10 Questions to the Artist

10 Questions to the Artist – Denise LeClaire

2017 ArtWalk Artist - Denise LeClaire

Denise R LeClaire Denise is our 2017 ArtWalk artist.  She is a West Michigan artist and high school counselor. Denise creates collages using found paper objects such as antique sheet music, atlases, and books.  Often, she applies a photo transparency over the collage and then, paints over those layers allowing you to see or hide different components of the canvas.  This artist focuses on an idea such as belonging, forgiveness, mortality, or love. Her goal is to create a connection between people and her art with shared experiences.  All of Denise's work is personal, a combination of the ordinary and the profound.  Like a soft kiss on the forehead for no reason. In Honour of the Fact that Life is Short ArtWalk Voting Code:  Artist number - MM14. Category - Mixed Media Denise answers our "Ten Questions to the Artist" so that we can get to know her, just a little.     1. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? I heard a quote once, I think it was Marianne Williamson who said that the spiritual path is just the journey of living our lives and we are all on a spiritual path, sometimes we just don’t know it. I love this philosophy and feel like it falls together with my own belief in the importance of small moments, the little things that end up being the most memorable. So, it’s just everyday life that does it for me. We get to decide in the first world, what to do with our days, how we respond to life, and how we are creative; it’s a huge gift that not everyone has, that’s a pretty big turn on. 2. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? I think the theme is connection through common ground. I think there is a spiritual and emotional element to my work with the combination of ideas, words and photographs and I see and feel this when I talk to people about what’s drawn them to a particular piece.    3. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Travel photographer/writer 4. What profession would you not like to do? Police officer 5. Who are your favorite artists? VanGogh, O’Keefe, Gustav Klimt, Mark Rothko, Jim Dine 6. What is your favorite tool used to create your work? A “mop” brush. 7. What is your favorite word? Serendipitous 8. What is your least favorite word? Can’t think of one. 9. Who is your favorite musician? Impossible to choose. I love all kinds of music. 10. How much formal education have you received? My B.A. is in Sociology and Fine Art. I’ve taken art classes on and off my entire life including in photography, pottery, painting, drawing & collage. What I’m currently doing with regard to the combination of collage, photography, photo transfer and painting is self taught, trial and error. Thank you, Denise, for answering our questions.  Stop in to the gallery to see her exhibit. She and I will be hosting an Artist Talk beginning at 7:30 pm.  Denise will be in the gallery, Friday night, October 6, 6-9pm.      


Ten Questions to the Artist – Leslie Koehler

We have a new ceramic artist in the gallery, Leslie Koehler.   I met this potter 15 years ago in Vermont. The first time we met, Leslie introduced herself and told me that I didn't look like a potter.  I laughed and said "Yes, I am." Obviously, her comment stayed with me.  It made me consider what makes you an artist and a potter.  Was it because I am a small person? I must not have the strength to slug clay.  Was it because I didn't have clay in my hair and on my clothes?  Or, did I lack the aura of being an artist?  Hmmm.  More to think about.  I love Leslie's majolica work and her painting skills.  Please consider one of her pieces when you want a new piece of pottery for your collection or if you need a gift.  Plus, she makes custom wedding bowls. Ten Questions to the Artist - Leslie Koehler  What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? Travel turns me on creatively, emotionally, spiritually. I have had the good fortune to travel much in my life, often to places where art  is very available and the opportunity to absorb design, color, texture are enormous. Spiritually, I love the ancient places of worship, old cities and ruins.  Emotionally, I feel fed a full portion when I am in another part of the world seeing, smelling, feeling the vibrations of different cultures, hearing the sounds of different languages, music and most importantly the opinions of those who have lived a different life in a different culture. I just returned from a full portion trip: The West Bank in Palestine, Petra in Jordan, and Istanbul.  DO YOU HAVE AN INFLUENCE OR THEME THAT GUIDES YOUR WORK? I have been influenced by Japanese Ceramics, especially Tea Ceremony ware. I have spent time living and working with West African potters and love the simple yet elegant shapes and designs. Mediterranean ceramics especially Majolica ware of Italy are what I am most drawn to my work in the present phase.  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? If I was not a potter, I would be a cobbler or I would make stained glass windows. Perhaps I would continue my international work in Ceramic Water Filter development.  What profession would you not like to do? After visiting the insurance agent today, I would say I would never be and insurance agent, or accountant.  Who are your favorite artists? Paul Gauguin, artists of the Arts and Crafts movement, Japanese post card artists 1890 to 1945.  What is your favorite tool used to create your work? Probably my brushes, mostly cheap Japanese or Chinese ones. My wheel of course! What is your favorite word? Favorite word and least favorite word, I need some more time of that. What is your least favorite word? Favorite word and least favorite word, I need some more time of that. Who is your favorite musician? Anouar Brahem.  (Click on Anouar's name to hear him.) How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft. BA University of Massachusetts, Art History. Thank you to Leslie for answering our questions.  I always learn something about them and the artists/musicians that appeal to them, helping me grow as an artist, too.


10 Questions to the Artist – Sy Ellens

There's still a week left to see our current Exhibit, by renowned painter Sy Ellens, in person.  Sy was also C2C Gallery's 2015 ArtWalk Artist, and his wonderful entry still occupies our front window.  We asked Sy to answer the set of "10 Questions" we put to each of our Featured Artists, and he kindly took the time to do it for us.  If you're near downtown Grand Haven this week, stop in the gallery to appreciate Sy Ellens' beautiful and thought-provoking work for yourself...below is our Q&A with Sy...   What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? I am often inspired by walking or biking in the countryside or while riding in a plane and observing the landscape. I'm in awe of the harmony of creation and have a desire to create beauty that lifts the spirit of the observer. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? Aerial landscapes What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Architect What profession would you not like to do? Be a chef Who are your favorite artists? Andrew Wyeth, Dean Mitchell, Claude Monet What is your favorite tool used to create your work? The brush What is your favorite word? Awesome What is your least favorite word? Crap Who is your favorite musician? Mozart How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft. Kendall School of Design- graphic design and WMU- B.S.in art education (you can also see Sy Ellens' website here!)


10 Questions to the Artist – Mary Sundstrom

Throughout July, C2C is featuring an exhibit of work by Mary Sundstrom. A Grand Haven artist, Mary is currently working primarily in oil on canvas, but has a love for most painting mediums; and sculpture, primarily doll making. Mary is also the Program Director and Exhibits Co-Coordinator for the Holland Area Arts Council, and teaches art throughout the region.   To any of us who enjoy and appreciate Art, it’s always fascinating to get a glimpse into what an artist thinks, what influences them, and how they approach their own work… You can read Mary's answers below, and see her work in-person at C2C until the end of July.   What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? I love the woods, water and the dunes. I am mesmerized by the plant life that grows in these wild areas. Lately I have been focusing on fungus. Nature hikes are my chapel and the wind in the trees are the hymns. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? The land in and around West Michigan is my theme. I frequently paint the plant life of the bayous. I never put humans into the picture because I am disappointed at what humans have destroyed. I try to create paintings where the plants have a dialogue in the scene.The dolls are just for fun. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I would not attempt any another unless it was a botanist or herbalist. Maybe someday I would like to be a philanthropist. What profession would you not like to do? Telemarketer, Cable TV employee, Debt Collector, IT, Prison Guard, road kill clean up. Who are your favorite artists? Charles Burchfield, Annabel Livermore, Lewis Cross, Paul Klee, Edward Munch, Peter Diog, Alexander Calder, Antonio Gaudi and the list goes on and changes. What is your favorite tool used to create your work? A paintbrush. What is your favorite word? Peace. What is your least favorite word? Problem. Who is your favorite musician? I just can't narrow it down to one but when I paint I love listening to books on tape. How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft. I have a Bachelors of Fine Arts and have had master classes after I college. I studied abroad in Madrid Spain. I mainly credit myself for my art education because I never stopped exploring and learning. Thank you very much to Mary for taking the time to answer our questions.  Please stop in to see her great new work in the gallery through the remainder of July.


10 Questions to the Artist – Michael Imes

Throughout June, C2C is featuring an exhibit of work by the highly-regarded ceramics artist, Michael Imes. Now a resident of Wisconsin and a Ceramics Instructor at Carroll University, Michael has been a studio artist for more than forty years, and has kindly made time (and no doubt cleaned his hands!) to answer our “Ten Questions to the Artist”. To any of us who enjoy and appreciate Art, it’s always fascinating to get a glimpse into what an artist thinks, what influences them, and how they approach their own work… You can read Michael’s answers below, and see his work in-person at C2C until the end of June.   What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? I am almost always involved in a relationship with clay. By that I mean I usually have work in progress, exploring vessel forms. I feel most connected spiritually when I am completely focused on whatever activity is at hand. I am fed emotionally through my connections with family and friends, and my interactions with other people. I enjoy music too; my feeling life is nourished by it. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work?  I have a lot of influences: nature, geometry, the clay work of ancient cultures (Neolithic, Assyrian, Summerian, Chaldean, Babylonian, Mycenean, Minoan, Wari, Moche...), and I really enjoy exploring vessel forms, their formal relationships, and the archetypal gestures inherent in those forms. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I have enjoyed teaching and playing music could be interesting as a profession. What profession would you not like to do? I wouldn't want to do anything illegal and I wouldn't last long working in a factory or sitting in an office all day. Who are your favorite artists? Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Rodin, Laura Ross, Hans Coper, Harris Deller, Richard Devore, Chris Gustin… (I have a lot of favorites, especially a lot of ancient potters whose names I’ll never know.) What is your favorite tool used to create your work? There are three: my hands, a banding wheel, and a kiln. What is your favorite word? I don't have a favorite word. What is your least favorite word? All words are useful and powerful, depending on how you use them. Who is your favorite musician? Robert Johnson, Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, John Hiatt… there are a lot. How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft. I received an MFA in clay, from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. I’ve learned a lot about vessel making from: Terry Dennis, Bill Clark, Harris Deller, Paulus Berensohn, and Chuck Hindes. I’ve gotten to learn a lot about firing wood kilns from: Ron Knight, Josh Gold, Jeff Naska, Gary Hootman, Joe Molinaro, Randy Becker, and Chuck Hindes. Thank you very much to Michael for taking the time to answer our questions.  Please stop in to see his wonderful pieces in the gallery through the remainder of June.


What does a residency in Santa Fe do for a ceramic artist?

Do you go down the internet "rabbit hole" often?  One of my 2015 goals is to limit this wandering.  BUT, I did find our May featured artist, Marion Angelica, in this manner.   Marion Angelica and her husband Marion has several arts degrees and began her ceramic career focused on sculpture.  When her children were young, she worked in the arts and non-profit world.  When Marion's last child headed to college, this artist re-acquainted herself with clay and fell back in love with it.  Marion decided that this time around she was going to focus on sculpturally oriented functional art.   In 2012 and 2013, this artist was awarded the Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist award.  They allowed her to study the high desert for 6 weeks.  Marion worked in the Santa Fe Clay studios focused on the Southwest land forms - forces of wind and water, the high desert's rhythms, colors, and textures.   She returned home to create texturally interesting porcelain pottery.   We are excited to exhibit and sell Marion's work.  Whenever, a new artist is featured at C2C Gallery, we ask them the same ten questions.  It is a great way to learn a bit more about them. Here are Marion Angelica's answers to "Ten Questions to the Artist" What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? I am lucky that many things engage my creativity and spirituality.  Nature is very important to me… most recently, I have been focusing on geology and the beauty created when wind and water sculpt the earth.  My time in the high desert  recently has influenced many of the shapes and textures in my work.  When I have the opportunity to travel, the different shapes of people’s homes and the different plant life also excites me and winds up in my work. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? I don’t have a particular theme, but because of my background in sculpture and silver-smithing, form and texture are what I emphasize in my work.   What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I would like to write poetry (and if I get a next life, with a young body, I would like to dance) What profession would you not like to do? Accounting… nix… numbers are not my forte Who are your favorite artists? Georgia O’Keefe, and the German Expressionist painters Henry Moore and Modigliani are favorite sculptors What is your favorite tool used to create your work? My Dolan knife is a favorite so are soft Mudd ribs. What is your favorite word? It’s a phase, not a word… its my mantra…. “What if?”  It leads me in new directions and encourages me to try to re-envision what is before me. What is your least favorite word? It is also a phrase.. one currently often used.  The phrase is, “it is what it is”… somehow it strikes me as defeatist. Who is your favorite musician? Ella Fitzgerald and most jazz of her era, as well as Dvorjack (sp?).  I listen to classical in my studio… it puts me in the zone to be calm, mindful and creative. How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft. I am a learning junkie!!!  I have a BA in Fine Arts (sculpture) an MA in ceramics, an MFA in ceramics and a PhD in which is studied creativity as it applies to both art-making, scientific research and conflict resolution.  Sorry… that’s a mouthful.   Thank you, Marion, for answering our ten questions.  I appreciate your time and your art. I hope you, as the reader, are now curious about her ceramic work.  Stop into the gallery to have a look, touch, and take a favorite piece home with you.  Hope all is well in your world.  


10 Questions to the Artist – Margie Welek Fagan

With each new exhibit at C2C, I continue my conversations with our featured artists.  Margie Welek Fagan moved to Grand Haven about a year ago.  She spent most of her life in the Kansas City area.  I met Margie last summer.  Our introduction grew into an idea about an exhibit.  Here are Margie's answers to our "Ten questions to the artist". What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? At times, when I am filled with an emotion and have difficulty expressing myself in words, I will pick up my brushes and allow my feelings to pour out on the canvas. Those moments tend to be some of my best creations. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? I'm influenced by the world around me, whether it be the vibrancy of a sunset, the captivating roar of the ocean waves, the change of seasons...they all offer something unique and speak deeply to me.  I'd like to add that music is a must for me when painting...many times the piece I am working on is titled after a particular song/artist I chose to listen to over and over again until it was complete! One of my favorites was entitled 'someone like you' by Van Morrison which now graces the walls of a business man in Kalamazoo! Someone Like You - sold What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? That's a mixed bag.  A freelance writer/photographer that traveled the world. Ok, better yet, a professional tourist! Having minored in psychology, I often wondered what life would have been like if I had chosen the path of being a family therapist. Rewarding, to say the least. What profession would you not like to do? Accounting Who are your favorite artists? Monet, Van Gogh What is your favorite tool used to create your work? Palette knives What is your favorite word? Love What is your least favorite word? Can't Who is your favorite musician? Van Morrison How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft. Majored in Housing and Interior Design. Focus was on color, texture, creativity and spacial design, which was a wonderful, segue into art/painting.  I appreciate Margie's taking the time to answer our questions.  Please stop in to see her paintings in the gallery through April.


Ten Questions to the Artist – Monte Nagler

Monte Nagler Monthly, C2C Gallery hosts exhibits for artists whose work we find interesting and new to the Tri-Cities.  This month we are displaying the photographic work of Monte Nagler. Monte is a noted writer, lecturer and teacher of photography. He has conducted many classes and seminars throughout the world. Not only has he written a popular newspaper column, but he is also the author of six highly successful photography books. Frequently, he is called upon to jury competitions and to speak on photography topics on local radio and television stations. His photographs, which have won numerous worldwide, national & international recognitions, are found in many private, public and art museum collections. Galleries, art dealers, interior designers, and publishing companies throughout the United States and Canada represent his photography. Monte is a University of Michigan Engineering graduate.  He worked for Ford Motor Company directly out of college and has many tales regarding "specialty" designs in the auto industry.  When Monte was 39, he became bored with his professional life and began reconsidering his love of taking pictures.  He registered for an Ansel Adams course. Ansel became Monte's friend and mentor for the remainder of Ansel's life.  Monte Nagler answers our  "Ten Questions to the Artist" What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? I get turned on by seeing the stunning beauty of the world around me from a majestic view of a powerful landscape to the intimacy and pattern of a single flower.  Mother Nature can’t be beat! Evening Sunbeams Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? What guides my work is the strong desire to share the wonderful things that I see through my camera and get people to appreciate things a little more.  In my healthcare division,  I get a tremendous satisfaction knowing my photographs can help patients get through a difficult procedure. Sunbeams & Shadows What profession other, than your own, would you like to attempt? I think two other professions would be really cool:  an archeologist or an astronaut. What profession would you not like to do? I would not want to be an undertaker…..what a “grave” experience. Who are your favorite artists? Favorite artists:  photographers Ansel Adams and Yousuf Karshand painters Monet and Van Gogh. Moon and Half Dome What is your favorite tool used to create your work? Other than my mind and heart,  my favorite “tool” is my Canon 5D Mark 3. What is your favorite word? “passion” What is your least favorite word? “hate” Who is your favorite musician? I like all music (except rap) but I’ve always admired Dolly Parton for her many talents….she’s a class act. How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft. My education consists of an undergraduate degree in engineering and a masters of business administration,  both from U of M. A quote from Monte's website, that I love:      Bond Falls “We positively impact people’s lives through the power and appreciation of art.”      


10 Questions to the Artist: Cyndi Casemier

It has been such a busy Holiday season.  If you visit my gallery on a regular basis, you know that artist's work is moved around to different locations on a fairly frequent basis.  For the first time, I moved my clay work into our exhibit space. So, to be fair to my other artists, I am answering our "10 Questions to the Artists". Here are my answers to our 10 Questions: What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? I love texture and movement.  I love walking the beach, anywhere.  Seeing the patterns wind and water caused in the sand.  I love to find a shell, a rock that has washed up or driftwood.  Trees and their bark. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? Anything with texture.  Asian aesthetics.  Several of the great ceramic artists. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I wish I had considered architecture when I was young. What profession would you not like to do? Anything to do with science. Who are your favorite artists? Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Leonardo Da Vinci, Tammy Garcia, Karen Karnes, Curtis Benzle, Ruth Duckworth, Hamada, Michael Cardew, Robin Hopper, Judi Dyelle, Lucie Rie. What is your favorite tool used to create your work? My hands What is your favorite word? Yes What is your least favorite word? Can't Who is your favorite musician? Eric Clapton, Elejandro Escovedo How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft. None.  I have taken individual ceramic courses throughout North America and in Europe.   CBS film about Ruth Duckworth I have always loved Ruth Duckworth's sculptural work.  It's where I would love to see my clay work evolve.  She was still making clay work at 87 years of age.  I hope I live that long.  


Do you know who Frank Gehry is? Ken does.

Ken Foster is our featured artist for the month of November.  I have enjoyed seeing his studio, work, and getting to know him a little.  Ken is a good artist.  He told me that after graduating from college in New York, he decided to apply to various MFA programs.  He was accepted into Cranbrook Academy of Art. Ken said that when he arrived to attend class, he couldn't believe that he was attending this fine art school.  However, when you look at Ken's range of artwork, you know why he was accepted into their program.  Ken taught ceramics at Muskegon Community College for most of his career in academia.  Since retiring, he has been working with found objects and turning them into art.  His sense of aesthetics is very pleasing.  I could see his wall hangings in many different rooms throughout a home or office. Here are Ken's answers to my questions: What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?  A beautiful day; walk on the beach; bike or kayak ride; a well designed object; a good piece of music or book; a good glass of wine or beer. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? Making art out of found materials often considered junk. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Architecture What profession would you not like to do? Mathematics  Who are your favorite artists? Diebenkorn, Noguchi, and Frank Gehry What is your favorite tool used to create your work? My hands What is your favorite word?  Design What is your least favorite word?  No Who is your favorite musician?  Bobby McFerrin and Wynton Marsalis How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft. Masters of Fine Arts from Cranbrook  Ken's work, The Woven and Map Series, will be in the gallery until the end of November.      


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2013CyndiBlog

Handmade Art & Gifts

104 Washington Street
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Cyndi Casemier, Owner
616-935-7337

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