Rejection Letter #1

It’s been almost two months since I got my first R.L. from one of the Arts applications I submitted. Admittedly, I’ve been stalling about updating everyone with the results. More interesting, though? My video diary belting out a Barbra Streisand classic and tracking what I’ve been up to since I got the e-mail. Why is Babs being dragged into this? Because there’s nothing like a little drunken (yes, there was alcohol involved in the making of this video) ode to Nikki Arnstein to make me forget how sucky Rejection Letters can be! #PushOnThroughTheStruggle ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

August 20, 2014
Dear Applicant,
Thank you for your interest in the Critic-in-Residence Program. We received a number of outstanding applications and were only able to choose three finalists for this year’s inaugural program. The review committee has considered your request and regrets that we cannot invite you to participate at this time. 
We appreciate the effort you put into submitting your application and we highly encourage you to remain in touch with our organizations in the coming year. 
Sincerely,
Your Latest Motivation

Decatur Market and Art Gallery: Dreams on Fire

I spent last Saturday night perusing various pieces of art on display at a local gallery/ cooperative in Decatur Village. It was a fun evening of conversation with other artists and casual “interpretation” of the deeper meaning behind some of their works. The theme of the event was Dreams on Fire and Mali Harrell’s fused glass “Fire Flower” offered a visually literal representation of the concept. When I visited her website after the exhibition, I could see clearly why she refers to glass as her “constant muse” – especially when it comes to finding joy in the unexpected “imperfections” that work their way into her finished pieces. I wondered, and still wonder, where the imperfections lie in some of my favorites that range from playful sea sponges to dresses inspired by famous women to full body figurines in her Ladies series. The execution was flawless, as far as I could tell!

Fire Flower

One of my other favorite artists of the evening – and probably the one whose style physically and emotionally drew me in the most – was Penny Treese. She refers to herself as an encaustic artist and I immediately wanted to learn more about this medium that I hadn’t heard of before. As an artist, I naturally gravitate towards art forms that involve a layered, nuanced process that I can immerse myself in on multiple levels, and Penny’s work did not leave me disappointed.Treese creates both landscapes and female figures, but it was one of her female figures that stopped both me and my husband in our tracks. We couldn’t tell if the woman was dancing or in pain, falling or being uplifted, naked or clothed – and yet it was all of these questions and contradictions that compelled us to deeper dialogue and curiosity about what we were seeing.

encaustic 2Encaustic 1

 

I was reminded of my original CultSTATUS logo The Dancer as well as my current and permanent logo The cS Angel. Both images were meant to discuss deeper issues and concepts than their surface visual depictions revealed. I hoped that my works would engender a similar reaction with my own viewers. And yet, no artist – especially an emerging artist like myself – wants to find an exact mirror of their process already being accomplished by someone else. So it was a pleasant surprise to read Penny’s artist statement and discover that her intent was something completely different than what I would have expected.

The short of it was that she used an aging process with coffee, wine, water, salt, cold, and heat to physically “age” her subjects and then reveal their inner beauty through the encaustic process. It was a concept that left me wildly inspired! I wanted to call up my sister-in-law who recently used a similar process to give her hand-made wedding invitations a vintage appeal. Who says aged can’t be beautiful? I’m also thinking about taking a few encaustic art classes, now that I’ve experienced it first hand! I’d want to blend the form with my love for graffiti, papier mache, and collage as well – but discovering my own style would be half the fun. Oh, and did I mention how much I LOVE her business cards? Got any spare change? ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

Spare Change

Captain’s Log, Star-date: 071514

Over the past year, I’ve started recording a lot of my creative thoughts and ideas to help with my writing. In the meantime, my husband has reignited my love for Star Trek. He’s been watching old episodes on YouTube and giving me flashbacks to my childhood and Thursday nights spent stretched out on the living room floor with my dad and Sir Patrick Stewart – sorry Shatner, but I’m an eighties baby!

The recordings are meant to help with the fact that I struggle to fully translate my outgoing, welcoming, artistic side because I’m also a bit of a perfectionist. The way it usually goes is that I have this great, original idea but by the time I finish “tweaking” it, all that’s left is a highly accurate albeit emotionally void shell of what I first came up with. And that’s if someone else hasn’t beat me to the punch because apparently tweaking takes time!

The Rabbits in my mind are fun, vibrant, and a little cheeky but unless you happen to be in the room when my inspiration first strikes, you’d never get to see that side of my personality. Which is why I’ve started making video recordings as well. At first, I was only making audio recordings for my own personal benefit. But in recent weeks, I’ve started to feel like I need to share a visual of my process as well. How late am I on the whole self-recording wave???

Anyway, I figure if I’m starting to put myself out there with grant applications and public art projects then it’s time to dive into the deep end and let it all hang out. So, here are two videos I made a few nights ago when I was going through a pretty nerve-wracking experience. ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

Captain’s Log, Star-date: 071514

Oops! I ramble when I’m nervous and I guess I ran out of memory … Here’s the rest!

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