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Archive for July, 2008

So I finally have begun making new art work, that actually feels like art. I have been taking the class at MIAD all week and have finished two video works this week. They are posted here . Hopefully, you can view them. I’m pretty psyched about the results. We had specific directions as to what we could and couldn’t do. Considering I knew nothing at the start of the week this is pretty cool. Let me know what you think.


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I’m excited and nervous about next week.  I am attending the Creative Educator Institute (CEI) workshops at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) http://www.miad.edu/.  Why I’m nervous I don’t know.  It is the old demons in my head:  “will I measure up to those in the class?” “am I good enough?” etc.  I am hoping it cures the artist block that I’ve been suffering from this summer.  Work in a new medium can sometimes do this.  That’s what I’m hoping for.  The course will feature a lot of new technology that I am hoping will help build my skills and give me the confidence to move in this direction with my artwork.  I love film and photography, so video seems a natural.  The professor teaching the course is James Barany, http://www.youtube.com/user/jamusbaranus whose work I greatly admire.  I hope to learn how to create the multi-layered effects that he uses in his video work.  The Artist Statement Project and My Most Important Self Portrait project http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=C21A7AACC3F0CCAB
 
I took a weekend workshop class with him and loved it.  I will also be learning animation techniques I believe, which will be pretty cool.  I hope to begin doing some of this with my own students.  The Mac computers and IMovie make it so easy to do this.  I am looking to increase my knowledge in this area.  I think video will be the art medium of the 21st century.  If you know of any amazing sites that I should see to increase my knowledge I’d love to hear about them.  I know about You Tube, but I’m looking for artistic video, not just the homemade quality.  I would like see more artists such as Ann Hamilton, whose work with both video, film and photography is incredible.  http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/hamilton/index.html .  Check it out here:http://www.annhamiltonstudio.com/  Her piece called “Ghost” is especially intriguing to me.  The process of what she did using fabric and stitching and then having the environment she set up are all fascinating.  I also greatly admire her pinhole photographs done with the her mouth camera.  Very poignant and revealing of the relationship between artist and subject.  I always think I am hiding behind my camera, but this project puts her right in the subjects face. BRAVE WORK!

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It seems lately I’ve noticed a trend on my part.  I am getting increasingly frustrated with myself for not making any new artwork this summer.  Summer is usually my creative time, being a teacher I am finally free and able to do what I want, although this summer I am teaching summer school.  I’ve done a few photos, but nothing really all that serious.  It seems I’m doing very well with looking at books and websites and blogs of other creative types and spending all of my free time doing just this…LOOKING.  Is this artistic laziness? 

I can rationalize that I am “filling my cup”, getting ideas and inspiration, but the reality is I am avoiding making my own art.  I know that sometimes you need to stop and take a break and do your research and get inspired, but lately this is ridiculous.  I also make excuses like, well I am knitting and making a sweater and learning that, but it is not the same as making art.  I am also working in the garden a lot and I can somehow rationalize and see this as creative too.  It is, but again it still doesn’t mean that there is new artwork flowing from my brush, scissors, printer or whatever.  I have ideas… creative fantasies almost of what I want to do.  So as Nike says:  Just do it!!! 

I think I need to just disappear for awhile and make something.  Maybe a collage or a little sketch.  Maybe I should just doodle in the little moleskine book in my purse.  That would be better than nothing.  Today when I get home from work I will disappear into the studio.  I actually have one!!! Even though the floods made half of it disappear and get messed up.  That’s also been my excuse.  Everything is disorganized in the studio.  Ok I’m back to this post and I did go into the studio and I seriously couldn’t find anything because it is all over the basement after the flood.  I spent 5 hours sorting and cleaning and organizing instead of making art!  I am really sick of this!!! I want to create.  So why don’t I do it right now?  Anyone else feel this ever?  It’s the delicious pause of procrastination, the wonderful fantasy of all the unmade art that I could produce.  It is so much better before I’ve made it isn’t it?  

So what have I been doing instead of art?  Some of the stuff that I have been looking at includes of course my flickr.com page.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/bellafiore/  
 I also have been reading: Spilling Open by:Sabrina Ward Harrison  http://www.sabrinawardharrison.com/ee/index.php/sabstudio/collect/ and also looking at the site of SARK, the creative writer/artist who did so many fun books.  http://www.planetsark.com/ .  Check these out yourself especially if you’re in an art making rut.  Maybe just maybe you’ll get out.  I hope I do!

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 The article by Damien Cave in the Arts section of today’s New York Times describes an updated take on Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedom’s series of art at Aventura Mall in South Florida.  The show was put together from the Wolfsonian museum at Florida International University exhibit titled “Thoughts on Democracy,”The slide show especially features more images of works that clearly demonstrate the anxiety and fear that many Americans feel these days with the failing economy.  The way we are viewed in the world has also changed from the time that Rockwell created his series.  At that time around World War II our country was seen as the heros.  After trips to Europe and chats with friends it is clear that much of the world doesn’t see us that way at all.  I enjoy art that challenges and makes one think.  Some of the images are a bit melodramatic, but overall I can’t help but think that Norman Rockwell might have really taken this sort of approach if he were living in the current climate of war  and terrorism and failing economy.  So much of what used to be considered heroic is no longer the way it is.  It is a thought provoking article and exhibition.  http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/07/08/arts/20080709_ROCK_SLIDESHOW_index.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

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On the Pier




On the Pier

Originally uploaded by bellafiore

This was a scene I grew up with. I really miss going to the cottage. This is the time of year that we would usually escape. It was a place that was rustic and filled with simple charm. If the weather was good we spent our days and nights swimming in the lake, which had crystal clear water and golden sand bottom. You could walk out to about 5 feet deep before it got mucky. We also spent a lot of time fishing and walking in the woods. As kids we learned to pick wild berries and marked the progress of the summer by what was ripe on the roadside. Blueberries came first, with raspberries to follow then blackberries around the time of my August birthday. If we were lucky enough to come back in the early fall we’d get to pick pin cherries and choke cherries and once we even found a gooseberry bush in the woods. Of course the highlight of all these berries were the jams and pies that my grandma would make with all of them. We passed the time later in evening playing 500 rummy and listening to the Brewer game on the fuzzy radio that barely came in. This was of course in between running down to the pier until midnight fishing for the big ones that came in late at night. Some nights we’d see the northern lights streaking across the sky. We als often had a fire going and marshmallows and s’mores. It was a great way to grow up. Wish I could got there again!

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Remembering Italy a lot today. Here is one of the countryside views that we enjoyed while traveling through Umbria and Tuscany. This was a field of wheat with distant views of green field and vineyards.  I believe we were driving from the small village of Corciano to Lago Trasimeno.  Along the way we encountered many things including almost being hit by a large truck.  The ride itself was thrilling.  At one point we visited an ancient ruin along the side of the road.  It said private and that we shouldn’t enter, but it was hard to resist and there was nobody around that is of course until we all disembarked from the 2 vans we were riding around in.  We shot as many photos as we could and then sped away as someone started to head towards us from the hill above.  We had lunch in a roadside place where you really did have to speak Italian to converse and order.  Luckily 3 weeks of total language immersion had given me enough language to be able to order.  The seafood salad was filled with huge pieces of fish, calamari and mussels.  It was all served in a sort of marinade.  Delicious.  It was a grand day, just one of many we had.  

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The Pitti Filati opens in Florence this week.  It is a world preview of 2009-2010 fall/winter collections of yarns for the knitting industry and is an event produced by Pitti Immagine and promoted by the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana.  It is something I dream of attending.  It features imaginative yarn and knitting ideas, with the theme of the sea being used.  There are wildly inventive octopi and fish hanging as part of the exhibit.  It must be magical.  

Three years ago at this time I was actually in Florence visiting the city for the first time.  It was hot and crowded, but after four days the city’s charms worked their magic and I fell in love.  The artisans are what captured me as I explored yarn shops, frame carvers, engravers using plates from the 1500s, sculptors and painters and so much more.  The neighborhood around the Pitti Palace was my favorite with many artists working in their studios with their doors open so you could wander in.  One gentleman was creating hand colored engravings from plates that dated from the renaissance, another had exquisite papier mache masks that he created and hand painted.  These were most beautiful, especially the Pinocchio mask and marionette, a common theme in Italy.  I can only imagine the color and texture and luxury of exploring the creative entries from the Pitti Filati.  Perhaps someday I will see the real thing, but for now I will have to visit the virtual site:

 http://www.pittimmagine.com/en/homef.php

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