Monday, December 31, 2012

The Cornelian + reflections on 2012

 The Cornelian (self portrait), acrylic on canvas, 24x30, 2012

As 2012 came to a close, I decided to create a self portrait - The Cornelian. It's based on a photograph taken in front of the Cornelia Arts Building where my studio is located. I haven't done a self portrait for a while, so I figured it would be a good exercise to go through since I've been a full time artist for one year now. I think the portrait reveals a several things: happiness, uncertainty, confidence and a bit of skepticism.

Reflecting back, I'd have to say that 2012 was a very successful year for me; I'm extremely grateful for all of the support I received. I started it off by taking an online class from Alyson Stanfield to work on my business plan and to help focus my priorities as an artist. I sold art consistently throughout the year and completed two commission paintings: West Loop Cityscape and Chicago Lakefront Skyline. I hooked up with Chicago Art Leasing which is giving me more exposure by renting out some of my art to businesses and homes. My studio was featured in the New York art blog, Hyperallergic - A View from the Easel; and I took an Experimental Drawing Techniques class to shake up my creativity.

During the second half of the year, I worked with two different art consultants on various submissions to license my art for hotel redesign projects. Last week, one of them came through -- four of my cityscape photographs will be printed large-scale for the Mile North Chicago hotel downtown. A second project for another hotel is still in the works. In addition to making connections with art consultants around the country, I explored some new online opportunities to help get my work in front of art collectors; such as ArtSlant, ArtBarcs, Chicago Art Database, ArtWorldChicago, Art Takes Times Square, and got my art represented in Xanadu's Online Gallery. I continue to show at the Writers Workspace and Transistor and will be exploring a lot more show and art licensing opportunities next year.

One last thing I'm proud of is helping my wife start up the Chicago Writers Conference. We ran a successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign where some of my art went to some generous contributors. I volunteered on the Board of Directors, created the marketing and communications plan, developed website content, created a mobile app, and shot photos of the speakers and reading events. It was a challenge to say the least but very rewarding and we learned a lot. We'll continue CWC with a series of workshops throughout the year and the second annual conference in October.

In early 2013, I'll be launching a new website redesign and I look forward to experimenting with oils to begin taking my art in some new directions.

Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Experimental Drawing Techniques - Week 4

The last week of the Experimental Drawing Techniques class was spent creating Exquisite Corpse drawings. For those not familiar, Exquisite Corpse is a collaborative drawing/painting technique where you continuously create a piece of art based on what was created previously. This technique was originally practiced in the 1920's by the Surrealists, who combined mind-altering substances with intuitive and improvised art making.

For this particular exercise, we folded pieces of paper into quarters and then each person created a "panel" and passed it on to the next person. The next person didn't know what you made but was able to play off of some colors, shapes, or lines that bled onto their panel.Then they created something in response to what you created, and passed it on...and so on...

Here are some example panels I created:

And here's a finished piece of one Exquisite Corpse drawing I started:

Finally, here are all the Exquisite Corpse drawings from the class:

Overall, a very good class that I got a lot out of. It brought on some new creative ideas but also loosened me up and helped me develop ideas and create in different ways. Particularly, I had fun experimenting with ink and drawing objects from different perspectives while giving them unusual textures.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Experimental Drawing Techniques - Week 3

This week's class helped me break free more than expected but also helped me focus. We were assigned to bring in an object - something mundane that might evoke an emotion or personal meaning.

I chose to bring in a rubber door stop from my studio:

We sketched the objects during various warm-up exercises:

Then added textures, rubbings, masking and more media that created some interesting abstractions:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Experimental Drawing Techniques - Week 2

Here are some of the more successful drawings I made in week 2 of my Experimental Drawing Techniques class. I mostly focused on drawing still life objects at various angles.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Storyteller

I created "The Storyteller" last month for my wife's birthday. It was a secret project I worked on and surprised her with it when she came home from a business trip.

She's a writer and reads her stories around town at various live literary events. She also a former actress and improv performer. So, I wanted to capture her creative spirit with this painting.

The Storyteller, acrylic on canvas, 30x40, 2012, not for sale

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Experimental Drawing Techniques - Week 1

Last week, I started an experimental drawing techniques class. A lot of the theories and techniques are based on Surrealism. It was a fun first class -- learning some new techniques and playing around with different materials. Below are the results of the first class.

Acrylic ink, watercolor, and conté crayon art sticks on Bristol paper. The last one is on Yupo paper - a smooth, translucent vellum material.

I'll be posting more images from each class for the next few weeks...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Open Studios - Friday Night Nov 16th

It's that time again for another Friday Night Open Studios at the Cornelia Arts Building

Kevin Swallow, Studio #201, Cornelia Arts Building

Friday, November 16, 2012
6pm - 10pm

Cornelia Arts Building - where art works
1800 W. Cornelia
Chicago, IL 60657


Click here for more detailed info about the open studios event

Monday, November 12, 2012

exploring - random city images

I've been making it a point to go to different neighborhoods every week to walk around and take photos. Recently I've gravitated toward West Town, East Village, and Wicker Park. Before that it was Fulton Market/West Loop that inspired my new city abstracts series.

This neighborhood exploring has inspired some new abstracts and mixed media pieces and all around experimentation for my art. I fought the changes in my art a little but have decided to let these experiments just take me for a ride. I even signed up for an experimental drawing class to continue developing new ideas.

Anyway, here are some of the photos from my jaunts around town...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Invasion of the water tanks

In addition to the recent static abstracts, I'm working out some new ideas about rooftop water tanks and cities' relation to water. Below a very rough start to a mixed media painting that I started this afternoon.

Invasion of the water tanks, acrylic and screen print on canvas, work in progress

Studio Featured on A View from the Easel

My studio was featured on Hyperallergic's A view from the Easel blog this week. Read the post here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Static Abstractions - works in progress

This has been a month of abstract experiments and trying out new ideas for paintings. For the last few weeks I've been working and re-working the below paintings. I've been using different techniques such as masking, screen printing, drawing with paint markers and conte crayons to build up the many layers.

You can see through to previous layers much like what you might see on an old building with peeling paint and old signage or paste-ups. Still more to go on all of these (or maybe they'll morph into something else). There's a lot going on in these (and on my mind lately) so I'm calling them Static Abstractions.