Thursday, November 29, 2012

We Draw Comics

Collaboration doesn't have to strictly be work.  We Draw Comics is a really great project to create comics out of collaboration.  I don't draw comics, but if I did, I would get involved with this.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rose Beerhorst

Photo by Rick Beerhorst
I first heard about the Beerhorst family from Joey.  He lived near them last year, and he mentioned that they were artists.  We both went to their family art show, and discovered the great things that they're doing.  Last week, I had the chance to talk to Rose Beerhorst about her art.  Rose has been doing fiber arts since she was thirteen.  Having parents who are artists showed her that it's possible to make a living from art, which she's been doing since October 2011.  Rose is very involved in the arts community in Grand Rapids.  She says that the scene is really opening up here, and that things people have been working on are gaining traction.  Rose has participated ArtPrize for the past four years, most recently with Perspective Lifters, a site-specific installation at MadCap Coffee.  Rose said that this year was different from past years of ArtPrize, because her  piece was in a business, and a business that has an aesthetic different from her own.  If you've ever been inside MadCap, you've noticed that they're very modern and polished, but Rose's aesthetic is a little more handmade, more recycled and repurposed.  The exhibit went very well, and I'll be interested to see what they come up with next year.

Photo by Rose Beerhorst
 I'm always interested in people's plans for the future, so I made sure to ask Rose about what she's looking forward to doing.  She said that she's planning on opening a new studio space soon.  Rose currently has a studio space that she shares with other artists, but her new studio space will probably be a storefront and have space for workshops.  That seems like a great idea to me, it seems like it would be a fantastic opportunity to have a space for sharing skills and teach others.  Rose also mentioned that she's learning how to make clothes, and that she plans on starting a line of activewear.  Her activewear would be made out of repurposed materials, and it would avoid the  "Space-Age" look that you sometimes see with sports clothes.  I think that's great, and I'll be interested to see where Rose takes her work in the future.
Photo by Rose Beerhorst
Rose Beerhorst will be selling her work at the UICA Holiday Artists' Market this weekend.  It's happening on Friday, November 30 from 5-9 pm, and Saturday, December 1 from 10 am to 7 pm.  Go there!  Support some artists!

You can (and should!) visit Rose on her blogFlickrtumblr, and her Etsy shop.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Landscape Forms

Strictly speaking, innovation isn't a requirement of outdoor furniture.  There are plenty of terrible benches and tables and streetlights in the world.  However, when people actively choose to innovate, great things can happen.  Landscape Forms is a furniture manufacturer that is astoundingly focused on design thinking. They design outdoor furniture, and you've probably seen their work around corporate or college campuses, or in a outdoor public space.  I had the chance to visit their offices and factory this past Friday, and here's what I saw.
I like the curves happening here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


There are several events of the artsy/creative variety happening in GR* this week/this weekend.  If you live here or live near here or happen to have plans to be here in the near future, you should check them out!

This piece is "I Love You, Mary Jane Watson" by Jake Kapusta, on display at CODA as a part of Grande Fuoco.

Last weekend I saw Grande Fuoco, a show put on by the Kendall Clay Collective.  It features works by Austin Cox, Chloe Dabit, Brittney Drouillard, Salvador JimĂ©nez Flores, Jake Kapusta, Steele Lacey, Nate Large, Taylor Olson, Yulia Rist, Nick Szymanski, and Kayla Thompson.  It's at C.O.D.A. Gallery 44 S. Division Ave. Grand Rapids, MI 49503, and you can stop by to see it on Friday or Saturday from noon to five.

SASS fest is a sort of handmade market that breaks away from the boringness that you sometimes see at craft fairs.  It would probably be a great place to shop for the holidays, which is what I'm planning to do there.  It's happening on Saturday from noon to 7 at 106 Gallery, 106 South Division Ave.

On Sunday there will be an open critique at Craft House, 40 South Division Ave, starting at 3.  All media and  are welcome.  It seems like this would be a great time to get feedback on your work or see meet some artists and give them feedback.  They're asking people to RSVP at crafthousegr (AT), so if you're going, you should probably tell them in advance so they're not overwhelmed by the number of people who show up.

*or as I've decided it should be named, GRap.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Syd Mead - Progressions

This past Thursday, Syd Mead visited Kendall College of Art and Design to give a talk about his exhibit, Progressions, currently on exhibition at the Kendall gallery.    The exhibit features a range of Mead's work throughout his career as a visual futurist and concept artist.   The term that he uses to describe his work “visual futurist” is something that he invented for the first film he worked on, Blade Runner. His works are technically impressive, the sort of thing that, when you look at them, you find it hard to believe that they're colored pencil, or watercolor, or gouache. He uses reflections a lot, and I'm especially amazed by the fact that he can draw very realistic reflections on glass.  I've never tried this, but it seems like it would be very difficult.
In Mead's talk, he discussed his work over the years, and some of the principles he uses to guide his visions for the future. When he's designing the future, he makes sure that there's some relationship to the present. That makes the future seem comfortable, and that's what makes people want to go there.
Overall, his talk could have been better. He seemed to be simply explaining his work, not delving any deeper. I think that's the goal of doing a talk like that, is to discuss the work that you do and then the deeper motivations and reasoning behind all of it. I think everyone approaches it differently though, and maybe just talking about the work itself is how some people want to do it. The way he went about doing his talk might have been because he's very commercial, as an artist. Maybe talks that include deeper meaning tend to be of the more theoretical variety?
Syd Mead's work is great, and it's well worth a visit. It will be up in the gallery in Kendall's Federal Building until December 7th. The gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm.  Be sure to check it out!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is fantastic.  It's on par with the DIA in terms of awesomeness and significance of collection.   The layout of the museum feels like it's evolved through several additions, and it's not particularly easy to navigate. They have a lot of well known works, like A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, American Gothic and Warhol's Mao, which are impressive to see in person after having seen them so much in photos.  Their collection of Indian art was really interesting, as it's not something that I've seen a lot of. The modern wing is a total departure from the rest of the museum, it's clean and white, with tall ceilings.  It feels like it's trying to be a separate place, and it's working.  My favorite exhibit in the modern wing was about Studio Gang, a group of architects.  It's not terribly common to see architecture presented in a museum setting, and this exhibit shows their design process really well.
 They had a pretty decent furniture/decorative arts collection.  This piece?  It's by David Wolcott Kendall.*
I liked the Art Institute of Chicago a lot, but I wish I'd had more time to spend there.  As it was, I got to spend about three hours there, but could have been there all day and still not have seen everything.  For next time, I think I'll allow a day and a half, just for the AIC.
I'd like to give a huge shoutout to Dylan for making this whole trip possible.  Yay for Dylan!

*David Wolcott Kendall is known for A) Being the designer who Kendall College is named after and B) Having owned a ton of old books that I had to find records for last year and C) Being a really big deal in terms design.