Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spectrum: "Demonstrating" Among World Class Artists!

Alan demonstrating his "craft" at the 
Indian Wells renaissance Spectrum Art Show

     Painting, drawing, multi-media has always seemed to be a part of me. I had wonderful art teachers in grade school, something long gone by the time my children hit school. Considered "woolgathering" by those who knew better, art, music even the kinds of shops we had as kids are long gone. Despite the confirmation in study after study, how the arts actually help critical thinking and learning, school boards as well as our Department of Education in our capital have stressed that the goal of all children must be college, whether they wanted it or not. Little thought is given to the fact barely 20% of all citizens have any kind of degree past high school. Nor is much thought given to teach professions those of us as the college elite need on a daily basis. Who can "we" possibly need? When was the last time you tried to change plumbing, fix a leaking faucet. Or, changed the oil in your car. Living here in Palm Springs I wonder if anyone washes their car anymore or does yard work. The gardeners I see here are far more sophisticated with far more tools than anything I ever saw in the San Gabriel Valley.  The first time I washed my SUV here at the condo recently, I got some strange looks. I can proudly say, it was just as clean.

     Getting involved with art groups is easier in the Coachella Valley than in most places. In fact I think there is some kind of exhibit, art fair, festival of some kind of art showing art each and every weekend during the "season." And of course there is the Thursday Village Fest every Thursday evening in Palm Springs that shuts down the main drag for hours.
Galleries at the Indian Wells, CA Spectrum Art Show
     When one of the groups I'm involved with was invited to show our art at Spectrum, in Indian Wells at the Renaissance during the BNP Paribus Tennis Tournament, we couldn't believe our good fortune. While space allocation rose and fell and then rose again, they asked and several of us agreed to demonstrate our art. True, I couldn't believe my hand went up but I was given a spot and then made sure there was something I could do. So along with Bruce, Juan-Miguel and Miguel we literally set up shop! Not wanting to drag a huge easel, canvas and the requisite paint box I chose a craft.
     What surprised me was how many people would come by, watch and then ask questions. While I didn't have a painting, as everyone else for that matter had,  I chose to paint a birdhouse in my signature "crazy quilt" pattern. There was interest in materials, technique and what "look" I was aiming for. It was refreshing to talk about my art. One on one seemed easier than getting before a group and trying to articulate why I painted ... anything!
     However, at the show I met a variety of professionals with skills far beyond mine who were kind and willing to share their talents, their ideas. As any artist knows, hanging around with other artistic types, especially in your field (or I am beginning to believe radically different fields) of interest is not only a challenge but an inspiration. Hearing them explain what they do, you can also envision yourself creating many of the same things, however, with a twist. The twist is of course your skill and more importantly what you see, what your experience brings to that new idea.
     What I was drawn to at Spectrum and the La Quinta Arts Festival a week before wasn't the paintings as much as those who were fusing painting and crafts. Speaking to an English lady who had large paintings reminiscent of Turner we both heard a soft popping, buzzing sound, not in a regular repeating mode but now and then. She looked up and wondered if the light poles were going to fall on us. I didn't see any movement or see any
Vandegraaff Gearheardt and his wonderful
amazing electrical mixed media devices
arcing and we both decided all was well. However, as I continued on and studied the booths on the back side of her's I found an absolutely amazing booth where the artist had fused all kinds of things, starting with old clock cases into Rube Goldberg devices that I really hungered to own.
     I found a man and his wife as wildly dressed as the amazing contraptions standing and hanging on the walls of his space all blinking beeping and keeping everyone entertained. Sending a friend a photo of him and his devices he wondered if he was for sale too!
     I feel that art is taking off in new directions. The days of a simple static painting hanging on a wall increasingly seem to be something from the past.  As we ask all the devices we use daily to do more, i.e. thermostats that remember, refrigerators that keep a tally of what we buy and use, cars that drive themselves and both Alexa and Siri guiding us through our days, the fusion of art is inevitable.
James Paterson's moving wall art!
 In fact many of the items for sale at the show did more than just sit and hang. Another inventive and fun creation were the wire creations created by James Paterson from somewhere north of Toronto who had plenty of winter time on hand creating whimsical items that besides creating a scene with black wires and a splash of color all had small handles that made the creation come to life when turned. Not only were the wires whimsical the shadows cast gave it an amazing dimension and depth a simple Miro painting could not.
Artist at large!
   So, now with two art shows under my belt and hours of conversation I can say I feel ready to at least try something more with a painting I have been struggling with for a year. I am going to combine a variety of things to see if I can express in a multi-media canvas what I had for my original inspiration but for some reason can not finish. Art is a process and requires probably many tries before a style is achieved. So much of what an artist is known for often is serendipitous. I think of the abstract Jackson Pollack struggling before he hit upon the dripping paintings he is known for today. They sound silly in description but are mesmerizing in reality. They seem to vibrate with energy when you behold them. Once seen, never forgotten.

A few of the artists giddy after the show closed!
     Spectrum was very good to our group and I personally want to thank them for their help, assistance and support. It certainly gave me an opportunity to see and meet and especially talk to artists that are considered to be in the cutting edge of world art today.
     If there was anything that I could pass on as a takeaway it would be their advice ... create, create, create. I know we all know that mantra but how often does life get in the way or, we let life get in the way?
Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where the emphasis here is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always has. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! Be sure to check my re-opened ETSY store ...

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