• 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?


    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.

  • Eli Zilke aquatic jar After school program leads to future career in glass blowing

    Eli Zilke

    Eli Zilke at Work

    If you’re looking for a piece of art that will make you say “wow” every day, look no further than Eli Zilke’s newest glass pieces. Eli started working with glass in the after school programs at Water Street GlassWorks in Benton Harbor. Now, he is a teacher there.

    Eli focuses on form and function with his pieces. His newest work, a selection of vases, are hand blown three separate times. They have a plaid pattern that is achieved by twisting strands of hot glass when they are hot and layering them. Each vase has a variety of colors, making them intriguing to look at. They are a combination of straight and curved lines and dots. This gives them an interesting texture, and they would be perfect for near a window or on a book shelf.

    Zilke Glass

    At one point, Eli spent time studying in Murano, Italy, an island of Venice that is known for producing masters of glass. There, he learned the historical techniques that guide his work today. Recently, he had the opportunity to organize new studio in Valparaiso. We can’t wait to see what is in store for this young artist’s future. Stop in to look at his new pieces today.


  • Cyndi in front of Seurat at Art Institute of Chicago Dots are all over Grand Haven’s 2014ArtWalk

    While I was in Chicago this past weekend, we headed over to the Art Institute of Chicago.  I always learn something new.  The exhibits change many times throughout the year.  I was talking with a docent and he said that only 5% of the artwork is on display at any one time.  This year’s ArtWalk event focuses on Seurat and pointillism.  So, I had to head to the gallery displaying Georges Seurat’s paintings.

    Georges Seurat

    Lisa and Lynn are working on painting our small version of this famous painting by Georges Seurat, “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte”.  Georges painted 24 studies before approaching the large canvas that we see today.  He continued to rethink the composition adding a sense of grand solemnity and wry humor – a sophisticated irony that is completely absent in the small oil panel.

    Oil sketch by Georges Seurat

    Small oil sketch by Seurat

    In another part of the museum’s gallery, there are two paintings that caught my eye.  One by Henry-Edmond Cross and another by Paul Signac.  These artists were friends of Georges Seurat and painted in a similar style with all-over dots and then dashes of strong color that were the hallmark of the Neo-Impressionist group.

    Les Andelys, Cote d'Aval, by Paul Signac

    “Les Andelys, Cote d’Aval” by Paul Signac, 1886

    Henri-Edmond Cross moved to the Mediterranean coast due to his rheumatoid arthritis.  This move deeply affected his art.  At this time, he embraced the divided brushwork of small dashes and dots of color applied regularly throughout a composition.  He used color gradations which became his means of capturing the color and heat of his adopted region.

    “Beach at Cabasson” Henri Edmond Cross, 1891

     (By taking a few minutes to read the cards next to the paintings, you learn a lot about the period and what the artists were considering.)

    I can’t wait to see all of the versions hanging in Grand Haven storefronts as the summer progresses.  Time to get into the studio to glaze pots.

  • Cory McCrory teapot What do McDonald’s drink trays and Cory McCrory have to do with one another?

    Cory McCrory says she and her pottery are in a serious relationship.

    Cory McCrory

    In college, their relationship became serious and they lived together for years. After some time apart, they reunited in her adult life.  She has made it into a career.
    Cory was born and raised in New England before moving to the midwest in her 20s. Now living in Chicago, she works from her home studio and raises her kids while hand building her pots out of paper clay. She combines paper with her clay, which is 15% paper pulp. She uses recycled McDonald’s drink trays. From that clay emerge her functional pieces, which include wine goblets, coffee mugs and butter dishes.

    McDonald's drink tray, minivan

    They can easily be described as whimsical. Each piece has a texture to it, and often has more than one color, balancing the brown of the clay. The brown is like the color of a paper lunch bag, and she contrasts that with bright hues of yellow, red and blue. The lines on her pieces aren’t exactly straight, which only adds to the playful feel. They almost look like they would fit in on the Mad Hatter’s table in Alice in Wonderland. She says her work is an interpretation of her everyday life through color texture and form.

    Cory McCrory TeapotCory McCrory’s teapots

    Mug by Cory McCrory

    Her goal with each piece is to make you smile.
    Stop into the gallery and see for yourself.

    Written by Emma Baty, our summer intern.

  • Composition – What’s the big deal?

    Composition:  What’s the Big Deal?

    If your goal is to make a piece of artwork that combines different  elements, such as line, shape, tone, color, or texture ….

    which appears understandable and harmonious ….

    and provides satisfaction or pleasure to the viewer – it  IS a big deal!


    Still Life by Roger Frye

    Still Life with Omega Flowers, 1919 by Roger Frye

    For example:

    If I were to ask you to compose a paragraph that was meaningful- you would have to arrange the letters, words, sentences and punctuation in a particular configuration for it to make sense.  Even more thought would have to go into the paragraph in order to make it interesting and pleasurable to read.

    The same is true for composing a piece of artwork.  Since before the Renaissance, art instructors at the Academies have taught composition as the basis for all other learning in the field.  All students learned many mathematical diagrams that showed ways to divide up the surface of canvas in order to plan the composition to be the most pleasing to the eye.  Two favorites were the Golden Mean and Golden Rectangle.  Where lines proceed or intersect, or where spaces are surrounded by lines- these become areas of importance.


    Golden MeanThe Golden Mean

    The Golden Rectangle

    The Golden Rectangle

    The Golden Mean diagram helped the artist decide where to place  “focal points” (areas that draw or hold your attention) and “directional forces” (actual lines or lines of objects that attract your eye ) to guide the viewer around the entire composition.

     Golden Mean explained

    In the painting by Roger Frye, the main focal areas are circled (left).  They contain interesting detail, color and texture.  Therefore, they attract and hold attention.  Sometimes dark tone will hold attention – so some will see the vase as a major focal area.

    Robert Frye painting

    Directional forces are lines, edges or “lines” of shapes that help guide our eye around the  design.  They are meant to keep you within the composition, not carry you toward the margins. I have noted only a few with arrows. You may see others.

    Directional forces

    There are other important considerations.  Mainly, variety and repetition.  An interesting composition usually has a good balance of these two principles.

    In the picture we have been looking at, there is variety in the flowers created for the arrangement.  There is also repetition of the basic shape.  There is another roundish shape – the pear – so that adds variety and adds to the repetition of shape.  There is repetition of the various colors used in the composition, – a particular color appears in more than one part of the still life.

    The vertical segments in the background are also varied in width, but all are repeated verticals.  The pattern on the tablecloth has variety in color and type of shape, and both are repeated.  This variety and repetition was not an accident, but planned by the artist – who was a well-known artist and art critic – and a member of “The Bloomsbury Group” of artists and writers in Edwardian England.

    The Bloomsbury Group

    There are many more important things to think about  when composing a design, but some of the most important have been mentioned here.  Any basic design text will enlighten you further!


    This posting was written by one of C2C gallery’s artists, Abbey Fitzpatrick.  Abbey is a local artist who recently retired as an adjunct professor from Grand Rapids Community College and Kendall School of Art and Design.  I appreciate her taking the time to write this document on composition.


  • Barbara Fugazzotto mask Local Artist loves anything with a Latin Rhthm

    Barbara Fugazzotto was originally thinking about something in science.  She grew up in upstate New York, moved several times, ending up in Grand Haven due to her husband’s job in the Grand Haven school system.  He came home saying that they needed an art teacher.  Barb changed clothes and convinced the superintendent of schools that she could indeed teach art to junior high aged children.  The next day, she started.  Barb loved being a teacher showing students original ways that they could show their creativity.  I like to ask each of our visiting artists the same questions to learn a bit more about them.  
    Barbara Fugazzotto
    Recently, I interviewed Barbara about her likes and dislikes.  Here are her responses to our “10 Questions to the Artist”:
    What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
     Creatively- standing in front of my shelves of fabric. Which shall I choose to begin?
                  Spiritually- standing at the edge of the ocean,
                          The rhythm of the waves
                          The details of the foam on the sand
                          The enormity of the expanse
                          The unifying nature of the oceans connecting all parts of the world.                                         Emotionally- friends and family  who embraced and accept the emotion I need                       to express
    Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work?
    The layering of geological history as seen in the strata of a rock wall. The layering of color, texture and patina as seen in ancient ruins on weathered objects.
    What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
     I could have been a dancer. 
    What profession would you not like to do?
    Sports- too competitive and I like to make stuff.   
    Who are your favorite artists?
    My aunt who was an art teacher had Van Gogh prints in her house. At an early age I stared at them fascinated by the colors, textures and loosely representative style. And Matisse- Pattern on pattern. Need I say more?
    What is your favorite tool used to create your work?
    Sewing machine and serger.
    What is your favorite word?
    “What if…?” 
    What is your least favorite word?
    Who is your favorite musician?
    Anything with a Latin rhythm. 
    How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft.
    Bachelors degree and many credit and non credit classes and workshops. I love being a student learning something new. 
    Fugazzotto mask
    Fugazzotto’s Fabric mask
    We love having Barb’s tactile work.  Her decorative masks and fans are lovely.  She has creative small bags for women that have very thoughtful pockets on the inside and out.  We have several vests and jackets that she has made in several different sizes and styles.  Her materials have been gathered throughout her travels all over the world.  Stop in to consider one of her pieces for you or your home, or a gift.  Barb uses Art in her daily life.

    Fugazzotto's fan

    Fandangle by Barbara Fugazzotto

  • Fransbergen ceramics Stitch in Time….

    Estella Fransbergen's torsos
    Imagine a store mannequin. Then imagine a store mannequin with a full skirt of feathers and blue beads and silver wire in curls. Then you have picture on of Estella Fransbergen’s female torsos, which made their appearance at the Grand Haven Art Festival this past weekend.
    Estella FransbergenEstella Fransbergen
    She uses RAKU clay and fires in what she calls a “spiritual process.” And “thought flows through the hands as the clay assumes the human form.” Originally from South Africa and now residing in rural Illinois, Estella has art in galleries in Europe and Canada, as well as the United States. Her work definitely caught our eye in this weekend’s show.

    I found her description of firing her work very interesting:
    Firing is a spiritual process for me. I sage the fire pit area; use hard wood like oak, hickory or cherry – often cut and split from our own property – and build a fire. I can see and feel the intense heat as I carefully arrange the piece into the fire. I sit in front of the fire for hours watching heat colors and dancing flames paint the piece – they give the piece it’s soul.
    Fransbergen ceramics
    A specific moment comes. I move to take the piece out. I have to wear fire protective gear: a head and face shield, boots, a large apron and huge asbestos mittens with a couple of fingers. Tongs don’t work with the larger pieces. Its almost as if I have to move into the fire, cradle the piece and gently usher it out. I put the piece in a large trashcan full of combustibles, fan and then smother the fire. It’s nearly over. I take the piece out of the can and flush it with cool water.
    Over time, I have learned to simply accept and thank nature for what is. From clay, dust, water, wood, air and fire, a piece has been BORN.


    Fransbergen torso

    Bob Walma contributed images of Estella’s work and Emma Baty contributed to today’s blog post.