October 17, 2018

The Palette is available to all interested with an e-Subscription


In this issue:

Boone native creates organization to bring art therapy to pediatric patients
French scholar names model for artist Courbet's famous nude
African-American artist Queen Brooks renowned for use of vibrant colors, textures
National Museum in Rio starts rebuilding efforts with temporary exhibitions
Adding colors to the Saudi cultural landscape
Agony uncles: Dear Elmgreen & Dragset
Hudson County Art Supply Paints Its Last Stand
Connecting Cultures Through Art
6 Simple Things Artists Can Do to Feel Happier in Their Studios
Tate’s watercolour is upgraded to a Gauguin
$1.3M Banksy Artwork “Self-Destructs” at Auction
Art store, coffee shop opens in Central West End

 

 

 

 

Boone native creates organization to bring art therapy to pediatric patients

Now living in Takoma Park, Md., a Boone native has touched the lives of thousands of children by serving in her role as an art therapist and spearheading an organization in the same fashion.

Tracy Councill earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and printmaking and worked several odd jobs in the area before serving for four or five years as the Watauga County arts coordinator. Councill said she worked through the recreation department to start the Watauga County Arts Council.

At 28 years old Councill left Boone in 1986 to study art therapy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She stated that she decided to go into art therapy as it would be close to the reasons she liked to create art — finding meaning and processing experiences in the world through visual arts.

During her time as a student, Councill completed internships with chronically mentally ill patients at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and with pediatric cancer patients at Georgetown University Hospital. It was through these experiences she realized how the power of art therapy and working creatively positively influenced the children with whom she worked.

“What happens with kids when they receive a serious diagnosis or serious illness, they are kind of yanked out of their normal life,” Councill said. “Many of them have to miss a lot of school; they can’t play sports. They can’t do a lot of things that are part of a normal childhood.”

When children become patients, Councill said they often lose the ability to make many choices themselves, as people are telling them what they ought to do in time of sickness. She said this happens to these children during a time of life when children should be in the process of taking more responsibility and making choices for themselves.

To aid in these situations, Councill said the process of creating art is inherently empowering.

“One thing that happens when you make art, is that you — as the artist — are basically the boss of your art,” Councill said. “You get to decide what you’re going to do and what you’re going to make it out of. After you make it you get to decide if you like it or not, if it’s any good or what you meant.”

At the conclusion of her internship, Georgetown University Hospital hired Councill on as a grant-funded art therapist. The position was funded for many years through the grant, until one day a financial donor wanted to promote the kind of work Councill was doing.

Councill said the donor visited her at the hospital and wanted to know what sort of work she was doing with children. The two talked as Councill explained the work she was doing as an art therapist.

“At one point in the conversation he just sort of stopped and said, ‘I really wish I had this when I was being treated for cancer,’” Councill said.

The donor was Matt Gerson, who Councill said was 10 when he was diagnosed with cancer. Gerson worked alongside Councill to establish a nonprofit in 1991 that allows young patients and their families to use a wide variety of art supplies to express feelings and reflect on their treatment experiences — the organization was given the title of Tracy’s Kids.

Gerson serves as the founder and president of Tracy’s Kids while Councill is in the role of the organization’s program director.

Tracy’s Kids supports the work Councill does at Georgetown and a total of seven programs in five states — four in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area, one in New York City, one in Baltimore and one in San Antonio, Texas. All of Tracy’s Kids services are offered at no cost to patients or families.

Tracy’s Kids included a parent testimony in its 2017 annual report. The parent stated that he or she was at the Children’s National Medical Center for a long stay for his or her son.

“I remember seeing the art room for the first time and I was brought to tears,” the parent stated. “For a second, I could picture our life here within these walls. I could imagine fun days filled with arts and crafts and painting. It was the guiding light and force for me to keep fighting for my baby when all I wanted to do was cry. I wanted (my son) to be one of those kids playing in that art room — a ‘normal’ kid having a childhood.”

According to the organization’s website, art therapists conducted more than 10,000 hours of sessions with patients and their families in 2016 alone through Tracy’s Kids. The 2017 annual report for Tracy’s Kids stated that the location at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center provided 1,834 hours of art therapy sessions, 2,080 patient contacts and 185 hours of consultation with treatment teams.

Councill said many patients the organization sees try to stay in touch and say that the work the organization did with them was really helpful to their recovery. She stated that one of the organization’s art therapists working in Baltimore was a patient with Tracy’s Kids as a middle schooler.

“I feel like I have a real legacy because people have experienced the power of art therapy and working creatively — they’ve come to trust that in their lives,” Councill said. “Even if they don’t become an art therapist, they still say, ‘That really made a difference. I still have my art that I did when I was with you.’”

Councill was awarded the American Art Therapy Association Clinician Award in 2003 and served as a member of the Board of Directors of the AATA from 2008 to 2010. Councill said she continues to create and show her own art, teach graduate art therapy graduate courses at George Washington University, Florida State University and Eastern Virginia Medical School and sings in her church choir.

Councill has two brothers who live in Boone as well as a vacation cabin in the area she likes to visit. At her home in Maryland, she also has developed a native wildflower garden in her yard with other plants that are native to Boone to “try to bring a little bit of Boone up here.”

Living in an area where people often come and go, Councill said she’s sought to be connected to the area.

“One thing I learned in Boone growing up is a real strong sense of place and belonging,” Councill said.

To learn more about Tracy’s Kids, visit www.tracyskids.org. Watauga Democrat

 

French scholar names model for artist Courbet's famous nude

PARIS: She was a courtesan who relied on financial support from rich men —but preferred the company of women— and died with a reputation as an honorable patroness of orphans.

These are some of the biographical details unearthed by a French scholar who says he has identified the model for a famous 19th century nude painting by artist Gustave Courbet.

Constance Queniaux was 34-year-old in 1866 when the French master painted "L'Origine du monde" (The Origin of the World), French literature expert Claude Schopp said this week. The painting depicts a naked woman lying on her back with her legs spread and her face hidden by a rumpled sheet. The focus of the piece is her genitals.

Schopp said his discovery came by chance when he found Queniaux mentioned in a letter by French writer Alexandre Dumas fils, the son of "The Three Musketeers" author.

The letter said the woman having "the interior" put to canvas by Courbet was Mademoiselle Queniaux "from the opera." The letter also suggested she was the mistress of an Ottoman diplomat, Halil Serif Pasha, known as Khalil Bey.

Schopp had never heard of her, but immediately made the link with "L'Origine du monde."

Like a detective, he followed the trail from the last name and profession clues. He concluded she was Constance Queniaux and confirmed the conclusion with the help of France's national library experts. Original photographs of her were held at the library.

"She had left very few traces, but enough to follow her," the scholar said.

Queniaux's name was known to few people at the time — and that's how the identity of the woman in the painting was hidden for 150 years. The painting, too, remained secret as successive owners were afraid to display it.

Her birth certificate showed she was born in northern France to a single mother who was a textile worker and an unknown father.

At the age of 14, she joined the opera of Paris as an aspiring dancer. The wages were low and ballet dancers needed "protectors" to pay for costumes and classes, Schopp said.

"She's going to live from men, but she mostly lives with women," he said.

Queniaux lived for a while within a group of female dancers and comedians, but proved to be "second rank" as a dancer, according to Schopp. She left ballet at age 28 and became the occasional mistress of Khalil Bey.

A very wealthy art collector, he was also a womanizer.

He commissioned two paintings by Courbet, including "L'Origine du monde," which he kept behind a green curtain for his private viewing pleasure.

"She couldn't refuse anything to Khalil Bey... and I think that's when she's starting her path as a woman growing rich," Schopp said.

To pay gambling debts, Khalil Bey sold his art collection in 1868. The model for his painting eventually became an aristocratic-like figure.

At the end of her life, Queniaux's courtesan past was almost erased. She had a rich social life, owned a seaside villa in a Normandy and dedicated her days to helping orphans, poor artists' children and disabled people.

Queniaux never married and had no children.

"Her testament obviously shows a great affection for her housemaid, so it seems she felt a special tenderness for her but I wouldn't go further," Schopp said.

She passed away in 1908. The sale of her assets showed she owned a beautiful painting from Courbet: a bouquet of flowers.

"L'Origine du monde" was donated to the Orsay Museum in Paris in 1995. Atlanta Journal Constitution

 

African-American artist Queen Brooks renowned for use of vibrant colors, textures

As a young adult walking down Washington Avenue in East Columbus, Queen Brooks would stare into the window of an art gallery owned by photographer Kojo Kamau.

“I kept looking in the window and about the third time, Kojo invited me in,” Brooks said. “I told him I didn’t have any money, and he said I didn’t need any money to come into a gallery.”

Soon afterward, Kamau offered her a job helping to develop and print photos and working as a receptionist. That was the beginning of her association with fine art and the artist who would become her mentor.

Today, Brooks, who recently celebrated her 75th birthday, is one of central Ohio’s most active artists and — along with the late Kamau, who died in 2016 — one of Ohio’s best-known African-American artists. Her new one-woman show of abstract paintings and wood assemblages, “360 Degrees: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow,” will open Oct. 18 at the McConnell Arts Center in Worthington.

“Queen is a leading arts elder in our community,” said Nannette V. Maciejunes, executive director of the Columbus Museum of Art, which recently acquired two works by Brooks.

Brooks lives in an East Columbus neighborhood in a tiny blue house stuffed with artwork and art supplies. On one wall are dozens of crosses she has collected and on her coffee table, an open Bible, indicating the importance of her faith.

Her art’s purpose, Brooks said, is to give joy. “I don’t use muted colors; my palette is joyful,” she said.

The paintings and assemblages that cover the walls in her house seem to vibrate with their primary-colored acrylic paints: sunburst-shaped wooden sculptures with titles like “Sky” and “Sun,” painted plates that have the look of mosaics, and lively three-dimensional sculptures filled with dots and lines.

“I’m not a realist,” Brooks said. “I’m an abstract artist, but I try to tell stories and I think that’s hard to do as an abstract artist. I used to use symbols, but I stopped using them so much. Now I use more lines, curves, bright colors and decorative items.”

Larry Williamson, Jr., director of Ohio State University’s Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, said that Brooks continues the legacies of important Ohio African-American artists such as Aminah Robinson, Roman Johnson, Pheoris West, Barbara Chavous, Ed Colston and Smoky Brown.

“My favorite of her works are strong, vibrant, action-oriented and expressive art with the brilliance and magnificence of color,” Williamson said, adding that Brooks’ artistic contribution “reveals the magnificence of one’s ability to visualize externally what she feels internally — visual excellence for all humanity to enjoy.”

Tim Keny, co-owner of Keny Galleries that often includes Brooks’ works in exhibitions, also praised Brooks’ “vibrant colors and sophisticated sense of pattern.”

The artist has been busy lately. In addition to the McConnell exhibit, she will have works included in “How Beautiful Am I: New Interpretations of the Harlem Renaissance,” opening Oct. 11 in the Columbus Metropolitan Main Library’s Carnegie Gallery. Brooks also is the curator of two exhibits at the church where she is a deacon, Broad Street Presbyterian: “Matters of the Heart,” continuing through Nov. 1, and “From Our Hearts,” works by school children opening Nov. 29.

And in March, Brooks completed a colorful painted mural, a permanent public art piece on the accessibility ramp of Ohio Wesleyan University’s Ross Art Museum in Delaware. Among her other public art pieces is the steel portal entrance to the Kwanzaa Playground at 1277 Bryden Road.

Although Brooks began her career as a photographer, she moved on to wood-burning art, paintings and mixed media assemblages. Her works are included in the collections of the King Arts Complex; Ohio Dominican, Otterbein and Capital universities; and the Columbus Museum of Art, among others.

Maciejunes said that the two large paintings recently purchased by the Columbus Museum — “Night Life” and “This Way and That” — show how Brooks explores the impact of African art, stylistically and spiritually, on African-American artists.

“She engages in this intersection in a distinctive way,” Maciejunes said. “She is a trained artist and yet (has) an interesting recognition and respect for folk art. Her legacy is clearly out of that of (woodcarver) Elijah Pierce and Aminah Robinson.”

Queen Esther Brooks was born in Columbus to Hattie Owens and Pomp Brooks. Her name, she said, was not given to her by her mother but by a hospital nurse.

“I’m not sure why,” she said. “It doesn’t really suit me, but I’m used to it now.”

An only child, she grew up in a neighborhood at Mount Vernon Avenue and North 18th Street, where she said she drew all the time as a youngster but never thought about becoming an artist.

In 1961, she graduated from East High School, the same school attended by Kamau, Robinson and Chavous, another of Brooks’ mentors who influenced her work and who remained a close friend until her death in 2008. After high school, Brooks worked at factory and odd jobs until finding her way into Kamau’s gallery which, she said, became like a second home to her.

“I hung out there and met all these black artists: Barbara Chavous, Bill Agnew, Smoky Brown, Aminah, Roman Johnson,” she said. “I got to photograph Elijah Pierce, who is my spiritual model. He always believed that (making art) is a God-given talent to be shared.”

As an arts and crafts instructor at the J. Ashburn Jr. Youth Center, she discovered wood burning, the medium of many of her early works. She also began to paint, leaving photography behind. In her 40s and 50s, she attended Ohio State, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine art.

In 1993, she won the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest International Artist Award, sending her on a residency in Ivory Coast in West Africa. Upon returning, she taught art at both Otterbein and Ohio Dominican universities, and she was hired in 2008 as an artist for the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Art in the House program. Brooks continues to teach children in that program, now under the auspices of the Ohio Alliance for Art Education.

Brooks has no family members living; her one son, Leslie Brooks, a minister, was shot and killed by a stray bullet in 2002. She said she counts her many friends as family.

Brooks has had recent knee and shoulder surgeries and experiences chronic pain. She also suffers glaucoma but continues to work and said she strives to keep her art fresh.

“In my art, I’m always at a stage of questioning and evolving,” she said.

“I don’t know if people will remember my art, but I’m not so much concerned about a legacy for that as I am about a legacy of my humanity.” The Columbus Dispatch

National Museum in Rio starts rebuilding efforts with temporary exhibitions
While most of its collection is still buried under rubble, the institution begins the long road to restoration with displays of stored works that were spared from the fire

Less than a month after a fire consumed the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro on 2 September, efforts are underway to revive the institution. The museum recently installed tents outside of the charred building to hold a temporary outdoor exhibition of pieces from its collection that were stored in other facilities in Brazil, totalling around 1.5 million objects. It has also launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise 50m reals ($12m) to restart a programme that lends objects from its collection to local schools, and is nearly halfway towards its goal.

The director of the museum Alexander Kellner has announced that organisers will consider installing a more permanent exhibition space outside the museum to host rotating public exhibitions. As for the pieces still trapped in the debris of the destroyed institution, Kellner says the two major concerns are rain, which would further deteriorate salvageable objects, and looting. “Everyone must know that what’s in the rubble has no commercial value”, Kellner says.

Unesco estimates that it will take at least a decade to restore the museum and its collection, and the Ministry of Education has already set aside 15m reals ($3.7m) to start work on the building. “There are private institutions and individuals committed to donating assets, but we have to earn these donations by rebuilding with the strictest standards”, the Kellner told O Globo. He added that, even with the support of donors, “we will have a new museum but it will be another museum—we will never have the lost collection again”.

Although officials are still tallying the remaining pieces, the museum has confirmed that the Bendegó meteorite, the largest ever discovered in Brazil, and several other space rocks survived the fire—along with the fish who lived in the fountain of the central atrium. Around 260 indigenous Brazilian artefacts housed in the museum also managed to escape damage, since they were lent to the Memorial of Indigenous Peoples museum in Brasilia for an exhibition that opened five days before the fire. The Art Newspaper

 

Adding colors to the Saudi cultural landscape

JEDDAH: Color Theory is an arts and crafts supply shop based in Riyadh. The term color theory is defined as a practical guide to color mixing and the visual effects of specific color combinations.

It offers a wide variety of acrylic and oil-based paints, brushes, colored pencils, oil pastels and spray paints, as well as all the necessary tools required for any given art project.

The owner of Color Theory, Ahmed Mohammed Al-Sunaidi, began to build his own business when he found that artists in Saudi Arabia needed a local art supply shop with the latest and most innovative art and design supplies.

“I began my career as an employee in the private sector. I had no prior experience in art. However, after working for a long while in an industry that was completely different from the field of art, I had a simple desire to leave my work in the private sector and start my own business,” he said.

There are always risks attached to any entrepreneurial venture, but Al-Sunaidi was confident in the art scene that was growing within Saudi Arabia.
“My circumstances gave me the opportunity to quit my job, and during my year of unemployment, I started visiting art galleries around the Kingdom. I would ask artists from where they bought their art supplies, and why they had not purchased them online.

“The artists would always tell me that they preferred to see the colors themselves. They wanted to touch the materials and feel the paintbrushes that they would use before purchasing. So I discovered that there was a need for this type of business,” he said.

Al-Sunaidi saw a colorful future ahead for Saudi Arabia and wanted to help bring it to the masses. “I believe there was a time when Saudi Arabia was gray, and now life is gaining color. Not just because I am now living among colors but also because the people themselves are becoming more colorful.

They have started seeing life from a different perspective,” he said.

Color Theory is at 2656 Ash Sheikh Abdullah Al-Anqari, Salah Ad Din, Riyadh 12434. For customer inquiries, they can be reached at +966534883311. Follow them on Instagram for their latest product features and stock at www.Instagram.com/colortheoryksa ARAB NEWS

 

Agony uncles: Dear Elmgreen & Dragset
Our readers ask the leading artists what they think about life, the art world and everything in between

I’m a recent graduate from art school. Should I try to get gallery representation, or focus on building a following on social media?

Elmgreen & Dragset: Do both. But most importantly, use your time together with fellow artists and make your own independent projects. Don’t ever try to fulfil expectations.

How do you maintain a good working relationship after you’ve separated as a romantic couple?

Splitting up as a couple actually put new energy into our professional lives together. It was almost like starting afresh and being new to each other once again.

I’ve got a creative block. What do you do when this happens to you?

If the creative block is because of worries in your life, then sort those out. Otherwise just get drunk. Or do something that will surprise yourself in order to break your routine. Sometimes moving to another place, be it a new part of town or another continent, can help. It’s also OK not to have a constant flow of genius ideas.

When in your career did you begin to think about your legacy?

It’s enough to just not have too bad a reputation. Legacy… hmm… too big a mouthful.

Who would win in a fight? You or the Chapman brothers?

We don’t believe that we would get into a fight.

Which artist would you like to life-draw?

We’re pretty terrible at drawing, but David Hockney while smoking a cigarette could be a nice subject.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Not to forget that everyone’s got a story.

My gallerist isn’t paying me on time. What should I do?

What’s on time? Payments from galleries can take up to six months. After that deadline: burn their Porsche!

A big gallery has approa­ched me, but I feel guilty about leaving my long-term gallerist. What should I do?

Follow your gut feeling. If you are not totally satisfied with how your previous gallery has performed in relation to you as an artist, and the new one has more to offer, you probably already know the answer yourself. But a big gallery does not guarantee more success—it’s basically all about how you will handle these new challenges and how you will be able to position yourself within this new context.

London is too expensive. Where should I move to?

Brussels is inexpensive, centrally located and has good collectors for young art. Berlin is packed with artists and pretty slow but still has one of the best artists’ communities, with plenty of room for discussions and many alternative, non-commercial venues. Lisbon is very affordable and so pleasant but has its own pace and less international exposure. Seoul has a very vibrant scene at the moment. Los Angeles is not cheap, but professionally it’s probably one of the most interesting places today, and still more affordable than London. Or you could go somewhere else and make that location a hotspot together with other artists. The Art Newspaper

 

Hudson County Art Supply Paints Its Last Stand

Given the magnitude of Jersey City’s building boom, few undeveloped lots in Downtown Jersey City remain. For developers, these sites — potential locations for new luxury condominiums, stylish shops, and chic restaurants — are desirable commodities. As with any gentrifying city, someone has to make room for new development. Such is the case for John McInerney, owner of Hudson County Art Supply, who leases the commercial retail space at 303 1st Street.

Situated at the intersection of Coles and 1st Streets, just beyond the newly expanded Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza, Hudson County Art Supply has been a fixture at the edge of the Village neighborhood since 2003. After 15 years in Downtown Jersey City, Hudson County Art Supply, distinguished by its vibrant outdoor mural gallery, will relocate to 469 Central Avenue in Jersey City Heights during the first week of October 2018.

On the surface, a longtime business relocating within a city is unremarkable news. Some businesses such as A&S Convenience and Smoke Shop — once located on Marin Boulevard and now the Paulus Hook Vape Shop on Washington Boulevard — closed with little attention before the building was torn down to make way for 331 Marin Boulevard.

Hudson County Art Supply’s move is even less remarkable considering that the store has previously operated out of locations in Hoboken and at Mana Contemporary. Yet 303 1st Street, the three-story residential building where Hudson County Art Supply currently leases the ground-floor commercial space, is tied up in a legal dispute with real estate developer Peter Mocco.

The Jersey Journal, reporting in June, outlines the failed negotiation of sale between Mocco and Roberto Cruz Sr., who is McInerney’s landlord. In June, both Cruz and Mocco filed complaints against each other. 303 1st Street is located next to three Mocco-owned properties. Once Mocco completes the purchase of 303 1st Street, the building will be demolished and construction will begin on a five-story apartment complex.

McInerney is caught up in the dispute, but he understands the complexities of Jersey City’s resurgence. Prior to leasing 303 1st Street, McInerney owned residential buildings and flipped a few properties in Downtown Jersey City, allowing him to open his business. “That was how I stayed afloat,” he says, explaining that owning property in Jersey City is “a learning curve.”

Hudson County Art Supply opened in the Village neighborhood — historically an Italian-American enclave consisting of low-rise, multi-family homes — in 2003. “The reason I opened my store,” McInerney explains, “was economic opportunity. There were no stores here. That’s because the area was boarded up.” Affordable rent has allowed Hudson County Art Supply to operate out of the same location for over a decade. For a small business directly impacted by online competitors — McInerney admits he often forgoes a salary — Hudson County Art Supply’s longevity in the community is a noteworthy feat.

The store — a small space — is well stocked with nearly every art supply imaginable, ranging from high-end brushes to trendy adult coloring books. Hudson County Art Supply caters to artists, students, and anyone just wanting to stop in for a chat. Even in its final days at the Downtown location, foot traffic is consistent throughout business hours. Employee Carlos Castillo mans the store most days. But on Sundays, it’s McInerney who can be found answering the phone with a resounding “Art Supply,” before he helps harried customers check for items in stock.

Development and gentrification is a gradual process for any city, either aided by or tied up in the planning, zoning, and tax regulations. In Downtown Jersey City, gentrification often becomes encapsulated by the stories of two places: the Golden Cicada and 111 1st Street. The Golden Cicada has been romanticized as a story of resistance, but 111 1st Street is a story of loss.

Ostensibly, the stories of these businesses and communities are not linked by anything other than shared time and place. (Hudson County Art Supply opened just as the last artists at 111 1st Street were being pushed out. McInerney, in our interview, admitted, “I’m not part of that story as much as you would think.”) But 111 1st Street’s legacy of lost potential and displacement still resonates within Jersey City.

Like the 111 artists who left Downtown Jersey City for elsewhere — some within Jersey City but many to new communities — small businesses like Hudson County Art Supply must choose to relocate or close altogether. As new luxury high-rises continue to pepper the Downtown Jersey City skyline, the local spots that create the fabric of the city — bars, convenience stores, delis, laundromats, dry cleaners, art studios — disappear with little fanfare.

Hudson County Art Supply is just the latest business disappearing from the Village neighborhood’s commercial stretch in the vicinity of Newark Avenue between Coles and Brunswick Streets. Jordan’s Lounge, a popular bar and nightclub, was demolished to make way for 245 Newark Avenue. 270 Newark Avenue, a 150-year-old historic building and most recently the site of the Golden Grille, was demolished in 2018. The project’s developer hopes to flip the site. Both Newark Avenue projects signal an uptick in development proposals encroaching on neighborhoods just outside of the Historic Downtown Jersey City.

When reflecting on how the neighborhood has changed in the last two decades, McInerney observes, “It’s not Chilltown anymore,” referencing Jersey City’s popular moniker.

“I walked around here when I first moved here,” he explains, “and it felt like a small town.” At the time, McInerney lived downtown; he has since moved to the Marion neighborhood near Journal square. “I loved the diversity. Now there’s still diversity but it’s not like it was. It’s not just different people. It’s a different economical standing.” McInerney believes that Jersey City’s change is the result of economics and development. “If you increase the taxes on all the residents and give tax abatements to the developers,” he explains, “all you have left is developers.”

Ironically, 303 1st Street’s location near the Newark Pedestrian Plaza has benefitted Hudson County Art Supply. “I’d stay if I could. I had my best year ever because it’s so dense here now. I’m getting more business because there’s more people,” McInerney says. Still, McInerney looks forward to the new Central Avenue location. The Central Avenue Special Improvement District has been integral in helping with the store’s relocation. After receiving positive feedback when he announced the store’s move on Facebook, McInerney believes, “I think we’re gonna find a community up there.”

But Hudson County Art Supply is not leaving Downtown Jersey City quietly. In mid-September, local artists Sam Pullin and DISTORT painted “Eat the Rich,” in bold red, block lettering on the building’s mural wall. The Coles Street mural wall is a place where artists can paint freely, without municipal oversight, a hindrance of collaborating with the Jersey City Mural Arts Program. McInerney guesses that more than 100 murals by mostly local artists have been featured on the wall since 2009. “It’s just a way for the artists to have a voice,” says McInerney.

“Basically anybody who’s done art on that main wall has been people we’ve known for years. It’s a trusted wall,” explains Carlos Castillo, who oversees the murals. “We let [the artists] do whatever they want to do. No creative restraints. Pullin reached out about creating the final mural and the end result is a poetic message.

“We felt like it was a good way to go,” says Castillo. “It goes with what’s happening with this place. We’re not really priced out. The building is coming down and there’s nothing we can do to stop it from happening.”

Hudson County Art Supply will be located at 469 Central Avenue in Jersey City Heights beginning in October 2018. Jersey Digs

 

Connecting Cultures Through Art
Blackfeet at HeART provides opportunities and donates supplies to artists, and aspiring artists, of all ages on the reservation

Not long ago, Susan Fletcher was walking across the parking lot toward Glacier Peaks Casino in Browning when a woman stepped out of her car and began a practiced sales pitch, showing off the handcrafted jewelry she was selling out of a vehicle that doubled as her storefront.

This week, Fletcher will return to Browning, find LaVonna Falls Down and hand the Blackfeet artist a check, proceeds from her first-ever gallery showing at the Stumptown Art Studio. It will be precisely the kind of moment Fletcher and Sue Cox, co-founders of the nonprofit Blackfeet at HeART, had in mind when they first came together to connect the people of the Flathead Valley and Blackfeet reservation through art.

“Can you even imagine how that will make her feel?” Fletcher said last week, anticipating her reunion with Falls Down. “She had no concept that her work would be revered and shown in a gallery and sold in a gallery … For her work to be recognized in such a way will be very powerful for her.”

The two women took the first steps toward forming the organization in 2016, when Cox approached Fletcher — a board member at the nonprofit Stumptown Art Studio in Whitefish — about hosting a show featuring exclusively Native American artists. Fletcher agreed, and it wasn’t long after that first show that the pair realized there was an opportunity to help promote and encourage Blackfeet art.

“Not only did I see and appreciate, as (Cox) had already come to appreciate, the quality of these motivated artists, but I also saw that a lot of the work was done with really inferior materials,” Fletcher said of that first show. “We had beautiful work that was done on the back of corrugated cardboard and it was just like, ‘Wow, what if we could put into the hands of this underserved community good, quality art materials and art opportunities?’”

Initially, Fletcher and Cox started providing art supplies via the studio’s broader Art from the Heart campaign that supports art within special needs and other underserved communities. But in January 2017, Blackfeet at HeART was born and its co-founders — a pair of “white women of Whitefish” — went to work making inroads with Blackfeet artists, elders and even teenagers.

“We got in touch with a librarian at (Browning High School), and I’m always into teenagers because they have no holds barred,” Cox said. “And that’s what I wanted to hear, straight from their mouths, what do you like, what do you not like? … We just said, if we had this huge pile of money in the middle of the table and we said this is going to be spent on art, what would you guys come up with?”

The answers they received ran the gamut, but between the need demonstrated at the first art show and an underwhelming art program at the high school desperately seeking adequate supplies, Cox and Fletcher first focused their attention on providing the tools necessary to create works of art. They became involved with the art programs at local high schools, elementary schools and an alternative school, began a program at the Crystal Creek Lodge treatment center, and took out an ad in a local newspaper offering free supplies, to which more than 60 people responded.

As the organization has matured, Blackfeet at HeART has expanded beyond providing supplies. The group holds workshops for Blackfeet artists of all abilities at the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning and has helped professional artists like Valentina LaPier make inroads with galleries in the Flathead Valley.

“They’ve really gotten to know the artists in our community, and they’ve allowed the artists to specifically address their medium,” LaPier said. “They’re not just throwing stuff at you, what they’re doing is really personal.”

LaPier’s art was on display at Stumptown Art Studio in the month of September — along with Falls Down and the work of more than a dozen other Blackfeet artists — as part the annual Whitefish Gallery Nights. LaPier has also assisted Blackfeet at HeART as an instructor at some of their workshops.

While Blackfeet at HeART is still young as an organization, Cox and Fletcher say they are committed to the Blackfeet long-term. They hope to one day bring even more Blackfeet artists to the Flathead Valley, either to sell their work or interact with the larger art community, and a pair of prominent local artists — Nicholas Oberling and Nancy Cawdrey — have offered scholarships to Blackfeet artists looking to take one of their classes in conjunction with Blackfeet at HeART.

“When we talked with these different groups at the beginning, they all stated ‘groups of white people come, they build us a house, and then they leave. They’ve done their good deed … and it’s done,’” Cox said. “This thing, 10 years from now, we’re still going to be doing it and we’re still going to be involved and have the same commitment that we have now.”

Blackfeet at HeART accepts donations of art supplies in addition to financial contributions, and is seeking additional local artists to partner with. For more information, visit www.blackfeetatheart.com. Flathead Beacon

 

6 Simple Things Artists Can Do to Feel Happier in Their Studios

A typical art studio—where natural light and breathing room come at a premium—might not be the most appealing piece of real estate. But like any physical space, it can be filled with certain objects and colors to make the experience of being there more enjoyable.

This premise—that we can find happiness through our environments, rather than just within ourselves—is at the crux of Joyful, a new book written by Ingrid Fetell Lee, a designer and former design director at the firm IDEO. She began investigating what can cause feelings of elation following a formative experience during her master’s program in industrial design: A professor judging her thesis work told her that her buoyant and colorful furniture pieces incited joy.

“We often think of the physical world as incidental to our happiness,” Fetell Lee explained. “I think we’ve been made to feel like it’s all within us,” she added, nodding to the way that psychology tells us that the answers to our problems exist on the inside. But our surroundings can play a role, too.

By researching scientific studies, interviewing creative people, and making a large mood board, Fetell Lee landed on 10 aesthetics we can harness—like energy, abundance, magic, and play—to bring more joy into our lives. While she doesn’t recommend trying to pack all 10 of them into a single space, we recently caught up with the author to discuss ways that artists can bring these aesthetics into their studios.

Change your light bulbs
Adding light and vibrant colors to a space is central to Joyful’s first chapter, “Energy.”

“Artists really understand the importance of natural light,” Fetell Lee offered. But if you don’t have much light (or you could use some more), she recommends working in a space with light colors (to reflect whatever light you do have) and using light bulbs that mimic broad-spectrum lighting.

“The way that you choose to light your studio is not just a functional concern, it’s actually affecting you on a deeper level,” she explained. Light regulates our circadian rhythm and affects our energy levels. Research has shown that workers in spaces with more natural light sleep better at night, and they’re more likely to be more active during the day.

Embrace your materials
“One of the things that makes walking into a studio so wonderful is that there’s a sense of natural abundance,” Fetell Lee explained, nodding to the large quantities of art supplies, like brushes and paints, that artists possess. Rather than storing them away, she recommends giving them pride of place in the studio.

“Embracing that abundance and putting it on display in some way can be one way to bring joy,” she said. In her own studio (located in a corner of her apartment), Fetell Lee keeps her paints laid out in a tray on her desk.

Bring order to your setup
Bringing a sense of harmony into your space, Fetell Lee explained, enables flow. Having your surroundings organized, she said, is not only conducive to feeling positive energy, but also good workflow.

One way to do this is through knolling, the technique of organizing physical objects on a surface using right angles and grid formations. Before hitting the mainstream, it was used by Frank Gehry’s furniture firm in the 1980s, and it was made popular by contemporary artist Tom Sachs. (Photographer Austin Radcliffe’s popular Tumblr–turned–Instagram project Things Organized Neatly offers many great examples.)

Fetell Lee added that it’s important to bring harmony to the items in your space. Rather than getting rid of materials or decluttering in order to “spark joy,” as Japanese author Marie Kondo teaches (Fetell Lee herself has followed Kondo’s method), you can also develop a sense of happiness by implementing a sense of order.

Add something cute to your workspace
In her chapter on adding playfulness to your space, Fetell Lee writes about research out of Japan that has shown that looking at cute things helps us focus. While she keeps several cute things on her desk—including a set of tiny spinning tops; googly eyes on her stapler; and a miniature figurine of Totoro, the popular creature from a Miyazaki film of the same name—having just one will do.

Cute objects also tap into the aesthetic of play, which speaks to the natural inclination many artists have to try to get away from preconceived notions and tap into an open-minded, childlike mindset.

Blow bubbles
While it’s hard to create, developing a sense of magic in a studio can be inspiring and serves as a reminder to take things a little less seriously. Fetell Lee keeps a hanging prism in her own studio, which scatters rainbows everywhere, though she also recommends keeping a jar of bubbles at hand or bringing some iridescent colors into the space.

Other options include hanging posters that show optical illusions or artworks that are visually captivating—like Josef Albers’s color studies. “Many of those have elements of illusion in them—they play with the ways that colors shift and change,” Fetell Lee explained. “Many things we would be drawn to—interesting studies for us as artists or creatives—have that natural effect.”

Get a plant
Fetell Lee writes about how opening up spaces (for example, by taking down walls) and having views of nature can conjure a sense of freedom in an interior. The easiest way to bring that into a small space is through adding plants—even one will do the trick.

“Nature reduces stress, and there’s some preliminary research that is starting to suggest that there’s an association between the color green and creativity,” Fetell Lee explained. “Maybe especially for artists, it could be wise to think about bringing in some greenery.”

Plants with flowers, or a fresh-cut bouquet, are also conducive to joy in conveying a sense of renewal. “It really comes back to having curved elements in your space—things that expand or blossom open,” she explained. Artsy

 

Tate’s watercolour is upgraded to a Gauguin
Double-sided work, bequeathed in 1962, had previously been attributed to the French artist's circle

The Tate now owns a watercolour by Gauguin, thanks to the upgrading of a work previously thought to be from the artist’s circle. Following research for the Van Gogh Museum’s exhibition Gauguin and Laval in Martinique (which opens in Amsterdam today), the double-sided work on paper will be displayed as a piece by Gauguin.

Presented alongside dozens of other pages from Gauguin’s 1887 Martinique sketchbooks—in what is the first detailed examination of the Caribbean output of the two artists—the new attribution is likely to be accepted by curators at the Tate.

One side of the paper is a watercolour showing a tree trunk, possibly a preparatory work for a detail in a Martinique oil painting that was never completed. The other side is a pencil sketch of a man’s head. The Tate’s website suggests that it might depict Gauguin himself, but it does not appear to show his facial features, and the Amsterdam exhibition describes it as portraying his artist friend Charles Laval.

The double-sided work was bequeathed to the Tate by the Earl of Sandwich in 1962. He had bought it in 1931, from the collection of Paco Durrio, a Spanish sculptor who was a friend of Gauguin and received many of his works. Despite this excellent provenance, the Tate downgraded it soon after the acquisition and its website still describes it as Circle of Gauguin. “We welcome this exciting research and we will be reconsidering the attribution of the work accordingly,” a spokesman says. The Art Newspaper

 

$1.3M Banksy Artwork “Self-Destructs” at Auction
A canvas that sold for over a million dollars was shredded by its frame but no one is sure if it was destroyed or simply transformed.

A Banksy artwork “self-destructed” at a Friday night Sotheby’s auction in London.

“Girl with a Balloon” (2006) was the final lot of the evening sale at Sotheby’s and ended things off with an impressive final price of £953,829 (~$1,251,423), or £1,042,000 with buyer’s premium (~$1,367,104). Maybe people should’ve suspected something was suspicious when the artwork sold for the exact same figure as the artist’s previous auction record in 2008.

Robert Casterline of Casterline Goodman gallery was in attendance and told Hyperallergic what happened next. He explained there was “complete confusion” and an “alarm inside the frame started going off as the gavel went down.”

“[It] sold for over a million dollars and as we sat there…the painting started moving,” he said, and added that the painting’s frame, also made by Banksy, acted as a shredder and started to cut the canvas into strips. “[It was] all out confusion then complete excitement,” he explained.

Anny Shaw of the Art Newspaper spoke to Alex Branczik, the auction house’s head of contemporary art for Europe, who seemed as surprised as anyone. “It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” he said immediately after the sale. “He is arguably the greatest British street artist, and tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius,” he said, adding that he was “not in on the ruse.”

Shaw also reports that there was speculation “that the elusive artist had himself pressed the button that destroyed the work.”

But is the work destroyed? Or is it transformed? Even Branczik isn’t sure. “You could argue that the work is now more valuable,” Branczik said. “It’s certainly the first piece to be spontaneously shredded as an auction ends.”

Casterline clearly thought it was all very entertaining. “Banksy did it again to the art market that he so despises,” he said about the latest prank by an artist who continues to mess with the conventions of the art world.

Sotheby’s released a statement to the Financial Times: “We have talked with the successful purchaser who was surprised by the story. We are in discussion about next steps.” Hyperallergic

 

Art store, coffee shop opens in Central West End

St. Louis Art Supply, formerly known as South City Art Supply, is now open in its new space at 4532 Olive St. in the Central West End. In addition to its new space and new name, the art store is also adding a coffee shop.

The art store offers a wide selection of traditional art supplies, a 32-seat cafe and a large selection of notebooks and stationery. St. Louis Art Supply also imported pens and pencils from Japan and Germany, including models not sold elsewhere in the St. Louis region, officials said.

St. Louis Art Supply occupies the commercial space on the first floor of a new $6.5 million apartment building, developed by Rothschild Development Ltd. The store and cafe occupy about 2,700 square feet, of which 1,700 square feet is used for the retail store and the remaining 1,000 square feet is used for the Cornflower Coffee & Tea cafe. Co-owner Carson Monetti previously told the Business Journal he plans to spend about $30,000 on the build-out of the space.

Red Brick Management is the landlord and renovated the space, delivering it as a whitebox, Monetti said at the time. St. Louis Art Supply added a custom coffee bar with retail shelves and a custom counter for the art supply store, which was built by St. Louis-based Citizen Carpentry. The art supply retailer also is doing plumbing and electrical work and will create a back office inside the space.

The new CWE location will add 40 percent more inventory than the Cherokee location, including new oil paint, spray paint, notebooks, fountain pens, art paper and markers, officials said. The store’s book department will double in size.

Cornflower will serve breakfast, lunch, light snacks, specialty coffee and hand-selected loose leaf tea. The kitchen inside the space will produce scratch-baked pastries every morning, and all of its sauces and syrups also will be made in-house. All of the coffee drinks will be brewed with beans from Coma Coffee.

St. Louis Art Supply will celebrate its opening with a three-day event from Friday to Sunday. On Friday, Coma Coffee will present its newest roasts, and neighbor TechArtista will co-host an evening for new and prospective members. On Saturday and Sunday, the store will host a pop-up shop with local printmakers, sculptors, comic artists and more. St. Louis Business Journal