Pizza & Art

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I’m not much of a drinker – I have a glass of wine socially, maybe, like, once a month (if that). I don’t really love the way it tastes and it gives me a headache afterwards so it’s not my “cup of tea”.  And for that matter, alcohol in general.

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I don’t eat bread or cheese.  I don’t like spicy foods or garlic….  For these obvious reasons and probably others of which I am not yet fully aware, I rarely date Italian men for very long periods of time, lol.  No wine, pasta, or pizza…no ice cream either.   Am just not an Italian foodie, or foodie in general.

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So what was I doing at a pizza-themed art show last night?

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Yeah – there was a pop-up art exhibition last night at Spark gallery on Fayette Street in Syracuse, New York.  Called The Passion of the Crust.

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A tenner got me in to see pizza paintings and sculptures.

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Many were painted on these pizza paddles.  I loved the concept!  It reminded me of a Project Runway fashion design challenge, only with artwork.

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This would be a great art lesson for my Studio in Art students (or at least a sketchbook homework assignment)!

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Some of the interpretations were kind of macabre…

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And some quite literal.

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Because it had been planned for the day after Christmas, many used religion to get their pizza messages across…

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It really was a great concept.  Dozens of artists sharing work on the walls in the gallery space.  Music and pizza slices available in the back room.

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A lot of the pieces had sold tickets on them, which was great, but unfortunately, there was no literature available as to making future purchases.  I guess that is the very nature of a one-night only event. It’s kind of like a happening of sorts and I commend these artists on making this event happen.  Syracuse has some really cool artsy people and part of what I am attempting to do with this blog is to make everyone aware of that.  To bring the art scene to the public in a way that the regular Joe can understand it, like it, buy it, live with it, love it, etc.

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The only person I knew there was Steve Nyland (above with the blue hair).  He is an artist and art curator who lives and works in Syracuse and in Utica, New York.  He said that many of these artists were from the Utica area.

Steve is curating a Star Wars and Star Trek art-themed show at the Syracuse Tech Garden next month!  (Perfect timing, don’t you think?)

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I really hope they decide to take this show on the road – like, get it seen in other venues, maybe a pizza shoppe or two.  Get it resurrected?  Call it The Dough Also Rises.  Tastes like a plan….

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The Kindness of Peace

Kindness Matters was the subject of this year’s Lions Club sponsored Peace Poster contest.  My Studio in Art class students spent about six weeks working on their illustrations.

Emily’s poster won the local and regional competition.  It is on its way to the state competition next and if she wins at the international level – well, that would be a huge win for all of us:  $5,000 for her and twelve years of poster-making and working closely with the beautiful people/lions who make up the committee that will culminate in an enormous sense of pride and victory for our small community in Chittenango, New York.

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The Chittenango Lions threw us a classroom pizza party and awarded monetary gifts and plaques for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place picks.  The rest of the students were all unanimously honored with honorable mentions.  Their work was spectacular.

These peace posters will be on display during December 2018 in the Community Room at the Sullivan Library, 101 Falls Blvd., Chittenango, New York 13037.  Visit their website for hours of operation.

Thankful for Peace

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Every year my Studio in Art students create illustrations for the Lions Club peace poster contest.  This year’s theme was  A Celebration of Peace.  It is really an incredible experience to work with the Chittenango Lions club on this endeavor.  Three members judge the posters, choose a winner and present cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place at a classroom pizza party resulting in the creation of professional artists!

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The winning poster goes on to compete in the regional competition followed by a state contest, which would land it in the finals and a chance to win the $5,000 international prize.  The whole she-bang is a win-win:  I create the lesson for a grade, students provide a community service, someone wins a prize, and we plant the seed of creating future community leaders.  In the interim, students may join the Leos, a youth organization off-shoot of the Lions Club.

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The Lions Club sponsors so many wonderful events.  They make extraordinary charitable contributions.  It is truly an honor to work with them.  They presented me with an award for my service recently.  I was told that no one outside of the club has received it besides me and that is such an incredible honor.  Thank you, Rae Haynes, Marg Montross and all of the Chittenango Lions.  I am blessed to know you. ❤

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Event Horizon

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The great thing about having an art exhibition and art reception at a restaurant is you forego the traditional crudities in favor of sampling the cuisine.  And in the case of Maxwell’s, this involves a gourmet spinach salad, brick oven pizza and hot wings.

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Toss in a performance by a band starring a whiz kid on drums and you have one amazing evening with artists and friends!

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Artwork by Kara D. Cook is on display and for sale at Maxwell’s for only one week, but I am certain she will sell everything in that short time.  Like me, she has her BFA and MS from Syracuse University, and she is a local art teacher.  She is also a fan of Jasper Johns and Alice Neel, but her fanaticism does not spill into her canvases.  Her work is original, fresh and captivating.

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The show is titled Bricks & Bones.  Kara preps some of her canvases with paper collage of sheet music or maps then creates landscapes of local haunts, places she sees as she drives to work, places from her childhood in Chittenango, New York…places that have been discarded and left to rot in a way.

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But there is so much beauty to see in these images, I think, like the beauty of everlasting love explored in The Velveteen Rabbit.  Memories of the past that make you say – I remember that place and I will try to not forget that past.  She attacks the canvases with a combination of materials beginning with acrylic then adding charcoal, colored pencil, marker and whatever else works.  I actually thought they were digital photographs when I first walked in.  I was delighted to see all of the nuances of the mixed-media upon further inspection.

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I purchased a print of the Cinema North, the old free-standing movie theatre in Mattydale, New York.  I was trying to remember what movie I went to see there, something with my cousins who lived out that way.  So, yeah, it’s like that – a faded memory that had to be a good one but now it is sort of missing its pieces too.

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According to Wikipedia, In general relativity, an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer. In layman’s terms, it is defined as “the point of no return”, i.e., the point at which the gravitational pull becomes so great as to make escape impossible, even for light. An event horizon is most commonly associated with black holes. Light emitted from inside the event horizon can never reach the outside observer. Likewise, any object approaching the horizon from the observer’s side appears to slow down and never quite pass through the horizon,[1] with its image becoming more and more redshifted as time elapses.

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This provocative timey-wimey feeling is what I get from Kara’s work.  You are most definitely pulled in, and the effects are impossible to escape.  They linger, like that reoccurring dream you keep having or like that math problem that seems easy yet you cannot solve.  According to her literature, “[the work] retain[s] memories of the past. Bricks and Bones is meant to appreciate their narrative.”  I am so impressed with the depth to which Kara reveals emotion in her work.

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Oh, and she makes jewelry too!

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Maxwell’s is located at 122 E. Genesee Street, Syracuse, New York 13202.  Call (315) 299-6633 for information or visit their web-site here.  Kara D. Cook can be located on all the usual social media locations.  You can start by liking her on Facebook here.

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Alert the Media

Boundless Brooklyn is a company that sells 100% recycled cardboard model kits – crafted billboards, lighthouses, mailboxes, halfpipes, lifeguard stations and water towers that can be turned into amazing works of art.

You can also purchase the water tower kit at Target!

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Art Above All is the brainchild of tattoo artist Jamie Santos, who paired these kits with local artists to create this amazing exhibition.  She is a dynamic force in the Syracuse art scene!  I connected with her via Facebook after attending and later writing the blog post about that pop-up pizza-themed art show.  My blog went viral for several days with that one, with the most views in a day in the history of my blogging “career”!  Jamie was responsible for that show as well.

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I love her spirit and energy.  And while I have never considered getting a tattoo, I know I would be in good hands should I ever change my mind.  She works out of Tymeless Tattoo in Baldwinsville, New York (and also curates their gallery space).  Jamie curated this unique art show of billboards and water tower models at SALT Quarters gallery (115 Otisco Street, Syracuse, New York), which is within walking distance from her art studio at the Delavan Center on West Fayette Street.  SALT Quarters will be open again today and tomorrow from noon to 5:00 pm.  Contact jamiesantosartworks@gmail.com for more information.

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The opening reception took place last night.  Upon arrival, we were greeted by three artists painting murals.  Penny, Joyce and I chatted with them about the creation of art and the process of mark-making while they set about creating these large-scale pieces.  I loved hearing their philosophies.  It doesn’t seem to matter how people arrived at the idea/conclusion of becoming an artist, I mean in terms of their backgrounds or the age at which their idea manifested into their reality – the truth is the language of art is the same.  It is the language of the journey, of self-discovery, of the role emotion plays in creation and the joy of living a dream-life through art.

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Inside – we viewed these whimsical three-dimensional creations while listening to the sounds of Backpacker’s Field Manual (two Chittenango grads!)

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I am so inspired by this show.  The artists really seemed to transcend their materials.  They don’t look like cardboard cut-outs at all.  Their ideas range from humor to social injustice and are created with paint and mixed-media in graffiti, Pop Art, Impressionist and traditional styles.  The models are essentially advertising media and so, the message seems to be the message, lol – to alert the media through media, so to speak.  To give voice to the artist within, whatever that statement may be.

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I just love the camaraderie of this exhibition/event.  Artists joining forces in the spirit of fun and love.  It is truly a magnificent use of this tiny gem of a gallery.  I would love to gather a bunch of these models and see what my students at Chittenango Middle School can do with them!

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The artists in this exhibition include Aaron Z. Lee, Andrew Peters, Brandon Lazore, Casey Landerkin, Cayetano Valenzuela, Charlie Sam, Chris Sosa, Dan Styles, Doug Aldrich, E.L. Downey, Jacob Alan Roberts, Jamie Santos, Jemola Addley, Jesse Gabriel, Jesse Ryan, Josh Montgomery, Marcus Osmun, Michael Giannattasio, Michael John Heagerty, Monty Ses Esposito, Paul Ulrich, Steve Sie, Tommy Lincoln, and Tony Tompson.  Some of the art is priced to sell – not sure about all of it, but the artists have supplied contact information via email in order to connect.

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Loved it! ❤  You will, too!

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