Category Archives: Inside the Artist’s Studio

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Ian Park

Ian Park working in the studio

Ian Park working in the studio

My name is Ian Park. I’m originally from the southern rural village called Hartman, Arkansas. The population is still about 600 people. From there, I began making art at a preschool age by sketching with pen in wide ruled notebooks on my grandparent’s couch and gluing popsicle sticks together to make sculptures, all while experimenting with usual childhood art supplies of marker, crayon, watercolor, and mud. Middle school is when I realized art was part of my life and I couldn’t live without it; a means of survival for a queer kid living in a completely hetero community. Near the end of high school, I had the luxury of experimenting with ceramic sculpture and firing objects in the kiln. It wasn’t until my second year of college that I realized ceramics would become a major part of my life.

Front and back of the two cups included in The Cup, The Mug 2019

Front and back of the two cups included in The Cup, The Mug 2019

It was in higher education that I pursued a career in art. There were so many wonderful instructors and people that I met in Little Rock during my time in that city and eventually I obtained a bachelor’s degree in studio art and public school art education after six years of being an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. I remember realizing I wanted to be a teacher when I was showing a co-worker how to make a rose out of icing at my cake decorator job. Something clicked in my brain that this would have to accompany my art making.

Installation piece by Ian Park

Installation piece by Ian Park

The first piece of art I found to be professional was made during my last year of undergrad. It was titled Visiting Grandma Agatha, and it combined my skills with cake decorating, wood working, painting, found object, ceramics, mold making, and conversations with my grandma that we had over sweets at the table. After being an intern elementary school teacher that last year of school, I realized just how much I loved teaching K-5 elementary art. Kids are awesome, and so fun to be around! I was able to juggle my art and being a public-school teacher for a couple years. I missed ceramics though, and didn’t have access to a kiln, so I applied to the Flower City Arts Center in Rochester, NY and was accepted as a resident artist there in 2016. I met some awesome folks in that region as well. From there I helped establish the very first Flower City Pottery invitational, pushed my ceramics career further, applied for grad school (and got into LSU), and finally learned just how hard the real world can be. I am forever grateful for my time there and can’t wait to go back and visit when the time comes.

"Makeup Manica" by Ian Park

“Makeup Manica” by Ian Park

I am in my third year of grad school at Louisiana State University. My work is about combining queerness with, camp, the uncanny and horror. I create functional pottery with a cone 6 clay body that uses imagery or words relating to queerness & LGBTQIA+ themes. These pots usually consist of a pre drawing on leather hard ware and different layers of underglazes, wax resist techniques, sgraffito, lusters, and decals. I also make installations that consist of wallpaper, fabric, performance video projection, found object, paint, video projection, wood, and altered objects. I adore creating installation that people can either walk through or come into close contact. With these installs, I am pushing the idea of set design and art, creating an atmosphere that sees through the veneer of a normal home in a way that celebrates the queer themes of horror I use.

Ian Park working in the studio

Ian Park working in the studio

I also love to celebrate other people’s art, and community is very important to me, especially the LGBTQIA+ community. In October of 2019, I organized a queer ceramics symposium at LSU, with the assistance of Andy Shaw. We titled it Queeramics and several queer clay artists from around the U.S. came to participate. I curated an exhibit with 25 artists from around the nation and Canada, there were two love performance art works, a panel discussion, keynote speaker, and think tank discussions with the attending queer artists. We came together to embrace each other’s thoughts, concerns, needs, creations, and lives and will all be pushing to create a stronger future for queer ceramics.

Front and back of the two cups included in The Cup, The Mug 2019

Front and back of the two cups included in The Cup, The Mug 2019

As of now, I must continue finishing my thesis. Once I graduate with my MFA, I would love to become a resident artist again at another art center in America and continue churning out installations and pottery. I love what art centers have to offer their community! Beyond that, I would like to continue teaching kids. I miss teaching children and want my students to have a future with the artistic well-rounded knowledge that I have to offer. Just like my roots in art as a child, I want others to be able to explore their many artistic options, because art opens thousands of different possibilities for a

brighter and more knowledgeable future. If you want to see more of my art you can find me at:

Website: www.ianparkart.com
Instagram: ian.park.art
Queeramics Article: Click here

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Gretchen Quinn

Gretchen in her downtown Raleigh studio. Photo credit: Juli Leonard

Gretchen in her downtown Raleigh studio. Photo credit: Juli Leonard

Hello, I am Gretchen Quinn. I’m a full-time potter living and working in Raleigh, NC. and I have two mugs in The Cup, The Mug 2019 show at Main Street Arts. I make functional pottery with a clean, modern feel. The inspiration for my work comes mainly from what I want to have and use in my own home. I’m definitely under the spell of well-made crafts and much of what I make spins out from my love of Danish Modern and Shaker designs where simplicity, utility and honesty are among the guiding principles in their work.

Finished work for sale at the studio.

Finished work for sale at the studio.

My pieces are all handmade out of a beautiful dark brown stoneware clay and glazed in glossy white. I decorate my pots with a variety of hand-carved patterns or 22K gold luster. In the decoration process I never use pre-made patterns, templates or textures. To me, it’s the freehand markings that makes my pots feel fresh and modern and what tells the user that every piece is handmade.

My favorite part of the process.

My favorite part of the process.

Six years ago, I moved from working in a community studio to a private space. In the community studio I had a wide range of clay bodies and glaze colors available, so I always felt compelled to use them all. When I became responsible for ordering my own clay and making my glaze I decided to narrow my focus to one clay body and one glazed for a year. While I initially did this for practicality, this shift in materials is really what gave birth of my current Mix & Match collection and all these years later I’m still focused on one clay and one glaze. I love how the Mix & Match aspect of my work makes customers active participants in building their collections. Some customers will choose to stay with just one pattern, others will select a few, while some just go for it all!

A recent custom dinner plate order.

A recent custom dinner plate order.

My serious study of ceramics started at Providence College, where I received a BA in sculpture and made most of my work in clay. After graduation, I worked as a graphic designer and made pots on the side. I never stepped away from clay, but I didn’t see an avenue to make it my full-time profession. It took a cross country move from Seattle to Raleigh for me to finally take the leap into clay full-time. I’m now over 6 years in and have seen a steady, organic growth in the quality of my work and in my business. In addition to my studio work I teach ceramics at the North Carolina State University Crafts Center. The combination of teaching and making work for my business has been a huge point of growth. It forced me to slow down and think through my technique and reflect on the elements that go into making a good pot.

Mix & Match lamps.

Mix & Match lamps.

My studio is a space that I share with three other female potters. We run our businesses independently and make very different work, but we are all equally committed to our love for working in clay. Being able to share our kiln firings and buy our clay together in bulk allows us to speed the making process and to save on our material expenses. It makes for an interesting dynamic as we are all from different backgrounds and generations, but together we freely share our vast clay skills and push each other forward in our work and our businesses.

At work in my studio. Photo credit: Juli Leonard

At work in my studio.
Photo credit: Juli Leonard

I am truly thrilled that I get to work with clay every day. There is just something magical about turning a humble lump of clay into a beautiful, functional product. See more of my work at www.gretchenquinn.com and follow me on Instagram @gretchen.quinn


Gretchen Quinn is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jarrod Dahl

Turning end grain cups in my workshop at a Japanese-style lathe. woodspirithandcraft.com

Turning end grain cups in my workshop at a Japanese-style lathe. woodspirithandcraft.com

I am Jarrod Dahl, a craftsperson, teacher, and writer from Northern Wisconsin. I have been working with wood since 1996. Although I got my start designing and building traditional timber framed homes I slowly moved from the building trades to traditional craft. Today my time is split teaching handcraft and designing and making a wide variety of ‘domestic craft objects’. Currently my focus is on woodenware.

Wooden cups with urushi lacquer finish. Woodspirithandcraft.com

Wooden cups with urushi lacquer finish inspired by my research/study trips to Japan these last 2 years. woodspirithandcraft.com

I work together with my wife and one assistant to create high quality handmade goods. I specialize in turning freshly harvested wood, known as green wood, into cups, handled mugs, bowls, plates, and lidded boxes and I carve a wide variety of utensils.

Spoon carving.

Carving a wooden spoon with a Swedish craft knife.

Spoon design possibilities are endless.

Spoon design possibilities are endless. woodspirithandcraft.com

I am one of the few professional woodturners in the world (no joke) whose specialty is using a foot-powered spring pole lathe. I also use both a Japanese-style and a Western-style electric lathe. I am extremely intrigued by the the textures each of these machines leave on the objects I make. Because of this I also forge my own tools—quite uncommon in the Western wood turning world.

Giving a pole lathe turning demonstration in Borås, Sweden a region famous for 400 years of wood turning.

Giving a pole lathe turning demonstration in Borås, Sweden a region famous for 400 years of wood turning.

Wooden coffee mugs turned from one piece of wood.

Wooden coffee mugs turned from one piece of wood, design inspired by wooden Viking cup shards found in York. woodspirithandcraft.com

I’m inspired by what I understand as wood culture, most of which is from the recent past or even further. It isn’t thought about much, but woodenware was the main tableware for thousands of years in much of the forested lands around the globe. I’ve traveled to places like Sweden and Japan to further my understanding and also to inform my designs. I’ve studied thousands of lidded boxes, bowls and cups in museum archives in Sweden. In Japan where woodenware is very much common place even today, I studied with woodturners, designers, and lacquer artists again to inform my design aesthetics and also to learn how I might be able to bring more appreciation to wooden objects in our modern times.

Tableware

Tableware. woodspirithandcraft.com

Woodenware can be very elegant and beautiful. My designs are conservative and change very slowly through making many pieces in the same style.

Lámhóg is a traditional Irish drinking cup turned from one piece of wood on a reciprocating foot powered pole lathe.

Lámhóg is a traditional Irish drinking cup turned from one piece of wood on a reciprocating foot powered pole lathe. woodspirithandcraft.com

The majority of the wood I use is harvested and milled by myself and my assistant, from trees within miles of my home. I am lucky to be in touch with the whole journey of my product from tree to finished design.

Future wooden items will be made from this backyard Maple tree that came down across the alley from our house.

Future wooden items will be made from this backyard Maple tree that came down across the alley from our house.

A wooden lidded box finished with milk paint and linseed oil.

A wooden lidded box finished with milk paint and linseed oil. woodspirithandcraft.com

I believe that beauty is an important part of daily life and that the handmade wooden object has a part to play in it.

My website is www.woodspirithandcraft.com
Blog: https://www.woodspirithandcraft.com/blog
instagram: @jarrod__dahl and @woodspirithandcraft
Youtube channel: Jarrod Dahl’s Youtube

 


Jarrod Dahl is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Cole Worden

Cole Worden in the studio

Cole Worden in the studio

Hello, my name is Cole Worden. I am a recent graduate from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where I received a BFA in studio arts, and I am currently a participant of the working artist program at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

Cup II by Cole Worden included in The Cup, The Mug

Cup II by Cole Worden included in The Cup, The Mug

As far as my personal timeline goes, I am rather new to ceramics. I spent the majority of my youth honing my skills as a musician, which led to a short career as a drummer in an internationally touring metal band. My eyes were opened to a vastly larger world than I could have ever imagined, and became aware of how little I really knew about life. This fueled my curiosity and eventually drove me to drop everything and return to school. I spent two and a half years as a neuroscience major and struggled to adjust to the life of a student, while coming down from a three year high of adrenaline, drugs, rock and roll, and my own inflated ego. It became clear I wasn’t going to make it as a scientist. I took a ceramics class on a whim, trying to find a new path ahead, and was hooked instantly. I accidentally stumbled into a warm, accepting, and challenging community of artists, that helped me to find myself, and a way forward. I graduated in December of 2018, and have since been doing what I can to make it as a ceramic artist.

The original model for a bowl made from MDF and tape with fired bowl

The original model for a bowl made from MDF and tape with fired bowl

So, what does a day in the studio look like for me? Most of my work is slip-cast, so that means I have to go through a pretty extensive process starting from an idea and getting to a finished product. I begin by either making a form from clay, or making a form from MDF, then alter the surface (often with paint, electrical tape, or customized stickers) to get the desired texture I want. Then I take a plaster mold of the object, which I can later cast from with slip. Once I have the object in porcelain, I apply various washes, wax, and glazes to achieve the desired coloration.

Applying wash to bisquware

Applying wash to bisquware

While I am casting from the molds I have, in a more rigid production sort of process, I’m simultaneously working out how to improve on what I have, and brainstorming for the next form I want to make. Alternating between production and creation keeps my day interesting, and every step has room for creativity. So, despite the rigid replication that comes with slip casting, I like to make subtle changes all the time to make each piece unique.

Much of my time in the studio, I can be found with headphones in, which half of the time are playing metal. Growing up, one of the most influential forms of visual art for me was the album art and graphic design on cd covers and band merch. I think on a deeper level, most of my aesthetic decisions have roots in metal/rock/punk culture, whether they are immediately apparent or not. The other half is spent listening to audiobooks or podcasts, generally in the realm of science or philosophy. Learning about and pondering the nature of our reality through reason and experimentation provides for me a sort of spiritual satisfaction that no religion has been able to do.

Cole Worden pouring slip from a mold

Cole Worden pouring slip from a mold

Pouring slip from a mold

Pouring slip from a mold

These ideas permeate into my work, along with my love for architecture, and all of the media I consume, creating a chimeric brain baby that usually pops out in the form of a pot. Which begs the question, why pottery?

I’ve been asking myself this question for a while now, and for many reasons I love the process of making pottery. I find my flow through physical action. My mind and body are both engaged creatively and intellectually. But I think those personally gratifying aspects wouldn’t be worth it without being able to serve someone else. The utility of pottery is common across all walks of human life, and I am happy to provide someone with that utility. Plus, I can hint at little nuggets of ideas for someone to contemplate with their morning coffee, and that’s fun for me.

Cup 1 by Cole Worden included in The Cup, The Mug

Cup 1 by Cole Worden included in The Cup, The Mug

Thanks to Main Street Arts Gallery for giving me the opportunity to share with you a little bit about myself and my process. If you’d like to know more, or find more of my work, you can visit my:

Website: coleworden.com
Instagram: @coleworden
Etsy: Etsy.com/shop/colewordenartworks
Or contact me at: cwordenart@gmail.com


Cole Worden is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Emile Bouvet-Boisclair

I am a French Canadian born ceramic artist, residing in Chicago, IL for the last decade. 

artist Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair

Artist and a board of marbled cups. Photo by: Alexis Bouvet-Boisclair

Clay entered my life when I was 13. I was gifted lessons for Christmas with studio potter Lloyd Fitzsimmons. I long considered myself a painter, eventually graduating from State University at Geneseo with a BA in Fine Arts and a concentration in figure studies and water color. Despite this, as a teen, I purchased a potters wheel with my babysitting money before graduating from high school, and in my 20s, continued to enroll at local ceramic studios from time to time. Throwing pots was a welcome release from the seriousness with which I approached my canvases.

This set depicts flora and fauna native to North America- the Cuckoo bird and Paw Paw tree- one of the few fruiting trees native to this continent.

This set depicts flora and fauna native to North America- the Cuckoo bird and Paw Paw tree- one of the few fruiting trees native to this continent.

When I began merging my painting experience with clay, pottery making took on a more serious role in my life. I approached glazing pots with the eye of an oil painter — layering techniques of line inlay, and sculpture with glazes, colored slips and stains to achieve depth and nuanced color.

Jewelry box with typical adornment of flowers and also brains. Jewelry boxes are often gifted to young girls, one of many ways we initiate their values and status in society - this serves as a reminder of the importance of intellect.

Jewelry box with typical adornment of flowers and also brains. Jewelry boxes are often gifted to young girls, one of many ways we initiate their values and status in society – this serves as a reminder of the importance of intellect.

My work addresses an appreciation of nature and a hope to conserve the environment. 

birch wood inspired vases by Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair

The stillness of a birch wood forest is captured in my speckled line of vases.

The animals in my work often have very emotive facial characteristics — with the goal of creating a connection between the viewer and subject.

pufferfish planters by Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair

Pufferfish planters

Humans need to be better stewards of our shared home. Many of us live lives away from the small wonders of the natural world, wrapped in a bustling concrete jungles distracted by bright screens, crowded buses, and constant distraction . It is easy to forget our dependance and interconnectedness with our environments, and also all the creatures that share the earth with us.

Large bowl featuring puffins in a melting arctic with a rainbow throughout. The rainbow refers to a Christian story of Noah's Arc, and God's promise not to flood the earth ever again. We find ourselves in a time when sea levels are rising as a result of human industry; and our leaders are in position to play god to our planet, weather for better or for the self interest of the few.

Large bowl featuring puffins in a melting arctic with a rainbow throughout. The rainbow refers to a Christian story of Noah’s Arc, and God’s promise not to flood the earth ever again. We find ourselves in a time when sea levels are rising as a result of human industry; and our leaders are in position to play god to our planet, weather for better or for the self interest of the few.

Puffin and Rainbow Bowl (D) copy

Detail from Puffin and Rainbow Bowl.

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Photo by: Alexis Bouvet-Boisclair

My studio practice balances my love of sitting down and throwing production with creating more detailed, singular work. Throwing a board full of rounded vases is a meditation and a mental groove I can ride all day long. I find it gives me the mental space to develop and realize larger and more developed pieces.

Pottery requires a humbleness — there are so many facets of ceramics that have taken years to master — and there are lifetimes more of learning. Always having a challenge that seems attainable is one thing I enjoy from pottery making. It is a field which demands hours and full attention; the hurdles overcome and subsequent results in my artistic journey are hugely gratifying. 

IMG_4283

Pots in production. Every one of these that was a success has a pot that failed behind it.

In the last month, I learned to throw large pots — that was hugely difficult and tearful (this was for a commission with a tight deadline which I self assuredly accepted) and also self validating.  Each pottery technique that is mastered will open the door to new ideas and projects. 

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I love the interplay between the grouping of large pieces. These found a permanent home at the Hoxton Hotel in Chicago- they echo the stillness found on the lake front. Lake Michigan is a place to find a bit of peace from the city noise.

On the horizon for next year, I plan to experiment more with throwing large series; I enjoyed the play and interaction with scale, form and color in the pieces in my last collection. I also plan on bringing light into my work — I am interested in the possible narratives and hidden worlds that could be created using light — so hardwiring bulbs will be a skill I hope to attain soon as well. 

FZ4A6569-2

Right now I am a potter- but I will always consider myself an artist first and hope to dip into my box of oils sometime in the future. 

You can see more of my work at TwinettePoterie.com or @TwinettePoterie on Instagram.


Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair is one of 44 artists included in the 4th annual The Cup, The Mug exhibition on the second floor at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of drinking vessels. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. The Cup, The Mug runs through December 14, 2019.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Myung Urso

Myung Urso in her studio

Myung Urso in her studio

I was born in South Korea and moved to Rochester, NY in 2006. Since 2007 I started making jewelry based on my MFA major Fiber Art, which I studied in Seoul, Korea. This is one of the reasons that I have chosen using textural materials for creating my work.

Fiber materials

Fiber materials

Showing the "wear-ability" of my work

Showing the “wear-ability” of my work

Jewelry is the media that I have chosen to express my desire of art. It’s wear-ability has always been a big challenge which makes my work different from objects. I often challenge myself to broaden the boundaries of jewelry, regarding it as an art form.

Home studio

Home studio

Calligraphy

Calligraphy

I work in a studio within our house with three dogs and two cats. This is one of the reasons that I mainly choose organic materials as they are mostly derived from my daily use. New ideas at times come from a particular material; sometimes begin with a form and other times from a color or any kind of motivation.

 

Necklace -Combination Red

Necklace -Combination Red

My working process is like chasing the origin of the imagination. I directly work without a pre-planned drawing. In this way I am open to how the work can arrive towards its own destiny. This approach is risky and at the same time has huge benefits. As a result a final art form often becomes very different from my original expectation.

Asian/Korean calligraphy

Asian/Korean calligraphy

Simplicity and spontaneity are the kinds of principles or virtues of my work. I often think that I gained these abilities for being spontaneous and simple through Asian/Korean Calligraphy which I have been practicing since I was young. Calligraphy is like “my native language” which I am able to communicate through my work. Practicing calligraphy also led me to being intuitive in the creative process. This intuition is applied when I either choose a material or I am chosen by material to follow it’s own path.

To see more of my work, visit my website: www.myungurso.com


Myung Urso is one of 6 artists included in Beyond Ornamental, an exhibition of fine jewelry at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. Beyond Ornamental runs through August 16, 2019.

 

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Loraine Cooley

Hi, I’m Loraine Cooley and I’m honored to be included in the Main Street Arts exhibit Beyond Ornamental.

Me at my studio bench

Me at my studio bench

At the age of 13, I began my journey as an artist at my father’s knee so to speak. My dad decided to teach himself how to create jewelry in his basement workshop and invited me to join him in his discovery of the metal fabrication process. That was over 40 years ago. Since then, some of the things that have contributed to who I am and my recent artwork are: a BFA from The School for American Crafts at RIT, extensive travel around the world, pursuing a degree in the Art Education Program at Nazareth College and engaging in several classes and workshops in all areas of art. I also continue to enjoy teaching and learning from my students at the Memorial Art Gallery where I’ve taught since 1987.

In my studio, creative chaos abounds!

Creative atmosphere

Creative atmosphere

Creative chaos

Creative chaos

Work in progress...

Work in progress…

For me the boat shape is a predominant theme in my one-of-a-kind pieces. I regard the boat as a symbol of the journey each of us takes throughout our lives. Below is my triptych sculpture:

PHASES: Birth  Chaos  Rest

PHASES: Birth Chaos Rest

Here are more boat themed pieces:

"Journey" Necklace

“Journey I” Necklace

"Journey II" Neckpiece

“Journey II” Neckpiece

"River" Neckpiece

“River” Neckpiece

"Sunboat" Necklace

“Sunboat” Necklace

I am currently working on a series of Lapel pins loosely based on the windows and doors that I photographed several years ago while in Italy.

"Archway" Lapel Pin

“Archway” Lapel Pin

"Guilin" Lapel Pin

“Guilin” Lapel Pin

"Tuscan Arch" Lapel Pin

“Tuscan Arch” Lapel Pin

Each piece that I make is born of an idea. I think big and make small. The act of transforming the idea into a 3 dimensional form is an ongoing challenge. The end results stem from sketching, experimentation, trial, failure, refinement and finally, with hope and experience, success. My work starts with raw materials ie: metal sheet and/or wire or materials such as slate, bone, fossils, stones or shell. I use several metalsmithing techniques to transform these materials into something unique and personal.

Here are some of the tools that I use to manipulate and transform the raw materials that I use in my pieces.

Studio tools

Studio tools

Future projects include a series of necklaces based on the 4 seasons and also a large (for me) sculptural boat made of parts and pieces from my studio scrap box.

To follow me as I continue on my journey of discovery, please visit my web site: www.lorainecooley.com


Loraine Cooley is one of 6 artists featured in the fine jewelry exhibition Beyond Ornamental at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. Beyond Ornamental runs through August 16, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Julie Herman

I am a Syracuse, NY based photographer with work in the de/composition exhibition currently on display at Main Street Arts.

"Packard Automotive", photograph included in de/composition at Main Street Arts

“Packard Automotive”, photograph included in de/composition at Main Street Arts

I received my BFA from Alfred University, and currently work for Light Work, a non profit photography organization based at Syracuse University. Light Work supports emerging and under represented artists through a residency program, grants, and lab facilities. I also do freelance work and studio photography.

My photographs focus on the decline of American industry, and the effect it has had on neighboring communities. As a child growing up in Endicott, NY, I witnessed the slow collapse of IBM, the region’s major employer. When layoffs began, I remember watching my father worry about losing his job. As offices closed, and manufacturing plants were shut down, the landscape became dotted with vacant factories and shuttered storefronts. As IBM’s presence in Endicott slowly dwindled, the places where I spent my childhood were abandoned, and stand now as derelict property.

The IBM country club pool, now full of reeds and rainwater

The IBM country club pool, now full of reeds and rainwater

Former blast furnace, Pennsylvania

Former blast furnace, Pennsylvania

As I began to search for other towns that had been similarly affected, I saw the same story unfold in other areas; places that once had function and purpose are now empty, nature slowly reclaiming the buildings and their contents. Despite their great amount of deterioration, I find these places serene. A sun beam through the roof, or a seedling rooted in the floor signal hope and beauty where it might not be expected.

Control panel at the now abandoned IBM country club

Control panel at the now abandoned IBM country club

Empty house in a company town in Pennsylvania

Empty house in a company town in Pennsylvania

Forgotten work glove at a Pennsylvania lace factory

Forgotten work glove at a Pennsylvania lace factory

Recently, I have begun collecting mementos from the places I visit. Old invoices, letters, torn wallpaper, and discarded books all tell stories of those who had been there before. I have also been collecting old IBM memorabilia: postcards of the manufacturing facilities, photographs, and items that belonged to my father. I don’t know what I will do with them yet, but gathering them feels like the next step to me.

Collected items

Collected items

I took my first photography class in high school, where I was introduced to a traditional black and white darkroom. Despite the prevalence of digital cameras, analog processes are still central to my image making process. While my freelance work demands the immediacy of a digital workflow, almost all of my personal work is done in the darkroom.

I photograph using medium format film cameras from the 1950’s and 60’s. Shooting with film forces me to slow down, consider each frame, and be present in the space. There is joy and excitement in waiting to see the images; not knowing with certainty that I’ve captured what I intended.  I enjoy the process of analog photography, the physicality of the work, and even after two decades of darkroom printing, watching an image materialize in the developer is a magical experience.

After years of using a community space, I finally installed a darkroom in my basement. The nice thing about developing film and silver gelatin prints is that it doesn’t change much. It’s the same process that I used in high school. There is no need to upgrade to a better camera, a nicer monitor, or faster computer.

You can see more of my work at www.juliekherman.com or on instagram @juliekherman.


Julie Herman is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s studio with Adriano Valeri

Me in the studio

Me in the studio

My name is Adriano Valeri, and I’m participating in Main Street Arts show de/composition!

I was born in Milan, Italy, and when I was eight years old my family relocated to Quincy, MA, a working class city south of Boston. As a birthday present one year, my parents enrolled me in an after school art class held in the basement of a frame shop. It was a great way to bond with other young artists and helped me adjust to my new environment. The teacher was an academically trained portrait painter. She was very affectionate with the kids, but also held us to a high standard. She taught us to use acrylic and oil paints, which I still favor to this day. Overall, I feel the experience was fundamental to my development as an artist.

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My studio space

After graduating from a county vocational high school where I had specialized in arborculture, I choose to return to Italy and to further my education in the arts. I was accepted to the State Academy of Arts in Venice and spent the next 10 years studying and working both there and in the surrounding region. I learned to be more inquisitive and intellectually engaged as an artist. Although I have stuck with traditional techniques such as oil on canvas, it’s important for me that the paintings acknowledge critical issues of our time and to ensure the medium remains fresh and surprising.

After having completed my undergraduate and masters degree, in addition to several artists residencies, I opted to move to New York City and to further my career in the United States. I’ve lived in NYC for fours years now, working on my paintings in Brooklyn. My studio is a spacious drywall cubicle with a large table and some small desks. There’s a window that overlooks a busy highway and some empty lots and the whole floor is occupied by artists and craftspeople. Inside I like to find a balance between creative messiness and impractical clutter. On the tables, paper plates crusted in oil paints vie for space with sketches and photographs, while the walls are thronged with completed paintings.

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View from the studio

As a child, painting and drawing was a way for me to express my fascination with animals and wild places. As an adult, I chose to paint subjects drawn from everyday experiences with the urban environment. Plants, construction material, feral animals, litter. We live in a globalized and rapidly homogenizing world, and I want to make paintings which can resonate with people across the globe.

I think we as a species have never before been as psychologically disconnected from the land we inhabit. The production of food and consumer goods is internationalized and largely automated. Internal and international migration, displacement for economic reasons or from social and natural calamities,  and the evolution of our mentality and social patterns of behavior contribute to a massive distancing from the organic process which occur around us. 

What I’m really interested in is bringing the viewer’s focus to  the land we inhabit. I’m not interested in making work that is purely documentary — I’m interested in how these marginal spaces teem with unintended interactions that result from our massive presence as a species, so I’ve developed a personal narrative style to convey that. I love how trees can absorb and deform a chain-link fence. It reminds me of the incessant action of biology, this weak force that is constantly at work everywhere, and is assimilating everything we shed.

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The painting “Belgian Planters” which is currently on view in de/composition at Main Street Arts

I’m excited to have been selected for the show de/composition at Main Street Arts! Since this is a recurring theme that I acknowledge  in my painting, it was exciting to see how the other participating artists approach this topic in different media and from different perspectives and practices.

You can find more information about me and images of my work at adrianovaleri.com


Adriano Valeri  is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Stephanie Garon

By juxtaposing organic materials against an armature of steel, my art captures paradoxes of decomposition: formalism and fragility, permanence and impermanence, and nature and nurture.

Evaluating placement of my sculptures in an exhibition

Evaluating placement of my sculptures in an exhibition

I’m continually experimenting and evaluating placement of my sculptures. Since I focus on environmental awareness, it’s important to me to bring organic materials indoors to the viewer.

My sculptural work placed in a different setting

My sculptural work placed in a different setting

Placement affects meaning. The viewer’s perspective changes, but this sculpture gets lost in the environment. Should it?

Images from Redwoods

Images from the Redwood Forest in California

My inspiration stems from nature, in additional to the following four artists:

  • Eva Hesse: delicacy of materials, framing of powerful themes with grace,
  • Anish Kapoor: using steel and similar infusions to instill messages about humanity,
  • David Nash: playfulness in creating nature based work that succumbs to nature,
  • Meret Oppenheim: for transforming items traditionally associated with decorum or refinement into sculpture.
Eve sculpture

“Eve”, sculpture included in the “de/composition” exhibition at Main Street Arts

Eve is a monument. Whether we see lungs or breasts or the negative space between the forms, we are forced to acknowledge the greatness of nature, despite how much we nurture it, as evidenced by the evergreen changing. It is foreboding. These decaying materials, presented in unexpected ways, challenge reason and emotion. Eve changes color and sheds through the duration of the exhibit: it’s nature’s own performance art.

“Impediment”, current work

“Impediment”, aluminum, plaster, soil 70x30x30

My current work, shown above, is inspired by pine needle bunches. I plan to fill a small gallery space with these repeating forms.

To see more of my work, visit my website: www.garonstudio.com.


Stephanie Garon is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.