April 17-21 saw the coming and going of Jacksonville’s One Spark Festival, held in the core of downtown and featuring over 400 “Creators” competing for a share of a $250,000 crowdfund. We were thrilled to finish in 2nd Place overall, and 2nd Place in Art with our Beyond the Façade project. There are lots of details on the project website and I hope to add some additional posts on the creation process as it relates to my artwork. The most valuable part of the festival for me was the motivation of having the event, forcing me to deliver on an idea I’ve been considering for years. I needed a goal to commit to and this was it. I was also on a high for 5 days as the public validated our ideas. There’s nothing like having positive feedback from people you don’t know. The interaction and connections are very valuable.
So what’s next? Our original project idea was to identify additional locations for installations and develop a plan for additional pieces. We are recovering from the costs of the project and now have an idea of the effort involved in a large mural-type installation. The funds received from One Spark (around $4,000) will be applied to recovering costs, and we plan to apply for other grants and private funding for the next pieces. I have several ideas in mind and hope that we can be in a position to execute after the summer.
I’ve been involved with the Cathedral Arts Project for a few years now who continues to do significant work with under-privileged children by providing after schools arts instruction in both the performing and visual arts. Their current promotional campaign called Lobby for the Arts involves taking an exhibition on the road to various corporate and museum lobbies across town to raise awareness for the organization. I was asked to provide the photographs used in the campaign, designed and produced by the Brunet Garcia agency. We needed high energy action shots of the children, so we set up a white background and 4 Alien Bee strobes to get the look we wanted. Back on Dec 9 we had a fun day of shooting and many not so fun days of editing to come up with the final images. Overall we had a blast with the kids and Jeff, Marla, and Forest from Cathedral Arts. The campaign is now in full swing.
I really enjoyed my new studio space at CoRK which had plenty of rooms for all the kids, their parents, and a nice area for shooting.
I’ve been doing some work for Hugo’s Fine Furniture and Interiors and had the privilege of doing some personal shots in their frame shop on Phillips Hiway. I’m really interested in work areas and seeing the environments where real work gets done. This was a fascinating shop, with equipment and tools everywhere. It’s fun to discover these places because products don’t magically appear out of nowhere. In this case furniture is made by hand from pieces of wood. Wow! No robots, no plastic, no fancy CNC equipment. Just saws, planers, shapers, sanders, and plenty of clamps. I spoke to Steve the shop manager who has been at Hugos for over 30 years. He has an interesting perspective on the importance of making things in a quality way. This was reflected not only in the feel of the shop but in the pieces he was producing. Steve is a true artist. I hope to return because you need time to take all of this in.
Last night the second annual PhotoJAX photography festival had a reception at CoRK. We had lots of people coming through the studio and I appreciate all the nice comments I received on my space and some new work. I made a decision to print some of my large panoramas from our trip to the Canyonlands, namely the image from Goblin Valley State Park and the sunrise from Hiway 24 looking towards Moab. The Goblin print was 30×150 on canvas, the sunrise was 30×96 also on canvas. I also printed a large image taken at Yellowstone back in 2010. This was a burned out area near the Thorofare Trail trailhead. Last minute I printed a 60×40 tree from Sam Taylor State Park in California (near Pt Reyes). Sometimes you just gotta print these things out to see what you have. Images living in your computer can only take you so far…having the print changes everything.
I guess the next best thing to being in the Cummer is being on the Cummer. Two of my images from projects that I’ve worked on are on huge banners in front of the museum. Dorian first noticed this and pointed it out. I had no idea!
The image for the Cathedral Arts Lobby for the Arts project was taken in my studio in early December. The other image is from my documentation of Jim Draper’s Feast of Flowers exhibition. Both of these were really nice shows and I am happy to be a part of them.
I’m on the mailing list for the Ansel Adams Gallery who represents some very distinguished photographers, one of which is Je ff Conley. I started looking at Jeff’s work and ended up on his site. He published a monograph called “Winter” and my copy arrived last week. It’s a beautiful book published by Nazraeli Press, with 42 photographs, and introduction and an artist statement. I love when you receive a book (sight unseen) and it delights instead of disappoints. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve ordered on Amazon with great descriptions and comments but end up unread on the shelf. If you love beautiful photography books, you may want to consider this one.
I installed a new exhibit at Southlight Gallery called Impressions of Place, featuring 17 selected photographs from our recent trip to Hong Kong and Japan. I also presented a 70 image slideshow and artist talk during Art Walk at the gallery. The work was compiled as a series of significant “first impressions” in these incredible places. With over 4000 images to work from, the editing was a challenge. I will be posting the exhibit images in a portfolio on the site along with the artist statement. Hopefully an accompanying book containing the images will be available soon.
More details on this exhibit to come.
Exhibit Layout (click to enlarge)
I was fortunate to have two pieces accepted into this prestigious exhibit at the Cummer Museum of Art. I struggled during the submission process to decide on which pieces to propose. I always find it difficult to sort through work. Do you propose what you think others would like, or work that you truly like? I find it best to enlist the help of others. I’m more apt to choose something that is new rather than something that is richer or more meaningful. I tire of looking at my older pieces so fresh always seems best, which doesn’t always equate to a good selection.
Earlier this year I ventured out to several local parks and forests. On one very fruitful trip at the Ocala National Forest I captured several images that ended up in my collection of keepers. Sometimes you are blessed with good days. One photograph accepted is titled Forest Renewal and is a panoramic of a pine forest that was just recently burned to clear the underbrush. Earlier in the day I passed some work crews setting small fires at the base of the trees to eliminate the underbrush. The resulting scene left an eerie veil of smoke above the gray ashes and green pine needles.
The second photograph is titled Dancing Oaks. The National Forest is essentially a managed forest with pines which stretch out forever. Dirt roads crisscross the area forming a recreational oasis for ATVs and dirt bikes. While driving the dirt roads there is always an occasional oak or other hardwood tree, perhaps left over from earlier times or somehow transplanted there. I saw a grove of oak trees from the road and followed a small path to the area. There were roughly 30 oak trees growing in close proximity in the middle of the pines.
Opening night at the Cummer was exciting and the museum was packed. It was great to actually have a museum opening and to be in the company of many distinguished local artists.
Sea Ranch is one of those idyllic places that evoke calm, peace, and the California lifestyle. It is a developed community on the coast started in the 1960s whose purpose was to preserve the area’s natural beauty. Some noted architects and landscape architects planned for the construction of about 2400 homes along 10 miles of the California coast. This caused quite a stir and became the impetus for the California Coastal Commission.
We were lucky enough to be invited to stay at a rental at Sea Ranch for a week. We flew to San Francisco and made our way up the coast, first stopping at Point Reyes National Seashore and Sam Taylor State Park, two of my favorite spots. There always seems to be something interesting in these areas, although I never can get the weather I want. Too much sun! We planned to shoot the sunset at McClures Beach on the northern tip. I had the beach all to myself.
We stayed at a small B&B called the Bear Valley Inn, which was very convenient to the park. The room was nice and it’s always fun to deviate from the Best Western now and then. The next morning we woke up early and headed to Sam Taylor State Park. I was hoping for some fog but the sun came up strong so the shooting time was limited. Sam Taylor has many old growth redwoods and some other older hardwoods. You can always find something in there, but the traffic on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. gets busy.
Our rental at Sea Ranch was an exquisite house called Breakers Point with this view from the deck. We couldn’t ask for a lovelier place. While there we made a few side trips to Armstrong Woods State Park, Fort Ross, and Mendocino. We also had fun exploring some of the smaller roads and finding some great forests.
The July/August issue of Arbus Magazine featured a story about my artwork. I was thrilled with the result. Sometimes I’m embarrassed when I read something about me. Generally I’m not one to tell the world that I exist, but it’s always nice to see your name and work in print. There’s a sense of validation and accomplishment, which we all need. I’m grateful for the article and hope that you take a moment to look it over.
Many thanks to Cinda Sherman, publisher of Arbus, and Meridith Tousey, writer, for this article.