I’d Walk 500 Miles (Whyte Avenue Art Walk)

When I wake up, well I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next to you. When I go out, well I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you. If I sell art, well I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who sell art right next to you.

Edmonton is well known for it’s festivals and it even hosts events like Nextfest and The Works to help out burgeoning visual artists. These events are fantastic for exposing artwork at a gallery and curatorial level, but what they don’t do is address the part of art making that is ALWAYS on the mind of creative professionals.

How are we gonna get paid?

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Well truth be told, there are ways to achieve these results, but most of them require networking, whether that is through the traditional method of gallery representation, word-of-mouth, developing a virtual gallery online and pursuing networking opportunities through social media, or if you live in Edmonton, there is a special event every summer that serves as both sidewalk gallery and outdoors studio.

The particular festival is called The Whyte Art Walk. Sometimes known as The Art Walk by long-time fans.

With over 40,000 visitors Whyte Avenue becomes quite a sight to behold, catering to your production machine types to your contemporary subversives, Edmonton brings on the best and the brightest to show you a broad range of art. There is definitely something there for all of us.

Now for the hard part.

Unfortunately you just missed The Art Walk this year, as it already took place last weekend from July 8-10, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mark it on your calendar for next year! In 2017 The Art Walk will take place from July 7-9 inclusive, and it will run a 4km walk from 101 street all the way to 108 street and along Whyte avenue. Artists will also spill out into grassy areas like the Dr. Wilbert McIntyre park on 104 street and near The Station on 102 street.

It really is incredible to witness all of the hundreds of artists available to buy from and witness in the act of art making in the Old Strathcona area.

The event is organized by The Paint Spot, as it was cofounded by The Paint Spot and The Old Strathcona Foundation, this annual festival has now been running for over 20 years. And if YOU want to be part of The Art Walk, you should reach out to The Paint Spot team via The Art Walk website.

I hope you take a look dear readers, because The Art Walk isn’t just for you or me, it’s for the local community and a way to connect us all a little bit closer to the arts. But that’s just a theory. Have an excellent weekend and I’ll see you on Sunday for something rather stimulating.

Tim!

… Son of A (Catalogue Your Artwork, Please)

You know what one thing I hate more than so many other things in the world is?

The boring-ass menial labour involved in executing administration, no matter WHAT kind I am tackling and how it relates to my life.

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Now hate is a strong word, and I generally don’t subscribe to hate in other areas of my life, because it’s the path to the dark side – plus it’s incredibly toxic for your mental health. But it really is a bitch to do certain types of simple and tedious planning & execution, well, for me anyway. But I know that a lot of other creative types struggle with it as well. Especially when we already know what needs to happen, and just don’t want to do it.

That’s kind of what cataloguing my art work feels like. One gigantic painful never-ending process of taking pictures, uploading files, labelling said files, and then storing them somewhere (usually an external hard drive)

Interestingly enough, I’ve already done a pretty good job of it over the years, which is the biggest hurdle, in truth. Getting a system in place – coming up with names for each piece, the dimensions, material used, and the year (sometimes even the month) the work was completed. That’s the first step to a successful inventory.

But in order for that to happen, you have to do one of two things…

  • Take photos of everything shortly after completion and then label accordingly on the file name OR
  • Make notes on the back of the work immediately (year, medium, title), for when you CAN get around to photography

Remember that post I wrote last week about the Allegory of the Collage series I’ve been working on for the past decade or so?

Well I was really good at recording those key details of the pieces in the series, especially at the beginning, but then I lost my stride for a bit, and figured “no big deal, I have a good memory, especially when it comes to my own art, I’ll be able to come back and write the year on these drawings,” which was true at the time.

But another year passed, and I was submitting new drawings in the series for art exhibitions, luckilyI had the foresight to write down those names too, and immediately take photos! But after that point in time, I totally lost track of the work completed in subsequent years, as second time. Until last last year, when I decided to start making the collages again, and began the process of marking the details directly on the back of each piece.

So I have two gaps in the work created, I think some of it was made in 2007, and the rest between 2009-2011, but I cannot be sure. Which sucks.

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I can make a bunch of excuses for why this happened, but it doesn’t really matter because, whatever the excuse is, I still don’t know where to place about 25 of the pieces. And that sucks, because I don’t really want to guess, but in order to properly catalogue the work online, I need to have those details.

I mention this for two reasons.

First, I need the work digitized for a post I’ll be writing on Pinterest in coming weeks (which was supposed to be written a posted tonight, until I ran into the above issues)

Second, I’m going to show you in detail why it’s important to do an inventory of your work, and how to accomplish this exactly.

If you don’t have a studio inventory, you’ll be kicking yourself in a few years, and as painful as it is for me to workaround a problem of 25 images, imagine how much it would suck to do this with hundreds of pieces? Don’t fret though, this isn’t meant to scare you straight out of the studio. This is an education; it’ll get better, I promise.

For now, get started by taking photos of all of your work, including the title, the materials used, the dimensions of the piece, and the year it was made. I sound like a broken record, I’m sure, but trust me on those points. Then either store the images on your computer, a hard drive or find a place on the cloud.

I’m personally toying with Flickr option at the moment, but I’ll give you an update when I have an ideal solution, or two.

But what do you think? Have you already organized your work? How did you do it? Please leave some comments below and I’ll have some more theories tomorrow!

Tim!

 

timotheories presents Tim Kuefler (Allegory of the Collage series)

Well, I have finally done it. My real “identity” is out there.

I had to do this because I promised you a peek into my art practice going forward, and today I deliver, dear readers.

Now is the time of great reckoning for I’m putting up personal elements of myself for display and inspection, and potentially for sale as well. It wasn’t an easy decision, but if I am going to further refine and evolve this project of curating, creating, and collaborating, I need to inject myself into the mix.

Let’s go over my back story a bit more so before I open up the floor to some of my art.

I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art & Design from the University of Alberta in the spring of 2007. My major focuses during that time were painting, drawing, and sculpture. Pretty classic examples of fine art education. I didn’t always believe this, but I am very fortunate to have a university education and to have studied with professors that had invested their own art practices in both the modernist and post-modernist eras of art making. I believe this because it informed my own decisions about art.

You see dear readers, by dealing with two specific schools of thought constantly it either fueled or resulted in a great split in my mind and own practice about the very nature of art making. I began to produce work that was either conceptual or technical, and sometimes both. It felt rather like a struggle with divorcing parents, and as a child (student), I couldn’t possibly know which parent was the right one to pick (school of thought), so I did what I’ve always done in my life, I chose to do something different.

I made art for myself and specifically to both impress and disrupt my professors. This was almost ten years ago. And so I share with you an ongoing series of work I’ve been creating since my senior year of university, which has inspired paintings and drawings, some of which I will share later on in coming months.

At one point I called the series below, the Allegory of The Cave, because I was self-prescribing philosophy when I first started to deal with my issues of doubt and frustration at institution and with routine. Something which comes naturally for a lot of artists. #realtalk

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Almost ten years later, I have a blog that is gaining real traction thanks to readers like you, and I am working on community with artists of all walks of life. This blog serves as a platform for my vision of more accessible community across the arts, a soapbox for my theories and other artist theories on the arts, a theatre for collaboration, now a gallery for my own art, and eventually a lounge and studio for both art enthusiasts and artists. More on that last bit in future posts. Please hold me to it.

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So, I recently decided to change the title of the series to the Allegory of the Collage, because This series represents the complex narrative I am weaving for myself and my local community, by using material from local publications, with local characters and events that don’t have a distinct meaning in the image just yet, but an abstract and big-picture feeling. And frankly, because it is succinct in it’s purpose and as a metaphor for timotheories itself – to create art by combining different materials together with a solid backing.

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More importantly, creating art for the purpose of joining people and ideas together has always been important to me, and because I want art that looks good in my own home, I have an obligation to produce that which is interesting and entertaining. The discipline of writing 5 days a week, and producing a minimum of 2 videos a month is all related to the passion of creating to be at peace and to fulfil what often feels like a compulsion to share.

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It is very important to me that the work a produce be authentic and related to myself and what I experience in this life, so I always make work which ties back to that creed. I learned that lesson from a professor in my second year of university, and whether he truly believes it or was just lecturing, it’s solid advice.

This series is made up of text and pictures that are taken from local events, people, and ideas, and is naturally authentic for those reasons.

In sharing my work on my blog, I want to challenge others to make their own work better, to become full-fledged entrepreneurs in a time when we are entering back into cottage industry practices because of the access the internet provides to us on a global scale; an era of modern craft. And so I developed this post, to begin the process of adding my gallery of artwork into the blog in some capacity, eventually with piece titles, prices and everything, but I felt a visual introduction and artist statement was a good start for now.

If you are interested in commissions, prices of the work I’ve included in today’s post, or if you want more information about the series, please leave some comments below or email me at timotheories@outlook.com.

And of course, please follow me to get even more awesome content in the future. I interview visual artists, designers, musicians, actors, and other creative types every month. I also write reviews on film and music as they relate to my theory of film as the great narrative of our culture, and I always have some wisdom, events, and theories to share. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you on Sunday with a new Cross Talk episode!

Tim!

Work Smarter, Part 2 (Art Hacks)

Last week on timotheories, we gave you dear readers a top 10 list of skills to invest in.

That list was good for anyone looking to improve, but I originally wrote the topic because artists need help too and sometimes we don’t go looking in typical channels for it.

Which got me to thinking.

Because timotheories is all about that ace, better known as the arts, we’re bringing back the life hacks for a more in-depth solution for artists. This time let’s focus on technical hacks.

Below is a list of the top 15 art hacks I’ve come across in my travels as an artist. I’ve scoured the internet (links at the end of the list) and have included some hacks which I have used, some I’d like to, and some I personally believe would benefit anyone who is creative and has a lot of projects on the go.

What is great about a list like this, is that it allows you to contribute to the discussion, and who knows maybe one of you has a hack we’ve never even considered… Now let’s dig in.

Here are my top 15 technical hacks, in no particular order.
  1. Organize your loose files, papers, and canvas by installing magazine racks or shoe organizers. Also consider an old suitcase for organizing collage and scraps.
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  2. Never struggle with tape again – use paper clips or bread clips on one end of roll to keep your place OR put tape in the microwave briefly (5-10 seconds) to soften it up and find the end.
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  3. Keep scissors sharp by folding aluminum foil over itself a few times, then cutting through it until satisfied.
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  4. Remove oil paint from your hands with baby wipes. For when water and soap won’t work.
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  5. Maximize your paint can/jar/tube lifespan – put rubber bands around cans to wipe brushes, saran wrap over tubes before adding the cap, take extra paint from the jar and store it in a sta-wet palette OR a plastic container in the fridge. When your jars are stuck, open them with a strip of duct tape – half on the lid, half as a handle.
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  6. Paper towels can save your drawings life. Place a non-textured towel where your arm would rest to reduce and even prevent smearing.
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  7. Maintain your paintbrushes. After washing dip the brush in milk and wrap the edge with a rubber band to reform the point OR apply hair conditioner or hair gel after cleaning for the same results.
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  8. Brush maintenance part 2 – Consider storing brushes horizontally in aluminum foil lined with paper towels to speed up dry time OR putting them in a planter with sand/beans.
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  9. Want your computer space clean and in order? Use binder clips when the keyboard feet break, and if you need to clean, consider using post-it-notes between the keys. If your laptop overheats, place it on top an egg carton.
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  10. Speaking of electronics, you can also loop cables through binder clips to keep track of your cords and put unused cords in empty toilet rolls.
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  11. Storing your art supplies is important – As mentioned already, binder clips are amazing, especially for hanging paint tubes on nails. You can also use magnets to store paint upside down or add them to a cupcake stand. Pens/pencils can be stored in cups on wine racks.
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  12. When short on space – install a drop down table and then add glue a cutting mat to the top. If you are feeling particularly clever, add a magnetized quilt to the top which can be used to iron curled paper.
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  13. Chalkboard paint is important. Chalkboard paint can be applied to doors, jars, walls, and a myriad of other objects to help create idea lists, supply lists, to-do lists, and label your stuff. Don’t be stingy with it.
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  14. Similar to magnets, you need to embrace velcro. Velcro can be used to fix mats to the floor and then quickly removed when painting. Alternatively, they can also be used to set up baskets that stay in place.
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  15. Converting larger furniture to serve as storage is also an option. Table tops can store paper. Ladders can store tape, ribbons, and fabric, while ceiling tiles could become a marker rack. And please consider a tool chest or card catalog cabinets for your assorted little things.
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And there you have it! A technical list of hacks for creative types. And as promised, I have included links to my sources – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

As I mentioned once already friends, sometimes it can be difficult to learn these tips. I have a theory that it’s because artists “seem” to represent a small percentage of the population. We don’t make an effort to share our findings, because we think there aren’t a lot of people who would benefit from them, but obviously that is not true.

What do you think? Are these art hacks awesome? Do you have some other ones? Please leave comments and subscribe if you haven’t already, I’ll have more wisdom next Wednesday, and something timely tomorrow.

Tim!

Licensed To Steal (Artist As Collector)

I’ve been thinking about what I should write for today pretty much all of my waking hours this past week.

Sometimes I chew on a theory for months (anticipating the date to share it with you), other times the theory appears in a flash of light. And sometimes theories just work themselves out naturally in the moment and I kind of surprise myself with the results.

It’s a similar experience that many artists have when they create work. Nothing happens perfectly, but relying on moments of inspiration is incredibly draining and risky in terms of output. That is why it is so incredibly important to set up a routine and a space that works for the individual, so that bursts of creativity can happen naturally and “seemingly” spontaneously and the disciplined efforts can cover of those moments of creative silence.

It really is amazing that our unconscious minds are working in our favour though when you stop to think about it.

We organize information, experience, and our interests to produce something special, and if we do it correctly, we create a work of art which looks and feels unique, whatever the source of inspiration.

The reason why I’ve been thinking about this process today is because I have this theory that all good artists steal ideas (not an original idea either), but the best ones steal from everyone and everything in their lives. They do this because of an honest appreciation for life and an attachment for what already exists in the world.

To put it simply, every artist is a collector. On the surface it could appear that they store objects, but the reality is that they have enduring love for the object(s) which house much more than the literal contents we observe in passing.

This TED Talk by Austin Kleon details the point quite well.

Nothing is original. All art, from the bad to the great, references what came before it.

So why do critics sometimes comment as if we should operate in a vacuum? I’m not entirely sure. I think it is likely that nuanced truths are harder to swallow than obvious ones, if I am being perfectly honest. Which can be a full blown topic for another Stimulating Sunday.

But that is not what today is about.

Today is about the theory of artist as collector. And the inspiration for today’s post is from a very talented artist who I am sure you have heard of at one point or another, whether you like their work or not.

Here is a sample of my favourite song from the record.

Walking through a crowd
The village is aglow
Kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats
Under coats
Everybody here wanted something more
Searching for a sound we hadn’t heard before
And it said

Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York

It’s a new soundtrack I could dance to this beat, beat
Forevermore
The lights are so bright
But they never blind me, me
Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York

I’ve highlighted particular lines because I think they are especially relevant for the topic at hand.

This song is from the album 1989 by Taylor Swift. Yes, that’s right.

But that’s not what I was listening to on the drive home to Edmonton from my girlfriend’s parents home in Lacombe today. I was listening to Ryan Adam’s cover album, also titled 1989, with the exact same number of tracks, with almost identical lyrics, in the same song order.

Let’s break this thing down for a minute.

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Taylor Swift, who is incredibly talented, let Ryan Adams, who is also incredibly talented, “steal” her work and create his own version of it.

In fact, she gave her instant approval, when he asked. She is a genius.

If you think about it for a second, there have been reviews claiming he did a better version of her work, and that he made it more meaningful.

I call bullshit on that. But not for the reasons that lots of people are.

He was a vehicle that proved how powerful her lyrics really are to everyone, whether people choose to see it or not, is a completely different matter.

This is especially important to note for those who don’t listen to her music and pass if off for cookie cutter pop. Taylor Swift is an incredibly talented songwriter. Period.

And, she gracefully pointed that out with her title track, without being a jerk about it.  Let me illustrate – while we might all be “searching for a sound we hadn’t heard before,” 99% of the time, the sound already exists. It’s because someone loved it, and made art about it, that we can appreciate it the new art. 1989 by Ryan Adams is a great album, but it wouldn’t exist without 1989 by Taylor Swift, and Taylor’s is definitely the better album because she made something “original” without making it obvious what she “stole” from to get inspiration.

And she understands that sharing is caring.

My girlfriend, who is a super fan of Taylor Swift, realized this brilliance of TSwift years ago, I’m finally starting to see it myself. I hope that other creative types make that leap sooner than later, and I also hope that everything I just stole from makes this post worthwhile. And that’s all of the theories I’ve got for tonight.

What do you think? Leave comments!

Tim!