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Life Long Journey

Artist Marco Nunes Paints with an Uncommon Brilliance

by Sarah Mitchell – 9/29/2006

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“Painting is definitely my passion, that’s where all the good stuff lies!” says artist Marco Nunes, with obvious enthusiasm.

Born to a mother who was a painter herself, Marco spent his early childhood days in Madeira, Portugal before moving to Riviera Beach, Florida. Marco spent the rest of his younger years in Florida and went on to obtain his Bachelor of Arts Degree at Florida State University with a concentration in set design.

Although art had always been a part of his life, it wasn’t until 12 years ago, when he found himself in Los Angeles, California, that Marco really started to play with paint.

In The Beginning

“I got in and never really stopped,” states Marco. “I had always been artistic and crafty but didn’t really start to paint fine art until about 11 years ago.” Initially drawn to LA to work in the entertainment business, Marco has alternatively found that his he”art” belongs with painting.

Marco describes his early paintings as “nonparticular.” “Initially my style was very different: non-specific, but still figurative and nature-based. Then I started adding faces to my art,” says Marco.

An Unusual Process

Marco uses oil paint and plaster to create these dreamlike scenes. His canvas is wood panel surrounded with custom, handmade wooden frames. Why these materials? “There’s something very organic about the materials I use and I like the idea of creating all the parts that make up the final painting.”

“I begin by making a panel out of masonite board,” he explains. “I then pour a mixture containing plaster and other secret ingredients on to the panel and let it dry. During the drying process, many factors come into play in determining the texture of the final surface. Some of these factors include varying quantities of ingredients and sometimes even the weather. It’s almost like putting a cake in the oven and hoping for the best!”

“I paint using Gamblin oil paints and solvents and then seal the completed painting with varnish,” Marco continues. “This is my favorite part, because the varnish really brings out the richness of the colors and for the first time I begin to see my vision come to life. After the varnish has dried I construct the frame, paint it, seal it, put a hanger on it and call it done! This process including drying time and sometimes frustration can take up to a month depending on the size of the piece.”

To see more of Marco’s paintings go to his artregistration.com gallery or his website at the following link: www.marconunes.com. His early work can be found in the “Archive” section on his website. You can see how his work has evolved.

 

The Message

“Ultimately, my goal is that I would really like to say something to people with my art that maybe hasn’t been said or seen before,” muses Marco. “There are a lot of different messages I’d like to send, but one theme is to maybe open people’s eyes a little bit to things… A few people get it along the way and that’s what keeps me going and really makes it count.”

A good example of this theme is shown by Marco’s painting “Lost a Friend to the Sea…James” which references the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. “This was my anti-war statement. The war was going on and we were forgetting what was behind the flag and what it represents. People and their children were dying and we see this icon. We’re proud of it, but we need to remember what it means. I just felt very moved to do this painting.”

Get Legit with artregistration.com

Marco had his first brush with artregistration.com at the Affaire in the Gardens show in Beverly Hills, CA. It was here that Marco and Teri Franks, Founder of Global Fine Art Registry, Inc., first met. The two had an instant connection. artregistration.com tagging and registration system seemed to be just what Marco needed…

“artregistration.com was something I had never heard of but people had often approached me about authenticating my work. I figure when someone’s going to spend that amount of money on one of my paintings, they want to have a place to go associated with their piece that proves its authenticity and establishes its provenance,” Marco states. “A signature isn’t quite enough.” Marketing art can be a hard venture. “That’s why it’s so great to have places like Fine Art Registry as a means for artist to display their art. I feel like my work is being represented well and is being seen worldwide.”

Marco’s piece “Lost a Friend at the Sea…James” was featured as the artregistration.com Painting of the Month for July 2006.

More to Face

Although Marco sometimes finds it hard to balance a fulltime job doing graphic design and finding the time for his passion of painting, he says that it is well worth it to give up time on the weekends.

“There’s a lot of art that I want to get done,” Marco says. “It’s my life long journey, I’m just going to keep doing it. There’s nothing else I want to do more. There are too many paintings in my head that just have to be painted!”

Marco explains that experiences are what stimulate and move him to paint. “Life experiences that happen and then you capture that and visualize what it might look like on a canvas or in my case, plaster and masonite!” he says with a laugh. “The mood kind of influences what you want to say but I don’t need to be in a certain mood to paint. Getting that vision across and imagination, tapping into how you feel about something, and human experiences are all I really need.”

With more life experiences to be had, Marco Nunes’ exuberance, passion, and talent will surely continue to light his journey ahead.

Sarah Mitchell | September 29, 2006

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Taking up Where Jackson Pollock Left Off

Francis Hogan (“Frankie”) Brown is a master of splatter-dash painting and a lot more besides…
by David Phillips – 11/18/2006

In 1999, in celebration of his 20th year of painting in the splatter-dash genre, which he began with inspiration from Jackson Pollock, Frankie Brown made a little booklet with a splatter-dash cover and presented it to Pat Collentine and Susan Larsen, two artists living in Chico, CA, who are friends, supporters and close associates of Frankie’s. Inside the booklet is a short version of his own story. It also provides some insight into why Frankie is in the news today.

The booklet begins with a holiday greeting and continues thus:

Original splatter-dash artworks by Frankie Brown since 1979. First one person exhibit of splatter-dash at the world famous Clam Broth House, Hoboken, NJ October 1979. Later shows were mounted in New York, Illinois, California, and worldwide mail art shows.

Frankie Brown was born in Manhattan, raised in Newark, NJ, and spent his adult life in California. He hopes to some day live in outer space.

Although art is his primary interest, he spends equal time with quality books and food.

1999 will mark the 20th year of producing splatter-dash artwork by Frankie. He has never been accused of ripping off Jackson Pollock even though most observers of the work see the similarity and this usually brings a smile to their face. Yes, according to Frankie, anyone can do it. No, they don’t look the same.

“What I learned the most from Jackson Pollock,” says Frankie, “Is discipline and thrift. It’s all one piece. There is no up or down. No composing or designing. No drips. The viewer sees whatever. And like with most artists, money does not come easy, so being a skillful penny pincher helps afford the luxury of art making.”

Splatter-dash kind of artwork was done long before Pollock. It was common when color paint was scarce. Jackson Pollock was probably not finished with exploring the process when he died in 1956 either. Surely when Frankie Brown is dead and buried, someone else will carry on.

The splatter-dash artwork attached was probably torn from a larger piece done some time ago. Frankie prefers smaller pieces because they bring the viewer closer. The larger pieces are available but they are not better, only bigger.

Hope you enjoy.

James (Buddy) Antwel [Frankie’s pen name], writer.
Fine Artware, Books, Organic Foods
Francis Hogan Brown, Home Museum
PO Box 8251, Palm Springs, CA, 92263

Frankie graduated from Cal State in 1970. He holds a lifetime teaching credential in art and industrial arts. He began with photography and also studied ceramics, metal and concept art. This was a change of career for him. He had already had a life as an accountant. And in the ‘60s he thought he was going to be a politician and studied political science for a year.

When Cal State built a new union on its East LA campus, Frankie became the first director of the gallery and coordinator of the crafts department. This was in 76, the Bicentennial Year. LA was an interesting place in the 70s.

“I was doing lots of shows,” Frankie recalls. “It was a very hot gallery. In that year I showed over 125 artists. I didn’t want to see any down time. Things had to turn over very quickly. We ran poetry shows and film shows, conceptual art things. I did a regional American series and in California alone there were 13 artists altogether at different times and one performance artist, Kim Jones. He’s at a gallery in New York now. He would dress in almost nothing, wear tights over his head and on his back he would construct bamboo sticks that were roped together and would stick out. Scary character. He did things with rats–he’d paint them or something. He had pet rats and roaches. He burned three of the rats in the gallery and it was big news. Cal State and I severed our relationships at that point. That’s the short version of the story.”

Although he never belonged to the Fluxus movement as an active member, Frankie shares some of their philosophy. For example, like Fluxus, he felt art should be out of the gallery and into the world. In later years it was not unusual for him to buy back one of his own paintings at a thrift store. He did belong to a Dada movement and was part of the annual Dada parades in San Francisco.

He has many stories, some of them very funny. Unfortunately, due to space constraints, they will have to wait for another time.

Carrying On From Pollock

In 1978 Frankie started painting, at first closely following the style of Jackson Pollock. “I first saw a Jackson Pollock painting when I was very, very young, maybe 3 or 4 years old,” says Frankie. “I remember saying, ‘This must be art because it’s not a picture of something,’ and I felt that must be what art is, just dealing with space and color. I remember this painting was a yellow one.”

“I started doing that kind of work in 1978 because I was somewhat of a conceptual artist and that whole thing went bust in the mid ‘70s. Everybody turned their nose up at it. It was finished. I have a brother who’s an artist too. My mother was an artist. We talked about starting a movement which we were going to call the Popcorn Movement. We had ideas for doing art within this movement. But it didn’t go too far.”

Frankie struck out on his own and has been splatter-dashing paint across hundreds of canvases from 1979 to the present.

“I decided Jackson Pollock was much too young to have finished everything he started. He was doing this kind of splatter-dash stuff like I do. I tried to investigate where he would have gone with it had he lived. The Correspondence Art movement was happening. I’m in many, many of those shows all over the world, especially in Eastern Europe. They did a lot of them there: Poland, Russia, Hungary.” Frankie produced many, many small splatter-dash cards and sent them out to the world.

“I think Jackson Pollock would have taken it smaller too because you bring your audience in closer and you still have that kind of busy vision thing happening which is what’s nice–different. And I’ve taken them bigger.”

Frankie had a studio in Palm Springs for 13 years and still goes down there every winter and continues to produce his art. He only does the splatter-dash work, like Pollock. “It’s difficult to stick to just one thing, but that’s all there is for me,” he says.

Although there are many similarities between Frankie’s work and Jackson Pollock’s, there are also many differences to be discerned.

“I use gold leaf in a lot of my paintings,” he says. “Jackson Pollock wouldn’t have had access to really shiny gold paint I don’t think.”

“What’s unique about Frankie’s work is the density. A lot of people would imitate Pollock and would probably bring 10 or 12 paint cans and think they’re really going for it. The reality is Frankie would often use 30 different cans or more.”

Pat Collentine, who has studied Pollock’s and Frankie’s work extensively, points out: “What’s unique about Frankie’s work is the density. A lot of people would imitate Pollock and would probably bring 10 or 12 paint cans and think they’re really going for it. The reality is Frankie would often use 30 different cans or more.”

“These aren’t showing a lot of the gestures like Pollock did,” Frankie points to some of the paintings hanging on the wall. “When I first started I was doing the lines like Pollock did.”

“Pollock had wider, broader lines than mine,” he continues. “One way I differed from Pollock was spending a lot of time putting in the background colors. The prepping takes a while. Usually I gesso the back and put a background color on.”

“I try to use brushes as little as possible but I do use a brush occasionally. Sometimes I’ll use a brush to fling the paint. I’ll use rags. I’ll use sticks. I often used my hand. I don’t use my hand too much because it hurts. One time I had to let my hand rest for two weeks.”

“I just throw paint on things and I keep throwing it on,” Frankie explains. “I don’t make decisions… Well, I make decisions like to move it around, to fill the space. But not to have a composition. I’m not looking for a composition I don’t think.”

“There is a clear coat over all this,” he says, pointing to another painting which has gold leaf splodges on it. “I’d put the clear coat on and then drop the gold leaf and where that fell I would go in and knock it down so it would stick.”

“I prefer what happens with oils than acrylics. I’m preparing to do more oils. I’ve been collecting lots of oil paints for a year. I don’t mix acrylics and oils. It’s one or the other. In one of these paintings I’m using pastels. That’s different than Pollock. “

“I’ve seen many Pollocks–as many as I could. That’s pretty far from Pollock,” Frankie says, pointing to another of his paintings.

Although some of Frankie’s paintings are signed, particularly if they were hanging somewhere where someone wanted him to sign them, like Pollock, Frankie doesn’t usually sign his work.

“I did a bunch of stuffed ones. Stuffed canvas. Splattered the frame too. I don’t usually do that. I have gotten into glitter. I’ve gotten into gold leaf. I think I am getting more color, more brilliance from my stuff than Jackson Pollock was.”

Pat Collentine and Susan Larsen agree, “We’re students of Frankie Brown and Susan [Larsen] and I have both been to the Museum of Modern Art in the Pollock room and we’re familiar as artists with his work,” says Pat. “One of the things we would distinguish between Pollock and Frankie is Frankie has a brighter palette. Frankie would represent more the kinds of colors you’d find in the 80s. Obviously he purchases his paints and house paints and things at yard sales and thrift stores, but his palette is a little brighter. Even the ones that have a stronger resemblance to Pollock, the palette’s a little brighter.”

Frankie continues his comparison. “Jackson Pollock would throw more on this. He’d have more lines like drips from a stick. He wouldn’t leave the background open so much. The difference is I’ve got a lot of spots. I’ve got these texture-like things here, purposely. My pictures tend to be more spacey, more global, more universal looking out there, like the sky…than his were. I think I get more depth with how I do it than he did. I think you feel you can fall in there.”

“To me it’s like looking through a telescope,” says Frankie. “The surface is like a window and everything is happening on the other side of this window.”

Like Pollock, Frankie works with the canvas flat on the floor. Of course Pollock also did paintings in a more traditional position but the later work was done flat on the ground.

In sum, Frankie’s work is similar to but different from Pollock’s in many small ways.

Recently a controversy has surfaced which has brought to the surface the similarities and differences between the work of the two painters.

The Teri Horton Story

The story of Teri Horton, the 73 year-old truck driver who bought a painting in 1991 in a San Bernadino, CA, thrift store for $5 which she was later told might be a Pollock and is now the subject of a just-released movie Who the $#&% is Jackson Pollock? is very much in the news right now.

Not quite so well known is Frankie’s side of the story.

Just a glance at Frankie’s work is enough to satisfy anyone that he knows what he is talking about when it comes to Jackson Pollock’s paintings. After all, he learned how to paint in the same style by studying Pollock and he has produced hundreds of paintings of his own which take off from that style. It’s one thing to be an art critic or historian and look at someone’s work. It’s quite another to be a practicing painter capable of producing masterpieces in the same style.

Frankie has two things to say about the Teri Horton’s painting.

“It’s certainly not a Pollock. It could be mine.”

What makes it not a Pollock in Frankie’s opinion?

“It’s not a Pollock based on the strokes. The thickness of his lines is one thing. Pollock uses mostly bold line. He would use drips out of the bucket but mostly the paintbrush he’d hold like that. Well I know the kind of marks that makes. I don’t do it that way. Those more noticeable throws of paint are more like what I would do.”

In order to be certain whether or not it is one of his own works, Frankie would need to see the painting up close.

“I have to see what’s in back of that. They’re kind of laying on top too much, those bolder strokes so you can’t really make out what’s underneath. We’ve seen the picture in the paper. We’ve seen the thing on television. And it’s still too far away. I can’t tell if it’s one of mine. I’d want to go up close and see more…I’d look for the color. I get taken back by the color. I could tell whether I used the color or not.”

The circumstances in which the painting was acquired seem to make it more likely to have been one of Frankie’s than one of Pollock’s.

“The thing about that painting she bought,” says Frankie,”is it’s not a very good one, whoever did it. I believe I did it because it looks like one of mine. It could have been a random (?) piece of canvas. I suspect that somebody else framed it. Doesn’t look like I’d stretch it that way. I never used those corner things. So I’d like to see it just to see if it is mine. I don’t want it back. I’d rather she didn’t even have it. To me it’s a B movie. To be circulating my B movies on television… I wouldn’t even lick it,” he adds, with reference to Teri’s recommendation recently, in a forum post, that he apply saliva to his paintings as a way of establishing authorship and provenance.

“About a year ago Pat Collentine spotted an article from a 2002 People magazine. It had a painting with Teri Horton sitting in front of it. He said, ‘It looks like yours,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, it looks like mine.’ I tore it out and put it in a frame.”

“I had a studio in Palm Springs for a long time and I turned out over 100 of these splatter-dash pieces–released them–they’re gone. There were at least a dozen large ones.”

“I’m a picker. I would get the canvases where I get them now: yard sales. I got a roll of canvas recently. I’ve still got about 50 ft left.”

“I’ve bought my own paintings at thrift stores where they had been donated by someone else. At one point I gave my paintings to a thrift store in Palm Springs as a donation so they could benefit from that. The thrift store in the Desert is called Angel Field and they run a crippled children’s charity and it’s very successful. They’re doing a good job. I think they have something like 13 stores and a couple of them are in San Bernardino which is just around the bend. The paintings could have gone to any of their stores.

“This painting of Teri Horton’s looks like an unfinished painting. I don’t believe I stretched that. Somebody else stretched that painting. I wouldn’t have stretched it that way. I can’t see it close up but it looks like a not finished painting that I did. It could have been just canvas. I would release pieces of canvas. I do a lot of yard sales and flea markets. I’d sell unstretched paintings, whatever. People would come into the studio. They’d buy things right off the wall. I would sell someone unstretched canvases or someone would take it. I’d give things away. I’d trade things. It could have been a piece of canvas that somebody wanted to wrap something with or something like that. I’ve actually bought my own paintings in thrift stores that someone else had donated. I’ve donated them to places to be raffled, like The Senior Center.”

There is a photo of Frankie in his earlier years holding one of his paintings which is very much like Teri Horton’s but it isn’t the same one.

“I lost an entire show at San Francisco once,” Frankie recalls. “Somebody stole everything. They were all large.”

Frankie would like to satisfy his curiosity as to whether this painting is one of his or not.

“I would like to see it so I could feel totally sure that it is mine or isn’t. I don’t want the thing back if it is mine.”

“I am sure I could tell if it was mine if I saw it up close. I would look for the colors–the background colors. What’s going on beneath the lines and all. The lines are kind of gestures. What’s underneath there? I could remember back to the paints I used–certain colors, I know where I got them. I could relate to the paints I had and how the paint was applied. These globs are mine,” Frankie says, pointing to one of his paintings. “Pollock didn’t do that. That’s what I do.”

Very recently Frankie spoke to Teri Horton on the phone. Teri is certain that the forensic evidence she has accumulated proves without question that her painting is indeed a Jackson Pollock. She is relying on science to prove the fact.

But she was not averse to Frankie having a look at the painting which is under lock and key in New York. She told him that if he was in New York she would try to arrange for him to see the painting. It would be an interesting encounter. At the time of this writing the meeting between Frankie and the painting he feels might well be one of his own, has not yet been arranged. We will certainly follow up on this and keep you posted with the outcome.

artregistration.com is very interested in the story and its resolution because it is precisely to avoid situations like this that artregistration.com was founded. If Jackson Pollock and Frankie Brown had been tagging and registering their work when they produced it, the painting which is now in Teri Horton’s possession and the subject of so much controversy, would be safely tagged and registered. There would be no question at all as to the authorship or provenance of the piece. Of course the artregistration.com tagging and registration system wasn’t in existence when the painting was painted, but it is now and artists painting today need to learn from this story. An inexpensive, secure and positive means of establishing and permanently recording provenance now exists.

artregistration.com is very grateful to Cork Marcheschi, well known San Francisco sculptor, with whom Pat Collentine and Susan Larsen have worked for years, for bringing Frankie and his work to our attention. Cork is a lifelong crusader against what he calls “manufactured reality” and, like artregistration.com, wants to see the truth of this matter established.

The Future

Frankie does not live in the past. He spends much of his time in the future.

“I think I want to get into some bigger splatter-dash paintings for a while and maybe do some demonstrations,” he says. “I want to do big stuff. I’ve got a lot of oil paint. I want to have some kind of platform to work from. I’m thinking now of building up a platform and maybe running a 2” x 6” across and using that to walk along and apply paint. Then I can get into the painting and paint. I can imagine a 2-level platform so that I can walk around the whole thing.”

The biggest known painting he has heard of was by Sam Francis. “I’d like to do something bigger than that. One piece of canvas, maybe 16’ x 40’.”

And while he is not sitting on the edge of his seat awaiting the outcome of the Teri Horton saga, he would definitely like to have a close look at the painting and settle for himself, once and for all, whether or not it is one of his.

Stay tuned.

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Life Outside the Lines

Jane Adams – artregistration.com Featured Artist

by Sarah Mitchell – 12/05/2006

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Mademoiselle Jane Adams would never have known her potential as a successful artist if a few silver lined clouds hadn’t floated her way.

A Southern Belle is Born

Jane Demaris Adams was born in San Mateo, CA in 1951 and spent most of her childhood in nearby Sunnyvale. When Jane was only 10, her father passed away, leaving her mother a widow with five children. Jane’s aunts lived in Talladega, Alabama at the time and begged Jane’s mother to join them there. So 13-year-old Jane found herself receiving quite the culture shock brought on by a move from California (in the sixties no less!) to the South. However, it didn’t take Jane long to adjust to the new atmosphere and become a Southern belle. She still resides in Alabama today –in Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham–with her husband.

The only art classes Jane ever took were in Junior High School. Her college studies included a major in History and a minor in Psychology from Jacksonville State University. She never had any formal art lessons and is living proof that self-taught artists can be highly successful!

Jane has studied numerous books on art and says that there are several artists that have influenced her style. “The list could go on and on, but I particularly admire Toulouse Lautrec, Marc Chagall, Gustav Klimt, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo and the contemporary impressionists, Issac Maimon and Itzchak Tarkay,” says Jane in her heavy, but gentle, Southern accent. “I also admire a lot of the eBay artists. I’ve collected quite a few pieces from them.”

There is a good reason for Jane’s admiration of the eBay artists.

“I sold my very first painting on eBay. I was absolutely thrilled! I couldn’t believe out of all the artists selling on eBay, someone wanted to buy one of my paintings! From there, it just took off. I began to believe that this was what God had planned for me. Forget the stress of HR Management and find my creative side. I’ve continued it and never looked back,” says Jane.

A New Start in Art

Jane had always loved painting and crafting, but for many years her main priorities were working full time and caring for her family, leaving her artistic side less attended to. Life works in funny ways though and Jane’s life changed drastically within a short span of two months time – throwing her priorities into a quandary…

“I served as an HR Director for most of the 29 years I spent with a large company in Birmingham, Alabama,” says Jane. “Then the unthinkable happened. As with many large companies, positions were consistently being removed. In 2004, my position was eliminated. A few months later, my husband was diagnosed with a rare case of Lymphoma. Unable to find work, and caring for my husband, I would paint when I could to relieve the stress. I started painting women who were on the cover of Vogue or other fashion magazines from the 50’s. I did a few of these types of paintings but just kept them for myself.”

“I began to paint other women dining out, revealing secrets, pondering, etc.,” continues Jane. “After almost a year of painting, I decided to take it more seriously. I discovered that I really loved to paint and that this would be my new career. I took the plunge and started to sell my art beginning January 1, 2005.”

After Jane lost her HR director job, she felt like she experienced an identity crisis of sorts. When she would meet people socially, Jane would have to explain that she was unemployed when they asked what she did for a living.

“One day after painting for a year, I was asked the ‘what do I do with my life’ question again and this time I stated, ‘I’m an Artist.’ It felt right saying it and it also made me feel good about myself,” reminisces Jane.

Jane describes herself as “driven” and not the type of person who can just sit around doing nothing and her approach to painting is no exception. “When I first started I painted day and night,” says Jane. “I have since slowed down but still paint as often as I can.” Jane has recently gone back to work in a “no stress” job to help pay the bills but considers herself an artist first and foremost.

Big Hair and Ruby Red Lips

Jane was concerned that she might run into some copyright issues if she tried to sell the “In Vogue” art. She never thought she’d paint anything more than the magazine covers but soon found muses in the women in her life, such as her twin sister, her other sisters, aunts, and best friends. Her aunts in particular are “true southern belles.”

“We all look like the ladies in the paintings – big hair and bright red lips!” laughs Jane. Each woman in the paintings has different characteristics – no two are alike.

“Most of my paintings contain people and things that are asymmetrical,” Jane explains. “I’ve never been one to ‘stay inside the lines’, nor do I feel like a painting has to be perfect. Life is not perfect. Any imperfections in a painting are just me and how I felt when I was painting. My paintings usually consist of vibrant, electric colors. I like to paint the women’s hair in bright, unexpected colors and they all have ruby red lips.”

“I like to play music while I paint and become totally absorbed in what I am doing,” Jane goes on. “I feel the painting comes to life after I complete the face. It’s like it says ‘Ah ha!’ and I feel the personality of the character, and know where I am going with the painting.”

Music by Yann Tiersen (the soundtrack from the movie “Amelie”, in particular) is one of her favorites to listen to while painting. “I like to blast it but my husband tells me to keep it down!” admits Jane with a laugh. The music she picks usually depends on her mood at the time.

Jane thinks of herself as an Abstract Impressionist with a “dash here and there of whimsy. I feel my role as an artist is ‘student’. I am eager to learn more and more,” she says.

Jane uses acrylics to paint with. She occasionally uses mixed media for her collages and has used oils in the past. She says she prefers acrylics because they are very easy to paint with and dry quickly. “When you are ‘driven’, it’s hard to wait on oil to dry…” says Jane.

Just How artregistration.com an Artist Can Go

Through her use of eBay for selling her paintings, Jane also discovered the Fine Art Registry, Inc.

“I noticed some other artists selling on eBay used artregistration.com and I did some research along with some other online galleries who feature self-representing artists. I liked what artregistration.com had to offer, especially the process of registering the art and the artregistration.com tags that would help ensure provenance, copyright and ownership,” says Jane.

Jane has registered and tagged over 130 paintings on artregistration.com and says the advantages are many. She has found that artregistration.com has been a blessing as not only a way to protect her art, but also for marketing.

“In addition to ensuring the provenance, copyright and ownership of my paintings, I use artregistration.com as my art website. My business cards have my portfolio website address www.fineartregistry.com/portfolio
/invogueart
on them so buyers and future buyers can visit the website and see a sampling of my art,” says Jane. “I truly believe it has helped my sales. When customers see you have taken the time to register your art, they know you are a serious artist. When I ship off a painting, I not only include a Certificate of Authenticity, but I also print out a copy of the painting/description on artregistration.com so they can see how it looks online.”

“I really have enjoyed painting and artregistration.com has really, really helped me in so many ways. Giving that little extra shows I’m serious and impresses people when I send info with it and the Certificate of Authenticity – people tend to really like it. I’ve never got any negative feedback. Still seems like a dream and unreal!” says Jane.

Jane even has a story where artregistration.com was needed and called into action to save her art!

“I recently had an instance where one of my paintings went missing after I shipped it to the buyer. It made it to their town but that was all. I was very upset because nothing like this had ever happened to me. I contacted the buyer and told them I would be reporting it as stolen on the artregistration.com. Thank goodness I was able to report this through artregistration.com!” recalls Jane.

Jane’s missing painting is titled “Moulin Rouge 1889.” It has still not been returned. artregistration.com has it posted as stolen and we remain hopeful it will be found! See the artregistration.com gallery for a photo of it: http://www.fineartregistry.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?detail=2313

artregistration.com continues to be a big part of Jane’s success and future.

A Full and Fantastic Future

Jane still remains in awe of the fact that people want to buy her art — she is very humble. But her success speaks for itself!

“I have sold approximately 130 paintings in just the last 19 months! Most of my paintings have sold on eBay, which has given me the opportunity to sell my paintings all over the world. I have also had a few commissions from local customers,” says Jane.

Jane sees her future continuing as an artist on eBay. Not only does Jane sell her paintings, but she has also branched out by making jewelry and pillows. The jewelry features the faces of the woman characters she paints.

Jane says she is surprised at who has interest in her work at times. “Art is so subjective. People see things differently,” says Jane. “I didn’t know who would like what I did. I figured it’d have to be someone like me. It’s been weird – some people have almost been like group followers that I’ve sold paintings to – buying several pieces! In fact, a lot of men have bought my paintings…and the pillows. I don’t know why, but they have! And I’m not complaining. Just a variety of people all over!”

Moreover, Jane currently has five paintings on display at the So-Oh Fine Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska. And as if all this weren’t enough, just this year Jane was contacted by a publishing company asking to feature one of her paintings on a book cover!

“They had noticed one of my paintings on eBay,” explains Jane. “Luckily, this is a painting I had decided to keep for myself. It is titled ‘Springtime’. This is such an honor to be recognized as an artist. The name of the book is ‘SWAG – Southern Women Aging Gracefully’. So, here I am, a Southern woman, hopefully aging gracefully, and my art on the cover of this book! It all still seems like an awesome dream!”

Something to Celebrate

“If someone had told me a few years ago that one day I would be an artist, actually selling my work and having a book cover, I would have thought they were crazy,” says Jane. “Painting is now such an important part of my life. I am constantly thinking of different characters I would like to include in my portfolio.”

“In June of 2005, my husband underwent a bone marrow transplant and in January 2006 he was in remission,” Jane went on. “I knew I had to paint something to celebrate. In February, I decided to paint a 2 ft x 2 ft collage on birch wood and include prints of most of my woman characters positioned around tables drinking wine, all in all having a good time and celebrating. I also tucked in an altered character-type photo of my husband and me from our engagement party, twenty something years ago. I titled the painting/collage ‘Something To Celebrate’. I listed it on eBay with a very high reserve because I really never intended it to sell; I just used the auction as a way of telling everyone how happy I was. Well, it sold for $850.00 to a wonderful customer in Canada! I couldn’t believe it!”

“This is just the beginning of my art career. I look forward to spending many years with a paintbrush in my hand creating more whimsical characters to add to my family. Thank you, artregistration.com, for being a part of this new career!”

Sarah Mitchell | December 5, 2006

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Vanessa Newton

Modern Day Scribe of Life

by Dan Koon – 01/02/2007

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“Painting is so much a part of me, it’s hard to define where it stops and I start.”

There’s no telling what will spark a person down a certain path in life. In the late ’60s a young teacher walked into the classroom of a small community school in Newark, New Jersey. She opened a pad of newsprint and commenced to drawing pictures for the kids. They sat there interested and entertained. But for one little three year old, a light went on. Bells went off. From that moment, that was all little Vanessa Newton wanted to do.

Part of it was the teacher herself. She was young, upright, brightly dressed, big Afro. Proud of herself, her rich cultural heritage, her blackness. Vanessa saw a woman who stood out, way out, from other teachers in the school.

The larger effect, though, came when the teacher put pen to paper and Vanessa came under the magic spell of art. A creative life is in her genes. Both her parents were singers and musicians—father played piano and guitar, mother sang everything from opera to jazz. They encouraged her interest in drawing and were not too hard on Vanessa when early masterpieces showed up on the refrigerator, stove or kitchen walls.

Drawing served a real purpose for her. In different ways, it was her escape. On one level, her neighborhood was not far from other parts of the city where riots erupted and where some streets looked like war zones. In that environment, people can feel like they’re nothing, so why even try? On a more personal level, a good deal of Vanessa’s childhood revolved around the illness her mother struggled with for many years. Hospital waiting rooms, family discussions about how the family would make it, trips to the clinic. But Vanessa could transport her family away from the hard streets and harder times with her art. She’d build fantasy worlds where the whole family could simply be in a beautiful garden, with flowers and animals and a brook. It was a respite, her way to help her family make it.

Getting Connected
Around age 7 a teacher returned from a trip to Africa, and Vanessa heard her first African fables, saw her first African art and jewelry and clothing. She’d draw pictures of people wearing traditional garb and through this she made the connection to her African heritage. Here was joy. Here were people who had a past, who had stories, heroes, a culture. Black was beautiful.

“I want to create positive moments to encourage the human spirit.”

Today, these influences reflect in every part of Vanessa’s art and life. Of her art, she says, “What I try to do with my painting is create a story without words. To convey a mood or feeling. To capture a life moment. Painting is more then just natural to me it is so much a part of me that it’s hard to define where it stops and I start. I hope to create art that makes the heart happy and the soul ponder. I hope that my paintings and illustrations make people laugh or help them recall a moment in their own lives that causes them to connect with the work. I want to create positive moments to encourage the human spirit. I consider myself a modern day Scribe of Life, if you will. Like the ancient Egyptians who painted words onto great walls to tell a story without words.”

At the center of her life is her family. She is the wife and friend of her soul mate, Ray, and mother of her proclaimed gift from God, a zesty 6 year old daughter, Zoe Samantha.

The Low Country Connection
Outside the orbit of Vanessa’s nuclear family are her relatives in the low country of South Carolina. Visits to Beaufort provide endless inspiration for her art and illustrations.

The low lying coastal areas of the Carolinas and Georgia are home to Gullah culture. This was the rice growing region of the antebellum South and, oddly enough, the presence of malaria-carrying mosquitoes in the rice fields helped preserve the West African culture of the region. Plantation owners would flee the land during spring and summer when the threat of disease was high, leaving the slaves isolated and lessening destructive influences on their language, folk tales, rituals, dress, religion, methods of working the land and so on. The Gullah way of life has persevered to this day and one sees its traces in Vanessa’s work.

“I love all things antique, retro and vintage,” she says. “My great, great grandparents were slaves and I remember spending time with my great grandmother as she told us stories about them. We have just a few precious pictures of them. I try to use them in my collages and other artwork as well just to keep their memories alive and well.”

To capture the essence of her cultural heritage, Vanessa first trained at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and later the School of Visual Arts. While working in a medical lab after leaving school, she studied anatomy with an eye toward doing medical illustration. Everything combined, Vanessa fully attains her artistic ambition of telling a story in her illustrative style. In a painting of young girls, done only in black and white, one can almost see the hot sun on their white dresses, feel their wiry athleticism in the way Vanessa shapes their shoulders and legs, become acquainted with each personality through the silhouettes of their hairdos and earrings.

Reconnecting with her past
Along the way she developed a knack for caricature and was encouraged by a teacher in design school to pursue it. Happily, that coincided with a developing passion for children’s book illustration, a passion she nurtured in secret for several years. For it brought her back to one of the great joys of her childhood: discovery of the books of Ezra Jack Keats, masterful author and illustrator of children’s books featuring a young African-American boy named Peter. Vanessa found many things in Keats’ books that resonated with her down to such details in Keats’ illustrations as the wallpaper of a room which matched that in Vanessa’s home. In the works of African-American artists Varnette Honeywood and Leroy Campbell she saw the images of her South Carolina kin and Vanessa counts these three artists among her most important inspirations.

Art for children has naturally become a vehicle for her expression. She has done numerous illustrations for many children’s books, published books of her own, done illustrations for Scholastic Magazine and is a card carrying member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Generous spirit that she is, Vanessa figures that over the years she’s given away as many of her works as she’s sold. Though in recent times, people who don’t know her except through her art have tilted the balance decidedly in favor of the “sold” column. Her work was on exhibit at the Serengeti Plains Gallery in New Jersey for two years running, among other shows displaying her paintings, illustrations and collages.

Expanding her reach
Vanessa’s illustrative style makes it ideal for publishing as limited editions prints and many of her pieces are now being reproduced. It’s easy to see why the demand is there. Vanessa’s technical skill in a variety of media—watercolor, pen and ink, colored pencil, acrylics, silk fabric paints and her favorite, collage—combined with her deep affection for people, their lives, her African-American heritage enable her to tell a story in a single image. And did we mention that the musical talents of her parents has carried forward with their daughter? Vanessa sings gospel, does voice overs, writes songs and is currently involved in producing music as therapy for people who have undergone traumatic times in life.

Vanessa is finding that her message resonates across a wider and wider spectrum and in the artregistration.com, she has found the perfect means to keep it all under control. This past summer, her younger sister who also happens to be her agent came across artregistration.com and it has been a godsend for Vanessa’s career. She now has a way to keep each piece of art in an on line portfolio, thus establishing an accurate record of works done by her as an artist. artregistration.com also provides a seal of authenticity for her clients and herself, clearly something Vanessa is going to be needing more and more.

“artregistration.com has been such a great tool in helping me put together a professional portfolio.”

“artregistration.com has been such a great tool in helping me put together a professional portfolio to present to customers and future clients,” she says. “I think every artist could benefit from this wonderful website. Everyone has been such a great help. Lynn is JUST WONDERFUL!!!! I really can’t say enough about the service and follow up she has given. Such wonderful and excellent customer service. They make the whole process easy.”

Future plans, future stories
With more children’s books in her future, with editions of her works going into production, with her musical involvements and projects, not to mention a dream to open an “art bar” where creative people can explore different media and techniques, as well as a greeting card line,Vanessa Newton will for sure be sharing her experiences, her heritage and her fascination with people far and wide.

“I’d like to leave pictures indelibly printed on your brain,” she says happily.

There are so many, many stories to tell.

Dan Koon | January 2, 2007

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Resilience: Esam Pasha

First Iraqi Artist to Register his Work with artregistration.com, Talks About Art, Iraq, War and Peace
by Anayat Durrani

Esam Pasha never considered himself a political painter. But when he painted over the first and largest mural portrait of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, covering it with his own mural of the history of Iraq, the world took notice.

“I painted over Saddam’s huge mural because Saddam used to have his murals made on big concrete walls standing on a plinth a few steps up,” Pasha told artregistration.com. “So after the war they were defaced with mud and black paint and graphite. It looked bad and warlike, standing there with the marks of people’s anger and pain on them. For me it was time to rebuild the city.”

His 13-foot mural titled “Resilience” painted at the entrance of the Ministry of Social Affairs building in Baghdad took a full month to complete. Pasha says he wanted to use the mural to put something artistic and promising in the heart of Baghdad.

“It would be dangerous but also beautiful and inviting for others to do the same and start rebuilding the city,” says Pasha.

He said he proposed the idea to the Iraqi government and coalition along with his sketches and fees. Pasha received permission from the Ministry of Labor, the legal owner of the mural, but was paid by the U.S. military to paint the mural out of the discretionary fund provided to senior US commanding officers. He got to work right away, “removing the old portrait and replacing it with a beautiful mural of Baghdad as I expressed it with my brush.”

Pasha says he enjoys painting on such a large scale. In 2000, he created a panorama for the United Nations development program in Baghdad representing the history and civilization of Iraq.

Pasha was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1976. He received no formal art training and is completely self taught. He says he has always been interested in art since as far back as he can remember.

“I have always been reading, painting and researching about art and using colors and experimenting. I received my free study of art learning from professional artists,” says Pasha.

Pasha first began to show his artwork in Baghdad around 1996. Around that time he also began to regularly participate in the Iraqi state art center and private galleries. He says that by the end of the 1990s he had his artwork in a number of countries around the world including France, Austria, and the US.

“I belong to the Iraqi embargo generation of artists, which started to expose their artworks in the 90s, when Iraq was under siege,” explains Pasha. “The generation that researched and looked more for new materials to substitute for the ones that are regularly used around the world which were so hard to find in Iraq because of the embargo.”

Beyond art, Pasha has had a colorful background. He is fluent in French, English, Spanish, Arabic and Russian, and worked as a translator for the 101st Airborne Division and with a Florida National Guard unit ($5 a day, later $12) and taught Arabic to Western journalists. Pasha’s contact with Western journalists allowed him, while in Iraq, to dabble as a freelance journalist for the Christian Science Monitor and Boston Globe. Pasha, who has a black belt in judo, is a 4-time national judo champion in Iraq and trained the new generation of Iraqi police officers. Pasha even recovered a painting by the famous Spanish artist Juan Miro worth more than $40,000 for $90 in an art dealer’s shop in central Baghdad. The painting was stolen from the Iraqi Museum of Modern Art, formerly the Saddam Center for the Arts, when Baghdad fell to U.S. troops in April 2003. Pasha is also a sous chef.

Pasha came to the US in June 2005 and is now living on the East Coast. He was able to come to the US in part through the help of an interested and influential American art dealer, Peter Hastings Falk, who had read about Pasha painting over Saddam’s mural and contacted him. Falk ended up buying “Tears of Wax,” a series of 27 abstracts made of melted wax crayons on the sleeves of classical music LPs. They were created at night during the 2003 bombings of Baghdad.

The 1980-88 war with Iran, the 1991 Gulf war, the sanctions, the 2003 Iraq war, the U.S.-led occupation and the ensuing and unresolved situation in Iraq has had a profound effect on Iraqi artists. All have had their own unique ways of expressing this in their artwork.

“The events and environment that I have been through affected my artworks, no doubt about that,” says Pasha. “But since the major events were political, I just let it flow and appear through my experience and never forced them into my artworks, because forcing them in would turn my paintings from works of art to a political statement. Expressing human feelings and emotions is what matters to me.”

In 2006, Pasha took part in a two-part exhibit called “Ashes to Art: the Iraqi Phoenix” held in SoHo at the Pomegranate Gallery in New York, which featured paintings and sculptures by Iraqi artists. Falk was curator of the exhibition, which featured Pasha’s “Tears of Wax” paintings. Pasha has since remained in the US where he continues to paint and exhibit his work.

“I toured a number of states and spend most of the time on the East Coast. I lived in New York City for few months until I got an art grant in The Griffis Art Center in Connecticut. After my time in the art center was over I stayed in Connecticut,” says Pasha. “I held a solo exhibition in the Branford House museum in Connecticut University. I also participated in a number of exhibitions in SoHo NYC.”

Next, Pasha is preparing for an upcoming exhibition at The Pomegranate Gallery in SoHo. He said it will be something totally new because he is planning to do an installation piece. However, the time and details of the exhibition have not yet been set.

“Also I am working on a book about Iraq. It will be one of a very few books written by Iraqis who have been there to talk about the events that they have seen live,” says Pasha. “So far, the Iraqi voice is not even heard. So this is my big project now.”

Pasha used to have a studio in Iraq but had to let it go a few months ago when he decided that he was going to try to stay in the US. He’s not sure when he is going to be back in Iraq, but says maybe someday to visit. He hopes there will some day be peace in Iraq and an end to the suffering of the people of Iraq.

“For the time being, it would be so dangerous for me to be in Iraq,” says Pasha. “I can say that for now I have a home and a studio here.”

Pasha is currently staying in the U.S. as an asylum applicant. He says he likes living in the US and has many friends, some of whom he met as a translator back in Iraq. He says he views American artists like other artists in the world and thinks the “artistic level here is great.” He added that he appreciates the diverse, multicultural society that America embodies and feels welcomed and comfortable in the US.

Falk told artregistration.com that Pasha is “still getting his footing here in the US” as he is awaiting approval from the US government on his legal case for political asylum.

“If positive, he will be able to secure a job, probably as a much-needed Arabic translator, and then work on his art at the same time,” says Falk. “Esam has some interesting concepts for turning some of his paintings, such as ‘Dreams in a War Zone’ with the flying coffin, into a performance art piece where the flying coffin is opened and white peace doves fly out into the city.”

Pasha is the first Iraqi artist to register his artwork with artregistration.com. Like other artist-members, he now has an online portfolio and a permanent record of his artwork.

Pasha is the first Iraqi artist to register his artwork with artregistration.com. Like other artist-members, he now has an online portfolio and a permanent record of his artwork here: http://www.fineartregistry.com/portfolio/esampasha.

“I think artregistration.com is very beneficial for both artists and spectators,” he says.

Anayat Durrani | January 31, 2007

Read the series:
Iraq’s Forgotten Modern Art
Introducing Iraq Contemporary Artists
Starting Over: Exiled Iraqi Artist Ghassan Ghaib
Resilience: Esam Pasha – First Iraqi Artist to Register his Work with artregistration.com

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Lisa Wray Art Where Technology and Spirituality Converge

by Dan Koon

 

One could easily make an argument that the Impressionist movement in art would never have happened had it not been for the invention of the collapsible tin tube in the 1840s. Before then, artists stored their paints in tiny pig bladders which were fragile and difficult to transport. Tube paint freed artists to move from the studio to the great outdoors. Artists could explore nature in ways never before available to them.

Today, Pennsylvania artist Lisa Wray uses the breakthroughs of the Digital Age to enter realms beyond the boundaries of nature. Inspired at first by a group of Visionary artists in California as well as the lavish illuminations from the famous 9th Century manuscript, the Book of Kells, Lisa has bent the 0s and 1s of digital technology to create art of a decidedly spiritual nature.

“I am a tradigital artist now,” she says, “having been influenced by the time I live in and my profession as a color production artist for the book industry. I combine any media that inspires me and put it all together inside the computer – that might include drawing with the computer as well as drawings or paintings by hand. I haven’t made that many paintings, and of the ones I did make, I painted over many of them as I had no money at the time. Painting and drawing have been more about learning for me, developing my eye and skills so that I know how to use the tools in a technical sense. This way I can accomplish my ideas using computer programs, tools, drawings, paintings, photographs, etc.

“I first came across the word ‘tradigital’ around 1990 in a computer trade magazine. It was a word I had never heard before, but it described the combination of traditionally created art with digital media. This was exactly what I was doing. I found out much later that the word tradigital originally referred to animation art that combined traditional and computer generated art media.”

Lisa uses the term to describe a new type of fine art that combines traditional painting, drawing and photography with digital media (software and digital tools). “I like to think of it as a bridge that unites the past, present, and future into a completely new form,” she says.

Traditional Training

Lisa’s new forms have a solid foundation in the classical disciplines of drawing, painting, observation and the other aspects of a standard art school curriculum. Developing a love for drawing at an early age, her engineer father stressed a practical education for Lisa if she was going to pursue her passion. She got that training at Philadelphia’s Hussian School of Art where, as Lisa tells it, “I was lucky to be interviewed by John Hussian himself, an old world European man. His interview changed my way of looking at things. He was very serious, direct and firm and would ask you questions like ‘Why did you do this?’ ‘What is the purpose for this?’ You would really have to think about it and question yourself because you didn’t know why or where it came from … you were immature and undeveloped … and when you discovered where it did come from, you discovered the source of your creativity!”

At Hussian, Lisa received a four year commercial art education founded on classic studies: drawing, painting, illustration, color & design, perspective, photography, advertising, typography, printmaking and art history. All her professors were professional commercial or fine artists making their living in the field.

A freelance career began after graduation as did a career as a color production artist for the foremost digital printing company in America, Offset Paperback Book Mfgrs. In the early, early days of the Internet, Lisa discovered the software, scanners, color film transparencies, magnetic tape, etc., tools we now view as prehistoric, but which in 1983 inspired her naiveté with limitless possibilities for means of expression.

Breakthrough to a New Reality

“Thinking back, I would say that my style really started to develop in 1983. I was heavily influenced by music and I applied a stream of consciousness mentality to my imaginative flow—much like a writer might do to begin the creative process. To this day, music is important to me as an inspirational influence.”

Thus began a three year period of investigation, taking traditionally produced pieces, scanning them into computers, modifying them and in the process discovering different tools, plug-ins and color controls through various software programs. Lisa has followed this path for two decades, and her masterpieces are mostly now created in the virtual world. As such, they reflect the clarity, lightness and subtleties of the tiny electrical impulses which are her medium. Strokes of color from a hand held brush are utterly lacking here. Instead, one sees rich, ethereal, finely rendered compositions inspired by diverse sources: music, literature, nature, and fellow artists.

The key question, however, is how Lisa’s art came to be so spiritual in nature. There’s nothing inherent in computer technology that speaks to the non-material side of life. But, as so often happens in the push and pull of living, one finds oneself in a condition that absolutely needs to change if one is going to survive. Lisa found herself in such a position in 1987, ensnared in a very bad marriage. She escaped by the grace of God but found herself at a crossroads.

“When you’ve hit bottom, you either leave the planet, or you have an epiphany– a realization that there is more to life than the material world,” she explains. “For the first time, I was open to receiving a gift from another realm, and that was the gift of faith. The first book I was led to was Think and Grow Rich with Peace of Mind [by Napoleon Hill]. I realized how important was peace of mind, and how it superseded the desire for money, health, almost everything I could think of, so this was a real mind expander and led to many other enlightening concepts, and a continuing search for universal truths from ancient times to now. During this time period, I was able to let go of everything and was able to start anew, reinvent myself and my life. I was given a second chance, I lost everything I had, and found it to be liberating. It was the beginning of my journey to where I am presently.”

Lisa explains the source of the spiritual message of her art as the Divine Imagination. She finds in contemplation the Divine consciousness which exists along with the physical world as we know it. Here, Lisa finds a realm clearly illuminated by the words and images of others through history, which are its signposts. “It is the Universal Mind that we all can tap into,” she says, “when we are in the right state of consciousness, open to receiving without judgment.”

Can Digital Art be Fine Art? A hundred years ago, people were asking a similar question about photography. Lisa’s art, conceptually, traces to the Greek born-Italian artist, Giorgio De Chirico, who experimented with what he called, Metaphysical Painting. De Chirico’s ideas closely resembled her own personal mind-set and vision.

In his words: “To become truly immortal, a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken, it will enter the regions of childhood visions and dreams. … Everything has two aspects: the current aspect, which we see nearly always and which ordinary men see, and the ghostly and metaphysical aspect, which only rare individuals may see in moments of clairvoyance and metaphysical abstraction. A work of art must narrate something that does not appear within its outline. I remember one vivid winter’s day at Versailles. Silence and calm reigned supreme. Everything gazed at me with mysterious, questioning eyes. And then I realized that every corner of the palace, every column, every window possessed a spirit, an impenetrable soul. At that moment I grew aware of the mystery which urges men to create certain strange forms. And the creation appeared more extraordinary than the creators.”

Noted astrologer, Joseph Polansky writes of Lisa’s art, “Many of her works are of the Mandala style—hieroglyphs of wholeness – nature forms seen in a new way. But many are reminiscent of Dali and his surrealism – we are in another space, where nature forms and human forms coexist and tell a dream-like story.”

Each of her works is the result of meditation using the computer as her canvas. “The final resulting imagery is a picture of the subconscious thoughts that I receive during this meditation,” she says. In her own way, Lisa’s approach to creating is similar to many artists.

Digitally produced art, however, raises questions. Each piece is essentially an illusion, Lisa feels, as is life itself on the Quantum level. The final art exists as mathematical information on a computer hard drive. It’s similar to a photographic negative except that a print from a negative is a second generation image. Each image Lisa prints is first generation, and after much thought and consultation with experts in their fields, Joan Altabe, fine art critic, Chris Tong, computer science PhD, and others, Lisa realized what her works truly are: first generation multiples of originals. It’s a new concept but a needed one, since tradigital art is a new visual form.

Keeping a Record of it All

With digitally produced art, the potential to reach art lovers is huge. But there also comes the need to record and manage one’s output. And, when dealing with first generation multiples of originals, how does one identify its uniqueness among others of the same image? Lisa was grappling with this problem when her fine art rep in Chicago, Teri Peterson, advised her to investigate the new services available at the artregistration.com .

As Lisa puts it, the rep told her that, “I would need to have to have each of my first generation multiple originals permanently registered. She told me that this would become the norm in the future. I had never heard of artregistration.com at the time, so I went on line and researched the concept, and understood the historical value of the concept immediately.

“I have worked for many years in the book business, and a similar concept would be a unique ISBN number – for an edition of a book. This goes further, in that instead of 30, 100 or 1000 limited edition prints of the same art image, each first generation multiple original becomes even more unique because it has a number that will never be assigned again to any other first generation multiple original.

“This means that in my lifetime, I may only ever produce a very few artregistration.com numbered first generation multiple of originals, which will make them even more valuable for collectors in the future, or I may print and register several of a first generation multiple original that is more popular. Each one will be hand made with archival quality pigments and substrates, will be signed and dated and some will include my embossed seal with date of printing or creation. This system fits perfectly for me, and my personal integrity as an artist.”

More than that, Lisa appreciates the support artregistration.com provides to artists. She feels that artregistration.com Founder and CEO Theresa Franks is “very interested in artists and art and I don’t mean in a superficial way. She genuinely cares about art and artists.” In commenting on other sites she looked at while researching artregistration.com, Lisa thinks they are little more than money making opportunities. “So many people,” she says, “feed off artists, their trusting natures, their desire to please and their insecurities. Of course, artists allow this to happen … it’s part of a growing process.”

“My future as an artist is what is happening now. I am learning to live in the moment, and not project too much into the future. My plans are to get the work out into the world. I want to inspire others as well.”

Part of that “now” is to use her imagery on textiles. She has designs in progress for tapestries and when the right offer comes along, we will see Lisa branching into other media. For the time being, people can see her art in eclectic gift shops and galleries in the U.S. or on her self-created website, www.lisawray.com.

Lisa often combines imagery with inspirational writings, prayers or, in the case of her Book of Patterns Dedicated to the American Indian, scores of her pattern portfolio images accompanied by teachings and wisdom from Native American lore and tribal leaders. This impressive compilation, a convergence of modern technology and timeless truths, is at once visually captivating and spiritually uplifting—a realization of Lisa Wray’s artistic purpose to lead us to the essence of who we truly are.

Dan Koon | March 5, 2007

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artregistration.com Featured Artist: Anna Kurowska

An Eastern European Transplant Flourishes in Silicon Valley

by Dan Koon

Well, for all its problems, America can still be a land of opportunity, if you ask painter Anna Kurowska. Growing up in the small city of Ozorkow in central Poland, Anna did not have much hope of attending art school. It was expensive and, in post-Communist Poland, somewhat elitist. Anna says you can tell the students at the art schools simply by the way they dress, something you can’t do in America where high tech tycoons can be found running their companies in jeans and sweatshirts.

Dreams, Anna Kurowska, artwork

Anna’s mother worked in the fashion industry designing patterns for clothes, but as the single mother of two, living in an old home that required extensive renovation just to keep out the winter wind, an art school education did not seem in Anna’s future. Though she loved art (drawing was her favorite class in school), the family thought she would follow her mother into the fashion industry as a designer and following high school, she enrolled in a technical university in nearby Lodz with the hopes of getting the education she needed to follow her desire. Her experience there was somewhat of a disappointment as many classes merely prepared her for a mechanical job in the textile industry, not what Anna was looking for.

Saved by Cyberspace

Then one day in the late 1990s, Anna, having just discovered the Internet, logged on and went to a chat room. As fate would have it, she began a conversation with an expatriate Pole living in Silicon Valley. A year and a half of emailing back and forth led Anna and a young software engineer named Adam to decide that Anna should come to visit America so they could at last meet face to face. Good led to better led to best, and in 2001 they were married. After moving to the U.S. for good, Anna was finally able to realize her life-long dream of attending art school.

Not having the green card that would allow her to work, Anna enrolled in Evergreen Community College in San Jose and to her delight found there were no restrictions on taking any art class her heart desired. There were no entrance requirements demanding that she already know how to draw before taking a drawing class, as in Poland, no expensive tuition fees, no peer-group-required mode of dress.

Anna jumped in with both feet. Learning art by day and looking at art, courtesy of the Internet by night, Anna began to develop a foundation of technical skill and a vision of what she wanted to communicate.

Dreams, artColor, Color and More Color

Before the fall of Communism, American films portrayed Eastern Europe in the dullest grays possible. But far from shameless propagandizing, Anna and her husband can vouch for their accuracy. “In Poland, everything was so gray,” she says. “In school we had the ugliest uniforms. Colored pencils or pens were hard to locate in stores and expensive when you could find them, like many other goods. There was no color anywhere.”

Even the television Anna and her family had was black and white. So, it’s not an exaggeration that Anna had an epiphany when her mother hooked up their small color TV and Anna got her first glorious eyeful of Mickey Mouse in full color.

Fast forward to 2004 and Anna surfing around, looking at contemporary painters. She was inspired to begin expressing herself through paint, and looking at her paintings (www.fineartregistry.com/portfolio/Kurowska) one clearly sees a dismissal of the dead grays of her childhood. And perhaps also the thick, blocky, lifeless figuration of what passed for aesthetics behind the Iron Curtain.

“I try to manipulate and use color consciously in order to create some positive emotions.”

“I am mostly interested in abstract and non-objective work,” Anna says in describing her work. “Those two styles of painting let me explore my interest in color and texture. They give me an opportunity to show a part of me and part of my past. It is also an urge of creating something not only meaningful but also beautiful in this so cruel and full of ugliness world. It is proved that colors influence our mood and that’s why it is so important for me to use that knowledge in my work in order to create specific and intended feelings. Therefore, I focus so much on color. Of course, it does not mean that I only use ‘happy’ colors but I rather try to manipulate and use them consciously in order to create some positive emotions.”

Abyss, artworkTraveling in Unknown Directions

“I also love texture and endless possibilities that texture gives me,” she continues. Working in acrylics, Anna has numerous media she can employ and enjoys experimenting with a wide variety including tissue paper, aluminum foil and newspaper, overlaying them with screen patterns, brushing them with combs and finding out everything these things will do when bent under her eye and hand.

“I think that it helps me set myself apart from other painters,” she says. “It also helps me show my individual style and bring something new in my work. Creating texture gives me indescribable feeling while I am working. It lets me create something unexpected even to me. It is like traveling in unknown directions.”

Her fascination with the non-objective traces to an admiration of Kandinsky and Pollock. Anna professes to owe more to contemporary painters, unknown though they may be. She enjoys simply googling “contemporary abstract art” and letting the search results reveal what they may.

Dots, artwork

“In the past I didn’t understand the beauty of abstract and non-objective work. I think that I had to become more mature to appreciate those styles of art. I also have to admit that even now being in the world of abstract art, sometimes I want to rationalize it and understand it. But not understanding and simply appreciating and letting go of all expectations is the key to finding something interesting, meaningful, and beautiful in abstract and non-objective work.

“I would love my work to be read differently every time somebody looks at it. I want people to find in my work, something that is important to them not necessarily to me.” Amidst Anna’s saturated colors and textures one often finds figures or figurative suggestions and this demarks the direction her painting is headed.

“In the future, I would love to move towards surreal work,” she explains. “I really love this style of art. There is something magical, special, emotional, unexpected, sometimes even weird, and very interesting that attracts me to this style. It makes me look longer and more carefully at surrealist paintings. It provokes many questions that are very difficult to answer but I find them to be worthy of looking for answers. I also think that surreal work can be very demanding and difficult in reception, and therefore I am so fascinated by this style.”

And of her transition to living in a culture drastically foreign to her upbringing (school children in Poland learned Russian, not English, as a second language; that is changing now since the fall of Communism), Anna is grateful for the power of visual means of expression.

Colors of Magic, artwork

“I think that art helps me communicate in this foreign country. And even though I would prefer people to not necessarily understand my ‘message’ and ‘language’ but rather discover themselves and their ‘messages’, their ‘languages’ in my work, art still remains universal and lets me create some kind of communication between myself and the viewer.”

Emerging Artists and artregistration.com

Anna only recently discovered artregistration.com, but for an artist who has previously sold her paintings to friends or on eBay, she has quickly grasped the benefits of having a permanent database of her art, no matter how far and wide her paintings one day travel. The artregistration.com system of tagging each work of art virtually guarantees the provenance and authenticity of her works for all time. While that’s something an artist might not spend much time thinking about, collectors, galleries, museums, insurance companies and law enforcement certainly do. What’s to prevent a clever copyist learning the style of a Picasso or a Miro, a Dali or a Chagall, and passing off his works as that of one of these masters?

“I think that art helps me communicate in this foreign country… and lets me create some kind of communication between myself and the viewer.”

Right now artregistration.com is following the story of Teri Horton and the ongoing furor surrounding her thrift store purchase some years ago of an alleged Jackson Pollock, a work which instead may have been done by a comparatively unknown, Frankie Brown. A verifiable and virtually counterfeit-proof system of tagging works of art would tip the scales in favor of the good guys as regards art market crime. Collectors certainly appreciate knowing that their investment is what it is claimed to be!

Beyond this, Anna finds much of interest on the artregistration.com website. “I think that artregistration.com is a wonderful place for artists,” she says, “and a place with a great future. It contains so much useful information and many, many articles and pieces that are fun to read. I am still at the beginning of discovering artregistration.com but I am already in love with this site. There are people, like Lynn, who are always ready to help us, artists. It gives me this wonderful feeling to know that there is somebody who really cares.”

And as an artist embarking on a successful painting career, Anna will tell you that it often requires only an opportunity.

Dan Koon | March 27, 2007

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artregistration.com Featured Artist: Catherine Puma

An Emerging Artist’s Paintings Stir the Imagination

 

When asked what she intends with her art, Chicago based artist Catherine Puma replies, “I love recreating beautiful landscapes of places I’ve traveled to before because I’m able to relive those memories and travel back to those places. Other paintings stir my curiosity and I find myself wondering what goes on in those paintings, for example, who lives in that house, who works in that building or who’s traveled to this forest before?”

Using classic composition and high key colors, Catherine is establishing herself as a contemporary realist equally adept at bringing a sense of meditative calm to the Chicago skyline in winter, the seashore in Tobago under a full moon or a single apple on a table. Even in her rendering of a windy Hawaiian shore, one doesn’t feel the sting of blowing sand but the graceful sweep of palm trees against an electric blue sky.

Perhaps it’s the classically balanced structure of her compositions or the judicious color harmonies that make it inviting to roam around her forests and poppy fields. There’s no jarring color, no misplaced tree barring your entry. And you’re free to wonder about the scene just as Catherine herself does when she stands before a painting she admires.

Her paintings are the result of a lifelong interest in art. Her first formal classes followed shortly after Catherine’s mother and grandmother discovered a “doodle” of a horse Catherine had drawn from memory in school and which she was soon surprised to find framed and hanging on the wall. “The class was made up of children and young teens who simply loved to draw and paint,” she says. “The instructor, Mrs. Marinello, was so memorable to me because she encouraged us to try everything. (That is, everything she had in her studio.) Pen & ink, scratch board, watercolor, pastels, colored pencil, oil paints and even crayons! And I remember enjoying pretty much everything I tried. I also studied art throughout high school and college (from figure drawing to photography) and attended additional painting classes which helped me to open my eyes to new techniques.”

“I was very interested in impressionism, particularly Renoir, because the colors he used and his subjects were always so beautiful.”

“For the longest time I was very interested in impressionism, particularly Renoir, because the colors he used and his subjects were always so beautiful.”

Born and raised in Detroit, she moved to Chicago a few years ago and her artistic horizons expanded further when she married her husband, Giovanni who was born and raised in Rome. Since then, Catherine has made several visits to Italy to see family but also to take side trips throughout the Italian countryside where each church, it seems, is a treasure house of artistic masterpieces. Here she has been able to see firsthand many of the classical masters of Italian painting: Caravaggio, Lorenzo Lotto, Dosso Dossi and others. The lights and darks in the scenes fascinated her as do challenging subjects such as water, glass and reflections.

She has ample opportunity to observe the former through one of her many interests: scuba diving. Though none of her paintings depict her underwater adventures (yet, anyway), Catherine recalls the time a large angelfish followed her, playing in the air bubbles from her tank, tickling his belly in them.

Another passion is drumming. As a schoolgirl, Catherine played in a fife and drum corps which afforded her opportunities to travel around the US and the United Kingdom. Her dream, however, is to one day pursue her art career full time.

Discovering THE Resource for an Emerging Artist – artregistration.com

Like many emerging artists, Catherine has given away many of her paintings as gifts to friends. “When I give my art as gifts,” she says, “I’ve had people say ‘Why don’t you try selling this stuff?’ Even something I’m just hanging at home because I wanted a painting above the couch. People would see it and were blown away and I’d ask ‘How much would you pay for that?’ and they’d give me a number and I’d think ‘Wow!'”

The encouragement led her to start looking for ways to gain that absolute requisite for every artist–greater exposure for her work.

“I was doing a lot of research on the Internet,” Catherine explains, “Looking specifically for ways of obtaining certificates of authenticity, and I kept coming across artregistration.com. I wanted to start selling my art. I was looking at artists’ work on line to see what they’ve done, those who seemed credible and who were selling work. And, hypothetically speaking, as a consumer, I would have felt more comfortable buying art that was certified.”

Quite an intuitive insight for someone who is not a collector, given that the art market is positively awash with forgeries, fakes and things that are anything but what they purport to be. Of all online art sites, only artregistration.com has a patented, virtually foolproof, system of registering, tagging and provenancing works of art or any collectible.

The value of the artregistration.com system can be seen in this single example from art history involving one of the greatest painters of all. For centuries the painting The Man with the Golden Helmet has been known as one of Rembrandt’s finest. But an ongoing research project in the Netherlands aimed at authenticating all of Rembrandt’s works (there are art historians and other experts who devote their entire careers to the matter) has now determined that the painting was not painted by Rembrandt nor even one of his students and is now attributed to a “follower of Rembrandt.”

By an artist registering his or her works with artregistration.com, their provenance and authenticity will be assured for all time. A permanent, paperless (museums drown in the boatloads of paper accompanying their collections) digital database now exists and is available through artregistration.com for any work of art. While this has value for an artist looking down the road at his work 10, 20, 50 or more years from now, imagine the benefit for a collector faced with authenticating his purchase of one of the thousands of Chagalls, Miros, Dalis and Picassos out there on the secondary market.

An artist near the beginning of her career, like Catherine, is concerned with more immediate matters. “I started looking into ways to get exposure,” she says. “I didn’t know if you had to sign up with a gallery on line and pay these astronomical fees, have your work appraised and all these things.”

“As I was looking on line I kept coming across [artregistration.com]… I absolutely do my research first, and artregistration.com is the best site.”

“As I was looking on line I kept coming across artregistration.com. I was looking at prices and I thought, ‘My God! for what you’re paying to be a artregistration.com member, this is a great value.’ I bookmarked a couple sites and I kept comparing because I absolutely do my research first, and artregistration.com is the best site.”

“artregistration.com didn’t seem stuffy, like some of the other gallery sites or art registry sites. It just felt right. I appreciated the fact there wasn’t any stuffiness. I called up and asked ‘How do people become featured artists?’ and Lynn she was so nice and she actually looked at my art and was interested, telling me about particular paintings she really liked. I was blown away. I was a real person to her! She was so pleasant and very informative and thankful for my business.”

In another bit of intuition, Catherine grasps the new paradigm of the art market: “There’s a certain stigma about artists selling their work–like they can only do it through galleries, they can’t do it on their own. Now that the Internet is here, I think we can take matters into our own hands.”

And, acting on her insight, Catherine is now selling her art on eBay and working towards gaining the exposure to build a large clientele interested in owning her paintings. She’s networking with other artists (“It’s kind of funny how I keep discovering that many of my friends and co-workers are related to artists, usually either grandmothers or mothers, and these artists have given me priceless advice!” she says) and building her portfolio.

All the while, she continues to grow as an artist, investigating the effects of light and shadow, reflections on water, glass on a table and using color to stimulate the viewer’s eye and imagination. You can see Catherine’s portfolio at www.fineartregistry.com/portfolio/CatherinePuma.

by Dan Koon | April 27, 2007

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Christian Early

Christian Early
Special Art from Special Needs

 

This is more than a story about an artist and his art. You look at Christian Early’s portraits of animals and each one seems to possess a distinct personality. While you’re gazing at them, they’re seemingly scrutinizing you. The colors, like the “sitter’s” unflinching stare, are intense, direct. And while many of Christian’s paintings are inspired by animal photographs, the life imbued in the final work emanates from a very special place indeed. For Christian Early was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, and the strides he has made as an artist stand as a tribute to his art teachers, his supportive cousins but mostly to the love and perseverance of his mother, Mayra.

What is Autism?

Autism is frequently described as a developmental disorder usually diagnosed around the age of 3. Until then, autistic children develop and behave much like normal children. From that point on, they have varying degrees of difficulty with verbal and communication skills, social interactions and activities with others. Autism doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, ethnic makeup, social standing, economic status or educational factors, though it does afflict four times as many boys as girls.

Within that description one finds a wide spectrum of humanity. At one end are those unable to care for themselves and who must live their lives under institutional care. At the opposite end you find “savants,” those who exhibit extraordinary skills in a particular area. Dustin Hoffman’s character in “Rain Man” was based on Utah savant Kim Peek who has been described as a walking Google, reads two pages of books simultaneously, one with each eye, and has perfect recall of some 12,000 books. In the art world, British savant, Steven Wiltshire drew an accurate rendering of Rome, individual streets, windows, columns and all, from the air after one pass over it in a helicopter.

As with any Bell curve distribution, the above are exceptional. Most autistic people, like Christian, fall somewhere in the middle. In many ways, these autistic people have a rougher time. With neither the celebrity stemming from their phenomenal ability, nor the state supplied institutional care, people like Christian and their families must fend for themselves once the person leaves school.

Finding his place in the world

And school or other social situations can be trying indeed for everyone involved. Doctors will tell parents to put the child in an institution. Teachers often give up on the student. Other children will be, well, … children. All these factors conspire against autistic people.

Christian had someone special in his corner, however. Mayra. Here is how she describes the battle she and Christian have faced.

“He was fine until he stopped talking, began spinning objects, stopped looking at me in the face and began having tantrums. I associated it all with a trip I was taking to the States to see my parents, but when I took him to the doctor for a cold, one of the doctors stared at him and shockingly said out loud. ‘That boy has autism!’ I was unaware of what that meant or even what that word entailed. Twenty years ago it meant death and, believe me, it was.

“Finally when he was diagnosed by five very competent doctors, or so I thought. He was labeled and the death warrant was issued. ‘Put him in an institution,’ was the verdict. ‘He may never toilet train, never talk, never read, never write.’ Needless to say, it was a pain that cannot be described.

“From then on it was a battle which has never stopped. A battle with doctors, schools… At some points I encountered wonderful educators, few and scattered, in South America as well as here in the States. I decided to move back to the States when he was barely seven.”

Today, Christian does write, he does read. As Mayra says, “He does not have Asperger’s syndrome. No, my son is normal, just like most. He lies in the middle of the spectrum. He is not severe, yet he is not a genius and that is why the battle has been so arduous. When no advancement is noted, a simple ‘babysitting’ class is not a parent’s dream, but it many times is accepted. When a child excels at something, even though a label exists, there is still hope the world may turn its eyes and ‘see’ the talent and not concentrate so much on the diagnosis. But when the child falls in the middle and no strength is seen, there lies the problem.”

Discovering Art

Clearly, society’s understanding, handling and care of people with autism lag way behind the needs of those affected by the condition and their families. Christian was one of the many who did not attract attention, either because of the direness of his affliction or his brilliance in some area. For example, he always excelled in swimming but not enough to merit a gold medal at the Special Olympics. When he reached high school, he was one of those the teachers wanted to give up on. In most cases the one on one attention he required was not forthcoming. The school authorities predicted a grim future. (The usual refrain when they cannot actually do anything to help a person.)

A vocational school did not work out either, so Mayra implemented a home school curriculum and it was here that a mother’s determination to help her son led to the discovery of Christian’s love of painting.

A very good friend of Mayra’s who is also a painter became his first teacher. She took Christian patiently from having no fine motor skills to an ability to paint lines and circles that resulted in something. Further, Mayra implemented a home based therapy group: an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, a behavior therapist supported by a couple of young high school kids, his grandmother and his cousins. Says Mayra, “With their help we developed a program where he was stimulated from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day and painting proved to be his unequivocal strength. At least he loved it and could concentrate for hours with paintbrush in hand.”

At first it was drawing, rough depictions of Spiderman, dinosaurs and sharks. The family pool became the site for Christian’s first mural. “All was quite difficult,” Mayra continues. “First, we had to place the painting on a crisscross paper. Christian then labeled each square and then he transferred it to the wall. Such was the beginning of his painting career.”

Later, he progressed to still life, using tempera on paper. A new teacher added discipline and structure to his work. All the work began to pay off: Christian sold a couple of paintings to friends and to some clients in Mayra’s personal trainer practice. He was on his way, but it is, and may always be, a developmental arc of progress.

Painting Personality

Mayra herself does some painting and Christian next came under her tutelage. She took steps to develop the right side of Christian’s brain, using the well known book, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,” having him draw inverted images, drawing the spaces between objects and so on.

Acrylics and canvas replaced other media. Books with pictures of animals became the source of inspiration for Christian’s animal paintings of big cats, great apes, birds of the rain forest, all rendered with bright colors and those intense penetrating eyes.

In December of 2006, Christian was invited to do his first art show and sold three more paintings. One was raffled off to help poor children back in Colombia.

Mayra says that Christian will sometimes show little initiative or motivation, so she sets up a schedule for him so he knows when he must paint. Mayra prompts him to make his color choices and placement of objects on the canvas. Once he gets going, Mayra leaves him alone, checking back when certain features are done and thenprompting which to do next. It is an ongoing and not always predictable process. “There is no doubt,” says Mayra, that Christian “’sees’ things differently and many times comes up with some things in his paintings that are just ‘different’. Yet more importantly, through painting he truly has developed self-esteem. At school he was good at nothing, so painting has opened a new world to him.”

Support from
artregistration.com

It was Christian’s first teacher who first recognized, saw his painting develop and told her about artregistration.com.

“They’re very helpful,” Mayra says. “It’s amazing. Lynn is wonderful. The art show in December had two weeks notice. I couldn’t get the pictures on the site and she was so helpful. The other thing is, it’s an exposure. The paintings, how they’re shown on the site, for an artist it opens up a whole realm of possibilities. You’re able to tell a person, ‘go to the website and see my paintings.’ And it’s international. It gives your art credibility. artregistration.com is a great concept.”

Christian has since gotten a new teacher who intends to create greater independence for him as a painter by increasing his choice of subjects and his ability to see more details and values in things. Her plan is to introduce Christian to ceramics which will engage and develop his tactile sense. And of Christian’s future as an artist?

“He may not become Rembrandt,” his mother says. “He is not a Picasso or a prodigy savant with autism. He is Christian, the painter. If you ask him what he is, he will answer, ‘I am an artist, I am a painter.’ And if you are lucky, and he decides to talk at that moment, he may add. ‘I am going to New York and to the world to show and tell’. So be on the lookout for you may never know. If 21 years ago five doctors predicted he would never write, never read, never potty train and he was able to do all that, who can tell where Christian will find himself a couple of years from now. The important thing is to remember is that many times artists are not born, they are made. The painter named Christian is in the making.”

A Mother’s Message

As is obvious, this article about Christian Early is as much about his mother. It’s fitting that we hear from her about the impact her son has had on her life. “Being a single parent of an autistic individual has been a challenge in my life,” she says. “I have brought Christian up alone and it has not been easy but I can truly say, in the long run, it has truly been worthwhile. I have seen, through Christian’s eyes a world I would never have imagined, had God not afforded me a child like him. “Problems seem to melt when his focus goes on, “Mamita (little mom, as he fondly calls me), look at the red dragon beside us.” I look and see a huge red truck. And he adds, “the teeth are big and white” And touches his teeth to dramatize his remark. “He can find every detail I never thought even existed. ‘There’s a tiger in front of us,’ his remark when driving at the tiny little tiger stuck on a bumper sticker, ‘and it is blue. Tigers aren’t blue mamita. That’s a blue, very blue tiger like a shark but with no teeth. You see it Mamita?’

“How could I sum up having an autistic adult (now, he’s 23)? He is my miracle and he, with his own way of seeing the world, has taught me more than I could ever teach him. So, if I were ever asked if I would do it again, with tears I would have to embrace the challenge for, thanks to him, I have become a better person.”

by Dan Koon | June 4, 2007

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Art News and Articles: artregistration.com Featured Artist

Realizing a Lifelong Ambition
Steven Pon Shares His Paintings with the
World at artregistration.com

Musicians are fond of saying that music is a universal language. And it is. But not more so than art. You can place the earliest cave paintings, a Greek marble, a Rembrandt self-portrait and one of Pollock’s drip paintings side by side and each will speak in an instant. Art stands outside of time. In any case, both art and music are languages that anyone, anywhere, at any period can understand.

Born in Canton, China in 1945, just after the end of the war with Japan, Steven came into a land that was destined for more turmoil. The Chinese Revolution would soon be under way and Steven’s father, a school principal, saw that the prospects of life under Mao did not hold much promise, so he went to nearby Hong Kong and found work. Steven’s mother followed with the rest of the family, crossing a dangerous river to make it to the colony.

Hong Kong was overcrowded and impoverished at the time and Steven recalls living on the seventh floor of an apartment house teeming with other families who had fled the mainland. Around age 7, Steven picked up a pencil and discovered drawing. His mother admired his early efforts and showed these to the neighbors who were also impressed, and Steven’s lifelong hobby began.

A New Beginning with New Challenges

In America, the story goes, if one fell through the center of the earth, one would come out in China. The reciprocal must be true, too. And culturally, Steven fell through the center of the earth when his family emigrated to America, settling first in Oakland, California in 1957. Living with his older sister’s family in an apartment situated above a grocery store, this was about as far from Hong Kong as one could get. “I remember the aromas from the grocery store coming up to our apartment,” Steven recalls. Life became more comfortable, but not in all respects. Steven did not speak a word of English, and in the context of this back story, it is easy to imagine Steven communicating in a language that had not changed despite his relocation: drawing.

In America, he discovered new sources of inspiration: comic books. “I collected hundreds of comic books like Spiderman and The Fantastic Four. I learned to draw by imitating the figures,” he says.

Naturally, having to learn English delayed his progress in school, and it wasn’t until high school that Steven caught up. There, he always took art classes and thought he would move right into commercial art when he graduated. He enrolled in a trade school to train as a commercial artist, but left during his second year and eventually went to work for the post office. Art remained his lifelong interest and he continued to draw in his spare time.

As a boy, Steven became aware of the art of Normal Rockwell from the covers of the Saturday Evening Post. “I loved the details he put in his paintings,” he says. Later, he saw the paintings of another commercially successful artist, Thomas Kinkade, and again the detail fascinated and inspired him. Steven still had not begun painting yet, mind you, but the bug was in his system, where it incubated for many years. “Art was always on my mind,” he continues. “I was doing drawing most of my free time. Sometimes, wherever I was, I would start drawing something on a piece of paper. Anything that interested me at the moment.”

A couple years ago, he took a painting class at De Anza Community College and enjoyed the learning experience. But it wasn’t until recently that he took the plunge and began to pursue a lifelong aspiration.

One day, Steven was at his job in the security department of the Silicon Valley firm where he works.

“I was sitting at my desk and the receptionist came by and saw one of my drawings,” he tells it. “She said she liked it very much. I said ‘Yeah, but I’d really like to start painting,’ and she asked me to do a painting for her. So I said, ‘Okay,’ and I did one. She liked it a lot. And that’s really what got me started.”

Just like many years ago in Hong Kong, this simple fact of admiration sparked Steven’s interest and has opened his creativity.

Looking at Steven’s paintings, it’s easy to understand his admiration for the detail in one of Rockwell’s works. Steven pays the same attention to detail in his own. And it’s no stretch to see in his work the niceties found in classic brush and ink Chinese landscapes, with the addition that, instead of blacks and grays, Steven’s palette is filled with bright, rich reds, yellows and blues.

“I prefer using watercolor and mix it with acrylics. I also use water color pencils and other media to bring out that certain look I try to achieve. I also do acrylics on canvas. I usually begin with a photograph I like and sketch it onto illustration board. I change it around to give the best composition and then I begin painting.”

The cheerful luminosity in Steven’s work makes prints of his paintings very popular, and he has sold dozens to friends and family. Currently, several of his paintings are on display at the Quinlin Community Center in Cupertino where he lives.

He is a member of the Fine Arts League of Cupertino (www.falc.org) where, he puts it, “We have a large group of artists who get together each month and have discussions on painting. Sometimes we have a well-known artist who comes over and gives tips and lessons on how they do their paintings. Since I joined the group, I have learned a lot from them.”

Giving Himself a Permanent Window for His Art

Joining FALC recently opened up another door for Steven. At one meeting he met artregistration.com member Sylvie Levesque who was handing out fliers about artregistration.com. “I checked it out and really liked it, so I decided to join up. I have gotten great support from them,” he says.

Like other artregistration.com registered artists, Steven sees big advantages to tagging and registering his paintings. “For one thing, you know who created it. There’s no question that I am the artist, and that it is authentic. The tag and certificate of authenticity prove it. If someone buys one of my paintings and later someone else buys it from the first person, the new buyer knows where it came from without question.

“The way I see my future as an artist is very simple – I will just continue to paint. I already like that part. I don’t worry about that, I just let it happen. If people start buying my painting or my prints, that would really make me happy. I live day by day right now and just enjoy my painting.”

By connecting with artregistration.com, Steven has given himself a window on the Internet where anyone can see his art. Looking back, it’s a long way from the day in Hong Kong when he first picked up a pencil. But then, as now, anyone can look at and appreciate the universal language in Steven’s art, which you can see at www.fineartregistry.com/portfolio/spon45.

by Dan Koon | June 26, 2007

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