Ripping Out the Seams at the New Creative Ohio Gallery

abstract collage assemblage
Artwork by BZTAT

I haven’t blogged much lately. I haven’t disappeared. I have just been caught up in a new project that was sorta unanticipated.

One of the many hats I wear is my curator hat, a volunteer job that I hold with the Ohio Arts and Crafts Guild. Truthfully, I haven’t done much with the job of late. The Guild’s small gallery, located next to my old studio, has been fairly lackluster for some time, and I have not put a lot of energy into designing or displaying the work in the space.

We have had some new volunteers come on board recently, however, and they have re-energized the gallery. We also had an opportunity suddenly emerge to move to a larger space a few doors down. We had to move fast if we wanted the space, so we signed a new lease and began the process of moving very rapidly.

The new space has two rooms. One room will be our new “Creative Ohio Gallery” and the other room a working studio space. We hope to offer classes and workshops sometime in the near future, and we plan to have featured artist shows in the gallery.

It happened so fast, I didn’t have time to seek out a featured artist before this week’s First Friday. So I decided to pull together a showing of my own collage/assemblage work that I have been accumulating for some time. Some pieces are new, and some are pieces I have had around for awhile. These works are quite divergent from my usual theme of animal art. An artist statement about the pieces below illuminates this different genre of work.

Watercolor artist extraordinaire Ted Lawson will also be featured, and unique pottery by Suzi Nolt-John will complete the ensemble. Arts and crafts from other Guild members will also be on display.

Usually you have an “opening” at the beginning of a new show, but we didn’t have time to plan one. We will have a Grand Opening for the Creative Ohio Gallery and Studio at a later date. I will share more info about that as soon as we pull it all together. You can see the first showing tomorrow night as part of Canton First Friday from 5pm to 10pm at 310 4th St. NW, Canton, OH.

I hope to see you tomorrow night!

Artist Statement

I am a “what you see is what you get” kind of person. Truthfully, though, you really don’t see, or get, that much.

Although I am known around the world for sharing openly about my art and my adventures with my five felines through social media, I actually am a pretty private person.

My collage/assemblage (collemblage) artwork gives you a glimpse of the internal drama that I tend to keep private. Only a glimpse, though. Don’t think for a minute that you will begin to understand the stream of conscience ramblings or visual symbols in these strange pieces. I don’t. There’s no code to be broken here.

Most artists will tell you that they create two kinds of art. There is art that they do because they WANT to do it, and there is art that they do because they HAVE to do it. The work that most artists do because they HAVE to is the stuff that sells. They do it because it pays the bills, not because it is creatively satisfying. The stuff they WANT to do is what they do for their own self expression and creative satisfaction.

It’s the other way around for me. The work that I want to do – fun, colorful imagery of cats and dogs – is what sells. It helps pay the bills, AND it is creatively satisfying. There are few things that I would enjoy doing more than painting your cat or dog.

My collemblages, on the other hand, do not to sell as much, but I HAVE to do them. I HAVE to because my soul won’t be settled unless I do.

They are often deeply personal and usually brought forth when I am troubled by something – an injustice or personal concern that has me stewing. Anger, fear, hurt and other negative emotions swirl around and challenge my yearning for resilience and balance. Sarcastic defiance and my use of color and texture usually help me win the battle. But reminders of my weaknesses are always present in each piece.

I often have ripped up clothing and other miscellaneous items that reappear in different pieces. The ripped clothing represents my need to shed the bonds of limitation that others impose upon me.

“There’s a hole in my jeans I only wanted to fade. I’ve been ripping out seams somebody else made tonight.” Ain’t it Heavy—Melissa Etheridge

The music I am listening to during the creative process usually works its way into the collemblage.

Caution tape warns you to keep your distance, for good reason.

So go ahead. Take a cryptic look and try to figure me out. You won’t succeed, but you might have a little fun trying. See if these artworks speak to your own internal drama while you’re at it.

Whew. Glad that’s done. Now, please. Someone hire me to paint your cat. Or your dog. Or rabbit or ferret.

Let me do art that I WANT to do.