Sunday, April 29, 2007

Could it be? yes! Another artomatic post

Artomatic 2007  

Was at Artomatic this afternoon for a couple of hours. Town Hall Meeting (for the participants) plus there was an Art Market on the 8th floor. I managed to attend the meeting, get lots of information, and then wander the Market and hand over $100 for art goodies. I had to leave then, I was out of cash!

Before all of that though I was in my room putting in some much needed additional lighting. The Office Space florescent aren't exactly the best for viewing art anyway and the ones in my room are dying off one by one. A rule of the space is that we aren't allowed to do anything with the ceiling so one has to get creative when adding any lighting. (Don't even get me started on the crazy electrical issues). But I also have the added problem of not wanting to do any damage to the wall itself - nor can I just add a couple of floor lamps for those will block the wall.

Yeah Ikea! They have a solution for everything. Quite a few artists strung halogen spotlights from Ikea in their space which look great but I'm not confident enough with my skills at installing something like that and my electrician is unavailable to assist me. And while the kids are a big help... well, wiring and stringing electrical cords is probably a bit much to ask of a 6-year old.

Anyway - I had my camera with me today but totally forget to take a photo with the new lights. But Dan Rosenstein ( was on site wandering around with his camera and he took one for me. Fish eye too - Malcolm will like that. (thanks Dan!)

This FRIDAY Night is Meet the Artists Night at Artomatic. The majority of participating artists will be on hand in their spaces to talk to you and tell you everything you ever wanted to know about their work. And they'll probably offer you a glass of wine for your troubles. Maybe even some cheese. I'll be there from 6-9 pm with a couple bottles of Gew├╝rztraminer and Sauvignon blanc to share. 6B40 - please come by and say hello!

Take heed, they mean business!

my "Top Ten" for artomatic

The Artomatic website has a "picks" section where you can make a list of your favorite works. I can do it, you can do it, anybody can do it. And you can read everyone else's - which is cool because you will find things that you might have missed and make note to go back and see those.

However the interface isn't exactly what I'd call ideal - through no fault of its own but because quite a few artists (myself included) haven't uploaded artwork to their catalog entry. (I have a photo of my space so you know it's me but with everything of mine posted here I didn't see the point in doing it all again. I mean, haven't we seen that all enough?)

Big Artist Pet Peeve - what the hell is it with artists and websites? Christ, it's the 21st century, get thee to a web designer and FTP that sucker now! Ouch!

I've come across rooms of art where
  1. no name or business cards anywhere I could find. I liked the art, would like to let the artist know this but I can't contact them.
  2. The artist does leave a business card with an email address.... THAT BOUNCES! Giving me incorrect information is worse than giving me no information.
  3. The url on the business card (if they bother to include it) either doesn't work/404/expired or is "UNDER CONSTRUCTION" with no other information. Tease. Buying a domain name does not entitle you to say you have a website.

I was really thinking I was overdoing it with my multiple promotional items but I'd really rather get a lot from an artist than nothing at all.

Now, without further ado, my Top Ten List.... of 17 artists :)

Michael Janis - Glass
Space: 6th floor Red 6A01

Alison Sigethy - Glass
Home page:
Space: 6th floor Yellow 6A17

Geoff Ault - Photography
Space: 6th floor Red 6D11

Kim Reyes - Mixed media
Space: 6th Floor Red 6D03

Sergio OlivosM - MixedMedia
Space: 6th floor Blue 6A48

Anne Benolken - 3-D Standalone
Space: 8th floor Orange 8D13

Bernard Willis - Photography
Home page:
Space: 6th floor - in a hallway, towards the Ants... keep looking

Jesse Thomas
Home page:
Space: 6th floor Blue 6Y02

Lynn Putney - Painting
Space: 6th floor Red 6A11

Elizabeth Lundberg Morisette - 3-D Standalone
Home page:
Space: 6th floor Red 6R01
(macro detail)

Pat Goslee - Painting
Home page:
Space: 6th floor Red 6A11

Tim Hayes - Photography
Home page:
Space: 6th floor Blue 6Y05

Scott Davis - Photography
Home page:
Space: 6th floor Blue 6A55

Raju Singh - Photography
Home page:
Space: 6th floor Blue 6C31

William Winton - Mixed Media
Space: 6th floor Yellow 6A39

Gabriel Thy - Painting
Home page:
Space: 6th floor Blue 6A43

Laurel Lukaszewski - Installation (ceramic)
Space: 8th floor Green 8B03

Eileen Colton - B&W Photography
Space: 8th floor, Green 8C07

(no photo yet - but she is showing B&W concert photographs
from the 70s. The Clash, Devo, Talking Heads, The Ramones,
Patti Smith - wonderful stuff!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

photo update

(something besides artomatic for a change)

Frying Pan Park
Field trip with three classes of kindergartners to Frying Pan Park in Fairfax, VA. Baby farm animals galore! And while we didn't get to milk a real cow we have a standing date to return so my kids will get a crack at it. Interesting little place - a very small farm located in an area that not too long ago was all farms and is now surrounded by McMansions. Must be somewhat surreal to go pick up your morning paper from your driveway and get to call out greetings to the cows across the street.

The new batch of a dozen piglets were kept warm under heat lamps. Insert your own bacon joke here.
Frying Pan Park
The lambs were really cute. The sheep needed some serious shearing. Or a bath. Maybe a little conditioner.

Frying Pan Park
When we adopted Bonnie and Clyde we couldn't imagine any dog could be more affectionate than either of these two. Then Daisy came along. Not only will she lick you to death (while not officially proven yet it is only a matter of time) but she's affectionate with the other dogs as well. She and Bonnie are the ones usually curled up together (on my bed, Ah hem.) but here I caught Clyde snuggling with her. Strange quality photo due to the damaged processor in my little powershot. It does provide interesting affects to photos but sometimes you have to smack it (repeatedly) to get it take a photo at all.
Clyde and Daisy

I couldn't imagine a more uncomfortable place for Clyde - Mr. You Gonna Finish That? - to try to take a nap. He's squeezed onto the bench catching some rays - if he dare moves he'll fall off the thing. He obviously doesn't realize how big he has grown. I suspect that his check-up will involve a conversation with "What ARE you feeding him??" and talk of diet food for the large beastie. Owning four dogs and having one on a special diet will be interesting. Guess that means no more Klondike bars for the hounds.

Tis allergy season - well, Spring Allergy Season - for the DC area. Technically I don't think we are ever out of allergy season, there is always SOMETHING in the air setting off the sinuses and having us lined up for the contraband Sudafed. And while the weather finally seems to agree with Mother Nature (i.e.: no more snowing on flowers) I'm not enjoying the beautiful days as much as I'd like because I can't friggin BREATHE. And I haven't found the right balance of allergy meds that will allow for an open airway without transforming me into a spaced-out zombie. For while breathing is rather important and I do appreciate the easy exchange of air it doesn't do me a whole lot of good if I'm too dizzy to drive or am spending the majority of my time sound asleep. Drowsy and Dizzy, that's me.

It wouldn't be so bad if the allergy meds resolved all the allergy symptoms but neither Duncan nor myself have breathed through our noses for at least three weeks. So while we can get doped up enough to function nothing we have tried returns us to a normal state. We sound like the nasal passages are stuffed with cotton no matter what pharmaceutical cocktail we are currently prescribed.

Which sucks - because time outside or working with the doors open is wonderful but I end up regretting it when my mucus production cranks up to astronomical proportions that threaten to make my head assplode.

And we haven't even gotten into the pollen season yet. Wheeee.

Spring means puppies too. This is Bobby Lee - rescued and already adopted but demanding of photographic evidence of his absolute cuteness. This is one spunky pup - especially that he's a three-legged critter. He moves so fast I'd be afraid to see him with four legs - he'd be a right holy terror. It certainly doesn't slow him down at all.

I'm trying to take photos of a dog going up for adoption and this little hound was demanding an audience. Daisy came with me today and it was amusing to see how she - just with us one year now and probably about 16 months old - was not amused by the tiny puppy wanting to PLAY. It wasn't very long ago when she was the annoying pup climbing over the bigger older dogs demanding attention.

How could you look at that face and refuse?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Documenting Artomatic

Last Tuesday I worked the morning shift at Artomatic - and before I left for the day I made the rounds with my camera to try to document all of the Brash poems I could find.

Brash is an anonymous poet that leaves a single poem for an artist inspired by their art. Not for every artist, just the select, lucky few. So far I have found 25 poems. When I went back on Friday night quite a few of those had been removed so I'm glad I got them when I did.

See the poems and the artwork that inspired them here on Flickr.

Friday night my goal was to document the different ways the artists had personalized their spaces. After two hours and less than half of the 6th floor I called it quits. It seems when one starts really looking there are very few participants that went with the plain white wall look. I've started putting artist names with the photos but it is taking quite awhile. It seems the more time I spend at Artomatic the more I find, it's like I'm not making any progress. My head assplode. Art overload. Argh!

And I really have no idea how some bloggers are unable to find only ten artists to fill out a Top Ten Artomatic list. Maybe I'm too easy or maybe they are too pretentious but the deeper I dig the more I find. I'll need a Top Ten Painters, a Top Ten Glass, top Ten Sculpture, Top Ten Photographers... etc etc. One visit is not going to be enough for anyone to spend the required time to pick favorites - there are just too many artists, too many spaces, and too much art. This is a full-time job.

With that said I'm taking the next few days off. I've got a couple more shifts still to work, and a couple more events to attend before this is all over. Perhaps that will give me enough time to properly explore each installation.

Photos of Art and spaces from Artomatic

To get an idea of the size of Artomatic check out this interactive map of the space - note that the event fills the 6th and 8th floors. Each room can have between two and five artists depending on the type of art and the size of the space. I'd say that the rooms on the outside (with windows) generally have two artists while the inside rooms (with more walls) have three or four in each room.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

some initial thoughts on Artomatic

The opening night of Artomatic went very well - over 3,500 people came out. I worked the event that day from 9:30 am to help out with the press conference (which was fun but tiring) and stayed until about 9:30 pm when my feet made me call it quits. Despite changing from my high-heel pointy boots into the rough and tumble converse hi-tops the concrete floors and standing all day took its toll.

Got to see and chat with Lenny at the Press conference - haven't seen him in ages, he seems his usual jovial self and he gave me some advice about my work which is always appreciated and helpful. He introduced me to Tim Tate and I was very impressed with his down-to-earth demeanor and instantly liked him. I've seen his glasswork for (what seems like) years now at the Fraser Gallery and online, it was really nice to put a face with the art.

Frank Warren from Post Secret is also a super nice guy, very humble and unassuming. We chatted quite a bit about the Post Secret project while he was installing his room and for all of his success he is anything but pretentious. For someone with so much press he's just a normal guy.

I've made the rounds through the two floors a few times now but still feel like I haven't seen everything. There are too many photos posted to the Artomatic Flickr group that make me remark "I missed that, must go back and find it!" Yesterday after my volunteer shift was over I wandered through all the spaces documenting the poems left behind by Brash - an anonymous fixture of Artomatic. She leaves poems she has written inspired by the artwork. I found 25 so far, I'll keep my eye out to see if she writes anymore.

I still need to make more trips to:

1) Document the various style of rooms. I want to photograph all the different ways that artists chose to display their work. While there are too many walls (in my opinion) that weren't even painted white (they still show the signs and scuffmarks of being an office wall) there are many rooms that showcase the creativity of the artists residing there.

2) Complete a Top Ten list. This seems to be almost impossible. Limiting it to ten that is. There are the photographers that I like, then there are some painters, a couple of sculptors that really stand out, as well as artists where the whole package is great (wall design as well as art) and then entire rooms as a collaborative effort is exemplary. Very difficult to narrow it down.

I am making a point of contacting the artists whose work I find to be interesting or inspiring. I know I really appreciate any feedback so I'm trying to give some too.

The works of Photographer Barry Schmetter, Alison Duvall, Shannon Chester, and Bernard Willis all made me stop and take their cards. Barry is on the 8th floor and I really love his handling of light and color. Alison has a series of Polaroid emulsion lifts which are really beautiful, Shannon has black and white prints of nudes that have a very dream-like quality to them, and a couple of the B&W nudes by Bernard have me seriously jealous.

Then there are the concert B&W photography by Eileen Colton which are just amazing. I'm buying at least one, maybe two. It is hard to decide which. I think I've narrowed it down to the Clash group photo and the one of Joey Ramone though The Lawyer is quite partial to the Patti Smith photos.

The room of Phil Nesmith and Jennifer Foley is beautifully done but I need to go back and spend more time looking at their actual work. There are quite a few other photographers on the 6th floor that I need to revisit.

I really like the work of sculptor Kim Reyes. I love the reflection photograph by Christopher Chen - that's one I wish I had made. And the flower series by Geoff Ault are so beautiful and delicate...

See, that's 10 right there without even getting to the painters.

While there are rooms of "art" where I question the use of that term there are also many many rooms of really great work. I'm surprised by how much quality work I am finding. I was expecting more of a rag-tag show but there is some really good stuff on display here. And with somewhere between 400 and 600 artists involved there will be something that you like. It is just taking the time to go through the entire space to find it that is the issue.

Big pet peeve: artists that do not display contact information, have cards out or urls for more information. And what is it with artists and websites? In this day and age it is really a crime to not have an online portfolio, there is no excuse.

Check out the Flickr set for photos from Artomatic. Updated as often as I can.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


There can be no god or justice in a world where the passing of a brilliant mind like Kurt Vonnegut is already off the news feed and yet the insipid and waste of space Anna Nicole Smith fiasco continues to make headlines.

It just ain't right.

Craig pointed out a quote of Vonnegut's that epitomized his power to take our feelings (at least "ours" meaning his and mine) and put them into razor sharp words. To say it better than anything we could come up with.

I agreed and thought it worthy of repeating.

Cold Turkey, published May 12, 2004 in
In These Times.

"But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Installation = Complete

Room 6B40

This is BEFORE

Lovely, isn't it? Typical government office space.

Though I am really curious as to what happened to that carpet.

Looks like they had a HUGE coffee
accident. Or it's a crime scene they never cleaned up. Either way = Ick.

Here is DURING

That's Nate from FastSigns installing my wall mural made from a photoshop image I gave him. He hooked me bigtime up so props out to him!

And here is AFTER

We are all done. (and there was much rejoicing.)

Well, we have to be done because the Opening is tomorrow and last night was the deadline for finishing installation. Today is general clean up and prep - getting ready to present the show to the Press Friday morning and then open to the public at 3 p.m.

Mal Jones is the painter with the fish wall, and the other wall is another photographer - Camille Mosley-Pasley - who is showing a series of B&W portraits.

I'm pleased with how it turned out, I like our space. Having another week would have been great to work on things like lighting (we weren't allowed to do anything with the ceiling and there were crazy and constantly changing rules about electrical cords and outlets which made adding additional lighting a bit of a nightmare) and putting in some real carpet... but overall I am happy with what I did and really impressed by the other spaces.

You MUST come see this show.

More photos of the room can be seen at Flickr - Artomatic 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

artomatic... artomatic... artomatic.. is almost here!

Tomorrow will be my final day of installation. Judging by how many spaces were still blank today I'm not going to be the only one working right up to the deadline. I believe (as I go over my list) I've got all the pieces I need for my room, I just need to put them in place.

I was out of town last week and since I returned I have been living and breathing ARTOMATIC. Matting, framing, printing, assembling, copying, painting, nailing... and lots of shopping. Boy, lots of shopping. Home Depot now rivals B&H for top number of entries in my checking account.

(iow: haven't been reading email, or surfing, or doing much of anything save for getting organized for this show. Talk to me next week, I should be more coherent then.)

Opening Day/Night should be wild - but there are also events happening just about every night that the show is open. So if you can't make it down this Friday you will have plenty of other opportunities to see the art as well as experience the event.

I'm really impressed by a lot of the artwork I am seeing throughout the site. (We have the entire 6th and 8th floors). People are spending a serious amount time and effort to make their space something unique. It is coming together well. I'm really excited about seeing it as a whole when everyone is finished with their individual part.

And I think... perhaps, maybe... I'm going to get to bed tonight before 2 am! I think I'm done! Tomorrow is going to be jam packed and I expect to be on site all day and maybe till they kick me out at closing time ... but as of right now I've done all I can do from here and can get some sleep! Wheee! Let's here is for more than 5 hours! Yeah!

Artomatic. Opens this Friday the 13th at 3pm. Located in the old Patent & Trademark Building in Crystal City. Over 600 artists. Closes May 20th.