Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On art & taste

If you're one of those people who are splendid enough to keep up consistently with my blog, and read my post from February 11th, you'll know I'm working on a new series entitled "These walls we hide behind". Yes, it's about walls, but it's about so much more than that. It's based on a collaboration of photographs I took while tramping around Europe last fall (from France to Belgium to Germany, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary, and lastly Austria) that is intended to focus on barriers we put up (both mentally and architecturally) to keep other people out of our private lives, to hide from them our dark, distressing, and often not-so-sexy secrets. It's also about some barriers I'm breaking down for myself and my work-- being open to even more experimentation, and even working in an abstract manner in some of the pieces, which is something that is SO DIFFICULT for me to wrap my brain around. It's about letting go of control.

In that post, I was working on an abstract piece from a photograph I took while in Amsterdam, which was actually of a building just one over from the Anne Frank house. I was experimenting with some different textures here, as well as trying to build a structural foundation first and then work in an abstract manner over that. I had no idea where the piece was going, what would become of it, or if I would even keep it. And because I work in a home studio, my boyfriend (who is a creative as well, but most certainly not a visual artist) is often my only means of critique. Therefore, I decided to post it to my Facebook art page for a bit of constructive feedback.

"Rocking horse in window" - Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 
acrylic on wooden panel, 9.75" x 9.75"; 2013.

Probably because it's such a huge departure from my typical work, the responses were overwhelming. Some people loved it, and some people loathed it, and some people were just intrigued by it, but the important thing is that I was able to strike a conversation about the technical elements of the piece, while encouraging people to express what it meant to them. One woman said that she and a friend spend an hour pouring over it, finding different symbols and faces in the bricks, in the window, in the swirling colors. And it sold immediately-- first time I both completed, sold, and then packaged up a work to ship in the same day, and hopefully it won't be the last. What an amazing feeling.

I'm planning on re-creating this piece in a larger format, and executing it with more structural freedom and in cooler tones... but all in due time. Here's a sneak peak of what I'm working on now:

"As yet untitled" - Budapest, Hungary; 
acrylic on canvas; 34" x 24"

Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On my artist feature in 'Peripheral ARTeries' monthly art review

The newest issue of 'Peripheral ARTeries' art review magazine has been released, and look who's featured with a 4-page spread: Yours Truly.

Click here to read the issue: Peripheral ARTeries; February 2013

I'm on pages 18-21. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

On social networking & the giving of gifts

Speaking of the new series I'm working on, the entire concept is based upon this photograph I took at our hostel in in Budapest, Hungary, this past fall. The coverlets were a little disconcerting, but it was a magnificent old building, and we ate cheese and drank $2 wine, and for $12 a night, we were completely happy to stay there.

From this photograph, I developed this sketch:

...and from this sketch will develop the painting that my entire new series, entitled "These walls we hide behind", will be based around. Although much of the series will be completed on small wooden panels, this piece will be on stretched canvas and will be much larger than the ones I've currently been working on. That's the plan, anyway... you know how plans change.

As many of you know, I do a great deal of my business (which now allows me to work full-time as an artist, which is absolutely amazing.. to anyone that has encouraged or contributed to that, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart) via social networking. I do believe that it is extremely important for artists to pursue opportunities outside of the internet as well, such as juried shows, charity events, networking opportunities, and collaborative and solo exhibitions, but having a supportive base of followers via Facebook, Twitter, my blog and my website has allowed me to continue to sell work and prints, and negotiate commissions, even if I go through a period of time where my work is not hanging in a physical gallery. 

That's where you come in. In the past 3 days, I've gained almost eighty new followers via my Facebook page, and to celebrate this (and because I would LOVE to hit the 2k mark), I'm giving away the above sketch (valued at $75) to one lucky duck of a winner. Simply visit my Facebook page (listed above, or you can click on this link: www.facebook.com/heidikeyesart) and share the related post or a link to my page (be sure to leave a comment and let me know that you did... sometimes Facebook hides things from me, and I'm not a mind reader), and I'll throw your name into a hat. The winner will be chosen when I reach 2000 likes, however long (or short) that may take. 

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! Share away. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

On being regretfully unpleasant, not beating yourself up, and those things that are actually awesome disguised as horrible mistakes

I am, naturally, the kind of person who beats myself up over everything.

I have the ability to fly into a panic over small things like the kitten vomiting on the carpet, not having any bread, discovering a water ring on the side table, or not having any bread to make a sandwich BECAUSE I WAS SET ON HAVING A TURKEY SANDWICH FOR LUNCH. Without going into further detail, my dear sweet understanding lovable patient boyfriend will tell you that I'm very "Monica", as I hurl flames at him from my eyeballs because he left bits of lettuce on the kitchen counter or his shoes in the middle of the floor. But seriously, who does that? :)

I like having a plan, and I like when things go exactly as planned within my aforementioned plan, but as you, and me, and anyone who is living knows, that never happens. And today I thank my lucky stars for all of the things in my life that have gone horribly and tragically wrong, because it forced me, often screaming and kicking, to the place I am today-- living in a city I love, in a cozy apartment with a very supportive, talented man who loves to cook (although he doesn't like cleaning), traveling for pleasure although it can be called work technically, terrorizing our cats by dressing them in sweaters, and doing exactly what I want to be doing, which is making art, to pay my bills. I feel pretty damn lucky. 

Work in progress.

Since I made the huge transition in 2009 from working with graphite in a photo-realistic manner to a wild, crazy-lady approach, spastically painting with contour lines and lots of marks and color, my art has been about freedom. That's why I often water down my acrylics and work on a vertical canvas, which allows and encourages the paint to run down and take its course. Lately I've started using lots of texture and thick globbies of paint on top of these washes, as well. And now I'm venturing even further into the unknown by experimenting with not only color and texture, but in a very abstract way. For me, this is all about letting go of control

I'm currently working on a series from photographs I took and sketches I did while traveling for a month through Europe last year with my boyfriend on tour (www.johnstatz.com; take a gander). This series is called "These walls we hide behind", and essentially focuses on architectural elements of cityscapes like windows, doors, gates, walls, keys, locks, grates, etc., that people implement to keep others out and themselves in-- how we hide our private lives and who we truly are, I suppose you could say, which is exactly how I hide the crazy. Most of these pieces are created on wooden panels which fit together. Here's the first piece I completed:

"Pink house" - Prague, CZ; acrylic on wooden panels; 
2 4.5" x 7", 1 15.5" x 12"; 2013.

..and the second: 

"Disrepair" - Budapest, Hungary; acrylic on wooden panels
 - each 9" x 13"; 2013.

...and the third piece I was working on turned into a train wreck: blood, guts, gore, the whole shebang. I was going to call it quits for the night and instead hunker down into the tub with water up to my nose and a thermos of wine, so I wiped the goop off of the two small panels I was working on, and something amazing happened. The piece was completely transformed.

I always blow-dry my pieces between layers and colors, because I like to work on a dry surface and I am terribly and incredibly impatient. I did this, and then re-worked the piece paying more attention to color and texture, playing up the imperfections rather than trying to change them. This is the end result: 

"Stairwell" - Prague, CZ; acrylic on wooden panels
 - each 3.75" x 6"; 2013.

It's one of my favorite pieces that I've ever created-- not because it's the most beautiful, or technically correct, or even most interesting, but because I allowed myself to just be wrong and accepted it. I'm trying to apply this theory to even more things, actually everything else, in my life now-- although I'm not sure I'll ever be able to focus on getting into my studio and painting if the blanket that sits over the back of the couch isn't folded, or there's dishes in the sink. ;)

Work in progress.

And not every piece is going to be a masterpiece. This one, I'm not sure where it's going to go.. perhaps it will end up being painted over and reincarnated as a pet portrait, but the important thing is that I'm forcing myself to continue growing and experimenting with my work, which incidentally encourages me to grow as a person, and one day, maybe one day.. I'll be less OCD. 

“One must spoil as many canvases as one succeeds with.” —Vincent van Gogh, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, November 26, 1889, to Theo van Gogh