Tag Archives: trends

The New Sand Art

Pinup artist Charlene Lanzel has moved onto something new: Sand Art.

Charlene Lanzel’s Sand Art™ also known as sand animation, is beautiful to look at, but lasts only temporarily. Perhaps what makes this art form so appealing, aside from its beauty, is its fragility.

Sand art is the most compelling new art form to come around in decades. A new trend in art, sand art is a form of live sand painting which evolved from earlier sand animation films. Sand art is dynamic and requires the artist’s presence to happen.

…Charlene Lanzel’s sand art is done live onstage, where people can see the artist doing the performance in total darkness. A video camera is positioned over the glass table upon which the artist creates sand magic. Sand scattered on a light box is formed and reformed into ever changing shapes and images that tell visually powerful stories. Charlene creates these fluid illustrations for large audiences, with an overhead camera instantaneously projecting onto a large screen for the audience to see. It is a practice which uses the visual and aesthetic properties of sand to create a live animated image. Sand is a fluid material and its grains settle by chance, creating living images made of a single texture. This sand art makes life and time flow by, right in front of your eyes.

Charlene Lanzel’s sand art performance is rehearsed and choreographed to specially chosen live or recorded music, enhancing the mood.

And she’s got a Valentine for you:

These Ain’t Your Granny’s Stitches

Dale Spender feminism quote in needlework by Rosa Martyn (of My Little Stitches) isn’t the only feminist needlework out there, but it’s a great example of something — a cause, a philosophy, a book — inspiring you into picking up a needle and thread. In this case, Martyn did her cross stitch on the back of a cotton jacket.

Motivated? Good!

See more of the modern and radical needlework out there by keeping up with the Craftivist Collective.

See Also: Sew, Whatever Happened To Learning How To Use Needle & Thread.

The Most Awesome Thing I’ve Discovered In A Long Time

I’ll admit, I get excited — I’m probably the definition of “easily amused” — but when I was told about Project ETHOS, I was giddy with excitement.

Project ETHOS merges fashion, music, and art in one event, at once creating a unique avenue for both participants (artists) and attendees. It’s not your usual “incubator,” shielding and nursing talent, but instead it launches and nourishes artisans.

Project ETHOS closes the gap between the Indie and Mainstream worlds with an experienced and focused eye for talent. Creating a link to decision makers is what drives us to be a niche portal of exposing all emerging artistry to the media, public and industry.

It’s the combination of concert, fashion show, and art gallery exhibition all at one event! Isn’t that just beyond mere cool?!

(If you think you’re ready, you can apply to become an Ethos participant.)

I was so excited, that even when I discovered their its first-ever red carpet event in San Diego (on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at the On Broadway Event Center, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.) isn’t something I can attend, I was still excited.

You can read the event promo piece for more info, but this first red carpet event will feature local bands and Space Cowboy (personal DJ for (Lady Gaga); hot new fashion designers, including former Project Runway contestants; and eight visual artists: Joshua Krause (abstract), Sam Luna (abstract), Kelli Murray (Illustration), Sherilyn Tanala Encabo (comic/anime illustration), Meghan Horsburgh (photography), Christy Pepper Dawson (macabre illustrations and paintings), Matt Haward (mixed media), Jeremy Asher Lynch and Yeara.

The event’s charitable partner is Love Cures Cancer, an organization dedicated to benefiting children with cancer while raising awareness and working to find a cure.

Tickets are $15 pre-sale, $20 at the door, $40 VIP and can be purchased online. All event attendees must be 18+.

If you can, you must get thee to this Project Ethos event — and if you do, please tell me all about it!

Handmade Craft Shopping Parties

Back in the day, I offered and held a few home parties for selling my artworks. Being about 15 years ago, ish, I felt like I was charting new territories.

I had a bunch of catalogs and brochures from other successful home party plan businesses — and my vast knowledge of attending such parties — to build my plan on, but even then, the concept was just that — more concept than anything else.

I made sales at the parties (and secured plenty of commissioned works as well), but found I really had to sell the idea of such a party by educating the potential host or hostess more than anything else.

Now that home party plans are so mainstream that a woman between the ages of 20 and 35 fears invitations in the mail, the indie crafting party isn’t an educational exercise — and the lure of less common products is far stronger than say the usual home party suspects, resulting in more attendees and an increase of wallets being opened.

I mention this trend for two reasons.

One, if you’re a crafter, craftsman, or artisan looking for a way to make sales and connect with your local community, you might want to consider using home craft shopping parties. Even crafters who just have an over-load of made things could probably find an occasional party a good way to rid themselves of surplus handcrafted items, and those with mad skills could combine selling creations with workshops at parties.

If this sounds at all like you, Miss Malaprop has a great article, 5 Tips for a Successful Handmade Craft Shopping Party, which also includes links to some great resources. She even peddles the stuff other folks make at the home parties she demonstrates/sells at. (Keen idea for those who want to increase their offerings past their own skills.)

I respectfully disagree with CraftyTammie, when she says that she wouldn’t throw a party and invite her friends because “they all know i have an etsy shop, and i figure if they want to buy something they will let me know.” Shopping for art, for gifty stuff and crafts, is very much a visual in-the-moment thing. And people need to see it.

The second reason I mention the home party plan idea, is that if you are not a maker of things but a lover of them, you might wish to host a craft selling party in your own home. You and your pals can get together, shop, maybe even become inspired to make a thing or two yourself, all while you support arts in your community.

The only real tricky thing with hosting one of these home parties selling handmade things is finding a willing artisan or crafter. To that end, The Ungulate has started an Art Directory, including a category for listings of creative folks who are willing to do home parties selling their arts and crafts.

Image Credits: Handmade goodies from MissMalaprop’s shop.

Is Stock Photography Evil?

It is no longer difficult to take an adequate photograph. I say that with confidence, as a person who treats her digital camera as essentially a magic box with a button on one side and a USB port on the other. And yet, if I take enough pictures under good light, I can turn out clear photos of attractive subjects. And I am not alone. The natural consequence of photography become cheap and easy is that more people have taken it up. Between rechargeable batteries and online forums, more people are developing their abilities to a useful level. More people are deciding to try and make a little money from their pictures.

Enter the stock photo agencies. Stock agencies (such as Shutterstock and Istockphoto) accept digital photographs in large numbers, and sell them for a low price for non-exclusive use. At a few dollars each, stock photographs are an inexpensive alternative to hiring a professional-photographer-shot pictures. A few stock agencies, such as stock.xchng, even offer pictures for free. Many professional photographers are, predictably, not thrilled by this development. Some argue that people who sell their photographs cheaply or give them away for free undermine photography as a profession, impoverish working photographers and allow themselves to be exploited.

There is one glaring problem with this argument: they are essentially blaming the apple for gravity. Digital camera are cheap to buy, cheap to use, and automate much of what used to be a complicated process. The internet allows the products of these cameras to be shipped to vendors for free. Given these two technological development, the crash in the market for adequate photographs was inevitable. The destruction of the careers of adequate photographers could not be prevented. You may dislike this development, you may complain about it, but it will not be reversed.

Stock photographers are the absolute creators and owners of their photographs. As such they can give their work away, they can charge as much—or as little—as they like. And there will always be some teen settling for “exposure” or someone in a less developed country who can trade fifty American cents for a hearty meal. No professional can demand higher pay when they are competing with the unwashed masses for skills that are common using equipment that is cheap.

And as a member of those masses I am completely unapologetic. I take photographs for fun and I sell them for a small amount of supplemental income. As a creator of photographs that is my option, my right, and to my benefit. Any photographer who wants to charge full professional fees can no longer be merely adequate. They can no longer do what any member of the public with a compact camera and a steady hand can achieve. And no matter how much they complain about this new reality, it is not going to change.

Stock photography my have crushed the businesses of some photographers at at the lower and middle reaches of the professions, but that is not evil any more than gravity is evil. People will always buy what is cheap, do what is easy, and take what they can get. That is just one of life’s realities–and anyone who thinks berating stock photographers is going to make a difference needs to… well, they need to get real.

2009 Art Sales May Not Have Been Bad For Auction Houses, But Was It Good For Art?

Antique Week, Vol. 41, Issue No. 2112 (January 11, 2010) has a report in the national section on art sales in 2009.

In the article, two things stood out for me.

First:

Auction houses started slashing pre-sale estimates by as much as 50 percent to stimulate sales. When Sloans & Kenyon of Chevy Chase, Md., gave a $6,000-8,000 estimate to an unsigned 18th century oil of the Grand Canal in Venice, bidders from around the world smelled a deal. Instead, the painting went for $687,125 at the Sept. 27 auction.

The math’s off (the pre-sale estimate was what, 10-15% of the final sale?), but one thing’s for sure: People buy classic art the same way they buy bags of socks at Wal*Mart.

Second:

Old Masters are getting a new look from investors wary of fluctuations in more modern art, Warhol excluded. In its art review of 2009, Bloomberg said, “Collectors responded to the financial crisis by selecting the best 20th century classics, Old Masters, wine and jewelry at international auctions. They shunned investment in some contemporary art as prices dropped by half.”

And, it was noted earlier in the piece that Bloomberg had reported “that the sale of high-value contemporary art took a big hit last year when major auction houses ceased providing consignors with price guarantees.”

What this says to me is something about fundamentalism at times of crisis and art pretension as a form of commerce; art as financial investment based on fear of depreciation, not art purchased for appreciation.

Pop Art: Pop Culture Defined

I dated a musician, once upon a time; a jazz musician. He was often put off by my love of certain music, deriding it as ‘pop music.’ I had to remind him that the ‘pop’ stood for popular, and that meant that a large body of folks had to like it to make it ‘popular’. I even reminded him that jazz was once ‘pop music.’

Of course, that didn’t always sit well. For either of us.

lost_supermarket_flyer_-boutwell-draper-gallery_ben-frost-exhibitI can’t speak directly for him, but his disdain for ‘pop’ certainly smelled snobby to me, and I felt as if I had to prove that I still had ‘good taste’ (at least most of the time) despite occasional descent into liking what other people did…

Pop culture has become synonymous with kitsch, defined as ‘bad taste,’ and while the two may overlap, there are distinctions.

Pop Culture Defined: Dictionaries define Popular Culture, or pop culture, as “the vernacular (people’s) culture that prevails in a modern society,” and as “the currency or iconography of a contemporary culture.”

In any case, popular culture is both dynamic, as cultures are constantly changing, and it is static in the sense that it is specific to both place(s) and time(s) or period(s). What is pop culture in the USA, now, is not the same as China, nor is it the same as the USA in 1950.

Pop culture is built largely by industries & groups that disseminate cultural material & the relationships these groups have with the population or consumers. In the US, examples of these groups are the film, television, news media, & publishing industries, as well as political groups, religions, and social organizations. It isn’t just what they ‘push’ at us, it is how we, as consumers, interact with it. Do we buy it? Not just commercially, but do we buy into it

As my jazz musician felt, popular culture is not always ‘high brow.’ It does however merit study. Why do people believe, act, buy…?

pup-art-pop-art-quilt-by-nancy-brownAnd don’t think it is merely of interest to corporations or marketing teams either. Heck, it’s part of the science of anthropology! Those scientists know that these same motivators and triggers allow us to believe in marriage, religion, food, clothing, education, language, rituals & traditions. They know that pop culture buy-ins affect those things!

So if you ever feel your love of Mickey Mouse, Pig Latin, G.I. Joe, Marilyn Monroe, Dr. Suess, anime, Andy Warhol, The Simpsons, Gone With the Wind, Michael Jordan, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, & yes, even jazz, isn’t worthy, think again! They are to Americans as patriotic as baseball, apple pie, and mom.

Yes, your mom is a pop culture phenomenon!

Image credits: Pop art poster for Ben Frost‘s exhibit at the Boutwell Draper Gallery; Pup Art quilt by Nancy Brown, via Susan Brubaker Knapp’s Blue Moon River blog.