Archive for October, 2009

13
Oct
09

Making The Big One

    I was recently commissioned to create a fish. This fish is to be a gift for a writer named  David Kinney who recently wrote a book titled The Big One.  I took a series of images that show how the fish came to be. I hope you enjoy seeing the process.

I began with a few thumbnail sketches of fish, and then cut an oval base out of MDF.

I began with a few thumbnail sketches of fish, and then cut a 20" oval out of MDF.

Using one of my thumbnails as a guide, I roughed in the fish on the board.

Using one of my thumbnails as a guide, I roughed in the fish on the board using a Sharpie.

 

I decided that the fish would itself would be make up of a primarily blue palette.

I decided that the fish would itself would be make up of a primarily blue palette.

I keep pulling metal from my "blue bin" and keeping what I think is working.

I keep pulling metal from my "blue bin" and keeping what I think is working. At this point I am only driving the nails in part way in case I need to make some changes in color, shape, or value.

 

I tried several background choices: orange, red, simulated wood prints. I finally settled on white which seemed to show off the fish the best. Here you can see I am starting to lay in the white metal.

I tried several background choices: orange, red, simulated wood prints. I finally settled on white which seemed to show off the fish the best. Here you can see I am starting to lay in the white metal.

At this point I have a little better than half of the negative space filled in with white.

At this point I have a little better than half of the negative space filled in with white.

The white background is complete and I am finishing the nailing of the fish itself. The "tag" just below the fish is for the title.

The white background is complete and I am finishing the nailing of the fish itself. The "tag" just below the fish is for the title.

I have finished the nailing, including the title, and am now ready to paint the exposed edges of the MDF.

I have finished the nailing, including the title, and am now ready to paint the exposed edges of the MDF.

And here is the completed "Big One". Now I keep my fingers crossed that both Rick, who contracted with me to do the piece, and the David, who is receiving it as a gift, will like it.

And here is the completed "Big One". Now I keep my fingers crossed that both Rick, who contracted with me to do the piece, and David, who is receiving it as a gift, will like it.

11
Oct
09

Associated Artists of Pittsburgh 99th Annual Exhibition

 

Robert Villamagna and Nancy Tirone.

Robert Villamagna and Nancy Tirone.

    Nancy Tirone my colleague at West Liberty University, and I have work in the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh 99th Annual Exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Associate Professor of Art Nancy Tirone has two mixed-media works in the exhibition, Expectations and I Have No Illusions, I I Lost Them In My Travels. I have two works in the exhibition as well, 22nd at Smallman, Looking Up  and Bluesman II., both of which are printed metal on wood composite panel.

    The works were chosen for the 2009 exhibition by curator Doryun Chong. Doryun Chong was raised in Korea and studied art history, anthropology, and comparative literature at the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his B.A. and M.A. and completed doctoral studies in art history. He began his curatorial career at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and has also worked for the Berkeley Art Museum and Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2001). He has been with the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis since September 2003, where he holds the title of assistant curator of visual arts. At the Walker, Chong has developed artist residency and exhibition projects with a range of artists, including Puerto Rico-based Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Thailand-based Rikrkit Tiravanija, and Chicago-based Catherine Sullivan. With Philippe Vergne, he curated “House of Oracles: A Huang Yong Ping Retrospective,” the first mid-career survey of the Paris-based Chinese artist and co-edited the first comprehensive monograph. Currently he is co-curating an international group exhibition titled “Brave New Worlds,” scheduled to open in October 2007. He has also organized several group exhibitions in other sites, including “Time After Time: Asia and Our Moment” (2003) at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, and the Busan Biennale of International Contemporary Art in South Korea in 2006. 


"I Have No Illusions", by Nancy Tirone, mixed media collage on panel.

I Have No Illusions, by Nancy Tirone, mixed media collage on panel.

    Founded in 1910 and incorporated in 1930, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh is one of the oldest continuously exhibiting visual arts organizations in the country.  AAP is a non-profit artist-run organization that exists to support regional artists through contemporary visual arts exhibitions and educational outreach programs, contributing to the vitality of the community. AAP past membership has included such well-known artists as Andy Warhol, Samuel Rosenberg, John Kane, Mary Cassatt, Philip Pearlstein and Louise Pershing, just to name a few.

"Expectations", by Nancy Tirone, mixed media collage on panel.

Expectations, by Nancy Tirone, mixed media collage on panel.

    A primary goal of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh is to bring its members’ work before the public eye, for purposes of education and recognition. Since 1911, AAP has mounted this major Annual Exhibition in prominent galleries in Pittsburgh, most often at the Carnegie Museum of Art. 

        The AAP Annual is juried by distinguished artists, museum directors, scholars and nationally known art critics. Monetary awards made possible through individual, group and corporate contributions are provided each year. Each year, the organization invites artists living within 150 miles of the city to submit work for this survey exhibition. The 99th Annual will be from August 29 through November 8, 2009 at the Carnegie Museum of Art.

"22nd at Smallman, Looking Up", by Robert Villamagna, printed metal, plastic sheet, nails on MDF.

22nd at Smallman, Looking Up, by Robert Villamagna, printed metal, plastic sheet, nails on MDF.

    My entry, 22nd at Smallman, Looking Up, came about one day this past summer when my wife, Chris, and I were in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. Chris was getting some groceries at Right By Nature and so I just killed some time walking up Smallman Street. At one point I looked up at one of the power poles and was intrigued by the near silhouette of the wires and arms of the pole against the blue sky. I rarely go anywhere without a digital camera and so immediately started snapping photos. It was about a week later that I took at look at the photos and realized that this might make a good subject for one of my metal works. The rest, as they say, is history.

"Bluesman II.", by Robert Villamagna, printed metal on MDF.

Bluesman II., by Robert Villamagna, printed metal on MDF.

    Bluesman II. was created as a possible promotion design for the 2009 Heritage Music Bluesfest in Wheeling. It is the third piece I have done based on blues music.

06
Oct
09

Oglebayfest

     On October 2, 3, and 4, I was exhibiting my art work at the Artist Market at Oglebayfest in Wheeling, WV. Rick Morgan, a former student of mine at West Liberty University and a kick butt clay artist, is the director of the Artist Market. Rick took it over last year and has been working toward improving the diversity and the quality of the arts and crafts exhibited at the event. My friend Kyle Hallam, Green County’s clay ninja, and I did the Artist Market last year when we found out Rick was the then new director.

    In addition to Kyle and myself, West Liberty colleagues Nancy Tirone and James Haizlett also exhibitied in this years market. Nancy exhibited her mixed collages, while Jim and his son, Will, presented their wood furniture, sculpture, and musical instruments. Jim was also selling his home made maple syrup, which according to Jim is “made with love”. Chris and I purchased a couple bottle before it was all gone!

Will Haizlett, Jim Haizlett, Nancy Tirone, Kyle Hallam, Chris & Robert Villamgna. In front is Jessica "Superstar" Leach, who helps make sure the Artist Market runs smoothly.

Will Haizlett, Jim Haizlett, Nancy Tirone, Kyle Hallam, Chris & Robert Villamgna. In front is Jessica "Superstar" Leach, who helps make sure the Artist Market runs smoothly.

     Kyle had the booth next to mine and decided not to bring any of his fabulous clay pieces with him this year. Instead, he took somewhat of a risk and created three large mixed-media wall works for the show. Kyle’s work was a big hit with market visitors, but there were several people who just did not know what to make of the mixed-media works.

Market visitors checking out Kyle's work.

Market visitors checking out Kyle's work.

The man, the myth, the legend.... artist Kyle Hallam with one of his works.

The man, the myth, the legend.... artist Kyle Hallam with one of his works.

 

One of Kyle Hallam's large wall pieces made of a variety of recycled materials.

Another one of Kyle Hallam's large wall pieces made of a variety of recycled materials.

    This was Nancy Tirone’s first time exhibiting her work at an art fair! Her work looked great and she was excited to get her feet wet as a festival artist. Nancy’s work is primarily collage with a variety of other media, especially Oil Bar. Nancy uses phrases and quotes in most of her work, and she weaves these words through her pieces. The statements become ingrained in the work both visually and in content.

Nancy Tirone's mixed-media collages.

Nancy Tirone's mixed-media collages.

 

My wife, Chris, purchases rolling pin from Will Haizlett as a gentleman tries out one of Will's mandolins.

My wife, Chris, purchases rolling pin from Will Haizlett as a gentleman tries out one of Will's mandolins.

 

Jim Haizlett working on a wood bowl in front of his booth.

Jim Haizlett working on a wood bowl in front of his booth.

Part of the Saturday crowd at the Oglebayfest Artist Market.

Part of the Saturday crowd at the Oglebayfest Artist Market. Obviously "kettle corn" is a big hit!

 

Suze excited to go home with a Villamagna piece!

Suz Pisano excited to go home with a Villamagna piece!

    I tried something this year at Oglebestfest that I have never done before at any art fair. I devoted one half of my booth to a “studio clean-up sale”. I was recently attempting to clean my studio and realized that in addition to all the assemblage items and tin cans, I also had a lot of old art work stacking up. This was work that was left over from previous theme shows, group shows, experimental pieces, and a few pieces that for some reason just did not find a home. I drastically reduced the prices of these pieces and, well….. the response was great! I moved a lot of older work out of my studio and made a lot of people happy in the process. In addition, I also sold several new works. 

    I was surprised to discover that it was not just Wheeling area people buying my work. My stuff went to homes in Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Lancaster, PA! How great that Oglebayfest is attracting people from far outside our community.

    I did some trading with fiber artist Suz Pisano. Suz got my “Heart With Dagger” (see above) and my wife Chris was excited with two funky purses. Trading with artists is an added benefit to doing an art fair.

Will Haizlett working on one of his stools.

Will Haizlett working on one of his stools.

    Friday had a little activity in the early afternoon, but once the rains moved in only the artists were on the festival grounds. Saturday was warm and sunny, and the people came out in big numbers. Sunday was dry, but a bit cooler and cloudy. All in all it was a good weekend.

The smell of fried potatoes reaches all parts of the market area.

The smell of fried potatoes reaches all parts of the market area.

 

Bring on the onions!

Bring on the onions!

 

This is Kim, one of the new clay artists in the market, holding the Count Dracula I purchased from her.

This is Kim, one of the new clay artists in the market, holding the Count Dracula I purchased from her.

 

Nancy packing up her new panels on Sunday evening after finishing her very first art fair.

Nancy packing up her new panels on Sunday evening after finishing her very first art fair.

    Over the weekend Chris and I kept track of some quotes we heard from people passing by. Here are a few of them:

“Three of my crafter friends are not here…. and the show is smaller. What does THAT tell you!”

Guy on cell phone: “I’m at Oglebayfest. It’s a bunch of tents full of stuff that women like, and I’m just waiting around.”

“This must be the arty section.”             “There’s some different stuff here!”            “I don’t believe it! NO SLATE!”

Two women walking in front of Kyle’s booth: “What is THAT?” says the first woman. “JUNK…” says the second woman, who then sees Kyle and I, “….err,…PAINTINGS.”

    I think I can speak for all the artists in our “neighborhood” and say we had a great time! Next year we hope to get more of our art friends to come to Oglebayfest and join our “fine arts row”. Hey Kimster and Susan, are you reading this?