Around the edges of writing a speech and getting ready for several major art-events I’ve begun to do some cat artworks. I’ll still be doing my dog art – don’t worry – I’m just adding cats to the mix. In 2018 I’m hoping to do a book of cats – much like my currently available book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy
Here’s a couple of cat art pieces currently drying on my work table.
This coming Friday at the Joseph Gierek Fine Art Gallery (www.gierek.com) an experimental art exhibit of mine titled “The Rough Bark Of Culture” opens!
Yes, there are dogs. Lots of dogs. About 24 of them. Dog art that is. Clancy style.
The experimental part of this exhibit is that instead of being 24 works framed and hanging on the wall like a typical art installation – I’ve added my artist book thinking to my fine-art exhibit idea. Which means my entire exhibit is intended to be an intimate experience. Think curling up with a book. Or playing with a deck of cards.
Lucky for artist-me the gallery owner is willing to be playful.
Here’s what gallery-visitors will find: a box that looks like a leather bound book. I made the box and covered it with my hand dyed paper, paper that I’ve given a rough physical and visual texture. I designed the cover and the spine and various elements so that it appears like a book. When closed this book-box measures 9 inches tall 7 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep. When you open the top “cover” it opens out to be 14 inches wide.
Below are a couple of different angle-views of the cover so you can see the spine has the typical book-markings and that the edges of the box are painted to look like book text block “pages”.
Inside the book-box cover is a handwritten statement that puts my art-object-exhibit in a context.
Then further inside there are 24 individual hand created dog art pieces done in my ink on handmade paper style. Each artwork is in an archival sleeve so that a viewer can flip through the box-contents like a book. (there’s even a ribbon to help people lift out the ‘pages’) Or the viewer can take out the pages and lay them out on a table and re-sort them.
Below is some of my thinking behind the exhibit – including my resource book list. I referred to some of this book-research-resource mining in an early blog post here.
General exhibit thoughts for “The Rough Bark of Culture” by Sue Clancy
It is said that humans are the only animal that laughs, cooks (using heat and spices/herbs), develops music, creates art, writes/collects/organizes/shares information across time and space, sorts things numerically and devises elaborate rules for playing games simply for amusement. The ability to read and absorb information via symbols in pictorial and written form is also a uniquely human ability.
Humans are curious, they experiment, seeking novelty and creativity. Wanting enthusiasm – not boredom – they play. Play is part of being human. Play is also an essential component of being creative.
Creativity, communication and organization are attributes of being human. But in modern times it can be hard (rough) to carve out time to play, to be creative, to sort and organize information – to do those very things that make us human.
This exhibit is about what makes us human.
Why dogs? Dogs are enthusiastic about being alive – that’s why I’ve chosen them as my character “actors” in my artwork. It’s a way of remembering that humans have the ability to create the world around them in ways that make life more comfortable, more fun – so that we can be more enthusiastic about being alive.
“Wonderland: How play made the modern world” by Steven Johnson
“The Creative Spark: How imagination made humans exceptional” by Agustin Fuentes
A quote I used as a guiding light – so to speak:
“To imagine is everything. To know is nothing at all.” Anatole France
Exhibit statement (which means I neatened up for handwritten inclusion in my book-box the thoughts outlined above):
It is said that humans are the only animal that; laughs, cooks (using heat and spices/herbs), specially crafts beverages, develops music, creates art, writes/collects/shares information across time and space, sorts things numerically, reads books/information in order to learn and devises elaborate rules for playing games simply for amusement. Humans sometimes share with dogs an enthusiasm at being alive – seeking novelty and creativity rather than boredom. Unlike a dog, humans are able to plan and organize our time. We can defer gratification. Yet modern life sometimes makes it hard to carve out time to be creative – rough to do the very things that make us human; play. This exhibit is about remembering to be human and enjoy life.
If you want a flavor, a hint, of what this exhibit is like there’s my conventionally printed and bound book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” – https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy
Creating a conventional book on this exhibit topic helped cement my idea that I also wanted my viewers to be able to physically “play” with my artwork. Even so – I’m proud of the printed and bound book too. It’s playfulness of a different sort. And able to be more widely available than a one-of-a-kind-art-exhibit in a gallery can be. Having both kinds of play available – the team kind or the individual kind – are important to me.
And speaking of teams; it’s almost time for me to go meet up with friends for a book-store browse and then to go to happy hour! Adult team play! Yippeeee!!
Here are the 6 pieces I created last night during my 3 hour demo at Burnt Bridge Cellars. I worked on these dog portraits while people talked, drank wine, watched me work and asked me questions. One of the staff at the winery took a brief moment to watch and said “Oh! Each of your pieces have either a glass of wine or a wine bottle in them!” I grinned and said “Yes, I’m aware of where I am!” And everyone laughed. It was a fun evening! Thanks again everyone!
Tomorrow at Burnt Bridge Cellars I’ll be signing copies of my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” and doing a dog drawing demonstration. This means you can drink wine while watching me work. Here are 5 things I think about when getting ready for a dog drawing demo:
- What dogs shall I draw? I plan in advance, sketching lightly in pencil, what dog breeds I’ll draw during the live-action demo. In other words before I even go to the demo I’ve already done the largest part of the “creativity” and double checked my dog-breed drawing accuracy. This way people can talk to me while I’m doing the demo and I don’t need to be concentrating on getting a dog breed drawn correctly.
- Locate my demo apron. Ink is messy. ‘nuf said.
- Pack all necessary materials in one portable container in a “push-here-dummy” fashion. People will often start talking to me while I’m setting up to work. So I make sure to have all of my necessary materials packed – but I also take care to pack in such a way that I can unpack in a distracted manner and still be set up correctly to work. Keep it simple!
- Remember to smile and talk to people. A demo is about sharing – not about zoning out into creative never-land. So if a drawing isn’t “perfect” because I was answering someone’s question and not paying attention to where my ink was dripping – I don’t sweat it – in fact I’ll freely tell people that 90 percent of being an artist is knowing how to fix mistakes.
- When the demo is done I make sure to thank everyone for coming, for hosting the demo – for doing anything anyone did that helped me out. The world doesn’t owe me a thing. In fact I’m grateful I get to do what I love for a living – and people around me help make that possible. So in advance: THANK YOU!!!!!!!
Here’s me in my demo apron
And if you’ve just arrived at this party you can find copies of (or info about) my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” on Amazon or here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy
Other relevant links:
Burnt Bridge Cellars http://www.burntbridgecellars.com/
Caplan Art Designs http://www.caplanartdesigns.com/
Next week at Burnt Bridge Cellars the evening of the 27th I’ll be doing another art demo and signing copies of my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. This means that you can drink wine while watching me draw dogs in permanent ink.
I’ve a whole exhibit’s worth of artwork hanging in Burnt Bridge Cellars. My exhibit is titled “Dogs In The Winery” and in this post are a few examples of what you’ll see at the exhibit. The new artworks I’ll make on the 27th while you watch will be like the black and white ones you see in this post – and in my book “Dogs By Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy
I spent most of the day at the “Words and Pictures Festival” at a branch of my local library – doing a drawing demo and promoting my artist book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. It was a good day – only came home with 3 copies of my book all the rest have happy new homes! People were talking and asking me questions before I could even get set up and they continued to come and talk with me constantly even when I was packing up to go home! What fun!
Needless to say I didn’t have time to take photos of the crowd I was so busy! I did manage to do these drawings while talking to people. Yes, that’s a bit like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time. Going to go have some wine after I post this.
Some time back I did a blog post about my experimental exhibit currently at Burnt Bridge Cellars. In that post (link here: https://sueclancy.com/2017/06/13/my-experiment-of-exhibiting-art-as-a-multi-layered-story-environment/) I talked about creating a multilayered story environment; I included links to a free ebook sketchbook I’d done – as well as to a printed book and I included a few images of the artwork along with some short story-like descriptions for them. I wanted to share something with all of my fans whether they could physically come to my exhibit or not.
Then life went on in a hectic busy way and well I’ve only just now gotten around to posting on YouTube the video I’d shot, quick walk through style, after we hung the exhibit. Here it is:
Now all that’s left is for you to taste the wine… but as far as I know there’s no way to upload wine to everyone’s screen in a way that they can taste it. Sigh.
The next opening party for my exhibit is July 7th. www.burntbridgecellars.com
My current fine art exhibit is still up and available during the Burnt Bridge Cellars winery hours (www.burntbridgecellars.com) and will be through the end of July. I’ve designed it as an experiment in layers of story – layered like a lasagna. Judging by responses and comments, both to me and to the staff at Burnt Bridge Cellars, people have been having fun with my experiment!
Layer 1 – as I worked toward this exhibit, starting well over a year ago, I took notes on my experiences of ordinary daily life and recorded them in my sketchbook. You can see this sketchbook as a free ebook here: https://sueclancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/gladtobealivedrinkmusiced.pdf
Layer 2 – I spun my sketchbook notes through my imagination creating characters (dogs) that helped me describe my thoughts and feelings about ordinary life visually and metaphorically. I created a series of sumi ink pieces on handmade papers – dogs drinking, playing musical instruments and etc. Some of these pieces got framed and are in my exhibit. Others became part of a printed book titled “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. You can see that book at the exhibit or via this link here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy
Layer 3 – I created a series of items aka “illustrated things”; scarves, napkins, tea towels, phone cases and many other items that relate to this exhibit – return full circle to the “ordinariness” of life – these items are available via the links found here https://sueclancy.com/pattern-design/
Layer 4 – A group of 17 of my artworks are hung on the walls at the winery. But in addition to the artwork itself which can be viewed up close in person I wrote short “blurbs” – very short descriptions of what inspired the artwork. You can literally walk around (wine glass in hand) the exhibit “reading” my story of living my life. Additional details – the layers above – are there if people want to see more.
Here are four of my artworks along with their stories that you could read on the wall next to my artwork at Burnt Bridge Cellars:
Click on the above images to see the title I’ve given them and then find the story below –
Maestro Houndsinger by Clancy
I attended several musical concerts and noted a consistency of a moment, that moment, just before the music started, when the conductor, the soloists, the performers took a deep breath. All performance, all of life, starts with a breath – and that’s what I wanted to remember – to breathe.
Surround Sound by Clancy
I’ve gotten to hear some “hairy” (complex) guitar music. I’ve also enjoyed seeing locally hand-crafted music instruments. I’ve also thought of the local music and musicians that I’m honored to know personally – those I get to hear in small places, like cafe’s and homes – where I get to be surrounded by their music, love and friendship… all of these thoughts are combined in this piece.
Paws For Coffee by Clancy
I can sometimes get so busy that I forget to take time to be present in the moment, to pause and smell the coffee. This is me – remembering.
Pup Fiction by Clancy
I was thinking of how curiosity and imagination are the “muscle” and “bones” of a healthy mental life. Perhaps curiosity, imagination – and coffee – are what makes us human?
What exactly was my experiment you ask? I wanted to create an exhibit that would have something (actually several somethings) for my friends and fans who are not able to come in person to my exhibit – and also to give people who are able to come to my exhibit in person an extra treat. As in while they’re waiting for their friends to meet-up at the winery they can down-load my sketchbook to their phone, or read blog posts like this one https://sueclancy.com/2017/05/16/mind-map-of-a-clancy-art-exhibit/ that describe my creative process or look at a printed book of my dogs… Of course they can look at my fine art on the walls and imagine themselves enjoying the simple ordinary things in life.
And have I mentioned that the wine at Burnt Bridge Cellars is very good?
Last night was my exhibit opening at Burnt Bridge Cellars – www.burntbridgecellars.com – and what fun we had! Here are a few photos:
The exhibit will run through July during winery hours – and more of my dog art can be seen at Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com
And the printed art book that relates to this exhibit is here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy