Whenever I run into J.P. Crangle, he always tells me that my teaching job is a good gig. I LOVE that because it is soooo true! I totally love my job – everything about it. The curriculum is flexible enough that I can incorporate any artists or art movements, or even cultures that I choose. I mean, there are thousands to pick from, as everything we know about ancient civilizations comes from studying their art.
I love the people at school. The students are really fun. Eighth graders and now, after a ten-year hiatus, I will be teaching fifth grade again (one section)! They seem to love the projects we do and we spend a lot of time smiling, laughing and having fun while making art. And it only gets better every year.
J.P. Crangle and I went to graduate school together. He is a professional artist and caricaturist extraordinaire! I still have the one he drew of me, which he had created for the open house we had for students back in the M-17 days of the Syracuse University Art Education department.
Good gig – he said it again when I saw him Friday, January 8, 2016 at the Edgewood Gallery art opening reception where he is showing and selling brilliantly-hued cartoon paintings on wood and quirky plaster doll sculptures in a show titled “Small Planets” alongside the work of Dan Shanahan and Sharon Alma.
His paintings and sculptures are truly whimsical displays of color and fun! The gallery/frame shop looks totally different from the way it looked during the last show (with the exception of the amazing David McDonald’s mugs on a table and powerhouse artist Arlene Abend’s tiny sculptures on the window ledge surrounded by healthy, leafy plants! They were there the last time too and are not part of this exhibit).
Dan Shanahan is exhibiting these incredible watercolor paintings and hand painted prints rendered with the tiniest details that keep you involved, seeking and finding more to see. They are doodles with precision. Really incredible stuff.
Sharon Alma, another friend of mine, is selling jewelry in the display case. Very colorful and incredibly, they are made of paper!
I went to the Gold Key awards ceremony for the regional Scholastic Art Awards competition last Thursday night at OCC and I was struck by the proficiency. The majority of artwork selected as winners this year were literal translations in portrait, still life and landscape. Student technicians with inspiring mastery of detail. The rendering skills are nothing short of breathtaking. Not much over all in the abstract realm though nor in emotional content.
It was the same way when I was in high school. Top prize was a Blue Ribbon back then, which I won for my portfolio – this led to getting accepted at Syracuse University where I was told my portfolio was one of the best the interviewer had seen.
Funny that, because when I look at the work now – some on the walls of my parents’ home and others that I have in a paper portfolio shoved away in the crawl space of my 2nd bedroom – I think it completely lacks emotion.
Yes, I can draw, but the artwork I enjoy making now is abstract -about my emotional journey through life, one rich with texture and rhythm, and color.
Which is why I was thrilled to support my former student Maria L. Her sculpture portfolio won a Gold Key (her current instructor is Allison Kominecky).
She created this white dress from an underlying structure of chicken wire. The bodice was shellacked with her parents’ divorce papers. All of the tissue paper from Christmas (according to her mom) made up the fluffy skirt. This hauntingly beautiful piece filled with raw emotion transcends the competition and becomes a kind of memory of time and space while her other large piece filled with a cascade of paper butterflies almost says that beauty is abundant yet fleeting so one must enjoy the moment while one can. It all makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time while giving the artist a giant hug for her bravery and perseverance.
Her work, like the three artists’s at Edgewood, can also be described as whimsical and fun. One can surely find the beauty in realism, but art can also symbolize magic in other ways. Maria’s work and the rest resonate joy, an emotion we can all do well to include more of in our lives.
I just read a thingy in one of Rhonda Byrnes’ books about it. Say it to yourself whenever you can, but slowly. I – AM – JOY. Say it a bunch of times and often. If you are ever down for whatever reason, I guarantee it will make you smile. Makes you realize that life is supposed to be joyous and fun. That’s definitely a good gig if you can find it.
The Edgewood show will be on display at 216 Tecumseh Road, Syracuse, NY 13224 until February 19, 2016. For more information and hours of operation, find the gallery here or call (315) 445-8111.
If you are interested in checking out Maria’s art and the rest of the Scholastic Art Awards winners, it is all on display until the end of February at the Whitney Building at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, NY.