Friday, February 27, 2009

Learning to love yourself, or as we say in New York, "whats not to Love?"

Learn to Love You More is an artist project that I stumbled upon and fell in love with. It's a little late for Valentines Day but who can't use a little love?

Learning To Love You More is not only a website; it's also a series of exhibitions in museums, galleries, schools, senior citizens centers, radio shows and film festivals. The shows are comprised of work that they select from the web site.

Founded in 2002, artists Fletcher and July use their website to provide visitors with "assignments" and asks that participants post their responses online. Assignments range from the straightforward (#9: "Draw a constellation from someone's freckles") to the absurd (#1: "Make a child's outfit in an adult size...and wear it as much as possible"— see below!) to the heart-wrenching (#31: "Spend time with a dying person").

One family, the Olivers, posted a years worth of assignments on their own blog. I am currently doing Assignment #66 "field guide to your yard." It's taking me some time since my yard is Union Square but I'm feelin' the love.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Good Bones

I usually don't show my works in progress but I was struck by one aspect of my process last week. Paintings need a good underlying bone structure in the same way a beautiful person does (no we're not talking inner beauty here). When I start a painting I typically paint completely abstractly, then I add a loose layers of realism (the flesh) to reach my typical fence sitting point. This painting is not finished yet and will flip back and forth a few more times before it's done. Looking at these I wonder how I can cause the bones to re-emerge and partially float on top. Maybe with glazing? Painters are such strange and beautiful people...good bones I guess.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lisa Mona, Jon Lisa, Mona Berge, Jon Berge, Mona Lisa

I was remiss in not including my friend, Jon Berge, in the Mona Lisa column. I'd forgotten he did a wonderful piece on the Mona Lisa. Berge showed a poster of the Mona Lisa to 100 inner-city children aged 7 to 14 and asked them to explain what the portrait of the Mona Lisa looks like to someone can't see or feel.

The project was created to be tactile, so that the visual aspect of the piece is not the focus. The tactility of the piece is further reinforced by the use of materials in their natural state.

The children's responses are incorporated into the piece in multiple ways. All 100 statements are thumb-tacked to the wall, forming a horizontal rectangle. In addition, four of the statements were translated into Braille, and mounted on birch wood panels. Each of those panels is the same size as the "original" Mona Lisa. The panels are hung in a horizontal row floating above the statements, held by a pair of bronze hands. All the panels are placed on the wall at the eye level of children and of people in wheelchairs. In addition, touching the piece activates a digital recording of the children reading their statements.

Jon Lisa Mona Berge, this one's for you!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Marty Game!

It's Mardi Gras today and since I'm not in Louisiana, watching drunken guys jump on horses from trees, I thought I'd give you a recipe for NYC party—art style.
1. Get a bunch of art pals and beers together.
2. Try to identify all the artists in this video.

Some hints —if you are not too dizzy to read...

Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael,Raffaello, Titian,Tiziano Vecellio, Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, Albrecht Durer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Antonello da Messina, Pietro Perugino, Hans Memling, El Greco, Hans Holbein, Fyodor Stepanovich Rokotov , Peter Paul Rubens, Gobert, Caspar Netscher, Pierre Mignard, Jean-Marc Nattier, Elisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Alexei Vasilievich Tyranov, Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky, Alexey Gavrilovich Venetsianov, Antoine-Jean Gros, Orest Adamovich Kiprensky, Amalie, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Edouard Manet, Flatour, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, William Clark Wontner, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Comerre, Leighton, Blaas, Renoir, Millias, Duveneck, Cassat, Weir, Zorn, Alphonse Mucha, Paul Gaugan, Henri Matisse, Picabia, Gustav Klimt, Hawkins, Magritte, Salvador Dali, Malevich, Merrild, Modigliani, Pablo Picasso.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Art = Labor = Value

Jon Berge has a theory that labor intensive art especially art with repetitive action has immediate perceived value. In the context of feminist art, it may be especially important, since womens home labor is often devalued by society. It made me start thinking about my own work especially in the context of the knitting I do for my family and friends. They are all dishcloths, potholders or wash cloths. Mini abstracts or bas reliefs in yarn. I have my appetite whetted since "Security Blanket," so expect to see some "high art" woven or knitted works here in the future—and much larger in scope. In the meantime, here's a guy who is creating his large scale works with a typewriter.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What you crave! MORE ANDY TV! and Susan TV too!

Andy Warhol was fascinated by television as an ideal tool for artistic promotion, social promotion, for self-promotion.

It was his big dream to have his own television show. As early as 1964 he made an imitation soap opera, to which he added real "adverts". At the beginning of the 70s, he played around at producing telenovelas that were the reflection of his aesthetic and fantastical universe. In 1979 he put together programs to be aired on NYCable tv. Andy's team, including Vincent Fremont, Don Munroe and Sue Etkin, created Fashion, a talk show devoted to the fashion world, and was followed by Andy Warhol's TV, a Factory style reality-TV show, before producing the famous Andy Warhol's fifteen minutes. In '87, the TV broadcast of Warhol's funeral service became the final episode.

I recently bought a video camera to add "live" video to the blog. I also needed to capture the sensate impressions that I am building into my current paintings. Here's a tone poem using my own work with incredible music by Conrad Cummings:

If you like the video, please give me a rating on both my vids up at Youtube. To those in the know, I am chipping away at the name problem...
And of course, more ANDY tv!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sharpening Your Game

I'm always trying to add to my skill set. To that end I went to a Golden workshop at Roy Kinzer's studio to learn more about Golden's Mix More Media so I could see if it might work for me in the fusion of photography and painting. I also wanted to learn more about the new Golden Open Acrylics that have a extremely long drying time. It was a really informative and in the small group (small world) were three artists that I know, Norma Greenwood, Linda Stillman and Barbara Lubliner. I consider them to be good artists so it was not surprising to see them adding to their game. I also met a new friend, Deborah Gieringer, an artist who works in the archaic medium of silverpoint. And to cap off an intense and fun busman's holiday, Roy spent some time upon our request speaking about his own work with insights into the work he's preparing for exhibition this spring at Denise Bibro Fine Art. AND we were sent home with lots of goodies from Golden!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hard Luck Art Barista's

Insomnia is a terrible thing isn't it? Last night I remembered a coffee I had at the Cairo airport in October. As continuing inspiration in our thread of hard luck materials, I give you coffee!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Usually in your dreams...

Continuing on with the Mona Lisa, here's a South Korean exhibition starring holographic painters, sculptors and their models. Oh wait, it's not a dream, it's a nightmare...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Virtual Restoration

A lot of effort is being expended these days on the virtual restoration of artwork. Leading to new information about how the painter painted,what changes he/she might have made during the process and how the colors really looked, using contemporary pigments of the era. Interesting huh?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ever Clever Carter Kustera

Now's your chance to have your own Carter Kustera. In an application at created by Kustera, you can turn your self into one of his subjects. Carter is artist who understands marketing, and has created lots of interesting add ons to his art to sell (someday I'll tell you about the mirrors). As we all struggle in today's economic climate, he keeps coming up with something new. I really had a blast doing these. I even made one of my Buddha head, who decided to be called Joe.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Helping Yourself and Helping Others

This weekend I went to a multi solo show art opening in a Brooklyn building that had lofts being offered for sale. The show was organized by Doris Schultz and Anders Knutson. Anders is a marvelous painter of trees among other subjects, who acted as the curator for the exhibitions. There was wine, food, and music, too. Each artist had a nice sized show, with room for big paintings and had their marketing materials; cards, statements, prints, and more set out. Of course, if you can afford to buy a loft in this environment, you can probably afford some art. This example of artists taking control of their own marketplace was very well attended and everyone had a good time. Artists I particularly liked were: Franz Landspersky, Sylvia Maier
and Anne Peabody. Snaps to Anders and Doris for making it happen.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine 2x

Ah, New York.

Add-Art Makes Your World a More Aesthetic Place

Add-Art is a free FireFox add-on which replaces advertising on websites with curated art images. The art shows are updated every two weeks and feature contemporary artists and curators. Imagine getting rid of incessant sell —does anyone else want to put a foot through the taxi tv?— learn more about Add-Art . Another project by the amazing Steve Lambert with support from Eyebeam and Rhizome.

An example of the new order below:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Instant Grants!

They raised $100 each.Together they had $1000 in cash. They gave it all away to artists in the park.

The generosity foundation FSNUA aims to re-inspire creative thinking and action in everyday people by removing small barriers and providing encouragement. They give small, unsecured grants in the form of $10-$60 for creative projects thought up on the spot by everyday people. In the past this has included a merchant marine, two 10 year old girls, a US soldier on leave from Iraq, an accordion player from Alaska, and around 40 others. They funded their new paintings, drawings, knitting, and photojournalism projects, and the repair of one accordion. Projects that might not have happened.

Beyond the small amount of money, the project encourages people to see themselves as something other than workers or consumers even if it just for the length of time required to apply for a FSNUA grant. We also hope to re-inspire dormant desires to create while presenting an example of generosity without an ulterior motive.The members of the federation each raise $100, pool the money, and give it away. The result is a beautiful, motivating, friendly experience.

Original info via Steve Lambert

Friday, February 13, 2009

Getting by with a little help from my Friends

A video valentine for all my good friends. This year has been a bumpy one and I am grateful for their unwavering support and kindness. Today's post is a pass-a-long from Bonnie and Wayde. I love the sweetness—it seemed appropriate as a valentine for you!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hard Times for Artists

With the current flap about arts institutions getting cut out of the stimulus package, I'd like to offer these videos as advice to starving artists. Paint with Ketchup Fries and Chocolate. You can eat it and and have your dessert too.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Copyright in the Grab and Go Era

Someone I know recently posted an album of photographs on Facebook to share. They had found them on the Facebook page of Joao Batista. They shared the album and it came up on my facebook page as "By Joao Batista." The problem was that whoever Joao Batista is, he was doing a disservice to the original artist/photographer by not posting an attribution of the photos he put in his album. The photos are by Peter Menzel and are contained in his book, Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.
I don't know Peter, I'm just a fellow artist who's thinking a lot about the ease of sharing with a digital copy and paste. I'm not against sharing, in fact with the ego of an artist, I'd like as many people as possible to see my work. What I do want; is to keep any and all of my rights, to make money if appropriate to do so, and to have full attribution whenever it's used.

We should all be using some form of the new Creative Commons copyright. It's easy to do, you just go to their website and fill out an online form which generates a piece of code you just cut and paste—see below:

Creative Commons License by Susan L Shaw is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Monday, February 9, 2009

Desktop List #1

I've been getting a slew of lists on Facebook—where people state 25 things about them. I know the people and have reflected about; the need to make lists, the untruthfulness of some statements—perhaps kindly aspirational, first date topic prep in a capsule, insidious chain letters AND how these things would look as a visual list. To that end I turned the camera on myself, or more specifically my desk. Like the text some things are revealed, some hidden. Contained within are my mother, my children, my work life, my friends and a reflection of self, truthful but oblique, shorthand notes constrained by frame.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Art $$$ in a Down Economy

Several of you have responded to me personally on my blog post about art and commerce for which I thank you. These days I've been thinking a lot about money too. To that end I've been trying to educate myself as much as possible, so here a list of some places you should check out.

Internet for Artsts is one of the Creative Capital workshops that addresses the issue (among other valuable and relevant topics). Check for their workshops, not offered frequently but great. Some of the workshop leaders use the internet to raise money in different ways, as do other unconnected artists like Carter Kustera. Eve Mosher raises money via internet by contribution for her public art works; Steve Lambert sells art for the price painted on the front; some artists sell books of their works on specific topics like techniques and/or themes on Blurb; some sell limited editions of prints; Carter sells portraits through Jonathan Adler the designer and so on. I own a beautiful modern dollhouse designed by architect Peter Wheelwright and Laurie Simmons who designs lots of related things.

Also check for anything taught by Jackie Battenfield (she recently gave a FREE workshop as part of Queens Council on the Arts.) Check the CUE art foundation's professional development series, check out NYFA and each boroughs Cultural Council.

In addition, two thoughts to leave you with:
1. I bought Ed Rucha's self printed "Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass" for $3 many years ago. It was a limited edition artist book. I enjoyed looking at it the years it was in my possession. It left my hands 2 years ago for $1200.
2. I'm checking this out in lots of ways myself. Here's your chance to get one of my very own limited edition artist books. If you buy one, I'll personally autograph it for you at one of my exhibitions, someone else's exhibition, a membership breakfast, etc. and who knows...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Internet for Artists

I recently attended "Internet for Artists" at the Creative Capital foundation. It was a short intensive mind bending experience and it changed the way I thought about social media. It also targeted using a broad range of internet applications to achieve specific career goals. If you get the chance take this workshop!!! I learned as much as one might pick up in a year. The excellent presenters; Matthew Deleget, Eve Mosher, Sue Schaffner, Chris Doyle, Steve Lambert, Brad Lichtenstein and gracious hosts; Alyson Pou and Marcie Bramucci at Creative Capital, made this a wow.

On an amusing note, as sculptor Miriam Schaer pointed out, this workshop had all women attendees. She queried, "Does this have to do with not being afraid to ask directions?" I don't know if that's the case, to me it's all about working smart. When during a Twitter one-on-one, I glanced out the window and saw the view, I found a mantra for the weekend. You go girls!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Andy, Andy, Andy

O.K now you know...he's one of my idols. The meister of cool speaks on Jasper Johns:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lukewarm Comfort?

Continuing on with Andy Warhol. I'm sitting here looking at today's crop of rejections. As artist's we take lots of rejection. I know it's not personal—doesn't fit in with the curators concept, too big a work for the show and so on but it always has a little sting. For me, how big that sting depends on how that day is going.

Most artist's find comfort in their community. For myself, I find comfort in the letter I have hanging right next to my computer. It's a letter from the Museum of Modern Art explaining why it's not fair for them to accept a donated work from Andy because of "severely limited storage space" and because the "work may be shown only infrequently". Admittedly it was early in his career, but to me it's always worth a smile and a hope for the future.

Photo of Andy Warhol
Source: Santa Barbara Independent