Release #1 at Arc Gallery, June 4th 7-10pm

As mentioned in a previous post, one of my newer pieces is appearing in the upcoming exhibition “Flow: The Essence of Paint” at Arc Gallery in San Francisco.  The opening reception (which I’ll be attending) is on Saturday June 4th from 7 – 10pm.  Arc is located at 1246 Folsom, SF.  Here’s a link for more info.

In other news, it looks like I’ll be having a solo show at A. Muse gallery in September or October of this year!  The details have yet to be finalized, but if all goes ahead as planned I am going to be one very excited (and productive) artist.  I’m slowly trying to pull together a good idea for this show, and I feel something forming in the mist, I just haven’t understood clearly what it is yet.  It will definitely be body-related, and may possibly include some 3D stuff.  Will keep posting here as the ideas develop.

In the meantime, here are some body-related images I find inspiring:

Francis Bacon

Brain cells

More brain cells

More brain cells.

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Get yer Limited Edition Archival Prints of my Paintings!

In an unusual moment of determination and organization, I decided to follow through on plans to make limited edition prints of my work available.  Through a recommendation from friend and artist Joe White, I was directed to an experienced, meticulous, and wonderful local printer called John Sheridan who patiently and generously answered all my questions, quelled all my fears, and in record-time produced beautiful archival prints of my work from scans that he picked over, tweaked, and polished until you couldn’t tell the difference between the print and the original.  If anyone needs some printing done, I can’t recommend him highly enough.

Anyway, here’s the link, and below are the images that are now available in print.

Sorry about the watermarks – obviously they’ll be removed in the prints.

So, now that I have said prints, what to do with them?  I opened an etsy store, posted photos of the prints, and now I sit back and wait for the $$$ and accolades to roll in, right?  Not so.

It seems that in today’s over-connected wired world there are many tools available for self-promotion and we are expected to use them or perish.  I thought I was terribly clever for even opening an etsy store, but it turns out I should now be tweeting, FBing, blogging, posting on other people’s blogs, and generally getting all up in everyone’s face to promote my work.  Kind of reminds me of the local outdoor market where I grew up.  As customers would walk past each stall they’d be screamed at by lunatic sellers who were desperately trying to be heard above the din of other lunatics screaming why their wares were best.  And there was always a stall that had a crowd of people oo-ing and ah-ing around it.  This seller by no means had the best product, he or she just had the best shtick.  They jumped and hooted and grinned and flirted and gesticulated wildly.  Anything to get attention.  I believe I must become the cyber-version of this ware-flogging performing monkey to bring people to my stall.  And everyone is so used to this approach by now that if I don’t, and instead try to act in a civilized manner and rely on the quality of my goods, I and my work will quietly fade into oblivion.  Ah, the cult of personality.

This is why galleries are so awesome, and why my next step must be to find one (or a few) to represent me.  They exist in a different market.  One in which wine and cheese abound, people get dressed up to visit, and the work is the focus of attention.  Maybe gallerists shop on Etsy too?  Roll-up, roll-up!

BS Radar

Thanks to my studiomate Angela Dominguez, I heard about an upcoming juried show at Arc Gallery in San Francisco, the title of which is “Flow: The Essence of Paint”.  My work seemed like a good fit for an exhibition that explores the liquid quality of paint, given that most of my works harness the chaotic qualities of water (and ink)  in motion.  So I submitted three pieces for their consideration (my first such submission to a juried show), and am happy to report that two pieces were selected – one for the show in their physical space, and one for their online exhibit!  The one that will be hung in the gallery is a newer piece, from the “Viscera and Effluences” series, so I was pleased to see that it was well received at its debut.  It’s called “Release #1”, and it’s one of my favorites:

The “Release” pieces that I create involve adding acrylic inks to water and then rolling the liquid around on the surface of the polypropylene by tilting it. This creates chaotic “channels” and paths of ink that serve as an initial structure around which I build the rest of the composition. I enjoy the challenge of having to work with marks that I have very little control over, and then building order into and around it, much as we create meaning and structure around those things we can’t understand or control in our lives.

It’s interesting to watch my mind’s inclination toward order, and the satisfaction that arises from successfully navigating that process.  And it’s also interesting to be aware of the equally strong inclination to then destroy the structure, or impose yet more chaos over that hard-labored illusion of safety and solidity.  Who knows where that comes from?  I think it’s a BS radar – too much settled, measured balance and some itchy feeling develops somewhere in my body that wants to yell “Bullshit!” (sorry Mum), because experience has taught me that nothing is ever as secure as it might appear.  So then I go back to swimming about in ink.

“Viscera: Stomach” will also be appearing in their on-line exhibition. More details to follow…..

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Onward.

The reception at liquid spaces was fantastic.  So many people came out to support us.  I met a lot of interesting people, including Jonah Burlingame who’s work I have admired for a few years now, and got to introduce my work to new friends.  I’m always amazed and touched at how many of my friends will make the effort to attend receptions, and buy work.  I am a very lucky girl 🙂

Friends At the Reception

 

After Party

So, now that I have officially made my entrance into the San Francisco artosphere, what’s next?  Doing this show and winning the Artslant contest have led to a lot of interest in my work from various people – gallerists, private collectors, art consultants etc, and I feel poised to take the next step.  Whatever that is.  How do I choose a path from here?  What are the pitfalls I should avoid?  Who do I trust?  Until now it has felt as though I was stumbling around in a dark room, trying to find  the door to a career as an artist. Now the door has been opened I’m both excited and overwhelmed by the possibilities that lay ahead.  Unlike Alice, I’m not the risk-taking type.  No white rabbits for me please.  I need a map to help me find the best way through the woods, avoiding big bad wolves and witches with gingerbread houses.  I think the appropriate motto is slow and steady wins the race.  Right?

I’m one of Artslant’s 10 round #1 winners!

I entered one of my Viscera pieces into Artslant’s juried showcase contest, and lo and behold, I was 1 of 10 winners!  My piece won in the “drawing” category.  You can read about the contest here.   Basically, I’m now entered into the annual Artslant competition, about which I’m very excited but not very hopeful…  I was amazed I was even selected for the first round!

So, this has spurred me on to enter some other contests.  Watch this space…

I’m also starting work on a new series that incorporates some gouache into the drawings.  Will be posting in-progress photos soon.

Toodle-pip!

Here’s the winning piece – you’ve probably seen it before:

New Year, New Websites, New Show!

To kick-off 2011 I have redesigned and relaunched my website.  You can still find it at the same url: http://awilletts.com, or by clicking the “my website” link on this blog (to the right).  The new website will allow me to upload current work more often, and it groups my work according to year and series.

I’ve also decided to venture out into illustration this year…. Here’s a link to my illustration website, Muddy Puppets.  The illustration work is completely different from my fine art, but serves a very important purpose in my creative process.  I’ve discovered over the years that when I work only two-dimensionally and only in one medium, on one series, the tendency is for my work to become very tight and for me to become creatively blocked.  Alternating between media and working on different ideas helps me to stay “loose” and fluid.  I could make a diet analogy here – a varied diet keeping one regular and all that – but that would bring a whole new meaning to what “blocked” might mean, and frankly, that’s gross.  To this end, I’m also considering taking up ceramics again, or some other 3D art form (besides puppet-making), possibly even installation work.

Finally, this weekend I’m installing 4 or 5 art works in a small group show at Liquid Spaces.  The show will open sometime after January 15th and I’ll keep everyone posted on when and how they can see this work (if you’re interested).  It’s a non-profit, non-traditional art space at one Union St in San Francisco .  Here’s a link to their blog.  I’ll be showing with two other local artists – Bernadette Jiyong Frank and Jeong Im Yi.  The show is titled Marking Time and it examines our experience of time as both an ever-present moment, as a linear progression from the past to the present, and in relation to memory.  I’ll post more details here as they become available.

In the meantime, here’s one of the larger pieces I’ll be showing in the Marking Time exhibit.  It’s called “Large Grid”.  It’s about 36″ x 36″.

Fall Open Studios

I admit it.  I’ve been a slacker.  It’s been a while since I’ve participated in open studios, but with a new studio and a new, very motivated studiomate (check out her work here), it is time to get serious again!

So here are the details…

When:  This weekend!  Saturday October 16th and Sunday October 17th.

Where:  South Beach Artist Studios, 3rd Floor, Suite 300, room 3, 340 Bryant St, San Francisco.

Times: 11am – 6pm both days.

I’ll be showing all my new work, plus I’ll be selling some older work and some sketches at a discounted price!

As usual, I will be serving Bloody Marys (until they run out) and we’ll have some other light refreshments.

You can see more photos of my work here: photos

Drawing Breath (revisited)

Many years ago in the early days of my blog, I published a post called “Drawing Breath”.  It was all about the beginning of my explorations into automatic drawing processes.  Much time has passed since then, and I find myself revisiting the theme of connections between drawing and breathing.  With open studios looming I’ve been thinking about the questions I am asked frequently about my work – where my ideas come from, how my process works etc – so I’ve been reflecting on how my practice has evolved and my thoughts came back around to breathing.

It goes something like this:

My ambition in all of my drawings is to find that moment when the process of drawing, and the actual image created, come as easily as breathing.  There is a natural movement in drawing that is neither strong and deliberate, nor fragile and  hesitant.  Overthink the process and the resulting image looks belabored or contrived.  Let loose completely and no longer pay attention to what is unfolding before you, and the drawing dissipates and becomes unfocused.  Like breathing, drawing actually comes naturally if you let it find it’s own pace and expression within your body, and then enjoy the process of allowing it to flow through you.  Not surprisingly, I can usually tell when my drawings are not going well because  my breathing becomes hesitant, shallow and caught.

But this is not to say that finding that moment is easy.  It’s a constant struggle to remember not to get trapped in my mind – that the work is happening out there on the paper, and not up here in my head.

Anyway, here are a couple of glimpses of what’s going on in my studio in these last few days before open studios.  The photos are not great because I took them at 10pm with no natural light, but you’ll get the general idea…

And here are a few more images: photos

Photos

Sometimes when I’m stuck in a rut or frustrated by my current work, I like to take a brief detour into another medium, just so I can experience the joy and excitement of art-making without the pressure of having to perform.  This week I discovered the hipstamatic app for my iphone and have been enjoying the results.  Yes, it’s kind of cheating, but oh boy it cheers me up.

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T-shirt design contest! Please Help!

I just entered two designs in the Threadless.com 2010 design challenge. Here they are.


If you’d like to help me win (please do!), you can link to here or here and score my designs, and leave a comment. My online name is oddego. Go figure.?

Hope you like ’em….

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