Saturday, August 20, 2011

Artists lives, friendships, collaborations, and art

I've been an artist for as long as I can remember. As a child when adults would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I'd say "artist" to everyone's horror. For most of my life, being an artist has been one step up from being a heroin addict or a serial killer. Decades ago a friend took me to her office party and the usual question of "what do you do?" came up - of course I said "I'm an artist." The looks were truly disdainful as if I'd said I had a majorly contagious disease, but then when my friend said, "Mira illustrates children's picture books" the change was amazing. Suddenly I was respectable and worth knowing. Faces were smiling. I'd been redeemed.

With the phenomenal rise in the information age and technology came a greater public valuing of images and image making and visual culture. Image making became more valued through this image driven media. And even though there's been a huge increase in respectability, and even money and status for some folks, and even though the emotional and psychological, intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic rewards are tremendous, being a committed artist is still a big struggle in terms of economics, security, health care, and the daily challenges of doing the work and getting paid for it.

For me, one of the biggest rewards of being an artist (besides doing the work and teaching others how) is meeting other artists. As an artist, children's picture book creator, and art teacher, I have become friends with lots of fabulous artists. I wanted to feature some of them here. I'm also delighted that brave souls who want to learn art or deepen their art practices will meet some of them in my upcoming fabulous global online art course Heros Art Journey on September 12th. Follow the kitty to find out more : )

I recently got to visit 2 wonderful artist friends Briana and Peter for their 30th anniversary. They are exceptional people as you will see from their art and home which was a total fixer-upper. Weaving their usual magic, they transformed it into a magical abode. I took a bunch of pics, which I'm randomly showing some of here. Peter makes wonderful recycled stained glass from glass plates and such and they both make fantastical talismans, sculptures, jewelry, and objéts d'art from recycled metals. Click on images to enlarge.

Something strange happened with my camera amidst all the socializing, so apologies for the weird color (sigh). Unfortunately you miss the glorious color of this stained glass piece which you can only imagine, especially when the light is streaming thru.

As I'm only focusing on 2D art for my course, Briana and Peter won't be featured in it, but the next artists will.

At the party, I ran into a dear friend Claire B. Cotts who had just come back from an exhibition of her work in Tennessee. Her work is brilliant (always has been) and while we were talking she "whoopee" agreed to be interviewed for my course! Knowing Claire - it will be fabulous. One of the things that is especially wonderful about Claire is her equal commitment to realistic narrative and abstract narrative in her work. The girl knows her stuff! Oh and she's also an awesome children's book illustrator.

One last friend I want to share today, who will also be featured in the course is my old mate Hugh D'Andrade (check back in a few days for more fabulous featured artist friends - too many for one blog post). I was lucky enough to be one of his students and then to have him as one of my students. I was also lucky enough to play a very small part in his and another one of my students falling in love in class and they are now both happily married successful artists. Yay! Am hoping Mati Rose McDonough will be in at as well but depends on whether her book projects' deadline is extended. Here's hoping she has time.

Don't forget to check back to meet Elisa Kleven, children's book author and illustrator extraordinaire, Elly Simmons another extraordinary artist (whose also done some children's picture books), Maya Gonzalez ditto, George Littlechild (hopefully), and more. Oh and here's my kitty if you want to register or find out more about this phenomenal course starting September 12th. Oh and can you folks who show up on my feedjit that someone really is reading this, help me out and do that magical exponential social media thing and help me get the word out about Hero's Art Journey? Thank you sweet things.

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