Talent Scout

Archive for January 2010


See Your Work at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

What a rare opportunity to have your work shown in such a prestigious venue.  This only happens once every ten years.  So enter!

Foot in the Door 4 Call for Submissions

February 19 – June 13, 2010

MAEP Galleries at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Foot in the Door 4 is an open exhibition for all Minnesota artists that takes place every 10 years at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Since 1980, Foot in the Door has celebrated the diversity and enthusiasm of Minnesota’s visual arts community. Submit your work and be part of the state’s largest art exhibition!

Download registration forms

WHO QUALIFIES Anyone living in Minnesota who considers him- or herself an artist. Limit one (1) artwork per artist.

WHAT QUALIFIES Any visual media that can fit completely into a 12-inch-square box.

Recalling Simpler Times: Sheep Sculpted from Rotary Phones

I first came across the Museum of Communications in Frankfurt through a posting on Inhabitat . Obviously collections are the foundation of any museum but this is not only a museum of communication artifacts, memory and history, but a place to discuss the past, present and future.

We all know that communication technologies are developing rapidly and communication has become increasingly important in a diverse and globalized world. Cultural diversity, networking and intercultural communication are characteristics of the fundamental change from an industrial to a communication society.

The phone for example is the theme of gathering.  Moe Beitiks review of Jean Luc Cornec’s exhibit at the Museum of Communications in Frankfurt seems to imply as much. The review states apart from the visually striking animation that is achieved by these static sculptures, what becomes especially compelling is the feeling of being stared down by both an animal and obsolete technology at the same time. The rotary phone, not unlike a country flock of sheep, has entered its own era of charming similar to the lost art of letter-writing or Christmas cards.

The rotary phone once considered essential has now been placed to the wayside. What in today’s world is next to follow?

The exhibition engages visitors to recall more simplified times through a flock of free-roaming sheep sculpted from old, analog, rotary phones.

What Design Can Do: Emily Pilloton and Project H Design

I have been following Emily Pilloton’s work over the last six months and to say I’m impressed with this woman is an understatement.  In 2008, with $1,000 in savings, a laptop, and a belief that design can change the world, Emily, a product designer and activist launched Project H Design, a nonprofit that supports inspires and delivers life-improving humanitarian product design.

In a very short time she has demonstrated her vision through world wide design initiatives. I recently purchased her book, Design Revolution—100 Products That Empower People.  Pilloton challenges designers to be change makers instead of “stuff creators.” A very inspiring woman who has put her design solutions to good work.

Design Revolution: 100 Products That Empower People

A Vacant Mind: Minimalist Artist Agnes Martin

I recently saw an interview with artist Agnes Martin. It was my first introduction to her work.  I loved her simple insights on the benefits of a vacant mind.  After seeing the video (posted below) I did a little more research on her work.

Her signature style is defined by an emphasis upon line, grids, and fields of extremely subtle color. While minimalist in form, these paintings were quite different in spirit from those of her other minimalist counterparts, retaining small flaws and unmistakable traces of the artist’s hand; she shied away from intellectualism, favoring the personal and spiritual. Her paintings, statements, and influential writings often reflect an interest in Eastern philosophy, especially Taoism.  Because of her work’s added spiritual dimension, which became more and more dominant after 1967, she preferred to be classified as an abstract expressionist.  When she died at age 92, she was said to have not read a newspaper for the last 50 years.

Martin worked only in black, white, and brown before moving to New Mexico. During this time, she introduced light pastel washes to her grids, colors that shimmered in the changing light.

Sister Wendy Beckett, in her book American Masterpieces, said about Martin: “Agnes Martin often speaks of joy; she sees it as the desired condition of all life.  The work awes, not just with its delicacy, but with its vigor, and this power and visual interest is something that has to be experienced.”

I Have Given My Whole Life To Words

It was a honor to create a commissioned art piece for The Forum Communications offices in Fargo, ND. Working with a media organization that understood original art, like great journalism should be enjoyed and revered for years was rewarding.  They could have just as easily filled that space with something less original.  They knew I was passionate about telling their story but to hand over so much trust in the creative process was an unexpected joy.

Research and collaboration was an essential part of my creative process. Understanding the Forum’s history, talking first-hand with journalists, printers and archivists about their passion at the paper, how they interact with each other and within the community allowed the process of storytelling to unfold.

Using a variety of materials and techniques relevant to the newspaper and journalism as a profession, I combined text, newsprint and old textiles in unconventional ways. Original wood type was hand-rubbed with graphite on paper then enlarged and hand printed on the piece. At first glance you will see re-appropriation and re-use of cryptic reporter notes and remnants of a printer’s apron. But further exploration reveals a multitude of layers. A host of stories about community, historic events and life changing experiences that are re-interpreted through bits of cloth, paper, paint and text.

A reflection of the individuals it surrounds, the art is expressive, full of continuous motion and a bit chaotic. My hope was that everyday curiosity would lead one to see something new, to ponder the complexity and the multitude of layers and stories within the piece and the world in which we all live.

The video tells the story of how this piece evolved and took shape.

Mystery of 100 Year Old Japanese Ledger Solved

After years of speculation, I now know part of the back story on this favorite artifact of mine.  I purchased this antique Japanese book in Sand Diego ten years ago but all I knew was the approximate age and that is was probably a ledger for business or accounting.

My hair stylists mother who was born and still lives in Japan was visiting so I asked if she could translate the text for me.  As it turns out the characters have changed since this was written so she was only able to understand bits and pieces.  She verified that it was  over a hundred years old and used as a business ledger for a department or general store.  There were sales recorded for futons, kimono fabric yardage and other home items.  She shared that individuals are only paid once per month in Japan so many stores offer charges or IOU’s.  The small stamps that you see indicate when someone came back to pay their bill.

Every so often I use a piece from the ledger in my collage work.  See the last photo below.

Hand bound

5" x 15" with hand-drawn characters in ink

Daily business transactions

Detail shot of stamps used for paid items

Marilyn Stevens, 9" x 9", Japanese ledger text and antique kimono fabric

Published! 150 Artists Selected for Juried Artist Book

Studio Visit is a series of juried artist books distributed to curators, galleries and art enthusiast’s nationally. It is  a new venue for artists to introduce their work to a national audience of world professionals.  It was an honor to be selected one of 150 among 800 applicants for Studio Visit’s, Volume 7. Each high quality volume features international and national artists in a variety of mediums.

Juror Steven Zevitas reflected on the process of artist selection for the publication.  He found himself spending a lot of time considering the way in which an artist’s chosen subject matter intersected with and was reinforced by the medium they chose to work with.  For him, he found he was interested in the clarity of communication, more than in the message.

Each artist received a full page that includes an image, contact information and a brief artist statement.  My art piece selected, What You Wear is from a series I created from 2007 – 2008. To purchase a copy ($15) go to Studio Visit.

(Front Cover Art) Patricia Wood, Stop--Mixed Media

Inside spread featuring my work (right page)

(Larger version of image published) Marilyn Stevens, What You Wear

Following are a few other artists that I admired featured in this issue.

Jasmine McCaffrey, Push the Button--Mixed Media

You can see more of Jasmine’s work on her website.

Karen Chu, Take A Seat--Mixed Media

You can see more of Karen’s work on her website.

Elizabeth Right, Sticker Shock--Mixed Media

See more of Elizabeth’s work at her website.

“Think Like a Traveler”

The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.(Marcel Proust)

Have you ever noticed when you travel , there is a heightened awareness of everything.  You see things differently.  You’re curious about how people live.  You observe flowers or landscapes more closely.  You experiment with new foods.  Each day is a new adventure–trains need to be figured out, trip navigation–part of your brain is super active.  I usually come home with new ideas for art, starting a business or a few crazy things that sounded better in the context of the destination.

Although I’m not big on New Years resolutions, I’m going to try to get into this state of mind more this year.  To be actively aware, everyday.

Listen to Tom Kelly’s talk on “Young at Heart: How to be an Innovator for life” where he talks about “thinking like a traveler.”  If you have time I also really appreciated his tip on “living life  as an experiment”.

What new ideas are you thinking about for 2010?

Enjoy some of my wanderings through Argentina.  Due to budget cuts, this will  definitely be a state of mind this year.

A trip to Argentina

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