Two Down, Two to Go…

It sure feels good to be back at work creating new Prayer Machines since putting the finishing touches on the last new one in mid-October and then being consumed by show preparations, travel, the shows themselves, follow-up and recovery. Lynn and I arrived home from Spectrum Miami last Wednesday night and I was happily back in the studio creating new work by noon on Thursday. By Saturday I had made good progress on three new pieces and finished up one I had been working on previously. I love the excitement of the shows but it sure feels good to be back in regular routine in a quiet and secluded place.

In brief, the Spectrum Miami art show was wonderful. Good crowds despite a last minute venue change, a great reception of my new work and our best sales so far. A few highlights were:

– a young girl wanted to start her own collection of original art and chose one of my pieces for that purpose, purchasing it with her own money. I was touched. Her parents were very encouraging as she asked questions and decided what she wanted.

– We sold our two biggest and most expensive pieces within half an hour of each other, one going to Taiwan, the other staying on in Miami.

– Each day of the show we had significant conversations with people who were wanting to share ideas, probe the meaning behind the Prayer Machines or delve into deeper Christian spiritual truth. I very much enjoyed sharing with these various individuals on a heart to heart level.

– Lynn and I both received a lot of positive feedback suggesting that the Prayer Machines are speaking to people in a way that goes beyond mere wall decoration and that the pieces are sparking thought, engaging the imagination and that, although the work appeals to them as being joyful and whimsical, they take it seriously as well.

So two down and two to go. Art San Diego and Spectrum Miami are done and now it’s The Artist Project in Toronto in February and artexpo NEW YORK in April that I am twisting wire for. I am excited to see the new work emerge as my vision for the Prayer Machines expands.

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Prayer Machines Between Shows

 

San Diego seemed like paradise! I loved the neighborhood we lived in, which kind of reminded me of the Kensington market area of Toronto where I grew up during the ‘60s. The low buildings, the laneways, the angle of the sun and the light in the morning when I went to buy Lynn her chocolate croissant from Pappalecco and the August feel of the air. And Balboa Park, where the art show was, transported me to another time with its old Spanish architecture and Palm trees. I loved it. I wanted to stay!

The art show we were at, Art SD 2015, was a fairly large art fair put on by Redwood Media Group who also own and host Spectrum Miami and the New York Art Expo that we have also participated in. These ‘art fairs’ are currently becoming a popular draw in the art world because they offer art lovers and the buying public a chance to see many artists and galleries at one time in one place; and for artists, like myself, they offer the opportunity to show my work with immediacy, meet and interact with many people directly, get prompt feedback and also have the opportunity to sell. We are currently doing four of these art fair shows a year (San Diego, Miami, Toronto and New York) our goals being:

  • To raise our public profile and establish a collector base for my art.
  • Meet and establish relationships with commercial galleries in the US and Canada who will represent me and sell my art.
  • Be able to earn an income from the sale of my art while continuing to build a good business practice that will extend long term.
  • Express myself effectively through the creation of art that is redemptive in aspect and affirming of a creator God in its approach.
  • And, along with Lynn, live creatively, according to God’s purpose for our lives while working together to achieve these goals.

Prior to and immediately after a show, Lynn does most of the heavy lifting with arranging the logistics that get us and the art work there as well as the follow-up afterwards. It’s a huge job, but since she has taken on the role of studio manager things have gone much better and much more efficiently. The level of “best business practice” has also gone way up thanks to the relationships with RMG show staff and staff at the galleries we are dealing with. This bodes well.

Well, Art SD 2015 in San Diego is done. It was our first time there and I’m happy with the results. It was a beautiful venue and a classy looking show. I felt we made our best presentation yet and we had a very positive reception. I won the Best International Exhibitor award, while Lynn established a relationship with a very good gallery in San Diego called Adelman Fine Art. And of course we sold some work, yes!

Next week we are off to Miami for Spectrum Miami, December 2-6. This will be our second year there and we hope to build on last year’s success. We want to exceed last year’s excellent sales with the new work we are bringing and pray that we will land a gallery deal for that region of the US, like Lynn did in San Diego. Spectrum itself is a bigger show than Art SD, plus there are approximately 18 other shows in mid-town Miami and Miami Beach the same week as part of Art Week Miami so it is a pretty energized time. It is the world’s largest art fair and it is electrifying with all the people that come in from around the globe and the hype and the dynamism.

So this week I’m writing you with five inches of snow outside my window while a week from now it will be sun, palm trees and art galore being mounted and primed. I hope you will follow on Facebook and Instagram once we get there and will ‘like’ my page so Lynn can reach her goal of 500 ‘likes’ by Christmas.

A Professional Development Day Out

 

steam engineLast Saturday was a professional development day for me.

I got up early and drove to Cookstown to visit the annual Cookstown Steam Show.

I was looking for inspiration and found it. I was overwhelmed!

It was park full of gentle, steam sighing, ponderous behemoths from the early days of agricultural mechanization, each one there in all its whirling, spinning, greasy glory.

It was like being surrounded by mammoth Prayer Machines from a time before my Prayer Machines were even thought of. The visual similarities were apparent; big wheels and pulleys driving other big wheels and pulleys. What I liked most was the human interaction. As I watched one antique tractor being started, the owner performed no less than five functions and checks; a squirt of oil here, an adjusting of clearances there, before he even got to turning the crank wheedling the engine to life. Then, even after it was running he was constantly fiddling with it all.

The thing that intrigued me about these machines in relationship to my Prayer Machines was the ‘put together’ nature of their construction. The combination of machined parts and high tolerance mechanisms with “wired together” low tolerance connections; the poetically fragile lack of uniformity in construction. “Almost” rather than “exactly” was the dictum that seemed to prevail.

I also liked the human interaction, especially with the large steam-powered tractors, where the humans operating it seemed to be nurturing them along variously steering, feeding, lubricating and adjusting in a symbiotic relationship as they progressed. The impression that grew on me was that in creating my Prayer Machines I too am creating a technology that is accountable. You can’t just expect to start it and have it “run”, you have to be engaged with it, feel it, adjust it, listen to it, touch it so that it moves and does what it is supposed to do.

I came away that day inspired by the construction of the machines; their symmetrical beauty, practical visual compositions and exposed mechanisms that make them run. I also came home feeling a connection from the past with a new story I am telling in my Prayer Machines now.

Written August 8, 2015

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My Prayer Machine Journey So Far

The Prayer Machines are growing and expanding. Not only in size, weight and dimension but in my imagination and spirit as well.

People have told me it typically takes five years for an idea to become a venture that is viable. Since arriving back in Canada in July 2011, concluding our three year sojourn in Europe, with my little twisted bits of wire stuck in wooden blocks they have grown into expressive, complex, moving creations that are gaining traction in the public sphere. We are now entering our fifth year and I am full of anticipation with how this coming year will shape up. Good things have been happening up till now. Since 2012 I’ve have shown the Prayer Machines in Toronto, Buffalo, Miami, New York City, and Vienna, Austria. Won the Best of Sculpture award at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and have been listed as one of “40 artists to watch” in this summer’s issue of the American magazine Art Business News. This fall I will be showing at Art San Diego in November and then again at Spectrum Miami during the international art fair Art Week Miami in December. I am grateful for the success we’ve had so far and look forward to what lies ahead.

Entering this pivotal fifth year Lynn and I are concentrating on better streamlining our business practise and focusing on innovate creation with the art. Lynn is now working full-time as studio manager looking after the logistics of getting to shows, working through the myriad of paperwork especially for the international shows, coordinating our social media presence and dealing with gallery requests, commissions, correspondence and sales. I am continuing to delve into the creative process as I generate new pieces each day and explore the roots of these Prayer Machines in my past and present life. I am finding so much of who I am emerging through these pieces and each day seems like I’m uncovering some new fragment from my formative past. I believe the mature phase of my art is finally emerging. It seems everything I’ve ever done in art, up till now, whether as a child, a student or since I began pursuing art full-time twenty-eight years ago has finally blended into an expression that is uniquely my own true voice.

I hope this blog that we are initiating will keep you abreast of developments in my work, give you insights into my creative process and introduce you to the newest work I am creating. I may even post pictures of past work that I think has bearing on what I am doing now. I hope you will join Lynn and I on this journey as we take the Prayer Machines to the world.

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