Viewing entries in
Art + Design

Comment

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. 

 

Comment

Comment

In the Studio with Jessica Tenbusch

Last week I got to visit our September artist, Jessica Tenbusch in the studio while she prepped some of her luxurious objects for our show. I first discovered her work during a post for DIYpsi and was taken with how beautifully organic her pieces are, as if they sprung from nature themselves. 

Much of her work is derived from animal parts but she only uses objects that have been found deceased or gifted by friends and family. Jessica is a master of melding materials and creating surfaces that are at once awe-inspiring and slightly macabre. In her "menagerie" that day, I got to see skulls of deer, coyote, raccoon, possum, a few teeth, casts of cicadas, and other various insects. 

I was in awe of the myriad of hammers and supplies in general that Jessica uses for her metal, plaster, woodworking practices. She is truly a jack of all trades. 

Measuring her wood slabs to be cut in the wood shop.

Measuring her wood slabs to be cut in the wood shop.

A frog suspended in layers of resin and encased in metal. To the right, a fitted wooden palette which will house the piece.

A frog suspended in layers of resin and encased in metal. To the right, a fitted wooden palette which will house the piece.

From conceiving the idea on paper to creating the real thing, this piece   includes such materials as   resin, wood, cicadas, cast bronze and various metals  .

From conceiving the idea on paper to creating the real thing, this piece includes such materials as resin, wood, cicadas, cast bronze and various metals.

Check out Jessica's intricate jewelry for purchase at her Etsy store, equilibria. And save the date September 4th, 2015 for her opening party with her exhibit running the entirety of the month, September 1-30, 2015.  We can't wait to unveil the exceptional craftsmanship and splendor of her work. More to come!

 

Comment

Comment

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

Comment

Comment

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.

Comment

Comment

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!

 

Comment

Comment

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!



Comment

Comment

Client Highlight: Dreamscapes Art Studio

Last weekend we had the privilege of photographing for a new client, Dreamscapes Art Studio and owner, Dolores Graham. The studio is above bustling Main Street in Ann Arbor and receives western exposure, with fabulous light coming through the windows. Dolores offers classes for children and adults, including a holiday workshop this Friday during Midnight Madness. Check out the studio and find out more about their events on their Facebook page.

000_1766web-1.jpg

Comment

Comment

November 2014

In the interest of saving time and filling everyone in on the things we have coming up, I'm loading our last e-blast content here. Enjoy! 


Hello! This is the first e-mail we've sent to this lovely list of people since opening our studio. As many of you know, we had the fortune of stumbling upon a perfect little storefront in downtown Ypsilanti about seven weeks ago. Yes, just seven weeks ago! 

It has an open storefront space (for photographing), an office (for art and design consulting) and dressing room/dining nook. We snatched it up and never looked back. 

And since then, some incredible things have happened. 

  1. We attended our first First Fridays Ypsilanti just earlier this month, a circuit of venues with music, art, food, happenings on the first Friday of each tolerable un-wintery month. (There's a short break after the upcoming December 5th event). You grab a map and check out all the cool places that are hosting exhibits and offering specials. It's unique, surprising and wonderful fun for the family.
  2. Our studio opened on 11/11! Even though we're not a retail space selling wares, it was a bit of a hectic day - little sleep and lots of anxiety - about all good things! It seems the years of accumulating furniture were for this space. We just didn't know it. 9 S. Washington is a pretty sweet little spot on a corridor of downtown Ypsi that seems to literally be activating (as someone called it) day by day right before our very eyes. 
  3. On 11/20, three days after we photographed this set up, it was featured in the digital version of the New York Times. In the print version there are both styled photos we took for Skandicrush, this wonderful subscription service that sends monthly boxes filled with beautiful home wares. We're so lucky to be partnered with talented entrepreneurs with such vision. 
  4. That same night we celebrated our opening with friends and locals. It was a riot. Some of the photos can be found on our Facebook page.
  5. Nick has been really involved with Ypsilanti families and students over the last year. He worked on a photography assignment that allowed him to capture almost every family in a housing community and it moved everyone involved. That's how we came up with the idea to offer $10 Holiday Family Portraits on 11/29 Small Business Saturday. There's no reason a family shouldn't have a professional photo. We want to make these important things accessible and fun for everyone. Spread the word and the cheer! Come in with friends, family, students, colleagues...or just by yourself. All the details are here. (Pompom backdrop included)
  6. Once again, we are so excited to support Art Around Town, the business enterprise benefitting participating Ypsilanti Public School art programming. We'll be selling art through preview sales on:
  • First Fridays, Dec. 5th from 5-9 pm **We'll also be offering $20 holiday portraits that evening!**
  • Auction preview and art sale on Friday, Dec. 12th from 5-9 pm
  • Winter Auction on Saturday, Dec. 13th from 6-9 pm. Prints, paintings and sculpture will be sale and we play auctioneer! Bring the family and battle over works of art!

We didn't know what we were missing until we had the studio. Now that we do, we're thrilled to share our ideas, aesthetics and fun times with all of you. You're always welcome here. 

Be well and have a very Happy Thanksgiving! 
Best,
Yen and Nick Azzaro

Comment

Comment

Prepping for the Launch

Getting a physical space ready for ourselves is bigger and badder than other projects we've worked on. We revamped the logo to match the architectural feel of our studio - a late 19th century storefront. This is something we wouldn't normally do but the sans serif lines of our previous logo didn't match the feel of the building or the furniture and objects we're planning to decorate with. 

To celebrate our opening, we're having an awesome photo session giveaway! Go to our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages to enter! There's 4 chances per person to win. 

Our first day of business is 11/11 - come by and say "hello!" 

 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
The key! 

The key! 

image.jpg

Comment

Comment

Art Happenings In Chicago this Weekend: Oct 3 - 5

We got our tickets to see David Bowie Is at MCA a while back and we're excited it's finally upon us this weekend. After talking to our friend Chris, it turns out there's a ton of art events going on. 

The Great Chicago Fire Festival is being put on by Redmoon Theater with a ton of support from the City. We expect to see a lot of impromptu performance, installation and art pieces all over the city and particularly the waterfront, right where our hotel is. I can't wait to see the spectacles. 

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 2.02.53 PM.png

I'm so bummed that our tickets for Bowie are during this time but there's also the Shockingly Modern Home Tour going this Saturday. We're huge fans of architecture and I especially love to see how people dwell in these types of spaces. 

There's also the West Town Art Walk, a series of venues, galleries and spaces hosting openings along Chicago Avenue. It will be a walk down memory lane for us and I hope we can make it. Check out the long list of participants here.

And here are a few other art walks this weekend: 

Little Village, Oct. 3 -5

Ravenswood, Oct 4 - 5

Various home salons throughout Chicago take place each Saturday in October in Re-mapping the Salon.

There's no photography allowed in the Bowie show but I'm excited to do a full review when we get back next week. Maybe we'll see you around this weekend! Go out, see art. xx

Comment

Comment

Artprize 2014: A Weekend in Grand Rapids

I got the visit Artprize over the weekend,  the largest art fair with winners chosen by community vote. Attendees must be present to register to vote and winners win cash prizes in the six-figures. Originally sponsored by the DeVos family as a public art event, it has garnered participation from artists worldwide since it's inception in 2009. Nick and I haven't participated since 2010 (he showed a larger-than-life photo comic book and I showed an interactive piece made from reused materials at a nursery school). 

Though there was a lot of marketing through artists and supporters handing out cards and campaigning, I tried to reserve voting to the pieces that truly moved me, made me think and converse with the friends I was with. The initial round of voting is underway and there's a second tier of votes needed after the Top 10 are announced. The fair runs through October 10th and I highly recommend a visit. Whether you're a fan of the communal vote or not, it's an opportunity to see a ton of free, contemporary art in every type of venue imaginable.

Here are just a few of the highlights.

#eggprize

#eggprize

A phonograph that sung the phrase "All You Need Is Love" when you held a business card along the ridges.

A phonograph that sung the phrase "All You Need Is Love" when you held a business card along the ridges.

Kaitlin Brewer's "Shattered" at Grand Rapids Art Museum 

Kaitlin Brewer's "Shattered" at Grand Rapids Art Museum 

Anila Quayyum Agha's "Intersections"

Anila Quayyum Agha's "Intersections"

A small section of "Elephants", the 2012 grand prize winning piece by Adonna Khare

A small section of "Elephants", the 2012 grand prize winning piece by Adonna Khare

Michigan artist Ann Lovelace was the grand prize winner of 2013 with her quilt piece "Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore"

Michigan artist Ann Lovelace was the grand prize winner of 2013 with her quilt piece "Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore"

#peace #GrandRapids #bluebridge

#peace #GrandRapids #bluebridge

#steampunk

#steampunk


Comment

Comment

Detroit Connections: Super Heroes

Nick's been working with elementary students in one of Detroit's public schools as a Detroit Connections artist-in-residence. Once a week, he goes in to talk to them about creating imagery, writing about their community and then takes photos of the kids acting out their super hero dreams.

He's featured on the Stamps School of Art & Design's tumblr page. Check it out!

Comment