Saturday, March 19, 2011

Adult Play Dates

Home with all the boys tonight. Tess is at a sleepover, so it is I with the Husband, two sons, male dog and male hamster we are sitting. I am sitting here writing a blog and reading other blogger’s posts while the boys are sleeping. Exciting night! Had a great time at a friend’s house this evening for after dinner drinks. Spent the day with Jonathan, so adult conversation was nice. And we didn’t talk about politics too much (which is an accomplishment in Wisconsin right now!).
The boys stayed home while we were gone. I just want to say that this new phase in our life is getting to be enjoyable. Our oldest is starting to be a responsible babysitter. He is actually concerned in the well being of the youngest. He has been babysitting for quite sometime now, but as of late he actually makes sure that the youngest is looked after.
So as parents, to be able to take off to friends for social time without worrying about a sitter, or entertaining your own children at someone else’s house or worrying if everything at home is ok is freeing. Is this a new stage, that parents get the play dates now that the children’s are over? I think I am beginning to like this phase! It is almost as uplifting as when our youngest kid wasn't using diapers anymore. Anticipating the next phase when I figure out what that is.

side note: I feel asleep writing it late last night and just posting it the following morning.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gesture: New Definition

In conversations recently I have noticed the word gesture can mean a multitude of things when talking about expression in Art. Traditionally from an Art Historical stand point; I remember the pose of a figure referenced as a gesture. Are they lying down, sitting up stiff, are the legs crossed and to the side? All these could be stated as a gesture of the pose. The Greeks used a classic pose called the Contrapposto. Commonly used in sculpture the weight of the body would be mainly on one leg so the body would be off axis. This was achieved either in the standing or lying poses.
A quick sixty-second drawing is called a gesture drawing or pose. Commonly used to “warm” up the artist before engaging in drawing, it can be quite useful. The drawings themselves can be evocative of emotion in the confident stokes. The artist is more concerned with capturing the expression of the body or face in a minimalist manner. Other times in recent conversation I have heard artists use the word gesture as stating the piece was executed in a gestural manner. Meaning that the painting was done in a painterly style with the brush strokes visible, and not necessarily recreating the object/figure but expressing them with a quick motion. Concerned more with the ambience created with the paint rather than referencing something tangible.
What this all is leading up to is my confusion with the latest use of the word that I have heard in conversations lately. It could just be my ignorance in the interpretation. But I have heard people refer to a mark or a reference to an unrecognizable object as a “gesture”. Recently I overheard someone asking an artist if an illusion to an object was something in particular, and the artist said “No, it is just a gesture”. Understandably considering the “Webster” definition of a gesture, I can see where painting something to reference nothing in particular but just a feeling makes sense. I can plead ignorance, I have not heard of the term used that way until recently. In retrospect of writing this I can see how it makes sense that the artist wants to “express an idea or meaning” with a mark or reference to something intangible.

Websters definition:
gesture |ˈjes ch ər|
a movement of part of the body, esp. a hand or the head, to express an idea or meaning : Alex made a gesture of apology | so much is conveyed by gesture.
• an action performed to convey one's feelings or intentions : Maggie was touched by the kind gesture.
• an action performed for show in the knowledge that it will have no effect : I hope the amendment will not be just a gesture.
verb [ intrans. ]
make a gesture : she gestured meaningfully with the pistol.
• [ trans. ] express (something) with a gesture or gestures : he gestured his dissent at this.
• [ trans. or infinitive ] direct or invite (someone) to move somewhere specified : he gestured her to a chair.

Internet and the Art World: Do we have to?

I went to the Graduate/BFA student mentoring presentation last semester and after the Graduate student presented very useful information on the options we as artist have for presenting our work electronically, someone asked why we as artists should have to do this. The student made a valid point and I pondered if an artist is missing out on something if they are not online. The artist not using the Internet certainly does not get the emails requesting that their work be sent to another country in an email scam. But they do miss out on “Viral” spreading of their work. Is the art world becoming an online gallery?
I do not think that the physical gallery will ever go away. There is too much to miss in seeing a piece of work to scale, whether that is small or large. And what would be missed if we did not see the paint strokes, texture and viscosity of a piece of work. Would it lose it human condition? I think that they become sterile and voiceless if you are not able to walk around or toward for closer examination of a piece. Yes, a larger audience within the online gallery world can see the artist. Thousands of people can see the art that would not have seen it originally. Someone in Timbuktu can post a gallery and another person in Siberia can view it and someone in Normal, Ohio may inquire to purchase it. This has made our world much smaller in that it is contained on your lap or in the palm of your hand.
The spread of viral items on the internet, where news of Michael Jackson’s death spread faster than a traditional news station could report it, should help spread the arts to corners of the world who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get it. I believe that this has helped the fact that almost all genres are now viable. We are no longer a world where there is one way to represent your voice. Every genre right now has a market and is considered valid. You can find classical renaissance, abstract, impressionistic to the graffiti artist all current and available online. When I have asked artists if they are online, I have yet to hear one say that they will not be going online, just that it is in the process if not already so. So yes, I think an artist is missing out on something if they are not online and eventually we will all be. But the physical gallery will always exist until we can make holograms to put in your living so you may walk around, walk closer to and see the physical hand.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Grown Up Field Trip


Website: The How To Tool For The Upcoming Event

April of 2012 Madison area artists are inviting the public to a studio field trip. Madison Area Open Art Studio event is an educational opportunity in that the artist will be revealing how they make their art in addition to selling it. The new website is your guide on the tour. On April 6th and 7th one hundred local artists will open their studios from 11-5 both days. The website has all the information needed from an interactive map, an artist directory and dates and times of the event. The event is free and a member of buy local Dane.

The website has a directory of all the one hundred participating artists with their contact information, address of their studio space, medium they work in, an artist statement and an image of their work. New this year is some artists have attached blogs to their information. An interactive map is also on the website if you want to only tour a particular area. A search option is available to search by artist name, medium and town or city.

This is more than an average Art Fair. In addition to supporting buy local Dane, the public is able to see, hear and talk to the artist about their process. The Open Art Studio event has always been an educational opportunity. But now it has even more relevance in supporting our local economy. Judi Werner has been a participating artist for eight years and says “People that come are able to buy items to decorate their home that have a story, more than you can get from big box store item”.

Madison Area Open Art Studio’s was started 8 years ago by 40 artists to provide the public an educational experience beyond the gallery or art fair. Since then the tour has had up to 150 participating artists a year and a rotating total of approximately 400 artists. Open Art Studios is now a member of Buy Local Dane. The new website contains directory of current participating artists, images, interactive maps and event information.


If you would like more information or to schedule an interview with a participating artist, please contact Kelly Daniels (press and promotions board member) at or call 608-258-2437.

Brain Burp!

My perception was I was doing well in class, until I had a brain burp! For some reason I completely missed seeing this assignment! Bummer. Otherwise, I have put a conscious effort into more concise, less wordy writing. I still need to work on the too wordy and proofreading out loud. So far this class has taught me about the inverted pyramid, twitter, and my new joy: blogging.
The inverted pyramid style of writing is the most important lesson so far. It is writing by putting the most important information first and details after. Twitter is fun playing with “6 word novels”. But I think acronyms and hieroglyphs are common and I know squat about how to use them.
Blogging is my new found love. I will use it in my art business. A few artists I know use a blog as their website for their art as well as creating a fan base. The sites I have visited will post a blog message about where they feel they are at in their creative process and research. Some even include a visual image that they created that day. Others just list their CV, artist statement and a section for their visual creations. These blogs are ahead of where I am currently ready to go.
To be more successful in new media writing I feel I need more criticism or exercises in writing. Writing is not a strength of mine; my creative outlet is visual mediums. Although I am in the process of literary evolution, I just need more constructive steering. My creative ideas are large grandiose monsters and I have to reign myself into reality frequently. I was doing it again for this writing class. My website in my head is all created by me, but that would take too long with my skill level. So I reigned myself in again and am just going to use a template already out there for now.
As for suggestions for the class on creative fun ideas, I have none. My use of new media is to inform our departments’ students, friends and staff of art events in the area. So I search state, educational and email list serves for announcements. I do Google searches for everything else. My favorite resource for artist images is UW Madison’s art history site. I find great images for inspiration and discussions there. Other than that I am tapped.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Un-tapped Frontier (New Media assignment)

In the video “Brown Is the New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream” the great American Marketing machine is portrayed as needing to realize that the “Latino” demographic is becoming a huge untapped market and it needs to be included. A campaign to attract that market does not have to be in Spanish or Spanglish, it just has to be something that that demographic can relate to. As in the words of George Lopez, just put us in your advertisement don’t make a Spanish one just for us, just include us in your regular campaign.

America’s demographics have been changing since 1492. After the Portuguese and Spanish, came the British, came the Irish, Polish, Russian, and Chinese. Our culture changed a little with each new addition to the melting pot. Now the “Latino/Hispanic” (as labeled by the US Government and targeted by the Marketing machine) segment is growing at a rapid rate and influencing our current culture. The market that has been avoided by the marketing machine is projected to reach over 1 trillion by 2011 and 1 in 6 Americans will be of Latino descent. That is now.

The teen population doesn’t speak Spanish, for the Spanish television station this presents a dilemma. The demographic itself is undergoing a generational change. Even the Sltv (Spanish programming station) now offers different stations broadcast in English, Spanish and Spanglish. So to put out a campaign in three different languages is unnecessary. Just make it relate to them either by including Latino characters or something that relates to their culture.

In relation to my media campaign, I can relate it to them by including either an artist and/or the public onlookers can be of Latino descent. Even a piece of art that relates to their culture can be featured. Relating it to the Latino demographic will not be hard at all, and some research to find an artist already in past participants of over 500 should be easy. Enjoyment of art is cross-cultural. Patrons that go to view art do not care which culture it came from as long as it speaks to them. So including multicultural art is beneficial for everyone.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Non-profit New Media assignment

The virtual non-profit that I am proposing is similar to one currently in existence but with twists. It will be called Working Art Studio Tours. Instead of an “art fair” tour genre, it will be promoted as a working studio tour. I am proposing using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs for my media tools.

The Facebook site will have links to artist websites, links to blogs, images of studios and artwork and include periodic information of dates of the tour, member artist gallery events, and other art related community events.

The Twitter will also inform of dates of the tour, links to blogs, member artist gallery events and other art related community events.

The YouTube will include narrated brief videos of the artists at work in their studios as a teaser for what the public will see when they tour the studios. Or the consumer may view it after the tour to select art that they have thoughts of purchasing.

We will have a main blog tab on the website with artists submitting blogs on their wide range of issues, thoughts and topics of interest to them and their work. Each artist will have a brief biography of themselves and description of their work or the thought process that goes into a piece. Being that this is a visual community the emphasis will be on the written blog but they may contribute a few images to each blog.

Each artist will need to contribute a small amount for some print publishing that needs to be done with a directory and map. But some of this expense can be countered with community grants.

The desire for this non-profit is that the visitor will see the artist in their environment. See the art in different phases of creation. Yes, the artist may sell artwork to visitors to their studio, but this is to be presented as a working studio tour and not an “Art Fair”. I see this as an educational opportunity for the public to see how much time, toil and talent an individual artists puts into a handcrafted piece of local artwork. A hopeful bonus is that the public will appreciate the pricing and value of handmade local artwork. This is not a traditional Art fair; this is a school field trip for the general public.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Writing New Media Assignment, Library tour review

The Madison College library system online website has a plethora of information available on social media. There are library guides on Art, Law, Marketing, New Media and many more. Each of those library guides has tabs for links, videos and other resources for you to use. If you can find their library guides. Their sites were confusing and I felt like I was in a labyrinth looking for the Holy Grail. I am trying to return to their site right now to find their great resources on computers, social media options, but I am lost in the maze again.

After I found them I started with the New Media tab and am bombarded with great useful information. The basic definition of what is New Media, the devices to use, and the software and programs that a person would need to use is divided up in organized file tabs. Our presenter in our tour of the Libraries Social Media offerings barely touched on the resources available. He barely touched on the subject of Facebook and all that it can do, let alone going into twitter, blogging, and YouTube. It was a shame that he did not touch on the items that I had found just by surfing their site. It deserved a better tour.

What he did touch on was how we should write in consideration of New Media, check our facts ( or and to remember to give credit where it is due especially with photographs. He also covered how to do an advanced search in Google. We were also informed of the help available if we want to do open source recording, and there are laptops available for students to check out for projects. Dana Boyd’s blog and publication on social media was a recommendation for us to follow.

In consideration of the libraries presentation of their information I think they are due for just some easier navigation design. If they just had a button for their Library guides, resources, etc., it would be easier to locate the treasure trove. All of this could be solved by a web designer, not just someone who knows how to build a website. Sometimes I think it is forgotten that a designer knows more how to make it look good and easier to read/navigate. But for all they have on their website that was the only thing I would change.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Writing New Media Assignment, Website Review

I look at Huffington Post everyday for my news now, rather than a watching local TV news station or their website. Their website is using twitter, blogs and facebook. But I just mainly use their website. I recently subscribed to one of their contributors through Google reader and was overwhelmed by the number of posts. So I deleted that person from my Google reader. That was not as effective as their website and scrolling through headline teasers and selecting what I want to read. But the empty space is usually filled with links or adds making it quite busy.
As a recent graduate from UW Madison’s art department I am highly familiar with their website ( and the tools they use. I know they use an email delivery/ template provider for their newsletter, but their website just has a link for their face book fan page. The language on their page can be hard, but they are artists and have a tendency to be long winded.
Being an artist participant and a board member of this non-profit, I work with the website on a regular basis. This one is need of more work (just from insider knowledge). If you look for the participating artists, there is not contact information (which was available in previous editions). We also do not have a link to our facebook fan page or our email newsletters. Being a volunteer organization it takes a little longer to correct known issues.
The last website that I have reviewed was of I like the easily visible buttons that take you to different pages for more information and they appear to just have a link to blogs underneath all of their “news” snippets of praises and awards. They are a business that creates enhancements for Adobe products and it would help if they had a twitter account to inform customers of new products or additional “did you knows”. But what I prefer about this website is the crisp clean design, not too littered or overpowered as the Huffington post site. The language is brief and to the point. If you want more information it is easy to get to. It has the information needed or contact is easy, verses the MAOAS site where the information needed is not there. Overall I think the rogue sheep site takes the prize.