Ever since I moved to the Peninsula to be closer to work I have been missing my art community in Oakland. In my hunt for fellow artists and makers in my new area I came across The Shop at Flywheel Press in downtown San Mateo. The Shop operates as a store, workshop, venue for classes and place for artists to find community started and run by artists: Amber Seguine and Jenn Ludwig. Part of The Shop is a working letterpress studio- as a printmaker I was so excited to see printmaking going on in the space. I attended one of their First Friday openings a few months back. I was impressed by the turnout and the range of artwork and handmade crafts I saw on display. I left a few of my business cards on their announcement table after signing their mailing list and they reached out to me shortly afterwards to see if I wanted to participate in one of their community gallery shows. I was grateful and excited to hear from Jenn and Amber, and this month- May 2016 I will be participating in their First Friday show. I will be showing a few framed prints from my Wildfires series. Most of all I am excited to meet these creative ladies in person at our first planning meeting next weekend. The idea of finding community among artists in my new place of residence is very exciting. I will always feel a part of the Oakland art community because of the time I spent there and the inspiring artists and good friends I made while I lived and worked there. But I also want to be a part of the community where I live, and I think this is a step in that direction.
oWhen I told people I was going to "art camp" they were understandably confused; adults don't usually go to camp, they go to conferences. Art Camp was one part retreat, one part professional development and one part celebrate the kid inside you camp experience. It was organized by Oakland based artist and founder of Venison Magazine, Amber Imrie-Situnayake and hosted by Amber and the Los Angeles based artist Nazish Chunara. If you haven't heard of Venison Magazine- check it out immediately!
For its inaugural session, Camp Venison was located in Placerville, CA in an old church that was converted into a beautiful home. The best thing about this house were the two large meeting rooms that served as the locations for our workshops and critiques. There were 10 of us total and we had plenty of space- and real beds to sleep in.
The camp schedule included workshops led by fellow artists, critiques- called "venison labs", collaborative cooking, and explorer time, which was essentially free time with the option of breaking into smaller groups to explore the area.
I found the workshops to be really valuable, some highlights included a workshop by the incredibly knowledgeable Oklahoma based photographer Molly Thompson (all the photos on this post are hers) who through tips and hands on demos showed us how to best photograph our artworks using a smartphone. Another highlight was a workshop by the insta-famous Oklahoma based artist Tyler Thrasher who taught us the ins and outs of Instagram and how it is a great tool to not only to promote your art but to find other artists and build connections and community.
The Venison Labs were far different than any critique I had in school. They were essentially generative conversations about the artist's work or practice. All of the conversations were specific to the artist, but the discussion often touched on things we could all relate to- how do you talk about your work? how do you keep creating with the demands of full time work and family? what are your ultimate goals as an artist? what part of the creative process brings you joy? These labs were perhaps the most impactful part of the programing for me, they helped me reflect on my own practice and reaffirmed my current direction in my work.
Collaborative cooking was fun and a great way to get to know one another. The food was organized by day and the cooking team for each meal would simply find the ingredients for the meal they were cooking in the fridge and pantry and use the provided recipe to cook the meal for the group. Each team cooked 1 meal a day. It was fun to be creative with each other in the kitchen and to chat and laugh while we cooked. The food was healthy and delicious and always came out good.
The explorer time was super fun too-We visited a gorgeous reservoir (I jumped in the icy water of course), we hiked, and we also played hide and seek (which was way too scary- how the hell do kids play that game??)
Overall it was an incredible experience and one I highly recommend.
Photo credit: Molly Thompson http://www.mollythompsonvisuals.com/
I was so excited to do this show with Mary Anne Kluth and Shannon Taylor at Adobe Books. I am a longtime admirer of both Mary Anne's theme park collages based on romantic era landscape paintings and Shannon's luscious watercolors of beautiful women in fantasy worlds. The work came together really well and we decided to do one collaborative piece for the show on the three small windows on the front wall of the gallery. We printed detail shots of the clouds seen in each of our bodies of work and printed them large on backlit film and adhered them to the windows. This was one of those shows I didn't want to take down. It was great working with these ladies and the lovely staff and friends of Adobe Books- the whole experience was warm fuzzies from start to finish.
In December, 2015 one of my prints, Hill Fire, 2014 was selected to be part of “COMMEDIA: NEW PRINTS 2015/AUTUMN”, NOVEMBER 19, 2015 – JANUARY 16, 2016 at International Print Center in New York. I was really excited to be part of this show in particular because I've seen so much compelling art created around themes of Dante's Divine Comedy (from Dali to Sandow Birk) and thought my current work fit the theme in an interesting way. The stars aligned and it turned out my parents would be in NY in early December to celebrate my father's birthday so I decided to drop everything and go out to NYC for a weekend while the show was still up and see the show and celebrate with my parents. I'm so glad I did! The selection of work was thought provoking. From Evan Bellantone's rainbow - balanced between offset black fields to Nathan Catlin's Still Life of hanging birds it was a fantastic show.