Friday, July 29, 2011

Art Blog: Technoholic?

Can you remember before you ever owned a computer? Can you really remember? For me it is a vague memory. I have been working with technology on the job since 1980. However, I didn’t own my first personal computer until 1996. Those were the days you had to pay over $3. per hour to use AOL. I knew I was in trouble the first months of internet trolling. I was getting AOL bills in the hundreds of dollars each month. It was crazy.

In retrospect, I see that time as the beginnings of a new and strange habit. It quickly consumed me. I sat at that old Mac and typed until dawn. Nowadays, my techno behavior is pretty much the same. However, it is much more intense and at times, frightening.
So am I an addict?

Just like many of you who are reading this right now, I have wondered about how technology has such a hold on me. However, I quiver to think of myself as an addict. Most of us think addicts are useless people who accomplish very little in their lives because they are too busy using a habit forming substance. We visualize a dark eyed, unbathed, slob on the street corner looking for his/her next hit. That is not us, right?

Ask yourself these questions:
1. Have you had any problems in your life due to your technology use?
2. Has your use of technology caused you any family trouble?
3. Have you stopped taking time to explore other interests because you are too busy online?
4. Do you feel frantic and have heart palpitations if you lose your cell phone or don’t have your iPad within reach?
5. Have you missed events or appointments because you would rather stay online?
6. Do you have a feverish urge to find the newest techno gadgets so you can be the first to show and amaze your friends?
7. Do you ever peek at your FB or G+ profile page to REMEMBER what you wrote the night before?
8. Is technology the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think about at night?
9. Do you ever have a gut feeling you are devoting too much time to technology?

Last but not least:
10. Have you ever tried to go a day WITHOUT technology? Were
you successful?

How many of those questions did you answer YES to? I don’t have an answer or rating scale as to how many YES answers make you an addict, but at least I have you thinking.

The main thing to realize is that we can be addicted to anything. We are creatures who develop habits, some good and some bad. To categorize something as a negative addiction there is a primary criteria:
Does it cause you harm?

THINK ABOUT IT. Are you a technoholic?

“Bartender, would you pass me a flash drive?”

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Art Blog: Judgment Day

JUDGMENT: a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion

I am wondering why so many feel the need to judge others. Does it promote a feeling of self worth? “YES, I AM BETTER THAN THEM!”

I think this is so sad. This is a topic that really bothers me. It is so easy to tear down others for their looks, appearance, or their state in life. I think social media venues make it even easier to let loose and have at it. “THEY” are stupid or ugly. “WE” think it is not right!

Hold your horses. I know from experience we don’t know the whole story. Everyone is not like you or me. All the people in the world have not had the advantages that maybe you or I have been afforded. If I dress a mess, it could be for many different reasons. Do you care to ask why before judging me?

I know for sure there are people who can’t afford stylish clothes. I know for sure there are people who don’t have a washing machine. I know for sure there are people who have never had the opportunity to be taught “societal standards”. They just do what they can do.

So am I too old or ugly to be in public? What do you think? Should society judge me? Who will make the rules about this? Opps, I am wearing my paint pants today because I just came from my studio. “OMG, she looks homeless!!” or “She has so many wrinkles, she is repulsive!!” Is that what you would think? Should I be shunned or condemned online? In other words, if you decide to judge others, you should at LEAST find out the true story or think about how others judge you! Is it fair or good or right? More importantly, I wonder why it is your place or my place or anybodies place to make a judgment about ANYBODY.

Look in the mirror.

So I look at this crowd and I could say any one of these things :

“I hate that orange shirt she is wearing!”

“He is too old to be in a race. Why is he even there?”

“She looks old and ugly.”

“Her legs and butt are fat. She isn’t a runner!”

Do you get the idea? This is so silly and so, so sad. Why are we doing this to each other? It needs to stop. Are you ready, willing, and able? If so, society will be a much better and far more loving place.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Art Blog: ROCKY, Where are you?

It is that time again. I realized I am on about a five year cycle. My weight goes up and down and up and down and.....over and over again. The pattern is all too predictable. I get to a point in which I can't stand myself; I hate the way I look; I feel like crap; I don't even like to move. THEN, (do you hear the Rocky Music? Da da da da....) I get fed up and do something about it.

I know the drill all too well. I clean the refrigerator and cabinets of all the EVIL food. I sort through my collection of fitness DVDs. I dust off the treadmill and spinner. Then I get to work. It takes months for me to get right again, but it always works as long as I do the work.

This time I have a slight problem. I don't think I have ever been as heavy or out of shape as I am now. I should have hit rock bottom about ten pounds ago. The scary part is I don't care.
This is so terrible.
ROCKY, where are you??????

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Art Blog: Demographics

I love my art life. I love painting. I love creating. I love being able to say “I am an artist!” However, I HATE the business of art. I am not a social creature. I have a very difficult time talking to people about my art. I am not a social butterfly and put very little effort into accruing art social connections. I get flustered if someone expresses interest in buying anything. I have a tendency to make work that is so personal, I feel like they are asking to buy my first born child. I know this is ridiculous. I have worked years on this very troubling issue. I need to sell in order to make more; it is that simple.

I have sold a lot of art in my life time. Almost all my sales have been through galleries. I wasn’t there for the wheelin and dealin. I just showed up to pick up the check. For the past few years, I haven’t been associated with any gallery. I wanted to be a free agent but that has been so difficult for me.

When I rented my ArtLofts studio in downtown St. Petersburg a few months ago, one of the motivations was to push myself out there. I kept telling myself, “If you wanna show and sell your work, you have to stop hiding SHEREE!”. So I did the dirty deed and rented another more visible studio. I have been in this new studio for six months. I have worked there a lot, but I have not taken advantage of situations that involved the public studio visits. I feared those nights and would not attend. Even thinking about having people come in and out of my studio made me feel dizzy and panic stricken. I made this month’s event my deadline. I needed to do it or forget this extra studio rent.

Well, I did do it and had a wonderful time. In order to allay some of my neurotic fears, I made a game of it. I opened my studio door; I set up a laptop with my own art videos playing and sat outside my studio door. Every so often, I would pop into my studio to talk in short spurts with people looking at my art. If I felt anxious, I would walk out and take a breather (LITERALLY).

I learned so much tonight. I had such a great reaction from the patrons. I was really surprised. I had a great deal of optimistic feedback and quite a few rave reviews. I had some really wonderful conversations. I got some fantastic leads. Also, I got an understanding of my demographics. This is the part that shocks me the most. It seems my art appeals to youngerish people or those who are a bit more edgy. During the open studio I saw so many people in my own age group, walk into my studio and then walk out. That is just fine. What really amazed me is how people in their 20’s/30’s would stay in there and talk and point and laugh and really get into my art. This was so interesting to me. I had never thought about who my “audience” is.

I don’t know what any of this means. I haven’t had time to think about it. I know I find it so ironic, but pleased with this qualitative data. I must be doing something right. At least I know, if younger people seem to “get” my art, I know I am not turning into an old, fuddy, duddy artist. That sounds good to me!!!

Click pic to see what others saw in my studio tonight. I made this video a few days ago, sans people. It all came together this month. It felt good and right. I figured out, I can do this. It is MY work and I am sticking to it!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


DATE: July 4, 2011
HEADLINE: “Studio Studio” Online Art Exhibition

“STUDIO STUDIO” exhibition featured at the “Git Outta My Face” gallery is now open and will be online July-September, 2011.
“Studio Studio is a thinking show. It allows the viewers to see inside the artist's inner sanctum, their studio. The concept is simple, but informative. Artists sent their thoughts and photos of their workspaces to me via email. This exhibition is a compilation of this correspondence.

We invite you to take the time to read and look in hopes you will find interest in one important part of artists lives: The studio is where it all happens.

Coordinated by Sheree Rensel, the exhibition includes the work of eighteen artists: John Adkins, Erika Allison, Robin Borland, Jack Breit, Michael Chomick, Trisha Clarkin, Boo Ehrsam, Amy Lennard Gmelin, Tamara Kane, Christine Laikind, Shauna Lee Lange, Rachel Morris, Gabrielle Pescador, Sheree Rensel, Louise Janet Schlachter, Gilda Snowden, Tricia Soderberg, and Vhilo-artist.

Click pic to see our show!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Art Blog: WHY Git Outta My Face?

About two years ago, I decided to create an online gallery. I did. It has been very successful in my mind and I truly believe it is a great idea. Tonight, we will be opening our SEVENTH show! Hooray for that! I wanted to create an art website that was about “art for arts sake” and allow artists a simple venue to show their work (at NO cost to them). It was just another option to promote their work for free. Meanwhile, I would have something to do that made me feel like I was doing something productive art wise.

Before I created the site, I needed a name. I came up with “Git Outta My Face” gallery. There is a very special reason for this and I want to tell you about it. However before I do, I want to tell you that this name has proven to be problematic to some. Certain people think it is too confrontational or too weird. They won’t show or submit art just because of the name. This is because they don’t understand why it is named this.

I teach. I teach hard kids. Almost every day at my day job, I hear the words “Git Outta My Face!!!”. I hear those words because the kids want to pretend they don’t want to hear. This phrase is their “I don’t want to deal with it.” mantra. It is a way for them to shove away any attempt for understanding or thinking about new life ways. I started relating this to art. I know for sure, I hear so many silly opinions about art and artists, there have been times I too have wanted to just say “Git Outta My Face!” This phrase could be my defense/coping mechanism. I didn’t want to hear it because I was too interested in spending my time to make art. I don’t want to deal with some of the crazy perceptions about art and artists. Instead I too, would like to scream “Git Outta My Face!”.

So I guess the name of my gallery is saying what it needs to say. Git outta my face if you don’t take the time, effort, find joy, or expend emotional enthusiasm to embrace ART. It is that simple.

Now, the really great news: Our seventh show is called “Studio Studio”. It is the best show our gallery has ever had. It is a bit conceptual in that it asks artists to speak about their studios. Now that I have created the show, I know it is a GOOD show. It is introspective and allows the viewers to get into the minds of artists.

Click pic to go to our gallery.

Our seventh show will open in a few hours. Take the time to look and think.
Also, you are welcome to look through the archives. I hope you will consider entering a show in the future. We are on a mission here.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Art Blog: FLOAT

I have one dream that has reoccurred over the span of my lifetime. I am about eleven years old and I start running down the sidewalk in front of my house. Suddenly, I lift off and I am flying over my neighborhood. I love this dream. Even though decades have passed, I still dream that same dream. I love the feeling when I wake up. I can feel the tickle in my stomach. I know what it feels like to FLY.
It wasn’t until today that I realized I am not really flying in the dream at all. I realized this during this exchange:

In the FB conversation, I referred to water. Boo responded with the “float” concept. Almost immediately, I had a vision that let go of the water and thought of the air. As Boo stated, this is really about control. She hit the nail on the head big time. I am a control freak and I admit it. I have tried to work on this for a very long time. Yet, when I realized this wasn’t really about me in the water, but in the sky, I saw things in a totally new way.

You see, I had never realized until now that my flying dream wasn’t really about flying at all. My arms don’t flap or I don’t struggle to get momentum. I just FLOAT around and look down at the world. I am at peace. When I have this dream, there is a feeling of calm which rushes over me. I let it happen. I don’t manipulate my direction or fuss because I am not going this way or that. I just ride it out. I FLOAT until I wake up and feel happy.

So now, I have to take that dream and make it a reality. Like I have said before in previous posts: “Let it go and SURRENDER”. I am seeing connections here. Maybe that is because I am practicing my FLOAT.