THE NATIONAL ART CLUB BREAKING TRADITION-A TALK ON ARTISTS USING INSTAGRAM 

  
 I attended a talk about artists using Instagram to promote their work.   The National Art Club is an old traditional art organization.  I got married there in the 1980’s!  I have not kept up with the art they show in many years so I still think they are traditional. 

However, as I searched the Internet I found that they have been evolving.  I must tell on myself.  I’ve never been part of their art scene because I think I’m not good enough for them.  But I won’t let that thinking stop me from seeing what’s going on. 

So here’s what’s going on. 

A panel of 3 artists using Instagram.   

TANIA DEBONO Typography Artist and her website is called TheWriting. 


 
KENNETH SCHLENKER  Art Dealer and creator of an upscale art selling website called ArtList. 

  

SAM HORINE Photographer and Educator NYC

  

WHAT I LEARNED … it’s another venue for showing your artwork.  A bigger venue right now. 

ANOTHER THING I LEARNED … never sit next to artist savages.  Especially the elderly artists who are desperate to sell their work.  You feel the self seeking oozing from their pores.  

And Tania DeBono nipped that in the bud. She said trying to sell on social media is not going to work.  People are turned off by selling artists.  

I found that I am promoting my voice and story as an artist.  Be authentic and the money comes. 

SOME DAYS IT’S HARDER TO GET OUT OF THE CAVE 

THE CAVE … warm and dark … no people to drive you crazy … no expectations to meet!

  
I used to love the cave.  But the cave was a hide out from life.  Today I redecorated my cave.  I call it the castle of creativity. It’s not dark.  Large trees outside my window are active with squirrels running up and down for entertainment. My easel next to the window with canvas ready to paint.  Solitude is not hiding anymore. Solitude is art. 

  

ON A LIGHTER NOTE 

My last post about “real art” makes me understand how the lack of art experience in the lives of so many people is creating a world of mediocrity and taste based on branding.  You see it all the time in fashion.  People spend big money for labels. A young woman today will spend her whole paycheck on a Louis Vuitton bag.  Designers don’t create beautiful clothing anymore.  Plain fashion with their logo or name overpowering the clothing so the wearer makes sure you know she spent a lot of money on this.  People are so invested in names they have no sense of self.   And they are giving the designer free advertising. 

People want other people to think they their lives are important and they want to be like the celebrities they admire in magazines.  Meanwhile credit card debt increases and society becomes a victim of consumerism.  People chase things.  They use people and love things. 

I still think art and creativity is the antidote to the consumerism mentality today.   I feel like an opera singer at a rock concert.  I’m singing an aria and the electric guitars are drowning out the message.   

WILL SOMEONE HEAR ME?   CAN ARTISTS CHANGE THE WORLD?

  

   
   
   
 


PERSERVERANCE 

Yesterday I was told no one registered for my iPad painting workshop in January at the Riverdale Senior Center .  The National Association of Women Artists are moving and cannot start my workshop till March.  No word about my proposal for iPad art classes at the Blue Door Gallery. 

It’s bleak.  I’m afraid of never creating a successful business with a vision that will serve people.  Yesterday I was thinking that maybe my vision won’t work and I should let it go. Look for a job I thought forget art you have failed and you need money to survive.  My old belief returned “I can’t support myself in my art”.  HELP

But my gut keeps saying don’t give up!!  PERSERVERANCE IS KEY!  I always give up. I run when the going gets tough. 

I really have not pursued other organizations. My perception is my idea is no good. That is not the truth. I have gotten acceptance from the directors of the organizations. It’s being able to promote it to the people. Maybe seniors are not it. I see that they won’t try new things. They are really set in their ways. They are missing out on something that will be a wonderful experience. But I can’t reach stubborn minds. I must reach younger audiences.  The answer is go somewhere else. 

MY VISION IS VALUABLE.  I DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP ON IT.  

PERSERVERANCE. 

  


A TREASURE HIDDEN IN A BATHROOM 

THIS IS A STORY ABOUT THE ARTIST YASOU KUNIYOSHI AND HOW I BECAME AN ART DETECTIVE. 

“At the League my life began to take on a real meaning. . . . I had a great hunger for friends and companionship as a natural reaction to my lonely wanderings. At the League I found the warmth and kindness which I sorely needed.”— Yasou Kuniyoshi

  

When Yasuo Kuniyoshi began studying in New York City at the Art Students League in 1916 he tried and failed to get into George Bellows’ popular painting class. Instead, he studied with Kenneth Hayes Miller, who proved to be a valuable influence on Kuniyoshi’s artistic trajectory. Soon after assuming the role of teacher himself in 1933, also at the Art Students League, Kuniyoshi’s own classes became difficult to get into. He was immensely popular with his charges. In the classroom, he engaged students with questions about process and subject matter, not just technique, encouraging them to develop a curiosity about how to represent their unique experiences of the world. This method mirrored his own approach to painting.

I was giving private painting class to a wonderful woman who had visual impairment due to a double stroke. She abandoned herself to creativity and the painting expanded her life. We worked for 2 years in her home and her work was so special because of her impairment.  It was a joy to watch  

What does that have to do with Kuniyoshi?

When I used the bathroom in my client’s home, I kept looking at an interesting framed print there. It was an unusual drawing and I kept thinking this is something important. I looked at the signature one visit and could make it out as Kuniyoshi. I knew Kuniyoshi because he was a former Art Students League instructor in the 1940’s.  I had studied his work on on the internet as I became educated in various artists who were not well known.  Upon Discovering the signature, I found out my client bought it many years ago in a flea market for next to nothing.  I told her what I knew about the artist and said she might have an original print that was valuable. I told her to take it out of the bathroom immediately to prevent any more water damage. Then we searched the Internet and YES it was his print from a series. Now we needed to find out if it was original. My client made an appointment with a Sotheby’s print specialist. 

And according to Sotheby’s IT IS AN ORIGINAL!!!  The value $8,000. She removed the old frame had it framed and it is over the couch.  She had a treasure and it was hiding in the bathroom. I’m grateful that I could see the treasure due to my art knowledge. 

Why Kuniyoshi is an artist I admire is because he taught his students to PUT YOURSELF IN THE ART.

WHAT’S IN YOUR BATHROOM? 

Here is the print my client owns:

  

“DID YOU SELL ANYTHING?”

This question makes me want to scream!!  It probably seems like a perfectly innocent question. But when you look at what they are really asking is are you a good artist.  The criteria for good art is money.  How can an artist respond to that question comfortably. They are put in the spot of being judged based on sales. If they didn’t sell it leaves awkward silence.  So it really is nobody’s business if an artist sold.


The other side of that question is “Why do you price your paintings so high? You will never sell?”

They said I would never sell this

This is the merry go round of art.  I’ve been an artist when I did my first drawing on my parents furniture. I never stopped until the thought of supporting myself with art made me give it up.  I paint because I must.  But people are basing art on monetary success. Of course I want to sell.  I’m not giving away my work.  I have been successful in selling a good number of my landscape paintings.  I used to lower prices if the person bargained with me.  I did that out of desperation to sell.  In the beginning all my paintings were priced at $200.  I couldn’t break that ceiling. I was insecure.  I’m happy to say I no longer undervalue my work.  Here are some of my sold paintings priced prosperously.

 

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SEEING ART AROUND YOU: NYC SUBWAY TRANSFORMS INTO A LIBRARY DESTINATION “THE BRONX “

  
The No. 1 train screeched to a halt and the doors opened. I watched as 20 third graders ran into the car scrambling for seats with loud excited voices. There goes my peaceful ride I thought.  Kids are squeezed into me wiggling around how can I deal with this chaos!!

Then an amazing thing occurred. They were silent!!  I looked around and each one was fixated on a book reading.  I took in this scene of tranquility on a train speeding to the Bronx.  My mind took in each young face and the beauty of their love of reading.  My artist eye said this is a life painting that should be shared.  

WE LOVE THE KIDS OF THE BRONX!!  THEY ARE OUR FUTURE.  LIFE IS A PAINTING!

   

   

1970’s TRYING TO MAKE IT AS A FASHION ILLUSTRATOR- THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY 

  

  
When I was growing up I wanted to be a fashion designer.  I loved drawing fashion illustrations as a kid and fantasizing about all the clothes I would love to have.  In 1966 I was accepted into the High School of Art & Design in NYC.  I majored in fashion illustration because sewing and making patterns was not a strong point. I did really well and my drawing skills earned me a National Schoolastic art award in 1967. 

However, in order to pursue this career one needed skills in advertising layout and mechanicals. Newspapers and printing were not computerized and knowledge of how illustrations were printed was important.  This was my demise. My ADHD and learning disabilities made it impossible for me.  So I decided to try pursuing positions as a designer sketch artist. 

1970’s garment center was not an easy place to work.   

 
I was a scared 18 year old.  I didn’t know how to work. I took the first job offered to me sketching for a designer in a well known fashion company.  She was paranoid about her designs being stolen so she locked me up all day alone in a room waiting for her to ask me to sketch a design.   The boredom and isolation as well as her impending paranoia became unbearable. I quit that. 

The next job was with a discount dress firm. I was hired to sketch their designs on figures to present to buyers before the samples were made.  I did a number of sketches one day to be shown to a buyer coming in that night.  The next day I came in and found all the sketches I did with their heads cut off.  I was so upset. The owner came and told me my heads were ugly and the only way he could show the designs to the buyer was to cut the heads off.  Needless to say I walked out of that job vowing to never work in the garment center again. 

  

 
The above sketch is not mine but the ones following are my work from the 1970’s. 

    

    
   
 

CLIMBING OUT OF THE DARKNESS OF “DOUBT ” AND ANXIETY 

  
My mind took over last week.  So I did every self help technique written on a million mental health website. I was sucked into finding the perfect way to cure this anxiety I had.  Hours reading strategies for the monster in my head. 

GUESS WHAT HAPPENED?

IT GOT WORSE!

I reached out to friends and temple members and shared my shameful mental breakdown. My community surrounded me with love.  I was safe and protected by people. That was the answer. 

All that insanity looking for an answer from books that kept saying this is the way to get out of the mental pain caused more anxiety.   

POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS COULDN’T HELP ME.   PEOPLE DID. WE NEED TO DEVELOP A SUPPORT NETWORK FOR TIMES LIKE THIS.  THE HUMAN TOUCH.  

Trying to get positive and working hard to change my thinking only made me feel more like a loser. Today I am recovering from this dark mental episode and moving forward in baby steps. I did a lot of iPad painting during the episode. Now I want to do an oil painting. I think that will help soothe my mind. 

   

    
 

MY FATHER ART AND DELINQUENT BOYS IN 1940

I have wanted to do this post for a long time. My dad was a very talented artist who didn’t pursue it. I only knew him up until the age of 5 when he and mom split. I was either angry at him or blaming myself. The way I dealt with the pain was to erase him from my mind. 

A couple of years ago my mom showed me this drawing he did that she saved. Why she waited 50 years to show me I’ll never figure out. She told me he also studied at the Art Students League. I never knew this but I was following in my father’s path.  

I guess he had the same beliefs I did about not being able to support himself in art because he ended up being a used car salesman.  But then mom told me about how my father was using his talent to help others. 

It seems in the 1940s the NYC school system was developing classes to help delinquent boys learn how to get skills for jobs so they didn’t turn to illegal activities.  They also introduced them to art.  My father was hired as an art instructor. Schools realized culture can civilize. 

Then WWII came and he was drafted. But he also had skills as a photographer so ended up being a government photographer in the Phillpines where he was stationed. 

I am proud of you dad!   (Below is his colored pencil drawing of Lana Turner 1939)

Lana Turner by George Barbella 1939