Wednesday, August 23, 2006

So What Motivates Superheroines?

If the comics "trends" in stories show that superheroes "need" to have their significant female others to be killed/maimed/victimized/destroyed in order to provide "sufficient motivation" for them to take up/continue-to-take-up the mantel of doing superheroic acts ...

then what's the motivation for Superheroines?

Isn't there enough crime happening worldwide to keep all the heroes (male and female) pretty busy if they wanted to get involved?

We really don't see the reverse happen as much -- male supporting character death to motivate the superheroine: "Men in Refrigerators" (Not that we need to.)

I just find that disparity odd.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What About Publicity and Self-Promotion for Artists?

We expect a musician or singer or actor to have to do a certain amount of self-promotion and publicity for their new CD or movie or play. Something about seeing these "bigger than life" people in a more "human sized setting" on a talk show or a Hollywood TV news show just helps make them more appealing somehow. You see them, hear them talk about the project, then you find you really wanna go support them and get their CD or see their movie.

To a degree that's also what happens at conventions, where you meet "the face" behind the book or comics project. Same for an art reception. Something about talking to the artist and getting to know the thinking behind the artwork they produced that's just appealing. You understand the art to a deeper level and can appreciate it so much more.

It still is a more elusive idea for a writer or artist to grasp, the whole handling their own publicity and promotion concept. I mean, after all, we're not "selling our presence" like singers and actors do. We just wanna sit at home and make our books and artwork. But the need to handle a certain amount of publicity and self-promotion is still just as important.

I was horrifically surprised to discover this author responsibility on the "back end" so to speak with Chris' books. I presumed publishers would take care of a certain amount of that sort of thing, out of the sheer interest and necessity to sell the merchandise, right? It just makes sense to expect that.

Who wouldn't?

But I'm finding across the board, regardless of publisher, nearly all of our writer friends are stuck in that elusive and strange place of having to actively self-promote to help sell their books. GAK.

It's bad when you're surprised by it. It's so much harder to play catch up. But when you know that going in, then you can actually be proactive. Proactive is WAY BETTER than Reactive.

The great thing about writers is that they've caught on to this, and have created various blog alliances and site alliances and have been quite generous with sharing their information with each other. It's a smart way to handle things. Grassroots marketing (like we've heard and seen for Snakes on a Plane) can be super effective.

Or at the very least help provide a foothold that can grow stronger and sturdier.

I've been adding terrific links to my sidebar here with writer advice blogs and all this is just the very tip of the iceberg. My husband, Chris is very proactive with getting this publicity machine in gear to help promote his books. I'm learning a lot just by checking these wonderful writers out, and by participating when I can, like with the Fiction In Rather Short Takes Program (used to be First Chapter/First Day) Chris pulled together that's now being handled by MC Pearson.

Anyway, not to digress into fiction (fiction is on Thursdays!) but rather to think out loud.

A local artist blog alliance would be REALLY COOL.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Gallery Hopping: The Refreshment List...

I was musing about art galleries the other day and was thinking how, with all the various art galleries at my disposal when I was living up in New York, my favorite thing to do was to go visit The Met.

Back when SoHo was the hot art gallery place back in the 80s (and early 90s...?) I used to go there often to look at all of them, one after the other, and that was fun ... but ... then they disappeared ... and for a time I kinda disappeared from creating art, too ...

When I got my art-head back on after 2000, frequent visits to The Met helped clear my thoughts of the cobwebs. I got into the habit of taking a brisk walk through the galleries and having a coffee or juice in their cafe space on the first floor afterwards. I really felt renewed when I did that.

I have to admit the other fancy uptown art galleries never interested me much, if only because they seemed "packaged" for the person who wanted to have a piece to go with their couch and vase. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just a different atmosphere -- and frankly one that's somewhat intimidating for someone who doesn't live that lifestyle. I didn't want to "intrude" to "just look".

And when the new art galleries reappeared in Chelsea, I started to discover those. But I didn't get acquainted quickly enough to visit them with any regularity before I moved here. So The Met it was. Good, affordable and favorite art standby.

My recent reminiscing made me realize I somewhat equate galleries with refreshments, because I literally am refreshed when I visit them.

The Met was sweet. It was my glass of water.

I visit art galleries when I need new input: an infusion of new sight, a peek at new thoughts. I want to know what other artists are thinking and want to see that out loud on their canvases. I know it's been an especially great visit when I leave and am happy to be part of the art community and just feel good. The work may spur me to want to be creative, or it may move me to want to be very quiet and just learn something ... Sometimes I just need a rest and need to look at something new.

I want to be refreshed by art galleries.

Refreshments are necessary, since drinking helps the body ... but part of the fun is also their variety, and the why one enjoys them ... I even made a list. For example:

Water is the old and best standby. It may come off plain, but we need it to live, and it can't be beat when you're parched.

Lemonade is sunny, tart and if you had to call a drink literally "refreshment", I would call lemonade that. I would drink this all year round if I could find it at the supermarket. (ie., anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup in it isn't Lemonade!)

Coffee is a working drink. I enjoy it as I draw, write, blog, paint. It sharpens the mind and revs everything up so it all gets done ... all 2, 3, 4 cups of it ...

Cranberry Juice (with a slice of lime!) is a drink of leisure, relaxation ... I associate this with lunches that are not rushed ... and lunches where we have discussions ... it's thoughtful and great company.

Wine is the drink of friendship and celebration. Of course we would serve this at an art opening! A new show with new ideas is a wonderful thing and must be celebrated!

I don't drink Sweet (or Unsweet) Tea enough to count, so that one's off the chart.

And that's my refreshment list.

So now what would I call each local art gallery if I compared them to one of my favorite refreshments ... ?

Cheekwood's Highballs & Hydrangeas Tonight

Ok, Ok.

I know I said (yesterday!) that I was only going to post from Tuesdays through Thursdays from now on, but cut me a little slack. The thunderstorm last night was CRAZY and I had to get offline before I got to finish all my posts for the day... So I have a few things to mention just yet!

First off -- tonight is a Cheekwood "Highballs and Hydrangeas" night.

Both Cheekwood and The Frist have set aside (usually Friday) evenings for visitors to additionally enjoy music and drink when they visit the exhibits in the galleries. These nights are terrific for catching up on socializing and hanging out with friends and even for learning more about the art on display. Tonight Cheekwood's curator will be speaking at 7pm. (You will have to RSVP for that since space is limited -- more info at the Cheekwood site.)

Located over in Belle Meade, the Cheekwood also has the additional beauty of its gardens to enjoy while you soak in the lovely art and atmosphere ... so enjoy the evening, because even in the rain it's still gorgeous!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Steve Rude Sketchbook 2006

My VERY first comic book fan letter (back in the day!) was written to Mike Baron and Steve Rude, the writer and artist team of the gorgeously drawn and intriguingly written Nexus comic book.

That was the very first indie comic I ever collected.

["Indie comics" are comic books published by younger and smaller publishers that are not owned in any way by "The Big Two"; Marvel Comics (Spider-Man, Hulk, Fantastic Four) and DC Comics (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman).]

I like collecting art books, and collections of art by favorite artists ... but I'm not a big sketchbook fan ... until I got the Steve Rude newsletter a few weeks back letting me know they were putting together a Steve Rude sketchbook just in time to ship when they all got back from the huge San Diego Comic Con.


Chris saw the look on my face.

So I ordered my first sketchbook.

I just got it Thursday ... !

Full of "thinking" sketches and commissioned artwork, I'm enthralled by his art. This man can draw.

The sketchbook is a lovely addition (and incredibly affordable at $20!!) to the art library, and a bit of comfort/art fix while I anxiously await the start of Mr. Rude's latest comic book mini series on his new character The Moth.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Louise LeQuire, 1924 - 2006

How do you mourn someone you wanted to get to know better but still feel a tremendous loss for?

When the Nashville Artist Guild was informed on Monday that founding member Louise LeQuire had passed away on Sunday, I had to catch my breath. We knew her health was so very fragile lately, but I still hoped for her health to be restored ...

I had an inkling of her greatness as teacher, mentor, arts advocate and artist via the fellow Guild members who referred to her with huge respect. Who is this amazing woman I wondered? I wanted to know more.

I can probably count on one hand the times I spoke or emailed with her since I joined the Guild and began participating in January of 2005. In this handful of times I had the sense I was in the presence of a great lady, and that it would be good to learn from Louise about Nashville's Art History. I wanted to know what Louise thought and felt about these things. What fueled this love in her to work so hard to change it here.

She was a founding member of the Guild, and here, 55 years later she was still an active participant ... so that answered a little of the question. She is dedicated. Then on my visit to the Rau Exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum last November, I saw Ms. LeQuire had sponsored a painting in the tour ... and that answered another little question. She helped bring the art here.

Earlier this year the Guild collected bios to put into a booklet to be shared among members. Since we don't always make every single meeting, this way we could still get to know eachother and so be more fully prepared to work together in our aim to better fulfill the Nashville Artist Guild objectives.

Louise was the first member to send in her Bio when the call went out. Through the bio I really discovered this woman was a treasure amongst us. And the info in this bio was only the tip of the iceberg of what she'd done.

Artist, teacher, writer; also interested in writing and producing documentary films. She was a proactive educator. Through others in the Guild and the (August 1) Tennessean's short article on her passing, I'm only starting to get a clue of just what an active and direct impact she had in carving out the very Arts scene here in Nashville, helping it get a foothold and helping make it grow.
I'm sad and feel such a loss -- there was so much to learn from her. How do you mourn this...?

But I am yet hopeful. There is still so much to learn from the very example she set. I hope through it we as an Arts Community may be able to make her proud. May we then be able to continue to foster the Arts in Nashville with that same love she showed.

Hazel King & Centennial Parks Art...

Last week Tuesday I posted how Metro Council cut the city budget to the Arts so much it was closing the Centennial Park Arts program. This would pretty much end the incredibly affordable and all-skill-range art classes taught there by Hazel King. I was absolutely thrilled to see WSMV Channel 4 was going to feature Ms. Hazel later that evening at the 6'oclock news.

I was disappointed that the segment turned out to just be a "people piece" and didn't touch upon the program cuts themselves and how it would affect the next round of people who would NOT get these classes and get to meet this terrific and inspiring artist ...

But I did like how through the segment more people were able to get to know more about this fantastic art (and dance!) teacher. We should all be so involved and active in the community and in life all the time. Ms. Hazel amazes me.

I was comforted to a degree to read in the Sunday Tennessean's Editorial page that they were also of the opinion that these Metro Cuts embarrass Music City ... and the Monday Nashville City Paper also did a little interview on Ms. Hazel.

The Tennessean editorial touches on how artistic ideas need to be nurtured and shows the cuts from the budget side, which was helpful. It didn't cover how important and influential a teacher can be in fostering and mentoring a fledgling artist -- but for that you could ask artists like Darlene Shadden, Juliana Erickson, and Jerry Adams who Ms. Hazel has taught or mentored.

At the very least I hope all this coverage adds a bit of perspective to what Ms. Hazel has done and does in the Arts Program. This program shouldn't have gone out like this.

I've gleaned from the little info available within the 3 pieces that Ms. Hazel will be kept on as a "Guest Instructor", but what that means in the "before" and "after" picture or what it means the Program itself might change into, I don't know.

I guess this is something to find out about ...

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Metro Council Cuts Centennial Park Arts Program?!!