Thursday, September 23, 2010

Frolic on Franklin

Frolic on Franklin is held every September to benefit the Roxy Regional Theatre here in Clarksville. Arts and craft vendors fill Franklin Street along with performances in front of the theater leading up to their annual gala fundraiser and art auction.

The guys from dropped by to talk about my work. Here are some pics from this year's event courtesy of their site...

The Tuckassee Woodworkers make some really neat stuff and demonstrate their craft for patrons of the festival...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Portrait of the Artist- Judy Lewis

I first met Judy Lewis at Frolic on Franklin (an annual arts festival which serves as a fundraiser for The Roxy Regional Theatre) here in town a couple of years back. Judy is a very generous and talented artist and it was an honor for me to do a portrait for her! She wanted her dog Harley included and I know what a big Elton John fan she is. I posted the sketch on Facebook earlier this week so that she could get a sneak peak at the work in progress. She explained that she learned to draw by copying his album covers while she listened to the records back in the day.

Check out Judy's work at her Fan Page!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Merry Clayton (Music to My Ears)

I first read about Merry Clayton a few months back after hearing The Rolling Stone's Gimme Shelter for the 1,372nd time. I don't know what it was about this particular run-through but it hit me like a tidal wave of emotion. I'd always liked the song but man did it do a number on me that day. One of the things that got me was a background singer whose name I've mentioned. Waves of goosebumps overtook me starting behind my ears and traveling down my neck into my shoulders as her notes belted out against the apocalyptic forefront of the song...

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin'
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way

and Merry comes in...

War, children, it's just a shot away

The true beauty in the structure of this classic song is in the progression of the chorus. In the next portion of the song, it turns even more macabre with Merry taking over (before she's just backing up Jagger, now she's in control and sings...)

Rape, murder!

It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Three times she belts these lines out, and each time the emotion grows. On the third murder, her voice cracks and my body explodes with pins and needles. This might be the all-encompassing thunder of an entire generation in one note that can never be replicated. (I found later, that if you turn it up loud enough, you can hear Jagger in the background yell, "yeah!" when her voice cracks like that.

It turns out that you and I have heard this amazing voice many many times before and in places you'd never expect. Aside from The Stones, she sang for Lynyrd Skynyrd (Sweet Home Alabama), Neil Young, Carol King, Tom Jones, and Joe Cocker on one of my all-time favorite songs, Feelin' Alright! She also played The Acid Queen in The Who's Tommy. The most interesting song I found her on that I'd heard a million times is Tori Amos's Cornflake Girl...

And the man with the golden gun

Thinks he knows so much
Thinks he knows so much

Yeh, her again... and a new take on another song. (And a new portrait for your fresh eyes.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Via Colori Street Painting Festival

Well, I turned the BIG Three-OH this past weekend with a full schedule. Aurora and I attended the artists' reception at RiverFest's Tour D'Art Friday before hitting the road for Elizabethtown, KY to take part in their annual street painting festival.

My portrait of Nikola Tesla: Architect of Light placed third in the Professional Drawing category. ($10 prints available through my website)

I was delighted to win a cash award finally with one of my works in our annual juried exhibit (I kept getting Honorable Mentions in past exhibits.) This was a nice birthday touch indeed and some fuel for thought before our festival in the morning as we left town Friday night for a rainy drive. This was a bad omen considering we had to be set up outside all weekend. We kept our fingers crossed and finished out my birthday with dinner and a small road trip.

Via Colori has been held in Elizabethtown for the past three years in their historic downtown. This annual street painting festival is a charity for the Advocacy & Support Center. Folks pull together to contribute in many ways through volunteering, making art, and getting businesses and residents to sponsor artists to raise funds. Upon checking in, I found that a local couple had been generous enough to have sponsored my square and made a donation.

One of my main motivations behind doing this festival was to try something new... which turned out to be the theme for the entire weekend. I've never really done any graffiti or street art or anything of that nature. I've done live paintings a handful of times which is pretty exciting to see the reactions from the viewers wherever you're at. I work pretty fast so I gathered a small crowd when they started to see my colors coming together!

My square was on Main St. Aurora manned our tent while I headed over a couple of blocks to get to work!

It was fun working with a new medium. We were each given a box of pastels and a couple of sets of baby socks to use to cover our fingers to blend the colors with. After laying down the colors, I did some blending to see where we were headed...

The streets were blocked off so folks were getting to see my work walking both down the sidewalk and up the middle of the street. I did a Topsy-Turvy with my square to maximize the head turning! I was bent over and deep into the process and kept hearing people say, "It looks like Picasso!" or just say "Dali." It was flattering to hear such masterful names be evoked by my progress. As I was finishing up, I began pointing out to people that you could see it differently from either side and how my Topsy-Turvy series worked. The children especially had fun running in circled and back and forth looking at my work.

One of the driving forces of creativity the instant gratification of it all. You put the colors down and you get results. There is instant stimulus to you and your eyes and your ears as people talk about what you've done. I got a lesson in this Saturday morning as I put my signature on my piece and the sky opened right up on us... I huddled under the awning of a local business drenched and watched my Topsy-Turvy streak down the street into oblivion. Some of the folks who'd been watching me work stuck around to have a laugh about it. Luckily for most of the other artists, they were still in the preliminary stages of their work while I'd furiously hammered mine out in 45 minutes. I couldn't have timed it more perfectly if I tried.

The art we create has a life and has a pulse just as we do. It has it's audience and it has it's time; whether it's 45 minutes of chalk, a few weeks before a piece of street art is covered, or time taking the life and matter of a piece of paper until it crumbles. Aren't you glad you are here to appreciate it?