This past week end the 26th annual Art Detour event was held in Phoenix, AZ. Art Detour provides broader exposure of artists by giving them a variety of ways to interact with the public. More than 100 spaces, including working artist studios, unique art spaces, galleries, cultural venues, restaurants and retailers opened their doors and make the two-day, arts scene event a must do.
“Detour-ists” were invited to visit artists’ private working studios not typically open for viewing, explore Pop-Up Gallery exhibits exclusively planned for Art Detour, and to discover the colorful mural scene on walls, buildings and fences throughout downtown. While you could see existing murals during the event you could also watch artists create new works as part of Paint Phoenix as dull walls were painted with new murals. Here are a few shots from walls located in the vicinity of the Hive Gallery at 2222 N 16th Street.
(pre)Occupation, a collaborative show curated by Jo Novelli-Blasko opened at the Hive Gallery in downtown Phoenix last night. Jo asked to be part of the show some time ago and I had decide early on that I wanted to create something in addition to hand bound books. A good deal of the work I’ve been doing with polymer clay lately has been more sculptural in nature and while I really haven’t shown any of it, I thought it might be the way to go. Give the underpinnings of the show however, I didn’t want to create anything elaborate, or serious. A few months ago, I had a funny dream about penguins spilling out of my journal so I created a waddle of penguins for the show. The installation is titled “Levocetirizine” and it was fairly well received. Here’s a shot of the installation, the penguins, eggs and rocks were created from polymer clay, and the snow is corn starch.
In addition to the penguins I bound five new books with wood covers for the show. From the nine o’clock position moving clockwise they’re titled “A Crack in Time,” “Reclaimed,” “Banded,” “Untitled,” and “The Turquoise Twins.” (pre)Occupation runs through Sunday, February 16th at the Hive Gallery in Phoenix. If you can’t make it to the Hive, I’ll be putting up some better pictures of these books soon; once the exhibit closes I’ll be putting most of them up for sale.
Preoccupation is the act what you’re doing when you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Phoenix-based artist and writer Jo Novelli-Blasko has been preoccupied with preoccupation over the past several months she writes:
I thought my primary interest in (pre)Occupation was the phenomenological experience of being preoccupied. Personally, I wanted to understand why nearly every endeavor I took up seemed to preoccupy me and yet I could still be entirely focused on the matter at hand. Philosophically, I wondered about a word that pointed so emphatically in the direction of time, but had no afterward, or after-word. There is not a (post)Occupation of thought, right? This seemed a rich opportunity to get lost in thought and I took it, bumping into all sorts of questions…
To more closely examine preoccupation, Novelli-Blasko is curating and exhibit at the Hive Gallery in downtown Phoenix. She’s asked me to be a part of the show and I’ll be exhibiting several hand bound books, some small sculptures and I’ll be teaching a book making class. You can check out details about the class on my Classes page. The exhibit features several other artists and opens on January 17th from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. If you’d like more information, you can find it at the (pre)occupation website Join us.
While I focus on bookbinding I consider myself a multimedia artist and I work in other in a variety of other forms and mediums. When I first stumbled across the MiniMini call at Wet Paint I began by thinking about what might be the best medium to use. Jes at Wet Paint had brought in some 4″ X 4″ canvases so my first thought was a painting. The more I thought about it though the less I liked that idea. I wanted to create something that had some depth to it and something people could touch. I designed and bound a coptic stitched book; the covers were made from walnut burl and it had four signatures made from 90 Lb. Fabriano Artistico. As it came together though, I found I wasn’t crazy about it. The plan was to print images of beach art on the pages and create a recess in the front cover and make a small pile of stacked rocks out of Polymer Clay. The small rocks recessed into the cover were meant to echo some of the beach art images but at the end of the day the whole thing just seemed really boring to me.
Some time ago a conversation with a friend brought us to the idea of the middle-age haiku. I write them periodically and I thought this might be a good way to display them. I constructed 4″ X 4″ box out of red oak and inlaid the sides with some walnut to give make it a little more dynamic. I painted the inside of the box with black gesso; I was going for the tacky metaphor of the mid-life crisis and the way in which many feel their life has been sucked into a black hole. I finished the exterior with tung oil and wax. I printed twelve of my haikus onto a creme colored Lokta paper, rolled them up into small scrolls and tied each with artificial sinew.
Last night I attended the opening of the MiniMini show at the the Cartel Coffee Lab. MiniMini was a call sponsored by the online artists community Spraygraphic and each piece of work submitted had to be 4″ X 4″. I love the sense of intimacy that small pieces so often communicate; I was excited to see the call and decided that I would submit something. The rules for the call weren’t very elaborate, the dimensions had to be 4″ X 4″ and depth really didn’t matter as long as the piece could be hung on the wall.
The call was very successful and ChuckB who curated the call ended up with 588 pieces submitted by 300 people from 20 countries. About 50% of the artwork was from other countries. The show wasn’t juried and everything that was received was hung but what was really surprising to me was the quality of the work, the submissions were just consistently good. In the last two days before the show was hung, 300 pieces flooded in and Chuck and his crew were so busy hanging them an index wasn’t ready by the time the show was up. I had a few favorites like these: