Tag Archives: Chittenango Middle School library

Little Birdie

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I hosted a closing reception for Jamie Santos’ art show.  The exhibition had taken place in the Chittenango Middle School library (Chittenango, New York) during May and June 2018.  Since they administered the algebra regents exam in the library today, we held the party in my art classroom.

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About twenty students attended this end of the year celebration.  Cookies were served.

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Jamie Santos is a tattoo artist.  She works at Tymeless Tattoo in Baldwinsville, New York.  Jamie is a 2003 graduate of Fayetteville-Manlius High school.  She says drawing is an important part of her life.  She gets up by 9:00 am and starts the day by sketching ideas for tattoos or paintings – she brought several notebooks full of these wonderfully executed drawings to share with the students.

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Her focus lately has been on birds.

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Students had a lot of questions about the tattooing process – does it hurt?  How long does it take to finish a tattoo?  Do people bring snacks? ( Lol, love that one ❤ )

Jamie was very honest about the process, the time commitment, the pain.  She explained how the needle works, how it vibrates when you hold it, how the artist gets better with every job.

She used to work every day and now she books clients only four days a week, devoting the rest of her time to creating art in her studio.  Designing her own unique look, her own motifs are crucial to her success and she takes pride in the fact that her work ethic has truly improved her skill.

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I asked how many of these eleven to fourteen-year-old students think that they want to get tattoos when they are older and the majority of hands flew up!  Should I be surprised by that?  I guess not.

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The students absolutely loved her!  She is amazing.  Thank you, Jamie Santos, for being such an inspirational voice for your profession.

A thousand thank-yous, as well, goes to my fabulous colleague, Katy Conden, for working with me to make these art talks happen. They are no fun without you!

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If you would like to see more of her work, Jamie will be exhibiting in a show of tattoo artists at the Everson Museum of Art.

 June 30–August 5, 2018

Embracing the Underground explores the rich and diverse culture of modern day tattooing. This exhibition is the second presented through the Everson’s Community Exhibition Program, which provides opportunities for Central New York organizations to present the work of area artists.

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In a Blanket

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Here are the pictures from my art exhibition at Chittenango Middle School, Chittenango, New York.  I’ve combined the Messages from the Other Voice series with the Pompano Revisited series to saturate the yellow walls of the school library with my personal narrative.

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They will be up through April 2017.

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The work looks better in person – the lighting is not great in the pics, but that is because the artwork is so high up on the walls.  I do love the way the library looks soooo fresh and different with each show we install and everyone’s artwork ends up looking great.  The captive audience thing always works for me, but it is funniest when I ask students if they have been to the library – if they have seen my art and they say something like I didn’t notice.

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That actually doesn’t matter to me – no, not one bit – because I know that they have noticed it, if only in a smidgen of a subliminal fashion.  It doesn’t take but a glance to place a positive aesthetic into someone’s visual cortex, lol.  And then you can sit back and witness the processed results.  It’s kind of amazing.  And I really LOVE that.  Art benefits people in so many ways in which they are not even remotely aware. It is everywhere.  All around us.  That’s me being subversive – in a good way.

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Blanket of love, people.  Blanket of love…. ❤

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Triple Whammy

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So, here’s something crazy weird and great – I will be exhibiting artwork in three locations during the month of April 2017.  Showing watercolors – the ones with the baseball themed titles – at the Half Moon Bakery and Bistro in Jamesville, New York.  No date as of yet for the reception, but I am hoping they will do a baseball cake or cupcakes for it.  That will be fun for spring, right?

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I’m installing an exhibit at Dolce Vita World Bistro in Syracuse, New York on April 2, 2017.  It would be nice to keep them up longer than a month, but no deets on this yet.  I would love to have a gathering one evening, maybe fill the dining room with friends and have music too, but I haven’t planned that far ahead.  Art shows are a great excuse for a party!  I will either exhibit the encaustic crown series from 2012 or something more retro – oil & collage paintings from 1998.  I don’t remember what I called this series.  I made them in the 2nd bedroom of my apartment on Woodbine Ave. during winter break that year.  Does anyone remember anything pre-new millennium?

CROWNING GLORY(11X14-12) (243x300)
Crowning Glory, 18″ x 15″, 2012, encaustic, $125
LIFE. LIBERTY. HAPPINESS., 18X36, 1997 (300x156)
Karen Tashkovski, Life. Liberty. Happiness., 1997, oil & collage, $675

And finally,  my 1997 oil & collage series of paintings Messages (From the Other Voice) is up in the Chittenango Middle School library, Chittenango, New York, for the next two months!

STRENGTH, 18X36, 1997 (300x159)
Karen Tashkovski, Strength, 18″ x 36″, 1997, oil & collage, $675

So happy to be able to share my artwork in public spaces (you know, to captive audiences).  New work is actually coming soon.  My sister is opening a yoga studio around the corner from my house.  I will be making encaustic paintings to exhibit and sell there. I’m going to be turning my kitchen into an art studio during spring break next month to get those (horseshoe paintings and maybe hearts too) ready for Syracuse Yoga’s opening in May 2017.

Technically Speaking

So, welcome to my 2nd anniversary as a blogger!

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And with that comes the answer to the question I have been asking myself – what happens when I exhaust all the art venues in my area and I have to start duplicating them – I mean, where’s the spin, the angle?  How do we make the old new again?

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I haven’t technically exhausted venues.  There are plenty around this town that I haven’t written about or ventured to yet!  But then, there are certain places that I seem connected to, as if they are the set decoration to my personal reality show and the Syracuse Tech Garden is, apparently, one of those spaces.

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Steve Nyland chose this time out to curate a seven-artist show, which to my delight, makes this show new and different.  I prefer this to juried shows or the free-for-all themed show (anyone want a bunch of abstract watercolors with baseball-themed titles? because I have fifty I can sell you today, lol).  You know what I’m talking about. 🙂

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April Showers: Technically Irrelevant is at the Syracuse Tech Garden until July 8, 2016, which offers you plenty of time to get down there.  It is on Harrison Street (235 Harrison, Syracuse, New York 13202) right across from the Hotel Syracuse, which is currently being renovated for a spectacular re-opening in June.

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The artists in the show include my work colleague Sherry Allen, plus Facebook and personal friends Penny Santy, Lauren Bristol, John Fitzsimmons and Ken Nichols along with Robert Kasprzycki and Stephanie Roeser.  Each offers a strong sense of character and style – all different, and so the show is very cohesive.

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According to the literature/curator statement, Steve chose the artists based on comraderie, friendship and inspiration.  There is definitely a positive vibe to the artwork here, a mutual admiration society of artists complimenting and encouraging each other to provide us all with a footprint of their souls, as seen in color, texture, brushstroke and commitment to their respective visions.

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I have showcased Penny’s work before, but in this space these bulls have enormous presence.  The large canvases give credence to her sweeping brushstrokes and color combinations.  Really breathtaking stuff.

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I know that John Fitzsimmons will paint your portrait if you head over to his studio at the Delavan Center on Fayette Street in Syracuse (and if you have several hours to spare!)  His portraits are done with straight painting – no drawing it first with pencil or charcoal, and yet they are so proficient with accurate placement of proportions and an uncanny ability to capture one’s essence.

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Here, he is showing ethereal landscapes with magnificent mastery of color choice.  They are simultaneously deliberate and spontaneous and seem to represent the sky’s fickle ability to change on a dime.  A dark cloud approaches on the horizon with hurricane force, and yet, with the smaller works, they are sized to the give the appearance of a landscape at rest – long and narrow horizontals.

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I absolutely love the texture in Sherry Allen’s work.  There is dimension as well, the idea that the painting jumps into space and becomes a part of your life.  Her work certainly does not sit back passively waiting for anyone to notice.

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She is retiring from her teaching job at Chittenango High School at the end of the school year.  I am really looking forward to the direction her artwork will take once she has more time to devote to it!

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I know Ken Nichols as a potter.  We keep running into each other at events.  His mugs are also being sold at Natur-Tyme in Dewitt, New York and at the Clayscapes gallery, even though he isn’t mentioned in either gallery’s literature.  It is because his work sells.  It’s in and out the door in a flash due to exceptionally perfect price points and of course, quality.

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Here, he introduces us to his paintings, which are so colorful.  It’s almost as if he is a kid in a candy store with the control he can get out of acrylic paint – very different than the you-get-what-you-get attitude that comes with glazing pottery.

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Hopefully, I can connect with him to share these paintings in my middle school library gallery next year.  They are delightful confections that remind me of zentangles.

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Lauren Bristol can crochet!  She creates the pattern on large point graph paper and I have never seen this before.  Loved it!  My grandmother tried to teach me to crochet, but that was a disaster, as she couldn’t slow it down enough for me to understand what she was counting out in her Vlashki language (una, dow, tre, patrou, cin-cee, sha-cee, shap-tee, optou, now, zhad-cee…)

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Lauren uses crochet as an art form.  She includes abstract paintings in her display as well to fill her space.  I cannot imagine where she finds the time to create all of this, as I know from watching my mom now and my grandmother years ago, how long it takes to string together that work.

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I don’t know anything about Stephanie Roeser except to say that her artwork is whimsical.  Very youthful and alive.

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And Robert Kasprzycki’s giclee prints have the attitude of technically proficient.  Not at all irrelevant.

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The Syracuse Tech Garden is open to the public Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.  Contact the gallery at gallery.ttg@gmail.com for more information.

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A Giant Among Us

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Italian born artist Domenico Gigante is exhibiting his art in the Chittenango Middle School library until mid April, 2016.  He was an Italian and French teacher and, now retired, he dabbles in still life and landscape painting.

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I met him last year – I attended an exhibition of his work at the Onondaga Public Library in Baldwinsville, NY.  We had scheduled his show for last year but he had to cancel due to his extensive travel schedule.  I am so happy/grateful he was able to reschedule for this year, as I just found out he is moving out of state!

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Yesterday he spoke to some students at an after school art reception.

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He talked about how he was born in Italy and came to this country without knowing English.  As a child, he played soccer and did lots of other things, but he did not start making art until he retired from his teaching job at Henninger High School in Syracuse, New York.

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The children all listened intently to his stories of how each painting came about and at the end, we asked questions pertaining to what he’d said.  Students who knew the answers won free posters!

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I was surprised and delighted by how well those 5th – 8th graders were listening!  It was pretty incredible!

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I have four artists in this gallery space every year.  I think I have two booked for next year already, but I can’t remember right this second.  If you are interested in exhibiting work, please contact me at ktashkovski@chittenangoschools.org.

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The artists do this for free including giving a Tuesday afternoon talk (I make cupcakes!) but there is always the possibility of selling the work.  The library is used for other events, like the occasional board of education meetings and PTA meetings, so lots of people see the artwork.

Here is a link to Domenico Gigante’s art blog.

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Captive Audience

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Every year I install art exhibitions in the Chittenango Middle School library in Chittenango, New York.  I seek out professional artists in the region – four per year as follows:  September – November/Thanksgiving-ish, November – February/Winter break, February – April/Spring Break, and April – June.

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It’s a captive audience scenario.  They go into the school library to get books, use the computer, take classes, have a study hall…and in addition, they are subliminally bombarded with art/aesthetics and all around good taste.

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They are the very people artists target – students who can learn to appreciate art at a young age and become life-long patrons of the arts – as artists themselves, hobbyists or consumers who appreciate…or all of the above!

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Steve Pearlman is my current artist-in-residence with fifteen photographs showcasing his interest in Syracuse, travel, fashion and an amazing eye for contrast, composition and perspective.

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He will give an artist talk to students during our after school time/tenth period (2:20-2:50 pm) on Tuesday, October 27, 2015. I’m sure he will share what he told me – that aside from his family, he has no greater love than the love he feels while holding his camera, pointing the lens and capturing a unique image that freezes time.  Art is sometimes the most beautiful gift you can give to yourself.  When I spend time talking to other artists about their contributions including hopes and dreams for themselves, it really feels amazing – we are more similar than different with regard to the love of creating.

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I was just talking about this with my students yesterday.  The importance of emotion as a component in a work of art.  It is always the hope that students will make these connections to their own lives in order to be happier, and in order to lead supercalifragilistic artistic futures.

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