Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Barn Stormers Paint Up a Storm

Artist David Ellis and the North Carolina rooted Barn Stormers create time lapse movies of their massive group paintings. This one has a polical edge and is engaging to watch. I wonder if these guys still come back to NorthCarolina to paint up barns outside of Raleigh. My favorite part comes at the end when Ellis uses white contour lines on a black background.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Art made from lost items of Undocumented Immigrants

Valarie James, an artist and art teacher in Amado, Arizona makes art from lost and discarded items she finds on walks in the desert. In doing so reminds of us of the tragedy that is on going along the US / Mexican Border; 3,000 plus deaths since the 1980's. Check out her slide show and article in this Wall Street Journal article.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Contemporary Kenyan Artist Speaking at UNC

Wangechi Mutu, a critically acclaimed Contemporary Kenyan-born artist, is speaking at UNC's Global Education Center on Tuesday, March 4th at 6PM. Mutu's works are collage based and use fashion magazines, National Geographics, and books about Africa to express the tension of modern Africa as it struggles to emerge from preconceptions, ancient tradition, and modern forces. Mutu's work is a evolutionary jump from the equally powerful collages of North Carolina's own Romare Bearden. This is must catch lecture brought to us by the Hanes Lecture Series and UNC's Art Department.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Finding a Land Called Paradise Starts Here

Film maker Lena Khan has made an outstanding short video set the music of Kareem Salama's song "A Land Called Paradise." This video shows Muslims in America in a new light that stands above the stereotypes becoming so fixed in our mind's eye. I must admit that something like a tight coil unwound inside of me as I watched this video. I sat smiling and crying afterwards. As an artist working on the very same subject, I was inspired by the quality, honesty, and humanity on display in this piece. Watch, think, and share.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Building Community Through Art

Thought bubbles made for The Talking Mobile

What's the best way to address fear and share hope? Artists Todd Drake and Wade Billeisen believe it is to talk about it. Their project, The Talking Mobile, attempts to get the fears and hopes of students coming together at a new high school out in the open. Why? They believe that by sharing these thoughts students will find common ground between seeming differences. "We believe that everyone coming to Northern Guilford High School has hopes for a better education and worry whether they will be safe, successful, and accepted." Principal Joe Yeager approved the project and provided funding because he believed it would build community, a central goal of his leadership role at the new school.

After asking every student coming to Northern High School to share their hopes and fears about coming to the new school, Wade and Todd read through the responses and selected 40 questions asked by the students. Their selection seeks to represented the mind set of the students. "A lot of students, on both campus's wrote about concerns over getting along and blending the two communities, others expressed concerns over being accepted whether because of race, looks, or income." says Drake. By putting these concerns out in the open Todd and Wade believe the concerns and hopes of the students will be honored and considered. "Some of their questions, like "Will they hate me?" break your heart, others like "Will I be 'that dude' at the new school?" were humorous, but all were insightful." said Drake. Every single student question will be included in a note book for review by anyone. "This note book of student questions should be read through by every teacher and administrator at Northern." said Drake.

After displaying the "thought bubbles" on both campuses of the soon to be merged school, Todd and Wade will hang all the questions at the new high school to greet students on their arrival. After a month of living and learning together, all the students will be asked to respond to the questions posed in the mobile and the most provocative and insightful answers will be displayed beneath the questions as "speaking bubbles." Some class time will be devoted to discussing these questions and responses.

By giving voice to the students in this unique way Todd and Wade hope this project will make the new Northern High School a stronger, more accepting community. Though all of Drake's art is community based, this project is very personal; "My school did nothing like this when we intergrated back in the 70's. The only fight I got into my life occured as a result. I hope this project helps these students learn to respect each other and see past stereotypes that, along with fear, often blind us to making friends of strangers."

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Lucy Talks about Art and Death :)

Paul Klee, Ancient Sound

Lucy Daniels and her foundation have worked for years to give a unique voice to mental health and the arts in our community and beyond. On February 9th , 2008, (2:30 PM, NC Museum of Art) her foundation is sponsoring a workshop on creativity and self-repair as it relates to cancer. Their release states " The healing power of art is a complementary, active approach to illness.. (that can create)...a unique dialect between illness and health, between despair and new hope." Rock on Lucy! The foundation is also sponsoring a lecture on the art of Paul Klee called "In the Shadow of Death." Apparently 1/4 of Klee's best work was created in the last years of his life as he struggled with a terminal illness. (Why do they not teach this in school!) Fill in what you probably didn't know about Paul Klee by attending this lecture on Sunday, Feb.9th at 2:30 at the NCMA. Thanks Lucy! RSVP at or call 919-677-9888 x 123