Category Archives: illustration

Cancel That

Currently, three venues are hosts to the twenty-four Syracuse University MFA candidates: Point of Contact Gallery, Community Folk Art Center and the SU Art Galleries. The art reception at POC was last Friday (that show continues through May 10, 2019), the one at CFA will be Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm (show continues through May 11, 2019). Last night at the Shaffer Hall venue, I attended the art reception for eleven of these students.

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What I love about Thursday evening art openings on campus – you can drive right up to the gate and park for free in the Q-4 lot – easy-peasy! It was such a beautiful evening. The university is a reoccurring landscape in my life. I really love being there. I received my BFA and MS degrees from Syracuse. I did not get an MFA, which I guess I would need if I am ever to be considered for a job as an Art Professor at SU (the Art Education masters is a Masters of Science for whatever reason, which is weird). A series of questions answered in essay format served as my thesis and not a gallery showcase of artwork, as is the case in these recent exhibitions.

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The students have varied focuses – illustration, painting and digital art, for example. Apparently, the cohesive thread of this work, according to the curator’s statement, is to do with the artist’s responses to their current realities and the angst that resides there be it via monstrous nightmare, political climate, gender issues, or social injustices, or some combination of junk that creates a response to conditions. The artists in this particular show seem to be attempting to express views, beliefs, fears and perceived truths in a sort of thinking man’s artist thing-a-ma-gig.

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Nothing tickled me here – true story – and that could just be because I am so not their generation, (kids these days, am I right? lol) and because I am a happiness-and-joy girl. I am perplexed by the need to be conditional about anything. I trust that everything unfolds when you are true to yourself, creating a vision that exposes yourself in a vulnerable way, perhaps, allowing your inner being to guide you towards the inspiration that will captivate. You feel it in your soul and that beauty that is within becomes your art and it subsequently resonates with the world. You will know it, your friends will know it, your professors will know it and you will see how incredibly it will take you where you want to go, easily and effortlessly.

So where do these kids see themselves? A conversation with some professors indicated that student art direction these days is focused on thinking about rather than the executing of ideas. This is not something I really understand. Are they not happy?

Are they hoping to open a dialogue about negative stuff? I don’t know. Some of this work is on the rather provocative side in the way that I cannot bring my thirteen-year-old students to this gallery on a field trip. There is some adult content of a sexual nature, as well as pieces that draw attention to violence and horror.

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Let’s cancel all that.

I guess I don’t agree with the blurb sentiment “sober examination of the facts”. We create our own realities based on dreams and desires. Choosing to get caught up in something you don’t want or don’t like just does not make sense to me. If I create a reality I don’t want, I don’t choose to stay there and dwell in it, complain about it and get stuck there. And I don’t really think it is the blanket statement under which all of these artists sleep, is it? Or is Plans are Cancelled a reference to a positive re-boot?

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The fun for me are these questions, not in the answers because the questions alone allowed me to ponder solutions of my own with regard to my own life. I am grateful for this show because I had really satisfying conversations with my friends Penny and Davana about this show and about how it can help us define/re-define ourselves as artists and teachers.

And it was also so helpful to share what I saw here with my Studio in Art students. It is so important to me as a teacher that I offer guidance in the form of training my students to trust and believe in themselves, to know that they will be able to navigate their path to whatever they care to do artistically in the future with or without me.

I wish these MFA candidates the best of luck and love in their creative journeys. I sincerely thank you all for your perspectives. ❤

Plans are Cancelled will remain on display until May 12, 2019.

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***Artists represented at Syracuse University Art Galleries

Hollie Lyko, E. Garrett Bryant, Perry Burlingame, Jestina Sutherland, Rebecca Forstater, Sylvie Prendergast-Corvo, Samantha Corbett, Louise Thompson, Jason Cheney, Mark Zbikowski, Jiallin Deng

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Doodle for Google 2019

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I just mailed these Chittenango Middle School entries to the Doodle for Google 2019 contest.  This year’s theme is “When I Grow Up, I Hope….”

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These are some of my Art-8 and 8th grade accelerated Studio in Art student entries.  My 5th graders also took part in the contest.  The deadline is March 16th so there is still time to mail in the stragglers’ art after winter break, thank goodness.

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Among the recurring themes – ending world hunger, space exploration, and fun with animals.  Other ideas included fashion, graduating from high school/college and cheating death.

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One of my favorites was this one above – solving mysteries with the Scooby Doo gang.  Who doesn’t dream about this from time-to-time?  Really, I know you do!

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The prize is $30,000 for the individual student, $50,000 in technology for their school and their google doodle will be on a T-shirt.  It will also grace the web-site for twenty-four hours (and proclaim the winner the title of Chief Doodler for the day).  So cool.

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What a huge and most amazing thing it would be if one of my students wins the whole shebang?!  It will be the greatest thing that would and could ever happen in my career, lol, except…this was the assignment I gave as lesson plans for the substitute when I was absent on family leave the week of my father’s passing.  So, technically, I guess … no – oh, come on now, this is crazy talk…I will still take pride in a win.  Making art that helps a student visualize their dreams? – now that is a win-win! ❤

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Who’s Greek Now?

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I decided to infuse the 8th grade Medusa  drawing project with real people.  I was driving to work a few weeks ago and the idea just came to me, lol, but would the teachers at Chittenango Middle School go for it?

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On the half day, I sent out an email then I ran around taking pictures of those who were receptive to being immortalized as Medusa.  The principals were even on board, which was so, totally, awesome!

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Students selected from the faces and added the snake hair and Greek pattern border.  We watched excerpts from 1981 and 2012 Clash of the Titans while using Sharpies and colored pencils.  Here are the results.  They used 16″ x 20″ white heavyweight tagboard and Prismacolor colored pencils.

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I have two classes working on a new batch on brown Kraft paper.  It is such a fun project.  So many possibilities with regard to color schemes and composition.  So incredibly satisfying!

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This artwork is currently on display in the hallway outside of my classroom at Chittenango Middle School in Chittenango, New York.  It will be up for a while, at least until the end of the semester at the end of January.  I will display some of them at the school fair in May too.

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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.

Art in Hospital

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.

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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!

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Also in this show are Heidi VanTassel’s photography and paintings by Kate Renetta.

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Delavan Holiday Party!

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My friends and I had a lot of fun in the journey of traveling through the labyrinth that is the Delavan Center.  It is a building west of Armory Square that houses artist studios.  There was open house last night.  The party continues today until 4:00 pm.  The Delavan is located at 509 W. Fayette Street in Syracuse, New York, 13204. (315) 476-9001

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You will find lots of treasures!  Artists are selling paintings, ceramics, sculpture, clothing and jewelry – buy something for yourself or to give as gifts this holiday season.

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So fun!

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Tiny Voice

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hi Karen

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!

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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.

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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 Cuba was 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….

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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P.S.  You really did want me to share this message, after all. ❤

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