Surprises that Are Wonderful

Carriage Hill-2015--03461

Don’t you love a great surprise? I do, and that is exactly what I got from seeing Kitchen V: Carrying the Milk, by Marina Abramovic.

When I first entered the gallery at Detroit’s Institute of the Arts, I saw the art from across the room and immediately crossed the room to look at it closer. I thought it was a backlit photo and wanted to read about it. As I neared, the work, I noticed that the woman’s hands were trembling and milk was spilling out of the bowl and and onto her dress and the floor. I was shocked. The piece was a video playing on a loupe. I had caught it towards the end and sat to watch it through from beginning to end. Abramovic’s work was wonderful and fantastic. Representing the female characteristics of endurance and nourishment. The stillness of the woman (Abramovic) added power to the performance. Simple, powerful, surprising, and innovative. I watched it three times before I was sated and ready to move on.

Portals

Portal

The transition from one space to another is a tricky one. You want to draw people out the old space and want them to enter the new space. But, how do you want them to experience the transition from one area to another? Do you want it to be a smooth subtle transition, as though you are leading them from one spot on a path to another? Do you want them to be jolted into a new reality? lure them from darkness to light? From grey to color?

Portals are tricky and you have to understand your purpose while placing yourself in the mind of the visitor. Good portals work. Others don’t. This one worked rather well.

Have a great day folks. I hope your Sunday becomes a pleasant transition to the rest of the week.

Art Is Not Free!

Art is Not Free

I am always amazed by the number of free art museums in Ohio. I am also awed by the massive building wrapping murals that pepper downtown Cincinnati. Arts festivals abound with lots of free music and booths filled with art. It is all free for the viewing. But, we all know that somebody has to pay for it. Time, materials, space…they all cost money. The artist is trying to make a living. The people putting up the tent and the lighting or the power all need to be paid. Museums still need to pay employees and their utilities. It’s never free.

Sometimes the museum is endowed or sponsored by a large corporation or other benefactor. Sometimes the city foots the bill for a festival. My point is that everyone is getting paid, even if it doesn’t come out of your pocket.

So, why am I regularly approached by websites for the right to use my images for free? My time, my years of experience, and my expensive equipment all have value. Why are you not willing to pay for them? “We will give you free exposure.” That is a load of crap. Your free exposure is free because it is worthless. I don’t know you from Adam. So, don’t expect to get the fruits of my investment in time, energy, and hard work for free.

And while I am on the subject. Make that suggested donation when you visit a free museum. Work to have your community support the Arts because your life will be all the more rich. It is an investment in the quality and value of your life and your community.

Friends and family? You still get free photos from me. Because you support me in many ways that provide me with the encouragement and motivation to keep shooting. And, I really like you guys.

Tim

Empty House

Remember my buddy Jim? Last weekend, the two of us went to the Celtic festival in Dayton and watched some bands and strolled around looking at everything for sale in the booths. On the main stage was a fantastic band named Gaelic Storm. They had thousands of fans watching them. The fans knew all of the songs and sang along with the band. They were packed in like sardines, and acted like they were not in sweltering heat. Everyone was having a great time.

After that experience, we walked to one of the small stages and came across this unknown band. To my ears, they sounded just as good and they were just as professional. The big difference? They didn’t have a soul watching them perform. The big headline act had sucked up everyone into one massive seething ball of sweaty madness.

I kind of felt sorry for these guys. They even introduced the members of the band to an empty house. If the organizers of the festival know that Gaelic Storm always sucks up everyone around, why book bands on two other stages at the same time?

He Looked Hungry, So I Fed Him.

Stencil of a cat on a brick wall.

We’ve all been struggling with the loss of Jodi’s mom back in January. So, it was nice to have a happy memory of her pop into my mind last night. Roberta had a way of collecting cats. I would come home to find a new cat, that I didn’t recognize, sitting in my kitchen after I came home from work. I would ask her why there was a strange cat in our house and she would look at me with all seriousness and state “He looked hungry, so I let him in and fed him”. Soon enough, the cat had a name and was added to our permanent collection of cats. We only wanted one cat, and Jodi got me Sabi for Christmas one year. Now our collection of cats includes; Sabi, Betty, Jacky, Cooper, Oona, Elle Belle, and Riley. So, what does all of this have to do with my memory?

Last night, Jim (You must remember my friend Jim, we shoot together all of the time.) and I went to the Celtic Festival in Dayton. Along the way, we decided to stop at a Dayton favorite, Thai 9 for dinner. Jim went in to get a table and I parked the car…three blocks away. On the walk back to the restaurant, I spied this stenciled cat on the side of a building. I instantly thought…”he looks hungry…” and started to laugh. Roberta may not be with us in many ways, but in so many ways, she still is.

Have a great day folks.

American Kitsch

American Kitsch

Here in Springfield, Ohio, we have a little piece of crazy American oddness called the Hartman Rock Garden. I can’t explain it, except to say that decades ago, one man decided to teach his grandchildren about american history through concrete and stones. Throw in a little bit of glass and some ceramic figures and you have it. You can learn about the rock garden here: http://hartmanrockgarden.org/visit.html.

Is kitsch like this only an American phenomena, or can it be found world wide? If you a have some fascinating kitsch in your back yard, tell us about it in the comments.

Have a great day folks.