Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cultural Alliance (GIA): 2nd Update

I am a 2008 GIA Award Winner and acknowledge the support provided by the Grants to Individual Artists Program administered by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham.

Thanksgiving 2008!

I've finally decided to take some real vacation time away from my job. It has been an adjustment, to say the least. Two days has always been my self-imposed limit. I didn't realize how mentally exhausted I was until the fourth day! Although I had been wrestling with a terrible cold for a week, it took that long for me to feel completely rested and at peace.

I've been working on my CAGB project and I'm excited about the progress that I've made this week. A couple of weeks ago, CAGB held an evening workshop for the 2008 GIA Award Winners led by Bradford Kachelhofer and Michael Bell of The Modern Brand Company, LLC. The workshop focused on when, where and how to successfully promote yourself and your project. In other words, how to leverage your GIA Grant. It dawned on me that at some point, probably in the not too distant future, I may be asked by the media to provide an image to accompany the summary of my narrative/proposal.

My CAGB proposal: To create a series of linoleum block relief prints documenting the 1930s migration of an African-American sharecropper family from Alabama’s Black Belt region to industrial Birmingham.

The image has a WPA feel which is exactly what I was striving for. Once this block is finished I'll print, scan and then save it as a digital file. The final size of this block will be 12" x 18".

These pictures show: a) the original sketch on tracing paper and the image drawn in reverse on the surface of the lino block; b) the inked block and c) the 1st proof on newsprint.

I'll post the final print in a few days with the title.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Awesome k d lang

Last weekend my friend and I attended a concert at the Alys Stephens Center. My androgynous, shapeless, lesbian icon princess . . . k d lang was front and center.

I was very disappointed that the hall was not filled to capacity. Don't Birminghamians know how special this performer is? Geez. She is so exquisite. When she stepped onto the stage in her bare feet well . . . she had me at hello. So unpretentious.

She sang with effortless grace. You just wanted to hold your breath for each song. The set was perfect. 90 minutes. Two of my favorites which are considered signature tunes were Constant Craving and Miss Chatelaine. I sang along with her and danced in my seat. Fun!! My favorite new song is -The Valley- a song off of her Hymns of the 49th Parallel CD. Actually it's an old tune because it's been out for several years (2004). Darn, where have I been??! I don't care, it sounded like a classic to me. I was a wee bit disappointed that she didn't sing the Roy Orbison song CRYING. But, hey, it was a wonderful concert and last week I loaded my iPod with k d lang tunes to sing and dance to.

And I will.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Cultural Alliance (GIA) 1st Update

Approximately six weeks have passed, since I was awarded one of eight 2008 Grants to Individual Artists. My contract states that I have one year to complete my proposal but it already feels like the time is passing so quickly!

Ten days ago I made my first purchase -a digital camera- with the funds that have been allocated to me. This camera will stay with me 24/7. I have several road trips planned, this month, to drive south of Birmingham throughout the Black Belt region to take photos of . . . people, structures, landscapes, things, stuff . . . anything and everything that speaks to me will be photographed and used as reference shots for the images that will eventually become linoleum block prints. Clothes drying on a clothesline, kudzu, rusted tin, cotton fields, you name it, it's all fair game.

I wake up thinking about my project and it's on my mind when I turn in at the end of the day. I keep a sketch book and a Moleskin notebook nearby. Ideas come to me at the oddest times. I've learned to write/sketch every thought. If I don't, it'll be harder to recover later in the day. I'm, currently, writing my story line for the blocks that I hope to cut. Until I complete my road trips, it'll be hard to say what the final images will be but for the time being I have created a pseudo storyboard. A storyboard is a series of diagrams or visuals created to provide a foundation for the ideas that will eventually be produced. It's a template. Throughout the process, editing takes place and over time a well defined collection of text and/or visual sequences emerge. In my case, I'll place a few words of text within a 2 x 3 inch wide rectangle with a note to myself referencing a scene or gesture that I think I'll want to illustrate to enhance the words. I'll repeat this process many times over the next 3 to 6 months.

I'm not happy. I had written several additional paragraphs and then BLAM! my blogger page crashed. I'm too tired to retype or rethink what I'd written so I'm shutting this puppy down.

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