Discover Their Stories (Women’s History Month)

Today I wanted to write about some cool cats I know. Well not personally, but nonetheless, individuals who make great art and inspire all of us to be better human beings.

Memes aside, a moment for all of the ladies who make art despite facing incredible challenges every day, is not nearly enough.

I’m doing this in acknowledgement and praise of Women’s History Month. Which is a pretty big deal if you stop to think about it.

This is not going to be a post where I pretend to know the details of women’s history, because quite frankly, I’m not an expert on any kind of history, save maybe art history, and even then I’m not actively thinking about it often enough to claim mastery. No, this is a post for me in which I get to share with you some artists which I think need more attention and why I like them. Not “like” like them, just like them as professionals. Some of them are more known than others, but regardless of stature, these creatives are important and make great art.

Now I should address some hesitations my Canadian readers will likely have first. Yes I live in Canada, and technically that means I should be celebrating this event in October with the rest of my ilk, but quite frankly, I needed something to share this week and we share a border with Americans. And in case you didn’t know they’ve been running this event nationally since 1987, whereas we only picked it up in 1992. Shocking I know.

Insert Privilege Here

It’s a privilege for me to be able to write about these women, primarily because of the internet and a post-secondary education which taught me better. And that is a sad sad thing, so my hope is that you read these little snippets and take some time yourself to learn about these artists.


Marilyn Minter is an American artist who has been active since the 1980s. Her work often features sexuality and erotic imagery. Working in both photography and painting, Minter looks at the various roles of feminism, fashion and celebrity as they relate to idealizations of identity. Having published works in major American magazines and television she is known for being controversial and never loyal to one brand, medium or group. Minter has had exhibitions all over the world including Les Rencontres d’Arles festival in France, shows in Spain and Germany, being showcased in MoMa frequently. She teaches at the MFA department at the School of Visual Arts in New York and recently had a retrospective of her work in 2015. http://www.marilynminter.net/

Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard were musical re-pioneers of what was a defunct form of music now popular once more – folk. The genre was given a boost back in the 1950s, and the duo of Dickens & Gerrard were at the forefront making friends and breaking hearts. Dickens, focused on bluegrass and acted as double bass, while Gerrard, also a singer, played both banjo and guitar, making them rather successful as both solo recording artists and as a pair. Their varied singing styles made use of both Dicken’s high-pitch and Gerrard’s love for crooning and shouting. The pair performed late into their lives but Dickens passed on in April of 2011.

 

 

Julie Taymor is an American director of theater, opera and film. She is definitely best known for directing the stage, as she has been responsible for The Lion King musical, which netted her two Tony Awards, a first for a woman at the time. She has also directed broadway musicals for Spider-man and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Taymore has an Emmy Award, a Drama Desk Award and an Oscar nomination, which is how I got to know her work. Directing films like Titus, Frida, and Across The Universe, Taymor has a natural aptitude for theatre which has spread throughout the performance arts.  Taymors work on Frida was substantial and got the film two Academy Awards – one for makeup and the other for costume design.

 

 

This might seem like a small sampling of professional women to showcase for this post dear readers, but my hope here is to demonstrate that women permeate throughout the arts, and that this is merely a drop in the bucket of talented creatives out there. And these are some of my personal favourite artists too, I could’ve listed off Tracy Emin, Cindy Sherman, Sofia Coppola, Sarah Polley, Debra Granik, Taylor Swift, Ellie Goulding, Leslie Fiest, La Roux, Adele, and tons of others, but then I would just be making lists, and this is about celebrating women.

A privilege in and of itself.

theories Summarized

So where’s the wisdom you ask?  Well, I’ll leave you with this quote by Susan B. Anthony and see if you can glean something from it. And I hope for damn sure that it’s absorption rate is quick, thorough and positively altering, and not a wasted theory.

It was we, the people, not we, the white male citizens, nor yet we, the male citizens, but we, the whole people, who formed this Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people — women as well as men.
Susan B. Anthony
We’re only telling half a story in many cases, but a half does not make us whole.
Tim!

Reach For The Stars (David Wiens interview, Perseverance)

Perseverance has always been about the long game.

Single people who are attracted to a friend, remain purely friends and wait until that person becomes single or interested, then focus on being sexual at the appropriate time, will follow this mantra.

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Thieves use it when they are trying to coerce people out of their money, often with elaborate plans that involve emotions, a false sense of security, and a final change of money or account ownership at the last second to sneakily gain said funds.

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Politicians do it too – when they are negotiating with another party. They will appear weak at first in order to gain a stronger position later on and gain the upper hand, so that they can acquire that which they really wanted in the first place, power and prestige.

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And while those 3 instances are perfect set up examples to demonstrate the value of perseverance in this thing we call life, it can be used in other avenues. And because timotheories is about digital curating at heart, I think I’ve found one example which we can all benefit from, whether we are fully functioning creative professionals or just starting out.

You see, dear readers, it can be challenging to succeed as an artist, no matter what your stripe, but often, the best teacher in life is experience, and I know just the man to get you your allotted life lesson.

That’s right, we’re going to review the final feature length interview with my personal friend, David Wiens. Which means we’ve now reached episode 9 of this incredible series which both highlights artists who deserve exposure, and supplies you with teachable moments. It’s win-win in the long game.

David Wiens is a photographer with an incredible insight of the product photography industry, and he has dedicated the better part of a decade to gain these skills and become an expert in his particular niche. He has applied all sorts of principles from the broader discipline of photography so that he can have his choice of both full-time and freelance jobs.

He realized long ago that in order to make it as an artist, he would have to not only walk the walk and talk the talk, but never balk the balk. Bad pun? Probably, but you get the point.

Besides, you aren’t entirely here for my comedy, you want to watch that sweet sweet interview, and I’ve made you wait long enough. This is truly my most dedicated effort yet, and one which I’m incredibly proud of. I promise.

As always, if you want to check out more timotheories interviews or the Cross Talk series please visit our YouTube channel.  And please, please, please share this post and of course subscribe to both the blog and channel!

Please also check out David’s website to see his portfolio and to contact him for creative services.

And of course my sincerest thanks to David for being decisive, dedicated, and dynamic. See you tomorrow with an album review that’s kind of profane.

Tim!

Lean Into The Grind (David Wiens interview preview)

 

In video game culture there is a term associated with the time it takes to increase your characters skill or attain level progression or even acquire additional items. It’s called level grinding.

We all do it in video games, especially those who play RPGs or more recently, those who play social games which have a pay-to-win model.

Those who pay get to skip the grind and reap the benefits almost immediately. This mentality has led to some not-so-nice feedback from the gaming community and a rather crude nickname for that 2% who spend the most – whales.

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I have this theory that the reason why people hate whales is because they cannot afford the same convenience of “skipping” the grind. But what they don’t realize is that often, the developers have set up a model that no matter how much you spend, the difficulty and challenge stays the same as you climb, thus the reason that demographic continues to exist – as they dump money into a social game, more opportunities and rewards crop up that warrant continued commitment.

Which is why perseverance is so valuable.

As you gain levels in life, you appreciate the commitment and recognize the patterns of it so that the grind becomes a natural element of your progression through life and not something to be feared.

Which is why today’s interview with David Wiens was going to be so fantastic. He serves as a shining example of the value of a creative player with perseverance locked down.

But I made a mistake.

You see, I promised I would share a new interview with you this Sunday, and that’s not really the case. What I really want to do is to give you a teaser of things to come in this month’s entry before the real thing. This is because I’m test driving some new lighting equipment and I want to get your feedback on the how things pan out visually.

Examples to follow:
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And thus we have arrived at A quality lighting. Sound familiar? It’s exactly what I did with the Paige Knickle preview a while back.

That’s why I am SO incredibly pumped to give you readers a test shot of episode 9 of timotheories interviews!

This month’s featured artist is a dedicated product photographer with a passion for perseverance and the commitment to follow through. Below is a clip from our interview!

I’m ridiculously excited to share this preview from the David Wiens interview and you will see the final result next week, but for now, enjoy our brief interlude and the rest of your Sunday. Maybe dig in and start building a new nightly ritual for rest and relaxation? Or read a good book?

I’m out of theories for now, dear readers! Have a fantastic night, and I’ll see you tomorrow with something to clap to.

Tim!

Problems With Art Galleries That No One Talks About (Take Photos All The Time)

Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell, about an artist blogger you know so well.
It started way back in history, with a museum, a guard, and NYC – you see?

And that dear readers, is how you make a transitional joke from one post into the next one. Please see previous post for reference if you want to get the joke, but I’m going to move along so that I don’t lose this post’s momentum.

Let’s visualize for a moment here.

This is a situation that seems to happen all the time across the world in various museums and art galleries alike. You are seeing a-one-of-kind piece of history for the first time (often a famous art-work) and you want to take a photo of it for posterity and so that you can remember what you saw when you return home. Let’s be honest here, you’re done have an eidetic memory and you definitely aren’t getting any younger.

So you snap a photo.

Kinda like I did when I was visiting the New York Metropolitan Museum for the first time back in 2006. Yes, this story is 10 years old, and for you recent graduates and Millennials on the edge of the age generation cut off, that time probably doesn’t mean much to you.

But for the sake of the story let’s pretend you all do understand me. So you snap a photo with your digital camera (not your phone), and get the warm and fuzzies almost immediately, because you now have proof that you’ve been in the presence of greatness, and your loved ones can be excited or feign excitement when they see you again, and you both show and tell.

And this was definitely part of my intent, but not the whole plan. The whole plan was to get some photos, so I could reference them in my own art later on, and because folio pictures from art books aren’t always the best quality. And at as much as 100 bucks a pop, the costs add up quickly.

But then I felt it, a warm hand on my left shoulder. Ever so slowly followed by a deep voice. “You can’t take photos in here son, read the sign.”

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I had read the sign, I saw the sign, and it told me that these works were over a hundred years old and in a dark room to preserve their colour. And I thought I was being clever, because I know all about lightfastness in painting, and I made sure to turn my flash off on my camera (not my phone), because I was being respectful.

It didn’t matter though, I had been caught.

And the guilt quickly set in. But why should I feel this way, it was 2006 and people love to take photos, in fact, digital cameras were making it easier by the day for people everywhere to get into the photography hobby. So all I have are a couple of blurry memories of one room, and I can barely remember which artists I saw in there, so that sucks.

Luckily for us today though, because museums and galleries are loosening the reins on this particular restriction. Because people take photos everywhere, of anything, and all the time. We can thank smart phones for that phenomenon. It’s really difficult for a venue to justify taking away someones’s phone, because it’s not socially acceptable, and phones can save lives.

And from the perspective of the venue they have to decide if it’s more important to have guards paying attention to visitors touching antiquities or snapping photos. That and the challenge of social media. When organizations use social media to show work going up and down, can they really complain when people are using social media to generate traffic for them? The way we think about communication and conversation is changing, visual communication is becoming hot topic once again.

But of course the biggest challenge is the issue of copyright and fair use. I think that institutions need to protect themselves by asking for permission to take photos of work, but for the layman, taking photos for noncommercial use is a lot more permissible, which may be the first indicators of a culture shift.

As time changes peoples opinions about gender, sexuality, and race, and we become more compassionate, my theory is that we will also become better communicators because we need to and our ideas about images will shift too.

What do you think? Comments? Questions? Please leave some and also subscribe! See you tomorrow with a theory about a rabbit.

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!