Ruth Franklin isn't trying to make art that is trendy or pretty. Every day (including weekends & most holidays), she arrives at her studio before dawn with a singular goal: to make a good painting. She has the inexhaustible & highly self-disciplined work ethic of a soldier (her father was a D-day veteran!). She doesn't require any creature comforts beyond a thermos of coffee and a pack of cigarettes. When Franklin is at her easel, she enters a zenlike state and exhibits a monomaniacal determination. Her pictures, whether created with charcoal, pastels or paint, are always discernable & distinctive. In short, Ruth Franklin is the real deal.
Her current show at steve mckenzie's includes 20 new paintings & charcoal drawings.
The Record Shop is where I learned about the world beyond the one I had lived in. People like Curtis Mayfield, Lou Reed, Burning Spear and Fela Kuti showed me their worlds, its joys and struggles. I had never even heard the word "ecology" before Marvin Gaye introduced me to it!
Record Store Day celebrates it's 8th year on Saturday, April 18th. The international 'vinyl holiday' has grown from less than 100 to over 3,000 participating, independent record shops.
A press conference was held at Rough Trade Records in Brooklyn on March 10th to announce a colossal list of special releases and free schwag that will be available on RSD2015.
Destined to be one of the most sought-after items, especially by fans of The Clash, will be a limited-edition art print by Kosmo Vinyl.
5,000 numbered prints will be given away at select record shops, along with 10,000 postcards that feature his artwork. Kosmo was commissioned by the folks at Record Store Day to create this piece, with support from Red Bull Sound Select.
What do Winston Churchill, Kosmo Vinyl and Wreckless Eric Have in Common?
They're all British... yes, that's the first thing that comes to mind. Churchill (1874-1965) was born in Woodstock, England; Kosmo Vinyl (b. 1957) hails from East London; and Wreckless Eric (b. 1954) is from Newhaven, East Sussex. You might also know that they're all artists, and yes, plenty of artists come from England, so what? Well...
Ruth Franklin (another superb British artist) and I recently had the privilege of attending the opening of 'The Art of Diplomacy: Winston Churchill and the Pursuit of Painting' at the Millenium Gate Museum in Atlanta. The exhibition features over 30 of Churchill's paintings, many of which have never before been displayed publicly. In short, it's a fascinating exhibit on many levels, and I highly recommend you go see it before it closes on February 1, 2015...
The 10th & final SkaterAid "skateboard/music/art" festival is September 28 from 2 - 7PM at East Decatur Station in Decatur, Georgia. SkaterAid is produced by a dedicated group of volunteers, and 100% of the proceeds benefit the Georgia Chapter of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
A big part of the event is the 'Art Deck Auction'. Months before the festival, artists are invited to create original works using skateboard decks as canvases. Some paint, some draw, there's mixed media collages (as seen above), 3D works and the occasional 'functional' piece, such as a rope swing or a coat/hat hanger. It's been announced that this is the last SkaterAid, and a record 135 art decks have been donated this year.
Today marks England's last official day at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, so I thought I'd go ahead and share our first 'guest blog' to mark the occasion. I've personally gotten over my disappointment at the 3 Lions early exit, thanks in large part to the unexpected success of my Team USA. I reckon most England supporters won't feel the same as I do, and the opinions that follow aren't likely to help. Chris Pig is one of the few Englishmen I know who who isn't bothered at all about football. He's more interested in art & culture, thank you very much. He's also busy being one of the best printmakers in the UK, if you ask me. If there was a World Cup for Printmaking, I've no doubt he'd fare better than the current English National Team, who couldn't even score in a brothel. - Shawn Vinson
A 'guest blog' from London - by Printmaker Chris Pig:
Last night I was out at a restaurant with my family to celebrate my partner’s birthday. At the end of the meal the waiter passed me the bill and solicitously said to me “England are losing one nil.” I tried to look as if I cared about this because, after all, he thought he was doing me a favour by supplying me with an update on a football match. I think he thought that, as a man, I would rather be watching the world cup than being out with my family. And that is what annoys me about football, not that people gather together to watch some men play a ball game either in person or on the TV, but that it is assumed that everybody shares their interest. Also a sinister undertone to this is that if you are uninterested in football, you are not patriotic.
Every four years since 1930 (except in 1942 and 1946 thanks to the Nazis), the world's biggest single-event sporting competition takes place. It is estimated that over 700,000 people watched the 2006 final match in Germany, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was broadcast to over 200 countries. As you probably know by now, the 2014 World Cup will happen in Brazil and it starts tomorrow, June 12. I figured I'd better get this blog posted now, because I'll be a bit preoccupied through July 13.
This next month might be a good time for a guest blog by one of our artists who actually couldn't care less about football (I won't mention names), but this installment is about the artists who do. Read on, and please leave your comments below...
Our man on the street in New York City, Kosmo Vinyl, recently posted a comment on our blog about the Raymond Pettibon Surfers exhibition at Venus Over Manhattan.
It's nice to live vicariously through our friends in Manhattan sometimes. Sure, we read about art online at excellent websites such as Artinfo.com, and I enjoy following famed NY critic Jerry Saltz on Facebook - but the personal touch of getting a 'note' from a friend is a fine way to discover a new artist or gallery show I might otherwise miss when scanning the blogs and online art magazines.
This exhibition, the first ever to be devoted entirely to the California-based artist's 'surfer paintings', closed a few days ago - but you can still view it online. I liked the short video of the installation, and couldn't help notice all the folks sitting around watching one guy work (reminded me of a construction crew), but that's another story.
Here's what Kosmo Vinyl had to say...
... Those sage words of advice came from my friend Eric last year, while we were discussing my to-do list...
Eric, better known as Wreckless Eric, is an ‘antique English pop musician’ who once wrote a song called (I’d go the) Whole Wide World. Considered “one of the great Stiff singles”, it was produced by Nick Lowe for London’s Stiff Records in 1977 and re-released in 2013 on the Ten Big Stiffs compilation. His name may or may not sound familiar, but you’ve probably heard the tune before. Perhaps you know the 2007 cover version by The Proclaimers, or maybe you recall Will Ferrell singing it to Maggie Gyllenhaal in Stranger than Fiction? In his book, A Dysfunctional Success, Eric wrote:
It was single of the week in all the music papers, and number one on the TimeOut alternative chart. It stayed there for weeks. Elton John reviewed it for the Record Mirror, saying it was the only album he liked.”
Summer, 2008 -- It was a fine day in Whitstable, an English seaside town sixty miles east of London. Billy Childish, Ruth Franklin, Gary Goodman, Teresa Stewart-Goodman and I all met at Billy's mum's house, where he goes every Sunday to paint and have tea. Gary introduced us to Billy, having gotten to know him at poetry readings and gigs. Ruth has known Gary and Teresa since their Brighton Art School days back in the 80s, and I met Ruth through the art dealer I started working for in 1991. I actually sold her pictures for a few years before we met in person, and the same is true for both Gary and Billy.
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”... indeed.
I’ve had a bit of a thing about England for as long as I can remember. When my grandparents went to Belgium in the 1970s and I heard they’d have a layover in London, I asked for a t-shirt from there. They brought me back one with a picture of an English Bulldog with a Union Jack on it. Years later when I was in high school, I discovered Punk, and that t-shirt got sliced and diced and safety-pinned back together again. The only class that mattered to me at that time was Graphic Arts, where I learned and loved photography and screenprinting, and the only thing digital was a calculator! I didn’t know it back then of course, but the foundation was being laid.
At 21, I delivered a box-truck full of framed art to a design showroom in Naples, Florida. That was my first day in the art business. I had gotten my real estate license a year earlier, and had come to realize that selling houses wasn’t for me. Luckily, while moonlighting as the promotions director at a karate school, I met a fellow who owned a company that imported & distributed fine & decorative art from around the world. This really appealed to me, and I was excited about the new job.