Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Secret Artworks 2011

For the last 3 years I have been happily contributing to Cincinnati's largest arts charity event hosted by Artworks, called Secret Artworks.  I've blogged about the event and it's benefits here before but never get tired talking about it, nor participating.  So much so, that this year when asked if I'd join the planning committee, I happily accepted.  I was honored to work amongst such a dedicated team who volunteered lot of hours alongside the full-time Artworks staff to put this all together.  The event was this past Friday night and it went off perfectly!  We held it in a new space this year (the former Contemporary Arts Center) and the museum-like venue only helped the already strong work stand out that much more.  Special credit should go to Jolie Harris and Janel Carol for heading the planning committee and of course to Tamara Harkavy and the Artworks staff! 

I also submitted 3 pieces, 1 of which I know for sure was acquired.  The piece is called LA Ghost and is a study for a series of pieces I will more than likely start over the holidays.  Since it is technically no longer a "Secret" I thought I'd share it here:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Virginia Romanou

Today is my aunt Virginia's birthday so I thought I'd write a little about her. 

Virginia is my dad's younger sister (whose age shall remain forever a secret!) though she feels more like my older sister and it's very obvious that we're all related.  She's an artist and designer by education and profession, though neither of those words seem to encompass anywhere near all of how she manifests her creativity.  Simply put, she is an idea person with an immense amount of creative energy, all she needs is a medium.  Books, posters, paintings, exhibits, sculpture, interior spaces, furniture, fashion, photography, the list seems to go on.  Funny how the focused and restrained artistic drive in my grandfather was channeled so differently between his descendents.  Having just returned from a trip to Greece where I spent an unforgettable time with my dad (I'll write about that next) and regrettably a short time with Virginia, I still feel energized and inspired by my times with them.

Last year Virginia had an exhibit in Brazil that I was unfortunately unable to attend.  She had been working on a series of black and white abstract pieces that come together in what she called "stavro-lexo" which translates from Greek as crossword puzzle.  These pieces are beautiful in their subtlety and sensitivity in their own right, but curated and composed into the larger work which takes on a life of its own.  Simply amazing.  Here's a picture of the piece on the wall of her studio:

Needless to say I am a proud nephew and whether she knows it or not, she inspires me constantly to push myself as an artist and designer and to always keep following my passion, experimenting with styles and techniques and never locking myself into one medium.  At the end of the day, creativity is an energy not unlike lighting, water or wind.  All different but essential in moving life forward. Maybe nature's passions materialized.

Xronia polla theia mou!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Missing Pieces

Ok, this is sort of a play on words but stay with me for a minute.  I always tell people that art is for the artist and if anyone else likes the work they do, it's serendipity.  With that, most artists I know feel the need to keep a new piece around a bit to sort of feel it or live with it.  Let it speak back to you in a way.  That's how I feel for sure.  Right when I finish a new piece I tend to say to my self that this is my new favorite piece and how can I sell it.  But art is like anything else living in that if you need to keep it, it'll tell you and if it's ok to let it go, it'll tell you that too.  If you're not an artist this may sound ludicrous, but trust me, it's true.

Well, I did a show earlier this year in April where I was cranking to the last minute to get 2 pieces done in time for the opening.  Both sold which was cool, but the only problem was that I never got to live with them at all before they were put on exhibit.  One of the two I was ok with selling when I did as I had another one from the same series that I preferred anyway.  The other one however I not only didn't get to live with, but I dont even know who bought it.  It's not necessarily the most significant piece I've ever done or anything, but it was a bit of a departure for me and I really like it.  I'm sure I'd have sold it soon enough anyway but I would have liked having it around for just a bit longer so it could say goodbye.

This is the missing piece.  "Color outside the lines".

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Silently Obtain - Synthetica-M Gallery - 9/3/11

Last night was a 1 night event at Synthetica-M gallery called Silently Obtain.  The concept was to have a number of pieces on exhibit and rather than being priced with the built in gallery commission, the pieces had a "reserve" price that covered what the artist wanted to make and the rest going to the gallery.  I think the idea was really great and the turnout for the night seemed good too.  Aside from the uncharacteristic (for September) blazing heat, we had a nice crowd.  The opening of the new 3rd Party Gallery next door to Synthetica added to a good vibe to the event.  I met some really cool and talented people too, some who happened to be artists exhibited in the show.  Thanks again to Mason Paul for including me and putting on another good event!  You may also want to check out the work of Alton Falcone, Jared Dreyer and Curtis Goldstein.

This is the piece I had on exhibit last night.  "In a fit of fuchsia".

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dynamic, Transformational & Static - Video

Synthetica-M Gallery owner/director, Mason Paul has posted a video of the current exhibit that I am a part of.  Check it out here

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Deconstructing the Collage - Hide and Seek

I'm biased in my love for collage and mixed media work and for good reason.  More than a painting, a collage/mixed media piece to me has so much more meaning and depth due to the finite nature of the items which it incorporates.  Generally when people see my collage work in photos they seem visually interesting to them in composition, but it's when they see the pieces in person and here the stories of where the artifacts and ephemera that are incorporated into the piece, that the "a-ha" moment occurs.  Collages tell stories and just like different actors and scenes come together to tell a story in film, so too do all the various items, brush strokes and their juxtapositions, completing a dynamic visual narrative.  With that said, I thought I'd breakdown one of my collages and call out some of the items and where they came from.

To start with, here is a picture of the piece Hide and Seek.  It's a 49" x 51" collage and mixed media piece done on reclaimed plywood.

To break it down into more detail, here are 4 close up pictures of the piece, starting from the top left.  You can get a bit more of a sense of the details and how the items are layered and composed.

You can get an even better sense of the level of detail and all the items that are incorporated into this piece.  There are probably close to 50 objects of various sizes interspersed throughout this collage but I thought I'd call out 12 in particular to give some more background about.

1. A rusty washer I found in the street on my walk home in Cincinnati
2. A tag found in an old metal cabinet, circa 1950s
3. A family photo bought at a garage sale in Chicago, circa 1960s
4. A postcard of cold war era Berlin, bought in Berlin in 2009
5. A hood ornament from a truck bought at a flea market in Amsterdam in 2008
6. A tin soldier prayer plaque bought in Athens in 2004
7. A newspaper insert picture of Steve McQueen from 1955
8. Pages from a 1952 HAM radio directory with a hand written note found inside the directory
9. Club flier torn off of a wall in Berlin in 2009
10. A photocopy of the Voyager spacecraft
11. A hand-painted image of the TV tower in Berlin
12. The inside of an envelope

Though there are a few items from Berlin that tell a bit of the story that I intended, you can see that a number of the pieces are newer, much older and/or completely irrelevant to any story regarding Berlin in any way.  However when all assembled, it's clear there is a story of a place and time.  A story all created using finite items that can be used only once.  That's the part of collage that I really like.  The commitment required to create them.  I collect artifacts from all over the world, from different time periods and I selectively choose which are to be incorporated into new pieces.  And once an item is used, it's gone.  Every step counts and no piece can ever be replicated.  I hope that this little break down helps demystify the process a bit while telling a bit of the backstory behind the actual story.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dynamic, Transformational and Static - Opening 6/4/11

Last night was the opening of my lastest show, a group show at Synthetica-M Gallery in Cincinnati's Brighton area.  I was one of 4 artists exhibiting and was pleased with the quality of the work, the way it was set up and the turnout.  Much thanks to gallery owner, Mason Paul for a great night!  For those that couldn't make it, the show runs from June 4th through the end of July.  To arrange an appointment please call the gallery at 513-602-2574.  Here are some pics from the show and a few images of the pieces I have up for sale.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Dynamic, Transformational & Static at Synthetica-M Gallery

This Saturday, June 4th, I will be exhibiting in a small group show at Synthetica Gallery in Cincinnati's Brighton gallery district.  The opening is from 7-11 PM and promises to be a well curated show with a diverse range of talents and styles.  Thanks to gallery owner and curator, Mason Paul, for including me.  I'm happy to be a part of it and look forward to a great event.  Hope to see you all there.  Pics of the show will be posted within a few days of the opening.

2 Wrongs Dont Make a White

That's the name of this new piece I finished.  It's part of a show I have at Synthetica Gallery in Cincinnati that runs all of June and July.  The piece starts to merge some of my collage and painting but adds the twist of celebrating the materials, both natural, processed and artificial.  Hope you come to the show to see it in person and there are some work in progress shots in the post below.

A Peek Inside the Studio

My studio is in the basement of my house and aside from that fact, those that know my work and how I create it, know that it's not a neat, linear process, nor a tidy space.  For one, I typically have 2-3 pieces going at once.  There's paint, collage ephemera, old pieces, sculptures, music, tools, etc all over the place.  It's also a bit dangerous to navigate due to how much stuff I've packed into a small space!  I might add, that my recent obsession of working large isn't helping.  I do get requests however to check out my studio though and since I rarely let anyone down there (for safety reasons) here's at least a peek into my other world with some work in progress.  Enjoy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Piece

I've been working on a bunch of new pieces in preparation for a show in June and this is one I hope to include.  It's another giant collage/mixed media piece called "In a Fit of Fuchsia".

IDSA Art Event - Designers, Paper, Beer

This year the IDSA held it's Mideast Conference in Cincinnati, and as Cincinnati's Chapter Chair I was busy for months working with our planning committee to plan and deliver a meaningful experience to our attendees.  One of the events we held was on the Friday night of the conference and was called Designers, Paper, Beer.  The event was an exhibit and silent auction of artwork created by designers.  Artists were asked to submit pieces that express their interpretation of "paper".  How it inspires you, how you work with it, etc.  Fellow designer, artist, coworker and friend, Michael Roller, was the brainchild behind the concept, which resulted in submissions by almost 20 artists from all around the country.  The event was really well attended by close to 200 people, all the work sold and proceeds went to benefit our favorite local arts organization, Artworks and the IDSA's Design Foundation, which provides scholarships to design students.  Thanks for everyone for your participation!  Here is a pic from the show with one of the 2 pieces I submitted (the giant Moleskine).

Secret Artworks

I submitted a few pieces to Secret Artworks again for 2010 and the event was even bigger and better than the last!  Cant wait to do it again this year!  Here's what you missed:

This is at the exhibition in the Westin.  Great venue and amazing turnout!

 This is me with friend and contributing artist, the talented Steve Wuesthoff.

This is one of the pieces I submitted.  Can't go wrong with SpaceBee!

Secret Artworks "Exposed"

Over the last couple of years I have participated in Artworks charity art event called Secret Artworks.  The premise of the event is that artists anonymously contribute pieces that are 5"x7" which are exhibited at a large show.  Patrons then pay something like $75 per person to attend the event (which is always an amazing time with a massive turnout) and with their admission fee are entitled to 1 piece to take home.  The cool thing about it is that the person acquiring the art has no idea who did  the piece until it's pulled from the wall revealing the name of the artist.  Very cool idea and makes a nice chunk of revenue for a great charity.  Cant wait to do it again.

One of the cool things about this show for the artists is that the Artworks team who curates the show, selects 100 of their favorite pieces and asks the artists that created them to be a part of a separate show called "Expose", where artists can exhibit one of their normal size pieces of work.  I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of these artists and was a part of the exhibit held at Artworks beautiful gallery space.  This too was a well attended show and was a great opportunity to meet some of the artists who donate their time and artwork to the Secret show.  Kudos to the Artworks team for all their hard work every year with both of these shows!  Here is a pic from the show.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Clifton Cultural Arts Center

I was a part of the CCAC's innaugural show titled, Golden Ticket, which opened in October of 2010 at the CCAC in Cincinnati.  The show had an impressive collection of talents and a great turnout of attendees, and although less than ideal art placement and lighting, I appreciate the efforts of the CCAC staff in curating and putting on the show.  The call to artists is open now for this year's show and it promises to be even better.  You can find more details here.