art to art

A Creative Life, artist book, books, Dogs in Art, published art

In my last blog post (link here) I talked a bit of my personal list of “9 ways to make more art” and after posting I realized that I could have added a 10th one: Take a past art project that was enjoyable and “add a thought” to it, re-do it in a new context.  This could be called “working to a theme” but I think of it like Jazz music – a call and response conversational play on a melody.

For example recently I took some concepts from my book “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit”, spun them around my cerebral tumbler and created a new one-of-a-kind artist book.  My new book is titled “Stories We Could Live Inside – Or Not (A house is a framework for physical life. Language is a framework for mental life.)”

Here is a photo of it in-progress. You can see a print copy of my “Dr. Bob…First Aid Kit” book beside my new work-in-progress.

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My work in progress – taking a few concepts from my book “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” and playing with them again. https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit

Here’s some of what I was thinking as I worked on this new book:

During the original “First Aid Book” book work I was in regular contact with Dr. Bob Hoke – and in our many conversations he’d talked about how his role as a psychiatrist was to get inside his patients small-world mental boxes, the life-limitations they had accepted without consciously realizing it, and slowly expand the sides of the box, make a door or window in the box – something so that the patient could choose to find a way out. He spoke of how stories are mental structures, much the way houses are physical ones. However stories are something we live inside often without thinking that they are “stories” – optional social constructions – because habitual language forms the framework of our daily habits of mind, our attitudes and ways of responding to the world. A house is a framework for physical life. Language is a framework for mental life. The kinds of houses we live in can affect the quality of our life. Similarly the stories we tell ourselves and each other can affect the quality of our life – for either good or ill – if we accept and believe them.

I thought of all of this during several of my regular morning ‘creative appointments’ with myself before the day gets started. I wrote out my thoughts on scraps of paper and in my sketchbooks. You can see some of those scraps in the picture above.  I made book dummies. I sketched ways to organize my thoughts into book form. I decided to use dogs are as character-actors in “Stories We Could Live Inside Or Not” because for me dogs represent a joyful exuberance at being alive. I sketched dogs.  And I decided on a paper-house shape…

It took me probably a month or more of “creative appointments” where I’d work a bit on this “Stories we could…” idea; getting it, developing it, refining it, experimenting with the various artwork parts of it.  The rest of my work days were devoted to 6 or so hours worth of work on my other creative projects… and the other stuff of life.  When my “Stories we could…” ideas had “gelled” to a certain point and I felt I needed more time to work on the project I scheduled a few concentrated times, more time than my typical “creative appointment” time allotment had been, to work on it. A few sessions like that and I finished the book! Another scheduled time session and I submitted it for consideration by the 23 Sandy Gallery. www.23sandy.com 

Here is a video of the final book “Stories we could live inside… or not”

Lettuce Peas

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, artistic inspirations, collage, fine art, illustration, poetry, words and pictures

Was contacted this morning by one of my gallery owners, Barney, of Downtown Art & Frame, in Oklahoma to tell me that my work “Lettuce Peas” had sold! This work was a highly experimental piece, different from the “typical” work I do. For this project I worked with Judy Sullens, a writer, and created this words+art piece inspired by and based on her word-play.  Judy’s original poem was titled “Gardener’s Prayer”.  I took Judy’s words and created an original cut-paper illustration in my style and wrote out her poem by hand using pen and ink calligraphy.

Technically this piece is an original “broadside” as it would be called in the book-arts world.  And normally I might have submitted it for exhibit in a book-arts kind of gallery like the 23 Sandy Gallery.  But, Barney, who runs a frame-shop-gallery in Oklahoma saw the piece in my studio here on the West Coast, liked it and wanted to frame it and exhibit it along with the other artwork of mine he was selecting for delivery to his gallery.

I do my best to keep my gallery-owners happy so I agreed. All the art he requested got shipped – including “Gardener’s Prayer”. He was happy. I was happy. Judy was happy.  Then life went on. 

When he told me today that the work had sold he also said of this piece “it’s a gem”.  He talked of how much attention this particular piece had gotten, how the client who ended up buying it had come to ‘visit’ it multiple times before buying. He went on to say that he thought it might be a good idea for me to do more such things, maybe make a book of such poetic-artistic-meditations-on-daily-life.

So now I’m thinking about doing that. Over the many years I’ve worked with Barney he’s had a number of great suggestions for my art/career… so I take his suggestions seriously. And I think Judy will play poetry+art again with me … and I write poems sometimes myself… and I’m also flirting with thoughts of collecting some other poet/writers very short thoughts (ideally word-play) about some aspect of daily life.

My question is how to go about it?  Must ruminate more on this topic… Please share your comment/thoughts too.

Anyway here is the “Gardener’s Prayer”:

gardenersprayer72

Poem by Judy Sullens. Art (cut handmade paper) and Calligraphy by Sue Clancy.

loving dead feminists

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, Authors, books, graphic narrative, visual story, words and pictures

Recently I took some of my artist books to the 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland Oregon. While I was there I saw the “Dead Feminists” exhibit by Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary.  I’m talking exquisite hand drawn lettering, illustrations and printmaking employed as a way of celebrating women!  And this exhibit also exists in a book titled Dead Feminists: Historical Heroines in Living Color published by Sasquatch Books.

Naturally I bought a copy.

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My copy of Dead Feminists – you can get your own here: http://www.deadfeminists.com/

The book – which you can purchase via their website  http://www.deadfeminists.com/ and probably by book-sellers where-ever – is a wonderful nesting, interlocking set of artistic ideas.  There’s the historical stuff about women (those dead feminists) who have done exceptional work towards advancing women’s rights. There’s the stuff about how artist’s Spring and Chandler worked to create the lettering, illustrations and the print production. Then there’s the stuff about what non-profit organizations (often women’s orgs) benefited from the sales of Spring and Chandler’s artwork.

It’s a beautiful depiction of how an artist (and a woman in whatever profession) can do her best work and benefit her community both immediately and in the future.

The book is a powerful reminder that we are each an essential contributor to life as we know it – or hope to know it.

Thank you Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary for your wonderful work! And thank you 23 Sandy Gallery for sharing it!

Now that I’ve finished reading this book I’ll go fetch my socks from where-ever they went when they were blown off.

big artist pants

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, books, handmade books, handmade papers, visual story, words and pictures

Well today I pulled up my big artist pants, squared my shoulders, and submitted my artist book “A Fish Story” to the 23 Sandy Gallery www.23sandy.com for an upcoming juried book arts exhibit titled “Pop-Up Now II”.  Wish me luck! I’m hoping to get to play with the big artists in that exhibit!  The juror’s are impressive (intimidating?!) – the artist’s who were in the first “Pop-Up” exhibit at 23 Sandy were OMG awesome (you can see some of their book-work  via this link here: http://23sandy.com/works/product-category/curated-collections/pop-up-movable) – So I have a serious case of the little kid to big kid adoration. You know stuff along the lines of “Oh I wanna play! Pick me! Please? Pretty please? I’ll show you my glue and paper collection…I can do this… I wanna learn that…Show me how… teach me ….let me…aww com’on…”

And this gives you a glimpse into my philosophy of selecting which gallery and which arts events I try to participate in: Does it inspire me to do my absolute best? Does it challenge me as an artist? If the answer is yes – then I get my brave on and go for it! No matter what the outcome is – I’ll learn something in the process and I’ll become a better artist for the effort!

One of the big learning curves – besides making a pop-up book with 4 different movable pop-up mechanisms (whew!) – was making a video of “A Fish Story”! I’m so gosh-darn proud of it I’m posting a link to it again here: https://youtu.be/3gx6QmzXlpM  – and in case you’ve just joined this show here is a still photo of one of the pages of “A Fish Story” – that green tab lets the viewer move the fish into the water away from the fisherman. (Yep, that mechanism was hard to construct… but details about that is a different blog post.)

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page from the artist book “A Fish Story” by Sue Clancy

Finally A Fish Story

A Creative Life, animals in art, art gallery, artist book, books, handmade books, handmade papers, visual story, words and pictures

Here is the long awaited video of my artist book “A Fish Story” – first I had to catch it (make the video), then I had to grill it (edit it down to one minute – the gallery wants all videos at a minute or less) then I had to de-bone it (remove the sound) after a next-door friend said he could hear his electric sander in the background of the video. (Q: How does a deaf person edit sound on a video? A: Verrry carefully with help from spouse and friends!)  But finally… here is A Fish Story!

artist book rabbit

A Creative Life, animals in art, artist book, books, handmade books, handmade papers, illustration, poetry, words and pictures

Practicing my video techniques again in prep for filming my pop-up book “A Fish Story” (see more about that elsewhere on my blog)… this time I’m practicing video with a rabbit. Even had to “trim” my original video. But don’t worry, no actual bunnies were harmed in the production of this artist book or the film of it.

artist book Geo Erosion

A Creative Life, art techniques, artist book, books, handmade books, visual story

Here I go again practicing filming one of my artist books in action. My pop-up book “A Fish Story” (pictured in earlier blog posts) is in stages of drying – and when it’s dry I’ll have to show it’s pop-up glory (ahem, cough!) on film. So… I’m working up to that one.  In the meantime I’m practicing video techniques with my other artist books. This one, titled “Geo Erosion” is an altered book: I took an existing geology textbook and used an Xacto knife to cut out erosion patterns in the paper.  Now, less talk more video:

inner youtube-ing

A Creative Life, art gallery, artist book, handmade books, visual story

As readers of my blog know I’m working on a pop-up book titled “A Fish Story”.  Eventually (when the book is finished) I’ll submit it to the 23 Sandy Gallery – the gallery owner has asked for videos of our pop-up books because of the active movable parts – a juror needs to see it in…action.  So I thought I’d better practice the whole “do a video of an artist book thing”. Here is a link to a youtube video of one my artist books titled “Coffee Beans Plus H2o” – used as a practice baby-step. Fair warning: there will be more practice “video-a-book” attempts in the future. Deep breath…here goes…

a fish story progressing dangerously

artist book, books, handmade books, handmade papers, visual story, words and pictures, writing

As I’ve been sharing on my blog today – www.sueclancy.com – I’m working on a pop-up book titled “A Fish Story”. In the photos below I’m living dangerously; I’m taking my now-dry pages and binding them carefully so that the parts that make the movable pop-up parts will be hidden – but will still allow for movement. In one of the photos you can see some of the hidden works before it’s hidden. I call the binding “living dangerously” because I’ve spent months at hand making each page so one slip of my knife now, or a mistake with the binding, and a page is dead! Some people sky dive or bungee cord jump or visit with elderly relatives… me, I bind a pop-up book. Whew!

Living dangerously and binding a pop-up book titled "A Fish Story" by Sue Clancy

Living dangerously and binding a pop-up book titled “A Fish Story” by Sue Clancy

A few of the dry pages from the pop-up book "A Fish Story" by Sue Clancy

A few of the dry pages from the pop-up book “A Fish Story” by Sue Clancy

 

 

more fish story progress

art techniques, artist book, books, handmade books, handmade papers, visual story, words and pictures, writing

As I posted to my http://www.sueclancy.com blog a bit ago I’m working on a pop-up book titled “A Fish Story”. Here is another photo of some freshly made (caught?) page spreads; the page at the top has a fishing line that moves, the page at the bottom has a fish that moves. In the photo I’m checking to see that the movable parts still move even after swimming in all that glue!

Two page spreads from an in-progress pop-up book "A Fish Story" by Sue Clancy

Two page spreads from an in-progress pop-up book “A Fish Story” by Sue Clancy