Monday, April 30, 2012

on tour again


I've decided that I need to spend more quality time with my guitar and mandolin this summer....but you can's not that kind of tour. 

My good friend and college roommate Stan and his wife have invited me to be a guest artist in their spring studio sale on May 5 & 6.  I mentioned their extremely cool studio a while back after visiting in the fall.  It's an incredible place. 

Stan and Robin are a part of the Full Moon Artists group, a collection of 6 artists in 4 studios all located in the Seneca-Walhalla area of South Carolina.  The spring studio sale will be held from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm at each of the 4 studio locations.  My work will be at Stan and Robin's End of the Road Studios located at 255 East Bearswamp Road, Walhalla, SC 29691. 

Stan's ceramic work is great, Robin makes some very fun and colorful sculptures and paintings and Stan's mom Judy will be guesting with me showcasing her fine and funky needlecraft. 

I'll have drawings and sculptures there and these puppies will be priced to sell. 

Come out and buy some art and help keep me supplied with Sharpie markers and steel this summer.

See Stan and Robin's work at
See all the Full Moon Artists at


Thursday, April 26, 2012

why sculpture is awesome

Over the last several weeks my advanced sculpture students transformed this:

Into this:

Their assignment was to create anthropomorphic flowers, to research flowers and to find human characteristics in blooms and or plants. This was a public sculpture project so they used steel to create their forms and they had to design and build anchors to secure the sculptures to the ground.  The installation site is the "Art Corner" in Greenwood, SC provided by master photographer Jon Holloway who owns Meridian gallery and studios just down the street. 

These students learned to weld a bit in their first sculpture class and this project allows them to learn different types of welds and to really stretch the material to make the desired forms.

There are some things that metal workers know steel does not normally do well.  I've learned that if you do not tell the students it wont work, they can generally find a way to make it happen.  That is, if they don't know it's impossible, then it's not.

"Nero" by Vince Wald
I just realized that Vince escaped my photo opp.  Someone needs to make him pose beside his sculpture and photograph it for me.  "Nero" is a habanero plant tearing his own tongue out because he can take the heat no longer.

"Old Man Orchid" by Melissa Humphries
Not so loosely based on a family member, this guy stands on the corner with his huge Polident smile and waves at the ladies.

"Serendipity" by Ali Hammond
Would you believe a flower truck crashed and spilled flowers on the road and her boyfriend picked up some roses and gave them to her?  It happened and it became the narrative for this hollow form sculpture.

"Tongues of Fury" by Jermel Kennedy
Jermel is not from around here.  He's from America's hat (Canada).  He's also 10 feet tall and a basketball superstar....and pretty good with a grinder.  His flower petals are made of tongues.  Furious tongues.

"Mommy's Little Peapod" by Adri Diaz
Inspired by the impending birth of a new family member, Adri created two different flowers in one composition.  The larger mother flower cradles the newborn smaller flower.

"Eyesee Kudzu" by Jensea Barker
This large flower becomes figurative and is covered in shiny silver eyeballs.  The afternoon shadows will be amazing.

"Blooming Birth" by BJ Johnson
Also a basketball superstar, fresh from the Elite Eight this year (even though she's exactly my height) BJ formed a flower that mimics the form of a pregnant female figure complete with a little bloom in the oven.

"Emotional Stems of Life" by Corey Benjamin
An autobiographical work for the artist depicting the two sides of his struggle to keep up his trademark smile under the weight of the stresses and pressures of his final year of undergrad.  There's a smile on one side and a frown on the other. 

The official group photo.  That's what Vince looks like...amazing beard.

We also made over 50 small steel flowers of various types and various levels of quality.  The students took great joy in mocking my lame flowers while they turned out much better pieces like this one....

Vince made this one.  Did I mention his amazing beard?

Looking through "Old Man Orchid"

This is an excellent group of students and we all had a blast making art this semester.  This installation is really great and it's a wonderful thing to share with the Greenwood community throughout the summer.   

Come out to the SC Festival of Flowers in Greenwood this June and visit Meridian gallery before you walk across the street to eat pizza at the Millhouse or wings at Kicker's.  Right there on the corner of Maxwell Ave and Edgefield St you'll see some fine work made by some fine students. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

almost doesn't count

Today I went looking for a file.  One of those files you know you saved somewhere, but you're not exactly sure where it is.  So I was doing the slow scroll through the eternal list of documents when I came across one I had not thought about in almost two years. When I read the file name I started to get a sick feeling.  Here's why:

Having a website allows people you don't know to see your work and hopefully gain interest in it.  Sometimes those people send emails inquiring about the work or about pricing.  Sometimes those emails are from Nigerian princes who want to buy your work for millions of dollars.  Sometimes they are from legitimate people who happened across your art on the inter-worlds. 

Almost two years ago I received an email inquiring about my work.  The email was from a set designer in California.  This has happened a couple of times but I still read the email with supreme skepticism.  The set designer told me about this new movie she was currently working on and told me that she had found my work online and thought it would be perfect for a particular scene in this movie.  She mentioned the title and told how many books it had sold and how many languages it had been translated into and she asked me to provide her with a list of sculptures I had available to ship out to movie-land. 

It sounded fine, but since I'm not a "free-truster" I exchanged several emails with her just to make sure everything was on the up and up.  Eventually I provided the list of available sculptures and we even shared some jokes about some of my sculptures that were listed as "deceased" on the website. 

As I said, I provided the list and then promptly forgot the whole thing. 

Until today. 

The movie the set designer was shopping for was called "The Hunger Games".  Google tells me that this movie has grossed over one half billion dollars worldwide.  That's Billion, with a B.

Georgie read the books and kept telling me how great they were.  She saw the movie the first day it came out and told me how great it was.  I kept thinking that title sounded familiar......but I just couldn't place it. 

Now I can.  That familiar title has been sitting in "my documents" for almost two years.

Now we both feel sick. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

artists with smarts

The last couple of months have been chaotic.  Inside the whirlwind of activity my students have been doing some great things.  So many great things that it will take a few posts to catch up.  Backing up to sometime in March.....

These are the art students who were chosen to give presentations in the academic showcase.  L-R Jamie Neff, Adri Diaz, Melissa Humphries, Bennell Green, & Corey Benjamin.  I've taught all of them at least once except for Jamie.  They are good people.  Even Jamie.

Corey taught us some photography

Adri taught us some painting

Melissa taught us some sculpture

Jamie taught us some graphic design

And Bennell taught us about color

I still maintain that color doesn't exist.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

mad scientist

Sometimes you make something and you know immediately that it is wonderful.

Last night I made this:

and it was wonderful.

They are chocolate peanut butter banana cookies and as far as I know I invented them.  Georgie thinks I'm crazy and she wont go near them.  More for me.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

winning and losing

I had myself all prepared to be social at an art event Friday night and the child who never, ever gets sick.  True, I was not heartbroken about not having to go, but we were looking forward to seeing Molly and Josh!.....and I was hoping to see 2 former students who were also accepted into the exhibit, Jacob Olsen and Alastair Hutchison.

As soon as the kids were in bed Molly sent a text message congratulating me on an award.  I got another mysterious text this morning and then my old friend Austin was nice enough to send some official verification of said award:  (note Jacob's impressive work on the link)

The Jasper "State-of-the-Art" Award.  Lucky break for me and I'm thrilled and grateful.  But just to keep my self esteem in check, the universe coordinated the delivery of a rejection letter to an international juried show today. 

Well played, universe.  Well played.

Monday, April 9, 2012

thoughts on the lent drawings and free stuff

I reached my goal of 40 drawings during the Lent season.  To my wife I'd like to take a moment and say, "Na, na, na-na, na.  I told you I could pull it off."

I will admit it was very tough.  There were days I wanted to do anything but draw, and there were days when the drawing time was a saving grace for me.  During the last few days of drawing for Lent I found myself looking forward to finishing the challenge so I could start a new large scale drawing.  I had sort of expected that I wouldn't want to draw again for a while. 

There were some bad things about the Lent drawings.  My sketchbook withered away.  I think I picked it up once or twice during this time and only really sketched in it once.  There were a few nights when I was forced to stay awake a good bit longer than I wanted.  On those long, back to back studio class days I'm pretty beat by the time the kids get in the bed.  One night I was particularly exhausted and decided to get to sleep early.  I was turning off the lights when I realized I had not drawn anything that day and I spoke unkind words as I stomped over to the drawing table and sat down.  Some of the drawings are just not very good.  Rushed as each day was, there was little time to problem solve my mistakes.  When a drawing went bad, it just went bad.  The experimentation with media was also too rushed.  My awesome ideas with the Plasti-Dip spray failed miserably and I ended up with a couple of completely black drawings.

There were good things too.  The forced experimentation gave me some good ideas to store away for future use.  There was a nice little jump in imagery development too.  I met "Scrimshaw" the whale during Lent and he became a great character/symbol.  We'll likely see him again.  The time crunch in each day meant that I watched almost no TV during Lent.  The late nights when I would normally pour what was left of me on to the couch and look for something funny on TV were spent hunched over the 1950's peach formica table breathing Sharpie exhaust.  TV is the devil, so that was a great thing.  I also learned to be even more observant during each day.  I would take mental notes of images and stories and look for ways to use those in that day's drawing. 

One question kept swirling in my mind as I worked through this challenge.  Lent seems to be closely tied to sacrifice.  People "give up" things for Lent and when my friends asked me about Lent this year they'd ask me what I was giving up.  This made me question what I was sacrificing by drawing each day.  There was certainly the sacrifice of time, but if I'm honest, I love to draw, so that's not going to fall into the "huge sacrifice" category.  I tried the line, "I'm giving up being a slacker this year" but that one fell flat too.  And maybe Lent made me a better artist this year, but did it make me a better human being?  With all that in mind, I wanted to find a way to make this more than just a drawing exercise. 

That's why I've decided to offer to give these drawings away to anyone who wants them.  A few of them have been designated for assignment already, but if there's a Lent drawing you want, let me know and then come get it.  As you know, they are not framed, not archival and some of them are not very good.  But if one strikes your fancy, it's yours.  Happy Lent!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

lent week

4/2/2012 at 8:51 pm
graphite on index card
3" x 5"
given away

4/3/2012 at 2:45 pm
tape and plasti-dip spray on steel
9" x 8"

4/4/2012 at 9:51 pm
graphite on wooden paint stirring stick
1" x 12"
given away

4/5/2012 at 3:35 pm
scratched plasti-dip spray on steel
9" x 6"

4/6/2012 at 7:45 pm
ink on wood
5.5" x 5.5"
given away

4/7/2012 at 11:04 pm
ink on wood
5.5" x 5.5"


Saturday, April 7, 2012

if it doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey

This week I only had to drive halfway to the coast.  We delivered 2 sculptures to the Columbia Museum of Art yesterday in preparation for the 9th Annual Contemporaries' Artist of the Year Soiree and Silent Auction. 

This fundraising event will be 7:00 - 10:00 pm on Friday, April 13 at the Columbia Museum of Art.  It is open to the public and there will be food, drinks, music and art.  You can eat the food, drink the drinks, enjoy the music and take the art home with you that night.  Artists were invited to submit entries and the accepted pieces will be displayed for the silent auction.  Guests can also vote on the People's Choice Award.

My sculptures "Clara" and "Wally" were both accepted and both will be eagerly waiting to go home with someone who is not me.  Come buy one or both and help fund my summer artistic activities.

The Columbia Museum of Art is located at 1515 Main Street, Columbia, SC 29201

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

3 trips to the coast

Call it great planning or poor planning, depending on your feelings for the beach, I spent the last 3 weekends buying gas to and from the SC coast.  The first trip was a family vacation to the beach.

We built a big shark out of sand, dug holes and dipped our feet in the cold ocean.

So much personality for such small bodies.

Next up....a quick day trip to North Charleston to pick up "Ethel's Daughter" and bring her home.

She was in very good shape after a year in the salty air.

And then there was the Cooper River Bridge Run last weekend.  My brother and I tried this thing out for the first time.  We joined 45,000 people who all thought running 6.2 miles over an engineering wonder and into downtown Charleston would be a good idea.

At 6:50 am we felt like we were standing behind all 45,000 of them waiting in line for the shuttle to take us across the bridge to the starting line.  This was a good 30 minutes after we got in line and we still had about 2 blocks left to go.

The Weinermobile kept us company in line.  How can you not love this car?

Finally on the shuttle at 7:45 am.  Sunrise over the bridge through a dirty school bus window.

Made it to Corral C at 7:59 am.  The race was supposed to start at 8:00 am.  That's brother Daniel, one half of Team Facial Hair.  He ran like a boss.

 And the other half of Team Facial Hair.  The goatee survived the race but fell victim to the curious razor later the same day.

 After the start was delayed almost an hour, it took me 52 minutes 48 seconds to cross the finish line.  The post race festivities were in Marion Square.  It was here I devoured a bottle of water, a banana, a Krispy Kreme doughnut, a giant blueberry muffin and a second banana.  Who needs Gatorade when there are doughnuts?

 The logistics of this race make getting in and out of downtown a challenge.  Daniel and I recovered, refueled and started hiking our way north.  We got to walk on the sidewalk against the flow of the race and observe the thousands of people still streaming into town.  This was one of the last water stations on the route.  They had ran out of cups at this point and the awesome guy in blue was then spraying racers with a fire hose. 

That's a lot of travel for a hermit...and way too much human interaction.  I plan to stay home for a while now.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

lent drawings week 6

this week's drawings are all related to my dad...

3/26/2012 at 7:36 pm
ink on back of a gas receipt
4.5" x 2.5"

3/27/2012 at 10:56 pm
graphite on bristol paper
8.5" x 7"
given away

3/28/2012 at 9:48 pm
paint marker on steel
6.5" x 8"

3/29/2012 at 4:10 pm
ink on MDF (fiberboard)
5" x 20"(ish)

3/30/2012 at 9:00 am
chalk on concrete
10' x 20'(ish)

3/31/2012 at 10:05 pm
ink on back of a seafood coupon
4" x 3"