A C U LT U R A L O DY S S E Y S I N C E 1975
“It’s a golden time for artists.” – MICHAEL SALLINGER
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George Harrison on the twelve string with Donovan and the artist Sid Maurer at Donovan’s castle in Ireland; wonder what tune they’re singing?
By JAMIE ELLIN FORBES
people know it but Lennon and McCartney are Irish names from Liverpool and I became aware I was from that tradition of the DONOVAN. I am a fan. I lived the 60s. Freedom of troubadour sound. I dressed up the songs in different costumes at imagination ruled. Season of the Witch was my favorite song as well times. as his. The resurgence of popular style in music, clothing and artLike many of his era from England, as-graphic from the era is not nostalgic including Ronnie Wood (who is also for me, rather a comfortable place to be. being inducted as a member of The As if I were visiting where the Season of Small Faces), Donovan cites his art the Witch lives. A good fit. Donovan was background as the impetus for the visual and is the seminal leader of innovation, quality of story-telling in his poetry a clear and channeled voice for this mid and music. The team of Donovan and to late 20th century generational art Sidney Maurer used graphic art, classical renaissance movement beyond Pop. It art and even Kirilian Photography to is easy to understand why the Rock and expand the possibilities of the 11” x Roll Hall of Fame will be inducting him 11” album cover. Visuals as stories that into the ranks of cultural rock trailblazers would change 60’s art forever, words this spring, as a poet/artist/musician who used as pictures; metaphors long alive inspired the icons of his era. Donovan with meaning are infused with an the troubadour bard formed the vision electric jolt when brought to new life and the artistic framework implemented by Donovan. in the 60’s as style, drawn upon from his Fine Art Magazine spoke with art school years. “We singer songwriters Donovan and Sid from Maurer’s home from Britain who are very prolific…you Donovan and Sid Maurer, 1968 in Atlanta. Friends since meeting in can see colors and landscapes in songs Clive Davis’ office at CBS in 1966, they full of images when we put down paint completed each others sentences, lending insight as to how deep and brushes and picked up the guitar… Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds easy the artistic rapport is between them. The cascading ribbon of ideas - One of my first songs was called Colors. In Wear Your Love Like flashed as they spoke. For an instant as I listened I saw the evolution Heaven - Sid saw that right away here comes a singer/songwriter of their art as process; how it manifested in the album packaging as a who wants true art on his covers. visual concept unfolding allowing the route—the continuance of the “We come from a tradition,” continues Donovan, “not many 33 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2012
story telling—to be seen. Each described how they collaborated on the albums that showcased both of their formidable gifts: Sunshine Superman, Mellow Yellow, Hurdy Gurdy Man and Barabajagal provided a vehicle for the multi-dimensional impressions that Donovan envisioned and with the help and encouragement of Maurer was able to convey. “I was under contract to CBS/Epic to create all their album covers when they signed a young man named Donovan to the label,” said Sidney. “They invited me to come up and say hello. They called him Mr. Donovan and it was just the beginning of long hair. He was wearing a white Hungarian wedding gown down to the floor. I thought I was talking to Jesus…no shoes, just barefoot in a robe in Black Rock and all the girls in the offices were gaga. It was quite a thing. He and I struck up a friendship when I said, ‘Let’s get out of here and go over to my studio.’ I rolled a couple so we could relax and we spent the next few days working on the first of his album covers for Epic - Sunshine Superman.” Here Donovan picks up the story. “I am an artist myself and I wanted my covers to be visual just as I was making my appearance on stage visual to illustrate my lyrics. I was a bit ahead of the scene. Nobody really cared or had done this before. At most there was a photo of the band or the artist and ‘Let’s get that album out as soon as possible.’ I wanted Sunshine Superman to be Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite because my songs were so romantic. Sid said to Clive ‘This boy’s right, you’ve got to do it.’ Clive went along and Sid became my champion. “The first album was really why I was nominated. That’s the one that initiated the psychedelic revolution.” Sid continues: “A year later, I’m sitting in the office and get a call from England. ‘What are you doing? Why don’t you come over this weekend? We’ll do a few things.’ Donovan had a cottage in a small suburb of London. It was painted all lavender in the woods and on the roof was a large white dove. This is where Don lived. He and I spent the entire weekend working on a project that became kind of history: the first boxed set that was ever done in rock and roll: A Gift From A Flower To A Garden.” Back in New York, Davis was reluctant. Donovan recalls the conversation. “A box? This is impossible we can’t do this. This is gonna cost a lot of money. It’s fine art paper, individual sheets, in a box! No pop singer gets a box! They are for classical and jazz.’ I said, I want one. I actually had to pay out of my royalties or it would never have been done. Clive said ‘we’ll release the two albums on their own 34 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2012
Copyright © 2012 Donovan Disc Archive & Barabajagal LLC. www.barabajagal.com www.donovan.ie
On Donovan’s yacht, Greece, 1971
before Christmas and after Christmas we’ll release it as the box.’” Sid recalled, “Either of them didn’t reach #100 on the charts and the box set went gold almost instantly. I said, Clive - you should have got that box set out before Christmas. I knew what I was doing with marketing from art school.” The upshoot is that Donovan owns all the original art and is now making it available worldwide through Museum Masters International which also has a history in music. “In 1996,” said Museum Masters President Marilyn Goldberg, “We did Elvis/ Warhol Hall of Fame anniversary products and editions with the Elvis Estate and Andy Warhol Foundation. Now we will be licensing the Donovan/Sid Maurer collection honoring Donovan’s Hall of Fame induction.” These artful album covers ushered in an era of big ideas and changing cultural attitudes expanding the nuance of the message, fueling the cultural revolution. Donovan credits Maurer for opening the doorway for him as a musician to use the art studio as a colleague. Sidney’s expertise, vast professional background and generous explanation of how the machinations of printing and art prep worked made the magic happen, changing art and style through innovation. Maurer noted that the cover art played a major role in focusing attention on sales as well as conveying musical vision that 34 • SunStorm • Spring 2012
“BEATNIKS OUT TO MAKE IT RICH”
he first British folk troubadour who truly captured the imaginations of early Beatles-era fans on both sides of the Atlantic, Donovan Leitch made the transition from a scruffy blue-jeaned busker into a brocaded hippie traveler on Trans Love Airways. As a folkie on the road with Gypsy Dave, Donovan became a Dylan-esque visual presence on the BBC’s Ready Steady Go! starting in 1964, and released several classics: “Catch The Wind,” “Colours,” Buffy Ste.-Marie’s “Universal Soldier,” “To Try For The Sun” and more. That changed in 1966, as he came under the production arm of UK hitmaker Mickie Most, and was signed by Clive Davis to Epic Records in the states. Donovan ignited the psychedelic revolution virtually single-handedly when the iconic single “Sunshine Superman” was released that summer of ’66 (and the LP of the same name, with “Season Of The Witch”). His heady fusion of folk, blues and jazz expanded to include Indian music and the TM (transcendental meditation) movement. Donovan was at the center of the Beatles’ fabled pilgrimage to the Maharishi’s ashram in early ’68 (where, it is said, he taught guitar finger-picking techniques to John Lennon and Paul McCartney). Donovan’s final Top 40 hit with Most was “Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)” in the summer ’69, backed by the Jeff Beck Group. In the ’70s and ’80s, Donovan continued to record and tour sporadically, including songs for Franco Zeffirelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon (finally issued in 2004). During the 1990s, Rick Rubin (after working with Johnny Cash) produced Donovan’s Sutras. The 2008 documentary film, Sunshine Superman: The Journey Of Donovan is an essential overview of his career. –ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME
“MUST BE THE SEASON OF THE WITCH” The day of the scheduled Donovan interview, in true Steve Jobs “iTunes is prophetic” mode, what comes on shuffle but the Al Kooper Birthday concert at BB King’s with Jimmy Vivino, John Simon and even Harvey Brooks from SuperSession for a live rendition of Season of the Witch. I cued up all the versions of that cut in my library and let them run and run. Here’s Harvey doing his bass solo live, the one he did on Mike Bloomfield’s sole career gold record (SuperSession), on which he only played on one side before cutting out. Steve Stills was called in by producer Kooper in a rush to occupy the expensive studio time and they came up with the wah-wah/Hammond B3-driven eleven minute classic version of Season of the Witch with some powerful Eddie Hoh drumming along with the aforementioned Brooks. Of this, the critics wrote “Stills showed the wah-wah pedal was more than a war toy.” Donovan loved the Julie Driscoll/Brian Auger version best, but for posterity we have the “Live From the Filmore East Lost Concert” with Mike doing a classic guitar part on his only recorded version of the song as Kooper references Terry Reid. It’s a two chord vamp but people have made careers of it. That, in fact, is what Donovan said the Allman Brothers did with their extended versions of Mountain Jam which often, when coupled with Whippin’ Post, lasted the better part of an hour and featured some of
Donovan portrait by Sidney Maurer, courtesy © 2012 Sid Maurer / Museum Masters
Duane’s most inspired guitar work. That Donovan’s songs would bring out the best in these high level musicians and the many others who have covered and accompanied him speaks volumes. “We had some good old times, took some trips, not all psychedelic The whole process of creating art for the album covers I learned from Sid. He had a studio that was fully working and he was so proficient. I was able to talk his language after the first album. We didn’t just do it once, we went through two, three, four, five different things that he sent me by post.” A former art student, Donovan was fascinated with Sid Maurer’s tools of the trade in pre-computer, pre-fax, pre-Pantone and even pre-Fed Ex days. Things were slow and you needed very specific skills to get a complex color album jacket from color separations to rubylith masking ready for press. “Sid knew how to make sure that the yellow is really the right yellow. The wonder of albums was that you could actually see and touch them and put them on the wall as art. It’s great to celebrate the coming around of records again.” “You carry life as a force in your music,” said Sid to his good friend. “You didn’t just write songs and sing them, you created a body of work and the excitement remains.” —VICTOR FORBES
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Artexpo New York - The Tradition Continues Artexpo New York, the world’s largest fine art trade show for over 33 years, returns to New York City for an extraordinary weekend featuring fine art from both established and emerging talent, art industry seminars and entertainment at Pier 92 on the Hudson River, New York City’s renowned “Art & Design Pier.” This year, the show will run concurrently with the Architectural Digest Home Design Show, hosted at Pier 94--so attendees will have even more reasons to visit the Piers. “We expect the 2012 Artexpo New York to double our successes in 2011,” said Artexpo CEO Eric Smith. “Last year, we hosted 250 exhibitors in 450 booths and had 15,000 attendees. With the Architectural Digest Home Design Show positioned next door, we expect that 2012 will attract 20,000 collectors maybe more.” With artwork for every taste and budget, Artexpo New York 2012 will feature art from over 20 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Ghana, Italy, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Spain, Senegal, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Showcasing innovative new paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, glassworks and more—all under one roof—Artexpo New York will follow the Armory Show, culminating the city’s widely acclaimed month-long celebration of art and design. “ We’re providing something for everybody,” said Smith. “More than any other show, Artexpo New York is inclusive and dynamic and enables all areas of the art world to flourish. It’s a place where emerging artists are discovered and where artists from all disciplines find a market for their work— even in the current economy.” “If you’re in the art industry, you need to be at Artexpo,” said Smith. “Whether you’re a buyer or an exhibitor, you can attend our innovative, free education seminars for up-to-theminute information on a myriad 2 • SunStorm • Spring 2012
Gianfranco Meggiato, Sfera Conchiglia
Josef Kote, Romantic and Calming, Blazing Editions
of topics, including The Art Business Plan, Effective and Creative Gallery Marketing, Powering Your Marketing with New Media, Checklist for Art Licensing, 2012 Color Trends, and the Relationship Between Artist and Collector. Because of the strong increase in exhibitors and anticipated attendees, we’re also introducing new amenities for our guests, including an elegant new VIP lounge sponsored by GE Capital and a luxurious bistro.” Exhibitors and attendees can look for ward to exciting preview events, entertainment and Artexpo’s popular [SOLO] pavilion, showcasing contemporary artwork by hundreds of the world’s top emerging, independent artists. At the show, Artexpo will also showcase it’s highly acclaimed Artexpo Studio, a complete set of tools Artexpo has designed to help independent artists market their work, create higher quality reproductions, spend more timein the studio and increase revenues. For 33 years, Artexpo New York has been the world’s largest fine art trade show, providing trade buyers and weekend shoppers with access to thousands of innovative works from artists and publishers in a single venue. Over the decades, Artexpo has hosted many of the world’s most
Deljou Art Group
renowned artists, including Andy Warhol, Peter Max, Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Haring, Robert Indiana and Leroy Neiman.
Michael Albert: “You Are What You crEATe” Michael Albert is Rather than sit in traffic changing the world during rush hour, one cereal box at a he stayed at the time. The creator office and slowly of what he calls found his niche. “ C e r e a l i s m” “As I got busier is a gifted, in my career, dedicated I knew that if and exuberant I didn’t take proponent time in the of Abraham day to create, I Lincoln’s would just be a The professed desire to be known as juice salesman. So I decided that at the Birth of someone who was “worthy of the end of each day, I would lock the doors, Cerealism esteem of his fellow man.” Albert adds crank up the music and make art.” Collage that it wasn’t purely for his ego, but for the At first, Albert was working with junk 1996 idea that he desired to accomplish something mail and stickers that he came across in his truly worthwhile. “I thought art could possibly business. “What a waste of energy and resources be that for me but in the beginning I had no idea that somebody paid and created for me to look at what that meant. I did know that I really enjoyed and throw right in the trash,” he thought. Rather than spending my time making art and I had a real sense add to the ecological mess, he would take the back of a of accomplishment after creating something. There was writing pad, cut and paste the “garbage” and create. Those always the chance that it could possibly be great, but only time quirky, detailed, one-of-a-kind pieces evolved over time into an tells about such things. Art has continued artistic expression of museum quality work, to hold that interest and promise for me or yet are so simple that Albert has taken his I wouldn’t have kept doing it.” scissors and glue pots to classrooms across When Albert was 19 and studying the country, opening the doors of making business at NYU he decided that whatever art to literally thousands of young people he ended up doing, he want it to somehow and making a career for himself. be of value to society. “I didn’t want to just make money, although I “It is a simple process,” continues the artist. “Cutting and pasting did want to make money, too, but when you consider someone like is a primal human thing. I think I’ve just taken it to another level.” van Gogh, who achieved greatness as a person who created things By incorporating great lyrics, Lincoln, Shakespeare, King David et that are priceless but didn’t see many sales during his lifetime…that al, it is a way for Albert to take all the things he has learned and inspired me to think maybe art could be my way. van Gogh didn’t cares about into a visual form. “I listen and look at things so that get to see how great he was, but probably felt he was on the right when I see or hear something that really strikes me as worthwhile, track to have kept creating and evolving as I can really express it. I don’t like elitist he did or he wouldn’t have spent all that time things. I like the idea that somebody who and energy drawing, painting and writing doesn’t have any money to spend can create about it in his letters. Through art I hoped a masterpiece that can hang in a museum to achieve greatness. van Gogh achieved or be paid a lot of money for it. With a pair greatness after his death. He wasn’t being of scissors, a little glue and with your own honored or taking long lunches at Maxim’s. time and creativity, it is something that can He spent his time creating. The honor came be there for everybody. You don’t need oil after his life. paints, canvasses or brushes. Thousands and “There are many people who make thousands of kids are doing this now as a boatloads of money that no one wants to result of seeing what I’ve done and who is to study or are really cared about a century after say that one of them won’t become the next they’re gone, but in van Gogh’s case they do, great artist in history.” we all do. Who can buy Starry Night? Is there “I always liked George Carlin’s piece a price on it? Is it for sale?” ‘These words have never been said by anybody As a young entrepreneur, Michael else in this order.’ and the random things started a distribution company with his that I had collected all put together were a brother which was the cog in launching Tazo completely unique and random creation. I Teas out into the world. Then Starbucks was using things that would have otherwise came along and took over and he found gone into the trash.” that he was in no position to benefit in the Creating things that were interesting long run for his efforts of helping to pioneer was icing on the cake for Albert who then the brand in the greater NY Metro area.” moved on to cutting up photographs and From that rude awakening, they started Sir repositioning them as collages. With four On the road with Michael Albert Real, a “state of the art fruit juice company.” young children, he took a lot of pictures of Michael did not let the ebbs and flows of the business world impact the family. “We used to get doubles at the drug store and had double his creativity. In fact, he honed his artistic skills every day after work. the amount of bad photographs.”
“- and not just in an artistic sense.”
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23rd Psalm, Collage 2006
d m, ge 6
Sir Real Lemon Man, wax oil drawing, 1995 God Bless America, collage, 2004
Combining images with type was a natural progression and his she was interested in. Then he found my phone number on the artistic career began in earnest. Albert started with “found objects” website and said why don’t we call him, ask him questions about his in his New York City apartment building where he came upon the technique and see if we can get any advice. He made the call and she now famous Frosted Flakes cereal box that started it all laying next took it upon herself to create a collage out of a cereal box at home. to the incinerator chute. The The teacher was very glad that ensuing “mash-up” will one she became interested enough day be headed to the Museum to do something on her own. of Modern Art, with the Then we had a conference call Smithsonian, he hopes, hosting and she came up with all kinds his Lincoln’s Gettysburgh Address. of questions which she typed “I created art in the up and asked me. Now she is beginning because I thought in the process of a creating a art was really important, and self-portrait. I sent a tube full Gratitude Bookmark, collage, 2008 was something I could do even of my posters for the students though I was working and and offered to do a free visit getting my career going in the business world. to the school which will probably happen this fall. I will also visit “More people know who Ben and Jerry are than some of the libraries and museums in Pittsburgh. That type of thing makes me most famous artists in history. I also think there are feel like I am on the right track somehow. It gives only six artists in history who anybody has heard not just my art but my life a deeper meaning. of —I’m talking about people who know nothing One of the things that make me think I am about art—Michelangelo, DaVinci, Rembrandt, on the right track is that a lot of art teachers are van Gogh, Picasso, maybe Andy Warhol.” teaching my work in their classes. They’re using Being a business student, with great real-life what I do and then have the kids bring in boxes acumen, Albert knows he doesn’t have to part with from home and create their own collages in their his masterworks just yet. Rather than sell and be in own style. The idea of using the creative side of the the gallery world, he travels the nation to schools brain to learn about subjects like Lincoln, or quotes and libraries, often gratis, demonstrating, teaching about subjects they are working on is different. I and encouraging young people to bring in their don’t see that happening with a lot of other artists. cereal boxes and other similar items and make Only a handful are being taught in the schools. their own collages. “Being kind to another human being that “A teacher called me from Pittsburgh and nobody else knows about, is as great as this and told me the project the students had was to do a is something we all can do. Nothing is truly self-portrait based on some other artist’s work. He worthwhile that you can’t take with you after this life. told me that a girl in his class, who up until then There are levels of happiness—some people find it had not been too engaged in art, found my work on a beach. I am happy standing in front of a library online and told the teacher she wanted to try to create something in class in Alabama for the love of it. That gives me a deeper meaning my style. First, he was really happy that she had found something for every thing that I do, that I am really doing something special. — VICTOR FORBES SunStorm Magazine • Spring 2012 • 11
“Tie-Dye Kitty”. 1970. Our bedroom. All tie-dying by JS and CS!
CATHERINE SEBASTIAN: “ALL THAT HISTORY & MUSICOLOGY”
By KAY CORDTZ
celebration of the nexus of music and art at the J.B. Kline Gallery in Lambertville, New Jersey occasioned the first showing of 15 Catherine Sebastian photos of musicians from Elizabeth Cotten to Lady Gaga, taken over a time span of more than four decades. The exhibit was part of the gallery’s Music Month activities featuring the work of a dozen artists and photographers in which the subject matter was music and musicians. Other artists showed works from watercolors to collages and mosaics. Sebastian showed photographs printed on metallic silver gelatin fiber paper using pigment inks, subjects included Mick Jagger, Pete Seeger, Paul Butterfield, Bonnie Raitt, Maria Muldaur, and her husband John. Sebastian recently had her first solo photography show, “Catherine Sebastian’s Beautiful World,” at Oriole 9, in Woodstock, NY. The exhibit showcased her colorful interpretations of her environment in differing light and seasons, and while it included a couple of her better-known musician portraits, the New Jersey show is the first time a show has focused exclusively on the musicians she has captured in a variety of settings and moods. In December 12 • SunStorm • Spring- 2012
of 2012, Sebastian will have a solo show at the J.B. Kline Gallery. “It was a remarkable feeling, standing back and looking through other’s eyes at the collection of prints,” Sebastian said. “Until this show they’d been cached in boxes and negative books taking up two storerooms in my studio. I wasn’t aware of going for a theme, apart from sharing some amazing moments, but as it turned out, I chose mostly performance shots.” J.B. “Jeff ” Kline’s ancestors have held many elective offices in New Jersey, including Mayor of Lambertville, and he inherited the large, rambling building on trendy Bridge Street that houses the gallery. A musician himself, Kline decided to use the building for music and other activities benefitting the community. The gallery has a stage for concerts and open mic nights, and Kline sells musical instruments upstairs. A coffee shop occupies the space facing the street. “I was given this building as a gift, so I decided to use it give it back to the community,” he said. “We have concerts here, we have movies, book club, open mic, drum circle, daycare, yoga, ukulele jam night, parties, and art openings.” According to Gary Cohen, curator at
the J.B. Kline Gallery, “I’d been managing the gallery for several months when Jeff told me that he’d like to have a Music Month right after the holidays and told me to run with the idea. A mention on our Facebook page intrigued a number of local artists enough to contact me- and the idea of a show featuring an eclectic group of artists working with musical themes started to take shape. “Catherine’s work, which I knew and loved from our correspondence and friendship on FB, seemed ideal and I reached out to her. I always envisioned a wall of her images and photographs, but I guess I didn’t make that quite clear,” he laughed. “After she sent her canvas of Taj Mahal to me via New Hope where John was playing a concert at the Winery, I wrote and asked when and how would I get the rest of the pieces. Once Catherine recovered, she embraced the idea of being the featured artist, and I think she had a great time working up a show within the show. I know I had a great time collaborating with her.” Cohen’s band, featuring a few special guests, played at the Saturday night opening. Barr y Peterson, a singer/songwriter/ humorist whose rhyming verse narrative
TAJ MAHAL Notodden Blues Festival, Notodden, Norway, 2000. I looked up and saw Taj on the hotel porch with the overhead light pots looking like perfect smoke rings. Irresistible shot!
for the children’s book Ivory Joe was featured in the show, said he was “astounded” by the variety of art that was included in the exhibit. “It’s great to see the visual and musical come together in an event such as this,” he said. “This place is a nexus for extraordinary talent of both varieties and it’s known as such.” Peterson said he first met Sebastian while they were hanging the show. “I think her work is fabulous,” he said. “Her photos are absolutely unbelievable. I like them all, but I like the one of Pete Seeger best. He’s just such an inspiration to everybody and the photograph captures that.” Scott Rodas, who books concerts in connection with his job promoting library programs for Ocean County, NJ, was also impressed. “Much of the art was really beautiful,” he said. “I like art that’s full of light and brightness. I really admire the mosaics but Catherine’s photographs were my favorite. “ Kerry Perretta, a management consultant from Princeton who describes herself as “artsy,” learned about the show from a newspaper article, and was knocked out by what she found there. “I was so exhilarated by everything Catherine Sebastian’s done, such a beautiful review of all those wonderful
Mick Jagger & Charlie Watts - Spotted Ahmet on a gray morning’s walk and stopped to say hello. He said he was “just waiting on a friend.” Imagine my surprise when the band floated down 5th Avenue on a flatbed truck... publicity stunt, 1975.
Catherine and photographer/collector Reed Mitchell at the opening. Photo: Kate Moore.
decades!” she said. “All that history and musicology—Mick Jagger on the street, Debbie Harry. John Sebastian, Bonnie Raitt, it’s a delight. Her eye, her spirit, her heart comes through the camera, it’s thrilling, just beautiful. I’m so pleased to be here.” One of the most popular pieces in the show was Sebastian’s 1970 portrait of Elizabeth Cotten onstage in Oakland with her guitar. “I was at a big show in San Francisco when someone mentioned that Elizabeth Cotten was playing that same night over in Oakland,” Sebastian said. “I grabbed my camera bag and my hubby and raced over. The club lighting consisted of one low-watt spot so I pushed
The Hubby - John Sebastian on autoharp
my Ektachrome to a scary 1400 ASA. So glad I went for it!” for print inquiries: email@example.com SunStorm • Spring 2012 • 13
Élyse Aussant at her ES ART Galeria exhibition, Barcelona, Spain, February 2012
Élyse Aussant: Paint, Emotion & Globalization Through her paintings, Élyse Aussant shows her poetic vision of reality. Urban, lustrous, unifying and stemming from the current planetary globalization, her work is a testimony to the artist’s sensibility and generosity. She creates spaces where light and depth coexist. Her work is intuitive and sensory. Each of her paintings are a blend of abstract and figurative art, an image of her vision of the world. The relief of her layers and her raw textures shows her ability to transpose her preoccupations and desires as a modern woman. By VICTOR FORBES
Élyse at the Lake Placid (New York) Celebration of the Arts, October, 2012
lyse Aussant has always painted. This way of expressing herself has always been a part of her life. When she was young, to get the attention of her father, who was an accomplished technical artist, she made pictures and drawings. “This method usually worked,” she recalled, laughingly. “I still use it today to create personal contacts, to touch people or even provoke something within them.” Aussant started to make a living on her own in 1991 at the age of sixteen as an actress in Montreal but it was in 2005 that a special interest grew for her paintings. Many visitors to her home wanted to know where the paintings came from and if they could get one. “I then started selling some of them and had some solo exhibitions. This is how painting came into my life.” 14 • SunStorm • Spring 2012
With numerous solo and group exhibitions on her dossier, including a recent success at Es Art Galeria in Barcelona, Aussant has shown also in New York, Toronto, Paris, Brussels and Perpignan. Her work be on view at the Jayson Samuel Gallery booth at the 2012 New York Artexpo. A native of the Canadian province of Quebec, Élyse is well known in her hometown via exhibits at Galerie In-Vivo, Studio Bizz, Galerie du Cercle Carré, Galerie FDART, Galerie Soho (in Old Montreal). Despite the grey and drab wintery climate of this bustling city, many of the artists there are flourishing through their extravagant use of color to convey an attitude of cheer, joy and power—an antidote to the winter blues. “I love Montreal, especially Old-Montreal,” says Élyse. “That is why I often paint it the way I
do, the way I see it. When you are on the Victoria Bridge coming in the city at night, I think it is a magnificent view of the city on the riverside. I love the ambiance in Old-Montreal, I have so many fond memories of it since I have been living there for seven years now and they have been seven very intense years if I may say so. I love the action we find in the city, the people also, I am fascinated by them.” Aussant is a very energetic person, much like her vivacious, flashing colors. “They give me the feeling that I am sharing my energy with anybody who looks at my paintings. We live in a world that obliges us to be ‘within the action’ to reach our goals and I want my paintings to reflect that and, as I mentioned, give energy to those watching. Whether they are liked or not, the colors I use usually grasp the attention of the viewer and create emotions, which is what I am looking for.” Élyse brings her creative vision to successful fruition by “Painting with my heart.” In doing so she finds there are no limits. “My studio is a place where anything can happen. It is a place where I feel completely free and comfortable and that must show in my paintings. Since I am a very emotional person, I express my overflow of feelings through painting. We often think of someone sitting on a stool, brush in hand, painting quietly…that is not me. I paint standing up and it sometimes becomes a very emotional and even physical event!” The resultant interchange, fueled by the passionate dispersal of paint on canvas by any means necessary to convey the message, works. Just look at the painting reproduced at the top of this page. You don’t need an art critic to tell you how to feel. “The fact is,” continues the artist in a recent dispatch from her studio, “I use a spatula, spray paint and even my bare hands...I can start over many times until I am truly satisfied with the result. If we
could throw my paintings under an X-Ray, you would find many paintings underneath. For me, inspiration must be present because that is what is doing most of the work.” Élyse says she is “blessed” that her paintings have opened so many doors in her young life with hopes that her career will keep progressing to consume “more and more space in my life. I have always wanted to find a job that would allow me to travel and I feel I have found the perfect one, one that makes me very happy. My paintings are starting to be present in many parts of the world and I'm in heaven!” In her home studio, Élyse’s environment molds the creation of this powerful and uplifting body of work. When she is at the easel, she completely loses the notion of time. She unhooks the phone, plays music and is totally absorbed by what she is doing in the moment. Motivated to levels of greatness by a favorite painter from her home province of Quebec, Johanne Corno whose work is rife with texture and an extraordinary sensuality, with an equally inspiring life story life story, Élyse states, “My inspirations do not only come from painters. I have a lot of actor friends, who inspire me greatly! I am also touched by the planetary situation (ecologically speaking). Every person I meet that I feel is true and sincere will inspire me. I am a perfectionist and as I mentioned earlier, a very sensitive person so I must always push myself to do more and do better... always questioning myself. I am made that way.” Ascribing to no particular “school” or association, Aussant has finds that her way to learn is to “let myself be touched by things, life, love. What I see and feel.” Besides painting, Élyse occupies her time with “Writing, dancing, singing, music, movies, documentaries, traveling, the sea, the planetary situation, friends, love and high heeled shoes!” SunStorm • Spring 2012 • 15
“I paint for the satisfaction of the created work.”
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org www.leonoks.com 16 • SunStorm Magazine • Spring 2012
The ever-growing audiences who are drawn to and moved by the work of Leon Oks have no doubt an interest in Leon Oks the man and the genesis of what we see and try to understand about the power of his work and its emotional impact. When not yet old enough to really understand, Leon looked at the world around him and was captivated by the beauty of colors, of bodies and faces, the light and the dark. These all touched his little boy’s heart, and he knew even then that his passion for creating art was implanted. Leon’s Women As a disciplined, academically based painter, L eon Oks is able to smoothly weave that basic under lying foundation into a tapestry of his own unique fanciful inspiration. As one very important catalyst for his interior vision, he uses the female form. He paints her with fluid brushstrokes, luminous sparkling color and dynamic movement, multiple perspectives with flowing lyrical lines and resplendent sensuous beauty. His women are vessels of creative power and span the range of human emotions. She is Nature, Mother, Joy, Sorrow, and Struggle. He abstracts the essence of his subject and makes it his own. Leon’s Memories In his bittersweet nostalgia of his years in the Ukraine, under suffocating Soviet bureaucracy, Leon Oks is able to retrieve the sweetness and ignore the bitterness. With a palette of soft ambers, burgundies and golds, he evokes idyllic, rounded, shaky, charming villages; soft flowing landscapes, and swaying birch trees, alive in their ever changing wooded golden greens. The mood is warm, soft and seductive, as we recognize the depth and emotional power of Leon’s work. Mr. Oks has exhibited widely across the United States, at many international exhibitions in Europe, and is a frequent contributor to Art Fairs around the world. He has received many first place awards in juried art shows both nationally and worldwide. Recently Leon Oks was awarded The Leonardo da Vinci’s “True Face” prize for “Artistic skills reported by many experts on art” as well as through national and international publications and the “David Di Michelangelo” award by the Italian Association of Art (“Italia in Arte”). His paintings can be found in numerous private collections, corporations, as well as museums and have been frequently anthologized in such volumes as International Contemporary Masters, Famous: 120 Contemporary Artists, Portraits d’Artistes (Editions Regards, 2007), and International Artists Yearbook. He has been profiled in a lavish monograph, Leon Oks: Dreamscape, published by World of Art in 2007 and co-written by Petru Russu. It is available on Amazon.com. Oks is the recipient of numerous awards, honors, and nominations, by such bodies as the American Biographical Institute, The International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, England, The Museum of the Americas in Miami, Florida, Art Now, and the World Academy of Letters.
Awakening 30” x 24”
If the range of emotions and thoughts that I have experienced in the process of painting are visible on my canvas, only then do I call it finished. It is at this point, knowing I have met my standards; I gain confidence that the viewer will respond in a similar way.
Memories II 30” x 24”;
below: Behind the Stage, 40” x 52”
SunStorm • Spring 2012 • 17
International Women’s Day Celebration
Maxine McCrey Montano and Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely
Fine Art Magazine attended the luncheon hosted by The New Future Foundation, Inc., in conjunction with The United Nations 56th Session of the “Commission on Women, Their Contributions and Impact,” in recognition of International Women’s Day (March 8) as marked by women’s groups around the world. Theresa Freeman was honored with the Sojourner Truth Award at the luncheon hosted by Maxine McCrery. The New Future Foundation recognizes, when women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development. International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900’s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. Suffragettes campaigned for a woman’s right to vote. (The word ‘Suffragette’ is derived from the word “suffrage” meaning the right to vote.) International Women’s Day honors the work of the Suffragettes, celebrates women’s success, and reminds of inequities still to be redressed. The first International Women’s Day event was run in 1911. 2011 was the Global Centenary Year. Fine Art Magazine has supported the efforts of women in multiple art forms at various levels of accomplishment in their careers to find there voices in stating their missions over our 38 year publishing history.
Luncheon Panel Members and attendees supporting Maxine McCrey Montano and Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely presenting Theresa Freeman the Sojourner Truth Award
Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, Theresa Freeman, JaRon Eames, and Maxine McCrey Montano
At 95, Edith O’Hara Sustains Life-long Passion for Theater
Gala Event Celebrates Veteran Artistic Director’s Accomplishments
delivered by representatives of Congressman Charlie Rangel. Previous honors have included awards by Governor Celebrity surprise guests, Cuomo, and President Barack accolades from around the globe, Obama and the first lady and a celebration of a lifetime of Michelle Obama, and the New achievement and passion in York City Council, proclaiming theater marked the February Edith O’Hara Day in New York 12th birthday celebration of City. Edith O’Hara at the Thirteenth Still on board as the Street Repertory Theater. The repertory owner-operator, Ms. event was MC’d by Dell Long, Publicist and Producer, and O’Hara founded the theater Leslie Wyche, emissary for Councilwoman Inez Dickens Dell Long, Spats Donovan and Edith O’ Hara song and dance man Spats in 1972, and throughout its Donovan. Performers who attended included eight year old hip-hop decades of activity she has supervised hundreds of productions, artist Little Man, jazz singer Eureka Rose, Michael Jackson dancer including the longest running Off-Broadway play in New York, Jesse Valencia, and hula hoop performer Milo. The finale salute “Line”, by playwright Israel Horvitz. “Line” has been in production included songs from Edith’s son Jack O’Hara and his wife Annie. thirty-eight years at the Thirteenth Street Theater, and has been Edith’s two daughters Jill and Jenny O’Hara were also in attendance. produced on stages around the world. Celebrities who got their start Ms. O’Hara, whose theater career began in a 5th grade play in a at The Thirteenth Street Repertory Theater include Barry Manilow, one-room schoolhouse in Idaho, was honored with praise and good Bette Midler, and Chazz Palminteri. Ms. O’Hara, who is celebrating wishes ranging from congratulations sent by the Irish Consulate, to her 95th birthday, called it the best night of her life! Proclamations delivered by Leslie Wyche on behalf of New York —DELL LONG City Council member Inez Dickens and a Congressional Record, 18 • SunStorm • Spring 2012
Sonya Fe: A Lifetime of Artistry and Wisdom By KATIE KELLY A MODERN INTRODUCTION When I first e-mailed Sonya asking for an interview, I was looking to solidify an appointment. I told her that I was available that week, or the week after, and that I was very flexible. I wanted her to respond with a date and a time that I should call her. Her response was a terse: “Next week would be better for me…” Next week? There are seven days in a week and twenty-four hours in a day the last time I checked. How were we going to connect when I got answers like “Next week would be better for me…”? And then I decided that I really, really liked Sonya. She was not confined by the restraints that I am; that’s not how her mind, or her world works. We would connect whenever it happened, and that was that. BIOGRAPHY TO DATE Here is what you already know about Sonya: A native Angelino, Sonya was raised in an East Los Angles housing project by a JewishAmerican mother and Narragansett-Mexican-American father. At age thirteen, she won her first scholarship and was invited to participate in a summer program at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. She received her formal art education and earned a B.A. degree from Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. There is strong a Mexican presence in the design and coloring of her work (extremely reminiscent of the late Frida Kahlo). However, Fe does not credit one source, rather stating she obtains her inspiration from everywhere. And indeed there are traces of many cultures in her work, one piece featuring a star of David and the next a baby adorned in Catholic Rosary Beads. Sonya’s work is about identity. Her paintings predominately feature brown-skinned women, animals (horses, cats, monkeys) and children. Despite the different aesthetics; her body of work is an exposure of the human identity. Her work expresses sexuality, innocence, love, fear, and uncertainty; the full spectrum of human emotions. The shame and apprehension of a pensive child can be seen in I Hope I Don’t Grow Up To Be Like You. A woman rests her head on her knees, yet her face is fraught with consternation and she is surrounded by geese; a depiction of a woman at rest never fully being at rest in Taking Time Out. In You Can Only Rise, a woman who is hopefully on the border of glee seems to be picking herself up after a fall from a horse; showing that after a personal failure or loss, comes a definitive optimism that things can only get better, and this strong heroine embraces that ideal as she begins to push herself back on her feet. Sonya is a strong and confident artist. She explores the female role in society and her work asks the same of its viewer. In one of her pieces the words I am Sony Fe. This who I am. Who are you? are written on the hem of a skirt. Sonya’s work strongly concentrates on the female form. Fe includes menstrual blood in many of her pieces (Thank God). A symbol of the unique ability of a woman to produce a child and the continual process her body goes through that a man will never experience. She also depicts the female breasts in many of her pieces, though often not exposed, but rather seen through a gossamer top. Her titles are as strong as her work like Kiss My Ass, and Papa Don’t Tell Me What to Draw. She’s an individual, exploring what it is like to be an individual; the pain behind having to discover your own identity. The complexity of struggling to figure out who you are.
There is nothing easy or simple about her work, because there is nothing simple or easy about the soul within a person. Sonya’s work can also be innocent, as represented in The Cat Ate My Homework depicting two schoolchildren standing amongst fallen papers; two cats at their feet, one with a shred of paper in his mouth. Her work also extends beyond the canvas. She illustrates Running Deer Plays Hooky by By Arturo Muñoz Vásquez. It’s the story of a seven yearold Native American student who plays hooky from school to avoid the shame of not being able to read. She also illustrated A Storytellers Nightmare by the same author. Sonya’s work can be found in numerous private and public collections. She has been exhibited in museums and galleries all over California, and in New York, Japan, and Mexico for over thirty years. She is a master of the arts who blends cultures and influences present and future generations. Most recently, she participated in the restoration of the History of Highland Park mural in Highland Park, Los Angeles. Before the new paint could be laid, years of graffiti and old paint had to be shaved off. Sonya was one of the original artists that worked on the mural in 1977. At fifty-nine, her stamina is awe inspiring. THE INTERVIEW When I called Sonya, she was doing yoga on a rainy day in California. She was laughing and in good spirits. Immediately we started talking about exercise and health. Every September Sonya goes to a spa for her birthday. She likes living in a holistic-centered world. She enjoys taking care of her body and mind and eating right. Spas create a space void of negativity. It’s impossible to live that way forever, but it’s nice to break away. She comes back revived. Sonya keeps her energy elevated at home by exercising as soon as she wakes and then goes straight to painting. Judy Baca (of the Baca mural) e-mailed her a week after their project was supposed “done,” and said there was in fact more work. Sonya went back and attacked the project with vigor. She jokingly likens herself to a modern day John Henry. Judy credits the completion of the project largely to Sonya’s continual effort. While still a toddler, Sonya had insight that some adults have yet to obtain. She tells a story of the morning her mother started work and left her and her sister in the care of a babysitter. The siblings sat on the top of the stairs sobbing inconsolably; the ironic key to her enlightenment. Amidst tears came the realization that nothing was going to stop them. Her mother’s departure was inevitable. She explains, “From that moment on, and I now it’s going to sound odd SunStorm • Spring 2012 • 19
because I was so young, I knew I was responsible for my own self. I was responsible to take care of my heart.” Not surprisingly, when asked if she has ever struggled with her own identity, her terse retort is, “Honestly, no.” Sonya saw things as a little girl that bothered her. As she grew, she learned the name for these things—injustices—and they became the primary force behind her work. “There were things women couldn’t do, and I always thought I was a human first. I wanted to do what I wanted to do regardless of sex or color.” She couldn’t accept that boys took woodshop and girls were confined to cooking class. She doesn’t think people get upset enough about the media’s portrayal of women. “Run like a girl” she finds very offensive because there is nothing wrong with being a female. This phrase can make girls think they are not good enough and that there is something wrong with them and she thinks that is “death.” She also detests when men call each other “pussies.” Her response to that insult is, “Why do they have to put down our body parts?” She paints because she doesn’t have time to go to Hollywood and change media portrayal. When she talks to people she brings these issues up and hopes that maybe it spreads. She produces her art to make people aware of women and children and the inequalities they experience daily. Sonya certainly is not effected by the often small-minded views of society or the despair that is common among our anti-depressant reliant populace. “I don’t look at life as a hardship. I’ve always enjoyed my life wherever I am at. I have been up and I have been down and in both places I have been me. I didn’t let anything destroy my spirit because I have me.” She knows she has the the right to get what she wants. She doesn’t listen to outside noise but rather what she calls the “life within.” And she believes people need to attend to that life; to stop looking to experts and doctors for advice and “just listen to ourselves.” Sonya is always working. “I don’t have to force myself to paint, ever.” She tosses and turns at night when she knows something isn’t right. She is a studio painter so she likes to initially observe without pencil and paper. She’ll take pictures and make some sketches but really she wants to immerse her soul in the idea and the technical part will come later. She usually starts four paintings at one time, then takes them all to a level, then to another level, and then works on them individually until they are done. After a brief respite she looks at them with fresh eyes and makes any needed changes. It is important to her to have her art recognized. “When you create something that doesn’t exist, from your mind, you want other people to see it and know what they think.” If it wasn’t then she would have given up, and claims that is why most artists abandon the dream of a professional career. “You get tired and just decide to paint for yourself.” “My art is my whole life; my tragedies, joys, experiences, sadness. My art is my diary.” She learned that sometimes when you are struggling that’s when the good work comes. After the battle, you have a new way to look at things. Of course, the actual process is excruciating because you are making something that hasn’t existed before. When you finally get it right, “it feels like an orgasm, you don’t need anything else in the world but your paint.” As far as her most rewarding response from patrons; the ones that really get her are when people come up to her and cry. If she can touch someone like that, she thanks God and thinks she is doing her job. “I paint my experiences hoping it will brings out something in you. Maybe I can express something that you have never been able to put words to.” One time Sonya delivered a piece to a woman who exploded in tears. Sonya was walking on air that her work could affect someone like that. She is not just creating, she is touching people. The piece that hits Sonya the hardest deals with the death of her second ex-husband. Sonya had married for a third time and thought she would not be massively affected by his passing. But when his time came, it struck a blow. She realized the love was still 20 • SunStorm • Spring 2012
How Did You Get Here?
there. She had pain she couldn’t imagine. From this aching came two large paintings. The first was Words Are No Comfort, a piece about the organic nature of suffering and how one has to learn to live with discomfort. It depicts “two large women with great big butts. It shows physical power on canvas. One of the girls is crying.” The second piece shows her ex-husband as a skeleton with long hair and a red bandana standing in the desert next to his deceased dog. What she is trying to say is, “Yes, they are bones, but where do they begin and where do they end?” There are also two baboons right next to them eating corn and watermelon, “because there is always that silly side to life.” The painting also shows the universe and the stars to symbolize how we have to go on living and we are all part of a whole. Being an artist is difficult. Sonya says, “Do you really want to be an artist? Right now I am reaping the rewards, but that was not how it was. All my time was in the studio, I didn’t go on dates. Men asked me out but I wouldn’t go because I was too hungry to paint. I would come home after my day job and paint, paint, paint. And on the weekends I didn’t have anyone to hang out with.” Studio life is like voluntary solitary confinement. You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to lock yourself up and work. Then comes Friday, and you want to rest and socialize, but how do you meet people? In her early years, she didn’t smoke, drink or do drugs and all her money went to art supplies. Instead she opted for the beach, and if a normal person talked to her, she would have lunch with them and make a friend for the day. She admits that she probably seems like a nutcase when she leaves the studio because all she wants to do is talk. But if you want
Another Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure
to do something well, you cannot repeat, you have to be serious and create. You have to spend time with your craft. The only negative thing Sonya has to say is about the art world. She has met many crooked agents who make you feel like you are not worth anything, then sell your work for thousands. “They always act like they are doing you a favor. They treat artists like ignorant children.” Sonya believes artists need to get more business-like, and that they can be. They are not stereotypical flakes. Sonya says “most art is beautiful large greeting cards; production art work. We need art that requires thought, not romance novel art.” She looks at art magazines and sees repeated stuff that took no mindful thought. “They are just technically skilled, and their work is formulated.” She hardly sees the work of good painters instead people who find a formula and keep copying and copying. The positive is that she sees formulaic artist as less competition. Her advice to fellow artists is: “Don’t let anyone tell you how to paint. You can’t please everybody if you are constantly letting in everyone’s critique. Some will like your art and some won’t. Some will understand and some won’t. But you, as the creator have to do what you have to do.” When you’re an artist it’s a lifetime plan, not a five year plan Five is too far. She’s a day to day person. She does plan for art shows within the year. Her next goal is to have a show in in LA. Currently she writes poems. She has two ideas for a book. She kept a journal on a trip to Europe in 2005 that she would like to publish. She’s also dreamed up a venue called “Traveling Soda Pop Show,” featuring her work and the work of her son and first husband. Sonya’s greatest ambition is to get her work into museums
My Unborn Babies SunStorm • Spring 2012 • 21
My Broken Heart
Men: You Can’t Live With Them & You Can’t Live With Them
where they can be on display for the masses. However, the art world demands more than talent. You can’t just be in studio, you’ll get overlooked. Some people use agents or manager; Sonya doesn’t. Adding to that is that her work is not for “over the couch,” they are pieces that make you think. She believes her work belongs in a public place for people to study and discuss. When our interview ended, Sonya told me that she had a lot more time, if necessary. But I had all I needed. Sonya is a force. The task of writing this article seemed momentous. But I knew one thing; Sonya Fe has the precept for perpetual youth, personal joy, and the creation of enchanting art. She has been cultivating it since she was three years-old. 22 • SunStorm • Spring 2012
I Saw Him Have His Fits
because I was so young, I knew I was responsible for my own self. I was responsible to take care of my heart.” Not surprisingly, when asked if she has ever struggled with her own identity, her terse retort is, “Honestly, no.” Sonya saw things as a little girl that bothered her. As she grew, she learned the name for these things—injustices—and they became the primary force behind her work. “There were things women couldn’t do, and I always thought I was a human first. I wanted to do what I wanted to do regardless of sex or color.” She couldn’t accept that boys took woodshop and girls were confined to cooking class. She doesn’t think people get upset enough about the media’s portrayal of women. “Run like a girl” she finds very offensive because there is nothing wrong with being a female. This phrase can make girls think they are not good enough and that there is something wrong with them and she thinks that is “death.” She also detests when men call each other “pussies.” Her response to that insult is, “Why do they have to put down our body parts?” She paints because she doesn’t have time to go to Hollywood and change media portrayal. When she talks to people she brings these issues up and hopes that maybe it spreads. She produces her art to make people aware of women and children and the inequalities they experience daily. Sonya certainly is not effected by the often small-minded views of society or the despair that is common among our anti-depressant reliant populace. “I don’t look at life as a hardship. I’ve always enjoyed my life wherever I am at. I have been up and I have been down and in both places I have been me. I didn’t let anything destroy my spirit because I have me.” She knows she has the the right to get what she wants. She doesn’t listen to outside noise but rather what she calls the “life within.” And she believes people need to attend to that life; to stop looking to experts and doctors for advice and “just listen to ourselves.” Sonya is always working. “I don’t have to force myself to paint, ever.” She tosses and turns at night when she knows something isn’t right. She is a studio painter so she likes to initially observe without pencil and paper. She’ll take pictures and make some sketches but really she wants to immerse her soul in the idea and the technical part will come later. She usually starts four paintings at one time, then takes them all to a level, then to another level, and then works on them individually until they are done. After a brief respite she looks at them with fresh eyes and makes any needed changes. It is important to her to have her art recognized. “When you create something that doesn’t exist, from your mind, you want other people to see it and know what they think.” If it wasn’t then she would have given up, and claims that is why most artists abandon the dream of a professional career. “You get tired and just decide to paint for yourself.” “My art is my whole life; my tragedies, joys, experiences, sadness. My art is my diary.” She learned that sometimes when you are struggling that’s when the good work comes. After the battle, you have a new way to look at things. Of course, the actual process is excruciating because you are making something that hasn’t existed before. When you finally get it right, “it feels like an orgasm, you don’t need anything else in the world but your paint.” As far as her most rewarding response from patrons; the ones that really get her are when people come up to her and cry. If she can touch someone like that, she thanks God and thinks she is doing her job. “I paint my experiences hoping it will brings out something in you. Maybe I can express something that you have never been able to put words to.” One time Sonya delivered a piece to a woman who exploded in tears. Sonya was walking on air that her work could affect someone like that. She is not just creating, she is touching people. The piece that hits Sonya the hardest deals with the death of her second ex-husband. Sonya had married for a third time and thought she would not be massively affected by his passing. But when his time came, it struck a blow. She realized the love was still there. She had pain she couldn’t imagine. From this aching came two large paintings. The first was Words Are No Comfort, a piece about the organic nature of suffering and how one has to learn to live with discomfort. It depicts “two large women with great big butts. It shows physical power on canvas. One of the girls is crying.” The second piece shows her ex-husband as a skeleton with long hair and a red bandana standing in the desert next to his deceased dog. What she is trying to say is, “Yes, they are bones, but where do they 20 • SunStorm • Spring 2012
Sonya Fe in her studio
begin and where do they end?” There are also two baboons right next to them eating corn and watermelon, “because there is always that silly side to life.” The painting also shows the universe and the stars to symbolize how we have to go on living and we are all part of a whole. Being an artist is difficult. Sonya says, “Do you really want to be an artist? Right now I am reaping the rewards, but that was not how it was. All my time was in the studio, I didn’t go on dates. Men asked me out but I wouldn’t go because I was too hungry to paint. I would come home after my day job and paint, paint, paint. And on the weekends I didn’t have anyone to hang out with.” Studio life is like voluntary solitary confinement. You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to lock yourself up and work. Then comes Friday, and you want to rest and socialize, but how do you meet people? In her early years, she didn’t smoke, drink or do drugs and all her money went to art supplies. Instead she opted for the beach, and if a normal person talked to her, she would have lunch with them and make a friend for the day. The only negative thing Sonya has to say is about the art world. She has met many crooked agents who make you feel like you are not worth anything, then sell your work for thousands. “They always act like they are doing you a favor. They treat artists like ignorant children.” Sonya believes artists need to get more business-like, and that they can be. They are not stereotypical flakes. Sonya says “most art is beautiful large greeting cards; production art work. We need art that requires thought, not romance novel art.” She looks at art magazines and sees repeated stuff that took no mindful thought. “They are just technically skilled, and their work is formulated.” She hardly sees the work of good painters instead people who find a formula and keep copying and copying. The positive is that she sees formulaic artist as less competition. Her advice to fellow artists is: “Don’t let anyone tell you how to paint. You can’t please everybody if you are constantly letting in everyone’s critique. Some will like your art and some won’t. Some will understand and some won’t. But you, as the creator have to do what you have to do.” Currently writing poems, Sonya has two ideas for a book. She
kept a journal on a trip to Europe in 2005 that she would like to publish. She’s also dreamed up a venue called “Traveling Soda Pop Show,” featuring her work and the work of her son and first husband. Sonya’s greatest ambition is to get her work into museums where they can be on display for the masses. However, the art world demands more than talent. You can’t just be in studio, you’ll get overlooked. Some people use agents or manager; Sonya doesn’t. Adding to that is that her work is not for “over the couch,” they are pieces that make you think. She believes her work belongs in a public place for people to study and discuss. When our interview ended, Sonya told me that she had a lot more time, if necessary. But I had all I needed. Sonya is a force with a precept for perpetual youth, personal joy, and the creation of enchanting art. She has been cultivating it since she was three years-old.
Océanide 24 x 24
Artist from Montreal Nominated for the Discovery Prize, winner of the Crystal Trophy in the Regional Ambassador Award at the Gala Academia XXI, Johanne Tessier loves life and demonstrates this in completely happy and colorful paintings. Lover of trees, flowers or abstracts creations, the imagination of the painter flourishes in her work. You can see her soon in the Toronto Art Expo, then all summer at many symposia in Quebec. For more information: email@example.com or call Johanne 450-464-8484.
Karen Moehr – Facetime Art
For more information about these artists, contact: Artisan Direct, Ltd., 82 Callingham Road, Pittsford, NY 14534 585.586.3535 • firstname.lastname@example.org
www.artisandirectltd.net Ciel rubis
Artisan Direct is a sales, marketing and e-commerce company that offers promotion and support services to fine artists, art galleries and museums worldwide.
SunStorm • Spring 2012 • 21
Maternity, Bronze, 7” x 37” x 14”
Withdrawal Into Oneself Bronze, 19” x 18” x 18”
Jacinthe Dugal-Lacroix cel: 613-676-3632 studio: 450-224-1175 www.sculpturedulac.com email@example.com
Dream of a Venus Bronze 86” x 21” x 14”” Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2012 • 1
WOMEN AND LEADERSHIP Athena Film Festival Theme New York, NY – Barnard College’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies, along with Women and Hollywood, held the 2nd annual Athena Film Festival, “A Celebration of Women and Leadership,” February 2012 on Barnard’s campus in Morningside Heights. The Festival focuses on the diversity of women’s leadership in both real life and the fictional world, illuminating the stories of women from across the globe who have made a difference in their countries and communities. The goal was to expand on last year’s robust dialogue about women and leadership—what it takes to excel, collaborate, lead, and inspire—and to celebrate the vision, courage, and resilience that women leaders share. The 2nd annual Athena Film Festival Co-Chairs were: Debra Martin Chase, President and CEO of Martin Chase Productions, Academy Award® nominated motion picture producer (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Princess Diaries and the upcoming Sparkle), Emmy Award® nominated television producer and Jennifer Christman, a Barnard alumna and Executive Director of The Picture Nekisa Cooper House. Additional members: Diablo Cody, Academy Award® winner for Best Original Screenplay (Juno),making her directorial debut with Lamb of God; and Mira Nair, Academy Award® nominated and Emmy winning director whose credits include Salaam Bombay!, Monsoon Wedding and Vanity Fair. These incredibly talented women continued to pave the road for women in the entertainment industry. “Not only is it critically important to support women in the arts, but also to highlight the accomplishments of women from all walks of life and from around the world. The Athena Film Festival is a wonderful forum where women’s voices can be heard and amplified,” said Debra Martin Chase. This year, the Festival presented for the first time The Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award, in memory of the Hollywood producer and founder of Stand Up to Cancer who died in June 2011. ABC News anchor Katie Couric, a co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer, presented the award to Ziskin’s daughter, Julia Barry, on behalf of her mother. In future years, this award will be given to a trailblazer in the film industry who sets an exemplary standard for other women to emulate. A production of Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership Rachael Horovitz
24 • SunStorm • Spring 2012
From left to right: Julie Taymor, Gloria Steinem and Katie Couric
Julia Barry, Katie Couric
photos by Kristina Bumphrey Studies and Women and Hollywood, the Festival boasts a diverse range of films, including narratives and documentaries, that exemplify its mission—to illuminate the stories of courageous women who have made a difference across the globe. Additional awardees include Rachael Horovitz (Moneyball, Grey Gardens) for her exceptional talents as a motion picture producer; Julie Taymor (SPIDER-MAN: Turn Off the Dark, Across the Universe, Frida) for her vision and courage as an exemplary director; Dee Rees and Nekisa Cooper (Pariah) for their impact as an emerging writer/ director and producer; The Fempire: Diablo Cody (Young Adult, Juno), Dana Fox (What Happens in Vegas, Couples Retreat), Liz Meriwether (No Strings Attached, New Girl), and Lorene Scafaria (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Seeking a Friend at the End of the World) for their creativity and panache as screenwriters; and Theresa Rebeck (Seminar, Omnium Gatherum, Smash) for her leadership as a playwright and author of films, books and television.
The Art of Sculpted Oil “My creative soul was inspired by a desire to evoke my emotions at the deepest level with vibrantly colored swirls that exude off the canvas and into the heart of the viewer.” www.reneamenzies.com
Renea with Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown at the Lake Placid Celebration of the Arts, Oct. 2011, Lake Placid, NY SunStorm • Spring 2012 • 25
ARICA HILTON PHOTOGRAPH
Claudia Kleefeld’s Patterns of Nature at Woman Made Gallery
Claudia Kleefeld with her daughter Chiara
By ALLISON MAUCH In Patterns of Nature: The Spiral and Interconnectedness, Claudia Kleefeld’s exhibit of her new body of work at Chicago’s Woman Made Gallery, the artist examines the symbolic representations of spirals and the perpetual presence of the spiral pattern within the universe. Over three years ago, Kleefeld began her journey investigating the correlation of spirals and how they are connected in nature. Describing her work as “bridging the gap between art and science,” the artist records her fascination with the history of the spiral pattern in correlation to its interactions within the human body and spirit to uncover the true meaning of the spiral iconography. Kleefeld’s paintings, drawings and visual art, such as Blue Ringed Octopus and Spiral Motion Universe demonstrate her diversity. The use of the ever-present spiral makes evident the multiplicity wherein the spiral pattern exists within nature and humanity. The artist has made it her goal to unveil the force of the iconic spiral with hopes to ‘reconnect’ others to this most basic of human forms. Kleefeld’s exhibition is in conjunction with the 15th International Open Juried Show, sponsored by Linda Warren, founder and director of Linda Warren Gallery in Chicago. The Open displayed work from contemporary rising women in the art world and this year selected Women Made Gallery to host the juried show. Founded in 1992, WMG has made a significant impact in Chicago and its surrounding areas. Their stated mission is to “support, cultivate and promote the diverse contributions of women in the arts through exhibitions and other programs that serve, educate and enrich the community.”As a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about women’s art, and advocating for the equal treatment of women’s accomplishments, the Woman Made Gallery often hosts events designed exclusively for a specific demographic or issue associated with all women regardless of cultural, religious or ethnic backgrounds through multiple forms 26 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2011
diary of dead bones 7. Fingertips conte on paper 22.75 x 15.25 inches Book Spiral, books, floor to ceiling, 8’, 2011-12
of artistic expression, offering stimulating and educational programs with a focus on women artists, performers and writers who share an interest in the interaction of the arts in contemporary culture. To find out more information about the Claudia Kleefeld solo exhibition, Woman Made Gallery or future exhibitions, workshops or juried art shows, access www.womanmade.org. Donations are also accepted through the gallery website. Ed. note: the print version of this article inadvertently ommitted the byline. We regret the error.
Logarithmic Spiral of Life, oil on linen, 2011
Blue Ringed Octopus, oil on linen, 8.25 x 11 inches
Jeanette Korab – Looking Forward In Captured Moments Jeanette Korab investigates multiple media textural applications in her current series of works, which are featured in her new book Carnevale de Venezia, which will debut at Artexpo New York, 2012. Ms. Korab’s backg ro u n d i n f a s h i on photography and design lend a richly formatted appearance of complexity to the artwork she creates. “ With The Vortex of Ruffles, a new original in her textural Venice mask series, Ms. Korab captures a complex emotional mix of beauty, reflection and unease—a desire for foundations entangled in a world of whimsy,” notes Brad Funkhouser of Heritage Imaging. This current body of work continues Ms. Korab’s development of the Carnevale as a means Jeweled Opulence of communicating her ability to see through the facade or mask of life, while documenting the highly artistic elements of the adorned participants. In Carnevale Dog (mixed-media on canvas 16” x 24”), the
Vortex of Ruffles, For further information, visit www.jkorab.com
well-known celebrity canine, a regular attendee at the festivities, is rendered with a fanciful touch that reflects his regal air as he looks upon one of the famous historical structures in Venice. Jeweled Opulence (mixed media on canvas, 18” x 24”) is further evidence of Ms. Korab’s masterful ability to combine elements of reality and fantasy that make for an enticing and throught-provoking image—an in-depth study of the nature of her subjects. Whether an adorned dog or a bejeweled reveler, her vision is crystal clear. This is no mere embellishment of the actual or a snap-shot of time but a glimpse into time-stopping perpetuity, a brief moment gone in an instant but residing eternally in a work of art whose subjects gaze steadfastly into the future while living forever in the present. It is mystical and magical work by a truly refined artist. SunStorm • Spring 2012 • 27
Living For A Dream —Vera Nova and Eric Gale I love you so My only dream Let me belong to you Don’t go away Don’t disappear Let me stay in you And I hear you say, “Come in.” Now listen, my old world I am leaving you forever It’s so easy to say “Goodbye.” Life of a dream is immersed in light It’s so real, it’s so bright For me, just for me. Living For A Dream music and lyrics © VERA NOVA
ERIC’S STORY By Vera Nova, as told to Victor Forbes
met Eric Gale in a gallery in Toluca Lake, a little town just outside Studio City, California. I was managing the Mastopietro Gallery as an art director, actually as a whole staff in one person. He asked me to try to sell a couple of old paintings which, he mentioned, were given to him by one or another of the megastars he backed when he was one of the most in-demand studio guitarists in the recording industry. I remember being warned by the friend who sent Eric to the gallery that he was capable of exhibiting a remarkably bad temper, sometimes, and that he was not in the best of health. Even so, Eric came right on time, dressed in an old, dark blue tee shirt and jeans. He seemed quiet and, like a poet, immersed in deep melancholy. I was just getting ready for my one person show, cutting and constructing some pieces of cloth into a French maid’s outfit for myself. Eric was quite amused that I was going to be a servant at my own show. I explained that no one wanted to serve my guests coffee or drinks for free. While we engaged in a slightly sarcastic conversation about art and life, I had to remind myself that I was face to face with this legendary guitar player who was absolutely impossible for me to reach, by any means, just a few days ago, and he actually came to me asking for help. I was quite bewildered by this situation. I told him that this gallery is not doing that well, like almost any other gallery, and he started laughing quietly. I said that businessmen have turned art into an industry and killed it. You have to be commercial to be successful. He told me that my art was very exciting and he doesn’t see anything commercial in it at all. I told him that I also write music and sing and I was looking for a musician like him a few years ago when I was recording my originals. He wanted to hear my music. I had a cassette with me, he listened to it once and then he had me play it over and over again. Then he said, “The music sounds powerful. I would play for you.” “At $500 an hour?” I asked. 28 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2012
“Not at all,” he responded. “It would be a pleasure. It’s very inspirational.” And I still didn’t believe the situation. A couple of days later, Eric came to my house just to play music together. I didn’t notice that he ever got tired, I mean tired playing music. He was listening to every sound I played on my keyboard and he joined me, picking up my black electric guitar, called The Square Bullet, which he enjoyed playing very much. I had been so discouraged by both my reality and the so-called music business that I just couldn’t believe that a musician like this was listening to me so carefully. Unfortunately, we did not record what we played together over those many hours and days at my home. Eric visited me very often and this music was like a dreamy butterfly which lived a very short, miraculous life. We played continuously, by ear, and I felt that his soul was crying; sometimes he made me cry with tears. I also loved to cook for him. I had a collection of old Bordeaux, French Bordeaux, and he loved this wine. One day, he came over and he was very tense, telling me that he was going to have to drive a cab, and he didn’t have enough money to pay for the permit. Pushed to the edge financially, he thought it was the only way to make some money. He needed to add a hundred dollars for his permit and I gave him a check right away and told him how much I don’t want him to do this job. I said that I took lots of jobs irrelevant to my nature and things never worked out. I barely had enough to pay my rent and this time I want to be free because I have to find out for what I’m born. “If this world makes an artist such as you drive a cab,” I said, “this world is very sick.” He was very touched. I don’t think he ever drove this cab, and he brought me a check back very soon. Eric played in all kinds of clubs for miserable money, pitiful pay, hating it. He told me often that people are playing garbage. He loved to say, “Oh, just playing garbage,” that’s what he was saying about his gigs. Not every time, but very often. He wanted to try to put our project together. He wrote some numbers down, a budget, and told me, “We have to find somebody to invest in it.” He believed, or wanted to believe, that this project was, and would be, of great importance. Soon Eric had to move out of his nice house and relocate to a very poor neighborhood in North Hollywood. He told me that he had never faced such nasty racial problems as he did over there and when he said that, I realized that my consciousness never put him in any race. He was so much of an individual; so much of a character. The soul of a pure artist never belongs to any race or group or level in our sick society. I also realized that I never heard any foul word from him. He was very well-spoken but he just liked the word “garbage”—oh, he loved this word so much. Most of the time, it was hard for me to believe he had a bad temper. He recorded with so many great stars—Quincy Jones and Paul Simon, among them. Some of them he called friends, like Chevy Chase, and he mentioned that he was going to be the band leader on the new Chevy Chase television show. He smoked hashish a lot and coughed terribly. Sometimes I felt he hated the whole world. This Chevy Chase Show gave him some little spark to handle his terrible financial reality. It gave him,
actually, a big hope. He was so excited. He thought that he would be back on track with this show. He even planned to produce our project by himself. The next time I cooked, it was for his whole family, comprised of his Japanese wife and three sweet little girls, so quiet, so beautifully behaved, such a rare thing. The girls loved him so obviously. They were all over him all the time. The Chevy Chase Show was a short relief but it was over very soon. It seemed as if nothing was working out for Eric, or for me. I was struggling on my own, challenging myself to live as an artist. It was natural that nobody wanted to assist me in my art because I am nobody, but it amazed me that no one wanted to help Eric in his terrible despair. However, we did manage to record something in a real recording studio, and Eric brought his little girls to the session. Eric was very serious, but when he started playing that first tune, that funk, he made everybody laugh. His sound was quite unexpectable. The second song was a ballad. Then his guitar started to cry. I felt he was bringing my life back to me. Unfortunately, the young sound engineer didn’t understand the situation, how important it was for us to complete these songs. And when Eric was about to play the third song, the engineer insisted he had to get the room ready for the next group and we had to leave. I saw Eric only a few times after this night. A month or two later he died, and soon after I lost my place in Studio City in the earthquake. It seemed to me that this hidden desperation and struggle came out at once after his death as a devastating relief. I still have this master tape, it survived. I feel that I have a responsibility to make this music live because Eric so lived in it and maybe it flew back to its own wonderful place in the universe. I remember one day, when he didn’t know me well yet, he asked, “Why are you so kind to me? I’m not doing too pretty good.” I said, “When I usually look at people around, the world seems so dark. Very rarely can I see the light such as yours. I need to support
it or it’s going to be dark around me again.” He wondered, “Light? What do you mean?” And I’m answering, “Your talent is turning the ugly and smelly garbage of your living into beauty and grace.” “Is it so? Burning life into a flame?” I said, “No. I think it’s a very cold process. It is like creating an eternal light. Light like light of the stars whose bodies do not exist anymore. You better stay cold.” And he said, “I got you.” Then he loved to say very often, “Let’s stay cold.” That was our code, his final words to me. for more information, www.novatownsite.org
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firstname.lastname@example.org http://frogandhummingbirdco.com http://thefrogandhummingbirdco.com Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2012 • 29
MICHAEL SALLINGER “It’s a golden time for artists.” “ You signed on, shipped out, and went where the process took you. And if you were lucky, it was fruitful.” — Chuck Close
Sallinger’s motto, poster created by the artist in Photoshop and PageMaker Painting with fire
By VICTOR FORBES
e says, with movie star bravado, “I can make anything” and it is not an idle boast. The mashed up discs on his spine attest to that along with a voluminous body of work in many media. Michael Sallinger was trained early on by his father, who owned a Bronx machine shop that fabricated custom metal parts for Grumman’s moon-landing vehicles in the 1960s. Sallinger is as comfortable with a table saw as he is with a paint brush. “My father was always pleased whenever I would pick up the saw and make something, or even when I made a drawing. I learned quickly in the machine shop that not everything upscaled, that things had to be proportionate. Early on I realized that what was in my head — I could think it and my hands could do it. He liked to say I just ‘got it.’” At his studio, hidden away in the hills of upstate New York, aptly named “The Factory” in homage to Warhol’s fabled headquarters, there is an abundance of everything in organized chaos. Stacks of old vinyl records ready to roll on a new turntable, iPads iBooks and iMacs surrounded by the latest monitors and video cameras, hooked up to a 60” digital printer. A recently added white grand piano rules center stage…and that is only Studio A. The next room houses the heavy equipment: arc welders and reamers, torches and tap and die sets, miscellaneous power tools, goggles and masks. No assistants make his sculptures, print his posters or shoot his videos. Sallinger could be the love child of Picasso and Warhol, with a little Vivaldi thrown in for good measure. He’s prolific, he’s Pop and he loves music. “I’m a big Vivaldi guy,” Sallinger says. “The Four Seasons was my favorite.” Conceptually his role model is Alexander Calder. “I like art that does something other than you look at it.” A museum-goer all his life and a card-carrying member of the Met and MoMA, Sallinger, enjoys (as an astute student of art history)
the heralded masterworks of Reubens, Michelangelo and Old Dutch Masters and is determined to make his own unique contributions to be part of the historical continuum. For Sallinger, of all the greats, Calder’s work had the major impact on his own oeuvre. “Not taking anything away from the other artists, but Calder’s creations move. Being a metal fabricator and an artist, I can certainly appreciate his technique.” In a mobile all the elements are individual pieces of one sculptural composition which is one of the reasons Sallinger has devoted most of his energy over the past three and a half years to putting short films of his works on ustream and Facebook. “That’s why I like doing these videos,” he states. “You can’t show a mobile flat. When everything is lined up in a cohesive shoot, the mobile would be like a metronome in the exact beat with the song. I would hit record and sometimes keep going till the mobile stopped moving. It was always on.” With the advent of various internet streaming channels, and the capacity to compose and record music on an iPad, Sallinger has been putting music to his videos of late and accompanies moving pictures with his own improvisations, recently adding pianist/composer/producer Scott Staton to the mix. “Young people, especially, are accustomed to looking at videos with good music. My goal is to at least keep them watching as long as the song lasts.” Sallinger has 100 videos online at press time. “I love them all and am a big fan of my own work. I make myself happy.” Encompassing sculptures both indoor and out, from large scale steel constructions to table-top illuminates, Sallinger is as comfortable welding as he is on the computer with Photoshop and PageMaker and on the iPad with a simulated piano keyboard. Totally self-taught, he has created a collection of digital imagery combining seminal quotes by great thinkers in layers of type and a variety of typefaces that blend with color to make a coherent artistic statement. His musical themes for the videos are surprisingly sophisticated considering how they are made. SunStorm Magazine • Spring 2012 • 3
Sallinger’s use of material objects in motion to produce an artistic effect (the textbook definition of kinetic art) incorporates all that in his sculpture and now he adds one more element: sculpture that reacts to sound. “Kinetic sculpture gets me excited, it moves and there is always a different view, a different angle. Anything I make is not only kitschy and fun to look at but, I hope, interesting.” This is all part of Sallinger’s goal to keep the viewer engaged with what he is doing. “It is a golden time to be an artist,” he states. “The opportunities of the internet, with so many ways to get your art to millions of people, require that you first attract the viewer and then give them something to watch of interest in this age of very short attention spans. I am trying to get people to slow down and pay attention to what I am doing, to give people as much stuff as I can to keep them interested.” To facilitate the audience for his own creativity, Sallinger has embellished his production facility’s mission statement to take art to the next generation, appealing, he hopes, to the physical, emotional, spiritual and visual elements of the viewer. “Every sense,” he proclaims. “Whatever we need to do to get them to stop for five seconds and pay attention. To get them totally saturated into the object and keep them from being bored. People are often intimidated 4 • SunStorm Magazine • Spring 2012
by art. I hate when I hear that. They always say the same thing: ‘I don’t get art.’ Well, you’re not supposed to get it.” Hanging on the walls, up against the walls, leaning everywhere is the art on paper and canvas with a plethora of sculpture vying for position. Some are wall models, others sit on the floor or on pedestals, while more stand outside: large, breathtaking works whimsically joining and curving through space. Sallinger’s wall sculptures are constructions both painterly and colorful with each aspect of the piece blending color and shape with equanimity. This lifetime outpouring of work is his personal battle against complacency. Not a day goes by without him putting metal to saw, brush to canvas, pen to paper, or design to printer. Michael Sallinger was annointed early on by Elaine Benson. She could show just about anybody in her storied Bridgehampton, NY gallery and she chose him. Sure he was young, boyishly handsome, but he was a stalwart sculptor and became one of her top-sellers. Sallinger was on the map. Elaine’s power in the Hamptons was unrivaled and she wielded it mightily, yet gently. She was so revered that Dan’s Papers kept her in their masthead as a member of the Board of Advisors for a good many years after her death. Yes, she was powerful and her acceptance of Sallinger with three exhibitions
Sallinger’s handiwork, miniature books and his trademark lips
Red Sumo I
in three years put him on the artistic map. It is a cherished honor no one can take away. Elaine still imparts her strength and power, even from afar. Invoking her memory does wonders. Blessing from Elaine Benson fostered confidence in Sallinger—not that he was lacking in that department—and in his collectors. His work sells consistently galleries and at art fairs though he has taken a few years out of the limelight to develop, refine and curate his extensive body of work. His signature Lips adorn most everything two and three dimensional and when they are otherwise occupied, his beautiful muse, Lisa, commands center stage. Sallinger will stop at nothing to achieve his purpose. One of his projects is a series built around the human hand, embellished with various strands of beads. These rare earth magnet hands are only made in China and the manufacturer is about to cease production. Sallinger is stocking up. His other joy is book production and he has created a series of miniature books that show the many facets of his oeuvre. Sallinger is relentless in his desire to create new ways for SunStorm Magazine • Spring 2012 • 5
6 • SunStorm Magazine • Spring 2012
people to enjoy and pay attention to art. He is preparing the release of a collectible production combining music, video, computermanipulated imagery, sculpture and drawing into a portfolio that will also house an audiophile vinyl record album. Analog or digital, Sallinger has always been ahead of the curve creatively but dedicated to tradition in so many other facets of his artistic mode of expression. Physical and cerebral, coarse and delicate, in Sallinger’s work beauty is often the making one of opposites. It wasn’t always like that. In the beginning, he was on the other side of the art spectrum: a gallerist in Nyack, New York, in the 1970s and 1980s—the days when the art world was booming with a rising middle class that wanted beauty in their homes that could also become collectible and perhaps, one day, profitable. Sallinger’s galleries were well known for the combination of the two. He began as a “kid collector” in high school, buying posters for his room, starting with Sophia Loren and then a Picasso poster he bought at The Museum of Modern Art. After marrying, he and his wife frequented little firehouse auctions and acquired more art. With a modest assemblage of paintings and prints, they opened a gallery and sold most of what they put on the walls. It was successful. “So much so,” continues Sallinger, “that I purchased the adjacent building. We went to 2,000 square feet of modern gallery space from a 200’ sublet. Whatever I bought was something I loved so if I it didn’t sell, I didn’t care. It became part of my immediate collection.” Sallinger soon discovered that many people liked what he liked which made for a lucrative gallery business. He tooled around town
Stable, not mobile
Tools of the trade SunStorm Magazine • Spring 2012 • 7
A few pages from Sallinger’s notebook
in a leased Maserati for seven years, then a Red Rolls Royce that he owned. The success allowed him to acquire more space and he began to work with one of his tenants, the sculptor Gerry Geltman. Sallinger was involved in all aspects fron helping to make the sculptures to organizing exhibitions and publishing a monograph on Geltman in 1988. “Before I started working with Gerry,” Sallinger recalls, “I was taking pieces of metal and welding them together I didn’t like working like that. I was not a junk yard artist though I tried that for a bit and found I just don’t work that way. My process is I have to draw my ideas out, make a little model, then make it bigger out of wood and then make a large one. I invented a way to fit the pieces together so I didn’t have to weld them. This came out of necessity so people could pick them up, move them and put them back together.” Determined to only promote and sell the work of artists he liked, Sallinger found in Geltman a link on the artistic chain to his heroes and took a natural step out of the somewhat static gallery scene into publishing and promoting Geltman nationally. “I was only interested in work that made me happy, excited. Miro, Picasso, Calder, all of the ’60s artists—Johns, Stella—all the guys who did wall constructions, 3D type art. I like all that stuff and that’s the kind of art I liked to represent. Geltman fit in with that for me. When I started making my own art, I went down that same road. I never looked at an artist and said ‘I’m gonna paint like he paints’—never. But when I saw something I liked, it stayed with me.” “Picasso said, ‘I’ll make it, let someone else make it beautiful.’ I liked what Gerry used to say, that he could make a simple line beautiful, sexy—a woman’s waist, her breasts, her ankles. A beautiful silhouette. I look for that beautiful continuous line when I am drawing. If the shape of that object pleases me, it doesn’t have to be painterly. I am more of an Abstract Expressionist,” Sallinger adds. “I would mix big buckets of paint and found that was physically cathartic. Then I would let that dry and throw another puddle on 8 • SunStorm Magazine • Spring 2012
the floor. I liked it, finished it and moved on to the next thing. The color moved me and often made for that physical, hard-edge line I sought.” Back at the Factory’s Studio B, Sallinger is organizing his body of work for cataloguing and future exhibitions. You can’t artspeak of Sallinger. He cut his teeth on Calder, loves him majorly, and his sensibilities reflect Calder’s joy and simplicity as well as the complexity behind it all. His way with layered type collage reflects Kruger’s, but with more kindness, inspiring rather than deflating. Hollow lettering, perhaps, but not empty sentiments. Same with his videos. They rock through the creative process, making perfect use of the capabilities of modern technology and communication. He’s working the deal with the same earnest enthusiasm that enchanted Elaine Benson. It’s a curious element that few are able to maintain. Picasso did and made a point of purposely thinking like a child. Sallinger remains the kid at play. Sometimes with fire, sometimes with ink. He gets it out there and gets it done. With his studio
Sallinger Wall Sculpture
secured and generators ready for the next nor’easter, Sallinger plans a well-informed attack on the media. His channels are in place on the internet and he will be well-represented at select art fairs. The vinyl and book will debut at the New York City Contemporary Fair in October of 2012 with full band performing live. This will certainly acquaint and in some cases re-acquaint the world with Sallinger and Sallinger with the world. He’s been preparing a long time for this opportunity to bring the vision to fruition.
The back room Michael Sallinger’s “Factory”
Sallinger is quite astute when it comes to the machinations of the starm a k i n g m a c h i n e . H e ’s been there, done that and absolutely owns the T-shirt. His desire to re-emerge is multi-tiered. As the fireplace crackles back in the Factory, Sallinger settles into a philosophic mode. “I cr ushed three Eyes vertebrae man-handling all those sculptures,” he says. Yet he opts to carry on in a labor-intensive field. Hard work enabled him to be where he is today. Then once you make it, selling it becomes a priority. He is quick to point out that he has had sold-out exhibitions and sold at least one piece in every exhibit he was ever in. One memorable experience at Elaine Benson’s is worthy of repeating here. “I like metal working and I like wood, I like cutting out pieces, that they’re tactile, they’re four dimensions. I did that with Geltman and finally one day got the nerve to talk to Elaine Benson. She said no to Geltman two years running and the third year I talked
her into letting him in. I made 21 brass pieces for his exhibition but nobody really liked them. Finally after four years, I convinced her to give Geltman a center court show of his huge metal pieces that stayed there for years. Elaine liked my work ethic, that I was a young guy knocking myself out for another artist, obviously not making any money. She just liked me, we just hit it off and became friends. I related to her. Then I showed her my Mobus series. She loved them and we sold them out. When they were gone, a collector wanted another so I went to my warehouse, brought the piece to his home, gave it a coat of paint, signed it right in front of him. They were impressed that the artist himself brought the piece over and installed it. The next year, Elaine gave me another show, Facade Series deux.” On the desk at The Factory are vintage VHS tapes of Warhol movies. Trash with Joe Dellasandro and a couple of others. Just to set the mood, invoke that Warholian energy. Winding down the interview, Sallinger said, “Some artists finally get what they want— success—and they go to drugs or alcohol or whatever. Nobody else on the planet has to like what I do. I love what I do. It makes me happy and I think I’m a lucky guy that way.” He jumps off the couch, ushers me out the door. “Gotta get to work,” he says. As I drove off, in the rear-view mirror I could see smoke in the chimney, as if he was stoking the fires of creativity. SunStorm Magazine • Spring 2012 • 9
© Sid Maurer 2012 / Licensed by MMI / Original Paintings of Whitney Houston 1993-2012
Sid Maurer’s world renowned celebrity icons have new collections each month of the Superstars that inspire Mr. Maurer. The people he has known loved and believed in who have made significant contributions to the betterment of mankind. No other artist, living or dead, has done or is capable of doing what Sid Maurer does to achieve the desired results. In this regard, he is a completely unique in the history of art and, in all likelihood, into the future as well. Celebrity and sports enthusiasts worldwide have been commissioned Sid Maurer’s work for their personal use in business. Relationships with the music greats such as Donavan has resulted in Sony Music publishing his story this month and has enhanced rising auction prices of Sid Maurer Originals. Additionally, Sid Maurer celebrates his lifetime friend Donovan who will be awarded top recognition in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame April 19, 2012.
Marilyn Goldberg, President of Museum Masters International and her team has expanded the horizon of Sidney Randolph Maurer. The company’s marketing expertise has caused for highly appreciated sales for the world’s greatest artists, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Tamara de Lempicka and etc. Museum Masters International works daily with the 86 year old artist whose amazing energy continues his artworks daily. We celebrate his life, his art and the memory’s he shares with the world with Rock and Roll and the celebrities who’s enhanced his life. He is a miracle of stories!
Contact MMIMarilyn@aol.com www.MuseumMasters.com 30 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2012
The Comic Stripper Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams British Pop Artist engages in Comic Book Art and has had great influence in the ever growing world of Pop Art. Anthony Williams is the renowned British artist engaged by Marvel and DC comics and the original illustrator of Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider Man, X-men, Captain America, the Hulk and many others. Also the creator of many images and strips of much loved cartoon characters such as Scooby Doo, SpongeBob and The Flintstones to name a few for more than 2 decades which has transcended into his own development of comic strips called; Zero-Heroes, The Horrids, Badtime Stories. He now celebrates the birth of Lichtenstein in his new series adapted from the German press which created the dots with Totally Mashed. He now celebrates the birth of “Totally Mashed” and his homage to Lichtenstein in his new series. This has been adapted from the original German press that created the dots for Totally Mashed. The homage to Lichtenstein will be released for the opening of the Parish Museum in Southampton.
Robert A. Delgadillo Robert A. Delgadillo, professionally known as RAD, is an artist whose work celebrates the glamour and fashion of the world’s one and only HOLLYWOOD! The famous illustrations have been treasured by major corporate advertising campaigns, including Kitson LA. The artworks have been featured in national and international magazines, and have graced the exterior of many famous buildings in Los Angeles. RAD’s artistry is defined by bold colors, energetic lines and incredible humor. RAD’s popularity and sales are growing upward daily. His artwork can be found in the most celebrated Hollywood homes and galleries.
Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2012 • 31
great articles on artists, musicians, filmmakers,