Category Archives: Artist in Residence

Meet the Artist in Residence: Gregory Dirr

Gregory Dirr, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of September 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Gregory some questions about his work and studio practice:

Gregory Dirr and his works at Bailey Contemporary, July 2019

Q: To start off, please you tell us about your background.

I’m from Miami but I live and work in Boca Raton, I work as a full-time visual artist. I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember; from a very young age it was something I was known for by my peers and even my family. I created more serious bodies of work during high school and applied to Ringling College in Sarasota where I received my BFA in 2008. After college, I started an artist collective – Thought Coalition – to help not only myself, but my friends and other emerging artists build relationships with businesses and art gallery owners.

Because of Thought Coalition I was able to accrue a lot of experience in curating and event organizing. I work as art director for Healing Blends Global, art director at Sickle Cell Natural Wellness Group, I am co-curator of Shangri-La Collective, and I have spearheaded some projects with local businesses all while pursuing my own studio stuff.

Q: How would you describe your work? 

Primarily, I’m a painter. I do, however, work in printmaking, sculpture, installation, collage, video, and music but I always circle back to painting. I’ve always been interested in various ways of creating and my own career has led me to dip into a plethora of art forms.

My subject matter is all a study for a book I’ve been writing for several years. I create landscapes, observational pieces, realism, or dreamy imagery as a response to my surroundings. These responses are sort of existential, which is touching into what my book is about, even if the references for the book are a bit obscure.

Flora

Flora, 2018, Gouache on raw canvas

I also love children’s folklore and literature. A few of my successful pieces are inspired by children’s stories that have a fantastical world like James and the Giant Peach, Grimm’s Tales, Oz series, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Alice in Wonderland.

GregoryDirr_James And The Giant Peach

James and The Giant Peach, 2017, Acrylic, gouache, ink on canvas

Q: What was your experience like at art school?

During college, I was constantly surrounded by other visual artists. At school I would get a glimpse of other artists’ work and their studio processes. We had to write papers about them and critique their work which turned out to be valuable and introspective to my own work. That analytical way of thinking allowed me to apply it to my own work and become less biased of the art I create.

immured

Immured, 2008, Acrylic, toothpaste, collage, medical tape, iridescent ink

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?

My favorite places to see art are in an artist’s studio or home, where they work. I feel like I’m getting an unedited version of what their process looks like. I enjoy looking at the duality of how something can look so orchestrated when it’s in a gallery, a book, or online versus how human it looks in person.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?

What’s most valuable to my process is actually a sketchbook or journal, something to write down or draw thoughts. To me it’s more than doodling or sketching – I write ideas or even potential color palette combinations. Sometimes I even just write a single word, sometimes I write lyrics. I think the thought process behind an idea is more valuable than the actual painting of the artwork itself. I can be working on a very successful idea, but if I’m not elaborating on it aesthetically or conceptually, it will never grow. This is where a sketchbook comes into play.

Q: What are your goals for this residency? 

I want to mix my observational stuff with my landscapes with my fantastical illustrations with my graphic work and find a middle ground between them. I’m also going to use this opportunity to paint bigger than what I’m usually working because my current working space is at home. That all being said, I’d love to use this opportunity to be influenced by the surrounding imagery of Clifton Springs. I’ve never been to upstate New York so I’m excited to explore the area – especially the nature.

Currently, I’m working with Nordstrom on a project, I’m also working on a regional grant proposal. I always have something in the works be it public art, upcoming shows, commissions, directing art – you name it. This month at Main Street Arts is going to give a reprise from most of those things.

Q: Where else can we find you?

My website — GregoryDirr.com has some bodies of work gathered in an organized type of way.

Instagram — @gregorydirr it where I post only art, usually current stuff or things I’m just interested in showing off. :)

My blog — gregorydirr.wordpress.com where the art is all over the place!

And my Facebook business page — @Gregory Dirr and it lists all my upcoming and and recent works. :)

 

Meet Artist In Residence Lauren Pitcher Stone

Lauren Pitcher Stone , artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of September 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Lauren some questions about her work and studio practice:

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Lauren Pitcher Stone

Q: To start off, tell us about yourself.
Greetings! I am Lauren Pitcher Stone, an interdisciplinary artist from the tri-state area. I graduated with a BFA from Mason Gross and am classified as a millennial even if my bracket rejects the term. I currently work as an artist assistant as well as freelance fabricator and look to continue my studies in the future.

"Remnant of Actaeon", deer teeth, dirt, grinds, hair, fabric, paper, and paint

“Remnant of Actaeon”, deer teeth, dirt, grinds, hair, fabric, paper, and paint

Q: Can you describe your work?
My work encompasses painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, and exists as traces of another place. They act as transformative environments that are chthonic portals of poetry and romance as well as rot and growth.

A Good and Spacious Land, mixed media installation

A Good and Spacious Land, mixed media installation

Q: What are your plans for your residency?
While at Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs I plan on delving into polarities of nesting vs. nomadic and how the modern world begs for beings to be conflicted to be subversive, peripatetic, or anthropological in their approach to life. In general I have a clear idea of my direction. I feel intimate with these ideas and feelings that have to be developed through creating and making. As the work is developed it often changes and takes different permeations till they are one.

The works will involve photo and installation which will exist in nature as well as in the workspace till they are cannibalized into something useful or as a stepping stone.

Split of Persephone, Paint, Fabric, Paper, and Graphite

Split of Persephone, Paint, Fabric, Paper, and Graphite

Q: Where can we find you?
My work can be seen on my website, laurenstoneart.com and on Instagram: @HoldMeMonster

Meet the Artist in Residence: Victoria Scudamore

Victoria Scudamore , artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of August 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Victoria some questions about her work and studio practice:

Artist Victoria Scudamore

Artist Victoria Scudamore

Q: To start off, tell us about your background.
I grew up in a suburb of San Francisco near the ocean, and across the street from a mountain covered in eucalyptus trees. I was given lots of freedom to explore, climb trees, and create. Being so involved in nature helped inform my art process.

I was an ultrasonographer, and realtor, before becoming a full-time artist. I have taken numerous courses from well-known artists and did an art residency in Barcelona. I don’t have a  formal art school background but have been told that is why I am able to be so free and loose in my art, there are no preconceived notions.

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Q: How would you describe your work?
Painting makes me happy, and I hope to bring the same response in the viewer. I paint abstractly with bold brush strokes, and vivid colors. My paintings are non-representational,  as I want others to feel the art, and decide what it means to them. Since I have always lived near the ocean, blue seems to appear in my paintings quite often, as do abstract mountains, forests, and seas.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
As an ultrasonographer, I used the left side of my brain while performing and interpreting scans of patients.  As an artist, I use the synergy of both sides of the brain. My intuitive right brain is in play when I am painting my emotions, using varied gestural strokes, marks, and vivid colours. Like a scientist, my art studio is my lab; where I experiment with different media and techniques in my abstract paintings. Acrylic is combined with ink, collage, monoprinting, or encaustic. Layer after layer and various textures aim to evoke a visceral response in the viewer.

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Q: What is your most useful tool in your studio?
My most useful tools are my imagination and intuition. I have a wildly vivid imagination and dream in color. My intuition is so strong, amazing things have happened in my life.

The tactile tools I love are my fingers and catalyst blades, which are a firm flat silicone blade.

54420CD7-5F32-4BEC-8186-9ED74D628524_ayxse3

Q: What advice would you give other artists?
Enjoy the journey, have a sense of play. Don’t worry about what others think of your art. If you are authentic and enjoy what you are doing, it will be reflected in your paintings and liked by others. Don’t compare yourself with other artists, everyone is on a different part of their journey. Comparison steals joy. You are never too old. Just start. The world needs your art.

Q: Do you collect artwork?
Making art has enhanced my enjoyment of other’s work. I collect art from close artist friends, as I love to have a memento from those I care about. When I participated in the International Encaustic Conference, I was thrilled to be able to purchase small works from incredible encaustic artists. I usually buy small pieces, as my walls are covered with my art. My most recent purchase was from a local hyperrealistic artist, Lorn Curry.  I appreciate his talent, as it is so different from my own.

Roundhouse Exhibition

Roundhouse Exhibition

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I am so excited to have been accepted to the residency program at Main Street Arts!  I can’t wait to be in Clifton Springs and make new friends. I plan to explore the beautiful Finger Lakes region and incorporate natural materials in my work. Experimenting with brush making and monoprinting, I hope to complete a series of abstract paintings that give a sense of place. I hope to engage the locals, and that you will come to visit me on the second floor. I would enjoy chatting with you. I am also teaching a monoprinting with a gel plate workshop on August 24!

Q: What’s next for you?
I’ve applied for a few shows at the Federation Of Canadian Artists, back home in Vancouver, Canada. My dream art studio in my garden has been finished.  I’m excited to announce mixed media workshops in my beautiful bright new space. I hope to also have guest artists.

Q: Where else can we find you?

I can be found on my website: www.victoriascudamore.com
Instagram: victoria_scudamore_artist
Pinterest: www.pinterest.ca/VScudamoreArt

 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Jane Fleming

Jane Fleming, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of July 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Jane some questions about her work and studio practice:

Jane Fleming with "Self Portrait," Mixed Media on Canvas, Triptych, 2019

Jane Fleming with “Self Portrait,” Mixed Media on Canvas, Triptych, 2019

Q: To start off, tell us about your background.
My path to becoming a visual artist has been rather non-traditional. I grew up in Virginia and moved to Texas in 2014, where I have lived ever since. I received my B.A. in English from the University of Texas at El Paso and am currently pursuing my PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin. I have always been a creative writer, focusing primarily on poetry and creative non-fiction, but had never really considered myself a visual “artist.” In 2016, I began to create small collages as a compliment to my writing— a way of working out the things that I couldn’t yet form into words.

My collage practice morphed to include painting with acrylics, which I began to learn with the help of YouTube videos and guidance from my twin brother, Jordan Aman, who has a BFA in studio art from Florida State University. From there, something really clicked. Like my writing, the creation of my collages became almost compulsive. I have totally fallen in love with the ever-growing and changing artistic practice.

"Mindscape 2019," Mixed Media on Paper, 2019

“Mindscape 2019,” Mixed Media on Paper, 2019

Q: How would you describe your work?
All of my work is mixed media— usually acrylic paint with images found in old magazines and used books. I often joke that my preferred aesthetic is “naked ladies in space” because most of my pieces have some kind of cosmic backdrop and nod towards my fascination with the female form.

Like my writing, though, my art tends to play with the experience of internal chaos alongside the presence of what I consider aesthetically beautiful. I am an artist, like many, who struggles with mental illness, so I am all about working through those struggles in my art. The road to recovery from depressive episodes and intense anxiety is as beautiful as it can be dark and exhausting. I think a lot of my work mimics that.

Live Painting at Austin Witches Circle Market, 2019

Live Painting at Austin Witches Circle Market, 2019

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
In addition to writing and visual art, I also do a lot of flow dancing, which is basically a form of dancing that relies on the music and gut instinct to determine movement (that’s a crude description, but it is hard to describe). I think about it as a form of meditation. I am placing my faith in the medium of creative production and trusting my creative instincts to perform the right movement. My process for creating art is very similar.

Usually, I start with an image from a book or magazine that has really gotten stuck in my mind— a figure, a face, a background. I choose the major color for the background and paint a primary layer. Then, I begin to lay out the piece with other objects, images, etc. that feel right. When I have a basic composition, I sit with the piece and ask it what it wants to be. I find that my most successful pieces form narratives organically throughout the process of creation. Usually, what I think I am creating when I begin is nothing like what the piece ends up looking like in the end.

"Jumper," Mixed Media on Paper, 8.5"x11", 2019

“Jumper,” Mixed Media on Paper, 8.5″x11″, 2019

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
The music that I listen to has a huge influence on the art that I create. When I get into the “zone” it is almost always accompanied with a deep dive into my favorite albums. That said, my taste is pretty erratic. By far, the album that I listen to the most while working is Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I just love the performative nature of the album and the feeling that you are going down the rabbit hole with the band. When I am really jamming hard with a piece, I feel like I’m heading down a rabbit hole too, so it jibes perfectly.

Otherwise, I am a big fan of what I lovingly call “sad girl music,” which is basically female indie singer/songwriters who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Some of my recent favorites are Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Hop Along, Slothrust, and Boygenius.

"Roots," Mixed Media on Wood Board, 24"x48", 2019

“Roots,” Mixed Media on Wood Board, 24″x48″, 2019

Q: Do you collect artwork?
Yes! Absolutely. Mostly, I buy art from local artists at craft fairs and art markets. I just love picking up prints or originals that both support local artists and are emblematic of the places that we live and have visited.

I am also lucky enough to have a family that also values art production and collecting, so some of my most treasured pieces in our collection have been passed down. My favorite piece is without a doubt one of those gifts. It is a paper cast from New Mexican artist, Dolona Roberts, which was gifted to us by my grandparents for my husband and I’s wedding.

Jane Fleming working on pieces for her show, "Ocotillo Worship" at Vault Stone Shop  Gallery, Austin, TX, 2019

Jane Fleming working on pieces for her show, “Ocotillo Worship” at Vault Stone Shop Gallery, Austin, TX, 2019

Q: Who inspires you and why?
Unsurprisingly, a lot of my pieces have a literary influence. I often get lines from books and poetry stuck in my head and write it on the wood/canvas before I begin painting. So, you could say that the heart of my visual art is always literary.

In the art world I have a lot of influences, but for collage, my favorite is undoubtedly Sebastian Wahl. I love the Wahl’s clean composition and the dynamism/movement of his collages. I am always trying to emulate that in my work.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My biggest goal for this residency is to play. I hope to really experiment with material and form. Recently, I have begun using butcher paper and wheat paste rather than wood for my collages and I would like to continue working with that.

Additionally, I have a series that I have been working on called “To Wander,” which I would really like to expand upon. The series gets its name from John Milton’s use of the word “wander” in his epic, Paradise Lost. In Paradise Lost, it is Eve’s wandering that leads to the “fall of man.” Milton uses “wander” from the latinate root for the verb “to err,” thereby suggesting that a wanderer is, in fact erring. I interact with this interpretation in two ways. First, my series produces “Eves” that wander on purpose. They are fully in control of their processes of discovery. Additionally, these Eves are centered rather than the tragical Adam. They are engaging in a pleasurable wandering– one that is productive for its pleasure, rather than reductive for its erring.

I haven’t yet found a place for this series, but I am excited about where it will take me with its narrative.

"Eden," Mixed Media on Wood, 12"x12", 2019

“Eden,” Mixed Media on Wood, 12″x12″, 2019

Q: What’s next for you?
I have two full-length collections of poetry and lyric essays coming out in 2020 with Rhythm and Bones Press and Chaleur Press, so I am working hard on getting those manuscripts ready to go. With my visual art, I intend to keep producing and working on getting involved in the artistic community here in Austin. I am hoping to have opportunities to show my work before the end of the year and have faith that those opportunities will fall into place!

Q: Where else can we find you?
I am very active on social media and have a personal blog. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @queenjaneapx. I also run a blog called Luna Speaks, which houses my artistic portfolio in addition to interviews with other artists and authors, and a creative writing series. You can find that at lunaspeaksblog.com.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Geena Massaro

Geena Massaro, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the months of July and August 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Geena some questions about her work and studio practice:

Geena drawing

Geena drawing

Q. Please tell us about your background.
I grew up in Palmyra, NY and still reside there. I attended Pratt MWP in Utica, NY as well as the better known Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where I received my BFA in painting and drawing. Since finishing my BFA, I worked as a preschool teacher and am currently a teacher’s aide in a special education program. I’ve always found the energy of children inspiring, honest and relatable so I seem to have developed a gravity for this type of profession. I am currently attending Nazareth College in pursuit of a degree in art education.

Q. How long have you been making artwork?
I have been making art since I was a child. My imagination was my home and a safe place to follow some of the curiosities I developed about perceiving my inner and outer worlds.  I identified with the quiet self who  actively observed both my imaginary world and the physical world in one channel, so drawing became very natural to me. It was my habit and identity as a child.

The first thing I consciously remember drawing was an elephant. I remember showing my parents at the kitchen table (where I actually still draw) and my mother telling me that I was going to be an “artist” and I remember I took that very seriously.

Self portrait as a child, graphite on paper, 2019

Self portrait as a child, graphite on paper, 2019

Q. How would you describe your work?
I started this style of automatic painting that is very reactive to surface and are conversations (and excavations) with my own silent innerness. My paintings exhibit compulsive movements, perceived more through the hand than the eye. Superficially, they are highly textured and raw spaces. The goal of this kind of painting is not to represent a specific thing but to be within the activity of a field of feelings come and gone- observed and released through me to my hand and onto the surface. I started doing this as a way to push my paintings and myself into places of the unknown. When I reach this state of the unknown, I feel I often go blind to the action of my hand and become involved in this deep instinctual play of automatic-reactive problem solving. 

Geena Massaro, Untitled, oil on canvas, 2019

Untitled, oil on canvas, 2019

My drawings channel the same hand but a different eye. They often depict some innocent and vulnerable object or character (I seem to be followed by the archetype of the child) turned melancholic.  It is the expression of my hand however that I do believe defines my drawing- regardless of what I could say my subject matter is.

Geena Massaro, Isabella at the table, graphite on paper, 2018

Isabella at the table, graphite on paper, 2018

Q. What is your process for creating a work of art?
I am very curious about seeing and enthusiastic about the act of (and the mind of) drawing itself. Translating an image from my perceptions to my hand, my hand becomes a vehicle towards another seeing.

I draw a lot from reference photos that I have accumulated from my time as a preschool teacher. I draw a lot of my students. I think sometimes the drawing begins with a separate emotional response (some curious response) and then I just continue reacting to whatever through the language of line. My line dances fast from light to heavy and I tend to draw small- around sketchbook scale.

Geena Massaro, Lily in a chair II, graphite on paper, 2019

Lily in a chair II, graphite on paper, 2019

My paintings develop out of reaction as well. Painting is embarked upon in phases of intense work and suspensions of waiting. Painting begins in the hand and it’s completion is seldom foreseen. The process is a blind, visceral response between thought, hand and material.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Blue), oil on canvas, 2018

Untitled (Blue), oil on canvas, 2018

The painting sits once I tire of the action and then waits for me to return to it. I live with the painting as if it were complete. This is when the painting speaks to me. I contemplate its suggested “eternity” through this play until I am either tormented or inspired to re-enter the work- or agree with it’s completion.  this play is very childlike to me and liberating. It is difficult for me to see my paintings clearly as the object they insist to be in their completion and I am curious still how to define the life of an artwork.

Geena Massaro, detail of Untitled (Blue)

Detail of Untitled (Blue)

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
I’ve learned that it is more productive and enjoyable to leave some questions out of the working hand and to ask them when you are out of the creative state. I think asking yourself questions while working is important but any question that involves a doubt about the work  will be more beneficial and constructive to yourself when you are out of the work and in a state of reflection instead.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Carter, curtain, dog, room), graphite and chalk on paper, 2018

Untitled (Carter, curtain, dog, room), graphite and chalk on paper, 2018

Q. Who inspires you and why?
Children seem to have a big emotional impact on me. It may be because they are naturally what they are and I have a feeling of this being more difficult to know in adult life. I think children are always in a creative space.  Their brains are so hungry and I feel mine is too but I feel it is so much more natural to engage with that when you are child. They take the information of life as it comes. I love my students and there is so much natural wisdom in the things they say and do. They remind me to be honest with myself and my own inner child.

Q. Who is your favorite artist and why?
My favorite visual artist, overall, is Cy Twombly.  Apart from his works being highly charged in historical literary significance, there is a sublime freedom and play in his hand and the language his works possesses which I feel moved by.

Geena Massaro, Sasha’s communion and lilies, graphite on paper, 2019

Sasha’s communion and lilies, graphite on paper, 2019

Q. What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
I’ve noticed, my hands respond to noise reflexively, so I really enjoy listening to music while working. I respond to all kinds of genres, so whatever I’m into at the moment is what’s playing.

I had a huge relationship with John Frusciante’s music during college (especially after reading his essay on the creative act, The Will to Death). His work and expressions carry through to me still so deeply so I turn to him sometimes by default because I know a strong energy exists in his music.

I sing a lot to myself when I work as well.

Q. What are your goals for this residency?
My goal for this residency is to produce as much as I can and really be present with my creative world. I want to work bigger and I am very excited to have the space to do so (my current working studio is also my bedroom which is very limiting).

I want to try to unite the worlds of my painting hand and my drawing hand more successfully as well. I would like to try larger figurative paintings that use the same kind of mark as my non-objective paintings but solve themselves with a  figure. I would like to try to make more spaces for the figures to exist in in the paintings that would combine a better sense of space with the dance of paint that my non-objective works have.

Geena Massaro, Lily, oil on canvas, 2017

Lily, oil on canvas, 2017

Apart from figure, there are other subjects in me that I find reoccurring in the gravity of my innerness and I want to try to understand how these objects or things got there and what I could do with them in my work.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Julianna, bird, branch), graphite on paper, 2019

Untitled (Julianna, bird, branch), graphite on paper, 2019

Q. What’s next for you?
I can’t really say what’s next yet. I’ve been  looking forward to this residency and I’m just really excited for this opportunity to be with myself and create.

Q. Where else can we find you?
Instagram @geenamassaro

Meet the Artist in Residence: David Fludd

David Fludd, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of June 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked David some questions about his work and studio practice:

Artist David Fludd

Artist David Fludd

Q: Please you tell us about your background.
I currently live and work in New York City.  I have a BA, in art from Morehouse College and an MFA in painting and printmaking from the Yale University School of Art. I have also attended Skowhegan.

The layering and building of textures is apparent in my paintings. I am interested in creating textures and working with color as well as black and white. I see the process of printmaking and painting as being related.

David Fludd, “Untitled”, 2018, Acrylic on Paper, 24”x30”

David Fludd, “Untitled”, 2018, Acrylic on Paper, 24”x30”

I am interested in printmaking and its multifaceted possibilities in terms of changing a single image from print to print. Printmaking is open to improvisation and experimentation; printmaking informs my painting practice.

I draw from life as well. This experience is important and adds to my art. The works are open to interpretation. In this manner, dialogue is invited. I also play the piano and compose music.

David Fludd, “Untitled”, 2018, Acrylic on Canvas. 50”x32”

David Fludd, “Untitled”, 2018, Acrylic on Canvas. 50”x32”

Q: What type of music do you listen to?
Music informs my work technically and in the way that I approach a canvas — with the ideals of exploration. I am constantly exploring music and experimenting with composition. Improvisational concepts are present in the works and basic musical compositional techniques such as retrograde motion and augmentation are present. I compose and perform as a pianist.

David Fludd, “Untitled”, 2018, Acrylic on Paper, 19”x24”

David Fludd, “Untitled”, 2018, Acrylic on Paper, 19”x24”

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I plan to create works on paper and to work with drawing and watercolors. I am interested in experimentation. The art that I plan to create will be improvisatory and experimental in nature. The  compositions will be open to interpretation.

The works that I create are influenced by where they are created. By this approach the works express the experiences of where they were created. The art expresses the experiences of working by the sea or in a city, or more rural place in a unique way. In this regard multiplicity exists and thereby expresses many places, often simultaneously.

Untitled. oil on canvas, 2016, 18”x24”

David Fludd “Untitled”. oil on canvas, 2016, 18”x24”

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I have an open sensibility in creating art and I am constantly learning, experimenting; trying new ways of creating and seeing. All of the parts of my compositions are carefully arranged in the process of creation. I am interested in a spontaneous methodology as a way of articulating compositions.

I explore color and texture and multiple approaches to painting and drawing. I make an effort to instill an awareness of seeing the fundamental basic shapes and structures in my art. I have studied many paintings throughout the world. I am fascinated by different approaches to painting and drawing and instill my own work with a vibrancy and sense of looking forward while understanding painting from a historical viewpoint.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Britny Wainwright

Britny Wainwright, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of June 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Britny some questions about her work and studio practice:

Artist in her studio.

Artist in her studio.

Q: Please tell us about your background.
Hi, I’m Britny. I grew up just south of the Finger Lakes region, in Owego, NY. It’s refreshing to not have to describe where the Finger Lakes are!

I attended Alfred University, receiving my BFA in 2012. In 2017 I received my MFA from Ohio State University. While both degrees are in fine art, I concentrated in ceramics for both of them.

I now live and make work in Columbus, OH. I first moved to Columbus for graduate school in 2014, and have stuck around for the amazing creative community. I love living in a vibrant city, and Columbus has many great opportunities for artists! I teach as an adjunct instructor at Ohio State and Capital Universities, and maintain a studio practice.

Enduring Blossom, 2017, terracotta, glaze, canvas, wood, foam, house paint. 64” x 54” x 60”.

Enduring Blossom, 2017, terracotta, glaze, canvas, wood, foam, house paint. 64” x 54” x 60”.

Q: How long have you been making artwork?
The earliest memory I have of my obsession with material and making things, was a field trip in preschool. I think it was some sort of career day, but what I lost my mind over was the sand art table! The scratchy sound the plastic spoons made dipping into containers of brilliantly colored sand has stuck with me. I think this experience was the first time I realized making art could be something primary in my life.

I really got serious about being an artist in college. I was very fortunate to attend a fantastic undergraduate program in art — Alfred University’s School of Art & Design. It provided me with a well-rounded art experience, and ultimately I concentrated in ceramics, although my secondary was painting. My minor was in art education, and I even finished my teaching certification before decided to pursue graduate school for an MFA.

Untitled. 2019, felt, painted canvas, trim, fiberfil. 27" x 43" x 6.

Untitled. 2019, felt, painted canvas, trim, fiberfil. 27″ x 43″ x 6.

Q: How would you describe your work?
I’d have to say my work is a granny’s dream of ugly couches, and floral prints, plus material play? Most of my academic training was focused on ceramics, and it deeply influences my work,  but I now maintain a much more hybrid practice of ceramics and fiber. I find both of these mediums, plus painting, are necessary to speak about the content in my work.

I am an artist because I have things to say. As a woman the very act of making work is a feminist act. I try to not discredit my voice before I speak! Placing floral pattern, stitching, embroidery, and bright colors in the gallery is an act of celebration of feminine things. I question the authority of these things in gender and art, and the conceptual consideration these practices receive, or don’t.

Studio shot. Clay motif "tiles" in progress.

Studio shot. Clay motif “tiles” in progress.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
It depends on what I’m making, but most certainly heavy-repetition is guaranteed. When I make works that require ceramic motifs, or tiles as I call them, I start with producing them: rolling slabs of clay, cutting motifs, defining and drilling holes, drying, firing, etc. I then build the structure and stitch on the tiles by hand before upholstering. Ceramics is a long process and sewing is quite the opposite. It’s instant gratification! I’m able to walk into my studio and finish a piece in a few hours — totally unheard of in ceramics.

Lay Your Pretty Little Head. 2019, painted canvas & cotton, terra-cotta, thread, fiberfil. 5" x 15" x 15"

Lay Your Pretty Little Head. 2019, painted canvas & cotton, terra-cotta, thread, fiberfil. 5″ x 15″ x 15″

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I’m starting a new body of work I’ve long wanted to make: examining women’s patriotism in America. I will be visiting Seneca Falls, where the Declaration of Sentiments was signed in 1841, demanding that women have equal footing with men under the constitution. I’ve also been collecting visual resources from the 1976 Bicentennial — in particular home decor. I’m intrigued by the trend of domestic patriotism of this time. Especially because women’s public patriotism is sometimes misunderstood as un-American! This local historical research paired with studio explorations of patriotic motif will leave me with a new body of ceramic and fiber work that grapples with women’s patriotism in America.

Also, I’m lucky enough to be able to install a new exhibition in the second floor gallery entitled, power. I will be showing a new ambitious sewing piece, and several other recent works. Exhibition reception is on June 14th from 5-7pm, and artist talk at 6pm!

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?
I love DC. The variety of museums is astounding. The East Wing of the National Galleries is good, in particular the Matisse room. The Freer & Sackler is also great, I took a lot of non-western art history courses in college. A lot of very important ceramic history can be found in China, Japan, and Korea, so the Freer is almost always on my checklist. I also love the Lincoln Gallery in the American Art Museum. The Hirshhorn for really great contemporary stuff. Oh, and The Phillips Collection, that Wolfgang Laib beeswax room- drool worthy.

Recreation. 2018, terra-cotta, slip, fabric, wood, house paint, thread. 45” x 50” x 36”

Recreation. 2018, terra-cotta, slip, fabric, wood, house paint, thread. 45” x 50” x 36”

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
In particular to artists thinking about going to graduate school — take time off after undergrad. Those few years are so valuable. I worked as a server, an assistant cook, a substitute teacher, a house sitter, etc. If you power through to graduate school, I’m not sure you’ll really convince yourself why you want to be an artist. That floundering will make you appreciate graduate school so much more!

Q: What’s next for you?
I have quite the busy summer! After my residency at Main Street Arts, I will be a visiting artist at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Arlington, VA for the month of July. I hope to finish this new body of work while in residence there. I also have some upcoming shows for the 2019-20 season! Follow my social media for more information.

Q: Where else can we find you?
www.britnywainwright.com
Instagram: @britny_wainwright
Facebook: Britny Wainwright

Meet the Artist in Residence: Taylor Kennedy

Taylor Kennedy, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of May 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Taylor some questions about her work and studio practice:

Taylor in her studio at Pratt Institute.

Taylor in her studio at Pratt Institute.

Q: Please tell us about your background?
I was raised in Sodus Point, NY ( which is a 30 minute drive North of Clifton Springs). I attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and graduated in 2015 with my BFA in Fine Art Studio. While in my last year at RIT, I realized I was not done with my education. I was just hitting my stride in my practice and wanted the safety (haha) and challenge of a MFA program. I was very lucky to get into Pratt Institute, as I was even younger and less “experienced” in the art world then. So, I moved to Brooklyn in August of 2015. It was hard, but it was what I needed. I graduated from Pratt in 2017 with my MFA in Printmaking. I stayed in the city until this past February, when I moved back home.

I have been drawing ever since I can remember. My family has a “knack” for artistry; vocally, instrumentally, written and visually.  My generation has been the only one to pursue full fledged artistic careers. I think we saw how much our parents/uncles/aunts wished they devoted more time to the arts. That is not to say it is easy, making a career in the arts; because it is fucking hard. But I can’t see myself as anything else.

I’ve worked as a teaching artist. An artist assistant. A nanny. A dog walker. A house-sitter. Living the stereotype of an artist. But these are all jobs that add to your practice, that give you insight. Make you real. Currently, I work as a substitute teacher.

I Want You in My Posse (Preliminary Layout), 2019

I Want You in My Posse (Preliminary Layout), 2019

Q: How would you describe your work?
Oh boy, I am laughing as write this. It is, for lack of a better word, my diary. I have gotten slack for my work being too “cathartic” or “therapeutic” as I speak so much of my personal background. I don’t think I would get that critique if I was a man, but I keep making it.

My work is my memory. Or memoir. Or ode to my family, as ironic as that may seem.  Or all of the above.

I think there is a universal language felt when looking at imagery that was created to speak to the poignancy felt in everyday family life. At least, that is what I am trying to poke at. I have seen and felt heartache and loss, divorce, suicide, addiction, alcoholism and mental illness. But I have also seen and felt middle class pride, true love, perseverance, and growth. They work in tandem, the dysfunctions and the functions. That’s life.

As families, we live our lives in cycles. In patterns. Sometimes, we think we break them, but I have come to find that we recreate those cycles in some other form. Across generations. Across bloodlines.

When I speak of family, I am not only speaking of my blood relations. I am speaking of my friends. Or the people I snap pictures of on the street that are sharing a moment. Or even animals. Inanimate objects telling a metaphorical familial story.

We are all related, in some way. That is what I want my work to evoke.

Chicken Soup, 2018

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Right now, I have a bank of reference pictures I draw from. That includes old personal family photos, photos I have taken and stock images I find on the internet.

For a drawing, I lay out a piece of paper, print out what reference photos are speaking to me, and start a layout in pencil or vine charcoal. Sometimes, I cut out parts. Sometimes, I add aspects of other reference photos. Sometimes, I go on memories I can still visualize in my head. It depends on that exact moment. I have been trying to be more considerate of composition, leading me to make collages of the reference photos I am thinking of using.

I follow it. I try to not plan too hard. I make notes on the paper, or the walls if I can, if I have thoughts related to my practice (which, if you haven’t noticed, is everything in my life). If it calls for becoming sculptural or an installation, I listen to it. You have to listen to the work. Sit with it. I don’t like to kill work. That is the worst.

I Want You in My Posse (Preliminary Layout), 2019

Man’s Best Friend (Preliminary Layout), 2019

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I am going to work on illustrating a children’s book that was written by my aunt, Sara Kennedy. It is going to be a challenge, seeing that I am not necessarily a “planner” and more intuitive in my process. But it is a challenge I look forward too, as it is going to be a way of learning to simplify compositions that are strong in their convictions. The imagery needs to read as if the text was not there.  The studio has printmaking equipment that I will take advantage of; I envision creating mixed media illustrations using drawing, collage and printing.

I also plan on getting some painting done. I am not a painter. Not at all. Painting is really hard. And not everyone realizes how hard painting is/that they should not be painting, because they are not painters. But, I have a ton of canvas and paint, so why not challenge myself even more? That will be more personally based. I am envisioning a large tableau-style painting of a pick-up truck right now. I’ll get back to you on if that comes to fruition.

Taylor in residence at Sodus High School, 2019

Taylor in residence at Sodus High School.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
My body. Your body is your number one tool. I have never been an athlete, never into exercise, but if you want to make it as an artist, you need to keep yourself healthy, physically and mentally. I have carpal tunnel in my dominate hand. Arthritis, MS, and Fibromyalgia run in my family. I am trying to get myself strong. What is the point of making large things if you cannot physically handle them?

Tape is good too. You can make anything with a roll of tape.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer. Toyin Ojih Odutola. Nicole Eisenman.  Genieve Figgis. Kerry James Marshall. Egon Schiele. Alice Neel. Red Grooms. Marisol Escobar.

They are storytellers. They were/are transparent. I think it is honest. Their work is not trying to be “art”, it just is.

"Ven, To!" (Preliminary Layout), 2019

“Ven, To!” (Preliminary Layout), 2019

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?
Kids make the best work. And they have no idea, which makes it even better. So schools, the backs of homework, scraps of paper, desks. Anywhere a kid would create.

Q: Do you collect artwork? Tell us about your collection.
I do, a little. I have work of my peers and of young artists (kids) I have taught. The adult work I have mostly because of trading them with my own work. The kid work I have is because it was gifted to me or I commissioned it. I would rather pay a child to make me something than an adult.

I suppose I am a sentimental sucker at heart. But that is the only way to be.

Town of Sodus, 2015

Town of Sodus, 2015

Q: What’s next for you?
At this moment, making dinner. I am trying really hard to not think ahead. I am an anxious person; I have to teach myself to live in the moments.

Q: Where else can we find you?
I am on Instagram @taylor_mica_kennedy and my website is www.taylormkennedy.com

Meet the Artist in Residence: Elizabeth Courtney

Elizabeth Courtney, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of May 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Elizabeth some questions about her work and studio practice:

Artist Elizabeth Courtney

Artist Elizabeth Courtney paining en plein air

Q: Tell us about your background.
Hi I’m Liz. I’m super excited to have the opportunity to paint here for the next four weeks. Let me tell you a little about myself and my work…

I have been painting in Eastern Connecticut, all my life. I decided to try to take my art to a more professional level my junior year of high school when I attended the RISD pre college program. I quickly realized I was out of my league there. So for my undergrad I did not want to go to an art school. I ended up at an environmental liberal arts college called Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. I started there thinking I was going to go for environmental studies but something kept drawing me back to the studio. I still don’t know what it was.

I graduated from there in three years with my BFA with a concentration in painting in 2016. After a little while I realize that not going to art school for my undergrad may have been a mistake career wise, not personally, so I decided to do a post bac in Florence, Italy. That was easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Studying painting in Italy, not only got me to truly open up as an artist for the first time in my life but I also met so many other artists that introduced me so many new concepts and ideas I would have never been exposed to. Some of those artists even helped me get into other residencies and galleries. I am forever grateful for
that.

Elizabeth Courtney, "This Green Place II”, 2018, oil and acrylic on panel

Elizabeth Courtney, “This Green Place II”, 2018, oil and acrylic on panel

Q: How would you describe your work?
I am a plein air oil painter. I love painting outside. I have found that painting outside on site just helps me live in the moment. I truly appreciate where I am and what I came here to do. I know that I am not the best painter ever, but I love it. I don’t care that I am not the best painter, I just want to create an image that evokes an emotional response even if it is just for me.

Elizabeth Courtney, “Truth”, 2018, oil on canvas, 18”x24”

Elizabeth Courtney, “Truth”, 2018, oil on canvas

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I feel like my process and style of painting are always changing but only the one thing that stays the same is that I take my paintings outside. Recently, I have been starting in the studio and experimenting with acrylic underpaintings so that I don’t start on the intimidating white surface.  Sometimes I completely cover that surface in a made up color of oil paint which I draw into, exposing layers of paint that I constantly change with more paint. Most people are afraid that it would get muddy and sometimes it does but I love finding the perfect top color and making it bright.

One of the biggest problems I have as an artist is knowing when to call my paintings done. I want to get better at that and I think I am.

Work by Elizabeth Courtney

Work by Elizabeth Courtney

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I want to paint outside as much as possible during this residency. Possibly everyday if I can, even if it’s raining. Last summer I did some really cool paintings in the rain, in my car and under shelters at State parks.

I really want to drive around the area as much as possible, too. I want to get to Lake Ontario, Niagara Falls, and other state parks around the area to paint. I really want to do an en plein air painting of Niagara Falls—I just think that would be really cool!

I wouldn’t mind selling some of the paintings I do as this residency. I’ve recently started running out of wall space.

Work by Elizabeth Courtney

Work by Elizabeth Courtney

Q: What’s next for you?
As far as after this residency, I took a job with the Chautauqua Institute residence life department for the summer where, hopefully, I can keep painting there. I don’t have a ton of plans after that but I would love to someday get my masters in fine arts, maybe in Europe, but who knows. That might be my favorite part of being an artist. I don’t know what’s next.

Q: Where else can we find you? 
I am very active on Instagram @elizabeththeartist. I try to keep it as up to date as possible.

From The Director: Residency Alumni Exhibition

Residency Alumni Show  at Main Street Arts

Installation shot of the Residency Alumni exhibition at Main Street Arts

Our current exhibition is one that is fairly atypical for Main Street Arts — it’s not really thematic, it doesn’t necessarily have a large idea that brings the work together, it isn’t an invitational based on specific media, it isn’t a national juried exhibition or a solo show. The thing that brings these very different artists together is that they have all been artists in residence at Main Street Arts.

Residency Alumni Show at Main Street Arts

Some of the work by former residents included in the exhibition

The Residency Alumni Exhibition has been a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate nearly three years of the residency program at the gallery. In June, 2016 we launched this program as a way to have a consistent place for making art in the gallery—to make it more of an active space where art was being made on a regular basis. That idea evolved over time to become what it is today: a program that provides artists dedicated time and space to focus on their work in a creative and supportive environment.

Residency Alumni Show at Main Street Arts

Ten of the  former artists in residence included in the exhibition along with two April 2019 resident artists. Pictured above, back row (left to right): current resident Becca Barolli, former residents Moira Ness, Mandy Ranck, Eve Bobrow, Ali Herrmann, Zoey Murphy Houser, Kaele Mulberry and Victoria Savka. Front row (left to right): current resident Rowan Walton, former residents Renee Valenti, Emily Long, and Emily Tyman.

Residency Alumni Show at Main Street Arts

Panel discussion before the opening of the Residency Alumni Exhibition

As of April, 2019, 54 artists have come from 17 states and Canada to work in the studios at Main Street Arts, and 42 of them are included in this wide ranging exhibition. It was a heartwarming experience to open up packages from former residents as we prepared for this show. So many of these artists are now friends of ours and this gave us a chance to see their work again, some of which was actually made during their time here!

Laying out the diverse array of work in the exhibition

Laying out the diverse array of work in the exhibition

Visitors to this exhibition will often remark about how diverse and eclectic this show is and I see that as a testament to the range of artists that have come through the program.  We’ve had painters, sculptors, potters, photographers, writers, printmakers, installation artists, a puppet maker, and fiber artists over the past three years. The exciting thing for me was seeing how all of this different work — over 100 pieces — pairs together in an exhibition. To have artists from 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 all together on the same wall and with work in a wide variety of media and style.

Residency Alumni Show at Main Street Arts

Opening reception for the Residency Alumni exhibition at Main Street Arts

While this exhibition will come to an end on Friday, May 17,  the residency program will continue and we will see many more artists come through the studios at the gallery. We plan to highlight the work of future residents in upcoming residency alumni exhibitions and we look forward to seeing how the program will grow and evolve in the future.


The residency program is an integral part of our mission as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art organization to promote the work of regional, national and international artists, encourage the creation of art and foster art education. If you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to the residency program, you may do so on our website: MainStreetArtsGallery.com/support