Saturday, December 29, 2007

My Brilliant Brother

It was a post-xmas miracle! I opened up the local paper, the New York Times, and there was an op-ed piece by my very own older brother!! Yay!! I'm so proud!

Now all of you, go read it and email it to everyone you've ever known.
Besides the awesomeness of it being my brother, it's even awesomer to read what he has to say about sub-prime lending.

You'll be amazed.

The article is here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Art Show in February!

So yes, last post was disgruntled.
This post is much more positive.
I owe that change of heart to Zeina.

Make plans now,
far in advance.
Come to the show,
bring everyone you know.


Fade Out, Black In

January 31, 2008- March 1, 2008

NY Studio Gallery. 511 West 25th St. #607, between 10th and 11th Avenues NY, NY 10001/Tel. 212.627.3276 /

Artists’ Reception: Thursday February 7th, 2007. 6-8pm

Business Hours: Thursday – Saturday, 12 – 6 pm or by appointment

Curated by: Zeina Assaf

Featured artists: Betty Beth Bartholomew, Ronald P. D. Brandt, Christin Couture, Stanislav Ginzburg, Christina Gundersen, Rachel Hyman, Tine Kindermann, Nina Olson

NY Studio Gallery is pleased to present Fade Out, Black In, a group exhibit dealing with the underlying currents of dark nostalgia and distant memory. From childhood fears and adolescent recollections to the tainted past, the works encompass a pitted feeling of loss, self-reflection, and turbulent dreams. While grappling with disturbing images of the past or a twisted take on reality, the artists’ work relates on an emotional level, as well as an aesthetic one.

Fade Out, Black In features mid career and emerging artists who work in media ranging from photography and sculpture to oil painting and mixed media. Exhibiting both locally and nationally at venues like: Deitch Projects, Secret Project, Robot Gallery, The RIDER Project, and St. Ann's Warehouse.

About NY Studio Gallery

NY Studio Gallery combines exhibition and workspace to create an atmosphere of interaction, collaboration and integration of media, styles and artistic genres. The mission of NY Studio Gallery is to provide a community workspace and high-profile exhibition gallery for emerging and mid-career artists whose work challenges viewer’s paradigms.

NY Studio Gallery

511 W. 25th St. #6-07, New York, NY 10001 • 212.627.3276 •

Gallery Hours: Thu. – Sat: 1 pm – 6 pm & by appointment

Monday, December 17, 2007

Etsy, Art, and the function of dealers. sigh.

I've been reading my favorite source of internet-time-wasting-while-learning-something the New York Times, instead of playing my fabulous scrabulous games on facebook. It's for the best- scrabulous has begun to invade my subconscious, and is making my boyfriend into a madman.

In the Times' magazine right now, there's an article called handmade 2.0, which I've permalinked for those of you reading this after right now. It's mostly about and the o'reilly inspired crafts movement that's been going on for a while now. The article highlights some of the same makers that etsy highlights, and dicusses problems and solutions with marketing and competition among the crafty.

My mom has long been a crafty sort, and after she initially retired about ten years ago, took up making all the things she'd ever dreamed of, with both the excitement and the disappointments that most crafters encounter. Mom makes amazing stuff. She started with pottery, moved on to painting rocks to look like other things, then found mosaics and found object art, and lately has begun to make an increasingly large amount of jewelry.

I've been to some of Mom's craft shows and seen her beautiful artisan works outsold by buckets with sponge-bob-square-pants marker-drawn on them. (The horror that befalls the crafts communities usually is entrenched with the desire of the people who attend such craft events to purchase gross corporate wannabe stuff. ) She had a listing on etsy for a while, and never sold a thing. She had craft fair after craft fair until she began to hate and resent the public and their inability to spot wonderful things, or their reservations about paying decent (if you ask me, below market) prices for art objects she labored intensely on. Lately, she's found a successful venue (finally) for the amazing things she makes: she sells them through a dealer, the Sideshow store at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

I hate craft fairs. I don't like most of the handmade things I see. But I love my Mom's work, not because I'm her daughter- but because it's really better than everything else I see being made. There's a lot of crap out there, and some of it sells really well, but there are gems in there too.

She should be the poster-child for something like etsy- but she's not a hipster, and despite the average age of 34 for etsy makers, (mom is a bit older than that) her work just didn't fit into that bird-owl-pirate aesthetic. Good. I like that mom's stuff is beyond these trends, and can't be marketed by type. If anything, she's an example of constant reinvention, of herself, her aesthetic, and her motifs. Her crafts are real art, and she isn't bound by the market that she never really liked anyway- even now when it finally likes her back.

What does all this have to do with the times article? Well, I still don't think etsy is the way to be a successful artist. Wading through internet storefronts is an awful way to go shopping. I hate it with big box stores, and I hate it even more with crafters and artists.

I don't know the way, but as my friend D. was telling me at lunch last week, the only way to be a successful artist is to have an advocate. A dealer. A gallery. A store at the museum. The artist needs someone else to sell it for them, because they need to be left alone to make art. Etsy isn't an advocate, it's somewhere an advocate can lead a buyer to purchase something. There are cheaper places to have things sold. Or you might not need much of a place at all.

I don't have a dealer. I don't have a gallerist pimping my work to their best buyers list. I have dreams of these things, and hope that maybe I'll eventually fall in with the right people and be in some sustainable stable of artists who are nurtured by some amazing circle of collectors. But most of America daydreams about winning the lotto, and this is about as likely. (Oh sad sad jaded 5th year out of art school painter.. where did the idealism go? into the service industry jobs I guess.)

Last week, while finishing up another hopeless grant application for funding for graduate school, I decided to start an imagekind gallery. People have told me that they wish my work was available as cards or posters. This site allows me to upload really high resolution images to it's servers, and have them available for sale at a marginal mark-up of the printing costs, in a variety of sizes. It's a great utility, because anyone who wants to buy a print or poster of any of my work can just click on a button, and it arrives without my having to make prints, store prints, send prints.

This Button above should take you to an image of a painting I sold last year. I have the copyright to the image, even though I've sold the original work. While I might not be able to make or sell enough original images to support myself, perhaps some prints could make things like my upcoming post-baccalaureate program more affordable.

Maybe I'll be lucky enough one day to have a gallery function as my advocate, or make work quickly enough to sell at slashed prices with a 3.5% cut from etsy, but until then- I'll keep the quality up and hope that the prints will sell.

I don't make crafts anyway, I make art. I'm pretty sure (from watching my mom) that the only difference in the terms is a price range. I'm looking to make a life a little better than the (make as many as one person can) not mass-produced art 2.0

Go check out my imagekind gallery at I'll be putting up a bunch of paintings and drawings in the next few days, and figuring out how to price it right. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Advice Column #11

Hey Bartender!
How drunk is one allowed to get at the company Christmas party?
Is there a series of rules, based on your seniority (i.e. assistants can have x, senior management do whatever the hell they want, etc.)? Does one tip the bartenders at such events, if it's a company party? generally if there is a tip cup you do, and if not you don't, as I understand it.

The degree of drunkenness allowed at company Christmas parties is based generally on the pay grades of the drinkers, and the frequency that you see each other drunk. If you never go to happy hours with your co-workers, you probably don't want to get so soused that you try to smooch your boss's secretary. If you get plastered on a general basis with the department head, get the boss an extra cup of punch to spread some holiday cheer. Generally, it's best (and polite) to never become more intoxicated than whomever is throwing the party. Remember that the company Christmas party is a performance. You want to witness the antics of the other characters, and interact positively, but not be the subject of all the drama. You want to show your team that you can relax and be comfortable enough with your co-workers to have a few drinks with them. The less nervous you are about your habits, the more confident you'll be in conversations with the bigwigs. I'd stick to three cups of punch, or two if you're a lightweight. And don't forget to eat some snacks- but lay off the sweets if you don't want a hangover.

As for tipping the bartender- if there's a tip jar, always, if not, you certainly can say, "are we allowed to tip you?". If they say no, then no. If they shrug, then tip. Even if there isn't a tip jar, you should tip graciously. Heck, you aren't picking up the tab anyway, and you did just get that company bonus. Tipping is good for you. If your bosses don't notice your generosity and your good manners, the bartenders will. You'll have some strange glow to you that gets you drinks made well, and faster, than all the other employees. It's best to make these occasions go smoothly, and the bartender can certainly help you out in some socially awkward conversation with the boss's wife and his secretary. Also, make sure you get the interns drunk- the company party is really their night. Ahem, Sinterns.

Hey Bartender!
The holiday season is stressing me out. Whenever I look at the list of people who I have to give presents to, I just want a drink. Can you make some wintry suggestions for how to alleviate this situational and transitory stress? I'm drowning in holiday cheer. Please, I wish that sentence were more literal.

The holiday has lots of cheer, in the cheers variety. My favorite winter beer this year has been the Sprecher Winter Brew. Sprecher is a brewery in Wisconsin which makes awesome beers and sodas. The Winter brew is a dunkel bock with caramel and chocolate notes, delicately balanced with four varieties of hops. It's perfect for a night of gift wrapping, or a night of forgetting about all the holidays. If you want to remember Christmas past, or save some for the ghosts of the future, try the Samichlaus beer from Eggenberg brewery in Austria. Samichlaus is a doppelbock, brewed only once a year on December 6th and left to age for a year before it's release. This beer gets better while you wait, so try to get an older bottle. I've found the ten year old bottles are bit more like brandy, but at 14%, any vintage is a great one. Also, it's a great Christmas present for your bartender, drinking buddies, or anyone you know over 21 who likes things that are awesome.

Other stress relieving winter drinks include (but are never limited to) hot toddies, hot buttered rum, wassail punch, mulled wine, and of course, Eggnog. The argument over recipes for these drinks is a historical battle that has caused more argument and pain than any present you'll buy for your family this year. This week I'll tackle a simple one: the hot buttered rum. A teaspoon of light brown sugar is dissolved with a shot and half of rum, at the bottom of a mug. Half a teaspoon of salted butter (good butter is key here) is dropped towards the rum, then add a little bit of ground cardamon, perhaps a clove or two, and fill the mug up with boiling water. Stir with a cinnamon stick, season to taste. I bet this mug will calm you down, let you toast to the people who you love enough to torture yourself over, and maybe blur away the bad parts of the holiday season.

Perhaps next week I'll explain another wintry drink on the list. I guess it depends on what questions I'm asked.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Advice Column #10

Hey Bartender!

I currently work several part-time jobs, two of which are in fields I love, at institutions I love. One of them is offering me a full-time job sometime in the next week! The other one is in no position to take me on full-time, so for this and other, less-important reasons I'll be leaving them in the near future. As I said, I love this job and this workplace and I'm sure that leaving them will be upsetting, no matter how great it will be to have a full-time job. With health insurance!

How do I deal with the separation sadness and the feeling that I've betrayed them? How do I get over this feeling of panic over having made a real-live "career decision"? What should we drink for the former co-workers' last hurrah?

Congratulations!! The panic feeling is totally normal- that's the feeling of progress. You haven't betrayed them at all! They should be happy for you and your accomplishments. You can still meet them for happy hour drinks after work, and you'll still know them. Making honest and warm professional connections is much harder than making friends, and arguably more useful in the long run. Right now, you are taking a more stable and better job somewhere else, and feel like you are leaving these co-workers behind. In the future, when you're looking to change jobs again, to hire people you can trust, or are uncertain about your next career move, these connections will be invaluable resources. You will also be a great resource for them. So make sure you set up a way to stay in touch, and actually do it. Join a professional networking site like linked-in or a social one like face book to have access to your former co-workers, and to keep in touch with them. Ask you former boss to write you a letter of recommendation before you go, and submit it to a dossier or letter service at your undergraduate institution. Put them on your holiday card list! Wrap things up pleasantly!

You are right in wondering about what to drink at the co-worker's last hurrah. After all, why end in a whimper when you could choose a bang? You want your co-workers to be left with a great taste in their mouth, and a warm pleasant feeling every time they think of you. Is mulled wine enough? Maybe. But how about some seasonal delights that will be like you are, unforgettable.

Remember, drinks, like careers, are only as wonderful as the ingredients you put in them, and the care you take to make them. So when I say apple cider- go to the farmers market and get some of the real stuff. Don't get any drink product that has high fructose corn syrup in it. Besides tasting saccharine- not sweet- this odd and overly subsidized by-product of corn is bad for you, and will fatten you up like a pig. You're an adult now, with health insurance, and need to take care of yourself. Find the farmers market.

I encourage you to make fireside punch for this transitional time of your life. Fireside punch contains a quart of apple cider, 5-6 lemons, 2 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of Peach schnapps, 1.5 cups of rum, and one apple. There are variations that can be made, and you can always adjust to taste (some people use equal parts schnapps and rum, you can decide- but I like more rum than schnapps). When I make it, I heat up the water, melt the sugar into it, then add the juice of five to six lemons. At this point, I've made some strong lemonade- do the same. Think about that adage, when life gives you lemons, and how you've taken your part-time jobs that weren't what you expected when you entered the job market, and turned them into a full time job with benefits and a whole list of professional contacts. Many people try to skip the making lemonade step by using frozen concentrate, but it's not as good. By taking shortcuts, they rarely find pleasure in their jobs or the delights of this punch. Into the warm lemonade, add a quart of apple cider. Making the apple cider is a little more labor intensive than the lemonade, so just buy one. Heat mixture to almost a boil. Stir in peach schnapps and some good dark rum. Pour into your punch bowl. Slice up the apple into thin slices, and place them into your punch cups. Serve hot.

For those of your coworkers who like a little more warm belly and a little less citrus, try a whiskey milk punch. Get a bottle of something nice, a jug of non-homogenized milk (you'll taste the creamy difference), a little dish of powdered sugar, and nutmeg or a hazelnut with a fine spice grater. Make these to serve, not in big punch bowl form. Pour 2 ounces of whiskey, 1 tsp of powdered sugar, and 6 ounces of milk into a shaker with cracked ice. Shake, then strain into a glass and sprinkle nutmeg on top, or grate a little bit of hazelnut onto it. Hand it to your old boss and say, thank you for all that you've taught me while I worked here. I hope we can work together in the future. Cheers!

Advice Column #9

Hey Bartender,

My boyfriend and I recently joined an internet-based swingers network in our area to meet some new girls and/or couples. (Don't worry, this isn't going to be one of those questions. It's strictly about tactful communication). Anyway, many people on these sites don't post pictures of their faces, just their bodies. Often how it works is that you see someone you think you'll like and email with them a bit to make sure you're all on the same page. And then maybe you exchange full-body photos, faces revealed.

So, I wrote to this girl who was hot from the neck down. She wrote me back a sweet email about her interest in hanging out with me and my boyfriend. Then I wrote back and sent some pictures, and she responded in turn with full pictures of herself. After seeing her face I realized there's no way my boyfriend and I could ever be attracted to her. But how do I tell her--sensitively and politely--that I don't think we should meet after all? I don't want to hurt her feelings, especially since I initiated contact in the first place. And I'm sure my reasons for backing out will be obvious--after all, I was all about it until she sent pictures indicating that she's, well, ugly. Help! How do I word my response?

Before I get to the "what to do" or the "what to drink" discussions, let's take a moment for "how did we get here?" It's not my place to tell you or your man how many partners to have at one time, but I wonder about your recruitment methodology. Perhaps shopping for head-less lovers on the Internet isn't the way to go about finding a proper match. Sure, the Internet seems like an easy solution, but is there a group that meets in a big bar somewhere, has a bunch of drinks, and everyone carpools home- certain that they like the face too? I can understand the need for anonymity on a website of that nature, but that same anonymity puts you in situations where you have to gracefully decline an orgy at Sleepy Hollow.

Meanwhile, since you are bravely choosing not to practice the traditional art of blowing people off, let's figure out what you should tell your scorned lover-not-to-be. Notably, I think it attests to your character that you feel the need to give this woman closure, when you don't really have a relationship with her in the real world. As for the email you're going to write, decisiveness and discretion are key in cutting this short as harmlessly as possible. Make up an excuse, "We've been having some problems lately and don't want to bring a third person into our lives right now. " Reassure her, "We were very attracted to you and hope that you understand our decision to not meet with you is entirely about us." Cement the end of the exchange, "Hopefully you'll find another couple who are ready to welcome such a wonderful delight into their lives." The exchange should be five sentences maximum, no mention of the term butter-face, and about your change of heart, not about what caused your change. Your desire to give her a reason is really about your impulse to tell her she's ugly, or not- because you are embarrassed about your own standards. People get turned down all the time, and attraction can't be defined by neck down photos. You really need to find some real-life meet ups, or this situation will become your recurrent nightmare of parlor or bedroom decorum gone wrong.

There's a perfect beer for the night you don't run off like Ichabod when the temptress reveals her pretty face. The Shipyard Pumpkin Ale is a fall seasonal beer from Portland, Maine. It's buttery pumpkin pie taste is full of malt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The head on this beer doesn't last long, or leave much lace in your glass, but the taste reminds you of those chilly nights when someone else's warmth is all that can warm your bones. Bonus, there's a scary image of a pumpkin-headed horseman riding on the label. Other great pumpkin ales of the season which might better embody the style are the Southern Tier Pumking, the Smuttynose Pumpkin, and the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin ale, which is 8% ABV. If you're lucky, you'll find a great pumpkin on tap at a bar, and some vixen will hit on your boyfriend when you go to order a round. Maybe you can all work something out. Happy Halloween!