Tuesday, November 25, 2014

art trip

G had to go to a conference a few weeks ago in Charleston.  No one was going with her so I got invited to tag along.  I'll always take a trip to Charleston.  We always end up going for very short visits and there's too much stuff to do.  There were some art things that I had not been able to get around to so this was my opportunity.

 We just had a couple of days so we wasted no time getting to the beach.  

 I love walking around tidal areas and seeing all the eco-stuff that we don't have in the upstate.  In one of the tidal ponds we were greeted by fish jumping out of the water all the way across.  

 The shipping freighters always fascinate me too.

 The light was perfect all weekend.  I believe the light is always better at the coast anyway but still, this was good light even for the beach.

 The sun started setting while we were walking on the beach so we raced it over to Shem Creek and caught it from our table at RB's as it finished it's day.

 While the sun did it's thing I jumped into a plate of stone ground grits, BBQ shrimp,  hushpuppies and a baked potato.

 The next morning I got up and ran around the Holy City.  As I ran, the sun came up over the Battery.  I realized two things that morning.  1.  Sunrise in Charleston is stunning.  2.  People laugh at you when your running app is blaring Taylor Swift songs on King Street.

 Such a beautiful run.  A great start to my day.

 We walked to a very cool breakfast place (Kitchen 208) and I was able to get the first art thing checked off my list.  Charleston native Shepard Fairey had a big exhibit in town earlier this year and as a part of that exhibit he had several murals put up around the city.  I'm not a big fan, but I felt a responsibility to see and photograph the ones that were left.  This one was OK but breakfast was awesome.

 After breakfast we cut through to the Market because it's pretty much required when you visit.

 It's always worthwhile to pay attention as you walk around down there.  You never know when you might see another Charleston native like Stephen Colbert.

 We love Moon Pies and we spend way too much time in the Moon Pie store.

 The light, the trees, the architecture.

 The Holy City earns it's nickname with all the cool steeples.

 Since I was nice enough to escort G on her trip across the state, I made her escort me to a bunch of art places.  One place I've always wanted to check out is Redux Contemporary Art Center.  There was a cool exhibit of hammers and you know how I love me a hammer.

 These were all cast in something I forgot and wrapped in threads.

 The exhibit in the main gallery featured a lot of cool paper related sculptures.

 And that's the building exterior tucked behind The College of Charleston.

 Then we walked over to The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and saw a cool Picasso exhibit I'd never even heard of.  

 The works there were part of a photographic collaboration/narrative that he did with two other artists.  

 Indonesian artist Jumaadi also had a cool exhibit of the work he created while being the artist in residence during the last year.  Lots of cool things but I wont bore you.

 The Halsey has the first Art-O-Mat ever to come to South Carolina.  This old cigarette vending machine now houses small works of art for sale for $5.

 Neither of us was really hungry for lunch be we saw a place called The Kickin' Chicken and we decided we had to at least get a snack.  The food was great and we wound up eating a full meal.

G was able to sneak away to her conference and across the street I found the other Fairey mural I was looking for.

 With a couple of hours to kill, I walked back down towards Broad Street.  I had planned to go to the GIbbes Museum of Art but I found out it was closed until 2016.  Bummer.  But I'm easily amused and hey look, a cemetery!

 I probably take photos of these same headstones each time we go to Charleston but I just love the whimsical nature of each one.  I know they were not meant to be funny but they crack me up.

 I needed to produce a few drawings around the idea of angels, so these provided the perfect stimulus to get me going.

 I saw George Washington.

 And this odd stone.

 And because two giant meals in one day is just not enough, we ate again when G got out.  We decided we were not hungry and we were going to just walk down to Sticky Fingers and get an appetizer and then go to an ice cream shop.  But on the way we passed Jestine's Kitchen and there was no line.  Our plans changed instantly.  Because I wasn't very hungry I just had the Pecan Fried Chicken, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Mac and Cheese.  Sooo good.

 The next morning we set out in search of one last thing we had always missed out on in Charleston...The Angel Oak.  As a side note, I'm pretty religious about my morning coffee.  I make my own ginormous mochacchinos at home.  The double shot of sugar and caffeine helps me become a real person.  When we travel, finding good coffee is always a high priority but that always has to happen in the morning before I've had any coffee which can make it a very difficult endeavor.  This morning we spotted a locally owned coffee shack just down the road from the tree.  I felt like I needed to order the "Angel Mocha" and man, was that a great choice.  It was a mochacchino with toasted marshmallow and white chocolate syrup.  I think it was twice as sweet as my normal coffee.  I was bouncing off the walls.

 But the tree is great even if you're not all hopped up on sugar.  Charleston is so visually stimulating that it takes a downshift in mental gears to be able to fully appreciate a tree but the drive out the gravel road and the silent surroundings help out.  I think they said the trunk of the tree is 30-something feet around.  G's legs are somewhere in the photo above to put the scale in perspective.

A lot of the things I read had conflicting information about the tree.  It may or may not be the largest tree east of the Mississippi River.  It may or may not be the oldest oak tree in the country or in the world.  But one thing is certain, you may not get a photo of the tree without those stupid signs in it unless you purchase it in the gift shop.

Monday, November 24, 2014

art hike

Last November a couple of students asked about doing an art hike.  So Slagle and I planned a hike up Table Rock and no students showed up.  But I had a great hike in perfect weather with Jim, his wife, his sons and their friend.  This year a different student asked about planning another hike and several students seemed interested.  What the heck, right?  So Slagle and I planned another trip to Table Rock State Park.

 I arrived a few minutes early and started having a deja vu feeling.  That feeling grew stronger when Jim arrived next and the two of us stood alone in the parking lot again.

 But soon the carpool vehicles started arriving and we had a herd of hikers.  One car had to deal with a flat tire and ran late.  Cessquatch managed to somehow be driving around inside the park without finding us for 15 minutes.  Once she arrived and devoured the last doughnut, we set out to take a starting photo.  This was the only way I could get all of us in the photo.

 But since Jim and I look alike, it really didn't matter.  So from the left that's Elizabeth, Chelsea, Paige, Lindsay, Logan, Laura, Me or Jim, and Cessquatch.

 That's Jim doing a little free rock climbing on the way up.

 And those two tiny people way over there on that rock are Lindsay and Chelsea.

 Most of the large rocks on the way up needed to be climbed.  On this one they tried to spell out "LU ART" with their shadows.

On our way up the last carpool car arrived with Ashley (Whisk), Blake, Cam and Charlie the dog.  They caught up to us quickly and then passed us.  Ashley, Blake, Cam, Cessquatch and Charlie the dog were in pretty good shape.

 About 3/4 of the way up there's a lookout called Governor's Rock.  The students may not have been in as good of shape as their professors...so we took frequent breaks.  This was a good spot to rest and take photos.

 Those are the students resting.  

 While they rested and snacked I made some temporary tags.

 Then after a bit more uphill walking/climbing we reached the end of the trail.  

 The weather was perfect again and the view was spectacular.

 Here's the entire crew in a photo taken by some friendly hikers.  Lindsay and I are doing the "sorority pose".  

 Because we are art people and this is the digital age, we took a ton of photos and videos for various people at the top.  This is the first jumping photo.

 And this is the second one.  I think everyone is off the ground at some point in one of the two photos.  Except Charlie the dog.  He just seemed confused.

 It was beautiful at the top but also pretty cold.  

 The water draining off the rock face was frozen.

 The trip back down the trail is always faster but there were already some sore muscles and tired feet.

 Which gave me time to take photos and aggravate people.

 When we reached the bottom of the trail this bunch was beat.  

 I couldn't talk anyone into getting into the waterfall with me.  I walked down and dipped my hands in and was instantly glad no one agreed to get in. 

Jim, Lindsay and Chelsea on the waterfall.

I think this photo shows exactly why this sort of thing makes Lander awesome.  I haven't had Elizabeth, Chelsea or Lindsay in my class yet.  Still, we were able to get to know each other and apparently they felt comfortable enough to give me rabbit ears.  This opportunity to interact and get to know each other outside of the studio is one of the things that sets our department apart from all the others.  And our students...our students are wonderful people.  Not only do they want to do things like this on their own time but when they do they are well behaved, good citizens.  Well, except for Logan's potty mouth!  Right Logan?

Seriously, what a great day with great people.  This is why we get sad when our students graduate.  And perhaps why graduates like Whisk and Cessquatch come out of student retirement to go hiking with us.  I guess once you're a part of the art family you're always a part of the art family.  

 My day, however, was not done.  I pulled out of the parking lot and headed the opposite direction of everyone else.  I still had artwork to deliver to Walhalla some 50 minutes away.  After a really quick visit with Stan and Robin at End of the Road Studios, I turned the truck back toward home, picked up BBQ at Sticky Fingers and got home just before bed time.