Tag Archives: Collage

Meet the Artist in Residence: Vickie Pierre

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

Artist Vickie Pierre

Artist Vickie Pierre

Q: To start off, please tell us about your background.
I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York and graduated from the School of Visual Arts 1997.  I’ve been living and working in Miami, Florida for the last 20+ years.  Prior to my full time studio practice, I spent years working as a fine art preparator in New York and then a Museum Registrar for local institutions in Miami.  I now work occasionally as a Registrar Consultant for local collectors and museums.

I Can't Say No to You (Good Enough) 2014 Mixed medial installation

“I Can’t Say No to You (Good Enough)” by Vickie Pierre, 2014. Mixed media installation.

Q: How would you describe your work?
My practice includes painting, collage and installations. I explore my Haitian American identity, with references to design and the decorative arts and the natural world. I also consider the connections between my Caribbean heritage and global cultural mythologies and their relationship to contemporary cultural politics.

Elemental Mistresses (The Power of 3) 2016

“Elemental Mistresses (The Power of 3)”, by Vickie Pierre, 2016

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
My paintings and collages usually begin with background color buildup followed by basic forms applied with rubber stamps or brushes. Sometimes I’ll draw on the surface to mark out possible shapes and collage placement. The assemblages and installations are trickier. I’ll visualize these projects for a longer period of time, even before I sketch it out. Once I’ve completed it in my mind, I’ll put it to paper and then the best part, I make it!

That's How Important She Was (Poupees in the Bush series) 2019, Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

“That’s How Important She Was (Poupees in the Bush series)” by Vickie Pierre, 2019. Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have many favorite artists (old and new) so it’s difficult to choose… I love the Surrealists and Matisse. Barbara Chase Riboud, Miriam Shapiro, Faith Ringold and the Saar Family women. There’s also Willie Cole, Jim Hodges, Lari Pitman. And of course back to women! All of the incredible women artists who have inspired me for decades: Petah Coyne, Annette Messager, Chakaia Booker, Sue Williams and on and on!

Queen on the Pyre (Poupees in the Bush series) 2018, Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

“Queen on the Pyre (Poupees in the Bush series)” by Vickie Pierre, 2018. Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork? 
One of my favorite places to see artwork is at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (previously the Temporary Contemporary). I lived in Los Angeles in the early 90s just before enrolling at SVA and spent many hours visiting with the art there.

She Wolf (Poupees in the Bush series) 2018. Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

“She Wolf (Poupees in the Bush series)” by Vickie Pierre, 2018. Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

Q: What advice would you give to other artists? 
My advice for others artists would be to determine from the onset if being a working artist is what you ultimately want. Perseverance is so important to sustaining your practice, even when it seems as if nothing is happening. My instructors at SVA used to say, ” work comes from work” and “paint your truth” so I try to practice everyday even when I’m not in my studio. I always have a pad and pen with me to jot down ideas or draw a vision that may come to me.

Totem For My Sisters (We Are Illuminous!) 2019. Mixed media installation.

“Totem For My Sisters (We Are Illuminous!)” by Vickie Pierre, 2019. Mixed media installation.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My goal for this residency is to continue working on the current themes in my work but also include elements of inspiration from living and working in Clifton Springs. I plan on using this opportunity to work on several projects including larger collage artworks.

Q: What’s next for you?
I have a solo exhibition coming up in the next year, so I plan on continuing to work and prepare for this career milestone.

Q: Where else can we find you?
My work can be see on my website: www.vickiepierre.com and on Instagram: @vpvpierre

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, 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, 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 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: 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: Eve Bobrow

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

Artist Eve Bobrow

Artist Eve Bobrow

Q: Please tell us about your background:
I grew up in Rochester, NY and have recently returned after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis. I originally went to school for design and computer science with the goal of working in the video game industry but transferred to architecture during my freshman year. Even while studying architecture I knew my real passion was for art, but the technical education gave me a whole new perspective to work from.

"Columnar" Drawing and Collage on Mylar; 24" x 36", 2016

“Columnar” Drawing and Collage on Mylar; 24″ x 36″, 2016

Q: How would you describe your work?
My primary focus in my work is the intersection between quantitative study and emotional experience. I like to draw from technical aesthetics, like user manuals, city plans, and blueprints, to legitimize the subject matter, or to explore a concept more deeply through technical practices.

"Thought Projection" Drawing on Mylar; 24"x36"; 2018.

“Thought Projection” Drawing on Mylar; 24″x36″; 2018.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I usually start with a burst of productivity, which could be anything from intensive research to rapid prototyping. After I’ve iterated myself into a corner and gotten everything out of my system I will often step back and take an entirely different approach. Occasionally I will have an idea that requires a more precise plan and workflow, but normally there is a lot of chaotic collaging and those string maps detectives make.

"Haunted Alton"; Digital (Photocopied), Cover and 2 Pages of 28; 8.5"x11"; 2018

“Haunted Alton”; Digital (Photocopied), Cover and 2 Pages of 28; 8.5″x11″; 2018

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I’m hoping to make as much as possible! I haven’t had my own studio in several months so I’m excited to get into the space and spread out. Because of space constraints I’ve been working digitally lately, or on screenprinting projects with my friend/main collaborator Finnegan Roy-Nyline, that he is printing at his studio in Minneapolis.

"Untitled" 3 Color Screenprint; 8"x10"; 2019

“Big Thought” (Created in Collaboration with Finnegan Roy-Nyline)  3 Color Screenprint; 8″x10″; 2019

Q: Do you collect anything?
Yes! I’m a sucker for paper goods from the 60s-80s. I have a growing collection of USGS maps, old magazines, botany books, carving books, and basically any kind of craft book. My favorite is a two volume set of songbird carving books that had a little hand drawn pattern for a wren tucked in the pages. I also collect kodachrome slides, vintage electronics, and nice rocks.

"Collograph" Drawing Machine Output, Ink, Pencil, and Etching on Mylar; 24"x36"; 2018

“Collograph” Drawing Machine Output, Ink, Pencil, and Etching on Mylar; 24″x36″; 2018

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why? Who are your favorite local artists?
It’s a tie between Rueben Margolin and Mark Dion, both of them in different ways bring a scientific approach to their art practice that I’m really inspired by. Locally I really love Heather Swenson’s work, I think she’s doing some really interesting things with her screenprinting practice.


Q: What’s next for you?
I have another residency in April and May, but until then I’m working on a couple different book projects/collaborations and continuing to apply for more things. I’m hoping to move to Minneapolis sometime this summer, but there’s still a lot to consider.

Q: Where else can we find you?
I’m currently redoing my website but you can find me on Instagram @evebobrow for updates on what I’m working on.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Kathleen Farrell

Kathleen Farrell at the opening reception of the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational

Kathleen Farrell at the opening reception of the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational

I love making art from discards, lost, recycled, unwanted things. I have been looking in other people’s trash for most of my life. I can go for hours, days, just looking for objects, in search of something that will later be worked into a painting or collage. I tuck them away when another idea takes over and revisit them looking for  just that piece for completion of a artwork.  If I like the look of something or it conjures up a memory or thought it goes into my stash bin for safekeeping. I work on my art whenever possible. I have many projects going at once always in search for that perfect discarded piece of wood or partial part of a toy that will take on another life.

Discarded book

Discarded book

I love to draw and do so every day. An activity that has remained constant since I was a child. I draw in meetings, at parties, poetry readings, listening to music in bars, while watching baseball, and especially at boring meetings. More or less working out ideas, frustrations or for pure comic relief. I work in small manageable formats whenever possible keeping several projects going at once. I prefer drawing my thoughts, rather than speaking my thoughts, whenever possible.

Me drawing with two hands

Me drawing with two hands

I can work almost anywhere that has a flat surface.  As a child I would get in trouble in school for drawing in my composition books, so I would take notes on the desk top and draw in an other book on my lap or in the compartment under the desktop. Being both righty and lefty (ambidextrous) this skill set has helped me throughout my life to cope with my need to draw. I attend the Rochester International Jazz Festival each summer and do drawings of musicians and concert goers. I draw a lot when waiting in lines.

I have numerous sketchbooks scattered everywhere. I will purchase various types of sketchbooks, chosen for shape and paper.  My favorite is the Moleskine Japanese book, as it has one continuous page that usually becomes a landscape of a sort. I participate each year in the Brooklyn Art Library sketchbook project.  I have eleven sketchbooks in their library. At first it was hard to give the books up, to not have them in my possession.  Now somehow knowing that my books can be viewed by visitors at the library in Williamsburg NY almost on a daily basis feels good to me.


Discarded book drawing

I work with just about every drawing medium under the sun.  Markers and colored pencils are my favorite. I use gouache, watercolor, pen and ink and combined all that with collage materials.  Of late I have been using discarded library books. It pains be to see such nicely bound paper go in the trash. Lately, like drawing on bogus paper, I collage,draw and paint on that surface. I have a small studio in my basement with many  and various surfaces to work on.  I listen to all types of music while working out ideas.



I was born and raised in Rochester, New York. I love to travel to see new places and ideas.  I have worked at Monroe Community College since November 1986 as the Director of Monroe Community College’s Mercer Gallery which entails administering an arts program of gallery exhibitions, artists workshops, residencies and an artist lecture series. I am a full professor in the Visual and Performing Arts Department at MCC. I teach in both Commercial Illustration, and Graphic Design programs, and teach various other courses from time to time.  I love every aspect of my job.

I teach a sketchbook class that I developed with another colleague, Jason Smith, about 10 years ago. The course has developed into a very successful course that is offered each semester with two sections.  Many of the students are not visual artists, most are studying the sciences or engineering.  It is a great course that allows these students to relax, mediate and exercise their imagination on a daily basis.

Detail of drawing

Detail of drawing

I am the recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service, the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities, the NISOD Excellence Award for Teaching, the John and Suzanne Roueche Award for Teaching and the Dr. Wesley T. Hanson Award for Teaching Excellence.

I surround myself with colleagues, friends, family, madmen and poets who do not judge and will nudge me when I fall asleep.

Video of Kathy Farrell, drawing with both hands!

Click to watch the video of me drawing with both hands!

Kathleen Farrell is one of six artists featured in the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s Artsy page. The Upstate New York Drawing Invitational runs through September 28, 2018.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Emily Long

Emily Long, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of August 2017, will be exploring new mediums and working on a series that explores the idea that everything is fluid and connected—finding commonalities and relationships between ourselves and our surrounding that inevitably confirm our greater humanity. We asked Emily a few questions about her artwork and studio practice:

Emily Long

Emily Long

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background.
I was born and raised in Staten Island, New York. At an early age I was enrolled in multiple art programs at my local cultural center, Snug Harbor and was constantly creating things at home thanks to the support of my parents. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into an art focused high school in New York City and continued my interest in visual arts and museum studies in undergrad at Fashion Institute of Technology. Beyond creating my own art, I am passionate about art education and currently work for the New York Historical Society (NYHS) and Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Design Museum.

Q: How would you describe your work?
My art is fluid. I am interested in exploring the relationship between one’s self and their surroundings. A majority of these works are illustrated with watercolor but I am always excited to add a new medium into my work.

Work by Emily Long, water color and ink

“Raw Synergy Recognize Symmetry”, Emily Long

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
For every piece my process is a little different depending on how much time I am able to give myself to create. Some days I will jump right into a watercolor illustration. Other days I will spend hours researching symbols and their significance; taking notes on how they can be added into a work.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
My primary medium is watercolor, naturally my paintbrushes are my most used and useful tool in my studio.

Emily working in her studio at Main Street Arts

Emily working in her studio at Main Street Arts

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
Choosing a favorite artist feels like telling one’s children who the favorite is. With that said, I love Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh for her fearless use of multiple mediums and line use, Gustav Klimt for his use of gold, and Georgia O’Keeffe for her composition and abstraction. My favorite local artist was my childhood neighbor, Andrea Phillips.

Q: What advice would you give other artists?
Just keep working. Don’t be afraid to “waste” your materials or become upset if you create something you do not like. You have to get the “bad” art out before the masterpiece.


Work by Emily Long: NY Time Dime (left), and Majority Too Big to Ignore (right)

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I have had a recent interest in working with gesso and printmaking. I am excited to experiment with new mediums and making my work more sculptural while at Main Street Arts Residency. Recent projects have been inspired by folklore and myths. I plan to explore these themes with the exploration of new mediums.  

Q: What’s next for you?
In the fall, I will return to work at the museum. As for my art, I will be turning an old office space into my studio, where I hope to spend most of my free time.

Q: Where else can we find you?
On my website: emilysarahlong.com and on Instagram.

Emily is teaching a crocheted cacti gardens amigurumi workshop on Saturday, August 12 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Main Street Arts. Amigurumi is the Japanese art of crocheting small stuffed creatures/objects. Sign up on our website to reserve your spot!

Meet the Artist in Residence: Kira Buckel

Kira Buckel is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts. She’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the months of November–December 2016 (you can stop by the gallery to see her studio and works in progress). We asked Kira a few questions about her artwork, life, and more:

Kira Buckel working in her studio at Main Street Arts

Kira Buckel working in her studio at Main Street Arts

Q: To start this off, would you tell us about your background?

A: I grew up on the East End of Long Island and always enjoyed drawing as a child. I studied art in high school and through college. I graduated from Bard College with a BA in Studio Art this past May. As a recent graduate I’ve been working and living back home and looking for job opportunities in art.

Kira Buckel, "Infinite Kitchen" (detail), acrylic, gouache, painted collaged paper, PVA glue, tape on paper, 22’ x 7’, 2016.

Kira Buckel, “Infinite Kitchen” (detail), acrylic, gouache, painted collaged paper, PVA glue, tape on paper, 22’ x 7’, 2016.

Q: How would you describe your work? 

A: I usually work in a 2-D format, mostly painting and drawing, and occasionally printmaking. At college I explored sculpture as well, but settled back into painting for my senior thesis. Most recently I have been working with collaged paper that I paint or using found papers and incorporating them into paintings. I like to work representationally, usually of everyday reality, but mixed with the imagined in order to express a personal relationship to the subject of the painting.

Kira Buckel works on a new painting/collage

Kira Buckel works on a new painting/collage

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?

A: I work from sketches and photos, but ultimately allow the materials I’m using to direct the process of painting. When working with collaged paper I sometimes peel off layers or use sandpaper to reveal what is underneath. I enjoy working this way because it is tactile and almost sculptural.

Kira creates her works by collaging painted paper

Kira creates her works by collaging painted paper

Kira Buckel, "On an Anxious Sea" (detail), acrylic, watercolor, painted collaged paper, PVA glue, tape on paper, 12’ x 6’4”, 2016.

Kira Buckel, “On an Anxious Sea” (detail), acrylic, watercolor, painted collaged paper, PVA glue, tape on paper, 12’ x 6’4”, 2016.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?

A: One of my favorite artists is Pierre Bonnard. I’m always inspired by how he transformed everyday scenes into otherworldly images through his paintings. His use of color is especially magical.

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.

A: I want to make as many paintings as I can during my time here, using sketches and imagery from the past. I’d like to explore the Finger Lakes region and paint local scenes as well.


Q: What’s next for you?

A: Next I’ll be attending a residency at the Vermont Studio Center for the month of February. After that, I’m applying for other residencies and opportunities, and continuing the search for jobs in NYC or the northeast in general. Eventually I’d like to attend graduate school.


Q: Where else can we find you?

You can view my work at www.kirabuckel.com. I’ll also be on Instagram soon!

Are you an artist looking for new opportunities? Apply for a residency at Main Street Arts! Artists in residence will have 24-hour access to a large studio on our second floor (with great natural light), the option to show work in the gallery, and the opportunity to teach paid workshops. Housing is available. Submissions are reviewed and residencies awarded quarterly.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Heather Swenson: The Link Between Silkscreen and Collage

A little over four years ago I moved back to Rochester after graduating from Purchase College of Art and Design with a BFA in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts and a concentration in Painting and Printmaking. Since then I have continued to work across several mediums, moving between silkscreen, collage, painting, sculpture and installation. Currently I have been focusing on silkscreen and collage, noticing their similarities and working to integrate principles of collage into my prints.

My screenprints always start from a drawing, often one that I cut up and rearrange. This drawing often goes through many stages before I settle on a composition for the final print. Through the images below I will walk through the process of making one of my recent screenprints, Temporary Stability.

One of the first compositions for Temporary Stability.

One of the first compositions for Temporary Stability.

Final drawing for Temporary Stability.

Final drawing for Temporary Stability.

I sort through an ever-growing collection of old books and paper for inspiration, often adding new elements into the drawing.

Paper scraps from my collection.

Paper scraps from my collection

Once I arrive at the finished drawing I start making layers for the print. I lay a sheet of acetate over the drawing and trace a section with a lightfast marker.  With silkscreen, each color is laid down separately, so for every color in the print there will be a corresponding sheet of acetate. This process of separating colors and focusing on how parts make up the whole link up to the way I think about collage.

Making the layers for the print, this film will be used when exposing the screen.

Making the layers for the print, this film will be used when exposing the screen.

In my studio in the Hungerford Building, I have a small exposure unit that I built to expose the screens and a table with hinge clamps to make my prints.

My silkscreen table  with a screen in the hinge clamps.

My silkscreen table in my studio with a screen in the hinge clamps.

Aside from the loose palette I select for the silkscreen, printing is a spontaneous process for me.  I mix my colors as I work, often making changes along the way.  As shown below the final print, Temporary Stability, is slightly different from the final drawing I made. Instead of the grey shape at the bottom, I printed a scanned security envelope pattern.

The final preparatory drawing and the final print.

The final preparatory drawing and the final print.

Among other prints and a set of small sculptures, I have two pieces in the Upstate NY Printmaking Invitational that bridge the gap between collage and silkscreen. They are collages that I made from cutting up my screenprints. Repurposing of my work in silkscreen brings it full circle to the beginning stages of the process when I am arranging parts for the drawing.

Collage made entirely from cut up screenprints.

Collage made entirely from cut up screenprints.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Heather Swenson’s prints in our current exhibition the Upstate New York Printmaking Invitational (runs through October 7). You can see more of Heather’s work online at www.heatherswenson.com or follow her on Instagram @heatherswensonart.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by printmaker Gregory Page.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Ellie Honl: Part I

_MG_7924My name is Ellie Honl and I am currently an art professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. I am originally from Stevens Point, a city of about 35,000 in Central Wisconsin. My mother is an art teacher so I was very fortunate to have early exposure to the arts. I had an endless supply of art materials, and my mom took my younger brother and I to a lot of art museums growing up. We lived in an area where there weren’t many other children, so my brother and I spent a lot of time entertaining ourselves by building forts in the forest behind our house, Lego cities, and elaborate canal systems in our sandbox. I also taught myself things like calligraphy and needlepoint. This history of exploration and independence contributes to my art making today.


I thought about being an artist as a child, but in high school I loved math and science, and planned to become a psychiatrist or architect. It wasn’t until my junior year at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota that I finally decided to pursue studio art. Even though I liked a lot of different subjects, art was the one that fulfilled me the most and satisfied my need to create. The subject of psychology and architectural elements play a major role in my artwork today.

I pursued printmaking at the University of Iowa and received my MFA in 2008. Since then, I have taught art at a number of Universities and art centers across the country while continuing to make my own artwork.

This is me screenprinting in the printshop at Indiana University.

This is me screenprinting in the classroom at Indiana University.

My artwork utilizes printmaking techniques along with photographic and time-based media. I’ve currently been making screenprints and cyanotypes that I incorporate together by sewing, and I often paint and add other collaged elements to them. I also make stop-motion animations with these prints and/or parts of these prints.

"Assemble," cyanotype, screenprint, sewing, collage, 2013

“Assemble,” cyanotype, screenprint, sewing, collage, 2013

"Take Root" (detail), cyanotype, screenprint, sewing, 2013

“Take Root” (detail), cyanotype, screenprint, sewing, 2013

I am inspired by the wonders I observe around me (often in nature) but the outcome of my artwork is usually about the human condition: how we cope, how we perceive, and how we are affected by our past. It is about the human desire to find stability. Through my artwork, I try to understand why things are the way they are and strive to find logic in the random. I work intuitively allowing myself to experiment with unpredictable processes to discover new marks and imagery. Many times these initial investigations look chaotic and they provide a problem for me to resolve. I impose order through geometric forms and color, while making connections through lines, written explanations, and collage elements. My work is often detailed and visually appealing, and I hope that it draws people in and causes them to enjoy the process of looking.

"Becoming," cyanotype, gouache, colored pencil,   2014

“Becoming,” cyanotype, gouache, colored pencil, 24″x30″ 2014

"Westminster Ct.: Appearances Can be Deceiving," silkscreen and colored pencil on layers of frosted mylar, 20"x30" 2014

“Westminster Ct.: Appearances Can be Deceiving,” silkscreen and colored pencil on layers of frosted mylar, 20″x30″ 2014

Check back later in the week to read about Ellie’s creative process in Inside the Artist’s Studio with Ellie Honl: Part II.

You can see more of Ellie’s artwork on her website at www.elliehonl.com. Stop by to see three of her pieces (including one honorable mention!) in our current juried exhibition, Structurally Speaking.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by architectural painter Susan Stuart.