February 1, 2018

Failing well as an artist, with practice.

August 25, 2017

I got so involved in Art Jail, Day Four that I'm just now getting a chance to post about yesterday. I think that's a good sign. :)

Yesterday my dear friend and fellow artist Marissa Lehner Bannister, knowing my week's plans, thought of an "art field trip" that I would enjoy...a drive to historic Clarence Center, east of Buffalo. Founded in the early 19th century, the town is very charming, filled with federal-style brick homes, an Italianate business block, and tons of Civil War-era vernacular structures. An architectural historian's dream! (I met the owner of the house below, and she kindly told me a little of the history of her childhood home, and how she's returned to town to fix it up, bit by bit; meeting fellow old building-lovers is one of the best parts about my work!)

My friend and I...

August 23, 2017

Yesterday was a chance to escape for a day, to a place I'd barely explored.

I arrived in the Clinton-Bailey neighborhood- where I HAVE visited the farmer's market, the wholesalers nearby, but this time I had a different purpose: I snuck into an industrial complex where I wasn't supposed to be! (Though there was no sign barring strange artists drawn to historic buildings). The warren of brick and metal structures at the intersection of Bailey Avenue and Clinton Street had long appealed to me...probably because I'd only seen them from the height of the 190 overpass. From there, the proud buildings, some ramshackle, some in seemingly-perfect condition, beckoned.

In 1889, the Snow Steam Pump Works was built on Buffalo's far east side, close to a mass of railroads and the Buffalo River. You can le...

August 22, 2017

I am a freelance artist, historian and event planner, focusing on emotional connection to place. And I have a problem.

Most of my art commissions and historical research contracts take place in the summer - the precious, short summer. I am grateful- as a freelancer, you take the work when it comes. However, I quickly get burnt out when the horizon appears to contain no free time for my own projects.


So, I have stolen a phrase from my friend Tara Sasiadek, a fellow freelance artist and a philosopher. When her husband notices she has not given herself enough time in the studio, he tells her "You're being put in Art Jail" and send her upstairs with some tea and lunch. He keeps an eye on the dog, or runs an errand for her, to make sure she isn't distracted by daily household stuff. (What a catch...

February 20, 2017

"Creativity is my neighbor; I live by it." - Edreys Wajed, Creative Mornings 2016.

My friend and fellow artist Edreys had his first solo art exhibition at the Western New York Book Arts Center recently (still up till March 10th). At the opening reception, I was reminded of the "sacred circle of influence" that affects all creatives. Visual artists listen to (or make) music. Sculptors have a favorite literary podcast. Authors and poets attend a painting show. We are all influencing each other constantly, and the inspiration goes in a circle.

Artists Struggle to Make Art.

I'm so grateful for Sugar City's annual "Fun-a-Day" challenge in February. You'd think for for someone who loves making art, I'd be constantly inspired, and just painting or drawing all the time. The truth is, doing anything yo...

August 23, 2016

Somehow, I got convinced that I should hide who I truly am. What a mistake.

A long, hot summer was a great opportunity for me to think, hard, about how I'd like my business to evolve, and how I want it to be perceived. When someone asks me what I do, I usually have several answers, but it almost always starts with "Artist". Then, I add, "Historian, Preservationist, Event Planner..." In recent years, nonprofit neighborhood groups and others have begun asking for my help- to share my expertise on how to bring artists in, or how to leverage creative events to draw attention to historic places. I was thrilled to be able to help in some small way.

Eventually, it dawned on me that THIS could be my future as a business- a Creative Consultant. I sought assistance from the Buffalo State College Small...

April 21, 2016

Yesterday, I flew. I had wings...I circled over Niagara Falls, downtown Buffalo, saw the grain elevators from above, and I shared this experience with a friend and fellow artist, Edreys Wajed. We were piloted around in a four-seater prop plane by our friend and local Yelp Manager, Alex Levine. He's been asking both of us to fly for a while, and we finally followed through. What an experience - a warm spring night, with the sun setting on the horizon, the whole of Western New York laid out before us. As you can imagine, this led to some reflection.

 

The people you surround yourself with are the main influences in your life. For good or for bad. And I've been noticing all the positive ways my peers influence me. Edreys and I are a perfect example. I heard about his work seven years ago, and lo...

March 10, 2016

We all tell ourselves that we want lots of options. After all, what better than to have your pick? Plenty of food options on the grocery store shelf, all kinds of clothes to choose from, nearly any art supply you could want...

 

My lightning bolt moment came when I was looking through my studio to pick a medium to work in: pastel, marker, watercolor, liquid graphite...the possibilities were endless. But you know what happened? I didn't create anything.

 

I was paralyzed by too much choice.

 

This is our postmodern conundrum. We suffer, not from a lack of possibility, but from too much. We're drowning in information and images: books, newspapers, magazines, Twitter and Instagram feeds- plenty of distractions. We freelancers feel the urge to take on every project, most that seem worthwhile in the s...

January 4, 2016

This week, I begin my journey to Europe for my Florence art residency and "creative placemaking intensive". Many of you have asked what, exactly, I'll be doing when I'm over there, so here is a brief explanation:

 

I will first fly into Paris for a two-day stay, then take the train into Florence. I'm heading to a smaller town just northeast of Florence, Borgo San Lorenzo, where Officina Lieve is located. It's a collective of creatives, entrepreneurs, makers, coworkers and localists. They believe in the merging of traditional and digital skills, knowledge and space sharing, and the promotion of locally produced slow food (and much more). I met Pierpaolo diCarlo, one of the organization's founders, when he visited Buffalo a year and a half ago. Since then, he's been asking me to come see their...

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