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Fort Point Open Studios - Discovering the Artists and their Art


More than 150 (Over 50%) of the artists, crafts people, and designers living and working in Fort Point participated in the open studios 2012. 
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 immersion.

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.


Fort Point Open Studios 2012 Fort Point Open Studios 2012


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 pieces 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     

Encaustic art
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 pigment. 

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.

Found art
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.

Canada
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.

Ghana
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.

Dripped painting
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. 

Graphics
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.

Silver Jewelry
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

Fort Point Open Studios 2012 Fort Point Open Studios 2012

Fort Point Open Studios 2012

Fort Point Open Studios 2012 Fort Point Open Studios 2012

Fort Point Open Studios 2012

Fort Point Open Studios 2012 Fort Point Open Studios 2012

Fort Point Open Studios 2012 Fort Point Open Studios 2012

Fort Point Open Studios 2012 Fort Point Open Studios 2012

Fort Point Open Studios 2012 Fort Point Open Studios 2012


Fort Point Open Studios 2012 Fort Point Open Studios 2012 Fort Point Open Studios 2012

Fort Point Open Studios 2012 Fort Point Open Studios 2012

Posted: October 21 2012     Nancy J Conrad




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