Archive for the ‘Being an Artist’ Category


September 8th, 2017


I belong to an artist cooperative gallery which gives me the opportunity to be a part of a two or three person show every year, as well as many group shows. This summer I am  showing my work with Don Sichler. The show runs from from August 18th to September 16th . The show is titled “Unseen” based on the notion that images are not always what they appear to be at first glance.

The gallery is only open a few days a week (Thursday and Friday, 4-7 pm and Saturday, 1-5pm). With these limited hours and the Labor Day weekend, where the gallery is closed altogether, along with Hoboken being a town that everyone flees during the dog-days of August, I thought I would share some of the images here.

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LBI Artist’s Studio Tour

July 3rd, 2017


This is my second year on the LBI Artists Studio Tour. I do not have a studio here but am happy and lucky to be hosted at the m.t. burton gallery in Surf City. The goal of the tour is for people to come and see artists at work, to promote art and the artist and hopefully make some sales. Many artists are introverts so this can be extremely intense, but well worth it. My most memorable encounter was with a mother and her pre-teen son and his sketchbook.  He was on the tour to see how “real” artists work and it made me feel like a real artist and less like a little kid with a sketchbook, the way I usually feel, if that makes any sense.



         LBI Map




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Should You Be Talking About Your Art

March 18th, 2017

A question was asked, “Why aren’t you talking about your art?” It was not a personal question, although the way it is framed here makes it seem so. It was a general question thrown out on Facebook by a blogger and artist acquaintance, Gwenn Seemel. Needless to say, I did not have an answer. But wait, there’s more, I did answer! I said I was self conscious, but what I really meant was that I was a afraid I would stop making art if I promoted it and received too much feed back, so I keep it within a small circle of people. What I realized, upon giving it some more though, was that any kind of feedback, negative or positive would have the same affect. Negative feedback would put me into a tailspin that I might not recover from. It would make me wonder why I am doing this at all. Too much positive feedback would leave me with the idea that this is the best I can do and I will never do anything this good again, so I might as well stop. Making art, the actual process, is way too important to me. Is this the artists’  dilemma?

I am doing new work now and it’s a little scary wandering in uncharted territory. Very much like taking your new born to the park, where even the kindest, well meaning people spread germs. So for now, all I can do is let someone peak under the covers. I can’t answer the hard questions like “tell me about it” or “what does it mean?” I have an vague idea of what I think it will grow up to be but even that keeps changing.

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Another Artistic Rejection Blog

February 13th, 2017

No Going Back

Sharing your art is always risky and opens you up for rejection and you, of course, wonder it is a personal assault or bad art….and what is the difference anyway. Let’s take a look at that one!

I can, at this point, say I have received as many acceptances as rejections, but I only save the rejections. They remind me more that I’ve been out there, took the chance and felt like giving it all up. Don’t get me wrong, they are kind letters and supportive and tell me I did not fit in with their vision for the show and I get that. However, what I read is more akin to why are you doing this, do you really think you’re an artist and maybe you should have just weeded the garden or walked the dog instead.

I am doing some new work in a style that, although I am excited about, I am not yet comfortable with. The first time I showed it to a group it was greeted well with supportive suggestions and comments. Then I submitted two pieces to a gallery that usually shows my work and my work was not accepted (sadly, there was not even the courtesy of a rejection letter for my collection). My first thought was, after being snappish to someone who had no idea of what was going on in my head and becoming impatient with the dog, that the first group was really just being nice and “faking it”.

So, yes, this is just another blog on artistic rejection, there are hundreds (?). I feel better already!

Rest in Pieces

I want to share this article I found by Daniel Grant, A Problem All Artists Face: Dealing with Rejection in the Huffington Post. It lightened my load and made me feel not so alone.


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Craft Fairs and the Like

November 6th, 2016
"That's really nice. Too bad the picture doesn't come out so I can put my grandson's picture in." That's craft!

“That’s really nice…too bad the picture doesn’t come out so I can put my grandson’s picture in.” That’s craft!

My first “craft fair” was a big one. It was actually not my very first, there was one held on a card table in a hallway that no one frequented in the winter, but I am not going to count that one.

No, my first one was the Hoboken Art and Music Fair in Hoboken, NJ. There were over 300 vendors and, in a town with a population of over 50,000 (2010 US Census Bureau) in one square mile, a lot of residents, not to mention visitors. Think Mumbai or maybe just about any town in Hudson County, NJ.

Anyway since I have justified “big” let me get down to the experience, what happened and what I learned.

Having spent much of the winter producing “product”, I was ready to go. I had the tent, I had the tables and the chairs, one for myself and one for anyone else who cared to spend the day, racks to hang photos and bins for customers to sort through. I had the iPad and Square for credit cards and about $300.00 in singles for change, maybe a little overkill there. I even had the car, or so I thought, having had to give up my Jeep Wrangler for the ubiquitous Ford Escort, the “art car” as someone so kindly called it (a minor miscalculation, bad math, I should have gone with the Edge, the racks did not fit).

Then came the anticipation. The event was to be on Sunday, May 1st. I got increasingly anxious. I could not manage the tent by myself, I would not make the sign in time, I would forget something and on and on. It pored on Saturday, I packed up half the car on Saturday night, unpacking, rearranging, repacking, no way those racks were going to fit. Wet and exhausted I called it a night, never checking my email. The rain was so heavy, the event was canceled, but there would be a rain date, June 12th.

I was much more calm when the new day rolled around, after all I had almost done it once. Things went well and I sold enough to cover the cost of the tent and part of the entry fee. Since then I have done two more. I am able to take the tent down by myself, given up on the racks and covered the cost of my investment. I have also learned the difference between art and craft. Art, it seems, is about me and people at craft fairs don’t buy me. Craft is about the buyer. It is about them and fits in with their life style  and decor.

It’s back to the studio.





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Final Week for “Looking Into the Light” at hob’art

April 16th, 2016

Sunday begins the final week for “Looking into the Light” at hob’art gallery. I will be speaking about my work on Sunday, April 17th, along with the other artists whose work is represented in this show. It is a stop on Hoboken’s 3rd Sunday Gallery Tour.

I do not like speaking to this type of audience. I do not enjoy speaking about my inner workings. So I am figuring it out here. My work in this show is very different, or was supposed to be, from the work I usually do. I put it up as a challenge to myself to step out side my comfort zone and view it as art. I have tens of thousands of images. As I go through them I know that many tell my story, but in this exhibit I wanted to look at form and line and how color can define shape. It didn’t work out that way.

As I have said, all of my photographs tell a story, my story of course, but they can easily be made into anyone’s story. After all, we bring ourselves to all of our experiences.

The story beneath these images is one of rust and renewal. This is my story. It is what happens when things fall apart and everything we expected becomes a fine cloud of dust as it slips through our fingers. That’s the opening, the time where things can be renewed, “the crack where the light gets in” to paraphrase Leonard Cohen.

In 2009 I kept a photo journal on I carried a camera, a small Canon G7, with me everyday and took pictures.  I posted one every day with my thoughts. It turned out to be quite a year, more than I deserved or expected. The blog is still up and once in a while, less as time goes on, I revisit a day. It serves me well, I understand the code in the captions I wrote. I recommend trying this some time. It is shared here just as a reference hobokendays365 24/7

In case you are unable to see the show before it is taken down:

April 1, 2016 to April 24, 2016

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“Make” Outsider Art

April 9th, 2016



A few days ago I was privileged to see the film “Make”. Up until then I did not think about makers or outsider art. I had to look it up. Outsider art is created by “self-taught” artists. It is produced by people, often institutionalized, sometimes handicapped, who don’t know, understand or care about the cultural restraints of art.It has been around since people first decided to paint on the walls of their cave dwellings. In the early 1920’s, outsider artists started to be recognized when European psychiatrists published two pioneering studies of art made by asylum inmates. In these studies, an attempt was made to find universal truths about human creativity. In the late 1940’s it was embraced by the art world. Jean Dubuffet, French artist and curator, called it art brut, French, but the meaning comes through. He said, “We understand by this term works produced by persons unscathed by artistic culture, where mimicry plays little or no part. These artists derive everything…from their own depths, and not from the conventions of classical or fashionable art,” a beautiful sentiment.

The documentary, MAKE, examines the lives and art of four American self-taught artists: Prophet Royal Robertson, Hawkins Bolden, Judith Scott and Ike Morgan. Each artist finds his medium and is able to transcend their limitations and produce unique works of art.

IkeIke Morgan

Ike Morgan, institutionalized for violent schizophrenic behavior, spends his days painting as he says, “… to pass the time away.” Although his imagery is not new, his rendering is and that gives his paintings a unique quality. He has, over the years produced thousands of portraits ranging from George Washington to the Mona Lisa.


RR_Royal_Robertson_4072Royal Robertson

Royal Robertson, originally a sign painter, deals with an apocalypse of his own design. His small house is covered with doomsday warnings, biblical quotes and alien creatures. As a self ordained profit he holds tight to the anger he feels for his ex-wife and her imagined infidelities. In his art he tries to bring sense to his madness and to create road maps to salvation.



Hawkins Bolden

HawkinsHawkins Bolden, was blinded at a young age. He created scarecrows to keep the birds from his garden. His scarecrows are created from the flotsam and jetsam of society’s thrown away objects, which he collects   and transforms into sculptures. His totems all have many “eyes” and crowd out the plants they are protecting.





Judith-ScottJudith Scott

Judith Scott, was born with Down’s Syndrome and institutionalized when she was 8 years old. Years later her twin sister found her and removed her from the institution. She was enrolled in a program where she could create art and she set about creating cocoon like sculptures of string.


I recommend seeing this movie to anyone who wants to understand the creative process more thoroughly. Of the movie, David Byrne  (Talking Heads) said, “Here is a real testament to the power of making art (or music, for some of us) – how that process not only heals and energizes, but the results move me as a viewer as well. They’re touching something deep, as any artist should. There’s a little bit of all of us in this work. This is as high and as fun and beautifully primal crazy enlightening as it gets.”

This movie can be purchased through Shrine Gallery, NYC and, of course,

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We Are All Artists

February 23rd, 2016

“We Are All Artists Now”

According to latest research, marketing research as well as medical research, art is for all and being an artist does not have to be a career. We are all artists. It is one more milepost on our quest for a holistic life. In her article “We’re All Artists Now” author Laura M. Holson says, “Our best selves are merely one doodle away.” Adult Coloring Books, Zen Tangle, and the availability of art classes on-line, in community centers and in art centers make it ever more accessible for people to develop rudimentary skills and, best of all, confidence to “just do it!”


Art with Seniors

I think what is most important is need to slow down and to connect, to redefine ourselves in a more holistic way. Connection is essential and we are losing it. We can connect through creativity.


Art with Seniors

Yesterday I volunteered at a senior center, One Care in Wayne, NJ. I did not know what to expect. The attendees were all seated in a circle and some were singing along with the music, some were staring into space and some were sleeping. They were not volunteers for the program, but since they were all in wheel chairs they would be staying. The project wasn’t much, painting ceramic fish and piggy banks with tempera paint. Some did not want to paint, but before long they were giving advice from the side lines. What I found most interesting was that they wanted to talk. They wanted to tell their stories and they wanted to tie-up the loose ends they felt were out there. They drifted in and out of their stories but the art seemed to keep them a little more focused.


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The Starving Artist Post

February 4th, 2016
 When I was younger I embraced the idea of the “starving artist”, but I could never afford it, so I went to work. First I worked in the color photo industry in NYC. It was a commercial operation and the clients were advertising agencies. I was a negative stripper, which meant I constructed photo composites before there was a Photoshop and, yes, there was a time we did it by hand with single edged razor blades and chemicals in a darkroom. Then, as with many who could no longer stand the chemicals and hours and all nighters for rush jobs, I went into teaching. So there were lean times during transition, but no starving going on here.

I just wanted to thank Matt Burton, owner of m.t.burton gallery & 19th St. Clay Studio, for sharing this and I am sharing it forward for my artist friends:

DSC_17637 Mistakes That Are Keeping Starving Artists From Thriving





Posted by Ann Kinney: Photographer on Thursday, February 4, 2016

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