Adventures in COPING SKILLS

Three years ago I was the inaugural artist for a new and innovative gallery, SeedSpace.  Seed Space is a lab for site-specific installation, sculpture, and performance-based art in Nashville.  The work I exhibited was COPING SKILLS and A PAXIL A DAY.

The COPING SKILLS altar was created in 2007 for the TAKE CARE: Biomedical Ethics in the 21st Century traveling exhibition (2009-2013).  Art reviews about this work, reviews, and images of the show in its entirety can be viewed in the exhibition catalogue.  Basically, the altar was created to honor the medication which allows me to be a successful human, artist, wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, and friend.

 

The COPING SKILLS altarIn 2010, an additional benefit to my contacts at SeedSpace is when it began its own CSArt program. At the time, Nashville was only the 4th city to offer Community Supported Artist's shares.  I created 50 small-scale collector pieces of Coping Skills.  We eventually had an installation exhibit of all the CSArtist's work at Nashville International Airport, and they graciously purchased full crates for their permanent collection. One of the works included in the CSArt Crates

At the CSArt Party, where collectors personally interacted with the artists, I was approached by Lee Pepper, CMO at Foundations Recovery Network.  We had a lively conversation about therapy, pharmaceuticals, the stigma against those caring for their mental health issues, and much more.  He brought up an idea about exhibiting my work at a future FRN facility.  Fast forward 3 years and this seed sprouted into a solo exhibition/retrospective that took place April - May of 2013.  The works I exhibited at FRN's Nashville Facility included the following:  Coping Skills and its collector pieces, You Made Your Bed I & IIConstraint SeriesWhat I Really Mean To Say, Is . . . (created specifically for the exhibition), Eat Your Words (it had never been exhibited), and various works as examples of Art Therapy.

One of the best results, other than the amazing interaction with viewers at the opening, was the filming of a 20 minute Art Talk.  I don't have the professionally filmed version available yet , but here is a video shot by my 20 year old son during the talk.  It gives you an idea about my process and theories behind all of the work at the show and work that I am currently developing, such as the BRANDED series (see previous post for details)

So to all you discouraged artists out there, be patient!  The seeds you planted years ago just might grow into a great future opportunity. 

 

 

   

How I became BRANDED

How artist, Sher Fick, found the inspiration for her new series, BRANDED. The series delves into the history and the psychological/physical effects of the dropping of the atomic bombs by the Americans onto the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan.
Read More

An Artist's Ode to a Turtle

Recently I have been thinking about how to get ahead.  Not "ahead" financially - but emotionally and in my art practice.  I frequently look to nature for inspiration . . . usually that would mean the trees, the ocean, the clouds and, always, earth's rocks. 

But today my inspiration is the lowly and 'slow-LY' TURTLE.

According to www.animaltotem.com, having a turtle totem has the following inclinations:  "Turtle teaches us to be careful in new situations and to be patient in reaching our goals. Turtle also teaches us to take things slow, for it gives us time to figure out if we need to protect our self or forge ahead. Turtle shows up in our lives when we need to go into [our] shell and wait until our thoughts & ideas are ready to be expressed. He also teaches us to be adaptable to our environment so we can find the harmony within it."

  

 I think the most important attribute I am working on right now is patience.  I want to run down the studio stairs and immerse myself in making art - I guess that art space is my shell in a sense.  I can truly block out the entire world while I am lost down there.  Yes, it is a true protection . . . but I also might miss something important or meaningful.

So we come full circle (woot, there is a turtle analogy), to audacity.  That turtle needs a whole hunk of it to stick his neck out (this is the most dangerous time for the turtle) to get anywhere.  Can you imagine not only having to risk your very LIFE if you headed out on a journey/goal, but that you had to drag your entire shell/house/studio/life WITH you!!!??????

Today TURTLE has taught me many things . . . the importance of patience, the need for risk taking, and the acceptance of life's baggage (home, children, extended families, work, etc).  I am so encouraged that if nature has given TURTLE such a divine purpose and way to accomplish against all odds - I, too, have received the same potential and ways of progress.

I hope to live long, just like the wise old TURTLE . . . learning to work with and within my environment and balance the risk-taking with the necessary time of self-protection.

If you are interested in more meanings of turtles, please check here .  One last item I found, which I am going to print out and use for inspiration:

Mother Earth

 

Turtle is the oldest symbol for the Earth.
It is the personification of goddess energy and the eternal Earth itself.

If you have a Turtle totem,
you must be mindful of returning to the Earth what she has given you.
Honor the creative source within you.
Use water and earth energies to create a harmonious flow in your life.
Ask the Earth for assistance and her riches will pour forth.

If a Turtle totem shows up in your life,
slow down the pace.
Bigger, stronger, faster are not always the best ways to reach your goals.

Turtle is a fine teacher of the art of grounding.
When you learn to ground yourself to Earth's power and strength,
you place focus on your thoughts and actions
and use the Earth's limitless energies rather than your own to accomplish your will.

 

(excerpt from LinsDomain 

 

 

 

Starving Artist's Brief Love Affair With Freelance Writing

We all know the money just isn't there when it comes to art collectors in our current economy.  We also know I have been fruitless in my search for gallery representation, even though I have a stellar contemporary art resume and several series of work ready to install - including small collector pieces.  So, what to do????

Over the last few months I was becoming so frustrated with this issue that I decided to try my hand at Freelance Writing.  What a hoot the last 10 days has been . . . yes, I have been writing, but it is for a mere pittance.  I guess I can say that I made more than I spent on art supplies this week, but I'm not really sure that is true!

So, I might be making the same salary the above beauty made on her then hot technology . . . I plan on refining what I work on and, hopefully, increasing my pay as I continue.  I am just not that intrigued by creating resumes and scripts for instructional videos . . . I have been requested for jobs which puts me on a bit higher pay scale, but it is definately not something I can make a living on.  

In the meantime, if any of you know of opportunities that could use my sharp tongue, witty humor or artistic flair, send them my way!

"AM WILLING TO WORK FOR ART SUPPLIES" - that should be my next piece of work - sharpie marked onto a straggly piece of cardboard!

 

 

  

 

 

I Just Can't Get With The Program

It has been 8 years since a friend (after having received another mass email story from me) suggested I start my own blog.

Blah . . . I have used Typepad, Wordpress, and now Squarespace, via my own 'website'.  I still don't get it.  I still can't do what I want to do.  How difficult can it be to just add a (NOTE: THERE SHOULD BE A PINTEREST BUTTON HERE!!!)

 

 

 

 

I'm just really aggravated at this point . . . I feel like I pay, and I pay, and I pay to have professionals do things for me and I still don't get what I want.

How about you?  As an artist, writer, self-employed 'whatever' - do you feel as taken advantage of as I do? 

 

Been A Long Time Gone

The last few months have been emotionally unstable for me . . . preparing for my first-born's high school graduation, along with the the entire 'visiting colleges', vacations, and children's end-of-year activities, I feel like there is no me left.

I have managed to squeeze in a few art related activities - finishing 5 new art works for an application for an exhibition in London (which I didn't get into, but which was a great motivator).

Choosing to continue with the CONSTRAINT series, I created:

Post-Partum, 2011. Created from Hospital Receiving Blankets

 Love, Honor, & Obey(?), 2011; Altered Wedding Dresses

 

Rat Trap, 2011; Bridal Veil, Wooden Rat Trap 

Initially, first reactions seem to be shock, and then, either horror or hilarity. 

I mean them to be visual jesters which have an underlying message about role models and institutions.  As a bride, I refused to say "obey" and as bride and groom, my husband and I attempted to have a garden wedding with a non-denominational vow exchange.  Unfortunately, after the family friend (minister) had agreed in July to the vows we had chosen, he decided the NIGHT BEFORE OUR WEDDING to announce to us that he would be using his King James/Fundamental Baptist wording.  We were NOT happy to say the least.  We felt TRAPPED by the trickery . . . yet we had 75 invites out, the Civil War era home we had rented was decorated . . . what to do? We got married anyway and I cried through the entire ceremony because it was not what we wanted.  Comments which were relayed to me after the wedding caused me to not speak to certain family members for 3 months.  It was awful.  I shudder at the memories of my own wedding.

Regarding "Post-Partum", I was thinking about the shock of bringing home a newborn and the emotional upheaval, not to mention the hormonal, changes.  It is difficult even if you are not dealing with depression, gestational diabetes, breast-feeding, etc.  This work also correlates with the "A PAXIL A DAY" and "COPING SKILLS" series, in that I had issues with pregnancy difficulties and depression.  On a broader scale, it simply visualizes the constraints parenthood puts on the family and couplehood dynamics.

One concern I have with marriage, as seen in "Rat Trap", is that once married, the couple tends to lose their 'romance' and 'infatuations' with one another.  Having been divorced, I was terrified that our marriage might END our love.  I am happy to say, 20 years later, that, for us, that was not the case.

What are the reactions you have to these works?  I would love to hear YOUR impressions and thoughts on marriage and parenthood!

 

 

 

Ladies First Exhibition Was Fabulous!

After many weeks of working on YOU MADE YOUR BED I & II, the unveiling occurred last Friday night at The Customs House Museum.

The installation on Tuesday, March 1st, had gone fabulously.  I was lucky enough to be available during press photo shoots and interviews.  Stacy Leiser, of The Leaf Chronicle, gave a fantastic interview and even included some of my quotes in her gorgeous article, Cebrate Women's Creativity.  The article, along with images by their photographer, Greg, really boosted the opening's attendance.

Here is a basic excerpt from Stacy Leiser's article, in case the link expires:

The artists included were asked to create a self portrait symbolizing how they see themselves as female artists at this moment in time. Sher Fick's piece for the show, "You Made Your Bed," features a grid of doll beds next to a quilt stitched irregularly from scraps of Hollie Hobby fabric and other patterns Fick associates with childhood. In two of the doll beds are tiny dolls, one a self-portrait of Fick, the other a portrait of her sister.

"I'm a little sentimental. I've never thought of myself totally as a feminist, but I make art about what I know," Fick said. "I'm a woman. I'm a mother. I was a little girl."

Fick is a former art teacher and mother of three children who now makes art in her home studio with the enthusiastic support of her husband.

"Doing art is therapeutic for me," she said. "If I don't do art I'm unhappy and grumpy."

Fick had a mysterious altar piece featured in "Modern Girls" at Customs House Museum last year, and like her new piece, it uses repetition for effect. Dozens of prescription medication bottles were used in both artworks, each pill bottle encased in a patchwork of fabric scraps.

"Basically, I feel like I put broken things back together," Fick said. "That's why I'm drawn to remnants, found objects, things most people throw away."

Among the artists featured in Ladies First are Camille Engel, named by Fine Art Connoisseur magazine as one of our nation's top three artists to watch, Alison Oakes, Sandra Paynter Washburn, Edie Maney, Mitzi Cross, Ludie Amos and Tammy Dohner.

I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to have so many women approach me and not only say that they "loved" my art, but that it "MEANT A LOT" to them that I did it, that I was "brave" for standing up for all the women who have been vilified for taking medications in order to maintain well-being.  (I always refer to Brooke Shields and her public denigration via Tom Cruise when she chose medication to treat her post-partum depression, which, literally, infuritated me).

I truly felt that I had fulfilled my purpose in creating the art.  I can't ask for more than that from my life . . . that I am moving towards my purpose, while at the same time growing children, strengthening my marriage, and developing some of the strongest friendships I have ever had.

I am truly blessed, and fortunate to have been given the opportunities to grow and thrive in my life and my art.

 

The One-Sentence Artist Statement

Having had a particularly difficult day today, emotionally, speaking - I want to turn the page back to last week when I had some fantastic epiphanies.

Since December and the Miami-Pool Art Fair trip, I have been trying to answer a question I received during my flight wait to Miami.  I was approached by a retired Military officer and asked "Where am I going? And "What do I do?"  One would think that I have a snap answer to that question, but I never have.  Maybe because I really work at breaking down my motivations and analyze my own psyche, I tend to answer in paragraphs or essays, NOT one sentence wonders.

So, I decided I needed to have that one-sentence answer ready the next time I am asked.

If you know me at all, and some of you do, I don't keep anything hidden, I am what I am, for better for worse . . . you know I am NOT a morning person!  I think better at night, I work better at night, and the mornings (i.e., anything prior to NOON) are not me at my best.  Last week, after realizing we would have ANOTHER SNOWDAY and that I could TURN OFF THE ALARM (woot!), I was given the great opportunity to slowly wake up and tiptoe through that twilight of sleep/dream and awake/reality.  What I realized, was that, in one sentence,:

 

I am the most broken item I have ever put back together.  It is a daily process, just like today, when I was literally ripped apart in a public forum for speaking my own truth about my rape.  I am stitching myself back together - I am a one-armed Raggedy Ann, restitching my dismembered arm back to myself.

The 2nd epiphany I experienced last week was the solution to an installation problem with "YOU MADE YOUR BED", a new series I will be installing in March at the "Ladies First", Top 10 Women Artists of Tennessee Exhibition at The Customs House Museum (in honor of women's history month).  Literally, laying 'abed' I visualized the installation solution and got it planned in my brain before I stepped onto the floor.  Here is 1/2 of the installation:

 

So, what I have learned this month?

1)  I realized what I do is, metaphorically and, literally, "I Put Back Together Broken Things", and

2)  Just as I am responsible for what my truth is, so are others, and there are deep and lasting crevices that are created from speaking one's truth.

 

 

 

 

Poetry Soothes My Soul

The last week has wrought many events that have upset my normally serene and content state-of-mind:

The Tucson shootings have left me even more convinced that the death penalty is a valid exchange for mass murder - I understand the idea of those against the death penalty, but in my heart of hearts, I truly believe that some souls are irredeemable in this life, that to restore universal balance, the scales need to be re-set.  Even though I understand that mistakes have been made and innocent humans have been executed, I still believe that execution is the final retribution due because of lives stolen away . . . not to mention the lives of survivors of the victims.

 

Other issues are again, not directly my issues, but as they orbit into my reality, they have upset my balance . . . secrets kept, once revealed - can be freeing.  Their revelations always bring about better understanding of the secret keeper . . . but if the information gets out, does that wreak more pain for those effected?  Only the secret keeper can weigh that issue and make that call.  Although I believe in full disclosure, I am happy to hold shared secrets until their time is come.  What is the psychological WEIGHT of a secret?????  That intrigues me . . . if I were to paint a picture, would they appear as a large burden carried upon one's shoulders?  I am reminded of Robert di Nero in THE MISSION, one of my all-time, favorite movies, the freedom he gained when he, literally, let his weight fall from his shoulders.

One of my dear friends and her family suffered a fire on their property.  Everyone is safe, but the loss of personal property, those treasured things . . . that is heavy, too.  What would I grab if I KNEW my room was about to burn?  My nook?  A Photo Album? My Laptop?   It is something to consider.

So, for all the heartache I feel in the world around me, for my dear friends and family that are dealing with these issues, I share this poem, which soothed my soul this morning.

 

THIS IS MY WISH FOR YOU by Charles Livingston Snell

This is my wish for you . . .

That the spirit of beauty may continually hover about you

and fold you close within the tendernesses of her wings.

That each beautiful and gracious thing in life may be unto

you as a symbol of good for your soul's delight.

That sun-glories and star-glories, leaf-glories and bark-glories,

glories of mountains and oceans of the little streams of running waters;

glories of song, of poesy, of all the arts may be to you as sweet, abiding

influences that will illumine your life and make you glad.

That your soul may be as an alabaster cup, filled to overflowing

with the mystical wine of beauty and love.

That happiness may put her arms around you, and wisdom

make your soul serene.

                                                                               This is my wish for you.

 

 

 

One Week Until The Renaissance Center Opening!

 


n-cap.org and THE RENAISSANCE CENTER announces TAKE CARE: BIOMEDICAL ETHICS IN THE 21st CENTURY, a group exhibition.


Dickson, TN, January 7, 2011 – n-cap.org, along with The Renaissance Center, is proud to announce the opening of TAKE CARE, BIOMEDICAL ETHICS IN THE 21st CENTURY.  The artists of TAKE CARE began organizing the concept and exhibition in 2006-2007, and we are proud to bring the show near its birthplace, Nashville, TN.  Conceived by Nashville artist, Adrienne Outlaw, and organized with the assistance of fellow artist, Sher Fick, of Spring Hill, TN, the exhibition has traveled from Grand Rapids, MI, all the way to Miami, FL for the recent Pool Art Fair. 


Description: The TAKE CARE show highlights biomedical and ethical dilemmas, including: genetic engineering, pharmaceutical therapy, human reproduction/fertility therapies, mitochondrial DNA, familial connections, fetal annomalies, unregulated scientific testing, and the psychological/emotional impact of confronting these decisions, with the hope that viewers will take the opportunity to better appreciate the complexity of these personal decisions in a rapidly changing world.  Works include: ceramic sculpture, video art, mixed media, glass sculpture, embroidered paintings, and photography.


The Renaissance Center is located 35 minutes West of Downtown Nashville in Dickson, TN (855 Hwy 46 S).  The opening artist's reception will be Friday, January 14, 2011, from 6 -8 pm, and the exhibition will be viewable through Feb. 5, 2011.  Reception is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC and is FREE.

To read more about TAKE CARE, visit www.n-cap.org/take_care.html
 
TAKE CARE is a group exhibition including the following artists: Annette Gates (GA), Kristina Arnold (Bowling Green, KY), Adrienne Outlaw (Nashville TN),  Sher Fick (Spring Hill, TN), Lindsay Obermeyer (Chicago, IL),  Monica Bock (NE USA), Sadie Ruben (Copenhagen, Denmark), Jeanette May (NYC), and Libby Rowe (TX, formerly a Photography Professor at Vanderbilt University).
 
Excerpts taken from Art Reviews by Internationally-known critics, include the following:
 
“[T]he nine artists participating in TAKE CARE reveal that there is no definitive right answer to the question of biotechnological advancement. It is the informed dialogue that is paramount.”

“Through their artwork these artists explore the crucial social, economic, and ethical implications of biotechnological advancements and create a space for important dialogue.”

“As Dr. Sirine Shebaya, Greenwall, Fellow in Bioethics and Health Policy at the John Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, writes, ‘The best way to avoid slippery slopes . . . is to have . . . a voice in arriving at decisions with such important ramifications.’ These artists are that voice.”

-          Tonya Vernooy, Art Critic/Writer

“The artists in this exhibition apply the unresolved implications of this phrase “TAKE CARE” to their personal experiences. Together they catalog a plethora of contemporary concerns.”
 
“The artists participating in “Take Care” confirm a distressing truth – today’s mothers do not appear to be bolstered by the collective wisdom of our species. Motherhood in the 21st century remains a lonely experiment racing to keep up with procreative advances at the outposts of human accomplishment.”
 
-          Excerpts from Linda Weintraub, International Contemporary Art Critic/Author/Lecturer

“TAKE CARE is an art show about the challenges of new life and especially those problems inherent in an increasingly technological world.”

“TAKE CARE addresses an issue which is at the heart of art practices, that is the nurturing and understanding of intentional and unintentional creation and it provides a range of aesthetic reactions to this crucial issue.”

“TAKE CARE is considered a “bioethical show” because it points at the departure from one era of motherhood and traces the outline of a new one.” 

-          Veronica Kavass, New York Based Artist/Art Critic

“The artists in TAKE CARE explore the ways that social and scientific developments influence our understanding of . . . connection and caring.” 

-          Ellen Wright Clayton, MD, JD - Rosaline E. Franklin Professor of Genetics and Health Policy, Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Law, Director of The Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Full Reviews of TAKE CARE (or reviews of works included in the exhibition), may be found on Artist Sher Fick's blog: Linda Weintraub, Chen Tamir, Rachel Bubis, Ellen Wright Clayton, MD, JD, and Tonya Vernooy.
 
For detailed directions, fill in a departure address at this link:
http://www.rcenter2.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20&Itemid=25

The opening Reception, to be held Friday, January 14, 2011, 6-8pm, is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, and includes additional exhibitions (see invitation, above).

Contact Information:  Jason Driskill, Curator & Gallery Director, The Renaissance Center, 615-446-4450
or Sher Fick, representing TAKE CARE Artists, Cell 615-975-1025.  All artist can be made available for interviews, (please contact Sher Fick at sherfickart@gmail.com for high-res, print ready images of TAKE CARE.

Full Circle in 2010

So, it is happening!  Can you hear it?  Kind of a buzzing fly that you can't swat away, or perhaps a vibration you can feel in the floorboards?  Impending, non-stoppable, inevitable . . .

2011

It is a mystery to me how EXACTLY this happened, it seems as if it was only yesterday that I was lying prone on my back with slipped discs and a numb leg!  I am so happy that the June laminectomy and discography went so well - not so happy about the pain after the surgery, though!  Honestly, why don't humans just lose their minds from excruciating pain?  Regardless - I am now at 1/2 way recovery and just need to work on my strength so that I can begin  a fuller work schedule.

What I was able to accomplish (mostly from the couch) in 2010: 

a) continuation of handicapped mothering,

b) lots of Mario Cart tournaments

c) after-school chat fests with my crazy, individual children and their numerous friends,

d) teaching piano to the girls, playing from my childhood music books,

e) watching and rating Netflix movies,

f) re-designing my closet,

g) marketing some traveling exhibitions,

h) exhibiting new work in April, and

i) ending the year with a great show in Miami, simultaneously having a great vacation with my hubby.

When I begin to envision 2011 - these are my hopes and dreams:

I would love to make some type of money, I am truly worn out from the hand-to-mouth (really, empty art accounts and charging art supplies to credit cards); I am considering doing some legal transcription or some other type of work-from-home set up . . . but something that pays!  This would still enable me to be accessible to my children as they need me . . . help Dylan get settled into his 1st year of college (woot!) . . .

Artistically things appear to be building steadily, but it costs money to maintain that - thus, the money needs above . . . I am really excited about TAKE CARE's group show in January at The Renaissance Center in Dickson, TN . . . and later in the year at Vanderbilt University. 

I have been designing a new piece for the Custom House Museum's Women's History Month (March), again.  The idea has been brewing in my mind for years and it will be exciting to see it come into fruition.

Also in March I will be travelling with the hubby and newly graduated son, Dylan, to the Keys for his Graduation Trip, his Graduation in May . . . and the Fall will bring my 20th wedding anniversary (I hope I will be skinnier for that)!

I don't have any specific 'New Year's Goals', but I am aiming my focus on a better balance of spirit, work, and family.

2010 started with me being broken physically and I am happy to be feeling on the mend as another year has come FULL CIRCLE.

 

So, enough about me!

What are you planning to do with your life this year? 

Your 365 days?? 

What will you fill your hourglass with, before time runs out????

 

 

Miami Hangover - The Pool Art Fair

So, big happenings at Pool Art Fair - Miami 2010:

Our suite at the Carlton Arms Hotel was spectacular (it did look smaller upon arrival than the pictures), but our installation exhibit looked fantastic.  7 of the 9 artists of TAKE CARE participated:

The Opening was well-attended and included a live band - Pocket of Lollipops . . . and there were approximately 20 rooms and suites transformed into galleries, installations and group exhibitions.

Views of our TAKE CARE installation:

 

 

 Images:

  1. Adrienne Outlaw's FECUND SERIES
  2. Kristina Arnold's DRIP
  3. Sher Fick's  COPING SKILLS
  4. Libby Rowe's WOMB WORRIES
  5. Lindsay Obermeyer's SHADOW SERIES
  6. Jeanette May's - A.R.T. Series
  7. Sadie Ruben's ALIEN FETUSES

Every time this exhibition travels and installs we learn new things.  Miami taught us to consider non-gallery spaces and their lack of lighting.  What was required of us was a real collaboration, not of the artmaking this time around, but the actual logistics of the exhibition . . . we kind of all chose different hats and did the work that we were best at, including preparing literature, color correcting images, communication between artists and between the group and the exhibition organizers, printers, and graphic artists, the physical driving of the show in a van to Miami, installation, moving furniture, running errands, and then the glory part - attending the exhibition and 'manning' our suite during the 3 day event.

Luckily for us my husband, Don, was there and pitched in, too.  It is always nice to have someone taller, stronger, and cuter around!  We (Don and I) were lucky to stay on beautiful Sunny Isles Beach for the entire week and relied on the local buses for transportation - we really got the local flavor and saved so much money; for instance we took the 'Airport Flyer' from the airport for $2.35 each, vs. paying $54.00 for a cab - that really adds up when you are eating out every day.

The actual 'post-mortum' blog will immediately (within the week) follow this posting . . . where I will get into the deeper implications of Art Fairs, Grant Writing, Travel, and What Do Collectors Mean For The Artists????

Until Then,

Take Care

& For Art's Sake,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Miami Countdown

5, 4, 3, 2,

1 - Yes, I am on the LAST day of the Miami countdown.

Upon reflection this countdown started approximately 4.5 years ago when Adrienne Outlaw first conceived the idea of the TAKE CARE exhibition.  It has been a 'long and winding road', but definitely one that provided tons of learning experiences.

It is amazing how well you can get to know an artist that you have never met face-to-face!  Although our work has obvious correlations, 'clicking' with personalities and life experiences is not a given.  We are all so blessed to have made friends and 'comrades' along the way.

Besides the countless 'unpaid' hours artists devote to their work and exhibitions, there is an emotional expense.  All we can hope for is that when the works are ultimately unveiled to the public that we reach a few people (well, to be honest, I have higher hopes for Miami as it is a 'contemporary' art fair!), people who 'get' us and our work - who might on some level appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that create the work and bring it to the public.

So, I head off to Miami with a few things in my mental pocket:

a)  excitement to meet some of my 'new' artist friends

b)  anticipation about watching the public viewing our exhibition

c)  hope that our work will be well-received by the knowledgeable International Art Community (including collectors, curators, and art enthusiasts)

d)  but, more than ANYTHING, I am looking forward to a sense of accomplishment, which is something that is beyond monetary value.

 The anticipation kind of feels like waiting for a baby to be born - we are all ready - now we are just anticipating "the day"!  We have high hopes for our impending creation:  TAKE CARE: Biomedical Ethics in the 21st Century!

 

 

 

 

Pool Art Fair, Here I Come!

 

Anybody going to be near Miami November 8th - December 5th?  If so, I will be!!!

Everyone is invited to attend the Opening Reception at the Carlton Arms Hotel:

*Vernissage/Opening Reception - Friday December 3rd from 6 to 10pm
Special Live Performance by Pocket of Lollipops
DJ + Artists Open Bar

All you need to do is send me an email at sherfickart@gmail.com and I will have your name added to the guest list!

I will have Collector Items available from my website and at The Pool Art Fair, hope to see you all there!

 

 

 

When It Rains, It Pours?!

As usual, life has overtaken my time and it is long past due for a new blog post.  Meh, WAY past due! 

So, Welcome to my New World - the Newly Renovated Website and the Third Incarnation of My Blog . . . now known as "SherFickArtBlog".  Easy Peasy, right?  Not so much, but it is over.

I still need to reformat a gazillion images for the website portfolio and that project was going fabulously

until last week when PPOOOFFF - my laptop screen and the entire laptop went dead . . . dead as a doornail.  "Of course I had backed all my files up, right?", you and every other person asked me innocently.

No.  I. Did. NOT. Back. Up.  Not for months.  Call me an idiot and you will be right!  So there is another Thousand Dollar Lesson learned.

I did manage to turn 11 yards of fabric into one great "Jedi-Sith Warrior Costume" for my 18 year old, Dylan.  It will be the last costume I ever sew for him (I hope).  Concurrently our home was riddled with the Plague of the Crud Cough - 3 children and myself, off and on for 2 weeks. 

Then, plus, I have managed to begin  on several commissions and there should be no problem (snort) finishing them by Thanksgiving for pre-Christmas delivery.  Now we are in frantic straights finalizing our plans for The Pool Art Fair in Miami, first weekend of December, 2010.  Woot!  [crowd cheers].

A day in the life . . . tomorrow after wee Claire boards the bus I will zip and zap to the retail boutique where I have some new work for sale so that I can deliver the very freshly [as I type] printed brochures they requested before opening at 10 a.m. [they are located South of me about 15 minutes], then it is zip zap zap to Nashville (35 minutes North of me) to pick up lunch and an art helper, head to the Chestnut Street Studios where we will repair and repack all of the work [7 artists' installations] for the Miami show, then try to beat my dear friend, Sockmonkey, home to my house where we will dine and wine and then leave for the Boonies Friday morning after Claire, once again boards the bus.  3 days in the Boonies, 3 crazies . . . I.  CAN'T.  WAIT.

Seriously, the crazy things I decided to do in October are numerous!  Here is another one, I decided to volunteer (i.e., to do for FREE and at my own expense as do MOST mothers) to make a 9 ft. back drop to enhance the 3rd grade play and ALSO to, the very next day, teach an art lesson to go along with the theme for the Fall Party:

   

It is all going to be OK, because this is wait awaits me  . . .

days hiking and listening to the wind blow.  Laughing with the dearest of friends.  Contemplation on what is the greatest oxymoron of all time - my vote, "A Quaker Tattoo". 

 

Somewhere in the next 24 hours I also plan on cooking up some Vegetable Soup and some Cookies to take with us . . . ?  perhaps?  Or do they have Costco in the Boonies?

What can I say, "When It Rains, It Pours".

 

 

 

 

 

The Beautiful View of Perspective

It is unbelievable to me that I have not posted since September 8th!!!! What a naughty blogger I am!  Since that time I have: -  celebrated my 19th anniversary with my hunky hubby -  celebrated my 1st born and only son's 18th birthday -  celebrated my youngest daughter's 8th birthday (including redecorating her room from Princess to Zebra Stripe) and we had a blast making her Zebra Birthday Cake, memory we will keep in our hearts FOREVER Claire Designed her own Zebra Cake -  hosted a friend weekend with 5 overnight guests and a party for 20+
Singer/Songwriter, Larry Winslow, entertains our guests
www.larrywinslow.com  -  traveled to Indiana for the annual Covered Bridge Festival and spent 4 days with my sisters and extended family -  instigated the renovation of my website (to launch VERY SOON!) -  had several full studio days that are reaping many fantastic assemblage pieces (hoping to finish and photograph the new work tomorrow) So, WOW, I think I am not accomplishing, but then I look at the above check list of accomplishments (which doesn't even include daily things like hours of chats with my teens, or the hours of assisting the 3rd grader with homework and 'projects', or finally spending some quality time with my husband and friends . . . I can see, with that beautiful view of PERSPECTIVE . . . that my life is so FULL. It is not only FULL of activity, but with: LOVE, SACREDNESS, fulFILLMENT, BEAUTY and the richness of DISCOVERY. Once in a while I might feel sad, that maybe because of back pain, or general 'rushedness' - I might not have fully paid attention to a daughter's drawing or school story, or that I didn't take care of myself by taking my daily walks - but, all in all, I find that the choices I made several years ago - to quit work and stay home with the kids, to work from a home studio, to be available to them every hour they are not in school - I truly did the right thing - not just for them, but for me! I am not saying there aren't days I wish I could be in New York City hanging out with the other artists and networking, or attending EVERY SINGLE art opening in Middle Tennessee . . . but, really, I don't think  I miss much, and I for sure have gained A LOT.
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Oh, The Places You'll Go . . . for Inspiration! Part I

InSPiRaTioN
1
a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions
2
: the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs
3
a : the quality or state of being inspired b : something that is inspired <a scheme that was pure inspiration>
Inspiration can be found in some very unexpected places.   Some of the more inexplicable locations I have found items:

IN THE GRAVEL PARKING LOT OF A SOCCER FIELD

Sept. 11, 2001  During 911 I was an art teacher at Bluewater Elementary School teaching K - 5.  I wasn't working on that Tuesday morning, but instead watched it all unfurl in front of my eyes on the TV screen.  I had on the Morning Show with Katie Courac (low volume) as I talked on the phone to both my mother-and-father-in-law in New Jersey.  As I hung up the phone, I turned up the volume,  just in time to see the 1st plane hit the 1st Tower!  I gasped, and immediately picked up the phone to call my in-laws back.  The phone lines to the NE were jammed and I was unable to get through to them.  My husband's older brother, Peter, worked in the Millennium tower,  just adjacent to the World Trade Center.  I couldn't get a hold of anybody . . . finally, I heard from my other brother-in-law that Peter had been able to send out an email AFTER the first tower collapsed and his building was being evacuated.  We all watched in continued horror as the 2nd tower collapsed.  As of the following morning, no one had heard from Peter and he had not returned to his home in suburban New Jersey (the ferries and subways off Manhattan island had been closed down). That afternoon I had to continue as if  NOTHING WAS WRONG . . . the kids still had soccer practice.  At the time we lived in Niceville, FL (just across the bridge from Destin, FL, and very near  Eglin Air Force Base).  We always knew when something was urgent with American security because the practice bombing and low fly-bys dramatically increased.  On that day, it felt like we were in the midst of war - the windows shook and the china tinkled in the cabinet, and you could feel the bombs low vibration from your heels to your head. On the way to the soccer field I remember thinking/praying "please not here", "please not here" - my fearful thinking assumed that the No. 1 Air Force Base in the U.S. might just be the next target?  We pulled into the play fields and parked.  The kids were frantic and just as chatty as usual, but the adults were somber and kept looking up into the sky and down on the ground.  Sometimes we would catch one another's eyes and just stare in understanding and shared agony.  Many of the parents worked at the Air Force base or had spouses already deployed.  We all knew - this was going to be something that would cause a huge change in the life of our Community, our Country, and our World. As I walked back to the van after delivering the kids to their coaches, I began quietly crying again . . . looking down at the gravel under my feet I saw an olive green toy soldier - it was broken.  I picked it up and worried it in my hand the entire hour I waited for the children to finish practice.  It later sat on my nightstand, then made its way into a box of treasures - and finally into an artwork - encapsulated in resin inside a toy capsule. The next day we finally heard that Peter had been evacuated between the collapses and he was one of the suited office workers dashing through the streets, ducking into doorways,  trying to stay ahead of the raining debris.  He finally caught a ride on the back of a firetruck heading away from GroundZero, but couldn't leave the island due to the shut down of the subway andferries.  He spent several nights on Manhattan Island before being able to return home to Lawrenceville, NJ.  To say the least, the experience LITERALLY changed his life forever. This is one example of my life being marked by items - reclaimed, found, manipulated - a visual timeline tracing backward and moving forward.  Here is one more example:

WASHED UP ON A SANDY BEACH IN ATRANI, ITALY

After a long 10 days of site seeing andtraveling in Sunny Italy in June of 2007, my husband and I retreated to a 5 day RELAXation in Amalfi, Italy.  We took the days leisurely, sleeping in, eating, walking through the town, hiking along the Mediterranean and basically doing very little . . . one of our days included a kayak trip along the coastline . . . on our trip back we decided to rest on a beach just South of Amalfibefore we turned in the kayak.  As we pulled it up onto the beach (which consisted of pebbly-gravel) of Atrani, we glanced at our feet andrealized we were walking on dozens of pottery shards.  Picking them up, we saw they had been tumbled to smooth edges by the sea - just like the sea glass we would find on the Jersey Shores in the States.  Upon further inspection we realized the shards were being dumped into the sea from the drainage of Atrani and washing back to shore, refined by the Sea.  There were shards of true Majolica and pieces I could only imagine were decades and perhaps, in my romantic inclinations, centuries old. Many people never look up, nor down . . . if you take the extra time to embrace the moment of NOW, you never know what you will find - what meaning it will have, or, how special the items can be to you.  Just as literature uses symbols, so does visual art. To the left is a box of items I have collected over time - as I work on pieces, I rummage through and find just the right EMOTION/item to include in assemblage work, collages, and sculptures.  I feel using these found items evoke a remembrance of what the item may have been imbued with on its long journey into my possession - that just like myself, it may have been abandoned, abused, and discarded.  What joy to be given the opportunity, as we each as human beings have, to reclaim and redefine our lives, our purposes, and - ultimately - our futures! What in your life do you treasure???
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In The Meantime . . .

I had every intention of posting weekly . . . especially chapters from the <i>Coping Skills</i>book as a 'tester' - but, as usual, life happens when your busy making other plans. My estranged Grandfather died and it took him weeks to be interred in his self-aggrandized mausoleum; I spiralled into an emotional whirlpool (i.e., emotionally flushed down the toilet); I had an exciting 2 days of working in the studio for a whopping total of 3 hours; and, whammy . . . back to one year ago with pain and general malaise.  Perhaps the surgeon did know what he was talking about - 1 year until I am as recovered as I will ever be. In the meantime . . . I'll just keep stitching my percocet bottles and putting them on display . . . In theory - this is progress.  Right?  I mean, it is something.  Not much, but something. This means that in 1 year I have finished, maybe (if we stretch it) 10 pieces???  So much for my legendary productivity and self-discipline. In the MEAN time . . . I am working on my PATIENCE.  My LIGHT & LOVE. I am reading books, playing on a DS Light, playing Beatles on the digital piano, watching every documentary available on Netflix Instant Watch, compiling my Good Reads Library (I am near 900 hundred 'read' books), and being the best mother that I can be from my couch.  For example, I now know that: I can say a few things about the artmaking and parenthood . . .  taking care of your own needs - that is just putting the oxygen mask on yourself (as they instruct you in life and death situations in an airplane) before connecting the child . . . if you go out - then no one is there to save the kid.   I am working on some new series (slowly) about how the woman is the womb of the family - even for her husband.  All the umbilical cords go from her - and thus connect the man to the child, but through her.  She is the keystone, if her foundation isn't strong - it all goes to hell.  If she doesn't feed herself - all connected to her will suffer.   A child is born . . . and then we train them to crawl, stand, walk, run . .. away.   There are days I want to run away to a job . . . because the multi-tasking of parenting is crazy.  But even as disabled as I am right now - - - I know that me being here - on the couch - allows them to have a center - they revolve around me . . . they boomerang out and then come back home.  It feels good to give them what they really need - an ear to hear and an eye to SEE them . . . every second that I can give that undivided and exultant attention - it is more than most mothers give in a lifetime.  My kids probably think I am a terrible mother, but I hope - that in the future - as they look back, that they will realize that I SAW them and HEARD them.   This year has taught me so much about myself and life in general - I guess it was necessary, and it is still hanging with me.  I don't know if I will ever be back 100 percent physically.  But emotionally and spiritually, I feel like I have grown 'backbone' . . . and that, even from my couch "Yes I Can, Have My Cake & Eat It, Too". So, In the MEAN time - What I have learned is that: "Yes You Can - Have Your Cake & Eat It, Too" Sher Fick, 2010 1 -   I am more than just my title of 'artist' 2 -   I still define myself as an artist, even though I cannot artMAKE right now 3 -   There is something, somewhere in the near future, that I will find - that 'ah ha' moment when I fully understand the benefit from this STATIC physical state. Hello, peanut gallery, what PRAY TELL, could that be???
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He Did Not Go Gently . . .

My Paternal Grandfather, Emery Wilson Creekbaum, Nov. 1918 - Aug. 17, 2010 written the evening of August 17, 2010 Today my paternal Grandfather passed away.  This has been a long time coming, as I began mourning him 10 years ago when he hung up on me during our last telephone conversation.  Maybe I should have allowed him to continue enacting his blue-ribbon worthy 'guilt trips'.  However, as I had moments before opened his last letter and read the hurtful words his pen had applied on that singular ivory linen stationery, and knowing he did it purpose-filled and with the wrath of his holier than thou narcissism . . . well, my wounds just ran too deep.  The barely scabbed over injuries ripped open and my emotional sanguine gushed forth . . . and I made a fatal decision to pick up the phone - and he made the equally fateful decision to hang up on me as I cried. My sister and I are already the 'red headed stepchildren' of that clan anyway [because we are the children of his first son by his first wife, who divorced when my father was only 1 year old; both of my paternal grandparents immediately remarried and had children of their own with their new spouses - my father was shuffled back and forth and argued over for 50 years].   We have never fit completely or comfortably into either side of our paternal grandparents. But my sister and my birth father can go to the funeral as they were still in Emery's 'good graces' when he died.  I am barred from it.  I was his artistic prodigy and spent many hours sketching pictures to send for his approval (which was always disapproval even when my illustrations were used on the cover of our family's Heritage magazine).  Ironically, my talents far surpassed his awkward pastel drawings and poorly executed illustrations - he cut off communication with me just when I was reaching a level of maturity and development creatively.  I know the day I took him, back in 1997, to meet some of my art professors at OWCC, he was proud of me and even reveled in the small glories I had in art classes, exhibitions, and art advocacy endeavours.  And I know that when, on that same day I applied my own makeup to my blind step-grandmother's wrinkled 78-year old face, and fixed her wiry salt-and-pepper hair with my curling iron - I know that that day I was loved, maybe even for who I was and not just for bragging rights. I have heard from other family members that he bragged about me [once he acknowledged me as a descendant/note: apparently he questioned that fact as my father left when I was a tiny baby] - he has apparently said that he thought I had made a good match with Don and that my homes were beautiful and that my children, his great-grandchildren, were the prettiest babies he had ever seen.  He never told me any of that to my face, though.  He did not live gently.  His 92 years were successful if you look at his homes, his vacations, his many grand and great-grandchildren, his more than 50 year marriage to my step-grandmother - but to me, he was always poor in spirit.  Cantankerous and self-absorbed, an avid and mythical storyteller - he claimed to have hidden John Dillinger's gang in his barn, he claimed royal ancestry, he acted like a Mafia Godfather.  We had so many passions in common: our ancestry/genealogy, art, travel, history, and books.  I have mourned the inevitable loss of my Grandfather, my 'dream' of that Grandfather - for 10 years and counting . . . I knew this day would come, but I never expected the soul-stopping sorrow - I thought I had "been there, done that".  My journey as his grand-daughter started as I sat on his knee while he sang "Trot-Trot-To-Town-We-Go",and sat at his feet while he spun stories of little girls with my name wondering the forest in a Little Red Riding Hood, and later still - I stood at his elbow gazing up 6 ft. high into his blue-Creekbaum eyes - desperate for approval and love.  Desperate to be included with that magical and economically rich family that belonged to my birth father. Regardless of the 10 years to prepare myself for this day, I am sad.  I am confused.  I hope I did the right thing by standing up for my family members in that climactic telephone call, even though he couldn't hear ill of himself or others.  He did not dwell in truth, but in fantasy and a utopia that he built within his solipsistic world.  I am the dirt he tried to sweep under the rug.  As seen above, when I visited 

The Topock Maze, [as it was named, covers 18 acres and is made up of windrows five feet apart from each other.[2]

A late 19th century unpublished ethnographic report said that Mojave people put men into the center of the maze and left them to find their way out without crossing the windrows. Edward Curtis wrote in 1908 that, "It is believed that by running in and out through one of these immense labyrinths, one haunted with a dread [ghost] may bewilder the spirit occasioning it, and thus elude them."]

I did my first ritual of ridding myself of the hurtfulness of our estrangement.  As I carefully chose a fragment of desert-varnished stone, as I wrote his name in watercolor pencil, and as I slowly placed it name-side-down back on a windrow  - I prayed that all the pain would wash away with his name during the next rain shower.  In 2006 I created an installation based on this day - aMazed - which includes handmade paper, penned with your objects to be cleansed of wrapped around a piece of slate and tied with sinew.  This interactive performance is healing and seeks closure. aMaze, slate, handmade paper, sinew - indoor or outdoor - interactive, 2006   As he is laid to rest in the majestic mausoleum he built for himself in the 70's . . . (he was a renowned stone mason and memorial designer) . . . I will continue to cause him to roll over in his grave, er - I mean mausoleum.  I do have the distinct and rare knowledge that I believe I am the only person to have stood up to him and not to have been thrown against a wall (note: I realize he couldn't do that over the phone, but he did the next best thing).  I think he thinks he had the last word.  Not really.  I am still here; and, he - he will soon be rotting in his mausoleum I get the last word by teaching my children that kindness is a better way - that love does not go hand in hand with guilt.  That I am proud of my husband and my children for their intrinsic creativity and vivacious personalities - and not only because of their  jobs/salaries/accomplishments or for what makes me more WORTHY.   Also - I get the last word - because my work has been hung and been displayed in international exhibitions and high end museums.  And -  I have another 40 - 50 years to take it even further. So, thanks, Emery, for the backbone you trained me to have while you emotionally beat me to the ground again and again.  I am still standing . . . the line of life . . . and you are horizontal . . . the line of death.  Now that you are gone, I can possibly find some peace.   There is a completeness in those lines, when they intersected like we did with our lives - they created on the most universal symbols of time . . . the cross, literally the intersection of LIFE and DEATH.  Now I can stand alone.  I can reach as high as I endeavour. And, dude, never once in my entire f#$*)$ 42 years did you EVER spell my name correctly!  There was never a 'c' nor a second 'e'!!!!
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I was born in a small town . . .

If you know me - you know this fact - I WAS BORN IN A SMALL TOWN!!! I believe there were less than 300 people in Olivet, IL when I arrived at the age of 4 with my Mom, a new Stepdad and various step and half siblings, with more to arrive . . . The Carter Clan: r & back)Mom; Lisa; Joe; Janetta; Janice; Daddy Jim; middle) Me; bottom row: Johnnie; Troy; Susan If I had to choose an anthem for my teen years - it would be this song.  So many of the lines screamed out from my soul . . . there were a few lines that I 'wished' were true . . .  here are some random thoughts and memories which bubble up every time I hear John crooning . . . Lyrics are copyrighted by Mellencamp   www.johnmellencamp.com "Small Town" Written by John Mellencamp Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town Probably die in a small town Oh those small communities
All my friends are so small town My parents live in the same small town
 
 
  My job is so small town          my first job was at Burger Chef, Danville, IL Provides little opportunity   perhaps one of the reasons I ran away at 18? Image of a similar Burger Chef from the '70's Educated in a small town     attended Pine Crest Elementary (Georgetown), First Baptist Christian School (Danville), Hope Christian School (Danville); but where I really learned the MOST and glimpsed the wider world was in the boundless walls and bookshelves of the Carnegie Library just down Route 1 in Ridge Farm, IL.  But I've seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town   Married an L.A. doll this would be married a Jersey boy and brought him to this small town now my kids  are small town,  just like me  
Notre Dame de La Salette Boys Academy - across the highway from my Mom's house, Olivet/Georgetown, IL Used to daydream in that small town   reading about worlds far away Another boring romantic that's me       how many Barbara Cartland's can one girl read?? . . . then my brother's threw one of those paperbacks out the back window of the Olive Green/Panel Country Squire Station Wagon on vacation . . . "Bye, Bye Bawbwa Cawtlan!" No I cannot forget from where it is that I come from
 
 
 
I cannot forget the people who love me from the Sunday gatherings at Grandpa's farm . . . to the church families . . . and the immediate family of siblings and nieces and nephews . . .  
Yeah I can be myself here in this small town  well, I didn't feel I could be myself
And people let me be just what I want to be    and I always felt I was expected to conform to Fundamental Baptist rules - I couldn't be what I wanted to be - but I figured that out later on . . .
 
 
Got nothing against a big town  I feel just as comfortable in NYC, in fact! Still hayseed enough to say Look who's in the big town But my bed is in a small town Oh, and that's good enough for me
Well I was born in a small town And I can breathe in a small town Gonna die in this small town Oh that's probably where they'll bury me  well, I will be cremated and submerged in Copper Canyon, along the Colorado River, near Lake Havasu . . . but you get the idea.  I love to visit the graveyards where my Grandpa and step-dad lay . . . those graveyards are some of the places where my heart has been completely broken, and yet I felt close to those of us left behind.
 
Torpedo as Mailbox? - Olivet, IL 2009 My daughter Lauren, age 15, at Forest Glen Park, Georgetown IL, May 2009   Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town   what I loved were the people in the church and the hymn worship services.  My favorite hymn is "It Is Well With My Soul" . . . my Daddy Jim's funeral was in this very auditorium which occurred just before the interior was burned in a fire . . . from ages 4 to 18, I attended with my family and we filled an entire pew . . .
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