Monday, April 25, 2011

Hurry up please it's time

Has it really been two weeks since my last post? Better than any words I can offer here, this goes to show how busy life has been lately. As of this writing, I am slowly but surely pulling together the work I intend to display on Somerville Open Studios weekend, which is a mere 5 days away!  

First some catching up. As Brian documented in his last post,  a week ago we both attended the opening reception for the Artists’ Choice preview exhibit at the Somerville Museum. It was a lovely event and such a pleasure to see so much good work by local artists gathered in one place. I am happy with the piece I contributed, “Fantastic,” and even happier to see an entire section dedicated to black and white photography! In tribute, all the photos in this post will be black and white, even if they didn’t start out that way!

This week I dropped off my Holga photograph “Eye of the Storm” at the Nave Gallery, a wonderful space in the Clarendon Hill  Presbyterian Church. As this show, called Plastic + Film: An Exhibition of Toy Camera Photography, will be opening during the big weekend, I will probably not be able to see it in its final form until next month when they hold the official reception for the artists. Stay tuned for a report on this happening!

The official figures are in: 391 Somerville artists will be opening the doors of their studios on April 30th and May 1st, making it not only the largest event of its kind in the state, but in the nation. My building, Vernon Street Studios, will represent at least a quarter of that amount.   For anyone in the area, please do stop by. I am in studio 21 at 6 Vernon Street .

This is what my studio looked like a week ago. Here is what it looks like today

In the foreground you can see the box of brochures from the professional printing company Brian and I used in order to save me the aggravation of printing them myself. We are both very pleased with the end result, and would recommend Fleming to anyone in the area in need of printing services that are quick, friendly, efficient and reasonable in cost!

With sincere apologies for such a brief post, I’m afraid I have to get back to work framing and hanging my photos and cleaning and arranging my space. I’ll be back next week with a full report on the event. I do hope I can offer some images of a room full of visitors, and pictures of my wall with empty spaces due to sales!  Meantime, thank you to all my faithful followers whose loyalty has been tested of late with my inattention to their wonderful blogs. I wish you all the best, and will soon have nothing but time to visit you and leave comments.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Production Notes

Cease Fire

Thanks to my ongoing uneasy relationship with technology, I find myself with some unplanned free time for blogging this week. No sooner had I written last week’s optimistic post than my confidence was once again shaken by my inability to get the tools of my trade to work properly for me. I spent two grim days in a battle to the death with my photo printer, who was favored to win until a simple correction of settings (simple only if you know they exist, where to find them and how to re-set them) saved me from certain defeat. During the course of this epic struggle, I successfully uninstalled and reinstalled programs on my laptop and purchased support software and devices to guarantee that I would never again require 48 hours, a river of tears and an ocean of wine to finally hold in my hand a physical print of one of my images, suitable for framing.

How Not to Deal with Mercury Retrograde

For those of you who know astrology, I suppose it serves me right for attempting anything electronic during a Mercury Retrograde phase!  For those of you unfamiliar with or unbelieving in the miscommunications, foiled travel plans and machine malfunctions allegedly typical to this phase, let me just add that I was all set to continue printing today now that I’ve figured out how to do it with a minimum of stress and fuss, and in the last inches of a large print, the ink cartridge ran out! Thankfully, its replacement is already ordered and on the way, I am still more or less on schedule for this week’s tasks, and there is a bright side in that it does give me an opportunity to bring you all up to date on what’s been going on!

Last weekend in the triumphal march following the end of the Great Epson vs Mirollo War, I dropped off my contribution to the Artist’s Choice show at the Somerville Museum, a beautiful framed print I was proud to inscribe with my name and confident could stand up to any other works that might hang alongside it. While there I picked up copies of the postcard and map booklet produced especially for the event. It was a real thrill to see my name listed in the section for Vernon Street (you may recognize another name in the next column!) and also to know that during the big weekend, between the museum show and the Nave Gallery, I will have pieces of work displayed in two of the three featured group exhibitions! 

 My New Brochure

Aside from printing photos for my studio display, which will include at least 17 framed prints, I’ve been creating some brochures for both Brian and myself, to give our visitors something a little more informative and substantial than a postcard or business card to take away with them and remember us by. Open Studios will include almost 400 artists in various locations, 100 of them in our building at Vernon Street, so it’s important to be memorable and stand out!

 Brian's Brochure
At first it seemed easier to design and print them myself, but I soon learned that double sided printing with a printer that is still sulking because it couldn’t break me, and has always enjoyed misfeeding paper in every way possible, can be an arduous task, so I may have to take the template to a print shop and get a full run done professionally to save time and aggravation. It took over an hour to produce ten brochures, but all in all, I’m pleased with the results! 

Prints In Progress

As of this writing I still have 6 more large prints to do, and various support materials like labels, signage and price lists. Next week I’ll be concentrating on framing, which sounds easy but has already presented some issues of its own, the details of which I’ll spare you. In general, everything I thought I had plenty of time to do is taking much more time than I anticipated and I will likely be working up to the last minute, at which point, whatever is ready is ready and whatever isn’t will not be on display. 

 Frames Courtesy of Dick Blick

In the final week, I will need to tidy up, rearrange and transform my studio into an inviting exhibition space that will make people want to stay longer than it takes to find the free wine and the exit, even when there are so many other studios competing for limited attention.   My work is small – 8 x 10 inch prints in 11 x 14 frames – and subtle – black and white photography does not have the same wow factor as a large colorful painting or imposing sculpture calling to you from across a room. My work has no controversial sociopolitical message, revolutionary aesthetic agenda or content for which parental discretion might be advised. I am hoping that once people are drawn into the space and begin to look at what I have to offer, they will want to linger and ponder, perhaps even be grateful for my little sanctuary of simplicity after being overstimulated by such a variety and surfeit of outrageous styles and media.  

The Big Event

 I’ll be back soon with more news and images as things come together. Many thanks for visiting!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Old and New

oppressed by paperwork

As I write this it's a rainy spring day with mild temperatures and also what would have been my grandmother's 117th birthday had she managed to live past 91. It's not surprising that I am pondering themes of old and new and how one gives way to another and nothing is ever really gone, simply waiting its time and manner of return. But alas, as the big Open Studios Weekend fast approaches, I find myself oppressed by paperwork, folders full of lists of details, and piles of supplies that need attention, so this will be very far indeed from a long well-crafted and well-considered post. And I apologize ahead of time if in the weeks ahead I stop visiting your blogs with my customary regularity and length of commentary!

 new look courtesy of an old eye

I’ve been so distracted lately I didn't even notice that the battery in my digital camera had died. I had to resort to taking photos yesterday in the studio with the small camera embedded in the lid of my laptop, an old friend I've been neglecting, but one that first introduced me a few years ago to the technology that allows self-conscious subjects such as myself to take self-portraits in privacy and with the benefit of a delete button near at hand.  As self-portraits will be a new interest of mine, this seemed an appropriate circling back to what now seems like the first uncertain beginnings of this initiative. This photo was meant to show off the new business card I designed to better reflect my  identity and activities as a photographer. I’m also in the process of creating a more elaborate and informative brochure for targeted mailings and to offer in my studio. I’ll be spending a lot of time in studio these next four weeks, printing up selected images for matting and framing and setting up my space to function as close to a small gallery with a solo show as possible.

 in miniature

This is a little sample of how I work and why I am drowning in paper. When conceiving of interior design such as a room arrangement or wall hangings, I need to see things spread out physically in front of me, not only as a break from the computer screen but because it's the only way I can project to the final appearance. I have decided for SOS to keep it simple, no more than fifteen images in 11 x 14 frames hanging on the wall in thematically or visually connected groupings, no smaller mounts on display or for sale, no notecards, no alpaca products, as I might do for a market. I am taking the pressure off myself to think of this weekend as an opportunity to make sales. I just want to have my work seen, make some good contacts and get used to seeing my work on a wall in a public place!

 Eye of the Storm

Speaking of galleries, in other news, it looks like, in addition to one of my photos, which I will identify as soon as I am certain of my final choice, appearing in the Artists Choice exhibit at the Somerville Museum mentioned before in this space, I will also have a piece (see image above) hanging at the Nave Gallery in a show featuring photographs taken with toy cameras. It does feel as if some great cosmic wheel has come unstuck. In a very short period I will have two works on display in gallery spaces, and a whole wall full of the results of my best efforts these past months being enjoyed by the hundreds of people we expect to be passing through the building during SOS weekend. For updated information on all my activities, please see the new NEWS tab at the top of this page. In honor of the season of renewal I’ve done some clearing and cleaning up of my blog and, not to belabor the metaphor, planted some new seeds in the way of stand-alone pages you can find by clicking on the tabs below my header. In optimistic anticipation of new people being directed to my blog address, and for lack of a website of my own, I want this space to contain in an easily and always accessible form any information the curious might be seeking, from my background to my current works to my upcoming activities, above and beyond what I happen to be concerned about in my weekly blog posting on the front page. Please take some time to check out these new pages. I especially hope to update the NEWS section whenever I have something professionally newsworthy to share, which I hope will be often!

 keeping an eye on you!

In the image above, I was attempting to take a fun picture making use of a roll of linen tape, which will become my best friend in the weeks ahead as I focus on mounting my photographs. I discarded the one in which I am being hanged by the neck, complete with protruding tongue. It could be the number nine, which has no particular significance, or the letter g, which has a little more, or one of those commas used to convey a winking eye. Many thanks to all of you for following me, and rest assured, even if I don't comment on your blogs, I'm keeping at least one eye on you!