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Art – Milwaukee Style

27 Jan

Four times a year, galleries, artists and various venues participate in a Gallery Night event. It’s a time to celebrate local artists and galleries in Milwaukee in hopes to keep the art community vivid and active. Ideally, one could walk from place to place and admire the art, but because Milwaukee is so spread out, onlookers should probably drive or bus around the city to see the art.

I’ve only truly attended 2 gallery nights since I’ve lived in Milwaukee. This is pathetic as I have lived here for several years and have never taken advantage of the great opportunity to look at art and learn something, and possibly meet new people. Going to an art school, one might think I would’ve taken advantage of seeing tons of art all in one night.

I have to say, the January Gallery Night is not the most fun to attend as the weather is frigid and winter in Wisconsin is not always pleasant, but for some reason I’ve attended in January the past two years.

This year, I stumbled upon an artist I knew or at least met. Kim Weiss displayed her beautiful print and wood pieces along with Erin Paisley’s intricate watercolor and ink drawings at Hot Pop. It was a harmonious juxtaposition displaying the works on opposite walls. Weiss runs the print studio at Redline Milwaukee.

Weiss composed her mandala-esque pieces beautifully, exposing the wood grain to give a more dense and rustic feel to the piece. The prints were relief stylized in a way that made them look rustic, keeping in theme with the wooden surface and color scheme.

Kim Weiss

Kim Weiss

Erin Paisley

I need to open my eyes and explore where I am right now. I often feel un-inspired by this city, and have become impatient with it’s pace. What I need to do is find the inspiration instead of waiting for it to find me. Milwaukee has many gems, it’s just a matter of uncovering them, and not having expectations. There are so many talented artists and people in this city, I just have to find them and make friends!

Will Nostalgia ever die

11 Jan

Nostalgia and thoughts about nostalgia seem to be popping up a lot lately in my surroundings. It’s got me thinking, what’s the big deal with nostalgia? Maybe my social circles are filled with lonely people.

In art and design, we are often looking back to the game changers and seeing what they did differently in their own time, and seeking inspiration. In culture, art and fashion we always seem to circle back to some trend from decades ago. I mean, who would’ve thought leggings would come back? Yet, when we re-cycle this trend, we may put a little twist on it to make it more modern, when sometimes it just ends up looking silly.

The American culture constantly cycles through different trends and styles, but we reuse previous trends in a different or new way and call them Avant Garde. How is it a “new” trend when it’s a different version what they did in the 60’s? Are we so un-original that we can’t think of something new?

Some artists believe that nostalgia is dead. They believe you shouldn’t look to the past for influence, but only look forward.

In life, the nostalgia helps us feel better. Usually we remember positive emotions or feelings about an event and it makes us look back and know that we are living a happy life, at times.

In the 18th century, they thought nostalgia was a disease and included symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Today, scientists have found that it can actually cheer people up; “nostalgia counteracts effects of loneliness, by increasing perceptions of social support. In addition, that same study found that loneliness can trigger nostalgia,” (ScienceDaily).

The events we are nostalgic about include ourselves as the main focus and often include a close support group of family and friends. This explains why having nostalgic feelings or reflecting on our lives can help subdue our loneliness.

But why be nostalgic in art and design? Is it possible that the maker of something sees an element from their past that they are fond of and subconsciously imports it into their work? The cycle of reoccurring or recycled trends may have a link with personal nostalgia, but I also believe that we as humans are fascinated and drawn to things in the past we were unable to experience ourselves.

“Psychology Of Nostalgia.” ScienceDaily, 12 Dec. 2008. Web. 10 Jan. 2012. 

Gallery social gathering

27 Dec

I enjoy seeing art, and what new artists are creating. It’s inspiring, motivating, and often educational. However, I’ve noticed lately that one of the main draws to an art exhibit, especially a local gallery, is not the art, but the social aspect of it. Most people in the art community enjoy coming to openings because they get to see friends or acquaintances and talk about art for a bit, but then talk about life and everything important that they are doing. Maybe this is a Milwaukee thing, because our art community is fairly tight knit and small. Agreed?

The focus on the art is taken away as the opening becomes a social event for most visitors. I didn’t eavesdrop on conversations, but I assumed only about 3 people out of the 40 that were at the gallery were actually discussing the concept and execution of the artwork on display.

This is perfectly fine, and great because people are coming to the gallery and supporting the art by being there. But it would be awesome if the art were appreciated a bit more. Maybe by incorporating some type of social media to the exhibit. Having a hash tag dedicated to the event, encouraging people to post comments and pictures of their favorite pieces.

Make the gathering more social and in turn making the art more public. By publicly praising the artwork online, this could benefit the following of both the artist and the gallery.

I’m sure many artists would be opposed to this type of exploitation of their work, but imagine the benefits! More people will be aware of your artwork, increasing your following and increasing your presence as an artist. I understand if some artists will not and can not partake in the social media extravaganza, but it is the new way of the world. Either embrace it or forget it.

NYC Typography

2 Dec

Good typography usually goes unnoticed by the untrained eye. Being a graphic designer, I get really excited when I see a hand painted sign or some really cool neon sign.

While I was in NYC, I noticed that they had tons of awesome typographic signage for stores, restaurants, you name it. I also noticed that most of it was hand painted, like they did in the old days, not vinyl or some fabricated material, but just paint on brick.

I hope you can appreciated these beautiful works of typographic art as much as I did. Enjoy!

Chroma Tweet by Aleksandar Maćašev

30 Nov

I had the opportunity to see  Aleksandar Maćašev’s project called Chroma Tweet. The artist tweets a hexadecimal color (web safe color) daily describing his mood for that day. The tweets are simple: just the code for the color and a picture of the color. The project has been going on since 2009 and through the DUMBO Arts Festival and ArtBridge Maćašev has been able to display his Chroma Tweets. Viewing it linearly, I saw trends of muted colors, bright colors, warm or cool colors and then some random pairings depending on the days. Viewing the tweets linearly changed the perception of Maćašev’s emotions and almost formed a weird connection to the artist. I wanted to know what happened that day he decided to tweet a muted brown color, or for several days of bright colors, why was he so cheerful?

But is how I view color universal? Does everyone see yellow as a happy color?

When seeing the art, I was with family that didn’t know what hexadecimal colors were. To me, I work with them daily so it didn’t even occur to me that people didn’t know what they were. How ignorant of me.

The subjectivity of art

15 Nov

Art is subjective. Isn’t that awesome? In a way, that means no one is wrong in what they create. Art is a creative form of expression that has expanded and evolved because people weren’t afraid to try something new and different; to push boundaries with what art could be.

Looking at art with “non-creatives” is always an eye opener. They notice something that I didn’t and often point out the most obvious details, which I miss because I’m engulfed in the art world and sometimes know too much about art to just appreciate it for what it is.

Art’s subjectivity is awesome because anyone can look at art and enjoy it. The viewer doesn’t have to be educated, speak English, or know anything about previous art movements to enjoy art and experience what the artist is trying to convey.

I recently went to some small art galleries in Minneapolis, and my sister’s boyfriend/future fiance noticed that we all have our own opinions on art, yet we all enjoy it. And he says to me, “Kez, that what’s so great about art. Anyone can have their own opinion on it and no one has to agree because no one is really correct.”

The level of engagement with art is something I can’t really grasp. If it’s an amazing piece that I read about in an art history book, I’m probably going to spend more time with it than if it’s an abstract painting that I don’t understand and has a three page artist statement at a gallery with poor lighting and little space to move. I had a fine art teacher who always told the class that to really appreciate the work, you have to spend time with it. He explained that most of the time he never had enough time when viewing artwork because he could spend hours with one piece. I never understood this, but maybe my intellect and intelligence is not at his caliber.

Whether  an intense, deep viewer of artwork (spending lots of time with the work, contemplating every detail) or a more shallow onlooker (flow through a gallery and only spend time with the ones of interest) it doesn’t matter. Art is a universal language that can be appreciated by everyone. Supporting art and keeping galleries open is what we all need to do to keep art alive.

Printmaking | High Point Center for Printmaking

26 Oct

I recently visited my sister in the eclectic city of Minneapolis. There was an area of the city that was filled with art galleries and theaters, which made the Milwaukee art scene seem dead. High Point Center for Printmaking was a beautiful, clean gallery and print shop. It was one of the cleanest and most immaculate print shops I have ever seen.

The prints hanging were very well done, and the presentation made the work seem high end and legit. If you’re ever in the Twin Cities and have the opportunity to stop by, do. Various print styles are displayed and they also have smaller, more affordable prints for sale.

Type Truck comes to MKE

14 Sep

So the Movable Type Truck came to Milwaukee, thanks to Kate Strzok who owns Broadway Paper. Hearing about the truck through blogs, I was really excited it was making an appearance in Milwaukee.

The Type Truck is ran by Kyle, who owns Power and Light Press out of Portland, Oregon. She’s been on this excursion all summer and is planning on traveling for a year.

There’s no charge, just a tin out for donations for travel expenses. You walk right up to the truck, take a look at some of her work, and pull a print! This is an awesome way of educating and bringing awareness of letter press and how it works. Letter press is definitely prevalent in the design community, but to actually experience it is something special.

When I was there, the line wasn’t too long, but I hope more people came later. I think opportunities like this are often missed in Milwaukee, and maybe it’s just because we’re a small city or maybe the powers of social media are not that strong. If you missed the Type Truck this time, be sure to catch it next time it comes around.

If I had the money and opportunity to do something like the Movable Type Truck, I’d do it.

My Print! (It looks a lot better in real life)


25 Aug

Social Donut Poster