Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sewing the Muse: Josephine Foster

Brooke Priddy and Josephine Foster

I am currently working on an episode of Art Seen Asheville in the studios of URTV called "Sewing the Muse" which features the work and collaborative projects of local dressmaker, Brooke Priddy. In addition to Brooke I have interviewed a bevy of local talent who have collaborated with Brooke in some form. I will be posting blogs over the upcoming days about the people featured in the show and the wonderful talents associated with this project.

Cover Art for Hazel Eyes I Will Lead You

Josephine Foster has graciously allowed me the use of her music as soundtrack for "Sewing the Muse." A friend to Brooke Priddy, Foster has performed locally in Priddy's West Asheville shop, Ship to Shore. My introduction to Brooke and Josephine was a collaborative performance where Brooke cut and hemmed a gown upon the lovely Josephine while she majestically performed her indescribably haunting music. A self-proclaimed "opera school dropout" Foster uses traditional instruments like guitar, bells, harp, ukulele, dulcimer, kazoo and sitar to blur the definitions of folk and experimental music. Her sinewy voice weaves through her compositions as its own instrument akin to a musical saw. That Josephine Foster performed wedding and funeral songs at age 15 is no surprise giving that her music harkens celebration and melancholia simultaneously.
This Coming Gladness is her most recent cd release.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Two cool things in one night!

Tonight at 8:00 at the Firestorm Cafe,The Iron Ladies will be screened as an event to benefit Asheville's Tranzmission Prison Books Program. The Iron Ladies is a Thai comedy based on a true story about a men's volleyball team whose players are mostly transvestites, transsexuals and homosexuals. I haven't seen it, but it looks like it's gonna be campy as hell and awesome. Proceeds from tonight's movie will go towards the Asheville Tranzmission's Prison Books Program. You are encouraged to donate money and books that are LesbianGayBiTranny/Queer specific or are written by queer or tranny authors, or that pertain to gay men. The books will be sent to prisoners around the US who have requested them. Tranzmission serves to promote awareness and advocacy around gender issues, and they often throw fabulous fundraising events which is why I love them so much. More info about Tranzmission can be found here.
After the movie, check out Bobo's for some great electronic ambient bands including Body of John the Baptist and klezmiresque music by the once duet now quartet Ashes in Order

On Friday October 24th

Lube Royale
Lube Royale will be making a special appearance in West Asheville at The Rocket Club friday October 24th. I'm very excited about this because I've never seen them play live but I love their music and from what I've seen on video, their performances get arty and weird. Show starts around 11:00ish.

Also happening on Friday night at 9:30: The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be showing at 191 Lyman St. in The River Arts District to benefit the Asheville Free Book Exchange.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My 15 minutes of cyber fame

Here is an interview I did for Steven Gray who publishes Art Re-Source a blog he created as a response to the frustration he was feeling in art school. Art Re-Source is read by artists and students to supplement education through interviews and useful links. I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Brian Mashburn

While overseas (in China and Hong Kong), I observed layers of buildings and endless rows of skyscrapers with a continuous ebb and flow of people, reminiscent of tides, and while I do not fully subscribe to the idea of the human race as a virus, I do think these cities epitomize visually the human condition and its subsequent effect on the environment. - Brian Mashburn

View more at

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Proud to be living in Asheville

Graffiti found near the railroad tracks of the River Arts District as photographed by Henry Neufeld for the book Asheville's River Arts District by Henry and Rob Neufeld.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Art Classes by two great artists!

Local painters Alli Good and Julie Armbruster have designed a class focusing on innovative techniques in drawing and painting to help strengthen the imagination. By the end of the three sessions each student will complete at least one painting and experience a variety of drawing and painting media. In addition, each student will have lots of individual attention and an opportunity to learn from other young artists through collaborative warm up exercises. The class will meet Saturdays November 1st-15th from 12:30pm-2:30pm at Woolworth Walk in downtown Asheville. This class is open for young artists aged 6-12 and costs $40 including materials. Please send inquiries and suggestions to doodlesociety@gmail.com or call Woolworth Walk at (828) 254-9234.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Michael Traister's Faces of Izzy's

I love looking at photographs of people I know. I love to stare at them -- like really stare into their eyes and examine the muscles of their face, frozen in time and wonder what they were thinking in that moment. Michael Traister's show Paying Customers Only: The Faces of Izzy's indulges that desire for me, and so much more.
It's such an intimate show; dozens and dozens of black and white photographic prints hang modestly by clips and cover the walls of Izzy's Coffee Den
on Lexington St in downtown Asheville. Each photo is of a paying customer to Izzy's coffeeshop. I wonder if Traister had any plan in mind for the order in which the photographs are hung, but they appear to be randomly displayed and the association of each person to their neighbor was often very funny to me.
It was such a delight to scan the many familiar faces and read their names written in ink on the lower left corner of each photo. What a relief to put a name to a face in this small town where so many of the subjects of this show I've seen a million times. The way Traister captures the essence of each person is remarkable. For example, there's a photo of a guy who I think is the biggest turd in town, and he is captured giving the fuck you sign.
(Now I've really enticed you haven't I? Bet you can't wait to see who I think the biggest turd in town is.)
I was so delighted by this show that I checked out Michael Traister's online portfolio. Turns out he has been shooting bands and sock monkeys professionally for several years...normally both of those things (bands and sock monkeys) don't entice me as photographic subjects, but Traister really does a great job with both! His sock monkeys aren't kitschy, but more like... badass. Like the black and white photo of rock icon impersonator, El Vez holding a sock monkey complete with sombrero.
See for yourself: www.traisterphoto.com
The exhibit at Izzy's will be up through the month of October.
It is not to be missed.

Friday, October 10, 2008

William Kentridge

The animated films of William Kentridge are constructed by filming a drawing, making erasures and changes, and filming it again. He continues this process meticulously, giving each change to the drawing a quarter of a second to two seconds' screen time. A single drawing will be altered and filmed this way until the end of a scene.

A theme running through all of Kentridge's work is his particular way of representing his birthplace of Johannesburg, South Africa as metaphor for the duality of man. I am particularly drawn to the expressive and raw quality of his drawings, and his courage to represent the lonely and dissociated state of the ruling class.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What reality TV wishes it could be.

This Saturday Oct. 11 at Asheville Arts Center (308 Merrimon Ave.) 8:00pm and 10:00pm

Sometimes the most bizarre quality of low budget/home made video is the absolute normality of it. There is comfort in discovering that other people are just as insane or banal as you are. If you're a voyeur and into stuff like homemade music videos and bad public access TV as evidence of a truly inspired culture, you will probably appreciate this event.
View the trailer here
Read more here

Monday, October 6, 2008

Art Party!!!

When we think about art -- particularly visual art -- we often think of the singular artist's vision. Lately I've taken an interest in art groups and art collaborations as metaphor for community. In these days of apocalyptic thinking, learning to work together intuitively and cooperatively could be one of the most useful tools we have in dealing with and overturning the current economic crisis of the free market economy.

Painting has always been a solitary act for me. I prefer to do it alone because I find the company of others distracting, and to be honest, I feel self conscious. My friend
Courtney Chappell is the opposite. She likes to have a lot of people around. She says it quiets the negative voices in her head, and stimulates her art making process.

My side of the porch.

Last Saturday on a whim Courtney came over and we set up our gear on my porch. I realized that this was the first time in years that I had painted with another person nearby. My friends and I often have art parties, but usually I occupy myself with something like embroidery or smoking.

Courtney's side of the porch.

Maybe the weight of painting has always felt too great for me to share with others, but the experience of painting with Courtney allowed me to take risks and approach the process in ways that I haven't in the past. I've decided that I want to bring more collaborations into my life, and not hide out so much with regards to painting. I'm beginning to think that art as a communal and collaborative experience just might be a wave we can ride joyfully into the future. Or at least I'm hoping it is.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Gabriel Shaffer

Some time back I had the opportunity to interview and video Gabriel Shaffer in his studio for Art Seen Asheville. I watched as he started a painting and sprinkled dirt -- or maybe it was ashes -- into the paint he was using. He said it added a story and an energy to the piece.

The scale of Shaffer's art runs the gamut between small works on paper and large canvases. He layers different drawing styles, materials, symbols and marks into each piece. His process is as varied, energetic, and intuitive as the art itself.


Be sure to check out Shaffer's solo exhibition If You Want Blood currently on display at The Satellite Gallery in downtown Asheville.

here to see the Art Seen Asheville video of Gabriel Shaffer.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

All Art Must Die...eventually.

There at least 600 to 1000 different sandpaintings that are recognized among the Navajos. They are not viewed as static objects, but as living things that should be treated with great respect. Today artists produce sandpaintings on boards with glue so that they are commodifiable, but originally they were used in healing ceremonies and destroyed upon completion of the ceremony.

In Tibetan sandpainting the construction process of a mandala takes several days, and is destroyed shortly after its completion. This is done as a metaphor for the impermanence of life.

Sandpainting is practiced during Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico and the United States. Streets are decorated with sand paintings that are later swept away, symbolizing the fleeting nature of life.

Scott Wade Dirty Car Art

Art preservation and archiving is directly related to the commodification of art, but I've always felt like our obsession with art preservation also goes hand in hand with a cultural fear of mortality and change. We do not look favorably on such events when they produce anxiety and sadness.

I understand the importance of art preservation and archiving from a collector's point of view, but the topic weighs heavy on my mind. I'm a rather sloppy person. I try to be neat but it is difficult for me. I try to be gentle with my paintings, not touching the surfaces too much, using materials that won't discolor over time..following the "lean to thick" rule to avoid cracks in the surface. When shipping paintings I always double-box them with bountiful heaps of bubble wrap...but the truth is that all of that really sucks and goes against who I am as a person. I personally believe that nothing should be around forever and things should be allowed to decompose over time. Art being one of them.

A useful guide to preserving your artwork can be found here
How do collectors and art institutions deal with archiving an artist's work that is meant to be impermanent? Find out here