oranje - recent posts from my current home

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Read this book

One of my daily stops in the blogosphere is at Lisa Hunter's Intrepid Art Collector. She consistently has thought-provoking posts, written with great clarity and ease. She generously runs a monthly bulletin board in her blog for artists and gallerists. Here is a small sampling...

A Collector's Responsibility
The anxiety of influence

Well, this is it! Her book is due to be released on October 24. The Intrepid Art Collector: The Beginner's Guide to Finding, Buying, and Appreciating Art on a Budget is the full title and can be ordered on line. The publisher has a few options listed on their site for ordering. Of course, I am sure that they would be willing to pre-order for you.

If you're in the neighborhood, you might want to swing by for one of the book signings:

92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10128
212-415-5652 - Sidney

Barnes & Noble
396 Ave Of Americas
New York, NY 10011
7:30 pm

Good luck to you, Lisa. I am looking forward to receiving my copy of the Intrepid Collector.

Friday, September 29, 2006


"Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad" Mr. Spock - I, Mudd - Star Trek

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Henry Roth

During odd moments of the day, I have been reading a collection of short stories written by Henry Roth. The stories in Shifting Lanscapes are accompanied by interviews with Henry Roth. I've read the collection before, but this stime I have been really engaged by the interviews. The interviews provide an insight into Roth's creative impetus. His emphasis on metaphor in his work was extraordinary.

Most of the stories are written from a first-person perspective. It seems at times that Roth was living his life one step removed, as if he was a perpetual observor and not a participant. His writing is powerful and pulls you into his experience.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Container garden

I walk past this little container garden several times a week. The owner has gradually added potted plants, but she started with several shallow containers filled with moss. It has taken a while for the moss to take firm hold and she has been adding containers throughout the summer. The backyard doesn't get a lot of direct sun, so the moss seems to be thriving. Very peaceful little scene.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Artists interview artists

Thanks to JT Kirkland at Thinking About Art. He has published my half of the interview today for the Artists Interview Artists project. My interviewer was Remi Viger. I believe that this is her work.

JT is winding down on this project, but it's not to late to get involved. If you're interested, just let him know. I promise, it is a worthwhile experience.


I wanted to get permission before I posted this one. Jean and I had a challenge getting into Heppenstall yesterday. The mill has upgraded its perimeter fences. Although some of them don't have barbed wire across the top, neither of us really felt like climbing. Instead, we went through this Alice-type door. It took a lot of grunting and shoving, but we got in.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


I spent the afternoon wandering around Heppenstall with a friend. This video clip is about the sound more than anything else. I don't have movie editing software, so this is just gonna have to be an un-edited clip.

I think that the movie gives a much greater sense of the scale of Heppenstall, too. The Heppenstall mill closed down a long time ago. There are plants growing in some of the strangest places.

The building stirs a tension in me that I can't pinpoint. Today, the wind was very strong and you could hear creakings and groanings from all over the place. The structure seems to be planted with no foundation, just a dirt floor.

The smell is pretty strong. Dust and oil and rust and who knows what else.

More to come.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Working in the studio

Yesterday was my first full working day in my new studio! I actually picked up a paintbrush. No commute time, windows, lots of space. I am in heaven!

So, the studio is on the second floor of a warehouse. The first floor is a kind of part-time furniture store. Someone was knocking on our door at street level, so I went down to answer it.

What a surprise I got! This very enthusiastic man flung his arms wide as I opened the door. His hair was marcelled and he had at least a pound of glitter on the back of his neck up into his hairline. Big glitter, too. Not that little dust stuff. I mean, he sparkled! Did I mention the false eyelashes? He was wearing a blue scrub gown, too.

Well, his face fell and his arms dropped. He asked me if Rochelle was here and if I had anything to do with the furniture store. I hated to disappoint him, but I had no idea when Rochelle would be in to open the store. Oh, he said, and he just drifted away. Actually, he floated.

I wish I had asked him up. Maybe he would have let me take his picture. I'll bet there would have been an interesting story, too. I wonder how he knows Rochelle?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Edward Winkleman has an interesting post about political art on his blog this morning. From the post:

If there were one simple thing that could vastly improve most "political" art it is that idea of expressing a universal critique, applicable across history as well as to current events, without ever having to say so. That in and of itself is not enough to make it good art, but at least it will work toward preventing it from being disposable. To make good art, I think Joao indicates the right approach as well: "resonant, uneasy, and incisive" (with a huge ol' emphasis on incisive). I haven't had the pleasure of seeing this exhibition yet, so I'll take Joao's word for it that it does this, but as the article indicates, one measure for whether politicized work is good art, or merely an illustration of a talking point, is "Does it ask more questions than it tries to answer?" Any political art with more answers than questions is suspect, IMHO.

Edward references the work of Adam McEwen, whose work is showing at Nicole Klagsbrun in New York. I think that in order to understand the reviewer's comments, you would have to see the show. The images provided on the gallery site don't really seem pertinent.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Unpacked (mostly)

Most of the boxes are unpacked. The ones that are still packed are stored artwork. Also, I did a severe purge when I left the Brew House studio and threw out jars I was using for my brushes. I have to replace those. Right now, my brushes are in a box. On the left is my area from the entrance. Check out the shelves! There's still plenty of room. Which is great because I still have stuff to bring in. I still have to bring up some tools and some work that are at my home.

My purge was not extremely severe. I did think it was important to bring this handful of scrap copper and stuff from the other studio.

I use a three-drawer nightstand to hold my tubes of paint. When I was packing, I just dumped the contents into a box. Yesterday, while I was putting the tubes back in the drawere, I did another purge and threww out some tubes. Empty ones. I never do this while I'm working; too much in the moment, I guess. I noticed yesterday that there's no white paint. I pitched a handful of crimped and mutilated tubes.

So next week, it's back to painting!

Banner waving

Rebecca Clarren and Kathleen Craig have written articles for Salon.com and WIRED about Joseph DeLappe's media art piece, dead-in-iraq. Neither are reviews of the art or artist, but mainstream media reports of a story. The debate about DeLappe's work seems to be about the effectiveness of the work as a protest.

Surprisingly, DeLappe has not become a darling of the antiwar movement. While some peace activists laud his effort, others sense that protest art is counterproductive.

"At the point when hundreds of thousands of people around the world were protesting and Bush said, 'You're a focus group; I don't have to pay attention to you,' symbolic protest -- where you simply hold up a sign and say, 'This is what I feel' --stopped being useful," says Michael Nagler, a peace scholar and activist who founded the Peace and Conflict Studies program at the University of California at Berkeley. "People in the peace movement gravitate toward art too quickly and use it too much. It's hard for me to say this, but the time has come for direct action and civil disobedience." - Rebecca Clarren: Virtually dead in Iraq

DeLappe's documentation on this project includes remarks made during gameplay via screenshots. Gameplayers have also participated in the dialog about the dead-in-iraq project. While there is support for free speech from the commentors, all believe that his efforts are wasted in achieving a lasting difference and many feel that what he is doing is actually detrimental to raising awareness of this issue.

In a society that encourages freedom of speech, the effectiveness of protest art is difficult to guage. It seems that dead-in-iraq hasn't changed the way that the war is percieved from either side of this issue. Those who believe that the troops should be withdrawn find reinforcement of their thoughts in the project. Anyone that believes that the troop involvement in Iraq was justified still hold their thoughts on the matter. If the purpose of the project was to raise awareness in an arena that so directly supports troop involvement, it seems that it has completely missed the mark.

The mainstream media has picked up on DeLappe's effort and countless articles have been written about dead-in-iraq in publications and in the blogosphere. Perhaps this project will find its way into changing the minds of those supporting the conflict through the media publications. For the most part, the articles are written as human interest stories and have a somewhat condescending tone.

Protesting social issues through art is difficult to do well and effectively. It seems that aesthetics take a backseat to the issue and more often than not, the work is perceived as a stunt.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Artists interview artists

JT Kirkland began his Artists inteview artists blog feature in June 2005. Artists for this project submit five questions, which are randomly assigned to another artist to answer. JT publishes the resulting interviews pretty frequently. The interview is "blind", since the questions aren't specific to one artist or even discipline. The questions address broad philosophical and general issues that most artists confront in their quest to create.

I submitted my five questions to JT and he posted the interview with Fiona Ross today. If you have a minute, please check out her site, especially the drawings. I love sumi ink, too. Thank you, JT, for all of the interesting projects that you so generously share with the members of the art-blogging community.

Here are the questions that I submitted to the project:

1. How many mediums have you tried before you found your current preferred medium?
2. What process do you use to develop a series or a concept?
3. In what way has your location affected the art that you make?
4. Do you practice any art forms that are not visual art and how does that affect what you create as a visual artist?
5. In what way has mentoring affected your development as an artist?

I invite you to post answers to these questions in the comments.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I have been meaning to do this for the last two weeks. Just haven't had a moment until now.

My good friend, Carolyn Wenning, just finished renovating a building on Penn Avenue. The first floor will be her studio but for the month of September she invited several artists to display work in the space.

She opened the doors on September first, during Unblurred. It was an absolute mob scene, not only in the space but in all of the venues along the Penn Avenue corridor.

Carolyn picked some beautiful work for the opening. All of the artists chosen use nature as a source of inspiration for their work. There was a quiet intensity about the works in general. The opening was too crowded to get installation shots, but below are some of the works included in the exhibit. Jen Bechak did this installation in the exposed beams of the studio space. On the right is one of Carolyn's new works. She had a solo at Digging Pitt Gallery in July which featured some of her excellent work.

While I was on the avenue, I made a stop at a few of the other galleries open for Unblurred. 5151 opened for the first time with BIRDS, BEES, FLOWERS AND TREES. Linnea Glick, below left, was one of the featured artists in this new space. Her work has an intimate quality, as you can sort of see in my very bad photos from that evening.

Kim Fox was the other featured artist at 5151. Again, very small, intimate works. Kim was featured at the Three Rivers Arts Festival Gallery in the ShapereShape exhibit this past June. It was definintely a girls' night here in the Penn Avenue corridor on September 1st. .

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Armstrong Cork

I started using a digital camera nearly two years ago when I began touring graffiti sites with my friend Jean McClung. At various times, we have been accompanied by other artists, like my brother Chuck, Tim Fabian and Tony. We have gone to some interesting sites over the last couple years, including Armstrong Cork. The complex is located in the Strip District, about twenty blocks from where I live in Lawrenceville.

We got into the Armstrong Cork building a couple times before it was slated for redevelopment. Also known as Graffiti Warehouse, the Mattress Factory published a book documenting the work in the building.

The building, developed for loft living, is now open for viewing. Jean has preserved some of the graffiti in her found art series, selections from which are at Digging Pitt Too, opening this Thursday.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Miss Snark has completed the 3rd SR Crapometer. I don't know how she did it. Great reading, great critiques for the novice and the not-so-novice writer. What are you still doing here? Go check it out.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Origami workshop

The Craft of Origami: Paper Experimentation

I have been posting about my origami projects for the last couple months. You can see some of them here and here.

I will be conducting a workshop at SCC on origami in October. The dates for the class are Tuesdays, October 3, 10 and 17.

Registration information, dates and all that important information is on the website: Society for Contemporary Craft. Hope you can join me for adventures in paper-folding!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I'm moved!

All of my stuff has been moved into the new space (thanks Louise, thanks Chuck) . My last studio was about 380 sq/ft. This one is about 800 sq/ft.

How did I get all of that stuff into 380 sq/ft and still have room to work? I must have shifted over 100 boxes yesterday. We moved furniture today. The studio has been set-up. The entire floor has been swept and mopped twice.

There are still some things that need to be worked on; we have to paint. I have to finish unpacking. Lots of boxes. I mean really. Hopefully, I'll remember to take my camera next time I'm up.

But for now, it's back to work. We are installing three exhibits at Digging Pitt and Digging Pitt Too that open on Thursday September 14. There's a flood of information about the exhibits on the gallery site and the blog.

Stay tuned for updates.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Studio progress

I shot these pictures yesterday at my new studio. On the left is a soon-to-be filled set of shelves. I am moving my stuff in on Friday and Saturday. It's going to be great. I have so many materials in boxes, it will be nice to have them out where I can see them. Have you ever noticed that if you can't see a material it tends to not get used very much? On the right is my general working area, which includes two long, standing workbenches. I'll be moving my saws up here from home, too.

Above left is the door from the common staircase into the studio. Chuck salvaged this door, re-cut it to fit and mounted it. I helped, really I did. I trimmed the drywall on the top. Chuck wanted to try some wall treatments prior to painting. The compound that he put on the walls is almost dry here. It will be interesting to see what it looks like painted. On the right is the common office and hang-out area.

We all sat down a week or so ago. With all the improvements that we've made to the space, we are still way under what I have been anticipating. There are still some things that we have to address (like electricity) but we should be able to have a studio party in November.

Here is a long shot of the studio, from the loading dock door. Almost all of the stuff that has been stored in the space is gone. Chuck is going to blow the dust out and spot-sand the floors next week. By the time I start moving my stuff in, most of the big projects will be complete and I should be able to actually work in the studio within a couple weeks.

Stay tuned for special announcements about events. Oh yes, and we still haven't settled on a name.


I spotted this on 44th Street, between Butler and Penn, on September 1. It's on a one way only sign and about 4'' in height. Pretty cool, huh? Hryckowian keeps a Flickr account for Swoon sightings. There are quite a few in Pittsburgh.