Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Enter the World of Faerie

I recently returned from the first International FaerieCon in
Philadelphia, PA. What is FaerieCon? Well, think of a scifi convention,
mixed with a rennaissance fair, a neo-pagan gathering, an art and
craft fair, mix those with panel discussions about art, literature,
shamanism, throw in some live music and a good dose of magic...and you
have a FaerieCon!

It was a very powerful weekend, where I had the opportunity to meet
some world-reknowned artists and writers. Since I have been studing
literature, art and the traditions of Faery the last few months, this
convention helped to deepen my knowledge and learn what others are
doing with the same subject.

Brian & Wendy Froud
Wendy Fround
The guests of honor were Brian and Wendy Froud. Brian is probably best known for his conceptual designs for the movie the Dark Crystal and Labyrinth He has published numerous art, books and video work. Wendy is probably most famous for her design of Yoda for the film The Empire Strikes
. She has contributed to several films, and is an accomplished sculpter and doll-maker. Wendy talked about her process in making her fascinating dolls and even showed some protoypes of the original Yoda and a glimpse of Kira from the upcoming Dark Crystal sequel. It was a wonderful experience to meet these artists whose work was so integral to my artistic development from my teenage years to the present.

Kuniko Y. Craft
I met the artist Kuniko Y. Craft, who I first discovered from her stunningly beautiful book covers of Patricia McKillip's novels. I have followed and admired her work
since then. I particularly enjoy her compositions and use of botanicals in her pieces. Her work has always reminded me of the Pre-Raphaelite and Symbolist artists, who I often draw inspiration from. Meeting Kuniko and learning about her process, influences, and how she came to where she is now was invaluable to me as an artist.

DoAn with Jen Delyth

I also me artist Jen Delyth who presented a video of artwork and animation of a series she titled: Beyond the Ninth Wave. Hmm? Sound familiar? Once I saw that presentation I knew
I had to talk with Jen! Sharing our thoughts and ideas about work, being an artist, comparing the agonies, our inspirations and ideas was priceless. Jen's work are contemporary designs connected to the ancient tradition of Celtic knotwork. There is a lot of symbolism and power contained within those designs and Jen has found a way to carry that power to a
contemporary audience, using modern tools. Whether it is tempera paint
or computer graphics and animation, Jen lets the creative spirit guide
her to explore and experiment. Look soon for her book Celtic Folk
due out this spring...I had the chance to see a proof of the
book and it is beautiful! I will cherish and draw much inspiration
from my meeting with Jen for many years to come.

Caitlin Matthews
I attended several panels over the weekend that dealt with various aspects of Faery. Faery and Shamanism, Faery in art and literature, as well as presentations by individual artists and writers. I particularly enjoyed hearing Caitlin Matthews talk about earth vibration and shamanic work in relation to contempory art practices. There were also many vendor booths and artists displaying their work. It was particularly helpful to see how other artists present their work and what they sell. It will help me as a I further develop my own marketing and producing work that can reach a wider audience. Other artists that made an impact on me at this convention were 
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, who creates beautiful watercolor pieces utilizing a very similar glazing techniques that I use,
Charles Vess, who many have recently come to learn of with the release of the film Stardust. (The book the film was based on was illustrated by Vess). Also, authors Holly Black (of Spiderwick Chronicle's fame) and Delia Sherman, who shared the background of writing her recent book Changling

On one of the evenings I went to the Bad Faeries Ball at the Trocadoro Theatre in Philadelphia. It was a a fun evening with different performers and lots of elaborate costumes. I was particularly impressed by the band Qntal. A German electro-medieval band. The band's lyrics are primarily drawn from historical sources. Throughout their first three albums, lyrics were primarily in Latin, medieval German, and a few other European tongues. Syrah, the lead singer, had a very powerful and beautiful voice. During their performance a video made by Brian and Toby Froud played on screens above the crowds. You can see part of the video here:

Overall, the convention was educational and inspiring. I am sure I will be referring to my experiences there for many months to come. I am looking forward to this becoming an annual event that will support my continued development as an artist!

Monday, October 08, 2007


As I mentioned in my last post, I have been working on using some new medium and grounds. In particular ink on watercolor canvas and watercolor board. I am finding returning to watermedia a very healing practice. And I am excited about using mediums and grounds that allow for work that is more permanent and archival without the specific care and maintenance that comes with works on paper.

There is, of course, some limitations and challenges that come with working with ink, as there are limitations and challenges to every medium. I am experimenting now with how to work with those challenges, so that I may begin to produce quality work for everyone. I have posted one of my recent experiments with ink on watercolor board. This particular piece was inspired solely by meditating on the element of water. I used no visual reference to execute the painting. It is made by layering thin washes of color (prussian blue, marine blue, and flame orange)over each other and finishing with opaque white in areas.

Recent research has led me to utilizing more meditative states while painting, with the hope of tapping into the source of my creative energies. Nature, mythology, spirituality and science are still strong influences on my work. It seems that my research is drawing me in to a place where all of these influences intersect. It is part of the reason I have labeled myself an "Interstitial Artist". Working within the interstices of genres and subjects, to me, seems to be the most direct and natural area to tap into creatively. Unfortunately, it is a challenging place to work, because so much of our existence and knowledge of reality is based on division, labeling and separation of ideas and subjects into their own little units. This feels unnatural to me, and yet, I must actively work against the conditioning of my mind to separate and classify.

Over the next months I will be actively working at practicing this art of connection or art of opening. I will share with you my progress and discoveries along the journey. I will, also continue to share with you my work. I am still working on the series of paintings entitled From Beyond the Ninth Wave based on the gods and goddesses from Irish Mythology and other pieces that inspiration squeezes out of me.

Thanks for your interest in the journey!

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