Archive for June, 2012

I attended the Arts and Humanities Alliance (Aha!) annual meeting last Monday and met some great new people as well as visited with folks I’ve known over the years. Aha!’s newly elected president, Debbie Piscitelli, passed this information on to me a few days ago for distribution.

The artists cooperative in Charles Town is looking for African-American artists interested in displaying work in the space as part of the the Jefferson County African-American Culture & Heritage Festival which is held every year in August. The parade is definitely worth attending and I think this African-American art component is a nice touch. Please get in touch with Gary Bergel (garybergel@gmail.com 703/901-3331).

Just the messenger!

Here is the notice I received:

Local Group Seeks Art Works for August Exhibit
To Tie In With African-American Festival

The artists cooperative located in Charles Town wants to mount a display of work by local African-American artists during August. The Washington Street Artists Co-operative was founded last year to promote art by and for the Eastern Panhandle area.  The co-op includes a variety of art including painting, photography, pottery, jewelry, wood, glass, textiles and more.

Artists interested in participating in the August exhibit would submit gallery-ready samples of their work for review by a committee of artists who will choose items for the show. The ultimate goal of the exhibit is to identify artists in the region who may want to join the co-op as members who have not heard about the co-op or been into the gallery.

The co-operative, located in the Visitors Center on North George Street across from the courthouse, has 30 local artists as members. The August exhibit will run for three weeks, and can include up to 20 new artists. The co-op will publicize the exhibit and hold an artists reception. It also would handle sales of art work in the special exhibit, taking a mutually-agreed-upon commission for the work.

If you want to learn more about the exhibit or if you want to submit your work, please contact Gary Bergel (garybergel@gmail.com 703/901-3331).  Work needs to be received for review by the co-op by Friday, July 13.  For more information about the co-op, see the website WStreetGallery.com or stop by 108 N. George Street in Charles Town.

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Steam will have a very exciting exhibit starting this weekend. The art installation is half-way done and fortunately, it is still pretty comfortable inside the gallery.

There are four artists being featured: Leigh Anne Cassell, Scott Little, Christopher Loggie and Sue Parker. Jason Edwards’ illustration work will also be on display. Here is brief introduction to them in their own words.

Leigh Anne Cassell

“As an artist, one of my personal goals with my work is to strengthen my talent with drawing portraits, especially with the use of color, while also trying more stylized approaches. Since I started drawing portraits in high school I have come to greatly love the technicality of capturing the realism of people’s faces with a pencil. Recently I have expanded my medium to inks and colored pencils. It took me so long to try using color because I did not think that I had the skills to draw with it. One day I just decided to try it, and I ended up surprising myself. Even though I think I still need lots of practice with it, I am happy that I am working well enough with color at the moment. I have been asked in the past why I do not try more digital media to create drawings. I have never had interest in trying a tablet or any other form of digital process to draw. I am in no way against these technological advancements or works of art created by them; I just personally like to sit down with my drawing board, paper, pens, and pencils and just draw. I like the sound and feel of pencils as they move over paper. I can easily say that I do not fit in very well with the more “modern” art world, but I am perfectly fine with that.

[Copyright Leigh Anne Cassell. Displayed with permission.]

Lately I also decided to venture into drawing portraits of people in steampunk attire or fashions that reflect bygone eras. Steampunk is another passion of mine, and I highly enjoy dressing up and going to events. Since both drawing and this amazing subculture make me incredibly happy, I figured: why not combine the two? Since I do not draw much still-life I find that I can capture aspects of it in the accessories people wear, and it gives me more practice with different surface types. The kind of material used for the subject’s clothing can also be a positive challenge with texture types.

Ultimately, drawing portraits is something of which I will never tire.”

Scott Little

“My work is a venture in manipulation, with respect to light, color and space, creating a reversal of color with respect to their negative complements as well as a reversal of dark and light.  I combine diverse media and techniques to develop greater layers for expression, thereby establishing a deeper, holistic significance.”

[Copyright Scott Little. Displayed with permission.]

Christopher Loggie

“Raised in Australia, came over on walkabout, met the love of my life, landed in Maryland. An avid Steampunk enthusiast for the last few years. I have created props for one movie, Steampunk Stacie. I have turned 20 years of crafting and artwork experience towards this exciting new direction. I hope you like my work.”

[No photo will do Mr. Loggie’s work justice – you have to come see it!]

Sue Parker

“After painting seriously, but briefly, during college, I returned to art  in 1998.  It is now my primary activity, apart from the demands of daily living.

I studied watercolor for 4 years with Irene Sylvester, artist-in-residence at Montpelier Arts Center (Laurel, Maryland), and have also received instruction from Frank Webb (AWS),  Lynn Ferris (NWS), Kent Roberts, Marie McCafferty as well as  David Buckley Good and Fritz Briggs of the Schuler School of Fine Art (Baltimore), and Michael Davis.

I work in watercolor, oil and pastel, using the medium that best suits the subject.

[Copyright Sue Parker. Displayed with permission.]

As an artist, my goal is to focus attention, if only briefly, on the beauty in the things around us that often escape our notice as we rush about our daily lives.

I exhibit at Hagerstown, MD’s Valley Art Association Mansion House, and the Washington Street Artists’ Coop in Charles Town WV, and have shown at the Ice House and Art in the Park in Berkeley Springs (WV), the Washington County Arts Council, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. and the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.”

Jason Edwards – Resident Artist

Jason’s work has been on display previously at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. This time around, he did the illustration for Steam’s Gadgets, Guns and Gears promotional flyer. He will have three illustrations on display.


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For some reason, as I reviewed the art work submitted for Steam At Harper’s Ferry’s next exhibit, “Gadgets, Guns and Gears,” the philosopher, Martin Heidegger came to mind. I cannot say that I am a Heidegger scholar or even a fan, but his writings about “things” and the “essence of things” made an impression on me.

The theme of this exhibit is most certainly about things.

In some respects, the selected work reflects an evolution of useful things from “need” to “pleasure” in Heidegger fashion, as well as from “original steam” tools to entirely aesthetic contraptions which are representations of useful, and sometimes dangerous, things.

Four artists’ works, along with those of Steam At Harper’s Ferry’s Resident Artist, have been selected for Steam’s next exhibit starting on June 23 and ending on August 26, 2012.

The technological and visual manifestations of the artists’ perceptions appear in evolutionary order below.

“The Original Steam” hand operated tools and gadgets – visual art by Sue Parker

Gears, real gears! – photographs by Scott Little

Decorative uses of eye protection and vision enhancement – drawing by Leigh Anne Cassell

Aesthetic fanciful manifestations of weaponry and gadgetry – works by Christopher Loggie

Coalescent visualizations of all the above – illustrations by Steam’s Resident Artist, Jason Edwards

Please come and see our own “public happening of truth.”

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Review – Clockwork Watch – The Arrival

Original Story:  Yomi Ayeni
Adapted by:  Corey Brotherson
Artwork, Lettering and Cover by:  Jennie Gyllblad
Title Design by: Fabio Duarte Martins

This beautifully drawn and conceived graphic novel is set in Victorian England, close to the end of Queen Victoria’s life.

The story begins:

“London. Steam billows out from every corner of the city while huge Zeppelin airships float in the sky overhead. Enter the world of Clockwork Watch, a place where Victorian values are coupled with anachronistic technology, not the least of which are the Clockwork Servants – the mechanical slaves that keep this society ticking along – this is the world of Steampunk.”

The novel has all the hallmarks of the steampunk genre, which are apparent in the opening lines, but there is a twist which sets it apart from most steampunk plots. The hero, Janav, arrives in London with his family from Calcutta. His father, Chan Ranbir, is the Head of Sciences at Calcutta University, who is working on a project called “Clockwork.” Janav meets an automaton named “B” whom he promptly renames Ashwin, which is the name of Janav’s best friend in Calcutta.

Unfortunately, Janav quickly encounters people and events which both anger and frighten him.

What happens next? The reader is given some clues, but certainly has more questions, about Janav’s future and the role Ashwin Number Two has in it.

There is an introduction by the creator, Yomi Ayeni, as well as an article by Corey Brotherson about the art of adaptation. Design, illustration and concepts by Jennie Gyllblad round out the publication.

I learned about this project via a IndieGoGo promotion in 2011, and it has been fascinating following the team as it produced not only the graphic novel, but the entirety of its production to create a transmedia experience.  IndieGoGo named this project one of its best of 2011.

By way of full disclosure, I did make a contribution and am very pleased with the result. I’m looking forward to the next installment!

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Way back in February, Jonah Knight performed here at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. We had a standing-room only crowd which was particularly special since it was still winter.

Since then, he’s been playing here and there and I saw him most recently at the Steampunk World’s Fair in May.

He announced recently that he has secured a deal with Mecury Retrograde Press! Congratulations, Jonah!

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This weekend is the Mountain Heritage Festival – June edition. I went today to get my twice a year kettle corn and check out the new vendors. I was pleasantly surprised with the new additions and would recommend checking it out. What are your thoughts on the new logo for the Festival? I was looking for the Mountain Man dollar off advertisements in the local newspapers – and he wasn’t there! Mountain Man can be seen wielding his hammer in the parking lot, thank goodness.

Earlier this evening (June 8), I attended a book signing with local historian and author Bob O’Connor at the Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Public Library. I visited Winchester, Virginia for the first time on Wednesday, which was fortunate for me so that I could better understand some of the episodes Mr. O’Connor discussed during his presentation about his newest book, “A House Divided Against Itself”.

Steam at Harper’s Ferry will be having a new exhibit opening at the end of June – Gadgets, Guns & Gears. Looking forward to this one! Some really nice work has come our way.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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