Rough copy of local grant questions answered. It was accepted today. Which means I am now a poor painter and powerful curator.
“I am in regular contact with a group of painters in Moscow, Russia known as “The Russian Stuckists”. Stuckism is an international art movement founded in 1999 by London painters Billy Childish and Charles Thomson to promote figurative painting as opposed to conceptual art. I met the painter Alexey Stepanov through Stuckist social media. He oversees a group of painting afficionados in Moscow. They paint together weekly, and post their sessions on social media. I am captivated by their camaraderie, humility, and skill through practice. I wish to paint with this group (via Skype) in their studio for several weeks, beginning as soon as the grant is awarded. I will keep detailed records (photos, video, biographical information of painters, etc.), amass a significant body of work, exhibit it along with several canvases shipped from Moscow, and host a detailed presentation to the community at the Art Association of Oswego.”
“From January 1st, I will paint in weekly 3-4 hour sessions with The Russian Stuckists in their studio via Skype. From my studio in Oswego, N.Y., I will paint what the group paints, whether that be nude and clothed models, a plein air attempt on a river bank, or our own intuitive paintings born out of a common theme.”
“I will seek at least 10 sessions live with Moscow, and will keep up during the off time with my own intuitive painting a lá Stuckism. I will arrange with Alexey to ship work of fellow painters from his studio, (at least 15-20), to be hung with my work (10-15) pieces at an exhibition at The Art Association of Oswego (30-35 in all).”
“Again, the subject matter is unknown at this point. Each week it will change. My intent is to introduce their work to the public at home while teaching the latter, through exhibition and artist talk, about the joys of International Stuckism.”
“I have been painting and writing for over twenty years. I have shown extensively throughout New York State, mainly over past eight years, and I have self-published eleven books.”
“I paint nearly every day, and hold no other paid employment. I have been trading work and conversing online with Alexey Stepanov of Moscow, Russia for nearly a year. He heads The Russian Stuckists. This group has been working diligently together for as long as I have known him. It is their perseverance and skills I wish to promote to my town, especially to the young and professional artists alike, who will be inspired by their story. I believe their paintings have merit, as do mine, yet overall, I know that their story will connect. As American artists, we can learn the thrill of painting, especially as it pertains to enthusiasm and camaraderie. Avarice and atomization have been creeping in over the past two generations. There is too much aloneness in the arts.”
“Communion has been one of my artistic goals for as long as I can remember. Expressive painting is a very powerful connector to people. We are an image and story-loving species. To give an example of how disassociated the arts have become to the general public (and even other artists!), for the past several years, I have opened up my house to exhibit my paintings. I invite friends, relatives, college professors, art teachers, even my periodontist—I see many of the same faces year after year, and am thankful, yet I am always surprised how few “artists” attend. What truly irks me is the non-attendance of those who teach the arts. As if they tacitly agree that art only happens in big cities like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. Of course, this is not true!”
“The Art Association of Oswego has a spacious gallery in an old barracks of Fort Ontario. I have had a couple solo shows, and have attended many group exhibitions over the past eight years. The number of visitors is rarely ever enough—it’s the same crowd, over and over. An exhibition and lecture on Stuckism would certainly breathe fresh air into the gallery. Recently the AAO exhibited the Cuban painting collection of Eugenio Basualdo. Something new. International, yes, but far, far away. Stuckism, via the the great and glorious Internet, is poised to connect millions back to art. And on a local level. I believe students especially will be charmed with the idea that they too can plug into social media, display recent work, enjoy critique, and provide solo exhibitions on their own, in person (a Stuckist prerequisite). If Rural Ron Throop from Oswego County, New York, can inspire and be inspired by a group of very talented painters in the cafes of Moscow, then many others can do the same. They will appreciate the many avenues open to artists through Stuckist philosophy. My work will speak for itself. So too will the work of the Russian painters. Stuckism is inspirational. I urge all panelists to look up the Stuckist Manifesto online.”
First off, I am a post card fanatic. I love to design (with much help from my Indesign knowledgeable wife) fun, appealing post cards to announce my shows. I usually get a run of 500, and hand address and stamp between 100 and 200 cards to those whom I think would be interested. I set the rest out at public locations around town—the library, SUNY Oswego, any bulletin board available.
For this project I would have several social media sites set up right away. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, VK (the Russian Facebook), etc., and daily I would update progress. This is nothing new to me. I am very active online with my website, WordPress blog, Facebook and Twitter.
Of course, by April I will have post cards available, and the exhibition information will be posted on the AAO website.
I would seek help from the fourth estate— The Post Standard, Syracuse New Times, The Palladium Times, The Oswego Shopper, The Oswegonian (college newspaper). As usual, I will reach out to New York galleries, and hope for contact with the upper echelon.
I will seek free community event advertisement with WRVO and WNYO (SUNY Oswego student run station).
I plan to follow up with individual art teachers at county high schools and SUNY Oswego to inform their students if possible.
I would be very open to suggestions from panelists, or anyone else interested. Sandwich boards perhaps?”
“Stuckism is about painting. Again, I urge you to read the manifesto online (it’s only two pages long). I shall head this section off with one of the precepts of Stuckism that I find most comforting in my pursuit.”
“It is the Stuckist’s duty to explore his/her neurosis and innocence through the making of paintings and displaying them in public, thereby enriching society by giving shared form to individual experience and an individual form to shared experience.”
One more… I can’t help it:
“The Stuckist is not a career artist but rather an amateur (amare, Latin, to love) who takes risks on the canvas rather than hiding behind ready–made objects (e.g. a dead sheep). The amateur, far from being second to the professional, is at the forefront of experimentation, unencumbered by the need to be seen as infallible. Leaps of human endeavour are made by the intrepid individual, because he/she does not have to protect their status. Unlike the professional, the Stuckist is not afraid to fail.”
“So each one of these paintings I submit, is the best I shall produce at that given moment of completion. Basically, I persist in perfecting my limitations. Among the work submitted you will find examples of still life, figure painting, plein air, and my favorite one of all… Intuition. Paint what I like, from my mind, just like Matisse. I finish some with text to help make my meaning manifest. Often I filter my strongest emotions of love and anger through painting. What a tonic! Earlier I mentioned that I am also a writer. There could not be more separate disciplines! When I write, I am tight. When I paint, I am light.”
I hope this works Alexey and friends. Let’s go!