Coming soon: Artist of the week

Posted on | 1/30/11 | No Comments

Starting this month (February) Vagary Art will have an extensive interview with an artist discussing their art and views on the current state of the artistic industries. I'm hoping to do this at least twice a month. The interviewees will be all manner of artists, from visual arts, designers, sculptors, to musicians, poets and film makers. If you know an exceptional artist, successful or not, contact me using the form on the left or below and drop me a link to some of their work.

I shot her in the face and I shot her in the head...

Posted on | 1/27/11 | 1 Comment

About a year ago I met a soldier, just a kid really. At 21 years old he had been to Afganistan and killed many people. We dont hear about these things in the news. We dont see the coffins of all the dead kids being shipped back. We certainly never hear of all the people we have killed in Afganistan. I say "we" because even those of us who are not soldiers are a part of this and at fault for accepting this situation.

A year ago, Andrew from California turned 21 and went out to celebrate. He told me a story and I recorded it with his permission. I never knew what to do with it but I knew people SHOULD hear it and he gave me his blessing to share it with anyone who would listen. I thought for a while to make an installation with it but somehow that felt wrong and dirty, as though I might benefit from it and that is not what I wanted. I wanted to let him speak his truth, the truth no one wants to hear and the results that truth has on the people who have lived through it. Anthony found out he was being sent back to Afganistan despite his serious PTSD and I never heard from him again after he left town. But to this day I wonder if that boy ended up killing himself and I wouldn't be surprised if he did.

To art school or not to art school: the value debate

Posted on | 1/23/11 | No Comments

Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers Selling Art to the Community, Or Applying the Principles of Publicity to the Department of School Art

In the spirit of disclosure I must admit that I did go to art school although my path to it was rather random. I first encountered art in elementary school, when I lived in the United States. My teacher Melanie Megyassi, thought I was brilliant at a time when my other teachers seriously thought that I might be mentally retarded. Thanks to her, I participated in dozens of children's competitions and won quite a few of them.  In seventh grade I moved to Puerto Rico and the arts are not a normal part of the average student’s education there. I did not have another art class until I was in eleventh grade and in time, I forgot much of my love for art. I went to college to study English language, in hopes of becoming a poet, and it was there that I rediscovered my love of art. I participated in an installation creation workshop given by Pepon Osorio, an interesting artist, but who seemed like kind of a jerk. The experience did give me back the feeling of infinite potential that I had lost.

Should art outlast the artist?

Posted on | 1/22/11 | No Comments

Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications)

I love the ephemeral nature of art, and I'm not just saying that. I believe that the value of art comes from its transient nature. Graffiti artists, concept artists and installation artists seem to understand this nature instinctively. I understand that this point of view is not common to the art world. In fact this industry seems to be geared mostly towards making as much money as possible from as few artists as possible, saving some pieces for hundreds of years. Take Picasso for example. What is his value now? What do his pieces mean? Of course his art sells for millions of dollars, something I find vaguely obscene considering that most artists die impoverished. Then again art is now considered an investor's market because of the very transient nature of art and artists. The fact that artists die effectively limits the supply of their art, which automatically jacks up the price, whether the piece is worthwhile or even good.

The role of art in the rehabilitation of youth offenders

Posted on | 1/21/11 | No Comments

Using Literature to Help Troubled Teenagers Cope with Societal Issues (The Greenwood Press Using Literature to Help Troubled Teenagers Series)inside/out: a Guide to Arts & Arts Education Resources for Children and Teens in San Francisco
I was a volunteer guide/translator and then an intern at a gallery in Albuquerque by the name of 516arts a few years ago. This gallery is (was?) a non profit and focused on education rather than sales. They had a very strong education program. I think the coordinator has since left the art world, overwhelmed by the same sense of disillusionment that attacks so many young artists. But before then I learned a great deal from him. One of his (in my opinion) most important projects was a program he set up with a local juvenile detention center to have groups of these young boys brought to the gallery. These were as far as I know, low level youth offenders, not say, murderers or repeat offenders, so they had field trip priviledges. Sadly, the man from the detention center told us that around 80% of these kids were back in the center before a year had passed. This was seriously crushing for me even though I only saw most of these kids once and I was only able to participate maybe 4 times. Today I am going to describe what we would do and why I believe in this type of project and it's role in the rehabilitation of offenders. I also believe it wouldwork with adults and I hope I get a chance to pursue it again at a later date.

Using animal bones in sculptures

Posted on | 1/19/11 | No Comments

Skulls and Bones: A Guide to the Skeletal Structures and Behavior of North American Mammals
Incorporating animal bones into your art piece may serve as an interesting way to make a statement or start a conversation about topics that might not otherwise come up. Because of the nature of bones (and really any bodily fluid or part), a great deal of significance is typically attributed to pieces that use them, whether that was the artist's intention or not. This is something to consider before you begin. Expect that your piece will automatically make a "statement" on a subject if there is a natural connection. Use this to your advantage by making a meaningful piece of art.

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How to paint in sepia

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Vere Foster's painting for beginners: Facsimiles of original studies in sepia
A course of sepia painting: First series
Sepia, an interesting style done in shades of brown, is most commonly seen in photographs and some colored pencil drawings, but it can be particularly effective and attractive in painting. The most difficult part of painting in sepia tones is finding or mixing the colors, otherwise it would be virtually identical to converting colors to shades of gray. The major difference being that instead of black you will have the darkest red-orange-brown shade at one end of the scale and white at the other.

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Creating an animated movie.

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Artograph 10-Inch-by-12-Inch LightTracer Light BoxPoser 7 3D Figure Design and Animation (Win/Mac) [OLD VERSION]Drawing Cartoons and Comics For DummiesCreating an animation is a simple but labor intensive process. Be prepared to spend days, weeks, months or even years drawing (either by hand or using a digital application) to make an animation that lasts only a few seconds. While it can be a bit of a hassle it can be a satisfying experience to create an animation like those of Hayao Miyazaki, creator of My Neighbor Totoro, or Walt Disney.

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Integrating art into a college prep curriculum

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Human Anatomy for Artists: The Elements of FormOftentimes, arts education falls to the wayside when it comes time for students to prepare for college. Art programs are usually the first to be trimmed from budgets, although statistics show that students that participate in the arts (e.g., music, theater, dance and visual art) are more likely to succeed in school. Susan Sclafani, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, considers art education to be "Vital to young people's success in school and in life." The arts can be integrated with even an ambitious college preparatory course with relative ease.

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What is the nature of art?

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The Philosophy of Art (Foundations of the Philosophy of the Arts) Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art: The Analytic Tradition: An Anthology (Blackwell Philosophy Anthologies)What is the nature of art?
It seems that there are two different views from which to approach contemporary art. You have one side where all people expect is essentially a pretty image that they can use to decorate space or a wall. On the other hand there is a sort of expectation, in what you could call the more "real art" world, of "deep" meaning being embedded into a piece of art, when in reality that "meaning" is imposed by an external source (by the viewer, reviewer, gallery, etc). I think that this is a throwback to one of the original uses of art (or what we now call art) as a means to show God, for example the prototypical Venus: a wide hipped mother Goddess with pendulous breasts. She was not "art" to the people who made her, but a visual reminder or representation of their gods. Now however, this human tendency to add meaning where there is none is taken advantage of by hustlers and salespeople who market art for the masses. Despite this easily manipulated trait, the art world remains active and possibly because of these hustlers, it remains fresh and ever changing.

A friend once told me that conceptual art is what is made by writers with no talent. I think this is an interesting concept. "Bullshit" is well known facet of the art world. You can find it everywhere from the titles of pieces to excessively long and detailed descriptions of the art and even in how people speak about it. Strangely enough, talent is not a prerequisite for becoming an artist. It is more important for the creator to speak or write well and have the skill to communicate ideas. Essentially the making of art is the practice of making ideas tangible and in some cases physical.