Archives for posts with tag: atlanta

Day Sixty-Seven/ Image Sixty-Seven

“Afloat” Image. Ceres Gallery. New York. Solo Show.

There is an expression: “walking on air.” It generally means a person is so happy, his or her feet don’t touch the ground. Or that is the way the person feels.

I had this feeling once. It lasted a few months. I could not shake it. I tried, but I continuously felt, literally, that my feet were not connected to the ground.

It was after I had been accepted into a juried exhibition in New York, where Anne Umland, Curator, Painting and Sculpture Department for the Museum of Modern Art had selected one of my pieces for New York exhibition.

I had just started painting seriously, after I had left my full time job in Advertising. I had been in the studio constantly for a few years, working. I saw the ad for this show, applied and got in.

A lot of artists work hard. I am just one of them. Even a former professor of mine said, when I complained of this euphoria, (because, believe me, it became annoying not being connected to the ground!) “Enjoy it now! It won’t last!” Thinking how harsh he was, I kept painting and working.

Nothing on that great a scale has happened since. Similar career achievements and experiences have approached it, but never again did I get that feeling.

If You Stayed On Your Side Of the River You Would Not Need A Bridge

When a person works in an advertising agency, this person has the opportunity to work with probably the most intelligent and creative group of people in an office environment. I had that opportunity: at Cargill, Wilson and Acree, a subsidiary of Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), New York.

When I was working at Cargill, in Atlanta, I started something that turned out to be more far-reaching than I had intended. Eventually, an article was written about it in Adweek.

This far-reaching act on my part was called The Wall.

I set up “The Wall” as a place where coworkers, passersby and friends could come into my office and write one or two line quotations on the large blank pieces of paper I had tacked up on my office walls.

These large drawing papers on my office walls soon grew in numbers, enough to cover my entire office. Every time I changed offices, so did The Wall.

The “quotes” were not those of famous people. But some funny anecdotes. Things that happened during the day. Things that had made everyone present laugh. The agency would talk about The Wall in terms of “having a wallie.” (Then they would come rushing into my office and scribble it down.)

The Wall was so popular among everyone, including the principals of the agency, showing it off was a part of agency tours. (Even to perspective new clients.) The Chairman would stand there and read off selected lines and everyone on the tour would laugh.

A book containing quotations from The Wall was published.

When I left the agency, The Wall was taken down and rolled up. It is now yellowing in my basement. Vibrating with good times, stress relief, brilliant creativity and sometimes things that just don’t make any sense; I am absolutely positive that those folks who were working at or associated with Cargill, Wilson and Acree during those years remember it fondly.

The Sketchbook Project

“The Sketchbook Project Is A Traveling Library Of Artists’ books Created By Thousands Of People from Across The Globe.”

The company is based in Brooklyn, NY.

I decided my latest work, would be to do a sketchbook. The theme: “Capes, Masks and Tights”, focusing as you can see on “Tights.”

I have not even begun, but already the images of the lower half of figures in tights has woven its way into my thoughts.

Anyone can do a sketchbook, have it digitized and then let it travel around the country as part of a library. The idea for this was formed by some folks from Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta.

I find these origins appropriate for me, since I live in Atlanta, did postgraduate work at Atlanta College of Art (now Savannah College of Art and Design), grew up, in part, in the New York area. And exhibit my artwork in New York and Atlanta now.

The sketchbook is a great way for artists to get “unstuck.” To keep doing work. Get ideas flowing, and to enjoy the finished product.

When I was at Atlanta College of Art taking post graduate classes, I was fortunate to take a couple of classes from a man named Fred Gregory. I studied Painting and Color Theory with this guy who had been Josef Albers’ student at Yale. Albers thought highly enough of Fred Gregory at Yale’s MFA program to appoint him as one of the two proofreaders of Albers’ color theory book. Since Albers’ life’s work was about color, the color on the pages and the color relationships had to be accurate. And, apparently, my teacher was that good.

Albers 1OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Among the many things I learned from Fred, he taught me not to judge bad art. Instead, he said, look at it and ask myself what I would do to make it better.

I decided to illustrate this point with a spaghetti sauce can which is obviously repulsive. (I did not want to use any art here so as not to offend anyone) I thought everyone could relate to a picture of food on a can as a visual and apply it to Fred’s theory.

tomato can
I steamed the label off the can and asked myself what would make me like the image here better. So I went to work. What else but collage? I improved the can, put it back on the shelf in the grocery store, and voila! It looks good enough to take home.

tomato can 0 copy tomato can 1 copy
You don’t have to actually take home bad art and make it better. Fred said that the mere asking yourself what needed to be done to make the piece better, developed the aesthetic side of your mind. You would be working. Only conceptually. I believe that every time you “work” the side of your brain that does art, you learn and build on it, making you a better artist.

tomato can 2 copy

tomato can 5 copy