Archive for February, 2013


This just in from the art world of yours truly…

You can now see four pieces of my artwork on display at The Updraft Gallery in downtown Asheville. The four pieces in question are the Tree Rings series (here, here, and here) and The Tree Of Life.

The Updraft is a fairly new gallery, run by artists. They have a lot of variety – many different styles of painting, decorative stuff, jewelry, pottery, glass, you name it. The location is great – in addition to being downtown, they’re right across the street from an expensive tapas restaurant. The guy who runs it is pretty cool, and he also runs Art In The Park and has some good connections in the community. There’s really no telling whether or not my stuff will sell, but it’s definitely good exposure, and it could lead to even bigger things.

So if you happen to be passing through downtown Asheville, come check out my stuff, (and the other work there). And if you’re nowhere near Asheville, then by all means go to my shop. Yay!

 

A Blogless Week And A New Website

Once again, it’s been a while since I wrote anything here.

First, Valentine’s Day happened. I made Katie pretty much the most epic present imaginable, which took up a lot of my time. I bought a clay-board box kit from work. I painted the sides with tempera, lined the inside with felt, and on the top painted an icon of a T-rex. The hinge setup that came with the box was basically retarded. They didn’t cut any sort of recessed groove or anything, so when you screwed the hinges onto the box, it didn’t close all the way. Not only that, but two of the screw heads broke off when I was screwing them in. So I decided to just give up on the idea of screws, bought some leather, and stapled strips of it for hinges. I made a clasp for the other side of the box using a strip of leather with a slit cut in it and one of those tiny eyelet screws. It turned out pretty amazing, and if I hadn’t gotten so caught up in other things I probably would have posted a picture here earlier. But oh well. It’s never too late for an awesome pic, right? Without further ado…..

TRexBox

Of course she absolutely loved it, so yay. Her present to me wasn’t nearly as involved, but equally heartfelt. I’m always giving her crap about never dressing up, so she dressed up. She shaved her legs and put on makeup and wore a very cute mini-dress. As if that wasn’t enough, she also got me a big heart-shaped box of chocolates.¬† We spent the evening bundled up on the couch watching King Of The Nerds. I really couldn’t have asked for a better Valentine’s Day.

Since then not a lot eventful has happened. I’ve hung out a few times with Katie, but no big dates or anything. We got rid of another person at work, so things have been a little stressful this past week. Other than that I’ve just been working on art and lounging around the house.

However, I did make a new website… Frustrated with my Fine Art America page and the complete lack of interest it has generated, I’ve been looking into other shops. I decided to set up a shop at Zibbet, which is basically an Etsy clone, except with more of a focus on fine art. I’m still in the process of adding things there, and I’ve been working a lot on having product to sell. Nice fancy paintings are great, but in this economy not many people are buying. If I’m going to make any money from art, it will most likely come from things like prints, greeting cards, magnets, etc. Which reminds me, I need to photograph my magnets and upload¬† them.

But yeah, that’s about it. Go buy my stuff!

 

It’s been a busy week in the Asheville art scene. On Wednesday I attended a reception of works by the late painter Vadim Bora at Mars Hill College. I get the impression that he’s mostly unknown outside of his native Russia and his adopted hometown of Asheville, but that doesn’t say anything about the quality of his work. He worked in a ton of different styles, yet everything is instantly recognizable as his. Last year there was a retrospective exhibit, and this show was the highlights from that show. There was a curator’s talk, which I missed, before the reception. I spoke to his widow, and while she seemed pleasant enough, I was a little put off by the way she appears to be handling his estate. She said none of the paintings are for sale, and there are no prints available of anything. She literally told me that if I liked a particular piece, the only thing to do would be to keep coming to all the future exhibits so I could see it again. Her attitude came off a little snooty, like selling prints was beneath her or something. I’m sure that’s not how she really feels, but based on her wording that’s how she came off. But that’s a minor complaint about an otherwise wonderful exhibit.

Friday night I went out to the ARTery to check out a show by my former coworker Joshua Spiceland. They let him paint on the walls, continuing the designs and patterns from his pieces and connecting everything. He had 3D glasses available for viewing, even though they didn’t seem to really add much. The turnout seemed pretty good, and it seemed like he sold a few pieces. He’s clearly a local artist on the rise, but I guess I’m a little burnt out on his work after seeing so much of it over the past year or two. I haven’t been to any other openings at the ARTery, so I’m not sure the calibre of artists they usually have or what the turnout is usually like. I know that their hours are a little weird, which is something I’ve discovered to be pretty common with galleries and studios in the River Arts District. I always feel like I should venture outside of downtown and see more shows and try to get my stuff into more venues, but so far I haven’t been very impressed with the RAD. Who knows.

Tonight I managed to squeeze in two openings. First we had an opening for our artist of the month, Kristalyn Bunyan. She does a lot of monoprints on handmade paper, some of it with alpaca yarn and fibers. I really love her work, probably more so than any past artist of the month. In the year or so that I’ve been helping coordinate things, she’s been one of the easiest artists to work with as well. She submitted a listing to the Mountain Xpress, and not only did they run it, but it was about a quarter of a page with a picture. We had a busker providing live music out front and wine and refreshments inside. The turnout was amazing, and she sold quite a lot. I actually bought one of her cheapo unframed prints, and probably would have bought a few more if I had the money.

After our opening I went down the street to Zapow for a “steam punk carnival.” All of their shows are group shows with the majority of their member artists contributing. With Mardi Gras right around the corner, they decided to do a carnival theme, but steam punk style. There was a lot of great artwork, and some really cool music by a band called The Extraordinary Contraptions. I got there about halfway through the show, so I missed all the refreshments and about half of the music, but it was still pretty cool. I didn’t stay very long, because by then I was pretty tired and hungry, but it was definitely worth checking out.

In my own personal art world, I’ve been keeping pretty busy as well. I’ve been working off-and-on on several projects, including (but not limited to) a late birthday present for my neighbor Michelle, Katie’s Valentine’s Day present, a few really neat watercolor/mixed media pieces, and putting the finishing touches on my tree ring series. Between seeing art, reading about art, and creating art, I haven’t had a whole lot of time for anything else. Not that this is a bad thing. Well, except for sleep. I wish I had a little more time for sleep. Speaking of which, I should probably go do just that…..

 

So last night was the big night. Jeff Mangum, live at The Grey Eagle. A few months ago I waited outside of Harvest Records for hours to get tickets to what would become the fastest sellout in Grey Eagle history. And it was totally worth it.

I ended up taking my friend Morgan, a big Neutral Milk Hotel fan. I had asked Katie, but she had already planned a birthday party for the same day and didn’t want to shuffle things around. Her actual birthday was Wednesday, but she was in Atlanta until Friday night. We decided that I would go to the concert and then when it was over I would join up with the birthday party, already in progress. But more on that later…

Morgan finally got a car, and drove over to my place a little before the show. It was snowing and she freaked out, so I drove to the concert. Parking was ridiculous. I wound up parking in front of a warehouse about a quarter of a mile from the Grey Eagle. The place was pretty packed, with people lined up into the parking lot waiting to get in. They had two lines going, based on last name, and it was nearly fifteen minutes before we were inside.

The opening band was a duo called Tall Firs. They both played electric guitars in various tunings through lots of effects. It was pretty mellow and atmospheric, with a sort of dream-pop/slowcore vibe going on. I bought one of their albums, but it’s very different. They have a drummer (or did at the time of this album, which came out in 2008) and the sound is more straight ahead rock. Evidently one of the guys is a guitar tech for Sonic Youth and they’re on Thurston Moore’s label. A lot of the CD reminds me of Sebadoh. I hear a little Pavement in there, and possibly some of Sonic Youth’s less experimental and noisy moments. I’m going to have to check out their other stuff and see how it compares, but I like the CD I bought a lot.

After a brief intermission Jeff Mangum took the stage. He looks a bit different from when we last saw him, with a huge greying beard that makes him look very Asheville. He opened with “Holland, 1945” and it quickly became obvious that the entire night would be one giant sing along. He played a few more songs from In The Aeroplane Over The Sea and threw in a few from On Avery Island as well. He didn’t really talk a lot in between songs, except to thank the crowd for being so supportive. On several occasions the usually dark and depressed Morgan suddenly turned into a twelve-year-old cheerleader, screaming her head off and countering every Jeff Mangum thank you with a “no, thank you!”

On several songs during the first half of his performance, Mangum hummed the melodies that were played by a horn section on the album. I like to think of myself as being somewhat observant, so it didn’t escape me that for some reason there were four microphones on stage. Even though I knew it was coming, when the horn section came out for “Oh Comely,” I just about lost it. Everything sounded perfect, perhaps even better than on the album. After thunderous applause from the crowd, he launched into an extended version of “Naomi,” and again the horns came out. He closed with “Two Headed Boy,” but this time the horn section was joined by a guy with a floor tom and another guy with a tambourine. They played the instrumental “The Fool” and then everyone left the stage as the crowd went insane. Jeff returned for an encore of “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.” Pretty much everyone there was singing along, and when the horns came out one last time it was the perfect end to an amazing performance.

I wound up buying In The Aeroplane Over The Sea on 180 gram vinyl, and while I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a gatefold, the artwork looks amazing. The record itself has the phonograph/plane/whatever picture on the label and the lyrics and credits are on a sheet inside the sleeve. I stuck my ticket stub and bracelet inside the sleeve as well. I was hoping to get him to sign it, but the guy at the merchandise table said he doesn’t usually come out to sign and meet with people. Oh well, still totally worth it.

After the show we came back to my place. Morgan didn’t stick around, and I attempted to get in touch with Katie. She wasn’t answering her phone, so I assumed either she couldn’t hear it or was already too drunk to perform such a high level action. I remembered that she said their pub crawl was starting at The Yacht Club, so I decided to go down there and see if they were still there. The guy said they had already left and he didn’t know where they were. I decided to try another of her usual haunts, Broadway’s, but they weren’t there either. Finally she returned my text message and said they were at a gay bar. I asked where it was, but she said they were leaving. I told her I’d take a rain check and she should come over tonight so I could give her her birthday present(s). This afternoon I talked to her and she said she was really hung over and hanging out with her family. As of yet she hasn’t gotten home, so I’m thinking we’re not going to hang out tonight. Hopefully I’ll get to see her tomorrow.

I think I’m going to work on some paintings and then attempt to get to sleep at a decent hour. The End.