Archive for Art Rants

SACA Mural Project – Day Three

SACA crew

Carl B. Johnson, Liz Nicklus, Jeff Danford, Gail McFarland

Saturday, April 12 marked the 3rd and final EarthHeart Park Farmer’s Market for the season. The event, sponsored by Mountain Health and Wellness featured family friendly events, live music, arts and crafts and of course, a lot of fresh local produce.

The Superstition Art and Cultural Alliance (SACA) has had a presence at all three events in the form of a community art project. We invited the public to paint fanciful designs on abstract shapes of wood. On Saturday’s event, we stuck with a monochromatic theme, black and white! The project was an overwhelming success; we opened the tent to the public at 9AM, and by 10AM all of our shapes were completed.  (The inset in the photo shows a completed mural.) Read more

A relaxing Saturday

amazing glass and ceramic sculpture  Like the Kinks song, I’m living on a low budget… There are trade-offs – you can live for the corporate master or you can live for yourself.  Years ago Liz and I decided to make that trade-off. Instead of a mansion on the hillside that we would never see because we are working to pay off mortgages and debts – well, I am still living to pay off debts… we opted for a simpler lifestyle, a small raqncher style house in the East Valley of the Sonoran Desert.

That'll teach 'em...The Apache Junction Library is a great source of freebies – such as free passes (first-come, first serve) to the Heard Museum of the American Indian in Phoenix. Liz picked up the last pass.  I used my $15 discount to Sun Up Brewery to help pay for lunch afterward.

The Heard Museum is located on beautiful grounds in downtown Phoenix, a few blocks past the Phoenix Art Museum.  The complex includes educational buildings, a restaurant, and several galleries of American Indian art both ancient and modern. Close to the main entrance is an amazing sculpture of glass and ceramic invoking desert plants such as cholla.

freeing artThere is an ongoing exhibition on the Indian Schools – one of which was located in Phoenix. The purpose of the schools was to educate the Indians, and “civilize” them. Their identity was stripped as they were inducted into the schools – but it was not long before they introduced their culture into the schools as they retained their dignity.

American Indian ledger artAn exhibition that was slated to come down, but given a reprieve is the Ledger Art show.  After the buffalo populations were decimated, and as tribes were relocated from the pueblos and mountains to reservations, the canvas for tribal art was lost. Most tribal art was a form of historical record of events – some events of import, and some more mundane.

Lacking the traditional canvas of hides and rock faces, a new generation used old ledgers as a canvas. Battles between tribes, and battles between Indians and US cavalry were recorded.  Fortunately these survived, and a current generation of American Indian artists have revived the media. This exhibition showcases ledger art, old and new.

Red IPA from Sun Up BreweryAfter the museum, we hit the Sun Up Brewing Company for lunch. Tucked in the heart of Phoenix, on Camelback Road, youhave to know where this gem is located, but it is worth the search.

Owing to my fairly recent sensitivity to factory farmed beef (I go into anaphylactic shock if I eat mass produced beef due to the crap that mega-agri-farms inject into the cattle throughout their life) I crave good hamburgers. Since by law, bison and buffalo cannot be injected with hormones and antibiotics and other garbage, I can eat it. I ordered a buffalo burger with cheddar cheese and mushrooms, and enjoyed their IPA.

The IPA was so good, I ordered a growler to go – next weekend I will crack that after we are home from the Earth Heart Park farmer’s and art market. I will have a tent this time, showcasing my Desert Detritus clocks and some paintings.

 

Tilin’

Pique Assiette Mosaic wall in progressAfter a hiatus, I began work again on the mosaic panel in our yard. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon – I cranked up the tunes, opened an ice cold bottle of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, and got to work.

I put in a good four hours on the wall before dinner – filled in some empty spaces. A few more weekends and I should have this baby completed and ready for grouting – as long as the supplies hold out – I am running low on stained glass and used the last of the ceramic tile yesterday.

This morning it is much cooler – there is a front moving over the desert from California.  I will get a little more work done before the afternoon sun pokes out.

 

Painting Sale?

Joes Bar Seattle I am contemplating a painting sale. Liz has been having a great deal of success selling her paintings on eBay. Although I would get a higher price selling in a gallery, I cannot afford to frame all of my paintings.

Listing some of my collection on eBay is totally dependent upon feedback I get from my buyers. I cannot afford to allow them to go for $20 each, but if I can get $50 or more for unframed 8X10′s on stretched canvas, then I would be happy. After all they are doing no good hanging on the wall in my studio! I price these paintings at $150 in a gallery setting, so this is a deal!

A working studio

The StudioWhen we decided to relocate to Arizona, Liz made a scouting trip. Her job allowed her plenty of time off, mine didn’t.  I told her that I didn’t care about the location or the house, we are enough in tune with each others needs that I knew she would pick a decent neighborhood (not crack alley, and certainly not an HOA – just a good working class area).  I only had two demands – space large enough to serve as a studio for both of us, and a bar within crawling distance of home.

The beginning of a big projectShe bid on two houses on the same street – one was larger, but with a smaller, more open yard – chain link fence which I was not too keen about. The other is the one we ended up getting. The house is comfortable, two bedrooms (one is actually smaller than some closets in modern houses). Our dining area is on the patio – and we are able to use it 10 months out of the year comfortably.  In the heat of the summer, the mist system I installed makes it bearable in the evenings.  The entire house is 900 square feet, very cozy. But, not amenable to having a studio inside. Read more

SACA Mural Project

Mountain Health and Wellness Farm Market A patchwork of abstract design…

Today was the second of three Farm Markets hosted by Mountain Health and Wellness in Apache Junction. I manned the SACA booth.  Liz had to work this morning, so Jeff and Gail helped me until Liz arrived.

I assembled the cut shapes back into the 4′x8′ panel when I got home for this photo.  Any single piece on its own doesn’t have impact. As a whole, a different story. Of course, the end-product will look nothing like this. They will be assembled into a collage of shapes and colors, and displayed in an exterior mural on the grounds of the MH&W Earth Heart Park. Read more

SACA Mural Project, Phase I, part 2

shapes for SACA Mural Project In January I wrote about Phase I of the SACA Mural Project.

SACA is the Superstition Arts and Cultural Alliance.  Liz and I serve on the board of directors. The purpose of SACA is to promote the arts in the shadow of the Superstition Mountain. Read more

Desert Detritus Clocks Gallery

I have enough of an inventory of Desert Detritus Clocks to give them their own Gallery Page.


I added some detail shots. Each clock is hand-crafted and one-of-a-kind.

I am still working the finishing touches of the Jawbone clock. With my next paycheck I will have to invest in an assortment of clock movements for my next pieces. Last week I used a 40%-off coupon to purchase much-needed oil paints. Soon I should have enough cash in reserve to buy frames so that by fall I will be able to actually exhibit my paintings.

Desert Detritus Jawbone Clock Revisited

Desert Detritus Jawbone Clock On the critical advice of a friend, I distressed and darkened the clock hands. Lance was 100% correct, this little change really did make a big difference.

I used bronze and iron paints to darken the hands, and then an oxidizer to age them, and a coat of satin clear coat to protect the finish.

Jawbone Clock

Desert Detritus jawbone clock This is my latest Desert Detritus Clock.

$250

The jawbone is from a horse, bleached in the sun of the Sonoran Desert. It measures about 12-inches wide.

The disk behind the face of the clock is an old coffee can lid from one of the hobo camps. The base is a valve from a long abandoned automobile engine.

I suppose part of the thrill of creating these one-of-a-kind Art Clocks is that I get to scavenge refuse from the desert, doing my part to help the environment; combining man-made trash with nature’s discarded parts, and creating unique sculptural and functional pieces.

While the clock does appear precariously balanced, the base of the valve is perfectly balanced. Unless you display it in a wobbly cabinet and allow children to run rampant in your household, it is completely stable.