for ourselves and ourselves only. Those who make history do tend to have an awful lot of skeletons in their closet. But does doing what is right condemn us to having to play the role of the mouse smiling and curtsying in the corner? I’d ask you to also look to history (Think of Martin Luther King Jr., the most well known example!) and see that no, that is certainly not the case.

It is always interesting to hear others’ thoughts. Who are some of your favorite notable figures who broke the societal assumption of power and success being inseparable from selfishness and violence? What kind of legacy do you want your existence to build?