Showing at Fresh Flours!

My work is currently up at Fresh Flours on Phinney Ridge (Seattle, WA). Showing with me again is Studio Cornix with new works in her Cell Portrait series. Here’s a phone pic peak:

Left and Center Walls: Some of my abstract work
Right Wall: Photos from my travels grouped by destination.

Clockwise starting from upper-left: Studio Cornix posing with her cell portraits, photos from Paris, abstract photography, and photos from the Central California Coast. You’ll have to check them out to see them in color!

Souvenirs of Siqueiros

I just got back from a nine day trip to Mexico City. It was my first time there and I was excited to visit the museums, palaces, churches, and see art by notable Mexican Artists like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Below are tiny segments I’ve played with in terms of color and gradation from murals by David Siqueiros. They were painted at Chapultepec Castle. I was most captivated by his brush strokes and the loose gestural movement of the lines and shading. As I was editing them, I was thinking of the the story behind the country and the people’s fight for independence.

The entire Castle was amazing to walk through. The artifacts left behind illustrated a lifestyle from another time. Traveling to countries (especially ones that were founded and developed hundreds of years before the United States) is like time traveling. It’s fun and exciting to think of life hundreds of years before yours and what it must have been like. Where would you stand? What would you do? How would you express yourself? I look forward to going through the many frames I took and sharing more thoughts and perspectives from when I was there. It’s definitely a city I want to go back to and visit.

Hiring a Creative Monster

At the end of last year, when I decided to embark on the journey of doing photography as a full-time hobby with the hopes of making some money, I knew I’d need to find a way to promote my work and myself. And I’ll be the first to say that I’ve been dipping my toe into the ocean of uncertainty and pulling it out just as quickly when I got scared to make my next move, of any kind. But soon enough, I got that opportunity to hang my work at Wheelhouse Coffee and the rolling ball could not be stopped. Of all the things to be nervous about, I was nervous about having a business card I could have available for people to take. After all, the idea of showing work is about sharing your work with the general public in addition to getting your name out there and circulating. That’s the hope, anyway.

After trying to design my own brand, I quickly realized I needed professional help. First of all, I was going crazy with the blahness I was coming up with, and I was being stubborn about doing it myself. Second, I knew I wasn’t going to be entirely happy with what I’d come up with. I simply don’t immediately have the skills to pull this off. I also read somewhere that it’s okay to reach out, ask for help, and expect to pay some money for it.

I called on my good friend Michael Harring to help explore my identity and design a business card for me. It’s tough when the main thing you have to do is think about yourself. To help with a starting place, he walked me through some mood boards. He presented three boards and it was like looking at myself. Each one carried awesome elements I identified with and just loved. I could not have been more excited about the direction he was going with this. And without further ado, this is my very cool business card.

Mike suggested using different photographs of mine to print on the back – little samples and take-aways. I chose six of my favorites and he cropped and oriented them to fit and flatter. I could not be more happy with this result. It speaks to my personality and my aesthetic so well.

The entire process was like a dream. Maybe it’s because we’ve known each other for so long and I have complete trust in his sensibilities, work ethic, and his sincerity to make sure I was happy with the final product, but I would not hesitate to call on him for future work. And even though we’re friends, I offered to pay for his work, because he is a working artist, and working artists should be paid.

And with that, I will shamelessly plug his portfolio: www.michaelharring.com. He is indeed a Creative Monster.

What do you do with them?

Recently, I watched a few live classes on composite and portrait photography. I went into the composite photography with the intention to learn about layering, and digital methods used. The portrait class I watched because it was about working quickly in a challenging setting (which can happen to anyone in any photography situation). There were plenty of tips, theories, tricks, and suggestions to take away from them, but it surprised me how much I paid attention to modeling. How are people twisting and turning their bodies to make it appear more upright, more balanced, or more elongated. Particularly, what were people doing with their hands? I think if you ever sat for a portrait, you know you have to contort your face, neck, and back somehow. But what do you do with your hands? What message do you want to convey to the person who will see the photograph? Strength, tenderness, wisdom, faith, hope, fashion?

I recently visited the Seattle Asian Art Museum and started noticing how hands were positioned for sculptures. Some didn’t have hands, some were placed on laps, holding something, in a prayer position, or expressing action. It was a quick study, but it’s another element to look at when taking photos of people (the next time that happens).

Waterfall at Dusk

Again, I’m really enjoying playing with lights and shapes. With this, I am very much enamored with the striking light, triangles, movement, and coarse texture. I would love to print this larger, maybe poster-sized, but on something like watercolor paper or rice paper. I attempted feeding hand-cut watercolor paper through my inkjet printer at home, but the paper is too fine and porous, so the printer ate the sheets. That said, I had to at least try.

Waterfall-at-Dusk
Waterfall at Dusk | April 2016

How’d it go?

It’s been fun daring to be me by putting my photography out there. After selling work at an arts and crafts bazaar last November, I wanted to pursue a dream I’ve had for a while, which was to show my work at a coffee shop. It doesn’t sound like a big dream, but it has been for me and it’s always seemed like one that was distant. But this past month I had the opportunity to hang my work at a local coffee shop. I shared the showing with my friend who paints and who has done this before, so she gave me a lot of good advice on approaching the project from beginning to end. Here are some things I feel made this first time showing a great experience:

Hi, I’m Marivic
I introduced myself and asked who the best person was to contact about possibly hanging my work. In this case, I asked one of the employees and was given the name and email address of the manager. In my email to her, I briefly introduced myself, that me and a friend had interest in showing my work, and provided the website addresses to browse our work.

We’d Love to Show your work!
After getting the offer to show our work, my friend clued me in on good questions to ask:
– When can I show my work? We were offered an entire month to show our work and were asked to choose a month to do it.
– When can I come in to hang my work? Establish a date to go in and hang your work and take it down. Consider loading and unloading, paying for parking, the size of your work (are there restrictions on size/weight?).
– Do you provide hardware to hang my work, or should I be expected to provide the tools needed to get the job done? The coffee shop provided enough hanging wire and hooks for our pieces. Before hanging, our contact emailed and asked how many pieces we were expecting to hang so that she could have enough hanging wire and hooks to provide us on the day of hanging.
– Do you take profit from work that is sold? Check to see if the place takes any percentage for work you sell. I know a friend who showed work at a boutique and it asked for 15% of any sales he made. That was not our case with the coffee shop.
– Can I transform the space? We did not do this, but if you think the place would be open to this, ask away and see what they say.

I’m going to show! Now what?
As soon as we established a time to show our work, my friend advised to get my work ready to show as soon as possible, if it wasn’t already. Even if the show is months away having work ready to display is a good idea. The reason behind this advice is that on rare occasions some artists are not ready to hang in time and drop out of their slot. When this happens, the space they are hanging in could ask you to hang in their place. In the case of coffee shops, I know from experience how sad it is to look at bare walls for an entire month (customers will point it out). My thought is that if you are not ready to show it’s fine to decline the offer. But if you can fill that spot, you’re helping a place out of a bind and they would surely be grateful for your help. Plus, assuming you’re keeping your planned spot, you get to show twice 🙂

Hanging Work
This being my first time, after figuring out what would be provided, having my work ready and ready to hang, I spent time at the shop planning how best to hang my pieces. How should I group them? How many hooks would I need? Where could I post my bio and business cards?

On the day of, I had some idea of how it would work. My husband pretty much did all the hanging 🙂 A very tall ladder was provided and he climbed it, hooked the frames onto the hanging wire, and placed the gummy stuff that helped stick them to the wall and kept them leveled. I brought a tool kit, nails, drafting tape, and 3M velcro stickies just in case. Studio Cornix brought double-sided tape and wire cutters which she used for the wire she used to attach her frames to the hanging wire.

I’d Like to Buy This Piece.
If you are selling your work, don’t make it hard for people to contact you! I provided a brief bio with business cards that I made sure stayed stocked. I also titled and priced each photo and posted my contact information. My friend included her contact info on every title card for each piece.

Enjoy Your Art and Your Hard Work!
This being my first time showing, and Studio Cornix’s reemergence to showing, we wanted to hold an informal gathering at the coffee shop to celebrate. We asked the shop if we could do this and they were more than accommodating. It was a night of snacks we provided and hanging out. It went so well that there are no pictures from that night because we were too busy enjoying each other’s company and talking about our art. (Note: Clean up after yourselves).

I’m thinking of showing my work? Wanna co-show? Sure!
This might not work for everyone, but I found it really helpful to share this opportunity with another artist. I had some ideas on how to approach this endeavor, and when I mentioned it to my friend, she asked if I’d be interested in co-showing. I could have said no and made the experience all about me, but I knew that was not the attitude to take. I went to an artist’s presentation of work last year and he featured other artists with him. His point being that sharing the opportunity to show your work with others is giving other people a chance to shine. Elevating others elevates yourself. So not only did I get to benefit from her wisdom in how to manage the process (everything I stated above), I was also excited to also promote her work. Thanks Studio Cornix for all of your help!

So there you have it. I had a plan, I shared that plan, I worked hard to be prepared, and we celebrated our work and accomplishment. We took our work down yesterday readying the space for the next month’s artist and are set to show our work for two months this summer in a different location.

Wheelhouse-Showing-3
I went with two small sets. The cluster of four on the left is the The Slice of Sun photos. On the right, I wanted to highlight my abstract/playing with light work. Beneath that are the descriptions.
Wheelhouse-Showing-2
Studio Cornix went with clip frames for her Cell Portraits and posted titles with prices and contact info next to them. I liked the pins she used to attach them to the wall.
Wheelhouse-Showing
I was walking by and saw people sitting next to my work. It was a cool moment for me. I’ve sat next to other artists’ work many times, and this time it was the other way around.
Wheelhouse-Showing-4
My parents and I. They were very excited to see my work, and I was really excited to show it to them.

3 of 4: “Be water, my friend.”

I’m getting ready to hang some of my work at a local coffee shop for the month of February. Everything was going swimmingly. I had business cards designed, I’m working on my Artist’s Bio, and picked out two sets of photos I think would work well in the space.

The first set of photos are a group of three that I had printed last month. I bought the frames online and they were delivered while I was away. When I got back I worked on framing them, and they look great.

The second set of photos is a set of four. I dragged my feet a bit getting them printed, and dragged a little more deciding how I wanted to go about framing them. Initially, I thought of having them framed in town, but after a consultation they estimated an amount that was out of my budget. So, I went the online delivery route and the four came in two separate shipments.

The first two came a few days ago. I immediately opened them to get the process started. For what they cost, they are what I expected: simple and black. I cleaned the dust off and slipped the photos in there. They looked great. The second shipment arrived today and I was excited to have homes for the final two images. And more, I was excited to have them ready for the show. But as I took the first one out, I heard a little noise, like it was the sound of a wind chimes. As I tilted it to one side, I realized what the sound was, and winced. It was the sound of broken glass. I thought “Don’t worry. We’ll ask to send a replacement,” thinking I’d get one by end of next week. Just my luck, the company who makes them let us know that they were out of stock and a replacement wouldn’t arrive for another month. Le *sigh*.

My husband, sensing my stress, called from work and proposed a couple of options:

  • Eat the cost of the frame and pay for replacement glass.
  • Return the frame for a refund and show only three pieces.

A couple of other options I thought of later are:

  • Buy a whole new set of four frames in town to ensure glass isn’t broken (not gonna happen).
  • Wait for the replacement frame and ask to add it to the show mid-month.

I’m so close. I started off pretty irritated, but it is what it is. I’m channeling Bruce Lee and how he said “Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend“. Sometimes plans hit snags and you just have to deal. It’s not worth it to fight what I don’t have control over (the production of the same frame in the time that I need it). Instead, I need to just work through it, find a fix, be resourceful, and have faith. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s not like this isn’t fixable. This won’t define my work. Nor does it define me as a person. I’ll go ahead and be water.

Time well spent

I didn’t get much time to walk around on my own with my camera over the holidays. I did double duty between my camera and iPhone.

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I really enjoyed being around succulents, and I’m always attracted to the shape of these bike racks. The vibrant blue color seduced me even more.
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My brother-in-law has this plastic antelope head mounted on his wall as a tribute to the Antelope Valley. We gave it a touch of Christmas spirit with the red yarn nose.
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Bus stop chairs have arm/cup rests. How California!
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A gentleman rests his elbows on the concrete rail to look out on a stormy Santa Monica sky.
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I had fun making these corn husks look artsy.
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This urban park was home to this fig tree. I enjoyed the layered textures.
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You can’t not have a tall palm tree in a photo from Southern California.
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Happy little girls.

 

Developing identity

As I work toward creating a name for myself in artistic photography, I’ve been thinking about photographers that have inspired me, “wowed” me to be better, or whose work resonated with my own. One of them is Gordon Lewis, who takes beauties like this photo. Another is Cubie King, who captures magical moments like this.

As I prepare and package photos to sell at an upcoming Martial Arts & Crafts Bazaar, I stumbled upon this image that I took on the side of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art building (if I remember correctly).

SFMOMA-WALK
Approaching. San Francisco 2012.

When I rediscovered this photo I almost asked myself “Is this mine?” because it has so many elements that remind me of photographers I admire. As much as I want to stand out, I found that comparing my photography to others in this way is uplifting and reassuring somehow.

In the creative world, generally speaking, I think we all want to be unique. It can be easy to compare yourself to others and see it as a threat to your creativity. The “They’re better than I am” syndrome can leave one paralyzed as they’re finding their way through the art world. And I’m bit by this bug every once in a while. But through time and exposure to other artists – talking with them, meeting them, learning about their process – I’ve come to take advantage of these moments and use them for inspiration and learning, as opposed to ranking myself to them.

So, as I continue on this journey of self discovery and identity through art, I want to keep in mind that being like others is okay. We’ll never be exactly the same, anyway. All I can do is be inspired and see myself as an artist with my own unique voice. My continuing goal will be to have more moments like this when I ask myself “Is this mine?”.