Friday, April 16, 2010

Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center Fundraiser

The Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center, the hottest art center in the Twin Cities, is holding a gala event to raise funds in preparation of its opening. Here are some details below. For the full story visit the site at

We're delighted to announce our next big event, "A Fundraiser to Remember," which will take place on April 22, from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis.

This is one fundraiser that promises to live up to its name! We’re honored to have two critically acclaimed—and entirely unique—local musical acts lending their incredible talents in support of CAFAC: Jazz vocalist Charmin Michelle and Cajun Country musician Kevin Anthony & The Twin City Playboys. We're also proud to present the world premiere of the short documentary about how CAFAC got started.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Art 101 : Stimulus-Response

So I have to wonder... why don't I just paint on glass with stains, enamels and the growing list of new products which enable you to paint on glass just about the same way as you would on a canvas? I don't have a good clear reason for this. I made an arbitrary decision early on that I would use only glass, then inclusions such as copper and mica became acceptable, but I never explored glass paints. Arbitrary boundaries forced me to prob deep into a limited set of options versus a broad ranging 'media of the month' approach, but they weren't really arbitrary boundaries as it turns out.

Over the last year I have been exploring all sorts of glass media options since I will be teaching and there are a lot of fun things out there such as Glassline Fusing Paint, the products by Unique Glass and many many more. These are fun to play with from the design point of view and expand one's tool chest, but they just don't click for me in my personal work - they don't resonate. They seem more in line with the decorative arts. I'm sure I'll find time to explore their potential more fully at a future point.

 This sense of resonance - a sense of appropriateness, a drive to explore, and most importantly an ongoing interplay between the stimulus (the media) and a response to it - is a sort of dialog that occurs and matures over time. That dialog doesn't develop for many media options and types, and for an unknown reason. Does anyone really understand why they prefer one color over an other? Not really. Something resonates or it doesn't. Why do I love glass, but feel compelled to control it's innate showiness? I don't know.

Very odd, but very significant. Where do ideas, preferences, and directions come from? I think some people appear more creative than others only because they are better responders to that which resonates within them. The creative person is simply responding, resonating with an interior stimulus-response dialog. Strange and wonderful things come from this singular dedication to internal resonance.

Anyone can have a favorite color (stimulus), but the creative person responds by playing with it, exploring the dimensions of hue, tone, shade, and tint. Anyone can do simple mathematical problems or crossword puzzles, but it is the creative person that begins to use words in new ways after having explored their attraction to words and becomes compelled for unknown reasons to write literature.

Perhaps what an artists is is a person who has decided to take the path of exploring an internal aesthetic resonance in a very dedicated manner. And perhaps that is also why artists are a bit odd too. To base your life on something as unpredictable as some sort of internal resonance as a life's guide is a bit...well, undirected. After all, I cannot tell you why I like certain colors, why I prefer one texture over another, one media over another, one direction over another. I can say in so many superlatives my 'reasons', but like a black hole you will continually fall into asking why those 'reasons' too. It is very unsettling for us to realize and accept that we don't know the whys and therefor for some of the most essential characteristics of our nature.

Creativity is not an accident. It is actually hard work while appearing somewhat serendipitous, somewhat out of our control, and at times a nasty task master. Everyone has creative potential and we all only realize part of what we can be. Some more than others learn to feel comfortable with the unknown, happen to have the luxury of time to explore, the maturity to ask the right question... or to not ask at all, but just to respond, to resonate.