Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Ok... here are the two head sketches I did outside today..... they were each exactly an hour. I had SO much fun. I parked myself in front of the library and just asked this guy if he wanted to make a quick $20 by posing for me for an hour, right there. Someone definitely put a flame under my ass for that hour, I assure you! It is so intoxicating to paint quickly from life!! I threw down a lot of color, and some of my drawing suffered along the way. But you gotta start somewhere, right? Then I got another woman to pose for me for one hour.... she was really into it. I've got a lot of work to do, but just practicing is so, so much fun. If I could plan my own future and life, I would just travel for 8 months a year painting people in their environments in other countries (and this one), and then spend the other 4 months trying to sell them all to pay for the next trip. Yup, that's what I would do. Paint from life EVERY day. Plus you meet the coolest people.... I was a little intimidated at first, walking around with my easel and hat and overalls, but once I found some nice people, I loosened up and just listened. Some people have seriously hard lives..... the guy, Wes, has 5 kids and he is younger than me. And he is a Muslim, which he said gets tricky here in Chattanooga and just generally the South. He was SO friendly.
I can't wait to do more! I think I need to start paying less, though, or else I'm going to go broke by next week :)
Hello, everyone! I am writing (after, oh, way too long) to inform everyone that I am adding an additional part to my project.
Since picking 9 people in the Chattanooga community is proving to be very challenging (there are WAY too many interesting characters here...), I have decided to paint quick oil sketches of whomever would like to sit for me. I will be setting up in different venues throughout the summer to paint anyone who is willing to give me an hour of their time. The portraits will be free of charge, but I will hold on to them until I have my final exhibit. After the exhibit, the portraits will be given to each sitter.
I will be listing the where and whens this week, so please check in!!! I hope to see some of you soon!
Friday, March 13, 2009
Today I went to have lunch with the girls in David Cook's class at the Girls Preparatory School (GPS). I cannot tell all of you how impressed I am with these young women. After visiting my studio about three weeks ago to speak with me about the project and the dilemmas I am facing, I mentioned that i was interested in doing some "guerrilla marketing" to get a wider range of people in the community involved.
Wouldn't you know, about a week later, and after several precious thank you cards, one of the girls, Maria Stratienko emailed me asking if her and her classmates could help out in getting the word spread. I met with them all for lunch, and they had TONS of brilliant ideas. And these girls are so well versed and open minded, it made me truly proud to see such young individuals interacting on this level with their community.
So, Chattanooga, beware! The GPS girls have some tricks up their sleeves you should all be seeing soon!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
Welcome! I've opened this blog as a tool to keep people updated on my grant project, The Faces Of Chattanooga.
What is this project?
The Faces Of Chattanooga is a year- long grant I have been awarded from CreateHere, Chattanooga. The mission of The Faces of Chattanooga is to capture the portraits of nine Chattanooga residents and broadcast their stories, tragic and triumphant. My sister, Veronique Bergeron, will be writing these stories based on my encounters with each individual sitter. So far, this project has given me the opportunity to engage Brother Ron Fender, a Gregorian monk who washes the feet of the homeless at the Community Kitchen. I have also had the fortune of befriending Sandy Bell, a local celebrity and flower aficionado, as well as Kirk Wilder, a handsome young man who has struggled for four years with brain trauma resulting from a stab wound to the head. In the process of finishing these paintings, there have been tearful afternoons, many reasons to smile, and countless surprising, rich stories. And now there are three paintings to testify to Chattanooga's diversity and to the strength and humility of its residents.
This project is about starting conversations between seemingly disparate groups. For example, I will choose each sitter to represent a different aspect of Chattanooga demographically, and each portrait will be in discussion with the other eight aesthetically.
There have also been some additions to my original idea. First, I have decided to let each sitter name a non-profit that in Chattanooga that has been important in their lives. I plan on having a catalogue of the project, along with photographs, in-depth stories, and quotes printed. This catalogue will be for sale at the exhibition of the nine portraits. All the proceeds of this catalogue will then be donated to the nine organizations named by each sitter. In the end, artists, non-profits and residents will be united in sorting out the realities and common fictions of daily life in Chattanooga.
A second addition to this project comes from a bright and curious woman named Linda Duvoisin. She is a local filmmaker, and has decided that this project, with all of its intimate storytelling, would make an interesting documentary. Our hope is to share the stories of these sitters in multiple forms of art. She and her husband Dave, along with fellow filmmaker Bobby Stone have already begun this generous endeavor. They will be applying for the same grant I received last year in order to edit and produce the film. We would all like to see this happen, as this film would be available to libraries, schools and history centers throughout Chattanooga once completed.
My mission is honest portraiture. That can include work from writers, storytellers, musicians, and sculptors alike.
Here are some links to press this project has received:
Chattanooga Times Free Press (January 2, 2009)
On NPR: click here
(click on file, then hit tab that says play)
In the City Magazine, July 2008 ( page 20)