THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 ANNIVERSARY ISSUE CELEBRATING 26 YEARS IN PRINT
Photography by Tasja Keetman
EDWARD ACKER PHOTOGRAPHER
Time Flies D Get Pictures EdwardAckerPhotographer.com 413-446-8348
Blowinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in the Wind, 2017 Oil on Canvas, 54 x 72 inches
THE ARTFUL MIND ARTZINE
MARCH 2018 ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
rint, p n i s r a e 26 y l! l a u o y k n Tha
MORGAN BULKELEY / INTERVIEW PHOTOGRAPHER TASJA KEETMAN... 16 MICHAEL ALLEN LOWE / INTERVIEW PHOTOGRAPHER NATALIE TYLER.. 24
OUR REMAINS OF THE DAY: JANUARY 1, 15 CARL BERG AND JUDY BERG ... 28 RICHARD BRITELL / FICTION ...31
UPDATE: CRISPINA FFRENCH / INTERVIEW PHOTOGRAPHER JANE FELDMAN...32 CAROLINE C. BECKER MULBERRY HAIR CO. GB/ INTERVIEW PHOTOGRAPHER JANE FELDMAN ... 34 DIEDRE BOLLINGER / INTERVIEW MONICA BLISS... 40 THE VOICE OF JOYCE JOYCE SILVER...43
GRANDMA BECKY’S OLD WORLD RECIPES LAURA PIAN ...44 Publisher Harryet Puritzman
Copy Editor Marguerite Bride
Editorial Proofreading Kris Galli
Contributing Writers and Monthly Columnists Richard Britell, Laura Pian, Joyce Silver, Carl and Judy Berg Photographers Edward Acker, Lee Everett, Jane Feldman Sabine von Falken, Natalie Tyler Advertising and Graphic Design Harryet Puritzman
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2 • MARCH 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
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Michael Filmus Paintings and Sculpture March 1 - 31, 2018
Reception for the Artist Saturday, March 3 • 4:30 to 7:30
"Me Too", The Movement oil and acrylic on canvas 32"x40"
CLIO ART FAIR
335 WEST 35TH STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10001
March 8 - 11, 2018
Opening reception: Thursday, March 8
Entering Wolf ’s Farm, oil on canvas, 24” x 36”
Geoffrey Young Gallery
40 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, MA
FRONT ST. GALLERY
Painting classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings 10-1pm at the studio in Housatonic and Thursday mornings 10am - 1pm out in the field.
Also available for private critiques. Open to all. Please come paint with us!
gallery hours: open by chance and by appointment anytime 413. 274. 6607 (gallery) 413. 429. 7141 (cell) 413. 528. 9546 (home)
Front Street, Housatonic, MA
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 • 3
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Jean-Claude Goldberg artist
Jeanclaudegoldberg@gmail.com - Website:JCGoldberg.com - Santo Domingo - Oil on canvas 55” x 55”
Celebrating 26 years of The Artful Mind!
alternative photo processes'
Paul Graubard folk artist
Benny Goodman’s Grandfather 24 x 18” acrylic on paper
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Coat of Many Colors By GRIeR hORneR
“Eric’s Great Gardens”@FB LAndsCApe desIGn InsTALLATIOns eRICsmITh715@GmAIL.COm 917. 892. 7548
detail of full-length print from head to toe 71” x 21.5”
$800 / 413-442-1879
Metamorphic Eruption 40” x 46” acrylic on canvas 2018
Studio Visits by appointment
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 • 7
ROBERT FORTE DEPARTURE, OIL ON CANVAS, 40"X30"
Robert Forte's paintings continue to explore themes and ideas drawn from experiences in his life and in the world around him. The canvas used as a vehicle of expression as opposed to representation provides Forte with the excitement that makes painting an ongoing adventure and a source of limitless possibilities. Antecedent artists that inspire are the great expressionists Soutine and Schiele, Beckmann, Kirchner and Kokoschka. Forte also enjoys the minimalism of contemporary artists such as Alex Katz and the unique imagery of Bacon, Guston and Kitaj. The politically catastrophic events now in progress in this country, and the social upheavals worldwide have reinforced Forte's need to give vigorous expression to ideas and emotions that resonate both personally and universally. The anticipated assault on human rights and dignity make it all the more imperative to use the canvas forcefully, both as a reaffirmation of oneself and a reaching out to others. There are many ways and media with which to achieve this, but Forte has concentrated his work on oils, adding acrylics for their adaptability to rapid brushstrokes. Forte recently concluded his first solo show in New York City, titled "Paint, Passion, Perception". Currently, he is preparing for a group show at Atlantic Gallery in New York City on the theme of "arrivals and departures". He also has begun a new body of work in preparation for solo shows at two New York City galleries in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Forte is now an Affiliate of the Circle Foundation for the Arts. Robert Forte - www.robertforte.com
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Books and prints available
Contact info: email@example.com Website:www.baker-cimini.com
Gina Coleman & Misty Blues! www.mistybluesband.com
photo credit: Jane Feldman
Happy Anniversary to The Artful Mind! “If it’s possible, the issues get bigger and even more informative!
Studio visits by appointment firstname.lastname@example.org 413. 229. 0380
Bend, dOn’T BReAk
8 x 10
Roselle Kline Chartock Artist and Writer
Chartock’s work can be seen at Hey Day on Main Street in GB
Your Musical Journey Begins with...
JEFF LINK, former Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music, touring Artist, currently teaching at MCLA and BCC is now offering music mentoring in performance, private lessons in bass, guitar, piano and song writing for all levels. I have helped many young musicians create successful careers in the music industry.
“original acrylic treescapes & Moonscapes” prints available Upcoming exhibition at The sandisfield Art Center, september 2018 exhibition at Tunnel City Coffee at massmoCA, October 2018
housatonic studio visits available by appt.
email@example.com website: www.jdlogan.com Instagram: JDloganfineart facebook: JD logan Contemporary artist
contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org 917-509-3508 please visit cdbaby.com/jefflink photo: Lee everett
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 • 9
EQUINE PHOTOGRAPHER LISA CUEMAN TOOK THIS OUTER BANKS AND IT’S TITLED, “WAVELENGTH”. SHE IS REPRESENTED BY THE IRIS GALLERY OF FINE ART AND TO SEE MORE OF HER IMAGES, GO TO WWW.IRISGALLERY.NET PRINT SIZE: 24” X 36” PRINTED ON HAHNEMUHLE FINE ART PEARL ARCHIVAL PAPER. PHOTOGRAPH OF ONE OF THE WILD HORSES ON THE
collins | editions
Opening in 2005, as Berkshire Digital, we did fine art printing mainly for artists represented by The Iris Gallery of Fine Art in Great Barrington before opening our doors to the public. We do color calibrated printing on archival papers. These archival prints, also known to many people as Giclée prints, can be made in different sizes from 5x7 to 42” x 80”. Photographers & artists also use us to create limited editions of their images. In addition to the printing services, collins | editions also offers accurate digital photo-reproduction of paintings and illustrations for use in books, magazines, brochures, cards and websites. See a complete overview of services offered, along with pricing at www.collinseditions.com The owner, Fred Collins, has been a commercial and fine art photographer for over 30 years having had studios in Boston and Stamford. He offers over 20 years of experience with Photoshop™ enabling retouching, restoration and enhancement to prints and digital files. The studio is located in Mt Washington but drop-off and PU is also available through Frames On Wheels, located at 84 Railroad Street in Great Barrington, MA (413) 528-0997. collins | editions studio - (413) 6449 6 6 3 www.CollinsEditions.com or email, email@example.com
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22 Paintings by RICHARD BRITELL At the
Dottie's Coffee Lounge 444 North Street, Pittsfield January - March 2018
ABSTRACT IMPRESSIONISM WWW.ANGELAMANNO.COM 970-275-1525
12 â&#x20AC;¢MARCH 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
friend, artist and writer Irene Apostoleris, gave me the gift of his poem, Some Trees.
BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND, deTAIL JennIFeR pAzIenzA
Never before have human beings been so technologically connected and at the same time so detached from nature. Their own, and all others. My concern and interest in this phenomenon is filtered through and revealed in my painting practice. The stuff of the natural world, and most particularly trees has been a constant source of imagery in my artwork from the time I was a little girl. Daydreaming while gazing through a porch window at the glorious maple tree growing in a patch of earth along the concrete sidewalk of my urban New Jersey childhood home. This New Year sees me continuing that imagery in my painting practice as I read some new literature about the vital importance of trees in our lives. As fate would have it, American poet, John Ashbery, by way of my best
These are amazing: each Joining a neighbor, as though speech Were a still performance. Arranging by chance To meet as far this morning From the world as agreeing With it, you and I Are suddenly what the trees try To tell us we are: That their merely being there Means something; that soon We may touch, love, explain. And glad not to have invented Such comeliness, we are surrounded: A silence already filled with noises, A canvas on which emerges A chorus of smiles, a winter morning. Placed in a puzzling light, and moving, Our days put on such reticence These accents seem their own defense.
Perhaps you already know this poem. Maybe like me you are reading it for the first time. Or, perhaps you are reading it for the tenth time, but are only now making it part of your soul. My dear friend, Tom Smart, writer, curator
and now Director of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada recently introduced me to David George Haskell’s, Songs of Trees: Stories From Nature’s Great Connectors. At the time of this writing, I have only read a few pages, but the second part of the title, nature’s great connectors, had me from the moment I laid my eyes on it. It occurs to me now, that just as trees are indeed nature’s great connectors, broadly defined and re-presented in the Artful Mind art a long with good friends is culture’s great connector. Thank you Harryet, for your friendship and for your hard work all these years. Here’s to a healthy and artful 2018! My work is held in Public and Corporate Collections in Canada and in numerous private collections throughout the US, Canada, the UK and Italy. Although my primary residence is in eastern Canada, my husband and I are lucky to have a family home in Becket in which to live and dream. Consequently I regularly exhibit in the Berkshires with shows at St. Francis Gallery, Good Purpose Gallery, Diana Felber Gallery and 510 Warren Street Gallery. Designs by Jennifer Owen, Great Barrington also represents my work. Jennifer Pazienza - To learn more about my paintings, or for inquiries visit my Website & Blog: http://jenniferpazienza.com/, or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018• 13
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GOURMET ORGANIC VEGETARIAN FARE WITH AN INTERNATIONAL FLAIR! THURSDAY 10am-4pm FRIDAY 10am-4pm SATURDAY 10am-4pm SUNDAY 10am-4pm MONDAY 10am-4pm TUESDAY CLOSED WEDNESDAY CLOSED THURSDAY EVENING DINNER SALONS 6pm-9pm
Everything is always lovingly and consciously prepared with fresh organic ingredients
70 railroad street great barrington, ma www.elixirgb.com email@example.com 413. 644. 8999
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 â&#x20AC;¢ 15
MORGAN BULKELEY INTERVIEWED BY HARRYET
Harryet Puritzman: Morgan, when I saw my first glimpse of your paintings, reliefs, sculptures and masks, I was stunned by so much information coming at me all at once. First I felt the impact of seeing colorful puzzles. Then came my quick breakdown of repeated images and icons hitting me all at once like a sugar overdose; taking over my senses with curiosity and delight. I think that you communicate in humorous ways battles between creatures and objects, light versus dark. Recently, the Berkshire Museum gave you a exhibit of your work, a fine-tuned exhibition exploring your artistic values and timeless ideas relating to our environment and social plight, past and present. Morgan, please tell us how you got to where you are today. Morgan Bulkeley: It seems like I blinked and time just kept trudging along. All of a sudden the show at the Berkshire Museum felt like my life flash16 • MARCH 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
PHOTOGRAPHS OF ARTIST BY TASJA KEETMAN
ing in front of me. I can see the lines of the Newark Drawings, feeling out space; then the carefully executed city paintings exploring my surroundings, creating dramas. Later, being awed by Philip Guston, who leaped into another realm of feelings with his late work, I felt the joy of paint as a physical reality.
“The process is not as important as the final product,” is often heard from art educators. Do you believe this to be true, and in what instances would this thought directly relate to you and your relationship with your art-making? Morgan: Process has been most important for me. Sculpture—chainsawing, slamming with mallet and chisel—is thrilling, watching form evolve and grow. I have been trying to explore the same excitement with brush and palette knife.
MORGAN BULKELEY IN STUDIO
PHOTO BY TASJA KEETMAN
Morgan, problem solving and challenges are normal when creating art. Can you discuss some of your problem-solving ventures, as well as challenges? Morgan: Many of my problems in painting have been answered by sculpture. The physical difficulty of tools and materials prodded me to think more about how to push two dimensions to express the energy of paint toward spatial excitement—how to meld illusion and actual paint together.
When does the moment come when you realize you are working towards a public piece of art, or perhaps one you will just not share? What factors are involved in whether it will be yay or nay? Morgan: I used to say, “I’m a painter,” not “I’m an artist,” as I am in awe of so many of my predecessors. It felt like the difference between saying “I’m a guru” instead of “I’m a searcher.” Over time, having worked and worked, I feel more confident sharing all my struggles and efforts, flops and all.
What is it about the patterns and icons and embattlements you create that you enjoy the most? Is it creating new creatures, perhaps? Or re-creating unknown objects and places? Morgan: I love letting my mind wander into odd places, allowing symbols and realities to intermingle. When I painted Who’s The Daddy?, the figure of man and woman as one being, as suggested in Plato’s Symposium, it felt like the best moments of a relationship—harmony and completeness. Continued on next page...
MORGAN BULKELEY book: Passenger Pigeon Mourning Dove Mask gouache, 12 x 9 2014
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MORGAN BULKELEY Book: Phalerope Mask gouache, 2013 Morgan Sketching
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THE ARTFUL MIND
photo: Tasja Keetman
MORGAN BULKELEY City with Past canvas/oil, 30x36, 2014
Morgan Bulkeley Outside studio
Repeating characters/icons/images/worlds, between canvas and sculpture, must mean that these elements are special and have mainstay significance in your work. What particular icons and elements do you find yourself needing to repeat, and why? Morgan: Many of the objects are cultural detritus, but often they torque into other thoughts: the Snickers bars may suggest how to look at the painting; the 100 Grand bar is a joke-y idea of the candy being more valuable than the painting; the Butterfinger bar is a comment on my bumbling characters’ abilities. Of course the birds are lovingly detailed, as their beauty outshines most of the rest of the painting.
Your belief system about the fundamentals of life on the planet is a common thread seen in your artwork. You are also an activist. Tell us about activities you have been supporting as an activist, past and present. Morgan: My dad, who adored Thoreau, lived in a tiny cabin in Mount Washington without running water or electricity for a year, as he wrote. I feel so close to his spirit. For a while I tried to serve as a trustee of Bartholomew’s Cobble, the remarkable nature sanctuary in Ashley Falls, where my father had been chair of the board. But finally I felt I just couldn’t give up the time. I am a founder and board member of Green Berkshires, an environmental group my wife, Eleanor Tillinghast, runs with great dedication and enthusiasm.
Through years of formal education, what studies did you pursue that were inspirational, and helped to bridge the gap between your desire to create and a fully-charged mission? What informal education is also responsible? Morgan: At Yale, I was an English Lit major, and the story stretched from poetry to giant novels. A seminar with Harold Bloom taught me how thought expands far beyond our daily world into unseen universes. I also took a drawing course with Sy Silliman; every day we drew the same
photo: Tasja Keetman
coffee cup for three hours, with only lines, no shading, no color, just pencil, almost asleep. Then suddenly one day, Eureka! I could feel the circle from the cup, through my eyes, down my arm, onto the paper, linking back to the cup, and I was never bored again.
How did growing up in the Berkshires have an impact on how and what you create in your art? Morgan: As a little kid in Mount Washington, there was almost no one to play with. When I would whine, asking my folks what I could do, they would say, “Paint something... carve something... go make something in the woods.” How lucky a beginning.
Was there a significant turning point in your life that opened up your mind, helping you to make sense of life and the world around you? Morgan: I think Newark in the summer of 1967, during the riots, tipped my brain over. The city was a disaster, with Hugh Addonizio as its mayor, mafia-connected, later jailed for extortion. That summer, Newark felt like a war zone—tanks, phalanxes of National Guard, fires, gunfire, twentysix deaths. My girlfriend at the time, Nancy Wright, was in VISTA; I spent that time helping with her programs, tutoring, running a coffee shop, a community paper, and drawing. Can you tell us about art venues you have explored only to discover you had no place in them, deciding instead to chalk it up to experience? Morgan: Somewhere in the 80s, I thought I’d love to make a movie. I had carved piles of little figures, some abstract, somedogs, some birds, some people, etc., and I dyed half of them pink, half of them yellow; then I was going to film a “war.” I got Charlie Austin to help me set up a couple of hundred in a field. We would move each one a bit, I’d hit the camera button fast twice, and at the end of the day we had about five seconds. OUCH! Later, I managed a more truncated version. Continued on next page... THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 • 19
Morgan Bulkeley in studio
photo: Tasja Keetman
How do you successfully weave together such serious issues with such humor? Love and Death (2016), for example… Morgan: Often my own work scares me. When I listened to reports of the horrors of the Iraq war, I felt I needed to face the atrocities people are capable of inflicting on fellow human beings. Love and Death portrayed dismemberments, heinous injuries, and I couldn’t live with just that. So I added in some tender scenes, embraces, dances… and the balance felt like life itself these days. Do you ever secretly portray yourself in one of your paintings? Is Two Morgans an example of this? Morgan: I often have myself in the paintings. Two Morgans, however, is of my father and his father, both earlier Morgans. My grandfather was a major in a machine gun battalion in the First World War. He died at 45. My father, who died at 99, used to sadly say he had lived two of his dad’s lives. I painted my father as the old man, and his father as a young soldier. I, however, am the character, glasses askew, in Pat Leaves, Fear of IPhone, and Kiss. By the way, Eleanor hates her portrait in Kiss, but she tells me she does like the red boots.
Morgan Bulkeley Kiss 2016 oil on carved pine wood 16 x 20”
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Morgan, how have your paintings changed over the past year? What are the recent influences that have inspired you to create? Morgan: Most of my latest work is related to death entering my life. For much of my life, I was blessed with a great family, who gradually passed away from old age. However, three years ago, I went to visit my sister, Ruth, and found her dead on the floor. It makes me feel like I have to work fast.
MORGAN BULKELEY Pat Leaving 2017 oil on carved pine wood 20 x 20”
What is Pat Leaves (2016) about? Morgan: Pat Leaves is a very sad piece about my old girlfriend, who suddenly discovered she had stage four ovarian cancer; then she fell and broke her hip. As she lived in California, which recently allowed assisted suicide, she decided on that course. I called her twice, thinking, at first, to try to dissuade her. But she was so completely lucid and wholly at peace that I could only listen. With her brother in attendance, she chose to leave. The front character is me; but in the back you will note a ladder, with feet disappearing into a cloud, which looks like Pat with her long brown hair. Symbol: Colandar. Explain. (Duet, Sleeping With Pillow / Two Colanders, 1981) Morgan: The colander seems like an apt image of my brain, which allows things to slip through these days.
What part of American culture do you favor the most and like to celebrate? Morgan: Native Americans hold a high place in my heart for their intimate connection to nature.
Machine vs. Garden. What part of our culture do you see us being affected by in this moment? Morgan: Citizens United is a brutal blow to maintaining our personhood in a rapidly de-natured, corporate world.
What historical human foibles do you often reflect upon and relate to, and why? Morgan: Our embedded concept of the “enemy-other.” Battle has followed us from the first caveman bludgeoning to tribal warfare to city/state war to nation wars, ending with hopefully unusable weapons to obliterate humanity. How does this end? Continued on next page...
MORGAN BULKELEY Duet: Two Colanders 1981 photograph and oil paint 29 x 16”
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Morgan at the Berkshire Museum
photo: Tasja Keetman
If an alien spaceship landed in your backyard, and the aliens knocked on your door, how would you approach them? Morgan: I think it’s highly probable that other galaxies are spying on us, muttering, “Oops! Better avoid that!” If an alien asked you to be his/her tour guide of Berkshire County, where would you start? Where would you end up? Morgan: Probably I’d start in May when the trillium, Dutchman’s breeches and bloodroot are blooming, and the early warblers are arriving at Bartholomew’s Cobble.
And, if the alien asks what they can take home to better their faraway planet, what would you suggest? Morgan: Have them ask if they could dig up a specimen of the flowers in the previous answer. What organizations do you support, and suggest others be a part of as well? Morgan: The Nature Conservancy, The Trustees of Reservations, BNRC, Green Berkshires, among others.
Tell us about your Boston years, please. Morgan: Boston was a great city in the 70s and 80s, and most likely still is. I lived in a commune in Cambridge, with a lively, creative crowd: writers, artists, mathematicians, architects, dancers, etc., just a wonderful group. And the city spawned an iconoclastic art scene—un-New Yorky.
MORGAN BULKELEY Black-throated Blue Warrior gouache 12 x 9 2014
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How do your early years pounding the pavement for gallery coverage compare to nowadays? Morgan: I always hated/dreaded going to galleries with my slides; I was lucky to win some Mass. Council on Arts and Humanities awards, which gave me a leg up.
Morgan Bulkeley The Rose Door oil on canvas 48 x 72” 1993 Berkshire Museum photo: Tasja Keetman
Do you have a question revolving around nature and mankind that you wish to understand better, but still have not found a satisfying answer to? Something that baffles you to the point of it being an obsession or passion? Morgan: How can we make people think of nature again, now that they can walk in the woods with their iPhones? On a personal note, I am wondering what an average day in your life is like? Morgan: See my painting The Artist’s Day. Morgan, what is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you? Morgan: All my family and friends.
What is your most often used saying / philosophy / quote, please? Morgan: “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” — Thoreau
Thank you, Morgan! MORGAN BULKELEY Wood Eggs Box oil on apple wood 18 x 18 x 4” 1982
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MICHAEL ALLEN LOWE INTERVIEW BY HARRYET PURITZMAN
Harryet Puritzman: Michael, tell us about your body of work, and what you have up for viewing locally.
Michael Allen Lowe: I make paintings, and adopt classical manners and styles from history to utilize as another component of painterly language, which appear as a collection of partial copies, interposed with more contemporary painting methodologies. In other words, I use painting fragments from history as component parts in a newly-imagined subject and design. I developed this style primarily because I enjoy exploring what can be called the technic aspects of painting; and through attempting a variety of manners and styles, my discoveries have yielded a body work which simultaneously demonstrates the resource of classical technique, alongside the ever-evolving nature of contemporary painting styles. In this way I believe the paintings can convey both the finished and unfinished quality of old master sketches, and the resultant paintings should appear as a language of overlapping layers, creating a kind of pictorial graffiti that speaks to past, present, and future. It has been quite a few years since I have ex24 • MARCH 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATALIE TYLER
hibited locally, here in the Berkshires, and I am pleased that L’Atelier Berkshire in Great Barrington has graciously accommodated me in rectifying that. Selected were a few of my smaller works spanning about ten years, which I hope demonstrate some evolution on my part. Yet, beyond what I have intended for any of my paintings to communicate, I trust that viewers will bring their own experience and sensitivities to any picture, stimulating their own interpretations.
From the way you paint, I understand your passion for the classics of art history. I also enjoy the mystery of the sort of dream state we see in the foreground. How long have you been painting like this, using these ideas, and what was your previous style that lead to this work? Michael: Thank you. I have been developing this style for nearly twenty years, but I suppose not until about 2005 or 2006 did I achieve any comfort in continuity. I attended the Kansas City Art Institute, and previous to art school I couldn’t paint at all, or at least, nothing with any talent. However, it wasn’t equipped to teach the classi-
cal techniques, but it provided a framework though which individual pursuits were encouraged, whatever they were. This allowed me to pursue a variety of the less popular classical techniques myself, which sadly produced many bad paintings in the process. So my style previous to this could be called “trial and error.” But I still work that way, I think. Tell us about the inspiration for your art. Michael: I just love great painting. I have derived inspiration from such places as the late classical tomb paintings of northern Greece and the Pompeii frescos, to the calligraphic characters of Cy Twombly. But perhaps chiefly I am inspired by 18th century British Romantic artists; specifically, Henry Fuseli and his contemporaries. Other influences include the Flemish and French School masters such as Rubens, Van Dyke, Watteau, Ingres and John Singer Sargent, to name just some. But I am also equally interested in such modern techniques as those of Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Jean Michel Basquiat, and Jenny Saville; but of course there are many others.
MICHAEL ALLEN LOWE
How committed are you to being an artist? Do you have other careers at the present time? Michael: May I get uncommitted? Oh, I don’t know. I mean, I’m an artist. It’s what I designed myself to be. Even though I think the term ‘artist’ has become ubiquitous nowadays, and taken to mean simply talented at something. But whatever my future holds, even if one day I should find more interest in being an author or art historian and never again touch a brush professionally, I would still introduce myself as a painter.
In capturing the genius of the classical artists, what do you find most important to really concentrate on, in terms of style and theory? Michael: Throughout history, all truly great artists of justifiable merit have had a particular style unique to themselves. But each varies dramatically one to the next. Apart from studying and learning the multitude of various regional painting styles throughout history, it is not simply a matter of looking topically at the results of a painting to see technique. To divine process and technique can only be achieved through a combination of research, when possible, and trial and error in practice. But oftentimes we are left with a master’s unfinished works, which allow us to see perfectly the technique from start to finish, or at least enough of it to draw apt conclusions. Da Vinci, for example, was an extremely methodical painter who left several unfinished works, which is perhaps why Salvatore Mundi, the picture lately sold at auction, was so capably restored. But this is where it becomes a matter of technical ability. I may come to know da Vinci’s technique and be somewhat capable of emulating his style, but I certainly could not eas-
OIL ON CANVAS
ily master it to equal his powers in order to precisely reproduce one of his paintings. But certainly it was possible for someone, because there it is. So going forward, it merely becomes a matter of practice, resolve, and determination; and most importantly putting the words “that’s good enough” forever and anon out of your mind.
Getting good representation is vital for an artist—to sell their work and to carry on with the vitality it takes to keep going. How have you been keeping afloat, and what galleries do you find have taken the best care of you? Michael: Tenacity. Drive. Determination. Starting out, I would just walk into a gallery I liked with a painting and say, “I want a show here,” and nine times out of ten that would work for me. Slides, and now zip drives, I assume all just get thrown away without ever being looked at by anyone. Mailers (postcards) are good because at least somebody sees something. And any gallery of note will always tell you that they are not taking submissions. But I knew that I was never going to get discovered in a coffee shop, so I never considered those (retail) spaces right for me. I chose to go after galleries that could present my work in the best possible way. Of course, your talent and craft should be paramount, but being able to discuss your work intelligently is also a tremendous help. And as with anything, the rest of it just comes down to timing and dumb luck. That said, I have been lucky enough to have sold 75% of everything I’ve ever made. I suppose my most recent representation, by the Wally Findlay Galleries, was the best match for selling my paintings, but I happen to believe that any gallery is firstly self-serving. Still, for an opening I’ve been put up in hotels, with extra
rooms for family, and afterwards have been taken out to some of the nicest restaurants in NYC, or LA, which was all well and good. But I was recently invited to a little private,catered dinner in the L’Atelier Berkshire main gallery, which took care of me equally well. Of all the commentaries you have received from critics and the average Joe, what comes up for you that’s worth mentioning here, and was there any time someone might have thrown in a comment that has baffled you? What do you like that they have said? Michael: I’ve heard a lot of strange stuff. Honestly, very little from critics, good or bad, which has always sort of bothered me because I’ve never had a desire to be controversial, but I certainly don’t want to make safe,bland art either. But wherever I have had a show, invariably people seem to want to confess a general lack of artistic prowess or ability. I did once get a call from a gallery, I think in Palm Beach, which relayed that they had a client that was interested in buying one of my largest works to date back then, some 5 x 8.5 feet tall; except it was just two inches too wide for the space he intended for it to hang so he wanted to know if I could make an exact copy of it, only two inches thinner. Obviously I said no, but that was pretty baffling. What I like most is running into people who have bought a painting or two, and visiting with them about where my pictures are hanging and how they are doing, and what comments each had elicited from their friends, their family, etc. Continued on next page...
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 • 25
Among all the other artists doing their thing these days, where do you think you fit in? ARTnews has featured you quiet a few times; that means there is something worthwhile for art lovers to look upon. How do you see the ways they see you, and do you agree with most of them? Michael: I don’t think that I’ve ever fit in. As an art school student, teachers, everybody, thought what I wanted to paint was a dead end. During my sophomore year critique the painting chair told me, “If you are going to continue painting like this, then you should get into a coffin and nail it shut!” And though initially I had lofty dreams of coming up with the next modern art, I mean, I knew I wasn’t going to be the next Pollock or Basquiat, so I just painted the way I wanted. Pictures I wanted to look at. Oh, and as I recall, most of those ARTnews features were in fact gallery advertisements. I don’t believe that they ever interviewed me, but I nevertheless believe that there is still something in my art that is worthwhile. Otherwise I would have lived, and continue to live, for nothing. I really have no idea how people see me through my art, but it is a wonderful subject to discuss. I think when people look at art they mostly see themselves, and usually that takes some convincing at first to explain. What principles do you have that give your art integrity? Michael: Well there is no deception in what I’m doing. That should be self-evident in the paint26 • MARCH 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
MICHAEL ALLEN LOWE EUROPA
ings. My respect for history, and the history of painting specifically, is the basis for all my work. Yet I am making art for its own sake, and by its beauty, or power, or significance, I hope that it is equally impactful to others. What is beautiful to you? Michael: So many things and ideas. It would perhaps be too much for me to wax poetic about what I find beautiful. But I will just say that it should not be legislated, in art, or in life, as it often is so very subjective. But William Hogarth’s Shrimp Girl, at the National Gallery in London, certainly comes to mind. It is one of the only paintings that I have made an exact copy of, so I can see it every day.
What is your opinion of controversial art? Is it important for controversial art to be available and seen in public? Michael: I think what you mean by controversial is actually political, whether or not it can be categorized as a commentary on social, civil, religious or even artistic politics. Any piece of art is going to offend somebody. But if art by design is only intended to be political, than that’s not really art; it’s activism, it’spropaganda. But the lines have become so blurred that it’s difficult to tell what’s what. Is Banksy an artist or an activist? I don’t know. But is it important? Sure. Just as free speech is important. Pulling Serrano’s Piss Christ from the wall of a gallery doesn’t make it, or its statement, not exist, so society is better served by having its merits and
faults discussed openly in intelligent debate.
What is your safe zone in painting, and where do you fear to tread? Michael: Probably following a formula. Invention must be the declaration of any artist who endeavors for any lasting success, and in the great competition between artists of comparable talents, innovation is a powerful defining quality in this regard. But whenever I feel like I’m painting like that, methodically, I will pivot pretty significantly from whatever formula I was following. Ideally, there should never be a safe zone. If you’re not consistently taking risks with each consecutive piece you make, your work will become stagnant. To improve, you must take risks.
What was childhood like for you? Where did you grow up, and what did you enjoy learning the most in school? Michael: It was lonely. I didn’t exactly fit in, and my dad would be transferred through his work every few years, so I was constantly starting over someplace new. Maybe seven or eight different states, mostly in the midwest but also on both coasts. For social reasons, I don’t remember ever liking anything about school, and dueto some learning disabilities it was very difficult for me. Did you think you would be college-bound in your high school years? We go through so much awkward growing, playing and experi-
MICHAEL ALLEN LOWE
menting… maybe you were also a drummer in a rock n roll garage band, for instance. Michael: I always knew I was going to go to art school. I did play the drums, but wasn’t very good. Also, there was really no one who would have wanted to start a band with me, so when I got to art school I traded my whole kit for an acoustic guitar, which I still fiddle with on occasion. Where do you feel most comfortable? When do you feel most comfortable being out in public? Michael: In my bedroom. In fact, I’ve become kind of a hermit. Having been self-employed as an artist since graduating art school, I’ve spent a lot of time by myself; and having lived in the isolation of the Berkshires on and off for ten years now, I just never leave my house if I can help it. And hopefully no one knows where I live, because I don’t want visitors either.
What are you finding yourself being most challenged by these days, and how is the challenge going so far? Michael: Currently, finding a literary agent and publisher for my book. I have spent the past five or six years on hiatus from painting, writing a book called Fuseli; Or, A Vindication of the Modern Prometheus. I wrote the fictional 18th century memoirs of Henry Fuseli, the first modern artist, as an epistolary gothic novel, which is written in period language. Over the past few months I’ve sent out query letters, but it’s been
ICARUS AND THE BATHERS OIL ON CANVAS
a lot of waiting, and merely by its subject it may be something that needs to be published firstly in England. But, we’ll see.
How do you think an artist is defined nowadays, as opposed to an artist that lived during the Renaissance? Michael: Artists of the Renaissance were essentially slaves to theology, and had no real choice of subject. They had to differentiate themselves by talent and style, which produced a number of ‘masters,’ strictly so-called. Although I’m not an expert on Renaissance painters, I am an expert in 18th century British art, and it wasn’t until the late 18th century that the first steps were taken away from adherence to strict patronage, in this regard. Artists today are afforded the liberty to invent what they want to their own caprice, but this has produced an abundance of what can be called mediocrity, which has now become ubiquitous, and our present masters are really just, as you say, controversial.
What artist’s work do you admire, and why? Choose one all-time favorite artist and describe why you are moved by their work, their life? Michael: I’ve already named a few I admire, although not Hogarth, surely. Fuseli is someone I perhaps admire most. But if you mean a contemporary artist, as a painter I really like Jenny Saville. Otherwise, Janine Antoni, who is chiefly performative, although I don’t know what she’s been up too lately, but she kicks ass.
What are your passions? Michael: Right now I’ve been really into historical research, which I love. I’ve had to do a lot of travel and research for my book in various libraries throughout Europe, and I just had the best time. If I could pick a secondary career it would be art detective. Flying around and visiting libraries, pulling out old dusty books in search of some long lost provenance. But above all, I strive for excellence in all endeavors. Art school did teach me a few things, and one of them was to give the same level of attention to whatever you undertake.
What is your favorite music? Michael: I like anything that’s good. I grew up in the 80s, so I listen to a lot of that stuff with reverence and sentiment. And I listened to Cat Stevens exclusively for over a decade to deprogram my horrible adolescent 1990s taste. But lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. And, can you tell us a favorite quote that helps guide you through thick and thin? Michael: I like to think about the immortal last words of Socrates, who said, “I drank what?”
Thank you, Michael! THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 • 27
Our Remains of the Day: January 1, 15 Photography by Carl Berg Written by Judy Berg
When I look outside, I see a normal winter. You know, the snow is snowing, the wind is blowing. But, what’s normal anymore? I heard on the news this morning that children in the city of Baltimore’s public schools are sitting in forty degree classrooms. Is that normal in the richest country on earth in year 2018? My mother taught eight grades in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Michigan in the 1940’s, and I don’t remember ever being cold. Are we slipping? Is this the new normal? How do we read this new winter? What is it telling us? So far, I see snow on the ground, birds at the feeder, even though 2017 was the hottest year on record. A pregnant neighbor came by, and a baby is joyfully expected in the Spring. And I expect the maples will deliver their liquid offering in the usual timely manner. An abnormal winter would be no snow, confused maples, and expectant parents terrified for the future of their child. And since we’re speaking of varieties of winter, how can we leave out “nuclear winter?” Especially with the ping-ponging verbal foreplay of two of the world’s apparently, and unfortunately for all of us, fearless leaders. A nuclear winter would be no snow, no sun, no sap, no babies, no life. So, back to my original question: what’s normal, anymore? I’m hoping that it’s normal to care about the health of children, to make sure that 28 • MARCH 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
they have adequate heat while in school. And, I’m hoping that it’s normal for enough of earth’s residents to care about the health of their planet, so that moving forward, we can enjoy normal winters, and a truly beneficent kind of normal life with only its ordinary discontents. January 1
Why not begin at the beginning? We start with a bustle in the kitchen, where we’re preparing black-eyed peas and rice, known in the South as Hoppin’ John. We eat it with the hope that we are also imbibing great dollops of good luck for the new year. Our vegetarian friends prefer it with the accompanying grilled sausages served on the side. And our salad eaters linger over the fennel, cress, orange, and salty, oily black moroccan olives, pitted of course. We start out the new year already lucky, with good friends, food, a warming fire, even an obliging sun taking its bow in the distance while it floods the room with amber and rose. And, there’s that snow that blankets the hills as far as we can see, comforting our visceral consciousness with the tableau of a normal winter. Oh, wait! There’s the orange menace, simultaneously preening and sulking as he rises in the western sky, expanding his already impressive bulk at horrific speed as he looks down disdainfully on both setting sun and helpless earth. Remember Dennis the Menace? Guess who he grew up to be. Okay, okay, I’m describing an experience, both fantastic and subjective. But, I would bet my life that it’s also shared.
In fact, we’re all betting our lives on that, like it or not. Sorry, Dennis. I rest my case on a single utterance from the menace as he closed out 2017: “....it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming…” Here’s to keeping, and sharing, a hold on reality as we move forward in 2018. January 15, Martin Luther King Day
Insult: Oxford English Dictionary definition, “Speak to or treat with disrespect or scornful abuse.”
You are reading this at least one month from today, so the leavings of today, the day that I write this, are old news. But, it seems that this particular topic is never old news. Since it’s been with us for nearly four hundred years, it’s not likely to be old news one month from today. The insult of slavery, and it’s long lived spawn, racism, has not ceased to be news since the first ship bringing slaves from Africa arrived in 1619. Ever present, it sprang to hideous life from the mouth of the President of the United States last Thursday during a White House meeting on immigration, when Trump is said to have asked why we can’t have more immigrants from countries like Norway (white) rather than from “shithole countries” like Haiti or Africa (black).
The reveal of this latest insult is clear. Whatever “love” Trump had professed for the “dreamers” waiting to learn their fate is both mendacious and short lived, the denials, deniable. While enduring yet another blow to the still beating heart of belief in our government’s commitment to fairness and decency, we can take some satisfaction in the truth of the moment: that the 2018 apparition of the original insult of slavery stands revealed for all to see in its undeniable hideousness. That these events are bracketed by the 8th anniversary of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, and the birthday of our own martyr to the cause of redress for the insult of slavery, should add to the urgency of the moment. The frightening divide in our country about life and death matters, and how this divide impacts electoral politics has me wondering if we need artificial intelligence to save us. Because the old fashioned human kind is not working so well. Consider this. A Siri for the whole world. A Siri programmed to make decisions for the common good. A Siri programmed without anger and greed. I actually feel comforted by this fantasy as I turn to coat the pappardelle with a brilliant green kale puree. -Judy And Carl Berg
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018• 29
MARGUERITE BRIDE CUSTOM WATERCOLORS
Do you have special occasions in your future? Anniversary? Wedding? Graduation? Retirement? Selling a home and downsizing? A custom painting of a home or other special location is a treasured gift. Now is a great time to commission a house portrait or favorite scene you would like captured in a watercolor. Paintings (or even a personalized gift certificate, then I work directly with the recipient) make a cherished and personal gift for weddings, retirement, new home, old home, anniversaries…..any occasion is special. Commission work is always welcome. Be in touch directly with the artist…it is guaranteed to be a fun adventure! Fine art reproductions and note cards of Berkshire images and others by the artist are available at the Red Lion Inn Gift Shop (Stockbridge), Lenox Print & Mercantile (Lenox), Good Purpose Gallery (Lee); and a variety of other fine gift shops, and also directly from the artist. Seasonal scenes are always on display in the public areas of the Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield. Marguerite Bride – Home Studio at 46 Glory Drive, Pittsfield, Massachusetts by appointment only. Call 413-841-1659 or 413442-7718; margebride-paintings.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: Marguerite Bride Watercolors.
How a day at ELIXIR flows: 8am-8:45am - Silent Zen Meditation Morning Meal with a bowl of miso soup, a bowl of porridge, ongoing pour of tea. 9am-10am – Writing Our Way Into the Day with tea with scones or muffins and a quiet place to write. Guest author with prompts once a month. 10am-Noon – Mid Morning Teatime with a full vegan organic breakfast menu. Noon-2pm – Luncheon with a full lunch menu. 2pm-4pm – Afternoon Teatime with Special Afternoon Tea Menu 6pm-9pm – Thursday Evening Dinner Salon including prefix light meal, tea, & sweet followed by an inspirational presentation. For full menu and calendar of events see our website. LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE AND MEDICINE BE THY FOOD! -HIPPOCRATES Elixir - 70 Railroad Street, Great Barrington Massachusetts. Hours: Winter through spring: open Thursday-Monday, 10am-4pm, and Thursday evening salon 6 -9pm
30 • MARCH 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND ANNIVERSARY ISSUE!
What ever happened to Daniel Quat? Daniel Quat, a commercial photographer since the early 80’s, moved out of New York City to Hillsdale/Austerlitz, NY in 1995. While in the Berkshires, he worked as a massage therapist and reflexologist at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, but he also began photographing local dancers and horses; he was a frequent contributor to the Artful Mind in his tenure here. Then in 2005, love brought him to the high desert of Santa Fe, NM. Love for a gal and for the southwest land and culture. Imagine culture without the humidity and mosquitos. He was smitten! Upon moving out to Santa Fe, a land of magnificent beauty and a blend of three cultures— Anglo, Hispanic, and Native American— he rebooted his career as a commercial/portrait/event photographer. Now 13 years later, he has established himself as one of the premier portrait and event shooters. The rich culture of Santa Fe has provided him with great opportunities: Santa Fe Film Festival, The Yoga Festival, The Platinum Music Awards, Museum of New Mexico Foundation, Horse Dressage and Jumping shows, and literally photographing cowboys and Indians. Commercially, he specializes in corporate branding photography… and captures the essence of families at reunions, parties and weddings. Perhaps his favorite subject to photograph is dancers. And one of his favorite subjects is Rulan Tangen (shown here) the founder and choreographer for “Dancing Earth”, a Native American dance company dedicated to sustainability and honoring Mother Earth. The photo above captures Rulan’s transformation into a tree nymph. If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful city of Santa Fe, please look him up and consider hiring him to document your family reunion, wedding, horse back ride or dancing your heart out at Tent Rocks! Daniel Quat - email@example.com, https://danielquatphoto.com, 505-982-7474.
two thousand year old building. I kept looking back and forth from the building to the hat, and then he leaned back in his chair.
HIS HAT WAS AS BIG AS THE COLISEUM Richard Britell
The strangest thing happened in an outdoor coffee shop in Rome about two blocks from the Coliseum. It was my first day in Rome and I was in a hurry to get to the Coliseum before it got dark but at the last instant, with the Coliseum in sight I decided to have a cup of coffee at an outdoor cafe.
I sat down and ordered some coffee and immediately noticed that there was a man sitting with his back to me at the next table, and just like in a theater, his hat completely blocked my view of the Coliseum. I was going to ask him to move but then I found that by moving my table a little I could see around him.
I became fascinated by this simple fact; from where I sat his hat was exactly the same size as the monument. It seemed so strange to me that this little insignificant hat, perhaps only one year old was able to completely block my view of a
When he leaned back in his chair his hat became almost twice as big as the structure, as a matter of fact it began to be possible to make a comparison of the Coliseum to just the hat band. Leaning back, his hatband was one-third the size of the Coliseum. I posed this question to myself, “at what point away from my eye will the hat band be the same size as, and line up top and bottom with the Coliseum?” To answer this question I stood up from my chair went quietly over behind him and discovered that if I put my head just behind his head, about ten inches from his shirt collar, that his hat band at that point was exactly the same height as the Coliseum.
To line up my eye perfectly with his hat band it was necessary to support myself, and as I was bending over I unconsciously put my hands onto the back of his chair, and as ill luck would have it he suddenly leaned back, trapping my hands between the chair and his back. I stood there, or rather crouched there for the longest moment, frozen in time. The waiter came and went giving me the strangest look. Finally he leaned forward releasing my fingers, and I fled. RICHARD BRITELL FROM THE BLOG: IMAGE + TEXT
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 • 31
UPDATE: CRISPINA FFRENCH INTERVIEW BY HARRYET PURITZMAN
Harryet Puritzman: Can you tell us about your new venture, RAG? The blog Jane Feldman sent to me totally inspired me. What’s it all about? Crispina Ffrench: Rag is the blog I have been using for the last couple of years at www.crispina.com. Since the end of 2017 I have been committed to a path of personal growth and organization, with the goal being financial freedom. My online presence was all over the place, without consistent posts or a consistent following. The Future is Female is a column (or segment) of Rag that is multifaceted. Initially, it came to mind as an accountability team to keep me, and others, interested in staying on target to attain goals, well… on target. Secondly, it is a way to have interesting daily content on my blog that brings all sorts of different people to my audience. And thirdly, The Future is Female is timely. It speaks to the fearless path I have walked and continue to walk as a female artist/activist/entrepreneur. It speaks to #metoo and how every single woman peer I have shares a piece of #metoo, because being female in the world, as I have been, involves compromises of discomfort lacking fairness. Not to go on, but it seems to me that this whole #metoo movement, with its Harvey Weinsteins, Bill Cosbys, Larry Nassars and so many
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JANE FELDMAN
more abusers has women unifying across historical divides. That feels good and right. My column, The Future Is Female, all came about one afternoon in December when I posted something on Facebook asking for interested women to send an email explaining their interest in 300-1000 words accompanied with a couple of nice quality images. I was bowled over with the response! Of all the ladies who emailed, I picked 6 who were as diverse as possible. Each contributor posts once a week on a given day on the established topic or theme of the week. There is very little editing (so far none). This initial The Future is Female pilot runs through March 3 and seems to be just the beginning.
Is it open to Berkshire County folks? Crispina: The Future is Female is open to anyone who wants to follow along. I encourage readers to do their own writing on the weekly themes, to comment, encourage and participate on their own. Current contributors are mostly Berkshire-based. I am thinking about growing the circle of contributors beginning in the second week of March. It might become a larger circle with more than a single post happening each day, or it might morph with some current contributors opting out and new women added to fill the gaps.
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Mainly, whatever happens, The Future is Female needs to feed the people doing the work—most importantly, me.
How do we learn more about RAG? Crispina: You can follow along at www.crispina.com. Click the RAG button. Leave comments, use weekly themes to inspire your own introspective writing, encourage, share, build this future up!
How does this project weave itself into your own artistic endeavors and work? Crispina: For thirty years I have been working really, really hard, making/designing beautiful utilitarian things, running a manufacturing company, giving people jobs, teaching classes, empowering people, loving my work and making very little money. The Future is Female is a tool for me to assess my efforts, focus on successful bits and build upon them. This new-found focus is inspiring me to think in ways I have never dreamed before. It is exciting and empowering and it feels right. WIP… That’s a great word. Tell us it’s meaning, origin and how we can start using this in our own vocabulary? Crispina: Work In Progress
CRISPINA FFRENCH IN STUDIO
World in Progress ...Every step is progress. My favorite NYC poster seen plastered in multiples, the way that was common at the end of the last century, said: The Ministry of Progress Has Moved. To be making progress is a true sign of success—so WIP, yes please.
What is it that you are personally striving for at this time in your life? Crispina: At this time in my life I am striving for financial freedom. Striving to end up with a pocketful of money. It is interesting to me that money is often seen as negative. The desire for and focus on money is seen as shallow or shameful, yet money allows for freedom, comfort, adventure and choices. Money allows our voices to be heard.
How have these changing times—with family, friends and the world—affected your artistic productivity? Crispina: I understand this question to address the changes we are seeing in our government. Regrettably, I am a bit checked out of the daily chaos in Washington. It overwhelms me to pay attention to the news, all of which is questionably presented and slanted for appeal. So the affect I feel is inward. The feeling of powerlessness sends me into a downward spiral of despair. Struggling hard for months and then finally stepping out of that vortex spit me here, a place where I do have control.
What are your current passions? Crispina: My current passion is focus and organization. I have spent 30 years making, employ-
ing, parenting, recycling, reusing, conserving, teaching, creating and giving —which has been wonderful! Now it is my time to Stop. Breath. Choose. And feel in control.
How do you teach the creative process with textiles and design without frustration? I ask this mainly because I do not have patience. I cannot knit or work with wools… But I love to work in a process-based way, such as with copper enameling, for instance. Crispina: My teaching style is without judgment, precision or expectation. I have taught five-year olds how to sew beautifully and adults who have never made anything with their hands to make bespoke clothing (in one day). Often— I daresay always—I learn more than I teach at my teaching gigs. I am inspired by my students. To watch the empowerment that comes with making things soak into students brings me deep satisfaction. Many of my classes are around making clothing, and a big part of what I try to impart is acceptance and love of body. Our culture is riddled with women’s inadequate feelings. Imagine a day where you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and see the most beautiful person in the world looking back. That is you! That is a choice you can make every damn day. Allowing culture to dictate otherwise is giving away your power. All of this speaks to one’s ability to learn to sew, work with textiles or, actually, do anything. There are choices along the way. Not everyone has to want to learn to sew… You are very lucky to have been able to work for so many years on what you love. Con-
PHOTO: JANE FELDMAN
grats! How would you describe the time when you began this moment in the artist’s working realm? Crispina: I am blessed. Chosen. To look back at my working life, all I can do is feel great pride, honor, gratitude and amazing good luck. There have been so many times along the way where I have been in the right place at exactly the right time.
By the way, how are the calendars from Dolphin Studio coming along? I have always loved them. Please refresh and update us so readers will know! Crispina: The Dolphin Studio calendars were featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine in December 2017. The exposure more than doubled our annual sales! We hand-printed and printed and printed 2500 copies, and finally finished our last run in early January and consequently sold out a week or two later (wanna arm wrestle?). The 2019 (48th) edition are available for pre-order at www.thedolphinstudio.com. Can you tell us who you are working with on RAG that really excites you? I know you have some artists who are really kicking ass with great, great art. Crispina: I am inspired by each contributor to the column. Maybe mostly by the two youngest writers, 18 and 21 year-old women have so much to consider as life unfolds.
Thank you, Crispina!
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE 2018 • 33
CAROLINE C. BECKER
MULBERRY HAIR COMPANY • GB INTERVIEW BY HARRYET PURITZMAN
Harryet Puritzman: Caroline, the ambiance of your salon is warm, comfortable and stylish. It’s no wonder people enjoy their experience with you and your staff. It’s a totally wonderful and beneficial experience we all need! Tell me, how did you first start out in the hair design industry? What originally inspired you? Caroline C. Becker: I started out working for Raymond Bessone, the man who trained Vidal Sassoon, at his salon in Birmingham, England. The level of respect and discretion we were taught to have for our clients has been the foundation and inspiration on which Mulberry was built. Was hair design in your family, as an interest and a career? Caroline: Not hair design specifically, but they’ve always stressed the value of finding a trade that would allow me to express myself, while at the same time making a living doing something I’m passionate about. What is it about the art of hair that truly captures your passion? How do you see your business as your art? 34 • MARCH 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JANE FELDMAN
Caroline: For me, the real art isn’t just a great cut and color; it’s about matching a person’s hair to their personality, to their lifestyle. It’s about knowing the actual people who come in. I don’t suggest cuts or styles that don’t fit the person or that don’t fit the way the person lives. If you don’t want to mess with your hair I’m not sending you out the door with a style that requires upkeep. The longevity of this business has everything to do with that personal relationship.
The intimate and comfortable setting of Mulberry Hair Company in Great Barrington seems to fit well into our stressful lives; clients go through your doors and enjoy an escape from their lives, knowing they will get pampered and feel good all over. What are the most important things for your stylists to learn and know how to do well? And what have you specifically added to ensure and enhance this kind of ongoing experience? Caroline: The most important thing for a stylist at Mulberry is experience; every stylist must assist for two years minimum before going on the floor. We also require consistent continuing edu-
cation. Every year we take trips—we’ve gone to New York, London, Miami and Paris—for trainings that inspire our work, deepen our knowledge base and teach us new ways of connecting with our clients on a real level. This way, we’re acquiring the newest techniques and being introduced to cutting-edge styles, while broadening our base of other professionals for collaboration and sharing ideas. That collaboration combined with every stylist’s personal strengths is what gives Mulberry its uniquely communal feel. Many clients will see any of us, because they know we all work together and consult with each other all the time. Because we all like each other and like working together, our clients know that they’re in good hands. It results in a warm and relaxing experience for everyone. I want the shop to feel like our clients are with friends—comfortable and safe, as if they’re just hanging out. How did you come up with the name Mulberry Hair Company? It must be difficult to pinpoint a name that captures everything in a nutshell.
Caroline in barber chair surrounded by staff and clients at Mulberry Hair Company in Great Barrington photos: Jane Feldman
Caroline: When my husband Aaron and I were trying to come up with a name, we knew what we didn’t want—a pun or anything about me. The word Mulberry is evocative of Great Britain to me. He actually came up with the name, and once he said it no other name was as good or as fitting. Caroline, tell us a little about you. Your personal interests, what your childhood was like… where you grew up, etc. Caroline: I grew up in Birmingham, England, spending my summers on the family farm in Ireland. I hadn’t thought much about it, but I was brought up to value family and community, and now that my free time is so limited because of the shop and our community pop-ups, I value the time I have to spend with Aaron and the kids. They really are my greatest personal interest.
Do you find the Berkshires to be a perfect fit for your professional and artistic talents, and for the much-needed services you and your salon provide? Caroline: I love working in a community like Great Barrington, where individuality and creativity are everywhere. Being in the center of town gives us access to everything that’s best about where we are, even as we’re tucked away on our quiet street. There is strength and integrity when a business voluntarily contributes something to their community. You do that. Tell us about the gifts you have given to the people of our town. I hope we’ve given the community the salon—a warm, welcoming place to relax and enjoy feeling taken care of. Living in a small town, you can’t help being part of it. Our clients are our dentists, teachers, artists and musicians. I actually love that part of what we choose to do here. Taking that idea further, we began hosting pop-ups at the shop to support different local organizations. It had gotten to the point that some organization or another was perpetually in the shop asking for donations—the sheer volume of need was enormous. It seemed more productive to respond to that need in a new way. Continued on next page....
Samantha Candee, Stylist
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018• 35
Mulberry Hair Company, Stylist Kaitlyn Barry and her client
Local artisans, shop owners and service providers often gather in our courtyard and in the shop, with the proceeds going to a different group each time. We’ve done benefits so far for Railroad Street Youth, the Immigration Center, Purradise, the Humane Society and Extra Special Teas. Sarah Lee Guthrie and the Hoping Machine Group also provided music and support during our benefit for the Immigration Center. What do you provide (a little magic, maybe!) for a client to make them want to return? Caroline: Attention to detail, consistency and communication.
I noticed in your marketing for the salon that you do a lot of before-and-after photo shots. Was this your idea? Because it really must work! Caroline: One thing that’s changed since expanding is the use of social media for marketing. The before-and-after shots that we post are a full combination of old-style advertising and new media. We love seeing the results of our work, and hear from our clients that they do too. You can find us on Facebook and Instagram… As far as the history of hair design goes, which cultural icons’ hairstyles have inspired you? Caroline: Vivienne Westwood is my beauty icon. I remember her on a runway in rollers, and I loved it! She’s who she is, and if you don’t like it she doesn’t care. She’s punk and tartan traditional and everything she chooses to do is authentic. This is what I aspire to in both my work and my life.
Brianna Sawyer, Stylist Photos by Jane Feldman
36 •MARCH THE ARTFUL MIND
What do you advise, concerning keeping our hair healthy? What should people never do to their hair, and why? Caroline: Healthy hair is everything—of course the least vain of us feels better when we look good.
For healthy hair: DO: eat well, exercise, use products with integrity, get cuts that fit your lifestyle and remember that if you get a high-maintenance style or color, it requires professional care. DON’T: use heat without using a protective product, or over-process your hair. At the end of your workday, when you reflect on the day, what things might you go over in your head and feel good about? And where do you love to be, where you can dream, think and plan? Caroline: I’d love a situation where I had time for that contemplation. I spent years dreaming up and planning for the situation we’re in now. Aaron and I built this shop from the ground up, and we have more plans for the near future. What that’s bought me is a very satisfying—and very busy— professional life. What is most important to you in terms of the salon running top-notch? Caroline: Consistency, integrity and honesty.
I feel there is a British influence in the style that you put forth. It’s beautiful. Can you talk about this, since I’m guessing it may be your signature style. Caroline: Thanks. I’m not sure… We work with clients to get the cut that works best for them and reflects who they are. Personally, I’m a girl of extremes. I love avant garde, or effortless, natural beauty.
Back to hair…. Tell me a little about the special and healthy hair-color products you offer your clients. Samantha, a stylist at Mulberry, raves that the colors’ ingredients are particularly good for the hair—and we all know color is beautiful, but historically not always been the best thing to use on human hair. Caroline: We use plant-based products. After trying every color line out there, I really believe that our French and Italian lines are the best. I love the tonality, and that they maintain the hair’s integrity. Our entire shop has been built on a belief in nontoxic materials—from the paint on the walls and the finish on the floor to the products we use on our clients.
Any noteworthy and interesting, possibly bizarre hair trends that are happening today? Caroline: The truth about hair trends is that none of it’s new—it’s all hair. Each new trend is a reimagining of color and cut that takes the familiar and makes it fresh.
I noticed that you have a lovely gift area in the front of your shop. Soaps, lotions, candles, hair and body products, and jewelry. I would love to know more about why you chose the ones you offer. Caroline: Honestly, this is just a compilation of items that I loved. They’re just cool and a little decadent.
What are your aspirations, at this turning of the new year? Caroline: I’m looking forward to moving into the home we’re building in Sheffield, and to possibly
Mulberry Hair Company located in Great Barrington, MA mulberry.com The Staff: Kelly Judith Izaguirre Ugaz, top right & below: Samantha Candee; the Owner, Caroline Becker in middle and Kaitlyn Barry, bottom left; Brianna Sawyer top left.
traveling a bit with my family, as I continue to grow the shop with care and principles. Our team works beautifully together, and I anticipate great things with the passage of time.
What do you have on your calendar right now that excites you? Caroline: I think I’m most excited right now about expanding our services with clean nails and waxing. Kelly, who was with Aveda in NYC for three years before joining the shop, will be offering these services; all maintaining our ecofriendly and cruelty-free standards. She’ll be using bowls rather than pedi baths, and lowchemical nail treatments. We’re all really excited about this expansion of our services. What is your favorite quote or philosophy relating to the business of hair? Caroline: This shop is about more than just hair. I think that’s what keeps people coming back— it’s the thing that sets this salon apart from others. So if I had a quote to represent my philosophy, it
would be about the ways in which we all take care of each other—the importance of treating each other well. So maybe it’s fundamental: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Lastly, Caroline, what do you think your stylists have given you, and what do you hope to have given them in return? Caroline: It’s inspiring to work alongside other professionals, each with their own strengths, collaborating and sharing information. Life’s short— I’m thrilled to be able to spend so much of it with these women. I want them to feel proud of their affiliation with Mulberry and what we do. I hope that I give them a beautiful and warm atmosphere in which to learn and grow. What I learned all those years ago at Raymond’s was that this is a people-business. I’ve never forgotten that and I still believe it today.
Thank you, Caroline! THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 • 37
came a show-stopper at the 2004 (Lugano, Switzerland) Blues to Bop Festival's Sunday morning gospel concert - held in a medieval church, and his original song Highway One made the semi-finals in the Newport Folk Festival Songwriting Contest that year. Reed received further international recognition when he and Trio Tamboura were selected to be the first American band to play the (Bansko, Bulgaria) 8th International Jazz & World Music Festival in 2005. Every winter since 1999, Reed enjoys being the easy-breezy house musician at worldfamous Miss Lucy's Restaurant on St. John, USVI for a few months, where he is joined from time to time by stateside and West Indian guest musicians. Acoustic Guitar magazine portrayed Reed, his gear and music in their April 2006 issue and Reed's rootsy blues, Dr. Easy, was tapped for the 2007 Oasis "Blues Sampler VII" CD. In March 2015, New England arts magazine The Artful Mind featured Reed and his music as their cover Way back in 1981, the extraordinary blues mu- story. And in 2016, filmmaker/director/inventor sician and recording artist Rory Block, after Doug Trumbull (2001:A Space Odyssey, Star hearing him perform in a local coffeehouse, Trek: the Movie, Bladerunner, Close Encounwrote in a newspaper review: "David Reed is an ters, developer of iMax) was so impressed with extremely competent, polished and exciting mu- one of David's performances that he invited him sician." to his MAGI studios to record a music video, a After attending a recent show, a fan took the first endeavor for both that uses totally new time took the time to post these kind words: video and sound technology that Trumbull "One of the amazing things about David's music hopes will "re-envision and reinvent the way is that you will never hear any song done the movies are made and experienced". same way twice. Each song - each performance Equally at home in festival, coffeehouse & - is like a sunrise you will only see once, yet re- house-concert settings or as a complement for member forever." dinner parties, Bar-B-Q's or weddings, the Striving to live up to such high praise con- music of David Reed romps with ragtime, rolls tinues to be David's musical mission. His solo with rock, bops the blues, jumps with calypso, banjo-driven performance of True Religion be- skanks deh reggae and shimmers with NewAge stylings. An accomplished songwriter, finger-style guitarist and seasoned performer, Reed has begun been building and performing with his Dr. Easy's Sonic Boxes - wonderfully unique and quirky cigar box instruments. David is also proud to be a founding member of Max Creek (1971), one of the nation's premier jam bands who is still playin' strong more than fortyTom Ingersoll five years later, and whose music Album Release Party is accredited with the formation April 21st 7:00-10:00 pm of Phish, moe., String Cheese Inmahaiwe performing Arts Center cident and a host of other contemporary jam bands. "Friday" will be available on CD and Download David Reed has been bringing and offers something for everyone with its a smile to the face and a beat to variety of upbeat Americana, Alt-Country and Rock-n-Roll. the feet of audiences young and For more information visit: old for most of his life...and he'd www.tomingersoll.com love to play for you! David Reed website: Visit Tom's Kickstarter for Album/Ticket Packages: www.tambouraproductions.com.
Or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tomingersollmusic
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COOL CAT PHOTOGRAPH CLAUDIA D’ALESSANDRO
When the world seems too filled with dismay and worry, Nature stands steadfast as a powerful ally, offering respite and inspiration when we choose to engage her. The natural world offers a not-so-distant mirror of our experiences reflected in sky, water and earth. Great drama, intricate patterns, hidden faces, abstract shapes and a spectrum of colors abound in shifting light. But sometimes, they last only for an instant. I strive to artfully capture such quixotic moments and transform them into paper, canvas and metal prints that can ornament and inspire our living spaces. It is one of my life's joyful pleasures to share these images with others. Perhaps with you? Prints on photo paper, card stock, canvas and aluminum are available in a variety of sizes. Please visit me on Facebook at Claudia d'Alessandro, Photography, or at my website, Claudia d'Alessandro, Photography at: www.dalessandrophotography.com. My Blog, currently under construction, is a forum for my musings on nature with pairings of quotations by some of humanity's greatest authors, musicians, artists and thinkers. “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden Claudia d'Alessandro - firstname.lastname@example.org, www.dalessandrophotography.com
FINE LINE MULTIMEDIA
LIVE PERFORMANCE PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO
Fine Line Multimedia provides single or multi-camera video of music, dance and theater performances. Services include: scripting and storyboard art, videography with professional high definition cameras, high quality audio recording, sensitive lighting design and creative editing with the latest non-linear editing system. For the past 45 years Fine Line Multimedia has provided audio/video performance production for The Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, Berkshire Performing Arts Center, National Music Foundation, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, United Way of the Berkshires, Arlo Guthrie, Rising Son Records, Bobby Sweet, World Moja, Phil Woods, Grace Kelly, Heather Fisch, Opera Nouveau, Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company and many more. Fine Line was established in 1970 by Lee Everett in Lenox, Massachusetts. Everett came to the Berkshires after studying Advertising Design and Visual Communications at Pratt Institute and working for years as an Art Director in New York. He taught Art in local schools and began a full-service multimedia studio in Lenox specializing in the Performing and Visual Arts and other business and industry. With Photography, Graphic Design, Advertising, Marketing, Audio/Video Production, Website, Social Network Creation and Administration together under one roof, Fine Line can satisfy the artistic communications and promotional needs of a wide range of clients. Please look at some examples from our portfolios of work on our website and use the contact information on the site to get further information, to see more samples, photographs or video reels, for professional and client references or for a free project consultation. Fine Line Multimedia - 66 Church Street, Lenox, MA; www.finelinelenox.com Contact: Lee Everett, 413-637-2020, email@example.com
FRONT ST. GALLERY KATE KNAPP
Pastels, oils, acrylics and watercolors… abstract and representational…..landscapes, still lifes and portraits….a unique variety of painting technique and styles….you will be transported to another world and see things in a way you never have before…. join us and experience something different. Painting classes continue on Monday and Wednesday mornings 10-1:30pm at the studio and Thursday mornings out in the field. These classes are open to all...come to one or come again if it works for you. All levels and materials welcome. Private critiques available. Classes at Front Street are for those wishing to learn, those who just want to be involved in the pure enjoyment of art, and/or those who have some experience under their belt. Perfect if you are seeking fresh insight into watercolors, and other mediums. A teacher for many years, Kate Knapp has a keen sense of each student’s artistic needs to take a step beyond. Perfect setting for setting up still lifes; lighting and space are excellent. Peek in to see! Front Street Gallery – Front Street, Housatonic, MA. Gallery open by appointment or chance anytime. 413-528-9546 at home or 413-429-7141 (cell).
GEOFFREY YOUNG GALLERY
A solo exhibition of Michael Filmus’ paintings and sculpture will be on view from March 1 to March 31 at the Geoffrey Young Gallery at 40 Railroad Street in Great Barrington. A reception for the artist will be held on Saturday, March 3 from 4:30 to 7:30. This exhibit will include both two and threedimensional work. Featured will be the paintings and pastels Filmus is best known for, panoramic landscapes of the Berkshires and surrounding countryside. Also on exhibit will be recent sculptures in the “Tower Series.” Michael Filmus - Studio open by appointment, 413-528-5471, firstname.lastname@example.org, Michaelfilmus.com.
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 • 39
DIEDRE BOLLINGER ACTOR
INTERVIEW BY MONICA BLISS
Monica Bliss: Tell us about yourself, Diedre. Diedre Bollinger: I was born in NYC, and though I cling to that proudly, we moved when I was two, so it's hardly relevant… but still! I grew up way upstate in New York, outside of Plattsburgh, then we moved down to the Chatham area when I was in seventh grade. I've been in the general vicinity ever since, with some time in Berkshire County, and in Stephentown, NY for the last eighteen years. I've called myself a 'gypsy of the arts' for a while, given that creative endeavors are necessary to what sometimes passes for my sanity. I roam among myriad passions, including drawing and painting, writing, singing, acting, a number of handcrafts, and a major interest in metaphysics—which I combined in a degree in cultural studies, a largely independent course of study that didn't necessarily qualify me for much but was extremely meaningful to me, personally. While I would like to someday go back to school, finances may preclude that. But I also frankly still don't really know what I want to be when I grow up, so I'm yet a seeker. Nevertheless, as most of my main interests can be conjoined in stage work, over the years I've been involved in many local groups to do that. I've done at least a little bit of everything in theatre, including producing, directing, stage managing, set, props, costume design, graphics and programs, running light and sound boards, backstage crew, wardrobe mistress, understudy, box office, cleaning toilets… a bit of everything except the real electrical stuff—it's safer for everyone if I avoid that! In fact, theatre is where I met my guy, Doug, who is also an actor, among other things. We've been together ever since. As a performer, I've done many different kinds of theatre, with credits from community to off-off Broadway: musicals, straight, children's theatre, puppetry, staged readings, improv, murder mysteries, cabaret, choirs, training programs, industrials and film. I've also taught art and drama, and nature studies to children. 40 • MARCH 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
And, in keeping with the nature theme, since I became certified as a horticulturalist and garden designer my gardening work has become a way to subsidize my theatre addiction... I've long appreciated the term "jack of all trades and master of none,” so I always wanted to be a "master jack,” a renaissance woman, and I aspire to be one if at all possible someday. Although much of the success in that is in the eye of the beholder, I nonetheless invite the possibility. What do you have coming up? Diedre: I will be portraying Zelda Fitzgerald in The Last Flapper by William Luce, directed by Carl Ritchie, at The Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield, MA; March 23-25!
Tell me more about The Last Flapper... Diedre: Albeit with a few adjustments, this production will largely be a reprise of work I did this past summer in Copake, NY, with Taconic Stage Company, of which Carl Ritchie is the Producing Artistic Director. He is a marvelously talented man, a terrific writer, actor, and director. I've been most fortunate to work with him many times over the last ten years, and I’ll shamelessly plug that I fervently hope that streak will continue forever, because he's phenomenal. I can't say enough about him, partly because he might read this, and I want him to see my appreciation in print, but mostly because I have had wonderful times working with him, and am grateful he gave me the opportunity to work with him on this. He and I had joked about me doing a onewoman show for a while, and last year, it actually came true. His vision and crafting of this piece was, I think, exquisite. I spoke with folks at The Whit shortly after I finished the original run, because I hoped to have more time with Zelda, and am delighted to have the chance to work with them on this production. Playwright William Luce, who has many such portraits to his credit, of many incredible
artists, has not fashioned a frivolous, happy-golucky frolic here. It's a drama, but it has some terrific humor throughout, and has such beautiful language—much of which, as Luce acknowledges, is drawn from Zelda's own writings. Simply staged, it takes place in an insane asylum, in her psychiatrist's office, on what actually ends up being her last day alive, March 10, 1948. (That night, fire swept through the main building of the hospital, and as she was sedated and locked in her room in preparation for electric shock therapy the next day, she was among nine female patients who died that night.) The play opens: She comes to the office for her appointment, but as the doctor isn't there, she takes the occasion to tell her story, directly addressing the audience, reenacting various characters and situations from her life. In that way, it is more a character study than a plot-driven work. But by the same token there is a progression that occurs, and it's very, very human. Tell us more about being in a one-woman show? Diedre: Well, I know many actresses in the area have many such pieces under their belts, but this is the first piece in which I've had the chance to do something like this, and that was thanks to Carl. It's a lot of work, and takes everything I can bring to it, but the challenge is hard to resist. And again, I'm grateful for the opportunity. Other than that, it was true last summer and is true now that I must confess to equal parts terror and excitement. But my mantra before every performance is, “Have a good, clean show, and have fun,” so that I feel I've done the best I can do at the time. To be as ready as I can to do that—that's the plan. And can you tell us more about Zelda herself? Diedre: Zelda Fitzgerald is, was, and will ever be, an amazing woman, and as her realities were
often overshadowed by myths about her, she’s a great character to explore… what's truth, what's fiction, and why it matters. In no way do I pretend to be an expert on her, and I rely on the script to inform, but some supplemental exploration has been intriguing, because she is fascinating—and numerous books, films and documentaries attest to that. She was much more than the wife of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, although her marriage was her claim to fame. As a dancer, painter and writer, she was a creative force in her own right. So much so that her husband, early on, drew upon elements of her zestful idiosyncrasies (and, as alleged in the play, also raided her stories, letters and diaries) to create a legend around her as an icon of the Jazz Age, fashioning a beautiful, silly, vain creature that she embraced and embodied as long as she could. But as times grew darker and zaniness wasn't as fashionable, she dropped the artifices which had been crafted to define her, and tried to define herself. As that happened, coincidentally or not, she entered the first of many mental hospitals, where she spent much of the rest of her life. A brilliant, schizophrenic, multi-talented lady, with tragedy and triumph, coming to her own sense of self-completeness. She deserves her truths to be known. There are many ways to try to “get in her head,” so I can only hope to do her justice. She deserves no less.
What is your process when acting? Diedre: Oh, God. I hesitate to really get into this, because describing "the craft" can sound ridiculously pretentious, and scores of books and teachers will do it infinitely better than I. But I think it's important to acknowledge that acting is a craft, a perhaps never-ending practice, trying to get it “right.” That, however daunting I find it, is also an inspiring challenge. Theatre's been around for ages because telling stories is fundamental to personhood. We always have something to learn from the human experience. Stories have meaning. So, how to tell them well? The shape and arc and timing of a monologue or scene, for instance, is only found by exploring options that arise. Some folks are obviously more experienced, more astute at finding the nuggets of truth, or tossing metaphorical pebbles in a pond to see where the ripples of meanings flow, than others. But everyone has to start somewhere to develop those insights, and the quality of how we try has to count for something. I doubt success can be guaranteed, but consistently showing up and trying matters. Sometimes, that's all I've got, anyway! But in any event... because it's a craft, it's not just something indiscriminately flung out there without some kind of rehearsal. However spontaneous something is—and in live theatre, anything can happen—it's an enforced spontaneity. Even in improv, there are ways and means to practice skills, to be ready to say “yes, and” to any given random suggestion—it's never completely without preparation of some kind... there's a discipline to it. And of course, there are
various exercises to limber up, release tension, loosen up the body and the mind to be ready to work at “playing.” It's hard work to do the homework, drilling lines, steps, notes... giving every effort to be as facile and fluid as one can try to be, making lots of mistakes along the way, likely making a fool of myself in the process, but in that willing suspension of disbelief in myself, striving to learn as much as possible while doing so, to hopefully find the best good answers to the best good questions as I can, all for the work-at-play to ring as true as possible. Speaking of which, is this even close to answering this question? No matter what, I doubt any process can ever really be complete, and I'll forever have a lot to learn. But having said that, I guess I'm as “method” actor-y as I can be… which, as I understand the term, means to connect to a character as personally as possible, to find similar resonances within. That can be incredibly cathartic. One of the most amazing things about theatre is that it's a socially-sanctioned way to express the full range of emotions, even and sometimes especially those that are sometimes frowned upon, but which are as much a part of the human experience as are all others. But acting is also a process of “let's pretend.” It's important to feel connected to a character, but to achieve that, it's not necessary to be the same as the person you're playing--to have had exactly the same experiences. Murder mysteries aren't cast with actual murderers, right? Imagination, intuition, perception, all have a part to play. I've played mothers, for example, and I'm not a mother, but I know what it's like to care about someone very deeply, to derive meaning from and make sacrifices for that love, and find ways to explore that... It's always about making meaning... staying in the moment, which can be as close as the next breath, creating a reality in which you can just react naturally and truthfully. Acting is all about truth-telling, despite the artifice—and honesty can be comic and tragic and it's all very real, and very human, even when it's “make-believe.” And I love theatre for being a vehicle for bringing out truths we hold. I actually hate theatre, too, because it's chock-full of rejection, judgments, missed opportunities and regrets that hurt like hell. And, often as not, theatre absolutely breaks my heart, but I just can't seem to give up on it. I've sometimes tried, and often feel like I should. But I am addicted to it. It's a magical form of mayhem, and if you get the theatre bug, I do think it's terminal. So, while I tend to be a half-empty kinda gal, I'm also a ham—except a ham can be cured! Ba-da-bum. For heaven's sake... am I making any sense? And maybe this is inappropriate to note, but it's a driving force for me, so... I've long felt that although my nerves get insane beforehand, and seem to be getting worse, the psychologically safest place in the world for me is literally being onstage, in performance. Strange though that may seem. Quite literally only then feels that way to me. Whatever else, it's really the only time and place I know I won't "crash.” And
would that it did, but this doesn't necessarily always apply to auditions or rehearsals, alas... and that's humiliating and sometimes crushingly hard to try to overcome. But the drive is still that while there are many times in my life where, despite my best efforts, I'm arguably and unfortunately at my worst, hopefully onstage, in performance at least, I'm at my best. And even though I often wonder why the hell I do this to myself, the abject panic beforehand in particular, the chance to be in what I've come to believe is an almost sacred time and place means more to me than I can say. I remember my sister once said, "You must like the applause,” and, yeah, it's definitely better than a sharp stick in the eye! But applause usually means the show is over, and it's back to being me, and you're only as good as your last performance, and each new one is a chance to finally get it right… but ultimately I can't do something “stupid” if I'm in a show, because the show must go on. However embarrassing it may be to share something this personal, that's the anchoring...
how does it anchor you, what about it is easy for you and what's challenging? Diedre: What do I find easy and what's challenging about acting? Hmm… maybe the same answer for both. Just like stubbornness is possibly my greatest strength and my greatest weakness, my ego and my inferiority complex are always fighting it out, and it's always a toss-up which wins, and stubbornness applies to each combatant, for better or worse. But I digress... Well, as already indicated, getting nervous beforehand is easy, and dealing with it is a challenge! I've heard “there's nothing that concentrates the mind so much as an execution.” To which I would add: "or going onstage." I hate the nerves, but I also think it's true that if you're not nervous, you're dead. It reads. Panic is so horrible, it can turn to stage fright, and that's deadly to the cause. So, I often do a number of exercises in pre-show prep, and they help as much as anything else I can do for myself under the circumstances. But some folks swear they don't get nervous! I not only can't fathom that, I can't quite buy it. Maybe it's a matter of degree, or semantics, but I really think feeling too calm reads, and not in a good way... No spark. That's also deadly. Of course, I have so much anxiety beforehand, maybe it's nothing more than a massive rationalization on my part, but it does seem that if you're feeling placid about it, do jumping jacks, run around the block—do something to get your energy up, because energy's gotta be focused, but also high enough to bring it, not just to the material and/or to the rest of the cast, but give it to the back row of the house. And “phoning it in” simply seems a disservice. Fair enough? Thank you, Diedre!
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 • 41
PHILIP WEBER, WOOD WITH METAL BOX
BERKSHIRE CRAFTS FAIR
Call for Submissions
The Berkshire Crafts Fair at Monument Mountain Regional High School is calling for submissions to its annual 2018 show. This year we are excited to announce that in addition to jewelry, glass, fiber, wood working, metal, mixed media, and ceramics we are adding four new categories; painting, works on paper, sculpture and photography. To apply to any of these categories artists need to register and apply through Zapplication.org. Now in its 45th year, the Berkshire Crafts Fair will return to Monument Mountain Regional High School August 10th, 11th and 12th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The fair will
42 • MARCH 2018 THE ARTFUL MIND
SHEKINA RUDOY, HANDPAINTED SILK
showcase the work of 89 artisans carefully selected by jury for the quality and variety of their offerings. Visitors can expect a wide array of products and prices in each category of craft and fine arts from contemporary and traditional jewelry, to furniture, ceramics, paintings, textiles, glassware, hand-made clothing and more. One hallmark of the fair is its breadth: the exhibition and sale draws master artisans from as far away as California and Florida as well as many regional artists. Admission to the fair is $8, and children 12 and under will be admitted free of charge. Since its beginnings in 1974, the Berkshire Crafts Fair has been recognized nationally as a major destination for fine arts and crafts. The fair was included on the “Harris List of the Nation’s Best Arts and Crafts Shows” and granted the “Sunshine Artist 200 Best Award” by Sunshine Artist Arts and Crafts Fair Magazine. Artistic Director Neel Webber describes the environment at the Berkshire Crafts Fair in two words: “comfortable and beautiful.” Webber continued: “It’s a great way to spend an afternoon. It’s not large; it’s not small. The crafts are very high quality. The focus is on looking at the work and meeting the artists. You get to see contemporary crafts, meet the artists, and ask them questions.” He adds “It’s being run by the community – students, faculty, and the community at large.” “There are a lot of students inspired by what they see” said Webber. Students of Monument Mountain Regional High School form an integral part of the operation at the fair. In turn, they have the opportunity to witness professional art in the making. As Webber
noted, “There are people [artisans] making a living, making art. They are generally happy and they’re professional artists contributing to society. “Students are exposed to a community effort that raises a lot of money and brings good will to them. They are greatly appreciated. They’re proud of that.” The Berkshire Crafts Fair is a not-for-profit event that generates funds for scholarships and educational endeavors at Monument Mountain Regional High School. Proceeds from the fair have funded an impressive array of special projects for faculty and staff at Monument Mountain Regional High School. Over the past 43 years, revenue from the fair has provided the school with over $78,000 in scholarships for graduates, a new track and tennis courts, a student center, world travel for teachers and students, publishing opportunities for student literature, a printing press, photography equipment and a variety of experiences and equipment for the school at large. Please do apply if you are an artist and please do come visit the show in August. Berkshire Crafts Fair – Application information: search for “Berkshire Crafts Fair” in the Zapplication.org site. Any questions please contact Neel Webber at email@example.com. For more information visit our website at: www.berkshirecraftsfair.org.
THE VOICE OF JOYCE Joyce Silver
This season of gift giving has brought to mind the adoration of Certified Copies, copies of the original, equally cherished and admired. Some reside in museums, churches and people’s homes. When you can’t afford an original de Kooning, there’s a limited edition print available for the more affluent, a gauche. I own one, “Man with the Big Yellow Blonde”. Since it’s been 35 years after it’s purchase, I have no idea what it’s worth. Though it matters little to me, I admire it daily hanging above my desk. Would I have loved owning the original? Yes. I probably couldn’t afford it. This copy was available to me and within my price range. No matter that it's not an original, it’s admired and available to view by those more or less fortunate; That’s the essence of a copy. It is not diminished because it is a copy; rather it is cherished for its inherent beauty.
Art, whether original or a good copy, adds beauty to our environment. Does it matter if is priceless or pennies? Only to the buyer. The act of possessing art evokes a strong emotional attachment to many of us. I can remember the circumstances surrounding the purchase of all my pieces of art.
Art and their Copies
From the moment I saw my “Picasso Owl” on a pedestal in his Madura studio in 1979 with my son, I knew I had to purchase that sculpture. My heart beat faster and my son and I bonded with the piece. I carried it home in its original sack, a limited edition, signed, and consigned to a corner of my bedroom for over 40 yrs. It never diminished the pleasure it brings to me daily.
He used 3D printing in 2013, 100 yrs later, to reinterpret Boccioni’s "Continuity of Forms", entitled, Perfect Forms in 24K Gold. Ball’s rendition measures nearly two feet tall. The abstracted body is meticulously contoured. The angles are sharp. The curves are smooth. The sleek, gold finish causes the figure to glow and perpetuates the idea that man is in motion.
Boccioni, Continuity of Forms, Perfect Forms, 24K Sculpture review in Art Times, 11/19/13
Does it matter whether we own originals or a copy? Only the price matters. And that too is arbitrary. To some, art is worth what the collector or collectors are willing to pay. Therefore, if the possession of beauty is your objective, and we all have our differences and definitions of beauty," beauty is in the eyes of the beholder". Enjoy your copy; in time it may even become valuable. In fact, in time, the copy becomes an object of value independent of the original, which only the marketplace and foresight can predict. Anything can be copied. Sometimes the original is surpassed by the Copy. When I first viewed Boccioni’s bronze sculpture, "Continuity of Forms", which was cast in 1913, I was impressed by its modernity. Evidently, Barry X. Ball felt equally enthralled by this sculpture.
The original artist Boccioni’s Bronze is 100 yrs earlier, 1913, than Barry X. Ball’s sculpture dated 2013, which I believe surpasses the original in beauty and concept. It captures the ancient spirit of man in movement. The copy is more desirable to me, exemplifying the meaning. Copying is the sincerest form of flattery!
You decide for yourself, dear reader. Does it matter to you which original art you would like to possess? Or like millions of others, would the copy suffice? Joyce can be reached at: info@Wordpress TheVoiceOfJoyce.wp.me
THE ARTFUL MIND MARCH 2018 • 43
Grandma Becky’s Old World Recipes
Written and shared with a loving spoonful by Laura Pianby Laura
Pian Chopped liver, a standard in my childhood home. With all of the healthy choices in our kitchens today, we’d rarely enjoy a chopped liver sandwich on buttery crackers. But this recipe is a treat to be enjoyed in moderation, often served as an appetizer on a Jewish holiday table. A food filled with all the rich, warm comforts of Grandma Becky’s kitchen. Traditional chopped liver made by the Eastern European Jews was made with chicken and beef livers. When I’d hear the avalanche of cascading pots and pans coming from our lower kitchen cabinet, I knew Grandma was pulling out her cast iron meat grinder with the rotating wooden handle. She’d screw the vice to the formica board which sat upon the counter top and there the magic would begin! Grandma didn’t use a tool to send the ingredients down into the grinder. No, she’d bravely “shtup” (push) it right in there with her very own fingers! How she’d finish this task with all of her 10 fingers intact was always an amazing feat in my eyes! Sometimes it just takes a “bisl mut” (a little courage) she’d say to me while I’d watch in fear for her digits. The magical ingredients in Grandma’s chopped liver recipe were schmaltz and gribenes. Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat which adds tons of flavor. It is so rich and tasty that in Yiddish, we also use the word schmaltz to describe a good, dramatic tv show (“Oy put on the show with the schmaltzy story”). Grandma would prepare the chicken schmaltz, sometimes the day before, as it stayed fresh in the refrigerator for a few days. Today you can purchase schmaltz from your butcher. Gribenes are the crisp, crackly byproduct produced from the little bits in the pan from the chicken skin. We’d eat these crispy-hot out of the pan, and this was probably the best treat of all time! I’d always bring a chopped liver sandwich on rye bread to school the following day. My friends would always ask for a bite or two! Today, I prepare the liver in my mixmaster with meat grinder attachment. You may also use a food processor with the metal blade attachment. I will sometimes substitute olive oil for the schmaltz. There are so many modern variations to this classic dish. Below is the one I’ve found closest to my Grandma’s original.
Grandma Becky’s Chopped Liver Ingredients: 1 1/2 lb. chicken livers 1/4 cup schmaltz (divided) 1 onion, chopped 5 hardboiled eggs, chopped Salt & pepper to taste
Directions: Pour 2 tbs schmaltz or oil into frying pan over medium heat. Add total of 6 livers and fry them for about 3 minutes on each side (firm and brown on the outside, slightly pink on the inside). Remove the livers from the pan into a medium sized mixing bowl and generously season with salt and pepper. Add the leftover schmaltz/oil from the pan. Now repeat this exact process with remaining livers and schmaltz/oil from the pan to the mixing bowl. Fry the chopped onion in the warm pan and cook until slightly golden. Add onion to the mixing bowl, along with 4 of the chopped hard boiled eggs. Season again with salt and pepper, if necessary. Place bowl ingredients into the grinder (or food processor) and blend until smooth. My family prefers the mixture to be a bit chunky, so pulse until your desired liking. Chill the chopped liver for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. You may garnish with remaining chopped egg or minced parsley.
Esn Gezunt and enjoy! (Eat well and enjoy!)
Feel f ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ cook ree to s h i *~*~*~*~*~* feed ng thou are you back r ghts Becky’s Wall of Naches (Joy): Lau and ra P to: i artf ulm an at ind@ A quick mention of recent naches in Grandma Becky’s bloodline, yah oo.c we want to wish a big mazel tov and congratulations to: om
-The Bar Mitzvah of Noah Lefkowitz, Becky’s great-great grandson (parents Elissa & Dave) -The birth of Hannah Nora Abramowitz, Becky’s great-great granddaughter (parents Kelley & Daniel) -The engagement of Rachel Pian and Alex Cournoyer, Becky’s great-granddaughter (parents Laura & Craig) Wishing them all many years of joy, happiness, and good health!
44 • MARCH
2018 THE ARTFUL MIND