Grand Opening of THERMAL Gallery!

JAY PAUL PROMO

THERMAL Gallery, presented by Art(ist)serv, features artwork by early-career Arizona artists. The goal of the gallery is to promote the vibrant, diverse, talented, and under-served Arizona art community nationally and internationally.

Mr. Paul is a native Arizonan inspired by the spectacular sunsets of his home state and modern abstraction. He finds nature’s abstract paintings in the sky and captures them digitally. The prints are mounted on panels and finished with a layer of encaustic wax.

Developing a brand for your art

Developing a unique, recognizable brand is one of the most important factors to running a successful business.  One of the first things I tell artists who desire to make it their sole profession is to think of it as a business, so branding is of utmost importance!  Branding will make your art, and you, stand out from the rest and help you develop a consistent, loyal clientele.

The first rule of branding is consistency.  Your name, logo, colors, font, etc. must be consistent across all of your digital and physical marketing materials.  It is how people will identify that what they see comes from you.

The story behind the artwork is a major part of your brand.  If you can describe the important influences, inspirations, and reasons why you create, along with a little bit about yourself in an engaging way that your customers can understand and relate to, they will remember you, and visit regularly.  A good point that I heard recently is, people buy from people, so let those potential clients in; let them get to know you and your work!

In any business the product is of primary concern, it is what you sell to make income, so it is how your client can come to own the brand themselves.  Your artwork defines your brand.  In turn, your clients who purchase from you define their taste in line with that brand.

I encourage you to put some real time and thought into this.  Brainstorm the definition of what you create, whether it be a certain style, medium, theme, or concept.  What other services or products do you offer?  How do these varying things fit together, or do they at all?  Narrow down the aesthetic of what you present to your clients and define it.  Make this part of your story.

One reason I feel this is an important first tip is this… The artwork each gallery or dealer exclusively sells is a huge part of its brand. If your work fits into that brand you will be more successful trying to get an exhibition or representation.  This may be your goal, to have an arts business represent you and sell for you, but that does not happen overnight.  Build your brand now and make it successful so you can choose what path your business takes in the future.

Essential Marketing Materials for Artists

Now that it is a new year, and almost a year into artistserv’s existence, I thought it would be a good idea to refresh some of our early posts.  Hopefully this will remind our followers of the importance having the basics, and to stop procrastinating.  If you have not started on these, make it a priority for 2016!

Focus on the essentials that every artist should have for marketing.  A lot of this will be “known” but it sets the stage for more detail, which I will address more individually in the future.

  • Your website is your most important marketing tool, it is the international headquarters of your business and should mimic your portfolio (see the portfolio section below) along with images of your work organized into groups, or “bodies of work”/ “series,” and a blog.  It should be clean and user-friendly, don’t get too creative with your design here, you want people to navigate easily.
  • Social media, at a minimum you should have:
    • a facebook page (for your art, separate from your personal page)
    • a twitter feed
    • an instagram account
    • a linkedin profile
  • Your portfolio should have at the least:
    • a clear, concise artist statement
    • separate statements for each body of work or series
    • your bio
    • your CV (Curriculum Vitae) or artist resume
    • high quality images of your work with a details list (medium, size, price, etc.).
    • The portfolio needs to be up to date so create it digitally in multiple formats (DOC, PDF, Presentation) so you can easily make additions as you make more work and get more shows!

Like I stated, I will address all of these details on their own (and in depth) in future posts.  In the meantime I suggest you review your materials and use these tips as a checklist.  Of course, many artists haven’t the time or desire to work on these materials, they would rather be in the studio, or maybe they lack confidence in their writing web skills.  Let me know, that is what I do for a living, and so you don’t have to.

Just Announced – Artistserv Partners with Xico, Inc for a Series of Professional Artist Development Workshops

XicoFlyerWorking in the Phoenix art community for more than a decade, Justin Germain saw first-hand the many obstacles local artists faced trying to develop their careers and build their businesses. He set out to change that.

Armed with a Master’s degrees in Art History and Public Administration from ASU and University of Phoenix, respectively, the longtime valley resident had held a series of art gallery positions, both formal and informal, before finding a new calling. “It’s not uncommon at smaller galleries for staff to work as curator, marketing director, and operations manager, all rolled into one job position,” chuckles Germain.

Wearing many hats, however challenging, proved to be invaluable training. While he was adept at addressing many of the issues that came up in his day-to-day gallery work, Germain saw something he didn’t have time to address. “So many artists would simply send me a link to their work, or sometimes to a poorly designed website or Facebook page, and somehow expect me or someone else to ‘discover’ them; meaning that an artist would somehow soar to success overnight,” says Germain. “This can happen, but more often, it takes years to be ‘discovered,’ if it happens at all.” Some of the major challenges for artists are their lack of professional skills and materials to meet the standards of high-level gallery programs and their inability to directly market their work themselves,” says Germain.

Finally doing something about a gnawing feeling that he could do more to help artists, Justin became founder and chief consultant of his own freelance company, Art(ist)serv, dedicated to helping artists think of themselves and their art as a business.

“Today, with a little know how, an artist can market to the world while building an impressive resume and sales record that will attract gallerists and collectors. We can help artists at any stage of their career market themselves to increase their growth, recognition and success.  In this way, artists have a greater opportunity to expose their art to a bigger audience,” says Germain. “By developing their business professionally, artists can increase their opportunity for gallery showings, potential representation, and create a greater market to sell their work,” he explains.

Those past years of multiple art gallery positions now provide invaluable industry insight that Germain uses and shares with artists as they establish and build the commercial side of their craft.  While a handful of museums and other organizations offer some ‘ways to succeed’ for artists, Germain’s company is one of few locally offering specific marketing support for art and artists in the Phoenix area, according to Germain.

Now, in partnership with Xico, Arte y Cultura, a non-profit arts organization and gallery in Phoenix, Germain will lead a series of three Professional Artist Development (PAD) workshops on marketing strategies and must-haves, just for artists.

Donna Valdes, executive director of Xico, selected Germain for the series because she feels he offers an in-depth, hands-on review of marketing for a group of professionals most focused on the process of creating something, often without the tools, resources, or training to sell it. “The intent of our professional development workshops is to help our artists be successful,” says Valdes. “The PAD series, offered at an affordable price point, holds the promise of real net returns for the participants,” she adds.

The workshops will be from 6 to 8 p.m. July 24, 31 and August 7 at the Xico Galería, 1008 E. Buckeye Road, Suite 220, Phoenix 85034. Cost is $50 for all three workshops, or $20 each. Artists should attend all three as each builds on the other.

For more information, or to pay for workshops, please contact Xico by emailing info@xicoinc.org or by calling Xico at 480-833-5875.

Artist Feature: Lisa O’Riley

Phoenix artist Lisa O’Riley grew up in California and Hawaii, ended up in Arizona and studied painting at ASU, where she earned her BFA.  Classically trained in old master oil painting techniques, honed during time at the Colorado Art Academy and the Scottsdale Artists’ School, who would have thought that graffiti would be a major influence and at the forefront of her work?

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Lisa O’Riley :Merlot and the Mystery Girls”

In studying interior wall glazes and ornamental line elements of traditional painting, O’Riley saw a direct reference between graffiti work, modern murals and classical European and American murals and paintings.  Her current series of paintings juxtaposes traditional still life and urban street art creating a narrative between the two art forms–and connecting them in a timeless manner that becomes a nod to the past and a celebration of the present.  She views herself as two characters working independently back and forth in the same space sharing and molding the visual languages into a uniform statement about the similarities of their crafts.  Each painting tells the story of the equality of “high” and “low” brow art.

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Lisa O’Riley “Graffiti Says What”

In some the painting, such as “Merlot and the Mystery Girls” the still-life takes center stage with graf work added to the scene as if a tagger came along and wrote on a Pompeiian mural.  Others, like “Graffiti Says What” focus on the text and the line work of the graf, closely compared to modern Islamic art as well.  Most intriguing are paintings which incorporate the characters. “Reach for the Stars” includes the still life surrounded with graf but also gives us the visual of the tagger in the midst of adding his contribution to the work.

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Lisa O’Riley “Reach for the Stars”

O’Riley is not the first artist to mix genres, and certainly not the last.  But, what we view in her work is not gimmicky, it is a genuine narrative about the essence of painting and its roots in history.  A goup of O’Riley’s paintings are on view in the Lounge at {9} The Gallery through the end of June, with a reception Friday June 19th (Third Friday–TOMORROW).  Make sure if you are downtown art strolling in this summer heat you cool off and check out the work of this rising star!

Artist Website

{9} The Gallery

Josh Louchheim at Shade Gallery (May 2015)

Anyone with knowledge of Phoenix’s art history may look at Josh Louchheim’s work and call him a Philip C Curtis imitator, and they might mean this negatively.  But, Louchheim is not an imitator, he was deeply influenced by the man he knew personally as a family friend, a man who founded the Phoenix Art Museum and has an entire room there devoted to his work.  Josh admired Philip as a young boy and was drawn to his awkward sense of perspective and Surrealist southwestern landscapes, with elongated figures in strange but familiar spaces.  Louchheim has continued the legacy of Curtis, and in many ways modernized it.

Josh Louchheim “Old Timer and a Penny – Farthing” 2012

Because this was the artist’s first major solo exhibition, it was fitting that some of his older paintings were included, which proved as examples of his growth and the development of his style from one of imitation to a personal voice.  We see direct influence in style and subject matter in paintings such as “Old Timer and a Penny-Farthing”, in which Louchheim’s stretched Victorian figure rides an early 20th century bicycle through a desert wilderness.  He expresses the oddness of the desert city of Phoenix with paintings such as “Desert Oasis II” with a single swimming pool set in a scant desert scene–a modern oasis in the tortuous, primitive climate.

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Josh Louchheim “The Great Separation” 2015

 

 

More recently, Louchheim has developed his style into a modern voice of a young man living in a world filled with angst and uncertainty.  He employs more vintage Surrealist techniques and oddities with a much darker palette, seen in paintings such as “Primordial Woman” and “The Great Separation.”  He adds a post-apocalyptic feel to the work that intensifies the anxiety of the figures, and the outlook he expresses about the current state of humanity.  Not without irony, the exhibition was titled “From the Outside Looking In.”  Not a truer statement could be made about this show.  Moving through the space felt like watching the artist grow, as many do, from an apprentice to a sole craftsman, and we look forward to his continued evolution.

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Josh Louchheim “Desert Oasis II” 2014

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Josh Louchheim “Primordial Woman” 2014

**All images courtesy of the artist.

Artist Tip – Marketing is part of your work

I talk to a lot of artists who love their studio time and make a point to schedule it so that the rest of their lives do not get in the way. They are making great work and have a decent amount to show and potentially sell but it just sits. If you can relate I have one comment… you are not doing the job of a working artist.

A working artist practices their craft weekly, daily, all the time, but they also put a good chunk of their time into marketing the work so they can make a living from it. So, what is marketing?  It is promoting the work to the world, making it visible, getting people interested, the things that lead to sales.

One thing about marketing is it has to be consistent, the other is that is cannot be half-hearted. If an artist is dedicated to really being a working artist they have to market, weekly, daily, all the time. As Crista Cloutier recently wrote, ” To play in the big leagues, you’ve got to up your game.”

So my advice today is–dedicate some time to your marketing, plan blocks of time each day or week to devote solely to promoting your work on your website blog, social media, contacting galleries, or reworking your marketing materials. If this is really not your strong point, then maybe you need a coach, consultant, or professional writer to help. Luckily, you know of one…

Cherie Buck-Hutchison at eyelounge

DSC06625No art exhibition is perfect, but Ms. Buck-Hutchinson’s feminist revision of the biblical story of the Lot’s wife, Adit, is as close as one may come for many years. Adit’s Ode: A modest revolt is more than an art exhibition; it is an immersive, multi-sensory experience employing interdisciplinary techniques and a vast resource of media and themes that lead each visitor through an exploration of their own values and belief systems. The entirety of the show is constructed as a poem—including a poetic projection broken into three acts, such as is traditional in an ode, that correspond with the three sections of the installation.

The first room, Act I, is a vineyard of hanging IV bags with vegetation of various nutritional strains (strawberries, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, etc.) growing from within.  The artist introduces the first of many “prayer balls,” salt crusted spheres with medical syringes protruding resembling medieval flails.  Adit announces her arrival in modern times in an audio/video projection cast through the vines of plastic.  Escalating into Act II, we are confronted with hanging wall vessels crusted with salt, a young ram’s head filled with wheat grass accompanied by an IV drip.  Prominently displayed is a dismembered arm, again caked with salt, from whose hollow center protrudes a flutter of pink chiffon.  Adit’s ode turns to her fatal moment as she is changed and broken.  Stepping into Act III, the poem reaches its climax and Adit describes her leaving the worldly realm.  A bright white x-ray light blasts clarity to the small room and we are surrounded by the left over syringes extending from its, and nearly every surface.

DSC06624Adit’s Ode is a visual and literal poetic revision of a classic tale from religious mythology.  Feminists often employ revisionist methods to protagonize subdued female figures.  Buck-Hutchison’s work clearly reframes Adit as a tragic figure, oppressed by the male dominated culture of Old Testament tradition; demonized as the polar sinner to the male hero much like that of Eve to Adam.  The artist’s feminist approach to the religious subject is undoubtedly influenced by her rebellion against her own patriarchal religious upbringing.  She confronts the misogyny of biblical mythology head-on and poses the critical question, “What if?”

In the Bible Adit is only referred to as Lot’s wife, and she is only mentioned two times—once when she is turned into a pillar of salt, and later by Jesus.  A combination of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic texts provide her name and a fuller written history of Adit.  The inhabitants of Sodom were known to be inhospitable to visitors.  Lot had spent time with Abraham who influenced him greatly, especially with his generosity.  When two travelers came to Lot’s home he invited them to stay and offered them food, which bothered his wife greatly.  When he asked her to retrieve salt for the guests she went door to door asking for salt and telling her neighbors about the visitors.  Later in the evening a lynch mob came to Lot’s home and demanded he turn over the two travelers.  Unknown to Lot the two men were angels sent to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, and they warned him to leave the city and save his family, but they insisted none of them were to look back.  Lot, Adit and their two youngest daughters fled, but outside of the city Adit turned around to look back upon her home and she was turned to a pillar of salt.  The salt represented the nature of her sin and became her demise as she viewed the wrath brought upon the twin cities.  Some texts state that was her punishment for seeing God himself.

In Buck-Hutchison’s research she found that the ancient Hebrew word for “salt” is very close to the word “angel,” which is problematic in its translation.  The artist offers a scenario where Adit’s poor health caused a heart-attack during a time of great stress causing her to fall towards the city and disobey the warning not in unfaithfulness but accidental fashion.  The transformation creates a new reading of the context in which the artist offers that Adit became an angel and now visits the 21st century, critiquing current socio-economic situations relating to food and medical treatment for the poor.  The contents of the exhibition could lead to an entire dissertation on religious mythology, gender issues, history/herstory, and modern social issues related to poverty and health.  The story Buck-Hutchison unveils is only the means to open the discourse.  She hits on so many topics that any single visitor can take away at least one eye-opening aspect, which makes this such a successful endeavor.

– by Justin Germain

Adit’s Ode: A Modest Revolt

Part One

I have moved through to now, to you.

The salt of a former marriage still clings

like halos around my ears. I am not the woman you

thought you knew. A form tossed up from the sea, distinct,

there are many. Did you beseech my sisters

as to where I dared to evaporate like angels?

I am Adit, Eldith, Lot’s wife, mother

woman, healer, daughter, ageless.

I have plaited roots, incensed over balsam.

What remains unknown when arms stretch through golden sundials?

Part Two

I know loss. My other daughters’ younger

faces still frequent my closed eyes. I paced the shade under our

pomegranate trees where we snapped summers

gone, mulled raisin wine, milling hours

into love. But the angel wrenched my arm

until I am a fig tree shimmying

caught between two needs. My eagle heart

is caged, talons splintering my chest as I implore

my people: My herbs! On the table – my Hawthorne berries!

I sacrifice money to the slick mud as I reach

squalling for help –for I taste my heart and see the blue in my buckling knees.

Part Three

I recall nothing more. The basalt

heaved by wind fuels a fire. I lasted

an hour. Now I anoint seeds on altars.

for what has fasting brought to pass?

I ask, who has salted these fields?

In what minute is a decision consummate?

Varied are the branches you have for yield.

Do not worry of me. Wind does not abate.

My eyes are gusts, my bones flux.

I have long left my crystalline matrix.

– Cherie Buck-Hutchison    2014

Lauren Strohacker at Hot Box

Strohaker 2nd domesticationBrightly painted jagged shapes on wooden panels of various sizes hung at random intervals and heights on the three walls of the gallery.  Some monotone with little detail other than the shape itself, some with multiple colors suggesting depth or texture.  One might initially say, “Oh feathers!” or even, “Oh leaves!” as identifiers.  In the center towards the rear of the space a single image placed on a pedestal at waist height to be viewed from above—a seemingly dead bird held by a latex-gloved hand.  Insight assumes that the shapes on the walls are definitely feathers.

The bird in the photograph, titled Second Domestication, is a rosy-faced lovebird “killed on impact by the invisible barrier.”  This victim of the evil magic that is the man-made window was part of a feral population of the species that spawned from domesticated escapees in the 1980s and made Phoenix its home.  Artist Lauren Strohaker studied the factors that allowed the species to flourish in the valley, mostly due to the artificial paradise created similarly to their native home in Southwestern Africa.

Strohacker defines the foundation of her artistic explorations as her realization that contemporary human interactions with animals are for the most part manufactured.  Suburban life produces artificial interactions in media or regulated experiences with living creatures.  As a Phoenician, she could not help but notice the development of land destabilizing the natural world in the name of human comfort and progress.

Using a spectrophotometer, Strohaker converted the hues of the rosy-faced lovebird feathers to interior house paint colors, which were applied to the cut shapes resembling the feathers themselves.  The final product is her take on reimagined domestic décor, a longer-lasting, and easier to control, rendition of the exotic pets themselves.  The work makes broad statements about the treatment of wild animals as commercial products, and the unforeseen effects on the animals when they are introduced to new surroundings and human encroachment.  Strohaker’s work also touches on the suburban need to fill homes with luxurious treasures from the far reaches, capitalized on by chain stores such as Target or Cost-Plus offering mass-produced exotic merchandise.

The body of work is strong in relation to the concept, although some of the cutout shapes are a bit rough and could use some finish.  If they are meant to resemble high end massed produced decorative works then a fine attention to detail would increase their sophistication in the suggested showroom.  Round-sanded edges and a high-gloss resin finish would make these pieces a hot item and cause a bourgeois wrestling match at Pier 1 Imports on Black Friday.  A few of the green monochrome shapes are very similar hues and they are hung in a row, which made them seem more like leaves than feathers.  More detail in these works along with separating them in the installation would have made them stand out for visual merchandising. The artist’s social statements are more important than the actual sales of the object in the commercial capacity, and they are bold if nothing else.

Strohaker

Artist Feature: Tammi Lynch-Forrest

This month I had the opportunity to meet with mosaic artist Tammi Lynch-Forrest in her Grand Ave. studio/gallery and discuss her journey to this point and her goals for the future.  Upon entering the space I knew this was not a “typical” gallery, or artist. Tammi has found her passion in mosaic.  She has poured not only her time and a significant investment into honing her skill, but from inspecting the work itself she has ingrained it with her essence.

Like many, I have not experienced much mosaic art, a fact that Tammi hopes to change with her presence in Phoenix.  I was immediately drawn to the intricacy of the work, perfectly cut shards of a plethora of materials ranging from glass and stone to precious metals—gold and lapis-lazuli—arranged into detailed scenes and forms.  She showed me some of the tools she uses to cut and shape the facets, and the planning that she goes through for each work.  This is not an art form for the impatient, it takes time, dedication, and skills learned through mistakes, trial, and error.  She explained how even some of the smallest works could consume weeks of labor.

    

The superb quality of the work she displays, many of which she created as tests or in workshops, is astonishing.  Then, she shared a revelation with me—she has only been practicing mosaic for just around five years!  In this time period she has traveled the world studying in workshops with some of the most celebrated artists learning the nuances and enhancing her skill.

          

She has recently opened this studio as her workspace but also as what she hopes to be a destination.  Her goal—other than selling her own work—is to provide educational workshops in the art of mosaic and expand the awareness of this traditional art form that is little known in contemporary art circles, especially in the U.S.

Tammi is on the verge of marketing her artwork and educational programs, with plans to focus on building her offerings this summer so look out for a fresh experience in the local art community this year!

Check out more at www.arizonamosaico.com

– Justin Germain