Friday, October 26, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Southern Belle

"Belle" keeps an eye on Mike McCue's historic home in Tryon, NC.
Contemporary American art in an old English garden.
Photo by Elaine H. Pearsons

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hello, my name is Simon

During my winter break last year, I scrambled to finish up as many ink drawings as possible for a show at the Pelter Gallery in Greenville. I remembered how much I enjoyed drawing and on a whim, I set a ridiculous goal for myself. I began January 2007 with the goal of completing one new drawing each week for the whole year. Initially I gave myself some wriggle room by saying I'd complete a minimum of 50 new drawings, taking two weeks off for what I would call vacation, but eventually I saw this excuse for the weakness it was and stepped the goal back up to 52.
The first week of January gave me Drawing #1 titled "Driving Home". It was done in ink on bristol paper and measures 11" x 14".

I'll admit there have been many times this year that this goal has seemed idiotic and poorly thought out. At times the ideas have flowed freely and multiplied faster than I could get them on paper. Other times I've walked into my designated drawing room and picked up a pen praying for inspiration.
And now, as October is falling off the calendar I see that this has been a valuable exercise. I have been forced to work quickly without overthinking my sketches. Working at this pace has required me to deal with fresh imagery and it has allowed me to be more - for lack of a better word - honest in my visual communication.
As I've recorded my interaction with images, ideas, and emotions for the last 10 months I cant always remember what I drew 3 months ago or even 3 weeks ago, and I generally have no idea what I will do next....and that keeps me on my toes. It keeps me alert. It keeps me waiting to observe that next thing.
I dont remember exactly what week gave me Drawing #26, but this is what it looks like...titled "Regardless" also ink on bristol paper and 11"x14".

A couple of nights ago I finished Drawing #44 and I have no doubts about meeting my goal by December 31. Yes, it is a ridiculous goal and yes, it has kept me hunched over a drawing table in available time that is already an endangered species in my world.
But this feels like it is the right thing to do.

Watch for Drawing #52 to pop up in the next couple of months. And since you already know I have a lot of drawings hanging should aslo know they make great Christmas gifts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This is Elmer (in blue) with Herman (in yellow) in the background. Elmer is apparently being attacked by a couple of young adults during his visit to The McColl Center in Charlotte, NC while Herman looks the other way. It looks as if the plan here was to "vogue" the sculptures into submission.
Coincidental note: The male and female art villans pictured here unknowingly enrolled in my class a couple of months after the attack.
Photo credit goes to google and some art vogue accomplice

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Here are two of my most faithful friends packing up for a trip. That piece of paper with days and numbers will tell you the seasons have changed, but if you still have hummingbirds sitting on your front may want to keep the short sleeves handy.
These little guys will slip out in a few weeks without saying goodbye. They'll tank up one last time on red kool aid before silently following the warm air south along I-95. They'll ignore the Cuban embargo and island hop to Costa Rica where they'll spend the holidays.
The last one to leave will diligently pierce every leaf and every blade of grass. The green will slowly drain from my window and Fall will finally be allowed in.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Please Do Not Climb

No score and seven years ago I installed a sculptural installation called "Sweet Dreams" on the campus of Winthrop University. The installation consists of 5 steel chairs ranging in height from 8 feet tall to 24 feet tall and was permanently installed in a highly visible location.
While there are four markers around the sculpture clearly declaring that climbing is forbidden, it has become somewhat of a rite of passage for students to physically interact with the chairs during their time at Winthrop. And as you might expect in our digital world, no physical interaction would be complete without photographic documentation. And then posting that photographic documentation on the internet.
So now, with the power of the almighty keyword image search...I give you a few of my favorites:

Mr. Gnome is modest and humble about his astonishing accomplishment. This next guy doesnt look like he's going to make it, but then gets really cocky.

It seems important to note the behavior, posture, and actions of the viewers in the photos. Not the sort of behavior you'd expect in a gallery or museum of art.
There is something honest about this type of response to public art.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"That's great it starts with an earthquake,
birds, snakes, and airplanes." -REM

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Truckload of Art

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur.

Countless email and phone messages.
Several plan changes and reschedules.
A week of building crates and packing.
A white-knuckle interstate drive hauling precious objects of art.

At the end of the 3 year process of creating and placing sculptures on a public site there is a satisfaction. I was immediately glad that the whole ordeal was over and that the work was delivered and installed without incident. But now as my mind has time to think it over, I am even more satisfied that as the hospital opens for business people will be able to interact with the artwork on a daily basis.
That really is the point of all this.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Next Year

Going to the World Series is overrated anyways, right?

My cubs lost 3 of 3 to the D-Backs and my baseball season is over.
Saturday's game was the only game of the series I was able to watch and though it was difficult to endure, there was something quite satisfying about experiencing the final game of the year. All winter long I wait for that first televised home game of spring. The ivy is still brown, the air still cold, but I watch that game and hope and pray for October baseball.

It was an enjoyable season, but just wait 'til next year.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Hints of ideas and seeds of inspiration often come from unexpected places. It could be a quick glance at another driver on the interstate, an ominous looking water tower in a mill village, or a chihuahua running in circles that sets the mind in motion. Perhaps there is no more expected or obvious source of inspiration than music and therefore I hesitate to even mention it here.
..."This just in, apparently music inspires people!". So while we all exhale a collective "Duh", I'll continue to explain something you already know.
I listen to music constantly. Driving, drawing, sculpting, and sometimes even while watching TV. Much of the time, though, I'm not really listening. Very often I find myself at the end of an album or a song and realize that my mind has been somewhere else. Maybe it was a word or phrase but something in the music sent my mind on a detour that lead to another detour and another until I finally come back to realize I've missed my favorite part. It is often much later while I'm creating a drawing or a sculpture that I begin to put the clues back together and realize that the ideas and thoughts I'm working to communicate visually have roots that can be traced a meandering the lines of a song.
There is a vulnerable honesty in the music of Clem Snide and Eef Barzelay. Often cutting to the quick, it is an uncomfortable truth that enters the ear and kickstarts the brain. It provides more questions than answers. I have enjoyed "the Snide" for years and have even leaned heavily on a line from one of their songs for an exhibition title, but with the band's apparent demise this year, I focus my attention on Mr. Barzelay. Eef headed up the band with his writing, guitar, and vocals. Along the way he's released a solo album or two and now seems poised to release his first post-Clem Snide release in late 2007 or early 2008.

If you're tired of listening to your bad music, may I suggest you pick up some Clem Snide? Perhaps I could interest you in Eef's last solo release "Bitter Honey". And if you happen to own a record company maybe you could do your good deed for the year and spend some money to help put out and promote some of the more intelligent music being created right now.
And maybe, just maybe you could indirectly help inspire people who listen to good music.

Monday, October 1, 2007

For whatever reason, I was doomed to walk this Earth as a Chicago Cubs fan. I blame cable TV and "superstations" for bringing Chicago baseball to my neck of the woods in the early 1980's.
As a long time fan I should know better.
And yet, here I am watching baseball in October with cautious optimism.