Italy: Part Two: Opening Night: The Gallery

In a word, opening night was a dream!

But let me reflect on it coming together.  Earlier, if you remember (or if you missed my last post) the show was not in such a blissful state.  Eventually customs was worked out and in just two days we managed to get the art on a plane from Rome to the Catania airpot in Sicily.  This is where our story continues.

Coincidentally my mother was to arive on opening day, this being a Friday.  And in keeping with Alitalia airlines tradition, they forgot to put her lugage on the plane, but as luck would have it her bags would end up on the same plane as the art!  After hanging out at cargo pickup for some time, which by the way looked like something straight out of a mob film including some guy hanging out in a beautifully tailored suit, very dark sunglasses and smoking a cigarette, the art arrived on the platform.  At this time we had three people, my mothers luggage and all the art to fit into the car (a Fiat Multipla for those of you who are interested), suddenly all those years of getting yelled at to stop playing Tetris paid off!  There was now about one-and-a-half hours until opening, this could only mean one thing, it was time to drive like an Italian, and luckily we had one on board, she decided that 160 km/hr was appropriate, that it 99.42 mi/hr, or in American math, 100 mi/hr.

She's a looker!

She’s a looker!

and in a 2002 Fiat Multipla with three abreast seating and  literally ever square inch taken up in the car is in the best of terms, unnerving…..

We did arrived, unpacked and hung the work in less then  30 minuets, and my poor mother, who had been traveling for so long, now had no time to take a nap, however we did have time to clean up and change and get back to the gallery.

Back at the gallery all the stress and pain faded away.  It was packed, the gallery looked great and no one the wiser to the state of the show just 40 min. earlier.  Speaking of the gallery, it is called Spazio 30 (Spazio Trenta) and it is quite simply a breathtaking space.  It is not a huge modern space like some galleries stateside.  But rather a blend of modern minimalism, with straight clean lines and tasteful lighting, contrasted with classical arches in stone that were cold and rough on your finger tips, and large slate tiles on the floor which added weight to the lofty high ceiling.  I will never forget this space, I loved it!

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But this whole trip is about art, so what about the work?  Well, I am happy to say that it was very well received.  It is always so gratifying to have people enjoy your art, and so much better when they express it in Italian.  In the United States, you might hear “Your work is nice”, or “Beautiful”, or “very nice”, all are fine, and I accept them with great gratitude.  But in Italy to have people who want to meet you, and greet you with “Molti Complimenti” and “Bello”, it is wonderful (and sure, I know that a lot of this has to do with the romanticism of the language).  But what happened next, is something that I will never forget and something that I wish we did over here in the U.S.  A lovely and brilliant man, Salvo, gathered everyone in the front room of the gallery and gave , what I imagine, because it was all in Italian, was a colorful and quite theatrical presentation of the work, the inspiration behind the work and the artists.  IMG_1434It is something I wish we did here, and something everyone was really into, they seemed genuinely interested and engaged.  Apparently this is standard operating procedure for gallery openings in Italy, and I love it, I think it creates a connection between the artist, their work and people who are there to view it.  Eventually, about 9:30pm, everyone needed dinner, so off we went.

 

And on that note, I am getting hungry, so off I go!

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Italy : Part one : Travels : Drama

Well, that didn’t according to plan.  The idea was to spend my time in Italy writing and updating the blog, guess what didn’t happen…..So the plan is to write a few post that will be up in the next several days, and it would stand to reason that I start at the beginning.

 

I left early in the morning on the 27th of May, with a flight from Denver to Washington D.C. then on the Rome and finally to Catania on Sicily, where I would pick up a car and make the drive into Ortigia.  The good news is that things did happen in that order, the bad news began in D.C.  We were 3 hours late getting into the air, so naturally I missed my connection to Sicily.  after being forced to buy a new ticket (thanks Alitalia) I had 20 min. to make the flight, but I did and made it to Sicily.  I picked up a car, A little black Fiat Panda with 6km on the clock, and off I went.  Now I have been to Italy several times, but always relied on public transport, so this would be my first experience driving fist hand in the country some refer to as “God’s Racetrack”, and I was to do it in a little 1.3 liter Fiat.  But it was marvelous, it took second for me to realize that I was born to drive like an Italian, the biggest problem was the car, it just didn’t have enough power, but I digress.  I ended up finding my way through the city of Syracuse, buy blind luck, and was quickly in Ortigia (the old part of town).  I found a parking spot and made my way to the flat where I would be string the duration of my stay.  I was desperate for a shower, so I took one, and then headed to the gallery.

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This is where things begin to go down hill rather quickly.  And to start things off, there was no art, neither my work or that of the featured artist, Catherine Carilli, was at the gallery and to make it worse we didn’t know where it was.  We found that it was being held in Rome for customs reasons that I could write and entire post on, but I will spare you the pain.  The next two day were spent getting the work out of Rome and to the airport in Catania where I could pick it up, basically a lot of paperwork.  But success, and I was able to pick up the work on Friday, and roughly around the same time that my mother arrived.  A 160km/hr drive back down to the gallery, a bit of illegal parking, and I’m not exaggerating, less than 30 min. to hang the the show before the opening reception.  But we pulled it off, and my fist international exhibition was under way.

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Italy Update

The exhibition in Sicily is fast approaching, and there is good news!  Everything is actually (I said with a semi surprised tone) coming together very nicely.

The prints are amazing.  I choose to use a professional printing (Photo Craft in Boulder, CO) service to produce all my Fine Art prints, and for several good reasons.  The first is that they have a Lightjet printer, and there is no way I could afford such a tool (or find a place to set it up).  The second is that is their profession, they print stuff, and they have an entire division dedicated to fine art photographers, so they understand our…….quirks.  Fact, I have used other printing companies, and I have never had a photograph printed this well, everything about it is superior, I am one happy camper!

And the good news continues.  The framing is nearly complete, only the backing and hanging kits remain.  It is difficult to describe how a simple mat and frame can transform the photograph, but it really does and I am so happy I made the right choices for this show, they look great.

Next is getting everything to the shipping company to be crated and sent to Italy…..then comes customs….

 

Photo of the day

"The Lonely Stairs"“The Lonely Stairs”

Seattle, Wa.
2014

I find this photograph rather eerie and maybe just a little bit depressing.  We, as a species of innovation and construction, have gone to great lengths to develop construction materials and techniques, and a great amount of labor goes into these projects.  Although a simple set of concrete stairs my not be the pinnacle of our capabilities, it has been and will continue to be, a fundamental element in everything from a rural home to the urban streets of our largest cities.  With this thought dominating my mind, I captured this image, a concrete set of stairs buried in the heart of Seattle with no one using them.  I had stumbled upon a central pedestrian walkway/park in the city, and yet, I watched this set of stairs go un-used for quite some time.  I remember it made me a little sad, and also a little uneasy.  Was there something wrong the stairs, something that made people avoid them, something I was unaware of as an outsider?  Was it bad city planning?  Or was it just coincidence that at the time of my presence, there was no one there to use them.

I use my camera to capture these moments, and hopfully not only capture the physical, but also express the thought and emotoins I am experiencing.  I chose to shoot the stairs in black and white as a way of focusing the viewers eye.  With the removal of color, there is only contrast by which to interpret the scene.  I also deliberately chose to fill the left side of the frame with a tree.  The city planers went to great lengths to incorperate nature in the walkway, and to remove this aspect of the environment would be to present a dishonest image (this is a common thread in all my work (hence the reason I don’t use photoshop)).  I could go on, but in an attempt to keep my rambling to a minimum I will stop.

I always attempt to create meaningful images, and on a personal level this certainly qualifies.  I will continue to view this image and be taken back to that moment, and after all, is that not what Photography is all about…

(This image will be part of a exhibition I have later this summer in Denver!)

Step 7

Good news! the Kickstarter campaign was a success! Thank you to everyone that contributed, this show could not happen without you!

So whats next?  well, I have the proofs for the show and am poring over them and making many notes.  The final prints will be made in the next week, and frames are getting sorted.

Tangent!  I am producing a show book.  This will include all the images from the show accompanied by my thoughts on each piece, as well as some general words about the show, my work, the process and a personal reflection on the experience.  (I like to produce something like this in order to document all my shows)(if your interested in a digital, or large hardback copy please contact me)

Now its time to do some marketing – make some flyers/posters and send out invitations.

Photos will return to this [photography]blog in the next post, I promise!

And if Italy is too far away, I will be having a show in Denver later this summer….

Sicily & Art pt. II [Kickstarter]

"Into the Earth" 24"x36" || "The Leaf" 24"x36"

“Into the Earth” 24″x36″ || “The Leaf” 24″x36″

The show in Italy is getting closer and closer every day, and the excitement, stress and workload goes up and up! But these are all great things.  I think I love working on big projects with deadlines that are way too tight.

So, where am I at?

Well, most of the pieces have been chosen for the show, and come from all over the place, from Hawaii to Washington state to Colorado to Kentucky.  I have also been hard at work on the layout of the gallery and where everything will be displayed, and how it will be presented.  So a lot of work!

The best news is I am working with a new printer!  They do amazing work, using the best printing available, they will also be helping with all the finishing of the work.  All the photographs will be printed using the legendary Lighjet printer, and all the pieces will be matted and framed for a classical yet contemporary look (fitting considering photography is a contemporary medium!).  I love to print BIG, so expect more of that for this show!

Now comes the cry for help, I have a Kickstarter project up, and would be eternally grateful for anything you can donate.  The reality is that putting on a show internationally for a young artist is crazy expensive, and every dollar goes a long way!  Ok, I’m done begging…..for now, thanks for hanging in there.

More to come!!

"Abyss #1" 24"x36" || "Abyss #2" 24"x36"

“Abyss #1″ 24″x36” || “Abyss #2″ 24″x36”

Sicily & Art

As you might have figured out from the title, this post is about art in Sicily, Italy.  More to the point, it is about my art in Italy.  I am super excited for my first show internationally, and I can not think of a better place than Italy.  I am also very happy to be showing with the person who is responsible for my life in art, and my mentor, Catherine Carilli, a wonderful contemporary painter.

The gallery we will be showing at is Spaziotrenta (Spazio 30), located in the heart of Ortigia, in Syracuse Sicily.  It is a beautiful space (and quite large, yikes!), a wonderful blend of old Italian architecture, and modern art gallery aesthetics.  The show runs for ten days, opening Friday, May 30 and running through Sunday, June 8.

Terrible photo thanks to Google street view

Terrible photo thanks to Google street view

I am currently working on two directions for the show, and should have several pieces ready to go by next week, thus deciding the direction for the rest of the work.  But don’t feel bad for the project that does not go to Italy, for it will be the work on display for my 3 week show in Denver at the NEXT Gallery at the end of July.

(Yep, this is the part where I cry out for money) I am, like all artists always in need of funding for these projects, you would not believe how much shipping is.  So….I am putting together a Kickstarter campaign for this show, and will make an announcement when it goes live.