Thoughts from my studio about artwork; new pieces as well as those things that have have remained hidden in my flat file...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Welcome to The Flat File

This blog came into being after a conversation with artist friend Frank Warren (PostSecret). Frank came over for a studio visit recently and brought his family, hoping to get them engaged in a dialogue about some specific pieces in my studio that he was interested in adding to his collection. Frank and I met in 2004 at the Anne C. Fisher Gallery in Georgetown. We were installing our artwork for an Artomatic invitational exhibition called "10 Most Wanted". The discussion about our work that ensued gave Frank a new understanding of not only my work, but about how a viewer can construct an individual dialogue and perhaps "narrative" with non-objective or abstract artwork. Frank reminded me of this at this recent studio visit, saying that this discussion with me was so important to his relationship to the work, and it was a shame that more people didn't get to experience it.

I love studio visits, whether it’s me going to another artist's studio, or people coming to mine. I believe they are the most genuine and natural way to develop this dialogue with the artist, the artwork, and the viewer. As an artist, it feels wonderful to see your artwork well-lit in a pristine gallery, with nothing else to be distracted by but the work in the space, but personally I find the experience of the opening reception to sometimes be awkward. Opening reception conversations often begin and end with superficial questions or statements like "So what media do you use?", "How long did it take to make that painting?" or even "I like it" Most viewers want to talk to me about the work, but don't know how to get it started. If I approach them after lurching around the gallery for an hour I always feel like a used car salesman. This is not the reason I started making art.

Studio visits are so much more comfortable for me and the viewer/collector. Perhaps it’s the one on one interaction, or because I just start showing them work around the house/studio or pulling things from my flat file. Perhaps it’s my paint spattered clothes and my usual lack of shoes, I don't know, but it’s always genuine and invigorating. I wish it could happen all of the time.

I recently moved my studio to Reston, VA from Arlington, and in the move I took stock of the artwork I had. I was amazed to find lots of great little works on paper and canvas that very few people had ever seen. Artist buddy/blogger JT Kirkland (Thinking About Art) was visiting my studio at the same time as Frank and although JT had been to my studio on numerous occasions, he was surprised to have never seen many of these pieces (and no JT, I still didn't show them all to you). Many of the smaller works never make it into the solo shows, or even group shows, because the curators and gallerists are looking for the larger pieces with more impact, so the more intimate, smaller ticket items stay squirreled away in the flat file.

Showcasing some of these smaller works and making them available to the public for the first time is another reason for creating The Flat File. Most of these works have never been shown in galleries for the reasons stated above, but are beautiful intimate artworks. I will be posting one of these pieces weekly and offering it on ebay at a nominal price, since these bodies of work have no sales history in galleries. Most pieces will be archivally matted, but unframed to keep the prices down. Please feel free to comment and ask questions on these pieces, I want to get the dialogue going with you, whether you are an established collector, or someone who has been looking for the opportunity to get their collection started.

I hope that The Flat File becomes an ongoing studio visit for you and I. Small works from my flat file will be posted once a week (on the weekends I think for now), and I will also periodically be posting my thoughts about the current projects in my studio and showing images of the larger paintings. I hope you will join me in a discussion about those pieces, and please feel free to schedule a physical studio visit by emailing me when you are inspired to do so. I will also keep you posted on my upcoming projects, exhibitions and news here, and on my website where you can also see some additional artwork. Thank you for joining me on The Flat File, and I look forward to your comments.

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