Featured Artist: Shannon Amidon

OK - new blog feature: I'm going to start sharing other artists I like with you. I'm also sharing these on my Facebook page, but wanted to keep track on my website too. 

I'm starting off with Shannon Amidon (www.shannonamidon.com). Her work reminds me to appreciate my connection with not only nature, but also with human connection and imagination. 

 Some snapshots of Shannon's work at the SJ Tech Shop show, opening tonight 9/4/15. Note: my phone camera isn't great; see better photos on her  website , or, better yet, go to the show!

Some snapshots of Shannon's work at the SJ Tech Shop show, opening tonight 9/4/15. Note: my phone camera isn't great; see better photos on her website, or, better yet, go to the show!

I'm drawn to Shannon's work because the materials and colors often have a nostalgic air to them, like something coming from the past. Yet her work is also innovative as she often combines old materials with new techniques and technology. For example, using laser-cutting to create images on old book covers. I love this celebration of nature and books and other precious objects at a time (and place - I too make art in Silicon Valley) when technology reigns. Can't wait to see this latest show!

Shannon has an opening TONIGHT in San Jose at the SJ Tech Shop (location 17 on the South First Fridays Art Walk), where she is currently the artist-in-residence. "Like" her Facebook page to get more details and sneak previews of her work.

For the Joy of Learning

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like we live in a culture that encourages us to pose as a "master" in our field, rather than celebrating the joy of learning. As a kid, I tried to be a know-it-all for a short period, but honestly it was b-o-r-i-n-g! As it turns out, life is much more full and exciting and inspiring when I'm learning new things. So, I decided to take a drawing class.

 In-progress charcoal drawing; source image on the left. 

In-progress charcoal drawing; source image on the left. 

I don't really enjoy drawing - to me, painting is much more fun because it's more tactile and you can almost always correct your mistakes by moving around the paint. But, I also recognize that improving my drawing skills will make me a better painter. Plus, as Calvin's dad would say, doing stuff you don't like to do "builds character."

Luckily for me, a peer recommended taking classes with Sandy Jones (stratfordschool.com), who is fabulous! She actually makes drawing fun. I've really been enjoying myself. Not just the actual assignments and tutoring, but also being in a class with other artists and building community. We've started with charcoals, but stay tuned for some pastels soon. 

 Finished charcoal

Finished charcoal

So, are you going to try and learn something new this month? 

See my art this weekend!

So I have a couple of shows this weekend, would love to see you there! 1) Group show "Vital" @ The Usuals

Opening reception: Friday Jan. 25, 7-10PM

Where: The Usuals, 1020 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126

vital_flyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Meet-and-Greet (closing reception) @ Barefoot Coffee Campbell

What: Last chance to see my show Heavy Traffic before it comes down on Jan. 31st

When: Sunday January 27th, 2-4PM

Where: Barefoot Coffee, 1819 South Bascom Avenue, Campbell, CA 95008

Why: Opportunity to meet me and ask any questions you want.Last chance to see the show before it comes down. Fulfill your New Year's resolution early (you know that one where you said you wanted to buy more original artwork in 2013?)! Get some awesome Barefoot coffee!! Come on, what else have you got to do on a Sunday afternoon?

Falcon_small

Michele Pred: (IN)Security

Have you ever wondered what happens to the items that get confiscated before you board a plane?  I have, but only when a TSA agent took away the yoghurt I was planning to eat for breakfast, because he considered it a liquid and it was over the 3 ounce limit.  I suspect it became his breakfast...  However, I hadn't given much thought to the objects that are confiscated -- all the scissors, razor blades, pocket knives, etc.  But Michele Pred has.

Travelers

Travelers, 2011

She asked the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) if she could have the confiscated items to use in her installation art work.  I recently saw a show called (IN)Security at the Thompson Gallery on the San Jose State University campus featuring some work from her series Homeland Security.  The work is partly about curiosity, wondering how dangerous the tiny (formerly travel-size) sewing scissors could be, or to whom all of these pocketknives belonged?  Did they have sentimental value, and have they been saved from a death in oblivion by being on display, in the shape of heart, in this exhibit?

The show also has more serious undertones, though, as a social commentary on how our culture views danger and threats.  Michele uses color and placement of objects to create an American flag out of razor blades, pocket knives, or, as in this piece, a combination of objects carefully placed in their own containers as if logged for evidence by a forensics expert or scientist.

Fear Culture
Fear Culture, 2007

Michele speaks about how she is capturing a moment in history, the feelings of threat and danger that has prevailed since 9/11, and the above piece certainly has the feel of creating a time capsule.  Check out more of her work at her website.

New paintings and what inspired them

Here are two new paintings to prove that although I have been slacking off in the blog-o-sphere, I have been hard at work in real life.  I hope you like them.

We Celebrate the Freaks

The title of the above piece is a paraphrase from a passage in a Salman Rushdie book that I love, The Ground Beneath Her Feet.  The imagery is from photographs I took in the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (NB: Although many famous Argentines are buried here, including Eva Peron, this has nothing to do with my painting).  I am inspired by the architecture of fancy graveyards and I like how the statues look silhouetted against the sky, something I accentuated in this painting. I was also reading The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon while painting this, which is set in Barcelona and has several scenes in graveyards. Although a great read, this is quite a dark book about a writer selling his soul to the devil, so I'm sure some of that got into this painting too...

When I'm Alone I Get Carried Away_small

When I'm Alone I Get Carried Away

The title of this piece is not a quote, but rather refers to the stir-crazy feeling I had while painting this piece.  Really, the turmoil I was feeling was in other parts of my life, and painting this was calming.  Yet some of that anxiety and loneliness got into the painting, something a friend pointed out to me upon seeing the completed piece.  Perhaps I subconsciously think that by having control in my painting I will be able to exert some more control in my life.  Isn't psychology fascinating? And just to thicken the plot, I should note that I actually painted these two paintings simultaneously... And yes, the dresses continue, albeit in an evolved way.

You can view these hot-off-the press pieces at my current show at Barefoot Coffee Campbell.  The opening reception is tomorrow, December 8th from 4-7, but the show is up through Jan. 31st so just pop by whenever.

Heavy Traffic - My upcoming show @ Barefoot Coffee Campbell

Come check out my upcoming show at Barefoot Coffee Campbell December 1, 2012 - January 31, 2013.  OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday December 8th 4-7PM.  1819 S. Bascom Ave., Campbell, CA 95008

The title of the show (and the featured painting above), Heavy Traffic, is inspired by that Neil Young quote I read in a Rolling Stone interview some years ago: “There’s many different people inside you. Many different beings traveling through you. On the outside you may look like you, but it may be that several different things are coming through you, and it’s heavy traffic.”   This idea is reflected in the range of the work I have selected to show, which will include some never-before-shown older paintings along with some brand-new ones straight out of the studio.

Join the opening reception event.

"Like" my Facebook artist's page.

www.christinekeenarasmussen.com

Human motorcycle - where paint, photography and yogis collide

Get it? I didn't the first time I glanced at it, even though I read the title. It wasn't until I read the description that I realized that that motorcycle is made out of super flexible yogis with body paint. It's really amazing to see how they do it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATzONfFRU0U

If you happen to be in the San Jose area, you can actually meet the artist, Trina Merry, and watch her do her thing over the next couple of weeks, check out the schedule (under Art Alive) here.