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Paul Shampine Art Blog


Partially inspired by this blog and the direction it has taken, I__™ve decided to team up with a great friend, art lover and PR Guru, Kaitlyn Siner to create a consortium of experienced art professionals and local business leaders to support ___emerging___ visual artists, collectively forming The Arts PR Group.

We define emerging artists as ___any individual, regardless of age or occupation who is fully committed to their craft. Emerging may apply to artists in the early, mid, and late stages of their career, with some evidence of professional achievement.___

We are energized and inspired daily as we organize this privately funded (no federal or state assistance) nonprofit start-up to include a permanent flagship gallery site in Boston, a formal mentorship program (Shadow Program) with grant and fellowship opportunities among many new and unique initiatives for this important and critical collective of artists.

Kaitlyn and I have the passion, drive and the entrepreneurial prowess to commence our vision,but we need to continue to adopt and consult with key industry leaders to refine our objectives as we charge our mission forward. Your thoughts and ideas are welcomed.

Celebrating all visual artists, the interviews continue...

----------------------------------------------- Mara Safransky, Los Angeles, CA

When did you first discover your creative talents?

From a very early age I was encouraged to draw and paint. My parents placed a lot of importance on the creative process and always emphasized me finding a means through which to express myself. I was home-schooled with my sisters and our days were structured around reading, dancing, music, and art. Explaining it now, it sounds so bohemian and renegade, and I guess in a lot of ways it was. Still, I feel very lucky looking back, because no matter how much I yearned to have a "normal" life like other children, I discovered my love of art because of the environment I was raised in. To this day, drawing and painting give me a purpose and an outlet. Most days in my studio, I feel like my real work as an artist is getting back to that time in my childhood when my approach to my work was totally unselfconscious and as much about the process of creating as it is about the finished piece.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.

My first piece was sold in 2000 through a small start-up gallery in Los Angeles. I was part of a group show and the buyer was visiting from Germany. Because the gallery owner made the sale, I never had contact with the collector. The sale made me feel grownup and legitimate as an artist because it meant someone bought my piece, not because they liked me, not because they knew me, but because the work spoke to them. Ironically, the experience ended up being memorable in more ways than one. Soon after the sale, the gallery went belly-up and I was never paid for the piece. It was a good lesson in the fact that art is a business, so having good contracts and being careful who you work with matters.

Who are your favorite artists?

While it may not be especially vogue to say, I derive the bulk of my inspiration from the painting that was happening in this country in the 1950's and 60's. So, to name a few of my heroes: Helen Frakenthaler, Hans Hoffman, Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock.

Artist: Mara Safransky Title: You Don't Know What You Don't Know or Why You Know What You Know Medium: Acrylic on canvas, 48×36 inches Website: http: http://www.marasafransky.com ~~~ Batya F. Kuncman, NYC

When did you first discover your creative talents?

It was a natural thing to express through the arts ever since I can remember and it included stories, art and music. I used to draw on anything I could get my hands on, small drawings in hidden spots at home, chalk on the sidewalks, illustrate my desk in school and on the blackboard before the teacher came in.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.

The first piece I sold was a drawing of a very long necked woman. I was a junior art counselor in a summer camp and on visiting day this couple saw it and asked me if they can have it. I said ok and they gave me a tip, but I was shocked at the amount.

Who are your favorite artists?

Too many to name all, these come to mind first: Caravaggio, Goya, Magritte,Vermeer, Ingres, Edward Hopper,Caspar David Friedrich, Henry Darger,Michal Heiman, Peter Doig, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.

Artist: Batya F. Kuncman Title: We Virtually Held Up the Sky, Made the Wind Move Medium: Oil on canvas 20×24 inches Website: http://www.batya.ws ~~~ Vesna Jovanovic, Chicago, IL When did you first discover your creative talents?

I guess I should first address the idea of talent, and how I perceive it. The concept of ___talent___ has always been a problematic one for me with regard to art. In fact, I recently listened to a fantastic podcast episode that addresses this idea from various angles (it was a past episode of WNUR__™s Radiolab). I think that some artists may be more or less talented in their craft (by that I mean how accurately they can execute something that they might envision or pursue), but that doesn__™t say anything about their art, only their craft. On the other hand, I think that humans, by nature, all feel the need to create art. In other words, I don__™t think that the word talent applies to art so much as to craft, or skill. Art is something that we all informally engage in: from how we move to how we interact with one another, cook our food, wear our clothes, etc. Art is something that we all experience and share with others all the time, and to judge it or evaluate it seems inappropriate to me. I never sought to evaluate my abilities before embarking on a specific project, but I do make a point of always working on and improving my crafting skills. I__™ve just always been curious about the world around me; I__™ve always felt the need to explore and create, regardless of my level of talent.

I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, and recently I found out that my elementary school classmates to this day remember me as ___the artist in class___. Early on I discovered that this is what I needed to do. I don__™t think that any artist is fully satisfied with the outcome though. It can always be better, different, more ___true______ This is in part what drives us. Maybe I shouldn__™t speak for all artists. But this is what I feel.

For an artist, selling their first piece of work is a memorable moment. Tell us about your first piece or a special piece that was sold.

A big problem for artists is that our work is publicly perceived in a way that I believe is quite skewed. The general public seems to perceive artists as people who create products, instead of seeing visual art as part of the humanities and culture (neither a commodity nor a product, but an intellectual, or perhaps even more so experiential, pursuit).I do happen to sell my work __" as many artists do in combination with several other sources of income, such as grants, teaching, residencies, etc. __" but I think of being a visual artist as being a philosopher or a composer, not a manufacturer with products to sell.

An artist's job is to create art and show it, not to sell it " just as a composer's job isn™t to sell compositions, and a philosopher's job is not necessarily to write or sell books. These are sometimes unfortunate necessities that can only get in the way of the actual job, which is to create something and expose others to it. To further elaborate on my point, some visual artists make work that simply cannot be sold (site-specific installations, time-based sculpture, sound video and performances with mixed media, new media, etc.) They rely on other sources of funding. I just happen to sell my work because I can (and because I need to make room for more!) but I don't see it as anything that should be memorable nor in any way admirable, or something to be proud of or even happy about; it is neither central nor necessary to being a successful artist.

I noticed that this general misconception about sales (especially in a capitalist society) causes many artists to quit because they feel as though it's necessary to sell art in order to have some sort of validation, not realizing that this is not the case (especially in countries where artists are deemed important enough to be funded with regular paychecks from the government).

Having said all this... I cannot remember when I sold my first piece. It may have been a series of photographs that I sold back in my undergraduate years... Or there may have been a ceramic piece that I sold before that. Who are your favorite artists?

I always enjoy viewing art without judging " just experiencing what others have to share and how they perceive the world, whether or not I agree with it. But there is some artwork that I feel an unusual kinship to. Here™s a short list of artists whose work I really responded to, in no particular order: Lee Bontecou, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Marc Leuthold, Robert Turner (ceramist), Max Ernst, Caspar David Friedrich, Diane Arbus, ancient Egyptian reliefs and drawings, Lascaux cave paintings, Jean Tinguely, H.R. Giger, Gordon Matta-Clark, Katsushika Hokusai, Karl Blossfeldt, William Kentridge.

Artist: Vesna Jovanovic Title: Timekeeper Medium: Medical Scans, Watercolor, Ink, and Graphite, 84×34 inches Website: http://www.vesnaonline.com

Republished by: http://paulshampine.wordpress.com Paul Shampine: http://paulshampine.com


 

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