Tag Archives: Rochester Artists

Subscribe NOW!

The Art House Press website will be taking on a new look in the upcoming weeks. AHP will be switching website platforms as well and we don’t want to lose anybody! To make sure you stay current with all AHP news please subscribe here:

 

KELLY CLANCY RELIEF LINOLEUM PRINT MAKER

BY ELISE MIKLICH

 

Bathed in tangerine light, I sit across from Rochester, NY based artist Kelly Clancy. Her light brown hair falls to the left- opposite of her mirror image twin sister, whose hair naturally parts on the right. Tousled pieces gently rest on her shoulder, catching on the flannel fibers of her button down shirt. A ceramic coffee mug is cradled in the hammock of her woven fingertips. The cup’s shape fits so perfectly with the contour of her grasp, you can almost picture it unfinished on the wheel.

“I love making pottery,” she tells me, “but I enjoy carving because of the amount of commitment and concentration that is involved.”

Photography by Mike Martinez - Artist Kelly Clancy

Photography by Mike Martinez – Artist Kelly Clancy

Kelly is a relief linoleum printmaker who can easily be compared to an Olympic athlete; putting the highest level of commitment into everything that she does. Not for recognition or for glory, but because she cares about the quality of her work like she cares about the quality of her life. To her, they are one in the same. For those of you who are unfamiliar with printmaking, relief printmaking is when the raised or protruding part of, in this case, linoleum, is inked while the recessed areas (i.e. the carved areas) are not inked, and will show up as white space on the print. Sheets of linoleum are hand carved, inked and then printed using a high-pressure press. Clancy described it to me in layman’s terms like “making a giant rubber stamp”.

“When I’m painting, I can paint over it. When I’m working on the wheel, I can squash it and start over,” she says with a confidence that feels unrehearsed. “If I carve a line incorrectly, I need to come up with a solution.”

When she sent her most recent piece to be displayed in North Dakota at Minot University, she made over forty prints before she had one she was satisfied with. Print making is notoriously tedious, every line must be carved properly and with intention. Pressure to this degree might turn some off, while Clancy feeds off of it, harnessing it to push herself further. In high school, she focused on painting and drawing. The first artwork she ever sold was a commissioned portrait of a family friend’s children.

“I started with painting because I was comfortable with it,” she explains, “but I think the second you stop putting yourself in uncomfortable situations creatively, you’re no longer being an artist”.

Photography by Mike Martinez - Artist Kelly Clancy

Photography by Mike Martinez – Artist Kelly Clancy

It’s safe to say she’s still an artist. Now, she puts her efforts into making linoleum prints that focus on the human form, expressing both her concern and fascination with the fate of the human body. Surprisingly, Clancy admits she had a hard time considering herself a true print maker until October of 2013, when she was accepted into the Boston Print Makers Biennial. Sighting this as one of her biggest accomplishments, it was only natural to hear her say that her next long-term goal is to be on the judging panel one day. But before her works make it to the gallery, it all starts with a feeling. That feeling then becomes a concept, which will then become a sketch- or numerous sketches.

“It’s always a challenge to see how many ways I can communicate an idea visually” she tells me.

When I think about the fate of the human body, I think of death and dying. When Clancy thinks about the fate of the human body, she thinks of cyborgs. No, not the kind portrayed in sci-fi flicks or Marvel fan-fiction, the kind that start with you and I – that will start with our children and their children, too.

“I grew up with technology,” Clancy insists, “I’m not afraid of it, but it’s definitely scary thinking about where it could go.”

Photography by Mike Martinez - Artist Kelly Clancy and her work

Photography by Mike Martinez – Artist Kelly Clancy and her work

Many of her current works beg the question: What makes a person and what will the definition of a person become? Clancy uses metaphysical concepts that are relevant to everyone, not just her. In fact, she wants you to be able to see yourself in her work. More often than not, her figures are faceless or portrayed as skeletons. Gears grind inside of skulls, wires clench tightly around wrists, holding down bodies or tangling them in a web of artificial intelligence. It makes you think; those bodies may be ours someday.

“I refer a lot to singularity, or when robots and humans become one” She explains, harping on the concept of downloadable consciousness. No one is blowing smoke on the topic. Recent research conducted by Henry Markram has led scientists to claim that an artificial brain could be constructed in as little as ten years. To put this timeline into perspective, this research was conducted in 2009, proving Clancy’s work to be relevant- and profoundly so.

When she isn’t carving at home or making prints at the Nazareth College studio, she’s teaching art to grades pre K – 6th at Aquinas Institute of Rochester. It is important to her to pass on the power of art and to demonstrate how art encourages youth to “stretch and explore”. Professionally, she says she will continuously advocate for art programs and wants her students work to be seen out in the community. When asked what she would tell herself if she were her student’s age, she responded, “It’s not a waste of time to pursue a career as an artist. Behind everything in life, there is an artist.”

Kelly Clancy’s work can be seen at:

Americas: 2016 Paperworks, Minot University, January 12th-February 19th 2016

Nazareth Graduate Art Show, Nazareth College, March 29th-April 17th 2016

Visit her website at Kclancy3.wix.com/artteacher

Photography by Mike Martinez - Artist Kelly Clancy

Photography by Mike Martinez – Artist Kelly Clancy

 

SHYLAMAR “SHY” ANDREWS

By Jason Campbell

Going into my meeting with Shylamar “Shy” Andrews I had nothing to go on. No website full of his artwork to reference, no Facebook page to lend insight into his personality, and really not much of any idea of his style of work (provided by Cordell). In fact, the only reason Shy is a part of this issue at all is the chance encounter he had with Cordell at the Cornhill Arts Festival. All I knew was that Shy was an intriguing young man who made an impression.

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon - Artist Shylamar "Shy" Andrews

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon – Artist Shylamar “Shy” Andrews

I try not to script my interviews, but I like having an idea of what the artist is about and then let the artist steer the direction of the conversation. In that regard, I guess I was somewhat prepared to meet Shy.

Sitting in Spot Coffee, seventeen-year-old Shy shared his sketchbook with me. Since he’s still in high school, at the School of the Arts, this was the only body of work we had to go on. He has not yet been part of any exhibits or festivals. Shy’s artwork is a mixture of adult cartoons and Dali-esque surrealism inspired in part by comic books, anime and his own extremely vivid dreams. If you’re my age you may remember an early John Cusack movie “One Crazy Summer” in which his caricatures come to life, leaping off of the page. Shy’s drawings have a similar feel to them, but the tone of the pieces lean towards an experienced, more polished approach. Most of Shy’s drawings are done in ballpoint pen ink and explore themes of demons, violence, sex, and chaos, but also of peace, or more accurately, spirituality. The cartoonish styling recedes to display strong artistry and amazing creativity. As I kept retracing the lines of the drawings with my eyes, I would notice another element within the piece. His art keeps your eye moving and is unlike most anything else I’ve seen locally.

As we continued our conversation, Shy abruptly switched topics to music. He deftly handed me a cd that he made for me to take home. I was taken a bit by surprise for two reasons, first, I had no way of knowing he made music, and two, that he had prepared this cd for me. His gift made a real impression on me, and I think my reaction may have affected him as well. Although I’m not a huge hip hop listener, I do have an appreciation for it. After all, I did grow up during the explosion of Wu Tang, Dre, Snoop, Tribe, Pharcyde, etc. and basically everyone I knew was listening to one of these. Upon hearing this, Shy grinned and told me “I think you have soul, I think you’re gonna like my cd.” My curiosity grew by the second.

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon - Shylamar Andrews

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon – Shylamar Andrews

Shy spoke of his desire to be multi-dimensional – drawing, rapping, and making movies. Each medium provides a different outlook into who he is as an artist, but also serve as outlets for his various creative ideas. I asked Shy what art meant to him, if he could compact all his energies into a single idea, and to my surprise, he did (kind of)! Shy stated that art is its own energy that can change environments by spreading different views. “Art has deep roots as it is the basis for all other fields. If you think about it, everything is a form of art, every object was created by someone; it doesn’t matter what it is or when it was made. Art has the spiritual energy to enlighten, to heal the mind so that the body may heal.” Shy likened the power of art to that of a shaman – the ability to access spirits to do good or evil. When I asked Shy what he wanted people to take away from his spot in Art House Press, he told me “That’s up to you – I want you to do your thing, to use your artistic sense to portray your impression of me.” He wanted me to take the wheel and he was truly willing to leave it all up to me. I’d say that’s a pretty ballsy approach for such a young dude, but that’s part of the enigma of Shy, who appears to be an old soul in a young man’s body.

Shy started to fidget a bit and said, “Let’s walk.” Um, ok, another abrupt switch. We started on a walk to Manhattan Square Park. Here I felt like I learned the most about Shy. He seemed a little constrained or uncomfortable in the coffee house and seemed totally at ease as we walked in the perfect summer evening.

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon - Shylamar Andrews

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon – Shylamar Andrews

He told me a bit more about some of his life experiences: like getting hit by cars (yes, plural, as in more than once) and living in the various parts of the city. Shy said he’s from all over the place – that he’s lived in just about any section of Rochester you can think of. I wondered how that could be for a seventeen-year-old, but I figured that would be too personal for him to share. Shy related his story of being chased through a neighborhood by a group of dudes as he walked a girl home. “Into the hood again, dodgin’ hooligans…” He mentioned that eerie feeling you get when you walk into an area that you know is bad just by the way it makes you feel.

We talked about injuries and how people react to them, both mentally and physically. Much of this talk revolved around staying positive and not letting the demons win. Shy’s perspective comes down to spirituality, and advancing in the face of negativity. “I circ’ round the block just to humble the conscience, exhale the bullshit to rid the air of nonsense…” The theme of “earth, wind, and fire” was a recurring one. Shy had mentioned it a couple of times over coffee, and then again while we walked to the park. I think for Shy “earth, wind, and fire” represents the strength of the spirit to overcome the elements of life. To be one with nature and not try to stand in the way of its progress, even when that progress is at your expense. Stay positive. I can’t think of a more important lesson for any age – life happens, and sometimes that hurts. It’s how we react and learn that dictates the future outcome, not the fact that we got knocked down.

To be at Manhattan Square Park near dusk with only a handful of people dispersed throughout, the park felt simultaneously peaceful and admittedly a touch foreboding, but Shy seemed as happy as could be.

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon - Shylamar Andrews

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon – Shylamar Andrews

As we sat on a bench our conversation changed course to kung fu. That may sound silly considering this is supposed to be about Shy and his art, but kung fu is a martial art. Going back to Shy’s spiritual outlook, kung fu actually makes a lot of sense. Martial arts are practiced to unite one’s mind, body, and spirit. It is through discipline and practice that one may elevate as high as desire and intention may lead, and also to learn patience. The main components of kung fu philosophy are breathing, relaxing, and focusing. In those terms, kung fu is very much an art form – ways to connect to your emotions and understand them, so as to live your passion. There are many excerpts attributed to kung fu such as “be like water, and like wind, and flame, and earth, and stone” , and “the internal reflects the external”  that recall Shy’s earth, wind, and fire references.

Dusk faded into the summer night’s signaling the end of our interview. I asked Shy if there was anyplace I could drive him – I felt weird leaving him at the park by himself. From his place of elevated consciousness he thought about the offer for a moment and then said plainly, “Thanks but I think I’ll just chill here for a bit.” I asked again just to be sure he really wanted me to leave him sitting on a bench in a nearly deserted city park, but he said, “Nah, I’m just gonna stay here and practice some kung fu.”

So, I took the short walk back to the car and started home. Listening to Shy’s cd I was really impressed with how skillful the arrangements are for a young person working on his own. I would liken Shy’s delivery to a combination of Guru’s narrative style (from the old Gang Starr records) and Q Tip’s  (from Tribe) positivity. “My kinetic charge moves nations, building many positive relations…

As I listened to Shy’s lyrics, I harkened back to our earlier discussions. Unbeknownst to me, Shy had managed to work most of his songs into our conversation in an easy, unforced manner. I simply started laughing to myself as I drove home, not knowing if I just got played, or if the consistency of Shy’s stories to his songs made them more believable. Though the stories and songs were relayed slightly differently, the main details were solidly aligned. The fact that this young man can express himself so effectively in two very different mediums, with little or no training is simply amazing. I think Shy’s potential is infinite. As long as he is able to focus his energies in a positive direction Shy can achieve anything. Many times we only hear negativity regarding our city’s young people – violence, drugs, drop-out rates, etc. The success stories seem to get passed over and as a result they become the exceptions. It was my pleasure to meet with Shy and share a bit of his story so that a positive light may be shed on a talented young man living in “Roc City – not known to give pity.” I can’t wait to go to an art opening featuring Shy’s artwork, buy his music or watch his movie so I can say, “I met that dude and we talked about kung fu.”

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon - Shylamar Andrews and his Artwork

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon – Shylamar Andrews and his Artwork

ART HOUSE PRESS MAGAZINE FLEW OFF THE SHELVES!

127 Pages, 30 Artist Articles, 6 Writers, 3 Photographers… ALL ROCHESTER!

Art House Press Magazine met with a booming response!! All of the magazines flew off the shelves! We are now working on the second issue!!! Stay tuned!

Distributed to:

Barnes & Nobles Pittsford Plaza, Parkleigh, Cornell’s Jewelers, Java’s, Arena’s, Spot Coffee, Pour Coffee, Memorial Art Gallery Gift Shop, Starry Nites Cafe, Makers Gallery & Studio, Scratch Bakeshop, Rochester Brainery, Axom Gallery, Joe Bean Coffee, Upper Crust Cakery//Glen Edith Coffee Roasters, RoCo, Root31, Scott Miller, Gallery Salon, Village Bakery, West Elm, Del Monte Spa & MORE COMING!

DAVE POLLOT

BY HOLLY JENNINGS

This December, there are a lot of bright-eyed dreamers waiting impatiently for one specific day- a day they will come together with friends and family to celebrate, eat together, and maybe even dress up as a Sith Lord. (A week later, they might also celebrate some holiday called Christmas.) If December 18th means more to you than “only 7 more shopping days,” you will definitely appreciate the art of Dave Pollot, a self-taught painter who turns lonely thrift store art into fantastical pop-cultural parodies that appeal to the kid in all of us.

Photo provided - "First Contact" by Dave Pollot

Photo provided – “First Contact” by Dave Pollot

I was born the same year Star Wars came to the big screen, so having grown up with Luke, Han, Leia, and a bunch of droids, I am especially drawn to Dave’s painting “Marina.” In it, an Imperial Star Destroyer emerges through wispy clouds and hovers over a weather-beaten marina. I can easily picture this piece in my living room, visitors admiring it above my couch, their brows furrowing as they think to themselves- hold up. Is that an Imperial Star Destroyer? Why is there an Imperial Star Destroyer in this painting? And what is she doing with it in her living room?

Dave does not just paint Star Wars parodies. In one of his paintings, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley soar over a Thomas Kinkade-like setting in the Weasley’s flying automobile. In another piece, a weeping angel from an iconic Dr. Who episode stands in front of a blacksmith shop, where a white horse peers at it dubiously. Dave has expertly altered each painting so that it seems as if these pop-cultural references have always lived on these canvasses.

Dave’s amusing spoofs have garnered him fans across the globe. Currently, he has over 29,000 followers on Instagram and over 26,000 fans on Facebook. What was initially a quirky hobby has turned into a full-fledged business. A software engineer by day, Dave spends his evenings painting. He says his two vocations balance “the left and right side of my brain.” His wife, Becca, runs their thriving Etsy store and takes care of the business side of the enterprise, marketing the work, signing them up for art shows across the area, and even locating previously-used canvases for Dave. In fact, Becca is the reason Dave began repurposing thrift store art in the first place.

Dave has been painting since childhood, when his father dabbled in Bob Ross-style painting. A Palmyra native, Dave began painting, too, and received a bit of “formal” education during his high school years. Dave also enjoyed math, and pursued computer programming in college. He didn’t take up painting again until his adult years, though he only produced about one painting per year. However, Dave was becoming bored creating what he called “traditional architectural paintings.” In 2010, Dave met Becca, a Palmyra native with an entrepreneurial spirit and love of second-hand objects.

Photo provided - "Revisionist History" by Dave Pollot

Photo provided – “Revisionist History” by Dave Pollot

Soon after Dave and Becca started dating, Becca began dragging Dave along on her thrift-store shopping ventures. On their journeys, they would often come across abandoned art and would joke it with one another about it, imaging how the canvas would look if Dave took a paintbrush to it. Then one day, Becca brought Dave a print from one of her excursions. “Do something with this,” she said. So he did. Soon, Dave and Becca they were actively looking for thrift-store paintings they could upcycle into original Dave Pollots. The first one featured a “silly little monster” from Dave’s head, but soon he was painting stuff he loved while growing up: characters from Ghostbusters, Star Wars, Super Mario Brothers, Legend of Zelda, and other “random geeky pop culture.”

After the Laughing Squid, an art, culture, and technology blog, showcased some of his work, news about Dave’s “geeky” art spread quickly. A feature article on Instagram gave him even more exposure. Becca, who has taken care of the logistics of the business from the beginning, became overwhelmed trying to juggle the business with her day job. So, she quit day job, and began managing Dave Pollot Art, LLC, full time. Becca runs their bustling Etsy shop, where they sell Dave’s original paintings, limited edition prints, canvas prints, and Christmas cards.

Photo provided - "Ridin Dirty" by Dave Pollot

Photo provided – “Ridin Dirty” by Dave Pollot

Dave believes people are drawn to his work in part because they are nostalgic for things from their youth, but also because they enjoy just laughing at something. His work takes a tongue-in-cheek jab at art that takes itself a little too seriously. Not surprisingly, Dave’s approach has garnered criticism from a select few who argue Dave is “ruining art.” Sensitive to this complaint, Dave avoid working on original oil paintings. Instead, he searches for reproductions and mass-produced art out of respect for other artists. Every piece he been languishing in a thrift store. Each provides him with a new challenge as he carefully adapts the style of the original artist when painting onto the canvases. He finds that matching the colors and the background of the paintings is much more difficult than composing an original piece.

Dave is just wrapping up a busy season of art festivals and shows, which have taken up most weekends since the weather turned warm. (His most recent exhibition took place during The Strong Museum’s “In Another Galaxy” weekend, a science fiction extravaganza that drew crowds both young and old.) This year, he has traveled as far as San Diego’s Comic Con, and as close as Rochester’s own Clothesline Festival. After an art convention in Geneseo early in the new year, Becca and Dave may be able to have an actual Saturday night out on the town, sans Slimer, Darth Vader, or Voltron.

Meanwhile, the couple has a basement full of thrift-store art waiting to be improved upon. Most evenings, you can find Dave at home with a craft beer in one hand and a paintbrush in the other. Except, perhaps, on December 18th, when local theaters might just provide Dave with new ideas for art that any sci-fi geek would love to hang on their walls.

Find Dave Pollot here:
www.davepollot.com
Etsy Shop
Instagram
Pinterest

Melissa Huang

BY JASON CAMPBELL

Artists are sometimes regarded as being a little “off”. Spacey, flaky, and even “in their own world,” are descriptions one may hear associated with those who create art. It was quite refreshing to hear Chicago native Melissa Huang refer to herself as an “art nerd.” She graduated from RIT and loved the fact that the level of nerdity is palpable there. Melissa’s favorite aspect of her role as an assistant with Roslyn Goldman is the research involved in the appraisal of art, where she happily “geeks” out and learns what the appropriate value of a given piece is.

Photography by Margarita Tsallagova - Melissa Huang

Photography by Margarita Tsallagova – Melissa Huang

An artist’s journey is rarely (if ever) a straight path from point A to point B. It tends to be more of a round-a-bout route that allows for introspection, discovery, and personal growth. Melissa Huang is really no different in that regard. She knew she wanted to pursue painting from an early age and when the time came to select a college program she had to (kind of) trick her parents into studying art at RIT. Enrolled as an illustration student, Melissa quickly realized that the list of courses in the program held little to no appeal for her. Her natural instincts led her to painting, where she immediately felt at home. Not to say that the process of painting fit like the glass slipper in the Cinderella story, though. Melissa told me that her initial approach was pretty stiff and a bit methodical. She realized that she was covering every canvas in the same way: starting in the top left quadrant she would work her way around, clockwise, filling in each area in turn. Typically, painters will work in one of two ways – lightly filling in the background area and working towards the main subject, or doing the reverse. In my experience it is uncommon to see an artist work in a four-square approach. I would have guessed that that approach would be noticeable in the final product, and maybe by a lesser artist it would be. Definitely not in Melissa’s work – the amount of realistic detail and blending of colors are all the more impressive knowing what she was working through.

Photography by Margarita Tsallagova - Melissa Huang

Photography by Margarita Tsallagova – Melissa Huang

Melissa also stated that her earlier works had a subdued palette lacking the bold, vibrant hues that many of her classmates used. Restricting one’s paint palette is a learned practice, usually adopted to achieve a mood, or retrain the brain to see colors differently. Now, many artists will commonly gravitate towards certain colors as a safety net. Yet, the more complex colors do not come from a tube, they come from mixing and experimenting. Part of learning how to paint is learning what happens when you don’t like what you’ve put on the canvas. Some artists will remove the paint in that area and start again. Others will let it dry and paint over it, or re-work the colors while they’re still wet. Melissa didn’t do any of these. Once an area of canvas was painted it was done. She couldn’t go back to it. My personal favorite part of our talk was listening to her relate this bit of information. Most artists will work a piece to death before they can say it’s “done,”, in many cases well after the point of completion. For a young painter to apply paint and be unable to go back to it – to ever so slightly gently retrace the brush stroke, or darken the shadow, or brighten the highlight…could have been maddening.

Like any evolving artist, Melissa is working through her tendencies because she wants to improve her craft. She has started to work multiple canvases at once to force herself to work in a more layered approach. By applying paint of the same color to different pieces the ideas of start and end points are eliminated. I think working on more than one piece at a time is quite difficult and I know I’m most productive artistically when I have a chance to get lost in the process. By only working small areas of multiple pieces at a time I lose the rhythm by constantly starting and stopping. I applaud Melissa for identifying what she perceives as her weaknesses and attacking them in a deliberate and productive manner. These days, she is lamenting the onset of the cold weather, though – it extends the dry time for oil paints and limits the amount of work that can be done.

A source of frustration for Melissa is the relative lack of male subjects in figurative art. I think this is actually where our conversation started and naturally carried into a lesson on the ‘F’ word – feminism. There is a double standard regarding the male figure that has nearly rendered it non-existent. Obviously, there are museums full of paintings and sculptures of nude males from some of the world’s best known artists. In modern times, though, the presence of male nudity is almost taboo. Melissa was trying to remember if there was more than one or two male models in all of her studio classes. She knows there are so many interesting lines in the male physique that it’s silly to paint only the female form. And not that every figure painting has to be a nude, but she acknowledges displaying a painting of a male in any state of undress in a home is a commitment by that person.     

Much of Melissa Huang’s current work features porcelain dolls and crystals. Melissa is a long-time collector of trinkets in general, and crystals in particular. Interestingly, she does not collect them for their claimed spiritual powers, although she is interested in learning what those are. Melissa just thinks their structures and colors are intriguing and make for a compelling subject, especially in the manner she uses them: mostly in place of faces. The dolls take on an almost haunting appearance when in place of the lifeless eyes and expressionless mouths there is a clear cave-like void lined with crystals. Where a face would be isa myriad of repeating geometric shapes. An old friend of Melissa’s deemed the work “violent feminism.”You can see Melissa’s work on Instagram here: instagram.com/melissahuangart/ and on her website: www.MelissaHuang.com. These portraits of people and dolls are executed with an ultra realistic style that adds true dimension and depth to her subjects. Moreover, any of the intended and/or hidden meanings are secondary to the skill and vision with which Melissa paints.

"Self Portrait" by Melissa Huang, Oil on canvas, 40"x30", 2012

“Self Portrait” by Melissa Huang, Oil on canvas, 40″x30″, 2012

As a picture framer I am frequently asked, “How much do you think this worth?” I always give the same response that “I have no idea” because it is a learned skill set that takes years of training, of which I have none. Melissa has been gaining experience in the field of appraising with Roslyn Goldman and enjoys the research associated with the job. First, you have to catalog all of the essential information you can about the particular work: title, artist, size, substrate, condition, etc. From there you search through several different price databases depending on what the price will be used for. For example, is it for insurance purposes? For auction value? Is it part of settling an estate? There are different guidelines for each set of circumstances. Hearing Melissa talk about the process made me think of shows like CSI. The details of the job either make or break your enjoyment of the process and if you’re one to immerse yourself in data and process, art appraising may be for you!

Photography by Margarita Tsallagova - Melissa Huang

Photography by Margarita Tsallagova – Melissa Huang

Melissa and I met for a little over an hour and we touched on many different topics. We talked about how art has helped Melissa learn history – she is able to correlate important dates with the art movement of that time to form her own timeline. Melissa also told me of her not-so-successful attempt at meditation through yoga. Painting is a much more accessible path to zen where each piece becomes a self-portrait in a narrative sense. Melissa also gave me a crash course in how appraisals are determined and how much she enjoys that process.  I found Melissa Huang (pronounced like Wh-ong) to be quite engaging and somewhat shy at the same time. She is almost the embodiment of yin and yang; opposite entities that, when combined, form a cohesive union. Melissa’s work depicts the same idea – dolls are usually thought to be soft and pretty; however, her version has a cavity for a face filled with hard linear crystal formations. Other dolls are shown as naked figures with pomegranate seeds spilling out from the abdomen. At first glance these images seem gory but fruit is associated with life and vitality – a direct contrast to how they are used in these portraits. Melissa’s talent is unmistakable and her style is her own. If she considers herself a nerd at heart, it does not show up in her work. If anyone was flaky or “out there” in this interview it was most assuredly not Melissa Huang!

Marisa Bruno

BY JASON CAMPBELL

I met with Marisa Bruno (pronounced like Mah-ree-sa) on an unseasonably warm fall afternoon. So warm, in fact, that I ordered iced coffee after literally racing to our appointment. Marisa is a recent graduate of SUNY Fredonia and is motivated by the challenge to succeed in the art world. The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity that has opened her eyes to all sorts of exciting possibilities, and proves that her hard work is paying off.

Photography by John Schlia - Marisa Bruno

Photography by John Schlia – Marisa Bruno

It seems as though all young people are force-fed the notion that you have to go to college. While many career paths do require a degree, others simply require training, practice, and less formal learning environments. Marisa always knew she would be an artist, and if she went to college it would be to study art. Judging by her status as an ascending painter it was an education well worth the expense. Bolstered by professors Rey and Bonilla, Marisa was provided a solid foundation of not only sound technique, but also of basic business principles. It was common practice for Marisa and her classmates to work on their artwork until all hours of the night and to also have to prepare business card designs, cover letters, resumes, price lists, etc. Artists have to know how to apply their varied skill sets to: get into shows, to get jobs, to get into graduate programs, and to make money. I was so happy to hear that so much emphasis was placed on real world situations. I would think that students in all disciplines should be required to participate in similar exercises to hone basic writing and person-to-person skills.

Marisa’s interpersonal skills were further refined as a teacher’s assistant in Fredonia. She was afforded the opportunity to talk to a visiting group of high school students and implored them to follow their hearts. ‘If art is your calling then simply do it. Don’t let family or friends talk you out of it. Keep working toward what you want be as an artist.’ When Marisa was a young teen her confidence level was somewhere in the range of the Marianas Trench. That may be a bit exaggerated, but the point stands. Yet, to see Marisa’s work and to talk with her now, I would not have guessed that she had to learn confidence. Many teenagers are awkward in their own right, but highly skilled and very young artists can definitely lean towards the pretentious. Marisa impresses me as a bright, earnest, and sensitive young woman who may not realize how talented she really is.

Marisa’s sensitivity is on full display in her series of paintings titled “splintered”. Life is based on relationships – some are chosen by us (friends) and some are chosen for us (family). How these relationships unfold affect us in many different ways, both positively and negatively. Either way, our actions affect those around us and vice versa. This series of work is centered on the appearances of stress. What does stress look like? At times, stress can disguise itself as someone perfectly in control of everything. Externally, this person may appear to be running like a clock, while she is fraying at the seams on the inside. This is the main gist of “splintered”. Each person is depicted twice: once as a straightforward portrait and then as someone no longer able to maintain the facade of control. The difference in the two studies is striking. At first glance they don’t even seem to be the same person – they reminded me of the old anti drug PSA “this is your brain…this is your brain on drugs”. Her series can also be viewed as how you think you appear contrasted with how others perceive you.

Lately, Marisa has been working on large abstract pieces to learn how to expand her capabilities with paint. It is a whole new ballgame trying to make a complete composition without a real starting point. While working on figures and portraits Marisa has a real sense of what she wants the finished work to be. Every piece evolves through the creative process, but there is still a mental image as the goal. In her abstract works, Marisa likes to simply apply paint. She may use a palette knife or the edge of a board to add or remove paint, a la Gerhard Richter.These pieces are about texture, space, and color, and they eliminate any type of representation of a person or place. Marisa loves the buttery texture of oil paint and is enjoying trying new ways to experiment with it. What she does not enjoy is the toxicity of the materials, not only the paints themselves, but also the additives (oils and thinners) and the finishing varnishes. All of these contain potentially harmful toxins that require proper ventilation and common safety measures.

Marisa credits Amy Vena with introducing her into the local art scene. I believe Amy helped her get into the Sonnenberg Art Show this past summer, where she was able to meet all sorts of artists and craftspeople. Marisa described the Rochester scene as “bigger than she expected it to be” and full of “destinations” such as Hungerford, Artisan Works, Roco, etc. Her advice on getting acquainted with local artists is as simple as saying hello. This goes back to gaining her confidence as well since her younger self wouldn’t have dared to introduce herself as a fellow artist. Marisa feels that art is about connections, not only to other creators but to buyers as well. Art should make you feel something, or remember something. Art should be an experience based on those connections to one’s own life. That experience may differ from what the artist intended and that’s okay, if not more successful. By talking to artists, viewers, and buyers, artists can find out how people really react to their work and that of others. Art is a dialogue that can take many different forms and elicits an entire range of emotions and reactions.

"Lower Incisor" by Marisa Bruno, 2x4 feet, Oils, 2014

“Lower Incisor” by Marisa Bruno, 2×4 feet, Oils, 2014

Art is not perfect. Many times an idea simply doesn’t work. Some days paint doesn’t fall where it should and doesn’t blend the way we want it to. “Trash happens” is how Marisa worded it. Some failures are not based on bad luck or bad technique – some are caused by doubt. When an artist lacks experience the great unknown can be crippling. The fear kills spontaneity and artists becomes hyper critical of their work. This rigid approach then becomes routine and the work suffers. Marisa embraces the challenge of experimenting and accepts the fact that not every attempt is “successful” – unless of course you learn from that trial and garner that knowledge. We spoke of Bob Ross and how we both loved his belief that “there are no mistakes in painting, just happy accidents”. That approach is so freeing in its deflection of stress. Art teachers like to use all sorts of negative ways to put Mr. Ross down and some of that criticism Marisa and I can agree with. Art can take on the air of elitism and Ross was the antithesis of all pretentiousness.

"Movie Night with Emma" by Marisa Bruno, Oil on masonite, 2014

“Movie Night with Emma” by Marisa Bruno, Oil on masonite, 2014

As for Marisa’s future it seems anything is possible. She comes from a family of small business people, including her mother who runs a specialty bakery in Penfield and one on the west side of the city. Marisa works there part-time where she gets a first-hand look at the work involved in running a business and the connections you get to make with the public. Marisa sees herself owning her own business someday but is unsure in what capacity. She is constantly inspired by other artists and their successes, and is excited to see what lies ahead. When you see her at the bakery or at her next art show, be sure to say hello.

A PLACE IN THE SUN?

INSIDE PERSPECTIVES ON THE 2015 CLOTHESLINE FESTIVAL

By Christine G. Adamo

At 8:47 am on Sat., Sept. 12, a gentle rain tapped out what mimicked – for me – finger strokes on a keyboard. I shifted under the covers and smiled until I realized that, for the 400-plus artists from across N.Y. state who’d prepped for their first of a two-day showing at the 2015 M&T Bank Clothesline Festival, it might sound more like money trickling down a nearby sewer drain.

With coverage of the event pre-scheduled, I’d spent some time doing prep work of my own. I knew where I’d park. I knew where I’d park if my first option fell through. I knew what I’d wear: street-worthy shoes, merciful slacks, a cotton top that encouraged airflow and a bolero-style shrug – in case the weather was less than favorable, meaning hot and humid.

On Day One, there was no muscling of the car into a questionable parking spot. (I snagged one immediately.) Nor was clothing with built-in ventilation a necessity, seeing as the heavens stirred up something closer to cool and crisp. What did need to be added to the mix were a pair of waterproof boots, an umbrella and a cap with a brim large enough to keep my eyeglasses dry.

Not only was it raining; it was pouring. The deluge didn’t let up until well after closing time. Yet, billed enthusiastically by Memorial Art Gallery as a “Rain or shine!” event, Clothesline kept true to its promise. Upon entering the festival at University Avenue and Goodman Street, it was clear that so had its participating artists – and dozens of content-to-be-rain-drenched attendees.

After 59 years, Clothesline remains one of Rochester’s largest and longest-running fine art and crafts festivals. Its commitment to the community, as outlined above, is obvious. Entertainers, unaffected by the rain, kept playing. Food vendors, with slightly better shelter, stood fast. Artists, who anyone could easily forgive for closing up shop to preserve their original works, persisted.

What follows is an introduction to three such artists and insight into their individual perspectives on the Clothesline experience as either a newcomer, long-time participant or seasoned veteran. You’ll also find references to other, noteworthy artists who fall within those same categories.

The Newcomer – Dave Pollot, Oil-on-Thrift Artist (Booth 607/608)

Dave, who first showed at Clothesline in 2013, is a self-described “software engineer who spends his nights with a beer in one hand and paintbrush in the other, bringing new life to old thrift art.” He maintains a virtual gallery at Instagram.com/DavePollotArt and a dedicated artist website at DavePollot.com.

Photography by Stephen S Reardon - Dave Pollott

Photography by Stephen S Reardon – Dave Pollot

AHP: How long have you been a working artist?
Dave Pollot: I still keep my day job writing software, but my fiancée was able to quit her full-time job to focus on the business side of the art (I create and has) been doing this for two years now.
AHP: What is your medium of choice and what drew you to it?
DP: Oil on thrift (allows) me to have a ton of fun while keeping me challenged. Each new piece is different, so it never feels repetitive.
AHP: What year did you begin participating in Clothesline and why?
DP: 2013. It was always my favorite Rochester festival. The artists are incredible and it’s where I bought my very first piece of original art.
AHP: If Clothesline helps you sustain a living, as a working artist, how?
DP: We always have a great time with Clothesline and – historically – it’s always one of our best shows.
AHP: Do you modify your process or product to create art for Clothesline? If so, how?
DP: Not at all!
AHP: What are the biggest challenges a Clothesline exhibitor faces? What are the greatest rewards?
DP: The weather is definitely the biggest challenge, as we saw this year. The weather determines the crowd – and the crowd determines the show. That said, the attendees are some of the most enthusiastic, resilient and fun we’ve seen. That’s incredibly rewarding.


Other, noteworthy newcomers to Clothesline include:

KANDACE LOCKWOOD, Potter

CHRIS GOODENBURY, Photographer – Clothesline exhibitor since 2014. Online at Facebook.com/CMGoodenburyPhotography.

MICHAEL P. SLATTERY, Fine Artist (Painting) – At Slattery Art, painting outside the lines is considered a fine art. “This (was) my first year at Clothesline,” Michael told Art House Press, “(where) I chose it to launch the Eve series. I work out of my 2,000 sq. ft. barn in Greece. The first floor with wood stove is my winter studio and (the) top floor houses my studio and library.” Slattery also recently showed on Artist Row at Rochester’s Public Market.


The Long-Timer
Laura Wilder, Artist (Booth 66/67)

Laura has exhibited at Clothesline for just under 20 years. She is a Roycroft Renaissance Master Artisan (Printmaking), a three-time (the maximum allowed) Clothesline Merit Award winner and a blue-ribbon recipient at this year’s Corn Hill Arts Festival.

Photography by Stephen S Reardon - Laura Wilder

Photography by Stephen S Reardon – Laura Wilder

AHP: How long have you been a working artist?
Laura Wilder: Thirty-three years. I started as a commercial artist, burned out after several years and then started my own business about 20 years ago.
AHP: What is your medium of choice and what drew you to it?
LW: Depends on the day. I’m mostly known for my block prints. I was drawn to that medium because I love the bold, stylized look of posters and prints from the early 1900s. I discovered William Nicholson’s prints and knew I had to try it, but block printing is so difficult that occasionally I have to take a break and do oil painting, which – compared to printmaking – is wonderfully direct. At the moment, oils are my medium of choice. In a couple months, it’ll probably be block printing again.
AHP: What year did you begin participating in Clothesline and why?
LW: I think 1997. I had recently become a Roycroft Renaissance printmaker and started my own business. I was looking to market my work. Clothesline and the Roycroft festivals were the best shows I knew of.
AHP: If Clothesline helps you sustain a living as a working artist, how?
LW: The folks who attend Clothesline have been absolutely wonderful to me. We artists worry about saturating a market by appearing year after year but, as I approach 20 consecutive years at this show, my sales and the wonderful feedback I get from collectors don’t seem to dwindle.
Many of them are repeat buyers. There are so many dedicated attendees that I have a successful show even in lousy weather – like we just had! I’m very grateful. Also, many of those folks now subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter, which has special offers that lead to website sales.

AHP: Do you modify your process or product to create art for Clothesline? If so, how?
LW: Every year I make sure to create one new print that shows a Rochester area landmark – with the Clothesline attendees in mind. These locally-themed prints are hugely popular. I also make sure to have something for all budgets (from $2.50 to $2,150 this year).
AHP: What are the biggest challenges a Clothesline exhibitor faces? What are the greatest rewards?
LW: I can only speak for myself here, but it isn’t finding lots of great customers; it’s dealing with weather. (To be sellable,) prints can’t get wet. And, with ever-increasing erratic weather, outdoor shows look more and more risky. Even a decent tent will eventually leak in relentless rain. A few years ago at least one Clothesline tent with concrete weights was actually airborne in a sudden gust of wind. So, we dropped a lot of money on a very good, waterproof tent this year. My husband/biz partner, Bob, made six 50-lb. tent weights and our prints stayed dry. The greatest reward is being able to meet so many of my collectors, in person, and hear from them how my art has made them (or a loved one) happy!

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon - Happy customer

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon – Happy customer


Other, long-time Clothesline participants you should know about:

YENFEN HUANG, Painter (Chinese-style)

REBECCA BARRY-KENT, Studio Artist – Rebecca, who’s represented by Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, began participating in Clothesline in 2001. “I started creating art dolls three years ago,” she explained, “using some repurposed copper and other bits and pieces (I’d collected) for years.” Being a closeted hoarder pays off; her whimsical dolls are entertaining. “It’s really cool when I see a smile (on) someone’s face,” she added, “and know it’s one of my pieces that put it there!”

MICHELLE DaRIN, Sculptor, Jeweler, etc. – I’m a “creator of anything my mind can think up,” noted Michelle, who began showing at Clothesline in 2003 and maintains a dedicated artist website at MichelleDaRinJewelry.com.

 

The Seasoned Veteran – Stephen Merritt, Potter (Booth 40)

Photography by Stephen S Reardon - Stephen Merritt

Photography by Stephen S Reardon – Stephen Merritt

This artist, who’s more familiarly known as simply “Steve,” offers up glimpses of his elegant work and intriguing backstory at MerrittVessel.com. Most artists, he noted, quickly put the lessons they learn and ideas they generate at Clothestline to work. They look ahead to their next show – any show – with an immediate sense of how they can make it better.

He’s looking ahead to his own showing, in early December, at the Geisel Gallery in Bausch + Lomb’s Legacy Tower in downtown Rochester. There he’ll share exhibition space with his photographer son, Jonathan, who didn’t show at Clothesline due to inclement weather. Another show worth looking into, he says, is the 15th Annual Fine Craft Show & Sale at MAG on November 7 and 8.

“(It) features the works of great artists from across the country,” he explained, “who people from Rochester don’t normally get to see. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s really one of Rochester’s gems, I think, and not as widely known as it should be.”

Steve’s a Rochester gem in his own right. Read on to find out why.

AHP: How long have you been a working artist?
Stephen Merritt: I studied in Japan in the early ’70s and was there for two-and-a-half years. I returned to Rochester, my hometown, in 1972. That’s when I started (my career as) a working artist.
AHP: What is your medium of choice and what drew you to it?
SM: For me, of course, the medium is clay. Over the years I’ve worked in a variety of different clays. For the past 20 or so years, I’ve worked almost exclusively in porcelain and terra cotta.
AHP: What year did you begin participating in Clothesline and why?
SM: In 1972, as an emerging potter. Clothesline’s association with (MAG) has always given the show a cache that a lot of other craft shows lack. For as long as I’ve been doing the show, it’s a place where artists of all stripes – Rochester-area artists and others – come together and have a good time interacting with each other and their customers, while at the same time lending support to the Gallery’s mission. There’s a purpose (to it that goes) above and beyond just trying to sell your own work.
AHP: If Clothesline helps you sustain a living, as a working artist, how?
SM: This year notwithstanding, given the weather and its effect on the crowd, most artists can depend on the Clothesline as an effective way to show new work, make sales, cover expenses and, perhaps, make a little profit on the side.
AHP: Do you modify your process or product to create art for Clothesline? If so, how?
SM: I don’t. I know many artists will tailor their display to the nature of the crowd. My experience is that Clothesline draws such a diverse audience that I choose to present my work as I would in any other venue.
AHP: What are the biggest challenges a Clothesline exhibitor faces? What are the greatest rewards?
SM: Any art show, especially an outdoor art show, involves a lot of effort – both physical and emotional. It’s always a challenge for artists to feel completely satisfied with the presentation no matter how long it’s been planned and how well it’s been executed. (I) should mention the basic challenge of exposing yourself to the elements, which underlies all the great hopes and plans every artist lays out for the show: It can all go south in a hurry, when Mother Nature decides to have her way with us. The greatest rewards are, of course, coming through the show with success on the financial side and also that the work you have shown is admired and appreciated by (attendees). We don’t expect everyone to make a purchase, as nice as that would be. Everyone can’t afford a piece, but they all appreciate the effort that goes into the work that’s being show.


Other seasoned Clothesline veterans worth researching:

PATRICIA WILDER, Photographer

DICK KANE, Watercolorist – MAG Creative Workshop faculty member

RICHARD AERNI, Potter – Online at RichardAerni.com

 

Photography by Stephen S Reardon - 2015 M & T Bank Clothesline Festival at the Memorial Art Gallery

Photography by Stephen S Reardon – 2015 M & T Bank Clothesline Festival at the Memorial Art Gallery

In the end? The artists we’ve featured – and mentioned – here come together, en masse, to set up pop-up stores, shops and galleries. Crowds come from all corners of Western New York (and beyond) to view their work, shop and take joy in interacting with them year after year. The result? Is an effort that helps these individuals and others like them establish and sustain long-term careers.

But what of the festival itself? In 1956, MAG explains, the first Clothesline Festival truly did feature artwork and paintings hung from clotheslines, swaying in the breeze. At the time, a handful of local artists participated, but nearly 60 years later the festival has grown and morphed into the gallery’s largest fundraising event.

Photography by Stephen S Reardon

Photography by Stephen S Reardon

Daylong entertainment, food vendors and free family art activities, as well as museum entry (included with the $5 admission price), makes it a memorable weekend in which the work of a diverse cast of artists is available for viewing.

Clothesline has garnered five City “Best of Rochester” reader awards and is said to draw serious shoppers like nobody’s business – rain, shine or otherwise.

Learn more at MAG.Rochester.edu.

 

REBELS WITH A CAUSE PART 2 of 2

BY DAN SCALLY

 The Arena Art Group
Through The Years: A Retrospective
Part 2 of 2

 

 

NATE HODGE

BY HOLLY JENNINGS

WALL\THERAPY Muralist Nate Hodge: Paintings that have Lives of Their Own

This is the fifth year of Rochester’s collaborative mural project, Wall\Therapy, which continues to grow in size and depth, drawing attention from artists, art lovers, and critics from around the world. This year’s participating artists hail from places like Amsterdam, Switzerland, Brazil, New York City, and Southern California. Four of this year’s artists reside in the Rochester area, and Nate Hodge is one of them.

Photo Provided - Momentary and Insubstantial

Photo Provided – Momentary and Insubstantial

Nate started painting at age 13. A student at McQuaid Jesuit, he began to show an interest in the arts, but at the time the school did not offer a visual arts program. So Nate’s mother, a teacher, hired an ex-student to come into the house and tutor him in art during the week. The tutor initiated projects based on whatever Nate showed interest in, and introduced him to artists like Dine, Basquiat, and other abstract painters. The arrangement worked out wonderfully: Nate was able to explore art in the safest of environments, and since there was no grade given, he was given complete creative freedom. Later, when he transitioned into public school, Nate honed his painting skills, began to focus on creating oil-based paintings, and realized that painting was something he wanted to do as career. After graduating, he went off to the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

This is where Nate’s promising future as a painter took a slight turn. All around the college campus, he kept hearing that “the only way to become a true artist is to get out there and experience life!”

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon - Artist Nate Hodge

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon – Artist Nate Hodge

“That’s the worst thing to tell an 18-year-old,” Nate says. Eighteen-year-old Nate’s interpretation of the aforementioned advice was that college must not be “living life,” so after a semester, he left school with absolutely no intention of ever going back. As a result, his art fell to the wayside, though he kept one foot in the door working as a professional house painter and stone carver for the next several years. In 2007, he went back to school to major in Environmental Science.

Studying nature reinvigorated an excitement about painting that had been dormant for many years. Three quarters of the way through the program, Nate changed direction yet again, and graduated with a B.F.A. in Painting and Education from SUNY Brockport in 2013. He just completed his M.F.A. at SUNY Buffalo.

Photo Provided - Spatial Detritus

Photo Provided – Spatial Detritus

His art education ended up being extremely well-rounded: the Brockport arts program, Nate says, was studio based, while the Buffalo arts program was research based. Each program exposed him to a different approach to the visual arts. At Brockport, he was encouraged to develop his own ideas. In Buffalo, he was immersed in critical theory and art history.

Formal education now completed, Nate’s involvement as a professional artist in Rochester’s art world began when he took a residency at The Yards Collaborative Art Space during the summers of 2013 and 2014. There, he met many people associated with The Yards, and with Wall\Therapy, including Erich Lehman, co-curator and lead organizer for the project. When Erich asked Nate to participate in the project, Nate felt honored and humbled. He had been following the project for years and knew that it drew international and local artists alike. The theme for Wall\Therapy 2015 was to be “surrealism and the fantastic,” and Nate’s large-scale approach to painting was a perfect fit for the mural project.

Photo Provided - While You Dooo0

Photo Provided – While You Dooo0

Nate has always been drawn to large-scale painting, though he will sketch a picture on almost anything. Now a father, he enjoys drawing pictures for his kids on their bathroom mirror or on the napkins put into their lunch boxes. His website features both large-scale paintings and smaller-scale drawings. However, when he starts a serious piece, he allows the paint to take over so that the painting ends up having a life of its own. Allowing paint to take over means he usually ends up with large, vibrant works of art.

Considering a painting to be a living entity relates back to Nate’s love of nature. When asked what inspires him as an artist, he speaks of natural systems within the environment.

“Forests start growing, reach their prime state, and decay. Nothing is static. I am drawn to the idea of aging and beautiful things coming out of changes that are really drastic. Small stuff (paintings) to me felt cropped. I found myself pushing farther and farther, each line becoming a living thing – organic – splitting off of the surface on to the wall. I love doing installations, allowing a painting to take over an environment.” He describes his paintings as a snapshot of a particular moment, but if you look closely, you can see that everything is either evolving or devolving into something else. “Everything is changing. Life is my inspiration.”

As an artist, Nate is drawn to work by Van Gogh, Schiele, Mathieu, Hokusai, Goldsworthy, the Mexican muralists, Kuniyoshi… artists who provide a feeling of place, Nate says, as opposed to perspective and detail. He is drawn to the process-based, abstract art of the surrealists, and describes surrealism as intuitive – the artist starting out with anything in mind, and allowing the conscious to take over.

Asking him if he has a favorite work or installation of his own turns out to be moot, because Nate doesn’t really see his paintings as static.  Occasionally, he goes through older works to add new things or to cover existing facets. Often, after he completes a painting, he simply doesn’t think about it anymore.

“Each piece is another step to the ‘perfect painting.’ After I’ve finished, I always see where I could improve on the next piece. It can be frustrating.  I’m always looking at it and thinking, eh… I could do better. I see things I could have done differently, certain areas that could have been reimagined. This inspires me to move toward the next piece.”

Photo Provided - Meaning in Process

Photo Provided – Meaning in Process

Nate’s artistic process is fascinating. He generally begins with one continuous line, but gives himself some sort of a challenge (the line can’t cross over itself, for instance.)  He might wrap the line around the surface of the canvas and even onto the back of it. He will flip the canvas on its side, looking at it from different angles until he pulls something out of the different layers he has created. Then he runs with the ideas that have formed – that have come alive – out of the paint.

How does this process transfer; however, when he is faced with painting an enormous mural on the side of a building?

“I start with a color scheme, and then begin that one continuous line across the entire surface. This helps the space become less intimidating.  When I’m working on something really large, I act sort of like a (computer) printer: I move across the surface with lines and then come back and start again, until aspects of the painting come out and I become aware of where I’m going. Then I go back and work on certain spots, pull out certain things I want to focus on or paint over.”

His artistic process affects the way he sees the world, and has helped form his life philosophy.

“When I paint, I have to give up control and just allow the painting to develop. It makes me more laid back – helps to center me.” This zen-like approach to painting life helps him deal with day-to-day situations that may seem out of his control.

Nate is grateful for Rochester’s burgeoning art community. He describes the art culture in Rochester as incredibly supportive.

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon - Nate Hodge

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon – Nate Hodge

“You really get to know people. Everyone keeps everyone else in mind for different projects. It’s exciting, because there’s a variety of different people going in different directions.” He sees Rochester as on the periphery of the broader art world, a fact he considers an advantage as an artist. “In Rochester, there are few people doing the same thing. You have your own space to have your own thoughts as an individual.”

One of those spaces happens to be on the wall of the Meier Supply building on Atlantic Avenue, just down the street from Sticky Lips. Thankfully, it’s a pretty big space.

See Nate Hodge’s Work:

Exhibition at the Roz Steiner Gallery in Batavia on October 12

Nate Hodge’s Website: Masiori.com

Find the locations of murals from Wall\Therapy 2015 here.