Archive for the Thoughts Category

TEDx at Lower Merion School District

You can’t spell yammer without “me.”

StorySlam at World Cafe Live

Here’s the story behind the art under people’s behinds.

Philadelphia Museum of Art & Slightly Beyond

Yesterday, I looked at things that people made and talked to people about making thing-makers. It made for a good day.

StorySlam at L’Etage

There are storybook weddings and there are StorySlam weddings.

Paper Mache Mask • 20″x16″ • Private Collection

Pictured above is my swan project, completed during a week-long collage course. Based on the creative seed-planting process of the Dadaists, four random bits of inspiration were drawn from a hat (assuming people wear plastic bags as hats). I pulled two bits of text (“HEARD ON THE STREET” and “YOUTH PROGRAM”), a photo of a set of dentures soaking in a glass of water and a weather map depicting high temperatures across the United States. Our task was to create a paper mache mask combining the happenstance elements.

The convergence of those seemingly unrelated elements pointed me towards the idea of urban youth frolicking in an illegally opened fire hydrant on a hot summer day. The resulting mask may serve as a modern day, ceremonial, waterdance headdress. In addition to the overt references, including wrench and fireplug silhouettes and text (IT’S GONNA BE A HOT ONE” and “”OPENING A FIRE HYDRANT IS A CRIME”), the mask covertly suggests the shape of the sun and tribal (African, South American and North American) aesthetic elements. (more…)

A Variety of Inspired Collages, Inspired by A Variety of Collagers

Now that I’m ankle-deep in another collage course, it’s time to tip my hat and hand.  A keen art historian may peek at my past collage work (pictured above) and detect the influence of Henri Matisse, Romare Bearden and Jean-Michel Basquiat. A keener art historian, living in the Baltimore area, would recognize the influence of contemporary artist, Matt Bovie.

I have been attracted to, and inspired by, Bovie’s work for many years for it’s strong iconography, bold palette, harmonic compositions and primitive sincerity. Although the work is modern, it seems to encapsulate a mythology spanning generations.

Bovie shows and sells his work in Baltimore but doesn’t exhibit or market his art online. Perhaps that relative digital reclusiveness adds to the allure. I am aware of his work only due to a chain of coincidental acquaintances. Although we’ve never met, I peer at his occasional art-related albums on Facebook and admire from afar.

If you’d like to learn more about the work of Matt Bovie, wander the streets of Baltimore and hope you run into him.

Selected Works by Matt Bovie

Ink on Paper • 5″x8″ • Private Collection

Today, I embarked upon a weeklong University of the Arts graduate class, focusing on image and text elements in collage. Part of the embarkation (it’s a word, look it up)  involves reflecting on why we chose to take the course and what we hope to gain. Reflection initiated:

Although I make things all year long, it’s nice to have a cluster of time specifically devoted to art production. The reason I chose this class, in particular, is threefold.

Last summer, I took a collage class with Dan Schank at the university. I very much enjoyed the course and was anxious to return to the paste well. I’ve also recently been focusing on writing morsels of nonsense as a contributor to WitStream via Twitter, so I thought this might be a nice opportunity to blend the two outlets. Finally, the course’s emphasis on book manipulation parallels a longtime interest and 2007 show titled Withdrawn.

When the scraps settle, I hope to produce a coherent collection of new pieces that pushes my work in new directions. As always, I want to enjoy making things and I want people to enjoy the things that I make. I also hope to talk/debate about art production, consumption and education with fellow art teachers. Finally, I hope to find some money on the ground.

StorySlam at Venetian Social Club

A firsthand account of secondhand artichokes, told at my sixth First Person Arts event.

Summer Solstice at the Kimmel Center

You never forget your first hickey, even especially if it was given to you by a hot tub.

Colleague and pal, Kevin Ginsberg, cut his StorySlam teeth as well. Thanks to former student, Hahri Shin, for capturing our moments in the sun.

StorySlam Dunk at L’Etage

Everyone has a story about going to the bathroom in a holiday gift bag. Mine scored me first honors and fan favorite at a recent First Person Arts’ StorySlam at L’Etage.

Sincerest thanks to those who laughed with/at me.