A happy happenstance

Michael Lucarelli, a musician par excellence

I hope Michael doesn’t mind me sharing this story before you get into reading his Q&A. He is first and foremost an artist worth listening to. Sharing his story is an honor. This began with an query from Michael that indicated he’d gotten the One Roof Publishing Q&A link from the Las Vegas Arts Council, and was interested in participating. I, of course, welcomed the opportunity. I always want to have a digital dialog with artists from every discipline. Fortunately, my first question was, “With your varied and successful career as a classical guitarist, what brings you to Las Vegas, N.M.?”

Michael LucarelliI can almost imagine the pregnant pause when Michael received the question. He promptly let me know he was in NEVADA and was unaware there was a Las Vegas in New Mexico, until now. So the crux of this story is that the local Las Vegas Arts Council ranks high in search engines! And Michael Lucarelli came upon it when searching for resources in that other place. Perhaps he will visit this Las Vegas and enjoy the history and charm of a true original.

Once Michael and I worked out the where, I welcomed his responses to my questions, which follow. Incidentally, he moved to Las Vegas, Nev., because of weather, which is more agreeable than the weather in Salt Lake City. “But it’s also great to be where the action is,” he said.

Michael’s bio excerpted from www.michaellucarelli.com: Award winning Classical guitarist Michael Lucarelli  has enthralled audiences throughout the U.S. for more than 30 years. He is known for his diverse programming and expressive style, tastefully blending classical, popular, jazz, Spanish, South American, as well as his original compositions. He is an annual favorite at The Sundance Film Festival where he has entertained for industry notables such as Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Animation and Arts & Entertainment. His music videos on YouTube have received more than 35 million views from fans world-wide.  He has twice received an Individual Artist grant from The National Endowment of the Arts. In 2014 Martha Stewart Weddings named him one of the top weddings musicians.

ORP: What drew you to pursuing music as a profession?
Michael: Luck, really. I was days from joining the military. I worked at Sperry Univac (computer factory ) for almost eight years, while studying classical guitar privately with Ricardo Lineres from Peru. I was also studying martial arts and going to competitions. After my roommate talked me out of joining the  military, things fell into place and I took a leap of faith. I walked away from a career job with full benefits and went to the University of Utah in 1985. I started playing the guitar at various gigs the day I started college. Hard to believe I’m still doing it after 32 years.

ORP: When you started out, what was your goal?
Michael: I began playing the electric guitar in 1973. I wanted to be a rock star. I started classical guitar in 1980. When I began my career professionally in 1985, my inner wish was to write one great piece for the guitar. I’ve been blessed. Now I’ve written many. I am very goal oriented.

ORP: In what ways has your goal changed over the years?
Michael: I’m still composing much more prolifically than the early stages. One recent goal was to write compositions that were more intermediate. Another goal is to write a method book, which is 70 percent finished. But my current goal is to get something going in Las Vegas, Nevada.

ORP: In terms of your accomplishments, are you where you want to be as an artist?
Michael: I believe I did more than I ever expected I would do with music. I never thought I’d have 38 million views on YouTube, or I would release 15 CDs, or compose so much music. In some ways, I’m lucky; I just follow where the guitar leads me.

ORP: What gives you the greatest joy, practicing or performing, and why?
Michael: They’re different. Each is extremely enjoyable. Practicing is a sacred and special place, a completely different experience from performing live. There is a reason – if you love music – you practice for five hours a day.

ORP: What do patrons say that gives you the greatest satisfaction as a classical guitarist?
Michael: That comes from different angles. I love the comments I get from YouTube, people who say they started playing guitar because of me. In my case, it was Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin. As an artist, when you give a concert, you always love when someone says how great you are or how much they enjoyed it, but when I read comments like these on YouTube it really moves me:

“My sister died last week. Thank you for helping me get through that.”
“I have a chronic heart condition. Whenever I’m having a heart attack, I put on your Moonlight Sonata and concentrate on my breathing. That’s helped more than anything I tried.”

It’s strange and heartening to know that what I’m doing can effect people on such a personal level.

ORP: Solo performance seems to be your preferred style. How do solo performance and performing with others differ?
Michael: Yes, I mainly do solo. I did play with a trio a few weeks ago. Several concerts I’ve done titled Lucarelli and Friends, are a mix of various ensembles. I love playing ensemble but it is a bit more work. Solo guitar creates its own unique world. But playing with so many ensembles over the years has helped me be a better soloist. You learn to phrase things differently. More importantly you learn to listen! I do have a CD, Romantic Christmas, with violinist Kellie Parkinson, and Romanza with mandolinist Martin Swick, who passed away a few years ago. I did release a CD this year titled Blue Sunday, which is more jazz and New Age, but I’m doing all the instruments, something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s on YouTube. You can stream it or purchase it on iTunes. It features me playing electric guitar on four tracks. I haven’t played Electric guitar since I was 23.

ORP: At this point in your career, are you satisfied with your level of performance, or is it always evolving?
Michael: It’s always evolving, and yes, I am satisfied. When it stops evolving that’s when I’ll call it quits. You get older, your vision changes, you have to deal with those things along the road, but you always seem to reach higher ground, explore different avenues. I never saw YouTube coming. That’s a whole other world. I was lucky to be at the starting gate. I never dreamed people would be able to see me play the guitar all over the world, and having viewed, would enjoy and be inspired by what I do.

ORP: What excites you as a musician and performer?
Michael: To make a better world and to light up the inside of people who connect with my music. Physicists think music is one of the highest achievements of man. I think most people would agree. To be able to try and express the inexpressible. Some people call it God. I don’t think there’s a word that could describe how it makes me feel. It would have to be a musical sound like om. To think that there are an infinite number of dimensions and we are only living in four! What else could you do but create art. I love to think what music would sound like in the fifth dimension, or 100th or 1000th or one millionth. It’s lovely to think about what I do with my spare time.

ORP: What is the one thing you want people to know about you?
Michael: I love the Beatles, and that I finally got – after years of study – the meaning of “…all you need is love.” It is the path to freedom.

ORP: What performances to you have coming up?
Michael: Aug. 5 I will be playing at the Park City (Utah) Arts Festival, Oct. 20 Las Vegas, Nev. I mainly play private events. We’re playing on the biggest stage – YouTube. I have several videos coming out including Take Five, House of the rising sun, and Come Together, starting the first Friday of each month.

To book Michael Lucarelli for an event:
E-mail michael@lucarelli.com
Phone: 702-343-1009

Website: www.michaellucarelli.com
Image: From Michael Lucarelli website
Music: YouTube


Q&A With Sharon Stewart

Making a life with photography

According to Sharon Stewart’s website bio, photography is in her genes. Her Great Great Aunt Sadie, Quaker, was a commercial photographer in 1880s Iowa, having a studio with another Quaker woman. Stewart says the impetus of her photographic work is service and beauty. Her Agua y Fe: Water and Faith series is on exhibit through Labor Day at the Plaza Hotel’s Ballroom Corridor Gallery in sponsorship with the Las Vegas Arts Council.

Sharon Stewart
Sharon Stewart

ORP: What brought you from urban living to a more rural lifestyle?
Sharon: My birthplace on the frontera of southernmost Texas with Mexico was imbued with agrarian expanses and fecundity, a languid pace of living, and small town familiarities. I studied finance and economics at the University of Texas, Austin and moved to Houston to begin my photographic career. This served well, though I longed to dwell back with the cycles of nature whose elemental forces resonated with me rather than the densities of the city. Looking for a home in the Mora Valley was a five year endeavor, and yes, finally finding a place in Chacón, the shift from living with three million to three hundred (people) was swift and welcome.

Abran & Vidal
Abran and Vidal

ORP: Your website bio refers to your photographic purpose. Talk about that and how it has shaped your work.
Having completed a photo narrative on grassroots environmental activism in Texas, which gave voice to the concerns of salt of the earth folks protecting their land, air, water, culture from the ill effects of industry and the government’s hazardous waste practices, I was a bit discouraged by the realities of what we do to one another in the name of profit. When I moved here, I took a long look at why I was photographing, and ultimately, the answer was to serve history, this coming from strong service ethos that runs in the Stewart family line. Certainly the Toxic Tour of Texas was an activist/advocacy piece with the photographs being used in legislative testimony, published in the daily and environmental press, exhibited in libraries, shopping centers, and museums throughout Texas. Turning to a quieter life, photographing the rituals and traditions of Hispano New Mexico and the acequia culture in El Cerrito continued in the vein offering a view into lives aligned with the land and community. I had begun the El Agua es la Vida project three years before moving to Northern New Mexico, and it expanded with the exploration of the village life over the course of two decades, something I term Slow Photography, a commitment to the narrative through time. These photographs are part of the Water in the West Project and Archive residing at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. The Mora Valley narrative, Exit West: A Cultural Confluence, began upon my arrival and will continue through my life here. A major focus has been to place these images in archives and special collections at universities in the American West for scholarly research and teaching purposes.

ORP: How has your purpose evolved from when you started?
Sharon: Initially I was recording the world as I encountered it. I have come to understand that what we see, observe, perceive is an aperture into the self, as tightly or as widely as we are willing to explore and share. Image creation can be a journey into self hand-in-hand with the human instinct to remember, gather, share, enjoin, act. So as I have come to see it, my “purpose has been finessed or perhaps honed over these many years of engaged seeing.


ORP: How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it for a living?
As for many in rural Northern New Mexico, making a living is a mosaic endeavor. I often say I make a life photographing.

ORP: When do you know you’ve captured the subjects of your photographs in just the way you want?
Sharon: Photographing is intuitive for me. Certainly intentionality and placing oneself in the image field is vital. Much of the joy in photographing is opening oneself to the unknown, being free in the not knowing and releasing the imposition of will or expectation on a situation. However, the narrative structure necessitates an understanding of relationships, economic and societal influences, cultural, religious and familial overlays, so I have drawn on my university training to scope an encompassing view of a chosen subject. There is also a calming resonance I feel when all the elements align for a signal image.

ORP: The Stewart photographs I’ve seen are primarily in black and white. Is that your preferred mode of expression and if so, why?
Sharon: My initial work was in color transparency, though with too much noxious chemical exposure in the Cibachrome color printing process, I moved to black and white. However, each subject has an appropriate expression through process, which determines my choice of using color or black and white, film or pixel.

ORP: Talk about the photographers who influenced you and how their work contributed to your photographic and career choices.
Early on I studied the Dadaists and Surrealists and their alignment with chance, unexpected juxtaposition, and dream exploration—Man Ray, Merét Oppenheim, Hannah Höch, Marcel Duchamp, and by extension, Alexander Calder and his playful lyricism. In the black and white canon, Minor White for metaphor, spirituality and beauty, Edward Steichen for experimentation, Paul Strand for clear-eyed, compassionate observance and commitment to a finely crafted negative and print, Laura Gilpin for evocative landscapes, Dorothea Lange for social and economic justice. Their creative expression is synchronistic with ways I perceive the world, so I look to them as both partners and guides.

ORP: Realizing that each image has its own unique message, what do you want your photographs to convey?
Sharon: My intention is to open in viewers understanding and discovery by stimulating their imaginations and memories.

ORP: If you could use only one word to describe your photography, what would it be?
Whenever I have been asked about a favorite anything, I respond that I have many favorites for as many different reasons. Same applies to my photographic expression. If you look at the bodies of work in the arc of my creative life, you will see work originating in the personal, the universal, the communal.

ORP: What motivates you to continue taking pictures?
Sharon: I cannot not take photographs, though I become more selective about when and where and what I photograph. Photography has taught me to see, not just look, see, and those observations aren’t always tangibly recorded.

ORP: Where have you exhibited and do you have current shows up locally?
The cultural landscape images of Northern New Mexico, many of which are currently on view in the Agua y Fe: Water and Faith exhibition at the Plaza Hotel’s Ballroom Corridor Gallery in sponsorship with the Las Vegas Arts Council, have been exhibited at the New Mexico Museum of Art, NM History Museum, Office of the State Historian, Center for Creative Photography, Museum of Fine Arts-Houston, NM Capitol Arts Collection, Visual Studies Workshop, Houston Center for Photography, FotoFest International Biennial. Other work has been exhibited in Amsterdam, Belgium, Germany, South Africa, Cuba, Canada, New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C.

Learn more about Sharon Stewart and view her online galleries at www.sharonstewartphotography.net

Photographs: Sharon Stewart, used by permission

Q&A: Photographer Elaine Querry

…seeing the world through her eyes

Elaine Querry
Photographer Elaine Querry

Photography is one thing; taking images to another level requires ingenuity and originality. Technique plays a part, but only when applied by an expert hand and a discerning eye. Elaine Querry is that kind of photographer. She has been working in this art form for more than 35 years and has won numerous awards. Elaine’s work has been shown in locations around the world and is in many public and private collections. As a fine art photographer she captures images that speak to her as an artist and challenge her creatively. Her work is on exhibit through September at 2 Ten A Galaria of Art and Treasures, 210 Plaza, Las Vegas, N.M., along with the work of sculptor Duke Sundt and artist David Carter. The Galaria is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Saturday. Elaine and her husband Ron Querry live in historic Las Vegas, N.M. in a century old Victorian home.

ORP: There was a great turn out for the opening of Out West at 2 Ten A Galleria of Art and Treasures. Talk briefly about the show and the participants.
Elaine: Linda and Bill Anderle have brought together a group of people working in a variety of media to illustrate the theme Out West. Duke Sundt is showing a selection of his incredible bronzes;  I have a collection of color photographs from in and around Las Vegas;  Texas photographer David Carter has images of rodeos that he’s worked on in and out of Photoshop. Also showing are artists – Stuart Gelzer (photographs) and Alice Winston Carney (watercolors).

ORP: Everyone with a cell phone believes they’re the next Ansel Adams. What makes a fine art photographer different from the casual picture taker.
A cell phone, a digital or film camera are all just tools. What makes a fine art photographer is someone who attempts to take the viewer there. To present the image in such a way as to provoke a visual dialogue with the audience. When I photograph I’m looking to tell a story. To stop a moment in time and place and to record it as I found it. Photography is a wonderful way of remembering and expressing the world around us. Fine art photography goes deeper. It’s as much about the photographer as it is about what she is recording. Photography becomes not only a tool but an extension of who we are, framed by our experiences and our visions, our hearts and our souls. As a fine art photographer, I think in terms of series whether all at one shooting or later bringing together images that build on each other and work together. The series I am showing now at 2 Ten are images I shot for my enjoyment and interest over a period of five years with no expectation of a resulting show. I’m driven to photograph. When I can put together a series, it’s very satisfying.

Elaine Querry & Alice Winston Carney
Elaine talks about her work with Alice Winston Carney, whose watercolor paintings are also in the 2 Ten show.

ORP: What drew you to photography as an art form?
Early on with photography I found a way of expression that didn’t need words. One where I could communicate and express myself visually. I am an artist and photography is my art form.

ORP: I’m a fan of photojournalism because I do believe a picture speaks a thousand words. What “story” do you look for when you take photographs?
 I began my career as a photojournalist and I was also chief photographer for three newspapers. I shot, printed and developed my editorial and advertising work as well as that of others at the papers. I learned from some very good editors that you must tell a story with your photographs. You need to shoot from different angles and levels to find that right image and to bracket your exposures… you need to stretch yourself, to take chances. It’s important for me not put myself in the image – I want to show you what’s there so you can see it and form your own ideas, your own insights. And I compose the image in the viewfinder – shooting full frame. Rarely do I crop an image.  Dorthea Lange said, “The camera is an instrument that teaches people to see without a camera…”

ORP: Your www.elainequerry.com website is called Shadowcatcher. What does that mean to you and how does the term reflect your work?
Shadowcatcher is another term for a photographer. Someone who catches shadows. I first heard that term as it was used to describe Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868–1952), the early and great photographer and ethnologist whose work focused on the American West and its Native peoples. His subjects called him Shadowcatcher because he photographed them and made a print which “caught shadows”. I use that name instead of, and along with, photographer. It’s a beautiful and accurate way to describe what I do.

ORP: What is the most difficult aspect of what you do and why is it difficult?
 It’s all difficult. As it should be. There’s that old thing about people thinking – and actually saying – that if they’d been there with a good camera they could have taken that picture. That’s like saying if they’d had a good pan, they could have made that gourmet meal. I love what I do, but the most difficult aspect for me is to focus on one thing. And I want to do that one thing to the best of my ability. Every project seems to take so much time!

ORP: Is being a fine art photographer more manageable with all the technology available?
 It has made things much different. The works of so many of the masters of photography were here long before our current technology was created and those works are still exquisite. Digital technology has given us additional tools and that has opened up other worlds, other ways of expressing our vision. For example I work a great deal with old photographs that I’ve tried to restore using traditional photography with varying levels of success. But once introduced to digital technology, I’ve had much more success in getting those images close to the originals.

ORP: Do you still use film or do you rely on digital?
 I rely on digital but have not given up my film cameras or wet darkroom. I rely a great deal on the images I have taken on film over the years before I went digital and I rely a great deal on my digital images. I’d like to incorporate the two more. And I like to do alternative process photography as well, and photograms, which one makes without using a camera at all. I have licensed a number of my alternative process images for use as book jacket covers in this country and in Europe.

ORP: What do you most want people to know about you as an artist and photographer?
 I want to show you what I see – to show you what is there. To show you something you may not see or be aware of on your own. To open your eyes to something new. To make you look.

ORP: Please add anything that is important to you that I left out.
 For the past three years I’ve been scanning old Cowboy Reunion and other panoramas as well as various other vintage photographs and restoring the scans and then printing the resulting image. It takes a lot of time in front of a computer using Photoshop, but I find it’s been very rewarding. It’s a quiet sort of communion with the people and the time (1915-1940s) in the photographs. For me it’s almost like a meditation of an era gone by. In the panoramas the face might be just a quarter of an inch high but on the computer I can blow it up three or four hundred times to repair the file. Lots of information and lots of things to see and think about! I have a dozen of the early Las Vegas Cowboy’s Reunion Panoramas on display and for sale at the Plaza Hotel.

Photos: Linda Anderle


Painting With Brush Strokes & Words

Dwelling PlaceNew Mexico award winning artist, Linda Wooten-Green is a painter of Landscapes, Portraits, etc., with a contemporary abstracted point of view. Her work is in public and private collections throughout the United States.

She received an MS in Art Education from Wayne State University in Wayne, Nebraska. She has done graduate work in Studio Art, Art History, and Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Minnesota, Duluth, University of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Hartwick College, New York. She received a BFA from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

She was an Art Teacher, Chairperson of the Fine & Performing Arts at West Point Public Schools in West Point, Nebraska for 17 years, and has been exhibiting her work in solo and group exhibits throughout the country for 36 years. Bio provided by the artist

Q. You have two quotes on your website about landscape and the earth. Talk about how and why you are influenced/inspired by natural settings.
The primary purpose of my landscape work is to give homage to the places and spaces in which we dwell. As much as I like people, and the excitement of city life, there is a very real desire in me for solitude and the need to feel a kind of kinship with the natural landscape. Using paint, I delight in exploring movement, shape, pattern, form, and color in nature amid seasonal changes.

For example, a twisted, somewhat deformed cottonwood tree (featured image) becomes a metaphor for the struggle to live, survive and offer shade and shelter to a myriad of living species. My layers of painted, scrubbed, and glazed surfaces express my own explorations in rendering what this painted living object might evoke emotionally, spiritually, and aesthetically. My personal search for meaning uses the creative processes inherent in making paintings that allow me to explore who I am, what I mean, and what I feel.

We are the landscape of all we have seen. (Isamu Noguche)

If I pollute the earth, the land, the water, etc., either personally or through corporate collusion, I ultimately destroy healthy life on this planet for myself and future generations.

Q. When did you decide to become and artist, or is it a calling?
I wanted to be an artist from the time I was old enough to hold a pencil or a crayon. I’ve always liked to draw. I looked forward to Friday afternoon “art” class in the 1st Grade. Poetry and literature were areas of study I’ve treasured as well. Words portray imagery through the mind’s eye.

I can truly claim that I have done “art” at some level throughout my life. For nearly 20 years, I taught art (history and processes) at the junior and senior high levels, as well as at adult level workshops. If one chooses to respond to an inner need in a visual manner, then I believe that one is “called” to do so.

Q. I noticed you have poetry paired with some of your paintings. Talk about why and how words and art express emotions in different but complimentary ways.
Most days, I spend time in my studio working on paintings or projects. Recent autumn trips to Bosque del Apache in Southern New Mexico became an inspiration for new paintings, as well as the enjoyment and appreciation of unusual yucca plant forms in a friend’s garden. The discovery of a fishing lake near Albuquerque led to the appreciation of exquisite water lilies that danced across the water like spiraling ballerinas on reflective surfaces. I use tools at my disposal: oil pastels, charcoal, and cameras to record via plein aire, and through photograph images used to inspire creative work. I continually read about both historical and contemporary art and artists.

An example: Looking southwest from my studio window, I contemplate the olive tree bordering the acequia and the empty field beyond.

Dwelling Place

 The ancient Olive tree stands sentry
a minutes march from my studio window.
Its gray green branches reflect myriad glints
of bronze and silver,
as light changes course across the arc of the day.
Whitened limbs bend and bow,
breezes play with flickering leaves.
The tree’s sturdy rootedness and easy flexibility
amid wind shifts and weather changes
leave daily grace notes —
reminders of my aging body
within nature’s landscapes.
The tree’s shapes and patterns and range of motion
offer an edge of awed silence
and wonder at movement and form —
A sense of sacred presence.
A Dwelling Place.

Linda Wooten-Green

The tree becomes a metaphor for my own aging body and in turn a deeper appreciation for the gift of life, at any age. The painting of the same tree is an abstracted way, though inspired by the olive tree, gives way to a kind of metaphoric sunset experience. The tree inspires word with an emotional twinge with references to age, flexibility, and weather changes, as well as being a metaphor for my own feelings.

The painting of the tree suggests, hopefully, the sunset time of life, silver flickering leaves in changing life situations with light and color.

Q. What artists do you most identify with and why?
I admire and appreciate the work of so many artists, both historically and in contemporary life, that I hesitate to name them. The “breakthrough” work of Paul Cezanne and his recognition and response to patterned forms in his Mont Sainte-Victoire paintings; the impressionistic landscape work of Claude Monet; the early 20th Century work of Georgia O’Keefe and Charles Burchfield; the abstracted landscapes of Richard Diebenkorn, and the landscapes of Fairfield Porter.

Q. What’s your strongest memory of your childhood that shaped you as an artist?
I treasure the gentle support of both my parents. My mother loved to see me sitting at the dining room table working on drawings. I also recall a large print above the living room sofa of a pastoral rural scene featuring grazing cows in a serene setting. I could look at the scene and create an imaginary narrative about it.

Q. What do you most want people to know about you as an artist?
I want people to appreciate the beauty, health, and fragile sustainability of the earth as a living organism. If one truly loves the land, and that which grows and depends on the land for survival, then anything that poisons the land, renders and threatens animal life toward extinction, should not be tolerated.

Q. If you could go anywhere and paint anything, what would you choose, and why?
If I could go anywhere and paint anything? What a difficult question! At present, I would hope to visit and spend time working in Costa Rica, and perhaps Ecuador, for the sheer multitude of temperate zones and array of wildlife dependent on the zones available in those countries.

Q. You will have a show at the Plaza April 1-May 31. How do you select pieces from your body of work when you mount an exhibit?
The Plaza show at present is in the vestibule bordering the ballroom: April 1-May 31. The work in this exhibit represents scenes of abstracted landscapes of the Southwest. The pieces are generally done as part of a series in a similar style and motif.

Q. What are you most proud of as an artist, and why?
In 2001-2002, I painted a series of rural images in the Midwest area (Iowa/Nebraska) that represented areas of the landscape suffering from the Farm Crisis. My husband Ron (a writer) had been working on a well-researched manuscript dealing with chemical contamination of water and soil, connecting this practice with the eventual sickness and death of young women diagnosed with cancer.

My work for this project consisted of about a dozen rural scenes. The images were interspersed with my husband’s narratives from his manuscript on the subject. The exhibit was featured at several galleries and health center in the Midwest. It was also featured through the Nebraska Arts Council at the Governor’s Mansion in Lincoln, Nebraska for a month.

The exhibit at the Plaza Hotel is an open venue available for viewing throughout the day. For more information about the artist and her work go to http://www.lindawootengreen.com

The exhibits at the Plaza are part of the Las Vegas Arts Council and Plaza Hotel ongoing partnership to support and promote the arts and artists of Las Vegas and the area.

Generations: With Art There is No Divide

Eloise LindeborgGenerations: The Art of Eloise Lindeborg and Chris Casey, A lifelong artist and the grandson she never knew, on the 100th anniversary of her birth

That’s the title and subtext of the proposal Richard Lindeborg presented to the Las Vegas Arts Council in the interest of curating an exhibit showcasing the work of his mother and his nephew. The two have had different life experiences and never knew each other, but the bond of art connects them to each other and to the gift of creativity. Below are responses to questions about the show, which will be up at Gallery 140 for the month of April.

Q. Aside from the obvious, expand on the theme “Generations”. What are the differences in styles and subject matter of Eloise and Chris?
A. (Richard) I can only tell you what I see – not what a person trained in art and art history would comment on – but my mother and nephew clearly come from different generations, and not adjacent generations. Some differences between their work, reflect the 60 to 70 years between their careers. They both have a certain formalism in their work, but it is revealed quite differently in each. Chris uses formal shapes in his pottery, almost classical in many ways. My mother’s early work was formal portraits and still life paintings, probably reflecting the training of her professors. Despite this formalism, the art programs in the Big Ten, where she was trained, were not regarded by some of the East Coast schools as sufficiently grounded in the academic tradition. Chris’s decorations – and his graphic works – build on formal curve and lAbstract by Eloise Lindeborgine combinations in a free form way. Some of my mother’s works from the 1950s are pared down combinations of the same elements.  Chris’s comments about his own work indicate that he starts from a simple idea and improvises on it until he is satisfied with the result. He admits the possibility of unexpected results. My mother seems to have had a mood or a message in mind and designed the whole piece to convey that feeling through shape and color.
A. (Chris Casey) The Generations theme is significant to me both because I grew up surrounded by Eloise’s art and more importantly because, as the only other practicing visual artist in my family, she provided a precedent for pursuing a life (of) making art. Her abstract works were my favorites growing up and they’ve undoubtedly had an impact on the work I make currently. I believe the biggest difference between the art world she existed in and the one I inhabit is the incredible power of the digital age and the access to resources and exposure it can provide.

Chris CaseyQ. Do you believe the artists in this show were/are influenced by the world around them, and if so, in what ways?
A. (Richard) My mother was influenced by the natural world of scenery, objects, and people and by the social and political forces of her time. Her earliest works reflect the Pre World War I training of her major professors and are rather academic. The work she produced while studying in Europe at the start of World War II are much more contemporary than academic, even reflecting some of the ideas current in Germany at the time. By the 1950s she had evolved into a much looser style, focused on people and places familiar to her. Psychological and political influences started showing up in her work in that decade and in the 1960s. Chris’s sensibility is much more modern.   He was very into computer games and computer game design at one point, and his work clearly comes from his generation’s experience. He uses lasers and computer graphics – tools not available to my mother.
A. (Chris Casey) I’d say I’m more influenced by technology in general over video games, especially these days. I try to embrace technology in any way I can whether it be through software like Photoshop or through hardware like 3D printers. However, as an abstract artist, I do make a conscious effort to exclude overt portrayals of people and objects in my art. I see the function of my art more as an escape, a place to rest, than as a critique of modern life.

Q. Eloise Felledwas your mother; Chris is your nephew. Chris never had the experience of knowing his grandmother, but grew up knowing about her art. As curator of this show, did that influence the work you chose for exhibit?
A. This is going to be a 50-50 show, in that it features two artists, and two different sensibilities in the curating. Chris is representing himself. How much he is influenced by his grandmother’s work may, or may not, show up in how he selects his work. My mother has no choice but to be represented by my selections. I grew up with many of these paintings and have had 45 years to reinterpret them since her death.

Chris grew up living in a house that featured his grandmother’s art and visiting his grandfather at the family home here in Las Vegas where her art was always on the wall. I’ve been preparing for my mother’s part of this show for more than 15 years now, photographing and cataloging her work. My wife, Susan, knew my mother and has known her art for more than 50 years. She helps me choose and steers me away from my prejudices. Chris has witnessed this process over time and with varying degrees of interest. I suspect he has taken some aspects of his grandmother’s art to heart.

Q. This is personal for you. Does that make it harder or easier to select the works that reflect the artists?
A. My mother died when she was 56, and without getting to the point in her artistic career when it was time to start thinking of a retrospective show. I don’t have very many clues as to which pieces she would have chosen for such a show, so I have to make my own choices for the most part. I’ve lived for a long time deciding what I like and don’t like without her guidance, so I don’t labor over the choosing anymore.

Q. You grew up watching your mother create. What would you want people to know about her that reflects who she was as an artist?
A. Art has to stand on its own merits subject to ever-evolving public tastes, but many people are fascinated about the hardships some artists face and about psychological factors that might have influenced their work. I am keenly aware of how the duties of raising a family affected my mother’s career; how the male domination of the profession limited her opportunities, and still limits the opportunities of women artists; and how her poor health limited her energy for producing art and shortened her career. Her weakened lungs and circulation forced her to give up painting in oils and drawing in pastels, but she moved on to other media. Life was not easy for her as an artist, but she was driven to create and she kept at it as long as she could.

Q. Chris seems to have an eye for form and movement in his sculpture; his 2-D work reflects the same. In selecting work for the Generations show, did you want the two generational bodies of work to complement or contrast and why?
A. If there is a point to be made in presenting Chris’s work and his grandmother’s in a single show, it will be made by the art itself. The show may reveal continuities that only a joint show would uncover. It may reveal previously unseen discontinuities caused by time or temperament. Once the show is up, we can all judge for ourselves.

Q. When will the show be up and will there be an opening reception?
A. The show will be from April 2 to April 29, 2016, with an artist’s reception on Sunday, April 10 from 2 to 5 p.m.  Normal gallery hours are Tue., Wed., Thu. and Sat/ 1-4 p.m. and Fri. 1-7 p.m.  Call the Arts Council at (505) 425-1085 to confirm hours.

This is the first time a significant number of my mother’s pieces has been exhibited in Las Vegas in nearly 50 years. It is the first time Chris’s work has ever been exhibited in Las Vegas. And it is the only time their work has been shown together. That makes the show unique times three. All the work is of high quality and visually stimulating – and all of it will be for sale!

Chris Casey’s work can be found at www.chriscaseyart.com
Eloise Lindeborg’s work can be seen at this Facebook link.

Artistic Adventure

Artists at WorkNote: I don’t have names of the people in these photos, but they were having as much fun as we were at the “Wine and Paint” event held on Saturday at the El Fidel Restaurant. Lots of interpretations and lots of laughs.

More years ago than I want to remember I took painting lessons. I gave up because I could tell right away that “great artist” wasn’t something anyone would ever call me. Not even “mediocre artist.” Bob, who was far more talented than me, took lessons as well, back when he was in the Army. He should have stuck with it, but that whole thing of being an optometrist got in the way. He concentrated on his patients and didn’t pick up a paint brush again until recently, when he started taking lessons from gifted artist Duffy Peterson.

So, along comes this thing called “Wine and Paint,” a fund raiser for the Media Arts Club at Highlands. It looked like fun and a neat way to support a worthwhile organization. And it was something we could do together. So we paid the very small fee ($35 per person with all the supplies provided), and entered into “Wine and Paint,” with a boatload of trepidation. Would every one there be a really good artist? How would it work? Would we be the only “mature” (okay, old) people there?

From the minute we arrived our concerns disappeared like a bad painting under a thick coat of gesso.

It was just plain fun. We were the only – ahem – older folks there, but the HU students and one HU prof and his wife made up a congenial group.

The cat's meowWe found out pretty quickly the instructions were simple; the application perhaps not so much, but it was fun anyway. We laughed. We complimented each other. We ordered wine and food. We painted. We laughed.

The El Fidel Restaurant staff members were gracious and the food was yummy. Not every one ate. Bob and I had the fondue with bread and apples. It was fantastic! The wine and food where not part of the fee, but all in all, it was an evening of entertainment for very little cost.

We learned two important lessons (or at least I did, Bob probably already knew both): water is your friend, and you write with your wrist, you paint with you elbow. Okay, if you don’t get it, all I can say is you had to be there.

In the end we all came up with a variation on the painting we were recreating, or interpreting. One person who said she didn’t much like cats, painted stylized flowers using the color palette provided. Another did gargoyles.

Bob said his cats looked like they’d been out all night and had a time of it. I said we should title the painting, “We might look like we’ve been in a cat fight, but we won!” I have to say his cats and my cats sort of resemble us. His were thin and scrappy, mine – umm – plump and complacent.

We asked Angela Meron, the instructor and an assistant professor in Media Arts at Highlands, to let us know when the club has another event. We want to be there.

This is not thWine and Painte only paint-a-painting in a single session opportunity in Las Vegas. Melody Perez of Running Horses Studio has a similar program. Paint Out is designed for beginners and first time painters, with full instruction and all materials supplied. To find out more about Melody’s great opportunities  check out her website at www.runninghorses.org. We will likely do one of her classes soon.

For us, the main thing is to enjoy life, and this painting thing is one way to do it. Now we have two – hmmm – rather interesting paintings to show for our experience, and you know what? Every time we look at them, we smile.

Messiah – 17th Poem of Christmas

Make Way For the Lord

Make way for the Lord, He has come
Exult Him, God with us, for everyone.
Sacred and Holy, yet present each day.
Soul-filling and faithful, to Him we pray.
Inspiring, blessing, peace giving and pure,
Abiding in love, of Him we are sure,
His peace will come, and ever endure.


Image: clipart.com

Q&A With Marianne Eloise: A Woman of Taste

Marianne Eloise, a brief bmarianne-webio: I am a writer and MA Film Studies graduate living in Brighton, UK. I currently work in the media but I have been a poet for several years, and have been running www.februarystationery.com for three. I write across a few mediums; including academic, poetry, prose, and journalism. When I’m not working I can be found reading, watching films, or by the sea.

Q. In one sentence, who is Marianne Eloise?
A. A viewer and writer of stories prone to thinking about things a little bit too much.

Q. What do you wish people knew about you as a writer?
A. Nothing, I mostly just want people to think I’m good! No, but I want them to know I am serious and my work comes from a genuine place. I just want people to enjoy my work and start a dialogue about it.

Q. You wrote your MA dissertation on taste cultures. Why that topic, and what did your research reveal?
A. Taste cultures is such an important topic for me as I found throughout my life that the tastes I had in film, TV, and literature were perhaps not the “right” ones to have. I saw through personal experience that the media being admonished was often for younger people or women, and I saw an inherent bigotry in the way that we deem certain tastes “correct” rather than others. To say that opera is better than film or James Bond is better than Twilight carries certain classist or sexist connotations, and at the end of the day neither party is right. I eventually became disillusioned with academia due to its inherent class and taste systems, and it wasn’t a great fit for me. In the end my research revealed that we make snap judgments on the quality of media based on our bias and prejudices, and that many consumers who genuinely “enjoy” the “wrong” media will lie about it to seem better or smarter. I essentially learned that nobody is right, we should all be nicer, and if film entertains you, that’s all it needs to do. It’s okay to criticise media on its genuine downfalls, but you should look at your own prejudices when you make a snap decision – if you think something is bad because you aren’t its key demographic, or because it’s “for girls” you’re probably a little bigoted.

Q. Why are your blogs named February Stationery and February Film and TV?
A. I wanted to start a blog, I didn’t have a title, and I pulled a lyric from the song Deer by Manchester Orchestra. When I came to making my film blog, I applied similar logic as a temporary measure but it stuck.

Q. In what ways do art and media affect society, or does society influence how art and media evolve?
A. This is such a poignant question. I believe that art and media have the power to educate society. Art can show us the world from so many different perspectives and corners of the earth, and can be persuasive enough to educate the most closed-off of minds. Society influences art in that we are always inherently influenced by our environment. I think Science Fiction is the most potent example – the Science Fiction film and literature of an era will always directly reflect the fears or hopes of the masses. The Cold War, new technology, new frontiers, apocalypse…

Q. Talk about your poetry. Cactus appealed to me because it seemed personal and revealing. Does personal experience drive your poetry?
A. Thank you! Cactus is about how much I suffer with winter and thrive in sunlight, essentially. I find myself best functioning in a dry, California heat – like a cactus – so a Brighton December is always tough. As such, I named my first poetry collection – which is about places – Cactus. Personal experience and longing are often the only factors in my poetry, selfishly enough. I am primarily motivated to write poetry when I am angry or desperate or looking to the future – it’s my way of exploring myself and often the only way I can be sincere or honest is by dressing up the truth in rhymes! I also write to capture a place or time before I forget it. I would say that personal experience is 90% of what I write.

Q. What challenges you about writing poetry?
A. I love poetry because it isn’t too challenging for me! It can be hard work, but mostly poetry is enjoyable and comes naturally to me. I write because I need to, and that’s what makes it easy.

Q. What do you hope people get from reading your work?
A. I mostly want people to be entertained for five minutes. I want them to see a bit of themselves, and maybe gain some insight into myself and my work. I sometimes write in the hope that someone I know will read it and understand what I really want to say. But mostly I want people to get the same thing I get from literature – inspiration, enjoyment, solidarity.

Q. In your writing are you an influencer, an observer, or a reporter and why?
A. I am probably a cross between the last two – as much as any one person wants to think of themselves as an influencer, there is no way to really quantify it! I write based on things that have happened to me, things I feel, things I miss. I observe everything around me and report back on it, I suppose.

Q. Please include links about what’s current or next for you, or write a blurb about your current work.
A. I have just released a collection of poetry entitled Cactus, centered around themes of place and home. You can find it here. (This is the currently updated link.)

Otherwise you can find me here:
Poetry: www.februarystationery.com
Film: www.februaryfilmandtv.com
And I publish my 2005 diaries at: http://www.newhive.com/marianneeloise


Britt Realism: Nothing is as it seems

Meredith BrittMy friend Meredith Britt is among the artists taking part in the Second Invitational New Mexico Painters Exhibition at Kennedy Hall on the campus of New Mexico Highlands University. The show will be up beginning Sept. 6 and run through Oct. 16, with the reception to be held from 4-7 p.m. on opening day.

Meredith is one of my favorite people. I thank her for kindly answering my questions and allowing me to feature her in this blog about the show. Her dry sense of humor makes me smile; her work lets me know how important art is to her.

She said about painting: “I’ve always painted. I’ve considered painting my main focus since I was 29 when I went back to school and changed my major to art.

“‘Formally trained’ sounds like I’m housebroken, which I am. I’ve been to obedience school too,” she replied to the question about whether she is self-taught. “Art kind of teaches you, whether you’re in school or not. As long as you’re making art, art is the teacher.”

In addition to painting Meredith does beautifully created collage art in vibrant colors with amazing detail. “I got started with collages just playing around with colored paper and glue stick when we had the Community Art Center by the bridge. Both mediums are so malleable – you really can’t go wrong. The artist always gets to play god.”

She refers to the artistic style of her painting and collages as Britt Realism. I can see that. There is subtle simplicity and power in her work.

Of the five bold-image paintings she submitted for consideration, three were chosen.Meredith's Work

“The pieces I picked for the show sort of go together because they are all large-scale still lifes: an ice cream cone, a toaster, and a thermos with two cups and saucers. They all sort of relate to food so there’s another thread. I also entered a painting of a chair and one of the women’s room in the Highlands art building. Those didn’t get in. Maybe the curator was hungry. On another note, I seriously hope my work gives people some joy or helps them remember there’s a bigger picture. Nothing is as it seems.”

I asked Meredith what three things she wanted people to know about her as an artist.

“I want people to know that I believe art is everything; that I hope to inspire others to make art without judgment; and that I no longer think about the fact that I’m the world’s greatest artist.”

Meredith’s work can be seen at el Zócalo Gallery, 1809 Plaza in Las Vegas, an art space she is proud to share with others.

“Eleven of us members own it cooperatively. It’s one of the best things that ever happened to me. It’s a beautiful place and we all get along well. Everyone is invited to come see us – we’re open every day. I’ve been in galleries in Santa Fe and Taos, but I don’t need them now that I have el Zócalo.”

For more information about the Second Invitational New Mexico Painters Exhibition at Kennedy Hall, click here to read an article by Margaret McKinney.

What: Second Invitational New Mexico Painters Exhibition at Kennedy Hall
Where: Kennedy Hall Art Gallery
Dates: Sept. 6 – Oct. 16
Opening Reception: 4-7 p.m., Sept. 6
Cost: Free