Monday, January 28, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
This InnerView features Virginia Beach-based cartoonist, Andrew Pollock. Andrew's comics include "The Grace Brothers", a daily style humor comic, and "WitchHound", a horror comic that combines his love of monster movies and H.P. Lovecraft style mythology.
JJLJ: Hello Andrew - Welcome to this session of InnerViews and thank you for agreeing to participate!
AP: My pleasure. Thank you for inviting me. Please, call me Andy. Andrew is what my wife calls me when she's angry.
JJLJ: How did you come to work in comics?
AP: Well, I don't know if you can really call it working in comics yet. Most of what I've done is my own stuff for my own web site and a few gigs for some people I met on a site called Comicspace, which is like MySpace for people who are in to comics. These folks are all independents and the work I've done for them has been pro bono. It's good exposure and keeps me producing which has helped me grow as an illustrator. In addition, some of their stuff has taken off. I did a story for an anthology that sold out its first self-published run and was picked up by a small publisher called AlternaComics and has since been accepted by Diamond Distributors (for those of you trying to break into the field, you know that's a pretty big deal). I also did a stand-alone story of my own character, WitchHound, for a book called Only in Whispers, that just came out, so we'll see where that goes. As I said, none of this has led to any income, but that's not really my goal anyway. I really just wanted to get out there and do something with the stories in my head and the work I've compiled over the years.
JJLJ: What continues to be a source of inspiration for your work?
AP: I don't know. My sources of inspiration sort of jump around as I find new things that appeal to me. I'm a huge fan of H.P Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard (Weird Tales anyone?) and I frequently go back and re-read their work to re-orient myself with the kind of atmosphere their stories evoke, so that's pretty constant. I love monster movies and recently saw The Host, which I think is a South Korean monster movie. I was really struck by the cultural differences in the way they presented the public reaction to the monster and the characters as opposed to the reactions you almost always see in American monster movies. Seeing that sort of thing makes me want to widen my scope as a story teller and try to imagine how different, frequently very un-heroic, characters might react in unusual circumstances. In reference to comic art, I'm a big fan of Mike Mignola (which is obvious to anyone who's read my WitchHound comic.) When I first read Hellboy and saw the really strong use of shadow he employed, I couldn't help but be struck by how moody it was and how perfect it was for the horror genre. It was like the mood created in old black and white monster movies. So he's a big inspiration.
AP: The usual suspects. My parents were always very supportive as far as they could be. Neither of them had any art or publishing background so they couldn't help much with direction, but they were always super positive about my abilities and ambitions, and have always helped out whenever and in whatever way they could. My wife has also played a significant role. She's the one that set me up on ComicSpace and has worked hard to get me exposure on the internet. She's sort of addicted to message boards and surfing the web so she incorporated my work as one of her web hobbies. Most of the comic stuff I'm currently working on is the result of connections she was able to make for me.
JJLJ: What are you currently working on?
AP: I have my own site called WickedSmash.com where I post my WitchHound story and a daily style comic called The Grace Brothers. I've been pretty bad about updating them lately because of other work I agreed to do that is taking up most of my time. The story I mentioned earlier for Only in Whispers is another thing. Originally it was going to be just a short 8-page story but once I started, it sort of grew and I couldn't do it in 8 pages. The publisher suggested I make it a two-parter with a cliff hanger, so now, even though the story's done, I still have to do the art for the second half. Also, another guy I met on ComicSpace asked me to draw some character sheets and the first 5 pages of a book called Case of Strange that he was going to try and sell to a publisher at one of the Comicons. I was able to produce most of the character sheets and the first three pages of the story before the Con, and I didn't really think about what would happen if he sold it. It just didn't occur to me. I'd agreed to do the sheets and few pages and didn't really think beyond that. Well, the story got picked up and the original request for character sheets and 5 pages turned into 18 pages for the first book and three more full books after that. The story is really fun and quirky, so I'm enjoying the work but it's a lot to do and it means I have almost no time to work on my own stuff. Oh well.
JJLJ: How do you see your work influencing others?
AP: Not at all, really. Except maybe in so far as they might look at it and say, "If he can do it, I sure as hell can do it."
AP: That's a hard one. Most of the comments have been pretty short and positive, folks saying they like the work and inviting me to check out their own stuff. My wife entered my WitchHound comic in an on-line contest last fall and I made it into the top ten out of, like, a 120 entrants (I was quickly booted in the second round). When I went in and checked out the other 9 in the top ten I realized that the taste of the judges clearly ran to more of an underground comic style, not my genre at all, but I liked that they felt my comic had a weird enough vibe to be included.
JJLJ: What is your idea of personal success?
AP: I think it's similar to that of most people striving to break into a creative field. To be able to make a comfortable living doing what I love. Obviously, just getting out there is the first step.
JJLJ: Are there any favorite links you would like to share?
AP: Of course, you can check out my comics at my own site, www.wickedsmash.com. and you can see samples of everything I'm working on at my ComicSpace account, also under WickedSmash. I think anyone who's into comics should check out ComicSpace.com. There are some really spectacular talents scattered around over there. In all honesty, there's alot of junk too, as well as a lot of material that doesn't appeal at all to me but probably does to other people, but if you're willing to surf around you can find some really impressive work. A lot of it is just sample stuff posted by people trying to sell their own work, but there are a few members like me that run a full comic that you can read for free. And, come on, what's better then getting entertained for free, right?
AP: Thanks for the opportunity. If anyone has any comments or wants to send me a message they can do it through my site or through ComicSpace if they have an account there. I say this because, like most independents, I toil away in a cramped little office in my house with no real evidence that anyone is looking at my work except fot the occasional e-mail from a reader. I find that when I start to feel like no one's out there, even a brief little, "How ya doin'?," makes all the difference in the world.
For more information on Andy's work, please visit his website.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Press Release: Stellers Gallery Annex to Feature Mixed-media Artist Jennifer J. L. Jones, March 14-April 18
Stellers Gallery Annex to Feature Mixed-media Artist Jennifer J.L. Jones, March 14 - April 18
Stellers Gallery Annex at Neptune Beach, FL will host the opening exhibit of renowned painter and mixed-media artist Jennifer J.L. Jones on Friday, March 14 . The exhibit will feature Jones in-person and her new exhibit, Sensai: Fragile Beauty. This is Jones' second solo exhibition at Stellers Gallery Annex and the artist's fourth exhibition at one of Tuttle's galleries.
Neptune Beach, Fla. (PRWEB) January 23, 2008 -- Stellers Gallery Annex at Neptune Beach will host the opening exhibit of renowned painter and mixed-media artist Jennifer J.L. Jones on Friday, March 14 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. The exhibit will run through Friday, April 18. Stellers Gallery Annex is located at Beaches Town Center, 200 First Street in Neptune Beach.
The exhibit will feature Jones in-person and her new exhibit, Sensai: Fragile Beauty. According to gallery owner Hillary Tuttle, the exhibit is Jones' second solo exhibition at Stellers Gallery Annex and the artist's fourth exhibition at one of Tuttle's galleries.
According to Jones, her work is inspired by the seasons, weather patterns, and natural elements, to name a few. "The grace in a falling leaf from a tree in autumn, a pocket of air trapped in ice, the burnt edges on a flower in the hot summer, millions of crushed shells in the form of sand along the beach. The inspiration found in nature for my art seems endless," said Jones. "Beauty is everywhere and as an artist I interpret that beauty, trying to integrate my personal style, and put it out there for people to connect with. My work is part a spiritual search. It is a need to express what sometimes can only be felt; to create an experience unique to each individual," she said.
"As I paint, each studio session becomes a form of meditation. My work is an intuitive process. The paint often dictates the final imagery and I allow this to be my guide. The colors I choose to glaze over one another create mood, atmosphere, and a 'vibration' of energy unique to each viewer interacting with the final piece," said Jones.
According to Tuttle, each of Jennifer's paintings reveals a pattern, a rhythm, a color field, or a structure that is an ongoing nature-inspired process. "While the paintings represent the personal response of the artist to the environment, they strive to produce a universal response from viewers as well," said Tuttle. "As Jennifer's work evolves, the innate essence and beauty of her work continues to evoke inspiration derived from her painting imagery and technique," she said.
Most recently, Jones' credits include her art as part of the permanent art collection at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal. Also, her latest solo exhibits include galleries in Sante Fe, New Mexico and in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Her work is collected throughout the world and owned by noted collectors including Oprah Winfrey and Judith Belushi Pisano. Throughout her career, Jennifer's paintings have been exhibited in select galleries located in the U.S. and abroad. One of her major installations includes a series of paintings entitled "Five Elements", which provided inspiration for the $75 million Tucker-Sadler designed, 44 Monroe residential high-rise in Phoenix, Az.
The work of Jennifer J.L. Jones explores the many fundamental qualities of nature and the idea of energy and beauty through color, texture and the influence of nature. With a vast combination of mediums such as wax, asphalt, oil paint, paper textures and multi-laying, her work evokes emotions, thoughts, and universal connecting points in the observer.
Stellers Gallery Annex is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The phone no. is 904.247.7200. The Tuttle also owns Stellers Gallery at Ponte Vedra, at 240 A1A North, Ste. 13 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Stellers Gallery at Ponte Vedra is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The phone no. is 904.273.6065. For more information, contact Hillary Tuttle at 904.273.6065.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
And second, I'm thrilled to announce that I just signed with Artizen Fine Arts, a contemporary gallery located in Dallas, Texas. A few of my paintings will be featured in their next group exhibition opening on Saturday, February 16th, 2008 (6pm-9pm). If my schedule allows I may try to make it out to the opening reception and hope to meet a few of you in the Dallas area if possible. For now, check out their website and put this event on your calendar!
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Our first InnerView to kick off 2008 features Santa Fe-based artist, Diane McGregor. Diane's abstract oil paintings are described as atmospheric mists of color and light, sometimes dissolving boundaries of geometric forms, suggesting a mysterious presence amid the austere minimalist grids. For over 20 years, her paintings have been exhibited and represented throughout the United States and are included in international public and private collections. A selection of Diane's paintings were recently acquired by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center for their permanent art collection. When she is not painting, Diane works as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, caring for injured and orphaned birds and mammals.
JJLJ: Hello Diane- Welcome to this session of InnerViews and thank you for agreeing to participate!
DM: Thanks for inviting me, Jennifer.
JJLJ: How did you come to work in the medium of oil painting?
DM: Ever since I was 6 years old and got my first paint-by-number set I have loved oil paint, even the smell! I painted all through elementary and high school, and then in college I had to use acrylics and other media, but I’ve always preferred oil on canvas to any other media. I recently read an article about the painter, Karl Benjamin – he said that under a microscope, “acrylic will look solid, opaque, where oil looks like little red or blue jewels suspended in the medium. You can see light going through it, like the effect of stained glass.” Luminosity is an extremely important element in my current work.
JJLJ: What continues to be a source of inspiration for your work?
DM: Nature, the natural world, is my primary inspiration. The seasons are especially moving to me. I grew up in rural areas of Connecticut and New Jersey, so experiencing the seasons was part of my life and connected me to nature in a profound way at an early age. As an adult, I’ve lived in places without 4 seasons for a couple of decades (Tucson, Arizona, and then Hawaii). Now that I live in the mountains of Northern New Mexico, I am rediscovering the joys of watching time pass through seasonal shifts, and that is a humbling, yet comforting, experience.
I also am inspired by the work of other artists, particularly abstract art. I am fervently devoted to abstraction, and I’m always looking at what other artists are doing to express their ideas in an abstract language. I am constantly looking at art, whether it’s in museums, galleries, on the internet, in books, magazines, etc. Santa Fe is a remarkable place to live – it’s one of the top art markets in the US and it’s also surrounded by gorgeous scenery. So my inspiration is continually nourished by both of these things.
Music also influences and guides me as I work. In the studio, I listen almost exclusively to early vocal music, usually 11th-13th century, and mostly I prefer compositions sung by women. Hildegard von Bingen is my favorite composer, but I also listen to early English, French, and Italian compositions. The music transports me as I paint, and I feel this ancient and sacred connection to an earlier time. I think the purity of this music transcends time and helps to keep me focused on the purity I wish to impart to the viewer through my paintings.
JJLJ: Is there anyone who has played a significant role in your career?
DM: In high school, I was very blessed to have an art teacher, Laurence von Beidel, who took me seriously. He encouraged me and made sure I had the best oil paints and sable brushes to work with. I had a pretty rough time in high school, and art was my salvation and my refuge. Later, during my first year of art school at the University of Arizona, I had a professor who changed my life – Sam Scott. He introduced me to abstraction, and what being an abstract painter was all about. Sam continues to be a mentor to me – he lives in Santa Fe and we still get together and talk about art and career issues.
JJLJ: What are you currently working on?
DM: Over the past couple of years my style has evolved from organic/biomorphic abstraction into purely geometric abstraction. So I have been busy building up a new body of work. As I’ve explored the purity and clarity of geometric form, I find myself leaning more and more toward a minimalist viewpoint. I’m very excited about this shift in my work – I was involved with the more organic forms for over 15 years. I feel it’s important to keep expanding and evolving as an artist, although sometimes it’s scary to venture out of our comfort zones and established working methods.
I’m also getting involved in The Cradle Project. Artists from all over the world are making cradles to raise money to help the children of Africa. I went to an exhibition recently which highlighted some of the cradles that are being created, and it’s a wonderful and exciting project. Some of the cradles are functional; most are just exquisite works of art that incorporate the idea of holding and protecting. You can find out more about the project at http://www.thecradleproject.org/ I’m encouraging all artists to get involved.
An interesting connection here: I went to the Sahara in March of 2006, just when I was beginning to feel a change coming in my work – a movement away from organic abstraction and toward the clarity and perfection of geometry. Camping in the deserts of Niger with a group of Tuareg nomads, I was profoundly affected by the harsh beauty of the Sahara. I felt stripped bare of all unnecessary elements in my life and in my work. When I returned to my studio, I felt the definitive shift toward geometric order. I had also been moved by the plight of African children, how isolated they are and the reality of the desperate futures that await them. I came home wanting to do something for them, and by coincidence found out about the Cradle Project.
JJLJ: How do you see your work influencing others?
DM: There is so much suffering in the world. Through my paintings, I hope to invite people into a visual experience of beauty, peace, and tenderness. I want to remind people of the fragile beauty of the natural world. I seek to connect the viewer with their very deepest sense of who they are and why they are here.
JJLJ: What is the strangest or funniest comment or question you've ever gotten about your work?
DM: Well, it’s not strange or funny, but it’s one of the more memorable comments I’ve gotten. I was having a solo show at the Las Cruces Museum of Art (in Las Cruces, New Mexico). Just before the opening reception, I was standing outside admiring the sky – the sunset illuminated the undulating clouds in such a way that the sky looked like one of my paintings. A security guard at the museum was standing next to me. She told me she wasn’t able to understand my paintings at first, but after seeing those clouds she really “got it.” She was so excited about this newly-formed connection to abstraction – she was beaming. And, of course, so was I. As artists we are primarily communicators, and sometimes abstract artists have a tough go in being understood by the general public. I was delighted at having been able to communicate my reverence for Nature’s beauty with an abstract vocabulary.
JJLJ: What is your idea of personal success?
DM: It sounds trite, but: “To love what you’re doing, and to do what you love.” If you can wake up each morning, loving your life, loving what you have to do, that is success.
JJLJ: Are there any links you would like to share?
DM: Yes. My website. The Cradle Project. A great career resource for artists is : Alyson Stanfield's blog. The Astronomy Picture of the day is truly inspiring. And The Wildlife Center is an organization that I am very involved with.
JJLJ: Thank you, Diane for contributing to InnerViews. We wish you continued success and look forward to following your career.
DM: Thank you very much, Jennifer. It's been a pleasure.
For more information on Diane's work, please visit her website.
Friday, January 4, 2008
I am also working on a selection of new paintings for a private exhibition scheduled later in February at Soho Myriad in Atlanta, Georgia. This meet & greet showing was requested by a very special client and will include three other artists. This is truly flattering to be selected from a long list of many talents for such an exclusive event. Soho Myriad not only exhibits my original paintings but they are also my print publisher. The recently helped The Westin select prints of my work ("Verdant Landscape I" & "Verdant Landscape II") for their Virginia Beach collection.
Last, but not least for this newsy post, I'm pleased to announce that the January/February issue of Atlanta Magazine's Home is out and features my painting "Sage Whisper" (created especially for designer Carla Kantola). The image can be found in the "Simply Spectacular" article on page 61.
I hope you've enjoyed the updates and news bits! I look forward to sharing more news & InnerViews with you in the coming weeks!!
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Mid-December was my chance to fly off to Portugal and collect a few of my paintings that had been exhibited and dearly missed by yours truly! It was quite an adventure! I met a lot of wonderful people in general and made a few special new friends, stayed at the incredible Pestana palace (which I highly recommend!), visited The Pena Palace- a castle in beautiful Sintra, put my international driving permit to excellent use (thank goodness I have experience driving in Atlanta!), and had a chance to attend a great book store and art gallery opening in Lisboa. As I post this, three of my paintings are on their way back to the U.S. and I'm thrilled to announce that "Blue Field IV" is now part of the permanent art collection at the American Embassy in Lisbon! I was honored to have the U.S. Ambassador to Portugal himself (Thomas F. Stephenson) meet with me for an official ceremony and was truly on "cloud 9" to see how excited everyone was about the painting becoming a part of their collection! This is most definitely going on my resume and special art collections list!
Another exciting development since I have returned to the states is that I have been offered an exhibition by the owner of the new gallery I visited in Lisboa. With a busy show schedule already this year, I'm looking forward to working out a future exhibition date and returning to Portugal again. What a great way to celebrate the ending of 2007 and the beginning of 2008!
--Stay tuned for the next posts!--
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
As I watched the celebratory fireworks bursting and showering in the sky last night above my head, a huge sense of relief washed over me that 2007 was now gone and 2008 has officially arrived. I hadn't thought too much about it up until that point in all honesty (other than feeling like time is moving so quickly), but what I felt after witnessing a few explosions of star-burst, smokey colours in the darkness, was a surge of pure excitement for what is to come in the new year!
2007 was a fantastic year for my artwork- how blessed I've felt to have been able to travel, enjoy exhibitions internationally, and the many wonderful opportunities to share my work with all of you both online and in person!! It's truly an honor to create from the heart and have my work resonate with viewers all over the world.
To my special fans, friends, family, clients, patrons, peers, and secret blogging viewers-- thank you for a spectacular year!! I can't wait to blog later this week to share the many exciting announcements and bits of news I've been keeping under my hat. Check back in a day or two for the latest... and don't forget to continue reading the special InnerViews series - those already posted and upcoming. We have some extremely inspiring and talented individuals out there to celebrate every day!! I hope the new year brings you & yours the hope, energy, peace, love, and happiness that makes it all worth it.
My heart-filled thanks goes out to all of you!! Wishing you an Inspiring and Very Happy New Year!!