Creation Maddness!

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Spring is the most amazing time of the year in the arts, especially if you are a botanical based artist.  The orchid shows are done and the other flower shows are just heating up.  All the sensual colors and the twisted silky petals seeking my attention…it’s such a rush of adrenaline for me!

The other fabulous thing that goes on this time of year is college student art shows.  It has become one of my favorite times of year because of the ability to see, and be inspired by, what the future holds for art.  Here is a sampling of the offerings (and I will surely be at as many as I can get to):

The School of the Art institute of Chicago’s fashion departments annual The Walk.  Nick Cave and the fashion department’s annual runway show never disappoints!  I usually attend the 9am dress rehearsal to get the insider point of view.  The sophomore class in the past offers up their visions in monochrome style using cream and greys…words cannot begin to describe the textural impacts of this palette as well as shadow effects and the lines!  Wow.  I know they are beginning their journey in fashion, but the limits their display is given makes these creations even more interesting!  The Juniors and Seniors have no limitations and it shows!  I have seen their designs range from Carnivale to Armageddon.  The Walk will be held this year on Friday, May 2nd and you can find more information HERE!

Also in Chicago, Columbia College is offering an Open Studio event for the Seniors of their BFA program.  On Tuesday, April 15th you can join in with food and beverage along with the fabulous artwork.  This is such a great event to not only support the future artists but also view and purchase great artwork!  You can find more information HERE!

And finally, my ultimate favorite event of the young artists is the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Undergrad and Graduate exhibitions.  This year’s MFA show is starting April 26th and running through May 14th.  Being an alum of this amazing school, I love to wander around the Sullivan Galleries (located on State Street – “that great street” for anyone as old as me) to see all the yummy offerings!  You can find more information on that HERE!

Today is a lecture on Modern Metaphors at the Rockford Art Museum and next week I’m off to the Art Institute of Chicago to attend the lecture on the new Modern Masters exhibition along with the sneak peek of the show itself.  I love this time of year!

Exotic art or artistic exo?

Just as the Bangles proclaimed “It’s just another manic Monday…I wish it were a Sunday…’Cause that’s my funday…My I don’t have to runday……..

Yesterday got completely by me.  I’m thankful to be so busy, but sad that I didn’t have a chance to update this for all who read it.  This week’s curiosity for me is the idea of art and the exotic.  I spent the past week really focused on how I was observing and perceiving artwork that I saw.  I went to this FABULOUS gallery that everyone should run to see.  The gallery is called Simply Chicago Art and is owned and managed by Mary Berg.  I was introduced to Mary by an artist named Patricia Beauchamp who is generously donating a piece of her artwork for the American Cancer Society’s Discovery Ball.  Patricia understood an added opportunity to display the artists and their generously donated work for the event and made the connection between Mary and I.  So I went to the gallery on Saturday.  Mary is currently exhibiting artwork from 40 artists…ranging from the small to the grand.  The gallery is located at 1318 Oakton Street, Evanston (near the intersection of Oakton and Asbury.  Mary has new artwork on display every 4 weeks.  But I digress…

In looking at the artwork she had exhibited; I noticed that I was more drawn to things that I haven’t seen before.  There were some beautiful fabric art pieces using innovative stitching patterns and barely readable text on the patterned fabric.  I tried to discern what was the most basic attraction I had to these pieces and then take a wider stance to all the artwork that I am attracted to.  What I discovered, for myself, is that I find art to be located in the exotic.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines exotic as “Intriguingly unusual or different; excitingly strange…”.   I don’t necessarily feel as though only things I haven’t seen before are “art”, but instead I feel that I can find “exotic” moments in all art.

What do you think?  Can art be found in the common everyday?  Or can it be seen in the mundane?  Feedback about this please as I am not sure what to make of it.

Bust? Or just a new opportunity to create…

I have been reading more and more lately about Art and the current economic outlook.  The New York Times ran an article back in February discussing whether the “Boom” was over; pointing out the large amount of product for sale in the art communities and the lack of patrons willing to pay for art.  The article discusses the powerful movements created in art from recessionary times (i.e. the creation of SoHo in NY, the use of available materials such as work by Gordon Matta-Clark, or rooftop performance art pieces).  There is some historical referencing done by Holland Cotter to compare this current recession to those which occurred in the 70’s and 80’s.  You can read it in its entirety here
During this same past year LINC (Leveraging Investments in Creativity) released their results from a survey taken using 5380  artists nationwide.  The survey was completed in just under a month over the summer and was titled “Artists and Economic Recession Survey”, focusing on artists economic circumstances almost a year into this current recession.  In general the survey confirmed the NYTimes article with regards to artists having to make changes in their lifestyles, locations, entrepreneurial skill adaptability; all of which will create a large art movement.  51% of artists surveyed reported a decrease in their art-related incomes between 2008-2009 of which a small percentage seen the decrease exceed 50%.  65% of surveyed artists hold at least one other “day job” in addition to their art practice.  One of the most staggering figures was that 44% of surveyed artists felt a need to lower fees/rates charged for their work.  Although most of the figures in the survey are not appealing, 75% of the surveyed artists had a positive outlook to the future and felt it is an inspiring time to be an artist, but not without their personal worry.  In the survey artists indicated their worries are focused around funding for projects, grant monies, and rising debt.  You can read the actual survey here.
Most recently I attended a panel discussion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago titled “The Creative Economy: Beyond ‘The New Normal'”.  It was a panel consisting of Kelly Costello, director of Design Research at Doblin, Inc.; Mark Dziersk, VP of Design Brandimage-Desgrippes & Laga, Educator at Northwestern University; Theaster Gates, University of Chicago, Coordinator of Arts Programming; and the school’s President Wellington Reiter.   The information used for the panel discussion was the same as it is in the above paragraphs, however I felt this was more interesting because I was listening to the panelists who came from diverse areas in the art community.  The general philosophies expressed were detailed and interesting.  There was a discussion about the MFA becoming the new MBA whereas corporations and businesses are seeking out individuals who have problem solving skills and can think “outside the box”.  Artists are well-known problem solvers and its our creative ways of thinking which are appealing to businesses who are looking to gain ground in a quickly moving world.  There was also a re-emphasizing of the entrepreneurial skill building during the down time in order to make yourself ready when the market turns around.  While this is encouraging for someone like myself who has a strong business and art background, it’s not so wonderful for the person who wants to be  a practicing artist.  However, I have heard from the school that in the springtime they will be holding another panel discussion that focuses on gallery exhibiting and art making in this economy.  You can see the panel discussion on these 3 links. 
1. Part One
2. Part Two
3. Part Three
I guess what I am hearing from all of this chatter about art and our current recession driven economy is that as artists we need to create change.  The artists need to stay focused on their convictions, look inside of themselves to see what they would like to accomplish, and then persevere in that direction no matter what.  We need to continue to solve problems, regardless of their nature and boast that we possess that skill.  This economy will turn around and artists will be the ones who leave the footprint of what it’s implications have been.