Monday, March 22, 2010

ArtSpan Tour des Artistes

I was very honored to be selected as an artist to participate in ArtSpan's Tour des Artistes. This is a VIP Brunch-Around tour of five working artists' studios led by ArtSpan's Board Chairman, Michael Yochum, and ArtSpan's former executive director, Therese Martin. The tour began with coffee & pastries at ARC Studios & Gallery, 1246 Folsom Street; and attendees enjoyed a VIP limo bus and refreshments along the way. Even cooler than that: two of my artist friends were also featured on the tour: William Salit and Kathryn Arnold. Attendees also got to visit the studios of Carolyn Hinman and Phillippe Jestin.

I was interviewed by Kris Vagner at the SF Examiner, and described some of my preparations for the tour. (here's a link to the article - just click the page number at the top and enter "28")

There were 22 folks on the tour, including tour guides. So it was a bit crowded in the studio. I had to caution one women to watch out for the wet palette that I had left out on the taboret. (I had worked on the skeleton/lizard painting that morning - it helped to keep me from stressing out over the event!) To make a bit more room, I shoved the easel way back and put my buddy Friedrich the skeleton out in the hallway to be my doorman.

Basically, I did a show and tell, very similar to what I do for friends when they visit except much more organized. I made "packets" of related sketches going from early thumbnail concept sketch to the final finished drawing that is transferred to panel or canvas. The discussion included several of my reference clay models used to work out perspective and shadows. I also showed them the reference photos used for the BDSM paintings, including the skeleton strung up into poses using monofilament line hung from the ceiling. I don't know if it's a good idea for artists to talk about where the problem areas of the painting are located, but I did share with them places that caused consternation during the painting process. I gave them a handout color printout, showing a painting from first layers of warm underpainting through the final touches.

I also talked about the process of finding authentic models for the BDSM series. The poses themselves were developed by looking at porn magazines, websites and so forth. I then used Poser software to manipulate a virtual human model and skeleton to visualize various poses. But the virtual model has than android look. I joined various organizations and websites to locate authentic models.

It was a very nice group of people who asked great questions, such as why certain colors were used for background, why certain color is used for underpainting/ground. There was one question though that I tried to gracefully evade: someone asked me if I participated in the BDSM lifestyle or tried it out. I told them I was too busy but had been to the Citadel a few times. Is that vague enough?

Mike Yochum was a wonderful moderator, and he asked me to cover a couple of topics pertinent to the symbolic content of the works.

I also had a milestone event: an older retired couple bought one of the paintings in the BDSM series! The usual buyer of my paintings are generally younger, so I was excited to have reached an audience beyond my normal market.

I hope that all of the attendees had a great time.... despite the butterflies in my stomach, I had a good time.

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