Images

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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The Invention Story

I’m basically a storyteller.  And all of my stories begin with, “the year was blah-blah-blah”.  Today, one of my students called me over and asked, “will you tell us a story?” and someone else chimed in with, “we love your stories!”  !!!

So – here’s a story for you….

The year was last year.  All of my 5th graders were bringing those fidget spinners to class.  I’m sure you’ve seen them – they are some sort of toy that was created as a way for students to stay focused, particularly students with focus issues – but they were seriously getting out of control.   Everyone had them.  Most had more than one in their pockets. Kids were just playing with them all over the place until pieces flew off.  It was nuts.

One day after school, I was sitting with my feet up on my desk and I envisioned a teacher confiscating those dumb things then sitting exactly as I was . . . and eating them, lol.  I had invented a commercial for chocolate fidget spinners!

OMG, I thought, I have my million dollar idea!  I called Hercules, a candy company in East Syracuse, New York.  I told the proprietor, Terry Andrianos, my idea.  Her response was it takes about a year in development to create the mold for something like this and it is expensive.

So, I thought, that was that.

A few days later, I attended a concert at Traditions at the LinksLetizia and the Z Band was performing.  At their break, the drummer, John Mangicaro, told me this gig was like a full-time job but he did have a full-time job – he was in the technology department at Syracuse University.  He runs the 3-D printer!

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I shared my fidget spinner concept with him.  A few months later, he’d created a mold for me.  I brought the mold back to the candy shoppe and Terry agreed to make a couple samples for me!

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I had successfully brought my invention to fruition and it didn’t cost me a dime.  Law of Attraction brought me face-to-face with these amazing people who helped me just for the fun of it!  Of course, after it was all said and done, I checked Amazon.com and now there are fidget spinner molds available.  Yes, a zeitgeist!

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Students don’t play with fidget spinners anymore.  I have not seen one at all this year.  It was a very short-lived fad, which leads me to believe that nobody really desires chocolate ones anymore either.

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But the point of the story is to illustrate how you don’t really have to know how to manufacture an idea in order to invent something.  Leonardo da Vinci drew pictures of helicopters in the 1500s, as well as all sorts of things he did not actually make.

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My fidget spinner story acted as the launch pad for the active minds of my 5th grade art class.  I gave them a hand-out – to get them thinking about inventing something – why do people need it?  Who will use it?  How big is it?  How much does it cost?

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They filled out the sheet and drew illustrations for a coloring book of inventions.  This took several classes.  We did projects in between, which gave ample time for the students to ponder ideas.  Many shared the project with their parents – some came back with sketches their parents had made of the assignment.  It seems that everyone is a budding Leonardo!

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I sent the pages to Chittenango High School and the person who runs the Xerox printer created these amazing books.  Each student received a book of everyone’s inventions.  We spent one class period coloring them.  I told them to hold on to their copy, to keep the book in a bookshelf for, like, fifteen years.  Then pull it out, maybe when they are moving out or when their parents hold a giant garage sale, lol, and flip through it to see if any of the inventions had really been invented.  Zeitgeists happen all the time.

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My cousin Brian is an inventor at Welch Allyn.  He has something like forty patents.  Engineering type stuff.  I had actually checked on the patent information regarding my idea.  It seems the woman who had invented fidget spinners could not afford the patent and that is why everyone was manufacturing them.  Crazy, right?

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Our science teacher, Beth Bennett, received a grant to purchase a 3-D printer for school.  She will be meeting with John to learn more about the machine and what amazing things can be created with it.  I just love that!

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The sky’s the limit!

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Diamonds

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There is no better way to celebrate my birthday than spending time with wonderful friends viewing art.

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The Everson Museum of Art is host to two exhibitions of Darryl Hughto’s paintings.  From Diamonds to Sailboats will be on display until August 26, 2018. According to the Everson Bulletin, this show “examines the artist’s tireless interest in the power and possibility of a single shape:  the diamond”.

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These diamond and sailboat paintings are ethereal, immediately transporting the viewer to the blue skies and sunshine of summer.  I loved how the unprimed canvases allowed the paint to seep into the cloth.  There is an underlying structure of softness that builds into a textural landscape of ocean waves by the commanding use of gel mediums.  The paintings are shimmery and soft while also entirely rhythmic.  Beautiful work!

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Also on view are portraits of friends and acquaintances in his world.  These are energetic gestural works.  A must see!

Hughto will do a gallery walk to discuss his work on June 14, 2018 at 6:30 pm.  It is free for Everson members, otherwise $8.00.

No Air/No Problemo in Oz

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Trina Turk dress, BCBGeneration sandals

There is no air-conditioning in school.  We take my #ootd pics early in the morning and by the end of the day I am sometimes somewhat of a hot and sticky mess.  I am grateful to have two fans mounted on the walls in my classroom and I have been drinking tons of iced coffee, water and a Gatorade every day.

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vintage necklace, BCBGMaxAzria sweater, top and skirt, BCBGeneration booties

No complaints though, as Syracuse, New York weather feels like Florida right now and we are on the verge of summer vacation!

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Cinq a Sept dress, BCBGeneration sandals
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Rachel Zoe dress, Calvin Klein booties

Here are my most recent outfits.  My Rachel Zoe dress needs the dry-cleaner stat, as Friday was a particularly muggy day.  It is currently a silk version of what my hair looked like later that day – that frazzled ’80s rock star effect that we all discarded with the invention of flat irons.  Seriously cringe worthy, lol.  I wore boots that day because I was sure it was going to rain mid-day, but that rain did not appear until I was driving home from work.  It lasted all of fifteen minutes leaving us with perfect outdoor festivals weather for the weekend  – Ozstravaganza in Chittenango and Taste of Syracuse downtown.

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Marc Jacobs sunglasses, BCBGMaxAzria sweater, pants and sandals, Bailey 44 top

 

The Beauty Within

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The year was 1996:  the bartenders at Empire Brewing Company on Walton Street in Armory Square/downtown Syracuse, New York used to slip me handfuls of coasters all the time.  I used them as collage material in my oil & collage paintings.  I’m not a beer (or any alcoholic beverage) drinker but still – I was a bit of a barfly back in the day.  I really love that place!

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Well, they opened a farm brewery on Route 13 in Cazenovia, New York a while back.  It is a magnificent venue in every way – you must make your pilgrimage if you haven’t done so already.  It is the power of Empire times infinity!  I was there this evening for Kara Daviau’s art reception.

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Delicious food and drink specials, of course, and – who knew? a spectacular basement tasting/barrel room with brick walls and the most splendid ambiance for an art exhibition.  Kara’s work is a perfect match for this space.

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Her new series is titled Keep Me Where the Light Is.  Kara is continuing her journey of discovering abandoned places and summoning them to life with music.  She captures the essences of the forgotten beauty while listening to specific tunes, adding sheet music as collage before tackling the canvases with vibrant acrylic hues.

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Her new mantra is expand.  She is voraciously seeking new places to show and sell her artwork, (which includes merchandise – magnets, notecards, T-shirts and other accessories – you can find these and more at Wildflowers Armory in Armory Square).

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As of very recently, her paintings have been accepted in juried exhibitions at galleries in New York City and in Connecticut and Maryland with the opportunity for solo exhibitions in all locations on the horizon.  I asked her if she would seek abandoned spaces in these areas to create new work that resonates with people who live there.  Not yet was her response.

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She is at a crossroads, both personally and professionally.  Her focus is on healing and with that a strong urge to self reflect via self-portraiture may be the next leg in her journey.  She’d added a mini self-portrait to the lower corner of one of these paintings then wiped it out, as if to say she wasn’t quite ready for that leap…yet.

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I trust that Kara will visualize the success she deserves with any step she takes on her path to get there.  She is a beautiful person both inside and out.  I love the trailblazing spirit that guides her choices – such an incredibly talented artist and a wonderful role model for both her own children and her students. ❤

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Kara Daviau’s art studio is located at the Delavan Center (Studio 249), 509 W. Fayette Street, Syracuse, New York.  For more information about this work and more, contact her at KLDAV@HOTMAIL.COM.

Politics As Art

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Strike a Pose

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Free People cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria dress, Marc Jacobs booties
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Trina Turk dress, Marc Jacobs boots
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Cinq a Sept top, Banana Republic pants, BCBGeneration sandals

I love fashion!  I have enlisted pinch hit photographers for my outfit of the day pictures when Katy is unavailable.  The result is a bunch of different poses.  I am going all out Zoolander silly with the wispy look away thing – so funny!

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BCBGMaxAzria wrap top, pants and sandals, Free People top
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BCBGMaxAzria blazer, Trina Turk dress, Marc Jacobs booties
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BCBGMaxAzria dress, BCBGeneration sandals
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BCBGMaxAzria top and belt, Trina Turk skirt, Nine West boots
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Michelle DaRin Jewelry bracelets, Lucky Brand top, Bloomingdales cashmere cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria skirt
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Cinq a Sept top, 7 For All Mankind jeans, BCBGeneration sandals
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BCBGMaxAzria tops, Trina Turk pants, BCBGeneration sandals