Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Danielle James

From the months of December to August if you happen to drive south over the run down St. Georges bridge crossing into what some would call “slower lower” Delaware you might notice a strange looking site on the side of Route 13. A large white old style farm silo that looks like it crawled out of the depths of hell sits silent waiting for the last weekend in September to emerge. Through the years it has been the recipient of many a facelift, including most recently a set of  flashing red eyes, but since 1996 this regional road side anomaly Frightland Haunted Attractions has been scaring the daylights out of its customers every Halloween season.

This was also the place I called home every October of my formative years. I worked in the “make-up trailer” every weekend from (6pm to 1am) turning some 200 seasonal employees into witches, zombies, ghouls and clowns to haunt the 1,300 acres that made up the Frightland compound. One of my best jobs was one of my first jobs and I realize now that this job offered me something at 17 years old that some people never experience in their entire lifetime. The feeling of being in love with what you do everyday. I will never have a job like it again and never feel the pride of making a grown man run away screaming in terror at the simple sound of of my clown bicycle horn.

In the summer months I would volunteer to work on updating the existing buildings and help to build new places for the next attraction to live. Sometimes I would be asked to use hundreds of donated books to create a hidden door library in what we called “Idealia Manor” or using a cherry picker (for the first time) go up 20 ft in the air to paint the stripes on the “circus tent” on the clown set that was part of the hayride. This place gave me purpose in my dreary high school life. My first opportunity to work with a diverse creative team to create a visual experience that was unique to that place. I was extremely proud to be able to contribute to what I was convinced (at the time) was the only cool thing in Delaware. Nowhere in the world is like Frightland. It is now 10 years later and I feel like I can still say that with one hundred percent certainty.

Every time I take one of my road trips I prefer to drive on non-interstate highway systems to absorb a bit more regional culture of the location I am traveling through (and to see less Cracker Barrels). I see hundreds of places that were once like Frightland. Dinosaur World in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, The Land of Oz in North Carolina, or Bushkill Park in Philadelphia. All of them once thriving unique whimsical business’s now quiet, but still standing with a patina of chipped paint, rust and time. For me these are places of inspiration and act as monuments to the people who dare to go through with a crazy dream. 

Hand sculpted concrete and chicken wire dinosaurs. A highly curated garden wonderland inspired by the Land of Oz (complete with yellow brick road). This is not your soulless franchised Dave and Busters entertainment, this has love attached and can only be experienced at one place in the whole world. I love everything about these places, right down to the hand painted menu boards at the snack stand. These locations encapsulate a specific type of commercial art (before tech) that grabbed hold of our collective imagination and never let go. The type of Willy Wonka business sense and creative stubbornness necessary to pull off a drive through dinosaur park in the Ozark Mountains is something I admire and believe is very important to conserving our regional history and identity as Americans.

It’s the haunted houses, the diners, and the UFO museums that compose the DNA of my America. In my jewelry series “Mile Marker” I create miniatures to commemorate these fading locations and the interactions I have there. Every person at each BBQ shack, juke joint, diner, hotel, and roadside attraction can provide an opportunity for a valuable exchange of lessons and these exchanges serve for me as a catalyst to make more work. I am afraid my generation is losing their adventurous spirit. My work attempts to connect to the human part of us to inspire people to turn off their GPS and pickup a road atlas.

Danielle James will present her work at the 2019 Yuma Art Symposium

See more about Danielle's work HERE

See more about the 2019 Yuma Art Symposium HERE 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Sydney Scherr

Mohan’s Chariot: A Journey into Divine Creativity

I want to thank the Presentation Committee for selecting “Mohan’s Chariot: A Journey into Divine Creativity” for this years Yuma Symposium. It is an honor to introduce your audience to the extraordinary history, and experience, of the chariot maker. 

In the Hindu religion chariots are used as traveling temples, called temple cars, that are used to bring temple festivals and prayer to the community when the community members are unable to find their way to the temple. Chariots are made with a sense of reverence and devotion that is breathtaking to see and feel: it is considered a blessing to work on a chariot and I now know this is true.

I was invited to join a team of silversmiths from Tamil Nadu, India, to participate in the creation of a chariot for Sri Ganesar Alayam, a Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I am the only women in the world to have been given this honor as this is a specifically male creation made by those who have learned this ancient art at the feet of their fathers and grandfathers.

In addition to being a chariot maker, I documented the process of creating this splendid moving temple that is 22 feet tall, weighs over 1 ton of silver and is comprised of many thousands of chased and repoussed silver panels, 7000 hand made silver nails and 102 large enamels. It is the only chariot in the world adorned with enamels, and these were my contribution to this remarkable rolling temple. To witness and participate in this creation, and the lively environment where it was made, is to enjoy the embrace of a community of metalsmiths so rich in similarities yet distinctly culturally unique. This journey is not only in recognition of the historical and spiritual depth found in Mohan’s studios, this journey describes a familiar thread that engages all creative individuals. It is the intuitive connection to work and working that compels us as artists

Sydney Scherr will present at Yuma Art Symposium 2019

See more about Sydney's work HERE

See more about Yuma Art Symposium HERE

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Karen Jilly

It is truly an honor to have been selected as a Yuma Arts Symposium presenter. For approximately 30 years, I have been making paintings, drawings, and prints of the contemporary urban landscape.

Being a native of Los Angeles, cityscapes hold a special kind of beauty for me which require embracing all aspects of them: from the gritty to the refined. Within my pieces, I try to portray feelings such as hope, struggle, grace, fragility, and strength, so that my work becomes a metaphor for life and all that it encompasses.
I use the complexity of architectural elements, often in the form of freeway columns, telephone poles, and construction scaffolding, to provide structure and stability.  Barbed wire, hazard signs, and traffic cones depict ideas of strife and despair, while exaggerated perspectives create psychological tension.  In contrast to the darker elements, the use of backlighting represents hope and dreams. While all of my works are devoid of human figures, many contain house or roof shapes that symbolize a life within the landscape.

Home, Mixed Media with Varnish on Paper, 48 x 72 inches, 2015

City of Angels V, Charcoal on Paper, 38 x 52 inches, 1991

Pacific Coast Highway V, Oil on Paper, 30 x 42 inches, 1991

Watch, Trip, Crash, Soar, Oil on Wood Panel, 72 x 96 inches, 2005

In addition to an overview of selected images from my career, my presentation will feature a time-lapse sequence covering the six-month evolution of my painting entitled Nest, from its inception to its completion. 

The series of images will encompass the good, the bad, the ugly, the cussing, the distress, the obliteration, and the final rectification.  This sneak peek into my mindset while working, will also cover some of my influences, as well as a couple of cool tricks that I use to draw perspective.

Nest, Acrylic on Wood Panel, 48 x 48 inches, 2018

In 2001, Master Printer (and past Yuma Arts Presenter!), John Armstrong, introduced me to the Dremel Tool as an etching drill for use on monoprint plates.  I began transferring this activity to other surfaces.

I will conclude my presentation with a Dremel Tool demonstration, not only as a technique for etching printmaking plates, but also as a drawing device, both additive and subtractive.  The below images all contain different examples of Dremel tool use.

Footnote, Power Tool engraved Monoprint, image 21 x 13 ½ inches on 30 x 22 paper, 2002

On The Drive II, 15 x 10 inches, 2001

Misfit, Mixed Media on Paper, 33 x 60 inches, 2003

See more information on Karen Jilly  HERE

See more information on Yuma Art Symposium  HERE 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Wesley Anderegg

Yuma Symposium 2019

“ Choices”

Some good, Some Bad.

After 35 years of being an artist I can look back and see where certain choices I made led me. At the time they just seemed like the thing to do, but looking back I am glad I made  some of them and others not too much. 

At the Symposium I plan on doing a hand building demo “probably a small dog” and talk about some of the more significant choices I made as well as showing some hand building techniques.

Wesley Anderegg will present his work at the 40th annual Yuma Art Symposium February 2019 

For more information about Wesley Anderegg please see his webpage HERE 

For more information about the Yuma Art Symposium please see the webpage HERE

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Barbara Downs

I’m thrilled to be a presenter at the 40th Yuma Symposium in February 2019.  I will be discussing my interest in bridging the divide between 2D and 3D, and how I’ve migrated from one to the other (and back and forth again, and again, and again…).

In the 80s and 90s I worked as a draftsperson, back in the days of pencil and paper and t-squares.  At the time, I tried to isolate my studio work from my drafting work.  Now that I’ve had some distance from that job, I’ve begun to appreciate the inherent drafting “brain-wiring” that I acquired and to take advantage of it in my studio work.  It’s become apparent to me how much both my 2D and 3D work owe to my drafting background.

Iceland Island 4 

   Untitled Barn 2

In my presentation, I’ll be talking about this, and about working in mixed-media and multiple mediums, how I think about 2D versus 3D work, and also about the personal origin of my ideas and how a series may develop.

Artifacts 3

Artifacts 4

Artifacts 2

Much of my recent work is based on the Icelandic landscape, a place that I have grown to know and love over the past few years.  That landscape has both a strong visual pull and a strong personal attachment for me, and I will discuss both how and why I do this particular work.

Making My Own Paradise

Making My Own Paradise - Detail

Making My Own Paradise -  Detail

Talisman 8

Barbara working on drawing

Barbara Downs will speak at this year's Yuma Art Symposium in February 2019
For more information on Barbara's work please see her webpage HERE
For more information on Yuma Art Symposium please see webpage HERE

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Dukno Yoon

I am honored and excited to participate in the YUMA Symposium 2018 as one of the presenters. 
My artistic journey started from a fascination with machine and has been an exploration of mechanism for its purely minimal form and vitality from interactive movements. 
In my main kinetic work series “Wings,” I place a pair of feathers on the tip of the finger or on the top of a metronome pendulum. The feathers are devised to flap as the wearer bends the finger or the metronome ticks. Mechanically constrained, fragile feathered wings come to life and resonate with wearers and viewers. They are intriguing and whimsical, yet evoke sympathy as if holding a fragile life in your hand or reflecting on a life in the mechanized world.
The presentation will also include other projects including collaboration with costume designers for television shows in Korea, for which I created various metal props. Also, I will share how digital processes have evolved my design and studio practices.

Youtube video links:

See Dukno Yoon's Website HERE

Monday, February 5, 2018

Chris Leonard

Hard Luck and hard Candy is the name of …the game.  Shoot.  Bang.  In essence this is a reflection upon my station in the American Dreaming.  Right here right now. Maybe I should wake up.  When I made the proposal a year ago I may have stepped in it.  Did I exercise any wisdom or foresight?  Actions and reactions.  What seemed like a good idea at the time has become:  The All American City Kid Passes Judgment.  The two definitions for judgment offer a whole lot of ground that should be organized could be covered. 

Judgment –
·       the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions:"an error of judgment"synonyms:discernmentacumen, shrewdness, astuteness, sense, ... more
·       misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment:"the crash had been a judgment on the parents for wickedness"
Make enough sense to keep filling a leaking glass (metaphorically speaking…a dog that needs to be walked/a lawn that needs to be mowed/another teachable preachable moment in time) ALL THE WAY TO OVERFLOWING in a sea of mixed messages and multicultural…madness would be alliterative but impolite…mayhem, same…REALITY is the name of this game.  I am taking aim at some challenges and art heroes in order to balance my checkbook and manufacture harmony with disharmony with additional efforts to fuse the political furor and energy of early Peter Saul with the classic form follows function of Mingei-sotaed/functional pots of Warren Mackenzie. 
Who and What, as far as standard operating procedure goes:
Peter Saul:  The ICE BOX!  A container for politics filtered through psychology or is it the other way around?
Warren Mackenzie:  The unabashed/unassuming or solid straightforward all pot all day/any time is function time with eight glazes, stoneware and gas fired reduction.
Chris Leonard:  The cat, the dog (particularly the Fu Manchued Fomo), Santa Claus (with a cigarette), The Jimbird, a Large Lunker or two in and on clay/canvas/paper with a general sense of careening out of control in some sort of hodge podge collage.

Living in a border region here in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley in the All American City of McAllen in the now/the troubled times of the early twentieth century I find both great similarities and also some distracting differences when compared to my native Midwestern home base of Ankeny/and the nine time All American City of Des Moines, Iowa (We are in the lower Midwest here in the RGV says me), I am a slow singles hitter that may have developed a taste for the home run. Several fellow artists within my geographical region and circle of influence insist that art must be engaged in political commentary specific to our current time and place or it all falls apart into decorative fluff stuff that may as well have been shaped by and in Denton or Des Moines or Detroit…Let’s go!
Two artists spoke of the border region in Texas during very well presented talks last year.  Photographers Liz Cohen with  Canals, Cars, Bikinis and Rags and Colin Blakely’s Disrupted Views tied their work and ideas to the open space and natural beauty of the Big Bend region way the heck up the river about 700 miles from us down at the tip of Texas where the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico.  I hoped to find some romance, sweet or bittersweet, here, too in the lower Rio Grande Valley.  Cohen, who does a variety of complex combinations through “work that is interdisciplinary, bringing together inquiry in women’s studies, literature, poetry, and auto mechanics as well as expertise in documentary photography”.  Cohen’s  documentation of the creation process  in making an  effectively powerful and attractively cool 1973  El Camino-ish ride from an economically inefficient economy oriented 1987 East German Trabant was several flavors of amazing.  Promising much and delivering….what?  Who has that much time and money and hard working get up and go?  Why would anyone try to combine a low rider with a bare bones beast of burden?  Why would anybody wish to see what happens when you put peanut butter on your grilled cheese or mix the excess of Peter Saul with the restrained of Warren Mackenzie?  Will it taste good or be a bitter lesson?  I already drive a 99 Tacoma which has the muscle, economy, and promised effectiveness of both the El Camino and Trabant, though it is not particularly cool.  Or is it?   I just drove it off the lot almost twelve years ago, made forty eight painful payments of $325.00 and now need to quit dreaming and make purposeful art, not reposition my skills in the creation of that segment of the four wheeled American Dream.  I can’t fit into a bikini and the car culture attraction seems to blink in and out intermittently of my psyche but what a transformative concept.   And transformation is part of my American Dream.  Dreaming is a big part of what I do, but what exactly will I do?  Blakely didn’t step into social commentary, he escaped into the majesty of nature, another type of transformational force.  Ramping up the documentation of these forces beyond our control, he tied his work and ideas to painters with Photoshop enhancement skills, Albert  Bierstadt and Thomas Cole.  Drama!  Nature does directly tie to beauty and majesty, and if we tie into the American Spirit shouldn’t we take a bite or two out of that apple AND TRY TO CONTROL or USE the forces of nature  FOR GROWTH OR PROFIT because we can?  What is the purpose of social commentary?  What can it do? Pleasure seems to have to take a back seat while serious art provides more than encouragement to…act…escape…think…all of the above…Do I need a mission statement?  What would/will the end result be?  Where can I fit in and what visuals, functionally useful or not, accomplish the most in the short or long run? 
To summarize the rambling rumbling in my brain and varied creations I am involved with right about now:  My value to the institution where I am employed to teach several variations of art (appreciation in addition to some ceramic action, where by definition APPRECIATION means to EVALUATE something FAVORABLY) has me present art based upon specific roles/platforms that the artist fills for which I have crafted the following mnemonic device:  World Record For Valentine…Artists allow us to SEE the WORLD as the artist sees it/See the world through others’ eyes.  Artists RECORD people, places and events from the artist’s time.  Artists make FUNCTIONAL items more pleasurable and meaningful and in turn make life more pleasurable and meaningful.  Artists give VISIBLE FORM to the immaterial---feelings, the spiritual/metaphysical realm, and universal truths (whatever they might be because that stuff always seems to be shape shifting and fairly fluid, possible controlled by those in POWER!)  So I’m going to Power through with Plan A, stick stuff together in pursuit of a dream like state and that is to make a set of bodacious bottles that borrow and blend each of these roles.  We should see collaged conglomerations with lots of peanut butter and cheese and hard luck and hard candy.  These bottles, though perforated, shouldn’t be empty; in fact, they can fill you up with what you NEED.  And if that lines up with what you WANT, so be it….

Working title:
Part 1.
 Eleventeen Eight Legged Jake Legged Borderline Feel Like I’m Going To Lose My Mind Your Own Businessers (Bomb Pups/ Aquel sonido espantoso me hel√≥ la sangre en las venas)
Part 2.
Until the Twelfth of Never Man (XOLOYOLO)

Parts 3 and 4 ---With a little eye candy for the wall, too, fragments that have not been stitched together, they’ve been cemented into thrift store frames…I want it all but will most likely need to choose between…

(Not in My) Backyard Blues A
Moody Blue
How Now Brown Meow (Cat on a Hot Tile Roof/And he ain’t coming down soon.)
Tell Me Am I Getting Thru

(Not in My) Backyard Blues B
Into the Great Wide Open
Upside Down/Boy You Turn Me
Unlimited FOMOing