Friday, December 11, 2009

Emerson Gallery Opening December 10, 2009

Palo Alto, CA. December 10, 2009 -- MYARTSPACE opened the doors to it's Emerson Gallery location one last time to showcase winners of the NYAXE Gallery Competition. It was a festive evening with great art and lively chatter among old friends and new.

Curator, Nigel, and CEO/Founder Catherine McCormack-Skiba lined the walls with works from the 4 top winners of the competition: Carrie M. Becker, Viviane Vives, Lucio Carvalho, and Pau Guerrero-Prado. 18 more distinguished runners-up had their works displayed digitally accross a wide-screen, HD video platform.

A crowd of local artists, curators, and art lovers were officially welcomed to the exhibit by Carrie M. Becker’s series "Abandoned Farmhouses of mid-Kansas". Abandoned, but not forgotten, through Becker's lense solace and refuge are found amid the rural decay. In addition to her talents with a camera, Becker is working toward an MFA in sculpture.

Alongside Becker were original prints from Viviane Vive’s "Teen Suburbia" collection. Vive's captures the too-cool-for-school attitudes of her female models with a fresh, cinamatic style. Vive's is originally from Barcelona, but speaks five languages has lived all over the world supporting herself as actress/writer/director.

Lucio Carvalho stunned visitors with vibrant photographs of exploding assemblages. For Carvalho, household trinkets and compost scraps translate into something fantastic! Carvalho is a Brazilian artist, fashion designer, and publicity art director with a degree in Industrial Design.

Pau Guerrero-Prado toped off the evening with a selection from his sequence "Sonai" in which a woman poses with a peacock. Guerrero-Prado's subject, composition, and use of light are all exquisite, so it's no surprise his works were a popular topic of discussion.

Art on the video platform also drew a lot of attention. We were proud to represent finalists Michelle Rogers, Eric White, James Shefik, Steven White, Benjamin Eric, Tra Bouscaren, Douglas A Kinsey, Laura Greengold, Olan Montegomery, Michael Maier, Natalia Bazowska, Heejea Namgung, Hijo Nam, Meryl Pataky, Daniel John Gadd, Alma Leiva, Judy Csotsits, and Tamara Hervera.

To learn more about these artists and to see galleries of their works, visit the winners page on our website:

Friday, December 04, 2009

myartspace / Aqua Art Miami Beach 2009 shows off winning artists at Aqua Art Miami

The Aqua Art Miami Fair launched with great success on Thursday, December 3rd. was there in force, with the backing of its large and talented community of artists showing off the winners of the most recent competition. You can click on the myartspace gallery below to see some images from the opening day.

The Winners On Display

Works from Kristi Mallakoff, Justin Beckman and Mandy Greer were all prominently on display at the exhibit. In addition, a streaming channel of the 50 finalists were created and are projected on a large wall at the booth. The exhibition is eye-catching and hundreds of art appreciators, collectors and gallerists have stopped by and marveled at the quality work of the myartspace community. To view the channel with the winners/finalists work, click HERE.

The Top 3 Winners

Kristi Malakoff is a Canadian visual artist who has returned to Canada after time spent living abroad, most recently in Berlin, Germany and previously in Reykjavik, Iceland and London, England where she attended the Chelsea College of Art and Design. She has been selected to do a residency at Proekt Fabrika in Moscow, Russia in the spring of 2010. Malakoff is a 2005 BFA graduate of the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver, Canada where she was the recipient of many awards and scholarships, among them the Alvin Balkind Memorial Scholarship, the Helen Pitt Award and the Governor General's silver medal for the top Emily Carr Institute graduating student of 2005. Since graduating, she has participated in artist residency programs at the Banff Centre, the Stride Gallery, Calgary, and SIM, Reykjavik, Iceland. She has exhibited in an exhaustive schedule in both group and solo shows throughout Canada and in England, the US, Germany and Mexico.

Justin Beckman received a BFA from Art Center College of design in 1998 and an MFA in sculpture from Central Washington University in 2008. Since December 2001, Beckman has been living and working in the unincorporated town of Thorp, Washington, and is a founding member of PUNCH Gallery in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle. Beckman has exhibited work both locally and nationally including Art Share in Los Angeles, CA; The Museum of Art in Ft. Lauderdale, FL; G.A.S.P. in Boston, MA; Tacoma Art Museum's 8th Northwest Biennial and most recently at the Sguardi Sonori traveling festival of media and time based art in Italy, and Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey.

Mandy Greer is a sculptor & mixed-media installation artist with an MFA in ceramics from the University of Washington (99'), where she held a Jacob K. Javitz National Graduate Fellowship. Mandy received a BFA in ceramics and a BA in English from the University of Georgia (96') and went Phi Beta Kappa. In Washington, she has shown her work at The Bellevue Art Museum, The Tacoma Art Museum, The Kirkland Arts Center; and in Seattle at The Henry Gallery, 4Culture Gallery, Soil Gallery, Consolidated Works and Priceless Works Gallery. She has also shown at the Tampa Museum of Art, Fl and Bucheon Gallery in SF. Her work is included in the books The Best of New Ceramic Art (1997), Fashion is Art (2003), as well as Soil Gallery, 10 Years (2005). Mandy's work is featured in the video.

Monday, November 30, 2009

After having announced the MyArtspace winners for the Miami 2009 show, we are excited to exhibit the winners, see other great art/artists, and get together with the rest of the art world for the Aqua Art Fair.

If you are there, please come by the MyArtspace booth at the Aqua Art Fair, and email me and Catherine if you'd like to come by for a brunch preview on Thursday as our guests!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Community Meeting in London with MyArtspace

While it's pretty short notice, we'd like to invite any and all artists, art appreciators, and MyArtspace community members to cocktails in London!

If you are in London on Monday Nov 23rd, and would like to meet us co-founders of MyArtspace, please come by!

This is the first meet-up in a series that we plan to do around the world. We'd like to meet the community, get feedback, and tell you about some new opportunities for artists to make money and get recognition on MyArtspace.

For anyone who comes by, we will be providing a complimentary 3 month Premium MyArtspace membership! Existing members who attend may also get an additional 3 month extension to their membership, as well.

Chelsea Bar
Ground Floor, World's End Distillery,
459 Kings Road,
Chelsea, London,
SW10 0LR
Monday Nov 23

For the sake of saving some space at the bar, if you think you will come by, please email:

Hope to see you Monday!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Scholarship.Com, a site for art students to check out...

For those college students in the MyArtspace community, they should check out for additional sources of scholarships. Of course, we also recommend you look to enter our scholarship program as well! We hand out $16,000 in cash awards each year to art students! - Free College Scholarships


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Booth Location at Aqua Art Miami

As they always say, there's three things that matter -- Location, Location and Location. We think we've scored very well on that count for the upcoming Aqua Art Miami Exhibition where we'll be showing the winners of our Miami 2009 competition. As you can see, our booth is located right at the entrance to the show, and should get incredible attention from collectors and art appreciators as they enter the hall!

For more information on our Miami 2009 Competition, see:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

NYAXE GALLERY: Autumn Opening

The opening of the the Autumn Exhibition for the NYAXE Gallery in Palo Alto kicked off on Thursday evening to a large cadre of art appreciators and technology movers-and-shakers in Silicon Valley.

In attendence were some of Silicon Valley's rising stars including Michael Arrington, Editor of TechCrunch; Craig Hughes, CTO at NewCo, Inc and former Co-Founder of GumStix; Normal Liang, former executive of Photobucket; Luke Winter, CEO Galaxy Granola; Geoffrey Arone, CEO of DanceJam and Flock; Terry Angelos, Co-Founder & CPO, TrialPay; Tom Conrad, CTO of Pandora; Irene McGee, CEO of No One is Listening; and Paul Guely, Founder & CEO of Arma Partners.

Kimia Ferdowski, one of the winning artists was in attendance with one of her subjects.

Twenty MyArtSpace artists were represented at the show including Penelope Caldwel, Takefumi Hori, Kimia Ferdowsi, Cara Thayer & Louie Van Patten, Beverley McQuillan, Barbara Diener, Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf, Eline Peek, Mikhail Gubin, Emily Maddigan, Chris Dunker, Jeanne Wilkinson & Andrew Yonda, Bill Bosler, Christopher Savage, Dan Atkins, Yuval Shalgi,
Pearl Van Geest, Renata Fernandez and Chanil Hong.

Catherine McCormack-Skiba, CEO and Founder of MyArtSpace with Paul Noel Guely, Founder of Arma Partners.

Craig Hughes, CTO of NewCo, Inc and former CTO of Gumxtix and

Nigel Evans, myartspace's resident curator, preparing the show having flown in from London.

The Autumn Exhibition will run at the NYAXE Gallery until the end of December. The Winter Exhibition is then planned to open on December 10th.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New 1st and 3rd Place Winners for NYAXE Competition

We, at myartspace, are dedicated to increasing the accessibility of art. We are striving to liberate and empower artists so that they may create artwork that challenges us to look at our world in new ways.

In order to fulfill this vision, we support the laws and conventions for protecting the intellectual property of artists. It was recently called to our attention that we had selected two pieces of art for our latest NYAXE Competition that did not credit nor have due permission from the original creators.

Our thoughts on the debate over what constitutes Fair Use was just covered in our last blog post (October 17, Shepard Fairey), and we will not revisit it for now.

However, we did feel compelled to announce 2 new, outstanding 1st and 3rd place winners for our NYAXE Competition. They are:

Penelope Caldwell, 1st Place

Kimia Ferdowsi, 3rd Place

We thank all of the contest participants, as we are thrilled by the quality, audacity, and authenticity of the thousands of submissions we had received. You are gifted creators who deserve recognition and respect for your art.

Penelope Caldwell

Kimia Ferdowsi

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shepard Fairey Update -- The "HOPE" Picture has been at the forefront of the Shepard Fairey issue around use of an image of President Obama that became the "Hope" poster. Our contention, by Brian Sherwin, has been all along that this work by Shepard Fairey was from an original photograph and then subsequently revised and commercialized by Fairey. Don't get us wrong, we are big advocates of commercialization. But we believe credit (and monetary reward) is due to the original artists that do the work.

From Yahoo News:

On Friday night, Fairey's attorneys — led by Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University — said they intend to withdraw from the case and said the artist had misled them by fabricating information and destroying other material.

Fairey admitted that he didn't use The Associated Press' photo of Obama seated next to actor George Clooney he originally said his work was based on — which he claimed would have been covered under "fair use," the legal claim that copyrighted work can be used without having to pay for it.

Instead he used a picture the news organization has claimed was his source — a solo picture of the future president seemingly closer to the iconic red, white and blue image of Obama, underlined with the caption "HOPE." Fairey said that he tried to cover up his error by submitting false images and deleting others.

The distinction is critical because fair use can sometimes be determined by how much of an original image or work was altered in the creation of a new work. If Fairey didn't need to significantly alter the image he used — in this case the solo shot of Obama — then his claim could have been undermined. Fair use cases also may consider the market value of the copyrighted material and the intended use of the newly created work.

See more about this subject by visiting the Yahoo News Article listed above OR the many articles on myartspace BLOG. Click HERE to view those articles.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Flash Website

This artist's website is one example of how an artist's website (in this case, a photographer) can be very unique and perhaps very influential in the attention the work can receive:

Art Process - More Powerful than Product?

This artist, Aaron Jasinski, inspires us to think about how we can present not only our art online - but also the process of creating art, as an art in of itself!
In other words, he documented his creative process, and that has been in some ways more powerful than the finished piece.

Check it out:

Vote For Art, a new startup site with big ambitions and a competition

At myartspace. we love the raw energy and passion that goes into creative work. In many cases, it's our artists pushing the edge with their latest work.

Creative work on the web is also interesting for us, and just watching the launch of new and interesting web sites with ideas and ambitions is really quite exciting.

Jeremy Parker, an enterprising college youth, has spotted an opportunity to have real art on t-shirts in University bookstores, and founded VoteForArt.Com is the very first crowdsourced college tshirt website, where artists from around the world can submit tshirt designs for universities and other licensed institutions. The community will vote on the designs, and the top 3 winners will have their designs sold online AND at their local university bookstore. The designer of the winning design also gets $500 in their pocket!

If you've got some creative ideas on some logo designs and want to try your creative skills out, you can enter for FREE!

Just visit

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Re-ordering the Sequence of Images using the Gallery Wizard

Human nature is that if a person sees something they like, they look further.

When you construct your online galleries to present your work, you should consider that fact. Your very best work should be presented first in a gallery, as this will likely cause the viewer to look deeper into your work. If they lose interest by the first few images, then they may very well move on, without seeing your best image.

At times, with visual presentation, order matters as well. So the sequence in which your work is viewed is important.

Premium Service members have "drag-and-drop" capability to re-order images within a portfolio/gallery. Standard users, however, can re-order images with the use of the Gallery Wizard. The steps are pretty stright forward.

(1) Log into myartspace and go to the "My Account" page

(2) Click on "Gallery Wizard" which you will find towards the center of the page

(3) Enter a name for a new gallery, perhaps "Miami 2009"

(4) On the next screen, you will have a prompt to upload your first image. If you click on "Browse Library..." you will see all the images you have uploaded. Select the first image you want the jury to see. Remember, the Gallery Wizard builds a gallery in the order it is given images, from left-to-right.

(5) Click on "Upload Next" image and repeat the process until you are done, then you can click on "Finish" and either add music or not.

That's it! Your new gallery will be in the order you wanted. If you choose, you can delete the old gallery so as not to confuse the viewers.

Monday, October 05, 2009

MYARTSPACE launches MIAMI 2009; Juried Competition with winners work shown at Aqua Art Miami, the premier site for contemporary art, is offering a new juried competition. The top 3 winners will have their work represented at Aqua Art Miami Art Fire, which takes place the week of the world-renown Art Basel Miami Beach, December 3-6, 2009 . A total of 50 MyArtspace artists have their work digitally on display as well. The deadline for submission is Sunday November 15, 2009.

Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB) October 6, 2009 --, the premier online venue for contemporary art has launched an exciting new juried competition for its community – Miami 2009. The top 3 winners will have their work flown to Miami and represented at the Aqua Art Miami Art Fair during the week of Art Basel Miami, December 3-6, 2009. Additionally, the top 50 finalists will have their work digitally shown at the exhibit. The deadline for contest registration and submission of work is Sunday November 15, 2009.

To enter the competition, artists must be a new or existing member of MyArtspace. Membership is free, and members can upload an unlimited amount of fine art, music, video and audio narration and create a highly contemporary art viewing experience. Registration for the Miami 2009 competition is $25, but free for members with a premium MyArtspace subscription. The winners will be announced on Friday November 27, 2009. The Aqua Art Miami Art Fair will be held December 3-6, 2009.

The Miami 2009 competition will be juried by a prestigious panel of art critics and curators. This jury panel will be announced separately on October 15th, 2009.

Catherine McCormack-Skiba, the CEO and founder of MyArtspace noted, “the influence of the art fairs on the industry is significant and Miami stands tall amongst all venues globally. With our incredible community of talented contemporary artists, we feel it’s imperative that they be well represented there. We’ve chosen to work with Aqua Art Miami this year, which we think is an excellent venue for our artists. is without parallel in trying to bring recognition and opportunities for contemporary artists from its well-developed social network of more than 60,000 artists in 116 countries.”

"We're proud to have the myartspace Miami 2009 competition winners in our show this year," said Jaq Chartier, Co-Founder of Aqua Art Miami. "The people who come for Art Basel week are on a serious hunt, eager to discover fresh work and artists they've never seen before. You couldn't ask for a better audience for the artists you care about, and Myartspace clearly gets that. We're really looking forward to working together this year."

Artists interested in learning more about the juried competition can do so by visiting


Aqua Art Miami is a prestigious contemporary art fair that takes place in Miami concurrently with Art Basel Miami Beach, and is a part of the community of exhibitors that define Art Basel Miami Beach . Aqua started in 2005 as an experimental project at the Aqua Hotel in South Beach near Art Basel, and eventually expanded to include a larger booth-style fair called Aqua Wynwood. This year the fair will focus on the Aqua Wynwood location, consolidating the best of both fairs into one exceptional event. Aqua Wynwood opens with a VIP Preview Brunch on Thursday morning, December 3, and the exhibition continues through Sunday, December 6.

Based in Seattle, Aqua's organizers have made it their mission to promote innovative programming from the West Coast as well as the greater USA and abroad, with a particular interest in young dealers and galleries with strong emerging artist programs. A number of new dealers have made their debut at Aqua, as well as other exhibitors and artists who have never shown at an art fair before. For more information on Aqua Art Fair, please see their website at:

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Struggler's Theme

This video caught my eye on the University of the Arts London blog. It is called "The Struggler's Theme" by Himanshu Desai.

The Struggler's Theme from Himanshu Desai on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Call for Blind Artists in Virginia

Hi all:
Wanted to spread the word for Shirley, a docent at the Muscarelle Museum at William & Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia:

"I am a docent at the Muscarelle Museum at Wm & Mary College in Williamsburg, VA. I have introduced a tactile tour program and am looking for artists/photographers who are blind or have low vision that can come to Williamsburg to give a presentation, talk about their work and the importance of opening the doors to the aesthetic experience in a museum setting. Because our budget is very low, I need a person nearby, on the east coast. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Shirley"

You can contact her via myartspace. Her username is oct2040.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts!
promo video:
and their opening ceremony is in two weeks!

When my friend, Gregor, mentioned GAFTA to me, we talked about how it promises to revitalize the Tenderloin district in San Francisco (for those of you outside of SF, the Tenderloin is the city's overt area for in-your-face drugs, crime, and homelessness).

"If the area is going to be taken over by this digital arts megaplaza," I asked, "Where are all of the homeless going to go - pushed out?"

Gregor said yes, it's almost comedic how overt GAFTA is in their YouTube promo video, with even a clip of a homeless person is pushing a grocery cart away.

Anyhow, GAFTA seems pretty exciting. I'm not sure if they are going to produce something that sells to the average consumer, but the average consumer can walk in and ooh and .

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, just a few blocks away in downtown San Francisco, has always included interesting young, digital art, but never on such a focused, dedicated scale as GAFTA - so I wonder what their reaction will be to GAFTA. Perhaps this is a real movement to digital art rather than physical hand-made art. I recently happened to meet with the curators at MoAD (Museum of the African Diaspora), also in downtown SF. They regard themselves as a museum of ideas, rather than objects, and have lots of touch screens or films rather than antiques or relics.

It seems more like a community media center with artists in residence - a place to go for start-ups to collaborate when they have a crazy futuristic project, and for others to touch screens and ooh and ah at the magic.

The workshops will introduce people to tools like ("Initially created to serve as a software sketchbook and to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context").

Also, I think what is most fascinating about the exhibitions is that they are all - through the use of technology - able to present different perspectives on our reality: For example, Camille Utterback and Stamen Design's exhibitions give new ways of looking at the Tenderloin neighborhood itself. This is the epitome of post-post-modernism (the sense that there is no single reality, but infinite perspectives) - and that technology, films, multimedia - can help us tap into the dimensions in-between (like Being John Malkovich's 7 1/2 floor).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Audience" Conference in NYC

So, there was a recent article on TechCrunch about this event, blending art and technology, with a lot of hyped vocabulary, click HERE for the link.

Here's the website:

Anyone going? Tell us if you're going and what brings you there!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reminder: Apply for our Art Scholarships! $16,000 CASH

Reminder: Be sure to apply for Art Scholarships 2009!

$16,000 CASH
It's FREE to apply!
Just register (free) and submit your work online.

Application Deadline: December 16, 2009
Apply by October 31, 2009, and get FREE PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP (more features on your account. More info at

For more info:

MYARTSPACE launches 7X24 streaming contemporary art channel

MYARTSPACE launches 7X24 streaming contemporary art channel

Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB) August 24, 2009 -, the premier online social network for the contemporary art world, has announced the launch of, a site providing live, 24-hour per day streaming contemporary art and music.

Catherine McCormack-Skiba, the founder of MYARTSPACE and CEO noted "With our incredibly rich collection of contemporary art from our 60,000 artists we represent, we have a unique ability to launch rich and interesting new art services to the viewing public. allows people to enjoy very high-quality, curated contemporary art in their web browser 24 hours per day. The diversity of work is also unique, with artists from over 116 countries being represented in our community."

The live streaming fine art service is combined with a music playlist constructed on The service is interactive. Clicking on the art as it streams by allows art appreciators to learn more about the artist and purchase work from them.

Click on the image below to view MYARTSPACE.TV.

Brian Skiba, Chief Technology Officer at CatMacArt Corporation, the producers of the MYARTSPACE site notes "This is a first step in an interesting new direction for contemporary art, and the way in which an audience can interact. Ultimately we see specialty fine art channels being rolled out - for photography, sculpture, mixed media, painting. We also see a variety of platforms and devices from which we can leverage including high-definition television, the iPhone, and other internet-connected devices. And finally, we'll work towards availing dedicated channels for museums and galleries to offer a means of attracting a broader, younger audience to the contemporary art world.".

The streaming art service is available free at MYARTSPACE.TV.


About MYARTSPACE:, the premier online venue for contemporary art, is one of the fastest growing and diverse communities on the internet. Its members include more than 60,000 artists, collectors, galleries and other art world professionals from across the globe, and it currently has on display hundreds of thousands of pieces of fine art. Membership is free and artist can upload their creative work including images, music and video. MYARTSPACE is created and run by CatMacArt Corporation. CatMacArt Corporation is located in Palo Alto, California.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lowbrow Meets Highbrow

Issue of Juxtapoz Magazine
Cover art by Shepard Fairy
"A frog is either lowbrow or highbrow.

If you catch it, it's low. If you order it in a French restaurant, it's high."

-Unidentified chef, from Burkhard Bilger's Noodling for Flatheads
In 2007, commenting on the blog PaintersNYC, artist Kelli Williams observed that it's hard to be a Juxtapoz artist "in an ArtForum world." Juxtapoz is a popular magazine dedicated to showcasing contemporary "lowbrow art." It was founded by the artist Robert Williams in 1994. The "ArtForum world" of Kelli William's statement references the magazine of that name, but also the "high art" scene it covers, of which New York City, for the time being, remains an - if not the - epicenter. Until recently, the artwork featured in ArtForum was very different from that seen in the pages of Juxtapoz. Juxtapoz is representative of the Los Angeles art scene, and the U.S. west coast scene more generally, where the aesthetics of pop surrealism, folk art, post-graffiti, or street art are wholly embraced.

But artwork infused by Juxtapoz's colorful spirit is no longer uncommon in New York galleries. Andrew Schoultz, Tim Biskup, and Jeff Soto, talented west coast artists regularly lauded in the pages of Juxtapoz, today exhibit with the Morgan Lehman and Jonathan Levine galleries, and influential post-graffiti artist Barry "Twist" McGee is represented by the renowned Deitch Projects. Jonathan Levine makes plain his dedication to the post-graffiti aesthetic; his gallery's website states that its mission is to exhibit "work influenced by illustration, comic books, graffiti art and pop imagery." Perhaps it's no longer so hard, then, to be a Juxtapoz artist "in an ArtForum world"?

But, more importantly, does lowbrow art require the affirmation of the "high art" world - for easy contrast, let's call it highbrow art - in order to be considered mainstream or legitimate? If so, what exactly is the cultural significance of highbrow art to the world at large?

Jeff Soto
"Purple Heart"
Acrylic on wood
12 x 12 inches

The commercial success of books like Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture and Wall and Piece, the latest offering from the infamous British artist, Banksy, suggest that pop surrealism, post-graffiti, and street art succeed in connecting with the multitudes. On the other hand, it's an uncontroversial fact that highbrow art generally doesn't move the masses (with the exception of its remarkable ability to offend the religious sensibilities of the Christian Right and certain mayors). But highbrow art doesn't simply fail to connect with the general population; the fact is, most folks sneer at, mistrust, or resent ArtForum's world.

Perhaps because they feel beleaguered by popular tastes, many players in the world of highbrow art - artists, gallerists, critics, and curators alike - reject the influx of pop surrealism and post-graffiti flavor. But their objections will inevitably prove inconsequential; as the Borg of "Star Trek" put it, "resistance is futile." Even if some of the more esoteric subcultures of the Juxtapoz arena - Tiki culture, for example - are unlikely to find a toehold in the world of "high art," the graphic influences common to post-graffiti work already inform the paintings of contemporary art world darlings like Dana Schutz, Marcel Dzama, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Ryan McGuinness, Lisa Yuskavage, Yoshitomo Nara, and Jules de Balincourt. (In fact, Dzama and McGuinness have been featured in Juxtapoz; it won't be long before other celebrated highbrow artists are, too. One wonders if the lowbrow label will be applicable for much longer.) And then there are artists like Judith Schaechter, whose stained glass works were lauded in the pages of Juxtapoz years before her work hung in the Whitney Museum or before she received Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships.

Judith Schaechter
"Hyena Snake Comet"
Stained glass
30 x 33 inches

Much of the highbrow resistance to pop surrealism and post-graffiti is rooted in the self-identified elites' distrust of populism. Comic books and strips are intended for mass consumption, but graffiti is unquestionably the most populist of the lowbrow tributaries. No art form has fewer barriers to entry; all you need is a can of spray paint and a little chutzpah. Ask someone knowledgeable about the subject to relate the history of modern graffiti, and you'll likely hear an abridged version, one that begins in the 1970s, in and around New York City's Bronx River Houses, and runs parallel to the development of hip hop. City funding for arts and culture programs was pitifully low at the time, and enterprising teens looked for new ways to entertain and express themselves. As Lady Pink, an influential graffiti artist of the late 1970s and 1980s, explains, graffiti was the most available "forum for free speech."

Of course, the human urge to make marks predates the Bronx River Houses by millennia. Our ancestors depicted their quarry on cave walls and, more recently, citizens of ancient Rome scribbled their political opinions on market stalls (hence the word's etymology, from the Italian graffiare, meaning "to scratch or scribble.") But during the early days of modern graffiti's ascendancy, practitioners prioritized ego over observation or socio-political commentary. The pioneers of the 1970s and 1980s graffiti scenes in New York City and Philadelphia - Taki 183, StayHigh 149, Cat 161, and Cornbread, among others - were primarily known for their "tags," stylized monikers spray painted on walls and subway cars. They vied for renown by tagging as many surfaces as they could, and walls that were difficult to access had a special cache. The competitive behavior of these early graffiti "artists" might be best described as base scent marking, activity essentially indistinguishable from the industry of the bored high school student who scratches "(x) was here" on the wall of the bathroom stall. Fortunately, as more artists entered the nascent graffiti scene, such adolescent "battling" became insufficient impetus; soon, the egotistical tag evolved into something more colorful and complex. Artists added characters, often comic in nature, a result of their limited palettes and time frame, and, before long, these characters evolved into "pieces" (short for masterpieces). The best graffiti artists came to value style and artistry as much as placement.

The conceptual and social strengths of graffiti and street art are rooted in the artists' acceptance of temporality and his or her desire to engage the environment and citizenry directly. As Simon Hattenstone, a features writer for The Manchester Guardian, writes, "Since spotting my first few Banksies I have been desperately seeking out more. They make me smile and feel optimistic about the possibilities of shared dreams and common ownership." Insofar as it is truly democratic, the street artist's approach is fundamentally distinct from that of those who aspire to "high art" success. "Fine artists" are essentially aristocratic in inclination. They are the elites who operate within the context of "high art" institutions; their work is most often viewed in semi-sacred, unlived in spaces, by people who talk about the work in reverent whispers. Street art, by contrast, is viewed by everybody who happens past the artwork. But, today, as the post-graffiti movement sees many of its more celebrated artists entering the "high art" sphere, the populist flavoring of the culture is eroding.

Artwork on West Bank barrier between Israel and the West Bank

Is the aesthetic melting pot a bad thing? The answer depends on your perspective, of course; personally, I'm all for it. Like many contemporary artists, I'm not alone in feeling that my artwork and aesthetic inclinations plant a standard somewhere between the poles of Juxtapoz and ArtForum. Just as I feel torn between my rural roots and the creative community and energy of city life, so too am I drawn to elements of both art orbits, east and west, highbrow and lowbrow. I live and work in New York, so I've cultivated an appreciation for the importance of conceptual heft. But I'm also an erstwhile subscriber to Juxtapoz who, in my youth, eagerly thumbed through the pages of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual, read fantasy novels and comic books, and honed my drawing chops by copying from comic strips. Perhaps I'm biased, then, but it seems that aesthetic commingling introduces hybrid vigor into otherwise "inbred" scenes.

Too many circles of the "high art" world are poisoned by intellectual pretension, obscurantism, and exclusivity. The ArtForum world is principally concerned with auction results and art historical significance. In east coast MFA programs, the mills of the contemporary "high art" world, a common question asked of students is, "Where does your work fit in the historical trajectory?" Indeed, at great cost to social legitimacy, the "high art" world has prioritized originality and artistic genealogy.

Much of the "lowbrow" scene, by contrast, is blighted by the artists' focus on disposable pop culture, their willingness to cozy up to the marketing machine, and their populist posturing. In an interview with Juxtapoz, one young artist said,
"When it comes right down to it, I draw the stuff I like, and people can take it all for whatever they want. I would say that 95 percent is liking big boobs and butts, the other five percent is brain farts that end up in a sketchbook that later ends up as a painting or whatever."
Although I wrote down this quotation without recording the artist's name, I do recall appreciating some of his graphic skill. Still, when I'm confronted with such a thoughtless statement, I can appreciate the animus that brooding, theory-oriented types have for lowbrow art. Where is the evidence of this young artist's vocational mindfulness, his rigorous passion, his poetic sensibility? Of course, his defenders would likely praise his candor, but, in truth, he's posturing as much as the bespectacled, black-clad fellow who insists in his jargon-laden artist statement that Jacques Derrida informs all of his output.

Marcel Dzama
Watercolor on paper
14 x 11 inches

Despite haughty sneers from individuals on both sides, it seems to me that the transition that so many post-graffiti artists are making, from the streets to the galleries, could (and should) help create a less sectarian art world. The selfish pretensions of the highbrow art world could be tempered by an influx of no-nonsense, illustrative exuberance, and the lowbrow art world could jettison some of their conceptual superficiality by taking the philosophical and moral obligations of their vocation more seriously. That is, in any case, my hope.

Image credits: Juxtapoz cover image ripped from;; Jeff Soto image ripped from the Jonathan Levine Gallery website; Judith Schaechter image ripped from the artist's website; Banksy image ripped from the Brian Sewell Art Directory; Marcel Dzama image ripped from David Zwirner website

(Note: This post appeared concurrently on the art blog, Hungry Hyaena.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chinese Tradtional Art Losing Ground....

From the People's Daily Online in China...

As many young Chinese artists turn to modern art forms such as oil painting, sculpture, installation and photography, the future of traditional Chinese painting, despite its history of thousands of years, is facing a crisis, with few young people taking up the art.

See the article at:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Drawing up battle lines – art gallery takes on Wikipedia

From The Independant, Andrew Johnson

The appearance of some of the world's most famous portraits on a website could create a legal landmark

In her coronation robes, Elizabeth I looks formidable and stately – the Virgin Queen in her pomp, an image to propel rivals into battle. Some 400 years after her portrait was painted, that is precisely what she has done.

Hers is one of more than 3,000 images from the National Portrait Gallery uploaded onto the free internet encyclopedia Wikipedia in April by Seattle-based Derrick Coetzee. The gallery, founded in 1856, responded last week by threatening legal proceedings against the PhD student.

That action unleashed outrage in cyberspace and quickly led to a stand-off between the proponents of free information and cultural institutions wanting to protect one of their few revenue streams – licence fees for reproducing images of their artworks. The row also goes to the heart of an internet revolution which does not recognise borders or national laws.

The gallery has instructed the law firm Farrer and Co, which represents the Queen, to sue Mr Coetzee unless the pictures are removed. They claim that letters to Wikipedia were unanswered. While the portraits are long out of copyright, the photographs are not and, the gallery argues, the digitisation process to create high resolution images has cost it around £1m. They are, they say, therefore entitled to a licence fee.

For many MYARTSPACE artists, their concern of their work showing up on commercial products and other sites without their permission (and without them getting compensated) is a valid concern.

You can read this article by clicking over to the New York Times HERE.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The art of a recession: Gallery owners struggling

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Art gallery owners across the country are finding they have a tough sell these days.

With houses going up for auction, unemployment continuing to rise and the threat of layoffs seemingly ever-present, many gallery owners in art communities such as Scottsdale, Ariz., Santa Fe, N.M., Portland, Ore., and New York City are closing shop, going broke to stay open or drastically changing the way they do business.

For the full article by AMANDA LEE MYERS, Associated Press Writer, click HERE

Monday, July 13, 2009

New UPLOAD Manager rolling in soon

MYARTSPACE is introducing a new UPLOAD MANAGER to help make it easier for artists to upload and organize their work on the site. The goal is to deliver a better and more satisfying user experience AND to address the power needs of our premium service members.

A few points that are important to highlight on the new UPLOAD Manager:

- It provides three ways to upload images -- a "bulk loader" for the premium services members, a rapid multi-file upload for standard users, and of course the Gallery Wizard that many are historically used to using.

- Once images are selected to be uploaded, artists can apply "batch" tags to all the images at once making this much easier.

- One can upload images to an existing gallery, a new gallery, or their image library for later use.

- A new "Video Gallery" is being introduced where users can create a gallery containing just a video for playback.

- MYARTSPACE will introduce some space limitations for standard users for the first time. The aggregate amount of storage space -- including images, videos, music and voice annotation -- will be monitored and have some reasonable limitation assigned to it. Premium Subscribers will have 20GB of storage space available.

We think the introduction of the new UPLOAD manager is the first step in helping make the overall upload and management of the site better. Once we integrate this well, the "ORGANIZER" will be introduced, which allows you to manage your galleries, images, videos and work in one easy spot.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Book Review: Jackie Battenfield's The Artist's Guide - How to Make a Living Doing What You Love

I was recently asked to review Jackie Battenfield's new book, The Artist's Guide - How to Make a Living Doing What You Love. It was such an excellent book that instead of reviewing it, I ended up reading the whole darn thing. Highly recommended, the following is a repost of my review at ArtLOOK:

Jackie Battenfield's new book, The Artist's Guide - How To Make a Living Doing What You Love, is an excellent resource for visual artists at any stage of their career. Battenfield writes in a professional and yet easy manner and provides invaluable information, inspiration and resources on making a successful career in the art world.

Battenfield's words do more than just dictate the "how to" and "why for" of the business end of art. She speaks from the heart and addresses such topics as knowing when you are ready to circulate your art (the difference between nurturing your artistic soul and preparing for business), how to take charge of your professional life, your marketing kit, creating your own opportunities, Introducing your work, building relationships and maintaining your practice.

This former gallery director, artist and teacher has supported herself for over 20 years through sales of her art. She and her husband (also an artist) have successfully paid the bills, purchased life insurance, funded their pension plans, took vacations and put their son through college. Jackie attributes this success to diligent planning and pursuing opportunities. She freely shares this wealth of experience and knowledge with her readers.

Inspiring quotes and advice from dozens of art world professionals are sprinkled throughout the pages providing a "reality check" for the reader. Real life examples and step by step exercises will teach you how to self promote, network, build relationships, broaden your funding resources and explore a wide range of exhibition, commission and sales opportunities beyond the walls of the traditional commercial gallery.

I highly recommend this book as someone who works on a daily basis with artists and as a graphic designer seeking opportunities for myself. Battenfield's advice was helpful and smart. The biggest praise I can give is that in reviewing the book I found a new resource which helped me help a client submit to a call for entry in NYC. This book should be on every artists desk!!

Jackie Battenfield is represented in galleries throughout the United States and in over a thousand collections worldwide. She teaches professional practices at Columbia University and for the Creative Capital Foundation. Please visit her website at where you will find information on purchasing the book, interviews, events and speaking engagements.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Site Updates for

MYARTSPACE now offers a personal web address (URL) on the site for $29.99 per year or $2.99 per month as an alternative to full premium. Also, Premium Service on can now be purchased at $6.99 per month for those myartspace users that want more power, storage, and features. For a comparison of premium services versus the standard "free" subscription, see:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Winners of the London Calling 2009 competition announced!

The results of the London Calling 2009 competition have been announced. The three top winners are: Marcy Mendelson, Lydia Panas, and Davide Monaldi. The three winners will have their work physically displayed at the Scream London gallery. Seventeen competitors were chosen to be digitally represented. In all 50 finalists were selected. For more information about the London Calling finalists visit,
The prestigious juror panel included Vanessa DesClaux ( The Tate Modern, London), Tom Morton (Hayward Gallery, Frieze magazine), and Francesco Manacorda (Barbican Gallery, London).
More info to come.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Mona Hatoum at Pallazo Querini Stampalia

Impenetrable by Mona Hatoum

The Pallazo Querini Stampalia is currently featuring a solo show of art by artist Mona Hatoum. The show, titled “Interior Landscapes”, is curated by Chiara Bertola and involves 29 works of art. The exhibit will come to a close on September 20th. For more information visit,

Friday, June 05, 2009

Robert Rauschenberg at Peggy Guggenheim Collection

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice is currently in the process of displaying obscure works by the late Robert Rauschenberg. The show, titled Robert Rauschenberg: Gluts, involves over forty works of art by Rauschenberg. The works explore the possibilities of metal as a medium and the social implications of metal in general. For more information visit,

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Tighter TWITTER Integration

MYARTSPACE has just released tighter integration with TWITTER for its premium service members.

MYARTSPACE premium service members can define their twitter account (login and password), and MYARTSPACE can automatically post to TWITTER when the user creates a new gallery, posts a new blog entry, posts a new store listing on NYAXE, posts a new event/press release.

This feature is ready and available for MYARTSPACE Premium Services subscribers now.

Personal Blogging... Coming next week to MYARTSPACE

MYARTSPACE will be introducing personal blogging for premium subscribers next week. This will allow users to create their own personal blog where they can post articles, images, galleries and movies into a free-flowing stream of thought.

Users can define set up their own visual header, define "highlighted" posts that they want featured, and post an unlimited amount. The product is closely integrated with the rest of MYARTSPACE, so they can, for instance, easily "embed" one of their galleries in the middle of their post.

We expect to roll this capability into production next week.

Art Space Talk: Resa Blatman (Part 3)

This is Part 3 of my interview with Resa Blatman. To return to Part 2 click, HERE

They Gather in Such Profusion by Resa Blatman

Brian Sherwin: What are your thoughts concerning the internet and utilizing the World Wide Web in order to gain exposure for your art? In your opinion, why is it important for artists to embrace the internet?

Resa Blatman: I think that it’s essential to have a web presence today. But my opinion about this may not be fully objective, as I make part of my living designing websites. However, I do believe that it’s important for anyone who wants their work to be easily and quickly accessible to have a website of some sort. It allows the audience to view anartist’s work privately, at their own pace, and without traveling -- I think this is what most people embrace about the web.

While there’s no replacement for seeing artwork in the flesh, the web can offer a personal connection with the artist and their work. Without my web presence I would not be having this interview with MyArtSpace.

BS: Will you be involved with any upcoming exhibits?

RB: Yes. I participate annually in my city’s open studios, which is one of the largest in the States. Somerville Open Studios in Massachusetts is the first weekend in May. Going on now is a small solo exhibit, “Luscious Bird Paintings,” at the Christopher Brodigan Gallery in Groton, Massachusetts until May 10th. After that, my three cut-edge triptych paintings will be on view at two juried shows in Massachusetts: Danforth Museum from June 1-August 1, 2009; and Tufts University Art Gallery, June 3-August 2, 2009.
Red Hot Peevish Birds by Resa Blatman

BS: Do you have any concerns about the art world at this time?

RB: As much as I am concerned about my work and it’s place within society, I try not to dwell too much on the art world. I find that getting too caught up in it only gets in the way of my work. That being said, I do think the recession is not as bad for the art world as many might think. These shifts within the economy have a way of clearing out the brush and leaving the art world to the dedicated artists who continue to make good work with serious intentions.

BS: There have been several stories involving copyright infringement in the mainstream press as of late. What is your stance on copyright? Do you see strong copyright as a reflection of artist rights in general? Or do you feel that copyright restricts creativity? Do you have a stance on this issue?

RB: My thoughts about this go back and forth. I do think it’s important for an artist to have ownership rights over their work, but I also think that we should allow others to borrow from our creations, with credit and limitations. I use photos and books for some of my source materials and without them I would have a difficult time finding the perfect ostrich, bat, or bird to paint.

Lavish Heronry by Resa Blatman

BS: As you know, the economy has been hard. Have you had to change-- or should I say adapt-- your practice due to the economy?

RB: I’ve been lucky. My design business has been busier than usual lately and we have several websites that we’re currently working on, which means I have a little less time to be in the studio at the moment -- one has to work when the work is there. At the same time, I was awarded a few artist grants in the last year and sold several paintings, which has allowed me to continue working as a full-time painter.

BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art?

RB: The ideas keep coming and I am very grateful for that.

This concludes my interview with Resa Blatman. To return to Part 1 click, HERE

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
Myartspace Blog on Twitter

Art Space Talk: Resa Blatman (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of my interview with Resa Blatman. To return to Part 1 click, HERE

Mild Rapture #2 by Resa Blatman

Brian Sherwin: Can you discuss your process in general? Are there any specific techniques that you utilize?

Resa Blatman: My process is quite simple. I think about my work constantly -- while I’m exercising, when I’m driving, and before I go to sleep, it’s always on my mind. For me, this is like sketching. I have a very vivid imagination; I can see what it is I want to paint before I do it. That doesn’t mean that the paintings turn out how I originally imagined them, but this process allows me to dive into a new painting without fear or hesitation. In fact, I’m often thinking about the next painting while I’m working on the current one, and that fuels me to move forward and complete the current work so that I can continue my “visual story.”

I use a lot of source materials for my paintings -- photos, books, animal, fruit, and flower models, and the internet. First, I design the surface edges on the computer and then I send the files to the company that cuts the panels. Once I have the panels back in my studio, I gather all of my source materials and I start drawing out the composition directly onto them -- there is no preliminary sketching beforehand. The painting starts off with one composition, but I frequently change the subject, placement, and color, while I’m working on it. I let myself erase, paint over, and change my mind so that the painting remains fluid despite the careful, tight rendering.
Ravishing The Night by Resa Blatman

BS: What about other influences? For example, are you influenced by any specific artists?

RB: Yes. I’m a huge fan of and influenced by many artists, particularly John Currin, Tara Donovan, Walton Ford, Julie Heffernan, Martin Johnson Heade, Ernst Haeckel, the Baroque, Hieronymus Bosch, Lucas Cranach, the Elder, early Flemish painting, Pre-Renaissance painting, the Baroque, and Victorian Decorative Art.

BS: So what is the specific message you strive to convey to viewers? Do you adhere to a specific philosophy as far as your work is concerned?

RB: As I mentioned previously, my work is specifically about fertility. This is an issue I have personal epxerience with, and one that has offered me a great deal of creative ideas and energy. I suppose my philosophy is to be honest with myself and with my audience. I can’t escape who I am, what I believe, or what I’ve experienced in my life, which means it’s impossible to divorce myself from my work. This allows me to be personal with my work and subject matter, which drives my concept. However, I do my best to keep irony within my work, and to not take myself too seriously.

Three Flamingos by Resa Blatman

BS: What are you working on at this time? Can you give our readers some insight into your current work?

RB: If you look at my “gallery” on MyArtSpace or check out my website at you can see the cut-edge panel paintings. This is my newest work and the direction I plan to pursue for now. I’ve completed two triptych cut-edge panels (the third, “Lemon Spray,” is nearly complete), and I’m in the process of starting a fourth in this series, which will be approximately 20-30 feet wide and include six or eight panels.

My plan is to keep the cut edges elaborate and have each of the panels integrate more often with one another. As for what I plan to paint, well, that’s my secret for now. Only my husband knows what I’m thinking about putting on the surface, and that may change.

To read Part 3 of my interview with Resa Blatman click, HERE

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
Myartspace Blog on Twitter

Monday, June 01, 2009

how to write an artist statement (teaser)

This is a teaser for a longer post on implicit art. Please comment there so as to keep all discussion in one place...

Like making art, there are no steadfast rules to writing artist statements - and even the best of us fail sometimes - but there are of course some decent guidelines one might consider following....

Art work descriptions and statements should be about 300 - 500 words, and strictly address the following:

  1. What "is" the work? Describe it as an object, installation or situation in a way that enables visual and/or sensual comprehension. This is not what the piece is “about.” I mean it literally / physically: what are your art piece’s individual components and materials, and how do they work together as a whole?

  2. What do we see or experience? If it's an installation, consider a walk-through, a description of how it looks, sounds, smells, feels (again, not emotionally or conceptually, but physically), and what actions viewers have taken in and around it. If it's a situation, describe the relationships (and power structures) you are intervening in and how participants might perform them. Many works would likely need to address both what we experience and what we do as an audience or participants in front of it / around it / with it. How do viewers relate to the work, to the artist, to each other...?

  3. What's at stake? Why is this important to you? Why should it be important to me / others? You can briefly address or allude to conceptual issues here, but be specific rather than general. How does the piece itself address these concerns? How do we encounter them in our experience of it, and what value lies in that encounter?

7 guidelines to follow:

  1. This is not a mystery novel. Start with a one-sentence description that encompasses all of the above to some extent – especially what it is – then unpack each of the listed items as is needed.

Read more and comment at implicit art...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spring Exhibition at NYAXE Gallery in Palo Alto, CA

Catherine McCormack-Skiba, the founder of, speaks with a NYAXE Gallery visitor.

The opening of the Spring Exhibition at NYAXE Gallery was held on May 21st. The exhibit featured works by members Jane Fulton Alt, Leah Tomaino, and Miles Holbert-- the finalists of the most recent NYAXE Gallery representation competition on Seventeen artists from the community were represented digitally at the gallery space.

The exhibit opened at 6pm and came to a close at 10pm. A steady flow of gallery visitors were present-- over 100 people were counted during the early hours of the opening. The technology, powerful works of contemporary art, and music set the pace of the environment as cocktails were served. The event was yet another successful example of the meshing between the physical and online art world.
NYAXE Gallery visitors view a work of art by Leah Tomaino

NYAXE Gallery in Palo Alto, CA officially opened on February 26th, 2009. The exhibit on May 21st marks the second exhibit featuring members. The represented artists are chosen from a selective-- ongoing --competition that allows members of the community to compete for NYAXE Gallery representation. For more information visit,

The digitally represented artists for the May 21st NYAXE Gallery exhibit:

Lisa Mistiuk, Edie Nadelhaft, Martin H.M Schreiber, Hans Meertens, Carla Falb, Jovan Villalba, Reka Nyari, Syed Zaman, Viviane Vives, Bill Bosler, Pau Guerrero-Prado, Bob Martin, Jagna Wesolowska, Jason Wolfe, Lucille Dweck, Thomas C Chung, Peter Tankey

NYAXE Gallery in Palo Alto, CA positions as one of only a few social art sites to have a physical presence in the form of a brick & mortar gallery-- as well as the only online art community to have a physical gallery presence in the heart of Silicon Valley. The NYAXE Gallery places members art within reach of some of the most powerful-- and wealthy-- professionals in the United States. is the leading online social network for the contemporary art world. Dubbed "the biggest network you never heard of" by The Next Web and as one of the top six social art sites according to Mashable, the site continues to experience dramatic reception by the art community. myartspace was the first site to offer compelling, integrated presentation technology -- the ability to blend images of art, music, video and audio narration all online. The company also distinguishes itself by being a free and open community in that all members can upload an unlimited number of images, videos and music.

The competition is free for Premium members to enter. You can learn more about Premium membership on by visiting the following page, You can learn more about the current represented artists by visiting,
Link of Interest:
NYAXE Gallery Representation Winners. May 21, 2009 Exhibit

Claes Oldenburg at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Ice Bag - Scale C (1971) by Claes Oldenburg via NY Times

The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York is currently featuring a Claes Oldenburg retrospective The exhibition explores Oldenburg’s early career as well as his longtime collaboration with wife Coosie van Bruggen. The retrospective details nearly five decades of Oldenburg’s work.

The sculptor is best known for his public art installations. His work tends to feature very large replicas of everyday objects. Another theme in his work is soft sculpture versions of everyday objects. The exhibit comes to a close on September 6th, 2009. For more information visit, or

Art Space Talk: Resa Blatman (Part 1)

Through her art Resa Blatman attempts to show nature at odds with itself by playing with the contradictions of emptiness versus fullness, lush versus barren, and rapture versus displeasure. In her paintings, the berries, linear loops, and tiny dots represent an abundance of embryos, eggs, and seeds. Heaps are an important element: these berries, loops, tiny dots, and sometimes creatures accumulate in piles and mounds and represent the bounty of femininity and ripeness.

Beauty and the Beasties by Resa Blatman

Brian Sherwin: Resa, what can you tell us about your academic background concerning art? Did you study art formally? Tell us about your art studies in general-- any influential instructors?

Resa Blatman: I have a lot of art school experience under my belt. After high school, I went to the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, where I majored in “fine arts.” That meant I had a well-rounded art education doing everything from etching to stone sculpture. After Ringling, I moved to New York for a couple of years, where I had several jobs and painted during my free time. Then I left for Florence, Italy, where I studied at the Studio Art Centers International (SACI) for one year and lived in Florence for another two years, with a side excursion to London for seven months.

At SACI I spent my time painting, primarily portraits. I had a memorable learning experience, particularly with portrait painter and teacher Manfredi, who taught me to see a person’s character and exaggerate it in order to make the portrait look like the model. The director of SACI, Jules Maidoff, was instrumental in helping me move paint around
more freely and with more confidence.

After my year at SACI, I worked for a mask-maker named Agostino Dessi, who owns a little mask shop called “Alice” in the center of Florence. This job let me stay in Italy for two more years. Agostino taught me the craft of mask-making, and skills related to selling artwork, which were very useful to me later on.

I then moved back to the United States and settled in Boston, where I’ve been ever since. My art education might have ended there, but after a few years of making and selling masks, paper jewelry, and portraits, making a very meager living, I decided to go back to school for a BFA in graphic design. I enrolled at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and with my previous credits, I was able to get through the design program in two years and receive my degree. During this time and the following years to come, I had essentially given up on painting.

My work got stuck and stodgy -- I couldn’t think of what to paint next and it seemed that my desire to paint had come to an end -- it was no longer a productive or fulfilling relationship. Studying graphic design was a welcome change for me, and on reflection, I believe it was one of the best career choices I’ve ever made. It taught me new skills (especially computer skills) and gave me confidence to start my own business. I made a good living while still doing work that was creative and enjoyable.

My small design business flourished and won awards, and I had many steady clients. But after 9/11 the economy was in trouble -- the work dried up and I sat around wondering what to do next. I had been teaching graphic design part-time at MassArt since 1997 and really enjoyed it, so I thought I’d go back to school for my MFA (but this time I’d get the degree in painting), so that I could teach full-time and revive my old love for painting. But, because I hadn’t been painting for nearly 10 years, my portfolio was weak and I was rejected from the few local grad schools that I applied to (my husband was working full-time, which meant we couldn’t move and I had to apply to schools in, or near to, Boston).

Then I learned about the one-year post-baccalaureate program at Brandeis University, which I was accepted to, and my relationship to painting renewed itself. I learned so much, mostly from my peers, and also from the terrific visiting artist and instructor from New York, Charles Spurrier, who opened my mind and eyes to contemporary, conceptual art. My previous art education had rarely examined the contemporary art world; instead it highlighted Michelangelo to Picasso with the impressionists sprinkled in between.

The following year I applied to the same local grad programs as I had previously, was accepted by three of them, and chose Boston University. My experience there was mixed; being the oldest student made me stand out, but not always in the way I intended. Nevertheless, I worked diligently in the mostly studio-based program, which was one of the toughest educational experiences of my life. Despite the difficult crits and the personal and artistic challenges, I’m extremely grateful for my graduate school experience -- my work continually evolved and my painting skills and conceptual abilities
improved enormously.

I was in a class with highly talented peers and the painter and instructor John Walker, and they taught me more about painting than I could ever have imagined. By the time I was near the end of the grad program I realized that I no longer wanted to teach full-time; rather, I wanted to paint full-time again. I decided then that I would supplement my painting career with graphic design, allowing me to pursue both fields and take advantage of my design skills to enhance my paintings. I graduated from BU in 2006.
Coitus by Resa Blatman

BS: Tell us more about yourself. At what point did you gain an interest in creating visual art in the first place?

RB: This may sound a bit clich├ęd, but when I was a small child the grownups around me would ask, “What do you want to be when you grown up?” And I would consistently say “I want to be a artist.” Eventually, I learned to say it correctly but my desire never changed. No matter what other things I tried, or waters I tested, I always knew I would be an artist.

Aphrodite's Garden by Resa Blatman

BS: Can you tell us about your art? Give us some insight into the thoughts behind your art.

RB: As you might imagine with so many different art school experiences, and a lot of years in between, my work was initially quite different from the way it is now. That said, I notice some things in my current work that harken back to my childhood drawings and paintings, and the tight painting I did in my 20s. While we can’t help but be influenced
by our peers and historical and contemporary artists, and the time in which we live, I believe some things about us never change. Our work and our lives move in circles that we continually begin and end. The ideas I have, and use now, in my work are often ideas that I thought about years ago -- these ideas never really leave, but crop up here and there when they become useful to me.

My current work is about fertility, abundance, sensuality, and an over-the-top beauty. The paintings combine decorative patterns with flora and fauna. The cut-edge surfaces are an extension of the painting itself, allowing the work to feel as if it is growing out of control.

To read Part 2 of my interview with Resa Blatman click, HERE

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
Myartspace Blog on Twitter