ArtsLehigh 2012 Artist in Residence

ArtsLehigh proudly announces the 2012 Artist in Residence, Holly Scott.

Ms. Scott will be presenting her work as co-owner and art director of Bella Pintura Inc., a small design studio that works closely with Interior Designers, Architects and clients to design and execute custom architectural surface treatments, hand rendered wall coverings, and murals for homes and businesses. Ms Scott is also a newly appointed resident artist with the Banana Factory.

Ms Scott will be working with ArtsLehigh on a few projects in the coming year. The first project is a temporary installation: a trompe l’oeil piece at the SteelWorkers Memorial Park in South Bethlehem to be unveiled at the 2012 Spring on Fourth festival.

 

As part of her introductory lecture, Ms. Scott will reveal some of her process with regard to the installation proposal, her current work in architectural design, and past projects that are a blend of artistic disciplines: visual art, theatre design and architecture. Students from Lehigh University and the community will be invited to work with Ms. Scott’s installation.

Ms. Scott also leads fresco projects at Il Labratorio Per Affresco in Prato, Italy. Ms. Scott is open to collaborative work, and discussions of process with students and faculty. Please join us in welcoming Ms. Scott to the Lehigh University community this Thursday, March 1st from 4-5pm in Maginnes 290.

If you have any questions about Ms. Scott, or the Artist in Residence program, please contact Silagh White email or by phone, 610-758-5774.

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artist of the day #55: TNOP

Name: TNOP (pronounced tee-nop)

Birthplace: Bangkok, Thailand

Profession: Graphic Designer/ Teacher

Lives now: partially in Bangkok, partially in Chicago

School: BFA in Graphic Design from Rangsit University in Bangkok, MA from Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, USA

Ben: Where does the name TNOP come from?

TNOP: It is just a shortened version of my name, Teeranop.

Ben: So it has nothing to do with the American acronym Totally Not Our Problem?

TNOP: No, but I have heard that. I think there was an episode of the Simpsons where Bart says it or something. I think it’s funny.

Ben: Did you work for any design companies before you started your own?

TNOP: Yes, I worked for Segura Inc. in Chicago for eight years. It was the longest I ever worked or stayed anywhere. After that I started my own company in 2005, and came back to Thailand about 6 months ago to try to see what I can start here.

Ben: Are you still doing work for anyone in the US?

TNOP: I still have clients there that I can work with thanks to technology.

Ben: Who were some of your early influences?

TNOP: I think probably my earliest one was my father. People ask me when I started designing things, and I can think back and remember my father showing me how to hold a pencil and draw. I remember thinking early on that this is pretty cool, I can do this. So I never stopped.

Ben: Was your father an artist?

TNOP: He was a furniture repairman. And my grandfather used to trade old antiques. He specialized in mother of pearl inlay. So a lot of people would come to him and my father would help my grandfather fix things. Jim Thompson (famed Thai art collector) came to him once. And my father had a chance to go work at the Grand Palace where he worked on fixing the most beautiful throne with mother of pearl inlay  inside the Dusit Maha Prasat throne hall. He is also proud that he got to work on the main Ubosot doors at Wat Ratchabophit in Bangkok.

Ben: Do you have any other countries that you want to go to either to work or study?

TNOP: Italy is a place I really want to go just for the scenery. But I like places like Hong Kong that are just a little bit chaotic and fast moving. I am also planning on going to India soon to see real colors.

Ben: It seems like some of your work is commenting on the state of Art and Graphic Design today, can you comment on that? Are there things bothering you?

TNOP: Well I think when you spend so much time with something you develop strong opinions and it naturally comes through in your work. The past ten years of my work I have been trying to comment on the world. Anything that I think I have a good idea about, I try to express. When you have a chance to voice your opinion in any media, I think you should do it.

Ben: That makes sense, because you seem like you are more than just a graphic designer, you have messages you are trying to get out there. So do you display your work ever in galleries or anything like that?

TNOP: Yes, I did some exhibitions in Chicago. I did this group exhibition with artist friendscalled “Pork and Politics” because Chicago is known for hot dogs. So I created theseportraits of the famous and controversial Chicago politicians, Mayor Richard Daley, Rod Blagojevich, and Rahm Emanuel with hotdog strings. Recently in Bangkok, my work is featured in Taschen’s Collector’s Edition Art Books exhibition. It’s an exhibition of the limited edition artist books and box sets. I’m honored to be featured my work there. It is always fun.

Ben: Are there other artists today that you look to for inspiration?

TNOP: Yes, I love many contemporary artists but am not always good with names. I love the work of Erwin Wurm, he has a great sense of humor. I look for inspiration from everywhere. I like painters like Elizabeth Peyton, or photographers like Wolfgang Tillmans. Anyone can inspire anyone, from art to architecture to fashion. I think you should look everywhere.

Ben: So it seems like you have accomplished a lot for being so young. What other goals do you have?

TNOP: When I first got back to Thailand, the main thing I had on my mind was teaching. So I am teaching at my old university and another school. I am amazed that so many kids that want to be a graphic designer. It is exciting, but I am also worried that too many kids want to do it just because it sounds like a cool job. So I need to change their perception so that I can change the reputation of graphic design in Thailand. I think some students concentrate more on designing their work after other people instead of coming up with new concepts.Teaching is not always fun, it is a lot of work. I am not sure how long I will keep teaching. I try to plan about 2 years in the future but not think too much beyond that.

Ben: Where did the urge to teach come from?

TNOP: I always had good teachers growing up. I was very lucky. I always wanted to be like them. So now I want to pass on those ideas to the next generation.

Ben: So what advice do you have for the next generation of designers? How do you balance self-expression and paying the bills?

TNOP: I think for young designers, it’s ok to do some work just to get by, but I want them to really grab on to their goals. They need to keep their voices. Sometimes when you try to balance your living situation and your ideals it is difficult. But if you lose your voice, it is easy to be consumed and never be able to get your voice back. If more designers just held on to their ideals, we would have many voices in the design community and that will improve the whole scene. Our passion is powerful and we need to use it.

Ben: That’s awesome. And now that you got me all psyched up on teaching art, I need to go tutor some High School kids in Math.

TNOP: You should come teach in Thailand.

Ben: Someday perhaps, who knows? Thanks for your time Mr TNOP.

TNOP: Thank you.

#53: Martin Klimas

There have always been parallels between different artistic styles, mediums, and genres. It wouldn’t be specifically difficult to think about all of the things paint, photography, and music could have in common. Well someone decided to add a weird one to the list. German photographer Martin Klimas went into a studio with some really good cameras, some buckets of paint, and a stack of his favorite records, and what came out was very wild and quite beautiful.

What he did is place some translucent material over some of his speakers, pick out some cool color paint combinations, then he would let some good times roll while he took pictures of the fascinating patterns the vibrations would make. The results have almost more of a sculptural aspect to them than painting. They look like stalagtites stalagmites from another planet.

When it comes to Miles Davis, it’s hard to not break into movement. Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians looks like it was for 18 colors of paint as well. And Kraftwerk looks like it feels and sounds, from outer space. I wonder if the artist chose pictures that fit the music, or that it just couldn’t be helped. Or if he chose colors based on what music he was going to play with it. How much was he letting the music do the creating? Or did he have more influence on the result? I assume that based on the fact that he spent six months taking these photos, he had to weed some out and pick out the best ones.

I saw these pictures before and then was reintroduced to them by my homey Travis. So I decided I would see what else Mr. Klimas has been up to. Apparently he is still in the game of find the perfect nanosecond to capture an event too small for human consumption. He has several series of things exploding. My favorite is easily the ceramic kung-fu figures. They seem to simultaneously capture the power of martial arts and the fragility of the human form. Art is about showing people what is right in front of them but they can’t see. Well even though I am not often stage front to an exploding flower vase, I am glad he is pointing out things I wouldn’t be able to see anyhow.

Director’s note for Feb 22

In support of the citizens planning the upcoming Spring on Fourth Event, we post this announcement:

Looking for artists to participate in the 17th Annual “Spring on Fourth! What’s on Third?” Street Festival and Chili Cook-off!

Spring on Fourth! What’s on Third? will be held on April 21st 2012 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. South Bethlehem’s galleries, shops and stores are once again joining together for an enjoyable afternoon of music, food and fun.

Founded 17 years ago to celebrate Bethlehem’s historic, revitalized Southside, “Spring on Fourth! What’s on Third?” is a free, public event that takes place along Third, Fourth and New streets. Highlighting the celebration is the popular chili contest, live entertainment by a variety of performers, fun family activities, Artists lining the streets, music and more from 12:00 to 4:00. In addition, many of the South Side merchants feature sales and special discounts throughout the afternoon–so you can really get a taste of the whole Southside experience!

This event just may be one of the biggest days of the year on The Southside and is hugely anticipated by the community, thousands make it out to this every year! We are offering a FREE opportunity to create and sell your artwork on the sidewalks of the designated festival grounds, each artist will be assigned to a business location to set-up in front of to demonstrate their art….and sell! Ideally the artist will be demonstrating their craft on site, to encourage an interactive experience for the “Spring on Fourth, What’s on Third” participant! You would be allowed a 3×6 ft. space for your set-up….sorry, ez-up’s will not permitted. If you are interested in participating, please fill out the attached application and send it back via email or to 561 Main St. Ste. #200 Bethlehem, Pa. 18018 Care of: Loly Reynolds. You will then receive an email regarding your business placement assignment a week prior to the event. There are limited spaces available, so if you are interested please reply quickly because spaces will be taken up quickly.

Best!

Loly Reynolds
Downtown Bethlehem Association
DBA Manager Assistant
Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

artist of the day #52: Käthe Kollwitz

Some artists find their medium before they find their ideal subject matter, and some artists find their subject matter before their ideal medium. As the artists herself would describe it, Käthe Kollwitz was meant to be the champion of the lower class. The medium was of secondary importance.

In today’s world I think many people have this image in their heads of what an artist is. They envision this somewhat anti-social recluse, locked away in some studio, playing with art supplies till they make something interesting. But the truth of it is, that the most important artists throughout history spent much of their time being a part of history. Artists like Kollwitz needed inspiration from that outside world to drive her passion. She simply could not just be an artist that created things in a vacuum, she needed to connect her art to the world.

Much of her work came as direct inspiration from the work of her husband, Karl Kollwitz, who worked as a doctor for the lower class. Käthe Kollwitz saw first hand some of the pain and suffering this group had to face. Different series of work were inspired by different events. Some were influenced by different rebellions, others by more specific events like the death of a child. One of her most personal works was a memorial to her son who died in World War I, entitled Grieving Parents.

Throughout her life she was celebrated by her peers, but often condemned by the powers of her government. She was once forced from her position as a faculty member at Akademie der Kunste because her work was thought to be disparaging to how the government treated its people. Her work was also removed from museums even though one piece mother and child was stolen for use as Nazi propaganda. Gestapo once even threatened her and her husband, but she has received too much international fame for her death to go unheard. She turned down offers to stay with admirers in other countries and opted to stay with the people she had spent a lifetime celebrating.

Kollwitz never took the easy way out of anything. Through her work as a painter, printmaker, and sculptor she uplifted a class of people that had only been pushed down by the rest of the world.

artist of the day #51: Ron English

Ron English has been mixing ideas of art history, consumerism, pop-culture, and good ole rebel spirit into one of the more diverse libraries of work I can say I have found. His choice of media varies from spray paint, to oil on canvas, to sculptural, to installation. In a strange paradox he hits on some serious issues by seemingly never taking himself or his work all that serious. There is some tongue in cheek humor to almost everything he touches.

I am sure many of us have seen an example when an artist takes the packaging from a given product at the grocery store, and alters it to say something else. The difference with Mr. English is that he takes that design, actually puts it on a box of cereal, then sneaks it back into the grocery store for people to come across. Many graffiti artists will justify their work as an effort against all of the advertising they are suffocated with on a daily basis in the public world. English is one of the artists actually replacing it. He is not the graffiti artist who simply slaps his moniker on a subway wall, he is the graffiti artist making you think and look closer when you least expect it. And as much as he has become a celebrated gallery artist, he has been doing “extra-legal” graffiti since the 80’s.

The subject matter in his work is most often something from mass media or art history, though he does have some favorites. He references the work of Andy Warhol in much of his work and likes to use Mickey Mouse, Ronald McDonald, and the members of KISS quite often. He has also been known to play off the work of Pablo Picasso, and surrealist artist Rene Magritte. His work is big and bold. It calls for attention, and most importantly, it is fun.

English has designed album art for several artists, created poster art for the movie Supersize Me, and has even gone political with his painting Abraham Obama. He has been known to collaborate with other well-known street artists of our day like Banksy and Swoon. He will also be featured on an upcoming episode of The Simpsons on March 4th along with Shepherd Fairey, Kenny Scharf, and Robbie Conal. Then the world will get a glance at what happens when the pop-artist becomes pop-art.

Check out his site to see more work, what I have shown here is such a small percentage:

http://www.popaganda.com/blog1.php

artist of the day #50: Andrew Mar

Typically when there is a story with illustrations, the story is written first and the drawings come later. I think today’s artist is trying to change that. His name is Andre Mar. He is a graphic designer who likes to work with both digital and traditional media to create his images. With even just a quick glance one can tell that he is greatly influenced by the fantasy and science fiction side of the entertainment world. This is the theme the majority of his work falls under. His creations instantly bring the viewer into new worlds with new creatures and environments. Between the actual images and the titles, the viewer is called to instantly start putting together a story. In any given image there are elements of victory, peril, conflict, and despair. It is like he fit an entire big budget movie into a 8×10 image.

Oh and he likes to take those stories one-step further in some instances. He has developed a few small examples of short stories told through the good ole comic book format. And with some common themes one can see in a lot of his work, I do wonder if he has thought about developing a longer series based on one single plot. Perhaps he just likes telling the whole story in just one image, but I do think it would be interesting to see what he can do on a bigger scaled project.

Visually, I think the strongest part of his work is the perspective. He really does a great job of finding the most exciting angle to look at something. This combined with his knack for layout makes for some very active scenes. As far as I can tell he is mostly just creating prints to sell online, but I am sure he has more tricks up his sleeve.

artist of the day #49: Slinkachu

So there is always going to be things about our past that draw us to certain kinds of art. I once knew a very interesting dude named Dave, who amongst his many types of graffiti, would sometimes spend a day with a bag of army men from the dollar store and a bottle of super glue and would install various legions of soldiers around a given shopping mall, public park, or college campus. Years would pass, and I would be in one of these places and come across one of Dave’s installations and it would bring as pure of a smile that can be imagined to my face. With this in mind, it should be easy to understand, that anything that reminds me of these mini graffiti-esque installations is going to be something that I like.

The artist goes has chosen the moniker Slinkachu to maintain some level of secret identity. And his artistic creations are one part sculptural, one part installation, and one part photograph. His works usually contain some level of light but clever humor. Slinkachu speaks of his work as an effort to make  people pay closer attention to the world around them, to help viewers find more magic and wonder in their daily lives.

Slinkachu starts with figures he buys from various model stores and ordering catalogs. He will usually take these and alter them to varying degrees, painting them different colors, and making various accessories for them. He often plays with the juxtaposition of size in his creations and has a knack for finding a giant world in small small places.

To me, his work is the strongest when he not just sets up an installation and photographs it, but he leaves it for passer-bys to find. For his one work entitled Death and Taxes he even rigged a small speaker with the recording of a man coughing to go along with it. The civilians might not have noticed the creation at such a small scale, but the coughing caused them to take second and third looks.

I am a sucker for any artwork that is any percentage a practical joke.

Another slight thing I wanted to note along with this artist is the power of a title and brand name. I have written about 50+ artists with this project And even with spending a good amount of time with each one, I haven’t necessarily memorized each artist. But the ones I do remember quite easily are Freegums, Mamafaka, P7, and Slinkachu. So perhaps as much as many artists want to do their families proud and get their name known, they might have more success in doing so by changing it.

artist of the day #48: Jason deCaires Taylor

Sometimes I dedicate a day or afternoon to aimlessly wandering around all the galleries in Chelsea. After a few hours of doing this I start to get bored of seeing the same set up; fancy gallery with completely white walls, and a handful of scattered canvases amongst them. I begin to long for something different, a new place where one might see the creative ideas of mankind. Well someone heard my plea, his name is Jason deCaires Taylor, and his gallery is located at the bottom of the ocean. His works are one part artistic expression, one part monument, and one part natural habitat. He is truly not only creating something interesting to look at, but also improving the life of living organisms in the process.

Taylor is putting just as much if not more scientific thought into his projects as he is artistic thought. His works are helping to improve the choral reef situation in several different ways. First of all, the works themselves are designed to house various kinds of ocean life and growth. The sculptures are intended to change over time and provide resources and shelter to different organisms. In addition, the projects are becoming quite the tourist attraction, so people are spending less time damaging natural coral reefs, and more time with his. And lastly, it is calling for a new kind of attention to the growing problem. In the past few decades, we have lost 40% of our coral reefs, and if we don’t do more to deal with this loss, there will be major environmental changes that we might not even be able to predict.

So scientifically, the work is fascinating. Artistically, it’s pretty impressive as well. Taylor seems to like to deal with some common themes in his sculptures. He uses the term “balancing relationships.” Which to me seems very fitting. Like the idea of a car, one of the more harmful inventions toward our environment, then becoming the home for a wide variety of ocean creatures. Or in the same vein, aquatic life finding shelter in a lazy man watching television, holds the same level of irony to me.

If for nothing else I like that I can use Taylor’s work as an example when art literally was improving the world we live in. I hope he can do sculptures likes this everywhere, and I hope more artists can take ideas like this and run with it, or swim if need be.

artist of the day #47: Alexander McQueen

So every once in a while I manage to put on a cool tie, or I by happenstance I put on the right combination of thrift store finds and hair gel that I actually look fashionable. But for the most part, the ideals that go with fashion elude me, and it is a world I feel mostly lost in. And to go beyond just putting on a hat that matches the shoes, is the world of fashion shows. This is something that just feels alien to me. The idea of the absurdly rich, and the impossibly skinny gathering around to look at clothes that nobody would actually wear in real life just always seemed kind of absurd to me. This might be because I always thought about clothing from first a pragmatic view. So if the clothes weren’t really intended for someone to wear in real life, what is the point?

This was a very premature point of view to have. After all, not all of Art has a very practical purpose, and fashion is a huge genre of Art. So why not look at some of it as an artwork first, and a piece of clothing second. What caused me to change my views? Perhaps it was a very powerful example of fashion as Art, some work that caused some immediate and specific emotions inside of me. I am talking about the creations of Alexander McQueen.

McQueen’s fashion shows resemble a clip of a movie or an act from a play much more closely than the average fashion show. And his creations are a bit more costume like than they are functional articles of clothing. When I see one of his pieces, it is like I am instantly seeing elements of a story. They cause me to think of a time period, a plot, and various characters in this new world. It is not just a bunch of weird dresses and hats, there are absorbable themes and ideas there.

This might be because McQueen starts each one of his shows with just that, a theme, and then designs his pieces to go with that theme. And his themes can be taken from anywhere. He is known to take many more ideas from films, music, and even TV than from any other fashion designers out there. And the shows themselves also become part of the work. He has gotten a reputation for being a little shocking, and some might say it is in bad taste. One of his shows started by reenacting a shipwreck. But like it or love it, one cannot deny that they are elaborate and attention grabbing. And with that, celebrities that like attention have often been seen wearing his creations. Bjork and Lady Gaga have even incorporated it in some of their music videos.

Sadly, the first fashion designer to really and truly grab my attention is no longer alive and creating. Often with such powerful minds, come powerful emotions. McQueen took his own like in 2010, nine days after the death of his mother. Whether or not this was the cause of his suicide is unknown, but close friends say he was unhappy for some time. His work is still celebrated and will likely have an impact on future fashion designers and artists for some time to come.

 

Check out a video about some of his work here: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2vfN0A/blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/about/