Added May 19, 2021
What’s On The Easel
May 2021, Vol. III, No. 5
A monthly newsletter from Jim Fischer
Same old, same old (again)
Oh, my friends, I must again beg your indulgence. Those two portraits continue to sit on my easel, untouched.
A new gig…
But that is not to say I have been idle in the world of art. In fact, much of my delay on the portraits is caused by a new ‘job’ I have accepted. I am the new director and curator of the Casa Colombo art gallery, a 1,000 square foot professional gallery space in the Casa Colombo building on Monmouth Street in downtown Jersey City. I will be arranging and managing (commonly called curating) monthly rotating exhibits. The actual gallery is now closed due to pandemic restrictions but I have been curating virtual exhibits (you can visit the current exhibit here: https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/6167857/opening-the-doors-breathing-the-outdoors-breathing-life). It’s work and, as it did this month, takes time away from the studio.
Then there are the gardens…
Another drain on my studio time in April/May is work on the gardens. But, hey, gardens are art as well (someone once described them as ‘a fireworks display in slow motion’). All the planting is done (six kinds of peppers, two kinds of tomatoes, poll beans, kale, spinach, cilantro, a variety of lettuces, arugula, and a dozen herbs and spices) and the numerous flower pots and beds are planted as well. Whew.
Street finds …
There are some additions to the garden decorations:
No, your eyes do not deceive you. I found this head of a giraffe while walking home from a restaurant one night. It needed some work (a lot, actually, but hey, I am an artist) and it is now guarding over the veggies.
The other ‘find’ , a large red pot, literally rolled up to our front steps in a windstorm a few weeks ago. It was cracked, which I repaired, and the kanji (a Japanese symbol) I painted on it is about as close as you can get in Japanese to “All you need is love.”
You just can’t find a good handyman these days …
Thus another project that sapped up my time this month, a new storm door in the kitchen.
Three contractors bagged on quoting for this project. They came, they looked, they didn’t even get back to me. One did note ‘Oh! It’s an old house, isn’t it.’ So, I finally had to do the installation myself, three days (and Anderson was no help when I discovered they cut a key piece of the frame too long and had to make emergency modifications, so much for ‘made in America’).
Nonsense, pure nonsense…
What’s wrong with the art scene today? This ‘call for art,’ received (and declined) by me this month, is a good demonstration.
“ RESILIENT calls for artwork to address the invisible or invisible physical and psychological challenges faced by many artists. From Frida Khalo, Chuck Close, and Vincent Van Gogh to Henri Mattise, Claude Monet, and Judith Scott, art history has been enriched by artists whose physical and psychological experiences of the world required unique resilience. In fact, few individuals have led lives completely untouched by mobility or sensory impairments, learning disabilities, neurodiversity or mental health challenges, auto-immune disorders, chronic illnesses, or chronic pain. Yet, opportunities to proudly explore such lived experiences remain scarce. Therefore, RESILIENT calls for art that has been informed by disability in some way. Whether the work centers people with disabilities in theme, performance, or the creation of the artwork, RESILIENT is an opportunity to bring difference to the fore.”
This ‘call’ shows how twisted the definition of an artist and what is art has become in the art world today. The demand is that your art must be about political/social/personal struggle (in their shorthand, ‘relevant’). What ever happened to the simple concept of beauty? Thank goodness the general public tends to disagree with the ‘experts’. I responded: “None of my art is a reflection of my, or anybody else', disabilities. In fact my work is just the opposite; a positive, joyful reflection of my abilities. I'll pass on this one.” And I resent the inclusion of Monet and Matisse in their list.
That’s all for now. Be well, be safe. And what’s on your easel?