• In Honour of Life Collage by Denise LeClaire 10 Questions to the Artist – Denise LeClaire

    Photograph of artist Denise R 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 Life Collage by Denise LeClaireIn 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.  
    Time for the Daffodil collage by Denise R LeClaire

     

     

  • Johnson Subway 10 Questions to the Artist – Camille Johnson

    Our August exhibit is a show different from anything in the past at C2C Gallery.    This art show by Camille Johnson will be Time Based Visual Art.  To be honest, I am not sure what we will be seeing until the show is hung and ready for viewing.  It will be both a large drawing and a video created by Camille.

     

    Growing up in the American HorrorThe backdrop for a play written and produced by Camille Johnson

    Camille spent her time in both Vermont and Michigan growing up.  Currently, she is in New York City attending Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts.  Throughout her life, she has always had many projects going at the same time. At a young age, she wrote several articles that were published in the Burlington Free Press, wrote music for the school choir, staged an entire play more than once, and created artwork in many mediums.  One of the things that I love about Camille is that she is never bored.  There were very few times she said “I’m bored.  What can I do?”  She always had an idea and ran with it.

    Camille Johnson

    Here are Camille’s answers to our

    Ten Questions to the Artist:

     

    1.  What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

    The Subway.

    2.  Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work?

    At the moment my work is heavily influenced by my circumstances. I find that I am in a really unique context—with regard to place in the world and place in a longitudinal consideration of my life/age. I am eighteen and I live on East 93rd St. in Manhattan and it’s incredible how much those two contexts penetrate each other. I am honored by the opportunity around me to be taken by this city’s highest highs and lowest lows and every middle of the night subway ride in between.

    My work is a process of childhood recovery. Picasso had it right when he said, “Every child is an artist. The hard part is how to remain that artist when you grow up.” I am working on nurturing my childhood artist and finding its place in this big grown up city world.

    3.  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

    I would like to be an aerial silk performer in a traveling burlesque carnival troupe that is accompanied by a Balkan brass band.

    4.  What profession would you not like to do?

    I would not like to do wealth management for Monsanto.

    5.  Who are your favorite artists?

    Egon Schiele, Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, Eiko Otaike, Susan Rethorst, Bread and Puppet Theater, Marlene Dumas, Susan Sontag, Basil Twist, Diane Arbus, Swoon, Colson Whitehead.

    6.  What is your favorite tool used to create your work?

    I work in almost every medium. I like to work in all of them at once. For this reason, time has become an element of my pieces. This month you will see one example of my time based visual art—merging puppetry, film, charcoal, and movement.

    7.  What is your favorite word?

    I do not have a favorite word.

    8.  What is your least favorite word?

    realistic

    9.  Who is your favorite musician?

    Well, today, it was Lou Reed on the album, “Songs for Drella”.

    10.  How much formal education have you received?

    I have spent one year of college at the New School (Eugene Lang) in New York City.   I am currently on a year’s leave of absence.

    Johnson drawingA collage by Camille Johnson

    Camille’s exhibit will be on display through August.  It will be a large drawing with a video displayed onto the drawing.  Stop in.

  • Mikey McGhee Teapot 10 Questions to the Artist – Mikey McGhee

    Mikey McGhee

    Mikey McGhee is our June 2014 artist.  She is a ceramic artist originally from Alaska, currently residing in West Michigan.  I was talking with Mikey as we set up her show today.  I learned that when she started making these teapots, she had a 30% success rate.  Now, 50%.  Can you imagine spending time creating something, whether it was an object or work project with only a 30% success rate?  You have to be thick skinned in so many ways to survive as an artist.

    Mikey McGhee teapotMikey McGhee’s Teapot

    Mikey told me how she has to build each teapot on a kiln shelf.  As she builds/connecting the two main bodies with coils, Mikey builds clay supports.  After the bisque firing, she needs to be able to chisel/knock away the support form.  When you see her teapots, think about building the forms around it, and then firing them to 1800 degrees.  Clay shrinks as it is fired.  Imagine the torquing that takes place inside the kiln.
    Mikey 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?

    Creatively I get a charge from viewing art either in person or in a book. Listening to artist describe their work and express their passion excites me most.

    2. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work?

    Originally,  I was determined to create my teapots because an instructor said they cant be done. Now, I continue to build them to see how far I can push the boundaries successfully. With that, I lose more than achieve which makes the achievements more rewarding.

    3. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

    Unanswered.

    4. What profession would you not like to do?

    Unanswered.

    5. Who are your favorite artists?

    Picasso reminds me that anyone can be an artist, even if you don’t think so. If he can sketch a masterpiece in 30 seconds, I can take one a week and draw one too.

    6. What is your favorite tool used to create your work?

    If I didn’t have the wheel I dont know if I would of pursued art. It is my starting point and most of my creativity comes out during throwing.

    7. What is your favorite word?

    My Family is why I’m following this path. Their support has nurtured my art. Without them, I would of gone a completely different direction.

    8. What is your least favorite word?

    ‘I can’t’ is probably the hardest words for me to hear. If I looked at something and thought, “I can’t” life would be impossible. When someone tells me “I can’t” I usually smile and say something like, “sure you can” but I really want to shake sense into them.

    9. Who is your favorite musician?

    Unanswered.

    10. How much formal education have you received?

    I had a year of ceramics in a community college. Within that time, I sold several pieces and was accepted into a gallery. I then took a year of independant study and taught a ceramic instructor how to throw on the wheel so he could teach his students not only amazing hand building techniques but also the basics of wheel throwing.

     

    Thank you, Mikey, for answering our questions.  Stop in to the gallery to see her exhibit.  Mikey will be in the gallery, Friday night, 6-8pm.  Or, if you don’t live in West Michigan, check out our virtual exhibit.  We will ship.

    McGhee teapot.

     

     

  • How do you look at pots?

    Mike Taylor's envelope vase

    Mike Taylor’s Basket

    Do you love sand, waves, and the Midwest woodlands?
    If it’s yes, then you need to look at Mike Taylor’s pottery. We are hosting an online exhibit with Mike’s work available for purchase online.  
    Mike Taylor has been making ceramics vessels for more than 30 years. He lives outside of Hamilton, Michigan. His pots have texture on its surface that relate to all the things we find familiar in nature here. (The Great Lake State – Michigan) Mike makes his own ash and Asian styled shino glazes. He dips, pours, and sprays the glazes. Sometimes there are more than 6 layers. The texture and layers of glaze are what produce his interesting ceramic work.

     

    Mike’s studio work

    When Mike’s pots are touched, picked up and considered, you always turn it around to see the other side and look at its bottom. You will find surfaces that seem to be familiar but each person describes it differently. Wouldn’t it be fun to have friends over for dinner letting them select a handmade ceramic serving piece to serve the meal in? I can see them looking through the cupboards, picking up different pieces, asking about it and the maker, and then making a selection. What a great way to share a meal and make it very personal.

     

    Mike Taylor’s Textured Bowl

     

  • Four female potters and baby goats

    Feeding the Goats at White River Creamery

    What do potter’s do when they get together? They have a lot of fun. We visited a goat cheese maker, White River Creamery; learned about taking care of the goats, milking them, and making the cheese. Did you know that goat cheese is much better for you than cow cheese?

    Many of my non-creative friends (but I believe everyone is creative in some manner) think that if you are an artist, you lead a wild crazy life. Most potters and other artists, that I know, lead fairly solitary lives. You need to have your own personal space and time, to really do your work. Yes, our work. It is work – whatever the craft. The most productive and successful artists that I know, treat their craft as a “real” job. They stick to a schedule. They show up. I could write an entire article about the concept of showing up. But, I digress.

    When artists do leave their studios and meet up with one another, we do have a good time. About a month ago, I was invited to friend’s home. We had such a great time – talking about pots, making great meals, working in her studio, and getting to see the new Walton family art museum, Crystal Bridges.

    Crystal Bridges Museum

    Crystal Bridges, Fayetteville, Arkansas

    As usual, there was a lot of talk flying around as we wandered the museum. One of the gals, said that when her daughter was young, they would play a game of choosing their favorite three pieces of artwork. I used to do the same thing with my daughter. So, we played the game. When we got back to the car, we compared each other’s choices. What I found most interesting was that only one painting was agreed upon by two of us. So, it confirms what I tell my customers, “Trust Your Gut” when deciding if you like a piece of artwork. Even artists don’t agree on what is best. As an uneducated collector of art, you might not be able to use the acedamia language to describe why you like a painting. I believe that we have an inner voice or intuition that tells what is working well in art. You might not know its because the composition follows a formula recognized as pleasing to the eye. You just know that you like it.

    If that is the case, then buy it. You will never regret the purchase. You bought for the right reason, the only good reason – you like it.

    “Woman with a Veil”, Henri Matisse

     

  • Jack Leaver So much Fun on a Rainy Evening

    Last night was First Friday GalleryWalk Night

    in Downtown Grand Haven.

    For being a rainy evening and the first day of Spring Break, we had many visitors stopping in to say “hi”, listen to wonderful music, check out new artwork, and enjoy goat cheese from Dancing Goat Creamery.

    Jack Leaver

    Jack Leaver played in our front window.  We, all, enjoyed his talented song writing and guitar playing throughout the evening.  He and Brian enjoyed several conversations about a variety of musicians.  We even had a couple of customers dancing.   Made me smile.
    April’s featured artists, Carolyn O’Hearn and Cynthia Fielding drove up from St. Joseph.  They brought along new work.  One thing I learned this week, is that their fused glass panels have metal stands that can be staged in your garden landscape.  I don’t know why this surprised me.  As Cynthia pointed out, the windows on our houses deal with hot and cold temperatures.    I can think of several locations in our yard that one of these pieces would look lovely.

    Fielding & O'hearn Glass 

    Fielding & O'Hearn Glass

    Our glass artists stopped into another local business, Grand Haven Garden House, to surprise me with spring flowers.  Don’t they look lovely in Maggie Bandstra’s vase?

    Maggie Bandstra vase

    Remember, I said that we had a lot of fun?  Cory McCrory, our paper clay artist loves to have fun.  Her work is whimsical, light, bright, and sometimes even functional.  Somehow last night, we gained two more heads on our wall.

    Cory McCrory paperclay

    Thank you, everyone, who hung out with us last night, plus an extra thank you to those of you who purchased items.  We appreciate your support.
  • 10 Questions to the Artist – Johnny Quirin

    Today, I am interviewing  Johnny Quirin.  I love learning a bit more about our artists.   Johnny is a photographer who works often with the Grand Rapids Magazine.  He does not photoshop his work.  Everything you see, he saw in real life.  Its the getting the correct light and right angle while looking through your camera lens.  Johnny’s images will be on display through the end of February.    Many of them were shot in a California Desert.  All images are for sale as hung or can be ordered in a different format.

     Johnny Qurin

    Johnny Quirin’s answers to our 10 questions:

    What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

    Johnny:  “Music Drives me.  I appreciate and listen to all types, but I have to say that the Blues is my favorite.”

    Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work?

    Johnny:  “I honestly can say that I don’t.  I just like photographing what I see.”

    What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  

    Johnny:  “I would never choose another profession other than photography, but I very much miss shooting for a newspaper.    Being a photojournalist is the most satisfying  job one could ever have.  It’s too bad there are hardly any newspapers left to contribute to.”

    What profession would you not like to do? 

    Johnny:  “I would loathe working at a desk job daily.”

    Who are your favorite artists? 

    Johnny:  “Photographer  Dorothea Lange.  She put a face to those that endured the Great Depression.”

    What is your favorite tool used to create your work? 

    Johnny:  “Camera for sure, with the widest angle lens possible.”

    What is your favorite word?

    Johnny:  “Deluxe”

    What is your least favorite word? 

    Johnny:  “It drives me crazy when people say “pitchers” when they are referring to “pictures”.

    Who is your favorite musician? 

    Johnny: “Prince, hands down!”

    How much formal education have you received?  Related to your craft.

    Johnny:  “I had the good fortune of working with John Reyman, one of the best photographers in San Diego, California.  His senior portrait style is second to none.  Other than that, I took a few college courses here and there.  However, I feel you don’t take photography classes to become good.  You need to know about and understand people, and how to relate to them.  I shoot a lot of feature pieces for Grand Rapids Magazine, mostly they involve environmental portraits of people in various walks of life.  My day may take me from photographing folks in a homeless shelter to successful business men and women.  As a photographer you need to be able to quickly be able to relate to your subject, find a common ground to talk to them about as you are trying to get them to relax and open themselves up to allow you to portray them truly.”

    Love Mountain