Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bohemian Today, High Rent Tomorrow

(reprinted from Bloomberg Businessweek, Feb 2007)
I'm seriously considering moving lately due to 'artistically outgrowing' this little community I live in, so I've been trolling the Internet for ideas on great Art places etc. Came across this item and although it is dated, I think it still holds true)

Want to know where a great place to invest in real estate will be five or 10 years from now? Look at where artists are living now.
Sociologists and policymakers have long been touting art and culture as the cure-all to economically depressed neighborhoods, cities, and regions. The reason? It has been proven that artists—defined as self-employed visual artists, actors, musicians, writers, etc.—can stimulate local economies in a number of ways.
Artists are often an early sign of neighborhood gentrification. "Artists are the advance guard of what's hip and cool," says Bert Sperling, founder and president of Portland (Ore.)-based Sperling's Best Places and compiler of's list of the Best Places for Artists in America.
Creativity Leads to Growth
Artists, because of their typically lower incomes, usually need to seek out less expensive, developing neighborhoods where they can afford the rent. But because of their creativity they are able to fix up these areas, eventually attracting hip boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. Not all artists are starving. While some are able to achieve success writing, acting, painting, or dancing, others get tired of scraping by as waiters or bartenders and sometimes apply their abilities in more entrepreneurial ways.
Anne Markusen, an economist and professor at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and a leading researcher on the effects of the arts on regional economics, once profiled an abstract painter whose work is now displayed on ceilings and in MRI machines in hospitals across the country. In Markusen's research, artists have also been found to stimulate innovation on the part of their suppliers. A painter may need a certain type of frame that is not manufactured, forcing the frame maker to create a new design that happens to also work well for other artists.
But Markusen also maintains that artists bring more than culture to a community. "Businesses don't often understand the extent to which art affects them," Markusen says. "[Artists] are just as important as science and technology companies."
Nonarts businesses also use artist contractors to improve product design, help with marketing, or even use dramatic theory to solve employee relationship issues. Being a cultural center also helps local businesses attract employees who want to be able to regularly go to the ballet or the theater, hear authors read from their latest books, or attend art gallery openings.
Follow the Money
Due to the individual nature and economics of their work, artists are also some of the most itinerant professionals out there. When relocating, they often look for cities and towns that already have high concentrations of artists and a young, racially and ethnically diverse population. The presence of a nurturing art community in the form of art societies and centers is also essential, especially to young artists.
A low cost of living is important, but many artists make financial sacrifices to live near an art-rich urban center or live in a cheaper neighborhood. Few struggling artists can afford to live in neighborhoods like New York's SoHo and Greenwich Village, or even Williamsburg, which once were artistic havens before attracting wealthier residents. Now you are more likely to find New York-based artists in the Bronx, Brooklyn, or even Philadelphia.
In addition to the presence of like-minded individuals, proximity to wealth is also important. The fact of the matter is that artists can seldom earn a living, let alone become rich, selling to other artists. They need wealthy benefactors to buy their paintings or support their local symphony, which explains why each of the places in the U.S. that we found to be the best for artists are in or located near centers of wealth. Los Angeles, No. 1 on our list, is most commonly associated with the film industry. While the city provides great opportunities for actors and directors, there are equally rich prospects for musicians, artists, writers, and dancers. Of course, the majority of these people can't afford to live in Beverly Hills—at least not until they get their big break—and instead opt for more affordable digs in areas like Echo Park.
Where to Go Now and Sperling's Best Places came up with a list of the best places for artists in the U.S. by identifying the metro areas that have the highest concentrations of artistic establishments. We also looked at the percentage of young people age 25 to 34, population diversity, and concentration of museums, philharmonic orchestras, dance companies, theater troupes, library resources, and college arts programs. Lower cost of living played a part in the selection of some cities but had to be overlooked in others because of other very favorable factors.
Some of the top ten are traditional art "super cities"—one of the reasons Los Angeles leads the list is because it has 56 artistic establishments for every 100,000 people, a diversity index of 84.2, and an arts and culture index of 100 (on a scale of 1 to 100). New York City and San Francisco are also in the top ten. Other places are midsize cities, like hippie havens Santa Fe and Boulder, and country-music nucleus Nashville. Smaller, less-obvious additions include Carson City, Nev., which ranks third for its high concentration of art establishments, and the city of Kingston in New York's Hudson River Valley.
Ready to quit your day job and make art your profession? These metro areas are good places to start. And with all the economic benefits you'll be providing, they should welcome you with open arms.

PS....anyone know of a great and reasonably priced art place to live? Open to suggestions.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

YES, Yes indeed.

On a roll; I'm feeling inspirationally chuffed. Totally in love with painting these big flower backgrounds.

Think I'll go for Sunflowers next.

Anyone have a flower they'd like to see?

p.s. The Title: MANIFEST

Acrylic with Copying Pencil

37X 42

( 2 days later I remember to add this.....sigh....well, look at this 'oops' as an indication of just how excited I am to get onto the next one.

And it's gonna be good!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What A Difference A Year Makes

It occurs to me that it's been just a bit over a year since I started painting the "Rita" paintings. If I recall rightly, I was inspired by a painting I saw at the 'Sooke Fine Arts Show' of 2 women in 1950's bathing suits which made me think of the old photos of mom I had .....and from there we took off. Now that I'm going back and 'reusing' - maybe 'reinterpreting' is the better word - the photos in these new 'Flower' Series I'm doing, I thought it might be interesting to compare the 'first photo' image I used and the paintings ( first one and this latest one) that they inspired.
You can certainly see the growth artistically. I keep telling folks that ask about 'how-do-I-do-it'; there's no secret except to paint and paint and paint. (or whatever your personal form of endeavor takes)
Most noteably > the face!
And we are pleased.
Lower Painting : "Thursday's Child" Sept 2009
Top Painting : "Beginning" Aug 2010 I was writing this post I was also cooking my dinner.

Here's the thing about this particular form of 'multi-tasking'....You need to pay attention or else you will burn the rice.

Learn from the Master, people!

Friday, August 13, 2010

NEXT!! it is. The one that went into the shower with me ....and then some. As you see, we've revamped our background due to the movie about Georgia....most obviously!
But, I am really happy with the end result and am inspired to attempt some more.
And I think that's the point with your journey as an Artist. Constant reinvention. I was having this conversation with 'Gallery Guy' and wondering if I was throwing a 'wrench into the works' by changing the backgrounds, especially as I'm starting to be recognized for the detailed ones I've been doing. He very succinctly pointed out as an Artist, it was your prerogative to change it up. How many Artists have been stuck painting a certain style over and over, ad infinitum, because their public wants the same thing/style? Apparently Pollock went bonkers doing the splat theme. All I can say is that it's exciting to be going this way....... NEXT!!
The painting: ' BEGINNING ' Acrylic with antique Copying pencil Aug 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Strange Days Indeed

I am somewhat, um, bemused by a strange occurrence in my Artist's Life. Yesterday I got an email from a friend asking who was advertising 3 of my paintings to sell in the local paper.
After some posting on Face Book - who and what can't you find out about on that Internet gossip-shop - I got the answer to my query.
Turns out to be a local soul that some years ago commissioned me for a special painting; a very large special painting; and is now moving and doesn't want to have the hassle of moving the piece as well.
That's all well and good and I actually don't have an issue with this - I learned long ago to 'let go' of what I create after it becomes someone else's property. I have had someone tell me they found a work of mine in a down island 'Sally Ann' so if your in possession of a fragile ego, an Artist is not something you should be. You'll never come out alive. What makes me bemusedly smile, is how much this person wants for the works. It's kind of a 'backasswards' compliment, if you see what I mean.
And I'm not dead yet......

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wait For It....

Ever wonder how inspiration happens? Or why?
I do.
I've just had one of those 'where-in-hello-did-that-come-from' moments with this painting. It's completely morphed into another 'thing' on me. What with all the background hoop-de-do I've been going through, this last vision is just making me get real excited.
And it happened because I watched a great little movie called "Georgia O'Keeffe" with Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons. Exceptional film. And, of course, being as Ms. O'Keeffe is a personal icon; hugely inspirational.
It did make me wash off the second background I'd done on this painting mind you, ('cept I washed it off outside this time!) And I admit that I thought I'd truly done a major flop at first and was going to have to wash it off as well, but, by all the angels of the great creative spirit, it's REALLY fine.
Now I'm in the dilemma of not knowing if I should throw out this totally different look.....
Told you my imagination makes me crazy!
The painting: "The Inspiration of St. Matthew by Carravaggio" needed some of the old masters.

Friday, August 6, 2010


This is what happens when Jams wants me to pay attention to her and I'm painting. Well, first she jumps on the canvas and I yell and toss her off. She then skulks slowly back to my side and rubs up against the wet paint.
Strangely, I happen to have the same pinkish streak across my chops as well.
Isn't there some theory about how pets and owners come to resemble each other?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Studio High Jinks

It seems I'm channeling the 3 Stooges in the studio with this current painting. It may be the size but then, I'm open to suggestion...(s)
After that previous 'bathing' episode this latest incident has me wondering.
Being a hopefully eco-conscious Artist citizen of this good Earth, I mix up my own paint colors in recycled containers. These can be anything from old yogurt tubs to small glass jars or plastic vitamin bottles (my personal fav) Yes, so, as I paint I'm generally surrounded by the various lids of these containers and they can pile up around me as the painting session continues. Eventually though, we must match the lid to the jar to 'tidy' up as we need some space to eat.
Following so far?
Yesterday after an intense couple of hours and 5 jars, it was time to end. I was matching lids to jars - as aforementioned - when I discovered one lid gone astray. I looked all around. I moved various piles of reference materials to peer under for said lid. I looked under couch. I went into all rooms in Artist Hovel....all to no avail. All this effort took about 3/4 of an hour with me getting more and more pissed with could I have mislaid one stupid lid? Eventually I just wrapped a piece of plastic wrap and elastic band around the open jar and went off to eat. As I was sitting there munching on my homemade cranberry pita bread, I realized there was something stuck to the underside of my elbow.
You guessed it.....the lid.
What makes me laugh ruefully the most at this happening, is how long I walked around searching for the damn thing and it was on my elbow all the time.
Just call me "Moe".

The painting is: "Painting Myself Into A Corner" by Lee Harvey Roswell (TRUE name! or maybe he changed the originally born-with one.....artistic prerogative)

Monday, August 2, 2010

All Wrapped Up

I've been all wrapped up in my latest painting. (and I mean this literally as well as figuratively - read on) I've had to build my own frame because I want to create a LARGE painting for the next show I'm entering :The Sidney Fine Arts Show (delivery date Sept. 12th) so that took a bit of work. I ended up recycling an old panel I created some years back to hang artwork on at events and as it's been sitting outside for a while now this meant a bit of effort to cut to size, sand down and paint. Then stretch the canvas over and prime....good workout for arms and shoulders. The new canvas is : 42" X 37" and that was a bit of a 'oops' as I forgot to allow for end attaching on the frame and inadvertently added an inch. It was meant to be 36"....ah well.
In any case, I've revisited an old pose from the 'Rita' series - "THURSDAY'S CHILD" which was the first one I ever did and I really notice the difference in drawing this time. The FACE - remember me and my 'faces'? - well, I'm greatly improved. Cool, that!
The background has been some process, mind you. I had a great photo of roses I took that I fooled with in Adobe and got one tinkered-with result that really excited me. I printed it out on rice paper - a painstakingly attention focused deal as I had to 'babysit' each sheet of paper going through the printer (rice paper is very thin and I got a lot of discards) Took some time to apply the sheets to the canvas as well and as much as I liked the finished result - somewhat 'gramma's wallpaper-ish - when I painted over the first block it all went flat. So, and you have to picture this, I had to wrestle this large canvas into the shower with me and scrub off the background. Water was going everywhere and I managed to plug up the drain pretty good so spent a few moments 'plunging'...really, it would have made a very 'instructional' video!
X-rated mind.....
Anypleasemakethevisualstopway, I am contemplating my thoughts on a new background this morning. I think I know now how to make it work by refocusing on the message I'd like to convey with this painting.
It's always a journey to create your vision.
And you thought I just sat down and out it came, huh?

The painting is : Free Wrap by the Iranian woman artist, Pooneh Jafari Nejad. and I sure hope she is able to still paint in that misogynist part of the world.