Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Artists Rights Society

The Artists Rights Society (ARS) is a rights licensing organization that acts “…on behalf of our members to streamline the process for reviewing and approving or rejecting requests for reproduction.” It is “…the preeminent copyright, licensing, and monitoring organization for visual artists in the United States. Founded in 1987, ARS represents the intellectual property rights interests of over 30,000 visual artists and estates of visual artists from around the world (painters, sculptors, photographers, architects and others).

ARS' membership derives from two sources. First, ARS represents American artists who become its direct adherents and it represents foreign artists who are members of affiliated arts organizations abroad…ARS is also a member of CISAC (Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Auteurs et Compositeurs), the Paris-based, umbrella organization which oversees the activities of international copyright collecting societies in all media. As part of this international network of rights organizations, ARS maintains relationships with like-minded "sister societies" abroad. Through reciprocal agreements ARS represents the artist repertories of its foreign sister societies in the U.S., and they in turn represent ARS' American repertory in their territories.”

There is no fee for membership. The revenue structure is stated as follows:

“Revenues received by ARS from reproduction and
license fees are remitted to members or their
designated representatives on a semi-annual basis.
Payments to our members are accompanied by a
report detailing the title of the work utilized, the
name of the publisher or manufacturer, the nature
of the usage, and the sum collected for same. ARS
retains a minor percentage to cover its
administrative costs. All the non-revenue producing
work done by ARS, such as lobbying, policing
and prevention, is done at its own expense, and none
is apportioned to the artist. Artists need to bear in
mind that ARS is not an agent and does not
promote the sale of artists’ works, nor does it
perform the functions of a gallery or assist our
members in finding a gallery.”

There is a database available to view all of the artists that are represented, as well as a listing of their most requested artists and a listing of their represented American artists.

To learn more about the benefits of membership and services provided, visit the web site:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

O. J. Simpson Coloring & Activity Book – Colin Quashie

“Using the medium of art in the form of the O.J. Simpson Coloring & Activity Book, the intent is not to rehash the merits or legal strategies employed during the trial, but rather to assess the social impact by surveying the extent of the cultural divide it exposed…we hope to communicate across social, racial and cultural boundaries in an effort to foster a greater awareness and understanding of each other.”

Insightful discussion questions are presented for each page of the coloring book.

To download a full size version (pdf format):

On his website, Colin Quashie states, “The Coloring Book operates on three different levels. 1) It allows me to skewer social inconsistencies in the most cynical of terms. 2) It looks at these situations from a child's perspective. How? With television being the preferred baby-sitter of choice, children are bombarded by advertisers and programming which affect them in ways we may never understand. Without the benefit of experience that comes with age, their developing sense of values are ripe for the shaping. 3) The most important component of this piece is the fact that actual children colored the images. After sketching and inking the originals, I passed out copies (minus the text) to friends with children and told them to do whatever they wanted. I chose the ones that appealed to me and used their pictures to color in the final painting. Though not seen on the picture, the children's names are signed below my name along with their age. I did this to underscore the first two points. It is by far the most compelling feature of this series.”

Vist Colin Quashie's web site to learn more about him and his art:

Monday, November 19, 2007

United States Artists - Unapologetic in LA (Los Angeles)

Our Mission, with no apologies:
To nurture, support,
and strengthen the
work of America's
finest living artists
[emphasis added]

On Thursday, November 15, the United States Artists Fellows for 2007 were announced with an award ceremony in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 17.
This unique organization is dedicated to providing significant funding and recognition to individual artists across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Following are quotations from some of the primary individuals who are intimately involved in making this resource for artists a reality:

"Bold vision and leadership are an irresistible combination for social investors. We hope this program acknowleges performance, helps sustain our artists, and inspires others to follow their creative instincts."
Douglas K. Freeman, USA National Leadership Committee; Chairman, Rose Foundation

“I am unapologetic about the unerring commitment to spanning this country, seeking the most innovative artists who represent the best of their medium, watching their excitement at the recognition, the network they are now part of, and the benefit they will derive from these resources.”
Judith Rodin, USA Board Member; President, Rockefeller Foundation

“It is important to nurture and honor the work of contemporary artists who take great personal risk to explore the outer edges of conventional thinking. They create an atmosphere in which we all can be more creative.”
Eli Broad, USA National Leadership Committee; Founder of the Broad Art Foundation

“I am unapologetic about rallying for recognition that our artists are indispensable resources for the life, economy, and legacy of the United States. I am unapologetic about enabling the support of USA Fellows, who represent the finest of American Creative practitioners, and about helping to bring them to the forefront of American awareness and appreciation.”
Samuel Hoi, USA Board Member; President, Otis college of Art and Design

“I am unapologetic about giving such talented artists the freedom to use USA’s support with no strings attached. If we want to foster artists’ creativity, we should allow creativity in the use of funds.”
Susan Berresford, Chair, USA Board of Directors; President, Ford Foundation

“I have learned how difficult it is to maintain financial security as an artist, even for some of our most celebrated, successful artists, and how few Americans appreciate that art comes from artists.”
Diane Kaplan, USA Board Member; President, Rasmuson Foundation

“We are unapologetic about going straight to the source in supporting individual artists rather than the circuitous route of supporting institutions.”
Arthur D. and Anne B. Collins, USA National Leadership Committee; Co-Chairs, Collins Family Foundation

“'Art comes from artists.’ This rallying cry from USA, I have really taken to heart. What has become clear to me is how complex it is to achieve the goal of making the public aware of this simple equation. I am part of the dream that is to have the contributions of artists and art making become part of the fabric of our society.”
Mark Bradford, USA Board Member; USA Broad Fellow 2006 in Visual Arts

“We are unapologetic about supporting excellence, originality, and the profound – uncoupling the need for deep thought and artistic innovation from the needs of commerce.”
Amada Cruz, USA Program Director

“With so many important causes to support in this country – such as poverty, medical research, and education – the arts are often ‘low man on the totem pole.’ I often feel the burden of having to justify supporting the arts. USA just does it: Here’s the money. Take it. Do what you must. USA puts into context why creativity, expression, imagination, and innovation are crucial to the health and prosperity of our country and the human spirit.”
Gillian Early, USA Board Member

“We are unapologetic about respecting and valuing the work of artists – both their external products, which bring us enjoyment, as well as the intrinsic process that produces the work.”
Susan and Pat Stevens, USA National Leadership Committee

“Contemporary art has often been controversial and difficult to support. United States Artists has made a powerful commitment to supporting living artists and, through its example, makes the rest of us wonder if we shouldn’t be doing the same.”
Paul Ha, USA Panelist 2006, Visual Arts; Director, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

“Being an artist is hard. Being creative is hard. Being original is hard. The artists I have met approach their work with the same rigor, dedication, discipline, and intellectual honesty that any scientist, inventor, academic, or philosopher does. Heck, these artists are, among other things, scientists, academics, inventors, and philosophers!”
Todd Simon, USA Board Member; Senior Vice President, Omaha Steaks

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Acrylics & Gels - Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know

The Acrylic Book – by Liquitex – This is a 122-page free e-book giving great information about acrylic paints and gels and how to use them.
Fabric Painting and Liquitex Products: explains the different products and how to use them on fabrics.
Use Golden Acrylics on Fabric – Application Information Sheet
What Are Gels? – Patti Brady – “[Gels]…are the undiscovered and under-utilized secret of acrylic materials. No other medium offers artists the incredible array of options in surfaces, viscosities, transparencies, textures, glazes and extending possibilities, while maintaining great flexibility and a relatively quick drying time.”

Monday, November 12, 2007

Quotable Quote - Lyndon Baines Johnson

" Our civilization will largely survive in the works of our creation. There is a quality in art which speaks across the gulf dividing man from man and nation from nation, and century from century. That quality confirms the faith that our common hopes may be more enduring than our conflicting hostilities. Even now men of affairs are struggling to catch up with the insights of great art. The stakes may well be the survival of civilization. "
Lyndon Baines Johnson

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Creative Process of Pam RuBert

It's Only a Leaf, 2006
35" x 49"

Pam RuBert’s art is definitely distinctive – few would not recognize the signature style that combines her incisive wit and sense of humor through the exploits of a character named PaMdora. Pam (the artist) states:
“…PaMdora has become symbolic of how I see the
world -- a big jumbled mess of good, bad, joy,
frustration, beauty, and humor. The quilts are not
really about PaMdora, although she’s large in her
own mind. They are more about how she watches
the crazy world around her with a strange mixture
of astonishment, dismay, and amusement.”
Through the format of a slideshow, Pam provides us with insight into her design process for an artwork titled “Its Only a Leaf”. The slideshow starts with her first steps in the composition of the piece. It shows the fabric “auditioning” process, as well as the movement from arrangement of fabric yardage on the design wall, to final placement of each figure and the finished composition. The slideshow is looped so that it recycles through the sequence of images automatically.

By reading through Pam’s blog and the 2006 interview of her for the Alliance for American Quilts Save Our Stories project, you can glean a plethora [my favorite word – I just like the sound of it] of additional clues about how she works:

“I usually do little sketches in my sketchbook then I work on a more formal design and refine lots of the details on my laptop. Then I print out a big pattern and use that to cut the fabrics.”

“I always design standing up. This is probably due to the influence of a college painting instructor who said to never paint sitting down. His theory was that it’s too easy to be lazy if you’re sitting down, that the tendancy is to not get out of your seat enough, walk around, and evaluate your work from a distance.”

“…sometimes I cut out a character or object out of fabric and it doesn't seem quite right in the overall composition. Then I usually pin it to a nearby empty design board because I still like to look at these characters. When I need space cleared off my design boards, I put them all into a box under my worktable but usually with regret. Sometimes I go through and pick out a few of my favorites and pin them to an "inspiration board" above my sewing machine. Rarely do I use them in another work because it's just easier to start fresh with a new project.”

“…translating a drawing to fabric creates something entirely new. It’s not just copying one thing to another. The fabric has it’s own personality and either augments the drawing or takes away from it. So I’m working more towards the augment effect, but I don’t always know what will work until I try it. Sometimes I think a fabric is just perfect, but it looks horrible when I cut it into a shape. Sometimes the most unlikely fabric is a real sleeper, it’s either perfect…Sometimes the same fabric has a totally different look if it’s just laid out a little differently, like plaid that’s a little skewed.”

“I like to throw fabric on the floor when I’m trying to figure out a color palette. It’s fast, it gets messy, and I get frustrated because each time I add a new fabric to the mix, it seems to throw off everything else.”

“I work hard to make lots of different patterns and designs work together. Sometimes it takes a long time for me to find just the right fabric for a specific character or object but that fabric has to work within the context of everything else in the quilt.”

“Usually I start in the center, or with PaMdora’s face, which is this case is both and makes it kind of tough since there’s a lot of fabric to handle on each side. I start with the blacks to warm up and get my groove back, especially necessary after a long sabbatical from quilting.”

“During the cutting process, sometimes I find that I have to go back to the drawing and make changes—either because something isn't working in fabric or maybe I had a new idea that I want to add. Then, after I get the whole thing cut and pinned to my design wall, I fuse it together and then start to quilt.”

“…I keep cutting, pinning, and re-evaluating all the fabrics on the board…[I] try to work the whole “canvas” at once. This means, don’t ignore the whole design while focusing on one detail area. Every part of the design impacts every other part, and it’s always a balancing act to make it all work together well.”

“I try not to work until I’m bone-tired and at a total loss for what to do next. I find a place to stop when I still have energy and know what needs to be done next. This makes me excited and look forward to returning to the studio the next day.”

“It’s always exciting to take a design off the wall and start to quilt, and sometimes a relief. A relief after days (or sometimes months) of looking at, struggling with the composition, colors and patterns and finally committing.”
[Note: I really relate to this on a very personal level – for me,
this commitment comes when I finally can no longer avoid the
realization that instead of “honing” the concept, all I’m really
doing is just procrastinating – read, “avoiding doing the work”.
When all is said and done, at some point you simply have to
cut the fabric! I’m s-o-o-o glad to know that I’m not the only
one that has to cope with this. Pam, thank you for sharing.]

“I practice doodling on paper before I do the actual quilting. But now I’ve started doing it in color because it’s more fun that way.”

“When I’m getting ready to quilt a face or some detail, I lay some tracing paper over the shape and practice drawing lines, to ready myself to make similar patterns with the sewing machine needle. I do all my quilting improvisationally, so for me, it’s like a dancer practicing the dance to ready for the final performance.”

“I develop new stitch patterns for each part of the quilt. Because I match the thread to my fabrics, the effects are subtle — you have to get up close to see the different stitching motifs.”

“Sometimes the stitching is symbolic like spider webs representing the Internet or sound waves coming off a cell tower. But sometimes the stitching is just funky and fun. I think it makes the quilt more interesting when there is lots of variety and I like to use the stitching to make something that couldn't be done with a drawing or paint or just fabric alone.”

“I do design my quilts to look bold and simple from a distance, then up close there are small details in the story line, stitching and fabric patterns, that are, hopefully, a surprise to the viewer when they move in closer to the work. I want the viewer to spend some time looking for them but not so hidden that they can't see them at all.”

Pam’s Views on Creativity:

“Creativity is struggling with some half-cocked idea and trying to make something out of it. My history (as probably most people’s) is strewn with half-realized ideas, things I sort-of worked on, but abandoned somewhere at some unsuccessful and ugly stage of development.”

“I don’t think you can fail at creativity because it’s a process. The only way to really fail is not to try.”

Be sure to also check out Pam’s Illustration Friday posts

[NOTE: Illustration Friday is a weekly creative outlet/participatory art exhibit for illustrators and artists of all skill levels. It was designed to challenge participants creatively…It's a chance to experiment and explore and play with visual art.]

To view more of Pam’s work, please visit her website:

To keep abreast of her design process, please read her blog:

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Power of Art - Simon Schama

You can watch eight video excerpts from the mesmerizing PBS series on The Power of Art by Simon Schama, courtesy of the BBC, either on the web site or in your standalone player (Windows Media Player or RealPlayer). The segments range from 2 – 5 ½ minutes in length on Michelangelo Merisi di Caravaggio, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Jacques-Louis David, Joseph Mallord William Turner, Vincent Willem Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Mark Rothko (born Marcus Rothkowitz):

A 10-minute You-Tube video excerpt of the program on Rothko also can be viewed:

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Creative Process of Sonji Hunt

Medallion I
33" H x 22"W

We all struggle with and delight in the design process of our own work, and are intrigued by that of others. Rarely, though do we ever have the opportunity to be “the fly on the wall” and/or to peek over other artists’ shoulders as they make design decisions while creating in their studios. Sonji Hunt has invited us into her studio as she details step-by-step the process in which she was engaged during creation of “Medallion I”, her interpretation of a traditional medallion-styled quilt:

September 24, 2007 – New Medallion Series in the Works

September 28, 2007 – Medallion Progress

September 29, 2007 – The Borders Continue

October 2, 2007 – More Border and BlahBlah

October 14, 2007 – Rotated Border

October 22, 2007 – Saga of the Medallion

October 25, 2007 – Let Go Already!!!

October 29, 2007 – Hand Embroidery on Medallion

October 30, 2007 – 20 Minutes Later…It’s Done

On her website, Sonji has crystallized and collapsed the entire process involved in creation of “Medallion I” into a succinct series of images (“read” them from left to right)
To view more of Sonji’s work, please visit her website:

To keep abreast of her design process, please read her blog:

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Process: The Map to the Mind of the Artist

“Artistic process is valued because it gives us
insight into the mind of the artist. Artistic process
takes many forms and is as personal and individual
as the final works of art. Some artists work
intuitively, so content and development emerge
at the same time, during creation of the piece itself.
Some artists follow a strong pre-production schedule
(researching, sketching, and planning before making
the final piece). Some artists write. Some artists
work in solitude. Some artists only work collaboratively.
For some artists, the process is the art. Process pieces
offer insight and add depth and value to the work itself…

Process should clearly identify the creative,
conceptual, and technical processes involved in
making the work. This interest is sometimes
technical, but more often it is about development
of ideas, translation of ideas into images, and the
choices and decisions that were made along the
way. The goal is to make visible the creative
process of the artist.”
These words are taken from a 2002 Call for Entry to the Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Graphic and Interactive Techniques.

It’s interesting how closely this resonates with our own desire to understand how other artists work. Some textile artists, through their blogs and/or web sites, are beginning to share their process. Starting tomorrow I will begin to post information about some of them.