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
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.
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?
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…)
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.
I don’t know anything about Stephanie Roeser except to say that her artwork is whimsical. Very youthful and alive.
And Robert Kasprzycki’s giclee prints have the attitude of technically proficient. Not at all irrelevant.
The Syracuse Tech Garden is open to the public Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This was a crazy busy weekend what with everything that I usually do and the whirlwind of art events I mentioned last time. I found the irony in meeting some Facebook friends for the first time at the Edgewood Gallery opening on Friday night so hilarious. It was like a Saturday Night Live skit or something. “I know all about you,” is what one woman said to me, along with insisting that I was stalking her on social media. “You paint cats,” she said. It was just so funny. Later she spoke about her dream of meeting Faith Ringgold, to which I responded that I had met the artist. Here’s the picture to prove it in case she thought I was totally lying.
Faith Ringgold shared her art journey at Light Works at Syracuse University in 2007. Her visit coincided with an exhibition of her work at the Community Folk Art Gallery here. Faith is an incredible person – so inspirational and positive, and lovely. She autographed her book for me and we chatted for a significant amount of time considering that she’d been signing books for a couple hours and there was a long line of people behind me.
Faith is on Facebook – her daughter posts updates regularly. She’s currently working on an app that is based on quilting, which is geared to the elderly and can help improve memory function. I feel like if I can have just half her energy and attitude I will someday make a difference in this world. But I am always vacillating – that confident vs. insecure yo-yo mindset that grips just about every artist from time to time. Did I make the right choices with my life? Am I even good at what I do – artist, teacher, etc.?
When I was in college, Frank Goodnow, my painting professor, was surprised to find out I was a fashion design major. “You are a painter,” he said. I think about that a lot when I wonder if I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing if one believes in fate.
I was reminiscing about this with Laurel Morton, a former classmate and current assistant professor in the fashion program at Syracuse University. I visited her studio at the Delavan Center on Saturday and we chatted about the past. I haven’t thought about those dreams in years and so it resurrected that whole road not traveled thing. Had I moved to NYC and taken that job at Ralph Lauren, would I have eventually become Marc Jacobs famous?
I don’t know. Maybe. At SU, you took foundations courses in art as a freshman at that time (not sure how it is now) then you re-applied to your major. I had originally planned on going into advertising, but only because I thought I needed to have a reasonable art career to satisfy my worried parents who were spending all of this money to send me there. I was the eleventh person chosen for the competitive advertising program based on my freshman portfolio but at the last minute I chose fashion design, which had no such competition. I thought I could see myself doing that.
I eventually found my way back to painting and art, and teaching. I mean, I can still design clothes. But these days I only do it to create Halloween costumes. My specialty is coming up with something that relates to an artist, art movement or culture for a costume that goes with an art lesson at school.
Frank Goodnow was right- I am a painter. I really cannot imagine my life without mark-making. Designing clothes is just another thing I can do.
Most teachers can relate to this simple fact. Students always react strangely when they see us outside of school. It’s either a hyper-freak out – OMG! Ms. Tash, Ms. Tash! or the total reverse; a shy backing away and a chorus of whispers – I think that’s Ms. Tash! What’s she doing here?
Do they think we are robots that are turned off and put away at the end of the day, like a stack of I-Pads? I talked to my sister about this and she said, “Look at it from their perspective. Seeing you outside of school is like seeing a unicorn.”
I am a bit of a unicorn. Because in this day and age, in a culture of me, me, me social media and with it the belief that we are all the stars of our own reality shows, it seems that everyone wants to be recognized for their individuality. Their spirit, creativity and the like should make them the black hole of the universe, sucking everyone else inside their vortex. Everyone wants to appear cray-cray, the risk-taking artist that deserves all that attention.
Maybe I’m the opposite. The crazy person who just wants to be normal. Am I crazy? Sometimes people say I am, but maybe I’m the only sane one in the room and everyone else is crazy. My last blog post generated a flurry of comments in the group postings on www.linkedin.com. Mainly camaraderie in despair, which really made me wonder if they understood me at all. Something made me feel sad last week. I’ve had my share of ups and downs, wearing my heart on my sleeve and on the walls of my home, as I’ve shared in a previous blog post. But my emotions don’t swing on a Vincent Van Gogh-caliber pendulum. I’m still sad about that particular thing but it’s compartmentalized now and I’m, yes, perfectly normal.
Emotion certainly plays a chunk part in the world of art, though, and it’s funny how important it is to many that they are perceived as more emotional than another. It’s not a competition, you know. There are all sorts of emotions that come into play when making art. It doesn’t have to be sadness. It can be serenity, anger or euphoria….
Whatever it is, it should be nurtured and supported. I have not been doing this as often as I should. I get invited to local art openings and events all the time and I just don’t go. I want to be a better friend. This Friday from 6-8 pm, the Edgewood Gallery is holding a reception for an exhibition and sale of artwork by Amy Bartell, Linda Bigness and Todd Conover. Edgewood is located down the street from my parents’ house – you can see the house from the gallery’s front door if you look east. It’s on Tecumseh Road in Dewitt, NY, right across from the Nottingham shopping plaza.
On Saturday from 10 am-4 pm, the Delavan Center will open its doors for a holiday event and sale. The Delavan is a building filled with local artists’ studios, many of them are Facebook and personal friends of mine. Linda, of course (find the link at the end of this post to the video we made on Columbus Day weekend), and Amy plus Laurel Morton and a slew of others.