What makes you a Curious Artist?

Kids are curious – although my five-year-old just told me that she knows more than me. Apparently she has the answer to everything. I laugh to myself. It has begun already! She seems so young to think she knows it all…

Do you still find yourself curious? Or do you know everything? That’s a rhetorical question!

Let’s see what Leo Burnett, the famous American advertising executive, has to say about curiosity. Next in our series – quote #2:

“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” – Leo Burnett

Reflection:

Curiosity is important, not just for artists, photographers, musicians, designers, writers, and the creative-lot alike; everyone can benefit from curiosity.

Curiosity:

  • Is a path to learning new things
  • Keeps you growing as a person
  • Develops meaningful interests
  • Makes your artwork more intriguing
  • Causes you to ask the right questions
  • Helps you get to know people better

Over the summer I read a great (and curious!) novel by Jonathan Safran Foer called Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. The main character is a young boy named Oskar…

Extremely_loud_and_incredibly_close_large

… I just realized: it’s fitting that I am reflecting on this book today, since it is September 11. This was not intentional, but my subconscious is tuned-in to the date I suppose. Who can even say September 11 without remembering where they were when it happened? Today, and every day, my heart goes out to all those affected by the events that took place back in 2001. Not long ago I visited the site of the Twin Towers and my heart broke – there were so many names lining the fountain memorials. Too many names…)

Back to the novel: the story is about Oskar’s search for a lock to match the key he found in his father’s belongings. Oskar’s father died in the 911 tragedy.

The author has done a remarkable job of writing from Oskar’s perspective. Oskar’s mind never stops and one idea leads to another. He is the embodiment of curiosity. He wonders about everything… sometimes it can be a little exhausting, but because of his curiosity, he is such an interesting character and comes up with truly novel ideas.

If you have time to read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, I’d recommend it. On a side note, it was a very gentle take on the 911 tragedy. It made me reflect on the heartache from a child’s perspective.

Artists – creative people in general – are and should be curious. I believe it is curiosity that prompts art in the first place. Art is curious because:

  • It asks us questions of ourselves, the one who made it
  • It asks questions about the world
  • It asks questions about culture, society, race, religion

Change comes because of questions and questions come because of curiosity.

Have you gotten bored? If so, it’s time to get inspired! Visit an art gallery or museum, read something new, travel to a foreign destination, meet new people, take a class. Curiosity is within your control.

What are you curious about?

How do you feed your curiosity?

Best wishes to you as you pursue your creative passions!

– Alexis Marie

Inspiration at the MIT MUSEUM

Inspiration is inevitable at the MIT Museum!

The MIT Museum is one of the coolest places on earth. There are robots, inventions and exhibitions that had me shaking my head in awe. Their impressive collections include science and technology, architecture and design, and holography – just to name a few!

If you want to visit the MIT Museum, here are the details:

Open Daily 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. except major holidays

Adults: $10.00; youth under 18, students, seniors: $5:00; children under age 5: free

265 Massachusetts Ave.
Building N51
Cambridge, MA 02139

Phone: 617-253-5927
Fax: 617-253-8994
E-mail: museuminfo@mit.edu

Some of my favorite exhibits at the MIT Museum:

Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT

An exhibit that reminded me of Terminator – just kidding (sort of)! There you will see tele-operated surgical robots, robotic legs, socially intelligent humanoid robots and other prototypes.

MIT museum Alexis marie chute art Robotics 01

Gestural Engineering: The Sculpture of Arthur Ganson

Featuring Arthur Ganson’s kinetic sculptures, this exhibit was both staggeringly inventive and aesthetically beautiful. The artist’s invitation: “The objects are part of a cycle. I take an idea from my heart, but it is not complete until you have seen it, and found your own meaning in it.”

MIT museum Alexis marie chute art gestural engineering 01

MIT museum Alexis marie chute art gestural engineering 03

Photography

Their photography exhibits were also pretty amazing!

MIT museum Alexis marie chute art photography 01

MIT museum Alexis marie chute art photography 02

MIT museum Alexis marie chute art photography 03

I am still reeling from my visit to the MIT Museum. Have you ever been there? If I hadn’t visited with my three-year-old and five-year-old who wanted to race through and see it all (as fast as they could), I imagined myself hanging around there all day, sketching the robotics and sculptures, reading every informational panel and soaking up the creativity and inventiveness of the students and expert thinkers and their ideas shared within the space. What a gift! Maybe on my next trip to Cambridge, MA.

What museums get your mind buzzing?

What places do you find yourself lingering and soaking everything up?

Continue Painting to Silence your Inner Doubt

At the beginning of July, I shared “Inspiring Quotes for Artists” with helpful words by famous artists, writers and designers. For the next few months I will be writing a creative reflection based on each of the eleven quotes.

I hope you find the reflections helpful – and please comment below with your own ideas, inspirations and revelations from the quotes.

Today, we begin with quote #1:

Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh

Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh


 

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced”

– Vincent Van Gogh


 

Reflection:

The hardest part of any endeavor is just getting started.

When I was facing artistic block (the visual artist’s version of writer’s block) when I was in art school, I received one of the best pieces of advice:
PAINT SOMETHING UGLY.

That was it. Paint an ugly painting!

Painting an ugly painting has many benefits:

  • It gets you started
  • It removes expectations that the artwork should be aesthetically pleasing
  • It allows you to have fun
  • It opens your mind to be free and wander as you create
  • You can explore techniques outside your comfort zone
  • And, it sets the bar so low so that when you do set out to make your next painting, you feel proud of the progress from that first messy experiment

It is easy to let self-doubt, insecurities, and fear get in the way of making the artwork you were born to create. An important part of the artist’s job is calming the inner-self, nurturing the creative spirit inside of you, and being uninhibited as you work.

What do you do to break free from artist’s block?

Have you ever tried making an ugly painting?

How do you nurture and protect your creative-self?

Best wishes to you as you make your art!

– Alexis Marie

 


 

A Visit to the Art Gallery of Alberta

I love visiting art galleries. It is one of my favorite things to do. Typically, I either leave inspired or disappointed, sometimes neutral. I use the word ‘inspired’ when I’ve seen some truly interesting work that revs me up to get into my own studio, regardless of whether the artwork I saw was paintings, sculpture, photography or instillation art, – or – ‘disappointed’ because I failed to connect with the curator’s vision or the work simply didn’t speak to me.

Claude Tousignant, "Gong" 1966, acrylic on canvas, The Double Bind: Conversations Between Modernism and Postmodernism

Claude Tousignant, “Gong” 1966, acrylic on canvas, The Double Bind: Conversations Between Modernism and Postmodernism

 

Art is so personal. It’s okay to love it – just like it’s okay to hate it. Different art forms/artists/concepts/etc. speak to different people, each in their own unique way.

My recent visit to the Art Gallery of Alberta was a mix. The Jack Bush exhibit was fascinating and I learned so much. I’m eager to find a biography of Bush’s life. If anyone has read a good one, please let me know! The Modern/Postmodern show was a bit confusing. The description to differentiate the successive artistic periods was excellent, but I was hoping the visuals exhibited would bring the words to life. Unfortunately, the gallery room was a bit sparse.

 

Jack Bush

May 30 – August 23, 2015

The Double Bind: Conversations Between Modernism and Postmodernism

May 2 – September 13, 2015

 

If you make it out to any of the Art Gallery of Alberta shows, let me know what you think!

Have you seen any interesting exhibits lately?

 

Here are some photos from the visit:

Jack Bush exhibit at the Art Gallery of Alberta

Jack Bush exhibit at the Art Gallery of Alberta

The Double Bind: Conversations Between Modernism and Postmodernism

The Double Bind: Conversations Between Modernism and Postmodernism

Sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, The Double Bind: Conversations Between Modernism and Post Modernism, Art Gallery of Alberta

Sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, The Double Bind: Conversations Between Modernism and Post Modernism, Art Gallery of Alberta

Brian Jungen, "Companion" 2013, steel, deer hide, Audi fenders, freezer

Brian Jungen, “Companion” 2013, steel, deer hide, Audi fenders, freezer

Inspiring Quotes for Artists

Here are eleven quotes by great minds on the topic of creativity. These words encourage me and I hope they do the same for you. Below you will find the list, but over the next few months I will take each one of these quotes and write a little reflection on life as an artist inspired by the quote. I’m looking forward to it already! For now, just soak up the words:

quotation-marks

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced” – Vincent Van Gogh

 

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it” – Salvador Dali

 

“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people” – Leo Burnett

 

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club” – Jack London

 

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will” – George Bernard Shaw

 

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try” – Dr. Seuss

 

“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity” – Charles Mingus

 

“Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas” – Donatella Versace

 

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things” – Ray Bradbury

 

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while” – Steve Jobs

 

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?” – George Bernard Shaw

 

 

Mentoring to take your creativity to the next level

I love people, business and creativity. When these three fuse together, I overflow with ideas, which I’m happy to share. I have been a professional writer and artist for almost fifteen years and one aspect of my job which I love is mentoring others to become more successful.

Mentorship Magic Alexis Marie Chute Artist Mentor art BLOG

I am currently mentoring a musician, a photographer, a writer, an artist… They are great minds and I am honoured to help them get where they want to go.

Here is a quote from one of my mentees:

“Being mentored. A wonderful experience of discovery and focus.

 

The best part about guidance from Alexis Marie Chute, professional artist, has been the inexhaustible amount of knowledge she can apply to your situation or seemingly unsolvable problem. Alexis Marie honestly and without judgement pointed out that in my case, spreading myself too thin with multiple projects and talents, would only result in a lack of finishing my projects and that I needed to find my focus or passion, and specialize.

 

After two weeks of intense thought on the homework she gave, I came up with precise lists of capabilities, skill levels and what I enjoyed the most. Alexis Marie used effective constructive criticism to then guide my focus as to how I would approach selling my products and gave suggestions for solving the problem in a positive and productive manner. As someone increasingly interested in the arts I would recommend her to anyone interested in putting in the time to seriously start their own artistic endeavours.

 

On that note, she is a kind and enthusiastic individual whose talent is beyond paint and portrait. Her life experience lends to her awareness of the sensitivity others may need and contributes to her knowledge that sometimes life doesn’t work out as planned so we all periodically need a little encouragement to seek out our hearts’ desires.”

 

  • Heather Groeller, Artisan

 

It is always rewarding for me to hear the positive feedback of clients – and these individuals are often an inspiration for me as well. Get in touch for more information about my mentoring services: info@alexismariechute.com. I charge $50/one-hour session. It is a worthwhile investment.

Here are other posts about my mentoring:

Get Focused, Be Productive & Tap into your Creativity through Mentorship

http://www.alexismarieart.com/index.php/get-focused-be-productive-tap-into-creativity-through-mentorship/

Mentoring for the Modern Writer

http://www.alexismariewrites.com/index.php/mentoring-for-the-modern-writer/

Coaching, Mentoring & Consulting by Alexis Marie Chute

http://www.alexismariewrites.com/index.php/services/coaching-mentoring-consulting/

Robert Pohl Photography: Special Guest Post

Alexis Marie: I have loved sharing the stories and inspirations of some truly interesting individuals during the InFocus Alumni photography blog series. Are you excited about InFocus 2016? We will soon release the call for submissions and we would love to see your work. For now, I’m pleased to introduce Robert Pohl, a modern photographer engaging traditional processes.

Welcome Robert!

 

GUEST POST

 

"Piano" copyright Robert Pohl

“Piano” copyright Robert Pohl

My name is Rob Pohl.  I was born in Edmonton over half a century ago and have lived here my entire life.  I’ve been photographing the area specifically, but the world in general for about 35 years.  I started out shooting film, and have stayed with it.  I spend my working days in an office staring at a computer monitor.  When I want to escape from that world and immerse myself in my photography, the last thing I want to do is spend yet more hours staring at a stupid monitor. While the masses have embraced digital photography and image manipulation software, I continue to work with film and traditional wet photography.   I enjoy the relaxation and escape of the darkroom, the mixing of the chemistry, the experimentation, and the process of creating something with my hands.  I shoot black and white film and process and print everything myself.  In this age of digital photography that makes me a dinosaur.  But I also think that it sets me apart from the masses that blast away with digital cameras.  My approach is much more methodical and measured and I try to make every shot count.

"Schoolhouse" copyright Robert Pohl

“Schoolhouse” copyright Robert Pohl

Most of my work is shot with a large format 4″ x 5″ view camera.  A dabble a little with medium format roll film, and with the even larger 8″ x 10″ format.  I shoot mostly landscapes, landscape details, and historical images.  It disturbs me somewhat that our province is falling victim to massive population growth and extensive development.  Mankind seems too wrapped up in economic growth and development and seems to place little value on the natural world, and a responsibility to our planet.  We all need to step back and take a deep breath and garner a little appreciation for the world around us, and what our lifestyle is doing to it.  Hopefully my imagery helps to illustrate an appreciation for where we have come from, where we are going, and what the consequences are.

"Rock Pool" copyright Robert Pohl

“Rock Pool” copyright Robert Pohl

In early 2015 I became involved in the InFocus Photography Exhibition that has expanded from Calgary and Banff, to the provincial level.  The YEG show in Edmonton that I was involved in was curated by Alexis Marie Chute.  I felt privileged to be included in that show, and hope to take part in future exhibitions.  I’ve included a selection of images that are typical of my work.  I regularly post work to my Flickr account, and to my blog…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/130527519@N08/

www.robertspohl.blogspot.com

 

Wilfred Kozub Photography: Special Guest Post

Alexis Marie: Are you enjoying the InFocus Alumni photography blog series? Today I would like to introduce you to Wilfred Kozub, photographer and artist of many mediums.

Welcome Wilfred!

 

GUEST POST

 

Wilfred Kozub, Multi media Artist

 

These are exciting times as I seem to have a lot of art projects on the go. I have gradually branched out from being a painter and pop/electronic musician to becoming a multi media artist.

 

"Treads" copyright Wilfred Kozub

“Treads” copyright Wilfred Kozub

I feel that colour and motion are the most conspicuous features in my paintings. These are elements that I typically bring to my photographic images, and to my music, too. I am now applying the same sensibility to my recent ventures in making little lyric videos to post on YouTube for my tunes. An extended music-based film titled “The Weather” will come out in the fall of 2015.

 

"Go North" copyright Wilfred Kozub

“Go North” copyright Wilfred Kozub

My paintings are frequently populated by swallows, magpies . . . and electrical activity. The goal has always been to engage the viewer with interesting ideas in an accessible format – keep it simple and make it striking!  My painting, No One Gets Zapped is a good example of the electrical motion and vibrant colour that I’m talking about, and you can hear its audio equivalent in my song, Wilfred In The City.  

 

"Delirious World" copyright Wilfred Kozub

“Delirious World” copyright Wilfred Kozub

Although photography isn’t at all new to me, I have recently brought my camera into action more and more with my photographic images now sharing nearly equal billing with my paintings on art cards and prints that I regularly show at the Royal Bison Art & Craft fair. My paintings have also been displayed in group and solo art shows with The Works, at the Artery, and other Edmonton gallery venues. It was a proud moment for me to ‘come out’ officially as an artistic photographer at the inaugural InFocus show for the Exposure Photography Festival in Edmonton (February, 2015). What a fine show it was, and such an excellent opportunity to have some of my new photographs displayed alongside the works of terrific Edmonton photographic artists.

 

My artwork and photography frequently can be seen in the graphic design for albums by my band, Wilfred N & the Grown Men. I have come to recognize the decorative quality of many of my paintings which use repetitive images (see I See By The Colour of Your Eyes That You Are One of Us). A new painting titled Delirious World has become the centerpiece for new cards and prints – and for my freshly designed, Delirious World printed silk scarves. That image is going to be expanded and transformed to be re-purposed as the cover art for my upcoming tenth Wilfred N & the Grown Men album titled Passing Through Time. A debut solo Wilfred Kozub album, “What’s Gonna Become of Us” is also in the works, and my photograph Ancient Flowers, Rome will be the cover image for that one. Lots going on! . . .  I had better get to work!

Listen to “Wilfred in the City”

Wilfred Kozub

 

Contact Info:

 

Email:  wilfredkozub@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wilfred.kozub

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wngm

 

 

Links:

The Wilfred Kozub Art & Ponder Tumblr Page:

http://wilfredkozub.tumblr.com/

 

Wilfred Kozub on Soundcloud

https://soundcloud.com/wilfred-kozub

 

Wilfred N & the Grown Men on Bandcamp

                  https://wilfrednthegrownmen.bandcamp.com/

 

Wilfred N & the Grown Men on AmazingTunes

http://amazingtunes.com/wilfrednandthegrownmen

 

 

 

Videos:

Nobody Has To Know            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yab2dUwo6J0

Wilfred In the City            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WGA9YpxXPo

Thunder on the Tundra    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVmQUZgcR_U

 

 

Gerry Dotto Photography: Special Guest Post

Alexis Marie: Continuing on in the InFocus Alumni photography blog series, I am pleased to introduce Gerry Dotto. Taking the everyday and making it interesting is quite a feat. I hope you enjoy Gerry’s images and the way he expounds on them.

Welcome Gerry!

 

GUEST POST

 

On a recent trip to Boston, I visited the Museum of Fine Arts to see an exhibition of works by two historically prominent photographers: Herb Ritts and Gordon Parks. It was a great show, and the impact of seeing iconic photos up close and in person really left an impression. This experience truly underscores the importance of getting one’s photographs printed and, if the occasion arises, put on display. It’s one thing to look at a digital image on the screen, but it’s no comparison to a well-printed photograph that allows you to truly appreciate the tone, the light and the detail.

 

copyright Gerry Dotto

“Stickers or Stamps, Crutches or Stilts” 2014, Digital print on photo paper 22” x 17” (55.9 x 43.2 cm) image size Edition of 30, copyright Gerry Dotto

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the InFocus Edmonton exhibition, where I showed a photo from a series I’ve been developing called “Flow of Traffic Theory.” My work is conceptual in nature and is based on exploring our interaction with everyday forms of visual communication. This series originated from my fascination with the simplicity and universality of the imagery used on road signs. Specifically, signs whose words and symbols have become obscured or distorted in some way.

 

Peach Inspediment - Composite 1, 2014, Digital print on photo paper, 22” x 16” (55.9 x 40.6 cm) image size, Edition of 30, Copyright Gerry Dotto

Peach Inspediment – Composite 1, 2014,
Digital print on photo paper, 22” x 16” (55.9 x 40.6 cm) image size, Edition of 30, Copyright Gerry Dotto

Over the course of the last several years, I’ve kept a keen eye out for road signs that have been damaged, run over, victims of adverse weather or compromised by construction. The interesting thing is that these signs are generally overlooked by drivers—no need to look at a sign that can’t be read. The signs, in effect, become “invisible.” The value of these signs, relative to the message they once carried, has been lost. They now take on an aesthetic value of their own, either in their appearance, the reinterpretation of their message or based on the context of their physical location. The images in this series set out to reveal the relative beauty of these objects that have lost their inherent value.

 

"Red Cross" 2012, Digital print on photo paper, 22” x 15.5” (55.9 x 39.4 cm) image size, edition of 30, Copyright Gerry Dotto

“Red Cross” 2012, Digital print on photo paper, 22” x 15.5” (55.9 x 39.4 cm) image size, edition of 30, Copyright Gerry Dotto

During the run of the InFocus Edmonton exhibition, I met a few photographers whose work I was familiar with but hadn’t had the occasion to meet yet. Seeing my work in relation to theirs, as well as other photos in the show, fostered some new perspectives on how I approached my own picture making. I realized that many of my photos of road signs were taking on human characteristics, in the sense that I was portraying them like they were portraits of people—people wearing masks. What are they hiding? Is it about insecurity? A secret identity? Is it a game? In the end, these photos offer more questions than answers.

 

Ultimately, photography is a medium about “showing” what’s in our world and, in theory, it captures “truth.” The photographic print remains the best medium for revealing the photographer’s vision. Personally, I benefitted from this exhibition experience when deeper aspects of my own work were revealed to me. While I set out to show the world my vision, I’m hiding from it, too. You can see more of my work on my website, gerrydotto.com, or contact me at gerry@gerrydotto.com

 

 

Why Analogue Photography: Guest Post by Candace Makowichuk

Alexis Marie: The third in our line-up for the InFocus Alumni photography blog series is Candace Makowichuk. Candace uses alternative process in her photography and the way she talks about it is inspiring. I hope you enjoy her work!

Welcome Candace!

 

GUEST POST

 

Why Analogue Photography

by Candace Makowichuk

 

Why? This is a word I continually hear from photographers and others when they find out that I shoot film and specialize in historical photographic processes. Why go through all that work when you can do similar techniques digitally? For me there are many reasons why I have chosen to continue working with the photographic processes I love.

 

I have always been interested in the “alternative” photographic processes since the beginning of my art studies. Today I work with Gum Bichromate, Cyanotype, Van Dykes, Bromoil and Silver Gelatin. I will be pursuing Tin Types and Lith prints over the next several months. The processes I have mentioned are just a few of the many invented in the 19th and 20th Century and it would be amazing to have the time to learn more!

 

Copyright Candace Makowichuck

“Modern Touch” copyright Candace Makowichuk

These historical photographic processes render one-of-a-kind images, impossible to predictably reproduce by hand. It is this unpredictability, which fascinates me. You have only so much control over the final print; the rest is due to chemistry, the hand coating, and your support/backing (paper, fabric, ect). The many steps involved all react to your individual style of work – and sometimes mistakes or accidents produce wonderful results!

 

The time required to learn one of these many processes is challenging. It requires patience and determination as it can take considerable trial and error to become proficient. This challenge is also appealing to me as the satisfaction of producing your first successful print using a new process is very rewarding.

 

Copyright Candace Makowichuck

“Twisted” copyright Candace Makowichuk

I do shoot digital. I have to as large sheet film – 16×20 and larger – is no longer available. Many of the historical processes use a contact printing technique and the most economical way to make a large negative is to output digitally. This also interests me – combining modern technology with historical.

 

The hand coated emulsions and Bromoil techniques are unique in their appearance as the hand of the artist is very evident in every part of the image, from the brush strokes to the applying of ink. This is the main appeal as to why I pursue these processes, the evidence of a human touch. I become a part of it, it is physical. From the movements of processing film, to the movements of coating your supports, to the movement of processing your print, you are immersed in the physical component of producing an image. Also being in the dark with the sound of water where time disappears. All very different from sitting in front of your computer to produce a photograph.

 

"Way Up" copyright Candace Makowichuk

“Way Up” copyright Candace Makowichuk

The InFocus exhibition in Edmonton Alberta showcased a variety of photographers work and I was pleased to have been a part of it. There were two of us in this exhibition that use analogue based photography for our work allowing the public to have the opportunity to view processes that are rarely used today. Both of us analogue photographers in the InFocus exhibition are members of the Monochrome Guild, a group of photographers dedicated to working with film-based processes.

 

Contact Candace:

Twitter: Sunprintstudio

Web Site: www.candacemakowichuk.com