tissue-thin mini-sculptures

September 18, 2020 in About my arttopics:

I’ve been spending the last few weeks working with the dried flowers from an orchid we have in our kitchen. It’s funny, I don’t like photographing orchids when they are still fresh and alive. They are just too much of a thing, you know? They are too recognizable, too literal. They scream “look at me, I’m a flower!”, and I am just not interested.

But once they dry and fall, that’s when things change. The flowers transform from something obvious into something intriguing. They become these tissue-thin mini-sculptures, filled with texture, detail, and character. They lose a little of their pomposity, and become a little more real and relatable. (There’s a life lesson in there, isn’t there?)

my climate story

Earlier this month I participated in The Climate Reality Project‘s leadership training program. It was a solid week of information, presentations, discussion and networking. One of our first assignments was to write our “climate story” — a account of how you became personal invested in the issue of climate change. Here’s mine: A mission to help people become more empathetic towards nature.  I am a professional artist, and have been creating meditations on the everyday significance of nature for nearly 20 years. I was originally drawn to work with the most familiar details of nature — such as leaves, seeds, bark, flowers, ice, shells — not because of an urge to…  read more

two lessons about our climate reality

September 04, 2020 in Nature and environmenttopics:

I just completed the Climate Reality Project’s Leadership Corps training, a full week of lessons, information, discussion and ideas. It was a fascinating and absorbing week — at times depressing, but in the end inspiring.

My discussion table all week, the indefatigable table 222.

I think the most important lesson I learned was that what gets in our way is not the impossibility of the situation, but our own inertia. The problems we face are huge, and can feel overwhelming. But solutions are already being dreamed up. Progress is possible. We simply need the political will to push forward solutions that are already in our grasp.

Second lesson: that nearly everything we need to do to reduce the effects of climate change has huge side benefits as well: creating new industries, building new job markets, and even the possibility of launching new social dynamics. Fighting climate change isn’t a penalty, but an opportunity. And those who fight climate change fight human progress.

Rust

Whenever you haven’t made art in a while — whether its been a few days or a few months — you get rusty. Starting again is always a slow and sputtering process. I can almost feel a coarse red grit slowing my creativity down to a crawl, hampering my ability to create. And with that grit often comes the same familiar doubts. But I have learned through experience that this “creative rust” is not a problem, but a necessary part of the artistic process.

Who has influenced my art

August 20, 2020 in Art as a professiontopics:

Artistically, I am inspired by a broad range of artists, cartoonists, and writers. Here’s a short list of some I am particularly indebted to….

why I don’t sell limited editions

June 15, 2020 in Art as a profession & Featuredtopics:

First of all, photography is an open edition art form. Limited editions make total sense for many traditional art forms, where the master image degrades with each printing. But one of the pleasures of photography is that you are not limited in the number of prints you can make from a negative. And this is even more true with digital photography where the master file never degrades. Nearly every photographer I admire, going back to Ansel himself, uses open editions. It’s just a natural medium for photography.

my interview on doing art as a career

May 11, 2020 in Newstopics:

While I was in Chicago this past February, teaching at the Self Employment in the Arts conference, I was lucky enough to be interviewed for the Eager to Know podcast, hosted by Chicago artist Ricky McEachern. This was my first podcast, and even though I was a bit nervous, we had a fun and dynamic talk about the doing art as a career, and the power you can get from treating your art as a business.

Ricky did a great job as an interviewer, and guided our conversation into a great discussion that I’m proud to have out there.

We really need spring

March 26, 2020 in About my arttopics:

Sometimes, we just really need spring to arrive. Not like a lamb, nor a lion, but like a wave — rising up and washing away all traces of the past winter.

feeling the pressures of fall

October 31, 2019 in About my arttopics:

Autumn is a source of inspiration for my art. But it can also be a source of tension. Every leaf I see is a potential work of art. But that means every leaf I walk past is art that will never get made. It can be difficult to pick up a leaf and decide “sorry, not you”. Every leaf could be keep me busy for hours, days or weeks of making art. Sometimes I look around, and am a little overwhelmed by all the possibility surrounding me, and the pressure to bring some of it to life.

You know those movies where someone with telepathic abilities is overwhelmed by all the voices they can hear? Sometimes, it feels like that. I walk outside, and every single leaf I see is the raw material for a work of art. Every single leaf is a potential story, and each is clamoring to be told. I need to harden myself against it, and limit what I choose to bring home to my studio. Otherwise, I’ll get nothing done.

not so fast

October 18, 2019 in About my arttopics:

Some days I have such a strong urge to work quickly, and create as much art as possible. This often happens after a long walk, when I gathered a pile of leaves, twigs, and acorns, full of possibilities. Bursting with ideas, I just want to get them all down before they fade. But, I soon realize, this is not in my control.

I may start off fast enough, but eventually I reach one particular subject, one leaf that says “not so fast….” Then I know, no matter how fast I was hoping to go, it’s not my decision. That leaf will be the one to let me know when I am done. Or if I need to spend one more shoot, one more hour, one more day — finding one more idea, creating one more art work.