Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Those [dreaded?] [delightful?] Four Words...
"I have an idea."
When I was in my corporate job, the words "I have an idea" meant only one thing - more work for the staff. Okay, the pay-off was always positive, but it meant re-tooling, re-writing, or just a pile more to do. We don't need to go into the details, but the benefit my ideas brought to the nonprofit where I directed Community Relations were tangible.
About a week ago, my husband and I were driving home from Las Vegas. We really enjoy our road trips... and if I'm not napping, or reading - we talk. We brainstorm, make plans, joke... that day we came up with a really great idea for a reality show [and I already pitched it to one of the show-biz members of the family][who liked it!] and I also came up with a way to change one of my pieces that I've had around for a long time.
I know other artists change their minds about pieces they've created... I've made some changes to a few that have really improved them. This time, I wanted to change "I Want Khandi." It's a long and kinda strange story about how that piece came about, but let's just say I was tired of looking at it. As you might know, I am in an Icons, Angels and Personal Demons mode. So, my husband & I were laughing and I was thinking creative thoughts...I started thinking of Hindu dieties... and decided to transform Khandi into a Hindu goddess. She was going from "I Want Khandi" to "I Want Gandi." Ha ha ha ....
Okay - we get home, and I am back to business. I am under the gun to finish a commission for Coors. BTW - here it is, done. 3'x6' incorporating Coors' materials. It is on its way to Denver as I speak...
And, during the wee hours, I started putzing around on the internet looking at images of Hindu Goddesses... and trying to figure out how [in an hour or so] I am going to turn Khandi into something completely different.
As I started working, she lost her cleavage for a gold embellished red sari. Her hair went from brown to black. Her eyes got bigger, her lips curvier, her teeth smaller, and then I started obsessing. As I did more research, I was happy to know her skin tone needed to be golden [check!]. She needed multiple arms. I added a few. They're coming in from the side, but they're there. She needed a string of beads, a crown, earrings, precious jewels, a lotus blossom. Water should be represented. Good thing the background is a swirl with blues and purples and greens. I wanted to make sure my representation of the universal Shakti would not offend Hindus... And, the title is now "Lakshmi" - She is the Goddess of Fortune. One hand holds a lotus, the other creates a cascade of gold coins -bestowing riches to her followers. She is also the embodiment of love.
And, like me - she is restless, whimsical & maternal. Take a look @ before & after.
When I said "I have an idea," I thought this would take an hour instead, it took 3 days... in between other projects. I hope Khandi isn't waiting for her portrait [!]. Now, it is super shiny and glittery.
If you're in Scottsdale this weekend, I hope you'll come see it in person at ArtFest... at Scottsdale Civic Center Saturday & Sunday. More here.
Other than a number of originals, I also have some amazing giclee prints, prints on paper and greeting cards. I might even surprise you with some one-of-a-kind jewelry! Art from $12.00 - $3,000.00 - Mention you read my blog and you'll receive a discount...!
Gotta go, I have an idea...
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Interview with Sandhi
1. What made you decide to pursue art?
I have always been one of those "creative types." When I was a child, I started playing the piano at 4 [I have perfect pitch] and was always drawing… drawing shoes, drawing people, drawing clothing. There were better artists [from a technical standpoint]. I had a great art teacher that encouraged me, but my parents did not. I'm of the generation where marriage was the goal [not to me, though!] - and career choices ranged from nurse to teacher... and only as a fall back.
Although I majored in Art in college, I ended up with a degree in Psychology... mostly because I spent a lot of time in that department. It was discovered that I am an Eidetic [it's sort of like a photographic memory] and spent a couple of years as a guinea pig and research assistant. I did go back to school for a BFA.
After college, I actually had to find work. I started in retail - working my way up the corporate ladder but was jealous of the display people. I ditched the career arc to dress mannequins, do windows, etc. I stayed in Visual Merchandising - which is a legitimate art form [read: paycheck!]. I started my own Display company and designed and built displays for clothing companies, boutiques, shopping centers, etc. Our company also created decor for special events - and I learned about event management from my clients.
I was also in charge of the company's advertising, marketing and sales - which I learned on the job.
The business closed after several years and I went to work for a non-profit in marketing and events - my boss gave me amazing challenges - creating events, managing volunteers, shooting campaign videos, corporate communications, graphic design, writing assignments, sponsorship marketing - and I was a quick study - these events were highly successful and creative.
I stayed in non-profit, eventually becoming the Senior Vice President of our state's largest non-profit organization - directing all advertising, marketing, public relations, community relations, special events, non-traditional fundraising, educational programming, - including online presence, e-marketing... web storefront, etc. Although I had no formal education in technology, I knew what I wanted and how I wanted it to work. We were early adopters of web based marketing and online fundraising.
I always painted at home - or did some kind of crafty stuff. I taught myself mosaic, [you should see our bathroom floor - 40 shades of glass tile!], can make jewelry, fuse glass, throw a pot... but painting is my dearest love. Slowly, I developed a new art technique, my style really jelled, and I started pursuing opportunities to show my work.
Once work started selling, my husband encouraged me to quit.
I did. That was 3 years ago.
2. What were the biggest obstacles and how did you overcome those?
Insecurity is a big one - I kept expecting people to say "How dare you call yourself an artist!" I still die a thousand deaths creating custom work. I am sure the client has a strong vision which I don't fulfill... and half expect my clients to hate their finished product. [it hasn't happened] It takes a while to develop a thick skin. I may not be the most talented artist on the planet, but I am better than most people. And, I am better at creating art than I am accounting, driving a fork-lift or blowing up bridges. In the beginning, I thought someone had to bestow the title "artist" upon you, but after a short while, I decided to print cards. They say - Sandhi Schimmel Gold - Artist. That's all you need! See, I'm an artist, I have cards that say so. So, I don't have the MFA, I didn't go about this career in the traditional way, that's the way I am.
Money is an obvious obstacle. I was lucky our family could live on my husband's income. That said, our lifestyle changed drastically. No more vacations, dinner out less often and eating less expensive food. Turning off lights, getting rid of cable channels, not shopping for new clothes – the same things we all do to cut back. We have had our share of bad luck – medical expenses or the crazy lady that totaled my car [still no settlement]. I made sure my art expenses were paid out of my art earnings – but those are quite slim at the beginning! A financial advisor friend called me crazy.
Time-Management – when you work at home, you’re never at home, you’re never at work. It is easy to get distracted by TV, email, the phone, laundry, or meeting friends for coffee. In addition, as an artist, you do a lot more than create art! You’re also responsible for marketing and advertising, applying to shows or galleries, accounting, customer relations, web-site maintenance, shipping, inventory, taxes, travel planning, event preparations, framing, and networking. The best advice I learned is to have a place to go [I have a studio outside] and go there. Just because you work at home does not mean you’re available. Get up, get dressed [okay, I work in pajamas] have your coffee or tea and GO TO WORK. Stay in there until you’re done. The truth is, I get up by 7 every day. Work in the studio or office until 5, make dinner, relax for a little while and then work in the studio until 11 p.m. And, take care of a child, 3 dogs, a husband and a house. We have to work as a team.
Standing out in the crowd. I have a hook. It is imperative to have a unique voice or vision. And, I have a big mouth. I look for every opportunity to promote my vision, to market my work. It is not about me, although it seems like it to many people. I don’t want the attention for me, but I do want my art to be seen, I want it to sell. I am not shy about this. I am not good at networking events, but I am good at marketing through direct mail, email, pr, etc. I am good at using social networking sites to talk to people I would not otherwise meet. I have a lot of friends that are artists. They don’t know why they have not been discovered… I put myself out there and take opportunities to promote my work – from Hollywood gifting lounges to First Friday events, hanging work in restaurants, as long as my art is not compromised, and I have the time to do it – I’m there. Oh, I’ve made mistakes – I’ve wasted time and money, but I look at it this way – I am building a business brick by brick. But if I hadn’t put myself out there, I would not have met people who have propelled my work forward. The “starving artist” persona – not me.
Dealing with the public.
So, you’ve created a masterpiece. You take it to an art festival. You will be asked a million stupid questions. You will be asked personal questions. Children with sticky fingers will touch your precious work. You will be insulted [I did this in grade school!]. This is part of the process. You have to learn to be patient, gracious and kind. You have to decide if you want to give away proprietary information or not. If you feel like teaching art or selling art. You will make an impression – one way or another. You can be nice or you can be temperamental – it’s a hard lesson to learn, but you’ll find out who you really are.
3. What do you enjoy more about art in comparison to your previous job?
- There’s no I in team. My art is all about me. I thought of it – I make it – I market it – I love it. I know what inspired me, I am involved in process all the way – physically, emotionally, technically.
- I work in my pajamas. I am not a suit-wearing, high-heel type. I don’t like wearing make-up if I don’t have to.
- My boss is myself and my clients.
- I love the day-to-day routine. I love being in my studio. I love it when I’m inspired by something that keeps me working until 2 in the morning. It’s almost instant gratification.
- I love that I can take care of my child when she’s sick without the wrath of the boss.
- I love selling my work – it is SO rewarding!
- I do what I want when I want. That sounds like fun, right? Yes – but I am disciplined.
4. Tell me a bit about your business, and a typical day now, compared to a typical day running websites.
What I don’t do now [not that I didn’t enjoy it, just different]:
- Go to meetings – staff meetings, strategic planning sessions, community event meetings, budget meetings…
- Please a boss, or board or directors
- Direct staff or deal with their issues
- Do payroll or budgets
- Juggle a hundred different projects with different deadlines, staff, outcomes, etc.
That said, I still do strategic planning, manage a budget, go to meetings, and juggle different projects. However, I enjoy a lot of it – and have to squeeze in things like paper work. I handle my calendar, attend gallery openings and events, clean the house, do the laundry, see family and friends, etc.
What I do on a typical day:
- Check email, Facebook & Twitter
- Drink water & tea – take vitamins
- Answer important emails.
- Most days, I head straight to the studio and work.
- Take a break, check email, eat lunch
- Back to work in the studio
- Family time
- Back to work in the studio
- Check emails
- Try to go to bed.
This is 7 days a week.
5. Any suggestions for those looking to leave their current job and become an artist?
I truly believe actual artistic talent is only a small fraction of the equation.
- Can you afford to quit? If not, start by doing as much during the hours you are not working. Say good bye to a social life and sleep. Start part time – take your work to art festivals, galleries, find places to show it and see if it sells. This is important. If you want to quit, you must be selling. This is a business. You must be prepared to treat it as such, otherwise, it’s a hobby.
- Are you disciplined? Can you set aside a space and time for your work – where everything and everyone is else banned – no one can hang out with you. Maybe music, that’s it. Can you spend hours every day creating – with no attachment to an outcome?
- Do you have ideas – more than you can possibly turn into artwork? Do you have sources for inspiration? My favorite place is the library. Or the History Channel. I find inspiration in nature, in history, and in other disciplines.
- Do you have a role model or mentor? Find some and pick their brains.
- Can you create a business plan, a marketing plan and stick to it? There are many resources available for small businesses. It is a good exercise in getting you focused.
- Do you know how to set goals? Learn the techniques of creating a strategic plan with goals and objectives and strategic outcomes. You many veer off course now and then, but it is a good way to keep you focused on your ultimate goals.
- Do you have money to spend on marketing efforts? If not, learn how to barter, and use social networking to your advantage. It takes time – and time is money.
- Can you blow your own horn? You’ll have to do it yourself for a long time. I made myself a T-Shirt that says “I talk to strangers.”
- Can you create your own story – and stay on message? Are you camera-ready? Practice what you’d say during an interview – and have a friend tape you – watch yourself and see what you have to do to come across clearly.
- Can you develop a thick skin – you can’t be sensitive or easily hurt by criticism. Everyone is a critic, everyone has something to say. You can’t let it bother you.
If you have a burning desire – and can do some or all of the above – go for it!
Finally, Greeting Cards are Here!
Beautiful, Full ColorGreeting Cards!
Set of 8 different images:
- St. Catherine, Patron Saint of Artists
- My Golden Angel
- Shut Up and Kiss Me
- Birth of Venus
- Do You Want to Know a Secret
- All American Blonde
Comes with envelopes.
Blank on the inside.
$20.00 per pack of 8
And...a coupon to save up to 20% on future purchases!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
An ORIGINAL piece of my art FOR FREE!
I'm giving away a FREE piece of original art. Retail Value: $1000.00 - 16x20" or larger - just in time for the holidays. You'll be able to choose from 3 different pieces - On December 13th.
Shipping to the 48 states will be FREE. Shipping to Hawaii, Alaska or overseas - you'll just have to pay shipping charges if they're over $25.00.
Why am I doing this?
I am so HAPPY to be making art, selling art and communicating with wonderful people like you.
What do you have to do to get the art?
First of all, you DO NOT have to buy anything... but if you do, your name goes in the pot.
So do any or all of the following and you might get a surprise present from me!
Oh, and by the way - if you win [and someone will] you can choose to send the art to someone for a gift!
- Follow me on Twitter @SASchimmelGold and send me a direct message or reply to one of my posts. So I can tell just who is paying attention.
- Become a Fan on Facebook of S A Schimmel Gold and make a comment on one of my posts. So I can tell just who is paying attention.
- Open an email you get from me [through Constant Contact] and forward it to one [or more] of your friends. So I can tell just who is paying attention.
- Visit my website and send me an email from the contact page.
- Come to one of my shows or events and tell me - in person - you want to win!
- If you make a purchase of ANYTHING between now and December 13th -make sure I get your email address., If you purchase something at one of the galleries - make sure I know about it!
That's it - cool, right?
Here's the link to my web page so you can see where I have shows, galleries, etc.
Monday, October 5, 2009
When you read the story of the Minotaur, there is a lot of focus on the monster and the hero...Theseus. Yes, Theseus was a brave young man, who faced an enormous challenge facing a man-eating beast. But it was a woman who saved the day.
Okay, but just how did Theseus escape? You may remember Ariadne, the daughter of the King of Crete - who demanded human sacrifices every 7 years.
When Ariadne got a look at Theseus, she made a deal - she'd tell him how to escape the labyrinth if he promised to marry her.
He agreed, she ran off to Daedalus, the creator of the labyrinth - for a CLUE - and he suggested she give Theseus a ball of twine - to tie to the door and unwind the twine as he wandered the lair of the Minotaur.
Sure, Theseus was brave, he had a sword as one weapon - he killed the beast and used another weapon to win the task - the CLUE - winding the twine back to the door where Ariadne waited.
Whaddya know, they lived happily ever after - back in Greece. Except for the part where his father threw himself off a cliff into the aptly named Aegean sea.
This newest piece is inspired by the myth of the Minotaur and how BOTH Theseus and Ariadne were responsible for the end of the human sacrifice at Knossos.
It is a myth symbolizing our struggle to escape spiritual repression - the twine represents inner guidance. We must find our own golden thread - keep to our path in order to defeat our own Minotaur... using the weapons of thought and intuition - spirituality and reason.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
More Icons...and the connections between them.
I've been wanting to create a series of Icons for a long time. It all started with inspiration from Russian Icons and ancient mosaics, religious themes, etc... and it has broadened.
I completed two new Icons in the past month or so - the Queen of Sheba and a piece I'm titling Rayhanna - she's a djinna.
I recently read "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye" - a book of fairy tales by A.S. Byatt. It started that crazy mind of mine going...reading more about Djinns [genies], female Djinna [there are lot's of them!]... and on. I wanted to create a Djinna with the pattern of cesm-i bulbul in the background.
It's a specific Turkish technique of creating glass - usually a spiral of cobalt blue and white [the nightingale's eye]... but my Djinna just HAD to be yellow and olive with orange hair...so my color scheme got out of whack. So, it's not really true to form, but true to me.
I've had a thing for all things Turkish for about 18 years. And, it's probably one of my favorite places on earth.
I've had a thing for the Arabian Nights for ever... I have an amazing book from my childhood and the images from the Aladdin story are easy to conjure up... especially with an Eidetic memory!
The Queen of Sheba married King Solomon. One of her parents was a Djinn [probably her father since she had very hairy legs!]... and there are stories of how King Solomon enlisted the services of a Djinn.
In Turkey, Solomon is Suleyman...like the Magnificent! Topkapi palace... the Harem...you know. Weird, isn't it? I had the two images in the works for weeks and didn't even think about a connection.
I'm still in the Icon phase... I have three pieces in the works - Ariadne and Theseus [and the labyrinth], Mother Nature and St. Sophia [Hagia Sophia - back to Istanbul again!][Sophia is wisdom].
I never got around to St. Helena, but it's still percolating.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Eco-Luxe Press Event
First Media and Press Only Event to
Showcase Environmentally Responsible Luxury Brands
NEW YORK – AUGUST 31, 2009 - There has never been a press event like this before.
Go Green Expo has created eco-luxe, a one night only opportunity for media to speak with representatives from national and international luxury brands about their eco-friendly, sustainable products. The showcase is set in an atmosphere of sophistication and style at one of New York City’s finest green restaurants, Rouge Tomate, 10 East 60th Street, on Tuesday, September 22, 2009, from 6pm to 9pm.
Throughout the showcase, journalists will be able to talk to key company executives to learn about their environmentally conscious products. Produced by www.gogreenexpo.com, which has established the premier eco-friendly exhibitions across the nation, you will be assured the highest level of products in the categories of automotive, jewelry, fine art, home accessories, fashion, interior design, technology and travel.
Mariel Hemingway, actress, eco-activist and a leading voice for holistic and natural living, will discuss Tatchme an iconic high-performance prestige skin care line containing anti-aging ingredients. Sandhi Schimmel Gold’s extraordinary eco-friendly fine art – created by upcycling junk mail into amazing, colorful mosaic portraits - will be on display.
“This is the time for luxury brands to have their environmental initiatives
recognized,” stated Bradford Rand, president and CEO of Go Green Expo, he further stated, “luxury manufacturers are giving greater importance to their environmental impact while remaining true to the elegance and sophistication demanded by their affluent clientele.”
Emmanuel Verstraeten, founder and CEO of Rouge Tomate said, “We are happy to host this press event as it brings greater visibility to products and services that further strengthen the lifestyle choices we embrace.”
Tuesday, Sept 22, 2009
6:00 PM – 9PM
10 East 60th Street
Between Madison and Fifth Avenues
To RSVP or for more info:
Rubenstein Public Relations
Exhibitor list includes:
SCHIMMEL ART • MERCEDES-BENZ • IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN
ALBERTO PARADA JEWELRY • OLIVIER NEW YORK • MOEN • AUDI
BONTERRA VINEYARDS • TESLA • DELL • 360 VODKA • JEEVES OF BELGRAVIA PIAGGIO VESPA
Friday, August 21, 2009
Creativity and Inspiration and Work
I listened to a teleconference about time management yesterday - I got a few good nuggets out of it. And, since I have had three conversations lately with friends struggling with their creativity and how to use it, I thought about a few things that have helped me stay focused on my work. Maybe I can share a little with you.
How to approach art as work:
First and foremost - if you're an artist - it's your job. You must get up and go to work every day. Don't wait to be inspired. Just do something. In the middle of the process, even if it seems like drudgery - keep going - something will spark. Think of it this way - if you were a lawyer, or an accountant or a bus driver - you don't wait until you "feel like it" to do your work; your JOB is the same way. Otherwise, it is an avocation, not a vocation... ask yourself if it's a hobby or how you want to make a living.
This notion that you must be dead first to make it as an artist is ridiculous. Why bother? We can all name some artists, crafts people, writers, etc. that have made it big in their lifetime. Aspire to be one of those. Someone's gonna make it - why not me? Why not you? As the old adage goes - "there's always room at the top."
Not everything you create will be genius to you. Every artist produces duds. But, your dud might be just the thing for someone else - it might speak to them - so don't judge, just produce your best work!
If you're a writer - you don't have to write the next great American novel - if you're worried you won't be able to back it up with the next novel... how many people freeze if they can't do the best? Gee - have you seen a movie lately? Someone is buying up that crap.
Can't paint the Mona Lisa? Gee - have you seen a shark in a tank of formaldehyde? That "art" sold for millions?! Can you explain the popularity of Thomas Kincad or Ed Hardy?
Worried your next dress design won't make the cover of Vogue? Gee - a lot of people shop at Kohls.
What I am saying is - the world of "art" runs the gamut from Renoir to Velvet Paintings...from "War & Peace" to "I Love New York." Know where you want to be in that continuum.
Set goals. Read or listen to the greatest business people, every motivational speaker on earth and they will all tell you the same thing. Set goals. Write them down. Write down the steps that will take you toward fulfilling those goals [they're called objectives] and do them. You can listen to "the Secret" all day long - and it won't make anything happen by magic - you have to move your ass - you have to work on achieving your objectives to make your goals.
Stay focused. If you are an artist, building your business is a brick-by-brick process. Don't take on projects that are not in your goals - and don't get distracted.
Everyone will have great ideas for you. I can't tell you how many people have told me to paint dogs. I don't want to paint dogs- the thought of it gives me hives. Do what is true to you - but do remember this - you have a product. Whether it is a painting, a screenplay, a dress you designed or any other "thing," you have to take that product to market. Someone has to desire it. You need to sell it - so you can be true to yourself, as long as you know your customer base wants what you're making.
You will hit low points. You will feel like a failure. You can stay depressed and go nowhere, or you can use your time to dust off and move forward. If you want something enough that you can see it, taste it, smell it - if you can picture it, you can do it. Take a Psycho-Cybernetics course if you need a workshop that will help you reach goals. Listen to Zig Ziglar or any other speaker. None of them will tell you how to build your business, really - but they will tell you to set goals.
It's great to be creative. It's not great to wait until you feel creative to do something.
My favorite place for inspiration is the library. I'm lucky that I'm interested in so many things. I know exactly what stacks to hit - grab a bunch of books. I always find a jumping off place. The best thing is - the library is free.
For me - creating every day is part of who I am. No matter what I am painting, I look at it this way - I'M PAINTING!
As much as I want to keep working on the series I've started, I do have moments when I stray... I just finished a portrait last night that is very different than the others I've done lately - it was like a little break.
And, I like it. Someone else will like it, too.
Lastly - it might just be up to you to sell your work. Until someone else becomes your biggest cheerleader, it's gotta be you. There is nothing wrong with marketing yourself. If you don't believe, who will?
Go to the library and get "The War of Art," [not the Art of War] and read it or listen to it. It will help you figure out a way to make your art your job.
NOW GET TO WORK!
Friday, August 14, 2009
Flora, Madonna of the Roses
Back when I was a display/store/visual merchandiser... I designed a set of beautiful wood store fixtures for Levi Strauss & Co. - for a women's jeans concept store-within-a-store. The fixtures were wood and dyed gray. My designs were featured on the cover of Visual Merchandising and Store Design Magazine. Pretty cool! I then went on to design another set of fixtures for Levi's - this time, I went wild. [hang on, this will all make sense]
I had studied Charles Rennie Mackintosh- an architect from Scotland - who worked at the turn of the century  - he was a pioneer in the Arts & Craft Movement and Art Nouveau - and the kind of architect who designed buildings, furniture, decorative items [linens, table-settings, everything!] - and he came way before Frank Lloyd Wright! Mackintosh's wife, Margaret MacDonald was an artist in her own right. I've always been in love with their aesthetic. The fixtures I designed for Levi's were made of wood - ash - and were dyed hot pink. They were based [very loosely] on Mackintosh's bedroom furniture - from his own home in Glasgow. His furniture, however, was white.
When I visited Scotland [I've been several times], I made a pilgrimage to Glasgow - all the requisite C.R.M. spots. When I visited his home, I was the only visitor in the house at the time. There were security cameras around, but I did touch the piece of furniture pictured above... and cried!
Both Charles and Margaret used stylized roses in their designs. I have this in a frame at home:
One of my favorite flowers are white roses. [I'm all about true love] - I have two aunts named Rose. I prefer rose gold. I had a dog named Rosie...I also am crazy about this painting of the Madonna of the Roses by William Aldolphe Bouguereau. So my newest piece, which I am calling "Flora - Madonna of the Roses," has the influence of both. My Flora has a rose-ringed halo, and she is behind a bower of red and pink roses! I tried to make her face sweet and slightly seductive...after all, red roses are the symbol of passion - and my series of icons really has nothing to do with religion - just my ideas!
Flora - that's the name of the woman who lived on the isle of Skye - the one who saved Bonnie Prince Charlie when he came to Scotland to seize the throne [it didn't work out, so he went over the sea to Skye]. The story is unrelated, but I do have Bonnie Prince Charlie's biography on my nightstand.
So when you see my next piece - you'll know where the influences came from...! I know it's a crappy picture... I'll post a better one on my site.!
Monday, August 3, 2009
If I hadn't...
If I hadn't been to Istanbul, I might not have known about Constantine and his conversion.
If I hadn't read "The Last Pink Bits" I might not have known about the Island of St. Helena, where Napoleon spent his last days.
If I hadn't been out of work at the time, I might not have traveled to Oregon in an orange Fiat right after Mount St. Helen's blew up.
And, if I hadn't been watching "The Naked Archeologist" last night, I might not have known that St. Helena was Emperor Constantine's mother, who became the first "pilgrim" to visit the Holy Land and built churches on the sites of Calvary, the true cross, and the birthplace of Jesus.
Or, would I have known she is the patron saint of archeologists and the capital of Montana.
Look for an upcoming mosaic portrait of St. Helena...just for fun.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Emperor Justinian used relics and ornament he "stole" from Greek and Egyptian temples... including pillars from the Temple of the Goddess in Ephesus to create the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul?
Constantine imported the obelisk in the Hippodrome from Egypt - the only column left in what is now a park.
Did you know...
The Crusaders stole relics, pillars and treasures - and brought them back to Europe - the horses adorning St. Mark's in Venice - and the Columns of San Marco and San Todaro were from Istanbul.
Ephesus, Istanbul and Venice are a few of the most spectacular places I've visited.
They are places that inspire me -
My mosaics - talk about upcycle - I take something of little or no value and create something of greater value... my artworks are made of tiny treasures pillaged from drawers of junk mail, calendars, old greeting cards and photographs.
Inspiration comes in many forms - and materials are transmuted into treasures [at least I like to think so...].
Check it out: http://www.schimmelart.com
Monday, July 27, 2009
Icons, Madonnas, Angels and personal Demons
I have been fascinated by religious images - without the spiritual attachment. I noticed today - I have four [count 'em, FOUR] images of Da Vinci's "Virgin of the Rocks" in my hallway. One of the first mosaic portraits I created was a self-portrait - and I gave myself a couple of halos [please do not read into that...I was just going with a Byzantine theme]. A couple of years ago, I created a version of the "Virgin of Guadalupe" just for kicks.
I also like shiny objects - and have been incorporating the gold foil and other metallics found in my collection of used Christmas cards into my work for a while now. Throw a little Klimt in the mix, too.
So, my new series of Icons begins with a portrait of a woman - I've called it "St. Catherine of Bologna, Patron Saint of Artists." Next, "Fashion Icon," and my newest piece "Rhythm & Hymn."
I am currently working on a gorgeous blonde angel. This might take a while... each strand of blonde takes hours to complete.
All of the large pieces are for a museum show coming up this fall - they are for sale, but will be on display through mid-January. However, I will create limited edition giclees [reproductions] of several pieces - and each giclee will be hand embellished and no two will be alike - much more affordable. For instance, "St. Catherine" will be about $7,000.00 - a hand embellished giclee [18x24"] will be $350.00.
And yes, I will also create some prints.
The allusion to personal demons? Let's just say there is a lot of crazy stuff going on these days! I think creating visions of womanly strength, fortitude and hope is a kind of therapy - if you know what I mean. Nothing beats time in the studio - pouring your heart on to canvas.
One more thing - OKAY, Okay - I will create earrings. I made some funky jewelry from some of my work - that I wore on Access Hollywood. I wear them for fun. Enough people have asked me to make and sell said earrings... I hear ya! But, if I am going to make earrings, they are going to be fabulous. So sit tight and I'll post info on my site and here as soon as I have a pair to show you.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Previous Lives leaking into this one?
I was about to go overseas for the summer, and the dream seemed like a portent - an omen of doom. My friend Sharon & I were heading to Italy after a 2 month stint on a Kibbutz in Israel. When we arrived in St. Peter's, I freaked. That was the location of the dream [the converging lines, the colonnades. So, from that time on, I'm convinced that was a previous life.
I'm into some crazy metaphysical stuff - and had my akashic records read [stick with me]. In this reading, I found that another previous life had been lived as a nun who went into the convent against her will - and one who had taken a vow of silence. This is supposed to explain why I talk too much in this life.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of my weirdness... but as I posted my newest work on my web site, I noticed a theme... a Catholic Saint [from Italy], an Italian opera, an Italian painting... what's going on in my head?
I've always had a thing for images of the Madonna [the first one], golden halos, Russia Icons and women's faces. So, I'm not surprised these elements are showing up in my work. And, the mosaic tradition continues.
I love opera - Italian, of course.
The most beautiful place on earth? Venice... and where I studied the amazing mosaics at St. Marks.
And, with eidetic imagery and art history hanging out together in my brain, artwork I've seen before is finding its way into images I create today.
So, there seems to be a theme happening...?! The newest piece is the beginning of a series of Icons. This one is "St. Catherine of Bologna - Patron Saint of Artist." The top image is entitled "Tosca" and look - I've done Boticelli's Venus 4 times!
A little strange... my background is Hungarian, Jewish, New Yorker. Anyone in the mood for a nice seafood risotto?
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Hey - did you see my blog posted on Art Fair Calendar's Blog?
Apparently, I am featured in a new book - Ripley's Believe It or Not! "Seeing is Believing.” It officially comes out August 4 and will be available through all major bookstores and online.
I'm in for upcycling.
"All American Blonde" is featured... I just found about this yesterday - funny, I don't remember them asking for the image...?!
By the way, I am planning on heading to L.A. tomorrow night to audition for the reality show [think Project Runway, Top Chef] that Magical Elves is doing on Bravo. Wish me luck!
Friday, June 26, 2009
I show my work in galleries.
I love them.
I send inquiries to the galleries, I make sure everyone knows where I am showing.
Go to my web site - the galleries are on my home page.
Go to the "art for sale" page - I'll send you to the gallery.
I would never undercut or bypass a gallery.
I also show at my studio, at festivals, at events...
Do I think you should buy art - yes. From me? Why not. From other artists? Absolutely.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Interesting article about buying art
"The case for buying art – even if it is a luxury!"
And, why it’s even okay to purchase art directly from artists - right now.
By Marie-Thérèse Beddoes
2009 - June
"The paradigm has shifted. Less than a year ago, the wealthy [or seemingly rich] were in a feeding frenzy – scooping up contemporary art - at the most notable of galleries, art expos and auction houses in New York, Miami, Paris, London, Venice and beyond.
The value of the art work was highly inflated – boosted by the insatiable appetites of those who wanted to consume and who believed the spin… “you must own this.” The spin-meisters? Gallerists, curators & art "advisors" who had something to gain. Less-than-well-executed paintings, broken pottery, preserved wildlife, graffiti, cartoons - even excrement – was touted as “important,” as precious, as invaluable – and hundreds of thousands – if not several millions of dollars were spent. “Good” art seemed out of reach for all but the top echelon.
And the art purchased? Its value has plummeted [like most things]. It is possible it will never recover the value paid. The “investors” were sold not on quality, but on the buzz created by clever marketers.
So why buy art now? Because no one else is. Visual artists throughout the world have suffered the lingering drag of the economy. Hardly anyone is attending the “big shows” sales have slumped, prices have dropped, and galleries have closed. The artists, creating their work alone in their studios are still making fabulous art. It can be had for a song…right now. You don’t need to believe the buzz… just believe your heart. Sure, visit the galleries – visit the expos – but going directly to the artist is neither a sin – nor a mistake. If you find work that calls to you – and it is affordable – buy it. Buy it now.
First ask yourself these questions – Is this particular art something:
· Forever – Do you want to live with for eternity? Will it have meaning to your children or a museum someday?
· Of quality? Is it exceptionally well made?
· Of unquestionable integrity? That demonstrate honesty – does it reveal something about the artist, his or her vision – does it tell a story?
· Unique – is it extraordinary? The only one of its kind – not manufactured or created by one of the artist’s assistants? Is it rare enough – distinctive? Some artists churn out work on an assembly line – [and some galleries sell it] make sure this isn’t seen everywhere.
· Irreplaceable? Not just in the sense that it is insurable… do you dream about owning it?
· Impractical? I’m not talking about a clever lampshade or hand-bound journal – the art you buy should not necessarily have a purpose. Art is not supposed to be efficient!
· Admired? Do others feel the same passion for the artist as you do?
Is it a luxury? You bet. So why buy direct from the artist?
· People. People like to buy from people. You’ll create a relationship with the artist. You know what makes them tick and why their unique gift – their art - is the art that speaks to your soul. You will know each other for years to come. The artist will stay in touch – will show you their new work first – will invite you to their shows… and they’ll love you forever just for buying their work.
· Pleasure. Luxury consumption – buying art - is all about the experience – your senses will come alive – you will have an emotional connection to the art – you will derive great satisfaction from owning the one-and-only piece.
· Purpose. As non-utilitarian as your art purchase may be… it still has a purpose – it is décor after all – it will have its place on your wall or on a pedestal.
In conclusion, what may seem to be a luxury – buying art – from the artist, is actually a very sensible and practical move - in this economy – at this moment.
In time, the art market may shift back to the old paradigm. So in the meantime, supporting working artists is more important than ever. Is not just a wise financial assumption, it will be good for your soul [and theirs]. And, the benefit of staring at your art purchase at your home of office may keep your heart fluttering until the economy returns to normal."