Monday, April 24, 2017

Featured Member Interview: Shannon Binkowski

CMMAG President Shannon Binkowski shared the following in her interview: 

"Harvest Nights" 
1.  What inspires you to create?

I love watching bits come together to make something different, especially when that something different is also wonderful. I love taking beads and wire and turning them into a necklace. I love taking paint and paper and turning it into something that is pleasing and pretty, or turning an eraser into a stamp, or any number of things that become...transformative.

2.  When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?

Art has definitely pursued me. My family did a lot of making when I was  younger and I wasn't interested in a lot of it til much later, but it's always been there. My mom and grandparents would have loved to teach me to follow their arts, from the fancier stuff all the way down to basic cooking and sewing, and I was just not engaged with it. So much so that when I started to move toward art later I don't even see the way they saw. On the one hand I love getting to learn and discover new things, but on the other I would love to go back and learn the lessons they would have loved to teach me.

"Safe as Houses" 
3.  When did you begin to call yourself an artist?

Definitely not til after I joined CMMAG, and honestly I still have a bit of trouble with it sometimes. Growing up I knew people with very definite ideas about what does and does not count as Art, and somewhere in my brain 'artist' is still connected with fancy fine art pieces and everything else is filed under 'craft'. The rest of the great people at CMMAG have been really supportive in helping (or sometimes making) me stand up and claim it, though.

4.  If you weren't an artist, what would you be?

At this point in my life? So many things. Many of them would probably include writing somehow, as that was my first love and creative outlet. There is so much I'm interested in, and so many fascinating things to pursue. But now I definitely add 'artist' to the list of things I am, no matter what else I follow or do.

5.  What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?

Working retail (especially at the health food stores) has helped me learn to focus on details and how to work around limitations. Working with the Astronomy department changed the way I see things, and the way I look for solutions; it also helped teach me how to combine information to make bigger leaps forward.

I think any job you have, even the soul-crushing ones that we've all had and hated, aid us on our artistic paths because they help shape who we are. They are part of why I am who I am and why I see the way I see, and my art wouldn't be the same without them.

6.  At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?

If there's not a specific mission I'm on? Clearance. That's where I've discovered some of the most interesting tools and toys, and where I'm most likely to run into something I never knew existed. Other than that, I love the sparkle of the bead section and the wonderful bits and bobs and stamps and punches in the paper craft section.

"Butterful Music" 
7.  What new technique or art form would you like to learn?  Do you have plans to do so? 

Part of me, a big part, wants to learn all of the things. All of them. Not even necessarily because I think I would be a great potter or painter or paper maker or other things that probably don't start with P, but just for the experience, and because there are almost no art forms or techniques that can't be transferred to other media in some way. Realistically, I am aware that my wallet and studio space are neither one infinite, and so I have to tell myself sternly that I cannot start a new art form.

8.  If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?

This answer may well change later, because answers like this often do, but right now? I think I'd love to have a little art café, where people who didn't have experience, or space, or materials could come and make art, and where local artists and crafters could have some storefront space.

Sounds idyllic, Shannon!  Thanks for the interview.  

Monday, March 6, 2017

Featured Member Interview: Cathy Mitchell

"Fantasy Fruit Tree"
What inspires you to create?
Nostalgia, antiquity, the quaint and whimsical. A significant element of inspiration comes from the children I work with; their innocence, their faith in their own hopes and dreams. And especially the enthusiastic abandon they bring to their art.

When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?

When my children graduated and went out into the world, I had some time to focus on rebuilding my passion for art. As a child I always had art supplies, organic materials, wood, boxes as well as space to work. As I grew older, my parents sort of expected me to spend more time on studies and less on other activities. That was quite a while back, before we began to understand the value of art and overall wellbeing.

When did you begin to call yourself an artist?
This Guild has encouraged and inspired me to be brave enough to call myself an artist. I realized that an artist is one who produces art! An artist doesn’t have to be globally recognized. An artist simply enjoys making art.

"My Special Girl"

If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
A writer.

What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?

Teaching craft classes to children and senior adults.

At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?

Pens, markers, crayons, pastels, anything that makes a mark. And paper!

What new technique or art form would you like to learn? 

Gain more experience and insight into collage.

If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?
Keep my art supplies organized. But I know that would be an Epic Fail. LOL

Friday, March 3, 2017

CanvaSynergy II: SOLD!

At last weekend's "For the Love of Art" auction and gala, to benefit the Visual Art Exchange of Raleigh, our 5'x5' collaborative piece was the first item in the live auction. 

The program!

Here are some souvenirs of the evening:  the program, a shot of CanvaSynergy II on an easel outside the ballroom, and a quick video of the how the sale happened.
The display!

It was very exciting to see our work displayed, and we hope the new owner enjoys it as much as we enjoyed creating it.

The video!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Featured Member Interview: Maureen Seltzer

Maureen Seltzer
Facebook:  Maureen Seltzer's Art Studio
The Loft web site:
The Loft Facebook:  The Artists Loft @ Wake Forest Coffee

What inspires you to create?

Sometimes it can be as simple as a pattern that I see in my day or a splash of color that I catch out of the corner of my eye that gets into my mind. I often listen to music as I work and find that a song will trigger an image. In my play list I have a song called Mother Earth by Natalie Mac Master every time that song played I would see this wild horse in my mind. I did not collage it right away but waited until it came in focus and then grabbed a sheet of paper and got the sketch down.  I also often work in series so if I’m working on a bird I will get the idea for another bird painting. It is also fun to see how I can take the wildly abstract printed papers and turn them into some not so abstract. Sometimes it is the paper that will inspire me like when I was eating a burger at Char Grill and it was like I should use their slips and collage the Char Grill. I’m still working on this one.

When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you?

I believe that art pursued me. One of the memories I have back in school was around second grade and I was getting a lot of attention for my art. This was good because I was having trouble with everything else; it was not much later that I would learn that I have Dyslexia. If it had not been for art and a wonderful High School that let me follow that path I’m not sure that I would have finished school. I also believe that my parents gave me permission to make a mess with all kinds of art stuff and helped to feed that creativity.

When did you begin to call yourself an artist?

It took a long time for me to call myself an artist, it was much easier to call myself a craftsman. But with time and the help of wonderful friends I can say yes I’m an artist, I might not be the best, my art might not hang in a museum but I’m an artist nonetheless.

If you weren't an artist, what would you be?

I would be an archaeologist because I love history and the study of how people from the past lived. I watch a lot of the history channel I know it might be boring for some of you but I love it.I love to see then dug stuff from the past. 

What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?

I have a two year degree in Industrial Photographic Science. I have worked in many places like R& D research for Polaroid and in the graphic arts department as a darkroom technician for SAS. I also was the last darkroom technician for the local paper in town The Wake Weekly. With each of these jobs I was able to develop my eye to see things better which helped me with my drawing ability. With my job at Polaroid I was able to ask what if we did this or that and I use this in my art all the time. I also have worked with children from preschool to high school for a long time. They have taught me to enjoy the process of creating and not the end product. I feel that the kids have taught me more than I have taught them.

At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?

As my most used supply is what most people throw out like hand written shopping notes, old phone books, old maps and the like about the only thing that I go to the art supply store for is paint and something to collage on. I do get lost sometimes looking for any thing that I can use to make the texture on my printed papers.

What new technique or art form would you like to learn?  Do you have plans to do so?

I’m trying so hard to keep blinders on right now and not lose focus on building a body of work in the collage field. If I could I would run to try cold wax painting and might just have to give it a try in the future.

If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?

I have been blessed to see one of those things come to pass in my life time. I have always had a dream of having a place for artist to come together and work and sell what they have produced with their hands. Three years ago I was able to see this happen and opened The Artist Loft & Gallery @ Wake Forest Coffee. Albert Barneto the owner of the coffee shop runs the money end and I run the art end. It has been hard work and has pushed me to new level of learning so much of the business of the art world.
I have had the pleasure of working with a great group of artists that all work together for the good of the studio. I do have another dream that who knows it could happen. I love children’s picture books and would love to illustrate one someday.

Monday, January 16, 2017

CanvaSynergy II

Stan assembling and gluing canvases to the frame he built.

In 2011, we had a question:  What would happen if 25 artists collaborated upon a single piece of art?  The answer became a Guild challenge known as "CanvaSynergy," and you can read all about it and see the result in this post from the "Creativity Rocks!" archives. 
Last year, we decided to do it again, since many of our current members weren't with us for the first one.  The rules were the same:  use only the colors provided, the pencil lines on each canvas must show up in the finished work, and anything goes in terms of media (we ARE mixed media artists after all!).

Past President Penny Arrowood penciled in the design (hers was chosen from among those suggested by other members of the Board), canvases and four colors of paint were distributed to each participating member, and the fun began!  Once they were all completed, the task of joining them into one, large piece was given to Stan, Michelle's husband (who'd done the first one, so had experience), and you'll see some of the process in the images at left. 

CanvaSynergy II made its grand debut at the 2016 Art of the Carolinas, held at the North Raleigh Hilton hotel in November.  As you'll see from the photos, it the 5'x 5' piece is vibrant, fun, and surprisingly cohesive! Congratulations and thanks to all 25 member artists who contributed their unique style and creativity. 

Our plan is to donate CanvaSynergy II to the Visual Art Exchange's "For the Love of Art" gala in February.  We did the same in 2011, and it was bid upon and ultimately won by Nancy McFarlane, the mayor of Raleigh!  We hope this year's piece will do as well, and we are happy to do our part to contribute to the viability of art in Raleigh and beyond.

Display at Art of the Carolinas

CanvaSynergy II(enlarge to view details)