Utica Uptown Downtown Art Fair 2015

I can’t believe it has almost been a year, since I wrote my last post. Of course there has been a lot going on and there has been some progress in the studio but things have slowed down due to a little addition to the family.

However, it’s that time of the year again… the time of the Third Utica Uptown Downtown Art Fair. Just like last year, I will be showing alongside some amazing makers from the Utica area and I am very excited to participate again. This time around, ProonK will be showing at the 4 Elements Studio, an awesome artist space that is run by ceramicist Vartan Poghosian. 4 Elements Studio is located on the top floor of a prior school building on Washington Street and Vartan rents out additional rooms to other artists that also love the fresh artistic breeze that is blowing trough a revitalized Downtown Utica. If my studio was not downtown already, the ProonK Studio just recently moved to Elizabeth Street, I would have loved to be part of Vartan’s artist collective. The space is truly special with it’s old school vibe and cute little studios.

Next to 4 Elements Studio, more than 15 artists are going to show in three additional spaces: The Other Side Gallery, Sculpture Space and Oneida Square Project Public Art & Design.

Participating artists are:

@Sculpture Space:
Kim Carr-Valdez
Paul Valdez

@ 4 Elements Studio:
Vartan Poghosian
Victor Lenuzza
Celeste Friend
Art Baird
Cynthia Baird
Shannon Stockbridge
Rosette Schureman
Kathy Donovan
Steve Nyland
Marc Tucci
Betty Murtagh
Proonk Jewellery

The Other Side Gallery and the Oneida Square Project Public Art & Design will show a wide selection of local artists featuring ceramics, photography, paintings, prints, drawings and mosaic products for business and home.

Here is the official poster with directions and all the fabulous artists:

utica uptown downtown art fair 2015

I would very much like to encourage everyone who is interested in going to try to make it to all four locations, since there is a great chance to win a raffle prize made by the artists.

The show will be held on November 28th and 29th from 10am-5pmwww.uticaartfair.com

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Please follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

Utica Uptown Downtown Art Fair 2014

After a long period of silence, very exciting news!

Sixteen artists from the Utica area would like to invite you to join the ‘Utica Uptown Downtown Art Fair‘ this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 29-30 from 10am-5pm.

This annual event, that is now in its second year, gives people from the public the possibility to experience the artists’ studios and their creativity at work.

The featured artists are:

Uptown

Keiko Soga – Paper Jewelry & Reliefs
Yaosen at 18 Auburn Avenue

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.55.45 PM

Takashi Soga – Sculpture & Drawings
Yaosen at 18 Auburn Avenue

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.54.31 PM

Celeste Friend – Sterling Silver Jewelry
37 Emerson Avenue

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.57.11 PM

Art Baird – Pottery
37 Emerson Avenue

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.57.31 PM

Cynthia Baird – Handwoven Clothing and Accessories
37 Emerson Avenue

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.57.24 PM

Sylvia de Swaan – Photography
19 Rose Place

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.57.55 PM

Tony Thompson – Paintings
The Other Side – 2011 Genesee Street

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.56.22 PM

George White – Sculpture
The Other Side – 2011 Genesee Street

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.56.10 PM

Downtown

Betty Murtagh (represented by Gina Murtagh) – Silkscreen Prints
519 Plant Street

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.56.35 PM

Lisa Juen – Contemporary Jewelry
519 Plant Street

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.56.52 PM

Vartan Poghosian – Ceramic Art
4 Elements Studio at 617 Tracy Street

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.58.07 PM

Victor Lenuzza – Oil Paintings
4 Elements Studio at 617 Tracy Street

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.58.17 PM

Marc Anthony Polizzi – Sculpture
Upstate Flux at 920 Columbia Street

Stephanie Wysluzaly – Pottery
Upstate Flux at 920 Columbia Street

Steve Nyland – Paintings
Upstate Flux at 920 Columbia Street

Jon Petro – Abstract Painting
Mayro Building – 239 Genesee Street

Come and join us! …and don’t forget to bring your Christmas shopping list!

For more information check out the Utica Uptown Dowtown Art Fair Facebook Page or their blog.

See you there!

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

#5 Work in Progress: Here is to Onions

I guess it is not a secret to say that I am really into crocheting and enameling silver wire at the moment. I find those two techniques very nicely combine and stand for the work that I have been making for the last few years. There is a reconnection to my MA work, which I really see as the collection of work that had me take my first steps into the contemporary jewellery world, but with experience and impressions that are six years older.

I have been living in Utica, NY now for a good year and I think I can say that things have settled in. My studio is running, I could establish some sort of a routine. ProonK is hopefully going to turn another corner soon and I do get the occasional commissioned work, which I quite like since it is a nice little break in my studio life. Now, I am not primarily a world traveler anymore but my settling and building era has begun.

So far, I had been concentrating on my travels, when it came to finding inspiration for new work. Now, that I barely leave the studio, the angle of my point of view has shifted from the outside to the inside. Again, another nice connection to my MA work. I feel more like a studio hermit now than a world nomad.

Looking back on what I was allowed to experience so far, and I think this is transferable to a lot of people, I find that life comes in different stages, different eras. Each era shapes us and constantly reforms who we are.

I have mentioned in an older Blogpost already (#4 Work in Progress: About Onions & Foxgloves) that I find that the human being is very much comparable to the being of an onion. The more we age and experience, the more layers we grow, the more beautiful we become. Just like a human, an onion shares many characteristics. They can be a delicious spice for a great soup or they can be rotten to the core, once one cuts them open. They are a great helper in keeping one healthy but ever so often they like to make one cry. The story of the onion is hidden in its layers, just like the story of a human is hidden in their eras.

So, here is to human onions. Or onion humans? Here is to onions.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 4.59.18 PMThis is the first piece I made in the ‘Onion’ series. It is a brooch that is called ‘Sadonion’. The piece is made from crocheted silver wire with enamel, agate, cubic zirconia and a hand-pierced surgical stainless steel back. I decided to move away from using laser-cutting in this series of pieces, since the hand-piercing process gives the work a more personal, human touch.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 4.59.10 PMThis is the back of ‘Sadonion’. In this piece, the outside layer of the enamel-onion is ‘sewn’ onto the back-structure with stainless steel wire to secure the front. The other onion layers are not attached, so they can move around when worn.

glamonion frontThis is the second piece I made, called ‘Glamonion’. The piece can be worn as a brooch or a necklace. The necklace-chain can be hooked into the loops on the back of the piece. ‘Glamonion’ is made from crocheted silver wire with enamel, lemon quartz, cubic zirconia and hand-pierced surgical stainless steel. Apart from the outside onion layer, the other layers are not attached and can move around when the piece is worn.

glamion backBack of ‘Glamonion’

glamonion back with chain Back of ‘Glamonion’ with chain.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 5.13.39 PMFuture onions.

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

Dragonfly Foxglove Tree

It has been a while again since my last post and quite a few things have happened since then in the studio. Some great things and some not so desirable ones but all in all it’s moving forward.

Last week, I finished my first ProonK commission for a great customer from Utica, NY. She wanted to commission a ‘jewellery-tree’ but with a spin. Since she loves the Adirondacks, we decided to work with a flower that can be found in the woods of the area and we came up with the foxglove. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of those bulky, weird looking ‘jewellery trees’ that one can find all over the place. I wanted to make a piece that is a small sculpture in the first place but that can have a function, if desired. So, regarding functionality, we decided to add a dragonfly to the design which wings can act as holding devices for earrings.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 4.28.25 PM

The stem and the leaves of the foxglove are made from only two stainless steel parts that were connected using cold connections. After the polishing process, the two pieces were positioned and its elements bent into place.

The foxglove plant holds 29 flower heads that were hand-crocheted from silver wire and enameled in three different shades of purple and pink.

The body of the dragonfly holds a white cubic zirconia.

The whole piece is mounted on a solid block of ash-wood that I brought from the woods of my hometown in Germany.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 4.28.34 PM

 

Here are some Work-In-Process-Pics:

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 5.35.38 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 5.35.04 PMFoxglove flower heads in detail, made from crocheted silver wire and dark purple enamel.

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 10.53.27 AMThe foxglove stem without the flower heads.

I hope you like the piece as much as I do! It was a great success with my Utica customer. She loved it!

Please write me a line with your thoughts! I really appreciate your comments!

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
NEW: Find my newest designs on my ETSY SHOP!
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

 

Happy Earth Day 2013!

Today was a day I have impatiently been waiting for… Today is Earth Day and with this came a fabulous excursion this morning to the Empire Recycling Corporation in Utica NY.

Each year, Empire Recycling opens its doors for the artists from Sculpture Space to have them pick whichever scrap metal they like ($100 max) in order to make an art piece for Sculpture Space‘s CHAIRity Auction in September.

This year was the first time I was part of this event and since I am a HUGE fan of places like recycling yards, I was literally in paradise!

When walking through endless rows of boxes, containers and mountains of all sorts of different metals, I decided to focus on copper scrap. For quite a while, I have been thinking about leaving my jewellery comfort zone and make bigger, more sculptural pieces, possibly wall panels and wall installations. I would like to experiment with different layers, partly enameled (hence the copper), some of my personal drawings, mounting techniques, three-dimensionality, organic/human characteristics and industrial influences, questioning the ‘real & fake’ and ‘action & consequence’ in the human being.

Here are a few pictures I took during my hunt through Empire Recycling. I can’t wait to start the new project!

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 7.27.31 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.38.53 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.39.22 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.39.35 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.39.46 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.39.58 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.40.12 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.40.25 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.40.52 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.41.02 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.41.45 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.43.11 PMThese are the pieces I picked. I mainly collected copper parts with a few brass and stainless steel bits from now and then. Aren’t they beautiful?!

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

#4 Work in Progress: About Onions & Foxgloves

Since my return from Munich a couple of weeks ago, I have been pretty busy in the studio.

Right now, I am still trying to find a balance in between pushing my artistic practice, working on ProonK and working on commissions. Yes, I have been lucky and a very great lady commissioned me to make her four jewellery stands for her earrings. I have started to work on the first stand and I am pretty excited about it. It will not be a regular jewellery tree but it will have an arty twist to it.

First to my artistic practice: As you know, in my last three pieces, I started to experiment with enameling silver wire and I got quite intrigued by it. It is the perfect way to combine my love to knit and crochet with enameling. The result are those very intriguing pieces that take me right back home to my grandma’s place. Tradition meets modern, past meets present. So, I experimented a little with shape and colour and made a few pieces that I am very happy about.

At the moment, my mindset turns around the idea of how much does traveling shape your being in terms of finding/having a home. … and what is home or Heimat?

I tried to sort out my mind by writing a short artist statement the other day. It always helps to put the ‘idea-soup’ on paper.

‘If you engage in travel, you will arrive’ -­‐ Ibn Arabi (1165-­‐1240)

 

One of my passions is traveling. I like to be and live in new places that, at times, are very different from my own cultural experiences and upbringing. For the last eight years, I have lived in constantly changing ‘homes’, moving as much as nine times.

 

My most recent move in June last year was of a different kind. This time, it is a permanent move. With the new location, not only my physical coordinates have changed but also my mindset. For the first time in over eight years, I find myself in a place I can call a ‘real home’.

 

But what is ‘home’? Can I call the short-­‐term ‘homes’ of my travels in the UK and China ‘real homes’ too or should I refer to those as ‘homes in transit’? What makes a ‘real home’ and how does it differ from the ‘home of my upbringing’, my German ‘Heimat’?

 

With this thought in mind, I am also intrigued to find out where my past experiences mix; the ones that shaped me through my German upbringing and childhood, the ones I got introduced to on my numerous travels and the ones that I make now, living in my new ‘real home’ in the USA, away from my German ‘Heimat’.

 

How much does travel shape one’s being?

 

In my new work, I would like to combine my German roots, things that make me feel at home and remind me of Germany, things that bring me back to my childhood, the cheesy and the corny… with impressions I gathered on my travels, things I learned on the way about other people and cultures but also about myself… with now being rooted in a place and yet another new culture for the first time after having left Germany.

Quite a while ago, I watched the movie Shrek and I remember him saying that he was an onion. He said he had layers. I feel the same way. I am an onion too. I am made from international layers that shine in different colours.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 12.32.30 PMThis was the first piece I enameled. The coloured layers are not attached, so once mounted, they can move in their little areas without falling out.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 12.33.09 PMHere, I tried to combine the enameled piece with other materials. I am very much interested in working with wood and striped agate at the moment in combination with the stainless steel and the cubic zirconia.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 12.33.28 PMAnother composition.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 12.32.03 PMThis is the second piece. It is meant to be part of a neckpiece at some point. I have a few ideas but nothing is set in stone yet. 

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 12.31.25 PMThe layers of this piece can move too, resulting in a really great sound! I also love the transparency of the piece, seeing different colours shine through from now and then.

Simultaneously, I have been working on the ProonK front. On April 1st, I opened my ProonK Etsy Shop… and no, this is not an April fools’ joke! Please check it out, let me know what you think and occasionally get something small for you loved ones, please!

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 6.00.51 PM

There will also be a line of new pieces to come soon. I am working with high-speed on the new designs, featuring enameled lace! I can’t wait to have everything wrapped up soon! I am super excited!

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 12.33.54 PMThis is a prototype of a lace earring. There will be two half spheres making up a ball that will hang from the part with the stone. ( Disregard the colour combination. It was just a test.)

Last but not least, here are some pics of the jewellery stand I was commissioned to make. The shape is based on a foxglove. The single flower heads are made from enameled wire as well. The stem will be made from stainless steel. On the top of the flower will sit a dragonfly that can hold the earrings in its wings.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 5.35.04 PMA few of the foxglove flower heads in dark and light purple.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 5.35.38 PMFoxglove flower head in dark purple.

I hope you like my latest studio progress! Let me know what you think, please!

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

#3 Work in Progress: Relief

The new silver wire has arrived and boy… I can’t tell you how relieved I felt when I took the new enameled constructs out of the kiln yesterday and found that all previous issues had vanished! Just one little mistake, like buying the wrong type of silver wire, can cause quite a big headache. Still, after a few days of waiting, hoping and slowly turning crazy over the idea that I might not be able to finish in time for the show in Munich, I have to admit that (as usual) it was good that things did not turn out as planned. The delay gave me more time to reflect about the pieces: their origins, their shapes, their compositions, their characters. I was and I still am so happy to be back in the studio that my intuitive making took over. My body needed to see results. Now, my mind is slowly kicking in, asking for the sense of it all.

Mainly, I thought about the roots and what they mean to me. Anchors, yes, supplying organs, yes, but there is more:

  • origin
  • home (Heimat, Heim, zuhause)
  • arrive
  • hold
  • ooze out (herausquellen)
  • find one’s way
  • skirt hurdles
  • safety
  • overgrow, take possession

Here are the beginnings of the new pieces…

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 11.11.37 AM

Work in progress: I tried to link the single ‘finger’-elements of the roots more, so that they give the impression of being ‘rooted’. I also wanted to show the force of the roots by having them ‘move’ the floor tiles from their ‘original’ flat position.

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 11.12.08 AM

The finished enameled look. Although green, I think the fork-like character of the root takes away from the idea of a snake. The roots are not lying loosely on top of the composition anymore. They are open to the back and connected to the wearer.

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 11.15.39 AM

I like to give the wearer the option of choosing how to wear a piece. The first picture shows the piece as a brooch, the second one shows it as a neckpiece. The chain-part can be detached.

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 11.16.06 AM

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 11.15.10 AM

Work in progress: Overgrow, take possession. Brooch and neckpiece.

More silver wire is on the way for more experiments to come. Now, it’s time to work on the construction of the pieces, of course made from lasercut stainless steel. I will keep you posted…

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

#1 Work in Progress: Cicada, Tiles & Lamp

As mentioned before, I am intrigued by the idea of the roots and I decided to make quite a few from silver wire and see what I can do with them. I enameled some and started to combine them with some of my found objects from Shanghai.

Again, I am interested in the contrast that is being created by the combination of different materials, their characteristics and their meanings. I am also intrigued by juxtaposing found objects and components that I can create myself.

It seems like my mind is still preoccupied with Shanghai. So many things still need to be said, realized and dealt with. But now, with me having my roots in Utica, I can see that the new American influences also find a way to enter and live in my new work. There is a change. It makes me feel relieved and really happy.

I am taking myself on a trip through the past, present and future.

ImageWork in progress Piece #1: Porcelain cicada from Shanghai, enameled silver wire roots, lasercut stainless steel hydrangea, CZ. Brooch/Neckpiece.

ImageWork in progress Piece #2: Tiles from a demolition site in Shanghai (residential house in the Former French Concession), silver wire roots (possibly to be enameled in shades of pink), possibly some sort of lasercut stainless steel plant, CZ. Brooch/Neckpiece.

ImageWork in progress Piece #3: Plastic ornament from Chen Hang Feng‘s studio in Shanghai with years of the city’s dirt on it, silver wire roots (possibly to be enameled in shades of grey), CZ, glass, lasercut stainless steel. Brooch/Neckpiece. 

All pieces are obviously still in progress. Changes might happen. Let me know what you think, please. I appreciate all sorts of input. Thank you.

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

John Matthews at South Gallery, Stanley Center for the Arts

Last Thursday, Barry and I were invited to see the John Matthews‘ photography exhibit at South Gallery at the Stanley Center for the Arts.

Image

We went right when the doors opened, since we wanted to participate in BJJ training that night after the event (Dojo1 Martial Arts). Even though we were super early, there was already quite a big crowd and by the time we left, the place was packed with people. I was positively surprised by the number of visitors that showed their interest and support. It is great to know that there are so many people living in Utica who are interested in art and like to support local artists.

Image

The exhibition turned around the use of the iPhone 4S as the main photography tool. Most pictures in the exhibition, apart from three, were taken with a camera phone and digitally enhanced with iPhone apps. John Matthews’ main ‘goal’ of the exhibition was to show the viewer the endless possibilities in photography that await an iPhone user. He said for him, it is very interesting to see how much digital photography, especially in camera phones, has enhanced over the years, up to a point where one can compare phone pics to SLR camera pics without really being able to tell a big difference in quality.

The photographs in the show look like every-day snapshots that shed a very positive and interesting light on Utica and the New York State area. They show beauty in an area that is sadly misjudged so often. They show the pretty moments in life, sometimes simple, sometimes more intricate, but the ones we should all really concentrate on, rather than all the negative stuff. The easiness and lightness of the pictures was very well supported by the use of the smart phone camera. One can see John having fun with his device, while capturing those precious little moments with a touch of his finger.

Image

Image

My favourite picture was called ‘Angles, Reflections and Conversations’. I loved the diagonal set-up of the picture, along with the contrast of the group of people to the single biker and the amazing play of light that resulted from the sun being mirrored in parked car windows. For me, it is a very strong and dynamic picture with an incredibly romantic touch to it!

Image‘Angles, Reflections and Conversations’, John Matthews, iPhone 4S, 2012

I am very much looking forward to John’s future shows in Utica. Come and join us then!

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

Sweet Sweet Studio

So… after a good seven month without making any ‘serious’ jewellery, due to moving countries and some personal procrastinating issues, I am sitting in my brand-new studio and I am MAKING. Finally!

It really is about high-time, given that 2013 started off on a really good foot. I just realized the other day that my work is going to be on show in five exhibitions until April alone. The rest of the year is yet to come! I very much hope for the chance to have a solo show some time soon and I am going to work hard towards that goal.

Until then, my work can be seen in the following exhibitions:

‘The Beauty Chase’, Espace Le Carré Gallery, Lille, France, until Jan 14.
‘Con Decorados’, Klimt Gallery, Barcelona, Spain, opening in February.
‘Ferrous’, Velvet Da Vinci Gallery, San Francisco, USA, March 1 – April 14.
‘Guck ins Schmuckloch, Schmuck im Guckloch’, Galerie im Raum, Munich, Germany, March 7 – March 10.
‘Stories & Symbols’, Facèré Gallery, Seattle, USA, opening in April.

With ‘Guck ins Schmuckloch, Schmuck im Guckloch’ coming up during ‘Schmuck’-time in Munich, I really have to focus and make new pieces. So, yesterday, I had a big enameling day and I experimented with techniques, objects and compositions.

It was fabulous, after a long time of simply knitting socks, to design and make jewellery again. I came up with three ideas for future pieces and I can’t wait to hold the finished works in my hands soon. Let’s hope for many more to come!

With my move to America, I realized that my origin is really important to me, alongside my traveling experience. ‘Heimat’ (birth place/home) is what shapes us first, traveling cuts our facets. I would like to play with both of those influences, showing the ‘product’ of them until this point in time. So, I think Germany, UK, China and America will play a big factor in my future pieces.

When still in China, I started to collect ‘found objects’. This was something very new to me, as I usually don’t like to collect stuff. I am used to work with an idea in my head and I go and find the materials. For some reason, maybe some melancholic reasons when knowing that I would leave Shanghai, I collected some objects that looked intriguing to me. Now, they are lying on a table in my studio waiting for me to work with them… and I did start with some. Another first.

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 1.44.43 PMFound objects on my studio table

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 1.45.01 PMThe Yellow Studio Room

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 3.49.18 PMThe Blue Studio Room

Another thing that I realized when arriving in America was that my creative process is going in a ‘looped line’. I am not thinking from A to B to C. In the process of shaping new influences and ideas, I like to reflect on earlier work and sometimes, old influences peek through in new ways. At the moment, I find that I am interested in some things again that intrigued me during my MA days in 2007. It will not be the same as the work from that time. The new work will represent my experiences from then to now through the choice of known but also new materials and techniques. My mind is going in circles and yet, it arrives at new places.

Accordingly, the new body of work will be called ‘Circle Spirit’.

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 1.44.30 PMThe beginnings of the first piece. The cicada came from a small street shop in Shanghai. I made the ‘roots’ from silver wire and enamel. Roots: home, growth, basis, knowledge, past & present. I think the roots will have a strong presence in the pieces of the ‘Circle Spirit’ series.

More to come soon…

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

Jonathan Kirk at Clifford Art Gallery

Last week was packed with art events in the Utica area. To my great surprise, there were two exhibition openings, one gallery anniversary and an open studio event. I have to admit that when I first moved to Utica, I did not think there was much going on in the art scene but last week proved me wrong and I am very happy about this!

I will write separate posts about each event that I visited. Unfortunately, I messed up the times for the open studio invitation at ceramic artist Vartan Poghosian‘s studio, so no post about that event, but I very much hope I will get another opportunity to see his studio soon.

The first exhibition of the week was Jonathan Kirk‘s show ‘Machines: Fragments and Reveries’ at Clifford Art Gallery at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY.

Jonathan Kirk was present to hold an artist talk. I could not attend right from the start but I dropped in for the Q&A. For me, it was nice to hear how Jonathan creates his work. He does not make a lot of drawings, instead he goes into 3D models right away to give him some sort of direction. Once the making process of the actual piece progresses, the work has still the freedom to transform and in some sort shape itself.

I very much agree that sometimes, the piece tells you what it wants to look like and all you have to do as an artist is ‘listen’. A lot of pieces only start to take shape during the creating process. Trying to overthink an idea by drawing on a piece of paper can sometimes be more confusing than getting one’s hands dirty and see where one might end up. In this line of thinking, there usually is no big room for failure as well. No matter what one will create, most of the time, it can be transformed into something else, until it reaches the point where it feels right.

The show had quite a variety of work on display. There were big sculptures, next to medium-sized objects and a table with a big selection of models. I was very intrigued by those pieces. Even though they were initially meant to visualise a quick idea and to see if it might work out, the were impeccable. The way Jonathan treats materials is breathtaking! He is a perfectionist with a great eye for details.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 8.01.15 PMTable with models

jonathan kirk
Display of ‘Machines: Fragments and Reveries’

 

 

I particularly fell in love with the piece ‘Lookout’. When looking at it, I found myself thinking that it resembles a model (and I assume it might have been a model at some point) because of the chosen material, cardboard, but the surface treatment and finish rightly take it on a completely different level. The material in this piece is being treated in a way that shows its best (and even new) characteristics in the brightest light. It is being taken away from the notion that cardboard is a cheap packaging material but something very precious.

jonathan kirk‘Lookout’, cardboard, 1993

There were a few wooden objects hanging from the wall that, I think, created a similar notion. They were made by individual small pieces of wood that were ‘glued’ into shape with epoxy. Jonathan treated the surface of the shape with lacquer, which he then buffed in some areas, revealing what was underneath. The way the surface looked reminded me a lot of Japanese Urushi lacquer. This type of lacquer is applied layer after layer, after layer… Every time I have a look at a piece that is showing this technique, I am reminded of the flow of time and all the respect I have for people who devote themselves to creating perfection. To me, the ‘buffed’ areas showed the ‘guts’ of the work, creating a great balance in between origin, the passing of time and the final being.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 8.01.01 PM
Display of ‘Machines: Fragments and Reveries’

Another very big factor in Jonathan’s work is the question of scale and how to use it. The center of the room held a sculpture of a big steam engine ‘Old King Cole’. Jonathan mentioned that, if he had made it any smaller, it might have been perceived as a toy. If he had made it bigger, it would have seemed like a replica of a steam engine, which then would have raised questions like use and functionality of the machine, rather than the question of what and why the object is art. Having chosen a  size that is located right in between a toy and a replica stripped the piece from its former functions and gave it the chance to express something new.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 8.01.47 PM‘Old King Cole’, mild steel, 2007

Jonathan Kirk ‘Machines: Fragments and Reveries’ will be on show at Clifford Art Galery at Colgate University until February 1, 2013. If you have the chance to go and visit, you should definitely go and have a look. You won’t be disappointed.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 7.36.27 PM

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

Adirondack Roots

When my parents came for a visit a couple of weeks ago, Barry and I took them to the Adirondacks for a weekend. One of our adventures, while we were up there was climbing ‘Bald Mountain’.

To get to the top, it is a nice little hike that takes around 45min. On the way, one is exposed to a great landscape, a fascinating mix of trees and enormous ‘bald’ rocks.It is a great contrast that shows the roughness but also the survival instinct of nature. One observation that I found the most interesting was the way the trees grow their roots in this environment. Of course, I have seen roots before but not as often as exposed as on my way up to the Bald Mountain summit.

While climbing, I felt a weird connection with those roots. I could not really put it into words back then but it led me to take a lot of pictures. I like to document things that interest me, even if I am not sure if I will ever use this inspiration for my work. In this case, I think it will find a way into my artistic practice in some sort, as the roots seem to have found a hold not only on Bald Mountain but in my brain! Since the day of the climb, my mind keeps going back to those roots and I come to think that the connection might be in me finally trying to figure out where my roots were, are and where I want them to be. For the first time, after all my travels, it feels like I have arrived. This does not mean that this is where it ends, I see it more as the beginning of something new that has its roots here.

Roots at Bald Mountain

Funny coincidence… This morning, I stumbled over the work of artist Henrique Oliveira, thanks to the contributions of the friendly duo of the Hovercraftdoggy blog. Seeing Henrique’s work made me smile. There couldn’t be anything better to express the way I feel at the moment and what I am looking for to express in my own work.

Henrique Oliveira, ‘Tapumes – Casa dos Leoes’, 2009

Henrique OliveiraHenrique Oliveira, ‘Alley Abscess’, 2011

Henrique Oliveira, ‘Dead Fire’, 2012

Henrique Oliveira, ‘Boxoplasmose’, 2011

I am not sure, if I will use actual wood in my future pieces or experiment with more contrasting materials. Right now, I opt for the latter, as I am thinking about experimenting with Faience and 3D printing. I had the idea to try and work with Faience when I went to see the ‘Shodow of the Sphinx’ exhibition at the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, NY. I then found this great blog about making and working in Faience and I am very much looking forward to trying. I love the origin of the material, being the first high technology ceramic, one of the first man-made materials mankind worked with. Working in this material really means going back to the roots! Right now, I am still trying to figure out where to get all the materials from that are needed to make the paste. If anyone has some suggestions, I would very much appreciate to hear them.

I can’t wait to start experimenting and finally work with my new pink kiln. I will keep you posted about future developments.

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

Sculpture Space Work in Progress Reception, Aug 22

Last week was a very hectic week with a lot of things going on. One of them was the ‘Work in Progress Reception’ at Sculpture Space. The current artists in the studio invited the public to share new ideas and have a look at their most recent works.

Four artists presented their newest creations:

Nova Jiang (Los Angeles, CA)
Jeff + Tara, The Friendly Falcons (Brooklyn, NY)
Cornelia Konrads (Bad Munder, Germany)
Jessica Segall (Brooklyn, NY)

It was the first time for me to attend such an event at Sculpture Space and I very much enjoyed it. I had been to the studio earlier on but this was the first time I saw it bursting with people and it was great to find that there is so much interest in art and such a big artist community in Utica.

The evening started off with a friendly welcome of Monika Burczyk, the Sculpture Space Executive Director, and continued with the artists introducing their work.

First, Jessica Segall introduced her beautiful body of work that was created through a residency in Alaska. Cornelia Konrads had just arrived to Sculpture Space the week before and briefly introduced some of her previous works, featuring book art and beautiful sculptures. The Friendly Falcons, Tara Pelletier & Jeffrey Kurosaki, finished the presentations with a very interesting music/image/sculpture performance.

In addition to the artists’ work, there was a sculpture of John von Bergen, the ‘Sculpture Drawing’ on display, which can be won in a very special prize drawing. 125 tickets for $100/pc are on sale until September 22. To purchase a ticket, please contact 315-724-8381 or click here to help support Utica’s international residency program.

The main Sculpture Space building.

Monika Burczyk welcoming the audience.

Jessica Segall introducing her work.

Jessica Segall

Cornelia Konrads

Cornelia Konrads

Cornelia Konrads

This is a video of the Friendly Falcon’s performance, seen through John von Bergen’s ‘Drawing Sculpture’.

John von Bergen, ‘Drawing Sculpture’

For more information on the individual artists, please have a look at their websites, there is a lot more beautiful work to see!

I am looking forward to the next Sculpture Space event, the CHAIRity Auction on September 22. The drawing of the John von Bergen Sculpture will be part of this event too. Come around to find out about the lucky winner!

I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope to see you at Sculpture Space soon!

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like the FB ProonK page.

Stanley Theater Utica NY

I know I have mentioned this place a lot of times before but yesterday, Barry and I actually got the chance to get the Grand Tour around the Stanley Center for the Arts in Utica NY. Thanks to Maureen and Anne, who took us around the premises, we had the pleasure to see the theater in all its impressive glory. …and this is not an exaggeration, this place really is breath-taking! I never expected the Theater to be that beautiful. It really is a hidden gem in Utica that is worth visiting, either for a short pop-in or for one of their numerous shows and concerts.

Getting married at the Stanley is also a possibility for anyone who would like to tie the knot. Couples can choose from having the entire celebration on site or limit it to only the ceremony, reception or photo shoots.

I took a few pictures but they really do not show the proportions and beauty of the Stanley Theater very well. Really, if you are around Utica NY, come and have a look, it will surely not be a disappointment.

The beautiful Stanley Center for the Arts facade.

The Stanley Grand Lobby.

The Grand Lobby from the second floor.

The Grand Staircase.

The entrance of the Theater Stage.

The Theater from the stage with the big Meyda chandelier and the ghost light.

An ornament in the Theater Stage area.

One of the Theater exits, showing beautiful ornaments from Meyda.

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like the FB ProonK page.

Plasma Cutting, Sandblasting & Powder Coating

Recently, I spent quite a bit of time researching tools and metal-working techniques again and I thought it would be nice to share the information and maybe get some professional tips from you guys.

Plasma Cutting: The reason why I had a look into plasma cutting was because of my frequent use of laser cut elements in my art & design work. Ideally, I would LOVE to have my own lasercutting machine but even the used ones are still super pricey. The second-hand machines I found that are capable of cutting 1mm stainless steel sheet started around $20k. This is a price I can’t afford at the moment… not sure if I ever will but I very much hope I might be able to purchase one further down the road.

As ‘Plan B’, I heard about the possibility to plasma cut pieces and I decided to have a look into that technique. I found a company, PlasmaCAM, that offers plasma cutting systems. The system is made from a cutting table that holds a hand-held plasma torch and plugs into your personal computer (needs to be Windows). It comes with a software that enables you to cut customized shapes. I watched the demo-video and it seems pretty easy to me to operate. The system does not come with a plasma torch, so this machine needs to be bought separately. I guess this is good on one side, given that you can choose yourself which machine to work with and how pricey it can be. On the other hand it is an additional cost. I called up the guys from PlasmaCAM to inquire about the price of the 4×4 table, which comes to $6980. I was further told that a plasma torch for my needs would approximately be around an extra $2000. The shipment of the table would approximately come to $190, so the final price is somewhere around $10k. For me, this is still a pretty steep price that I cannot afford right now but I am happy to know that there is something out there that I could use for big designs further down the road. For my jewelry, I think I will have to stick to lasercutting after all. The cutting line of the plasma cutter is too wide for my designs. I need to be able to get more into details. Also, I heard that the cut on the back can be pretty messy and needs a lot of cleaning. I wonder if this depends on the plasma torch one uses? Probably also speed and temperature?

PlasmaCAM cutting table

Sandblasting: Further I had a look at a sandblasting machine. I will need one for my enameling-work and I was once again surprised by Rio Grande. (My new pink kiln arrived by the way and it waits for me to start working with it once the studio is set up. Read more about the pink enameling kiln story on the Rio Grande ‘The Studio’ blog ‘A Kiln of a Different Color’ and my research on ‘Enameling Kilns’). For the studio in Shanghai, we bought a sandblasting cabinet from Italy that I believe was around 2000€, so I started having a look at DIY home-built options, since I did not want to afford that much. Luckily, it seems like I will not have to go that far and build it myself, since I found a cabinet, the ‘Small Benchtop Pencil-Style Bead Blaster’ on the Rio Grande website starting from $145. It is not massive but big enough for my use and they also offer a bigger version for $185. All you need in addition is an air-compressor, which comes to $150-200.

Rio Grande ‘Small Benchtop Pencil-Style Bead Blaster’

Powder Coating: Yesterday night, Barry and I went to visit the Meyda Lighting company and workshop in Utica NY, and I was amazed by the dimension of their production! This place is glass and metal-working paradise! They really build all their beautiful lamps from scratch. Even the metal parts are hand-made. I was very impressed.
During the tour, we passed the powder-coating facility, which intrigued me quite a lot. I love using color in my work and I had heard of the technique before but I did not know how to use it. I conducted some research on it this morning and to my surprise, it does not seem to be complicated at all. I think I will give it a go in the near future. Have a look at this DIY garage-made video to see how it works.
Further, I had a look at the Eastwood website, a company that specializes in automotive parts and powder coating. They offer powder coating kits from $99.99 for the ‘Original HotCoat Powder Coating Gun’ and $169.99 for the ‘Eastwood Dual Voltage HotCoat Powder Coating Gun’. They also offer pretty attractive starter kits. In addition to the gun and the powder, you need a compressor and either a toaster oven or normal cooking oven that reaches a temperature of 400F.

Eastwood ‘Dual Voltage Powder Gun Starter Kit’

The World’s Largest LED Free-Hanging Chandelier was designed, engineered and installed by Meyda Lighting for the historic Stanley Center for the Arts in Utica, New York.

I am still trying to get everything together for my studio and nothing is set in stone yet, so if you have suggestions or better information on the mentioned tools, please let me know. I would appreciate your opinions and experiences.

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like the FB ProonK page.

Utica ‘Art in Windows’

The Downtown ‘Utica Development Association‘, short DUDA, and Rod Wilson from ‘Gocal‘, a community online platform that concentrates on the promotion and support of local businesses and events, paired up to launch the ‘Art in Windows’ project in downtown Utica, NY.

The project is inspired by the ‘Art in Storefront‘ exhibition that first took place in San Francisco at Central Market in May 2011. Similar to its predecessor, Utica’s ‘Art in Windows’ will offer vacant storefronts to local artists to showcase their talents.

Here is an extract of the official DUDA press alert:

Empty downtown windows will soon become miniature art galleries through the ‘Art in Windows’ program sponsored by DUDA. ‘Art in Windows’ seeks to match local artists with vacant downtown storefront windows where they can display their works.

“Instead of looking at these windows as empty, we see them as full of possibilities,” says Regina Bonacci, president of DUDA. “What some consider an eyesore, we think will be a Main Street art show where works of art are shared with the community.”

Click here to watch a video about the event.

As far as I know, the show will kick off in the beginning of September and will run on a rotary system, three months at a time. All artistic disciplines are welcome.

Also, the name ‘Art in Windows’ seems to be a temporary title that is open for discussion. So, if you should have another idea, please get in touch.
My proposal would be ‘UticArt‘. I think it creates a good balance in between the city, the artistic concept and the diversity of the media on show.

For artists of the area who are interested in taking part and/or have an idea for a future name, please send your proposal to DOWNTOWNUTICANY@GMAIL.COM by July 31st.

I have my proposal ready and I can’t wait for the event to start!
Also, I find it inspiring to see that there are so many people in this city not just talking about making a change but really MAKING A CHANGE.
One step at a time… You go Utica!

 

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like the FB ProonK page.

Utica Buildings I

Aside

It has been a while since I wrote last and this had mainly to do with me constantly running around, wrapping things up, packing, moving, flying to four countries in 20 days and curing a heavy tonsillitis I caught on a farm in Taiwan. Apart from my sore throat, all good things and very exciting but quite exhausting too and I have to admit that it is pretty nice to have some peace and quiet at the moment. Right now I am in Utica, NY, and I will stay here for the next 80+ days before returning to Germany.

The reason why I am in Utica is because of my partner. Utica is his hometown and whenever you ask him to describe the city in one sentence, he will say ‘Oh- it’s a little slice of heaven on earth!’. Honestly, I haven’t heard the angel’s singing yet but I have to say that the ‘Utica Halfmoons‘ are pretty heavenly and there are lots of other things that make this little city very interesting. Apart from the really awesome Adirondacks State Park, which is just a short car ride away for all of those times when I can’t stand the four walls anymore and need to see and breathe some Green, there are a lot of interesting historical sites in the city as well. Just to speak of a few, the Stanley Theatre, the Hotel Utica and of course the Gold Dome are popping into my mind.

Of course Utica has issues, but I guess quite a few smaller cities have had similar issues in the past, and there are signs now that show that it is on the track of getting back on its feet. For me, being an artist and being interested in what is going on in this sector, it is great to see that there are quite a lot of people here trying to make a change. I think there is an interesting, rising art community on the go and I hope I can eventually contribute to it. There are quite a few art projects in the making of which I have heard of in the few days I have been here and I am very excited to see them finalised and open for the public. (I will write about those another time.)

When it comes to jewellery, I think there are quite a few interesting projects and sites as well. First, there is Pratt MWP, which enables students to spend the first two years of their bachelor of fine arts degree program at the campus in Central New York before they complete their studies at Pratt’s main campus in Brooklyn. Then, there is the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, which has quite an impressive permanent body of work on show (They have a Louise Bourgeois ‘Maman’ Spider on the wall… a piece that I instantly fell in love with!). They also show shorter, topic-specific exhibitions. At the moment, there is the ‘Shadow of the Sphinx – Ancient Egypt and its Influence’ on show. Last year, I came to see a show on wedding dresses from the last 100 years.

Also, there is Sculpture Space, an organisation that offers twenty residency places to national and international artists. I am not sure, if there has been a jeweller so far but since, in my opinion, jewellery is a form of (wearable) sculpture, it might be an option for jewellers as well…!? I certainly hope so… it would be really exciting to get the chance to work BIG!

Another very positive aspect I find about the city is that a lot of private people are trying to make a change as well. We have had the chance this week to go and see the ‘Preview of the New Offices and Loft Apartment‘ at Bonacci Architects’. Once one disregards that some of the buildings in the city are pretty run down and looks behind the facade and the possibilities that hide in there, one recognises the beauty that is hidden in the city. There are so many old brick buildings, some of them had an industrial purpose, some of them were meant for living quarters, that are just waiting for rediscovery! The Bonacci’s have taken on one of those industrial buildings (actually two to be exact, since the building is made from a building that was erected in 1840 and that was then joined in 1880 with the next door building from 1860) and they have turned it into a modern-old building, housing two companies on the ground floor and a fabulous loft on the first floor.

Here are some pics of the building before renovation.

The Bonacci Building after renovation.

There were several presentations and speeches on how this project was possible and the advantages of making an old home new.

The main speaker of the ‘Landmarks Society of Greater Utica‘ mentioned that she is a ‘Building Hugger’ and I have to say that I feel the same way. Strolling through the downtown area, passing all those beautiful buildings that have so many stories to tell, puts a smile on my face and I hope I can contribute in a similar project in the future.

Please follow this blog and have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com, www.proonk.com. Twitter: @LisaJuenProonK