Sunday, September 30, 2012

Scrap It

As of late I’ve felt compelled to get creative and jump back into the artistic ways of my past. Something I used to do in high school was collage with all sorts of papers, scraps, and collected mementos.  Collaging, or scrap art as I call it, is an art form that allows the artist to use materials that are sitting around, shoved in a drawer, or even things you would normally throw away.  Scrap art lets you incorporate special pieces you’ve saved, photographs, and even snippets of paper from previous scrapbooking or card making projects—you can really use anything.  This art form is also quite “green”; all materials are being recycled and used for a new purpose—given new life.  I use pencil sketches, magazine clippings and ads, event tickets and wrappers.  Kurt Schwitters is an artist who constructed many collages during his career.  He used found objects in his art such as old bus tickets, newspaper clippings, and pieces of wire; whatever he could find.  Even though I am nothing compared to Schwitters I liken myself to him because I believe both of us hold to a similar collage aesthetic—use what is around you and readily available to you.  There is no need to go buy tons of art supplies in order to create an engaging piece of art.  Scrap art is economical and fun because you push yourself to use what you already have in an unconventional way.  The other cool thing about collaging is that anyone can do it. Grab an assortment of materials (paper or not), a glue stick, Elmer’s Glue, or some Modge-Podge if you have it, and something sturdy like cardboard, cardstock, or a canvas to adhere the pieces to.  Then start arranging your scraps any way you want.  Feel free to experiment with different layouts before gluing stuff down.   Have fun being creative and make a piece that reflects you and what you’re passionate about!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Call to Armas


Painter Michelle Armas lasted one year in the stressful world of corporate branding in New York before she decamped back to Atlanta to pursue a career in abstract painting.  Her large scale acrylics are vibrant, bold, and youthful, the hipster offspring of  Richard Diebenkorn and Jackson Pollock.  In a recent posting on her blog about a commission she is completing for a very symmetrical bedroom, she describes her creative process in endearingly straightforward terms:  “I think there should be big shapes, lots of layering but chunky and scribbly to balance the linear-ness all over the place.”  Visit her blog to see the result.  Click here to visit her online gallery.


Contributed by-Jayme Catalano, Canary Public Relations
Published by Contemporary Art Gallery Online

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park


I know I’ve already mentioned my home state of Michigan in connection with the ArtPrize competition, but Michigan’s Grand Rapids area is so full of art that I can’t help bringing it up again. The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is a place to be visited by all art lovers and appreciators. I myself have visited once, and once is surely not enough to see everything. You can take a trolley through the sculpture park and have a guide give you the low-down about each piece, but I chose to walk the grounds and have a personal experience while viewing the artwork. There are pieces by Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg, and even a giant metal horse based upon the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. You can view metal heads without bodies, bodies made out of metal letters, abstract shapes you’re not quite sure what to make of, and an enormous red trowel stuck in the ground—all of these things you can find here among so many others.

A favorite of mine, if I can really say that I was able to pick a group of favorites, was a sculpture entitled Mad Mom by Tom Otterness. This large bronze sculpture, crafted in 2001, stands tall and depicts the “mad” feeling well through simple body language and facial expression. With arms akimbo and a frowning face, this mother figure exudes disappointment or frustration, but in a less than serious way. The use of geometric shapes and simplicity tone down the negative emotion in my opinion leaving the piece to be more accessible rather than off-putting as anger usually is. I attempted to mimic the statue’s pose and expression and I believe I ended up looking angrier than the Mad Mom. Perhaps I’ll have to use this stance and look when I’m actually a mother.

There is much to see at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Over ten different types of gardens can be visited, a vast sculpture park can be perused, changing indoor exhibitions can be viewed, and there is also an amphitheater where concerts can be enjoyed. Again, if you’re ever in southern Michigan and the weather is being cooperative, stop by and enjoy all the art and creativity!

Article submitted by Alexadra Daily

Published by Contemporary Art Gallery Online

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Technique Yields New Style for Artist Alex Deykes


An artist with her own unique style, Alex always stays true to her aesthetic. But she is also open to experimenting with new and different techniques. She recently stumbled upon a surrealist technique while on the internet and is now determined to tweak it into her own artistic method. Her version of this technique is thus far nameless, but Alex was able and willing to describe it.


Dailey: How does this new style differ from your typical style?

Deykes:  My new style has more to do with aesthetics, as well as focusing on the use of painting in my work.

Dailey: What is your process for this style? What materials do you use and how do you achieve the desired look?

Deykes: The process for my technique is to start with making a graphite drawing, then sealing it with a workable fixative.  Afterwards, I put layers of watercolor and acrylic [on it] to get the background/mood/texture that I want.

Dailey: Is there a certain subject matter that meshes well with this technique or will you use a variety of subjects alongside this technique?

Deykes: Surrealism is the perfect subject matter for it.  Placing [surrealist] ideas with this technique creates [a piece with] a ghostly, mysterious feel to it, which is exactly what I’m looking for in my work.  

Dailey: Now in our previous interview one word you used to describe your style and aesthetic was semi-realistic which is similar to surrealism. Would you say your new style is also similar to your typical style?

Deykes: No, it’s very different.  This style is much softer and [more] fluid, while my usual style is a bit more graphic. 

Dailey: Do you have an example of this new style that you can share? And if so, how would you describe the piece? What would you want the audience to know about this piece?

Deykes: I would describe this piece solely as surrealistic and experimental.  At the time, it was just an image that I came up with in my mind and tested out multiple times before making the final.  This piece is called “Plant Head”.  At the moment, there is no definite message, but it is based on environmentalism.  I used pencil, watercolor, and acrylic on this piece. 


Even though Alex says she’s still experimenting with the style, it sounds like she has a firm grasp on it, and also on the subject matter/message that she’s looking to convey, whether or not it be a specific message or a general, implied one about the environment. She may still be in the early stages of developing her unique style, but Alex already has projects lined up and ready to commence. She plans to create a series of paintings in this new style that revolve around the environment, social interaction, and cultural assumptions that males and females have of one another. Aside from creating this series of paintings she has plans to keep incorporating her two styles, the old and the new, in future projects. She hopes to have the opportunity to work on comic books, novels, and paintings using both her graphic, semi-realistic style, and her soft, surrealistic style. I wish her the best in her efforts which I know will yield great work.
Article Submitted by Alexandra Dailey

Published by Contemporary Art Gallery Online