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Art in Ann Arbor

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Pop•X: panel discussion and coverage

Image: Current Magazine

Image: Current Magazine

Now that Nick's installation is in place at Pop•X, he can breathe a little easier. The photographs and sculpture came together without too much ado so that was a relief. The festival has been received warmly and we're grateful to Omari Rush and all the artists and organizers for their ardent efforts.

Below are a few places you can read and see photos of the festival if you can't make it. And I'll be moderating the Art for Innovators talk on Workspace Design tomorrow, Monday, Oct 19th. Should be a great time, see you there!

Detroit News

Current Magazine  

Current Mag Facebook page  

MLive  | MLive video

 

 

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Stan Malinowski: Icons of Fashion opening

Update: These photos (courtesy Jacob Wieringa) and an article about First Fridays Ypsi can be found here

Last night was our first First Fridays Ypsilanti participation and we're thrilled with the attendance and energy of the evening. Our show, Stan Malinowski: Icons of Fashion highlighted the supermodels of the late '70s and '80s and introduced everyone to an era of glamorous images pre-Photoshop.

Yen talking to a patron about the local art scene.

Yen talking to a patron about the local art scene.

First Fridays Ypsi organizer, Kayj Michelle with a friend, checking out Janice Dicksinson.

First Fridays Ypsi organizer, Kayj Michelle with a friend, checking out Janice Dicksinson.

Best dressed couple of the night. 

Best dressed couple of the night. 

Yen with community advocate and activist, D'Real Graham. 

Yen with community advocate and activist, D'Real Graham. 

The main question of the evening was, "How did you get Stan to do a show here?" There's a lineage of Chicago photographers that have worked in the commercial realm and Stan is one of them. Nick (being fresh and naive to the city), approached him for advice. Stan graciously told him stories, shared his expertise and ultimately the two of them had an exhibit in 2008 named From Fantasy to Fashion. We're so proud and appreciative of Stan's collaboration, a piece of fashion history in our studio.

Artist Ilana Houten, regal in designer threads.

Artist Ilana Houten, regal in designer threads.

Nick speaks with artist and photographer, NIKI.

Nick speaks with artist and photographer, NIKI.

Graphic designer Anne-Marie Kim of Genui Forma checks out Iman. 

Graphic designer Anne-Marie Kim of Genui Forma checks out Iman. 

9 S. Washington St.

9 S. Washington St.

Artist Jermaine Dickerson converses with a patron. 

Artist Jermaine Dickerson converses with a patron. 

Thanks to everyone that joined us! the exhibit is up through the end of April and available to view by appointment. If you're interested in price list or details on photographs available to add to your collection, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email us. 

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Dear Artist...

Over the last two months we've received a mound of submissions to exhibit in our humble space. Being the competitive process that it is, I've had to send more "no"s than "yes"es. And yet everyone has been gracious with the feedback regardless of outcome. What I've learned is that artists are itching not only for a place to show, but a place to be seen and possibly sell. I don't claim to be an "expert" at anything, I simply have a platform in which to sell the work. But I'll delve into that later.

I was compelled to write this post because of an email I received over the weekend. After teetering on a photographer whose work I thought was captivating and technically sound, I passed on the opportunity to show her work because she was enjoying editorial success. In her enthusiastic response, she shared that she was recovering from a recent stroke. She had lost some of the peripheral vision in her left eye but was still continuing to "get out there everyday with my little camera!" That truly touched me and made me remember my own anticipation when I was on the other side of the vetting process, how nerve wracking it was, the hope you hold to find out if your work will be seen.

Every one of you has a circumstance that I know nothing about and all I get is a small snippet of your life experience in a digital folder. For that, I am incredibly grateful. "Thank you" to each and every one of you that submitted.

I'm really humbled by this experience and feel I can lend some advice and hopefully help some of you to gain some understanding on how to continue the path. I'd also like to shed some light on how I make the decisions I do and what you should look for in a gallery and dealer. 

Dain Mergenthaler

Dain Mergenthaler

Traditionally, galleries sustained artists with a stipend so they could live and create art until the opening of a show and beyond. There are still a handful of high-caliber galleries that practice this model but most simply don't have the capability to function at this level. We certainly don't. I do not represent artists in an ongoing manner, but I do publicize, market, advocate for, live, breathe, sleep that artist's work during the months leading up to the event and the entirety of the exhibit. (And we do have contracts which allow for us to keep and sell work past the exhibit but relinquish upon the artist's request).  

From my understanding, the few galleries serving this immediate area have shuttered their exhibition programming or moved on. And there are even fewer chances to be highlighted as a solo artist. We are a small operation but we've had big experiences in the past. I've worked with contemporary artists like Julian Stanczak and Jerome Witkin and curated traveling museum exhibitions. I understand the practices to get work seen and I'd like to apply that to this market.

I look for thematic confidence. Meaning, how well do the pieces look together? After all, hanging a retail exhibit is very much about merchandising. For our Virtuous show, Jermaine Dickerson produced new graphite drawings, mixed media paintings and charcoal sketches, but all on the same topic - modern day media coverage and the state of sexism, racism and injustice - based around the comic book genre.

I'm a stickler for presentation so even if your work is on extravagant paper or your sculptures stand seven feet high, I have to consider how that translates in our space — a storefront with a track hanging system and approximately 11 foot ceilings. It is unlikely, but not impossible, for me to hang works on paper with metal clips and nailed to the wall. I don't think this looks professional nor inspires confidence in a buyer, no matter how exceptional a work is. You may think this is snobbery, but I'm trying to strike a balance between the museum guidelines I once adhered to, the gallery presentation of American works I'm used to and the early 20th century architecture of our building with a combination of cement, plaster and drywall surfaces.

We only show solo exhibits right now and that's what I intend indefinitely. Could you imagine an album that only had one or two songs from each artist? This type of compilation dilutes the aesthetic vision of the artist and understanding the intent and curating a good show takes time and exposure to a theme. My father, who is also an artist, once told me that a good painting means you can imagine the whole world in the style of the work, like you opened the front door one day and everything was saturated Gaughin. Since we're familiar with big names like Van Gogh and Picasso, we know what to expect. But with an unknown or contemporary artist, we need time to cleanse the palette, recalibrate and adjust to their vision. I believe solo shows are the only way to do this.

We enter into a contract where I have responsibilities to publicize and market you in the best light, in a way that's honest to your product. There are certain costs I will cover including print materials and signage supporting the opening, food and drink costs and occasionally supplies and/or framing depending on the deal. A dealer should always be able to disclose what pieces have sold and for what amount during the duration of a contract. They should also be able to relinquish your pieces when you request them, if, this was part of your contract as well. 

As the artist you also have responsibilities to deliver the caliber and number of works discussed, on time. They can't be owned by anyone else, unless they're on loan for a show with explicit understanding by all parties. Requests (whether it be for supplies, framing, extensions, what ever it may be) should be asked for in advance when possible. 

In terms of the submission process itself, following directions is of utmost importance. We (curators, dealers, gallerists) sift through dozens of submissions weekly and standardizing the process makes us able to consume images and keep track more easily. I recommend hiring or swapping with a photographer to take the best lit photographs possible against blank, unfussy backgrounds. I've received CVs and resumes in Word, text and jpeg formats but PDF ensures things don't get scrambled and look how you intended them to when you sent them off. 

And as you may have guessed, salability is keyBecause our exhibiting venture is still in its budding stages (our first show and panel discussion was only two weeks ago, selling five out of nine works), we're testing the waters to see what people will buy and whether sales will come via online and phone. But we're hopeful our expertise will drive people to buy in-person over what the internet has offered the last couple decades, much like the craft beer movement is sweeping big grocery store staples. There's nothing like seeing a piece in person (which is why I schedule studio visits when I can), so I'm hoping to capture the group that would normally purchase on Etsy or a reproduction from a site. 

Dennis Jones

Dennis Jones

I'm also keeping in mind what's easily consumable for a first time art buyer, a corporate collection, a longtime collector. Each show will test out a different price point as I'd like most people that enjoy art to be able to add something to their collection while seasoned buyers will be challenged with contemporary art that's not just "decorative" but authentic and well-executed

Finally, it's true. It does come down to what I like — what I find interesting, engaging, challenging. When I look at a submission, I have to believe there is a journey of longevity and collaboration. I'm a proponent for the arts and therefore, a fighter for the artist. 

Even though the submission season has ended, please don't hesitate to ask if you ever have a question.  The images in this post are a few of the artist submissions I've accumulated over the last two months. Enjoy. 

 

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Virtuous: Panel Discussion & Opening

Update: A full video of the discussion can be viewed here

Our first opening took place this past Thursday and we couldn't be happier with the turn out and support we received from the community. Virtuous, is a series of illustrations by contemporary artist Jermaine Dickerson, focusing on comic book style technique and content. I was first drawn to his work because his technical acumen but was blown away by the stories behind the content. He's very committed to the genre and wanted to create new work surrounding the Michael Brown and Ferguson incidents and how they were conveyed in the media. 

Our landlord was nice enough to let us use the vacant space next door (now leased - yay, neighbors!) for the panel discussion which got filled and was standing room only by the end. Here are some highlights of the panel which included Richard Rubenfeld, Professor Emeritus of Art History at Eastern Michigan University; exhibiting artist Jermaine Dickerson; James Conniff, resident comic book expert of Fun 4 All Comics; Jesse Rubenfeld, illustrator and artist; and Curtis Sullivan, co-owner and founder of Vault of Midnight. 

Dr. Richard Rubenfeld moderated an hour of topics in comic books including diversity, real life superheroes, powers and women in comic books.

Dr. Richard Rubenfeld moderated an hour of topics in comic books including diversity, real life superheroes, powers and women in comic books.

Exhibiting artist Jermaine Dickerson. 

Exhibiting artist Jermaine Dickerson. 

We even had a professional filmmaker in the house!

We even had a professional filmmaker in the house!

The panel closed out with a Q&A session. 

The panel closed out with a Q&A session. 

Curtis Sullivan gets his point across.

Curtis Sullivan gets his point across.

Our dashing panel. 

Our dashing panel. 

A successful night indeed! #Virtuous

A successful night indeed! #Virtuous

The show is open through the end of March and there are still a few pieces available for purchase. The first hour we sold four pieces from the exhibit. Very successful, we'd say! For more information about our upcoming events, check out our exhibitions page here

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Art, Lately

After the winter hibernation, spring is one of my favorite times of year for art-seeing. There's revived energy, excitement and the exhibition season is taking off with high expectations with our first event tomorrow night. 

This past week has been a packed schedule of artist visits and just some cool pieces along the way. 

A detail of a painting by Molly Diana, our November 2015 artist.

A detail of a painting by Molly Diana, our November 2015 artist.

Screenprinted fabrics at Stamps School of Art & Design

Screenprinted fabrics at Stamps School of Art & Design

A piece from the MFA at Stamps

A piece from the MFA at Stamps

Another piece from the MFA show

Another piece from the MFA show

A few of the pieces from Margaret Hitch's 24 piece series. See it in its entirety this October.

A few of the pieces from Margaret Hitch's 24 piece series. See it in its entirety this October.

A piece from the Graduate show at Ford Gallery at EMU

A piece from the Graduate show at Ford Gallery at EMU

John Murrel at Ford Gallery at EMU

John Murrel at Ford Gallery at EMU

Get out there. See some art. Be inspired.

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Partnering with Ann Arbor Art Center

Back in 1999, I transferred to the University of Michigan School of Art & Design, after conceding to the fact that I wasn't "cutthroat" enough to handle fashion at SAIC. I was feeling a little glum about the whole thing. But Ann Arbor Art Center paved the way for my art career in many ways that Fall. 

I started working as an intern in the Office of Education with an incredible group of people, many of which I still consider dear friends today. First, I learned how to manage a supply closet and move easels and tables and chairs around. Then I was given the responsibility of calling models for life drawing class and brainstorming for fun, new classes for kids. From there my administrative responsibilities sprouted into running quick workshops, then birthday parties and ultimately, classes in painting, drawing and ceramics (clay on the wheel). Over five years, not only did my understanding of art education and administration grow, but I also learned an invaluable lesson about myself. I was meant to do this! 

Now, 15 years later I'm back and equipped with knowledge and excitement in being able to help with this priceless organization. 

As the third oldest arts organization in Michigan (it even precedes UM's academic arts program), it serves thousands of children and adults annually with classes, events, outreach, exhibition opportunities and more. Recently, our friend Omari Rush mentioned partnering on a consulting basis. As Director of Public Programs, his role is to find and place resources advantageous not only for the Center but for the arts community as a whole. 

The Center receives requests regularly for art consulting and buying. And now I'll be the person to execute those requests! I'll handle private and corporate consulting issues including acquisition, assessments (and some appraisals in my field of specialty, American impressionism and modernism), selling, framing, maintenance and studio visits. Our foremost priority is to endorse and draw from the wealth of local artists. 

I have a lot of familiarizing to do and I can't wait to do it. Beyond that, clients can request research on art outside of the area, but we're going to strive to sell local first.

And now comes the best part — I'm asking that if you have an art consulting request, you call the Center for a referral. Why? Because every one originating from them will result in a portion of proceeds going straight to them. I love being back in the area and I see this as a wonderful way to return the generosity of knowledge the Center equipped me with years ago. 

If you're looking to finally choose a piece for the foyer, start a collection or build upon an existing one, I urge you to call the Ann Arbor Art Center at 734-994-8004 and they'll send you my way. 

Thank you!

 

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Big {Art} Announcement



Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a safe and memorable celebration to ring in 2015. 

We are excited to announce that we'll be exhibiting artists starting this March! While showing work in the new space seemed like a natural progression for us, we didn't prioritize it when we found the studio, simply because we weren't sure of how we would formalize what kind of gallery we would be and what type of art we would show. And then we realized, there are so few venues for consuming retail art in the area, we couldn't shy away from something we love doing and are good at. 

Here's the roster of artists for 2015.

We met Jermaine Dickerson as the resident graphic designer for a campus office at Eastern Michigan University. His style is steeped in realism, anatomical accuracy and suspension of reality as he delves into worlds of superhero status. I was immediately drawn to his meticulous linework and it didn't take us long to ask Jermaine to be the first artist to exhibit. As an emerging artist with an infectious laugh, we see unmistakable promise in Jermaine's work ethic and talent. You can see some of his digital design skills on his website and follow more of his projects (and the occasional still life) here on Facebook

Stan Malinowski has been a friend and mentor to Nick ever since we lived in Chicago. They had a collaborative show in 2008 and he's shared a wealth of his experiences in the fashion photography world. Starting in the '50s at Playboy, Stan moved on to fashion magazines in world markets, working with the likes of Anna Wintour, Christie Brinkley, Gia Carangi, Iman and many more. Stan is the preeminent perfectionist (and superb dinner mate), overseeing every process of his prints and negatives. We plan to show a carefully chosen group of photographs from a 20 year span, 1970-1990. This is a show of works exclusive to us and we're very proud of this.

Woon Sein Chin is my dad. He studied fine art in Taiwan during the '70s right before he emigrated to the States. While he and my mother worked odd jobs to make a living, he has never stopped painting. In 2011, he started working at the Museum of Contemporary Art in security and is surrounded by the artists that have inspired him over the years, Bacon, Matisse, Picasso. Last year, he was invited to show his works in the 3rd floor gallery of the MCA. His style is steeped in expressionism, with broad, electric strokes of oil and we'll be showing works on paper and canvas.

I met Megan Williamson when she visited Madron Gallery (where I served as director) on the recommendation of friend. It turns out the artists we had hanging on the wall (American greats such as Reginald Marsh, William Glackens, Frederick Frieseke), were the influences to her influence, Nic Coronas. I had never met anyone that knew so many of the styles and artists so intimately. We've been friends and collaborators since. Megan's canvases are constructed of elements that play upon each other and rely on how our eyes interpret those intersections of color and shape. During our weekly conversations, we talk about possibilities, ideas, dreams (a few shared on her Facebook page). It is our pleasure to show a series of Megan's still lifes and landscapes.

While perusing the various holiday fairs last month, I stumbled across an intriguing piece by Jessica Tenbusch (image above). Made of bone, copper and a method of hand hammering metal called repousse, I was immediately drawn to the perfect execution of her precious, organic pieces. Using only animals and parts found deceased, her pieces are are multi-step processes in experimentation. When I met her during the bustling DIYpsi fair, she was gracious and humble and I had to collaborate with her. We will show a new series of her fine art objects next Fall but you can admire and shop from her Etsy shop, Equilibria in the meanwhile. 

I'll have more information about each exhibition each month before. We can't wait to share our vision of fine art, design and photography with you. Happiness and health to you in 2015. 


Artist Submission Process (accepted January through March 2015)   

Chin-Azzaro is committed to a high standard of marketing, publicity and exhibition practices. With our years of experience in the fine art retail world, we strive to offer a breadth of high quality works to our audience. If you are interested in submitting your work for consideration, please send the following in a zipped folder titled with your name. 

1. CV and/or resume

11. 6-10 images of your work 

111. Artist statement (previous statement acceptable)

1111. Optional: website address, social networking links, references

Please send to: info@chin-azzaro.com and allow 2-3 weeks for a formal response. 

Incomplete submissions will not be considered. Thank you!



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TEDxUofM: Against the Grain

This past Saturday was the University of Michigan's TEDx event at the Power Center. An offshoot of a TED conference, the event included speakers in the areas of medicine, arts, and technology. I was approached by the student group Ask Big Questions to listen to lunch room conversations and illustrate their connection to one another.

This was easier said than done with ten different conversations going on simultaneously. I spent a few minutes at each table listening to attendee opinions on such themes as Conformity, Identity, Sustainability and Collegiate Expectations. There were so many ideas and questions tossed out but I tried to capture the most important ones. 

Here are a few snapshots of the 8 x 4 foot whiteboard illustration in the lobby of the Power Center. 

During snack break, the crowd of 800 attendees gathered around and I got to hear some feedback from the viewers. My youngest admirer was a ten year old kid who wanted to join in and draw too—so cool! I love hearing people's thoughts on what they find entertaining because after all, that's what graphic recording is all about—bringing information in a fun and memorable way. 

Graphic recording for TEDxUM at the Power Center in Ann Arbor

Graphic recording for TEDxUM at the Power Center in Ann Arbor

And for those that are curious, because I get this question pretty often, I do everything freehand. I practice font types that I think will fit the occasion prior to the event and reference the sheet when I'm short on technique. 

Thanks to everyone that supported and attended TEDx and a special thanks to Masha and JoHanna at Ask Big Questions. See you next time!

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Vintage Hollywood V - Pop-Up for a Great Cause

Nick's been editing like crazy and I've been working on lots of small projects. One of which is our next pop-up. This time we're partnering with Neutral Zone for their annual fundraiser next Friday, Vintage Hollywood. In its fifth year, VH is a night of glamour (this year's theme is The Great Gatsby), food, entertainment and a great social gathering all around. Everything benefits NZ, which is an incredible teen center with a stage, music recording studio, art studio, kitchen, hang out spaces... basically everything you ever wanted when you were hanging out with your friends growing up.

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We'll be there from 7 to 9 pm photographing everyone in their best attire for a super, discounted rate of $10 each for this special night. Each participant will receive a lightly retouched and processed, digital image via email delivery. And, we'll donate a portion of the evening's proceeds to Neutral Zone. 

If you're free the night of March 7th, come out and celebrate for a great cause. Tickets are still available but they'll most likely sell out! See you there.

 

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Bright Lights, Big City: Tips for the Artist Making the Move

Moving to the City has been a popular topic around here lately. I just met with a student a couple days ago pondering whether to move to NYC, Chicago or stay put. And our friend and artist Bernadette Witzak* just moved to Chicago last week. We're really excited for our friends in this position because after finishing a degree, moving to the City seems like the next logical step for any creative person. Nick and I did it ten years ago.

We landed in Chicago with no jobs, a couple personal connections and separate studio apartments in the same building overlooking the Lake. Fast forward seven years and we both had successful careers in the fields we went to school for, we were married, and living in a mid-rise apartment in Wicker Park. It wasn't always a direct route, but our path to finding the jobs we did were ultimately a lot of luck and even more elbow grease. Here are a few basic things to keep in mind as an artist/designer/photographer/curator/creative hopeful when you're making the jump from school and/or smaller town to career and/or big city.

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*Bernadette, being the catch that she is, started in Exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Congrats! 

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Tiny Expo 2013 at Kerrytown Shops

We're so excited to be a part of Tiny Expo again, what they cleverly call "Ann Arbor's biggest little indie arts & crafts fair!" This year it's moved to the popular Kerrytown Shops and we'll be selling our wares on Saturday, Dec. 14th with a fun preview and set up the night before. 

Nick will be selling a new series of toy-themed photos and I've been working on original watercolors of...food! So mark your calendars, bring your eyes and feast on a bevy of new inventory for a whole new season of gift-giving. 

And don't forget  — the week before, Saturday the 7th, we'll be at Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair for our first ever pop-up event benefitting all the awesome programming done at 826michigan. Lots of fun and photos and activities will be had by all!

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