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Animal_Magnetism_Exhibit“Animal Magnetism: Celebrating the Radiant Spirit of Animals” is an exhibit of art prints by yours truly at the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston. You have until June 3 to stop by and enjoy this colorful celebration of fine furry beings, and while you’re there, you might just find a fabulous new friend to adopt!

This art exhibit features four dogs, four cats and a rather saintly cow. All pieces are for sale, and for each piece sold I am donating 50% of the net profit to the ARL. You get an imaginative and colorful work of art, and the ARL gets extra support for all the work they do on behalf of animals. It’s a win-win.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston is at 100 Chandler Street in Boston’s South End.

Adoption Center hours are:
Monday: by appointment only
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 1-7pm
Friday, Saturday: 1-4pm
Sunday: 1-4pm (adoptions only)
Phone: (617) 426-9170

You can also follow the ARL of Boston on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Lola's Urban Vintage Truck

Lola’s Urban Vintage Truck

Local truck art has been catching my eye these days. Yesterday, just as the first SoWa Sunday of the 2013 was opening, I spotted several painted trucks in the Artisan’s Market lot.

Above is the roving Lola’s Urban Vintage store truck, whose motto is “Where Street Meets Chic.” Lola’s carries a collection of new vintage and handmade clothes, and many one of a kind pieces.

 

The Fashion Truck open for business at SoWa Sunday on May 5th

The Fashion Truck open for business at SoWa Sunday

The Fashion Truck is scheduled to be at a full roster of events during the month of May around Boston, South Yarmouth, Milton and Charlestown. Their mission, “Driving Style Forward,” appears to be working for this boutique on wheels with a curated mix of women’s clothing and accessories.

No story about truck art in Boston would be complete without a mention of the food truck scene that has grown fast and furious here in the last several years.

Cookie Monstah truck

Cookie Monstah truck

This past Sunday, “Boston’s Mobile Cookie Truck, ” otherwise known as the Cookie Monstah truck, was at SoWa Sunday bright and early.

Food trucks are taking the country by storm. Mobile Cuisine, an online resource for the mobile food community, has just started the 2013 Best Food Truck Graphic Design Contest, in search of the best custom designed food truck or food cart design. Elle Decor magazine published this food truck art slideshow with some examples from all around the United States.

As the 2013 outdoor season gets into full swing here in Boston, I’ll be on the lookout for great graphic design on wheels. Stay tuned.

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DSC02278Another season of SoWa Sundays begins! Sunday, May 5 marks the first day of this neighborhood staple that runs 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. through mid-fall. There is an outdoor artisans’ market, an outdoor farmers’ market, an indoor vintage market and delicious food truck meals in an open air shelter in the parking lot on Harrison Avenue between Gaslight restaurant and Randolph Street.

Some artists at the 450 Harrison Avenue studios will even open their doors to the public on Sundays. There’s a sandwich board sign just inside the building’s Thayer Street entrance that will tell you which artists are in that day.

Here’s a handy map of the South End’s SoWa (South of Washington Street) District.

A very cool event happening Sunday, May 19th is the SoWa Plant Swap. If you’ve got too much of something growing in your garden, you can take some of it there and trade it for something else. What a neighborly idea!

 

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It’s Easter weekend in Boston and all manner of bunnies, steampunk ladies, ninja warriors, plaid-skirted schoolgirls, goth brides, sailors, spider men and more are roaming the streets of Back Bay. This year’s attendees of Anime Boston 2012, an annual Japanese anime convention held at the Hynes Convention Center and Sheraton Boston Hotel, are as playful and camera-friendly as ever.

New England Anime Society, a non-profit organization, is the parent organization for Anime Boston. This annual event is billed as the largest Japanese anime convention in the Northeast. While it attracts a majority of conventioneers ages 16-26, people of all ages attend. For three days each spring, an imaginative assortment of pig-tails, aviator goggles, patent leather platform boots and multi-colored wigs descends upon Boylston Street in the Back Bay.

On my walk from the South End to the Back Bay yesterday, strolling through the Christian Science Center grounds, I happened upon the three lovely ladies below in black. I thought the stark angular stone setting was a terrific backdrop for photographing them, and as you can see, they were eager to accommodate.

I’ll be posting more Anime Boston 2012 scenes over the next few days, so come back soon!

Anime Boston 2012

Bee, Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012

All photographs by Paula Ogier.

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"Red Roller" (Linocut 16”x12”) by Julia Talcott, 2010

The sturdy geometric foundations of printmaker Julia Talcott’s roller coaster images give support to their more voluptuous and undulating aspects, bringing to mind the highly structured yet gracefully lolling curvaceousness of coral reefs. This conversation between the natural world and the built world is an apt reflection of Julia Talcott’s own internal artistic dichotomy.

“I love colors I see in nature and looking at patterns in nature. Arc patterns, branch patterns, seed patterns, all of those. I find them fascinating. If I look at nature, I come up with something better than what comes up in my own head just doodling from my mind. Even as a kid, I looked very carefully at nature.”

The roller coaster prints, part of her ‘built world’ side, came out of “an effort to do a really big print — some kind of organic thing.” Of my observation of the similarity between them and coral reefs, Julia says, “Coral reefs are great, huge growing patterns. Even though the roller coaster is supposedly made of steel girders, I wanted to make it feel like something that’s growing.”

"Rollercoaster" (linotype 24”x74”) by Julia Talcott, 2009

A printmaker in her 20s, she got an MFA and then went into illustrating for a living. Life got busy. There were three children and an illustration career, and no time or space for printmaking, and her connection to it got lost in a very full life. Her illustration clients included magazines, books, advertising and design agencies.

"Circus 2" (woodcut, 12"x12") by Julia Talcott, 2007

She explains that being a vector-driven computer illustrator suited the hard-edged, graphic, word-loving part of her. “It was a function of the fact that I love line and graphics and color.” About six or seven years ago, she started printing again with Mixit Print Studio in Somerville. “I took a class with Annie Silverman to start, and I went ‘Oh, of course! This is what I want to do!’ I had the muscle memory from way back. Time is short — I don’t want to finish out the rest of my career doing just illustration.”

Her reconnection with printmaking served as a connection to her “interpretive, softer, more painterly” side. “I think I’ve brought the two together in some places,” says Talcott. “Computer illustration work somehow doesn’t have the heart that printing on paper does. I love printing on paper, and the impression of the ink on the paper, the slight embossment. It’s a handheld luddite activity. That’s why I returned to real printmaking. A computer printout is not the same.”

She still does illustration from time to time, but on average spends about five hours a day, five days a week, printmaking in her Newton studio.

PO: Do you have a group of specific artists who you think of as your community?

JT: I feel tied to two different communities because I switched courses. There are my illustrator friends, who I don’t see often, but are very supportive. We see each others’ work out there, a lot on Facebook, and it’s nice to hear from those people and see them from time to time. I appreciate their comments. Here in Boston, I am part of the Boston Printmakers. It’s still new to me — I’ve been there two years — and I’m getting to know those people now.

There’s also Lois Tarlow who is on the board of the Boston Printmakers and a well-known local artist, and Annie Silverman who nurtured my return to printmaking. Susy Pilgrim Waters is an old friend, and a marvelous illustrator. She’s a very talented, spontaneous person; I get carried away when I’m around her! She’s like a creative geyser. It’s great to stand in the spray around her.

PO: I saw you in Gracie Finn’s (shop in the South End) a few months ago and you were showing printed dishtowels.

JT: Sometimes Susy Pilgrim Waters has trunk shows I take part in. I teach printing on fabric as a class. It involves a lot of work, making linoleum cuts and getting the colors right. I teach and do it because fabric can just be hung on a wall rather than framed, or used as a curtain or a dishtowel; fabric is something to make everyday life beautiful. I feel very free printing on fabric. I have fun with color and pattern. It’s a rabbit hole I jump down and I could stay there for days at time. The trunk shows are fun, too, because I enjoy getting out of the studio and meeting new people.

PO: In 1996 you illustrated a U.S. postage stamp. How did that come about?

JT: As a general illustrator with a graphic style, I had been sending promotional pieces to a designer in Needham for a long time. I never heard from him and began to feel like I was wasting time and postage sending them. Then one day out of the blue, after about six years of sending promotional cards, he called me and asked me to submit ideas for a series of Christmas postage stamps for the US Postal Service. We did it all over the phone and fax. I never met him. I like to think of it as my biggest print run — there were 2.6 billion printed! Watching the Super Bowl on TV that year, there was an aerial view of the stadium, and it occurred to me that almost everybody there had probably seen the stamps or gotten mail with them on it.

Talcott told me that the Museum of Printing in North Andover, MA, a truly impressive museum I had the great pleasure of touring a few months ago, typically holds a print fair each Father’s Day.

A steamroller pressing one of Julia Talcott's prints at the Museum of Printing

“For a couple of years they hired a steamroller and invited artists to have their carved relief images printed with the steamroller,” says Talcott. “I carved my pieces offsite, but brought them with my roller and supplies to ink-up to the tent they set up in front of the building. It was raining. Dan Abugov, husband of a board member there, put on a yellow raincoat, got on the steamroller, and steamrolled right through the tent, over the artwork, and out the other side. The prints turned out pretty well.”

Pre-press inking

Because she loves helping people to create images themselves that they couldn’t have imagined, she loves to teach. Talcott says, “The approach I encourage in all the classes is to relax and enjoy the different techniques that I demonstrate, find what works for you, and keep exploring it. The possibilities are endless.” She teaches at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown and Maud Morgan Arts in Cambridge.

Mixit Print Studio’s “Rethink Ink: 25 Years at Mixit Print Studio” exhibit, including Talcott’s work, will be at the Boston Public Library April 12-July 31, 2012.

Also, the Newton Public Library will be showing her work for the month of July in the large gallery.

To see much more of Julia Talcott’s work, visit her artist website.

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The outdoor season for Boston’s SOWA Sundays is in its final weekend. Tomorrow (Sunday, October 30) is the last chance for 2011 to experience the open air magic at this fun, sprawling, dog-friendly site that hosts a farmer’s market, an artisan market, a vintage market (indoors), occasional live music, and a mouthwatering line-up of food trucks, amidst a collection of galleries, shops, and artists’ studios in Boston’s South End. SOWA stands for South of Washington Street, and these markets-within-a-market inhabit these spaces on Harrison Avenue, one block south of Washington Street:
The SOWA Farmers Market  – 500 Harrison Avenue
The SOWA Open Market – 460 Harrison Avenue (at the end of Thayer Street)
The SOWA Vintage Market  – Indoors at 460C Harrison Avenue

This casual and stylish neighborhood tradition, while still young, has grown immensely in the last couple of years. Its many offerings bring a bustling crowd to the Harrison Street area every Sunday for everything from herbs, honey, fresh produce, free range chickens, baked goods and smoked fish, to paintings, jewelry, baby clothes, home decor, stationery, refurbished furniture, antique typewriters, vintage shoes, miso-seared salmon wraps and foot-long chili dogs.

The rotating selection of food trucks has included BBQ Smith, Bon Me Foods, Boston Frosty, Boston Speed Dog, C-Cups Cupcakes & More, Clover, Eat, Go Fish, Grilled Cheese Nation, Grillos Pickles, Lefty’s Silver Cart, Lincoln Street Coffee, M&M Ribs, Rhode Illin Ice Cream, Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese, Silk Road BBQ, Staff Meal, The Cupcakory, The Dining Car, The Froyo Truck, and Trolley Dogs.  

The Go Fish food truck, one of many tasty options available

After this weekend, I will miss this great excuse to get outside on Sundays and wander five minutes down my street to all the colors, creativity, energy, dogs, and delicious aromas. All the outdoor artists’ tents won’t be back again until May 2012.

Fortunately, the SOWA Farmer’s Market will continue through the winter beginning November 13, so fresh, locally grown produce can still be found in this neighborhood. The indoor SOWA Vintage Market will also remain open on Sundays after the SOWA outdoor season ends. It will be closed on Christmas and New Year’s Sundays.

And on the first Friday night of every month, the SOWA First Fridays tradition continues, with SOWA Artists Guild artists opening their studio doors to the public for art, conversation and refreshments. Pay these talented folks a visit!

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"Big Trees Little World," (Detail) by Christopher Lamberg-Karlovsky

Artist Christopher (Kip) Lamberg-Karlovsky’s father is an archaeologist, and as a result, Kip spent some of his earliest formative years on the desert floors of the Middle East. Growing up looking at his father’s excavations, he developed a fascination with “really weathered, ancient-looking surfaces—time-stamped things that have age on them and in them.”

I viewed his paintings recently at Ars Libri (an art book store) in Boston’s South End, and was lucky enough to be personally escorted through them with the artist. Each tiny painted image is mounted inside the center of a black Pelican case. If you pass by Ars Libri’s wall of glass on Harrison Avenue, you’ll see the black cases hanging side by side in a row across a white wall. The cases hang open on the wall, one half dropped down toward the viewer. The Pelican company sells millions of these cases worldwide to various industries. They are used to transport such things as camera equipment, syringes, explosives and guns.

The paintings within these cases are miniature worlds in themselves, some of them simultaneously earthy and ethereal. Others made me think of cracked eggshells with tiny mist-filled landscape universes just beyond them. The artist’s longing for a more pastoral life, reminiscent of childhood time spent at his grandfather’s cottage on Round Pond (north of Boston), shapes his images. Says Lamberg-Karlovsky, “I’ve always created scapes of one sort or another—cityscapes, cosmoscapes, abstractscapes. I once produced a series of heavily textured pieces that read like oversized land-satellite photographs. I miss those. They were too heavy to take with me, that’s for sure. I had to abandon one on the roof of 211 A Street years ago because it was just too much to carry down. I’ll bet it’s still up there. In this recent work, I’m enjoying using a tiny format to trigger memories of places and images that felt vast and mysterious to me.  I really like the idea of carrying and preserving them.”

If the artist had told me he had started with small weathered photographs of landscapes, applying substances to them in an attempt to blur and crackle them, I’d have believed it. But that is not the case at all. Talking about the materials he uses, Lamberg-Karlovsky says, “Like many artists I experiment with materials in an alchemical sort of way. No mystical investigations in my case, but definitely an organized search for something visually surprising that I can develop into a vocabulary. Part of my studio is pretty lab-like. I get teased for being organized, but I’ve worked hard to create plenty of room for chaos in the work where it counts.”  Wanting to come up with something new, he discovered a crazing effect using materials he had been heating and dehydrating. He describes the materials as “brain-melting stuff.” They include powder pigment, oil paint, acrylic paint, ink, and watercolor. To these he might add acetone, lacquer thinner, mineral spirits, rubber cement thinner, denatured alcohol or water. He starts with these in liquid form, sometimes controlling them with a heat gun or torch to send color in different directions until he starts to see the landscape he is looking for.

"Essential Reflection," (Detail) by Christopher Lamberg-Karlovsky

"Essential Reflection," (Detail) by Christopher Lamberg-Karlovsky

I’m reluctant to post more than one or two examples of these paintings up close because of the contrast between what you see as a jpeg file on your computer screen and what you experience visiting these pieces in person. The strangeness of the black cases as the first thing you see, “reframe the frame” (as Lamberg-Karlovsky puts it) and immediately sets to work altering the viewer’s conditioned approach to viewing artwork. They have to be experienced in person. Digital images of these pieces are interesting enough to look at, but don’t show nearly the luminosity and magnetic quality of the pieces. The images, lovely as they are, are part of the larger journey of interacting with the pieces, moving from the harsh realities of an unsafe world where we need things like locked black cases for security, into the hypnotic allure of unspoiled internal and external landscapes. Being drawn deeper into the paintings became for me a shift from apprehension to wonder.

When Lamberg-Karlovsky pointed out to me what he saw in each piece, I saw it too. But I saw other things first. There is a fluidity to them that lets the mind move easily through changing perceptions of the images. His philosophy about what’s there is that whatever anyone sees in them is fine with him. His titles give hints or suggestions, but he is happy to let people’s minds go where they will. He says that some of his titles “refer to big, important art,” and are designed to make fun of himself. One example might be his ‘Lavender Missed’ piece, which refers to Jackson Pollock’s ‘Lavender Mist.’ “As a college kid I sat in front of an enormous Pollock for hours at the Met, and I was blown away.” Lamberg-Karlovsky’s ‘Lavender Missed’ is about his longing for the naïveté that went into falling in love with abstract expressionism.

The material he paints on is Purple Heart wood, harvested in the rainforests of South America. Says Lamberg-Karlovsky, “It is not an endangered species, but it will be someday. I chose it because it is a hard wood that will not warp, and because the name is so lovely and poetic, and because I like the idea of using a material that points a finger at my ideas and my process. Here I am making work about loss and rarity—while I’m using a material that embodies the problem. Not to mention the fact that those cases won’t biodegrade for thousand and thousands of years.”

Traveling Suite

What’s with the suitcases? As Lamberg-Karlovsky explains it, he had not been showing his work around. He finally put one of them in a James Bond style steel protective case, to take it to show people. Some of the people he showed it to later came to his studio for a visit, and one of them was contemporary art critic and dealer Mario Diacono who also used to show work at Ars Libri. Mario liked the work, and the concept of the suitcase, and they began talking about how to use them. With protective cases, they could be taken out on a rainy day and kept safe, and that idea appealed to Lamberg-Karlovsky because the work is unfixed. “I wanted to give it the opportunity to speak for itself,” he says, “rather than by way of computer. When the cases create that possibility—that’s when they become much more than frames. Still, I like to construct and assign meanings to them beyond their practicality.  I like that they illuminate the fact that paintings are nomadic, and that their sturdiness emphasizes the fragility of the depictions and their subject, and that they have something explosive and inevitable about them. And they do seem to resemble computer monitors on the wall, which is pretty ironic seeing as I employ them in order to avoid using a computer in the first place. I have nothing against computers, I just don’t want to use them to deliver this particular body of work.”

As a digital painter, my style of making art is much more immediate than Lamberg-Karlovsky’s. But I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the slow, unfolding experience of moving into his images and becoming suspended in time. That sense of wonderment and inner quiet is one of the things I’ve always found special in taking in art, and sadly, it is something I experience less frequently these days.

Lamberg-Karlovsky is simultaneously passionate and reflective about his work and where it comes from. “I saw extremely precious things pulled from the earth and I think I learned to recognize rarity,” he says. “I think that had a lot to do with what I do now, whether I know it or not.”

This exhibit is on view through June 30. Ars Libri is at 500 Harrison Avenue in Boston’s South End.

One of his pieces will be in the upcoming “Off the Wall” exhibition at the Danforth Museum from June 12 to Aug 7th.

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