Tag Archives: art

Maria Macedonio-Ritter – Intimacy Knitted in a Quilt

MariaMacedonio-RitterIslipMuseumBy Caitlyn Shea

Maria Macedonio-Ritter is an artist that is uniquely skilled in both traditional painting and conceptual quilt making.  In her newest work, Come Unity-A Quilt For One Another, Macedonio-Ritter took on the unique challenge of creating a quilt that incorporates human hair.  In this project she reflected on the extremely intimate nature of working with the hair of both strangers and loved ones, and chose to also include notes from family and friends that remain illegible in the work.  When installed as part of Islip Art Museum’s It’s Getting Hairy exhibit, the quilt will be hung parallel to the gallery’s fireplace.  Macedonio-Ritter states: “The fireplace, a feature that we welcome in our homes, represents a delicate balance, as it is potentially aggressive, however, when controlled provides warmth and security.”  The overall finished product is very innovative and the fresh-perspective on the tradition of quilt making exposes the vulnerability of those who donated a part of themselves to it.  It also speaks to the vulnerable nature of humanity as a whole.

Macedonio-Ritter explains:

“The hair was donated by family members and friends and even some people who I don’t know. I left a description of the project for my hairdresser at The Cutting Club in Blue Point, and people donated their hair.  When I told people about the project they were excited to donate their hair because they felt as though they were a part of a piece of art.  As I created the quilt it became something bigger. Everyone struggles with something in life and the quilt became more of a prayer, it was quite an emotional project.”

When she is not working on conceptual quilts, Macedonio-Ritter paints vibrant, expressive paintings in a variety of different styles and techniques.  She is successful at capturing the essence of many different art genres and shares her knowledge as an art teacher in the Connetquot Central School District and as Director of The Center for Visual Arts in Blue Point, New York.  Creating gestural paintings of animals is where she feels most at home, and hopes these paintings inspire viewers to examine their relationships with animals.  Her figurative and conceptual works are unified by a strong sense of gesture and color that are apparent throughout her bodies of work.MariaMRQuiltEastEndArtsResidency

When I asked Macedonio-Ritter where her inspiration stems from, she replied: “I have always loved the work of Grace Hartigan. I also admire the way she stayed true to who she was as a painter rather than following what was popular.   My quilt works address another concern of mine. My primary goal in these works is to push the limitations of how painting is defined. I decided to eliminate the surface for pigment so that the painting could be viewed on either side.  I feel my father, who is not a painter, but a very creative person, has influenced me by always showing me how to take the road less traveled.”

Macedonio-Ritter’s work is on display from October 1st to November 1st at the Islip Art Museum. SPARKBOOMTM will co-curate the show along with Beth Giacummo, including the closing reception on November 1st, “Things Are Getting Hairy”, featuring a Hair Sculpture Show, food, music, Mythological Costume Contest, and of course, all of the amazing artists on display.  Visit islipartmuseum.org for more info and check out the official FB event.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlyn SImagehea is a professional fine art painter. She studied Studio Art and Art History at Pratt Institute and Skidmore College before graduating with a BFA from Adelphi University in 2011. Outside of her studio, Shea is captivated by the pluralism that exists in art today, and the ways in which individual artists define themselves and their practices in order to carve out a unique career. By interviewing participating SPARKBOOMTM artists, Shea looks to develop a dialogue between practicing artists and an audience that does not only include other art experts, but people who have a newfound urge to become involved in experiencing the work of fresh, exciting artists.

 

 

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Evan Venegas – Manipulating the Grid

ev16-mix-editBy Caitlyn Shea

Evan Venegas paints visual labyrinths that encapsulate the rhythm and pulse of the urban landscape.  His abstract paintings feature complex compositions and enticing color relationships. Venegas takes us on an aerial journey to NYC, and expresses his love for the ever-shifting city.  He does not work from photos, and instead relies upon his own experiences in the boroughs to navigate the puzzle-like environments that he concocts.

Although NYC is known for its unpredictable nature, the city was designed based on a grid; and that is exactly where Venegas begins laying out his paintings.  The grid is apparent in his paintings and gives them a strong sense of structure and order.  The order is then disrupted and pushed beyond its limits by tumultuous shapes that break into the predetermined planes.  Venegas explains: “I use the backdrop of the grid as a starting point. Then I allow myself to playfully connect, intercept and manipulate the spaces inside this simple structure. This is an expression of what I think happens in the city. “

Music is inherent in each CFBL712painting; the painterly choices he makes are reminiscent of expressionist painters that were influenced by jazz.   Venegas’ father was a musician and he stressed the importance of continuously practicing.  Venegas recalls: “Through extensive practicing, you can reach a point where playing the right note becomes second nature. Then you have the freedom to improvise, using your intuition but with a sophisticated working knowledge. I made a seemingly rebellious decision to not become a musician when I was younger. I decided visual art was what I wanted to explore. I adopted the same principles my father taught me about playing music, but I use tone and variation of color as my musical notes.”

LostGrid-A28Not everyone sees the cities that Venegas creates; in fact viewers see many different objects and concepts in his paintings.  Venegas does embrace viewers bringing their own interpretations to his work.  He explains: “I never intended for people to have this experience. But I started to hear early on in my painting career that this is what was happening. It’s enough for me as an artist to make something that others can lose them self in and take a break from reality. Also, I am fascinated with the imagery people come up with in their minds.”

Evan is one of many artists exhibiting artwork at Sparkboom’s Artspace Unplugged. The work will be on display until August 14th at 20 Terry Street in Patchogue.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlyn SImagehea is a professional fine art painter. She studied Studio Art and Art History at Pratt Institute and Skidmore College before graduating with a BFA from Adelphi University in 2011. Outside of her studio, Shea is captivated by the pluralism that exists in art today, and the ways in which individual artists define themselves and their practices in order to carve out a unique career. By interviewing participating SPARKBOOMTM artists, Shea looks to develop a dialogue between practicing artists and an audience that does not only include other art experts, but people who have a newfound urge to become involved in experiencing the work of fresh, exciting artists.

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Nicholas Raffel – Reading Between the Lines

By Erin Corrigan

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“Far Far Away”

From sleep deprived doodling, to articulate drawings woven into graphic design. Nicholas Raffel, currently situated in East Quogue Long Island, is not your ordinary artist. Nicholas initialized his hobby for drawing directly out of high school, while also attempting to narrow down some sort of career goal. Among the time Nicholas spent with his pen to paper, an overwhelming sense of peace and solitude began to take hold of him. This exercise within escapism began to play a significant role in his life, as well as his art work. Nicholas himself claims that, “this notion of introspection has continued to be the real underpinning of all my work.”  This, claiming to have started as nothing more than a therapeutic, release from the tight grip of insomnia, as well as a busy mind.

Nicholas is someone who draws inspiration from non-visual things, for example the melody projecting from a favorite record or even the sound of something being read aloud. He believes his past, having touched base with being a musician, also adds an element of reasoning behind notions on motivation. Aside from auditory stimulus, Nicholas likes to keep a close eye on comic strips. He even claims to be particularly drawn to Peanuts comics. Nicholas quotes, “Obviously my stuff is a bit more ‘out there’ than Charlie Brown, but I try to make sure that there’s a sort of youthful naiveté that comes through.”

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“Catch Some Z’s”

Although Nicholas himself has finally discovered his calling for the study of graphic design, he says that he is still trying to locate and assemble the missing puzzle pieces. In order to pursue a career in the name of art, you must be willing to try new things and experiment. Nicholas says that when he first followed this desire to draw, he was doing a whole lot of painting. Once he proceeded through his painting spell, he realized it was simply not for him, and that the work he was producing what just not up to par with what he believed to be acceptable. Now, although Nicholas found no sanctuary in the art of painting, he truly believes that it was beneficial to the way in which he draws today.

You can view more of Nicholas Raffel’s funky, eye-tripping drawings at SPARKBOOM™’s “ArtSpace Unplugged” event Saturday August 9th from 6-10PM located on 20 Terry Street in Patchogue. With this occasion featuring over 40 different artists, four live musical acts, free Craft Beer courtesy of Saint James Brewery and a selection of tasty treats thanks to Mia’s River Avenue Deli… It sort of makes it impossible for you not to come. So RSVP here via FB and I promise you won’t regret it! If you simply cannot wait until then, check Nicholas’ stuff out here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

IMG_1801Erin Corrigan is an aspiring writer with an open mind. She believes that music, art and poetry are the essential nutrients for every soul. Giving a voice to the budding faces of the literary and fine arts community is what she’s here to accomplish!

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Jeffrey Allen Price – Reconfiguring What is Mundane

By Jenna Weisbrickolages_wall_full_corner_test6_20_14sm

With his inventive methods in recomposing materials and symbolic gestures, the work of Jeffrey Allen Price is something to take a deeper look at. Broken down into several series of works all named by literal puns from the artist it is the reaction from nature that grounds these pieces. As a jack of all trades in the art world from paintings to performance art to installations, Price chose to encounter his art his own way using materials from his own life and his studio to assist. As a result aesthetically beautiful and intriguing works of art is created with unconventional, nature relying processes, alluding to the passage of time, death, and decay.

This artist has truly been dedicated to his work for the past 20 years not only collecting materials but also tending to his ABSORPTION MODULES. ABMODS, for short, is paper that has been stained with natural substances, weighed dimageown outdoors for a significant amount of time to be affected by nature. Prepared stacks of paper un-perfected by nature combined with the precise amount of care by Price, as if tending to a garden. He explains “After a period of weeks or months, I determine by aesthetic “feel” which GardenStacks are “ripe” and ready to be “harvested.”  They are then collected, dried and prepared to be “consumed,” or made ready for exhibition.” The natural process of the decaying paper corresponds to the same process of death. Price states “Their slowly disintegrating surfaces mimic the process of death. Absorption Modules absorb time.”

Jeffrey Allen Price will be exhibiting his work at SPARKBOOM’s ArtSpace Unplugged event Saturday, August 9th from 6-10 PM at 20 Terry Street in Patchogue, NY. Come experience his ritualistic configuration of the mundane. RSVP via Facebook here.

Explore Jeffrey’s website here: www.jeffreyallenprice.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

rain roomJenna Weis grew up on Long Island and graduated from Commack High School in 2007. She received her Associates Degree in Visual Arts from Suffolk Community College then went on to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Criticism from Stony Brook University. This is her second summer working for SPARKBOOMTM, first as Lead Blogger. She hopes the blog will really engage readers to want to see more of the artists work at our SPARKBOOMTM events and help further promote the artists themselves.

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Hugo McCarthy – The Man Behind the Make-Up

Hugo Hugo “CosGoblin” McCarthy is more than just a local Cosplayer. He is a Special Effects Make-Up Artist who has studied under Vince Collura of Action VanceFX and Wren Budd currently holding an internship at GutRotFX, a premiere special effects company on Long Island.

The combination of Halloween and belonging to a group of nerds got him into Cosplay. “Instead of going for generic costumes for Halloween, my friends and I wanted to accurately imitate our favorite anime or comic book characters. The occasional home-made Halloween costume inevitably escalated once I started going to conventions and events, but the actual cosplaying (imitating and acting as the character you are dressed as) started with Halloween costumes.” His first Cosplay was either Chucky, the killer doll from Child’s Play, or Cait Sidth, from Final Fantasy VII.

To explain how he picks his Cosplays, he says; “Usually, I’ll get into something and just find a character I really like, with a design I really enjoy, and then I’ll try to recreate that look. That, or a friend will recommend something to me and I’ll start doing the research on it, and then I just end up getting into whatever the character is from that way. That’s actually how I got into Blue Exorcist, my friend recommended that I cosplay Mephisto Pheles.”

To Hugo, Cosplaying simply means “hanging out with friends, doings things we love, spending a lot of time and money to create something we can be proud to wear. All around, to me, cosplay just means fun. I’m very much the type to say “do what you love and forget everyone else”, and that’s how I tend to view cosplay. If your cosplay isn’t the best one out there, or if your body type “doesn’t match”…do it anyway. As long as you’re comfortable, and you’re having fun, that’s all you really need.”

Cosplaying is how he discovered Special Effects make-up. He recalls; “I had always done my own make-up for my joker cosplay, but it wasn’t until I had done a cosplay of “The Spine”, a character from the band “Steam Powered Giraffe”, that I really looked in the mirror and said “hey…this came out really nice…I think I might like to do this for a living!””

hugo pictureSo, what does it mean to do be a special effects make-up artist? Hugo explains; “Well mostly my job as a make-up artist is to make things look believable, whether it’s meant to be realistic or not. If I’m making someone look beat up, I have to make that bruise I’m painting look like a real bruise! If I’m recreating a character face, it’s not going to look real of course, but it has to look believable. For example, if I’m doing make-up for the comic book version of “The Joker”. While yes, he is a cartoon, I have to be able to translate that look into real-world facial anatomy.”

According to Hugo the differences between Horror make-up and other types of application is this – Horror make-up has many more angles and accentuation involved, not to mention the blood and gore. “Mostly, when it comes to say, Zombie make-up, verses Beauty make-up, it’s really a difference of making someone look less healthy (Zombie) or more healthy (Beauty), for lack of a better comparison.” While he is proud of his Horror make-up application, he actually considers hand-painted characters to be his specialty.

At Cosplay Sunday, his lecture: “Horror make-up and Special Effects with drug store supplies” will explain how to apply Zombie and Injury make-up, such as cuts and bruises. Whether you want to incorporate these skills into your next cosplay or you just want a new activity to gross out your friends, you should definitely check this out.

RSVP to CosPlay Sunday via Facebook.

See Hugo’s lecture and meet other Cosplayers this Sunday on July 27th.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

photo Alyssa Hesse is an intern at SPARKBOOM™ and studying Business Management at Adelphi University. When Alyssa isn’t working, she can be found on her unicycle or with her three cats.. When she graduates next year she hopes to make a career in industrial stage management.

 

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The Inner Workings of Oliver Peterson

Big_Top_by_oliver_peterson

“Big Top”

By Jenna Weis

Inspiration can come from almost anywhere in any form and according to artist Oliver Peterson the world offers such an abundance of creative influences that drive his artistic endeavors. From history, literature, and films to the paranormal and comic books, just about anything worth experiencing is of interest to the artist. Using found materials that intrigue his senses, Peterson constructs eye-catching collages of expressive and energetic responses to the subject matter at hand. With a BFA from the School of Visual arts and an MFA in writing from Long Island University, his artistic eye and experience as a journalist shine through his pieces that not only are visually compelling but also communicate with the viewer.

Elegy_by_oliver_peterson

“Elegy”

The physical act of art making is a main factor in how these pieces are produced. Each element relating to the next then arranged based on the particular subject matter and Peterson’s creative conscience. Peterson explains “Visually, it just happens through small decisions and what’s available to me at the time. Content-wise, it can be random, but more and more I find themes and follow them through as I go. I rarely set out to do anything. I prefer to let the process be my guide.” Combining paint, patinas, paper and relevant materials his 2D pieces work so naturally all together and individually. It is as if these materials, colors, and ideas were meant to coincide within one work of art.

"Apes On Planet"

“Apes On Planet”

Peterson’s more recent journey has delved into his love of comic books and action figures. With an immense toy collection of his own, he removed them from their boxes and took photos as a more laid back and light hearted way let out his creativity. He says “Photographing them is a way to interact and have fun with my toys in a way that’s at least a tiny bit more adult than sitting on the floor and playing with them!… The toys photos provided a way for me to be creative without all the pressures and demands I had set for myself with the other medium.” When I asked if there was a certain message to his work he said there wasn’t, just his way to let it be known that he is present in the world .Or as he cleverly puts it… “This is me. Here’s all the s*** that’s making noise in my head. I want it out and you seem to enjoy looking at it!”

Come view Oliver’s work at SPARKBOOM’s Artspace Unplugged event August 9th at 20 Terry Street in Patchogue from 6-10PM. There will an abundance of art to see, live acoustic music and craft beer and food courtesy of Saint James Brewery and Mia’s River Avenue Deli! RSVP here via FB!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

rain roomJenna Weis grew up on Long Island and graduated from Commack High School in 2007. She received her Associates Degree in Visual Arts from Suffolk Community College then went on to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Criticism from Stony Brook University. This is her second summer working for SPARKBOOMTM, first as Lead Blogger. She hopes the blog will really engage readers to want to see more of the artists work at our SPARKBOOMTM events and help further promote the artists themselves.

 

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The Constant Creative Flow of Jennifer Jimenez

By Erin Corrigan

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“Allyx”

There is something to be said about a person who has discovered a sense of tranquility and stimulation through the process of authentic craft-making with their own, bare hands. Jennifer Jimenez, a recent graduate of Stony Brook University, is living proof of the endless possibilities intertwined with the notion of being an artist.

Jennifer received a bachelors degree in Art and Art History and Criticism, which is what she chose to double major in while attending her years at SB. Jennifer is someone who walks through life with an open and eager mind. She says she enjoys expanding her knowledge regarding other artists, whether their talents be prolific in the past, or in the present; whichever way their mark is made, she doesn’t discriminate. She hopes to one day be a successful, professional artist herself and is more than willing to put her hand to the test.

Jennifer dabbles in an array of creative outlets, which certainly helps with keeping her eye sharp and her hand steady. For instance, you can find bona fide handmade pieces by Miss. Jimenez in many different forms. She perfects her craft in everything from drawing, painting and printmaking, to sewing, crocheting and jewelry-making. Needless to say, she finds it absolutely necessary to keep a consistent flow of projects moving day by day. This is what keeps her creativity beating with a steady pulse.

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“Beatris”

Although Jennifer is currently a proactive member of the art community, she did not always feel like it was possible to pursue the study of art and obtain a successful career. Just when she was sure that following such a dream would leave her unsupported and unrecognized, she won an art achievement award at her community college. This was just the push she needed to realize the talent that extended far beyond her fingertips. Soon after, Jennifer made a bold move and refined the title of her major; allowing her to pursue the study of fine arts as a visual artist.

Come support the local artists’ of your community Saturday, June 21st at the Walt Whitman Birthplace for the SPARKBOOM kickoff event, “Beards, Bards and BOOM” from 7-10 PM. Click here to RSVP. Jennifer Jimenez will have her beautifully constructed paintings on display and you can meet the creator herself! For more information about Jennifer Jimenez and her awesome arts and crafts, visit Jennifer Jimenez Art.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

IMG_1801Erin Corrigan is an aspiring writer with an open mind. She believes that music, art and poetry are the essential nutrients for every soul. Giving a voice to the budding faces of the literary and fine arts community is what she’s here to accomplish!

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Jin-kang Park – Artist, Day-Dreamer, Visualizer

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©2014 Barry Rosenthal

By Caitlyn Shea

Jin-kang Park’s conceptual artworks are infused with a sense of longing and missed connections.  Growing up in South Korea, where many families are separated by war, Park moved to the United States to pursue an arts education.  This redefined her self-identity and it had a powerful impact on her work. She describes: “When I first came here, I worked based on my memories and thoughts about the different social roles I had assumed in my life (daughter, artist, citizen etc). I never experienced a major disaster so far, but it’s the smaller moments of my life among people, observing them or even walking on the street, that have been influencing my work.”

Park works across many different mediums including interactive installations andjinkangpark02 performance.  Her entire body of work takes on a delicate, ephemeral quality.  The presence of the artist is felt in her manipulation of materials; however there is a strong role of chance and unexpected results.  When viewing her installations, one is left with the impression that her works could be disrupted or changed easily by outside forces, which is something that she embraces.

Park’s ideas always come to her before the materials she chooses to use.  She has studied the basics of electronics, dance and even magic.  For the last 6 years she has been captivated by yarn and fabric, so she is currently learning to use a loom.  In her blog, she embraces artists across many different mediums, including painting.  It delights her to find any artist that is passionate and “crazy about something.”  Her inspiration also comes from day-dreaming.  She says:

“I love spending time doing nothing. The time I lie still, visualizing what I want to make is pivotal. Drawing, which is the next step, helps me to clarify the details of the project. Then, I am finally ready to build the work.”

Park walks us through her approach to the individual installation she produced for the SPARKBOOM Beards, Bards, and BOOM event:

“The land always tries to go back to nature. No matter what you build, it will be corroded and assimilated into nature over time. When I was invited to exhibit at Walt Whitman Birth Place, inspired by Walt Whitman’s poems, I wanted to make something harmonious with nature. I found the perfect place for my project behind his statue. It is a hidden space full of weeds surrounded by three trees. When I was standing there, I felt the warm sunlight through the tree leaves and it put me in a contemplative mood. I made a structure with metal bars and tied it with green threads repeatedly. From afar, my work looks like some object that changes its colors to blend in with the surroundings and camouflage itself. “

-VIDEO EXCLUSIVE-

See Jin Kang-Park’s new piece during SPARKBOOM‘s KICKOFF event,  “Beards, Bards, and BOOM””, at The Walt Whitman Birthplace on Saturday, June 21st from 7-10PM. RSVP here. Visit her website at jinkangpark.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlyn SImagehea is a professional fine art painter. She studied Studio Art and Art History at Pratt Institute and Skidmore College before graduating with a BFA from Adelphi University in 2011. Outside of her studio, Shea is captivated by the pluralism that exists in art today, and the ways in which individual artists define themselves and their practices in order to carve out a unique career. By interviewing participating SPARKBOOMTM artists, Shea looks to develop a dialogue between practicing artists and an audience that does not only include other art experts, but people who have a newfound urge to become involved in experiencing the work of fresh, exciting artists.

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Eric Araujo and his “House Project”

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Credit: Terry Carroll

By Caitlyn Shea

Eric Araujo is a meticulous craftsman that bridges the gap between utilitarian objects and conceptual art.  His drawings of the human body read like anatomy textbooks overlaid with practical mechanical renderings.  He seamlessly brings his attention to detail into 3-D works as well.  In his ongoing series House Project, Araujo salvages discarded materials in order to build impermanent housing structures for homeless people.  Beyond a major act of kindness, these houses mimic the pre-existing houses in the neighborhoods they are placed in and make a powerful statement about the unspoken rift amongst the area’s “haves” and “have-nots.”

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Credit: Terry Carroll

In the eyes of homeless people and neighborhood residents, Araujo’s houses must seem to appear and then disappear out of thin air.   The artist does not usually have any interaction with the fortunate receivers of the homes or nearby homeowners as he drops his handmade structures off in the darkness of night.  He does recall his first drop off in San Francisco and the suspicious feedback he received from a man named Wallace that had been living on the street.  “He thought I would harm him, like set it on fire! It was shocking as I never considered that as a possible reaction. Ultimately it resulted in his exuberant gratitude remarking;

‘This is the first time I’ve owned a house in all my life. THANK YOU!'”

ConductorAt first glance, Araujo’s human body renderings and houses may seem unrelated; however they speak to the inner-workings of pinnacle human structures.  He explains, “Whether it’s a house or the human body they’re both utilitarian and both impermanent.  They both require maintenance for longevity and a sound skeletal structure to exist well.”  He also notes that our possessions define us the same way that our bodies do. Our objects act “as prosthetics and extensions of our bodies and one could consider our human relationships as reflections of ourselves.”

It comes as no surprise that Araujo works tirelessly in his studios on multiple projects at the same time…

“These days my studio practice is divided between my apartment where I draw and a separate wood shop where I can use power tools and make a mess to build things.  It becomes a practice of time management and patience . . . Making things is like exercising a muscle, just a little bit helps keep muscle memory.  Before I know it I’ve got a body of work.”

During SPARKBOOM‘s2009-0917-113520 kickoff event, viewers will have the opportunity to see and engage with a house boat called “Debbie Sue” first hand.  It speaks to the human need for refuge, especially in the wake of natural disasters such as Sandy and Katrina. Join us at Walt Whitman’s Birthplace for Beards, Bards, and BOOM on June 21st from 7-11PM to explore “Debbie Sue” before it sets sail! RSVP here.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlyn SImagehea is a professional fine art painter. She studied Studio Art and Art History at Pratt Institute and Skidmore College before graduating with a BFA from Adelphi University in 2011. Outside of her studio, Shea is captivated by the pluralism that exists in art today, and the ways in which individual artists define themselves and their practices in order to carve out a unique career. By interviewing participating SPARKBOOMTM artists, Shea looks to develop a dialogue between practicing artists and an audience that does not only include other art experts, but people who have a newfound urge to become involved in experiencing the work of fresh, exciting artists.

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Bill Shillalies – Working with the Elements of Nature

By Caitlyn Shea

billAs a student at Adelphi University I knew Bill Shillalies as an almost permanent fixture in the ceramics studio. He would be teaching, assisting students that were struggling to make their pottery stand up straight, or watching over the huge Anagama kiln. I could never fit his class into my schedule but every time I would be hollowing out a sculpture or standing over buckets of glaze with a worried look, he would appear as if by magic and give me practical guidance so that I could come to a good decision on my own.

I vividly remember seeing a new sculpture hanging in the studio one day. bill3In structure it resembled an iconic beehive. It was a larger piece and many students took a break from their work to crowd around it. Upon closer examination, the surface had a rough organic white texture floating and obscuring the view of a deep dense blue shine. Immediately it took on the enormity of constellations in the night sky, yet still made one contemplate organic and earthly form.  It was unmistakably Bill’s signature aesthetic.

Bill5Conjuring elements of nature, Bill is influenced heavily by his time spent outdoors hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and being near lakes and beaches. He says that he is fascinated by seeing his outdoor works relate with their surroundings. He states “Every time I put them down on the ground it is different, I like to see them change with the seasons.” Elements like snow, dew drops, and rain play with the surface of his sculptures in their respective environments. His wall hangings and pottery also brings a sense of the outdoors to the indoors.

Bill takes pleasure in the surprise elements of sculpture. “I enjoy the things that I have no control over.  Sometimes it hurts and I have to do it over again, but then I might get it to where it makes me smile.” He is most easily defined by his passion for making new work and for his delight in being surrounded by excited sculptors at Adelphi University and Nassau County Community College.

When I asked him where his passion came from he answered:

“Passion is the key word! I was doing very poorly in school because I could not read well or spell. Teachers just did not understand me and wrote me off. I met a teacher whom realized I had dyslexia and another that suggested I major in Ceramics. My life changed and I have been making art every day to keep my hands moving. Lucky me, I love teaching, so my life is whole!”

During SPARKBOOM‘s Kickoff event, “Beards, Bards and BOOM”, Bill Shillalies will have two sculptures in the Walt Whitman Birthplace garden. He has left them untitled and open to the viewer’s own interpretation.  Check it out on June 21st! Click here to RSVP.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlyn SImagehea is a professional fine art painter. She studied Studio Art and Art History at Pratt Institute and Skidmore College before graduating with a BFA from Adelphi University in 2011. Outside of her studio, Shea is captivated by the pluralism that exists in art today, and the ways in which individual artists define themselves and their practices in order to carve out a unique career. By interviewing participating SPARKBOOMTM artists, Shea looks to develop a dialogue between practicing artists and an audience that does not only include other art experts, but people who have a newfound urge to become involved in experiencing the work of fresh, exciting artists.

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