Tony Thompson’s closing reception was last night. He’d been showing his artwork at Kasai Ramen, 218 Walton Street, Syracuse, New York 13203 for two months. I decided to go and it was the first time I’d been to this location in twenty-six years! OMG. It used to be Sweet Baba’s, the very first place I exhibited my own art. I was the house artist for a while – I don’t remember how long, but it was the place where I sold my first painting, which led to a commission. Fond memories.
The restaurant itself is a work of art. It was built in the alley between two buildings. The Walton Street entrance boasts a cozy bar area and some seating. There are three staircases, one a spiral, that lead to a lower level filled with the ambiance of brick walls, dark lighting and the dance of kitchen staff preparing asian fusion meals to perfection.
“Kasai Ramen is a 100 seat, two level restaurant. Its menu features traditional Ramen and Izakaya dishes with a Salt City attitude. Featuring superior service and exceptional quality food in an electric fast paced atmosphere Kasai is the restaurant to dine at in Armory Square. Come enjoy an order of Pork Gyoza, Shrimp Steam Buns, Shoyu Ramen and a Whole Roasted Duck!”
Thompson is a Syracuse bred artist currently living in Utica, New York. He exhibits regionally and is part of the graffiti/tattoo stable of artists led by my friend Jamie Santos. These thirty somethings have commandeered the art scene here with many cool-themed pop-up shows and curated group restaurant gigs under their young hipster belts.
The work here is cohesive. Thompson uses found object canvases – discarded windows, old cabinets and wood scraps. His work is a narrative of the inner workings of his mind. Portraits that bring to mind a Basquiat quality with competent, confident line quality that belies his mostly self-taught status. The other imagery appears like a nightmare jutxaposed with sweet child-like innocence. My favorite pieces are the glass ones. They are a fun marriage of old and new, the window allowing the viewer to, sort of, see into the artist’s engagingly energetic mind.
Next up for the restaurant is a show by Jamie and beyond that, a curated Japanese-themed one that I may be a part of. I am immersed in Japanese art and culture right now with four of my classes using Hokusai and other wood block print references, so it may be up my alley. (Get it? Because Kasai Ramen is built in an alley….)
Discord is a necessary factor in conscious creation because when you know what you don’t want, you can know what you do want. So it can be a good thing even while it is causing the upset. In its acknowledgement, the theory is that change can happen. And there’s magic in that.
Art Rage is the gallery in Syracuse, New York that specializes in social injustice and political satire. It’s not typically my thing. I am so la-la-la lately, living life in a sort of happiness bubble of gratitude and appreciation, and not giving much attention to the national headlines that seem to keep others in a constant state of pissed-off-ness. I don’t often agree with the arguments. But I attended this art reception anyway – I do love when an artist translates their angst into something tangible that transcends its origins and hands the world something beautiful. And I loved every minute I spent viewing this incredible new work and talking to artist Jim Ridlon.
Discord & Dissent: Commentary on Contemporary Politics by Jim Ridlon is the final show this season at Art Rage, 505 Hawley Ave., Syracuse, New York, 13203. And it is truly genius!
Ridlon was not a fan of the political shenanigans, as witnessed on the morning news during the 2016 presidential campaigns. What followed was a bit of scribbling – sentences, words that he desired to expand upon via this new series of assemblages. Each one in this series is equipped with its own statement to guide the viewer to their own conclusions.
They are visual puns meant to take the sting out, to replace the discord with fun, humor and the strange machinations of this Renaissance man’s mind. They are outfitted in sports gear to possibly refer to the political arena as a game, as well as referencing his own history – football hero turned Syracuse University professor. There are clipped feathers found on meditative hikes taken with his son that speak of the illusion of the sanctity of government positions; rusty found objects from various trips to flea markets – hunting the perfect pair of old scissors or wood turnings, ropes/chains to bind the opponent in an intricate power trip. Well-worn accessories complete these framed boxes of objects, the human element that sets the viewer on this quest to create meaning.
Jim Ridlon is a true artist in every sense of the word and does justice to this art form by allowing us a glimpse into his vortex. I asked him if his studio was neatly organized – were all the scissors in a bin, leather bits together, et cetera? Answer – chaos! Lol, I love him!
Ridlon sets up his studio space so that he can concoct several pieces at once. They are on tables laid out in their frames, items amassed in nearby boxes first that speak to his mini manifestos. He builds, builds up then knocks everything down. Sometimes it takes over thirty tries to make one good product and once that solution arrives, it is like a game key that solves the puzzle and everything else just falls into place.
It is music to my ears when I hear an artist speak about their process. It is poetry. It is radiant and beautiful, and everything I love about creation. The work becomes the thing – important, all encompassing and his passion was just so present as he shared it with me. He told me that this process took months to complete. He spent days and days working on them and many, many nights dreaming about them. He was a man consumed by this work. His eyes sparkled as he spoke of getting just the right element to fit the case then finalizing and gluing it all into place – a culmination that is weirdly spiritual. Like, it was not about politics anymore. That was just the spark to the flame. An idea that took thoughts to these wonderful things.
Were they for sale? Yes, but he quipped that he did not expect to sell them, as they have an ugly side to them. I didn’t agree. But I guess this is the case with artists of all skill level and experience. The force that reckons with the making and manipulation of art flickers out once the discord that brought it about dissipates.
Thank you, Jim Ridlon, for inspiring me as my aesthetics professor in 1981 and continuing to inspire me to desire to grow as an artist. To want to take a dream and make it real, and laugh in the face of current realities that are undesirable. Outrage can and does make a difference when one is aligned with their ultimate source. And then we watch as everything changes for the better.
Jim Ridlon will give a presentation about his work on June 11, 2018 at 7pm in the gallery. Visit the website or call (315) 218-5711 for more information including gallery hours.
After the Happy Little Tree House art reception on Tuesday, Brandon Hall took Karmin and me to see his other hospital exhibition. It is in the cancer center wing of Upstate Medical Center and will be up for a couple months, I think, or at least until the end of May.
Brandon is an art teacher at Fayetteville-Manlius High School. He scours flea markets and garage sales to find discarded photograph albums and situates these unknown strangers into wallpapered assemblage landscapes peppered with texture and color. They are mounted on wood and double-lacquered to prevent fading. They are really exquisite and priced at only $250!
Also in this show are Heidi VanTassel’s photography and paintings by Kate Renetta.
I was invited to participate in an art show at the Syracuse, New York Golisano Children’s Hospital. In 2011, my Chittenango Middle School students exhibited Mexican sun sculptures in this same little gallery on the 12th floor. This time Ryan Wood from the 40 Below Public Arts Task Force connected with Jenny Dickinson, Coordinator for Pediatric Programs and Events to create an art event in which all artists produced treehouse themed art and called it The Happy Little Treehouse Show.
An all call went out via email and I responded. Three weeks ago, I created three new paintings for the event. Other artists in this group exhibition are as follows: Madison M. Quinn, Carlos Lee, Micha L. Crook, Sofia Marquez, Eva Hunter, Brandon Hall, Becki Fuller, Tommy Lincoln, Karmin Schafer, Jamie Santos, Melquea Smith, Aldea K. Gerard and Ryan Wood.
Many of the works are priced as donations to the hospital. Mine too, although the signage was wrong on that. I must have checked the wrong box when I filled out the form.
My paintings are titled “Spring”, “Autumn” and “Winter”. They are encaustic combines. I used two hardboard panels to create the abstract tree and house then added a variety of found object items. Encaustic is a process of heating beeswax and infusing it with oil paint. They are priced at $75 each.
The one hour reception took place this afternoon. Because of hospital security issues, only artists and hospital staff attended. It was really lovely networking with the other artists. The gallery is a wonderful space, right across from the library near the elevators.
The Happy Little Treehouse show continues through the end of May.
Thirteen paintings from my angel series “Futura” are currently on display at the Half Moon Bakery & Bistro in Jamesville, New York! Bobbi Petrocci and I pulled the switch-a-roo – she took down the CBA Hope for the Bereaved exhibit and installed my show by lining up these encaustics to look like ethereal soldiers hovering from above to love and protect the foodie patrons at this wonderful café.
The paintings are $111 each. If you want one, just let proprietor Debbe Titus know. She can contact me and I will meet you there. You will get to take one (or more) home for Christmas! They really do work best in multiples! They are small: 8″ x 10″ paintings on masonite mounted on 11″ x 14″ chalkboard.
It is always such a thrill to exhibit here. I have a fondness for a captive audience – people who do not ordinarily go to art shows, so we bring the art to them. Making the invisible visible is what it’s about. The show will be up during the month of December 2017.
Futura comes down on Saturday, November 11, 2017 (11/11). You can still see the show and buy the work in a cash and carry. Paintings are $111 each. Eye Studio is located at 712 W. Manlius, East Syracuse, NY. They are not open today – hours are 11:00 am – 7:00 pm Monday – Saturday.
Here are the pictures from the closing reception last Friday night. I am so grateful to Ilene Layow for offering me this wonderful space and throwing such an awesome party complete with music by Jerry Cali, and that gratitude is extended to all of my friends, patrons and family who came to support my art career. Great time! <3 <3 <3
Futura, my exhibit of twenty-four encaustic angel paintings, is on exhibit in the gallery space at Eye Studio, 712-14 West Manlius Street, East Syracuse, New York (13057). They are open Monday through Saturday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm. There will be a closing reception on Friday, October 27, 2017 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm with free food and drink (wine!) Musical guest will be Jerry Cali.
Please come if you can. The goal is to sell all of the angels by the end of the party. Patrons can leave with their purchase, which is why I like the idea of a closing reception rather than an opening. They are priced at $111.
FUTURA angel encaustic paintings by Karen Tashkovski
Futura is the brainchild of my inner being, a series of twenty-four 8” x 10” encaustic angel paintings. They depict the pure, positive energy of the present moment while reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future.
They are meant to be whimsical creatures supporting me and those who view them with love, kindness and appreciation. Encaustic is heated beeswax infused with oil paint. Each brushstroke is a deliberate creation, a quick and conscious decision on my part to honor a distinct moment in time.
I am fasciated by a found object’s abundant meaning, and so I use keys, horseshoes, sea glass and ribbons to add dimension to these paintings – another source of love and luck that is a talisman to me as the artist that will, hopefully, resonate with the viewer and subsequent owner of the piece.
I had the title of the exhibition in mind for several years before embarking on this collection. It was as if these images revealed themselves when they were ready to do so, and I was just the facilitator of the experience, like a fixed point in the future that I could not see until it became evident that I was finally ready and then that future became the now. I am delighted to finally share this new series of paintings with you – an audience of art aficionados, family, friends, artists and art students of all ages.
I stopped by my art exhibit at Eye Studio today to switch out a tag. So amazing to see my work up on the walls of this new gallery space! I will post pictures soon.
Today I am sharing another encaustic exhibition and sale – I performed the switcherooney at Kimberly’s Salon and Spa in Eastwood. I took down the watercolor exhibit and replaced those paintings with hearts.
It is soooo exciting to see my encaustic heart paintings on these walls instead of cluttering up my dining room table the way they were all summer, lol. They look like they were meant for this space, perfectly matching the walls of the waiting room and the stone of the fireplace!
Eleven 6″ x 8″ paintings are available for sale in a cash and carry fashion. They are priced at $75.
Proprietor Kim MacMillan is planning a series of events for breast cancer awareness next month. There will be specials on services including mani/pedis! Call (315) 463 – 2725 for more information or to schedule an appointment, and/or visit the salon – walk-ins welcome!!! – at 2520 James Street, Syracuse, New York 13206.
I ran into a friend who told me about an amazing restaurant in downtown Syracuse, New York called The Fish Friar. She planted that seed of desire in me and within days I was seated in the outdoor dining space enjoying a fish sandwich (sans bread) and two sides.
It was a perfect summer night, the fresh breeze in the air turned a gorgeous sunset into a Prussian blue sky. The food was soooo good, the chef created a work of art on my plate, and so, we are talking phenomenological encounter here, which to be honest, is the only way I can possibly live my life. The present moment is exquisite.
Everyone there seemed to know everyone else and we delighted in sharing Gia DeLaurentis style verbal soliloquies of how the food tasted. So fun, and yet, I became distracted by a message thing-a-ma-bob on my pages manager app, which kept directing me to my like page on Facebook, Karen Tashkovski-Visual Artist. I couldn’t figure it out. I clicked on everything and still the 1 was left staring at me. I scrolled the messages for the umpteenth time, all read, and came to the bottom of the queue. Yes, I had read this last message when it was sent in 2014. But when I read it again – aloud – it was as if the late Michael Moody was speaking to me now.
Like all artists, your art is evolving. I can appreciate your art because I know you personally and because you’ve been painting for a long time which shows your drive, desire and dedication.
I don’t attend all of the art openings but I do go to some to show support for other artists. I never see you anymore. I know that you work, so you’re busy and might not attend openings because of this. But this makes you invisible to much of the local art scene. Perhaps our paths just haven’t crossed but if not, then it’s time for you to leave your little bubble and rather cloistered life (If that’s the case) and mingle with other artists!
Some of your narration sounds like you’re still looking for approval and acceptance from those hoards of non artists that you’d like to buy your product. In your mind, body and spirit this attitude must cease to exist!
I’ve been in some shows simply because other artists have recommended me or just dropped my name. Think about it! There are also many new artists that would see you as a mentor or master simply because of the years in your craft.
Enough said! Come out, come out, from wherever you are! Show more zest for your craft by being there among your peers. No one else counts (give or take).
…and don’t publish this! lol Michael Moody …and thanks for mentioning my name in your narration! 07/29/2014 11:22PM
Karen Tashkovski – Visual Artist You’re right that I don’t want to mix and mingle. Absolutely right, lol.
Ya gotta change that babe! u can do it put ur back in to it!!! How else can your artistic peers get to know you and remember you!
Back then I was kinda-sorta still in a funk about direction in my life. I had started my blog and was slowly re-emerging into the local art scene. Fast-forward to now, and last night, where I was greeted by so many artists at John Dowling’s gallery on Hawley Avenue – everyone so wonderfully complimentary, telling me that they love my posts on Facebook and love reading my blog; that I am always smiling and positive, and all these nice things. I was told I am beautiful too.
Crazy, right? How time can change one’s perspective. How it only takes baby steps to get us back on track heading in the right direction in life and that those steps can lead us to such amazing things. It is such a gift to be a part of a group of like-minded souls who feel compelled to practice the art of making, sharing and selling art in such a cohesive way. I am incredibly grateful for my journey and where it leads and where life will continue to take me.
I was talking to John Dowling about the possibility of exhibiting my angel and heart paintings, if that theme works. He said he hadn’t thought of a themed show and so, I reminded him that his show dedicated to Cubawas one and this current show is as well.
In this case, the theme is size related. The pieces are 6″ x 6″ or 8″ x 8″. I LOVE a square canvas. And these pieces are deliciously inviting. Mini canvases in the artist’s styles, many you can recognize without needing their identification monikers – Hon Go’s modeling paste built geometric textured works, Diana Godfrey’s hauntingly rich abstract landscapes, John Fitzsimmons’ tiny-version portrait studies, Judi Witkin’s wearable art/steam punk jewelry turned collage art….
Kristina Starowitz told me that she has only just entered the sharing-her-art-mode and this show enabled her to experiment with ideas without committing to larger canvases. Her passion is evident in a tribute to the time-lapse of nature and its infinite beauty.
Tiny voices from big hearts. They are all priced to sell and offer this wonderful way to begin an art collection. You will be able to find space in your home or office for these pieces. It would be so cool if someone stopped in and said, “I’ll take one of each, please!”
Thank you, Michael, for reminding me of what is truly important. For knowing me better than I thought I knew myself, and for forcing that app to malfunction (which has now mysteriously fixed itself) in order for me to hear you again. You are da bomb.
P.S. You really did want me to share this message, after all. <3
There are things I have always liked doing and still do – swinging on swings at a playground, lol…playing jacks and Chinese jumprope, blowing bubbles with a ninety-nine cent bubble wand. They never get old. The best things in life from childhood – because when you were little you were free to just have fun and dream.
My summer has been a lot of that. A world filled with possibilities and joy. I discovered a new park today. It is on the west side of Syracuse, New York past the Delavan Center on W. Fayette Street, called Lipe Art Park.
I love that there are people in this city committed to improving abandoned areas, in this case a former railroad yard. Sculptures flourish beside positive message murals and flower garden vignettes, like set decoration for a movie with a backsplash of real-live moving trains. It has this surreal flavor of being elsewhere. Unexpected urban beauty.
I’ve driven past it loads of times and never noticed it until a Facebook post inviting me to visit unveiled it to me, which is just so amazing. I found a playful atmosphere there – a happening – Blinded by the Lipe! with music, food and new interactive art.