I remember not having a plan for 2010. I started the year knowing I just wanted to focus on my work, whatever that meant.
In 2010, I curated and facilitated a number of exhibitions for the Fayetteville Underground. This was a challenging and exhilarating experience. The first of those exhibitions being Pedigree from Hot Springs, Arkansas. I loved that show so much. I remember spending a ton of time in the Revolver gallery the whole month of January just looking at Michael Shaeffer and Christopher Baber's work. I will always look back at that time fondly and with a sense of pride. I hope the artists will as well.
2010 also found me immersed in photography as well as painting, and I had the thrill of two of my photographs being used for the inside cover of Wade Ogle's CD, Lovers and Fighters. I am also excited to have had my photography used for the cover of Melanie McDonald's upcoming novel, Eromenos to be released in March 2011.
I had four pieces in a small and miniature works show that was held over until the end of January 2010 at the Aaron gallery in Washington D.C. The show was reviewed in a D.C. art blog, and I was thrilled when my work was mentioned in the write up. I recall how pleased I was that my work was sought after by the gallery and it was my first showing in Washington D.C.
In January of 2010 the white series was born as well. This will possibly prove to be one of the most exciting developments of 2010.
There were several public speaking gigs in 2010 either about my art, the Fayetteville Underground, the shows I curated, or marketing art in general. I gave a lecture to the Boston Mountain Potters Association, on ways to successfully market ones art. I also gave the talk Art Collecting 101: The Thrill of Original Art at the Revolver gallery. I also gave a 2 hour lecture/tour for students of The Osher Institute . The course was called Artful Spaces: A visit to the Fayetteville Underground. It was a large group of very receptive students, many of which just happened to be my teachers from elementary and junior high school. I remember feeling nervous about the role reversal and I remember how good I felt after I gave the tour. In July I gave an art talk about Institute du Loop's exhibition and in August I spoke about the photography of Christian Demare. In September I lead another lecture/tour for the students of the Osher Institute. In November I gave an informal lecture about my work to a group of university students studying with artist Cindy Wiseman. Speaking about art is something I really enjoy doing, and I hope I have many more opportunities to give these talks in the future.
I mailed off a small work on paper from my Etsy shop to Finland. I had never sent anything to Finland before, so that was a thrill. Thanks to my etsy shop ArtMaven, my work has been collected in Canada, England, The Netherlands, Australia, France, and Scotland as well as all across the United States. 2010 also saw less Etsy work created and sold, simply due to the fact that I was so busy with the white series and all the other work I was doing.
By the end of January, I previewed the first three paintings in the new white series on my blog and the feedback there and on facebook was off the charts- I am so happy I took that perceived risk (there is a lesson in this somewhere). By the second week of February I debuted the first eight pages of the ten page Manual for Living and started to solidify the concepts behind this book of stills. I remember being very inspired and working full tilt as I dove into the white series and didn't hold back. I completed The Manual by the third week of February and finish two more new white series paintings as well. This was a very exciting time for me as an artist.
By the end of February/beginning of March, I paint Sometimes, which for me, is a break through painting in the series. I remember being concerned that I could have pushed it further, but I held back and I am so glad I did. Sometimes, still receives many comments when it is viewed. I will always remember jumping up in down in front of my easel as it was completed as well as the initial feedback this painting received from my studio mates near and far.
By the first week in March there were seven paintings in the new white series and I was still jelling the ideas behind the Manual for Living. Going to the studio everyday was a thrill and I hadn't felt that inspired since art school. During all this time, there was much Underground work being done, as well as showing and selling of my colored paintings. There were a few times while working on the white series that I got temporarily sidetracked or had to take a break to refuel before I could continue. Part of the refueling, was a trip to Picher, Oklahoma to take photographs of this lead poisoned ghost town. It was an experience I will never forget.
In April, the Fayetteville Underground celebrated their one year anniversary and it was great to be able to step back and see what we had all accomplished as a group. By the beginning of April, I had completed ten new white series pieces. The second week of April was spectacular. That week I sold nine of my paintings to a brand new collector. I was so happy to work with this young collector as she bravely selected painting after painting for her collection. I was giddy with excitement and still can't believe it unfolded the way it did. I have been to her house to see the collection and they all look so beautifully hung in her home. I am grateful to her for her support. Her patronage changed the course of my year drastically and for the better in all ways. I will never forget this or her.
Also in April three of my photographs were accepted into a juried exhibition entitled Crafting Place: Interpretations of Natural and Constructed Environments from the Kitchen to the Forest. The Juror was Kenneth Trapp former curator-in charge of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibition was held in Bentonville, Arkansas at the Sugar gallery. The selected photographs were from the Picher, Oklahoma trip. I was very pleased to be able to share them. This marks one of the few times I had shown my photography in a gallery setting. All the while this is happening, I continue with the white series, steadily building the collection.
In May, with encouragement, I decided to test out the waters with the New White series and I hang three pieces in the back Vault gallery at the underground. I was thrilled when two out of the three sold! At the same time the white series is featured in a couple of fellow artists' blogs and I keep selling my color series works as well. Several new paintings are born in the white series, the painting, Somehow we find ourselves on the same continent is a standout for me from this time period and in fact ends up on another continent, in late 2010. I am spending long hours in the studio at this point, sometimes up to ten hours just painting, I am happy. More paintings are being created I am finding my stride again.
By June there are fifteen paintings in the new white series. By mid June I sell another three of the new white series, to a wonderful pair of patrons. I remember the experience of staring at the works with the patron in the gallery. We both just got absorbed into the work for a while, just standing there in silence. I loved that moment. I also loved the experience of going to their home to deliver the work and seeing how well it fit into their space. I love this part of the art world, these connections.
After this experience, I slow down a bit in the studio again, thinking about the upcoming exhibitions I planned to curate in the summer at the Underground. In July, I curated The Institute du Loop's A Place to Drown in the Hive Gallery. This was an enormous task. There were countless emails, chats, diagrams, photographs, writings, ideas, and questions sent back and forth from Taipei to Fayetteville and vice-versa in preparation for this exhibition. It was a very interesting experience to work with another artist in such a way. Clear evidence of how our world has changed, how much technology allows such amazing and inspiring things to happen. I received the exhibition via Fed Ex on two thumb drives with a Chinese stamp in order to sign the work. I also received the artist's composed soundtrack for the exhibition electronically as well. After a lot of hard work by myself and Henry Turner the exhibition was printed and installed and looked wonderful. We were all pleased, and the institute du loop seemed very thrilled. I will always be proud of the work we did together on this.
Even though I was exhausted and busy taking care of the institute du loop's exhibition, I am inspired and complete three more paintings in the new white series bringing the total to eighteen. By the middle of July I also return my focus to the Manual for living, putting into words the concepts behind the works. This was a thrilling experience. Thanks to artists' Stewart Bremner, Jennifer Libby Fay and to my brother, writer Sean Chapman for helping me to edit the words for the statement for the Manual for Living.
In August, I curated another exhibition at the Fayetteville Underground, this time the work was by French photographer, Christian Demare. The exhibition is titled Ghosts in the Landscape #2 and contains forty-six images all in the square format. I have long be an admirer of Christian's dark and dreamy worlds and I am thrilled to be able to present his work to my local community. Again, I am thankful that the Internet makes this global arts community possible.
By mid August, I was the lucky recipient of two large 36x48" canvases from a lovely patron, and then later she brought me an even larger canvas! I found the size an inspiring challenge and produced one of my most favorite paintings called Upon Waking, which got snapped up by a lovely patron in Washington D.C. before it ever left my studio. The other 36x48" painting I create gets traded for a masterpiece by artist Matthew Lyman. Thanks all around.
Also in August, I got word that a collaborative paper painting that my dear friend and fellow artist Steven Heaton and I have been working on, "Delay before Abandon" is going to be in the Chaosmos 2010 exhibition as part of the Liverpool Independents Biennial, in Liverpool England. I have been friends with Steven for over four years now, and we were both very pleased to be in an exhibition together. I was very excited about this opportunity, as I have my work in many private international collections, but had never been a part of an exhibition overseas. This is a highlight of my career.
Also in August a big sale comes through for me. A two panel (diptych) 40x60" painting called Stamina and Refrain from the 2007 Evidence of the Disappearance series finds a good home. By late August another painting is created in the white series, as I prepare to host photographer and friend Thomas Petillo for his solo exhibition, North, West, East, South. September comes on strong, with some major life transitions. Thomas' brilliant exhibition debuted in the Hive and I was so happy that I got to spend some time with him while he was here for the opening of the exhibition, again I am so fortunate to be a part of this art community that stretches around the country and the world. I have the best friends.
This same month I was interviewed about my responsibilities at the Fayetteville Underground by Christopher Spencer at Ozarks Unbound and it is nice to be recognized for what all I am doing at the Underground. I also received the most lovely letter, left on my studio desk after that first Thursday from a high school student. I remember reading it and tears welled up in my eyes, I was so moved. During this time, I was also finding a bit of press online for the work in the Liverpool independents biennial. I was very excited by all of this.
I managed to break away for a day for a quick trip to Kansas City to the see The Pixies. It was an amazing show, and I come back inspired. Reminding myself again the importance of stopping every once and a while to experience art and different places, that these things are so important to my creative brain. I continually struggle with balance and music is often the answer. By the end of September, I work on one last painting before my exhibition. This begins the cycle I currently in, where I have not been painting.
In October, I kept working on the last painting, while Julie Wait Designs sold five paintings from my colored paintings to a new corporate client, a regional bank. One white series painting travels to Seattle to be a part of the Underground's group show, 13 Underground at the Shift gallery. I also start preparing for my exhibition Falling into Sound to be held in November. I update my website and have business cards and postcards created and devise a way to display the Manual for Living that makes the works on paper presentable but doesn't detract from the art. By mid October the final painting is complete, and I decide it is too different to include in the exhibition, and it is the painting I end up trading with artist, Matthew Lyman- which turned out to be a perfect solution.
Falling into Sound debuted in November, and I was truly overwhelmed by the way the work looked together in the gallery. Tears came to my eyes often when I talked about the work to my studio mates and at times I still can't believe that I painted the work. It was such a unique experience and what I consider my finest work to date. I will always remember 2010 as the year of the white series and the manual for living. I learned a lot about myself, opened up and was richly rewarded for doing so. The emotional response I received from this body of work was unmatched and will always be treasured. By the exhibition date there were twenty one official white series paintings completed and eleven of those paintings are now sold.
Also in November, I was interviewed about the monthly offerings at the Fayetteville Underground on our National Public Radio station, KUAF. This is now scheduled to be a regular monthly segment. I really enjoy being able to give a voice to The Underground and spread the word about all the exciting exhibitions we have planned.
In November, I also start mentoring a young art student as he builds his portfolio, this is the same art student who so thoughtfully left me the note in my studio in September. We have only met a few times, but his work has already exploded and this has been a thrill for me to watch and I am happy to help.
As the year closes, two of the white series paintings are in Philadelphia in the first annual Snow Flake Invitational exhibition at 110 Church gallery and at Art @t Bridge Club of Center City in Philadelphia. I am very pleased to have been asked to participate. Always a thrill to have my work reach a new audience.
I have also just been asked to do a large 5.5x 7ft commission, and I have a feeling this where my mind will be for the beginning of the new year. I really look forward to sinking my teeth into such a large painting. I also concluded the year with five more sales from my colored series from the Art for the Holidays exhibition at the Fayetteville Underground. I am extremely grateful for the patronage and support. One last, but not least highlight of my year was delivering a painting to a Doctor's office for their Christmas party. The Doctor's thoughtful staff had chipped in to get him a painting of mine and I was there to surprise and present the painting to him. I will never forget this moment- I had such a smile on my face, and I think he was very happy with his gift.
Besides all this, there were additional group exhibitions, meetings, special events, studio mates to enjoy, music to listen to, tons of art to see and new frontiers in living. I wrote several little short stories and took a photograph everyday. 2010 was an amazingly busy year, and I can look back with pride for what I accomplished in my art career, at the Fayetteville Underground, and in my life.
So, how was your year? Did you start a new body of work? Did you get into a show you weren't expecting to? Did you come up with a new concept that you are just beginning to explore and expand upon? I hope you had a great year!
I hope you know that you are a part of all of this, my friends, my family, my patrons, my underground family, and all the artists that I have had the pleasure of working with. None of this happens without you. You are central to my success as an artist. I do not create this work alone. I require support, validation, and understanding and you all do a wonderful job of giving it to me and this enables me to keep fighting and pushing forward to create new works. Thank you. I am inspired by so much in this world and I am so happy to share it with you. Thanks for a fantastic 2010! May 2011 be just as bright or even brighter for all of us.
And as always, keep fighting! The world needs your art!