It’s been a while since I’ve shared a glimpse into my studio! Here’s a fun embroidery I’ve been working on the past couple of weeks. It combines two things I love: stitching and good food.
The [working] title for this piece is called Favorite Bites in Baltimore, and it will include a half dozen of my favorite things I’ve eaten while living in Baltimore. So far, I’ve completed S’mores in a Jar from Hamilton Tavern and the Dirtyboy from Bun Shop. Now, I’m in the middle of a slice of pizza from Joe Squared.
I’m planning on embroidering a few more foods, but narrowing down the choices has been really hard. Baltimore has some great restaurants!
(Follow me on Instagram to see regular updates of what I’m working on.)
Many, many months ago, I was approached by Carly of EMP Collective to curate a show in their multi-purpose art space. Located in downtown Baltimore, EMP is used for gallery shows, live performances, writing workshops, film screenings, and more. The space is also HUGE. It’s in one of the old buildings downtown and has beautiful architecture and a raw, industrial look to it. Here’s part of the space to give you an idea:
As you can see, the square footage is daunting. I’d attended other exhibitions there, and most curators chose to try and fill most of the space with work. I decided I’d do the opposite. Instead of finding big work to hang, how about tiny pieces that I’d arrange?
That’s how In the Palm of Your Hand was born. EMP and I worked to build a small room (about 6FT by 8FT) inside of their gargantuan space. Then, I made it like a room in someone’s home; I included a dining table and chairs, a shelf, a lamp, and a few other knickknacks besides the work.
The opening for the show was January 10, but In the Palm of Your Hand will be up for a few more weeks. I’ll be at EMP for gallery hours from 12 — 4 on February 15! The following are some of the images from the show, but I took a lot more. Check out the whole set on my Flickr.
Zach Storm’s studio is located in a tree-line neighborhood at the edge of Baltimore City. It seems to be a peaceful setting, full of detached single-family homes. Here, in a large shed (with no heat!) is where Zach keeps his studio. Personally, I’m jealous; his space has amazing natural light, airy, away from distraction. It really feels like a place to escape.
I first wrote about Zach’s work after I saw these paintings in a show at MICA. They are vibrant and glitter-full (Literally. He used glitter spray paint in these works on paper.):
Looking at his work then (2012) to now (2013), I still see the same artist’s hand, but with his new series of works, they are more refined. Zach said he has a tendency to overwork things, and the paintings currently in his studio are a result of the systems of he’s created when working. This guards against this inclination. The paintings are worked on simultaneously and sequentially in an orderly fashion, and give Zach the freedom to move from piece to piece if he’s frustrated or feeling stuck.
Currently, these paintings are on aluminum, using automotive primer, pigment and urethane. Despite my initial assumption that Zach knew a lot about materials, he said he didn’t! The process of learning and reacting to the material reactions with each other is very much apart of these works. At times, he calls the reaction between materials “unnerving,” such as the way the pigment slides or resists primer, but ultimately an important to the painting’s development.
Before I visited Zach’s studio, I went through his past work on his website, writing down words that I associated with his work. I described them using “ethereal” and “splendor” — there’s sort of a whimsy (dare I say) to be associated to those words, which is actually what he tries to capture in these paintings. He said he gets “excited by light shining through the trees,” and tries to replicated emotional states like that. This lead to an interesting discussion. Zach collects old animation cells, specifically the backgrounds. Think of cartoons like Looney Toones or Ren and Stimpy. They have amazing and beautifully painted backgrounds that color fields inspire him. There’s also a rhythm to animation, a repetition and way of working that is akin to Zach’s process, too. Not only that, but the act of painting in a Bugs Bunny cartoon also makes Zach consider the way he works. Watch the first 10 seconds of this clip and you’ll understand:
As someone studying illustration, I loved that reference. I would have never thought of that when looking at his work, but it makes perfect sense.
Julianna is local to me, a transplant to Baltimore by way of Connecticut. It’s interesting to see her take on the city, in a series that she’s titled Baltimore Hodgepodge 1–4. A mishmash it is! She captures the banality of row homes, highlighting them with bright accents. Roof decks were new to me when I first moved to Baltimore, so I enjoy that she makes reference to that.
I was silent yesterday — my apologies. It’s because I was busy putting the finishing touches on eyra illustration gallery’s newest show,Don’t Call Me Honney. The exhibition centers around my home, Baltimore. All of the participating illustrators are living and making work in the city! I also wrote about Don’t Call Me Honney, thinking about it in terms of how we identify ourselves and how we become inspired.
This past Saturday I attended the opening for Conectado: Connecting at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore. I personally know the artists collaborating on the piece, Jaime Bennati and May Wilson, and I was really impressed with the installation they had put together. Jaime and May had really transformed the space, with a totem-like structure of cement cylinders (casted by May) and shipping pallets, intertwined with wire. Not only was this a visually compelling piece to view, but also was interesting to look at the individual assemblage.
Both artists have spent time in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (with Jaime spending upwards of a year there), and Conectado: Connecting is a reflection on the vibrant street culture present in this city. Wires present in the favelas, candy and fruit sold on the street — Jaime and May have referenced it in their installation. The large pallet and cylinder structure felt monumental, lumbering over the attendees of the show, a remark on the rapid speed of Brazil’s growing economy. Also, projected on one wall (which I failed to capture), were bus routes on Google Maps, flipping through different streets at a rapid, almost dizzying pace.