Monday, October 28, 2013

Do you twitter? I don’t. Yet. Maybe.

(With apologies to de la Tour)

I already stumbled into the technology gap when I went shopping for a clock radio that also played CDs. Nothing out there but clock radios with iPod docking stations!  No, I don’t own an iPod. Yet. I do have a shuffle that was given to my late Mother for Christmas years ago, but she couldn’t get the hang of using it.  OMG--is that my future? Not yet! But I do perceive that my technology exasperation point is set rather low.

However, art does tend to be a solitary endeavor. More than once I’ve heard, if you want to make art, don’t “have a life.” Stay home and make art! Of course, that’s not entirely a viable route. I think you need to live, to make art. You need to interact, be stimulated, form opinions, as well as guard your time to actually do the work. Full time employment (for those of us who lacked the luck, grace, drive, whatever, to make it in the art world decades ago) only complicates the problem.

So, is social media the answer? Bigger slices of (ever more rapid) life in ever-tinier packages? I’ll admit the instagram thing intrigues me. Walking from where I park to where I work, I constantly see little photo-ops. The No Parking sign bedecked with morning glories blooming in the early sun. The sidewalk weeds that, taken in macro, would look like a forest on another planet.  The Bicycle-Bumper Guy almost stopping traffic on the boulevard (you have to be a Pittsburgher to know who that is!)

Unfortunately, I am not yet smart phone enabled (insert frowny face here.) I do have a cell phone, which came in the mail when my daughter put me on her family plan.  [Aside:  my first introduction to mobile phones came in the 1990’s, in Germany, when they were known (in both deutsch and english) as “handys”; they were about 6” x 3” x 2 “,  weighed about 10x what they do  now]  I have learned to use the little contemporary phone (already obsolete) that she sent me, albeit reluctantly.  Now, I can’t leave the house without it. There is definitely a smart phone (or, as a very clever guy calls them, HTDs—Human Tracking Devices) in my future.

For now, I guess I should start twittering. I accidentally signed up for an account when I thought I was signing on to follow a blog I like.  But, what would I twitter about? My FB page already contains more postings about various ecological, animal welfare and human rights issues urging people to sign petitions (on which almost no one ever comments—that should tell me something), than it does posts about my doings. So, step #1:  educate myself about how to twitter without being a twit.

And, get a laptop. OMG I meant an iPad! No, wait, a SMART PHONE!! I’m still vague enough about them to be utterly impressed when my daughter goes online—on her phone!—to look up something on the internet. I see photos taken with phones that I can’t believe weren’t taken with a “real” camera. OK, when I said that, did you think digital or SLR? Do you recognize the name Kodak? How about Brownie?

I do have a Pinterest account, but I hardly ever go on it. Seems like so much on-line scrap-booking. Step #2:  educate myself about how to use Pinterest to promote my art. (Guidance welcome)

Vining sounds really interesting, because of the creative aspect of making 6 seconds really count!  I think I could do a little video with my ancient Motorola…

“Change is inevitable, personal growth is a choice.” – Bob Proctor

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Art Opening!

Opening of my exhibit at Backstage Bar, Oct 11, 2013

On Friday, October 11, 2013, the fruits of six and a half months of artful labor went on display at the Backstage Bar at Theater Square in downtown Pittsburgh, PA. The show consists of 9 new pieces and  pieces of work that were previously done (but never exhibited.)

There had been some possibility of one of the pieces, “Mermaid Dreams,” being removed due to a reference to “soft porn” in my Artist’s Statement. It seems BB management takes issue with “offensive” nudity. OK, they do serve food, and I can understand people not wanting pussy on the wall when they’re trying to eat (no double entendre intended and with apologies to any prudes among my readers) but it seemed surreal that mermaids could be an issue. Especially as all the semi-nude images of women that formed the mermaids’ torsos, came from classic 19th c paintings. I offered to collage their nipples with tiny seashells if it would help but fortunately it did not come to that (I would’ve removed the piece myself before bowdlerizing it like that, but I wanted to make a point.)  That an establishment associated with arts organizations would be practicing censorship is disturbing. But, in the event, the Mermaids were deemed acceptable and got to strut their stuff on display.  (At the opening, a gentleman and his two alert young nephews sat at a nearby table enjoying a meal before going to the theater show. So, maybe management has a point…) Here's a (rather poor) photo of the work in question, with a promise that all the pieces will be properly documented as soon as the show comes down!
Mermaid Dreams, paper collage, 18 x 29"   (C) Diane Keane, 2013

The opening was a great fun, with many friends and a few relatives crowding into the tiny bar, along with other customers. I got some very nice comments on the work, and 3 pieces sold on the first night. Great! I also heard later that inquiries were made about obtaining prints of some of the works, which of course means a whole new opportunity is opening. The interest is there, why not proceed? I have learned that you don’t get anywhere by refusing a challenge. Onward and upward!

Below are a few photos from the opening, as well as my Artist’s Statement. Thanks for looking!

The bartender at Backstage Bar made the first purchase:  Chair Porn!

Artist’s Statement for Backstage Bar Exhibit                        

It has been a number of years since I picked up a brush! My previous most recent body of work consists of numerous small collages that came out of a collage-a-day project during 2010 (hence the name of my blog, Collagitation.)  The offer of an exhibit at Backstage Bar, which would require pieces on a larger scale, prompted me to take up painting again. I’d been thinking about doing so for years, and I had a backlog of images that I wanted to get on canvas.  For the past 6 months, I’ve been like a kid with a new toy:  paint this, try that, and what about that funky chair idea? An image that has long intrigued me is the fresco of the 3 Minoan women (and ancient art in general.)  I wanted to give them a more contemporary treatment, and I think they stand up to it with complete aplomb.   I also morphed some of my small collage designs into paintings (The Birdwatcher, Once in a Blue Moon) which was an interesting exercise indeed. 

I felt other ideas were more suitable to collage, so I got out the scissors and glue again. The classical female nudes in their languorous poses—the soft porn of their time—lend themselves very well to another ages-old male erotic fantasy, the mermaid. I also enjoy the play on opposites of their marbled-paper tails:  fluid paint patterns imitating hard stone while perfectly capturing sinuous, fishy flesh.

Creating the art for Eccentric Characters has been an immensely challenging and equally satisfying process. It has restored art to the center of my life, and re-kindled an almost forgotten dream, which is to fashion a life where I can do art full-time.  The result is a diverse body of work exploring various ideas and imagery that have fascinated me.  Over time, several of the themes presented in Eccentric Characters will become the basis for entire series of related works. The common thread in all the present pieces, I think, is whimsicality and an off-beat view of the animate and inanimate worlds.

I hope the works bring a smile to your face. I believe art is about communication. Self-expression, yes, but to whom is the artist expressing herself, without a viewer? Although there are many viewpoints worthy of expression, humor emerged as a major component as I produced these paintings and collages. Humor is a very direct, universal form of communication.  Anthropomorphized animals and objects have been the basis of funny stuff for millennia, as has been putting a modern spin on images from the past. I’ve enjoyed following these and other routes to produce these artworks, and I am grateful for the opportunity to dust off my easel and paint tubes, and to work with collage on a larger scale. These have rejuvenated my skills and my desire to continue exploring my visual ideas. I welcome you along for the ride.

Diane Keane, Oct 11, 2013 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...