Cardi Week

Someone on Linkedin.com asked me what the purpose was of a particular blog post, as if, perhaps, I appear as a scatter brain all over the place artist, like I have no purpose, maybe?  On the same day, a reader professed a non-stalker style (he assured) love for me and my personality.

IMG_20150420_100403

This all necessitated another one of my existential meditation quests.  Who am I, and what am I doing here?  I paint in oils with collage, paper collage, watercolors and encaustics, and have many different looks to my work – the symbology look, the abstract expressionism one….  I also like to draw realistically.

I am a visual artist who has had gallery representation in the past and is seeking it again, an artist who wants to sell my work in whatever/wherever the venue.  In this case, it is on the internet – on this blog, on shopify on redbubble and through other social media – my Facebook like page and now on Instagram.

I broke down and entered the new millennium, and purchased a smart phone.  Now I can tackle instagramming my head off, because I had read it is the place for savvy art business peeps.

I am also a person who loves fashion, something that seems to go against the rules of the starving artist.  I can’t help it.  I posted about Karen Bakke’s fashion illustrations last week and in a previous post, shared my sewing skills with costume design.

When I first started this blog, it was to share only my artwork.  Then it snowballed into the what-I-want-you-to-know-about-me more three dimensional me.  Kind of a let the chips fall where they may and by chips, I guess I mean the puzzle pieces of my persona.   I am many things and I can’t pigeonhole myself into being one person, place or thing.

Last weekend I was a judge for a juried exhibition of artwork.  It was sponsored by the local penwomen association.  I used my expertise as an art critic, something I don’t technically do when I blog about local art shows.  And I do that because I feel like you can’t just exist alone in a small city art community.  I’ve always believed that we Syracuse artists can be successful together as a team rather than going the lone wolf route.

I’m not being paid to blog, so why not blog about whatever art related topic is going on in my world or in my head, or whatever.  I love writing, and it seems like maybe that is what I’m doing here, to answer that linkedin woman’s question.

With that said, I’m really fascinated by the job of fashion blogger. That it is a job, I guess.  Something that would have appealed to me when  I was in college and still does.

Lord & Taylor cardigan, Banana Republic T, BCBGMaxAzria pants, BCBGGeneration sandals
Lord & Taylor cardigan, Banana Republic T, BCBGMaxAzria pants, BCBGGeneration sandals

Now that I am on Instagram.com (my handle is karen_tashkovski), I’ve decided to post #ootd, which stands for outfit of the day, if you don’t know the lingo.  Someone takes a picture of me so that I can post my head-to-toe fashion and in this way I am a fashion blogger too!

Free People Cardigan, Bailey 44 top, Trina Turk pants, Nine West booties
Free People Cardigan, Bailey 44 top, Trina Turk pants, Nine West booties

My favorite designer is Trina Turk.  She liked the above picture on Instagram as did shopBailey44 because I’m wearing a Bailey 44 top. Those likes totally made my life.  They really did.  Because it still fascinates me that the world has become so small that you can reach out to your favorite _______, whether it be designer, fashion house, famous artist or celebrity, and they will respond with a little red heart.

Banana Republic cardigan, Trina Turk blouse, Rachel Roy top, BCBGMaxAzria leggings, Ralph Lauren boots
Banana Republic cardigan, Trina Turk blouse, Rachel Roy top, BCBGMaxAzria leggings, Ralph Lauren boots

That positive energy blows my mind.  It is such a feel good feeling!

Free People cardigan, Trina Turk dress, Calvin Klein jeans, Nine West booties
Free People cardigan, Trina Turk dress, Calvin Klein jeans, Nine West booties

My work look is about layering.  I pretty much always top it all off with a cardigan (or blazer).  Long sleeves are difficult because my hands are in all sorts of things from clay and plaster to paint.  I’m constantly washing and drying them, so I usually remove the sweater and add an apron or smock and maybe a pencil or two behind the ear.

I worked five days straight and I can’t remember the last time that happened what with all the snow days we’ve had, the superintendent’s conference days without kids (technically still work, but you know what I mean), the bout with the flu and vacations.  I’m thinking of doing a dress or skirt week soon.  Well, as soon as it stops freaking snowing here in the ‘cuse.

Banana Republic cardigan and pants, J Crew tissue T with Champion tank underneath, BCBGGeneration booties
Banana Republic cardigan and pants, J Crew tissue T with Champion tank underneath, BCBGGeneration booties

No #ootd today.  I’m still in my pjs (Calvin Klein).

Advertisements

Fashion Queen

20150417_210226_003

Just got a new pair of BCBG sandals.  If you have never worn four inch heels, I suggest you buy this brand.  They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn.  No pinching and the interior is fully padded so they are of the work-all-day-dance-all-night variety.

20150417_211459

Not sure if they come in a men’s size, one required for the posers of Karen Bakke’s fashion illustrations.  The show, entitled Queens of New York, at the Sue and Leon Genet Gallery at The Nancy Cantor Warehouse School of Design (the Syracuse University Building located in Armory Square) will be up until May 30, 2015, if you were not at last night’s reception.

20150417_210142_001

Karen Bakke was one of my professors at SU circa the ’80s when I was a fashion design major.  She taught me how to use a knitting machine among other things.  She’s retiring this year and going out with a fashion bang.

20150417_210200_001

20150417_210136

20150417_210355_006

Her artwork is really exquisite.  She uses charcoal to begin the drawings on Rives BFK paper.  Her lines are gestural yet confident. Deliberate, which I love.  Then she adds mixed media – acrylic, some paper collage and even actual makeup to add that whimsical touch of glitter.

20150417_210607

My favorite is the one above.  It is a gorgeous face combined with the unexpected man hand. They are all illustrations of men dressed as women, so it’s kind of a casualty of the experience.  Karen told me that she’s had people criticize the proportions because the faces are so beautiful, but it’s clear that she is a master technician and the sizes are accurate.

20150417_210318_004

You really have to see this show.  There is a fun interactive feature where you too can become a queen by sliding on a wig or two and maybe a boa and look at yourself in a faux-gilded mirror.  The pieces are really perfect when witnessed as a group and it is a testimony to a fashion artist who transcends the boundaries of time. They are timeless gorgeous-sos, which is the highest gorgeous I can give.  It goes gorge then gorgy then gorgeous-so.

20150417_210424_001

The gallery is located at 350 West Fayette Street, Syracuse, NY, 13202.

Oh, and P.S. – Mary Schalk of Mary Schalk Design did the flowers and I got to take one home.  OMG they are perfection in a shoe too!

 

20150418_134253

Green

IMG_2311

My redecorating project is complete!  I ended up using the Benjamin Moore paint in Navajo White, Barely Beige, and Seedling for the kitchen; and the Home Depot paint in Leather Clutch for the upstairs and entryway trim.

IMG_2315

I love a green kitchen for some reason, but I’m all about neutral walls everywhere else.

IMG_2310

I love when the house is finally camera ready, but it is always a fleeting moment in time.  There is always something that needs putting away or another dish to wash.  It’s a never ending saga.

Honestly, I cannot believe how much work I did.  I was like some kind of crazy Tasmanian devil or whatever.  There was a bit in the middle where it was so overwhelming that I had a mini meltdown but that’s how I seem to accomplish everything.  Confidence then doubt and then push through it, and finally, completing the vision.

Tomorrow it’s back to the real world and to more art stuff.  Work. An art reception on Friday night.  And on Saturday, I’m judging an art contest.

Now it’s time for Orthodox Easter dinner at Mom & Dad’s.

DSCN4009

The Ambiguous Stage

Went to another art reception last night.  It’s called Gallery 4040 – it’s at 4040 New Court Ave. in Syracuse, NY, not far from my house. The people who frequent these art shows remind me of the actors in the movie Shakespeare in Love for some reason.  I guess because they are all friends of a certain age (my age) and all happy, quirky and incredibly interesting.  Each takes their turn in the starring role, in this case Marna Bell.  Her black and white photographs are purposefully  blurry to illustrate what’s missing from her life.  Her memory.  She is such a sweet person and yet she cannot remember chunks of her childhood.

4040 Marna Bell art

I find this fascinating.  I sometimes can’t remember what I am doing once I walk over to my desk at work.  Like a student has asked for an eraser and as I approach the desk I begin talking to another student and I’m all what-am-I-doing-here?  But I can remember my first kiss and other pretty embarrassing things that happened a long time ago, some things I wish I could forget because they play in my mind in a loop, over and over until I wish I could shut them off.

Ultimately, it is very brave to expose oneself, as Marna does with her revelation, and I admire her so much for it.  Her work looks to be film clips taken from movie stills in a way that suggests – yes, I know those people, but wait, what?

gallery 4040 postcard

There are some large paintings of nudes on the next wall of the gallery.  I am really too immature to be in the same room with nudey-nudes, because I am the type of person who will say something completely inappropriate (and after having a small cup of wine, I’m pretty sure I did).  The colors in these paintings by Lacey McKinney are gorgeous and combined with size and compositions that either distort or void out the woman’s face, they make me question who the audience is supposed to be.

CBr0094W4AAIYTT

I guess I wonder if artists even think about the audience at all.  Do I? I’m not much of a business woman, so no, not really.  I think my paintings are more meant to be displayed in homes versus gallery and museum walls.  But how many people do you know who actually buy artwork for the purpose of enhancing their decor? Whatever number came to your mind, it really should be a lot more!

Why do people buy art?  I had a conversation with someone last night who suggested that the local art scene is being supported by its own.  Artists are trading art or outright buying each other’s art. We value it.  So there’s another question for you – how do we get civilians (non-artists) to value it too?  I’ve tried going the educate them route but for some, this is a hard sell.

So, back to last night -Juan Perdiguero’s chimpanzee drawings were the most fascinating to me.  They are in the back room of the gallery. Very realistic.  Life-sized drawings on photo paper.  Huge in-your-face monkeys.  I can’t even articulate what I want to say in sentences  because these pieces need to be experienced.  You want to reach out and touch them, even as you remember how chimps terrify you. They need to be in museum collections.  I’ve never seen anything like them – the technique, the commitment to the subject matter and overall experience being near them….

It was in this room that I met and chatted with Mary Giel.  Her effervescence really lit up the place.  She’s currently exhibiting in the annual juried show called Made in NY at the Schweinfurth Museum in Auburn, NY, having created a massive amount of tiny crocheted pieces that accumulate into floor and wall installations, which she creates in between rock climbing expeditions among other interesting travels.  The enthusiasm of her spirit is really breathtaking and made me realize that I need to find my way back to the pure spunk of it all.  The fun that is mark making.

http://www.schweinfurthartcenter.org/exhibits_details.cfm?id=62

So I’ve decided to begin a painting project – but not that kind.  Two hundred and fifty dollars got me enough latex paint and supplies to redo five out of the six rooms in my house.

I feel so DIY right now.  I just spackled up a hole in the kitchen wall and filled the crack in the bathroom wall with caulk as per the paint clerk’s suggestion.  I’m going to start painting tomorrow.  The last time I painted the interior here, there was no furniture or cats, so I’m preparing to have a giant headache over it all.  So much for spring break.

But since the weather has been so craptastic, it seemed like as good a time as any to do it.  Plus once I get an idea in my head, I really can’t let it go until I make it happen – it’s like having a giant monkey on my back.

B_wdpq_UIAAsMkW