Tag Archives: Syracuse art scene

Tiny Voice





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.


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!



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 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….





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. ❤



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!





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.





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.





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.








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









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.





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!




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.





Loved it! ❤  You will, too!







Technically Speaking

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


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 gallery.ttg@gmail.com for more information.