When I'm not Around, An Interview

I am very happy to present you with my first official interview for a printed publication. When I’m Not Around is an interview by Peter Cusack, artist and Editor-in-Chief, for COCOA (The Journal of Cornwall Contemporary Arts). COCOA is a scholarly quarterly publication focusing on well known and emerging artist in today's art world. To receive a hard copy visit www.cocoa.foundation for subscription options.

5 x 5 Exhibition and Fundraiser


I'm pleased to announce that I have been asked to include a small work on paper for an online exhibition and fundraiser at Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art in California.  All work will be available to view and bid online by visiting https://westmont.edu/museum/5x5


Description of the event below:

"This exhibition will feature hundreds of small 5 inch square works by regional, national, and international artists. Artists were invited to create a unique work of art on a square of Rives BFK paper which they received and returned to us in the U.S. Mail. Returned works will be auctioned to raise support for arts programming at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art."

Untitled, 2020, ballpoint pen on Rives BFK paper, 5 x 5 inches

This is the drawing I made and it has been a nice departure from my Moleskine sketchbook drawings.  This was a good excuse and exercise to test the possibilities of a ballpoint pen with a softer and slightly more texture paper like Rives BFK.  The advantage to drawing on this paper with pen is that I was able to get very soft areas without much effort.  The downside of this paper is that I was not able to get deeper tones because the paper was too soft and acted as a cushion for the pen.  In all I'm pleased with this test run and I will be making more of these drawings on different papers and see where that takes me.  

3 Virtual Exhibitions

Many things have been going on since the shut down in NYC, there has been a lot of drawing going on, new series of works are on the way, and then there are these three online exhibitions.  

The first one kicking off this group is TERRA INCOGNITA, a group exhibition organized by the newly formed The QNS Collective.  I am very honored and happy to be part of this group of wonderful artists and human beings.   Here's a statement from our group's website: 

"The QNS Collective is a tight-knit group of artists who originally met when they all lived in Queens, New York, during the same period. As each made their way to NYC to commence their art careers, they founded an art critique group that met monthly in each other’s living rooms to share and discuss their work. Many nights of creative exchange, shared input, and general merriment led to artistic growth. Though they have since scattered across the world, their bond over creating compelling art remains. At the onset of the current global pandemic, they strengthened their connection to provide support for each other. They have virtually gathered on this platform to share their creative efforts. " 

On Friday, April 17, The QNS Collective launched the exhibition TERRA INCOGNITA with a zoom opening reception which included talks by the participating artists and a tour of a virtual gallery space in which our works hung to scale.  This was such a memorable evening in which we all were able to explain our work to those who joined and also share our mutual concerns and vulnerabilities during this time of pandemic.  The exhibition is still up on the group's website and you can view by clicking the links above or by going here: https://www.theqnscollective.com/terra-incognita

The second exhibition to follow is Trees of Life, curated by Dina Brodsky and hosted by The Blue Review.  Again I am very honored to have been included in a group of high caliber artists.  Here's a statement from the exhibition: 
"This virtual exhibition, curated by The Blue Review, features twelve talented artists from across the US. We focused on trees as they have a special symbolism in the current environment when the medical workers stand strong, tall, and often unprotected in the face of grueling working conditions in nursing homes and clinics. Much like the enduring tree in the wind. They are a reminder to us all that we can, and we will, persevere.     
For every purchase, 50% of the sale price will be a tax-deductible donation towards putting protective equipment in the hands of front-line medical staff. The rest goes towards supporting the artists at a time of great need." 

The third exhibition and the most recent is Biophilia, organized by Sugarlift.  I have worked with Sugarlift in the past year and I'm very happy to have been included in this exhibition amongst a group of very talented artists.  Below a statement from the exhibition: 

"Biophilia is an exhibition celebrating the natural world. As the weather warms and many of us continue to shelter-in-place and self-isolate, 30 artists offer us our daily nature prescription in paintings and drawings of everything from abundant landscapes to a few sprouts peeking out of city sidewalks.
Biophilia is the first of Sugarlift’s #allforartists campaigns in 2020."

On Thursday, May 21, Sugarlift hosted a virtual gallery opening via Zoom, with the curators doing an hour tour of the exhibition through a virtual gallery.  There were some artists highlight and discussion about the works, and amazingly over two hundred people joined. 

Before the Shut Down

For quite some time I had been thinking about doing something with my monotype ghost prints,  I have so many of them and I know they have potential to be more than just faint prints.  A while back I mounted some of them onto wood panels, the idea was to go over them with egg tempera and use the ghost as an under drawing.  It didn't work well after my first try, so I gave up on that idea momentarily until I could gather the nerve to try again.  But what about the ghost prints that were printed on really nice paper, what do I do with them?  How can I bring these ghosts back to life?

After seeing the 2016 MoMA exhibition, Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty, I realized that my monotype ghosts prints could have life beyond their current, faded state.  Degas went over his ghost prints with pastels, I never knew that and found it fascinating!  That was the little seed that caused a hum in my head to for a while.  Although I admired Degas's process, it was not for me.  I have never enjoyed working with pastels, either chalk or oil.  How can I use these ghosts prints and turn them into new works of art?  How can I approach it without repeating something that has already been done?

One night, it's always at night when my light bulb turns on(yes there are many puns in this blog post, but not intentionally), it occurred to me that I could draw over one of my ghosts and see how it turns out.  I mainly wanted to try out the ink and glass pen I received as a Christmas gift.  I have never seen a glass pen in person and had no idea how it would work.  After trying it out I realized that there was something substantial here that I could pursue.

I decided to buy a fountain pen with an extra fine nib.  I have been buying fountain pens in the last two years trying to find the right one for me, but after buying this Lamy Al-Star I stopped my search.  I was able to get the quality of line I've been looking for, and it brought the process a little closer to the pen work I've been doing in my sketchbooks.  Then it hit me...most of these prints started out as rough drawings or sketches in my sketchbook.  By drawing on top of the ghosts I was bringing the image back full circle to where it began.

I have continued this new process during the NYC shut down, and the drawings have taken on a new life.  Since this Lamy pen purchase I have added four more to my collection and another one coming in the mail soon.  And for each pen I have also purchased a different color of ink.  It's become a thing!!!

Please keep checking back soon for more posts.  For a while I left this blog unattended because Instagram took over the way I shared my work with the world.  Also I thought I had run out of interesting words and ideas to write about, but things are beginning to happen and take off.   I now feel the need to share more on recent happenings and development of new work.  Besides you can't ramble for days on Instagram because people's attention span is very short on that platform.  So do come back, I promise to get better at this.  Till next time be well and stay creative!