Welcome to the 13th Issue of ProWax Journal

From the Editors

It has now been three years since ProWax Journal went from idea to reality. We’re at lucky Issue #13! I’m amazed and grateful that our staff of busy working artists has been so committed to share the ProWax conversation with the art community at large. Each has dedicated not-so-glamorous work hours to keep it going. After all the experiences I’ve had as Editor-in-Chief of PWJ, I now have the wonderful opportunity to move my art studio closer to my home, giving me plenty of space to develop my art practice. I’m thrilled!

To truly make that happen, however, I need to pass the editor reins to a trusted colleague. I’m so happy to say that the choice was clear. Not only has Joanne Mattera been a valuable Consulting Editor for all things related to publishing a quarterly magazine, she consistently supported my vision for ProWax Journal. Now I’m more than eager to see how PWJ grows under her leadership. I’ll stay on as a consulting editor, managing the layout and publishing on the WordPress platform. Going forward, however, you are in Joanne’s capable hands.       — Maritza

MRK in Studio  JM in Studio

      Maritza Ruiz-Kim, Editor Emerita and Consulting Editor; Joanne Mattera, Editor-in-Chief

Maritza Ruiz-Kim and I have switched roles. She has become Consulting Editor, a job I have held since the first issue, and I have become Editor in Chief, a position she originated. We owe ProWax Journal to Maritza’s vision. During a particularly fruitful conversation in our online group, ProWax, Maritza posted something like, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a publication that gathered some of these ideas?”

A number of ProWax members pledged their support, and in September 2013 our first issue appeared. We gave it our all, but Maritza was the force that launched PWJ. Now she heads into a new studio and I, newly retired from directing the International Encaustic Conference, will take over where she has left off. Going forward, the staff and I will build on Maritza’s vision and the solid foundation she created to support it. Nancy Natale will take on an expanded role as Featured Articles Editor, not only writing regularly but overseeing two new columns, Open Call and Back of the Panel. In addition to the features and columns you have come to expect from PWJ, we’ve got a new regular feature, Studio Visit, and a Sidebar packed with images and information. Thank you, Maritza, for what you started. I look forward to your continued involvement.     –Joanne

 

Q & A

PWJ.Q&A with Joan Stuart Ross

By Nancy Natale

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Joan Stuart Ross in her BallardWorks Studio, Seattle, 2015. Photo: Cate Gable

A couple of years ago I saw some images that Joan Stuart Ross had posted on Facebook to promote an upcoming show. I was familiar with her gridded and carved work in encaustic and so was rather surprised to see the new pieces containing loose and painterly marks with drawings and handwritten text. The work looked related to but different from her previous approach to art making. As time went on and she continued to post photos of paintings that had such a newly expansive feeling, I became curious about what had shaken up Joan’s work after her decades-long art career. I wanted to ask her about the way art changes over time and yet carries forward the initial impetus.

Nancy Natale: First of all, allow me to remark on the changes that I noticed in your work beginning a couple of years ago with the series you made on boats and the series you are calling What is so rare. Do I have it right? Was this work different for you?

Joan Stuart Ross: The What is so rare pieces started in a Lorraine Glessner workshop at the Ninth International Encaustic Conference, June 2015. I’d admired Lorraine’s layers of thoughts and memories and was pleased to use some of her offering of simple materials—tracing paper, magazine images, and carbon paper. Drawing onto the back of black carbon paper that released a mark not seen until the paper was removed, much like monotype printmaking, gave me furry marks and notations that I enjoyed exploring. I’ve been using this technique in my paintings, overlaying layers of carbon-drawing on their encaustic and collaged surfaces.

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What is so rare—Boats and Oars, 2015; encaustic, collage, carbon on wood panel; 12 x 12 inches

With this evolution has come a renewed interest in my roots—drawing recognizable shapes from nature. The lines in my color grid paintings that experimented with color dynamics were drawing for me, but with a return to what I used to call “pure drawing”— being inspired by shapes from nature—has come a new, more relaxed flow to my line and to its becoming fresh.

That summer, the title, What is so rare? led to a sort of philosophical freedom, as well. Every June, my sister quotes the poem by James Russell Lowell,

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days…..

There I was in the Truro workshop, in June, continuing my interest in the iconical, metaphorical boat shape, thinking expansively, working across-country from my home studios in the Pacific Northwest, in my old stomping grounds (I’m originally from Boston and spent every summer as a kid at Whitehorse Beach in Plymouth, Massachusetts) and experimenting in an open way with simple media. I continued into the fall, working in my studio on the Washington coast.

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What is so rare VIII, 2015; encaustic, carbon on wood panel; 10 x 10 inches

When I showed this series of twenty 10 x 10-inch paintings in a solo exhibition last October, several viewers asked for the meaning of the words, “What is so rare?” This rhetorical question seemed an enigma to them. I explained that this snippet of the poem conjures the connection of a questioning mind with nature—the entire poem evokes weather, atmosphere, growth and change, but this introductory phrase asks one to imagine what is truly “rare?” The definition of what is “rare” must be entirely her own; it is the essence of art, and cannot be fully explained. That is the theme of the series.

NN: I also see that you are using recycled wood pieces assembled into groupings. Can you speak about how you started this and how this is influencing your thoughts and work?

JSR: In 1994, when I began working in encaustic, I collected found pieces of wood, my former woodcut printmaking blocks, pieces from the lumberyard’s scrap box, and planks from here and there to use as bases for my paintings. About 12 years ago a student showed me a page from an art magazine—a wall piece composed of individual colorful works set in an abstract grid. I loved it! The image stayed in my mind, and I started piecing together small encaustic paintings in a larger presentation, with spaces in between: abstract maps, scattered landscapes seen from above, flotsam and jetsam, pieces-put- together, patchwork slightly related as parts to a puzzle, like New Hampshire’s stone walls, mosaic, the work of Gustav Klimt and Mark Bradford.

JSRoss_Waves_2016_Encaustic_paper_and_textile_collage_on_recycled_wood_26x38.5_600

Waves, 2016; encaustic, textile and paper collage on recycled wood; 26 x 38 1/2 inches

I think of my work as refined in ideas about color and shape, layers and surface, media and choice, but it is gritty in its lack of need for perfection in edges, marks and in its abstract associations. I think that these two opposites create an arresting whole, both in a person’s personality and in my work! Nothing predictable, everything may change. Form is selected and placed; perhaps it is irregular and disjointed, but it is of a piece. I select form from the array that is out there, paint, layer, embed, scratch and scrape, then arrange to make it my own.

NN: And then there is collage, which I think has always been a part of your work. Has it changed for you? I see that you sometimes use lots of little pieces that look like mosaic. Is this new to your practice or something that you’ve been doing for a while?

JSR: Looking back, I was inspired as a child by a book of patchwork designs that I still have. More recently, Roman mosaics were influential from both photographs and from observations made in 1993 when I was a Rome Fellow of The Northwest Institute of Architecture and Urban Studies (now named The Civita Institute).

JSRoss_Tiers_2015_Encaustic_Collage_Carbon_On_Oil_Canvas_Mounted_on_Wood_46.25x46.25_600

Tiers, 2015; encaustic, textile and repurposed paper collage, oil on canvas mounted to wood; 46 1/4 x 46 1/4 inches

In 2008-2009, I began to cut up some of my old work—paintings, prints, photographs—and to “repurpose” them into new work. I pasted them over monotypes and embedded them into my paintings. In 2010, I had a solo exhibition of these works, titled “Repurposed” at the Washington County Museum in Portland, Oregon. Lately I see that many artists are creating “hybrids.” It seems that cutting up and reinventing our old work has much to do with having created a lot of art over the years and having filled up one’s studio space!

After my mother’s death in 2012, I became particularly interested in using her textiles and fabrics as a guide to revisit the past and to lead into the future. In Tiers, Oriole’s Adventure, and Sky and Sea, the embedded textile deepens in opacity and suggests puzzle pieces that may have not been fully known nor expressed: thoughts, memories and emotions that are both past and present.

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Joan Stuart Ross with Immigration at Foster-White Gallery, Seattle, 1983

See more at joanstuartross.com

An interview with Joan by E. Ashley Rooney and Anne Lee will be featured in the Fall 2016 issue of Fiber Art Now. Her work will also be included in several upcoming shows in the Pacific Northwest.

Poetics of the Found

By Deborah Winiarski

In 1961, William C. Seitz, then Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, curated the exhibition and wrote the accompanying book, The Art of Assemblage, which recognized for the first time that “. . . collages, ‘readymades,’ ‘found objects,’ ‘surrealist objects,’ ‘combine-paintings,’ and other varieties of assemblage are diverse manifestations of a common tradition which is unique to the 20th century.”

Assemblage, in art, is work that incorporates found objects, fragments, and everyday materials – elements not originally intended as art materials – into a composition.  The ready-made elements may be identifiable within a work or transformed to some degree but, within the context of an entire composition, take on a new aesthetic or symbolic meaning.  Assemblage works may be considered collages with aspects of volume.  The artists below continue this ‘new’ tradition into the 21st century, creating works in encaustic that incorporate common materials in uncommon ways each giving expression to their unique and poetic vision.


Catherine Nash

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Catherine Nash, Traversing Stars, 2013; encaustic, raku fired clay, handmade paper and found objects in an antique drawer; 15 x 15 x 2.5 inches

“I resonate with the Japanese aesthetics of wabi and sabi . . . concepts of solitude, simplicity, longing and the passage of time. In my poetic assemblages, I juxtapose antique, vintage and found objects with color and drawing to explore deep experiences of nature and the metaphysics of place and memory.”


Graceann Warn

WARNLitanyBox

Graceann Warn, Litany Box, 2015; found papers, wax and objects in vintage box; 8 x 22 x 2 inches

“I use foundry patterns, old drawers and antique boxes to house little worlds whose themes include the mystery of the cosmos, travel, magic and chance. I enjoy collecting the objects as much as the challenge of saying ‘just enough’ in order to leave the rest to the imagination.”


Nancy Azara

Azara_ThirdMoon_3_1

Nancy Azara, Third Moon, 2011; carved and painted wood with aluminum leaf and encaustic;
84 x 84 x 12 inches. Photography: Christopher Burke

“The tree is the inspiration for my work. The lumber and logs have rough and elegant elements. The wood is carved and then “dressed” with color using paint, encaustic and gilding. Encaustic gives the work a semi-opaque, jewel-like glow. These combined elements record a journey of memory, images and ideas.”


Jeffrey Hirst

Pearl.1.MOO (1)

Jeffrey Hirst, Pearl, 2014; wood, encaustic, gesso, screenprint, epoxy; 17 x 16 x 16 inches. Photography: Don Felton, Almac Camera

“For years, I have been interested in building images in layers. I started making relief constructions in late 2012 and have cycled back and forth between painting and sculpture since then.  My current work combines sculpture and painting with an emphasis on the role as a builder.”


Lisa Zukowski

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Lisa Zukowski, Dark Horse (Bundle Series), 2015; encaustic, tar, burlap, coffee bag, encaustic monotype on cloth, embroidery, old clothes, string; 14 x 8 x 6 inches

“Works in the Bundle Series are vessels, reliquaries of a sort, that symbolically, and sometimes literally, hold and protect that which I find precious. Encased in a protective shell of encaustic and wrapped in string are bits of old clothes, scraps of encaustic monotypes, coffee bags, textiles and shredded ephemera.”


Miles Conrad

Conrad_Miles

Miles Conrad, Finding More Time In Your Life, 2015, reclaimed book, sweater, wax, 9 x 6 x 4 inches

“In the series, Self Help, I use discarded books from psychology programs, get-rich-quick guides and business management paradigms to serve as platforms for disembodied phallic forms made from wax, hair, clothing, debris, soap, etc. My intention is to complicate given notions of masculine gender identity, sexual normativity and cultural power.”


Sherrie Posternak

posternak_ElTriunfoDeLaVida_2.

Sherrie Posternak , El Triunfo de la Vida (The Triumph of Life), 2013; encaustic, dress, obituary column, fabric flower petals, cord, vintage beads, lace, joss paper, pigment stick on absorbent fiber; 36 x 24 inches. Photography: Robin Stancliff

“The dress represents youth and vitality, which always emerges, set against the inevitability of death in the cycle of life and death.”


Lisa Barthelson

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Lisa Barthelson, illuminations 4, family debris: organic matter, 2012; mixed media: assemblage with monoprint, organic found objects and encaustic on cradled panel; 36 x 36 x 7 inches

“The mixed media assemblage from the illuminations series, uses an original family debris monoprint as the base for an encaustic and organic family debris composition comprising, egg shells, grape stems, pistachio nut shells, and coffee grounds. The assemblage shines the light on our family’s life, consumption and what remains.”


Nancy Youdelman

Youdelman_ButterflyQueen_1

Nancy Youdelman, Butterfly Queen, 2015, mixed media with encaustic, 18 x 8 x 8.5 inches. Photography: Michael Karibian

“The Bound Doll series is a response to the bittersweet experience of finding secondhand rag dolls and cast-off costume jewelry. At one time, these things were most likely precious to someone but have become tarnished and broken with time.”


Cecile Chong

Chong_MakeAWish_2

Cecile Chong, Make a Wish, 2015, encaustic and mixed media on wooden paddle, 15 x 9 inches

“I create cross-cultural narratives by juxtaposing appropriated images from vintage children’s books and other found images within layers of encaustic. Pigments from Morocco and India, volcanic ash from Ecuador, rice paper, metallic leaf, beads and circuit board components become cultural signifiers, metaphorically representing layering of cultures, identity and places.”


Navigating the Real Art World

By Joanne Mattera

“We’re all living in the real world of mid-level galleries and modest artist success, and I don’t think it needs to be a big mystery.”

That’s Wendy Haas responding in conversation to the rarified world of art auctions and museum acquisitions. It’s not our world, as she made clear. With Haas’s down-to-earth comment in mind, our Saturday Morning Panel at the Tenth International Encaustic Conference addressed the professional issues that real-world artists want to know more about. Our panel consisted of Dan Addington, Miles Conrad, Wendy Haas, and Jeff Schaller. All are practicing artists and entrepreneurs, thus with a fully dimensional sense of what it takes to be a dealer as well as an artist in today’s art world. I was the moderator.

Addington Gallery, Chicago: Howard Hersh solo show

Addington Gallery, Chicago: Howard Hersh solo show

We began by addressing how galleries are being forced to respond to current market concerns, because the issues that affect dealers will affect how they select and show artists. First, gallery rents are up, causing many dealers to take fewer chances with new talent, sticking instead with artists who have a track record of sales at higher prices than an emerging artist could ask for. Second, as artists have visibility via the internet, collectors may “shop” for an artist’s work from several dealers. And, third, as more sales are made via the Internet, some dealers question the viability of bricks-and-mortar spaces.

2. Sat am panel.

The Saturday Morning Panel members, from left: Jeff Schaller, Wendy Haas, Miles Conrad, Dan Addington; moderator, Joanne Mattera. Photo: Corina Alvarezdelugo

Dealers, how have you been navigating current market concerns?

Conrad: “I have downsized three times in five years.” He is referring to physical space, but he has also tightened up his operation: “One way for the gallery to reduce risk it to reduce the number of solo shows. Group shows offer something for everyone and help us meet our budget. The economy has affected our program but not our quality.”

Conrad has shown at art fairs in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. “As a gallerist you can’t wait for the client to come to you,” he says. How can he afford art fairs in this difficult time? “The gallery asks artists to share the risk. We ask artists to contribute a couple of hundred dollars. The rewards are great for those who sell.”

Haas: “There has been a high shift to the internet. At one point 50 percent of my gallery sales were made online. Collectors were making purchases without setting foot in the gallery. As a private dealer I depend on the Internet. But I miss having a physical space to show your work. It’s our creative expression, to select, curate and show your work.” In part for that reason, she still sends postcards to her clients. “The physical is never going to go away, but it’s only a small part of a bigger picture.”

3.CerviniHaasGallery

At Cervini Haas Gallery, Scottsdale: The physical space before Wendy Haas’s move to online private dealing. Paintings by Tremain Smith installed during Basketry Invitational, 2006

Addington: “Recently there have been gallery closings the likes of which I have seen never before. Retirement has made sense for some older dealers, but financial circumstances have pushed many others out. I have to negotiate with my landlord as if my life depended on it.

“As dealers, we love to walk around our gallery space. We put work up, move a painting, move it again. In the process, a show falls into place. How am I gonna do that on a website? The act of curating an exhibition in real space is an important discipline. When you visit an exhibition, you see work hung in a visually pleasing and meaningful way, with visual logic. When all the strategies go digital, we lose this curatorial component. Instagram, with its one image, offers a tiny remnant of that experience.”

What do your circumstances mean for artists?

Conrad: “It has drastically reduced the wall space for your work. When we’re not doing solo shows, we’re not representing you correctly. And there’s a loss of experienced staff. We now have interns.”

4.ConradWildeGallery

At Conrad Wilde Gallery, Tucson: Laura Moriarty solo, before the scale back to group shows

Addington: “Many dealers are playing it safe. I’ve seen some dealers dump all their artists except for a few of their biggest sellers. Then all of those artists are out looking for new representation. Other dealers are trying to play to the market. That is a losing enterprise, and you can end up compromising your own aesthetic. At the end of the day you’ll be selling no more than you were previously. Over time, one starts to learn what may work and what might not, but it has to be work that I respond to so that I can be enthusiastic about it in the gallery. If I could just predict what people are going to buy, as opposed to what I love and want to sell, I’d be up here in a nicer suit

“In the current climate, I think it is worthwhile to try new artists as opposed to just hunkering down with a few safe bets. I like working with mid-career artists who are professionals and have a handle on what they are trying to say with their work.”

Addington’s advice to artists: “Don’t play to the market. Be one of those artists making a consistent body of work. If you’re represented, keep your dealer in new work, and not just when you’re going to have a show. I’m representing my artists all the time. Make it easy for the gallery–respond to your dealer’s requests, and deliver on time.”

Haas: “We need each other to be more creative and flexible. We’ve got to talk to each other. Perhaps this is an opportunity for more collaboration, as well, on things such as art fairs. I think that continuing to give each other our best—efforts, work, loyalty—is the way to persevere.”

How are artists responding to this new reality?

“You’re in trouble,” Jeff Schaller said to the dealers on the panel. “This is an opportunity for artists to help you.”

Schaller’s solution was to create the Chester County Open Studio Tour, near Philadelphia. In the most recent incarnation, which took place a couple of weeks before Conference 10, some 125 artists showed their work in 53 studios. “The event teaches artists to sell and collectors to collect,” he says. “It gives the public a look at what artists’ work is worth. Local galleries come, consultants come.”

Schaller also competes for and accepts commissions. “I have no gallery representation in Philadelphia so I’m not competing against myself (in a gallery) there.”

5.TheChesterCounty

The Chester County Open Studio event, founded and directed by Jeff Schaller; below: Schaller walking with a visitor

Conrad: “Jeff’s situation is ideal. As an artist it’s your right and responsibility to sell your work. There’s no one out there to rescue you. Open Studios can be a great training ground for you to learn how to present yourself and your work, how to establish pricing, how to make sales. Nothing attracts a gallery faster than an artist who sells well. But it’s a double-edged sword. Galleries have a more cultivated and regular clientele. If those two things are in conflict—artists selling out of their studio to a gallery’s collector clientele—there’s an ethical problem.”

Addington: “I don’t want to be the dealer who says, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that,’ but there are certain considerations that must stay consistent between artist and gallery. When you deliver work to a gallery, that’s their inventory, and you have to let them work confidently with that inventory. I will work with other dealers to make sales happen, but one gallery’s inventory should not appear on another gallery’s website.“

Haas: “It comes down to integrity. We have to recognize that artists and dealers need to be creative about selling. Maintain an element of exclusivity. If you have work at Dan’s gallery, don’t post it online in five other places or try to sell it yourself.”

Schaller: “Make something you can’t sell at a gallery. Diversify. Create a line for Etsy, sell at outdoor art fairs. Maintain your mailing list. Write a book—a book gives you credence. Artists are competitive. But be good competitive.”

How are galleries finding artists?

Haas: “If one of my artists recommends an artist, I’ll consider—so vet whom you recommend to your dealer.”

Conrad: “I find artists from other gallerists, curators, seeing work at art fairs, and exhibitions. If a collector is behind you, they’ll recommend you to the galleries they do business with. If the work is aligned with my program, I’ll look.”

All agreed that the artist who shows up to talk about “my work” is rarely the one who gets an invitation to show it. Conrad describes a situation he calls “artist fatigue”—the exhaustion dealers feel after meeting so many artists eager, even desperate, to get their attention.

That high desk in the gallery? It’s there because dealers try to protect themselves from the constant stream of artists looking for a way to introduce themselves and their work. Our panelists described the physical barrier—or the invisible emotional one—as “a membrane,” or “a firewall.”

Conrad: “It’s like Gaydar. You’re sitting in your chair, at the computer, and you can tell when someone comes in fishing for an opportunity to tell you about their work, as opposed to engaging you in a conversation about the work in the gallery.”

Addington: “Know when it’s cool to talk about your work and when it’s not. Talk to me about painting—not your painting—but the work in the gallery, or art history. I might then ask you, ‘Are you an artist? What kind of art do you make?’ By all means respond when the gallerist opens that door. And know how to talk about your work. My conversational firewall is moveable, because I’m also trying to approach collectors on behalf of my artists, and I don’t know initially who’s an artist and who’s a collector.”

Surprise: The enduring power of postcards

Haas: “In addition to the social ways of connecting with a gallery, there’s the passive connection: postcards. Have a good image that represents your work well.”

Addington: “If the dealer is interested, they’ll go online to see more.”

Schaller: “Make sure your URL is on the card!”

Haas: “We’re not going to call you to ask for it.”

Addington: “Yes, a cutline under the image is important and website you produce. Do you know how many websites I click on? Information must be easy to locate.”

As for frequency, every six months or so would not be unreasonable. No one on our panel expressed annoyance with receiving postcards. Noted Conrad: “In this digital world, the tactile becomes increasingly pleasurable.”

7. Bringing the Gallery

Bringing the gallery to the collectors: Cervini Haas Gallery at a recent SOFA Chicago fair
(SOFA is the acronym for Sculptural Objects and Functional Art)

Questions from the Audience
We returned after a short break to take questions from the audience. I’ve altered the order of the questions so as to create the best possible narrative.

Myriam Levy: When you follow up from the postcard image, what do you want to see?
Conrad: “The first thing I look for is an artist statement.”

Addington: “Any follow-up experience with the Internet is instantaneous, so I want to get a sense of who you are as a person.”

Deborah Winiarski: What do you look for in an artist’s website?
Conrad: “Easy navigation, readable fonts, a white background. Can you simulate the environment in which the work is shown [i.e. in your studio, in a gallery setting]? Don’t show me too much. If you show me prices, that implies the work is for sale, which would make you in competition with the gallery. If it’s sold, take it off the website”

Haas: “Emphasize your current work. If you show early work, put it in a timeline or some sort of chronological order so that I can follow your development as an artist. I also want to see a list of who else is currently representing you.”

Addington: “Make sure every image is identified with title, date, medium and size.”

Conrad: “I’m not a fan of slide shows. I want to see images at my own pace, and I need to be able to drag and drop images. That’s how I keep a file of artists’ work that I like. If your website is set up so that I can’t drag and drop, I’m not going to be able to put images of your work in my file.”

Are watermarks a viable way for artists to protect their online images?
None of the panelists responded positively to watermarks, citing their visual interference.

Schaller: “Post your images in 72 dpi. No one is going to be able to copy them.”

Dora Ficher asked about showing a variety of work on one website–in her case, pen-and-ink illustrations, which have a commercial application in licensed products, plus her fine art painting in encaustic.
Conrad: “I think it creates confusion. The dealer will ask, ‘What is she really putting her effort into?’ Don’t conflate your commercial work with your fine art. And consider the collector, who will ask, ‘What am I getting behind?’”

PWJ.Issue13.Pullquote_Navigating_Addington_rightSchaller: “Look at the example of the fashion designer [I think he cited Isaac Mizrahi], who has a high-end line as well as the commercial line he does for Target. You have two products that you’re marketing at once. Market the hell out of them—but in separate accounts.”

That might be a divided website for two different genres, many on the panel noted, or a separate website entirely for commercial work. Schaller mentioned his own Etsy project under a different name: Pink Cow Studio, which sells small, affordable works.

Maura Joy Lustig and Anne Wright each asked about creating a “virtual experience” (Maura’s words) or “a short video clip” (Anne’s words) as part of the online presentation to a gallery, curator or collector.
Haas: “Media people tried that 10 years ago and did it poorly. But now we have the technology to do it better and send it out into the world easily. Make a video with your iPhone and post it on YouTube. You can link to it on your website. Just make sure it doesn’t look like a real estate ad.”

Addington: “I like the human interest aspect. It’s a way that many collectors new to the work can personalize it for themselves. When I’m talking to collectors, it’s not just about aesthetics or price but about the artist who makes the work.”

Conrad: “I love the concept, but it can backfire if not done well. Early on the conversation was about ‘What is encaustic?” and ‘How is it done?’ It’s a more sophisticated conversation now.”

What about the artist who is uncomfortable with self promotion?
Haas: “Use the more passive tools, such as email and postcards.”

Conrad: “Become part of an artist community. Not every conversation has to be a sales pitch, but you still get to interact and network.”

Schaller: “Social media is not only for outgoing personalities. Facebook allows you to be part of a community, keep up with friends, network. Instagram lets you show your art. Twitter lets you chat in a short form. Be yourself, whoever you are.”

Facebook vs. Instagram?
Conrad: “There’s always a new platform. I have all I can do to check Facebook. I guess I’ve officially entered middle age.”

Haas: “It’s another way to expand your portfolio.”

Schaller: “It’s important. It’s another way to brand. I just sold a painting on Instagram.”

Addington: “We’re a microcosm of the art world on this panel in terms of how we use social media. And it’s all relative. Miles says he’s entered middle age, but we’re about the same age and I ‘m probably the youngest art dealer in the River North District of Chicago. If you’re using Instagram, your responses are more immediate. On Facebook there’s more conversation. I’ve found artists from Facebook.”

How do I know when to raise my prices?
Addington: “The price question suggests that an artist is early in their career. I’d suggest you look at the work of artists working at a similar level in terms of experience, education, and exhibition level.”

Schaller: “If you’re selling out, raise your prices. Be consistent with your prices across the board, galleries, studio, outdoor shows. When you raise your prices do it in small increments remember once you go up you can’t come back down.”

Do gender and age matter?
Conrad: “They make no difference to me. I have an uncanny ability to pick women artists. I think it has to do with what I like.”

Addington: I prefer working with mid-career artists. I want to work with professionals. I need a level of consistency. For me it’s about the resume, not the age. Don’t be discouraged if you’re emerging.”

Haas: “I think the intense and discouraging fixation on young artists is particular to markets such as New York, and less common to the mid-level gallery/artist world that we’re discussing. Here you’re far more likely to be appreciated, exhibited and purchased based on your work and not on your age and gender. I also tend to largely represent female artists, but it’s simply an aesthetic choice. Age and gender and even geography have never been a part of my selection process.”

Note: I didn’t insert myself much into the panel discussion, but as one who is now up to my chest in the gender and age pool, I feel compelled to say something in this report. By all accounts, women make up a higher proportion of art school students but are consistently underrepresented by most New York and many big-city galleries. This is true for museums everywhere as well. Though I am thrilled to be in the company of dealers here who are so open minded—and I cannot applaud them enough—it is difficult for an unrepresented woman artist over 50 to find representation in New York City unless you live there, and it’s still difficult. Even if you are represented, it will be harder to get your museum solo. And even if you have had your museum solo it will be harder for you to get the kind of attention you need from art historians. If you live long enough—i.e. until your 90s—it’s possible you will be ‘discovered.’ In the meantime, I like what Miles, Dan and Wendy are saying: that is entirely possible for women at any age—and men, too—to have a full and rewarding, even thriving, career outside of New York City.

What about the emerging artist?
Addington: “If you’re an emerging artist of any age, you want your work to be seen, and juried exhibitions are one way of getting out there. But pick your juried exhibitions carefully, otherwise you’re gonna have a collection of a lot of cancelled checks from juried shows you didn’t end up in. Seeking out venues like college galleries and community and suburban art centers is a worthwhile way of gaining experience and exposure. As a dealer I’m investing thousands of dollars in each artist I represent, so I’m looking for a good exhibition track record.”

Schaller: “Non-profits are a good place to start. You get to show without the pressure of having to sell. When you do make some inroads with a commercial gallery, don’t ask for a solo right away. Focus on the group shows. Eventually you can ask, “’When can I get some space on your wall?’”

. . . . . .

Dan Addington

Dan Addington is an artist and gallery owner who has been working with wax since 1989 and exhibiting encaustic work professionally since 1992. In 1996, as director of what is now Addington Gallery in Chicago, Dan curated the first in a series of exhibitions featuring encaustic painting. His own figurative work echoes his interest in history, the stratification of cultures, and the layering of memory.

.

Miles CoMiles Conradnrad is founding director of the Conrad Wilde Gallery. Since 2005 he has hosted innovative programs in Tucson, Arizona, and at art fairs in Miami, New Yor k City, and Los Angeles. Inclusion in his Annual Encaustic Invitational has been a milestone for many in our community. Miles holds an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. He lectures and consults on professional practices.

Wendy HaaWendy Haass is a Chicago-based private art dealer and curator. As the founder of Cervini Haas Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona, for close to a decade she represented international artists—many of whom work in encaustic–and exhibited at art fairs across the U.S. Since moving to Chicago she has worked for the SOFA Chicago art fair and is renewing her own studio practice.

 

JJeff Schallereff Schaller has shown here and abroad, recently at The Coca Cola Museum in Atlanta. Frequently selected for commissions, he recently completed an installation for Main Line Health at the Exton Mall in Pennsylvania. He received a fellowship from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is the recipient of the prestigious Philadelphia Museum of Art Purchase Award. Jeff is founder of the Chester County Studio Tour.

In Five Words: Amber George

Curated by Debra Claffey

In Five Words is a regular feature of ProWax Journal in which we go literal, lyrical, and poetic. Visual art does not exist in a vacuum, it sings along with poetry and prose, music and rhythm. Each issue we ask our feature artist to comment on one of their works with five single words, chosen to add meaning and highlight intent.

Amber George, Cumulus 3, 2014, encaustic on panel, 24 x 20 inches

Cumulus 3, 2014, encaustic on panel, 24 x 20 inches

phenomenal
peaceful
nostalgia
mysterious
ephemeral

www.artistambergeorge.com

Essential Questions: Who’s Using Instagram?

Edited by Jane Guthridge

A dealer I was talking with mentioned an artist whose work he was interested in for an upcoming show. “I found the artist on Instagram,” he said, adding that if people liked or commented on his gallery’s work he often would look at their feed. That comment prompted me to put this question to ProWax members: What has your experience been with Instagram? What have you learned and what can you share?

Lisa Pressman I have found Instagram to be a great tool for networking, for seeing connections in my own work, and I just made a sale yesterday. I follow and am followed by artists and galleries. I pay attention to who is responding to the work, for instance a gallery. I have followed up with a personal note through Instagram, Facebook or email. It is a great way to start a personal relationship. The sale I made yesterday was to another artist. A nice surprise!

PWJ.Issue13.Pullquote.Schaller_rightTracey Adams I love IG because it’s only about images, very little text or commentary. There’s a core group of artists from all over the world that I follow, and I enjoy seeing the connections between my work and theirs. I’ve had galleries and art consultants comment and follow my work. It’s the best way to see what’s most current studio-wise. For me it’s more about being consistent with posts and connecting with the right circles rather than making a sale right now. This will evolve as IG evolves. I post other’s work when I’m able to get out to see it and things that inspire my creative process. I’m always discovering new things on IG and expanding my circle. Hashtags are a great way to focus on what’s important, what will come up in your feed as well as the feeds of others. I think this is the most economical and best thing going for visual artists to promote their work!

Howard Hersh There are more artists out there than you can imagine, and the majority are very forgettable. However, by casting such a wide net you can gain exposure that would otherwise be impossible, or at the least, improbable. And conversely, I’m learning more about artists/galleries that have enhanced my daily practice.

PWJ.Issue13.Pullquote.Wagner_leftBeverly Rippel I am eight or nine months into IG now and find my work is being seen in a more global arena. I am beginning to investigate galleries that like my posts. I try to post a photo of my work when it is on a museum or gallery wall with other artists’ work.

Jeff Schaller It’s great to see social networking work! I did sell a painting on IG. It was from a client I hadn’t heard from in years. The nice thing about IG is its use of hashtags. People can search via these [words and phrases]. There are businesses and bloggers that search for them, thus there’s a better chance of getting seen and followed. It’s not like Facebook and shouldn’t be used as Facebook.

Howard Hersh Because I’m active on both platforms, I wonder about etiquette regarding liking or commenting on duplicate posts. I feel like I know most everyone who responds to my posts on FB. I post approximately once a week, trying to make those posts interesting and/or thoughtful about my work. I also have an album, Other Artists, that I post to. On IG, I post daily, with my current work and work in progress, casting as wide a net as I can. Both platforms are satisfying to me, but in very different ways.

Jeff Schaller I’ve heard it described this way: Twitter is what you are doing now, FB is sharing what you are doing with friends, and IG is what interests you.

PWJ.Issue13.Pullquote.Adams_rightKathy Cantwell For my professional development IG is a must. It’s about collecting credible followers and posting regularly so I can solidify my brand. The other benefit is that it drives people to my website. It has taken a few years to develop my followers so my advice is don’t wait, start now. I have found for every post I pick up at least one new follower. IG can become a nice habit, it’s free promotion, and you never know what will come from it. Please note that you can only post from your iPhone or Android and you cannot post from your computer.

Bottom line: IG and FB are equally important tools. FB has been very good to me with sales, opportunities, and allowing curators to get to know me. I believe IG will eventually culminate in sales and opportunities. FB and IG are free powerful self-promotion tools.

Krista Svalbonas I love IG, it’s made some great connections for me to galleries and art consultants that I would not have been exposed to otherwise and vice versa. I pay attention to those who follow or like my work. I comment on certain galleries I’m following. You’d be surprised what is paid attention to. I once had a conversation with a New York City gallery director, I introduced myself, and they said “Oh I know you, you’re following me on Instagram.” I’ve made connections to galleries this way too, letting them know I’m stopping in to see a show they have up, which then leads to a real live conversation at the gallery. I’ve included on my mailing list some of the advisors and galleries that follow me or I follow, too. In fact, one connection may lead to showing work in a New York City gallery (too early to tell just yet).

Jane Guthridge Krista, I noticed that besides posting your own work you post studio visits to other artists, galleries and museums. You comment on other artists’ work as well. This seems to help in networking and developing relationships.

Krista Svalbonas I’ve done a little bit of research on the subject. Feeds that are very consistent—meaning photos that use all the same treatment or feel very unified—tend to get a high percentage of IG followers. Whether your IG follower number makes anything better for you, I’m not sure. My followers are not in the thousands, partly because I choose to have a more random feed [with] my work, work of others, and travel images. I think that definitely helps build a rapport with various artists, and perhaps galleries as well, since I do tag them when I can. But it also makes my feed a little more unpredictable and followers are slower to join. I can’t tell you if quality over quantity is a plus or minus, but I know whatever I’m doing is working OK with me.

Howard Hersh When you really like someone you’re following, look just to the right of the “following” tab. There will be a drop-down with like-minded people. Very useful!

PWJ.Issue13.Pullquote.Hersh_leftElise Wagner I have found the suggestions that pop up of whom to follow very helpful in terms of finding the quality of artwork and subjects that inspire me. I look at everyone who likes my images and follow them if I know them, like what they do, or if they have more than 1,000 followers. I also look at what they follow and go down this whole other vortex of discovery. The hashtags are so helpful and have attracted galleries and art consultants. I also like the messaging feature and how easy it is to use. With each day my feed becomes more refined and specific to my interests. Without buying into the “get likes” or “instafame” scams, I’m gaining 5-10 followers a day. Don’t fall for any of those scams, the likes gained are all bad accounts (porn mostly). IG is addictive. The art world in a hand held device, total genius. Don’t delay!

Cari Hernandez One of the most helpful book I’ve read was Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. It’s simple and to the point, making a case for positive ways for artists to use social media.

Susan Delgalvis Art.Post.Promote is a new private FB group started by AJ Grossman. It’s a great site affording an opportunity for the artist to navigate the world of social media. Ask to join it.

 

Studio Visit

Edited by Paula Fava

In this new regular feature we’ll visit the studios of some of our members, getting to see spaces as diverse as the artists and the works they create. With David A. Clark’s new studio we see a polished space in a commercial art district that can function as studio, workshop and gallery. Marilyn Banner’s clean white studio can operate much the same and is only a winding walkway from her own back door. Just as close to home, Cheryl McClure works from inside her garage studio, drawing inspiration from the expansive views that surround her. Beverly Rippel’s outdoor studio was selected for its fresh sea-air appeal and fond ties to the creative stirrings in her childhood.

David A. Clark
David A Clark studio, Palm Springs, California, with the artist at the press in the background. Photo: Lance Gerber

David A. Clark studio, Palm Springs, California. Photo: Lance Gerber

A clean, well-lighted space: “I have a 1200-square-foot studio in the Back Street Art District in Palm Springs. I’ve been in this studio since March 2016, and it has already transformed the way I work. The abundant light and amount of space has allowed me to work larger scale. The expansive white walls allow me to hang work, really stand back and contemplate the images on which I am working. I jump for joy each day when I walk in the door and turn on the lights.”

Marilyn Banner
Banner_TakomaParkMD_2012

     Marilyn Banner Studio, Takoma Park, Maryland
Below: A meandering path leads from home to studio

Banner_TakomaParkMD(1)_2016

Skylights and privacy: “This is my backyard studio, completed late in 2014, with a curving “magic path” that leads to and from my house. I asked the architect and builder for the largest structure possible, legally. The space is about 350 square feet. Highlights for me are the skylights, high windows with a view of trees, overhead fans, and 11-foot walls (up to 18 feet at the ceiling pinnacle). The walls have an extra layer of one-half-inch plywood so nails do not wiggle out. I have a storage area and enough privacy for my old boom box to play loud music.”

Cheryl McClure 

Cheryl McClure studio, Overton, Texas Below: A view of the hayfield on her ranch

Cheryl McClure studio, Overton, Texas
Below: A view of the hayfield on her ranch

McClure_View_2016(1)

Room with a view: “This is the room in my garage-apartment studio, next door to my house in Overton, Texas, which I use for encaustic painting. I have three rooms in the studio, which is about 850 square feet. The kitchen is the room I use for encaustic. It’s not pretty, but it is functional and has served me since 2008 when I moved to the ranch. The landscape here is what I see from the back door. I am inspired daily by what I see around me.”

Beverly Rippel 

Beverly Rippel summer studio, Gloucester, Massachusetts

Beverly Rippel summer studio, Gloucester, Massachusetts

Al fresco inspiration: “This is my Studio-By-The-Sea, a sanctuary I have been coming to since I was five years old, located in Lanesville/Gloucester on Cape Ann in Massachusetts. Though I have two other formal studios (one in an old Boot Factory by the Stoughton Train Station, and one in the Boston Arts District), I get to set up and work here for one week each summer. Here, nature’s elements–the mist, the sounds and smells of the ocean, the incoming and outgoing tides–all get mixed up in the orchestration of the paint.”

Report from the Field: Conference Curatorial Exhibitions

By Deborah Winiarski

Each year, the International Encaustic Conference offers curatorial opportunities to selected artists attending that year’s conference. Facilitated by Conference director, Joanne Mattera, and Conference co-producer, Cherie Mittenthal, the Curatorial Project selects curators from a small pool of applicants and then guides the artist/curators through the curatorial process from conception to exhibition, demystifying that process and helping them to develop curatorial thinking. Two Conference Curatorial exhibitions took place during Conference 10: On Your Mark, curated by Patricia Dusman, and Thinking Sideways: the Horizontal Line, curated by Nancy Natale. 

Outside view of Gallery X at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill.
On Your Mark photos: Patricia Dusman

In On Your Mark, Patricia Dusman brought together five artists: Linda Cordner, Lorraine Glessner, Pat Spainhour, Dietlind Vander Schaaf and herself. The works included in the exhibition are reductive in nature and incorporate marks made with non-traditional painting or drawing tools.

Patricia writes in her Curator’s Statement, “Exploring and experimenting with various tools in my own practice, I envisioned an exhibition where I could bring together artists whose mark making plays a paramount and integral role.” She goes on to explain, “I am interested in mark making as physical proof and evidence of the maker’s hand; a mark to count, communicate or record . . . a mark that is unique to a time, place and space; a mark that could have only been created in the moment by that artist.”

 Dusman1of4    Dusman2of4

Left: Lorraine Glessner (left) and Pat Spainhour in library side of Gallery X; right: turning 180 degrees, Linda Cordner (foreground) with curator’s statement on far wall

 Dusman3of4     Dusman4of4

Left: Dietlind Vander Schaaf, with photos of tools used to create works in exhibition; right: Patricia Dusman on right wall of gallery entrance.

On Your Mark cover

On Your Mark curated by Patricia Dusman
Gallery X at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill
Truro, Massachusetts
Exhibition catalog viewable online by clicking image

 

 

 


In Thinking Sideways: The Horizontal Line, hosted by Julie Heller East Gallery, Nancy Natale brought together the work of four artists: Kathy Cantwell, Karen Hubacher, Jeff Juhlin and Carol Pelletier. She writes, “Since much of my own work has a horizontal orientation, I wanted to bring together other artists for whom the horizontal line was intrinsic to their work. The four artists I invited work in encaustic, oil with cold wax, and mixed media to beautifully convey the poetry and emotional resonance of the horizontal aspect.”

“The horizontal line suggests so many things: landscape, first of all, because of the planar aspects of land, and then the horizon–especially the horizon at the end of the Cape, where sea and sky are so pervasive.  The manmade horizontals of fences, walls, streets, bridges, all kinds of constructions, embody that line, a line that seems never ending. That sense of continuing forever conveys smoothness, continuity, and serenity.”

Natale_Thinking_Sideways_Image1_72dpix600px

From left: Jeff Juhlin, Kathy Cantwell (top), Karen Hubacher (bottom and far right), Carol Pelletier (foreground). Wooden statue by gallery artist. Thinking Sideways photos: Nancy Natale.

Natale1of4     Natale2of4
Left: Karen Hubacher, Carol Pelletier, Jeff Juhlin; right: Carol Pelletier, Jeff Juhlin,
Kathy Cantwell (top), Karen Hubacher (bottom).

Natale3of4     Natale4of4

Left: Karen Hubacher and Kathy Cantwell; right: Kathy Cantwell.

Thinking Sideways cover

Thinking Sideways: The Horizontal Line
curated by Nancy Natale
Julie Heller East
Provincetown, Massachusetts
Exhibition catalog viewable online by clicking image.

 

 

 The call for proposals for the Conference Curatorial Project is usually announced on the International Encaustic Conference Facebook page in January with a March deadline.  Please contact Cherie@castlehill.org for more information.


 

Back of the Panel

by Nancy Natale

Years ago there was a furniture ad that bragged, “We stand behind every bed we sell!” That’s not an inviting thought, but the idea of the artist metaphorically standing behind each work that she or he creates is one that I do like thinking about.

As I make paintings, I frequently confront visual problems that I must solve by achieving a balance that feels right to me. That “right feeling” is what I think of as authenticity and what I hope the painting communicates to viewers. They may not interpret the work the same way I do, but I want to convince them of the rightness of what I have painted or constructed. Maybe viewers won’t understand it as new or beautiful or filled with rhythm, pattern, and intriguing marks, but I stand behind whatever I put on the front when I present it as mine.

In Back of the Panel, we’ll close each issue of ProWax Journal with a comment worth considering by an artist who understands that the metaphorical back of the panel is the support for our imagination, ideas, and hard work.

Kind of rightness_Richter(2)

Welcome to the 12th issue of ProWax Journal

It’s an even dozen! 

Welcome to the 12th issue of ProWax Journal, a publication produced by members of the group, ProWax—professional artists working in the medium of wax and encaustic. Our goal in creating this publication is to share with the larger community some of the ideas and conversations we share within our Facebook group. Our editor in chief, Maritza Ruiz-Kim, was on sabbatical for this issue so Nancy Natale and I stepped in to share the editorial job.  We hope you like what you read. As always, we encourage you to join the conversation via the Comments section. 

Warm regards,
Joanne Mattera, Consulting Editor
Nancy Natale, Featured Articles Editor