Summer Art Fridays: Photographer Eddy Vallante

It’s the end of the summer, and thus our last selection for our Summer Fridays blog. To finish up on an excellent note, we chose the work of 30-year-old Brooklyn photographer Eddy Vallante, whose portraits of musicians make his Tumblr a must-see. This shot, however, is of a puppy, gazing longingly out the window at something just out of reach. It’s how we all feel looking out at the last warm days of August.

Describe the piece you submitted to Summer Fridays.

This is a photo of Elly. I was watching her one afternoon in Crown Heights for friends of mine who had just gotten married. I was tossing a toy around with her when something outside demanded her immediate attention. She just ran over and sat down. I don’t know what it is, but I love when dogs sit and stare like this. It’s hilarious.

How does the piece relate to your memories of summer?

Elly reminded me of my dog Bubba, who was also a black lab. I grew up in a neighborhood in the woods of Rhode Island and summers were spent on bikes and skateboards with games of manhunt at night. There must have been 15 of us, all around the same age, and almost everyone had a dog. 

Describe your process.

I try to bring a camera with me anywhere I go. 

How did you end up making art?

This sounds ridiculous, but I really believe it all comes down to watching Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtles. Because they lived in New York City, I always wanted to live in NYC. And, now I do. I find my inspiration from anything that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It can literally be from anything. A conversation with a close friend or family member, a film or TV episode, or something I read. When I feel that, I know that I’m going to want to do something creative immediately. 

How has Tumblr helped you?

I love Tumblr. I love surfing through other artists’ work and seeing what else is out there. It’s inspiring and makes me want to work harder. I’ll try and post something new every week and if I find that I’m not, it just means I’m not out there working hard enough. 

Kyle Chayka

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The ARTInfo staff decided to put their own spin on the traditional “hand turkey” created by grade-school children by re-imagining them in the style of various famous artists - can you figure out who each hand turkey is “by?” We’ve put the “artists” in the captions if you need a little help!

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone on the Slow Art Day team!

"So much of Kusama’s work and persona is performance based so it is no surprise that the photograph has been an active part of her career as a form of documentation of both her work and self and it also should be no great wonder that she still has so many of these photographs (as many are credited to the artist’s personal collection).”

From “The Photographs of Yayoi Kusama” via ARTINFO

Yayoi Kusama at age 10, 1939. Collection of Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo; Victoria Miro Gallery, London


Medievalpoc in the Media

I’ve been very glad to see that the word’s been getting out about what I’m doing here with my research. What started out as a little project that I assumed would just just one more art blog in the sea of tumblr, turned out to be a much-needed resource in not only online activism and student-oriented academia, but in the larger face of popular culture misconceptions about race, media, representation, and what it means to be “historically accurate”.

After some active threads on popular blog sloggers like Metafilter and features on art-related sites like Hyperallergic and ArtInfo, I noticed that a lot of other sites were using medievalpoc as a source for materials on other topics as well. Clutch Magazine used some of the information I’ve gathered here to respond to Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly’s assertion of the “historically verifiable” whiteness of Santa Claus, and Feministing.com did a brief writeup on medievalpoc for their news feed. I also did a round table interview with Gene Demby for NPR’s Code Switch blog, along with two art history professors/authors, as well as a current graduate student of art history.

What I do here is an attempt to bridge the gap between popular/social media and the dusty vaults of academia. I want to shine a light on the way in which our culture is shaped by media we consume that claims to show events from history, but declines to reflect the diversity of its audience or that of its own sources.

More than anything, I want to make these concepts accessible and tangible for all people, whether they’re interested in military history, contemporary art, fantasy books and shows, science fiction, intersectional social justice, or just plain like to see beautiful art that features familiar styles with unfamiliar faces. I want to have in-depth discussions with the people affected by the political, social, and financial forces that shape the way we, as Americans, are educated about our history and how that affects our current circumstances.

Something difficult for “pure” historians to understand is that, while the intent of the artists and the historical contexts in which these works were created is relevant, it is not the main goal of this blog to teach or talk about that. It is about bringing these works into our current context, and ask ourselves why they seem anachronistic to so many people. It is about analyzing our responses to these works, and to show whether they adhere to or refute the narratives we are told during our educational journey in the United States.

To see this conversation reaching an ever-increasing audience gives me more hope for our future, as Americans who have been marginalized within our culture, than I have had for a long time. Although some historians believe that this blog is merely reflecting a “trend” in academia, ushered in by exhibits like Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe, and Black is Beautiful: Rubens to Dumas, I believe that a more overarching analysis that includes Critical Race Theory is something that can be the most relevant for young people moving in the belly of the academic beast today.

Social media has ushered in platforms where interdisciplinary research can be liveblogged and read by as many people as are interested in the topic. Anyone can give their opinion (for good or ill), and sometimes, the most valuable starting points are ignited by the misconceptions spawned by popular films, fantasy novels, Renaissance Faires, Disney animated epics, and the question of why we spend so much time thinking about, writing about, and poring over the minutiae of Medieval Europe in the United States.

In many ways, the future of academia in the U.S. is happening on social media. Voices, topics, and people who have gone without or been denied funding, acceptance, or have faced insurmountable institutional or financial barriers have found a place to explore some of the most cutting-edge topics at a high level of integrity. The increased accessibility of academic journals through digitization as well as the pooling of knowledge through communication technology has given birth to an entirely new breed of academics. Although sourcing is often omitted and plagiarism by freelance writers for online magazines is rampant, I believe we are changing the face of public discourse through our very existence.

So, I raise my metaphorical glass to all of you who continue to delight and astound me with your passionate contributions, questions, reflections, and readership.

Here’s to you, readers.

#beautiful #instaart #writer #instaartwork #instaartist #nuvango #author #instaartoftheday #book #instaarts #instaartistic #art #artwork #artist #artshow #artgallery #newartwork #torontoartist #design #myart #artnews #artinfo #creative #writing #toronto #abstract #poem #imagesoftoronto #artwork #words @blakereflected (at blakereflected.com)

Introducing Summer Art Fridays

For our first weekly highlight from our Summer Fridays collaboration with ARTINFO, we chose the work of Pat Falco, an illustrator whose art combines a dry sense of humor with quirky, empathy-inspiring sketches. Falco submitted the sketch above, and we asked him to answer a few questions about the piece and his work as a whole.

Describe the piece you submitted to Summer Fridays.

"Note to Self" is part of series of notes I did, mostly poking fun at myself (and anyone that relates to me). It was a pretty simple idea just based around over-thinking the most instinctive motions because there are intimidating people around — in this case, pretty girls.

How does the piece relate to your memories of summer?

Well, unfortunately, I don’t have too much experience hanging around bikini volleyball teams — but the general idea of suddenly forgetting how to perform the most basic motions in front of a large pack of pretty girls at the beach seems to be a reoccurring summer experience.

Describe your process.

I don’t do too much sketching. Usually I try and go into a piece with a general idea or thought and it tends to finalize itself as i’m making it. I think my work is a balance of sadness and a sense of humor — I try to find the joke I want to express and then avoid it.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I originally went to art school for film, and after failing to find my voice in any particular medium, I ended up in illustration. I’m still pretty drawing-heavy, but my work is expanding into new media a lot which has been fun. I draw a lot of inspiration from people’s daily interactions, the Internet, literature, and all the art that I don’t like.

How has Tumblr helped you?

Tumblr has been a great place to draw inspiration, connect with other artists, and have a place to constantly show your work. It’s a lot easier to post work to Tumblr and have it be seen instantly than finding a gallery to show a select body of your work (or just a few pieces in a group show). The ability to have instant reactions and feedback has been very helpful.

Kyle Chayka

Every week of the summer, Tumblr’s Storyboard and ARTINFO will select a user to highlight from our Summer Fridays series. Check out the Summer Fridays Tumblr to submit your work.

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"The fluidity and indeterminacy of Grosse’s work, both in shape and color, make it an extremely potent and pliable piece of public art, capable of transmitting any number of different meanings to every person who encounters it… " -  read more about what artinfo has to say about our newest shown in downtown Brooklyn, Just Two of Us

photos: Benjamin Sutton 

Matta’s “Montre qui montre le montreur”, 1997, oil on canvas © Roberto Sebastián Antonio Matta Echaurren/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris, Courtesy The Pace Gallery

ARTINFO suggests you “See Matta’s Surrealist Masterworks (and Lesser-Known Late Paintings) at the Pace Gallery” and we couldn’t agree more!  Matta: A Centennial Celebration is located at 534 West 25th Street and on view until January 28, 2012. You can view the slideshow here.

Summer Art Fridays: Photographer Cynthia Henebry

For our latest highlight from our Summer Art Fridays collaboration with ARTINFO, we chose the work of photographer Cynthia Henebry, a Virginia-based artist whose sensitive, emotional images often explores themes of childhood and growth. Henebry’s photos reflect a deep sense of place and a joy for the things that make summer great: the season’s abundance of light, the presence of family, and the sense of freedom that floats in the air.

Describe the piece you submitted to Summer Fridays.

This is a picture of two girls who I frequently photograph, Eloise and Sophia. They are friends, not sisters, by the way. Our families were at the pool together, and when I saw them hanging out under the tree in that light, I knew the shot that I wanted right away.

How does the piece relate to your memories of summer?

In addition to my sons (who don’t particularly remind me of myself), I often take pictures of children who do remind me of myself, and whose experiences might mirror my own. Something about these girls’ skinny little summer legs and bathing suits says a lot to me. Being at the pool with a girlfriend, taking a break from the heat, sharing a secret.

Describe your process.

I shoot exclusively with film, and usually with medium format, which works fine for the quiet moments I’m after. I don’t set it up, but I always know immediately when I see a moment that has the charge I’m interested in, and then I move right in.

How did you end up making art?

I have taken photographs since the age of 10, at least, and my mother has always been my greatest inspiration for that — she was always with a camera in hand, since you just never know. I find my inspiration in almost any place I am; I have yet to find a place or person that seems like they wouldn’t be interesting to photograph. Though one does have to set limits, of course.

How has Tumblr helped you?

I love the fluid nature of Tumblr — I don’t feel pressure to “keep up,” because it would never be possible, but I love the amazing community of artists sharing their work and sources of inspiration. Every day that I look, I find something new to be amazed by.

Kyle Chayka
Every week of the summer, Tumblr’s Storyboard and ARTINFO will select a user to highlight from our Summer Fridays series. Check out the Summer Fridays Tumblr to submit your work.

Summer Art Fridays: Artist James Zdaniewski

For our fifth weekly highlight in our Summer Fridays collaboration with ArtInfo, we chose the work of James Zdaniewski, whose drawing immediately reminded us of what it felt like to spring off a diving board and be suspended momentarily in the air. After checking in with Zdaniewski for the interview below, we found out that it was just that experience that inspired him to create the sketch, which will be turned into a mixed media collage.

Describe the piece you submitted to Summer Fridays.

I submitted the piece titled Six and Seven, a charcoal drawing. This is part of my next series of works inspired by the hype of the supposed Apocalypse coming in December 2012. Based on the idea of the seven seals that bring on the apocalypse, “Six and Seven” shows two children falling freely from the sky. From this drawing I will create a silkscreen to print the work on top of a base layer of acrylic and spray paint, currently in production, to finish the concept.

How does the piece relate to your memories of summer?

This reminds me of the innocence of jumping off a bridge or a dock into a lake, when you experience those few moments of letting go of your limbs and just accepting the feeling of weightlessness before you get baptized by the sudden smack into water.

Describe your process.

For this series, I’m approaching my process a little differently from my norm. I begin with lists and notes on ideas that turn into thumbnail compositions, and then a more solid sketch in preparation for a painting. With these I’m spending more time on the sketch concept, and adding the new base element layered into the final piece. I spend a few months on each painting in order to marinate in the process, so that I make wise choices with color and mark making.

How did you end up making art?

I always watched my older brothers draw and wanted to mimic that. I’ve drawn my entire life, which led me to graduate from an art school — Savannah College of Art and Design — and pursue my solo fine arts career. I studied animation, so I find inspiration in motion and ideas on time and space. I read a lot of quantum theory books, so a lot of crazy ideas and inspiration come out of that.

How has Tumblr helped you?

I use Tumblr as a sort of sketchbook to document my process and ideas. It allows me to continue to post images in-progress while keeping the finished pieces on my own portfolio site.

Kyle Chayka
Every week of the summer, Tumblr’s Storyboard and ARTINFO will select a user to highlight from our Summer Fridays series. Check out the Summer Fridays Tumblr to submit your work.