Friday, October 31, 2008

Be Wary of Lemon Art Dealers!

We have all heard of lemon car dealers-- car dealers who lure customers toward vehicles that they know are not worth the listed asking price-- but did you know that some art dealers have the lemon car dealer mentality? Lemon art dealers lure art collectors into buying art that has been artificially priced. In other words, they overprice artwork that does not have an established market. Lemon art dealers attempt to create a high market for art that has yet to be established naturally within the context of the art market.

The work pushed by a lemon art dealer can be technically sound. They can be masterful works. However, the artist behind the work has not been allowed to mature naturally in the art world. His or her prices have not been allowed to become established on their own, so to speak. This can be a dangerous situation for a young artist to be in. True, a young artist desires to make a splash in the art world-- that said, it is best not to do it as a dealers lemon. Unfortunately, it is easy for an artist to fall for this ploy.

As mentioned, the unethical practice of the lemon art dealer normally involves a young emerging artist who lacks a time-tested track record as far as the art market is concerned. The dealer strives to push the artist beyond his or her capacity by increasing prices without justification. Unfortunately, this practice can harm the future market potential of the artist who is pushed into it-- if exposed. Thus, there are signs that art collectors and emerging artists should acknowledge before negotiating with an art dealer.

Art collectors want to make sure that the piece they invest in involves an honest-- or at least near honest-- value as far as the current market for the specific artist is concerned. Emerging artists want to make sure that their market is naturally established over time so that their career growth is sustained. Unfortunately, a lemon art dealer can be just as deceptive as a lemon car dealer in that he or she will go great lengths to create a market that does not really exist. The questionable character and business practice of the lemon art dealer can be discovered by his or her actions-- as they say, actions speak louder than words. Below are three situations to look out for:

1. Overpricing at contemporary art fairs: A lemon art dealer will artificially increase prices when showing at a contemporary art fair. This is a bad business practice because it can upset collectors who discover the mark up. Perhaps the lemon art dealer hopes that no one will notice that similar works by the artist are far cheaper at the gallery. Unfortunately, if this action is exposed it will cast doubt on the validity of the artist involved and potentially the validity of every artist represented by the same unethical art dealer. Word of mouth can spread fast-- mesh that with blogs and the little white lies of the lemon art dealer can become a firestorm of scrutiny. A little research can reveal the facts.

2. Excessive promotional hype for an artist who was ‘unknown‘ before being represented by the gallery: A lemon art dealer will utilize excessive promotional hype in order to mask obvious flaws concerning the price of specific works that have yet to be time-tested by the art market. The idea being that if there is a ton of press about a young artist than that young artist must be a wonderful investment, right? In this scenario the art dealer is trying to artificially establish the young artist beyond his or her years of experience. While this has worked for some… it also leaves the young artist with little to fall back on if it goes wrong. Keep in mind that not all hype is bad. However, be wary if it appears as though the art dealer is trying to force how the young artist should be perceived by the media and collectors. Red flags should go up if it seems that there are more press releases about an upcoming exhibit for an emerging artist at the gallery than past reviews for that specific artist. Go with your gut.

3. Unrealistic pricing: Another tactic of lemon art dealers involves persuading young emerging artists to ask ridiculously high prices compared to what they had asked prior to gallery representation. Have you seen a young artist selling for $20,000 a pop? If so, the influence of a lemon art dealer was most likely behind the price. Lemon art dealers are easy to spot-- the little details give them away. Young artists need to protect their own investment-- the time they have spent toward mastering their art. In other words, be realistic about your prices. You are not Damien Hirst…yet. Starting out with excessively high prices often translates to work gathering dust in a storage area. A young artist should avoid this at all cost. Being a lemon can stain an otherwise promising career.

Lemon art dealers have long been present in the art market. However, there has been an obvious increase in the last decade. In fact, ethical art dealers will sometimes take this unethical path in times of economic desperation. Thus, the art market is swamped with artwork by untested artists involving prices ranging in the upper thousands even though said artists had only sold a handful of pieces-- at much lower prices-- before being represented. When the economy is stable one may overlook these issues, but when times are hard people are more apt to examine the details surrounding the rise of a young artist under his or her art dealer. Thus, young artists need to observe how they are being represented. They need to ask themselves if they are being groomed for quick cash or if they are being groomed for a long and success stay in the art market.

Again, during difficult economic times hype tends to loose its artificial luster. Thus, art collectors are more apt to focus on how time-tested an artist is-- especially if the collector plans to purchase for the purpose of investment. During times of financial crisis-- like we are experiencing now-- it becomes easier to discover which art dealers pitch lemons and which have remained true to the conventional aspects of the art market. A natural splash into the mainstream art world is better than making a splash that is caught in the throws of deception.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

Five Reasons to Join myartspace

Five Reasons to Join myartspace

1. It's Free and Unlimited: myartspace is the premier online network for the art world. It's free to join. It allows users to upload unlimited images, music, videos and audio narrations. You can create an unlimited number of galleries to organize your work. No limits. So how does it compare to the competition? We would encourage you to compare yourself:

Saatchi/YourGallery -- You can create one gallery that can contain up to 20 images for free. You can't upload or attach music to your galleries of work. myartspace allows you to organize your work into contemporary Flash galleries. But check out the work at their site and ours. A Saatchi Gallery. A myartspace gallery. You decide.

Or you compare our HTML gallery to look at apples-to-apples. And a lot of our competitors charge money just to be a member. Some let you upload 3 images per month unless you are a paying member. We encourage you to look at the other sites. Make the judgement yourself. At myartspace, we use online advertising and competitions to help offset the costs of building the site. So we can deliver the latest technology and unlimited storage for free to our community.

2. It's Contemporary and Cool: myartspace is hip. It's cool. It's contemporary. It lets artist build contemporary presentations of their works with music, audio narration, video and more. So you can create an experience that's much different than all other online sites for artists. And, if you want, you can take your gallery and "embed" it into other pages (like your profile and bulletins, or your entries).

Some good examples include:

Galleries with music: Amanda Potter, Sarah Maple, Allison Currie
Galleries with narration: Dayton Castleman and Seth Camm
Galleries with video: Derek Ogbourne and Frank de las Mercedes
Galleries in HTML: Todd Burroughs, Paul Mardikian and Viorel George Popescu
e-Catalog in PDF Format: Lois Foley.

3. It takes a community to make it work! myartspace is a community with artists, collectors, curators, art critics, educators, gallery owners, and more. The community has painters, photographers, sculptors, videographers, and everything in between. myartspace has one of the largest collections of online interviews with emerging and established artists. myartspace sponsors all sorts of community events including world-class juried competitions.

In 2006 we sponsored the South of France Competition. Four winners were wisked to the South of France for a week. In 2007 we ran New York, New York -- a 3-week show in Chelsea, New York. Winners from the corners of the earth were flown in and hosted to a gala show opening. In 2008 myartspace sponsored a juried photography competition -- the myartspace/HotShoe International competition AND now the Miami Basel Juried Competition. In 2009 our competition will take us to London, England and Shanghai, China. And in 2010 myartspace will hold its winning global exhibition in Mumbai, India.

4. Wanna Sell your art; We can be your platform: Artists are linking up with collectors and selling their art today through their personal networks on myartspace. In November myartspace will be introducing our solution to art selling -- the New York Art Exchange (nyaxe). It allows artists to set up their own store and list their work. And, of course, the work can contain additional photos, video, and narration. Online galleries will be springing up to sell work using the myartspace platform. And galleries can extend an invitation to you to represent your work in their galleries -- whether online or in Chelsea.

5. And it offers a premium membership for even more! myartspace is a free, open community. But for those artist that want more professional capabilities we offer premium services for artists. Premium subscribers can have their own personal web addresses. They can have HTML and Flash galleries. They can create their own PDF e-Catalogs of their work. They can post news events and press releases, issue eVites to heir exhibitions and upcoming shows and much more. Premium Services is $75 per year. For more information on premium services, click HERE.

So in short, we would love for you to check out our site and see if it works for you. We're proud of our membership and our growth over the past two years. Come check out the premier online social network for the art world.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Peter Doig Retrospective at Schirn Kunsthalle

Hitch Hiker, a 1989-90 painting by Peter Doig on display now at the Schirn Kunsthalle via Tate Modern.

A Peter Doig retrospective is currently on display at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The exhibition features examples of Doig’s work spanning the last two decades. Included are 130 painted posters, 50 paintings and a few works on paper. The retrospective includes some of Doig’s most celebrated landscapes. This will be the third retrospective for Peter Doig this year. Earlier this year there was a Peter Doig retrospective at the Tate Modern and the Paris Museum of Modern Art. The current Peter Doig retrospective will come to a close on January 4, 2009.

Peter Doig has been very active in the last two decades. In 1993 he won the first prize at the John Moores exhibition with his painting Blotter. This brought public recognition, cemented in 1994, when he was nominated for the Turner Prize. From 1995 to 2000 he was a trustee of the Tate Gallery.

Link of Interest:

Peter Doig Retrospective [Schirn Kunsthalle]

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Picasso Harlequin Withdrawn from Auction

A painting by Pablo Picasso has been withdrawn from a Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern art auction in New York. The painting, which is a 1909 work titled "Arlequin", was expected to fetch more than $30 million at auction. Sotheby's says that the owners withdrew the painting for personal reasons. However, critics have suggested that it was withdrawn due to the recent financial crisis that has shaken the foundation of the art market. The harlequin painting was owned by the late Italian born American surrealist painter Enrico Donati. Donati paid $12,000 for the painting in the 1940s. Is this a sign of what is to come?

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Art Market Crisis: Galleries NEED to Embrace the Internet... and eCommerce!

Art Market Crisis: Galleries NEED to Embrace the Internet... and eCommerce!

One of the critical problems facing the art world is the fact that many art dealers continue to play by the rules of old during times of economic crisis. They often fail to adapt in a meaningful way and roll on as if nothing had happened. Unfortunately, something has happened-- the economy is in a state of peril. Current economic woes have cast a shadow over the art world. These concerns have turned to fear-- and that fear has turned to paranoia in some circles. Some have suggested that if the economy continues to worsen we will see hundreds of brick & mortar galleries close throughout the world. Thus, the time to adapt to this dire market is now! Art dealers need to accept and utilize alternative forms of commerce-- including eCommerce.

Businesses owners must truly adapt in order to sustain themselves during times of economic struggle. This translates to laying off staff, adjusting prices, OR taking some initiative by utilizing different paths of commerce that may be foreign to theie business structure. Selling art is a business-- when business is rough you either count your losses or close your doors. In other words, art dealers need to discover new ways to keep their doors open during difficult times. They need to take note of the positive change that eCommerce has spurred for other types of business. For many art dealers that will involve braving the art market frontier of the internet that has been ridiculed by certain circles of the art world since the 1990s. My opinion is that eCommerce may allow some galleries to keep their doors open during times of economic despair while offering alternative funding during the best of times. Art dealers must adapt to this extension of the global market.

Businesses have learned to adapt to specific market situations by utilizing the internet and eCommerce. Unfortunately, many art dealers tend to hide themselves within a protective bubble of fantasies that dictate that the structure of the art market is without fault and must never change. You can observe the attitudes created by that bubble in how certain circles of the art world have been stubborn about utilizing the internet and eCommerce. Certain individuals want the dynamics of the art market to be etched in stone. Unfortunately, that attitude is why many businesses fail in general. To put it bluntly, when it comes to business nothing is etched in stone.

In order to adapt to a difficult market a business must truly adapt. This is accomplished by exploring different manners of commerce. Lack of initiative, ambition, and the ability to accept changes in how business can be conducted has cast doom on many businesses and it is also why a gallery can end up closing its doors for the last time. This is why it is vital for art dealers to accept eCommerce in order to expand their market. With little effort an art dealer can introduce his or her represented artists to the global art market 24/7. That is the amazing thing about eCommerce-- when the gallery is closed for the night and the art dealer is sleeping a collector overseas may very well request to purchase a piece. From there being practical about secure payments and shipping are the only steps left within the context of the deal.

So how can art dealers utilize eCommerce in order to stabilize their business during difficult economic times? How can they obtain alternative cash flow in order to keep their doors open? It is simple really. By utilizing eCommerce meshed with social networking art dealers can represent more artists-- including emerging artists with affordable prices. An art dealer could technically represent hundreds of artists online with ease while focusing on his or her core artists in the physical gallery space. In other words, an art dealer can represent his or her core artists (primary representation) in the physical space of the gallery while representing others (secondary representation), as well as their core artists, online. This would allow art dealers to take on less established artists so that they can offer affordably priced art to the global market during hard economic times. It would also be a source of alternative income when the market is more stable. By utilizing the internet and eCommerce an art dealer can keep his or her business open to the world 24/7. The technology is here. Use it!

Links of Interest:

Do Galleries Need eCommerce?

eCommerce Can Work For Artists

Why Art Sites Work

Art and the Internet: The Artists Are Here. When will Galleries Participate?

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Vision of Steve Lazarides

The Vision of Steve Lazarides

Gallery owner Steve Lazarides delivered blunt force trauma to the foundation of the traditional art world with his Outsiders exhibit. The exhibit, which featured Polly Morgan, Jonathan Yeo, Antony Micallef, Mark Jenkins and others, proves that an art exhibit can be successful without direct advertising and media hype. Lazarides and his artists reveal what can be accomplished by taking an unorthodox approach to exhibiting and marketing. In that I see great vision-- it is the kind of positive change that we need in the dynamics of the art world. I admire Steve Lazarides for what he has accomplished.
“Jonathan Yeo might be termed an inside-Outsider. A talented self-taught portrait painter, he's nonetheless created some of the most controversial and amusing artworks of the past few years.” -- Steve Lazarides

The proof is in the numbers-- over 30,000 visitors found their way to the exhibit in New York even though no direct advertising was involved. Awareness for the exhibit was spread by word of mouth-- from one artist to another, from one teenager to fifty-- which then spread like wildfire on the internet. The power of this cycle of communication is important if compared to recent media hyped exhibits, such as the Gilbert & George retrospective, which received less foot traffic even though G & G are considered titans of the art world establishment.
“Antony Micallef is an accomplished painter and sculptor who has managed to achieve recognition within the art establishment, and yet continue to maintain an uneasy relationship with the mainstream.”-- Steve Lazarides

Many of the artists represented by Steve Lazarides have relied on the internet to some degree in order to establish public awareness of their work. Thus, the popularity of the exhibit reveals the influence that the internet can have on the art world as well as the art market. These artists have strayed from the traditional path of the art world-- they have carved out their own destiny by utilizing websites, blogs, and social networking. By creating their own path these artists have ended up exhibiting in major museums and galleries.
“Polly Morgan's 'To Every Seed His Own Body'. Her art fits in with the rest of the Outsiders in that it inventively jolts the viewer into re-evaluating their environment.”-- Steve Lazarides

Due to the internet the public finally has a say in what they desire to view. One could say that the Outsiders reveals the direction of art that the public is demanding. Of the exhibit Lazarides has stated, “the work is very accessible – you don't need an art history degree to understand it; the same way an idea isn't necessarily any less powerful if not communicated in a complex manner.” The question is… will other gallery owners take note of this accomplishment? Will they be more open to emerging artists who do not fit their traditional expectations? Will they acknowledge that utilizing social networks and blogs can be a positive direction to take?
Links of Interest:
The Outsiders
Myartspace Interview with Mark Jenkins
Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

Banksy: One Nation Under CCTV scheduled for removal

Banksy and his team created One Nation Under CCTV last April. Banksy and company erected scaffolding in a Post Office yard in Newman Street near Oxford Circus in order to create the 23ft-high mural. Apparently the team was in full view of a security CCTV camera during the process. Banksy had worked behind polythene sheeting in order to conceal his identity. The piece is now scheduled for removal.

The Westminster City Council has ordered the removal of the 23ft-high mural stating that it encourages graffiti. The consensus of the Council is that it should be removed for the greater good. This is not the first time that a piece by Banksy has been removed for the "greater good" and I doubt it will be the last.

What do you think about this decision? Should street works by artists of note be protected from removal? Do these works encourage graffiti in mass? What say you?

I learned about this story on the Coxsoft Art News blog. Coxsoft previews London art exhibitions and reports on anything of special interest in the visual arts worldwide-- from ice sculpture to body painting. Check Coxsoft out!

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Myartspace Interviews: Wafaa Bilal, Vito Acconci, Christian Schumann

A look at past interviews that have been featured on

Imbue, Lamda photographic print, Approximately 44 by 48 inches (smaller-sized prints also available)

Interview with Wafaa Bilal:
“Activist art gets a bad reputation; art is political in nature. You cannot separate the two. Even if you decide not to do political art, that is itself a political act according to Adorno. Which comes first, art or politics? I think art becomes the reflection and the record of time…but life is politics, and usually art imitates life, except occasionally when life imitates art.” -- Wafaa Bilal
Fan City, convertible architectural unit, 1981

Interview with Vito Acconci:
“Everybody uses labels: they give you a handle on things – an over-simplified handle, sure, but without labels, without ads, without words, the world would be an indistinguishable mass, a blur. You can hope, maybe, that people ascribe so many labels to you that none wins out…” -- Vito Acconci

Plastic Youth, 2007, Acrylic on canvas, 52" x 74"

Interview with Christian Schumann:
“I never make sketches. Everything is developed in an intuitive manner. The approach I developed growing up is derived from a mush of ideas from expressionism and the Beats. In painting, one act creates the idea of the next - it is a conversation of sorts which slowly turns into a frustrating puzzle with my own limited nature. Increasingly, the only requirement I need for working is just to have time to do it in the first place as the whole process requires so much of it.” -- Christian Schumann

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

Bill Henson Controversy: Art will no longer be an excuse for child exploitation.

Bill Henson Controversy Fuels Legal Action

Australia-- In the wake of the Bill Henson controversy laws regulating child nudity and art will be overhauled in New South Wales. If passed the new laws will prevent photographers and filmmakers from using “artistic purpose” as a legal defense for working with nude underage models. For those who don’t know, Bill Henson has been under media fire in Australia due to a controversial exhibit involving photographs of nude models as young as 12. The outrage was fueled further when it was revealed that a principal had given Henson an unauthorized tour of a school-- the artist visited the school in order to scout for potential models. Henson recently censored his own exhibit at a New York gallery in a step to keep the controversy from following him overseas.

The new legislation will include a new offence involving voyeurism and tougher laws that target teachers and other adults who abuse their position of authority over children. The legislation will also include a new offence to address the practice of meeting a child after exposing the child to indecent material for sexual purposes. That offense alone will carry a maximum sentence of ten years.

The swift change in rules regarding underage nude models and the breakdown of the “artistic purpose” defense was fueled due to public outcry over an exhibit of Henson’s work earlier this year. Law enforcement had been informed of the exhibit from upset individuals who received an invite by email from the gallery. The invite included a nude image of a 12 year old girl. Thirty-two images were seized from the gallery after police shut the exhibition down.

Bill Henson was not charged with any violations. In fact, the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdery, refused to prosecute the artist. The 32 seized images were declared non-pornographic. However, the ruling on Henson’s photographs opened the floodgates for the new laws and the termination of the “artistic purpose” defense due to concern that individuals with ill intentions would exploit the ruling in order to justify their otherwise illegal photographs and films. Under the proposed laws adults in a position of authority who are found guilty of indecent offences against children will be liable to a maximum sentence of 25 years in jail.

Links of Interest:

The Bill Henson Controversy: Art or Child Porn?

Art Critic Benjamin Genocchio Makes Poor Choices About Controversial Photographer
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

Myartspace Art Scholarship Update

Early Registrants will obtain a free Premium trial on and have a shot at winning an i-Phone! The art scholarship competition is free to enter! has created an art scholarship program for undergraduate and graduate art students. The scholarship is intended for students who exhibit exceptional artistic excellence in their chosen medium. Both contemporary and traditional art will be considered. There will be three prizes for undergraduate art students and three prizes for graduate art students. Myartspace is free to join and the art scholarship competition is free to enter. We plan to expand on this program each year.

Prize Breakdown:

First Prize:
$5000 for undergraduate student
$5000 for graduate student
Second Prize:
$2000 for undegraduate student
$2000 for graduate student
Third Prize:
$1000 for undergraduate student
$1000 for graduate student

Update to Art Scholarship Competition Rules:

Due to the successful interest on the part of our program, and at the request of a large number of schools, has decided to extend the entry to the scholarship program until December 16, 2008. has created an early registration deadline of November 21, 2008. Registrants that register by November 21, 2008 will be given a free, 3-month premium subscription to myartspace. A full-year premium subscription costs $75-- so this is a great way to try out premium features for 3 months on the site at no cost. The upgrade provides a host of powerful features for users such as their own personal URL on myartspace. Two i-Phones will be awarded through a random drawing to early registrants as well.
Scholarship winners will be notified by December 23, 2008. A public announcement of winners will be made January 7, 2009. For more information visit
Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

Friday, October 24, 2008

Elizabeth Peyton at the New Museum

Portrait of Poitr Uklanski (1996), Elizabeth Peyton via NYTimes

The Elizabeth Peyton exhibit at the New Museum features over 100 works by the artist. The exhibit, titled “Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton”, will be open until January 11th, 2009. Her work can be found in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris

Elizabeth Peyton emerged in the early 1990s along with painters such as Lisa Yuskavage and John Currin. Her portraits are often characterized by elongated, slender figures with androgynous features which at times resemble fashion illustration. These portraits generally portray individuals that Peyton has established personal rapport with or portraits linked to her imagination-- individuals she wished she had known. The exhibit at the New Museum involves examples of Peyton’s work from the last fifteen years.

Peyton’s celebrity subjects have included Liam Gallagher (Oasis), Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), John Lennon (The Beatles), and Eminem-- among others. Her portrait of John Lennon sold for $800,000 in 2006. Peyton is often credited for having revived the tradition of portrait painting during a time when portrait painting was considered by many to be “dead”.

Links of Interest:

Roberta Smith on Elizabeth Peyton’s Show at The New Museum [Badatsports]
Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton [New Museum]
The Personal and the Painterly [NYTimes]

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

Art Space Talk: Matt Small

Matt Small-- also known as Matty-- is a traditional urban artist who paints directly onto used pieces of found metal and other objects. Small’s subjects are taken directly from the streets. They are all filmed without their knowledge at which point the artist uses the documentation as references for his work. The portraits are painted on found- objects such as concrete and metal, using household materials like gloss or poster paint, which he applies very thickly. By giving each portrait names such as Ahmed, Andre and Terry, he gives the ‘anonymous faces of urban youth’ a character. The combination of subject and materials captures the essence of London street life.

Winston, Sculptural painting made from assemble pieces of metal, 45cm x 30cm x 12cm, 2007

BS: Matt, can you introduce yourself to our readers?

MS: My name is Matthew Small. I am a dude from Camden north London where I have lived all of my 33 years. I am an artist who has been described by some (many) to paint moody, young negroids and other foreigners, the sort of people you don’t normally do portraits of if you’re an artist. I paint people who don’t get acknowledged much in society, be they black or white, it ain't no race thing.

Paul, Mixed media on found metal, 91cm x 76cm, 2007

BS: Matt, you studied at Westminster and the Royal College of Art. What can you tell us about your academic years?

MS: I studied illustration, I always liked drawing and stuff and wanted to have a career in it. I thought that illustration would be a feasible way of making money in the art world. So I did an art foundation and then a degree in illustration and then a masters at the RCA.
Youngstarr, Mixed media on found metal, 110cm x 110cm, 2007

BS: So why did you decide to pursue fine art instead of illustration?

MS: I thought the illustration world would be the way, but I soon realized that answering briefs for someone else, doing stuff that I didn’t give a hoot about was really stifling my creative development. I basically couldn’t be an illustrator because I was more interested in making art that was about things I cared about, subject matter that was related to me, the world that I saw, the people I encountered on a day to day basis. I wanted to illustrate their story not some bollocks crap design for a corn flakes packet or a load of illustrations for some numb-nut magazine
Samuel, Mixed media on assembled pieces of found metal, 110cm x 90cm, 2006

BS: With that in mind, how would you describe your art to someone who is approaching your work for the first time?

MS: My art is portraiture that focuses on the person who isn’t normally deemed worthy of being focused on. I paint the little bod who is sitting on the wall by his housing estate, I paint the little runt who has a hoody on that people don’t want to look because they feel threatened for some reason, I paint the things that I think need to be highlighted, the unappreciated.

BS: How is that choice reflected in the materials that you utilize?

MS: I paint on materials that I suppose represent the people I paint. For example, fridge doors and ovens. I create on objects that have been discarded, tossed away, left to rot, abandoned, unloved shit. These materials help enhance the message I’m conveying in the picture.

JB, mixed media on found metal, 65cm x 50cm, 2006

BS: Give us some more insight into the materials you use and surfaces that you utilize within the context of your work…

MS: I work with anything I can get my hands on, I like the idea of being ‘unconventional’, just picking up all manner of different types of paint and throwing them all together, and like I said, working on bits of cars and fridges.

I use a lot of household paints and industrial materials. For example, concrete and bricks. I like having bits of the environment in the work. It all goes into bringing out the essence of the city.

William, Mixed media on found concrete slab, 140cm x 179cm, 2007

BS: Tell about your process. Do you start out with a sketchbook-- prelim sketches-- or is your work based on intuition alone?

MS: I film my subjects on the street, I find a suitable frame to work from then draw it up on to the canvas. I work in sections really. After sketching up the picture I then paint the tones of the face, then I will maybe leave the picture for a little while, for how ever long, a week or a couple of hours it all depends on whether I feel bothered to do it all in one go. It often comes down to if I have enough time to do it all before I pick up my boy from school, that sort of thing. But all-in-all in terms of actual time a picture takes me on average about 40000000

BS: Tell us more about your influences-- what inspires you?

MS: When I wake up and see my little boy I feel inspired. When I go out and mooch about town I feel inspired. Day to day living is inspirational for my work as I want to represent a reality that is personal to my existence and hopefully which is similar and connected to others around me. It’s a London thing I suppose. It’s nice to draw upon your community, to highlight the area you come from and the people who live there.
Jason, Mixed media on found metal, 80cm x 50cm, 2006

BS: Have any specific artists influenced you?

MS: I always believed that to have a unique voice you shouldn’t really look at other artists. So I never really consciously let myself be influenced by anyone. Then I realized I was being anal.

I enjoy Marlene Dumas as she focused on a section of society that was not accepted as having any worth-- prostitutes. I was happy to see an artist deal with such subject matter with total conviction and at the same time have her own style of painting that really captured the mood and essence of those she was depicting.

David, Sculptural work made from hand painted assembled metal on found street sign, 100cm x 60cm, 2007

BS: Living as an artist is sometimes difficult financially. Do you hold a part-time job?

MS: I have never had a job in my life and I intend to go to my grave never having had one. I get by.

BS: You've produced a lots of work in a relatively short frame of time. Do you have a favorite piece?

MS: I always try to produce favorite pieces, I think I put myself into all of my work so it is all personal to me and each piece represents an achievement. However, of all the pictures that I was happiest with it was a piece called David which was like a 3d painting that I made for the ‘This is England’ show last year.
Lawrence, Mixed Media on found metal, 65cm x 90cm, 2005

BS: What do you think of the recent boom of mainstream interest in street art?

MS: I don’t know really. Sometimes I’m sick to death of it all. I hate when scenes get hyped up and you get loads of wanky people getting involved that don’t have a clue or give a shit really about the essence of the culture. You get hedge fund bankers and city boys who are attracted by the money and don't give a crap about the reality of the real people who are making the art on the streets.

I see street art as a platform for all to have a voice, to be seen and felt, that’s what’s so beautiful about it. The city becomes a canvas for all. Now it does feel a bit like, because of all the hype and attention directed towards street art, some artists are using the street to advertise their product. It feels slightly manipulative to me that the street is used to promote your soon to be released print or up coming show. I think what’s happened is the innocence has gone a bit.

I do believe that art on the streets is eternal, the need for the street to be heard will mean there’s always someone out there who will be doing this without the thought of money being their sole agenda. I don’t know, who am I to have an opinion, I’m just an ‘urban artist’

Becky, Mixed media on found wood, 80cm x 78cm, 2008

BS: My understanding is that your work is currently on display at Ronnie Wood’s London based gallery Scream. So what is your opinion of galleries in general?

MS: All galleries are money grabbing snakes.

BS: Finally, what are your plans in the near future? Any upcoming exhibitions?

MS: I have a show at black rat press in March then I’m having a show in South Africa in November next year which will be with the Bank Gallery.
You can learn more about Matt Small by visiting his website-- More information about Matt can be found art-- You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--
Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

Meat After Meat Joy, curated by Heide Hatry Group exhibition

Group Exhibition runs October 16 - November 15, 2008

The flesh is weak but the spirit is strong
. Using meat, as a material is most certainly an interesting concept with predisposed associations and references. Once passed a slightly sickening sweet scent at the opening there are interesting levels to investigate. The material is life and death symbolically of course but it is also a signifier something was and is no longer itself. Though it is almost impossible to get around the “spectacle” of the material, Heide Hatry plays down that aspect in order to dig deeper into the collection of works.

(c)Betty Hirst, American Flag 2008, Meat and lard on panel, 33 x 60 inches, courtesy of the gallery

Betty Hirst’s works are visceral chunks formed into sculptures. In Hirst’s “American Flag” piece she creates horizontal lines of meat and lard sprouting maggots deteriorating before your eyes within its frame. Possibly, we have come to this collectively, a carcass of ideals left to fester. In her work “Dried Baby” the meat infant is a basic figure with minor details alluding to gender. Faceless lying on a light pink satin material under a single hanging gallery light, small stains have begun to settle into the fabric. The disturbing warmth of the yellow light washes over the work as in a strange hatchery... (C) Betty Hirst,Baby II 2008, Meat, 14 x 8.5 x 3 inches, courtesy of the gallery

In Zahng Huan’s video “My New York 2002 – Performance Whitney Biennial” Huan’s meat suit is as bulked up as any contemporary super hero. He is now publicly fully exposed, vulnerable without the most basic protection of his own skin. (c) Zahng Huan - My New York 2002, Performance, Whitney Biennial, courtesy of the gallery

Carolee Schneemann’s Meat Joy (1964) performance in which both men and women roll around biting raw chicken unleash unabashed desire bound to the body but not exclusive to it. They roll and slide, playfully confident in their “being” without concerns of social or sexual pre-conditions and judgment.

Curious by nature, I oddly found myself wanting to touch the work to experience its texture first hand. Would it really feel different because of its placement in a gallery and presence as art object than preparing it for dinner? This is where the brain kicks in to add its two cents to the experience.

Heide Hatry wearing a black jumper with thin slices peeking through cut outs invited me to touch it. Naturally, I did hoping to find an unexpected reaction. Still supple with a slightly dried thin layer, the meat against her body gave way as if I were touching something deeper. She had given me something which felt very personal, a moment to see beneath the layers of skin through the cut outs of the jumper. What she had given was a rare experience.

511 WEST 25 ST, 3FL
phone: 212 675 2966
Tues.-Sat. 11am to 6pm

Take care,

Dianne Bowen
Guest Blogger

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Artist Statement...again

Based on the number of questions I’ve received about this topic I think it is safe to say that writing an artist statement can sometimes be the hardest aspect of taking the professional path with art. It can be very difficult for some artists to write about exactly what they are doing even though they are fully aware of what they are doing. For some each word used to describe their art becomes a philosophical game of Russian roulette-- “Did I say the right thing? “, “Does this make me look stupid?”, and a dozen other questions barrage the task of writing an artist statement. Loathing aside, writing an artist statement is something that must be done and done well. Don’t allow it to become an obstacle on your path. Master it with the same persistence that you have had in mastering your chosen medium(s).

More often than not an artist will attempt to shrug off the need for having an artist statement by suggesting that his or her art should speak for itself. That noble view is rarely enough to spearhead a career. The simple truth is that an artist statement can play a huge role in the success or failure that an artist experiences as far as school applications, grant applications, and exhibit enquires are concerned. The ‘my art defines itself’ attitude will not work in these scenarios because there are millions of artists who say the same thing to the point that the anti-artist statement statement is generic. In other words, saying ’my art defines itself’ does not say much to those who require an artist statement in the first place. In fact, ‘my art defines itself’ often translates to ‘I’m lazy’ or ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ to individuals who expect an artist statement. To put it bluntly, if you don’t care to write about your art why should anyone else care to learn about it?

The ‘my art defines itself’ position is generic because it is obvious that people will discover something when viewing art-- chances are they will discover something beyond the intention of the person who created the piece. This is why having an artist statement can benefit an artist. The point of an artist statement is to inform people about how YOU see your work while still leaving how your work is interpreted open-- if desired. The thoughts behind your process and methods may not always be obvious to the viewer. Thus, the artist statement serves as an introduction of sorts. In other words, your artist statement can be a starting point for individuals who are interested in learning or writing about your art.

When discussing the importance of having an artist statement I’m often hit with “But so-and-so does not have an artist statement!“ from artists who attempt to find any reason they can to avoid writing one. While it is true that some successful artists do not currently utilize an artist statement I can promise you that at some point ‘so-and-so’ did. Face it, an artist like Damien Hirst does not need to actively use an artist statement. His work has been widely discussed in the press and online-- his statement is known. An emerging artist does not have it so easy. Thus, having an artist statement is important for an emerging artist because it can answer questions that may otherwise go unanswered.

In closing, your artist statement should be close to your practice in that it should grow with you. In other words, the artist statement you write today may not reflect the work you are creating a year from now. At some point you will need to make changes to your artist statement as your work evolves. However, in order to make changes to your artist statement you need to have one to work from. Thus, it is vital to throw caution aside and write! You probably won’t get it right the first time… just keep writing and be sure to get feedback from peers. With luck you may not need to rely on an artist statement five years down the road-- though some of us think that it is important to have one regardless of fame.

Links of Interest:

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Myartspace Advice for Emerging Artists

I’ve been thinking about what has accomplished with the Art Space Talk series of interviews that I‘ve conducted. Since October of 2006 I have conducted over 400 interviews in person, by phone, and by email with emerging and established artists. I’ve been told that myartspace has one of the largest-- if not the largest-- collections of artist interviews online at this time. I take great joy in the fact that these interviews have made an impact.

The impact is obvious if one observes the details. For example, in the last year I’ve observed other online art communities attempt to emulate the success that myartspace has had by conducting interviews of their own. Needless to say, they have a lot of catching up to do. However, what pleases me most is the fact that dozens of art students have contacted me to let me know that they have used specific myartspace interviews for their research papers. At the end of the day that is what matters to me-- art education.

The myartspace interviews contain information that emerging artists can learn from. By reading the myartspace interview series young artists can obtain advice from world renowned artists. Below are some quotes from past interviews I’ve conducted for myartspace that I think might be helpful to emerging artists:

“Fine Art is not a career - commercial art is. You may be so talented that no one will buy your work until after you're dead, like Vincent van Gogh. Focus on things that happened to you that you can't figure out.” -- James Rosenquist

“The internet has extended the possibility of making art to more people, and particularly of enabling it to be seen by others. I am sure the internet is having a profound impact on art, particularly those who have grown up with it, but making good art will remain as difficult (and as easy) as it ever was. Having a lasting impact may become more not less difficult.” -- Michael Craig-Martin

“Don't look for art outside yourself,- you can only find it within yourself.- and most likely,- you are already stepping on it!” -- Julian Stanczak

“I can only say that one has to be very single minded, if not obstinate and think that just doing the work is important though one does really need some encouragement. However one usually has something one needs, to express which gives one great satisfaction and there is a pleasure of knowing other artists.” -- Sylvia Sleigh

“You exploiting you... and going against your inner voice... your gut feeling, your instinct. No matter what is being denied or offered, the true you knows better. You have to learn to hear it.” -- William T. Wiley

“focus on what you are interested in. Then go see as much of that kind of painting you can find. Museums and galleries can be a place to learn and obviously you should read and inform yourself. Continue to educate yourself and paint as much as you can. I think that is what artists have always done.” -- Thornton Willis

“I guess if I had advice for any potential students of any art school that would be to make a lot of friends - interact and try to spend time with the most creative, constructive people you can find as these friendships could really matter later on.” -- Christian Schumann

“My students have almost all made networking sites part of their daily life. I seriously wonder where they find the time. Young artists have great opportunities to see what is out there, to form connections and communities and to promote themselves.” -- Holly Hughes

“Play with fashion if you wish, but don't be a slave to it - it can change and leave you behind. Also it is freeing to have another way of making a living so you are not dependent on the market.” -- Janet Fish

“Everybody uses labels: they give you a handle on things – an over-simplified handle, sure, but without labels, without ads, without words, the world would be an indistinguishable mass, a blur. You can hope, maybe, that people ascribe so many labels to you that none wins out…” -- Vito Acconci

“Draw and paint everyday. Create a unique body of work. Study what is important and make your art about the most important thing. Read Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet. Honor your visions by noting them whenever you have them. Always carry a sketchbook and enter in it daily. Create a website for your work and print a postcard and a business card and give them out. Write an artist's statement -- over and over again. Learn to talk about your work so that it inspires others. Go to galleries and meet other artists. A certain amount of solitude is necessary but don't be isolated. Study the masters. Immerse yourself and become obsessed with your art and art in general.” -- Alex Grey

“Activist art gets a bad reputation; art is political in nature. You cannot separate the two. Even if you decide not to do political art, that is itself a political act according to Adorno. Which comes first, art or politics? I think art becomes the reflection and the record of time…but life is politics, and usually art imitates life, except occasionally when life imitates art.” -- Wafaa Bilal

“Sites like Myartspace, PAM, and Lumen Eclipse are amazing resources for artists, curators, critics, and traditional gallerists. If not actual gate keepers, these sites maintain a level of criticality in the work they show and in their programming that keeps them vital. Few museums, even those with deep pockets and a commitment to collecting video, can rival the breath of some of these sites. That being said, I'm not a fan of more is better. Unlike most web 2.0 sites like YouTube and MySpace, where quantity doesn't always equal quality, the above mentioned sites maintain a focus. I don't believe that the medium is always the message and that just because it's a video and uploaded somewhere it's worth watching.” -- Janet Biggs

“don’t be fussy about the shows you are asked to be in, although still aim for bigger and better shows. The more exhibitions you are in the more likely you will be offered venues that are more prestigious and you will get a better deal.” -- Derek Ogbourne

“Other than "Breathe," "Be open," and "Look and Paint,"… I had a list of "10 dos" which I suggested that my students at the academy adhere to daily.
1. Hydrate (drink a gallon of pure water a day)
2. Eat Right (eat three well balanced meals)
3. Be Physical (exercise ,walk, or play a sport,regularly)
4. Study (learn all you can about your primary interests)
5. Make some money(work. be responsible,not greedy.You have to eat and pay the rent)
6. Make Art (believe in it, develop it and enjoy it.)
7. Meditate or Pray.(find and practice a spiritual discipline)
8. Sleep (8 hours a night to recharge and dream)
9. Love (develop a few close honest friendships)
10. Know Thyself (Be clear. write. decide when an issue is your own or when it is someone else's)” -- Bo Bartlett

“Make art all the time-- and really all the time. You won’t grow unless you do, and the art won’t make itself. If you have a TV-- get rid of it. When you feel you are ready figure out whatever field it is you would like be involved in and approach them. They don’t know about you so you need to let them know who you are. If you are trying to get involved in the galleries pick up this book "Taking the Leap" it's an insider's guide to exhibiting and selling your art by Cay Lang. Don’t let criticism get you down. The art world can be really overwhelming at times. You definitely need to work really hard at it. If one place turns you down keep moving on to the next place and just keep on hitting it and don’t ever lose site on why you make art. Your art is who you are. The most important thing is to just believe in yourself.” -- David Stoupakis

“Work as much as you can. Elevate your craft as much as you can. Expand your visual vocabulary as much as possible. Don’t base your research solely on computer generated information. Active engagement with the real world is the best source for concepts and imagery. Having and being able to articulate a great idea, is the best way to get exposure. Competency in business, packing/freighting, computer software and writing wouldn’t hurt either!” Valerie Hird

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

The Ruins of the Future

Opening Thursday 23 October 6-9pm
Mie Olise Kjærgaard and Mary Mattingly
The Ruins of the Future
October 24 – November 22 2008

Standpoint is pleased to bring together two internationally acclaimed young artists who explore remote places and create semi-architectural inventions, reflecting on failed human histories and possible futures. Into the Pyramid 08 still from video- box in water by Mie Olise Kjaergaard

Mie Olise Kjærgaard creates what she calls 'porous constructions'. Like empty shells, her abandoned structures are left open for mutation, inhabitation, or penetration; be it transformative or entropic. They are reminiscent of cities or cargo ships, or constructions like watchtowers, houses and sheds.

In 2007 Kjærgaard travelled to the Russian abandoned city, The Pyramid, at the edge of the Arctic Circle, which was built as a communist utopia and abandoned in 1998. The architecture and remnants of mining construction in the ghost town form the basis for her ongoing project about the disintegration of utopian ideas - the spaces left by man to fall back into nature.

For Standpoint, Kjærgaard presents new work relating to a second research trip to the Pyramid City, this time accompanied by a professional film photographer, with funding from the Danish Art Council. Alongside the resulting film Kjærgaard will construct a site-specific intervention which re-interprets the gallery's functioning open elevator in reference to constructions from the North Pole Coal Mine Structures, which transported the newly dug coal towards shipment in series of buckets. Kjærgaard will also show new paintings of mutated abandoned structures.

Mie Olise Kjærgaard was born in Denmark, and lives and works in London and New York. Graduating M.A. Central St. Martins 2007, she was one of the 4 finalists in Saatchi / Channel 4's '4 New Sensations' in 2007, and one of 50 finalists in the New York, New York Competition 2007. She recently opened her first US solo show at Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston. Her installation 'The Noisy Shed' was included at the 10th Istanbul Biennale, with The Triangle Project. She is one of the selected artists for the John Moores Painting Prize 2009, Art Futures 08 and was nominated by Rebecca Wilson (Saatchi Gallery) for the Sovereign European Art Prize. Elysian Fields by Mary Mattingly

Mary Mattingly uses functional sculpture, photography and digital imaging techniques to create narrative scenes, which present the astonishing beauty of the wilderness against the need for human survival in a hostile climate. In 2001, Mattingly started building 'wearable homes', refining them through personal experience - living in them for weeks at a time in different deserts with little food or water. She added systems to them that purify water, provide a place to sleep, monitor the wearer's temperature and general health, and provide floatation and storage for belongings.

The homes are a response to Mattingly's personal experience of an urban nomadic lifestyle, coupled with the implications of climate change and increasing global pressures on future populations. 'I was able to experience hardships from lack of water and difficulties communities face from changing climates first hand, to study floodgates and rising tides, and at times I was able to help in relief efforts. With the inclusion of sculptures, the images that I make border between fiction and real.'

Mattingly is also working on a new series of photographs of failed utopian structures (some real, some invented and constructed) for Standpoint, which developed from an installed environment made at Braziers International Artists Workshop in 2007.

Mary Mattingly lives and works in New York City. Recent solo exhibitions include: Frontier, Galerie Adler, Germany 2007; Fore Cast, White Box, NY2006; Second Nature, Robert Mann Gallery, NY 2006. Her work has featured internationally in many acclaimed shows and biennials. Mattingly is working on a project for 2009 called the Waterpod, a floating sculptural habitable structure that will showcase new technologies for water desalinization and purification, clean energies, and sustainable, autonomous living. She is shortlisted for the Prix Pictet, exhibition Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France, October 2008, Dubai 2009.

Venue: Standpoint Gallery, 45 Coronet Street, London N1 6HD
Gallery Open: Wednesday – Saturday, 12-6pm
Tube: Old Street, Exit 2 (Northern Line – Bank Branch)
Buses: 55, 67, 149, 242, 243
Links of Interest:
Mie Olise Kjærgaard interview with myartspace #1:
Mie Olise Kjærgaard inteview with myartspace #2:
myartspace profile for Mie Olise Kjærgaard

Art Space Talk: Stephanie Diamond

I learned about Stephanie Diamond from reading an article on Paddy Johnson’s Art Fag City blog. Stephanie Diamond has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, and has had solo exhibitions at Incident Report (Hudson, New York) in 2008, Cuchifritos Gallery (New York) in 2005, Para-Site Gallery (Beacon, New York) also in 2005, and at Galeria Sin Titulo (San Juan, Puerto Rico) in 2004.

Stephanie Diamond's work has been included in group exhibitions at the Queens Museum of Art (Queens, New York), P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (Long Island City, New York), The Sculpture Center (Long Island City, New York), The Studio Museum in Harlem (New York), The New York Historical Society (New York), The Katonah Museum of Art (Katonah, New York), The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, (Annandale-on-Hudson, New York), The Newark Arts Council (New Jersey), The Light Factory, (Charlotte, North Carolina), La Fabrica del Vapore/Open Space, (Milan, Italy), Contemporary Art Center (Vilnius, Lithuania), Andrew Kreps Gallery (New York), Ramis Barquet Gallery (New York), Art In General (New York), Artists Space (New York), Gallery 400 (Chicago), Kevin Bruk Gallery (Miami, Florida), Reg Vardy Gallery, (Sunderland, England) and Jan Mot Galerie, (Belgium).

Diamond was an artist in residence at LMCC Swing Space, Art Omi, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, and M and M Projects in San Juan Puerto Rico. She is the recipient of a Puffin Foundation Grant (2002), Athena Foundation Grant (2003), and a nominee for The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2003). Her work is in the permanent collection of Bank of America, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Francis Greenberger Foundation. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Time Out New York, the New York Post, and MoMA Magazine. She received her B.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design (1997) and her M.A. from New York University (2004).

Brian Sherwin: Stephanie, you studied at RISD, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and at New York University. Can you briefly tell us about your academic years? Did you have any influential instructors? Do you have any advice for current students?

Stephanie Diamond: As a student, I learned how to critique very early on in my freshman year. I took a class at RISD during a semester called Wintersession; a time when we were encourage to not focus on our major. I cannot recall the name or kind of class I took; all I remember is not making any artwork. I only took part in critiques. I learned the art of critique so to say, and this led me to learn the art of idea making and object making.

Later in school I went to Mexico during a Wintersession, and this proved to be fruitful as well. Stepping out of what I know and what is “safe” never ceases to provide me with the best opportunities. Advice… learn where your ideas come from, learn how to give and take critique, learn how to write a resume and artist statement, and learn how to verbally articulate what it is you do visually.

BS: Tell us about your process as a photographer. In your opinion, what is the ‘perfect image’ as far as photography is concerned?

SD: As an obsessive image-maker. I began photographing as an artist at the age of 13, and since then, I have documented my -- and everyone who comes in contact with me -- life. I use a small and compact 35 mm film camera, and all of my photos are amassed in an archive of over 100,000 of my images (image above).

As far as the perfect image I do not suppose any photograph is a “bad” photograph, and I believe there is no such thing as “low” or “high” photography. I use photographs to help me articulate that the whole universe is connected. For me, photographs render what I see in the world into objects. This translation aids in my understanding that everything is energy, and capturing something or someone with a photo is making an object out of that energy.

It is my desire that the photo as an object holds this idea as well, and with this object we are capable to experience the subject matter in real time, in the now. It is my wish that through these visual representations one begins to realize and feel that there is really no separation between the subject in the photo, the object they are holding, and themselves. Photo for me, is proof that we are all connected as one.
BS: I understand that you were attracted to photography at a young age. Do you ever reflect on those early experiences within the context of the work you create today?

SD: I remember taking, and still have, my first photograph; it was taken in “It’s a Small World” at Disney Land (image above). I was 4 years old when I took it. The image is of a genie with her head resting on her hands. It is blurry, and was taken with an instamatic. I also have a photo timeline that is made up of my photos that mark important milestones for me. It consists of: 4 years old, my first photograph taken in “It’s a Small World” at Disney Land. 13 years old, the first photograph I printed. Also 13 years old, the first photograph where I realized that I was a photographer. Junior year in college, the first photograph where I visually articulated my reasons for creating, and a few images thereafter that do that same. The most resent image that was added to the timeline is of my niece and her two friends (image below). This image is part of my series on my family.

BS: What about other influences? Where do you draw inspiration? Any specific artists or events?

SD: One major influence is my dance practice. I dance the 5 Rhythms; which I have been taking classes three to four times a week for the past two years. The 5 Rhythms is a moving meditation practice founded by Gabrielle Roth in the 1960’s. It borrows from various forms of trance and ecstatic dance modalities, and is a modality within itself. The practice works with the idea that people flow in and out of waves throughout their life; the 5 Rhythms make up a wave. They are: flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical, and stillness.

Each rhythm pertains to a different way in which we move, express, and understand ourselves. By dancing these rhythms we allow our bodies to be danced, step out of our heads/ego, and enter into a meditative state of being. The dance is a physical, emotional and spiritual curriculum that systematically leads us to retrieve the instinctive movements of body, heart and mind.
There are many artists and projects that have influenced me throughout the years as well. A few of them are:
Jacob Riis
Helen Levit’s color photographs
Fred Wilson’s, Mining the Museum
Daniel Martinez’s, Consequences of a Gesture, a parade that brought together Mexican American and African American
groups in Chicago who do not generally join forces.
Grant Kester's writing on dialogical based art practices
Miranda July and Harold Fletcher, Learning to love you more on-line project
BS: Tell us more about the thoughts behind your work. Is there a specific message that you wish to convey from one series to the other?

SD: My passion to present and discuss photography across many vistas, as well as my critical insight, comes from my desire to connect communities and people. My process is not simply to take photographs but to use photography as a vehicle for understanding and knowing. It is my hope that my work changes the way in which people view photography, themselves, and the world.

Traditionally, the snapshot is a way to record fleeting moments and recall memories. The snapshot is also a symbol that can replace, store, release, ignite, erase, capture, prove, discover, and uncover memories. For years I have been reading my images in this way; with my camera I capture moments that are often overlooked or fleeting. My personal art training has taught me another way to give words to the long standing visual language of photography, and to transform it.

In terms of dance, like photographs, the body is also a place where these same actions take place. Through dance I have learned that experiencing my body in this capacity has effected my movement and my approach to image making and viewing. Through my dance training I have come to see that body memories can be unlocked and read just like my photos.

BS: Can you give our readers any insight into your future projects?

SD: My current work is created with an attempt to publicly bring dance and photo together. When I do this, I apply my experiences and interactions with other bodies that occur while dancing and sharing photographs. When this happens, I not only gain access to my own stored memories, but those of others as well. A piece that embodies this idea is the triptych "The Three Graces" (example below) on view at Ramis Barquet Gallery , November 13 - December 23.

BS: Which project have you enjoyed working on the most? Does one stick out, so to speak?

SD: I find that a community brings out my best self and as a result, my best work. When I am not working and living with community I am creating projects that evoke it. Projects of mine that “stick out” for me are:

Family Series . This series is the first time I focus on my photographic interaction with my birth community; as opposed to another.

Mi Memory es Su Memory .Visitors to the gallery created memories using my memories; they made personal photo album of photos, but could only use my photos to make them.

This Is What I Eat . “This Is What I Eat” is a single edition newspaper/cookbook created with residents living near and around Corona Plaza, Queens. Designed to look like a supermarket circular, the project was displayed and distributed for free in and around Corona Plaza and the Queens Museum.

These Are the Men Who Hit on Me on the Street . A series of over 300 photographs shot of the men who hit on me on the street. Through this project I achieve an equal exchange between myself, and the men who hit on me.
Community Search . A photo compilation of all the group photographs I have been part of.

BS: Stephanie, you have stated that you feel that photography is an art medium that non-artists are more apt to understand and relate to. Can you go into further detail about this opinion?

SD: Photography and photographs bridge gaps and provide access to places and people that would otherwise never converge or be seen. Almost anyone can own or use a camera, and the average person has widespread access to photography, whether it is simply walking outside on the street and looking at a billboard, or possessing a driver’s license. This is powerful to me.

BS: Can you give us some insight into your recent activity? Have you been involved with any recent exhibits or projects?

SD: I currently have work in, "Red Badge of Courage Revisited" as part of an exhibition sponsored by the Newark Arts Council , and last month I had a solo installation of my project "Framing the Family" (image above) at Incident Report in Hudson, NY.
In September I took part in the RISD Biannual at The Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn, NY where I showed a project I created with my archive and my mother's cookbook archive called "Passing the Baton" (image below). I also curated a photo essay called Do Attempt This art Home for the Art Fag City summer series IMG MGMT, and run an email project called the "Listings Project" where once a week I email a list with information about work and live spaces for rent, sublet, swap, and sale to 1,400 people.

BS: I find it interesting how intuition has woven itself so clearly into your artistic practice; this is apparent in all the work you do. Is there anything else you would like to say about your work or the goals that you have?

SD: I would like to thank you for this opportunity and for your interview. Articulating my work beyond the visual is a challenge that always provides me with inspiration, insight, and reflection. I hope your readers experience the same.

You can learn more about Stephanie Diamond by visiting her website-- You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

The "War & Empire" Video Documentary

The "War & Empire" Video Documentary
Now available for free on Google Video

Combining engaging visual imagery with commentary and interviews, this revealing 15 minute long video presents an overview of "War & Empire", the groundbreaking exhibition now running at San Francisco’s Meridian Gallery. Participating artist Mark Vallen guides the viewer through the powerful exhibit - where art and social reality converge.

Not Our Children, Not Their Children - Mark Vallen, 2003. Pencil on paper. 20" x 22". Exhibited at the Meridian Gallery

On view in the "War & Empire" video are artworks by Fernando Botero, Sandow Birk, Mark Vallen, Bella Feldman, Guy Colwell, Eric Drooker, William T. Wiley, Mary Hull Webster, Phyllis Plattner, and some 40 other artists. The video includes brief interviews with exhibit curators Anne Brodzky, DeWitt Cheng, and Art Hazelwood, as well as interviews with participating artists. Commentary on socially engaged art is provided by Jack Rasmussen - the Director and Curator of the American University Museum in Washington, D.C., and Peter Selz - Professor Emeritus of Art History at UC Berkeley and a former curator of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. View and download the "War and Empire" video at Google Video:

[ Screen shot from "War and Empire" on Google Video. This image is a detail from one of six large preparatory drawings exhibited at the "War and Empire" show by Los Angeles artist, Sandow Birk. The drawings were used in the production of Birk’s "Depravities of War" print series. Consisting of 15 large-scale woodcuts, the prints are based upon "The Miseries of War", a suite of etchings created by the 17th-century artist Jacques Callot in 1633. Birk is an L.A. based painter and printmaker whose sardonic images of war and violence are inspired reinterpretations of classical works.]

The "War & Empire" exhibit opened at San Francisco's Meridian Gallery on September 4, 2008, and runs until the evening of the U.S. Presidential election - November 4, 2008. For more information, visit the Meridian website.