Monday, February 28, 2011

Self Portrait with Food Stamps

Starving Artist by Luke Ramsey

I wrote Self Portrait with Food Stamps to draw attention to the fact that many people want to market Asheville as as arts destination without knowing all that's involved with surviving economically as an artist (or musician.) It isn't as easy as it looks!
The comments that have appeared thus far on the website are quite interesting.


"I (taxpayer) should not have to pay for you to fingerpaint and play with clay."


"Personally I’m sick of Asheville and as soon as I see a good chance to split..I’m taking it. Asheville has been a curse to me ever since I arrived over 10 years ago. I say cut your losses and run to every artist I see."


For visual arts especially, we need a good independent upscale auction house that draws agents and collectors (not just tourists) so that Asheville’s artists can more efficiently enhance their reputation and reach a wider audience—an audience with deep pockets.


We work odd jobs all year round and eat a lot of rice and beans, rarely go out to hear music or see theater (sadly). 95% of our sales are from out of state. In the summer a lot of money flows in, but then it flows out quickly on materials and travel expenses to sell at shows.

Please feel free to join in the discussion!

Additionally, Asheville will be holding it's first Creative Summit on March 16th and 17th to determine what Asheville needs to grow as a viable city for working artists.
Independent artists, performers, and creatives are invited to share suggestions and insights 5:30-8:30 at the Masonic Temple Wednesday March 16th.
Check for more information

Friday, February 18, 2011

Local businesses & the art scene

Encaustics by Georgia Smith are currently on display at the Early Girl Eatery on Wall Street

Paintings by Dustin Spagnola hang at Arcade Asheville

I've said it before and I'll say it again: some of the more interesting art in Asheville can be found in the restaurants, bookstores, record shops, clothing boutiques and hair salons of this town. It makes sense since business owners don't need to rely on art sales to keep their business afloat.
It's true such places can't get too overly extreme with the work they show since they often need to maintain a level of family-friendliness or appetite stimulation. Nevertheless, the contribution these venues make to Asheville's art scene is vital.
Maybe an "alt art venue" map could be drawn up to distribute to tourists this summer!
Here's a list of local businesses, in no particular order, that consistently display interesting art.

Harvest Records
Downtown Books and News
PUSH Skate Shop
Clingman Cafe

It's hard to remember everyone! Let me know who I'm leaving out.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ian Brownlee

Elisha Mitchell's Funeral

I've been admiring Asheville painter Ian Brownlee's work for years. His narrative paintings were featured in New American Painters Magazine in 2006, and the piece above is currently in an exhibition in Chapel Hill called Local Histories. Brownlee was also deemed one of WNC's top emerging artists by WNC Magazine in 2009.
Quieter paintings of landscapes and room interiors can be found at Gallery Minerva in downtown Asheville. Check his website for more amazing work:
The Local Histories exhibit hangs until April 29th
Location: 523 East Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC, 27514
Call 919-923-4550 for more info

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lauren Gallaspy's delicate wreckages

I recently wrote an article for the Mountain Xpress about the latest installment of work at Blue Spiral 1 Gallery in downtown Asheville. In researching the gallery and it's artists I became deeply smitten by the work of Lauren Gallaspy.
Gallaspy puts the gore in gorgeous. (It's ridiculous to write that but I can't help myself.)
The intricacy of her illustrations add visual depth to her wonderfully visceral structures.