Monday, December 8, 2008

Studio Beerhorst

Today's featured Etsy artist is Studio Beerhorst... or should I say artists? According to their shop announcement:

"We are an artist family of eight living in downtown Grand Rapids MI with backyard chickens and no car. We would love Etsy to be your way through our studio door! We support our selves making art and that means every purchase helps our family continue on its mysterious adventure and have the money to replace the tires when they wear out.

We are excited to create more variety in our shop as we begin to list creations from Brenda, Rose and Pearl."

So, I'm not really sure who did what artwork, as the individual listings don't give much information beyond what and how. But, I am very intrigued by this family collective, who present themselves as rather folksy, mythical characters. Are they hippies? Punks? Academics? Vegans? Your guess is as good as mine, and the mystery adds to the appeal (like the same way I said about Amy Earles previously, who has since told me that she does not mean to be mysterious -- more on that soon, hopefully!).

In addition to 2D art (drawings, prints, and collages), they also offer potholders, sculpture, and stuffies -- quite a range, which is unexpected and fun. Here, see for yourself in these selections I've chosen to share with you:

"Righteousness", graphite drawing, $125

"Girdle", collage, $40

Ack, I wanted to add another image, but Blogger doesn't seem to be cooperating. Go check out the family shop and see for yourself. :)


Since my last post the other day when I talked about the creative muse and my history with it, I've been thinking a lot about who I am as an artist, what moves me, and where I want to go. In the comments I stated that I do not consider myself by any means a "Sunday painter" or a hobbyist, even if I do most of my work in the evenings and on weekends. I take myself and my work seriously and see it as something I want to do as a career eventually. I think that only recently, since I opened my Etsy shop to start selling things, have I really taken that notion very seriously -- even after having participated in the first NYFA MARK professional artists seminars this past year. Etsy has given me a shop to function in and to create work for. I find myself inspired to get the shop stocked, much in the way I create work to stock a show. Only, this is even better because the shop is up and out there all the time.

Money isn't even the main impetus -- it's mostly pride, I think. Pride in the work I do, wanting to share it with others, putting together a package, an identity for my artist self. It's hard to explain, but it's getting me in the studio happily, and regularly. Whatever gets you there, right?

For a long time my subject matter focus was on portraits -- self-portraits, in particular. I've spent many years exploring different ways of portraying myself with varying measures of success, putting myself out there literally on display. I think that will always be an interest of mine, this self-exploration (I made my first self-portrait at the age of 12, by the way), however in the past year I have found myself wanting to try other things, step out of my comfort zone a bit.

I've been making lots of collage, and drawing and painting cats, and trying my hand at landscape most recently. On the train ride down to New York City this past summer, I was fascinated by some of the land forms in the Hudson Valley -- weird little islands and peninsulas with hills and castles; intricately formed bridges and train trestles. Living right near the Niagara Gorge also provides much inspiration. The solo show I am getting ready for in February is going to include all this stuff, under the umbrella of experience, memory, hope. Here is my statement about the work I have been developing, so far:

"Disappointments and shortcomings are at the heart of the human experience, and lately have served as jumping off points in my creative practice. In a quite literal tip of the hat to the past, many of these pieces in this exhibition are those resuscitated from my studio’s archives – paintings and drawings that had been tucked away out of disinterest or disappointment. Through this work I am reconstructing my past and those events that occurred within it – real or imagined, dreamt of or heard about.

Woven into simple visual narratives using words and pictures from a laundry list of sources, these works are often injected with the absurd and surreal, heavily influenced by graphic design I do by day, and comic books I have read voraciously throughout the years. With directed paint drips, written and then obscured notations, cartoon bubbles, viscera, muted voices, and incomplete thoughts, I make assumptions. With an infusion of nostalgia, confusion, and longing, I extrapolate a story from morsels of truth – so that it might become something else entirely."

I will leave you with a link to some photos I took as a reference for future paintings. I love old houses, and this one has intrigued me for a long time. Only a month or two ago did I have the chance to photograph it, and when I did, I was flagged down by a neighbor who wanted to know what I was doing. It was good timing on my part, because I found out that the house is now going to be rehabilitated! Good on one hand that such a beautiful home might be brought back to its original glory, but sad in that it looked beautiful in its ruin, too. At least I got to document it as is -- a few weeks later I drove by again and the side entryway had been rehabbed already. The house is located on Maple Ave. outside of town in Akron, NY -- about 20 miles east of Buffalo.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Wow, thanks for the link to Studio Beerhorst... definitely intriguing.