More than 150 (Over 50%) of the artists, crafts people, and designers living and
working in Fort Point participated in the open studios
In addition to open galleries, performances and participatory art
projects, the extensive number of open studios/residences and
businesses provided visitors an opportunity for several days of in-depth art
With free parking, easy access to public transportation, and all
of the buildings in walking distance, the four-point open studios
offered an urban friendly environment for meeting artists, being
stimulated by art and art ideas and, of course, purchasing the artwork.
For the Fort Point artists, their living and studio space are under one
roof. So participating in Open Studios is potentially
"risky." Yet the artist's implicit open door into their home
space, with the kitchen and fridge and bedroom so visibly a part of the
artist's milieu, was also an invitation to feel comfortable about
asking questions. What does your art mean to you? How do
you approach a new piece? What
techniques do you use? And many questions about how specific
came to be.
On Saturday, October 20, 2012, this writer and two artistic friends
spent the afternoon at 300 Summer St. and the 249 A Street
Cooperative. The three women expressed distinctly different artistic
preferences, yet each person found no problem discovering artwork they liked
because the breadth of artistic offerings in the arts community is impressive: inlaid wood
sculptures, black and white photography, abstract forms and
combinations giving a rustic and antique effect, encaustic painting,
photos that looked like paintings, fine wire jewelry, tiny sketches, found object art and many oils and acrylics.
For this author, both the quality of the art and the artists' stories
are what made the afternoon memorable. Note that artist names are
not included below as the focus is on the Open Studios experience, not
on the promotion of specific artists.
Stories from Open Studios
|Also known as wax
art, encaustic painting has been in existence since at least the fifth
century BCE. One of the artists provided a demonstration of how
she approaches the encaustic process. To her left was an electric
skillet with a half inch of molten bees wax. She was scraping a
thick layer of paint pigment from the surface of newsprint and adding
it to the bees wax. The newsprint had been used to absorb the oil
from the paint, while the bees wax, also an oil-based product, was used
to serve as an alternate application medium for the paint
What was especially interesting was that her demonstration was an
experiment, of the sort that permeates her artistic endeavors and it
failed. What we got to see was her attitude about her art.
The "failure" provided the information she needed ("I should have ...")
to try again until she succeeded.
|Calmly seated on the
couch in his living room, the artist tells stories about his art.
"Art," he said, "is created from the limitations you set for
yourself." One day he decided to create a collage from items he
found that could fit in the palm of his hand. Yet, even that
limitation he challenged as he found larger grill patterns that could
provide connective structure to the collage. All objects were
held to a mounting matrix with wire. Colorful, dense and thick,
the collage was engaging. How had the objects been lost?
What was their journey back to found again.
|Visitors Michael and
Sheila Kalm, who are from Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada met an
artist quite by chance at dinner the night before (Fri night) and when
we entered the artist's studio, the Canadian couple were both seated in
comfortable conversation with her. Sheila agreed with us that her
husband's visage was remarkably photogenic, a work of art on its own
and she proudly displayed her artistic shoes, a type she collects and
has several (many) pairs of. (see photos below). Both agreed to
pose (face and feet) for photos.
|An artist who
specialized in sculpture, much of it related to boats and oceans,
talked about how his time spent in the Peace Corps in Ghana so strongly
influences his work. "Go over to that boat," he said, "on the
shelf over there. Look inside." Delicately drawn on the
inside of the boat were drawings of slaves from Ghana chained to the
boat in their enforced journey out of Africa.
|An artist whose
current series focuses on layers of dripped paint described how she
layers and spaces the paint colors to create depth, allowing certain
colors to "come through" as though they were peaking out.
|An artist who
generates brightly colored graphical images talked about how working in
television influenced her choice of colors and the vibrancy of her
artwork. Her work consists of finding images she likes, then
using that as a base, creating new images using Photoshop which she
prints and mounts.
|Extraordinary is the
term for the works of art this artist creates to be worn dangling from
your ears or on the surface of your body. After first shaping
long coils of hollow metal, she cuts the metal using various saws,
connects the pieces into necklaces, bracelets and earrings and
completes the process with polishing.
FPAC's future events include their annual Holiday Sale, Dec 14-15, a
Spring Art Walk and a year's worth of gallery exhibits. For more
information, visit their website: http://www.fortpointarts.org
|Posted: October 21 2012
Nancy J Conrad