Rhetorical Factory Show July 2015!

All new show scheduled, opening July 10, 2015 at Rhetorical Factory!

So excited for summer!

And here’s why…. 2 months ago I had a sit down, that’s amazing, brainstorm-y idea to collaborate with one of my favorite local artists. Today I ordered 9 yards of fabric from Spoonflower for what will become the centerpieces of my July show “Getting Off the Wall” at Rhetorical Factory in West Asheville.

This locally powered shop focuses on upcycling clothes and innovative design. Bethany Adams, the designer and captain of the ship at the shop,  had an inspiring boots on the ground meeting with me yesterday. She and I have had wonderful success in the past collaborating on projects (if you’ve ever seen me in a CLicKs shirt) and I can’t wait to see what she creates with my images! The show will also include 20 original glass art tiles which I’ve been working on for most of this year.

Come see what we’ve been dreaming up. . . second Saturday, July 10, 2015.

Tangleheart Carousel – Glass Art Tile 6″x6″ with wood stand available at upcoming show July 2015 at Rhetorical Factory in West Asheville.

In Vision – New Work by C.L. Kunst

Mom had it right.

When I was born my mother named me Cynthia Lea, which is an elegant and regal sounding set of names that I am only just now beginning to embrace. Now Lea is easy. Lea means shelter. Lea is an integral part of my Grandmother’s and my oldest daughter’s first name. But that uppity sounding first bit always seemed so far out of my reach.  Originally a reference to a Greek baby name, it literally means of Cynthus, and refers to the location of the birth of the Greek Goddess Artemis and the personification of the first phase of the moon. But modern definitions are more liberal and include ideas that relate to the moon’s more ethereal qualities such as its role as a mirror and reflectors and light in dark places.

When I was growing up I remember feeling intimidated by the big ideas that went with this name. Was this really me? Did this have anything to do with who I was meant to be? I didn’t feel particularly shiny or reflective, much less somehow related to any phase of some classical Greek goddess.  Turns out the answer is yes!!! I get so excited by light! Shining it, flashing it, catching it, teaching it how to dance funny, little flickers in dark places, whatever, just bring on the light! And I don’t think this is an accident either. My birthday comes right in front of the Spring Equinox and the sweet annual return of milder temperatures and longer days. I definitely experience my own personal quickening around this time of year.

March is when the phone starts ringing for portrait sessions again and the art shows, festivals and events for the summer start getting lined up.  So far this year has already been a major hustle-bustle with a pop-up show at a Blind Pig dinner in early February and this week  where I get ready for my latest show at The Circle Asheville that opens Saturday from 3-6.  I’ll be offering a bunch of new work as well as a few old favorites in a new way. Glass!! I’ve gotten together with a local printmaker who helping me create some gorgeous glass art tiles to go along with my other prints and photo art this year. Of course Pop was invaluable and helped me out by making some really cool stands for each tile so you can plunk it in the nearest window and let the sun (or the moon) do all the work backlighting it! They also make really pretty votive shades with a tea candle put on the stand behind the tile for your bookshelf or dining table.

This new body of work represents a jumping off point for me. After making what I call Radiants  for over 10 years I realized that what I’ve really been doing was picking up little pieces of flotsam and jetsam with my camera; bits of visual ephemera that might not mean much now but someday I felt I might find the puzzle this fits into. This year is the year I realized the scope of the puzzle and began to reassemble the pieces into a picture that made sense to me. After looking outward for a very long time I’m beginning to find the worth in looking in. So that’s In Vision, new looks at old works and a re-”in vision”-ing of their purpose in my bigger image. Come see.

In Vision

Show poster at The Circle March 14 – April 10

 

The Last LAAFF?!?

2014 – Is this the Last LAAFF for Lex Fest?

Hopefully not! Although is has been declared over and done and this year will be the “Last LAAFF” there will be metamorphosis to the project with a larger group of directors and organizations including the businesses along Lexington Avenue, the very source of the fest itself.  I believe LAAFF proved in the shadow of its final bow, that it is a festival Asheville wants. Even though I didn’t get to stay as long as I wanted to it was as much fun as ever! Particular favorites for me were The Water Temple, Bike Races with a Dunk Tank finish, Asian Teacher Factory and of course all of the great artists, performers and just folks that dress up and come out to LAAFF. The people watching is always par excellence and this year was no exception! Here are a few choice looks from the day. You can find more photos from LAAFF on my facebook page here.

[*And a note to the future organizers, please don't scrap a good thing because of one bad year. There's no such thing as a last LAAFF.]

 

 

Thoughts on “Finding Vivian Maier”

My two cents about Vivian Maier.

I saw the documentary of Vivian Maier’s life a few months ago and it rattled me, deeply, so much so it’s taken me this long to assimilate it. Watching this movie, I distinctly identified with her need to capture precious real moments, glimpsed in an instant, composed between seconds. She devoted herself to her craft in private, never sharing her images with others but ubiquitously known to have the camera with her at all times. I am certain if she knew all of the scrutiny she was receiving now she would be mortified. And yet, I was intrigued to discover, she left a clear trail of clues for and of herself. A dizzyingly cluttered trail, of 1000s of photo prints and negatives, newspapers and receipts, boxes and boxes of undeveloped film, all patiently  just waiting for the world to discover her. Bold enough to photograph fearlessly, yet so timid about possible rejection that she would craft letters of submission and then save them, unsent, among her collections. It screams, “Find me!”

What would become of any of us in such circumstances? An intensely private single woman, with a passion for art and a true eye for photography, a beloved skill learned from her mother. Living in a time when women of her “station” were primarily hired for domestic opportunities and jobs for “odd” unattached older women as she aged, rarer still. Living among the lives and children of her well off employers, always to be locking them out of her privacy, yet always the voyeur of theirs.  Ultimately, for most of these people, she was little more than a convenience, like your dish washer or an iron and they pay her just about as much attention. Meanwhile Vivian displays a penchant to pursue, capture and portray stories of the marvelous mundane as well as the macabre in the every day. Taking the rich people’s children to the rough parts of town to see & photograph real every day life playing out in the streets and alley’s of Chicago.

As she ages and the commodity of her passion’s aggregate begins to make her upper floor bedroom sag noticeably into the ceiling below, realizing that time and space are limited, she must have been panicked about what would happen to her precious collections. Her sanity and ability to control her circumstances slowly ebbing away until she dies alone and unknown, taken away to the hospital after a fall, never to return.  Within months of her passing she is discovered by John Maloof, a complete stranger who bought a box of her things at a warehouse auction and who is now the steward of her “photographic estate”. In the end, of all the people they interviewed who knew her, some friends, some employers, some children she had cared for now grown, all tried to  explain from their perspective who she was; but I don’t think any of them really did.

Just wow. What a story! It truly spoke to me about the importance of putting your passions out there fearlessly. Would really love to see her work in person someday. . .

I made this a few years ago as a reminder to myself to keep making and pushing myself to be better. As I walked out of the theater it kept floating back to me again.

TOAST! at the Asheville Art Museum

 Taking a break from the Feb. blues for a day to share photos from the Asheville Art Museum‘s winter fundraising event TOAST! The evening featured sips and tastes from a wide range of craft made cider, wine, beer and cocktails, delicious food catered from Valet Gourmet and Havana, a silent auction loaded with art, and music performed by the fantastically talented Jamar Woods. Guests strolled the length of the main floor sampling wine from local vineyards like Addison Farms Vinyard from Leicester, local cider from Urban Orchard , and a little something called a Covington Crimson with Mary Rich Hill of Spirit Savvy.  And of course there was beer. All the usual suspects were present, which is a long and wonderful list since this is Asheville,  but I was especially happy to see Hi-Wire Brewing featured.  Here are a few photos from the evening or see the whole album on CLicKs facebook page.

2.1.14 – February Blues

February Blues

I’ve decided to do a color study in found blues of every shade for every day of February. I’m not going to do too much dialogue this month, just color.

Roaming around in a new garden today I spent a long minute checking out this spot of blue from a garden globe.

 

Frosted Thoughts

Frosted Thoughts on a snow day.

I’ve been leaving the head outside waiting for some frost magic. Finally was rewarded with some this morning.

Lichtaffen – The Light Monkeys

Today I was re-reading National Geographic‘s Photography issue and came across a word Albert Einstein coined to describe photographers who flocked to his public appearances, ‘lichtaffen’, which essentially means ‘Light Monkeys’ or more literally ‘Monkeys drawn to light’. I realize he meant it in a disparaging sort of way, he reportedly hated having his photo taken, but it made me laugh and laugh and laugh. So today, after a lovely family day of laundry dishes and making curtains, I took myself out to the green house to practice my lichtaffen.  First I swished it, amped it up and then I flipped it out. Mr. Einstein, I think you had it right, I love to monkey with light!

Lichtaffen

1.21.14: Face Paint

 Face Paint for my Empty Head

Head Games - Face Paint

This is my new favorite art project!  Before the snow arrived yesterday, I took the head out to our painting table and spent some time seeing how well it translated. The painting table is actually a bit of banged up patio furniture that we are all allowed to paint on and decorate. (It sees a lot more action in the warmer months.) I’m very happy with the way these turned out! The colors on the table show through beautifully to become smudgy-licious “face paint” for my empty head. If you want to get your face or body bits painted for real, check out my friend Amy at Asheville Face & Body Painting.

Head Games - Face Paint

Head Games - Face Paint

1.17.14 – Stretching Out in a Small Space

This little greenhouse place has become my favorite photo experiment room. Even though it’s a small space, it is warm with lots of light so I can easily lose an hour in there just playing with the camera and my veggies.  I like to play with abstracted reflections and change the way I normally see them, narrowing the focus and upping the weird factor. This time I was shooting through a shiny barrel to stretch and warp the reflections of my plants.

Stretching Out in a Small Space

Stretching Out in a Small Space

Stretching Out in a Small Space

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