Tuesday, April 7, 2015

"fliegen" away 4/15

The annual date of April 15th can drudge up a variety of thoughts, feelings and emotions for many. It is the national, "pay your taxes day." And for some that just makes us crazy, especially if you're a creative right brained sort of person. - Luckily I am a middle of the road left-brained artist. I am a creative, yet I desire to be extremely organized and efficient. I was able to be so very efficient this year, that I already submitted my taxes and even had a week to go!
For this artist, however, April 15, 2015 brings up a new date. It is a date that I will be closing my studio at 2590 W. 2nd Avenue in Denver, CO. It was a lovely space, it was open and it was grand. Almost 2000 square feet of creative space for all my grandiose ideas. I rented this space for the past 2 years, and what a beauty of a space it was. Anyone that walked into it was in awe, of the high ceilings, the opening garage doors and the wonderful vibe I had going there. I even hosted a few fundraisers and small concerts in the space. But alas, as what happens to most of the artists I know that are at the mercy of their landlord, mine is re-locating and therefore so must I.
The only consistent in life is that change happens. Over the last 15 years of making art in Denver, I have moved my studio at least 8 times that I can recall. I had 2 different spaces in an old school building that was eventually plowed to the ground to make a parking lot (just like the Joni Mitchell song), 2 spaces in the old Zook building in downtown Denver that was sold to make upscale urban apartments, 2 difference spaces on Inca Street, one space in the basement of a yoga studio in the famous Santa Fe Arts District, and then the masterpiece warehouse at 2590 W. 2nd Avenue in Denver. That's a lot of moving for sure.
So instead of packing everything up and moving again, for the meantime, I'm just going to pack up and store my large pieces and work small scale in my home until I can decide what my next greatest space will be. And even though I stressed about this decision at first, I am totally at peace with it now, because I know a new space will arise when the time is right that will be a perfect fit for what I need.
I actually am looking forward to challenging myself by working on smaller scale pieces and journals that I can sell online on eBayhttp://www.ebay.com/usr/lauriemavesart or via my ETSY pagehttps://www.etsy.com/shop/LaurieMavesARTsy . I will still be taking commissions, as well as working on my pieces for the grand exhibition I am having with Erica Jane Huntzinger at the Frank Juarez gallery in Wisconsin later this year, but I will not have to manage a ginormous studio space and that comes with a bit of relief.
So in a week it will be time to Fliegen - the German word for "FLY." And who knows where I will land next, but I know I must embrace the view along the way.
"Fliegen" Circle Painting from 2014. 24"x24" mixed media on masonite. all rights reserved by the artist. The original available for purchase.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

20 and Counting

"20 and Counting" is the proposed title of the collaborative show between Erica Jane Huntzinger and myself that will be exhibited at the Frank Juarez Gallery in Sheboygan Wisconsin 10/24/15 - 11/28/15 with an opening reception on Saturday November 7th from 5-8pm. 

Erica Jane and I met in September of 1995 as we started our quest to navigate our way through the Graduate Art Therapy Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Erica and I were first and foremost artists. And really we just wanted to be fine artists, but really had no mentors to speak of that could help us wrap our brains around what it meant to be part of the professional art world. So we both turned to the field of Art Therapy as a career, knowing in our heart of hearts that using the creative process to help other people (but most noteworthy, ourselves) would be a natural fit for a profession for the creative and caring beings that we were.

here we are on the streets of Chicago circa 1997

Erica and I had become fast friends throughout our time in the SAIC program, and found that our most favorite class projects were those where we could paint, draw and collage rather than study advanced psychology, or learn how to do take downs in mental health facilities.

Art was our being, our knowing, our language. Ever since we could remember.

Following graduation, I decided to leave Chicago and head to the wild west of Denver, Colorado. Erica stayed in Chicago and later moved to Wisconsin.  But even though we struggled with the great physical distance between our homes, we always found a way to continue our friendship and connection. Over time, Erica and I both found our way working as art therapists in mental health facilities, teaching in preschools, working with the elderly, as well as holding positions in galleries and museums. And when the work day was over, we would both head to the studios we created for ourselves to make our own art, be they in our basements, spare bedrooms, closets, etc. Wherever we could find space to make art, we did. We would make our paintings, and show them around the respective towns and cities that we lived in. Sometimes we would show our works at coffeehouses, restaurants, salons, really anywhere that would hang our work, we would pursue.

Art was our being, our knowing, our language. And over the years of going to a daily job, it became more and more apparent that making art was really our true calling. We just really wanted to be professional artists, after all, but taking that leap of faith and pursuing a fine art profession on more than a part-time basis was simply terrifying. We had jobs with security, health insurance and steady pay checks. How could we leave all that behind?

Well, eventually we both did, in some shape or form, and just like our lives, our art has evolved as well, taking leaps of faith here and there, in our work, in our relationships and in our painting.

20 years later we will be celebrating our 2 decade long relationship with our very own exhibition of 20 paintings and mixed media works. With Erica's influences of Cy Twombly, Jim Nutt and Joseph Cornell and mine of Frida Kahlo, Frances Bacon and Basquiat this collaborative show will focus on twenty years of life lessons, of working as artists, being art therapists, and knowing the importance of the healing quality of being a creative has affected the evolution of our lives.

More information will follow as we receive it from the gallery, but we hope you will be able to join us on 11/7/15 in Sheboygan.

Honoring Your True Potential

(also published on LinkedIn)
Well folks, this blog entry seems to come at a time when I would most rather be celebrating. But unfortunately, I just discovered that I did not win this huge album art contest I had put a great deal of personal time and effort into. Some of you know that I had created a large mural painting on canvas for the German Band, Stanfour, hoping they would recognize a "true artist's" work and select an image created by my hands, bushes, paint and canvas, rather than a graphic design image made via the insides of a computer. I had spent an entire month creating this painting and image for the band. I had spent weeks making a time lapse video to share my process with the world. I promoted the band, I tweeted, I Facebooked, I blogged, I sent emails to my client base to support my work and vote for me!
Alas, all for the end result of coming in what seems to be third place (insert losing horn sound "waa waaa waaaaaa") You can see the results here on the Talenthouse website: https://www.talenthouse.com/i/design-the-official-cover-for-the-new-stanfour-album/submissions
For a sold minute, or two, or three, I was just plain pissed off. How could I have lost? I prayed about winning. I was mindful about my work. I had the support of a village behind me. I got "53 hearts" for crying out loud! The winner and second place only got 16 hearts a piece. I had done positive affirmations the past 24 hours that I had "already won" the #STANFOURCOVER contest. And then I logged into my computer and saw I had been defeated.
In my few moments of wallowing in self-pity, I realized that this isn't how I wanted my afternoon to go. I didn't really enjoy the self-wallowing. I really didn't enjoy looking at that webpage and seeing another artist had been selected. So what did I do next? I turned my head from my computer, I looked around my studio and I said a small prayer of gratitude, to the powers that be, to allow me to continue to create. I looked at my larger than life-sized paintings of Saraswati and Parvati (similar to the ones hanging in the image above) that I have a God-given gift to be a creative. And one win or one loss is not going to change who I am or what I do or my purpose on this planet.
I am the one that determines my worthiness.
I am the one that honors my true potential.
I am the one creating my own life's path.
If we continue to define our personal worthiness, by someone else's awards, we will ever only be just that - defined by others. 
So back to the easel, back to the drawing board, back to the studio I go. I know my purpose on this planet is to make artwork, to make paintings, to honor a person's soul with imagery that I create by my own hands. And when others acknowledge my work, then great! But when I can take a moment to acknowledge my own worthiness, my own accomplishments, by own dear true and brilliant existence as Laurie Maves, my soul shines its brightest.

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