Archive for April, 2014

April 24, 2014

It’s Show time Baby!!!!!!!!!!

This blog/site was started as a way to communicate the realities of what goes on in an artist’s studio.  At least in my studio.  At this point in time I am working towards a show on May 23rd.    I thought I would share my checklist to date for this opening. Remember this is a one-night event and this list does not include all the stuff that Amy will be working nor does it include  wine/beer that needs drunk, laundry that needs done, homework help, and dinners……

MY         “List of things 2 do”  

  • Meet with Amy to discuss idea for show
  • Start searching for a space
  • Put out feelers for interesting spaces
  • Meet and view spaces
  • Negotiate space rental – often two or three trips and meetings
  • Hand over details to Amy and she takes care of it from there.  This is a happy moment for me.
  • Budget for Catering, food, wine – Amy organizes another happy moment for me
  • Design invites and shows posters
  • Get invites and posters to printer
  • Approve invites and posters
  • Pick up and pay for invites and posters
  • Distribute invites and Posters by pony express, Christy, Amy, and friends.
  • Arrange for professional HD photos to be taken of new works
  • Arrange for transport of said works to be taken to HD photo studio
  • Approve photos and pay photographer
  • Arrange for works to be brought home and pay transport
  • Take disc with HD photos to printer
  • Approve prints
  • Pick up prints and pay printer
  • Number and sign each print
  • Organize transportation for pick up of work on day of set up and for tare down
  • Negotiate price for transportation
  • Write all provenances for each work
  • Price works – then instantly forget them – this part always makes me feel dirty
  • Create labels for show

That’s enough for now.  I guess my point is that this list is just scratching the surface of what goes into a show.  I would imagine most people stopped reading the list about half way, cause to be honest I damn near lost the will to live around the advertising and poster bit….

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An interesting study out of the UK


Artists ‘have structurally different brains’

Coloured brain pathwaysBrain scans revealed artists have more grey matter in parts of their brains

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Artists have structurally different brains compared with non-artists, a study has found.

Participants’ brain scans revealed that artists had increased neural matter in areas relating to fine motor movements and visual imagery.

The research, published in NeuroImage, suggests that an artist’s talent could be innate.

But training and environmental upbringing also play crucial roles in their ability, the authors report.

As in many areas of science, the exact interplay of nature and nurture remains unclear.

Lead author Rebecca Chamberlain from KU Leuven, Belgium, said she was interested in finding out how artists saw the world differently.

“The people who are better at drawing really seem to have more developed structures in regions of the brain that control for fine motor performance and what we call procedural memory,” she explained.

In their small study, researchers peered into the brains of 21 art students and compared them to 23 non-artists using a scanning method called voxel-based morphometry.

Detail of 'Giant Lobster' from NHM specimen collectionOne artist who has practised for many years is Alice Shirley – here is a detail of her Giant Lobster

These detailed scans revealed that the artist group had significantly more grey matter in an area of the brain called the precuneus in the parietal lobe.

“This region is involved in a range of functions but potentially in things that could be linked to creativity, like visual imagery – being able to manipulate visual images in your brain, combine them and deconstruct them,” Dr Chamberlain told the BBC’s Inside Science programme.

‘I grew up in an arty family’

Alice Shirley – artist

“I had a very arty family. My mother was an art historian and my dad a photographer.

“I grew up surrounded by art and was encouraged to draw from a very young age, and I liked it so I did more of it. It was a combination of encouragement and enthusiasm that made me interested in pursuing art.

“It’s just in the blood.”

Alice spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science Programme

Participants also completed drawing tasks and the team looked at the relationship between their performance in this task and their grey and white matter.

A changing brain

Those better at drawing had increased grey and white matter in the cerebellum and also in the supplementary motor area – both areas that are involved with fine motor control and performance of routine actions.

Grey matter is largely composed of nerve cells, while white matter is responsible for communication between the grey matter regions.

But it is still not clear what this increase of neural matter might mean. From looking at related studies of other creative people, such as musicians, it suggests that these individuals have enhanced processing in these areas, Dr Chamberlain added.

“It falls into line with evidence that focus of expertise really does change the brain. The brain is incredibly flexible in response to training and there are huge individual differences that we are only beginning to tap into.”

A life-size drawing of the giant squid specimen in the NHM collection, painted in fresh squid ink

Another author of the paper, Chris McManus from University College London, said it was difficult to distinguish what aspect of artistic talent was innate or learnt.

“We would need to do further studies where we look at teenagers and see how they develop in their drawing as they grow older – but I think [this study] has given us a handle on how we could begin to look at this.”

Commenting on the small sample size, Prof McManus said: “Since the results were statistically significant then clearly there was the power to find something, which almost by definition means it was large enough.

“And also of interest is that other people have also had hints at effects in similar locations. Obviously in an ideal world we’d like 1000 subjects, but that isn’t realistic. It’s always a compromise between cost, practicality and interest.”

No ‘right’ side

Ellen Winner of Boston College, US, who was not involved with the study, commented that it was very interesting research.

She said it should help “put to rest the facile claims that artists use ‘the right side of their brain’ given that increased grey and white matter were found in the art group in both left and right structures of the brain”.

“Only a prospective study could get at the question of innate structural brain differences that predispose people to become visual artists, and this kind of study has not been done as it would be very difficult and very expensive to carry out.”

April 1st, 2014

I broke the mother,  so I am sharing the love…….

When we moved to England my friend Anne had one of those really bad days infact it was a bad week.  She decided the only way to make it a good week was to do something for someone else.  She was told about the Americans with a child close to the same age as her children who had moved in up the hill.  She decided to stop in and introduce herself and welcome us to Otley England.  She brought a little gift for our son, she seemed nice enough so I invited her in for a happy hour drink.   Because of this little gesture of kindness,  Anne, Dan, and the kids are life long friends of ours and we couldn’t be happier for her misfortune of that week….

Today, is April Fools day, and April is having her way with me.  When I create a series of sculptures, each one begins with the basic form that I create a mother mold from.  Once it is out of that mold  I begin to give it it’s own story and shape it into a one of a kind sculpture.  Today while beginning what is going to be the last in this series,  I literally broke the  mother mold.  NO JOKE!!!!  This means that I will need to rebuild the basic sculpture, rebuild the mold,  allow the mold to cure, then hope it fits back together.  That being said, I am on a deadline from the foundry for the amount of time they will need the sculpture to turn it into a bronze.  I am thinking about the ways to get back at April…

While contemplating my revenge, I remembered the story of Anne and her kindness in the face of misfortune.  So today I am going to share the love.  I am going to give you a short  snapshot list of a few of my artists friends for you to take a peek at.  Some are painters, sculptors, foundry workers, puppet makers,  photographers, and event planners.  I hope you find some joy in their work.    Click and play around on the internet for a while,  your boss wont mind,  just tell them you are doing your part to share the love….