One of my heroes died this week. Joseph Raffael was an artist who spoke and will always speak to my soul. We lived in different places. Lived different lives. Worked in different mediums. He was famous but left the NY art scene to live quietly in the south of France. I never made it big enough in NYC to have to leave it. But I live in the quiet town of Northport on the north shore of Long Island. We have each experienced different successes in our lives. A man, a woman, so different but so the same.
The headlines herald the 25th Birthday of the introduction of Photoshop, the photo editing software that almost everyone has heard about and many have used. Photoshop was released on Thursday February 19, 1990, 25 years ago. I, however, began painting electronically years earlier on the Chyron Chameleon Paint System.
The Chameleon was a digital painting & editing system complete with dedicated hardware & software aimed at the Broadcast TV & production industry.. Primitive by our current standards but tremendously advanced at that time in the mid-1980’s.
In order to sell a paint system in the ‘80’s, since no one really understood the enormous creative possibilities of computer painting, I did demonstrations & lectures in order to sell this tremendously creative tool. It offered drawing tools & brushes, cut & paste, zoom, a removable hard drive, video outputs and 8 bits of color.
I have made a very good living using Photoshop, amongst other digital imaging programs, but I was able to apply my Artist’s vision first using the tablet & stylus of the Chameleon.
So I wish Photoshop a very Happy 25th Birthday but they are the young kid on the block. I have been digitally painting for 30 years.
I happily took the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station to then walk to Chelsea in NYC from my perch in Northport Long Island. This venture, on a cold winter day, was to gather in the brilliant colors and environments of the watercolor paintings created by the Artist, Joseph Raffael. These large-scale works envelop you into the tropical gardens and seaside shells which are the models and subjects of his work.
Some feature strongly defined focal points while other subjects are diffused, allowing you to meander through the tangles of flowers, leaves and stems. Koi provide the pivotal “Turning Point” between the water and air while leaving ripples which you know will be gone again in moments. Tibetan prayer flags flutter in the breeze sharing the brilliance of Koi colors. Time, movement and transience are significant subjects in these meditative paintings.
March 21-May 4, 2013
Curating an Art Show takes many steps and stages. The process begins with the organization sponsoring the event. They are responsible for setting the dates and timetables of the show, the selection of Artists and in this case, establishing and maintaining a cooperative working relationship with the owners of the hosting venue.
The organization that is sponsoring the Art Show decides if they are hosting a One-Person Art Show or a Group Exhibit and where the venue will be held. This information is included in their prospectus.
For the Art Show I’m having from August 28 through October 9th, 2012, I downloaded the prospectus from the Northport Arts Coalition (aka NAC) website here. Most organizations now offer their applications & information online.
In this case, I applied for a One-Person Show to be held over a 6-7 week period at the Wine Cellar on Main in downtown Northport NY. I was notified of my acceptance and given about a one-month lead time to prepare for the showing.
Normally the lead time for an opportunity for a large show like this is quite a bit longer but I was pleased with the opportunity to show my work so I quickly accepted their offer.
Depending on the organization the curating of the actual show is done either by a designated person within that group or the individual Artists whom they’ve selected for a show.
Since I have decades of experience managing and curating my own and other events I have a particular method of working. In another post, I discussed how I started planning & curating my show. Curating in the sense I wrote about is the decision making process of how the show will look and what work I have available to show.
I usually have various paintings of mine in multiple group shows over a wide variety of time slots & locations so I keep comprehensive records of where my Art Work is allocated at any given time & where the work is scheduled to be shown.
I also know what work is in the process of being created & when the work will be available for the next showing.
Curating is many things. These include finding the venues, selecting the Artists, designing the show itself and creating and executing the marketing campaign.
The Joseph Raffael show at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery at 520 West 27th St in Chelsea New York was a burst of color and soul. The show was there from November 2009 through January 10, 2010. For those of you who missed this wonderous presentation, I created a video of the show.
Visiting this show brought such a burst of the voluptuous joy of color and passion to an otherwise gray day that I was compelled to share it with others.
Joseph Raffael douses himself in his watercolors. His colors flood and pool in the most controlled display of virtuosity I’ve ever seen in this medium. Though in this show his subject matter seems to be primarily flowers, his style is the antithesis of botanical illustration.
As a matter of fact, Elisabeth, my fellow Artist friend and I gallery hopped to this show on the heels of a visit to the ASBA (American Society of Botanical Artists) show at The Horticultural Society of NY. The contrast of two exquisite art forms, both employing watercolor and using flowers as subject, was astounding.
For an extra treat, I would suggest visiting Joseph Raffael’s website and taking some time to view the meditative videos of him as he paints.
Take a moment to calm down and become immersed in the process of Art. It will make your day. It always does so for me.