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